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Monday, October 12, 2015


Halloween Is Coming  !!

Hey you guys!  Hope you had a good week.  Mine was interesting.  Here are some things that happened! :)

Experience #1
Sooooo... Let's start with the best thing first this week.  We had a baptism this week.  J entered the waters of baptism following the examples of her parents as well as the Savior.  It was amazing!  It was so well put together.  Everyone was prepared.  We were just a few minutes late in starting because her mom was coming back from school and was running a little late.  But we took pictures, and got started.  The bishop's son gave the talk on baptism.  The actual baptism ordinance went well.  The only problem was, it was her father's first time baptizing.  So he couldn't get the words right.  He had to redo the words at least four times and had to dunk her twice.  But it went well in the end.  She was baptized and said she felt "clean" and "new".  Sister L gave a beautiful talk on the Holy Ghost.  Then we closed and had some really good refreshments.  It was a great day and everything ran smoothly.  :)

Experience #2
We had interviews this week.  It was really fun.  Sister B offered to drive us to Gastonia.  I was wedged in between two little boys in car seats which were like possible 11 inches apart.  I have never felt so squished.  But she is so funny.  When we got there, we had to wait for a few minutes before talking to president.  They focused on strengthening our companionship as well as self-reliance and confidence.  They didn't say anything about how well I did, but more of general guidelines.  But that's okay.  They told me that my family is very wise and insightful in the guidance they have given me in my life that has led me to being the woman that I am today.  It was a really good interview.  He gave me some advice for the last part of my mission and told me that my rating myself at the obedience of 9/10 is good, but it could be better if I lift my companion to that point.  He told me that the main focus is missionary work, but that we have to realize that the end does come someday.  Which was sad to think about.  The funniest part though, was the beginning of the interview.  President looked at me, trying not to crack a smile and said, "Sister Irwin.  Salt Lake is not very happy with the TiWi report that we got from you this morning.  They tell me that on Wednesday, you went to uptown Charlotte at 11:00 at night and came back at 2:30 in the morning."  I giggled and said, "Hmmm.... I wonder why President."  Which leads me to my next experience...

Experience #3
Sister L and I went to go get out flu shots on Wednesday.  We were both fine all day other than the doctor who gave me mine was English and flirted with me the whole time.  But around 10:00 at night, Sister L threw up, started shaking, became pale, and got hot and cold sweats.  So we called the mission doctor and he told us to take her to the emergency room.  So we called Sister A and she said that she would meet us there.  It was 12:30 before they called us back.  In the meantime, Sister L got a blessing from President.  After hours of tests and blood work, they couldn't find anything wrong.  So they diagnosed it as nausea.  We decided that it was probably an allergic reaction to her flu shot.  But it was around 2:30 before we got headed home, we almost got T-Boned again, and we were exhausted.  We got home around 3 and President asked us to sleep in in the morning.  Elder C called us around 10 and asked why we had slept in.  We explained the whole situation and he said he felt like a jerk for assuming.  I was like, duh.  Why would I purposely disobey?  So silly.

Experience #4
We were low on miles on Saturday.  So we planned to bike.  But because it's our luck, we picked the only day of the week that it rained.  So I thought I practically ruined my multicolor tie dye skirt.  But I got most of the dirt and stuff out, but I have to ask - there is a hole in it now, so should I just sew it?  And what would be the best method for doing so?  Other than that, we met a few people and ended up biking around 14 miles.  I.  Was.  So.  Sore.  It was ridiculous.  Just thought I would share how wet, miserable, and exhausted I got.  I think I literally cried myself to sleep that night.

Experience #5
I love the moments that I can really tell that someone needs us.  We went to see Sister H after church today.  She had a breakdown at church and went home early.  I think she just got overwhelmed by the ward changes and everything.  So we got to go over and just simply answer questions she had.  And I could feel the spirit so much!  She apparently had tons of questions about the Atonement and Jesus Christ that she hadn't asked before because she felt like they were stupid questions and that they should have been common knowledge.  So when we brought up the Atonement, she started crying when I read a quote from Richard G. Scott from his October 2004 talk.  It just makes me so happy when I can bring things back to the basics like President Uchtdorf encouraged us to do and how much of a difference it can make in people's lives.  I love this so much!

Experience #6
There were so many things that stood out to me at church yesterday.  J's confirmation happened and I actually cried.  I could almost feel or hear the spirit saying, "Thank you girls, for bringing a family back into my fold, and making sure you completed the family first."  It took me quite a few minutes to calm down.  Not going to lie.  Also, when the sacrament was being blessed and passed... They had to say two water prayers because since our ward is three times the size now, they underestimated the amount of cups.  But you won't believe by how much.  One cup.  They redid the sacrament prayers for literally one cup.  That just manifested to me the importance of the sacrament prayers and ordinance.  And the bishop got up and mentioned it to everyone as well.  It was amazing to know that our church and the blessings therein, are that sacred and that special.  Also, I bawled like a baby because Gospel Principles was all about temple marriage and sealings.  So all I have to say is, I love you guys and I am so thankful that Heavenly Father has given all of you to me as my eternal family.  :) <3

What movie are those lyrics from.  Elder Hutchinson and I have been driving ourselves mad trying to think of it.  And where did she get all of those?  Are they CD's or actual records?  You're right.  Some people have all the luck.  And are we putting the movie room together?  The directors chairs would look great in there if that is the case.

The BYU planetarium sounds like it was fun.  I wish that we had done something that fun for girls camp certification.  You sound like a really fun camp leader.

I am sure that Em will be able to get her grades up.  She is smart.  I have faith in her.  Just tell her less time on the phone and more time in the books.  ;)  I am also really sorry to hear about Brenda.  Is she doing okay?  I am glad they got it in time.

YAY!!!  BYU WON!!!  I am so happy about that.  I can't wait to go to games in person when I get back.  Or watch them in general.  ;)

Is "Once I Was A Beehive" an actual movie that came out in theaters?  I will have to see it when I get home.  It sounds really funny!  You'll have to involve me in some of your fun girls camp things when I get back.  I would love to help when I get home.  If I am in Utah for the summer.  Do we know what we are going to do about that yet?
I am just fine waiting for the package.  It will be special to hear from the ward members.  So I will find out if I stay or go on Saturday.  So I will let you know as soon as I can on Monday.  Most likely, I am staying.  But you never know.  So I will let you know.  I am so excited to get the package though.  I love your packages!!!

I know how you feel with tons of conferences.  We have general conference, two mission conferences, interviews, and stake conference this month.  And I completely agree with Sister Searcy's comment about the spirit.  Without him, we are nothing.  That is why it is the GIFT of the Holy Ghost.  We need it ALWAYS!

I am glad everyone is still enjoying my emails and pictures.  The district is doing okay.  Everyone is acting a little better day by day.  There are still little freak outs, but oh well.  You can't win all the time.  Sister L is hanging in there.  Transfers are next week actually because it is a five week transfer this time and a seven week one next time.  We are just making the most of it.  Thank you for the encouraging words.  I need to pray for help to fix the problem.  I got a flu shot this Wednesday.  So today we went to the church with the district to play sports.  I am doing some of them, but if I have to kick a ball, the toes hurt too much.  So I am doing a little of both.  The shot wasn't bad though.  I didn't even bleed.  I thought it was going to be worse than it was.

It's crazy to think that Jason gets home in 9 days, then all of the sisters in the ward.  We try our hardest and keep working tirelessly.  Fight on, battle on, and come up strong.  We literally are God’s Army here on the earth and we need to act like it.  It may be hard at times, but if we keep going, the Lord will bless us.

I love you guys sooooooo much!  All the way to Germany and back because Elder Kopischke is coming this week.

Ash :) <3 

Monday, October 5, 2015

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Mormon Newsroom

 Ponderize This !!!

Hey everybody!  I had a really good week!  Here are some of the major highlights!  I hope your week was as good an insightful as mine was.  Enjoy!

Experience #1
We got to go to the mall and Panther's Stadium last Monday for P-Day.  It was super fun.  We started at the mall because, before the boundary changes, we didn't have one.  So we were really excited.  I parked and the first thing I saw was the big H&M.  Of course.  ;)  Still not as big as the one in City Creek, but it will do.  :)  But the mall itself is huge, and fabulous, and shopping, and happy.  I was excited, if you couldn't tell.  Well, we had no money last week.  So we were basically window shopping.  Which I was perfectly fine with, but Sister L was getting bored and we had extra miles.  So we decided to go to Panther's Stadium and explore uptown for what little time we had left.  Sister L is funny.  When I told her I was a city girl, I don't think she entirely believed me.  I was driving in Uptown amidst all the construction and pedestrians only to find a parking spot that she was determined was not there.  I told her to give me five minutes and if we didn't find one, we would go home.  Not only did I find a parking spot a block from the stadium, but I did it in three minutes.  And as an added bonus, the meter we had to pay still had 25 minutes on it.  YAY!  So we went and took pictures by the stadium and walked around for a few minutes before heading back to the car so that we could finish up the rest of the stuff we had to do that day!  It was really, really fun!  And today we are going shopping with a member named Sister C.  She is great and loves spending time with us!  We have to get Sister L some winter clothes.  She is from Alaska and has literally ZERO winter clothes with her out here.  I found that both ironic and comical.  ;)

Experience #2
We have been struggling with Sister M.  We are sharing lessons with her that are uplifting and we can tell they bring her closer to where she needs to be, but after a while, she just kind of stops and figures that there is no way that she can climb some of the mountains that she needs to in order to achieve the goals that both she wants to set and that we want her to set.  So Sister L was inspired to start with the basics.  We just taught an entire lesson about Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  We could all feel the spirit so strongly.  I showed a specific picture that I had taken from a Sister Training Leader.  I told her that when I look at this picture, (which I will attach in my picture emails), all I can feel is the Savior's infinite love for me and all of my Heavenly Brothers and Sisters.  I feel like it perfectly describes what He did for each and every one of us through the Atonement.  He picks us up, brushes us off, and as was said in conference, "lifts us to where we need to be."  It was such a remarkable lesson.  I invited her to do something that simply changed my life and outlook on the Atonement forever.  I invited her to do something I did at the beginning of my mission.  One night, I thought to myself, "Self, we are all aware and grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but how often do we ACTUALLY say thank you to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for coming up with this plan and executing it perfectly for us?"  So that is what I did.  I prayed and thanked them for the miraculous grace and mercy they have for each of us.  I thanked Him for this plan that will enable all of us to return.  And I thanked Him for the actually suffering and dying on the cross for us and for rising on the third day so that we could overcome the pains of mortality and physical death.  Then something indescribable happened.  I was enveloped in such a feeling of love, warmth, and peace.  If I had to put it into words, Heavenly Father was probably saying, "My daughter.  You understand.  You understand the importance of it all and you are willing to do what you can to obtain the blessings that I am ready to give you."  I invite all of you to do the same thing.  I promise, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that it will forever change you... so long as you let it.  :)

Experience #3
We had a mission conference this week.  It was AMAZING!  President and Sister Alexander focused the whole conference on one principle that we need to start using more in our missionary work.  Mom - you will really like this.  FAMILY HISTORY IN FINDING!  They had their son J came from the family history library in Salt Lake and his wife R come to our mission to teach us about exactly that.  I am not joking when I say that we had a four-hour training on how to incorporate it.  It was fantastic!  For lack of time today, I will just tell you briefly about some of the things I learned.  But next week, I will compile some of my favorite ideas and concepts that we were able to pull out of it.  :)  He talked about finding with family history and how we can just go up to people on the street and start talking about it and it really isn't that weird.  Then we talked about member involvement and how they are our most valuable assets.  Then we talked about retention in recent converts and less actives because of family history.  One of the funniest moments was, they pulled up a sister in our mission to do a demonstration on how to get people started.  Then all of the sudden, they were going back through her great-great grandparents, I think, and Elder M raised his hand.  J called on him and said, "Do you have a question?"  He replied, "More of a comment.  I think we are related."  Everyone laughed sooooo hard.  She looked horrified, which made the whole thing even better.  But then we had lunch, and a training on our new TiWi Boxes.  They are horrible.  They are these little boxes that measure your seatbelts, speed, speed bumps, aggressive driving, etc.  They really aren't that bad when you get used to them.  But the whole goal is to stay in the "green zone."  But that is easier said than done.  You have to remember to log in and out every time you enter and leave the car.  Because it counts how many times it has to correct you.  If you get into the "yellow zone" or "red zone", depending on how many times, you can get your driving privileges taken away.  But I have only forgotten to log in once.  And it has only told me to slow down once.  So I am still what I call a "greenie driver".  :)  Then we had a video conference basically with Ardeth Kapp.  They pre-filmed a video with her for just the missionaries in our mission and she talked all about self worth and viewing ourselves as Heavenly Father does.  Again, for lack of time, I will tell you all about it next week.  But it was really, really good.  I cried so many times.  ;)

Experience #4
We got to go see J, W, and T this week.  We are just continuing their lessons.  We are supposed to finish up J's lessons this week so that she can be interviewed on Thursday and BAPTIZED on Friday!  We are so excited.  I feel like this one is one of the more special baptism's that Heavenly Father has given me the chance to be a part of.  Since her parents were already baptized, it is basically like completing a family puzzle.  Since she is being baptized not long after them, they are going to have the opportunity to be sealed together in the temple sometime next year.  And I am sooooo happy for them.  She seems excited.  A couple of things are starting to scare her.  Like the water.  But we keep reassuring her that everything is going to be more than great!  I just feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work with this wonderful family and bring them closer to each other and closer to the savior.  I love what I do.

Experience #5
This is little.  But, as Sister L and I were driving last night, I looked down and realized that my tag was gone.  I was pretty sure it was at home, but she asked, "What is the big deal?  It is just a nametag."  Without really thinking, I responded, "This is not just a name tag.  This thing is more important to me than my life right now."  I am pretty sure I didn't mean my literal life.  But my "temporal life" I guess you could call it.  While reflecting on the statement I made, I told her that I obviously consider my life to be a gift from God and that nothing is more important than that, the gospel, and my family.  But that this has become a part of me.  This name tag is something that defines who I am right now.  A representative of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I don't think that there is anything that I would rather be doing or anything that could be more important to me than what I am doing, right now in my life.  It also really comforted me to know that my Heavenly Father has an eternal plan for me.  It just so happens that mine included serving a mission.  Not everyone's does.  And that is just fine.  But I honestly know that I would not have been able to come to the point that I am at right now by myself.  And I especially would not have been able to grow this much spiritually if I had not come to participate in this magnificent work.  Just thought I would share that with all of you.  It really impressed me.

Experience #6
We were also able to go see Sister H again this week.  But before I get to that, let me tell you.  This has been a weird week.  We got a text in the middle of the week that told us that a member in the Huntersville Ward had a missionary living with her that had just come home on medical leave.  She said that this Sister was still set apart as a missionary, and would like to come out with us.  So we called the president to coordinate with him.  He said that she would not be living with us, but that she could come to do studies and some lessons with us occasionally.  So we technically have a third companion (sometimes) named Sister M.  She is so great!  I don't have a picture with her yet, but hopefully soon.  So we met up with Sister M before the appointment with Sister H.  We told her about her, and headed straight there.  We were able to talk about the Plan of Salvation with her.  And, like normal, she had a lot of questions.  But it was a really good lesson and she learned a lot.  She did say that her purpose in life right now is to confuse the missionaries.  And that night, she definitely succeeded.  She asked us what the "pride cycle" was.  Now, I have always known what it is.  But I have never really had to explain it to anyone else.  THANK GOODNESS FOR THE IPADS!  I was able to search for it and ask her for her wifi password so we could see what the picture was.  She complied and the picture of the cycle was basically explained as the people being righteous, then not so much, then repenting, then being righteous, then not so much, etc.  It was good because I was able to learn how to explain it and we cleared up any confusion.  Man!  This lady is inquistive!  I LOVE IT!

Experience #7
Now, this last experience is hopefully one that everyone had this weekend.  GENERAL CONFERENCE!  It was sooooooooo good.  I had SO many takeaways!  I am so excited to have Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Renlund join the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  They will do a fantastic job.  I was so hopeful when President Monson got up to speak.  He looked so upright, and his voice so powerful.  But by the end of it, I wanted to cry because of the shakiness in his voice and the shrinking of his stature.  But he bore powerful witness and gave us life-changing advice and guidance that I truly hope we can all apply.  I have to say that of course, Elder Uchtdorf's was one of my favorite talks.  But it didn't make me cry like his last one did.  Now, Elder Holland's on the other hand.... Rivers running down my face.  His talk on Motherhood was a complete and total heart wrencher.  On one hand, all I could think about is my love for my mother and all that she has done for me.  How she continues to lift me up and support me.  How she always teaches me.  How she is a constant beacon in the darkness.  And especially how she was able to lead me and guide me, along with my father, back to the path I was supposed to be on when I was at a time in my life where I really didn't know what to do or how to go about doing it.  Then on the other hand, I was thinking of my own future children and how I will be able to learn from the example my mother gave me and be that strength for them, in their lives.  I also really liked the talk that followed his by Elder Foster.  It was so insightful about what I can apply and teach to my children to help them be raised in and live in righteousness.  Like I said, I have many takeaways from this conference.  Like, Elder Bednar's topic about the age of the General Authorities I found to be very interesting.  But I have to say, that along with the two talks mentioned earlier, one of my favorites was probably Elder Nelson's about the influence and power of women.  I truly think that was remarkable.  Women in the church need to start realizing our worth and value in the eyes of our Father in Heaven.  And in some cases, even men do.  We are all brothers and sisters.  There is none better than the rest of us, save it be Jesus Christ.  I will definitely let you know some of my favorite quotes from this conference in my picture email and will expound on my favorite moments in next week's email.  :)

But besides that, yes.  We have had a ton and a ton, and a ton of rain.  In fact, today is the first day in about 10 days that we have had sun.  But no, we haven't floated away just yet.  Getting there, but hopefully we will have a nice break before even more rain comes in fall and winter.  Because, it rains more here than it does snow.  Oh well, gives me something white and fluffy to look forward to next winter.  Besides Max!  ;)

We did go to the ward building for conference.  It ended up being just the missionaries and occasionally one or two member families would come.  It was kind of depressing that we didn't have any investigators, recent converts, or less-actives come.  But I guess that is the appealing thing about watching it in your home.  I understand.  :/
I really thought they were going to call a foreigner too.  But you're right.  Maybe it just isn't the Lord's will for this point in time.
I had completely forgotten that Elder Durrant was on the BYU team back then.  That is so funny.  I am never going to be able to watch or read that talk without thinking about that now.  haha :)  I really did like his idea of "ponderizing" the scriptures though.  I think I am going to have to try it as well.

I really do love what you said about how we are going to have to stand beside the priesthood in preparation for the second coming.  It is so true.  Women do not hold it, but we sure as ever have the authority to act under it when called upon.  And our generation really is a force not to be reckoned with.  We each have our talents.  Just sometimes Sisters can accomplish what Elders can't.  And Elders can sometimes accomplish what Sisters can't.  That is why we work TOGETHER!

I can't believe I hit my one-year mark this week.  That is insane to me!  I can't even believe it!  I have made a promise to you, the lord, and the mission president that this is going to be the six months that I work the hardest on my mission, though.  So expect to see some good things to come.  :)

Sounds like everyone is doing great!  I am so proud of each of my sisters for what they are accomplishing!  They are so strong and determined!  I love it!  :)
Sounds like the extended family is doing well, also.  I love seeing their fun pictures!  Excited that I will be able to see everyone and their growth when I get home, but not quite ready to be done either.  I have come to the realization that I am going to keep working 24/7, my absolute hardest, until the moment President Marshall looks at me and says, "You have returned with honor and you can take the tag off knowing that your Heavenly Father is proud of you."  :)

We are working on getting ahold of a bunch of our potential investigators.  The problem is, we find them, then they are really hard to get in contact with.  ;)  But we keep working on it!

I am excited to receive your package this week!  The postcard from Yosemite, was it the one that you sent from the Borax museum?  If not, then I don't think I ever got it.  :(  I will look forward to your package this week then.  Let me know when you send it so that I can watch for it.  :)

I can't believe Jason is coming home that soon.  That FLEW by!  And it's true.  Time does fly when you are having fun.  It's like I blinked and September was gone.  :O  Soon enough, it will be you guys preparing the welcome home posters.  But not quite yet.  We still have months of hard work, a Christmas Skype Call, and another General Conference to get through.  ;)

I say hello to everyone back and hope that they are doing well in return.  I am even more proud of you guys and all that you are accomplishing.

I love you guys an incomprehensible amount.  Ponderize that one!  ;)

Ash :) <3

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


We Got To Teach Young Women's This Week - 
Selfie's, Technology and Talking With People Face To Face

Ashley Irwin <>
Denise Irwin
Sep 28 at 12:07 PM
Hey you guys!  Hope you have had an amazing week!  I sure have!  Here are some of the things I did!  :)

Experience #1
We got the opportunity to go to the S's on Monday.  They are one of my most favorite member families in the ward.  Their testimonies are just so strong.  We decided to share a message about missionary work.  As soon as we opened with a prayer, you could just feel the whole room flood with the spirit.  We shared one of my favorite videos on missionary work, "Your day for a mission."  It is one of my favorites because it talks about the sacrifice that missionary work requires.  And don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say, "Wo is me."  But let's be honest, it is a sacrifice.  We sacrifice time, family togetherness, education, marriage, travel, etc to be out here.  But what I have come to learn is something the video also addresses.  It really doesn't matter that much.  The opportunity that we have as members both to go on missions and to do missionary work in our daily lives is irreplaceable.  There is nothing more satisfying.  I have come to realize that I can bring my brothers and sisters to the knowledge and happiness of the gospel because of my faith, obedience, and diligence.  And what could be more rewarding for me in my life right now?  The video also talks about the blessings we get from, serving the Lord.  Syd Goings is such an example to me of his dedication to the Lord and to this gospel.  So we shared that and talked about how we can all share the gospel and committed them to share their testimonies about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father with someone else this week.  It was a fairly simple lesson, but had so much power behind it.  :)

Experience #2
We were able to teach Sister M at the church this week.  This is the first time that we had met her at the church building because it is so far away.  But because of miles, we were stuck in Huntersville all day and she agreed to drive up and meet us there.  So we decided that there was nothing more appropriate to share with her than the message of the sacrament.  You could really feel the spirit there as well.  (Despite the fact that her three-year old was bouncing off the walls).  It was amazing to talk about the promises we made to Heavenly Father when we were baptized and, in return, the promises he made us.  I think with the promise that He has given us - what sticks out to me is the promise He gave us that we "will always have His spirit to be with us."  What an amazing promise that is.  How remarkable.  He doesn't just give us the Holy Ghost when we have a decision to make or when we are going through a hard time, but we have Him ALWAYS!  And the Lord doesn't ever go back on his word and he cannot lie.  He has literally paved the way for us and given us every tool we could possibly need before our lives are over to return home, should we choose to use these things in righteousness.  Let alone the symbolism behind the sacrament.  I remember, (but I can't remember if I told you guys), this lesson I had while on exchange with Sister A in Alexandriana.  There was a special needs boy at a member's house when we went to go see them that started talking about the symbolism of the savior on the sacrament table and the use of the drapery and the bread and water.  I cried because of the closeness to the Savior I could feel emanating from this boy.  It was life-changing.  So that was definitely a highlight of the week.

Experience #3
We also got to go see our investigator, J this week and her father W who just recently joined the church.  Her mother is out of town, so we taught her the same lesson over Facebook at an later time in the week.  This girl though -  She amazes me.  She is 11-years old. Her mother started having her read the bible a couple of years ago, and she was showing us her study notebook.  Basically, what she does is she will read a verse, and then write down the meaning of the verse in her own words for the entire chapter that she is reading that day.  And she is almost never wrong.  Then she gives it to her mom and has her read the chapter, then her interpretation, and checks it off on correctness.  My brain would have exploded.  For Pete's Sake the kid is reading Psalms and Isaiah.  Like... What?  ;)  But anyway, we taught the next lesson that she needed to learn in preparation for her baptism on the 9th.  We are so excited for that.  We are going to have to do a lot of cramming and planning, but I'm sure it will be fine.  :)  Anyway, we taught the Plan of Salvation.  She knew every topic, every answer, and every detail in depth before she even started the lesson.  Her mom had her read the pamphlet when she took the discussions originally, so she had remembered a good majority of it.  I loved seeing the perspective of an investigator versus a recently baptized member, though.  They weren't too different in opinion, however there were differences.  I think we are finally starting to understand what her mom said when she told us that she had a "very inquisitive mind."  But she is so excited to keep learning and keep growing in order to follow Jesus Christ's example as well as her parent’s example and be baptized.  We also briefly talked about how, because she will be getting baptized soon, her family will be able to go to the temple in a little over a year and be sealed for time and all eternity.  She just lit up when we told her that she would be able to spend all of eternity with her parents.  Because, let's be honest, if you have a loving and good relationship with your family, why wouldn't you want to be with them forever?  :)  I know I do and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I get to be able to do so and for the opportunity I am getting right now to bring the same blessing to others.

Experience #4
We got to go on exchanges this week.  I felt a little bad though.  Here's why; the sister training leaders have started asking us where we would like to go and with who after we counsel with Heavenly Father in prayer about it.  But here is why I felt bad.  I felt that I needed to go with Sister W in Mooresville and that Sister L and Sister D needed to be in Mountain Island.  Sister L agreed.  We called them and told them and they seemed unsure and told us that they would get back to us.  Right after they hung up the phone, it occurred to me that Sister W had only gotten to Mooresville that week and probably didn't know the area yet.  But they agreed that it would be fine and we exchanged on Thursday after weekly planning.  It was a really great exchange.  We had to use the GPS the whole time and got rerouted because of accidents and construction, but hey, that isn't out of the ordinary for this directionally handicapped sister!  So it was good.  We got up there and tried to go see a couple of potentials in their area book.  Not even thirty minutes into the exchange and I had already learned something from Sister W.  She and Sister D have started this thing where if someone immediately tells them, "I am ______fill in religion here______" or "I am not interested", they say that is fine, but instead of turning around to leave, they keep making conversation with them until they can either bear testimony or leave them with a couple of principles from the Restoration.  They don't count it as a lesson, but they just leave it with them.  I was completely thrown off by this because this is not what my trainer did, or any other sister training leader up to this point.  When I asked her about it, she just said, "We figure it is more beneficial to leave them with a portion of what they are turning down."  That really stood out to me because, HELLO SISTER IRWIN!!!  THAT IS WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING ALL ALONG!  It was kind of a "Why didn't I think of that?" moment.  They said that they too, have only started doing this about a week ago.  But that it is something that they hope will catch on.  After all, if I were in their shoes, it would probably be more worth it to hear something that makes me feel good and have a good view of the message and the church in my head than otherwise.  After dinner that night, we were able to bring a member and his brother-in-law to an appointment with us with a Brazilian man and his son's girlfriend who are investigating the church.  It was a very spiritual lesson.  The brother-in-law speaks Portuguese and just got back from his mission.  So that helped a lot with the language barrier.  But all in all, they enjoyed the message and agreed to hear more about the Plan of Salvation later in the week.  They have lots of questions and I assume they will progress swiftly.  That night we also got to go to the church and teach a lesson to another investigator of theirs.  We were supposed to teach the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ discussion, but we ran out of time so we awkwardly stopped after the Holy Ghost.  But it was okay because I got the inspiration to invite him to be baptized during the lesson and he was very excited!  It was planned for the 17th and they moved it to the 18th because of Stake Conference.  October is proving to be difficult for scheduling baptism dates.  For example, we wanted J baptized on the 10th, but because of the Fall Festival, we had to move it to the 9th.  This month we have Mission Conference, Zone Meeting, Interviews, General Conference, the Fall Festival, Stake Conference, etc.  We are going to be crazy busy, but if people are hearing about and accepting the message about Jesus Christ, our job here is done.  (With the help of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, of course)!  ;)

Experience #5 
We got the ever-so-fabulous opportunity to teach the Laurel's in young women's this week.  It was a really good lesson, actually.  It was about "How do the things I say affect me and those around me?"  We showed two of the three videos in had in the lesson plan.  They were about a "no cussing club" that this LDS kid started when he realized that as he and his friends were getting older, the language was getting worse.  The other was about this group of friends that decided they were going to send each other a huge group message full of conference quotes, scriptures, and uplifting messages.  I really like that one.  We talked about how it has become so easy to just type what you want to say to someone whether it be a good message, or bad.  We bore testimony about and encouraged them to use the technology that we have been given to uplift others and strengthen them, rather than tearing them down.  Also, we encouraged them to try more face-to-face contact.  Even though it has kind of become a thing of the past, we still all have faces and we can still all use them.  Kind of a comical thought, but true.  Sister J, the Young Women's president then wrote up on the board what she puts on her children's bedroom doors:

Think Before You Speak!  Is it...

T- True
H- Helpful
I- Inspiring
N- Necessary
K- Kind

I really liked that.  I think we have all become subject to the fact that it is really easy to just type something and send it rather than saying or handling something with respect.  Then the girls were able to ask us a bunch of questions about missionary work.  They asked me what the hardest part about going on a mission is.  I said it was probably taking the rejection we face and turning it into optimism.  When someone says, "We are not interested" and slams the door in our faces, President Alexander has encouraged us to take that as a good thing.  He says that amongst all the "No's", there is bound to be a "Yes."  So each rejection we are encouraged to look at as one step closer to our yes.  :)  Also, one of my favorite things I have learned on my mission is.... "Attitude determines Altitude."  If we have a sad or discouraged attitude all the time, we aren't going to accomplish nearly as much as we would if we have happy, Christlike attitudes that make others want to change their lives and bring them in harmony with Gospel Teachings.  :)

Experience #6
Obviously I have to write about what I thought about Women's Conference.  Because HOLY COW!  It was simply amazing!  Some of my favorite quotes were:
- "Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments... Our divine nature comes from God." - Rosemary M. Wixom
- "Divine nature comes as a gift from Him with a love that only a parent can feel." 
  - Rosemary M. Wixom
- "What will it matter dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with them?" - Linda S. Reeves
- "We identify with our divine nature as we feel, and give, the love of our Father in Heaven." - Rosemary M. Wixom
- "Now is part of eternity.  Open your eyes to the joy of now." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- "There are two important days in a woman's life: The day she was born and the day she finds out why." - Rosemary Wixom

And obviously those were only some.  I really, really liked it.  And yes, I cried.  A lot.  It was sooooooo good.  I thought it was also very interesting and peculiar that President Uchtdorf only taught in one parable for his entire talk.  He just opened it, told the parable, and bore his testimony.  My jaw hit the floor and I was like... what?  Don't get me wrong, I loved it just as much as every other talk he has ever given, I was just a little confused.  But it was beautiful.  I really liked the painting of the pioneer girl as well.  Soooooo good.  What were your favorite parts?  I would love to hear about it?  I know you either watched or recorded it.  So let's hear about it next week along with General Conference.  Which, by the way, I am so excited for.  I am so excited to see who they will call as new apostles.  :)

Isn't it funny how that works?  Sometimes I feel like when I write you letters, it does more good for me, too.  Because it really makes me think about how much the Lord's hand was with me and in the work in the past week.  But it can happen in prayers, lessons, blessings, etc. too!  And has happened to me... it is amazing to me that Heavenly Father helps us receive the guidance and counsel that we need through the help of others.
I was sorry to see Elder Scott pass away too.  But I know that now he gets to be with his beautiful wife and he is probably much happier there than he was here.  And like I said, I am really excited to see what happens this conference.  It is truly going to be a historic event.  This hasn't happened in a very long time.
I really liked what you said about the Pope and his mass.  I feel the same way.  In fact, I was just thinking about our trip to the Vatican the other day.  I loved being there for the history, the art, and the architecture, but I didn't necessarily feel the spirit there.  I know it was a very sacred place for them, but there was just something missing.  That final puzzle piece, if you will.  I truly feel like when we go to the temple, there is just a completion of feeling and love that we really can't get anywhere else in the world.  I almost feel like we leave the planet for a few hours, get a glimpse of heaven, and come back.  And in case you are wondering, yes.  I am very temple hungry right now.  I can't wait to go when I get back.  :)
I am just so grateful for the opportunity that Heavenly Father has given me to go on a mission and help others find that puzzle piece that they need for their own completion.  :)

So how did Dad like China this time?  What did he do?  What did he see?  I am excited to receive the treats that you are going to send in the package.  I do have to ask on that note though, did you ever send the post cards from Alaska?  Because if you did, they never got here.  If not, that is just fine.  And I am so glad to hear that grandma and grandpa's are doing well.  Especially that grandma Irwin is feeling better after the cruise.  That couldn't have been fun to get sick after having such a good time.
When you said dad has been missing in action at church, I kind of laughed because the Mountain Island bishop just got back from being gone from church for about a month, himself.  :)
How is the girls camp preparation going?  Are you having fun with it?  You should be!  That calling would be great!  :)
I wrote Beth a quick email of encouragement.  I do wish I could hear from her more, but I also understand where she is coming from.  It is hard.  And it is nothing like high school.  It takes some getting used to.  But I know that she will get grades, sleep, and social balanced out soon and have a splendiferous time!  :D
I am glad Em and Cait are still having so much fun as well.  That always makes everything better.  So that is definitely good to hear.

The mission is going great!  I am having so much fun!  Because honestly, I figure if you aren't having fun - not only are you wasting the Lord's time, but your own.  And you want to do neither.  So I make it fun!  :D  Because you're right,  it does go way to fast and before you know it, I am going to blink and it will be gone.  :(  But I am going to live up every second until they force me to leave this wonderful place.  :)
It is so weird to hear that everyone I grew up with in church is moving on with their lives and we are all growing up so dang fast!  Some of my friends are married with kids... what?  WHAT!?  Crazy!

The ward here is doing great!  We actually just had a boundary change meeting last night and Mountain Island is now twice, if not three times as big.  So we have a lot of work to do.  We also gained a third set of missionaries in the ward and they are planning on soon putting in a fourth.  We're excited.  So now, we have us, Elder C, Elder J, Elder R, and Elder R.  It's great!  Some of the members are way more into the missionary work than others, but we did just gain 133 new active members in the ward.  So who knows how the missionary work will grow?  We are expecting big things, very soon.
I still love President Alexander and his wife.  They are the sweetest and most supportive mission president and his wife, EVER!  I adore them!  :D
This area is actually kind of easier than the past areas because there is so many people in the Charlotte area that haven't even heard of the church before.  The Huntersville area is kind of dead as far as the work goes, but that's okay.  Because we now have the inter-city area in our boundary as well.  If you want to see more of the boundary, it is on  :)  We now have more fun stuff to do.  So We are actually going to go to the Mall this week and next because we didn't have one before and Sister L needs winter stuff.  I am just going window shopping.  I had to get a prescription filled and go to the UrgentCare this week because I just wasn't getting better.  But they put me on a Z-Pack and I am improving A TON!  So I am happy!  :)  Thanks to Heavenly Father for the blessings as well.  :)

I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THERE WAS AN ECLIPSE LAST NIGHT!  I wish we would have known.  We would have tried to see it.  Oh well.  We were beat from the last two days.  So who knows if we were even awake?  But if you got any pictures, send them my way.

But I think that is all for now.  I love you guys to the Eclipse and back!

Love you tons and tons!  Hope you have a great week as well!

Ash :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Zone Loves Sports - And Messing Around

Letter From Ashley Sept 21 2015

Hey you guys!  How has your week been?  Mines been pretty great!  Here are some things I did:

Experience #1
We went over to Sister M's again this week.  We were there to talk to her about temples.  She says that there are a few things that she is going to need help with or going to need to do before she can go through the temple.  We decided to sing "I like to see the temple" with her and her son and it was beautiful.  He is three years old and loves to sing right along with us.  Then it was hard to grab his attention again after that, so we started to sing, "A child's prayer."  But things happen sometimes that detract from the spirit.  All of the sudden, her son started choking on the carrots he was eating.  She was frantically trying to help him and make him cough it up while we just looked at each other like, "Do we keep singing or....?"  He finally stopped choking just as we finished singing.  Then, he decided it was appropriate to throw up all over himself and the carpet.  We told her we would help her clean up while she went to clean him up.  She was really embarrassed, but we told her it was fine and just got back to the lesson.  It was an interesting start for sure, but the lesson itself was actually really great!  We had her think back to when she went to the temple for baptisms for the dead.  We asked her what she remembered and what she felt.  The spirit was so strong as she was telling us of her experience.  We showed her the "blessings of the temple" video and promised her that she could feel those same feelings in greater abundance if she will do the things necessary to get her temple recommend and receive her endowment.  She seemed pretty happy by the end of it.  :)

Experience #2
We finally got to go to J and E's house this week.  They are recent converts that sisters before Sister L found.  They have been crazy busy lately and we haven't had an opportunity to go see them because of their schedules.  But we finally got to go this week.  We decided to go on the one day we were on bikes.  So we pulled up and put our bikes in the driveway.  But just as we did so, their dad was pulling out and asked if we could move them.  We told him we could and put them down on the front curb.  We went in and started teaching them the new member lesson about keeping the ten commandments and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  As we were about 3/4 into the lesson, Sister L leans to me and says, "We forgot to chain up the bikes."  I told her we would wrap it up soon and that everything would be fine.  It was an amazing lesson and the girls shared their testimonies on the importance of going to church and the blessings it can bring to our lives.  We wrapped up the lesson and walked outside.  Sister L looked out the front door and said, "The Bikes Are Gone!"  My eyes got really wide and I said, "You've got to be kidding me."  We walked outside and it seems as though that is all that I could say.  Frustrated, we looked at the girls and said, "Well, I guess we are walking home.  We will see you girls later."  They looked really sad and disappointed.  We started walking home and dialed the phone to our vehicle/bikes coordinator.  We talked to him about what happened and he gave us instruction to call the police and file a report.  Just as I hung up the phone, Sister L looked at me and said, "Wait!  Maybe it's in the garage!"  I looked at her like, "Yeah right!"  But we did turn back just to make sure.  When we got back to their house, we saw the girls on their front porch.  We asked what they were doing.  They replied, "We were plotting how to confront the people that stole your bikes.  But we have to be careful.  Because they might have a gun."  We told them to check the garage and see if their father put them in there.  They ran inside to check and they came running out screaming and opening the garage door saying, "It's here!  It's here!"  No joke when I say that was one of the scariest moments of my mission thus far!

Experience #3
One day this week, we had to bike all day long.  So we spent 45 minutes biking to this appointment.  We get there and pulled up into her driveway.  She swung open the door holding this ginormous bag of popcorn.  She said, "Come in girls."  We walked in and did How to Begin Teaching and said an opening prayer.  We taught a very spirit-filled restoration lesson and you could tell she was feeling the spirit.  But unfortunately, she said, "Baptist isn’t for me" at the end of the lesson.  Unfortunate, yes.  But I just wanted to share it because she was eating this huge bag of popcorn the whole time and chomping her jaw.  It was so hard to focus, but I thought it was really funny  :)

Experience #4
We went to this returning member's house this week named Sister H.  She is the one that basically wants us to teach her "how to be a Mormon."  So we decided it would be best to start with the missionary discussions.  She has a very inquisitive mind and has lots of questions.  So what should have been a half an hour lesson took about an hour and a half.  There are some things that she isn't used to and has her mind set on certain things, so we have our work cut out for us.  It was funny too, because she said on Sunday that one of her (incidental) main purposes in life right now are to "confuse the missionaries" and to learn "how to be a Mormon.  I compare it to a kid with a candy jar.  She is just learning so much that she really doesn't remember from the first time she took the discussions.  In order to help her learn better, we offered to come over a different time in the week to watch the Joseph Smith movie with her that goes into greater detail.  It was so inspiring as we watched the movie, because her eyes were filled with wonder and amazement as she was watching this movie.  She had her eyes glued to the screen.  So many questions came from it and we spent almost two hours over there between dinner, the movie, and a Q&A.  It was super fun though.  I feel so blessed that we have the opportunity to help this amazing woman learn about the gospel.

Experience #5
So we are teaching a referral from the elders.  Her name is J and she is the daughter of two of their recent converts.  She didn't want the elders to teach her and she really wasn't open to baptism before now.  But as we went to teach her for the first time this week, she was really interested and involved in the lesson.  And what was really sweet was that when we told her that her father will be receiving the priesthood that Jesus Christ restored through Joseph Smith, and that he would have the power to baptize her, she got really excited and said, "Wait.  Daddy can baptize me?"  We nodded and she got the biggest smile on her face that I had ever seen.  She asked if she had to be baptized that day, and obviously we said no.  But she did say that she wanted to be baptized.  We are so excited and we know that through fervent prayer and working with her constantly, we will be able to bring this amazing family together through the ordinances and covenants that they are making.  And hopefully, they will be able to make it to the temple together next year to be sealed for time and all eternity.  Speaking of which...

Experience #6
Sister L and I showed up for Gospel Principles this week and it ended up that we had to teach the lesson again because they have not yet called a gospel principles teacher.  The lesson was on "The Family Can Be Eternal".  It was such a neat experience for me to be able to bear my testimony and to teach for a solid hour about one of the things of the gospel, if not the most important thing, that means the most to me.  It was so sweet to feel of those feelings and love for my family and reminding myself of the truth that our families can all be together forever. It was just really special and I wanted to share it with you.

I am doing okay.  I think I was headed quickly toward a sinus infection.  But through prayer and a blessing today from the elders, I should be on the way to speedy recovery.  So I will be doing better.  And I was able to work off the nerves from almost getting hit by a car on the way to the church today.  So I'm doing better.  :)  Sister L is doing well.  Struggling a little with adjusting to missionary life and the habits.  But hey, that’s normal.   We got three new missionaries in our district because Elder H, Sister C, and Elder G left.  So now we have Sister O (who I came out with), Elder S (who I served with in Danville), and Elder J (new missionary).  We got two Elder Jackson's this transfer.  One is from Payson and one is from Idaho.  So we figure that the one from Payson is who's mom you met.  But they are about to change this coming Sunday because they are changing the stake boundaries.  So I will keep you updated if any of the changes affect me or my district.
I am having a wonderful time.  My district is fun, but they are very competitive.  So playing sports is fun.  But I am trying to get them working together on missionary work.  It is a process.  I can't believe the time has flown by this fast.  Next Thursday is my one-year mark.  I can't believe that!  I am just going to work, work, work until the very end.  There is too much work to be done to worry about anything else.

The Ward is going through a lot with boundary changes and everything.  But slowly, we are getting there.  I don't know how open they are with it.  But we can definitely talk to the bishop and the ward mission leader as soon as we can.  Just waiting for the right moment.  Because then we can have the most success with it.  But we can start bringing it up with members while we are at dinners and appointments and things.  :)  Thank you so much for all the advice and family history tools that you sent me.  It will really help.  I am going to go over and study the document and read what it says in Preach My Gospel.  Then we can see what would be most effective with the people in this area.  I love it!  I am so excited!  Thank you!

For P-Day,  we came up to get a blessing from the elders and also played some basketball and chair soccer.  It's super fun!

Thanks for the family pictures!  I love seeing how everyone is doing.

I would love some candy!  Obviously!  ;)  But I love getting anything from y'all.  So just surprise me.  :)

I haven’ t received an email from Em yet.  But I would love to.  I have not received one from Beth either.  I did from Caitlyn.

I would love snacks from China.  I would also love some more Toms.  They would just need to be one or two sizes bigger than last time because those ones could barely fit on my foot.  But I do love toms.  I just don't need any out here in the field because I can't really wear them without destroying them.  But I would love whatever he brings back.  It can just wait for me at home.  Is that okay?

It's okay that there isn't much to write about.  I just hope you and Gma and Gpa Irwin didn't get pneumonia.  Are you all doing well?  I hope so.  Even though I have been sick, I haven't really been staying in.  It drives me nuts.  But I have been taking the occasional nap if I am too run down.  Don't worry.  Tell me how the FHC and the Temple are going.  Still enjoying them?

Well... I think that may be all for this week.  I love you guys to the moon and back, to the sun and back, to North Carolina and back, to the moon and back, to Alaska and back, and to the eternities and back!


Ash :)

It Rains Sometimes in North Carolina !!

On Monday, September 14, 2015 2:20 PM, Ashley Irwin <> wrote:

Hey everybody.  My week has been pretty good.  We finished up Sister L's training, got a little sick again, and had tons of fun.  Here are some of the things that happened.

Experience #1
We got the chance to go to Lazy 5 ranch again this week.  Well, again for me.  For some, like Sister L, it was the first time.  But for me, it's my third.  So there isn't much to say.  Same animals, still fun, still smelly, still full of animal slobber.  But it was really fun to be back with some of the missionaries that I have served with before and some that I have never served with before.  We are still as goofy and fun-loving as ever.  After all, there isn't much else you can be to keep the mission interesting and full of laughter.  ;)  

Experience #2
We were able to go see Sister M again this week.  We brought our notes from the mission home fireside to talk to her about them because she was unable to come in person.  It was so good.  I am realizing that even the littlest things we don't normally associate with talents or gifts are.  For instance, Heavenly Father has given me the ability to take notes really quickly.  And it isn't just for personal gain.  Now, because I have them, my family (both present and future), will be able to learn and gain knowledge from them.  And I can share them with members and investigators here.  It's amazing.  Anyway, she was able to learn so much about what was discussed at the fireside.  (I hope you guys enjoyed the notes as well).  And she was able to share with us some really fun facts about her family.  She is a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith.  So she has held in her hands some of the journals and diagrams that the prophet Joseph Smith himself wrote.  So she was interested a lot in the part about the priesthood and Joseph Smith.  It was so interesting to hear her testimony about it.  She said that, that was the moment that she really knew that everything she had ever learned from her parents and from church was true.  When she held in her hands some of the most important things and pieces of information that she had ever seen.  She is such an amazing woman that deserves so much more than she is going through right now.  But that is part of the reason we are here.  To uplift her and share of the spirit that we bring with us.  :)

Experience #3
So there is a sister in the ward who is just returning to activity after about 9 years.  She basically just decided to come one day and she mentioned in a relief society lesson last week that all she really wants is to "learn how to be a Mormon."  She has been a member for quite a few years now, but she said that she joined just to "have a church."  She never really came to the understanding of the teachings.  So she took us out to dinner this week and we basically had a Q&A session.  If you really want to know how much gospel knowledge you have, have someone who wants to know a lot give you a bunch of questions.  It was some of the most simple questions I have ever heard, yet I actually didn't know how to explain some of them.  It was kind of refreshing.  This far out, there are not many things that make me stumble, but it is the moments that do, that keep me the most humble.  For those curious as to what some of the questions were, one of them was, "What is the Pearl of Great Price and what is its purpose?"  Simple... right?  Well you try answering it in a simple way.  I had to actually turn to the introduction of the Pearl of Great Price and read it with her.  Thank goodness Heavenly Father has given us the tools to be able to answer questions like that.  But this woman is an absolute sweetheart and just wants to learn so much.  She asked what, in my opinion, would be the best thing for her to do to learn all that she wanted to.  I simply responded, "Take the missionary lessons again.  They will teach you everything you will ever need to know."  She giggled and said, "Well, maybe not everything.  I have a lot of questions.  But at least it is a start."  So we are going to go over this week and start the lessons all over again.  We are really excited.

Experience #4
So... I told you about the member who just randomly got married, right?  So we called her one night this week and asked if we could come over.  She said if we could make it quick, we were more than welcome to because she was going to go to bed after that.  So we drove down there and talked to her for a few minutes.  But since Elder B was the one that told us that she got married, we had to wait until she said something about it.  So we asked some digging questions when we first got over there because she kept saying that she was really tired and that she had just had a really busy week.  And it was unbelievable.  It took us about five minutes to get her to finally tell us that she got married.  So we acted as surprised as we could muster and she just got the biggest smile on her face that I had ever seen.  It was adorable.  She said that it wasn't planned.  He just called her one day and said his work was transferring to him to Charlotte and that he wanted to see her.  Then a couple of days later, he called her and said that he was there and wanted to meet up.  She was like, "Are you serious?"  He said yes and about three days later, they were married.  She said that he is "all in" for joining the church as well.  She said she brought up the fact that it is pretty much unlike any church that he had ever been to, but he said that as long as she was there it would be worth it and that he was ready to be baptized.  She was like, "Whoa!  Slow down hot rod!  How about you try attending church first before you say that?"  So we have yet to meet him and have him go to church so we can start teaching him the discussions and see where his interest level is really at.  Because obviously we want them to be happy together and have the ability to someday be married in the temple, but we also want him to join the church for him.  He needs to gain a testimony.  So wish us luck on that whole situation.  ;)

Experience #5
We had a really great District Meeting this week about the parable of the sower.  Elder C is really passionate about the parable and he gave a 45 minute interactive training on the things that we deem necessary for an investigator's conversion, and what really matters.  A lot of it was the same, but there were some significant differences.  For instance, yes.  It is important to read the Book of Mormon with them, but he took it one step further.  He broadened our thought process.  Something that most of us have run into down here is, there are quite a few people that don't even know how to read.  We need to get down to the nitty gritty before we can leave a solid invitation to do something.  He mentioned that a lot of us have probably fallen into the trap of something like this:
Missionaries:  Will you read this passage of scripture for us?
Investigator:  No thank you.  I don't read well.  You can read it.
Missionaries: No problem. (We read the passage).
(At the end of the lesson):
Missionaries: In order to know that what we have discussed today is truth, will you read the Book of Mormon on your own time?
Investigator:  Yes I will.
It was a really good training.  Then I had one of the possibly worst role plays of my mission thusfar.  But hey, at least it was just for practice, right?  Luckily Heavenly Father gives us better inspiration as to what to say when we are actually talking to people.  But we are trying to implement more of the Bible in our teaching and I have come to realize that I don't actually know the Bible that well and I need to do better.  It is a lot harder to pull specific passages from the Bible than I thought it was going to be.  So I am working on it.  But that is something that I hope to continue even after my mission.
Then we went out to a District lunch afterwards.  Elder C, Elder H, and Elder H were going on and on about the fun adventures they have in uptown Charlotte.  And by fun, I mean that they have had multiple run-ins with some very interesting and intimidating people that have just gotten out of jail, do drugs, drunks, etc.  Elder C is VERY animated in his story telling.  I don't think I have laughed so hard my entire mission.  I could barely breathe.  I just love every district I am in.  :)

Experience #6
So... this week a lot of time was spent in bed again because we got sick.  Again.  A different type of sick though.  This time is was a cold so bad that I could barely breathe.  But anyway, I was kind of sick of being sick and I said a prayer asking that the spirit will lead us to someone to go teach.  There is a potential investigator about 4 miles from us, and I really felt like we needed to go see him.  Which was kind of odd, considering neither of us has ever met him because they were on exchange when the other sisters met him and I wasn't here yet.  Also, he has NEVER been home whenever we come by.  So we were a little hesitant.  But I figured, if it was a prompting, and I ignored it because of probability, I would constantly be living with the "what if."  So we went.  And guess what?  He wasn't home.  Figures... right?  Wrong.  As we were walking back to the car, his neighbor across the street was just pulling in and she got out of her car to check her mail.  So I stopped her and asked if she knew him and she said that she didn't know him, but she did know that he drove a grey car.  So whenever the car was home, he was probably home.  We thanked her for the information and kept talking to her for a minute.  Sister L complimented her on her necklace.  I then said, "Yeah.  We are missionaries, so we really like knowing where we could possibly go shopping for cute things after our missions."  Bingo.  Conversation started.  She asked us what church we were from and we told her the name and what our purpose was as missionaries, and if we could come back and see her.  She says that she is really busy, but if we can catch her, she would love to have us back.  So we got her contact information and we have been trying tirelessly to contact her.  So pray that we will be able to super soon.  However, I know that because we were open to and willing to listen to the spirit, he lead us to her.  Whether it is her time right now to hear of the restored gospel or not, it is so fulfilling to know that Heavenly Father trusts us with inspiration to move the work forward.  We just all need to strive to live worthy of it.  :)

Experience #6
We had two lessons last night that we decided to implement Sister Alexander's challenge to include singing in our teaching.  We did so at a dinner appointment with a member.  We sung "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of "Come Thou Fount."  It sounded so good.  The mom's eyes lit up and she said that she loved it!  It brought the spirit in so quickly.  Which was great because their daughters are just full of energy and it is hard for them to pay attention.  The second one was the one that stuck out to me the most, though.  We were teaching a member who is preparing to go to the temple.  We showed a video about the temple and started to bear our testimonies about the temple and what it has done for our lives.  All of the sudden, I had a little voice come to my head that said, "Sing I Love to See the Temple."  I didn't hear it once, but three times.  So I just pulled it up on my iPad and Sister L picked up on it and we sang it so powerfully.   So of course the spirit was so strong that I started to cry.  The member just said, "Wow."  That's all she could say.  After we wrapped up the lesson and got in the car, Sister L actually stopped me and said we should say a "thank you" prayer to Heavenly Father.  I kind of laughed because I was the one that showed her that.  That is a practice that I have gotten into when amazing things like that happen.  So I have definitely come to gain a testimony of how powerful music and song really can be in our teaching.  :)

I am doing quite well.  As mentioned slightly, earlier, I got a little sick this week.  But past that, I am doing well.  Just enjoying working as hard as I possibly can because I came to the realization this week that I have 6 1/2 months left to work my heart out.
But anyway, I'm sorry to hear about the guy on the cruise that gave his silly cough to everyone. That is no fun!  What was he thinking.  That is really annoying.  Mine is just a sore throat that won't seem to go away.  It goes away during the day, but nighttime and morning time is just ridiculous!  And it has started cooling off of the last two days.  So that helps nothing.  But it is kind of nice because it isn't so blasted hot anymore!  SO WAYYYYY NIIIICCCCEEE!!!

I am so glad to hear that you had a blast on the cruise!  Did you do anything in Seattle?  That's somewhere we haven't been before.  When I told Sister L what you said about people in Alaska being in a hurry, she just laughed and nodded.  It's pretty true.  Except that Sister L was born in South Carolina and she is always in a hurry and can't be late for anything or it bothers her.  ;)  But I agree, it is important to stop and smell the roses once in a while.  Especially because it is something that you don't get the chance to do every single day.  :)
The picture of grandpa Irwin made me laugh so hard.  I just hysterically died and then said, "I think he looks a little cold."

I sincerely hope that you didn't hold your breath through that super long tunnel.  That's a long time to hold your breath.  Do you have pictures of the cabins.  I am glad that the grandparents made it out for a majority of the cruise.  That's the important part.  I am sure that grandpa Deinstadt really enjoyed the fish.  As soon as I saw it, I immediately thought he would.  I would have reached out to grab some.  ;)

The food sounded amazing!  Did you turn into food photographers?  I definitely would have.  Immortalized the food!  ;)  I could use some good cheesecake!  That sounds so good.

The train looked fun too!  So did the whales!  I guess I'll have to go back to Alaska with you sometime to say that I've been!  :)

Thank you for telling me about the regional conference!
I really liked what he said about Sister Missionaries especially!
It is really hard to join the church.  I hear it all the time from Sister L.  It is a really hard task to give up everything that you are used to and start some brand new things that you have never done.  I would really like your insights for family history and other things.  Don't worry about being slow.  Just whenever you get around to it.

Yes, our numbers have been lagging a little both this week and last.  But we are not discouraged.  We know that there are at least two, maybe three people that we could help to the waters of baptism in this next transfer!  And it is hard, but your right.  Chin up and keep moving forward!  As long as we are working as hard as we can, I'm not worried.
And yes, I love Sister Alexander.  She is the greatest.

Did you mean can dad bring back treats from China for me?  Because I would love some considering I am STAYING IN MOUNTAIN ISLAND FOR ANOTHER FIVE WEEKS!  It is not a six week transfer, it is five.  A shorter transfer because of holidays, but I would love some treats from China if that is what you meant!

And thank you so much for getting me a sweatshirt from Alaska!  I am looking forward to seeing it!

The mission is going really well.  I am determined to keep working as hard as I can.  Even though I am going to start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I am not packing my bags until my job here is done!  Sister L is done with training and ready to work!  We have our differences, but there are not many.  And that is truly a blessing.