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Friday, February 13, 2015

Our Zone is Going to the Zoo !!!

Ashley Irwin
Feb 9 at 9:00 AM

Hey y'all!  How are you doing?
We are going to try something a little different today.  I am not going to give a whole weekly layout this week.  I have been trying to get journal entries done, so it can go in there.  Mom - If you haven't already sent the package, could you please print the weekly recaps from pilot mountain and put them in the package so I can catch up on journal writing in that way?  I can't access them on my iPad.  But it would really help a lot.  If not, no worries.

So what I've decided to do today is write either one spiritual experience or testimony builder from each day of the week.  (Warning: Some of them may sound like a lecture.  Don't take it that way, just simple advice from the your favorite NC sister)! ;)

What I learned on Monday is that we don't have time to procrastinate.  Let me explain.  When we go to houses, knock on the door and get a response from the person saying that they are not interested, it saddens me.  One of the major lessons I have learned out here is, we don't have the time to say, "I can just do it later!"  We have to do all that we can NOW to repent, change, and strive each day to become more like our loving Father in Heaven.  These people that have no interest in hearing what we have to say are going to look back on it and think, "Boy, if only I had listened."  Do we want to live a life of "if only"?  NO!  I learned that we must do everything we can to come closer to Him in these, the last days.  That way, we will be able to stand in front of the Lord at judgement day, look our loving Savior in the eyes and say, "I have truly done my best."

The Spiritual Experience that I had on Tuesday was how much missionary work really means to those we are teaching.  It had been a long day of finding less-actives with no positive responses. We decided to turn down a road near one of the houses we were going to.  We parked the car and started knocking.  We ran into a few houses who weren't interested, but then we came to a trailer that stood out to us.  Normally, I do not particularly enjoy knocking on trailers in the middle of nowhere, but I figured, why not?  So we knocked and a man came to the door.  He began to talk to us and said he hadn't attended church in over 10 years and was completely comfortable with that.  I was not taking no for an answer again that day.  So I said, "What do you look for in a church?  If you had to describe your perfect church, what would it consist of?"  He started joking with us and replied, "A shooting range in back."  Then he said what I had hoped the question would lead him to.  He said, "I don't know.  Probably a church with welcoming people who are not judgmental and try every day to help you overcome what you've done in the past and help you become a better person."  Bingo.  I told him that he had perfectly described our church.  Because, in reality, we try every day to do exactly that.  As members, is it not our job to help people in their repentance process?  Our job is to love them and help them, not judge them and hurt them.  After we talked to him a little bit more about repentance, he said at least he would try to overcome his work schedule to see if he could come to church.  But he really wanted to
check out the website.  If nothing else, we planted the seed and someone else will get the opportunity to harvest that seed.

Caity - Pay attention.  Here is your story that you could use for your talk.  On Wednesday morning, before we left the apartment, we decided to take some advice from some other missionaries that we had talked to and pray specifically to Heavenly Father for what we wanted to happen that day.  We prayed for a new investigator and for a lesson that could really change someone.  (We also prayed for 2 other lessons, but that is irrelevant to the story).  Anyway, so off we went for the day. Well, we had planned to go down to Grover to see some potential investigators that we had met the week before.  When we parked our car and went up to the house, we found out that they were really sick, they had gotten two hours of sleep the night before, and weren't in the mood to talk.  So what did we do?  We decided to go knocking.  I said a little prayer in my heart to remind myself what we had prayed for that morning and to regain my faith that Heavenly Father would put us in the right place, at the right time.  So we walked down a few houses, and rounded the corner.  My companion started to go up the driveway of the first house on the left.  I kept walking straight, so she figured I didn't want to go to that house.  But in reality, I saw a man sitting on his porch that I really wanted to go talk to.  So I said, "No, we are going to talk to him."  When we got up his driveway, he said hello and asked what he could help us with.  I replied, "Oh nothing much.  It's more what we can do for you."  This whole time I was hoping and praying for the faith that it would take for this man to listen and receive our message.  We started talking, he told us where he worked, asked where we were from, etc.  his name is J.  What was amazing was, he said that Wednesday morning he woke up sick, called in and got the day off, but by lunch time, he felt so much
better.  And about an hour later, we showed up.  We told him what our purpose was as missionaries and told him that we would love to share the message with him.  He said that he has been through a lot in his
life, but he never denies the opportunity to hear about God.  So we were able to share the entire Restoration lesson with him while he was sitting on his porch.  He was very involved in the conversation and he got so excited.  When we finished the discussion, he looked at us and said, "Wow.  He really does listen to me."  Slightly confused, I asked what he meant.  He said that he has remarkable faith in Christ because he has made it through so many things in his life.  However, he has been praying for an enlightening experience from the Lord.  He told us that when he saw "two white girls walking around in his neighborhood, something was up."  He said he knew that we were an answer to his prayers and that God sent us to him at that time for a reason.  He said that he believed what we said and he had a desire to read from the Book of Mormon even though he doesn't read that well and hasn't even really read the bible before.  It is amazing what you can
accomplish with faith in the Lord and prayer.  We have an appointment to see him later this week and we are going to try and get him to come to church with us.  Hope that will help with your talk, Caity.  Good luck!  I love the topic you chose!

This was another day of trial and error.  We were trying to track down a lot of potential investigators with no success.  But, no matter how hard the day, the Lord always gives you something that lifts you up.
We have a part member family that we have been working with lately.  We taught the non-member the plan of salvation and invited him to be baptized and he started slipping away because he felt pressured.  So what we did was say a prayer and tell Heavenly Father that we know the importance of him being baptized, but that we needed more trust with him first.  His name is C.  We went to dinner with them that night hoping that we would be able to get a lesson in with him afterwards.  But alas, it is on the Lord's time that we accomplish such tasks and we ran out of time.  However, on the way home, he wanted to tell us an experience he had the week prior.  He told us that when he was at work, his boss started making Mormon jokes and making us look and sound awful to the rest of his co-workers.  He had finally had enough and told his boss that everything he had said in the past half an hour was complete lies and he took it very personally because his wife was a member and he was trying hard to come to know for himself that it was true.  He even gave his boss the websites to go look up what he had said and know that he was spreading lies.  The conversation was left at that.  He
figured it was over with.  About three days later, he said that his boss came to work and called all of them over so that he could make a formal apology to C in front of everyone.  Isn't that amazing!?  He was so proud of himself!  He was standing up for himself, his loved ones, and his potential beliefs, and he isn't even baptized yet!  We were so proud.  We asked him about his Book of Mormon reading and he promised that he would take it with him to work so that he could read it on break.  These two things were literal tender mercies of the Lord.  We are trying our hardest to gain his trust before we move any further.

We had district meeting this day.  It went really long over because we went to lunch, so we didn't get back until almost two.  So we decided to try to find some potential investigators before we had to go to dinner at four.  We made return appointments with a couple of them, but couldn't teach immediate lessons.  But the experience is actually that night at dinner.  The woman feeding us that night is struggling financially as so many people are right now.    Anyway, this meal was really humbling for me because I knew how much money she has, and despite that, she insisted that she feed us that night.  She said, "I have to look after my missionaries."  The meal took her a lot of time and more money than she has - we had spaghetti, rolls,
and green beans.  The fact that she took all that she had to feed us, was remarkable.  I have decided that no matter where you serve your mission, you always find people having hardships and you want to help these people.  Her sacrifice for us that night reminded me of the woman who gave all that she had to pay tithing to the Lord, and was blessed immensely because of it.  A true testimony builder for me.

This day we went to do service for a couple of hours, then we went to plan for the genealogy night.  Now, to clear things up: I am trying to get the WARD MEMBERS to plan this activity and get people excited with
the help from the missionaries!  We spent two hours just trying to think of things that could get everyone excited and picking a date to do the activity.  Mom - What I could use help with is maybe some ideas
of what we could do for a two hour activity to get people youth-adult excited about family history.  They were maybe thinking of doing a murder mystery type of thing, but with the plot and characters based
on different ward member's ancestors.  Fun idea, but hard to accomplish.  I think the most spiritual thing that happened this day though, was being able to reflect upon the dream that Grandpa Deinstadt had that really started our family's desire to do family history in the first place.  It made me choke up a little bit, and reminded me how family history work is really missionary work for our ancestors and brothers and sisters that have already passed on without the opportunity of hearing the gospel.  

We had a baptism this day for a child in the ward.  Because he is 8 years old, we don't count it as a baptism for us on our mission, but what was amazing is the things I learned.  Seeing the love that his family and ward members had for him was so amazing.  The ward may be really small, but it is filled with such immense love, that it is almost indescribable.  If you go check my Facebook page, it will have a picture of sister Buckner and I with their family.  The words she attached with it made my little heart swell.  She said that we have helped them come closer and build their testimonies.  (Or something similar to it).  We often forget as members and missionaries that we are not only here to share the message of the gospel with those of our brothers and sisters that have not yet received it, but we are to also strengthen the testimonies of the members in the church already.  We are here to bring ALL souls to Christ, not specific to any certain category.

Sounds like y'all are having fun planning future trips for the year!  You'll have to let me know how they go,
Please please please send me pictures of the Payson Temple Dedication and program!  I can't believe I'm missing the cultural celebration!  So jealous!  But I know you guys will do great!  Haha  Yes, mom.  You can use my current Facebook profile picture.  I quite like it.  I am still able to use some of my photography
knowledge out here.  I didn't actually plan for the light in the background, that was an added bonus.  But feel free to use it for the plaque.  I don't know that it will get much better if I take it again.  We can only work with so much out here. ;)  I am having to rush again in writing today because our amazing Zone Leaders planned for the whole Zone to go to the Zoo today!!!  WooooooHooooooo!  It's a drive-thru zoo kind of thing, hard to explain.  But that is why I can't send pictures this week.  I'll send lots next week.  I am having to write on the iPad again!

Here are a few quotes I believe, that I constantly remember in order to be the missionary that
I want to be: I will give you two quotes by Elder Holland and Elder Ballard

Holland- "This is a life or death contest we're in here."
Ballard- "If you don't pay the price of success, you will pay the price of failure."

I am growing into the person I want to become, despite challenges like my ankle or pulling three muscles in my back like I did three days ago.  Satan works hard on missionaries, but I am becoming the daughter, sister, wife, and mother that, three years ago, I could've only dreamed of becoming.  Now, I was called to talk next Sunday and I got to pick the topic.  I picked family history.  So if you could send me quotes and outrageous stories along with the ideas I requested earlier, I would appreciate

I love you guys lots and lots!  I love being on my mission for the growth I see in myself and others!

I love you to the ends of the universe and back!  I'll talk to you guys soon!  Love you TONS!  Hugs and kisses from NC!!!



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