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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It's Fun to Zone Out !!!

Ashley Irwin
Mar 23 at 12:07 PM
Hey y'all!  Hope your week has been amazing!  Because mine's been pretty great!

On Monday,

We were able to go hike Crowder's Mountain as a zone for zone activity.  It was so fun!  The only thing is, as Sister G put it, "Thank you hiking for reminding me that I am not in shape."  We got to the fork at the bottom of the mountain and it gave us two trails to take.  One that was slightly longer and not as exhausting or the other one that is very steep and treacherous.  Now, normally, being in the shape that I want to be in, I would be all in for the steep one.  But that day, our companionship almost died!  ;)  I hadn't really had any water, for lack of remembering, and my comps were really tired.  So was it exhausting?  Yes.  Was it soooo much fun and very exhilarating?  YES!  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  When we got to the top, it was a big party full of selfies, Sasquatch calls, dorky elders, adrenaline junkies, and tree climbing!  Best zone activity ever!  And of course the second best part was the walk down.  ;)

On Tuesday,

We were able to go help a member chop some wood again. That was both fulfilling and disgusting.    Fulfilling because again, we were able to provide them with something they either can't do for themselves, or don't have time to do.  Disgusting because probably a good 1/4 of the wood was infested with grubs!  Ewwwwww!  I had never seen one in real life.  I thought they were something Diseny made up for the movie the Lion King.  And my companions say that the summers in North Carolina are full of strange bugs who have no purpose and just plain freak you out.  I'm sooooo excited!  (In the most dramatic and sarcastic tone I can muster with the most outrageous eye roll ever !)  But after we got over that, we were able to chop most of the wood for him.  It took way longer than we expected though.  We were getting wood thrown at us, getting sunburned, and at risk for heat stroke.  So we stopped.  It was about 86 degrees outside that day.  But hey, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the mission?  Haha  I'm a dork.  But you love me!  ;)

On Wednesday

What I would like to share with you is actually what I learned from a member dinner that night.  The L's took us out to Chick-Fil-A.  We didn't think much of it, asking how their day went, etc.  but then she started to share her conversion story with us.  She said that she had been raised a Lutheran, but had attended the Catholic churches, Presbyterian churches, amongst many others.  Her parents rule was that she could choose whatever church she wanted to join when she turned 18.  And that is right around the time that the missionaries found her.  Isn't that amazing?  She said that for a little while, she wasn't sure about everything the church had to offer, but after she prayed and read about it, she knew it was true.  She and her husband got married and were insurance agents.  When he started to investigate the church, he REALLY wasn't sure about it.  But again, as soon as he came to know the truth for himself, he never looked back.  Since then, they have both held numerous callings in the church including bishop, relief society president, etc.  It's amazing what ones personal study and testimony of our Heavenly Father and the church can bring to your life.

On Thursday

We were able to go talk to the Bs' about doing family history and temple work.  They seem kind of excited, but it is harder for new members to grasp the topic of baptisms for the dead and temples in general.  The seemed to be looking at family history work from the worldly perspective.  You're just searching for names with no end result or accomplishment.  So we took Brother S with us and
he... "Put her on a bus."  He gave her this example: Imagine you are at this bus stop.  You go every morning to the same stop and wait for this bus to come.  When it arrives, you hop on with about 30 other
people.  You all take this bus ride to the same destination every single day.  As you are on the bus, you feel the bus come to a screeching halt.  You look out the front window, only to see a large brick wall that there is no way to get around.  So what do you do? 

The bus driver turns the bus around and takes you home.  You repeat this same journey over and over and over.  Until one day.  You come to that brick wall and someone comes onto the bus as it's stopped.  They call your name and ask you to follow them.  You exit the bus and go to the brick wall.  You ask, "why did you only call my name?"  The person responds, "because it is your time to move on."  They open this big door in the brick wall that you hadn't seen there before.  As you look through, you see your (husband, wife, brother, sister, child, cousin. Or whoever it might be) standing there with their arms outstretched. They say, "Come.  We have done your work and it is time for you to keep moving forward."
Isn't that example amazing?  It took me right back to grandpa's dream he had about genealogy that one time.  It just re-emphasizes the fact that it is of the upmost importance that we do this work for those who
do not have the opportunity or capability to do it themselves.

On Friday

We awoke at 5 am for mission conference.  We were really excited because Elder Kopischke of the 70 would be joining us that day.  That man is amazing!  I don't have all of my notes with me that I took this weekend, but there were many!  I think the main thing I learned from him was that there is something we can learn in every situation.  He kept asking, "What are you learning here?"  And then he would take comments from the audience.  It was amazing!  Plus he is German!  So win-win!  After mission conference, we went to a place called "Hwy 55" – it was us, the Mount Island Sisters, and like 30 elders!
It was soooooo much fun!  Pictures to come.

On Saturday

Before stake conference, we were able to meet and teach a woman named R by offering to help her with yard work.  She wasn't too happy with the idea of us getting all dirty in our skirts, but she did stop to talk to us.  The best part about this lesson, is that I have really been working hard on letting the spirit talk through me instead of me planning out what I am going to say.  I could really feel the spirit strong during  this lesson.  I could tell that what we were saying was exactly what she needed to hear and how she needed to hear it.  I was very pleased.  Even though she couldn't seem to wrap her mind around the idea that we need a prophet, in her view "Jesus was enough and his mission is already complete,".  We could tell we had planted a seed and that someday, she will want to know more. We did invite her to General Conference though.  So maybe she will show up and be amazed by what the prophet has to say.  Speaking of which, have you guys been working on inviting people to watch General Conference as well?  I know in Utah, there aren't many people that don't already watch it, but there has to be someone for you to invite to watch it.  So be on the lookout.  Also, the church's new Easter video initiative comes out on the 28th.  So be ready to share that with everyone!  Share it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc!  Get some positivity on the Internet!  The world so desperately needs it!

On Sunday

We were able to go to stake conference with Elder Kopischke. He was there to reorganize our stake presidency.  That means that president P is no longer our stake president. :(  Boo! But that's okay, because we are so excited to see how President H will do things.  The one thing that stuck out to me though, is how both of them shared their testimonies with the stake yesterday and both of them shared the same message:

"Brothers and sisters.  I have said it before and I will say it again. If you want to have successful families, businesses, etc, you must do the following three things:

- Read the scriptures daily
- Pray Daily
- Hold weekly family home evening"

It was just amazing to me that by doing those little things that the Lord expects of us, he will bless us beyond measure.  It was also amazing that two men that have been called by God, said almost the
exact same thing, without consulting each other first.  It is just another witness that the times and the people may change, but the message of God stays the same today, tomorrow, and forever.  :)

I am so excited to hear that Elder B will be joining us here in the great NCCM soon!  He is going to love it!  Tell me if there is anything that I can help him with in the way of information, packing, etc.  because you know... I'm on the "inside" and stuff!  ;).   Maybe one of my friends will even train him!  We will have to see!  It'll be so fun!  Tell him to bring (or buy here) bug spray!  The summer bugs don't seem like much fun!  Speaking of which, what do you want me to buy for bug spray?  Since I have decided that it is going to be my perfume this summer, I need something good.  I need something that will repel ticks, chiggers, and mosquitos especially.  So if you could get me information on that, it would be great!

It sounds like y'all have been keeping busy!  I'm glad to hear it! Caitlyn wrote me and said, "We're lucky to get 1 or 2 family dinners a week."  I was thinking about it, that really isn't any different than any other summer we have ever had, and I wouldn't change it for the world!  I love being busy when he spring and summer roll around.  It's better than sitting at home all day!  That's for sure!

I am so excited to hear more about the cultural celebration!  So please keep me updated as that moves forward.  Have you told me yet what my sisters are going to be doing in the program?  If not, let me
Know.  I hope you have fun over spring break.  Me I am enjoying exploring new parts of North Carolina.  I have been taking note of what things I want to bring y'all back to see.  So look forward to that! ;)

The praying for my investigators had been helping.  We are continuously finding new people to teach.  The main problem we are facing right now is people who want to CONTINUE learning.  We don't
have anyone with a date right now, and no one is progressing.  But... We have some amazing people, with tons of potential and we are hoping that changes in the next week or two.

I haven't gotten a chance to read the talk by President Uchtdorf yet, but you can be sure I will.  I love that man.

I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT TRAVIS AND CIARAH ARE ENGAGED!  HOW DID HE PROPOSE?  IS HE GOING TO GET MARRIED WITHOUT LINDSAY?  Like... What!? I am so happy for them!  I am also so excited to hear the news about Paul and Aubrey.  You'll have to keep me updated on that!  Also, let me know when Greg and Danielle's baby comes.  If they don't let me know first... ;)  Well, I'd better get going.  I am going to go mini-golfing with my comps and the elders I suppose.  At this golf course in Shelby we have never even heard of.  Wish me luck!

Love you guys so so so so much!  Even more than I love this Reese's Cup that a member just made us!  And that's a lot! Hugs and loves from North Carolina!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

At The Tiki Room - 
Not The One In Disneyland

The One In North Carolina

Hey y'all!  I had such an amazing week this week!  I hope all of you did as well!  Here are some things that happened!

On Monday-
We had a day dedicated to fun!  We met as a district at a member's lake house!  We pulled up and already, the zone leaders were in street clothes.  I knew it was going to be so much fun when I saw Elder Morrow's HUMP DAAAY shirt on!  We didn't have time to change before we had lunch and all that, so we showed up in pross (proselyting) clothes and had to change there.  Elder Morrow saw me get out and said, "Pross clothes?!  Aren't we forgetting what day it is??"  I love our zone leaders!  They are the best!  We are so glad we get to have them in our district because they make everything more fun.  So after we changed, ate our food, and relaxed for a few minutes while the Elders were playing a 3 on 3 game of foosball.  After that, it got serious!  They moved the couches against the wall, put the dinner table in the family room, moved the pool table out of the way so they could get the ping pong table into the kitchen, moved the pool table into the middle of the game room and it was war!  We had a GIANT game of Quelf at the dinner table which was soooooo much fun!  Elder Burrop won.  That game is the next game our family needs to invest in!  It's the next Snorta... but way more fun!  Then some of the Elders went to play ping pong, so Elder Morrow and I went head to head in pool.  I accidently sunk the 8 ball the first game and lost.  Then I won the second game by sinking the 8 ball at the appropriate time, but then the cue ball scratched it and I lost again, and I sunk the 8 ball when playing Elder Burrop.  It was an embarrassing day for pool.  haha  But it's okay, because Elder Morrow said that he would give the second one to me due to "gentleman's rules".  Then, the elders grabbed my ipad from me when I was transferring pictures so we could get the new ones on Wednesday.  Well, they saw my drawings that I did and we broke out into a debate of how much I should charge for them and keep doing them when I get home.  Of course I am going to keep doing them, but I didn't think about charging any money for them because I love doing it.  Well, suffice it to say that Elder Morrow one that argument and says he wants to pay me to do one for him when I get home.  (But I probably still won't charge him any money!)  ;)  Then we had to start cleaning up and go grocery shopping.  But Elder Perron and Cravey said they weren't done playing ping pong.  So they said they would clean up everything.  Let's just say... I hope they did it.  ;)

We had the very special opportunity to start family history with a returning member.  He didn't have much information, but to see everything slowly come together made him so happy.  The light in his eyes alone was enough to make my entire week better.  We almost got his four generations done, but he has very little information about specific dates.  He was so willing to continue in the work, that he said, "My aunts and uncles are the only ones with the information about our family.  I don't really have a good relationship with them, but I will try my hardest to get all that I can so that we can do the work for my family."  Just the pure willingness to try anything to get the blessings to the members of his family was amazing to me.  Seeing as it has been a long process for us to get our family's work done, I have so much respect for that.  He is working so hard to be able to get the information necessary and get his life in order so that he can be the one who takes the names to the temple.  It is truly an amazing thing to help others unlock and discover how many people, stories, and backgrounds there are in Family History.  If anyone reading this hasn't done their own or tried to help others, I encourage you to do so.  It brings such an amazing feeling to you.

This day we had zone meeting!  It was a really special meeting in which we learned all about "Asking Inspired Questions".  We have now talked about that in not only zone meeting, but zone conference as well.  It is something that we are not only focusing on asking good questions, but asking questions that will make the investigators teach themselves in the process.  It is something that is so awe-inspiring to me, that I will probably continue doing it even after my mission in teaching, leading, and guiding others closer to Christ. The fun part of this meeting consisted of two things:

1.       Wasn't actually so much fun, as it was funny!  We have had so many backing accidents as missionaries, that Salt Lake is practically shaking their heads at missionaries because of it.  Check this out.  In car missions in the church in the past year, they have had to pay 25 Million Dollars for backing accidents.  That's pathetic... right?  Our mission alone has had 5 in the past three months.  When someone asked how it is even happening, they gave an example.  Someone in the mission was backing up someone else, and they saw that a tree was in the way.  Instead of stopping them and doing a 3-point turn, they just stepped out of the way and panicked while they saw the driver hit the tree.  What's worse, is the driver wasn't paying enough attention to see the tree.  So we had to have the zone leaders and their third companion give us a "backing demonstration."  It was possibly the funniest thing I have seen yet.  One was driving, the other backing, and one narrating.  OUR ZL'S ARE THE BEST!  And P.S.  Anyone that is going to go on a mission, just pay attention and don't be stupid.  It's not that hard.

2.  We got our new iPads!  They are so amazing!  They run so much quicker because they have so much more storage on them for pictures, videos, etc for teaching.  And we get to keep them afterwards.  They even took extra precautions.  Included in the price that we paid for them, which was actually 1/4 of retail price, (thank you tithing) ;)  I'm totally kidding, was a knock-off otter case to protect it.  It's the best thing ever!  If you have any specific questions about who gets them, how we are using them, what programs, etc.  Write me next week and let me know.  But as my mother asked me, yes.  We are off of Facebook temporarily.  And we are not planning on returning to Facebook as a mission until about June.  No missionaries are.  They are leaving it up to the mission presidents to put it back as they see fit, but we have to do at least a month and a half of training beforehand.  But we will be back soon enough.
That night, we had a lesson with our recent converts.  This lesson was so amazing.  Not really because of the message alone, but what came from it.  You see, we were on exchanges that night, and our sister training leader looked at them and asked what they had felt change in their lives over the past couple of months or how they have seen the gospel play a role in their life.  Now, our recent converts are a husband and wife couple.  The wife responds to everything and is very social.  The husband speaks, but only when asked.  He is just quieter.  But, out of the blue, he was actually the one to respond first to this question.  He looked at his wife and said, "You don't actually know this because I never told you.  But Mormon missionaries have come by the house before.  Numerous times, actually."  She looked surprised and said, "Are you sure they were Mormon missionaries."  He nodded and said, "Yes I am sure.  They would always come by and say they have a message for us.  But I was never interested."  Sister Perez, (our sister training leader), responded, "Barry, what changed?"  He pointed right at me and said, "That one."  I almost fell out of my chair!  I shockingly said, "Me?  How did I change all of that?"  He looked at me with all the sweetness I have ever seen in him and said, "You asked me if I believed in God.  No one had ever done that before.  You just came right out with it."  I was breathless at this point.  Even typing it right now brings back all of the goosebumps, chills, and everything else I felt at that moment.  I couldn't believe it.  There was verbal proof that I was the one that he needed.  He had been given the opportunity before, but had never told anyone about it until this moment.  The undying love I have for the two of them is amazing.  I know that missionaries are sent and inspired to go to different areas because there are specific people waiting for you.  It was so much of a testimony builder.  And honestly, it made me feel so good inside that I just started crying.  Isn't that amazing???

That night, we were able to go with some less-actives to the church for the Relief Society Birthday Party.  It was so much fun!  The theme was a Luau.  They had everything decorated so well and it actually kind of made it feel tropical in there.  They had Hawaiian music playing and everything.  I attached some pictures.  We ate hawaiian haystacks for dinner and watched Johnny Lingo.  If you don't know what it is, go watch the old version that the church put out in like the 70's.  It's a good one.  Sister Buckner and I practically memorized it before they took it off of Gospel Library.  So we were just quoting it the whole time.  Then the president got up and said a few words about Self-Worth.  It was really inspirational and it made me think again about how much our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us.  If someone is going through a hard time, turn to our Heavenly Father.  He knows what you are going through and he is anxiously waiting to help you, if you will simply ask.

We were able to teach a member referral that night at dinner with some of the recent converts in the ward.  She is... well... interesting?  She came right out with a question about tea and the word of wisdom in the middle of dinner.  So we jumped on it and turned our dinner discussion into a Restoration Lesson.  She is very, very, VERY, sassy.  She is a middle-aged aftrican american woman who is more than comfortable with telling you exactly how she feels.  We tried to teach her each principle with a resounding... "NO.  THAT'S NOT RIGHT." at the end of each one.  Sooo... I don't really know what else to say about her, other than that.  We are going to keep teaching her this week, but we definitely have our work cut out for us.  Pray that we will teach according to her needs,so please pray that her heart will be softened and that we will be able to get the message across to her.  I will follow up with y'all on that next week.  But I had to throw in the fact that not every lesson goes according to plan.  haha ;)

We were able to go do some service for the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  I swear, I am so glad that they have instituted doing service into our week.  It makes me feel so amazing every time I am able to help.  This instance, we were able to paint some signs for the member that manages the Restore for the 5K they are having in April.  Not only were we able to gain some SERIOUS member trust, but we were also able to have fun, do art (thank you for artistic ability Heavenly Father), and we were able to gain more service opportunities from it.  Not only does he want us to make him some more signs, but he wants us to either help work at the 5K, or to run in it.  We told him that if we are still in Shelby, we would love to help out.  Transfers are coming up soon, but I'm sure that whoever is here at the time would love to help with it.  Also, in order to prepare the board on Saturday, we had to detach all of this metal siding that had been clamped to it.  Mom and Dad - Thank you for teaching me to do things and never giving up.  Also, thank you for making me do things in the yard and elsewhere that gained me some muscle, because I had to get rid of all the siding on the board by myself.  Either my companions didn't know how to do it, couldn't do it for lack of strength, or didn't want to learn.  I thought it was rather comical, actually.  But I got it off all by myself.  And it only took me a little less than 10-15 minutes.  Only using a screwdriver I might add.  ;)  I'm feeling a little accomplished about that one.  haha

We were able to go see a less-active yesterday named Mark.  We have been seeing him on and off for about a month and a half now.  The only hard part about it is, we can't get to him as easily because he lives in Grover.  But when we went down yesterday, we brought Bishop Shaw with us.  That was really special because Bishop was the one that baptized Mark about 25 years ago.  The only problem he has about coming to church right now is, how others will look at him.  He has tattoos, long hair, and jeans and a t-shirt for Sunday clothes.  We just threw down (in a nice and loving way), about how no one should care about that and how he shouldn't care what others thought anyway.  We did a very brief gloss-over about the foundation of the church and why principles like "God is our loving Heavenly Father" are the only things that should really matter.  The great thing is, his wife is not a member, and she sat in on the lesson the whole time.  She was even asking questions about the church, the beliefs, the missionaries, etc.  We told her that we would love to come and start teaching her if that is something that she is interested in.  She said that she was!!!  We invited them to church for the third time and are really hoping that they come.  This Sunday is stake conference, so it may be harder for them to get to Gastonia one day and Charlotte the next, but we see so much potential from the both of them.  So could you please pray for Mark and Sandy as well?  I would severely appreciate it.

Apart from that,
Mom- Phoenix is sounding like so much fun!  I can't believe it is already 90 degrees.  In fact, it is supposed to be 81 in Shelby today.  So we are planning on going to hike Crowder's Mountain as a zone!  It's going to be sooooo much fun!  So expect pictures next week from that!  But anyway, how was the Phoenix temple?  I didn't know that it was super tiny.  When you compared it to the size of the Vernal temple, Sister Grace and I just laughed because that is where Sister Buckner is from.  Do you have any pictures from either the Phoenix or the Gilbert temples?  I would love to see them!

As for the questions you asked me:
You are completely fine to look at my Facebook page mom!  I hope you do!  The spiritual thoughts that I have on there are for everyone to read and re-read.  I am glad to hear that that is happening.  And it would be even better if you know of someone that could benefit from them and you can share it with them.  But like I said, I think sometime in the end of May or June is when the mission is scheduled to get back on Facebook.

Things in Shelby are alright.  We actually hit the standard of excellence for total lessons this week!  We hit 18 lessons this week!  That is the first time that has happened on my mission and I hope to see it continue happening with many baptisms and converted brothers and sisters of mine as well.
Transfers are going to be on the 31st of this month.  So probably don't send anything in the mail past the 23rd or the 24th.  There is probably a very good chance that the trio will go down to a pair

Sister H is the woman in the ward that is expecting the baby.  She is doing soooooo much better.  She only gets migraines when she is pregnant, and she can't take anything for them.  So it is harder on her, but she is doing really well.  She loves me so much!  And I love her soooo much!  Every time we see each other, we give each other a big hug and say, "Hi Best Friend.  I just love you."  She is planning on taking us all out to lunch, shopping, dinner, and family home evening on the 30th.  So we/I are super excited for that!  We definitely have to go see her when we come back.  Apart from the fact that she is the S's daughter, she is just wonderful.  Her husband is too!  :)
Investigators are doing well.  None progressing at this point, but we hope to have a few progressing in the coming week or two.  So remind me about it and I will send you updates and let you know who to pray for besides those that are already listed in this email.

I really liked the spiritual thought about the bamboo plant, mom.  Thank you so much for that.  I will re-read that sometimes.  It practically described the past week I have had in the sense of learning to grow through adversity and realizing how many blessings we have in our lives.

I would love to hear the testimonies that you all wrote down!  Mom - You can just send me yours when you get home or next Monday.  I would love to hear friends, family, and my sisters and father's testimonies as well.  You hear me!  Send 'em my way!  ;)

As for how we are gearing up for the change in mission presidents... You can bet your life we are.  We are having TONS more meetings and at the start of every single one, President Craven looks at us and says, "Elders and Sisters.  I feel an URGENCY to share all of my knowledge with you."  We actually are pretty entertained by it because he is trying to teach 3 years of lessons to us in about 3 months.  I am starting to count how many times we hear, "You are the culture of the mission.  You have to keep it running."  So apparently he thinks that as soon as he leaves, we are all going to go "hog wild" and not do anything anymore.  But never fear, the missionaries are here!  We are going to rock the presidential exchange like nobody's business.

If you have any more questions about the iPads, like I said, just send them to me.  I don't really know what you are curious about, so it's hard to talk about.  But let me know and I would love to answer them.

I am really excited for this upcoming week because we are having Elder Kopischke coming to do a mission tour and giving a mission conference on Friday.  AND... Sister Buckner and I are singing O My Father in the beginning of it.  So I will definitely let you know how both of those things go!

Tell Grandma and Grandpa Deinstadt and Irwin that I say hello!  I love them and I miss them.  Tell all my cousins, aunts, and uncles as well.

I just love you alll soooooo much!  I can't even describe to you how much my mission means to me because of all the things I am learning, people I am helping, and testimony I am gaining.  Please remember that our loving Heavenly Father has unconditional love for each one of you.  I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of the church.  I am so proud to call myself a Mormon.  For a challenge I am going to extend to each of you this week:

Try writing down everything that means the most to you.  Things that you couldn't imagine your life without.  Then make a list of how many of those things you have because your Heavenly Father has blessed you with them.

I am off to go hike a mountain with some amazing people!  LOVE YOU TONS!  Hugs and Kisses from NC!


Monday, March 9, 2015

Things Here Are A Little Cold Right Now -

I'll Just Have To Learn To Let It Go !!!

Ashley Irwin
Hey!  So to start off, instead of giving you the full week from last week, I will give you two or three of my most spiritual experiences or favorite experiences because we have been having a hard couple of weeks.  So I'll share the uplifting things with y'all.  :)
First, On Sunday the 1st, we were able to take our new converts, B and L to the Mission Home Fireside in Charlotte with President Craven.  Although the actual conference was nothing different than the things we have heard before, for some reason, a story that President has told a gazillion times stood out to me this time and I would like to share it with you.  In his words (but paraphrased):
Many years ago, I too was a missionary in London, England.  We were walking endlessly on a very tiring day.  We decided to go up an knock on this woman's door.  As she answered and we introduced ourselves, she proceed to yell, 'I want nothing to do with religion!', and began to slam the door in our face.  Luckily my foot was in the way of the door frame or she probably would have taken off my nose!  She noticed that I had stopped the door and began to speak.  I said, 'I have traveled 5,000 miles to come share my message with you, won't you let us in?'  By this time, her husband had also come to the door.  She again stated, 'I want nothing to do with religion.  Not after what happened to me.'  Well that begs the next question doesn't it?  I looked at her intently and asked, 'What happened to you?'  She began to tell us that she and her husband had had a baby some years earlier and the baby passed away six weeks after birth.  When they took the baby to their minister to ask if she could be buried in the church's cemetery, he told them that no unclean thing would be buried at the church.  And since their little girl had passed away before she was baptized, she had gone straight to hell.  I looked at the couple with all the compassion I could muster and said, 'Mr. and Mrs. Rose, can we please come in and tell you where your little girl is?'
Isn't that a great story?  It just really reminds me of how great our knowledge is and how divine and merciful our Heavenly Father is to bless us with such knowledge.  It just gives me goosebumps just reading this story over again.  I can't even fathom the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
Another experience we had last week was amazing!  We came to the library again to help one of the recent converts in the ward with more of his family history.  We were here for probably an hour and getting nowhere really.  After a while, I looked at him and asked if there were any other relatives that would know anything that could get us farther down his line.  He said that he had an uncle who claimed to know a lot of things, but he wasn’t sure how much he actually new.  I was so sick of not getting anywhere, that I told him to give it a shot.  We had been searching census record upon census record.  But with no maiden name or middle name, it's really anyone's best guess.  So he called his uncle and it turns out that he knew a lot more than we thought.  He gave us her maiden name, middle name, the names of all her brothers and sisters, and we were set!  We were able to plug it in to the census record that we had been working on, it matched the one that I figured was correct, we plugged in into and hit a jackpot.  Another (probably) 9-17 lines opened up.  We actually had to cut off how many names he takes to the temple this time because there were so many!  I am so thrilled with the testimony that I am gaining about Family History work as well.  People on the other side really are going to do everything they can to help you unlock things in order to get their work done.  And seeing how happy it makes the member doing the work is so worth it as well!
This week was abnormally hard for reasons I will not go into, but things are hopefully looking up soon.  As a part of "The Great Reset" that we are doing with Facebook and technology, we decided to go through our areabook and drop those investigators who just are not and will not progress.  We are hoping that through this, the Lord will see our diligent efforts to find his sons and daughters that are ready to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and come to learn and accept it.
A couple of miracles we saw this week were:
We were able to do some Family History with one of the youth in the ward.  We set her up on and and we started plugging in the information that she already has.  We found out that a lot of work on all four sides of her tree have been done, but that wasn't going to stop us from getting her a name to go to the temple with.  We searched and searched for about an hour to find her a name and finally found one that hadn't been requested.  We got it for her and we told her that we would be able to keep going and find some names through census records that haven't been found yet, but she didn't seem too interested.  ;)  She was losing patience.  I remember being her age though.  I thought that you could sit down for an hour or two and trace everything all the way back to Adam and Eve.  But it doesn't necessarily work like that.  
We were also able to go do service for some member's at the store.  The members that own that store were gone to Vegas for a tradeshow, so they left two of their employees in charge.  Turns out that the one that was in charge, got sick this week and was barely able to function at all.  The main problem was, they had to have the back storage room emptier before the owner's got back, because they knew that there were going to receive truckloads of new merchandise.  So we helped them about 4 hours this week pricing, placing, moving, etc.  It was hard work, but so worth it to see how much it meant to them.  It is so fulfilling to see how much volunteering helps people and how much they appreciate it.
Also, something weird happened this week.  We were calling our recent converts to see how they were doing, but we found out that exactly one week after they were baptized and confirmed, the husband was coming down with the flu, and the wife had the flu and pneumonia!  Like, what in the world?  She was hospitalized and treated quickly.  We informed the Bishop, who called her home teacher, and they were over to the hospital that night.  They gave her a blessing, and this is where we saw the miracle.  She was hospitalized, treated, and released in about 2 days as a result of the blessing.  It was amazing to see the power of the Lord work through the priesthood.  We went to see her and she looked so tired and sick.  The next day she was home, and she even came to church yesterday looking as happy as I'll get out.  It was incredible.
We were also able to find three new investigators this week.  Although, I think only 1 of them may be solid at this point.  So I'll let you know.  We should be teaching all of them tonight.  
Other than that, my week has been all over the place.  The companionship is going through stuff, we aren't always getting along, and it's hard to focus and be supportive of everything that is going on.   Something good will come out of it I hope!   “If the Lord brings you to it, He’ll get you through it”
Mom - It means sooooo much to hear you say that right now.  I am having a harder time right now and that just uplifted my spirits soooooo much!  I really needed to hear that, because the adversary is attacking us pretty hard right now.  But thank you so so so so much!  I am going to write that down and hang it up.  That's how much that meant to me.
Yes I am still in a trio with Sister Grace and Sister Buckner.  Not the easiest thing in the world, by any means.  But I am managing it.  I won't go into it much because it hasn't been the best.  Every day has its ups and its downs.  But we are doing okay.  P.S.  If anyone reading this is going to be a missionary, don't be numbers driven.  I am so sick of hearing about numbers from the District Leader.  I don't care how long you are out, missionary work is ALWAYS about the people not the numbers!  But enough about that rant.  Just be good missionaries and member missionaries and the Lord will reward your efforts!  Trust me!
We don't have many investigators right now because the ones we were working with, weren't really progressing.  Although, we do have one that lives pretty far away from us.  We called her and she said that she is retiring this week and she will be able to come to Shelby and meet with us on a weekly basis.  She is excited about that and she is the one I am holding out the most hope for at this point.  So pray that she will have her heart and mind opened and enlightened by the gospel.
I can't believe that Joey is going to the South.  Seriously, he is going to love it.  Tell him to prepare for LOTS of fried food!  ;)  haha
AND MATT SEARCY IS GOING TO MANCHESTER, ENGLAND?!  THAT IS WHERE I WANTED TO GO!  But oh well, I feel like he will still be able to focus there.  And we all know that I would not be able to.  ;)
I am going to hit my six-month mark next month.  Who knew I could make it this long?  Oh yeah - you guys did!  Thank you so much for all of your prayers and thoughts on my behalf.  I really appreciate it and feel all of your love so much!  Oh!  I guess I could include a few funny moments from this past week as well!  So... here we go!
On Thursday, We had zone conference at 9:00 in the morning, and we were asked to get there by 8 because Sister Buckner was playing the piano for the musical number.  (And when the leader of the musical number asked if she knew of anyone else in the zone that could sing, she said me!  So now I have been enlisted to sing in the musical number at MISSION CONFERENCE on the 20th.  I'll for sure let you know how that goes)!  Well, we found out that three days earlier, we accidentally ran over a screw in the road that was creating a slow leak in our tire.  So we actually had to get to Gastonia at 7 in the morning in order to fix it before the meeting.  Yay!  My car luck continues!  So when we showed up to the meeting, Elder Dedrick asked, "Are you sisters so excited for the meeting today?"  I responded sarcastically, "So excited that we have been here since 6:30."  He looked at me really confused, then I had to explain myself.  But we all had a good laugh about that one.
On Saturday, we were at the church using the wifi and the piano for a couple of things.  We heard someone in the hallway and I saw someone run by, but no one's car was there when we got there.  I went into the hallway, only to find the Bishop's wife.  We were playing music in the chapel, like I said.  When she saw us, she said, "I thought there were Heavenly Angels in the Chapel.  But then I saw Sister Irwin."  She paused and we just laughed and laughed at how she phrased it.  I responded with a jokingly, "Well, I never."  ;)
Also on Saturday night, we were calling the zone leaders about whether we were going to have zone activity today or whether we could plan a district activity.  Elder B, who I don't think likes me much anyway, answered the phone.  I asked him about it and he responded, "You know Sister Irwin, We have had MLC this week, Zone Conference, and Working with our investigators.  We just have not had a moment to let our hair down, let alone think about zone activity."  NOW THAT COMMENT I JUST HAD TO MESS WITH!  I said, "The hair that you do have, elder."  Now I am not joking, there was a solid 15 seconds of SILENCE!  Not one laugh!  We were trying our hardest not to giggle and he finally responded, "So we'll just get back to you about zone activity then."  We couldn't help it.  We just burst out laughing!  It was the funniest thing ever!
Loves and Hugs from North Carolina!  I love you beyond the eternities!

P.S.  I am still at the same address. Some of you were asking so here it is:
1635 South Dekalb St. #1014
Shelby, NC 28152