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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

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