Sun and Sand - Even though I am Hundreds of Miles From the Beach
Ashley Mission Letter May 26, 2015
Hey family! How are you doing? We are kind of out of miles this week. So I am very much sunburned... ;) But here are some experiences from my week!
We were able to go last Monday to a member's house and watched him make knives. It was so much fun. There are many, many steps to it, but it is something I will definitely never forget. First, you have to draw out your design on a piece of scrap metal. In our case, he used old lawn mower blades. Then, he had to cut out the design. He was willing to let us do it, just not as missionaries in case something went wrong. ;) Then he had to basically sand down the edges. Then you have to put it in this huge oven over and over and in between putting it in there, you let it cool down in peanut oil. (Don't ask me why). That is as far as we got this last week, but he is going to let us watch him finish them next week for P-Day. So I will definitely keep you all updated! :)
We were able to have a really fun and spiritual family home evening at a member's house with a recent convert, her two kids who are investigating the church, and their next door neighbor. We taught the lesson about the Ten Commandments and all of the signs that go along with them. I think that lesson is probably one of my favorites to teach because it makes it so easy for the families to get involved. It was a really great lesson because the kids were really involved and it was so easy for everyone to understand.
We were able to meet this less-active member this week that has not been able to come to church due to various health challenges that she has been struggling with for years. I wish I could express to you the spirit that was felt in this lesson. She is an amazing woman who chooses to have optimism and happiness rather that the opposite. She focuses more on what she CAN do that what she CAN'T. We were able to show her the Because He Lives video. It brought her to tears and she bore a powerful testimony on the Savior and how much he loves each of us individually. I realized on this day that the resources that we have been given as missionaries and as members, a lot of the time, we take for granted. Something so simple and so quick was something she described as, "much needed and heartwarming."
We were able to go teach an investigator and his recent convert mother this week as well. We had a member named Sister C come out with us. We were teaching the Word of Wisdom, so I figured that it would be pretty cut-and-dry. But boy was I wrong! She bore her testimony on the ability that the Word of Wisdom has given her to do many, many things in her life. A lot of the time, we see the Word of Wisdom as a commandment God has given us, filled with all of these "cant’s". But that isn't the case. He has given us this commandment to keep us pure both by keeping bad things out, and bringing good things in so that it makes it that much easier for us to return to live with Him someday. Isn't that amazing???
Last week we were also able to have another Mission Conference. It is really sad to think that this will be the last Mission Conference that we will have with the Craven's. But we are really excited to have the Alexander's come be a part of our special mission. Anyway, this conference was a little bit different. They said that they gathered us together because they felt a sense of urgency to share certain things with us. It was interesting though, they actually gathered the mission together in two different conferences. So we had the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, and Hickory Zones in the conference. I think the thing that stood out most to me was, Sister Craven gave a training on the power of the Book of Mormon in our lives and President Craven gave a training on the Priesthood - Men and Women in the Gospel. Sister Craven focused a lot on how the Book of Mormon is really the key to everything in our lives. As soon as we stop reading it or studying it out for ourselves, is when we start to see things go downhill. She shared a lot of letters from family members, ward members, and past missionaries who have left the church because they were not finding the truth of it through the Book of Mormon any longer. I took vigorous notes during the training - so I'll have to show them to you later. But if you want your heart to ache for your Heavenly brothers and sisters - listen to things like that. PLEASE! For all those reading this, always remain active in going to church, reading your scriptures, and praying. President Craven's was also very interesting. He talked about how men need to be aware - especially elders after their missions - of what the priesthood is and how we use it. He tied in also, how important the female role is in the priesthood. I have a favorite thing that he said, but not because of bragging rights, feminism, etc. He said, "Sisters, you have more of a right to exercise and receive the blessings of the priesthood than you think." He really emphasized that we are Daughters of a Heavenly King, and that we need to remember and uphold that title. He also tied in the relationship that Men and Women have with the Priesthood. It was awe-inspiring. I will again, have to show you those notes I took later. ;)
We were able to go out to dinner with a family in the ward last night. Her husband has been busy working on Saturday nights and sometimes is even required to work on Sunday. He has gotten a new job in Wisconsin and will be moving by the end of next month, so the end of the transfer. But she really wanted us to share something that would be inspirational to their family and really hit home. So we were racking our brains all day yesterday - especially while we were biking. (I did say we are really low on miles, right?) But we concluded that we should show the Mormon Message - You Never Know. Indeed, it was inspired. It had both of the parents in tears by the end of it and the daughter had a smile that stretched ear to ear. They both thanked us numerous times and said that it was exactly what they had been needing to hear.
I sometimes forget on my mission that I am not only here for the investigators and less-actives, but I am also here for members. After all, I am one. I need strengthening sometimes, just as much as they do. They are a remarkable family that has taught me a lot about enduring to the end and working through trials, even though they may not be the most convenient thing for us. ;)
Mom - I am soooo happy that you have enjoyed working at the Payson Temple so much and sincerely hope that you get to continue to do so. I really, really liked what you said about the infants and children going through the celestial room. I have a firm testimony that infants, children, and even animals recognize those things that the rest of us are essentially blinded to. There have been so many occasions where animals run up to us or children start a conversation with us and you can tell that they just recognize the spirit and want to follow it. Now, the parents or owners do not always comply, but it is something that I had really never noticed before.
I am sorry that your feet have been hurting though. You're right. That is exactly how I feel after each day. Tired, (both spiritually and physically), and my feet are in pretty bad shape every new night. But you press forward with faith, knowing that your Heavenly Father will provide the means and the strength to do so.
Again, let me know how the dedication and the celebration go. :)
I can't believe that Matt Searcy is old enough to go on a mission. And I really can't believe that it has been two years already for Benson and Ty!!! That has really flown by!
I will read the talk that you sent me, Mom. Funny enough, I was just thinking about that talk the other day and decided to download it on my iPad so I could listen to and study it out some more. We are still in sync! ;)
I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT BETHANY IS GRADUATING! HER ANNOUNCEMENT IS SOOOOOO CUTE! I love it so much! Thank you for sending it to me. I took it to Walmart with me today and printed it out so I can hang it on my wall. :)
Isn't the vision of the south talk amazing? I had read the first part of it, but I hadn't read the second part where he had the vision of all the temples that would be here! I can't believe that there are only two of those left! I think times are getting harder and the work is about to explode. Thank you so much for sending that to me mom! And you're right. I think Satan probably cringed when that hit Facebook. ;)
The work here is going pretty well. We have a ton more people to see here than I have in my last two areas. I am really excited to get finding down and be able to talk to all the many different kinds of people that Danville has to offer.
We are trying to implement genealogy here as well. It is just slightly harder because the bishop really wants us to work through the ward family history consultants and they are impossible to get a hold of. So I will let you know how that goes as we continue on.
But I think I had better get going for now. I love you all sooooo much. To Danville, Virginia and back! Hugs and Love from NC!
P.S. I am singing again in Zone Conference tomorrow. I swear, as soon as they get word that you are even slightly better than tone deaf... BOOM! You are signed up for ALL musical numbers! ;)