I LOVE DANVILLE VIRGINIA
Letter from Ashley May 19, 2015
SO SORRY!!! I COULD NOT GET TO WIFI UNTIL NOW. BUT HERE ARE THE EMAILS!
Hey you guys! I hope you have had a wonderful week because mine has been all sorts of crazy! To start off, I told my family on Sunday when we skyped, but for those of you who don't know, I am no longer in Shelby! It's weird. But we will get to that in a minute.
So because I was leaving, Monday was a day of packing, packing, and more packing. You would think with all the traveling we've done and two different areas under my belt, I would have this down by now. But nope, I was still packing until the very last minute Tuesday morning. But as long as most of it fit, I am okay with it. I actually had to sit on my luggage this time! Which means next time I get transferred I have to part with some of my stuff whether I like it or not. ;) Anyways, I only had a limited time to pack on Monday because we had dinner with the S's and a couple of other people to go see that night. Dinner was great. The only thing was, I didn't really get to say goodbye to the S's daughter, who I am really close to. Her daughter was having a crying fit and they had to go home. :( But it's okay. We'll keep in contact later I am sure. So we finished eating and were able to practice teaching the restoration with them. They shared some of their personal conversion stories with us and you could feel the spirit so strongly. After we finished, we met J at the church so we could go teach T for my last day there. We got there, and they brought out their s'mores maker. We had some great s'mores and some cherry lemon sundrop. YUM! Then we went outside to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, we had an amazing lesson, brought up baptism, and he was really excited. He told us, "Well, I said I was going to do it last time you came over. So let's do it!" The date we set of June 6th apparently conflicted with graduation for the C's, so he said, "That's alright. We can do it that night so the party and everything will be over with." We were thrilled. We concluded the lesson and then had to say some bittersweet goodbyes. I know I will see them again soon, it's just really hard to leave the people that you have become so accustomed to working with and become so close to. But it was great! Then we had to head straight for Dairy Queen. The three members that we nicknamed "The gang", because they are ALWAYS together, wanted to take us out for ice cream. We showed up and they said they pulled a fast one on us and invited the elders too. So we all ordered and just visited for a while. They were all really upset to see us go. But I told them that I would be back soon, so that made it easier.
After that, there was really just a ton of time spent packing, loading, and traveling to Charlotte.
As far as transfers go, I am now in Danville, Virginia!!! You were right, family. I did indeed get transferred to Greensboro Zone! I AM IN THE PARTY ZONE! I should add the word finally, because from Charlotte, we had to travel to the Guilford missionaries' apartment. Then we had another hour-long drive ahead of us to Danville. But at least I can now say I have been in all three states! My companion's name is Sister T. I actually came out the same time as she did! But she was in a different MTC district than I was. She is really sweet. We are still trying to get over that awkward transfer phase where we don't know much about each other. But so far we have both been to Italy and we both like to cook. The Danville Elders are hilarious and our District Leader is fantastic! I am nicknaming him Elder fun. I have already heard him say at least five times, "I came out to have fun. I am not here to be a robot." He calls almost every day just to see how the work is going and how we are doing! Okay, now for some experiences, then I will tell you more.
We were able to go teach a woman here on Wednesday. We started talking, she grabbed her Book of Mormon, etc. It was a very nice and calm lesson, then a less-active member came up and said, "This is my church! These are my sisters! You need to join this church." She went on about how the church had been blessing her life, and then the woman's boyfriend came over. He was less than thrilled at the whole situation. He started going off on a tangent, saying how his way of life and our way of life are different. He started arguing with the less-active member and he said, "There is some form of the devil in all of us. In fact, what if I am the devil?" Then he started laughing and got on his motorcycle and drove away. Sister T and the woman looked at me with sympathy and said, "We promise he isn't always like this. He is just a little crazy sometimes." I must have had a weird look on my face or something. It was pretty strange, I have to admit....
We were at coordination meeting on Wednesday night. I wasn't really sure how everything was going to go because missionaries are always saying that, "Things are done differently in the top of the mission." I have come to know that that is true! But it is a good kind of different so far. :) Anyway, Sister T had told me that the bishop in Danville was kind of younger. But by that, I didn't know what she meant until we were in the meeting with him. We were talking about a common relative that he and Sister T have, and a movie about his life. The bishop then said, "You should really watch it. It's a tear-jerker. The whole time I was watching it I was like, (then he proceeded to pound his chest twice with his fist and raise his fist in the air), THAT'S MY PEOPLE!!!" We all died of laughter. He is so great! He served his mission in Madagascar, and because he didn't want to lose the Mangasee language, (I think that is what it is called), so after he got married, he taught it to his wife and is teaching it to their kids as they grow up. They are the best!
We were able to go eat dinner at the Bishop's house on Thursday and they invited their neighbors over who just moved here from Poland a few years ago. It was a really special/awkward dinner. Awkward because of that fact that no one knew me and we didn't know the neighbors, etc. But it was special because the neighbors had attended one of the Bishop's kid's baptism a few weeks ago, and they had given them a Polish Book of Mormon. After dinner, we were able to share with them what missionaries are, what we come out to do, and who we come out to teach. Then we showed the Restoration video with Polish subtitles. It was amazing! The spirit you felt in that room was indescribable. Even though I don't think they completely understood what we were talking about, I know they felt good. The wife said she couldn't think of the words in English to describe how she was feeling. I am going to take that as she was feeling something that she hadn't felt before. :)
I went to meet a less-active woman this week who people around here call, "The Coke Lady." Any guesses as to why? I'll give you a hint, it isn't the bad kind of coke. ;) Its because she has this amazing Coca-Cola collection that you wouldn't believe! She even has a sign that a man in prison made her, (I know right... But you heard me right. Prison), that says her name and has the Coca-Cola logo on it. Unfortunately, I only saw what was in her front room and her dining room, but she says that next time we come over, she will show us her shed full of Coca-Cola things. So expect pictures to come. She did show me however, the book full of little English goodies that I sent a couple of pictures home of. You see, this woman is older, and she said that she has to do something in her free time to keep her busy. So she has been writing major league baseball teams, celebrities, and the English Monarchy for years to see if they will write back. Well, now they are sending her merchandise, autographed headshots, and personalized letters back from Buckingham Palace. She has a full 2" binder full of letters from the Monarchy. Granted, they are not signed BY the royals, but still. She looked at me and said, "Are you jealous? I really like making people jealous." I responded with a BIG yes and she gave me a thumbs up and said, "Oh goodie! Mission accomplished!" She is the cutest thing in the entire world. From just meeting her, I never ever would've guessed that she was 98. But she promptly corrected me and said, "No dear. I am not 98. Like I tell my granddaughter, you must tell people I am going to be 100 in 17 months. It makes it sound like more of an accomplishment." She is great! She is going to have us back for a pizza party and I will let you know how that goes for sure! But the visit wasn't all lounging about. We did come to show her something spiritual. We showed her the Because He Lives video and she started talking about how she had been practicing I Know That My Redeemer Lives on the piano. She bore her testimony of the Savior to us and started crying because she said as much as she plays around, she truly is so grateful for all the Lord has given her in her life. The spirit in that room was so thick you could have run into it like a brick wall. It was amazing. Then she got all silly again and committed me, (that was a table turner), to do whatever my heart desires when returning from my mission. She said that that is what she has lived by and it has brought her all the happiness in the world.
We also had Stake Conference this weekend. Can you believe it? That means that in all three of my areas, I have had a Stake Conference, and in all three, there has been a general authority present. We had Elder Kopischke come to Greensboro stake this time. I was kind of concerned that it was going to be exactly the same as Gastonia Stake Conference, but silly me. What was I thinking? The first part of it was the same when he was talking about Ward Councils and everything, but the brethren added something to it this time. They wanted him to talk this weekend also, about keeping the sabbath day holy. It was remarkable. He talked a lot about how we need to focus more on what we CAN do on Sunday, rather than what we CAN'T do on Sunday. He focused on how we need to counsel with our families and make the day about families, Christ, and Heavenly Father. I will tell you more about it if you would like me to look at my notes.
In response to your questions:
- My new area is in Danville, VA as mentioned above. I am in a house now, not an apartment. Sister T says that if you send me something, it should come straight to the house, whether it be letter or package, but when you are sending me something from USPS will you check on that? I believe it is right, but let me know.
- My new companion is Sister T. She is from Ogden, Utah. I came out with her, she likes to travel, and she is a sweetheart. We are complete opposites in some things, but we are getting along great now that we realized that. haha ;)
- The new ward is fantastic! The people up here are different from my past couple of areas, but guess what? I am in a small town, again! I'm thinking at this point, Heavenly Father is going to put me in country my whole mission, then the last transfer, he'll put me in the city and blind side me! ;) haha But guess what? There is a member who served her mission in Charlotte 20 years ago. And she has served in PILOT MOUNTAIN of all places! She even knows the H's! She was there when R was just three years old! But that is nice to have in common with her!
- I think President knows that this area will be good for me because of my companion and the people. They are still wonderful people, but they are definitely different from anything or anyone I have experienced so far. Also, because my companion and I have some differences, I think it will be a learning experience. But my first impression as to why he said that is, I need to show some people up here how to have fun! Like I said, my district leader is super fun. And one of our zone leaders is... But we need to spread it around a little more. Basically, we just need to show people that you can be an exactly obedient missionary, get work done, and still have fun! So I'll let you know as the transfer goes on, but right now, there are a variety of reasons. :)
- I checked the receipt today. The packages aren't supposed to get there until tomorrow. So no worries. I think there was only one, too. So if two don't show up, don't worry. :) Speaking of packages, did you get Elder H sent this week? He asked me about it at transfers and I joked that you would be sending a three page I'm sorry letter. If you haven't sent it already, please try to send it this week. And if you want to get extra funny, you could copy and paste a thousand "Sorry's" onto three pages. ;). But please let me know if you have sent that for me. Thanks! And he went to Pineville, if you were wondering. I will have to find my note with where sister B went. But sister G stayed in Shelby and got my MTC companion as a companion.
- I did SEE Elder B. But I didn't get to say hi unfortunately because I had to catch my ride to Greensboro. But he is being trained by one of my past Zone Leaders and Assistants in Gastonia. He is with Elder H and Elder G in G, if I remember correctly. But yes, email his mom and tell her that he looked great and he was excited!
The temple sounds amazing and crazy busy! You'll have to tell me how Saturday goes and what preparation they are doing for the cultural celebration! Please remember to film it, or parts of it, so I can watch it when I get home. :)
And yes, dad just can't keep away from those walkie talkies. ;)
I am so proud of you, Beth. I can't believe you have graduated from seminary! That is so crazy to me. Essentially we are in the same boat right now in the way of school and missions and stuff. Isn't that weird?
I did get the information about the genealogy and so did sister G. But I will probably have to ask you the questions I have about it next week because I am running out of time. In fact, we are on the way to a member's house who said they would teach us how to make knives. I am definitely in Virginia! ;) I will tell you all about it next week because, to be honest, I don't really know what to expect. All I know is, we have been running around all day trying to get things done. :)
I just want my sisters to know how proud I am of them. Cait, you'll have to show me your soccer skills when I get home. Em and Beth, keep it up with school and things. You are both so amazing. AND I LOVE ALL THREE OF YOU MORE THAN YOU KNOW!
Thank you for all the pictures of the family! I love them! I am going to print them out next week and hang them up! I am also going to try to get some better pictures of Sister T and I and the house we are staying in, Danville, etc.
I love you all sooo sooo sooo much! To DANVILLE, VIRGINIA and back! I'll talk to you all next week! Loves and hugs from NC/VA!