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Monday, July 6, 2015

My Companion is From Where?????!!!!

Hi you guys!  How has your week been?  Mine has been CRAZY!  Here's why!

Experience #1
Well we spent a total of probably three days packing up all of Sister T's stuff.  (There was A LOT of it)!  But Tuesday morning, we finally got the bags zipped, the car cleaned, the house cleaned, and we were ready for the 3, (but our member made it 2), hour drive to Charlotte for transfers.  Well, our ride showed up and his back seat was slid up too far, and we couldn't fit in.  After about 10 minutes of all of us trying to pull it back, they had to pack it up and take it to the upholstery shop about 15 minutes away so they could fix it.  Half an hour later, we started packing up the car and were on our way.  But our member wanted to stop for drinks.  I figured, we were already late at this point anyway, so why not?  So we stopped for drinks and had a really fun trip down to Charlotte.  We managed to somehow walk into transfers 2 minutes before it started.  We still don't know how we did that considering we were over an hour behind when we left.  But it was a really great transfer meeting.  All of the testimonies from the departing missionaries were fantastic.  Two of them happened to be past Sister Training Leaders of mine, so it was good to hear from them.  Sister Craven gave an amazing talk on the Allegory of the Olive Tree and related it to missionary work.  President Craven gave one last talk on how inspired mission presidents are and how wonderful it will be to have President and Sister Alexander here starting this week.  (In fact, I just sent my weekly email to President Alexander for the first time).  Then we did the actual companion transfer.  I said goodbye to Sister T, who is now serving in, North Carolina.  And I said hello to Sister H, who came to Danville from Mt. Airy, North Carolina.  What's really funny is I was trying to think of how I could remember her last name.  All I could think of was that I had a friend in high school named Jake with the same last name.  Well, after transfers concluded, we were talking.  She asked where I was from, I told her, and she replied, "I knew I had seen you around High School."  Of course, that made me stop dead in my tracks.  I looked at her confused and said, "What?"  She told me that she thought I graduated with her older brother... wait for it... JAKE!  Small world, right?  I couldn't believe it.  So Sister H is the younger sister of my friend Jake Hoffman.  She is from Mapleton, Utah, and we did indeed go to high school together.  I couldn't believe it.  We had about the same friend groups too.  Both good and bad.  I am so excited for the rest of the transfer with her!  :) :) :)

Experience #2
This week we were also able to do more family history with L and D in preparation for them to attend the temple this week.  Mom - the information you helped me find was really helpful.  We ended up sending D with 4 names and L with 3.  I would have sent them with more, but I wanted to make absolutely sure that the information we were putting in for these people was correct and that we weren't just cutting to the chase too quickly.  But L got so excited.  Some of the information we found about her grandparents, she didn't even know.  She knew them by their nicknames.  I was able to show her the full names of her grandparents and how many kids her grandfather had total between 3 wives.  She was floored.  She was practically vibrating in her seat, she was so excited.  I wish that I could have been there in the temple with them, but we are going to ask them how it went tonight.  Bishop E said they really enjoyed themselves and are already looking forward to the next time that they can bring family names.  I know that the family names we helped them bring made their first experience at the temple even more important and personal to them.  It made it into a special day that neither of them will ever forget.  I was even able to bear my testimony about family history to Sister H while we were preparing the last little bit of it.  Yes, I started crying.  This work means more to me than I ever even thought was possible.  And it amazes me how long these people wait for their work to be done and how willing they are to help you find what you need in order to do the work for them.  It's unparalleled.

Experience #3
We got to see the less-active that I think I have told you about previous to this.  Did I tell you about A?  Well, she is an amazing daughter of our Heavenly Father that constantly struggles with a disease that makes it hard for her to swallow, eat or drink, or breathe really.  But the optimism and spirit that she has with her is something like I have never seen.  And she is actually at the best point health wise that she has been in months.  So we shared the Courage video with her and talked about how much bravery and faith she has in our Heavenly Father.  She graduated college with a teaching degree, and since she hasn't been feeling great, she has not been able to teach in the past few years.  But she was really excited because she was going to get to go to church for the first time in quite some time.  We encouraged her and told her that we would come say hi when we saw her there.  And for the next few days after we saw her, I had been praying that nothing would go wrong and that she would really be able to come.  Heavenly Father came through once again.  He blessed her with so much health that not only did she come to church, but she was saying hi to everyone and you could just see the happiness radiating from her face.  She is one of the best examples I have had on my mission so far.  I only hope to have so much optimism, happiness, and pure love of Christ as this woman has.

Experience #4
We had District Meeting this last week and for those of you who haven't caught on yet, THE NORTH CAROLINA CHARLOTTE MISSION IS OFFICIALLY BACK ON FACEBOOK.  The rules remain the same.  No one can post on my wall, I can't talk to you over facebook, I can't look at your profiles, etc.  But I am so thrilled to have this blessing back to move forward in the work.  Having it gone really made me realize how great of a proselyting tool it is that we are so blessed to have.  Going on a slight rant if I may, Heavenly Father really knows what he is doing at what time he does it.  I know, I know.  We grow up hearing that He has his timing and He knows what is best.  But really, it's true.  The technology that He has provided for not only missionaries, but for us as members too.  If there is one thing I have learned from all the trainings that we have had to do in preparation to get it back, it is that we can always be sharing the gospel through the tools that Heavenly Father has given us.  I know that I will definitely be implementing this when I get home off of my mission.  Simply sharing a picture, talk, quote or video that we think could "brighten someone's day" could have positive eternal consequences that we may never even see the result of.  I have worked with one person who told me that because of something that was posted by one of the missionaries, he took a look at his life, and decided to be rid all of the things that he didn't like or appreciate and come to church to fix all that had gone wrong in his life.  We have no idea the influence we have.  That is all.  :)

Experience #5
We had a really spiritually uplifting lesson with a less-active in the ward named Sister G.  We showed her the Reclaimed video and discussed with her what could be stopping her from coming to church every week.  We all came to the conclusion that Satan really doesn't want her there.  We helped her realize that everything bad that happens to prevent her from coming to church is simply the adversary messing with her and telling her that her efforts aren't good enough.  We gave her a talk to read about hushing our fears that Elder Bednar gave in the last conference and invited her to church.  I have not felt the spirit so powerfully in a lesson in quite some time.  She even thanked us for being so "in her face."  But I know that it wasn't so much us that were powerfully teaching, but the spirit teaching her through us.  It was such a powerful manifestation to me that it really isn't us teaching, but the spirit.  We are simply Heavenly Father's hands here on the earth that he works with in order to bless the lives of those we work with.  That's what our purpose is as missionaries, and as people.  On a slight side note, we were with a member the other night who was going to come with us to a lesson.  On the way to the investigator's house, she saw a mother with a toddler holding many grocery bags, walking down the street.  The member pulled over and simply offered a ride.  The woman declined the offer, but it made a lasting impression on me.  That was such a Christ like action.  Especially this day in time.  It made me realize that there are even little things that I can be doing to be more Christ like.

The work is going well.  We have gotten a couple of media referrals today and all of them from the past 5 years reset this last week, so we have 28 people that we can potentially contact.  So we are excited.  As for the baptism on the 11th, we are going to have to move it back a little bit.  But that's okay.  So we are trying to work through those things with her.  But we know that Heavenly Father will help us along the way with those things.  And we are trying hard to find new people to teach as well.
I will let you know how the temple went from Sister G’s perspective next week.  We haven't had a minute to talk about it with her quite yet.  But she said briefly that it was really good during sacrament meeting yesterday.  So I will see how it went and I will let you know where we need to go with genealogy next.
President Alexander and his wife get here tomorrow.  They start meeting everybody on Wednesday.  I am excited to meet them and tell you all about them.  So expect that next week.  It should be really great!  It will be weird in some ways and amazing in others.  So I am looking forward to the new adventures.
Today for P-Day, we went to the mall, got groceries, we are emailing, then we are going to go finish the knives and play ultimate frisbee at the C's.  It should be really fun.  Most of the C's are going to be there because they all have work off today.  :) :) :)
I can't believe I am that far either.  It has gone by so quickly.  Realizing that I only have 9 months left makes me want to work that much harder though.  We only get this short amount of time to bring people to Christ with the level of power and authority that missionaries have.  So I am going to abuse that amount of time I have left and do all that I can to make the most of it.  But I am really happy with the progress and accomplishments I have made this far.  I have no regrets from my mission.  And I am absolutely loving every second of it.

I think that is about all for this week.  I will try to get more funny and spiritual moments to email next week, but you know, transfer week is transfer week.

I love you all so much!  I can't even express it!  I will talk to you all really soon!  Loves and Hugs from NC and VA!

Ash :)

I am Directionally  Handicapped You Want To Make Something Of It - And Yes I Am Aware There Is A Red Line Under
Directionally !!!

Experience #1
We were blessed with the opportunity this week to come out teaching with Bishop E.  We were actually supposed to take him to a lesson with a member who wants his records removed.  But he either wasn't home, or wouldn't answer the door.  So we decided to take him to a member of the ward who was actually the bishop of the Danville Ward some years ago.  It was such a powerful lesson.  You see, Bishop G doesn't have the best memory.  But we went to visit him and talked about the story of the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon and tied it in with faith and humility.  Bishop E was able to bear powerful testimony of this experience and it made all the difference.  We bore our testimonies, Bishop G complimented Bishop E on his knowledge of the scriptures, and we left.  But what was so amazing, is that Bishop G came up to us at church today and thanked us for coming over and meeting with him the other day.  HE REMEMBERED!!!  I couldn't believe it!  Heavenly Father works in miraculous ways!  I'm telling you!!! :)

Experience #2
We went to Eden for District Meeting on Wednesday.  When our member pulled up, we saw the zone leaders' car and immediately thought, "Uh oh.  This will be interesting."  BUT ELDER C ROCKED IT!!!  We had a great training on protecting our investigators from the things of this world, then we looked at the agenda.  I saw each of the companionships, and a room of the church.  Sister T and I were by the family history center.  We found out that the role plays for district meeting that day were going to be a mock church tour.  It was the best.  When we walked into the family history center, we just jumped right in.  We didn't falter.  We taught what family history is, why we do it, and even tied it into the plan of salvation.  The spirit that was felt in that room was remarkable.  I couldn't have dreamed of it going any better than it did!  We also got one of the easiest in my opinion.  The other rooms were: the baptismal font, the primary room, the gym, and the chapel.  It was really fun!  Oh, and for those who don't know, a church tour is when you take your investigators around the church and explain what each of the rooms is used for so that they will feel more comfortable coming to church.  They're great!

Experience #3
We had an amazing lesson with one of our investigators, S this week.  We went over and felt inspired to talk about the Book of Mormon with her before we go on with the rest of the lessons.  We showed her the Mormon Message, A Book of Mormon Story.  It was so inspired.  When she finished watching the video, she looked at us and just smiled.  She said, "That's it.  That's exactly how I feel about the Book of Mormon.  I do not have all the answers, but I know that I will soon."  We continued talking about the importance of it and what blessings she would see come from reading it and she slightly changed the subject.  She said, "You know?  I don't know what it is, but I just feel comfortable around the two of you.  And I don't even know you!  It's weird.  When you come over, I just can't wipe this stupid grin off my face."  And I just smiled.  This woman looks familiar to both of us and I looked familiar to her when we all first met.  If we were to guess, we might have known her before this life.  But we never know.  All we know is that we are here, at this time, to help her.  So me, being the occasional blonde that I am, replied, "You know, usually when people tell us that, I like to tell them that is the spirit touching their hearts."  We couldn't stop laughing after the appointment.  Seriously!  Who says it like that.  Sister T just looked at me as though she was saying, "Humble yourself, woman!  Humble yourself!"  I couldn't help but laugh.  Sometimes I just have to accept the fact that people may need to hear things a little differently.  And if not, that is still the story I am going with!  ;)

Experience #4
We also had the amazing opportunity to have dinner with the C's this week.  They are amazing.  Sister C's grandma is from Nicaragua, so most of her family is as well.  But they both actually grew up in Vernal.  Anyway, we went over to their house for dinner and she was actually at work later than she had planned, so she gave the recipe to Brother C and he made these amazing Nicaraguan tacos.  They were just a pan fried tortilla with shredded chicken, homemade salsa, and some herbs from their garden.  They also made this Spanish rice, but I couldn't have it because it had bell peppers in it.  Oh well.  We got talking and the subject of family history came up again.  They are so interested in family history that it blows me away.  So after dinner, we showed them the newer Mormon Message about family history that the church came out with.  They really enjoyed the video and it actually made Brother C remember this book that his grandmother had made.  He went to go get it so we could look at it.  She had made a book full of all of the ward members in the ward she was in, in Vernal.  It had pictures, stories, callings, testimonies, experiences, etc.  It was amazing.  And what was really neat is, Brother C's Grandmother's Bishop, was Sister C's Grandfather.  Isn't that neat how inter-connected everything is?  It amazed me!  Then we got a tour of their wonderful new house that they are working on renovating.  It is such a gorgeous home, but it is going to take a while to remodel with how busy they are.  But she told us her plans for each room and it is going to be GORGEOUS when it is complete.  We offered to help when they need it.  She said she would try to have us help if she could, but some of the paint they have to scrape off in order to repaint, has lead in it.  So we shall see.  But it really made my interior designer come out in me.  It was pretty funny.

Experience #5
We were able to go do service for a member in the ward this week, Brother and Sister T.  We got there, and on the porch I saw scrapers, sandpaper, and paint sticks.  So we walked in and she came out with us to get to work.  Our project for the day was to chip all the loose paint off of the porch and sand down all the hard edges so they could prime and repaint the porch.  Theirs is another house with quite a few projects they are working on.  Difference being, she has kids.  So we were able to help her in a major way that day.  We spent two hours in the broiling, humid sun, chipping away paint, sanding it down, and then we went in to have lunch.  We are hopefully going to get to come help her paint it sometime this week.  I made this an experience though because I got a real taste of humidity last week while we were doing it.  I was literally wiping pools of sweat off of my face.  It was ridiculous.  I have just given up on most makeup for the summer because it just melts off of my face.  I still do a couple of things, don't worry.  But not most things.  They don't stick.  And to make this day even better, we got home from doing service and had the bright idea to bike to our next appointment.  Luckily, the person lived right across the street from the elders and they happened to be home for lunch for a little bit.  So they kept our water bottles in their freezer to keep them cold.  It was funny though.  Elder B answered their door and all he said was, "Wow!  You two look a little warm!"  I just laughed because we looked so pathetic it wasn't even funny.  And the mosquitoes have been eating me alive, so his next comment was, "Ahhh.  You're allergic to them to?"  While he looked down at my legs.  I just nodded because you see, these are not just regular bites.  No!  These are full on WELTS!  Pictures attached!  It is ridiculous!  But hey, physical proof that I am doing my job right, huh?  ;)  At least now I know why the members all say June and July are the worst times to come back and visit.  :)

Experience #6
I made this next one an experience because it is amazing to me how quickly the Holy Ghost can change someone's heart.  We were teaching the Word of Wisdom lesson to our investigator, J the other day.  She was rather upset by the fact that we can't drink coffee or tea.  So I asked her if this commandment is something she could see herself complying with.  She said she didn't think so.  She saw no harm in it.  So we continued to talk about Joseph Smith, the revelation of the commandment and the importance of it.  By the end of it, she said she would think about it.  But Sister T was inspired to ask her if she would try living the Word of Wisdom for only one week.  Just to see how it would go.  She said that she would do that and let us know how she felt about it.  She then expressed some concerns or things that she had been going through and I brought up the strength that both members and non members can get from receiving a priesthood blessing.  So tonight we are going over with the C's to teach more about the priesthood and give her a blessing.  She is amazing.  Despite the things she is going through and the opinions of her family, she is willing to stand strong because she knows that this church and this gospel is what she needs right now in her life.  :)

Experience #7
Last night, we were able to have dinner with a newly-married couple in the ward, the C's.  We had an amazing dinner.  It was almost like an omelet with spinach, cheese, eggs, two different kinds of meats, etc., and tater tots.  Simplistic and sooooo good.  But the amazing thing was the message that we shared after dinner.  I felt inspired to show them the Mormon Message "Voice of the Spirit."   I love experiences like this.  I can really feel that even after my mission, this couple and I will be great friends because of the love and the bonds that are being built because of my mission.  I love them.

Experience #8
This one is shorter.  We walked out of our house one night this week after dinner and saw that it was pretty cloudy outside.  Sister T asked if we should just drive, but because we didn't have many miles I said, "No.  Let's walk.  If it starts raining, we will just turn around and come back."  Silly me.  Playing with the odds.  Well, we got what was coming to us.  We didn't even get 20 feet around the corner before we could hear it coming.  We looked over to the trees to our right and saw a WALL of rain headed straight for us.  And believe me when I say that we got DUMPED ON!  We were DRENCHED!  And we were wet the rest of the night!  But hey, it makes for a fun story... right?  ;)
We did get transfer news on Saturday.  I will be staying in Danville, VA.  Sister T is being transferred as well as Elder S and a few other elders in our district.  But I will be staying here.  Same address and everything.  So you can send the package whenever you would like to. :)  I haven't gotten news on whether or not I am training yet, but I will know for sure by tomorrow.  I take it though, that if they haven't told me by now, I am probably not training this transfer.  But we are getting a new mission president next week.  This is the last week with the Craven's.  That is going to be weird.  But a good weird.  We are all excited for the transition.  Well, maybe not ALL of us.  But I am, so you know.  ;)

I am still enjoying the district/zone.  We had a district activity planned last week, but it fell through.  So we all came to the church after getting snow cones and played basketball and "never have I ever."  It was really fun. 
I will let you know about the genealogy in another email.  :)

I will let you know how President Craven's last transfer meeting goes, how my new companion is, who she is, and how I am next week.  I CAN'T BELIEVE I AM TAKING OVER AN AREA!  I AM DIRECTIONALLY HANDICAPPED!  HOW AM I GOING TO DO IT!?  Hopefully I will be able to get our GPS working soon so that I won't be lost all of next transfer.  

I love you guys to NC and back!

Ash :)


I Almost Killed Nemo

Ashley's Monday Letter June 15 2015
Experience #1
On Tuesday, we were able to go to an appointment with the relief society president, Sister C.  We taught the restoration.  It was a really smooth lesson that was going really well.  But that isn't so much why I made this one of my highlight experiences.  I made it a highlight experience because Sister C was able to bear an amazing testimony about the Book of Mormon and the Bible working hand in hand.  She shared that she hadn't grown up a member of the church, and when she was 14, she was given a Book of Mormon by her best friend.  She realizes now that it was because her best friend really cared for her.  As she started reading the Book of Mormon, something clicked with her.  In the south, it is common knowledge that the Bible is true and is the word of God.  But she said that it made total and complete sense that the Book of Mormon went right along with it.  She said this because it truly is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  Not only does it work hand in hand with the Bible, but it is a complete second witness of the truth.  She shared the verse that says something like unto, "By the mouths of two or three witnesses, thou shalt know the truth."  How amazing is that?  I guess I had known that all along, obviously.  But when she connected the two of them to that verse, something sparked my interest.  Heavenly Father really has given us the Book of Mormon and the Bible to bear truth and witness to each other.  I just thought I'd share that because it's something that struck me as very powerful.
Experience #2
On Friday we had zone meeting in Greensboro.  It was a wonderful meeting where we learned A LOT!  I would say probably the best part of that meeting was a training that the Zone Leaders gave on being "Fishers of Men."  They started the training by handing out little green cards that had a room number and a name on them.  Side Note: Of course the Disney Freak would be handed the card that says "Nemo" on it.  ;)  We were instructed to go "find our investigators."  So each companionship headed off.  We got to room 108 to find Nemo.  I walked in, saw a styrofoam cup in the corner that said "Nemo" on the front.  So I lifted it up, and all of the sudden, this clear cup underneath tipped over and water spilled EVERYWHERE!  Of course I screamed because I had no idea what to expect when I lifted up that cup with the added terror of the poor little goldfish that was in the cup that was now flopping all over the table.  Sister T then came running in and started screaming as well.  I'm not going to lie, we were probably one heck of a sight to see.  She yelled, "Sister Irwin, what do we do?"  I was scrambling to figure something out so we wouldn't be known as the zone fish murderers.  So I grabbed the clear cup and scooped up poor little Nemo.  I then handed it to her because she was closer to the door.  She looked at me with a confused look and said, "What do I do with it?!"  I said, "Get it some water!!!"  So she ran to the drinking fountain to get pour Nemo some water.  After that, he was fine.  But to be honest, I thought the cold water was going to shock his little system.  But we got him safely back to the gym.  Some of the other fishies names were Ursula, Dory, Shelly, Finnigan, and Marlin.  Those are the ones I remember at least.  It was an amazing training on how we have to find the "elect" people that Heavenly Father places in our paths every day.  That had to be probably one of two trainings that I have REALLY enjoyed on my mission so far.  After zone meeting, we took the car to get oil changed in Geeensboro.  We were there for about 3 hours because there was an unexpected recall on the Jetta.  But in the meantime, we got to talk to an Atheist named "Bob" and a baptism named “Joe”.  Easy enough to say that neither of them were really interested.  But it was fun seeing other people's points of view and opinions about religion.  And hey, we planted a seed, right?  President Craven told us that statistically, people are contacted about 7 times by the church in some way before they join.  And I get to help with that!  How lucky am I?!  And then we topped the night off with Panera for dinner and Coldstone for dessert.  So overall, a very, very good day!
Experience #3
WE GOT TO SEE D GET BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!!  Sister T was freaking out all week that we weren't going to get everything done for the baptism or everything taught.  But we ended up doing it.  We had roughly 1 1/2 weeks to get nine lessons taught.  But we met with him almost every night in order to do it!  We came in at about 3:30 to set up for the baptism.  (I know... 4:00 baptism.  Weird.  Right?)  Anyway, we set up all the tables, chairs, and refreshments, then everyone started showing up.  We had a turnout of 30-40 people there.  It was great.  We had an amazing talk on baptism by the second counselor in the bishopric, Brother H.  Then we moved into the young women's room where the baptismal font is.  (It is kind of a small building).  Sister T and I went into the side where you walk into the font so we could see better.  It was D’s baptism day, but one of the Elder's investigators, C, was also baptized that day.  C went first and was baptized by Brother C.  It was amazing.  Brother C is like a father to C.  So it was a really sweet moment.  Then it was D's turn.  He asked Brother C's son, A, who just got married, to baptize him.  They got in, A said the baptism prayer, and baptized him.  When he came up out of the water, he had the biggest smile on his face and he just looked at A, said thank you ever so quietly, and gave him a big hug.  Then they all went to change as everyone else moved back into the chapel.  Of course, when I have my hand in things, they don't always go as planned, right?  Well we had planned on having 2 or 3 members bear their testimony while they were changing.  But after the three members we had asked to bear theirs were finished, none of them were through changing yet.  So the ward mission leader was all over it and opened it up to everyone else in attendance.  Well, after 45 minutes to an hour, they finally started coming back in.  But was everyone who wanted to finished bearing their testimonies...?  NO!  Finally the ward mission leader for up and said we had to move on.  Poor Brother C walked up to bear his though, and got cut off and was not able to do so.  But we had fast Sunday the next day.  Don't worry.  He got up then.  But then we heard a talk on the Holy Ghost given by a young woman in the ward.  Then Brother M, the Bishop's first counselor, gave a welcome to the ward and we closed.  Then everyone gathered in the gym for some refreshments.  It was wonderful.  Except that everything that was brought was chalked full of sugar.  There wasn't one healthy thing on that table.  But that's alright.  We stayed after to help clean up, and then went about our business.  It is just so amazing what missionaries get to participate in.  I was there to teach and bring into Heavenly Father's Kingdom, one of his righteous sons.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I have to give that hope and that knowledge to others while I am here.
Experience #4
There is a member of the ward that we were able to help out last week.  Now, this is a strong, active member of the ward who usually keeps composure and doesn't let anyone know what is bothering her.  But this week, like we all do, she was having a really tough week.  A couple of times, we were able to come help her out by just talking with her, sharing scriptures, and showing a Mormon message.  By doing so, we have gained such a strong relationship with her.  I think the most remarkable thing was, that she wants us to meet her non-member husband.  Now, you see, this doesn't happen often.  He has his opinions about the church and its members.  Which is fine.  Everyone has their free agency.  But it is kind of a big deal that she wants us to meet him.  We are really excited.  And it just proves to me, yet again, that by strengthening the ward and developing relationships with the members, you see untold blessings that otherwise, you may not have found.
Experience #5
On Tuesday of this week, we went on exchange with the Sister Training Leaders.  I went to Guildford with Sister S, and Sister T stayed in Danville with Sister D.  It was an amazing exchange.  I got to meet so many different kinds of people.  The elect, the not, atheists, new yorkers, etc.  It was very interesting to say the least.  Sister S is the sweetest though.  She went to Payson High and graduated the same year I did.  It was just good to have someone I could laugh and be serious with at the same time on exchange.  But overall, it went really well.  I don't know specifically what to say about it, so if you have specific questions about it, let me know.
Experience #6
We had a REALLY fun district meeting this week with Elder C as our new district leader.  He did a training on the "spirit animals of finding."  One was an owl - "Owl you know if you never try?"  Which meant to talk to everyone.  Two was a lion - "Quit Lion to yourself."  Which meant to be yourself all day, every day.  Three was a bear - "Bear your testimony often."  Which meant to always share your testimony, obviously.  Four was a gopher - "Gopher it."  Which meant to go for it and find the elect.
Then we went in the gym in Caswell for role plays.  We each got a role, (woman who just broke up with her boyfriend, false prophet, homeless man, and one person was the elect), then we spread out and one companionship left the gym while we were setting up and we all had a race to see which companionship could find the elect the fastest.  It was really fun.  We came in THIRD with a time of 2:30.  Apparently we can find the elect really fast when we are timed... haha  BEST DISTRICT IN THE MISSION!  I know I have said it before, but it is always true!
Experience #7
This week I fell off my bike.  So I feel pretty beat up, but I wasn't hurt too bad.  We were biking uphill to go to a less-actives' house.  All of the sudden my shoe got stuck under my pedal and within about 2 seconds, I was skidding across the road.  I think I gave Sister T a heart attack.  Pretty much all I knew was that I was laying on hot gravel and my back hurt.  So I knew I wasn't getting up by myself.  Then I saw her come over, get the bike from on top of me, and throw it to the side.  All the while hoping that there is not a car coming.  So she helped me from the middle of the road to the curb, then she freaked out because I was still in the sun so she made me get up again and move to the shade.  We found out that all that was bleeding was my elbow.  So we washed it off, got some band-aids on it, and got up..  I thought I landed on my tailbone, but I feel like it would be hurting a lot worse if it were that, so probably something close to it.  But I'm okay.  There was then a lady who came out of her house and said, "I saw everything out of my front door.  Are you okay?"  Great.  In the south, you are always on public display.  Because if they aren't at the door, they are at the window.  haha  It started to hurt pretty bad on Saturday and Sunday, so the elders gave me a healing blessing and I am doing much better.  But, again, if you have any more questions, let me know.
In Response to your questions:
The ward is great!
The bishop is fantastic!
District and Zone are the best in the mission!  We are the party zone!  Of course we are the best!
We don't switch presidents until July 1st.  But it is getting really close!
I think Millionaire Row is probably in someone else's area.  We have never heard of it.
I have helped in D's baptism so far, and we have a woman named J who set a date for July 11.  We are really excited about it.
I think that was about it.  I am so glad that you all enjoyed the temple celebration!  I am also glad that you got to perform.  I was worried.  I enjoyed all the stories and pictures.  (And the family pictures from this week, mom).  I love you all sooooo much.  If you need anything else from me, let me know in the next couple of days, so I can respond next week.  And I will for sure let you know about transfer news because we are getting it on Saturday.
Love and Hugs from NC and VA!
Ash :) <3