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Monday, July 6, 2015

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

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