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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 :)

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