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Monday, September 21, 2015

Olaf-Frozen. Do we know how to really pray?? We have to knock first. Don't be afraid, just knock.:

Letter from Aug 31, 2015

Hey you guys!  So this week has been kind of crazy!  We pretty much had to start all over.  There hasn't been super great progress here.  There has been progress, don't get me wrong.  And there is tons of untapped potential here, we just need to find it.  But there were some great bright spots here.  Here are some of them (but they are going to be out of order):

Experience #1
We went to see an investigator named K this week and when they answered the door, we found out she was not home because she was taking her kids to dentist appointments.  Her grandmother was there though.  So we decided to teach her while we were there.  We sat down, said a prayer, and shared some of the "how to begin teaching" principles with her.  We kind of summarized the first points of the Restoration.  We felt prompted to focus more on the apostasy with her so that we could possibly send missionaries up to her in Ohio.  We basically taught to the point that she actually understood the points we were discussing, but she was kind of uncomfortable with the idea of a regular man (a prophet) seeing God face to face.  Sister Leach and I had the exact same idea to look up Exodus 33:11 and explain the story of Moses to her.  She was kind of unhappy with that because that just confused her more than necessary.  So we stopped, explained that we aren't here to degrade any other religions or theories, and that we just want to invite people to come to know the truths that we have come to know over the course of our lives or our conversion.  That changed her whole outlook.  She still wasn't very interested in hearing more of the message, but she did respectfully decline.  It was just interesting to me to see her outlook change almost instantly when we simply said our purpose.  Truly every aspect of this work is inspirational and full of the spirit.

Experience #2
There is a member of the ward from Indonesia who feeds us once to twice a week at the Asian restaurant that he works at.  His name is E.  This week, we went to eat with him on his day off so that we could talk to him about the Gospel.  He only gets to come for the first hour of church.  And even then, he can't stay for the whole hour because of work.  But this week we talked to him about testimonies and families.  He is going through a hard time with his family and we were there to offer strength and comfort.  He is amazing.  It's ridiculously hard to understand him sometimes because he still has his accent.  But even with that, his testimony is so strong and he can communicate with us quite well.  The remarkable thing is that no matter what, we can catch at least the underlying point of what he is trying to say, I believe, because of the spirit.  It's like our own version of the gift of tongues in our little English-speaking mission.

Experience #3
This week, we were also able to teach a Facebook lesson to a less-active woman in the ward who is going through a REALLY tough time.  We shared, "Moments That Matter Most," with her and she said that it inspired her to think more positively and to spend more time with her son.  It was really amazing because I have taught a good amount of Facebook lessons on my mission, but this one in particular, I actually felt the spirit between my companion and I and I knew that the woman that we were teaching could feel the spirit too.  It actually brought to my remembrance the talk that Elder Bednar gave about technology in our day and how to use it most efficiently.  It is amazing how inspired it was to give missionaries iPads on their missions.  We can actually feel the spirit and growth of those we are teaching.  It is remarkable.  She thanked us for the message and the blessing it brought to her life on that day.

Experience #4
We went to go see these former investigators named D and L this week.  They were very interested in hearing more.  They had read the entire Restoration pamphlet and had questions and wanted to learn more about that.  So we cleared up any questions that they had or false things they had heard from neighbors and friends.  Some of them including... Wait for it... "Magic Underwear."  I couldn't believe it.  It was almost as bad as some people at the beginning of my mission asking where my horns and tail were.  I thought these things were made up.  But no.  They are still a thing.  They did mention that they were happy in their church and they weren't sure where their investigation was going to go.  But they do want to hear more.  So hopefully we will be able to share a powerful Plan of Salvation lesson with very powerful commitments.  We are pretty sure that L is "hook, line, and sinker" as Sister Leach says.  But D will probably take some more convincing.  So maybe y'all could pray that both of them will have the desire to explore the church for themselves and receive a witness that it is true.

Experience #5
There was a baptism for the Elder's investigators on Saturday.  We told them that we would show up about an hour or two early to help them set up for the baptism.  And GOOD THING WE DID!!!  We called them about an hour and a half before because the font was not clean and it was not being filled up because they weren't there.  So VERY QUICKLY, we had to clean up what we could of the font and start filling it.  Luckily the water was warm enough and we didn't really have to mess with the water heater.  We had to clean the glass, fill the font, and make sure the drain stayed shut the whole time.  And we were in proselyting clothing because we didn't plan on doing that.  So we took our shoes off and made sure that everything stayed clean because our shoes were super dirty.  The worst/funniest part, (because all I could do to avoid kicking him was laugh), is that one of the Elders came in and said, "Sisters, I just wanted to let you know that you don't really look like a representative of Christ without your shoes on."  And he was being dead serious.  I was so mad.  No "thank you for filling the font so we don't look bad, sisters."  But whatever.  We told the ward mission leader about it and he said, "What authority does he have to do that?  You're missionaries, and he's a missionary.  But it's okay.  Because basically, if you say anything mean about anyone down in the south, all you have to say is, 'bless their heart' and it's justified."  I laughed so hard.  But whatever.  Now I look back and just laugh.  Because I was trained to fill them that way.  So I'm sticking to it. ;)

Experience #6
Last night, we were invited to the Bishop's house for dinner.  No big deal... Right?  But they also invited 4 other families over for a HUGE dinner.  Which also meant a HUGE dinner message.  So we socialized, ate, and had fun, then we shared a message about missionary work.  We sang "I hope they call me on a mission" with everybody, read a cute little story for the kids, then shared our testimonies about missionary work for the adults.  So I guess now is the perfect time to do so.  Soooo.....

I would like to bear my testimony today about missionary work.  First of all, I know that we are all God's children.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to share the knowledge that we have with all those that we come in contact with.  As we do so, the Holy Ghost will assist us in helping others know of the truth that we are saying and sharing.  As they come to know it is true, they will want to change and become better for the benefit of themselves and their families.  I know that their families will benefit and become great assets to the church in these last days.  Because this is the work of the last days and we need to include God in all that we do in order to come out victorious.
It's a very condensed version due to lack of time, but still a testimony.  So I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

It was a great dinner though.  Wonderful food, and wonderful company.  A lady in the ward and her husband recently got back from London and she is really into the culture, the people, and the area as well.  So you can bet we talked about that for a good amount of time. ;)

Glad to hear that everything went well with Bethany moving out and such.  I do remember how crazy it is, but I am glad that she is enjoying so much of it.  That will definitely make the transition easier for her.  Tell her that she need not worry about her classes.  She is brilliant and she will do just fine.  She will get those last minute things that she needs, then she will be all set.  And the Rock Pass will bring her tons of fun!

It stinks that you no longer have a driver.  That has to make things a little busy... To say the least.  ;)  But still glad that y'all are enjoying everything that you are doing.

It's so crazy to me that Allyson and Bethany are in college... Wow.  But thank you for the updates for everyone.  It is so nice to hear that everyone is doing so well.

Training is going really well.  In reality, my trainee doesn't even need training.  She is a convert, yes.  But she takes the lead in most lessons and sometimes I even find myself interrupting, just so I can have a chance to speak.  She is great.  She is where I was when I was at her point.  Kind of done with 12-week and wants to just be a "full missionary."  But she is doing good.  There has been a little "elder vs. sister" drama, but that's okay.  Yes, she has realized that I am crazy.  Like I said, we are basically starting from scratch, but it will be okay.  Lots of potential.  We aren't super upscale, but it is more upscale than my last few areas.  I am doing okay.  A lot better than last week.  But this is the most drama that I have had to deal with on my mission.  So I am trying to kill that off.  But soon.  We are trying to get the ward into genealogy.  But it will be a work in progress.  There is an investigator who likes family history, but doesn't want to hear about the church.  So we are hoping that it will be our foot in the door.

I have to go for right now so we can have some more fun as missionaries.
Love you to the sun, then to the moon, then back.  Because that is farther.  Love you tons!
Ash :)

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