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Monday, September 21, 2015

Hey Guys! I Had Such A Good Week!!

Letter From Aug 11 2015
Hey guys!  I had such a good week!  Here is what has happened:

Experience #1
Elder C wanted to do a really fun District Activity last Monday because he was transferred last Tuesday.  We had planned to go fishing, play board games, corn hole, and eat lots of food.  But as it is a well known fact, P-Days just don't last that long.  Especially when there is an hour of travel time in between destinations.  We left Danville and got there in about 40-50 minutes.  It usually would have been faster, but Elder B decided to drive like a normal person, rather than his usual method of pretending he is a cast member in The Fast and The Furious!  The worst part was that Elder C had told us last night that it was going to be a few more miles than expected.  But we didn't know how many.  We got to there house, and it was probably another 15-20 miles to the member's, T’s fishing hole.  But it was fun.  We showed up and the fishing hole was probably no bigger than my home living room.  But he reassured us that it was going to be a creek about a mile down and that it would be better and bigger.  So we hopped on the trucks to ride about a mile through a high, grassy field, (probably full of ticks, so we were all hunched over), to the "fishing creek."  It was a whopping... Wait for it... Size of TWO of my home living rooms.  Maybe.  Stagnant water and bamboo fishing rods in hand, we set off.  On the way from the top of the hill down to the creek, I got stuck in a thorn vine, (no, not a bush, a vine), trying to avoid the ticks and got punctured three times in my legs.  I bled quite a bit and it hurt extra bad because of the nasty bug spray I had on.  But complaints and pain aside, it was SOOOOO FUN!  I got down there and all the Elders wanted to go first, no surprise!  ;)  So we were just taking pictures while they all had their fun.  Then the member noticed we weren't fishing.  So he told us to go down and give it a shot.  He asked if we even wanted to and I figured, since we had used the time, energy, and miles to get here, why wouldn't I?  Even though I don't remember ever learning to fish.  And if I did, it was many years ago.  So I went down first and Elder L was nice enough to stick with us and help us out.  It was a bamboo fishing rod that the member had made I'm assuming.  Elder L baited the hook for me and told me where to put it.  It took me a few tries, but I did end up catching a tiny catfish only a couple minutes later.  I say tiny, but it was one of the biggest.  Still small, like the size of my palm, but one of the biggest.  We took our pictures, then he let it go back.  Then Sister H went for it.  She caught a rather large one and while Elder L got it to get the hook out, it fidgeted and the hook punctured his finger.  He said it was no big deal, but I could tell it hurt because it was bleeding pretty badly.  He got it off and baited it again for her and she caught another one.  Then I tried again, but they just weren't biting anymore.  So we headed back up to the house.  (The house was a slave house apart from the one larger on the property that was built in 1810.  It was really pretty and fun to see all the things still left in there).  T made us hotdogs and chili and slaw.  It was so good.  After we all visited and Elder C gave out district prizes, (aka Stuff he couldn't fit in his suitcase), we had to head home.  On the way home we got rerouted because a tree fell down in the middle of the road.  Don't see that every day in Utah. :)

Experience #2
We got to go teach R, the Plan of Salvation this week, (along with a Book of Mormon reading and The Gospel of Jesus Christ).  She was really open to hearing everything.  She is just so elect.  She told us that she is going to work on getting work off so that she can come to church.  She asked us before we left, "So I told you that I am moving to Atlanta in January, right?"  We nodded.  "Well I want to be a member of the church there, but do I have to wait until I am baptized?"  We said yes and she replied, "Okay.  When can I be baptized then?"  We explained that she has to come three times before baptism and she said that she will try her hardest with her work schedule to make the 29th for baptism.  But she didn't think that it was going to be very likely, because she works at Walmart and they are really strict on their schedules.  But when we were at church yesterday, we asked if she could check her work schedule for the next two weeks just to see what we were going to have to deal with.  She got on and looked, and found out that she has the next two Sundays off.  And because she came yesterday, she can be baptized on that day.  We are so excited!  We were praying really sincerely and fervently this week, that is for sure.  Now just pray that we will be able to teach everything and that she will be okay with it.  :)

Experience #3
Sister H cut Sister B’s hair this week for a service project.  (Sister B is the 99-year old).  It was a lot of "Sister B, can you sit up a little straighter?"  "No, I have scoliosis."  I just sat there giggling the whole time because the only amount of help I rendered was holding her hair up at one point because she didn't bring any hair clips.  It turned out really well though.  Sister B is just so sweet.

Experience #4
We went to our investigator J’s house this week to teach him the Plan of Salvation, but we didn't get to because it was super hot and he was the only one home.  He didn't want to just stand outside because of the heat.  It was broiling this week.  Anyway, right when we pulled up, we knocked a couple of times and were about to leave before he and his Grandfather and his wife pulled up.  James was helping park cars and get everything situated.  The wife walked to the house and we were on the sidewalk, semi-in-the-way.  We moved out of the way and asked how she was doing.  She said, "I'd be a lot better if y'all would stop coming to my house."  Ouch.  That one stung a little bit.  And I'm not sure my facial expression was too kind either.  I said something snarky like, "Well aren't you a ray of sunshine!" (sarcasm added) and Sister H said, "Repent!"  I just had to laugh.  That is really all you can do.  It's okay though.  We aren't teaching her anyway.  We are teaching her grandson-in law.  So it shouldn't matter, but I think we are going to try to meet with him at a different location.

Experience #5
R took us to Buffalo Wild Wings with her after a lesson this week.  It was really fun!  Sister H and I had never been before.  And that was apparent in the way I ordered for us.  Instead of the smart option of everyone saying the normal, "I'll have 5 wings with this sauce", I said, "We'll get 15 wings, three different sauces, and we'll split the check three ways."  Silly me.  But it was really good food.  Not nearly enough food because we didn't get any sides or anything, but still good.  We ended up having to go get McDonald's and Subway later because we weren't full.  I guess I'll just have to keep going to "B-Dubs" as other missionaries call it, (B for Buffalo, Dubs for W), so I can become a B-Dubs aficionado.  ;)

Experience #6
We had our first district meeting with our new district leader, ELDER K!  After months of hearing stories about him and how funny he is, I finally get to serve with him the last transfer of his mission!  He is great!  Elder C was a lot more "go with the flow," but Elder K is more "I'm structured, but I'm fun."  I think it is the fact that he just came from being a zone leader in Winston-Salem as well.  He did a fantastic training on numbers and how there are people behind each key indicator.  He basically changed my perspective from "numbers don't matter," to "numbers don't matter, people matter."  The takeaway was, if your key indicators don't increase, the people you are working with don't progress.  He is also all about having fun. Yes - Like I said, he still has zone leader motives, but he does like making things fun.  Which I appreciate.  After district meeting, we went as a district to O'Kelley's for lunch.  Super yummy.  Our district is so much fun.  We didn't go today, but next week, we are all planning on going to this exhibit in Caswell I think... that has Lions, Tigers, and Bears.  OH MY!  ;)

Experience #7
We got to go help a member of the ward this week with a problem that she was having that day.  She has such high hopes for her kids, but because they are a part-member family, she doesn't know how much of an influence her husband will have on her children's choices.  She wants them to grow up in the gospel, serve missions, read their scriptures and pray daily, and sometimes get discouraged when it doesn't all happen.  I was able to go over and share a few experiences from my life with her.  Currently, there is a member of her family who isn't praying or reading the scriptures.  I shared with her that night something that I don't share with many people, but that I am sure my mom and dad remember.  There was a point in my life where I didn't pray like I should have.  I was younger, and I hadn't had that sure witness that Heavenly Father was even there, let alone listening to what I was saying when I prayed.  I remember my mom sitting me down in the car one afternoon and just sincerely asking what my concern about it was.  I basically told her that I didn't know what was supposed to come of prayer or if he was listening.  Through my mother's testimony that sunny afternoon when I was about 14-years old, (if I remember correctly), and my real desire to know for myself, I have come to the sure knowledge that our Heavenly Father is indeed there and he ABSOLUTELY listens to every word that we have to say.  It took a while after that experience for me to get my prayer habits back to 100%, but I definitely did it.  I never really understood until now why that ever happened.  I was raised in a household FULL of prayer.  It wasn't like I didn't have the example.  But it all makes sense now.  I shared the experience with her and bore my testimony on prayer and told her that it all came from the DESIRE that I had for myself to know.  And if she will pray for him to receive that desire, then everything will turn around and he will have a new outlook on it.  Because in my life, since that experience years ago, I have seen so many of my prayers and my family's prayers answered, and many miracles happen.  She just started crying and said, "Heavenly Father made you go through that so you could come on your mission to find me and help me in a time that I needed you most."  Then of course, I got a little teary-eyed.  Heavenly Father really knows what we need and what we can help others with.  I never knew I needed that experience, but it has benefited my life 100-fold.  And in turn, I was able to bless another's life who is going through the same thing, even though it was years and years later.  Such an unshakable testimony gained from that night this week.

Experience #8
All four of the Danville missionaries talked on Sunday this week.  One of the members said, "I can't even remember the last time that ALL FOUR missionaries hit a home run with their talks.  Usually at least one of them strikes out."  So I guess that means that they all really liked them.  Elder C spoke on "Always Finding as Members", Elder E (The new Danville Elder we have, straight from the MTC) spoke on "The Blessings of Missionary Work", Sister H spoke on "Using the Book of Mormon as a Tool in Missionary Work", and I spoke on "How to Help Others Feel and Recognize the Holy Ghost."  It was a REALLY good sacrament meeting.  I actually learned a lot about what I can say to investigators and less-actives about the Holy Ghost while teaching.  It was great!  I think the story that stuck out the most to me is the one Elder C told.  He grew up in Huntington Beach.  So he has been surfing since he could walk, practically.  He remembers one day, his little brother wanted to come surfing with him, but his brother isn't very good.  So after a while, he just left his board on the beach and decided to swim in the water.  After a few minutes, Elder C and his friend looked around and couldn't see him anymore.  They looked and looked, with the knowledge that down the beach a little bit, there were cliffs that the current could lift you to if you aren't careful.  They finally spotted him, and sure enough, he was headed for the cliffs.  He was trying to swim away from them, but isn't very good at swimming either.  Elder C jumped on his board and surfed over as close as he could, found him, lifted him up onto the board so he could rest for a minute, then he pushed him safely to shore before he could hit the cliffs.  He related this experience of saving his brother, to all of us as members assisting the missionaries and Heavenly Father in saving our brothers and sisters.  It was so good.  If you have any specific questions about it, let me know.

This week was kind of all over the place.  That's why there are some that are longer, and some that are shorter.  But I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.  :)
Emily will love Diamond Fork, I am sure of it.  And maybe the two murals that I helped paint are still hanging in the lunch room.  She should look out for those so she can say, "Hey!  My sister helped paint those!"  :D
I am so glad I made the choice to serve the Lord as well.  I was just telling that member the other night that this is the best decision that I have ever made!  There is nothing that would ever make me go back on this choice!  I have grown so much spiritually.  And I really don't know if I would have been able to learn the things that I have, or come this close to my Savior any other way.  It is the best thing that has happened to me up to this point in my life, apart from being sealed to my eternal family, of course!  :)
I love you sooooo much!  I love you to the far reaches of the beautiful rivers, lakes, and oceans that you guys are blessed to see every day for the next few days.  :)
I'll talk to you next Monday.

Ash :)

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