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Wednesday, September 30, 2015


We Got To Teach Young Women's This Week - 
Selfie's, Technology and Talking With People Face To Face

Ashley Irwin <>
Denise Irwin
Sep 28 at 12:07 PM
Hey you guys!  Hope you have had an amazing week!  I sure have!  Here are some of the things I did!  :)

Experience #1
We got the opportunity to go to the S's on Monday.  They are one of my most favorite member families in the ward.  Their testimonies are just so strong.  We decided to share a message about missionary work.  As soon as we opened with a prayer, you could just feel the whole room flood with the spirit.  We shared one of my favorite videos on missionary work, "Your day for a mission."  It is one of my favorites because it talks about the sacrifice that missionary work requires.  And don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say, "Wo is me."  But let's be honest, it is a sacrifice.  We sacrifice time, family togetherness, education, marriage, travel, etc to be out here.  But what I have come to learn is something the video also addresses.  It really doesn't matter that much.  The opportunity that we have as members both to go on missions and to do missionary work in our daily lives is irreplaceable.  There is nothing more satisfying.  I have come to realize that I can bring my brothers and sisters to the knowledge and happiness of the gospel because of my faith, obedience, and diligence.  And what could be more rewarding for me in my life right now?  The video also talks about the blessings we get from, serving the Lord.  Syd Goings is such an example to me of his dedication to the Lord and to this gospel.  So we shared that and talked about how we can all share the gospel and committed them to share their testimonies about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father with someone else this week.  It was a fairly simple lesson, but had so much power behind it.  :)

Experience #2
We were able to teach Sister M at the church this week.  This is the first time that we had met her at the church building because it is so far away.  But because of miles, we were stuck in Huntersville all day and she agreed to drive up and meet us there.  So we decided that there was nothing more appropriate to share with her than the message of the sacrament.  You could really feel the spirit there as well.  (Despite the fact that her three-year old was bouncing off the walls).  It was amazing to talk about the promises we made to Heavenly Father when we were baptized and, in return, the promises he made us.  I think with the promise that He has given us - what sticks out to me is the promise He gave us that we "will always have His spirit to be with us."  What an amazing promise that is.  How remarkable.  He doesn't just give us the Holy Ghost when we have a decision to make or when we are going through a hard time, but we have Him ALWAYS!  And the Lord doesn't ever go back on his word and he cannot lie.  He has literally paved the way for us and given us every tool we could possibly need before our lives are over to return home, should we choose to use these things in righteousness.  Let alone the symbolism behind the sacrament.  I remember, (but I can't remember if I told you guys), this lesson I had while on exchange with Sister A in Alexandriana.  There was a special needs boy at a member's house when we went to go see them that started talking about the symbolism of the savior on the sacrament table and the use of the drapery and the bread and water.  I cried because of the closeness to the Savior I could feel emanating from this boy.  It was life-changing.  So that was definitely a highlight of the week.

Experience #3
We also got to go see our investigator, J this week and her father W who just recently joined the church.  Her mother is out of town, so we taught her the same lesson over Facebook at an later time in the week.  This girl though -  She amazes me.  She is 11-years old. Her mother started having her read the bible a couple of years ago, and she was showing us her study notebook.  Basically, what she does is she will read a verse, and then write down the meaning of the verse in her own words for the entire chapter that she is reading that day.  And she is almost never wrong.  Then she gives it to her mom and has her read the chapter, then her interpretation, and checks it off on correctness.  My brain would have exploded.  For Pete's Sake the kid is reading Psalms and Isaiah.  Like... What?  ;)  But anyway, we taught the next lesson that she needed to learn in preparation for her baptism on the 9th.  We are so excited for that.  We are going to have to do a lot of cramming and planning, but I'm sure it will be fine.  :)  Anyway, we taught the Plan of Salvation.  She knew every topic, every answer, and every detail in depth before she even started the lesson.  Her mom had her read the pamphlet when she took the discussions originally, so she had remembered a good majority of it.  I loved seeing the perspective of an investigator versus a recently baptized member, though.  They weren't too different in opinion, however there were differences.  I think we are finally starting to understand what her mom said when she told us that she had a "very inquisitive mind."  But she is so excited to keep learning and keep growing in order to follow Jesus Christ's example as well as her parent’s example and be baptized.  We also briefly talked about how, because she will be getting baptized soon, her family will be able to go to the temple in a little over a year and be sealed for time and all eternity.  She just lit up when we told her that she would be able to spend all of eternity with her parents.  Because, let's be honest, if you have a loving and good relationship with your family, why wouldn't you want to be with them forever?  :)  I know I do and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I get to be able to do so and for the opportunity I am getting right now to bring the same blessing to others.

Experience #4
We got to go on exchanges this week.  I felt a little bad though.  Here's why; the sister training leaders have started asking us where we would like to go and with who after we counsel with Heavenly Father in prayer about it.  But here is why I felt bad.  I felt that I needed to go with Sister W in Mooresville and that Sister L and Sister D needed to be in Mountain Island.  Sister L agreed.  We called them and told them and they seemed unsure and told us that they would get back to us.  Right after they hung up the phone, it occurred to me that Sister W had only gotten to Mooresville that week and probably didn't know the area yet.  But they agreed that it would be fine and we exchanged on Thursday after weekly planning.  It was a really great exchange.  We had to use the GPS the whole time and got rerouted because of accidents and construction, but hey, that isn't out of the ordinary for this directionally handicapped sister!  So it was good.  We got up there and tried to go see a couple of potentials in their area book.  Not even thirty minutes into the exchange and I had already learned something from Sister W.  She and Sister D have started this thing where if someone immediately tells them, "I am ______fill in religion here______" or "I am not interested", they say that is fine, but instead of turning around to leave, they keep making conversation with them until they can either bear testimony or leave them with a couple of principles from the Restoration.  They don't count it as a lesson, but they just leave it with them.  I was completely thrown off by this because this is not what my trainer did, or any other sister training leader up to this point.  When I asked her about it, she just said, "We figure it is more beneficial to leave them with a portion of what they are turning down."  That really stood out to me because, HELLO SISTER IRWIN!!!  THAT IS WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING ALL ALONG!  It was kind of a "Why didn't I think of that?" moment.  They said that they too, have only started doing this about a week ago.  But that it is something that they hope will catch on.  After all, if I were in their shoes, it would probably be more worth it to hear something that makes me feel good and have a good view of the message and the church in my head than otherwise.  After dinner that night, we were able to bring a member and his brother-in-law to an appointment with us with a Brazilian man and his son's girlfriend who are investigating the church.  It was a very spiritual lesson.  The brother-in-law speaks Portuguese and just got back from his mission.  So that helped a lot with the language barrier.  But all in all, they enjoyed the message and agreed to hear more about the Plan of Salvation later in the week.  They have lots of questions and I assume they will progress swiftly.  That night we also got to go to the church and teach a lesson to another investigator of theirs.  We were supposed to teach the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ discussion, but we ran out of time so we awkwardly stopped after the Holy Ghost.  But it was okay because I got the inspiration to invite him to be baptized during the lesson and he was very excited!  It was planned for the 17th and they moved it to the 18th because of Stake Conference.  October is proving to be difficult for scheduling baptism dates.  For example, we wanted J baptized on the 10th, but because of the Fall Festival, we had to move it to the 9th.  This month we have Mission Conference, Zone Meeting, Interviews, General Conference, the Fall Festival, Stake Conference, etc.  We are going to be crazy busy, but if people are hearing about and accepting the message about Jesus Christ, our job here is done.  (With the help of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, of course)!  ;)

Experience #5 
We got the ever-so-fabulous opportunity to teach the Laurel's in young women's this week.  It was a really good lesson, actually.  It was about "How do the things I say affect me and those around me?"  We showed two of the three videos in had in the lesson plan.  They were about a "no cussing club" that this LDS kid started when he realized that as he and his friends were getting older, the language was getting worse.  The other was about this group of friends that decided they were going to send each other a huge group message full of conference quotes, scriptures, and uplifting messages.  I really like that one.  We talked about how it has become so easy to just type what you want to say to someone whether it be a good message, or bad.  We bore testimony about and encouraged them to use the technology that we have been given to uplift others and strengthen them, rather than tearing them down.  Also, we encouraged them to try more face-to-face contact.  Even though it has kind of become a thing of the past, we still all have faces and we can still all use them.  Kind of a comical thought, but true.  Sister J, the Young Women's president then wrote up on the board what she puts on her children's bedroom doors:

Think Before You Speak!  Is it...

T- True
H- Helpful
I- Inspiring
N- Necessary
K- Kind

I really liked that.  I think we have all become subject to the fact that it is really easy to just type something and send it rather than saying or handling something with respect.  Then the girls were able to ask us a bunch of questions about missionary work.  They asked me what the hardest part about going on a mission is.  I said it was probably taking the rejection we face and turning it into optimism.  When someone says, "We are not interested" and slams the door in our faces, President Alexander has encouraged us to take that as a good thing.  He says that amongst all the "No's", there is bound to be a "Yes."  So each rejection we are encouraged to look at as one step closer to our yes.  :)  Also, one of my favorite things I have learned on my mission is.... "Attitude determines Altitude."  If we have a sad or discouraged attitude all the time, we aren't going to accomplish nearly as much as we would if we have happy, Christlike attitudes that make others want to change their lives and bring them in harmony with Gospel Teachings.  :)

Experience #6
Obviously I have to write about what I thought about Women's Conference.  Because HOLY COW!  It was simply amazing!  Some of my favorite quotes were:
- "Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments... Our divine nature comes from God." - Rosemary M. Wixom
- "Divine nature comes as a gift from Him with a love that only a parent can feel." 
  - Rosemary M. Wixom
- "What will it matter dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with them?" - Linda S. Reeves
- "We identify with our divine nature as we feel, and give, the love of our Father in Heaven." - Rosemary M. Wixom
- "Now is part of eternity.  Open your eyes to the joy of now." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- "There are two important days in a woman's life: The day she was born and the day she finds out why." - Rosemary Wixom

And obviously those were only some.  I really, really liked it.  And yes, I cried.  A lot.  It was sooooooo good.  I thought it was also very interesting and peculiar that President Uchtdorf only taught in one parable for his entire talk.  He just opened it, told the parable, and bore his testimony.  My jaw hit the floor and I was like... what?  Don't get me wrong, I loved it just as much as every other talk he has ever given, I was just a little confused.  But it was beautiful.  I really liked the painting of the pioneer girl as well.  Soooooo good.  What were your favorite parts?  I would love to hear about it?  I know you either watched or recorded it.  So let's hear about it next week along with General Conference.  Which, by the way, I am so excited for.  I am so excited to see who they will call as new apostles.  :)

Isn't it funny how that works?  Sometimes I feel like when I write you letters, it does more good for me, too.  Because it really makes me think about how much the Lord's hand was with me and in the work in the past week.  But it can happen in prayers, lessons, blessings, etc. too!  And has happened to me... it is amazing to me that Heavenly Father helps us receive the guidance and counsel that we need through the help of others.
I was sorry to see Elder Scott pass away too.  But I know that now he gets to be with his beautiful wife and he is probably much happier there than he was here.  And like I said, I am really excited to see what happens this conference.  It is truly going to be a historic event.  This hasn't happened in a very long time.
I really liked what you said about the Pope and his mass.  I feel the same way.  In fact, I was just thinking about our trip to the Vatican the other day.  I loved being there for the history, the art, and the architecture, but I didn't necessarily feel the spirit there.  I know it was a very sacred place for them, but there was just something missing.  That final puzzle piece, if you will.  I truly feel like when we go to the temple, there is just a completion of feeling and love that we really can't get anywhere else in the world.  I almost feel like we leave the planet for a few hours, get a glimpse of heaven, and come back.  And in case you are wondering, yes.  I am very temple hungry right now.  I can't wait to go when I get back.  :)
I am just so grateful for the opportunity that Heavenly Father has given me to go on a mission and help others find that puzzle piece that they need for their own completion.  :)

So how did Dad like China this time?  What did he do?  What did he see?  I am excited to receive the treats that you are going to send in the package.  I do have to ask on that note though, did you ever send the post cards from Alaska?  Because if you did, they never got here.  If not, that is just fine.  And I am so glad to hear that grandma and grandpa's are doing well.  Especially that grandma Irwin is feeling better after the cruise.  That couldn't have been fun to get sick after having such a good time.
When you said dad has been missing in action at church, I kind of laughed because the Mountain Island bishop just got back from being gone from church for about a month, himself.  :)
How is the girls camp preparation going?  Are you having fun with it?  You should be!  That calling would be great!  :)
I wrote Beth a quick email of encouragement.  I do wish I could hear from her more, but I also understand where she is coming from.  It is hard.  And it is nothing like high school.  It takes some getting used to.  But I know that she will get grades, sleep, and social balanced out soon and have a splendiferous time!  :D
I am glad Em and Cait are still having so much fun as well.  That always makes everything better.  So that is definitely good to hear.

The mission is going great!  I am having so much fun!  Because honestly, I figure if you aren't having fun - not only are you wasting the Lord's time, but your own.  And you want to do neither.  So I make it fun!  :D  Because you're right,  it does go way to fast and before you know it, I am going to blink and it will be gone.  :(  But I am going to live up every second until they force me to leave this wonderful place.  :)
It is so weird to hear that everyone I grew up with in church is moving on with their lives and we are all growing up so dang fast!  Some of my friends are married with kids... what?  WHAT!?  Crazy!

The ward here is doing great!  We actually just had a boundary change meeting last night and Mountain Island is now twice, if not three times as big.  So we have a lot of work to do.  We also gained a third set of missionaries in the ward and they are planning on soon putting in a fourth.  We're excited.  So now, we have us, Elder C, Elder J, Elder R, and Elder R.  It's great!  Some of the members are way more into the missionary work than others, but we did just gain 133 new active members in the ward.  So who knows how the missionary work will grow?  We are expecting big things, very soon.
I still love President Alexander and his wife.  They are the sweetest and most supportive mission president and his wife, EVER!  I adore them!  :D
This area is actually kind of easier than the past areas because there is so many people in the Charlotte area that haven't even heard of the church before.  The Huntersville area is kind of dead as far as the work goes, but that's okay.  Because we now have the inter-city area in our boundary as well.  If you want to see more of the boundary, it is on  :)  We now have more fun stuff to do.  So We are actually going to go to the Mall this week and next because we didn't have one before and Sister L needs winter stuff.  I am just going window shopping.  I had to get a prescription filled and go to the UrgentCare this week because I just wasn't getting better.  But they put me on a Z-Pack and I am improving A TON!  So I am happy!  :)  Thanks to Heavenly Father for the blessings as well.  :)

I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THERE WAS AN ECLIPSE LAST NIGHT!  I wish we would have known.  We would have tried to see it.  Oh well.  We were beat from the last two days.  So who knows if we were even awake?  But if you got any pictures, send them my way.

But I think that is all for now.  I love you guys to the Eclipse and back!

Love you tons and tons!  Hope you have a great week as well!

Ash :)

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