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Monday, April 18, 2016

Dec 8 2015

Hey you guys!  This week was possibly one of the best weeks I've had on my mission.  Don't get me wrong, there were some down moments.  But who can focus on those too much when there has been so much good? Want to hear some?  Feast your eyes upon the goodness......

Experience #1
So on Monday, we were privileged enough to get permission to go to uptown.  We went everywhere from the NASCAR Hall of Fame to the Bank of America Building to the Hornet's Stadium.  It was sooooo fun!  We took lots of pictures that I will be sending home.  It was just so great because I got to be back in the city for a little while.  I mean, I serve in the city, but not in the city scape city.  It was so great!  I attribute being able to get anywhere to the fact that we have traveled so much and y'all taught me how to do it.  But I just had to share that!  Because it was definitely a highlight.

Experience #2
When we were at a member's house for dinner this week, we had this delicious rice and teriyaki.  After we ate, she offered us ice cream so she could get it out of her house.  She offered us chocolate syrup and we said that we would love some.  When we put it on, I asked if she wanted me to put it back in the fridge.  She said, "It doesn't go in the fridge.  Does it?"  Then she looked and it said, "refrigerate after opening".  She looked at us and said, "Oops.  Sorry if you get botulism."  We laughed so hard we could not contain ourselves. She and her husband are really sarcastic, so everything they say makes us laugh uncontrollably. They are so great.

Experience #3
I just wanted to talk about the new video, "A Savior is Born".  At first, we were worried that people wouldn't respond to it the way that we had hoped they would. But after starting to show it to people, we
realized very quickly that it softens their hearts and enables us to talk to them about the Savior's fact, we showed it to someone yesterday and we were able to talk about how families are able to be together forever and how the Saviors atonement can cleanse us. We were able to invite him to baptism and invite him to make the changes in his life that will bring him closer to the Savior. My personal thoughts on the video, are that it is amazing that children of their age can comprehend what the Savior can do for us in our lives. The power that the video has to bring in the spirit, is something that I can't even describe in words. I am so grateful for the inspiration that the church leaders use when they create these videos. They truly touch people's hearts and changed their lives for the better.

Experience #4
This week, we were also able to have zone meeting. They talked about how we need to use our technology to better the lives of others, how we can implement the new video initiative, and how we can invite people to church in order to change their lives because of the power of the sacrament. The spirit that is felt in these meetings, is something that I honestly could not do without. I always learn so much that I will be able to implement for the rest of my life. They allow us to practice and become better. I think my favorite part, was when we got together as a zone and counseled about how we can be fishers of men. The insights that the rest of the zone had were very deep and really influential on how I want the rest of my missionary work to be. I can't even express how much I love what I'm doing at this time in my

Experience #5
This week, we were able to go on exchanges with the sister training leaders. I was blessed to have the opportunity to go to Mooresville with Sister L. We were able to teach their progressing investigator, S. She is so solid. She was one of the examples of heavenly father truly preparing people for us to teach. We tried a couple of other people that night, but they weren't home. The next morning, we got on a conference call with the mission leadership and heard some very inspiring words from President Alexander about how we can increase the vision of our mission and accomplish the goals that we have set. The rest of the morning, was spent counseling with Sister L about how I can become a better missionary. She invited me to do some very special things. She invited me to read my patriarchal blessing every day and to take the spiritual gifts and blessings that I have been given and study them out. She asked me to also study the enabling power of the atonement. Because a lot of people think the atonement is only there to save us from things that we have done, we often forget that it's also there to help us do the things that we never thought we could. So those are challenges that I have taken from her, and if you would like to, the people at home reading this can take the same challenges because I know that they will change your life. Also, we decided that we may be rooming together at BYU Idaho next fall. We would have so much fun and neither of us have really thought about who we want to room with yet. So it would be a perfect match and we are both really excited.

Experience #6
This week, the stake put on a nativity festival in our building. It was amazing for us to see how many nonmembers and how many members would come together to celebrate the birth of our Savior. There were well over 800 nativities and you could just feel the spirit so strongly in that room is soon as you entered. It looked amazing. There was a live Nativity room in the primary room, the Nativities in the gym, live music in the chapel, and a craft room for the children in the Relief Society room. I will send pictures home see you can share in some of the magic. I think the best part, was that all of the full-time missionaries gathered together and took a Nativity picture as a group. But it was amazing to see the response in the community from people who are not members of the church. The respect they gained for the members was amazing and we were able to friendship them in ways that we wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

Experience #7
How great was the Christmas devotional last night? I think my favorite part had to be when President Uchtdorf spoke about the light of Christ and how he is the literal gift giver all year round. Of course, as you have heard in the past, he is my favorite speaker. But I just felt really influenced by what he said last night. In my studies this morning, I noticed everything that he said stood out in passages I was reading in and things I was learning. Of course, I also really enjoyed when the Mormon Tabernacle choir sung Carol of the bells. Not only is it my favorite Christmas song, but they sing it with such power that I can literally feel the heavenly Angels guiding them. That was definitely a conference that I will not forget and it was even more amazing because of the place that I am at right now. Some of you should write back and tell me what some of your favorite parts of the Christmas devotional were. I would love to hear them.

Man, I wish I had been below 35° here and snowing. It has been below 35 in the morning, but it's full of frost and icy cold. But I agree, if it is going to be cold it might as well snow.

So I am still in Mountain Island, and I will be for the next six weeks. Just because I know it will come up later, the next transfer meeting is on January 19. So you can feel more than free to send my Christmas package to Mountain Island at the same address that you have been. My week has been a little better. We were able to teach more and get lots of new investigators because of the video. So we are looking forward to see what is going to happen in the near future. I love your suggestions about how we can contact people and we are trying to brainstorm how we can best do that. Thank you so much for your love and your caring about how we can progress to work in this area. I have heard of the 12 days of social media, but unfortunately we cannot get them to load on our iPads, and we can't seem to find the computer that has some speakers so that we can watch them. What are they about? Do you know? But the other two videos, the main videos, we have been utilizing to the best of our ability. People are becoming really receptive to it and we are very pleased with that.

I am glad to hear everyone is doing well. I am almost positive that we will be able to Skype on Christmas. We are thinking that it will be sometime after dinner our time, but we will probably know for sure
next week. I haven't heard any direction on the links or anything like that from President yet, but I will let you know as soon as I can. Unless of course you want to set it up before then, then let me know
and I will trying get back to you before the day is over.

I am glad that dad is enjoying his new job. And yes, you are a little crazy for taking Emily and Caitlyn to Temple Square this week with their friends. But it will be fun. I kind of wish that I was home to help with Christmas shopping because that is some of my favorite parts of the holiday season. And I know that that was not grammatically correct, you'll have to excuse my southern tendencies. ;)

Thank you for sharing the experience from the family history center. I really enjoyed reading it and feeling the spirit that truly comes from this holiday season. The savior is  constantly aware of us as well as the people on the other side of the veil. He loves all of us and wants us to return home to him. I am so blessed to be able to spend eternity with the people that I love more than anything in the world. And I
hope you all know that.

Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I just want to be able to do the best that I can in order to help the people in this area and the people on my mission. Tell Lauren that I love her and I'm so proud of the sacrifice that she has made. Tell her that she is welcome to write me whenever she wants, and that I would love to hear from her.  She is so strong and I look up to her as well as every other missionary out here at this time, as well as past and future.

I love you so much and I will talk to you really soon.

I love you to the north pole, around the toy factory, into Santas
bakery, through the jolly post office, and back.

Ash :)

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