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Monday, April 18, 2016

Hey you guys!  How are you doing?  Here is how I am doing:

Experience #1

We were at the mall last Monday, and we were walking by this make up store. Before Sister L could blink, and she showed this little ounce of compassion, one of the make up ladies grabbed her and ask her if she wanted some organic make up. She sat Sister L down in the chair and just started doing her make up. She mixed this color of eye shadow with Vaseline and turned it into some sort of lipstick. It was possibly the weirdest thing of ever seen. Then she decided to try and sell her on this organic foundation. Yeah... it was pretty weird. I have to say though, the funniest part was when she tried to put blush on her face.The lady picked a… Interesting color? Let's just say, it was at least three shades darker than Sister L’s skin tone.  The lady said, "you have such porcelain skin."then, proceeded to put on this blush that probably would have worked better on a Native American skin tone. But meanwhile, the lady started asking us what we do as missionaries. I figured, that she was more interested in selling us things than what we had to say. But after she ask us three or four questions, I decided to stop being ignorant and put my iPad away so that I could talk to her. She said she was really interested in the service aspect of the church, but she wasn't so interested in the actual message. She did let us introduce the Principles of the Restoration and the Plan of  Salvation. We told her that if she let missionaries come over to talk to her, more service opportunities would open up for her. We got her name and her address and her phone number so that we could see if she was in our area or another one. Turns out, that she is actually in Pineville area. But, we did exercise the practice of teaching people when we first meet them, and talking to everyone. It seems like she was more interested in the message after we talked to her. The funny thing is, she said that she lives 20 minutes away from the mall, but in fact she lives 50 minutes away from the mall. So we had to decide if we were going to give her to Pineville elders or Pineville sisters. We figured it would be better to give it to the Pineville elders because there were three of them. So we called Elder Brogdon, Elder Hutchings, and Elder Jackson to give them the referral. They seemed really happy and we're hoping all works out. :)

Experience #2

We had another experience as a companionship this week where we really followed the spirit. President Alexander has been asking us to do at least three hours of finding every day. We planned our finding, but it probably wasn't the most detailed. So the result was, no one was outside and we didn't talk to a single person. So we figured we could go back to the car, and just put in lessons. But the thing is, I didn't feel like that is what we needed to be doing at that time. So we said a prayer and asked that Heavenly Father would have us go to help the people that needed us at that time. I prayed that certain names would come to my mind, whether it was them or someone else that needed us. The first name that came to either of our minds was an investigator named T. T's area was decently close to where we were, so we decided to go. When we got up there, we saw our investigator named F outside washing his car. We parked our car and walked over to him. We started talking to him and ask if he had read the restoration pamphlet that we left for him last time. He said that he was going to be honest with us, and told us that he hadn't read it. So we asked if we could just teach him the restoration right there outside his house. He agreed and we had a very spirit filled lesson where we were able to testify of the importance of families and how we can come closer to our heavenly father through his plan for us. We introduced the Book of Mormon and the concept of baptism and he said he would talk to his wife about it. He also said that he would read the book of Mormon and think about coming to church with us this next week. So we are so glad that we were open to listening to the spirit and that he may be ready to make more commitments with us. Just hope and pray that we will be able to find him home this next week.

Experience #3

This week we also had stake conference. It was a really inspirational meeting, but it was focused on ward councils. Don't get me wrong, it was still good. I just feel like it was more for the members than the missionaries. There were some really great things that I took notes on in case I am ever in a word counsel in the future, but for now, all we can do is present the work that we're doing and ask for the best help that the members can give. I think that was also a big focus of the meeting - was the fact that the members really need to get involved with the missionaries more. This is not just the work of the missionaries, it is also the work of the members. I will attach some of the notes I took from President Alexander and Sister Alexander because they stood out to me the most at that meeting.

Sister Alexander: We have invited our missionaries to use music to bring the spirit into their lessons. Such an exciting time to be a member of the church. We see evidences of the hastening of the work. Years ago, it seems as though we planned parties and calendar items.  But now they are powerful meetings to bring people closer to Christ. We love our missionaries with all our hearts. As we were preparing to serve our mission, we were first called by Elder Ballard. Then we were formally called by President Eyring. This year, they gave us the assignments ahead of time. We were in President Alexander's office studying, and he started to cry, then I started to cry. We first felt a love for the missionaries we hadn't met yet, then we felt a love for all of you that we hadn't met yet. There is a difference between missionaries attending ward councils, and missionaries fully participating in ward councils. They have been called of God, they are young men but they have old and wise spirits. I can feel the mantle of their callings. As you work with them, realize that we need and can use their help. But we are also teaching the future leaders of the church. Among the missionaries in the church right now, are the future apostles and prophets of the church. It is also an amazing time to be a woman in the church. Last month, three women were called to be on the general auxiliaries of the church. -Give women a chance to spiritually prepare.  We think differently.  We can receive inspiration that others may not. Give them material to study and ponder before hand. As we knelt in prayer with the assistants today, it was a very sweet and emotional experience. We felt that the change was accepted by the Lord. President Alexander fasts, works tirelessly, and involves the lord in every aspect of this work. The temple is also very important in our lives. When we go to receive inspiration and guidance, the lord never failed me. We can receive revelation in these meetings as well.

Meetings such as ward councils. D&C 138 - "Foreshadowing..." "This earth would be complete garbage if we don't find families and seal them." -Elder Kopischke Our purpose is to bind families. We can do this through ward councils. 

President Alexander: You met the best part of my companionship already. Recently, we were headed back from the Charlotte airport and it looked like she was thinking intently. I asked what she was thinking about and she said, "I am just practicing singing hymns in southern." (He talked about his occupation to his mission call). What we have is a 50/50 companionship. She generally asks, "What can I pray for you about?" They tell her and she does. Our son returned from his mission and fell away. She began to pray that he would remember his mission. We got a call in the middle of the night from my son saying that he didn't want to be where he was at anymore. He said, "Dad, I just couldn't stop thinking about my mission." When they were gathering things out of their closet as they were leaving, they then saw the spot in the carpet all matted where sister Alexander prays. (President Alexander had us all stand). He described how Elder Nelson/Anderson said that we are extensions of the apostles, sent out to preach the gospel. Both as mission presidents and as missionaries. (He then had us recite our purpose). We don't only offer the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, but also of sacrament. What a great blessing we have to have our missionaries go to families, help your children, and participate in ward councils. We are grateful to be a part of your ward councils. We talk about people. We answer questions like: -Who is coming to church today? -What can we do to help them have a spiritually uplifting experience? If we could ask questions like: -Who are less-actives and what is the next ordinance that they need to receive? Help us in that. Come out with our missionaries. There are so many who could benefit from our message. There are less-actives who could be free of guilt. There are non-member friends who, if they understood the message, would be lining up for the ordinances of baptism and confirmation.

The next days conference when it is all about being in tune with the spirit while we are focusing on going to see people outside of our homes and outside of our church buildings. They were both really great meetings that I learned a lot from. And I will have to share more of my notes with you when I get home. :)

Experience #4

We also got to go see Sister H again this week. We just love going to see her because of the special spirit that she has about her.  She told us while we were over at dinner this time, that we were her missionaries. No matter what happened it transfers, nothing would ever change that. We watch the Thomas S. Monson movie with her and ate pizza because that is one of her favorite things to do when I come over for dinner. She had a bunch of questions that she has started keeping a notebook for us after the movie. She is just the sweetest. The fact that she is so willing to learn and so open to the Gospel is really an inspiration for all of us. There is not one thing so far that she has completely disagreed with. The other week, we were over at her house and we hadn't really described the word of wisdom yet, yet she told us something that she did by her own free will. She told us that she had taken the step to pour out all of her wine and that she was going to slowly but surely continue getting better with things like the word of wisdom in things that she is not used to in her life yet. I think the thing about this weeks visit, that was the most unique to me personally, was the fact that she said that she is now open and willing to go to the temple. You see, the first time that we went over to go teach her, she said that there was no way that she was going to go to the temple anytime soon. However, this last time, she said that she would only really struggle with paying tithing for a year in order to get the temple recommend to be able to go. We described how it would be a sacrifice and it is a trial for all those who excepts the commandment to pay tithing to our Heavenly Father, but when we do, he will bless our lives abundantly and we will see things happen in our lives that we have never seen before. We talked about things that she will be able to do in the future as we help her continue to learn more about the gospel. Things such as, going to the temple, going to General conference, and receiving the ordinance of eternal marriage that everyone in this life gets a chance to participate in. I am just so excited to see how much this special woman has grown over the last few weeks and how much she will continue to grow as we continue to meet with her. 

Experience #5

We also had Elder Kopischke come to the mission this week. It's like the third time I've heard him speak, but this time was as good as every other time that he's come. I really like when he comes because he doesn't come with an organized plan that he wants to talk to us about. More so, he comes and stands at the front of the pews, and he basically tells us that if we don't ask questions we are not going to learn anything. There was one point during the meeting, that you literally stood there for four minutes and said that we could end the conference early if nothing was going to be said. I just really like how he goes so by the Spirit. He really focuses in on what we need to hear. There were at least three times during the conference, that I found him looking up towards the heavens, and praying to Heavenly Father to know what it is that he needed to say to most enrich, uplift, and edify us. There was one story told that I thought you might like.
Elder H, Elder B, and Elder J were in a park one day.  Elder J had it in his head that he wanted to talk to everyone in the park. He spotted this family about 200 yards away, and decided that he was going to leave his companions and the people they were talking to you and go hunt down this family. When they noticed that he was bolting off, they started running after him. But this crazy little dog went after his two companions and instead they started talking to the owner. The family that Elder J had seen, wasn't interested in the message. But the family that the other two started talking to, were very interested and excepted the invitation to read to ponder and pray and have the missionaries over to continue talking to them. This family, just entered into the waters of baptism on Saturday and I was blessed enough to meet them as we were leaving the parking lot from stake conference yesterday. The elders flagged me down and introduced me to this special family. They had a glow about them I was indescribable. I know that the Spirit leads us to those that are prepared by our Heavenly Father to learn from and except the message of the restored gospel.

I love the comments from Brother Trainer.  Especially the comment about success when we invite.  Elder Kopischke also commented on how when we sacrifice things, he recognizes our sacrifice and blessings!
And I love what he said about senior couples too.  The example I've had from the senior couples here make me want to serve a senior mission with my husband someday.  They are so absolutely key and influential to every mission.
Those people that haven't accepted the message of the gospel , definitely will someday.  I get so excited when we get to talk to new people because I know if they don't come into the gospel by our efforts, that they will be ready soon because of the contact I made with them.

It really is "the next step" that we need to focus on.  By that, we can worry about the small things that will bring great things to pass in the near future.
In response to your question about the magnets: I WOULD LOVE SOMETHING SIMILAR!!!  They helped us so much in Pilot.  I only had a few left that I have given to companions and members. I have just a few left but I LOVED THEM!  They were so helpful.

I am really good with whatever you would like to send.  I don't know if I want tons of candy.  Maybe some Charleston Chews would be great, and some fun dips, and if you could find a nerds rope because I have wanted one forever, and whatever else you want to send.  I am on the "six months to sexy" now.  So I am trying to lose weight, but it is so hard because of how tired I am in the morning.  And... I only send you good looking pictures.  I actually need a lot of your help when I get home.  ;)  haha  What do you mean by other?  If you have ideas, send them my way and I'll tell you yes or no.

Sooo... Transfers.  I am staying in MOUNTAIN ISLAND!  Hence the address above.   I love you to the eternities and back.  I will talk to you soon.  Let me know if I skipped any questions you need answered.  I love you all so much!

Ash :)

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