Tuesday, July 26, 2016

7/26/16--Busy week

Well 5 months have come and gone. I can't believe how fast time is going.  Oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Tuesday Sister Bandeaux was at the temple all day and I hung out with Sister Tarnasky one of my sister training leaders. We had a blast. First they practiced a song for sister's conference. Then we went to the mall to get food and just walk around. We decided shopping as a missionary isn't as fun because you just see everything that would be good to wear after the mission.  We had a great time just hanging out and talking about life. Then we went back to Plainview to wait for our companions to be done. We went and knocked doors with a member. We had a great time. Then Sister Bandeaux and I took our hour and half trip home.

Wednesday we went to the Sullivan's house trying to meet with one of our investigators but she was leaving for the beach with her husband. We ended up watching the restoration movie with Sister Sullivan and one of her sons. They both loved it and they said they hadn't seen it before! Then we had a good gospel discussion with Sister Sullivan about life and where we are headed with our lives. She just has so much knowledge and loves talking gospel with people. We spent quite a bit of them with her. I loved it. Then that evening we went knocking in East Hampton and didn't find anyone terrible interested to talk to us but we did find some people who might be in the future. Then we had a lesson with a new person. She is super sweet and seems pretty interested.

Thursday we had district meeting which was really good! We did a lot of talking on what we want to do to be better missionaries. Then we did a couple look ups. Then we realized that we needed a oil change so we made a few calls and then headed to out of our area to get our oil changed. Fun part is one of our members owns a pizza place in the same shopping center as the car place. At the pizza place all missionaries for the church get free pizza. So we got free pizza and hung out until our car was done. Then we had a lesson with Sebastian. He is one of our main focused people. If only you could hear his testimony and how much he believes in this church. His testimony is so powerful and he isn't a member. We haven't been able to meet with him as much as we liked because he has been so busy so it was a miracle he was home! Then we drove out to East Hampton to visit Eddy and Blanca. So cute Eddy told us how on Sunday he really wanted to go to church but his dad wouldn't take him. He said his dad offered to go to the zoo instead and he got mad and told him no he wanted to go to church. Then he said he would take him at 3 but church ends before that so Eddy got mad and told him by that point it was pointless. He is trying so hard to live the gospel and follow all of God's commandments. It is so cute and he is trying so hard. He asked quite a bit of questions about the word of wisdom when we talked about it. He wanted to make sure he would follow exactly.

Friday was SISTER'S CONFERENCE!!! Best thing in the world next to general conference!!! It was all the sister missionaries in the mission come together to have workshops and listen to talks. It was awesome!!!! The conference was titled Choose Joy. So we talked about ways to be happy and to find the joy in our missions and share that with others. The senior couple in my area the wife gave a talk in the opening session. She had her daughter talk a little bit because she is a returned missionary plus was in the are visiting her mom so she talked. They did an awesome job. Mainly talked about finding joy in the hard times. Then we had a taco salad lunch, cafe rio style for those of you who know what that is. We even had green dip! Made my day. Plus seeing Hermana Williams, Hermana Spencer, and Hermana Gourley. Then we had workshops, one on stress, one doing service, and the last by president and sister Reynolds on our divine nature. Then we had the closing secession and sister Reynolds talked. Then got dinner and took the two hour plus drive home.

Saturday we did some weekly planning then headed to Southampton to look someone up. No body wanted to talk to us. So we looked up some apartments to move further out into our area at the library. Then we saw the lady I talked about last week. The one who took the pamphlet and read it then called us the next day. She called us this week to have us come by for her to share her beliefs and listen to more of ours. So we took a member with us so excited. We spent 45 min listening to her and hardly got a word in. Then she gave us a packet full of things she made to show us what she believes. It was a fun, interesting 45 min. Then we headed back to Southampton to go see Jhonny and investigator. Went super well. Hopefully will get baptized next transfer! Then went to east Hampton to see Blanca and Eddy but they were headed out the door when we got there. So quick lesson it was.

Sunday was all over the place. Start our day off Eddy texted saying he could come to church because we was sick. He asked if we could give him a blessing over the phone. So we called him and explained we couldn't give him a blessing but we could say a prayer with him. He said the first one and asked Heavenly Father to allow his dad to take him to church next week. Then I said the next prayer to bless him with strength. He was so cute about it and really wants to come to church. Boy guy. First we had branch council meeting which we left early from to go knock our investigator's door. First to Sebastian and then to Jhonny. Sebastian answered and said they were getting ready. So excited. Jhonny didn't answer. Then we had church. I had to give a talk on the English side so I left my companion and gave a talk there. Then I taught the gospel principles class for the Spanish side. Then in relief society the person didn't know she was teaching so Hermana Bandeaux and I took over. Let's just saw I didn't seat and enjoy most of church. It is ok. Then we had lunch at the Martino's house with a member. Lesson went super well. Then spent most of the day knocking doors. We didn't have much time this week having been in the city for two days. So we did a lot of make up work on our goals. We did pretty well. We knocked about 60-65 doors yesterday. Which is a lot for us. Usually it is like 20 doors. Then had a lesson with the Lucerio family. It went well!

So from Sister's conference one of the things that kept running through my head most of the day is a saying my dad tells to me quite often. A quote we heard a long time ago but keep is well said in my
home. It is, "Remember who you are and Whose you are."

Some thing I found myself saying a lot to my companion is life happens. Things happen and life just gets a little crazy. We find ourselves on a path wondering an hoping we find a way to get out and to float. It is in those moments we need to remember who we are and whose we are. We are children of a God. Sons and Daughters of an almighty God. He loves each and everyone of us. He wants to see us happy and find the joy in the little things we do. He knows life won't be easy but he has a way to help us through every trial we face. I know that I am Child of God. I am daughter of a King. I am grateful for this gospel. I know my Savior lives and he loves me. I know that this church is true. I love y'all and have a great week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


So this week started off in adventures. Monday we had a district activity which was a tons of fun! We went to the Martino's house and we had lunch. However there was a catch.  First off we ate with different serving utensils like giants spoons, spatulas, tongs, and so forth. Catch number two was we had to eat tied to the people next to us. So our wrists were tied to the people next to us. It made eating a fun adventure. Then we played get to know you bingo and a paper airplane contest. Sister Martino gave a little lesson on helping us get more investigators to church. Then we just hung around at the Martino's house for he rest of our preparation day and we had a family home evening at the Alamia's house again.  She had her niece and nephew over so it was a little crazy like a normal house. Then we had a quick lesson at a less active's house named Lucerio.

Tuesday we spent a lot of time driving. First in the morning we drove to west Hampton to have a lesson. We had it win Blanca and Eddy. They are both working so hard. We were supposed to have a lesson with Blanca's friend but she never showed up and it was so sad but it was still a good lesson. Then we drove back to Hampton bays which is an hour drive and had district meeting. Hermana Bandeaux and I had to give a mini lesson in the meeting. It went really well! Then we drove back to west Hampton for another lesson but she wasn't home:( Most of the rest of our evening our plans were always changing, but we went out to Sag Harbor and did some knocking and then looked up a
member named Mirian. We had a lesson on the beach it was super fun. It was fun to have a lesson in nature. Then we went to the Martino's house to do a Skype call with Johnny our new investigator.

Wednesday we did some look ups and then spent a good amount of time at the Sullivan's house doing service for them. My mom would be proud I spent the day organizing her kitchen. We spent 4 hours on one cupboard. Yeah fun stuff. But then we made brownies and it made up for it. As well, we had a lesson with her sister-in-law, a nonmember. We have been trying to work with her but she is always busy and it is hard to keep her in one place to have a lesson. Then we had some time to knock. A miracle happened--we were knocking and one older lady opened the door and literally said "I have been looking for someone from your church and I want to know more about your church. But my husband won't let me go anywhere else so this were we have to part ways." Super awesome! Yet super sad. Then we had a lesson with another lady we found. She is super cute. It was a small first lesson. Her name is Deborah. She sweet lady. Then we took the YW president out with us and found a less active YW. She wants to build her relationship up again with Heavenly Father. Super excited to keep working with her more and get her back to church.

Thursday started off so amazing. So you know that lady we knocked into and she had been wanting to talk to someone from the church. Well she called us! We had a nice little conversation. Basically the Holy Ghost testified the truth of the restoration pamphlet. It was awesome. However she still won't get a lesson with us. Uh so close and yet so far. Anyways, then we had a lesson with Jenn. She is a single mom of four children. She is in a huge trial and she is slowly seeing the help the gospel can bring. Then we did service for her and helped her clean her house. Then we had our weekly planning. We basically spent the rest of the night looking people up.

Friday we first had zone training meeting. So fun. I got to see Hermana Gourley and Hermana Spencer! Then we had exchanges with the sister training leaders. I went win Sister Urizar! I love her! We did a look up and then went out to dinner with the other set of sisters.  Then Sister Urizar talked the others to stay the way we were. So I stayed with Sister Urizar for the rest of the day. We did some
knocking and look ups. We ended the night with someone who was half drunk and smoking. His drunk great aunt came out and started basically yelling at us telling us to question our religion and about everything we believed in. I am so glad that I know this church is true and no one can make me change my mind.

Saturday we went with the sister training leaders to do service. We were doing service at the national park where Teddy Roosevelt used to live. We got a tour of his house! We couldn't take any pictures so I don't have any but it was cool. Then we helped pull weeds in a grass but there was a bunch of poison ivy. Hermana Bandeaux and I didn't have pants on so we left early. Then we had some time to study. Then we had a mini lesson with someone else we knocked into. It was good. Then we went out to east Hampton again to have another lesson with Blanca and Eddy. They are progressing so much and Eddy is really trying to come to church.

Sunday we had church. We had some one come to church with a friend. So we talked to her afterwards and she was somewhat interested. She lives in Queens so we sent her information off and hopefully she will start learning and coming. Then we had time a bunch of time to knock and try
to find anyone. Then we had a lesson with a less active.

Monday we had the morning to do laundry and shopping. Then we spent the evening cleaning and had another family home evening at the Alamia's house. She had invited Jenn and her family over for dinner it was so good. We watched he restoration video. It went so well. Then we went to the Martino's so Hermana Bandeaux could get a blessing.

For this week my message comes from the November 1994 Ensign talk by Elder Neal A Maxwell called, Brightness of Hope. He says:

"Significantly, those who look forward to a next and better world are usually “anxiously engaged” in improving this one, for they “always abound in good works”. Thus, real hope is much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spiritual spine. It is composed, not giddy, eager without being naive, and pleasantly steady without being smug. Hope is realistic anticipation taking the form of determination--a determination not merely to survive but to “endure …well” to the end.  While weak hope leaves us at the mercy of our moods and events, “brightness of hope” produces illuminated individuals. Their luminosity is seen, and things are also seen by it! Such hope permits
us to “press forward” even when dark clouds oppress. Sometimes in the deepest darkness there is no external light--only an inner light to guide and to reassure."

7/11/16--Another Week in Hampton Bays

Well another week gone. I feel like they are flying by yet going so slow. It is a weird mind game the mission plays on you. Anyways this week was pretty good. Monday was Fourth of July. To be honest I spent most of the day in the church emailing home and talking to my family. I loved every second of it! Please feel free to email me whenever. I can see emails throughout the whole week with my iPad. I would love to hear from everyone! Then we had dinner at a members house. Her twin boys made us dinner and dessert. So good. Then we had family home evening with them and shared a quick message. Then we talked win he mom sister Alamia for a good hour or more on how we could help her in relief society. As well how we could work together to help this branch grow and expand hopefully to have a ward in two years. It was a great conversation and it got me really excited to work in this area. Then we did some look ups trying to talk to anyone.

Tuesday in the morning we had district meeting which very well. We had a nice discussion on our investigators and how to best help them. Then  we went with Elder and Sister Martino to a lesson they had set up. It was a mom and her four children. She just had a death in the family so we were there to talk to her and help her have a little more hope in her life. It was a powerful and amazing lesson. Then we tried a less active but she didn't answer. That night we had dinner at the
Martinos's house we our investigator and his less active mom. The mom is named Blanca her son Eddy is our investigator and he has a sister Alision and brother Jack. Super cute family. Eddy is 12 and he is working so hard to learn and grow from the gospel it is awesome. We had dinner there and then went to knock doors. We took the YW president with us who recently graduated from BYU. She is super nice. We are trying to help her build up her young women program because there are no young women right now. Then we went to an investigators/less active home to give the investigator a blessing. Come to find out they just had a death in the family so we stuck to the blessing and a quick lesson. It was great.

Wednesday we did some weekly planning. Then Sister Martino came out with us to a lesson with a less active named Ethel. The lesson was interesting. Ethel really likes to talk and is very animated in
everything she says. We tried really hard to push church but she really didn't want anything to do with it. It was so sad to see. Then we got our car washed and all nice and clean. Then we drove to the restaurant of our mission leader to have correlation. It was a little all over the place but we did get to talk about some things that we needed to. Then we had a bunch of time to knock doors. Then we taught English class to two people. I thought it was super fun. I learned some more Spanish and they learned some more English. I thought it was a win/win situation, but my companion isn't that big of a fan.

Thursday was zone conference. We had to leave kinda of early. The chapel we went to was about an hour away. So fun! I got to see Hermana Williams, Hermana Gourley, and Hermana Spencer!! I loved seeing them! We spent quite a bit of time going over the good old days and the fun times we had. We also heard from many different people. It was such a good conference and I learned so much. Mainly I felt the Spirit so strong it was no denying that I am doing what I need to. My favorite part was they showed part of remember the Titans when the coach has him carry the boy across the field and the coach encourages him on. It made me think of band and the directors pushing us. Or basketball when
the coaches would push for more from us. Or winter guard when Duffy would always expect the best because he knew what we are capable of doing. I am grateful I had directors, coaches, and teachers who would always push me to go farther. It made me realize I was losing a little steam to keep pushing, and that I have so much more my Heavenly Father wants to give me but I need to work for it. After zone conference we had a lesson with Eddy and Blanca.

Friday we helped get some things ready for the primary activity on Saturday. Then we had weekly planning which was nice and short. Then we went to a less actives house and she let us right in. To be honest I left that house super sad. She told us she grew up in the church and now no longer believed in the some of the things the church does. It was so sad to see that flame that had gone out. She had been so strong and firm at one point to now where she doesn't really want to go to church at all. I just don't understand how some people go from having the biggest blessing in their lives to not really caring about it at all. It just broke my heart. I know how much this gospel has blessed my life and my family's lives. I wish they could see that again. Anyways, then we went out to east Hampton and did some look ups and tried to find someone. At one point Hermana Bandeaux told me to choice street so I did. We got there and one of the houses just stood out to me so I told which one and we knocked the door. It was a cute little family. I don't know how interested they were but you could tell they felt the spirit and they liked the feeling.

Saturday was a crazy day. First we had a FaceTime lesson with a new investigator we are working with. It was an awesome lesson and he had so many questions that were good questions. It was great! We had the activity for the primary. It was a America party. We spent the last two weeks handing out invitations like crazy and trying so hard to get a bunch of people there. It was a descent size amount. There were for sure more non members than members in attendance. It was super fun! I played Betsy Ross and I taught them about the American flag. As well how to respect the flag. The children loved it! They watched a movie about Abe Lincoln and made cute flags. The whole thing was a big success. Then we spent the next like two hours trying to find any less active or investigator to talk to. Like no one answered the phone or door. So annoying. We did talk to one less active family though which was a little crazy because the kids were running around like crazy. So in order to have dinner or lunch at the Martino's home we have to have an investigator or less active there. So we were trying to find some one to come to the dinner that we had that night with a member. We talked to the Martino's and told them about our troubles and how the best we could find was to do a FaceTime lesson with Eddy and his mom. So we had the lesson and the member cooked us amazing food!! So good! I left to full and happy. I have to say as a side note the Martino's are awesome! I really love working with them! They are like second parents to me. Maybe because they are from Texas too.

Sunday we had branch council before church. Then we had church which was a little crazy. One of our investigators came!! We were so happy he was there! Then after church I was talking to one of the members who used to live in Pflugerville back when we first moved into the ward 15 or more years ago. She was asking a bunch of questions of how Pflugerville is and how much it is expanding. Fun fact her husband is in round rock right now visiting his dad. So you know if you see a brother Tran next week at church don't be surprised! Plus he and I have talked so he would be the most recent person to have talked to me in person down there! Then we went home and tried making some calls to investigators trying to set up some lessons for this week. Then we took the new YW president out with us to find her some YW we went to one less active home and they let us in. Let's just say it was a very interesting lesson. Then we had found some Texas pork at the store and we had that for dinner! Then we headed out to east Hampton. So something I haven't mentioned is Hampton bays is the biggest area on the mission. It takes two or more hours to drive one end to the other and we are not in the middle of the area so going to east Hampton is an hour drive or more. So yeah fun stuff. First Hermana Bandeaux had to go to the bathroom so we stopped at Blanca's house to use the restroom and give a small lesson. Then we looked up a referral. We found her!!! She was home. So this was the lady who like a week ago sent a referral through the church requesting a Book of Mormon. She
sounded kind of interested and we shared what we do as missionaries with her. So exciting to finally meet her. Then we went knocking. Didn't really find anyone who was really interested. Then we did some look ups and called it a night and started our hour drive home.

My thought for the week comes from a scripture I read the other night. So due some different things I have to practice a lot of patience. I was frustrated one night so I told myself I needed the scriptures to
help me feel better. Like they always say we talk to God in prayer and he talks to us through the scriptures. So I turned there. I flipped open to a scripture in Romans. At first I was like I don't want to
read in the bible I want to read in the Book of Mormon. Then I had the thought saying you want me to guide read where I flipped the scriptures open. So I went back and read through some of it and this
is what really helped me. It is Romans 15:13:

13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

He is the God of hope. He can feel us with joy and peace. I know as soon as I read that verse I was filled with joy and peace. I know we can't control everything we go through and there is times when it is rough. However when we put our faith and trust in Heavenly Father he feels us with hope, joy and peace. It is through the Holy Ghost we can feel this feelings. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission and to learn more about this gospel. I know this church is true and blesses lives as long as you let it change you. I love y'all and I y'all have a great week!

Hermana Ashford

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

7/5/16--New Week, New Area, New Companion, New Me

Well it is a new week, new transfer, new companion, and a new area!

Monday morning we found out I was on my way to a new area so I started getting ready to transfer. First we did our laundry. Then we headed to a lesson with the ASL sisters. They are working with a Hispanic family and can't talk to the mom or dad but only the son. So we went to translate. It was interesting, the mom kept having another one of her kids translate for us. So it was just awkward and weird. Then we went home for me to pack and get ready to go. Then we went and visited Yanci who didn't want me to leave at all. Then we went and visited Chelsea and her mom for a couple of minutes. I got a shrimp soup recipe from them! Super excited to make it some day! Then we saw Anguie and her family took some pictures and helped them make food. Then she gave me a picture from her baptism of us and one from the temple trip with her. So cute! One of them said love you sis Ashford. So sweet! Then we saw Erika, Caitlin, and Lindsey. I was doing good until Caitlin started crying. Then I held it in until I got into the car. Then we went back to Chelsea's house to get some food. Then back to Yanci's house for some more food and pictures along the way.

Hermana Bandeaux & Hermana Ashford

Tuesday was a crazy day. The morning I spent packing and making sure that was all ready to go. Then I wrote letters to some of the members in the ward for Hermana Williams to give to people. We spent the last morning as companions goofing around and enjoying our time together until we are roommates in college. I just can't wait for that day! I love her so much! Then we headed to The mission office. Once there we got to see a whole bunch of people. Out of the people in my CCM district I was the only one getting transferred. A little sad. We found out our new companions and headed to my new area. So my new companion is...... Hermana Bandeaux. She is Hawaiian but her family lives in California. She played flute in high school band but nothing like our Texas high school marching band. She was at a 1A school so super small. This is her last transfer so I am killing her off. In October she heads to BYU Hawaii. My new area is Hampton Bays. The farthest part on the island and the biggest area. We cover most of the end of the island. We are in a branch of about 20 Spanish members and 25 English members. Like I said a branch. Then we had dinner at the senior couple's house who are in our area. We were supposed to have an investigator over but they never showed. The senior couple is Elder and Sister Martino from Denton, Texas!! I love Texas friends. So we talked Texas and had dinner then we're on our way! Then we just knocked doors for most of the evening.

Wednesday we had district meeting. There is a Spanish set of elders and an English set of elders and the Martinos. This district is super great! We did service were we helped a member, the Sullivans, clean out their RV for another member, the Barrilas, to live in. I am in the rich summer houses of New York. How there are Hispanics out here I have no idea. In the summer prices go up so the people who live in their homes live for the summer to somewhere cheaper until the winter. So the Barrila's needed somewhere to stay so they are staying in the RV. So we helped clean that and then we had correlation meeting with our ward mission leader which is actually Brother Barrila. Then we had a miracle! So we felt like we should go out to east Hampton which is about 45-60 min away to look up a referral. We get there and she is there with a less active they had been trying to find for the past couple weeks. So we got to have a member present lesson without planning it! So fun!

Thursday we had weekly planing which was good. Then we did some look ups and trying to talk to anyone. Then we we choose a random street to go to in Moriches. We started knocking then got to one house of another less active that they have been trying to get in contact with for a while and as soon as we walked up she was pulling in her drive way! Miracle number two! So we set up a return appointment and went on our way. Then we went to a member's house to skype one of our investigators named Sebastian. Hopefully he will be getting baptized in August! He is super cool and has a strong testimony.

Friday we finished up weekly planning and worked on a puzzle during our lunch break. We are on our third puzzle for the week. So fun! Then we helped Sister Barrila move her stuff over into a cottage they are staying in with the RV. That took a while. We found a less active and taught her super cool! Then we were in East Hampton trying to look some people up when it started to rain down pour!! It was raining so hard we couldn't see the street in front of us and the road was flooding so we turned around and headed home for the night. The storm was crazy.

Saturday we did a bunch of knocking out in East Hampton again. There is some big rich houses out there. Oh my! Then we had a lesson with Eddy a less active non member son. He is 12 and super cute. We taught him and he is trying so hard to understand the scriptures it is just awesome. Then we traveled back to Hampton bays. We looked one person up but they weren't home so we started to someone else's house. We passed by a less active members home and saw that he was there. We had an awesome, powerful lesson with him. There is no denying the spirit was there as we taught. Then went to the other members home and had a quick lesson with the dad. So we were doi our nightly planning and Hermana Bandeaux made a commit about needing to shave. Some how she talked me into shaving them so she would do my nails. Still don't know how that happened but it.

Sunday was a strange day. I don't play the piano any more only in relief society so it was different just seating there relaxing during all of sacrament and Sunday school. So the branch is a Spanish and English mixed branch however Spanish and English meet in speared rooms in their own language. The branch itself has like 50ish people half the size of my last ward. The Spanish section alone only has like 15 people including the 4 Spanish missionaries. Super small. After church we finished our studies and worked on our puzzle. Then we looked up a less active who has a daughter who is interested in the church.

However she was in the shower so when she got out she called us back and we should see her next week. Then as we were driving to our next lesson we saw the Sullivans pulled over in their RV. They were driving to the cottage where the Barrilas are staying but it broke down a quarter of the way there. So we gave them a pray and went on our way. We then met up with a college student who is back for the summer. She just graduated in April so she heads to medical school next. She just got called to be the YW president and there isn't any active YW so we took her out to go find some. We didn't find anyone but we will keep working with her on it. Then we went home and made some Hawaiian bread. So the Spanish elders live in the same complex as us so they come over and steal food.

So this week has been full of new beginnings and learning to be the missionary I really want to be. I have been reading a lot of talks on patience and how to develop this quality more in my life. In one of the talks I read from General Conference October 2006 by Robert Oaks, called The Power of Patience he says, "We can grow in faith only if we are willing to wait patiently for God’s purposes and patterns to unfold in our lives, on His timetable."

Sometimes we don't understand why things are the way they are. Right now I have no clue why I am in Hampton Bays and with Hermana Bandeaux but I know I am here for a reason. I am excited to see in time God's purpose for me. I personally love seeing that on a mission how much God works in our lives. I know he is always there for me and he is there to guide me. I love my Heavenly Father more than anyone else in this world. I am so grateful I have this gospel in my life to help me and guide me. I know Heavenly Father watches out for us. I love y'all!

Have a great week and a great Fourth of July!

My Texas Straw

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford