Sunday, August 27, 2017

8/23/17--Welcome Home Hermana Ashford


Welp come and gone. We saw this quote today and it said "Don't cry because it is over but be happy because it happen." I really feel that is how I feel right now. I am sad because I am leaving but I am happy because it happened. I can truly say this has been the best thing I have done up until this point in my life, but I know the next phase will be the next best part in my life so hold on to what I have done and move forward with faith.

This week has been the funniest week of my mission. Hermana Jofre and I have been on our toes all week with non stop movement and non stop pictures. I have loved every moment and I am so grateful to my district and my branch! They have supported me all the way through. I know this isn't long but if you have questions call me after Thursday!

I know this is where I was supposed to be for these past 18 months. Maybe I missed a big thing or two but I would miss them again if I got the chance to serve my Savior like I did for these past 18 months. I know this is God's work and he has his hand in everything! I know this church is true and that Jesus Christ lives! I love y'all and see y'all on the other side!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1-3: temple trip!
Picture 4-5: bad district pictures
Picture 6-7: Surprise goodbye party
Picture 8: out to eat by surprise
Picture 9: Anguie said see ya later!
Picture 10-11: graffiti activity

8/15/17--Crunch Time

Hola cómo están todo? Well how is everyone doing? We now getting down into crunch time where we start running as fast as we can to reach that finish line! Well this week was pretty awesome! Mainly because we meet some pretty awesome people that are going to get baptized one day I can see it!

So first guy is named Andy! We were at the train station on Tuesday.  The interesting part was usually we don't go to this train station but I had felt to take a different way and we ended up at this station. So anyways he comes and seats next to me at the bench waiting for the train. He starts talking to us about this computer card that holds different credit cards on it and how you can switch which one you use and how crazy protective it is. Anyways for all y'all nerds who read this who want to know more about is card I get y'all hooked up with him go know more. Anyways he was telling us how this card is going to change the world and we were like well this card is going to change the world as well as we pulled out our card! See what we did there😉 so smart I know (tosses her hair). Anyways we went into talking about the restoration focusing on the Book of Mormon. I have discovered the key to everything is the evidence of the Book of Mormon, cause as we were explaining the Book the Mormon he goes how can I get one of these books. So we went back on Wednesday to see him again. The first thing he said was like I have some things I need to tell you. In our heads we were like noooooo that means he is going to drop us! But before he told us his "concerns" he was like are y'all JWs and we were like no. And instantly his whole attitude changed and he was so open to listening! It was awesome! As well he has a wife and two kids who want to learn as well! So cool! So excited!

Then awesome family number two. On Wednesday we got a phone call from some elders saying they have a referral for us. So they give us their information. We called and set up a time for Saturday night. Well we went over Saturday night and they explained their situation. And may I say it is a situation but the cool part was how big of a desire the wife has to come back to church and feel the Spirit again. As well he husband really wants to get baptized. It was so cool to feel like we were an answer to their prayers. She had said that when she messaged the elder to give us her information they had told her we would call. So right as she was finishing praying we called! So cool and I know that God puts us in places for a reason!

So some funny moments. I think the funniest was we were visiting less active and her recent convert that we visit every week. We were talking with her 10 year old recent convert son about different movies. Hermana Jofre and I were talking about the movies that we had cried in. So we naturally asked the son. He goes "I don't cry. You guys are just emotional!" So there you have it we are emotional! Hahahaha I love working with kids they have the best sense of humor!

So my thought for this week comes from Helaman 8:15. He is talking about when Moses held up the sphere that to the children of Israel to save them. Anyways the scripture says:

"15 And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal."

I love how simple this gospel is and how simple the Lord has made it for us to make it back to him and partake of this great joy. Having faith in the Savior sounds so simple but I have come to understand it is a daily battle and we have to give all we can to follow Him and do everything He has asked of us to do. As well as we break our hearts and have a contrite spirit and submit to the will of the Father's we will become everything He knows we can become! Come to know Him and follow His will! Love y'all! See y'all soon!

Ps. Pictures from the temple to come later!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: we had to carry a box of bibles and a bow of Books of
Mormon to our apartment. 💪
Pictures 2-3: alone on the bus.
Picture 4: the best store in town! So much chocolate! Expensive though.....
Pictures 5-6: Hortencia and I got bored in church so we got creative!
Picture 7: getting ready to play tenzi!!!!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

8/7/17--Working hard or hardly working

Well to be honest I am going to become slacker Miss slacker these next couple of weeks on my weekly emails so I apologize now if they aren't terribly exciting or interesting or super uper short or if they are only pictures. 😁 Anyways this week was pretty awesome! We had a hard working week and we are working on consistence now.....

So last week we had district meeting and we talked about how we could be better at talking to everyone and I came up with the idea that every time we used our metro card we pull out a card to pass along to someone. Well let me tell you it worked great Wednesday and Thursday when we did it!! Wednesday we worked our tails off all day long and found SEVEN new people who want to learn more! What the heck! We went to Kansas and back though just going all over town looking people up
or talking on the bus or train. Doing service. I am telling you when we got home Wednesday night we were beyond exhausted! We were wiped out! Good thing we are still living!

Thursday we had another hard working day just talking to everyone everywhere. We worked super hard! Then guilt trip of all guilt trips. We went to go pick up food from a member who us sisters call mama because she buys us food and feeds us all the time and more. So we go ver and we are super excited! Then she looks at us with a straight face and goes "mis hijas se olvidaron acerca del cumpleaños de su mama ayer" or English she said "my daughter forgot about their mothers birthday yesterday." Boy I sure have never felt so bad in a long time. We forgot her birthday! We felt down right terrible! Uhhh! No worry we made it up to her and heart attacked her and it made her super happy! Phew saved by the power of paper hearts! We had as well heart attacked another member who her friend had died this past week and both her and this member told us that they put the hearts in their bedroom! So cute! I feel loved!

Then the other funny moment was Saturday night. So we had bought me some makeup that way I look nice when I go to the temple and home. So when we got home we practiced so that we could do it the next day at church. We had music playing and just having fun! Hermana Jofre started straightening her hair for church. I went to go pause the music on my iPad and saw that he sister training leaders were calling. So we picked up the phone and we were like hi how are you? The first thing they said was are you alive? It turns out that our district leader was worried because we hadn't given our daily number reports and thought that something was up. So we texted them and the Zone leaders to let everyone know that we were ok!

This week we did a study on the atonement and how we can draw the power of Jesus Christ into our lives. And a line from a talk stood out to me. It is from the talk "Drawing the power of Jesus Christ in Our Lives" by Elder Nelson in the April 2017 general Conference and he says; "The more we know about the Savior’s ministry and mission--the more we understand His doctrine and what He did for us--the more we know that He can provide the power that we need for our lives."

I have come to see on my mission the more we learn about who Christ is and what he did for other people we can come to see what he can do for us personally and we learn how to become more like him. I know this is Christ's church here on this earth! I know the Savior loves all of us!  I hope y'all have a great week! I love y'all!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Not many pictures this week😕
Picture 1: 1$1.50 scoops at Baskin Robbins
Picture 2: me trying to be cool with my new hat 😎
Picture 3: the other day our water was yellow than brown how strange right?
Pictures 4-5: make up test trails
Picture 6-7: Ready for church!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

7/31/17--We're half way there! Livin' on a Prayer

May I just say, everyday we live on a prayer. But the half way part is because this transfer is half way finished and I am starting to freak out just a little bit!! Ahhhh! Anyways this week was a pretty good week! We had a lot going on and sometimes I feel like we were running in circles. Monday we had a pretty cool district activity. Because it was raining all day Monday we hung out at the church and played some get to know you games and then some of the games that I have like tenzi and spy it. It was so much fun! We just laughed and had some good old fashion fun! It was pretty sweet!

Then Tuesday was another crazy day like always! We had district meeting which was weird because we did role plays where Hermana Jofre and I sat out and we played the members. Then the elder's basically had to get a referral from us. Oh man it was so weird to hear the elders call me by my first name. I was like we are sinning, it is Sister Ashford to you and you misters and to everyone else forever and always! Uhhhhh.... So yeah I played Kelsey and they were trying to help me find a way to share the gospel with someone and it was pretty helpful. It helped me come up with some ways to ask people to give me there friends. Jk they do the missionary work and we sit along to enjoy the ride and help them along the way. As well, we saw my favorite people that night! This less active that I told you about last week who is my age and is amazing, well she is still pretty much amazing! She is really learning how to live the gospel each day and enjoy it in her life! Pretty awesome!

Wednesday I think I ran around town and back! We had service in the morning and that was super fun! There was extra help from out of state helping us serve food! As well, at the end of service they always feed us.  This time as we were eating we got into the TV shows that we watched when we were kids. Man we couldn't stop laughing! We talked about little Bill, Dragon Tales, Hey Arnold, Recess, Fairly Odd parents, Ruggrats, Wild Thornberrys, the little rascals, the sandlot, Angels in the Outfield, and so many other movies and shows. Man it was so good to walk down memory lane for a little bit. Then the sad point of my day came when we meet up with Hermana Spencer, now Andrea because it was her last day!:( We met up with her and her mom for ice cream and just talked! I love having someone that knows you so perfectly! We could talk with out even talking! She is amazing and I know she gave her all to her mission! We spent a good 45-60 minutes just talking. Then sadly we had to be on our way. I miss her already! Then we visited a less active and got busy doing missionary work for the night!

Thursday I took this medicine that made my stomach like start to attack me so I spent the morning on my bed reminding myself to breathe and to take everything one step at a time! Then miraculously I made it to interviews. Honestly I think President Reynolds is the sweetest guy ever but so sweet he kind of lies. He told me like three times how awesome I am and that he wishes he had ten of me and that I was staying longer. Now why would he say a thing like that? Little old Sister Ashford does nothing that the Lord gives her the strength to do. I am nothing but the Lord makes me capable to do everything! Anyways after interviews we saw a couple different people and enjoyed the night.

Friday we had exchanges! Yay! I love exchanges! Sometimes it is nice for a moment to do missionary work with out having a list of people you are worrying about. Just for a day you just worry about doing missionary work. Sadly I don't have any stories how we walked around Nigeria and to England and then go back to America like Hermana Jofre and Sister Snow did but none the less it was super fun! Then on Saturday we had an adventure! First we went home then meet up with Sister Peterson the mission nurse to go out to pizza at New York's best pizza place! Aw man that pizza was good! Plus it is always the best to be in companion with my other grandma! I love Sister Peterson!  Then as we were heading back to the bus stop I kind of walked in the wrong direction and we got lost in down town Brooklyn and ended up taking some pictures..... Yeah good thing we have smart phones to get us unlost and found. Then yesterday we took the less active to church again and had 5 hours of church! Yay! Church!

So this past week in the English ward someone was giving a talk and she talked about how we come closer to Christ! What I loved is she said when you get married you don't want to look across the altar at your future spouse and see anger, fear, greed, or obligation. You want to see someone who loves you and wants to show you that love forever! She related that to our relationship with Christ! We shouldn't look at him in anger because we feel he makes our life bad. Or out of fear because we fear the power and wrath of God. Or greed because we just want all that Heavenly Father has to give us which is more important to us than anything else. Or lastly out of obligation because we know it is good to go to church but our heart is far from doing what is right because we do it almost for show. More importantly we most go to church and read our scriptures and be obedient because we love God and we want to show him that we love him everyday and every second. I love Heavenly Father and my Savior! I know they are here for us! I hope y'all have a great week and don't forget the reason why we do everything! Love y'all!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: district unity in we all role for the same numbers!
Picture 2: Hermana Spencer❤️️
Picture 3-5: Just taking some selfies along the way:)
Picture 6: the Maldonado Family moved to Connecticut:(
Picture 7: exchanges!
Picture 8-9: pizza with sister Peterson!
Picture 10: Lost in Brooklyn
Picture 11: on the train to church!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7/24/17--Big Steps

Well first things first I got my IPad back!!!! Do you know how much easier it is to write with a screen 3 times bigger?!! Man it is nice!! Anyways enough about my first world problems. Moving on into how great this week was!!! So not much really happen but I will share bits and pieces about what did happen with a less active we are working with! Because that is where most of my joy comes from this week.

We have a less active we been working with since like my second week here in Bushwick and we had a lesson last Tuesday with her. We talked about our purpose and God's purpose and how they work together. It was a super powerful lesson and I could just feel how much Heavenly Father just loves this girl. She then busted into tears and told us some personal thoughts she had been having so we prayed together for strength. Then we offered if she wanted a priesthood blessing and she  said yes. So come Friday we took the elders over to give her a blessing! Wow God is real and so is the priesthood. The blessing you could tell was exactly what she needed!! So on Sunday we picked her up for church and helped her do the hardest thing she has done in the past year and we took her to church! Y'all don't understand but this was a huge step for her! She basically never let go of my arm she was stuck to me like glue until we dropped her off at home. Man it was a proud missionary moment. Plus the best part was when we were messaging with her last night. She told us how she was learning how to let the Lord into her life. That is what I came onto a mission to do. Help at least one person bring Christ into their life. If that one person was at least me then the rest were just benefits. She means as much to me as all my recent converts. Man I am so happy.

So that was our big like moment but there have been some more fun  moments between all that. On Friday we had Megazone which is always a fun time. I basically participated in almost everything. They asked me to say a prayer, give a talk, and bear my departing testimony. The prayer was simple. The talk I was happy to give because it was about becoming a Preach my Gospel missionary and I just pray that I have become that missionary. As for my departing testimony I just tried super hard not to cry so hard that everyone could understand me. I could just feel that the words I had said really came from my heart and they came from the Holy Ghost because I couldn't tell you what I said.  As well Sister Peterson is leaving on August 14 (she is the mission nurse) which is super sad. She gave her departing testimony and I just cried because she was there for me when I was going home. She just loves me and gives me chocolate when I need it. She took us out to ice cream when the Martinos left she has done so much for me. Then at the end of the Conference I was talking to President Reynolds and he agreed with me that because I came back I need to do another year so that I get a complete straight 18 months. Sorry everyone. Just kidding. He then told Hermana Jofre and me that he was glad he put us together because he could see how hard we were working. Which was good to know that someone noticed our hard work!

Then Saturday was nuts as well. So side comment in the Hispanic  program because they are all converts they think when their 8 year old child is getting baptized that it is the missionaries responsibility to do that baptism...... Well actually it isn't.... Just so you know... But anyways some how Elder Grand and Elder Chay got put in charge of the baptism so we felt bad for them so we helped them out. We spent the day making a program and setting up the church so that everything would be ready. Then the baptism happened and everything went smoothly and we started into the food. In the middle of eating our branch president came up and told us for one of the two kids that got baptized we have to do the record because he is actually nine years old so they can't do it... awkward..... so to make things more awkward we realized that the child didn't have an interview with ether the branch president or our district leader. So yeah we have a lot to do to get everything fixed. Uhhhh.....

I just want to share the talk that I shared in our Mega Zone. It makes this email a little long so sorry.....

"As I serve Him in exact obedience with all my heart might mind and strength I am forever changed." Everyday we repeat this phrase in our mission vision but what does it mean to be forever changed and how do we become forever changed? I believe as we study and apply preach my gospel we become forever changed. To be a Preach my Gospel missionary we must constantly be seeking change  and we must be looking for ways to improve. We didn't only come to teach repentance to others but we must first teach repentance to ourselves.

In the message from the first presidency in preach my gospel it states the purpose of Preach my Gospel is "to help you be a better- prepared, more spiritually mature missionary and a more persuasive teacher." So in other words Preach my Gospel is supposed to help us be prepared, grow spiritually, and become teachers like Christ. As we learn to live Preach my Gospel the goal is to grow in all three of those areas and become forever changed by what we are learning.

A Preach my Gospel missionary is prepared. Preach my Gospel promises us that, "Missionaries who strive to prepare themselves daily and seek to improve regularly will receive direction from the Holy Ghost and see blessings in their lives." So everyday during any of personal, companion, language, 12 weeks, or My Plan missionaries should be diving into Preach my Gospel and seeking ways to improve to become better, that way they can "be given power to teach repentance and baptize converts here in New York."

A Preach my Gospel mission seeks to grow spiritually. It says that, "Effective study during your mission will help you fulfill your purpose as a missionary and strengthen your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ." To me personally this is the one I have seen take the most effect in my mission as I have strived to become a Preach my Gospel missionary. As I have studied the Christ-like attributes I feel myself wanting to become like Him and understanding who He is and His role in my life. As I have come to live the gospel that is taught in Preach my Gospel I feel myself growing spiritually and becoming a better person "line upon line precept upon precept here a little and
there a little."

Lastly a Preach my Gospel missionary is a persuasive teacher. It states in Chapter 10 that, "Teaching is central to everything you do. You develop Christlike attributes, study the missionary lessons, improve your ability to speak in your mission language, and rely on the Spirit in order to teach with convincing power." What I love about the gospel is that it always comes around full circle. In order to become the best teachers we must be prepared and grow spiritually. We must learn to become better and seek to repent and change.

I know that as we come to live Preach my Gospel and follow the guidelines there in we will see a greater change in ourselves. I know that Preach my Gospel can answer any of the questions you have on how to work harder, how to work with members, how to study, how to find, what to teach and most importantly, to me, how to become like the Savior. I know Him and I know He lives. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: baptism
Picture 2: graffiti
Picture 3: Asian graffiti
Picture 4: 17 months