Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3/27/17--Wow! What a Week!

I have to say this week has been one of the craziest and best weeks of my mission. I don't know how much better it could have gotten. We did about everything this week. We have been busy bees that never stood still for more than like 10 minutes. Any way, on to the highlights of the week.

Monday as after we all got done changing from basketball we were talking to Elder Corbett and Elder Weisler. Elder Corbett got super excited to tell us this story. So he starts talking about this mini fridge he had in college then goes into how where he was storing it while he was on his mission. Then out of no where he was telling about his garage and how his dad has to park his truck sideways. Then Hermana Reeve goes, "Uh what does this have to do with the mini fridge?" We died laughing and Elder Corbett was just flustered and didn't know how it related. The best part was the climax of his story is that his mini fridge is still waiting for him in his garage after two years. That just tells you the kind of Elders we work with. Such random and funny things.

The next exciting thing that happened was Wednesday we had exchanges with the sister training leaders. Who are super cool. We mainly did knocking and finding events. When we knocked that night it was like 30 degrees plus it was extremely windy. I couldn't feel my toes, fingers, face, and more by he end of knocking for two hours. The only highlight of that was some lady while knocking gave us cookies cause she felt bad for us. The best part was they were extremely good cookies. The next exciting event was Zone Training on Friday. We had a member from the Plainview ward come and teach us how he knocks doors. He knocks doors selling solar panel for a living. So he was giving us tips and tricks on how we can improve. The only downfall was this was the third time I had heard this workshop. I heard him give it twice before towards the beginning of my mission. So I just sat back and chilled. He did teach it a little bit different than normal but took just as long as he had
the last two times. Super cool but super long at the same time.

Then funniest story of the week. Last night we were visiting a recent convert who got baptized the Saturday before I got in the area. Her husband is a very funny man. Slowly but slowly he is opening up to us and is slowly learning more about the church. We pray one day he will listen, but until then we are sassy with him and tease him all the time. Yesterday he told us how the week before he had been cleaning his car and the Jehovah Witness missionaries came by and were talking to him. He turned and looked and them and told them that he was Mormon. They awkwardly backed away and left. We laughed so hard. We were shocked that he would say that he was Mormon without ever
listening to the lessons or going to church. He is such a funny guy and it makes life fun when we go over to visit the recent convert.

Then the highlight of all highlights for the week. Started Tuesday when Yanci called us and asked when we would go to the temple with her. We told her it would be best to go this month because next month we are planing on going to the temple with other recent converts. So she said to set everything up and we can go Saturday. So we start calling many people. Long story short by the end of Tuesday we had a small hope of going to the temple because her interview with the stake president wouldn't happen. Then Wednesday morning she called and said the bishop said that the stake president would be in Brentwood giving interviews that night. She said if she texted her boss she could most likely go. So all day we prayed. The sister training leaders thought we were crazy. Anyways that night she called and said she got the interview and we could go to the temple Saturday! So that is what we did! We went to the temple Saturday with her for the first time! It was awesome we listened to the session in Spanish. It was super fun!

This week reading in the Book of Mormon I came across a scripture I really liked. It is in Mosiah 16:4. And it says:

"4 Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state."

I love this scripture. To me it shows just how much we need Jesus Christ and his Atonement. I know that Christ suffered for our sins that way we can be saved. I know he lives and loves us. Let us all
take time as we come to this Easter season to think about Him and what he has done for us. I love y'all! Have a great week!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: We are the Fantastic 5. Us on our recent converts off to teach their cousins!
Picture 2: Awkward picture number one of me.
Picture 3: exchanges!
Picture 4: Zone!
Picture 5: early morning to train station
Picture 6: train ride
Picture 7: post temple picture
Picture 8: awkward picture number two of me.
Picture 9: when you play I spy Nina(a Hampton bays member) during general women's conference.
Picture 10: 13 months with Sister Gourley

Monday, March 20, 2017

3/20/17--❄️❄️Blizzard But Not Really ❄️❄️

Well what a week. If you can tell by the title we had a little bit of snow this week. To be honest when I cam back I had hoped I had missed all of the snow and wouldn't have to deal with it. On the other hand God had a different plan for me. Thank goodness I am in a car area so my poor companion wouldn't have to listen to me complain that much about snow. However I think Hermana Reeve got a taste of it this week. Poor thing. I feel a little bit bad.

Anyways last week on Tuesday we had a very eventful day. So all day Monday we planed on how we were going to walk to a member's house that lives in the same apartment complex as the elder's so that we would have company if we got snowed in on Tuesday. So we planed it out and talked to the member and the elders and got it all worked out. Tuesday came and we woke up to a little bit of snow and then it was raining. So everything was mush. So we were like ok just to be safe we are still going through with our plans. So we walked over and we were wet. Soaking wet. Apparently my snow boots do well with snow but not rain because the water seeped into my boots. So my feet were soaking wet. Then we get there and have studies with the member. Who is super cool by the way. Her name is Jess and she is a convert of like 2 years and has her own quirky personality. Anyways we get done and we made food for the Elders and the member so the Elders came over and we chatted. Come to find out that President said we could drive but try not to as much as possible. So we walked over for studies with Jess and to talk to the Elders. Uhh just a little upset about that. Anyways the night ended up being really good because we found a couple new investigators that have some potential.

Although the rest of Tuesday was nasty weather wise. So it snowed like 2-4 inches over night. Then it rained all day long. So everything was mushy and gross. Plus it was really windy and we could have gotten blowed away to Kansas or something. The only nice part about the nasty weather was that everyone and I mean everyone was at home. Hardly anyone left their houses. Basically everyone had work canceled. So it made doing missionary work pretty easy because we just visited everyone because they were all at home. So that made that day fairly easy.

As for the rest of the week, to be honest, it was all seems as one. We had our respective meetings and visited some of the normal people. On Friday St Patrick's day we had Mega Zone which was awesome. The funniest part was at the beginning we were talking to Sister Peterson, who is the mission nurse, and they started saying a prayer to bless the food. Well, Sister Peterson didn't notice hey were praying so kept talking rather loudly, may I say, right through the beginning of the prayer. Then we told her they were praying and she got so embarrassed. Hermana Reeve and I laughed our heads off. She thanked us so many times that we told her. Oh my goodness it was funny. 

Most of Mega Zone I just pondered about my mission and how I want to make these next 5 months count. I want to live each moment as one to remember. Then after the Conference we were talking to Elder Corbett and Elder Weisler, who are the zone leaders, in our district as well we work with them to cover Brentwood. Anyways they had a baptism last week and they were asking us a question about it and Elder Corbett was like that is a decent idea. We were like sorry our ideas aren't good enough for you. He got embarrassed as well and was like I am sorry I didn't mean it like that. It was hilarious. Good times. Good times.

This week at the baptism the Elders ask that we give a little workshop on families while the family is changing. In my studies for this I found a quote that I absolutely love and I feel like is something that
is true for all families. It is in a talk called "Eternal Laws of  Happiness" by Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen in the November 1995 Ensign. It says:

"Our happiness in this life and joy in the future as eternal families depend on how well we live them."

Pretty short and to the point but I love it. If we want things in the future we have to live for them now. The eternities won't be perfect unless you are striving to be perfect. Your family won't automatically
get along in the eternities if you don't strive to be friends with you siblings today. I know this to be true. I have seen in my own life. The moment I strive to be friends and show love to my siblings,
parents, companions, friends, members and so on I have built better and stronger relationships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I challenge each of you to think about the people around you and
find one person you can strengthen a relationship with and go and do. I know the Lord will bless you and the person you are reaching out. I love each and everyone of you and I hope y'all have a great week!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: Snow day
Picture 2: us on the snow day
Picture 3: blow drying my wet cold feet
Picture 4: we had the cleanest car award
Picture 5: Mega Zone #didntknowhowclosetoseatnexttopresident
Picture 6: recent converts got the priesthood
Picture 7: squad pic
Picture 8: late night bed picture. I look less awkward this time.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

3/13/17--Deja Vu

WOW I feel like I am like reliving my life just better this time!! Soooo to explain that I am now in Brentwood which was my first area when I got into the mission field a year ago. So we have been visiting members that I haven't seen in forever. I have been loving it! Ahhh! As well I am loving my new companion! Her name is Hermana Reeve! She is from San Francisco California! She comes from a family of six kids! She has been on her mission for 7 months now. She loves the outdoors and is super fun! We spend a lot of time laughing and just talking. So yeah that is my little update on life here in my "new" area!

So this week has been super fun seeing a lot of the members. It just makes me happy that most of them remember me and get so excited to have me back. It was funny one of the girls in the ward who is like 10 was like I don't remember you. She told me I was just a replacement for the other sister who used to be here. I reminded her that I was here before the other sister was here. She went quiet and then said not for me because I don't remember you. Then I jogged her memory on some of the fun things we did and she remembered me and said we were best friends now. So fun how you can persuade little kids to love you by just being fun.

As well this week was fun because this past weekend we had stake Conference and I got to see all of the members from Hampton Bays branch. It was cute the branch president invited us to a munch and mingle they were having after stake Conference. So it was fun to walk around and talk with them. Most of them were like I thought you had finished your mission because we saw pictures of you at home on Facebook. So I think I explained what happen at least 20 times to different people. But that was alright because I got to see them and talk with them.

Tender mercies- because we had so many tender mercies I am going to make a list of them with a small explanation.

1) Anguie- She is the first person I watch get baptize. About a year ago when I was here three weeks after getting here she got baptized. This past week she told us that she and her family are getting prepared to be sealed together. Her parents are already sealed but Anguie isn't sealed to them. So we are super excited for her to get sealed! As well we are preparing to do a mini mission with her to prepare to go on a mission.

2) Yanci- She was a less active we worked with to help get her active. We would play soccer with her and even tried to dig her a pool. Now she is active and has taken to the necessary steps to go to the temple for herself. She told yesterday she is preparing to go this coming Saturday and invited us to come. I am so excited for her to further feel of God's love for her!

3)Sebastian and Esther- While visiting with the members of Hampton Bays I realized a former investigator I would teach was there with his family. Now this is a family I love dearly and can't count the times I cried for them and wanted them to feel of the full blessings of the gospel. Well after talking with the Sisters they said the whole family is preparing for baptism. My excitement was and still is through the roof. I am so excited and happy they are progressing. To feel of the full blessings of the gospel.

4)Referrals- We have had countless members come to us saying they have a friend they would like us to teach. We have so many people we can tell are ready and prepared to hear the gospel. I am excited to see where everything goes.

5)Alex, Carlos, and Leslie- They are siblings who just recently got baptized a week ago. Carlos is 16 and had his interview for the priesthood yesterday. Bishop said that once he gets the priesthood on Sunday he can then give it to Alex who is 12. We are so excited to see them get to experience the priesthood and give it to each other.

6)Snow- Others may not see this as a tender mercy but I do. This week it snowed hard and then we are supposed to have a blizzard tomorrow and may get snowed in. The tender mercy is that I am in an area that has a car. I don't have to walk around in the snow and cold and make my companion mad at me because I complain about the snow too much. Hermana Reeve at the end of a day made the statement that she realized I really hate the snow and cold.

This week I have been thinking a lot about God and his will for me. I was a little nervous about coming back into an area I have already served in. I don't know why I am here, if it for my companion, to see some of these people progress, I missed teaching someone I was supposed to teach, or someone is now ready for me to teach. Whatever it is I want to make sure I do it and it to please God. I found a scripture in Moroni 7:33 that gave me strength. It says:

"33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."

I realized that God will give me power and strength to do his will. If I simply have and do the things I am supposed to do then I will be given power and guidance to the people I am here to influence to be influenced by. I am excited to learn and become a better person. I realized I don't have those life changing moments that define a person. For me personally the understanding comes with time. I have recognized differences in myself and seen how I changed with time. I love the mission and they make you forever changed. I love y'all and have a great week!

Picture 1: last day in Flushing and maybe last day serving in the city. Which is fine two weeks was good enough for me.
Picture 2: the gang back together. I was so happy to see them!
Picture 3: our sad face that our recent convert didn't answer our call....
Picture 4: our sassy face to a teenage less active who wasn't home but her mom was so she let us in. So at her house without the person we wanted to see
Picture 5: snowing hard core
Picture 6: winter wonderland
Picture 7: it was his birthday this week so we took a picture.
Picture 8: while waiting for Carlos to get out of his interview we took a picture with the Velasquez family.
Picture 9: Us and Yanci getting ready for the temple
Picture 10: more awkward bed pictures. I am really good at making them awkward.

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Thursday, March 9, 2017

3/6/17--City Life

Well what a week it has been. To be honest part of it I don't remember. So to start off we have transfers tomorrow and I am getting transferred out. So who knows where I am going but the short amount of city life I have had has been great!! I have loved this area and both of my companions. I feel I was more here to support and love my companions but who knows who else I have touched along the way.

This week has been full of doctor appointments, going to the mission office, staying in due to sickness, and some missionary work sprinkled in on top. So poor Hermana Williams had to get a TB test for school so we went to he first doctor they didn't do it. We went to the second doctor the next day they did it. Then we had to go back two days later because she had to get the results. Then this whole weekend she has been really sick so Sister Wuthrich and I spent a lot of time getting to know each other and spending time in our small apartment. Coming to the church today to email had been exciting because it was a change of scenery. As well on Thursday we went to the mission office because Sister Wuthrich leaves for Bermuda tomorrow so she had to put her winter stuff in storage. The sad part was gen it got really cold this weekend and she didn't have many winter cloths to keep her warm. Although going into the office was a ton of fun because we got to see President Reynolds. Who was super excited to see me and sorry he couldn't have picked me up from the airport. To be honest I quite love my mission president. He was for sure divinely called to be my president. As well at the office I got to see Hermana Gourley and Sister Peterson. Overall it was a good visit.

As for the missionary work we have been working with a recent convert that has been struggling with a couple of things. It has taught me a lot about how much we need to put our trust in God and ask for his help. As well we have been working with a couple of different less actives. One of which hasn't been to church in years and she came the past two weeks without us really inviting her to come!! It is a miracle!!! We spent a lot of time trying to contact some referrals and just talking to different people on the bus.

This week we were talking to a less active about becoming who we are meant to be by the time Christ comes. I compared it to the parable of the Ten talents. It is in Matthew 25:14-29. I would share it but that is a long scripture. The point is the first two serve to do something with the potential to become like Christ. The last one does nothing with his potential. I feel like we tell this parable and think of our talents and skills. However I feel like that extends beyond that into who we are to become. When we stand before Christ or when he comes again will we have become the person we are supposed to be. I love a talk by Elder Oaks in the October 2000 General Conference called "The Challenge to Become" He says:

"The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan by which we can become what children of God are supposed to become. This spotless and perfected state will result from a steady succession of covenants, ordinances, and actions, an accumulation of right choices, and from continuing repentance. “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32).Now is the time for each of us to work toward our personal conversion, toward becoming what our Heavenly Father desires us to become."

I just love that. This gospel is the way we become who our Heavenly Father wants us to be. I know that God has a plan for each of us and wants us to become so much more. I pray that we each strive to become more like Him every day. I invite y'all to read that talk. It is so good! I love y'all! Have a good week!!

Photo one: district/awkward family photo
Photo two: actual cute district photo
Photo three: out getting ice cream after a doctor's appointment.
Photo four: February 24 I have been on my mission for a year!!!
Photo five: Hermana Williams wanted to go to Bermuda
Photo six: She tried again the next day so Sister Wuthrich gave her a snack
Photo seven: The Cedeno family!! They are super cute!!!
Photo eight: out to eat at five guys
Photo nine: we were bored in our apartment all day yesterday.

2/27/17--I'm Back

I am so pleased to say I am back in New York! I never thought this day would come but it has! Ahhh I am so happy!!! To be honest there are days where I feel like I have never left New York. I have been here the whole time. Anyways y'all are most likely dying to know where I am and what I am doing. So I am now in Flushing with Hermana Williams (my trainer) and Sister Wuthrich. I am so excited to be with Hermana Williams again she is the bomb!!! As I come to know Sister Wuthrich she as well is the bomb.com!!!! Sister Wuthrich is from Utah, she has been on her mission for about 9 months now. She is a English speaking missionary so when we speak Spanish she knows little of what is going
on. Overall she is super cool!!!

So this week has been fun!! I am loving being back in New York. The city is for sure a different kind of pace. We walk everywhere and take the bus when we can! Hopefully I will be in shape by the end of my time here. This week the day after I got back I had exchanges!!! So we went with the Sister Training leaders and meet and talked with a bunch of people. I have to say I was a little out shape on the missionary department. I have gotten better but it was still a little rusty. A couple funny moments was one when Hermana Williams found a dog on a roof. The poor dog we asume he just climbed out the window. As well we talked to their recent convert about dating and about first dates. He is a big gentleman. Then because there is five of us we decided we are like the Scooby-do gang. So I was Freddy because I was the biggest blonde. So we took pictures dressed up as our character. Then the next day Sister Wuthrich tried catching a bird so she could pet it but people kept walking by so it took forever. Then we missed a couple bus stops and walked more than expected. Then we visited one of our member in a hospital who got sick and she asked us to sing to her. So we awkwardly sang a song for her. Then we got caught in the rain for a little bit and had fun! Oh yeah and for my year mark on Friday we went to this crepe place!!! Oh so good!!!!

It was awesome the most spiritual moment of my week was we are working with a recent convert and we were talking about repentance. I realized that God tells us what we can change because he loves us and can see potential in us. He knows who we can become. If he didn't think we could become more he wouldn't tell us what we could change. It just made me realize how much God loves us and wants us to become like Him. I know God loves each and everyone of you and wants you to become the best you there is. I love y'all!!!

Photo 1: attempt one at a tío picture
Photo 2: dog on roof
Photo 3: Scooby gang!!
Photo 4: me in the city!!!
Photo 5: crepes!!!!
Photo 6: roaming the city on a cold winter's night.