Tuesday, April 25, 2017

4/24/17--City Life yo!!

Well guess what?!?! I am in the city! I am in Brooklyn! Yeah!! Life is good! We do a lot of walking in fact only walking and taking the train so I feel like a real missionary a little bit. It was nice being
in Brentwood with five lessons a day and being able to get there quickly. I get a little frustrated because we spend so much time traveling and taking a long time between visits, but there isn't much
I can do. I just hope that I can lose weight being here in the city!  Lose everything I gained while in Brentwood! Well my new companion is Hermana Castañeda! She goes home at the end of this transfer so I will send my second missionary home. It should be a fun transfer!

This week was full of sadness and excitement! Monday night we just spent time saying good bye to different people and crying. Then Tuesday was slightly stressful making sure I had everything I wasn't forgetting anything. As well we had to be early so that Hermana Reeve could pick up her new bee! It was so much fun! Then I spent most of the afternoon with Hermana Williams, I mean Tesa Williams, before she got ready to leave! Not going to lie I cried hard to see her leave. Afterwards Hermana Castañeda was like yeah you looked like a train hit you. So yeah. We then took the train in to our area and it took a while.

The rest of the week we spent time trying to get to know everyone in the area. We are in a descent size branch. We are working with a couple of different recent converts and reactivated members to get to the temple soon. The whole branch seems super nice and so down for missionary work. As well they have a sign up for feeding the three sets of missionaries in our ward. I think I eat at member's houses as much as I did in Brentwood. We have a dinner appointment almost everyday this week! Which is great because I love Hispanic food!

Life in the city is for sure different then life on the island. For starters where we live. We live above a coffee shop and a night club. So at night we go to sleep listening to loud music and drunk people.
As well we live on the third floor so it is a long way up. Also the train tracks run right by our house. So you hear the train running by 24/7. Then the other day walking through the train station we saw a
fight. The guy was covered in blood. Plus one night we looked out our window and some guys were like getting ready to shoot a video of some sort. But he guy being recorded was like seating in some big chair. It was odd. Then as we were watching this a van pulled over and a kid ran out and jumped the fence across the street. Then later the van came back and the kid climbed back over with a bag. No clue if we witness a robbery or something but it was odd.

I have three semi funny stories for the week. The first one happened when we were walking home from the train last week. A bird pooped on my head! It was beyond gross. We promptly went home so hat I could take a shower and clean myself. I felt much better after my shower and I knew I was clean. The second semi funny story is from last night we showed up to the member's house who signed up to feed us, which by the way they live on Ashford St so hey will never forget me:) Then at the end of the visit they both were like we didn't know you were coming today, but they said we could go over anytime to eat. Awkward moment. Then semi funny story three is from last night as well we walked up to our recent converts house just as two other members from the branch showed up to visit her. It was super awkward because nether of us knew the other was going to be there. Then we started talking at dinner and Texas was brought up. Now mind you there are three Mexicans at the
table. Let's just say the conversation was funny. The Mexicans were defending themselves, I was defending Texas and one person was just seating there laughing at the whole ordeal. It was funny.

This past week one of the talks I read was from this past conference by President Uchtdorf called "Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear." I have been thinking a lot about that this whole week. He talks about how we sometimes used fear as a motivation to do things. He points out that fear isn't a long lasting motivation however love is. I am realizing that my love for the Savior should he reason I do everything. I do everything out of love for him and all of his children. As well that goes with our challenges we face. He says: "Rather than dwelling on the immensity of our challenges, would it not
be better to focus on the infinite greatness, goodness, and absolute power of our God, trusting Him and preparing with a joyful heart for the return of Jesus the Christ?"

I am realizing in everyday life that when I focus on the Savior and his love everything else comes in time and with strength. I know the Savior lives to give us the power we need. I know he loves us and
wants us to be the best we can be. I encourage y'all to look for us love more in your everyday life. I love y'all and I hope y'all have a great week!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: Loly 💗
Picture 2-3: Genny💙
Picture 4-5: Anguie💖
Picture 6: See ya later Tesa!❤️
Picture 7: Hermana Gourley
Picture 8: Spring time and new companion
Picture 9: night city skyline from our roof
Picture 10: Jennifer we took her to church!
Picture 11: 14 months in the mission! Going a little too fast!
Picture 12:  Ashford street
Picture 13: the church across the street reminds me of Disney world and see how close the train tracks are to our house

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

4/17/17--THE BEST WEEK EVER!!! With a sad ending...And new beginnings!

So today we found out transfers. We had a big guess what was going to happen because on Friday Hermana Reeve got a call from President Reynolds saying she is going to be a trainer! Yeah! I am so excited for her! So we had a meeting amongst the baptism and temple trip and everything this past weekend. So we pretty much knew that I was out and Hermana Reeve was staying all weekend which gave a very sad twist to everything that was going on. Then today was the day to actually find everything out! So the zone leaders got and on and started reading the list of what was happening and they got to us. They said Sister Ashford out then Elder Corbett said Sister Reeve out!! We both stared at each other in pure shock and horror. We both started bawling like crazy! We were super sad! Then at the end they read of the list of people who were out and Hermana Reeve's name wasn't on it so we freaked. So we quickly called the zone leaders. Come to find out it was a prank and apparently Elder Corbett had said just kidding right he had said it but neither one of us heard! Oh Hermana Reeve was not happy for a moment there. It was only a little funny. On the other hand I am really sad to be leaving and have to say good bye to my beloved Brentwood.

Wow this week has been super crazy! We ran around like crazy and ended up with so much success! To begin the fun on Wednesday we had a zone training which was amazing! Hermana Reeve gave an amazing workshop or lesson to the group! Plus it was super fun to see Hermana Gourley and other friends! Then that night we picked up Anguie Artola and took her out for a mini mission! The first thing she did is cry that she was away from her family. She soon got over that the next day when we busily got to work visiting person after person and knocking doors. She was a contributor to our investigators and members. There were many times you could see the Holy Ghost work with her and have her make comments and she felt guided. It did feel like I was in training again teaching someone how to be a missionary cause she didn't do too much in the way of planning and participating in studies and didn't know how we did things. Yet you could tell she knew what she was doing. I loved having her with us! At the end when we took her home Friday she was crying cause she wanted to stay with us forever and never leave us or the mini mission. It was super funny.

Another week long event was our temple trip! We took Alex, Carlos, and Leslie to the temple for their first time. I have to say it was a miracle and a blessing we even made it there! When we set the appointment they told us we needed to have three Melchizedek priesthood holders. On Monday we had one and one maybe. Then a lady called us saying she and her husband would be there so then by Tuesday we were at two and a maybe. So we called about 3-8 people on Wednesday and Thursday. Come Friday morning we found out that the other lady could t come any more and our maybe and all of those 3-8 people we called or texted couldn't go. So now it is Friday and we have one person and the temple trip is the next day. Friday was a stressful day! Big freak out moments. We called around 25 people to come with us and none of them could come. Then a miracle happened and the temple called saying a couple of different people called saying they would be there so we were going to be ok and we didn't need to look for anymore people. The temple itself was an amazing experience! It was so fun to see them do baptisms. You could see a true glow around them afterwards.

Baptism one: so throughout the week we had an interview and quickly taught her all the rest of the lessons! She is a young women of a mom who had been less active. She was a taught a little bit by Hermana Williams and I when I was here a year ago. Her name is Kiara. She was baptized Saturday after we got back from the temple. The baptism went smoothly and it was so fun to see her shine and glow in such great happiness finally be baptized!

Baptism two: then on Sunday two girls got baptized who have become part of my life and my heart. We meet them six weeks ago at the beginning of this transfer. They are cousins of Alex Carlos and Leslie who we took to the temple. Anyways these past six weeks we have worked hard with lots of love to know how to best prepare them. There has been many road blocks along the way and there were days we didn't know if they would get baptized. However at the end of the transfer they got baptized on Easter Sunday! What a way to remember the resurrection of our Savior then watching someone take their first steps toward Him! They were baptized by their cousin Carlos and it was so fun to see him use is priesthood. The girls Cindy and Johanna gave the sweetest testimonies. They truly have changed and come to know their Savior a little more. It was awesome to see them change and grow over these past six weeks! I love Cindy and Johanna so much!

This past week our mission president invited us to read in a conference talk every day, so I have been trying to do that. One of the talks I read was a suggestion from my mom from this past general Conference by Elder Jeffery R Holland untitled Song Sung and Unsung. I love one part of his talk that hits home to me. He says:

"...then our Heavenly Father delights to have us sing in our own voice, not someone else’s. Believe in yourself, and believe in Him. Don’t demean your worth or denigrate your contribution. Above all, don’t abandon your role in the chorus. Why? Because you are unique; you are irreplaceable. The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir of ours, including the loss of those who feel they are on the margins of society or the margins of the Church."

I have faced many days when I didn't feel unique or worth much. I have faced days that are hard and it would be just easier to give in. I know we have all faced those days, weeks, months, or years. I have come to see on my mission to see just a portion of how much God truly loves us. As I was seating at church on Sunday on the stand because I was playing the piano I was looking around at the Brentwood ward and I was over come with such love for each person. For each person who I had taught and interacted with. For each person who showed me how to be a little better, how to love a little more, and how to improve myself. I can only a portion of God's love for everyone and that portion I can see is already too much for me to understand. I know God loves us individually. I know he wants us to come back to him. I know each and everyone of us is important to Him! He loves us and is cheering us on as we fight through the battle of everyday life to return to Him. I love y'all and I pray that this week we will all take the time to talk to our Heavenly Father and feel of His love and peace. Have a great week!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1-3: Anguie Mini mission
Picture 4-5: Temple Trip!
Picture 6: we had started filling up the font for our first baptism and there were ants and spiders and other weird things in the water so we stoped filling the font and hoped in to go swimming and clean! Luckily the water was only up to our shins so it wasn't too high. Then the water want warm enough so we boiled water and dumped it in.
Picture 7-8: Kiara's baptism!
Picture 9-11: Brentwood Squad!
Picture 12-14: Cindy and Johanna's baptism!
Picture 15: Yanci and I!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

4/11/17--Busy + Crazy + Stress = Mission Life

Well sorry I didn't email yesterday. We had interviews with our mission president so in order to have enough time for a district activity we moved our preparation day to Tuesday. So yeah! But anyways
this past week has been super crazy and super busy. There is a huge blessing for serving here in Brentwood. You feel at times you have too many people to work with than you have time to work with them. This week was one of those weeks when you wished there was more time in the day so you could have time to visit everyone you want and need to visit. I count my blessings for how good of an area this place is. I know Heavenly Father puts us in the areas we need to be in.

So the funny stories. This past weekend the Spanish Elders had a baptism. The drama there is that it got pushed around because the Young Women were having an activity. Anyways so the baptism was "at 2" but when we showed up at 1:50 only the Elders were there. So we asked how everything was going. Bad choice because they were just stressed out so some of it came a little towards us. So they got everything figured out the investigator came and got baptized twice because his foot was sticking out of the water the first time. Then while they were changing Hermana Reeve and I showed the Easter Video and we showed it through an Apple TV connect to a TV. Then we were talking about how we find peace through Jesus Christ, so we asked everyone how they could share the video with their friends. One of the kids raised his hand and goes "Yo tengo un pregunta cómo conectado la tablet a la televisión?" Or in English how did you connect the iPad to the TV. It was super funny and was said in the middle of the lesson. Then the best part came afterwards. So after the service I started playing the piano to bring in the Spirit and because that is normally what is done. So while I played Hermana Reeve went to congratulate the investigador. She shock his and hand said congratulations. Afterwards let go of his hand crossed her arms. Well the guy didn't think a hand shack was enough so he went in very slowly to hug her. The thing is as missionaries we only do hand shakes to people of the opposite gender.  So I watched the entire thing lay out. He hugged her for a good couple of seconds and she just stood there in shock with her arms crossed and staring at Elder Corbett to make him move off of her. After he finally let go we died laughing. I couldn't look at her for a little while without dying. The rest of the night was fun at the Young Women's activity and we helped by doing hair and nails. They did like a LDS Spa.

Then Sunday we had a special fireside by the missionaries for the whole stake. So the speakers were recent converts and they showed videos about revelation. As well the missionaries did special musical number. President and Sister Reynolds came out and spoke. Overall a fun night all based on members doing missionary work. Our recent convert and their cousin who is our investigator came to the fireside. So small back story is transfers are next week and Hermana Reeve really doesn't want to leave Brentwood. Like she would be so mad if she left. So she made our recent convert go up to President Reynolds and tell him to keep her in Brentwood because she is the best. The funniest part of it all was how awkward he looked waiting to talk to President Reynolds. Plus he was so excited to do something for us he did it so willingly. It was super funny because the next day in interviews Hermana Reeve said President Reynolds mentioned it to her.

I would like to share a quote from the women's session of General Conference from a couple weeks ago. The talk "The Beauty if Holiness" by Sister Carol F McConkie. She says,

"Sisters, if we would be holy, we must learn to sit at the feet of the Holy One of Israel and give time to holiness. Do we set aside the phone, the never-ending to-do list, and the cares of worldliness?
Prayer, study, and heeding the word of God invite His cleansing and healing love into our souls. Let us take time to be holy, that we may be filled with His sacred and sanctifying Spirit. With the Holy Ghost as our guide, we will be prepared to receive the Savior in the beauty of holiness."

The part I love the most is give time to Holiness. I pondered that quote and what she was saying for quite some time. I in the end changed it to mean something so much personal and meaningful to me. I
changed it to give time for Christ. I realized that everyday we need to give time to get to know the Savior and his power that is offered for us. I have come to an understanding that as we read the
scriptures, say our prayers, and go to church everyday and every week we give time for Christ. The most important thing to me in the world is coming to know my Savior, and Redeemer Jesus Christ. He is the center piece to my life. He is the reason I get up everyday and take a couple more steps forward. Because of Him I find hope and joy and love and life. I know He lives and He is watching out for each and everyone of us. I invite y'all to give time for Christ. Don't just read your scriptures or say your prayers or just go to church or not do any of the above. I encourage y'all to give time for Christ and come unto Him. Come unto the fold and feel of His blessings. I promise you that as you do so you will feel of His love and guidance with more abundance in your life. You will find peace. I love y'all and I hope y'all find time to give for Christ.

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: we had deep cleaning and cleaned out the drained and found something gross
Picture 2: cute selfie with the comp
Picture 3-4: fun selfies with our investigators kids while she talked to her landlord for 30 minutes!!! That was a short lesson!
Picture 5: heart attacking a member from the inside.
Picture 6: a little background is this is Sebastian, Esther, and Randy who I taught when I was in the Hamptons. I worked a lot with them! I was so excited to hear that the mom and son (Esther and Randy) got baptized this past weekend. I got to see them at the fireside on Sunday. They were radiating with the Spirit.
Picture 7: with the fantastic 5 the three kids and over plus the uncle their cousin who is getting baptized this Sunday.
Picture 8-11: selfies because we are matching
Picture 12-13: district pictures.
Picture 14: district activity picture.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

4/3/17--General Conference

I think I have only blinked like twice in the past 4 weeks and it was over! This transfer is going by so fast I can't even believe it! We have kept so busy and working hard it is exhausting. This week was just working and working then some fun with General Conference. We had some funny moments along the way and some interesting moments.

So this week one of our investigator's dad went to the hospital so we asked if he wanted to get a blessing from the elders. That itself was an experience and half. Afterwards when we were driving to our next appointment Hermana Reeve was like I want to make a cake for the Elders because they are always helping us and I want to pay them back. However the struggle was that Elder Weisler is allergic to milk so whatever we made couldn't have milk in it. We looked at many recipes but found nothing to make. Mind you it is like 8:30 at night so we don't have much time to get things pulled together. We messaged with a member and she told us substitutes for dairy products. We ended up making Texas Sheet cake. The coolest miracle of this was we needed buttermilk so we were going to substitute it with milk and vinegar but I couldn't remember the ratio. I prayed really hard and the idea of one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of milk or almond milk in this case. We called the member and I was right! It was cool to see how God helped us to do a small service for the Elders. Then we ding-dong ditched them at their door with a note. They were so grateful! It was funny Elder Weisler ate so much of that cake. He basically ate half a cookie sheet of cake! So fun!

One of the highlights of my week was we went to Yanci's house and made papusas! Her sister taught us how to make them so when we go home we will know how to make them. It was so much fun! It was similar to the time before when I made them with Hermana Williams. Although this time I was much better at it because I had a year of practice and getting better. I am not quite to a Hispanic or fully made them all by myself.  However I hope when I get home I will be really good at it.

I can't say much more exciting happened that was funny that would make sense out of contexts. I hope everyone got a chance to see the new prince of peace video I posted on Facebook! I love that the church puts out videos and gives us tools to help us better deepen our testimony of the Savior. I know he lives and he loves us beyond our understand!

Sorry it is so short not much exciting things happened this week! I love y'all!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture one: my piece of Texas Sheet cake.
Picture two: Yanci Loves taking our picture
Picture three: Pupusa making mine was a little small....
Pictures four and five: Anguie!!!
Picture six: Picture with four year old Jason