Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5/29/17--Another Transfer Down

Well another transfer has come and gone and only two left! Wow! Time just flies sometimes. This week has been an adventure! It all started with last Tuesday. My companion went on her last mission temple trip. So sad:( So I spent the day on exchanges at the mission nurse's house which was so fun! She is the best! That night we had a dinner appointment with a member and my companion was not going to be done with finishing her mission stuff so she told me to go ahead and go to the appointment on exchanges! So we did! It was an amazing lesson and good food! Then we went to meet up with our companions but they weren't done yet and couldn't meet up with us in time. So we did an overnight exchange. Turns out our companions didn't get back to their apartment until 11 at night. It was just pure craziness and we enjoyed everything! My exchange companion and I just enjoyed our time talking and relieving some stress.

Then comes the part where I gained like 20 pounds because we had like 3-4 dinner appointments everyday. Uhhh... The first was at one family's home on Wednesday and the daughter just had her first baby so we are the first ones outside of the family to see the baby! She was super cute! Plus the food was super good! The next was at another member's house. Then Thursday we went out to eat with the mission nurse and went to a good Mexican place. Later that day we went to two member's houses for more food. Basically, where I am getting with this, is we ate a bunch of food and I swear I gained a bunch of weight! Plus our mission nurse took us out to eat twice this week.

The next exciting news came on Friday when at a member's house I felt the phone buzz and it is President Reynolds! I about passed out... For you missionaries they know, it was a training call! So for my last two transfers I will be training a new missionary! I am super excited for round two and a second go at training. Apparently Heavenly Father thought I did so good the first time that I can do it again. I don't know about that one but you can ask Sister Johnston how I did. Anyways I freaked and have had anxiety ever since but I am living. I am super excited though!  I get my greenie tomorrow.

Then funny part 101 was district meeting. So some back up information. My companion's aunt passed away a week and a half ago. We came to the last song and our district leader was like we need to sing a good last song because it is our last one. So I suggested God Be With You Til We Meet Again because it a good farewell hymn due to Hermana Castañeda going home. An elder said we only sing that for dead people. Our district leader said yeah I want them to sing it at my funeral in Spanish! By this point the music has started and they just started singing. So Hermana Castañeda held up a picture of her dead aunt and I busted up laughing. One elder said oh who is that? I said her dead aunt. They are still singing. Then someone asks oh when diD she pass away? Hermana Castañeda goes last Thursday. I die laughing and all the elder's went dead silent with only the piano music playing from the iPad. Then our district quickly changed the song to something more up beat. I don't know if it sounds super funny but it was really funny in the moment.

Then on Saturday we had a meeting for the new trainers so we got on the train. After sitting on the train for one stop the guy next to me who had been asleep on his knees decided he needed to move positions. So he moved to my shoulder! He fell asleep on my shoulder! Oh my it was beyond awkward. The lady across from us later noticed what had happened and busted out laughing. She laughed for a good 10-15 minutes and she was face timing someone so she showed them what happened. It was super awkward and other people on the train began to notice and were laughing as well. Oh how uncomfortable I felt. Once we got off the person just slouched forward and fell asleep.

I like from the conference talk called "Overcoming The World" by Elder Anderson from this last general Conference. He says; "Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a
lifetime of moments that define an eternity."

I think for me in my mission I always expected and thought I would be pretty close to perfection when I finished my mission but I realized the mission isn't about becoming perfect it is about becoming converted so that we can overcome the world and find peace. I am learning that perfection will come with time and change but conversion is what I can change the most right now. I want to become like my Savior because I love him! I am grateful for the church and the lessons I am learning here in New York!

I love y'all! Have a great week!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: Preparation day last week! Playing games!
Picture 2-3: making baleadas!
Picture 4-5: district pictures.
Picture 6: one of our lunches with the mission nurse
Picture 7-8: playing with the kids.
Picture 9: Rosario and Andy!
Picture 10: interesting pizza name at lunch with the mission nurse the
second time
Picture 11-12: lunch with mission nurse wanted to take our picture
Picture 13-14: man asleep on my shoulder
Picture 15: My brother got his mission call to Madagascar! So cool!
Picture 16-17: dinner at a member's house!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5/23/17--Burn baby burn 🔥

So I shall explain my title a little bit later, but overall this week  was pretty good and I have a couple exciting and funny stories to tell. We had many adventures and good times to go around and I am excited for this week!

So to start off the adventures, on Monday after emailing a little we went to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so much fun to be able to see the Statue of Liberty from where we were and to see most of Manhattan. We lived life on the edge and went to the edge of our mission. It was funny. We joked and said we would be such disobedient missionaries if we were to just simply walk over this big yellow line. As well, we were talking all those people who can freely walk over this line and for us there is this invisible wall that we can't cross. Anyways overall it was fun and we took some fun pictures.

Then as most of y'all may have seen I got to see my mission grandma this week! It was so fun to see her! She is so pretty and amazing! Fun fact the last time I saw her was on the first day of my mission in New York! That seems like forever ago! We just chatted and talked as if we had known each other our whole lives! Super fun! Plus it was so cute to see her interact with the less active member and see how they became friends in like 5 minutes and they are now friends on Facebook and chatted like they had known each other forever. It was super cute! Plus it helped my Spanish because she doesn't speak very much English and is more comfortable in Spanish.

Then we went to a member's house who we call mom because she treats us like a mom. She gives us rides to church and always makes sure we have food. She checks up on us all the time and is super sweet! Anyways she is my Brooklyn mom! So we went to her house for dinner and we wanted to do an object lesson. This is were my title comes in. Hermana Castañeda had seen the elder's from back home do this trick and wanted to do it too. So what you do is you get a tea bag and dump the
contents out of the bag so now it looks like a tunnel. Then you balance it in the middle of your hand and set it on fire. Then at the last second the bag floats into the air and turns into ashes. I will attach a video of us doing it so you can see what happens. Anyways we went to do it at her house and learned the hard way that some bags don't do what we want it to do. So my lovely companion asks me to hold
the bag as she sets it on fire. It starts burning and gets closer and close to my hand and at the point it is supposed to fly upwards it just stays and keeps burning. Thankfully God gave me good reflexes I moved my hand away before anything too bad could happen but I could still feel that my hand got burned just a little. Although when we did it the second and third time it did work because we used a different type of tea bag from the first go around. My hand is good and I am living! It was just funny!

Then this week we had exchanges with her sister training leaders! We had fun just in a different area and taking in English all day which was weird. We had fun cause we had a dinner appointment with one of their members and it was funny to eat at an American home because I realize how little Americans eat compared to Hispanics. Then when we got home for the night we played tenzi until like 11:30 at night then the next morning we played it for our morning workout. We got a good workout in our forearms. Then we had a BBQ with one of our less actives which was super fun! It was a nice because it was super hot that day! It was like being home with a nice BBQ and enjoying the outdoors.

Then the last funny moment for the week is we went shopping with a less active yesterday and she took us to IHOP. She didn't know what hash browns, waffles, hot chocolate, whip cream and BLT are so we introduced her to all of that in one seating! Then we went shopping and we were looking at skirts and the member found this one skirt. Now remember she doesn't know much English. She held it up to Hermana Castañeda and she was like oh that is too big for you so she came to me. She held he skirt up to me and was like oh yes this will fit you because you are fat. My jaw hit the floor. I about died laughing! It was soooo funny!

This week I was reading in a conference that I really like. It is from April 2017 Conference in a talked called "Whatsoever He Saith unto you, Do It."

"Every day, consciously or otherwise, we all choose “whom [we] will serve.” We demonstrate our determination to serve the Lord by faithfully engaging in daily acts of devotion. The Lord promises to
direct our paths, but for Him to do that, we have to walk, trusting that He knows the way because He is “the way.” We must fill our own waterpots up to the brim. When we trust and follow Him, our lives, like water to wine, are transformed. We become something more and better than we ever otherwise could be. Trust in the Lord, and “whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”

I love the idea that if we just do the simple and small things the big things will change. I am excited to see the change the Lord has in store for me!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1-5: Brooklyn bridge and Statue of Liberty and living life on
the edge of our mission
Picture 6: pictures with less actives and investigators.
Picture 7: good lighting good pictures
Picture 8: me and my grandma
Video: burn baby burn 🔥
Picture 9: we are the same height
Picture 10-11: exchanges
Picture 12-13: 15 months tomorrow!
Picture 14: cute little children
Picture 15: city graffiti
Picture 16-17: IHOP with Jessica
Picture 18: Spread the love it is the Brooklyn way!

Monday, May 15, 2017

5/15/17--Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and the mission mothers!!!! Well this week was pretty crazy and to be honest I don't fully remember what we did, but I will try my best to remember and make this a good weekly, hopefully as good as some of my other weeks. Although at the same time I don't think very exciting things happened, so I apologize now if this email isn't that exciting and as fun as past weekly emails.

So to begin I didn't say much about the temple last week but it was a fun experience to go and think about what I have done this far on my mission and rededicate myself to finishing my mission running and giving everything I can to be better and help the people around me. I truly love the temple and spending time there to just be close to my Heavenly Father. Plus I got to see some people that are on the island that I don't see as often now that I am in the city. And the temple is super beautiful and amazing! When we went to go get on the train to go home when saw a missionary who went home in August! It was fun to see her and talk to her on how she is doing and advice she has for after the mission. That was mainly for my companion who goes home this transfer. So, in like two weeks. Either which way it was fun to see her and just talk. Plus she was with Sister Peterson who is awesome! She was like you never saw us because she was leaving mission boundaries and didn't get permission. But I think it is ok because Sister Peterson is like the best person alive! I love her!

Then that night we visited a family where the mom is active but her two daughters are less active and I think that house is one of my favorite houses to visit here in Brooklyn. The biggest reason is because one of the daughters is very similar to me. So I was telling them about some different things that happen in my life we just would talk for hours if we could. We just go on and on and on together, it might be dangerous. The best was we went into the lesson and we were talking about prayer and, the one that I am very connected to, was like "Sisters! I did what you asked of my to do! I prayed to know if Heavenly Father loves me!" I quickly responded with "And what did you feel?" She was like "I felt his love! I was a little surprised at how fast I felt his love!" To me that is what a mission is about. Helping others just know and feel that there is a loving Heavenly Father there for us and he wants to to hear from us! I just love them!

Oh then the funniest story is this one. So our metro cards were expired so we asked our district leader to get us new ones. And for some reasons and another we couldn't meet up with them Wednesday night.  So he said they they will just stop by our apartment to drop them off the next day around lunch time. Well Thursday lunch time came and went and the elders still hadn't stopped by. We couldn't really leave because, one we couldn't go anywhere because my companion had no way to get there and two we didn't know when they would show up. So we gave them a call and the first thing they said to was oh my goodness so sorry we forgot to get you your cards. Super funny so we waited another hour or so for them to come. So we live on the third floor and one of our windows goes over the door to enter into our apartment. So my companion made like a make shift basket and tied it to string so when they came we lowered it out of our window. However it was just barely long enough to reach them. So we told them not to pull on the box. However them being elder's didn't listen to us and pulled and broke the string which defeated the purpose of our basket so we had to go down the stairs and get the cards from them and get our basket. It was funny, and funny!

The funny story on Friday was when we went to a member's house to eat. She was late so she just took us to a pizza place to get us pizza. Although as soon as we got our food she left so she left us seating there by ourselves. So we went and sat at the window to watch people walk by. When one of our members walked by a return missionary. We like got his attention and he walked in to talk with us. He was like Hermanas it isn't dinner time. We tried to explain ourselves and tell him that the member just left us and we weren't just there being disobedient. I don't think he believed us but at the same time he knows that we aren't disobedient missionaries. After he left it was raining a little bit and we saw this guy who was using a kid umbrella so he could smoke. It was a funny sight to see. A big guy with a small umbrella.

Then Saturday oh man! It rained all day long! I promise it didn't stop raining all day long! I don't think I have used an umbrella so much in my life. It just rained and rained and rained! Thankfully we were in the rain too much because we had a couple of meetings at the church and then we had a lesson which was kind of interesting. What had happen was it was a less active that we looked up the day before and the husband said his wife would be there the next day for us to visit. So it was the next day and we were stoping by. So we tried to buzz in but no one answered so we gave her a call. She would not let us in and was interesting in her responses to my companion. She just left us standing in the rain. But that is cool. Then that night we had our branch Mother's Day activity! It was fun! They had a little program where he primary sang we sang as missionaries and some spiritual thoughts. The awkward part was they put up a wall in the room we were in to hide some stuff but the piano was behind the wall. They asked me to play for the hymns they were going to sing. So I had to play the piano from behind a wall where I couldn't see no one. It was a little awkward.

Well this week I found so many cool things in my studies I just want to share it all! Although there is one scripture that really stood out to me out of everything I learned. It is in 3 Nephi 13:34. It says:

"34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof."

I like he beginning part of the scripture. Taking no thought on tomorrow because there will be enough thoughts for tomorrow in tomorrow. It is true we have each have things hat occupy our lives each day. To me I feel the Lord wants us to know that we need to take everything one day at a time. Don't worry about the future and to take everything one day at time. Focus and enjoy the moments you have right now because there will come a point that today will be in the past. I know Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy every moment we have. I encourage y'all to find ways to enjoy each moment and not worry about the future too much. Make sure you enjoy the here and the now. I love y'all! Have a great week!

Ps I will email on Tuesday next week because my companion goes to the temple next week!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: End of temple trip!
Picture 2: old missionary and Sister Peterson. Evidence we never saw them.
Picture 3-5: Playing with finger spinners.
Picture 6-7: getting our cards from the elder's!
Picture 8-10: cool graffiti
Picture 11: cool sunset!
Picture 12: big man small umbrella
Picture 13: mash potato pizza! 🍕
Picture 14: talking to home from the other side.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

5/9/17--Temple!!! Twiceish...

Good Tuesday Eveyone! The only hard part of going to the temple is that I don't get to talk to all the missionaries win everyone else, but I guess the temple IS pretty AMAZING! 😁 Anyways this week has been pretty crazy and good! I am going to only hit on some of the highlights of the week because otherwise my email will be extremely long! This week we did have interviews with President Reynolds which is always so much fun! He and I mainly talked about what I have done so far on the mission and he asked if they should send a second set of sister missionaries to Brentwood. I offered to go. So we will see what happens.

Then on Thursday was national prayer day. I don't know if y'all knew that but the first Thursday of May is national prayer day. So Brooklyn did their own day of prayer. We were told to go by our president so our entire zone was there. What happened is a priest or preacher from 7 churches gave a prayer. Each of the seven were told to pray about something specific. They were government, media, churches, education, families, youth, and the city. They were all very into their prayers and the audience besides the missionaries were really into everything.Then after all the prayers these band called Sisterz got up and said prayers through song. This is when we were told to stand up and dance
as well. So the zone got up and got moving. It was actually very helpful because it was super cold outside so by standing up and moving we got somewhat warmer. Which was nice. Overall the event was cool and fun!

Then on Friday we to a reactivated member's house to help her with doing family history that itself was a story. The moral of the story is she had two accounts created so we couldn't get her attached to her membership number and at the same time there was like 4 other problems. I was on the phone with someone for 30-45 minutes trying to fix it and it still isn't fixed. Uh technology sometimes can be a pain. Then we headed to the church so Hermana Castañeda could write her college application essay. Now mind you by the time we left the member's house it was pouring rain. So we had to walk a half a mile to her train station because the bus we needed wasn't coming for another 20 minutes. So we walk the way to the station without an umbrella. Let's just say we were drowned rats by the time we made it to the church. Everything was wet from head to ankle (because my toes were in rain boots so they didn't get wet). Uhhh I learned my lesson the hard way if it looks like rain just take the umbrella.

Then that night we went to a member's house. She had only been home a little bit before we got there. She was going to make food for us and the for the elders to stop by and pick some food up to go. So we came in to help her make baleadas. They are homemade tortillas, with homemade refried beans, eggs, Mexican cheese, crema, and we put pork on it. So I learned how to make the tortillas and I was helping make them. It is slightly harder than it looks because you flatten the tortillas with your hands. So it is a little difficult. The member thought I was pretty good at if I do say so myself. Plus I love
cooking and I love learning how to make Hispanic food! I am so excited to make it when I get home.

Temple trip oneish. On Saturday the branch had a branch temple trip. So one of our reactivated members wanted to go. She asked if we would go with her. So here is the deal we make transfers in Manhattan every now and then because that is the only way to get somewhere the quickest. So we made a transfer in Manhattan and didn't actually go to the temple with her but we made sure she got there safe and sound. So we count it as our temple trip but we didn't go inside of the temple with her. We just watched her walk out of the train station. It was a small adventure. On the way back it took a little longer than intended but overall the member had a great time at the temple and I am so grateful for he gospel.

Then Saturday night we were sitting at our table before getting ready for bed. When my companion basically jumped onto the table freaking out and pointing. I look behind me and see nothing and I am like what happened. She was like there was a mouse! She freaked! She moved all of our food that was in the top cabinets to the fridge. Then she tried to scare it away by pushing the broom into the hole it crawled in. I still haven't seen this mouse but apparently we have a mouse in our apartment. She claims otherwise but the truth was she was even scared to go to bed that night. She still is a little freaked out by having a friend here. She doesn't like that he doesn't pay rent. So we shall be getting mice traps today. 🐭

Temple trip two! That happened today. It was overall super fun and an adventure!

So this week at one of the lessons we were at we were teaching the plan of salvation and the mom of the family made this comment that really stuck with me. We were talking about how we can live with our Heavenly Father again. For those of you who don't know the plan of salvation it goes PREMORTAL LIFE -> BIRTH -> EARTHLY LIFE-> DEATH->SPIRIT WORLD-> RESURRECTION-> FINAL JUDGEMENT-> THREE KINGDOMS OF GLORY (which are) CELESTIAL KINGDOM ☀️ TERRESTRIAL KINGDOM 🌙 AND TELESTIAL KINGDOM ⭐️. So the celestial kingdom is where we want to make because that is where Heavenly Father lives. So we were talking about this plan and how we make it back to the Celestial Kingdom. The mom said "Sometimes we fear the celestial kingdom because we think it is too hard to make it there, but really it should bring peace and hope because of how simple it is to get there." I know at one point in my life I did fear the celestial kingdom because I thought it was too hard to get there and be able to live with my Heavenly Father again. I know now that the path is simple. All we have to do is tryour best to become like Christ. We have to be baptized and learn how to follow and become like Christ every day. I know we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I know his hands are always extended
and open for us to go to Him. I am grateful for this gospel and I love my Savior.

I love y'all! Have a great week!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: I see this and I feel right at home.
Picture 2-3: Brooklyn day of prayer
Picture 4-5: Drowned Rats
Picture 6: Baleadas
Picture 7: cool graffiti that I like! For you Danielle!
Pictures 8-12: Temple Trip!!