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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7/17/17--Transfers and a Slow Week

Well as my sister Danielle reminded me, I only have 37 magical days left of my mission. I sure hope to make them the most magical days of my life up until this point. I know the next steps and moments will become the best magical moments and experiences of my life. I am surprised at how fast time flies and I am seeing how you really have to make the most of what you got.

So on to the week. Well to be honest, not too many very exciting things happened. I will cover some highlights and keep this kind of short.

So this week was transfers. We got two new elders in our district so it should be exciting. They already seen like pretty cool elders. As well Elder Brown became the assistant to he president. The Elder Brown who was my district leader in the MTC!! Kind of crazy.

As for the work we are just working hard and trying to find new people to teach. We have been working on finding through the less actives that our branch President has asked of us to look up. So in summary we are talking to everyone and taking as many names as we can get. So if you know anyone in Brooklyn that could use a message of Jesus Christ let us know. =)

As for fun stories, one came from last night. First we went over to a member's house and she always makes the missionaries these tacos. They are super good. She has a record for most an elder and a sister have eaten. For some strange reason I had a huge desire to beat the sister's record. So I ate 18 tacos in one sitting. Let me just say I was pretty stuffed by the end. I maybe could have had one or two more but that would have been pushing explosion.

Then this week by Sunday morning we ran out of toilet paper. So by the night time we had two napkins left. So Hermana Jofre walks out and looks at me goes, "Ok we have two napkins one for you and one for me. In case you need to wipe you butt or something." I fell to the floor laughing my head off. It was super funny. Sorry if you don't think this js funny but I found it very funny so I thought I would share.

This week it mainly rained and we worked.  Sorry for the not so exciting week.....

This week as transfers start and this week in the program I am doing for going home we have talked a lot about setting goals and plans. I love what preach my gospel says. It says,

"Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish. Through goals and plans, our hopes are transformed into action. Goal setting and planning are acts of faith."

I am learning that as we set good goals ones that are inline with what our Heavenly Father wants to have happen we will always be on the track and becoming better. I know this work is the Lord's and I know my Savior lives. I hope y'all have a great week!!

Ps not many pictures this week

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: we used real aloe from a plant to put on my sunburn!! So cool!!!
Picture 2: I had a Mamita in honor of Hermana Williams
Picture 3: with mama Hortencia
Picture 4- 5: pictures in the car so we could have something to send home. We are lame.

7/10/17--Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

Well this week has been insane!!!! We haven't stopped moving for days!! Monday was a super slow day and we had some roadblocks but we didn't let that take us down. We were fighters. So we made Balleadas. We have agreed that Balleadas are our comfort food and we may make them too much. But that is alright good food is good food.

Fourth of July!!! Wow what a day!!! We were Busy with a capital B!!!! We went to a member's house early for breakfast and we had bbq chicken. Then we planed a party for one of the elders in on our district who is going home tomorrow. So we planed the food, decorations, and the games. While they heard a nets game and hot dog eating contest on the tv. Then we had district meeting and that was good. We went to a member's house for most of the evening and had hot dogs and enjoyed the beautiful outdoors. We watched fireworks from our roof. Oh man it was a sight to see!!!!! We could see fireworks from every side the front the back the left and the right. Most importantly we saw the Manhattan fireworks. Those were a sight to see. They were shooting off four fireworks at one time so they were in a line. A picture will be below. After not seeing fireworks in like 5 years God truly blessed me with the best seat in all of New York to see soooo many fireworks. Aw man it was awesome.

Wednesday we did an exchange with the sister training leaders. They came to our area to work with us and to help us out. It was an awesome day!!! We talked to 27 people, got like 3 new investigators, one investigator on date for August 12, and found like 2 less active while still having some different lessons. It was an awesome day!!! As well they took us out to ice cream so that was super fun!! I think though my favorite part was Sister Snow who is beautiful by the way and I were talking to these Hispanics, of course and she doesn't know Spanish so she just stood there smiling. So cute. At one point she said something like "I only speak a little Spanish" and this little Hispanic grandpa who I was talking to goes "Ok well, we can get married" however in Spanish. So I died laughing because it was so cute and Sister Snow was like what did he say. So I translated and she laughed and we apologized and said we would see them later. It was super funny!!!!

Thursday was an awfully busy day as well. We had finding and planing. Then we helped the member decorate for the surprise farewell party for the Elder. Then we ran to out dinner appointment then ran back to the church and then ran to an appointment. In one sentence that was our day. Little do you know that then the member was mad at me not hermana Jofre that we didn't stay for the party and two the appointment we went to the guy was high so he wasn't paying much attention and then turned us down on a return appointment which was super sad. We talked to the elder's afterwards and they said the party was awesome so yeah.

Then the Friday night we walked out of our appointment and it was pouring rain. The member had one good umbrella so Hermana Jofre took it however she was afraid her shoes would get wrecked so she took off her shoes and walked with only no see socks on. I however had no umbrella so let us say after our like 45 minute walk home I was a little wet from head to toe. There wasn't hardly a dry spot on me.

Saturday was crazy as well. We had a solid lesson in the morning then studies. Then we helped another member with her son's baptism and made the program, sang in It, and I played the piano. Then the elder's walked with us to the train because we both had appointments. One of the elders had said hi how are you to this guy on the street. Well that guy didn't take that very well. He whiped around and was like you don't push your religion on me I am not a Mormon and I don't want to be dont push your religion on me. We laughed afterwards and were like so apparently hi how are you means hi you need to be Mormon. Uhhh some people in the world today.

Sunday was Hermana Jofre's birthday!!!! I surprised her by staying up Saturday night and decorating he apartment. She was super shocked. Then I went around church telling everyone I knew or saw that it was her birthday. Then a member threw her a surprise birthday party!! The Elders were there and it was a ton of fun!!!! She over all loved the day which all I could hope for.

Then today we did a district activity and rented bikes from the city and rode around Brooklyn. It was super fun. Although some points were rough trying to ride in Brooklyn but other points were super fun!!! Overall a great district activity!!!

So this morning I was reading in Alma and I came across this scripture that hit me. It is in Alma 15:16. So to give some background information Alma and Amulek were missionaries in the Book of Mormon and this is one thing that is said about Amulek. It says:

"16 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred;"

It hit home to me that Amulek gave up everything for the word of God and to teah it to other people. My only hope is that I can do that full time now and for the rest of my life. I am excited for my last six weeks and to giving all I have into the work. I know the Lors's hand is always in our lives!!! I invite you to ask yourself what more can I give in the word of God and helping others know about It!! I love yall and have a great week!!!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: cool street art
Picture 2: alone on the bus
Picture 3: cool view of Manhattan
Pictures 4-7: fourth of July
Pictures 8-11: exchanges
Pictures 12- 14: Hermana Jofre's birthday
Picture 15: bike riding

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

7/3/17--A Week To Go

This week I can't say was a terribly exciting week due to funny stories or anything but through the Lord teaching me many different lessons. So I will share a few of them and any stories that come up through them but I have a feeling this weekly won't be that long.

To start off the week, on Tuesday, I woke up with the worst stomach ache I think I have ever had in my life. I was up at 4 in the morning and couldn't sleep. So we spent almost all of Tuesday in the apartment with me sleeping and my companion studying. It was super sweet that later that night the member who made us dinner made soup to help with my stomach ache.

Wednesday and Thursday we had three dinner appointments. Sometimes I think the members think we never get fed and that we are starving missionaries. On Thursday we had our apartment inspected by the senior couple in charge of housing. We had to help one of them switch out a light bulb by standing on two chairs and a crate. It was a little scary. We also made balleadas by ourselves which was a big accomplishment for me!!

Friday we had service at a senior center helping them serve food. We usually do this service on Wednesday so it was off. Anyways, we did it on Friday because the were celebrating 43 years of being open. It was cute they had a photo booth so we got the district in and took pictures. It was super fun!!

Thursday we had an experience that taught us both that God doesn't work logically and we need to turn to Him for guidance. We were week planning for a recent convert and I thought that she hadn't been taught the commandments again we can just teach those. So we started into planning and about half way through we didn't know what to do. We couldn't put ideas together and we couldn't make anything work. It was the weirdest feeling in the world of wanting to plan but not being able to. So we realized we hadn't turned to God for help so we got on our knees and prayed. Within the next 10ish minutes we redid her plan and got it all the way through and it felt right. This experience really taught me how God knows his children and if we are going to do His work properly we are going to need to turn to Him. I know that to be true with all of my heart! I love y'all have a great week!! Sorry this week wasn't terribly exciting! Next week should be! We have some fun things planned! Love y'all!

Con Amor
Hermana Ashford

Picture 1: day spent in sick
Pictures 2- 4: we went to a member's birthday party so her daughter and I took pictures
Picture 5: making Balleadas
Picture 6: picking up my package
Picture 7: Elder Mott feel asleep in church. Poor guy