September 15, 2014
My Dearest Family,
So..as you all know... I have extended my mission. I will see you all on November 19th. I hope that settles well with you. But once this transfer started, I just had the feeling like I wasn't done yet. I prayed and talked to President about it and prayed and fasted some more, asking to just do the Lord's will. I got my answer. Extend. And I am so excited! And its been really cool to see how excited all the other missionaries and members that I am staying. I've got 8 weeks left to serve the Lord to my fullest. We are going to end this strong.
Sister Yeung is back in the ward!!! And there is a Chinese program. I hope you know how cool that is. I really felt the Spirit when I read mom's email. Testifying this is really the Lord's work and it is for everyone. How cool that Sister Yeung gets that special responsibility. I totally want to go out with the Sisters when I get back.
When does Ashley finish her mission?
Its true what President Weidman says, "We are in a mission of miracles." I don't doubt it. We see the hand of the Lord every day in our lives and it is the coolest thing ever.
Highlights of my life:
My former companion Sister Young finished her mission two weeks ago and headed to Brazil. She wrote me this week of a miracle that had happened our last day together. We had been asked to help train the new missionaries and go street contacting with them their first day here. We were so excited. Well, during that day we were a trio and went with Sister Hovermale and met a bunch of cool people. We realized we were pressed for time and started hurrying back to the car. For some reason, I stopped in the middle of the rush to give a man a card really fast for mormon.org. We found out his name was A, he was visiting from Iran (I think... he speaks Persian though) and talked to him for a little bit and then left. This is from Sister Young's email to me:
“The best miracle was that night at the Visitors´ Center. President and Sister Weidman dropped me off there while they went to go see a sick missionary. While I was at the front desk the phone rang and the sisters asked me if I wanted to answer. Of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity so I answered. A familiar voice on the other end of the phone asked if this was the Visitors Center and I answered that it was. He told me that he had talked with 3 young women who had given him a card the night before to come and visit and he felt like he should, he said that his name was A!
After we left I felt horrible for not getting his contact information, I kept praying for him all that evening and the next day hoping that he would find his way to the temple. I almost began to cry with the joy that I felt as Heavenly Father answered my prayers my last moments as a full-time missionary in LA. I told him that I was one of the missionaries that had spoken with him and we set up an appointment with the Farsi Elders for the very next day!”
In our mission there has been a great push to have Gospel Conversations. Everyone is encouraged to open their mouths. Stake Conference was this past week and it was amazing!!! On the Saturday Adult session, we were able to actually role-play with the members. We practiced situations they might be in and how they could invite friends, neighbors, co-workers, or just random strangers to learn more about the gospel. It was so exciting.
So we as missionaries have been working extra hard to talk with everyone. This week we had a theme of contacting people through car windows.
One incident occurred when we were driving and I had stopped at an intersection (in the middle of a neighborhood) waiting to turn left. A woman and her daughter were about to cross the street right in front of our car.
Sister Hovermale is in training, but literally one of the coolest people I have ever met. I told her, "Give that woman a card." And instantly, the car window was down and she was yelling "Can we share a card with you?!" The woman looked startled but came over with a smile on her face. We started to share a message with her and I don't even remember what we taught her. But we have a return appoint with her for tomorrow!!!
Then last night, the visitor center had a special musical performance. They taught the Restoration through song. There were two showings and it was AMAZING. As missionaries we are only allowed to go to those things, if we bring an investigator. We didn't have any that could go :( But Sister Forbush was singing in it, so we had to go up anyways. Long story short, we did a few exchanges and I ended up with Sister Hart for the first performance watching it with her investigator who is Jewish.
For the second showing, we didn't have any investigators, and we didn't want to waste time. So Sister Hart, Sister Hovermale, and I went street contacting around the temple. Both sisters are amazing and we had a blast. Everyone we talked too was super cool or it turned into a really funny story.
On our way back to the Visitor Center, I prayed to be able to talk to one more person. We came to an intersection, and I paused trying to figure out where the Lord would have us go. As we waited for a prompting a car came to a stop at the intersection. The man had his window rolled down his window and asked what we were up too.
One of the sisters I was with yelled "We are missionaries! Pull over and we will share a message with you." The man very carefully just continued to drive forward and drove off. I laughed so hard. We will work on not being so creepy.
Oh I almost forgot, this past Friday we also had a ward missionary activity. It was the Fair of Life. Everyone came to the fair, and then it turned into one of those activities where everyone dies and they go to their degree of glory depending on how they spend their "life" at the fair. I don't have time to go into details, but Thursday night we had like nothing ready. I was praying SO hard. Friday came and it turned out to be a huge success. Everyone liked the pie throwing. :)
Not my best... but the other day we knocked on this door next to our potential. This man came to the door shirtless and there was a huge tattoo on his chest that said "GARCIA." We talked to him for a bit and he said we could come back a different day. We were writing down his information and asked for his last name. He was like "Uh.. Garcia." And one of my companions was like "Oh yesh." And before I knew it the words "Yep. There it is." Where out of my mouth. My third companion was like mortified. Hopefully he found it funny like us. Ha-ha
In my scripture study this week, I came across a scripture I fell in love with. Mosiah 2: 41. It basically says that if we keep the commandments and are faithful to the end, we will be received into heaven and dwell in a "state of never-ending happiness." And I realized another reason why I am here serving a mission. I want others to have that never-ending happiness. And that's what missionary work is all about. Do we love other enough to open our mouths... even if it’s awkward... so they can live in never-ending happiness? I’m working up my own courage to talk to everyone, but that scripture gave me more courage. I talk to everyone because I love them and I know what they need. And it’s the coolest thing ever.
I love you all so much!
Thanks for all that you do!
Keep the faith!!