Thursday, February 23, 2012

Email from Feb 20

Dear Family,

Mommy I am glad you said you all are praying for me and Grandma and Grandpa too and that their prayers work really well. Hahahha. They are spiritual angels.

So you got to talk to Brother Castleman about me, that musta been weird, hearing from somebody on the phone that had just seen me. BAHAHA. He is a very jolly man. (The ward mission leader from Melissa's ward called Mom and Dad and talked to them for a bit about how much they enjoy having Melissa there. :) -Anne)

Anne, that is so cool you have a temp job, yay for you, and I am so excited you could possibly get that HR job, you had so much fun at Shea. How fun that you are gonna be moving in with those girls, they sound really nice, do you get your own room? What does it look like? You should take pictures.

I am so happy for Grandma and Grandpa to get their new house. I was just telling daddy in his email, that sunsets here in Alaska are amazing and rival California ones. Sister Brown asked me one day, "Are there sunsets like these in California??" and I said, "Erm...yes." The ocean is about an hour away here,  is it cuz of the marine layer? Cuz isn't that why California has such lurvly sunsets? well that and the pollution. Who knows.

Lily that is fun Mom makes you clothes. Hee hee. That tweed skirt sounds luscious.

Mommy, for your rock art, does this bowl of fruit you are gonna make look like the bowl of fruit you already did? Is it like so tiny rocks like the ones you've bought at antique stores?

SO, I finally wore that scarf tube thing that Grammie bought me. I wore it to the musk ox farm. By the way, we LOVE the musk ox farm. The people that run it are so great. They never take advantage of our service, they always ask if we have enough time to run another herd and whatnot. So anyway, what is Grammie's address? I wanted to write her and tell her and let her know how I am doing.

None of our investigators came to church yesterday. It was very sad. Especially cuz I gave a talk. I spoke about finding joy in the gospel. I said there are many ways you can find joy in the gospel but I am gonna speak about three ways---learning about the gospel, sharing the gospel, and loving. And all that encompasses living the gospel.

But we'd had a great lesson with our investigator on Friday, and he said the prayer, and guess what he said?! he said, "I've got a really good prayer. I thought of it this morning. Are you ready?" We said we were. Then he goes, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for EVERYTHING. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." OH MY WORD. "See?!" he cried. "I thought of everything! I don't need to say anything else in that prayer, cuz that covered it." Bahahaha.

So I was really excited to get lovely Lori's package, there were some tissues covered in valentine's hearts included amongst chocolates. I was blowing my nose ALL LAST WEEK cuz of my cold and Sister Brown came up the ladder into our room and saw me blowing my nose and gasped, "Are you bleeding??" hahahah. No. it was just lots of red hearts.

And I was so happy to hear from TREY....I will try to write him and Lori and everyone today but our place is gonna get inspected this week so we gotta CLEAN LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE today so who knows if I'll have time for letters, but Trey's sweet letter meant so much, he said, "MISSY, UGH!" and that was about it, and I am so glad our friendship is just about the same....HAHA. Um.

It is so windy today. My word.

We had a lesson con la mujer mexicana last week. We watched "finding faith in christ" and tried to talk about it and teach a little bit about it with her but we didn't have a translator with us and for some reason it was REALLY HARD to communicate with her, my spanish was not doing it and so who knows if we got anywhere but luckily we have not one but two translators--a mother and a daughter from the ward next to ours--coming with us tonight. We love our investigator :) last week, two days BEFORE the lesson-in-which-we-struggled, she told us she wanted us over for dinner but she wanted us over an hour before dinner to help prepare and then she wanted us to stay the whole evening there afterward so we might as well clear our schedule. Hahhahaa. I loved it. We had gorditas. They are like sopes, she said. OR, we had sopes, and they are like gorditas, I am not really sure. Corn meal mushed into little pancakes, fried, like tiny little pie crusts, with om nom beef and crema and lechuga and cebolla y salsa y queso fresco. Om nom nom. We asked her daughter who sometimes translates if she'd be willing to learn more and she said no, not at this time, because she knows if she wanted to start living a religion she'd have to REALLY live it and focus and she kind of likes partying and doesn't quite wanna give it up, and we thought at 15 it was awesome she understood that, and was so honest about it. She's the cutest girl. Every time we come into their home we get kisses on the cheek and hugs for our greetings. From both mother and daughter. Hee hee.

Our recent convert who got baptized the first sunday of this month is doing so well. The relief society took her out food-shopping the other day because she is struggling financially, and this is the way the bishop decided to help her, is to pay for all her food so she can save her money for her house payments. She is so grateful. And then we invited her to come do service with us at this woman's house who is in our ward as well, she has asthma and two big dogs, and she is the one with the room in her house with five bookshelves stuffed full of records. So our recent convert came and brought her 14-yr-old daughter and had a blast vacuuming and dusting and cleaning with us, it made her so happy, she really wants to serve and give back to all those who have served her, and is really looking forward to visiting teaching and having a calling (a responsibility/job) in the church. And there are baptisms for the dead coming up to go to the temple and she says that even if she sees the bishop and she's NOT ready to go to the temple yet, she's really excited cuz she wants the work done for her step dad. My word! She is amazing.

We met with an investigator, an 80-yr-old black man who is awesome, on Saturday. He's had missionaries for about 10 years. We've been told that his problem is of the priesthood. He doesn't believe you need it, we were told that he says he can baptize whomever he wants. A previous missionary, elder johnson, who served her for 10 months last year and who we hear a LOT about....from the members, from the people we taught...barely a week goes by when we DON'T hear about elder johnson...sometimes I wanna go up to elder johnson who's serving in anchorage and say, "Okay look buddy, you got about two minutes to say something impressive..." Anyway so apparently elder johnson when HE was teaching this investigator tried to get it across to him, "Yes you can baptize whomever you want as soon as someone GIVES you the authority," but who knows. Anyway he was great, we like him a lot. He sits in his house all day and watches televangelists. He is really lonely. Has a caretaker as well. So we visited with him and talked and he goes to a non-denominational church and was saying, "You don't need to be methodist or catholic or say you are something to get inta heaven. Jesus Christ, who was he? It's only important you have a belief, in your heart. And that's why I consider myself a Christian." I had no idea what to say, cuz he's partly right, I just had no idea how to put what I felt about this subject into words. Then my inspired companion busted out 3 nephi 27:7-8 I think, that talks about whatever is done in Christ's church must be done in his name, and if it is called by some other name, it is not his church. If the church is called in Moses's name, it's Moses's church. If it's called in the name of a man, it's a man's church. So she told him, this church is Christ's church. It is the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. Anyway he listened real intently but still doesn't know why he should care about this religion, what's in it for him, he has his belief in christ and isn't that enough? We have a lesson with him set up for Tuesday. We really like him, he is so sweet, likes to take pictures, his fridge is covered in polaroids of all the missionaries who have ever taught him.

Anyway. I am doing well, learning a lot and growing and changing. My companionship is getting stronger and stronger. It will be really sad when Sister Brown goes home to utah in three weeks, I will have a new comp and will have to show her around this place--cuz I doubt president is gonna move me, then two new missionaries will have to white wash this area AGAIN.

One of the ways I know I am changing is that I am WAY more emotional when talking about spiritual things. At the bakers' yesterday for dinner, sis baker was talking about her daughter that died and she wanted to evaporate and disappear and she prayed and felt arms around her comforting her, and she knew it was all gonna be all right, and I almost started crying. Man.

I love this gospel. I know it is true. I know it is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Like legrand richards said, or quoted, or something,  the true gospel is either perpetuated from ancient times or restored in its original form, and I know that the true gospel has been restored in its original form, that it is led by Jesus Christ, and that it offers the only way to salvation because the priesthood has been restored to perform those saving ordinances like baptism and receiving the gift of the holy ghost. I am a missionary!!! I live a totally weird different life. The old man investigator mentioned whitney houston had died. WHAT?! I had no idea. See, you just live this totally different life as a missionary.

-sister melissa ashbrook.

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