Monday, March 26, 2012

it's supposed to be SPRING

Hello familia, hello mommy the antique grooviness, i laughed out loud to hear about your muy expensive lamp, can't wait to see pictures. Hahhahaha. I loved to hear about the monarch butterflies and the birds and all your sketches, mommy. Lily i am happy you bought toys for jessica. Anne I am glad you are now "Aine." And adam I am happy that you like rocks. Daddy do you like the clock? does it chime yet?

I can't believe candace is gonna go through the temple and get sealed. Oh my worrrd I love that girl and am so happy for her!
Sister Chan likes to have music while she gets ready but the cd she usually listens to is in the jeep, which by the way I am a pro at driving, and so I gave her my "book of mormon opera" cd--messiah in america--and she has been listening to that. Yayy. I want to try the Elgar in the car and see if she likes that, mommy, but she says music with no words puts her to sleep. Bahahah.
We had a good week of seeing less actives. We had a goal to see seven and if we met our goal we were gonna go get coldstone ice cream with my gift card that I got months n months ago from a piano student. We got nine!!! One of them was really cool. So, there is this apartment complex. There is a guy named Scott in building A, door number 4. He is less active. We were trying to find a woman named Linda, she is also less active, and her address was listed at the same complex but without a building, just door number 4. So since we already knew Scott was in Building A, we thought we'd try door number 4 at buildings B, C, and D. And use a tracting approach if it wasn't her. All three doors were NOT linda, and none of the people that answered were interested in learning more about the gospel, so as we were walking back to our car Sister Chan said, "Let's go see Scott." He wasn't part of the plan---we plan for every half-hour of our day the night before, who to see, what to do, and with Sister Chan we've been following our daily plan so well and I have a testimony that following what you planned to do the night before actually works and it's so nice to know you ALWAYS have something to do, especially with a backup plan for every single person. WEll scott wasn't part of the plan but he was right there so I said Sure and we went over and knocked and a woman answered the door and we were like, "Is scott home?" and she said, "No, he's out," and we said, "Oh, okay...well what's your name?" And she said "Linda." Oh my word we found her! Turns out she is Scott's mom (different last names). She is such a fun, sweet woman. She let us in--her boyfriend was about to pick her up to go out so she didn't have much time--so we sang her a quick song (Where can i turn for peace, hymn # 129) and she said, "Oh, I really needed that. I work hospice and the woman is dying and peeling myself away from her has been really hard. THank you so much. I needed to come back to earth." We said a prayer with her and she gave us big hugs and she laughs and jokes and is so sweet and we are so happy we met her. Sister Chan told her, "I dunno, I guess the spirit guided us to you," and Linda said, "I don't doubt it!"
We love this one family, the Gilmores. They are less active as well and we really really want them to come back to church. Sister Gilmore is amazing--she is extremely intelligent, works with disabled kids, has a strong testimony. Her husband has never said more than 2 words to us--but last night he totally came out and listened to us--probably because he had to socialize more than usual with us cuz their front door got stuck and he tried for good bit to let us into the house but we just went through the other door but he promised us he'd fix the door, so while we talked to Sis. Gilmore he fixed it, and Sister Chan is so bold she asked him when he came up (to get a bigger hammer) "Why don't you ever come talk with us???" and I asked him if he ever listens to us sing for Sis. Gilmore and he said, "Of course I do, I turn the TV off whenever you sing." Then he asked us to sing his favorite, "I stand all amazed" (hymn #193) and we did, and then their son who we bought a piggy bank for (for a buck hahah...bright pink) so he could put his smokes money into it cuz he wants to quit smoking, he wanted to sing "ye elders of israel" (hymn # the-one-in-the-back), so we did, and his dad sang too!! And we invited them all to watch general conference with us and they all said they would, which is good, cuz we had asked sis. gilmore if we could come watch it at their house and she said sure, so hahhaha we will pound on their doors to get them to come out if we have to. And i will be making everyone egg burritos.
I remember once daddy asked me if that time we got the car stuck in a ditch, that the people in that house didn't come to help us, why not, well they were not home. And daddy yes we borrowed the snow shoes from members, haha, it was very fun. And mom, I get $140 a month allotted to me on a credit card. And we have a gas card so we never have to pay for gas. And we get 1500 miles a month for the car. The allotment is for food and stuff, toothbrushes and hair cuts, shampoo and lotion.
I love you all and I love being a missionary and bringing the gospel to people, even if they don't want to learn more. I love the scriptures. I love Alaska and wearing boots and stepping on ice that is currently sorta melting and having the sun start coming out at about 7 in the morning and going down about 9 at night. I love the moose that we see everywhere. I love the sunsets---they are like southern california sunsets. I love the people here--they are amazing. I miss you all but I can't believe how time has flown! This transfer feels like it just started and we are starting WEEK THREE!!! April is almost here and I remember when March was just starting and Sis Brown and I were freaking out. Oh by the way Sister Brown I promised I'd write you last week but I thought i didn't have your address but I remember now I do. Anyway, I have big plans to write letters today. Somehow, p-days do not have tons of time like they used to and I am hard-pressed to write more than 4 or 5's hard!! 
--sister ashlaugh

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Helloooo everybody!

I don't have much time so I will try and type really fast.

Well this week has been exciting and busy and full of all sorts of fun stuff. 

Monday Sister Brown, myself, a member named Carleen, and the Investigator Who Dropped Us all went on a hike up a snowy mountain with snow shoes. He texted us wanting to hang out before Sister Brown hit the sky. We were so happy. The hike was beautiful and lots of snow and cold and really hot and sweaty and burning legs and great view of the valley and of the sides of the mountains and the sun streaming down. We were exhausted and delirious going back down with lots of somersaults and sliding on our bums and Sister Brown losing her voice and wrestling me at the bottom of the mountain and she totally cut the top of my nose and I was bleeding. hahahha. 

next day was transfers, Sister Brown and Elder K sang a duet and I played, mingling and hugging goodbye in the cultural hall, hugging Sister chan and gettin all her stuff into the Jeep Compass and me trying to drive off and backing outta the parking spot soooooo slowly cuz omg there's ICE and SNOW everywhere and I tried to put the car in reverse and hit the windshield wipers and OH MY GOODNESS i haven't driven since NOVEMBER, how do I do this. It's okay now, my driving skills are totally back. 

Sister Chan is adorable. She is happy and cheerful and so fun. She is a good missionary, we went and met the bishop that night and the first thing she said after telling everyone she is Jackie Chan's daughter "HAHAHAH JUST KIDDING" was "Bishop if you have any names you can give us, we will go visit them, we love to visit people and serve people, and we love  to work with you." It was awesome. She is a fun one. And a go out an' get 'em one. She is spontaneous and bold. I think I will learn a lot from her. 

We met with the Woman In the Store and we got through all of Lesson 1 (the restoration) using the pamphlet and answered some of her questions and she really likes us, gave us hugs goodbye, Sister Chan gave high-fives to the little kids that do homeschool in the back room there but feinted away and made the kids laugh, she is so good with kids. 

We met with some less-actives and we didn't get a chance to meet with one of my recent favorites, a woman who is so sweet and hasn't been to church in a long time because of some past leaders' less-than-exemplary-examples but had said she wanted to come to church recently but because she watches her grandkids, it's hard. Well guess what, this woman showed up at church yesterday with one of those grandkids and the relief society lesson was perfect for her, all about supporting and sustaining our leaders even when we sometimes don't agree and acknowledging that we can disagree with them but we ourselves can't become disagreeable, and knowing that if they didn't do something right, it will be God that will hold them accountable at the last day and it is up to us to stay strong and keep going. 

Sister Chan has lots of fun chinese food and she has some Chinese investigators in Anchorage that we will still go see and she has awakened in me my love of travel and desire to see foreign countries--language food culture clothes! 
I miss Sister Brown but am happy I have Sister Chan, she is awesome, we have had a blast so far. Sister Chan loves the musk ox farm. There is a great view on the way home from that place and I thought, as we passed it, Sister Chan loves to take pictures maybe I should go there, but I passed it, and then I turned around and said, "There is a great view up here," and she thought the view was where we had stopped to turn around, and she SCREAMED in delight. I said, "This isn't even the place, wait till you see it." So we drove up and pulled into the turn-off and climbed up through the muddy snow to the most breathtaking view of a valley or water or whatever it is--i think it is water cuz it looked like the ice was breaking up near the edge and I saw water--and mountains, and she SCREAMED even more in delight, she is so excited about things, it makes me realize how exciting life is. When we STILL didn't have the phone number of the Woman in the Store (but she had ours) I said, "I wish we had her number!!" and sister chan said, "We don't have it?!" and it was so sad, and then the Woman In The Store TEXTED us "Sister Ashbrook, you left your notebook."  We got this text at home, and Sister Chan SCREAMED and said "WE HAVE HER NUMBER! HEAVENLY FATHER IS ANSWERING OUR PRAYERS!" and she jumped up and down and hugged me. I realized how exciting missionary work can be. Every little thing we need to appreciate! 

OKAY I MUST GO. I love being a missionary. I am so excited to serve and to preach the restored gospel. Sister Chan insists I watch more church movies during lunch and after planning at night so I've watched "joseph smith: prophet of the restoration" and a couple of other ones and oh my goodness, my testimony is so much more strengthened. Joseph smith truly gave his life to restore this gospel and get it going again. And I am so grateful. Bam bam bam things were brought back--the priesthood, revelation, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, elijah, everything. Bam bam bam truth came down from heaven. And joseph smith gave his life for all of this--and we are out here battling for the souls of men and women, on the front lines, against Satan, so we can continue this work! 

sister ashbran-flakes 

p.s. lately mom has signed her emails "love mom the historian" and "love mom the truck driver"


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Email from March 5

(Seriously, not sure how I forgot to post this!!! Sorry it took so long! - Anne)

It's 6 degrees currently. Not so bad. 

Thanks for letting me know about the rebellion in nursery, here in Colony ward my comp and I visited nursery on the way to relief society so we could get snacks (two Sundays ago...we had permission), and we helped with the lesson and with music. The kids are soo cute. 

Happy birthday Adam!!!!!!! I love you! All the trucks in Alaska wish you happy birthday as well.

Congratulations Bunker fam on getting a wee yiddow baby named Linkin. Hope to see pictures soon :) 

So. Missionary work. So hopefully we are going to see the investigator that dropped us this week, just cuz Sister Brown is leaving and she at least wants to say goodbye. 

We had kind of a slow week and didn't see very many people other than our recent convert who is doing GREAT, and our investigator who speaks Spanish, and a few less-active people. Our recent convert had a great spiritual experience with praying for help getting over the urges to smoke this past week. She said "look i know I have the Holy Ghost and I know Heavenly Father can take away those thoughts and so I prayed and told him that and ever since, the urges have been WAY less." Oh my gosh so cool, she now has such a stronger testimony about prayer and holy ghost. We taught her that day about the temple and she is really looking forward to being able to do baptisms for the dead and also to go through the temple in a year. I found a pretty rock outside, grey with a few thick white stripes through it, and wrote with sharpie on one side "February 5th, 2013" and "Temple" on the other side. To help remind her that a year from her baptism this year, she can go through the temple. (Pssh sister brown said after I made it, "I think that day is a Monday next year" cuz this year it was a Sunday...pssh don't tell me that! The temple is closed on Mondays. This would ruin EVERYTHING. Just kidding.) THEN i took the cheap red nail polish I bought last p-day and painted in the sharpie words and then took clear nailpolish and put that over all of it to make it look real pretty. Yay. She really liked it. 

It's crazy being a new missionary and having a comp getting ready to go home. I know I will be all right but this could be really hard in the sense that I could really start missing home myself and thinking about what it will be like when I get home and where I'm gonna go to school and all this crazy stuff but I think I will be okay. Sister Brown is amazing, she was dreading going home --and she still doesn't want to-- but she is facing it, and handling it. Which is so healthy. I mean we needa stay focused on our work until the end but we also wanna be ready to go home when the time comes. 


We hear a lot about this 1940 census coming out and how amazing it is for geneology. You excited mama? 

I sent that letter that I sent like three days after I wrote it cuz i don't break no mission rules, I don't want you to think I wrote and sent it NOT on my p-day. Bahahhaa. 

Week 6 of my second transfer. This is it, guys. 

I love my family so much. 

We went tracting and a guy answered the door, young, super energetic, invited us in, other people in the house, he laughed and said, "Well i think it is all right, this isn't my house actually," hahha, and Sis Brown and I sang "how great thou art" and this guy and two other guys and the woman of the house- a foster mom slightly distracted chasing after a 2-yr-old-- sang with us and we got two of the guys' numbers to meet with them again and gave them book of mormons and they were super spiritual, one is a worship leader at another church, he invited us to this "walk with jesus" thing in the morning (we checked with mish pres, he said it'd be okay -- if WE invite people, it could be a good thing to show WE can be invited as well--but also we must make sure that we aren't gonna be attacked or anything because of our nametag and stuff). Super open-hearted guys. We asked them if they knew there was more spiritual truth out there that God was waiting to give them--aka the book of mormon--would they want to know about it? They all readily answered yes. We ended up not going to the walk with jesus thing cuz the guy texted and said one of his friends was going through a hard time right now and they wouldn't be there for the next few days. But anyway. We're meeting with them on Tuesday at like a coffee/hot chocolate/orange juice place. Hahha he added the hot chocolate and orange juice into the description because he knew we don't drink coffee.

And we have a meeting with another potential investigator. A guy showed up to church a lil too late and talked to the Cottonwood elders, this guy lives in Sister brown's and my area, so the Cottonwood elders got this guy's name and number for us. he works at the hospital with a mormon doctor and so was referred to church that way. We called him and asked if he'd be interested in meeting with us this week, he said yes, he sounds really nice and friendly, we have a meeting with him this thursday. That's exciting. I hope all goes well. 

My current favorite scripture is John 14:27. "Peace i leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 

The only peace you can find is through Jesus Christ. The world might try and offer you its own definition of peace. Many people think peace is only possible once there is no war. But we know that through Jesus Christ we can have peace during times of war, and that there are also times that the lack of war doesn't guarantee us peace inside. This weekend was a bit hard and I prayed and prayed all day long, please just let me have peace inside. It was all I held onto. The Savior loves me, he loves all of us, individually, and when we show faith in him and change our life to leave behind the bad stuff and go toward the good stuff, he will help us. Like in 3 nephi 9:13, he wants us to come unto him so that he may heal us. I love being a missionary. I love studying the gospel. I love leaving the world behind. I love serving others. I love my Savior Jesus Christ.

sister mel ashbrook

p.s. thank you budingers for my camera that i use like every day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Email from March 12

Hey yallll.

Um, sister brown is not gone YET, she goes home Tuesday night on the red eye. My new companion will be.....sister chan from hong kong. So excited. She is super fun and spunky and chatty and wears the cutest clothes. I need to get my alaksan drivers license and be the designated driver. She is senior companion but just can't drive. Send me auntie bonnie's address, I want to write her in China and tell her! I get sister Chan on Tuesday. 

It has been a lovely week, we got two new investigators, the Woman In The Store and the Guy Who Showed Up At Church. The Woman In The Store runs the shop with her husband. It's a preparedness shop full of dried food, food storage, knives, sleeping bags that roll up real tiny and keep you warm in zero degrees, and my favorite, dried mango cubes. We taught her last Thursday, standing on either side of the counter, in the morning before customers tend to come in. She has looots of questions. She is getting religious stuff from everywhere, searching and searching for truth. While we were there another guy came in and gave her dvds on other religious stuff. She says she is soo confused. She just wants to know what's right. She is freaking out, for instance, about her personal worthiness before God because she worships the sabbath on a sunday, and she knows that it is one of the ten commandments to keep the sabbath day holy, but what if that really is on a saturday and the 7th day adventists are right, but she went to one of their services and it just wasn't for her. I tried sharing some scriptures about how Peter or Paul, can't remember which, brake bread and taught the gospel to the other disciples on the "first day of the week" after Christ's resurrection which was on a Sunday which is why we now keep the sabbath day on Sunday, which is technically NOT the sabbath but the Lord's day......look it up in the bible dictionary. But she was still just like, "I dunno..." Sister brown felt such compassion for her and said, "It breaks my heart that you are so confused. It is not what the Lord wants to have us be confused." She read John 14:26-27 to show her that He wants to give us peace and that the gospel can give us peace. Peace of mind. So cool. And her husband is like kinda not anti, but a little bit, so she was saying at the end of the lesson--already--"If I join your church though, I am worried about what my husband would think" and things like that .Crazy she is already thinking about that. Luckily there are miracles after people show great faith. He will always provide a way. 

The Guy Who Showed Up at Church is awesome. We met with him Thursday evening. Usually in a first meeting we have to ask questions about a person's religious beliefs, see how religion has played a role in their life, see where their faith in Christ is, just so that we may be able to have an idea of where the person is coming from and how to teach them. Well, this guy said, "I just wanna lay it all out," and talked and talked all about that stuff, and let us know without us having to ask, and said he has always felt this "positive energy" around members of our faith before, and he just wants to be Christlike and learn about this gospel. It was awesome. We gave him a restoration pamphlet and he said, "I will read this tonight." 

Unfortunately, neither of these people showed up at church, sad. For the Woman In The Store that wasn't surprising but for the Guy Who Showed Up At Church, for him now not to fulfill his nickname was sad. He lives with an older lady and kinda takes care of her, he just got a job at the hospital and is  supporting his family back in California--in Irvine! hahha--and apparently she was sick on Sunday and he was taking care of her and he texted us this as well: "Also I haven't bought a suit yet. LOL." Um, that is not COMPLETELY NECESSARY my goodness.

 La mujer mexicana didn't show up at church either. For some reason we haven't been able to get a lesson with her lately. And tonight, sista brown's LAST night, we are supposed to have a lesson with her, but she hasn't texted us back to confirm, and we are like oh my goodness what is happening? So sad. 


Weird, it is negative eight degrees. It's been like ten degrees lately. It doesn't feel too much different except as you walk you're like, "Man, my legs are cold, maybe I shoulda worn wool tights" and when you breathe your nose hairs freeze together. Yep it's pretty exciting. 

Our ward mission leader anounced over the puplit last Sunday that Sister Brown looooves reeses peanut butter cups, so she has been inundated with them as good-bye gifts from everyone in the ward. Hahhaha. 

We are supposed to like, go on a hike today, hahaha, I hope it actually happens. Our investigator who dropped us wanted to do something with us today so we are gonna hopefully go on a hike with him, with carleen who is a member and she is awesome and took more pictures of us yesterday, and with the zone leaders....the rest of the elders are thiiiinking about it. 

We had a couple of good lessons with less active women lately, they both opened up to us a bit more, we found out why one of them hasn't come to church in about six weeks. She is a lovely woman. We go see her every Sunday evening. 

A member family had us come shovel their neighbor's walk the other day. Apparently he went n talked to her outside a few days before and asked how her husband was and she burst into tears, her husband had died last August. Bro. Gilbert had no idea. So he had us come shovel her driveway and she came to the door when she heard the sounds, and invited us in for coffee, but we got girl scout cookies instead, what the heck. Bro. Gilbert's 5-yr-old kid who is awesome, he reads the book of mormon word by word to us and highlights things, hasn't complete comprehension about what he's reading yet but he is so motivated, anyway he was there helping us as well. The woman is very sweet, reminds me of Julie Monroe's mother in looks. She has lots of old books, like from the 20s and 30s, like my lovely mom. She doesnt' like new books or new authors, there is too much "stuff" in them. She lived in Germany for a couple of decades. She plays piano. I told her I could come back sometime and play her a concert and she said I was more than welcome to. Bro. Gilbert asked us later if, as a friend, he could introduce her to one of our doctrines, the fact that families can be together even after death, and we said yes yes please do, member missionaries are soo important. 

Anyway it has been a lovely week. I will keep you posted next week about my new companion. And what it will be like driving on the snow. 

I will miss Sister Brown a lot, we've had the most hilarious times. We have learned so much from each other about communication and everything. We know we were put together for a reason, the Lord knows us so well. We make a lot of videos on my camera. Mom n Dad when I sent my last memory card, did the videos get transferred to the computer? This is very important information. I want to know if I send home the card and then when I get it back if it's okay to delete those videos to make more room, as long as there's a copy of them on the computer back home. Hahhahaaaa. 


sister ashblink