Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oh, Alaska.


My favorite part about mom's email to me: 

"  We loaded my car and then made the 1 minute drive to the new house.  Went great, except I was moving the car up higher on the hill, forgot the back door was open, cans of vienna sausages and tuna rolled happily down the street, I walked down in a dignified manner to retrieve them, one went as far as the around the corner at the bottom. "

Hee hee. Vienna sausages sounds SO like my grandmother, I miss having vienna sausage/mayo sandwiches down in the pasture getting stickers in my socks. And I can just picture my momma walking all dignified down the street. 

I cannot believe mi primo Nickylas is coming home THIS WEEK. I wish I could see him and give him a big hug. Congratulations Nicky poo, you had a nice mish. 

Also I am so happy for the Northrups and how the adoption is going through for lil Annalisa, I didn't know there had been complications, what a relief to hear.

I wrote my nieces yesterday, but didn't quite get my letter to Laura, I will write her next week, thanks big sis, I love the picture and it is taped up to the wall along with all my other pictures of those I love. I put the pictures of Amy and John that Grammie mailed me as well. 

Yesterday was p-day and it was gloriously sunshiney. I think every one of the letters I wrote yesterday started with some comment about the wonderful sunshine. Sister Rivera and I took a walk to the mailbox, opened it, realized it was empty probly cuz of memorial day, and walked back. It's a nice walk down the big hill and all that, and I just breathed in and threw my arms up and let the sun warm my face. As I wore my cool shades. And then there's this little pocket of gravel and trees off to the side of the road, it looks like the start of a trail (it's not) and I've always wanted to explore, so we climbed over the rocks that have been put to line the road kinda and walked down the "trail" which just led to some fences that overlook the gravel pit, and then we saw a trash bag and a WHOLE bunch of flies. "Why are there flies everywhere?" sister Rivera asked, and then I said, "Um, why is there a dead beaver?" There was a stinky dead BEAVER lying next to this black trash bag, and there was a hole int he bag, and I could see some other animal remains AT LEAST I HOPE THEY WERE ANIMAL and holy heck, guys, the smell, it was awful. 

It was a lovely walk.

Oh, Alaska.

If only you could see the doodles I create in my planner. You would be lining up to buy my art. Seriously.
We went to Anchorage on Thursday for language training and sat with a whole bunch of elders who are learning languages (some Polynesian elders are learning English, some American elders are learning Tongan, there are some Mong and some Spanish elders, Sister Chan up in Fairbanks was on the polycom). We learned how to put our language study to music to assist in our learning. Very exciting. We tried to fit the Spanish days of the week to the English version of "days of the week" set to the tune of the adams family, it was quite hilarious. Then later that day, Sister Rivera and I did some recording and then went on splits with the Turnagain sister missionaries. We visited a native woman who lived in an apartment that was kinda dark and very small with barely any furniture--a table and some mismatched chairs. The ceiling was nice-looking stained wooden slats, but unfortunately every time the people upstairs walked ,the ceiling creaked like crazy. How annoying must that be, when you're  trying to go to sleep, and the ceiling keeps squeaking above you, you can hear every creak, every footstep. Loud and proud. The way of life for some people really is destitute. Those with houses of their own, yards, decent ceilings in apartments, sunlight, bigger windows, even a couch, lampshades on their lamps---you have blessings! Be thankful for them! 

Why have I never had Indian tacos before? They are delicious. 

Transfer calls this Saturday...

Sister Rivera and I are hilarious. One of our inside jokes is, "President....my companion's gone scary..." (spoken in high-pitched weird voice) 

When Sister Rivera told my family on Skype that she walked into our apartment one day, humming "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer"---the Brett Stewart arrangement---and I cornered her demanding "WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT MUSIC?!" cuz like, um, OCMCO did that song and how does she KNOW that song? She's from Idaho, it's very far away from California....and then I ran up the ladder and got the CD and started playing her that song and she was like, "Yeah, that's the one," and I was like, "HOW DID YOU LEARN THAT SONG?" and she said she learned it in the MTC choir, and I was like, "WHAT THE HECK, MY DAD'S CHOIR DID THAT SONG, AND HIS CONDUCTOR ARRANGED IT" c'mon guys, it's like hearing your friend's band on the radio. Brett Stewart has gone famous. His work is touching thousands of missionaries. Hahhaa. ANYWAY when Sister Rivera told my family this story, my family was like, "yeah, that's cool!" and GUYS, I freaked out WAY MORE than you did. 

We actually had an investigator go to church last Sunday...but it was to another ward, but still, it counts. It was one of the Mexican Chicos. He's pretty cool. I get to practice my espanol. All four of those Muchachos sang the birthday song for Sister RIvera and I and we recorded it on our cameras. It's the song they sing in Mexico for birthdays and I totally actually wanna learn it so I can sing along when I'm at the orphanage one day. Hahaha. 

Wanna know how weird missionaries are?
We went to a barbecue two days ago and no one there was a member, the member was at work, everyone else was a friend of the family. And they all were totally weirded out that Sister RIvera and I showed up and started eating grilled shrimp n pineapple. TALK ABOUT THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. I asked someone her name and she totally ignored me, busy on her phone. Someone else had to speak up and tell me her name. I asked her how she was. SHe grunted, "Fine," and that was about it. No one would meet our eyes. They just ALL TURNED OFF. It was very weird. We both felt very awkward, but I just tried to keep smiling and being pleasant. We didn't stay very long. So, you see, missionaries are weird. That name tag pretty much says it all. 

I love being a missionary. I love wearing my name tag. I love representing the Lord Jesus Christ. 

We saw a momma moose and her two twin babies in a less active guy's backyard the other day. Very adorable. I think that same momma moose charged some people in our ward---the people who are moving soon and we've been taping, calking, and painting the interior of their house---while they were out on the deck admiring the two baby moose who only stood as high as their trampoline. HAHAHA. There is a video to prove it, and as soon as the momma moose faced them and took a few steps the video (on their phone) just kinda shook and went black. BAHHAHA. 

Anyway, I love you all, and I think about you guys, but I am happy I am here, and I hope there will be lots of sunshine this summer, and I know this gospel is true, and I know that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, and   I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that God has not stopped speaking. 

-sister ashbrook and the wok (tribute to mah mom)

Monday, May 21, 2012


So today was a good week, we picked up two new investigators, they are these two teenage boys from MEXICOOOOO (there are two more that they came up with to work for the summer, all cousins, and we hope to pick the other two up soon). They are cousins with a Mexican fam up here. 

They speak really good English but I like practicing my Spanish on them anyway. They are super respectful and come to church on their own (if they wake up on time). 

So we have done a LOT of service this week. A couple hours each day. And guess what, it's been painting and stuff---people fixing up their houses to sell. And guess what, I am the queen of taping edges and calking. I am a master. I walk around in my paint-spotted turquoise skinny jeans with my flannel on that I got from Mary and my calk gun in my arms, my damp rag slung over my shoulder, looking for CRACKS. And then i CALK 'EM. And taping, i have done lots of taping. And then painting. Sister Rivera likes to paint so I usually let her do it. 

I love doing service for people. One house that we were doing this for is the house of an awesome family that I will extremely miss when they move, they are super laid back and hiliarious and cook good food, I'll miss their dinners. The other family I've just been starting to get to know with my companion and we stopped by randomly to see if they needed help cuz they haven't been coming to church cuz they have a time limit about fixing up their house. They are super awesome and made us tacos for lunch. I was the tall one and helped tape the tall edges between wall and ceiling, standing on the kitchen counters in mah bare feets. It feels really wonderful to randomly drop by a house, tell them we have our service clothes in the car, can they please put us to work? It just helps them out a bit, you know? 

We taught a lesson to a 7-year-old about obedience and borrowed a kite from one of our investigators, the Glorified Hoarder. The 7-year-old loved the kite.The lesson was about obedience. Bro Greiner gave us all these awesome handouts in mission prep and the one about obedience has this cute story about a boy who went flying a kite for the first time with his dad and the kite was going higher and higher as he let out more string, until he ran out, and then he asked his daddy if he could cut the string. The dad said, "no son, the kite will fall if we cut the string." And the boy said, "No daddy, the string is holding the kite down, I can feel it." So the daddy gave the son a pocket knife and once the string was cut, the kite swirled and fell and landed in a broken heap. Obedience is like the kite string---it keeps us up. Once we stop being obedient to God's commandments, even if we feel that obeying them is actually holding us down and we could be so much better without them, we actually fall and never reach our goals. It was a fun lesson. 

We took the kite back to the Glorified Hoarder who I think is a delightful woman. And she wanted to fly kites outside but we actually didn't have real string on the kite she let us borrow, we had a shoe lace (we didn't really fly it with the 7-yr-old, we kinda did as much as we could bahahahha). So since we couldn't find the kite string, she was getting kinda upset (she has organizational problems since her stroke) and then she found some bubbles and said, 'Oh hey, wanna blow bubbles instead?" So we stood outside and blew bubbles with her for like twenty minutes and watched them. The trees are steadily turning greener and greener and the bubbles outisde with the sun on them, set against this green backdrop of the surrounding treees....it was all beautiful. Then we went inside and sang "For the Beauty of the Earth" for our  thought, and she held up her hand in-between verses 2 and 3 and said, "pause. I know this song. If I pull up the lyrics on my laptop, can I sing with you?" and so we did, and it was lovely. She looked so happy and a lot lighter, if you know what I mean, when we left. She is kinda lonely. 

Anyway, Sister Rivera and I have been having a lovely time together. We laugh and giggle a lot. We have been laughing and giggling a little too much. And eating too much. I've gained six pounds....this transfer. BAHHAHAh. This needs to get under control here, guys. SIster RIvera randomly starts quoting things---not just movies. She starts quoting things people said the previous day, and we bust up laughing all over again. She starts qutoing things from stories I told her three weeks ago, and now they are OUR stories, and we have a billion inside jokes. It's horrible. 

WELL, we haven't met with any of our OTHER investigators this week---they've been sick and/or busy, hopefully next week. 

BUT, i love all of you, highlight of my week concerning the MAILBOX was getting a letter from the illustrious Adam Guerrero, it is SO COOL to hear from my friends BAHAHAH. I am so grateful for all of you back home and all of the love and support and ze prayers and ze uzzer zings that you guys do. I love and miss California sometimes---I cooked some noodles Sister chan left me and they're kinda seafoody shrimp noodles, don't know how to explain, but they smell like tide pools (i swear they actually taste good) and I just stood there sniffing them for like two minutes, remembering tide pools and sand and seaweed and palm trees and hot sunlight...but ALASKA is so LOVELY that I am not actually SADLY missing California, just MATTER of FACTLY missing California. I have no time to actually MISS things. I have a bad memory anyway. THings fade fast. I greet the new and accept that whatever happens, happens! 

I love this gospel. I love the Book of Mormon. I love music that is uplifting. I love feeling the Spirit. I love having scriptures pop into mah head while I am teaching and then sharing them and seeing the person look up after reading it and saying, "I like that. Hold on. I wanna read it again." Because the Spirit must be with us as we teach, the Spirit lets us know what to say, and when we say what the Lord would have us say, the Spirit can testify to the hearts of those who are listening what is true and what is not. 


sister ashbrook

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pictures from Sister Chan

We finally have some pictures with Sister Chan!

At the musk ox farm. Melissa sent a tuft of fur she gathered while working there to Mom for her birthday. Weirdo.

Igloos are cool in Alaska.

An impromptu hopt dog roast while at a member's (or investigator's, I can't remember) house.


My mom said that these pictures are from Carleen Hall. Enjoy!

A classic Melissa expression. She hasn't changed a bit.

A cute picture with Sister Brown.
Pretty sure they're standing in their socks. Silly girls.

Does it feel good to be a gansta, Sister Ashbrook?

Got Mah Thug Hat On and my BLING BLING (it's a turquoise hat and a silver necklace with turquoise on it that i bought at Target)

(This email was sent this week on May 14. - Anne)

UM EXCUSE ME, Sarah is going to BYU Idaho or Arizona, which one? I am so very confused.

Hahhah, so I am not homesick at all! It was the easiest, most normal yet SO WEIRD experience talking to a lot of my family yesterday. I was so weirded out all day. We went to the first of our dinners yesterday (we had two) and I was saying to Sister Babcock, "I just feel...it is so weird that...it's just I am the same and they are the same...yet I feel so different, and they haven't SEEN me in Alaska and then they did...i just..." I couldn't finish my sentences and Sister Babcock laughed and laughed. 

I loooved seeing my family. And how Greggie is cute and Jessica is big and plump and sweet-faced. I love everybody. It was awesome seeing the Daltons, now that they live so close. I hope Jared is feeling better.

Congratulations on Candace getting married, I am so happy!!! 

Today, the most horrific culminating experience occurred: Sister Rivera told me, "Um, did you know your laundry detergent is actually fabric softener?"

Um, excuse me, I have been washing my clothes with fabric softener for five months. I AM WEARING DIRTY CLOTHES!!! THEY HAVE NOT BEEN CLEANED!!! WHAT THE HECK!!! WHY CAN'T I READ?! 

I dunno if you wanna put this on the blog hahahah, it's not bad, ask mom: 
So, one time, we went to go do our hour of mormon.org and we were sitting there, Sister Rivera and I and two elders, and I had forgotten to wear my nametag that day. I FELT SO NAKED. This man on another computer asked for help transferring a picture from Facebook to another website. I decided to help him. He had each website open on different computers. Now, that wouldn't work. I got him to open both wesbites on the same computer and then had him save the pic of him on facebook to the desktop and upload it on the second website. I should've known better when I saw that the second website was match.com. HAHAHAHAHHA. So basically, he was a computer illiterate 40-yr-old man and he wanted this second picture of him and his BICEP now, and I was like, "Oh dear," and then he wanted to get a picture from his PHONE to the computer, and he didn't know how, and I told him to open up the picture on his phone, now wondering if I really should be helping him even though I wanted to be Christlike. He just giggled and cupped the phone  to himself and kind of looked embarrassed. Oh my word. I didn't wanna know. I crept back to my computer and started packing away my stuff, shooting looks at Sister Rivera who kept giving me encouraging smiles, with her headphones on, totally oblivious. She thought I was sharing the gospel. Mister Forty-Year-Old asked me, "So, what's your name?" Hehehe... "Um, actually, I'm a missionary, and this is my companion, Sister Rivera, and those are two other missionaries over there." They all waved, quite jolly, and Mister Forty-Year-Old just stared. Sister Rivera said, later, "You shoulda seen his FACE! It just FELL!" We laughed n laughed about it in the parking lot. BUT, all the way home I felt SICK!!!! I FELT SO DIRTY, and I didn't feel better till I grabbed my nametag and put it on and I felt this calm relief go over my body. Isn't that CRAZY?! HE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TALKING TO ME THAT WAY IF I HAD BEEN WEARING MY NAMETAG!!! 

So the Woman in the Store dropped us, she said she had never felt so vulnerable and uncomfortable in her own home. It was so WEIRD. This text came right before the Mister Forty-Year-Old experience, which experience helped to distract me from my acute sadness and desire to burst into tears. I had no idea what had caused The Woman In The Store to feel that way, except that I had noticed she was different during the whole lesson, completely closed off. We didn't text her back until Monday, I said I had noticed she had felt uncomfortable and didn't know why, except perhaps that the two new faces---my brand new companion and the member we'd brought with us---freaked her out. She texted back and said the issue wasn't with the other missionary (Sister Rivera) but with the member we brought with us. I was getting excited cuz it had been hard to text her back, i felt so weird and sad, and now I felt like we were getting to the bottom of this and I was so glad I had courageously texted her and didn't wanna leave it alone. I asked her if she felt comfortable telling us more about this and we went to her store and she let us know (bad experience with the individual's spouse) and she said she had never wanted anyone outta her house so bad in her life. We apologized profusely, we'd had no idea, and then she said, MY FAVORITE: "I wouldn't be opposed to you coming back this Saturday for another lesson, but please do not bring anymore weirdos." OH MY WORD WE HADN'T LOST HER! A word to say: it's sad when you love these people and hear about others who have problems with these that you love. Please remember everyone has different facets and sides to them. People you may think are ridiculous and drive you completely crazy, well someone you already like probably likes that person for some reason, even if it seems impossible that they would, well they do. ANYWAY, we went n saw he Woman In The Store at her home on Saturday and had a LOVELY AMAZING LESSON full of the Spirit, she was laughing and happy, she was SO DIFFERENT than the last lesson.  Still worried about her anti-mormon husband. Wants to get him to sit in on the lessons. Told her that if we all have perfect undoubting faith that the Lord would soften his heart, it can happen. SERIOUSLY GUYS, if this family gets baptized, I will sob during the entire service. It will be the biggest and most amazing miracle ever. 

Spring started...and then it got cloudy and it stalled. The sun's back out, it's almost fifty degrees today, hopefully summer is on its way. I'm still waiting for everything to go WHOOSH, GREEN! Right now it's brown with little hard-to-see-at-first leaf buds growing on the trees. 

Sister Rivera and I have an awesome thing going. We can talk about anything and everything and we're on the same page like all the time and we laugh hilariously at night when we're supposed to be sleeping and we stayed up WAYYY too late last night talking before we went to sleep. 

Oh, Anne, you can accept Colleen's friend request on Facebook, she's wonderful, I love her. 

Well, I just love being a missionary. I love seeing amazing things happen right in front of my eyes, and working hard with my companion, and being happy, and studying on a certain subject furiously to help someone in need who needs just a lil bit of encouragement. I love seeing the trees and mountains of Alaska every day. I love and miss my family but really, Alaska and the people i love here have replaced that hole that got dug when I flew to the MTC and left my besties and my fam-fam behind. Hearing from my family and my friends is, thus, bliss. Extra joy. Keeps ya going when things get tough. I love my friends, I hope they are well. I PROMISE TO WRITE BACK TO YOU TODAY, SAMARA. HAHAHHAHA. 

We got Utah truffles in sacrament yesterday. I fandangled getting two.

I love my warrd---you really get to know the people here when you're here for five months, and they get to knwo you too. Lil kids give you presents---I got a little photo (a school photo) of a kid last week, and someone (I CAN'T REMEMBER WHO!!!) made me a butterfly out of blue tape. It was someone doing construction on their house. What the heck. And a lil girl in church yesterday just walked up to me and gave me a drawing. I love them all. One day, when I am transferred, and I am in a ward who doesnt' know me and--what the heck? the kids don't already love me? Oh man, it is gonna be hard. OH WELL, I'll survive. 

THE CHURCH IS TRUE! Read the book of mormon every day, especially my teenage cousins, that means you too Jake Hurlbert! I think about you a lot, my wonderful cousins! Don't ever give up, lose hope, get discouraged, think you're forgotten, stop praying, or turn away! THE WORLD IS NOT WORTH IT! I love this gospel and I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior.  I'm so happy to be a missionary.

Sister Ashbrook, the daughter of my wonderful parents whom I love

Screenshot of the call with Melissa on Mothers Day (May 13)

We had so much fun talking to Melissa that day; a little over a half hour. A lot of our extended family was there that day to celebrate Mom's birthday, so a few of them were there in time to talk to Sister Ashbrook too. It was surreal but awesome. - Anne

Monday, May 7, 2012

Email from May 7 - "NO TIME!!!"

(Sorry- I forgot to post this one!!! - Anne)

I love all of you. I had so many emails I have no time to write anything. I'll try and write a letter home. the worst news is that the Woman  In The Store dropped us and I haven't had the guts to respond to her text yet. The other news is that the Guy Who Dropped Us Who We Hiked The Mountain With admitted to us he's an alcoholic. I feel like I have had some experiences with alcoholic-ness and hopefully will, with the Lord and my wonderful comp whom I love, help him.
BUT: this Sunday, mother's day, I can skype home, 3:30 my time and 4:30 your time. If there is a better time, write me a letter quick and let me know. Also, will you please let me know who I should skype? I dunno how to use skype and I needa call somebody, right? If you are not able to let me know, I know Trey goes by Treytor on Skype and I will skype him bahaha and see if he can find out from you guys how to call you. LOVE YOU!!!