Monday, July 30, 2012

Email from July 30, 2012

(I am repenting from being a slacker. Sorry everyone. - Anne)

So I'm at Aimee Marsh's house, she's a member of the branch, mother of three, this dog keeps running over and flicking this ball in into my lap, trying desperately for me to toss it. Hahaha.

It's a foggy, kinda wet day in Petersburg, we had some sun last week and it was absolutely gorgeous, I got so hot. It probably was about 75 degrees (that just COOKS YA). HAHAHA. I know in my head that that is NOT hot but it's hard to tell yourself that when you are sweating.

Mommy, what kids are you talking about? The ones that everyone seems to be fostering in the ward?

Jessica sounds so funny. I am glad she called you on the phone. I can't believe she's nine months old. That's crazy. I have been gone eight months today, is that crazy or what?

SO PETERSBURG. I love it here. It is just so quiet and peaceful, not a single stoplight in the whole town. There is a highway called mitkoff highway that takes you outta the town, you call it going "out the road" when you drive outta town that way. There are lots of houses on mitkoff highway, you might see someone's address as 'mile 11 mitkoff highway.'

Then there is a road going out the OTHER direction, this is sandy beach, and takes us to our house. Anyway then if you keep going on sandy beach rd and turn left on this "Caution: single lane road" thing it takes out along the coast line to the um, south or north, just the other way, and it's beautiful, and we had "scout out the area" written in our planner so we drove and drove and drove and finally passed some houses, we only had a lil bit of time before dinner so we tracted one house and they told us they weren't interested and we were on private property. Sigh. Sister Pete-pete says people live out here for a reason. Sigh. We left a card with them and maybe it'll change their lives.

So, remember the guy we talking to on Main Street in front of all those flyers, well, he is super cool, we will call him El Colombiano. He has this hilarious sense of humor. We met with him real briefly Thursday outside the library (la biblioteca) and all we had at the time was a Restoration pamphlet in spanish, we gave it to him, he said it is NOT una pamfleta, es un librito, porque es sagrado (it's sacred, so it's not a pamphlet, it's a little book). We had a lesson set for the next night with a girl who just got back from her mission to Peru who was gonna come with us. The spanish-speaking elders in Juneau shipped us four Libros de Mormon and lots more pamphlets in Spanish (I mean libritos) overnight. Isn't that nice of them? El Colombiano was tired from work the next day and couldn't make the lesson, but we rescheduled for tonight. He even wanted to come to church yesterday and called several times, but he started calling twenty minutes after church had actually started and our phone was on silent.... He's so funny, he asked me what my first name was, i said Melissa (in my awesome Mexican accent), and he laughed and cried something along the lines of, 'So when your father gets impatient with you he yells MELISSA!" Haha, and he acted out a frustrated father stamping his foot in a fit. So funny.

We picked up two investigators who are Muslim....they are willing to read the book of mormon with us but we're not sure how interested they are in learning cuz they seem to be very happily Muslim, so we're not sure what to do, they want us to come back, so we don't want to say no. We'll figure it out. They are very nice. They are in the middle of their month of fasting until sundown and so one day we came and they were sleeping (to kill time) and we felt so bad to wake them up but they were so gracious to us, and gave us cake, and dates (what they break their fast with first at night), and we told them we feel bad eating in front of them, but they say we are their guests!!! So very nice. What's cool is that the wife is white but started practicing Islam when they married, and where's the head thing, the kijob or something? in public and everything. They have an adorable two-year-old daughter whom they both love very much.

We picked up another investigator yesterday, he was a potential that Sister Pete-pete says never says much, one-word answers, doesn't even face the missionaries, kinda angles himself away, which is what happened yesterday. He lives in the more slummy part of town (Petersburg, though tiny, follows the same social pattern that other places do---there are incredibly huge houses, very beautiful, and there is the middle class, and then there's a low class, which consists of shady lookin apartments, and trailers-made-into houses trailer courts. Some parts even remind me of Mexico, though not quite as poverty-stricken. But no yards, just one trailer-house after another, with porches and roofs built on. Oh and what's cool fact---everything is built on, oh dang it, whatchamacallems, stilts. No! Pilings. Hahaha. Well, the trailers too. IN fact one house on the water is a log float with the house attached. Pretty cool.) ANYWAY. So this guy, Guy on The Porch, comes out onto a tiny porch and all three of us are in a space about the size of a fourth of a bathroom, and maybe to avoid standing so close to us as we're all shuffling awkwardly around, he leans over the railing and looks out and we are left to talk to the side and back of him. Hahha. One-word answers. BUT, he just listens, which is awesome right? So if he's gonna listen, we're gonna teach, so we read a bit of the intro of the book of mormon, taught him a lil bit about what it was, invited him to read the rest and the testimony of joseph smith at the front of the book, and had a prayer with him, and had a time set to see him this friday, so we walked away after having picked him up as a new investigator, which is awesome.

There are several other investigators here, one is a young guy in his twenties who works on a fishin boat, one is a Hispanic man (speaks English) who works at the cannery, one is a fifeen-year-old girl who's been coming to church for two years and is currently in Juneau at youth conference and girl's camp and she can't get baptized till she's eighteen.

So the branch is good, about ten or twelve kids in primary, I think there are two or three classes, I've been playing piano for it the past two sundays. Primary meets in the chapel. You open the curtains and my heck! there's a white boardwith primary decor all over it.

One speaker during sacrament meeting. Just one! Who takes up the whole time. So, I guess he or she speaks for about thirty to forty minutes. I guess you gotta do that when you don't have as many choices. Did I tell you other places call in? they use the polycom. During sunday school and relief society too. You're doing all your comments, right, teacher is teaching, all of a sudden someone in Kake starts speaking from the polycom and we all listen, it's pretty cool.


Other things sabout a branch: one family signs up per month to clean the chapel. Now we can be grateful we only have to clean the chapel one or two saturdays every few months, right???


sister ashfish
(EVERYTHING is about fishing here)
(Oh...I killed a king crab with some less actives the other day. Actualy, I tried, he did it better, the husband, cuz he is stronger, so i tried and then he took over and finished it. But we cracked open the shells of the legs and took all the meat out after they were boiled of course and ate FRESH KING CRAB, only caught HOURS, the way he kills them is he takes these huge things, one hand grabbing the legs on each side, and pile-drives its face into a bucket, using leverage then to bend the top part of the crab, the shell, off the body, they call it ripping its face off. who knew. i have had a truly alaskan experience. then they sent us home with lots and lots of crab and halibut that they'd caught as well, vacuum-sealed in packages to go into the freezer. hahhaa.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012



I'm in a rainforest. Isn't that nuts. 

Daddy, the red church you found on Sandy Beach Rd is the BIBLE CHURCH...and the Mormon church is like less than a half mile away from that. On LDS chapel lane. It's a tiny church, tan colored. There is a small chapel inside with three classrooms that open off the back, a lil hallway with a kitchen (whose serving window opens into the chapel), two bathrooms, the Branch President's office, a closet or two, and a big classroom that separates into two parts. Sister Pete-pete was taking me on a tour and pointed to a desk and a computer. "That's the family history center." PRETTY COOL!!! 

So yeah, I'm on an island, called Mitkoff Island, in its tiny town of Petersburg. The guy on the plane told me it's the only town around here that wasn't originally settled by Natives, it was settled by Scandinavian peeps. I'm taking pictures of every "Velkommen" sign I see on people's doors. It's pretty awesome, I'll have a lovely collection soon.

We're staying in a cabin on Sandy Beach Rd (it's more rocky) whose huge windows have a lovely view of the Narrows, which is what they call the ocean that winds its way between all the islands. The water is about a hundred feet from the lil house. The owners are members, currently somewhere outside (NOT in Alaska I mean) and are coming back soon (we'll have to move out for ten days) but will probably be able  to move back in once they are gone (they don't seem to live here permanently). 

It is very wet here, lots of clouds, it mists a lot, stuff is covered in moss. Instead of moose, I see deer. Lil deer. Like teenagers. The boys don't have big antlers yet. They're EVERYWHERE, just chillin. Haha. 

Sister Pete-pete has already been here one transfer. We switch off driving the Malibu every other day. She's super awesome and easy-going, has grown since the MTC. She's so funny. I don't quite know how to describe her. 

We tract pretty much every day. She OYMs a lot, which is something I've been wanting to do more (OYM is Open Your just start talking to people that you see walking on the street and stuff). There is a Main Street, it's pretty legit, with stores, and a Rexall, and a bar, and a trading union (one of the two grocery stores). FYI, no wal-mart, or mcdonalds, here. So we OYM'ed this guy, looking at a bunch of flyers posted up, and this was after me feeling weird and shy and insecure and just saying "Hello how are you" to about five or six people who'd gone on by, and we were walking back to our car cuz dinner was in ten minutes. And I just went up to the guy and said, "hi, we're missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have you heard of us?" and he apologized, because he only spoke a leetle English, and I said, "habla espanol?" and he said he did, he's from Colombia! Hahah. So I said, "Oh okay, well, somos los misioneras de la iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias," and we had this awesome conversation in spanish, and it was lovely, and he may come to church, and sister pete-pete had a passalong card in spanish, and he said, "Okay, you call me, or I call you!" and then we had to go cuz dinner was five minutes ago and it was with the Lopezes and they'd already called to see if we were coming, and when we got there I walked in there and said, "LO SIENTO!, hablando con un hombre que es de Colombia, y es un investigador...potencial." Hahha they were very impressed. And then they fed us tacos. OM NOM NOM i miss Mexico!!! I am so happy we talked to that guy. What a nice guy. Had come up here for work a little over a month ago and had lost his job. 

Anyway. I day dream of that guy getting baptized. I day dream of baptizing this whole town. 

There are several investigators, whom I have yet to meet. People are outta town a lot....or on boats. This is a fishing town. There is a different vocabulary. I know what salmon seining is now. The harbor reminds me of Dana Point, which is lovely, except all these boats are workin boats. They've got fishin stuff on them. We went looking for a potential the other day, his address was "Lives on the boat________" and then it gave the name of the boat. Well, we went walking around the docks. Hahah. We may have found the boat, there was one letter difference in the name, so we're not sure, but the guy on the boat next to it who was cleaning his windshield thing said he hasn't seen anyone there for the past couple of days, maybe it's not him, we dunno. 

Speed bump in Norwegian: fartsdemper. We got a picture next to the sign.

IT IS THE MOST ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS PLACE HERE. The water, which is very still--there aren't waves, but there are definitely currents, going every which way. The tide is a big deal here. Something about 25 feet. I don't quite understand it. But the tide coming in and out is very noticeable. But it's just beautiful here, you look out over the water to the great big pine-covered mountains on the other side. And it's just vast and wild and completely different. And you feel so much closer to your Savior. Every day I usually have a moment or two where I just blurt, "I can't believe i'm HERE!"

This computer, which is in the library of the lil church, doesn't seem to recognize Sister Pete-pete's usb thingy or else I'd attach pictures. Apparently the store in town only develops photos twice a week.  Somehow, I'll get some pictures to you. 

The branch has about 30 active members. Our ward mission leader is AWESOME. He's business like, concerned for the missionary work, one time he gave the sisters here 21 referrals. 

I miss the less active work in Colony, however. The less actives here are slightly less warm. BUT THEY JUST NEED TO GET TO KNOW US AND TRUST US AND LEARN TO LOVE US...then they won't be able to resist!!!!!! 

I feel so incredibly lucky to be where i am, to be serving the Lord here, to be with Sister Pete-pete. It's fun to be with your MTC companion. You already know each other, so the first day is not "So...what did you like to do before the mish?" cuz we're past that. 

Something else I appreciate is that I feel reminded of who I was in the MTC when I am serving with her, cuz she knew me that way. more than once since the MTC, i have missed and wistfully thought of that girl I had been, and wished she was back. Somehow i feel I'd gotten lazier, less confident, stuff like that. With Sister pete-pete, I am more confident, motivated, determined, I have one directive in mind---that is to work. At least I hope I am like that. I have so many things I need to work on. And so many ways to improve. But I am more go-get-em now. That is why I am here, to work! RIGHT?! 

The whole mission is working on being EXACTLY OBEDIENT. It's pretty awesome. IN BED by 10:30, no later. ONE HOUR for can't leave even a minute later than when you came in. It's part of this quarter's theme, which is Zion's Camp. If we have three days of exact obedience to the daily schedule, we'll make it outta Kirtland Ohio......apparently there's a map, but I left it in Anchorage after transfers. 

OH YEAH--leaving COlony: hard, but good. Turning it over to two new sisters: hard, weird feelings of jealousy....especially when I told em about the organ and they said, "YEah, Ithink we're just gonna get rid of it, cuz we heard the place is really tiny and neither of us play, so we don't see the point of hanging onto it. "Sighh, I've loved having that lil organ (FYI, we got a lil organ a few weeks ago). 

Saying goodbye to everybody and getting pictures with them: crazy. But having what they signed in my book (a journal I bought for people to write in, like other missionaries, and investigators, and members, so I can always remember them) is a precious, precious memory I will treasure. Especially when they sign "thank you for helping me understand what I believe and filling my life with light" when in lessons they still refused to admit they believed in Christ. 

Love you all.

-Sister Ashbrook

p.s. Musk eg. Squishy ground. Stunted trees. Looks like Africa. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS ALASKA?!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Big News, Guys.

Holy cheez muffins, I'm getting transferred, and Sister Rivera is getting transferred as well! My heck.
Sister Rivera is going to the Beach Lake ward in Eagle River (30 min away) and I am going to Petersburg (an island over in the bottom of Alaska). I'm going BUSH! It's in the Juneau zone. I'm gonna be companions with Sister Petersen, my MTC companion, and SHE is going to be senior companion, which means I need to humble myself and realize I have a lot to learn!! Hahha. I am happy. I am happy for her to be senior, that will be so good for her. She has already been on Petersburg for one transfer.
Holy heck, I was so shocked when Pres Beesley told me I was gonna be transferred. Sister Rivera has never been anywhere longer than two transfers so he prepped her with a "I hate to have to do this to you, but.." HHAHAHA wouldn't that make anyone's heart freeze. Hahaha. So she is a gypsy and has gone from Fairbanks to Kenai to Palmer and now to Eagle River.
She went downstairs to get ready and I put my head on my desk and cried for ten minutes. Then I wiped my eyes and stared out the window for another ten minutes. Then I tried to get some personal study done. It was Mosiah 2 and all I got was I NEED TO SERVE THE LORD. I need to serve my companion. I need to let go of pride. I need to be humble. I owe EVERYTHING to the Lord, even the fact that he lets me BREATHE every day. He supports me from moment to moment. All he asks is that I keep his commandments. Now, I feel ready and prepared to leave. I've completely buried my emotions so I didn't cry at all during church yesterday....and they released our bishop, which is a fulfillment of prophecy I think, I think he said something along the lines once upon a time like this: "I won't ever let you leave as long as I'm bishop..."
We went over to my bishop's house and that was the first time I ALMOST cried, cuz I just felt so I dunno, I just remember going there my first night in Decemebr, with Sister Brown, and it was all dark, and it was lovely, and they made me feel so welcome, and I promised to serve well in this area, and now I am leaving, and i hope I have.
I need to know Norwegian things. Someone looked up Petersburg for me on their ipad and told me it is LIttle Norway.
We have been running around with our heads cut off trying to say goodbye to everybody.
Somehow, I have to pack everything I have so that I can take it with me on an airplane. Luckily, it is Alaska Airlines, so I'm allowed 3 suitcases (I'll check my temple bag). And luckily, Sister Beesley said I could leave stuff at the mission home. Haha. Cuz I prob won't be there long, they like to have sisters there only in summer cuz all the men leave to go do Alaskan things and there are a whole bunch of women on the island, so they'll prob put elders back in.
Someone told me there's about 3000 people on Peterburg....
Sister Beesley told me there isn't set housing for us on Petersburg at the moment, the sisters have been kinda passed around the ward,hahaha, at one point they were living out of an RV....
I'm so excited.
We have so many people left to see and take a picture with .THe Woman In THe Store and Her Husband, the Woman with Two Kids Who Also Runs A Store, La mexicana (we have a lesson with her tonight), and we still need to get a picture with the Quakers....we need to call about twenty people today and let 'em know we're leaving....
I am excited for the next new phase in mah life, I'm excited to learn a lot of things, I'm excited to share the gospel with those on that lil island, I'm excited to work harder than I ever have before. I'm totally bummed to be leaving Sister Rivera, we wrote in each other's mission journals this morning, it was a grandiose affair. Lots of cutting out paper and gluing and stuff. hahah.
I wonder how I'll adjust to never seeing other missionaries? We'll call in for district meetings....
Sister Beesley said if I leave stuff at the mission home and end up needing it, she'll send it to me. Isn't she lovely. I love SIster Beesley.
It rains a lot there. I will have to find a rain coat. Hopefully there is one in the mission home closet.
It is Alaska, but a totally different Alaska than the one I've been accustomed to for the past seven months.
I don't really know what to say right now.
I'm kinda overwhelmed. Haha.
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! I know the gospel is true! I know that it is by the Spirit we gain our testimony, and that the Spirit DOES give us feelings of love and joy and peace. And that we CAN rely on those feelings to know they are from God. I know that the Book of Mormon really is fulfillment of prophecies made in the Bible about Joseph. I know that God loves us.
I'm counting all the names by which God is referred to in the BofM. I hit the 62nd name today, Father of all things, in Mosiah 7 or something like that. Isn't that crazy. So far, there have been 62 different references to God. Some are similar, like the Lord Omnipotent and the Lord God Omnipotent. But others. Maker, Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God (my favorite), Only Begotten of the Father, etc. That is our Savior Jesus Christ. I am so happy to be serving him here in Alaska, I have a testimony that he lives and loves and guides us.
sister ashbrook of the islands

Picture of the Wasilla Zone

The file size is really small. Boo. But you can see Sister Ashbrook on the far left, bottom row.

Monday, July 9, 2012

HI (Email from July 9)


Thanks for watching the fireside. They made a DVD of it, too, I will probably get a copy and send it home at one point. Yay. Hahah Mommy, that would be fun to do it every month. I'll tell Sister Beesley. Hahah. Not a new sweater. I've had it for a long long time. Hee hee. The shirt is the one that used to be Anne's dress but my rats chewed the hem of it. 

TRANSFER CALLS ARE THIS crazy. I love serving with Sister Rivera. And I love Colony Ward. I love the Bishop and all the members and I love the work, we just picked up two new investigators, really nice people. Baptist and non-denominational, with Chock-taw (spelling??) and Cherokee ancestry. He's a Truck Driver, and she is His Wife. He was on a potential's list and a while ago and I called and he gladly scheduled a time to meet with us---that RARELY happens, usually they can barely even remember that two missionaries knocked on their door anyway. UMM, and you have to figure out a reason to tell 'em why you're calling. Usually I say this: "A couple of boy missionaries knocked on your door about a year ago, right? Well, they took the boy missionaries out and put us girl missionaries in, and we have a list of all the people they contacted and were teaching, and we're just trying to meet all the people they knew." (I don't say we've been here for seven months and we're only just contacting them---sometimes I wonder why it's hard to get around to contacting certain people, who knows. I hope it's not laziness.)

We finally saw our Mexicana Investigadora that I haven't seen since Sister Brown went home. She came back from California about a week ago, according to her boyfriend/husband whom I called wanting to know if her number had changed cuz she STILL never calls or texts back, so we showed up and saw her van there and were like, YAYY! And went and knocked on the door, and she opened it, and we could hear voices inside, and she was like, "Oh, it's just the missionaries." Bahaha. She's a funny woman. She seemed happy (but not overjoyed) to see us, we sang to her in Spanish, we set up another time to see her, at 8 in the morning this thursday. It was cool, there was a Mexican woman who is a member there sitting at the table, and we introduced her to our Mexicana Investigadora like in February when she came to church. When we had introduced them, they only spoke to each other in Spanish for a minute or so and then the member excused herself and I remember thinking, "Darn it, I wish they would have talked more" (there are not that many Hispanics around, and they are both Mexican, so they have that in common). And now, here she was, sitting there at the kitchen table, somehow since February they've become friends, and the member told us she taking our Investigadora to church with her this Sunday. Which is awesome. Our Mexicana Investigadora still speaks really really fast and when her Friend tried to translate, la Investigadora barked, "En espanol, en espanol!!" and so her Friend just repeated what la Investigadora said, in Spanish, just a lot slower. She again told us that she doesn't want translators at any future lessons. I don't get it. I just shake my head and hope my Spanish will be good enough. I am thinking I am just gonna get the Spanish elders up here from Anchorage and stick 'em on her. We'll be there, too, but we'll tell her that it would be just a bit better if they teach her. I don't think she's super attached to us, anyway, my word. Hahah. Sighhh. 

We've spent a lot of time in Anchorage, rehearsing for the fireside, helping Sister beesley prepare for the fireside, and being at the fireside. We've slept at the mission home twice this week. We love having comp study in the mornings there. There have been other missionaries both times. I love having comp study with like six or eight of us gathered around the table, especially when Pres and Sister Beesley were there. Everyone always has these good insights and they all blow my mind with how focused they are on the gospel. I learn awesome things from other missionaries. I love all of them in this mission and enjoyed performing with them over the weekend---there are several going home this next transfer that I'm really gonna miss. 

Sister Rivera and I have really tried honing our teaching style and she has been teaching me a lot about the importance of silence in a lesson so that I can wait for what the Spirit has to say. I dunno how good I am at it yet, but I know it's important. She says that miracles happen when we listen for the Spirit to speak to us. 

OH, we met with the Quakers twice this week. Have I told you about them? We're not sure they should technically be called Quakers, but for the purpose of my emails I will refer to them that way. In their church, all the women wear their hair in a bun, no makeup, wear long plain skirts, high-collared shirts, and vests. The men wear vests, pretty much all have beards. Wear plain, non-flashy clothing. Follow the bible exactly. They know the bible so well, and really really love it, and we feel the Spirit when they are there. We don't teach the same with them as we do with others. We ask a lot of questions, and then they ask US about questions. They fed us dinner on Saturday, they are so sweet. They play Bible trivia at the dinner table. then they asked us about hte book of mormon and we shared a really good testimony about it----since they understand the Old Testament so well, I just said, "The book of mormon is a fulfillment of Joseph's blessing that his posterity would go over the wall, or, more literally,  over the ocean. The people in the Book of Mormon are Joseph's descendants, and it proves God loves all his children. He speaks to all of them and they all write, not just one nation." They just nodded and listened and I felt the Spirit while speaking so I knew they weren't putting up their defenses (AKA walls full of barbed wire with machine guns ready and pointed at us....JUST KIDDING, they really are sweet Christlike people). 

Anyway, I gotta go. Love you all. 

Christy (Gayla's sister) showed up to church on Sunday. I almost burst into tears giving her a huge hug. I loved seeing her! She was happy and bright-eyed. She is living with the daughter of the Millers who used to be in the laguna niguel stake presidency. Hee hee. She is going to England and Scotland after working in Alaska for the summer, no big deal. 


I love the gospel! I know it's true!

Love, sister ashbrook

Sister Ashbrook, her companion Sister Rivera, and a couple Elders singing at the fireside

Monday, July 2, 2012

HI (email from July 2)

First so I don't forget, there is a fireside this Friday the 6th of July. in Anchorage. It's about religious freedom---it'll go over joseph's blessing that his posterity will come to  America, and then Columbus, and then the restoration, and stuff. Anyway, they are gonna webcast it, so anyone can watch it, and gave us permission to tell our families and friends. Personally, I think San Clemente YSA should make a ward activity of it, watching my fireside. HAHAHAHAH just kidding.

and it starts at 6:30 PM but go to the website at 6:15 PM cuz it takes a while for it to get all settled and stuff, apparently. Hahah. I will be in the fireside, playing piano and stuff, and Sister Rivera will be singing. 

The fireside is for missionaries and for anyone else. 

Hee hee. 

We had a really good lesson with The Woman With Two Kids (Who Also Runs a Store), but it was just her and not her Two Kids, but that helped her open up to us a lot more. She's hilarious. Her husband just watched a show about how Moroni is an alien and has his own planet, so she kept being snarky and joking about how we believe in aliens and stuff. The member that we brought with us didn't quite get the humor and so when she looked confused, I said, "Moroni has his own planet. This is serious business," the member just kinda furrowed her brow and said, "Uh-uh." Sigh, oh well. HHAHA, when we taught the three kingdoms of glory, celestial, terrestrial, and telestial, The Woman snickered and said, "Sorry, but after all this talk of aliens, that kinda just sounds like...extra-terrestrial," and she laughed and said, "I know it's not, I know it's not, but you have to admit that's funny." Oh man I just love her. And sigh, the member we brought with us asked, "If I'm not mistaken, there's even three MORE degrees of glory inside the celestial kingdom, right?" Sister Rivera just kinda grunted and looked straight ahead, and I was like, Hoo boy. Deep doctrine stuff, and proceeded to try and explain with the help of the Spirit, really briefly, about that so that The Woman would understand according to her level of knowledge. 

The member is amazing though, really good at inviting The Woman to functions, invited her and her daughter to the Michael Mclane fireside the next night that was just for Young Women and their mothers, and said he and Hank Smith gave a really funny fireside last Sunday, but that at (some other activity) they'd had their CDs out, "So it was kinda like priestcraft, I was talking to my husband about it, and we were trying to figure out if it was priestcraft or not, like they were doing their firesides to sell their CDs, but we think they kept it within the line, they really are quite good speakers.." 

We didn't try and explain what priestcraft was. Maybe if we don't talk about it, The Woman will forget.

The sweet nine-year-old girl (she's actually ten now) that is in the other ward got baptized on Saturday with all the other 8-year-olds in the stake that were getting baptized that day. Very sweet girl. Very good spirit that was felt there. We've just been teaching her with her elders cuz we're girls. So it doesn't count as our baptism, but it isn't about the numbers, it's about one more person making covenants with her Heavenly Father!

We had no time to see the Man In the Store on Saturday so we were gonna drop by (dinner went way late, and the ten-year-old girl's baptism was happening in ten minutes) and poke our heads in the Store and say "Sorry, we didn't forget, can we come next Saturday?" But not only was he in there but his wife, and this was their last day open to the public (they're closing the store, sad, but it's okay) so we got to see her again, and offer our help with packing up all the heavy food storage items and stuff, which she tried to refuse and seemed amaze that we'd offer. THen she told, "I'm glad I saw you guys! I've gotten some insights that I wanna talk to you about!" Which is awesome, she looked happy and peaceful. I wanna know what her insights are! We had to run, though, and went off to the baptism. 

The members here feed us practically every night, and I get some really good food, my word. We just had some banana bread that was made without any wheat, or sugar I believe. It was made with barley...and spelt...and coconut oil...and dates....anyway, it was delicious. 

And they send us home with food a lot. We were even given a can of Tony's cajun seasoning. HECK!

And we went and visited the Chinese member that Sister Chan and I used to see more frequently, sang her How Firm a Foundation, she followed along in her CHinese hymn book, and then she asked us if we had time, she'd like to take us to Wal-mart and buy us whatever groceries we needed (she said that in very thick accent, but if you listen you can totally understand). We were so flabbergasted. She is such a lovely woman. She's funny. So we followed her to wal-mart, we walk inside, and she says, "Okay, whatever you want." Hahha. We were in the cereal aisle...I hadn't eaten cereal for months before the mish and just got back into it when someone gave Sister Chan and I four boxes of cinnamon toast crunch and now i am back to being a cereal addict, so we were in the cereal aisle looking at the cap'n crunch with berries, and the big box is actually cheaper per ounce than the little box, so I pointed that out to Sister RIvera, and the Sister Wong said, "I like family size. YOu like family size. You like it, I buy it. My daughter she always say, NO, mother! But i always like to buy things for her. So I like to buy things for you two." 

This woman is amazing! She bought us $45 worth of groceries and so today, our p-day, we don't have to buy anything at all, except we wanna go to Freddies and get lavender oil, cuz it's apparently a natural mosquito repellent and you smell good too. 

I am so humbled by all the wonderful examples of people I see all around me. I love the members here in Colony Ward and the surrounding wards. I love the people that I meet. I love the Book of Mormon, and i'm now in Exodus in the old testament, and am reading about the Passover. Not a bone of the paschal lamb was to be broken, just like when they came to break Christ's legs on the cross, but didn't once they saw he was dead, not one of his bones would be broken. So many things point to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. All the lives of the prophets testify of Christ---even in what happened to them. LIke Moses almost being killed as a baby, just like King Herod almost killed Christ when he was a baby. Prophets testify of Christ in more ways than just their words. I know the gospel is true, I know the Atonement is real. I know that God loves us, and has given us a way to come back to him. 


sister ashbrook

p.s. someone should totally find a barnacle (like, not a live one, like the shell) and mail it to me. BECAUSE, it would really help with my barnacle story I got from Brother Greiner to help explain repentance. i will pay them back for the shipping. I like visual aids.