And, I have been dealing with the mosquitos for WEEKS but they just got AWFUL one week so I had to write about it. Most locals just put up with them. Some say that DEET is the worst. Some say that OFF! doesn't work. But some say OFF! is what really does work. It is just like everywhere you go, everyone has different opinions. They all have different things to put on them....preparation H and stuff. I actually don't get bit that much, I've learned. I had six bites on my right leg at one time. Sister Rivera had thirty-two. Poor girl.
And yes Daddy I looooved getting Jordynn and Kylie's letters. So yes, I got those.
AND CONGRATULATIONS TO DANNY! Okay Danny I want you to send me a pic of you and Tiana and the kids. I have all these photos taped up on my wall, and I need to see you guys' faces. So that's your assignment. Or you can commission our parents to send it to me. Hahaha.
DADDY. Can you do something for me? It might be crazy. It involves looking for a song amongst all my piano music that I left. The members that we live with, whom you and Mom would love, by the way, well Brother Adams wants to sing Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, this one arrangement with cello that I have. OKAY, so. It is in a binder full of other music. Church music, I am 99.9% sure. It is several pages long, the pages are taped together back-to-back. It has a measure or two on the 2nd page that is randomly in 6/8 time. And there is a cello line underneath the piano accompaniment, throughout the song. IF YOU FIND IT, can you mail that to me pretty please? Brother Adams wants to sing it for this thing in July.
You would love the Adams because Sister Adams puts "little greenhouses" over her plants. These greenhouses are gallon milk jugs with the bottoms cut out and placed over each individual plant, just to keep it a little warmer, so there are these turned-inside-out tires all behind the house with plants growing in them, and thus, all these milk jugs placed on top.....she's just so frugal. She says, "Oh, haven't you seen my greenhouses back here?'" and laughs. Hahah.
AND MOM, thanks for your cute stories about Greggy and Jessica and all the stuff that has been happening in the family, I love all of you and think of all you and pray for you often. Wish I could hear my lovely Katie's harp recital. I want to see pictures of baby Emma!
The work is good, kinda crazy. We had an investigator for a hot minute once, a girl from Spain who is nannying a family. We got a call from the zone leaders saying that President wants us to teach her, that we can connect with her on a better level cuz we're girls, even though she lives in their area. We asked if they were gonna be at the lesson with us. They said, no, they were all gonna show up, introduce us to the girl, and then take off. (Sister Rivera and I were like, Uhh,.........)
Well, that didn't go over very well, the poor zone leaders are oblivious. Really good missionaries, just boys. See the thing is, when you teach somebody and open up to them, and share spiritual experiences together, a bond grows between you two. Like it says in D&C 50:22, "He that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." So her face just kinda fell when the elders said, "Well, they are gonna teach you now," and they left, and then we had this short lesson with her, she's very sweet. Next thing we know we're at dinner and we get a text, "What'd you do?! We just got this horrible text from her." Apparently she just felt very hurt and like she was getting passed around. We were told "not to go back till we talk to President." I told them they just need to ease her into the concept of being taught by other missionaries, not rip themselves outta her life and put us in front of her and say, "OKAY, LOVE THESE ONES, NOW!"
The Woman In The Store is supposed to be taught by other missionaries, right now she wants to "pause" and do some soul-searching before she gets taught by elders, cuz they are "too rigid" (that's what she told us one day, another day they were "too immature," hhahaa, I was laughing because she obviously doesn't have a testimony of 1 Corinthians 1:25-27 yet). She says her biggest obstacle is actually her husband being on board. SO, sister rivera and I paid a visit to the Husband In The Store, who works there on Saturdays, and had a nice chat with him. And picked him up as a new investigator. And gave him his very own copy of the Book of Mormon which I decorated and wrote a few commentary blurbs in. And told him that he doesn't need to go inside the "big temple in salt lake" to know if the church is true. And he doesn't need to read the Articles of Salvation cuz a website he was on quoted Joseph Smith as saying something conceited in there, to know if the church is true. All he needs to do is read and pray about the Book of Mormon. HIS biggest obstacle is knowing if Joseph Smith was really a prophet or a crazy all-high-and-mighty kinda guy. He doesn't like Mohammed, either. Well, we had fun talking to him, he's really a cool guy, said he's open to reading the book, because it's the one thing he hasn't done to find out if our church was true, and he totally laughed cuz he knows it.
Whenever I open my mouth and invite someone to learn more, or bear testimony about the Book of Mormon to someone in a parking lot, I suddenly feel all this love for the people of Alaska, and want them to be happy. If I didn't know any better, I'd have no idea where it is coming from.
Every time we talk to someone, we give them one more shot at eternal life.
Pretty much everyone will go to a degree of heaven, whether or not they even accept Jesus Christ. God wants us all to be happy. But eternal life, exaltation, is offered to those who accept Jesus Christ, receive of the saving ordinances (such as baptism and the Holy Ghost), and make covenants with our Heavenly Father. President Beesley says, "See everyone as if they are about to go to the temple" or "Teach your investigators as if they are a year away from going to the temple." We're not here to build the church's numbers. It's not about being a Muslim, a Catholic, a Jew, a Protestant, a Lutheran, a Mormon. It's about making covenants (promises) with your Heavenly Father, in His holy temples, just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did (I've been reading the Bible, finally hit Exodus this morning).
Last night was a fireside with hank smith (he's hilarious. oh my word so hilarious. a youth speaker. soooo funny) and Michael Mclane. Good times. Michael McLane's music is not my favorite but I appreciate the spirit and the message behind it. Two of our Mexican boys (who live in cottonwood's area, and we had our last lesson with them and the Cottonwood elders last night, now Cottonwood is just gonna teach them, we are so sad, this is what we get for teaching everyone in everyone else's area, but the Cottonwood elders are awesome and we aren't worried) were able to come to the fireside.
Hank Smith talked about chapter 3 in judges about Ehud thrusting in an eighteen-inch dagger into the fat of this guy named Eglon and the fat was so thick the dagger disappeared into it...(UM WHO KNEW THIS STUFF WAS IN THE BIBLE, THIS IS WHY I AM READING IT, cuz it's HILARIOUS). And he was like, "I bet Ehud was like, oh my gosh where'd the dagger go? You think it came out on the other side?" His talk was about temptation killers and stuff. It applied. I promise.
Brad Wilcox and his son spoke the night before last, we couldn't go. I barely even know who Brad Wilcox is, but I was told he is also another great speaker who travels around speaking to the youth and stuff. He is an awesome guy. He came to our ward on Sunday, walked in, shook our hands, said his son is serving in Japan. "Oh, cool, which mission?" I asked. He told me it was Kobe. I was so excited. "The mission president there used to be my bishop!" "No way, ZINKE?!" Brad Wilcox cried. "Yeah, and Sister Zinke used to teach me piano!" I laughed. Brother Wilcox is so cool, he told me to write the Zinkes a note and he would include it in the next passage he sent to his son in Japan and tell his son to give the note to the Zinkes. Which was awesome. I love those Zinkes!! It made me think of the Bruces in Chile as well. My bishops have been so cool my whole life.
I mowed a lawn. It was service. Sister Rivera and I switched back n forth. The weeds and grass was up to our knees. Our hands, the palms I mean, were bruised for two days afterwards, cuz it's a push-push lawn mower not a riding lawn mower, and the handle of the lawn mower shook and rattled against the palms of our hands for three hours so no wonder. But it was awesome, the person who employed us (i use that term loosely) was very proud I mowed a lawn for the first time in my life. My father shall be proud as well. I know there is that picture of me floating around somewhere, pushing a lawn mower in mah backyard in mah pjs (a huuuuge tigger shirt) and looking UTTERLY MISERABLE...I don't think that counts. So, basically, I mowed a lawn for the first time, and this deed was even mentioned by others in Sunday's gospel principles lesson which was on, hahah, Developing our Talents....
My recent convert is going through a really hard time. She has to move out of her house because it's in foreclosure ,and she, for a bit, was having a hard time keeping up hope. Very discouraging for her. I hope that she gets through this trial with enough faith to grasp onto the gospel and really, and finally, have a testimony of it, because she DOES have the gospel, and that can bless her for eternities. If she'd only see it!!! She is amazing, and I know she can do it. But we all needa go through trials. Life wasn't easy for Christ, or every other prophet for that matter, every prophet's life is a type and symbol of Christ. Trials don't come to show the Lord how much faith we have, trials come to show US how much faith WE have. The Lord knows all things, from the end to the beginning, he knows our potential, he knows what faith we have. But we don't! And so we are tested. And we grow.
I love being a missionary. People are AMAZING. The choices they make really do bring them closer or distance themselves from the Savior. As a missionary, we invite others to come unto Christ. And we watch Him work through us. And it is lovely.
LOVE YOU ALL
Sister Ashbrook the Songwriter (I'm writing a new one from Romans 8:35-37 WHO SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST? LA LA LA LAAA)