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 Mouth...you 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! Um...estuve...er, 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 lunch...you 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?!

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