Monday, September 24, 2012

HI we've had some sunny days!!!!

Hi, this week was really good for finding potential investigators and setting up visits with them for this upcoming week so we'll just have to see what happens.

Mom, that stake picnic sounded uber fun, what a cool idea to do a vid of the history of the stake, good job Justin Gibby. Cool that many talked about Savior of the World. I love all the experience I gained from participating in that twice!!

Daddy I love you and I am glad you got my present!

Speaking of presents, I appreciate GRANDLY my package with the notebook and the crazy gum and ALL THOSE PENS....I have used them incessantly ever since I opened it, one of the blues is already almost out of ink...I probably should conservate but we shall see.

THANK YOU for all of dat, Mommy. You didn't even have to, and so I appreciate it. I would go crazy if I didn't use any colored pens.

We met with La Mujer de Calisto, Mexico and set up a visit for tomorrow, we'll show her the Restoration vid. In Spanish. Cuz I stink at Spanish. It's been causing lots of miscommunication issues with El Colombiano lately, hahaa, sigh. Speaking of that man, he is so funny, we get in total arguments. He gets super passionately FRUSTRATED ABOUT HIS LIFE and sometimes takes it out on us by RAISING HIS VOICE and I always come away from our visits FUMING....what kind of missionary am I? Hahahaa. I think we will be friends forever. We just need to teach him the word of wisdom cuz sometimes he smells like smoke, and since he's been a member for four years now, maybe he just needs a gentle reminder. It would be oh so totally awesome to see him passing the sacrament! The Sunday School teacher on Sunday really helped him get involved by having him read one of the Spanish! She was really good at telling everybody that he will read in Spanish, can everyone please follow along in their own books. I love our Sunday School class. I always feel the Spirit there, and it's because the teacher cares so passionately about whatever she is teaching.

We had a lesson with Card Guy, we explained how the Spirit testifies of truth, and we asked if he's ever felt the Spirit during church or lessons with us, and he said he has felt "no such feelings yet." Which was kinda sad cuz we want him to get baptized like, tomorrow, but it's not about what we want, it's about him learning to recognize his own relationship with Christ and learn how to strengthen it by exercising faith, repenting, and being baptized, and that happens when it is supposed to happen. We were supposed to meet with him on Saturday again.

In fact we were supposed to meet with a billion people on Saturday, but oh my heck, everything was stressful. A whole bunch of fish came in so alla sudden the cannery was working and everyone who is a worker there was called in. It went from them maybe working an hour and a half a day to working probably a full day's shift on Saturday and probably Sunday too. So we went to Mr. Card Guy's lesson to the PFI Bunkhouse lounge with, speaking of Sunday School, the Sunday School teacher, and he wasn't there, and we sat there and visited, and realized he wasn't coming. Then after that we were supposed to meet with the sister of El Colombiano who is NOT a member but wants to learn about our church but HE told us she was working....and we put it together. If The Sister of El Colombiano is working, so is Card Guy, cuz they BOTH work for PFI (the cannery). Sigh. AND THEN, we had a lesson planned for the Puerto Rican family, and the members that were supposed to come with us alla sudden couldn't and we spent twenty minutes calling members of the branch but no one could come, people were out fishing (the husbands of mommies who were stuck with all the kids, for the most part). SAD. We like having members at lessons, it helps the investigator meet people and they add amazing testimonies. ANYWAYS.

So we went and taught the Puerto Rican family with NO members, but it was a good lesson. Puerto Rican Dad was NOT there, however, cuz he's a cannery worker! Haha. We taught the Restoration. Puerto Rican son, we found out, has ADD, and he kinda took offense to us finding out, I think he doesn't have much self-confidence, he's 12, and I think he sees the negative in everything we say. Like how he said LAST week he'd come to church if we gave him a banana. Well, we told him THIS time we'd give him a banana AGAIN...but only if he came to church. And he told us, hurt, that he's not a dog. It's hard to communicate with him where he will not find something negative. But, when he is NOT doing that, he asks GREAT, "What does amen mean?" and "Where is heaven?"

We showed the 20-min Restoration vid to them and Puerto Rican Mommy was nodding her head in agreement the whole time. It was awesome.

They couldn't come to church though, cuz of work conflicts, and Puerto Rican Daughter got sick, but Puerto Rican Mommy promised the member of the branch who came to pick them up that morning for church that she'd drive them herself next week, when she finally didn't have any more work on Sundays!! Card Guy and The Sister of El Colombiano couldn't come to church either, cuz of all the fish, but do you remember Fashionista 13? She's the 13-year-old sister of Sweet 15, the girl who has been coming for 2 years but is not allowed to be baptized. Fashionista 13 comes to Young Women's activities every Wednesday but never wakes up in time for church.... but last Wednesday, the YW president, Sister Lister, asked her to give the "value devotional" on Sunday, so she got all nervous and excited and totally came. We love her. These two sisters don't get along very well so Sister Petersen and I got to talk to them about it on Sunday, too, making them laugh, about how to get along, since I have had similar struggles HAHAHAHA. (I love you my dear sister.)

Guess who also came to church. I haven't talked about this woman much cuz we rarely get to see her cuz she's never feeling well. She's from South Carolina, so I will call her Mrs. South Carolina. She came to Alaska with her 12-year-old daughter whom I will call Classy 12, to live with her older daughter and that daughter's boyfriend, they have a lil baby boy. Well, Mrs. South Carolina got carpal tunnel and had surgery on her wrist to detangle all her nerves and is constantly going to the doctor's and is tryin new meds and never feels up to having a lesson or coming to church. One day we realized we needed to get her super sweet, shy daughter involved in young women's. She's so sweet. She does NOT look 12. So, we called and invited her to church and one of the young women's leaders picked her up and brought her, she came in a classy blouse, black slacks, and pointed low-heeled boots. She's so classy. She really enjoyed church and plans on coming this Wednesday night to Young Women's.


So we were in the hospital to visit the elderly woman who is a member of the branch. There is this woman in there, I will call her Mrs. Baptist, because she's a Baptist, to help distinguish her. The elderly woman who we will visit I will call Tiny Lil Thing, cuz she is tiny. Less than a hundred pounds. ANYWAY, we once were at the hospital to play piano and sing for the old people, and Mrs. Baptist was getting picked up by the Baptist pastor who once told me and Sis. Petersen that if we wanted to stay at the function they were having, we would have to take off our name tags (we left). When we saw him that day, he refused to even look at us.

ANYWAY, we've taken time to stop and talk to Mrs. Baptist, the older lady in the wheelchair, and she is a sweet, wonderful woman, who had a heart attack 3 weeks ago and came to the hospital and hasn't left since. By the way she told us that her pastor and his wife are two of the neatest, sweetest people she knows, and I believe it. I don't doubt there is a lot of good in that man.

Well, there Mrs. Baptist was, sitting by the nurse's station desk thingy as we came in on Saturday or Sunday or something to see Tiny Lil Thing, and we stopped and talking to her. Asked her how she's doing. All of a sudden she said she was really scared. She seemed to be going downhill, not uphill, and she didn't know why, the doctors and nurses were giving her great treatment. Her husband doesn't want her to come home in case he can't take care of her. She's probably in her late 60's as she said her husband is 68. She started to cry, saying if she couldn't come back home, she'd have to go into Long Term Care, and she didn't want to do that. She said she didn't think she'd be that much trouble if she could just come home, she and her husband wouldn't have to start living all that differently. She didn't know why she wasn't getting better. She was really scared. She had the shakes and had come out of her room to ask the nurse if she could get an Adovan (I think that's what she called it).

Anyway, we told her, "Darlin, you don't have to be scared, God loves you and you are one of his very special daughters." We asked her if we could come visit her and she said she would really like that but warned us that she's Baptist and we'd never be able to shake her belief in God. I said we would never do that, all we do as missionaries is just invite people to learn more about God. I said, "This is totally not in the Bible, but there's a verse in the Book of Mormon that says, Perfect love casteth out all fear." She cried a little more saying, "Then my love must not be very perfect, because I have a lot of fear. But I think my love is pretty good." I said, "This is God's love. When you feel God's love, you will not have any more fear." I think I meant to say when you feel God's love perfectly, but whatever. She nodded and thanked us sincerely for taking the time to talk to her, and wiped her eyes, and told us we were very sweet and special, and we went on to go see Tiny Lil Thing.

Alaska is beautiful. Sometimes you see the moon hanging low in the electric-blue twilight sky, between two silhouetted pine-covered hills. The moon is reflecting off the water that separates us from the hills as we drive along Mitkof Highway. As we drive, the moon slowly disappears behind the hills.

Sometimes crazy clouds cover the land on the other side of the water, and you could almost picture you're looking out at the vast ocean on an overcast day.

I love being in people's houses, among squishy arm chairs with animal skins hanging on the walls, with a kitchen full of appliances and ticking clocks, and looking out the window and seeing rugged, wild Alaska. The snow capped mountains, the untamed hills, the muskeg.

I love being a missionary, I love this gospel. I know that happiness comes from being obedient, I know that the Spirit really does testify of truth. I know that the Lord prepares those that he places in our path. I know that Christ lives, I know that he is the Savior as all the prophets have testified.

love, Sister Ashbrook and Dog Dog (that's the name of the dog of a family in our ward)

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