Saturday, December 29, 2012

hello!/Early email

We have permission to email early! I am in the process of writing you an email. We are getting transferred so our normal Pday will be crazy with flying and going to our new area.


 So we got permission to email you early because on Monday we will be flying to Anchorage, cuz GUESS WHAT, we are BOTH getting transferred. And two new sisters are coming to Petersburg---Sister Rivera, who I was companions with during the summer, and Sister Poudrier, who came out at the same time as Sister Hatfield. This is the second time I'm getting whitewashed by SISTERS, hahaha, Elder Van Bibber in Craig asked us what disobedient things we were doing to have THAT happen. Um excuse me, nothing, but for various reasons we are both leaving. We are very sad, and our branch is very sad, although they're happy to still have sisters.

So I am going to Eagle River, a city half an hour north of Anchorage and half an hour south of Palmer/Wasilla area. I will be in a ward called Beach Lake with Sister Claspell who's from Orange County as well, Cypress, which I don't even know where that is. Sister Rivera just got done training Sister Claspell.

Sister Hatfield is going to the Rabbit Creek Ward in south Anchorage.

I'm excited for the new's not really hitting me yet that I am leaving, except for the absolute non-enthusiasm I have for packing and trying to make everything fit into my suitcases. I'm gonna be mailing stuff to Anchorage (all my heavy books and stuff) and maybe mailing some stuff home, too. Haha. Sigh. So, today we will be packing and cleaning the apartment and hopefully be done by dinner, maybe we can go visit some people tonight, so that tomorrow we can do missionary work, since it'll be Sunday. Also today, we flew home from Wrangell on the morning jet. We were in Wrangell, which is a town smaller than Petersburg on the island to the south, and this was our second trip there this month, only for a few days. So we've been pretty busy, here we are in Petersburg packing for Anchorage and this morning we were in Wrangell. 

Christmas was fun, I Skyped, or I guess it was google hangouts, my family and the microphone wasn't working and I burst into tears and just sat there and cried ignoring everything cuz I was stressed and I suppose it's hard to talk to your family when you have immersed yourself so much into Petersburg and it was like TWO WORLDS COLLIDING. We were at Jason and Vanessa's house, Vanessa is the daughter of the couple who we stayed with in Wrangell, and Jason was trying to fix the microphone all the while talking to me in a very soothing, very used-to-dealing-with-emotional-women voice. He is a good husband to Vanessa. Hahaha. I love you family!!! i'm glad I could show you the quilt I am working on for Tiny Lil Thing in Long Term Care, and the pretty foxy red camera Momma got me.

The day after Christmas we flew to Wrangell. President Beesley wanted us to throw a Christmas musical fireside, but it didn't work out last visit, so he wanted us to throw at least a musical fireside this time. Well, we were thinking we'd scheduled it for our second or third day in Wrangell and when we called the Wrangell branch president's wife that day to see if she could pick us up from the airport she let us know the fireside was planned for THAT night and they were all very excited. Sister Hat and I both kept our cool while making "OH MY HECK EEEK" faces at each other. We dropped all our plans and the next couple of hours (before the afternoon jet would come in) we planned the fireside for that night. We decided to do it on the life of CHrist, starting with his birth to recap Christmas. We flew to Wrangell, had dinner with the branch pres and his family, and then spent the last hour before the fireside planning the finishing touches, including stealing a couple lamps from the branch pres's house (which is like two driveways away from the church) so that between Bible videos of Christ's life and music we wouldn't hafta flip the lights on and off. You see, the awesome tech elders (Sister Beesley's slaves) put ALL the Bible vids and ALL the mormon messages on DVDS for ALL the missionaries so we had those at our disposal. Our fireside didn't have either of us talking til Sister H shared her testimony at the very end. It was all Bible videos and music, back and forth. Sister H sang Gesu Bambino for his birth, we borrowed the music from Jeannie Bringhurst in Petersburg and have performed it at zone conference in Juneau, at a stake missionary meeting that same night that Pres Beesley was presiding over (so we left our white elephant party we were having with our zone and went to chapel, sang the song, and went back to our white elephant party, it was very exciting), and we performed it at a sing-along our branch pres had at his house that he had lots of nonmembers at, and so why not in Wrangell too.

On Thursday we finally got to see this one investigator in Wrangell that we never got to really visit with last trip. Last trip, we saw this other investigator, who is a Horse Lover, like every day. THIS Wrangell trip, Mrs. Horse Lover was reacting badly to some heart medication and we never were able to see her, and so that was sad, but it's amazing the way things worked out. We were feeling discouraged, cuz Mrs. Horse Lover couldn't see us and we called this sweet less active who said she was too busy to see us, and we thought that was weird, and we saw this kind and generous woman who has always loved missionaries to come over but is not interested in learning about the gospel which is totally fine but we can't spend three hours at her house just chatting like how she seemed to want to do, and we drove over to this other investigator woman's house and Sister H said as she was getting outta the car, "I'm having faith that nothing is working out so far cuz we are supposed to see her now." We knocked on the door, and this woman, whom I will call the Whimsical Sass, is hilarious. She's so open and loving. She's a gorgeous woman with rheumatoid arthritis and a broken heart from a horrible divorce who's used to a lot of money and owns fifty pairs of expensive jeans and over a hundred pairs of shoes half of which are sassy heels and she has a closet the size of my bedroom. She's living with a boyfriend who is way nice and she tells us with wide-open eyes, "He is so nice. I don't know what to DO. He's taking us to Mexico for a month and he is telling me he wants me to have a massage every day." She said she doesn't know why but she always comes back to the LDS faith. She knows to get baptized she needs to not be living with her boyfriend, she either needs to get married or move out, and she said she's too scared to get married again, but if she had her way in a different situation, she would probably be living alone.

We went back the next day cuz we insisted on helping her clean her house. Her daughter who is a junior in high school and is on the basketball team and is a really good girl thought her mother was using us for work. She walked into her mom's bedroom and saw us working through a pile of laundry the size of a large bear and she said, "MOM, you're horrible." I tried to reassure her that we had insisted on helping.

I think it would be hard to end a relationship when you're living with a boyfriend who bought an amazing house to live in with you, and takes you to Mexico, and does all these really nice things, and the Whimsical Sass says she feels so indebted to him and doesn't know why he is so incredibly nice to her.

We shared the gospel with her and encouraged her to keep an eternal perspective, and we gave her a few chapters in the Book of Mormon to read about how to find peace and joy and how to strengthen your faith. If she was prepared to make changes in her life, also to quit smoking, she would be an AMAZING member of the church. And hilarious. It's hard to describe her. She's just who she is.

That was pretty much our Wrangell trip, we also saw another wonderful less active woman who is the mother of one of our favorite less actives here in Petersburg (the woman we cut up deer with), but we mostly just spent time with the Whimsical Sass, threw a fireside, and saw the woman who loves missionaries. We also saw that woman's neighbor---she had a piano and invited me over and let me borrow all this Brahms and Beethoven and Bach. It was the first time in over year since I had played that stuff. She is happily Episcopalian, and I said, "How cool, my dad grew up Episcopalian."

SO, then we got the phone call that we're getting transferred. When we get to the airport in Anchorage, the Rabbit Creek sisters will be picking up Sister Hatfield and the Beach Lake sisters will be picking me up and transfer meeting is the day after New Year's Day and Sister Claspell and I will drive Sister Rivera and SIster Poudrier to the airport so they can go to Petersburg and meet all my favorite people. Elders are now getting sent to Wrangell, by the way, so they won't have to worry about covering both islands.


-Sister Ashbrook

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