Melissa wrote this email in several volumes. Here ya go. -Anne
Um, I must confess I have not given much thought (yet) to skyping on Christmas, hopefully we can do it around noon so that Lily can be there, that would be lovely.
I came to the library with my glasses case but my glasses aren't IN there and so I've ctrl + a lot of times to make the email big and I'm trying not to strain my eyes. Haha.
So! Christmas. Ah, heck. I don't know. I probably don't need anything, I am gonna have to send a lot of stuff home and to Anchorage to make sure my luggage won't be too heavy for the flight back to Anchorage (we're both 95% sure we're leaving Petersburg after this transfer) (transfer ends on Dec 30th) so the less stuff I have, the better. If you want to wait and send me stuff after New Year's, you could even do that. Or just send small stuff. What I WOULD like is a new camera, since I broke the one the Budingers gave me. THe patriarch in my last area gave me a camera, but it's not my favorite, the pictures are not as bright or colorful and the screen is tiny, and it's a Canon, and the memory cards I already have don't work in it cuz they're not Canon and apparently Canons are Nazis, kinda like Apple. One day I can buy myself a real nice camera. I don't know though, if I am being too materialistic, you could also buy me a new Canon memory card cuz the one I DO have is full. It's just not my favorite camera though so I don't intend on keeping it after the mish.
I really don't need anything. I sent Lily a bit of a Christmas list, but I don't remember what I said.
Currently eating a mento. It's the rainbow packaged kind.
Well, we've had an eventful week so far. On Monday we took half a p-day, we got our emails done, I actually don't remember anything we did that day. On Tuesday, we flew to Juneau.
We didn't know if we'd make it to Juneau, the weather was pretty grey, but the pilot of the jet must have been braver than the last time I tried to leave Petersburg, and Donna was driving us to the airport, and we were talking about what we'd do if the plane didn't come, and we turned a corner, "And--there's the jet." We could see the tail of the jet over the roof of the airport up ahead. Yay. Flew to Juneau, the zone leaders picked us up, everyone from the Juneau zone who was already there (AKA, who weren't still on the ferry on their way) went to a pizza place called Bulwinkles and we ate thin saucy cheap pizza. Hhahaa. Then the zone leaders and the Spanish elders gave us a list of sisters we could go visit and we got a car from somebody and went off working in Juneau. We caroled that night with the whole zone, some neat experiences, Spirit is so strong when about twelve or fourteen missionaries are singing carols of the Savior's birth on a doorstep.
Wednesday was a "zone p-day." We went to Costco cuz Sister Beesley wants everyone to be able to buy cheap food in bulk if they want to . I did NOT want to cuz I wasn't sure if we'd be staying in Petersburg and the last thing I wanted was more weight in my suitcase, when I left the day before my suitcase weighed 47 pounds....we'd packed for Juneau AND Wrangell so that's our excuse. At least I was wearing my awesome Cate the Great snow boots.
For our zone p-day activity we um, walked to the glacier. Across a huge frozen lake. In the snow. We started about, oh I dunno, 1 or 2. Or 3? I dunno. But Elder Martinez (zone leader) was getting nervous cuz he said we'd be losing light (remember Alaska gets less light in the winter, even in the south-east). OH MY HECK. Maybe it's cuz I had the flu on Friday (I threw UP! we stayed in all that day and sewed quilt blocks for Tiny Lil Thing and watched every DVD in the apartment and Pres Beesley gave us permission to watch The Best Two Years) but I was SO TIRED. It's hard to march through the snow. I dunno how the pioneers did it. The glacier was beautiful, a huge mass of bluish snow-covered ice, but it never seemed to get closer. But we made it and took some pictures in the fading light and headed back, all the while I was thinking, "My heck, the elders didn't TELL us it would be such a long trek, we have no water, we have no flashlights, we have no granola bars..." Hhaha. All in all, it took a few hours, and we were back when it was just about pitch black. Oh, the scariest part was as we got closer to the glacier, the "ground" turned slushy. Sometimes we were splashing through water. People who didn't have waterproof boots got a whole lot colder. But don't worry, several elders told me that's just what happens on top of ice, and it was only worrisome if we like, heard a CRACK or something. So, none of us fell through, and we all survived, some people were just a lil sore the next day.
Dinner, served by one of the Juneau wards. Then we got to have district meeting for the first time with our district in PERSON.
Oh, hey, I might have to finish this email later today cuz like, there's people here and we're only supposed to go til 11 cuz there are like, these time slots. Sigh.
LOVE YOU BYE
EVERYTHING IS GOOD
Hi I'm working on the rest of the email now! I love all of you!
Seriously, guys. I don't need anything for Christmas. I just love you all. So for skyping on Christmas, hopefully I'll be able to do noon, Sister hatfield has a sister on a mission so she has to figure out when SHE is gonna be skyping the family too so we gotta coordinate and stuff. Hah. Okay so what was the last thing I said?
Oh by the way, I have permission from President Beesley to be finishing my email this late. We are both doing our emails, here at the Bunesses' in Wrangell where we have been staying.
SO IN JUNEAU. Distritc meeting in Juneau, we learned about object lessons. My favorite one by far was one from Elder Gardner who's currently serving up in Whitehorse (Yukon AKA Canada, my dream place to serve BECAUSE i want to use my passport on my mission). SO, he took a whatever-you-call-it pin, a flat pin, a straight pin? WHatever it doesn't have a hole that you thread through, it has a tiny flat top, you get the skiniest smallest kind, and you put the tip on wood (he did it on the floor of the stage, where we were oddly enough having our district meeting in the juneau stake center) or you can do a wooden table, and you lightly hammer in the pin, he used the side of a knife. Ha. Then you teach faith. He told everyone he would slam his hand down over the top of the pin, and he did, he hit the floor with a loud bang and we all gasped and he showed us his hand, there was no mark, and the pin had bent almost in half. He asked us who wants to try. I raised my hand immediately. He told me I had to stretch my palm flat, it's just a matter of physics, the tautness of your skin and the speed that you hit the pin doesn't allow it to penetrate. If we lose FAITH, however, we falter, our hand closes a little, and then it's a disaster. I was totally fine til OTHER people started being scared and teling me to be careful but I just did it, I just slammed my hand over the pin and it was awesome. I had faith. Yay!
Next day was zone conference. My favorite was the relay race, all of a sudden one companionship at a time was being led into the gym and one comp had to be on stage and one was blindfolded. There are three districts in the zone, so one companionship from each district had to do the whole "listen to my voice and follow my directions so you can get through the maze of tables and chairs while you're blindfolded." Without us even knowing what was going on, a lil bit later we were back in the gym and everyone was there and the next companionship in each district was being instructed on how they were gonna do a three-legged race to the basketball hoop and make three baskets and when they got back, the LAST companionship, Sister Hat and I being included, would have to do a dirty deed and eat muk tuk, curently on a plate underneath a paper towel waiting for us. Muk tuk is whale blubber with the whale skin attached. Natives eat it like candy. Yeah. Well, whoever was fastest in the blindfoldy maze thing got a ten-second head start. By the time our district finished shootin hoops and we had to eat muk tuk, everyone was screaming and telling all of us that had to do it just to swallow it, but I couldn't ,I had to chew it, it was wonderful. I tiold myself it tasted like sushi and finished it up.
THe last thing was running to a room in the church where one of the senior couples would be welcoming us into their "homes" and we would role play teaching them about the book of mormon and stuff.
Oh my heck TIME OUT Sister Buness just came over to us where we are both sitting cross legged next to each other typing away on their laptops in the living room, she siad she had herbal tea and some treats for us, isn't she amazing? She made these walnut-coconut-rice krispy-date things rolled in powdered sugar. OM NOM NOM.
One of the senior couples, Elder Waldron, did an awesome traingin on using the book of mormon, on making sure that the people we teach KNOW that we are NOT ashamed of the gospel of Christ. He told us a story from his mission of teaching Native Americans on his mission and telling a shaman the story of the book of mormon and the shaman got upset and asked him, "how do you know the stories of our people?" Elder Waldron said he was able to teach what he did becuase he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
My interview with president beesley was lovely, he asked me and sister hatfield to let him know if elders would do good in Petersburg, he asked me where I wanted to serve next. He's just great. I had a great talk with sister Beesley while Sis H was in HER interview. SIster beesley and I just laugh and laugh and we always talk for way too long and I just love her. I was talking about how sometimes it's hard to get to bed RIGHT at 10:30, sometimes it's 10:31, and it's hard to get outta dinners at an hour. She siad, "Yeah, maybe you get distracted?" And I said, "Oh yeah, sure, like with people talking and teling story after story," and she said, "No, I mean with all your thoughts? You always seem to have a million thoughts going through your head..." I laughed in surprise as I realized she was right, "Yeah I do have a million thoughts going through my head," and she said, "From the moment I met you i could tell that you had so much going on in your head, in fact sometimes I just think, Wow, wouldn't it be fun to just sit and listen for an hour or two to Sister Ashbrook's brain?" And by this time I am CRACKING UP, you have to know I delight in people telling me how I "am," and I love love love her, and it was just so funny. She said, "LIke, what would happen if I just said 'frogs'?" HAHAHA I told her that my nephew's "animal" is frog and when he was born me and my sister went down to the hospital gift shop and bought a frog.... and Sister Beesley was laughing so hard and she said, "SEE?!" HAHAHAH we are good friends.
SO THEN we flew from Juneau to Wrangell. That day, our branch mission leader called the branch president in Wrangell and good thing cuz they thought we were coming in the NEXT day, which USED to be the case, and we neglected to tell them that the plans changed, whoops.
We were going to Wrangell cuz the work is slow there right now and there are no misionaries so we went to teach their investigators. Wrangell is on a different island than Petersburg, and the town is smaller. We were gonna live in the church, like the elders have been doing, but Pres Bringhurst (our branch mission leader) got the Bunesses to let us stay with them (and now I know why---the church is not the most lovely place to live, their room was very small, two mattresses right next to each other, the shower is in the boy;s bathroom, it would have been cramped and difficult to move all my stuff from bathroom to room every day. ALSO many people have keys to the church).
Sisters have never served in Wrangell before. Everyone has been so extremely nice and welcoming. I think if we stayed here a month the novelty would be worn off. We've been given cupcakes and fudge and love.
The elders left the car here, it's a Suburu.
There was lots of snow when we came here....but it's been raining for the past coupla days and now the world is full of slush and puddles and ugliness. I think snow is so pretty.
FAMILY---I just want you to know I love you all. I love hearing from you. I appreciate all you do. Anne, I appreciate that you do my blog. Lily, I appreciate all your letters, even when I can't write back. Last p-day, I was in Juneau and the only letter I wrote was one to Lori --- SHE AND CHAD ARE EXPECTIN THEIR FIRST BABY --- and it took me all day to write, off and on, and I haven't even mailed it yet, and THIS p-day we didn't HAVE a p-day but we SHOULD get permission to take one on Wednesday when we get back to Petersburg. Daddy, I appreciate your weekly emails and I appreciate all the missionary work you do, working with elders. Mommy, I love you and your weekly emails. I am glad you are getting your energy back. I pray for you often.
WELL, much love and kisses. I know the gospel is true, I know that as we don't let our fears get in the way, and we boldly go after those who are lost ,the Lord will help us and will open doors for us, the Spirit will be there to warm us up and comfort us.
SISTER ASHBROOK AND THE DOG HAIR-COVERED PEA COAT