Monday, June 10, 2013

Um, it hasn't hit me yet.

Hi, today we have a brunch with our ward mission leader at his CLUB, and then we are meeting at the mission office at noon with president beesley and the AP's and we are gonna go to the airport and meet the new missionaries, I'm so excited to see the three new sisters, we talked to them on the phone before they came out so I feel like I slightly know them. After that, we have to pick up Sister Claspell from the airport, she's flying in from Sitka to work with Sister Burbank in the Inlet View Ward as one of the new STL's. After that, I have a rehearsal at one of the chapels where all the missionaries hang out on P-days to prepare for a musical number at transfers tomorrow. After that, Sister Burbank gotta go shopping. After that, we have dinner with our bishop. After that, we're going to the mission home to take the three new sisters on their first tracting experience.

That's my day today....I haven't finished packing but it's fine.

So a lot of our investigators have stopped progressing and we have been feeling pretty bummed out. And then at church yesterday, right at the end, one of our newer investigators showed up at Relief Society. She'd come at 1 instead of 11 and had been sitting in the wrong ward's sacrament meeting the whole time until she figured it out, she came to see me go, she thought I'd have a ceremony or something. Hahaha. And also, the same thing happened with this other girl who we've been visiting, she's a member, starting to come back, she's Hmong (h is silent) and is hilarious, and she said she "got the text" and came to say goodbye, I don't know what text this is, hahah, I got to take pictures with her.

Oh man, and another girl who wants to come back to church TOTALLY showed up at church and surprised us, she's Samoan, and hilarious, and I love her, even though I've now only seen her twice in my life.

I have loved my mission, I have loved the people I've met, I know I have come closer to my Savior, and that I have learned to follow the Spirit more. I will be so grateful for the rest of my life of everything that I have learned and experienced. Like my bishop here told me, I'm just getting transferred, and my new area is in California, and he wants to hear what people I'll be having be taught in my home next week. Hahaha.

I know the gospel is true, and I know that we have to raise that warning voice to our neighbors. We will all, one day, stand before the Savior, ALL of us, the people you see on the street, the people you see on TV, the people who live across the street. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that publish peace and bring glad tidings of good joy.

I love all of you
Sister Ashbrook

Monday, June 3, 2013

pretending I have like a year left on my mission (Pictures!!)

Zone Conference

Mission Leadership Conference

So I was gonna like send more pictures but the thing is being so slow that I gave up, BUT....I will show you all at one point my amazing pictures. I was gonna send you baptism pictures, so that woulda been cool, but you see the thing is we all have to deal with trials in life.

Feeding the bears in Sitka

4 of us in Sitka
So yeah, in Sitka we fed bears, and also went and did service at the raptor center, and so that was cool.

But now I'm back and workin hard in Anchorage with my companion Sister Burbank. Well, sometimes I'm with her. I went on 2 exchanges this past week, there are two sets of sisters in Palmer and Wasilla and so we went with them, and tonight I'm gonna go work in south Anchorage YSA with Sister Hatfield's companion, Sister Grayson, and Sister Burbank will be with Sister Hatfield, and we'll switch back tomorrow night.

So. Last Monday we had our last lesson with our recent convert who's shy and 17, and then she flew off to Pittsburg. I got the number of the branch pres out there and President Beesley gave me permission to call him. I also got the number for the church building where our Russian investigator's 6 kids will be for the next 3 months and got permission to call Ohio, too. So let me just tell you, calling these people and introducing myself as a full-time missionary in the Alaska Anchorage Mission and hearing their reaction is awesome. They are just like, "Wow." It's surprising. Not every day Alaska calls you, right? It's okay, I never expected to get to know Alaska either, and now here I am.

So Tuesday we got a phone call from our bishop, who's awesome and wants to really do what Elder Zwick challenged all the ward councils to do---have investigators taught in members' homes. I told Bishop how Bishop Lark back in my singles ward had a night every week where investigators and missionaries and ward missionaries were free to come and teach. Bishop loved the idea, and set aside Thursday for that, and so we get this call Tuesday where he said, "Well I called all your investigators but none of them have given a definitive answer that they'll be able to make it, so I'm panicking that I'm being too bold and have set this goal and was really wondering if my faith was strong enough that I could have someone at my home every week, so I went out to visit some people and they had a friend over and I've invited her to come to my home Thursday night at 7 and she agreed and said she has questions about the church, so I've gotten you a new investigator, so will you be able to make it?"

I just love my bishop.

So that Thursday we went over and I'm SORRY, I'm having the hardest time picking out "names" for my investigators so that I can preserve their like, privacy, I'm not sure why. ANyway, she has a 3-year-old daughter and is a very sweet woman. We gave her an introductory lesson and answered all her questions which were really good, more practical really, like what does it take to be a member of the church, and what are the biggest differences between our church and a non-denominational christian church, and what are the do's and dont's of this church because she's heard of a few and wants to be aware of all of them so she'll know what type of change she'll need to make in her life if she were to join.

We've met with her twice since then, quick follow-up visits at her home and will save teaching lessons (unless otherwise directed) for THursday night at 7 at Bishop's house.

Wednesday I was on exchanges with Sister Morey and we contacted a spunky black woman and was found through I think the Samoan elders who were contacting someone or tracting near her apartment and she said, "Why are you going to everyone else's door and not sharing a message with me??" They quickly took her info and we went to contact her and we got let in and then I felt like a horrible STL cuz I was like, whispering outta the corner of my mouth, "Hey Sister Morey, do you have a book of mormon or a pamphlet or anything?" My bag recently broke and I'm using my purse and it's just not that BIG and sometimes I don't have like pros material, aren't I horrible?

We've gone back to teach THIS woman a coupla more times, the coolest lesson was when her son who recently got sent to prison called and we shared a message and sang "I am a child of God' to him over the phone and for the closing prayer, our investigator wanted EACH of us to say a prayer---I've never done that before, it's different, but what I really loved about it is that as each one of us---our investigator, me, my companion, the sweet member we brought with us (the bishop's daughter who has got a mission call to Ukraine) and finally her son on the phone---prayed to God, I realized, that for the past 10 minutes the thoughts of each of us have been directed toward heaven quietly and reverently and that's a long time to do that for a closing prayer and it was so nice and peaceful.

Also this past week, Sister Burbank and I went to the behavioral center where the Stellar Mom's 14-year-old daughter is, you know, my investigator from my past area, and we taught her about faith, and it was really good to see the Stellar Mom and her autistic son and share a message with them as well. The elders in Beach Lake have started teaching the autistic son, he's been taught before, but hasn't been too receptive, and now he's thinking about getting baptized June 15 which is awesome.

Saturday I went up to Matanuska in Palmer to do exchanges with the sisters there, I was with Sister Platero, who Sister Burbank trained. The highlight of that day was seeing The Woman In the Store. If you remember her, she was my golden investigator in my first area whose husband is SO AGAINST the church. She always lived in Matanuska Ward boundaries, and when we found that out, we were way bummed, and then when I got transferred she said, "Yeah, I don't really want elders." Well, 5 weeks ago, sisters got put in Matanuska ward, and I told them to go contact the Woman In the Store, and tell her I sent them and wanted to see her. They set up an appointment for us to see her this past Saturday at 1. Sister Platero and I went and it was AWESOME.

She expressed to us, again, how much she admired the structure, the values, of the Mormon church, and how it frustrated her that when she FIRST took the lessons in 2001 her husband was the one who sort of convinced her not to go through with it and when I started teaching her over a year ago, again, it caused tension in their marriage, and this time, she told us, "I just don't know if he'll ever come around."

I said, "Well, let's invite him to sit in on the lessons with you." So when he came in from working on the yard, I just cheerfully asked him. I said, "Hey, since you're the head of the household, and we don't want to do anything behind your back and we want you to be aware of everything going on between the missionaries and your wife because you may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with what we believe, we wanted to invite you to sit in on her lessons and listen to what we believe and be able to be there for your wife. Is that all right? Could we come back next Saturday?"

And he said, "Sure, I don't mind." he didn't look like THE MOST COMFORTABLE man on earth, but he agreed, and we set up a lesson for the next Saturday, and i told them I wouldn't be there but the other sister would and they would love her, and we also invited the 14-year-old daughter, and so Sister Platero was able to pick up 3 investigators that day, and it was just a great day.

Sunday was church. One of the recent converts that the elders in the ward taught received the Aaronic priesthood. And less actives came to church for the first time in months. And our spunky black investigator with the son in prison came to church as well. It was a great day. After that we taught the woman with the 3-year-old daughter that our bishop found for us, we went over the intro to the book of mormon and it was a really good lesson. That night we went to the mission home to help plan stuff and prepare stuff for Missionary Leadership Council this Wednesday. Apparently I'm helping to present a 20-minute training on studies. I was told it's because my study journal is like 7 inches thick. I love the Beesleys. Did I ever tell you that Sister Beesley once asked me if I was medicated??? They are so HILARIOUS. We watched videos of the APs going delirious and during a really stressful part of the planning process that night, President Beesley quietly pulled out that video on his iPhone and played it for like 3 seconds. It made us all laugh and then we got back to work. Haha.

Anyway, I'm just working hard and pretending I have like a year left on my mission so that in my head I don't think about home, so that's cool.

I love my mission and I know that the Spirit can soften people's hearts. I know that we meet the people we meet for a reason. I know that we can change through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that the Savior lives and that if we follow him, he will give us peace.

Love you all
Sister Ashbrook and the bears and the raptors

Monday, May 27, 2013

a sunny week in the southeast

Hey guys. We were at the mission home last name talkin with da Beesleys and they told us to come here to do emails tomorrow morning so that's what we're doing and so we get to email today and not have to wait til tomorrow when the library is open! Yay.

So we've had an eventful week. As you read last Monday, we had arrived in Juneau, and the sisters there entertained us all p-day. They took us to where the church has a plaque-thing on a woodsy hillside that talks about the four missionaries who offered a dedicatory prayer for the land of Alaska to have missionary work there, we took pictures by it, and then we walked around downtown and there are cruise ships in and trousits were EVERYWHERE. Downtown juneau is a lot of squished cramped one way streets. With all the tourists and the touristy attractions it looked like a cross between san francisco and disneyland. Hahha.

Oh I like don't have much time. Kay I'll skip telling all the tiny details.

The sisters in Juneau are doing really well, we were able to get along with them really well and see how they were doing and see some of the people they were working with, and then we flew to Sitka, and it was oh so beautiful. Sitka is a town of about 9,000 and there is a mcdonalds and everything. It's right on the water and it was wonderful. It was great to see Sister Claspell again. We gave them lots of good ideas about how to keep busy in a small town, mostly just to walk around more.

We came back Friday night and President Beesley picked us up. Saturday we weekly planned and then taught a few lessons, invited some people big time to come to church, one of our investigators finally came whose son was baptized a month ago and sitll hasn't gotten confirmed and so HE FINALLY GOT CONFIRMED!!! Also confimed that day was a mrried couple who the elders in the ward have been teaching but I tuaght them once and they love us, and after our ward we went to the Airport Heights ward and saw our 17-year-old recently baptized young woman get confirmed, so Sunday was a lovely day.

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!
Sister Ashbrook

ps. Charlie sounds adorable!!! I'm so excited for Chuck to have a lil son to play cars with now.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Hey guys I happen to be back in my homeland, the beautiful southeast of Alaska, ummmm it's a SUNNY AMAZING day and I am in love with it.

So Tuesday the Sterling sisters came up from Anchorage to stay with us until zone conference. All the zone leaders and Sister Burbank and I went to "MLM" (missionary leadership meeting) with Elder Zwick of the first quorum of the 70 and his wife on Wednesday. Then that night was a Member Missionary Devotional with Elder and Sister Zwick, to which all stake presidencies, ward councils, bishoprics, ward mission leaders and ward missionaries, and full-time missionaries were invited to attend. Thursday was zone conference which lasted until 4, which took place in the Brayton chapel, with 5 zones in attendance---Soldotna, Anchorage, Anchorage North, Chugach, and Wasilla. Friday our awesome quiet 17-year-old investigator in the other ward got her baptismal interveiw and PASSED, and ALSO that day, two other investigators---the amazing couple who I taught once but mostly they've been being taught by the elders in our ward---got baptized!!! And then on Saturday our 17-year-old investigator got baptized, and right after that baptism, North Anchorage YSA was having a baptism and the person who got baptized is this tall 6'11" guy who I remember teaching TWICE on two separate times over a YEAR ago when I was on splits with various sisters in Anchorage, and I was so shocked and HAPPY to see him finally get baptized! In between our baptism and the 6'11" guy's baptism, Sister Beesley took Sister Burbank and I to get hamburgers, and I just love Sister Beesley.

So our girl's baptism was great, she looked beautiful, she didn't own any skirts and so I found some clothes for her from the sisters' closet at the mission home so she ended up picking one that used to be Sister Rivera's and she looked ADORABLE, and she even BORE HER TESTIMONY after she got baptized, and it was so good to hear. She said she knew she had made an amazing choice, and was excited for her future, "following God's commandments." Yesterday was stake conference, so she'll get confirmed in sacrament THIS upcoming Sunday. Since Sister Burbank and I are outta town this week, the elders that are in her ward are gonna stop by and make contact with her often this week to help her to keep the Spirit until she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost herself. So wonderful.

Saturday night we picked up a new investigator, he's the 22-yr-old son of a couple in the ward who got baptized a few years ago, they are Alaska Native. He likes to box. I told him I got taught to box once (sort of). But I am too scared to be a boxer. It was a lovely first lesson, Spirit was strong, when we were testifying of the Atonement and how our guilt can be swept away, he looked like he was gonna cry for a second.

Sunday was Stake COnference, and then we contacted two investigators we haven't seen in about a week, the Russiana and the Filipino. It was so good to see them. Sister Burbank is sick and lost her voice and she said after that every time she tried to talk in the Filipino's lesson, he looked like he was trying not to laugh at her, HAHAHAH. The Russiana is so sweet, and oh man do I love her 6 kids. You know when you meet that batch of kids that are pure and have maybe gone through a lot and are quiet and humble and well-behaved? Those are these kids. We shared a quick spiritual thought and I was smiling at the 12-year-old girl and she was just smiling peacefully back, smile seeming to get bigger by the second. They are moving to OHIO with their DAD for 3 months in a lil over a week, but don't worry guys, Mom gave us their ADDRESS so they can get involved with cub scouts and young womens there.

After that we went to the mission home and brought President Beesley pie and had a meeting with the Beesleys and the AP's to try and figure out how to implement some of the things Elder Zwick wants all the ward councils to start doing. It was a long meeting. Let's just say waking up at 5am this morning to get to the airport at 6:30am has resulted in me being VERY tired, but I am happy to be here. We are in Juneau with Sister Peterson and her trainee, Sister Faupula, and we'll be here until Wednesday morning, and then we're flying to Sitka, and we'll do exchanges with Sister Claspell and Sister Hedelius, and WE are very excited that we happen to be going when they go and do their two weekly community service activities---WEdnesday they go and feed the bears at this one place (apparently Pres Beesley told Sis Burbank in confidence to make sure she filmed me feeding the bears) and I'm sure they actually do something community servicey there, and then on THURSDAY they go to the RAPTOR CENTER (oh my heck!!!) and help with the EAGLES!!! (Whatever that means!)

So this is gonna be a fun week.

Having Elder Zwick here was awesome. Hearing his crazy mission experiences in Argentina and Bolivia was eye-opening. He was in one area for 17 months and his companion was a horse---and three other elders each with a horse. His mission president was ELder Richard G. Scott, who sent them there to build a chapel and baptize 3 cities in a place where not a single member had been baptized yet. Elder Zwick knows several of the apostles very well and has close interactions with them on a regular basis and hearing him talk about these men on a first-hand personal account was so fascinating. Those are real people! And then missionaries got up during the practice teaching part and one was reading a quote by President Faust and I was like, "Oh man there is someone here who knew Pres Faust personally, and here we are quoting him." But just a witness to me that we do not need to see or get to know these men to know they are men of God---we are all testifying of these men but only Elder Zwick actually knew them.

I love you all
Sister Ashbrook


Monday, May 13, 2013


I love you Mom!

Hey sooo....

Okay so we have a baptism scheduled this Saturday with a girl in another ward, she's 17 and the Inlet View sisters (that's me now!) have been teaching her this whole time. She works and so hasn't been to church in a few weeks and she is very quiet---not really shy, she's just kinda withdrawn and quiet, it's like her personality, and so people have been worried she wasn't ready or wasn't comprehending the doctrine and Sister Burbank and I have been stressing over that and invited her to really, really try and switch work so that she could go to her ward on Sunday and we found out yesterday that she was there, so that was probably really good for her and for her ward, and we are SO excited her baptism is gonna go through this Saturday.


We've had lessons set up with several potentially new investigators and we had members from the ward show up with us and everything and not ONE of them favorite was this woman downstairs from a member couple who referred her. We talked to her, she really liked us, talked our ear off, we set up an appointment for after church the next day and she actually CALLED that Sunday and talked our ear off but had pneumonia so she had to reschedule, had a member come with us and when we got there saw that she had put a note on her door saying she was still sick and could we reschedule. I left her a book of mormon in front of her door. Called her a few days later. She said she didn't know how to say this but that she wasn't MORMON, she was CHRISTIAN...and explained how she had been raised with a Mormon foster family for a few years (from what she said they really did sound quite um interesting) and really didn't like it and thinks we are weird. We told her we are Christian too. She got all happy and had no idea we were Christian and started chatting our ear off and at the end she goes, "Oh, I'm just so happy you guys aren't MORMON, that you guys are CHRISTIAN! I've been so worried you were Mormon and I told my friends and they were saying all sorts of things like, 'Just don't answer the door when they come' and that just gives me a lot of relief." MEANWHILE I'm freaking out and looking at SIster Burbank in a panic and had no idea if I should correct her then or just wait....I decided to correct her then and explained that we ARE christian but also Mormon at the same time and that the Mormon family she grew up with sounded really strict and we're not really like that, and she got a lil more serious, but everything was good, we set up an appointment for that Saturday.

Well, that Saturday we were at the mission home for a rehearsal cuz we're doing this musical number for zone conference this week and while I was rehearsing and then recording some music with one of the elders SIster Burbank called about a million people to try and see who could come with us to this lesson with this woman. No one could come. She said, "In my expereince this happens because the lesson won't go through." On the way to the lessson, we called some more people, and there was even one woman who was like, "Sure! Right now? Sure I can come. Let me ask my husband real fast." Two seconds later, "OH....sorry sisters. Now is not a good time." Sister Burbank after she hung up said, "Remember that time we got so happy for like two seconds?" I said, "Let's just go to this woman's door and see if she left another note and if not we'll call some more people." (You see guys, it is SO IMPORTANT to bring members to lessons, they add so much and help the person get to know the people who are part of the church who actually LIVE here.) Well, we got to the woman's door and---there WAS a note. Guess what it said. "Sisters. I don't want to join your 'church.' Have a nice day!" We read it, looked at each other, and walked outside. "I wonder how Heavenly Father manages everyone else's lives so that no one has to come to this one lesson because it was just gonna fall through anyway," said Sister Burbank.

HAHa oh heavens so this was just one tiny lil story from this week, I feel like our weeks are so crazy. We talk about this week as "pre-Sterling" and "post-Sterling" cuz we went down to the Kenai Peninsula to serve with the sisters in Sterling for a day so we got there Tuesday night and left Thursday morning and got back to Anchorage in time for training. Basically, we have been quite busy. Like Mormon says, "I cannot write a hundredth part of the history of Sister Ashbrook's past week..."

Things have been good, we met our goal for lessons with a member present---we got eight this week and our goal was seven!!--so we're gonna go get some Mort's Frozen Custard to celebrate--um, I've never had frozen custard in my LIFE but it's right by our house and Sister Burbank used to work at a frozen custard place so CLEARLY that's where we should go to celebrate.

Kay, so we picked up a Russian Woman and her 6 kiddos as investigators, all are over 8 yrs old except for the youngest who is 7, so really only 5 of the kids are investigators. Such sweet kids. But at the end of the month they're all going to Ohio for 3 months to be with dad. Russian Mommy seems wonderful, she said her oldest daughter (she's 13) wants to get baptized, and that she herself wants to get baptized too but not yet, she says she still not sure about it and wants to keep learning. Russian Mommy has been taught for several months already down in South Anchorage but just moved into our ward boundaries.

We have a Filipino investigator, he lives with a Filipino woman who's less active and they have a coupla kids. He's on date for July 20th and actually READ This week and was visibly happier and more open. BUT, he didn't come to church on Sunday. BUT, we know he was starting a new job and maybe he works on sundays now.

We have 2 investigators who have come several times now to church, I will call them M & R, cuz that's how I write them in my planner. They are a couple with 2 kids, not married, they rarely read on their own but maybe they will tonight! We had dinner with them last night and have a lesson with them tonight.

Sister Burbank is doing great, she really brings the Spirit into the lessons and I appreciate that a lot. She's wonderful.

So, like, that's cool and stuff.

I LOVE YOU! The gospel is so amazing. As we study it and learn how to really communicate with the Lord, and as we learn to let the Spirit teach us the underlying messages of the scriptures that we don't catch at first glance, our understanding expands and we see ourselves more clearly and our spot in Heavenly Father's plan for us. It's so important to stay faithful and keep a sense of hope, not get discouraged, not doubt. I love the scriptures. I love following the prophet (he's more important than the scriptures anyway, true story). I love the people we teach.

Sister Ashbrook

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Skype Call

Here's a little taste of our awesome day talking to Sister Ashbrook. It was great- she's doing great and working very hard and doesn't want to come home. The opposite of trunky. We are very excited for her to come home, though, and for her to make us all crazy laugh again. -Anne

Monday, May 6, 2013


I feel like every week lately has been a SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED week, and so OH MY HECK I will try and organize my thoughts into a really quick email.

First of all...holy cow. My parents are gonna be in my singles ward. And I get to harrass them.

Sister Hatfield got transferred to a different ward in Anchorage, she's now in the singles ward, and she just came and told me there are two girls in her new ward who know me from MEXICO and we are gonna try and go grab some food this week with them, she can't remember their names, I think it's probably Genelle and Hana cuz they used to come up to Alaska in the summer to work---any bets? Do Tara and Andrea read my blog? I will bet you one gingerbread house that I shall judge via phone picture that it is them. HAHAHA.

Okay I know I am weird.

SO LIKE....I am in like an awesome area. It's the CITY, man, Alaska, man, it has a CITY.... Well it mostly just feels like home, similar to some parts of Orange County.  The bishop got the sisters a GPS last transfer (it will stay in the area) and so we get everywhere with GPS. I've never had so much work before my whole mission. We have several investigators, recent converts, and less actives that we see, and they all have a pretty good relationship with missionaries, the previous missionaries have done such a great job.

So also I am a Sister Training Leader and so I'm like a bit more busy, not as busy as the AP's, but we are similar to AP's cuz we cross zones. And unfortunately, Sister Pete-pete is going home a few weeks early cuz of medical reasons ---the third sister in about 3 weeks! (CAN I JUST TELL YOU how crazy it is that yeah, it IS 3 weeks? Like, it feels like I was comps with Sister Archer about a billion years ago, and that being in Beach Lake Ward was about three months ago, and I feel like I've already been comps with Sister Burbank for about a transfer, so just thinking that 3 weeks ago I had no idea that any of this was gonna happen is the most insane thought) okay so Sister Pete-pete is going home and Pres is gonna now have Sister Burbank and I be the only STL's and so we now get to visit every zone in the mission somehow, before the end of the transfer... We are driving down to the peninsula to work with the sisters in Sterling this week. The week after is zone conference, Elder Zwick is coming. The week after that, we are going to Juneau and Sitka, and we'll probably take a fast ferry to get to and from the two towns, and I only heard about the fast ferry in Petersburg, and I'm excited to see that, and I'm excited to get to know the new sister that is being trained in Juneau right now. The week after that, we will probably do exchanges with sisters in Wasilla/Palmer and with Sister Hatfield and her comp in South Anchorage, and somehow we'll now, also, somehow, factor in a visit to Fairbanks. It's hard sometimes cuz like President will call and I struggle with being professional and now I'm like, an STL, and like, I gotta be reliable and trustworthy, and somehow I gotta tell President kay FINE we don't need the RED TRUCK we will stick with our CHEVY MALIBU (sigh) and it's NOT AN IMAGE THING....

So, at the beginning of this transfer I told SIster Burbank that I felt like Heavenly Father is gonna bless me so I get to know the people in this area really well, really FAST. Cuz usually it takes a bit to get to know an area, and your companion. But from the get go, he has blessed me. THere has been no awkwardness in teaching with Sister Burbank, we got into our "teaching groove" the instant we had our first lesson. From the time I was on exchanges with her and Sister Platero for a coupla days in this area, and I met several people in the ward, til now, I haven't felt overwhelmed or like I don't know anybody. Yesterday we were walking through the halls at church before sacrament started and we passed a few people and SIster Burbank cracked up cuz I already knew them. Seriously, you guys, this is an amazing blesssing.

Sister Burbank is the most amazing missionary. She is focused, and hardworking, diligent, Christlike, easy-going, and hilarious. We had a laugh attack yesterday...we were supposed to be getting outta the car to go contact a less active and we were about to say the prayer like we always do before we get outta the car and we could NOT stop laughing enough to say the prayer. I kept saying, gasping between laugh attacks, "Sister! Will you stop laughing and be reverent?" and for some reason she just kept laughing harder---oh my heck our abs hurt SO BAD.

Oh, and then we were leaving a lesson a coupla days ago and the investigator had come out with her 3-year-old daughter so we could get them the book of mormon for kids with all the pictures, and we were driving away, I was driving that day, and we were waving goodbye--and I was turning the corner to get outta the parking lot---waving goodbye--and I looked in front of me (finally) and OH MY HECK THERE WAS A CAR and um OOPS I hit them. OH my heck I was SO INCREDIBLY EMBARRASSED. It's okay, guys, we just scratched the paint, and maybe like punctured something in our bumper. THAT'S THE FIRST TIME I EVER HIT SOMEONE, guys. WHAT IS THIS with all the cars.

I feel like I have a lot to work on to be on the same level as Sister Burbank. I am now very conscious of all the things that hold me back and I just needa try and catch up with her.

We have a baptism coming May 18th but the girl is in another ward, she's 17 and the daughter of a recent convert, she just wanted sister missionaries. I hope she is ready, she's a very sweet girl. We have another investigator on date for July. The elders in the ward are teaching the most AMAZING couple, this couple lives in the elders' half of the ward. The couple fed us dinner the other night and we were inspired to teach them the Word of Wisdom. THe husband sighed and said, "Dangit, I just bought a whole bunch of coffee." Then later on in the lesson he said, "I know I can't drink coffee anymore, because Heavenly Father will bless me tenfold if I am obedient." And they said they were gonna get rid of the coffee right away. They are on date to be baptized May 17th.

We just picked up another investigator this past weekend, the wife of a less active, he kinda "sprung the lessons" on her but she is very nice and very willing to listen.

We have two first appointments set up for tomorrow with two different women. One of them already really likes us. She said she thinks our voice mail is a hoot. She is hilarious, she was a referral from her upstairs neighbor and we went and contacted her and she talked to us on the doorstep for a real long time and she just loves to talk and is very cheerful and friendly and we think a little lonely, and has been looking for a new church. We hope it goes well tomorrow.

Man I just love this work, guys. I love missionary work. I love teaching with Sister Burbank---she has the Spirit when she teaches, and always focuses on how the Atonement is for each of us individually, and how the love of God is the most important thing. We had a lesson with an interesting investigator on Saturday, I don't quite know how to describe her, and Sister Burbank had to do the very hard thing of telling her that if she was really interested in taking the lessons, then she would need to call us, and if not, then we will not be able to come back, cuz it would be wasting both hers and our time. There are some cases where you just gotta do that cuz of how the investigator treats their learning of the gospel.

Anyways. I love you all.

Oh and this Sunday, for Mother's Day, I think we can Skype around 4:30 our time so that would be 5:30 your time, right?

Sister Ashbrook

Friday, May 3, 2013

Homecoming Schedule

Hello wondrous fans of the illustrious Sister Ashbrook, this is Anne. Here is the schedule of Melissa's homecoming, feel free to attend any and all events!

Plane flight home: Wednesday, June 12, arrives at John Wayne airport at 9:30 AM. Our family is planning on being there and all of you are welcome!

She is speaking in the Marina Hills ward (our parents' ward) on June 23rd at 11:30 AM. There will be a get-together at our parents' house afterwards.

We don't know know when she's speaking in the singles' ward yet, as soon as we do I'll update this post.



Monday, April 29, 2013


Kay so this week has been good but CRAZY.

Monday Sister Rivera and Sister Poudrier flew in from Petersburg, Sister Rivera and I went back to Beach Lake and Sister Poudrier went with Sister hatfield cuz her companion wasn't back from a p-day hike. I didn't go on the hike cuz I needed to be available as soon as the PSG sisters flew in. And we needed to take off for Red Robin Manager's lesson and to help Sister hatfield have a companion, Sister Poudrier stayed with her, and then that started Sister P on this whole like float-around-the-sisters thing cuz Sister Washington flew in the next day cuz she got sick up in Fairbanks and SHE was going home, and so Sister P floated between the Rabbit Creek sisters and staying with Sister Washington at the mission home for the next day or so. Finally she came to work with us in beach lake but on Friday she flew up to be companions with Sister Washington's companion, Sister Wuehler, who's been staying with the other set of sisters up in Fairbanks.

What's been fun with having Sister Rivera here is things like when El Colombiano called her and I got to talk to him again...and then this morning she had to call President Bringhurst and tell him that elders are coming to Petersburg, and I got to talk to Pres.Bringhurst for a little bit.

What's also been fun is that Sister Rivera brought like the whole town of Petersburg with her. The Baptist woman that was in the PSG hospital that Sister Hatfield and I used to sing to had hip replacement surgery up here in Anchorage and we went and saw her on Friday, and on Saturday I was on a brief exchange with the Rabbit Creek sisters and we went and saw her, and Sister Hatfield and I got to sing her one of her favorite songs, "Brighten the Corner Where You Are."

Also, the Petersburg Young Women's came up for a TEMPLE TRIP!!! Oh my heck.I love them. They used their girl's camp money to pay for a temple trip and the girls told their leaders they would fundraise for girl's camp instead. They even brought with them Sweet 15 who is now 16 and has a baptismal date set for DECEMBER 28th of THIS YEAR ---she wanted to come to the temple, even if it was just to sit in the waiting room.

Friday night President Lambertsen who's Pres Beesley's first counselor gave them a fireside on the temple in his home. So Sis Hat and her comp and me and Sis Rivera got there before the PSG Young Women's did and we were hanging in their living room and then outside we see them pull up and I said, "Can I go run out there and meet them?" I threw open the front door and saw a couple of the girls---there were 5 of them, and 2 leaders---standing in the street looking confused. "HEY!" I shouted, they saw me, and then all of a sudden all 5 girls spilled outta their rental mini van and started charging toward the driveway and I started running toward them trying not to slip on the chunky ice (everything is melting away) and it was like the bestest most exciting reunion ever, LOTS and LOTS of hugs and craziness and head-bonking. HAHAHA. They are the sweetest funnest girls ever.

The next morning they went and did baptisms, and it was a very spiritual, touching morning. It was hard for the leaders to leave Sweet 16 in the waiting room of the temple, tears were shed. But Sister Rivera and I sat with her and we peacefully and happily looked through the Temple edition of the Ensign, and then we went on a walk around the temple, and then we went into the chapel across the parking lot and watched several young women's groups playing a volleyball tournament, and Sweet 16 made comments like, "They are all so quiet, they are barely yelling. If it was us, we would be yelling and screaming and laughing with each other." I said, "You have more fun on your island." She replied, "Or these girls are just more civilized!" and laughed with her hand over her mouth like she always does.

We went back to the temple waiting room and started watching the Testaments which is exciting cuz it has (the most cheesy) love story ever in it, and made Sweet 16 ULTRA giggle with her hand over her mouth. Hahhaah. Then after the temple we had the mini exchange.  The Rabbit Creek sisters had gone into the temple to help the rest of the girls do baptisms, and then we all wanted lunch. The funny part was when Bree (a leader) came into the temple waiting room and saw me and Sister Rivera and was like, "This is blowing my mind. YOU are supposed to be with Sister Poudrier, and YOU are supposed to be with Sister Hatfield." It was just funny cuz since Sister Rivera and I had been companions before, we felt totally normal back with each other again.

Anyway, Sister Rivera used to serve in Kenai and there was a group of YSA-aged people coming up that same day who wanted to take SIster Rivera out to lunch, so she and two other sisters who also served in Kenai all went out to lunch, and I went with the Rabbit Creek sisters to have lunch at Olive Garden with the PSG Young Women's.


But, we've taught the Filipino Woman and her Boyfriend, they are not ready to be put on date for baptism but they totes went to church yesterday. It was very sad to say goodbye to Miss Shy yesterday, she's doing AWESOME except sometimes she doesn't go to church cuz she was "staying at a friend's house" so we talked to her yesterday about planning ahead ways to be able to still hang out at friend's house on the weekends but also go to church. Elders are coming to this ward, zone leaders, and I know them both and they are great, and hopefully they will work great with her.

Oh, I am getting transferred. I am not going very far. I'm going to the Inlet View Ward, which is the awesome ward in Anchorage (I never thought I'd serve in Anchorage until I served in the Inlet View Ward for 4 days after Sister Archer went home) to be with Sister Burbank. I'll still be able to go to Miss Shy's baptism.

So, the Inlet View Ward is one of the busiest wards in the mission, they have a lot of success. Their ward council blew me away. I am going to be with Sister Burbank and we are gonna be the first sister training leaders, that new leadership position the church has established for all the sisters cuz there are more sisters these days. President Beesley told me I will be going on exchanges with all the sisters, and Sister Burbank is SO excited cuz we are probably gonna get to go to Juneau zone and that's cool cuz Sitka just opened up to sisters so we are probably gonna get to go to Sitka as well!!!! President Beesley also called 2 sisters up in Fairbanks to be sister training leaders, I am not sure which areas the four of us will cover, but it will be a really great experience to work closely with President and Sister Beesley and all the sisters in the mission, who I really, really love.

The Inlet View Ward is shared with elders, and it will be a fun experience to see what it's like to serve with them as well.

Oh, by the way, I love my investigator Red Robin Manager. She is so funny. She says that she's been adopting Book of Mormon lingo in her daily life, she routinely now uses words like "whilst" and "and it came to pass." She told her employees at work, "Cleaneth this floor and you shalt have my blessing. That means, you'll get to go on break." HAHAH. I am so happy to see her taking even that into her life, and not forgetting about the gospel and everything we talk about the second we walk out the door, she has always been a great investigator and it is awesome to see her progressing.

I LOVE YOU. I love the gospel. Thanks for watching the fireside, it was a lot of fun, I had no idea i would be so involved in it and I was very embarrassed, and it was funny when I knocked over the microphone and Sister Rivera almost knocked over the piano....

Sister Ashbrook

Monday, April 22, 2013

Invitations for 'Miracles' Fireside - Tues, 23 Apr

WATCH THIS! Open up the attachment, it has the webcast on it. 6:30 alaska 7:30pm I think California time. IT'S TOMORROW....I'm singin and playin in it.

Hi, All Missionaries...please try to put a pile of invitations  in lobbies at Church buildings & hand deliver to as many other people as possible...see below for invitations...Those close to Mission Office can get them from there...

Missionaries from ANC, ANC N & CHU...please come to Brayton & invite lots of Others...
Missionaries outside of ANC, ANC N, & CHU...please try to set up webcast at local units and invite lots of Others...
See invitation for webcast into...

Mission Office...Hi...Wonder if you might print & cut some of these to keep on front table from now till 'Miracles'?

Big Thanks to All!

Sister Beesley
Alaska Anchorage Mission

Here is the link for you all:


So this is gonna be SOME email.

My life has been flipped turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute just sittin right here and tell you all about how I became fresh prince of...what is it? Bel air? I don't even remember.

Thursday after trainee/trainer training (it's training for greenies and their trainers, and then after that the whole mission has training, for an hour and a half each segment. Instead of doing LOTS of training every 3 months we do short training almost every  Thursday, in Anchorage, it's webcasted to the whole mission) UM SO after the FIRST part of training, where trainees and trainers separate and have their own individual training, President had me stay and talk to him alone. He asked me how Sister Archer was doing. He told me the best thing to do would probably be to send her home, that Alaska was not the place to fix her back problems, especially when her limbs are going numb and she's in chronic pain. He told me to ask her to talk to him after the next part of training---he'd ask her if she wanted to go home ASAP or wait til she was done being trained.

Oh man. So she did, and I waited outside, and then they called me in, and President told me that Sis Archer was going home that night on the plane. She got a blessing from him and we went and had lunch at the mission home and then went and got her medical forms from the MRI place and went home to get her packed up. That night we went to the mission home at about 10 pm and we got her to the airpot at about 11 and got Yogurtland and sat and talked with her. She was earlier in the day pretty upset, when talking to President Beesley, but soon she knew that this was what the Lord wanted for her, and she WOULD be able to come back on her mission as soon as she got better. And off she went on the plane and I went back with President and Sister Beesley and slept at the mission home that night in a room ALL BY MYSELF AHHHH FIRST TIME IN A YEAR AND ALMOST A HALF.... In the morning the Rabbit Creek Sisters AKA Sis Hatfield and Sis Hedelius came to the mission home cuz Sis HATfield is dealing with some medical things herSELF and she had to call her mom there... Pres wanted me to go with the Inlet View Sisters for a few days, Sister Burbank and Sister Platero, but since Rabbit Creek was there I ended up going off with them until about 3pm and then I went and worked with the Inlet View  Sisters in their area. I've stayed with them all weekend. It's been crazy.

On Friday, the day after Sister Archer went home and when I was with the Rabbit Creek sisters still, Miss World Traveler called and said she just wasn't ready to change, and didn't want to meet with us anymore. She sounded very sad, as if it was hard for her to say it. I tried to my best to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel but inside I was just all a mess. I hope I was able to inspire her to keep reading and praying. The Rabbit Creek sisters were doing weekly planning and I just laid on their carpet on my stomach and soon I was like crying and Sister Hatfield was all freaking out and trying to make me feel better. HAHAH. Sigh. I think that was one the most distressing days of my mission. Later that day, Miss Shy, our 13-yr-old investigator who's on date for baptism for May 11th texted me and cancelled our lesson for that day---the Inlet View Sisters WERE gonna drive me back up to Eagle River and teach her with me. That was hard, too, to know I wasn't going back up to Eagle River. But Inlet View is a busy ward and it was awesome working with them the rest of the day, it helped me forget everything and not worry about Sister Archer and get over the feeling I was having of being all alone and not knowing where I belong, I'm such a GIRL, HAHAHHA. Inlet View is an awesome ward, it is so busy that's one of the wards they put elders AND sisters in, big deal for Alaska, guys. Saturday Sister B and P had an appointment when I had dinner scheduled in Eagle River with the recent convert who I call the Stellar Mom and so the Rabbit Creek sisters came up with me and it was so nice teaching with Sister Hatfield, she's so awesome, she got along SO good with Stellar Mom's autistic son, and Sister Hedelius is so sweet and enjoyable to be around. We saw Mrs. Blind before dinner, as well, which was nice to see her.

On Sunday I didn't even go to my WARD...I went to Inlet View. Oh my heck, their ward council is on fire. It was one of the most spiritual ward council meetings I've ever been in. So united. Everyone is on the same page. The thing everyone most cares about is missionary work. It's not a separate after-thought thing to them, it is the FOCUS of their WARD. It was very inspiring to be able to participate in that.

Today Sister Rivera and Sister Poudrier are flying in from Petersburg. Transfers are in a week, and SIster Rivera goes home then. I just emailed you the link to the missionary "miracles" musical event we're doing tomorrow. Sister Rivera is coming in a week early so she can be a part of this "miracles" fireside tomorrow night. I am gonna meet up with these two sisters sometime today and THEY will come work with me in MY ward (beach lake) this week. Sister Rivera spent 6 months in Beach Lake so it will be fun for her to see all these people before she goes home.

I love you all. I am doing okay now. It has been unexpectedly hard but I think that is the point of life, to throw unexpected difficult things your way. I know that as I focus on the work and think of the Savior as often as I can, I will still be at peace and be able to concentrate on helping others come unto Christ and not worry about what is HAPPENING with my LIFE. It's not about me!!! HAHHAHA.

Sister Ashbrook

my lil car accident

The damaged bumper and headlight
If you didn't read last week's post, you are probably wondering what the heck. Well here it is.


Monday, April 15, 2013



Today is a lovely, sunny day. I think it's about 25 or 30 degrees but with the sun it feels warmer. The snow is melting, the big streets are dry. Sister Archer and I went n got lunch with four of the elders from my district today at some buffet place that we all got coupons for, when we did service for the Iditarod, so we got free lunch. My favorite is when I got soft serve ice cream and drenched it in sprinkles like I have done my whole life when I go to buffet places. Ha.

So we have had a lovely week. On tuesday we met with a less active man no one in our ward council knows anything about, but he's met with missionaries before, it's just been over a year. He bought us lunch at Bear Mountain Grill and I got a mushroom swiss burger and it was delicious and I haven't had like a real hamburger in so long.

Oh, and then on Wednesday I got into my VERY FIRST car accident. Yep, a car accident, but don't worry guys, it was very minor. IF I ever manage to get a computer at this library with an SD drive OR IF I ever decide to remember my USB cord I will email pictures home.

Okay there was that one time in Laguna Beach when we were all in Trey's huge van and he turned right and a car kinda slid alongside his van and got its bumper torn off, but since it is such a big van and the impact was so mild and we all barely felt it I don't really think of it as a CAR ACCIDENT...

ANYWAYS, so we were up in  Chugiak, the lil town north of Eagle River (our area covers half of Chugiak); we left dinner and we turned right and were driving up the hill, (it's a hilly, rural place, the roads are covered in packed snow) and up ahead of us a Jeep-ish lookin SUV came around the corner, lost control, and I watched it start sliding down the hill straight toward us, at a kind of diagonal, and it was like the scariest thing of my life, and I turned the car right and shut my eyes tight and hoped with my all heart and soul that they wouldn't hit us and then there was a big crash and, yep, they hit us. I opened my eyes, no visible damage, I looked at Sis Archer and she looked so distraught like she was about to cry and I put my hand on her arm and said, "Don't cry!" I don't know why I said that, I just think I wanted her not to lose control of herself or something. I saw the driver was a real young girl, she yelled somethin in dismay, the man who was the passenger got out and hurried toward our car to see if we were okay and I opened the door and I remember him reaching in and squeezing my shoulder, "Are you okay???" and all I was thinking was, "There is a man touching me!! Ahhh!!!" The things you get freaked out by when you are so not trying to focus on the opposite sex for a year and a half...

Anyway so all that happened was the driver headlight on our car got smashed, and there was a dent in the hood, and a few large cracks in the bumper. The man's bumper got cracked a bit too but that was barely anything. His daughter who was driving only had a learner's permit. The first thing we asked---he was very nice about it---was it would be great if we could not involve the police and if he could pay for it outta pocket cuz his insurance rate is already up high or something, I have no idea how any of this works. I was fascinating myself because I was trying to write down his info and my hand seemed to be shaking uncontrollably, even though my mind was very calm and I was being very cheerful (like always bahaha). I was like, in my head, "Oh look, cool, adrenaline!"

Fun times.

At the time our lil accident happened we were on our way to Anchorage to teach Miss World Traveler in her own home (which would be wonderful, we wouldn't have talkative members who try to take over the lesson there, yay!) and so we, after calling Elder Palmer who is in the mission office and he's in charge of all the cars, headed to Anchorage. And there was like, a snow storm halfway to Anchorage and we started driving in nearly whiteout conditions! I was like, seriously? As if I wasn't stressed enough? Now I can barely see the car ahead of me? WE LOVE ALASKA!!! (I really do, though, so just kidding.)


But Wednesday was a good day, we also taught Red Robin Manager and her lil sister has come to live with them and she asked to drop in on the lessons and so we picked up a new investigator. So that was cool. I will call her Red Robin's Lil Sister.

And then on Thursday we had training in Anchorage, and then Sister Archer had two MRI's for her back (cuz she had a minor back injury before the mish and since she's fallen on the ice so many times and aggravated it and they've been bothering her, and her legs have been going numb, the doctor ordered two MRI's for her). After the MRI's, I had a rehearsal with another musical elder to plan for a departing missionary "Miracle" fireside that's gonna take place on April 23rd. After that, we had a lesson in Anchorage at the behavioral treatment center with the 15-year-old daughter of the Stellar Mom (Stellar Mom is a recent convert, her son is autistic and her daughter is in the behavioral place, not for anything crazy, she just needs a lil help). That night we had a lesson with a referral and we taught her the 1st half of the restoration and picked up her and her boyfriend as new investigators; they are both in their 50s I would guess, and she is Filipino. A member from another ward referred her cuz he works with her, and we had the lesson at the members' house, and it was really nice. We have another lesson at the Filipino woman's house this Wednesday, and the member couple from the other ward are gonna be there as well. She didn't come to church this past Sunday though, AKA yesterday, so that is sad. But we shall see how the lesson goes.

We had another lesson that night with Red Robin Manager and we had a member from the ward come with us and you know that wonderful feeling of seeing a fellowshipper meet your investigators for the first time and they click? Yeah, it was great. Fellowshippers can be such a blessing. Or, in World Traveler's case, they can drive you insane. HAHAHAH. We had a great lesson with Red Robin Manager, and her Lil Sister told us that when she was reading the chapter we left with her, she was like totally picking it apart and "talking a hundred miles a minute" and we asked her if she felt the Spirit and then talked about how the clarity of mind that she felt was a manifestation of the spirit. It was really awesome. And then her husband, the Computer Guy, came home, and joined the lesson for a second after cracking a bunch of jokes with us and our fellowshipper about how he was already perfect (he was kidding, he's hilarious) and then with just the SMALLEST amount of pressure he gave the closing prayer and it was a wonderful prayer, and after it was over Red Robin Manager smiled at him so warmly and said, "I love you!" WHICH IS AWESOME, cuz sometimes they bicker, and DO YOU SEE how the gospel can bless people and help them have stronger relationships??? So hopefully we shall be able to put Red Robin Manager on date soon, and hopefully she will be able to figure out how to trust her other manager at work so she can actually come to church on Sunday...

On Friday we met with Miss Shy, the 13-year-old, and had a great lesson with her and her grandma, and our ward's young women's president was there. We taught her a quick lesson, started the plan of salvation with her, and then we talked about when she wants to get baptized, and set a date for May 11th! Man, I have not had the experience of seeing an investigator actually be able to set a date for their baptism in so long. I look back and wonder if I could have tried harder, and I just hope that Miss Shy's baptism happens without any conflict. Her baptism right now is set for the middle of my last transfer; I dunno if I'll be here or not. We will have to see what the Lord has in store for me. Miss Shy came to our ward with Grandma yesterday, so Sister Archer and I went to Sunday School with her (and intimidated the teacher, pssh) and then we went to Young Women's and it brought back lovely memories of going to Young Women's in Petersburg with Sweet 15 who is now 16 years old by the way and she and I write still, and her lil sister who is 13 (and is the Fashionista one) writes me as well, and so does this 10-year-old girl who is also a non-member girl and is friends with a girl in the branch---SHE writes me too and she's not even an investigator, and I just LOOOOVE my lovely friends in Petersburg. ANYWAYS. So, things are going so good, I love all the investigators here. I hope to work as hard as I can and make up for anything I wasn't able to do in the earlier parts of my mission. I love being a missionary and doing the Lord's work and seeing people's lives change and happiness, peace, and blessings come from their loving Father in Heaven.


Sister Ashbrook and the Alaskan Snowy Sunshine

P.S. Sister Archer got her MRI results, nothing is wrong with her, but the doctor is still concerned with her slow reflexes in her feet, and is sending her to a neurologist soon. Please keep her in your prayers.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Alaska's like PSYCH! again

Oh man, it's a snowy day. A crisp 12 degrees as we were driving down here, but I think it's up to 15 degrees now. VERY snowy, but not as bad as two Mondays ago. (AKA, we didn't nearly die 23 times on highway driving here.) So, who knows WHEN spring is gonna come. Hey, it's Alaska. Alaska does what Alaska wants. That's one of the things I find amusingly lovely about this state. Ha.

Hey so we had a pretty good week. Did I tell you the lovely McColgans sent me an Easter package? They are  the sweetest. I love them very much! And Taran and Alex!

On Monday we had an April Fools dinner at a member's house with meatloaf cupcakes and spaghetti brownies...and jello for drinks. It was awesome. I was totes fooled by the jello drinks.

On Tuesday we had district meeting and then I had language training in  Anchorage with other language learners, I go with the Spanish speakers, and there is another sister in the mission (Sister Platero, she's Navajo, I showed her my Navajo necklace that I think was once Lily's and she admired the bead work) and she wants to learn Spanish, so she meets me there and then our companions go on exchanges and work in Anchorage. After that, ZLC, it was a two-day one, and all the zone leaders from all over were pulled in. The 7 zones are Fairbanks, Juneau, Wasilla, Chugach (that's my zone), Anchorage North, Anchorage, and Soldotna. We had dinner at the mission home (I don't remember what it was, I don't remember much usually) and then had meetings until night time, discussing things like clarification of mission rules and...I'm not really sure what else, terribly important stuff (all zone leaders go and so do training sisters). Then Sister Archer (who'd been on exchanges with Sister Hatfield's trainee) met back up with me and we drove to Sister Platero and Sister Burbanks' apartment cuz they're in North Anchorage and we slept there and then ZLC reconvened at the Brayton chapel in South Anchorage the next morning at 8:30. We we were there until 4 pm. At one point we had a debate and missionaries were pretending to be lawyers...oh and the night before we played jeopardy...always amusing.

I got WAY restless and about 3:45 pm I was stretching and went "Are we done yet?" in my head but it ACTUALLY came out under my breath and it ACTUALLY was kinda audible and everyone laughed at me and some groaned at me (I hope they still like me haha) and President Beesley just laughed. I think. I hope. I was horrified and totally embarrassed. Then he asked me to play the piano for the closing song and I said, "I suppose," and he replied, "You know, snootiness is not in your nature." Holy cow was I even more embarrassed but then he said, "That's a compliment." Oh my heck I just always make a fool of myself. I asked him afterward if it's bad I'm sassy and he said, "No, sassiness is fine, being snooty is being sassy with an air, with arrogance." Okay, as long as I can manage not having an air or being arrogant, I think I'll be okay.

We had a good lesson on Wednesday with Red Robin Manager, after we got back from ZLC in Anchorage. She doesn't know if she believes there's much after we die, it might be more like, once you die, poof you're gone. I asked her how she would come to know that's true.  She thought for a long time, "I guess besides praying and asking, there's no other way to know." We invited her to pray and ask about it, and then had a lovely time teaching her about how the Holy Ghost answers prayers. It was a very good lesson.

Thursday we had zone meeting. That happens every once in a while, routine thing.

Friday we had our interviews with president. I just love my mission president. My interview was full of laughter and him making shnarky comments and I just love him. Then while Sister Archer had hers I had "talking time" with Sister Beesley, who always has something planned to do with people during "talking time" and she and I never get it done cuz we always get distracted talking. This time we were supposed to pick a lil fishy, she had paper cut-out ones, I picked the rainbow fish of course, and we were supposed to write down our wishes cuz she had a jar that said, "If wishes were fishes I'd have a sea of fishes inside of me" or something and anyway she wanted us to think about how we can turn our wishes into realities. After Sister Archer got done with her interview, we quickly figured out some wishes of mine (which involved me groaning about how I don't like to have wishes and how I don't want to think about going home and find that as I am trying not to think about home, I end up thinking about home, and I have no desire to apply for school, but I'm gonna, at one point---and somehow from all of that Sister Beesley got some of my wishes down on the back of my rainbow fish and tossed it in the jar. HAHAH).

Then we had, that same day, we had a lesson with our 13-year-old investigator, the painfully shy one, the daughter of a less active who baptized at 8 and then never really went after that; he's okay with her taking the lessons, he says it's her choice). It was a lovely lesson, Miss Shy is great, we invited her to be baptized, she said ,"Maybe in a year." (I groaned dramatically and made everyone laugh.) Later we dropped off an invite to New Beginnings this Tuesday (a young women's activity thing) and Miss Shy opened the door and said, "I've been thinking about my baptism. Maybe in two months." That was much more exciting. The only prolem is, she told us her mom is not as cool with her taking the lessons, but she doesn't live with her mom, and I'm not sure if she needs both parents' permission prior to baptism.
2 months would put her baptism right before I go home...cross your fingers...

The World Traveler is awesome, she lives in Anchorage but President wants us to be involved in her lessons up until she gets baptized, WITH her real missionaries present as well. She didn't have a lesson with us this past Saturday though cuz of all the snow (it's dangerous man!)

I love my mission. I am very grateful for my Savior. I loved General Conference, thought it was very good and uplifting, I dearly appreciated the humor in several of the talks (I listen way better if I laugh). I know we are all children of God who loves us, and as we think about the Atonement, we find we can love our brothers and sisters with that same love He has for us.

Sister Ashbrook

Monday, April 1, 2013


So, sometimes I have no idea what to write. Sometimes I just think, I wonder how much has changed at home. People are pregnant and having babies and Aunt Ruth has a new dog and I don't even know what kind of dog it is and APPARENTLY Jake Jake the Pillow Snake is over 6 feet tall. Sometimes I wonder how much you guys will think I have changed, if I have changed at all. Sometimes I think, I CANNOT go home to California in June, I WILL DIE OF OVER-SWEATING cuz it will be SO INCREDIBLY HOT. It has been warming up, maybe break-up season is finally upon us, and it was like, 45 degrees yesterday and it was SO HOT. Rolled the windows down in the car. Didn't wear snow boots, wore my flats and danced around all the puddles so I wouldn't soak my feet. Oh man, the puddles. If this computer had an SD drive I'd email the picture of the fun puddle I took yesterday, it was huge.

So we found out where in Anchorage the World Traveler (our new investigator) lives, she lives in the Russian Jack Ward.

So since I'm a training sister I go to ZLC which happens once a month. ZLC is Zone Leader Council, and um, all the zone leaders go. This month it's an overnight ZLC and Sister Archer and I will be sleeping with the Inlet View Ward sisters at their apartment (which is in North Anchorage). Sister Archer will be on exchanges with Sister Hatfield's companion while I am in ZLC with Sister Hatfield and the other training sisters. And a bunch of zone leaders. SO, while Sister Archer is out doing missionary work in Anchorage, she will stop by the home of the Word Traveler and teach her there! And she'll actually be able to TEACH her a full lesson cuz insanely talkative members won't be there!! (I just say that cuz her CURRENT fellowshippers tend to talk more than we do, don't yield to us when we're talking, interrupt us, and  try and teach the whole lesson, it's great.)

Hey I don't have time to write much else but know I that I love you guys lots and lots. I had a lovely Easter yesterday, I'll send you pictures soon. A hilarious family fed us a HUGE amazing Easter creative dinner and there were two other hilarious young couples, The bishop and his fam gave us two huge carrot cake cupcakes and The Stellar Mom (recent convert, whose kids came to CHURCH on Sunday yay) gave us cupcakes, and we need to get rid of all our treats.

I loved my easter package, I think I'm gonna put all the yellow grass paper it came with in Sister Archer's purse.


Sister Ashbrook

Monday, March 25, 2013


So I sent a picture to Mom and Dad from Sister Archer's computer, it's of the road conditions, I've never been so scared in my entire life. HAHAHA. So, Alaska is all, "PSYCH! Winter is still here." Mom sent me the Barson family letter and everyone is complaining about the snow and grey cold winter and how they just got more snow to cover up all the grey stuff and I'm like nodding my head, "Yeah, yeah, I feel ya" and then it crossed my mind that 18 months ago I would have had no way to relate. California doesn't quite get this weather. My pet peeve is when ice builds up on your windshield wipers---AS you're driving --- AFTER you already picked it all off --- and now all of a sudden you can't see cuz there's a wet streak across the windshield that ain't getting wiped away and you're freaking out cuz you can only faintly see the car in front of you and then WHOOPS there's a giant snow plow that's casting snow twenty feet into the air and the cloud of snow flows through the air everywhere----in TWO SECONDS EVERYTHING disappears, and who knows if you're driving in a straight line? Then a pick-up truck is on the left of you, one of those trucks with the plow attached to the front, and you had no idea there was a lane there, you thought YOU were in the fast line. Yeah, that's what it was like driving to Anchorage today. You think President Beesley would text everybody and tell us to stay home!

Anyway. So we picked up a new investigator, the awesome black lady, I'd tell you her name but I try not to tell their names, but let me just tell you it's AWESOME, I will call her the World Traveler, cuz she has traveled the world, she says the map is getting smaller, and she grew up in Mississippi and had NO IDEA three years ago she'd EVER go to Alaska, but Alaska is one of the few places she's never been. She was in the Air Force at one point. Has 3 children. Her job is in the education department on base. She showed up at church cuz she works on base with a member who found out the World Traveler was going to all sorts of churches. So the member called her sister, who goes to OUR ward, and the World Traveler showed up at church last Sunday. We had a lesson with her on Friday at the house of the sister. It was a very interesting lesson because the members we had there lived at the house we were having the lesson at so we couldn't necessarily avoid them but BOY do they have a lot to say, about ALL SORTS OF STUFF....but the World Traveler can follow the conversation ,and she doesn't let a lotta things go over her head, or overwhelm her, so in a weird way it totally works for her. She came to church again yesterday and is just the sweetest loving person everywhere. She calls everyone "Miss" before she says the name. I love it. She has barely heard of anything about our church! Not joseph smith, nothing! I hardly believe her but maybe she has spent too much time in Europe and places and isn't around all the media or whatever that throws misinformation about our church all around the place. Her only question was about the difference between a church and a temple.

UNFORTUNATELY she lives in Anchorage and can't stay our investigator forever but soon we'll find out who her real missionaries are and we'll have a lesson with the 4 of us and her.

Not much else has happened, we had transfer meeting on Tuesday, lots of awesome missionaries went home and I shall miss them very much.

We had another lesson with the Computer Guy and his wife, the Red Robin Manager...she's great. She's funny, two lessons ago she said she doesn't pray that often, mostly when she needs something. Her husband suggested she could always pray for the things she is grateful for. She looked down for a second, then said, "Thank you for this table." And we all cracked up. Well she finally prayed Wednesday night and it was such a nice prayer. She works every Sunday to babysit another manager there cuz he does things in interesting ways and so we were hoping at least the Computer Guy would actually come to church with the kids but he didn't. is very very hard to come back to church after a long time.

The Counselor is doing good, she is planning on starting to go to Temple Prep next Sunday.

Mrs. Blind is doing good, pluggin away, battling frustration and discouragement and taking it one day at a time.

I love you all---Sister Archer was sick yesterday so I spent 5 hours at my desk studying the last week of the Savior's life (working from the Harmony of the Gospels) and reading in my old study journals. Something I was taught once in a district meeting---when we contact people, teach them, tract into them--it's not about our message, it's about the Atonement. We all need it. They do too.

I love you

Sister Ashbrook

Monday, March 18, 2013


Hi so this week was fun, but crazy. Tuesday we had language training in Anchorage, where all the language missionaries get together to have study, and since I'm semi-fluent in Spanish I go, and Sister Archer is now learning Spanish while she's there. The Tongans and Samoans have been planning missionary firesides so they do that while they are there. We visited the Woman Who Woke up Blind or Mrs. Blind or whatever I call her, she's doing good, sitting up in her chair and stuff. She needs someone there to take care of her especially now her disabled bro flew back down to California, and her hubby is going outta town in a few weeks. Well, the Counselor, a semi-recent convert, has started taking care of her everyday from 9-1:30 pm which is AWESOME cuz she needs a lil bit of income especially now she and her husband are really actually gonna go through a divorce and her life is falling apart.

On Wednesday we had ZLC (zone leader counsel + sister trainers per the mish pres handbook) and I got there early cuz Sister Beesley told me to so I can help plan/practice for the Samoan fireside this Sunday, well when Sis Archer and I got there no one was there excpet for the housekeeper, the Beesleys were still driving back from Soldotna and I called Elder Knudsen and he had no idea we were supposed to practice and he was all, "Well, you're welcome to come to the family history center right now, my district is going" and I was like, "I think I'm gonna write a song." So I did, for zone conference that Friday. Our new training plan is Peace, Be Sill with John 14:27 (which has been one of my most fave scriptrues since high school) as THE scripture for it, so I wrote a song incorporating that.

Today, before we came to do emails, we drove to the mish home cuz SIster Beesley wanted to record it for the next mission CD. I love SIster beesley. I was singing something trying to try somethign out and she just started LAUGHING and then apologized profusely and said, "I'm sorry, it just sounded so FRANTIC..." and I said, 'Don't worry, SIster Beesley, my self-esteem is not linked to the way I sing," and she said, "Oh good, why don't you run through your song a few times and get all comfortable and try to find something that you like" HAHAHAHAH. I love her. I really do!

After ZLC that night we had dinner with the Computer Guy and his wife!!! And their two lil kids!!! The Computer Guy's wife is a manager at red robin. So, Red Robin Woman is awesome, she made the most AMAZING clam chowder I have ever had in my whole life. It involves whipping cream...and dill...and thyme. She's awesome. We asked her what her expectations are for meeting with missionaries and she said, "Just that I don't  think you're a cult." HAHAH we laughed so hard. We started teaching, I did most of the talking cuz we hadn't role played the lesson, (that's my fault) and Sister Archer would like say one sentence and then look back at me, and I was like, oh goodness, why isn't she talking. Don't worry, we will try and role play the lessson before hand from now on. At ZLC pres called them simulations. Anyway, Red Robin Woman is great BUT they didn't come to church on Sunday and I am so sad!!

Zone conference was fun, but long....

Samoan fireside was awesome. I wish I had Miriam with me! Ruth and Chuck, I am learning so much about the Samoan culture!

I love you all. Break-up season I think is here, everything is starting to melt, it's just taking a while cuz it freezes over night then warms up during the day.

LOOOOVE, Sister Ashbrook

Monday, March 11, 2013


at a gas station. during the few days of 40 degree weather, this is the ice melting away

alaska at night
me and Otis & Diane

I have like sooo much time

So, I have a LOT of time now as opposed to last week where I had thirty minutes left when I finally got around to emailing....

and now i don't know what to do with myself.

Well, I went on exchanges with Sister Bullen on Tuesday, and we saw a lot of people up in Wasilla and Palmer area, which was exciting for her cuz she said it was the busiest she had ever been on her whole mission (haha, she's in her second transfer). First we went and tried the Woman In the Store at her house. She opened the door and said, "You threw me for a fluke!" Hahaha. She had dyed her hair a pretty dark color and it's crazy going back to an area for the first time in over half a year, you see everything almost the same but there are these little changes everywhere that totally surprise you. She was doing good but had no time to talk cuz she had (randomly) called into work that day (she now works for juvenile probation, no more store for her) and was trying to catch up on homework. She asked if I could come back up to Palmer on like, a  Saturday, and I said I'd sure try, and we shared a scripture and had a prayer with her. She hasn't been taught since I left and there have been a couple of tensions in her marriage she said but everything is okay right now.

Man a lot of people have tension in their marriage and tell the missionaries all about it. Not that I mind. I just don't know how to help them! Just turn to the Savior, that's all I can say. And counsel with yer bishop if you've got one.

We went and saw Charlene, the woman who got baptized while I was there, the only baptism I've had so far, except for that ten-year-old girl that Sister Rivera and I helped the Pioneer Peak elders teach while I was in Palmer. Anyways. Charlene is doing sooo good. Going to temple prep classes, trying to get over a couple of things, her kids are making interesting choices so that is tough, but she's got a calling in her new ward (she moved, see) and she is gonna be working with the singles people age 31 and up. She just seems so happy. She's started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning.

So that was exciting.

Then we went to go see an elderly woman in Sister Bullen's area that got moved to a senior citizen place now in MY old area and we got there and they told us she's in the hospital. She had pneumonia but looks like she's getting better. So, we started driving to the hospital to see her. Well, after this elderly woman we had planned to go see this young girl, about 12, who'd gotten baptized about 2 years ago and was the daughter of a less active, and she likes to draw anime stuff, so I will call her Miss Anime. I asked Sister Bullen if we should go see the elderly woman in the hospital now or go see Miss Anime, since she lived so close. Sister Bullen thought for a sec and then said, "Let's go see Miss Anime." So we did, she's doing good, we shared a quick thought with her, gave her a big hug. Then we drove to the hospital and we walked into the lobby and GUESS who I saw. Hahha. I saw Otis Marsh!!! From Petersburg! Just strolling along! Hahah my heck. I stopped in my tracks and was like, "Otis! What are you doing here?"

And he looked at me, all Otis like, all matter-of-fact, and said, "Diane's in the hospital!"

Now Otis is the father of the branch president in PSG who we lived with. Otis is the guy who got the wolf and his wife, Diane, called and was like, "Otis has got a dead wolf, if you wanna come see it!" in this sweet voice and Sister Hatfield and I stepped on the gas and booked it to their house. When Otis signed in my Alaska journal, he wrote, simply, "To the only girls interested in skinning wolves, Love Otis Marsh." Hahhaa.

Anyways. So Diane was in the hospital, nothing toooo serious, she got some bladder problems and they flew up here, they've got a son in Palmer. We went up and saw Diane and she was so excited to see me, waving her hands around and I of course started crying, not REALLY crying, but I kept having to wipe at my eyes, and I just love them. I just couldn't stop telling them "I just love you guys!" I'm a wreck. I might as well just up and move to Petersburg. I've never fallen so in love with an entire town before.

So that was so cool. SIster Bullen is so inspired to know that we needa go see Miss Anime BEFORE the hospital. If we'd walked into the hospital two minutes different than when we did, i have no idea if we'd have seen Otis. But I am so glad I got to see them.

We went and saw another woman, Sister Carley, Sister Brown and I started meeting with her when she was less active about a year ago, and by the time I left Palmer area I saw her give up lots of things and start going to church again. After I went to Petersburg I heard she got back to the temple. Well, it was so good to see her. She's been to the temple three times now. I asked her how long it had been since she'd been active and temple-worthy. She said since 1988. Oh my heck she's just so great. We barely did anything when I was serving there, we just met with her consistently once a week for months, and she made all those changes. I just love her! She's amazing!

We went to the church to meet with another less active, a guy in his 20s, in contrast he has not made any changes and still does not know WHY he needs God. It was hard to see him. He was very happy to see me and I was very happy to see him but I left that night still thinking about him and the next morning I was still bothered and sad. But I read Moroni 10 (and finished the Book of Mormon) in my personal study and read about how we've all been given gifts of the Spirit and Moroni pleads with us not to deny these gifts. And I understood that this kid has got his free will to accept or deny that God is there and wants to help us and I have done my part, I have told him straight up that the reason why he needs God in his life is because the only way he'll be able to happy and at peace after this life is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, otherwise he'll be lost. Sure, God will reward him a little bit cuz this kid is a pretty good person, likes to help others, all this stuff, but God has so much more he wants to give us, and that is eternal life---and peace. Well, he said, "I'll take the little bit," all brightly and grinning. Oh gosh. Hhahaha. Well, I told him he will always be my friend and I'll support him in whatever choice he makes, and he said, "Thank you." So, maybe one day he'll change his mind, but we'll see.


So that was Tuesday. It was exciting. I saw other people I loved at the church that night cuz people from Colony ward were there doing activities and stuff. And I saw the Gilmores for like 5 seconds, just stopped by the house and hugged them cuz we had to drive back to Eagle River.

Speaking of Eagle River, my area is doing good. We picked up a new investigator, a 13-year-old girl I will call Miss Shy, cuz she says she is "painfully shy." Hhaha. She's a former investigator, met with missionaries before, her dad is a less active. It's been a long time since she's met with missionaries--we are the first sisters she said. We've been meaning to go see her and then someone from the Meadow Creek ward actually referred her to us so we thought, "Okay, Heavenly Father is trying to tell us something." So we drove to the house and her grandma came out, she had a dog.

"She's not here," the grandma said. "Come back tomorrow, she'll be on spring break."

"Okay," we said, surprised. We came back the next day, turns out her grandma is a member, sort of active, also in the Meadow Creek ward. She let us in and we met Miss Shy and asked her if she'd like to be taught again and asked if her dad would have any problem with it (he won't they said) and we started teaching her, invited her to church, she said she was "painfully shy" and didn't have anything to wear. Grandma said, "I'll buy you a skirt and some shoes." And so we went to the Meadow Creek ward yesterday and Grandma took Miss Shy to church! And Miss Shy brought a friend from school. "I brought her to help me be less shy," she said. Hhaha. So we are excited to start teaching her.

Things are good. I love being a missionary. Hopefully I can keep it up till the end of my life, yeah?

I love you all,
Sister Ashbrook

Monday, March 4, 2013

Goin on Exchanges Tonight


So yeah, I'm going on exchanges tonight with my MTC companion's trainee, Sister Bullen. THey're serving up in Wasilla right now and I'm gonna go up to Wasilla and hopefully see some of the LA's and maybe a coupla the investigators that I loved teaching when I was there. I am excited!

I probably won't have much time to write cuz the man sitting next to me started talking to me and we talked for like twenty minutes, he's a cool dude, he's a hitchhiker, but now i have no time. I will write a handwritten letter :)

Things are good, we have a lesson set up with Mr. Computer Guy and his wife for next week, we are so excited. Training Sister Archer is good, we did a fun activity in comp study, where we role played and she could only ask me questions to find out my concern, and she discovered how hard that can be! Hhaha.


Love you all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Got my Lavender Scarf on that LeAnn Goettel sent me

Hi guys. Thanks for your email Mommy. I love the thought about the mirror.

Hey it's been a good week! Things have been happening. After weekly planning on Friday we resolved to tract a lot more cuz we really gotta find people. We found a potential tracting. Then we went and saw The Counselor, the recent convert, and we were there for THREE hours, she really needed us. ANYWAYS, while the hours slipped by I was thinking in my head we might have to skip dinner and see this certain less active instead. When we got into the car, Sis Archer said "Why don't we get fast food" and I was like, works for me, we were still able to see this less active. I was impressed we both had the same thought, to see this guys, and it was awesome we did. He had been wanting to call us that day but his wife said "No, I don't wanna clean up the house," and then we showed up, and it was like we were an answer to his prayer. Awesome. Especially since it had been three weeks since we'd been able to contact him.

Then we went and dropped by a less active we've never met who let us in without complaint, and we sat down and he asked us "Who sent you?" And we said we're just going through the ward list, we're new and don't know anybody, but don't worry we don't discriminate, we just got off the phone with an active member and we just set up a time to see HER. Hahha. He's a funny guy, I could tell right away he had a sense of humor. Anyway, he's a computer guy so I'll call him the Computer Guy, so. The Computer Guy was very surprised to find out he was even on a ward list. He has a nonmember wife and two adorable children. His family is very active down in Washington. They send him the Friend (the church's magazine for kids). He has an LDS Jesus painting up in the house. We are the first sister missionaries to make contact with him in Eagle River. He had a falling out with a bishop back when he was in his teens and he never went on a mission and moved out early. He still has a quad (the LDS edition of the Bible + Book of Mormon all in one) and proudly looked up an Article of Faith while we were there. His wife said that her family is very oppposed to Mormons, but that she's seen more family values in The Computer Guy's family than in any other. And then the coolest part was when he invited his wife to take the lessons from us, and she said she wouldn't mind getting an "understanding" of what we believe. That was so cool. We were pretty much right at the point where we were gonna miss our curfew so we didn't have time to really teach anything yet but she sounds like a very promising investigator and we hopefully will see them sometime this week. We left with a short thought and a prayer. It was an awesome experience.

Then we got home and the zone leaders called with a referral .Yesterday, we talked to the girl who referred this family to us, and the family sounds golden. But the girl said to wait until this weekend to call the family, till things calm down in the mom's work, so we haven't contacted the referral yet, but it sounds awesome.

There is an older couple in the area who got tracted into about a year ago. They aren't interested at all but Sis Williams and Sis Peterson did service for them, and then they started playing their piano, and since those two, this older couple will love any missionary who plays or sings to come into their home and the missionaries have been able to share a few scriptures and things with them. Unfortunately, Sis Claspell didn't leave their address anywhere and I had no idea where they lived. But ,they came to our Love of God fireside, and loved it. ANYWAYS guess what, on Saturday, Sis Archer and I tracted into them, very unexpectedly, and we were able to play and sing at their piano for them and they love us and said they don't care if we read our scriptures and say our prayers with them. Hahahah. So that was another cool experience tracting.

And then yesterday, we tracted a street where no one was interested and a man even spouted off some anti-Mormon stuff and it had been a long time since someone had done that and I was like, "Holy moley, are you serious....okay think Christlike thoughts" and I was losing my testimony of the Doctrine of Tracting and then we tracted into a less active we didn't know was there, a real nice woman who just moved from Alpenglow ward and hasn't been to church in ages but still pays fast offering and stuff. We were able to share a quick thought and have a prayer and get her number and she hugged us when we left.

Cool things are happening, family. Cool things.

I love you all, and I am very grateful for all you do. I love being a missionary and serving the Lord. I love following the promptings of the Spirit. I love being obedient and seeing that it really does bring blessings. And I love to think about my Savior Jesus Christ. Just like it says in the Sacrament prayer, if we always remember Him we will have His Spirit to be with us.

Sister Ashbrook