Monday, January 7, 2013
Those Familiar Mountains Again
Eagler River's like half an hour away from my first area, and during my sojourn in Petersburg I didn't actually but kinda sorta forgot my first area, and was all like PETERSBURG PETERSBURG PETERSBURG. So being back, and seeing the mountains and the (much shorter) trees, and hearing Sister Rivera talk about our peeps back in Colony Ward in Palmer, everything has slowly started comin back. EXCEPT, there is like, barely any snow here, it rained recently and melted a lot of it away! But oh my heck there is so much ice. Parking lots look like skating rinks. Luckily Donna gave me and Sister Hatfield "ice trekkers" back in PSG to put on our boots. They come in handy.
We took Sister Rivera and Sister Poudrier to the airport on Thursday and they flew off to Petersburg.
Well, I am back where there are, like, stop lights and stuff. It's crazy. I totally have had to stop comparing Beach Lake (the ward I am in now) and Petersburg. President Beesley wants us to meet the ward council by Sunday so darlin Sister Claspell (from Cypress, CA) was callin people and setting up appointments, and I totally was like, in my head, "OH MY HECK THEY DON'T SOUND AS HAPPY TO TALK TO US AS PEOPLE DID IN PETERSBURG." I had an absolutely amazing branch mission leader there as well. I had to STOP COMPARING HIM to this one.
We live in an apartment, on the bottom floor, in a place called "Heritage Court" where there are like, lots of other apartment buildings that all look mismatched and stuff. Two recent converts and some less actives live in the same place.
The area was not organized geographically into smaller sections when I got here, and Sister Claspell barely knew her way around cuz I guess she learns by driving. So, we switch off driving every other day (something I started to do back when I was Sister Petersen's companion, her idea, cuz she'd done it with earlier companions, you can do that under the direction of the senior comp) and we've been taking time to organize the area. We've divided up our area on the map, we're working through the ward list to figure out where everyone lives, we're going through the area book. Sister Claspell had never even looked at the former investigator teaching records and she got so excited, she kept looking at them last night even after we'd finished planning, reading them out loud and exclaiming after each one, "I love this person! We have to find him."
Coming from a small lil town like Petersburg, I dunno what I was expecting, but I felt like there was about the same amount of work there as there is here, and I was like WE CAN PICK THIS AREA UP! I think I got too cocky in my head wishing things were different here and, in ward council yesterday, awesome Bishop Spackman said exactly what I needed to hear and I realized how prideful I was. He just listens to the Spirit. He told the whole ward council that the way to get the ward to do more missionary work is never to criticize or rebuke them, but to praise them for what they are doing. I was like, OH MY WORD, I need to stop comparing Petersburg to Beach Lake. This ward is amazing!!! There are just, so many people here, and I was slightly overwhelmed, and I miss the closeness of a branch. WELL TOO BAD, right?!
Sister Claspell is so sweet. Different than Sister hatfield. I am having an adjustment, I didn't quite know like, which sense of humor to use, as if I had several, I dunno. She's awesome, though, and is a very earnest missionary. She told me she wants to be pushed and work a lot harder here than she had been. I hope I can somehow help her, or at least create an environment here where it'll be easier to work harder. I have no idea. I feel a lot less confident becoming her companion and trying to get the know the area here than I did in Petersburg. So that's cool. Haha.
There are people here that I already completely love. I know I will enjoy being here. Don't really know any of the investigators yet.
It's different being around pesky elders again. That was an adjustment too. The Juneau zone is just really something. So like, I had to stop comparing the elders too. I had to realize in my head that the elders here mean just as well and want to be just as good of missionaries here as they do in the Juneau zone. And suddenly I was at peace with them. So that's cool too. I am such a ridiculous imperfect human.
Our first day after we dropped off the sisters to the airport, we were back in beach Lake, driving up to Chugiak (a lil town north or north east or SOMETHING of Eagle River, you can pronounce it Choo-gi-yak) and we were looking for a referral. We had this woman's address but the street we were on, random lil businesses out in the middle of nowhere, they all had 5-digit addresses and we were looking for a 4-digit address... We kept looking and at the end of the road was an airport. I kept driving, thinking the road would SURELY keep going. Neither of us knew where we were. There were these weird huge storage things with little man-sized doors and after them, the road curved, so I said, "i'm gonna keep going and see what's around the curve." I turned around the curve and slammed on the brakes, hahaha oh my heck we were barely ten yards from the airplane runway, and the road was all white and frosty and like, NOT driven on. We both started screaming and I turned the car around and we drove off, UTTERLY grateful that airport was quite small and quite deserted... (it was the birchwood airport if you wanna look it up....)
So that was fun. At dinner that night we started telling them that story and we both just erupted into laughter, and couldn't stop (we probably made them feel uncomfortable). So that was good, I was glad we could both have laugh attacks. We were kinda tired....
I have received no packages from either Lily or Anne, the last package I received was from Mom and Dad and was my new camera. I am just hoping, Lily, that that small package you sent first is just taking a really long time.... there was some mail I got recently that was about two weeks late, so maybe that happened. I dunno.
I dunno why but my session here has been extended like an addtional 20 minutes. Who knows.
We're at a public library in Anchorage. The Eagle River library apparently had a tense run-in with an elder and we're not supposed to email there. Haha. Sigh. So we go to Anchorage, it's just like twenty minutes away.
ANYWAYS I LOVE YOU. Everything's good. Learning lots. Loving it. I love the Lord and I am so happy I am a missionary. I know as we listen to the promptings of the Spirit, right as they come, we will be able to be the Lord's hands here on earth, and we'll be able to accomplish what He wants us to accomplish. I know as we have faith instead of fear we won't limit ourselves or let Satan discourage us from doing good. YOU ARE ALL AMAZING AND THE LORD LOVES YOU!!!!
And I love you too.
Sister Ashbrook, and the lack of moose (I haven't seen ONE yet!)
P.S. SAMARA RICE YOU BETTER WRITE ME A LETTER SOON! I DON'T KNOW WHAT ADDRESS TO WRITE YOU AT CUZ I DUNNO IF YOU MOVED!
P.P.S. MAIA IF YOU ARE READING THIS, YOU BETTER WRITE ME TOO! I miss you lots and want to know how your life is going! HAHAHA :)
Sister Melissa Ashbrook
Alaska Anchorage Mission
3250 Strawberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99502