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

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sister Hatfield's Blog

Hi, this is Anne. Dad found a blog of one of Melissa's companions- Sister Hatfield. Might be fun to read her side of the story. :)

I was re-reading Melissa's latest email where she talked about Sister Hatfield and her greenie. It reminded me that the greenie had been reading Sister Hatfield's blog, and REALLY wanted to be her companion (which she is).

Any way, in case you are interested, this is link to Sister Hatfield's bog site:

She (of course) mentions Sister Ashbrook, so it is fun to read.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

7 degrees today

Well hello.

Well, so transfers went good, I had to go to a meeting beforehand with all the other trainers where we were taught about how serious this whole thing is and we need to be more obedient than ever and be a good influence on these brand new missionaries, and the whole time I was trying not to laugh, I am such a bad missionary. We met our new greenies, a group of 15, three of them sisters, ages 19, 20, and 21. My companion is the 21-year-old (thank goodness, Sister Hatfield woulda killed me if I'd gotten her 19-year-old, luckily SHE got that one--background story: the 19-year-old wrote a letter to Sister Hatfield a few months ago cuz she'd found her blog and wanted to know, like, what stuff to bring to Alaska and stuff, and Sister Hatfield has been dying to train her ever since, hahah).

So my companion is Sister Archer, she's from Bountiful, Utah, she's 5'1'' and has dark red curly hair, she likes to sing. Speaks American Sign Language, wants to be a special ed teacher for deaf kids. She likes anime and Japanese stuff. I'll try and see if I can email a picture, but right now the SD drive is not working on the computer and so it's not letting me. Sad. Hah.

It's fun being a trainer, I wish we had like, progressing investigators, it's hard to do the first 12 weeks program that has you rate yourself on how well your investigators understand your role as a missionary, how often you ask your investigators to do kneeling prayers, if your investigators understand why church attendance is important, when you don't meet with any investigators. We texted Miss Reincarnation and she had to "check her schedule and see" so we might not see her, um, any time soon, hopefully, WITH FAITH WE WILL.... Another investigator's husband asked us to give her some space... And the other one has said consistently the last 3 times that she will let us know when she's free, and I don't want to be pushy, so I'm waiting for her to tell us when she is free....

Sister Archer had her first district meeting today, that was fun.

The "First 12 weeks" is the thing that trainers use for two transfers to train a new missionary. It has you complete certain goals, most of which require the new missionary to take the lead in finding, teaching, and planning situations, essentially so he or she can then, at the end of 12 weeks, turn around and start to train a new missionary themselves. When I was being trained with this I remember being bored a lot. HAHAHAH. But one of things Pres Beesley told all of us trainers and new missionaries last Tuesday that the level of interest and enjoyment you have depends primarily on yourself, so I can only blame myself for being bored back in the day and now I can start to try and see what I can do that will pique Sister Archer's interest more. She's dyslexic (like, she actually has been diagnosed, she doesn't just say that to explain fumbles and stutters while reading) so as we read a lot, I know she likes discussing what we just read so she can make sure she understands.

People we meet with--

There are 3 recent converts, very sweet women, all three of them single, all three of them with very hard lives, the kind of lives where it seems EVERYTHING happens to them. First there is The Counselor, one of my favorite people to meet with. We see her twice a week, consistently. She's had hard experiences in the past that have made her very sensitive and wary of certain things, being baptized 2 years ago was difficult, she calls it her "drowning" cuz a man pushed her under the water to do it (she has a very sarcastic sense of humor...we laugh a lot when we're over there). She's been laid off for a year. She used to be a drug/alcohol counselor. Her spiritual life is growing and her testimony is amazing. The rest of her life is falling apart. Her husband has a "lady friend"--and they're JUST FRIENDS, he insists, but he spends more time with her than he does with The Counselor. He's a less active member of the church who could care less about the church.

Then there is the Stellar Mom, her son is autistic and her daughter is in a behavioral treatment center in Anchorage. The Stellar Mom is amazing. Our last lesson with her on Saturday was so hard. The autistic son was ON one. He's 12. He spent the whole time cackling, making a racket with the legos, swearing loudly, yelling, singing opera, all while we were trying to teach the Atonement and the Stellar Mom kept patiently telling him to be quiet and be nice and respectful and not once did she lose it, only she did a little bit when he decided to really get our attention by pulling down his pants! DOn't worry, his backside was turned away from us. Anyway, she's an awesome mom, even more so because she herself has a learning disability.

Then there is the Ice Cream Shopkeeper, a woman who has a daughter who's 11 who's always sick with pneumonia or something and is allergic to all sorts of stuff. She herself has cancer and has a ligament/bone disorder that has left her with no teeth, but she's still beautiful, and since she likes natural things she has never gotten fake teeth. She's started up her own ice cream shop with the help of various missionaries over the past year and happily smiles at everyone and makes her own cakes for birthday parties that take place there, and she teaches kung fu, belly dancing, ballet, and all sorts of classes, because she knows how to literally do everything. When she was little she wanted to grow up to be, I don't remember. The person who grows plants in water.

We've started to visit a sweet less active lady who I am coming to love very much, about twice a week as well. She has always had diabetes and she recently had to have surgery, a triple bypass, and when she woke up, she had gone completely blind. She spent two or three months in the hospital and is now home, and has been confined to a hospital bed ever since, but recently with her therapists she has been able to stand up and march about a little bit. She hasn't been to church in a long time but loves God very much, and loves our visits, she says we bring the Spirit to her house. Since she just lays in bed all day long, in a lonely dark world, we read to her. We've been reading conference talks. Today we actually listened to Joseph B. Wirthlin's talk, "Come What May and Love It" and it was good to hear Mrs. Blind (that's what I'll call her) chuckling at the funny parts. Her husband is always at work and her sister from Northern California was up for a while to take care of her but has since had to go back, and her brother, who is disabled, is staying and helping her out, and she's had the Relief Society President (who's awesome, one of the best relief society presidents I've worked with) and various other friends over every day to take her blood sugars. I just can't imagine waking up completely blind. She can't even see light when she's staring into broad daylight. But she says she can feel in the air when it's daytime or nighttime, I thought that was interesting.

Anyways. Just pluggin away. We met a woman tracting a couple days ago who wasn't interested but told us her 1-year-old daughter just recently got pneumonia and we said we'd pray for her and the woman was touched and almost started crying. Sister Archer gave her a book of mormon and really wants to go back and check. I'll keep ya posted about her. Sister Archer is cute, while tracting she handed out cards with our number on it and the people gladly took the cards and she said afterwards that she was so excited for the people to call us back. Sigh....MAYBE THEY WILL, you never know!!! Hahahaa. I didn't say anything to discourage her. But as we keep going I'll try and help her get the people's contact info so we can contact them.... hahaha.

I love you all! Life is good. Hard, I still miss Petersburg, isn't that nuts. I know I need to get over it. Haha. It's been an adjustment being back around other missionaries, and their drama, holy cow. Just kidding, they're great, all missionaries are perfect. Actually we've got some pretty hard-working spiritual missionaries. I think they are all awesome.

I know the Church is true, I know the Savior lives and loves us. I know we gotta have faith to keep going, and we truly gotta rely on him and his plan for us. If we want to put our trust in him, we gotta actually do it. Like a member was telling me the other night, if we have a "bucket of worms" and we pray to God at night and say, Here I will give you my problems, thy will be done, lead me where thou wilt--- and then we pick up our "bucket of worms" and go to bed, we didn't really turn it over to him, did we? Easier said than done, though, I think. But. I know God loves us, and he wants us to trust him.

 Sister Ashbrook

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fireside and Transfers

So....I have 15 minutes left. I've been sending pictures and stuff...and walking around the library talking to Sister Claspell who's on Computer 8 and I'm on 23 and she um, was never taught how to report key indicators to President, something I discovered a few weeks ago and thought was HILARIOUS, and RIDICULOUS, and so I just went and finally showed her where to do it online...ahhaha.


The fireside was so great. I will make a copy at some point of the program and send it home. I'm sorry I'm bad at writing letters home. I find I am losing motivation to write letters. I will try and get it back. Oh my heck, so many people showed up. So we made it go STAKE, so ALL of Eagle River and Chugiak was invited, and a few missionaries and Norman Thompson the Hawaiian came up from Anchorage, and it was awesome. Stake president was there, Pres Beesley was there. About 200 people perhaps. The whole chapel completely filled up and then they opened the first overflow, and that completely filled up so they opened it up to the cultural hall and set up several rows of chairs.

So Sister Claspell and I were behind all the planning, I played piano for a lot of the numbers, we got mostly members to sing, there were a few small speaking parts. We had 18 youth involved, about 30 people total, including who was saying opening and closing prayers and who was playing prelude (a youth) and postlude (another youth). We named the fireside The Love of God in honor of Valentine's Day (you don't need a date for this one!!) and had it divided into 3 segments-- "He Loves those who are lost", "He loves those who share his love" and "He loves me to the end" a line taken from hymn #136 ("I know that my redeemer lives").

People were crying all OVER the place... Sister Claspell shed a few tears, and a woman who was baptized a coupla years ago, who we meet with twice a week, was crying through most of it, and of course Sister Hatfield was (she sang a solo), and I saw so many people wiping their eyes, and Sister Claspell said she thought she saw a woman sobbing. My heck. Well, the Spirit was so very strong, it was wonderful. Sister Claspell said it was all worth it when MacKenzie, a senior in high school, started crying in the middle of her song, "I stand all Amazed." Afterwards MacKenzie told Sister Claspell that because she looks up to us so much she has now decided that she IS gonna go on a mission. Holy cow.

It was neat also to see people, non-members even, show up that I was least expecting to see there.

It was awesome.

A great way to end the transfer. Transfer calls came--- Sister Claspell is gonna go white-wash in the city of Juneau with the other Sister Peterson, spelled O-N not E-N like my MTC companion Sister Petersen aka Sister Pete-pete, and she's gonna share a ward with a set of elders. There are two other wards in Juneau. And I am training hahahaa. Oh dear. There are 3 sisters coming out, one is 19 years old, but Sister Hatfield, who has ALSO been called to be a trainer, REALLY wants the 19-yr-old cuz she WROTE Sister hatfield about two months ago saying she'd found her blog and wants to know what to bring to Alaska. I'm gonna FREAK if I get the 19-year-old. Obviously, I don't know who I'm training yet. PRes Beesley might assign them and then have to SWITCH them, hahah, so he's avoiding that. (That's what happened to me--- I was supposed to be trained in Kenai with Sis.Smith and Sis.Watson but at the last minute Pres Beesley knew by the Spirit that he needed to switch us so I ended up getting trained in Palmer by Sister Brown and Sis Pete-pete went to Kenai.)

So, my greenie and I might um, tract a lot. Miss Reincarnation cancelled her last lesson with us. Sigh. We will try and contact her soon.

Sister Ashbrook

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sister Chan is leaving! - Pictures!

Hey guys, no time really to write, this week has been good.

We picked up a new investigator, the daughter of a former that the Alpenglow elders tracted into during a district tract. She's 19, she believes in reincarnation and doesn't think of God as a "he", instead she feels she can't label God as anything cuz that might limit him. Our first visit was great, she had so many questions, she didn't object to anything, though she kinda said she wouldn't object to anything that anyone believes in. The second visit though, she hadn't done her homework and she didn't have any questions. We started teaching her the restoration and she got incredibly bored---I recognize glassy eyes and yawns. I think we're gonna abandon that and teach her the plan of salvation. We might do a real brief like 5-min recap of the restoration first though.


We're planning a stake musical fireside for this Sunday, it's taking over our lives and all we want is for it to be over. We're involving the youth and several amazing singers from the Eagle River/Anchorage area, including Norman Thompson who Elder Beirne says is a big deal in Hawaii. LOVE YA GOTTA GO

Sister Ashbrook