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.