Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Change of Heart- Missionary miracles

hey rents
SOOO first thing is first, mom you deserve a Nobel prize for best missionary mom in the world. Seriously i was overwhelmed with the perfect packages you sent this week. I CANT EVEN TELL YOU HOW SPOT ON YOU ARE DOING AS A MISSIONARY MOM I SERIOUSLY WANT YOU TO TEACH A COURSE. thank you sewwww much. Rachael put the card you sent her on her bulletin board. that is a big deal. that bulletin board is only for important things okee?
second thing is second, RACHAEL GOT BAPTIZED!!! oh my wonderful parents what a joy that was. what an absolute joy. i was freaking out the entire week. So let me start with the beginning. So apparently sister C's last baptismal service was a disaster. an absolute disaster. like it started 30 minutes late, and some lady gave a talk full of pictures of gay people and Obama with a beer in his hand and the video segment didn't work and the font fan wasn't on so the whole baptismal room was super hot and humid and it was just a disaster. and so the zone leaders and district leaders kind of called this week and chastised us and essentially were like (in a nice passive aggressive way) don't you dare mess up or we will kill you and damn you to Hell. and so all week we were freaking out.
and i just had serious anxiety because i don't want to be hated by the zone leaders or district leaders and it was just scary. and so we practiced and practiced and got everything set up and the other sisters were seriously life savers and came early and helped us and it was just such a tender mercy because we couldn't do it without them.
 anyways so we finally get everything set up. and we start the program a couple minutes late but still somewhat timely and i was just freaking out because the zone leaders were sitting right behind us. and it just went perfectly. Rachael's dad who is a less active gave a talk and it was so adorable. he was dressed in jeans and a leather jacket and was super self conscious that he wasn't dressed up nice enough. but he gave a talk on baptism and you could tell that he had put so much work into it and it was just great and adorable. then other talks happened and sister C. sang a beautiful song and then we go into the other room so Rachael can get baptized.
and what a unique experience it is to see someone that you taught get baptized. i cant really explain how it felt but it changed me a little bit. it was just a really sweet sacred experience.
so while Rachael is changing sister C. and i gave a brief presentation on the restoration. and it went perfectly! some people teared up and it was just powerful and great. then we went into the bathroom to see Rachael and that too was a sweet moment. she said that she felt different and clean and she just looked beautiful. we asked her if she would want to bear her testimony and she said no because she didn't feel ready to talk in front of everyone and we kind of tried to convince her but she just said that she wouldn't know what to say and she didn't want to. so we asked her if she at least wanted to get up and thank everyone for coming. she said okay. so we went back in and told the bishop that Rachael wanted to thank everyone for coming and so he stands up and is like "now Rachael would like to come up and bear her testimony" and we were like "NOOOOOO RACHAEL PROBABLY HATES US RIGHT NOW."  but she stood up and walked up there and gave the most beautiful and sincere testimony in the world.
she just said "I don't really know what to say up here but thanks everyone for coming. umm..i know that this church is true. the missionaries found me when i was really lost, and nothing else could save me and this did. and even as i have met with the missionaries for the last 5 years but never could commit, Jesus Christ was always there, and never left me. and so i know that its true, and i know that the Book of Mormon is true." it was short and simple but so touching. i teared up. people always talk about how the gospel makes these HUGE changes in peoples lives. and it does to an extent. but Rachael i don't feel like is a completely different person. but watching the small and simple things change about her has made such an impact on me. when we first started teaching her she would be super distracted in lessons and never pray or open up, and honestly she just kind of seemed sad and lost. but now she has a glow about her. she bears her testimony and whenever we come in to teach a lesson she turns off the TV and puts away her phone and talks to us about the things she feels. they are small things, but they are great things.
anyways the only sad thing about the baptism was that it went really well but not a lot of people came. we called almost everyone from the ward and only a few showed up. but all of Rachael's family came and so it was still a really special night. there were 3 other sets of missionaries there and they all told us that that was the best baptismal service they have ever been to. The zone leaders told us that we did a phenomenal job and so finally i could breath normally again. thank goodness.
So that was Rachael's baptism story. it was great and i loved it.
here are some other fun missionary things that happened this week.
so sister C. and i went to go visit some lady and she wasn't home, so we just decided to tract her street. and so we start walking up this hill knocking on doors. and there were some guys out talking by our car but we were like whateves and kept going up the hill. then we got to a point where from the angle we were at we couldn't see our car because it was hidden behind a truck and i was like "sisterC. where is our car?" and she looks back and we both started freaking out because it literally looked like it was gone and we thought that it was stolen. and during that moment of panic i remember feeling totally peaceful because i had my scriptures with me. i was like who cares that they have my wallet and bag and the mission car. i have my most valuable possession so I'm not worried. turns out our car was there and fine thank goodness, but it was still a special moment. idk. I'm spiritual. give me an award if you must.
also another day we were tracting, and for those of you who don't know, tracting is pretty much going door to door offering to share our message and it usually involves doors being slammed in our faces. so anyways we were tracting and we knock on this door and its a teenage aged girl and she answers and i give my little schpiel and I'm like "were missionaries...we have a message...bring you closer to that something you would be interested in?" and at this point i am completely expecting her to say no and close the door, and she goes "yeah i would be interested in that" and i straight up no lie was like "are you serious?" and she was like "yeah id want to learn more" and i just stared at her. for a solid 3 seconds. and then i look over at sister C.  and continue to stare. finally sister C. like stepped in and it was really awkward but its like I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE ACCEPTANCE. it was funny. I'm an idiot.
i received the biggest compliment of my life this week. we were at zone conference and there was a table of limited supplies that we could grab. like special editions ensigns and pamphlets and what not. and they were like "we only have a few of everything and so please be considerate in your taking" and so i go up to the table and I'm see these two ensigns that i really wanted. and so i grabbed them both because i had already finished reading all of the ones at our apartment. and i came back to the table with the other sisters and i was like "i grabbed two instead of one, is that bad?" and sister G. goes "well normally i wouldn't endorse that but you love the ensign more than any other person Ive ever met and so i feel like you deserve it." AND IT JUST WARMED MY LITTLE HEART.
also this week i had an interesting change of heart. i just had a little moment of usual panic where i get scared that my visa will never come, but this time when the thought came i thought, "maybe i would like that. i really do like it here." AND IT WAS HUGE!! BECAUSE THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. and I'm not saying that I wont have any more anxiety or desires for my visa, but i truly have valued the time that i have spent here. and the people that i have been with and i really do love Ohio. I really truly do. which is so great to say because i can still remember how much i hated it my first few weeks and thinking "i will never be happy here get me out." and now i think of leaving with a little bit of sadness. Never did i ever think that that would happen.
I will send you pictures of Rachael's baptism.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Finally!! She decided she had something to write home about.

So Ashlyn fans,,,, I know it has been a suuuper long time since I posted anything.,..
but she literally wrote very sparse (and lame-ish)  letters for a long while now. nothing to waste
my time posting and your time reading. But she has turned a corner and repented and decided to write 
something worthy to post about. SO OKAY. SO HERE WE GO.I put a few comments in with an * to give you a
little more info about what she was talking about. Also sorry, I wish I had time to correct all her many grammatical errors and punctuation and spelling etc... but I have a busy day ahead of me... so sorry...  

Hi Folks!
I have been thinking a lot lately about how I haven't written a lot back home the last few weeks and mostly it is because I haven't been super happy here and so it is hard to write and sound good. but this week truly was great. i had a lot of awesome experiences and i feel myself taking a huge turn for the better!!

So thanks mom for sending me copies of sister colvin's blog. *she is a sister who was in the MTC with her and is actually in Rio)  after reading her experiences,  i was thinking about how when i first got my call. i honestly wasn't very excited. Ii thought that everyone got called to brazil and it didnt feel very inspired to me. i wanted to go to Europe, or Australia, or Africa, somewhere different. So i remember praying a lot those weeks after i got it and prayed that i would learn to love Brazil and want to be there. and that feeling never really came. even in the MTC i found myself envious of those going to France, or places that i wanted to go. But then i got here. and it made me realize how much i wanted to be in Brazil. And it wasnt just wanting ot be out of Ohio, i wanted to be in Brazil. I felt a connection to the people there and it was hurting me that i coudlnt be with them. And then i was thinking about how hard of a time sister colvin was having. and i think that the first 3-6 months of a mission truly are the hardest. everything is new, youre homesick, you dont understand what youre doing, it is not at all what you are expecting, you dont feel successful, potentially you have to learn a new language or adapt to a new culture, adn then on top of that you realize that in a year from now YOU WILL STILL BE HERE. and that is rough. as she is obviously having a rough time with that. And as i was thinking about all of these things i think that i realized, that Ohio is truly a blessing and answer to my prayers. I needed to be here to appreciate Brazil, and maybe if i would have gotten my visa earlier i would have struggled trhough the first 6 months as a missionary and not loved it and lost that appreciation. I used to think that i was being punished, and thats why my visa wasnt coming, maybe i wasnt good enough. but I think that maybe Heavenly Father is working in mysterious ways to answer that prayer of helping me love and appreciate my mission in Brazil.
Anyway...I am in Ohio and  SO LETS GET TO IT SHALL WE?!?!.
first off ill give you a little "table of contents of sorts" of what i will be talking about today. so in case you get bored you can skip through.
first bit - Rachel Bennet and her baptism, also the exciting/scary but not really in non missionary  real people terms thing that happened.
second - cool missionary moments
third- funny experiences that i hated
the first part-
this is a huge deal my dear sweet parents, a huge deal indeed. This is an extremely low baptizing mission and I AM GETTING MY FIRST BAPTISM!! Sister Gardner is one of the best missionaries I have ever seen and she has been out for over 9 months and has only had 1 and so THIS IS A HUGE DEAL.
So her name is Rachel Bennett, she is 17 years old and i LOVE HER. background story on Rachel is that she is 17 years old and her name is Rachel Bennett. She is super into anime and supernatural and doctor who and all of those shows and goes to comic con all of the time and she is just SO STINKING LEGIT. her dad is an inactive member but he is super legit and really believes in the church just never comes. mom is not a member. anyways so she has taken the lessons from 5 different sets of missionaries before but just could never commit. This is sister Chapman's 3rd time teaching her. Most of the missionaries couldn't even meet with her more than 2 or 3 times because she would always cancel or not come to church or anything.
And in a lot of ways the fact that we are teaching her is a tender mercy from God, and a true testament that He works in mysterious ways. Because when i first got here we had NO investigators. and so i was just like looking through all of the old ones and i was like "sister chapman, we have to try rachel again" and she was like "no I have  already taught her twice she wont progress, she has gone through 5 sets of missionaries" and I was like "WE LITERALLY HAVE NO ONE TO TEACH RIGHT NOW WE HAVE TO GO FIND SOMEONE" and so we went to Rachels (even though sister chapman had just stopped teaching her like 3 weeks earlier  and it has been pure bliss ever since. She has never cancelled or not shown up to an appointment, keeps all of her commitments, reads her Book of Mormon, given her friends a bunch of copies, she is just prime and I'm literally obsessed with her.
anyways so we have been teaching rachel since about week 2 or 3 and she is getting baptized this saturday!!! im SO EXCITED I LOVE HER SO MUCH. anyways, so this past saturday she went to a halloween party (her and her friends dressed up as mystery inc. from scooby doo) and she was out late and so on sunday we called her at like 8:40 about coming to church. no answer. we call again. no answer. we text. no answer. and she usually is at church like 15 minutes early and at this point im like RACHAEL FREAKING BENNETT IF YOU ARE NOT AT CHURCH AND WE HAVE TO PUSH BACK YOUR BAPTISM I WILL STRAIGHT UP MURDER SOMEONE (not out loud but in my head) finally at like 8:50 sister chapman and i are like " we gotta go pick her up and get her butt here now) and so we jump in the car fast furious style and speed on down to rachels house (and by speed i mean we went the speed limit because we have a robot in our car that yells at us if we dont) and so we are about halfway there and all of the sudden we see rachel AND HER DAD driving past us. AND IT WAS JUST A HALLELUJIAH MOMENT FOR EVERYONE.
and so rachel comes to church, and all is well and i love her and we have a grand ol' time and then that was it. sorry if that led up to something and then you were disappointed. missionary life isnt as exciting as real life.
anyways thats rachel. she is getting baptized on saturday and im thrilled.
Second part -
cool things that happened as a missionary. So lately my drive to be a good missionary has just been dying slowly but surely. I mean i still work hard and do everything that i should be but it was only out of duty and not out of actual desire. and so on saturday at the library i was reading a talk about what a "preach my gospel" missionary is like and it just GOT ME HYPED. i was like IM NOT BEING THIS TYPE OF MISSIONARY GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER SISTER TRUSSEL. and so i was just like on fire for the rest of the day. we went tracting for a couple of hours and it was freezing and snowing and i had no warm clothes but i was like speed walking from house to house, truly excited to talk to the people and share our message and it was just so legit! we didnt really find anyone but i was just like YEAH THIS IS SO GREAT I LOVE IT. and sister chapman did not love it because she was freezing and it was cold and tracting is pretty much just getting rejected for 2 hours but i didnt even care i loved it! i even went up to one house all by myself and tracted it. because she was like "they arent home" and i was like ehh we might as well try! so i ran up there and the lady was home adn it was really awkward because i was by myself but it was alright because she was super grumpy and didnt want to talk to me anyways but its like I DIDNT CARE I JUST LOVED BEING A MISSIONARY.
second cool thing that happened - we had a lesson with the Rohrs at the church. the rohrs are this awesome family (dad and son and daughter) that sister chapman taught at the beginning of her mission. their mom died from some sort of heart disease earlier this year and they are just struggling. it is so sad. They are having a really hard time (obviously) so we just wanted to teach them a lesson about getting through hard times. So sister Chapman talked and then I just bore my testimony about how sometimes we feel like trials are too big for us, and that it is too much for us to handle. and  how i remember how during my hardest trial, I remember thinking, God, you gave me too much. I can't handle this. I really think that this trial will break me. but it didnt. and im still here. God has promised us angels on our right and on our left to bear us up. and He will be there for us every step of the way, even when we cant feel Him. and i just started tearing up and i remember thinking, that wasn't very eloquently put. i stumbled on some words and kind of rambled a little bit. but rick (the dad) started tearing up too. and afterwards he pulled me aside and thanked me for the scripture and the thought that i shared, and how it really meant a lot to him. and it was just a cool experience because while prepping for your mission you are always taught that it is all about having the spirit with you. and what you say or how you say it doesn't matter. and i felt like that kind of rang true for me last night.
my third favorite thing that happened this week was dinner with the stingers. they are a young family from idaho. and it was just SUCH A GREAT MISSIONARY DINNER. like it was the first member dinner i felt like truly went perfect missionary-wise. their kids love us and always want to wear our name tags and say that theyre missionaries and want to sit by us at the dinner table and play with us and its so fun. anyways we had dinner and it was so fun and hilarious and i loved it. and then afterwards we had an object lesson with the kids about growing their faith and it went really well and overall the night was uplifting and fun and we did what we were supposed to do and i loved every second of it.

fourth favorite thing - when rachel was leaving Young womens on wednesday she grabbed me and was like "if you get transferred can i still write you and stuff" and its just like IT WARMED MY LITTLE HEART. because rachel is not touchy feeley or friendshipey or anything but she said that she WANTED TO WRITE ME. it was a small thing, but also a big thing. 

fifth favorite thing - this couple called the hildebrands, who love the missionaries and do EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER FOR THEM. are so cute. anyways, so ralph comes up to me and is like, hey sister trouble (thats what they call me) i was thinking, when you go to brazil we have to keep talking to you. so i went ahead and bought vonage so that we can have international calling and call you on your birthday (which is not allowed) and then on mothers day and christmas, we can do a three way call with you and your family if you want. and i just smiled because its like, what a sweet gesture i love them. 
okay  and then - interesting  moments

 we get a text from martha shannon yesterday (she is the same martha shannon from the earlier shannon story) and she says "sisters, i am so sorry that i wasnt at church today ... (and then went off about how she is having all of this back pain and what not and how she cant get sick because she has school and work and stuff and how she wants us to pray for her) and so we were like "oh no we are so sorry of course we will pray for you. can we do anything for you?" and she was like "no just pray." and so we go "okay we love you, youll be in our prayers" and she responds with "Thank you, you girls are my soul, my healing power."
best text message ive ever received.
3)sometimes i look in the mirror and i look like an unattractive 14 year old boy.
4) i better get to brazil because everyone gains like 40 lbs here on their mission. and so i will be in trouble.
those werent funny stories but thats it.
okay well i love you all so much! i seriously love my family and cant wait to see you all again some day soon! be good and do your home teaching! im grateful to be out here serving and i hope that i can make you all proud!
tell me about how sammys birthday went and what he bought with the money i sent him *(She sent him a dime) :) also i want to see halloween pictures of everybody!!!
also thanks for the package mom. i havent gotten it yet but ive been freezing!!! so thank you!! love you!
oh and mom i was wondering what you have done with my call letter. i want you to frame it and hang it up somewhere. also, if you could send me eye liner and mascara and deoderant and shampoo and razors and stuff i would really truly appreciate it. i have NO MONEY HERE because we rarely get fed by members and so i have to spend it all on food. im using 73 cent shampoo and conditioner and it makes my hair really greasy. also how much money is in my debit card? i might need to buy some tights and gloves and stuff.
also in order to drive i car i need my state driving record, so can you try to get that and send it to me? sorry i know that youre busy but its importante. i spelled that the portuguese way. im so exotic.
dad i promise to write you today! im really sorry about that!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

blessed, seriously blessed!!! 9/3/13

First and foremost I want to thank everyone for all of the emails, letters, prayers, and fasts on my behalf. You have no idea how much it means to me. I have really felt all of your love for me and I want to thank everyone for that. I also need to apologize, because everyone was so sweet to me this week I got about 50 e-mails and it took a while to get through them so I'm not going to have time to respond to them all but know that each of them helped me so much!! Thank you!
Especially to you mom, I read a talk in the Ensign this week and there was a line in it that said "few things are more powerful than the prayers of a righteous mother." and I just felt the love that I was receiving through your prayers. Thank you so much mom for your love and your righteousness.
and you Sam, i know you hated fasting but thanks for sticking it out buddy. 
So this week I have been blessed. I have been seriously blessed. Monday night when I was just on the verge of giving up, the other sisters in our apartment came out to me and said that they felt bad that I had been couped up for so long and offered to go on exchanges so I would have a chance to go out and do work. It was such a blessing, we were able to meet with 3 people who let us into their homes and it was just so sweet. The last lady we almost walked by and I said lets just go talk to her. I went up to her and found out she is an inactive member! She said that when she saw us she noticed a light about us and she really wanted to talk to us! She has been going through some hard times so i offered to contact the elders to give her a blessing and she said that she would love one! She said that we were an answer to her prayers that night and it was just so great. She's not in my area so I cant go talk to her anymore but I'm so glad I met her that night.
Also, so many funny things happened this week, I wish I could share them all but  just know, some of the  people in Ohio are a strange and wondrous sight.
Sister Chapman started feeling better around Thursday and so we have been able to work a lot more! we definitely are not at 100% but we are doing miles and miles better.
Everyday has gotten a little easier and then last night we had the most amazing lesson.
So some background on them. There is this family that live in the projects of Massilon (my area) and they are really poor. The mom and dad were both baptized in December I think,  the daughter who is 16 got baptized last Saturday. Anyways, sadly  they don't have any teeth and they have 7 animals and when we first visited them I was dying. I was literally wanting out so bad, but in just 2 weeks I have grown to love them so much. I judged them so harshly when I first met them because of their situation but honestly the parents are so smart! and Leilani the daughter is so nice and sweet, she just takes a little  getting used to.
Anyways so Frank, the dad is in the hospital. He was an alcoholic (30 years sober) He is having heart problems and has been there for about a week. Sister Chapman and I went to visit him last night and he just bore his testimony of the love the Lord has for all of us. He started crying when he was talking about his recovery from alcohol and his testimony and said that he will never be able to pay back 1/10 of a percent of what the Lord has done for him. Which was so awesome because he has had such  a hard life. and then he said that "If you cant sense the blessings of the Lord in your life, its because you're not awake." it was such a beautiful moment and for the first time since I've been here i felt like this is my mission, instead of Cleveland just being a trial and a temporary assignment.
It is still hard but I'm doing better and better each day. in sacrament brother Hayward said that "we shouldn't pray to conform Gods will to ours, but to know his will" and so that's what I've been doing. i have been praying not for my visa but to do the best I can where I am. It has made all of the difference. Prayer makes all of the difference. Everyone who is reading this, pray. Whether you are Catholic or Atheist or Hindu or Mormon. pray. and pray from your heart. It's amazing what it can do.
Sorry if this is preachy and long. but I have just been so blessed this week. I'm so grateful for the lessons and strength that I have developed and learned in these few weeks of being a missionary.
I'm sorry Macey and Kenna and everyone else who wrote me,  that i cant respond to you this week because of time, but thanks for your letters and emails. and Macey and Kenna good luck in high school. don't stress high school. its such a small part of your life and its a joke, and teenagers are weird and awkward and hormonal. don't be teenagers. lol sorry... IS THAT GETTING YOU  SO PUMPED FOR IT!?! lol!! high school. ahhhh.
i love you all so much! thanks for everything! its going to be a great year and a half!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

oh oh! Reality hits....and hits hard!

Hey Folks, So I wasn't going to post Ashlyn's letter we received on Monday, because Ashlyn indicated we didn't "have to" but after carefully considering it... I have decided it would be good for all to see the ups and downs of Ashlyn's experience. Also, if you know what is going on with her, you might have advice or a joke or something to cheer her up and feel more  inclined  to send her a note of encouragement. ... Cleveland is a struggle for her, and she is pretty low. I am so proud of her and the  desires of her heart  and her commitment and I have all the faith in the world that she will work this out but any prayers or well wishes you could send in her direction would be greatly appreciated by her mom too. :) here is her letter.

 Hi parents, you don't have to put this one on the blog....
First thing is first, the biggest regret of my mission thus far is my phone call with you. I was just not in the right mindset but I've been so homesick this week that I just constantly wish that I could call you for advice and tell you that I love you. So I really do.... and until christmas I guess.
So I am  in Cleveland. And it's hard. It's really hard. And the thing is I knew it was going to be hard but not in this way. I was prepared for it to be hard work, and that I would  be exhausted, and  be rejected. But I didn't expect it to be hard because we aren't doing anything. I didn't expect to be in an area where I don't feel like I belong. I want to be in Brazil. I want to be working. I want to feel like I'm making a difference.  I just want to work. I want to be in an area where we can work more. My companion has been sick all week.  the president knows. We are able to maybe work an hour a day. Her last companion got really bad migraines everyday and so she went home, but pretty much I get that,  it was because she didn't want to be here anymore. I am not  complaining about my companion I actually  like her a lot. She has been out for 6 months, she went to BYUIdaho.  She is 21. I really like her a lot It is not her fault she is sick it is just so hard to be sooo excited to work and to not be able to do it. . She's really nice and the few times we did go tracting ,she was super friendly. She gets along well  with the members, she is really sweet and we get along well. She lets me try to take charge , which is good. She's a really good missionary. when she feels up to it..she  is  friendly and we plan and everything.  I just want to work more. and I want to be in an area where we can work more. I feel like I'm disappointing Heavenly Father.
My companions last 2 companions went home. I don't blame them. I understand now why people come home from their missions early.  Honestly the first 3 days there wasn't a minute that went by without me wanting to leave. It was probably the hardest 3 days of my life honestly. I felt so alone. so helpless. and so hopeless. I want to serve a mission. And I'm not. and while we are at home and my companion is sleeping, I try going through and calling the area book or less active members. But most don't have a phone or have a speech impediment and so its hard to communicate.  Also they just divided our area into 3, and so I don't really understand the boundaries. So for the first few days when I would do that, I would call the wrong areas and set up appointments for places we weren't allowed to go. I stopped doing that too. Now i spend most all day reading my scriptures or studying Portuguese.
My companion says that I'm the hardest working missionary she has  worked with. Which just depresses me more, because she thinks that we are working hard. We aren't working. at all.
Also the area I am in is so depressing. It's super poor. It seems like so many  people here have some sort of mental illness, it is hard to have any kind of conversation with the few people I come in contact with.
And I am so worried I am not  going to get my visa. They have stopped calling people from Washington to Brazil because the visas aren't coming from the San Francisco consulate...and i don't think that mine will ever come.
I am struggling with feeling like I was divinely inspired to be here. I want to be in Brazil.
Our ward is about 400 people and about 115 active. Most are part member families or inactive. Our ward is not unified at all.
I'm  so unhappy here. So unhappy. I'm trying so hard to be good and happy but it is so hard. I'm not going to come home though. If I have to struggle through every second of my mission for a year and a half I will not come home. Some things that are keeping me going are:

You guys, the example that you have each set for me in serving a mission and then how proud I know that you are of me for being here. I really want to make you proud.
My future family. I think about how if my husband or son was in my position and how i would want them to continue onward and so i need to, also.
The pioneers and early saints, and how they endured so much harder trials than this and so I can get through this.
My Savior, and His atonement. He suffered so much for me and so i can labor a couple of seconds in Gethsemane as well.
Prayer. I pray all of the time. Constantly.
Stubbornness. I'm not going to quit.
We have to go now. I love you so much and I already can't wait until next week to talk to you again. Being here has made me so grateful for you and dad and the awesome life that I have had. Please write me as much as possible!!!! 
2040 tennyson ave NE #7 
massilon ohio 44646. 
I love you a lot. 
Pray for me, I pray for you everyday.

Ashlyn's address in Cleveland

Hey Folks, Ashlyn's mom here... I wanted to give everyone Ashlyn's new address....this is  where you can send "snail mail" as opposed to email

   2040 Tennyson Ave NE #7
    Massilon, Ohio 44646

her email is the same

She would love hearing from you in any form but she gets to read your snail mail as
soon as she gets it and can re-read it etc. (Because she only has limited access to the computer and only has access on Monday's, email is a bit frustrating for her)  You can her still. (but you have to pay for the stamp now- no longer free) They are great because it is as easy as an email for you but they print it, put it in an envelope and stamp it and put it in the mail for you that day. so it is a win- win for both. You only need to type in the address above now, instead of the Provo address, and you do have to give them the money for the stamp via credit card.

There is definitely an adjustment to make when missionaries go out into the real world. No longer are they sheltered at the MTC and have such great friends and teachers etc... surrounding them... So I am sure any note or hello from home would be SOOOOOO appreciated.

Sorry this was from boring old me and no new letter to post from Ashlyn, hopefully Monday.
Thanks for reading and writing and loving Ashlyn (or not loving her, maybe she drives you crazy, but you are a little sadistic so you read her blog for kicks.) :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

and the winner is........

soooooo because there is no visa I got my stateside reassignment today!

The lucky winner is Cleveland Ohio! At first i had no opinion of this because its like i often forget that Ohio is even a state but I've been thinking about it and I'm so hyped!!! its just like, i have no idea what Ohio is really but don't ya just see me there?! I sure do. I'm super stoked. I leave Tuesday morning at 2:30 am so mom get ready for a phone call. Anyways Ill be there from Tuesday until i get my visa. The mission is all of northern Ohio and a little bit of Pennsylvania.

Hess has to go home for surgery for an absenthe or something but when she gets better she will go to south Carolina if she doesn't get her visa

helvey is going to new york new york north with Harvard. I'm a little jealous. Hil skin are you there!? look out for elder helvey and elder larkin. they are the best.

Calder is going to Ogden Utah

and sister tanton is going to LA. 

most of the other elders in my district got called to las vegas or colorado
anyways, look out for me cleveland. I'm coming for ya. 

as sister hess says 

Flee to the Cleve!!!

love you all baii!!!

P.S. if anyone has any idea where cleveland ohio is lemme know ASAP :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013


are you ready? are you really really sure that you're ready? Cuz I don't think you're ready for this jelly.
this week was the hardest ever because we found out that we were cousins on Wednesday and I had to wait A WHOLE WEEK TO TELL YOU! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! TALK ABOUT TRIALS.
but seriously, he is. here's the story.
so pretty much Tuesday night he got a dear elder from his mom and it was like, "is sister trussel by chance related to Harold Trussel and Vilate Trussel? because they are my favorite people in the world" and i was like STRAIGHT UP I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING YES THOSE ARE MY STRAIGHT UP GRANDPARENTS!! and so he wrote her back and was like "how do you know sister trussel's grandparents?" and she said that her mom and Vilate are cousins and that grandpa Harold is like her favorite person in the world because he was the principal at a school where she worked and she said that he was like the greatest principal in the world and knew all of the kids names and their hobbies and she just really respects him and she said that Vilate is the biggest spitfire that she has ever met and thinks that she is hilarious and its like I'm not totally sure what spitfire means but I'm assuming its a term of endearment.
AND THEN IT JUST CONTINUES TO GET BETTER. because Harvard said that grandpa Harold was the principal at his high school before he went there and he said that he revolutionized the school,  and it is because of him that Harvard got into Harvard. AND ISN'T THAT JUST SO FUNNY? LIKE I'M TAKING FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR  THIS AND ITS LIKE I'M THE REASON THAT HARVARD GOT INTO HARVARD... AND SO IT'S LIKE YOU'RE WELCOME HARVARD. i really hope that you think this is as crazy as i do. i literally freak out on the daily.
he was sick for a few days but when he came back to class i made us sing families can be together forever and i stood by him during it and he acted like it was weird but i could tell that he liked it.
anyways so our cousinship has really brought us together. we are pretty much best friends now....
that is an extreme exaggeration. by best friends i mean every once in a while he will say "como esta minha prima?" which means how is my cousin? and i say good and that's about it. but i really sense a connection. and the best part is that we are 3rd cousins so that means that were close enough to stay best friends forever but still far away enough related that we can get married for time and all eternity if we so choose. it really is the best of both worlds.
anyways tell grandma and grandpa thanks and have them call Becky Larkin in salt lake city (Harvards mom) so they too can enjoy the blessings of freaking out about this. I'm literally freaking out. ALL THE FREAKING TIME. mom is probably so mad that i keep using the word freaking but its like honestly mom, its justified in this scenario.
okeee so sorry that i spent like half of my email time talking about my cousin Harvard.... but i regret nothing.
anyways, lets get do it! shall we?
this week was goooood!  actually I remember nothing that happened this week but I'm assuming that it went well.
just kidding. i didn't. i also didn't get my reassignment. i will most likely get it Friday and be able to email you about it. but worst case scenario, i will have to stay an extra week at the MTC and get it next Friday.
i cant believe that this is my last week. its super bittersweet. I'm going to miss everyone so much. especially irmao Hickman. he is our teacher. and he is just the best. like one of the greatest humans I've ever had the privilege to know. he has been such a great mentor and support and teacher this whole time and I'm going to miss him the most i think.
oh mommy i threw up on Wednesday. i think it was something that i ate because after i threw up i felt fine but i made my companion take a picture of me with the throw up because i wanted to show you that i miss you when I'm sick. so i started feeling really sick so we came back to the residence and i lied down and immediately started puking into the garbage. and my companion just stood there and then i was like oh I'm sorry and shes like "its fine" and I'm like "...OH IS IT FINE!?! THANK YOU FOR YOUR ACCEPTANCE THAT ME PUKING IS FINE" except for i didn't because i am trying to be like Jesus and so i was like thanks and then i stood up and emptied my own puke into the garbage outside and then i felt fine and working on my charity and patience virtues.
we got to host the new missionaries this week. this pretty much means that when the missionaries get dropped off their curb and kiss life as they know it goodbye we are the ones to pick them up and take them to their class and whatnot. it was a cool experience except for there were way too many sisters hosting and not enough sisters to be hosted and so every time i car pulled up it was like straight up the hunger games to get to them. i literally had to punch a girl in the face. just kidding. but it really was intense. anyways i saw Brady Johnston getting dropped off and so i like ran to his family to talk to them but half of them had no idea who i was and the other half were like "are you kidding me? we are sending our first born son to his death. we want nothing to do with you at this moment" they didn't say that they were really sweet but i felt really bad afterwards that i like interrupted that moment for them. i wasn't thinking. mom call sister Johnston and tell her that I'm sorry for ruining her life and cramming 11 cookies into the VCR. #namethatmovie but seriously mom call her and apologize for me.
we went to the temple today. it was great. i really like the new video. however, only the Mormons can make a new video and still have it feel 10 years outdated. but i really liked it a lot and it was good to go. the entire time though i was just thinking of Tyler Rands and i just kept thinking about how much I'm sure that Jesus loves Tyler. Tell that man i miss him.
i saw cousin Matt (Kim's son, literally what is his last name, i feel very strange that i don't know it) on the I'm a Mormon video (about the rugby coach )eating dinner with his parents in law. it was such a sweet moment. i even pulled it up on the big screen and paused it on Matt and made everyone look and then they were like "no one cares" but i chose to ignore them and told them all about how Matt draws me pictures and that one time that we watched that cheesy lifetime original movie called "dying to dance" or something cheesy like that. they didn't act like it but i knew that the district liked it. also i don't know if it was Matt. but i really hope it was or i would have just wasted 25 minutes of my district's time for nothing.
our lessons have been really hit and miss. it doesn't really help that my comp really struggles with the language. its slightly discouraging because i think i just came here thinking that i was going to be the best missionary int he world but then I'm not and its just hard to not feel like you're measuring up. but some of them go really well. the other thing is that i feel so comforted all of the time here. and that's the reason that i just want everyone to understand the gospel. because even in my hardest times here i just totally feel the love of Christ comforting me and really hard things become so much easier and i just know that I'm not doing them alone.
except for learning Portuguese. learning Portuguese is still the worst of all trials and can never be lessened.
um que mais? nao sei. oh yeah I'm so hecka much jealous that everyone is at the family reunion. i want to be there. i hope that you seriously have no fun without me and can come to the knowledge that i really am the only source of joy in your lives. because sometimes i felt like you guys took that for granted. i was a really really really fun person. appreciate me more. in other news i am also working on humility as a virtue. i miss everything about the family reunion, not like homesick miss, more of like i think about it occasionally and then stare into the distance all the while quietly chuckling to myself pensively. like when joey helped me cheat every round of poker. good times. i still cheat at all of our games here. i also don't feel guilty about it ever. is that a problem? anyways i just love our family so much even though they are straight up psychotic they are all so prime. tell them i think that, not the psychotic part just the prime part. also tell them to stop fighting. then tell them about my comp. and the toilets and the puke if i can be loving about that then they can be loving to each other.
and don't worry mom. your kids will never fight because once you die i will straight up start a tyrannical regime over the kids and if any of the siblings try to rise up against me I will pummel them into the ground with my fist. it will be forced peace, but peace nonetheless. you're welcome. I'm always looking out for you.
mom can you some how check to see how my visa is coming. i haven't heard of a single person getting theirs from San Francisco and I'm really sad about it. i want to go to BRAZIL and drive fast cars there and rob a police station like in fast and furious 5. because that is what missions are all about are they not? i don't know how exactly to check on tat but like call someone or google something or make dad do it. i have faith in you. i really need to know if ill ever get there. ill be really sad if i dont i think. can you guys pray for my visa tambem? I JUST REALLY WANT IT IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!?
grandpa truman-dictate a letter to mom today. you can skip your tennis watching today and make mckenna and macey do the chores around the house. tennis is literally just 2 people hitting a ball back and forth, you wont miss much. and the whole reason that we have kids is to make them do our work for us. so sit back and relax and respond to my letter please. i love you. hope your back is feeling better and the grand kids aren't driving you crazy. i know it must be hard for you without having your favorite granddaughter there to keep you sane but you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. I love you more than life you re my family person in the world but if you don't write me back today you will be dead to me. love you much!!!
mommy- mommy you're the best of all mommies. you have been so good at writing me and it has been such a blessing i swear. thanks for that. also hopefully your packages get here by Friday because if i get my reassignment i could leave as early as Saturday. weird. also if i get reassigned to not anywhere in Utah i will be able to call you on the phone next week! how strange. but I'm excited. i think. i think it is going to be weird. what are we even going to talk about? maybe this would be a good time for you to use those conversation cards you bought for the dinner table "what is your favorite season and why" "if you could be any tree what kind of tree would you be?" "what is your favorite memory in the kitchen" we can ask awkward questions like that to lessen the mood. anyways love you so much. please check on my visa some how.
dad-you're killing me. as humorous as your letters are they are few and far between also the longest letter you have sent me was like 12 words long. since he wont tell you what he writes this is what i have gotten from dad so far "dear ashlyn, rock it. love dad" "dear ashlyn, bear lake is 43% less fun without you. but don't come home. love dad" at this point I'm so desperate to know what is going on in your life that i will accept a sample letter that you have copied and pasted from the Internet. work with me here. i miss you a lot and i hope that everything is going well with work and sleeping and your remote control helicopter and all of the other things that you love in you life. i sent you a letter last week hope you got it.
Paige- babe, got your letter. it was a little rude and attacking but i appreciated the sentiment. i don't have emotional issues. your mom has emotional issues. JK shes a saint and has beautiful eyes. I'm writing you today. please get on Katie. she is hurting me feelings
Jon Rands. you are straight up the funniest man alive. you letter killed me. i literally keep it in my purse at all times and read it like 6 times a day because it is just so dang prime. everything about it is prime. you're the best and i love you. also my companion is 19. no excuse. have fun golfing. don't work too hard out there.
Heidi and Kim. oh my dear beloved aunts, I'm so sorry please don't make me dead to you. i seriously loved both of your emails and it was just hard and stressful the first week and i forgot a ton of people because the email time is literally the most stressful thing of my life. but i love you so much and you're the best and please don't disown me i promise i love you so much. i will write you more during letter time. also i think that Ron sent me a dear elder but the computer is being difficult so i cant read it but ill try again later on another computer
Rachel and Katelyn-i only have 60 seconds more on the comp but i love you both your letters make my day I'm sorry i will write you more later today okay?!!
Sister Trussel