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...
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-
I AM GETTING MY FIRST BAPTISM!!!
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!!! im SO EXCITED I LOVE HER SO MUCH. anyways, so this past 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 we called her at like 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 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 baptizedand 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 soat 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.
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.
okay I LOVE YOU ALL
dad i promise to write you today! im really sorry about that!