While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Love The Book of Mormon!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

There Is a Better Way

What a great week! I am loving Ohio with the changing leaves and the beauty helps me deal with how chilly it has been. Gotta love Ohio. Especially with the tornadoes. I don't think I have every been let out of church early, but this Sunday we had a tornado watch in our area and the Bishop instructed us all to go home. The Bishop's wife graciously invited us over and we had a wonderful evening with their family waiting out the storm. This has been my second tornado warning, fun stuff!

We have had some awesome experiences this week. First of all we are teaching a wonderful young man named Graham. He is good friends with a family in our ward and he has been attending church with them for over two months now. They have been working with him, sharing a lot and answering questions. He watched General Conference in their home and even bore his testimony a month ago! He is just amazing, and he told the Bevan's recently that he was ready to meet with us. He is so prepared and we have been blessed to have a few lessons with him. He loves the Book of Mormon, has such a sincere desire to learn and is on date to be baptized next month! We are so excited for him!

Another AWESOME thing. A few weeks ago a man in our ward was very excited to tell us that his friend David had accepted his invitation to come to church. Then the next week David came even though his friend wasn't there and he loved the Primary program! We have been able to talk to him when he comes and it turns out he is in our Area Book and missionaries have knocked on his door before. He seemed to be coming along nicely and his friend was very happy with his progress, then this Sunday he completely surprised us. It was fast and testimony meeting, and David went up and bore his testimony! He talked about the profound influence that members have had on him over the last 20 years and the wonderful experience coming to church has been for him. He also shared how those missionaries who knocked on his door left him with a Book of Mormon and that he ha read over half of it and has not found anything in it he does not already believe. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when he was done. That new information not only came as a surprise to us, but also his member friend who will be asking him to start meeting with us soon. I could not be more excited!

I want to tell all of you how much I love being a missionary! My greatest joy comes from helping others change their lives for the better through the gospel of Jesus Christ and giving them tools to have an ever-growing relationship with their Savior. Knowing who my Savior is and how to worship through the restored gospel brings so much peace and direction and it is truly a blessing to share that. I know that my time as a full time missionary must come to an end someday, but I find solace knowing my service and ability to share the gospel can, should, and will carry on for the rest of my life. There is a quote I love from President Gordon B. Hinckley where he says, "So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church. Whenever there is a member who introduces an investigator, there is an immediate support system. The member bears testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious for the happiness of his investigator friend. He becomes excited as that friend makes progress in learning the gospel.” I want to add my testimony that this is true. Sister Holdaway and have been blessed here in Piqua to be surrounded by some wonderful members who understand that.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and share boldly what you know to be true! You never know just ho much it will mean to someone or who around you is being prepared.
Just keep smiling!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Simply An Instrument

IT IS COLD! These California girls are not ready for winter. Just kidding. We got all bundled up and we we're just fine. These Ohioans in just their sweatshirts probably laugh when they see those crazy girls in skirts and winter coats, but I don't care.

Cold Out

 I will start off with probably the most awkward experience I have had so far on my mission. It was so funny. Picture this....
We are finishing up knocking on this street before we have to go to a scheduled activity, so our time isn't super flexible. We knock on this door and the sweetest lady answers with a baby on her hip and I can just feel this is going to be a great contact. In the middle of us talking, before we have a chance to get to introducing ourselves and the point of why we knocked on her door, this lady from a pest control company comes up the walk. She was obviously there for an appointment, which being on the doorstep with someone else who is expected is already awkward enough. The woman who answered the door gave a general "come on in!" and I thought "surely she can't mean us, she doesn't even know who we are." But the exterminator said "after you!" and the owner of the home nodded so we came on in. The two of them immediately walked through the house, back to where I'm assuming the exterminator needed to come look at. Sister Holdaway and I stopped at the entryway and watched them walk away. We figured the woman would come back any minute after she showed her the problem, since she still didn't even know why the two strangers standing in her foyer knocked on her door. So we waited..........and waited........................ .and waited. The whole time we could see her husband walking back and forth in the hallway giving us sideways glances, probably trying to figure out who we were and he was moving too fast for us to ever call out to him. So we kept waiting. Finally it was way past time to go to our scheduled activity and she hadn't come back so we left a sticky note with a pass along card on the inside of her door and saw ourselves out. We ran down the street to our car, laughing the whole way at how we had awkwardly stood in that strangers foyer for upwards of 20 minutes. So so awkward haha.

On to some miracles!
First of all Ed is great! We have had a few more lessons with him and he has been reading the Book of Mormon consistently. He is so sweet and has such a sincere desire to know and understand truth. He has a long way to go, but because of that desire he has we are not worried. Recently we invited him to be baptized and his response was "Yes! That's actually something I have been thinking a lot about." How cool is that?! He had a few questions and concerns though, mainly about his prosthetic leg and the logistics of getting baptized. When we assured him he would have help and that nothing like that would keep him from being baptized he just lit up. I am so grateful we met him,  which is something he has also expressed multiple times. I am so excited for Ed!

Drum roll please....... Damian was baptized this Saturday! It was a wonderful, special, emotional, and inspiring day. His family has been waiting for this for years and he was so excited and prepared. He has made a lot of changes and done a lot of work to get here. I am truly grateful to have been a part of and a witness of this phase of his journey. Because it really has been a journey. It hasn't been easy for him, but it has been amazing to see him grow into the new Damian over the few months I have known him, he is inspiring to me. Watching the ordinances of his baptism and confirmation be performed reminded me of just how much bigger this work is than me. I am simply an instrument in God's grand orchestra and I am so grateful and humbled to have this opportunity. I love being a missionary!

Have a great week and Just keep smiling!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Faith: saying "I Will" Before "I Can"

This week has been great! We have definitely seen many miracles! The first of them being that we are still alive. Just kidding. We did have a funny/freaky experience the other night. There was this really cool house we went to the other day, but no one answered so we wanted to try back when we were in the area. Well it was dark, and we had to walk down the longest driveway I have ever seen through what is basically a little forest in their front yard. Kinda creepy. It got worse when we were walking and heard all these noises from the trees. After a long time of trying to figure out what it was we see this huge dark bird sitting on a branch. Then another...and another. There were TONS of them! so we ran to the house, no answer again. As we were walking back down their drive the birds got quiet, then all of a sudden they swept off the trees in huge groups! It was crazy scary. But we made it haha

In all seriousness though, we have seen tons of miracles. On Wednesday we set a goal of finding three new investigators, it felt right but I was a little skeptical because we had two meetings, service and all of our normal studies taking up most of our day. BUT the Lord always helps us with our righteous desires and helped us, in that limited time, find three and a half investigators! The half comes from a family that doesn't know they are investigating yet, but we are totally coming back because they are such a cute little family. We knocked on the door and this little girl, probably about 6 years old, pop up in the window. She stares us down for a good 7 seconds and then opens the door. I guess she thought we looked friendly enough, so she invited us in!  We asked if her parents were home and she said her mom was in the shower, and before we could say we would come back later she says "I'll go get her!" So we waited haha and could hear them yelling back and forth "who is it?" "I don't know." She ran back and just kept talking to us, despite our many attempts to tell her we would come back later, but we couldn't just leave her standing there with the door open. She actually came out on the porch with us and was just talking away! We finally convinced her to go back inside and shut the door. We were dying, I love kids. Thank goodness her judgement was right and we were nice people. We are definitely going back.

The other morning we felt impressed to go try and see this awesome girl we met a little while ago who has a crazy schedule and we are never able to set up lessons with. Well, as soon as we parked in front of her house she came out the door! And what was even better, she had a day this week we can meet! God definitely puts us exactly where we need to be if we are willing to listen.

Last one. We had a great lesson with one of our investigators the other night. He had some concerns with baptism in the past, not understanding why he would need to be baptized again. Well, before we even started teaching in our lesson, he was excited to tell us about what he had learned from his Book of Mormon reading. He is reading 2 Nephi 31, and he gets it! He understands why it is important, that it is a commandment from God and a way we can follow the example of our Savior. He even asked us how soon he could be baptized! He definitely has a long way to go, but he has that desire now and got it from reading the scriptures!

I wanted to leave you with a thought from New Missionary Follow Up Training (which was a blast!) First off, I can't believe Sister Holdaway has been here for a month! Crazy stuff. Anyways, the training was really focused on faith and something that the spirit taught me was that faith is being able to say "I will" before "I can." There will be many times in our lives when we will be asked to do something and we won't know if we can do it based on our own knowledge or abilities, but we can exercise our faith by saying that we will do it anyways and trust that we can with the Lord's help. That is something I am learning a great deal about, and trying to put into practice more and more everyday. I am by no means perfect, but I am grateful that my Savior is and will give me strength to do all things. It is only through faith in Him and a willingness to act that we have been able to see miracles like these.

I hope you have a wonderful week, just keep smiling!
Our Districts new mascot

Monday, October 16, 2017

Let Your Father Take the Lead

This week has been fantastic! We have seen miracles, met many awesome people and got to do service! We helped the Cabes chop up and move out cut trees in their little woods to prepare for the ward Halloween party! It was a blast, and Sister Holdaway even made a new friend.

 President Hinckley's counsel of "forget yourself and go to work" is completely true. We have been so busy and working so hard this week, and we have definitely seen miracles because of it. We have been in one of those cycling through times where the work just doesn't seem to be moving forward even though we are putting so much effort in, and that's really hard to face. BUT we are beginning to see the fruits of our efforts. We have found so many new people to teach and some of them are truly progressing! It is only the beginning of their journey, but they are making changes in their live and we have faith! That is by far my favorite part of being a missionary, helping people make changes in their lives so they can feel the joy of living the gospel. It is truly an amazing sight to see and humbling to be a part of.

Like I said, we have been finding so many awesome new people, ready to hear the gospel! The Lord definitely leads us where we need to be. On Saturday alone we met three people who actually wanted to listen to us. But even more than that, they asked us to tell them more so we did. We had fantastic lessons with them right there on their porches. I don't think I have ever seen people so grateful to receive the Book of Mormon. They understood that the unique message we share is how they can come closer to their Heavenly Father and know their Savior more fully. I love being the bearer of this significant message!

 Another amazing experience is Lorenzo, because he found us! He had met with missionaries in the past, and randomly one day he calls us out of the blue and says "Sisters! When are you coming back?" We made an appointment with him and looked up who he was later. He is now reading the Book of Mormon and progressing, slowly but surely, in the gospel!

Probably my favorite miracle from this week was Ed. We met him briefly about a week ago, and it was a bad time so we made an appointment to come back. We didn't feel like it was a very solid appointment, but he was there! and we had a great lesson with him. Yesterday morning we texted him to remind about church, and he let us know he would come except for he didn't have a ride. We had no trouble finding him one and he came for all three hours of church! He was all prepared and brought his Book of Mormon with him. Our ward was wonderful, and welcoming and he had a great time. He made mention to us at one point that he hadn't seen the inside of a church in 30 years! We then realized that Ed coming to church was more a miracle than we had originally thought. It made my day to see him open up and see him smiling and simply full of light after having come to church. This is why I am here.

I would like to leave you with a profound message that President Stratford shared with us at our Zone Conference this week. We talked about the many things we might have sacrificed to come out on a mission: time, money, family, education. And the list went on. We then discussed how when Christ came he did away with blood sacrifices and then only required a broken heart and a contrite spirit from his people. That broken heart is our willingness to submit to God's will. Everything that we have is our Father in Heaven's, the only thing that is truly ours to give him is our will. There are many things we face in life that we feel we are having to sacrifice for, especially when we are choosing to do the right things. But the only real sacrifice, or offering, that we can give our Father is submitting our will to be obedient and to have faith and optimism through the things we face. Our lives are a lot happier and successful when we give ourselves over and let our omniscient Father take the lead.

Have a great week! Just keep smiling!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Greatest Gift

This week has been full of meeting new people, like always! Like always, a lot of them don't want to talk to us but that's ok! It has been funny since it gets darker earlier, many people think we are crazy for being "out so late." It has been even better since the past couple nights it has been pouring. The best one this week is when we knocked on this woman's door and she answered sort of frazzled and said "why you gotta scare people like that?!" We looked at our watches, "Ma'am, it's only 8 o'clock." We also got some looks as we spent an afternoon biking between the houses on a long country road with some crazy wind. The elements do not stop missionary work! We have been getting some good laughs lately. Among all the people who think we are crazy, simply aren't interested, or who are trying to convert us (that has actually happened a lot lately), we do have some pretty awesome contacts.

Last night was especially awesome. We knocked on the door and this man opened. We introduced ourselves and he was nice. We had a great conversation about prayer and started to teach him our unique message of the restoration. He was asking us a lot of questions and seemed a bit confrontational, but as we talked to him more we realized he was actually genuinely interested in our answers of how we know these things to be true. He expressed not knowing what to believe and we testified of the truthfulness of our message and told him that if he prayed about these things he would gain a witness from the Holy Ghost as we have. At this point he was tearing up, and we tried to set up a time but he said he would like to read the pamphlet first and we could come back and share more. He quickly went inside, and even though we didn't get to share our whole message I know something touched him. We will be back real soon!

I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost, that he guides, helps us come closer to our Father in Heaven and teaches us truth. When people don't want to listen, or even tell us that what we are sharing is false, we can always rely on our solid and unfailing witness that these things are truth. And it is that same power that allows people we meet to feel the truthfulness of our message within a few minutes, despite our only average personal abilities. Our Heavenly Father will not leave us alone. When we have a question, He will answer. He will grant us with the evidence we need to have stability in this life and direction we need on the course back to Him. His spirit is one of the greatest gifts he has ever given us.
Continue to seek this guidance in your life!
I love you all, just keep smiling! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Miracle of Being a Child of God

District Activity

 This week was fantastic and full of miracles! But that is to be expected right? :)
The week started with meeting this awesome girl. First of all, she lives in a home that I have tried a lot in the past, not many seemed too particularly interested and those who did we were never able to contact. So personally I would not have tried because I figured I knew what was going to be the result, but my wonderful companion with no preconceived notions of our area felt the need to try that house. So we did, and we had an incredible experience! We met someone in the household I had never seen before and were able to teach her the whole first lesson. She was very engaged and was just taking everything in! At one point I asked her what it would mean to her to know that the Restoration was true and her response was, "Well, I already believe you." I was shocked for a second, but we excitedly told her about the Book of Mormon and invited her to read and pray so she can gave a spiritual confirmation that these things are true. She just recently got a new job and texted us letting us know that the appointment we scheduled wasn't going to work, followed by "I'll keep reading a few pages of the Book of Mormon every night though." She is just the sweetest and the faith that she is demonstrating is incredible! I am excited to help her come even closer to Christ!

Something we realized this week is that Piqua needs more street lights! One evening when it was dark, we were trying a few houses in a neighborhood that isn't my favorite place to be at night. We received a spiritual prompting to leave that area after we knock on this last house. I figured at first that the prompting was for our safety, and it may have been, but it may have been in for us to meet the awesome people waiting for us in the neighborhood we felt prompted to go to.

Last week we met a sweet older man briefly at his door. The other day when we were in that area Sister Holdaway felt that we should go back. Well his wife answered the door, who is the sweetest lady ever, and invited us in. We had a great conversation about miracles she has seen in her life and hard times now that the Lord is helping her get through. At one point in the conversation she mentioned how normally at this day and time she would be driving with her husband to an appointment, but he went by himself today because a maintenance man was coming to her home. I know that it was no coincidence that we felt the need to knock on her door at that day and time.

Like other times, we have seen this week just how much God sustains our goals. We had a goal one day this last week to have five lessons. Well, we were able to have two lessons in the morning on people's doorstep, and we were feeling good because we had three lessons actually scheduled in the afternoon. All of them fell through, and our most promising backups weren't home. But the Lord always provides. Within the last hour of our time proselyting for the evening, we were able to have those three lessons on people's doorsteps.  Heavenly Father is so aware of our needs, and even with something that seems so insignificant as a daily goal, He helps us meet those needs.

This weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to hear from the Lord's chosen servants in General Conference, and it was another witness to me that the Lord is so aware of our individual needs and questions.  Even though there were only a few speakers compared to the number of listeners, there is an individual message and instruction for each of us in those inspired messages. We may experience miracles in our everyday lives, but like was said in conference this weekend, the miracle that we all experience is being children of God. I would encourage you all to ponder over the words that were given to us this weekend by our loving Heavenly Father.

I love you all! Just keep smiling!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fresh From The MTC!

Well, exciting stuff this week! It was transfers and my new companion, Sister Holdaway, got to the mission field this past Wednesday! She is just amazing, I love her so much!

It has been fun getting to introduce her to everyone and seeing her come to love the people we are working with. It is amazing working with a new missionary because there are no preconceived thoughts of "how things are," just a lot of adapting and being creative. It helps me open my mind A LOT. I am so excited for our time together, we are going to do some great things here in Piqua! I can feel it!

We have been working really hard, talking to everyone, and embracing a lot of awkward! And boy, have we seen miracles come from it! We have had a lot of awesome contacts, a lot of return appointments and some new investigators! I may be Sister Holdaway's trainer, but she is teaching me a lot more than she realizes about faith and simply trusting in the Lord. I love being a missionary!

The past couple days have been a huge testament to me of just how much Heavenly Father helps us every single day. He helped me feel worthy of this call, he helps us through hard things. He guides us, he helps us adjust to new situations. He gives us strength and confidence to face the day. If we have a worthy goal he will help us accomplish it. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who is constantly watching over each of us.
"Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen." Alma 26:37
I pray that you all remember just how mindful God is of you

I hope you have a great week! Just keep smiling!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Heaven's Help

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We Eat Uncomfortable for Breakfast!

This week has been fantastic! Full of great days, not so enjoyable things and lots of awkwardness as usual. There were many times this week we walked up onto people's porches who really did not want to talk to us, or stood there awkwardly on the sidewalk waiting for people to finish their conversations so we could tell them about the gospel. It's just too important not to talk to everyone, no matter how awkward it is! (That's something I have to just keep telling myself, so maybe someday it won't be so hard) it always makes for good laughs. We were laughing very hard on exchanges when we were a visiting someone they had met previously, but she was sick, so we asked her little sister who had answered the door when we could come back. She went to ask and sheepishly came to the door and said, "She said...umm....she said never." Poor kid, having to relay that message. Haha

We got to do service this week! I'm convinced that when I come home I will be a professional painter! Well, I will really enjoy it at least!
As a lot of you have noticed, our mission has been approved to use Facebook for proselyting! There is still a lot to learn with it and it will take a little bit to get used to it, but we have seen some great miracles from it already! The biggest one was earlier this week. An Elder who used to serve here previous called us and was very excited to tell us that he had made contact with someone who was baptized in the Sidney ward. That doesn't seem like a huge thing, except that shortly after her baptism her family moved and all contact with her was lost. He found her on Facebook and was able to talk to her, got her address and we were able to meet with her this week! Definitely a miracle!

Something else that was really cool, that pushed me out of my comfort zone, was when the Chorister wasn't able to come to church yesterday and they asked me to conduct the music in Sacrament meeting! I definitely do not like getting up in front of that many people, but it was a lot of fun. And good practice for when I have to get up and give a talk next week!

Well, I hope you all have a great week! Just keep smiling!

We were both Sister Lynch for a day!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lay Hold Upon Every Good Thing

Found a wall that matched me :)
Something that really stuck out to me from my studies this week comes from Moroni in the Book of Mormon.
Moroni 7
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ

This week there weren't any exceptional miracles or experiences, but we met a lot of wonderful people, did a lot of good, and were able to testify a lot of Jesus Christ. Not every day in our lives may be exceptional, there are very few that will be. I know that if we follow this counsel and are diligent in our search for those simple things that are wholesome and good then we will be able to find joy, because all good things come from God. Here are some of those simple joys we experienced this week!

I love you all! Just keep smiling!

Celebrating my Birthday!!
Being in good company :) Ward Members

Being in good company :) Ward Members

Being in good company :) Ward Members

Our Sisters

Playing sports with our district!

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Gospel's True and Made For Me and You!

This week has been a long one! But still great like always :) We have done a lot of knocking on doors though and met a lot of cool people! I have had a lot of practice initiating conversation and talking to new people, it has been great! This week my testimony has grown so much on how the gospel fits so perfectly in peoples lives. The gospel is true and it's made for me and you! There is just so much peace that comes from the truths of Christ's gospel, and such a blessing to be able to bring those to others.

Highlight of the week was getting to go to the temple today! I love being able to go to the Lord's house and getting to take in the most special spirit there. It is such a blessing, for us and those that have passed on before us, that He has made temples such an integral part of His plan. I would encourage each of you to go to the temple often, take advantage of this wonderful blessing!
There is a scripture that I have been thinking a lot about lately. Helaman 3:35
"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."
As we yield our hearts to God by doing those little things everyday, like reading our scriptures and praying, we will grow in our humility and therefore become stronger by relying on our Father. I have seen this promise fulfilled so many times and I am grateful for it!
I love you all! Just keep smiling!
Funny things we see knocking on doors!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Our friend who followed us for an hour

There were a few awesome miracles this week!
First, there is a couple we teach named the Noels. It has been really cool to see their hearts soften over time and they have been a lot more receptive lately, but the wife still struggles because she wasn't really certain she knew who God was and especially didn't know that He is her father. Well the other day we had a lesson and she was very excited to tell us about an experience she had. Her family had hit a very unexpected, very sudden trial and they didn't know what they were going to do. She told us that she prayer so sincerely, that she gave everything she had and just let go. The next day they saw an almost immediate solution to their problem. She was in tears and told us that she had no doubts that God is there, that He heard her prayers and that He is her loving Father. She said it's still hard because everything is very new to her, but she is ready to move forward. I cannot express to you how amazing it is to see God's hand in people's lives and how a single experience can change everything. This truly is His work.

Another crazy miracle was meeting Bonnie. We were out of our area that morning doing service and left a little later than planned. As we were going to our car we waved at this woman down the street and said hello, but that's all we were going to do because we were out of our proselyting area. Before we crossed the street though she called out to us and asked "Are you church ladies?!" We went and talked to her and she told us of her incredible experience finding us. She said God had told her that morning to go an walk, He said she would meet two ladies today that would pray for her. So she said ok and started walking, He directed her to what streets she needed to go down and before long she saw us walk out of the building and said our faces shone. She knew it was us she was supposed to talk to. It is amazing how God guides us if only we are willing to listen. There was a reason we were there that morning and that we left later than planned, and if Bonnie wasn't listening she wouldn't have found us. Bonnie actually lives in our area and we have met with her a few times since. It is amazing the changes she is experiencing and peace she is finding in just this short time.

It is so evident to me this week just how involved our Heavenly Father is in our lives. If you have faith and just let go you can have the confidence of Nephi and, like him, say, "I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." Our Father will always be there to lead us if we have trust and let him. 
I hope you all remember that as you go about your week, make it a good one. Just keep smiling! :)
Mission Activity
It was pouring but we killed it at Tug of War


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hello again, Hilliard

Despite what the title may make you think, I did not get transferred. Sister Asay and I will be staying in Piqua. I am so excited for this transfer!

We did go back to Hilliard for a quick visit though, which is about an hour and a half away from where I am currently serving. BUT it could not have been more worth it! You may remember me talking about the amazing couple Rachel and Daniel from Hilliard. If you don't, Sister Speakman and I met Rachel walking her dog outside her apartment and things flew from there! She just soaked everything in and Daniel was a little more skeptical but was diligent in learning  everything for himself. I am so grateful that I got to be a part of their beginning and have grown to love them so much, they are absolutely wonderful. I was sad when I got transferred that I couldn't be an active part in their journey anymore, but the wonderful Sister Speakman kept me updated the whole time. And guess what! They got married Friday night and then I got to come see them be baptized Saturday night! The spirit was so strong there and filled me up. It was such a blessing and an honor to be able to attend and watch them make these essential covenants with their Heavenly Father. So many exciting things happening for them and it just brings me true joy that they are starting their journey in the gospel together and have their sights on the temple! 

Sorry I don't have much else to tell you, it has been just a short time since I last wrote. I do want to leave you with my testimony of service. We have had the opportunity to do a lot of service lately: working in a clothing bank, doing yard work, random acts of kindness, being a light to those around us, and of course performing the service of sharing the blessings of the Restored Gospel with our brothers and sisters. Us rendering service is a way we can show our Heavenly Father our gratitude for everything we have been given. I am truly grateful to have this time in my life set apart completely for the service of others because service brings joy. It's what makes the world a better place. It is my prayer that we each look for those opportunities to serve those around us, because they are always there. 
Mosiah 2:17
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

This week has been a huge testament to me that God make sure we are exactly where he needs us to be.
We met many wonderful people this week, like a man named Larry. We were knocking on this street one morning and we both got this feeling that it's not where we were supposed to be. So we went to a different road we had been wanting to go to and behind one of the first doors we knocked on was Larry. He just recently lost his wife and is searching for comfort, and it turns out that some of his wife's family are members of our ward and actually invited his to attend church recently. We are meeting with him again later this week which surprised his family,  but it is incredible how God prepares people in ways we don't expect.
We also met a woman who was out on her porch who met missionaries and read from the Book of Mormon about 30 years ago! How incredible is that, especially since she would like to meet with us.

We met a man recently who we first had contact with when we were walking down this road and he stopped to make sure our car wasn't broken down or something. Then we saw him again later and actually got to talk with him about the gospel  and it was really cool. The funniest part though is when the next day we met this woman who asked us where we had been yesterday morning, when we told her she informed us that we had met her son! They are not ready yet, but I know that God needed us to have contact with that family for some reason.

Last night we were about to go in for the night and before we did we felt we needed to go talk to a woman sitting out on her porch. She told us how her and her mother have been looking for a church to go to. Then she said she wanted to get baptized and since she doesn't have an extensive background in religion she wants to have someone that will start basic and teach her. Ma'am that's why we are here! It was so incredible.

One of the coolest things was meeting James. We were just walking down the street and he was sitting on the porch. We waved and instead of keeping on to where we were going, we stopped and I am so glad we did. He doesn't have a knowledge of God being his Father, he experiences a lot of emotional turmoil and simply lacks hope in his life. We are just in the beginning of his journey, but we have already seen him feel the spirit and the love of his Father, feel the power of the Book of Mormon, and start to find those glimmers of hope. I love being a missionary!

I want to leave you with my testimony that we have a loving Heavenly Father who has a very specific plan for each of us. That simple but profound truth is what kept me moving forward this week. He knows us individually and perfectly and desires for us to know Him too. I am grateful for prayer and the peace it brings, that it is a way we can feel of His love. If there is anything you are struggling with, need answers for, or just need to know that someone is there for you, I would advise you to get on your knees and offer a heartfelt prayer prayer. I promise that as we humbly listen He will always answer.

I love you all, just keep smiling!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Whatever the Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve

Oh what a week! We had Zone Conference filled with great insights and lessons. So many things were simply inspiration to give the Lord our best. The title of my post today is a quote that President Stratford lives by and has asked that we adopt as a mission. I know that great things can happen when we show the Lord we are willing and give him our all. A key part of that though is recognizing the Lord, yes we can achieve anything, but only with the Lord's help. We talked a lot about humility and turning our will over to God and Sister Stratford presented a few simple statements: I can't, He can, I think I'll let Him. I know that when we turn ourselves over to God and rely on his strength to do what would otherwise be impossible for us, miracles can happen.

Lately we have been exhausted, so we must be doing something right. I wish I knew how many miles we walked the other day, because that's literally all we did. It was awesome. Especially walking back to our car at the end of the night when it started pouring. We were so soaked! But still smiling and having a blast of course.

Saturday morning we also spent a ton of time on our feet. We and the Elders were invited by a member in our ward to share his booth at the farmers market. We made a poster and set up our booth all about family history. I was excited about the concept, but the execution scared me out of my mind. But I applied the principles I have shared with you from zone conference and the Lord was able to give me strength beyond my own and worked the miracle of me being able to talk to many people. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun and we did a lot of good.

The week ended in the greatest way possible, with a baptism! A family that the Elders have been teaching entered the waters of baptism this weekend. The greatest part was being able to spend a lot of time with the mom helping her and above all watching her witness her sons being baptized. There were so many emotions and the spirit was so thick. It was an incredible experience!

Apparently this week's theme is relying on the Lord. Something I wanted to share with you from my study of the Savior comes from John 16
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Christ is the founder of our peace. We have no reason to fear because he has overcome the world, so through him we can overcome anything that comes our way. I know that Jesus Christ is real and that he is our Savior. He is the source of our peace in this life and our hope for the life to come.

I love you all, just keep smiling!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Testimony is a Seal

I know I say this all the time, but Ohio has crazy weather. Right now there is a lot of humidity and crazy thunderstorms that usually start without warning. It always keeps things interesting!

This week has been full of ups and downs, nothing out of the ordinary. Bill is still having a hard time. He was doing so good the whole week and was so prepared to be confirmed yesterday, he even made it to the church building. But he left before sacrament meeting started. Sometimes I don't know what more to do, but the Lord knows what he needs and we will keep trusting and keep trying. God never lets his work go undone.

I don't think I have told you all about one of our new friends Damian yet (and if I have just bear with me). He is doing awesome! His cousin is our bishop so he has had some contact with the church for most of his life, and Sisters knocked on his door and he wasn't very interested. But a few weeks ago he showed up at church with his family and said he wanted to meet and we have been teaching him ever since. He is just eating it up and has already seen such great things in his life from starting on this path of living the gospel. His testimony has grown so much in the short time we have been meeting with him and I know that is because of the things he is doing outside of our lessons, like praying and seriously studying the scriptures. The amount of notes he takes and questions he has fills me with joy. I am just so excited for him and the path he is on!

Something really funny this week. The primary had a water activity, and good thing too because that was a really hot day. We had a meeting at the church and got there earlier than planned, so we got to say hi really quick to all the ward members outside. Well, we were on our way inside when the water guns were brought out. I hear some kid say,  "It's the missionaries!" All of a sudden we were ambushed and were being shot at by many of the kids. Apparently Sister Missionaries make for fun targets. It was a blast and very refreshing after being outside all day haha. 

Something that has really stuck with me this week from our district meeting is the concept of our testimonies being a seal. When we as missionaries bear our testimony in a lesson, the spirit seals the truths we have taught. And when any of us share our testimonies, it seals the knowledge we have gained. It is like having a jar that we are constantly filling as we go to church, read our scriptures, pray. talk with others, and whatever else we do to learn. We keep putting stuff in, but without the seal on the jar we can lose it. I promise you that the knowledge you gain will not likely be lost or forgotten if you seal it by bearing your testimonies, even in informal ways as you live your life and let it show through your actions and the way you interact with others.

I love you all, hope you have a great week! Just keep smiling!

lollipops from Brother Bill's stash      
Making Pizzas

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Big Bad Willie to Brother Houser

We had out first interviews with President and Sister Stratford this week! They are wonderful and have so much love for each of us already. Something that President Stratford has invited us all to do, and I would extend this invitation to all of you as well, is to really focus on our nightly prayers. That is such a  sacred time we have each day to account to the Lord the things we have done and tell him how we feel about the things we experienced throughout the day. I promise that as you come to the Lord and pour out your hear that he will ease your concerns, answer your questions and let you feel how much he loves you. Those assurances are what keep me going everyday.

"I went from Big Bad Willie to Brother Houser." Bill was baptized this Saturday! It is always a wonderful and special experience to witness one of God's children make such sacred covenants that will alter the course of their lives. Bill has already made so many changes in his life to come closer to his Heavenly Father and his Savior. I have come to love hims o much as I have served him and been an instrument in the Lord's hands to help him get here. I cannot begin to express to you the joy I feel! God is going to do amazing things with him on this journey he has just embarked on. Funny thing though, he didn't show up Sunday to be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost....we had a nice long talk about recognizing when the spirit is telling you things and when it is someone else. He will officially be a member next Sunday, you can count on that.

I want you all to know my testimony of how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us. God knows us and loves us each of us individually. All he wants is to help us reach our divine potential he has seen in us from the beginning, because we literally are his children and there is a piece of his divinity always with us. He will give us correction, but always out of love so we can learn and grow. God only wants to build us up to reach that potential, so he would never tell us anything about ourselves that is degrading, discouraging or disappointing. If you do have these thoughts, you are listening to the wrong voice, which is are challenge many of us have to overcome. I would plead with you to do the things God has asked of you aren't prepare yourself to hear the voice of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Strive to listen to the Spirit! I love you all, just keep smiling!

Monday, July 10, 2017

God Answers Prayers Because He Cares

 Everyday I think about how amazing it is that God places us exactly where we need to be. He is so mindful of all of his children and what they need, I am so grateful to be his hands and part of that delivery system.

First off, Bill Houser. He has been working towards baptism for a very long time and recently he told the sisters that if he prayed about a date to be baptized and got the same answer they did he would know for sure it is what God wanted for him. Well, on the 4th of July while Bill was cooking hotdogs for all of us we asked him if he had been praying about a date. He said that he had, but wanted to hear ours first. We told him that we had felt that July 15th was right and as soon as we said that he stopped, his eyes got wide and said, "No way! That is the day I thought of too!" Bill is so ready and very excited for his baptism this upcoming Saturday. It is amazing that the Lord knew he needed that kind of witness and provided it to him.
Bill, Sister Asay and I
God knows the kinds of answers we all need, even if we don't. I have experienced so many answers to prayers for myself lately and none of them have been in ways I expected, but they always come. Often times the Lord wants us to make a decision and come to him for confirmation. Like one of our friends lately has been struggling with making a very big decision. She never felt a definite answer from God as she prayed, but she felt Him pulling her in a specific direction and was able to find peace in that answer. That is the key, is being humble enough to accept the answer even if it doesn't come in the way we expect or hope for.

Thursday we had exchanges and oh boy was it raining that day. It started pouring as soon as we left the apartment and all we had that morning was knocking doors. We looked absolutely ridiculous trudging through the pouring rain and now flooded streets trying to find those who were whole and ready to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite the elements we were smiling all the way and the thought came to me that nothing is worth more than sharing the gospel, no shoes or possessions, comfort or pride. We met many wonderful people that day who I know were put in our path for a reason.

Last night was so cool. We ended the night with Tom who we met sitting in his garage as we were walking down the street. He waved us up his drive and set chairs out for us and we talked about the beauty of God's plan for each of us. He just kept saying how neat this situation was and how much he was going to thank god for it. Before we left he offered a prayer and said that he usually doesn't talk to people like us but thanked God for having him keep his garage open that day and that we walked down his street.

I am so grateful to be a part of this great work and to experience people's prayers being answered everyday. I love in the Doctrine and Covenants 103:36 where it says,
"All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith." I know that we will be successful in life when we realize who has control. As we are diligent in our faith in Christ and rely on the Lord through prayer w will receive answers according to our faith and willingness to act. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Just keep smiling!