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

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

For God so Loved the World

This week has been FANTASTIC...lcy cold. As I write this, it is 1 degree outside. Crazy! Mornings are definitely hardest but we are still seeing miracles! We have been able to miraculously see Investigators who have been hard to contact. Thankfully quite a few people have let us inside and we have been able to have awesome spur of the moment lessons. It has been great!

This week we had the really neat experience to help a little with a live nativity. A family in a neighboring ward puts in on, and a country store that is basically a barn lets them use their building and it turned out great! There were lots of animals and we got to help kids dress up as shepherds as they came in (that was so much fun!) and there were musical groups every night. It was so cool and there was a very special spirit there. One of the nights they had wanted a missionary choir and we really wanted to do it! We tried and no one was really helping getting it organized. But we had already promised, so Sister Holdaway and I and two companionships of Elders sang. By the time it was our turn everyone had pretty much cleared out, but we sang in the loft of the barn for the cow and the sheep. There was a very special spirit that accompanied us that night. I can't think of anything to honor the Savior more than singing hymns of praise to his birth in a humble setting such as that. It was amazing.
 
 
Something we are focusing on as a district is finding through members, to do this we decided we would focus on teaching families about the Restoration which is usually the first thing we teach to our investigators. When we were given this challenge, Elder Bagley, our district leader, promised it would produce some incredible experiences and that is definitely true. Those lessons, with people already members of the church, have become some of my most treasured memories as. We have taught quite a few of these lessons now, but one of my favorites has been with the Villers. I have talked about them a bit, but they are some of my favorite people. It was actually a little difficult to get through the lesson, we were all getting a bit choked up. Sister Holdaway was trying to share Joseph Smith's experience and the vision he saw and asked me to finish for her, but I had just as hard of a time. There are very few times that I have felt the amount of peace that I did sitting in their living room that day, and I cannot deny that those feelings came because of the intense spirit present there.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! It was a special day indeed and I had a wonderful holiday spent with families in my ward. They have all become my family and made it feel like home which I am grateful for.
I am grateful for this time that we have to focus on our Savior Jesus Christ. Something I have been pondering on lately is the fact that without Christ's life and the Atonement that He performed for each of us, there would be no reason to celebrate His birth. He would have been just another baby if He were not the  Savior of the world.
 
Merry Christmas!

Skyping the fam

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

I love you all, I hope you have a wonderful week and a Happy New Year! 
Just keep smiling!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Achieving Change

This week has been a blast! We have seen miracles like always and our days have been filled with fun Christmas things!


One of the biggest miracles this week has been teaching Jose. A few months ago we had met a man and could never get in contact with him, but we kept meeting Jose who he lives at the same address. He didn't seem too interested but we shared some with him and gave him a card with our phone number and church information. Well, after one of the nights that we saw him again he texted us. He said that he felt bad that we kept coming by in the rain or the cold and that he has never been able to invite us in, but since we have been so diligent he wanted to listen to what we have to say. So we set up a lesson and have had a few since then and he has attended a baptism with us! His English isn't 100% but he is understanding what we teach. He is a super awesome guy and very in tune with his spirituality, and the gospel is going to change his life! 

Like I said, this week has been full of fun Christmas things, like more opportunities to do service, and Christmas programs. I am so glad that even though I am not at home, I still get to do the fun Christmas things like setting up the tree and decorating. 
 
 
On Saturday we had our Christmas zone conference which was a blast! We got to so some service and fun activities. It was fun getting to be with my mission family as well as see my friends and ward members from my previous area who were helping out with the program :) Before dinner there was an adorable program of the nativity put on by some primary age children. It was so special. Something that stuck out to me today was President Russell from our mission presidency talking about the Celestial Joy we will feel every time we see the people we have served with, the same kind of joy that we will experience when we are reunited with our brothers and sisters after this life. Seeing those wonderful ward members today, people I have worked with, getting to spend the day with the Stratfords and the rest of my mission family brought me so much joy. And I am so grateful that God lets us feel that kind of love, and I know it has developed through rendering service and laboring in this great cause. 
 
 

I got to feel a lot of that Celestial joy on Sunday when we participated in a missionary choir for a Christmas devotional that all of my companions still currently serving participated in as well! It was amazing seeing all of them and I didn't know my heart could hold so much. You develop such a special bond with those you serve along side and when you are reunited it just fills you up. Seeing Sister Hall and Sister Speakman, the two incredible missionaries who trained me reminded me of all the experiences I had early in my mission. It made me realize just how long ago that time was, how far I have come. I am happy to say I am a completely different person and still changing. It struck me that changing in such a drastic way not only constitutes success on my mission, but our success in life. God's whole purpose in giving us this life is so we could gain experience, grow, change, and learn how to be more like Jesus Christ and the person he intends for us to be so we can achieve that joy God has in store for us. Our whole task in life is to follow Christ's example and the path our Father has laid our for us, and to let Him shape us and use us how He will. I am grateful for my mission, that it is showing me what it means to be a disciple of Christ, that it has put me in a position to be changed so drastically by The Master. 

These are Christ's own words found in John 5:30 and a statement we should all strive to echo in our own lives,
"I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
Seeking His will over our own is how we will achieve this change.

I would encourage you to ponder on what you can do to more fully follow Jesus Christ, and in turn be changed into who the Father meant you to be.

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

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith

Wow! Has it been an incredible week! We have seen so many miracles it would be hard to tell you about all of them. I'll just give you a few so you can get a taste of our incredible life as a missionary!

First of all, it snowed for the first time this week! It was so so exciting! But not it is pretty cold and windy, it's honestly exciting when it gets up in the 30's. But we are staying warm and doing great, and neither of us have slipped yet! That is a miracle in itself :) haha
 
 

The first day it snowed we had the most incredible lesson, on someone's porch! That was really fun! It was awesome though and she is so prepared for this message!

Also, Grahm was baptized and confirmed this week!!! It was so so exciting to see him make such sacred, essential promises with our Father in Heaven. It was even cooler to talk with him a few days after his confirmation about the changes he has seen in himself since receiving the Holy Ghost. He is amazing!
 

We had the feeling the other night to try and see one of our newer investigators who we have a hard time getting in contact with and she was home! We had a great lesson and she has a desire to work towards baptism! AND she set up a solid return appointment which is something she has never done before.

The other morning as we were planning we came across a street we didn't even know was in our area boundaries, so we decided to go! After a lot of unanswered doors in the freezing cold, we met two really awesome people who lived side by side. It was amazing to see how because our conversation was guided by the spirit we were able to teach both of them and set up times to come back, and one of them was initially jut going to shut the door.

Yesterday morning was probably the highlight of my week though. We put a specific area in our plans and planned to try a lot of former investigators. We finished, but before we went back to our car Sister Holdaway saw a name on the map and felt like we should go try by. Well, that was probably the best decision we made all week because it helped us find Jessica. She immediately let us inside and we met her cute little family. She was very interested  in what we do and our message. We were able to share the whole restoration with her and teach about the Book of Mormon. Her response to us was "Where can I get one of these Book of Mormons?" We were so excited to tell her that we had one for her right there! She told us about her search and how for a long time she has been looking at different churches to know what was right, and was confused by how many versions of the Bible there are. She has been praying to find answers and while we were talking with her she said "I never knew my prayer could be answered by you two knocking on my door out of the blue." It is no coincidence that we came to her house that morning, God sent us there because she was ready to find her answer.

Some of those may seem like small things, but having a great lesson or stopping by at just the right time are tender mercies that mean the world to me. I am so grateful to be a part of this work and to be serving in Piqua Ohio at this time (I am staying another transfer by the way!) I know that this is where the Lord needs me at this time. We are seeing many miracles everyday and I know it is because of setting inspired goals, and then having faith and diligently following the spirit to make them happen. 
A scripture that I think relates a lot to our recent experiences is D&C 103:36
"All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith."

I am grateful to know that those goals are never our own, but that we are privileged to be engaged in the Lord's purposes. When we rely on Him we can be blessed to see amazing thing and experience miracles!

Experience some mighty miracles this week! Just keep smiling!
 
 

Monday, December 11, 2017

He Will Provide


 What a week! We saw so many amazing miracles, the Lord provided for us big time this week!

Lately a struggle we have had is helping our new investigators progress in the gospel, but this week as we followed the spirit and set goals we were able to help them!
Our friend David is doing awesome! We had a wonderful lesson this week with him and he is loving the restored gospel! He reads the Book of Mormon and feels the peace it brings. We had the chance to teach him the Plan of Salvation this week and it was so cool to see it answer some of his questions and that it made so much sense to him. We are so excited for him!

Two of our other friends, Clark and Diana are doing great! They read the Book of Mormon together and love learning. Last week we had an amazing lesson with them definitely let by the spirit and they better understand our purpose. This week we had another amazing lesson. We taught them some of God's plan for us and it made so much sense to them. AND here is a huge miracle, they accepted a baptismal date! We didn't know if they were ready for that quite yet, but the spirit told us otherwise and they were excited to accept a date! We are so so stoked for them!

Other super awesome news! Grahm had his last lesson yesterday and is getting baptized tomorrow! We could not be more excited :)

So many of our miracles this week happened during our power hours, those are the hours between 10am and 12. There were two days where we found two new investigators during those hours! 
The other day our morning started off pretty bad. There was a woman who invited us back and we were just having a normal conversation about gospel related things, but as soon as we even started to share about the restoration the situation became very contentious. It was awful, but we kept on going that morning and we found this awesome couple! They invited us in immediately and recognized that our message is what they have been looking for. They were so grateful that we knocked on their door and so were we. 
Yesterday morning was also really cool! We planned on doing service at a clothing bank outside of our area, but we forgot our phone to ask for permission so we chose to be obedient and went home to get it. And we were blessed for that obedience! A little while back our super solid investigator Ed fell off the face of the earth. Sister Holdaway had the thought to stop and see if he was home since we were driving by anyways and he was home!!!! It was awesome!

It is amazing how aware the Lord is of every detail of our lives and knows the needs of each of his children. When we have desires to follow him, are diligent and obedient he will provide.

I love you all so much! Just keep smiling!

And in case you missed my light the world posts on Facebook, here are some updates on what we have done to light people's worlds :)
 


 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Joy and Consolation

What a crazy awesome week!!! We met a man who said he did his genealogy work and that he is related to Jesus, he also said he has died 10 times (we take everything people tell us with a grain of salt haha). We got to pass out flyers to businesses for a live nativity going on, which was a lot of fun because people were actually excited to talk to us. Wrapped some Christmas presents! We were also hugged by some guy on his porch without our consent, and gave someone a heart attack (with cut out hearts of course).
 
Wrapping Presents

Heart Attack
We met lots of cool people this week, Sister Holdaway is super in tune and always puts just the right streets in our plans and feels like we need to knock on the doors with the coolest people behind them. We had the most powerful Sacrament meeting Sunday, there were 5 members of the congregation who gave short talks on their favorite hymns and then we had the opportunity to sing it. There is so much power in those inspired songs. We also were able to attend a few baptisms! It was wonderful! 

We also had a fantastic Thanksgiving! We were able to spend it with a few families in our ward who we love dearly. It definitely made it feel like home which I was grateful for.
 
Happy Thanksgiving
On top of the collection I gave you at the beginning, there were a few particular highlights of my week that I wanted to tell you about.
First of all, the other day in a lesson with Grahm (who will be baptized next week!) we were talking about service and missionary work and a whole bunch of things. At one point Grahm said, "On my mission..." I honestly can't remember the rest because I was just too excited by the fact that he has a desire to serve a mission! It made me so happy to think that because Grahm is truly converted to the gospel and has his own testimony that he is working hard to build, he is going to go on to affect so many people and be able to share the thing that has blessed his life. I can't help but think about how the missionaries who taught my mom would feel to know that her daughter is now on a mission. They affected more lives than they could possibly realize because of their service, and the effects will keep on going!

Another highlight of my week happened today when Damian, who got baptized last month, was able to go to the temple to do baptisms for his family members who have passed on. It was a beautiful experience and I am grateful that we were able to attend with him. It is moments like those that I will treasure forever. 
 
 

I love being a missionary! I love meeting people, teaching them about the restored truths of the gospel, serving people. Above everything though, what brings me the greatest joy is seeing how the gospel changes lives when people are truly converted and apply it in their lives. I love seeing the excitement Grahm has to share the gospel, and that Damian was so excited to help his ancestors have the blessings of the gospel when they didn't have the chance in this life. It is a blessing to meet such people, who recognize the value of their newly found treasure and use it! The gospel is only worth something when we use it and apply it in our lives, when we let it change us into something better. I love this scripture in the Book of Mormon that helps us know what we must do for this change to happen.

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."

May we all do what is required to find this joy and consolation. 
Just keep smiling!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nothing of Consequece Happens By Coincidence

What an amazing week! It has been full of inspiring meetings and great counsel! What made them especially wonderful is that Timothy J. Dyches of the 70 presided and spoke at both our Zone Conference and Stake Conferences this week. Let me tell you a little about what I took away from them :)


Zone Conference was so powerful! The spirit was so strong and taught me a lot that day. There were many wonderful words given on how to receive and follow the guidance of the spirit, developing Christlike attributes, "treasuring up" the word of God, our purpose as missionaries, and how to improve our teaching. It was definitely like drinking from a fire hose. It made me very grateful for personal revelation, because that night as I was praying about the things I learned that day,  the Holy Ghost was able to show me a theme from all of that information:
My responsibility is to value the things that have worth to God.

That is something I felt inspired to share with you today. As I learn more and more about who I am as a child of God, His plan for us, and my potential, what is important to me changes. And let me tell ya, I am grateful for that! There are things that mean everything to our Father in Heaven, and one of the purposes of our lives is to realize what those are and learn to value them as well.  Some of these that were pointed out in the conference are:
1) Our relationship with Jesus Christ
          This life is a time to prepare to meet God, through Jesus Christ and His
          Atonement. We have the opportunity to follow His example and develop
          Christlike attributes.
2) Our own worth and potential
          When we understand our worth as a child of God and our divine
          potential, our perspective on life changes.  We will have greater
          determination to live God's commandments and follow His path for
          us. We will have a desire to endure to the end.
3) Our ability to rely on the Hoy Ghost.
          God has given us a wonderful gift of His companionship.  Seek for
          promptings and act on them!
4) The Gospel
          Treasure up the words of Christ. There is nothing worth more than these
           truths.  We each have a commission to share them!

This is what the Lord needed to teach me at this time, but definitely only a small list of the many things that matter to Him. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given us these gifts, because He knows what will make us the most happy and successful.  His hope is that we come to understand them, act on them, and treasure them as He does. But nothing will ever happen in thought alone. Something that Elder Dyches said in Stake Conference has really stuck with me and motivated me. He said, "Nothing of consequence happens by coincidence."
God did not give us these things of great consequence by coincidence, and they will not become of worth to us by chance.

That being said, think of the things in your life that you are thankful for and value most. I would invite each of you to ponder, study out, and ask God what is important to Him. Do those lists match? 
I would assume that none of ours match as closely as they should.
Pray to your Father in Heaven to know what you can change in your life, to develop a plan to find value in the things that He treasures. I know He will answer your prayer as He has mine. Then follow that plan! 
I know that as we facilitate our own growth, not leaving anything up to chance or coincidence, God will fulfill our righteous desires.

I love you all, Just keep smiling! And have a happy Thanksgiving!
Things I am thankful for!
Fun pit stops to get AMAZING donuts!
A wonderful companion!
When it is warm enough
not to wear our winter coats!
Grahm!!!! and the Bevan's "Thanksgiving Tree"
Beautiful Ohio Sunsets







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!
 
Damian!
 

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!