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

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Buckeyes, Baptisms and Blessings

Steven is doing so great! He is such a wonderful father and is teaching his boys the truths of the gospel that he now holds so dear. He has daily prayer and scripture study with them and has started having Family Home Evening! It is amazing to see not only how his baptism is blessing his life, but how it is affecting his sons and their home. I am sad to say he will be moving soon because of his assignment in the military, but we are hoping to continue to develop that relationship with his sons so they will have a desire to keep coming to church.

We have been meeting with Will, who referred himself to us, and his granddaughter Brooklyn. I love going over there because they both have such strong faith. With that though comes some questioning of why the Restoration was necessary, but I know that as they pray and receive that witness for themselves there will be no room for doubt. And let me just tell you, Brooklyn is the sweetest thing ever. She has so many questions and really wants to understand. She was afraid she missed our last appointment so she wrote us a letter about what she learned from her reading of the Book of Mormon and how excited she was for us to come over again. How cute is that?! Before we left last time she told us how much she loves the feeling she has when we are there and how we light up the room. You do not even know how good that made me feel, to know that we invite the spirit so it can be outwardly recognized.

 This week we had our 4 Week Follow Up training. Can you believe that? I have been here a month! We had different training's and discussions and another interview with President Daines. We went back to Ohio State to go contacting on campus, but this time we weren't paired with someone more experienced but with another new missionary! I was in a trio with Sister Hansen and Sister Nielson, our little MTC group! We did so good! I am proud to say that I just went for it and wasn't sacred at all, I initiated conversation and walked faster than I ever have in my life to keep up with people and teach them on their way to classes. It was so much fun. I love being a missionary!

We ended the week with an amazing thing, Keith's baptism! It is so wonderful to see how happy he is knowing this is the right decision. I loved hearing him bear his testimony of how he received a witness that our words were true and that he had seen a difference in his life because of this gospel and especially from reading the scriptures often. I am so grateful that I have been able to witness this change in him.

You know what I am grateful for? A loving Heavenly Father who answers prayers. I love that we can call on him in times of confusion, like one of our investigators this week who suddenly doubted everything she has every known and everything we had taught her. Through relying on God she was able to overcome this. I love that we can pray for strength in overcoming trials and weaknesses, like when I ask everyday for the confidence and faith to open my mouth and share what I know when my fears try to hold me back. I have seen small but very obvious improvements and I know this is from the strength He grants me. I love that we can pray for correction. That one may sound a little strange, but that is something our District Leader challenged us to do this week and it has been very difficult, but rewarding. God knows us better than we know ourselves, but more importantly He knows who we can become and how we are going to get there. If we ask our all-knowing Father what we can improve, he will lovingly tell us the direction He intends for us. By following that direction I know we can become something greater than we could ever imagine or attain on our own.

Love you all

Monday, March 20, 2017

If We Are Never Ucomfortable We Will Never Grow

What a week! I have made a goal for myself lately to study more specifically and find at least one thing a day for one of our investigators. Sister Hall has been really good about checking in with me to see if I have done it and it has amazed me how much we use my insights and the things I have studied for them in our lessons. It is truly a witness to me that I am needed here and that what I have to say can benefit others.

We have one investigator in particular that I have really been able to connect with. Allie is on my mind a lot, it is easy for me to understand where she is coming from on a lot of things because we think very similarly. I think it is amazing how the Lord not only prepares people to receive his message, but how he is able to prepare us to give it. There are countless times when I have been able to explain things a certain way or been able to help her because of my own trials and struggles that I have gone through. Never be afraid to share your experiences and how they have strengthened your testimony because you never know just how much it can touch another person.

Allie is such a great missionary too! She tells everyone about what we teach her and now her little friend Brittany is meeting with us as well. Allie is a person she looks up to so she is very interested and excited by everything she is learning. She honestly amazes me. Her faith in Jesus Christ is so strong for being so young and I am so excited to help her continue to build that faith. And she loves the youth group! We are so excited for her!
Allie also introduced us to her neighbor as well. We had an appointment but they cancelled sadly. Their backup in our plans was a woman we had been trying to see for a very long time and she is always so busy. This time, she allowed us to come in and we were able to teach her whole family about the Restoration! It was truly a blessing in disguise.

We received a referral this week and it was so exciting! His name is Will and he ordered a Bible through the church website and said he would like a Book of Mormon as well. So we brought it over as soon as possible and he was so nice! We were able to teach him the message of the Restoration! At the end he took off his hat and let out a sigh. We were both very worried, but he was actually crying. He was so touched by the fact that the church wouldn't just send him the books, but that they insisted on missionaries bringing them to his home so there could be that interaction and we could share that message with him. He was very exited to set up a time for us to come back. I love when we have the opportunity to meet people who have been prepared by the Lord to hear his message!

Something truly amazing happened this week. I have no doubt that my mission president and his wife are inspired. We had interviews with President Daines this week and got to talk with Sister Daines as well. Lately I haven't really been myself and the work has honestly scared me and I have bee really discouraged despite all the amazing things that are happening. The spirit has been trying to teach me a lot lately about the kind of missionary I can be and how to fix things, but until interviews and the chance I had to really get all of these thoughts and feelings out, I hadn't been able to sort through them and turn them into something constructive that I can move forward with. Since interviews my whole outlook has changed and I honestly feel like a new person. I have realized that I need to stop worrying about myself and if I'll say the wrong thing, because if I am focusing on the Savior and how much I love the people I am teaching I won't have to worry about what to say. And if I do say something silly, who cares, because everyone does. But I know there is a reason I am in The Ohio Columbus Mission and there are people here that I will be able to reach so I need to always open my mouth, no matter how imperfect the words are that come out of it. Since that time Sister Hall has seen a noticeable change in me and I feel so good. She has helped me a lot by making me uncomfortable. It sounds pretty weird, but she is helping me by having me make a lot of decisions and when I knock on a door she won't jump in and save me no matter how much I am struggling. It was so scary at first, but it is helping me see that I really can do this. I am so grateful for a loving companion who will patiently help me work through my struggles. That patience in letting me figure it our on my own led to a lot of awkward moments as I stumbled over my words, but it also led to a lot of "proud mom moments" when I succeeded. I love being a missionary!

Something that I have been noticing over and over again in my study of the Book of Mormon is how willing the Lord is to bless us if only we turn to him. It is usually our own fear, pride or doubts that are keeping us from receiving the blessings He longs to give us. I know that as you forget yourself and rely on Him you will be blessed more than you could ever imagine. 

I love you all! Just keep smiling!
Happy St. Patrick's Day

Monday, March 13, 2017

"It's ok Sister Lynch, you can relax"

Monday, March 6, 2017

Think Less, Listen More

 This week has been really great and I have learned a lot about the importance of goals and self evaluation. If you don't have a goal to shoot for or don't know what you want to improve, who knows where you'll end up. One of my goals is to lead a certain number of street contacts a day and that has been a challenge. It is honestly so frustrating because I am confident in what I know I just can't get it out of my mouth, but I am grateful Sister Hall just throws me out there sometimes and gives me the push I need. She reminds me all the time that the less I think about it and the more I just open my mouth and have faith, the easier it will be. And I know how right she is, but I definitely understand how hard it can be sometimes to just take that leap of faith. As I follow her counsel and trust the guidance of the spirit I am seeing improvements, as small as they may be, but I am excited for the weeks to come.

I actually had a really cool experience earlier this week because I had the faith to trust those promptings. As we were making plans for the day I had a feeling we really needed to go see a lady named Amy that I was reading about, so I kind of skipped over the part in her background that said she wanted nothing to do with us. Later in the day when we were about to go visit her, Sister Hall read that description and asked me if I was sure we wanted to visit her and I timidly said yes. She jokingly said, "Ok, but it's your fault if we get yelled at." So we rode our bikes to her home and knocked on the door. I was so nervous at this point. But she opened the door and came outside to talk to us. She told us about how missionaries had visited her before and how she hadn't even picked up the Book of Mormon she was given for over a year, until three days earlier when she decided to read it! She wanted to meet with us, but said this was her parent's home and it was funny we even caught her there. We were able to refer her to other missionaries in our area who met with her and she now has a date set to be baptized next month! It is amazing how the Lord is preparing people and what we are capable of when we rely on Him and trust the promptings He gives us. 

Talking to strangers isn't fun for me yet (Yet is the key word, we will get there), but I absolutely love lessons with our investigators! I love the opportunity to meet as friends and share my testimony and how the gospel has blessed my life. As we taught Rick about eternal marriage this week it was such an amazing thing to be able to tell him about my own family and how much I love knowing we have the opportunity to be together forever because of temples. That is honestly one of my favorite things to talk about and it was awesome to hear from him the joy he sees it give me. You want to hear something crazy, we finished teaching Rick all of the lessons! He has a desire to be baptized and believes everything we are teaching and he never misses a Sunday at church, so we are helping him make a plan to help him get to baptism. 

We got the car this week! I definitely appreciate it, but Sister Hall thinks I'm a little strange for missing the bikes. It's really fun though. It is really nice being able to reach more places that we normally can't on bikes. Having the car also means that I am the designated backer. That means that even though it may be windy, or snowing (both things I experienced this week), I stand behind the car and let her know it is safe to back. I even tripped over a curb walking backwards which we both thought was pretty funny, and probably whoever else saw me. Backing is definitely one of my favorite hobbies now. 

So many great things happened this week, but the most amazing thing was that our investigator Steven was baptized this Saturday and was able to be confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. He is just so happy and I am so excited for him and the things to come in his future because of this wonderful decision he has made. We start teaching him the new member lessons tonight and I cannot wait! I love meeting with Steven because honestly, I don't do much. He is just so ready and willing to learn it's really just him soaking up the spirit. I learn more from him and his testimony than he ever could from me.

I hope you are all doing wonderful! I am loving life and I love being a missionary!

Sister Daines, President Daines, Steven, me, Sister Hall
Steven's baptism

Our Zone
We have the car