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

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happy Easter!

There seemed to have been a theme this week, and that is how important the message of Christ's restored gospel truly is. Our challenge this week as a companionship has been figuring out how to help people understand that we aren't just another church inviting them to come out for Easter, but that we share a unique message of how Christ's original gospel has been restored to the earth. It truly is a challenge and we try very hard not to get frustrated, prayer is a huge help with that. Talking with so many people everyday about this though really makes me appreciate the knowledge I have and see how much it blesses me everyday.

We have also been doing a ton of work with the members in our ward which has been so great! We put at least one family in our schedule everyday and share a message with them. The most important thing though is we always leave a commitment, an invitation to share the gospel with their friends in some way. It has been really neat to follow up with that and to hear about their personal experiences. Our ward truly is amazing already and is missionary minded, but it is so great how this extra interaction is making that excitement even greater! 
Stopped by a sister's home while she was making Russian food, blessing!
Have I told you that I absolutely love Zone Conference?! I love interacting with so many other missionaries I don't get to see on a regular basis and the opportunity to receive counsel from President and Sister Daines. They truly are amazing. I think what made me happiest was when we came in for the first meeting and we got to give Sister Daines a hug as we walked in and were able to shake President's hand. He looked into my face and with the biggest smile told me how wonderful and different I look. He was going to continue but he just smiled and said I knew what he meant. I definitely do know exactly what he meant, and that excited approving look on his face made my day. I feel so different and am so much more comfortable and confident than I ever have been and I feel wonderful, I am just thrilled that there is an outward expression of that. You know how I said helping people understand the Restoration has been the theme for us this week? Well it was actually a huge theme in our Zone Conference this Friday as well, how ironic. We discussed how teaching about the Restoration is not about the event, but we should be referring people to the doctrine and the actual truths we are so lucky to have, like the Gift o the Holy Ghost and knowing our families can be together forever. We also talked about the many resources and media we have available to us as missionaries to use in teaching. It was shocking for me to learn about things I didn't even know existed and to see how we aren't even close to using our materials to their fullest. That is something Sister Speakman and I have decided to focus on as a companionship and it really has been great so far. 

We ended the conference in probably the best way possible. They gave us time at the end to share our testimonies if we would like to. The spirit was so strong there and I really enjoyed listening to the experiences and testimonies of my fellow missionaries. It really made me think about my own experiences and lessons I have been learning recently. I think with this transfer and getting a new companion and all the changes that have been happening, it has been a reminder of just how aware the Lord is of me personally. Every experience we have, person we interact with, companion we are given, or trial we are experiencing, is given to us because the Lord knows it is exactly what we need at that moment to grow into the person He know we can become. Well, as I was listening and pondering I could feel President Daines looking at me. He actually wasn't looking at me much at all, but I could almost feel that he was thinking about me. After one Elder had finished speaking, President stood up and said, "Sister Lynch, would you please share your testimony?" I kind of just stared at him for a second because I was shocked and really don't like getting up in front of people, but of course I did because he asked me to. I shared what I just shared with you about being reminded that God does know us perfectly and knows exactly what we need. After we had ended and everyone else was leaving, President Daines came over to talk to me. With tears in his eyes he asked if I knew why he had called on me. I honestly just started crying because I recognized in that moment exactly what had happened. He explained to me that as he was listening he could feel that someone really needed to share and when he looked out at me he knew I was receiving a prompting and not listening to it, so the spirit had instructed to call on me and not let it pass. I think what troubled me most was that I didn't realize in that moment that it was a prompting, I just thought I was being given thoughts of what I would say if I did feel the need to share. I have come very far, but in some ways I still let my fears get in the way of me opening my mouth. I am just so grateful for an inspired mission president who loves me enough to bring that to my attention and teach me so I can continue to work on that.

So funny story about the mysterious ways God works. Friday night after Zone Conference we stopped to get gas, no big deal. As we went to leave, the doors had been locked somehow....and the keys were sitting on the passenger seat. Sister Speakman and I had no clue when or how the doors had been locked, or when we even shut them, but we were stuck there. Here is the incredible part, for some reason Sister Speakman had been holding both her iPad and our phone. So we were able to call for help and actually be useful for the hour we were stuck at the gas station while someone brought us the extra key. Our ward mission leader actually showed up at the same station to pump gas so we were able to talk to him about things we had been needing to, and we contacted so many other people there and actually got three return appointments. I know that even though it seemed ridiculous that we were locked out of our car, God needed us to stay there for a reason. 
Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter yesterday! It is wonderful to have a time set aside to remember our Savior and the sacrifice he performed on behalf of all of us and everyone who has ever and will ever live. I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to know that everyday I can repent and become a better person. I can testify that He knows each of you individually, He knows everything you feel and what you struggle with. I find great comfort in knowing that I have someone who loves me unconditionally, who I can confide in and understands me perfectly, and most importantly, who offers me help. It is my prayer that we keep the spirit of Easter with us always, that we may have a reminder of the great gift our Savior, Jesus Christ, has given us. I love you all! Just keep smiling!