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

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Monday, May 22, 2017

From trainee to JC

It has only been four short days since my last update, but it has been a roller coaster. First of all, Sister Speakman and I are staying together another transfer! AND I have officially finished my training, at least that's what they say. It doesn't really feel like it. But we keep moving forward, and things are going great!

Crazy awesome stuff! The Salem family (the one I told you about last time, whose parents don't speak English) is doing amazing! We are looking for more ways to effectively teach their parents, but they have a Book of Mormon and most of the pamphlets in Arabic which they read. All of them except their oldest son came to church this Sunday! How dedicated is that for the parents to come to church even though the service was in English. They are such special people and have a sincere desire to learn. That desire is so sincere that they are working towards baptism! We are so excited for their family, they are some of the greatest people I have ever met.

I have also been focusing on just being myself. Keith and Sister Speakman brought to my attention that I am very relaxed and speak freely around those I love (which is normal). But they also pointed out that I would be a lot more effective as a missionary and people would care more about what I was saying if more people got to see that. So that has been my focus and it has been amazing! It was really hard at first, but I have felt so much more comfortable the more open and genuine I am. Or at least I am really good at convincing myself I am comfortable. I am developing a strong testimony in the "fake it til you make it" principle.

We have been doing a lot of visits with less active members in our ward,  which honestly has been the hardest part of my week. Our Relief Society President gave us a list of names of women in our ward who need visits or don't come to church and we have been trying to see as many as we can. I know a lot of you are probably wondering what the hard part about this is, but it is simply seeing how quickly people can forget the blessings of living the gospel. As missionaries we put  so much time into helping others come to know Christ's restored gospel and it hurts my heart to see those blessed to have it forget it's importance. I know that it is the simple acts of living the gospel, like prayer, scripture study, and going to church, that keep our testimonies strong and living. Our Heavenly Father has given us so many things like the scriptures, prayer, family, our ward families, and most importantly our Savior Jesus Christ, that we can rely on to stay strong. We are to endure to the end, but nowhere does it say that we must endure alone.

That relates a lot to what I would like to share with you this week. It comes from Alma 38:2
"And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end."
As we learn now to be committed to God and build our faith in Him, we will not easily stray. We can have those blessings and the strength to endure to the end, even when we face the most difficult trials, as we look to the Lord in all things.

I love you all, just keep smiling!
The sun shines, even when it's raining buckets!