Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ashley's account of service in the Rockaways and other great news.

Hola Familia!! Como Estais? Estoy bien! Trabajando mucho duro. Todas los dias. 

okay, that's enough Spanish for now. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I can say that it was sad that I wasn't doing what I normally would for Thanksgiving but it was so great to share the thanks I had for the people who were serving us. We had our "lunch" Thanksgiving dinner at the Giffords. The fire alarm only went off a few times! Haha well something overflowed in the oven and there was a lot of smoke. But it was really good!! By-the-way, she had her baby Sunday! So they have a 2 year old named Elizabeth and a 1 year old named Katlyn and then a brand new baby boy! She is really awesome with them. Our job before the dinner was ready was to keep the girls preoccupied which proved to be a pretty complicated task. But all in all it was great! Then we went to our next "dinner" Thanksgiving. She told us she was going to be making Chili but her dad was in town so we had the china out! It was very fancy and VERY good. They have the CUTEST little girl who just had her first birthday. I swear, she is the happiest baby I have EVER met. She just sits and smiles. Her name is Lillan. Even though I wasn't with my family I still felt all of your love! Thank you all for your examples and for your love! 

On Friday we got to go do service in the Rockaways! It was probably the most humbling thing that I have experienced besides going to the Dominican Republic. These peoples homes are completely destroyed. The first woman's home we went in had water 4 feet high. We had to cut the walls up to 6 feet, tear out the insulation, the floor, and the cabinets. The homeowner was SO nice and so thankful. We basically gutted her whole house. The second home we went to only had 4 of us working on it; the group leader, another sister from a ward and me and Hermana Taylor. We tore out their whole basement. Luckily it was pretty small but it was in worse condition then the first because everything was still soaking wet. The sheet rock was just crumbling when we took it out, and luckily they had Styrofoam insulation so we didn't have to tear out soaking fiber glass. They were so thankful! The third house we went to was in a lot different situation in that nothing had been removed from the house even though the water had come up into the home about 3 feet. She had us take out all the stuff from her cabinents and everything was moldy, but she wouldn't let us throw it away. So we had to clean everything in freezing cold bleach water. Really we were just there to do whatever they told us to do, and we tried to do our best. I am so thankful for this experience because it has really helped me to be able to see how blessed we our in our church.We are taught to be prepared and also to help one another out when times are hard. There were people from all over, members and non-members, who have come to help. When we pulled up to the station there were licence plates from Washington, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. It is AMAZING the work that is being done but there is SO much devastation still. Keep them in your prayers. 

We were walking down the street on Saturday. We were about done for the night, it was like 8:50 so we were headed back to the apartment when we heard, "mormonas, mormonas!" and usually that never happens. It was a father and a son who have just moved here one week ago from Santiago, D.R. The son is a baptized member of the church! and has the Aaronic priesthood! The dad is still working stuff out but has a desire to be baptized. It was so crazy though because basically all of our appointments for that night had fallen through, and we ended up in a completely different place than we should have been at that moment. It is so amazing to see Heavenly Father work through us to help His children. I know that I will never feel as useful as I do right now while I am serving the Lord. 

We started teaching one of the members goddaughters. She is 12 and really loves coming to church and YW. But it has been a challenge for me to figure out how to teach her.  But as I study the gospel topics, it becomes easier because in reality this gospel is so simple that even children can understand it. It is amazing.   
We have also had a first lesson with a family we found while tracting. They have 3 children a first grader, a pre-schooler and a 2 year old. They are from the D.R. and are pretty religious. We have taught them the Restoration on the first visit! We were talking about how after Christ died the world fell into apostasy and how whenever the world falls into apostasy, God calls someone to be a prophet and they said, "yeah, that makes sense." Basically our jaws dropped because when people hear that they usually go off on how in the bible it says there won't be any more prophets. But I think that they are understanding that the gospel isn't complicated. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon together, and pray as a family each night. We can only meet with them once a week so we hope all will go well.

We (my companion and I) have another investigator who is really tough. His family is Pentacostal and he knows EVERYTHING about the bible. We will try to be teaching him something and then he will pick out one of the words we said and go off on some biblical tangent. It is tough but luckily we have a member who is pretty good at all things Pentacostal so we call her up often. Except yesterday we had a little tussle when Hermana Agular (another sister missionary) brought up baptisms for the dead to our investigator's mother, who is a seious Pentacostal. (She has only sat in on a few lessons.) When she brought that up our eyes just got big and we were like, nooooooooo. Pentacostals believe that you gain your own salvation here on earth; which is great, but that anyone who dies without the gospel or baptism, is lost and God will decide their fate. We showed her that in 1 Cor. 15:29 it talks about baptisms for the dead.

But really being on a mission has helped me realize how great a blessing the Book of Mormon is. Because EVERYONE interpruts the bible differently, and it is really hard to try and make someone think differently than what they have learned their whole life from the word of God. So I am very thankful for the clarity that the Book of Mormon brings to the Bible. Because without it, I know that we would be lost.

Sunday we had an investigator come to church without us even knowing she was coming! Her son is a member and has been having a hard time. When I saw her come in my heart just stopped! I am definitely beginning to love the people here more and more.

Haha speaking of loving the people, the members of our ward are awesome. They ALWAYS want to feed us which is great! but it just means I need to work-out that much harder in the morning. We always "besito" the sisters in the ward.... and guess what I got? My first man besito! yes, I did. and Elder Wilsher said my face went bright red. I was so shocked, and I didn't know what to do! hahaha we had a talk with him about how sister missionaries can only do that with sisters. fyi - "besitos" are cheek kisses.

My hna. Taylor went to the Newsies on broadway today! So I am here with the other sister missionaries in our district. Sister Johnson from Arizona and Sister Maldarizzi from Milan, Italy. They are way fun. and guess where we are going today for p-day!?!?! THE TEMPLE! I am so excited. I have heard such great things about the temple here.

It was Hna. Taylor's birthday on Thursday last week! She is 24! She is so awesome. And guess what I just heard!? In March we are getting 30 new missionaries in a transfer and 11 are sisters. and some of them are 19. AHHH freaking out. and kind of scared. I hardly know the subway system and the streets in our area. I am trying hard but it is so different than Utah unfortunately. But I have faith that whom the Lord calls, he qualifies. THAT'S ME!

I love you all so very very much! I hope that you have a wonderful week and that it doesn't snow too much for you all. :)


con amor,
Hermana Lancaster   

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