Monday, January 27, 2014

Ashley and Hermana Richardson go to Phantom!

Beautiful Brownstones! 

Ashley in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art...her favorite place!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Being "grounded" by the snow

Hey everyone!

Friday we got snowed in, well not snowed in but "grounded" because of
the snow. We hung out with Sisters Udy and Barlow in our apartment. It
was actually really bittersweet. We were supposed to take our car in
that morning at 9, but because we were grounded we had to make a new
appointment which wouldn't be till Monday at 9. Lame! We will be
carless for the whole weekend! We played Life with the sisters and
ordered pizza! It was fun to chill and get to know them better. Around
5 we were ungrounded. We had an appointment with the Molina's and
didn't end up getting there till around 6 because the elders came to
jump our car to make sure it still worked and it ended up being crazy!
We went to the Molina's and had dinner and shared a message. They are
the sweetest family! I love visiting them! Their mom is so caring and
loving. She always makes sure we feel at home. After, we went to McDonalds
because the elders had a lesson in Stamford. So we online proselyted
for a little then walked home. Burrrrr. It is cold here!

Saturday we had an APF! We went to the sisters side of Stamford and
looked up less actives. Luckily there were a lot grouped together,
because we are still carless. So they dropped us off and we went to
work. We ended up finding a member who no one had visited in a while
and a cute older couple who were in need of a blessing. It was cool to
be kind of like an answer to their prayers. We called up the elders
and scheduled an appointment for the next day. Then we headed off for
the next look up. My feet were frozen! My boots are definitely more
for looks than warmth. And the coat I have is pretty much the same. I
didn't think I would be spending so much time outside! But I will
survive until February. After the look ups we went to Chipotle for
dinner with Sister Parkin and Sister Hansen. It was so good! It was my
first time ever eating there! It is funny how, even though we get fed
Spanish food everyday, we still all wanted Chipotle. I don't know what
is going to happen when I go home and don't have arroz y pollo todos
los días! Hahaha! After they dropped us off at a member's house whom
we have been trying to reactivate. She doesn't have a ride for church
and is going through a lot of problems with her son. She could really
use your prayers! Her name is Gladys. After we went to Best Buy to use
the internet. We were thinking about walking home but, it was freezing
and we live a mile or so away. So we called the elders who happened
to be in Norwalk! They gave us a ride home and all was well.

Sunday we went to church with the Molina family and Gladys! It was a
miracle! We only had one awkward comment from her in Gospel
Principles. For some reason she felt the need to ask the teacher why
she was having "demonic visions." (Ohhhh dear!) The joys of missionary
work! Then we had fast and testimony meeting. Just like in the
Bronx, after the priests are excused to sit with their families the
people walk up and sit on the stand. It was really good though! After
they wanted to talk to me about playing a special song for the next
week. Then the next thing we know, all the other missionaries are gone
and the members and we are like, "Oh no!! How are we going to get home?!"
Luckily the bishop's wife was sitting there, but she said that they were
staying at the church. So we called up Elder Gleason and Elder
Longmore to see if they would give us a ride home. They were just
about to go to a visit with the Balatzar family so they came and got
us too. It was so slippery to get to their house! We had to cling to
the elders to help us! Then when we got inside, lo and behold, all the
other missionaries were there. We were like, "Oh thanks for the invite?"
It's been really stressful without a car. We ate some yummy Peruvian
food for lunch and then headed to the house of the look up we did the
day before, to give him a blessing with the elders. They are the
cutest old peruvian couple! He has arthritis really badly in his hands
and has not been doing well in the cold. When the elders gave him a
blessing, he wept! It was such a spiritual moment! The faith of those
people is so strong! After, we went to the farewell shin-dig for Elder
Arenas! He goes into the MTC today! It was really sweet, everyone went
around and shared experiences about him and then shared their
testimony with them. It was awesome! I was like, oh man, my family
didn't do this with me! Maybe for the next missionary in the family.

Monday was pretty crazy. We went down to jump our car with the
sister's around 8 am to make sure it wouldn't die, and it was pouring
rain. We said a prayer of safety and went out there. We jumped it easy
and then headed off, only, we didn't go three feet before we realized
something was wrong. The tire was flat! Ohhh man. We pulled it into
the covered garage and tried to get the spare out. Sister Udy is a
champ and lived in Idaho and worked on farm and really knew what she
was doing. We got everything pretty much ready then tried to start
taking the lug nuts off. It was hard! We stripped the wrench they gave
us and then called the elders who also have a Chevy. They drove here
from Stamford and assessed the damage. We got out their wrench and
tried to remove the lug nuts, still nothing. Sister Barlow and Sister
Udy called a member to ask if we could use some of their tools. They
came by and we finally could remove the tire and get the spare on. By
this time it was noon. We drove ever so slowly down the road to get to
the dealer and they took it I and said they would call us soon. We
went to the library and did some planning and online pros. We sat and
chilled for a while, then around 4 we were pretty hungry. We stopped
by Panera bread and ate some yummy soup and sandwich dinner then tried
to get ahold of someone to come pick us up. Unfortunately no one was
close so we had to wait another hour for the zone leaders to come pick
us up. Our lives have been kind of at the mercy of others. Elder
Rutland was on a split with elder Aagard and they came and took us

Tuesday, we had an appointment with one of our investigators,
Christina. Luckily Sister's Udy and Barlow helped us out and we got
there just fine. We had a refresher of the Restoration. She has been
taught all the lessons but it has been a while. She is really awesome
and you can just tell that she is searching for more. We talked a lot
about praying to know the truth and then also about priesthood power.
We had to cut our lesson short because her son had to be picked up
from daycare, but we had a way awesome talk and we could just be
friends! Sharing the gospel naturally! The zone leaders were supposed
to pick us up but they weren't to Norwalk yet. So we started walking
down the street, kind of praying really hard because it was supposed
to be the coldest day ever! We were thinking about how we were gunna
play things out when Christina pulls over and is like, "get in, I can't
have you walking around in this weather." I was so amazingly thankful!!
Really though. The members and missionaries have been super awesome to
us! We decided that we could for sure count on the Molina's to be home
and, they were! We talked a lot about life and how life as a
missionary is different than a normal person. We had yummy arroz con
pollo. Ecuadorean style! It was really yummy! Then luckily the
sister's Barlow and Udy could come pick us up. We came home and
planned and tried to figure out what we were going to do for p-day.

We were hoping to go down to the city this week but we didn't have a
set plan and everything was kind of crazy. So we ended up going to the
mall with hermana's Barlow and Udy. It is a great mall! It has so much
stuff! J. Crew! Pottery barn! Zara, forever 21, H&M, I didn't even
know what to do with myself! I love shopping way too much. It was
definitely a chill day, which isn't bad and is actually pretty good.
The next few weeks will be like, going by so fast! It is crazy!

Remember to read your scriptures and pray everyday personally, and as
a family!! Read your patriarchal blessing and see what blessings are
awaiting you! I love you all so so much!

Love, Hermana Lancaster

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Week in Review

On Monday we had our P-day. We didn't really do much seeing as we had
to have district meeting still. But I did scrub down the bathroom. Man, it was a little scary. The shower hadn't been scrubbed down in a while and the corners of the bathroom were scary! I think that when I go home I will adopt these new cleaning habits to my life. I for sure hope so.

Tuesday was chill! We went to the church early and got hot chocolate ready because we were going to carol outside of Stamford library. We practiced a few songs then headed out. It was so fun to make the hot cocoa with them. Elder Gleason calls me mom. In Kingsbridge it was like, a "mean mom" thing, but here, it is just chill. We stood on the street holding signs like what we did in the BX, but there were a lot less people walking around. We sang every half hour and contacted the other times. It wasn't super cold! I was happy seeing that Sister Card is the new owner of my coat. I have a nice peacoat now and luckily it is providing sufficient warmth! 

We went to bishops house for ChristmasEve brunch. He is a cool guy and his wife is so sweet! They have a daughter who is serving right now in North Carolina! We got to see a little of the Christmas program Elder Archuleta did down in Chile! It
was nice! I tried to sing and I am just sick. I was sounding so horrible in the choir I felt bad for everyone else. But bishop did say that I sounded good so that's good! They had like a testimony meeting before we ate. We were like all sitting starring at our food, watching it get cold and trying hard to listen. Man, hunger gets me. After we went to the church to have an interview via FaceTime with the STL's. They are cool! I am happy with them. I don't know why but I didn't have that much patience that day. I was definitely praying hard for it. That is for sure. That night we went to the most ROCKING party. So there is a member who is in the English ward who's mom is in our ward. The member, owns 3 or 4 mcdonalds. He makes a very good living. Their house, is amazing. It was like going home to Utah for a few hours. Living room, beautiful kitchen! We walked in and they asked us to take our shoes off! They asked if we could help set up the nativity scene
and I was like yeah! So I started working, then the dad came over and was like, let's move this back, so I am moving stuff, next thing I know, the wise man is on the ground missing a hand and his staff. I broke the wise man! I was so embarrassed. He said it was okay but hey. They have 2 boys and the mom is about to have a little girl! Their boys are so cute! Ethan and George. They have a play room. It is full of noodles that you would use in the pool but here, they were used as swords! It was so fun to play with them. I just miss little kids so bad. Really being there made me realize how much I want that! I want a big family full of kids to love and teach. 

It started snowing at the party and I was worried about driving home. The food was amazing and brother Michelle, the member who owns the McDonalds, who had the party, talked to us about flavors and food, and eating as an experience not as an act. I really liked it! Mostly because I love food! I love flavors! So it was cool to hear him talk like that. I ended up driving home and it was the first time I had driven in snow in about 21 months. It ended up being good except for missing some exits and turns. We all pulled out beds out into the living room and had a sleepover. It was fun to spend the night with other sisters! Seeing how I haven't had that yet it has been a really fun experience! Me and sister Udy are like, both in love with One Direction! I love it. She is the first sister who I have talked to who has liked One Direction as much as me! I love it. She is really fun!

Wednesday was Christmas! We woke up and opened presents. It was pretty
cool except I had one thing to open. then I had to remember my present is Broadway! We had a breakfast appointment at 10:30 in Greenwich with
the Arenas! They have a son who is leaving on a mission in 2 weeks. It was cool to talk to him and help him out with stuff he should pack and the MTC and stuff. They have a sweet basement with a projector and huge amps. The have dance parties all the time with the ward. It was so fun to just chill with the other missionaries. They have become like family to us. I love them so much! Elder Berryman, Elder Gleason, Elder Longmore, Sister Parkin, Sister Hansen, Sister Wilkes, Elder Duvall, Elder Ordaz, I am going to miss them all a lot when I go home! 

After we went to the bishops house because he lives in Greenwich also,
and talked with our families!! It was so cool. The connection was 
kinda bad at first but then the elders left for the church and it got a lot better. I love them!! I miss my family and honestly can't believe that I am going to be seeing them so soon. It is kind of mind blowing in all honesty! My family made me a music video of "All I want for Christmas is you" I love it!! It was hilarious!! I can't wait to see their faces! After we face-timed we went to the Molina's house. They are a recently reactivated family and are SO sweet! Hna. Molina got us presents! She got me a purple and grey striped shirt! I was like, "so these are my favorite colors in my favorite pattern in the most comfy shirt! THANK YOU!" We talked with them and I painted my nails with Alexa their 10 year old daughter who was just baptized 2
weeks ago! After we went and dropped off a gift card the bishop gave us to a sister in the ward! She was so thankful! That is one reason I love working with these people. They are very humble. They are also very acceptant of us coming around spreading the word. Then we went with the Elders Gleason and Longmore and Hermanas Parkin and Hansen to a dinner in Stamford. They were so kind to us! I love seeing the families open their homes to us in this season. I just want to be able to do this for other missionaries in my home!

Thursday was planning day. Really we were wiped out! We got out at 4 to go to Hna. Roman's with Elders Ordaz and Duvall. She loves to talk. We shared an article about loving those children who are homosexual. She really loved it. It mostly just talked about the power of prayer and the power of a good example. After we went to get air in our tires and gas in our tank. It was a little hard to find where there was free air and how much to put in. Luckily there was a nice guy who helped us out. I was like, "I am sorry this is what my daddy is for!" I wish I knew more about this stuff. I used to be able to call him all the time about these kinds of things. All was well. Then we went and did some "look ups!" The first wasn't home, a less active member, the second was just leaving to the airport, an investigator. So we set up an appointment and we headed home because it was literally 9! I couldn't believe how time flew that day!

Friday was an interesting day! We had planned to go to New York for our registration check up. But before we got ready to leave, an investigator texted and said we could come over. We jumped on that and headed over. Sister Hoyos said that she and Sister Jensen had talked about giving them over to the elders so we invited elder Ordaz and Elder Duvall. We got there and they have the cutest little house! Her name is Christina and her mom who is also investigating is named
Cilvia. Christina has 2 boys the same ages as my cousins Luke and Cole! I told her that my aunt had the same age boys and also a 2 year old little girl and she was like, "Oh man, that is too much to handle!" It was fun to think of how much more grown up everyone will be when I get home! Weird! We talked about their past visits with missionaries and what they expected. Then Cilvia asked if she could be baptized. Hahaha! We were like "For sure!!!" Christina seemed to have some
reservations. Elder Rutland, who was with Elder Ordaz because of a split, said, "you know why we get baptized? it's because we aren't perfect." It was setting the perfect layout for what Elder Ordaz said next. Elder Ordaz said that when we are reborn we were given a piece of paper and we were told to keep it clean. But as time went on we got marks on it. We couldn't take them away. Then, when we were baptized, we were given a brand new sheet of paper. As we go on, we may make mistakes and try to erase them but the paper is not perfectly clean anymore, so we take the sacrament each Sunday and get a brand new piece of paper. Christina's eyes lit up and she said, "Wow, no one has explained it like
that before." We set the 20th of January for Cilvia's baptism and invited them to church on Sunday. ROCKIN LESSON! 

After that we stopped at Wendy's and then we were off for New York, thinking it would take us an hour to get there, we left at 1:30 for our appointment at 3. When we typed it into the GPS and it said we would get there at 2:10, we were a little confused. Little did we know, Scarsdale is only a half hour away! We were a lot closer than we thought we were! We got
there around 2:30 and dropped our car off then went in search for wifi. We walked down to the Main Street and ran into a Starbucks. It was packed. Then from the corner of my eye I saw Sister Bloxham and Sister Dalley. Earlier that day I was like, man how funny would it be if we ran into the westchester missionaries here. Well, we ran into ALL of them! They were having an APF outside of Starbucks! Elder Zazueta was there, Elder McCekren, Elder Durham, Elder Orellana. It
was so funny! We chilled with them for "a hot minute" as Zazzy would say, then they headed home and we tried to find wifi again. We ended up going to the Atlanta bread company. We bought some tomato basil soup which was bomb and planning. We headed back for our car then went back to Connecticut. The other sisters weren't able to come so we went to Hermana Vidals by ourselves. Sister Hoyos had eggs, and I had an amazing hamburger with pineapple and bacon and BBQ sauce. :) then the kids started playing just dance. Watch out!! I was so excited! We totally played with them. It just reminded me how much I love music
and dancing. I loved the little kids too. One is named Ashley! I told her my name was ashley too and we totes bonded and had ashley power. Even sister Vidal was playing with us! After we went to McDonalds to finally get wifi. We got it all done and headed home. It was a good day. :)

Saturday was pretty chill. I braved up and Put my hair up and took a coldish shower for the first time. I just usually don't want to shower if it is cold because that just ruins it. We had coordination with our district for the first time. We are all a little confused but I think that as we work together we can get everything going great! After, we hung out at the baby shower of a sister in huge ward! That's where I met Sarah. A 6 year old who runs about a million miles a minute. I
love it! We made some CDs, I got my first Piano Guys! I love them! Then we headed off for the baptism in New Caanan. Sister Campbell came up from the city to see the baptism of the couple she taught here. She was companions with our roomie sister Barlow. It was the sweetest baptism I have ever seen! the cutest young couple taking the first steps into eternity! Ahhhh talk about love! I am so excited for them!

After we went to dinner with Elders Gleason and Longmore and Hermanas Parkin and Hansen at Hermana Maggie's house with Hermana Blanca! They are the sweetest ladies ever! It was such a good time! Sister Hoyos and I had a great time!! We talked a lot with Hermanas Parkin and Hansen, more than we ever had! We talked about life and boys and just stuff that missionaries usually don't talk about, which actually ended up making the elders not so happy. They were just not happy that we went talking to the Hermanas as much. But we gave a bomb lesson about prayer. And then headed home. It was a great Saturday.

Sunday was a good day. We went to church and I can honestly say I was
spiritual nourished! I loved it. Our church is backwards and so we start with relief society. We had a combined class with the elders quorum and we talked about Moses and how when he talked with God, God told him that he was His son. The teacher explained that we are the literal children of God and that our potential is so great! It was boss! I loved it. Then for Gospel Principles, we talked about the
second coming and the Millennium. Our teacher was again boss, and taught super well! She really engaged everyone and made sure we understood what was going on. It is really awesome because we actually have a lot of investigators who are coming to church! And less actives who are coming back, when they hear this, the spirit can testify that it is true and reaffirm the faith and testimony that they once had! Sacrament meeting was also boss! We had a missionary farewell. His
name is Victor Arena and he is going to Mexico! He gave a legit talk about why he wanted to go on a mission. I am so excited for my brothers to go on missions, and even Allie! I cannot wait to tell them all about it and help them prepare! This is an experience that NO ONE can pass up. We sang "I'll go where you want me to go" and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. There are a lot of families with missionaries out. One family even has 2! A brother and a sister! 

Then Victor's dad spoke. He is also the one who taught the bomb lesson about Moses. He talked about a talk President Monson gave a couple years ago. It was about courage and self confidence. He gave his son some awesome advice. Then we sang "God be with you till we meet again" yet again, not a dry eye in the place. These families have lived here for a very long time and their kids have grown up so close to each other! It is very much like a ward back in Utah! 

After church we headed home to study. At 5 we headed out to look up a less active. We knew she lives close to the church but Sister Hoyos couldn't remember exactly where. We typed her address into the GPS and set off. We parked and got out of the car, it was raining, like a heavy mist with occasional big rain droplets. And it was cold! We headed up the road and were dodging puddles everywhere because there wasn't any sidewalk, my boots aren't necessarily quality. When we got to 1146 Still water Rd, we were thinking the next house should be 1150, but it
was 1154. We were puzzled and tried to figure it out again, it was so dark and wet we couldn't decide whether we should go or stay, unfortunately, time won and
we had to head off to another visit, but we plan to go by in the day time so we can figure out what is up! Keep ya posted! 

We went to a dinner appointment with Hermanas Parkin and Hansen with the Garcia family. Then the Afaro family showed up, remember Sarah the six year old? Her family. Then a missionary who served his mission here and his wife came. They are so cute! Emma served her mission in London while Michael was serving here. She is majoring in English and knows my next door neighbor Jessica Bodily! Michael does Yoga with my mom! He was like, Lancaster, I think I know your family, does your mom teach yoga? I was like, no way. My mom totally told me about him! I couldn't believe I was meeting him in Connecticut! 

Sister Garcia talked about the message from President Uchtdorf in the Liahona and it was bomb! She asked us what we thought about it and what goals we want to make this year then she asked us how we are going to achieve them! She and her husband are planning on going on a mission! They are planning to sell their house and move somewhere cheaper to help save money. They are so humble. I love it. What an amazing example of putting Christ first!

Monday was district meeting. We talked about the consecration talk by Elder Callister because a lot of us have the goal to be more consecrated this new year. I want to be more consecrated in speaking Spanish. I only have a short time where I can be fully immersed in español entonces, tengo que hablar más en español! After the meeting we headed off for lunch at the mall. We literally were looking for
parking for an hour. First we drove into the wrong parking complex and it took us like 10 minutes to get out. Then we had to drive around for a very long time to get parking at the actual mall. When we finally got there, everyone was leaving. It was sad. So I got some yummy frozen yogurt. :) it was first time being in a mall in 15 months! After we came back to the church and Facebook proselyted. Then
we headed off to the Molina's, a recently reactivated family. We talked about how we need to make good goals for this new year and sister Molina said she is planning on attending the temple more! I love it!

Tuesday was a funny day. We went to the library in the morning. We talked to some people there and made sure they are doing well. Then we started going through the ward list with Elder's Duvall and Ordaz to see if we could get everything figured out. Then we headed to a dinner appointment with Isabel our investigator. She has been investigating the church for probably 5 months. She said when she first met the Elders she was like, yeah come back later, then she said that she was planning on telling them no. Then one day they showed up
without calling and had an awesome lesson, then the sisters started teaching her and it took off from there. She says she feels very welcomed by the ward and loves everything about families being together forever. She has 5 kids but only 1 lives in the U.S. He is 7, the others live in Guatemala with their dad. She said that her
ex-husband is a preacher, and that even some of her kids have made fun of her choice to come to our church but then she said, I don't let any of that bother me. I know this is right. She straight up asked us to be baptized! It was awesome. When sister Hoyos and I went to the car we were like, "What did we do to get to be the missionaries that help these women be baptized?!" I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father. It is amazing to feel of this love at He has for these women, and the love He has for me. I love it! Then we headed home and about 1/4 of the way, our car started jerking around. It broke just the way it had when I got here. For some reason I thinks the traction control is on. It is weird. And of course the next day is New Years and nothing is open. We got home safe and everything is good!

Wednesday is P-day and New Years Day. Which means half of the stores are closed today! Not good. We went to Costco this morning only to find it empty. We went to Walmart, which is only a "half Walmart", and there was barely anything! Luckily there was another store down the street. We are having a zone activity today and needed to get eggs! We are going to watch 17 Miracles at the church. It should be good!

Remember that setting goals is only the first step! We have to make plans to act out these goals! Break things down! It will make it so much easier! Take the time to so it now so that you can have success! 

I love you all! I can't wait to see your beautiful faces at the airport greeting me back into the land of Zion! ;) have an amazing first week of 2014!