"Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different--in happy ways--from the women of the world... Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and spiritual growth of the Church in the last days" President Spencer W. Kimball

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So the Story Goes...

I have been sick this entire week with some random virus that has hit our zone hard! Holy cow, but I am just breaking away from it the last couple of days. It has been the weirdest thing; headaches, ache body, endless need of sleep but the inability to actually do so. It was weird. But I'm better now, just in time to say Happy New Year and much love and success in the days to come!

The days are going by uber fast now. I honestly am in that trance where I feel like I cant differentiate between the days. The only thing that keeps me understanding that the days are passing are the change of weeks on my planner... and those are even going by fast. That reminds me, I need a new planner because the cycle ends this week. I have no idea what will happen, but I am almost positive I will be here in Olmstead until the end of days, so Im not even concerned.

Out here in the Bronx we have been in the hospital a lot. I dont know if it is just the change of year or new insurance plans coming through but we have spent a lot of time bedside of amazing members and investigators sharing spiritual messages and anticipated better times to come. I have to say that it has allowed me a great chance to practice much needed patience, love, charity and compassion towards those that I serve. The mission has a way of doing that to those who need it most ;) It reminds me of my favorite account of the Savior in 3 Nephi 17. He stayed! And that's all there is to it.

Let our love and desires find us where we want to be this year. Let us dwell with the Lord as he stays with us, and let us be his hands to those in need in the upcoming year. I love you all and wish you a happy week, and so it is...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holy Cow!

So my last phone call home was a few days ago and let me just tell you that it was the best present ever hearing all of your beautiful voices! I am so thankful for you all. It genuinely was the best Christmas ever :)

So after hearing all of the updates on everyone's life, let me just say that life does indeed carry on without you when you are serving a mission but though that may be true talking with all of you helped me realize that we will pick up right where we left off. I, as all of you, have just taken the very personal path that we have all have decided to take. Each day making a decision that will bring one foot in front of the other in whatever of life's endeavors that we fancy to participate in. What an item this "agency" is, haha! I just love it.

The new year is only a couple of days away and I'm positive it will bring new and exciting adventures to us all. For example, I will be coming home soon! OH WOW! Of course this was the common item on everyone's lips as we chatted about life and the mission. Who would have thought this time would actually come?! So to clear the air on this subject, I will be home in April-the13th to be exact-and it will come faster than ever, so spare me on the details of the countdown...it will creep up on me whether I like it or not :) California is where I will be returning to, even though the Lakers are making everyone upset, it's still where I want to be, haha!

I love it though, a new year and a new opportunity to see what life has to offer. As New Years comes, I continue to contemplate the life I want to live, both on and off the mission. I have seen so many amazing miracles and workings of the Lord since I have been here in New York and it would be ridiculous for me to say that there wont be a new Ash coming off that plane. These next few months will be a time for me to sprint to the finish line! Leaving all cares behind and knowing that I have so much to do before I can feel this work, at this time, is complete. Again I say holy cow! It will be a riot.

Anyways folks, I love all of you and am thankful for all the amazing cards and gifts that I received. I am thankful for a great year serving the Lord and I am happy and anxious for this upcoming year. Thank you for all the support and love. Happy New Year, and so it is...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hello Lovers and Friends,

It appears Christmas is here (well not really, there is no snow blanketing the ground around here which leaves me a bit confused), nonetheless its Christmas on the calendar so lets celebrate!

The week has been a busy one and we are back to warp speed so it seems like only yesterday that I was emailing. But the week has brought some great surprises and amazing experiences. The crowning event being the baptism of a great man we have been teaching here for just over a month! It was so amazing to see the scriptures come to life once more when it is realized that the Lord has prepared a way for us to accomplish the work we are called to do. People are prepared and the Gospel continues to fill the lives of those who don't really realize it but are genuinely lacking "something." This something is a nourishment that only the Spirit can provide.

As I have been training this amazing new missionary straight from the MTC I have been blessed to remember what it is like to be a greenie again. My now slow and broke-down body cannot contest with the vibrancy and energy that comes from a newly set apart missionary, but my hunger still continues in light of the Spirit and the work. It is something that never grows old, again that nourishment of the Spirit. President Smith responded the other day when asked by a fellow missionary what we can do when we feel too tired to work, "I work through it," he said, followed by a whimper of a sigh. That is it. We work through it, and I have been putting this to the test the last couple of weeks! I honestly wake up and don't know how I am going to get out of bed and then I think of those words-which had to have been inspired-and I "work through it".

Such an amazing experience. Each time I notice that after I have made the decision to do it, it works out. I am filled with enough energy to do the things that are necessary for the day, followed by coming home and "crashing" in my bed. I thought I slept hard in the beginning of the mission, oh heavens... I didn't know sleep like I know it now. But it doesn't matter, in a couple of days I will wake up and it will be Christmas!!!! I'm so excited :) We have been heavy in the scriptures-The Green One (is what I call Sister Maldarizzi) and I-running through an exercise I call the "Atonement Kick". Christmas is no better a time as any to remember the Lord's infinite atonement and the gift of a life that was given. What a gift! I marvel that every year we are reminded of the birth of the Savior and all that he stands for, which is everything! In 2 Nephi 31:21 we are told that "there is no other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved..." Truth. Jesus was given as a gift to all of us so that we can remain happy as families for all eternity, so that we can make our burdens light and so that we can live with our Father in heaven once again. I love it!

I love this gospel. It truly fills my life with all the joy that life has to offer. I am thankful for this experience and for the Spirit that accompanies me and shows me the way. I am thankful for that faith to leave my family and friends for a time to "be about my Father's business," and I am thankful for all of you! Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration, there is a living prophet today, and I'm a Mormon, haha! I love you love you! Merry Christmas, and so it is...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Can't Believe It's December!

Before anyone says anything, I'm sorry.

Now that I have covered the bases, let me just say that it has been a busy few weeks here in Olmstead. I cant even believe it has been 6 weeks that I have been out here already. I think you have only heard from me twice, so again, I grovel at your feet and say I am sorry. But let me explain, I didn't even realize it had been that long until...

Monday night after a very long day, my companion Sister Asregadoo and I were planning for Tuesday's events. As we looked at our upcoming appointments for the next day we notice one in which Sister Smith (President Smith's wife) had been fellow-shipping with us. So of course as I reach for the phone to call her and see if she wanted to attend another appointment with this great investigator of ours (who now has an upcoming baptism) the phone is already ringing. Oddly as I look to see who it is, I see "President Smith." "That's weird" I said, "Did I call him already?" is what I was thinking. The answer to that question is no. Why was he calling? He must really be in tuned, right? Wrong! Let me tell you why he was calling! As the story goes, when I move to a new area I am with my companion for about 6 weeks. This apparently is enough time to get to know an area enough to invite a new companion along... in this specific case President was calling me (not like last time to transfer me), but to inform me my new companion was boarding a flight from Utah the next day and I would be training her. Haha!

He always calls me for the good ones. Its going to be great! Now that you have gotten used to my old companion, let me introduce my new one. Her name is Sister Maldarizzi. She is from Italy and will be serving in the Bronx with me for at least the next 3 months... that is so crazy right?! But on a serious note, I am so excited. She is so cute and we are going to have a great time!

Anyways, the work is just moving right along. As I said we have an upcoming baptism with a man we have been teaching for about 3 weeks now. He is so great! Along with that Christmas is coming and then we have another baptism for the new year! As it is looking now these next few weeks are just going to fly by. So let me apologize in advance this time. I am so sorry for not writing, I will be so busy! Haha, sounds good to say that though, busy in the work of the Lord.

It has been a long run and as the time comes to a close I realize this is the time in the race to sprint. I love it, and I love all of you. And so it is...

Oh yeah, and my hair is copper now, weird!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Count your many blessings name them one by one...

Lets be honest, that would take me a lifetime... which I believe is the point. So as we prepare our Thanksgiving feasts tomorrow, let us all remember the most important thing that should be upon the table. Not the turkey of course, but the list of things that we appreciate and love the most. It should drape the table with an appeal that is more filling than the stuffing and mashed potatoes that are always so delicious. The idea of it should make our minds thankful for all the Lord has blessed us with! I adore all of you and am so grateful for all of you being in my life. My list is overwhelming and it makes me happy!

So besides preparing myself mentally and physically (on the mission, preparing for the holidays are strenuous in light of all the generous foods we are invited to eat) for Thanksgiving, I was able to participate in one of the crowning PDay events of the mission today...which means I'm almost dead - weird! A Broadway!!! Yeah, it was so great! I love the The Lion King and was in tears by the end of the opening song...haha! You know how I feel about that Disney magic! It has been way too long. I am floored at all of the amazing talent that graces that stage, it truly was a treat :) Of course when Simba is remembering who he is at the sight of his reflection, some of the greatest words are spoken and songs sung, "He lives in you, he lives in me." I cant help it ya'll, I always feel the Spirit when I watch/see that movie/Broadway. It was amazing!

To wrap this all up because I am surely out of time... don,t forget. Remember why. Remember who you are. And remember the Lord our Savior and all that he has done for you. You will find your table full of reminders :) I just love you all and wish you a happy commencement of the holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving! Love you love you, and so it is...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Right Off the Other 6

Look at this CAT!!! Xander is huge!

It has been a real long time since I have sat here and really talked with everyone. So, lets spill it...

I'm in the Bronx first off with companion number 6 (Sister Asregadoo)! It's crazy when I think about it because it doesn't feel like it all adds up, but it must. The last few weeks have gone by in a whirlwind and I cant seem to grasp time anymore. After the transfer was Halloween, soon to be Thanksgiving. It is incredible to think that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away!

So let's start answering all the questions I know that you all have:

1. Yes I am liking the Bronx but I must admit it is sooo different. Who would have thought just a train ride over the river would bring such dramatic changes. I even walk slower which is unheard of!!! Maybe that is in preparation for those who will be walking with me after the mission because let's be honest, poor Sydney had a hard time keeping up and I'm sure everyone else will too - still sorry for that one :(

2. No, I wouldn't say that I am loving the family ward yet. It is weird that I am not in the YSA program anymore. I feel like it is a similar feeling when someone gets their language changed partway through their mission. It definitely is a completely different language going on here and I am still nervous every time we have an appointment - and that is not in the "nervous because of missionary work" nervous (which will never go away), but the "nervous because I feel like I don' t know how to act" nervous, haha!

3. Yes, I love my new companion Sister Asregadoo - after it took me a week to remember how to say her name correctly :) pronounced: as-re-gAh-doo. She is so sweet. I am happy to say that she is so willing to learn and grow, which makes my job easier. I am her second companion, in other words her follow-up trainer or "Dad". I have never had a companion this fresh in the mission yet and it is a fun and funny experience... I just hope she learns something from me, eke!

4. Yes, I am sad that I am not in Manhattan anymore. I just love that place! No more Puerto Rican bongos being played outside of my apartment until the early dawn hours. No more Central Park. No more contacting while walking (yeah, people actually stop while you're talking to them here! Its nuts!). And with the holidays here again, no more lively, amazing holiday city life... I just cant go on, hehe. But I must admit it is an expected change. As President Smith said on our transfer call, "Sister Coleman, you didn't think you would be in Manhattan your entire mission now did you?" Oh President. One can always be hopeful.
And lastly,

5. No, this doesn't change anything! As always there is a specific work for me to do here in the Bronx and I am excited to find out what it is. Maybe I wont while I am here and will find in the future that it was miraculous, but I know that as with all callings this one is inspired. I am happy to be called to the work out here. It is different but have I ever been afraid of that in the past?! Its a new adventure and I'm about it.

Anyways, don't go thinking you are going to get away without me sharing some of my amazing "ah-hah" moments over the last few weeks. Today I will just simply testify how the Lord miraculously answers prayers. Let me explain. I have been praying to come into contact with a girl from my distant Junior high days for years now. She was such an example to me in the time that my testimony was not very prominent. She helped me identify what it meant to stand for something and she was just the nicest girl I knew. Now mind you, the last time that I saw her was in 2004 at BYU at a Stake Conference in the HFAC, De Jong Theater to be exact, haha! It was brief but I was so thankful to have seen her after we parted ways some 5 years earlier after JH.

So, we all know how hard it is sometimes to keep up with our friends in the LDS community, especially with the changing of names after marriage and all that. Anyways, so Sister Asregadoo and I were visiting some investigators in the area. Upon meeting one of them, she asked me where I was from. Of course we all know no one really relates to city names so I told her where then followed that with "its near Irvine, CA". Where she responded that she had some LDS family who lived there. What!? Yeah, long story short the girl I was praying to find, her brother had married the investigators niece and I recognized the last name! It was her!!!! I eventually got her address where I am sure the letter is still in the mail. Nonetheless, the Lord answers prayers in the most amazing ways!

Now doesn't this world seem so much smaller now :)

That is my simple testimony this week! The Lord loves us, even if it is for the small opportunity to wish someone well who played such a pivotal role in our life whom we haven't seen for years. He answers them when they count and sometimes when we feel that they don't. I love this work, and I love being blessed with seeing miracles everyday. I hope that you all have the opportunity to recognize miracles in your life because I promise you they are there.

Anywho, sorry for the novel. I just love you all so much. Thank you for your love and support! Have a great week :)

R.I.P Fui, Love you! - One for the road

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy 19th of October, aka Its Your Birthday?!

Gotta Love Spanish Harlem!

I woke up this morning in a daze, mostly because I was on a split with Sister Tu'akulau on the west side in my old apartment, good ol' 3333! It was all too familiar looking where I sat a year ago on this day. Only this time an entirely different set of sisters were there to greet me with "Happy Birthday!" What a dream. It has been a great day here in New York, rain and wind inclusive. All of my friends are around whether they know it or not and we are celebrating another year of the Lord together, wow!

Right now I am sitting next to Sister Fuimaono who is joining me on my birthday for her last PDay on the mission. We had/have too much fun together! I will miss her when she is gone, but I know that like I have said on many other occasions the mission is like a new day. The sun rises but will also set on this time I have to serve...as now is her time. Great friendships are made, lifelong ones and many stories are cherished. I wish you could all be here with me sometimes so that you can experience just a small portion of how amazing this work is.

To fill everyone in on what has been going on, the work continues to move forward. Stake conference is this weekend which means another awesome weekend full of church. I just love these times. It gives us opportunity to be close to those in other areas we have served in ;) The weather is growing colder which means that the holiday season is right around the corner! I cant believe it...feels like yesterday. We have been working hard here on the UES and seeing many miracles along the way. The most recent is a former lookup we felt prompted to contact this past week. As she joined us for our second lesson she recalled her gratitude for not forgetting about her.

When I first met her she was hesitant to continue meeting with us. Her anxiety kept her from reaching out for the help that she needed, even though she recognized it was spiritual healing. Eventually, after 4 months she responded to one of our texts claiming it was time. As she sat with us she let us know how she could feel the love we had for her through our efforts trying to meet with her. She marveled that we did not give up on her, like so many had done in the past. I explained that for everyone the toll bell sounds waking us up to act. Heavenly Father will never give up. He will always call for us whether we hear it or not. And when we do hear it it is our time. I just love this! We all are on our own time.

No one is on the same plan. Though the pathway may be the same, we enter it at different gates, all of which the key is baptism and true conversion. What a marvelous plan! I just love being one who is there to extend the love when the bell is sound. Anyways, thank you for all of your support everyone. I just love you all and wish you a happy week! My birthday continues so I must go, and so it is...