"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, 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...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hello, Hello From New York

I have to say that it has been a very bittersweet week! The days just molded together and another week has past, but that is becoming the story of the year around here, so on to the last 7 days...

This last week was rough! Sister Tuke and I have been very sick with this horrific cold/cough that has been going around. The weather cant make up it's mind whether it wants to be cold or hot, windy rainy or humid, and our bodies have just had enough. We were out cold for a couple of days but the week ended nicely with a great, relaxing couple of days of Conference...what I mean by that is crazyiness! Haha!

How was Conference for everyone?! Did you love the messages as much as I did? Did you feel the Spirit testify to you the things you needed to know? Did you die when President Monson announced all the new temples?! I did! It was so fulfilling. There was not one talk that was delivered where I said that I didn't gain anything. Everything was so timely and valuable, especially all the amazing testimonies of the Book of Mormon, Patriachal Blessings and revelation; to name a few.

It was so fun to once again inform the people of New York that a prophet of God would be addressing the world (see the contact card that I am holding, hehe!) We are so blessed to have that knowledge and the power in it. We had an investigator with us who decided on the spot after the last talk was given that she felt the spirit testify to her that she was in the right place, needless to say we have a baptismal date for her coming up soon :) Others we are teaching had many questions they had that were pending, answered, leaving them speechless as they marveled at our promises of preparation being fulfilled. All of them greatly enjoyed the experience.

And so did we! Conference is like Christmas for missionaries. We have 8 hours of church in one weekend, but not just any session of church, Megachurch (and I'm not referencing YSA conference either, also coined megachurch). I loved hearing from Sister Dalton about how to raise a girl, "Love Her Mother!" Amen. And from Elder Alonso and his story about his son. He likened it unto many people who are around us everyday, "they don't even realize they are lost." And of course the sweet messages from the first presidency. All of these people are so inspired. But overall the spirit that was present was great. All of my questions had been answered and I am confident that I have enough counsel to last me for the next 6 months, ie memorizing scriptures and rereading the Book of Mormon. It was just a great time.

Other than that I am just trying to get myself well. This morning was the first time in a week and a half that I didn't literally roll out of bed, so we're on the up and up. It was a nice day out and the sun was shining. Fall is here to stay and I love it! Which also means Halloween is coming soon :) Well lovies, I got to go, but i hope everyone has a great week! I just love you all and wish you the best, and so it is...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Once Around The Sun, Pt. 2

It has been a year... CRAZYPANTS!

I honestly don't know what to say except I have grown and learned so much over the past year. I cant believe it has been this long though, it feels like I left the MTC a week ago, but then I ask my body how it is doing and realize all this pain and achiness doesn't come overnight.

All is well though. Sorry to be so short these past few weeks. My excuse today is that we went to the temple, then I went shopping for dying missionaries... You know how I love shopping for other people, and this is New York for heavens sake! Anyways, my beloved past companion Sister Fuimaono will be leaving in just short of a month, ugh! What am I gonna do without her? Moreso "How Am I Supposed to Breath with No Air?" Haha, good song. Anyways, she "dies" super soon and we are all just scrambling around trying to tie up loose ends. That will be me soon enough! Scary!

Other than that, all is well in Zion. The weather is getting chilly and the boots are out, but are running low on sole, haha! One more winter. Conference is this weekend and I am so excited. I have to plug it cause I have had such amazing experiences preparing and readying myself for the inspired counsel that they provide. Be ready for a revelatory experience!

Anyways, I just love you all so much. October is here! Love it! I wish you all well. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9/11 and All the Happenings

September 11, 2011, 10 years after the tragic events that transpired in this great city of New York, was a very lovely day. It seemed the city took a bit of a vacation. Not in the party/celebration sense of vacation but in a "vacation from the usual calamity that is living in a city with 8 million people" way. It was so solemn, and a bit strange to peer down 3rd Ave and see nothing and no one for blocks. People were hard to come by on the street that day, to where I say a much needed shift from the norm. What a day it must have been 10 years before?! It was nice to see how people had taken time to slow down and remember how life changed for everyone in a moments notice.

God bless them.

The rest of the week just seemed to be in preparation for that day. You could feel the city dumbing down in anticipation for the weekend, preparing themselves for the reminders. It was nice to go out and speak with the people. Many just wanted to let off steam, while others were excited to recall where they were and what they were doing 10 years ago when the events happened. A listening ear and an attentive spirit were really all that I could afford. With pleasure.

Other than that Sister Tuke and I have survived another transfer - Upper East Side is where we are for another 6 weeks! The work here has been miraculous! We have been so blessed with work, which also is a much needed shift from the norm, haha. We have been working hard in preparation for the coming YSA Multi-Stake Conference as well as the Semi Annual General Conference in October. Wow, I cant believe we have reached another 6 months where we get to hear from the authorities once more! Everyone is returning for another round of school too so Sacrament meeting has at least doubled in size :) Along with that came two amazing investigators. Both of whom have had past experiences at church and with missionaries. Two completely different circumstances, but one unanimous conclusion: baptism is the next step.

Such faith that must have taken. Both girls sought us out and explained to us that the experiences they have had led them to the Church - again both in very different ways. In some ways without knowledge and in other ways reluctantly. Leave it to the Spirit to continue to press and help us make valuable decisions. Matched with meaningful and sincere prayer they took the steps necessary to quench this initially unrecognizable thirst for the gospel. What a blessing that is. I am always taken aback by the way we "fall" upon things that are so right for us. Case and point, I am serving a mission, haha!

I can say that this one single decisions has drastically changed my life! I cannot do without the experiences that I have had. I was reading in the Ensign this morning the talk given at the CES Fireside in April by Elder Ballard some items on the principle of faith. He says, "Faith is one of the greatest powers that you have in this sojourn of mortality." Faith is what it is. Faith is what leads us to act on that prompting that may initially be uninvited by the Spirit. Faith is what helps us keep hope for the future. Faith is what keeps us holding on actively to the knowledge that Heavenly Father is leading us if we will listen to his voice.

I always like to say that "there are no accidents in history, everything happens for a reason" (thank you Mr. Stordahl for ALWAYS saying that). It is true! I am thankful for my faith and the miracles that proceed it. It is in that order that we see the best that life has to offer. Have faith. Have a great week, and know I love you :) and so it is...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

All Is Well In Zion

Ok, ok so the storm is over and the sun is shining today so everyone can stop stressing out, haha! JK, I know you are all aware that everything is good in the Big Apple. Talk about a fun time though, wow! First an earthquake...for a minute I thought I was back in CA with the familar rolling feeling of the earth saying hello...then a hurricane. What a great week it was.

Before I get started with this boring story, let me just take it back a few weeks ago. So we were in Multi-Zone Conference and President Smith said "you know elders and sisters, we are going to provide you with transportable 72 hour kits in case of a hurricane, I would just like us all to be prepared." At that time I kind of chuckled to myself because I didn't really know that New York got hurricanes... jokes on me. The following week in combined 3rd hour our Area 70 sent a message to all the stakes informing them that we should really consider revamping our emergency plans and encouraging everyone to have their 72 hour kits ready in the case of an emergency...maybe like a hurricane, haha!

So back to last week, yes there was a hurricane and it was crazy pants! On Friday most of the city missionaries including my companion and me got evacuated, where I am happy to say our 72 hour kits provided as a blessing. We went and spent 2 and a half days in White Plains with the stake president and his wife. They were so hospitable! After a busy day of helping the neighbors pack in all of their patio furniture and decor from the front and back of their houses we went back "home" and buckled down in wait of the storm. Luckily most of it dicispated over North Carolina and Long Island before it got to the city and even to White Plains but I hear there were some areas that weren't so lucky. All in all it was a vacation away from the city...very strange really. I forgot people live in house and drive cars, but in all reality it freaked me out so Im happy to say Im back in the city!

The joke was if there is an emerency, turn to your nearest Mormon. Did I mention people laughed at us as we carried our huge jugs of water and ginormous red backpacks full of food and safety supplies, hmmm weird. Anyway, I am just so thankful that everything turned out ok. Everyone is safe and there is little damage to the city, little branches here and there that fell but nothing major. Other than that I got some good reading in while I was away...a true vacation in deed. I read The Holy Temple by Boyd K. Packer, good read! I will have to comment on it next week, as for now I am out of time.

I just want to say thank you for all your well wishes and prayers, they are always so thoughtful and helpful in times of crisis. If I can say anything I would say listen to the revelations given by the power of the spirit keenly and act promptly...it could and usually does save your life. I love you all so much! Thanks for everything :) and so it is...

PS...some things you may not know because I have been unable to post pictures as often as I usually do.

1. I have dreds now, yes real ones
2. I wear my glasses all the time
3. I have a new companion, and
4. I love Domo!!!
Just throwing it out there. Love you

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Been Too Long and I'm Lost Without You...

I can always rely on Aaliyah for a great title to a long awaited email and blog post from me. Man I have been busy. My companion and I sat down last night and planned time to effectively and completely email today which means no half letters claiming I'm too busy to write, no excuses and of course an update on all the happenings here in New York City.

I cannot even recall what I said in the last letter I wrote so let me start from the top. Sister Hsieh and I were together for a cycle, I know ONE CYCLE aka 6 weeks (not even enough time!). She and I had a great time living life on the East side together and teaching a great woman named Dede. She was baptized on July 24th, Pioneer Day and was so happy to join the saints on such a momentous day. Sister Hsieh, however who is no longer with me decided to go down to Chinatown to teach in her native tongue, rude! JK, I am so happy for her. President Smith has allowed her for her last two cycles of the mission to teach people who speak Mandarin Chinese downtown. It is such a rare opportunity so of course I would encourage and support her to take it.

So, as you could assume I have a new companion. Sister Tuke! She is back in the city and we are just moving right along. It took her some readjusting consider she has been upstate and out of the city for the past 7 months (going from the car to the city streets is a hard transition, one I could for sure do without -- fingers crossed). Since she has been here it feels like life is on hyper speed. Time is just flying by and I cant believe we can already see the early onset of Fall...but everyone knows how much I love "sweater weather" so I'm not even mad, especially if Winter takes it time to roll in. Other than that, its pure mission life!

We have been paying special attention to finding and building relationships in the ward. We are both pretty new in the area and haven't really established much ground yet...but that is the best part about being in an area for a few months, all this will come with time. Time that I seem to be running out of quickly. I was studying the other day and was so blessed to come across an article in last month's Ensign. It is called "This Year It's A Weed -- Pull It", http://lds.org/ensign/2011/07/this-year-its-a-weed-pull-it?lang=eng. Something that really struck me was the concept that everything has a time and a season, which it does. The article talks about how a beautiful plant was growing in the midst of the wrong harvest. Though it was beautiful and strong and would produce what seemed to be great product it wasn't in season. The counsel that was given was to "pull it" even though it was great. Many times in life we have to recognize what is in season. I always think of that song by the Byrds, "Turn, Turn, Turn" (and of course the scriptures in Ecclesiastes) where it reminds us that in everything there is a season, a rhyme and a reason, haha! But it's true. Now is the time for me to be a missionary, and when it is over I will be back to my usual shenanigans, whatever they may be. I love it though.

Eventually the sun will set on this venture and a new dawn will awaken. Let me enjoy the day though :). I have a call, I have a mission and along with many ups and downs I'm still excited. Thanks for coming along with me! I wish you all a great week and a close of summer. Take advantage! I love you all, and so it is...

Oh PS! A lot of my mail was never delivered I am finding out each week from one person or another. If you have written me and haven't received a response, try writing me again cause I might not have received it. My address is:

Sister Ash Coleman
New York New York North Mission
700 White Plains Rd Suite 315
Scarsdale, NY 10583

Thanks and good luck!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Empire State of Mind?...

So we went to the Empire State building today and boy is that building soooo highhhhh. Great views of New York for sure! We didn't get to go all the way to the top, however we got to see some great aerials of the Big Apple. I still cant believe sometimes that I live here. I get the "behind the scenes" look at what this city is all about. Of course not in a way that the locals do who have the ability to go any- and everywhere or even the tourists, but I do get to experience it on the personal level.

What do you mean by that? You are just a missionary!... Double duh! What I mean is we talk to more people here than people who have lived here for years. It is not just your superficial "hey, how you doin'?" (not assuming that is what everyone is about around here) but we actually get to know the people who are around us, which in reality is getting to know the city.

There are such sweet spirits here in New York. People who have come here for all sorts of reasons, or who have grown up here for generations call this place home. It is an amazing dynamic. It really helps me to realize how this Gospel is not just a cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all church. Everyone brings their own life to the sacrament table and finds that the principles that govern them in the spiritual sense put every worry at ease and help them build more fulfilling lives.

This last week we had a lesson with such an amazing girl that we stumbled upon; such an intellect and so driven! She was asking us questions about the hows and whys of Mormons, questions stemmed from her brief readings of The Book of Mormon as well as some principles that she had learned from some member friends she had experienced in the past. The questions being asked were predominately in regards to the spirit and knowledge. For example, "How could you have all this (as she points to a nearby bookshelf full of books) and still make the claims of this (The Book of Mormon) being the most 'correct' book?" and "How do you account for the Spirit?"

As I bore my testimony to her I realized something that I hadn't fully enveloped in the past. I opened my Book of Mormon and read 3 Nephi 17:5-7. As I did so I could feel the presence of the Savior...really. I let her know that the Bible gives a great layout of what the Savior did, but who was he? These verses single-handedly helped me FEEL who he is, and recognize that he does indeed live. I continued on without answering her question about accounting for the spirit, there was no need because she felt it too. I let her know that all the knowledge that I have and continue to obtain is in direct correlation to the writings of "this book". I assured her that the things that she has experienced and knows are all a part of our progression on this earth. I couldn't have left a lesson feeling more blessed for the testimony that I have than I did that day.

I know it. That's all there is to it. The invitation still stands for all those who are still wondering to learn more. If anything, knowledge is power :) Anyways, I just love you all so much. Life is moving fast here in New York, a "New York minute" if you will. I've got to take a moment to slow down and cherish what I have. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to recall and do that. Again I love you love you, and so it is...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


...sorry bout last week, I was kicked off the computer, hehe.

Anyways, I am doing great out here. The weather is heating up for real! I think it is around 94 degrees today with some scattered thunder showers, aka walking in the rain cause there is no point in having an umbrella, ella, ella, eh eh eh. But its nice because the heat sticks around and dries our clothes off quickly.

So what has been going on? The Forth of July just passed! Oh heavens, everyone knows how much I love the 4th and it was such an amazing day. I have to tell you, if you are ever thinking of visiting New York when the city is ALIVE dont bother with New Years, come on the 4th. It is 100 times better and the weather is nicer. Nonetheless, we had the best contacting opportunities because everyone was out on the streets being lively and having a great time. Central Park doubles as the entertainment arena for anything and everything, especially for BBQing, and oh it smelled so good. Also the best seating in the house for the fireworks is your own roof. Yes, we went Fiddler on the Roof style and hiked up to the roof of our building where we saw a great fireworks display a couple blocks away. The best part was seeing Sister Nalawas see fireworks for the first time. She doesn't get displays like that very often in Vanuatu (off the coast of Fiji), and her excitement is like a child's; so pure.

In other news the work has been good. A TBC from the last area I was in is the baptism was postponed until this weekend, so that will be happening with Sister Fuimaono and her new companion Sister T. In my new area we have a baptism coming up real soon too, which Im really excited about. I always think that this work is so fascinating in that it continues regardless of wherever we go. It really builds my testimony in knowing that 1. the Lord has gone before us to prepare the work and 2. it cannot be frustrated. Whether a switch of companions, ward change or even an area switch the work will continue forward. The reality is the Spirit is the true teacher here. He has testified to us all of the light and knowledge of the gospel and it is up to us to respond. In Helaman 14:30, I gathered this week that the Lord will not force our hand to do anything. We have the tools necessary to make well decisions. In Doctrine & Covenants the Lord informs us to study it out what we want to do then to pray whether it be right, receiving a confirmation in our hearts and in our minds. This leads us to figure that we have the ability to know of our own accord if what we want to do is right and then we can pray to confirm whether what we though is right indeed is right for us by the edifying "burning in our bosom". Its fail proof and another amazing aspect of the Gospel that I thoroughly enjoy.

I just continue to have faith that the Lord is not an innocent bystander. That he is "all in" on this investment. He will not lead us astray. I just love this work! It has helped me so much to see how helpful we can be in answering other's prayers. I know this is where Im supposed to be. I know he Church is true. I love you all, and so it is...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I've Reached The Top of the Ladder...

And now its time to go down the slide!!! Holy cow its been 9 months! The time has absolutely flown by and there has been little time to stop and see what has been going on, so let me take a second...

Today will be my first day in a new area on the east side of Manhattan in the Manhattan 3rd YSA ward (I just cant get enough!). I will be joining Sister Hsieh, pronounced as if you asking someone to be quiet, i.e. "shhh?", who has been over here for about 3 months. We will be possibly be joining a mysterious new Zone the mission has created called Manhattan Central Zone, but that has yet to be determined. All in all though, I am super excited!

It was so sad to let go of Sister Fuimaono today though. We celebrated "210 Days of Fui and Coleman" this morning as we prepared my old desk for her new greenie that arrived yesterday from the MTC, sad day! Along with Sister Babb who is preparing for her flight in the morning back to Washington, I have "lost" everything bahhhhh hah hahahhh! and yet have gained so much.

I am sure these next 9 months will be so great. In fact, I have no doubt about it! The Lord has blessed me already so much, I could only imagine how much more is lying in wait. We shall see though, and so it is...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Little Bit of Home in NY

Thanks for sharing your story with the world!

Good Morning, Good Morning!

Before I get started, check out these Belomont transplants...did I even leave Provo?

Its an early day in the New York New York North Mission and the weather is fine. It has been a very quick week, but I realize I have not been in touch with everyone for a couple of weeks now. Im so sorry, but I will have to blame it on our busy companionship. Sister Babb will be leaving us next week so we spent last week getting her ready to take the flight home. Oh wow, it has been a great time serving with her, but like all missionaries, the time comes and the time goes :)

So what has been happening lately?
What hasn't been happening lately is the real question, heavens its been so busy and exciting around New York lately.

The work has been so good to us. We continue to teach such amazing people and are actually preparing for a baptism this coming weekend! It is always so amazing to see people anxious to follow the Lord. We have been teaching this investigator for about 3 weeks now and after considering the Gospel he told us last week, " I think that if I am going to follow Him then baptism would be a great start. But considering its the beginning of this journey I should start soon." Haha, well said!

Baptism is just that, and initiatory action we display to the Lord that we are willing to follow him and have his spirit to be with us. It is faith! Taking the chance, making the choice and having confidence that as we do what we can, we can be equipped with His Spirit. I just love baptisms, they are my favorite.

Speaking of a few of my favorite things though, we had the opportunity to meet Elder L. Tom Perry, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Olsen of the 70 and Senator Harry Reid! That was a great time. For the YSA Conference that took place this past weekend we had the joy of meeting and hearing from all of these lovely men! They bore such amazing testimonies of the Gospel, sharing such amazing experiences as their mission years, conversion stories and the joy of the gospel in their lives today. It was so great! I think Elder Perry and I are best friends now, haha! He is hilarious.

Also making the list is the new Mormon.org launch that is going on here in the city. What a riot it is going to be! So we have been a pilot mission for the mormon.org campaign for the past 9 months are so, aka as long as I have been here :) and have been preparing to "bring the world His truth." We got word early last week that the launch was Monday. What all does this entail? Well let me tell you:

The Megatron in Time Square (42nd St.) looping mormon.org videos
Electronic billboards
Missionaries (we didn't have permits before to proselytize there)
200 Taxi toppers
Videos on Taxi TV, and
4 Subway shuttle cars decked out in mormon.org ads during rush hour

So that's it! Its gonna be crazy!!! Everyone is like, "oh, what timing with the Book of Mormon Musical." Yeah buddy! Curiosity is the least of it right now. As called missionaries in the midst of all this we will be responding to all the hype. Im so excited! I will have to keep everyone posted on the amazing stories that will soon follow.

Anyways, life is good and the work is moving forward. Guess what? The Church is still true! I have no doubt about that, and if doubt does ever arise it is absolutely an opportunity to search further and pray fervently for answers. They will come, they always have. Maybe not in the time that we expect but for sure in the time that we need. Elder Perry said this weekend, "our desires will be met in the way we least expect them." I will add my testimony to his by saying I have never been more entertained then by the depth of this reality. I just love you love you and hope you are having a great week. You're all in my prayers, and so it is...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So Hot in Non-Pros

I never thought I would say this but as we left the house in non-proselyting clothes today, heading out for PDay festivities in the Park I actually thought, "I would rather be in a skirt!!!" I don't know how people do it. How do they live in this ridiculously outrageous weather?! It is either freezing cold or blazing hot! I don't know how its all going to work out, haha! Just pray for me I suppose :) New York is a lovely place but it could definitely use some better weather.

Anyways, I feel like that is all I ever talk about...so let me get on a few other things.

This past week was a good one, beginning with last PDay we have had a marathon of amazing adventures. First, I have a confession to make, you didn't hear much from me last week because we went to a Yankees game, eke!!! I know! I feel like such a traitor. My beloved Angels, please dont think I have turned over to the Dark side. If it makes anyone feel better, I think I only had fun because I was with all of the wonderful missionaries in my district and area. Other than that, it would have been the worst! I promise (fingers crossed). It was the Yankees vs. Blue Jays and the Yankees brought home the win. It was very hot but our seats were in the shade, such a great time. You could see many areas of the stadium where there were whiteouts, aka rows of missionaries sitting together. It was quite the sight, so funny!

Moving right along, we have had the opportunity to teach some great new investigators! One was found contacting on the street, which is always a great surprise and the other took a Mormonism class at Columbia University and 2 years later felt a desire to stop by the Lincoln Square chapel to find missionaries! Its always nice when an investigator can recite the 8th Article of Faith, haha! Yeah that happened. It has been such a privilege. The more and more I go forward with this work I realize that this has nothing to do with me. I know that we have all been called so that the message can come out of our mouth for specific people ( I have no doubt about that knowledge) but I know that the Lord has gone before me to prepare the way of people I will come into contact with. I am nothing more than a conduit of the Spirit who is the ultimate teacher. I find that more and more as I study the scriptures and as I teach others the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some other amazing things I have discovered in my study this week is the importance of the Sacrament. It is so funny to see people's reaction when we explain how simply going to church can change their life. Most respond with "I have been to church." Its true. But when we understand what it is that we are doing when we are at church it can change our life. I was thinking about the power of the Sacrament table. How much we rely on it. How we can bring all that we have to this very table and feel as though we have been baptized again. The bread and water is so symbolic and important, representing the flesh and blood of the Savior. This holy sacrifice was in effort to redeem us from death and sin. The Atonement and Resurrection were performed to see Heavenly Father's plan through, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39)." This chain of thought lead me to the knowledge that every time we partake of the sacrament we are participating in God's plan, wow! Anyways, I'm babbling.

Its been a great week! I love this work. The Trifecta continues and it's great! I am so happy to be here in New York! I love all of you and thank you for your support. Sister Babb has helped me to see that there is not much time left, I better get to work! Well, I love you love you, and so it is...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Soaking Wet!

It is pouring rain outside and has been a hot mess for the past week almost! And I mean that literally. It is hot outside, too hot for a jacket but it has been raining all week long, ugh! Absolutely the worst.

Anywhoo... so this week was the first week of the Trifecta:
trifecta (traɪˈfɛktə)
— n
1. a form of betting in which the punter selects the first three place-winners in a horse race in the correct order
2. any achievement involving three successful outcomes...so obviously we have been named after the latter, that or "The Tenacious Trio", and I have to say it was nothing less than marvelous. I think people are still wondering how this companionship was ever chosen. Well no need to think about it, what's done is done. Moving on, haha!

Just kidding! We have combined the two wards Harlem 3 and Morningside Heights so we are a busy bunch of bees on Sunday. It is a little weird being in a family ward now. There are children and adults and families, it was a bit overwhelming, but it was only a matter of time. I think this is President's way of easing me into the idea of only serving in a family ward in the future...that will be a very different mission than it has been, yet still a great work to do.

In all honesty there hasn't been that much going on this week. That's not to say that the work isn't exciting because let me tell you, we are preparing recent converts to receive the Priesthood, get Patriarchal blessings and go to the temple. So great right?! There is always room for progression. Intern season is officially here (what do you like more...? ha!) so many people from the Valley are joining us, a few of which I know, Josh! Such a delightful time. Oh wow I'm so scatter-brained today. I have to apologize.

It's been a good week though for sure! Run, run, run... I have to go, but I love you all and wish you well this week. Love you love you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's Going On Here?!?

Oh heavens, what a week it has been! I have to say I had been packing my bags (in my head that is cause I was too lazy and busy to actually do it), nonetheless it would have been for no reason because the good Lord has blessed me with one more cycle in Harlem 3!!! Haha, and yes it is with Sister Fuimaono... Now introducing our new addition to the family, Sister Babb (she's dying this cycle so we will so honorably be killing her, mission style that is, haha!) No other word to describe it but EPIC!

I guess I should have saved that news to the end because it would have been great to leave you wondering but in all honesty this email is like eating a slice of pizza backwards, crispy, delicious crust first baby! Not to say the rest of the pizza isn't grand because heaven knows it is... so let's get to it!

This last week was a week of miracles! So, a baptism that we had planned for the 30th didn't happen and we were so sad because we had lost contact with our investigator who was committed. He is a really shy kid and has the testimony like you have never seen but he was so afraid that he was not up to par. Sister Fuimaono and I were devastated. We had no idea where he was or if he was ok. On Tuesday we had a dinner appointment with a member of the family ward in the area that introduced him to the gospel. He was there!!!! As we met with him, we expressed that he was our friend whether or not he was going to be baptized, and that we just worried that we hadn't heard from him. He agreed that we could still see him and hang out in the usual spot (Central Park) and talk about the gospel. Elated, we scheduled an appointment for Thursday. Long story short, Thursday as we were sitting in the park eating ice cream, terrible life I know!, he said, being usually a man of few words, "sisters, I have something to tell you...I want to get baptized this weekend." We were dumbfounded but so touched by his honesty and spirit. So guess what we did this weekend? Baptism!!

What a fantastic service it was too. He was surrounded by friends and family alike who lended their support and love. What an awesome day it was. Aside from that it was Mother's Day and a great one too! Congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law on their new baby, Jakobe last Wednesday. He is adorable! Communicating and visiting with family and friends was such a great summary to the week too, preparing me for what was supposed to be a somber week of moving, changing companions and packing. Jokes on me again...oh I don't know what to say besides I am truly blessed. My work must not be done here in this great ward and I am happy to be at their service for another 6 weeks. Before I part ways with you all this week I would like to share with you an amazing quote I found while studying this week;

" Conversion is the greatest miracle. It is even more wonderful than healing the sick or raising the dead. For a while a person who is healed will eventually fall sick again and ultimately die, the miracle of conversion can last forever and affect the eternities for the convert as well as for his or her posterity. Whole generations are healed and redeemed from death through the miracle of conversion."

What a great work to be a part of. I just love all of you and am thankful for your support. I feel selfish sometimes being out here and feeling of the love that I do while at the Lord's call. I pray that you may all have a great week. Thank you once again for your love! I love you love you, and so it is...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Big changes

Hey, so transfers are in 2 weeks, eke!!! I feel like I say that every week, but I think that that is really the only dramatic change as missionaries we experience so it is the most talked about. I keep getting the dreaded "So Sister Coleman. You have been in Harlem for 5 cycles now..." blah, blah, blah! Haha, they are trying to kick me out of here. Im hoping its not until my mission life is over so I guess I could say, "over my mission dead body!" oh missionary jargon! (Not speaking in terms of real death of course but come the end of the mission we "die", or are released from the calling.) I will not be mad though if I do get transferred, I will however be sad! And so it is...

Anyways, this past week was Easter; such a conclusion to a great week of religious appreciation and learning! I think it was because so many things clicked for me. The entire week was so great! As I explained in the previous post, Sunday was the the commencement of Jesus' final week. Lazareth Saturday and Palm Sunday, all these amazing events to commemorate the Savior were celebrated in their own way. Then on the next Saturday, taking focus completely away from the Savior for most, but drawing near to Him for the Latter-Day Saints, our ward missionary council conducted a Passover Seder. In the Jewish community this is a feast that marks the beginning of the Passover Holiday, it was such an experience. Jen, who is a chef in our ward (hehe, needless to say we're besties!), made traditional kosher foods and conducted the rituals that follow their traditions. It was amazingly authentic and even made the Jewish newspaper in town which was cool. But by far the most amazing thing was seeing the Catholic churches in the neighborhood display their Good Friday Celebration. I have never seen such a sight, and being on the 17th floor, surrounded by 3 cathedrals we got to see quite a bit. All in all though, the best was observing the Sabbath in our Easter Program this past Sunday. It was such a great service. The musical numbers and talks were so sincere and really brought the spirit. The thing that I loved most was the knowledge of the resurrection. I dont know that I honestly considered what happened when the Savior was raised from the dead. He obtained new life, celestial, perfected and complete.

His work was finished and at that time he came again to minister to the people their eternal destiny when the time too would come for them. He was there in the flesh. People could touch his hands, feet and side and feel the scars of the weight in which he carried for all of us. I was taken aback a little by the reality of it all. I think the line in a hymn that describes it best is "Oh it is wonderful that he would care for me enough to die for me. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me." I cannot repay the Lord for what he did on my account. I can only do what I can to prove myself worthy for such a sacrifice and I am thankful for the opportunity. There is such joy in this work! I love the word joy because it describes something that cannot easily be received. It is a word that is more internal than happy and in some cases doesn't involve that word when used. It is a feeling and a knowledge above that that can be obtained by worldly things. I have such joy in this work and learning that is this mission.

I am so thankful for the time I have out here. The weather is warming up and the trees are green again! So beautiful. Well, its time to go to work! And so it is...

Oh PS! Thanks Cubs in the ward for the Easter basket/box!!! You are the best :) Thanks everyone, Love you love you!
3333 Broadway E17E
NY, NY 10031

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oh Another Week

This week has been a good week! The weather has been wacky pants and there is no other way of explaining it. One day it is so hot you cant bear to be outside and the next is so cold you wouldn't dare go outside! Haha, either way we were going out so it really didn't even matter. Nonetheless, today it is nice, cloudy and foggy but cool.

There hasn't really been too much action going on around here besides the baptism of Darold (I act like it wasn't a big deal!). He has been meeting with us for just about four months now and has decided to take the plunge, haha! I have to say that is was not the easiest decision for him to make but I believe his expression after being confirmed on Sunday was "I feel wonderful Sisters!" It has been such an exciting journey thus far with him and it is so great to see him exercise his faith even into the waters of baptism. I wish everyone could have been at his service. We had such remarkable talents speaking and singing praises to our Savior. Such a great day it was to be baptized, commencing the final week of the Saviors earthly reign: Lazareth Saturday. When Darold approached us with his baptismal date 3 weeks ago he said, "It has to be the 16th Sisters. I don't know, there is just something special about that date." And he is so right.

As Easter approaches and the celebration begins with eggs, bunnies and candy, I can't help but remember all the reason why I carry the name Jesus Christ on my name tag. It is by him that I have this wonderful message to share with all of those who are willing to listen and exercise faith. It is because of him that I know that through the walks of life that I will have him as my redeemer after all that I can do. And it is also by him that I know that there is no other way. So as the Easter celebrations start, remember why it is this day that we are.

Other than that mission life is serving me well. This last week Sister Fui and I went and ate Trinidadian food...I say this for no other reason than I had curried goat (Marilyn!!! Haha!) It was so good! I love being able to find any and every kind of food that I desire on this one little island; another testimony to why I was called here and no place else...man, the Lord just knows me too well.

We continue to do the work and move forward with our calling. Sister Fuimaono and I are just so grateful to be out here serving together. I ask her everyday if she is tired of me yet and the answer is still no, it's gonna be a sad day when we are no longer companions. Anyways until then we are having a great time! The weather is warming up and more and more people are out on the street. You know what that means right?!? Haha! Ya'll just know me too well. I just love you all and appreciate your love and encouragement. Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Conference And All The Other Shenanigan​s

I always feel like PepperAnn when I use that words, but anyway...

So a couple of weekends ago was Conference weekend! How did everyone like it?!

It was amazing! And of course I would say that because I am a missionary but in the same breath it really was so beneficial, as it always is! I think the one thing that I came away with that I am going to share is the concept that Elder Holland spoke about in one of the concluding talks of the conference Sunday evening. He said that so much is covered during Conference, things that one would say aren't applicable to them or that have little to no matter to them because maybe their problems are minuscule or obscure. But then he explained that it is ok if not all the topics of Conference directly relate to you because the reality is, not everyone has problems with pornography or debt or receiving revelation. He said a couple of things that were so cool: 1. They have an obligation to address all of the world about issues that are alarming and bring us away from the Spirit, whether they are applicable to the individual or not, and 2. That they are lead to teach by the Spirit which has the ablitiy to teach us the things we need to know, if not by their words then by its edifying power. I love this! I was reading the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon when he was in the temple addressing his people and he said exactly that. In chapter 2 he apologizes to those who were looking "to hear the pleasing word of God," but then explains that he is, to his displeasure, commanded to address weighter issues.

I guess the idea here is to have patience. As we have all felt the loving patience of a parent or friend, Jesus Christ our Savior has the utmost patience with us. He sits and waits, with his arms stretched out still. He calls us through his loyal servants to come unto Him and let Him bear with us our burdens. I am always so touched to know how much the Creator knows us His children. How he will guide us if we seek earnestly for His counsel. It is such an amazing thing! Of course there was so much more to take away from a weekend of Conference but ultimately this is what touched my heart.

In other news, this last week we had the opportunity to address some of the more frivolous issues pertaining to the Book of Mormon...Musical that is. Yes, the Book of Mormon musical is playing here in Manhattan and has been the best thing since sliced bread. Not that I have seen it of course, but we do hear all about it when people come up to us and ask if we are REAL Mormon missionaries. Haha! It is so funny. We had the chance to attend an activity on Columbia University campus hosted by the LDSSA, where through a quiz that was readily made available to test the LDS doctrinal knowledge of the average Ivy League attendee we could troubleshoot some of the most misconceived topics involving Latter-Day Saints.
It was such a great time! We got to teach so many people and let them know that we are out there, not polygamist or in most cases radically extreme. The results were awesome, many people came away from this event knowing more truth about the Church than the crazy shenanigans that have been spread through the media. We introduced them to LDS students on campus and showed them mormon.org that paints more realist views of the LDS community. All in all it was a great expereince.

As always is said, life out on the mission is going well! I am enjoying my time bearing my testimony and building it up in the process. I love this calling and I love all of you. Thank you for all the support and well wishes! I just love you love you! And so it is..

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Once Around The Sun

It just dawned on me that any day after today I will be home on your next year's calendar! That's nuts! The next time I use the phrase "once around the sun" will be when I have taken that trip in New York, and will only have six months remaining. Oh wow!

So whats been going on huh?!

Well, I finished the Book of Mormon right on cue and will be beginning it again tomorrow. I always gain such a respect for the scriptures when I conclude my reading. I have found that those mysteries that are spoken about begin to unfold with the desire and will of searching through them for answers. I also have accomplished carrying my large print quad with me everyday since I have been out, without even a whimper of wishing I bought smaller ones, haha! I mostly threw that little bit of information in to let everyone know that it can be done :) anyways...

I have had two companions, one being my trainer, Sister Child who has now finished her mission and has returned home (we were together one cycle), and the other is Sister Fuimaono, who I have been with since. They have just added to my friend pool and I know that I will love and cherish them putting up with me everyday all day, for the rest of my existence.

I have been in the Harlem 3 Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward for all of my mission life! Honestly, the best thing ever! I love the work here in Harlem and I am so lucky to be serving in such an amazing place! I have made beaucoup friends and have met people that wouldn't have been possible anywhere else. It has been a great opportunity!

I have lived in a 2 bedroom apartment on the 17th floor with 6 sisters total and have loved every second, every mouse, every roach, every long strand of fill-in-the-sister's hair on my coat of it and wouldn't change a thing.

I have had the opportunity to learn, teach and grow in all ways (and yeah, it has been delicious!) Haha! My shoe bottoms are disappearing faster than I have ever seen and I truly know what it means to be tired.

Anyways, along with many other things that have been going on, I have ultimately learned that there is no other way I could have had these experiences except by this coming out to serve the Lord. I just love it and appreciate every moment! Thanks for coming along for the ride! I just love you love you! And so it is...

Corned Beef and Cabbage!

So another St. Patty's day is fast approaching so you know that I'm making corned beef and cabbage for the Zone this week. I love it! Its the little bit of normalcy that I get as a missionary; everyone knows how much I love to cook! But let's talk about normalcy for a second, its definitely not sleeping in anymore, going to class or work, listening to music, going to the movies or being frivolous with my time, so maybe this is a privilege rather than sinking back into what's normal considering the shift my life has taken.
This week in the field has been real good. We are just so blessed with the opportunity to teach such great people. I'm a bit saddened though because it has taken us out of the usual grunt work that would normally occupy our schedule, like contacting! And I almost hesitate to say grunt work because contacting on the street is some of the best work there is here in New York, besides teaching of course. Maybe I'm sad purely for the selfish reason that I am no longer out on the streets as much as I used to, getting to know the people of the city. Nonetheless, I came across a great scripture in Alma 62 early last week that helped me with this conflict: 4. "...and he did raise the standard of liberty in whatsoever place he did enter, and gained whatsoever force he could in all his march towards the land of Gideon." Amazing right?! Sometimes we don't have as much time as we used to to contact on the streets but in whatsoever place we are headed we can still lift the liberty of the people, aka contacting along the way. I know this sounds dumb because that is ideally what should be happening all the time, but sometimes running in and out of trains is so busy, stopping to talk with individuals as you run, already late, to your next appointment is the furthest thing from your thoughts. Nonetheless, I have made a better attempt at it this week and I have to say that I am thankful that I did. Going back to the basics!
So let me tie this into the normalcy of real life. Life is busy. I don't know that that can be over exaggerated more! So, slow down, at least for a second to get back to the basics. I have found that they are truly what I need in the week to help me stay grounded and focused. Soon we will run out of busy things to do and we are left with nothing. Now back to the Gospel and life (I sound like an Old Spice commercial, "now back at your man" haha), keep on the basics, ie reading scriptures, praying, going to church and service. I have gained such a testimony of service both on and off the mission. I have found that the people that we are serving benefit from the service provided, but it is we as the one's who are serving that get the better end of the deal. I have true testimony of that. As with the work I am involved in here in NY. I love this! I love all of you and hope that you all are having a great week. I am thankful for all that I have and at a time of disaster for so many, my heart and prayers go out to them and their families. Thank you for everything! Love you love you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why The Silence?

Ok, so now that everything is said and done let me just tell you that I had the best week ever!!!! I didn't update anyone last week because I was sure to go against everything we had been told, which was to not let the world know that Elder Bednar would be visiting us! Haha! Yes, Elder Bednar visited with our mission and it was such a great experience. It was such a day of learning, so let me just start spouting off some of the things I learned.
  • Every church meeting should be looked at as a revelatory experience. Before he came we were asked to study his talk "Ask In Faith" which of course is about sincerely asking the Lord in faith knowing that until now everything that we NEEDED has been provided for us and by living righteously we can have a hope, and faith that what we will need in the future will continue to be provided for us when we ask. In addition to that he explained that the questions we have may not always be answered of course right away or on a large scale like hearing a voice, or having a vision. What he counselled us to do was to approach every event that is accompanied by the Spirit with our questions readily available because in this "Revelatory Experience" we can receive answers to our prayers. I have to say that that day definitely proved that for me!
  • Be a good girl. In the talk given by Elder Packer, "20 Mark Note" an experience is shared regarding an elder on his mission. That elder, who turns out to actually be Elder Bednar serving his mission in South Germany at the time, recalled in this story that what he was doing was just being a good boy. He then reminded us that we should continue to just be good boys and good girls because sometimes revelation doesn't come knowingly, but as long as we know that we are doing what is good we will have the support of the Spirit. He also related this to big decisions that we sometimes need to make. We may be left to our own good judgement to make big decisions because the Lord trusts us with our choices.
  • Foundational Knowledge of the Gospel is a must. Being on a mission it is hard not to agree with this, but when I speak with the members and also remember instances when I was not a missionary I would say that this notion is very hard. My schedule now promotes at least an hour of scripture study each day, helping me to build a foundation of gospel principles. Everyday I am faced with people looking to me for answers so my efforts are to be able to provide them with inspired answers that I have built through inspiration and study. This however is something that can only be borrowed. What I know and what I share is only on loan. I am not able to give my testimony to others so for a short moment they feel validated but soon enough will have to find that inspiration for themselves. It absolutely is so amazing to be able to provide that light for others.
These were just some of the things that I left knowing. I am so thankful for this experience. It is rare to counsel with an apostle of God. To know that he is a servant of the Lord and has been called to hold the Keys to the priesthood that provide for us opportunities to make and keep sacred covenants. In his talk "Seek Learning by Faith" he stated that "the soles of their feet were already wet before the water even parted." I am thankful to know that through the action of faith we can see miracles! I just love you all so much and am glad you are sharing these experiences with me. Thank you for everything! Love you love you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Day In Paradise aka Harlem!

Shot Calls! Once again Sister Fuimaono and I will be serving right here in the lovely Harlem 3 ward for at least the next 6 weeks and we are so so excited! The last few weeks have been so terrible with being sick and kicking whatever virus has been floating around our 6 sister pad, but have also been so great because we have just been so blessed to teach amazing investigators who are preparing themselves to receive the Gospel, such an opportunity! Along with that it looks like the weather is warming up! It is so great to see the sun and feel its warmth again. Utah doesn't hold a candle to this cold and I am so over it, but soon the treacherous summer will be around the corner and I will be hoping for sweater weather again, huh.

It is just so amazing this Gospel is. I received an email earlier today testifying of the power that the Book of Mormon possesses and I have to agree 100%. The sister that sent it was speaking of an experience that she has had the last week where she was able to read and share portions of the Book of Mormon to a couple of her investigators. That single experience led them to gain a testimony of many things that are essential to know to better understand the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a recent lesson we were having with one of our investigators he said he was praying to know if the things he was learning were true. He said that he knows that this year would be the year that he would be baptized and he knows of its importance but he didn't know which church would be the one. Last week at our appointment he stressed his necessity to learn quickly what it was he was to do, and so I asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon. As he hesitated to answer this question directly I promised him that the only way to know if it is or isn't is to read it. No greater knowledge can be gained about these things until the desire meets the faith required to do it. Read it. Then pray and you will receive your answer is what we told him, the Spirit will testify. This week he approached our appointment with a slight smirk on his face. He hasn't told us of his experience yet but the Spirit has definitely confirmed something for him.

Speaking of the Spirit another of our investigators, the one who bore testimony last week during sacrament meeting has often said something along the lines of "I just feel different with ya'll (she's a southern belle). I feel it when I'm at church and when I'm around other Mormons." This "it" that she is referring to is the Spirit! I love when people can sense and feel the difference. It just makes me so happy that they feel a portion of that Spirit that can be gained in full when they are baptized and receive that great gift. Recently I have personally been studying the Spirit of the Lord this last week and my studies have just been so revealing. I have learned such a great deal about the Holy Ghost; who he is and what he does (D&C 130:22, John 14:26). The most amazing part about it though is the fact that this member of the godhead has sacrificed his opportunity to have a body so that he can dwell with all of us if we ask for it. And it is that simple, as it states in Matthew 7:7-8, "knock and it shall be opened unto you." It is generally our choice whether to have this presence in our life or not and so it is. As Elder Boyd K. Packer stated in the book Hearing The Voice Of The Lord "The still small voice is difficult to describe to one who has never experienced it and is almost unnecessary to describe to one who has." When we feel it, we know. I know and am grateful for that knowledge. I love sharing that with others here in New York! Again, they really feel a difference.

Its been a great week. I am happy to be out here doing this work. One thing though, and you cant blame me for this, its the mission! I feel the missionary awkwardness creeping up on me, eke! I don't know how it happened or how I can avoid it so my best bet is to just give in. I have been told it is a natural part of eating, sleeping and drinking every moment of the Gospel. I guess that is just what happens, haha! And this is the best part, soon enough I'll be back in your life and it will then be your problem too! You can't say you're not looking forward to it... Genn! Haha, I just love you all! It is great to hear from you and know you are sharing these experiences with me. The time is flying by all too fast! I love you love you and wish you all a great week! Smooches!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wie Geht Es Dir?

Sometimes German just sneaks in there. I contacted this guy this week in German. It was so funny because as I approached him saying hello he responded with "Que Paso?" So of course I respond in Spanish only to be met with, "I dont speak Spanish." so then I asked if he spoke English where he said yes, but he had an accent. Of course I asked where he was from and viola! Germany! He was kind of laughing because 1. we were both in the dead center of Harlem, 2. as we shuffled through which language we were going to settle on, German was the choice, and 3. he didn't suspect any of the black people around there spoke his language (he told me it was an unusual surprise. I dont know if that was a complement or a not), anyways it was great!
Enough with that, so this Sunday was another miracle Sunday! It was Fast and Testimony Sunday so that doesn't always make for the best meetings, not that they aren't great but they sometimes aren't the greatest. Anyways remember that new investigator that I was speaking about last week, yeah her sweet spirit bore her testimony and it was the best thing I have ever seen and/or heard. I loved it and so did the ward who have to be the greatest ward in New York! They just support all of our investigators and love them!
Anyways life has been great! Its colder than all get out right now but we luckily have had great appointments to keep us somewhat inside and out of the windy cold. We have just been so blessed! Transfers are next week though and Im getting old in the area so we will see if I will stay or go. OH GOODNESS! Until then, I just love you all, love you love you. Thanks for all of your support and love

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slushing Around In The City

This week has definitely been a week of miracles! Sister Fuimaono and myself took on the Alma 32 challenge to see what "fruit" we could grow this week...and yep, definitely didn't have "room enough to receive it!"
Let's talk about it. So late last week we got a phone message from this dear girl who had been coming to Church with a member friend. She exclaimed in the message that she knew it was weird that she was calling but thought she should see about meeting with us to learn more about the Church. Of course being on the receiving end of this message, it was like music to our ears. What an opportunity she was "twisting our arms" to partake. So we set up an appointment for early Sunday morning before church.
Flash forward to that Sunday, we had an amazing first meeting with her where she came equipped with questions that absolutely showed that she had been thinking about meeting with us for a while. It soon became evident that she has been preparing herself to a possible commitment of baptism but was afraid because of the negative feedback she had been experiencing from family and friends. After meeting with her though, she agreed that this was something she really wanted to invest the time in learning about because she just couldn't deny the way she was feeling. It was such a opportunity to teach someone who really was wanting to know if all that was promised in scripture was true.
So we ushered her and her friend to Sacrament meeting where we knew our recent convert Danilda would be speaking. And what an event that was! Hands down the best meeting I have ever attended! Let me explain a bit. So beautiful feisty Danilda gets up to the pulpit swinging her hair and preparing everyone for her conversion story: "Brothers and sisters, please excuse me. This is my first talk in English so if my sentences dont make sense, just wait for the next one and maybe it will." Of course everyone is relaxed and even laughing at this point. She continues: "So, I grew up Catholic and always have been trying to find God. I have had my bouts with other religions searching for a place where I knew God knew me and accepted me for who I was as well as where I knew He would want me to be. About 7 months ago two cute little guys knocked on my door. I guess they were looking for some other guy named Ramon or something but as I told them they had the wrong house they asked if they could teach me about the Gospel. I was flattered and immediately invited them in...two cute little Mormon boys, of course! So as they began to enter they then asked if I was alone, where I of course I said yes. They then exclaimed they needed a 3rd person to be there for them to teach me. I was shocked! Two guys couldn't handle me?! I need three!?"
As she went on she explained: "...they kept inviting people over to my house where I could incorporate myself into their life, but little did I know they were inviting me into theirs." It was such a great talk, where she was so excited that she lost her marker in her scriptures and lost what she wanted to share. No fuss though because the concluding speaker referenced the following. "In Alma 19 a woman named Abish..." where Danilda immediately runs over to where Sister Fuimaono and myself were sitting. She, in amazement exclaimed "That is what I wanted to read to everyone! This is amazing!" As she made her way back to her seat she began telling everyone around her.
What a great experience...but Im not done. As soon as Toby said "and I say these things..." Danilda jumps up in the middle of the congregation and yells raising her hand, "I have something to say!" As Brother Brien from the bishopric encourages her to come forward she resistantly does as she explains herself: "I prayed to God this morning to help me find something to read to you people today, and guess what it was?! Alma 19! And the crazy part is, Toby was not in my bed this morning so it had to be the esSpirit! It this is not the true church than I dont know what is!"
It was an awesome to say the least. The Spirit was there, we had comic relief and investigators in the congregation, many of whom are struggling to see that conversion is a real thing that happens everyday, haha! It was great. Brother Brien closed with, "My wife who's pregnant with a baby girl, and I were laying in bed this morning and to my surprise Toby was not in our bed either, but Abish Brien, I dont know that might have to be the name. What a day of miracles, lets close this meeting!"
What a great day Sunday was! What a week of miracles it has been. Our investigator met with us last night in a followup appointment where she left in tears knowing that the Lord has a plan for her that can help her feel the joy that is intended in life! Unfortunately Im out of time now, but I am so greatful for the people we meet each day and also having an influence in their life. I love each and every one of you, sorry for the novel but you know I couldnt let you go without sharing this story! Love you love you! Have a great week!