"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!