Sweet little Hailey made this video for Ashlyn's Homecoming!
They Call Me Sister: A Missionary's Tale
Monday, March 2, 2015
I only have few minutes to email today, but I thought I'd share a little about my week! I have a lot to do today. I'm assuming that coming home Wednesday MIGHT make up for a shorter email ;)
This week T and E were baptized!! One of the Elders, who actually found T a few transfers ago, was able to come up and baptize her. Both baptisms went really well and they were very excited :)
I can't believe how fast the time has flown. In the past 18 and a half months, I've come to understand the Atonement so much more than I did before. I know that prayer is a two way communication and that Heavenly Father answers the prayer of faith. I know that he will move mountains for us and our loved ones. I also know that The Book of Mormon is true. Through it, we come to know our Savior in a powerful way. I know that there is power in the basics of the gospel. If we will focus on gospel principles, we will be happy and find solutions. The gospel blesses families and leads us to happiness even if we have difficult circumstances. I love my Savior. He has strengthened me and always given me exactly what I needed. I have found so much joy in serving Him. By loosing my life in His service, I've found it. I know that Heavenly Father loved us enough to call Joseph Smith as a prophet. I know that he did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that he did restore Christ's church on the earth. The Holy Ghost has witnessed that to me many times throughout my mission. It is so important to keep the Holy Ghost in our lives. It is by so doing, that we are cleansed, and retain a remission of our sins throughout our lives. I know that Heavenly Father has given us all the tools we need to be happy now and to return to his presence clean and pure. I know that those tools are the Gospel, complete with priesthood authority. I have a testimony of sincere prayer, frequent scripture study, and of the power that partaking of the sacrament each week. The things that I believe about the Gospel aren't different from what they were 18 months ago, but my capacity to live it and the depth of my personal conversion has grown. I will always be so grateful for this chance I've had to be one of Heavenly Father's missionaries...because I love Him.
Posted by Jana at 8:38 PM
Wow. I can hardly believe that this upcoming week is my last! I know it's cliche to say, but it really has flown by!! I am so sad to leave this beautiful place and these beautiful people because this is my life now. But when I think back, I was always so sad to leave each area when I got transferred. Heavenly Father always had bigger plans and different experiences for me. So I know that He will continue to lead me just as he has the past 18 months. I feel so overwhelmed about going home, though. I don't even know what to say or how to feel. I don't feel ready to go home. I have pushed the fact that I was leaving so far to the side, that now reality is staring me straight in the face. When I got my flight plans this week, it was a sad, sad day on my mission; I had to just cry for a little while. Then I decided I'd better start thinking about packing. Mom, don't stress about making the house perfect or the days planned or anything else. I'm still just Ashlyn and things will be great no matter what. I'm excited to get off the plane and see you all!! :)
Last week we got the Craziest weather so the libraries were closed Monday and Tuesday! We also had to stay in our apartment for 1 1/2 days until the roads were clear. I had driven in the snow earlier in the day before we knew we were supposed to stay in and only got stuck a few times. I managed to get through it, though. So, I will update you all on the highlights the past 2 weeks (and there are a lot!!)
Monday the 9th Deanna got married!!! It was simple, but went really well for us having only 3 days notice. :) (Thank you Relief Society!!)
Tuesday, Linda and Deanna both passed their baptismal interviews and Thursday we had Zone Meeting. That night, we also taught the R family. They are relatives of another investigator, T. They are so wonderful! And I love it even more because they have 3 girls just like my family :) We taught the Restoration and it went really well! The girls all were reading scriptures and participating, even though they are pretty young (primary aged). They have a baptismal date for March and I am so, so excited for them!! Finding that family was a big tender mercy.
Valentines Day was amazing!! In the morning, we traveled to Louisville and Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke to all the missionaries, as well as Elder Soares from the Seventy. Elder Christofferson definitely had a very strong spirit with him, but was also very funny. We had some Q&A and at the end, he bore his testimony to us. He told us that he wanted us to remember that we were there with him, and that "I know." He testified of how actively involved Christ is in the governing of His church. He also left us his Apostolic Blessing. It was probably one of the neatest things I've ever heard. The Spirit was very strong.
Afterwards, I had Chick-Fil-A for the first time in 6 months-yay!! :)
Then we came home and had L and D's baptism!! D got to get baptized by her son, who joined the church 2 years ago. So that was very special for her. L's baptism was a little interesting since she has a Traech!! (Or however you spell it). Because it goes directly to her lungs, absolutely NO water can get in. We found out a few days before the baptism that there was no plug for it. She had to just hold her had around it as she went under the water. However, Heavenly Father provided and she not only went under once 100% fine, but even when the witnesses said she had to go under again, she had no issues with water getting in! It was definitely a miracle :)
|We had another Sister go in the font while L was being baptized to assist her.|
|D's son wasn't looking at the camera in any of the pictures we took.|
This week was good too. C (who will also be Ashlyn's roommate at BYU-I) who is planning on putting her papers in, got permission to stay with us for a few days to get a taste for missionary life. So that was neat!
|Giving C a taste of missionary life!|
This upcoming Sunday, E (L's grandchild) and T are both getting baptized!! We are so, so excited for them.
See you all soon! :)
-Sister Ashlyn Galloway
Posted by Jana at 8:34 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
This past week was soo, soo amazing and also insane! Monday we got a TON of snow. It snowed even more today!! Kentucky is crippled by snowstorms, so the library was closed Monday and Tuesday. We were so bummed!! We have just a few minutes to email today.
We have an appointment with T soon. She's getting baptized March 1st with her grandson and E.
D and L's baptisms went great! Elder Christofferson's conference was amazing. You truly could see that he was an Apostle of God. I think I understand better the scripture "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess" because just shaking his hand you could SEE that he was an apostle. And I can't imagine how it would be to meet Christ. He was a very good speaker. The end was my favorite part. He told us that he wanted each of us to remember that we were there with him in person and that he knows. He bore a powerful testimony of Christ. At the end he gave us all an apostolic blessing and it was one of the most beautiful things I think I've ever heard. I didn't take notes or anything I was just focused on listening. Here is President B's comments on it from an email to us today:
"What a wonderful and great experience we had this week-end to hear from Elder Christofferson and Elder Soares. I hope each of you were lifted and edified as I was. I left the meeting with a renewed determination and desire to ensure I give the Lord all my heart, might, mind and strength as I serve him as his disciple, set apart as an extension of the living
Apostles. I gain great strength in knowing that my family and friends will be blessed as a result of my service as a missionary and that the Lord will not hold back blessings for those I love. Please remember the apostolic blessing Elder Christofferson invoked upon us. He blessed us that we would find joy in our service and that we will each receive peace and a personal confirmation that the Lord is pleased with and accepts our offering of service and sacrifice. He further blessed us with protection, revelation and stated angels, which we may or may not see, will assist us in this great work. His final blessing was that we would be more capable in our missionary service. Wow! I am excited to serve as one of the Lord’s missionaries. What a great blessing it is."
I wrote a long letter yesterday when we were stuck inside our apartment. I'm very, very sad at the thought of leaving my mission. I can't imagine life other than being a missionary.
Have a great week!
Sister Ashlyn Galloway
Posted by Jana at 2:45 PM
Monday, February 9, 2015
GUESS WHAT? GUESS WHAT? GUESS WHAT?
Miracles are everywhere! We have seen some amazing blessings this week in the lives of our investigators.
I have truly gained a testimony that the commandments are here to make us happy and that Heavenly Father never gives us a commandment without providing a way for us to accomplish it.
One of the biggest miracles this week is D. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, she had a baptismal date for Feb. 14th, and was going to get married. We were sooo excited. BUT THEN, Satan got in the way and her boyfriend decided he didn't want to get married anymore. She was super sad and we were too. She wanted to find a job and earn money to move out, but honestly, she probably won't be able to get a job until this summer, let alone in a week. We prayed really hard for her and I was really confused because I didn't understand why things weren't working out. I knew that Heavenly Father could work a miracle, but it didn't look like that was going to happen. The chances of things working out were pretty much slim to none. I thought of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Old Testament and how they had faith that if it was God's will, he could work a miracle and save their lives from the fiery furnace. However, they also had faith that if He didn't chose to work a miracle in their behalf, that they would still follow through in obeying his commandments and would submit to His will. (Daniel 3:17-18)
We decided to not reset her baptismal date yet and keep praying and exercising faith. We taught her Tuesday night and during the lesson I felt for a moment just how overwhelming Heavenly Father's desire for D's happiness was. It comforted me and helped me know that things would be okay in the long run because He wanted her to be so, so happy and knew how to give her that. Thursday, we got a text from D! She said that her and her boyfriend had talked about it and decided that even though they'd had their ups and downs they wanted to get married! AND, she wants to get married this week so she can be baptized on the 14th!!! We made about a million last-minute phone calls, and she is getting married at the church tonight at 6:30. She is so excited!! Even though her son was SUPER nervous about it, he said that he would baptize her!! And she was so happy. It has been just amazing to see her grow in the Gospel and see how Heavenly Father will move mountains for us if we exercise faith and are obedient.
Also, Linda is getting baptized this Saturday as well!! She has a glow in her eyes that is beautiful. :) She loves church so much! I don't think I've ever met a lady who loves church so much!! She also wasn’t sure if she was going to be baptized because she has a trache in her throat. However, she is ordering a plug and is so excited for Saturday!
Monday night we taught J and M. It was good, except we were late because there was a cow standing in the middle of the road on the way to their house. But we made it!
Tuesday we went with Sister W to teach one of her friends. It was a good lesson as well. Sister W gave us a cupcake and it was the best cupcake I have ever had in my life. (I thought this was an important experience from my week that I needed to mention!!)
The next morning, Sister J, my companion was pretty sick.:( So, she slept all day, and I doused everything in Clorox, read my BOM, got some much needed organizing done and also almost died of boredom. If coming home is anything like that day of boredom, I don't want to come home!! On the plus side, she is feeling much better now!
We also had Zone Conference this week and discussed the role of the Spirit in conversion. The word "understanding" really stuck out to me and I've been thinking a lot about how important it is. We also had Branch Conference this Sunday.
|My last zone conference.|
I have learned soooo much about faith on my mission. I can't even tell you. And
I was thinking about what I've learned in my areas and if I had to sum it up really simply I'd say something like this:
Submit to God's will. Love Him. Don't quit.
Well, have a wonderful week!!!
Sister Ashlyn Galloway
PS: I found out 2 people I taught earlier on my mission will be in SLC in June to go through the temple. I am so happy! I will HAVE to get there somehow!!
Posted by Jana at 6:17 PM
This week has been good. Monday we taught J and M. We had met J while shopping several weeks ago and finally were able to see him and his wife this past week! Getting to their house was quite the adventure (multiple narrow gravel roads, cattle guards, and dark sketchy woods that made me feel like a serial killer was going to pop out!) But they were both really nice and we are excited to teach them again today! One thing we talked about with them was how universal truth is. Many people say that there is no ultimate truth, that everyone can pick and choose the truth that is right for them. However, this isn't correct. Heavenly Father is the source of truth. He never changes and neither does the truth. PMG points out that no one can know of spiritual truth without prayer and I have absolutely found that to be correct. When we pray for truth or confirmation of the truth, our Heavenly Father will answer us and communicate with us.
Other things that happened this week include going on an exchange in Fairdale and also helping a member move. We also taught D again. She is going through a lot right now, but is staying strong in the Gospel and already considers herself a part of the church! :) We are praying for her and for some difficult situations that she's in right now. So keep her in your prayers :)
This week we also picked up T, an investigator that has a baptismal date. He has been meeting with the Elders in our ward, but moved into our area. She is wonderful, and we are excited to help her reach her date!!
Things I learned this week:
-How to check the oil and change the oil in a car. That was exciting!!
-Contacting is NOT effective during the Superbowl. In fact, that time gave me an excellent opportunity to work on being Christlike and NOT be tempted to want to punch rude people in the face.
ALSO, you ready for the most exciting thing ever?! Guess who's coming to speak to us on FeBrUaRy 14th?!
It's an apostle!! Elder D. Todd Christopherson will be here to speak to the GKLM missionaries.
Isn't that cool?! I am SO excited that I get to hear an apostle speak in person--on my mission!! This will be the best Valentine's Day of my life. Elder Soares from the presidency of the Seventy is coming to the Hurstbourne Stake Center to speak with him as well. Then, they both are speaking at Louisville Stake Conference that weekend -yay!!! :)
I have my last Zone Conference this week. It is tradition for those departing to bear their testimony at the end. So that will be very strange for me. It's weird, but I feel a little nervous for it. It's funny- I feel 100% confident with sharing my testimony to non-members, but sharing it in Sacrament Meeting or to other missionaries is a little unnerving to me, strangely. How do I sum up and express everything I've learned and come to know on my mission in just a few minutes?? I'll just pray I can have the Spirit with me I guess...
We have some really amazing people we are teaching here. I am constantly inspired by their faith and determination to follow Heavenly Father.
Sister Ashlyn Galloway
Posted by Jana at 6:10 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Heavenly Father needs more missionaries!!! REALLY. Each missionary really does make a huge difference in his or her mission and in the lives of individuals. Everyone should serve a mission because YOU CAN DO SO MUCH GOOD! And if you're not in a position right now to serve, help the missionaries in YOUR area!! Help make the most of the time and resources Heavenly Father has given to your location and your friends and your neighbors! Set time out of your week to go out with them, look for missionary opportunities in your life, ask them who they're teaching & what your can do to help them. Pray specifically fo those that your missionaries are teaching. Figure out what you can do in your situation now, to help the full-time missionaries & to do your own missionary work. Also, follow the Apostles' advice and "ask the missionaries--they can help you!' Support them, help them to serve & serve more effectively.
Posted by Jana at 3:58 PM