Monday, October 21, 2013

Corbin...The Promised Land!


Every week I find it really difficult to sit down and try and write a brief email describing what all happened that week. There are so many different moments, exchanges, and people that we meet. It leaves a remarkable, variety of feelings and emotions that is hard to summarize -or even remember! This week was no exception. Tuesday was really amazing. We met with A, and taught her lesson three (The Gospel). She has a LOT of difficulties going on in her life right now, but really wants to change her life. She really has the gift of faith. That night, we talked to her about baptism and she accepted a baptismal invitation! She has a few trials that she needs to overcome, but I know that she can.

Our district goal is to have 20 contacts a day. The other night at 8 pm, we still needed 9 more contacts to reach our goal. It was dark and fairly empty in town. So, (thanks to dad's mission stories!!) I had the idea to go contact in a laundromat. That got us the last few we needed for the day! YAY!!! 

Wednesday was a little rougher. We got dropped by a young  family that we were really hopeful about. I guess everything is in the Lord's perfect timing.

Friday we drove up to Lexington for a Zone Conference and were taught about The Book of Mormon and what a powerful tool it truly is.

Guess what?? I discovered some fun things in our house this week including a working sewing machine, a full-size crock pot and 2 Aloe Vera plants. (I am so excited to get a sunburn now!!). Some Elders in our District found a mouse in their apartment.  I felt so blessed to find these treasures!!

Sunday night, we went tracting and met this really friendly woman who was out feeding stray cats! Before we'd barely gotten a "hello" out, she invited us in, and started telling us her life's story. She told us how she had lived all over the world when she had job with the government, lost her only child and grandchild in tragic accidents, broken her neck and spent years recovering as a quadriplegic and had a miraculous recovery. I almost couldn't believe this woman except she had a huge scar on her neck and she was showing us all sorts of pictures. Finally, with no idea what to do next, she had simply gotten on the freeway until she felt prompted to get off at an exit and stop, which is how she ended up here in Corbin!She says she was very surprised after living in the deep south and also all over the world because there is NO place like Corbin... and I believe it! ha ha!! She told us straight up that we didn't need to worry about her soul, she KNEW her Savior. And she surely did. I felt the Spirit very strongly, so I think we will stop by again sometime and try and read some of The Book of Mormon with her. She said she wasn't going to join any church and just wanted to be non-denominational. She works with homeless women and said her faith has kept her grounded through out her life.

Ahhhh...that's where the TREE OF LIFE is!!

This week we also have done a fair bit of service and raked several yards! It is beautiful here with all the colorful leaves, especially when we drive out to Williamsburg, which is more in the country. We have also had a lot of member-present lessons and they all have gone really well! The nights that we were unable to get a member with us ended up going pretty poorly and a lot of plans fell through, so I definitely have had an increased testimony of working with members!

Each week is an adventure with its ups and downs. One moment will be incredibly happy or funny, and the next will be discouraging or really sad.We got "The Trumpet" this week, which is Sis W's (mission president's wife)  newsletter for the GKLM missionaries. In it it had parting words of advice from missionaries. One of them said something along the lines of "no amount of success you have on your mission will be entirely yours, but neither will any amount of rejection." It's become so important for me to use The Atonement, and to deepen my personal relationship with Christ. I know that He truly walks beside each of us during our trials and hardships and also during our successes. 

Sister J celebrated her 6 month mark. We had a chocolate chip cookie cake and I made her blow out a candle for it!  

Happy 6 months to Sister J!

 You asked what new Southern words I now use. I say "blessed" a lot. Or "bless my soul!" I hear a lot of words that my North Carolina family uses, like britches, papaw, and mamaw.  

You also asked what my favorite part of the day is and I have to say "lunch!" Duh. ha ha! Other than that, dinner especially when we have a member meal. Or another favorite part is getting the mail or anytime there is a spiritual 'peak' in the day. Oh, and definitely BEDTIME. I have gained a healthy respect for it! (Note: That comment on bedtime was a joyful moment for me. I sighed so loud, you probably heard it!! See, we used to joke about Ashlyn being nocturnal.)
I hope that you all have a wonderful week...
-Sister Ashlyn Galloway

Monday, October 14, 2013

How we communicate..

So when a mom has a question for her missionary daughter that needs an immediate answer and you can't talk or text and email is one time a week, here is how the communication goes:

[Note: One of the "rules" Ash told me before she left for her mission was to check with P (little sister) who has to "OK" the style before I buy her any clothes. She trusts P's taste/style in clothes.] 

Hey Ash. I found this skirt and wondered if you like it. 

It's tan in case you can't tell on the email. I asked P. if she liked it and she replied, "I would if I was a Duggar."

No such thing as Stranger Danger--We talk to everyone!!

This week one thing that our district has been really focusing on is contacts. So Sister J. and I contacted so much this week, which was really good for me. Contacting isn't necessarily my favorite thing!  But it helped me out a lot. (Note: Sister J's email reported that between 4 companionships in their district, they contacted a total of 579 people throughout the week. Each of them are in very small towns, so it was truly a miracle.)
We also ran into a lot of old potential investigators. And had some interesting conversations of course! One that I remember off the top of my head is a (slightly drunk) man who wouldn't let us pray with his family until we told him where unicorns were in the Bible. We also talked to [another religion's] minister who was also a religion teacher. He was very learned and had actually read The Book of Mormon before! But he hadn't (nor was he willing to) take Moroni's challenge and ask if it was true. It's always interesting because here in Corbin, we talk to so many different types of people and a lot of people who are very learned. It makes me so grateful to have the Spirit because without the Spirit and my testimony, I wouldn't be able to do hardly anything as a missionary. I know that the church is true. The Spirit touches the hearts of people and lives can be changed and burdens lifted in a way no earthly hand can lift.

Another picture of my district.
  Our district is the same for next transfer, except Elder H is leaving to be a District Leader in Illinois. Oh, and before you ask yes that's a new shirt. I  like it! Our investigator, J (who, REALLY reminds me of Sister Robison, one of my favorite advisors in YW) was donating a lot of clothes to Goodwill, so I got that one and a lacy gray one. :)

We also saw a few miracles this week! We got a random call from a man we had met for a few minutes at our investigator's A's house. We had given him a Book of Mormon, and had not seen or heard from him in 2 weeks and had honestly not really thought much about him. He said that he wanted us to bring his wife a copy, since he was out of town. We also learned that he was in Alma!! And he talked about how "plain and precious" it was.

Also while out contacting, we talked to 2 high school girls and when we mentioned the church, one of them said "Latter-day Saints? I love that place! All my best childhood memories are there!" I guess her family had gone some when she was young, and her mom is actually a less active. There are a lot of less actives in the ward. Out of 500 members, only about 100 attend regularly.

This week the Sister Training Leaders came and blitzed with us, so I spend the day with Sister W, who actually served her first 6 months in Corbin. It was a really neat day and I learned a lot from her!

The keys also got locked in the trunk this week... so we had to call the locksmith, who apparently had met with missionaries in the past and said we could stop by anytime! Maybe Heavenly Father is just trying to put certain people in our path? ha ha!!

Sister J is with me for another transfer -yay!! I hope I'm in Corbin a long time like she has been! And as Brother P (ward mission leader) so lovingly put it the other night, "it's too hard to break in new missionaries here." I really appreciate Bro. P. He told Sis J and I that he'd just adopt us as his daughters since we reminded him of them so much and because of all the times we've had to call him for help. ha ha!

But I love being a missionary and I know that no matter what our life is like, the Gospel path is the only path that there is in life that leads anywhere worthwhile. It's not always easy to do what Heavenly Father expects of us, but it's the path that we are asked to follow. It leads to lasting happiness. I am so incredibly grateful that I have a testimony and the opportunity to share it with others! 

-Sister Galloway

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's conference time!

This week has had it's ups and downs. One thing that's been interesting to see, is how the Spirit speaks differently to everyone. For example, last Monday night we taught M, who is very intellectual, and comes at things at a very "step by step" method. Most of our lesson involved resolving concerns about the Book of Mormon. It was an interesting lesson because it was very "logical" and not as spiritual as some lessons, but it was spiritually guided and by the end of it, he said that he knew the Holy Ghost had told him that he needed to actually read the words and test the promises, not just look into the historical aspect. 
Ashlyn's District & the Assistants.
We also have a new investigator, J, who is very energetic. At an early point in the lesson, Sis J and I just looked at each other and threw our structured lesson outline out the window and just taught 100% based on the spirit. It turned out a lot better than anything we could have planned for her! All of our investigators are soooo different, but I love each one of them, and have gained a greater testimony of how well Heavenly Father knows each one of us.
Horses & beautiful green grass & trees near Corbin--a visual treat for all of us desert dwellers!
This week we also have done a lot of "member work". It seems like a lot of investigators, converts, and other ward members were hit really hard with trials this week, so we spent a lot of time trying to help them out. 
Some of the trials that I have seen people go through here, are things that I have never ever experienced, but the message that I am here to share is so universal and true that it can help and heal in ways nothing else can. I know that obeying the commandments and living the Gospel is the only path that we can depend on in life.

 We went to the Saturday sessions of General Conference at the church, and Sunday morning at Sister W's house (yw's pres, 4 foster kids) And the afternoon session at Sister H's  :) She also made us some yummy chili and cornbread, and some fresh squeezed carrot/mango/other fruit juice that dad would have loooooovvveeeddd. I feel like I have kind of a special connection with her and Sister M becuase they both have a kid out on a mission, so they are very nice and supportive of us! They have really been a blessing to me so far during my mission. 
This week we also talked to W. a lot. She is a recent convert baptized in August. She is a single mom who is 30 and is super amazing, but doesn't see it at all. She is going through some pretty rough times so could really use some prayers right now. Conference was really good for her.  There were a few times she looked over at us in shock at what the speaker was saying, because it was sooo direct for her!! The spirit is just the best. :D Love it. 
I have a new recipe for y'all to try. Maybe P. (little sister) would like it. It's grilled cheese, but you put spaghetti sauce on before the cheese, and some peperoni after the cheese. Like pizza pockets!
Also a bit healthier than nutella-marshmallow sandwiches :) Ha!

And yes, Sis J and I were dying over the fly in the Sunday afternoon session. Did you see the little guy in the choir yawn on Saturday?? Super funny. 

Favorites of the week:
  • Scripture: D&C 50:40-42:
 40 Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.

 41 Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;

 42 And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.

  • Line: (While teaching J) "I love Mormons! They're like hippie Baptists!" 
  • Conference quote: "Gratitude makes us rich in contentment or poor in discontentment" -Elder Bednar
Yikes! He has his arm around her. :)

Sister Galloway