Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...!

So first off, here is what we are doing...

Later this week, we are leaving to drive to the mission home. We will stay the night there (or in a nearby missionary apt) and all 200+ missionaries will be at the mission home for a "Christmas Conference" (aka Christmas party). :) Sis E says it's pretty much the best. The Elders will be having an ugly tie exchange and the Sisters were supposed to have an ugly accessory exchange, but due to the common complaint that "we don't have anything ugly," it has been changed to a scarf exchange! :) hahaha! Good thing I have like 17 of those!


Then we proselyte on Christmas Eve until 6 and after that are going over to the B's house, so that will be fun. Christmas day we have district meeting. Then we're going over to the H's at 2 for dinner and stuff. (That's the same family we ate Thanksgiving with). Sister E is going to Skype first and I'll Skype after! Yayyy!!! :D The first presidency has asked us to keep it 40 minutes or less. :) So excited. 

This week's been pretty crazy. Yesterday at church was interesting... We taught Gospel Principals. Here are a few things that happened:

-(during the prayer) " we don't have to stay in hell for all eternity..." (Brother M: enough said!)

 Here are a few other "quotable" from previous Sundays:

Speaker in sacrament meeting: "Is Mormonism a cult?"

Brother W: "Yes sir!!"

A comment in Gospel Principals: "Back when I was married to a devil worshiper..."

Last night, we also went out and tried to find some less actives. One house we were at had big huge scary dogs that I thought were going to devour me. They didn't, but they still were scary. We walked around the house trying to find the front door (super sketchy, in all honesty) and only found a back door that we knocked at. No one answered. An hour later, we realized our phone was missing. After retracing our steps and saying a lot of prayers, we found ourselves back at the dark, scary dog house in the country. Pretty quickly, this huge truck pulled up and this man was there and started questioning us because he pretty much thought we were trying to rob the house. We tried to explain the situation and he didn't really trust us, but let us look for the phone. So yeah... interesting and pretty embarrassing night!!!

(Ash never said what happened to the phone but just sent this picture.)

We also had interviews on Friday and training by the AP's. Elder H (a previous zone leader) and Elder T gave a really amazing training. They talked about obedience and discussed our responsibility as missionaries and the principal of accountability. We did some pretty fun role plays too. Meetings and role-playing are like my favorite thing. And role playing in meetings... the best!! ha ha! It's fun though, and I have been working very hard the past few days to be exactly obedient. I've learned (and am learning still) that there are no short cuts to missionary work. You have to be obedient all the time and follow the process set up by leaders. In my interview, President W said that the sole purpose of the 12 apostles and prophet is to build up the Kingdom of God on earth. So, when they ask us to do something, whether it's the mission schedule, For the Strength of Youth standards, food storage or whatever it may be, even if it's small, we need to follow that. Everything that they ask us to do, including those things, are to build up the Kingdom of God on earth.


Llamas, pigs & dogs

Well, this week has been an interesting one. We spent a lot of time out in Williamsburg and Barbourville, which proved to be quite the adventure... Here are a few highlights:
So, there are way too many houses here that don't have house numbers. Or mailboxes. Or even phone numbers that don't work! We were out in Barbourville trying to find one and we ended up at this tiny turn off that led to the only houses in sight. We bravely passed the "No trespassing sign" (a standard here) and walked up the long steep drive way to the friendlier-looking house. As we were about to leave, the inevitable happened. A large, barking, scary dog ran out around the corner of the house. I thought I was going to die. I think it's only a matter of time before I get bit and/or shot at for tracting out in the country. Thankfully, the dog decided not to kill us so that was nice. But really, everyone here has a scary dog and a gun by the door. And a "No trespassing sign" of course. Although ironically once you start talking to most people, they act like they've known you their whole life and are super nice and helpful!
We've been teaching J, but it's been a little rough because he hasn't been rooted in The Book of Mormon. .....or the standard works. He's been obsessively reading the Apocrypha which has completely changed the spirit that he has about him. :/ But we will pray and work hard to help him! And L, his wife!
Christmas should be pretty good. We are having a Christmas  Party Conference at the mission home so that'll be neat! It's on the 23rd I think and we'll stay the night in Louisville the day before. Then we have a district meeting on Christmas (no idea why, but whatevs!) We also put up our little Christmas tree in our study room...the one I found with Sister J. :)
This week we also decided to go visit the RS president. She gave us directions to her house and told us that we'd know we were at the right place when we saw the black llama. Sure enough, we drove a mile or two out on a gravel road and saw the black llama. Apparently they're really territorial and keep coyotes away. And when they spit, it smells really me. We got some names of people to go visit and spent about 5 minutes chasing her dog around the holler, trying to catch it. It was a funny day!
Later, we went to visit a less-active and asked how she'd been. She told us that she had helped her neighbor clean a pig at midnight last night. Of course, Sister Egbert and I pictured a pink, happy Wilbur splashing around in bubbles.... which is not what she meant. Apparently, he had hit a pig with his car, so naturally, he called his neighbor, and they cleaned it out and split it. She also told us about her experiences deer hunting and I learned more than I ever wanted to know about gutting a deer. So, needless to say, we have a dinner appointment Tuesday night. Poor Bambi!!
Ashlyn's imagination of how a pig gets clean!
This week I also have been thinking a lot about The Book of Mormon. It is SO important to stay rooted in it. Like it says in the first few pages, it really is the most correct book we have. I've found so much comfort in reading it since I've been out here. It brings such a special spirit. It truly testifies of Christ. In my experience so far, if people will start reading it, they really can't say anything bad about it. Of course there are rumors, but it testifies of Christ and has a special spirit about it because of it's truthfulness and divinity that even the most antagonistic of people really can't condemn it.
I know with my whole heart that Jesus Christ called Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, and that he translated The Book of Mormon. I absolutely know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was called to restore Christ's gospel in it's entirety with his power and authority. There is no doubt in my mind about that fact. It is truth and someday everyone will know that. I am so grateful that for some reason I have been blessed to have the fulness of Christ's gospel in my life. It is an invaluable gift. I know that because I was baptized, I have the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide me, comfort me, and help me discern truth. I can't imagine my life without these blessings.
Sister Ashlyn Galloway

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Transfers & Thanksgiving

Tuesday we drove up to Louisville for transfers and I got a new companion! Her name is Sister E and she is from  Nevada. She's been out almost a year and has a lot of strengths that I don't. I'm looking forward to everything I will learn from her. Getting a new companion has been a little strange, but life is full of changes. It was sad to see Sister J go. She helped me a lot and was a good friend to me
Me & Sister E.

Thanksgiving was great, although we ended up eating three -yes three- Thanksgiving dinners! It was quite the challenge, but I really can't complain about being fed :) For the first dinner, we went with C. and his family to Hillbilly's restaurant. Then we had dinner with the H family, which was a lot of fun. Even though I wasn't with my own family, it was nice to be in that family atmosphere. We had a really fun time and it was super delicious. Then a less-active called and told us that she was going to be eating alone and invited us over, so we had our third dinner with her!

This week we also taught J. He is a little bummed because he is almost done with The Book of Mormon! We promised that we would give him the Doctrine and Covenants soon, so he is very excited to have that. We also talked to him about baptism this week and he came to church which was really exciting. He has been somewhat of an "Alma the younger" type of person. He described meeting us the first time and said "I had the devil in my heart, but I saw Jesus in their eyes". K also came to church and we fasted with her to help her live the Word of Wisdom.

This week I have also gained a testimony of Christ's individual love for us. We were driving home one night and saw a woman on the corner. Sister E and I both had the impression that we needed to talk to her, so we parked the car and walked towards her. (Being a missionary is kind of like being a professional's fun!!) She started walking away, but we felt strongly that we needed to talk to her, so we followed. I realized that she looked like someone I had met once in town. I called out that name and she turned around. Come to find out, it was her. Long story short, she was at a point where she desperately needed to be rescued by Jesus Christ. We shared a prayer with her and a scripture, but she still chose to walk away. It was heartbreaking to see, but I know that Heavenly Father has such a deep, individual love for each of his children and is far more involved in our lives than we tend to think.

Gahh.. "Catching Fire" sounds like such a great movie. When I get home we'll have to have another movie marathon, like we did with LOTR!
A snowy day with my new companion who is great at talking to people!
Today we're just doing usual p-day stuff. Plus we're going to the church so I can practice "Angels We Have Heard on High."  I have to play it for when the RS sings the Sunday before Christmas---surprise! :p I miss piano and wish I had more time to practice. I really enjoyed that this summer. It was nice to have long days to be able to learn so many new hymns. I play for RS on Sundays. Sometimes I have to just sightread the top hand, though.

I am so grateful that I have the Gospel in my life, with all of the specific blessings that it brings to me. There is so much pain, confusion and heartbreak that is avoided by simple obedience to Heavenly Father. As Latter-Day Saints, we have a lot more rules and seeming "restrictions" compared to others, but these things truly make us more free and make us happier when we abide by them.  
Have a great week!
Sister Galloway