Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Dear Family,

This week has been good! Very busy, but it was nice to get lots of work done since this next week we won't have as many proselyting hours, between the Thanksgiving Holiday and an extra meeting we're going to.

This last week we had Zone Conference and went on an exchange. Zone Conference was all on planning and goal setting. Something that was discussed that I've also been studying in chapter 8 of PMG is accountability. It was really enlightening.
Sunday, Sister J and I had to teach the RS lesson on Sister Esplin's talk from conference on the sacrament. It occurred to me how the sacrament and being accountable to Heavenly Father connect. In PMG, it says that the principal of accountability doesn't just come at the end of your mission. It's the same thing with us here on earth. We know that one day we will stand before God to be held accountable. That is a pretty daunting thought!!! However, as we take the Sacrament each week, we are able to fully repent and find spiritual renewal. In essence, we are exercising the principal of accountability each week as we partake of the Sacrament and thus use Christ's Atonement to become better and to heal ourselves from sins and misdeeds. I know that the Sacrament can prepare us to stand in Heavenly Father's presence with a clear conscience. On a different scale, it allows the Atonement to work in the small and simple parts of our days and weeks.

This week had some interesting weather conditions!! Yesterday was rainy all day and  I felt like I was swimming, but on a bicycle. However, it's been a bit warmer which is a HUGE blessing!! 

The RAIN!!

I got a flu shot today because, as President B put it, "the First presidency has ENCOURAGED you all to get flu shots." Just like they ENCOURAGE us to go to church, keep the Word of wisdom, and ENCOURAGE us to pay our tithing." :( Ugh. So, needless to say, I went -kicking and screaming-to  get that today. (Okay It wasn't bad at all, but I'm still going to heavily complain about it.) My arm's sore.

JH is doing awesome. He hasn't smoked in a couple of days. We talked to him about what day he should be baptized. He doesn't think he'll be ready by Dec. 7th. He is just unsure of himself. It warms my heart because he is the same age as K (a man I taught in Jeffersontown) and he is also working to overcome a cigarette addiction. He also spent some time in jail as a young adult. It's so neat to meet people at certain stages of their life and see how all the events, trial and mistakes have, through the power of the Atonement, culminated into their being ready to receive the Gospel. It's amazing to think about who they were vs. who they are now. I feel so fortunate to have been able to teach them. This is God's work and it's a privilege that He allows us to be a part of Him "bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." 

Being at this place in my life has helped me to recognize and appreciate many blessings that I have been given. I am so thankful that I have a warm, dry place to come home to every night. I am thankful for my companion and how good natured she is. We can laugh together about anything. I am thankful for one of our Branch members, who, when our lesson fell through AND our back up lesson fell through, still wanted to come out with us. I'm grateful for wonderful family and friends. I am very grateful for the people here in KY and for the strong faith and respect that they have for Jesus Christ. More than anything else, I am so appreciative of my Savior, who loved me enough to come to earth and carry my burdens and suffer for my sins, so that I can return to my Heavenly Father one day. I am grateful for prayer and for the many times that I have felt Heavenly Father close as I've prayed and asked for his help. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He lives today. I will always be grateful for all that He has done for me and for the things which He continues to do for me from day to day.

Sister Ashlyn Galloway

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Many Blessings!!


This week has been very cold! And it snowed last night, so this morning we got to bike in the snow for the first time, which was an adventure for sure.  Even though it's been very cold, it's beautiful to see the snow, especially at night. Also, we have seen so many blessings this transfer!!

JH is doing well. This week he struggled with the Word of Wisdom, so won't make his baptismal date for the end of November, but he is praying not only for help to live the Word of Wisdom, but for guidance to know when he will be ready for baptism. AND, he's doing AWESOME because he hasn't smoked in two days!! It's amazing to me how powerful the Atonement is, how thoroughly it can change not just our behavior, but our very natures. The power of the Atonement can be accessed in our personal lives as we exercise obedience to Heavenly Father -or in other words, keep our covenants. Another really neat, faith-promoting incident was that earlier, when we taught him the Word of Wisdom and he heard about coffee, he was disappointed. However, he so easily and  readily submitted himself to God's will. I know that that was a sacrifice for him, but it's amazing to see how much trust he has in God!!

Another tender mercy from Heavenly Father this week, is K. For a Relief Society activity, we went to visit a women's shelter. We got to cook for them and eat with them. One of the RS sisters befriended K and ended up bringing her to church on Sunday! It reminded me think about the "go about doing good" section in Preach My Gospel (Chapter 9). Truly, when we have a sincere desire to love and serve our fellowmen, sharing the gospel is simply a natural response. After church, she had many questions about the Plan of Salvation and we are going to teach her with Sister E this week!

And yes! I got my brakes fixed. Phew, that was stressful and definitely worth the $20.

My greenie, Sister J, is doing great and is so adorable. 

I just have mixed feelings right now about being on a bike in the bitter cold. There is no way I could have done this last winter. I have to remind myself that Christ understands and He isn't asking me to do anything that He hasn't done. I know I have to give it a good, legitimate try. So this week will be interesting. But, Heavenly Father is blessing us and I see His hand in this part of my life.  And there is a specific kind of satisfaction that comes from doing really hard things. So I'm confident we will see many blessings, tender mercies and miracles this winter. I just will have to pray a lot and be extra positive. "He lives to hear my soul's complaint" right? It will be good. And, Heavenly Father tends to bless me with a lot of good food when I am having a rough time. :) ♥

I know that when we simply love, serve and do our best, whether we are a full-time missionary or a member, that Heavenly Father will consecrate our efforts and bless us a hundredfold. We didn't have much success this week with finding on our own, but as we continued in faith, Heavenly Father opened up a way for us. He also blessed our Branch member with the opportunity to share the Gospel as she made the effort to be "anxiously engaged". :)
Have you seen the muffin man?

Sister Ashlyn Galloway

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fourteen point five Months

     It's so interesting looking back at the past 14 months and how much I've learned and changed as a missionary. At first, I was so excited to be here, so ready to be a missionary. I also felt very impatient with my weaknesses and felt just such a disconnect from "Ashlyn" and "Sister Galloway."  I realized I was homesick and that I was burying a lot of things instead of acknowledging and trying to healthily improve myself. I had to really use the Atonement and decide that I wanted to be where I was. That kind of sums up my first area of Corbin. I had some amazing experiences there and will always treasure my time there. That's when I decided that I wanted to be a missionary. During my first two transfers in Jeffersontown, I realized that I could do it, that I had changed quite a bit, and was doing well. Then, my last two transfers in Jeffersontown were a little rougher. Heavenly Father really humbled me. Though I had many blessings, it felt like no success or victory came easily. And when they did come, they were very small. I had to work diligently and hard and learn to have faith with seemingly no results. If I didn't do everything in my power, nothing would happen in the area. When good things happened in missionary work, I was so aware of how much it was really God, not me. A big lesson I learned there was to have gratitude. I was trying so hard to have faith, but it felt like there was just no foundation for it and it felt like I was grasping at nothing. Acknowledging the blessings in every day helped me to really strengthen my faith. Because  when I looked at the evidence of The Lord's hand in my life, I could have the hope and faith that I would continue to see that.

Missionary Artwork.  The green ones are my favorite ones right now.

Learning that lesson really helped me here in Henderson, last transfer. Again, it felt like running on a treadmill -doing the same, hard things over and over while seeing little to no results. Then, I found out that this area may get closed and I had to choose to have faith and diligence. It didn't get closed and I am still here. And I am working hard to train Sister Jarman. Things are definitely picking up. Our investigator, J. H., is doing SO well and is a huge blessing! He has a baptismal date for Nov 30th!! We pray that his baptism will happen because it will be the 1st baptism since this area opened 1 year ago.
One of our investigators who came to church!

Cool experience of the week: We decided to go to this little hole-in-the-wall burger and fry place. When we got up to pay, someone had payed for us!!  I have no idea who it was. There are so few members here, especially in the city limits, that most likely it wasn't even a member, which is doubly nice. I love that there are so many good, good Christian people here. #warmfuzzies

The breaks on my bike are NOT working. At all. Well, my front breaks do slow me down a little. The good news is that we have Zone Meeting tomorrow in Evansville. I called the Zone Leaders and asked them to please ask/beg Elder F to fix my bike. Hopefully he'll be able to. But if not, there's a bike shop we can stop by.  I'm very excited to have breaks again!!
A small kitchen catastrophe on my part!

I am so grateful for all of the lessons I've learned on my mission and know that there is still so much that Heavenly Father will teach me. I am so grateful for the Atonement. There really is never a point where you're "done." Repentance is meant to continue throughout our lives. The Atonement is not a one-time thing and I'm grateful for the ways it has changed my life and that it will continue to change me!

Have a wonderful week :)
-Sister Ashlyn Galloway (And I am now the same person!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

1st Week as a Trainer

Sorry for the short email today! This week has been good, but has felt very long!

Tuesday was transfer meeting. We drove to Louisville and I got my new companion! Her name is Sister J from Utah. She is great. One of the struggles we've had in this Branch is getting the members involved in Missionary work. Sister J's grandparents used to live in this Branch, so they all the members just love her! This will be a it will be a good opportunity to get the members more involved. However, I do feel like I am training a celebrity! Training a new missionary is a lot of hard work, but it's fun too. This is an area that needs a lot of building up. We will have to work really, really hard with much diligence. I feel like it is Henderson's  time to bloom. I do feel bad Sister J didn't get assigned to a booming area.  However, in the end it's more valuable for her to learn how to build an area up and work with the Branch. That is probably what the rest of her mission will be like anyway.  Fun Fact: As trainers, we don't let our new missionaries unpack on 1st day in the mission. We just jumped right into missionary work and tried to get as much done by working non-stop on that 1st day. It was great! 

Me and my greenie, Sister J with our Mission President and his wife

Brother H is doing fantastic! It's so cool to see someone read the BoM for the first time. Last week, he got so excited about 1 Nephi 4. He thought Nephi obeying the Spirit and killing Laban was the coolest thing ever. (It is because the BofM rocks!) He has a baptismal date for the end of November. He's solid and I think he will be Henderson Bike's first baptism. Please pray for him & us. 

I got to see and say goodbye to Sister J, my "mom" who is going home! 

We have seen a lot of blessings this week. We got a really exciting referral for a 17 year old girl who is super excited to read the Book of Mormon.  When we are obedient and diligent to the things that the Lord commands, he truly is bound and will bless us -even in ways we may not expect!

Sister J meets her "granddaughter" Sister J, right before she left!

I hope that everyone has a GREAT week!

Sister Galloway

Transfer News

Sorry if this is short. We have lots of cleaning/packing/getting ready to do today!

Autumn with Sister W and me! I love the fall colors.
Tomorrow is transfer meeting and we found out that Sister W is leaving and I am training here in Henderson! This was kind of a surprise since the last time I'd talked to President B, he was considering closing our area. I'm really excited! I'm getting a greenie!!!!! I am so nervous, too. Do you and Dad have any advice for me this next transfer? I would really appreciate your counsel. I fasted for her yesterday because I really don't know what else I can do. In my heart, I know it will be fine. I've been out for awhile; I know I can do this. I've just never done anything like this before. Heck, I've never even been senior comp and now I'm going to train!? It'll be wonderful! There will be a brand new Elder in our branch, too. So, not only is our area staying open, but there will be a brand new Sister Missionary here! Just pray for that poor, poor sister who will be training here this winter on a bike. I am thrilled I will get to see Sister J at Transfer Meeting tomorrow. (She was my trainer who is returning home to Utah this week.) Yes, if I had to describe her in one word, it would be "spiritual." 

So, earlier this week, I was pretty sick with a cough and my eyeball was really red, like I told you last week. But, this week we have seen a lot of blessings. I told Sister W that my family must be praying for me because of all of it. For instance, we normally get 1 member dinner a week from a recent convert and her recently reactivated husband, who feed both sets of missionaries each week! However, this week we had 4 member meals. And then some of the members were worried about me and bought me Tylenol, Claritin, Robitussin and some allergy eye drops! Then one member let me use her phone to send a picture of my eye to our area medical guy. He told me I have uh... "epicileris" (or something that sounded like eucalyptis and celery, combined)!! Don't quite remember the exact name! So, he  called in an eye drop prescription for me that cost a mere $4. It was great. I told Sister W (as I've told other comps in the past) "I can tell when my mom & family is praying for me because I get a ridiculous amount of good food" and lots of medicine too, this time! :) My cough is now much, much better and doesn't hardly bother me. My eyes are looking a lot better, too. {I told Ashlyn that the Lord needed her to be healthy and well this next week for her to train the new Sister Missionary and that is why she was so blessed!}
This week has been good! We have been teaching Brother H, one of our investigators. He is doing very well and it is such a neat experience to watch him progress in the Gospel. He gets so excited about his Book of Mormon reading and I love hearing his insights. He is really feeling the Spirit work in his life.

It's so hard though to explain what a mission is like. During the first few months of my mission, I remember sitting in Sacrament Meeting daydreaming about home. I was thinking about my family, college life, and other terribly trunky things that I should NOT have been thinking about. Back then, my mission was something nice, some thing good, but temporary. But now, it is my life. It is who I am. Choosing to go on a mission was hard, choosing to stay on a mission was a lot harder, but choosing to BE a missionary was the hardest of all. In fact, It's a choice I have to make every day of my mission! 

Truly, the Gospel blesses families and helps us draw closer to each other and closer to Him. It doesn't matter how far away you are from your family, because when you're close to the Lord, you're close to each other. (You should tell H to post that to her Moroni 10:32 Instagram account. That's very quotable!!)
Love y'all!!

-Sister Galloway