Monday, January 26, 2015

My Old Kentucky Home

For the last 17 months, I've started emails the same, exact way. Today, I am changing it up a bit!

In case you were wondering what Kentucky is like:

People are very religious..

U of K is everywhere!

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So, a lot of times Kentuky-ians get confused and make 2-way roads that are only wide enough to be one lane--at least that's what I tell myself. You just have to pull over when another car comes in the opposite direction and pray that another car doesn't come zooming toward you, while you're on a curve or a hill. It's like a video game---except way more scary and less fun. 

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Everyone and their mom has a dog. Or five.

Sometimes your companion has to come up with creative ways to not smell like second-hand smoke.

But most of all, Kentucky is just really gorgeous!

This week, we got our first snowfall since the randomly cold week in November. That was exciting and beautiful! 

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Speaking of exciting... miracles are happening in S! One of the highlights from this week was D. We have been praying that she will be able to find a way to live the Law Of Chastity by her baptismal date. (We had to move it to the 14th). She has been living with her boyfriend for 8 years and has been engaged for quite a while. She has been trying to find a job so she can move out. BUT, we saw a big miracle this week. Out of the blue and not knowing she was trying to find a job to move out, D's boyfriend told her that he wanted to get married and make it official!!! She was SO excited and we are so happy for her! They are going to talk about a date and have a small, simple ceremony before her baptism. It's amazing to me that when we are trying to keep the commandments of God, Heavenly Father really does provide a way for us to accomplish the thing that he has commanded (1 Nephi 3:7). He will move mountains for us as we pray in faith and do all in our power. 

My district.

After the creepy jail that the Elders  drug  invited us  to tour a couple of weeks ago on P-day.
Have a wonderful week!! :)

Sister Ashlyn Galloway

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Last Transfer!!


This week has been really good. We have some great things happening in our area right now, and are seeing many blessings!!

Remember my "Starbright" picture? It arrived home in Arizona this week. A gift of the
heart from K!!

This week we taught the W family. We have been praying for the hearts of the other family members to soften to the gospel, and this week one of her sons came to church! He wasn't too excited about it at first, but said that he really enjoyed it and wanted his older brother to come! 

We also taught D the Law of Chastity. She's looking for a job, so that she can move out and make her baptismal date. She's really excited for it and is doing great.

We had FIVE people at church Sunday-yay!!! That included M, who is something else. This is how Sacrament Meeting went:

Speaker: "Wow, there's a lot of people here"

M (yells out): "Pretend we're all dressed like Mickey Mouse!"

Ohhh dear!! Sometimes I feel like being a missionary is like having children you can't control. Hahahaha!! He's awesome though. He has a super strong desire to get baptized and quit smoking.

At the 2014 GKLM Christmas Conference

We also had transfer calls, and found out Sister J and I are both staying here in S--- together. I can't believe my last 6 weeks is already here!! It doesn't seem real -missions fly by!! I'm not trunky--don't worry. I have tons of work to do here. Things are going great and it's going to be an amazing 6 weeks. All of our investigators are so close to baptism! 

I am so incredibly grateful for the past 17 months. Missions are hard, but they really do allow Heavenly Father to change you in ways that otherwise might take him years. Earlier on my mission, I asked a sister I was working with why she chose to serve. She said "Because I don't pass up once in a lifetime opportunities". Serving a mission really has been a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will always, always be so grateful for. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. I know that there is power in being "anxiously engaged in a good cause" and I know that nothing we do will stop the work of the Lord -we just have to decide if we will choose to allow ourselves to be a part of it. He has a plan for us individually, and as we seek through prayer and study to know how we can help him, he will lead us. And as we follow those promptings and loose our lives in His service, he will refine us and bless us with so much happiness. 

At our New Year's Eve Bonfire

Me on a typical Kentucky road

Have a wonderful week!!!

Sister Galloway

Skyping with my family!!

Another week on my mission!

Dear Family,

I don't have much time today to email. 

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This week has been really good. We have seen a lot of blessings!! We had a guy call us randomly and ask us to pray for him. We were able to set up a return appointment and go meet him. That was really cool! Also, we have been teaching the W family. Sister W has been a Less-Active for many years because her husband (who is also a member) is really antagonistic towards the church. They have some issues and it's really sad, but she has a solid testimony and really wants her kids to be baptized. We taught her the 15 step program last Monday night and today makes 1 week since she's smoked!!! :D So that's awesome. It was all her, knowing she needed to quit and wanting to quit. Linda is her mom and she has a trache (hole in her throat she breathes out of and plugs to talk). She is just amazing and has a baptism date of Feb. 14th. We will have to figure out the trache thing so the baptism doesn't mess it up. There is a light in her eyes that's come since she's been learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reading the Book of Mormon. She really feels it and knows it's true. E is Sister W's 12 yr old daughter. E is tall for her age, very thin, and kind of quiet and shy, but really nice and sweet. Last week, L couldn't come because they didn't have any extra oxygen tanks for her to bring and she was SO sad! BUT, this week she was able to come and E came too. L was so excited to come to church that she didn't really sleep Saturday night! She loved church. I went to YW's with E so she would have a friend and know someone. She is really quiet and hard to read/get feedback from. She seemed to really enjoy church! It was so funny being in YW's again. There are 3 YW in the Branch and it was interesting hearing what they talked about. 

"To parents, explaining is back-talking"
"My boyfriend broke up with me on New Year's Eve because I told him my mom didn't like how much he was cussing on FB"

It was fun to go. But... all in all it made me glad that that's all behind me :) 

Sister J, my companion, is doing awesome. In the past 2 weeks, things have really clicked and she is ready to go. If she needed to take over the area again, she could do it. Health-wise she's been just fine, although the Zone Leaders have called us 3 times in about a week and a half to check up on us. I actually think they are mostly concerned with her health. I feel like we're really hitting our stride as a companionship. :) She is really awesome. She  might just be the only person I've ever met who is more stubborn than I am! But she's really turned it into a strength. In my interview with President B, he brought up the point that missions refine you in ways that otherwise it would take the Lord years to do. It is so true. Missions are a refiner's fire, but also full of so much joy. 

Today we are having a district P-day up in Bardstown. We are going to tour a jail (Yeah, I don't know why. Ask the Elders.), probably get food, and play volleyball. Since Sister J has her cosmetology licence, she's taking her scissors and stuff to cut hair.  

Here are my thoughts on Heavenly Father protecting us: Even though we have years of experience and maturity under your belt, it is legitimately only the grace of God that has kept us safe and continues to do so. He trusts us so much with his children as mothers, sharing the gospel as 19 year old missionaries and in so many other capacities we don't really deserve His "trust" in. But, He trusts us anyways, and leads us and keeps us safe. Sometimes we have to trust that others will make wise decisions (whether it's behind a wheel, or in important life decisions) and we need to follow Heavenly Father's example and trust them. Most importantly, trust that He will take care of them because they are HIS children and He loves them more than we ever can.  

Also, if you saw the roads I drive on and have driven on, you would probably have a heart attack and die. Not to scare you but.. if He has taken care of me he will take care of everyone else. Though after all the practice out here, it's going to be an absolute dream driving on roads out west).

Have a GREAT week!
-Sister Ashlyn Galloway

Washing the car on P-day! 

Quotes this week:
Us: "Have you prayed about the Word of Wisdom?"
Investigator: " Yes!!! I've asked God 'okay, so what is up with the whole tea thing?!' But I still don't get it!"

Recent Convert: "I'm not saying you're ugly or anything but I just think girls look so much better without makeup"

WML: "Alright Fine, you stuborn hilltopper. Freeze, for all I care!" 
(Brother D speaks fluent redneck and I am always learning new words/insults that I can't define. I think I need to start keeping a quote book)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year!!


Happy 2015!!! Where does the time go?? I can think back to last year like it was yesterday! I can honestly say that I think I've learned more in the past year than I have in any other year of my life. Missions are insane and everything in the past year has felt like it's been under a magnifying glass- the happy moments, sad moments, and everything in between. The amazing thing about Heavenly Father is that he really does love us and as we turn to him in every situation, He deepens our capacity to love, to feel joy, and changes us into someone more like Him (Moroni 7:48).

This week has been a pretty good week. New Year's Eve was non-proselyting. We went over to a member's house with a few other families in the ward and had a bonfire. It was a lot of fun. And I think going to bed at 10:30 and getting 8 hours of sleep made it even better! :) Kimberly's wedding sounded amazing. Jami and Chris sound amazing. I am anxious to meet Scott. 

We have been teaching some really amazing people!! Two of our most progressing investigators right now are D and L. D is in her 50's and is just barely coming back to Christianity. She went through some tough stuff and as a result felt like God didn't care about her and became a Wick-an for many years. It's really amazing to see how Heavenly Father has had such a hand in her life and how he has prepared her for the fullness of the Gospel. Her son was baptized a few years ago and all the changes that she has seen in him has made her want to find out more about the church. She has been coming to church and has a date for February!

We also are working with L, who is the mom of a Less-Active. She is SO wonderful and has gotten such a light in her eyes as she's started reading the Book of Mormon. She is on oxygen and has some health challenges that  kept her from coming to church on Sunday. She was SO sad about it! We are all very excited for her to come next week. Her daughter is doing very well and came, even though her mom couldn't, so that was really cool :) 

Another big miracle that we saw this week was with our investigator B. B has expressed a lot of desire to come to church and be baptized, but has been SO hard to get a hold of and hasn't kept any commitments. One of our transfer goals has been to get more investigators to church. Every Sunday morning this Transfer, we've knocked on her door, but she's never been awake. In fact, when we didn't have our car we walked 45 minutes in the freezing cold! So, we were a little bummed and felt like maybe we should stop trying to teach her for now. BUT, even though we can't control other's agency, when we use our agency to it's fullest Heavenly Father blesses us. Sunday morning, right after we started our personal study, she texted us and said that she was ready to get serious about coming closer to Christ and wanted to come to church that morning! It was a miracle and an answer to prayer, for sure. 

I know Elder M!! He was my second District Leader out here. When I was in J-town, he was in that same ward for a transfer. And, last transfer he served in my District as well! He's a good, solid Elder. What a small world! That's funny Grandma & Grandpa know his parents so well. 

Sister Ashlyn Galloway

Skype Call -- Christmas 2014

We miss her laugh so much! And we find humor in the things she laughs at---things we don't think are funny!!

We Love Sister Galloway!

Ashlyn's planner for the last transfer of her mission. Me: "Ash, who is that guy??" Ashlyn: "Huh? No one, of course!"

Not sure what she was talking about here, but she was excited about it!

The backdrop sign we made for the call!
This was the last Skype call for Ashlyn's mission. It was great to hear her voice and talk to her again. She sounded more mature and grown up. She seemed to glow with happiness and loves her mission. We asked her a question about coming home and it completely caught her off-guard, like she hasn't even thought about coming home in March. She also seemed to be checking her watch often.  At the end of the call, which always goes by too quickly, we asked her to bear her testimony. It was very sweet and the Spirit was very strong. Then her dad said family prayer & at the end of it,  happily, she announced, "See you Soon!" She was eager to get back to her work and this was the ONLY time it was somewhat easy to say "goodbye" and let her go serve the Lord.This was the BEST part of Christmas day for our family!

Christmas Week 2014

Okay, you ready for the crazy-scary experience of this week?? So, my companion had a seizure on Friday night at 7. We were in the apartment after dinner getting ready to go to an appointment. She put on her boots and I almost stood up to leave, but didn't. I just sat there for a whole extra minute or two. Something just felt kind of weird or off. I almost stood up and left anyways, but we didn't. Then, she started saying she felt weird and wouldn't really respond to me or explain herself. She was sitting in a chair in the living room and all of a sudden, she started having a seizure. I have never seen a seizure before. Her eyes were really blank. :/ I remembered she had Epilepsy and had told me if she had a seizure to just let her have it and not call an ambulance or anything unless she wasn't breathing. I jumped up and ran to the kitchen, knelt down and said a prayer for her. I had no idea what else to do. Then I went back into the living room. I made sure she was still breathing and just sat there while she finished having her seizure. She stopped, then ten seconds later had another short one :/ It took her about 30 minutes to fully regain consciousness. Finally, she started talking and said the last thing that she remembered was putting on her boots. She went to bed and slept for the night. I called President B and reported it. I keep thinking about what if we had left the apartment and it had happened somewhere where she would have been seriously hurt, like on the stairs or concrete. Heavenly Father was really watching out for her and helped us to stay in the apartment two extra minutes.  I'm glad that you put her name on the prayer roll this week. That was definitely inspired, too. I'm sure that definitely protected and helped her. And who knows? Maybe that's why we stayed in the apartment because I had no explanation for why I wasn't standing up and getting out the door. Tender Mercies for sure!!!

I went on an exchange Tuesday and it was so wonderful!!! I was with Sister B who was in my MTC group. It was fun to talk with her and catch up. It was nice to have someone to talk to about different issues or concerns I have with the work right now and get her insight.

And because our car was in the shop for like 5 days, we have soooo many miles now!! We had enough miles to go to Mt. Washington and meet with the RS president. We went through the roster and talked about who we should visit and focus on. I am feeling more organized. The Elders in this area are very good and on top of the work here. Pres. B released all the former ZL and DL's to make them trainers. 

Christmas was good. I got the package. :) Thanks so much!!!! I loved it. I also received many Christmas cards and that was great! I have bad news, though. My companion is a cosmetologist, so she asked her mom for professional shampoo/conditioner.  In the stockings she sent us, she put in these little things of Aveda shampoo/conditioner. It's amazing and I love it. Darn, it's not in a missionary's budget though. The mission Christmas Conference was fun. We had a program and then played "chubby bunny' (The winner won with 23 LARGE-sized marshmallows in his mouth---eeek! Our instructions were "play until you gag!"), a lasso game where certain missionaries were the cows and others were the cowboys and other crazy games that only Pres. B would think of! It was great!

At the GKLM Christmas Party! 

Missions really make you think about your future and what you want/don't want. Here are some life goals I've created since my mission:
-To NEVER live in a trailer. 
-To NEVER become obese.
-To NEVER smoke or marry a smoker.
-To NEVER have more animals than I have children.
-To NEVER have a nicer car than I have house. 
-To go to the dentist regularly. Also, I have created a life-goal to keep all my teeth and not let any rot.
-To always remember to tell others to "have a blessed day" and to remember that "praise the lord" is an appropriate expression of gratitude.
-And, I won't run away from the J-dubs anymore. 

Of course, the list is a work in progress. I'll keep you updated.

We went to visit a less-active lady with 3 small children. The conditions of the home was not sanitary, by any means and there were way too many pets in the small, unkept house. It was really sad. The little boy ended up having an accident on the table while we were there. I think the cockroach family in the corner were fairly comfortable, though. Sometimes being a mom sounds scary, but things like this make me pretty confident that I'm going to be super-mom someday. 

Have a great week!
I love you all!!
Sister Ashlyn Galloway