Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

The past few days, especially today, have been a mix of emotions. This morning was hard without my family and I may have shed a tear or two, but the knowledge that I am doing something so important and sharing the Gospel always makes any sadness I feel disappear.  

We had a White Elephant exchange last P-Day and I got a dinosaur oven mitt.  Sister Briggs is a dinosaur and Sister Palmer received a dinosaur.

The secretary's husband brought this cool dinosaur to our mission office!! Sooo awesome!

On Christmas Eve, we had dinner provided by Cafe Rio (soo good) and then we watched the Nativity.  I could feel the Spirit throughout the film and felt the overwhelming joy and happiness that always comes when I think about our Savior Jesus Christ.  We then went around to the different buildings (they were closed to the public) and we "met" Isaiah (Elder Frost), the three wise women (the AP's), two angels (the Temple Square Coordinators), two soldiers (President Seppi and Elder Curtis), and three wives of shepherds (Sister Frost, Sister Curtis, and Sister Curtis' sister).  It was so great!  And we sang carols at each place after they talked to us.  It was a nice Christmas Eve and a great way to feel the Spirit and remember the true reason we celebrate.

President Seppi and Elder Curtis (the two soldiers). They are our mission's knight's in shining armor :)

Some Christmas funnies:
I slipped on a patch of ice and landed in the stance of a track runner. What? Haha

There was this little kid and his family in the Tabernacle last week and we started chatting with them. The mother mentioned how her husband served his mission in Hawaii and the little boy who was about 3 yrs old said, "I know how to dance like they do in Hawaii!" Me- "Yeah? Well, I think you need to show me!"  Then he jumped off his bench with his big, puffy jacket and starting dancing the hula. He was pretty good too!

Last Thursday we had a snow day for the second half of our day. It was snowing a ton and for liability reasons they closed the Square. I honestly wasn't sure what to do with myself and what to do to occupy my time.  We weren't allowed to write letters, so I just wrote in my journal, took a 2 hour nap (ha!), and then we got 4 companionships together and made a snow sister missionary! We had a snowball fight afterwards and I may or may have not tackled a few people into the snow.  My brothers taught me well.  But it was such a nice day to relax and just have fun for a few hours. Christmastime here is pretty stressful and probably one of the most exhausting times of the year for us, so I was grateful for that tender blessing! 

Our HUGE snowball! Jokes, it was actually the bottom of our snowman. Haha.

The other day, Sister Palmer and I were walking by an older man in the basement of the North Visitor's Center.  As we walked by, we exchanged the normal "Hello? How are you?" and we continued to walk, but then I had the feeling that I needed to continue to talk to him. So I turned around and asked him where he was from and from that a conversation stemmed.  We eventually started talking about his family and how his grandson was really struggling and wasn't sure if he wanted to go on a mission or not.  The man then pointed out his grandson sitting on a couch at the end of the hallway.  We asked him if it would be alright if we went ahead and talked to him and the man was more than pleased by that response! We went over to the couch area and introduced ourselves and starting talking. It was perfect because Sister Palmer went to BYU-I and so did the grandson, so they talked about that and the blessings of having "devotional" each week and getting to hear leaders of the church talk to the student body. I then shared my testimony about Christ, what he means to me, and invited them to do something that would bring them closer to our Savior this Christmas season.  They agreed and we wished each other a Merry Christmas.

As we walked away, Sister Palmer said, "There aren't many times when I have a companion who testifies and I don't feel the need to say anything else after, but that was one of those times".  I know that it was Heavenly Father putting words in my mouth that night and I am grateful that He trusts me enough to do so.  I'm not sure if we helped that young man or not that night, but I know that Sister Palmer and I did our part by inviting him to come closer to Christ.

I'm grateful to be serving as a missionary this Christmas season and I feel so blessed to wear Christ's name on my name tag!  I know that I am being molded into who I am supposed to be by doing His will and I know that if we all try working a little harder to be a better disciple of Christ and follow His example, we will be blessed!

I love you all SO much!! Family, it was the best getting to talk to you today!!

Merry Christmas! :)

Sister Asay

Friday, December 20, 2013

"Like a Child"

Hello everyone!

We had two really fun experiences this week!! Last Thursday, a portion of the mission was able to go to the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert!  Deborah Voight and John Rhys-Davis (from Lord of the Rings) were the main guests.  It was so good and it was super funny because one song was "We need a little Christmas, right this very minute" and I totally remembered singing that in Sunshine Generation growing up! It is a singing and dancing group that I was in from 2 to 12 yrs old.  I could just picture Brooke all focused as she danced the chorus!  It's funny the memories that pop back into the front of our minds.  The second cool experience was we got to go on an Organ Tour very early in the morning yesterday! We had the chance to go behind the organ in both the Tabernacle and the Conference Center. SO COOL. We took lots of pictures!! 

This is from the Christmas concert! I sat next to the sweetest lady who was also from Dallas and she took our picture to send it home to my mom! :)

A few funnies:
My District Leader from India lovesss ice cream from Coldstone and always says "Stonecold" instead of "Coldstone".  "Let's go get some Stonecold today!" She's the best.

So, Sister Palmer's jokes are never appreciated.  I can't tell if it's because we are surrounded by international sisters and no one gets her jokes or if they're just not good, but I personally always die laughing.  Like the other night, Sister Klemm (Germany) was super thirsty and once we got home she just started chugging water.  Sister Palmer was like "Yeah, you need that. You look like the poinsettia when I forget to water it"…. and no one laughed, so she came into our room and was like "Dang it! No one thinks my jokes are funny!" I told her to tell it to me, but she walked into the living room so she could repeat it to everyone.  Sister Klemm said nothing and Sister Lin (Taiwan) said "Wait, was that funny?"  Sister Palmer said, "Dang it!" And walked away. Hahah. She's such a good sport.

Oh ya know....just playing the organ in the Conference Center.  What?

This week has been pretty crazy!  So last P-Day, a group of 6 sisters went to a hair school called Paul Mitchell to get free scalp treatments.  It's where they put cream in your hair, massage your head, then wash and style your hair. The lady that I had was pretty cool.  We talked pretty easily and we were just asking each other questions about life and she saw my tag so we talked about what is was like to be a missionary.  Turned out that she is a member of the church but hadn't been in about 9 years.  I asked her a few questions about the church and learned her story.  I kept searching in my mind and heart for what I should share with her...."my testimony? Ask if she has read the Book of Mormon and, if not, invite her to read it?  What?"  I had no idea, but I felt that I needed to do something.  When she walked away for a minute to get some hair product, I just said a little prayer in my heart to have the guidance from Heavenly Father to know what to do.  It was then that I realized that I just needed to be her friend.  So, when she came back I continued to ask her questions, joke with her, and, I know it was only 45 minutes to an hour, but we really did become friends!  After she finished blow drying all of my hair (it took a while, haha), she told me how happy she was that I was her customer and that she wished me the best.  She walked me over to the front desk and asked the lady for a card and wrote her student number on the back so that I could request her as my hair lady again if I ever needed a haircut.  So, this experience was pretty simple and I honestly didn't do much, but I learned, once again, God knows what everyone needs.  I think what's important is that we are willing to share the Gospel and the guidance will come- whatever it may be.  I prayed to know what to do and the answer was to just be myself and be her friend, and sometimes that is all people are ready for.

Okay, best thing happened Monday night!!  Our District was assigned a member family to eat with for dinner! This never happens and we were all so pumped!  We were assigned the Holt's and they are seriously some of the nicest people!!  We all sat in their living room and got to know each other and then we ate dinner! We had roast sandwiches on rolls, potatoes, vegetables, jello, and desert!  I don't think I have eaten as much on my mission as I did that night!  They made so much food for us! Afterwards, we went back into their living room and they had a play we could read.  We each were given a different character and we sat in a big circle and read off our parts.  It was called "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and the main family was a bunch of hooligan children.  I got to be Gladys, the oldest who was apparently "the meanest of them all".  It was pretty fun to play her!  Once we finished the script, we shared what we love about Christmas and one sister sang a song about Jesus Christ in Russian.  It definitely brought the Spirit into the room and made me so grateful for Christ and his important role here on this earth. 

This is Sister Ferguson- she is in my district and she is one of my favorites! We got to be companions for about 15 minutes on the way to the Holt's home and back since only Sister Palmer and I can drive in our district and we needed to take 2 cars!

I just remembered this, but on the subject of Christ, the other night at the Christus there were 2 little boys that chose not to sit in the seats, but instead wanted to sit at the feet of the statue of Christ.  They were so reverent and it really touched my heart that these two little boys could feel the Spirit that was there.  It reminded me of the scriptures where it invites us to become as a child and to follow Christ.  Children are innocent, believing, and forgiving and it makes perfect sense that becoming "like a child" is what we need to do to follow in the footsteps of Christ.  Children have so much faith and they never doubt.  One thing I have learned being on this Temple Square Mission, where there are so many wonderful and open people, but just outside the Square there are people who are against the church and people will get online chat just to argue and tell us what we believe is false, and phone calls that are similar.  Faith is so important.  It must be nourished and strengthened.  We need to build our foundation on Christ and study the scriptures, pray to our Heavenly Father, and always attend church.  I have always believed that everyone in the church, whether born in it or not, is a convert.  We are invited to study the scriptures and to pray to God to know for ourselves if this church is true.  I have done this multiple times in my life and I always receive the same answer- that this is indeed the church that has the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want to invite everyone to increase their faith this season by becoming like a child and following Christ!  Read, pray, and attend church.  So many blessings will come from it :)

I love you all so much! And Merry Christmas!!

Sister Asay

Friday, December 13, 2013

Principles to Help Us Be Truly Converted

This week has gone by SO fast!  With our late nights and talking to thousands of people, the time just flies by!  We are already halfway through this transfer....what??

I'll start out with some funny things from the week:
Sister Palmer and I were in our beds by 10pm one night because we were so tired, but we ended up just talking in the dark for the next 30 minutes.  Sister Palmer asked me a question, "If you could have any animal as a pet, and it wouldn't eat you, what animal would you want?"  I immediately said a tiger! Then, I changed by answer to a lion.  Wouldn't it be so cool to ride a lion around? Then I asked her what she would pick and her answer was a "baby cow".  I just started laughing because as she was thinking about her answer I was trying to imagine would she would say.... like maybe a bear, or an elephant...and she wants a calf. Hahah, whatever floats her boat.

This is actually from 2 weeks ago, but it's us walking home in the snow with our zone leader from Germany in the middle. :)

A few days ago, Sister Palmer and I were in the South Visitor's Center at one of the video stands explaining to a group of young women what the sealing room looks like and it's purpose.  It was in the middle of my testimony about the blessings of temple marriage when we heard a huge "bang!" and I looked over at the Temple Model and saw a group of college-aged guys and one of them had been looking so intently at the Temple Model that he didn't notice the glass in between and he totally smacked his head!  They were all laughing and I was cracking up.  Poor kid.  But I had to compose myself to continue teaching to the young women, if only there was a replay button.

The point of this picture is to show how bundled up we have to be when walking around! Whenever it snows, I sing "Snowflakes are falling on my head" la la la.  Also, notice Sister Palmer's one mitten. Ha :)

               Bob (the older man in a wheelchair who was in a car accident at 18) was hanging with Sister Palmer and I while we were at desk assignment in the North Visitor's Center.  We were talking about his life and we asked him who he lived with.  He responded that it's "three VERY interesting people.....and they drive me nuts!".  I laughed and said, "Really?" and then he smiled and said "It's me, myself, and I". 

On the subject of Bob, I have a really cool story about him.  He has been handicapped and hasn't had the full use of his muscles since his car accident.  He began telling us how it has been really hard being handicapped and that sometimes he just wished it would all be over.  However, he then started to describe how being handicapped is something that he is grateful for and that he knows is a stepping stone in his life to be something great.  He testified to us that this was his plan in this life and that he was meant to go through this trial.  He then looked over at the paintings of Jesus Christ that were behind us and said, "Christ said He would come down here for us. This was His mission. In heaven, He volunteered to do it.  And I think that's the same thing with me- God said that this life would be hard, but I think I volunteered to do it.  The knowledge I have from being handicapped can only help me after this life- in heaven."  Bob has a really hard time talking and having him tell us this and share that he knows His divine potential really touched my heart.  I was tearing up as he was talking and I looked over and Sister Palmer was crying, too.  Bob is the best example to me of enduring to the end and always having that faith in Jesus Christ.  He has never stopped believing, even when times were hard, and he has continued to persevere and trust in Heavenly Father.  Bob is such a sweet blessing to all of the sisters here at Temple Square!

On Tuesday, we had a mission tour which is when a leader of the church comes to teach the mission and help us be better missionaries.  Elder Clark from the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife came to speak to us.  It was pretty much an all day thing from 8:15am to 3:30pm, but it was SO wonderful!! I learned a lot and it totally inspired me to be an even better missionary!  A few things that were mentioned:  Obedience= Faith = Power (President Gillette), We need to forget about ourselves and realize that we can do hard things (Sister Clark),  "I fear no man, I have God with me on my right arm and on my left" (Sister Clark), and Elder Clark talked about so many great things! We talked about the difference between a testimony and being converted and he gave us 7 principles to help us missionaries as well as those we teach to be converted: 

1. Knowledge of the doctrine 
2. Faith/Acting
3. A testimony
4. Repent/Change
5. Baptism/Partaking of the Sacrament
6. Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost
7. Obedience

I really liked that he focused on the Sacrament, and that the Sacrament should be of top priority to us because by partaking the bread and water we have the opportunity to pray and to be forgiven of our sins, to renew our covenants or promises with God and to have that constant companionship of the Holy Ghost with us, and it is also a time we can receive solutions to problems.  Everyone, church is so important! We not only are able to go there and be edified in doctrine and learn from one another, but we also have the wonderful opportunity every single week to be forgiven of our sins, renew our covenants, and receive guidance from God!  How cool is that??  I'm definitely going to think about all of these things this Sunday when I partake of the sacrament. Church is the best!

I have one short, but great experience that happened last night.  I was super pumped because of the training we had just had earlier and we were literally talking to EVERYONE.  I mean, we always try to talk to everyone, but Elder Clark urged us to not let one person pass by us without having a conversation with them. It was so great!  During one encounter with someone, I saw an older man sitting on a couch and I had the prompting that we needed to go talk to him after the conversation we were currently in ended.  Once it did, we were walking in his direction, but Sister Palmer noticed the clock and said that we needed to get going to our next assignment, but I said, "I really want to talk to this man, we have a few minutes".  So we went over there and started up a conversation!  He's from Utah and hasn't been to Temple Square for a while, but he loves people watching and seeing all of the lights.  We talked about that for a bit, but then I was impressed to tell him that Heavenly Father loves Him so much and that I could feel the love that God has for him even though we hadn't been talking for very long.  He said, "I know you feel that because of the sweet Spirit you have".  I wasn't expecting a sweet comment in return, but I think that was his way of accepting what I told him.  We talked a minute longer and then said goodbye.  It was on our walk to our next assignment that Sister Palmer said, "You know, I think he really needed to hear that. I'm glad you were listening to the Spirit".  I know for a fact that we are all here on this earth to be tools in the hands of the Lord.  We all need to be open and ready for those promptings that will guide us to help someone else, even if it's just as simple as telling someone that God loves them. 

Something cool is that Sister Palmer and I are both learning from each other!  Sister Palmer wants to be more in-tune with the Spirit and she told me that she wants to learn from me how to be better at listening to promptings. I really want to know the scriptures better and understand all that I read, and guess what?  Sister Palmer knows the scriptures really well!! It's awesome being able to ask her questions and she has the answers!  I love that we both have these goals and that we have a great companion to help us with it!!  God truly wants us to become our best selves and help all of us learn and grow :)

I love you all! Remember Jesus Christ this Christmas season and think of something that you can do to come closer to Christ! Help a friend, a family member, a neighbor...just something you can do that will help you to come closer to Christ. :)

Sister Asay
Sister P got this from a friend in the mail and it totally represents how most of the international sisters feel about the snow! ;)