Monday, November 25, 2013

Learning to Listening to Promptings

Hello everyone!

This week has literally FLOWN by! Tuesday until Friday literally felt like one day. So weird!

               So, the Temple Square Mission performance was a success!! So many people came and it was such a blessing to be a part of it!  One song that particularly touched my heart was the "EFY Medley" (a mix of “As Sisters in Zion” and “Armies of Helaman”) for two reasons.  First, I sang that song every summer at EFY while growing up and it always made me tear up then and still does now.  Second, this is the song I heard in the MTC back in April when I was there for the Vocal Point Fireside.  The words were changed from "We are as the Lord's missionaries and will bring the world His truth" to "We are now the Lord's missionaries and will bring the world His truth".   That part is what helped me decided to go on a mission.... and hearing and singing that song again while actually serving a mission made me feel so grateful for the small promptings of the Spirit that I was given over 6 months ago, and for all of the joy I have felt because of my choice to serve.  After the performance, the sisters had the opportunity to talk to the guests who came!  I talked to a number of people, but a conversation with man interested in the church who was with his two members friends stood out to me.  He had been searching all of his life for something more and has been going to church for 2 months now!  We had a nice long talk and I was able to share my testimony with him.  It was such a wonderful night! The Spirit definitely speaks through music :)

Sisters Jones, Walsh and Asay after the Temple Square Fireside

Early on in my mission, I had a hard time deciphering between promptings and my own thoughts.  There were always times when I would have a thought to talk to someone or ask them a question and I wouldn't do it.  It was after a few experiences of feeling guilty for not acting upon a possible prompting that I promised Heavenly Father that whatever thought or prompting popped into my mind, I would act on it.  And so I did, and do you know what is amazing??  Ever since that prayer where I made that promise, I have been given more promptings that ever and there have been so many positive outcomes because of it! 

One example of following a prompting this week was in the Teaching Center (where we call people, also known as "TC"), so each week we have Weekly Planning and we schedule what day and time we are going to call certain people.  On Wednesday, I had finished calling the individuals I had set aside time for, so I was going to hop on chat and see if I could help anyone.  However, I had the thought come to my mind "Call Joe".  So I thought "Sure, why not!" and called him.  (Here's a little back story-Joe* (name changed) was released from jail over a month ago, moved in with his sister, and called to request help to get a new job and also to visit with the missionaries. We talked once after the original phone call to see how he was doing.)  Anyway, so I called the number and it was his sister saying that Joe had moved, but she gave me his new number.  Something I noticed was that she was a little prickly over the phone, but after I told her I was "Catherine from" she softened some, which I thought was interesting, but didn't think much of it.  We said goodbye, and I dialed Joe's new number.  He answered and we had a great talk!  He told me how the missionaries came over her their first visit a few weeks earlier and his sister sat in on their conversation.  Now, his sister is getting married and getting baptized within the next month!  So cool!  That's when I realized why there was a change in her tone on the phone after I told her I was associated with the church :)
Then, Joe proceeded to tell me his story.  Joe lives alone and he told me how the night before he had almost choked to death and there was no one around to help him.  He tried everything he could, but there wasn't any air getting in or out and that he looked into a mirror and was starting to turn blue! He finally gave up and just sat down. The relaxing, thankfully, made his body loosen up and he was able to get air in.  He told me he was still shaky from the experience, but when I called him he was like "Hey, someone does care about me!"  That's when I realized the meaning behind the prompting I was given and I was SO grateful that I had listened.  Joe is awesome!!  He is meeting with the local missionaries, and his goal is to be baptized!  Listen to promptings everyone! We are all here on this earth to help and serve each other. The Holy Ghost works through each of us to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters around us.  

A picture just for my Dad since he served in the Southern States Mission! 

A few other highlights!

We met these two older men and they were just so sweet!  One really loves the church and the missionaries and kept talking about the light that we have in our eyes and smiles.  His friend, who is around 85, then pinched my cheek and Sister's Jones' cheek and said "Yeah, are they real??" Haha. The first guy then said, "If someone were to come to Temple Square right now and go against what you girls were doing, I would say 'You have to go through me first'".  I don't know why, but this made me tear up!  I feel like I tear up all the time on my mission, but those two men were such great guys!  Too bad they didn't want local missionaries, but we gave them our number to call us if they had any questions!

Where else can you watch General Conference and Sports Center?  The Church Office Building! :)

Sister Walsh, Jones, and I made a goal to give out a Book of Mormon on Friday.  At the end of the day, we were giving a tour to an older man and a young man- not family- and at the end one referred!  Then I remembered our goal and asked them if they would like a Book of Mormon to read and they both said yes! This was a reminder to me that we are urged to make goals for a reason- they help us go the extra step :)

At the Conference Center, a group of VERY talented individuals put on a performance called "Savior of the World", and the Temple Square sisters were split up and given either Thursday or Friday to go to their dress rehearsal! My zone went on Friday and the show was amazing!!  I felt the Spirit and it's a great reminder to know what Christmas is truly about the birth of our Savior.  Anyone can go and I'm pretty sure you can buy tickets online!  Afterwards, the cast came and talked to us and I got to meet some of the main actors!  And fun fact, a girl from my tap class was one of the cast members. Ha! It felt so funny to hear someone yell my first name to get my attention.  

Mary & Joseph from "Savior of the World"  They were so nice!!

Anyway, this week was pretty awesome!  We gave a lot of tours and were able to share the Gospel with many! I love you all! I can't believe I've been out for over 3 months now and that transfers are next week....what??


Sister Asay

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Amazing Experiences!

Hello everyone! 

We are teaching a man in Uganda and we committed him to baptism in the first lesson!! He gave a LDS couple from California a Gorilla tour in Africa (so cool, right?) and they shared the Gospel with him. He was so interested that he referred himself and now we are teaching him! :) He is getting a Book of Mormon this week so he can start reading!

Sister Walsh, Jones, and I gave this sweet elderly lady a tour of the North Visitor Center.  She was over 85 years old and needed Sister Jones and I to link arms with her to hold her up on either side as she walked.  It was the cutest thing ever and I loved it! We walked slowly and only went from the couch to the Temple Model and back.  She is a member and we just shared with each other how wonderful a blessing the temple is in our lives.  One of my favorite tours this week :) 
My wonderful companions!!

Almost every morning this past week, the Temple Square missionaries have been practicing for a Mission Fireside that we are putting on.  It's tomorrow night at 7:30 pm in the Assembly Hall for anyone who wants to come!  It's for members and non-members alike!  It will be pretty great. The sisters in this mission are so come and enjoy! :)

The pictures are of the first snow!! The Temple is beautiful during the winter time!

 I had an AMAZING experience yesterday! As Sacrament Meeting Coordinators, Sister Carvalho and I assigned ourselves to speak in a SLC ward yesterday since I hadn't had the opportunity to do so yet, but since Sister Carvalho is in a different mission, I prayed about which companion I should go with and chose Sister Jones to fill Carvalho's place.  The branch we went to was all women who live in a halfway house, who have each been to jail, and who are all now in the repentance process.  They come from all walks of life and are trying to turn things around. In total, there were 6 Temple Square sisters who went to speak and we were given the entire hour.  We each gave a talk and together we prepared a special musical number.  The different topics were Faith, Recognizing the Holy Ghost, Individual Worth, "We Never Walk Alone " (my talk), "Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ", and "We Can Do It Now!".  (The last 3 topics came from General Conference talks).
I spoke 4th right after the musical number, which was "Nearer My God to Thee", and here's the cool thing- all of us can sing alright, but none of us have super strong voices.  However, when we sang in front of those ladies I felt like there were at least 6 other sisters singing with us....we sounded SO good and I knew that it wasn't because of our own talent.  I knew Heavenly Father was helping us to touch the hearts of these women and it was all I could do to not tear up.  Everyone's talk went so wonderfully and every sister said something that was so inspired for the women listening. The Spirit was so strong and I think I choked up about 3 times in my own heart was so full.

Afterwards, we were able to talk to the women a bit and then go to Relief Society with them.  It was like being in a normal ward! Ah, it was so nice to talk to them and be a part of their Sunday!  This experience meant so much to me.  I could see the light in every one of their eyes and I know that Heavenly Father worked through and guided the sister missionaries to help share with them what they needed to hear.  The feeling of love that God has for these women was overwhelming and so powerful.  The Atonement is there for each of us and I feel so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve and share my testimony with them. That meeting was definitely one of the most spiritual experiences I had ever been in.

Whew! This week has flown by and we are working so hard on Temple Square!  It is so great having a trio because we all have something special to bring to our lessons and tours.  The other day Sister Jones started a conversation with a family, we talked for a bit, I had the prompting to ask if they wanted to see "God's Plan"- they hesitated but said yes, and after God's Plan, Sister Jones invited them to read the "Proclamation to the Family" together as a family the coming week.  This felt like a normal tour, but when we were saying bye, the mom came up to us and said "Thank you so much for taking us to see that!  It was perfect timing. Thank you so much for stopping us and talking to us".  It was after that we realized our different roles in helping this family.  Strength in numbers :)
Well, this week has been great! We have taught a lot of lessons and we are hoping to continue that!

Love you all!!

Sister Asay

Oh, I have a couple of funny stories too! :)
-A kid came up to all three of us, pointed at our flags, and said "English, English, English" and then walked away.  Haha, so random and true. All American flags in this companionship!
-Soo, I fell inside a car again...haha. After the sacrament meeting, we pulled into the garage back at Temple Square and as I was moving from the backseat to get out, my foot got stuck in this plastic wedge in between the two middle seats and I just slowly fell over like a tree. My hands were holding my stuff so I had nothing to stop my I just fell, haha.  The sisters who saw had a good laugh.  I think comic relief is my other purpose here at Temple Square... ;)


So much has happened this past week!

First off, President Gillette received a phone call from the Mission President of the Salt Lake City East mission asking for a sister from Temple Square to serve in his mission for 4 weeks.  President Gillette prayed about it and chose Sister Carvalho!  We found out Wednesday at  4 pm and she left by Thursday morning at 8 am. We were both so shocked and after we found out we hugged each other and shed a few tears.  She is my "mom" in the mission and she was still in the middle of training me, but all things happen for a reason.  I am now in a trio companionship with Sister Walsh, who is almost done with her mission, and Sister Jones who is in her first transfer. They are both super nice! And my P-Day is now officially on Mondays for the next 4 weeks, so I'm sorry for not emailing on Friday!  I moved apartment buildings and zones, but I'm still in a zone that has a lot of Square time which I'm happy about :) 
My new companions! Sister Walsh is on the left and Sister Jones is in the middle.

Also, Elder Dallin H. Oaks came to Temple Square with his wife to talk to the sisters last Monday morning!!!!  Can you believe it?!?! Ahh!! They are both amazing and such a cute couple.   One thing he said really stood out to me... He said, "Pray with faith...and faith means trust. The Lord will answer our prayers for what is best for us".  Faith equals trust. I love it and it's so true.  They also opened up the meeting to questions and sisters could ask anything pertaining to the Gospel that they wanted.  It was so wonderful!  Also, at the end he shook every single sister's hand!!  When it was my turn, he shook my hand and said "Hello Sister Asay, nice to meet you".  It's funny because I have heard "Sister Asay" so often that it took me a second to realize that he actually said my name and said it right!  Haha, I mentioned that to him and he chuckled and said that he has had some good friends by the name of Asay over the years.  It was a wonderful meeting and I could feel the Spirit strengthen as he and his wife walked in!  They spoke to us together instead of one at a time and kept joking with each other throughout it.   They're such a sweet pair!
Halloween!! Did everyone have a fun Halloween? I know Temple Square sisters did! Haha. We closed the Square at 5pm (the senior couples took over the Square if anyone wanted a tour or had questions) and we were able to change into Pday clothes and get ready for the festivities! They had a potato bar for us for dinner and lots of well as toothbrushes and floss provided by President Seppi in the Mission Presidency ;) Then we watched The Chronicles of Narnia! I cannot believe how many parallels to the Gospel there were!! There were references to Jesus Christ, His sacrifice for us, repentance, the Atonement....ah! The entire time I was just in awe! So cool! C.S. Lewis was the man.   
It was literally Asian Invasion last week!  So fun! There was a NuSkin Conference so there were thousands of employees all over Temple Square for a week!  It was soo packed!  I think Sister Carvalho and I were in at least 20 pictures with people from Asia because they wanted to have pictures with "foreign" sisters. Haha. Proud to be an American. 
Sister Tiritilli and I just being happy, goonish missionaries....I love that girl!  

The night before Sister Carvalho left she was teaching me how to pray in Portuguese...I was trying to say "I'm so grateful for all of our blessings", but instead of saying "bencaos" (blessings) I said "Eu sou grata por todas as bandidos".....meaning "I'm so grateful for all of the robbers"....Haha. We both just started cracking up!
Oh, and we got flu shots this week. I don't think I could of done it if it wasn't for the bowl of candy corn right by the guy who was giving me a shot.
Also, I got sick on Saturday for a whole day....such a bummer! I had small symptoms of the flu- funny since I just got a flu shot 3 days earlier. But anyway, I was back to normal on Sunday!

So, this week has had A LOT happen! Said goodbye to Sister Carvalho, switched to two new companions, moved apartments, got sick, and wow....such a crazy week! But there is a quote many have heard that says "Come what may and love it" and I can honestly say that God has been watching over me this week.  I miss Sis Carvalho so much since I didn't really have time to process the fact the she was leaving, but I think I am going to learn a lot from this new companionship. I'm so excited for the next 4 weeks! 
We ate Cafe Rio for lunch today! Soo happy!
Also, we gave our first tour together to a couple from Texas yesterday (they live right outside of Dallas!) and it was such an amazing tour! The Spirit was strong and we had great teaching balance. We have been doing so much missionary work these past few days with teaching on tours or chats, as well as our current investigators through the phone, and I love it!
I love being a missionary and working hard and growing so much in the Gospel! I also know that through obedience we are greatly blessed. The only way to strengthen our individual testimonies is to feed it with the word of God. We need to constantly be following the commandments, reading the scriptures, going to church each Sunday, and praying to our Heavenly Father. I know and promise that we will be happier for doing so. I know for sure that missionaries are blessed when we are exactly obedient. :)
I love you all! I can't believe it's November!
Sister Asay