Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Temple Square!!!!!!

Ahhhhh!!! I'M BACK :)  And I don't think I have ever been so happy in my life!!  Sister Bondare and I were coming down the escalator and I saw Sister Tiritilli (and her companion) and I pretty much ran to her and started crying!  She is one of my best friends in the mission and I haven't seen her in 6 months since she went Outbound before I did!  Then we all started walking to the van and Sister Tiritilli told me that I was going to cry when I found out who my companion was and what I was doing.  What!  We arrived at the van and we go towards the trunk and S. Tiritilli says, "Open the trunk".  I skeptically inquired "why?" and knew my companion had to be in there.  She said, "Just do it :)".  I opened the trunk and I saw Sister Hansen sitting there!!!!!  She was my MTC companion!!!! I screamed, haha, and then started hugging her before she could even get out of the trunk!  Sister Tiritilli was right....I was definitely crying, I just couldn't believe it! 
With my new companion, Sister Hansen!
Then, I found out that I am Temple Square Coordinator with Sister Hansen!!  I know most of you don't know what that is, but how I've heard it be explained is that the AP's are the assistants to the president over missionary work and TSC's are pretty much assistants to the presidents over Temple Square.  Some things we do are make schedules, do trainings, do tour reports, etc.  It has only been 5 days in this assignment, but it is SO much work. It's nuts!  But it's great too and definitely a way for me to serve the sisters and this mission.  Anyway, I am seriously SO happy!! It was such a wonderful reunion seeing all of the sisters, especially the ones who I am close friends with! And Sister Ferguson, one of my other besties, is my roomie!!! I couldn't have asked for a better/ happier past few days!   
I can't believe that the beginning of last week I was in Montana and at the end of the week I was in Salt Lake.  It was tough leaving Montana and I really don't enjoy goodbyes, but it was such a blessings to spend my last night with the Rogers family and also with the Crafts and Kyle.  I met so many good people Outbound and it's an experience I will never forget!  It was pretty hectic the day we left.  On Tuesday morning, Brother and Sister Harris picked Sister Bonn and I up from District Meeting around 11 am. Our meeting was moved to earlier so that I could be able to go before I left and also say goodbye to my District. Then, we dropped Sister Bonn off in Stevensville so she could be on exchanges with another set of sisters in the zone until her new companion arrives, and it was really hard to say bye to her.  It was bittersweet and then off I went with the Harris family!  It turns out that the mission wanted me to ride the Greyhound bus by myself to Billings, but the Harris' wouldn't have it, so they drove me the 7 hours it took to get to Billings!  How sweet are they!!!!  I was so appreciative!! And it was a pretty nice car ride with them :) We had great talks about life, the Gospel, and goals, etc.  It's funny too because when we got to the mission home in Billings, the door was locked...so we weren't quite sure what to do. However, the Harris' planned to go to the temple that night so we decided we would go over there and check the temple schedule. Meanwhile, I was trying to get a hold of people and I got in touch with the AP's.  I asked if I could go to the temple with the members and they gave me permission. So that night, I was able to go to the temple!!! I was super happy and it was seriously the best way I could have ended my time in Montana!!  The next morning President Mecham had a departing interview with me and it was such a good conversation with him. He is a wonderful mission president and was complimentary and just so kind!  He gave me a blessing before we finished and some things he said in that blessings were answers to my prayers. I was so grateful for that blessing!  It just brought peace to my heart :)
The Rogers Family!

The Crafts!

Our District...haha!

I think one of the most important things I learned Outbound was to develop Christ-like love.  To love someone as the Savior would and to overlook the surface and just love people for who they are.  I had felt that I already had a love for people, but I know now that developing that pure love of Christ comes when it isn't the easiest...when it takes effort.  I know that as we truly try to see what our Heavenly Father sees in others that we are given strength and a higher capacity to care about people, our hearts grow and we become less selfish.  I feel so grateful for all of the wonderful sisters I serve with at Temple Square and I have truly seen their light,  I am grateful for the people that I have been able to teach and the love I have had for them, and I am so grateful to be a missionary.  We had our Returning Outbound meeting today and all of the sisters have grown even more and we realize that there is only a short amount of time left on our missions. I want to work to my fullest these last 4 months and I want to make every minute count!
I love you all!!! I know this is Christ's full and restored church and I know that Heavenly Father and our Savior love us more than we could ever know!!
Sister Asay

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to Temple Square!!

Hello friends and family!!! 

This week has been so great and has gone by super fast! We did exchanges earlier in the week (I think the past 3 or 4 weeks we have had to spend at least 2 full days out of our area, so insane!), but they went really well!!  Then the next few days were packed with appointments and visits, it was great!  This weekend has also been full of a lot of goodbyes since I fly back to Temple Square on Wednesday.  The past 3 months have gone by so fast and I can't believe I am already finishing up my Outbound experience!  I am pretty stoked to be going back to Temple Square though!  It feels like I'm going home in a way :) 

Howard Family!!! the fam of my ward mission leader :)

KYLE WAS BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!!  It was hilarious in church when Bishop announced that Kyle was being baptized because right after he announced it Kyle yelled "Wooo!!" and invited everyone to come. Hahaha. So great!  It was an amazing baptism and there was so much happiness!!!! It's great because everyone in the ward has come to love Kyle so much over the past month and a bunch of people came to support his baptism!  Sister Bonn and I both spoke and I gave the talk about Baptism...I seriously couldn't stop smiling when I spoke because I was just so happy for him!!!  Then we all walked over to the font and Bishop Hawkes was the one who baptized him.  Kyle was beaming when he came up out of the water and he gave Bishop the biggest hug!  His happiness was contagious for everyone who was there! And something that was awesome is that the Crafts came too! Terry, Wade, and their daughter Shaylee came! I think it was the first time Wade has been inside a church in a while.  It was such a beautiful sight to see and it just felt so right to have them there!

Kyle! happy, happy baptism day!

I am really so grateful for all of the experiences I have had here in Hamilton. I have met so many wonderful people and I feel I have grown a lot here.  I have seen the physical evidence of how the Gospel can change people's lives and how happy it makes them.  I feel that so many blessings are waiting to be poured upon us, but we just have to strive to follow Christ and keep his commandments.  When we gain that personal relationship with God and with Christ, we are able to see who we can become and we are given strength to handle any trial we face.  

Bishop Hawkes and his family!!

I feel so blessed to share this Gospel as a missionary and to dive deeper into my own testimony of Christ's Gospel.  I don't know where I would be if I hadn't gained that small testimony of my Savior and of the Book of Mormon when I was young.  That testimony has grown so much and has molded me, and continues to do so, into who I am today.  I love the comfort, peace, and joy I am able to feel through the blessings of this Gospel.

I love you all!!! Have a wonderful day!!! Temple Square, HERE I COME! :)

Sister Asay 

Ward Family and the Blessings of the Temple

Boy, this week has been a great one but also a tough one.  

I'll start with the tough part....

The little brother of Antara, our recent convert, killed himself Tuesday morning before going to his first day of high school.  We found out as we were driving to Billings, and it was such a shock!  He was such a kind, quiet kid and always said hi to us when we were in their home teaching Antara.  It's been a tough week for their family.  We went over to their home Thursday night and met all of her extended family and spent time with Antara looking through pictures of her brother that she had to pick out for the funeral video.  It's been a sad week and we had the viewing last night and the funeral was today.  Something that has been amazing to see though is the support of the members of the church-the ward family.  Sister Rogers, the Bishop's wife, flew a private plane over to Boise to pick up Antara from school and flew her back within hours of Antara hearing the news.  And other members, neighbors of Antara's family, had them stay in their home while other members went into the house and cleaned up everything.  The outpouring has been amazing and the family has enough meals provided for them until the end of September! The Spirit of love that has been shown to the family has been wonderful and it has meant the world to Antara and her family.  I remember walking into the home and seeing her parents and how their hugs to us said everything....their gratitude, their pain, their love for their family.  It's something I will never forget.  

When we found out the news, we were driving to Billings to go to the Temple.  The Temple is a symbol of love, family, and eternity.  Antara has been speaking to her parents about doing baptism for the dead for her brother in a year and her parents aren't opposed to it.  I thought how special that would be for them and that one day, maybe, they could all be sealed together.  I'm so grateful for Temples and for the hope that they represent.  I know with all of my heart that families can be together forever when they are sealed in the Temple, and I know that this life isn't the end for us...it is just the beginning.  As I walked into the Temple, peace filled my heart. It's such an amazing place and I have missed being there! It had been over 3 months since I had last been to the temple and I was so happy to have the chance to go before I fly back to Salt Lake.  It was definitely the perfect place to be at the point of the week. 

In other news, Kyle is progressing and his date is officially set for Sunday!! He has come to church consistently and even made potatoes for another funeral that happened on Friday.  We had to leave early for an appointment, but he stayed the entire time and helped out with cleaning up after the luncheon! Terry, who is less active and has been at teaching appointments with Kyle with her husband Wade, was at church too!! We had a girl night with her unexpectedly because Kyle and Wade couldn't make it, and we asked her if there was anything she would like for us to explain or talk about.  We ended up talking about Temples :) We talked about eternal families, what temples are, and what we do there. She asked us how she could go there one day and we said by going to church each week, and there she was on Sunday! We were so proud of her! 

Also, Bishop Rogers was released this week after 5 good years and Brother Hawkes is the new Bishop! It was pretty bittersweet because Bishop Rogers has been amazing!! But Brother Hawkes is pretty much our number one fan, haha, and he's legit so I think things will go great :) And last night the Rogers switched our dinner so that they could have us over for dinner since it was a big day for their family. They love us and we love them :) It's an awesome relationship.

I am so grateful for the Plan of Happiness that God has laid out for us.  I know that we are children of God and that we have a purpose here and a purpose hereafter.  I'm grateful for the Gospel and for the truth and hope that comes with it. 

I love you all!!!

Sister Asay

A break from driving. Gotta love Montana!!

Love this sister!!

Temple pic with the zone!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

An Experience I'll Never Forget!


This week has been hectic! But awesome!! I mentioned in my last email that we were going to Billings for MLC and the Elders were initially going to drive, but their truck had issues so Sister Bonn and I drove instead. I drove the first 4 hours to Helena where there was going to be a van waiting for all of us and that van would then take us to Billings. But since we had car issues, we were late....soooo the van left us, haha. We ended up driving the WHOLE way to Billings! Sister Bonn drove the last half and we ended up passing the vans because they were driving so slow, haha. (We weren't speeding, don't worry).  The meetings were so great!  We had discussions during the first day about Finding, Teaching Skills, and Planning.  I loved it!!  It was great to go over the fundamentals and to focus on things that we wanted to apply in our zones.  Then, President Mecham addressed us about preparing for the Temple and purifying ourselves for that.  Purifying as in getting rid of music, books, clothes that aren't missionary approved and also being spiritually purified and focused on our Savior.  For dinner we went to Golden Corral....yum!  All you can eat!  Haha. 

Driving to Billings! 8 hours of playing I Spy.

Then, we had a testimony meeting, and I was asked to go first since I was leaving. I was pretty nervous beforehand because I didn't even find out I was speaking until that day, but then once the time came, peace filled my heart. I went up to the front and bore my testimony of this work and the truthfulness of the Gospel.  I shared how grateful I was to be able to serve in Hamilton and in the Montana Billings Mission. I got a little emotional...and it hit me how much I just loved this experience of serving in Montana!  I already knew I enjoyed it and was grateful for the experience, but talking about leaving just made it more real.  After I sat down, others got up and shared their testimonies. It was one of the best testimony meetings I have ever been in and I'll explain why....

Previous to the testimony meeting, President Mecham shared an experience when he was a missionary in Scotland.  Elder Monson, at the time, had flown in to speak at the Stake Conference that was occurring that weekend.  He had heard about a beloved patriarch who was very ill and wasn't getting better.  He had the option to go to the patriarch and give him a blessing or go to the stake conference and speak there.  He chose to speak at the Stake Conference, and when he got up to speak he noticed the question on the faces of the congregation as to why he didn't choose to give the blessing to the patriarch instead.  Elder Monson shared that he had the faith to heal their patriarch, but that "it's not my faith that counts, it's yours".  President Mecham then quoted Elder Monson and said, "If you have that faith, I invite you to stand".  President Mecham started to walk away to sit next to his wife, and at that moment I began to contemplate on what he had just said. Did I have the faith to heal someone? Then, all of a sudden I heard a missionary in the back stand up. And then, like a ripple effect, every single one of us stood up.  The feeling that I felt was indescribable. Tears came to my eyes and I could feel the clear presence of Spirit of the Holy Ghost in the room.  All 50 of us stood up together and were united in our faith and, in that moment, my own faith was strengthened.  This was an experience that I will never forget, and I know that the testimony meeting held afterward was a blessing for all of us. We were able to share our testimonies and the love we have for this Gospel and our Savior and what it's meant to us.  We were edified by each other and uplifted by the Spirit throughout the entire evening. Once again, it was one of the best testimony meetings I have ever been a part of.   

This Gospel is true and I know it with all of my heart! I'm so grateful for the opportunities we have each day to stand together in what we believe. 

I love you all!!! Have a fabulous week :)

Sister Asay

Is your mama a llama?

This rabbit was HUGE!!

The last two pics are from the Hamilton fair! We stopped by on Friday and passed out some pass along cards, pamphlets, and had a few good discussions with people. And we ran into a ton of people from our ward and Brother Hawkes bought us dinner! It was funny because we walked by a stand for pulled pork sandwiches and we were like "oh it looks so good, but it's a bit expensive" and then that's what he bought us! #blessings :)