Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi everyone!!  What a whirlwind of a week!
The Church is developing Visitor Centers for Sao Paolo, Rome, and also a Priesthood Restoration site in Pennsylvania. President asked Sister Ferguson and I along with another companionship to help out the church crew that's in charge of it all.  Turns out, they wanted us to take pictures with same-sized furniture that will be in the VC's and then crop the pictures and put us in digitally made rooms of the soon-to-be Visitor Centers.  We were asked to stand, sit, engage, and teach guests (there were families who came). And it's all for the Apostles so that they can look at the pictures and see how the displays size-up to actual people and what it would look like with actual missionaries and guests.  It was pretty cool really and the families who came to help out and be "guests" were awesome!!  It was pretty fun because when we would have to talk to the families during the picture-taking we would testify about Christ or teach one of the lessons, so we ended up having some nice spiritual experiences :)  
Also, Paul is continuing to progress!! He told us how he went to the gym and was reading the Book of Mormon as he was working out.  Then, a lady he knows, who teaches at the same school, came up to him and asked him if he was Mormon and he told us that he replied to her "yes!". Ha, he isn't even baptized yet but already sees himself as a member of the church! So cool! And last night we were talking to him about baptism again and he replied with this text this morning: "How do I prepare myself for baptism? I believe that I am a sinner, that Christ died for my sins, Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God, that he did see Jesus Christ and God the Father, that the Book of Mormon was inspired and is another testament of and to Jesus Christ, and we are the restored church of God.  Is this sufficient?"  How amazing, right?  He is just so prepared!! Hopefully the local missionaries where he lives will be on board too. They have only met with him once so they wanted to push his baptismal date back, but it's been 3 weeks of him learning and searching with us and we know that he is ready. So, we'll be praying that it all works out :)
I gave my departing talk yesterday in our Sacrament Meeting. Since all of the classes are pretty large, we have to speak earlier than our last transfer. It was SO weird sitting on the stand because only sisters who are leaving speak...but I guess that it is getting to be my turn now.  It was nice though because I was up there with Sister Hansen, Sister Gee, Sister Khao, and Sister Yeung. I was assigned the topic of "Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should regularly express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us."

I love it because I personally have seen the power of gratitude in my life! When we are grateful we are able to make life sweeter and more joyful! I have also learned the being grateful is an act of faith and trusting Heavenly Father. I think of the perfect example- Jesus Christ. He was persecuted, beaten, and crucified. Yet, while on the cross, he said, "Not my will, but thine be done".  He had so much faith and trust in God. I know that this Gospel helps us to have hope in our lives and helps us to realize how truly blessed we are! I want to invite everyone to not only count your blessings, but to have a spirit and an attitude of gratitude always!
I love you all and I'm grateful for the examples that you are to me! I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful family members and friends in my life. Each of you mean so much to me!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving :)
Sister Asay
Picture from our Zone Activity at Elder and Sister Moore's House!

The Zone!

All of us trying to play Dutri Dews or however you spell it, haha.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Blind Date

Hi everyone!!!!
A funny first:

Last Thursday, Sister Ferguson and I gave Christmas Training to the mission. To break the ice and have a fun intro, we played a little Christmas video. Here is the link! We showed President beforehand, for permission, and he got quite a laugh out of it and requested a copy. Haha. Um, enjoy! "With love from the Office!" (the other sisters in it are the AP's, they had no idea beforehand that they were in this video, haha).

Okay, so I titled this "The Blind Date" because we took a blind couple around the Square and they were on a date together! Pretty cool, really! The lady was a less active member and the man had no belief in God. We first took them to the Christus statue so that they could feel the nail prints in Christ's feet, then to the Tabernacle where we talked about prophets and had them listen to the Pin Drop, then lastly to the Temple Grounds so that they could touch the Temple. They had their walking sticks which were handy when going to different places and we also had them follow our voices or at certain spots we would say "take a sharp left" or "veer right". It was kinda funny because we all kept tripping over each other and the sticks,but at the end we were really able to share our testimonies with the man, Jim. He has the belief that God is not a merciful God and that He will throw in trials just because. We testified that God is Loving and wants the best for us. We committed him to pray and he wasn't keen on that, so we committed him to think about prayer and we testified of the blessings and peace that comes from it. It was like a 15 minute conversation at the end just about God's love and hearing Jim's thoughts. Overall, it was a good tour and quite the experience!

We also have met with Frank again and he is still keeping the Word of Wisdom and is on track to getting a home and hopefully a job! We also called Neuman last week and taught the Restoration. He totally believes that God could call a prophet again, but is unsure about reading the Book of Mormon.  He read some of it two years ago and isn't sure if he wants to read it again since he is already on a good, Christ-like path. We explained that reading the Book of Mormon would only increase the amount of love and peace he feels every day and that if he is already living a Christ-like life then there wouldn't be any drastic changes he would be making. We ended up inviting him to pray about if he should read the Book of Mormon and he agreed and said he knew that God would answer him. He told us that he had prayed about our conversation when we met a week ago and that that's why he picked up our phone call. Pretty cool! We have an appointment this week with him as well and hopefully things will work out!
Also, Paul who we met a few weeks ago is still progressing! We actually extended him a baptismal date today and he accepted! He is super prepared and went to church yesterday! He has been reading the Book of Mormon and knows that this Church is Christ's restored church, but his only worry is his wife because she is pretty negative about Mormons. He hopes to share what he is learning with her and he actually gave us her number! She seems pretty against it all from what he says, but maybe we can make a connection with her.  He is so golden though and is meeting with local missionaries tomorrow! Woohoo! :)
I am working on my Departing Talk for next Sunday (my topic is Gratitude) and I LOVE this paragraph from Elder Utchdorf:

"Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true. By being grateful, we follow the example of our beloved Savior, who said, 'Not my will, but thine, be done.'”
Let's have faith and be grateful every single day! I love you all!! :)

Sister Asay
Our Class Picture!!  We are standing with our MTC companion! :)
"I love to see the Temple!"

A Greater Joy

Hello, hello!
It has been a pretty great week! Sister Ferguson and I have found some new investigators and one, Paul, who we met at West Gate is progressing!! The other, Neuman, who we met in the South Visitor's Center while we were on desk, we will call this Thursday :) That was a pretty interesting conversation with Neuman because he has a strong faith in Christ, but when I asked if he would like to learn more he said that he had his own church.  He and I (Sister Ferguson was at the desk- we contact different people usually when we have desk assignments) had been talking for about 5 minutes at this point about the Holy Ghost- how it testifies of truth and works through the feelings of peace, light, and joy- and also about temples. He told me that he grew up with Mormon neighbors, that he felt the peace here, and that he could see the light of the Holy Ghost in me as I shared my testimony. He shared that he had a strong relationship with Christ and that it has been built through prayer. He is a pretty solid guy with great faith in Christ! So when he said he had his own church, I replied, "Neuman, there is something different about this church and it is something good. We would like to share more with you and for you to take it in, apply it, and find out for yourself if it's something you would like in your life". He is someone who I could tell was close to the Spirit and I knew I couldn't let him walk away without sharing that he could have even greater joy than he already experiences now.  He accepted my invitation and gave me his number and email. He was such a kind man and I'm looking forward to us calling him!

In my last email I shared how we met a homeless man at the West Gate booth. Well, we have met with him about 5 times this past week. He was pretty interesting during the first few visits because he was still smoking and doing other things, but we committed him to keep the Word of Wisdom and he has been doing so well! We have been reading the Book of Mormon with him and also have been teaching him the missionary lessons. We taught him the Plan of Salvation the other day and had a pretty cool experience.

As a part of the lesson, we went up to the presentation of "God's Plan for His Families".  At the end, he shared how he believed in all of it and I felt impressed to ask if his dad, who passed away August of last year, was a member. (Back story, Frank had done a ton of temple work for his ancestors before he was less-active). He answered that his dad was not and I said, " have to go back to the temple. You need to do the work for your dad".  He sat there for a second, and responded that he agreed and felt he needed to go back. We talked about goals with him and how going to the temple is the ultimate goal. Since he has been sober, everything from his past has been weighing on his shoulders so his countenance was sad throughout the presentation, but there was also the hope and reality that this Gospel was there for him. He went to church yesterday and plans on going each week. But the amazing thing about the experience I just shared is that I remembered how on the first night I met him that I had the strong impression that he needed to go back to the temple as soon as possible. And then, when we taught this lesson, it hit me that the urgency came from his father. His dad is ready to make those promises in the temple and Frank is supposed to be the one to do it and be his proxy. Tears came to my eyes as that realization came to my heart. Frank is being guided to help his family.
Something I know is that family bonds are some of the most important and powerful ties that we have in this life. Family is everything and I know that our family members can help us and guide back to the paths that we need to be on to progress. Frank's dad is watching over him and I know that there is no mistake in one of the titles of God being Heavenly FATHER. Families are eternal and those relationships aren't meant to end here in this life. I feel so blessed to have temples and the priesthood authority, the power of God, to be here on the earth so that I can be sealed to my family forever.
Miracles happen every single week and I am grateful to have this time as a missionary! I love you all and I hope you have a happy week!!
Sister Asay :)

Frank with us at Music & the Spoken Word. Turned out to be a performance dedicated to Veterans. It meant a lot to him. Pretty cool stuff!

Haha, temple selfie.

Jerrica and I!! LOVE HER.

Friday, November 7, 2014

God is Always With Us

Hello everyone!! 

I can't believe it's already November and getting cold again! But despite the cold, this week has been a good one!! We have been on the Square a bit more and it has been nice giving tours. Sister Ferguson and I had a cool experience the other night while we were in the West Gate booth.

This man came up to the window and told me that he was homeless and asked if I knew how he could get a meal that tonight.  I have met a lot of homeless people around Temple Square and this guy seemed unlike the others, so as I was looking up the info he needed I started asking some questions.  Turns out  he was in military combat and was injured.  He has had it tough the past few months with emotional struggles from what he went through, his father passing away, and a divorce with his wife.  He is a member of the church and we started talking about faith and where his testimony is.  He shared with me that he still believes in God and knows the church to be true, but that it has just been a challenge for a while to live it.  I shared with him how trials in this life help us to become more like our Heavenly Father and that God is beside us through everything.  He agreed and shared how he believes that we grow as we have trials. It was a great conversation and Sister Ferguson wrote down some quotes for him to read.  I also felt prompted to ask if he had ever been to the temple and I found out that he has been before, but hasn't been back for a while because he turned to smoking and drinking to cope with his past experiences.  It was so interesting....I had never felt so strongly before as I did with Frank that someone needed to go back to the temple as soon as they could.  I invited him to come back to the Square and visit with us so that he could regain the faith in what he believes and also to be able to return to the temple.  I was pretty bold about it, but I felt the Spirit guiding what I said.  He responded that he would be happy to meet with us and that he would come back!  We got his information, chatted a while longer, and then he left. But before he left, he shared with us how grateful he was for our kindness in helping him and wanting him to come closer to Christ.  His countenance was very different from when he first approached us to when he left! As he was leaving, I said, "Hope you have a good night, Frank!" and he said, "I will try, no, I will!  I definitely will!" So tender!  God truly is always with His children, through everything. 

I read this scripture the other day in personal study and really loved it. John 7:17 "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."  I really know that when we live what the scriptures say that true happiness follows. I have been able to experiment with my own life and realize that I feel the most peace and comfort when I am keeping the commandments of my Heavenly Father.  His Spirit is always there waiting to guide us, but it all depends on how close we allow Him to be.  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and want to be in our lives, but we have to let them in. I want to invite everyone to open your heart a little more than it has been and do one thing that will help your Heavenly Father be even closer to you than He already is. :) 

I love this Gospel with all my heart! I know that God is a merciful and loving God and that we never have to walk alone.

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

Sister Asay

 Also! The entire mission went to the temple on Halloween! It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had!  All 200 sisters there together. The Spirit was so strong and my heart was overwhelmed with how much love I felt!  Such a wonderful night :)

Sister Ferguson and I ate dinner with everyone before going to the temple!

Haha. We ran out of money like a week ago and had to ask sisters for some TP! Sharing is caring.