Thursday, August 14, 2014

Week 21! "Say Whaaat??"

From 6/2/14

Hola Family and Friends!!!
Thank you for the letters this week. It motivates me to work harder! I love each of you and am grateful for your support.
1) First of all, on Saturday we ate with a family in our ward. When I say that it is not literal. They usually watch soccer and come in and out to work while we eat, but their cook, "J", makes us food and brings it out to us. We may or may not watch the soccer games while we eat in the back room like a ninjanary (ninja missionary mixed together = ninjanary) We also may or may not do it discreetly while eating all the food we want and not have to worry about socializing or speaking in Spanish because we eat all alone. Come to think of it, I love going to their house...
Moving on. Like I said, Saturday we ate with a family in our ward. And guess who was playing on the big screen. Ecuador vs. Mexico. I was torn because I wanted Ecuador to win, but I am in Mexico and these are my people. I felt like I was choosing between myself. Any what? Did that make any sense? No.....exactly.. But I heard that Mexico won. so. there. (I thought about Tiff the whole time, also isn't the world cup soon?)
2) Tambien on Saturday, a taxi man drove past us and I could have sworn that it was Jack Black from Nacho Libre. It looked just like him. Even Hermana C said so. I thought of that day when Benjamin and I went brain dead and watched the movie together. We both almost died laughing when Nacho jumped off the cliff after he ate the magical eagle egg. That also may not make sense but that's okay, I hope Ben gets it.  hahaha.
3) I love hearing how each of you are doing. I especially love hearing little stories about our Emma. I just love that little one! I love the name Kylie Mia for Jamison and Amy's next angel. I hope Amy is feeling better!! Hang in there a little longer sis :) I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! 
4) We had probably one of the coolest experiences ever teaching a new investigator named "M", also on Saturday. He told us initially that he was willing to hear us and wanted us to convince him that their was a God. He wanted to believe with all his heart, but because he had such hard trials in his life, he decided not to believe any more. He told us that our visit with him was one of the last chances he had to believe in God.
We prayed so hard during the lesson. I actually really liked M because he had something very special about him. He had a lot of common sense. It made sense to me when he explained his feelings and ideology. Yet, in contrast to almost everyone who wants to prove that God doesn't exist, M didn't. He was willing to listen, to try, to experiment on the word like Alma says in Alma 32. He was humble and therefore teachable. We saw his countenance changed as we witnessed the Spirit teaching a touching his heart. It was incredible.
5) I have a teeny tiny surprise headed to the house in a couple weeks. I don't want to say what it is in case it gets stolen in the mail. :( haha. But I took pictures of it beforehand to remember what I tried to send. :) 
HERE's the weekly letter:
"'P' was baptized this week!!! It was such a beautiful baptismal service and the Spirit was so strong. 
For the longest time P told us that she wasn't ready to be baptized because she felt that it was too soon. She made the decision last week to be baptized when she saw her sister, 'Aa', enter into the water in the baptismal font. P has been praying to Heavenly Father to help her feel like this was the true church and that this is what He wanted her to do. When Aa was submerged in the water, P felt in that moment a strong feeling of the love of her Heavenly Father; that P needed to be baptized also and make the change in her life to follow God's commandments.
"P's baptism!"
It was special to see her on Saturday, all dressed in white, entering into the water and covenanting to return to her heavenly home. She told us how happy she felt afterward. I realized that she really was like a newborn again being completely cleansed from sin. It was so amazing!!!
In her confirmation on Sunday, the 1st counselor gave her the sweetest blessing and also declared that she had a great role in preaching the gospel. He implored her to be focused on the temple and as the Spirit directs, to serve a mission when she is older!
P and Aa both are such special girls. I am grateful to see how they have loved learning about the gospel and searching the scriptures. This ward has played a crucial role in helping them progress and become converted. They have welcomed P's family from the first Sunday they attended. P's family have been an integral part of our ward ever since.  
Our area is really wonderful. we have been so impressed by the tremendous growth of our ward. They are more and more unified and active in missionary work. My first Sunday in this area, I remember that there was probably 35 members at church. The Lord really loves His people. He has helped this ward to progress week by week as long as they have been willing to work. There are many less active members still, but the members are reaching out to them. They ask to come with us now. They show great concern for each family that doesn't attend. They also make the effort to fellowship new investigators immediately and help them feel welcome. I love this ward for their willingness. I love that they are making the effort. I realize that members and missionaries really do have to work in unity to hasten the Lord's work and prepare for His second coming.
Hermana C is doing great! Her Spanish improves each week. She has a very special spirit that touches people the instant they meet her. She teaches with a lot of love and care and always focuses on others before herself.
We are doing well in our companionship. We have had similar experiences the past two weeks as in any other week, and we both have been much more patient and positive. The enemy knows very well how to use our weaknesses to tempt or discourage us, but I know that I am a daughter of God. Although the enemy knows me well, Heavenly Father knows me perfectly. I know that He also helps me perfectly. 
When people we teach are struggling through trials, I love to share a scripture in the Book of Mormon with them from Mosiah - when Alma and the Nephites are in bondage and persecuted for worshipping God. The Lamanites and apostate Nephites put heavy burdens upon the Nephites. The Nephites were also put to death if they were found praying to God. But the Nephites never stopped praying in their hearts for deliverance--like we do sometimes when we pass through a trial that's hard for us.
Mosiah chapter 24 says: 'And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.'
He didn't immediately rescue them from their trial. The Lord promised them deliverance in His time. He could have taken away their trials and set them free, but He, instead, strengthened their back to carry their burdens and to endure. My favorite verse is the next.
'And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.'
The Lord strengthens us when we have faith in Him to ease our burdens that we may carry them cheerfully and patiently. I think I am learning to apply one of my favorite scriptures now! :)
I know that I need to be more humble, patient, trust in the Lord, and be happy. Hermana C says, it's not enduring to the end, it's enjoying to the end. It's so true! :) So, I am doing great. Things seem different now. Challenges are opportunities to grow spiritually and in our character. 
'Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.'"
I LOVE YOU ALL and hope you have a great week!!!! :)))
Con amor,
Hermana Ashley Fernelius

Zone Conference - If you look hard you can see me in the front row, fourth from the left :-)

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