Friday, October 10, 2014

Ashley's first letter  from the MTC!
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12:16 PM, Ashley Stewart <> wrote:

So first let me start with a scriptures because we all know missionaries love scriptures: D&C 31:3 "Lift up your heart and rejoice for the hour of your mission is come!" Its here! 

oh my heck so things are so so so soooo crazy here! I haven't had one second to breathe since I got here! I'm stressing out just writing this email haha. Anyways let me just say....I HATE IT HERE!!!! Ok thats a huge lie and I can't lie as a missionary! I LOVE IT!!! I love everything about being a missionary....except spanish. I hate the spanish language! But more about that later...
so I can't believe I've been here for a week. its true when they say days feel like months and weeks feel like days here. 
So I live on west campus which let me just tell you is seriously the most amazing blessing ever. (those apartments that we drove past on our way to the MTC and mom asked if thats where the missionaries live....thats where I live! and those elders that we saw across the street thats where I cross the street everyday to go to my classrooms!) So being on west campus is awesome for many sons! 
1) SO MUCH FREEDOM! (seriously boys pray that you get called spanish speaking because its awesome....minus the language) But really though we get to be outside all the time and we get to walk down to a strip mall that has like jamba juice and great harvest...we are going to go there for lunch today. 
2) everyone here is spanish speaking so we say Hola 1000000 times a day and it just bonds everyone a little more because we are learning the same language
3) Its not as stressful as it is on main campus! We were just there after we went to the temple, and I swear everyone there looks like they hate the mtc haha we just laugh all the time and have so much fun over here. Everyone on main campus is jealous that we are here....

So my companion is Hermana Golder from NEW ZEALAND and she is awesome. I cant wait to send you the video of her speaking in her accent. Its so cool to learn more about other peoples culture and she uses words that I have NEVER heard before haha I have to ask her all the time "what?" haha because she says the most hilarious "where's the rubbish bin?" (garbage can) or lollies (candy) or Tog (swimming suit) and she always says you's when she is talking to us. I really love her as a person....but I am struggling with the companionship. She is struggling really really bad and she is getting so stressed out and thats been really hard for me because she just shuts off during our lessons and I have to take over. I dont know if you got my letter about what happened the other day, but she took a sleeping pill on friday night and within 5 minutes starting FREAKING out! it was so scary because she was acting like she was drunk and we couldn't get her to relax and lay down and we had to help her walk and go to the bathroom (talk about companion bonding haha) so anyways me and hermana rich had to run to go find someone to come give her a blessing but it was 11 at night and everyone here is super obedient or something because no elders would answer their doors!! But then this tiny little security guard drive by in this golf cart and asks what we are doing and we told him we needed help. He wouldn't come into our apartment and hermana golder couldn't move her legs so it was a little frustrating but he called the doctor and the doctor told him to take her to the emergency room. So instead of getting my much needed sleep, I had to go to the emergency room until 3 in the morning. It turned out to just be a reaction from her sleeping pill and all the stress. So the next day we had to miss our lesson with our investigator so that she could sleep and we had to meet with the MTC president who basically told her if she can't handle the stress they are going to have to send her to another mission. But he was nice and told her to do whatever she needed to do to relieve her stress and so we missed all of our classes and I just had to follow her around. It was so frustrating for me because I hate missing out on things I'm supposed to be at. We had to go to the doctor on main campus on monday so we missed our lesson once again, and The doctor ended up sending her to a psychologist and I was waiting for 2 hours. I could feel myself getting so frustrated and feeling like I was being a bad missionary because I was missing out on our lessons and class...but I got humbled very fast. I realized that I am a missionary NOW....not in 5 weeks when I go to argentina, but NOW. And by being a good companion and caring for her, I'm fulfilling my purpose as a missionary. If there's one thing Ive learned this week, its that love is what matters...not the language, not even necessarily the words you say or the lessons you teach, but true love. And so I am working on charity because charity is the pure love of christ and without charity you have nothing! But dont get me wrong, I LOVE my companion, she really is the sweetest person and is so good at having the spirit with her at all times, I am just frustrated with the situation we have been put in and I feel bad that she is having such bad anxiety and depression. I had to sit down with her and just give her advice and say a prayer with her. It easily helps me forget about myself because even though I am struggling, shes having a harder time, and I need to be there for her. So pray for my companion if you could :) 

Ok so heres a story you'll all love to hear! K so our investigator is marcelo and we had to teach him a lesson on friday (2 days after getting here!) all in SPANISH! (have I mentioned I hate spanish?) haha so hermana golder and I had this lesson planned out and we felt like we should teach him about the plan of salvation. So she taught that God is our loving heavenly father, and that he loves us and about our pre-earth life. My part of the lesson was our purpose here on earth because he thinks that all we are here for is to live and die. Well I thought my part of the lesson was going good and I wanted to have him read alma 34:32 that talks about how this life is the time to prepare to meet God. Well spanish scriptures are a little different than english and I was just picturing the scripture being in the same place as it is in the english scriptures so I asked him to read the bottom of the page...which I didn't realize was vs. 35. He doesn't read very well so I went over to him and was helping him read...we we get to the end and he asked what malvado was...of course I didn't know so I asked my companion to look it up in the english scriptures and she said 'wicked' I knew I was in trouble after that because that was not supposed to be what that verse said. After the lesson got over I looked up the scripture that I had him read here it was: For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil and he doth seal you his; therefor, the spirit of the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked" 

WHAT?! I was mortified! we laughed about it after, but it was so embarrassing. Teaching lessons in spanish is so stressful. But I just keep telling myself that it will come. Honestly I believe el don de lenguas ( the gift of tongues) is real...but for me I think its more to be able to understand, not speak. I understand everything my teacher says and thats a huge blessing for me. But to form sentences is another story. I'm freaking out because we have another lesson tonight! But Something cool that the spirit taught me on sunday was that I think God gives us language barriers so that we have to show it. If I can't express how I feel in words, I can express it in actions and I think that will be so important when I get to argentina. 

So thursday night we got to meet our branch presidency and you guys! I am extremely blessed! They are the most wonderful people I have EVER met! my branch president is the most amazing man and I honestly feel like I have known him forever! and his wife is equally as awesome! Such an inspired man. Sunday in my interview with him, I sat down and he just read me like a book! He said that I feel like his daughter and even kind of look like his children and that he is proud of me like a dad is proud of his daughter. then he said "the spirit has a way of making things very clear very fast" and that he knew things about me before I even got to the mission. I thought that was so cool. He then asked me " do you have a boyfriend?" and I said no and he said "Good for you!" and then he said I want you to just take notes...take notes of the elders around you and become very good friends with them...especially the ones that impress Elder Smith (our zone leader) I think he's an impressive guy dont you? haha I laughed and said yeah. But I just thought it was so funny that that was his advice to me was to take notes on the elders that impress me because I haven't even thought twice about elders here...but he basically looked at me and was telling me that he thinks I'm going to find my husband here hahaha I just laughed. He then said something that totally caught me off guard because I wasn't expecting it he said "you're on a mission for your future family...for your children. and you're going to be an amazing mother." That just proved to me right there that he really does know me and the spirit has told him some things about me because my future family is already so important to me. I wish so badly you could meet him! Oh his name is President Doman I forgot to mention that. ANyways you would love him! 
I got called to be the sister training leader the day after I got here! Lets talk about stressful haha Here I am, not knowing anything, and now I have to be in charge of all the sisters and train them?! But its good because it keeps me extremely busy. I was expecting sunday to be relaxing....NO! I woke up at 6 and had to be to a leadership meeting at 7....and literally was in meeting after meeting until 9:30 that night! So insane! I went to 5 leadership meetings....district training meeting and zone training meeting. Church was awesome was the first time in my life I think I have ever fasted an entire 24 hours! like literally we ate at 5 saturday night and dinner wasn't until 5:20 sunday! (parker would die here haha) but the spirit was so strong and I didn't even think about how hungry I was. I love being surrounded by missionaries 24/7 its the coolest thing ive ever experienced! 

ok so lets talk about the food! Lets just say it has not done good for any of us sisters haha IM DYING! send me some real food please! haha for they always have on this whiteboard outside the cafeteria what is for the next meal....and we are walking up for dinner and it says "peg leg chicken" hahahaha what?! peg leg chicken!? you can only imagine! But honestly the food tastes pretty good, but it is not doing good things to my body haha. and my poor companion is having an even harder time because she isn't used to american food. anyways if you ever wanna be nice and send a package my way with some real food that would be much appreciated ;) speaking of packages...Hermana allen another missionary in my district gets a package everyday from her mom and its always a surprise to see what she gets! her mom sends her the most craziest things! like yesterday her mom sent her a pull-up bar! 
Anyways I am sooo out of time!  and I still have so much I want to say! I just want you all to know that I love being a missionary. I love putting on my nametag every morning. 

Yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo es verdadera y yo se que el libro de mormon es la palabra de Dios. Yo se que Jose Smith es un profeta de Dios. Yo se que el don de lengas es verdadera. Amo a mi salvador Jesucristo. Yo agredicido por mi familia y amo mi familia mucho!!! 

love you all! 

-Hermana Stewart

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