Intercambios‏

August 31, 2015

This week has been amazing. We have had many miracles, many tender mercies of the Lord. I love this work more and more every day. As we strive to focus on helping people to progress, and helping this area to grow, we have seen the Lord’s hand in this work.
This week we had exchanges (intercambios) with the Sister Training Leaders, Hermana Dietze and Hermana Maldanado. I stayed in Burley with Hermana Dietze. I learned so much from her. I learned that I know the area and these people better than I thought. I learned of my love for this area and these people that we teach. I learned a lot about myself and how I can improve and be better. I learned about how to be a better, more obedient representative of the Lord. I learned a lot about how I can improve as a missionary, improve in my relationship with my companion, improve in my teaching skills, in the area, helping people to progress. I have a long way to go, but the motivation to get there.
We also had a branch activity which turned out to be a huge success. We made a lot of appointments with nonmembers and less-active members alike. They were able to interact with the members and they were able to see that we’re just normal people, but we have something they don’t have. We have the gospel. We have a light. We have the happiness that knowing the truth brings.
On Sunday, a recent convert that we have been working with a lot in the missionary work taught gospel doctrine class. She shared her testimony, and said something that was so profound. She was talking about her life before and some of the things that she had gone through at the hand of other people. She talked about how before knowing the church, she was Catholic but never really had a relationship with God. When she met with the missionaries, she learned to love the Lord. She learned to forgive those people that had wronged her. She learned about the commandments and the blessings they bring. One thing that I love is that she said that once she found this love for the Lord, keeping the commandments wasn’t hard. She understands her relationship with God and why we have commandments and because of that, she wants to show that love to the Savior through obedience. It was so powerful that someone who has known the church for such a short period of time can see the difference in her life, and that difference means everything to her.
I love this work so much. I LOVE these people! My favorite thing to hear, (actually from Araceli, this recent convert) is the phrase “tu eres Mexicana” because I love these people and their culture so much. I may nnot always know exactly what to say. I may not be able to express myself perfectly, but I can express my love. I can show these people that I love them, and even more importantly, that Heavenly Father loves them. Maybe this love will soften their hearts and get them to the point of progressing.
I just want you all to know that I have a testimony. I know this church is true. I know that God loves us. That He sent His Son for us. That we have a way back. We have a living prophet today who is called and directed by God.
Love you all!!
Hermana Haws

“Sister Sorry”‏

August 24, 2015

So! Story time!! (And then we can get to all of that spiritual stuff.) I was translating into English for the Branch on Sunday (for the people that are called to the branch that don’t speak Spanish, such as the wives of the presidency), and there were a few words that I said in Spanish, into the microphone, and the had to correct myself and remember the word in English. It was really funny because one of the members was talking about it afterward. They were telling about how an Elder a couple years ago, every time he translated, he would get lost and then there would be silence in the microphone for a few minutes and then you would here “Dang it.” and then he would pick it up again. The member could only remember his name as “Elder Dang it” Well, apparently when I mess up and say the word in Spanish, I then follow up with “Sorry” and then the English word. So, at least with this family, I have earned the nickname “Sister Sorry.”
This week has just been yet another example that the Lord truly is blessing our efforts. We have seen so many successes the past couple of days. This area has been a little bit of a roller coaster because every time we think that we are going forward, our investigators take two steps back. But this week was a week full of progress. We had great lessons with investigators and less active members both, we were able to find some amazing investigators. With each of the people we have been finding, it is so obvious to me that the Lord has been preparing them. They are so ready in so many ways. With the things they say and the questions they ask, it is clear that they have so much potential. We have been focusing on getting the right members/fellowshippers in the lessons so that the investigators can have a good experience with the church and not just rely on the missionaries.
One of the new investigators we found this week is a man who is here for a little bit while visiting his son. He said he had been to the LDS church before in Mexico and he’s seen missionaries around but he doesn’t really remember a whole lot of what they taught. We stayed at his house for a while to do some service and talked for a portion of the time. We talked a little about missionary work and testified of how we had been called by a living prophet of God. We taught a couple principles of the first lesson, and then we had to leave to go to another appointment, but told him that we would come back to finish doing service. When we came back we set a return appointment and he told us how something we said had sparked his interest, and that thing was living prophets. He said that he had been thinking about it a lot and wants to know what that means, and how it is that we have a living prophet. He also said that he would go to church next week, and that it didn’t matter if it was 3 hours long because if he was going to be spending three hours doing something, what better to do than hear the word of God? He told us that we had 2 chances. If he felt something within  those two lessons, he would continue on to a third and then go on from there. It was definitely a testimony builder that he is so prepared and we were able to find him! The Lord is working right along side us.
The past couple of days have actually been amazingly busy, despite the fact that everyone in ALL OF IDAHO was at the Cassia County fair (ok lets be real. it wasn’t that many people, but you get the point). Everyone we met with worked their appointments around when they would be home so that they could be there, or we happened to show up at exactly the right moment when they were home. Whatever it was, it was a blessing.
We have also met with the Orellana family three times this week. They are so amazing and have so much potential. There are 5 kids, 2 of which are baptismal age, and the parents and we have been working on preparing them for baptism. (If you count, that’s FOUR potential baptisms!) They don’t have a date yet, only because they want to learn more before they are baptized, so we have been focusing on the baptismal interview questions to show them that they are ready and that they really do meet all the requirements for baptism. We are working on getting fellowshippers and getting them to start coming to church again. They were coming to church before, and the kids loved it, but they kind of got out of the habit because the kids have had soccer games every Sunday, but hopefully that will be resolved soon so that they can come to church. We have a lot of hope for them.

3 months…WHAT?!?!??!?!?!‏

August 17, 2015

This week was a little more well rounded than other weeks. We worked with less active members in the branch as well as taught lessons and work with investigators. We taught one of the best lessons as a companionship this week. As part of the mission commitments, we have been focusing on the priesthood a lot, and how the authority is really the thing that sets us apart, and why baptism is necessary. We explained this authority in a way that the investigator could understand, and she even got to the point where she realized why baptism was necessary and why we don’t believe in infant baptism. She almost agreed to being baptized, but she said that she was afraid. She said she doesn’t want to change her religion because her entire family is catholic and it’s all she’s ever known. But she did tell us that reading the Book of Mormon and praying has helped her to feel the Spirit even more in her life. When we met her, she had been having a lot of problems with depression, but with the help of the Lord and the Spirit that she feels when we are there, it has helped her to feel better, better than the medicine and the doctors could.
It was also a great experience to attend the temple this week. I love the peace that I feel there every time that I go. I love the Spirit of the temple. There really is nothing closer to the presence of the Lord. The opportunity to attend the temple this time allowed me yet again to refocus. It helped me to self-evaluate where I am and where I want to be, and how I can fill that gap.
One of the main things I want to focus on is being more fully consecrated to the work. I can fill all of my time visiting with people, or trying to decide where to go, but if my thoughts aren’t completely focused on the people and their needs, if they are on thoughts of home or the future or whatever else, I can’t truly be fully consecrated. I am not giving everything I am to the Lord. The commandment is to serve with all your heart, might, MIND, and strength. I want to focus my whole mind on the work. I want to be even more committed. I know that this time I have to serve the Lord 100% is short. The past 4 months have flown by. I don’t want the rest of my mission to fly by and then look back and have regrets, or wish I had done something different. I want to love every moment of my mission, in the moment. I want to love the people and truly help them in the only way I know how, through the gospel. I want to be better than I was, to learn how to be like Christ. I know that as I apply his atonement in my life, I can do that. I can change. I can be better. I have seen that change in the lives of the people we teach, just like this woman. I can see that change in others. But it is harder to see that change in me. I don’t really see how I am any different than the person I was when I left. I want that change. I know it’s a process and I know that it’s something I need to do. I see all of my weaknesses laid out in front of me every day. I see my faults in teaching, my frustrations, my pride, my flaws. It is hard to see my strengths sometimes with all of my flaws. But, the one thing that gives me strength, the courage to continue, is the scripture in Ether 12:27. If the Lord gave me these weaknesses, there was a reason for it. And if I humble myself before him, and have faith, He can make these weak things become strong. I can have comfort in the fact that He will help me to climb these obstacles. His will is so much greater than mine and I just need to remember that and submit my will to His as I try to focus in his work in every moment. As I lose myself in the service of others, I will find who it really is that the Lord wants me to be. I will be able to reach the potential that he has granted me.
Well, I have been in Idaho for THREE MONTHS!!! IT has flown by sooo fast!!!
Don’t have a lot more time. I love you all! Stay amazing!
Pictures: Tori Davis and I!!! Our district at the Temple! My companion and I.
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Miracles

August 10, 2015

This week has been another week of miracles. There were so many times that we decided to go to a certain place and we were continuously in the right place at the exact right moment. It was amazing to see the little inspirations that we received, that in the moment didn’t seem like anything. Friday was especially like this. We had a couple of our appointments cancel, so we felt inspired to go and stop by the house of a former investigator who we had met but didn’t have any success setting an appointment. At this time, her neighbors were outside, so we decided to spend some time talking to them. We talked a lot about what we do as missionaries and why we are willing to leave everything behind to preach the word of God. It sparked their interest and they had lots of questions about the things we teach and the blessings we have to offer. We had to leave after that, but we set an appointment with them. Then, our next appointment cancelled, so we decided to visit a potential investigator, but his neighbor was outside too! We talked to her and she let us in immediately and we talked a little bit about missionary work, and how she had met with missionaries before and what they had taught her. We talked to her a little bit about our purpose as a missionary and set an appointment when we had more time.
Every other lesson we had was so amazing and it was obvious our timing and place was inspired. For some of them, it was just an idea of “we should go here,” without another thought about it until after when we were reviewing the day and realized that if it hadn’t been in that exact moment, it wouldn’t have worked out the way it did. And then we realized that we had counted numbers wrong, and had actually surpassed our goals and found 6 new investigators! It was amazing to see that the Lord will lead us to the people that He has prepared.
This week we have a temple trip! I’m so excited! I love the temple so much every time I go. I love the opportunity to be spiritually renewed, to be in the Lord’s house.
There’s not much else to report. I love you all! Stay amazing!
Love,
Hermana Haws

Transfers

August 3, 2015

This week was transfers. AND……WE’RE BOTH STAYING HERE!!!! (woohoo!!)
This week wasn’t super interesting. Ups, downs, the in between. We do have one girl, Adilene, who is really close to baptism. She is completely ready in worthiness, knowledge, and testimony. She just needs to make the decision. They are the family that has been going to church every Sunday for about a year. Her mom, unfortunately, is one of the people that has taken huge steps backward. She decided that she didn’t want to meet with us anymore. She doesn’t think there’s a difference in all of the different churches, and she doesn’t want to be baptized. But her daughter, Adilene, is ready. She went to the baptism that the Elders had this weekend, and afterward all of the people at the baptism asked her if she was next, and she said “I hope so.” We talked to her afterward and she told us that she needs to be sure to make the decision for herself and then ask her parents. We invited her to pray specifically about baptism and to think about the decision, so that the next time we talk to her we could talk about it even more. I really feel that she’s ready and that we can help her to make this step very soon, maybe in the next few weeks. She is more ready than anyone else I have ever met. I am excited to see how things go, and to see her to continue to progress.
There really isn’t much else. I love you all! I pray for all y’all all the time. Stay strong!
Love,

It’s a small world after all‏

July 27, 2015

Seriously…What is with Burley, Idaho and Gallup, New Mexico being so connected? I met yet another person this week that knew someone from back home. Maybe it’s just Heavenly Father trying to remind me over and over again that yes, I am meant to be in Idaho. Yes, I really did get the right call. No, my call to Idaho Spanish Speaking wasn’t a joke (in my defense I left on a day that is known in America as a day set aside specifically for practical jokes…it would have been so easy for the Prophet to play a practical joke on me).

There really isn’t that much to report that week. Just contacting, teaching, visiting less-active members, staying at home with my companion sick, talking in church in Spanish in front of like 30 people, meeting people that were very not interested, strengthening my testimony, feeling the spirit all the time, striving to be Christlike, meeting a dance group from Peru, giving service at a Dance Festival, driving the district leader crazy. You know, the usual mission life.
 So, as I said in that grammatically horrible sentence, we did service this week at an international dance festival. They had us following around a group of little kids to go to all of the different workshops where they were learning about the different dances. My favorite was the girls from Peru. They were the sweetest girls and I could talk to them and practice my spanish. They all said they wanted to serve missions as soon as the could. So that was cool.
Also, my companion was sick this week, so I stayed home and studied and almost died of boredom while she slept. If you know anything about missionaries, you know that sick days are the worst because you still follow all of the mission rules. No TV, no music, no leaving your companion. You just sit there and wait until they feel better. But, I did read the entire book of Mosiah and part of Alma.
As far as driving our district leader crazy, or at least to the point where he’s probably sick of our phone calls. My companion and I are both really knew when it comes to the mission. She only has 3 months more than I do. So we have lots of questions. Mostly all about policy, mission rules, things of that nature. We are trying to be exactly obedient and not disobey rules out of ignorance, so we call them at least once a week with questions. Maybe one day we’ll be able to leave them in peace, but as of right now we will keep calling. It’s a good thing our district leader is super cool. So he doesn’t mind. And it’s become an ongoing joke about us calling them.
Love you all! Have an awesome week!

By Small and Simple things are Great things brought to pass.‏

July 20, 2015

This week was one full of miracles!! We had exchanges, which were amazing in themselves. I went to the Kimberly area with Hermana Dietze. I learned so much from her. She is an amazing example and I came back with lots of ideas on how to improve, as a missionary and as a person. Lots of great things happened while I was gone as well. For example, this week we had 11 new referrals and 5 new investigators! As the members see our excitement to work, they want to help us. They tell us all about their friends, people the missionaries have taught in the past, whoever they can possibly think of. It is so great to see their excitement about the work increase and grow. 
 
We also had the opportunity to get to know some people and do some service in Oakley (including being in a float for their Pioneer Day celebration, working in a food booth at a rodeo, and just talking to people in a park). Despite the whether (it rained the whole time), there was a great turnout and there could be some potential there in the future. If nothing else, we at least showed the members that we are diligent, and planted seeds in the hearts of those we talked to.
 
Saturday night, we had the miracle of the baptism of Elia and Jesus from Malta. It was so great to see them take this step closer to our Heavenly Father and make this covenant. The Spirit was so strong and I just felt so much joy for them. I read something from a returned missionary before I left, and they said that missionary work is 98% hard work for 2% of pure joy. I felt a taste of that pure joy at their baptism. I only taught them a few times, and I don’t even know if anything I said or did helped them to make this decision, but I had the amazing opportunity to at least know them and be a part of this process for them. All of the other 98% of work, in my first weeks in Malta, in the weeks here in Burley, all of the preparation to get me to this point, all of the missionaries that taught Elia and Jesus, led to that moment. The joy I felt for them is so indescribable. I can only imagine that if I, who knew them for such a short amount of time, and yet love them so much already and felt so much happiness for them, how much more joy must our Heavenly Father feel, who’s known them for an eternity, and loves them so perfectly. Their baptism reminded me yet again of why I’m on a mission, why I am here. I love this gospel so much. I love the happiness that it brings, that perfect, indescribable happiness. I love my Heavenly Father. I know that he loves his children. I love these people and I want them to feel that happiness, that love. To me, that is the most important thing. That is my goal, to have that happiness forever. And I know that as I continue to do the things that our Heavenly Father asks of us and try to come closer to Him, I will be able to achieve that. I know that that is the only way. The only way to receive that happiness that He’s promised. And I know that it is my responsibility as his representative to teach people the way back, to guide them to Jesus Christ, through whom we can have eternal joy. 
 
I love you all! I encourage you to search for the eternal joy in your lives. Invite Christ into your life, and you will be blessed amazingly. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is amazing that power it has to change lives. I can promise you that reading it and sincerely praying will lead to answers.
 
Love!
Hermana Haws 🙂
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       We went to the 24th celebration in Oakley and they had us on one of the floats! It was so fun!