Monday, June 23, 2014

Week of Miracles!

Here we go once again. Seriously I always dread writing these weekly emails because there is always SOOOOO much to say it is nuts!!!!! This week has been seriously on of the greatest weeks on my mission! I have been so blessed to be apart of all the miracles I have seen this week.  The one below is one that I wrote to my mission president, thus the font is a bit funky but oh well what do you do ha....
We have made so many spiritual experiences and miracles lately. My favourite was when I was on exchanges with Sister Ziegner. We went to visit a referral who wasn't home and before we left we decided to just go knock on the neighbors door. Well this cute woman answered. Her name is Helen. Helen is from Ireland and moved here with her partner for his work. We began teaching her on the doorstep and she told us she hadn't really grown up religious but she now believes in God. The reason being when her 6 month old son was born he was born with a cleft lip and during his surgery she prayed and prayed. She said as she waited in the waiting room that she knew God was protecting her little boy. We bore testimony to her and got a return appointment. The return appointment went really well and she is really interested. We are going back tomorrow for a full lesson and will extend the baptismal invitation. She is very sweet. But it was such a miracle to see that all good thoughts truly come from our Father in Heaven.
The other cool miracle we had was when I was back with Sister Clegg. We had the prompting during nightly planning to try our Bishops old flat (he recently moved) and to visit the new tenants. Well we pushed the buzzer to get into the compound but no luck.. we figured they were at work. Before we left Sister Clegg on a last ditch effort she randomly pushed a buzzer and then turned around to walk away when "BEEEPP" The buzzer for the door went off to let us in but we were so surprised we missed it. We awkwardly stood there wondering what to do when "BEEEEPPP" it went again. But because we were so engaged in our conversation of what to do we missed it...again. This time we were just sad TWICE we missed an opportunity. The weird part was nobody had come over the intercom asking who it was. Well as we stood by the door once again talking about the peculiarity of it all the buzzer went off a third time. This time we caught the door before it latched again. We were in. We went to the door of the flat and knocked.. and then waited. We heard kids goofing off inside and realised that they had been the ones to let us in. We discussed what to do because the parents were probably oblivious. We knocked again but the kids couldn't open the door. Finally the mom answered. We awkwardly began talking to her but then it became a natural conversation. She was a really cute lady. She is aborginal which is awesome. She invited us in and we taught a mini restoration lesson. We talked about bishop and his family and told her how he is the bishop of our church and she was so shocked and said "no wonder he was always so happy and nice. I always knew there was something different about him." It was cool to see the influence that members have on those around them. If bishop hadnt been such a great example who knew if she would have let us in. She said she would try to come to church (but she didn't) but we will try to go visit her tomorrow as well. She said she is christian and has been thinking of going back to a church for her family but has just been lazy. So hopefully we can get her to come to our church, the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. It was just such a legit experience! All from buzzing a random buzzer.

We also had interviews with President this past week which went well. We just learned that our NEW NEW mission president and his wife, President and Sister Back, have received their visas so they will be here on Saturday. We will miss President and Sister Palmer they have been great for our mission. I have been blessed so serve with such amazing examples of disciples of Jesus Christ. I learned a lot from President and Sister Lew and from President and Sister Palmer and I am positive it will be no less with President and Sister Back.

Today I am super excited we should be going to this 90 year old mans house because he lived in Holland during WW2 and was 17 during the start of it. He was part of the resistance during the war and hide Jewish people and would help get them out of the country. He has some CRAZY stories! We borrowed a voice recorder from one of the elders and we are going to record his stories. We are so excited and so is he. He isn't to interested in the gospel right now but we are sure that once he sees how interested we are in his stories and how much we care (which we truly do) maybe he will warm up to hearing the gospel. I am so excited!!! 

Well I still have SOOO much I could share with you but I dont have time to write it all and Im sure yoour getting tired of reading it all haha. 
I love you all and hope that you have a great week! Wish us luck!

Sister Ashley Boiteux
At a members for dinner and we brought Tony along :)

Sutherland District

Picture Week

Hi family.
Well honestly I dont feel all that in the mood to write a long email today. It has been a hectic day. So I think I will mostly just send pictures this time and explain each one. 

1-3. On exchanges with our amazing sisters! We worked with the Hurstville and Mortdale sisters this past week and they are amazing. We saw so many miracles with them. One was cool when I was working with Sister Palmer. We went to visit one of her investigators and she said she knew where to go but she accidentally took us the wrong way (we turned left on this one street and we were supposed to turn right). We got to the intersection and she was like "I don't understand how I got lost, I know it is on this street" as she said that I looked up and saw a woman walking down the street with her young son and I had the fleeting thought of "we didn't come down this way by coincidence, Sister Palmer brought us here for a reason." After I thought that I brushed it aside and looked at the map book to see where we were. I figured out where we needed to go and we were about to leave when the woman called out "girls are you lost, do you need help?" We asked her if she knew where this street was (but I had just figured it out but wanted to talk to her haha) and she said yes and pointed us where to go. We thanked her and then started talking to her. She wasn't religious. Her mom was very athiest growing up and she said her husband was pretty much the same way. We started talking about families and Gods plan for us. She started crying as she told us her mom had just passed away. We bore testimony to her and asked if we could come back. Sister Palmer asked her for her contact info. and  She said she'd read the pamphlet and get back to us. We bore testimony again and then Sister Palmer asked for her phone number and this time she said "i'll tell you what here is my address (gives us address) and you can come friday afternoon." SOOO COOLLLL!!! It was such a miracle. Now I need to follow up with Sister Palmer on how it went.. I hope they picked her and her family up as new investigators. It was such a miracle. Never doubt a thought, we were placed there for a reason.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don't look beyond the mark!

Seriously sometimes I dread writing these weekly emails because I always have so much to say and don't know what to put down in the short time I have haha. So this week has been good, crazy but good. 
So first off I apologise if my emails tend to be preachy, boring, and dry haha. I just love the gospel! I realise that I am a missionary and just super into that stuff but hey I just want to share my insights with you all ha. Sister Clegg and I talked about how emails should be fun for you to read ha. So let me know how I can improve on that front ha. So any ways I'll start with the miracles. First off.. Tony. So Monday night we went to see him again and when he got there he said "Sisters have you eaten yet? You always feed my soul so I want to feed your bodies." Haha it was so cute. He made us a cold chicken meal with vegetables and mashed potatoes. It was actually pretty delicious. He said cooking for us made him feel like his wife was back, it was so cute. He gets lonely sometimes. We talked with him and then invited him to do a chapel tour with us that Saturday. Saturday rolled around and we did indeed have a chapel tour. He really enjoyed it but he is still so stuck up in his ways. I think it will take him a while to realise all that we are saying but he really does sincerely desire to know if our message is true. I can't wait to tell you more about him in person because I can't explain it all over email. He usually takes his friend Doug to the grave yard on Sunday mornings so he can visit his wifes plot and then they have lunch together but he took Doug on Friday instead and said "Doug this is your Sunday meal for today I can't bring you on Sunday." The reason being he came to the mormon church. He enjoyed it but was upset we didn't celebrate the Pentecost. He left church right after priesthood so we didn't have an opportunity to follow up so we will go back later and see him. Also we are doing exchanges different in our mission so we do it like the elders now. So on Thursday I worked here in the Shire with a different sister, she is amazing. I learned heaps from her! We saw so many miracles and have a potential to work with. Sometimes it is so scary to open our mouth in this area, the people are so intimidating. Sister Clegg and I made a pinky promise to each other that we will be better at finding and that we won't fear man more than God. 
This past week we also  had a cool experience with our planning. So during daily planning Thursday night we were going to be in a far away suburb to visit a part member family, then we planned a first backup for someone in that area in case our appointment fell through. Well for our second backup we felt prompted to write down another part-member family but they lived 20 minutes away in a different suburb. We didn't really know why we felt prompted to write them down knowing it require us going out of our way to get there, but nevertheless we wrote it down.  Well the next day comes and we had both our appointments fall through so we looked at each other and knew we had to go to our second backup plan.  When we got there we knocked on the door and they were so surprised to see us! They are both very busy what with working full time and have two small children so they are never home. The husband, who is a less active member, started crying telling us how grateful he was that he had been sent to visit his family. We were able to talk with him and his wife and discern how we and the ward can help them. It was a very humbling moment to realise that the Lord really did take part in helping us to plan. It was awesome! 
I absolutely love my companion and am dreading transfers in the upcoming weeks. I dont want us to be separated..
She is a great example to me. She is a very diligent missionary, and works hard even when she isn't feeling well. For the past couple of days she has had a really bad headache (I think from a lack of drinking water-we are working on that) but she never complained and just kept working. It really motivated me to do and be better too. We are working well together. It is funny as we walked here to email it is POURING rain.... and we were walking under a ginormous rainbow umbrella that a member lent to us.. we wondered if we were giving off the wrong impression sooooo I walked in the rain haha. Sometimes we are goofs together ha. We have joy in the work. 
The funny of the week is that we have this investigator that sees subliminal messaging in EVERYTHING!!! He told us that the reason most cartoons have big heads and big eyes is because it is training us to believe in aliens and that someday the powerful people of the world will come out and say that they are aliens and that they have been controlling us this whole time (sounds a lot like the book "The Host" to me). Is is sad that people see EVIL in everything. They are looking beyond the mark just as the Jews did in the time of Christ (Jacob 4:14).  Yikes lets be careful to not believe that we are being controlled by aliens..... 

Another funny is we were talking to member and he was telling Sister Clegg that when she goes home she needs to stand at the pulpit and say "It is so damn good to be home, it was hot as hell in Australia" (because in Australia those are not bad words at all and people say them all the time) we busted up and realised that would be funny butttt probably not the brightest idea what with all the kids and everything... so I thought I'd spare you that and say it right now haha. It would be pretty funny though. It is weird how somethings are so similar but then others are so different from here to home.

Well folks I love you and hope that you have a great week! Sorry if I dont always get to email you each individually but just know that I DO LOVE YOU!!! 

Sister Ashley Boiteux

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tender Mercies of The Lord

Hey family! So this week has been hectic! We have had some pretty amazing things going on in our area. We've had so many miracles and tender mercies, a few of which I want to share with you. So Sister Clegg and I have an investigator named Tony who is 89 years old. We have meet with him 4 times and 3 of those 4 times we have taught the restoration. He just doesnt get it. He has been catholic his whole 89 years and he goes to mass EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Talk about devot. Well anyways last Sunday he came to our ward fireside on family history work and he really loved it! So on Thursday we went to see him again and followed up. We began talking and of course the convo went towards the restoration but this time we took a different approach. We talked about how through the priesthood we can work for our deceased family members and friends, that is why we do family history work. Usually you don't talk about baptism for the dead that much until they are baptised but we felt prompted to. I had my Plan of Salvation cut outs so we talked about the Plan of Salvation and work for the dead. He loved it! He was asking questions about his wife who died 6 years ago. At the end he said it went along with what he has always thought but it still leaves him with a lot to pray about. He said he would pray about it. He also thanked us for the example we have set of sincere prayer. In the Catholic church they offer many recited prayers and Tony said he had never really thought of prayer to be something so sincere and he said ever since he has meet us he has really tried to make his prayers more like ours. It was so tender and cute. He also thanked us for being modest and good example setting young woman haha. He is our favourite old man ever! He has a best friend named Doug that he just smashes (or always talks about the problems Doug has) everytime we go over it is so funny! We love Doug and Tony they are the funniest duo. We have never actually met Doug but that is totally fine it makes their stories way more funny in our heads ha. Okay enough about Tony.
The next cute experience is with Marcela. I LOVE MARCELA! Marcela is from Chili and lives with her partner Terry who we also teach and her two kids. Sister Clegg has been teaching Marcela and her family since she has been her (about 7 months). On Sunday Marcela and her family were able to come to church because they finally got a new car, a hot pink car Marcela loves!! She and the kids were so happy to be there and her partner Terry is amazing to, although he isn't progressing as much as Marcela, but he will :) anyways later that night we went to a members house with them for dinner and a lesson. We asked Marcela how her prayers were and if it has helped her draw closer to God. She said not really with prayer but she said that when she reads the Book of Mormon she feels something good. For the past two weeks Sister Clegg and I have sent her a scripture of the day from the Book of Mormon. Everyday we prayer about a scripture that would be good for Marcela to read that day and then we send it to her in a text. She said she doesn't always understand the scipture so she'll call one of her friends who will explain it to her in spanish. It was so cool to see the spirit working in her. We committed her to pray before and after she reads and to really pay attention to her feelings. It was so cool when she said that she feels something good when she reads! The Book of Mormon is true! Not only that but it was an answer to our fast. The last tender mercy is this...
So a couple of weeks ago as we waited to get on the ferry to go to visit some of our investigators we sat and talked with this man. It started out as a casual conversation but of course immediately moved into the gospel. By the end of it we had his contact info. Unfortunately for us he lives outside of our area so we passed him over to the Liverpool sisters, Sister Paki and Sister Harris and they have begun teaching him. Well a couple of days ago we got this random text
"Hi Sisters Boiteux and Clegg.
 I should have sent this days ago, but to keep this short I'll just say this: Thanks...thanks for the little chat we had at Cronulla last week. Through that I met three others of your faith who have turned out to be such nice people. Sisters Harris and Paki, who introduced me to Raymond (a member), have been so giving of themselves and their time. But I just thought you should know something of the result of your efforts at Cronulla in that I'm presently sitting here alone in my factory reading a little of John Smith (he meant Jospeh haha) in the Book of Mormon. Just thought you might like to know.
When Sister Clegg and I read this we both wanted to cry. It touched our hearts. We hear all the time that no effort is ever wasted but most of the time we never will know the results of those efforts, but to have someone actually tell us thank you for doing no more than inviting them to learn and leaving them a Restoration pamphlet means a lot. I have such a strong testimony that no effort is ever wasted when that effort is to do and be good.
Now that we are doing a different way of exchanges, by bringing the sisters to our area, we feel strong urge to go out and to find those elect brothers and sisters of ours. We need a larger teaching pool in order to help our area and our investigators will the rotating faces of sisters that they will see each week. We have faith that the Lord will provide a way so long as we are willing to obey his command to forget ourselves, our fears and anxieties, and just invite invite invite.
I love this work. There is absolutely nothing else I would rather do with my time. Last night I had a really interesting experience with hearing some new doctrine that I have never heard before. It really shook me and my companion and I had to call our mission presdient and talk with him about it. He talked us through it and at the end I had to do some personal internalising of my testimony and I realised, probably for the first time ever, the strength of my testimony. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God. Nothing can change the conviction of that knowledge I have. My testimony is my most precious possession. I'm very grateful for that experience that I had yesterday.
The Lord does nothing in secret. The prophets tell us the truth and tell us the things that are nesessary for our salvation. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is indeed the the President of the Lords true church. He, along with all the general authorites of the church, lead and guide us today. I know he is the only being who holds all the keys of the priesthood to lead and guide this church. I know that God lives and that he loves us. He has a body like me and he is my father. I know that it is my responsibility and duty as a member of his church to share this knowledge with the world. And you know what you all should too. To find ourselves we must lose ourselves!
I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!
Sister Boiteux