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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Dash (Email from July 20)

My mind is blocked from exhaustion so instead of telling you a play by play of my week I will instead share a cheesy poem with you that I wrote this week haha. Dont laugh...
Background: President Palmer told me to write down my goals for my last few months so I did that and labeled the list "The Dash" and to go with my list I wrote a poem. Here it is in all its glorified cheesy-ness.
The Dash
The time remaining is short.
I'll give it all that I have.
The importance isn't when I started or when I finish
but what I did/do with the time between the two.
Dash from the start, dash to the finish.
Legs pounding, heart pumping.
Keep progressing.
The only importance is what I do with the time remaining.
Keep growing, keep learning.
Dash from the start,dash to the finish.
Legs pounding, heart pumping.
Keep progressing.
The journeys been hard.
A battle to win.
Tears, fears, and pains.
Yet I'd not take away, or give up,
that portion of the dashing.
Tears lead to cleansing,
fears lead to courage,
Pains lead to strength.
I'm Becoming.
The only importance is what I do with the time remaining.
Dash from the start, dash to the finish.
Legs pounding, heart pumping.
Keep progressing.
The end is near, I see it now.
And yet I wonder "How?"
I dreamt for it and yearnt for it
and yet,
I cry over it, wish to avoid it, and hurt over it.
I've grown from the dash.
This accelerated time of becoming.
I fear to give it up and yet,
I know at the end the dash just begins.
A new start to a new end.
Repeat.
Dash from the start, dash to the finish.
Legs pounding, heart pumping.
Keep progressing.
-Sister Boiteux


Faith=Miracles

Hello family and friends,
This was another long long week packed full of events. So biggest news! Joanne gets baptised this Saturday and then she will be confirmed a member on Sunday and her two boys are going to be blessed! We are so excited for her. She is so dang amazing! She has been the biggest miracle on my mission. Honestly we call her our "celestial sponge" because she just soaks the gospel right up and then APPLIES it! She is simply amazing. We will see her every day this week as we help her to prepare for that. We also have our last two exchanges with the sisters we cover this week so that will be good. It is nice to get those done so we can just "relax" and focus on our area. You know every night at planning it is hard to know what to do with all the time we are given, but the next day when we go out and exercise faith the day is always filled. Somehow. It is amazing, we always see miracles. That is one thing I am very grateful for.
Yesterday after church we went to lunch at the Relief Society presidents house. As we were walking up to the door we saw this couple whos battery on their car had died. We told the other sisters to go ahead and tell the Kings we would be late and we went and got our car to help jump their battery. However we didnt have jumper cables so we called Br. King and he came out with his and this other man helped as well. We just talked to this couple. The husband was Kiwi and talked with Bro. King and they struck up a relationship right away since they are both Mouri. It was cool. This woman hadnt seen missionaries before so we just told her what we do. At the end we said goodbye on good terms. Last minute we ran back and gave them our number and a mormon.org card and told them to call us if they need anything. They dont live in our area but we told them we can send missionaries to them. It was just cool to see the impact that service can have.
I had a personal experience this week that really built my testimony of the power of the Atonement. All of you should read the book "The Infinite Atonement" by Tad R. Callister it is fantastic. It teaches so clearly the doctrine of the Atonement. It is the most misunderstood doctrine in all religious beliefs. If people really understood what Christ did for us that is was more than just feeling our pains and overcoming sin and death, much more in fact. But if they, we, truly understood it and apply it man this would be a very different world, we would be a very different people.  This gospel is true, it really is.
This week we had a funny. We went to the coast for a whale watching activity for the ward. Sadly we saw no whales but the view was fantastic. But as we were all sitting on the cliffs watching for whales we looked over across from us and Joannes four year old son had pulled his pants down to his ankles and was just peeing in front of everyone with no shamewhat soever. It was then followed by a hard effort of getting his pants back up. It was so funny! I wish you could have seen it. Sister Vos captured the moment on her camera as Joanne just shook her head in humilation haha. Kids do the darnest things. It made our week it was just so cute. I seriously love their family!
My mission president and his wife are the BEST! They are seriously so cool. We are blessed to have them as our mission mom and dad.
One thing I love out here are good quotes so I will share some with you
"You can never love the Lord, unless you serve Him, and you serve Him by serving His Children"
-President Monson
""If you don't notice the little miracles why would God give us the big miracles"
-some sisters I serve with
"Faith is the factor that allows us to break down the hearts of men"
-president Back
 
What would your quote be? I love you all and hope you see many mighty miracles!
 
Love
Sister Boiteux
 

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Start Strong, Finish Stronger

CRAZY! This week has been crazy! First off I pretty much haven't been with my companion alll week. We had exchanges with the other sisters Wednesday and Thursday and then this past weekend we had the mini mission with our stake. For those of you who dont know what mini mission is it is where all the priests and laurels in our area (age 16-18) have the opportunity to come work with us missionaries. They get little badges and come live with us. It was really cool and built my faith as well. We worked with a young 16 year old girl from the Samoan ward. She was just the sweetest. We had one experience where we went to try and visit an inactive member (someone who hast been to church in ages) and they weren't home. As we walked back to the car we heard someone making a lot of noise in their backyard. Our little mini missionary said "Should we ask if they need some help?" Sister Vos and I just looked at each other and shrugged and turned around and went to offer our service. It was an old man pottering about in his back garden. He didnt want our help, nor was he to keen on learning but we did have a good conversation with him about the nature of God. And all of this occurred because of a young teenagers faith. I wish I had had an opportunity like this when I was 16 but that isn't really possible in good ol' Utah haha..
We have seen so many miracles. We went to visit an investigator and he told us we are just wasting our time visiting with his family, that he isnt interested and will never come to church. We told him that is fine, it is his choice and we respect that. But somehow we still ended up getting to teach him that day. We began talking about the power of prayer and how a belief in God gives us direction and comfort. We answered his concerns of why God lets bad things happen. Namely by saying God isn't the one making the bad things happen, it is the agency of man. God permits us to use our agency for our own learning and growth, and at the end of the day we are all accountable for our actions, thoughts, and deeds.  By the end of our time with this man he said he was going to try praying again and opening his heart to it and that we were free to pop in anytime. It was such a cool experience of how when we are just ourselves, are courages to share our beliefs (without being overbearing), and genuine that people do want to hear you. Not always but if they have been prepared they will listen. Just like always missions are up and down. Some of our investigators are progressing and others are just not but all I can do is continue to pray and exercise faith in God. 
We had a relief society activity on Saturday and had the opportunity to watch "The Saratov Approach" (don't worry we got permission from our president). It is the movie about the two missionaries who got kidnapped in Russia during 98'  man it was soooo good! All four of us sisters were freaking out we were so excited to see a movie! There was popcorn and other treats. We brought our blankets and just rugged up. It was so fun. But most of all that film helped to increase my faith. I pondered "How can I deepen my faith in the Lord and in His plan for me and those I teach?" The great thing about this gospel is there is always room for improvement. You should all watch that movie it is really really good, I highly recommend it.
One other thing I am so grateful for about coming on my mission is that I have an idea of what I want to do career wise when I get home. It has developed over time and now I know what I want to do. I still need to pray over it so I wont say what yet but we will see. I got really emotional when I thought about how long it may have taken me to get to where I am now if I hadnt decided to follow the prompting to serve the Lord. At the fireside to end mini mission the stake president talked about the mini missionaries taking off the name badge. As he said that I had the image of me getting home. I was sitting in my room in some jeans and one of my comfortable shirts. I was sitting on the edge of my bed looking at my open suitcase with all my things spilling out of it. I had my mission journals in my lap. Although I had the feeling of peace, knowing that I did all that the Lord expected of me I also had  the feeling of sadness because I was so sad to see my 18 months of service over. And a bit lonely because I wasnt sure what to do anymore, like that "what next" type of feeling. No more schedule, no more teaching appointments, no more constant companionship, no more of the past 18 months. And it made me feel sad. I am not ready to go home yet and it is a good thing I still have 5 months to give this my all. I know that these wont be the best 18 months of my life because I know that we are in a state of progression. If these were the "best 18 months" that means I had stopped progressing. I know that a lot of happiness lies ahead of me but at the same time I will be forever grateful for my service as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. Im grateful for my "mini vision" of who I will be and I that the only sadness I felt on the edge of my bed was the sadness that it was over. No regrets.
Well I think that is sappy enough haha. Well I love you all folks and cant wait to hear all about YOUR miracles! I'd love to hear all about them. Even in your miracle is simple that Germany won the world cup. I know that is a miracle in my little flat (I live with a German haha).
Love you heaps

xx.
Sister Boiteux
 

A member (Aunty Becci) took us out to lunch and this is our massive dessert that we shared, it was delicious!

Exchanges

Movie night WOOT WOOT!
 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Miracles all day every day!

Kiaora! (that is hello in maori)
I hope you all had a fantastic week, I know I did ha :)  After I got over my depressing blues which were no fun I had a great week. I don't know what changed from being depressed to happy- just an increase in prayers and faith I suppose. Im grateful the Lord answers prayers and boy have I 
seen the evidence of that this week! Here are some of the miracles I've been blessed to be apart of this week!
So my first miracle is this 
So this past week on Monday we had gotten a referral from the church headquarters.  We are told to contact them within 24 hours however this woman, Joanne, lives far away and we were busy this week so we weren't able to go out there. Well on Saturday when we finally got to see her she described this experience to us. So she has gone through some pretty rough stuff in the past year, she is a single mom of two adorable young boys. One day she just had the prompting to look for religion (she has never been religious). She remembered a woman she went to school with who is mormon and now a mother of 4. She said she didn't know what is was but she felt the urge just to check out our faith so she went to mormon.org and put in her information for missionaries to come see her (which rarely happens by the way-usually it is just phonys). Anyways she said the day after she put in the info. (when we should have seen her)  the Jehovah Witness missionaries came over and she thought "what! These aren't the ones I want, where are the mormon?". She said she listened but it didn't feel right. Well they left. Then Saturday rolls around. The day we go to see her. We knock on her door but she was busy and asked us to come back in a few hours so we did. When we arrived she said that right before we knocked on her door the first time the Jehovah Witnesses had come again to bring her a childrens bible she said she thought that God was testing her or something. That it was a trial she had to go through to find the truth. Because here was the Jehovah Witnesses and we still weren't there. So sad I know! She was so thankful when we arrived and she cried when we shared our message with her. She felt tingles. When we visited her last night she said that usually she is a pretty analytical thinker and just nit picks everything but she said it is so weird because with our message she doesnt have to, it just feels right.  She came to church on Sunday and participated in class, cried some more, which was so cute. Then we took her down to the baptismal font and committed her to baptism for the beginning of August.. She is so excited. She is the epitomy of the "golden investigator". She watches the bible and church videos online and she now prays every night with her two young boys (she is a single mom). She studies the scriptures and writes down questions she wants to know (the good questions) her two young boys loved primary and are starting to know Jesus Christ. She willingly prays with us. She's amazing. It was such a miracle! I just love Joanne and can't wait for her to just grow and grow. 
Our second miracle occurred the other night. So allllll of our appointments had fallen through. Nobody was home, it was freezing and we were tired. It was only like 7 and we were dying. My companion kept trying to talk me into just going home but we knew we had to stay out.  If only just to show we were willing to be obedient. Well we went to visit a lost member (meaning we had a name and an address but weren't sure if they still lived there). Well we get to the address and realised it was a unit block but we had no unit number for this man. What makes it better was it was housing commission (so kind of scary). Well usually we'd write no unit number but we had nothing else to do and I just had the little thought "lets just knock all the doors and ask around" so we did. My companion was a bit reluctant but she followed. We knocked 1,2,3,4,5,6, all the way to 11. Well we got to door 12 and knocked. We heard a "who is it" the door creaked open.  Half a face appeared as this man hide behind his door I asked "Do you know where so and so lives?" The short little man with the high pitched quiet voice said "no he lived right there (pointing at the door of the unit across from him) but he died a couple years ago of a heart attack". We thanked him for the information and left. As we went down the steps and turned the corner Sister Vos said "Well at least we know what happened so and so" and nodded yes, still a little uncertain as to what to do or why we were there. Well all of a sudden we here this creakkkkk. We both simultaneously stopped, leaned back on our heals to see around the corner, and looked up the stairs to the little mans door. He saw us and said "Excuse me do you happen to be latter day saints" we looked at each other and said "yes" and rushed back up the stairs to talk to the man. He is a bit different but he knows so much. He said he has a Book of Mormon and had wanted to go to our church a few years ago but couldn't find the chapel. He wants to look for a church that accepts people of all faiths. We said we do but as a result the more people learn about our church the more their desire to be baptized into it grows. He nodded and invited himself to church on Sunday. It was cool. He is a very unique child of god but we love him nonetheless. Im excited to go back to teach him.  As we walked back to the car I felt a calm assuarance that I had followed the will of the Father for that place at that time. My companion quietly said "well I am humbled" as had I been. 
The best feeling in the world is when you can look back and see that you'd been an instrument in the Lords hands. Nothing else can take the place, nor describe that feeling. 
My companion is amazing and I'm grateful to work with her. It is so interesting how the Lord places us with those who can help us and vice versa. Sister Vos and I are very opposite, in just about everything, but that is why we work so well together.It is fun to teach with her. 
This week is going to be a bit crazy! We are doing a mini mission with the youth of the stake. This is where for three days the youth (age 16+) get to be fulltime missionaries with us for three days. They get a name badge. Go through a "MTC" experience at the stake center. Then they live with us and work with us for the weekend. On Sunday there will be a big fireside to end it. It will be a really good experience but it will be crazy! Lots of traveling to and from the stake center for meeting and such. It will be a good experience for the youth of the church. I wish we had something like that when I was growing up, I bet it would be hard to do in Utah though with the amount of youth we have ha. Still cool though!
Well those are my miracles! Share yours with me, I'd love to hear them!

I love you all and wish you a good week!

Love
Sister Ashley Boiteux

ps. quote of the week  This one came from my last companion Sister Clegg and it came to mind to share with you after MLC yesterday it is "When you're placed in hot water you can choose to be a carrot or an egg" (the hot water=trials, the carrot=softened in trials (a carrot becomes soft when in hot water), or an egg= hardened heart in trials like a boiled egg). So choose to be a carrot ha :)


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New Companion

Bonjour!
I hope you are all doing well. This past week has been an absolute whirlwind! I was the biggest bawl baby ever this past weekend. We found out that Sister Clegg was being released as STL her last transfer and being transferred. We were gutted. We cried (more like I did the crying for the both of us haha). We realised that the Christlike attribute we learned from each other was true JOY. Yes it is a Christlike attribute because only Christ has a fullness of Joy. And someday we can too. But these past 2 transfers we got a taste of what that is like. I miss her soooo much but I know that the Lord has other things in store for us, and that we will always be sisters. She is amazing!
My new companion is just as amazing too and I know that with time we can draw closer. Her name is Sister Vos and she is from Auckland New Zealand. She is very bubbly and happy and down to earth. She is cool, and frankly I need to be a little more like her too. I will be training her on how to be a Sister Training Leader. It is a bit scary because usually Sister Clegg took the lead in planning and she had the roads and areas memorised and now I have to all that! The crazy thing is Sister Vos served here a couple transfers ago for 4 1/2 months! So she has been in this area longer than I have haha. The members are all freaking out that she is back. It is interesting. That never happens that you serve in one area twice.. plus this was her place of "birth" meaning this is where she started her mission so she has come along way since then. It will be an interesting 6 weeks.
I got to go to the temple this morning which was nice. I just prayed and prayed and prayed and petitioned with the Lord to help my anxiety to calm it down. Anxiety is not something I like having haha. Change does not help, especially unwanted change. But change is good because it requires growth. There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.
Also our new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Back, have arrived. They are awesome! They are the funniest people ever! It is excited to finally have a mission mom and dad who wont leave in just a couple months. It will be great getting to know them better. Miracle wise we had a great lesson with Marcela this past week and Sister Palmer (our old mission mom) came with us. It was a really good lesson and Sister Palmer gave us a lot of advice on how we can teach better since Marcelas has a hard time understanding us when we teach (spanish is her first language). It was a really good lesson. Another cool story is we had a lesson with a less active member named Robin. Her husband died a couple months ago and she has been a mess. She joined the church nearly 50 years ago when she was 14 but feel inactive quickly thereafter so she remembers NOTHING. When we taught her the Plan of Salvation in her home the spirit was so strong! We cried with her. You can see her eagerness to just know that she will see her dear husband again, she really loves him. We will see her again on Friday. We also went to visit our potential investigator Paul. His stories from WW2 were just crazy!!! It was interesting because we talked with him and heard his stories and then we went to see a crazy investigator who talks a lot about the devil and scary stuff like that. So we left just feeling like "ick" well that night both Sister Clegg and I both had our first nightmares in like ages. We woke up and talked about it. It was such a testimony to me that when we only think of sad evil things that really does have an influence on us. It is sad that in the news that is all we hear about. It for sure has an effect on our spirit. We both said a prayer. Im grateful for the mission and that here you face sad things but our message is one of love, and peace.
Pauls stories were INSANE though. He was in two concentration camps and he had one of his fingers blown off when the gestapo tried to stop him from escaping. I recorded his stories so we will have to listen to them when I get home in the not so distant future. It was really interesting but extremaly sad. I wish he would open his heart to hearing the gospel, but he isn't.
Well I love you. I dont really know what else to say.... I hope that you have a great week!
Love
Sister Boiteux