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Monday, August 25, 2014

Prepare and Prevent

Hey family so it has been a crazy week and I dont have much time today because of everything else that we have to do....
We only get half a p-day today just due to our crazy schedule as Sister Training Leaders, life is fun I'm not complaining. Miracle is that we have a new investigator that we are working with that we scheduled her baptism for the 13th of next month. There are a few things to work through before that happens but with faith in the Lord and a lot of love anything is possible! 
Man I just love this gospel so much! THE CHURCH IS TRUE! What does that phrase mean? Well it means that the principles taught in it, the gospel taught, is that of Jesus Christ. This is HIS church! Yes the people within its walls are imperfect, we all know that, but the actual doctrine is pure! I am so grateful for my membership and for the knowledge and conversion that I have obtained while here in the service of the Lord.  It has helped set the foundation for the rest of my eternity! 
Well sorry this is so short and simple but I dont know what else to say. Be an example! Work hard. Keep your testimony strong, and if you dont have one then work on gaining one. A favourite quote of mine by I think President Kimball... I may be wrong on that but it was a prophet nonetheless... is this "It is better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent." 
It is better to protect our testimonies than to let it go unnourished and then have to work at developing one again. The way we protect it is by praying with all our might, feasting on the word of God, and being anxiously engaged at Church and in our callings. 
Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love
Sister Boiteux
 
Sister Holtz

At MLC
 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Be an example of Christ

I'll start this week off with a question:
"Do those who know you but don't know Christ, want to know Christ because they know you?"

That is a good question to ponder. Are our thoughts, words, and actions reflecting something our Savior himself would think, speak, or do? I have really thought over this the past week or so and as my companion and I have had some intense companionship inventories I have learnt a lot about how much more i need to be refined. It can sometimes be a daunting thought HOWEVER I have faith that as I go forward with hope in the Lords perfecting power He can change me. 
I have never before faced the challenges and discouragements that I am now facing on my mission. My area seems harder than ever before and so does my desire to keep going. Yet I know that it is all for a purpose. Before every great blessing there must be a trial of our faith. It is what we do in those moments of trial that determine our true discipleship. I want people to be able to look at me and say "Wow she is a true example of a disciple of Jesus Christ". I want others to want to know Christ because they know me and know what I stand for- because that is what He stands for. 
Yesterday I had to give a talk at church-scary! And I wasn't given a topic so I had the opportunity to pray about what to speak on and I talked about how to convert our hearts to the Lord. It was something I really enjoyed doing, and I learnt a lot. I can honestly say (my bishopric back home close your eyes and dont read haha) I love giving talks because they give us the opportunity to search things of importance and to really reflect on what we believe and also on what our brothers and sisters need to be strengthened in. Talks are teaching opportunities. 
So yes enough with that soap box for now...
We saw a lot of miracles this week. One of the best was with a woman named Tamara (she says the black woman version-not how mom pronounces it). Anyway we were walking to go visit an inactive member we have never met before. As we were walking we saw a woman at a park with her three little kids and then on the other side of the sidewalk, in the road, there was this more overweight woman REALLY struggling to get a huge coffee table in this tiny trailer. She was really struggling. So I went over to help the struggling woman and at the same time Sister Vos started to talk to the mom but then realised I wasnt near her side anymore she came to help me and the struggling woman. After a good 6 minutes or so of figuring out how to get the table on the trailer we finally did it. The woman was really grateful, we were glad to help. We forgot about the mom and went to visit the member-who wasnt home. That was okay though we werent upset about it. Well as we were walking again past the park we saw the mom, Tamara, there still. We awkwardly made eye contact with her like 3 times then we both looked at each other and said "yup" and walked over. We began talking to her and she told us that she hasnt had her kids baptised yet because they dont know where to do it. She was baptised catholic and her partner is greek orthodox. Her partners parents told her that if she doesnt get the kids baptised they are damned. When she told us that her face screwed up real tight. That was one sign. Well we introduced the Book of Mormon and then my companion said just as I was also thinking it (companionship unity at its best) "Well we believe that children do not need to be baptised till they are eight years old, that is the age we know that they are old enough to make decisions for themselves. Babies are innocent and are saved through Christ" she looked so shocked and said "FINALLY! Someone who agrees with me! I thought I was the only one who thought kids shouldnt have to be baptised". She was seriously so happy. We talked a bit more and gave her a Book of Mormon and then exchanged information. She was so excited to see us but said she was busy but told us to call her in two days for sometime the next week. We were so excited.
Sadly, however, when we called back she told us her partner doesnt want her to see us and she has to respect his wishes because she loves him. She said she was really upset about it and she thought we were lovely and it was interesting what we had to share but she couldnt see us. It really broke my heart but at the same time we recognised she was using her agency and we had to respect that. At least she has a Book of Mormon in her home. It just got me a bit down because we have found SOOO many people placed in our path that are prepared and we can see them learning and getting baptised but for whatever reason they just stop. I also lay in bed at night and ponder if I did enough or what more I could have done or shouldn't have done, whatever. But always the spirit testifies to me that I did do my part, that my invitation to learn more was enough. That is so calming to me since I am such a worry wart haha. Thankfully my Heavenly Father is so patient with me.
I realise that I have a really bad habit of negative self-talk and that is something that I am really working on changing. Thankfully I am here on a mission trying to change it and not back in the real world with all of you. The Lord knows how to help keep my head up from the churning waters, and that is by having me out here preaching the gospel. I am immensely grateful for the time allotted to me to serve as a full time missionary.  It has been the greatest experience of my life thus far. I only wish I could share this same joy with all of you-especially my inactive or nonmember family members. But I have the hope that someday you will want to know Christ because you know me and my siblings and my parents. That is all us members of the Lords church here on earth- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints- can do, "be an example unto the believers". 
I dont really know all that the Lord has in store for me here in this area, in this companionship, or for the last few months of my mission but I know that as I continue to do my best and just BE that example that I will see His miraculous hand unfold before me. 
Well I love you all. Hope you have a great week!

Love,
Sister Boiteux

p.s. if anyone ever has any gospel questions they are studying let me know them so I can study along side you! I LOVE QUESTIONS! :) 

Bye Sister Clegg! See you in America in 4 months!!

Dinner with the Senior Missionaries-They are AWESOME!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Aligning our will

This work is nearly impossible to serve in if we do not serve with our heart. That is something I have realised this past week. This past week, past transfer, was a struggle for me. And yesterday I had a bit of a freakout and my companion helped me realise that I'm not measuring success to how the Lord would have us to. The Lord has set the standard and all we have to do is do OUR best and have faith that we are doing enough for Him. We cannot set the standard for ourselves and others above that which the Lord has already established. Alma gives us a good example of this in Alma 29 when he says "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!" but then he says in verse 3 "but behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." and verse six "Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called? Why should I desire that I were an angel, that I could speak unto all the ends of the earth? For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have"
The Lord knows what we need and what others need and we should not set the standard of achievement or "success" above that. I love that in verse 4 Alma says that God granteth unto men according to their desire. Desires are connected to our hearts. Where are hearts are there will our desires. So if we desire something other than to align our will with the Lord we are not being true disciples of Him. And the way we align our desires (our hearts) with God is by the way we think. All good thoughts come from God. So when we are thinking negatively we are not, in essence, aligning ourselves with Him but are putting distance between us. We turn our face from Him so that we can be harrowed up by our own negativity. This is hell. Hell is a state of mind. So is happiness. What we think is what we are. So this week, like every other week, is to turn my thoughts to the light of the Lord. Im grateful for a companion who is so good at being a person of light. I can really learn from her example. That is the best part about this gospel, and being a missionary who shares the gospel. Every person who truly wants to learn radiates with the light of Christ. They cannot help it, it is a natural consequence of becoming like the Savior. I see Joanne and the change in her, I see the change in the members, I see the change in all those who sincerely desire to align their will to His. To become one with God and one with the Saviour. 

This past week I had a really cool experience. We felt prompted to just call all the people on our phone that we did not know. We called this one man,Kristian and introduced ourselves. Before we even finished extending the invitation to meet with us he accepted and we had a return appointment for the next evening. Well everything was just falling apart. We couldnt find a member to come with us at the time of the appointment and he couldnt do later because he was going out with friends but lo and behold finally a member said she could come.  Well the next afternoon we got a call from him saying he had to work later than he thought and he would have to cancel. We were sooo bummed but we excepted it. I just felt so strongly that we had to see him so I knew satan had part in making him have to work. Well we drove up to a different appointment at 7 in Engadine which is about a 15 minute drive from where he is. Right at 7 Kristian texted us saying that he got home sooner than he thought and asked if we could still come at 7:30 (which is the time we asked to switch it to but he couldnt due to friends but now he had already cancelled with his friends so he was free to see us). We said we would come but we may be late. We called Adrianne who we had an appointment with and she said she thought our appointment was later and she wouldnt be home. We rescheduled with her for the next time instead. We called the member we originally wanted to come because she is a mother of 3 and has more life experience than the ysa we were going to bring had he not cancelled. At 7:30 we went. So everything was going for us to see him. He was awesome! He is from Scotland and has the coolest accent he was in the british military for 10 years but then moved here.This brings up a funny part of the story ha. So he is a cop now and all day Sister Vos kept saying she wanted to ask a cop but his favourite part of his job is but she was to chicken and now she finally got to ask a cop. It was just a funny tender mercy of this whole miracle! Well anyways Kristianis athiest from all the bad he saw done in the name of religion but he knew there had to be good too so that is why he asked us over. We began talking and his two main questions were "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people" and "why do we call God merciful with all this bad happening?" You could see how much he wanted to know the answers. We got a return appointment for yesterday that we could see him. We were so excited... and then he dropped us. I was devastated because we were so excited! However we didnt lose hope. We wrote a 4 page letter to him about the Plan of Salvation and dropped it in his letter box instead. If that doesnt answer his questions and touch his heart we dont know what else will. The spirit helped us to write that letter, mom I will send a copy home. Even if we never get to teach him again, because he has agency to accept no, I know that we went there for a purpose and we fulfilled that purpose in inviting. It was such a testimony to me that there are people out there who need their questions answered and we are the only ones with the answers! We may not know everything but we know what God wants us to. We can ALL do better at exercising our faith enough to share it! To say the least I am praying a lot that Kristian will take those words into his heart, we wanna teach him haha. 
Well that was probably the biggest miracle and saddest thing this week. I am staying here in Sutherland another transfer and Im still with Sister Vos. This is officially the longest I have been in one area, and will get to be in one area haha. I hope I can get my heart more in the work again. My faith was slack for a while about this area and in my companionship but I know that as I practice on changing my thoughts that the Lord will help. Im so grateful for the time that I have been given to learn and improve. Im especially grateful for the people He has placed in my path to help me to do that. 
Well sorry this email is so honking big! Sometimes I like to vent and stand on my soap box haha.
Well I love you all! Hope you have a good week!

Ofa Atu!
Sister Ashley Boiteux








Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Baptism!

Well I really need to get in the habit again of writing out what I want to say to you. Starring at a blank white screen and knowing I have to tell you all about my week, and come up with something inspirational is quite intimidating... however I think I can do it ;)
This week was like any other week however the week end was pretty darn amazing! Why you ask? Well JOANNE GOT BAPTISED! It was probably one of the most sacred moments of my life to see her enter the waters of baptism. She was just so happy! Her testimony brought many tears to the forefront. After her baptism we went to her place for dinner and watched 17 Miracles. She cried like a baby, it was boss! We all cried during that movie, it is a tearjerker. Anyways she offered the closing prayer and that made us all cry even more. You dont ever realize the role you have in someones life until you hear them pray to God about it. It was quite humbling. There is a scripture in Romans, Romans 5:19 I think it is. It says something a long the lines of  one mans disobedience can make many wicked but one mans obedience can make many righteous. Our actions shape the choices of others. We have the opportunity to be a force for good, or evil. There is no middle ground. 
Im working on helping the sisters I live with see that. You can't choose how obedient you will be. You are either willingly EXACTLY obedient (as you know how) or you are disobedient. I am myself increasing in obedience and trying to help my companion do the same. President Back said something interesting in our Mission Leadership Council we had yesterday. He said 50% of returned missionaries go less active/ in active after there mission. 50% that is crazy! The reason being that on the mission they learn how to live a life of disobedience. They find it acceptable to justify going  around the mission "commandments" and so when they get home they do the same with the commandments of keeping the Sabbath day holy, the word of wisdom, law of chastity, etc. We can't pick and choose what commandments we want to keep. Dur dur dur, we all know that....

Another reason this week was good because one of my investigators in my last area, Adel, got baptised as well. I thought I'd never live (as a missionary) to see the day. But he did and that is amazing. Unfortunately it was an hour before Joannes so I wasn't able to go. But they both spoke at our Recent Convert Fireside to I got to say congrats to him then. I love seeing the change this gospel brings. 

Hmmm what else... My companion is amazing! We still struggle a lot because we are just sooo different. But she is helping me to become a more positive thinking person and my goal is to be the example and help her live the higher law of obedience. we are pretty optimistic that we will be together for one more transfer. I cant believe time is flying by so fast! Ah!

Also we had a miracle lesson with Marcela, who we havent seen in weeks, and we went with the intention to drop her and ended up learning her concerns and have another return appointment. I am so happy because I love her so much. We are really going to be trying something different in how we teach her so it will be interesting. I really hope that she can come to gain a burning testimony of this church and someday commit to be baptised. 

Well folks I think that is all I can muster for today. I love you all heaps and heaps and hope you have a great week! Share YOUR miracles with me. I'd love to hear them!

Love 
Sister Boiteux