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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Lord is my Light

    1. The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
      By day and by night his presence is near.
      He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
      This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.
    2. (Chorus)
      The Lord is my light;
      He is my joy and my song.
      By day and by night he leads,
      He leads me along.
    3. 2. The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
      Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
      Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
      Then how can I ever in darkness remain?
    4. 3. The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
      I know in his might I'll conquer at length.
      My weakness in mercy he covers with pow'r,
      And, walking by faith, I am blest ev'ry hour.
    5. 4. The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
      There is in his sight no darkness at all.
      He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
      With Saints and with angels his praises I'll sing.
So I added the lyrics to this song for 
1. I have no idea what to say to you all today
2. This song speaks the words of my heart #cheesy
This week has been really good. I have prayed so hard that the Lord will help me to continue to focus and you know what it has really helped. For my companion to. Sad story... so Sister Manutulilas little sister just got married on Friday and her older sister gets married this Friday soooo needless to say there have been a few tears dropped, we have really tried hard to be busy to keep ourselves focused on our purpose.  
We had a cool miracle this past week. We decided to just ward list it and visit heaps of inactives and less actives. We wrote down this one lady's name but she wasn't home. We decided to knock her neighbors and talked with some teenagers walking down the street. Nobody was to keen so we were getting into our car to go to the next place when she pulled up. We went up and introduced ourselves, she was busy at the moment but invited us over for dinner in two days. We went back for the appointment and she told us, as she began to tear up, that it is funny how God works. She had prayed just a couple of days before for help (she doesn't even remember really what she was praying for) but then we decided to roll up.  She hadn't prayed in a long while and when she did we came. She said every time she prays the missionaries turn up. It must have been a while because nobody in the ward or any of the other missionaries have ever heard of her. She was baptised about 20 years ago in a different branch and quickly feel less active due to a lack of support from family but she still has a belief in it. She says she isn't interested in coming back to church but she is more than happy for us to reteach the lessons to her. We are going back in 2 days to teach her about the Restoration and read the Book of Mormon with her.  I felt funny because she was crying and my companion was crying and I was just sitting there...not crying. She offered me a tissue and I just held it. Man my many prayers to help me not be so emotional have really paid off...except for when i'm alone and personal pondering things. I'm still a soke (a cry baby) but not just more of a private one haha.  It was a really humbling experience. We have a goal to meet with at least one member family a day to get to know the ward better and it has been GREAT! We feel a lot more connected and have learned so much from their conversion stories. It has shown me that no effort in this great work is ever wasted, even if we can't see the result behind those efforts. Yesterday I kept reminding myself of that when nobody was home it really helped me keep going and to follow every small prompting. 
Today I was able to finish reading Jesus the Christ and all I can say is WOW. I am so grateful for the simplicity of the gospel and the blessings it has brought into my life... I could just go on and on and on but I know you are already probably falling asleep from my monstrosity of an email hahah. I think the length of my emails just go to show how grateful I am for the time that I have been allotted to serve Him. I will continue to press forward with faith, faith that I can help bring people to the waters of baptism, faith that I can help convert myself and my own family and friends, faith that I can be with my family for time and all eternity, and most of all faith in the great atoning sacrifice of the perfect creator of this earth. I recognize my time is short and I am learning how to have that motivate me rather than cripple me. Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present for it is a gift.

Love you all.
Ofa atu!
Sister Ashley Boiteux

 
I found myself some kangaroos... if you look closely the one closest to me has a joey in its pouch. Man they are freaking scary! Don't mess with kangaroos mate!


 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kaleidoscope

Wow where do I even begin! Writing emails is just as hard as writing in my journal. Words just can't express everything I am actually thinking and feeling. I feel like a kaleidoscope- you know those things that you look into and it changes shape and designs when you move it. Well that is how I feel but those shapes and designs are my feeling and emotions and the thing that moves it is time and my thoughts. And just like you cant control what picture you see I can't control what emotions the time brings up.  Im happy but sad, scared but excited, anxious but hopeful, prepared and completely unprepared ALL AT THE SAME TIME!
I pray and pray and pray that the Lord will enlighten me with what He wants me to keep working on. The past few weeks-i'm not gonna lie- have been a bit hard to focus and I think it is due to the fact that I am focusing to much on coming home and not enough on how I can still be perfected here in the mission field. So every night when I account to the Lord I ask Him to help me be aware of my weaknesses and how I can improve. I know that my prayers could probably improve to. I dont really like praying for myself but I know that He wants me to be humble enough to. I have to practice what I preach right?! 
We have seen so many cool miracles this week.  I will start by listing some of them. Im just copying what I wrote in my journal pretty much... these occurred while on exchanges with Sister Sorensen (my STL) she is awesome! She worked with me in our area.
1. We had a lesson with Sue (a potential investigator) but she cancelled, sad day. I felt prompted that we should visit with Jeanette (another potential). We'd originally had her planned for back up for our lesson with Sister Skinner and her son later in day at 4:30 but nonetheless a prompting is a prompting and I'm trying to get better and follow them. Well we get there, knock on the door, and go figure she wasn't home. Great! well we wrote a note and left. Sister Sorensen noticed a lady we could talk to named Robyn. She is kinda athiest and wasn't interested but we had a good conversation with her. After that we got in our car to drive to another backup. The time was about 3:50ish. Well my stupid as GPS decided at that moment to stop working. And I have NO idea where to go without it, i'll get there eventually. Well Sister Sorensen suggested we prayed, so we did. I thought it would pop on but no luck. So we did the only practical thing to do at moments like this. We got out and talked to people on the street. Nobody was interested. We were wondering what the Lord wanted us to learn from this. We could view it as a hindrance or an opportunity to see a miracle. Well no apparent miracles just yet.  Well by this point we are late for our lesson with the Skinners but I had no idea how to get there. As we got in the car again we talked about what to do when I saw this little figure walking to Jeanettes. "HEY IT'S JEANETTE! Should we go?" We looked at each other and we went. MIRACLE!  She is very interested but just so overwhelmed! There is so much she needs to change but cant see that God is the best source to help her do that. We talked on her doorstep she was to sick to let us in (she had been getting back from the hospital). Before we left we explained the power of prayer and Sister Sorensen said a prayer. At the end Jeanette was looking away from us and said "I have to go inside now or I'm going to cry" we invited her to say her own personal prayer and she said "oh yes Im going to go do that right now" It was so sweet. Prayer is powerful, especially when it is a heartfelt and sincere prayer for someone you love.

2. We went to a members house that I didn't know verywell because they are older and keep to themself. We were just going to get to know them and share a message but she made a nice meal for us (which was a miracle in and of itself because we hadnt scheduled dinner in because we had to much to do). Well as we shared a message about letting out light shine as found in Matt 5:14-16 and 3 Nephi 18:24 she began to get emotional. She took us to a different room because her husband is a bit pessimistic about sharing the gospel so she took us to a different room and gave us 5 REFERRALS! Folks, that does not happen. In this past week we have gotten more referrals than I have my whole mission put together probably. And these are solid names. She is going to go to temple and put them on the prayer roll and then we will fast and pray with her this week for them and then go WITH her to contact them. Now that is how missionary work is supposed to get done! I hope it will happen and that her hard work will pay off. She is very afraid- it was such a tender testimony to me that these names are precious, that these souls are precious. I look at my own nonmember and inactive family and how precious they are to me- it takes a lot of trust to hand them over to strangers. I hope I can live up to my calling as the Lords representative. I hope that someday I can trust missionaries enough and have enough faith in the Lord for my family and friends too. Because their souls are precious to me. 

As hard as missionary work is I LOVE IT! They say that "the bad outnumbers the good, but the good outweighs the bad."  That is so true! I have seen soooo many disappointments and spent so much time worrying, crying, and hurting for these people most of whom will never know in this life how much I have given for them. But then I think of the Saviour. He who gave His LIFE for me, and each of us. He willingly gave His life. He died so we may each live. We are engraven on the palms of his hands (1 Nephi 21:16). If only these people knew. If only I knew what He truly did for us. I often wonder why I have never really received a "manifestation" of all of these, mostly that He is my Saviour and I realise and tell myself that I dont need it. Because I know that I would and will not ever deny my testimony of Jesus the Christ. I may not have seen Him in a dream, or felt His presence physically, or heard Him speak but I know through the power of the Holy Ghost that this is all true. He has born countless moments to me that are true. I have seen numerous miracles, and seen miraculous changes in the lives of those I share this good news with. Jesus Christ has felt and will fill all that I feel and THAT is what keeps me going. 

I know that this church is true. I know that missionary work is the life blood of this church. I know that the spirit will manifest to a humble heart the truth of this message of glad tidings!  I hope that I can live my life worthy to be an instrument in the Lords hands to bring many more souls back unto Him. And I leave this testimony that I have, born of pondering, praying, and applying sound gospel truths, with you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Love
Sister Ashley Boiteux
 








 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Know

There is power behind the simply phrase of "I Know". How many times I have stated that simply phrase over the pulpit, to my family and friends, to strangers on the street I do not know and cannot count but this I can say that each "I Know" statement carries power to the ears of humble listeners.
We are told that the greatest way to keep and sustain a testimony of faith needed to traverse the trials of life is to share it often. 
The other day we knocked on the door of a proclaimed aithest. This man said he grew up in an athiest home and had troubles believing in a just and merciful God. Where was the justice for the wicked? Where was the mercy for the righteous? "Life is not fair" he professed. Well I remembered all the words I had just heard from the Prophet, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the other general leaders of the church and I testified that I KNEW that there was such a being and that He loved us, each of us and that we have evidence of this in a book called The Book of Mormon Another Testimant of Jesus Christ. My companion double testified and added her own sincere witness to this man on his doorstep. He could not refute what we knew to be true. Many people ask us to tell them how we know what we know. Well I can not say how I know just like I can not describe the taste of salt to someone who has never heard of it before. We must each come to the being of all truth and ask Him to send us a confirmation, this is what we call personal revelation. This man, who said he was athiest, said we can come back and share more in his words he said "i've changed before I could change again". Yes sir you can. Because we shared our testimonies of what WE KNEW he helped Him draw one step closer to The Being who knows all.  I have met so many people of other faiths but not once have I ever heard someone say "I know what I know to be true" it is always I believe, or I think but never I KNOW. Only latter-day saints lay hold to that claim of I KNOW because we do know but we cannot explain to others how we do.  Just as Christ invited others to "Come and see" so to must we. He couldn't force anyone to believe, or know, He was and is the only begotten son of the Father but He could merely invite His elect to follow Him.

One of the sisters I live with told us a story. She met a young man on the street to professed to being a member of another christian church she replied "oh that is awesome! What makes your church different from all the other christian churches?" His reply was a stupified look on his face "Well I don't know" he said. This dear sister replied "Well let us tell you what we know makes our church unique from all else" she and her companion then went on to teach and testify of the restored gospel. Why? Because they knew what they know to be true and that it is unique. 
DONT KEEP THIS KNOWLEDGE TO YOURSELF!! Share it now, this very instant! Get online and share your testimony on facebook, through instagram share a pic of the Book of Mormon with a caption of it, share pictures of the temples where the power of the priesthood can seal us with our families for time and all eternity. Not even death can brake the power of those sealings, they overcome the bands of death through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

My time remaining as a full time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grows short. 64 days as my flatmates like to remind me. But I know that my time as a full time DISCIPLE and Representative of Him and his true gospel is eternally going. My badge may come off  :( but that does not mean I stop everything I am doing now and unlearn everything that I have sacrificed so much to obtain. I can honestly say I know more than most religious leaders in this world because I know that this church has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that it is today guided by the same priesthood authority that has existed in His true church since the beginning of time. That President Thomas S. Monson is the only true and living man with all the keys and authority to exercise those keys upon this earth. That the Quorum of the 12 Apostles are also prophet, seers,and revelators called to stand as sacred witnesses of Christ. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the same organization that existed in primitive times and has the power of God to usher in the work of salvation unto His children.

I dont know why I haven't had all the success I would like to have seen during my time here but I know that I have seen and done enough. I know that I still have cause to repent and progress. I can do better. It is hard sometimes because you feel increasingly inadequate the more you learn but at the same time you feel so privileged.  I know that my studies can be more inspired and that I can help my companion to progress more to. I know that if I can account each night, knowing I did my best, that the Lord finds my sacrifice and efforts acceptable- no matter the results I see or dont see. I dont need 3 baptisms a weekend to know that I have been a successful and powerful tool in the Lords hands. Baptisms mean nothing if the people aren't converted. Conversion is the key and if my simple smile and invitation-which is rejected at first- is enough to help them be converted in the future than that is enough for me. 

I love you all and I cant wait to see you in 64 days ha. I know that great things lay in weight for me and I am so excited to see them. Bumps, bruises and all.

Hope you have a fantastic week!

Love,
Sister Ashley Marchel Boiteux
 
At Floriade- a big flower festival held here in Canberra

 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pressing Onward

Man time is just zooming by. It freaks me out! It is amazing that when we fully immerse ourselves in the work of the Lord, even in the hardest of times, things work out for our benefit-eventually. This past week has been a roller coster of emotions. We were blessed with the opportunity to say goodbye to Sister Levine and see her off at the airport on her medical flight. We miss her every day. She was the best part of the day. Thank you everyone who has kept her and her family in your thoughts and prayers! She is an amazing sister missionary and I have been blessed beyond measure knowing her. It was a sacred opportunity to go sing to her. It was funny because we were singing for her, and for us because we enjoyed it, but I do realise that we have helped many others. People in the hospital would open their partitions, give us thumbs up, smile. One lady was in the elevator with us and asked "Are you the singing group? My husband and I loved listening to you but now we are in a different room." It made us chuckle because it was so sweet. There is power in the hymns that we sing, why-because they are filled with gospel truths that others are searching for. I will cherish those memories forever.
My area is great! There is A LOT of work to be done but I'm always up for a good challenge! My companion and I have been on a roller coster ride! So many blessing and fun times but also sooo many challenges. The bad outnumber the good but the good out weighs the bad. That is the epitomy of missionary work. It is wonderful and I LOVE it! So I will start with saying the bad because for those preparing for a mission you need to see that missions are peachy happy-it is hard stuff. Yesterday we tried to visit like 20 people and not one was home. We tried members, less actives, in actives, former investigators, potential investigators, investigators. No one wanted to open the door ha. But we did have one interesting/sad experience. We went to see an inactive (who was home yipee) but get this she was baptised into the Jehovahs Witness church last year. She said that 7 years ago she lost her husband (at the point she was already inactive) and she said when he died she was in a very sensitive place searching for something. She waited for someone from the church to come see her and rescue her but nobody came- well not from our church. The JW's came and study the bible with her so she got baptised with them last year and is now very active in their church. It was good that she is happy but it is sad that she has no desire and testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It was such a testimony builder to me that we need to help others and ourselves build a strong and firm foundation on Jesus Christ. It also testified to me the importance of home and visiting teaching! That is the life blood of this gospel! We promised to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort (Mosiah 18:9) and we do that by fulfilling our callings.  I know the members who should have come and helped her will be held accountable. All Sister Manutulila and I could do is testify of Gods love for her and leave our number if she ever needed anything. It was really sad.  I know that our planning was inspired yeterday even though everybody and their dog was gone. The Lord just needed to teach us a lesson I suppose. We sang hymns, quoted scriptures, and cracked jokes in order to keep our spirits up. Luckily we saw two members who helped lift our depressed moods haha. It is the worst when you are working as hard as you possible can and just not seeing the results you would like. However we have the calm assurance that God is pleased with the labour we put into His vineyard yesterday
Now lets get to the good stuff (are you bored yet... sorry I'm not sorry-keep reading haah).
So this past week we got a referral from a member for one of her friends who is from Tonga nd is a less active member and her husband is a nonmember. We called her and set up a time to come meet with her and her husband and the members would be there too. Well we roll up expecting a really nice spiritual lesson and a good Tongan feed.... well it was that.. minus the spiritual lesson part. They were having a huge family and friend party for the last footy game of the season. The mean were outside watching the game on TV with a pig roasting on the spit and all the women and our potential Kini (he is the husband) chilling inside. We went in because we didn't want to be rude and just leave and we figured making relationship as normal people is just as good. We sat and talked with them. Vika ( the less active) asked everyone what they thought if her husband was baptised and they all laughed and Kini made a joke, I thought to myself "oh man he isn't ready or want this his wife is just pushing him" i felt so sad but I kept smiling. well a couple minutes went by and all the nonmembers drifted outside to grab the kids. So it was Sister Manutulila and I, Sister Taka, Vika and Kini. Kini leaned over and whispered "Hey Sisters" we looked up at him "Can you come back tomorrow when everyone is gone because I want to talk and I have a lot of questions." He said it in the most sincere voice. My heart lept for joy at the softness of his hear that I saw. So we are going to go see them tonight actually and i am so excited! Him and his wife were best friends before they even started dating so their relationship is awesome! And Vika is really wanting to come back to the gospel strong! They are very prepared.
As a side note is was funny because they gave us both a heaping plate of food and I killed mine so fast (mind you it was fast Sunday so this was my first meal ha). Kini leaned back in his seat and laughed. Him and his wife were like "weww that is the first time we've ever seen a palagi (a white person) finish before a polynesian (i finished my plate before sister manuntulila). It was crack up. I think I won some gold stars from that act alone hahah. 
Man I wish I could tell you all the miracles and fun experiences we have had over the last couple of days but I think you'll get tired of reading them ha, I will save those for when Im home in person. 
Right now I am currently reading "Jesus the Christ" and it is AMAZING! I have learnt so much about the Saviour and I feel like I am learning to not just know of Him but to actually have a real relationship with Him and trust IN Him and not just OF Him. It is a lot easier said than done. Words can't explain how much I love Him and the example He has set for me. I hope that day by day I can continue to exemplify in my life His light.
Well I love you all and hope you have a great day!
 
Love,
Sister Boiteux
 



 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Expect. Believe. Achieve

I know that God lives and that He is our Father. I know that Christ atoned for each of us in the Garden of Gethsemane and upon the cross on Calvary and that because of this He can help us even in the most difficult of times. We may not always understand why we are called to go through certain exxperiences and trials but with faith in Him, the one who knows all, we can have the calm assurance that it will work out for our benefit.
Sister Levine has been my miracle, all of our miracles, for the past couple of weeks. I am so grateful for the time that I have been permitted to visit with her and her parents. The Lord has taught me much during this past week. Im grateful for every second that I have had with her and her family. It has taught me that we must be grateful in and for our circumstances just as President Uchtdorf advised us in the last general conference address. I have learnt the importance of loving others for who they are and not wasting the time we have to get to know them and to touch their lives.
This week went by just so unbelieveable fast! It astounds me!! When we dive in, head first, to the work of the Lord it just disappears. That is why it is crucial to make the most of every moment because otherwise it will just slip through your fingers. I love being a missionary but at the same time I am so excited for what the future holds for me. I just want to continue to be an instrument in the Lords hands and begin to fulfill all the other callings and responsibilities He has in store for me if I am worthy to receive it.
Yesterday we went to visit a lessactive member and it was so powerful to commit him to change in the name of Christ. We told Him that as the Lords represtenatives we knew that he could keep the commitment that we had extended because it didn't come from us it came from the Lord. To see the look in his eye when we told him we knew he could do it because he'd once done it before, that is reading the scriptures and praying, and that we knew he was destined for great things in the Lords kingdom a certain light came back in his eyes. Expectations. We need to expect the best in others if we hope for them to change. Our words will set those expectations. Kind words lift the soul to greater hights while words done with a kick of sarcasm will leave a low expectation and will leave others feeling down rather than lifted. Sarcasm is not funny, and it is not Christlike. Im working on cutting it out of my character all together. Easier said than done. We also need to expect the best in ourselves. I have a quote I love that is "What the mind can concieve and believe, you can achieve!" If we believe we are something or that we can be something we can achieve it. I truly believe that.
Well I dont really know what to say. I love this new area. We have A LOT of work to do. This area has great potential that has been forgotten for quit sometime so I know I am here to help it reach it. It will be exhausting but good.
Ummm love you all hope you have a good week!
Love always and forever,
Sister Ashley Boiteux
 
Visiting Sister Levine


WE LOVE TO EAT! yes i ate a whole pizza by myself.. i Smashed it!! YUMMY!


First time riding a bike on my mission!

First P-Day in Canberra