Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 25, 2013

Thank you so much for your gifts! You are all so sweet, and I love you all so much! I hope all of you have a FANTASTIC Christmas, and that you are able to feel the joy and happiness that comes from the Savior and our sweet family. I know that I have this Christmas. I am so blessed to have you in my life - and I am so happy that I get to spend eternity with all of you.
I don't have much to give this Christmas, but I do want all of you to know that I love my Savior. I know that it is because of His life and death that we celebrate His birth. I know that He lives. I know that He loves each and every one of us, and that through Him, we can return to live with our Father in Heaven again. He really is the Prince of Peace. He is the Only Begotten Son of the Father. He is my Redeemer, and my best friend. I know these things, and I testify of Him, with my whole heart and soul. I am grateful everyday for Him, this gospel, and the opportunity I have to spend the next 17 months inviting others to come unto Him.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!!! Have a wonderful day! :)
Love always and forever, Ashley

December 23, 2013


I can't believe it is Christmas this week. It doesn't feel like it at all!!! But this week has been really great! And I am just getting more and more anxious for 2 WEEKS from now for when I'll be in PUEBLA! Ahh! So exciting :)

So last Tuesday, Elder Rasband (presidency of the Seventy) spoke at Devotional, and he talked about Spiritual Gifts! It was a really great talk! The best part though was after at Devotional Review. Our district leader, Elder Auten, decided that we should all go around one at a time and tell each other what spiritual gifts we have noticed in that person. Not only did that help me with my own confidence as a missionary, but it really made me realize that I was called at this time for a reason, that I was put with my district here for a reason. We all are so different, and because of that, I have been able to learn so much from each of them. 

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to host the new missionaries that came to West Campus! That was a fun experience! It's like I'm a senior now and we were welcoming in freshman, haha! 

Thursday was INSANE. Ok, so good news is that myself, Hermanas Jones and Linford and Elders Werber and Thorne all got approved for our visas! Still keep praying for Hermana Bowers-Nunez please! My heart would just break if we weren't all able to go to Puebla together, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for her if that's not the case. So on Thursday, we were all supposed to go to Vegas for the day to meet with the Mexican Consulate. We left at 4:30, got to the airport at6:30 and were supposed to board at 8. At 9:30 AM, we were finally able to board the plane, where we sat for an hour. The airport had been closed down to one runway because of the snow and after that hour, they shut down the airport. So our flight was obviously delayed, so we got off the plane and waited for another hour until they told us that our flight had been cancelled. Boo. So we had to spend the next 3 hours getting on the Trax and finding our way back to Provo, all in the snow. We were with 6 other Mexico-bound missionaries and about 8 Finland-bound missionaries that were supposed to go to San Fran for their visas. So we were quite the group! It was definitely an adventure! They aren't sending anyone to get visas this week, so hopefully we'll be able to try again next week sometime. But it definitely wasn't a waste of a day, we were able to talk to so many people. oh and DAD, I met Thurl Bailey!! Haha, he sure is TALL. He says Hi to you too :) But we also met a lot of people who didn't know about the church. Hermana Jones, Linford and I sat next to this couple and we talked to them for over an hour. They are really amazing people! And even though we didn't get them a Book of Mormon or anything, I think we were definitely able to plant some seeds there. So Thursday was good :) Long, but good.

Friday was a sad day :( It was Hermano Rasmussen's last day (because he got married on Saturday) and we were all so sad! Hermana Larsen is still teaching us, and now, Hermano Savio is teaching for Hermano Ras. He's pretty cool, but I do miss Hermano Ras! When he left, we gave us his "Rules to Live By". Here they are! They are awesome!
1. No excuses: When something goes wrong, take full responsibility. When something goes right, share the credit, especially with God.
2. No complaints: Spend the time you would to whine finding a solution in which you will be an integral part.
3. Never Give Up: Though I may not be the one with the most talent and intelligence, I will be the one with the most drive and determination.
4. Be perfect in Repentance: Though I may not be perfect, I will be perfect in repentance and worthily partake of the sacrament each week
5. Seek earnestly to know and do the will of the Lord: His thoughts will be my thoughts and his will my will.

The rest of this week has been pretty normal otherwise! I'm really excited for tomorrow evening and Christmas. We will be definitely listening to some apostles and watching Christmas movies and stuff!  So it should be a good week :) 

I love all of you so much! I love being a missionary! My favorite scripture this week is Moroni 9:25. Because Christ was lifted up on the cross, and died for all of us, He is truly able to lift US up when we are low. I love my Savior. I know that this church is the true church, and that the Gospel truly does bring happiness! 

Have a fantastic week and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! :) 

Love, Hermana Smith

December 16, 2013

Hola, family and friends!

It has been a crazy week! Haha, I'm not even sure where to start! I guess I will just go day by day!

On Tuesday, we had devotional and Elder Quentin L. Cook came and spoke to us! It was amazing! We also sang in the choir, which was a super spiritual experience. I love the MTC choir! And I love the General Authorities! They truly are men (and women) of God, and they always say the things that us missionaries need to hear! I'm excited to hear whoever will be speaking tomorrow at Devotional.

Wednesday was the tough day. But it was good too! We got two more districts in our zone - a district of 8 Elders and a district of 6 sisters. The sisters are intermediate, so they is why they are all together. They kinda keep to themselves, but they're very nice. The Elders are hilarious! And they all sing really well, so we made sure that they came to choir with us yesterday. I'm excited to get to know all of them more the next 3 weeks. Yeah, 3 WEEKS til I'm in Mexico! (Hopefully!) My district finally started hearing about visas this week, and Elders Anderton and Auten are actually in Las Vegas today meeting with the Mexican Consulate and receiving their visas. Please pray for the rest of us and all the other missionaries that we will be able to hear about our visas soon! But anywho...on Wednesday, we had a really rough lesson with one of our investigators, Laura. We weren't working great as a companionship, and I could tell that Laura wasn't believing anything that we were saying. I left that lesson pretty upset with myself and Hermana Linford, and I didn't even know what to deal with it. I just went into the bathroom and kinda fell apart, haha. After a few minutes, I just got down on my knees and started praying, asking for help and comfort. And immediately, and I mean immediately, I could feel the Spirit fill that little room. It started at the top of my head and moved down until I felt completely peaceful and calm. In Alma 7:11-12, it talks about Christ's Atonement, and how He suffered for ALL things in our lives. At the end of verse 12, it says that He did this, "that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." The word "succor" means to "run to the aid of". I truly felt that Wednesday night. I know that my Savior has felt everything that I have gone through, and that if we ever need help, all we have to do is ask. He WILL run to our aid. 

After Wednesday, the week got WAY better! Don't get me wrong, Wednesday was still an awesome day, and I treasure every single day here. But we all have rough patches, but as long as we learn from them, they will help us to grow!

On Friday, I had another really neat experience with the Spirit. All of us missionaries have been struggling with the concept of asking inspired questions. So on Friday, Hermano Rasmussen decided that we were going to practice asking inspired questions! So he asked us to, with our companions, ask inspired questions. He told us not to say a word until the Spirit prompted us to. So, Hermana Linford and I just sat there in silence for about 5 minutes. I had a question come to my mind a couple of times, but Then she asked me a question. It kinda threw me off guard, the question she asked. But as we talked through it, I found that it really was something I needed to talk about, something that I had really only talked to Heavenly Father about. Then I asked the question that had come to my mind and...she started to cry. And we talked, and I asked more questions as the Spirit directed, and she was really able to open up to me about things that had been troubling her. It not only brought us closer together as companions, but we were able to recognize the significance of asking inspired questions. After that exercise, Hermano Rasmussen wrote a question up on the board, a question about repentance and the Atonement. He asked it, pretending to be Christofer (the investigator that he pretends to be), and immediately some missionaries in my district started saying things. And he kept asking it again, not satisfied with the answers, and asking how he could change. I felt like the Spirit was running me over like a train, but I just kept my mouth shut. With 8 missionaries in a room, it's been easy for me to just sit back and listen. But then Hermano Rasmussen looked over at me and asked, "How can I change? How can I change my ways and desires?" And I just looked at him and quietly asked if he had faith in Jesus Christ and the Atonement. He sat there for a really long time and then looked back at me and said, yes. Then I bore my testimony that through faith, and through the Atonement, he could change, that Heavenly Father would help him to change. Then he smiled at me and said, "THAT is how you are going to feel all the time, and I promise that your investigators will receive testimony of the truth of your words through the Spirit." It was a really cool experience. It really helped me gain confidence in my abilities as a teacher, a helper to the real Teacher, excuse me. After that, our lessons have improved so much, and I am just that much more excited to go to Mexico! It truly helped all of us!

And yesterday was amazing! I just love Sundays! And I know I say that every week but it's true! Sister Ann Madsen, a cute older Religion professor at BYU, spoke at Relief Society, and she gave an amazing talk. And Hermana Linford and I decided to watch a talk from last conference and we watched, "You Can Do It Now!", the talk Pres. Uchtdorf gave at Priesthood Session. It's fantastic, go watch it if you never have before! We said goodbye to another district...and I'm going to miss them a lot! It's crazy how close you get in such a short amount of time. We went to choir, then the Sunday devotional. The BYU Men's Chorus came and sang to us :) It was really good! And then we finished the night by watching "The Testaments". 

I am so grateful to be a missionary, a witness, a representative of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us and that only through Him can we return to live with our Father in Heaven again. I know that the Book of Mormon is true! I love the Book of Mormon. I seriously can't get enough of it every single day. There is a true power that comes from that book, if we study it and truly apply its teachings into our lives. I love all of you so much!!!! I hope you have a fantastic week, and that you will feel so much joy and happiness this Christmas season.

Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photos: Us with Hermanas Marx and Edwards, Us with Elders Wilcox and Keith, and Us with CUPCAKES that some random Elder gave us last week! Awesome week!

December 9, 2013

Hola from the CCM!

This week has been a FANTASTIC one! I´m not even sure where to begin! 

Tuesday morning, we went out at 6:30 to find snow! First snow of the year that has actually stuck! It was pretty for the first hour or so...but now after a week of walking in it, we are extremely ready for Mexico! (Where it is sunny and 70 degrees every day!) On Tuesday, we also started teaching our new investigators for the first time this week, Laura and Christofer. Laura is really hard to get through to but Christofer is doing awesome! During our second lesson with him, we both felt strongly that we needed to commit him to baptism, which we definitely weren't planning on. And he said yes! It was so exciting! We also had an amazing devotional Tuesday night. Elder Ballard was supposed to come speak to us, but he got snowed in up in Salt Lake! So instead, Bruce C Hafen came and it was spectacular. I absolutely love the devotionals here at the MTC!

On Wednesday, we did TRC for the first time! There is where we go and practice with members, teaching them a lesson and they give us feedback. One of the sisters, Hermana Applegate was super sweet. We shared the Restoration with her (I can now recite the First Vision completely in Spanish!) and she shared a little message about how we all have our own "sacred groves", moments when we have called upon God with all our hearts, searching for answers. And he always answers, even though they're not in visions. But they are still so meaningful to us. I loved that!

Thursday and Friday were pretty normal days...haha. Oh, except I got a special package of HEATHER'S AMAZING COOKIES on Friday! Yummmmmmmmy! Totally made my week. They were so good. And my district loved them! Gracias, sweet sister!

Saturday was a crazy day, but really awesome. We started by doing service (cleaning the cafeteria) then had gym, and then, when we were in the middle of studying, our building had to be evacuated! I guess there was a huge gas leak at one end of the building! They had to call the fire department and everything! So that was crazy! I also had my first funny language moment on Saturday... so during our lesson with Laura, I wanted to ask her "Do you desire to be better, Laura?" Well...I got a couple words mixed up. the word for better in Spanish is "mejor". And...the word for woman is "mujere". I was so confident that I was saying the right thing when I asked her, "Do you desire to be a woman, Laura?" She gave me an extremely confused look, so I said it slower and even more earnestly! Then Hermana Linford busted up laughing and then Laura exclaimed, "OHHH! MEJOR! not mujere!" I was so confused and then Hermana Linford told me what I had really said. I am just grateful that we weren't teaching Christofer, haha!! 

Then yesterday was just amazing. Sister Neill Marriott, the 2nd counselor in the General YW Presidency, came and spoke to us for RS. She talked a lot about charity, and how we can develop charity, and how it will help us as missionaries. It was just beautiful! We watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional for our Sunday night devotional (which was awesome! I hope you all watched it!) and then ended with watching the Joseph Smith movie. Love it. So great! I love Sundays here at the MTC :)

One thing that I have been working on this week is developing certain gifts of the Spirit. I decided to go through my patriarchal blessing and list the gifts that I have been asked to strive to obtain from Heavenly Father. As I have studied how to obtain this gift, and have applied what I have learned to my studying, praying and general everyday living, I have seen a great change. I have found myself seriously feasting on the word of God, and my mind has been completely overwhelmed with personal revelation. I know that God has asked me to seek this gift for a reason, and I know that it will be a lifelong process. But I have already seen how seeking after it has blessed my life, my desires as a missionary, and my ability to teach others. I encourage all of you to search your patriarchal blessings this week, and really seek (or continue to seek) after a gift that the Lord would like you to develop. I know that it will bless your life, just as it has begun to bless mine!

I love all of you so much! You are amazing examples to me, and I know that I wouldn't be where I am without you! Have a fantastic week!

With all my love, 
Hermana Smith

For the pictures:
First picture is my zone! Most of them left this morning, it was so sad! But we get two new districts this week!
Second is with two of the sisters that left, Hermanas Hill and Costley, and Sister Marrcov, our branch´s first counselors wife

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 1, 2013

Hola mi familia y mi amigos! 

This week has been a great week! We did a lot of teaching (some good lessons, and some that we can definitely learn from!) and tried to fill our heads with as much Spanish as possible. It's kinda crazy to think of how much Spanish I knew 2 weeks ago compared to now. This morning, I was reading "Preach My Gospel" Spanish! And I knew almost every word! The Lord has blessed me so much this week, even though I know I haven't deserved it, haha!

I should probably let you know that on Wednesday, Hermana Linford and I took a trip up to the MTC health clinic. I know Heather remembers this, but a few months back (when we were running a lot) I kinda did something to my knee and never figured out what happened. Anyway, it started hurting a lot again when I got here, and she finally convinced me to go see a doctor. The doctor was nice, and he thinks that it's nothing major. He thinks that a certain tendon in my leg around my knee just gets irritated and inflamed after a lot of exercise. I can't run AT ALL anymore, at least not until after my mission, and he prescribed some anti-inflammatory medication for me to take when it hurts. Two Elders in my district also gave me a blessing. It has helped a LOT. There is almost no pain in my knee anymore. I still have to go back in 10 days so they can make sure it's not a bigger problem but I honestly think that it's taken care of. So yay! But the cool part to this story is that when we went to the pharmacy to get the medicine, the pharmacy's card machine wasn't working, so they could only take cash. Hermana Linford and I didn't have enough cash with us, but the pharmacist just took out his wallet, put some money in the register and said, "Go get 'em, Sisters!" I was so grateful for his act of service towards me. Like I said, the Lord has blessed me more than I deserve.

Thanksgiving was great! At first, I woke up feeling really homesick, but as soon as the day started, most of those feelings melted away. We spent all day at the main campus. Elder Russell M. Nelson came and spoke to us that morning! He gave a fantastic devotional, about how to truly become the Lord's missionaries! Then we had a Thanksgiving Dinner for lunch, walked around the temple and sang lots of hymns. Then we had a devotional about the church's humanitarian program, and then....we helped prepare 350,208 meals for Utah kids who don't get enough food! It was an awesome experience! You guys might have heard about it, we heard that it was on the news or something? But it was really wonderful. We have truly been given so much, and it was a wonderful feeling knowing that we were helping children receive the proper care that they deserve. After the humanitarian project, we ended the day with watching "Ephraim's Rescue". If you haven't seen it, go watch it! It's good!

After being here a full week, I now know what they mean by "the days are long, but the weeks are short". I can't believe I've been here for as long as I have! And it's kinda funny, because my district is actually scheduled to be here for 7 weeks! We were apparently supposed to report the 27, but they didn't want to make anyone report the day before Thanksgiving. But for the way transfer are in my mission, we have to stay here for an extra week. Which I am grateful for, because that's more time I have to *try* to learn Spanish, and to spend with my district. The other Hermanas and I have grown so close the last 11 days! I think that's why Thanksgiving wasn't as hard as it could have been, because we were still with family. I love them so much! 

Yo se, con todos mi corazon, que Jesucristo es mi Salvador. Mediante Su Expiacion, volvemos vivir con nuestro Padre Celestial. Yo se que El Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios, y es verdadero. La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es la iglesia verdadera. Dios nos amas. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. (It's not perfect, but it's the truth!)

I love all of you so much. Thank you for your letters, I absolutely love them! and I will do my best to answer as many as I can. I love this Gospel, with my whole heart! This is the Lord's work and I'm glad to have the honor of wearing His name on me all the time, for the whole world to see!

With all my love,
Hermana Smith