Sunday, October 30, 2016

Yesterday we had the devotional with all of El Salvador where Elder Oaks and his wife came and spoke to us. We all went to San Salvador and it was packed. Every member of the church in El Salvador was there. With investigators too. We filled the [national gymnasium and more with] 16,000 people there to hear and watch. It was so cool. 

This week in our [zone study], (every pday we have our [studies] together) we had the goal for [every one of our] areas to have 6 [investigators to] sacrament meeting. This has been the hardest thing in the mission. The people are not attending church. They are not putting in their part to gain a testimony. They think that we will feed it to them, but they really have to have the will to come to church to learn and to take the sacrament, repenting and changing themselves so that really the lord can change them the rest of the way. Our goal was to have 6 people to the [sacrament meeting], so this week we have been working really hard to get those people there. 

We found a [man] outside listening to his radio and he was really friendly and excited to have us back. We left him with a Book of Mormon even though he can't read, his wife can read. We visited them this week and the wife is more interested in the church. She loves life and is so excited about everything. She is hilarious. I hope that when I am old I can have so much life in me as she has. 

We committed 12 people to church and [stopped by] for all, but they weren’t home, they had other plans, they changed their minds, etc.  It was a little frustrating, but we kept going. We were [stopping by] the house of the [brother] and his [wife] and even though they hadn't committed to go to church, we found them outside and invited them, with 10 minutes to the start of church. [Sister] Juana was in her night gown and was not ready, but when we invited to accompany her to church she jumped up and started getting ready. Her daughter too who lives with them got ready. They were ready and her husband took them to church in his GIANT truck. It is pretty much a dump truck, but they arrived and so did we. Running,  because it is a rule that we couldn't get a ride from them.  We "remembered"  that we needed to [stop] by for another "[sister] martha".  After their truck was out of view, we ran down the street in our Sunday best and luckily this street was paved. It is always dangerous to run on the streets with rocks. There are so many of them, but we didn’t trip at all. 

We got to church and we had the hope that Carlos [and] Alejandra would be there because they are pretty much the only ones who follow through with their commitments. They were there. So we had 4 investigators and we were happy, but [miraculously], two members had passed for other [investigators] that we hadn’t committed that week and there sat [brother] Jose and [sister] Rosa Emilia.  We reached our goal of 6 people in the [sacrament meeting].  It was really such a blessing and testimony builder that Heavenly Father is listening to our prayers. He sees our efforts. He will help us reach our goals when we put in all our hearts. This week we were always looking for ways to get people to the reunion and we couldn’t do it all ourselves.  The members helped us too. Everything will fall into place. We were sooooooooooo happy!!!!!

After that we had to go to the devotional and the [sisters] couldn’t go, but Carlos [and] Ale were ready. It was so awesome. Elder Oaks explained the Book of Mormon, and how it is a second witness of Jesus Christ. He charged everyone to read it and to ask the missionaries for help with passages about Jesus Christ.  That was when I realized that I need to study harder so that in the moments that people have questions, I can have an answer. 

Sister Oaks also spoke to us and I really liked how she talked about our time and that we might not have control over everything in our lives but we do have control over our time. I really liked that. And I have been thinking about it too. Every minute is a minute that we have to [improve in something].  We can have more patience,  more love, a better attitude, a bigger smile, a greater understanding.  We have control over these things. 

I had a really good week. We are working on [making ourselves better] and every day we can be better missionaries. We can be more like Christ. 

I also liked one other talk by Elder Lorenzo when he was talking about the disciples of Christ and when they were fishing. I don’t remember what he said exactly but it made me think about how we can be fishers of men. Every one of us is here. Some of us have the gospel in our lives and how selfish is it to keep it only as ours. Why would we not want to share it with other people? Christ came to the world to save it, and we are all trying to be more like Him.  We may not have to give our life for someone else to save them, but we have what they need to survive. We have the gospel and how better can we be more like Christ than to save the world with the spreading of the gospel. We are now the tools to bring others to Him. 

I don’t know if that makes sense in writing, but it works in my head. 

I love you all. 

I pray for you.                                             WRITTEN BY JOY OCT 24, 2016       

Love,  [sister] Ashton 

Monday, October 24, 2016

These are the only pictures Joy sent this week.  Letter to follow :)  ABOVE !

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

We get up at 6:30 every day and we say our prayers and then we shower and then we eat cereal and then we study, and then we study, and then we study, and then we go to lunch, and then we teach, and then we teach, and then we teach, and then we teach, and then we get caught in the rain, and then we teach, and then we go home, and then we pray, and then we plan, and then we eat dinner, and then we fill out papers, and then we write, and then we read, and then we pray, and then we sleep….And we don’t get tired of it.

Every day there is something new. Every day is the same but also so different. Each person we talk to is a child of God and they are in need of something. They are looking for that missing piece and we have it. 

This week had a slightly different schedule. We had the multi-zona this week with President and Hermana Vasquez which was really good. They talked about diligencia and how we can progress more investigators toward baptism. Everyone had cool experiences and it was really great! 

Then on Friday we had intercambios with the Hermanas Lideres. Hna Argumedo con su abuela y yo con Hermana Lopez. I went to La Union which was actually really pretty!  They have the ocean right there that they can see every day and the cool breezes too.  A veces, (sometimes), it smells like fish, but really it was so picturesque with the water and the boats. I learned a lot from Hermana Lopez about how we can contact more people. 

In other news, we are not in a trio. I am not really sure what will happen, but probably we will be normal for the rest of this cambio (tramsfer period). 

On Saturday we were walking to some of our appointments and we kept seeing pupusa stands with our stomachs growling but we were lejos de la casa y del tiempo cuando podemos entrar, (away from the house and it wasn’t  time for us to go home), so we were thinking, if we find a pupusa stand by the house at this time of night, we are going to conseguirles (get them).  So we continued with our appointments. It started raining… Noah and the Arc style, so we decided to go to one of our investigators nearby. They had a food stand but we had only ever seen them with platanos y frijoles (bananas and beans), so we sat there under their stand and in the end, we asked with hope in our hearts if they ever sold pupusas. As it turned out, they only make pupusas on Saturdays. We were so happy and we took our pupusas home and enjoyed them thoroughly. 

We were also walking this week, searching for a reference we received, at the very edge of our gigantic area. In this area we haven’t gone there for a while because it is so far away and the nights come so much faster now, but we decided that we would go. We were looking for our reference and had to ask a lot of people for help and we had to go to an appointment pretty far away after that, but we were walking and started talking to a girl and we introduced ourselves and she said, I know who you are, you are missionaries. I’m baptized in the church."  We were shocked! We continued and it turned out that when the wards got split, she and her sisters stopped going! But we found them and we are going to reactivate them with fire! 

We have a lot of hope and faith that this week we will see a lot of Milagros (miracles). 

Oh, also we have been able to see how, even if we as missionaries are not baptizing this instant, there will be other missionaries to come. We have found a lot of people who talked with the missionaries before but didn’t want them, and now, they are looking for us.  It is really interesting how the seeds get sown and reaped. If not now, some day. 

I love this gospel. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. I have a testimony of it and I know that He loves us and wants us to be happy. The atonement is the key. 

I love you all so much and I hope that you have an awesome week. 

Love, Hermana Ashton

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

                                    Joy's Mission Plaque Picture

Monday, October 10, 2016

Joy's new companion.......She is from El Salvador and is waiting for her visa so that she can go to her assigned mission which is Puerto Rico.  She looks like a lovely girl and Joy is her trainer!

Joy Ashton                                               Last Days with Sister Jara!
This week was crazy. Hermana Jara and I had to get up at 2:00 am on Wednesday to say goodbye because I had to go to San Salvador to get my hija. It was very sad in those moments. I hated it. But,  HOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Hermana Jara is now one of the sister training leaders!!!!!  I knew that she would be. She is awesome. We saw her today so she is close. Just in La Union. 

On Tuesday we said goodbye to everyone for Hna Jara and took a bunch of fotos. 

After the goodbyes, the assistentes took me to the terminal to get on the bus with the others going to San Salvador. It was a long bus ride but we arrived at 6:00 am and had to wait for the meeting which would start at 8:00.

I met my new companera and she is super linda!  Hermana Argumedo!  She is from here in El Salvador de Santa Ana!  She is waiting for her visa para ir a Puerta Rico. 
She is awesome. This is going to be so fun with her. She is great in the lessons. We are happy. She loves to sing and is always singing. Now I know what it is like to live with myself. Jajaja. (I think this is Spanish for Ha,ha,ha).   This cambio has started out really well. 

She and I will also have a third Hermana in our companionship probably this week because there is another sister coming for Hermana Hatch to train as the new enfermera so her companion will join us. Hermana Urbina! She is super linda too. 

We are really excited and ready to work con todo this week and this cambio. We are so happy and excited. 

What would be really awesome is if you guys, if you find time, if you can arrange to have a family home evening with some investigators and the missionaries. If missionaries bring people to church. talk to them and make them feel loved. Find where they live and become their friends. It is so easy. You just have to talk! A new face in the ward is a new friend. Do not judge the books by their covers. 

I have changed as a person in this aspect too. There are a lot of people in this world who just need that one friend to help them find the happiness that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love it. 

I love you all to pieces. I pray for you. I hope that I can share experiences with you that will strengthen your faith. But faith is action. What you need to do to gain more faith is to act. Be a friend. 

I love you. 
Hna Ashton                               Last Days with Sister Jara     A Photo Tribute!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Joy Ashton       Written     October 3, 2016           

This week was a little bit of a crazy one. We had a lot of fun with one of the actividades in the ward. One of the things that they do every week is a ward family home evening where one of the organizations takes charge to prepare something and then they have games and a snack after. Here in El Salvador they play hot potato but when someone lands with the potato, the people put paint on their faces. It is pretty fun. La papa se quema. 

We also had the Dia de Niños this week. That is a holiday here which is so weird. We played games with the kids in our zone like jump rope, jumping in sacks to the finish line, la papa se quema, water balloons, they had a piñata and happily it was really fun! I was afraid when it was time to start and not a soul was there, but half an hour later everyone started to arrive. Hermana Jara y yo got painted pretty well.

This week was also CONFERENCIA!!!!!!!!! I was so happy when I got to watch the Saturday en Ingliesh because the first session was sooooooo powerful!!! I wrote down everything because I didn’t want to forget! Wow! It was soooooo awesome! Before this conference I have been thinking that we should teach the plan of salvation more because it really is what has helped me in my life to know about who I am. When Elder Uchdorf talked about this it was a confirmation that the spirit had been telling me all along. I also loved the talk about the missionary in Cuzco and how his prayer was "Heavenly Father, help me" because I believe that that prayer is the most sincere that a person can say. In those moments of complete weakness and complete sincerity, "padre, ayudame" is all we have to say. We teach our investigatores about prayer and they are all afraid to say one, but we explain that it doesn’t matter how long or how short. Heavenly Father wants to hear from his kids. Us. I told this story to one of our investigators, not about Cuzco, but the experience that I had when I said, "Heavenly Father help me," and it really changed her view. Prayer is so important. No matter what, we need to say our prayers. I know there are times when we think that we can’t pray, that we think that Heavenly Father won’t listen to us, but I know that he is there and he is listening with all his love. He is ready to help us. He loves us and wants us to be happy. We say our prayers because they will help us in our relationship with God and we will be fortified. 

On Sunday I watched conference in Spanish and it was really good too. One of our investigators, the girl from Japan came. She couldn’t understand very much but she felt the spirit. I was going to watch that session in English but Hermana Jara didn’t want to be left alone with her becuase she can’t understand her Spanish. But I can. Which scares me that my Spanish is also difficult to understand. Haha, but it was good. 

Also, I hope you were all listening to the talk by Elder Oaks. Feel free to give the missionaries references. Give them the name of a neighbor, an acquaintance who lives nearby, really, feel free to help the missionaries out. 

Hermana Ashton

Joy Ashton

Sept 26, 2016

This week was great because Hermana Jara had a birthday shout hurray!!!! 

We got a cake from this bakery that is here called Lorena and it was soooo goood!  We got it the night before so that we could eat it that morning for her birthday desayuno ;)  we got a huge chocolate one so we shared it with the elders who live in our area. That night they stopped in front of our house and sang and we shared our cake and Hermana Jara had a very happy birthday! We got fed very well and finished the cake. Also the Presidente y Hermana Vasquez called that night to wish her  a happy day!  It was very cute!  We decorated the house with balloons and with streamers and it was really fun!

We also had the Conference de Mujeres in la Estaca but no one came.  We were literally 8 people in the stake center (our ward) and no one was even there to open it up.  We waited about 20 minutes outside waiting for someone to come open the church so we could watch conference. It was despicable. I was sad that there is so little support for the women´s conference. If the prophet thinks that it is important to go, I think it should probably be a priority for los demas. We did get to see the conference about half way through and it was boninta. I liked the one that talked about the girl who used the atonement and said something along the lines of that Jesus went through the same things that we feel. It was sweet. 

I always love Elder Uchdorf´s talks and I thought that it was so cute how he and his wife met! hahaha. They are adorable. That day Hermana Jara y yo read his talk that he gave in the Womens Conference in Cctober of last year about Great Aunt Rosa and it was so good. I loved it.

We had a great week for investigators at church. Actually a miracle. One of the families that we are teaching is a father and su hija, Carlos y Alejandra, and he has always been very Catholic. We have been teaching him and it has been so cool to see how he is changing. In the beginning he was very much a person who just said yes to let us teach something short, but now he has a desire. Usually we have to go to the houses in the mornings on Sundays to get people to go to church, but this Sunday, we went to one of the houses for some niños and only had time to take them to church and when we got there, we couldn´t believe our eyes. Carlos y ale were there sitting in Sacrament Meeting.  We had passed by their house the night before to tell them that we would pass for them in the morning but we weren´t able to, but they decided, finally, after teaching and teaching about the importance it is to assist the iglesia and his negations, they came. It was so awesome to see them there. And what is more, they have friends who they know in the church. I really hope that we can  teach them more and that they can continue to have that influence of the spirit. We couldn´t get them to church but the spirit could. Really it has been so amazing to see how their desires have changed. They are more and more willing to live the gospel. The leave coffee behind.  They live like Christ. They read the scriptures that we leave for them and the folletos. They are being prepared by Heavenly Father everyday. It is all the spirit. We just go to give them more homework ;)  

Really this week I have been able to feel so much the love that Heavenly Father has for his children. There is a family that is a little crazy with all the things they have in their lives. It is a mom who is 40 with her daughters who all have multiple children one of which is the cutest little boy named Moises. He is so sweet and innocent, but the family is a mess. It hurts me to think about the life that could be his if he has to continue to grow in such a family, and the life that he could have if he had grown up like me. I want to cry sometimes when I  see how  I have taken for granted the family that I have. For the life that I have been given and I wonder what on earth would my life be like if I were brought up in a family with such awful problems as they have. I am so very blessed and I want to share this happiness that the gospel brings with everyone. 

Don´t forget that you guys are also missionaries. Befriend those who come to church. Make sure that everyone has someone. Don´t judge people before you get to know them. They are children of Heavenly Father just like you and they need to know that they are loved by Him. That could change their lives. 


Read, pray, go to church!

Hermana Ashton