Monday, November 27, 2017

Joy's Last Email Home!!!!!

My first letter home reads:

We flew a long way but the sunrise this morning at 4:30 a.m. was BEAUTIFUL. On the plane to LA I sat next to this guy named Raul who is a religious person and we had a nice 2 hour chat about religion. Luckily, he was sandwiched between two missionaries so we tag teamed and Elder Beus gave him a Book of Mormon. Companions are a really good thing to have. I know that now. 

The others on the plane who came in my group are really awesome and Guatemala is really green and jungley and I can´t understand anything. Oh well. I will learn.

I love you so much! I am super happy and don´t worry about me at all.

I love you!

Hermana Ashton

I am so grateful for this year and a half that I have been able to work to serve the Lord here in El Salvador. I am so glad to see that even from the beginning I was so excited to share the gospel and now I am still excited about it! 

I have progressed in many ways and as I look back, it is all thanks to the Lord. I have seen his hand in all the good that has been done. He has blessed me with so much and I hope never to lose what I have felt and grown to know.

As I have shared my testimony with the people here, not only they have been able to benefit, but I too have had a change of heart. 

I know with a surety that this is the work of the Lord.
I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and the Savior of every single person that lives, that has lived, and who will live.
I know that He has given his priesthood to his servants and that with this power and authority, we can perform the ordinances needed to return to Him with our families.
I know that Heavenly Father loves me and all His children.
He has called a prophet to bless us.
I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. He directs it.
I know that families can be sealed together for eternity.
I know and love these things and I testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ.

And I would like to report that I learned Spanish and that I understand everything jaja :)

I love you sooo much!

Hermana Ashton

We will pick her up at the airport on Thursday!  Can't wait to see this dear girl!

Monday, November 20, 2017

For some reason Joy's journal pages and pictures are not uploading tonight.  So....I will just put in a mom note. 

Joy comes home a week from this Thursday!!!!!  She comes on Thursday, November 30!!!!!
It will be so nice to have her home.  But, she says she is sad to leave her mission and will miss everyone there very much.  She hopes to be able to say good-bye to everyone she has grown to love, and is afraid there is not time. 

Hopefully the pictures will upload later.

Monday, November 13, 2017

On Thursday we had an activity all about purification. We, as a zone, had the opportunity to meet together to set goals to be able to be better focused missionaries and to be able to be cleaner vehicles of the spirit.

This activity helped me remember how important this mission is to me. I want to be able to serve well and with all my heart.

We made lists of our temptations that distract us from feeling the spirit. Then for everyone, we  answered three questions. What we gain from it, what we lose from it, and why we shouldn’t let it into our lives.

It was a good activity. It helped us learn what our weaknesses are and we all shared them and made goals to be able to get over them, to be able to be the best servants of God that we can be.

I want to be the best missionary possible.
I want to be useful in the hands of the lord. If I am his instrument, I better be a good one.

I love you

Monday, November 6, 2017

There is a neighborhood in our area that only has one entrance and at the head of this entrance there is a house. Almost every day we pass this house and in  the last month or so, there have been renovations and it has new owners of the house. But at the times that we pass, the house is either vacant or when we are running to get home at night and there is a family inside chatting. I have been wanting to contact the family that lives in the house for a very long time. 

On Sunday as we were walking to this area we were about to pass the house and we saw a woman sweeping outside. I don’t even remember thinking as we walked up to her and I said hello and offered to help her sweep. We had almost passed in that moment because we had an appointment but my legs took me, I opened my mouth, and God helped with the rest. She let us in and we found the family there. 

After the lesson we started walking again and Hna Hernandez told me that she always wanted to contact the family in the house and as we were walking by she had the distinct impression to contact the woman at the house but was going to keep walking. We reflected on all the times that we have contacted people after passing them. We sometimes pass by and think that it is too late to turn back because it will be awkward but we have turned back and found very good people.

The impressions of the spirit are there to be acted upon. The promise is real that if we act on one impression, we will be ready and able to recognize and act on another. So it makes a chain of call and response. If we don’t act, it takes a while for the next response, like waiting for a bus. The bus route that we want does not pass every second. If we miss one bus, we have to wait a while until the next one passes; but, it is our choice if we take that bus or let it pass again.

So the house that we pass every day is a house with a family and a family is perfect to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love the gospel. I love the savior. I love you all!
Hna Ashton

Monday, October 30, 2017

This week went by fast.

I don’t know how it passes so fast. The time is on a race track and wants to win. But I don’t know who it is competing with because it has left me far behind.

On Monday we helped Chinameca move houses.

Supposedly this week we were supposed to have a hurricane but in San Miguel it was just cloudy and rained lightly on Saturday.  We were just dandy.  But I was worried for those in Centro and  in San Salvador. I think it was harder for them there. I am grateful that we are protected. 

I have been thinking a lot about personal revelation this week. It is so important. I don’t know what my life would be like without it. It has been so important but also really difficult to recieve. I have had to think a lot of things out in my mind and had to pray a lot. And now that I know how powerful fasting is, I have used it as a tool to help me learn what I need to do.

God answers prayers. Sometimes quickly but also he waits. He tries us to know how badly we want an answer. He wants to know if we have real intention. Real intention is when we put our desires to the side and let God direct us.

Humility is also very important. Sometimes our pride gets in the way when God wants to make us something that we don’t want to be. He sees our potential. 

I like the story by Hugh B. Brown about the current bush that he had, but he cut it back. When he didn’t get the advancement in the army that he wanted. He remembered how he had cut the bush down so it would have fruit and then thought about how God is the gardener. 

This is so true. Sometimes because we don’t want to change something or we don’t want to be seen as something small or something or other, our pride gets in the way of our personal revelation. 

God wants to guide us in all that we do, but we have to listen to the spirit and follow its promptings. That can be hard when we are in a world that doesn’t let us listen. The world is really loud. It throws a lot of things in our faces to make us forget about the important things. We have to see above those clouds and breath in the fresh air and accept the will of God. 

It isn’t easy. But, little by little we are able to make these little changes. I know that this is true. I love the gospel so much because it teaches us that we can have our own communication with our Heavenly Father. It is a such a blessing to have a relationship with him. 

Heavenly Father loves us and will lead us back to him. I love him too. I have been so blessed by this gospel and I hope to bring it to as many as possible here at the end of this race.

I love you all and I hope that everyone is happy and well!

Happy Halloween!

Hna Ashton

Monday, October 16, 2017

We had an awesome family home evening this week where all the members of the ward were there talking with our investigators and they made them feel so good and loved! 

We also had an awesome Family Home Evening last night with Roxana and the familia Valencia. They are so awesome! I love them so much!

After that we ate cusuco ( armadillo). It is so goood! Hna Deisy knows how to cook really well. It was sooooo good. 

I still don’t know if I have changes (meaning she doesn’t know if she will be transferred). 

I love it here in Chapa. It is a really great ward. I love the people. They are so loving. I hope I don’t have changes.

We went to Consejo de Lideres otra vez (leadership council) and presidente and Hna Duran are such good people. I love them too. They treat us like their children. They respect us but also love us and know how to encourage us to do everything in our power to help our investigators and to be the best missionaries we can be.

I love my companion Hna Hernandez!  We work so well together!  I don’t want to leave her.  We are good friends too.

We took David to visit more and he will be a very good missionary! 

I love my mission so much!  I don’t want it to end. It is such a wonderful experience!  I love it here. I want to give even more than my all this last change! 

I love this gospel!  I love the lord!  I love Jesus Christ. I love my Heavenly Father! I love love love it all!  I know this is  a huge blessing in my life and that I have the responsibility to share all of this with the rest of the people here. I hope that we can all realize what we have and that it really doesn’t have a price tag. We have everything to share. Let’s share it!

I love you allllllllllllll
Hna Ashton

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Joy's mission is getting a new address for  sending packages, and a new address for sending letters and they are not the same address.

Here is an excerpt of the letter that we received from the mission office:

My name is Elder Bailey and I am the General Secretary of this mission.  I oversee making sure that your missionary has their packages and letters.  We, as an office, are changing addresses.  We are moving from San Salvador to Soyapango/Ilopango area.  Therefore, there will be some changes to addresses that you will have to send your packages and letters. 

Before we had a P.O. Box set apart, but for now there is no open spaces in the new area.  Later, we will buy a box and let you know about the correct box number. 

But for right now please send PACKAGES to this:

NAME (Elder or Sister)
El Salvador San Salvador East Mission
Lista de Correos
Centro Comercial Plaza Soyapango
Blvd. del Ejercito km 4 Local Ancla c-1,
San Salvador, El Salvador C.A.

And for LETTERS:

NAME (Elder or Sister)
El Salvador San Salvador East Mission
Col. Santa Lucía
Calle Circunvalación
Y Entrada a Valle Nuevo
CP Soyapango
San Salvador, El Salvador C.A.

The contract with the previous P.O. box address (the P.O. Box 3362) will end on December 31 of this year, therefore the last day to send to that address will be November 30.  Please do not send packages to that address after that day.

The contract of our current office (Edificio La Centro Americana) will end immediately.  DO NOT SEND LETTERS TO THE OLD ADDRESS.   The address given above where letters are to be sent is the address for the new office and the letters will be accepted there. 

Thank you to all of you who love and support Joy!  
Joy's Mom

Sunday, September 24, 2017

So last week, when I said that we passed for the people who were already ready and never arrived at church... they went to church but just to a different ward... Haha.  It was sort of a relief that at least they went, but it also means that we weren’t there to welcome them and help them know what to do. So they felt uncomfortable.  In the other ward they didn’t know where to go or what to do.  So yesterday, at church, they didn’t come. Aaaaahhhhhhh that was sad. So we all learned that the members can always be welcoming no matter what.  If they see a new face at church,  don’t worry, just make people feel loved. 

I sent a few pictures of what I wrote in my journal that you can all read because it takes a long time to write, but I really did like that experience yesterday. We can all be member missionaries!

We’ve been working really well together, my companion and I!  We are really enjoying working together. We are like Moses and Aaron hahaha. That is what people have said to us. It is pretty funny. But it is ok. My Spanish is still improving everyday... but we love the work!

I love you all!
Hermana Ashton

Monday, September 11, 2017

I’m with my new companion Hna Hernandez from Honduras!

She is great!  We arrived to the mission together and we had to do practices together in the CCM so she knows and testifies to the people of the gift of tongues!  Haha!

We are finding a lot of new people here and working hard! 

We have been working with less actives and their families because a lot of the time if there is a less active then there is a baptism in their house. We have found lots of less actives! 

They always gift us lemons, so today we are going to make lemon pie.  It is delicious.

My comp loves lemons. She taught me to cut up apples and to eat them with salt and lemon juice. It is really yummy. 

Haha and this story isn’t sugarcoated either. It has a lot of lemon and even more salt…… because of sweat eeewwwww...(I think Joy means she is sweating a lot). 

This week before we went to church we pretty much walked our whole area because a lot of people were committed the day before to come to church.  But  the members who have cars wouldn’t be able to know where the people live so we got up early and walked all over the world and made sure that everyone was getting ready to go and thankfully there was one investigadora who would have a car and she is friends with the rest of them so she would pick them up and all go together. We passed by for her and she was getting ready so we went to the house of another friend and she and the kids were all dressed and ready to go so we thought "MIRACLE" and so we went to get two other people who had said ‘very surely’ that they would go and we got to their houses and they weren’t there because they were at a wedding "but don’t worry, it is a Chrisian wedding" and we went to the other house and that house was locked and they couldn’t leave... so we hauled it to church and got there right when it was starting and we looked around for the investigatores who were all ready and they weren’t there and it worried us a little but we were patient and we waited and looked out the door and windows every time a car passed and we waited and waited and waited and in the end, no one showed up. The only investigator that we had was Yancy who was brought by members. 

So we learned yet again not to trust anyone...  because that is a lesson that we learn a lot down here. No one does what they say they will. I’m sorry to all you people who, if I ever said to you that I would do something and then didn’t do it. I have recognized a pattern and I know that I have done that several times in my life... but repentance is real. I am very grateful for it!  Jaja.

But at church I was sweaty and gross as usual. Sundays are like that. 

So we also learned that members are great people too who can go and get investigatores and I know that you all live in Utah and that there aren’t missionaries asking for your help but that is also because the members should bring their own references. So I want all of you..

to think of a family who you can invite to your family home evening this next week. Plan it well. Have snacks, and invite the missionaries.   It also doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You never know who might want to learn more. 

If you do it, you will all see how the hand of God works.  Your own testimonies of missionary work will be strengthened. 

So pray today to know who you can invite to the family home evening and
then invite them to church. 
It is really fun!

Mom. You have asked about Mario’s family. They are never there to answer the door. So we’re not sure what is up with them... 

But I am good. All is really good here. I think this is my last change in this area so I am making the most of it!  We are going to give it everything that we have!

I love you all so much.

Hna Ashton

Monday, September 4, 2017

This week we killed a tarantula that was in our bathroom. We also went to a waterfall today. And, we carved out names in a tree.  Also, this week are changes and my comp goes home.

But a general authority came and spoke to us and told us that we need more faith. I liked when he said that everything we do as missionaries is to bring people to repentance. So when the spiders in the house are really big and scary, and when we have to kill them to take care of ourselves, it is to bring people to repentance. Cool right?

But the truth is, is that that meeting was super powerful. I was really motivated to be able to better my relationship with God and to be able to focus more on the repentance of the people.
Repentance is the gift that we bring to them and share with them that they will be able to accept and practice. 

Repentance is not a hard thing. I actually learned in a lesson that we were teaching that repentance really is such a gift from God. 
An investigator asked why we should be able to repent for the same mistake over and over and the spirit was able to teach when we shared an example of a child learning to walk. The parent,  after helping the child up the first time, will not stop helping the child every time he tries to get up again. In the same way, God helps us up every time because we are really trying.  We fall down but someday we learn to walk. We learn to be obedient to his laws.  She understood, and we learned too, and so the spirit was there. D and C: 50

But I know that this is true. That repentance is a process. We will not be perfect the first time , not the next time and never in this life, but we can get better. What God does not want is for us to get discouraged and stop trying because He sees our potential and sees how keeping the commandments will bless our lives.  We can be like him.  We just have to try and try and try.  That is repentance.  We cannot give up. We cannot say that we are diligent or determined people if we have stopped  repenting. 

That is not diligence.
I know that this is true and I know that God loves us!

I love you alllll!

Hna Ashton

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I am quite well here. My faith has been strengthened this week while I have been working in our area and with the people that want to learn the gospel. 

This week we were able to find a family that is super awesome. They live close to the house and are really willing to learn. The father, Mario, we contacted in the bus and he asked for a Book of Mormon and then he told us his address and we went but we couldn’t find it! It was horrible because he was going to be waiting but we couldn’t find him. So we had decided to get over the fact that there were Jehovah’s Witnesses in the house where we thought he was.  

But we were walking in the street like normal and we passed by two men talking and we said "buenas" and kept walking because it is better not to contact men, but we were called back and it was Mario! and he asked us why we didn’t go to his house that day and we told him that we couldn’t find his house and he told us that he wanted to read more. That is when the guy he was talking with said that he had more to read. We were super surprised when he came back out with Liahonas that he gave to Mario. We asked him if he was a member and he said yes! 

So we set some appointments with them both and told them that we would pass by. It was cool because we were able to find a less active and a great investigator at the same time! 

We went and visited Mario and he was there with his whole family and they are super kind and they listened and were interested in everything that we shared. After the visit, they invited us back for dinner tomorrow. You have no idea how crazy that is. This never happens. They are going to give us dinner and they aren’t even members.  A lot of the time not even members feed us. 

But Mario and his wife and his 2 daughters and son are all going to read the Book of Mormon together and tomorrow we will have a family home evening with them. Pray that everything goes well!  They are a complete family.

I think my camera works. The charger is fried so I will have to look for a charger but one of the other missionaries has my same camera and has let me use the charger and I hope that it doesn’t stop again. It is charging right now. I don’t know if it is the battery because I was charging it and it says that it charges but then it doesn’t. Hmmmm.  Pray that it does. It is very nice of everyone to help me. I will try to figure it all out.

I am praying for you all a lot. I hope that you guys are safe and that daddy is recovering and that Jens and Karlee are healthy. Everyone needs to take care of themselves. Be good and pray and read the scriptures…. and go to church! 

I know that the Book of Mormon plays a huge part in our conversion process!  The spirit will always testify of its truthfulness. I am sure that the promise in moroni 10:3-5 can be given to all who read, reflect, ponder, and pray with sincerity. It is true. I know it. 

I love you all!

Be good!

Love, Hna Ashton

Monday, August 14, 2017

Translate this: This is a part of what I sent to Presidente -

esta semana, nuestro testimonio del ayuno aumento. la semana pasada fuimos a visitar una familia menos activa que tiene un nieto que no es miembro, solamente porque su papa no le gusta la iglesia. la familia quiere que el niño se bautice pero el papa siempre niega que vaya. entonces, hablamos con el niño, marvin, y le preguntamos si el quiere bautizarse y su respruesta es que si. entonces el viernes antes del domingo de ayuno, les enseñamos acerca del ayuno, que si ellos ayunaran por el, iban a ver el milagro. entonces, ese domingo ellos llegaron a la capilla eso fue otro milagro. 

les visitamos esta semana pero solo la abuela y la tia estaban y el resto de la familia esta trabajando. pero este domingo la familia entera llego a la iglesia y marvin (el niño) estaba con ellos. hable con la tia y ella me conto que habian ayunado y que estaban orando mucho que el niño pudiera llegar a la iglesia. la familia tambien llego con el hijo que es menos activo y su novia que no es miembro. vimos muchos milagros esta semana que no solamente aumentaron nuestros testimonios sino los testimonios de una familia que tiene gran potencial.

This week, our fasting testimony increased. Last week we went to visit a less active family that has a non-member grandson just because his dad does not like the church. The family wants the child to be baptized but the father always denies that he is going. Then we talk to the child, Marvin, and we ask him if he wants to be baptized and his answer is yes.  Then on the Friday before Sunday of fasting, we taught them about fasting, that if they fasted for it, they would see the miracle. Then, that Sunday they arrived at the chapel that was another miracle.
We visited them this week but only the grandmother and the aunt were there and the rest of the family was working. But this Sunday the whole family came to church and Marvin (the boy) was with them. I talked to the aunt and she told me that they had fasted and that they were praying that the child could reach the church. The family also arrived with the son who is less active and his girlfriend who is not a member.   We saw many miracles this week that not only increased our testimonies but the testimonies of a family that has great potential.

This week was good. I am so glad that you are all well there! I hope that everyone is reading their scriptures this week!

A note to the Primary!!!!

Thank you so much for the fun package! I loved reading your notes and all the pictures and I am so happy that you are all sharing the gospel! You are all such lucky and blessed kids to have the gospel in your lives. The truth is that this is a huge blessing and that there are a lot of people and a lot of kids whose families don’t know that they can be together forever. They don’t know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is restored and that it can bless their lives. You all can help them to be happy by inviting them to church and to activities and by being their friends!

I love the gospel and I know that it is true! I know that this is the true church and that we can be together with our families forever. 

Hna Ashton

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I can’t believe that it’s Monday again.

On Thursday we went to the activity that they always do for the vacations in August. It is mission wide so there are investigatores, recent converts, members and less actives all there to learn about the temple and about the church. The most special part was seeing Tony and Gladis there. They are two of our converts from Jucuapa. They were really happy to see us and we were soo happy to see them! They have really changed from who they were when we met them and who they are now. That is the miracle of repentance. we can change. 

I love you all sooooo much and I hope that you are all reading the Book of Mormon. That is the one piece of advice that I will never stop giving.  Do not stop reading it. And when you get to the end, start over. Always pray to be able to know if it is true. I know that it is because I’ve read it and I’ve prayed. So you can too.

I love you!!!

Hna Ashton

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hey this week there are changes in the mission... but I’m not going anywhere! Ahhhhhhhhh I’m going to kill Hna Salguero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is going to be our 4th change together!!! I was actually packing my stuff last night because I was sure that they were going to separate us! 

But today they called us while we were cleaning the house and told us that neither of us would be leaving the area! I’m probs going to be in Chaparrastique a total of 4 changes because after this change, Hna Salguero goes home and I will have to teach the other Hna that comes to our area.

If someone wants to translate this, it is part of the letter to president:

yancy esta progresando. ella va a cumplir 9 años esta semana y nos enseño su libro de mormon donde habia leido de la introduccion hasta la mitad del testimonio de jose smith. ella esta poniendo todo su esfuerzo en leer. llego a la iglesia con su libro de mormon y tiene mucho apoyo de su tia y tio. solo su abuela esta haciendo comentarios que ella no debe bautizarse hasta que tiene 13 años como su hermano david pero ella tiene mucho deseo de poder bautizarse.

ayer fuimos a una colonia en busca de una familia menos activa la abuela se llama dinora. y cuando estabamos preguntando por ellos, las personas nos dijeron que vivieron en una casa de la colonia. tocamos alli y entramos solo para encontrarnos en la casa de la persona equivocada que se llama nora. hablamos y descubrimos que son antiguos investigadores super positivos y sacaron su libro de mormon. solo nos dijeron sus preguntas y que la razon que no se bautizaron es que creen en su bautismo. presentamos la restauracion y ellos entendieron la apostasia muy bien, y explicamos el sacerdocio pero no acepto una fecha. pero va a acompañarnos a la iglesia el domingo

(This is Google Translate’s version):

Yancy is making progress. She will turn 9 this week and showed us her book of Mormo

n where she had read from the introduction to the middle of the testimony of Joseph Smith. She is putting all her effort into reading. She comes to the church with her book of Mormon and has a lot of support from her aunt and uncle. Only her grandmother is making comments that she should not be baptized until she is 13 years old as her brother David, but she has a lot of desire to be baptized.

Yesterday we went to a colony in search of a less active family. The grandmother is called Dinora. And when we were asking about them, people told us they lived in a house in the colony. We walked there and went inside only to find ourselves in the house of the wrong person called Nora. We talked and found out that they were formerly super-positive investigators and took out their Book of Mormon. They only told us their questions and that the reason they were not baptized is that they believe in their baptism. We presented the restoration and they understood the apostasy very well, and explained the priesthood but they do not accept a baptismal date. But he is going to accompany us to the church on Sunday.
You won’t be able to put it in google translate because it lacks a lot of tildes but someone who speaks will be able to understand.

Today we went to a place a little bit like Yellowstone where the hot air from the volcano gets released and it is like a sauna and it was really funny because the Elders from Jucuapa were there too and they were trying to cook eggs. Haha it was pretty funny.

We really are sooo happy to still be here in Chaparrastic, but it has been hard to find new investigators in these days. We hope that there are more that will be ready to accept the gospel in their lives. We know that they are out there.

This week I was reading in Helaman at the end when Samuel the Lamanite is teaching from the wall and how the people who listened and  believed went to Nefi who had already taught them. But these people remembered that he had the truth and got baptized. Also when Alma the Younger was called to repentance and that he was in the gall of bitterness  but remembered the words of his father when he taught of Jesus Christ.  The people that we teach right now might not accept the gospel but there will come a time when they will remember what we taught them and know that it is true and will have a change of heart and will be ready to really accept the gospel in their lives

I love you all so much!  Hna Ashton