Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weekly Updates

May 26, 2014

Hello everyone!! I've had a phenomenal week and learned so much. There is about 85% members in the stake I cover, and 3 of the 9 wards are up in the hills of the mountains and my ears pop all the way up and down them. Yesterday after one of the Sacrament meetings we were in the hall talking to a lady about the part-member family she invited for dinner with us last night, and a man walked past us and put his arm on my shoulder and said, "Missionaries!" and I turned around and it was President Eyring! It was so neat to meet him! We've been having a lot of success with our recent converts especially in getting them excited about family history and going to the temple-one in particular is a 14yearold boy from China who normally is very quiet and won't talk to us very much, but when we helped him start his family tree he opened up and said he told us it was really cool and he was even laughing and having a good time! 

I had the opportunity to visit Temple Square two different times, and had my own testimony strengthened even more. One group we took there was a recently returned mother with her two daughters who were baptized at 9 and 10 years old. The youngest was only baptized about 2 months ago, and as we went around the visitor's center and looked at the videos and displays of the Book of Mormon and Bible prophets, she said, "Mom I just felt this really warm tingly feeling all over! What was that??" and her mom said, "That's the Holy Ghost! That's what you were feeling!". It was such a neat experience to not only witness someone feel the power of the gift of the Holy Ghost but also to help her recognize it and be excited about it.

I've seen so many instances that have testified to me the difference between not having and having the gift of the Holy Ghost. Those that do have it seem to be even more sensitive to the feelings they receive, their minds seem more open and ready to learn whatever the Spirit is teaching them, and they are more willing to listen and obey. It's such an important part of strengthening our relationship with Heavenly Father--to recognize and follow the Spirit. Something I learned especially in the MTC has been that if you have the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can count on Him being there all the time. The times you have a great spiritual experience are not very frequent. I've learned to pay attention to the Spirit not to have a confirmation that He is there, but to pay attention to if and when the Spirit leaves me--which is a very obvious and uncomfortable feeling there to warn us to stop what we are doing, or leave a certain place, or change our attitudes. 

I know that the Spirit is the reason I can preach the gospel and share my testimony with others--when I struggle with words to say, I pray in my heart for help and the ideas and words come. I've done this so many times it's like second nature to me now and I can't imagine teaching without relying on the Spirit. Preach My Gospel says on p. 97, "Some few were called and ordained by the Spirit of revelation and prophecy, and began to preach as the Spirit gave them utterance, and though weak, yet were they strengthened by the power of God. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, the Redeemer of the world, and that He loves us and never gives up on us. I've seen the marvelous gift of his atonement work in the lives of those I see every day, and especially in my own life. Being called to serve as a full-time missionary has blessed my life and my family so much--it is far from a sacrifice on my part, but a privilege, blessing, and honor to serve!!

May 19, 2014

Hello from Bountiful!!! We started a new transfer today and found out that Sister Juarez and I will be staying companions for the next 6 weeks. We are so happy! I'm especially glad because we have 3 families who are hispanic we are working with, and they all are making us Mexican food, and it wouldn't be the same without my awesome hispanic companion whom they relate to more than me. This week was just so wonderful! Every day got better and better, until we had Carmen's baptism on Saturday and 6 amazing lessons and her confirmation on Sunday! There's just so much that happened there's not enough time or room to write it all. 

From teaching family history to 3 different people this week, to reading the Book of Mormon with some wonderful people who don't come to church, to visiting lonely widows, to helping families with their mission plans, to eating two dinners in a row because EVERYone wants to feed us, to Carmen's glowing face coming up out of the water, and cancelling a meeting with the stake president last minute so we could go to a gospel principles class with a less active woman we've been dying to meet, to having dinner with a part-member family and sharing a message about recognizing the Holy Ghost and seeing the mother open up and even cry because she misses feeling the Spirit, to helping our recent convert's mom understand the nature of the Godhead, I've had a phenomenal week full of amazing experiences! I love the work so much and I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly the kingdom of God on the earth! I've seen it, I've felt it, and I've experienced the joy that comes from it.

May 12, 2014

It's been a rainy Spring week here in Bountiful and the work has been getting better and better every day. On Friday a lady called us asking for help with cleaning her house because she's confined to a wheelchair and has a 5 year old daughter and had the flu for two days and couldn't clean. We gladly went over and cleaned it for her, which I loved because it reminded me of cleaning with my sisters growing up. And right as we finished that, another lady called us needing help with starting her car, so we rushed over there to turn her ignition while she tapped on the engine and she was able to go pick her boy up from school who was waiting in the pouring rain for her. Then we went to Carmen's and read the Book of Mormon with her and helped plan her baptism this Saturday! Every day is filled with fun, satisfying encounters and opportunities to serve. I'm enjoying every day and loving every minute! 

Another miracle that happened this week was that we went by a partmember family on Thursday to give back the tupperware they gave us with leftovers from our dinner last week, and the dad isn't a member and his parents are from Mexico, so they eat a lot of Mexican food. He and Sister Juarez talked and talked about Mexico and the food there and all these different things, and we all connected really well and are having a family home evening with "Carne asada" something or other mexican food. I really feel like my companion and I are here for that family right now at this time. I love how it feels to really get to know someone and show them you care. It's so rewarding! I learned a lot this week about giving your whole heart and mind to the Lord, and always praying that my will and Heavenly Father's will can be the same, because I know he knows what will make me grow and be happy better than I do. The more I give of myself to Him, the more understanding and peace He gives back to me. I know He asks us to do hard things because He knows we can do it when we rely on Him, and it will build our faith and trust in Him so we will never be afraid of what comes to us in life. Keeping our minds focused and our priorities set on heaven will make us the most happy we could ever be. 

Hope you all have a wonderful, faith-building week! :)

-- Love, Sister Ashley Fluegel

May 5, 2014

The weather has been really warming up here in Bountiful this week, and so many opportunities have come up to talk to more people! I went on exchanges with my Sister Training Leader, Sister Cross, and it was a great experience because we found opportunities to serve others every time we visited someone. We even were driving down the road and saw an old woman sitting by herself weeding her yard, and we stopped and got out of the car and asked if she needed any help. So we weeded with her (in our skirts and all) and got to know her really well. She was an active member and told us about her friend who really seems ready to hear the gospel and lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and we got her information to send a referral to the missionaries there! 

I love the Book of Mormon story of Ammon and King Lamoni, and how he first asked to serve him before he shared the gospel with him. It showed the King that he was a trustworthy, sincere person, and made him curious about what made him that way. I was able to help some people plant their garden, weed their yard, and clean their house this week and it's been such a rewarding experience as our relationships of trust form and people feel our love for them through our actions. 

This week has also been really exciting as well because we were able to help one of our recent converts feel the Spirit of Elijah! We told her we were teaching her something really exciting, and the second I told her it was family history her face just fell and she said, "Oh no, really?" like it was the most boring thing in the world. But, she took a step of faith and let me show her how to do it, and as we looked through the census records of her grandparents and great-grandparents (who she actually knew!) she was exclaiming "That's my aunt Tabitha! And Uncle Monroe!" and at the end she gave me a big hug and told me I was right, it is exciting! Elder Nelson said that the "Spirit of Elijah is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family." I love how the gospel makes us so happy and I'm grateful for my own family and their support. I'm more happy as a missionary than I've ever been in my life!

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