The Book of Mormon Changes Lives!
I can't believe it's already March! The weather here has been so dry and mild; we fasted for rain yesterday because Utah is really low on their water supply for the summer. Yesterday I had the opportunity to share my testimony in the ward where Riley goes. He came all by himself and we sat by him so he wouldn't be alone. I mainly talked about how each temple built pushes away more darkness, and we can all be like lights on a hill like the Bountiful temple is. I also said that we feel the greatest joy when we share what we have with others. Then the lady who heard us speak in church a few weeks ago and wanted us to teach her friend happened to be visiting that ward and got up and shared how she had the impression to approach her friend because the Sister missionaries inspired her. I feel so blessed to be meeting her friend this week!
We had a neat lesson with the Barber family who has been trying to come to church regularly. We've been reading the Book of Mormon with their family, and at first it was hard for them to get involved in it, but now they are really enjoying it and learning! We read 1 Nephi 15-16 and I shared my feelings on when Laman and Lemuel hardened their hearts in their trials rather than inquiring of the Lord of what they should do. I felt the Spirit guiding me to say things in phrases I usually never use, and be bolder than I usually am. I saw Sister Barber glance over at her husband a few times as I spoke, and later when we left he said "thank you" very sincerely. The next day we got a text from Sister Barber thanking us for the lesson because they have recently gone through some really hard trials and they really needed to hear about not hardening their hearts. The Spirit really does work through us to speak to the hearts of others.
We had many opportunities to teach and serve this week. One instance was teaching a combined young men/young women lesson about March's theme, The Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was great to hear the testimonies of each of the youth as they explained how the atonement had helped them. It's such a blessing to help spread the excitement and fire of the work of salvation to everyone!
Sister Eisele and I have been doing so well together. She is really getting used to missionary life and finding joy in it. The people we teach can feel her genuine and great love for them and she is softening hearts everywhere we go. It is also a great blessing to work with the members and leadership here and seeing how much success comes from gaining theirs and the Lord's trust in us! I feel so happy and blessed at this point in my mission. Carmen from Bountiful sent me a wonderful letter this week and it just makes me feel so wonderful that she is still going strong and growing in the gospel. She should be going to the temple sometime after her year-anniversary of her baptism this May!
I love serving the people of Farmington every day and feeling the guidance of the Spirit. I know I am an instrument in His hands in bringing the happiness, peace and joy of the gospel to those in search of it. I love my family and am so grateful for their examples and support. I pray each of you are turning to the Lord in your trials, and trusting in His goodness and mercy towards you. Love, Sister Fluegel
We said goodbye to President Hansen on Thursday. Sister Eisele got pictures of me saying goodbye. Our new President and Sister Spendlove came on Friday. Sister Spendlove actually came with Sister Eisele and I Saturday evening to all our appointments to meet us and see the mission a little bit! It was such an honor to be the first Sisters in the mission that she met! She is so kind and warm and loving. I am so grateful for them!
This is a little girl whose family is coming back to church. She loved the Story-teller "toys" I brought her to play with. (Thanks Grandma!)
February 23, 2015
"He that Diligently Seeketh, Shall Find"
I've learned a lot this week about accomplishing miracles. It takes diligence and obedience, and the right mindset. When we want something, we sometimes get it. When we desire something, we usually get it. But when we yearn for something, we always get it. When our yearnings are in line with the will of our Heavenly Father, we cannot fail. I have seen when I make a goal, and diligently plan, work and pray for it to happen, it always is accomplished. Before I came to Farmington, I yearned to help more people access the atonement by bringing them to the waters of baptism before the end of my mission. I feel so blessed with all the success in finding people who are ready and prepared here, and to be their guide.
This week we witnessed Gracie get baptized and confirmed a member of the church of Jesus Christ, and it was such a special experience. We taught her of the importance of the temple, and she said as we showed her a picture of it, "That's where I'm going to get married someday." That statement brought her grandmother to tears, because she normally talks about how she never wants to get married. Riley decided he wants to get baptized March 21st, so we are helping him prepare for that wonderful day! Emmie met with us this week at our ward mission leader's house and she and his wife got along really well. They all came to church yesterday and had a great experience. We are so excited for her. She told us that she kept putting off meeting with us until 2 weeks ago in church she heard a talk that was about baptism and she felt like it was all meant for her to hear, so she asked us that night if we could meet again with her. So many miracles are happening and keep happening!
I know as we diligently seek for answers to our questions through mighty prayer and scripture study, our hearts will be opened and we will know what the Lord wants us to do. Nephi describes how to find the truth for yourself perfectly:
I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
18 For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
Love, Sister Fluegel
February 16, 2015
The Pure Love of Christ
This week has been pretty incredible; miracles, family history, temple sealing, temple square, prayers answered, people changing, and changing myself. I want to talk mainly about Valentine's Day, since it was my best Valentine's ever!
So Saturday morning we drove to Temple Square, and met Riley and Stephanie there. We had reserved a theater in the North visitors center, and watched the Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration movie. Riley told us afterwards that he felt the Holy Ghost the strongest when Joseph had his first vision, and all the following visions he felt it as well. We testifed to him that those feelings were the Holy Ghost testifying to his heart that it was true. We then went to the pictures of Christ's life, and taught him about Jesus Christ and the atonement and resurrection. Then we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ in the room with the Christus statue, and I invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God, and he said yes, he wants to! Sometime in March is when he's thinking. We are so excited!
Then we were able to attend the sealing of two recent converts and their 4 children at the Bountiful temple. It was amazing to be present for it! Two of their children have autism and they were completely calm and were able to be sealed and it was just so beautiful. I know that the sealing power has been restored to the earth from Elijah to Joseph Smith, and we have that ordinance available in the holy temples around the world. We are so blessed! I had the Spirit testify to me that no sacrifice is too great to qualify to be sealed as a family, and live worthy of that promise.
Then later in the evening, we went with a ward missionary who is a single mother, and she bought 10 roses to bring to all the single mothers she knows in the ward who don't come to church or are struggling. It was such an amazing experience to stand at the door with a rose for women who were forgotten or sad on Valentines day. One woman said she would like us to come back and visit her and thanked us over and over again through text and even a voicemail for coming and showing her love. She and I connected over quilting and I really think we are supposed to be here for her! Not a single woman didn't open the door--and I felt the pure love of Christ for each one of them, and felt edified and complete as I served them.
Then that night I got home and found a package from my family for Valentines Day, with little heart-shaped notes written from each family member. I definitely have too much candy now to know what to do with, and I feel so blessed and taken care of by the people we live with now, the Thompsons. I'm loving my little trainee Sister Eisele, and it's been a blessing to me to train her and teach with her. I'm so grateful for my family, I'm sorry I haven't been better at writing lately, but I love each of you and want you to know that I love you, and I love the Lord, and I love serving His precious children. The worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God.
Love, Sister Fluegel
February 9, 2015
The Work Hastens!!
We have been so incredibly busy this week, in so many good ways! I can feel a different energy in the way I'm working, and in the members who are inviting their neighbors to hear the message of the restored gospel, and in the lives of the people we are teaching! There is so much to do, so little time! I can feel an urgency inside me to do everything I possibly can for these precious souls under my care.
One girl we are teaching decided to be baptized in two weeks! She said she really wants to do the right thing and follow Christ all her life. Heaven is getting more comfortable with the gospel and understanding the need for church attendance. Sunday was her third time at church. She said she feels closer to God and has more peace. Some women in Relief Society gave her some dresses and skirts for church and she loved all of them and looked so nice in her dress on Sunday!
We received a media referral for a man whose parents are members but never raised him with any religion or concept of god. A young lady who just returned from her mission a month ago invited him to learn from the missionaries and he said yes! He has a girlfriend from Minnesota who is a big help to him in understanding the gospel. He came to church on Sunday and the ward was so welcoming to him! He told us he always was interested in what we believe, growing up in Utah, but never actually took the steps to do it until now.
Then some of our ward missionaries visited a family, a young couple from Spain who teach spanish at some of the schools nearby, and they accepted excitedly to learn from missionaries what we believe! The couple actually weren't married for a while, but after seeing so many good marriages around them here in Utah, they decided they should get married. They have a little baby boy, and he has a younger brother who we met with last night and who went to church yesterday, and during the lesson he cried and asked what he was feeling and we testified it was the Holy Ghost and the love of God for him.
My companion Sister Eisele is so amazing! I love her excitement and joy for sharing the gospel and working hard! Training is a new experience for me, but I'm learning a lot and feel like I'm getting better at it. We taught a couple who were baptized a year ago this week, how to do family history. They are from Canada and all her family is from Norway. It was so fun to see their excitement for helping their ancestors! They invited us to their endowments at the Bountiful Temple Saturday night and it was such a beautiful experience! The temple truly is the house of God, like heaven on earth.
I am so grateful for all my family who is supporting me and praying for me as I serve. I can feel your prayers and your sacrifices in my behalf. I pray that our dear Heavenly Father will bless you all in the details of your lives and you may feel the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ working in your hearts. I love you all.
Love, Sister Fluegel
January 26, 2015
This week has been incredibly hard. Thursday we heard the shocking news that our beloved Sister Hansen, our mission president's wife, had passed away the night before of a sudden heart attack. We have all felt a range of emotions; sadness, uncertainty, shock... and sympathy for our dear President Hansen who won't have his sweetheart by his side anymore. They were so connected, it wasn't right to see one without the other. They were everything to us missionaries; our parents away from home. It will be strange to get a new mission president for the last 3 months of my mission, but I have already seen how much this event has changed every single one of us. We are different; we are stronger, we are bolder, and we are more determined to honor her memory and be the disciples of Christ that she wanted us to be.
Saturday we had a Memorial service, with the Hansen family and all the missionaries. It gave us all some closure but there was not a dry eye in the room. I will never forget the feeling of love, adoration, and sadness I felt when it was all over, and President Hansen walked down the stairs of the stand and stopped and looked up at all of us with the greatest expression of love as he looked across the full chapel and gym, at all the missionaries he had given the last 19 months to. We will all miss him and his wife dearly.
Today was the Funeral, and all the missionaries sat in the back and on the stage. Elder Oaks spoke to us and some things that stood out to me were that he told us that we need to exercise our faith in Christ, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and set our sights on eternal life. The speakers before had all illustrated to us what a great woman she was, before her mission too, and I felt inspired by the life she led and the legacy she left behind. Elder Oaks told us to think about what we had heard, and "Go thou and do likewise!" That really inspired me and I hope to lead a life as full and beautiful as hers was.
With the news of Sister Hansen, I was already able to testify of the reality of the ressurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ to those around me. Friday night we had dinner with a part-member family and I shared Mosiah 16:7-9 that says,
"And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death."
I was able to testify that I know that Christ has come to redeem us from physical and spiritual death; that he truly is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of us all. I invited them to listen to our message of Christ. I truly hope they will decide to and I pray for it every day.
Today I also found out some exciting news! With my companion Sister Bennett flying home from Georgia today, I have been with a temporary companion, Sister Claren from Green Bay Wisconsin. (We're pretty much neighbors!) But starting tomorrow--I'm going to be training a brand new missionary!!! I'm SO SO SO happy!! I've been praying all transfer that my new companion would be fresh and excited and ready to work. I kept getting this feeling that I'd train..and here I am training!
This is my first and will be my last time training. I feel like I've preparing for this my whole mission--I've been a greenie-breaker, a lifter, a Sister Training Leader, I've sent a missionary home...and now I get to welcome one in! I'll meet her tomorrow so I'll let you all know who she is and where she's from next week. I received a priesthood blessing from one of our ward missionaries, and it said that miraculous events are going to happen the last 3 months of my mission; in this area as well as in myself. I am so excited for what lies ahead! This is going to be the best transfer of my mission yet!
Love, Sister Ashley Fluegel
January 19, 2015
Sushi & Scriptures
It's the last week of the transfer and this area is doing so well! We have so much support from our ward mission leaders and the ward members-we are teaching more and more and it just feels so good to help so many people! I've been enjoying searching and studying the scriptures every morning in my personal study. It seems like an hour just flies by and I often wish I had all day to just study them. We've been helping a few families learn how to read the scriptures together as a family every week; it's amazing to see the difference it makes in their lives and in their family. Reading the scriptures together makes families happier, more unified, and have less contention. I've definitely gained a testimony of that through the examples I've seen on my mission.
So my parents and family know how extremely picky with food I was before my mission. I never thought I'd be brave enough to try Sushi-but on Friday someone took us to Sushi Monster in Farmington Station Mall (in our area) and we met the owners who weren't members and live in our area, and I actually ate Sushi...raw fish, with eel sauce and fish eggs on top. It was surprisingly really good! Mom and Dad won't even recognize me when I go home, haha.
We've done a lot of groundwork this week and hope to be seeing some great success and progression in the people we are working with in the next few weeks. I love being able to serve the Lord 24/7 helping everyone I meet to find true joy and real happiness that can only be found through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! I am so blessed to have known it my whole life and feel so blessed to be sharing it with others who have not.
Love, Sister Fluegel