Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Second Chance

Hey family and Friends, sorry about today. It was so stressful when We tried to use the computer and it was so slow and then it froze, and It deleted my whole email. Then it wouldn't get out of the page. The time I spent waiting, since I couldn't switch computers and sister Tueller was emailing on the other one. But anyways. The hour went by and I didn't have time to email anything else. Then I was in tears, because I was so frustrated that you weren't going to get an email this week. So we devised this plan for me to type it out on this alphasmart thing Sister Tueller has. Then send it to you later. So this week has been really busy, but good. We were able to do service for Mountian Man, we chopped wood for him. Yep that is right, I chopped wood. It might have been a wood chopping machine that you only have to push lever, but still. It was a lot of fun.
So I know I wrote the family about this but it was such a cool experience that I wanted to tell everyone else. So we wanting to find people to teach so we prayed and in our prayer we told Heavenly Father that we were going to be tracting in a specific place at a specific time, and that we wanted to find 2 people who would be receptive of our message. As we went to that place at that time, the first two doors we knocked on opened, and talked to us for a little bit, and we set up a return appointments with them. The rest of the night no one answered, or no one else was interested. It was a testimony builder of prayer. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, and the more specific we are the more specific answers we receive.
Also, thank you so much for all the prayer in Sister Tueller and my behalf. They have been much appreciated and they have helped so much. We were able to find 4 new people to teach this week, and they have so much potential. Besides the 4 we also have many many people who are potential investigators. So thank you.
One of our investigators name is Michelle, she is a young single mom, with two young kids. She is so awesome. We taught her the restoration, and I know that she is going to progress.
Another one of our investigators, which has just been someone the other sisters found but hadn't been working with (which you are about to find out why)Anyways, her name is Desiree, and she is an alcoholic, and she has liver disease and hep C. and she doesn't understand why she needs to stop drinking and smoking. Who knows. But OK so we went to go visit her with a member and she was telling us about how she had been throwing up blood all night but didn't want to go to the doctors. Needless to say, we took her to the Urgent care. She was wandering around the hospital, like a crazy person. She was going around taking pens and suckers from the receptionists, desks. Then she was chomping the suckers so loud. I almost couldn't handle it. Finally, she finishes, then she tells us she has to go to the bathroom, so she wanders off and a couple min. later she comes back with a bag of Frito's. “where did you get those?” I don't even know but it was a mess as she continued to come sit back down by us and start chomping her Frito's. THEN she starts to get impatient so she goes to ask the lady how long of a wait it is going to be. They lady told her that it would be a 3 hour wait. Desiree, was like uh uh. No way, I am not waiting that long. So she bolts it out of the hospital. We all look at each other like where did Desiree go? We ended up leaving and she never saw a doctor. Intoxicated you ask? I know it is a serious problem, but I couldn't help but laugh the whole time. She is so funny and crazy. I decided I like the crazy people.
Our area was finally split so we are going to start working on OU this next week. I am excited and nervous, It will just take some getting used to.
Sunday was our fast Sunday, and it was really nice to get to meet a lot of the members. I am not in Greenfield anymore that is for sure. There were so many people. It is going to be different being in a ward. There are a lot of families and young people. Which Greenfield has so few of. But I'm excited to work with all of them. Also I have to give a talk in church next week on purity. So that will be fun. I am actually kind of excited, which is different for me.
Well I guess that is my week. Sorry for the late email. I hope you all have a happy Easter. I love you all.
Sister Zwahlen

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Easter

So we have been on the computer for an hour, and my computer freaked out and so nothing saved. I had my big long email typed out, and now it isnt saved. So I am super frustrated. Im not going to have time to type it back out. I am sorry. I will just have to write you when I have time. I am too frustrated to retype it.
This week was good though and we found 4 people to teach so that is good. We are going to start working with them more and We are going to start working on OU, this up coming week so we will see how that goes.
I have to give a talk in church on easter on purity, so I have been working on that. I have a lot of ideas that I want to include in my talk so Im excited to see if I can put it all together into a 10 min talk.
Thanks for all the love and support. I am so sorry about this week and the email. I am so upset right now. Keep me in your prayers.

I love you,
Ashley

Monday, April 7, 2014

Athens‏

Hello family and Friends, 

I am now in the area of Athens!! I live in a place called the plains, they say it is the boonies,  but come on now, I just came from Greenfield so I know what the boonies are. I like it so far, but I have my work cut out for me. There have only been sisters here for 4 months and they haven't had any success so far. It is pretty much like opening an area since we are starting from square one, which is great. I am excited to get this area running. I know that the Lord trusts me with this area and that he knows I can help find people. It will be tough, but I am praying more than ever before so that is good, It is teaching me to be more reliant on my Heavenly Father. I am not in Greenfield anymore thats for sure, It is much different, there are young people, and I think they are pretty normal. Also there are wealthy areas here, which will be very different than I am used to. I have to relearn how to do the work, for this area. No worries though. Oh and guess what I am next to OU (ohio university, dont confuse it with OSU, they dont like that) but anyways, I will be working on campus. Strange. Working with people my own age. Its terrifying, but I am excited as well. OU has the rep.for being the party school. "The biggest party school in the Nation" ha so that will be fun to cry repentance. ha 

So now about my companion. My new companion is Sister Tueller, she is 21 and from Shelley, Idaho. She has been on her mission for a year now. We have been in the same zone before and we have been on exchanges with each other as well, so that will be good for us. She is a siliac and a diabetic, so I will have to stay away from my two favorite things "breads and sugars" ha ha it is ok, it will probably be much better for me to do any ways. I like her. We are going to do just fine together. 

It has been a crazy week this last week, packing was a pain. I cant fit everything I have acquired in my suitcases. So that was a problem, I just stuffed everything in a giant garbage sack. ha but it all worked out. Saying goodbye to the Greenfield members was sad, but I didnt cry. I know that I will see them again. Also I just have had such a peace about being transferred. I knew that it was supposed to happen. Normally I would have been nervous about the unknown, but I wasnt:)  I have been meeting some members and doing service, but unfortunately since conference was this weekend, i wasnt able to meet a lot of the members. Conference was wonderful. I am excited to go back and read through the talks again. I cant believe it is already over either. weird.

Oh yea, also please dont send any mail to the Greenfield Address, Send them to the mission office at 19 Clairedan Dr
     Powell, OH 43065
Or at my new apartment at:
36 Poston Rd
The Plains, OH 45780

My neighbors play their tv really loud at night time, so that is unfortunate, but no big deal once I am asleep it doesnt bother me, but sister tueller was telling me he watches scary movies often, ha that will be an adventure. but I guess that is all for right now. Please pray for Sister Tueller and I, we need all the prayers we can get for this area. They were thinking about pulling the sisters from the area, because of they havent had any success. I know that there are people here who are ready, and I know with much faith we can find, teach and baptize. Thank you so much for all the love, prayers and support. I love you all. 

Sister Zwahlen


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dumped.‏

Family and Friends,
" There is joy guaranteed for the faithful." President Eyring.

WE just got transfer calls and I am being transferred. Ahh!! I cannot believe it! What am I going to do in my new area?? ha ha just kidding I am excited for a change!! I don't know where or who!! but I will let you know next week. Ahh this is wonderful!! I AM so ready to change!!
This last week and a half have been really slow, and fast all at the same time. Last Tuesday we went to see Ashley and she dropped us. lame. The best way to describe it is like when you brake up, but they still want to be friends, and then  you don't know how to act. Ha we say we have been "friend zoned" It is the worst. but no big deal, they have a lot going on in their life. So we are going to go back over Friday and see if we can keep coming over until they want to be baptized. We don't take no's for an answer.  Back to square one. Struggles of a mission. 
This last week Skyee (the less active, who came to the RS activity) called us and wanted us to go and teach the first vision. The spirit was so strong, it was amazing. She is so amazing and I so glad that I have been able to meet her.
Also we did a really fun Plan of Salvation lesson this week. We took yarn and created a path for each kid and along the way they had to collect the pieces to the Plan. We also had trials (nerf guns) that hit them along the path of our plan, at the end they all got a prize if they endured to the end and withstood the trials. It was a lot of fun and the kids really liked it.  
And someone gave me a sewing machine this week. What am I to do with it?? I am going to have to ship it home. People give me all sorts of things here. I am going to have so much by the time I come home. It is bad, but these people dont say no. another example.
We were knocking doors and It wasnt cold but the sun was starting to go down so it was getting colder. We started talking to an old man and woman, next thing I know the woman has left and come back with a jacket. she made me wear it. then she told me I had to keep it because it was her daughters that had died. uhh thank you. It was funny. It is way to big for me so I will probably re-gift it. 
Ok so also we were doing service this week and the lady told us to go and dump out this crock pot in the ally way by her house. So Im like ok no problem. false it was a problem, it was full of chicken innards and it smelt so bad. I started gaging in her house. Then I finally made it out side, but when I started dumping it out I was so gross looking I just gagged and gagged, I couldnt stop, I had to run away and sister love finished dumping it out. It was so disgusting. but looking back now, I think it is funny. Can you just imagine me?? I crack myself up. Im a nut! I probably shouldn't ever be out in public. ha 
The Womens broadcast was wonderful!! I am so excited for conference this weekend. It is going to be so good. We are so blessed to have prophets and apostles to lead and guide us. I love this gospel. I am grateful to all of you for all the love and support!! I hope you all have a great week!!

Love you all,
Sister Zwahlen 

Monday, March 24, 2014

I tied a little girl to her chair..during sacrament:(‏

"The best path for healing is to understand and accept that darkness exists, but not to dwell there." -President Uchtdorf "The light of Gods Love" Lets be honest, there is darkness everywhere, It is easy to get caught in it, and also feel that the darkness outweighs the light. However, we know that light always out weighs the darkness. The amazing thing about us as members is that we carry that light. I hope you all decide to share that light with others and lead them out of the darkness they are in. You will be such a blessing to them, in so many ways you wont even know.
This week has been really crazy. We had exchanges with our sister training leaders and then the next day we got to go to the TEMPLE!! Yay it was awesome, as we were waiting at the temple a  temple worker came up to us and asked if any of us were Sister Zwahlen. Uh, I am. So then I panicked and  asked if I was in trouble. He laugh and said no, I just wanted to come and meet my cousin. I guess,a Zwahlen from Ferrin, Utah went on their mission and converted his family, helped them immigrate to Utah and then somewhere along the line they got married or something. My memory is gone. but don't worry I have a sister writing the story down so that I can remember and share it with you all in more detail. It is crazy to see what a small world it is. Also Where did Great Grandma Chapman Serve her mission?? 






Also during sacrament meeting this last week, I was sitting behind this girl named Sarah, and I tied her dress to the chair, just joking, but then she didn't know and stood up and dragged the chair with her, then it was really noisy and Sister Love busted up laughing. Oh man I thought I might die. I was so embarrassed I had done that. Then her mom turned around laughing and was like "did you just tie my daughter the chair. Umm maybe. ha ha anyways, it was a time of weakness, I spent the rest of sacrament meeting repenting. and then I apologized to her. she wasn't even mad she thought it was funny and so did her family, but for future reference, that is not ok to do. 

We were home for lunch on Saturday and we had someone knock on our door, it was the Jehovah Witness'. How Ironic. I think he almost died when he realized we were Mormon missionaries. It was funny, anyways he invited us to a FREE bible study. We just laughed, sir we study the bible for free everyday. but he is just spreading the good word. I liked it, I wish we would have been able to talk to him more.
Oh yea and just so everyone knows I got transferred to Hawaii..(see picture) We found the beach:) 
Well I love you all!! A Big thanks to the Beehives for their testimonies and the Book of Mormons, Also to the Zwahlen Family for the package and all the letters I got this week. I love you all!! You are the best. 
Sister Zwahlen

Monday, March 17, 2014

Death...its part of the plan!!

Family and Friends,
"Love is the way of the Disciple" -President Uchtdorf "The Love of God" This is an amazing talk. Everyone should look it up. I might be a little obsessed with talks right now!! If you look at the life of Christ, everything is done out of love, I am trying to be better at turning outward and not being selfish, but its hard, oh well such is life. 

Hello!! How are all of you doing?? First of all I am so excited for Raleigh! He is going to do amazing things!!  Second of all Sister Love and I have had an amazing week, full of rejections but like they say the good always out weighs the bad.
So this week we had every single appointment cancel on us each day with in a matter of an hour. Thursday we had 4 appointments cancel (which is all the appointments we had)
 And then Friday, with in 15 min we had two people cancel(our only 2 appointments that day) because of deaths in the family!! It has been crazy we keep telling people not to set up appointments with us because someone in their family will probably have a serious accident or someone will die. So that is unfortunate. It is sad, but part of the plan.
However this week, I had the most amazing experience this week. It was such a spiritually experience that typing it out to you will make me cry, but reading it will never do justice. On Sunday we were able to get in to see a 23 year old Less Active member, She hasnt come to church in 2 years. She let us right in and we talked to her for a really long time. It was great, I left loving this girl, and everyone in the branch loves her too. They always talk about her and how she was going to serve a mission and she was the "light" in the branch! Anyways, She called us a couple days later and we invited her to the Relief Society activity that night and she said maybe she would come but she wouldn't make any promises. (that means no, to a missionary) BUT she came!! The sisters in the branch all ran to her and embraced her, the spirit in the room was amazing, and everyone was in tears!! It was a prodigal son experience. Ok so that was amazing but as I was sitting there listening to our speaker, I had the distinct feeling of love and I KNOW that is how our savior is. He is always there with his arms reached out in love and mercy, to all those who come back. I, Sister Ashley Zwahlen get to be a part of that. I get to help bring those people back to our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ. I have never felt so much love in my life. I felt as though it was a glimpse of what it will be like for us when we are reunited with our loved ones. and how it will be when we are able to run up to our Savior and embrace him and share our love for him!  This is why I am here. This is why I was called to Ohio. This is why I am still in Greenfield. How great is my calling. I am blessed everyday, I am miracles around me everyday.
Anyways, that will never do justice to how I felt and the promptings I felt and maybe that is how it is supposed to be. This was as personal experience, but something that all of us can experience if we desire. Ok so that was last week. It was and is probably a turning point for me on my mission. Ahh I am so excited to see what the next year had in store for me.
On Thursday is when we get to attend the temple!! Yay! and we have exchanges with our sister Training leaders on Wednesday. We are going to have another busy week!! I love you all, have a great week.

Sister Zwahlen
P.S. It is getting scary how much Sister Love and I are becoming alike, we even got matching pajamas:) 





Monday, March 10, 2014

Mountains to Climb

Ashley's letter from this week is in the post below this one, but she wanted this talk and video posted too.  Warning, you may want to get the tissues ready!



Mountains to Climb

First Counselor in the First Presidency


If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing.
I heard President Spencer W. Kimball, in a session of conference, ask that God would give him mountains to climb. He said: “There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”1
My heart was stirred, knowing, as I did, some of the challenges and adversity he had already faced. I felt a desire to be more like him, a valiant servant of God. So one night I prayed for a test to prove my courage. I can remember it vividly. In the evening I knelt in my bedroom with a faith that seemed almost to fill my heart to bursting.
Within a day or two my prayer was answered. The hardest trial of my life surprised and humbled me. It provided me a twofold lesson. First, I had clear proof that God heard and answered my prayer of faith. But second, I began a tutorial that still goes on to learn about why I felt with such confidence that night that a great blessing could come from adversity to more than compensate for any cost.
The adversity that hit me in that faraway day now seems tiny compared to what has come since—to me and to those I love. Many of you are now passing through physical, mental, and emotional trials that could cause you to cry out as did one great and faithful servant of God I knew well. His nurse heard him exclaim from his bed of pain, “When I have tried all my life to be good, why has this happened to me?”
You know how the Lord answered that question for the Prophet Joseph Smith in his prison cell:
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.”2
There seems to me no better answer to the question of why trials come and what we are to do than the words of the Lord Himself, who passed through trials for us more terrible than we can imagine.
You remember His words when He counseled that we should, out of faith in Him, repent:
“Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”3
You and I have faith that the way to rise through and above trials is to believe that there is a “balm in Gilead”4 and that the Lord has promised, “I will not … forsake thee.”5 That is what President Thomas S. Monson has taught us to help us and those we serve in what seem lonely and overwhelming trials.6
But President Monson has also wisely taught that a foundation of faith in the reality of those promises takes time to build. You may have seen the need for that foundation, as I have, at the bedside of someone ready to give up the fight to endure to the end. If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.
My purpose today is to describe what I know of how we can lay that unshakable foundation. I do it with great humility for two reasons. First, what I say could discourage some who are struggling in the midst of great adversity and feel their foundation of faith is crumbling. And second, I know that ever-greater tests lie before me before the end of life. Therefore, the prescription I offer you has yet to be proven in my own life through enduring to the end.
As a young man I worked with a contractor building footings and foundations for new houses. In the summer heat it was hard work to prepare the ground for the form into which we poured the cement for the footing. There were no machines. We used a pick and a shovel. Building lasting foundations for buildings was hard work in those days.
It also required patience. After we poured the footing, we waited for it to cure. Much as we wanted to keep the jobs moving, we also waited after the pour of the foundation before we took away the forms.
And even more impressive to a novice builder was what seemed to be a tedious and time-consuming process to put metal bars carefully inside the forms to give the finished foundation strength.
In a similar way, the ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms that will come into every life. That solid basis for a foundation of faith is personal integrity.
Our choosing the right consistently whenever the choice is placed before us creates the solid ground under our faith. It can begin in childhood since every soul is born with the free gift of the Spirit of Christ. With that Spirit we can know when we have done what is right before God and when we have done wrong in His sight.
Those choices, hundreds in most days, prepare the solid ground on which our edifice of faith is built. The metal framework around which the substance of our faith is poured is the gospel of Jesus Christ, with all its covenants, ordinances, and principles.
One of the keys to an enduring faith is to judge correctly the curing time required. That is why I was unwise to pray so soon in my life for highermountains to climb and greater tests.
That curing does not come automatically through the passage of time, but it does take time. Getting older does not do it alone. It is serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.
Now, I wish to encourage those who are in the midst of hard trials, who feel their faith may be fading under the onslaught of troubles. Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith. Moroni, the son of Mormon in the Book of Mormon, told us how that blessing could come to pass. He teaches the simple and sweet truth that acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it:
“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
“For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.
“But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.
“Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.”7
That particle of faith most precious and which you should protect and use to whatever extent you can is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Moroni taught the power of that faith this way: “And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in theSon of God.”8
I have visited with a woman who received the miracle of sufficient strength to endure unimaginable losses with just the simple capacity to repeat endlessly the words “I know that my Redeemer lives.”9 That faith and those words of testimony were still there in the mist that obscured but did not erase memories of her childhood.
I was stunned to learn that another woman had forgiven a person who had wronged her for years. I was surprised and asked her why she had chosen to forgive and forget so many years of spiteful abuse.
She said quietly, “It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I just knew I had to do it. So I did.” Her faith that the Savior would forgive her if she forgave others prepared her with a feeling of peace and hope as she faced death just months after she had forgiven her unrepentant adversary.
She asked me, “When I get there, how will it be in heaven?”
And I said, “I know just from what I have seen of your capacity to exercise faith and to forgive that it will be a wonderful homecoming for you.”
I have another encouragement to those who now wonder if their faith in Jesus Christ will be sufficient for them to endure well to the end. I was blessed to have known others of you who are listening now when you were younger, vibrant, gifted beyond most of those around you, yet you chose to do what the Savior would have done. Out of your abundance you found ways to help and care for those you might have ignored or looked down upon from your place in life.
When hard trials come, the faith to endure them well will be there, built as you may now notice but may have not at the time that you acted on the pure love of Christ, serving and forgiving others as the Savior would have done. You built a foundation of faith from loving as the Savior loved and serving for Him. Your faith in Him led to acts of charity that will bring you hope.
It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel.
I cannot promise an end to your adversity in this life. I cannot assure you that your trials will seem to you to be only for a moment. One of the characteristics of trials in life is that they seem to make clocks slow down and then appear almost to stop.
There are reasons for that. Knowing those reasons may not give much comfort, but it can give you a feeling of patience. Those reasons come from this one fact: in Their perfect love for you, Heavenly Father and the Savior want you fitted to be with Them to live in families forever. Only those washed perfectly clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be there.
My mother fought cancer for nearly 10 years. Treatments and surgeries and finally confinement to her bed were some of her trials.
I remember my father saying as he watched her take her last breath, “A little girl has gone home to rest.”
One of the speakers at her funeral was President Spencer W. Kimball. Among the tributes he paid, I remember one that went something like this: “Some of you may have thought that Mildred suffered so long and so much because of something she had done wrong that required the trials.” He then said, “No, it was that God just wanted her to be polished a little more.” I remember at the time thinking, “If a woman that good needed that much polishing, what is ahead for me?”
If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up.10 And He always keeps His word.
I testify that God the Father lives and that His Beloved Son is our Redeemer. The Holy Ghost has confirmed truth in this conference and will again as you seek it, as you listen, and as you later study the messages of the Lord’s authorized servants, who are here. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet to the entire world. The Lord watches over you. God the Father lives. His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is our Redeemer. His love is unfailing. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.