Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Monks and Miracles!

Sister Ashton and Sister Swanson

Mepkin Abbey Gardens

Well I made it another week in the mission field. Moncks Corner is as eventful as ever! First, we started this week with a zone conference with Elder Kopischke. He is a member of the 70. It was SO good. He basically had a question and answer for like 4 hours. I needed it as a newbie to the mission field. After Elder Kopischke, I got to experience my first service project as a missionary.
Once a week in Monck's Corner, Sister Swanson and I volunteer at a Monastery. So yes when they say Monck's corner, they really mean Monk's Corner. It was AMAZING. It's called Mepkin Abbey. Look it up it is SOOOOOO beautiful. It doesn't seem real it is so pretty. We do yard work there every Thursday morning. We get to plant flowers and trees, and rake leaves. It is right next to a river with lots of turtles and gators in it. (Don't worry mama, we don't work next to the gators.)  We work with this lady named Urusla. She is hilarious -- SO funny and SO southern. She carries a steak knife around everywhere she goes and wiggles it around in the air saying, "I don't want to kill'em criminals! I just want their DNA!!!!" I am already good friends with her. She says Sister Swanson and my names are too hard so I go by "Sister Ruth" in the Monastery. Ha ha! So, it's not Sister Ashton anymore, it is Sister Ruth. It's pretty funny, but such a cool experience too. I got to meet the monks and they are SO kind and so devoted to what they believe. I love that place. We also had some pretty cool experiences this week. First off, I keep lucking out with my companions. Sister Swanson and I get along SO well. I love her. Anyway, back to the story. So Sister Swanson and I were walking the streets to our next appointment and this nice Latino man passes us on his bike. He stops biking and peddles back towards us. He tries talking to us in his broken English and said that God told him that he needed to give us his money. So he hands us all of his crumpled up money in his pocket. We didn't want to accept the money. You could tell that this man did not have much, but he insisted.  So we took the money. He gave us 30 dollars! I tried to talk to him in my broken Spanish as best as I could. We got his number and his name for the Spanish Elders to contact him. While I was talking to this man, I kept thinking, “He looks so familiar to me. Where have I seen this man before??” Then I remembered my experience in Ecuador when that man on the white horse had come to our rescue. He looked so much like him. I am not sure if this was the same man. It probably wasn't.  I mean that we were clear in Ecuador; but it reminded me that God is watching over me and is mindful of me. He knows when I need help. After the man left, Sister Swanson and I didn't feel good about walking all the way to our appointment. We felt that we needed to turn around, walk all the way back to our apartment and drive to the appointment. So we did. I am learning to always follow feelings on the mission. If you are feeling just a little uneasy, go!  It doesn't matter if it looks safe. The same goes for good feelings. If I feel like I need to talk to someone, DO IT, even if I might be late for an appointment. It's hard sometimes to talk to people. I don't like knocking on doors, let’s be honest --- it's kind of the worst sometimes; but I also know that I want all of God's children to hear this message. I see so many people here who are slaves to their sins. There are SO many addictions here. Sometimes I just want to shake the people and tell them, "You are worth SO much more than this. You are worth so much more than that piece of paper with tobacco rolled up in it. I wish you could see your purpose and potential like He sees you." But people don't usually listen. They are comfortable with their lifestyle and it makes me so sad.
Dan is getting baptized on Saturday at 2:00pm. This man has made a complete 360! Like I said before, he quit everything COLD TURKEY. He dropped everything and loves the Gospel. 
Anyway, it has been a great week! I love it here and am happy to say that I am pretty sure I had squirrel and it was fine. I lived. ;) I am not sure if the people are teasing me or not. It is hard to know sometimes. The ward members think it is hilarious to pull my leg. :P I love you all! Thank you for all your support and prayers! Y'all have a blessed day! ;) 
Mepkin Abbey

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