|Sister Swanson, Claudia and Sister Ashton|
Hey everyone! It was so great to hear from everyone! Thank you so much for all your e-mails and prayers. They were much needed this week. I am sure you have all heard of the tragedy this week at the A.M.E Church in Charleston. Although we don't get to watch the news we definitely heard about it and it broke my heart. But those people are so forgiving. It is inspiring.
I can't lie, but this week was hard! It has been the most trying week of my mission so far. Over these past months on my mission I have had to deal a lot with death. I didn't think that would be one of my mission trials; but it seems like I have had to deal with death quite frequently. On Thursday night Dan called us with news that completely shocked me. He called to tell us that Claudia had passed away last night in her sleep. It crushed me. I have gotten to know this woman since my very first week in South Carolina. I watched her heart completely change and start to accept the gospel. If y'all don't mind, I would like to share my favorite and last memory of this dear, sweet friend of mine that I love so very much.
On Thursday night Sister Hill and I went over to Dan and Claudia's home to teach Dan more about the temple. I didn't know why at the time, but I felt impressed last minute to add Dan into the plans as our last stop for the night. So we went over to teach Dan a lesson.
After the lesson, Claudia came out of her room and into the kitchen. She had a big smile on her face. She looked so happy and full of light. She looked at us and said; "I read the book by myself for the first time!" I was a little surprised...Claudia had been taking the lessons and reading the Book of Mormon with us but never alone. I was so happy for her! Here was the lady who once said the Book of Mormon was evil. She read it! We asked her what she thought and how she liked it. She responded: "I liked it. It's about a family. I'm going to keep reading." I thought I was going to burst, I was so happy for her! We encouraged her to keep reading. She then gave me a huge, sweaty hug and said, " Sister Ashton, I love you so much." And then we parted ways. Little did I know this would be the last time I would see Claudia in this life. I love this lady so much. I was so sad when I heard the news and I still am but also happy -happy because I am so glad that I had the opportunity to meet this lady. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of teaching her the gospel. I am confident that Claudia is still being taught the gospel. That there are people who are continuing to teach her and that someday she will soon receive the gospel.
Sorry for all the heavy stuff. I promise next week will be back to fun stories and such! Don't worry. I am doing just fine.
Also, I killed a snake this week so pretty happy about that too. I felt like I was saving my fellow mammals.
I hope y'all have a great week!