Why a mission?

The gospel is the most beautiful thing in the world. I know it's all true, and this knowledge has given me all the wonderful things of this life. I can't wait to share this knowledge with others.

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

Hello everybody!
Today marks 3 weeks till I'm off to Chile.... No big deal :) I honestly can't wait. Am I fluent in Spanish? Well no. But I know that the Lord will help me through whatever I might face down there. Even if I spend 6 months just smiling at people, bearing my testimony, saying prayers, and having incredibly terrible grammar, I won't mind one bit!
I'm still loving being a missionary. It's not easy, but it's so worth it! The more and more I work at giving my heart to the Lord, the more I'm able to really feel "the fruits of the Spirit" like it talks about in Galations. It takes courage to let go of the old habits I have, but I'm sure glad I'm doing it, and learning.
I love you all so much. I pray for you. I think of you all, a lot. As I learn about and feel in my heart the incredible things that make up the gospel, I just hope and pray that you're taking the time to feel that, too. Because I know the Lord WANTS you to feel safe, and happy, and loved, and peace in your hearts! And He will give this to you! All you have to do is trust Him.
I don't really have much to write about today, but I love you. Thanks for your letters. They're SO fun to get! And I'm doing the best I can to write you back. Keep being incredible.
Hermana Lovell

Meeting the Ehmkes

This week I met Brother & Sister Ehmke at the MTC.  They leave soon for the Neuquen Argentina Mission, where they will be serving with my parents.

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012

Hello everybody!
Another week done and gone. This one was a little different than others. My companion and I all both got terrific colds. For some reason, I'm happier when I'm sick. I realized it probably was because I'm way more humble when I'm sick. It's hard to feel super cool when you're blowing your nose every minute or so :) I'm recovering, but it was definitely kind of weird to realize that I was happier when I wasn't even caring as much about things that don't really matter. Isn't that a little crazy? When I started to feel better, I wanted to remember something that would help me remember to be humble. Not something self depreciating or anything, but something to help me remember, because it is so much better when you're not worried about being the very most classy suave person ever! Then it came to me: I'm human :) We are humans here are so beautifully imperfect! Thank goodness! "Our church is a church of progression, not perfection". Sometimes I forget that, especially as a missionary. I think one of the things that helps me be best patient with myself as an imperfect missionary is feeling how patient Heavenly Father is with me. I know as I repent, forgive others, and look outward to serve His children, I can keep growing into the woman He wants me to be.
I've been gone over a month!! Isn't that crazy!? It really has gone by so fast. My district is still awesome. We have good times, serious times, spiritual times, and silly times. It's good stuff. Hermana Lish and I have gotten to be even better companions. We've been able to teach each other and help each other a lot. It's so fun to hear about everything that's happening in your lives. I love hearing all about everything! Dearelders are sweet. I would love pictures you send me, too. I've got less than a month till I'm at a different country, you know :)
Well, I think this is just going to be a short e-mail today. I'm a little short on time. I love you! I pray for you! I know that as you turn to Christ, therein lies true happiness. I know that the atonement literally heals our souls from the sins we commit. And oh, is it worth it.
Hermana Lovell

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

Hey everyone!
Another week has come and gone at the MTC. It really feels like it rockets by. It's been a wonderful week, though. Hermana Lish and I have been figuring out how to be a 2 companionship instead of having 3, but I think we are closer to figuring it out than we were earlier this week! We have fun, and each day we are learning more and more how to be fully emerged in the work. I can honestly say that I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!! :) Sure I'm not on the field yet, and I'm definitely not a perfect missionary, but I am so grateful to be here. There are so many things I want to do with my life, so many places I want to see, but right now, I get to spend a year and a half with my mind focused fully on the Lord and serving His children. How lucky am I!?!?
One of the members of our Branch Presidency for our zone here gave an incredible talk yesterday for church. Brother Goodman spoke on letting go of your past. He told the story about his little 5 year old boy learning to swim. At first he would only hold on to the sides of the swimming pool and kick his feet around. He thought he was swimming. It wasn't until he let go of the side of the pool and swam that he was able to really immerse himself and swim. That's we we need to do! He told us regarding our past lives before the mission, let it be, for a while. People will still manage while you're gone. I know that's true. I love you all so much, but I know you'll all be okay while I'm gone. I'm also working to let go of parts about me that might not be the best qualities for a missionary. Talk about a refiners fire! I'm sure the mission field will be even more hotter, but I can't wait to see what the Lord can do with me as I put my will and heart in His hands. My companion and I, nadamos :) Or at least we're learning how, and working hard to learn to let go.  
Last night we got to have Jenny Oaks Baker perform for us for the devotional. She's Elder Oaks' daughter. She studied at Juliard and plays incredible violin. It was so inspiring to hear! I miss my music a lot, but thank goodness the Lord provides world class music here at the MTC :)
Can I just tell you I love Relief Society here at the MTC? It's pretty awesome. We hermanas are always swarmed in a sea of elders, but it's so fun to be all together! We also have some pretty interesting and great speakers. Our talk yesterday was fan.tas.tic. Her name was Diane Hacking, and half of her talk was about how we need to be more lady like. Who knew I was so unpolished! :) No worries, by the time I come home, you'll have thought I've spent all my time practicing my sitting posture and eating only wheat thin-size bites instead of preaching the gospel.
You know what? The gospel's real. It's so real, and so true. It changes my life daily. We had an awesome workshop on Saturday about conversion vs the doctrine of Christ (faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and persevering to the end). One of my favorite things I loved from that workshop is that conversion is not the same thing as a testimony. Elder Bednar said that nearly every member of the Church has a testimony, but not every member is conversion. A testimony=truth+the witness of the Holy Ghost, while conversion, is consistently being true to what you know. A testimony is the first step to conversion. I have a very, very strong testimony, but that's not enough. I'm working to let the Lord replace my heart with a purer heart, one more dedicated to Him, and a mind like the mind of the Savior's, because that's what we're all working towards. Now I'm working on using my testimony to help me continually build my conversion during every circumstance of life.
Christ lives! I know it, and you can know it, too! Pray to God. Ask Him. He'll always give you an answer, because He loves you more than you can ever imagine. The Book of Mormon is the word of God! It's beautiful, and every chance we get to read it can be a revelatory experience if we let it be.
I love you so much! Talk to you later :)
Hermana Lovell
PS  Read Preach My Gospel. President Uchtdorf  LOVES it. So should you :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 9, 2012

Hello everyone!
Another week has come and gone at the MTC. It really feels like it goes by so fast! It's been nice to have a week with a normal schedule and just getting to be with my companions. We now are teaching two "investigators" lessons. They're really our teachers, but it still feels pretty real. Role play is an awesome tool that we get to use here to learn how to be ready for the field.
Tomorrow my sweet companion Hermana Ellingson is leaving for the Guatemala MTC. I have learned SO much for her! If we were in Pride and Prejudice, she would be Jane, because that is how so "utterly agreeable" she is with everyone :) Hermana Lish and I will be the only hermanas in our district, and in three weeks or so we'll be the only hermanas in the zone. Thank goodness for companions! Relief Society is pretty incredible here. It's a time for all the sisters to get together and be with each other. I always feel so great after them. I think it kind of reminds me of home, just being around sisters ;)
My teacher, Brother Ridge, taught us something pretty cool. He said that as we're knocking doors, people are going to open it and see either a little boy or a little girl, or they'll see the Savior. It all depends on how we live our lives. I know I'm not a perfect missionary, but I do know that as I try and put my whole heart, might, mind, and strength into this incredible work, the Lord will help me change.
We also had an awesome devotional by an emeritus seventy, Elder Kikuchi. One of my things I got from his devotional is that the best thing I can come home from my mission with, is a testimony that my Savior, Jesus Christ, and His atonement, are always with me. That I can always hold onto the atonement, hold onto the Savior's hand, and heal. Every time I make a mistake here, I get to practice this so much! Always remembering the atonement gives me the courage to change, cambiar :) I invite you all to do the same. Never forget the atonement is real, it is beautiful, and it definitely works.
Miss Mary Cannon! You asked what we did for the 4th of July here, and I am more than happy to tell you! We got out of class early on the 4th and all went into the gym. We sang patriotic songs for about a half hour or so. Go America. :) It was pretty funny, because two seats away from me was an elder from Africa, and then two rows in front of me was an elder from the UK. The UK elder thought it was pretty funny when we sang "Grand Ol' Flag", about the line that says we never boast or brag. I've always thought that line was a little strange, too. We had a really great devotional, talking more about how important religious freedom is, and how that religious freedom all around the world is letting us go forth to spread the gospel to the Lord's children. After we got to go outside (still in the MTC complex) and look at the Stadium of Fire fireworks. They also gave us Magnum ice cream bars!!!! If you don't know what those are, just know they're incredible stuff :) It was all and all pretty cool.   Thank goodness we normally have a pretty regimented schedule, though. Some of the elders got a little too excited with just sitting around, if you can imagine :)
I love my district! The elders are silly at times, but I love them. Elder Esparza is a convert of 2 years, and has served in the army and the national guard. He'll deploy to Afganistan, and it's a miracle he got to go on a mission. Elder Smithson went to the Airforce academy. He's kind of quiet in class, but he's pretty funny. His companion, Elder Wise, reminds me a lot of my brother-in-law Ben. Take that for what you will. Just kidding :) He's pretty funny. When everybody goes out for gym time, he'll just go sleep under a tree. He's a computer science major. Ben, not that you would sleep under trees. You would go play baseball! But he's got similar personality traits, that's all.
I'll tell you about the rest of them later. I love you all! Don't ever forget how much Heavenly Father loves you, and how he wants you to be HAPPY in this life. It doesn't mean everything is just perfect all the time, but it does mean He can give us peace and strength through whatever we're going through. I know this is definitely true. Try it for yourselves :)
Hermana Lovell

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hey everybody!
This letter has got to be quick.  I'm doing great, still breathing :).  My district is district 2, and my President is President Stone.  He seems like an awesome guy, with great counselors too.  I have 2 companions, Hermana Ellingson and Hermana Lish.  We make a good mix together, and we do the best we can to use the Spanish we know.  Es muy importante. :)  Hermana Ellingson is from Arizona y Hermana Lish is from Arimo, Idaho.
It really is pretty incredible here.  It is such a huge shift in life, especially compared to the two months of just chilling at home.  I'm doing my best to fully follow all the rules and get the hang of things.  I know the gospel is true and real.  I know that I'm not here at the MTC to learn Spanish.  I'm here to learn how Heavenly Father wants me to teach the gospel.  I love you all, so very much, and I know God loves you, too.  He loves you even more than I ever could! Lean on Him for strength.  He will never let you down.
Hermana Lovell
P.S. Use DearElder.com to write me, with the subject line being "Hermana Ashley Lovell Box 214"

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hey everybody!

It's hard to believe how fast the time has going. I've already been here 12 days. It's pretty fantastic being here. The Spirit is SO STRONG, and there are so many people and resources to help you become the missionary you choose to become.

My district is pretty great. We've got some pretty quirky, elders. We've got one who does crazy yoga moves between breaks, one who offers very helpful insight quite a lot, some funny quiet ones, and everything else in between. Most of them are funny 19 year olds, but with the Lord's help they all are going to make fantastic missionaries. 

Hermana Ellingson leaves for the Guatemala MTC on the 10th or so. The very same day my dear sister Hermana Lovell is off to the Madrid Spain MTC! It's been so fun to run into each other. It's always like a little piece of home when we can laugh about stuff together like we did when it was just us two at our parents' house. I'm going to miss her, that silly wonderful hermana... :)

My parents are offically in Argentina. Yeah. Argentina. They're serving as mission presidents there. It was so fun to see them so much last week! The best thing is, though, is I have a strong testimony of WHY they're going. I don't know if I mentioned it last time, but we got to sing Praise to the Man on the day of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. As the choir was warming up, Elder Nelson came in out of no where. We just turned around and there he was. He told of how Elder Ballard, the great grandson of Hyrum Smith, had spoken that morning and testified that Joseph was a real and true prophet of God. As we sang Praise to the Man, I felt such conviction of our purpose as missionaries. Sure, we're giving up time as a family together, but the gospel is bigger than that. Joseph Smith gave up his whole life for this work because he knew it was worth it. I am privledged to give up some of my time for that same great cause. 

Photo from LDS Church News

I ran into some teachers here that are twin girls, both from Guatemala, the day my parents left. They are so kind, funny, and compassionate. When I told them how a lot of my family were serving missions, she immediately gave me this scripture: Alma 17:13. Look it up, fam! It describes us perfectly. It's beautiful.

Let's see.....I'm increasing my game in four square. Hermana Lovell and I got called up during the missionary conference yesterday to get newspapers with our family on the front page, along with having that picture on the giant project on the gym. That was different :) I'm learning more and more that the gift of tongues is SO real. I love Spanish. I'm learning more and more each day how to turn my heart to the Savior and about the doctrine of Christ. Did you know that teaching the gospel is not as complex as you would think? All you need to do to teach others (and to teach yourself) is to focus on the doctrine of Christ: La fe in Jesucristo y su expiacion, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del espiritu santu, y al preserverar hasta el fin. It's really just like the articles of faith! I know that "as we choose to follow Christ, we choose to change."

I know that this work is real, true, and incredibly beautiful. I know that we'll never be perfect, but the happiest way we can lives our lives is to take up our crosses daily, and follow the example of our Brother, Jesus Christ. I know also that life is meant to be enjoyed fully, and that through the gospel we can recieve the purest and strongest love, hope, and peace in our hearts than by any other way.

I love you guys so much! Keep the faith! Stay strong! :)

Hermana Lovell