My Bike's Name Is Goliath

Monday, April 29, 2013

The bike story...
...goes something like this.

On Thursday we finally cracked out the bikes.  Let me just say how hard it is to ride a bike in a skirt!  Anyways... we have boy bikes, which are way too big for me.

I am pretty sure my bike belonged to Goliath!

It is that BIG and the handle bars are to the ground so I look like Mowglie {think The Jungle Book} riding my bike.

We get started down our street.  I was wearing a longer skirt so it kept getting caught on the pedals.  Eventually I lost my patience and tucked my skirt into my spandex.

I had decided to wear my hair in a big-side-messy-bun so my helmet would not stay straight.  It kept covering my right eye.  It was pretty bad.  My companion was in front of me and of course once I get my balance and I am riding good someone has to come and talk to us.  Do to my lack of vision my companion stopped right in front of me and I noticed last minute and quickly learned that my bike does not have brakes.

Do not worry!
I was able to dodge her with my master-dodging-skills but I almost ran into a tree.

We are just a pedalin' away and we come to our three-way intersection and I almost ran out into traffic because my breaks are worthless.
We push the signal button to cross and we wait...
... and wait...
...and wait some more!

Let me just say that I was in so much pain! 

My bike is huge and my tip toes were barely touching the ground and then being in a skirt makes it even harder.  I could not bare the pain of stradling a bike anymore so I decided to hike one leg up and put my weight on my other leg.  I know the cars were laughing at me because I felt like a dog peein'.  It did not help that a pole just happened to be in the perfect spot.

Finally we get our signal {just so you know I am laughing so hard right now} to walk.
And, {bwahahahahaha'in} Sister Muldowney is in front of me and I hear some unpleasant clicking noises!

I looked at her and she is just'a pedaling has hard she could.  And well, her chain fell off right in the middle of the intersection.

You know on Tom & Jerry where Tom is running really fast, but not moving?  Yep!  That is what Sister Muldowney looked like.

I am cracking up and the cars around us are dying with laughter.
She jumps off and pushes her bike through the intersection.  I have no idea why, but I jumped off my bike too.

I should not have!

I totally forgot about being "modest".  I swing my leg over and off the bike and I start to move fast because we have like ten seconds before our signal is up.

My skirt got wrapped around my seat and I nearly ate it, hard core! I could not get my skirt off my seat.

I am walking like an idiot to the end of the intersection with my skirt tied around my bike.  I am so thankful I wore spandex because my skirt was not covering anything!

Those people at the intersection had of been laughing hard!
It was so funny!

We get to the sidewalk and I still cannot get my skirt off my seat.  My companion cannot fix her chain and my stupid helmet kept covering my eyes. 

It was a pretty rough experience.  I seriously laughed for hours.  We ended up pushing our bikes the entire day!

There is our funny story of the week!
Hope you enjoy!
Love you all!

Shattered Windows

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hey guys!  

You know the drill.  No responding back to this email.
Welp!  I will keep it short because of time!
I am doing good.  It has been a really great week.  The online stuff is the best!  I think I have friended most of you.  As long as you guys promise not to chat, comment, post, etcetera on my wall, I can add you.  I have to put you guys under a do-not-show-thing, so anything you post will not show up on my end.
On Sunday we had a Missionary Devotional.  They are amazing!  The music is wonderful, and yes, they have me sing the choir.  We do five songs {one in Spanish}, watch a few mormon messages, people share life experiences & testimonies and then President Swain sums it up with a few words.  It is about an hour long, but they are amazing.  The music is mind blowing!
If I could trust you guys I would say come to one and sit in the back so I cannot see you, but I know you all a little to well.  

We do them once a month and they are just amazing and a lot of fun.  Afterwards we have some fun booths set up.
It is when our whole mission gathers and I got to see Sister Joseph!
It was was pathetic...
...we had a 'movie scene' moment!

We spotted each across the chapel...
...we took off running into each others arms!

She made me sing Soprano and told me just to the mouth words or else the windows might shatter.  We crack each other up!  We had all the missionaries laughing at us.  We get pretty goofy together.  I miss her like crazy!  I hope we are companions one day.  There are only twenty girls in my mission and half of them are Spanish speaking so there is a good chance we will be together again.
Sister Joseph is probably the funniest person I have ever met!
I have done really good this week.
I have had lots of fun.
The mission is great.
I love you all and I hope you are doing good.

Warning: Picture Overload

 Sister Ashcroft

 Sister Christensen, Sister Smith, Sister Joseph, Sister Ashcroft

  Sister Smith, Sister Ashcroft, Sister Christensen, Sister Joseph

  Sister Ashcroft, Sister Joseph

 District at the Missionary Training Center

  Sister Joseph, Sister Ashcroft

  Elder Sherwood, Sister Ashcroft

  Sister Ashcroft, Sister Joseph

  Elder Bingham, Sister Ashcroft

  Sister Ashcroft, Sister Joseph

 Sister Ashcroft

  Sister Ashcroft

  Sister Ashcroft

  Sister Muldowney, Sister Ashcroft

Jordan River Temple

  Sister Ashcroft

  Sister Ashcroft

I'm Kourtni! I'm a Mormon!

I am a missionary.  Happily serving in the Utah Salt Lake City West Mission.  I have a blessed life and I'm a Mormon!
About me:
I'm Kourtni!  I am the fourth child out of five siblings.  I am from a super small town.  I have had the advantage of growing up on the farm, but I am not a farmer.  I have the most amazing parents.  My dad is literally the hardest working man I have ever met and my mom is just the best.  A few fascinations of mine are; bright & bold colors, braids, clothing and vintage.  I was born in the wrong era.  If I could go back in time it would be the 50's.  It is the cars, shoes, clothes and the style in general that attracts my eye.  Another deep love of mine is sports.  Sports were the highlight of my life growing up.  I loved the competition.  As I got older I decided to focus mainly on soccer and track, especially hurdles.  Hurdling became a huge part of my life when my Grandpa had a stroke.  My family encouraged me to give them a try, so I did, but I never intended to stick with them until my grandpa's stroke.  He lost a lot of memory and movement and was capable of doing the things he loved to do before but he loved to talk hurdles with me.  I was his "race horse" and his face would light up when I would tell him about practices or races.  I kept with it, and before I knew it, it became my life.  I was blessed with the talent to be a hurdler, but I was even more blessed to have the support from a wonderful man and family.
Why I am a Mormon:
I was born into a family who strongly loved The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  My faith has always been a big part of who I am, but it was not until my Senior year of high school when I had my own "conversion".  The Church then became a huge part of who I am and who I wanted to become.  I decided to serve a mission because I love my Heavenly Father more than anything.  I am now happily serving in the wonderful Utah Salt Lake City West Mission.  I want to share the Gospel with people around the world and let them enjoy the happiness and joy this Gospel brings to me.  I simple love this Gospel and that is why I'm a Mormon.
How I live my faith:
I live my faith by being an example of what I believe, and never deny my beliefs to anyone.

The Time my Companion Went Nuts

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kia Ora Mum!  {Dear Mom!}
Kei te pehea kao?  {How are you?}  You would think I was called to speak another language!  Well, I am writing in Maori!  My companion, Sister Joseph, is from Auckland, New Zealand.  She is pretty amazing!  She is Maori and teaches a lot of her language.  Anyways... we have a lot in common.  She loves sports... especially running!  She loves to "opt shop", which basically means "thrift shop", but it is vintage thrift.  She is so funny and has more energy than anyone I know!  She loves hugs and sometimes kisses me on the cheek.  (Ha... getting used to that!)  Uh... she likes being really close and when she is eating something she really likes she usually shoves it down my throat.  Ha!  So she feeds me a lot.  Oh!  She gave me a necklace with lots of New Zealand candy!  It is delicious!  Ha!  Uhm... she loves making my bed for me.  {No complaints here!}
We are the only two Sisters going to Salt Lake City West on our missions.  We have two Elders in our mission too.  Elder Curtis and Elder Madsen.  They are both nerdy, but we like them.  The other two Sisters {Sister Smith and Sister Christensen and the four Elders; Bingham, Eiherst, Miller and Robinsen} are in our district, but are going to Nashville.  Oh!  Wait!  Elder Robinson is going to my mission.  So Elder Eiherst is our district leader and he is the spitting image of Tim except the blonde hair and blue eyes.  Same build, lots of freckles, hardly any hair, same deep voice, height, everything.  He also talks like him.  Quiet, calm and does not like attention.  He loves hunting and wants to become an an-stizy-olo-gist {cannot spell}.  It is pretty funny because he is so much like Tim.  Anyways, I get along with everyone.  Oh!  I am senior companion.

Tell Dad about Sister Joseph!  He will like that she is from New Zealand.

Honestly the days have been a blur!  Time goes so fast!  Today we taught the first lesson, did not get very far... but we just went with the Spirit.  "Todd", {the investigator} said he wanted to give us a hug, because it was the first lesson he has been in with new missionaries where it was completely taught with the Spirit.  Awesome experience!  Sister Joseph went into an empty room afterwards and went nuts!  Dancing, screaming!  Everything!  It was pretty funny!

Anyways!  My p-days are Thursdays!  I do not have much time.  So email Elder Heslop, or call Carolyn for me and have them tell him I probably will not have time to email for a couple of weeks.  Same goes for Mallory, Gert, Kristy, etcetera.  Oh!  Send me addresses and email addresses for everyone.  Heslops, Tim, Mallory, Gert, Kristy... everyone!  Well I have to go.  Sorry.

PS.  Send me food!  Chips, candy, anything!

Kei Te Arona Koe!  {I Love You!}

When All Else Fails, Pretend To Pray

Well most of you know about my companion and how cool she is!  I would love for you guys to send me pictures and letters!  I miss normal food, the MTC food is gross.  I have been good and I really do not have any awesome stories yet.

I do have p-days!  It is so nice to leave those white walls.  It does get boring sitting in the classroom all day.

Sister Joseph is amazing!  She gives me the best chocolate ever!  So yeah, she always knows what to say in class or when teaching so I usually look like a fool when I open my mouth.  But, the trick is when she talks and then it is my turn and I do not know what to say I just say, "I bear testimony that everything my companion said is true and I have pondered and prayed about it and the Lord has given me an answer!"... works every time!
I have also learned that sometimes I get really tired and when I cannot keep my eyes open I just fold my arms, close my eyes and bow my head for about 5-10 minutes!  Everyone thinks I am "praying" when really I am catchin' a few "z's"... works every time!

I sleep pretty good at night.  I drug up like two hours before bed, so then it is impossible for me to stay awake.

I am not a fan of waking up at the butt crack of dawn, but I will get used to it.  I have actually had the chance to run almost everyday and it feels so good to exercise.  Gym time is my favorite part of the day.  Our district usually plays volleyball together.

I am a lot more comfortable at the MTC.  The first few days were rough.

Oh!  The flight here was horrible!  I do not recommend flying with a head cold, the pressure from the plane makes it worse!

I had to sit in the back of the plane, and it was a super bumpy flight.  And it was so... hot!  All those old veteran men looked out for us, turns out most of them were members and temple workers or old bishops.  Other than me feeling like crap, it still sucked!  I feel lots better now, but the first few days I felt horrible!  I still have a cough, but I can finally breathe.

Uhm... I really do not know what to say.  I have said most of everything in other letters.

Hopefully I can print pictures tomorrow, we can only print on Fridays but I am not sure when I will have time.  We stay busy all day long.

Well I am doing really good!  Like I said I love my district and I do not want them to leave.  We all have become super close.

Elder Eibert is the one that reminds me a lot of Tim.  Elder Williams is our "DL" and he is a Momma's boy, he is super friendly!  Elder Bingham is seriously the funniest person in the world!  I cry from laughing every time he opens his mouth.  Those are the three going to Nashville.  Elder Robinson, Elder Curtis and Elder Madsen are sweet and very kind.

All four of us Sisters really get along.  We all have the same personality!  We are all pretty loud and just like to have fun.

Our district is really cool.  We all hang out together even on our p-days!  We are all sitting around writing our families and laughing at Elder Bingham.

I am waiting for laundry to finish!  Thank heavens because I was running low on "g's".

Sorry that I do not have lots to say yet, but we have done lots of studying, reading, teaching, sleeping and eating.  That about all.

Sorry that I wrote multiple letters that all say the same things.  I would write and then forget where I put the letter or did not have it with me.  That is why I do not have a lot to say.

Send me addresses!  And, snacks!  Well when I get in the field.  Everyone here thinks I eat a lot, but I do not care because I am still skinny... for now!

Send me perfume and skirts!  Other than that I do not need anything.  Besides some mousse, but that is in my room if you will just grab a bottle.

Hopefully I will get to call Tuesday!  Love you all.  The church is true!

Spelling Is Not My Forte

How's it back in good ole' NM?  

Sorry it has taken me forever to write.  I just literally have no time.  We wake up at 6:30.  Class at 7:00.  Go to our rooms at 9:30.  And in bed by 10:30.  I usually start a letter, but my roomies flip off that light early.  Ugh!  So I have just a few minutes to write you.  First of all I leave the MTC on Tuesday.  I've been sleeping fine, but I drug up pretty good.  I have enjoyed the MTC so far.  I am ready to leave.  I am constantly running from class to class to study.  The food is pretty gross, but when you are starving you eat it.  I will say I am really tired.  I have a pretty amazing district and zone, most of my district is going to Nashville.  Our district leader is the spitting image of Tim (besides blonde hair, blue eyes) but talks, acts, laughs, etc. like Tim.  He loves hunting, not super social, and wants to become an anstizeologist {cannot spell}.  Ha!  It is pretty funny how much they are alike.  I do have a really good district.  

I love my companion!  Her name is Sister Joseph.  She is from New Zealand {I thought Dad would appreciate that}.  She has a sweet accent.  She is very loud, loves to sing at the top of her lungs... everywhere we go.  She has the strongest testimony ever!

Okay so she has this thing where she is super touchy!  She gives me a hug every two seconds.  She will link arms with me and grab my hand or lean on me.  Ha!  Uh... she asked me why I am always stiff as a board whenever people get close.  So I told her, "I do not like being touched!"  Yeah... she laughed at me and said, "Get used to it!"  She is pretty funny.  She said she is going to teach me how to love and show compassion for others because I am pretty emotionless.  When I do show emotion or cry I hide.  Ha!  Wonder where I got that from!  So everyone we meet or teach she makes me hug them.  {Not a fan!}  Ha!  When I return home I will have more of an emotional side {maybe}.

We work really well together.  We totally rocked our first lesson!  We were pretty amazing, but then the Lord humbled me real fast in my next lesson.  Oh!  I do not have much patience.  Oh!  I do not like showing affection to everything that moves.

I have to get going.  I am still not sure why I am here, but I know I am supposed to be.  I love you very much!  I miss you guys.  I am doing great so do not worry!

Although I could use some care packages.  Maybe send me some perfume and my skirts.  Some food!  Send me Pringles!  My blue lace dress.  Oh!  I loved the gatorade.  I miss Coke.  I have been drinking tons of water.

I wish I could write more, but I have to leave.  Send me everyone's addresses.  Heslops, Tims, Mallorys, Kristys, Gerts, etc.  Tell everyone I miss them and to write me.

PS.  All the other letters in this envelope, just pass them out, and if the church is true you will not read them.

What Now Fools?!

I just got back from the Saturday Session of conference and I am pretty darn proud of myself.  I managed to watch all of conference, in church clothes, on a Saturday!  First time ever in the history of Kourtni!  But… I really did not have a choice in the MTC.  Ha!  Oh!  And I actually paid attention!  Okay well the first half hour of the first session I played tic-tac-toe with Elder Bingham but then I decided to listen and take notes because I was intrigued by Sister Dalton's talk.  Anyways I am still proud of myself.  I think the Lord really does bless me serving, because I cannot remember one time that I have watched conference and listened.  Seriously Mom and Dad it is a miracle!  My Heavenly Father love me.  Ha…
So I was in the second session being a good little diligent missionary taking my notes and paying close attention, and then all of a sudden it is over!  That was the fastest two hours of my life!!!
But I still have all of tomorrow so hopefully it will go even faster…
I really enjoyed David A. Bednars talk about sin and how forgiving our Heavenly Father is!  And then Russell M. Nelson’s talk on becoming a more worthy missionary!  And to become a really good one really does start from the center of home.  That is how I became a missionary.  I learned the gospel in the walls of my home, from pretty bomb parents!  And grandparents!  Whoop!  Whoop!
What I have realized from my mission is that it is preparing me to become a mom {I still cringe at the thought of children!}.
But it is really important for the Elder’s here to marry a returned missionary.  I think that is why the age was changed for girls (well one reason why) because of how scary the world is becoming, and how easy it is for the youth to fall away, but I believe with both parents who served a mission a family can have double the amount of blessings!
Yeah, that is right!  I am going to have bomb children.  All because their momma served a mission!!! What now fools?!  Ha!  If you can’t tell I still have not really humbled myself yet… yikes!
M. Russell Ballard talked about how God has given the greatest power to men and women.  Power to pro-create and the power of the Priesthood is what makes a home centered on Christ.  Because every home should be centered on Christ, I just really believe the gospel blesses families.  I have never realized how much it has blessed our family.  We gave a lesson on the plan of salvation and it made me remember when Grandpa Ashcroft died.  I really regret not getting closer to him, and when he died I was only a Freshman, and it really tore me up inside.  But when Papa Ollie died it was sad, but it was easier because I had a much better understanding of the plan of salvation.
But in reality it is not a devastating situation!  They have met our Heavenly Father, and they are in the spirit world teaching the gospel to those who have never had the opportunity before.
So really it is a blessing.  When we did an endowment session Thursday I could actually feel Grandma and Grandpa Ashcroft and Papa Ollie there with me.
It was just six months ago the age for missionaries changed and it was a blessing to me.  My life has changed so… much in the past few months, and I have a better future ahead of me.

...I forgot I was writing a letter, because I had to stop writing for class or something.  So… not real sure what I was going to say in the rest of the letter.

So… love you lots.

Brother Investigator

Today has been quite the day!  I woke up more tired than usual and was running pretty late.  Today has been so… long!  We had new in-field orientation, oh my heck, the LONGEST seven hours of my life!!!  It was for all the missionaries leaving next week!  And we just went back and forth from two classrooms learning boring stuff.  I was asleep through most classes so I cannot really tell you what I learned.  Plus I got to leave for like twenty minutes during one class because the nurse needed to see my shot record.  Greatest twenty minutes of my life!!!  Okay, well maybe I exaggerated a little too much, some of the classes were not too bad, but sitting in a chair for seven hours is uber uncomfortable.

Then we had dinner, they told us to wait till 6:05 to eat, but our district was starving so we went early and had some good ole’ pizza.  I had an orange Fanta as my drink and some hair got into it somehow so I pushed it aside.  And goofy Elder Bingham thought it was empty and was going to dump my tray.  So he went for my drink, but put his cup in mine and it was still super full so orange Fanta splashed outside the cup and all over my skirt.  Good thing I am a nice person and do not get mad easy!  I just laughed, he laughed pretty hard to, then he apologized.

Then we came to our district class for personal study and I was writing some scriptures down and my pen {brand new pen} exploded all over me!  Ruined my pink polk-a-dot shirt and it was stained onto my neck and face.  My fingers are blue too!!!  So I figured since I was drenched in orange Fanta and blue ink it was time to change my outfit.  Sister Joseph and I ran back to the room and changed.  She managed to fall asleep within the five minutes in our room.

When we got back we found out we had “TRC” which be believed was cancelled so we did not prepare a lesson.  So we showed up late to our appointment.  Good thing the people ahead of us went over time.  We taught a funny old man.  Half way through the lesson I did not think he was a member, lots of investigators come so we never know who we are teaching and if they are members, non-members, actors, in-actives, etc., but then I spotted his “g’s”!

Anyways he was a good actor and asked some hard questions.  I think sisters bring a sweet Spirit cause the Elders in front of us said he was nice, but stubborn and tried to get them off topic.  Not us sisters though.  He was totally interested.  We taught him about Joseph Smith, the plan of salvation, that God is our loving Heavently Father, the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost.  Oh!  I also taught him how to pray… although I forgot his name in my prayer and said, “Please bless Brother……{long pause}……Investigator.”  Ha!  Sister Joseph started to chuckle a bit, but it was a good lesson for how unprepared it was.

It is amazing how the Spirit tells you what to say.  Gotta love that trusty ole’ Spirit!  Anyways, even though it has been a boring, long, rough day the church is still true!  And sometimes that is all that matters in the end.  All is well in Zion!  Ha!  I really do crack myself up sometimes!  Peace out!

Officially In The Field

Monday, April 15, 2013

I am just going to do one big email to everyone.  Do not respond back to this email.  If you want to write back just start a new email!  Okay, so here we go...

I am serving in The West Valley.  I serve in the Granger West third, seventh and ninth wards.  My mission is even smaller than what I thought.  It only takes in Magna and The West Valley. There are only five zones, so I will probably get to see a lot of my mission.  

My companion's name is Sister Muldowney.  She is from "Philly".

My mission is different than any other mission in the world!!!  We are in a new pilot program and I am still trying to learn more about it.  We focus on fifty-fifty.  We are supposed to have equal amounts of baptisms and reactivation.  Reactivation is a huge part of my mission.  Something special about my district is that we are the only zone in my mission and world wide who does online prosyelating {not the greatest speller} besides temple square missionaries!

I am on the computer four days a week for four hours each day.  I have an account with "chat with a Mormon" and it is awesome.  I talk to people from all over the world.  I answer questions and we teach them lessons, it is so much fun!!!  To add to that, I can also skype with investigators.
So some funnies...

I have such beautiful voice!  
In conference last week, we were singing the closing song.  I am just minding my own business singing away and Sister Joseph - who tried to get me to sing all the time so she could hear my voice {I had warned her is was bad} - stops and looks at me in the middle of the song and says, "Sister, you weren't lying!  Your voice is hideous!  It sounds absolutely horrible!"  She can be very blunt.  So you know what I did?  I looked at her and smiled and then just belted out singing as loud as I could.  HA!  Lots of people turned and stared at me, but that is okay!  She could not help but laugh out loud during the rest of the song and some of the prayer.

My very first lesson!
I am thinking... what did I get myself into?!  My first lesson was... interesting.  The man we taught Brother [name removed] is an interesting man.  He served a mission and all, but has a hard time staying active.  I am not sure what his problem is, but something is wrong with him.  He has a big home but they only live in one room.  Just from seeing his home, I am 99% postitive that he is a hoarder.  He took us down to a little room downstairs where he and his two daughter live.  Yeah... he was in bed with his daughters.  We sat on the floor teaching a lesson to him.  It was so awkward and way uncomfortable.

Fast Forward Fast Sunday!
As you guys know, I am not the most patient person in the world.  The Lord seems to find ways to humble me everyday that I am out here.  I attend three sacraments!!!  Try attending three on a fast sunday!!!  Yeah, I did not think I could do it either, but the Lord knows I am not a patient person so I think he just pushed a Fast Foward button because dinner came before I knew it!!!

The jello story!
As you guys know, I am not the biggest fan of jello.  As Sister Muldowney and I were walking to dinner one evening I was telling her that I really do not like jello - it makes me gag.  We had dinner with the [name removed] family {three nights in a row this week... blehh}.  Anyways, she made us chili {which did not do nice things to my stomach}.  It was a hot day, so it did not sound good anyways.  She brings me a huge bowl of chili and I just stare at it and seriously have to pray to my Heavenly Father to get this down without heaving.  I actually find myself making deals with Heavenly Father often so I can have a strong stomach.  Well this chili has huge chunks of onions!!!  I HATE onions!!!  Not to mention the chunks of all sorts of peppers and some kind of mystery sausage.  I got it down... kinda.  I spit the chunks into my napkin with they were not looking.  As we were finishing up dinner, Sister [name removed] says "Oh crap!!! I forgot to finish making the jello!!!"  My companion looked at me and she said that I was just beaming with joy!  I knew I could not get jello down after that meal.  When I heard that I was like "Oh sweet heavens!!!  My Heavenly Father loves me so MUCH!!!"  In my head of course!  I can testify that your prayers are always answered!

The mission really does bless you in increadible ways.

I am about out of time, so I will share more next week.  Email me if you guys can. 

I am doing great!  I love my mission!  It is really hard, but it is worth it.  I love you all so much and miss you guys.

The Church is True!