Biking Mount Everest

Monday, July 29, 2013

How is Aliza?
How is Gert?
How are all of you?
Can you believe that I’ve already been out for four months? So crazy!
How are all of your projects coming along?
I still have yet to receive any pictures of them!
We went and hiked Ensign Peak this morning.  It was lots of fun.  Man, I’m out of shape!  I made it up there though.  After the hike we went to the cemetery where some of the Prophets are buried.
We tried to hike it last Wednesday for the twenty-fourth, but we never made it up there.  The Elders don't really think things through very well.  Instead of finding a ride the said, “Let’s bike!”  We were like, “Okay!  We can do that!”
We ride our bikes thirty minutes to the tracks.
We get on the tracks with our bikes.
I'm a little clumsy and my bike was just in the way.
I don't think the people on the tracks were happy that I was a passenger.
We get off in downtown Salt Lake City after a twenty-seven minute ride on the tracks.
These brilliant Elders tell us that it's only about a twelve minute bike ride up the start of the hike.
We start biking down the roads in the middle traffic.  There are six of us missionaries just cruisin' down the busy streets of downtown Salt Lake City.  I seriously thought we were going to die!  And then, we start up the mountain.  The Elders are like, “Oh man, it’s a little steeper than we thought!”
Oh my gosh!
I thought I was biking up Mount Everest!
I was nearing death!
There were cars flying past us!
I’m pedaling away and thinking, “If I fall off my bike, I'm dead!”
The other three Sisters and I get off our bikes and get on the sidewalk and start pushing them up this mountain!  Seriously, even pushing them was killing us!  It felt like we were trying to climb a ninty-degree wall.  We finally make it to the Capitol.
We still have a ways to go…
…yeah well, we scratched the hike at that point!
We were all so exhausted that we just laid on the grass at the Capitol and ate lunch.  Other than the fact that we almost died, it ended up being a nice relaxing day.
It's been a crazy week! 
I guess I didn't learn my lesson on racing the Elders!
I don't know what’s wrong with me!
I become this mean aggressive competitive person!
I just have to win!
We were riding our bikes home on day and I looked to see if there were any cars coming up behind me.  I see the two Elders flying down the street towards me.  I shouted at my companion, “Pedal faster!” as I start pedaling faster and fly down the hill.  I’m flying and I hit a bump and pothole which is not a good thing since I’m not on a racing bike.  My bag, folders, papers, water bottle and everything else that was in my basket goes flying out and scattered all over the road.  Do you think I thought, “Hey Kournti!  Maybe this would be a good time to slow down?”  Oh no!  I didn’t have that thought at all.  While my companion is trying to dodge all the obstacles that I left in her path, the Elders finally caught up to me and passed me.  Just barely though!
I forgot to mention, I don't have good brakes on my bike!  I shouted at the Elders who slowed down in front of me, "Move!  I don’t have brakes!”  My bike wasn't slowing down fast enough and it was either ride into oncoming traffic or ride into the bushes.  I chose the bushes.  I jumped off my bike just in time.  I didn’t get hurt but I totally took out someone’s flowerbed.
Another day this week… annoying dog came chasing after us on our bikes and I wanted to run it over!
My time has come to an end!
I hope you all are doing just grand!
Thanks for all of your love and support!

Apostle Chasing

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!
How’s everyone?
I hope you’re all enjoying time with family!

I’ve been transferred!

My new address is:
4144 S Colt Ct (4695 W)
West Valley City, UT 84120

Some crazy things have happened this past week.
I’m not even sure where to start.
Oh wait, I know!

I’m a trainer!  What?!  I know, crazy!  That’s not all!  I’m also white-washing!  What?!  I know, even crazier!  I guess the Lord and President Swain trust me!

For those of you who don't know what white-washing is…
…it’s basically when they start an area completely over.

They took out the Elders and put in the Sisters.  We don’t know anyone or anything about the area.  We go in and we build it up from scratch.  It’s been hard but it’s been so much fun.

I’m doing all of that while training my new companion; Sister Christensen.  It’s so crazy!  I finished my ‘greenie training’ on Monday and I became a trainer on Tuesday.  Needless to say, it’s been a crazy and stressful week! 

We had a great first day experience.
My poor companion was overwhelmed and had no clue what to do.
On top of that, I had no clue what to do either.

They literally dropped us off and didn't tell us a thing!
They didn't give us our area book or tell us what wards/branches we’re covering!
Not a single thing!
They gave us a brand new phone with no phone numbers in it and told us to get to work!
Get to work?
I didn't even know where in the world we were! 

We were told that our neighbor was the high councilor over the missionaries so that’s where we started.  We got there and he wasn't home.  His wife was home and she was as much help as she could be.  She gave us addresses of the bishops/branch presidents so we took off to find them.  No luck!  Then the Elders who used to cover the area called us and said, “Hey Sisters!  You guys have a lesson in twenty minutes!”  We had no maps of where we were and where we were going!  I hate Utah directions!  I don't know how we found the house but we did!  The Lord watches out for His missionaries!  We got there and the Elders ‘passed’ us off to this new family. 

We finally found out what ward/branch was in charge of feeding us!
It’s the Spanish Branch! 
Sister Ashcroft habla no Espanol!

I called to get our dinner list and threw in whatever Spanish words I knew.  Which is very few!  They had no idea what I was talking about and said they’d call around and find us dinner.  They never called back.  I decided to call them again the following day.  With very broken English I hear, “We are not feeding you this week.”  Click.  I called our neighbor who took care of us the day before – the high councilor – and he took care of us.  He and his wife have been so much help to us. 

The two wards/branches that we cover are Colony and Ridgeland.  They’re right next to us.  Both are very small wards/branches and they’re just little neighborhoods so it works out great.  Everything’s so close together! 

We’ve met with the bishops/branch presidents and the mission leaders and they’re so nice!  They’re so excited for Sisters to be here and they’re going to take good care of us.  We are so excited to work in a new area and get it going.

Happy Birthday to the Utah Salt Lake City West Mission!  Monday was the one-year anniversary of our mission opening up.  All the missionaries got together and had breakfast and played games.  We had a huge water war with one-hundred-sixty missionaries.  It was so much fun!  Pictures coming soon! 

We said goodbye to some of the Elders that are heading home!
I got close to most of them!
I’ll miss them!
They did their job!
They’re lots of fun!

My injury of the week...
…my finger!

We were playing volleyball and soccer at the same time and I hurt my finger.  I thought that I might have broken it!  It's swollen and I can't move it but I think it’s going to be okay!

The Mission President’s Seminar last Tuesday was so much fun!  We went to the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  It was such a neat experience talking to all of the Mission Presidents!  We ate lunch in the same room as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  I saw Elder Perry and Elder Nelson.  I had a great conversation with the General Primary Presidency.  They’re so nice!  I met lots of members of the Quorum of the Seventy but the only names that I really remember are Elder Dube and Elder Snow because they were both in my session. Then I met Elder Christensen from the BYUtv reality show "The District."  I sat right next to him and talked with him for about two hours. I didn't realize it was him until afterwards.  Oops!

Oh, and I also chased Elder Oaks down in the parking lot.  We were walking back to the car to leave and Sister Wilson says, “Oh hey, that’s Elder Oaks."  I turned around and ran toward him shouting, "Elder Oaks!  Hello!  I'm Sister Ashcroft!" He laughed and said, "Hello Sister!  I’m sorry but I’m running late for a meeting.”  I shook his hand and said, “Alright!  Bye!”  When I shook his hand it felt like the Spirit was trying to drop-kick me across the parking lot.  

Elder Oaks is a tall man.
Holy smokes he’s tall.
It was such a cool experience.
One that I’ll never forget.

I’m coming close to my time limit so I better wrap it up!

It's going to be a fun p-day for us missionaries and it’s all day long!
We’re going to have a huge water war with our zone!
Those Elders are going down!

Keep me in your prayers!
I’m training, white-washing and getting lost all at the same time.
But, it’s been so much fun!
I love my mission!
And, the Church is true!

I love you all and miss all of you very much!
Have a great Fourth of July!