Monday, February 22, 2016


Dear Dad

So last week apparently the emails didn't work out correctly. So I don't know if you got the email twice or just on Thursday or whatever. I just want to express that I have since repented of all the grumpiness expressed in my previous email.

I'm sure the scriptures say somewhere that grumpiness is of the devil. Probably in Acts, everything is in Acts.

This week we contact into a girl named Layla. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she thinks she probably has all the standards of the church. We called her the next day to see if we could come teach her and she was like "oh sorry I haven't had much time to read that book I've only read a few pages." #what
So we asked if she started from the beginning and she was like "yeah I really want to know more about Joseph." #whosaysthat
So then the next day we asked her if she wanted to come to church with us and she was like "I'm not really sure. I think I want to know more about the Book of Mormon before I go to church with you ladies. I'm actually reading it right now during my lunch." #whatwhatwhat
So we asked where she was and she was like "1nephi chapter 4: Nephi slays Laban" #golden
It had only been like 3 days. Man I never read the Book of Mormon as an investigator and she is already who knows how far. So cool. Unfortunately we will probably have to give her to the YSA sisters. Unless she lives with her family then we can just teach all of them.

I feel like we've talked to a lot of 13 year old boys this week. The thing about talking to 13 year old boys is that they are actually really nice to us. Go figure. The people I hung out with as a 13 year old would have been punks to missionaries I feel. We've yet to meet one who has just been really excited to learn about the restored gospel, but every one of them has politely and respectfully turned us down AND shared some of what they believe. When adults don't agree with us they're huge jerks about it. It just seems backwards in my head you know?
"Thanks for trying to share this with me but my family is actually Muslim and we believe something kind of different about Jesus Christ. I appreciate it though; have a nice day and good luck." - a 13 year old boy

I HAD A REALLY EXCITING MORMON MILESTONE - my relative finder connected to Joseph Smith and a bunch of other important church people. I'm official now! haha
Also I'm somehow distantly related to like every other missionary from Texas including Elder Chan. (on his mom's side haha) We're like 11th cousins twice removed or something.

So it was my 21st birthday on Friday. Now forever when people ask how I spent my 21st birthday I can say something like: Well I woke up at 6:30 am and it was a Friday so we did weekly planning. Then the Elders in my ward called and sang happy birthday. Then, since my companion was a sister training leader I was on exchanges for like an hour while she was in a meeting. The Zone Leaders printed out a conference talk for me. The people in the mission office called and sang happy birthday. Then like half the zone gave me cookies and also sang happy birthday. Then we went tracting an contacting and had dinner with a less active. It was the 31st anniversary of her sobriety which is way more exciting. Then we had a member lesson with the Hydes.

Then people will be like Mormons are a peculiar people.

I had this really cool conversation with a primary kid named Elizabeth yesterday:
Me: What did you learn today?
Elizabeth: Heavenly Father watches over us.
Me: How does he do that?
Elizabeth: He protects us and makes us feel better when we're sad and stuff.
Me: What if we do something wrong?
Elizabeth: Then he helps us by telling us what the right thing to do is so we can be better and go to heaven and live with him.
Me: What if we aren't a member of the church?
Elizabeth: Then he helps us to find the church so we can become a member.

Isn't that the truth. Primary kids always say such profound true stuff and they don't even realize that they're saying stuff that adults find it hard to grasp.

WE GOT TIWI THIS WEEK. So there are black boxes in our cars now. Big brother and stuff. Exciting. The guy that put them it was hilarious.

The ladies in the Korean English class wanted to talk about valentines day and love. It was awkward. They asked if I ever had a crush on a boy...................

Now some quotes:

Birthday quotes:

"You're legal!" -Elder Dayton
"Party tonight with Sister Atchley!" -Elder Center

"Buy booze for us Sister Atchley!" -Elder Mann
"I'm not buying booze for minors." -me
"I'm not a minor I'm a missionary!" -Elder Mann
"That's a good point. You can't buy alcohol because you're a missionary, sorry." -Elder Dayton

"remember to stay under the legal limit Sister Atchley!" -Elder Dayton

Other stuff:

"A Capricorn!? You know what that is right!? It's a goat!!" -Elder Dayton after learning that Elder Center is a Capricorn

"You sound like a horse racist" -Me
"Is a horse racist someone who wears those funny hats and rides horses really fast around a track?" -Elder Dayton

The other day the zone asked what our spirit animals were and I said "a cat. No wait several cats." and apparently Elder Burk thought that was hilarious. "Maybe you'd be taller if you were one more cat." -Elder Burk
"There are like 30 or 40 hymns that everyone in the church sings and the rest of the hymnal is like the Isaiah chapters." -Elder Dayton

"How did you guys get here if Elder Dayton has a flat tire?" -Sister Shober
"Charles brought us." - Elder Center
"If you were to ask any Elder serving in Odessa Texas how they came to be in any give location during the summer that would likely be their answer as well." -Me

The reading assignment is this:

Think about what we are expected to give to the Lord.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Dad: We have had a bit of a disaster. She sent an SD card home with all of her pictures on it and it arrived blank. She is more than a little upset about this, and starts this letter off with a concern about the missing pictures. At first she said no letter this week because she was so upset, then she wrote a letter anyway.

NO THAT SD CARD HAD LIKE 300 PICTURES ON IT PLEASE TELL ME IT'S NOT EMPTY. Send it back and I will put it in the camera and see if it works. The pictures can't get erased from being in the heat or anything they do when processing mail can they? I'm going to be so depressed if all my pictures are gone. This is going to ruin my whole week. I'm 100% sure I sent the right card. ): I should have just kept it here.
I don't even want to write anything because I'm so upset about those pictures. Just try the card again I know the pictures are on there. Did the little lock switch thing get shifted or something? 
The pictures have to be on that card I only printed like 15 of them. 
I've been gaining a really strong testimony of fasting and prayer this week. Also of listening to the Spirit. 

Remember how I talked about how people have these crazy spiritual experiences with the missionaries but for the missionaries it's just listing to the still small voice during nightly planning? 
Well the other day during nightly planning I just decided that I was just so done trying to visit and not getting in with all our less actives. So we planned a solid 5 hours of tracting and contacting between lunch and dinner. We were walking on one of the trails in Irvine and we contacted this guy named David. Initially he just kind of walked past us, but then he turned and asked us if we wanted to talk to him. He said he was going to be waiting for the bus and that we could talk to him while he waited. He then proceeded to tell us all about how he goes to this Christian school but he's trying to find more truth and he's thinking about dropping out. He told us that he was on a mission trip for a weekend passing out bibles somewhere and someone steered him away from some Elders. He asked us what was different about our church and why we got so much persecution. Then he said he just wanted to know his purpose on earth. We basically spent a long time listening to him and taught him like pretty much every point from the 1st 3 lessons of preach my gospel. We also gave him the Book of Mormon, the first 3 pamphlets, and told him we would send the Long Beach missionaries to him. I don't know if he will get baptized but I know that the spirit led us to be in that park at that time and we did our parts in his conversion story. We invited him to be baptized and he didn't say no, and he offered a prayer about whether or not we were telling him the truth.  

I prayed that the pictures would be on that SD card so I know that they'll be on there unless Heavenly Father doesn't want me to have them in which case I trust him and those memories will be perfectly restored to me after this life. 

I've been kind of sick all week and I've been on a lot of exchanges and I've just learned some things that are difficult to handle.  

I prayed for mountains the other day. Heavenly Father gave me a mountain. So I'm a "temple service sister" or whatever we are technically called. That basically means that I get to sit in front of the temple for several hours once a week and wave at everyone who drives by. Then if anyone comes and talks to us we give them a tour of the meetinghouse and let them walk around the temple grounds on their own. We aren't allowed to walk around the temple grounds with them because they don't want anyone to think we're proselyting on the temple grounds. Our shift used to be on Thursday mornings, but they moved us since we meet with an investigator on Thursday mornings. Now our shift is Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00. the problem with this is that our church is from 9:00 to 12:00. That means that from now on I will have to miss the last hour and a half of church. This was extremely upsetting for me to learn because I think I've probably only missed like 4 hours of church since I've been a member. It's just really ironic to me that I will miss more church as a missionary than I will at any other time in my life. I read in 1Nephi4 and it kind of calmed me down about it. I know the Lord is not going to take away the blessings of church attendance if I'm not going because of something I'm called to do. I'm not sure yet how I will be able to keep having a good relationship with the members though. 

We met the missionary mom, Dawn, from Meet the Mormons yesterday. I haven't even seen Meet the Mormons, but she is so humble and full of the spirit. She has such an easy time relating to people and she's very inspiring. She told us converts to treat the church like the best class we've ever had and to be the star pupils. I think every single one of us was uplifted after we left. It was just a really cool experience. She said 18 of her missionaries were there when her son opened his mission call. My missionaries better be there when my children open their mission calls. 

I have had a lot of funny things happen to me this week though. 

I experienced the most embarrassing thing to happen to me on my mission this week. So Elder Ashton is one of the assistants to the president and sometimes other missionaries say things about him that aren't necessarily mean, but that are based on opinions that are founded on absolutely nothing. I always try to defend Elder Ashton's character because he's a good missionary and he's been nothing but kind and caring towards me the entire time I've been here. Usually the only thing happens is other missionaries say something to the effect of "whatever Sister Atchley that's just because you LIIIIIIIKE him." because we're all in middle school here apparently. 

So the other day we were at our dinner appointment and it was someone I'd never met before. So I introduced myself and then awhile later she was asking everyone to talk about themselves. So she looks at me and says "So it's Sister Ashton right?" and I just got really embarrassed and forgot my own name for a second. "No Sister Ashley, nope still wrong it's Atchley." 

Now some quotes: 

"So I've decided that ball is life." -Elder Center 

Mountain goats are white
As is Elder Dayton's skin 
He's a mountain goat
Snow is also white; 
Therefore it's a mountain goat
Just like Elder Dayton
Not all geese are white 
But some are mountain goats 
Just like falling snow
-a poem by Elder Dayton 

We hung out with the Chinese sisters a lot this week: 
"Sister Atchley do you love cat?" -Sister Lee 
"What is your issue Sister Atchley? Your problem is you are so cute. You are too too cute Sister Atchley. It not good. You need to repent. You break too many boy hearts!" -Sister Lee
"I look like a child" - me
"No you look like a cat" -sister Kwok 
Your reading assignment is a talk by president Hinkley called The Women in our Lives

Love you! 
<3 Sister Atchley

Monday, February 8, 2016


Dear Dad
I'm glad to see that y'all are going to the temple. We got to help clean the temple the other day. It was super cool because we were there for four and a half hours, but all we did was wipe down each individual leaf on the palm trees located in the different rooms. We were the last ones to finis our jobs but it's ok because we got to sit in the Celestial room by ourselves for an hour so I'm not complaining.
The amount of effort that goes into cleaning the temple is really amazing. You should think about it and then think about how our body is a temple for the Holy Ghost to dwell in.

"The picked you as the very elect of the elect to do this one job the entire time we're cleaning the temple. You are truly called to this particular task. We're going to wipe every leaf on every tree in the temple." -The guy supervising us

Elder Berta! How long was he out when I left? It's really weird when I still go home before Elders who have been in the field way longer than me.
This week as been gross. It was up to 90 degrees this week. I need to buy new shirts. I'm going to print pictures today so that I can send this SD card home. I'll probably send it in Matthew's birthday letter which I might just go ahead and send today.

So the guy Bobby we were going to teach hung up on us when we called to confirm our appointment. ): I was already having a really bad day that day. HOWEVER, that's the only bad day I've had since I've been in the field and I got to extend a baptismal invitation anyway. She didn't say she wouldn't get baptized. That's how it starts. Also I filled out my very first investigator progress form. I'm doing real missionary work. Just kidding I've been doing real missionary work the whole time.
We also got another member referral for a family that this member lives with during the week. The family lives about 3 houses down from our Bishop. Apparently this man asked Bishop for missionaries to teach this family and Bishop told him that Sister Shober and I are the missionaries from his ward even though we have great Elders in our ward. I was so excited! When I got set apart the blessing said that people would trust me to teach their family members and friends. That's already coming true! The priesthood is so cool. I love blessings.

Now that Sister Shober is a sister training leader I'm on exchanges a lot. I don't mind being on exchanges, but sometimes the sisters I'm with treat me like or make me feel like I'm not as good of a missionary because it's only my second transfer or because I'm a convert. I'm trying to decide that instead of being upset about it I will just show them by my actions what kind of missionary I am. I feel like I'm doing my best and improving every day. I was being emo about it the other day though. Then I remembered that there is no point in being sad. Men are that they might have joy right? I told a sister I was on exchanges with that I had only had one bad day since being in the field and she was like "well you must have a GREAT attitude about life."
That's true

My new endeavor is memorizing a really huge section of D&C 84. I started on verse 74 yesterday but I might have it by tomorrow. Memorizing scriptures keeps my mind focused on gospel related things.
In other news I couldn't even eat one entire waffle the other day. I was full after only 1/2 and super full after 3/4. Who am I anymore? The mission changed me.

It wasn't even a big waffle.

Sister Shober and I were going to teach relief society together, but Sister Shober has a cold so I taught it by myself. When I get home I hope I get called to some kind of teaching position because that is all I want with my life. Sister Shober said I did a good job and everyone said they liked the lesson. Almost like I've been trained as a teacher my entire life.

Elder Hamula came and gave us a training. He said a lot of really good stuff but one thing I thought was particularly good was that we already know the outcome of the struggle between Christ's church and Satan. This dispensation will end in Christ returning to the earth. Spoiler alert: WE WIN!

Two different men said my last name is beautiful while we were contacting the other day. It was really weird because usually people just say like actually? actally? actchly? what's your name?

People call Sister Atchley whenever they need something painted. I made a birthday card this week. But Elder Dayton, who is going to make Sister Atchley's birthday card?

Anyway this is the reading assignment for the week sorry if it's kind of long:

First let me suggest that the sheep and the goats mentioned in Matthew are both part of the Shepherds fold. I have no proof of this as far as the parable goes but It's just a thought I had.

Now as you read this talk and the scriptures think of someone you have negative feelings for to any degree. What are the criteria by which the sheep and the goats are divided? What does this say about how we should treat others? 

I invite you to pray to Heavenly Father that He help you understand whoever you were thinking of as you read. I promise that if you sincerely ask Him to help take away your negative thoughts and feelings it will work. I do this all the time. This is the kind of prayer that I keep in my heart at all times.

Anyway I love y'all!
<3 Sister Atchley

Monday, February 1, 2016


Dear Dad

Yep it's two months tomorrow.
So I'm racist against March apparently. 
I straight up forgot it existed like 5 times this week. 
"we should have a baptism on the 5th. Wait that's next week that won't work.... wait March has 5 days as well...... awkward." 

We're having a lesson this week with a guy named Bobby that we met in the park the other day. He was like "Man this a good scripture y'all just goin round sharin this for free? this good stuff!" He just believed the Book of Mormon was scripture before we even told him anything about it. He just read it and could tell. So cool. Then HE called US during weekly planning and asked if we were going to be in the park to teach him that day. So we set an appointment for Wednesday I think. We're gonna extend an invitation to be baptized I think. It's my first time extending a baptismal invitation so I'm not nervous at all somehow. 

Sister Shober always says "Sister Atchley is the one training me." then she gets mad when I call her senior companion. So I do it all the time. :3

Another thing Sister Shober is mad about is the fact that I've been here for only 7 weeks and it's winter and we have a car and I already got dem tan lines. I have watch tan and CTR ring tan and shoes tan. Y'all are not going to know who I am when I get home. My hair is getting lighter as well. 
All the other sisters love to just come up behind me and do my hair with no warning so my hair is always on point. I'm ok with it. 

Oh yeah, so transfers are tomorrow. Nothing changed for me except Sister Shober is now a sister training leader. Also Elder Blue is being transferred. Elder Center is left alone with his poor widowed mother, Elder Dayton. I don't know how they will get along without Elder Blue. I think all three of them kind of kept peace between the other two so everything worked out. Elder Dayton and Elder Center are like polar opposites, but they're both good Elders so it should be ok. 
"It's just you and your poor widowed mother now." -me
"No you can't just have a mom, Elder Dayton is my dad now." -Elder Center
"No there are plenty of single moms. That's kind of offensive Elder Center" -Elder Dayton 
"YOUR DAD LEFT YOU!"- Elder Blue
They're kinda weird. 

Matthew needs to brush his hair back or to the side. 

So there are a lot of Asians here. The Irvine mission has Chinese missionaries and the Anaheim mission has Korean missionaries. They both teach English classes in our building so we go and help out. We just practice having conversations with the Korean and Chinese people. They are so nice. They always tell me I'm not short, and I'm beautiful. The Chinese people always say "You're from Texas!! SAME ELDER CHAN!!" Elder Chan is from McKinney or somewhere. I asked him if people were really racist to him when he got called to speak Chinese and he said yes. Then he told me I practically live in mexico. We were missing Mexican rice together. The other day Sister Shober was roped into doing an impromptu concert for all the Chinese ladies because she said she's studying music. 

"Yeah I did Filipino work for a transfer." - Elder Dayton 

"YOU HAVE FIVE CHANCES BROTHER!!" - A kid named Maddie 

I keep having all these weird scary or sad dreams lately. Like almost everyone in our district is having weird sad dreams lately. That's probably an exaggeration, but me and Elder Dayton and Sister Shober are anyway. It's the worst. 

I don't know what else to say. 

I guess I can give you the reading assignment. 

So people outside the church sometimes tell us that in order to be saved you just have to have sincere faith in Christ. Then people in the church argue by saying "yes but faith without works is dead" or something. Then the people outside the church say that if there are works produced it's because of sincere faith that you have in Christ but the works don't save you. 

I've decided that I think the people that try to bash with us are right about the fact that works come as a result of your faith. When your faith in Christ increases you have an increased desire to have your will more in line with God's will. Then when you do the works which are actually necessary to be more in line with God's will you are repenting. That's the actual definition of repentance. So, maybe this is poorly explained, but I think that repentance is where the works without which faith is dead come in. If that makes sense. 

So your reading assignment is this: "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" by Gene R Cook and Hebrews chapter 11 (Read all the footnotes too. You don't have to read the cross references.) Think about faith and works. How are they different? How do they support one another? When is a time that you showed faith, but Heavenly Father still acted in a way that you weren't expecting?

Love Y'all!
<3 Sister Atchley

P.S. Sister Shober's mom keeps calling me short in her weekly emails. >:(