Date

February 5, 2018

Area

Morehead

Companion

Sister Courtney Ashmead

Say NO to drugs😮

Hey y'all!!

What. A. Week. I'm about to tell y'all about the last thing you'd ever think would happen when you are on a mission. The last thing, at least, Sister Ashmead ever would have dreamed of...

The weed incident.. So, at 4:30 am to be exact we woke up to a thick smell of weed in our whole apartment. It was worse than I've ever smelled before, like so thick, that's the best way I can explain it. I've had issues in other places with neighbors smoking marijuana, but nothing compared to this.

Sister Ashmead has never in her life smelled weed before, so she honestly didn't know what to think. We both didn't talk at this time because neither one of us knew the other was awake, and you don't mess around when it comes to our sleep time... we only get so much of it. Anyways, she was sick out of her mind from this strange odor in our apartment. Poor girl. When the alarm went off, she finally vocalized how sick she was, tears were streaming down her face with the legit sickness she was feeling. I wasn't feeling any major side effects, and I honestly had no idea what to do to help this situation. I had us run outside really fast in the freezing cold to get some fresh hair. That seemed to help. Then I had her take a shower and take some Advil. I should totally be a doctor. Haha sike!! Luckily, we had to be out of the house by 8am for zone conference in Lexington, so that saved us from morning studies in our super, skunk smelling apartment🙃 Once, we arrived at zone conference, Sister Hughes (our missions presidents wife) could sense that something was clearly wrong. We told her about our eventful morning and she got right on it to handle the problem. I was SO relieved.

Unfortunately, Sister Ashmead was sick most of the day... she survived zone conference but I felt so bad for her, and it was such a long day. We didn't even get home until 10:30pm due to more meetings in Lexington. We pulled up to our apartment ready to get into our covers and sleep away. Our neighbors had another plan... after getting out of the car, you could hear the party going on, and smell multiple skunks this time. There was no way Sister Ashmead was going in that house. And I don't blame her, I didn't really want to either. Just opening our front door, you could feel and smell the nasty smells coming out. So here we were, 10:30 @ night, totally exhausted, and debating sleeping in the car because it was that bad. I honestly can't fathom how people enjoy the stuff, but anyways my stess level was through the roof. I had to somehow fix this problem, and help comfort Sister Ashmead. And I know Heavenly Father was looking out for us. He gave me the 10 seconds of courage, we call it.

I had a thought to knock on our neighbors door and politely ask them to stop. This was scarier than any other kind of door knock I've done thus far... I knocked, and knocked, and knocked. All I got were some nasty comments and them telling me they "didn't want to join our church." So their window was open, so you know what I did, I poked my head into their weed filled window and started talking to them. I think they were as shocked as I was that I was doing this. I told them the problems my roommate (haha they won't know who a companion is) was having due to the weed they were smoking. I said we are your upstairs neighbors and it's coming into our whole apartment and making us really sick. They quickly started apologizing, and said they would stop. I said thank you and to please stop, so we wouldn't have to call anyone else. I think this really frightened them, they all jumped up and said oh for sure we're so sorry.

So, now that was taken care of, but what were we going to do about the smell?? The horrible smell!! Well open all the windows, and keep the door open, plus turn off the air was the next thing that popped into my mind. Fun fact for you... I am a very weak person, so opening the windows in our apartment was not happening and Sister Ashmead was keeping down some vomit, so I went back downstairs to our lovely neighbors and had them come in and open up all of our windows. In that moment, I thought I can be so rude to them and just tell them how horrible they are, but I thought how would Christ treat them. He would love them, so I showed loved despite my lack of sleep. They helped me open the windows, and I think by this point they were extremely terrified of us, so they all left, and we haven't had a problem since. I'm assuming that's because Sister Hughes called our landlord and they got a good talking to. I'm sharing this experience, because we learned some valuable lessons...

1. God loves all his children, no matter their mistakes, so we should also.
2. There's a way to handle difficult situations.. As they walked out , after helping us, I said have a nice night. We can always choose to be nice. And the Lord can give us the 10 seconds of courage to do hard things!
3. You never know what to expect from a mission. Missionaires handle marijuana... wouldn't have guessed that one.
And 4. On the bright side what we learned about agency and God's hand with others agency was very eye opening. God, of course couldn't stop them from using their free will and choosing to smoke. He did however, play a part in answering our prayers with the smoke being the least strong in our room where it technically should have been the strongest because they were directly underneath us. We had asked that the smoke can get out of our house in our prayers the morning of. It wasn't out of our house, but very faint in our room. God's hand was there I'm sure waving the smoke from our room, our beds, and all our clothes!

It was for sure a bang considering the week I had hit. Y'all ready for this... I hit my YEAR mark!!😮 A great way to hit my year mark haha. Unfortunately, my side effects that Sister Ashmead had came the next day. It's been a rough go of it, but the Lord has given us the strength to do his work. Our joke of the week is that we died because we got weeded. I was trying to say RIP, but what came out was RIP in peace. Pretty accurate with the side effects we've been having haha.

I thought this wouldn't be another novel, but I thought wrong... it's a big deal to hit a year mark people hahah😂 totally justifying how long this will be haha.

So at zone conference, we had something really neat happen during one of our trainings. This experience allowed me to feel the Savior's love for me.... The sister training leaders had us do a role play and pray specifically to deliver a message that a certain missionary needed to hear. Then they had us break off into groups and share a spirit driven message to that missionary. I felt the Savior's love so strongly for me. Prior to receiving my message from a humble servant of the Lord. I prayed to know what to say to someone, and also I prayed that I could hear what Heavenly Father needed me to hear. Both my prayers were answered. This Elder who barely knows me shared with me that the Lord gives his hardest battles to his strongest warriors. He shared how I've lived an uneasy life... We really all do, but God knows he can send hard times your way because you will rely on him to get through it. It was so powerful, and everything I needed to hear considering the morning we had, and prepared me for the night that was to come. It's amazing the messages Heavenly Father gives us to convey to his children.

I was thinking about how everyone in the world is so different. And being different is good. It makes the world more fun. With all the differences in the world we do all have one thing in common. We are ALL on our wonderful journey home. Let's make all the adventures and fun filled stories we can get, to someday laugh, cherish, and remember the times we had as we strolled down our different, and unique roads home. Sometimes the bumps in the road, make us laugh and cry, and so do the easy paths, but they are all leading us back home to our Father in Heaven. Lets hold unto where we are going and how we are doing at getting back to our heavenly home. We have many eager family and friends waiting for us. And we only have this one journey back home, enjoy it ALL while it lasts.

I've been reflecting my time as a servant of the Lord. Unreal to think it's been a year. Some things I've learned to small talk, cook, and never live in an apartment complex ever again!! Haha. But on a more serious note, I've learned a lot more than that. Some quotes I really enjoy and have helped me throughout my time serving the Lord...
"Success is going from failure to failure without any lose of enthusiasm."
"Some fail because they are more concerned with the preservation of their public image than with having Christ’s image in their countenances!"
"Giving away all our sins is the only way we can come to know God."

I've learned my divine worth and how I can connect to my Father in Heaven as his daughter. I truly have felt God's love so strongly. There's nothing like it. No amount of worldly happiness can even come close to the happiness I feel from living Heavenly Father's son's gospel.

I really never liked when people said, "a mission is the hardest thing you will ever do." My thoughts were how can serving the Lord be hard? Haha I look back thinking how naive I was, and I would never of known just how hard it is to serve the Lord without experiencing this for myself. And I will never regret one day of this time I have been given. I look at approaching life's challenges in such a different way now. I feel like being on a mission is hard, so you can learn HOW to deal with the hard stuff life tends to throw at ya. Instead of wanting to crawl under a rock and hide, I'm discovering who's strength I can rely on. I'm not strong enough, but Jesus Christ is! You can come to know how to completely and totally rely on the Savior. To be 100% dependent on Him. Also, with it being hard, I'm more fully coming to understand the hard and difficult life the Lord himself lived.

No, Christ won't necessarily take away my problems, but he will make them lighter. He will teach me what I need to learn to get through it. And he will always hold my hand through anything. I may slip and lose grip of his hand, but his hand will never stop reaching out for mine. All I have to do is reach back up, and place my hand in his hand, with all my might, and he will lead me through the darkest of nights, as he would as the great and morning sun. Elder Uchtdorf said it better than I ever could, No, following the Savior will not remove all of your trials. However, it will remove the barriers between you and the help your Heavenly Father wants to give you. God will be with you."

It wasn't easy for him, and it won't always be easy for me, BUT think of our Redeemer's amazing life... Oh the miracles he performed, the happiness he felt, the individuals he came to love and share his life with, and the mission he accomplished. Was the hard worth it. I'm sure he'd say he would do it all over again, an absolute YES. And that's the beauty of it all. Looking at things overall, with clear eyes we can see the glorious bigger picture, and how every marking is exactly where it needs to be.

This time I've been given to serve the Lord, has given me the MOST life changing moments I've ever experienced. Do I love being a missionary? A thousand times, yes!! I'm so happy I get to continue to be my Savior's missionary for all time and eternity.

Superbowl in Kentucky... Sister Ashmead and I are totally out to the loop. We didn't even know it was Superbowl weekend until we got invited to a superbowl party. I guess being in the Lord's loop is a whole lot better😊 ANYWAYS, Kentucky is serious about their Superbowl parties. They had a missionaires designated room, far from any Tv's, and it seemed like members were rotating in and out to talk with us and watch the game. It was pretty funny. We have the best ward and members ever! One of our ward members literally had a wing sauce fountain hahah. Like a chocolate fountain but for wing sauce😂 And of course everything was fried and loaded with love but mostly butter. Gotta love Kentucky😋

After pondering over this last week, it is my humble prayer that I can continue to have all my life reflect Jesus Christ's will. As I follow his will, I know my life will always be on the straight and narrow, and he will keep my hand on the iron rod!

And remember, "the things that make you different are the things that make you, YOU." BE WEIRD😉

Love youinns,
Sister Lauren Ashlee Ludwig

Pictures:
1. Our motto of the week😎
2&3&4. These pictures sum up our feelings real nice. We are survivors hahaha!!!




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