Montana Billings Mission
1848 Rimrock Rd
Billings, MT 59102

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stake Conference

Things went really well this week for tracting. As a mission our weekly goal is to approach 100 people and to invite 50 people to do something. And it's pretty tough to achieve that goal, but this has been the best week. We approached 92 people and of those 92 people we approached we talked to 34 of them. Yesterday we were tracting Rock Creek and met a family that were open and that was my first actual walk in lesson since I've been here. It went really well and I think we're going to go back and talk to them more. We also ran into a guy who keeps 4 hives of bees, he said one were Austrian bees and I can't remember what the other bees were. But the Tom was really nice, in fact he let us try the honey from the comb and it was the best honey I've ever had. He was really nice and he said that Elders used to visit him (I think they were our missionaries, might have been Jehovah Witness), and he invited us back. He was a really nice guy. He also gave us a free jar of honey. :) On Wednesday we were out tracting and it started raining, so we stayed at a members house till the rain stopped, and I was wearing a silk tie, so now it was a little wrinkled, I'm pretty bummed about that, at least it still looks nice. I've found that it is really hard to find new investigators. But things have been going great.

I had Bear meat for the first time, it was pretty good. I also had goat milk for the first time, and it tastes just like the milk you get at the store, I couldn't tell the difference. I love the members here, they feed us very well. :)

On Saturday I had to wake up at 4 and left at 5:30 to leave to Helena to be there for a missionary conference with our Apostle, Elder Neal Anderson and some members of the seventy. Elder Gonzales, I believe is the Second President of the Seventy, and Elder Case(?) of the area seventy. I hope I didn't get the names messed up, feel free to correct me. ;) The meeting was great! The all spoke about missionary work and how important it is. What stuck out to me is that we must remember that an Apostle and President Monson are still regular men. Elder Anderson was saying how President Mecham's son used to mow their lawn, but he now mows it himself. Even an Apostle still mows his own lawn. He also spoke that on his mission he said he was an ordinary missionary and that he was never called to be District leader, Zone leader, or an assistant to his mission president on his mission. Anyway, the meeting was amazing, and we closed by singing "I Know That My Redeemer Lives", which is my favorite Hymn, and I really felt the spirit when we sung that song. It just sounded amazing and beautiful. After the meeting we had another meeting with just the missionaries and I wasn't the only one touched by that Hymn. Everyone was bearing a testimony from that Hymn and what it meant to us. I find myself singing that Hymn a lot in my head and reading the Hymn before personal study.

Then on Sunday we had Stake Conference and Elder Gonzales spoke. He spoke about missionary work, families, and the Temple. He gave a really good talk. Stake Conference however, was short and was only an hour and a half long. So this has been a really Great week. Even though this was the greatest week on my mission so far, it also been the toughest just because I got a big wave of homesickness. But for the most part I've gotten over it now. I try not to think about home too much and get lost in the work. I just like keeping myself busy and losing myself in the work and not be idle so I won't have much time to dwell about what's happening back home. I am really enjoying myself here in Montana and the scenery is beautiful. I encourage all of you to try and share the gospel with others or just setting a good examples to others. To find ways to serve others. I find myself being happy as I find ways to serve and out sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ our Savior. "How sweet the joy this sentence gives I know that my Redeemer lives."

Monday, August 20, 2012


Hmmm where to start? Well, I've started biking again since my tire blew out my first day. I'm riding a different bike,  and the gear was messed up. It wouldn't pedal very well on flat road or downhill, but it worked on hills. So basically I had to pedal every 3 for Elder Scott's one pedal. It was like this for 2 days. And we bike from 20-30 miles a day. Then on the third day I managed to fix the gears on my bike, so it's much better now and can travel twice as fast than before. That's my small miracle this week. But biking is super tiring, we are now biking everyday so we can save on our miles in the truck. Plus we do 1-3 miles of walking each day. So, I'm pretty exhausted every night, and pretty tough to wake up in the morning. Somehow I am able to be awake in the morning, in a way I see it as a blessing to be able to stay awake.

Yesterday was Great! We got a less active, Bro. Stombaugh, to Church, which was the first time since Elder Scott has been here, and Elder Scott has been here for 5 months. We also had a less active family, Hadleys, to church also! They haven't gone to church in 2 years. So we are doing well with less actives, but we are working on our investigators. I thought wrong when I first got here that we can't go tracting anywhere, It's just East Missoula and Clinton we can't tract. So we've been doing a lot of tracting. So on Saturday we went tracting in Potomac and we found a guy name Ray, and he seems like a potential investigator. So, we have some potential investigators, it's just hard to set appointments with any of them. But things are going pretty well, it's progressing.

Food. There is so much food that I've eaten that I would have refused to eat at home just because I said I didn't like them. Things that I don't like that I now like, cantaloupe, cherries, and rhubarb. And other fruits, but I just love cherries now, and it's a good thing too because people up here really love cherries. I've also had huckle berries, which only grow in Montana, and it's by far my favorite type of berries now. Guess what Aunt Lynette?!?! I ate a banana cream pie the other day! I'm sure I made you proud haha. ;) I've had Elk meat for the first time too. I think it's decent, I kinda like it. So, I suppose my taste buds changed, so I now like fruits that I used to hate. :) I'm also really well fed, I'm eating a lot more than I used to eat and the weird thing is, I'm hungry all the time. Yesterday, I had a big lunch at 3, had salmon, with the Starks, (Family I stay with), then I had dinner at 5, and had salmon again! Boy, was I stuffed, two really huge meals and the weird thing was, I was really hungry half an hour later. I guess I'm trying to put meat on me before winter hits haha. Unfortunately I'm not gaining any weight because of all the walking and cycling I do.

By the way, Missoula actually has 2 Walmarts and Costco! So I go to Walmart on P-day for shopping. I feel like I'm rich, I've only spent $20 the last 3 weeks, and I have $170 left on my card. I really don't even need that much money, but I'll probably just get a bunch of snacks. :) Well, that's about it I guess, Love you Guys!

Elder Ashcroft

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012


Well, the second week was so much better than the first! Elder Scott and I were able to see more investigators this week and surprisingly, we didn't do any service tracting because we actually met with some investigators. We have a new investigator, the missionaries before me tracted into her, so Elder Scott and I taught Christian the restoration and she seemed interested so we'll keep seeing her. We have another investigator John, who is a CEO of YMCA. He seems to like all the things we've taught him, it was his second lesson and he was a referral from a member. So, things here have definitley improved and the members here are great!

On Thursday I went to Helena for leadership meeting. I saw my Mission President, the Mechams. I was also able to see most of the Elders and Sisters from my district from the MTC. It was great to see them! Elder Chappell and Sister Pattullo were the only ones not there. It was a nice little reunion. I found out that Elder Burrows sleeps in a tent in his area! I didn't know some missionaries still live in tents. Anyway, leadership conference was Awesome and I learned so much. I also found out that the missionaries here will get to meet an Apostle on the 25th! President Mecham said it will be Elder Anderson and there will be two Seventies there as well. I can't wait.

So this weekend I went to Drummond, which is a 45min drive from Clinton, and missionaries rarely go out to Drummond. It is really beautiful out there and about 60% of the people are active members. Most of the people there are cattle ranchers. Anyway, we stayed at a members house all Saturday, the Laceys. Bro. Lacey used to own, I can't remember, I'm guessing, 100 acres and 250 cattle. He said that he used to make $600,000 a year! But he sold most of his land because of his health issue and couldn't keep up the land. So anyway, Elder Scott and I spent the whole day doing yardwork for the Laceys. For lunch they fed us the best BBQ ribs I ever had! Bro. Lacey joked that he should have the missionary more often cause he got a check for $130,000 in the mail that day! He's a really cool guy. But working all day tired me out, but I liked it since it was a change in our schedule.

Then in the evening we visited the Fellons family, the wife and the daughter are 5 year converts and the husband a 2 year convert. Apparently the missionaries haven't visited any families or church in a very very long time. So that's where I found out that Cliff McKinney and his companion were the last ones to actually visit the Fellons. So you better ask Cliff if he remembers them. It sure is a small world, but it's really unfortunate that the missionaries haven't been up here in awhile.

The main reason why we came to Drummond was because we gave talks on Sunday. Elder Scott spoke on the Plan of Salvation and I spoke on Christlike Attributes. My whole talk is basically from Preach My Gospel. So for any future missionaries out there, get familiar with PMG, you will use it alot! My talk went pretty well. The Branch here has about 6 Young Men. So the YM President asked us to speak during Priesthood class, so we taught them the Restoration as how we would teach it to investigator, so they know how to teach. What I liked what they were doing is that they use PMG for their lessons.

After church we met with 3 families. The Piippos, Wise, and Bryants Family. Bro. Piippo works for a show called Predator which is a hunting show. So he has alot of cool guns, and he took a picture and sent it to you, so you should have it, if not I'll forward it to you. Anyway they were a cool family, as were the other families out here in Drummond. I really love the Branch there and it is an amazing town.

Things are progressing here and it is great. I'm starting to really love it here. I will be going to Kalispell for Zone Conference tomorrow. Should be a long drive.

Elder Ashcroft

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Well, I met my mission president, the Mechams, they are really awesome people. One of the sadest things about arriving in Montana is that I won't be able to see all the friends I've made at the MTC. I can't believe you found out where I was going before I got to tell you. :( So yes, I serve in the Missoula Area, but I'm not actually serving in Missoula though. I serve from East Missoula to Drummond and I live in Clinton which is between those two towns. I have a huge area. I'll talk more about my area later though. As for Facebook, this is one of seven mission in the world that get to use facebook and blogging. It is a new thing that they are testing out and they said it is working pretty well. However, we can not use facebook or blogging till after our first transfer and how obedient the missionaries are. So, maybe in a few months I'll have facebook again. :) We use facebook to get in touch with our non-member friends back home, investigators, and inactives. We are given this tool to share the gospel, spiritual thoughts, and to answer any questions people have of Mormons. It is becoming a really great tool. This is one story of facebook, a missionary was going to Brazil but had to wait for his visa so was sent to Montana for awhile, well he was here long enough to be able to use facebook and found someone in Brazil who was interested. So when the missionary got his visa, he actually met up with the guy and he ended up baptizing him. That's how awesome of a tool facebook is.

Ok, enough of that and more of my area and Montana. So I arrived in Billings tuesday night and I went with experienced missionaries, Elder Wahls and Elder Greco, we taught recent converts who wants to be married in the temple a year from now. It was amazinfg we retaught them the restoration. Then Wednesday I had a 7 hrs drive to Missoula. My companion is Elder Scott and he's from Robinson, Illinois. We have a truck, a 2012 Chevy Colorado, and we have bikes. So on Thursday, we decided to ride bikes so we could save milage on the truck, and we have really really old bikes and we rode 30 miles that day..... my rear end was sore for a few days because of the rock solid seat, plus I was super exhausted. Plus, by the end of the day my back tire popped because they were super old tires and we still had 6 miles to go, so we got a ride from a member.

So I've quickly found out people here don't like Califorians at ALL! Because they think we are just rich people buying up the land and they hate our government. Since I've got here in Missoula, I've only seen two of our investigators. Apparently tons of our investigators dropped us, avoiding us, or out of town. One investigator is Madeliene, who's 13, and Elder Scott said she would've been baptized already but she can't make it to church because she can't get a ride from her parents. She is a really good investigator. Then we have another golden investigator, who is practically a member already, except we are just waiting for her to get married with her fiance, since they are living together. Waiting for the guy to propose to her. Other than that she's golden. I've found out pretty fast that people here isolate themselves from people and aren't social so that's why we are really down with few investigators. All the towns are super small, so Elder Scott and his companion before me already tracted in all the towns and we have to wait 6 months before we can go back tracting, so I haven't done any tracting. We do ALOT of service tracting in our work clothes. We just walk around neighborhoods looking to do service, we do abou 2-3 hrs of service tracting and people are very indepentent and want no help, so we basically just walk around all day. We've only helped 3 people and each lasted no more than 3 minutes. So it's really disappointing.

There is alot for smokers, hippies, and alcholic here. In fact I came at the worst time because they have this T****** Festival in one side of our area. From what people said and from my companion, it's a bunch of nude people, heavy drinking, and they do a bunch of vulgar stuff. A week long festival that they do annually, so, it's pretty bad here. So there's been a lot of ambulence and cops driving by within the last week. In fact yesterday on our way to church there had been an accident on the road from drunk driving from the festival and found out two people died. Pretty bad here.

However, the members here are great! They are very nice people. Unfortunately, I've found out there's a split in the branch and some of the people don't like each other, so Elder Scott and I need to bring them back together. Most of the members here are converts, and there are a lot of less actives. We have a lot of work to do here.Elder Scott and I have been really busy. Elder Scott been out 9 months and I'm his second trainee.

I am living at a member's house, I'm staying with the Starks. The are a nice older couple. There is a railroad track right across the house and the trains go by several times a day, so you can feel the house vibrate every time the train goes by. The trains transport a lot of coal out to Washington which is then shipped to China. There is a huge lumbermill shut down because of enviromentalist, so there's a ton of chopped down trees lying around uselessly.

I'm not going to lie, it's very discouraging here. The progress here is slow and I'm getting a little depressed. But I know the lord called me here for a reason and that I can make a difference. I love Elder Scott cause he's a very hard worker and is a great trainer. I know we can make a difference in people's lives here and to help progress the branches here. I know without the Lord I cannot do anything, but I know that with his help we can help pick things up in my area. That I need to be patient and show love to the people here. That I must always remember our Savior and that he has gone through much worse than what I'm going through right now. I know that the Gospel is true.

Elder Ashcroft

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Missionaries in Montana

Elder Ashcroft Has Arrived!

Sister Mecham, the mission president's wife, sent this email and some pictures.

We know Elder Ashcroft is going to be an amazing missionary!  We are excited to have him in the mission.  President Mecham and I express gratitude for the faith and sacrifice that have allowed Elder Ashcroft to be with us.  We will take good care of him.  He is assigned to the Clinton, Drummon, and Seeley Lake areas in Missoula, Montana.  His trainer and companion is Elder Scott.  We hope you enjoy the attached pictures of his first days in the mission.