Montana Billings Mission
1848 Rimrock Rd
Billings, MT 59102

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

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