Montana Billings Mission
1848 Rimrock Rd
Billings, MT 59102

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chased By Dogs!

Well, I guess I'll start off by talking about the mission and about online proselyting. President Mecham is basically restarting facebook and about being online since a lot of missionaries aren't following the rules and abusing facebook. Since I've been here, I realized that a lot of missionaries aren't being very obedient and I think President Mecham is doing a good job and being more strict in the mission. Anyway, he took everybody off facebook and only has 15 missionaries online. Being online now is like a calling and you have to have an interview in order to get on. He checks how well you are doing in your area and checks how much you are tracting and giving lessons. After every transfer 15 more missionaries can get on and he said that probably only 30-50% of missionaries will get online in the mission. Which is a good thing since a lot of missionaries are abusing their privalages. So, all missionaries who were online and those who weren't will now be taking an hour of the day to read out of the BoM instead of that hour being online. I really enjoy that one hour to read the Book of Mormon.

Well, it's still smokey as usual and is really smokey today. I've also been sick all week, I've had headaches, stuffy nose, and sore throat. So It's been a tough week. Especially since the Zone Leaders set a goal that every companionship in the zone to knock 300 doors. So we did a lot of tracting and walking this week. We ended up knocking 246 doors, which is a new record in Clinton. We also beat our Zone record, which was 750 and as a zone we got 1700! The only bad thing is that there really aren't very many places to go tracting besides houses that are far away and it's difficult to get rides out there. Since Elder Scott has been here he's knocked about 1500 doors and of those we only have 1 potential investigator. They say that every 1000 doors you knock you get one baptism. So that one investigator that we have we saw her Friday and she is studying the BoM and in fact she's getting about 5 others to read it too! :) Lyla is Amazing investigator! Unfortunately we wont see her for several weeks since she will be out of town.

So while tracting this week, we knocked on a door and nobody answered but we heard dogs barking, so when we were walking away either the person opened the door to let the dogs out or the dogs got out somehow (I think the person let them out personally) so the dogs chased us for a good 300 yards. And we were sprinting for our lives, and that just wiped out my energy for the whole day since I'm sick. One of the dogs nearly bit my ankle. Another story that I forgot to mention last week while tracting, we were walking up to a house and a dog bit my right ankle till the owner call him away. The dog pierced the skin, but I wasn't bleeding but the dog left a bruise. So I am now wary of dogs.

This Wednesday I have a Mission Tour in Helena, which is 2 hrs drive away, and there will be a member of the seventy there. I can't wait for that.

A good scripture I found this week is Alma 38:9. You should look it up, it's a great scripture.

Well, that's been my week, and hopefully I'll get over my cold. Hope all of ya have a great week!

Elder Ashcroft

Monday, September 17, 2012

Extreme Smoke Conditions

Well, things are moving slowly, now that school started and summer is gone, it's tough to keep busy in the afternoon. All the teenage investigators we have are in school, so it's tough to get a hold of them. Plus the half the population in our area is gone since half the houses here are summer homes. We do most of our tracting in the afternoons since all our appointments are in the evening. So with all the people gone for winter, most of the houses we tract the people aren't there. We went tracting Rock Creek this week and it's beautiful up there and the creek, more like a river, is beautiful too. I'll have to send you some pictures next week.

I learned something new this week about baptism. I always thought that being immersed in water made you clean till I read 2 Nephi 31:17 which says "then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost." now I know that it is the Holy Ghost that makes you clean when you receive it. I don't know how I never knew that before because that is very important to know. Another thing I came across was 1 Nephi 2:16. It talks about Nephi and how he asked God to know the mysteries of God and the Lord "soften (his) heart." It made me think, Nephi must have been like Laman and Lemuel and had a hardened heart. The only difference between Nephi and his brothers is that Nephi prayed to know if the things his father (Lehi) taught was true. Anyway, just things that I've found in the scriptures.

We went up to Seely Lake Friday because we got a referral from the mission home. We actually called the referral and he invited us to come see him so we were up in Seely all day. Unfortunately we weren't able to see him, so we did a bunch of tracting up there. Our tracting improved alot from last week. From 15 last week to 68 this week. We probably have about 2 potential new investigators. We are seeing two part members family on a regular basis. We also have new investigator who is really interested that we tracted into 2 weeks ago and we taught her a week ago, she seems like a golden investigator. Also Saturday we went back to Potomac and saw Ray again and we gave him a BoM and he said he will try and read it in a week and come to church next Sunday and we will set an appointment with him then. I'm super excited about Ray, he said he read the BoM before, so he's just rereading it.

There is still a lot of smoke here in Missoula, it's really been really smokey for a month now and been in extreme air condition because of the smoke also. I've also been really tired for the last two weeks, so I think it's because of the smoke, I don't know, but I am always wanting a nap, so I took a nice two hour nap this morning and now I feel refreshed. :) It's also starting to cool down now, so if it wasn't for the smoke the weather is great! I guess I need to prepare for winter. There is a member in our Branch that owns a store that sells winter clothes and he said he'll help me get some good winter clothes, which will be nice. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Well, this week has been very slow and we weren't able to do a whole lot of productive work unfortunately. We had to go into Missoula 4 times this week. Monday for P-day, Tuesday for District Meeting/Email, Wednesday because we have to write to the Mission President by email now instead of letters plus we had to do a survey. Then on Friday because the missionaries have a tradition of eating at a pancake place for lunch to discuss about transfers. So Elder Scott will be finishing my training in Clinton, which means Elder Scott will have been in this area for 7 1/2 months! We will be getting 3 brand new missionaries in Missoula area on Wednesday.

Tracting was terrible this week since the only place we can really tract is way out in Rock Creek since all the other towns have been basically tracted out. The houses in Rock Creek are really spread out so it takes awhile to go from one house to another. We only tracted 15 houses this week. It's really frustrating and we're going to try and do better this week. We also tracted part of Ovando yesterday, which is 20 minutes past Seely lake, and we talked to a guy who lived in Salt Lake for a couple of years so he knew about our church and he said he also read the BoM, but he never prayed about it, so he doesn't have a testimony of it. Anyways, he said he lived in Ovando for 40 years and he said the missionaries have never been there! Thats Crazy to think that missionaries never tracted that town! But Ovando is a really small town, population just over 50. I think Elder Scott and I are the only missionaries who have been to every town in our area and tracted in them for a very very very long time. In fact, I think we are also the only missionaries to go to all those towns in one transfer too in a very very very long time. I'm sure other missionaries have done it, I'm just saying it hasn't been done in forever. Anyways, we weren't able to tract out Ovando because we had to get back home, but of the people we talked to, they are really nice and seemed prepared to listen to what we have to say.

We went to church in Seely yesterday and it's a really small church! They had about 40 members there and they are amazing people. Saturday we spent all day doing service with a family who moved to Seely about 4 months ago. The Hamlins said that when they first arrived they asked their neighbors if they knew where the church was located, well they were anti-mormons so they responded that there was no church there. Well, the Hamlins eventually found the building a month later. The Hamlins are great people and we helped with their house and yard all day from 10A.M.-8P.M.

One thing I've learned since being out here is that I need to carry a lint roller everywhere I go cause just about everybody up here has a dog. And they always leave a ton of hair on my pants and it's a pain to try and brush it off. The other day we saw a St. Bernard and the guy said he weighed 200 pounds! We have also seen some half dog and half wolf! We also see a ton of deer up here. I'm not sure if I told you, but hunting season started, which means I'll be getting a lot of meat, which I'm excited for. :)

Elder Ashcroft

Zone Conference

Service (September 4, 2012)

Well, a random guy came up to Elder Scott and I and we started talking. We talked with him for 45 minutes right outside the library and he knows a lot from the Bible and is big in following the commandments. Anyway, we found out that he reads parts of the Book of Mormon and he said that he believes to be true as far as he knows because it goes along with the teaching of the bible. He also said that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Its a shame that he lives in Missoula outside my area, but we got his number so we can give it to the missionaries in Missoula and of course we gave him the numbers to the missionaries in Missoula too. It was a nice conversation and he is very open and he said he is studying the Bible. He should be a really good investigator.

Well, District meeting was good today, I just love having District Meeting every Tuesday. So transfers are next Tuesday and I've heard that there will be 18 new missionaries arriving from the MTC. Which will mean that a third of the missionaries in our mission will only be out less than 6 months and 3/4 of the missionaries been out a year or under a year. That's a lot of young missionaries in our mission. So we will get a call on Friday to see if we are transferred or not. Elder Scott has been in my area for 6 months, so we're not sure if he's going to stay or leave. I hope not since he's an amazing trainer and I want him to finish training me.

So as for investigators, we have a 13 year old girl who we are teaching and we weren't able to teach her this week which is a bummer because we are going to set a baptismal date with her. We can only teach her in the evening now since school started last tuesday. She actually would have been baptized before I came to the area, but they cancelled it because the missionaries were concerned about her being active. She would come to church every sunday its just that she doesn't have a ride and her parents are fine with her joining the church, its that they don't give her rides to activities. So were going to set a baptismal date with her this week, and her grandpa who is a member will start giving her rides which will help her be active. Another investigator that we have, Lerene, is pretty close to baptism I believe. Her husband, James is an active member, who is helping her and I think she will get baptized eventually. Lerene used to be a Jehovah Witness. We also have a less active, Clifford, and he's being reactivated. We are also teaching Clifford's wife, who's not a member, and I think she will eventually join too. We went tracting the other day and ran into a woman who invited us back on Friday night and offered us Hot Chocolate. She also basically asked us to teach the Restoration, so I'm super excited for this Friday. So things are going well.

Oh, thank you mom for the camera! I can finally take pictures. In fact I'll try and send some pictures next monday. I need to take some pictures of my area and the mountains. Which reminds me, all last week was super smokey. I guess there has been a lot of fires lately. We have a fire out near Drummond, which we're getting some smoke, but we're also getting smoke from Idaho, Washington, and Oregon from what I've heard. So we are getting ashes and a lot of smoke. The other night the moon was deep red. It looked pretty cool.

Let's see, I'll be going to Seely Lake for the first time Saturday and going to the Branch their on Sunday. So I will have visited every town in my area in one transfer. :) In fact we went tracting in Potomac and Potomac hasn't been tracted in 5 years! Which reminds me, we met a woman who gave us her number and invited us back! This has been a really good week. We are still working to get a baptismal date though. Love you guys!

Oops, I almost sent my email and I realized that I didn't mention about my service, which is the title of the email, haha, my bad. Well, on Saturday we went up in the Mountains to help the New's build their house. We helped from 7AM-6PM, so for 11 hours of hard work. But I really do enjoy serving because I lose myself in the work and I don't stress or think about other things. I've grown to love doing service, it gives me peace and a sense of comfort.