This is a blog about the mission experiences of Hermana Ashley Roylance. Ashley is a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (also known as the Mormons), in the Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission. She received her call from President Thomas S. Monson back in May of 2015, and she reported to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Bogota, Columbia on September 9, 2015
Ashley threw us a curve this week. P-day was on Tuesday this week, not Thursday. So, now we're feeling bad that we didn't have letters for her to read today, but we we're blessed to hear from her. Below, find a picture of her MTC group taken this week. So great to see her with that little black name tag.
so my pdays are weird and so the last time I wrote was Thursday, like a
few days ago but there is still so much that has happened and some
things I forgot to say last week, so here we go.
it really is such a small world. I would always hear my friends that
went to the Provo MTC say oh I saw this person and this person and this
person here but I was like, dang, like Im going to a whole different
country, I wont know anyone, which was true at first, but it turns out,
as I talk to everyone more, we have some mutual friends and its so fun
to talk about. It really is a blessing to. A lot of the missionaries
that I came to the CCM with are from Utah and somehow we know some of
the same people! Like, ok my companion, Hermana Phippen KNOWS SHAYLA
SMOOT!! like, mom, please tell Grandma that. She was really good friends
with here at school and they lived next door to each other, how crazy
is that?!? So yeah, it really is a small world after all.
EVERYTHING IS CORNBREAD
this is mostly just funny, but everything we have here is corn bread.
haha the cupcakes are cornbread, the cake is cornbread, and the
cornbread is cornbread...its so funny! Sometimes we have so strange food
here at the CCM. They like to serve for dessert lots of jello and like
different colored jello inside other jello...its really weird. Oh and I
eat rice. Every day. Like at least once if not twice a day...but I like
rice so its okay.
THE CHURCH IS STILL TRUE EVEN IF YOU GET HIVES
So, on Friday we actually got to go out proselyting and it was way
scary but also really awesome! Like, this was not some fake activity
where we talk with our teachers, no. We went outside the gates of the
CCM and talked to real Colombians..It was terrifying but also really
great. The first guy we talked to talked way fast and we just kind of
stood there nodding like yeah, okay, uh huh, yep. And while we were
doing this there were some dogs like running around us and brushing up
against us and I didnt really think anything of it but then once we got
back to the CCM I looked down at my legs and the sides were covered in
hives...yeah, I got some medicine from Hermana DuVall and they went away
after like a day but yeah...first day out and I get hives...but don't
worry, the church is still true!
so all the Latins and some of the Nortes (North Americans) left last
night at like 2 am to go to their missions and the Elders that I came
here with were all at immigration so it was literally just us 6 Hermanas
here in the CCM...and it was really strange..super quiet.
YOU THINK DRIVING IN UTAH IS BAD...
no matter what you say, Utah drivers are no where near as bad as
drivers in Colombia. THEY ARE CRAZY. They cut people off all the time
and merging is crazy. We are usually in a bus and I guess buses have
the right of way but its really like Mario Kart. So crazy, so so crazy.
Bogota is SO different from anywhere I have every been. There is graffiti on a ton of walls and if there isn't graffiti, there are posters
plastered on the walls with announcements and stuff. its so
interesting. Don't get me wrong though, it is a beautiful place. There
are mountains here that remind me of Utah and I love it!
GOD IS SO AWARE OF US
is so aware of us and there have been so many times that I have
realized it this week. He allows me to see blessings in my life and it
really strengthens my testimony. If you ever feel like you are having an
unproductive day or uneventful day or just any day in general really,
reflect back on the day and see how God has blessed you. I promise you
you will be able to see the hand of the Lord in your life. He blesses us
in so many ways and they aren't always big ways, but he is aware of us.
DONT JUST LET PEOPLE JOIN A BASKETBALL TEAM
on Sunday. Oh, I love Sundays by the way, but I think Ive already said
that, but I do. They are great. Anyway, on Sunday Presidente DuVall was
giving a devotional and he started talking about how in South America
its really popular for missionaries to get baptisms through basketball
and other sports because people think oh, if I get baptized I can be on
there team and then they have tons of people in South America who don't
even know they're part of the church. We have to really convert these
people. Its not just about baptisms, its about bringing these people
unto Christ and truly truly converting them, we cant just let them join a
know God loves each and every one of us and even if I cant speak the
language very well right now, I know that He will help me and help
investigators understand what Im trying to say. An Hermana last night
read a talk to us about how we dont know everything, but we know enough.
How true that is. I certainly dont know everything, but right now, I
know enough and I just need to keep working hard. I love you all and
have a wonderful week!
P.S. okay I forgot one funny thing. So sometimes, as in a lot, I
struggle with Spanish but one of the first lessons we were teaching I
was trying to say my dad was an engineer and I guess I said the word
wrong and accidentally said my dad was a gangster...yep...we all had a
good laugh about that."
Ashley didn't let us know what day P-day was at her CCM. So we wrote to her on Sunday night, hoping that P-day was on Monday. Monday came and went, no word. So did Tuesday, and Wednesday. By Thursday we were a bit antsy, and then a letter finally arrived around noon on Thursday. In a separate email she described the experience like "learning Spanish from a fire hose". Here is what she wrote...
"Hello everyone! Thanks to everyone who wrote to me, I can feel all of your love and am so grateful for all of you!
what have you guys done in the past month....oh wait...Ive only been
here a week? oh, ok. This week has literally felt like months. I think
there is a reason they have you write your family and friends a week
after you get here, because if you wrote after being here one or two
days all you would say is oh my gosh what am I doing here? what did I
get myself into? and it is kind of overwhelming at first, but after a
few more days you realize its still really hard but you can do it!
first of all, some things about the CCM (MTC). Its so awesome and my
teacher said there are only about 75 missionaries total here right
now-like this is not the Provo MTC, people. Its super small but I love
it so much! The latina Hermanas are so awesome and I love them all soo
much. They help us with our Spanish and are so fun to talk to...even if I
cant really understand them. The food here is pretty good. Some of it
is kind of weird, like one day we had pot roast but there was like an
egg inside...? I dont even know how they did that...but it was good
nonetheless! Also, they have fruit juices here at a lot of meals and
THEY ARE THE BEST JUICES I HAVE EVER HAD!!! They are soo good and so
fresh, ah I love them! Also, right before I wrote this email we ate
lunch and I ate fish...yes, I did actually eat it. For those of you who
know me, know that I don't like fish, but it was super good! Other than
that they serve us pretty normal stuff and they give us a lot so ever
time I just say to the cook un poco, por favor haha and they give me
week has really been a roller coaster of emotions. The first few days I
felt overwhelmed a little bit with what I had to do. The first Friday
after we got here we had to teach an investigator in Spanish....that was
probably the hardest thing I have ever done...but it all worked out! We
are teaching two investigadores right now, Hector y Ricardo. At the
beginning of the week Hermana Phippen and I (mi compañera) kind of got
frustrated because we were having a hard time teaching and we felt like
we never knew what to teach but Presidente DuVall and ourr other
teachers really helped us in tryring to learn how to teach. I mean,
thats the reason we are here, right? In one of our devotionals, someone
said that it is not enough to be set apart as a missionary, we need to
BECOME a missionary and I thought that was really important because we
are all here to learn and grow and become the best teachers we can who
rely on the Lord and answer the needs of investigadores.
love Sundays! They are soo good and they are in English for half the
day so that makes it so great because then we can understand and get
something out of the day too. Also, on Sunday (like the first Sunday
here) I was asked to share my testimony in Sacrament...I was super
grateful for the opportunity and went up there with my notebook that had
my testimony in Spanish written on it and bore it in front of the whole
CCM. It was a very neat experience. We also had a super wonderful
devotional by Hermana DuVall on la Expiacion (the Atonement) and it just
reminded me that God is here for me and knows everything I am going
through and is willing to help me if I reach out to him and I know he
will answer all of your questions too-just rely on the Lord!
today, Thursday the 17th) is Pday and we got to go to the Temple today!
It is so beautiful. One of the Hermanas in my room asked if she could
wear my skirt today haha it was so cute and I said yes so Ill try to
send a picture with her in it! The session was in English so that was
really neat, we are going again on Tuesday buut I think its a Spanish
session so we will see how that goes! It was just so neat to me that in a
country a million miles away from home, the gospel is still the same.
The same spirrit is in Bogota that is in Utah!
one of the first things we learned to do here is pray en Español and I
love it! I cant say a lot but it is so neat that I can do that and ask
Heavenly Father for help with my problems (aka learning how to speak
Spanish...) Sometimes Im like why do I have to learn Spanish but I know
that the Lord has called me to this work and that since he has, he will
support me! Also, Im then thankful that I dont have to learn some other
crazy language like Chinese or Russian or Cambodian or Tagolog or some
other crazy hard language. Like sometimes I dont know a word (well that
happens a lot) and I just add like -cia to the end or something and
pretend its a word...haha until I look it up in the dictionary.
thank you again for all your love and prayers, I can really feel them
working and I know God is watching out for all of you and he is ready to
help you as long as you come unto Him. Have a great week!
She left on a Tuesday, and according to Delta Airlines (I may or may not have tracked her flights on my phone), she arrived in Bogota, Columbia that night. The next day we received the following letter from Ashley:
I got on and realized I didnt know what email to write to...so Im
writing to dad, if you want a different email, then please let me know!
so this is a Spanish keyboard so its kind of hard to write on...haha ok
so no need to worry, I am totally fine and I love it here! And guess
who my companion is?? Hermana Phippen!! The hermana I met in the air
port! We met up with some other sisters and elders in Atlanta and flew
with them here. All the sisters are going to my mission, so that was fun
to figure out! Also, THANK YOU MOM for exchanging my money beforehand!!
Like every money exchange we went to in the airport was out of
Colombian pesos.....so we ran around to like five different money
exchange booths..haha but it all worked out and they got to exchange the
money in Colombia.
have 3 latina hermanas in my room and I think only one speaks english
so that will be fun. Spanish is already coming at me, like dad said,
through a fire hose haha Bogota is wonderful and I love it here. Sorry, I
dont have a lot of time but know that I love you all!
Hermana Roylance departed Utah on September 8, 2015 for the Bogota, Columbia CCM (MTC). She was very excited to go, and there were only a few tears shed.
In the airport, Ashley met Sister Phippen from West Jordan, Utah. Turns out that they were going to the same MTC, same mission, and were even sitting by each other on the plane. (and later, we'd find out that they became MTC companions too!)