September 29, 2014

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Thanks for sending pictures of the cousins who are having babies!! Hope things keep going well/improve with some of them. I was pretty stoked to see Tansy and Mason’s cross country and Tansy’s homecoming pics too, makes me miss high school! (just a little).
 
I don’t have a whole lot of time right now but I’ll send some pictures of the last little while and I PROMISE I won’t be as lame as last week.
 
I have had a lot of support and help lately, so thanks to all of you!! I replied to as many as I could today but know that I love you all!!
 
– Sis. Victoria Hale
 
1: some kitties magically appeared on our doorstep one morning…
2: sista G’s birthday party
3: don’t worry papa I still have toast and cocoa
4: our new huge district
5: Greta Hansen and I are in the same district now!!!
6: Using kittens to find new investigators…genius
7: Lora Paige, our investigator Samantha’s daughter, who is way more excited about the Book of Mormon than Samantha haha
8:  Cove Lake
9 & 10: Weekly planning
11: Watching the women’s broadcast at the church with our most progressing investigator, Andrea

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September 15, 2014

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This week was Sister G’s birthday! so we celebrated by going up to the Holler (that’s where the Smiths live) and played all day last P-day. A few other missionary companionships came up and we smashed potatoes with baseball bats and had water fights and played on a zipline.

The week kinda went downhill from there, haha. I am just so confused as to why I’m on a mission. Why am I walking into strange peoples homes every day. Why am I chasing people’s problems all day every day. Why am I stalking people. (fo real. I feel like I’m an ordained, set-apart stalker sometimes). Why am attending the funeral of someone I don’t even know and maybe crying at said funeral for the loss of a father and friend (not MY father or friend). I have these moments all the time when I’ll just stop and think to myself, what am I doing? How did I get in this situation, having a crazy old woman holding my hands and praying for me and my virginity at the top of her lungs in the middle of the projects in hillbillly Tennessee? And why doesn’t she stop, that’s embarrassing. How did I end up in one of the most drug-infested and highest high school dropout counties in America? How am I supposed to talk to these people? How am I supposed to love these people? Why am I chasing a crazy drunk guy down the streets of LaFollette at 10:00 p.m.?

Oh that’s a good story actually. Our recent convert who is battling alcoholism went absolutely crazy one night after drinking all day. We heard the family was in the emergency room so we got permission to go see them past our “curfew”. The dad was drunker than a skunk and had apparently accidentally fallen on his step-daughter and she hurt her neck and had a mild concussion. He hurt himself too so he was getting treated, and then he refused treatment and ran out of the emergency room. We followed him outside and he was running out to the street saying he was gonna jump in front of the next car that came. I was already in a don’t-mess-with-me mood and the Elders weren’t doing anything so I ran out in the street and grabbed him and shoved him to the sidewalk. He started cussing me out and I started yelling at him to stop being an idiot (haha can you just see me doing this?) and the other missionaries told me to get away from him but I was NOT about to watch someone get hit by a car. (obviously.) He started taking off down the sidewalk so I told his son Christian to stay with him and make sure he didn’t do anything stupid, and then we were all following behind him for at least five minutes before deciding to call the cops. There were even a couple skateboarders who joined the parade, they asked Elder Bright what we were doing and one of them said “I’m a recovering addict! I’ve been sober for 3 years, maybe I can help him!” haha and they took off to catch up to him. Finally the nice policemen got there and since he’s really good at maintaining composure when he’s drunk they let him off. We didn’t get home til midnight that night. #HOLYHUGEMISHPROBS. We went over to their house last night to have a lesson and I was pretty straight up with them. They had told us they didn’t want to go to stake conference Saturday night so they could have family time. So their “family time” ended up with a crazy drunk dad, a daughter in the hospital, a marriage in an even worse condition, and all sorts of injuries, physical, spiritual, emotional. We had promised them if they went to the meeting they would be blessed. Even if the meeting hadn’t been that great, simply planning on going to that meeting would have prevented all that drama. The family agreed to come to church next Sunday and we’re going to fast with them so we can understand how to help the dad and how to have a renewal of their faith in the Savior.

hmm what else. Oh I bought a basketball!! This week’s highlight. We take it on our runs in the morning.

I’m counting on Dad to keep me updated on BYU sports! And yeah Jillian and me are in a fight now, Oklahoma beat Tennessee -__- haha it’ll be fun to keep up with Tennessee sports when I get home.

We had stake conference over the weekend. We had a member of the 70 come. Our mission president and his wife, Steven and Cherie Griffin, spoke at both the meetings. I love them and they were definitely the best speakers. I am grateful for them. Tomorrow is zone meeting, always a good pick-me-up.

I’ve been studying the different accounts of the First Vision. Within a few months we will have iPads!! I am excited because it’ll be so much easier to study things throughout the week.

I will talk to you all later. I am so grateful for all my family and friends and I miss you all and love you!

– Sis V Hale

victoria.hale@myldsmail.net

Tennessee Knoxville Mission
11320 Station West Drive, Suite 101
Farragut, TN 37934

September 8, 2014

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We have had a kind of funny week. All the missionaries are getting sick, I’ve been a lot better but Sister G has been really sick, so we’ve been as productive as we could and tried not to be too bored when we had to stay at the apartment. One day we had a couple pretty important appointments set for late afternoon. I was reading on my bed and Sister G was asleep on hers so I took a nap. I kept waking up and reading for a bit but she was still sleeping and I wasn’t gonna wake her up because she had been really sick, so I would fall back asleep. After like 3 hours of this I was getting soooo bored so I went into the living room and Sister G had been in there the whole time, not sleeping, and had been checking up on me periodically but it happened to have been every time I was asleep so she thought I was sick and didn’t want to wake me up for our appointments hahaha so basically we wasted 3 hours and were super bored for no reason.

At prayer circle my good friend Cormac gave me a periodical on biblical archaelogy/other stuff…still looking to see if there are any subtle Mormon jabs in it haha…wouldn’t be suprised. Prayer circle is seriously cool though. We talk for at least half an hour and then pray together, whoever wants to can take a turn. We noticed this week that’s it’s only when we pray that there isn’t any "yes Lord yes"s or "Amen"s or spiritual moaning. We don’t know if we should be offended or relieved hahaha. There is a lady Patty there who just loves us and I learn a lot from the faith of everyone there.

At a lesson this week, a man we were teaching was going on about his singing talents and how he’s opened for all these bands, and then he asked us to sing a hymn, so we did. He asked if he could harmonize with us and it was HORRIBLE hahaha, and we definitely busted up laughing. Luckily the cat had come into the room and made a weird meowing noise so we blamed our laughing on the cat. He then sang by himself and actually didn’t sound too bad but MAN that was rough.

On Saturday we were driving on a narrow winding road (gotta love that Tennessee carsick) and a car came real fast from around the corner, so rather than hit the car we swerved and just NAILED a mailbox. We pulled over to tell the owner what we did, and a 24-year-old dude answered the door (he was definitely high) and we talked to him for a bit. We asked if we could set up a time to come teach him and he said "Yeah, or we could just like be friends" haha so apparently we’ve found another Dallas. He did say he wanted to go to church though, and I gave him a Book of Mormon. As we pulled away he was standing on his porch reading it.

We went over to Judge Charles Herman’s house to visit him and his wife again, and his daughter and son-in-law were there too. She’s the one who is dying of cancer and we know him from the food pantry we work at together. They always invite us back and their kids like us. We have been praying to know when/how to introduce the gospel to them. For now they are friendigators and just love us. They are so great.

Sister Godlewski is just STRUGGLING with using slang this week, haha. She told our branch mission leader Bro. Muggridge that one of our investigators "thinks he’s the shiz" and then tried to explain it by saying "he thinks he’s bomb" and continued to get a blank look from Bro. Muggridge til we stepped in and helped her. hahaha. #mishprobs

I wish I had my camera with me last night, we were driving back from the Holler (where the Branch Pres’s family lives, Trey and Sandy Smith) and the clouds were pouring over the mountains (hills?) from the other side.

So a little thing that brings me joy. First I need to tell you about Brother Williams. Sister Williams takes us out to do missionary work all the time and we eat at their house sometimes (they are like 55/60 maybe?). Last time Bro. Williams was telling us mission stories and reading to us out of his mission journal and I was surprised to learn from the missionaries that Brother Williams doesn’t actually have a testimony of the church. He goes with his wife half the time and thinks it’s a good way of life so of course it’ll make you happy, he just doesn’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet or that the Book of Mormon is true, and apparently gets really worked up if you try to talk to him about it so everyone tries to avoid the topic. So obviously he’s the exact kind of person I want to be friends with and have good gospel conversations with. This week we had a special mission fast for finding people who are prepared to accept the gospel. We were also encouraged to bear our testimonies in our wards and branches. I felt like I should talk a tiny bit about my faith crisis but I wished Brother Williams was there. I bore my testimony on doubts and how any time you have a doubt or lack of knowledge, you have an opportunity to get an answer from God, and from that grow closer to God. I talked about the doubts I’ve had and how grateful I am for the things I’ve learned, and that for every argument there will be a good counterargument, and for every counterargument another good counterargument, and ultimately the place we need to look for answers is God. I have good reason to believe that Christ lives, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is true, and if it is true, then this is the place to be, this is the place to work out your problems, to lift yourself and help lift others. After Sacrament Meeting I saw that Brother Williams WAS there and he thanked me for my testimony!! I hope we can be friends and learn from each other.

Last story. We have a recent convert who gets drunk every couple weeks so we come over to help him out. He gets so sappy. He cries and apologizes and says I love you to everyone and then gets mad at his alcoholism and asks everyone to help him and then we say stuff about the gospel/the Atonement that he’ll never remember haha and then he gets mad at God and starts crying and saying I love you again. He tried to kiss my ear when we were saying bye. Haha gross. Anyway this story is to lead up to the story that HE ATE A CIGARETTE without flinching because he was so drunk!!! We tried to get him to stop but he just went at it haha. We were over there for a long time trying to help and encourage him and the family because he gets so down on himself and it’s kinda scary.

Okay gotta go. I love you!! 🙂 Momma send me Nina Austin’s email address! She was supposed to email me a story!! 🙂

– Sister Victoria Hale

September 2, 2014

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Hello friends and family!!

This week I went on an exchange with Sister Parkinson. It was so good to get out of LaFollette…I mean I love my area but it was good to be in a normal city where they would probably be more likely to not beat their children in public restaurants and less likely to be bitten by snakes in church. I kind of realized how much better I can be as a missionary on my exchange and throughout the week. And I feel like the work will start going better in LaFollette. We realized all our investigators are dead ends cuz they have testimonies but won’t come to church or do anything about it, so we’ve been praying to find people who are prepared to act on the message. On Sunday 2 men came into church at the end of sacrament meeting. We went and talked to them…turns out Sister Anipen in the ward had invited him to church at the grocery store and he decided to come. He stayed for all 3 hours of church and talking to him afterwards, he was in tears. He said he loved it and wants to learn more about it so we are going to visit him today.

Yesterday I got to play basketball with a lot of Elders!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We played for almost 2 hours and it was so fun!!

We taught a lesson in church on Sunday and it went really well. I’ll write about it next week cuz I’m out of time.

Love you all!

– Sister Victoria Hale