December 15, 2014

Standard

Thanks Dad for reminding me BYU basketball exists, maybe I didn’t need to know they lost to Utah though. 😦 😦

"How is Athens?" you people ask. I will tell you how it is. Basically the same as La Follette in a lot of ways, really spread out area, and the ward is about as big as the branch was. But let me tell you, we are teaching some amazing people right now. I will share real quick what happened at the beginning of last week. On Sunday it was really weighing into me that I want to be changed by my mission…I want to be pure, I want to have charity, I want to be genuine, that is what I was fasting for. I saw immediate results not only in the way I personally felt as I went into each lesson, but it seemed like me and Sister Mickelson were truly able to teach to the needs of the people. Monday and Tuesday we had lesson after lesson of big turnarounds, 2 ladies in particular started out each of their lessons saying something like "You girls are really sweet and nice and I appreciate what you do, but I’ve been doing studying this week and we just believe SO differently, and friends have been telling me things, I just don’t want to listen anymore." By the end of each lesson we were able to turn it completely around and help them see we were normal people, clarify some concerns and misconceptions, and understand a little better how our message is centered in Christ. And we got return appointments instead of getting dropped. I know my worthiness affects my teaching. I am so often distracted and not focusing on the person in front of me, and I end up teaching well but not effectively. I HATE rambling, I hate talking and talking, even when I am teaching well, if I’m not teaching to people’s needs. I love when I am able to ask, wait, listen, and discern. To truly help people connect with God, themselves, or a principle or doctrine that changes the way they see things. That is my joy. I love this lady named Mary Copeland, after about 5 minutes of the lesson she said "Girls, I just don’t know what you’re saying and I don’t think I’d ever become a Mormon." She wanted us to leave but we started asking questions and realized she didn’t feel like she understood what the Bible says. We read from John 14 and talked about the nature of God and our potential as his children and who Christ was. By the end of the lesson she said "Girls, you have helped me understand so much today, let me tell you, ever since we met last week I have learned so much and it’s been awesome. I guess that was kinda rude saying I’d never be Mormon." haha. I’ve just KNOWN, deep down, that somewhere, beyond La Follette, there were people who weren’t on drugs who would listen to us.

Thanks for sending the picture of Christy teaching, what a foxy professor art history lady. I’m excited to here how Ryan’s baptism goes!

I was able to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting on "Discover the Gift" from christmas.mormon.org. I talked about the many gifts that come through the central gift of Christ… a lot of things we can discover, or rediscover. I was kinda fascinated by the definition of discover: to arrive at through search or study. Do we need to discover/rediscover the gift of peace? The gift of the Spirit in our lives? The gift of repentance? The gift of healing in our homes? The gift of purity? Do we need to discover or reclaim faith, innocence, love, joy, the blessings of the Priesthood, or the temple, or the many gifts offered through the Restoration of the gospel? We can seek after all the best gifts, offered through the gift of the Savior, and arrive at the peace and power and strength and contentment and purity we need.

We had a Half-Mission Conference and Elder and Sister Renlund of the 70 came. They both spoke and we all loved them a lot. Pres and Sister Griffin spoke as well. I am gonna start looking at my weaknesses differently. They are just reminders to lift our heart to God and get extra help. I need a lot of reminders to pray so it’s a good thing I have a lot of weaknesses.

As long as we let prayer be the reflex to our weaknesses, we can change. I feel like I’ve changed. I’m not sure how measurable it is but I know it’s real. I’m grateful for the Christmas season.

Love you all, have a wonderful week! 🙂

– Sister Hale

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