April 27, 2015

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This week…for the first time…I have allergies! It wiped me out all week and I didn’t know what it was but I’m getting medicine today. I feel horrible whether or not I’m laying down so I decided I might as well go to lessons and just not talk as much…in the middle of a lesson I couldn’t breathe SO as long as I don’t talk too much I’m fine. I have been trying to listen better so I thought maybe this will help me! But also my brain is so foggy that nope it’s not.

Ok I’m gonna stop talking about myself cuz I have just a couple minutes left. Leeann Mckeehan!!! She has a baptism date! She has come to church twice now! She even got a flat tire yesterday morning and STILL CAME. We have had 2 awesome lessons with her this week.

Ok gotta go so I can get back on later and see what’s up about Gretchen’s mission call!!!!!!!!! Other groovy things happened this week but you’ll have to use your imagination cuz I probably won’t get to write about them.

Love ya bye! 🙂

– Sister Hale

pic 1: on exchange with Sis Clark (didn’t notice all the trash in the background….sorry)

April 20, 2015!

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First off. forgot to mention that we are officially getting ipads MAY 28TH!!!!!!!!!!! be excited.

Second…….Kay got baptized! 🙂 What a great lady. She is someone we’ve been teaching since before I got here. It was Saturday at 2:00 and Bishop Laing baptized her and then confirmed her the next day. She invited her friends Coco and John to the baptism…they are so lovely!! They are from England and Coco reminds me of Jennifer a lot. Hope we get back with them and they start coming to church! Coco did family history and has a great great great grandpa who was a General Authority, I think a member of the 70 back in the day. ANYWAY, the service went really well…Heather Hansen gave the talk, Heather has been a good friend to Kay while we’ve been teaching her and it was an awesome talk on baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Kay has a big Christian background, her parents were traveling missionaries, she has a brother who’s a pastor, so she has had a ton of questions along the way. But she’s been really good at sharing the restored gospel in little ways with her family.

Church yesterday was wonderful. The new Elder, Elder Houghton, and a recent convert, Tricia Stevens, gave talks. Elder Houghton told the ward that the Sisters weren’t getting fed in his….haha I had a horrified look on my face. BUT we’ve had 2 meal offers since then so I guess it worked! Trica gave an awesome talk on the resurrection of Christ. I think half the room was in tears. She told about her mom passing away and that at the time, she felt such darkness and emptiness, but now she is filled with hope.
This has been a super long week…trying to remember things. Tons of little miracles this week!
Monday night we taught the Mendiola’s how to hold a weekly Family Home Evening. And it went really well! It has been almost impossible to get through a lesson over there for over a month, so that was a miracle.
We are teaching this 30ish year old lady named Danielle. It has been a blessing because she tells us how she is grateful for the things we teach. She has quit the drug life but everyone around her/in her home hasn’t and she is struggling with how they live and treat her. That girl can put a smile on her face even when her life is terrible. That’s made me wonder, why aren’t I more cheerful like that? I don’t have to deal with half of what she goes through. hmmm.
OH there was a kinda big miracle. We just started teaching the Courchaine family not too long ago, and they have come to the church for activities 3 times this week (mom has come to one of them, the dad hasn’t, but the adult kids and younger kids have). SO the first one, Tuesday, was a Relief Society activity that the 4 of the girls went to, including Mom Courchaine. After, as we were eating refreshments, Dory gets a phone call, so we gave a church tour to the girls. Then Dory and Sister Hansen joined us to tell us that Dory’s niece, who is LDS, was the one on the phone with Dory, and had called to tell her she had been thinking about inviting someone to see the Indianapolis temple open house and felt impressed to invite Aunt Dory and Uncle Tom. Right when she happened to be at a Mormon church for the first time!!
Since that time we are not so sure if we will keep trying to teach, so that is a little sad. The girls seem sincere, but the guys are trying to bait us. We had a lesson after Kay’s baptism with the girls and one of their friends from their church, and Bishop Laing and Sis Laing joined us…it was awesome/terrifying to see Bishop in that lesson, haha. Sis Laing was patting his leg to make him calm down. Basically he told the guy friend they brought, that the Sisters are there to teach the sincere in heart. When the Journal of Discourses was brought up, Bishop said “I don’t know why Brigham Young said that, and I don’t care, because I’m not accountable for what he said. He’ll have to account for that to God, but I won’t, and I don’t have to account for it to anyone else, either.” He said a lot of other things to help us regain control of the lesson, and we just bore our testimonies and closed and let them leave. It was pretty obvious from the start that his “I’m searching for the truth” was not truly sincere. I think the family is meant to be taught, just not sure how to go about it at this point in time.
What else. I have felt a greater weakness in myself lately. Trying to work on Christlike attributes and turn to prayer more readily. That is a big key to having personal peace, I think…to be working on something. That way, even if you aren’t perfect, you know you are trying, and that is exactly what you need.
I am grateful for what I do because I am learning to be a truer disciple of Christ, and trying to help others become the same, even though I myself have a long way to go.
OK gotta go. I’m proud of Tansy!!! wooooo. and happy birthday to Olive. everyone stay safe! 🙂
– Sister Hale
some pics…first one is fuzzy but this is Sammy Wiseman at pie night. My favorite child in the world probably. Then it’s us with the Courchaine’s…the batman boy Thomas reminds me a lot of Mason! he does that weird eyebrow thing. Then it’s us with Kay and Danny Hebert…then at a Special Olympics event with Channing…then at Kay’s baptism 🙂 great week and wonderful people!

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April 13, 2015

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This week was fun! Saturday we had a big service project at Knox Park in Athens. Bro. Lindsey was in charge of it and he had the whole community involved…a few other churches and boy scouts and random people. They had organized a lot of rebuilding and beautifying projects…painting, planting trees, making a giant xylophone or somethin and a dog park and all kinds of little things like that. So they put me and Sister Verdejo on the tree-planting crew. We planted a lot of trees and things were going good, UNTIL I walked over to the stack of packaged bark to grab a box cutter knife. Apparently someone had leaned a rake against the stack with the pointy side up, which resulted in a Tom & Jerry moment for me…I stepped on the rake and the handle came out of nowhere and whacked me upside the head. Umm yeah it hurt a lot. Even worse, there is a big bump. Sister Lindsey put some kind of essential oils on it? and it felt better.

I have been thinking about that experience… and of course making a life parallel with it. My first reaction, right as it happened, was anger. It wasn’t my fault that I got hit in the head, I was doing something good, just trying to plant some trees and help Al Gore and the environment a little bit! It wasn’t fair. I felt anger, and then embarrassment…looked around to see who saw it (just young Ethan Lindsey…he didn’t laugh at me like everyone else did so that was nice of him), and after that I felt the lump on my head and the pain. But after about 30 seconds I was able to laugh at myself, and people gave me tylenol and hugs. Sometimes in life we step on a rake….it wasn’t our fault and it comes out of nowhere. We feel anger and embarrassment, we look around to see what people think, and it hurts and we wonder why that happened to me if I was living my life good! But maybe that unexpected burden or trial is what God needed to put in your life to help you change and become the person He needed you to become. Maybe a divorce or losing a child or a loved one was the reason you are here…that trial is what made you (or will make you) who God wants you to be. You gain greater strength, empathy, beauty, and capacity through the trials of your life. Also there will always be people around you to support you and give you tylenol and make your burdens lighter (if you let them!).

All right my head hurts, I’ll let any of you take the metaphor further if you so desire. Hope you have an awesome week! and DON’T LEAVE RAKES LYING AROUND FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO GET WHACKED IN THE HEAD.

love you all!

– Sister Victoria Hale
11320 Station West Drive Ste. 101
Farragut, TN 37934

victoria. hale@ myldsmail. net

photo: it’s green!!!

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April 6, 2015

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This week a lot of good things happened!

We found 13 new investigators (woo!) and one of them is named Seven. not steven but seven. We had appointment to see him Friday at seven (sly) and it fell through BUT we saw him Sunday and he is great! Sad thing is that he moved to Loudon outside of our area between our first and second appointment, so we’ll have to turn him over to those Elders.

A family we found is the Courchains (sp?), they have a handful of kids and the dad is a preacher at a Pentecostal-ish church. First thing that happens when we sit down for the lesson, Brother Courchain asks us why we are teaching if we are women and the 14 year old son proceeds to pull out all those Paul scriptures and stuff about Adam and Eve (oh Paul!) (oh 14 year old boy!) (oh humanity!). They also have a big Father/Son/Holy Ghost trinity objection and basically the men in the family were really argumentative while the women were really sweet and attentive. Sister Courchain had read from the Book of Mormon between visits and said that as she read, she felt a growing desire to be close to God and she felt her faith growing. We asked her what it would mean to her if the Book of Mormon was true, and she said “I guess it would mean my whole life has been a farce…” We told her she’s been guided her whole life, God takes us step by step. I hope she and the girls keep reading and the boys and men will soften their hearts. I am soooooooo so grateful that we view Adam and Eve the way we do…hope we can get through to them as we teach the Plan of Salvation this week.

Biggest miracle is Leeann! She was driving through Loudon and saw the Elders walking and pulled over and asked if they could come to her house. Since she lives in Sweetwater, they gave us her information and we went and saw her Saturday. She is so hungry for change and to understand God–she didn’t even know what church we were from, but she said it just hit her that she needed to talk to those 2 boys. She’s 44 and NORMAL and I feel like we are real good friends with her already! She came to the church for conference yesterday and I am pumped to teach her. We’ve been praying for people who actually want to be taught by us so that we are using God’s time well.

Ummm conference was great! I loved Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sessions. I feel a real empathy for the Prophet and Apostles and leaders of the church, rather than the frustration I used to feel. I understand how hard the questions are that honest people have and also how huge the opposition is from antagonistic people. I’m grateful for the greater peace I feel now. Still have questions, but they don’t feel as awful as before. I liked Elder Oaks’ sayings of not taking a keyhole view of things but to consider on the broader truths and plan of God. I loved Elder Wilford W. Anderson’s talk…it filled me with peace. Following Christ is the absolute goal of our lives. Everyone’s life. And we don’t even have to believe he was real at first….even just thinking of the concept of a perfect person and following that vision is a wonderful place to start. There is nothing to lose in seeking perfection. And light will follow.

I love you all!!!! Thanks for the emails and letters and love and prayers. It has helped me be motivated!

ok xoxo bye.

– Sister Victoria Hale

pics: me and Leeann at the church, me and Sis Verdejo

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