31 August, 2015

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Been a good week!

Tuesday we had zone conference in Asheville from 9 to 3. That is a gathering of all the missionaries in the zone, and we get trained and learn things and practice teaching and have a good time. This particular zone conference they installed tiwi’s into all the vehicles….sounds cute huh? Not so cute. That is a little black box that says “check your speed” in a scary voice every time you go over 5 mph over the speed limit or turn too fast….scares the daylights outta me. (I don’t always pay attention when the speed limit goes down to 20. but now I will!) Overall I think it is a good thing because they’ve seen good results in the missions that have them, that less accidents happen and gas is saved.

The focus of zone conference was becoming more Christ-centered. On Sundays at church, when we listen to the first sacrament prayer on the bread, we are promising to remember Christ, take upon us His name, and keep his commandments, that we may always have his Spirit to be with us. That is our covenant with God. We then realize that we aren’t keeping our end of the covenant….we don’t always remember Him or always keep His commandments. So we repent and re-covenant as we listen to the second prayer on the water. That is a prayer of repentance. If we are truly seeking to improve and repent, this is a necessary part of our change from where we are to where we want to be.

Tuesday right after the meeting, we went on exchange and I was in Asheville with Sister Gifford. We had a neat experience of going out with their Relief Society president…we tried 2 people with no luck, and then ended up going to a new-ish member who really needed us and especially the RS president. It is neat when you end up in the right place.

I also had stake correlation with the zone leaders and President Griffin and our stake president in Asheville. Since I am a solo sister training leader at those meetings, Sis Gifford came with me. The big holdup in a lot of missionaries’ wards is working with the ward mission leader, so we are making a plan of how to help the missionaries and ward mission leaders know how to work together and what their role is. After that meeting, President Griffin had a training meeting for all the bishops in the stake and we got to sit in on that. He showed them a video called the “fishless fisherman” about fishermen who loved fish and made a committee about fishing, came up with fishing philosophies, got degrees in fishology, and had many important meetings about fish and yet…..none of them had gone fishing. They didn’t have time because of all their important meetings. Finally a new fisherman moved in, and after an inspiring meeting, he went out and went fishing……..lo and behold he caught a fish! moral of the story: meetings are great but what is greater is to spend more time acting on your plans than planning. There are people we need to reach and influence and bring them back to feel God’s love, and we won’t find them unless we actually go out and do what we say we want to do. People are more influenced by the time we spend with them than the time we spend planning to go see them if we never follow through on that plan. Anyway, President Griffin is an inspiring speaker no matter who his audience is. We love him.

So we had a good lesson with a girl kinda our age named Morgan. We’re excited to see how it goes with her! We found her by finding her pawpaw (grandpa) (did you know people in the south don’t say grandpa? they usually say papp-aw or pawpaw or papi)….anyway, her grandpa was a former and we called him and went to see him and she was there! We like her a lot.

Friday I decided that August has kinda been depressing so I made goals to have a super september!! Wahooey! Friday was also pie night which is always a joy. We had it outside and played the glowstick game……everyone starts out with a glowstick and the way you lose your glowstick to someone else is if you say the word “pie”….so you are trying to get everyone’s glowstick from them. I was the one who explained it and I was also the first one to lose mine by asking Bobby to say a prayer on the pie. We also did the sticky note game….where you have a character on your back and try to guess it by asking everyone yes or no questions about who it is. No one had heard of either of those games and it was fun:)

Saturday and Sunday were great. We went out to Sylva and got to see Robert and Niliu on Saturday, Robert is a member and Niliu is from Indonesia, and they have the cutest puppy named Kempli. They are in their 30s, we love going over there.

Sunday, Allan and Rhonda made it to church for the 3rd time, wahoo! Sister Draney and I and Brother Adler were the speakers. I loved my talk because it was the calmest I’ve ever felt in giving one. I talked about our ward family and building unity, and how we can look in the Book of Mormon to see how we establish the church wherever we are. Looking out I knew all the faces and names except 2 or 3 visitors. I’ve tried to love and serve the members here and it was rewarding to speak to them and feel that love, it made me feel calm and natural instead of nervous.

So we get a text yesterday evening from Allan, “I hope you are both sitting down for this, Rhonda and I both know in our hearts we are ready for the baptism, and wondering what the next step is.” Great text to get!! We were so excited and called our ward mission leader and almost forgot to answer his text. haha. We called him and he said they had been thinking and praying about it to see if they had made the right decision, and “we have.” We set the baptism date for the 12th of September. Hopin we can see them in the next couple days and be sure that we have time to teach them the rest of everything.

OK looks like you get a long one this week. Sorry about that. Everyone have a great week and be awesome!!

– Sister Hale

1: kempli!

2: kudzu…not sure how to spell that…”the plant that ate the South”

3:pie night

4: ariana

5: sis weaver my most favorite person

6: stick of Judah

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24 August, 2015

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Hola mis amigas/gos,

Hoy es el dia de preparacion!!!

This was a pretty good week. Wednesday i went in to an optometrist because I have had a vision problem in my left eye that I noticed Monday. Mr. doctor told me I have a PVD, posterior vitreous detachment….which is fatal, there is nothing they can do about it and I’ll have it for the rest of my life! Which I am kind of excited about because I have been able to get people to do nice things for me because of my handicap:)

Tuesday and Wednesday we got to see Andy and Allison. Andy has been stalking me online (I’m sure he will find my mission blog sooner or later…hi Andy!!) and he found an article from the BYU paper I was in, and also some of Brother McClure’s seminary videos. He said one of them had a blonde girl with short pigtails who really got into the music or whatever it was and I said hey that is probably my cousin Kelby!! hahaha. Anyway, he now knows my whole background and all about Oakley and he remembered that he has been to the City of Rocks. His big plan right now is to have my dad baptize him in Utah in May….he told us that and then asked why we weren’t more excited and we said "May is forever away!" haha. I am excited to see how that pans out though, it is awesome he has a plan that is meaningful to him. Maybe he will move it up so that he can go to the temple sooner. We’ll see!:) They are very sweet to us though and gave us donuts and muffins and we like them a lot.

Friday we helped a lady paint a house. This is neat. She is an in-home care nurse for a 10 year old boy who has many mental and physical problems, and she noticed that other nurses won’t go there because the house is kinda dark and sketchy looking, so she is painting it and making it look better and was looking to help the family get a stove and refrigerator that work, all with her own effort and resources. When a pastor in the area found out she was doing this, he got her a stove and refrigerator from the resources of that church. I thought that was a very neat thing for her to help someone she worked for instead of just doing her nursing job and leaving it at that.

Saturday was great, first off because we got back in contact with Walker!!! Walker is a 12 year old boy whose parents haven’t come to church in a while and he was going to get baptized a while back but it didn’t work out. We had a good lesson with him though and brought his mom’s visiting teacher with us, and he came to church the next day with a member who gave him a ride. I hope he can get baptized while I am here because he is so ready!

Saturday we went to lunch with Grant and Heather Hardy. They are in the Asheville ward. Grant Hardy has written a couple books about the Book of Mormon that have really helped me….one is "Understanding the Book of Mormon" and the other is his reader’s edition of the Book of Mormon. In that one he lays it out in paragraph form and it is very neat because you learn things you never noticed before…definitely suggest you all get one because a) the proceeds go to the humanitarian fund! and b) it will definitely be a worthwhile way to study the Book of Mormon. Here is how I met the Hardy’s for those who don’t know, my singles ward bishop Bishop Turley bought me that first book before my mission, and then Mom and Dad sent me the Reader’s Edition, and while I was in Athens, TN I was flipping through it one day and saw that the author/editor lived in Asheville, and I thought hey, that’s in my mission! And then a couple weeks later I got assigned to the Asheville stake. So I found his email address and he and his wife came out to Waynesville to meet us. We went to a Chinese buffet and it was very neat to get to talk to them and meet him. Our ward mission leader is asking if he will do a fireside in our ward so it will be neat if I am around for that.

I read how Dad got hit in the left eye with a football, y’all really need to take care of him better, he’s not as young as he used to be. Glad I have a blind buddy though:)

Have a wonderful week and remember adversity is the greatest!! God will leave us alone sometimes because he loves us and lets us grow during that time….we gotta pray harder, and put action to our faith and hope. Without adversity we wouldn’t have to dig deep and act in faith. We can be purified by sorrow and learn how to look outward in service when we would rather look inward in self-pity. Ask yourself, what am i to learn from this experience? who can I help? What do I need to change? Our fears are disabling and blind us to the opportunities all around us. My goal of the week is to act and work and do the best I can in every opportunity that comes up.

Love you and have a wonderful week! 🙂

– Sister Hale

17 August, 2015

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Here is a sad story for you all. I started out a draft of my official Weekly Report in the middle of the week and finished it out last night and then right before we left for the church, I deleted the whole thing! (accidentally). And it is lost forever.

I will sum it up in one paragraph. We have been busy visiting auxiliary leaders, what we do is we’ll study the section in the Red Handbook 2 that describes their calling, and we find things in there that we can help them with or that apply to missionary work, and so far we have had great experiences meeting with the Sunday School president, Relief society, young men’s president, young women’s, etc. We still have a few more to do this week!

We helped Bro Rawley and Sis Rawley paint their house on Wednesday and guess what immediate blessing I got!! (besides getting to paint). We needed to buy keyboards for entering in records to our ipads, and he gave me his that he doesn’t use!! You get 10,000 blessings every time you serve. well not that many. but you still get blessings, and the biggest one is that you get to be a blessing to someone else!

Ok it is just too sad to me that I am rewriting all of this so I will end now with a hymn that I really liked in church yesterday, “The Light Divine.”

Father, let thy light divine
Shine on us, we pray.
Touch our eyes that we may see;
Teach us to obey.
Ours the sacred mission is
To bear thy message far.
The light of faith is in our hearts,
Truth our guiding star.

I hope I can do what I need to to bless the people here and be sincere in the things I do. I love each of you and hope we will all keep seeking God through prayer and obedience and loving those around us.

Got to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway today, here is a picture of the view from Utah Mountain (that is where our ward mission leader lives) and from today. Beautiful!!!

 

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10 August, 2015!

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This week I was out of Waynesville a lot. It started out with me going to Asheville on exchange with Sister Hovey! And then the next day was mission leadership conference in Farragut/Knoxville with Sister Trommlitz and the zone leaders. Poor Sister Draney has to go on exchanges all the time and take over Waynesville but she does awesome. The drive between Farragut and Waynesville is kinda rough, driving through The Gorge, I get carsick every time and we almost die every time. But I didn’t puke and it was worth it to see all my missionary friends!! Sis Lundberg and Sis Beckstead and Sis Mickelson were there and Sister Clark and other people I love.

Also at MLC we got our area book planner app!! So we won’t have the little white planners anymore….kinda sad….but there are a lot of cool things about the app, mostly that it will be easier to update our records and keep track of the people we teach and serve. We are transferring everything from our area book to the app and then we get to burn the area book!!

Thursday I didn’t feel good at all…..had carsick hangover……….but we still made it to our service at Haywood Christian Ministries and I felt a little better after that. Oh and I got to call Brother Bradney!!! The Bradney family are back in La Follette, they got baptized a little before I got there and then one of the daughters while I was there. Bro Bradney promised me he would go to church at least once a month for the rest of his life!! (which would be an improvement) and made me promise to call them more so I guess I better!

Friday we ran into a lot of negativity but in the end it was great because we got a lot of work done, had a member out with us for a few hours, and George took us out to a steak house for dinner!! blessings.

We got our transfer call Saturday and neither of us are leaving! So I think I have just 6 weeks left to build up the church in this area. This week we have scheduled appointments with everyone on the ward council. We want to find stories from gen conference or ensigns about their specific auxiliary, maybe how a group of young women helped reactivate someone, or an elders quorum did a service project that helped involve nonmembers and less active members, or things like that, to show them examples that will give them ideas and inspire them. SO y’alls assignment for the week (preferably at the beginning of the week since we start meeting with them tomorrow) is to send me any experiences, ideas, or stories that you have either lived or heard about! if you send them you will have blessings. and I will love you forever. victoria.hale @myldsmail.net is my email address 🙂

Last thing, Sunday was awesome! Allan and Rhonda came to church!! It was perfect. We invited more members to attend Gospel Principles class because it’s usually pretty small but we wanted them to get to know more members. At the beginning Bro Adler had everyone introduce themselves and how they had joined the church. About 8 out of 10 were converts from other Christian faiths and it was awesome to hear everyone’s testimonies, I think it really helped Allan and Rhonda feel comfortable as they are considering this change. When it got to Allan to introduce himself, he told how he had always wanted to learn more about the Church, so he ordered a book of mormon online, and that everything he is learning “about lines up with what I’ve always thought it should be. And I believe we’ll be back.” Wahooey! they are great. We had had a lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ the day before….faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, and the Sunday School lesson was on faith, so there were a lot of things that fit in perfect with what we’ve been teaching already. Something that made me happy!…during Sacrament meeting, one of the speakers referred to 2 nephi 2:27 and I looked over and Rhonda had found it in her Book of Mormon!…..which is significant because no one can find things unless we tell them the page number, unless they’ve been actually reading it on their own.

I want to share a quote from Elder Renlund:
“My invitation to all of us is to evaluate our lives, repent, and keep on trying. If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites. As we try, persevere, and help others to do the same, we are true Latter-day Saints. As we change, we will find that God indeed cares a lot more about who we are and about who we are becoming than about who we once were.”
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/latter-day-saints-keep-on-trying?lang=eng

We listened to this talk last night as well as one by Elder Ringwood:
“The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that the desires of our hearts can be transformed and our motives can be educated and refined. When we are baptized into the true fold of God, we begin the process of becoming new creatures (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Mosiah 27:26). Each time we renew the covenant of baptism by partaking of the sacrament, we are one step closer to that ultimate goal. As we endure in that covenant, we access the strength to mourn with those who mourn and to comfort those who need comfort (see Mosiah 18:9). In that covenant, we find the grace that enables us to serve God and keep His commandments, including loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves. In that covenant, God and Christ succor us so we can succor those who stand in need of our succor (see Mosiah 4:16; see also verses 11–15).”
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/truly-good-and-without-guile?lang=eng

I love both of those talks because they show what the ultimate goal of Christ’s gospel is. To repent, serve those around us, and renew the covenant we made at baptism as often as we can as a reminder that we need to repent and serve. That is the only way we will have peace within ourselves and escape natural sin and selfishness. Sin is real and it is selfish and stupid, if you think about it. It is just not the smart thing to do. Momentary gratification or selfish words and actions are not worth it, and the only way to get out of that is to look outward and help those around you and repent.

All righty this is long enough. Loved all the pictures from family camp! i wore my tshirt this week.

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Remember to send me those stories!!:):)

– Sister Hale

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3 August, 2015

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This week has been hot and humid! We’ve been pretty lucky to be in Waynesville NC because it is a bit cooler than most parts of Tennessee, but this week hasn’t had the usual rainstorms so it has
been above 90.

Tuesday! Tuesday last week we had exchanges so I was with Sister Hart in Marion (which was SUPER super hot and humid) (remember how I had a goal before my mission to never complain about the heat?…meh bad goal) and my favorite part of that was seeing a member who can only speak a little English, so we ended up singing out of her Spanish hymn book together, Mas Cerca Dios de Ti. And I love singing in Spanish, plus it was special for her I think to sing with us in Spanish.

We are teaching 2 awesome couples right now. Allan and Rhonda have a tentative baptism date! For August 29th. They are very humble and looking for a church where they will feel fulfilled and live what they believe. They are already past page 50 of the Book of Mormon! I am not sure how they found the church website, but Allan has studied a lot of pioneer history and that is the thing he likes about the church, that they have been through a lot of opposition but still held their ground.

We saw our other friends Andy and Allison twice this week! They are another media referral who talked to missionaries on temple square in Salt Lake City. We had pizza together at her bookstore Thursday and we had a really good lesson last night. We wanted to talk about prayer, and we did, but Andy has all these questions in his head from all the things he’s been reading about how we believe there are Quakers on the moon and how we don’t drink coke (both not true) and there was a moment of frustration between us because I wanted him to focus on prayer, and he wanted to ask questions about all these things that were untrue or ultimately didn’t matter…and then I realized that I’ve had a lot of conversations like this but with me on the other end. I had mentioned my “faith crisis” to them a couple weeks ago, and Andy brought it up at that point and asked me to tell him more about it. So I told them how it started, that I was very freaked out about polygamy and didn’t understand that part of church history, and that there were a ton of other things that went along with it, some of it the exact same questions and concerns he had been bringing up. And in the middle of this time that I was questioning the church and religion in general, the most frustrating thing was when people did to me the same thing I was trying to do to him!!………ignore his questions and focus on the “most important things”……so that humbled me a little and I told him I was sorry. He wanted to know how I got out of it, so I told him about my experience over Christmas break 2013. On Christmas Eve I was sleeping over at Grandma Bartholomew’s house with her and Aunt Jenny and I was up most of the night in turmoil over this, mostly about the Book of Mormon. I thought and prayed and read and wanted a witness to tip me over to one side or the other. I had a kind of calmness….but still not sure. Over the next few days I realized I would never get my answer unless I made some kind of commitment to it….a commitment to the church or to getting the answer….otherwise I’d keep going back and forth for the rest of my life. I decided to finish my mission papers, and if at any point I felt bad about it or dishonest in any way, I would back out. But if not then I would keep moving forward. I remember when I made that decision, a huge weight was lifted off me. When I went back to Provo for Winter semester, I specifically remember at church that Sunday, someone told me I looked “radiant,” someone else that I was “shiny”, someone else that I was glowing. And I saw so many blessings come into my life with each new commitment I made. EVEN the temple. So……I told Andy and Allison a short version of this and while I was telling it I started crying but I thought it would sound kinda lame to them….but they were already crying before I was. He told me that is the kind of thing he needs to hear in order to understand all the things he is reading, “THAT is a testimony. You should share that more often.” Andy always asks me the right questions or accuses me of different things (insincerity, ha) that help me realize my motivation for being out here and that I need to remember to share real experiences and rely on that and the Spirit, not just the words I know how to teach.

Love you all!! Pray harder and serve someone every day!! Today is the first day of the rest of your life so make it count!!!!

– Sister Hale

pictures: fluffy clouds, rainbows, barns, church. Last picture is George….he took us out to eat alligator!! it is pretty tasty. see you later alligator!!!

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