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!!!