last day of November 2015!

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Fun week! We have been having great experiences with the members in the ward. We have had a lot to do because several members have given us names of nonmember friend and neighbors to try, and we’ve also visited a ton of less active members that have been suggested to us. We went out with a lady Nancy in our ward to go visit people and it was super fun! We accidentally visited someone on the “do not contact” list but it worked out because we both don’t know anything yet so we can get away with more:) Brother Christiansen (ward mission leader) also went around with us to bring ice cream pies to a couple members and a couple of our friends we are teaching.

We had a great lesson with Jorge and Christine. They are awesome (also pretty much the only ones who want to be taught right now) and we had a Thanksgiving-y lesson. President Uchtdorf gave a talk about how the blessings God wants us to have are like rain showering down all around us. We just can’t always see that because we are holding up an umbrella……….an umbrella of doubt, fear, and sin. I think I’d add apathy to that as well. Through the gospel we learn to close that umbrella and remove the things that cause us to feel distant from God’s love. Christine had the idea of all of us thinking of something we can do to recognize our blessings more. So this week we are all trying to love and appreciate our families (/mission companion), have meaningful morning prayer, and smile more πŸ˜€

Every other Wednesday we go help at the Bishop’s storehouse here in Knoxville…… along with a dozen other missionaries (mostly elders) who get a little weird when they are all together….it’s a little hazardous. One of them injured me but don’t worry it’s scabbing over, I’m ok πŸ™‚

On Thanksgiving we went to the Christiansen’s! They are my favorite. They had some cousins over too. Sister Christiansen goes all out and made everything picture perfect and even had music in the background. So delicious. Then they introduced us to their zipline…..perfectly safe Thanksgiving activity right?. We were so glad they invited us because we weren’t sure where we were gonna go until Sunday. Felt very spoiled. And they are planning an FHE for tonight with their neighbors and want us to share the Christmas video (christmas.mormon.org) and a message so we are excited for that.

Sunday was wonderful! We have a great ward council, we spend a lot of time talking about visits……who was visited in the past week, who we want to visit in the coming week. Very helpful and it made us feel good that we have been able to meet a lot of members and that good things are happening! We taught Relief Society class yesterday about ward unity…..that topic always comes up in my head whenever I’m asked to teach or speak and it must be important because it always goes super well and brings a good feeling to the room. The ladies came up with ideas and ways to help each other and be welcoming and reach out to people in the congregation that they don’t know as well.

Through the many tracting/door knocking adventures we had this week (we have no one to teach and are getting desperate haha) my favorite was this lady named Sheila that we met. We were going to contact a referral that a member gave us, and they wanted us to act like we just happened upon them, so we figured we better talk to 1 or 2 people before we “happened upon” this family. So Sister Skinner chose the house with the most Christmas decorations and there we met Sheila. Before we left that morning for some reason I had the thought “family history” come into my head……and so I grabbed a family history card (which we rarely if ever use) and stuck it in my Bible just in case. When we met Sheila she said “Oh, we have been talking about the Mormon church a lot in our house lately. I’ve been doing a lot of family history and I’m descended from Lucy Mack’s brother Daniel.” Lucy Mack Smith is Joseph Smith’s mother, who wrote a book about her son Joseph. We asked if we could bring over stories from that family and she said we could! So that was a fun little coincidence. Then we contacted the referral and that didn’t pan out but because the member gave us that referral, we were able to talk to Sheila so it was worth it:)

All righty running out of time, talk to you later!

– Victoria

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23 de noviembre 2015!!!

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Pretty good week, still been a struggle to keep busy with teaching appointments but we are still meeting lots of people at every chance and having good experiences with members. We met with one family who the husband’s parents are going through kind of a faith crisis with church history stuff, we had a good talk about that and I’m going to send him some things that have helped me. I want to be led to people like that that I can help in some small way.

My scripture of the week is 3 Nephi 19:9 β€œAnd they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.” When we pray for it we figure out what we need to do differently to have it. Elder Bednar gives a talk on having the peace of the Spirit in our daily lives, I really liked it, here is a piece:

“We more readily receive and recognize the Spirit of the Lord as we appropriately invite Him into our lives. We cannot compel, coerce, or command the Holy Ghost. Rather, we should invite Him into our lives with the same gentleness and tenderness by which He entreats us (see D&C 42:14). Our invitations for the companionship of the Holy Ghost occur in many ways: through the making and keeping of covenants; by praying sincerely as individuals and families; by searching the scriptures diligently; through strengthening appropriate relationships with family members and friends; by seeking after virtuous thoughts, actions, and language; and by worshipping in our homes, in the holy temple, and at church. Conversely, casualness about or the breaking of covenants and commitments, failing to pray and study the scriptures, and inappropriate thoughts, actions, and language cause the Spirit to withdraw from or to avoid us altogether.” (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/receive-the-holy-ghost?lang=eng)

The time we take every day to learn and remember the teachings of the Savior is important to me personally because I feel more balanced, patient, and at peace with myself and others when I do. I am happier and funner and more excited for the day. That is a message of the gospel, that we find our true selves through the gospel, and it is something that brings greater meaning and joy and love into our lives. That is something I need every day as I try to get out of a rut!

I can’t really remember what happened this week so Sister Skinner is letting me use her email for mine. Enjoy!

“so this week has been pretty exciting! I had my first door slammed into my face! I think that it is pretty good that its taken me this long to get one. Plus I am trying to stay positive even though it hurt a little. I just try and count it as one down until I get closer to someone that wants to hear the gospel. Trying to stay positive really does help too and as I looked back on the situation I bet she probably felt bad for what she did. So who knows maybe she will be kinder to the next missionaries that decide to knock on her door. Something that I am super happy about is the fact that Sister Hale and I were able to give out three Book of Mormons that day. The people that we gave them to actually seemed like they were going to try and read them; I really hope that they decide to. My favorite one was when I handed one to a nice elderly lady at the assisted living center. She looked so touched when I gave it to her and she said that she would give it back to me when she was done, but I told her that it was for her and she looked so happy that she gave me a hug. It was really touching and It makes me hope that she will read it and find the truth in it when she does. One of the best feelings this week was when I felt the spirit over power me into saying my testimony to our investigators that we were teaching one night. the spirit felt so strong and I ended up saying the things that I felt about the Book of Mormon. It was the coolest experience that I have ever had where you don’t even feel like your the one speaking but you just feel this wonderful feeling. I have never had that experience before and when it happened I felt like the spirit helped me express the importance to our investigators. After the experience Sister Hale and I were able to have them commit to reading and I think that they might actually read it. I am so excited for our return appointment and see how everything is going for them.”

ok adios amigos!!

– Sister Hale

p.s. forgot one big change that happened….we live with 4 of us right? Well Sister Winter has been very sick so Sister Trommlitz got transferred here, Sister Winter went home Friday to recover. Very sad because she is awesome and very hardworking and we will miss her, but she will get better soon and be ok:) here is a picture of all 5 of us….precious….and a few other pictures. Oh and Sister G my trainer was in town!! this is us at Waffle house. the last one is me and Sister Skinner.

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November 16, 2015

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Better week! Things are coming together. I am loving Knoxville and the Pellissippi ward and the people I meet every day. I feel like I’m really getting the chance to apply all the things I’ve learned throughout my mission. And I have started to feel better and have a little more energy and optimism as well. Saturday was awesome! We spent all afternoon trying to contact potentials or less active members who were all nearby each other and ended up talking to a lot of people who were outside because it was a nice day and knocked on a few doors too. Feel like I haven’t done that in a while. We ended up meeting 2 or 3 new friends that way….one is a 94 year old lady (she seems about 80!) Christine who welcomed us right in. She said she has had Elders come by about once a year and she has a Book of Mormon on her bed stand with her Bible and reads it from time to time but hasn’t ever really been taught anything. We read a little and taught her about the Restoration and asked her to pray about it, and she said she would, and that she’d pray about baptism as well. We felt good about her. She also wants to understand the Bible better, I’m excited to teach her. And then we met a 16 year old Andrew who wants to know more. We’ve also had some good lessons with 2 different ladies who are members but haven’t come to church in a while, they have opened up to us and we are hoping they will come to a Relief Society activity this Saturday to get to know more people. They are both kinda in the same situation of feeling alone when they come to church…..we assured them that there are several members who are single or whose husbands aren’t members or whose family are less active….we have all gotta be extended family in a way and notice those who need extra support. We also told them that we don’t know anyone in the ward yet either so we are in the same boat and can get to know everyone together:)

We have been teaching members about missionary work and it is awesome!! And it is what we were supposed to do all along but I didn’t really know how until recently. I remember a lot of missionaries coming to our house for dinner but unless they left a challenge with me or asked about my friends, I really don’t remember being changed by what they shared. That has helped me see that it really is important to help the members become more converted to the gospel. And then they are ready to share the gospel so we help them and teach them how.

I about flipped a brick this week when I realized I have less than 11 weeks left…that is a weird feeling!! I really want to achieve the expectations I have had for myself. The biggest thing I want is greater trust in the Lord. If we trust then we see that the things we are worried about are going to be taken care of, and in the end any suffering or confusion or loneliness won’t matter. And it can be lessened by that trust, because our faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His gospel will qualify us for the Holy Ghost, which is the Comforter. “And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.” (Moroni 8:26). I love that scripture because I have experienced it. When we are lowly in heart or humble, and recognize that we need a Savior, that is when our belief can be confirmed by the comfort of the Holy Ghost. That open heart and willingness to trust God and do what He asks is the only way we can truly gain the peace and healing and knowledge we want. Otherwise he might be trying to teach us and change us but we just haven’t opened ourselves up enough for the message to get through.

Gotta go, love you guys!

– Sister Hale

photo = the Robinsons from the Athens ward πŸ™‚ Bill Robinson was a prisoner of ward in Vietnam and does a lot of presentations and we got to catch them for a few minutes between appointments. It was fun to see them again!

November 9, 2015

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So this week was transfers, I had to say bye to Sister Draney and all my friends:/…… I am now in the Pellissippi ward right in Knoxville. Wednesday at the meeting, I received my new companion who came straight from the MTC, her name is Sister Skinner and she grew up in Las Vegas and Utah. She is doing super well and always seems to have a smile on her face. She is really eager to help people and she is always grateful for everything. They call it whitewash training when you get a new companion and go to a new area, so far it has been awesome and we have done our best to meet as many members as possible. Also we have made a zillion phone calls, we have 9 set appointments this upcoming week with either investigators or members so it will be a good week!

One cool experience we had, after a dinner appointment it was about 7:15 and very dark outside already, and we don’t know anyone so we didn’t know who to go see. We had a missed call from a member but we were gonna call them back later so that we could find someone to teach before it got too late. We had a little prayer to know where to go, and asked if we could teach someone else before we had to go in for the day. After the prayer Sister Skinner felt like we needed to call that member back so we did, and found out that we had an appointment that we were late to! If we wouldn’t have called back we would have missed the appointment. It was the Stewarts and they were at the Fleisch family’s house for us to teach them with them, but we had no idea about it, so we hurried over and didn’t really have time to prepare at all but had a nice lesson on prayer and committed the family to pray every day, and the Stewarts bore their testimonies. We were grateful we got to be there.

There are TONS of members in the ward. Well, to me at least. I keep saying that and Sister Skinner will say it’s a small ward. I’ve been in 50-80 people wards or branches for more than 15 months so it’s still kinda culture shock to be here. And I am in a lot of traffic and tons of stores and restaurants and malls….. And the houses are HUGE and beautiful and nice and it is culture shock. It’s definitely an adjustment but I figure I will learn as much here as anywhere else I’ve been, even if it’s out of my comfort zone for now. We also live in a nice house with 2 other Sisters, I feel pretty spoiled. So far everyone has been very welcoming to us, we have been invited to have dinner with people several times, and we have met with the new ward mission leader Brother Christiansen a few times. We were at their house last night, and he and a stake leader gave me a blessing for my fatigue. I feel like I will get the help I need.

I am right around the corner from the mission office, well a few miles, but you can still send mail there.

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

We have been thinking about how to prepare members (or ourselves really) to share the gospel. If we want to be prepared to share the gospel and sincerely testify of how following Christ has blessed our lives, we can first evaluate our daily prayer. Is it happening, is it meaningful, am I sincere? Evaluate your daily scripture study. Is it happening, do I learn, do I feel the Spirit, am I teachable, do I change because of what I read? And prepare to take the Sacrament next Sunday with a willingness to follow the Savior. These are the simple things that bring the power of the gospel into our lives and gratitude for what we have. We have been asking all the members we see which of these 3 is hardest for them and their families, and pretty much every time they say scripture study. So then we will invite them to make a scripture study goal. Right now my hardest thing is focusing when I do these things:) so that is what I am working on this week.

Have a great week and happy birthday Jillian and Sarah G and Christa and Uncle Steve and whoever else has November birthdays!!!! Love you all!

– Sister Hale

2 November, 2015

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What a long week! We had a good exchange with Marion, I went there with Sister Mackelprang. That area is so busy and they are doing so well with the work! It made me want to become a more expert planner. We taught a lot of neat people and it was fun to be with Sis M, we came out at the same time.

Thursday we went out with Sister McClure and stopped by several members that we haven’t met, not all of them were home but we did meet a new lady that we actually tracted into a few months back, she just didn’t tell us she was a member at the time:) She said we can come back though so we were excited we got to meet her. We also stopped in on a member Fred who hasn’t been to church since high school and invited him out to church. I was super bold and told him to just be courageous and come and he won’t regret it!

Friday was the Fall Festival/ ward activity! They had it all decked out and decorated and lots of games for the kids. The Cagle kids came!! We spend a lot of time with that family.

Halloween was pretty uneventful…..we were to spend it with members or other missionaries or ourselves, and since we are stranded in no man’s land with no miles, we had chili cheese dogs with a member and then watched mormon messages at the church for 2 hours. ha.

I found out I am for sure leaving Wednesday to a new area and I will be training a new missionary. I will miss people here but ready for a change of scenery. Also, turns out when you are leaving you find out that people like you! I had to say the prayer in every meeting at church yesterday cuz I’m leaving. I got a lot of hugs. It’s weird to leave people who have become so familiar to you and have to show up at a different church with unfamiliar faces the next week. And a new companion after being with Sis Draney for 4+ months.

Oh oh and that Fred guy ended up coming to church! He stayed for all 3 hours. Also rewarding is that Rhonda, who also hasn’t been to church in many many years, came for Sacrament meeting. She said next week she will stay a little longer. Also rewarding is that George passed the sacrament for the first time!! We were proud of him. He is the one that got baptized in February. It was a good Sunday to end Waynesville with.

Okey dokey that is all I have for now. I am tired all the time and I hope to feel that way the rest of my mission if it is from working hard and being obedient.

Love you all!

– Sister Hale

Sent from my iPad

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