14 Dec….11 days til Christmas!!

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Don’t even know where to start this week….maybe I will tell a story with pictures so refer to them as you read ok?

Photo #1!
So on Wednesday we volunteered to help unload hundreds of boxes of wreaths (Wreaths Across America….that is where they place wreaths on veteran’s graves every December). We made a lot of friends! These are my new friends Tramp and Beast. I’m going to join their motorcycle club in 10 years (they said I am too young right now). One of them gave me their card. woohoo! They also took a few “A Savior is Born” cards for themselves and their friends. (p.s. their wives’ names are Lady and Beauty)

Photo #2!

So Friday we had a tri-zone conference with Elder Craig Zwick of the Seventy and Sister Zwick. They both spoke and President and Sister Griffin spoke. Now check this out….this is my favorite part of the day because it was awesome for Sister Skinner. She has been super worried about her mom going into a really long and risky surgery. After the meeting Elder Zwick came and talked to her, and found out about her mom, and said he and Sister Zwick will go visit her in the hospital in Utah and give her a priesthood blessing.  Made her feel a lot calmer. Out of everyone in the room he gives Sister Skinner his cell number and wanted a picture with her too!

Photo #3!

Sister Mickelson and me with our scary mission President…….

Photo #4!
Went on exchanges to Hardin Valley with Sister Parry. We frosted a billion cookies! With Beth and Jeremy. Jeremy has been a member for a long time, the Sisters randomly ran into them and the son got baptized a few months ago. And Beth is working on it! They are super fun and I wish they were in my area.

 
Conclusion!
So apart from this week being an obvious party, it was also one of the worst and toughest of my mission. Kinda hit the point where I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore, and feeling very numb in general. But that is ok because that will happen at many points in our lives, whether it is with missionary work or school or career or any large decision or commitment. We hit a wall sometimes. I know this feeling will go away and it is already much better. There have been a lot of things to help me keep going and this week will be a lot better.
This is from Preach My Gospel chapter 6, Elder Zwick quoted it in stake conference this weekend. “Hope: Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur. When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. Hope helps you conquer discouragement.”
I found these verses this morning in Isaiah:
5 ¶Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
Someone taught me this week that “our grown up journey in faith is about finding the Lord going with us through grief as we learn of his holiness. But we, like Nephi and Isaiah, are promised joy ultimately (see 2 Nephi 30-31) if not interwoven with the struggle along the way.” As we read through the scriptures, we see how God is going with us through these things. Sometimes we hit a wall but soon enough God will help us recognize that he is still with us, and if we soften our hearts, He will open our eyes and bring us out of prison and darkness into light.
Thanks everyone for being my friend. Love you all!:)
– Sister Victoria Hale
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7 December, 2015

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This was a crazy week! Tons of good things happening. On Monday, the Christiansen family had us over to share the "A Savior is Born" video with them and their neighbors. We had a good discussion after and everyone shared their thoughts on how the gospel had blessed them, there was a good feeling there. At the end, Sister Christiansen said "These Sisters are always looking for people to teach, would you want to come back and have them share more about the church and the same things our son is sharing on his mission?" And they said they’d like to. We are excited to teach them!!

We have had luck finding other people to teach, too. A lady ordered a Bible online so we brought it to her and asked if we could come back and share a Christmas message….she said yes!…wasn’t there for her return appointment (who ever is?) but we will try her again 🙂

Saturday we had the chance to be in a parade with the Hardin Valley ward and the Elders in our district. President Griffin bought us all santa claus hats to wear and we handed out candy canes with the "A Savior is Born" cards and invitations to the stake Christmas choir devotional next week. We stapled these together, over 300 of them, and ran out about halfway through! So we started handing out normal cards haha. We had a little bit of a setback….apparently they had gotten the float all ready the night before, and then it mysteriously disappeared/ was stolen! so we used the back of a truck to put Mary and Joseph and the manger in. (2 youth were dressed as Mary and Joseph). It was still nice though and kinda symbolic that they didn’t get a fancy inn/ float but a simple stable/ truck.

So the craziest part of the week, I was on exchange with Sister Trommlitz in our area and we had 20 extra minutes before a dinner appt. And by the way the whole day had been awful and no one was home and it was raining. So towards the evening we had that extra time and decided to pull into a gas station and get some gas. We noticed a lady standing there and wanted to go talk to her…..so we did and turns out she was having intense chest pain and needed a ride to the ER, so we were able to do that and stay with her. She was really worried and wanted us to stay with her so we did for 3 hours. She got admitted over night but she is doing better now! It was cool to see how an unsuccessful day was actually just us being led to the right place at the right time to help this lady. We missed our appointment with the

Just remembered other good news…Edie brought us to a cocktail party, woohoo! Edie is in our ward and knows EVERYONE in Knoxville….she is over public affairs for the church in this area and is also a big event planner, so she thrives off making people connect and is great at missionary work, she is always taking us around to meet people. So the party was a "toys for tots" Christmas party that one of her friends put on. We ended up being able to invite a few people to the Christmas program for next week, one or two are planning on coming! (don’t worry mom i didn’t drink anything).

Well even with all the good things going on it is kinda wiping me out…. wish I had Gretchen’s enthusiasm right now! There is so much to do and I feel like I am dragging….. luckily Sister Skinner is patient with me!! How do you apply the things you teach people all day to your own life? That is the question of the week. I did love the Christmas devotional though and it helped some. The promises of the Christ’s gospel are huge and generous but they take willingness on our part to accept God’s will and follow his guidance.

all right gotta go, love you all!

– Sister Hale

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