last week! 25 Jan 2016

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Wow what a fun filled week. I can’t really remember what happened at the beginning of it so I’m going to work backwards and see if that helps.

This morning I had my departing interview with President Griffin! So now I can go home. I am proud of myself for making it!!! (almost). At the beginning of my mission I was so sure I would never last a whole year and a half…..but I did it! very grateful for being helped along the way. You always think a mission will be awesome because you’ll be happy and feel the Spirit all the time but actually it’s pretty hard…….but I’ve seen over and over that right at the breaking point, I get exactly what I need to keep going. Sometimes the words of a hymn, or something someone says, or a perfect moment in a tough week.

Sooooo it has been super cold and it actually snowed! Knoxville got it a lot lighter than other areas in our mission but all the school kids got 3 snow days and they shortened church yesterday….had all 3 wards meet at 10:30 for just Sacrament Meeting. Ohh ok now I remember the beginning of the week. That is when Sister Skinner started to not feel so good. She has been on medicine that makes her pretty sleepy and very loopy, so that has brought some variety to the mission life. I am going to miss her and Sister Beckstead a lot!! but they will miss me even more!;)

We ended up having another great week with our friends we are teaching. Great moment was when Chuck had an Aha moment of realizing that the thing he needs to do is ask God about the Book of Mormon. He has been taught for a long long time and trying to get an answer about the church, but has had a problem understanding Joseph Smith’s role in it all. But it clicked this time that that is what he needs to do. Another fun thing about the week was our hospital visits….it has happened over and over in the past few months that a less active member will end up in the hospital and then we are able to meet them and become friends! We heard an awesome conversion story last night of the Fairweather couple and how they joined the Church. They have also helped others come into the church, and even though they haven’t been coming in a while, they talked a lot about how it is time to get a different job and be able tp come more often.

Well I think that is all for now. I will see you westerners soon!

Love y’all,

Sister Hale

18 January 2016!!

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Crazy day!! We have been in the smoky mountains and then we were about to email but got a call that a member is in the hospital so we headed right over there with Brother Puckett! Luckily the timing was perfect that we could go over there, it’s Sister Paul that we’ve been visiting, I sent a picture of me with her last week 🙂

Wednesday we had a good evening with the Clemons. Edie is our super missionary enthusiastic friend and Allen is in “reduced participation” with the church, as he puts it. We love them both!!! We had a self reflection lesson of things we honestly believe, things that cause us to doubt, and moments of spiritual peace in our lives. We each wrote about this for 15 minutes and then shared our thoughts. It was cool for me….this is what I did a couple years ago when I was having a harder time with the church, I wrote it all down and it helped me sort out where I honestly was. Writing this time helped me see how far I have come!! Not that a whole lot has changed, just that I have found new ways of looking at things and found greater stability. There will never be a time in our lives where we won’t have questions but we find out what works for us, what is meaningful in our lives, and then we can decide we’re here for the good parts.

This was honestly a great week, we have had so many members go out with us and been able to go out and visit more people. Oh and 4 of our friends who are investigating the church came to church yesterday!! We had a great lesson yesterday in the Bryce’s home with 2 of their family members’ friends, both of the girls (16 and 20something) haven’t grown up in very religious environments but they have been coming to church with the Bryce’s….Tara had never prayed in her life so we started there and at the end she said the closing prayer! and tonight we are having a lesson with Annie again at the Christiansen’s. Love all the friends I am making every week and the difference they make in my life. I have been working on a new attribute every day with my companions and it has helped me have a greater desire to change and have a softer heart. D&C 12:8.

Ok gotta go!! I will send pictures of us in the Smoky Mountains 🙂 it was an 11 mile loop with tons of old log cabins and barns that have been preserved. We also got to go inside of this old Methodist church built in 1902. Love the history of this area!! P.s. 10 more
days…..y’all be excited!! 😉

Sent from my iPad

January 12, 2016

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This will be short!

This week was a good week, we are finally getting a little busier and have more appointments to bring members to. We went out with Sis Rainey (RS president) one night to drop in on a potential investigator named Kathy who is Unitarian. That was a fun one! They are a church with people of all different beliefs (God, no God, Buddhist, Christian, all sorts of diverse beliefs) and they get together and do service and their goal is to help everyone with their own spiritual journey. At least that’s how she explained it to us! We had planned to share a portion of an Uchtdorf talk with them, and it actually went perfectly with what we were talking about, loving others and loving ourselves despite our differences. I shared how I don’t know everything but my belief in Christ and God has brought me strength and peace, and asked if they wanted to have us come back and share our beliefs. She said no but she did say she would check out our church service sometime! They are actually 2 churches up the road from our own church building. The cool thing from that lesson is that we really felt like the 17 year old daughter in the room felt the Spirit as we shared our thoughts together.

We started teaching our Ward Mission Leader’s son’s girlfriend Annie! The son is on a mission. We have already met her several times and she is super sweet and fun, she wants to learn more about what Austin is doing on his mission. We talked about faith, how God speaks to us through the Spirit, and started the Book of Mormon with her. It was nice to have a lesson in a member’s home!! A ton less distractions, and the Christiansen’s have a good feeling in their home. I haven’t gotten to do that a lot on my mission.

Last cool thing, we decided to send an email to the ward council Saturday afternoon telling them 5 appointments we have set up for the following week. Also sent them a picture of us with a dog. And they loved it!! Bishop Kah had everyone open it up in ward council and we spent the whole time going through the email and talking about who could go with us to the appointments. They want us to do that every week, it seemed to make ward council go a lot smoother.

Oh and today is PDay because yesterday was Zone Conference. They made the departing missionaries bear their testimonies and I didn’t really want to but I did anyway. I am grateful for the way my mission has taught me to visit the lonely and empathize with those in pain. I think a lot differently about people than I used to………through my own painful experiences that have ended up to be a big blessing in doing this work.

Love you all!! Don’t forget to say your prayers;)

– Sister Hale

4 January 2016

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Hello everyone, It has been a pretty good week! Sorry I haven’t written in a few weeks, I didn’t have the energy but today I will make up for it!

So Christmas happened and that was really fun! We went caroling with our district a couple times and with some families in the ward. The best part of the season was Christmas Eve, a couple ladies in the ward had us deliver Christmas presents to another family. Totally made my day to be the deliverer!! She was so grateful!!!
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New Year’s Eve was a fun day, we got New Year’s stuff at Walmart so at Subway’s after District Meeting we had sparkling cranberry juice in shot glasses and took a picture with party hats on. AND as a result, a less active member happened to see us and thought it was funny, so she came and talked to us for a while. And now the Farragut missionaries get to go see her and her family!! Moral of the story: be a fun person and God will use you in creative ways!
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This week Sister Skinner has been sick. Oh! And we are in a trio now. Sister Beckstead is with us (we served together in Waynesville). So a few times this week, I went out with a member while Sis Beckstead took care of sickly Sis Skinner. One night I went out with Sister Griffin (mission president’s wife) and we taught Christine and Jorge about the Sabbath Day. That was a fun lesson, and I remembered that I like teaching, even though it is challenging. I realized that the hard thing about missions and why I don’t like it sometimes is because we try to teach so many people who don’t really want to be taught. They love us (most of the time) so that is nice and I am grateful for the many people I have met here. Many will be lifelong friends. But it is hard! I think about the times I really love to teach, and it is when the person wants to learn and be taught. Wow this sounds so obvious when I try to write it out. But basically I get down because I feel like I don’t want to teach anyone about the gospel and Christ anymore, but I’ve realized that’s not because something is wrong with me, it’s because I want people to want this but it is rare for someone to have a desire to learn and study and grow. When they DO have that desire, it completely makes my day/week/life!!! I remember teaching the Mendiola family in Athens and the first few lessons there were so powerful because everyone in the room was hungry for the gospel, they wanted to learn and understand, they studied and came up with ideas and questions between our lessons. Same with Kay Hebert who ended up getting baptized. So there is obviously a lesson here for me I am sure…..I need to be more teachable myself; maybe when I go to church and sit there impatiently or distractedly, or resist the people and the words, it is because there is something I’m not willing to admit to myself or change. Gotta let go of that in order to move forward.
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It has been wonderful to be in this ward. I am grateful I stayed another transfer because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have come to another area and met all my new friends! I have seen so many cool things through my trial of being sick/stressed/down where I have been able to recognize others who feel the same and hopefully help them in some way. I like this talk [https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/none-were-with-him?lang=eng], I remember reading it a while back with a girl close to my age who didn’t realize all that the Savior went through in order to be able to empathize with us, she was really impacted by that talk. It makes me grateful for the trial even though it was an awful 2 or 3 months to go through. Also super grateful that Sister Beckstead is in a trio with us, it has helped me a lot!!
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Ok got to go. Will include a few nice pictures.
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1: Hog-jaw and black eyed peas…mm mmm.
2: close up
3: our trio + Marco
4: Christine our friend that we teach who is almost 95! She worked in Oak Ridge in the 1940s….she is on the front cover of this book! Me and Sister Skinner tracted into her several weeks back.
5: happy new year’s!!!!

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