Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 77 - God has the best sense of humor.

God has the best sense of humor. I shouldn't expect any week to be normal haha. Lots of things happened this past week, it wasn't a 'normal proselyting' week for us. BUT, it was a good one overall! :D

Anyways, the first day last week we had to do an emergency exchange with some missionaries due to some events that happened. In the end, one of the missionaries was sent home we believe for medical reasons, so after the 24 hour sudden exchange and much interaction with our Mission President, things are good now!

There's bound to be a lot of change happening in 3 weeks for the next transfer, but the work continues!

Gabriel was a guy Elder Netane and I contacted a few weeks ago while he was working construction. The missionaries are teaching him and he and his wife went to church yesterday! #talkwitheveryone SO AWESEOME!

Some Elders asked us to cover for them and go to one of their appointments. So of course, we did! His name is Leon and turns out he is a YSA! SAWEET! He's a native, which we're a little more used to teaching since our YSA has 2 recent convert natives. Leon is down to earth and super rad. It started to monsoon like no bodies business, so we taught him on his porch! We taught about the BOM and compared it to his heritage and some analogies that he came up with. At the end, Leon said he liked it! He wasn't able to come to church yesterday, but he's coming to FHE tonight!

Right before teaching Leon!

There's a YSA named Max we've been working with who's a member and has a desire to serve, but has had some crazy things happen in the mean time. He told us he's moving back to Mexico to continue his life. Gah! We'll miss him like a brother.

Elder Hughes and I received a text yesterday from a priest in our family ward asking us to come over so he can tell us something...of course, your mind starts racing when someone says that....he sat us down, and said...."I'm decided...I'm going on a mission." YESSS!! We have been working with him for a few weeks now. He's had a pretty crazy childhood and I commend him for pushing through it all. Ah man, there's nothing a whole lot better to hear than someone saying that they are going to serve a mission :D

The Family that is in our family ward has been doing pretty good. We've been praying hard for them. Wesley the 13 year old had a dream he went to church with us and was all dressed up in a "pink bow tie" haha. We know that this family will enter the gospel, it's only a matter of when.

We've received a couple YSA referrals from missionaries this past week! YES!! The Lord is rewarding us no doubt. One of them, his name is Jesus and just got out of jail, but the Elders were able to set a BD with him! We haven't been able to make contact with him, but we went over to his house and knocked on his door and this is the conversation we had:
*knock knock knock*
"Hey! Is Jesus here?" - us
"....has anyone told you that you look like Eminem?" - Jesus' little brother

hahaha. Jesus was not there. I got the Eminem comment 4 or 5 times this past week by random people. haha.

Yesterday while at dinner with Daniel, we had a cool message talking about our Privileges and Potential, based on a talk by President Ucktdorf. It always opens my eyes to think how each of us are given privileges that help us reach and even exceed our potential. At the end of the lesson he asked me to say the closing prayer, and in the prayer when asking for the spirit to be present in the room, we felt something literally come into the room, a sense of peace. It was eye-opening. There's no doubt that angels are around all of us!

Here's a sweet mormon message about where we are serving right now.
Go Thatcher!

ZECH 13:6
"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."

Congratulations to my sister Jolie and (now) BIL Spencer on getting married!!!! It's crazy how when you're focused on the work, you often forget about what's going on back home. I'm grateful to be able to serve and I'll NEVER forget the time when we had the chance to go to the Provo temple while in the MTC. I remember being with my MTC district, and receiving an answer that my family would experience a lot of change by the time I would finish my mission. At first, while serving in Deming (Demnation), it was hard to realize what kind of help this mission could offer to my family and I thought by being home, I could help more....but now I know with a full surety that serving this mission will bless my family more than anything my 'tard' self could do back home. It feels like the Lord has been planning on all of this change to happen, while serving Him on His mission. 

3 Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation."
5 Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.
6 Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them.
7 Yea, I will open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you. And I will establish a church by your hand;
8 And you shall strengthen them and prepare them against the time when they shall be gathered."

I know this church is true!

Next transfer will be interesting...a bomb is about to go off, with missionary work. YES!

Love y'all!
Elder Hales

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 76 - Reactivation is equal of importance.

This past week? NUTS.

Our zone was involved with so many different things throughout the week, it called for chaos. But nonetheless, our zone had a great week! Our zone should be having a few baptisms this week and the following weeks too!

Throughout the time we did have to do proselyting work, Elder Hughes and I did an 'appointment with the Lord' which is one of my favorite finding ideas. We set a place and a time with the good man above, and when we went there, there was people that walked inside after seeing us, along with this one guy who looked about 20, walked inside after seeing us walk over. Meh. We knocked anyways. He came out and we had a good talk with him and have taught him about the Book of Mormon and prayer since we met him! His roommate sat in on one of the lessons and was really receptive too! We'll have to pass him off since he has a kid, but that is aaaaokay with God. A couple days later, someone was shot and raped in the same apt. complex....yikes. We're watched over though, no doubt.

We've also been trying to work around a recent convert's schedule, Quintana, to teach her the new member discussions. Quintana rocks. Suuuuper sarcastic, so she's hard to read sometimes haha. You're very gullible as a sort of have to be. One night we went over there with John and taught about the Book of Mormon. The spirit was definitely there and they committed to read everyday for 10 minutes, and she came to church!! It was so awesome. It was a good day for returning members coming to church yesterday. Their reactivation is equal of importance as a non-member entering the waters of baptism.

We've done other lessons of course, and was able to give a couple referrals out, but we're excited for this week, because it's, for the most part, a normal missionary proselyting week which we haven't seen in over a month. That's why this scripture came to mind:

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

Although people aren't lining up at the font, I know and have no doubt in my mind that what we're doing is preparing blessings for when students start coming back. I'm not focused that that is when the only time work will happen, because we're still finding people, but it's just a prompting I've had for a while. Can't wait to see what happens to this area in the future.

Onto the chaos:

Monday was pday where an Elder had to get stitches from playing glow in the dark was fun while it lasted. 

Tuesday was Zone Meeting and went very well! Great feedback from what we've heard. The spirit was there during the near 3 hour zone meeting. President Passey spent the night with us Tuesday night which was a neat experience. We had some really good talks. He arrived at night, and left before studies, but it was fun to have him for the brief time.

Wednesday was interviews with President Passey - they were great. It's great to feel trust from you mission President from the feedback from the zone.

Thursday we had a practice for the Variety show.

Friday we weekly planned *shutter* and sang in the variety show. The last musical number, we walked down the aisles with all the missionaries and sang the last verse of "They, the Builders of the Nation." 

Waiting for our time to go up and sing away

Saturday we helped set up for pancakes at 5:30am, we moved tables and chairs around, then later we were all in the Gila Valley parade and then went to the event afterwards since the entire Valley was there. So fun! 

Up and at it for the pancake breakfast the YSA's were in charge of. 

You may have seen us in the Gila Valley Pioneer reminded me when I was growing up, always doing something in the parade.

Sunday was another 6 hours of church! :D woohoo! I was asked a few days earlier to speak in the YSA wards, so I talked on "Preparing for a Mission" where I focused on 1) Importance of Preparation and 2) Charity - it naturally leads us to do missionary work. The sacrament meeting was great and Kari and Ethan both gave awesome talks.

And here we are today! :D

You take a break, any second you have.

We can finally take a breathe for a little while before they start picking up again.

"We need charity more than anything else in our mission."

Some missionaries in our zone after doing our morning Crossfit WOD, and doing service for Aaron our coach. The missionaries in the other zone all asked if they could come too... it helps us! Plus, it's place for missionary opportunities.

It was a great week up here in the Gila Valley, and our zone continues to see miracles even though a lot of them are out in the boonies. The church is true and God is good. I'm grateful to serve our God who gave us everything. I know we are led by a Prophet for Christ's church. I know that charity helps us see why and how people act the way they do so we can understand them more and want to help them. I'll never forget the time a couple months ago when someone paid for my stuck in me and I'll never forget it. Just like when we're charitable towards other people :D
I love this gospel.
Love all y'all!!
-Elder Hales

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 75 - Sahuarita Youth Conference

Companion #9
Transfer #13 

There's been a ton of things that have been happening. Those times when there's things that keep you busy most hours of the day, and then you do proselyting work whenever you have spare's crazy. But awesome :D

The first thing I have written on my list of things to write home about, it says:
"No time to breathe! Never stopping." haha I guess that sums it up. But seriously.

My new companion and I are doing great! Elder Hughes is from near Sacramento and is a Spanish missionary, so I get to brush off the dust on my already dusted un pocito habla espanolo. Word. He's great and we've been busy! He's one of the most humble missionaries I've met so far no doubt. I also think he's one of the first companions that's shorter than I am. haha. 

Like I said, there were quite a few things that happened that besides your usual 'proselyting' missionary work. On Wednesday, we started off the transfer by being commodities for a couple hours before district meetings. Thursday, we were involved with the Sahuarita Youth Conference! Holy awesome. Our entire zone was involved. 8 of us (including 2 missionaries that had been out for 2 days) taught 2 classes on 1)OYM and 2)Gospel Basics. It was awesome. I love to train. Our class on OYM (Open Your Mouth) went great and it was fun training the youth how to bring up the gospel in such random times. After the classes, we held a 'Mini MTC Experience' where they had a TRC which in the MTC, was when you would knock on a door, and treat the whole experience like knocking on a house door. We had people inside the classrooms that acted like investigators (there was actually an investigator there too!) It was fun and brought back a lot of memories from the MTC. We helped the youth not be nervous and how they could approach it. Four missionaries from our zone acted like investigators for them. The feedback was great, and we're glad it went well for them!

Waiting for the 'investigators' to answer their door so they can go in and teach. #TRC
Undercover missionaries acting like investigators in the TRC - Elder Harris and Gilson

Oh look! Undercover Sisters!

Friday we had our first MLC with President Passey which took up most of the day. Zone Meeting is tomorrow and we're STOKED to train on the things we went over.

Nonetheless, we had about 1 full day of normal proselyting in the past week. So the people we were still able to work with was "The Family" which are coming along, but weren't able to make it to church :[ gah! So close! They are awesome, we know that they will progress within the gospel here soon.

We're also working with a member named Austin who's a stud. Star pitcher, football receiver, and champion wrestler. He has gone through some crazy times in High School (surprise) and is headed back to the point where he would like to serve a mission. He's awesome and will hopefully be able to get a picture with him soon.

Prepping to train the youth!

The finding continue!!....for other areas! haha. This past week we were led to 2 investigators we referred over to Elders Lowe/Curtis. One of them we found last Monday while he was working. He expressed interest and has a family and kids and some of the best morals I've seen for a non-member. Excited to see what happens with him after we've taught him most of the Restoration.

Another referral was a guy named Troy! We found him yard-saling where you go to yard sales, look at the stuff, and talk to the people there and try to make trades with a Book of Mormon. He also expressed interest! He wasn't able to make it to church, but hopefully something comes of it!

We learned a few things at MLC! President Passey will be spending the night in our apartment with us tomorrow night! WOO! I've never heard of a mission President doing that before, but since he's doing interviews this week, he decided to stay with us! Having talked with President Passey, we are suuper stoked to get to know him more - he's inspired, as all mission presidents are.

Quinntana! A recent convert who is awesome

He also let us know we'll be getting ipads before the end of the year, but we'll have to pay for them...and apparently the Tucson Temple should have a ground break next spring!

"Some people never end up in this life where other people start." - President Passey

Tomorrow for our zone meeting, part of our training is on 'Teach to Understand' and to start off that part of the training, we're doing a role play...where I'm going to load Elder Hughes with lots of information about BMW's trying to sell him one while using the same methods we use in teaching, and then talk about how to teach according to where they are at haha. Hopefully I can video it.

Ether 12:28 I read while in church, and it made me think that God doesn't just show us our weaknesses:
"28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness."

Charity has been brought up multiple times in our mission lately, and I've learned much about. It's one of my new year's resolution to develop more charity by acting on promptings to help people and to continually pray for it. I know that this gospel is Christ's and not man's. I know that the Lord blesses us in all good that we do. The church is true and God is good and families are ordained of God - not randomly either.

Love you all! Everyone is getting married. In the YSA down here, and back home haha.

I love hearing from all of you!

-Elder Hales

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

[Transfers] Week 74 - I love this Gospel!

Another week, transfer, companion, and Mission President. Lots of change is headed our way. Change is always exhausting getting used to the new swing of things. But hey, it's pretty much (totally is) inspired by God. So it's cool.

Saying bye to Elder Netane a couple hours ago. Going to miss him hardcore.

Gettin' to it.

My new companion is Elder Hugh's!! He's a total boss. One of the nicest Elders out there. He has 2 transfers left so looks like he'll finish up here. He's from good ol' California (not Utah), and loves the gospel. He went to Crossfit in his last area too! Things are great!!

My new companion Elder Hugh's! He is a total stud. STOKED to work with him!

Saying bye to Elder Wardell! 

Saying bye to Sister Fuller!

Although this week is going to be insane, let's talk about this past week :D

We were asked to teach at Stake Correlation where a member from the Stake Presidency and High Council were there along with WML's from the Stake. It went well! The lesson was on "Investigators and keeping the sabbath day holy." I always love to train, as long as we're prepared. Afterwards, they came up to us and said they had some new things to bring back to the wards. One of our WML's came up and said he'd email the Bishop to try and get members to fast for the family we're working with. That is literally one of the best things a ward can do for non-members working with missionaries: Fast and pray for them. YES!! Please include them in your prayers! I love this service.
Right after a lesson. Institute style

All in all, this past week was a little disappointing, which happens in missionary work. So many people flat out rejected the gospel, even when we really felt we approached it the best way we could have. A recent convert transferred over to the YSA, also told us he never wants to meet with us, believes the BOM is not true, and never wants to meet with anyone from our church again. All in all, we kept working all the time, but it happens. Luckily it was a test of humillity, because this week is looking like an incredible week. So many things are happening!! It becomes our duty sometimes, if we're given the opportunity.

One of the most annoying dogs ever. 

WE also had Zone Conferences this past week with our new Mission President and his family! They are so awesome. President Passey is inspired to lead this mission. Although change will come, I KNOW it's of God. The Zone Conferences were great, and I was asked to conduct it. Can't wait to get to know the Passey's more! 

 Eating with the Buhr's!!

While on exchanges, we had a prompting to go knock a few houses out in this one neighborhood. After a few houses, we found Adam! A former investigator (no records) who had a baptism date once! He's moving to another ward's boundaries, but we'll see what happens with him!
Out biking! I love monsoons.

It's saddening how many people preach against another religion. While talking to some people, we brought up the BOM, and she said she had heard of it! Then she said her pastor gave her some DVD's about it....and that she wasn't interested in it at Christ himself was rejected, so not everyone will accept His gospel unfortunately.
Service for Brian and Maddi!

One of the finding activities we did was "Orange shirt contacting" which is where we pray for a certain color, and both Elder Netane and I got green and orange....while driving around, a dude outside in an orange shirt said we could come by after he asked us some questions! I drove past and then turned around right away and went and talked to him. God leads us even through times that seem disappointing. NO doubt.
Our awesome zone!

There was a sister in our zone who had to go to the hospital on the night of July 4th because she was sick. She's seems to be doing better and hopefully she does better in her next area!
This came right to us...we were out biking... oh yeah!!

You can't forget "The Family"!! Our ward is fasting and praying for them. They'll be at church this next Sunday. This family needs the gospel, as does everyone. Sister Matlock told us that Whitney (18 years old) had been praying for someone to come help them before we first went over. They said they have felt the spirit and imagined us as the Lord's servants. We are so excited for this family. They make us happy every time we go over as we share a message. They've become our friends, but they know we don't go over there to mess around, but to have fun with the gospel! WE have such "high hopes" for them!!

The Family! Sister Matlock, Whitney, William, Winter, and Wesley!

Our zone has 3 brand new missionaries being trained here! We also had two missionaries finish their missions. The zone had a huge change up, but man, we're so stoked to be working. Tomorrow is commodities and district meetings, Thursday is the Sahuarita Stake Youth Conference where we're training a bunch of youth in the afternoon and helping them have an MTC experience, Friday is MLC in Tucson with President Passey, and then next week is craziness as well! Things are crazy! But if you're doing what's right, the Lord will guide us.


I also heard the very sad news of a member passing away in Sierra Vista...that shot himself. Oh man. I have had 7 investigators/members pass away that I've worked with while on the mish. It takes a tole on you. But I know that they are happy in heaven, and are doing the same things as us :]

I know this church is true. I know that President Passey leads this mission, regardless of the change. I know that God still lives and that Christ does too. I realized this past week, that Christ was sent to the most wicked world, and the most wicked spot, but it was so He could fulfill his purpose as an entirety. Being rejected was part of God's plan. I know that despite the rejections and things people say, that God has our back 100% of the time, and is constantly sending his angels to help with His work. I love this gospel with my whole heart!

These next few weeks shall be faster than ever! Elder Hugh's will baptize many many people here, and there's a chance I'll be leaving the 2nd day of the semester. Whatever happens happens for a reason.

Love y'all! :D

-Elder Dallin Hales