Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[Transfer] Week 86 - KELLIE WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!

I think about things that would be funny to say in my email home to everyone, but PDAY comes and my brain goes blank. What the what?

Guess what y'all? Gots me a new companaro!! His name is Elder Rogers and is a stud!! He is from Vegas, goes home in March (so we might be going home together), and this is his first transfer as a Zone Leader....in fact....he wasn't even a district leader!! He had no idea that call was coming. He's a great missionary and is one of the nicest missionaries out there. He was also on X factor and has an album out! His name is Johnny Rogers. Hit him up on youtube. I'm super stoked for this transfer. In the past 2 transfers, we've been through 3 first time district leaders. Yesterday we trained another one. Good things are happening here in the zone! There's a lot of excitement, especially with the new missionaries in the zone! Oh yeah. Can't wait :D

Last Tuesday, we did our mission wide "The Day" where we focused on something specific which our zone decided on "prayer contacting." You try and say a prayer with as many people as possible. I went with Elder Craythorn and we had a great day! Most people were suuuuuper hesitant to pray with us, but then everytime after we prayed, they had a new sense of peace over them. We found a new investigator, a less active, a few potentials throughout the day! It reeeeally helps with the last week of the transfer to see those miracles.

Zone exchanges with the Elders!
KELLIE WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!! Holy man we were so excited. All throughout the week she went through different emotions. Some days she was depressed. Others she was fine. She had a couple run-ins with members of our church randomly that gave her more hope. While she had already quit her E-Cig, she went to clean it out one day and saw a tiny bit of 'juice' left in it and decided to finish it off. She did....except the juice didn't turn into vapor, and went straight into her mouth. haha!! It was God looking over her. She gave up all her tea, and already gave her E-Cig's away and is suuper solid. There was 12 non-members that showed up to her baptism!! Her kids, nieces, and investigators of us and other missionaries. It was a great baptism. Bishop Harline baptized her and Bro. Greer confirmed. I sang a solo of a cover of 'Bring the World His Truth' and the first verse was acapella...pretty sweet. No one would have guessed haha. Kellie is doing great and our ward is fellowshipping her great too. Oh man. I love this gospel. 

Alicia and Camela also came to church! Alicia still has a baptism date, but it might be pushed back. Alicia had to go to court today for her lame apartment complex....satan.... The Bishop went over with us last night and taught her a couple things as Bishop helped her out a lot. Alicia is reading the BOM and has come to every church activity and church blocks since we first started teaching her. Our prayers are with her, and as many are welcomed for her because of her situation right now. There is nothing better than the gospel for these people right now or ever! 

Since we're only 15 mins. from the mission home, we house brand new missionaries on Monday nights and then "dying" missionaries Tuesday nights. Last night we had 3 new missionaries spend the night with us. Wow. What memories that brings back. Good friends of mine from the mission are heading home like Elder Dayley and Hughes. Elder Mariluch is a zone leader and is going up to the Gila Valley to see all of my good friends from up there. What a stud.

The work is hastening out here! We got that the Tucson temple ground breaking will be in October!....2015...but hey, it's official! Blitzing other areas for missionaries continues and praying for miracles and doing whatever we can to get the work to progress as much as possible out here. Today is transfer day, so we were up before 5am and there ain't no time for slowing down! You may really want sleep, but meh, who needs it.....? ha..ha.

The Mulherin's are moving tomorrow! :( Such great people.
 I love this work with my whole heart and am so grateful for this chance. You learn so many things on a mission that wouldn't be learned else where. I love this gospel for all it's worth. Thank you everyone for the support and help that you continue to bring.

Love y'all!! 
-Elder Hales

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 85 - Recognize miracles!

Kellie is getting baptized this Saturday the 27th!! After she read a good chunk of the BOM and D&C she basically set her own baptism date. It was AWESOME!! She passed her interview yesterday and is getting ready for the big day this Saturday. She told us one day that she was 3/4's through with the BOM and 1/2 with the D&C.....holy cow. I've never had an investigator read that much before baptism. In relief society yesterday she got really excited and did a cheer and invited everyone to her baptism. She has a good heart and real intent, and says she already wants to help people through some sort of missionary service. Ah man. Serving a mission is the best.

Our zone at the Temple! 

Nonetheless, the week started off last Monday by us kicking off some "Zone Olympics" where we had different events! It was saweet! There was different events. It's things like that, that bring unity to a zone. Our zone goals that we follow up weekly on are 1) Being more positive with comments and actions 2) Not wasting time after meetings 3) Unity in the zone along with praying for miracles. We've seen a big focus on those things this transfer. After talking to President this morning, we hope that not many changes happen next week for transfers....but we'll find out in calls this Saturday!

Last week in "Zone Olympics" our team took 2nd!

Someone else that we've been teaching is Alicia! She was contacted by Sister Missionaries in her apt. complex and asked if we could come over. We went over with two Sisters from the ward, and taught her the Restoration! She has bee Roman-Catholic so she feels a little sense of guilt changing things up, but luckily our two members were also Roman-Catholic. Perrrfect. We set up a time to give a church tour and she came to that as well. The spirit was suuper strong when at the font....tears began to come and we invited her to be baptized on Oct. 18th and she said YES!! The spirit was there with us and she said she felt "lighter." Will keep updated!

Yesterday, Kellie, Alicia, and Andreas all came to church! Along with our good Polynesian family friends and some other people we've been working with. It makes a great Sundaywhen people come to church. Ward Council at 7am. Church at 8:30am, and yet, the spirit is still there just as much. Legit.

The relay race! 

"Miracles" have been a HUGE focus in our zone and mission! So it's been humbling to recognize all the miracles that happen to us, regardless of the circumstances!:

-Sister Mulherin and Sister Baker both grew up Roman-Catholic so they could relate to Alicia better than anyone.
-While walking at 8:30pm trying to find someone the last 30 mins. of the day, we walked around and found William! He believes in reincarnation, but lots of similar things. He almost came to church and we hope to meet with him in the next couple days!
-Another "walk it out" session at 8:40pm, we hear a "gentleman!" and looked over to see a guy, named Quintin, chillin' on the curb. He was sliiiightly drunk, but had a great talk with him about how the world perceives evil along with religion. We're going back tonight!
-3 invests. came to church.

Elder Lahtinen: "Well, it's been nice to know ya."
Elder Hales:"....are you leaving?"
Elder Lahtinen:"No...but it's still been great to know ya."

Miracles have been all around us lately...someone is praying...or paying tithing...or something! Because amazing things are happening. We were able to hit SOE's this past week which has happened only a hand full of times on the mish. so far. All I know, is that the church is true. We shared 1Nephi8:30:30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudespressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell downand partook of the fruit of the tree.

The focus of it was how when we recognize miracles around us, God will often give us more. To the point where we will be like them, as they "fell down" and realized what they had in front of them. I'm so grateful to be serving the mission. Although I'm in a situation where I must figure out whether I'll be coming home the February or March transfer...all I know, is that I love this work and am grateful to be a part of it. It's hard to humble ourselves at times, but it always opens our eyes in the end.

Love y'all!!

Elder Deej Hales

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 84 - #unclestatus

So this morning I went to put my contacts in.....and my contacts and the solution were not in the container....the heck? Super delirious after that.

Congrats to my Christy and Ben to their first lil' kid and first one for our FAMILY!!!!! #unclestatus Man. It's been on my mind and in my prayers recently, and now he's here! I can't wait to hold him and spend time with him!!! Little Bentley!!! (or BMW) :D

Besides the fact of miracles of babies, miracles still came to us this past week! We have been SO blessed for all that's been happening in our zone, I just hope and pray it keeps going this great.

Our Zone Meeting went really well. The spirit was there and guided all of us in our zone on what to say and train on. In preparation for our zone meeting, we were trying to figure out what last thing the zone needed to have a training on....it was the hardest training to come up with than any other one for some reason. After praying, my companion turns to me and says, "Elder Hales, you need to share with us something you've learned about diligence on you mission...." along with other things. The spirit was suuuper strong when he told me that.....I got a flashback to Dave, Todd, and other miracles that I've been fortunate enough to see on my mission.

Doing a role play for part of our ZM! 

At the end of our ZM and testimonies, I shared 3 scriptures as part of it: Jacob5:72--->Alma 29:10---->D&C64:32-34 and the spirit was strong. Elder Lahtinen shared his testimony on accountability and referenced me how I've been able to help him. It was a very humbling experience. I won't lie, I felt a little bit uncomfortable, but the spirit was there and the feedback we had was that it was remotivating for our missionaries. At first we talked about finding with everyone and the faith, trust, and skills/tools that are used in it. I learned a lot, and my eyes have been opened that much more. Weirrrrd.

We did exchanges this past week and I went to Elder Ontiveros/Bryants' area. We did an appointment with the Lord! While driving to the area we prayed about, we saw a YSA girl walk into her house. We walked around the entire block until we came back to that house and turns out, that was the one God wanted us to visit! There was a single mom and her....roommates...who may be lesbian, but nonetheless, the Gospel blesses everyone. Elder Ontiveros is a stud and both areas had cool things happen!

At the Schell's home - a returning family!

Kellie has a baptism date!!!! She basically set it for herself. You know why? Because she read a ton in the BOM!! She said she'd give up nicotine and tea soon enough for her baptism. Holy awesome. She came to church and loved it still! Her BD is for Sep. 27th!!! Andreas also came to church, a YSA who has a kid that we contacted on the street. He asked some interesting questions in sunday school, like, "What priesthood is the Catholic church under?"....it took a different turn as he said he can't deny the Pope haha. But he's coming and he enjoyed church!

The Rabe's came to church too! He said "it was like I never left" because he felt at home. I love that family to death. The first time he's been to church in 10+ years. They are just one of those families that you feel like you're supposed to meet.

Donna's BD dropped :( she also doesn't want a visit for a while....I wouldn't call Satan my BF.

There was a couple Sisters in our zone that we were able to give blessings too. One of them went to the ER too! Luckily they're all feeling better and the work will go again!

It was another great finding week for us this past week, and the people we taught aren't ready for baptism, but they are ready to learn more. One of them is Stephanie! When we talked to her, she brought up some 'anti' type stuff and showed us her anti Book of Mormon video.....joy. The lesson was back in forth in the bible until we finally were able to bring the spirit and commit her to prove the Book of Mormon right, before you prove it wrong. We aren't going back for another week or so, but it wasn't contentious which was great. You must be willing to listen! The less excuses you have, the more humility is upon you. That is great to have when people spit anti stuff at you, like a man who was native American did to us this past week while we were contacting someone.

Today for PDAY we're doing "Zone Olympics" where we have multiple events set up for each district to compete against each other! haha! We have medals, team names and posters, and the winner gets to use their poster idea and we'll make a shirt out of it for them! We never have any time on PDAY's!

Tomorrow, WE GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE!!! It's my oooold stompin' grounds! It's our first temple trip in 5 months, so we are SO stoked for it.

In our zone, whenever a companionship has a miracle, they text it to us and then we forward it to the zone! It helps us all stay positive! We got one after zone meeting:
"Another miracle!! We stopped by at a less actives house and they were not home. We remembered what we learned today so there was a reason why we were in that area. The neighbor of the less active came out and started talking to us. She thanked us for spreading the gospel and asked if we would stop by sometime soon."

There was a ton of miracles in our zone, and I'll try to share them too!

Time is up and we have so much stuff to do. The church is true and I'm grateful the Book of Mormon. I'm currently reading it and looking for something specific, and it proves that you can gain a testimony about anything in this gospel by simply reading and praying.

I love your faces.
-Elder Hales

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Week 83 - Miracles!

Let's start off with a joke!

....well now I think about it, all my jokes suck. So let's just move on to the good stuff.

First things first. MIRACLES!! The Lord blessed us with an awesome week. While walking one day, Elder Lahtinen said, "Man. This is just awesome. We are seeing so many miracles. This whole transfer!" Basically sums it up! I've learned that miracles can come in the form of blessings to us.

Crap.....the lady just came up to us and told us she's closing due to flooding!! I hope we can email more. Just know that the church is true! Crap.

-----{The next day 9/9/14}-----

Elder Taylor's reaction yesterday to getting kicked out of the library haha.

...well the computers closed yesterday, so they literally kicked us out. We weren't able to get some zone things done, so we have a few mins. on the computer today!

Our zone hike on P-Day! It was so fun and it monsooned like crazy right before. West zone!!

Anyways, continuing on...

Let's start with miracles:

Last week, most of our miracles came through mostly finding, along with potentials and returning member families. Gah. So awesome.

We've been working with a family, the "Schells" and they are rad as. One night they weren't home, but their non-member brother was! He loved the BOM and we set up a time for us to come back! Unfortunately the timing has been bad, but soon enough we'll sit down with him again!

There's been a part-member family this area has been trying to get ahold of for a while now. Finally they had some spare time. Ken, Katrina and their kids Isaiah and Jesus. The lesson was only 25 mins., but they all took the BOM suuper well and we're going back this Thursday!! Three of them are non-members, but seem suuper interested even after one lesson. It goes to show that sometimes things just start falling into place, because of God's time.

Then on Saturday night, we've been trying to get a hold of another part-member family named Adam and Sarina! They are in their 20's which are probably my fav. age group to teach. Adam was randomly home one night along with his recent covert brother where we had a lesson on the BOM and are also going back this Friday! These people so solid, and I only wish we could meet with them multiple times a day!

On Sunday after church, we headed over to try this one guys house who we talked to a week ago...but he wasn't home :( but wait! His neighbors were moving a mattress that was huge, so we helped! Afterwards, one of them asked us about our religion and we ended up sitting down and teaching him part of the Restoration. Paul had a lot of questions, but everything he said lined up with our belief already! He asked for a Book of Mormon before we talked about it and then a little later, he said the BOM seemed 'familiar' to him already, but that he just didn't know what was inside....hmmm. Yup. That's the spirit. Elder Malm pointed out to us how often people can make that connection with this gospel because it has a 'familiar' sound to it. It's because they once knew!! I was about to extend a date for baptism, but then people came inside and the spirit left...but tomorrow!

Another sweet as can be miracle was with a Hawaiin family we randomly knocked on going through a list. The father served a mission but had a little rough patch and hasn't been to church in 10+ years. His wife and 3 kids haven't been for a couple, but you would never guess it by entering their house. The spirit is there with them and you can tell they have a strong testimony just by talking to them by how much they "glow." They have fed us twice now! I love poly's to death. They are one of those families you feel that YOU were sent here for. Our last meal/lesson with them was uplifting. After the dad offered to say the closing prayer, Sister Robe was in tears because she knew it was time for them to go back to church. They are coming to church this Sunday, and I have no doubt that they will. The first night they fed us, someone contacted Bro. Robe and asked him if he was going to church. The person that emailed him helped with the finances of his mission years ago. I love that family to death already.

The Robes!!

We taught Gospel Principles about the Priesthood on Sunday. I love to teach. It's so rad.

Jacob 5:72

Last Friday was our monthly MLC meeting. It was inspiring for our Zone Meeting we are having tomorrow. We're focusing on Faith, Trust, and Skills in Finding along with Gospel blessing families and Diligence and Accountability. It should be a great one. Our mission President's wife will be coming and we're excited to see how it goes tomorrow!

We also have been teaching Donna who has a baptism date for Oct. 4th!

Sorry this week's was short. We're emailing between lessons, so it's time to go!

-Elder Hales

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 82 - Heavenly Father has prepared opportunities...

This past week started off pretty intense. Elder Malm of the 2nd quorum of the 70 held a half mission conference and a couple other things that day for us. After the conference he interviewed the senior comp. of every zone leader companionship....so he interviewed me! He definitely has the power of God and discernment with him...wow. It was intense. But he gave me some great counsel about some things. Oh man. Anyways, along with the interview and great things Elder Malm, we received referrals this past week! More than any other week of my mission! One of them was Ron and Amy that we taught this past week who were found by Sisters. Amy was raised Catholic and Ron wasn't raised religious. They had some really awesome questions and the spirit has been felt in both lessons with them. Amy almost accepted a date for baptism, but wasn't quite there. Ron would have, but Amy is almost there. They committed to pray and read about it. The members are fellowshipping them great, to answer their questions is a huuuuuuge help.

Blitzing Elders Jewel and Whittle's area! We found a few potentials for them!

Alma 29:9
Jacob 2: 17-19

Yesterday we had 4 investigators come to church! Gah. It was so grreat. Oh man. Kelly was one of them which she brought her 3 grand kids too! #dedication Our lessons with her have been awesome. She won't quite accept a date either, but is almost there! She told us that the times she feels the spirit is when we are over there, when she reads, prays, or is at church.....so, she feels the spirit! Her life is chaos right now, so we're trying hard to help her with the Gospel. She is suuper nice and we won't to go over her feelings about the spirit more with her tonight at a dinner lesson with some members. Fingers crossed!

On the way to church with Kelly's grand kids! 

Along with Amy and Ron, Camela was another one that came to church! We are meeting with her after lunch today to try and help her understood what the spirit means. She prayed about the BOM a few months back, but then got sick with cancer, but told us that something happened when she prayed.

".....Elders....do you have a spare key?" Yup. It's called a crowbar. They ended up calling the Landlord for a key haha.

On Saturday there was a sweet experience with a baptism in our zone named Kenyon! He's in his 20's and the baptism went great. There was non-members there and we were asked to give the '5MTM' - the 5 minute teaching time right after the baptism to fill in the space. We felt to teach the Restoration! Wow. The spirit was there. Right when you start to recite the first vision while not rushing it at all, it brings the spirit every time. I was asked to share an experience of the holy ghost in a talk there as well. The spirit was strong, and the baptism was great. Other missionaries had a lesson with their investigator right after the baptism and set a date with her! So awesome!!

Eating out at a food stand right before a baptism. So. good.

Finding has been something to focus on a lot more in our zone as there's been some companionships struggling to find. That's okay since that happens to every area generally at some point. Today after Camela's lesson we're blitzing a sisters area to try and find some people for them. Yesterday our zone had awesome sports! You can see everyone come more and more together. I'm a firm believer of when a zone has unity, the Lord blesses us with more opportunities to help one another with the work.

As a missionary, church can either be very happy, or sad, depending on who will come to church! Church is at 8:30am for us, and if we don't have ward council before, we're out by7am sometimes trying to get people to come to church! One girl told us to come over at 7 to get her to come, but she told us she drank all night and was still drunk and hadn't even been to bed yet....hahah. Oops. She felt bad though and promised us this next Sunday she'll come. You do everything you can to get people to come feel the spirit!

I don't think I've seen so many things come together so nicely in a short amount of time in an area. People are asking to meet with us, people are prepared for the discussions, it's such a testimony builder. Last night while appointments fell threw of where we were about to teach someone that was Jewish, we decided to check on a member family. Her brother was there and asked us if he could sit in on a lesson next time! Uhhmmm....YES!!! We've invited him before, but he's been hesitant. Some things have happened in his life recently that have helped him feel ready. We intro'd the BOM and got an RA with him.

On Sunday we ate with a member family that were all decked out in Utah Stake stuff....they also knew my Grandma and Grandpa Hales! It was a tender mercy to be able to remember my grandparents who helped so many people. I'm sure they're still USU and Bronco's fans up in heaven :]

Well, time is almost out. Glad we were able to email today with President's permission. This week we have MLC where we'll be discussing a lot of sweet things.

My testimony has grown ladies and gentleman!! I love this work with my whole heart. It blows my mind that I'm only a couple hours from family, and yet the Lord has prepared a mission for me down here in Tucson. I've learned that it truly does not matter where you are in life, but that Heavenly Father has prepared opportunities for you there. This week I will only have 5 months left. I cannot believe it. I'm grateful for God's arm in this work. I continue to have a desire to work and have the urge to never slow down. There's always too much work to do! I know this Gospel's real and that God loves all of us equally.

Love you all!! :D

-Elder Hales