Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 90 - we flushed out our teaching pool

Hello everyone!! My brain is literally scattered today for some reason. If you crack a joke, I probably won't get it. But hey, that's not really new anyways haha.


Okay. Well a good chunk of last week was crazy. Wednesday we had our Zone Conference where they showed us "Meet the Mormons" (go see it!), gave us flu shots, and we presented our training to the 3 zones. On Tuesday we received a call to go out to a missionaries apartment and make sure things were okay. To keep things brief and simple, we were on exchanges from Tuesday morning to Friday was nuts!! Longest exchange yet. Luckily NO E.T. happened with them, so the work goes on! In preparation for training on "Planning for Conversion" our time to prepare it was while some missionaries were getting interviewed by President. We got it done and it went well which we are grateful for.
Preparing our training! 
Our zone is currently making zone shirts! They should be done this weekend. While there, turns out one of them is a member of the church who is less active of about 8 years or so. He has a rad accent, so he must be solid eh? While talking with him, he will be coming to our ward's trunk or treat tomorrow night. There should be a great turn out for members and non members there. We're STOKED! Camela (investigator) should be there along with other people that we've invited. 

In past emails I've probably sounded a bit stressed...haha well, things are better now. It seems to go that the more stress I have, the faster time goes because you never have time to stop. Elder Rogers is doing great and we had a good talk yesterday. Not sure if I would have been able to keep up if I was surprisingly put in his position now. He's doing awesome and we're having fun.

Our zone had a ton of miracles this past week! The cool thing about them was that they seemed to be from the members! All the missionaries out here in this stake did a fast a few weeks ago to help hasten the work, and we believe that it's starting to happen. Tomorrow night we're meeting with our Stake and Mission President to break it down and see what we can all do to help this Stake with their missionary work.

Kellie Wiley is doing AWESOME!! She came to church along with her grandkids which participated in the primary program yesterday. She is solid and wants to go through the temple asap, but is learning a bit of patience for now :D

Elder Rogers and I have had a bit of a harder time finding new people to teach. Just a couple weeks ago, our area just decided to slow down. So we flushed out our teaching pool and feel that it's God's way of humbling ourselves to truly know how to help others out. As you are longer on your mission, it's easy to forget about the miracles and "coincidences" that always happen on a mission. If we don't see them, then we won't know what to do to get them back. It's been a great experience as this transfer has been one of the craziest transfers ever, and finally we're able to spend some time finding and teaching in our own area. I have no doubt in my mind that fasting and praying truly works, and know that God has a plan. As long as we diligently work selflessly, without justifying even the small things, that great things will come to pass!

We were able to give a couple blessings this past week. One to Bekah who had a few crazy events happen. We offered a blessing to her since she hasn't had one in years, and it seemed to be the right time. Another one was to a Sister who needed a little boost. Our zone is coming together great. I love our ward and everyone here.
Thank you for all of your prayers. My testimony of simple power of prayer has grown so much on this mission. I know that God loves us and that He wants us to turn to him in every situation we are in. When we're trying to accomplish ANYTHING, He wants us to turn to him. Spiritual, physical, emotional, whatever it may be, He wants us to involve him. There's times where I realize I'm relying upon myself instead of Heavenly Father, it's when I take a deep breathe and a step back and refocus on what feels right in the eyes of God, that miracles happen and lessons are learned.

Alma 26:12

I love you all!

-Elder DJ Hales

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 89 - Patience Much?

Mosiah 26:13 "And now the spirit of Alma was again troubled; and he went and inquired of the Lord what he should do concerning this matter, for he feared that he should do wrong in the sight of God."
-That gives a pretty good sum of what's been going down! There seems to have been so many things going on in the past week or two, that we're constantly trying to do what's right....and sometimes you're in situations where you don't really know what's right, but you must find out what is God's will.
Hello everey bodey. How is life eh? :D Life is AWESOME!
I labeled this past week's notes "Patience Much?" hahah so when I look back at this week I'll think of all the things that have been happening. 

Here we go.

KELLIE WENT TO THE PHOENIX OPEN HOUSE!!! So awesome!! The day before she did a couple hours of family history work and then went to the open house with our Bishop and his family the next day and LOVED it!! So awesome. We've learned that recent converts who actively do family history, stay active in the church 90% or so of the time....I also learned that a two year mission, is equal to earning a 4-year communications degree. Hah. SO true. People people people. Anyways, Kellie is awesome and solid.
Family history with Kellie!
Our EQP gave us some names and families to stop by and see. One day while trying to find this apartment, we finally found it and right then, Robert walked up. Perfect timing. Robert's been studying "Demons" a lot and how they work, so it was a great time for us to go over. We read 2Nephi32:2 I think and expanded off of how angels work. The father came to church! Wooh!

On Tuesday we were on exchanges, and felt we needed to go to the park. One lady named "Mary" was at the park alone with her two dogs. We approached her and started talking to her and it went really well! Then, as soon as we brought up the Book of Mormon she shut us out. Elder West and I felt the spirit and thought we introduced it well, but people don't always accept. She may not have been prepared for baptism, but she was prepared for progression!
 Exchanges with Elder West!
Alicia moved!! Sad day. Our prayers are with her and the missionaries teaching her.
 Saying bye to Alicia! Our investigator for a month or so now. We helped her move along with doing our ward service project. She will be missed!
While blitzing an area a few days ago, Elder Taylor and I knocked on a house and they let us right in, sat us down, and said "What do you want to tell us?" ....we said, "We're just going around getting to know people around here and how we can all get closer to Christ!" Then they both unleashed all the anti-mormon stuff they knew. Wow. It's simply ridiculous what people believe. The spirit was gone as they said false things about the church. Although, sometimes you feel this urge to go study certain topics after being "anti'd" but I did not feel my testimony shaken at all that whole time, for that I'm very grateful. Gosh I love this church.

Yesterday we spoke at a Sister's homecoming in our ward, and also sang in the choir. Then, last night, all the missionaries in our zone and all the prospective missionaries gathered at a house to have a "missionary experience." Our mission President and his wife were both there, along with our Stake President and the mission prep. teacher, a former mission President. Powerhouse. They trained us for an hour, and then we (Elder Rogers and I) split all the prospective missionaries up with full time missionaries. All companionships went on splits, and lots of cool things happened! Brit and I went out and felt to visit this one place. A lady was walking so we rolled down our window and started talking with her! We got out, intro'd the BOM, said a prayer with her and testified of the truthfulness. Sheryl said that she had been "searching" lately and praying a lot. Unfortunately her husband would not want us over there. She is in our prayers though!
Me and Brit! - a prospective missionary
This Wednesday is zone conference where Elder Rogers and I will be training North Tucson, West Tucson, and Tucson zones about "Planning for conversion." We're excited, training always rocks face. Elder Rogers gets to train 1/3 of the mission after 3 weeks of being leadership. haha STUD!!

With all of these things going on, I've learned that God knows how much time we have to prepare. Sometimes it's not much, but He will qualify us. Sometimes we have a lot of time to prepare, and He wants us to do as much possible to qualify ourselves with His guidance. It's crazy. But I cannot express my gratitude enough for family, friends, our Mission President, and other missionaries for the continual influence they/you have on the missions for those that you know whom are serving. The miracles are highly influenced by the prayers of others and I know that to be true. 

Oh, FYI, Pres. Passey talked with me last Monday, turns out I'll be coming home Feb. 4 most likely. That's SO soon!!

Love you all!!

-Elder Dallin Joseph Hales

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 88 - Have you ever prayed for humility?

Our numbers were a little lower, but our faith is higher, and the miracles are increasing for us and the West Tucson Zone!

Last week started off by us trying to apply the things we were trained on at MLC, such as "Harvesting" where you focus on praying with the people you contact. So by the time you pray with them about the things they need in their life, their hearts are softened and they're looking for a baptismal font/wash! Tuesday during our "appointment with the Lord" we kept going around and talking with everyone and knocking a few houses. We came to one cul de sac, walked in it, and went straight to the very back house....for no reason really. A man opened whose name was Keith. He recently had heart surgery and has found God! He goes to a break-off from "The Cool Church" - great people, very confusing religion. He gave us a Jesus-cross that he has been working on and felt touched by us coming over. We prayed with him and he had a tear or two come down his face. Will keep updated about how he is doing!

Kellie Wiley our recent convert? SOLID. She is so awesome. Suuper solid in the gospel, despite the struggles from some family instances. She loves church and is being taken care of very well. We've been blessed with a ward that is great with fellowshipping which seriously makes the world of a difference.

The Wiegands fed us last Tuesday, a part-member family! The father is baptist and although no baptism date was set, this time he was willing to read and find out for himself after the Restoration lesson. Some people you "coincidentally" run into during the day or night, and there's no doubt that whatever progress can be made with them, is what Heavenly Father sees fit for them at that time. 

Keep an eye for us in a future Ensign! :D

Soooo...most nights, we see drugs or cops. More people that need the gospel.

On Wednesday we had our zone meeting, which lasted from 11-2:30. It was AWESOME and well-needed for us all. Half of the time we trained on "Member Trust" and how it plays a role in the work. It went great and our zone fasted yesterday for certain things we talked about which we're all suuuper excited to see how it helps the work. The morning of our Zone meeting, our Stake President called us and relayed a message for us to give to the missionaries which helped. Things are looking up!

One day we blitzed the Sisters' area and found Joe and his wife who are looking for a church! They took a Book of Mormon and was very positive about the message. They also went to the "Cool Church" but felt it wasn't right...hmmm. A lady had stopped by and taught them briefly about the Book of Mormon too, which seemed to help to the preparation process. Our hopes are high for them for the Sisters!

Blitzing the Sisters' area!
Another night, boom, we were out walking after an appointment and the thought of "Shoobies" came into mind which is a shave ice place that some members was weird. Then I thought of how a recent convert works there and maybe that was the reason the thought came. We went there and while we were there, a family came in! There was our reason! The father came up to us and read our tags and then asked us nicely, "So what separates you from other churches?" We briefly went over the Restoration and our recent convert talked about her experience of getting baptized and also she gave them a Book of Mormon! We bore our testimonies about it yesterday, those experiences are so awesome to build member trust.
Camyle! The recent convert at Shoobies!
Have you ever prayed for humility? Well, it'll make you feel like dirt.This past week we had 3 pretty harsh rejections of yelling, swaring, and kindly denying our message. God has our attention, so we're trying to start over with our investigator pool and have a few things lined up this week week already!

Has anyone seen "Meet the Mormons"? We get to see it next week at zone conference! Along with a training we'll give to 3 zones. Wootwoot!

A returning-member named Bekah has recently changed her life and her testimony has grown! She quit all of her addictions, and we continue to meet with her and how her life is being more and more taken care of from the gospel.

Alicia is doing great as well and has a baptism date for Nov. 8th, but she's hesitant to give up the smokes. Gah. We know she can do it!

Well, I believe that's it for today! Looks like this week will our first somewhat normal "missionary" week yet of the transfer. Thank you for your prayers. There's recently been a big comfort in my life that I know was influenced by those at home, or out on missions! I love and miss you all so much, and know the church is true! It's offical that I'll be coming back March 18th. CRazy!

-Elder Hales

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 87 - Non-stop moving, teaching, and planning....20 Months

Well holy cow. What a crazy week. My companion, Elder Rogers keeps saying, "Maybe this week you'll get to actually see my personality." hahah that's how nuts it's been. Non-stop moving, teaching, and planning. Elder Rogers is doing great and has the effort to just keep on going! 
 Elder Rogers my awesome comp! He's always happy and laughs all the time. So awesome.

I don't even know where to begin. I wish we had a GO-PRO to strap on our belts and then send video clips. That would definitely be awesome.

One of the first to remember from last week was while teaching Kellie, our RC of about a week now. While answering a couple questions with a member, she asked us about the spirit world along with temples because she wants to go through them now (after reading a book on temples). I had a distinct impression that hit me hard to the point where I sat there and pondered on it, but it was very clear. The impression was that she will have the chance when she is in the spirit world, to teach the fullness of the gospel to her passed ancestors. Pretty random if you ask me, but it was clear as mud and was humbling to be able to testify of that. This gospel is real and there's no doubt that there's people working on both sides of the veil.

Last Wednesday, our whole zone had training on family history under President Passey's permission from the Stake. It was sweet! We traced ourselves to Adam. Boo yeah.

While trying to see an investigator named Caryolyn, we remember to try a couple potentials! Joe answered and apparently his brother just got back from a mission and he has been the YSA's and wards numerous times and is also feeding us this Thursday! We saw him at YMCA this morning. hmmm..I wonder what may be keeping him back, but we'll find out soon! Either way, they are awesome people and we're suuper stoked to go over there on Thursday!
 Our "generation" - all the Zone Leader's that came out together.....and Elder Hickenlooper haha
Another sweet miracle was when we received a media referral via text and decided to try and contact them! They weren't home when we tried, but then this quote from PMG came to mind:

"Perhaps you have been led to this person because someone else in the home or neighborhood is ready for the gospel."

That came to mind as we looked at the door next to theirs which had a sign which said "Bless our home" hmm...sweet! Let's try our prayer contact approach! We knocked and they both answered, McKayla and Oscar where they told us they were looking for a "home church." Well sweeeeeeet!! We were talking with them about Prophets and asked them if they believe there could be one living today, and they said they believe so! Then we handed them a flyer and said, "Well come listen to him tomorrow!!" It was perfect. We will be going back tomorrow or maybe tonight. YES!!

We've been working with is Beckah. A convert to the church who has recently made a HUGE turn around in her life! Since about a month ago, she has quit drinking completely along with coffee and all her prescription Holy awesome. She is only 24 years old, divorced, with 3 kids. But she is a total trooper and has been coming back to church and watched her first General Conference yesterday! Wow. There's nothing better than seeing that.

Our Stake has been a little bit 'disconnected' with missionary work it seems like. We're working to try and see what it takes to change that around. At our zone meeting this Wednesday, part of it we'll be training on 'Member Trust' and how every member's home we visit, they should at least have some knowledge of who exactly we're teaching, member or not, and also an invitation of some sort for missionary service. Can't wait! President Passey has been VERY helpful and is a great mission President.

General Conference was AWESOME!! #ldsconf #hashtagsmeannothing There were so many great talks. Alicia called us and said she felt she got an answer to her prayer about the Book of Mormon! It's crazy how many questions are answered by the bretheren. The true church of Christ is here! The truth is here!!

One thing that happens on a mission after multiple months of serving, one may begin to not realize as many miracles or blessings in their life because it's now a habit. I've learned that in order to continually recognize God's true blessings, I must pray for it all the time. What one doesn't want, is for it to become only a habit, instead of a mission to God.

Today is 20 months since entering the MTC on Feb. 6, 2013. I told my mission President I'll know today if I'll be extending....and looks like I will be extending until March 17th and be home the 18th. Just feels right and almost like a sense of relief. Who knows. I will miss the group that is going home in Feb., we've grown close and always see each other around. I know the Lord has a plan (plus I would probably get bored at home anyways). Meh. Either way. Time is CRUUUUUUISIN YO!

Well errybody. I say again and again, but I know this church is true. I can look back numerous times after reading a letter from family or friends, and fall to my knees and pray to God and thank him for that person's happiness. I've seen so much change to my family, but they are happy, and there's truly nothing better. I love this gospel!

Time to go get a million more things done!

Love y'all!!

-Elder Dallin Hales