Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Two Years

The Best Two Years. I still can't believe how fast it went. I loved every minute of my mission. I love the Australian people and the wonderful country. I love the miracles I have seen. I love my mission. Thank you to everyone for following my adventures and for the prayers you have said for me.

The plane ride home was long. I couldn't concentrate on any one thing because so many things were running through my head. I was expecting to be bawling as the plane took off, but it wasn't until we were descending into Los Angeles that it really hit me. After I let it out, I let my excitement for a new adventure begin. I walked out to see my parents smiling and welcoming me home.

I don't know how to put into words how wonderful my mission was and how much it means to me. I miss everything about it. I learned so much and became converted to the Gospel more than I ever thought I could. There is a reason that every missionary comes home claiming that the last two years of hard work was the best time of their life. It's because this church really is true. I know that. I had answers to my prayers daily. I said words that I know the Lord wanted me to say. I sweat, bled, cried and went through more adversity than I ever have before, but I will always remember it as my Best Two Years.

May God bless you.

Adam (Elder) Hales

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Elder Hales Comes Home

Coming up the ramp. First glimpse -- pushing luggage

Holding his In-n-Out food.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

Dear family:

We have had so much rain in my area that there are a lot of floods. On P-day we had our Elders Quorum pres. pick us up in a 4 wheel drive and he did some off-roading with us in the car. Since we're not supposed to do that I was very nervous and annoyed. He only did some for about 2 min. -- mostly in the floods.

I didn't think I was going to be able to email home before I see you because all places with computers are closed but we found a place and have permission so I thought I would send a note.

About the In-n-Out-- if it's closed then don't worry about it.

I apologize for sounding down on the phone call. I was so excited to talk to you all and am excited to see you next week. I just can't believe this has come so quickly. I love this work so much and its going to be really hard to leave. I can't share my testimony anymore without crying. Even when I really try and push to be more of a man, it comes. I wonder why I cry so much. I think it's because I love change. I love my repentance. I love how much mercy I have been given.

I have seen many mighty miracles this last week. I can't wait to tell you all of them. Yesterday Elder Auld and I didn't get to nightly planning because we were talking. There was an awesome miracle just last night. I think the Lord wanted us to have that talk last night and I had a witness that he is the companion he wants for me at this time. Elder Auld will make it. And I had a confirmation again that every single area and companion I have had was specially placed for me to get the most out of this mission.
This is the best two years of my life.

Love you mom and dad and all family.
See you very soon. Next week.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Last phone call home

Elder Hales called yesterday. I answered the phone the way Adam used to: "Center of the universe." He chuckled and said, "This is Elder Hales." (So formal!) He called on our Christmas Day, his Boxing Day. It was right before his church. His companion is from New Zealand, so he had called his family the day before. That made the timing convenient for all of us.

We got Carly & Michael and Michael & Laura and kids on the computer using Skype. We were at Cheri's house, so we put her phone on speaker and everyone could hear.

He sounded very serious and I'm guessing, melancholy. He only has 10 days left and it's weighing heavy on him. He's not trunky at all. David and I attended a special Christmas Missionary fireside last year where the mission president told his army that "...the homesickness you felt when you got here will be NOTHING compared to the 'homesickness' that you'll feel for the mission when you go home." I suspect he's already feeling that. It'll be interesting to see how he adjusts. (We did tell him that he should get his brother up at 5:30 for scripture study. Payback.)

We talked for around 30 minutes. Nothing profound, but just fun to have all of our children interacting. And as usual, I got a little teary as we said good-bye. After we hung up, the rest of us continued to talk. All the guys said that the feeling they got returning home as the plane descended was just the weirdest feeling. Closing a chapter. You could tell that all four of them were reliving the moments.

He gets home January 5th at 9:45 a.m. It'll be just David and I there to greet him. The rest of the family will trickle in over the next two days. He will speak in church on the 9th at 9:00 a.m. All are invited to come and hear him.

Oh -- he did have one request. He will have three other missionaries with him and they are all DYING for an In-n-Out hamburger. (They are continuing on to Utah.) So I guess we have our assignment. Be waiting at the gate with our poster AND hamburgers. (most especially hamburgers)

Well, he made it sound like we might get one more email. We'll see. Hope you all had a Fair Dink'em holiday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The end is near

At the Brisbane Temple. Me and Elders Curtis, Auld, & Tuta'i
Today at the temple.

Dear Mom and Dad:

There is only one more P-Day that I will be able to write an email home. (Who's counting?) Next p-day we have the Mission Christmas party. We are going to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" which I am not too excited about. I haven't seen a movie in AGES!

I'm not too sure when to call. Boxing day is Sunday and church starts at 9 am. So I would have to call at 7:50 or 8 and get 30 min. on the phone. That would be 1 pm in the afternoon on Christmas for you. I hope that's okay.

So the Galapons move this Sunday which is sad. I feel confident things will go well up in McKay so they can be baptized. We had a family home evening with our fellowship that the Galapons came to and it went awesome. The Ravens are the fellowship and I think a part of the reason I have served in this area is because of the example of Brother Raven and Bishop Rea. They are an excellent example of Unity and Diligence in seeking inspiration from the Holy Ghost. One lesson we had with the Galapons last week, we spent 20 min. in a car praying about and seeking confirmation on what we planned to teach. It was a great experience.

This week has been amazing. It has been full of spiritual experiences and miracles. I love miracles. Last week we had Zone Conference and it was my last one. All missionaries going home with me bore their testimony. The fact that I am coming to an end didn't really hit me until I got up on that pulpit and looked at my fellow soldiers. Like Michael said, it seems to have gone so fast but when I went into the MTC it seems like ages ago. I look back at all of us missionaries there and see how much we have grown and changed.

Today was my last time going to the Brisbane Temple. I had a wonderful experience that I'll tell you about when I get home. I was crying like a baby and the lady who has obviously had experience brought over a box of tissues. She was nice.

Some of the missionaries in our District are WAY good singers. I will record us, but we sang carols and hymns on the packed train ride back. I mostly walked around talking to people. Whenever I see a large amount of people I get excited.

Brother: Try and get Chan to say Elder Hales. That would be cool. :)

Everyone stay safe and counsel with the Lord in all thy doings.
Love you mom and dad
-Elder Adam Hales

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Dear Mom and Dad:

Thank you for the Christmas package! The candy is pretty much gone. After two years I still have no self-control when it comes to candy! :-) I gave some away to some people I am working with. They wanted American candy.

This week was rough but we still saw miracles. We found a new investigator named Rhian that we are teaching today. Elder Auld really doesn't want to work on P-Day so this will be our last lesson on a Monday with her but we set her baptism on Dec. 19 so hopefully we will have a "White Christmas."

We had an amazing lesson with the Galapons! We got there and no one had read from the Book of Mormon. We fished around and found some concerns that others have been telling them that the Book of Mormon is made up and the kids were confused. Our fellowship started to confuse them with Alma 32 and it got nowhere so we said a prayer and I tried to do as Alma did when he gave up being chief judge to go among his people and bear down in pure testimony. As I was sharing my testimony I was crying and the Galapons started crying and the spirit was so strong! During my testimony I felt prompted to share an experience when I was in High School and a Classmate said "Christ never came to America" and I responded that he did and the account was found in the Book of Mormon. He laughed in my face. Later, Elder Auld said he was going to share an experience he had that was just like that. The Galapons did not come to church this week because of an activity they had to go to with their employer and they have the same thing next Sunday so they will not be able to be baptized here, but I'll make sure it goes through in McKay!(where they are moving to)

Elder Auld is a champion. He went home for a few months and came back out. We get along awesome and he is teaching me some of the Maori Haka's. He has been back from home for a few months but I'm his first real working companion since getting back so he is keeping me from being complete trunky sauce! :)

The work is great! The miracles are real!
Love you all
-Elder Hales

Thursday, December 2, 2010


No worries, mate. We found this abandoned car and couldn't let the photo op go by.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Still praying for miracles

Dear Mom and Dad:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!! I believe everyone who has prayed for the Galapons has helped in their progression in the Gospel. This week was full of miracles. We ran out of kilometers for the car so we were walking and busing most of the week and it was getting me kinda down because I wasn't having much success in commitments to church. Then Sunday comes and we had 4 less actives there!

In our lesson with the Galapons this week, one of the first things Jenalyn says is, "Danny (husband) wants to be baptized!" We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and tried to set a date for their baptism but this is where the next trial is. They will be in Brisbane on Dec 12 and they move to Mckay (north Queensland) on December 19th. If they go to church on the 5th of December then all but the father will have been to church 2 times and we can't baptize the family without the father. So what we are praying for and fasting for is that a miracle will come again and we will be able to baptize them before they go to Mckay- or that work opportunities will allow them to stay. Please continue to pray for miracles.

The Galapon's came to Church yesterday and it was amazing. I can't tell you how many miracles I have seen with this family. A member in the ward that is half Filipino had her mother visiting who knows Tagalog so she was able to stay by the mothers side the whole Sunday.

On Sunday night we were invited to a Uniting Church activity. A former investigator that is such a good guy invited us to a "CD launch" of church music and some of the music was really good! Elder Auld and I walked over to the church and Elder Auld got a weird feeling about going in so we stopped and prayed to see if it was a bad idea. While we were out there a member of our church comes walking out and talking to us and his wife was performing a few songs.... so before you know it she got Elder Auld and I to sing with her in front of heaps of people from other faiths. I have never sung into a microphone before and I could tell that no one could hear me so I started to sing louder. At the end Elder Auld said I was singing pretty loud! :) (* As his mom, TRUST ME -- that right there was a miracle.) But this member lady was way awesome. She invited us up and introduced us as missionaries and told everyone not to slam their doors in our face. :) And these members got us a dinner appointment with a non-member! :)
But as I heard these people sing about Jesus Christ I was thinking about what good people they are. How nice and loving and how much they want to follow Christ and then I thought about how unless they accept the truth, they cannot attain the full glory of Heaven. I really just want to give my all in every way. Having 5 weeks left can be pretty distracting. I am aware and its not really bothering me but the fact that these souls who might endure endless torment began to make me tremble at the thought. I felt like- maybe for just a moment- that I knew what the sons of Mosiah felt like when they said that the very thought of a human soul enduring endless torment caused them to quake and tremble. I'm not saying I'm anywhere NEAR the sons of Mosiah, but looking at a few kind, loving people who are so close but so far did help me give another push to work harder for these people I love.

I was studying about pride a lot this week and dad, you're right. I like how President Uchtdorf in his priesthood talk, talked about pride in "your team." Then at church on Sunday one of our Bishopric talked about how pride was the downfall of NATIONS. (I think the Lord is trying to tell me something). I think if we asked ourselves introspective questions about pride consistently, there might be a little less contention.
I love being a missionary. The work is true.
Love you mom and dad.
-Elder Hales

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Only 6 more weeks!

Dear Mom and Dad,

A new transfer and my last 6 weeks!!! I can't believe that's all I have left and plan to make it the most miracle-filled 6 weeks of my life.

Today I saw Elder Tito off. He flies out tomorrow for Samoa and it's not a sad thing. Am I allowed to say that?? He was hard. My new companion is a champion. His name is Elder Auld from Hamilton, New Zealand. He was just serving in Tweed Heads so we already have something in common. (Today I found out that Tweed Heads had 3 baptisms of people I had worked with, which was such good news). Elder Auld has been out for somewhere around six months and seems like he is going to be a lot of fun. I'm excited because I was really hoping to get a good companion my last transfer.
This past week was hard but the Lord still blessed us with miracles. The Galapon family is doing well. We were nervous about how the father would take his family learning and being baptized so our fellowship and Elders Quorum President invited the Galapons over for dinner and a lesson. We taught the father and I can't tell you how strong the spirit was!!! It was awesome. Our EQP and ourselves made a covenant together that we would pray for the Galapons every morning and night and it paid off. After watching a video about the Restoration and teaching we asked Danny (the father) if he felt it was true by the feeling of the Holy Ghost. He said yes. I asked every other member of the family of 6 and they said yes. It has been going very well and hope to have their baptism soon. The father then said that even if he doesn't choose to be baptized, that he will still allow his children to be baptized if they want to. I committed them to be baptized and they said yes. I love this work. I love being a missionary. I love declaring repentance. I love what I have become.

I am nervous about coming home, I'll admit. I know I need to go in faith just as I have been doing for the last 2 years. I love my mission. I love it so much. It means the world to me. I wouldn't trade it for the world. What I have learned in these two short years will carry me throughout all my life and the life to come. I like Dad's quote that how hard a mission is, is the best kept secret in the church. It's kept so well because hard things mean more to people and they express gratitude for things that mean a lot to them. I love how I am expressing gratitude and that has brought me so many tears.

I love you. Thank you for your prayers.
I love you mom and dad.
-Elder Hales

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Croc Meat

Dear Mom and Dad:

I just cut my hair short this week. I like it. It makes me look... sophisticated. (*I had told him that we'd do family pictures when he got home and it would be nice if his hair wasn't one centimeter long. Yeah, right.)

This week has been good. On our car we get about 2200 kilometers a month and we're already at 1200 so I have grey hair, but things have been great. We have been having a lot of success. This new training that the Apostles are giving to us, the 8 principles, are fantastic and I wish I had known these a long time ago.

Today is Elder Tito's last P-day and with that, the last chance he has to email home. He is pretty bummed we didn't get the Galapon family baptized before he left. Speaking of them... they are doing great. All the kids are ready and willing to be baptized so the focus is really on the parents. This week the 14 year old girl named Danika was confused because we wanted her to keep reading and she said: "But I already got an answer that it's true!!!" I am way excited for the Galapons.

Don't worry mom, but since we live in the country, there are a lot more snakes. Yesterday I was walking out of my flat and kicked a stick twice but it was too soft to be a stick so I looked down and saw a snake slithering away. Luckily it was just a tree snake. But I just stopped and thought for a minute. The thought came into my mind that the Lord is protecting me. I have been praying for angels to help me and it's interesting how I can really feel them sometimes. It's a tender mercy from the Lord.

Next time I write I'll have a new companion....
Elder Hales