Tuesday, January 27, 2009

He's Alive and Well!


O - MY- Gosh!!! Australia is amazing! I love it here! SO HOT But you will never believe how much the Lord has blessed me here in Aussie land this last week!
Where to start . . .
I'll start with getting here and my mission president. So the flight was So long! But it went by quick! I slept a little and played chess on the screen in front of me and studied. It was all right but we got off the plane and I felt like I just got back from Honduras dirty. We got our luggage and went through customs. All 10 of us elders walk out and see our mission president and his wife! We heard a lot of scary stories about him so we were scared, but he is SO AWESOME! Easy to get along with, amazing with the Gospel and you can tell he was placed in this position for a reason. He is big on obedience! We walk out of the airport and feel the warmth! Sheesh! It was fine though, just uncomfortable. The Assistants come with a Toyota van with a trailer on it so we load everything up and some of us ride with the APs, Mission Pres. and office elders. I rode with the Assistants and they are awesome! They are so cool! We spent the morning with Orientation and went to the mission home for lunch. Its a 3 million dollar home (probably Aussie money) that was donated to the church so its pretty nice. After lunch the APs took us to the Temple and we got to snap some pictures. They held a mini- training session and we went out GQing [golden questioning--(street contacting)]. The temple is so cool! It's right on the Brisbane River right next to town so it has an amazing view!! There are cliffs we had to walk down to GQ along the river walk. (stand type of thing) I only got to talk to 3 people but it was all right! We went back to the mission home and I was so tired, but we had interviews with President Richards and his wife. It was good! Sister Richards is in charge of medical so she just interviewed us quick. We had dinner and during that all of our trainers got there. In my interview (chat) with President Richards he mentioned there was another missionary from Southern California here.... quess what... he is my companion! Elder Neilson is a STUD! We are actually quite a bit alike. But he is 22 yrs. old but SO dedicated to the work! Anyway, we met our companions and left for our areas. By the way, this mission is super blessed with cars. We share a car with some other elders.
My companion in the MTC, Elder Tietjen is in our District so I get to see him every week.
Australia is crazy! The food is great , and so is the candy! It's all Cadbury. Sure I sweat so much, but there are so many people ready for baptism! It takes a bit to find them but I got a great story coming up! Driving here is scary, but I'm used to it now. It is a lot harder to understand people than I thought. It's embarrassing when I'm street contacting and have to ask "what?" 3 times in a row!!!
So I get to our flat (apartment) and we share our place with the zone leaders. Elder Dark and Elder Johnson. They pranked me hard to the core that first night. :) They tried to get me to hold hands for night prayer but I didn't buy it, but after 6 min. of them not giving up, I threw up my arms and did it...and they busted up laughing! hahah
We are lucky. We have air conditioning in our flat so we can sleep at night!
Our P-day is on Monday but we got to go to the temple this morning so we moved it to Wed. this week! The temple is small , but so cool and good! Probably smaller than any temple I've ever seen!
Okay, so Elder Nielson and I were Whitewashed into an area--neither of us have been there before-- and the area had no progressing investigators so Elder Nielson and I have been working hard! Elder Nielson has been out 7 months now and I've heard nothing but good about him! We have been working hard and we are really feeling the blessings of it! We street contacted into Stanley and Danika and they are a couple and are 17 yrs old. Somehow they are interested.. but don't act like it, so they are really really hard to read! We taught them the 3rd lesson --Gospel of Jesus Christ, then yesterday we taught them the Plan of Salvation and Friday we are really going to hit them HARD with the Restoration!!! And that's exciting cause we are going to commit them to baptism! This mission is big on baptism commitments.. even if you just met them... so we already committed them, but this time we will set a date. But pray for them!
I saved the best for last... Anthony!!!!! This guy is so cool! He is a Golden Investigator for sure!! This story is amazing! So the elders before us.. who one is now an AP... street contacted this guy and we found his address so we decided to stop by. We drop by his house and he is there and we get to making friends with him. We ended up teaching him the Restoration and the spirit was SO STRONG! And I KNOW he felt it! I had the honor of telling him about Joseph Smith, reciting the first vision, and bearing my testimony of it. They told us in the MTC to have the 1st vision by memory so when you say it you can stare into their eyes and send the spirit in... cheesy I know... but it so works! It felt like the Lord was sending the spirit into him! We committed him to baptism that night and he said yes. The next day... um.. Monday we taught him the Plan of Salvation and after that we committed him to baptism for Feb. 21st Saturday. I got to do that! I did the classic "Anthony- will you commit to prepare for baptism on Feb. 21st?" Or something like that. I've only been on my mission for 1 week and the Lord has blessed me so much! He committed to work toward baptism! I forgot to mention he read 3 Nephi 11 that night we taught him the restoration. Golden, just Golden! Elder Nielson and I are practically new to this area and we already have 1 baptismal commitment!
Okay I gotta go but our ward is amazing! 350 members and its so crowded! Not to mention its 95 percent Polynesian! so .. I'm super stuffed each night.
Oh yeah, our area is Crestmead, in Logan, outside of Brisbane!
-Austin Collie Went to OUR ward!!!?! and I missed it!? haha good thing I'm in a better place!
Love you all and I'll keep you in my prayers.
God Speed the Right!

-Elder Adam Hales

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Los Angeles Temple (September '08)

No news is good news ??

I thought we'd have something to report by now, but we've received nothing from Adam. So we figure that either: a) He doesn't have access to a computer to send an email; b) He has to wait for P-day; c) He's in the outback and the aborigines don't have laptops or wifi; d) snail-mail is his only option.

So we'll let you know when we know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Airport Phone Call

We got the phone call last night at 10:30. He sure was excited to begin this new adventure in Australia. He said there were 10 of them going to the Brisbane mission. (That has to be one happy mission president.) And all of their visa's came through with no problem. It's a 14 hour flight and he will get there on the 21st at 7:45 a.m., skipping Tuesday altogether because of the International Dateline. I think the other missionaries appreciated having him there to navigate LAX.

He couldn't say enough about how cool the MTC is. And all that studying! (That "studying" part sure warms a parents' heart.) His brother was able to join in on the conversation -- via Idaho -- courtesy of three-way calling. For Michael, (and his brother-in-law and dad for that matter) to know exactly how he's feeling as he starts out now, makes me teary just writing about it. Listening to them talk -- oh man, hang on while I go get a tissue.

He said that yesterday was busy with cleaning, class, and visiting the travel office for all the needed documents. He said he put his memory card in the mail, so hopefully we'll have some pictures to post soon.

And so the adventure begins. Australia will never be the same. And neither will the missionary.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last email from the MTC

Jan. 15

Mom - DAD!!!!

How are things in Los Angeles? I'll be there Monday night! I know I told you in the letter I would be there in the morning- but it is actually Monday night from 10:05 to 11:50pm. I'm allowed to call so is it okay if I call from LAX in between those times?
Tucson sounded fun!

Well, I love this cold up here. Woke up this morning and went straight to the laundry room (beat the crowd) and didn't wear a sweatshirt... but I'll be in the heat soon enough!
Tell my nieces and nephew to stop listening to ABBA and give them a tape of Bella's lullaby! :) Or an EFY CD! :)

Well this last week is Crazy! I almost have the second lesson down. But the second lesson is so long so it might take another day or two... But the MTC is so cool! Last Preparation day - around 3:00, we went up to the temple and did a session. I loved it! It was so small but so great! I get to go again today.
My schedule here is so busy! That's probably why the very first day was so long, and why these 2 weeks went so fast. My teachers are amazing! Brother Jenkins and Sister Packer were totally meant to be our teachers. They are pretty cool. Brother Jenkins was an awesome missionary in Oregon or something. Which reminds me about my companion. I can't remember if I told you but my companion is from Dallas, Oregon and is such a runner. We get gym time for 50 min. every other day and he does nothing but run, do stairs and stuff like that. I get all over the Volleyball court and also the 4 square court. :)
We have been keeping our head in the Preach my Gospel for the last 2 weeks and it's so amazing! I love it! Elder Holland spoke to us Tue. night. We sang Praise to the Man, Called to Serve and I sang in the choir. We sang Jesus, Once of Humble Birth. Elder Holland's talk was So good!!! SO GOOD!!! He told us that we are going to have HARD times on our missions, but if Jesus Christ our Lord fell on his face in the Garden and bled from every pore, we can at least walk the perimeter of the Garden of Gethsemane. They need us for the full 24 months working hard! I loved it so much. We closed with "I am a Child of God". (*note from Mom: do you KNOW how hard it was to get him to join a choir at home or even sing out?? Aren't missions fabulous?)

Love you all and I'll be praying for you!
God Speed the Right!

- Elder Adam Hales!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First email

Dear Family,

Well I had to set up my whole email account so I only have 20 min. to type so I'll hurry because this is AWESOME!!!! The MTC is Crazy!!!!! I love it sooo much!!! They just feed me the Gospel NON-Stop!!!!

I had a headache the day I went into the MTC and didn't get into eating until that next Friday or so... but the food here really is like Elder Winder said! Actually it's not nearly as good as your cooking but it does it! I can't tell if I've gained weight or lost because all we do is sit in our seats and work on Preach my Gospel... And IT IS GREAT!!! My testimony has grown soooo much already!!! I got the first whole lesson down!!! Dad- remember at dinner when we used to try teaching the first lesson!?!! hahaha I would make fun of myself now!!!

Also, its crazy having a companion! A lot different then I thought! But very good... He is very different than me... but I know that that is why the Lord put me with him. We are almost opposites. But that's the thing... the gospel brings us together. We got really good at teaching the first lesson together. We have time called Missionary Directed time and we go to a place where we teach a teacher and they tell us what we can improve on. We are really getting better. I never even realized how AMAZING Preach my Gospel is!!!! I'm realizing its all about Faith in Jesus Christ! And the Atonement!!! Holy molie! I am studying the Atonement because in Preach my Gospel it says, the better you understand the Atonement the more you will love the people you serve and desire their salvation! So basically the MTC is Awesome!!!!

Thank you Soooooooo Much for the converter and the shirts... and the letters!!!! I never realized how awesome mail is for missionaries!!!! It really is so cool to get mail.

I love the cold.... which reminds me -- It snowed here for like a full day!!!! It was awesome!!! (mainly cause i don't have to deal with it... :) But it's pretty cold here.

Mom and Dad- I love you so much and hope everything is well at home!
The Church really is True! And always try to gain Faith in Jesus Christ! Try reading that section in Preach my Gospel under Christlike Attributes - it's AMAZING!

Well I have an amazing district. Pretty much everyone is getting along.
Some new missionaries got here yesterday... and its kinda nice not being the new guys anymore! haha. And now I find myself trying to comfort the new, scared guys like I was.

This week has blown by!! The first day was hard but its just amazing here. My teachers are soooo cool!! I see why Spencer worked here. I'll bet he was an awesome teacher too! I have 5 teachers now... but that's only cause the new year and the teachers schedules are changing around... from now on its Sister Packer and Brother Jenkins. They are cool!
Also, I have gained a testimony of singing hymns too!!! I love it!! It brings the spirit in SOOOO WELL!!! I can't wait to teach a lesson with the spirit to investigators and then sing to them!!

But I gotta go... outta time!
I love you all so much...
God Speed the right!!!!

-Elder Adam Hales!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Welcome everyone!

We dropped Elder Hales off last Wednesday at the MTC. Poor guy was barely recovering from the stomach flu. In fact, for the whole drive up to Provo, he was horizontal on the back seat. At least he got totally caught up with his sleep.

After a quick stop at Subway for a sandwich, it was time to deposit him at the MTC. It was quite an efficient operation.

There were lots of tears, but everyone is happy. He waved goodbye and pumped his fist in the air as he left and said, "See you in two years!" What a great kid he is.

The address below is only good until the 17th because he leaves on the 20th. (and the 19th is a holiday)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The MTC - December 31, 2008

See you in two years!