Sunday, September 26, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad:
This week has been awesome. I seriously love my companion and this ward. Elder Walston and I have never even had a disagreement. To say we are ready for miracles is an understatement... we are starving for miracles. This week I had trade-offs with Elder Richards...the one you mentioned is related to the RM I taught how to surf. (*Bob and Joyce Ball's grandson.) During that trade-off we made a visit to our bishop and discussed how we can get missionary work exploding in the ward. It went so great; the spirit whispered ideas into our heads. I asked him what else we could improve and he told us straight away, to ask referrals whenever we are in a members home. So I asked him straightway and he told us to go visit a less- active lady. When we got there we found that she just had surgery for cancer so we were able to give her a blessing. Then yesterday, Sunday, Bishop Rea asked us to to speak in Relief Society on making a "Family Mission Plan" so that was scary. But it went well and I hope the women will be able to push their husbands into making a Family Mission Plan. It's basically a set of goals that the family can do to help missionary work.
Mom and Dad, will you make a "Family Mission Plan" if you have not done so already? I will follow up with you next week. (this also applies to anyone who reads this)
This week was pretty hard. We had no investigators at church. That's always the worst because I always want members to see that we are having success and get them excited. I was wondering last night if temptation and hard times will ever stop... just for a little bit. I then realized it won't. That the Lord wants me to prove to myself that I will stand for him at all times, in all things and in all places. I then started to pout but quickly realized that was murmuring and called myself to repentance. That is one thing that other missionaries have asked me -- what I have learned. It is this: I love hard times that make me want to cry. I love them so much.
I love you mom and dad!
-Elder Ammon Hales
(dwell among these people forever)
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Wow- I have a lot to say. A young man in my ward got his mission call to San Diego. He is an Australian cowboy from the country so that will be a shock for him, but he is so excited. Every time he sees me he says "CALIFORNIA!!!" He is going to be a champion.
I have mentioned in the last few emails that I am finally figuring out how to be a missionary and something amazing happened this week. It started in PEC meeting on Thursday. We have the best ward leaders in the world so I was wondering why the font wasn't filled every week! So I started off our report in PEC thanking the ward for everything they are helping us with and then asked for help as Elder Walston and I have set a goal for one baptism a month. I asked for their prayers and suddenly a light went on. We have a ward fast for missionary work in October. Elder Walston and I set a baptism date for October 17 with our next door neighbor! Ward families are now praying for our investigators by name. On Sunday, we were invited into the Relief Society (and priesthood) to tell them our goal for 1 baptism every month and our mission goal to have members at every lesson. I started off by telling them we want unity with the ward so bad since unity is key to seeing miracles. We then passed Availability Rosters for fellowship and told them that if we call on them it is because we prayerfully selected who would be perfect fellowship. I am so careful to not make one mistake...of course I will but like Michael said to me in a letter, that this could be my last area and my last chance to do everything perfect.
Our next door neighbor that we have a baptism date for is a 17 yr old girl named Megan. Elder Walston said that she doesn't seem way keen into it and because she was a teenager I was very stand offish about the situation. Quite frankly I went with an attitude of "we are going to chop this investigator if she hasn't read or prayed." I went without faith and I was humbled. For the lesson we reviewed the Restoration and read the Intro to the Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong and we would see a repentance process. We could see her faith growing and a desire for Baptism and the Holy Ghost was definitely present. Only concern is her very protective mother who won't let her get a ride with some members to church because they are strangers. We will be able to take care of that.
I do have some sad and bad news. I mentioned to you mom that I was going to bring your Mothers Day present when I got home. What your present was- was the copy of the Book of Mormon that I had read that I got my real testimony from. It was marked like crazy and it meant a lot to me. I took it to the fireside of Elder Callister with our investigators but somehow, somewhere it got lost. My best bet is that it fell out of the car. It was in a cardboard, protective case so hopefully someone found it and will read it. But I am sorry mom. The Book of Mormon means the world to me. I know it is true scripture. It should not be taken lightly. I remember back to the first time I got a small testimony of the Book of Mormon. I was in the early years of high school. I remember one night just holding the Book of Mormon and thinking about how good it felt to hold it. I felt the spirit just holding it! It grew from there to now... where I MUST read some everyday. (* I'll have to let him know that the "gift" isn't tangible. What he gained is the gift.)
Well, its about that time. I would love to ask for your prayers for the Somerset Ward and Danielle and Derril. Bishop and ourselves are going to go speak to Derril who is the father of Danielle. She is 12 and wants to get baptized but we want to make sure her non-member father will provide a way for her to get to church if a member can't get her a ride. Our Bishop is awesome.. but I gotta go so I love you all and thanks for your prayers.
Love you mom and dad.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
It's wonderful to stay in an area extra long. I knew the Tweed Heads ward like the back of my hand and it was great. The only problem is that missionaries get "too comfortable" in an area and that is why I think it is good to transfer them more often. I talked to Elder Willie in Tweed Heads. He said that there are three baptisms coming up. About time.
This week has blown by. We have been so busy that we only got to tract about 2 hours total this week. We try to have two hours a day. I really love this area. Last week I mentioned how the Lord just took away my pride and wow- it hurt, but now I am full of joy. The work is progressing. I seem to be specializing in reactivating. This ward is following Elder Perry's commandment to do the 15 names program and I am fully confident that any ward that will do it, will see miracles.
This week we had a mission tour with Elder Tad R. Callister. He is the Area President. He wrote the book The Infinite Atonement and I found out that it took him 18 years to write. Isn't that awesome? Science will change over 18 years, people will change over 18 years, but the Gospel is the same yesterday, today and forever. But he came and taught us A LOT. This was the second time I've heard him on my mission. He echoed a few things including how to become a consecrated missionary. This would apply to everyone, but he said to become a consecrated missionary we must lay everything on the alter. Our time, our desires and our will. We must change our nature... not just behavior. We learn how to change our nature in Mosiah chapter 3.
He also taught us the Plan of Salvation. I learned so much when he taught it to us. He turned to Acts 17 where it says we are offspring of our Father in Heaven and NOT a creation. Offspring has the opportunity to become like him. Creation doesn't. He taught us that God has a fullness of joy and that is what our purpose is, to have joy, become like him, and that is why its called the Plan of Happiness.
We also took one of our investigators to a fireside that Elder Callister had for all non-members and less-actives last night. His talk was on Joseph Smith and very good.
Last week on p-day we were walking through downtown Laidley looking for a place to get a football or basketball. (By the way, you can't in this small city) So we walked into a hardware store and asked a worker if they had any sports balls and she gave me a huge weird look as she said "are you from around here?" :) Somehow we walked out with a free soccerball.
Thanks for everything and for your prayers. I am seeing so many miracles... including ones in me. That is why my mission means the world to me. I love being a missionary. We are not the ordinary, fearlessly extra-ordinary.
Love you brothers and sisters.
Love you mom and dad.-Elder Hales
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Elder Willie and I at Cabarita Beach lookout about 3 or 4 weeks ago. (Before the transfer) Amazing surf.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Challenge the missionaries to challenge the members to do more member missionary work.
Well, I feel kind of like last week where I don't know where to start. I'll start by saying that this transfer is COMPLETELY from the Lord. I am in complete country where I feel so ineffective because there aren't people everywhere to talk to. It's a different type of missionary work here. I have grown so much from being here already. I have been chastised, humbled, and any other word you want to describe how I have felt this last week. Leaving Tweed Heads wasn't too hard especially since I trust the missionary that was sent there, but it was a tough week here in the Somerset Ward. The four main (tiny) cities we work in are Laidley, Gatton, Rosewood and Lowood. Our Chapel is in Plainlands and everyone is just scattered so its stressful with our kilometer limit to get the work that we want to get done, but of course, the Lord will provide for a way when he commands.
This area is awesome. The ward is great and I love our Bishop. His name is Bishop Rea. There are about 70 members of the Rea family in the ward. They all live on the same street too! But this ward is doing the 15 names program which is awesome. Miracles will come! I heard its the 25 names program in America, right?
Elder Walston is from Brigham City, Utah. He goes home in two transfers so I'm working him HARD . He has been awesome and we have seen some awesome miracles this week. I remember in the MTC they told us to teach in a way that people can't deny the truth and we had a lesson with a couple named Michelle and Kurt this week where the spirit was so strong and she recognized it. We set their Baptism Date for Sept. 25. The Spirit has been so strong in our lessons. I finally feel like I am just learning how to be a missionary and a teacher. Only concern is I need to know the ward better. I have only been here a week but I need to know them fast to help these baptisms go through. When I got into the area, several investigators hadn't been committed to baptism. (?!!!) So we should have some more baptisms coming up.
This week has been amazing. The spirit I feel during study and lessons has really helped me. I have been looking at the blessing that I received during my setting apart and wow- a lot of them have come to pass! Like I said before, I feel like I am just learning how to be a missionary. I am just learning how to work with members effectively, teach, study, and proclaim. It is such a great feeling.
Love you all,Elder Hales