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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Be Grateful

Temple Trip

Dear Mum and Dad,
I haven't received any mail in a long time. There aren't any Office Elders anymore so it was a Senior missionary couple that sent you the papers of my release. And they aren't able to get mail to us as often. They need to put fun, cool, awesome, good-looking missionaries back in there.

It was fantastic to go to the temple today. President Richards once told us that if we pray for an hour of gratitude it's an amazing experience. I tried last night but yesterday was such a big day that I only got 30 min. and had to crash out. I wanted to do it before going to the temple though.

Traveling to and from the temple was my favorite. Its been a long time since there have been a mass crowd of people to talk to-- now that I'm in the country. I talked to people for maybe an hour straight and only got one potential investigator. She seemed sincere though.

I have been very blessed this week. In fact, we saw many miracles this week. Our family that we have been teaching, the Galapon's, are doing so great!!! We had a miracle lesson with them this week which ended up lasting about 2 hours!! Kinda long but we took our Elders Quorum President who lives close and he is EXCELLENT fellowship. We watched the Restoration DVD and the kids were begging for us to teach the Plan of Salvation so we did. The spirit was strong but we could tell something was wrong. Our fellowship, Brother Raven, did an excellent job and got their concern out quickly. Their father who works in a city in northern Queensland, is opposed to them going to church and being baptized. BUT, they know its true!!!!!! So we have been fasting and praying for them and we know they will be baptized. Please pray for them!

I LOVE this ward so much. I love working with them. Our Bishop is my favorite Bishop I have served for on my mission. Yesterday we were walking by our Relief Society President's house and she came out and asked if its okay if they go by to say hello to the Galapon family. How awesome is that! Especially since the Galapon's live a 40 min. drive away!
Things with me have been awesome. I think I have said before that I am finally realizing how to be a missionary. Just today I realized how much of a difference I have had in recognizing when others feel the spirit. We are working with a total of 8 people and we have 8 baptism dates. Not all are completely solid. The Brethren asked us to set a baptism date the first lesson. Thank you for your prayers. They are working!

Love you all and love you mom and dad,
-Elder Hales