Monday, June 29, 2015

Hi. So, first things first, Vivian got baptized this week. It was so awesome, Mom. She cried and cried and cried and was so happy... And half of the people that were there cried when she bore her testimony afterwards. It was so sweet. And at the end of the baptism we sang "Nearer My God to Thee," and I got pretty emotional thinking about how me and Vivian are just doing the same thing... Trying to get nearer to the same God.

Okay... Now for the crazy part.

Transfers were supposed to be on Wednesday, right? But last night our ZLs called us, and said "Hermanas we have your transfers!" and we were SO confused because... It was Sunday night. But, they told us that I had to be in the airport at 7:30 this morning, because I had to be in Santa Cruz for a leadership conference with my new companion, Hermana Kopoed (I'm not even sure that's how you spell it). I'm going to be a sister leader this transfer. 

So I'm writing you from Santa Cruz, that's why everything is so weird and why I'm writing in the afternoon. Tomorrow in the afternoon I'm going back to Tarija with my companion.

Hermana Kopoed is awesome. She's from Spanish Fork and has been in the mission for almost 6 months. She's a powerhouse though, and I'm really excited to get to know her better.

Hermana Nahuel is in Santa Cruz with a sister that's going to finish her mission super soon.

What an awesome family we have.... I sure am grateful for you guys... :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMOTHER GREAT. She really is so awesome. Such a good example of class and quiet dignity. :)

Well... I don't have a lot more to talk about. But I sure love you guys, and I love the gospel. I love my Savior and I love being a missionary. :) 

Your favorite, ;)
Hermana Hall


Monday, June 22, 2015

This week was crazy and I don't have a lot of time. The internet is HORRIBLE this week. So we'll see how much I can sum up.

This week, on Friday, my poor comp had some trouble with her stomach. Her stomach hurt so badly that she could hardly walk. We took her to the bishops house (which was close) and after calling the mission president's wife, she got a health blessing... Then we went to the clinic. Turns out she has gastrites.... So this week we're pretty much eating boiled chicken and white rice. 

I'm going to get skinnier.

BUT. NOW THE IMPORTANT THING. THIS WEEK I SAW THE BIGGEST MIRACLE I'VE SEEN IN MY WHOLE MISSION. I'm going to take a chunk out of the letter I wrote President. 

"We have an investigator whose name is Vivian. She's 16 and has been investigating the church for a long time... The problem is, her dad has Word of Wisdom troubles, and her mom didn't want to give her permission to get baptized. But Vivian goes to church, prays, reads her scriptures, and goes to seminary. She participates actively in YW, and when she bears her testimony, the spirit fills the room.

And lately, her dad has been coming to church. The ward jumped into fellowshipping him, mostly because of how much they all care about Vivian. She's praying with her dad, reading the BoM with him, and watching church movies. We're starting to see the difference in him too, and that has been a huge miracle in and of itself.

On Saturday, without telling us, she started fasting. She talked to her parents that night about how badly she wants to get baptized... She told us that she was crying, talking to her parents... And her mom told her again to wait until she's 18, and then she can make the decision.

But at 4 in the morning on Sunday, her parents got up to make food for the day (they have a restaurant thing), and her mom told her dad (who told us at church that day) that she's going to give Vivian permission to get baptized.

Then her dad told us "I hope that this will start that the whole family can get baptized."

All four of us missionaries were in the room, and we stood there with our mouths open. We did not even know how to respond. Vivian has been working so hard and so patiently for this for years... And now it's finally happened for her.

We're going to try to get everything in order to get her baptized this week. :)"

Monday, June 15, 2015

About my new little golden family... Hermana Gloria started working
this week... She has to travel really far, every day. And I don't
really know how that's going to go over. We've been calling and
calling... And she either doesn't answer, or her daughter answers, but
her mom isn't there. Keep them in your prayers this week.

Also keep Jenny and her family in your prayers. She travels EVERY
WEEKEND for her work, and it has been impossible for her to come to
church. I'm really worried about them, and I'm afraid that they're
going to struggle in receiving their testimony if they can't make it
to church. BUT this week we had a lesson with them, the bishop, his
wife, and the relief society president. It was a miracle because she
has been so busy that it has been impossible to get a lesson with
her.The bishop and the dad (Jose Luis) had met before and had hit it
off, and this lesson made it even better. I'm really hoping that the
Lord helps them to recognize the answers to their prayers that I am
certain that they are receiving.

I sent you like 10 pictures a couple weeks back and then recently I
checked, and they TOTALLY DIDN'T SEND. So I'll try to send them again
next week, if not today. The internet is pretty slow today, so we'll
have to see.

To wrap it up... We saw a pretty huge miracle this week. We have an
investigator named Vivian. She's a 16 year old girl whose dad has some
Word of Wisdom issues and her parents won't give her permission to get
baptized. She lives in the same little house thing (Here in Bolivia,
most of the houses are pretty much just a square of rooms that all
open up into the same open/outside area in center. Your family will
live in a couple of rooms, and share a bathroom and sometimes a
kitchen with the other families you live with.) as our pensionista, so
we see her family pretty often, in passing. They sell food at
lunchtime (also called a pension) and there is always loud music, and
people yelling.... It's just not the best enviornment for their
family. Vivian goes to church every week, participates actively in YW,
and goes to seminary. Half the time, I forget she's an investigator,
because she acts just like a member. But her family doesn't want her
to get baptized until she's 18. She gets along GREAT with Hermana
Silvia (our pensionista) and is always asking her for advice, and asks
her questions when she doesn't understand things at church and all...
But this week we had a POWERFUL lesson with her.... Mostly just
because she is so faithful. And we felt a portion of the love her
Heavenly Father has for her... And I talked about that framed poem
thing you have that talks about how in our hard times we think we walk
alone, but really Christ is carrying us, and I got pretty emotional.

BUT. Her Dad ran into some missionaries in Bermejo (I think he went
there for something work-related) and something they said must have
hit him pretty hard, because he talked to Vivian and said that he
wanted to go to church. I think she was the only person more shocked
by it than we were, haha.... But he kept his word, and came to church
on Sunday. It was a MIRACLE. He told a member "Well, my daughter sure
likes it, so I figured I may as well try it out too." It was so sweet
to see Vivian with her head on her dad's shoulder in Gospel
Principles. Pray for them too... Vivian has been waiting for this to
happen for ages.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The internet is slow this week, so don't expect too long of an email.

This week was pretty good! :) The zone had interviews with President
Willard. President Willard is awesome. In my interview I quoted
somebody (I don't know if it was a general authority or another
missionary) that sometimes we believe that miracles happen to other
missionaries, but not to us personally.

He assured me that the Lord is "so pleased with me," and that I'm "as
good as they come, Elder or Sister, and I'm not just telling you that
to send you out on the street willing to work, I'm telling you that as
a mission president that cannot lie."

He also told me to "stay broken," and explained that being "broken"
doesn't mean being "useless" or "unable," but it means being willing
to do the will of the Lord.

I don't know why I haven't had a lot of outward success with my
mission.... I think learning humility may have been a big part of it.
But I do know that the Lord knows me, knows my individual struggles,
and is proud of me, and is proud of the mission that I have served. He
just wants me to keep going, and believe in the miracles that are yet
to happen, remembering the ones that already have.

ALSO.... Last transfer, when we were 6 missionaries in the ward, we
street contacted a lady and her daughter that were GOLDEN. But, they
lived in the Elders' area, so we had to pass the referral.

But now, with our area being bigger, WE GET TO TEACH HER.

We had a lesson with her on Thursday where we talked about faith, and
afflictions, and I teared up, and my companion teared up... And the
spirit was so strong. I feel so blessed that the Lord has trusted us
to teach her.... I hope that her faith continues to grow. :)

I can't believe tomorrow I hit my halfway mark. During my training,
everyone always told me that "the time goes SO fast," and I just did
not believe them at all. But after my training, like a week went by,
and here I am. I still feel so new, I still don't know anything, I
still haven't done anything! I can't believe I'm saying this, but I
don't want to go home!

But I sure do love you guys! I'm so grateful for all the support I
feel from all of you back home! :')

Love, your missionary
-Hermana Hall :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

This week was a rougher one. Me and my companion are really struggling to find people to teach.... Jenny was traveling all week so we didn't have the chance teach their family at all.... I've kind of felt like my whole mission I've been running and running and I haven't gotten anywhere. So I push myself even harder, and still... not really anything. I absolutely love the mission, I love the work. I LOVE Bolivia and I love the people. I know that the Lord wants me here... I'm pretty sure He's trying to get something through that hard head of mine. Some weeks are like this in the field... You win some, and you lose some... And it's not about the numbers and it's not about the baptisms... But numbers and baptisms would sure be a nice bonus, haha.
Okay, I'll stop being a giant bummer now.
This week I had a pretty cool spiritual experience while teaching a woman here named Teodovina. She's awesome, in her fifties-ish, and she uses traditional Bolivian dress. She ALWAYS has a smile on her face.
Now, a problem for the missionaries here in Tarija is teaching investigators that don't know how to read. We currently have 3 people that we're teaching that don't know how to read, Teodovina being one of them.
We taught her on Friday, but we were kind of in a hurry, so we just shared a scripture with her. I shared a scripture from John 10:14-15 which talks about Christ as the good shepherd and us as His sheep. I read it and she was just... Blown away by it. She explained that because she can't read, she doesn't always get to hear things like that. She said that with the world the way it is "no one is just going to walk up to you on the street and share things like that.
Then she kept asking me "and what else does it say?"
"And what else?"
"And read me another one."
It was so humbling to me to see what I had taken for granted my whole life. I have had the scriptures in front of me my whole life and I took them for granted, if I didn't take them as an inconvenience. I haven't learned how to value the scriptures until I began to use them as a missionary.... I am so grateful for Hermana Teodovina and her example to me.
On a less spiritual note...
About a year ago, there was a companionship of sister missionaries in my area that gave food to stray dogs. They were followed around by a GIANT group of stray dogs wherever they went.
To this day, there are two dogs (named Pepe and Richard by previous missionaries) that if they see us, they will follow us the entire day until we get home in the nighttime.... If we go to a lesson, they will wait for us outside, and then when we come out, they will continue following us.
All of that sounds real cute, but the other stray dogs do not like Pepe and Richard... They attack Pepe and Richard... And Pepe and Richard don't do anything... And so we can't really go anywhere without stray dogs attacking us.
So on Saturday, we had Pepe and Richard following us... and we had to go to a lesson, so we HAD to get them to stop following us... Or else other dogs would have probably killed them.... And bitten us too... Me and Hermana Nahuel started throwing towards them to scare them into leaving....
And I totally hit Pepe in the face with a rock. A big rock. And it was the funniest and saddest thing that has ever happened to me....
But don't worry though, Pepe forgave me pretty much immediately after. He still followed us home.
*SIGH* Pepe and Richard.