Monday, April 25, 2016

Cooperstown #12 "Last Email"

Dear Family,

I don't know if I'm sad about that or happy. But I am SO sick of emailing! Haha

Sorry, my last email and I didn't even take time to write a good one! I'm cutting my time short because the librarian hates me. haha

Am I freaking out because I get to see Sister North tonight? Well, yeah :) Tuesday I go to the temple and Jackie and Jim will both be there! SO EXCITED TO SEE THEM! Jackie is being baptized for Jim's grandma and Jim is going to be baptizing. How amazing is that? My heart is so happy.

This week was... a rollercoaster. But I loved it. We met some wonderful new people. We went to the Quaker's silent prayer group. I looooved it! I told them I'm finding a group in Utah to go to. We also meet with a lot of Episcopal church members. Carrie and Burr are feeding us this week! YAY! They invited Connie as well. I know.. I probably never even told you about them. Sorry.

We also helped the Josephs on their farm... they're struggling. The elders came to help. We were happy they came because they got to shovel all this sheep poop and we just took pictures :) George wasn't wearing a shirt so that was awesome but gross :) I love him so freaking much. He prayed before we left and said "We pray Sister Hallsted will gain a few pounds. Have her eat some dark chocolate or something. She needs to gain weight, especially if she wants a husband." We all just lost it :) Hahahaha

We had quite the adventure in this new place we found called Schyler Lake. But we spent way too long talking with this Russian man about the house next door and how it was taken over by 7 demons and tried to kill him and his wife. There were a lot of interesting people in Schyler Lake. I want time to go back. I loved it.
Larry is doing well. He was supposed to be getting baptized May 1st but that's not gonna happen cuz he hasn't been well enough to come to church. But he got a priesthood blessing and is listening to the Book of Mormon on CD. I adore Larry soooo much. Micah drew him a picture of Batman and Larry was the happiest man on the earth :) We taught Larry the Law of Chastity Saturday night and I had him read the first bullet point in the pamphlet about the blessings of keeping the law of chastity. It says something like "Invite the Holy Ghost into your life" and Larry adds "Except you don't want him watching on your wedding night!" It was so unexpected and hi'larry'ous :)

Sunday was incredible. I looove this branch although I don't feel like I know them very well. The talks were incredible and afterwards we went with the Young Women's president, her daughter and Mary Noorlander (branch president's daughter) to the Weeks so they could meet Brianna and Abby! The Weeks are doing wonderful! They've opened up to us so much. I really don't want to leave right now because things have just picked up! We've had no news about transfers yet, but tonight I'll be having my departing interview with President and I'll ask him then. I'm excited to bask in the Rogers' presence for a couple days :) :) :)

I finished Sister Rogers' picture! It looks so good! But I haven't matted it yet, so I'll give it to her when I leave. I'm busy working on little projects for everyone I love here like always. Haha

I think maybe after the temple trip, it will feel real that I am leaving soon. Things have gotten much better with Sister T! We'll be good friends after our missions. The Lord makes me so much more than I could ever be on my own! Please pray for me lots! I love you all and I am so excited to see you!!! 

Suuuure Love Ya!

Sister Brynnie Hallsted

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cooperstown #11 "The God Girls"

Hello my dear Family!

This week was a good one! We've seen many miracles! We fasted yesterday and have been praying lots that sisters will be able to come to our mission and fill Cooperstown, but we also have complete faith that the Lord wouldn't be giving us these miracles if He didn't think the elders could continue to help these people progress if the sisters' area does have to close. Sister Trapane and I both think it would be best if the area was white-washed with two new sisters if there are sisters available though. But we know it's all in the Lord's hands!
President told the elders that Cooperstown may be closing when President and Sister Rogers came to inspect our apartments (we seemed to all fail that inspection haha). But the elders are being poopstains about the possibility of them taking over our area. A transfer is never complete without being annoyed with the elders for a little bit. Haha

On Monday night, we had a cool experience. Our appointment fell through so we were finding a new place to tract outside of Cooperstown. I had forgotten my GPS and I was a little bit lost for a while there. But we somehow ended up in a trailer park we had tracted a couple weeks ago. We went to three houses right in a row and picked up one potential family and four new investigators! All of this happened between 8 and 9 pm. It was really amazing!

Brother Bruneau, our branch mission leader, is great! We're trying to put together a branch fast starting in May to get the members more involved in the missionary work in this area. We have really great auxiliary leaders in branch council who really want to help, but the other members of the ward aren't as involved, so we're working on that.

We were able to see one of our investigators Barbara this week! Maybe I told you about her adn her cute daughters Emma and Eleanor. When we knocked on the door, Emma said to her mom "The God girls are here!" Haha I liked that. I wish everyone would recognize us that way!

The Weeks family is doing well! They're opening up to us more and more! We're going to be helping on their farm this week and the elders will be joining us so they can meet them too. They're not available to come church right now because of farmer's markets they're doing on Sundays, but the teenage daughters could come. The Young Women's President and her daughter are coming with us this week to meet them. It will be great! The members are really excited about the Weeks family!

This week went so well with Sister Trapane! We've really become good friends! I'm grateful we stayed together this transfer so we could work things out. We're great friends now and we've both learned so much! We really do love each other. She thinks I'm hilarious so that always helps :)

Thank you for all your support, prayers, advice and encouragement! I'm doing better at not freaking out about coming home! I was making myself sick cuz I wasn't sleeping at all because I was stressing so much about everything. Haha But I am doing much better! The Lord will work all of it out. Although it still doesn't feel totally real, I'm getting more excited to see you all in two-ish weeks! I sure love ya!

Sister Hallsted

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cooperstown #10 “From Pooperstown to Cooperstown!”

Did I already use that dumb joke? Can't remember…

Hello Family!

I have so much to say and so little time! This week we went to blitz the STLs in New Hartford and as a special treat we got to stay in the mission home that night! Hooray for bed bugs in the STLs apartment! I love it! We had ZTM the next day so it just worked out perfectly. Since we were having interviews with President Rogers at ZTM, he decided to just interview us before we went to bed Thursday night. Man, that was the most amazing interview of my life. He said it didn't have to be long because he's interviewing me for my departing interview in a few weeks, but I made it go on for like 30 minutes by having a break down! Hahaha I don't enjoy doing that, but as I apologized for crying, he said "Why do you think I keep that tissue box right there?" I look to my left and there's this big tissue box. Haha I love him and Sister Rogers so much. I'm working on a beautiful drawing of Sister Rogers right now. I love her!

ZTM of course was wonderful. President told me we were going to talk about being "the urgent missionary" and that it was going to be hard for me, but he also included Alma 26 and talked about not being discouraged when it gets hard. He looked at me like the entire time! At one point, he was talking about how fast missions go by and of course I already have tears in my eyes, but he turns the attention on me and says, "Sister Hallsted knows this. She doesn't even want to think about it right now!" He thought that was funny :) At ZTM, everyone made me very aware that it was my last one. It actually felt real for the first time! But it's gone back to feeling like I'm going to be doing missionary life forever here in NY :)

We have seen miracles since we were in Utica! We found 7 new investigators this week! And things went SO WELL with the Weeks family! The husband wants the whole family baptized immediately, but they're not sure. They're willing to give it another try though. Yayayaya!!!! I'm now more motivated than ever to build this area. Sister Trapane is as well! Tuesday through Friday are totally booked for us in this upcoming week! That makes me so so happy! We actually have return appointments with the newer investigators we have found. It's also interesting that we've been invited to three different churches scripture study classes. The Episcopal church, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Quakers (I love the Quakers!). This has never happened to me my whole mission. I think it's a great opportunity though!

We're very excited for this week!

Gosh, I have so much to say, but no time! A lot more weirdos wanting to marry us or destroy our testimonies. I'm keeping a detailed journal and I'll inform you all at some point! Thank you so much all of your help, love and support. And PRAYERS! I truly am so grateful for it. I sure love you all!!!!

Sister Hallsted
P.S. The best part of my week was an unexpected call from SISTER SAUNDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no end to my love for that lady. It was all done in obedience though. They had a potential to give to us. But of course we talked for like 45 minutes! Haha I miss her so so much.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cooperstown #9: "merry christmas...."

Hello family!

Mylanta, we've gotten more snow in the past two days than we have all winter. It better melt soon because I want all the NY summer humidity I can get!!! But, I've been on such a spiritual high this week that I didn't even rage when I woke up and saw the snow yesterday. I'm grateful for a companion who will listen to Christmas music in April :) Things in my companionship are going much much better!

I am SO happy to report that things are going so well here!!!

I am focusing on the things that the Lord teaches me each day and, wow, it is beautiful! In doing so, I am really feeling more of His love than ever before as I see the small, simple things He wants to teach me. When our companionship was at the height of its struggles, I felt like I was doing so many things wrong. I made it my rule that as long as I was doing what Christ would do in each situation, I couldn't be doing too bad of a job! Looking back, I see that the Lord WAS guiding me. I was doing just what He wanted me to do! I really do love her and it's much more rewarding to see her improve than myself. It's taken sacrifice, but I really am coming to love it.

I know this is getting long, but she's also told me that in her patriarchal blessing it says she will strengthen her faith in all areas of her life. She gave me the greatest compliment ever the other day and told me I have really helped fulfill that for the first time in her life. We're setting exercise/health goals, goals in our companionship, and having more faith than ever in our work! That comment from her has really been encouraging for me. And rewarding!

We had a wonderful miracle happen yesterday! After conference, the elders gave us a record they had found in their area book for a family in our area. They haven't been taught for a few years. The father was in prison for 11 years, but while there, he was taught about the church and wanted to be baptized. The same situation as Sister Coy in Oswego! Brother Weeks (the father) and his family moved to New York and were taught just a few times it seems by the elders. But his wife wasn't in favor of him being baptized. We went over immediately after we got the records from the elders! We talked with the wife and her and I really connected! We can tell she's opening up so much more to us than she did to the elders in the past. Sometimes that happens. She said she wants a "church family" and we promised her that is exactly what she'll feel in the Oneonta branch! It was wonderful!!! They didn't have time right then, but we're going back on Wednesday.

We were also able to find 5 new people to teach this week, all of which were found by following those small impressions from the Spirit to change our plans.

General Conference was TOO AMAZING FOR WORDS!

The Lord truly is blessing us! Thank you thank you for supporting me through this!

Sister Hallsted

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cooperstown #8 “Happy Easter!”

Hello Family!

This Easter was one that I really will never forget.

We did some fun festivities and church was wonderful, yes, but mostly it was different because of the Lord. I felt Him teaching me so so much this Easter weekend. So, on Saturday, when we got on Facebook, I saw tons of videos from the attack at the Brussel's airport. I had heard about it of course, but I didn't know Mason Wells was one of the missionaries that was injured there. I was absolutely shocked. As I watched the videos of his interviews on the news, I thought of maybe my favorite scriptures that I came across recently in the last chapter of Doctrine and Covenants. D&C 138:12-17. He truly is one who "offered sacrifice in similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God" as he was nearly killed twice while serving as a missionary for the Lord. He truly is suffering tribulation in His Redeemer's name, like the scripture says.

For the rest of the day after seeing the videos, I would have waves of peace but also of fear. I even could say I was terrified. I realized that the tragedies that will come before Christ's return are very real and are going to affect the people I know and love. The reality of that kept hitting me all day long as we walked down the streets talking to people about Easter and the #Hallelujah video. But as we heard so many people's different feelings- some who loved Christ and have been celebrating His life as a family and others who often say "Not interested" when you tell them what you're sharing. That always always breaks my heart when we tell them we're sharing a message about Jesus Christ and they say "not interested". Especially when they claim to believe in Him. One man talked to me for like 5 minutes until he saw my name tag. Then he yelled at me for a bit and told me "Jesus wasn't a Savior of anything. Nobody was raised from the dead." But these scriptures came back to me all day long. The people who on earth were "firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection" were "filled with joy and gladness" and, the most important part, they "were rejoicing together because the day of their deliverance was at hand". I shared my thoughts at the Jones' Easter dinner yesterday and the Spirit just expanded inside of me as I was able to say that I know we will all be perfected. I will be, you will be, Mason Wells will be perfected, and I will spread that knowledge that I have forever. I am so filled with hope. No darkness, no bombings, no mean man on the street, no personal trial could ever make me doubt what I have felt is from God.

I felt the Lord truly teaching me that hope this weekend and really throughout my whole mission. Everyone and their dog talked to me about going home yesterday at church. But I didn't feel so much sadness, but gratitude that I've had this opportunity. Even when it's hard! That's when I learn the most from the Lord!
The General Women's Broadcast was absolutely wonderful! Sister T and I are obsessed with Sister Marriott Haha I want to be her when I grow up!! That meeting only added to my spiritual feasting. We were so bummed that our investigator family didn't show up! Barbara and her daughters Emma and Eleanor. Emma's the one who is autistic. I adore them. They even saw us walking down the street on Friday and pulled over to tell us they were coming! We think they thought it was next Saturday :( And I feel I ignored a prompting to call them and make sure they were clear about that :(

We found the most wonderful new investigator Monday night named Orilee. It was amazing and the first time Sister Trapane has found someone so prepared on her mission. It was so exciting to see her excitement! We both prayed so hard that Orilee would not give in to Satan's temptations before our next visit, but the next morning she called us and told us she did some research and doesn't want us to come back. I kind of died and begged her not to cancel our meeting, but she did. We're kind of stalking her street and are waiting for her to come out to walk her dog.

We have had some funnies happen too, guys. Like, we picked up this new investigator named Samuel. He's really sweet. A little slower, doesn't have an arm or teeth. I love it. But after we said a closing prayer and were saying goodbye, he asks me "Does the Lord let you have a boyfriend?" This guy is like 40 years old mind you. I said something about not dating as missionaries but after we come home we can date our boyfriends and get married and have families and such. He says "Oh darn, so you do have a boyfriend. I am looking for a girl friend." So he turns to Sister Trapane and asks her "Well, do you have a boyfriend?" She says "Sort of" because she's super sweet and can't lie to this stranger. Hahahaha It was hilarious. He was really bummed. I told him he could come to church and find a girl friend ;)

Oh, also, the police are just after us. We were driving a member home after teaching Larry and I was just flying in my mom car (I totally act like our car is a jeep and go on all the seasonal roads but we've made it thus far so I'm not stopping!) but Tiwi didn't yet tell me to slow down so I didn't know I was speeding. But I get pulled over, the cop tells me I was going 20 over (whoops!) and he asks me if I've been drinking. I say "No, actually I am a Mormon!" He looks at my licence and asks what I'm doing here all the way from Utah. I tell him I'm a Mormon missionary. He says "There's not a lot of religion left in New York. You're wasting your time." I say "Actually, we're having a wonderful time and great success!" Which was kind of a lie for this area, but for New York it wasn't. In the end, he didn't even give me a ticket! Yay! I've been driving slower since.

Thanks so much for your prayers. I really felt they were making a big difference this week and I'm so grateful for such wonderful family, friends and a wonderful mission president that support me! I hope you all had such a wonderful Easter! Remember, Jesus loves you and so do I.

Sure love,

Sister Hallsted
Good heavens! This is the longest email of my life! I feel like I don't have to write again for the rest of my mission now!

Also, I may not really send pictures because these computers are so risky to do anything on. It often just shuts down on me. But I'll show you when I get home!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cooperstown #7 "March 21st... out of cool ideas"

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Hello Family!

A lot happened this week! Sorry I suck at emailing. I hate emailing more and more each week. I'm so done with it! Haha!

Okay, so both us and the elders had quite the struggle week. There were a few days when we had zero lessons. I nearly died. But this is normal for Sister Trapane. Not for me! But we did have wonderful experiences!

Some of them:
We started our new service opportunities! Tuesday, we played Bingo with old people. One lady is just there because she has MS, but she was also a member referral. Her name is Claire. She's open to us coming to her room to teach her while we paint together :) Yay!

On St. Patrick's Day, we helped organize and unload food for the Presbyterian church's food pantry. That was way awesome. Everyone loved us, even though we weren't much help with the heavy stuff and we were wearing our green dresses so we looked weird. People don't realize that is how we dress all the time so it's not fancy for us anymore!
We found some wonderful new people to teach and haven't been able to get back with basically any of the wonderful ones we found before. Breaks my heart every time. I have this curse of falling in love with people just when they open the door and talk with us for a few minutes as we tract. Ugh! The Lord is working on them all.

One new investigator was so much like Jackson. His name is Nicholas. I love him. We had a wonderful lesson with a member there and he told us he was just yelling at God the other night asking what his purpose on earth was. We were so excited!! We talked about baptism and he wouldn't set a date, but he said as he learned more he probably would be baptized. But last night he called and told us he loves us but has his yoga and isn't interested right now. Nooooo :(

Another lady Barbara was a former investigator. the address wasn't clear, but I felt we should try this random other house and it turned out to be her! We taught her and her daughter, but they didn't have much time. We're going back on Tuesday at the exact time we usually saw Betty (who we had to drop).

Brother Bruneau (branch mission leader) is really upset we stopped teaching them and is forcing us to go back. But the whole branch council agrees that it was good. I know it is what the Lord wants us to do, so tomorrow I'm going to have to talk with Brother Bruneau... I love him but he's not the missionaries. We are.

We also had a branch pizza ping pong party on Friday night. It was during prime proselyting time so I did not want to go at all. But a less active who hasn't been to the church in over a year said he'd take us and was taking his grand daughter so we went! It was fun. I lost, of course. Oh, it was Brother Dunn who took us. Maybe I told you about him. He's just like dad! Even has a motorcycle and is a teacher too! I love the Dunns.

The greatest part of the week was the MTC Workshop for the youth yesterday! Wahoooo!!! It was so fun! I really love this branch! The youth got their mission calls, a name tag, a companion, etc. The Branch President was even their Mission President for the day! Sister T and I were in charge of one of the workshops, we taught them about how they can use social media to share the gospel. They have already planned a to have a competition to see who can get the most likes on their gospel centered post! Afterwards, they got to go "tracting" (some of the branch members and us were in the classrooms, and the youth knocked on the doors and we answered and gave them a real experience) It was a lot of fun! I got lots of pictures so when I'm a young women's leader I can have it already planned out. Haha

I sure love you all!!!!!
Sister Hallsted
PS. I'm having another awesome library experience right now with this awesome black guy telling me about his book he's writing. I'm like "You know what's a really really good book? The Book of Mormon." Bahaha and then I slip it out of my bag like a ninja. Second book given away in the library in the past week! woot woot

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cooperstown #6 "#discontinue"

Hello My Family!!!

This week was very slow, but also very good. My love for the Holy Ghost has been stronger than ever as we've both felt it's promptings strongly this week. One of which was to stop visiting two of our "eternigators". We were spending all our service time at the Joseph's farm and seeing no progress from them. The sisters have been teaching them for over a year, maybe even two. After many intense lessons with them, helping them to understand the importance of baptism.

We discontinued seeing another lady who has never come to church, but has been being taught twice a week for two years. We had a good lesson and she expressed to us that she doesn't believe anything the missionaries have taught her, but likes our visits and the members that come with us. When we called to tell her we won't be coming anymore, she sounded relieved! She never wanted to join the church and has felt guilt that she's been leading the missionaries on for this long. The members will still visit her sometimes and maybe in time, and we think she'll decide on her own to join after not having us around.

After discontinuing our service activity at the farm, we saw miracles. Sister Trapane was worried we'd have no service to do, especially with our now 10 hours we can fill, but I assured her one night that the Lord will fill our time and that an opportunity will probably present itself at exactly 2:30 on Tuesday (when we were working on the Joseph's farm). Sure enough, that next morning, we stepped into an elevator with the local nursing home's activities director. She asked if we could still do service hours! We talked with her and she wanted us at 2:30 on Tuesdays! Not an accident at all! We also found another service opportunity at the Food Pantry at the Presbyterian Church. They are thrilled to have us! We're so excited for this next week, especially for the service activites the Lord has practically handed to us!
Miracles will come!!!

I sure love you all!


Sister Brynnie Hallsted