Monday, August 31, 2015

Oswego #6: Merry Christmas

Dear Family,

Nah, it didn't snow. As usual around this time of year, I get obnoxiously excited for Christmas to come. It's hit me hard this week. It's getting a lot cooler and I'm so sad because it wasn't humid enough this summer. I feel ripped off. I guess I'll just have to extend my mission ;)

This week was miraculous. We picked up 8 new investigators and on Sunday, we just got another member referral for a whole family that wants to be baptized, but we haven't been able to contact them yet cuz they're out of town. But it is the weirdest feeling ever that I have been dealing with for a while... Oswego is not even the same area it was when I first got here. As STLs President is emphasizing having a vibrant area as an example for others, and now we've got one. But I don't feel satisfied at all. I don't know if I'm not grateful enough or just if miracles are being dumped on us and I don't feel like we're deserving of them. But I feel that there is SO much more work to do.
The college kids just moved back this week to SUNY Oswego and I am soooo excited to go find some to teach.

One of our new investigators goes there right now. Her name is Tarah and she's a referral from NYNYS, from Queens. She's amazing!!! She's living all the commandments and is wanting to get baptized asap. She just wants her dad's approval. She's going home to visit I think this weekend and she's planning on telling him. It sounds like it will be good though!

We also picked up this family yesterday. Bob and Jessica and their kids. They've had a really rough year and Jessica is really searching to find the right church to raise her kids in. Well we have it! I see soooo much potential in them. We see Bob at the Salvation Army. I forced us to find service when I got to Oswego and it's turned out to be a huge blessing. We are now known in Oswego, the way missionaries are known in Bennington. That will help lots of future missionaries here as well. Also, at the Sal. Army, we serve the food on Wednesdays but now the head cook guy, Dean, is making me cook everything because I told him how awful I am. It's so fun and he asks lots of questions about the church.

Also, Sister Rogers came teacing with us on Tuesday. Best thing of my life. I decided I want to be a mission presdient's wife when I grow up :) They came and spoke on Sunday as well. I LOVE President Rogers.

Saturday we had Patty's baptism. The ward members were pretty supportive and came, but Bishop P didn't. We called and said he would, but he didn't and he didn't say anything about it on Sunday. We're trying to understand him better. Nicole (Investigator) and her dad Ed (Less Active) came to the baptism! I was beyond happy. Nicole reminds me a lot of Danielle Behunin. I miss her a lot, but with Nicole I constantly am just bearing my testimony to her the way I wish I would have with Danielle. I know we can have a huge impact on the teenage girls that we're teaching. We're teaching 5 teenage girls. I think we're supposed to build up the YWs in the Fulton ward :) But still, I don't feel satisfied with the work here. I know that I can work a ton harder and faster.

We've had two good days in a row though. I've been through much much harder things before in my life and I know the Lord will help me through. I have no doubt of that. Just sometimes I wonder if I am doing enough in my situation right now. i have to go, but thanks for everything. I love you all!!!

Love, Sister Hallsted

Monday, August 24, 2015

Oswego #5 Missionary NOT Mercenary

Dearest family,

That subject line comes from easily the most hilarious thing that has happened to me my whole mission. I also had the most embarrassing moment of my life this week, but I'm not sure I'm going to tell all of that story till I get home. I'm gonna be bad this week and do the funnies first. So, Saturday, the elders came to our lesson with Patty. It was weird teaching with them. But then this homeless guy started talking to us after Patty left. He is walking from Texas to Maine. He left two days after Christmas! We talked with him forever and it was beyond hilarious. He was soooo drunk and had this thick Texas accent and a Texas tattoo on his arm with like skulls on it. I took a picture. We bought him Subway. Then, right before we left we asked to take a selfie with him. As we took the selfie, he suddenly turns and give me a hug!!! AHHHHHH! It was SO freaky! But Elder Patterson took the picture right as he was turning and as I was realizing what was going on. Our faces are SO funny. I'll send the pictures!!!




Monday, August 17, 2015

Oswego #4 - FALLING IN LOVE WITH OSWEGO

Dearest Family,

Everyone wrote me such stellar emails this week... how am I supposed to have time to write you all one too?! Also, I guess there's no rule now against emailing other sisters in the mission so now all I wanna do is write Sister Hansen, but I'm trying to limit myself :) It's weird to get emails from "Jordan". They blitzed Bennington this week. Green with jealous rage.

Anyways, this week was AMAZING. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the miracles that are taking place in Oswego. This isn't at all the same area that I came to week 2. We got transfer calls and our whole district is staying the same, which we expected. Sometimes I think Sister Baxter is going to hate having another transfer with crazy me, but we're working things out.

I'm not even sure where to start. It looks like Oswego may become the next Bennington and I'm thrilled. Speaking of Bennington, they are putting a set of elders in as well as the sisters!!!!! I almost pooped my pants when I found out!!!! Elder Hong is going to be training there and he's been talking to me a lot about it. I love how people still act like Bennington is my area. It will always be my baby. When I went back there for exchanges this transfer, it was the most incredible thing to see how much it has grown. I have full faith that it will be a ward in no time at all. I put everything I had into that area and it feels incredible to know that I helped the Lord build up His church in Vermont. Every little effort is not so little when the Lord is in charge.

Like Bennington, you can feel how much the Lord loves the Fulton ward when you walk into the building. The difference is that the members don't have much faith. It looks branch size to me, but they say a lot of members are still out of town. Hm. It needs to get bigger. Sunday was especially good, because a lot of the members are finally starting to trust us.

Monday, the elders came to Oswego and we went to Fort Ontario. Just the coolest thing ever. Looks like Lord of the Rings. Plus it was raining. Super cool. That night, we had dinner at the Rowley family's house and it must have been good because they signed up to feed us every Monday now. woot woot.

I think we had more other lessons this week than I've ever had in a week my whole mission. I'm all about this short, frequent lessons business. We picked up 4 new investigators this week too. Super solid ones. Also! Remember how no one would give us referrals? Well, we got NINE referrals this week! I've never gotten any good referrals except from Brother Fredette in GF so that was a total miracle.

One of them is a 17 year old boy named Ben. An HQ referral (which never ever happens in this mission). He went to the Pageant and is friends with some kid in our ward. He looks a lot like Jacob Abts. He decided to meet with us because he's had a crazy month. His grandma went to the hospital, he got in a bad car crash the day before we met him and his mom died two weeks ago. SO sad, huh? He's pretty incredible and his prayers tell us that he so badly wants to find the true church. Good because we have it!

We thought we almost lost Elizabeth because we were out in her backyard teaching her and suddenly her mom came out yelling at us, acting like we were gonna kidnap her child. We were pretty freaked out. Haha We just said sorry and walked down the street. Why would we kidnap her? What would we do with a 13 year old girl? I just don't know. But Elizabeth was yelling at her when we left and I was super sad. I love Elizabeth and I wanted to pick up her whole family. But we tracted a bit, then saw Elizabeth running to us. I guess her mom told her to be in the front yard and had called her name and couldn't find her. Plus, Elizabeth almost got kidnapped this week I guess. We talked with her mom after that. She felt so bad and we told her it was fine. She now trusts us, but won't really talk to us. But her chubby little brother is sitting in on lessons now and it's adorable cuz she hates him.

Oh my, I forgot to tell you that our new investigator Patti (a referral from some recent converts in Plattsburg) texted us and said she wants to be baptized. As soon as possible. Wowzer. She's getting baptized the 29th. Crazy, huh? We've only taught her the Restoration but she's read through all of the pamphlets. She's hard to meet with cuz she's always in the hospital in Syracuse. It's complicated. But she's solid! Already like a normal ward member.

Also, I think it was this week that we set Bruce on date to get baptized. September 12th. But then we taught him the Word of Wisdom and he was like "NO." Awkward... then he lied to us and said he doesn't have any beer in his house anyways when we totally peeked in his fridge one time like the creepers we are. Oh well. Agency. We'll see what happens with him. I love him a lot so I hope he gets it.

I never really write about the fun things that happen anymore- not in my journal or anything- but fun things really do happen. Like, we were on someone's porch tracting, they rejected us and Sister Baxter accidentally smashed a huge hole in their porch as we walked away. She's still super embarrassed and won't admit it was hilarious. Also, I locked myself out of our apartment today. I thought she was outside waiting for me to come and I ran out and locked the door behind me. All while I was talking to her too. I could just hear her dying laughing inside while I'm knocking at the door. We also went to the beach- I'll try to send pictures. Holy cow. It is more beautiful than Sodus Point. Well, just much bigger waves. Everything's lighthouse and sail boat themed. Oh, I also got attacked by bugs. They love me. I have 22 bites on one leg and people ask me what's wrong with my leg. haha I have a total of 37 bites on my body. I am so proud of myself. I haven't scratched one. I can feel my leg hurting where the tick bit me again. Not sure if this is supposed to keep happening, but whatever. 

Saturday was a crazy day because we woke up really early to drive with Bishop and the elders to Syracuse to the Matthew 25 Farm. Lots of missionaries go there with ward members each summer and all crops go to food kitchens. We accidentally showed up an hour early and helped until there was lightning. They made us leave because of it. I was super bummed. But then we went to Mexico (yes, Mexico is in our area... and Phoenix) and watched the elders play in a random basketball tournament. it was hilarious and super awkward being there. It was the most mixed up day of my life.

Sorry this is so obnoxiously long and really scattered!

I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers!!!

Love,

Sister Hallsted

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oswego #3: "Miracles in Oswego"

Hello family!!!


This was a good week! Everyday just gets better and better so I know it will be wonderful in no time. I feel like Heavenly Father just poured His love down upon me this week and sometimes I don't even want to write in my journal, I just want to pray and thank Him all day long. Haha

So, Monday, the zoo was fun. That red panda though.

Tuesday, I was soooooo excited for this mission conference that I couldn't sleep. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! I can't tell you how much I loved the mission conference. President Rogers has such great faith. I prayed hard that the missionaries would be humbled the days before the mish conf so they'd be open to changing. I was worried. But the Spirit was so strong and everyone seemed to leave that meeting filled with faith and more energy than ever. I've never seen so much faith in our missionaries. I love it!! The whole mission seems to have seen many miracles this week and picked up more investigators than ever before! I'd love to somehow see how many investigators were picked up in the mission as a whole.

We exchanged with Liverpool right after. Sister Hale's training a temple square sister and having a rough time so we pulled out my journal from Sister Rasheed and had some good laughs :) But I was able to help her a lot because I know what it's like and how much potential it has to be a life changing opportunity. The exchange ended early cuz Sister B called and cut it short for some reason. She then opened up to me a lot and from that point, things have gotten SO much better. As always seems to be the case, one of us just needs to open up to the other and that solves almost everything. It's hard to be humble enough to do that sometimes! She's accepted my weirdness and I've accepted her angry face :)

At some points this week, it was pretty discouraging. Especially for her. We tracted and tried potentials and less actives... it felt like we were doing everything we possible could but the people of Oswego are SO mean to us! It cracks me up how incredibly rude they are and we think some JW's annoyed everyone to death here. One kid about our age opened the door and said "Why do I get the feeling I'm dealing with a couple of lunatics here.." I just said "What??" and he called to his mom "Mom, can you come deal with these people?" Hahahaha I died laughing. Sister Baxter was pretty discouraged and wanted to go home, but I forced us to stay out like the annoying companion I am. This isn't me being prideful, but those kind of sucky days doesn't really hurt my faith. I've seen too many miracles happen on my mission to think this is all the Lord has in store for us. President Rogers always says "I didn't come here to fail." He's TOO cool, guys. So, Sunday, we decided to tract Minetto. Those people were so nice. i asked literally every human for referrals this week and we didn't get one. Apparently nobody has any friends in this place. Maybe they'll make friends next week. We found no one in Minetto, but we both feel like it's got potential.

Later that afternoon, we were done with this no new investigators crap. We were walking in Oswego to go try these two formers, we walked across the street from our apartment, turned the corner and there's this girl sitting there with her dog. Sister Baxter told me I am the greatest OYMer (greatest compliment of my life-I really am not good, I'm just so desperate here). I start talking to this girl. Her name is Elizabeth, she's 13, super sassy, and the most prepared person ever!!! We went over the first part of the Restoration and she loved it. We're going over everyday and we hope to pick up her whole family tonight! She says they'll love to talk with us about our church because they've been looking for one! I already love her so much, like she's my own sister and of course i've already decided she's going to marry Hyrum. We OYMed another dude named Tim! I've decided that pretending to like dogs is the way to go with OYMing and I actually fell in love with his pug. SO cute! We're going back to pick up his wife too on Wednesday :)

As I cleaned out our raunchy apartment this morning, I found a whole huge thing of formers (hallelujah). I was wondering why there were like none! Huge blessing!!! Basically, we expect to see many more miracles this week and I'm so excited for it.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers this week!!!! I can truly feel them. keep 'em comin.

Love,
Sister Hallsted


Exchanges with Fayetteville!




Went to Chittenango where the guy who wrote the Wizard of Oz lived. The whole town was Oz themed :) Loved it! I would have dressed up as Dorothy is I knew before the exchange ;) This is the Yellow Brick Road.



Tuesday's half mission conference!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Oswego #2: "Oswego Amigo"

Hello! 

I just want to start off by thanking everyone for their prayers and especially for fasting for me. I have seen SO many miracles on my mission from fasting and I have complete faith that miracles will happen in Oswego. Life is so psycho. Missions are nutz. But sweet Breton gave me some very good advice on this whole situation. He said that I need to be okay with small amounts of progress at first. That advice has saved me this week because I think I just wanted baptisms on baptisms instantly and I think part of me wanted to give up when I wasn't seeing immediate results in just those few days. Haha So silly. At last I see the light. The fog has lifted and I can see so many little miracles and blessings already! It's sometimes so easy to look over them.

As we went on our mega-exchange (me to Syracuse with Sister KASTIGAR and 
Sister Easthope) I prayed that the people involved in the drama in Oswego would magically have it all erased from their memory... it worked for the most part! As I was trying to positive about this obnoxiously long exchange, that's one of the blessings I squeezed out.. that they'd have a break from misisonaries for a while and that was good. I looked through Sister K's planners of when she was in Oswego and called random peeps from them-kind of fun and awkward. I doubt that Sister Baxter liked me taking over like that, but someone's got to do something, right? Right. I'm following Sister K to all of her areas it seems so I guess I'll be in the 'Cuse next. I hope so. 

I felt so empowered and carried on that exchange. Each exchange gets better and better. We have two more this week. just swaps for 24 hours. President Rogers new rule. I LOVE it. I love how he just sticks to the white handbook. Some missionaries hate that he doesn't make exceptions like Pres. Wirthlin did, but I never like how many things we got approved anyway. I love President Rogers!!! We're having a half mission conference tomorrow and, oh, MLC was so freaking amazing. I was blown away. It was the EXACT things I ever wanted for MLC. Now I don't want to leave even more because I want to help the mission with the vision that President Rogers has. Also, half mission conf.... I get to see Elder Britton. I'm sooooooooo excited!

So, I think that I've been so stressed about the area that I haven't been a very good companion... I know that she is not happy, but i think part of that is that she's no longer having the kind of fun she had before. I'm trying to be better at laughing easily and making things fun. I feel bad that I am so boring and uninteresting to her, but I didn't come on my mission to be fun. When I humble myself, it helps a ton. I'm working on that each minute of the day.

But I am pretty sure things are getting a little better. We picked up a new investigator and she came to church! And a less active man came for the first time in years. After leaving their house yesterday, I told Sister Baxter that I just had the feeling that we are going to help the whole Pappa family get baptized. I know it will happen. I'm so pumped.

I'm grateful for all the blessings that I have seen. and for the changes that are happening in our mission!!! After this MLC, I saw for the first time how the Lord has qualified me to be a sister training leader. For the first time, I actually have a desire to be an stl and serve the sisters around me.

Thank you for all the prayers! I love you all so so much!

Love,

Sister Hallsted