Monday, November 23, 2015

OSWEGO #18 "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Made an icecream cake for Timo's birthday. Well, not really, but we did light a candle and sing to him :) Tim Horton's closed down and now we're getting tonnns of icecream stuff from the Salvation Army we do service at! It's fun to show up at our investigators homes who don't have a lot and give them lots of ice cream!
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Our investigator Madison (Jess and Bob's daughter) made this for us the other day. SO cute :) Mine says "Shine bright like a diamond" :)
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Had ZTM this week. Got to see Sister Sellers!
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More of Downton Abbey. Actually it's the Richardson-Bates House. There's lots of houses around here that have been turned into museums. There's not enough p-days in a mission to explore them all. #iLOVEny
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Picture from last night :) 
Best member lesson ever! We had it at the Samoan's home- the Tuimoloau family and she invited Sister Stephan and her boys. She surprised us with dinner! It was amazing!
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GORGEOUS!!!!
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Good Morning Family!
I am so thankful for ALL OF YOU. I love having another new companion because I get to brag about you allll day long and try to describe your crazy-amazingness.

Before I run out of time, let me just say that this was quite the week. I'm way emotional lately- it's awkward for everyone. But I have become so full of gratitude for the gospel and Jesus Christ that I just have teared up in lesson nearly everyday this week. I can't even tell you all the miracles we have seen. The blessings haven't necessarily been overwhelming huge if you just glance at our day, but the Lord is dropping so many little blessings and positive changes on us to make me so happy and make me excited thinking He's preparing many stellar things for us to come soon. Miracle: 5 people were put on date to get baptized this week! AHHHHHH!!! All of January 16th (accidentally set on the same days haha) Jessica, Bob and their kids who are old enough: Morgan and Madison. I loooove those kids. I'll send pictures someday. We taught the Law of Chasity and it was SO spiritual. We read the Family Proclamation (my new favorite thing). She said they wanted to get married so they can obey God's commandments! We're SO excited! Now here's the hard thing... she didn't come to church yet again. So sad. I thought Sister Saunders was gonna explode. I wanted to be like "get used to this, buddy" but I kind of want her to expect everyone to come each week. They're getting evicted this week. Story of my mission :( SO so sad. Her kids are allowed to stay with her parents in their trailer, but her and Bob and gonna stay in a hotel til they run out of money, then live on the streets. The relief society has been great about helping us find boxes and pack. Ben was set on date as well. JUST MY FAVORITE PERSON IN OSWEGO! Then we taught the Word of Wisdom for the second time and found he has some major issues cuz teenaged boys are super dumb ya know. But he truly committed to give it all up! He talked to his friends and it sounded like they were understanding. He wasn't able to come to church either. But we had a sweet lesson last night about the temple and he was super excited to be baptized for his mom :) I loooove Ben. I want him to marry Hannah (of course).
For some reason the most exciting miracle for me is seeing the great and glorious change in the Fulton ward!!!!! This was my initial goal since coming back from Liverpool. I'm especially excited about how they've been reaching out to Ben. We had a lesson with him and dinner at the Tuimaloau's and Sister Stephan showed up with all her kids to eat too! We were teaching about prophets and who knew that Sister Stephan was a convert and that I pretty much don't have time to tell you the COOLEST thing that happened that just made my life in Oswego complete. Basically, a less active's boyfriend would never join in on our lessons when we invited him, but he came in the room and was like "God has been telling me that I need to come closer to Him right now and I believe that is through your church". THEN he randomly shows up at church this Sunday. He is like the scariest biker dude you ever did see, and he sat through sacrament and gospel principles, but asked me for my scriptures for third hour. He said he's not living his life the way God wanted him to and it was interesting how this realization was like physically hurting him throughout church. He said he needed to spend the last hour alone. After, he came to me and said he needs to make changes and that he'd like to talk about it when we come on Monday. AH! I LOVE teaching free spirits like Kevin because I feel like I can understand them better than most.
It was a wonderful week. We also had Zone Training Meeting and had Dalaina Tuimaloau come on a mini mission with us. She doesn't say much, but everyone ADORES her. So do I.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! Remember Jesus loves you and SO DO I!

Love,

Sister Hallsted

Ps. Also it SNOWED last night! I had just started praying for it because it's been too long and I need Christmas to start now.
Pps. Thank Gwen for her letter this week! That's the only mail I've gotten since my birthday. For Christmas, I just want a legit letter from EVERYONE. Especially my mom :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Oswego #17 "Training!"

Sister Saunders fresh from the MTC
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This Sister Saunders first full day in the field! Haha! We got caught in a wicked bad rainstorm and it was soooo cold and soooo fun!

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It was fun to all be together at transfers!! Elder Corbin, me and Elder Patterson.
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Saying goodbye to Elder Patterson!
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Here's a picture of me with all the comps I've had that were at the Transfers Meeting. That made me feel like I've had a TON! #theETlife Sister Saunders is on the end.
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Me and Sister Hansen saying goodbye! :(
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Look! The Purdy's have the same washer as us! #bringinbacksweetmemories Hahahah Yes, I'm hugging the washer. I was like "This washer reminds me of my mom!!!!"
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Made an icecream cake for Timo's birthday. Well, not really, but we did light a candle and sing to him :) Tim Horton's closed down and now we're getting tonnns of icecream stuff from the Salvation Army we do service at! It's fun to show up at our investigators homes who don't have a lot and give them lots of ice cream!
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Our investigator Madison (Jess and Bob's daughter) made this for us the other day. SO cute :) Mine says "Shine bright like a diamond" :)
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Had ZTM this week. Got to see Sister Sellers!
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More of Downton Abbey. Actually it's the Richardson-Bates House. There's lots of houses around here that have been turned into museums. There's not enough p-days in a mission to explore them all. #iLOVEny
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Picture from last night :) 
Best member lesson ever! We had it at the Samoan's home- the Tuimoloau family and she invited Sister Stephan and her boys. She surprised us with dinner! It was amazing!
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GORGEOUS!!!!
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Once again, I am in that mood where I don't want to write a weekly email. I just want to chat back and forth with you instead! Haha!

But things are good and I love my new comp. Sister Saunders. She's from Eagle Mountain and I recognized her from somewhere immediately and it's because she worked with Emily Pew at Zupas. Haha She's teaching me how to be a mom! I've cooked more in these last few days than ever before! It's great!

I saw that you went to Sister Hansen's homecoming!!! You don't even know how much I love her. My heaRt like literally hurts I miss her so much! Micah Sanders has been helping me so much not to focus on mission drama and get down about it. He really is great and is now helping me with missionary work which I like much. He sent me a picture of you, Elder Kelly, Sister Hansen and him! All of my favorite people!!! Haha I loved it. I hope all is well with you! I've thought about you a lot this week which is either bad or a good thing. I hope that means nothing bad has happened! Let me know :)


Monday, November 9, 2015

Oswego #16: "Swords, Squirrels, & Sellers!"

Showed Sister Sellers and Elder Van Slyke Fort Ontario and the beach before transfers!
It's closed, but I totally broke in! I knew it would be fine and it was :) A worker found us and I said we were from out west and he let us walk around, but we couldn't go in the tunnels this time :( It was still beautiful! I think the light house is farrrr in the background.



Oloh Family!

This week brought quite the surprise, but I shall get to that later. It was a much better week than last week was, except the fact that no one who said was coming to church came... I kind of raged. I've been studying patience and charity and other lovely things like that to help me resist the urge to just drop everyone and their dog that isn't wanting to get baptized this very instant. I think I'm getting this way because I just realized that I don't have tons of time left and I don't want to waste it at all!! If you have any advice for me, please, give it here because I'm just getting rude about it.
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Anyways, we found six new investigators and on Sunday we blitzed the elders area and found them three new SOLID investigators in two hours. And bunches of potentials. Have I told you that I ADORE tracting? I tell Sister Sellers each time before we knock on a door. It is the most awesomely awkward thing. I'm trying to think of a way I can pull off tracting somehow at home because I need it in my life always. Well, we found the promised land of tracting, my friends. Hamilton Homes is what it's called and it's like apartments but not... it's like the "projects" of Oswego and I don't know why missionaries haven't attacked it before us. ... wow, was this just this week? We've gone back so many times since Tuesday when we found all these people to teach. Tuesday was wonderful! We had a terrrrrible day, but I knew that the Lord would bless us. We had dinner with the Dunn family- they have 5 boys and I love them all. We did this spiritual thought about the Anti-Nephi-Lehis burying their weapons and we had everyone write things they wanted to give up to better obey the Lord on little swords I made and we weren't literally going to bury them, but they had a dead squirrel right outside that they already wanted to bury! So... we all went outside and Brother Dunn dug a hole and we dropped our swords and the squirrel in. It was just the best thing ever. I was so sad because it was the only time I didn't have my camera! Best member lesson ever :) After that, we went to find new investigators!!! I was so pumped, I made up a song on the drive to Hamilton Homes. It's on the SD card that I'm sending home soon :) Sister Sellers and I make up a lot of songs together. I will miss that a ton.

So, we tracted and found the most beautiful Welsh family with the coolest accents ever who know so much about Mormons! Carrah (mom) was a photographer in England for the Osmond family and still talks with them. Her sons are Thomas (15) and Daniel (13). Daniel is autistic and I think we're basically in love. Sister Sellers is in love with their dog. We found another awesome girl named Breana and her friend who is in high school and is good friends with some of the boys in our church! Breana is 19 but got pregnant in high school and had to drop out. She has two adorable kids now and I don't think the dad is around anymore and we had a really spiritual lesson with her where I felt inspired to teach the Plan of Salvation instead of what we had planned. She's just started going back to her church with her parents though so that's hard for her to think of switching. But we shall see! I want to tell you all about tracting in B-ville and the other investigators but I have no time!

We went on exchanges this week too and I stayed here and Sister Collette joined me! So Sister Sellers got back and it made me more pumped than ever to go and find the elect! As we drove through B-ville on our way back from exchanging, I could just feel that it had people waiting to be found! It was amazing! So I begged the elders to let us all go there to find people and they found one and we found three! Blitzing Baldwinsville on Sunday was the most beautiful thing. I wish I had more time. But the coolest was meeting Melinda. She opened the door and I felt prompted not to say what I usually say when tracting but immediately told her about missionary work- that we are representatives of Jesus Christ, called by a prophet and such. She told me after that as I talked, it all came "flooding back" to her. She had met with missionaries when she was younger and she could feel what she felt then. #spirit! We taught her the Restoration in just a few minutes because she didn't have much time. But it was AMAZING.

Ah! I haven't told you! Sister Sellers is being transferred! Shocker!!!! I'm training again!!! It's weird.

Basically, we had an amazing week!!! We still had appointments falling through like crazy, but we found some of the "elect" and I feel rejuvenated this week to work harder than ever. I was surprised to hear that we're being transferred, but I knew right away that it was inspired. I have kind of been praying for this in a way. I've been praying for a trial or "mountains to climb" and I think it was too easy with Sister Sellers! I felt I either needed a new, struggling area or a new companion. Some sort of change! I'm grateful for this opportunity to train again! It doesn't matter who the sister is, each change helps me grow and rely more on Jesus Christ to help me and I'm grateful for each experience like that.

Thank you all for everything and all your prayers. Remember that Jesus loves you and so do I!

-Sister Brynn Hallsted

Monday, November 2, 2015

Oswego #15 "Tudo Bem!"

Sister Sellers helped me ride on this amazing skateboard that looks like a hover board. I was pro!
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The Halloween lunch was put together by the Samoan family that I love. They danced for us too and I loooved it!
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Sister Whitley was the tree of life for Halloween Hahaha
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We slept in the closet at the mission home for Return and Report because there weren't enough beds and I'm so sick of air mattresses :) It was so fun!!!
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Me and Sister Yancey who replaced me in Bennington. She's still there and will most likely finish out her mission there!!!!
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Stuffed Elder at Trunk or Treat
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Hello Family!

First off, I want to say Happy Birthday to mom!!! I adore you :) Also, I love all the Halloween pictures that were sent! It looks like you all had tons of fun! I looooved Halloween as a missionary this year. Tracting is much more fun when they have sweet porch decorations to talk with them about. New York goes all out for holidays which is why I just belong here :)

All is well with Sister Sellers and I here in Oswego! This week was a little bit rough. Lots of ups and downs. We don't usually have so many people cancelling appointments or dropping us, but I know those weeks come. But I woke up in a ridiculously good mood today and I can feel already that this week is going to bring miracles!!

Sister Sellers is just wonderful. We got along really well right from the start and my favorite thing is that we teach so well together! What a blessing that has been! We went to Return and Report for all the new missionaries and their trainers. It's kind of like an MTC reunion so we felt rather excluded but I've become so awkward in big groups anyways so I mostly just loved getting to talk to the Vermont and Glens Falls sisters about the areas! :) I am so Vermont hungry right now. Sister Sellers hates it :) We were really motivated by return and report and have been striving to apply the things that we learned there. But during the meeting, all of our awesome plans to go work in a super far away area cancelled and made it not worth the miles and Michael dropped us. I was super bummed and still am... We went over and talked with Michael and we convinced him to let us come back in a couple weeks so that was good.

I guess I have learned the painful lesson of being bold, but not over bearing. I am an "aggressive missionary" and I am so proud of it, but I was totally over bearing this week and impatient with people who haven't been keeping commitments. On Halloween night, we actually had a lesson with a less active named Ed (we're teaching his wife and daughter, Heather and Nicole, who aren't members), but I have always struggled going over there for many reasons but mostly because people love to attack me and try to argue because they know I'm not going to argue back and that I'm going to remain happy and bubbly. Ed especially loves to just yell at me and shoot down everything I say. It was terrible, but he always tears me down, then tries to build me up in the same sentence. I ended up walking out, with Sister Sellers following behind me, and I was almost crying. Then I just ranted on the drive home about people, how everyone loves to put down others, how I hate it and I don't understand and Sister Sellers was just bawling and I felt terrrrrrible. Thus ended our Halloween night, but she knew it wasn't directed towards her at all and she understood that. But Elder Van Slyke quoted me in his testimony yesterday from the DL phone calls that night where I raged about it- "Why can't we all just love each other?!?!" I will never understand...

But, sorry to tell about all the negative stuff first! We had lots and lots of member present lessons this week! Some amazing and some not so great :) We took a member and she started telling our investigator why she hates the Fulton ward and how we believe in the trinity. Haha Oh boy. Halloween morning was awesome! Our ward had a Halloween Trunk-or-Treat party. My first one ever and we had the coolest trunk ever. We stuffed one of the elder's clothes full of leaves and put a ghost balloon Sister Whitley was handing out as it's head. I'll send pictures. Lots of non-members and less actives came that we got to talk to and it seemed to help the Fulton ward feel like a family. The ward gets better and better each week! On Sunday, all us missionaries felt like we should bear our testimonies and then everyone's testimonies after that were amaaaazing. The Spirit was so strong and everyone was talking about it after. This is how a Sacrament meeting should be!!! After church, we met with Bishop and he told us that we're not allowed to go to Sister Whitley's anymore because her son is dealing drugs and the cops are always over there. We haven't told her yet, but they've voted me to tell her, and it's going to break her heart :( After church, I recorded a song that I wrote last transfer with a less active that I adore. But he was totally high and I was really sad. But the day got much better after. We picked up a new, adorable college student named Shauna that had met missionaries in Plattsburgh. And then we had a lesson with Ben (the 17 year old who referred himself on lds.org) and I loooove him as always. We brought Tu who goes to school with him. He is part of the amazing Samoan family in our ward and we always take his sister, but we thought he should come and it was the best member present lesson I've ever had! He's coming again next time too! We ended the night seeing another adorable part-member family, the Knoops, and the mom told us her conversion story and we taught her 8 year old daughter about baptism. It was a super spiritual lesson and I was grateful that the Lord blessed us so much with a wonderful night after having such a weird week. I adore being a missionary. Especially around this time of year! I sure love you all and I pray for you daily!

Love,
Sister Hallsted