Monday, January 25, 2016

Oswego #27 "ILOVENYUM"

Hello, my wonderful family!

This week was one of the longest weeks of my entire mission, but in the best way! I think it felt long because we saw SO many miracles! We've had great luck with our Head Quarter referrals lately. Right after was had just given up trying to find the door to contact one of these referrals (#NYprobs), we got another one through our phone! Her name is Nicole Coy. We went to contact her right away. Her husband answered and said she was just talking about us. Nicole turned out to actually be a lost less active member that the ward never knew about! She kept getting this "feeling" all week that she needed to find the LDS church again. She told us her entire life story and it was just amazing! She's really had it rough because of some decisions she'd made leading her down a really rough path of drugs and alcohol. She ended up in jail in SLC where she turned her life around using the 12 Step program taught by a senior couple from the Church. After starting new here in NY, she married an awesome guy (Eric) who has two kids (Jacob- 11 and McKenzie- 9)! They are SO cute!!! She wanted to raise the two kids in a church, but as she searched the closest churches, she kept missing the "feeling" she remembered from going to our church when she was a kid. I'm so so grateful her and her husband decided this week together to reach out to the Church again! We've seen them everyday since. Her husband and kids are getting baptized the end of February and they came to church this Sunday and LOVED it!

I've never had so many investigators come to church my entire mission!!! We had SIX investigators come to church, but that's just those that are non-members and above 8. The Wardell's even came (not Chris) but we taught them the Word of Wisdom this week and it went SO well. They've made a ton of progress, but that's I guess why he couldn't come. His body's really taking it hard, but we're encouraging him to keep fighting! The night we came to teach them the WoW, they were all drinking coffee, tea, smoking and there was a crying drunk man in the back room when we got there. LOL. This seems to be a common theme lately and I've taken it as a sign that, yes, the Lord wants us to teach the Word of Wisdom that night. But I adore the Wardells and the Coys. And Jackie and Tom (her husband)! Jackie couldn't come to church because her back was hurting her :( But she's still getting baptized this Saturday and we are toooooo excited :) Oh! The Knopps also came to church! Basically, it was the best Sunday of my mission.

It's SO wonderful to be teaching whole families! That's another thing that's rarely happened my whole mission! It's truly been miraculous to see how the Lord has been preparing these people long before we met them. I think there are two main reasons why the Lord's work in Oswego has changed. First, because we are following every single prompting we receive from the Holy Ghost. My how this has blessed our lives and the lives of our investigators!!! We wouldn't have found these people that the Lord knew were ready if we had ignored promptings from the Holy Ghost. We don't want to miss out on ANY blessings the Lord has prepared for us! Second, because we have made How To Begin Teaching a priority. Everyone that we are teaching knows that we are teaching them so they can make sacred covenants, the first being baptism. The Spirit has prompted us almost every first lesson to set a specific date with the investigator to be baptized. SO cool!!!

I have grown immensely this transfer and a large reason for it is because of Sister Saunders. I LOVE that woman. She has grown soooooo much these past few weeks and says she's loving her mission now! We know it was inspired for us to grow together at this specific time.

Sorry this was such a long email! I have so many more thoughts and am just filled with gratitude to the Lord!  Especially for President and Sister Rogers. I kind of fan girl over them daily. They helped our mission to see the potential the Lord sees in us. After the world-wide missionary broadcast, I was amazed to see how the Lord has prepared this mission with the help of His leaders. Our mission could have never handled the things taught in that broadcast if we were at the same level we were 7 months ago. The broadcast.... was TOO AMAZING. We were so exhausted afterwards because of the spiritual energy it drained from us. Haha

But thank you all for everything! The Lord is truly hastening His work and it such a privilege that we are all a part of it!

I sure love you all!

Love, Sister Hallsted

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Oswego #26 “Broken Bows and Broken Hearts”

Sorry I'm emailing so late! The library's closed so we're emailing at the Rowley's before dinner. I don't think we have much time so I'll write as much as I can!

This week was a good one. We didn't put as much time into finding as we should have, so that was sad. But we're planning to make sure to leave time this week! Our wonderful miracle investigator, Jackie, is doing great!! She is amazing and so faithful. She's still being baptized on January 30th with one of the elder's investigators as well. We got to talk to her husband this week and slowly he is showing more interest! So exciting! He's really supportive of her. I know he'll soon start officially investigating. Especially after he feels the Spirit at the baptism! Jackie keeps praying that I don't get transferred. Haha But we're telling her it's all what the Lord wants.

On Wednesday, Sister Saunders broke her $500 bow. That was really really rough. I felt awful because I felt like I put a lot of pressure on her to bring it everywhere even when she's worried about it being cold in the car and play for everyone. It broke while she was playing a hard song that I told her to practice for me. I felt really bad. But everything's going to be fine. Another bow will be made soon, but in the meantime she's borrowing one from her first violin teacher who lives in Auburn. What a blessing! This experience really changed things for Sister Saunders. Somehow that helped her see what blessings the Lord gives her. She's realized that maybe she's been doing things for the wrong reasons and she's feeling so happy now that everything she does, even playing the violin, is for the Lord! It's been awesome! I have always been a big believer in blessings from trials and that just strengthened my belief. The Lord is SO good to His disciples and is always working for our benefit (2 Nephi 26:24). Thank you for praying for her. And for me! Things are wonderful.
I sure love you all! Remember Jesus loves you and so do I!!!

Love,

Sister Hallsted

Ps. Happy Birthday to Quinn!!!!
Pps. We're having a world wide missionary conference this Wednesday called "Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts" ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh There are not enough 'ah's to express my excitement. I'll tell you how it goes!

Sister Saunders broke her $500 bow Wednesday morning! It was AWFUL. She was crying and I felt so bad so I was crying. It was bad.
But then I laughed at her and read Nephi 16 and sketched a quick picture of her as she cried on her violin case. I know, kind of mean, but she thought it was funny. She's getting a new one and borrowing one till it comes!





Monday, January 11, 2016

Oswego #25 “Oooooooh The Lord's Been Good To Me!”

Hello!


I'm sorry I've been bad at emailing. I kind of just copy and paste my letter to President Rogers and then alter it so it's like I'm sending it to you guys, but I didn't have time to alter it. When that happens, maybe you could just change it for me? :) You are the best ever!!!


Guys, I wish I had time to tell you all the amazing miracles that are happening lately!!!!! One of them being that we had two investigators at church! That has been the struggle of this area.. ugh. Jackie came and she loooooved it. She said "I don't want it to end!" We should ALL be like that each Sunday! #isitstillwonderfultoyou? Kevin came with Kayla and Andora and Logan as well. That was awesome. Me and those kids... we just love each other too much. Andora asked me last night if I would take her home with me. Haha I almost kidnapped her, yes. I have been terribly baby hungry lately.


Anyways! This week was amazing for us!!! On Tuesday we taught ELEVEN lessons, which is just amazing for us. Our ward mission leader has set up weekly spits for us and the elders and it has been absolutely amazing to see the ward get so excited about missionary work. We were doing them once a month, but the ward members asked to do them once a week! It's exciting for me to see the difference from when I first got to the area and they didn't trust or respect missionaries at all.


We found a lot of families this week to teach! AH! My favorite ever (do I have time to tell this story?? ugh) is the Graham Family. So, we tract into them, their cute mom, Christina, let's us in because she's "open to all religions" and this little boy's like "Are you gonna take us to church?" we said Oh yeah! and he was SO excited. He ran upstairs yelling to his siblings, little did we know there were EIGHT kids in that family! Six of them being over 8 years old. They all were soooo excited to come to church. They all gathered around and we taught them the Restoration. We were amazed how much they knew about Jesus! They all said they wanted to come to church and be baptized!!! Now we just have to get their mom on board :) The bummer was that they were busy until this Friday.. :( We like short, frequent lessons. But we've seen the kids running around reeking havoc in Hamilton Homes. If they don't have a car, it's gonna be a nightmare getting rides for church. Pray they own a car!
Another family is the Wardell Family. They came to Andora's baptism and they asked if we could come to their home and teach them about Jesus too! Unfortunately when we went over on Friday, the dad, Chris, was pretty intoxicated... but we still taught their family and they committed to be baptized in March. They're really poor and their home wasn't the cleanest. The kids were a little crazy, but not crazier than most kids, and with the dad being drunk and all the dogs and cats running around, it was a little difficult, but nothing for me compared to Bennington. We taught a lot of people like this, but Sister Saunders hasn't and had a hard time with it :( But we set them on date to be baptized and we've seen how much people can change when they embrace  the gospel. We're going back tonight and praying he's not drunk again :(


So that's how our week went. It has been getting so so much better. Everyday, I feel! We've truly become "Preach my Gospel missionaries" and it is SO exciting to see the blessings from it! Thank you so much Dad and Ammon and Breton for your advice and help. Thanks to everyone for your prayers! I suuuure love ya!


Love,

Sister Brynnie Hallsted

Monday, January 4, 2016

Oswego #24 Short Letter But We've Got Photos!!

The internet is back up!

Well we were so so blessed this week with another great miracle! All the discouragement is so worth it when you have something so wonderful happen like we did! The Lord is so so good to us and our hearts are just filled with gratitude! 

We were walking all day last Saturday. Right after some hail and cold rain had hit us and we were feeling pretty miserable, but as we walked to another appointment, we saw this cute little house and felt that we should try it. A lady named Jackie answered! She talked to us for a bit and asked if we could come back. When we went back this week, we had an AMAZING lesson! We've really been working on How To Begin Teaching in our roleplays and it sure paid off with Jackie! She committed to be baptized on January 30th and we'll be seeing her every other day! Such a miracle!

We've been pretty sick this week. Sometimes we've wanted to stay in because we've felt so awful, but every time we've worked with all our strength, we've seen some amazing blessings. We're really feeling super grateful.
Love,
Sister Hallsted

Sister Saunders giving Sister Hallsted a dirty look when she suggested they make snow angels. :)

New Years Pics!

My first selfie of 2016!