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

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cooperstown #5 “Already March…”

Hi My Dear Family,

This was a rather slow week, but at the same time, it went by too fast! Many of our appointments rescheduled and people have not let us back. These things happen. But next week will be great! Tracting wasn't too much of a success this week. We found 4 new investigators. We haven't found the super solid people that I can feel are waiting for us. I'm doing better at being a good companion. Really! I am proud of myself. I'm just doing my absolute best and trusting that the Lord will help her understand I am really a decently kind person.

We had one funny thing happen this week! Someone called the police on us because we knocked on their door at 8:30 PM. I thought that was awesome! The officer was really nice! It really freaked Sister Trapane out! Of course everything's fine. We're gonna go egg that lady's house later tonight. (That was a joke!!!) The next day, we knocked on people's door at 3:30 PM. We had done one side of the street and were walking back to our car when a man comes out of his house, yelling at us! He was so mad that we had knocked on his door when of course he works night shifts and of course we should have known he was sleeping! HAHA! It was kind of scary! It's hilariously frustrating how people truly don't realize that we are humans and have moms and siblings and were born just like they were. So funny!

Oh, and President came to our district meeting but some elders got in a car crash right before it started so he was on the phone the whole time. I was really bummed I didn't get to talk much to him or Sister Rogers- just the love of my life. I am going to get a picture of her to draw when I see her at Zone Conference this Tuesday. She's gorgeous and looks a lot like mom to me!

Oh, and another great week at the Josephs! We had a bunch of intense lessons with our "eternigators" this week. Renata is going to pray about which date to set for baptism as a goal to work towards. She is AMAZING. And George and I are so close. He getting really old though and you can tell his memory is not so great. I got to hold a white and black lamb. I LOVE them. I'll try to send pictures.

Oh! Sorry this is so long! There's a part member family we're working with The Dunn family. Brother Dunn is less active and his beautiful wife Sandy is investigating, but just for interest at this time. But I immediately had a connection with them. They're a little older and Brother Dunn is the most like Dad that I've ever met! I can feel how much Brother Dunn loves and admires me and it feels a lot like dad. He listens carefully to everything I say and really takes it to heart. It's so great and will really help him to come back to church! Just wanted to say that :)

It sounds like you had such a neat testimony meeting yesterday in the home ward. I felt the Spirit as I read about it. We had an incredibly powerful testimony meeting as well. Can I just say how much I love church? I cannot and will not go without church ever. I need Sacrament meeting. I needed it a lot this week. It was a perfect way to end my humbling week. As you know, we had our fast this week as missionaries/ branch missionaries. Man, I love fasting. I loved fasting twice in one week. I crave the peace the Holy Ghost brings to me! I feel it strongest and steadily when I fast. As we were fasting for the Lord's guidance in our missionary efforts and for the branch members as well, we have received direction and the branch members have seen miracles.

The meeting started off with Brother Zukas (amazing family with 6 little crazy kids) sharing his missionary experience this week. He cried and I cried (always) and the rest of the testimonies shared were so powerful. As part of our fast, Brother Bruneau encouraged us to bear our testimonies and share our experiences if we were moved by the Spirit to do so. I read the hymn "Bless Our Fast, We Pray" before testimonies started. Read it! After reading that, I had to get up and, like the song says, attest to the miracles and mercies the Lord has given. I just so wish I could be like Elder Holland and speak the feelings in my heart! But I'm just too awkward. But I have full faith that the Spirit will say perfectly what I can't. I was a little disappointed that none of the other missionaries got up though. The branch is going to be sick of me soon! I really love church. It's not entertaining for some, but it's not supposed to be. I love every minute of it because of how it feels to be there, coming closer to our Savior through the sacrament. I love the faithful members of the Oneonta branch. They blow me away!

Sorry! Longest letter of my life!

Suuuuuure love ya!
-Sister Brynnie Hallsted