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!

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