Monday, May 26, 2014

Faith is at the root of every miracle

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lame email last week! It really was such a busy day.

Anyways, my last two weeks have been really good. Ismael is doing well; like, so well. 
Last week we had a lesson and the first thing he said was, "I was reading the Book of
Mormon and it says you don't have to know everything to be baptized!" and in our heads 
we thought, "That is exactly what we've been telling you for two months!"  Ismael is funny
because he really does receive his answers through the scriptures.  Things don't click for
him when we say it but it does when he reads it.  So right now he is praying about being
baptized which is super exciting.  

We had President Aguilar, one of the counselors in the Mission Presidency, come to our 
area on Sunday to go teaching with us.  He is one of the most outgoing people in the 
whole world.  He will talk to everyone.  Several times he pulled the car over to the side of
the road so we could get out and talk to people.  He also has such a way of putting
people at ease.  It really taught me a lot about talking to everyone and showing genuine
love and interest in people.  

We went to visit some members with President Aguilar.  They're having a hard time
right now because their two teenage boys are making really bad choices.  We started  
talking to the parents and the mom just broke down in tears.  It's hard, especially
because the parents don't really have a good relationship so the mom doesn't feel
like she has anybody to talk to about it. We went over again on Saturday and the mom
started crying again saying that she doesn't feel like God is listening to her.  It seriously
is heartbreaking.  It's hard because there's nothing anyone can do to affect their choices.
Mom, could you send me the titles of some conference talks that you think would help 
and I'll find and print them in Spanish for her?

We also had Zone Conference this last week which was amazing!  We had talks from
President, Sister Samuelian, the APs (Assistants to the President) and one of the STLs 
(Sister Training Leaders).  It was so uplifting.  One thing that one of the APs said that was
just so cool was that pride is Satan's facsimile for faith.  Why is pride at the root of every  
sin?  Because faith is at the root of every miracle.  He related the story of Ammon in the   
Book of Mormon when he was rejoicing so much about all of the people who had joined
the church and his brother, Aaron, was chastising him for being prideful but, in reality,   
he was being faithful.  It was so incredibly interesting.   President talked a lot about love.
He said that this work is a work of love and that's why Satan hates it; because he hates
love. He can't understand it.  He said that love needs to be our motivating force always.
It really was an incredible conference.  He talked about how Heavenly Father could do
this work all by Himself and He could do it a lot better than we can but He allows us to
participate because it helps us to learn, to grow, to love.  President is the most prophetic
person I have ever met.
Congrats to everyone who got their mission calls, that's so cool!  Missions are amazing!

I got my Ipad back! Super exciting but we don't have WiFi in our apartment anymore.  It's
not a big deal, though.

Hahahaha, Mom!  I was literally just telling my companions all about your flower thieving
habits so your email cracked me up and I read it to everyone.
Here are some more pictures from our hike a few weeks ago: 

Last week on P-day we went to a member's house who has a skate ramp in their garage:
Just a little P-day fun... (if you can't open, try Internet Explorer or another browser) 


We saw this guy walking down the street with ducks following him.  He said they are his  
pets and they think he is their mom!
S'mores Oregon style at a member's house!

Love you guys!   Happy Memorial Day!

P.S.  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY about the accounting!!,!,,!,  

Note from Mom:  We just told her we found out she was accepted into the Accounting
Program at the BYU Business School.  She will defer until Fall 2015, of course.  I also
found out from our email "chat" that they are on bikes most of the time now.  She says,
"It's just so beautiful out. It's amazing to be on a bike!"  And, just for the record, I plead
the fifth on the flower incidents.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A quick check-in


Today was literally the longest, least restful, day in the world and we are just now barely getting a chance to breathe.

We rode bikes all day (btw, I bought a bike today), then got locked out of our apartment and taught English class.  It was just a running-all-over kind of day.

So sorry I didn't get a chance to write more today. I don't have a lot of time right now, obviously, because it's almost bedtime but I just wanted to write really quickly to let you know I'm not dead/injured and that everything is going really well. Hopefully, on Wednesday at Zone Conference I'll get my Ipad back. I promise to be working on your letter during the week so it'll be nice and detailed next week.

I love you so much! 



Note from Mom:  She wrote this from her companion's Ipad which is why she was able to write at all.  I'm looking forward to the "nice and detailed" email next week (with pictures, I hope)! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Another great week!


My Ipad had to be sent back to Salt Lake because some of the configuration features were off so I only have a little time to write at the library right now.

We had interviews with the President on Tuesday and that was another amazing experience. He is seriously the most incredible man and I love him and his wife so, so much. We talked to him about the English classes we're teaching at the church and he gave us some really good ideas about how we can expand it into something really big and really great by including  classes about legal services, citizenship process, job fairs, etc. He told us to put ourselves in the participant's shoes and think about what keeps them up at night and then base the class around that. We're really excited for all of the potential that it has. We had our first English classes this past week and it went well. The hardest part is having people on different levels and making sure that we're meeting their needs.

Another cool thing happened with a less active member this week. This guy has been a member for eight years but fell away from the church almost immediately. He's been seeing missionaries for a long, long, long time but hasn't really made any changes. We've been talking to him a lot lately about Patriarchal Blessings and the Priesthood and I'm not sure what, but something clicked for him and he's working towards both.  He basically decided "he's in".

Today we went to Tillamook and went on a hike and then went over to the Cheese Factory to sample some cheese and get some ice cream. The hike was so pretty, Oregon seriously has the most diverse kinds of trees and plants ever.  Everything grows here and moss is everywhere. It's actually pretty cool. Afterwards we came back and had zone p-day where we all went bowling. It was fun! My zone is pretty cool.

As for next Sunday, I think we're going to end up skyping in the morning probably like 8:00 a.m. my time so 11:00 a.m. your time? Let me know if that works or if you'd rather do the afternoon.

Again, sorry this letter was so short but I love you and can't wait to talk more next week!


Note from Mom:  I was waiting to post this email from last week until this week HOPING she would have pictures of Tillamook, eating ice cream, the rest of the week....  But, no.  She sent a few photos; most from previous week's activities, none labeled.  So, above is the ONE lonely photo she sent from her hike this week.  I'm still hoping for more!  CLEARLY, she did not inherit my photos-are-important gene.


Monday, May 5, 2014

His plan for me all along


We just got back from transfers and getting the oil changed and all kinds of crazy stuff today.  I drove all day and I'm SO EXHAUSTED.  I'm sorry, but this is going to be a lame email.  It was so nice talking to you guys yesterday.  I agree, in a weird way, it felt like it hadn't been too long. Crazy to think that next time we talk I'll be halfway through my mission!

I feel like the mission has made me adopt a more "who cares" kind of attitude as weird as that sounds. Okay, so some person is really mean to us on the street...who cares? So we get rocks thrown at us...who cares? So creepy old Mexican men make weird comments to us...who cares?  I feel like none of these little things matter because if we're doing the right things, it's all going to work out in the end. 

Another thing I've come to understand is how little of this work is my responsibility.  Missionary work is God's work. He says so in Moses 1:39: "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  My job is to be here, work hard, and open my mouth.  It's the responsibility of the Spirit to actually convert these people.  It's the responsibility of these people to accept for themselves the truth of this restored gospel. We, as missionaries, are so buoyed up by Heavenly Father in this work it's not even funny.

I'm really happy to be staying here in Cornelius for another transfer. I love this place. I love the branch. I love the people. We are so incredibly welcomed and loved here. Sister Villalobos has been saying over the past couple of days that it feels like she's leaving home all over again and I think that's how I'll feel when I leave here, too.

Missionary work is really amazing.  I remember all the reasons I had growing up for not wanting to serve a mission and I look back and think how silly I was for putting those things ahead of an opportunity like this.  I know I kept using the word "enlightened" yesterday but I can't think of a better way to describe it; I feel greater light in my life. Everything just makes sense.  I see more clearly than I did before. I can't imagine not having gone on a mission and not having this experience because it's really amazing. That feeling is such a testament to me that Heavenly Father had this in His plan for me all along.

I love you!  Enjoy your time with Robyn and Jeffrey and sweet Hudson so soon and PLEASE send me pictures! Like, seriously, everyday send me a picture of that cute face.

I have not received Sis. Hawkins package yet but that is so sweet of her and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Again, sorry this email is so lame and short and that, again, there are no pictures.  As soon as I get my Ipad back I'll have the other sisters air drop all the pics to me and you'll get 50 at once.

Love you!!


Note from Mom:  Pictures or not, I do not consider this email "lame" in any respect.  I am so grateful for the experiences Hayley is having and the "enlightenment" she is receiving.  We had a GREAT Skype chat on Sunday.  She is SO happy and that makes us so happy as well.  When asked what is one thing she has learned so far on her mission, her response was "there are only two things that really matter in this life - the gospel and family.  NOTHING else matters".  Her companion, Hermana Villalobos (far left), transferred to a different area on Monday.  Hayley is now companions with Hermana McCrite (far right, next to Hayley):