Monday, June 30, 2014

Impressions and Insights

Hi everyone,

The new Spanish Elders are actually really nice. Their names are Elder Lima and Elder Fernandez. We had a really awesome district meeting on Friday where we talked about specific people we are teaching and how we can best help them to learn and grow. A lot of the time in meetings we talk about things in general, like things we need to improve on as missionaries. I really liked this shift into talking just about investigators. One thing Sister Purcell, our STL (Sister Training Leader), said during an exchange once is that the gospel is general. The scriptures are general. Preach my Gospel is general. These things don't become specific until we apply them to real people in real situations. That thought has really stuck with me. It's just so true. The scriptures are incredibly general because that's what they're meant to be, general enough that they can literally apply to everyone. It's not until we really take that extra step and apply them to ourselves and our lives that we really gain a testimony of their value.

We did a lot of service this week. There's a woman in the English ward who was in a really bad accident and is extremely crippled.  She can barely walk. She's super incredibly nice and hilarious and has all these cute little adopted Asian kids. She also has extreme asthma so the smell of any and all cleaning products makes it so she can't breathe.  It's because of all these reasons that her house just doesn't get clean. Every couple of weeks we go over for a few hours and just clean. On Friday, it took me four hours just to do all the dishes in her kitchen. But honestly, it isn't even a burden.  I seriously enjoy doing it. I just think about how badly she wishes she could do these things, how badly she wishes her body was able to stand there for four hours and do dishes and, because of that, I am grateful that mine can. Heavenly Father has given each of us advantages in this life and we need to use those advantages in the service of others. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve her and her family.

I spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday. I wrote down about a page, word for word, what I wanted to say and then just gave up trying to plan so specifically.  I thought I'd get up there and talk for two minutes and blank out but I ended up talking for about 15 minutes. I wish I could give you a synopsis of what I said but I honestly cannot remember (which I've found is generally what happens when you're really following the Spirit). I was just thinking back to my first week here when I spoke and how much easier it has become now. My Spanish is really going well; I'm speaking more fluently and easily which is awesome.

There's this one house in Cornelius that has seriously haunted me since the first time we drove past it. The very first time I just thought "we need to go there" but just never did because...well, I don't know why! I honestly can't think of any reason why I ignored that impression. I remember one time we drove by and there were all these kids playing outside in the sprinkler and again, like every other time, I felt like we needed to go and I ignored the thought. Finally, on Saturday, we were biking past and all the kids were outside.  The mom was outside pulling weeds and ONCE AGAIN we just rode on past. We rode a few houses down from them and my mind was just going and going and it felt like their faces were just burned in my mind.  Before I even realized it, my bike was stopped and I was turning around. We ended up having a great conversation with this awesome lady Margarita. I'm hopeful we'll get to see them again.

You are walking with Ellen?! That's awesome. Tell them how much I miss them!! Tell Zandra to write me a letter.

So, when are you guys going to go to the temple to do some sealings? The challenge was for you to do it it May and it's almost July! You really need to get on that, they are very anxious to have that work done. I know because they keep bugging me about it.  There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about them.

These last couple of weeks have been stressful and I am just now starting to feel as if everything is getting back under control. Don't take stress as a sign that I am not happy; I am. It's like that talk from Elder Bednar; it was the load that made the truck move.

As far as contacts, don't worry about it. Our Stake President here is an eye doctor so I'm just going to order it from him.

I have to go now.  Have a great week!  I love you!

Hermana Meise

P.S. Here's a pic from when Hans took us to dinner.  Yum!

Note from Mom:  I also received an email today from a complete stranger in Oregon who happened upon Hayley, her companion and two other Sister Missionaries at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and took this picture.  So grateful for her kindness.  Tillamook is known for their amazing cheese, yogurt and, of course, ice cream! 


Here is the talk by Elder David A. Bednar that Hayley referred to in her email.  Such a great talk!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Changes and fresh Cornelius

Hi everyone!

I apologize once again for my lack of email last week.  We went to Newberg to go see President; that's why we didn't have a chance to send emails.  And I'm so sorry for my short email again this week. I was driving all day and got very, very lost on the way home (so lost, in fact, that we ended up out of the mission- yikes!)

Today was transfer day. Sister McCrite and I were not transferred; however, both Sister Barrios and Sister Bate were. They are now bringing Spanish Elders in to work with the branch. It's really sad but it makes sense. One of the other consequences of transfers is that our district was split. So now, instead of having 16 people in our district, we have six. It'll be interesting for sure!
 Half of what used to be our district

Things are going really well here, though. We're making a more concentrated effort to really talk to more people that we see on the street. This isn't just an effort by Sister McCrite and me; mission-wide we're trying to open our mouths and talk to everyone. It has been hard and intimidating but really, really good. We've had amazing conversations with amazing people. It's funny, too, how when you LOOK for people to talk to, you seem to find more and more.

I'm so glad that I'm staying in this area. I love it so much. I love the people, love the landscape, it's wonderful. It's kind of cool how every new transfer is like a fresh start, you know? We can reassess and recommit to do things better these next six weeks.

We had a baptism last week in Council Creek. It was one of the Elder's long time investigators that we worked with a few times as well. Her name is Ginger and she is just the sassiest old lady that you've ever met in your whole life.

The other day we were at a potluck after the baptism of one of the primary kids and we met this little girl named Nani. She is so cute. We started talking to her about missionaries and how, even though she can't be a missionary like us until she's older, she can still be a missionary now. She got really upset and said she COULDN'T because she didn't have a TAG like us. So we made her that little tag that's on her shirt. I think you can tell she was a little excited.

On our P-Day last week, we did service at a member's house by washing her enormous dog.  Seriously, these pictures can't even convey how huge that dog is:


One of the Elders kept asking me to cut his hair so finally I said, "Fine, I'll cut your hair but I'm not making any guarantees because I don't know how."  I cut his hair under the instruction of Sister Nissinen. It was actually fun; I now want to learn how to cut boys' hair.

The vitamins you bought are INCREDIBLE. they seriously give me so much energy, it's amazing. I got the shoes today, too. I haven't worn them yet but they're cute.

I love you!  Have a good week!

Hermana Meise

Note from Mom:  Hayley never has had a very good sense of direction so I'm not surprised she keeps getting lost.  They really should provide her with a GPS!

More pictures without descriptions:

 Conference with Elder Martino from a few weeks back?

 Another random selfie?

Monday, June 9, 2014

My "uneventful" week...

Hi everyone!

This week has been fairly uneventful; honestly, so sorry if this email is on the short side. 

We had Stake Conference this past weekend! It was really wonderful. I love our Stake President.  He is an amazing man. They talked a lot about missionary work and how sharing the gospel, fellowshipping less actives, and doing temple work is all the same work. President and Sister Samuelian were there as well and, as always, it's so nice to be around them.

One of the reasons this week was so uneventful in other ways is because it was so eventful in terms of bike troubles. First, my bike that I originally bought from Walmart turned out to be the worst bike ever. I may or may not have picked it out based solely on the fact that it was teal so I probably deserved it. But basically, no matter what gear it was in, I would pedal and pedal and go nowhere. Then, Sister Barrios had a flat tire.  Then, Sister Barrios and Sister Bate had their chains randomly pop off.  It was crazy. Because of all this, we ended up walking a lot. It was good though; we talked to some people and helped a lady weed her yard so it all worked out.

Thanks for the pepperoni bread recipe! I was craving it so bad. We gave one of the loaves to the Elders and they said it was the "best bread they've ever had" so I'm sure they'd want me to pass along their appreciation as well. 

Did I ever tell you about Sister McCrite? She's my companion now, of course. She's awesome. I seriously love her so much. She is one of the best question askers in the whole world. She asks the kind of questions that make you have to think through and process the situation. She also makes up incredible analogies on the spot. The other night we were teaching this less active member who really loves dogs and she came up with this perfect analogy about search and rescue dogs that really helped it click for him. She's the perfect parable maker.

The couple I spoke of a few weeks ago are doing well. This past week when we went over, we purposely went with the intent of splitting the mom and dad up so they would each have the opportunity to speak. Sister McCrite and I took the dad and he was telling us about his desire to share the gospel but the fear that holds him back from telling those he knows about it. Sister Barrios and Sister Bate took the mom and talked to her about patriarchal blessings and she was so adamant about wanting one. We figured out where there is a Spanish patriarch and hopefully we'll be able to set that up for her in the next few weeks. Seriously, what better to help you know for sure that God is aware of you than a patriarchal blessing?

Hudson is SO CUTE. I'm so jealous you all were together without me. I can't wait to see him when I get back. When are they coming back to visit again?

I'm so sorry about the cars but, honestly, I just echo what Dad said, at least it wasn't one of us. (I backed into my husband's car on Sunday so we now have TWO damaged cars.  Ugh.)

I love you guys. I'm so sorry I don't take more pictures! Here's a couple of us berry picking and another random one.  I'll try harder to take more.



Monday, June 2, 2014

Diligence, Miracle of the Miles and Rainy Days on Bikes

Hi everyone!

This last week a Member of the Seventy came and spoke to us! His name is Elder Martino. It was an all day conference and it was so, so good. Beforehand, we had been asked to study diligence and when we got there that day we were told by the APs that a Sister and an Elder would be called on by President Samuelian to give short three minute talks on the spot on that topic. This was a group of about 100 people so I thought for SURE I'd be safe. I should've known better. I was very grateful for the opportunity but I'll just say it is more than a little intimidating to give an impromptu talk in front of a Member of the Seventy. It was fine, though. I talked about how, in reality, our role in missionary work as a missionary is very small. Heavenly Father prepares the people, the Spirit witnesses of the truth, and the investigator uses their agency whether or not to accept and act upon the truth. All we do as missionaries is be in the right place at the right time and open our mouths. We don't even have to come up with the words to say because the Spirit takes care of that as well. Our part is really very, very small so we should be diligent in that very small part we play. I also talked about how Heavenly Father didn't have to call me on a mission and how, for most of my life, I didn't even want Him to but how so very happy I am that He did. My diligence is a way of expressing gratitude for this opportunity.

I really loved what Elder Martino had to say, though. He talked a lot about how members are absolutely essential in this work. He talked about Alma and Amulek. Amulek was the member that Alma brought with him to teach. He related Alma 11:46 and pointed out that it wasn't Alma who astonished Zeezrom even though he was a seasoned missionary. It was Amulek. He said that it is the same in our work today; the member is the one who will be able to astonish people. He related several stories where this was the case and stressed the importance of prayerfully selecting that Amulek member or family.

We kind of had a miracle this week with our miles. This might sound silly but it was actually incredible. With all the meetings and transfers and exchanges that we had this month, we were running incredibly short on miles. We're only allotted a certain number every month. That's a big part of the reason I had to buy a bike. We literally had enough miles to take us straight to Newberg and back for the conference with Elder Martino. On the day of the conference, we had a lot of unexpected things happen like getting lost, having to stop by the mission office, etc. We got out of the meeting so late that, by the time we got back to Cornelius, we had to immediately go to dinner and then straight to the English class. We weren't sure whether to bring the car back to the apartment and bike to dinner and the class which would make us extremely late for both or whether to just drive. We ended up deciding to drive because there was no way to make it to both on bikes in any reasonable amount of time. At the end of the night when we finally pulled back into our parking spot at the apartment, we had used 999.1 of our allotted 1000 miles! It sounds so silly but, after all the unexpected detours and trips that day that we hadn't budgeted for, it was a miracle to us that we had still stayed within our budget.

I can't remember if I already told you this but one of the APs was actually in my freshman ward at BYU. He came up to me at the Zone Conference and said, "You do know I was your Sunday School teacher freshman year, right?" I'll be honest, I have no recollection of that but still cool. He's a good guy and an amazing Elder.

We were rained on pretty bad on our bikes this week. Like, pounding rain the whole time we were riding. After reading Dallin's letter, though, I don't feel bad for myself one little bit. I actually laughed out loud at the story of the cat birth, too, and how he was so "Dallin" about it. We actually teach a less active who can't stop herself from feeding everything and everybody so she leaves cat food outside and has SO MANY cats that just live outside her house. One of those cats just had kittens as well so we play with the only surviving one left all the time.

Mom, can you send me the recipe for pepperoni bread? I've been craving it so bad lately. Also, thanks for emailing me every week. Believe it or not, most of the other girls' parents don't email them every week. I really appreciate it. But I miss hearing from you too, Dad!

I got Sister Hawkins' package and it was AMAZING. It was all healthy food (which is exactly what I wanted) in the cutest bag ever.

Have so much fun with Hudson! Love you guys so much!


Note from Mom:  Saved this email from last week hoping for related photos but didn't get any. (sigh)  She sent these this week.  Apparently, they like to take a lot of selfies.  I'm not going to complain; just happy she's so happy!

Dallin's family and ours are very close.  He is serving as a missionary in the Marshall Islands and serves in much more tropical, primitive, and difficult circumstances.  I shared his weekly email with Hayley.  With permission, here is an excerpt from his email with the story she was referring to:

"Before I talk about anything that happened this week, I must tell a terrifying story. Our cat, Ginger, who lives in our house is a wonderful cat. She's super nice and always likes to be petted. However, we thought she was getting super fat. Turns out, she was pregnant!  Sunday, she had two baby cats. They were super gross. Thankfully, she had her babies in a random box, so they were safe.  HOWEVER, this morning, we woke up to Ginger making all kinds of evil hissing noises, and it was really loud so we looked over at her box. There were four crabs inside our house all making war trying to get into Ginger's box to eat the baby cats! It was terrifying! So we jumped out of bed and tried to kill the crabs, but then they started attacking us! They were big, and had big claws. So we took sticks off of our walls (since our house and the walls are made of sticks) and started trying to beat them. Ginger continued to make evil noises, and the crabs are going everywhere. The worst, most scary, thing was that one climbed straight up the wall, like up to eye level, and then climbed out the window. It was terrifying. In the end, if you hit them once hard on the head, they kind of go limp for a second, so we would have to hit them and then flick them towards the door and then hit them again until they were outside of our house. At which point, we smashed them. It was really scary because the sun wasn't quite up at 5:45, so we weren't sure if we got them all. Crabs are definitely evil animals. They're like armored and weaponized spiders, and apparently the ones that live here can climb walls. So I have a new phobia." 

I'm glad Hayley realizes how easy she has it in comparison to others and that she can endure rainy days on a bike with a good attitude.