Monday, June 24, 2013

For the Beauty of the Earth!

Hello family and friends! I am loving it here in Alaska...this is week numero dos! The weather is beautiful, the trees and green, and the flowers are bright! It is so beautiful here! My companions and I stopped at least 5 times on our way home from church to pick flowers!
Well a lot has happened this week! Last p-day we had zone lunch at the most beautiful lake! It was incredible. I really love my zone..they are so much fun. It was supposed to be a picnic, but my companions and I actually just bought McDonalds. :)
Another thing...they are planning for this huge mission training and the theme is pioneer trek which I am SO excited for. We are treking a certain number of miles and I don't know the details but I assume we'll have carts and whatnot. Also there's a musical program they're going to have for it will actors and scenes about pioneers and the struggles they faces and they'll sing songs and stuff and it's going to be AWESOME. And guess what....I GET TO BE IN IT! I'm so excited because they are doing this trek in like 6 or 7 different areas all over Alaska for all of the missionaries in different areas...and they are only having 2 elders and 2 sisters to be apart of it and travel in a van to all of these locations to do it. I am SOOOO excited! I get to travel all over Alaska and sing and act in this program!! More details to come...but this was something I couldn't help but share! What a blessing to be apart of something so great!
Well...Sister Grayson and I are continuing with the constant u-turns and the dead ends. A GPS would really come in handy! I'm positive we've found EVERY dead end in existence here in Anchorage. It's hilarious. I'm glad we can both laugh about it. We are getting better though!
Also this week had a sisters training sleepover at the mission home which was really fun! President told us a bed time story (goldilocks) which was HILARIOUS! And then he made us pancakes the next morning in whatever shape we wanted. I got an elephant which a ball. He is so talented! It was so fun getting to know all the sisters and bonding with them. Sleepovers are always fun! I learned so much and felt the spirit so strongly. The sisters here are awesome.
Well my time is short today. We are heading off to see the WORLDS BIGGEST CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! I know. I'm a little excited. And we know a member who works at the chocolate shop who said she will give us free chocolate samples. HOLLA!
Hope everyone's had a great week!
I love this gospel with ALL of my heart. I was reading through 2 Nephi 2 today and reading all about the atonement. I am SO grateful for our Savior and his great sacrifice for us. I have so much love and appreciation for him. I know that if we use the atonement we can return to our Father in the end and live with him for eternity. What a great gift we've been given! Repentance is real. I've felt it. It works. He is waiting patiently for us to come to him.
Love you all! The church is true!
Sister Hallmark
Just driving through A-town with Sista Grayson!

Sister Grayson, me, Sister Hatfield at the sisters sleepover.

My elephant pancake President Beesley made!

Beautiful area we were driving through and had to take pictures! That is the beach in the background!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Kid on the Block

Hello everyone...I'm in ALASKA! Holy cow time flies. It's already been a week. I love it's beautiful. So green.. so many trees...giant mountains! Breathtaking! I'm still getting used to the whole light's still light as can be when I go to bed every night at 10:30 and when I wake up at 6:30. I haven't seen the moon all week! It's so bizarre. Well....a lot of stuff has been happening. Last week at transfers I was assigned to train here in Anchorage in a YSA ward! It's cool because everyone is my same age. But it's also weird...hahaha. I have TWO trainers...we're in a trio because the numbers for sisters were off. I guess I needed extra training ;) My companions are sister Hatfield and Sister Grayson. They are great.
So Sister Hatfield has been having some serious stomach problems so recently we decided it would be good for her to go to the mission home during the day and rest while Sister Grayson and I did our proselyting. Well...Sister Hatfield is the one who drove and sister Grayson doesn’t have her Alaska license so guess who's been driving all through anchorage?! This one week old baby! It's so much fun and it's a great way to learn the town. 99.9% of the time Sister Grayson and I are lost...but we just laugh it off. She's still fairly new herself so we're learning together. Yesterday we got stuck in a big deal. She pushed me out while I revved and we were out of there in a dash. So glad we didn't have to call the elders...that would have been SO EMBARRASSING!
Well we are teaching a few people...there is a girl named Kiley who is SO accepting of the gospel it’s insane. It makes me so happy...she is on date to be baptized on the 6th of July. We are continuing to meet with her a couple times a week. We are also meeting with the sweetest girl named Allsion...we love her. We are praying hard for what direction to go in to help her progress. She has a boyfriend out on a mission right now and she's scared she's only taking discussions for him. We are trying to help her gain a testimony for herself. I really sincerely love and care about the people we teach. They are all so great and I can feel Gods love for them.
I love missionary work! I am such a typical other eager greenie who just wants to knock on every door and baptize every soul. I just have such a burning passion for the gospel. It's what motivates me to get out of bed every morning and do what I do. I know the Savior is preparing people all over Alaska to hear this wonderful message...we just need to search. :) The gospel is so true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God...I KNOW it. I've has so many personal revelations and insights about my own life reading that book...God will talk to you through the Book of Mormon...I can testify that.
Highlight of the week:
I have introduced myself at TWO separate dinner appointments as BRIANA. So embarrassing....and awkward.
 Every time I go to introduce myself now I have to keep repeating "Sister Hallmark, Sister Hallmark, Sister Hallmark" in my head. Haha!
I love you all! Hope everyone is doing well!
Sister Hallmark
This is called the "Rock Man"...pretty cool.

Me, my group from the MTC, President and Sister Beesley right when we got to Alaska. This is the Anchorage Temple!

                                          Just a moose on the side of the road... no big deal.

                              THIS IS AN ACTUAL REINDEER. IT HAS FURRY ANTLERS.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Saturday is a special day...

It's the day we get ready for....MONDAY!
Hello everyone! It's Saturday and I'm lovin' it. We are allowed to email today because we're using Monday to travel to Alaska. We're packing up our clothes, doing laundry, making all the neccessary preprations for our travel to the great white north. It's almost here!
Although I'm beyond ready to be in the field....I'm totally going to miss the MTC. I've made the greatest friends here. I'm so sad to say goodbye. My whole district is already planning a little reunion for when we get back. That's how much we love eachother!
So this update will be short, I don't have a ton of time today. Also...the computers here are super fickle so I can't get any pictures to update...sorry! I'll send pics next week for SURE! :)
I have learned so much about myself in just the short time I've been here. It's nuts. The mission refines you...sometimes it gets hot, and its hurts, and it is really uncomfortable...but in the end you're so much more than you were before. I've already caught a glimpse of the change that is about to occur in my life. I've never felt closer to my Savior. When things get hard here, the only person you can turn to is the Lord. He's been my rock through it all. I complain alot, I'm sometimes impatient, and I make a TON of mistakes. But he's still there unwavering through it all. I have been touched my so many expereinces being here at the MTC. The Lord is so evidently working though every single persons life. I've felt his love more strongly than ever. I KNOW he lives. I KNOW his love for us is immense. I have a testimony of this gospel that can't be shaken. I love this work.
Have a great week, everyone. Wish me luck of my quest to Alaska!
Sister Hallmark
Briana and her group in Alaska!

East Side.... WEST SIDE

HELLO EVERYONE! Reporting from the MTC WEST campus here. Yeah...I said West.
So I was apart of the FIRST group to ever enter the new MTC West. Did you know I'm historical? I do. I've only been told 97395874893 times while being here. :) But's such a blessing to be here. It's alot smaller...basically just two apart complexes the church bought complex the elders and sisters sleep in...the other complex (across the street) is where we have class. I love it here. Of the 700 new missionaries that reported last Wednesday...only 40 were sent to this West Campus. So cool to be one of the 40 sent here. I feel honored! So my district is ALL SISTERS...unheard of. We love it. We all live together, it's just 6 girls. So fun!
So...when I got here...I bawled like a baby getting out of the car. So embarassing. NO OTHER SISTERS CRIED! But I was a blubbering mess. Everyone was so nice though...luckily I only cried for about 3 minutes. I got so many hugs and smiles. And the best part...they gave me my name tag. Ahhhyeah. I am official now.
So being at the West MTC we somtimes feel a little deprived (even though it's awesome here) because the actual MTC has a bookstore and alot of other fun sometimes we get to take a bus up there and just go walk around and go get stuff we need from the bookstore. Well there is a legendary tree there on campus that SMELLS LIKE CREAM SODA... it's pretty cool. So we went up the other day with some elders in another district and Sister Clark and I were walking out of the bookstore when we caught all the elders sniffing the funny. I'll attatch a picture. We love them! The Elders are so goofy and funny.
I've learned so much already and it hasn't even been a week. But let me just say...I've never been so tired in my entire life. I'm so happy...but I'm so tired. It's like impossible to catch up on sleep! Haha! But I am surviving. My companion is Sister Clark...she's also going to Anchorage. Pretty convienent. She's awesome. She keeps me in check sometimes when I would rather nap than study. I totally need her.
Well I just want to say that I love the lord. I have such a grateful heart right now. I am so blessed to have this gospel in my life and to posses the knowlege that it brings me. I want to be a missionary forever! I cannot wait to teach His work to ALLLL the Alaskans and bring the closer to Christ. :) I have one week left here and then to anchorage I go!
Highlight of the week:
Sister Davis: Guys look, I finally got that stain out of my dress!
I love the sisters here. :)
Keep an eye out for them in San Antonio! They'll be preachin' that gospel!
Love you all! I'll update again on Saturday because we won't get Pday Monday due to our flight to Alaska.
The church is true! Wohoo!!
Sister Hallmark
Saying goodbye to the fam at the airport.
About to get dropped off at the curb!

 All 40 missionaries at MTC West Campus!

                                                        My companion Sister Clark and I!

Service Project!

How many sister missionaries can fit on one couch?

Sister Clark, me, Sister Davis and Sister Reimer on the bus to the MTC campus.