Monday, July 29, 2013

You better not shout, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why...

ELDER BEDNAR'S COMING TO TOOOOWWWWNNN!!!!!!! I am freaking out. excitement has reached a level I've never experienced. Elder Bednar, an Apostle of the Lord, is coming to ANCHORAGE to talk to the missionaries!!!! I will be in a chapel...with Elder Bednar....AND GUESS WHAT ELSE?! My companions and I were asked to sing at the meeting!!!!! I'm going to sing in front of Elder Bednar!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!
I've been holding this in all week. I so glad I can let it out to everyone at home!
So aside from that amazing news...we got our new sister! Sister Livingston! She's so cute! We just love her...It's so funny to be with her and relive the excitement I had from the first transfer. We'll get out of an appointment and she's like "I LOVE THIS PERSON SO MUCH OH MY GOSH I AM SO EXCITED TO BE A MISSIONARY THIS IS SO AMAZING WOOHOOO! DID I SAY I LOVED THEM?! YAY! BAPTIZE EVERYONE!" It's seriously hilarious because I was JUST like that....I'm sure her initial excitement will die down like mine did. I still have such a passion and love for the work but I'm not as....vocal. Hahaha She's so fun.
Well....we met with several people this week! Lots of new investigators! None have come too far yet, but I'm eager to write home in the next few weeks about their progress. There's one girl named Anne who is a referral from someone in the ward. We met with her, taught her the restoration, and committed her to be baptized. She was very hesitant and said no, but promised to read the BOM and pray. I think she WANTS to know it's true...she's just scared. We are so hopeful that she will read and pray. We haven't been in contact with her for almost a week, she said her work schedule is crazy. We'll see what happens...she is so great. She would be so strong in the church, I can just see it. We've been praying hard.
Well something fun we were able to do this week is go to the botanical garden here in anchorage. So cool! There are so many beautiful flowers here.. Also, you know you're in Alaska when the nature advisor tells you to watch for bears while walking through the garden...hahahaha I really do need some bear spray! Someone send me bear spray! People say they see bears all the time in our area...I am so nervous! Well we got some fun pics there. We went to have a lesson with a recent convert, Teniel. She is moving out to the bush (an area faaaar out in Alaska) to teach kindergarten. It was our last goodbye lesson! I have really grown to love the people in my area...I will be sad when I have to leave!
Well that's all for this week. We're going on a hike today with our zone. We're hiking up a mountain called "flat top"...I'm way excited! Pictures to come!
Love you all! I know the church is true...I know it with everything in the. I know the atonement of Jesus Christ is real and it's power is incredible! Have a good week!
Sister Hallmark
 This is how we do our studies... we're like the grandparents in Willy Woka! Hahaha after this picture Sister Grayson said "I like grapes." Hahaha
 Sister Grayson, Sister Livingston, me, Teniel, and Brittany (a ward mission leader)
Another day, another moose. This is a moose and it's baby outside the church parking lot. :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Six Weeks Come and Gone

Hellooooooo from the great white north!
Hope everyone is having a good week and not dying from the Texas heat! The weather has continued to stay absolutely amazing! Beautiful 70's and sunny...I love it. Can't it stay like this forever?! Well this week has been pretty good...and guess what's approaching like...TOMORROW??! Dun dun duuuuun....Transfers!! I made it my first six weeks! Woohoooo! So sister Grayson and I are staying here in Anchorage in the Cook Inlet YSA ward, but something has changed. We are getting a new little bundle of joy to join our companionship directly from the MTC. And I'm still a toddler! We are in a trio again! Hurray! We get to pick her up tomorrow. :)
Well aside from this exciting news, not much else has happened. We picked up a new investigator named David, he's the one that his co worker brought to church last Sunday. David is so great and we were able to meet with him last week and teach him about the restoration. Unfortunately we won't be able to teach him anymore, because he just left to go to a military college and he'll be there for the next 4 years. But we gave him a Book or Mormon and he's pretty solid. He already found where they have the LDS church there and he intends on studying the Book and Mormon and going to church. I don't know if he'll have the chance to get the missionary discussions there, but we're going to find out. We also were able to bring Romero, another investigator, to church with us Sunday and it was so great, he was really touched.
Well I love you all...but can I ask for one thing? LETTERS! I love getting letters...they make my day! Handwritten letters are the best thing in the universe! My address is here on the everyone take out a pen and a paper, write me about your life, and send it in the mail!!! I only have limited time on the computer but I promise to write any letters back. I have much more time to write letters. :) I miss you all and just want to know what's going on in your lives! Tell me!!!
Well I've got to run, today is pretty hectic trying to prepare for our new sister. We've got cleaning, shopping, laundry...the list never ends! Love you all! Be safe!
Sister Hallmark
Making pancakes for dinner at a members house. I made a "black bear".... get it? hahahahaha

Monday, July 15, 2013

Here Comes The Sun, do do do do

Hello everyone!
 Guess who decided to come out for a peek this week?! THE SUN! Yes, the sun does exist in's just been hiding for quite some time. It's been in the 70's and sunny all week long! What a blessing! EVERYONE was outside going on jogs, walking their dogs, or going on bike rides. What a perfect opportunity to OYM (open your mouth)...We tried to use the weather to our advantage. Although Sister G didn't particularly like my opening lines of "Hello, it's a good day to hear about the restored gospel!" or "Doesn't this sun remind you of God? Have a Book of Mormon!" But they were humorous none the less ;)
Well, despite the awesome rays of sunshine we were blessed with, this week was pretty dang hard. Our teaching pool has shrunk dramatically. We practically have no one to teach. We knocked on doors, went to visit the less actives, tried to one would open their door or seemed interested. I have never felt so discouraged. Sister Grayson and I prayed and prayed and prayed. We worked on being perfectly obedient and utilizing every opportunity we had to share the gospel. We wanted to show the Lord that we were still trying. the only thing we were able to do this week were AMLs (active member lessons). Through the spirit sister G and I came up with a pretty powerful lesson to motivate members in our ward to do missionary work. We had 4 AMLs and shared the lesson for every dinner thought. Sister G and I weren't sure if we were getting through to anyone but we still tried.
WEEEELLLL...Sunday rolls around and guess what? THE BLESSING BEGAN TO POUR! I have never been so overwhelmed by God's love before in my life.
1. Less actives we haven't seen in months showed up to sacrament, one with her non member boyfriend.
2. Member after member came running up to us eagerly giving us names of people they shared the gospel with and a plan of action of how they would get them to church!
3. Another man from the family ward actually brought a coworker to our YSA and we were able to meet him and he'll be at the FHE activity tonight, he seems very interested.
4.  The member we had dinner with brought her non member friend we were able to meet and share a message with.
5. A former investigator who hasn't had contact with us for months texted us and wants to meet this week!
6. A guy who was formerly extremely less active tearfully thanked us for all we had done for him and told us he has STARTED HIS MISSION PAPERS!
These were just a FEW of the multitude of blessing that occurred yesterday. I am SO humbled by the resounding result of our efforts. This is a testament to me that if you show him you're willing, the blessings will pour. He WANTS to bless us, he just has to see the initial effort from us. Every week my testimony is strengthened so much more. I know without any doubt in my mind that this IS the restored gospel that our savior had on the earth. I firmly believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he translated the Book of Mormon through the guidance and direction of our Father in Heaven. I know that like Joseph Smith stated, "This book is the most correct of any book on earth"...I know this because I've read it and I've felt it's power and influence in my life. The Book or Mormon IS indeed the word of God. It is another testament of God and completely and totally supports the Bible. I'm so incredibly grateful for the gospel is my life and the happiness and peace it brings to me. I'm so grateful for the support I have received from each and every one of you reading this. Thank you! I love you all! Have a fantastic week!
Highlight of the week:
Last night we were on the phone with our district leader reporting numbers for the week and he asks
"So how are you and Sister Grayson getting along?" I say, "Good I guess, she only hits me sometimes..."
And he was SILENT. Our poor district leader, he is great but sarcasm is not an understanding he's been gifted with. It took us a long time to talk ourselves out of that one! Haha!
Sister Hallmark
              Cute little boys asked if they could wash our car while we were in an appointment!

Monday, July 8, 2013

July Winter

Hello everyone. I'm freezing.
You know you're from Texas when...
1. You're huddling around a cup of hot cocoa when everyone else is sipping ice cold root beer
2. You're wrapped in a blanket during comp study while your comp is chillin in shorts
3. When members talk about going swimming later and you laugh at the joke...then realize it's not a joke.
4. Last but not least...when EVERYONE EVERYWHERE asks if I'm from the lower 48 because I just look...cold.
My anxiety heightens every time someone says "...just wait for the winter!" A Texan in Alaska has never heard such terrifying words. But of all the uncertainty my chilling future holds, I do know ONE thing.
I will be poofy.
Layers upon layers upon layers of poooof. I will do everything I can to protect myself. This is something I've accepted and embraced. Just wait for the pictures. ;)
So aside from the fact that I'm on the verge of hypothermia...KYLIE GOT BAPTIZED! She bawled. I bawled. We all bawled for Kylie. Her testimony was so sweet. I don't think I could ever love anyone more! I was like a proud little mommy! I can just see the light in her eyes. She glows. Seeing her get baptized was SUCH a sweet experience. Nothing else can ever compare.
And riiiiight after her baptism guess what we did?! Well...we went to her house and had pizza and root beer floats...but guess what we did AFTER that?! We took Kylie tracting. YUP. We hit the pavement with our favorite new member. She was so cool about it. The first door we knocked actually TALKED to us and we shared a message with him! So awesome. Kylie maaaaay or may not want to serve a mission. We are doing our best to put a bug in her ear. She would be such an incredible missionary!
Well this week has just been one blessing after another. Kylie got baptized, our AMAZING zone leaders gave us their personal GPS to use, and we met come incredible potential investigators. So many sweet tender mercies. Being here is such a blessing. I can't tell you all how grateful I am for the support I receive. Thank you all for your love and prayers.
I know the lord blesses us if we obey with a willing heart. I have experienced it here in my own life. When we obey we qualify for the constant companionship of the holy ghost and we will be eternally happy!
Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Hallmark
                                                    Sister Grayson, Kylie, and I :)

Sister G and I with Kylie and her parents.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rain Rain, Go Away...

Well hello everyone! I hear it's nice in Texas? That's great to hear...because I'm FREEZING my tush off here. It's in the 50's and rainy. It's okay though because I have more scarves and tights than I know what to do with. And I was excited to have an excuse to finally use my hot pink umbrella. :)


So guess what! I've officially been a missionary for a MONTH. Last Saturday was my one month mark from the day I entered the MTC. (We call it our CLICK day) So every month on the 29th I get a click day. It's all very exciting. :)


So much has gone on this week...first of all...let me say that I am SUPER EXCITED because we are having a baptism this Saturday on the 6th! Kyley is soooo excited. I'm not sure what I talked about in my past updates, but she has a mom and grandma who are both members but have been inactive her whole life so she never got baptized. She is so eager and willing to learn. It's been so exciting teaching her because she just soaks up everything we say! She is so great!


Weeeelll...I went on my first exchange this weekend. It was not nearly as frightening as I have assumed it to be. It was great! I learned sooo much about different techniques to studying and teaching. It's nice to have a new companion for the day because you learn so much from them. We actually taught one of her investigators the plan of salvation and committed her to baptism! So exciting!


Also...we teach this girl names Jessica a couple times a week, she's 20, and a recent convert. She is seriously the SWEETEST girl in the world.. And SO talented! She drew me a picture of the Salt Lake Temple! I was so touched I almost cried. I love her soooo much. I'll attach the picture.


I love the people here in Alaska. I don't know if I've ever had so much love for any group of people in my life. I'll meet someone for the first time and I instantly have so much love for them. I have such a yearning and need to share the gospel with everyone I meet. It's because I love them all so much and I can see each persons divine potential. It's amazing...Heavenly Father allows me to see people the way he sees them. I hope I can continue to have this love for people my entire life.


I love this gospel! It is all that I am. I love my Savior...I know that he loves each one of us so much and is in every detail of our lives. We can't always see the end from the beginning. We don't know all that the Lord is working out...But He does. I know that as we trust in him he will lead us and guide us on the eternal path back to Him. He will never lead us astray.


I love you all! Hope everyone has a fantastic week!


Sister Hallmark
The amazing picture Jessica drew me!

Eating HUGE onion rings at local burger joint called Webees.

                              Found a spider on my coat this morning! EW! You can't tell...but it's huge!