Tuesday, June 24, 2014


It's me! How are you all? I'm good. Real good. 

Well this week we did tons and tons of service, It was a lot of fun. Of course I wish we were doing tons and tons of teaching, but service is a fine substitute. The work is a tad slow so we're just trying to stay busy! Saturday we had the opportunity to volunteer at the "Mayers Midnight Sun Marathon" and it was kind of a big deal. We got to stand at the finish line and put medals around peoples neck. Some people came through crying happy tears and hugging us because they finally made it. Some people came through painfully limping and snatched the medal from our hands as they continued past us. I've been  thinking about how the difference between the two can relate to the gospel. The people who trained for months and months before the race were well prepared and we able clearly see and successfully reach the end. Of course the faced challenges and obstacles on the path, they knew they would encounter those, but they were able to effectively get past them because of the rigorous preparation they made. The ones who let other things get in the way and didn't train as hard as they could have or should have had a significantly harder time on the path. I've been thinking about my life and who I'll be when I reach my destination. Will I be bitter and angry because I didn't use the time I had been given to prepare to meet my Heavenly Father?  Will I realize my time to prepare is too late and I didn't make of it what I wanted? Or do I want to be the person who is completely overjoyed, hugging everyone I see, finally returning home and reaching the glory I had prepared for. If that's what I want, do I need to be consistently training and working towards my goal? How can I have a more eternal perspective? These are the questions I've been asking myself! Who do I want to be? Who do YOU want to be? Cool lesson learned.

I got that phone call that always seems to come way too often. Guess what? I'm not staying. So sad! We are both leaving the area and I'm now going to Anchorage with a new companion. It has been a bittersweet goodbye but I am excited for a new transfer.

Sad story, I just tried to send pictures and somehow deleted all the pictures on my flash drive. I'll survive, I'm just going to have my own little pity party. It's just material thing, right? :) I'll send a couple from my comps camera.

Well I love you all SOOOOOOOOO much! Have a great week!

Love, Sister Hallmark
Hike with the district! :)

Medals at the marathon :)

The McConnaugheys :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

We had a crazy experience this week

Okay I seriously wrote out the longest email and then I somehow lost it. Ahhh!   Well Okay here I go again.

I SAW A BEAR IN THE WOODS 50 FEET AWAY FROM ME! Yeah Sister Torgesen and I do service with out district every Wednesday morning. We were with the elders and another guy that works there just walking through the woods and suddenly we hear shuffling so we look over and there is a massive grizzly just 50 feet away from us! I really thought I was about to lose my life. I keep hearing stories about people getting mauled by bears! So I'm in full blown panic and the guy that works there keeps saying "Just keep walking, don't stop" and he was standing behind trying to talk to the bear because apparently at was taking a couple steps towards us. I was just speed walking forward praying for my life. Finally we got far away to breath easily and the bear went back into the woods. That was the first time I'd ever seen a bear right there in the woods! So scary!

We also had the incredible opportunity this week to volunteer at girls camp. They did something different this year and had EVERY young woman in the state of Alaska there. We had almost 1,000 girls!!! Unreal! It was so fun to see everyone from areas I had previously served in. All the sister missionaries in the area took turns working there for a day. I felt like a celebrity there because the girls FLOCKED to us. So funny. I've never had so many compliments in a day. They liked my hair, my dress, my shoes, my purse. They laughed at everything I said. They asked for advice. I felt so unworthy of so much attention! They just all wanted to be sister missionaries! Haha! I was so impressed with the confidence each of these girls had as they shared their missionary experiences with us. The missionaries in the generation to come will be remarkable.

I love being a missionary so much. I have such a testimony of this gospel. I love you all SO MUCH!

Love, Sister Hallmark

Just in someones backyard....they seriously come out of nowhere! Hahaha

Sister Hewitt and I with our SITKA girls!!!!!!! We got to volunteer at the girls camp they have for the entire state of Alaska! So fun to be with everyone again! :)


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree"

Things are picking up here! The ward is doing an amazing job at sharing the gospel with their friends. So many families have talked to us about someone their working on, it's incredible. We are now trying to help the families transition that into bringing these people into their homes for us to teach. Once we can get that ball rolling, I think thinks will really do a 360. It's already starting to happen!!!

Yesterday we spoke in sacrament and I was really excited. I love getting the opportunity to speak because the whole ward can really get to know my companion and I. I was asked to talk about the power of prayer on my mission. Pretty much my whole talk was just filled with experiences I've had through prayer on my mission. As I was pulling my talk together I was amazed at all the stories and experiences I was able to compile. I realized that my testimony of prayer has completely transformed in the past year. With the experiences I've had, I KNOW He hears and answers prayers. There's no way I could ever deny that. I'm so grateful I am able to talk to my Heavenly Father at anytime, anywhere.

Well this week was interesting. We are beginning to run out to ward members to visit, and since we are still working on picking up the work with investigators, we've kind of hit a wall. So instead of driving from one house to another for hours knocking on the doors of less active members that haven't answered all transfer, we decided to just park somewhere and walk around. We walk and talk to people, try knocking on doors, and just stay outside to keep busy. We're more productive and we're using less gas. Plus everyone seems to be outside here in the summer anyway. Well that has seemed to be working for us, expect for one minor problem. The other day we had a little run in with some very large angry dogs.  Since then, when we see anything outside that moves, we tense up and scream. We have to keep reminding ourselves that cats and squirrels won't attack us.

So this is how it happened. We are approaching this house with a large wooden fence and the fence is wide open. I had a thought "That's strange, I wonder if they know their fence is open" Just as I thought that, two HUGE golden retrievers came sprinting out of the fence barking and snarling at us, they were ready to attack. I'm not kidding! I jumped BEHIND my companion (yeah clearly her safety wasn't the first thought in my mind) and we started yelling at the dogs as we backed away. They eventually stopped pursuing us and we RAN faster than I have ever ran before. We got to the car and tried to open it but it was locked. This was seriously like a horror movie. I'm yanking at my door handle and looking at my companion and then back at the dogs and back at my companion and finally she yelled "YOU HAVE THE KEYS!!!!!!" I frantically searched for the keys in my purse, pushed the unlock button, and we jumped in. When we got in the car we just died laughing. So funny. I was sincerely scared for my life!  You know the funniest thing?! My mom had the SAME experience on her mission. I just read this in her mission journal:

"Yesterday is the first time my companion and I got chased by a dog. I'm not kidding, we literally got chased. You have never seen two sister missionaries run so fast! We ran so fast that my shoes fell off. As we walked away, we both laughed so hard. What's so funny is that we were both so tired, hot, sweaty, and lazy as we were walking. I thought, how did we get the strength to run so fast? Sister Jones said It's amazing what fear does to ya!"

Isn't that funny?!?!?! Clearly the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree. I'm just like my mother. :) Haha I have loved reading my moms journal, we share so many similar experiences. I especially love seeing her testimony in the gospel grow through her mission. I am so grateful for my testimony and for the opportunity I've had to watch it expand as a missionary. This is the greatest work that  could ever be done!

I love you all so much!!!!!! Have a lovely week!
Love, Sister Hallmark

Every morning we jog on "lazy" street. Ironic?! Hahaha

Tried this house one day, no one answered. Tried it the next day, the stairs were gone. Okay we get the message! Hahaha

Hike to thunderbird falls! So pretty!

For district meeting we made our own titles of liberty. haha I love my district, they're so fun! :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Double trouble

Hello lovely people! I am happy to be alive!

This week has been a ride! Sunday was particularly hard because it was pouring rain and FREEZING...like seriously it was 39 degrees. And it was sister Torgesens turn to drive which meant I had to stand outside the car and back her out after we parked places. I was also fasting so I was hungry and not very cheerful about it. So anyway, we were knocking on door after door after door and we were given excuse after excuse after excuse and I was just not having it. My boots were soaked through, my stomach was growling, and I was shivering in the rain. I was just ready to go home. Then I remembered a talk I had JUST read that morning about gratitude. It was from the most recent conference by President Uchtdorf. I remembered he said to be grateful IN our trials. So I said a little prayer and turned to sister Torgesen and said "What are you grateful for?" She smiled and said "A car!" and I said "OH me too! I'm also grateful for heating in the car" We laughed and started trying to name little things we were grateful for. Suddenly the situation seemed light and fun. I wasn't thinking about myself anymore!

 Eventually we made it to dinner and it had to have been the best dinner I've ever had. The rest of the night went really well. Even when people didn't let us in or didn't answer, we just found something positive to say instead.  Even if it was something like "I'm sure glad we were able to get the exercise to get out of the car and walk to their door!" It became a game!
Later that night we were able to teach a less active man brother P. He is usually a little cranky and intentionally tries to offend us with his comments. Well this time, as we were testifying of prayer he got a little impatient and started mumbling under his breath and I felt particularly confident to tell him exactly how I felt. I said "Brother P, you are a stubborn man. I know YOU know that prayer will affect you." He grumbled, I went on "Now we can come back and annoy you every week" He chimed in and said "YES, ANNOY" and I continued "And we can have this same conversation every time, or you can actually do what you know you need to do. What is it going to hurt? So with that, I'm going to ask you the same question we continue to ask, will you pray to your Heavenly Father this week?" He paused and stared at us for what seemed like an eternity and finally said "Okay, I will" YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! Success!!!!!!  I've learned sometimes you have to be a little rough before a heart really softens. :)

Funny story, Tuesday at district meeting I realized halfway through that I didn't have my name tag on. I panicked and asked to borrow sister Torgesens. She handed it to me and I slipped it on. I was confident no one would notice. Well her and I went up and did our training for everyone, it went well. After the training our district leader stood back up he said "Thank you for your training, Sister Torgesen and Sister Torgesen." HAHAHA BUSTED!!!!!!! Everyone laughed, it was pretty funny. And thus the title "double trouble" And I thought I was clever!

Well I love you all so much. The gospel is SO TRUE!!!!! I love my savior SO much and my testimony of his atonement and it's power has completely transformed my life. It is real!! Have an incredible week!

Love, Sister Hallmark