Monday, December 29, 2014


This week was a little different because of Christmas, but we had a great time!  Talking to Mom and Dad was great!  It was weird to talk about when I'm coming home.  Since I hit my15th month mark on Christmas, everyone seems to think I'm going home soon-- I'm not sure what's up with that! 

We spent this week with a lot of member families and battling some illness, but we're doing better now and excited for another week.  We were able to teach the restoration to a 20 year old kid named Connor who grew up Christian, converted to Judaism, and now claims to be atheist.  He and his mom are just searching for the truth and can't seem to find it.  As we were teaching I could feel how much Heavenly Father loved him and wanted to help calm his confusion.  I hope he'll take to heart the invitation to study the Book of Mormon and pray.  

I know that Heavenly Father loves all His children and that He has a plan for all of us.  I'm so grateful for the Spirit to help us know what that plan is.
This is half of Emily's mission at Zone Conference right before Christmas. Emily is in
the second row almost in the middle wearing a pink sweater and a white shirt.
(If you click on the picture it should enlarge.)

Monday, December 22, 2014

This week was a different one!  We had zone conference and got to watch Frozen (that was weird to be watching a movie, but so much fun!).  We went on exchanges with the Rockwood sisters right afterwards and had a good time.  I found out that Amber decided on Thursdaythat she wanted to be baptized on Saturday and we got permission to go!  She only lives 30 minuntes away from us, so that was exciting :)  Afterwards, President wanted us to go to his house.  One of the sisters in Rogersville had to leave this morning because she got really sick, so President asked Sis Echols to go back for the rest of the transfer (3 and half weeks).  He said he felt bad when he realized that he was taking away my companion again  (he should feel bad!) but then he promised us that he would bring us back together for Sis Echol's last transfer. So I'm going to be in Pellissippi for 7 1/2 months! That's a long time!  That also means that I'm going to spend my last transfer in a new area. That's kind of a bummer, but that's ok too.  I'm sad to see Sis Echols go, but I'm glad that I get to keep Sis Ramon and that Sis Echols is coming back! She'll get to come back for MLC too the first week in January, so that will be fun to see her.

This had definitely been a crazy week, but at the least the lows have been countered by some amazing highs.  Getting to see Amber baptized was a miracle and I'm so grateful that the Lord never gives up on His children and that she let the Spirit into her heart.  

I love you all and I hope we will feel love from our Savior and our Heavenly Father during this special time of year!

Amber's baptism

a bridge in Knoxville

Elder Renlund

The Rubix cube was part of the World's Fair in Knoxville

Monday, December 15, 2014

This week we had a half mission conference with Elder Renlund of the 70.  As always, the Spirit was so strong and I learned a lot.  I was reviewing the notes I took there today and was amazed at how my questions that I had asked before were all answered.  

After the mission conference, we had planned to go finding, and even though it was freezing cold outside, we went.  We prayed that Heavenly Father would bless us. We were trying to be diligent and indeed He did!  We found two new investigators Levi and Scott-- we are excited to teach them!  

Heavenly Father has been blessing us a lot and we are so grateful that He put the three of us together!  I can't think of a better companionship :)

This weekend we helped at a community event honoring the veterans.  While we were there we were able to hand out 24 pass-along cards and help share the gospel to those people.  I am so blessed to know that Christ is the Gift this season! 

putting wreaths on Veteran's graves

Monday, December 8, 2014

Here is Emily's current address if you want to send her a Christmas card: 
Sister Emily Hales
9900 Ardmore Drive
Knoxville, TN 37923

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello Hello! 

This week was transfers and a lot of changes happened!  Sis Lee went home, but she seems more resolved about it now.  I heard from her today and she's doing great already :)  I LOVE my new companions Sis Echols and Sis Ramon.  They are wonderful!  Sis Echols and I are training Sis Ramon together, and let me be the first to say that training in a trio is great!  I was so worried and stressed about this transfer, but since the transfer has started, I've just felt so peaceful.  I'm so grateful for Christ's Atonement that gives us strength, peace, and comfort.

Sis Echols is from Orem, Utah and Sis Ramon is from Pohnpei, Micronesia!  She is here waiting for her visa for the Brisbane, Australia Mission.  They told us that they're only moving visa waiters on the transfer, so we get to keep her for at least 6 weeks, which is probably about as long as I'm going to be here anyways.  Sis Echols is sad that I'm not going to "kill her off" in February, but I assure her that her next companion will be great too (just not as great as me ;) )

Sis Ramon has had a hard adjustment to the states and to the food so she has been really sick.  We even had to go to the ER because she was in so much pain (turns out that an ovarian cyst burst).  She seems to get a little bit better each day.  Yesterday she was well enough to go to church, then she had to rest during studies, then we went out that evening for 2 hours, but she ended up throwing up her dinner.  Please keep her in your prayers. 

This week we have our half mission conference with Elder Renlund of the 70 and we are so excited!  It should be a great day! 100 missionaries will all be there.

I love you so much and hope you are enjoying the great Christmas season!  

helping at the Bishop's storehouse

a pretty field by Emily's house

The sisters' gratitude tree

sending Sister Lee home

Emily with her new companions - Sister Echols and Sister Ramon

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Sister Lee and I had a great last week together!  It was a little different from our typical weeks with Mission Leadership Council all day Tuesday and Thanksgiving on Thursday and a trip to Rockwood on Friday, but it was wonderful nonetheless. We also go to go to a baptism of the Sharpe kids in the Hardin Valley ward.  I met with them while I was in their ward briefly and they have such a great story.  They live across the street from Bishop Rambo and their daughters were friends.  The Sharpe's knew all the words to "A Child's Prayer" because the Rambo kids would sing it all the time.  The Rambos invited the Sharpes to a ward party and Sis Sharpe asked the missionaries if they could teach her about the church if "they weren't busy."  Sis Sharpe was quickly baptized afterwards in November of 2013.  Her husband took a little longer and was baptized in May of 2014.  He didn't want his kids to be baptized until they really undrestood, but really he still wasnt' sure for himself if the Church was better than his old one.  But with help of the ward and the missionaries for the last year, Bro Sharpe finally felt his kids were ready and was able to baptize them himself on Saturday.  The opening song was "I Love to See the Temple" and when it talked about our families being sealed together, I almost lost it.  Now this wonderful family can go to the temple next summer and be sealed for time and all eternity!  That's been a wonderful miracle to see :)

We had a great Thanksgiving and had so much fun running a 5k! The members were so kind to let us come to their homes and make us feel at home :)  It was a good day!

Yesterday, we went to see a Recent Convert/Less Active-- John who's 17.  He's the only member in his family and he has times where he is super active and really loving the gospel and other times when it is a struggle for him.  But he's doing pretty good right now.  When we were there, his Dad's girlfriend's son, Jalen, was there (also 17) and we taught him the restoration.  He felt the spirit so strongly and committed to be baptized on January 3rd!  It was so exciting!  It's so neat to see people feel the spirit and help them identify what those feelings are! Being a missionary is pretty exciting :)

On Wednesday we are going to be saying goodbye to Sister Lee.  It's been hard for her to leave, but I think she's accepted it now and is excited for this next adventure.  She is going to do great things!  On Wednesday, I'm going to be getting a new companion (I'm pretty sure it'll be Sis Echols) and a brand new missionary that we'll train together!  I am so excited and cannot wait!  

This will definitely be an exciting week!

I Love you all!

 Emily, Sister Lee, and a few other missionaries ran a 5K on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with the Groburgs

Eating at Chick-fil-A after district meeting

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!
This week we've seen several miracles that may seem small, but help us know how much Heavenly Father really is there helping us.  Kim made it to church this week!  She came right at the last minute and we were so happy to see her there. The spirit was felt and it was a great meeting :)

This weekend was our stake conference which is always a spiritual feast!  I got to sit by Aunt Betsy and baby Lilly at the Saturday evening session.  It was so good to see them!  I am so grateful to be serving so near them. We also got to see Amber who moved to Maryville (she is meeting with the missionaries down there) and I got to see Joe Feliciano!  He got baptized while I was in West Hills-- it was such a good reunion! 

I am so thankful for the blessings of the gospel in my life and the chance to see the gospel change people's lives and hearts.  I hope our actions reflect our gratitude to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for all that they have given us:)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter is starting to come in the air!  

This week I got the chance to go to Rockwood on exchange with Sis Benge.  Small towns have so much character!  I heard so many funny stories, I was constantly laughing!  Knoxville is definitely not the norm for most of the mission.  I'm glad I've been able to serve in both the city and the country!

We've been teaching a lot of people who only speak Spanish.  It helps me relate to my brother more to say the least!  I wish I had taken it more in high school, but I'm determined to learn it now and when I get home so I can communicate with and help so many more people.

We were able to see Kim again!  Her divorce got pushed back to February :(  But she is finding comfort through the scriputres and prayer.  We're trying to help her see how the gift of the Holy Ghost can help her in her life as well, but she still wants to wait.  She should be at stake conference next week!

I'm so grateful for the peace the gospel brings!

Monday, November 10, 2014

We've been so blessed this week with so many good lessons.  We taught the restoration a lot and each time the Spirit was so strong.  We taught Lori and Ken  who are neighbors of the Puckett family the restoration this week.  This lesson was a little bit different because Lori grew up in a RLDS church.  She told us that she believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet and grew up reading the Book of Mormon.  They have since left the RLDS church because she doesn't believe in  a lot of the practices.  Ken met with missionaries in the 1980s during his military/drinking days.  We're still not quite sure if he really met with LDS missionaries because he remembers some strange things.  But they could have just gotten skewed.  For example, he was really irked that Mormons didn't eat hot food.  At ward activities the women would have to let the food sit out for 20 minutes before they served it so it wouldn't burn their tongues and hurt their "temples."   Maybe he just confused it with hot drinks, and we do always let the food sit for 20 minutes because we always start late!  He also said the Bishop wanted him to donate one of his houses to the church because as a single man he didn't need two houses, so we're not really sure.  But it was really special to see how the restoration answered a lot of questions they both had and cleared up some confusion for both of them.  They both said they would read from the Book of Mormon and seemed really sincere.  A wonderful part was that the lesson was at their neighbors home-- the Pucketts-- and the spirit was really able to speak to them.  Because they were such good friends with the Pucketts, they felt comfortable there and Lori and Ken really listened whenever Bro Puckett would bear his testimony. 

 One evening I got this prompting that we should go stop by Sheryl's on the way home.  I suggested it to Sis Lee and she said, 'Sure! Why not?' though we were both thinking, we have so much to do and no time to do it!  When we went, Sheryl was home (that doesn't happen often!) and she let us come in and talk with her.  We read from 3 Nephi 11 and she was feeling really down.  She's in her 30s, a single mom, and living with her dad.  She's working at a fast food place and hates her job.  She feels really down and wants to move on.  She doesn't feel that God would love her after all the mistakes she made.  It was so good to help her know that Heavenly Father does love her and wants to help her.  She closed our lesson with a prayer, even though she was scared to do it.  I love hearing people pray so sincerely.  I can just feel that she is a treasured daughter of God and that He loves her so much-- hence why He keeps sending us back to go see her.  We're going to meet with her on Wednesday.  She's one of those people I just have a connection to.  I love her so much and I can see how much the gospel will bless her if she lets it!

We have a lot of exciting people we are working with.  We are so blessed to be busy!  I am very grateful for the blessings we are enjoying right now and I hope we'll be able to help those people continue on the path towards Eternal life!  

Monday, November 3, 2014

This was a great week to be a missionary!  

We had a special training meeting with Elder Kopishke of the 70, and I could really feel how Elder Kopishke brought the love that the prophet has for us, and also the love that Heavenly Father has for us.  The Spirit was so powerful in that meeting.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn from a representative of the Lord!

Halloween was this week so that brought a different twist to things, but we had a great time nonetheless.  On Tuesday we had our Halloween party and had a lot of fun!  So many people invited friends to the party!  There were at least 15 non members there and 10+ less active members.  It was such a fun night and a great chance for people to develop stronger connections!  Afterwards we went on exchanges with the West Hills sisters and I got to be with Sis Johnson who came out a week ago here in Pellissippi.  She has so much excitement and enthusiasm for the work!  It was so fun to be with her for the day!  I love the spirit of new missionaries!  It is great :)  

We also felt the spirit really strongly at church.  One of our investigators, Angel, is Hispanic and only speaks Spanish .  We've been teaching him with the help of members translating for us.  He was able to come to church this Sunday for the first time.  We asked two members to bear their testimony in Spanish and several others followed suit afterwards. The spirit was so strong!

I love being a missionary!  

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains on P-Day

Beautiful fall colors

Elder and Sister Kopishke

Emily and her companion dressed up like each other for Halloween

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hello Everyone!

We've had another full week of missionary work!  We got to attend the transfer meeting (even though we weren't getting transferred)-- another perk of living so close to everything!  It was so fun to see everyone!  Sis Peck and Sis Paxton-- 2 of my trainers-- both went home this transfer.  It was fun to talk with both of them!  I got to see Sis Little and Sis Cox and Sis Husted also!  All of my companions who are still in the field were there!  It was great to see everyone :) 

This Sunday Travis and Felicia and their family came to church for the second week in a row.  That was a miracle!  Sis Hileman came for the first time all year, and Julie K came for the first time in forever!  It was such an answer to prayer.  It was great to see how the ward just welcomed everyone with open arms and just loved and welcomed them unconditionally.  It was the Primary program and everyone who came just ate it up. The kids bore such sweet testimony of why families are such an important part of the gospel. It was really sweet and the Spirit was really strong. 

I am so grateful for prayer and how Heavenly Father answers our prayers.  It's amazing that the most powerful being in the universe wants to talk to us and bless us because He loves us all.  It's such a blessing.  

I'm grateful for my wonderful family and friends. Thanks for all your love and prayers!
Emily and her companion came across this tombstone and thought the last name was very interesting.

helping Sister Griffin get ready for the new missionaries

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hello everyone!

Fall is in the air!  Well, about half the time anyways ;)  But summer is officially gone and we are not sweating all the time!  The leaves are slowly starting to turn and we are all anxiously awaiting the day the leaves decide to not be green anymore!  Knoxville is a beautiful place and has gorgeous skies.  Everyday we are caught off guard by how beautiful the sky is!  It's different everyday too!  I'm glad I get to serve in such a beautiful place!

This week we got to go on exchanges with the sisters we live with and had a blast!  It was fun to serve with Sis Nelson again!  We got news that she is being transferred this week and we will definitely miss her.  However, she got called as a new sister training leader so I will get to see her every month!  I knew all the sisters who got called as new STLs so it'll be fun to know more people at the next MLC!  

While on exchange we were walking home and it was starting to get dark. I could faintly see a man walking across the street and before I know what I'm doing, I holler at him and he comes over to talk to us and he invites us back!  It was definitely the spirit that talked to him because I normally do not talk to random strangers on dark roads at night.  The crazy things you do as missionaries!  But we went over and taught him and his wife the restoration and we had a really good lesson with them.  He is very open to learning more!  He committed to study and pray about the Book of Mormon!  But his wife is a little more reserved and doesn't quite see a need for more scripture, but she said that she will try to have an open mind.  I see a lot of potential for their family!  

It's great to see how Heavenly Father helps us in all phases of the work!  

I love you all!

Emily went to the Knoxville art museum with some of the sisters in her zone last P-Day.

This is the Mona Lisa made out of spools of thread.

Emily and Sister Lee

Sister Lee with the Google maps car

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hello Everyone!
This week has been a busy one!  We've had a lot to do which is good and tiring.  I am reminded how important a day of rest is.  Equally important is spending the rest of our time working hard!  Lately, a lot of people have been dropping us which is sad, but Heavenly Father's been blessing us with more people to teach.  On Monday we had a really powerful restoration lesson with Sheryl, the daughter of an inactive member.  During general conference, a theme that stuck out to me was trusting in the Lord even when we don't fully understand.  Logically, we should have given up on Sheryl a long time ago, but for some reason, we kept trying to see her.  Now we can see that was the Spirit pushing us in her direction because she has been so prepared.  The Spirit was so strong and she said that she has only felt that way a handful of times in her life.  She committed to be baptized and is excited to learn more!  I can't wait to continue teaching her! 
I was able to attend Mission Leadership Council this week, and it was great to be able to learn from President Griffin.  You can tell that he wants to do whatever the Lord tells him and that he wants to help us be the best missionaries we can be.  It was a good meeting. 
Chuck came to church this week!  He loved that the kids were all in the service with the adults.  He's still struggling to decide if he wants to change or not-- he often tells us he's too old to change (he's 86!)  but he's so close to realizing that the gospel is true, we don't want to give up on him. Change is always hard, especially when you are comfortable.  But as Alma tells us, it's better to humble ourselves instead of waiting to be compelled to be humble.
The leaves are starting to change slowly and we are excited for the day when all the leaves will be fall colors!  But I'm just enjoying the beautiful weather for now-- I'm not a fan of the cold! 
I love you all and thanks for everything you do!
Sister Hales

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dear Family and friends,

This week was a good one!  We went on exchanges with the West Hills sisters this week and it was so fun to go back to my old area!  I got to see some old friends and make some new ones.  It was neat to see families I worked with progressing in the gospel.  They have a light in their lives, they are happier, and they are sharing the gospel with others too! The gospel truly blesses families :)

We had another lesson with Kim this week and she's doing really well.  She needs the blessings of the gospel in her family right now and is slowly finding that peace and comfort as she continues to learn more.  On Tuesday evening she and her 17 year old daughter received priesthood blessings to help her as she's going through this divorce.  The spirit was so strong! 

We were finally able to talk with a referral-- Glenda-- for more than 5 minutes this week!  It was great to see how the spirit was softening her heart as we spoke and explained what we do.  I'm excited to meet with her again and continue to watch her life come in even closer alignment to Christ's gospel!

This week as we were driving we decided to divert our plans and stop by Ronnie and Casey's house.  They are hardly ever home and the one time they were, they didn't seem too receptive.  But this time was different.  Ronnie's father had just passed away and he said he really wanted to talk with us.  Knowing that you helped answer someone's prayer is such a good feeling.  It's very humbling and makes you realize the importance of following the smallest promptings even when you don't understand them completely.  We were able to meet with them again and they said they're going to start coming to church (Ronnie's a member and Casey is not) and Casey said that she wants to learn more!  If it's true, she said she'd be baptized!  With some people you can just see how much happier and better their lives will be if they live the gospel and I know there are so many blessings in store for them as they continue to make changes in their lives! 

Conference was just the icing on top of a great week!  As we watched one of the sessions with our 86 year old investigator, Chuck, so many of his questions were answered!  He even accused us of calling Salt Lake and requesting those topics!  It is amazing how Heavenly Father answers all the prayers of his children :) 

Sister Hales and Sister Lee

The sisters in Emily's zone all met for a picnic lunch.

Monday, September 29, 2014

To my loved ones far away,

Life is good in Pellissippi!  We are really blessed right now!  There are still a lot of things to work on and people to help progress, but the Lord has been blessing us!  Thank you so much for your prayers-- I really do feel strengthened from them.

I went on exchanges with Sister Benge this week.  It was a lot of fun!  I stayed in our area and Sis Benge came over here.  Of course things fell through on our beautifully planned out day, but that always happens.  We were still able to feel the Spirit and work hard together!  We had some good bonding times :) We got a member to drive us over there because we didn't have a ton of miles, but Sister Lee accidentally took the other sisters car keys so we had to drive all the way back and give them back.  In our hurry to get out the door, we forgot the GPS and were so lost.  Even with the sisters on the phone, we still kept getting lost.  It was pretty crazy.  We blew too many miles to say the least!  

We also had Zone Training Meeting this week and we were involved in a lot of the meeting.  It's neat to be involved and see the preparation that goes into it.  I think we all learned a lot about finding and felt the spirit.  Afterwards, we got to watch all of Meet the Mormons!  It was really good!  If you don't want to watch it in the theaters, it will be on Netflix and you tube after it's done playing in theaters. 

This week I have really seen how Heavenly Father answers our prayers and our fasts.  I know that Heavenly Father doesn't give up on any of his children and is always preparing people to be ready for the gospel.  I know that He loves us and is ready and anxious to bless us.  I loved President Uchtdorf's analogy of God pouring out blessings on us, but sometimes we put up umbrella's that prevent us from feeling of His love.  So let us be obedient to his commandments that lead to happiness and feel of His love pouring down on us always!

Sister Lee and Emily trying out these fun lawn chairs.
Sisters Hales, Benge, Ellis and Lee getting ready to go on exchanges

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has had its highs and lows, but such is the nature of life! 

One of the greatest blessings was getting to meet and teach Kim-- the neighbor of a family in the ward.  The Graves family have been praying for missionary opportunities and all their invitations seem to be hitting dead ends.  But the day before "invite a friend to church day"  Kim called them up and asked if she could come to church with them because she really wanted to learn more!  Totally out of the blue!  She wasn't able to make it to church, but Sis Graves invited Kim and her family over for dinner the next night with us and we were able to introduce her to the Church.  She has been so prepared!  She noticed the ways the Graves family is different from other families in the neighborhood and she thought it might be their church.  She said she's tried several different churches and none of them are working for her, so she decided to go out of the box and call up the Graves and ask about their church.  Later that week when we were able to teach her the restoration, she said that she just felt that everything we were saying was true.  She is so attune to the spirit!  It was a great lesson! 

I was taught a lot from that experience.  People really can see the Spirit and light of Christ in the lives of us as members of the Church.  The power and influence of just living the gospel really can change people's lives.  I knew that the Lord was aware of the Graves' desire to share the gospel with those around them.  He didn't answer their prayer in the way that they thought, but because they had faith enough to invite those around them, He helped put His daughter who He'd been preparing into their path.  The Lord really is preparing people to hear the gospel all around us! 

I love you all and I'm so grateful for your love and support!  I couldn't do this without the strength from your prayers and without Heavenly Father and Christ holding me up. 

Hope y'all have a great week! 


Sister Hales 
Emily met Erica in her first area of West Hills.
 Erica has since been baptized and she and Emily got to have lunch together.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dear Family,

I have a new companion-- Sister Lee and she is great!  She is so hard working and we are going to do a lot of good things this transfer with Heavenly Father's help!  She is on the last leg of her mission and is going home in two transfers.  I keep killing companions off!  I'm guessing I'll probably stay here the whole time she is and then for a transfer after that, so I'm here for the long haul! 

It's fun to spend all my time in my area and really focus our efforts here.  We were able to find 7 new investigators this week!  What a blessing!  I'm excited to teach them all the gospel!

We had a really good lesson with Bethany and David this week.  Since David was getting ready to go to the temple, we talked a little more about baptisms for the dead and family history.  We showed them the verse in Corinthians that references baptisms for the dead and they both thought that was neat.  Bethany was a lot more open with us tonight than she has been in the past-- it's wonderful to see those walls coming down and that trust being built.  I can just picture David and Bethany being sealed in the temple one day! 

We saw Amber in the beginning of last week and she was doing really well (though we're not sure why she wasn't at church today...)

We got to go to the Tennessee Valley Fair and hand out surveys, just like we did in Abingdon.  It's so fun to be able to talk to so many people! 

I know this is the Lord's work and I love being a missionary for Him!

Emily and Sister Lee handing our surveys at the Tennessee Valley Fair

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a good week!  We've had some good lessons with our investigators and have been really blessed.  Transfers are this week and I'll be staying in Pelissippi and getting a new companion on Wednesday.  I'm staying, but I'm loosing Sis Clark and Sis Nelson as my companions :(  I've gotten attached to several of the people we teach in Hardin Valley and I will really miss them.  I am excited to spend all my time and energy in Pellissippi though.  We've been able to keep things afloat with the two areas and I feel that now we'll be able to get things hopping!  We are already so blessed and I can feel that more exciting things are about to happen!

This week we were at John's house and while Amber was helping us chop vegetables for the salad Amber told us that she wants to get baptized by the end of September.  Um, what??? We were all in shock!  She said it was my fault because something I said in my talk last week touched her and she decided to pray and knows that she needs to get baptized.  She went to the baptism the Elders had in the Hardin Valley ward the next day and she was really excited.  I hope that she'll stick with this decision because I know that it will bless her life so much :) 

I am so grateful to be a missionary and for all the wonderful people I have the privilege of meeting.  I'm so grateful to serve here in Tennessee!
 Sisters Nelson, Clark and Hales
 The University of Tennessee's football stadium

 View of Knoxville from the Sunsphere
A beautiful bridge over Knoxville

Monday, September 1, 2014

This week has been a busy, but good one!  We had a great lesson with Amber this week and we are seeing her again tonight.  She and John are reading the Book of Mormon together and she said that she will pray about baptism.  She is great!  

I love working with Sis Nelson and Sis Clark and getting to know the people in Hardin Valley.  It's going to be sad when we aren't companions anymore!  I'm going to miss the people they work with and I'm going to miss spending all day with them, even though we still will be living in the same house (thankfully!).  This wouldn't have been how I would have planned this transfer, but I'm grateful the Lord knows exactly what experiences we need to grow and to learn.  I have learned so much with this experience and I know we are serving together in both areas for a reason.  

Mom, you'll be so proud of me-- I played the piano in church again!  I had the sisters sing "As Sisters in Zion" while I played the arrangement I got in Abingdon.  I love how music brings the Spirit.  

The ward has been calling on us a lot lately to help which is so great!  I'm so grateful they know that they can call us when they are in need.  We got called at 9:30 pm to teach early morning seminary the next morning (I loved it!!) and then I got called Saturday night to give a talk the next Sunday.  I'm so grateful that the Spirit is always there to help us out!  

Life is good!  I hope all is well for you at home :)  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our first full week of a trio with two areas went pretty well!  I love the chance to get to know and learn from Sis Clark and Sis Nelson better-- they are great missionaries!  We were able to see people in both ward areas and we worked pretty equally in both wards.  Together we were able to teach a good number of lessons, but I hope to be able to increase the lessons taught in both areas this week.

Travis and Felicia and their son Gabe came to church this week and the ward greeted them with lots of love.  It was so good to see!  Felicia even came to our Relief Society activity this week!!  I think once they get married (the date is a surprise, but they should be getting married in the next month or so) then their baptism will follow quickly!

We were finally able to meet up with Amber last night and had a good lesson with her!  She has been coming to church for 2 months now with her friend and she's really thinking about baptism.  She was asking good questions and really is interested.  A member took both of them to the temple (to walk around) and she said it was a really special place.  I'm hoping to set a baptism date for her in our next lesson!  She is great!  It's neat because her friend who's been bringing her to church just started coming back in October.  It's neat to see how both of them are letting the gospel change their lives and helping them become better people and closer friends.

I love this gospel and I'm so grateful for the opportunities we have to grow and change and continually become better and happier people.  This gospel is true!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this week has been a different week.  There have been lots of changes!  Sis Gotchy switched spots with Sis Reynders because Sis Reynders was sick and needed to be closer to President and hospitals.  But after a few days up here, it was determined that she would go home and recover there.  I said goodbye to two companions in 4 days!  Now I'm in limbo for the next three weeks awaiting transfers for my new companion then.  The Ward has been really supportive and will essentially be my companion as we go out and see the people in the ward.  When I'm not with a sister in the ward, I will be with the Sister missionaries that I live with covering both areas.  This will be a new adventure!

We had zone conference this week and we really saw how President Griffin is the right man to be serving here at this time.  We loved President Irion, but President Griffin will help us continue to grow and progress.  He has a lot of love for us which motivates us to be even better. 

It's been kind of crazy this week, but I know that the Lord is in this work and will help us make everything work. 

Thanks for all your love and support!
Emily with the Knoxville County Mayor


Emily got to help serve food at the Knoxville County Mayor's birthday party at the VA

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hello dear family and friends!
Life is good in Knoxville!  I'm starting to get a better grip on our area and am meeting all the people here.  I can now drive to the library and to church without the gps and without getting lost! 
We met a lot of new investigators this week which has been a blessing!  After a lesson we were heading to our car at 8:45 pm and Sis Gotchy saw a lady outside talking to her kids so we went over.  By the time we got over there, she had walked into her back yard.  We didn't want to be creepy and follow her back there,so we stood awkwardly on her driveway for 30 seconds trying to decide what to do when she came back to the front!  We talked with her and said she would love to talk with us and that she really needed God in her life.  When we back on Sunday to see Alicia, we had a great lesson with her and committed her to be baptized!  She is so prepared for the gospel!  The only problem is that she's moving to another stake on Friday.  So we won't be the ones to get to see her through to baptism, but we're all on God's team working to bring our brothers and sisters back to Christ! 

There's a part member family--Travis and Felicia--that missionaries have been working with since at least November.  They are moving slowly, but are still progressing.  We had a good lesson with them and their kids-- Isis, Tristin, and Gabe.  The kids are so ready!  Their parents are coming along too :)   They are having a hard time setting a date for baptism, but we talk about it all the time and it's something they really want to do so they can be sealed one day.  They came to church this Sunday for the first time in a few months!!! They only stayed for sacrament meeting, but baby steps are good!  I have a good feeling about this family and know that once they get everything sorted out, they will be a strong family in the gospel and great influence for good. 

I know that Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives and that He loves all of us, His children, unconditionally.  I'm so grateful for the gospel and for the chance I have to share it with others!
Emily's new place in the Pellissippi area of Knoxville

The porch of her new place

Reading scriptures on the back of a truck

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I love my new area!  I'm back in Knoxville in the Pellissippi ward.  My companion is Sis Gotchy and she goes home in 6 weeks so I need to work hard to figure everything out soon!  Sis Gotchy is wonderful!  I love her!  We have already had so many miracles in finding people this last week.  This is going to be a wonderful transfer! 
There are so many new people to talk about, and I just don't have time!  But there are lots of great people who have been prepared to receive the gospel right now.  We feel so blessed!  I really want Sis Gotchy's last transfer to be a great one so we are working really hard and feeling the Lord's hand guiding us.  I know that this transfer was inspired and that I'm supposed to be here.  I love being a missionary!
District in Abingdon

Gospel Principal's class in Abingdon

Emily, HG and Sister Cox