Monday, April 13, 2015

Our Easter was wonderful! The whole weekend was great!  We had such a fun time!  On Easter day, we had choir practice in the morning (the choir is singing beautiful music for Easter!) then we went to our Bishop's house to watch conference and our investigator Kayla came with her two kids!  Our recent convert David also came which was great!  We had a fun Easter dinner/lunch with them. Then we went to the West Hills church to watch general conference with two of Sis Johnson's less actives she's been working with.  The spirit is so strong listening to the prophets and apostles!  I love hearing their words!
This is my last time writing home as a missionary and there are lots of emotions going through my head!  This week has been such a great week!  Sis Johnson's been here with me and Sister Mickelson and we've had a blast as we've been out finding and teaching the gospel!  Listening to general conference was such a great experience!  I know that those men are called of God to share what HE would have us hear at this time.  
I want you all to know that I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that He wants us to be happy.  I know that He called a prophet to speak to restore His Gospel to show us how we can find "peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come."  I love this gospel so much and I know that it is true! 

Love y'all! See you next week!!

Emily's district

tracting with Sister Johnson

watching General Conference with Kayla and her family, Mollie, Patrick and David

Monday, March 30, 2015

Emily is reporting on her mission on April 19th at 9 AM in the Draper 16th ward.

Life has been really good this week!  Sister Mickelson and I have been working really hard and having a lot of fun doing it.  We have all these grand plans and then they all flop, but somehow the Lord still helps us.  It's slow and steady work, but we're still seeing little miracles and tender mercies all the time.  It's amazing how the Lord is so aware of everyone in their different circumstances.  

I've offically been a missionary for 18 months as of the 25th-- it's great to have these extra two weeks!  This week was my last Sunday at church (since next week is general conference) and it was sad to say goodbye to a lot of people.  I've been in this ward since July 30th!  It's like my home away from home :)  It's neat to see that the ward is getting excited about doing missionary work and how they are so loving and kind to everyone who comes to church.

I hope everyone has a great time at general conference and enjoys Easter!  Be sure to watch the Because He Lives video that's out!  It is so powerful and beautifully made :)  

Love y'all!  See you soon!

Eating dinner before the Women's Broadcast

Great wreath

eating lunch at the park

We love polka dots

Monday, March 23, 2015

Emily is speaking in the Draper 16th ward Sacrament Meeting on April 19th at 9 AM.  The address is 13112 South 700 East.  We are excited to see her!

Dear Family and Friends,

Life is good here in Knoxville!  Corey went out of town to see his mom this week so we were only able to teach him once, but that lesson went well.  He took his Book of Mormon and promised to read it everyday while he was gone.  We haven't heard from him since he's been gone, so hopefully we'll be able to see him soon!

Almost all of our new investigators we found last week dropped us.  Out of 11 new investigators you'd think we'd find some solid ones!  Well, unfortunately that was not the case, so we will hit the road and continue to find!  Hopefully as we will continue to find the people whom the Lord is preparing.

Two of the less active families we've been working with both came to church on Sunday!  It was great to see how the ward is so welcoming to everyone we bring to church.  I love the Pellissippi ward!  On Sunday in Relief Society Sis Curfman said, "You better sign up to feed the sisters because Sis Hales is going home on April 8th!" Everyone was shocked!  So now everyone at church has been saying, "We're going to miss you!" I still have two whole weeks left!  I'm not leaving yet!  But I am going to miss this ward I love the people here so much.

I love my mission and I'm so grateful I was called to serve in the Tennessee Knoxville mission. I know this is where the Lord wants me to be.  
The flowers are blooming in Knoxville.

having fun with these cute girls

Sidewalks are rare in Knoxville

Sister Mitchell and Sister Hales are getting ready for their Spanish class.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

We've had a great week! Kayla and Corey are both doing well and are well on their way to baptism.  They are both reading the Book of Mormon and are loving it!  It's interesting how they are two separate investigators, but they are often on the same page.  It's neat to see how the gospel has blessed both of them in their different lives.  We were invited to share our testimonies of the Book of Mormon to the 12 year olds' Sunday School Class.  The spirit was really strong and you can tell that these youth are good kids.  The church is really helping prepare the youth as they are developing their own testimonies.  We had a sweet experience this week as we followed a prompting.  We felt like we should see this less active sister who wasn't really progressing.  She's old, and a little bit crazy, and she doesn't really listen to what we say.  But we felt this tiny little prompting that we should see her, so we wrote her in our plans and off we went the following day.  When we were there, we met her granddaughter who is going through a divorce and had a miscarriage not too long ago.  She said she's on a spiritual journey right now.  We knew that we were sent to see her!  We gave her a Book of Mormon and talked about the peace that the gospel brings to us.  She agreed to meet with us again!  It's amazing to see how the Lord is always preparing people for us. 

I'm so grateful I get to spend my last transfer here and strengthen the relationships I have with the ward and the area.  I love the Pellissippi ward so much!  Knoxville has become my home away from home :)

well worn doing missionary work

celebrating pie day!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

What a week we've had!  Our investigators Kayla and Corey are making a lot of progress.  They both came to church yesterday and Corey said he really felt the spirit.  Kayla was a little worried about how her two kids would behave (they are4 and 3 years old and they are about the cutest things!), but we sat behind the Smiths who have twin boys age 6 and triplet boys age 4 so by the end she realized that she wasn't alone ;)  They both have been 
reading the Book of Mormon and feel the goodness from it!  Kayla introduced us to her neighbor and she sat in the restoration lesson again.  When we got to the part about the Book of Mormon she testified to her that the Book was from God and that it helped strengthen her faith.  So neat!  We're trying to help her make the connection that if the Book of Mormon is true, then the whole church is true.  She's not quite there yet, but we hope soon!

Corey is on board to be baptized the end of this month.  We found out that it was a year to the day after his father died that we were inspired to go to his house again after not reaching him the two months prior.  He still has some concerns, but he's showing his faith and trying to make the changes in his life to be baptized.  

It's amazing to see how the gospel can change anyone for the better if we choose to let Him in!  I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that allows us to become better and to live with Him again! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

     My new companion is named Sister Mickelson and she is awesome!! She's from River Heights, Utah (right outside of Logan). She's been out for 6 months, and just came from Athens, TN.  This is her second area and I'm her third companion.  I just love her!   Sister Ramon just went to Hardin Valley so she still lives with us!  It's so much fun :)  The other sister came out at the same time as Sister Ramon so they are both really new, but it'll be good for them.  Her name is Hermana Loper and she's from Oregon.  She's a lot of fun.  Sis Ramon got her visa on Wednesday. The policy is to make the missionaries wait until transfers so she will be staying her until April 6th then flying out to be in Australia when her mission does transfers on the 8th.  I'm so excited for her!  She's really nervous but happy too :)
     It warmed up yesterday and today.  It's supposed to hit the 50's and 60's this week and then go back to the 30's on Thursday, so we'll just have to enjoy it while it lasts.  It's been staying lighter a lot longer here and it's been wonderful!  It'll be nice to have it be so light later after daylight savings time-- people answer their doors more in the light.  But I will definitely miss that hour of sleep! 
     My mission has showed me a lot how the Lord uses us, the members in our wards, to help those around us.  There are so many people who need to feel loved and included and to be strengthened by the testimonies around us. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,
We are still having ice storms and lots of cold weather.  I found out on Saturday that I'm going to be staying in Pellissippi for my last transfer-- so I'm going to serve here for SIX transfers.  That is CRAZY!! I know that the Lord has a reason why I am here, it's just up to me to figure that out!  I'll have spent 8.5 months here by the time I leave!  It's like home!  It's strange that this is my last transfer as a missionary. 
We had a lesson with the S family, and they are doing so well!  When I was in the Hardin Valley ward, Brother S still wasn't sure if this was all true and had a lot of questions.  Now he's getting the Melchezidek priesthood on Sunday!  They have plans to go to Utah to get sealed this summer and are going to talk to the Bishop about their patriarchal blessings.  So neat!  I mentioned to them that two years ago joinging the church wasn't even on their radar and he said, "now it's completely changed our lives." I am so happy for the chance I had to meet their family and see how happy they are with the gospel now in their lives.  
We also had a lunch appointment with a sister who served her mission in Italy about 15 years ago.  There was only a district in Rome at that time, but the people there were promised that one day there would be a stake and eventually a temple.  It seemed so long off because the people were so unreceptive.  It's neat to see that the Lord's promises always come to pass!

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A Buddist Temple around the corner from our house

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Shoveling our walk
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Beautiful icicles

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hello Family!
So the weather has been kind of crazy this week!   Everyone warned us that a "big storm" was coming Monday, and when we were out grocery shopping we started to get some freezing rain and got a text telling us not to be driving.  So we headed home and camped out there for the rest of the day.  It started to snow later that day and we woke up with a bunch of snow everywhere!  (Well, a bunch of snow for Tennessee!).  Here the snow turns to ice which makes it different from back home.  We had an inch of ice all over our car yesterday.  But we had to make it out so we could go hear Elder Christofferson! He was delayed a lot and we had to cut our meeting short, but it was still really neat. Learning from an apostle of the Lord is always a special opportunity.  One thing he said was, "The Lord leads this church.  He's a very active leader of this church.  Take it from someone who knows."  

All of our lessons this last week (except for 2) were with members. It was a lot of fun to be working with the members a lot more this week.  It's been fun to work with the people in Hardin Valley in addition to the Pellissippi ward.  People are making progress!   It's exciting!! 

Sorry I don't have time to write much this week.  Know that I love you!  Hope you had a safe trip to California, tell Aunt Doris that I love her and that I'm praying for her!  Hope you have fun playing ping pong!  Joseph, hope you get feeling better!  Happy Birthday!  

Love y'all!   
ice covered trees

petting a beautiful horse

the Sharp family

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week we got the privilege of having the mission department from Salt Lake City come out and train us on Thursday!  It was neat to see a little bit more of the big picture and be reminded of the importance of this work and to learn ways we can share the gospel better.  That same day we were able to meet with our stake president and talk about missionary work in the stake with him.  He was a convert when he was in his 20s and he said that he's still in touch with those missionaries today.  Even though individually we play a small role, everyone's best efforts to live and share the gospel can make a huge impact. 

I'm grateful for the simplicity of the gospel and for the power of the Book of Mormon.  As I've been studying it everyday, I feel the power that it brings!  I know it is true and contains the fullness of the gospel!
Sister Ramon's mom made these dresses for Emily and her companions

Cracker Barrel -  a quinessential southern affair
delicious crepes

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hello everyone!  We were blessed with some nice weather this week!  It's hard to believe that it's January/February when it's sunny and in the 60s!  However, it's snowing right now so that probably makes up for it ;)  

I learned a lot from this 10 year old girl I met this week named Manuela.  Her mother is a member, but Manuela's never been baptized.  Two weeks ago, she came to church with a friend who was staying with their family.  Then when the next Sunday rolled around, Manuela said that she wanted to go to church again.  So the mom calls up her ex mother in law and asks her to take Manuela to church and they've been the last two Sundays!  We went over and taught Manuela the restoration this week and though she was a little shy at first, she warmed up to us and began to ask us good questions about what we were sharing with her.  She wants to know what makes our church different from the other churches around and has a desire to find out what church she should join.  She believes that prophets are important and that we need a prophet today.  She committed to read from the Book of Mormon and ask God if it was true.  What a special little girl!  We sat by her at church and another little girl came and grabbed her and said, "let's go to primary!" So off they went. We found out after sacrament meeting that her grandmother hasn't been active in the church for years.  I think it's so neat to see how someone only 10 years old is influencing her whole family for the better!  Then again, a 14 year old boy's prayer changed the world.  It's incredible what the Lord can do with those who are have a humble and sincere desire to follow Christ!

I'm so grateful for this gospel and for the strengthening power of the Atonement in our lives.  I know that this is the only way we can find true and lasting peace for now and eternity! 

Sister Ramon (from Micronesia) is so excited to see snow!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hello Everyone! 

We had a fun week!  On Tuesday we exchanged with the Rockwood Sisters and I always have a great time with Sis Benge!  The three of us (me, Sis Benge, Sis Ramon) were able to teach together so powerfully and had great experiences together.  It was neat :)  We were so blessed this week to find 9 new people to teach!  We are hopeful that they will continue to meet with us and that we can help them progress. 

This picture is with Elder Thomas who knew Jon in the MTC!  Such a small world!  (Do you like my new shirt?  it says "I run like a girl try and keep up" I love it!)

This picture is at transfers with my two mission daughters Sis Cox and Sis Ramon :)  I love these two! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sorry we didn't write on Monday or Tuesday-- we were on exchanges w ith our sisters and they had emailed on Monday so you get to hear from me today!  Hope you weren't too worried!  It's SO good having Sister Echols back!  And guess what?  Sis Little is living in our house now!  It's so fun to see her again!  It was almost a year ago when we served together in Abingdon, and it's fun to see what a wonderful person she is again :)  She is helping her companion so much!  

We had a lot of fun with Aunt Betsy-- it was so sweet of her to have us over for breakfast on Monday.  I'm so grateful for the chance I have to see her as often as I do!  

We had zone training meeting today and Sis Echols and I got to do a training at that.  We were training about vision, goals, and plans.  I love talking about goal setting and we had a lot of fun.  Afterwards we played volleyball as a zone and I have gotten a lot better at it in the last 6 months!  I need to play on an intermural team when I get home to keep up my skills ;)  Yesterday on exchanges we were able to find 5 new investigators.  That NEVER happens!  It was such a blessing!! We were able to teach quite a few lessons too and taught in unity even though the three of us had only been together for the day.  It's amazing how the spirit helps us as we are doing the Lord's work!  

Love you all so much!!! 
Emily with Sister Echols

I love to see pictures of my children playing the piano:)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a really good one!  We've been able to have several members come out with us this week which always makes a big difference.  It helps the Spirit be so much stronger in our lessons having another voice to testify of the truth!  I love the members in our ward so much and I'm happy I get to stay with them another six weeks :)  I don't know how I'm going to be able to leave this ward!

We had Mission Leadership Council this week so I got to see a lot of dear friends.  I always enjoy getting together to discuss what we can do to help our friends in the mission.  President Griffin is always helping us strive to reach our full potential and to help those in our circle of influence come closer to Christ.  It's neat to have this opportunity to serve in another way.  

This week I've been trying to pray more specifically.  It's been so neat to see how Heavenly Father has answered those prayers.  Some of them are little things, but some of them are a lot bigger.  One of our investigators we've been meeting with on and off for the last 6 months has never read from the Book of Mormon.  But this week, he told us that he's been reading AND praying!  Such a miracle!  He and his family are doing things at their own pace, but they are definitely progressing as they have been coming to Sacrament each week and are working on marriage plans.

I know this is the Lord's work and that He answers our prayers!  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy New Year!  I always enjoy a new beginning-- a time to relect on what's happened and what's to come! It was fun to go to ward council yesterday and feel the renewed excitement and enthusiasm they have to help the ward continue to move forward and help further the Lord's work in this little corner of the vineyard right here in the Pellissippi ward.  I'm excited for the part my companion and I will play. 

Yesterday we had so many people at church!  For investigators, we had Travis and Felicia and their kids Gabe and Isis who came for Sacrament meeting. Bethany- David's wife came for Sunday School and Sacrament meeting.  For not so active members, the Marshalls came along with Julie Kennedy! We've been inviting Julie to church since August. With the new time at 10:30, I think a lof of people are more willing to come :)

We had a neat opportunity to teach this week a little unexpectedly.  A man came to fix our laundry room (it flooded last P-Day) and he could tell that we were missionaries (the name tag, the picutres of Christ kind of give it away).  Before he left I invited him to church.  He said he just moved and was looking for a new church.  It's great how the Lord puts people in our paths!