Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28th


I can't believe it's already Monday again! The weeks are going by pretty quick! But the days feel extremely long sometimes! I don't even know how to feel most of the time! I hope everything is going well back home! From your letters, that appears to be the case! I wish I had time to write everybody back individually, but there is just not enough time! So I just want you all to know that I love you so much and I am so thankful for your letters and for your support! It really gives me the boost that I need each week!

Okay, so this week was pretty cool! On Tuesday, President Cleveland came to Terre Haute! It was super crazy to have him here, but it was really good! He came to our District Meeting, and our District Leader gave a really awesome training. I guess he works well under pressure! Haha. After he finished training, President talked to us a little bit about technology and how we will be using it in our missionary work! He said by next spring, we will all have iPhones and iPads! I just think that is so crazy! The work really is moving forward, and I think that this will be the best way to connect with a lot of people. After he got done talking to us, Bishop Newton (who is the bishop of the Honey Creek ward, not our ward) took us all out to lunch! We went to a place that is kinda like Tepanyaki! It was super delicious, and we were all very grateful for his generosity! Bishop Newton is also a Judge here! Super cool! After lunch, Sister Niemann and I went and taught some lessons on campus, and then we got to go to dinner with the President and this girl named Megan that plays on the softball team at ISU! Through a crazy series of events, Megan met some members of the church that helped her out when she was having a rough time, and she was able to meet President Cleveland. She seems like a really awesome girl, and we are planning on meeting with her this week! 

I can't remember if I have already said this, so if I have, I'm sorry! It's so hard to remember things out here. Haha. But, there is a girl named Ali, and she is on the soccer team here! She is a recent convert, and President allows us to go and watch her soccer games. She needs all of the support she can get, so the 4 of us missionaries who are on campus go and watch her games. She is really good! And she is friends with Megan, so we will probably bring Ali along with us to Megan's lessons!

Oh my goodness. I have to tell you a really funny/gross story. This happened to me on Friday last week. We were invited over to a members house for dinner, and we were eating some soup that had been made for us. I started eating it, and then I looked over at Sister Niemann, and it looked she was going to die. She was just staring at her soup with this shocked look on her face.. And then she started pushing stuff up onto the side of her bowl. I looked down into my bowl, and what I though was pepper, actually turned out to be BUGS! I had probably eaten like 10 or more of them at this point! I was freaking out, but trying to stay calm. So I tried to eat around them, but I was starting to feel kinda sick, so I just said a prayer, and somehow I was able to finish the bowl of soup! I know it sounds so silly, but it was kinda hard for me to do! 

Yesterday was so awesome! We had an investigator come to church with us! His name is Jason and he is so cool! We had a member pick him up and bring him, and he stayed for all 3 hours! It was our primary program yesterday, so that was a little bit funny! Our primary is super tiny! Nothing like our primary programs at home, but it was still really good! I think Jason had a really good time, and we are hoping and praying that he will be back next week! After church, we went over to our good friend Sister Dietz house! She is like our mom out here. She is always making us food and buying random things for us. She is like an extreme couponer! Haha. Her son, EJ, had his birthday party yesterday. He is 5 now! What a cool kid! He came up to me, and gave me the biggest hug, and I just stood there, and had no idea what to do! So funny. We stayed there for just a little bit, and then we drove with some members to Bloomington which is like 1.5 hours away from Terre Haute. We went to a fireside there called "Why I Believe". They had recent converts talk about their conversion stories! It was so cool! They were all really solid! It just gets me so excited about the work! 

Tonight, Sister Niemann and I have to drive to Bloomington again because we are going on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. It should be pretty cool! We will be on IU campus working with them! We will come home Tuesday night, and then we have to go back to Bloomington again on Friday for Zone Meeting. So many car rides this week! Haha. 

I hope that all of you have an amazing week! I look forward to hearing from you all again next week! I love you so much! You're always in my prayers! 

Love, Sister Hales

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21st

Hey ya'll! 

They don't even say 'ya'll' here, but my companion says it all of the time so I am starting to say it. Oops! Holy cow, I feel like I always have so much to say, and then when I try to write it all down, i can't even remember what has happened! Terre Haute is starting to seem like a pretty cool place. It is growing on me. :) I guess that's probably a good thing, because missionaries usually stay here for a while. One of the Elders who served here was here for 9 months, and he just barely left. That is so crazy! 

Okay, so I wrote down a few things in my planner that I wanted to write about...

1. My apartment is really awesome. And by really awesome, I mean that it's really creepy. You have to walk up these creaky stairs to get to the door, and I seriously think I am going to fall through those stairs every time I walk up them! But I haven't yet, thank goodness. Because this area is new for sisters, our apartment has basically nothing in it! We have a couple of things on the walls that Sister Niemann's last companion bought, but the apartment is just kinda plain. That's okay though. We got brand new beds, so they are way comfortable! That is also a bad thing though, because it's hard enough getting out of bed at 6:20, but when you feel like you're sleeping on a cloud, it's like 10x worse. One thing that is really strange about our apartment is that there are wood floors in the living room and the bedroom, and carpet in the kitchen.. Who does that? Our shower never gets hot, but it helps me to take shorter showers, so I guess that is good!

2. The craziest thing happened the other day. We made some sugar cookies, and we cooked them a little bit too long, so they got a little crunchy. We left them out on the counter, and the next morning, they were like the softest cookies ever! Humidity is an amazing thing! (Sometimes,)

3. It is starting to get bum cold here. Yes, I did just say bum cold. Sis. Niemann got me started on that one as well. Haha. It doesn't seem like it should be that cold, but with the humidity, it just goes right through your clothes! You can wear like 5 layers, and still be freezing! We are gonna go to Goodwill and look for some more sweaters and things.

4. On Saturday we go to do something that was supposed to be really cool and awesome, but kinda turned out bad. So in Terre Haute, they have like the best Cross Country Course in the United States. So they always hold the Pre-National, and National college meets out here. like 14 of us missionaries we asked to help do service at the Pre-National meet! We were really excited about it, and we got awesome t-shirts! We went in the morning and we ended up not really being needed. So it ended up being a waste of 6 hours. We just felt like we weren't fulfilling our purpose as missionaries, and so that wasn't too fun! Hopefully we helped in some way. That night, we went to a pig roast that Bishop Newton, of the Honey Creek ward put on. A less active member came with us, and she hasn't been to church in ages, so we were really happy that she was able to come!! She also came to church on Sunday! What a miracle!

5. I found out yesterday that one of the elders in my district is cousins with one of my good friends that lived next door to me at Ventana!! It was super crazy, but I was really excited to find that out!

So this week was pretty crazy. I am finally starting to get used to being a missionary. It's pretty hard though, because there is a TON to learn. This whole planning thing is so weird to me, but I know that it helps a ton! We have been teaching a few people that are pretty solid! There is this guy named Jason, and he is really religious. He grew up christian, and he's super faithful! We taught him the restoration, and he's a little bit hung up on the Priesthood. We are teaching him again this week, so hopefully we can help him understand that a little more. But we can't convince him, only the spirit can! We are also teaching a girl named Riaunah. She is super cool! We taught her the restoration, and she just soaked it all in! I know she was feeling the spirit! It's so cool to see that!! 

Tomorrow, President Cleveland is coming to Terre Haute! He is coming to our district meeting, and our district leader is freaking out a little bit because the pressure is on! Haha. He will do great though. Sister Niemann and I get to go to dinner with President and Sister Cleveland and a girl named Emily, who we hope will be an investigator soon! It should be super cool!

Things are pretty crazy here, but they are moving right along. I know that things will get hard, but I know that it is important to remember that we are on the Lord's team. He wants us to succeed, so he will help us in every way possible! This gospel is amazing! I know it's harder in Utah, because there are so many people who are members, but if you can, try to reach out to someone and share the gospel with them. It is amazing what the gospel can do for us and for others! Getting mail is awesome! So, I'm not saying you have to write, but if you do, I'll appreciate it!

Thanks for being so supportive! I can feel the power that comes from your prayers! Keep on keepin' on! 

Love, Sister Hales!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

1st Email from Indiana

{Ayrika's sister Alyse is posting her letters on her blog while she is gone.}

October 15th, 2013

Well hello everybody! 

Sorry that I wasn't able to email yesterday. Apparently the library was closed because of Columbus Day. Who even celebrates that?! Haha. I was pretty sad we weren't going to be able to email, but we had a little bit of time today, so we took a second to email! Thank goodness.

There is so much to say! So much has happened in the last little while! My stay at the MTC was pretty great! My teachers were awesome, and I did learn a lot. Conference was great! I think that was the first time I stayed awake for every session! Sitting in really uncomfortable chairs seems to do the trick. ;) I think they do that on purpose! On Sunday night, we got to see Vocal Point for our devotional! They were sooo good! It was a nice way to end our stay there. 

On Tuesday morning we had to get up super early to clean and get everything packed and ready to go for our flight. I think I got like 2 hours of sleep that night. Not enough at all! Our flight was supposed to leave SLC airport around like 8:30 or so, but through a series of unfortunate events, we left really late for our flight to Colorado, and almost missed our connecting flight to Indiana! It was seriously a blessing that we made it. When we touched down in Indy, President Cleveland and his wife were there to greet us! They are the nicest people ever. We drove to the Mission Home which is in Carmel (yes, you do say it like the candy) and we ate dinner and had interviews. The Elders slept downstairs on mattresses, and the sisters slept upstairs in the bedrooms on the nice comfy beds! We are so spoiled. :) The next morning we had breakfast, and then we went to the transfers meeting where we all met our trainers! They had us sit up on the stage, and called us down one by one, and guess who was last? Me! Haha I was so nervous to find out who my trainer would be. But she is so AWESOME! Her name is Sister Niemann (knee-man) and she is from Richfield, Utah. We are so much alike, it's really crazy. We get along really well, and she is such a good trainer. She is very patient with me, and that has been super helpful, because I am not very patient with myself. 

Our area is called Terre Haute. They call it 'The City of 7 Smells' and I figured out why very quickly. Ha. It smells awful here like 24/7. We are campus missionaries on ISU campus! It is a really small campus, which can make it tough, because we see like the same people every day. This area is new for sisters! It was only opened 6 weeks ago, so the work is moving pretty slowly at this point. We talk to a lot of people and set up a lot of appointments, but they cancel on us all of the time. It's really frustrating when that happens. I want to be a better teacher, but it's hard to learn how to do that when we can't teach very often! Hopefully things will get better soon. :)

There are 4 Elders in our district, and they are all pretty cool! Elder Pendlton, Elder Rhoton, Elder Smith, and Elder Greenberg! Apparently before I got here, the district didn't get along very well, but since I've been here we have had a lot of good times, and we all are getting along. They were telling me that it has been such a difference, so I'm glad that I could help that happen, even though I don't know how I did!

This is seriously the hardest thing I have ever done. I didn't realize how crazy mission life is. I don't really like waking up early, and it's kinda weird being with someone all of the time, but I am sure that I will learn to love it as the time goes on. I am super grateful for all of your support, and for all of your prayers. If it wasn't for you all, I wouldn't be out here. 

Keep moving forward! Heavenly Father loves you!

Love, Sister Hales

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

my mission wardrobe.

I always like looking at the posts from other sister missionaries about their outfits (I love getting new ideas!), so I thought I would make a post about some of the things I have picked up for my mission! I am serving in the Indiana Indianapolis mission and I leave 3 weeks from today! I seriously cannot believe that I will be out in the mission field so soon! :)

{I got the top from Kohl's and the skirt from}

{The shirt and belt came from Forever 21, and the skirt is from Cozy (LOVE the pockets!!)}

{I got this shirt from Kohl's for like $5 on clearance!! The skirt is from Mikarose (great store for sister missionaries! Check out their website!) And the shoes I ordered online. Love my Oxfords!}

{I got this shirt at Wal Mart! Who knew they had cute tops? :) My skirt is from JC Penny's}

{This top is from Seagull Book! I got this skirt while I was on a trip to London in May, and I can't remember the name of the store!}

{Here is another surprisingly cute top from Wal Mart! This skirt is also from London. I got it at a store called Next.}

{Top: $5 at Kohl's. Skirt: $20 from Belt: $8 from a cute little Boutique!}

{This dress is one of my favorites! I got this at Mikarose! They give a 10% discount for missionaries! The shoes I got at Macy's, they are Clark's. They also give a 10% discount!}

{This dress is from Down East. (I'm a big fan of stripes!) The cardigan is a hand-me-down from my older sister.}

{I got this bag from! If you email them telling them you are going to be serving a mission, they will send you a form you can fill out to get 50% off of your order!}

I am so thankful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It has changed my life in so many ways, and I know that it is the true church. I can't wait to go on my mission, and to teach people of the happiness that comes with being a part of this gospel. I am so thankful that I can be with my family forever, and I want others to be able to be with their families forever as well. :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

i love to see the temple.

From a young age, I was taught the song "I Love to See the Temple". I was always excited that I would someday be able to enter into the temple and do temple work. I had my first opportunity to attend the temple when I was 12 years old! I was able to perform baptisms for the dead for the very first time. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I had in my life up until that point. I knew that this was a big step to be taking, and I felt more happiness and love than I could have imagined. The temple is a place where we can go to feel closer to our Father in Heaven. I feel so blessed that I live so close to so many temples, and that gave me the opportunity to attend the temple on a very regular basis. When I started college, I made it a goal to attend the temple at least once a month, and it helped me so much. I am so grateful for the temple!

Little did I know that just (about) 7 years later I would be entering the Lord's house for a different purpose. On June 15, 2013 I was able to go to the Mt. Timpanogos temple to receive my own endowment. This was a very special experience for me, and I am so glad that I was able to go through the temple more than 3 months before I report for my mission, because I have been able to go back through multiple times and feel that amazing spirit. I am the youngest child in my family, and I was the last to go through the temple. This made it a very unique experience for me because I was able to have my whole family with me during this experience. I was also blessed to be able to go through for the first time with one of my very best friends, Nicole. She had received her call a few weeks before me, and we decided that we wanted to go through together for the first time! What an amazing example this girl is to me. She is so strong, and has such an amazing testimony. I admire her for all that she does. 

{me and my best friend Nicole after going through the temple}

{the whole fam - they're my favorite}

{me and my brother Dan}

Sunday, June 23, 2013

called to serve.

I finally decided that it was time for me to start a blog. I figured this would be the best way to keep family and friends updated while I am gone on my mission! I don't leave for a few months, but I wanted to write about a few big events that have led me to where I am now. :)

When the announcement for the missionary age change came out in October of 2012, I was definitely surprised! I was amazed to hear that boys could now serve at 18 and girls at 19. What wonderful news! Within the next couple of hours, it seemed as though everyone (okay, maybe not everyone... but close) knew all of a sudden that they were supposed to serve a mission... How cool for them! But I definitely did not know at that time or day that I would be serving a mission. I always assumed that I would make the decision about whether I was serving a mission when I turned 21, and I could figure out what I was doing in my life - whether a mission was the right thing for me. But that changed when the announcement came out!

Over the next few months, I kept thinking of all of the pros and cons to serving a mission at this time in my life... The pros definitely outweighed the cons! I knew that I had a desire to serve, but I knew that only our Heavenly Father could tell me if the timing was right. Through the power of prayer, I was given an answer in early February, and that is when I decided that I was going to serve a mission! But... That is not where this story ends. I have discussed this with a lot of pre-mission friends, and it seems like when you are making good decisions in your life, Satan really tries to attack you and make you doubt your testimony. After a few interviews falling through in my singles ward, I took that as a sign that I shouldn't go on a mission any more and I really starting doubting those feelings that I had before about serving a mission. I got discouraged and I felt confused and upset. My amazing father gave me a blessing soon after (the power of the priesthood is AMAZING) and I started to feel more at peace and knew I needed to turn to my Heavenly Father once again to talk to him about my life. Through a lot of prayer, and fasting I once again felt at peace with my decision to serve a mission. I met with my bishop in my home ward, and got my papers started. I had them submitted within 6 days, and had my call about two weeks after that!

I have been called to serve in the Indiana Indianapolis mission, and I report to the Provo MTC on September 25, 2013! I will be speaking English, and I couldn't be more excited! This is the perfect mission for me. Our Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves!

Me and my two best friends are all serving missions, and our missions are all right next to each other. What a testament to us that the Lord really does know us, and our calls are so personal and meant just for us! My friend Nicole is serving in the Iowa Des Moines mission reporting August 14, and Makayla is serving in the Illinois Chicago mission reporting September 4. We are all leaving 3 weeks apart.

I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can't wait to get out there and share the happiness that this gospel brings. I couldn't think of a better way to spend the next 18 months of my life!