Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 102 - It really doesn't feel like two years

Well... this is it!

It sounds so cliche, but... it really doesn't feel like two years. But anyway, let me tell ya about my great week :)

Samantha is doing fantastic!! Of course :) She is so excited for her baptism this Saturday. Elder Dial will be the one doing it, which is super excited because on his mission so far it's always been his companion that does it. But now he gets to get in the water :) So happy for Samantha!!

On Wednesday I had the amazing opportunity to go to the temple! I seriously can't get enough of that place. It was so awesome to see a few of my good friends and last companions there :) Every time I get to attend the temple I learn new things and things become more clear to me. I feel the Spirit more strongly every time!! It was the best day ever!!! I know it's the House of the Lord :)

On Thursday we got to pick up a mini missionary! The stake is doing this thing where youth 16-17 can go on a "mini mission", which is where they spend three days being a missionary with two other full-time missionaries!! So we got Noah, a 16-year-old kid from Decatur, which is like 45 minutes from Springfield. He is so cool! We had so much fun together. At first I thought it would just be a burden, but we really had a great experience and it was just awesome to be with him.

On Saturday we had some pretty good lessons. We taught a lady named Tia the Plan of Salvation, and Noah did a great job contributing to it! Afterwards he commented on how cool it was for him to help teach her, because everyone he associates with already knows about it! It was brand new to Tia, but still made sense to her :) It was great!

We also saw the Akpulonus again, and they ended up getting waaay off topic, lol. We tried our best to bring it back, but by then we were basically out of time. They're super cool though, I love them :) I could see them progressing some day, it might just take a while...

After church on Sunday we saw Pam Weaver, a less-active lady, and her granddaughter Ray, who is investigating! She is 13, but hasn't really been brought up going to church or anything. We shared the Plan of Salvation with them, and had to teach very simply. It was a great lesson though! Pam wants to come back, but every time we invite her to chuch she says she isn't ready yet. But after we spent some time teaching and testifying about Jesus Christ and the Atonement, she told us, "You know, I'm really feeling it right now. Maybe I am ready for church! To think he went through all of that... just for me!" WHAT!!! It was so cool! The Spirit was so strong. We are making progress!!! :)

It's been an amazing week full of so many miracles. This last week is looking to be just as incredible! I have absolutely loved my mission. I have learned so much and am eternally grateful for the experiences I have had, for the friendships I have made, and for the lives I have helped change.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that He lived and died for me. He is the only way we can live with our families forever! I know He used Joseph Smith to restore the fullness of the gospel to the earth and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that for some reason, God needed me here in the Midwest... and although it's definitely not what I would have picked (LOL), after being her two years, I wouldn't want it any other way. I love it here :) Thank you everyone who has supported me these last couple years!! I have truly appreciated every email, letter, package, and prayer :) I love you all so much!!

See ya soon!

Love, Elder Hayes

Photo 1: at the temple! me with elder cheney!!
Photo 2: me with elder christiansen!!
Photo 3: me with elder lazaro!!
Photo 4: us with samantha!!! she's getting baptized!!!
Photo 5: accordion!!!
Photo 6: accordion!!! pt. 2
Photo 7: noah!!!!
Photo 8: noah!!!! pt. 2
Photo 9: temple trip!!!!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 101 - The power of prayer and fasting

Yet another fantastic week here in good ol' Springfield. Samantha is doing SO good, like it is unreal how perfectly this is happening. Hope I don't jinx anything by saying that...

We had a couple awesome lessons with her last week. We were worried about the commandments lessons because that's usually when concerns come up, but when we taught her the Word of Wisdom, she accepted it and doesn't have a problem with it!! The Spirit was so strong the entire time. Lucretia's parents were there and both bore powerful testimony of how they had been blessed by following a prophet of God. Lucretia is the member Samantha moved in with, if you forgot... :) She is sooo excited for August 13th to be baptized!!

We were also able to meet with the Akpulonus again! They are so funny oh my gosh. Netty, the husband, just kills me!! Haha :) We shared the Plan of Salvation with them, and he told us that he actually already believed in a preexistence and that the Fall was necessary. However, he said his understanding of those things didn't come from the Book of Mormon, but from the Bible and his own reasoning... oh well! Hahaha it was actually a great visit though. We testified throughout the entire thing and they seemed to really learn something!

On Sunday Samantha came to church again and so did Desiree!! She is a super nice black lady who came a couple weeks ago. She just loves it! There is actually lots of potential with her too. There are so many great things happening here!!!

I am seriously just shocked. Ever since I have been in Springfield, I have been praying that I would be able to see at least one more person be baptized. Just one! If possible, that is. I'd be fine it didn't happen, but I had been praying that if it's possible... to please let it happen! I was honestly doubting whether anything would happen, but then we met Samantha, and one thing led to another :) Amazing!! The power of prayer and fasting!!!

I know the gospel is true and that the Plan of Salvation is real. I love being one of the Lord's missionaries and look forward to the next two weeks I'll have to do it :) Love you all!!

Love, Elder Hayes

Photo 1: the Akpulonus!!
Photo 2: us with the Uhe family! Coolest recent converts ever!!

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