Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 57 - Being a missionary is the best!

Good news! Jesus, our investigator who lives two hours away in Columbia, is getting married on the 9th of October!! Elder Solis and I get to go and it will be so great! Just a quick recap, him and Martina not being married was the big problem with him getting baptized so it should be happening soon enough! Woohoo!! :)

A cool quote someone mentioned during our District Meeting this week was "if you fail to plan, then you're planing to fail". Not sure who said that quote first, but apparently Robert D. Hales also said it at one point and it's pretty true. As a mission ever since Elder C. Scott Grow came last week we've all be trying to be better planners because it really does make a HUGE difference.

This week we also had an exchange with the Zone leaders, who actually live right across the street from us in! Elder Ferrell was the Elder I was with for the day, and we had a great time together. He is a great example and really enjoys working hard but makes it fun too :) During our exchange interview he told me that I had a huge strength for teaching and that I was one of the best teachers he had observed on his mission (he goes home in three weeks lol) so that was definitely nice of him to say. I don't feel like that great of a teacher but maybe I'm better than I give myself credit for. I'm still trying to improve though!!

We had some great lessons throughout the week, but the highlight was probably Sunday. I few months ago Elder Lazaro and I taught this couple named Luz and Angel. Angel grew up in the church but Luz is not a member! I don't remember if I ever mentioned this but how we found them originally was knocking doors in this trailer park in Chesterfield, which is about 20 minutes from our apartment. Long story short, they used to live about 40 minutes from there with our branch president and his family until they moved! Their records are still on the roster and Luz had been taught in the past as well-- we just didn't have an address! But we happened to knock on their door randomly one day. What are the odds!

Anyway, Elder Solis and I hadn't been able to see them until this last week because of mile limitations and also they just seemed busy. But I felt prompted to see them again and they are very ready to come back to church and make changes! We are even going to start teaching their 13 and 8 year old kids. Miracles happen! :)

Things are great here! The church is true! Being a missionary is the best! Love you all :)

Love, Elder Hayes

Photo 1: one of my average meals lol
Photo 2: me with a statue of chuck berry. i guess he's a famous guitar player or something. the street i'm on is called the delmar loop and it's apparently one of the most well-known streets in the US! It's full of cool stuff.
Photo 3: the delmar loop planet walk is this pretty much these signs placed along the sidewalk that represent the planets and are spaced apart from each other in proportion to the distance between them in real life (i hope that makes sense) it's awesome!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 56 - The Book of Mormon really can change lives

Hello again!! Last week was a great one, but unfortunately not every week can be like that... this week we struggled with having lessons with those we are teaching, but we are definitely still trying our hardest! I am gonna skip to the highlight of the week, which was having a mission conference with Elder C. Scott Grow from the Seventy and his wife!

In this mission we have been blessed to be visited by a lot of General Authorities! Elder Sitati, Elder Cook, Elder Christofferson, and now Elder Grow! We are so blessed!! :)

Elder Grow and his wife were both very bold and didn't hold back. The overall message was about goal setting and how what setting goals actually means so we can truly hasten the work as missionaries. Apparently as a mission we all need to step it up so we can reach our full potential. Some missionaries thought it was a little mean of them to say but it really is true. Elder Grow told us we were doing a great job but that we could do a lot better! Then he told us how we could improve and hopefully we will be seeing positive changes here!!

Another cool story is that in Gospel Principles class on Sunday, Gabriel (our recent convert) was asked to share a missionary experience he had had in the past. We weren't sure what he would say because he hadn't exactly been a member for the longest time! He talked about how once day we had gone over to teach him and he decided to invite his brother to come over and listen too! I think I mentioned this when it happened a couple months ago, but it was such an awesome experience. Gabriel had been having trouble forgiving him for something, but he was able to reach out and share the gospel with him and now they are talking again! :)

What Gabriel shared that I didn't know was that before we actually got there, Gabriel had given him a copy of the Book of Mormon and promised him that the book changes lives!! He told his brother that it had helped him and that he knew it could help him too! He was such a solid investigator. Hopefully we will be able to contact his brother this week so we can begin teaching him some more too! We have been trying but our schedules have not been lining up.

It was a tougher week overall, but there were a few moments that really stood out and helped us bear through it. The church is true, Christ lives, and the Book of Mormon really can change lives!! I know it! Have a good week! And sorry for another week with no photos haha next week for sure I'll get some :)

Love, Elder Hayes

Maria Rice, a member from the area, had the missionaries over for a Family Home Evening this week. Elder Hayes taught the lesson. She took these pictures and sent them to me. (mom is writing this. Lol!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 55 - I met Rey Chocolate

​It's been a fairly successful week! Something we've been doing as a zone is keeping track of how many people we contact, or in other words how many people we provide with an opportunity to learn more about the gospel. So if were to be street contacting and tell someone who we are and ask if they'd like to learn more, but they say no, it's still a contact because we did all we could! It's been cool because every week we try to raise that number and as we do that we end up talking to more people and finding more people to teach! It's been helping us all out a lot.

On ​Wednesday I got to sing in a missionary choir musical number at a transfer meeting! We sang We'll Bring the World His Truth, which is one of my favorite missionary songs ever :) It was pretty cool and we figured out a bunch of cool harmonies. We sounded great and everyone loved it!

Later that evening we taught this lady named Elvira. She is the mother-in-law of a member and she is really solid! She is very open to learning more and we had an awesome lesson. She had been taught in the past but it seemed that she didn't remember a ton about it. We explained a lot of things like why infant baptism isn't right and priesthood authority... so we started from the bottom with the Restoration and just had a great lesson! She even came to church on Sunday! :)

All the people we are teaching are doing awesome. We found a few new people this week who show a lot of potential and seemed really excited to learn more. One of them (named Patricia) actually commented that she had just had a loss in the family and that she believed we were an answer to her prayers! It's so great having knowledge about the Plan of Salvation and being able to assure people that we really can be together as families for eternity :)

It was been a rewarding week. I'm looking forward to giving it my all this last six weeks I have to be in the branch because who knows if I'll be returning! I love you all!

Love, Elder Hayes

P.S. - This is kind of dumb but I had to share it. Last week I met a man whose name is literally "Rey Chocolate" which translates to King Chocolate!! So cool!! I will have to get a pic with him one of these days.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 54 - Gabriel gets baptized

First things first, it turns out I am staying with Elder Solis in the San Carlos branch for six more weeks! We definitely didn't see it coming, haha... I had mixed feelings about it at first but I'm pretty happy about it now. I really do love all the members and hopefully we will be able to see at least one more baptism here :) Which reminds me...

Gabriel got baptized!! It was such an awesome experience. It is crazy to think that we met him just two months ago. He progressed so fast and I am so grateful I was able to be a part of his conversion. He had asked me if I could confirm him the Sunday after which I did even if I was a little nervous, hehe :) It just so happened to be fast and testimony meeting, and Gabriel was the last one to stand up and bear his testimony!! He talked about how he wasn't so sure about us at first and how the first lesson we had with him, he didn't even let us inside! We just talked on his porch. But he felt good about what we were sharing and quickly felt the Spirit and felt comfortable with us :) So awesome!!

Gabriel's baptism was definitely the highlight of the week. The rest of the week was actually a little slower than usual. Recently we have dropped a lot of investigators and only have a handful at the moment. However, the nice thing is that they are all a lot more solid than they were in the past! It's a lot nicer to have a few solid ones than like 20 flaky investigators :)

Six weeks from now when I (probably...) leave the area, I will have been here for seven and a half months!! It's a pretty long time to be in one branch, but I really do love it here. I'm grateful for the chance I've had to improve my Spanish and also grow a lot :) Christ lives and he's guiding His church! I know that through His gospel we can all be cleansed from sin and lives as families forever. The great thing about a mission is that you dedicate two years of your life to do nothing but help others, but as you do that you also help yourself and get to grow spiritually. It's a win-win!

Thanks everyone for the support and the emails. My address is still the same for now... here it is again if you forgot ;)

10 Sugar Maple Ln. Apt. 8
St. Charles, MO 63303

Love, Elder Hayes

Photo 1: Me with Hermana Reyes (a member from the branch) and her kids :)
Photo 2: Me, Gabriel and his wife, and Elder Solis!

html, body { background: url(' ') no-repeat center center fixed; -webkit-background-size: cover; -moz-background-size: cover; -o-background-size: cover; background-size: cover; }