Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Week 96 - Please pray for Courtney!

Sooo it's been another awesome week! And I am so glad I get to say that about nearly every week!! :)

This week we were able to set a baptism date with a girl named Courtney!! July 23! I guess not so much a girl... she's like 30? I feel like that's not old enough to call her a lady. But anyway, we met her outside her apartment building in the parking lot! We have taught her three times so far and she meant to be at church this Sunday but of course, had an emergency come up last minute :( But she has already gotten her work to give her all Sundays off! So she is actually super solid.

She has had some rough experiences in the past, so she told us at first that she usually doesn't trust men. But when she first met us, she said she felt something telling her that we were trustworthy and to listen to them! And so as we've taught her, she has commented on how good she feels as we teach her and read from the Book of Mormon with her and is basically really excited to try it out! Next Sunday she will be at church! She could really use prayers though, because it always seems like things come up that get in the way. We are sooo excited for her!! Please pray for Courtney!

We also met with Kalilu again this week. Kalilu is the coolest guy ever, but sadly we might not get to meet with him for a while. We had a fantastic lesson where we read 2 Nephi 2 with him and talked about the Fall and about opposition. He was amazed at how well the Book of Mormon expounded on principles contained in the Bible and at how well they complemented each other! It was amazing to see his eyes light up as he learned. However, Sunday morning, he texted us and said that he loved our doctrine and really wanted to come to church, but that his sister (who he is staying with) wouldn't let him for some reason. Kind of a weird situation... so we were pretty sad about that but hopefully in the future he will get to keep learning and one day enter the waters of baptism!

We have seen lots of miracles this week!! Sunday was sad because nobody made it to church, but we quickly got over it and have set some great plans to continue finding and hopefully setting baptism dates with our current investigators!

Recently I have been studying the gospels and I just love reading about the life of Jesus Christ! I absolutely love reading the Book of Mormon, but reading it alongside the New Testament makes it so much better. It motivates me to want to be more like Him and to live as He did!!

Thank you everyone for everything you do for me!! Love you!

In completely unrelated news, I have learned how to solve the Rubik's Cube and my record is 49 seconds. So you could say I'm pretty proud of that :)

Love, Elder Hayes

Photo 1: Taken literally five minutes ago. so sorry for the lack of photos!! I need to take more!!
Photos 2 & 3: Visiting the tomb of Abraham Lincoln last week! Not the greatest photos, but it wasn't me who took them so...... :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 95 - Jesus Christ lives and this is His work!

WOW!!! Normally, really good weeks are guaranteed to be super slow, but this week was somehow even MORE busy than last week!! We are sooo blessed!

It all started on WednesdayWednesday we had a day filled with appointments. There was literally nothing else, just appointment after appointment! So usually you look at a day and it's pretty safe to assume that at least half will fall through or cancel or something. But out of the seven appointments, only ONE didn't work out! SO we were teaching nonstop and it was honestly exhausting! Haha but it was amazing.

We found two really cool people! One is Jean (yes, as in Jean Valjean) and he is from the Congo and speaks French! He is very humble and says he never turns anyone way who is teaching about the Savior. We got to teach him a couple times this week and he is very intrigued by the Book of Mormon and really wants to find out for himself if it's true.

Then there's Kalilu! He is from Sierra Leone and during our first lesson with him, he actually mentioned how he had a Mormon friend back home who assured him that missionaries would find him in the US! And we happened to walk by his apartment while he was outside :) After we shared the Restoration with him, he said (and I quote), "My heart tells me that everything you have taught me is true". WHAT!! We were like is this real, lol :) He is really cool and meant to come to church this Sunday but had a small emergency last minute. But we are really excited to see if he is willing to work towards baptism!

That same night (this is still Wednesday) we had a lesson with a less-active member named Pam! She was baptized about 20 years ago and hadn't been in the last 8 or so years. We knew nothing about her! But she really wants to come back now and has a granddaughter living with her who she wants us to teach too!

I won't detail everything, but Thursday and Friday were just as eventful! Then the coolest miracle of the week...

We got to start teaching the Akpulonu family again! Netty, the dad, had been in Nigeria for a month, but he is back and we got to meet with them! We invited them to church, and he said, "No promises..." but then we show up on Sunday and what do we see? The whole family sitting there on the back row!! They have a 13 year old and a 1 year old, and the youngest one is the cutest guy ever and was making everyone smile as he walked around the chapel during Sacrament Meeting. Haha!! But yeah they seemed to enjoy it! So we really hope they have a desire to come again.

It has been so wonderful here! These people have so much potential and I really hope we get to see them progress. Jesus Christ lives and this is His work!

Love, Elder Hayes

(photos to come next week!! promise!!!)

Monday, June 13, 2016

More Pictures!

 The lawn we mowed a couple weeks ago! (before)


Hanging out on the roof

Hanging out on the roof Part 2

Taco Bell freezes!! because it's freaking HOT!!!

I LOVE following the Spirit!

This week has been the best!! Get your reading muscles ready!!!

Monday evening was great, which set the tone for the rest of the week :) We were able to find two new people named Nicole and Brenna. They are roommates and we had a great lesson with them! We had found Nicole originally over a month ago out in the country while trying to find someone else's house. She was outside another house with some friends and we got her number and had been trying to set something up since, and we were finally about to this week! It was just a huge tender mercy because we were literally in the middle nowhere, like the last place you would expect to run into somebody outside!! We had a great lesson and they really want to come to church. Couldn't this week, but they are planning on it this coming Sunday. Woohoo!!

Tuesday was great because we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders! I was with an Elder Robinson, and we had so much fun! It was a great day. One cool thing that happened was we were parking around the corner from this potential we wanted to try, when I saw this lady sitting out on her porch a few houses down. I told Elder Robinson, "Alright, let's go try this guy then on the way back we'll talk to that lady" so we did, but on the way back to the car we realized she had gone inside! My first thought was, "Oh well, too bad" but then I had this sudden impression that said, "Just knock on the door!"

We knock on the door, and she answers and after we introduce ourselves she says, "Oh, I know exactly who you are!" And we're like, "Um, what! How!" and she then tells us how she used to go to our church!! And we have no idea who she is, she's just some random lady! We ask, "Wait, were you baptized and everything?" to which she replies, "Oh yeah, I got baptized and even did baptisms for the dead!" WHAT! Turns out she is already on our ward roster, but we didn't have a current address! But we happened to run into her!! I LOVE following the Spirit!!

Thursday we had a Zone Conference!! It was SO good and since President Morgan is actually leaving in a few weeks, it was our last time to see him. Him and Sister Morgan have been the greatest, I love them so much! I'm excited to have a new mission president for like a month and a half, hehe :)

Friday and Saturday were WILD! We were helping a member do some roofing on a house he's working on. It took forever but it was actually really fun! But I also learned I never want to be a roofer, bahaha. Our legs were sooo sore!!

Sunday, we had no investigators at church BUT we had two less-active members we've been working with come for the first time in forever! One is named Andy, and he served a mission and everything but hadn't been in like 20 years. And he had a great time!! And the other is Ann, and she left after Sacrament but HEY it's a start!

Sorry this is so long! It's just been great. I LOVE this area!! We are doing great!!

Love, Elder Hayes

Photo 1: zone conference!! me and elder peterson (who was in my last district!)
Photos 2 and 3: crepe night at the GC's!!! the GC's are a French family in the ward and they are the best!! GC is short for Giraud-Carrier!

(more photos on the way!)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 93 - Tevin was his name

​Soo this week was... something! Lots of appointments fell through, which made for a slower week sadly :( We were a little bit discouraged but it ended up getting a little better near the end.

It was Wednesday and we were a little frustrated at the lack of success we had been having so far. We decided to go try this lady who we had met a week before who didn't seem super solid, but who lived close to us and on the way home... so we tried her anyway! She was not home, but her 22 year old grandson was! Tevin was his name, and he let us right in! We shared a brief message about our purpose as missionaries and the power of the Book of Mormon.

We set a return appointment with him for Friday, and Elder Dial and I were both expecting him to flake out and be a no-show. But nope, he was there and ready for us!! Totally caught us off guard. We had been praying pretty hard for people to keep their appointments, and so Tevin really brightened our week :) It was a very good lesson! Elder Dial and I both commented on how strong the Spirit was afterwards.

Sunday was probably the best day of the week. No investigators came to church, but it we just had really good church meetings! Our Ward Mission Leader is also the Gospel Principles teacher, and he gave a great lesson on repentance and overcoming weaknesses! It was awesome because a returning member who we have been working with was there, and it seemed like it was just for her! She even commented on how Satan had put so many excuses in her head that morning, but that she ignored them all and came anyway... and how glad she was that she did :) It was cool!

Then that evening we taught a couple other less-active members. One of them is named Andy and I can't remember if I've mentioned him, but he grew up in the Church and is actually the nephew of Bonnie L. Oscarson, which is pretty crazy! He is super nice though.  He even served a mission and everything, but after getting depression and questioning lots of things, he has not been active in a couple decades and isn't sure what he believes anymore. He said he would come to church next Sunday though! It has been forever since he's gone, so it will be super cool to see what he thinks of it.

So overall, rougher week, but we learned a lot from it. This week's looking like it will be phenomenal! I'm so excited! I know this is the Lord's church and that He lives today!!

Love, Elder Hayes

Week 92 - Service softens hearts!

It's been a fun first week with Elder Dial! He is a super funny guy and is pretty easy to get along with. It's also interesting being co-district leader because it lets us kind of share the load. It's different, but also nice :)

We had another great meeting with Messan on Thursday. He is very sincere and loves learning and it seems he wants to be baptized! The only thing really holding him back is that the rest of his family is still in Togo, and he wants to consult with them first. Ideally, he would like it to be a family matter, but the distance and the circumstances make that difficult :( We invited him to pray and fast about what he should do. We aren't sure what else we can do. We'll be thinking hard about how to help him!

Later in the week was also met with Brother Nunez again, and he is doing awesome. He is returning to activity and has scheduled a time to meet with the Bishop to start getting his Patriarchal blessing!! It has been so cool to see him come back. It is sad that his wife won't let us continue teaching his daughter, but oh well... maybe some day!

On Friday we were walking down a street to go see someone when we pass this house with probably the worst lawn I have ever seen... like the grass was three feet tall and there were a bunch of weeds in it that could pass as small trees. No joke. So it was pretty rough looking, but we felt a prompting to go ask her if we could help her out. We knock on the door, and this lady answers and the conversation goes as follows:

"Are you Jehovah's Witnesses?"
"Latter-day Saints?"
"Yep, that's us!"
"Oh, well it doesn't matter. You know you're deceived, don't you?"

Hahaha so yeah that was fun. But we just ignore the question and ask if we can do yard work for her. She asks how much we charge, and when we tell her we'll do it for free as a service project, she stops talking for a second and her eyes start tearing up. She was completely shocked and was astounded that anyone would volunteer to do it!! She said she had been looking for people to help but that no one was really willing and that the city was going to fine her if she didn't get it cut somehow. Plus she is pretty disabled, so it's hard for her to do too much.

We ended up doing her lawn on Saturday with a couple members. We only had one small lawn mower, and so it took a while... hahaha it was quite the endeavor! It was pretty fun though. The lady was super grateful and even said we could teach her sometime! Service softens hearts!!

Being a missionary is great! I love serving the Lord! Jesus lives, and is His church! I love you all!! :)

Love, Elder Hayes

Photo 1: Brother Nunez, Waleska, and me!!
Photo 2: locking the apartment with elder dial!!
Photo 3: driving!!!

Photo 4: driving!!! pt. 2
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