Keep in Touch!

This blog distributes my emails weekly to anyone who reads it. If you would like to personally message me, please contact me at

Monday, October 26, 2015

Have you ever seen the rain?

So, when I started this week, I got multiple emails from friends and
texts from members of the ward telling me to stay safe and stay dry. I
was really confused because I had no idea why. I knew that it rains
sometimes in San Antonio, but that was just about all of my knowledge.
No one told me that there was the largest hurricane ever recorded was
coming straight towards the Mexico/Texas coastline. I definitely would
have planned accordingly when I fell asleep Friday night. When I woke
up to run to the gym in the morning, it was a torrential downpour. I
think I have been drier jumping into a pool than I was after running a
half mile to the gym with my companion. There we sat there and looked
out of the giant wall of glass and watch rain fly sideways.
That morning we had to go to a meeting at Fort Sam Houston, which is
on the other side of San Antonio. Elder M was driving, and thank
goodness it was him and no one else! Elder M was a race car driver
for a few years before his mission, and he needed every driving skill
he had to make it through SA alive. We plowed through ponds on the
freeway, got cut off by a hydroplaning car (which almost caused it to
crash into the barrier on an offramp), and got the wrong directions to
Fort Sam Houston three times. A thirty minute trip turned into two and
a half hours. By the time we got there, there was no one there. They
canceled the meeting without telling us, which meant we boated across
SA for no reason at all while a tropical storm was going on a hundred
miles inland. Eventually we gave up and found refuge at a Whataburger.
That was an excellent choice to stop. Their A1 Thickburger is

Both the Indian Springs and Evans Ranch ward had their primary
program. If you are not familiar with what that is, ask a member
friend. For being in the heart of Texas, I thought I was serving in
Salt Lake City. Evans Ranch's program featured seventy four children.
Seventy Four! It included a ten-year old playing the harp, an 11 year
old playing the viola, and a whole lot of singing. Overall, the
program was magnificient. It ran beautifully and there was a lot of
visiting families we got to talk to. We are definitely going to follow
up with the families who invited them.

Evans Ranch's primary program was the most amazing thing I've ever
seen until I saw Indian Springs. Now let me remind you, Indian Springs
consists of two neighborhoods. That's it. There was 106 children ages
3-11 involved in the program. 106! Back when we lived in Stockton,
there probably wasn't 106 active members in the ward! I just sat there
for the first five minutes with this dumbfounded look on my face. 106
little kids. My mind is still blown. And not to be outmatched by Evans
Ranch's harp playing  10 year old, there was a string quintet of 10-14
year olds that sounded beautiful. It was the stuff of legends. There
was about 40 nonmembers in the chapel, and we got to talk with every
single one of them. There was even less actives that hadn't gone to
church in years that showed up. It was a miracles of miracles. Wonder
of wonders.

Our mission president directly asked the whole mission to stop
listening to music. No Mormon Tabernacle Choir, no lower lights, no
Alex Boye, only general conference talks. If you were in a biking
area, I suppose it didn't pertain to you. Definitely didn't pertain to
me. But, there are many missionaries that have been very upset about
it, but I think it is a fun challenge. I think the whole attitude and
sociality of the mission will become healthier.

There is this girl whose family just moved into the ward that loves
me. We went and visited them on Friday night and she gave me a bunch
of grapes and danced for me. Hold on. She's six. That helps with the
story. Anyways, I told her that she was so friendly that I would give
her a treat at church.
This Sunday, we walked into the chapel and she waved Elder Hill and I
down to go sit with her family. she kept asking for the treat. During
the sacrament, she drew me a picture of a heart with a big "I love
you" on it. It melted my heart. Until she yelled "Where's my candy!"
in the middle of sacrament. I quietly told her I was going to give it
to her after the program.
After the program I grabbed the two cookies I made for her and found
her in the foyer. When she saw me she said, "I don't care anymore, I
have a sucker." and then lifted up a Cherry Blow pop. She let me eat
the cookies and hugged my knees. how adorable.

The work of the Lord is real, and it is happening. Elder H and I
focused our whole week and planned this week to come wholly on
visiting less active members and part member families. We had an
outstanding experience while walking to an appointment. We were
walking down a street I've never seen been on before and I felt
prompted to stop and see if any members lived on the street. I pulled
up my area book app and found that only one member lived on it, and
the last time he went to church was twenty years ago, and we were
standing in front of his house.
Without hesitation we went up, knocked on his door, and invited him to
the Ward fall festival and church. I don't think I have met someone
more excited to see the missionaries. He said that he's been wanting
to come back to church and bring his nonmember family for the past
year, but he lost total contact of any members. We talked like we were
brothers and the spirit of the lord was present. All we needed to do
was knock.
I have doors to knock on, but there are friends all members have that
have been waiting for an invitation. One of love, one of simplicity.
Missionary work is powerful and impactful. Some of my best friends I
have solely because of the loving invitations of members, and the
earnest work of missionaries. The joy found in family is unrivaled
save for the joy of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It is found
in this church. I have seen many miracles by working with part member
families. I have seen the smiling faces of members who have helped
others come to the gospel. And it never starts with an invitation to
church, or to visit with the missionaries. It all starts with a loving
invite.Maybe to a basketball game, a book club, a dinner party, but
missionary will always make your love of others grow.

Elder Richard Hall

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Streets ain't got no safety/ Lord please bless yo chilldrenn" - Palace

Palace was probably one of my favorite street contacts ever. We were
on the East side of San Antonio, getting a U-Haul hitch for Elder
N and M's car. He came up to us, called us the Jesus Boys,
and said he had a song for us. It was two lines long and didn't rhyme.
Then he very reverently said, "remember Palace" and walked off. Great

This week has been filled with great memories. On Saturday my Stalwart
companion and I were walking down a street. A car passed us blaring
"Sweet Home Alabama", and this lady I've never seen before waved at us
like she was our mother. The weirdest part was the Little Mermaid. She
was in the passenger seat waving at us and blew a kiss. She looked
like a carbon copy of Ariel. They took a right, flew off, and we never
saw them again.

I finally got to teach a lesson at the temple! We live only a mile
away from it, and it is a great place to feel the spirit. It was in
the morning, birds were chirping, and it was just really nice to be in
the presence of the Lord's house.
This was during an exchange that lasted for four days. Yes, it was a
four day exchange. Elder M, the traveling assistant, was on four
consecutive 24 hour exchanges this week. His companion, Elder
N, hung out with us, and we ended up covering two areas for
almost a whole week. That is four wards' worth of missionary work!
Needless to say, we were stretched. We were working our hindquarters
off, and it was funnest week of my mission hands down. I love
organizing chaos. Thankfully, we get the same opportunity to stretch
our energy and management skills for just about every week for at
least the next month. I'm so excited. Hard work is the best work.

All of this work has left us with little time to make our own lunch.
Last week we ate out for lunch five days in a row. It was glorious.
The best place we went to was this hole-in-the-wall Greek restaurant.
None of the chairs really matched each other, the booths weren't well
lighted. Pictures of Greece covered the walls. You grabbed your drink
out of an old fridge in the corner. I was enchanted by its quaintness
and simplicity. And I was converted by the Giros. Holy Moses those
Giros were made by the hands of angels.

One of the members in the Evans Ranch ward sells this product at HEB
and Walgreens. It is called Toe Juice. Whatever you use it for, it'll
work. It's like a miracle in a bottle. Use it for acne. Use it for
Eczema. Use it for mosquito bites. Use it to get permanent marker off
of white boards. Use it for aftershave. I testify it'll work. It's
crazy. He didn't even put me up to do this, I just love it that much.

Phillip, the golden investigator who we set with a date the first time
we met with him, is now being taught by the Young Single Adult
missionaries. It's a bit sad and frustrating that we don't get to
teach him anymore, but it isn't our position to. Elder H and I have
other sheep to tend to, and as shepherds of the flock we cannot be
satisfied with the few that are securely in the fold.

If there is something that being on a mission has taught me, more than
anything so far, it is that the worth of every single soul is great in
the sight of God. He has a plan for all of us. We may not see it, we
may not understand it, but he will not forget us. I was able to teach
the Plan of Salvation to many, many people this week, and it was a
wonderful breath of fresh air.  The path of joy is never quite as far
as we suspect it is. Happiness comes from the little things, the
simple things.

And a closing thought to a letter with no direction. GO TO CHURCH. I
don't care if you are LDS, Catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, Scientologist,
Shaker, Quaker, Free Mason, Stone Mason, George Mason, or Tree Hugger,
just practice your religion. Act on what you believe in. I've been out
just four months and I'm tired of seeing such a small amount of the
people I talk to at church. Let me quote James: "Even so faith, if it
hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast
faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I
will shew thee my faith by my works."
Or, to quote my mother: "Stop being such a butt"
Go to church. Feel the spirit. Allow yourself to be filled with the
praise to the Lord. Read from the scriptures. Pray to God for
endurance to the end. Exercise that mustard seed of faith you have,
because any amount of faith can move a mountain.

Elder Richard Hall

Monday, October 12, 2015


What an exciting time to do missionary work! I am slightly terrified
by this week, since it was the funnest, most exciting, and most
enjoyable week of my mission, and it also felt like it lasted for
about 15 minutes. Where does the time go?

This week was crazy. Most of the time our faithful trio of Elders were
not even together, instead one of us out on an exchange with the other
Elder that lives with us. His companion is a traveling assistant to
the president, which means he is constantly out with other
missionaries, helping them with their work. That leaves his companion
rather companion-less. So, while the traveling assistant is out and
about, he took one of us into his area. It is super fun!

Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to do that. Elder Nebeker, my
wonderful companion of last transferred, was emergency transferred to
a different area in the mission. Now it is just Elder Hall and Elder
H. That's definitely going to confuse some people. But it's okay.
It's pretty easy to tell the difference between us.

The work of salvation in the Indian Springs and Evans Ranch wards has
been slow but sure! On Thursday we got a call from church headquarters
about a man in the Indian Springs ward who wanted to meet with the
missionaries. On Friday we taught him, and on Saturday we set a solid
date of baptism for him on November 7th. He really wants to join the
church of Jesus Christ. He even came to church early on Sunday to talk
with the bishop. Crazy. This is one of those moments that you don't
even dream of on your mission. It's just too good to be true.

There is a family in the ward that once took me and my companion out
to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse. I have written many times in my journal
that I am forever indebted to the M family for doing so. There I
had a full rack of ribs all to myself, which I polished off in about
20 minutes. They were rather impressed that a 6'1", 150-pound
featherweight could clean that off before they could finish their
This same family dropped us off some dinner at the apartment last
Thursday. It was all Texas classics. Mac and Cheese, barbecue chicken,
pork, Texas Sheet Cake, and to packages wrapped in butcher paper with
Elder Hall written on it. Inside of each were a rack of ribs intended
solely for me. God is looking out for Elder Hall.

It is surprising that I have had such a great time this week, because
This Sunday was pretty rough. Walking back to the apartment we ran
into some people who were, uh, inebriated. They came up yelling at us,
telling us we were deceived and some other awful things. One man
almost began throwing punches at us before someone held him back.
Apparently, most of the animosity came when they thought that we were
Jehovah's Witnesses. When they found out we were LDS they completely
changed, told us they loved us, but they still didn't like Joseph
Smith. When we left they cautioned us with great concern "Remember,
you must live the gospel. NOT the doctrine." That made us laugh a lot
back at the apartment.
That moment was not fun at all, in fact, it was dangerous, but in
retrospect, there was some pretty fun parts of it. I think it shows
two things:

1. We live the Word of Wisdom for a reason, and
2. Every person will eventually be backed to their own wall of faith.

Faith is crucial. We cannot rely on other people's faith and belief to
buoy our own's up. To quote the wonderful Jeffrey R. Holland, "Belief
is a precious word and an evem more precious action." The power of
prayer, specifically personal revelation, allows us to know the truth
in all things. Every person can know for themselves the greatness and
fulness of the gospel. It is within themselves. And through that we
can know that God has organized His church on the earth, and that he
has given us authority here on earth. And when we come to know this,
and live it, there is no greater joy.

Elder Richard Hall

Monday, October 5, 2015

This week was exciting! I have never been so engaged in a general
conference before. I was taken back by the beautiful sermon of Jeffrey
R. Holland, who took such careful description to poeticize the love of
God and mothers. And the solemnity of David A. Bednar's talk for those
who have passed, in which he emphasized that the "value of (apostles
who have passed)'s teachings are priceless". Or even the silly but
memorable talk of Devin R. Durrant that you can't help but ponder
about. What a wonderful two days we had to listen to the words of the
prophets. I think I will read Henry B. Eyring's Preisthood Session
talk again and again for many days.
For those of you not familiar with the terminologies of conference,
ask an LDS friend.

Elder Nebeker and I have a new companion! He is 240 pounds and about
5'10". We're still on bikes. This is going to be a slow transfer.

Some members took us to breakfast at a 5-star Marriot Hotel! Oh my
goodness it was beautiful. It looks right over a PGA Golf Course, and
there's a giant waterfall in the middle of it's lobby. I'd say that
was a highlight of the day. And the bacon there. Wow.

We started teaching a new family! They aren't very religious at all,
but the mother's father was LDS, but didn't practice it so he could
keep the peace with his wife. Her Grandparents were temple workers,
but she doesn't know much about it. They are such a friendly folk!
They're very interested in joining the church. Fun!

One of our investigators is going to make me a steak because I'm too
skinny! That's definitely noteworthy.

I finally think it is cold in the morning. Yay!

I wish I could write more, but I don't have much time this P-day. I'm
so glad to be healthy and happy again. I wish you all a wonderful week
while on God's green earth.

Elder Richard Hall