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Monday, January 30, 2017

Heaven Can Wait

Hello Everybody!

It's been a while since I've sent out a decent weekly email, yet alone
a decent one. I'd like to spend some time reporting on what happened
this past week, because a lot happened.

Last Monday our zone decided to play ultimate frisbee. I love ultimate
frisbee. At college I played a lot of it and got pretty good at it.
This was an exciting moment in the life of Elder Hall to play frisbee
for the first time in 18 months. But after a few minutes my right knee
started to hurt. Finally, after hitting the ground from a deflection,
it sub-flexed twice.
For those of you that don't know what that means, because I didn't,
that is when your knee pops out and back into place in a matter of
seconds. Though it isn't a complete dislocated, it still hurts a lot.
After calling up the first counselor in the bishopric, who happens to
be an ER doctor, we got the diagnosis and headed over to an Urgent
Care. I've been on crutches and pain medication ever since. I have a
meeting with an orthopedist on Wednesday, and we'll get a better
diagnosis of what happened and what is going to happen.
Since then, every person ever has asked what happened, and I have to
tell them about my frisbee frivolities. Then they laugh at me, then
feel bad for me. They better! Do you know how hard it is to go uphill
on crutches?

Thankfully, we have been seeing great thing after great thing happen
this week. Elder M
and I have been working hard and we've
been seeing much good happen out of it. We have been finding more
investigators than I've had since I arrived here. It seems that every
member family that we meet with is open to inviting investigators to
church for us, or letting us teach lessons in their homes, or coming
out to lessons with us. We have been building the faith of the
members, and we've seen the faith of our investigators grow in
response. It's been a great week.

On Wednesday there was a worldwide mission conference to announce that
our schedule has been changed. A missionary's schedule is very
specific. Every day we wake up at 6:30, study from 8-10, get out and
work, have two hours for meals, get out and work from 6-9, and come
home, plan that night for the next day. However, we've been given
tasks that we need to do during a specific time period, and we get to
fill them in whenever. This means I could study on my own at 8 in the
morning, then study with my companion at 8 at night. It is mind
boggling. After being set in a specific system for so long, I have
been given the freedom to choose what is the most efficient format me
and my companion should use on a daily basis.

The next day I went to a council where all the leaders of the mission
come together. Usually at these councils, everyone is cool, calm, and
collected. But at this one our mission president fielded question upon
question about the new schedule. We then read two powerful scriptures,
2 Nephi 2:13-14, and DC 58:26-29. Some things just need to be tried
out to find out. That reminds me of John 7:17.

Life is good. The work is much and the days are too short. If only I
could bottle every day and put it in the pantry. Then each morning I'd
take my pick from the pantry and open up a refined aroma of memory.
Then maybe the days would stick to my bones, and be an ever greater
part of me.

Elder Richard Hall

2. A picture of me hooked up to a machine a member loaned me. It is a
wonderful thing

Monday, January 16, 2017

Someone Great

Hello Everybody!

This week was fantastic. For the first time on my mission I have the
opportunity to be companions with somebody that I was already
companions with. I was companions with him this time last year. It was
pretty fun to look back at my journals from this time last year. We
are enjoying hitting the ground running so quickly. It is a shame that
my companion is no longer a ridiculously strong Tongan who would lift
washers on his own, but Elder M and I get along well.

We showed up to one of our lessons with an elderly lady. When she
opened up she apologized. "I'm sorry elders, I didn't want to cancel
on you, so we can study a bit before I call an ambulance." It was a
nice gesture, but we called 911 for her. Turns out, she was having a
heart attack. Thank goodness, she is doing okay. However, between this
and her asthma, it is getting harder and harder for her to get
baptized. She has such an amazing attitude about life, though. We were
sharing with her the families and temples pamphlet, and she was almost
in tears. "I never knew what Christ gave Peter the binding power. That
is what temples are for? I can be with my family forever?" It is
tender for people to realize that the sealing power is here on this
earth, and that it can link all of us back to our Father in Heaven.

It is so important to express our love and our appreciation. When we
teach people about prayer, we help them recognize that when we first
address our Fahter in Heaven, we begin by expressing our gratitude.
"Thank thee for..." "I am grateful for...". When we invite people to
pray to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, we read verse
three of the Book of Moroni, chapter 10, verse five.
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if
it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember
how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the
creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these
things, and ponder it in your hearts."
Before we even ask a question to our loving Father in Heaven, we open
up our hearts for personal revelation by acknowledging his works in
the past. It shouldn't be much different when looking at our loved
ones. When I write to my brothers and sister, or my parents, how often
do I let them know I love them? Last week I passed the bishop of our
congregation, who was deep in a conversation with a member of the
stake presidency. My companion was a little ahead, but the bishop
stopped his conversation pulled me aside, and simply said, "Hey, I
love you. You are doing great things. I appreciate what you are
doing." What did I do? I don't know, I've done a lot things. But you
should know that this week I worked as hard as I could, not just for
the Lord, not just for me, but for my investigators, for the bishop.

Expressing love leaves yourself vulnerable. It is either going to be a
moment of embrace, or a moment of hurtfulness. That is why many people
avoid it in general. Often leaders cannot stop themselves from doing
it. Let me rephrase that: true leaders cannot stop themselves from
doing it. Leaders are lovers, and they are hard lovers. They do it
all, and they do it right. What is a leader? Who really is a leader?

I hope you are all staying warm and dry. I was never a fan a snow, and
not a huge advocate of rain. When I go to the beach, I sit in the sand
and look at the water. When I go to the pool, it is usually not my
idea. Showers are wonderful

Elder Richard Hall

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Quick Note

This week has been so much fun, I don't even know what to say. Perhaps
what I should say is, the Lord knows us. He cares for all of us
individually and knows exactly what is best for us.
This week me and my companion were able to conduct baptismal
interviews for a family of four. I had the privilege of talking with
the father, who is a powerful disciple of Christ. After the interview,
I asked him, "Brother M, what made it click for you? What made
you realize that this is for you?"
He replied sincerely, "I read the Bible every day. And for many years
I told myself at the end of every day 'there must be more. God must be
wanting to give us more.' And I found it."
There is something more that God has in store for all of us. It
doesn't matter where we are in this life, their is something we can
improve. Is that a bad thing? Goodness no! It means we have a whole
lifetime to get better. Improvement is the closest thing that we have
to perfection.
The beautiful part of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and all teachings of
restored gospel, is that it is either all true, or it all isn't.
There's no real middle ground. Exercising faith is always going to
lead to repentance. Repentance will always lead to forgiveness.
There's no sometimes, there's no exception. Every word and promise in
the Book of Mormon and the Bible are true. Revelation comes to every
single one of us.
Have a good week.
Elder Richard Hall