Congratulations Weston!!! My baby brother is a graduated kid. Dang, that's crazy. I would have never imagined that I would be on a mission during my first year after high school graduation. What a huge blessing!
Hayley and Sister Prater
So let's be honest, the highlight of my week was EXCHANGES!!! How often do you get to go on an exchange with your very best friend?! Heavenly Father loves me and He loves Sister Prater. We met her companionship at the church building Wednesday, made the exchange, and Sister Prater and I could hardly contain our EXCITEMENT! (But we had to because our companions would feel bad). Sister Prater and I drove off to Deer Park, WA and had the best 24 hours of our mission life! I don't know how to better explain this in text? Imagine getting a taste of home for 24 hours of your mission...that's what it was like. We were laughing, screaming, and crying in the car for at least 10 minutes before we could finally have a conversation! It was the best feeling EVER! I think Heavenly Father knew we needed each other. Sister Prater is such a rock. I love her so much! Please pass along this e-mail to Teresa Prater so she knows how wonderful her daughter is. You can only imagine how difficult it was to say goodbye. We got so much done during this exchange. Our numbers were awesome, we practiced Portugues and we strengthened one another. Sister Prater and I will be friends forever.
Good news! Nope, no word on the visa. Don't worry! It will come when the time is right. The good news is I'm in a two person companionship again. I loved our third companion, but it was very difficult to track and such when you're in a trio. It's like a crowd at your door. I've also decided that I don't know how I feel about dogs now. (side note: I just saw a nun in the library!!! haha I kind of want to go up to her and be like "HEY SISTA!") Anyways, dogs are a missionaries enemy!!! I really hope I still love Jack Jack when I get home. Everybody and their mom has a dog here in North Spokane and I swear that all of them are out to get me!
Sister Robinson and I are working really hard to strengthen the members here. That is our emphasis this week. We noticed that this ward really needs a push. So that's what we are going to do! We met with one member yesterday who recently returned home from a mission in Brazil. We taught him the Restoration and I got to teach in Portugues! It was awesome. At the end we asked him how he felt and he said "better than I have in a long time". He then went on the tell us how special it is to be a missionary. The missionary mantle really does make a difference. He told us to take advantage of this time we have to be missionaries. He was very emotional about it and it made me very grateful to be a missionary. We are going to continue to do these visits everyday this week.
Yesterday (Sunday) Sister Robinson and I were pretty bummed because we thought we had a pretty unsuccessful week. We went to church and as we sat down, we began to notice several less actives that came to church! First we saw Kristina and she brought her little girl, then we saw Vicky, then Kenny, then Logan and Jeremy who came without their girlfriends and finally I saw Jacob. Jacob is a less active we made contact with Saturday night and we invited him to church. I was absolutely shocked to see him there. He told me that he hadn't been to church since he was 14 years old. It's been 15 years!!!! When we finally sat down and the meeting began my heart was so full! I cannot explain the joy that comes when a person returns to church! It is an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude toward each person and towards my Heavenly Father.
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ! It is the foundation on which we must build our testimonies (Helaman 5:12). I know that when we strengthen our members, we will see results in both less active church attendance and new converts baptisms! So seek out opportunities to serve one another. Foster a spirit of community and love. Speak kind words about each other. Read the scriptures. Say your prayers. Go to church. Endure to the end! These things are repeated because we are so quick to forget. I love you all. I think of you often. I'm so grateful for the Brighton ward and the love they've shown to my family.
The church is true. Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. The priesthood is restored!