Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Beginning of The End

And then there were 2...

My dearest Family and Friends,
This MIGHT be the last email I get to send as there is just two weeks and a day left to my mission. That said-- I want to let you all know this: I love this gospel. I am SO grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve here in Nauvoo. I was thinking about it the other night as I was sitting with a woman whom I met (and gave a referral card to who is now taking the discussions in Chicago!) in the Visitors Center. We were watching the pageant and I was watching her feel "like [she] was in a big hug." and thinking how much I have changed in the last 3.5 months. And how I had no idea in that info meeting in the Logan Institute (thanks again, Becca!) or in that call back or even on the plane, how much this summer would impact me for the rest of my life. My testimony of this wonderful gospel-- of the Plan of Salvation, of The Prophet Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon-- all have grown so incredibly much. I know it is true. 
Thank you all so much for your support of my time here, even when it was hard, I felt your love and prayers. 
I love you all!
See you soon!
Sister Hallett

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rocking Horses are the Best

Everyone. Right now. Go look up "John Taylor Home, Nauvoo, Rocking Horse Story." It will make you cry it's awesome and the message behind it is the love that Heavenly Father loves us and will do what is best for us if it works for His plan. 

(Mom Note: John Taylor Story below from The Friend magazine, March 2010)

JTH (John Taylor Home) is my favorite site in Nauvoo, and the site leader, Sister Allen knows that. It also seems that I am assigned there on the days that I am having a hard time, so I get to tell how much Heavenly Father loves us about 20-30 times in 4 hours. It's wonderful. :) 
So on Thursday I was at "Sunset By The Mississippi," a variety show we do with the seniors, and Sister Allen came up to me and slipped something in my pocket and waked away. I reached in and found the sweetest little Rocking Horse necklace. When I went to go thank her, she hugged me and said "So you can remember that Heavenly Father loves you--- even when you leave Nauvoo." 
Have I mentioned that I love Nauvoo? No? Okay. Let me say it again--- I LOVE NAUVOO!!!!!!!! 
I love the people and the spirit here. I can't believe I'll be home in less than a month. (Not thinking about it.) 

Anyway- Moral of the story for this week is Heavenly Father loves you and so do I. 

I get to serve in the Nauvoo Visitors Center today- so imagine me like a temple square missionary, but also really humid and hot and you've got it! 
Love you all!
Sister Hallett

The Love of a Father


(Based on a story from the life of John Taylor)
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you (John 15:9).

For weeks, Nauvoo had been buzzing with activity. Wagons clattered along frozen streets. People rushed to and fro carrying packages and carting barrels of food. Joseph Taylor knew he would not see this scene much longer. Soon, the Saints would be leaving their homes on the bank of the Mississippi River to travel west.

“Joseph, I need you to load the wagon,” his mother called from the kitchen.

Joseph had been avoiding this for days. He didn’t mind helping, but he knew that once the wagon was loaded, they’d have to leave.

A scratchy burlap sack tickled his face as he lifted it into the wagon’s shallow bed. His family had hardly even started packing, yet the wagon was almost full.

“Where are we putting everything else?” Joseph asked his mother as he picked up another sack in the kitchen.

“We’re only taking the necessities, Joseph,” his mother said. “I thought you understood that. There just isn’t enough room for everything.”

Joseph’s eyes started to fill with tears. It was bad enough leaving his comfortable home, but now they had to leave all of their favorite things too.

Joseph ran upstairs and into the toy room. It was his favorite part of the house. He had spent hours here imagining grand adventures while riding his wooden rocking horse that his father had carved for him. Joseph ran his hand over the horse and felt its golden mane of real horsehair. He realized that he would have to say good-bye to it forever.

On a frosty morning, Joseph’s family tied the canvas covering over their wagon and shut the door of their home for the last time. After inching their way through the snow, they boarded a ferry and pushed off to cross the icy river. Joseph watched as Nauvoo—and his beloved toy horse—slipped farther into the distance.

That night when the Saints set up camp, Joseph wrapped up in a quilt and warmed his hands over a fire. But nothing could help the cold ache in his heart.

Joseph’s father placed a hand on his shoulder. “Please tell me what’s wrong,” he said.

Joseph felt foolish. Everyone had left important things behind. “I miss my horse,” he said, starting to cry. “I love him so much, and I’ll never see him again.”

Joseph’s father pulled him close. “I understand,” he said. “You shouldn’t feel ashamed for missing something you love.”

When Joseph awoke the next morning, his father, who was an Apostle, had left to help some other families in need. Joseph gathered wood and fed the animals. He filled pots with ice from the creek so his mother could cook supper.

As the sun dipped below the horizon that evening, Joseph saw his father coming into camp. He looked exhausted. Ever since he had been injured at Carthage, he had needed to use a cane to help him walk. Today he was limping more than usual. His face was red from the cold, and there was snow on his jacket.

“But it hasn’t snowed all day,” Joseph thought. “Where has Father been?”

Then he saw it. Tied to his father’s horse was Joseph’s rocking horse. His father had ridden all the way back to Nauvoo, across the icy Mississippi River, and risked being caught by the angry mobs just to retrieve Joseph’s beloved horse.

“I think he’ll like going on this adventure to the West, don’t you?” his father asked as Joseph raced into his outstretched arms.

Joseph’s father, John Taylor, served as President of the Church after Brigham Young. The rocking horse traveled all the way to the Salt Lake Valley. Today, it can be found in the upstairs toy room of the John Taylor home in Nauvoo, Illinois

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Some Weeks, You Just Have to LAUGH!

   We're quite exhausted here! Going to bed at 12 or later after pageant and then waking up at like 5:30 or 6 for showers is NOT super fun. We're all sick, passing out, having breakdowns and SMILING AND LAUGHING BECAUSE WE ARE IN THE CITY OF NAUVOO!!!! WE'RE THE LORD'S MISSIONARIES AND BY GOLLY WE ARE SO LUCKY TO BE HERE!!!

(Mom note: Their director has asked that family and friends send them letters of encouragement this week. It's been a hard week. They have added the Nauvoo and British pageants this week so that adds 6 more shows a week to their already very busy schedule! I would appreciate it if everyone would send her a quick letter with their favorite uplifting thought or scripture this week! Let's fill her mailbox again!)

                              At this point, I should probably mention that I'm mildly delirious...
       But despite it all, it has been a great week of joy! I LOVE the Nauvoo and British Pageants. I love the people and I especially love the children. One in particular is named Boyd Packer Robinson and he is just a doll! He's seven and such a goofball. He told me I was his girlfriend and I told him I couldn't be his girlfriend because I was on a mission. He looked at me for a really long minute and then asked if I would be his SISTER-friend. So I said yes. How could I not?

         I had an exhausted giggle-fit in Relief Society today. Nothing caused it, but all of a sudden, life was hilarious. And then I was laughing more because I didn't know why I was laughing. It was great. And Sister Meyers was just looking at me going "breathe. Sister Hallett. Breathe. Are you crying? Breathe!"

I have bugbites that look like chicken pox all over my legs its great.

 (Mom note: I took this picture after getting after her about wearing socks and more insect repellant!)

          The laughter wasn't helped by a sweet sister in church today-- We have a live ASL translation of the meetings and in SM today, this one sister who is known for being talkative starts trying to talk to a man sitting in the ASL section. No matter how many times he signed "I'm deaf. I don't understand you." She just kept talking and talking. He finally gave up and nodded politely. Sister Munroe, Sister Allred and I all died.

Guys. Life is awesome. Even when it isn't, you sometimes have to make your own sunshine, but try to be grateful for what you have. We live in an amazing age of light and restoration.
I love this gospel. I love Nauvoo. And I love all of you.
(Yes, I will be home in less than a month. Shhh...)
Sister Hallett

(Mom note: We got to spend last week in Nauvoo so we were able to watch Sister Hallett at work! And WORK she does! She is always busy, running from one place to another. On top of the theater tech work that she and Sister Starrs do (on several shows a day), they also do tours at some of the historic sites. They never rest! Included are some pictures we took while there.)

It's so cold!

And I love it!!!
Well... Comparitively.
When we first got here, we had a day that was 69* and 57% humidity. And we were dying. Sweat dripping off us, unable to dance with any sort of happiness.
Well. This week we had a day that was 64* and 60% humidity. And I cannot tell you how many times I took my jacket off to give to one of the Stage YPM girls. It was SO COLD! (said they, I thought it was nice until we had a Nauvoo Hurricane later that night.)

Met an awesome girl named Allison on Friday. Usually on the days that I feel that someone needs our message, I look for the downtrodden looking and the teenagers that would rather be doing hard labor than being in Nauvoo. But this girl was so welcoming and sweet and the more I talked with her, the more I felt like she was the one I was supposed to be with that evening. I shared some scriptures with her and told her that college was not as scary as it sounds. :) Good times. :)

MY FAMILY IS IN NAUVOO!! Sister Starrs and I had just sat down on an empty row when I look up and think-- "that girl is wearing a dress just like mine.... WAIT A MINUTE! That IS my dress! EMMA!!!" So we walked over to them and I said "Hi, we're representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--" I didn't get to finish, because my mom had grabbed me and hugged me at that point. It's been good to see them. :) (Hi ma!!!)

Anyways, I love Nauvoo. I love this gospel. People need your kindness in this world, never be afraid to give it.

All my love,
Sister Hallett

(Mom note: This is last weeks email. Sorry it is late- Cell service in Nauvoo is spotty and slow so trying to upload her letter from my phone wasn't really an option.)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Short Email...

...Long week.

Sometimes, when you feel overwhelmed with your daily expanding job, you  pray that Heavenly Father will send you heavenly help...
And then He sends you a new Tech Elder.
Yep! We got a new Yippum. (YPM,) His name is Elder Nelson, and he was one of the original ones that was supposed to come out with me. He is awesome and we get along really well. (Though he does make fun of my vegetarian food.)
Oh yeah! I started doing 2/3 Vegetarian. Basically it just means I only eat meat for our community lunch.
Um... Commemoration for The Martyrdom was amazing. But I'll have to tell you all more about that when I have more time.

I love you all.
The Church is True.
The Prophet Knows the way- no matter what popular opinion or man may say.

Sister Hallett

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's NOT hump day, and I DON'T want to talk about it

(Mom note: Amberlyn refers to "hump day" meaning yesterday (Sunday) marks the 1/2 way point of her adventure in Nauvoo. We also got a bunch of photos in the mail this week. I've included some of them. Sorry for picture quality. Photos of photos- I've GOT to get my scanner working!)

Okay. So maybe it is....
But I digress

Hello! This week has been exhausting. But wonderful. I feel like I'm constantly running on empty and full at the same time! Empty of energy, but full of the spirit! It's interesting how when I start feeling homesick or missing my friends and family, how I am almost instantly calmed.

I've started giving tours that make me step back and go--- wait..... how did I just have enough energy to play with those kids or to match the level of that youth group I just bore my testimony to?
And then sometimes I give tours and I feel like I'm emulating Sister Hannah Smith.... But that's always a fun time, I like those days. (lots of hand talking, Sister Smith. All good things. All good things.)

Ummm..... Nothing too terribly exciting happened that I feel like sharing with the general public... I greatly appreciate the letters and things that people send me! I promise I do appreciate them, even if I'm slow to respond to them. I promise I have every intention of writing you back, I just have zero time. (I'm looking at you, Kyle, Robyn, Arizona Halletts, and Emma!)

Things I've Learned This Week:
-My District Leader, Elder Cobia, is Buddy the Elf. He will set up a roll play and then goof off the entire time you try to talk to him....
-Emma Smith is my hero.
-How the early saints made candles.
-When addressing children, it is perfectly acceptable to tell them that a Courting Candle was a timer that their parents would set for how long they could play with their friends--- That's what dating is, right? ;)
-Hurricanes can happen on the Mississippi river. Not really. But.... There was some damage done. Elder Camp refers to them as a "Him-icane." Because it's the opposite of a "Her-icane." Anyways. Some downed trees and some twisted street signs and a little bit of flooding, but nothing a bit of prayer, manpower and Facilities Management team couldn't fix in an afternoon.
-Youth Conferences are both awesomely amazing tools of wonder and testimony building------ and also  the bane of my existence.

Alrighty. Well. I love you all. The church is true and Heavenly Father loves you.

51 down, 51 to go. (I've also secretly been gone for like.... five years.)

Sister Hallett

(Photo's with captions from Sister Hallett)

 My Companion and I in full pioneer get-up. Those loop braids and center part though!

 The day we lived in a Hot Tub. It will only get worse from here. Why is humidity a thing?

 Have I mentioned how quickly weather changes here?

 Headset! I'm an official Tech!

 "Gird up your loins, fresh courage take" How we get stuff done: 2014 YPM-T Style!
Sister Starrs' "Hipster" dress. Only she could pull it off.

Trying to open my package from mom. Sister Starrs won the prize.
(Mom note: I may or may not have completely wrapped each package with clear packing tape, and then decorated it with cute packing tape.) ;)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just another Manic Sunday

This Week In Nauvoo I've Learned:

-Santa is Mormon. No joke. I sat behind him in Sunday School today. And he was visiting Nauvoo. Santa Claus is doing a month long church history tour, ladies and gentlemen.

-When you pray in January that you would just carry the water bottles if you were allowed to go to Nauvoo, don't be surprised when you're having a grumpy grump day in June that someone will literally hand you the cart that holds all the water bottles. Heavenly Father sure has a sense of humor. 

-Preschool teachers and animators with missionary daughters set loose in the dollar store send the best packages. (Thanks mom and dad!!)

-I have some awesome friends and family that send me lots of mail and they've noticed in the mail room. Thank you all!!! 

-The D&C is AWESOME! I spent a week on just one chapter. (76. Go read it. Now.) 

So this week has been good, but hard. Everyone is sick, and when everyone is sick, no one is. (If that makes sense....) the show must go on and The Work cannot be delayed, so we're living on ibuprofen, throat coat and blessings. Prayers would be greatly appreciated in our behalf. However sick we are offstage though, miracles happen on stage. People whose voices are barely above a whisper can suddenly belt and do beautiful arias onstage. Then they get back and can't speak again. The Work Will Not Be Delayed. 

My mission has been really hard on my scriptures and journal. My journal is mostly duct tape these days and I'm going to have to get a good new set of scriptures when I get home, because mine are falling apart too... They're wearing out for good use though!!! 

Well. I'm off to the Community of Christ tour. (Joseph Smith sites.) I love Nauvoo, the gospel and you!

Sister Hallett