Yesterday on Mother's Day, missionaries are allowed to call home - this is one of two times that we get to speak to him each year - the other is on Christmas Day. Hayden called us at 4PM and we spoke for over an hour. We had him on speaker phone for about 30 mins and then each person that was there spent some personal time with him.
Apparently a lot of people suffer from allergies due to all of the trees, grass and vegetation in that part of the country and Hayden is no exception...he sounded a little stuffy - so his mom is working feverishly on an "allergy-relief" package.
He told us about the work and how difficult it can be - he and his companion are very hard workers - they tract, ride their bikes miles and miles, investigate far-flung small towns and talk to people on the street. He wishes the population was more dense so that they could create more opportunities.
In the short time he as been in the field, we see his success - his influence on the people of that region (and at home) is noticeable to us even though baptisms are hard to come by - he has settled in to the missionary lifestyle (cooking, cleaning, studying and learning how to be organized) and today marks exactly two months that he has been gone...so time does go by quickly! We couldn't be more proud of what he is doing or the character and testimony he possesses. Below is his latest email:
"Yes yesterday was wonderful being able to talk to my family. That was totally a "boost"! Just what I needed. The weather has been so nice out here right now and hasn't had a thunderstorm for a while (knock on wood). It was good to hear you are all doing well. I couldn't imagine learning the lessons I am learning here on a mission, outside of a mission but here are some of the lessons I am learning.
1. How absolutely amazing the Gospel is and how lucky we are to have it in it's fulness at this time
2. How key the Book of Mormon is in conversion and how if you read it, it will testify that this church is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet and the Priesthood is restored (it truly is the keystone to our religion)
3. How incredible it is to have temples once again! No where else on Earth can you feel our Savior's Spirit so strongly and be sealed as a family for time and eternity and perform other necessary ordinances (We are so blessed!)
4. How hard mission work is (especially in the Bible Belt ha ha)
5. How much I love my family
6. How Prayer is real (before my mission I tried to take my prayers seriously but out here I have learned how in prayer you truly are talking to/with your Heavenly Father)
7. People are going to be rude but people were rude to the Savior so I feel privileged to be in his stead as a representative for him.
8. How uncomprehendable the atoning sacrifice of our Savior was.
Anywho that list will definitely grow as I grow but that's all I can think of... This week we are hoping to commit a young mom to a baptismal date! So that is exciting. The town is definitely different with the college students gone, a lot quieter ha ha. Once we were walking past some and I could hear one saying "hey ask them if they want a beer, it'll be funny" and the other saying "no don't be stupid" ha ha or some were chilling in this little pool and they were like "hey! come cool off dudes" (mockingly) and I was like "I wish I could!" or they'll taunt us "hey how many wives ya got?" ha just smile and wave Elder. Here is a quote from Elder Holland's Conference address, study those talks they were so amazing! "It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines...His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there...It is never to late so long as the Master of the Vineyard says there is time." Amazing right? I love you all."