Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cajun Spanish and A Birthday Tomorrow!

Love his dimpled smile!
Editor's Note- Nathan did not send photos this week and with tomorrow being is his 19th birthday, I've peppered this post with pictures of him.  Happy Birthday, Nathan!!

Hey, Everyone!

So I just learned something interesting about Chile.  An instructor related learning the dialect Chileans speak like this: Imagine a foreign-speaking missionary learning English to serve in Louisiana. So that is just wonderful.  :)

Things are going great.  We're having to work harder and harder as of late to improve. During the first few weeks there is so much to learn that you improve like crazy.  Now, you really have to focus in order to keep your rate of learning the same. 

So the other day something really cool happened. We were in class and some guy walked in while we were having a lesson about revelation through church attendance. We just kept doing what we were doing because he seemed like he was just stopping in to review our teachers or something. About half way through our lesson he interrupted and spoke to us in broken English, and proceeded to help teach the lesson.  The teacher just kind of sat down. He finished by bearing a powerful, yet incredibly, simple, testimony.  It was crazy.  When he left the room everyone was just kind of staring blankly at the door, wondering, "Who was that guy?" Later our teacher told us he was the Area Seventy! What a cool guy, taking time out of his busy schedule to visit us.
Driving Grandpa Hale's tractor
So last week one of our zone members got a Dear John. It was really hilarious though because he printed it out and laminated it. He read it to us and it was probably some of the worst English any of us had ever heard. He left yesterday and sent us an email that she was getting married in three months. Poor guy didn't even make it seven weeks. Haha. He's a good sport about it, though.
Master Jedi Nathan

I can hardly believe it's my birthday tomorrow. 

The MTC can become kind of mundane and sometimes feels like a waste of time, so every day has become a challenge to learn as much as I can. 

My companion and I went through a bit of a rough patch.  But yesterday, after a pretty bad lesson where I'm sure neither of us had the spirit, I decided to man-up and apologize. I'm really glad I did, because the Spirit is everything here and I never want to give Heavenly Father a reason to not bless me with it. 

Baptism Day!

I want the family to know that even though I haven't been out that long, I never forget whose name I wear on my chest and I try to always maintain the highest standard of maturity. I hope that when I get home I will never forget who we ALL represent as members of His restored church. 

BTW, I love hearing about what's going on back home.

Fun at the farm!
So that's all I have to say really.  I'm looking forward to when I can tell you about my investigators because not a lot of interesting things happen here. 

Please send me photos! (electronically). I just like seeing your faces every once in a while. I can take a picture of the computer screen with my camera. Also, I thought you should know that my running shoes are pretty much destroyed somehow, but don't send me any or anything like that.  I'm going to buy some in Santiago when I get there.

I love and miss you,
Elder Hale
Thanks, Kimble Photography, for the great grad photos!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Chatterbox and the Incredible Mexico City Temple!

Hey Everybody!

Last week was awesome! A few of our friends in our zone just left to head out into the field. I'm both sad and relieved. Sad because they were a lot of fun. Relieved because sometimes they were a little too much fun. Haha! 
The Mexico City Mexico Temple

I'm SUPER excited because today Dallin H. Oaks is coming to the MTC to give a devotional. PLUS we went to the Mexico City Temple today!  It was incredible. (Pictures inbound.) 

Elder Hale on the temple grounds
My companion and I have really improved our teaching skills together lately. Mostly, our Spanish has improved enough that I don't sweat every time I ask, "¿Tiene preguntas?" (Do you have any questions?) My only problem is sometimes I'm a chatterbox in our lectures and my companion has to interrupt me so he can talk. Whoops. Live and learn, I guess. 

BTW, I always forget to talk about this in my emails every week, but I met Jordan Fagan's grandparents here! They took us to the temple today.  Their names are Elder and Hermana Packard. They are so nice, and it's fun when they come up and talk to me. 

District members that are going to Santiago West
Mr. Ruptured Appendix is dumb, and when he came back from the hospital, he didn't hydrate for some reason. As a result, he passed out, went to the Enfermeria, had an allergic reaction to the medication they gave him, and ended up back in the hospital. He has to stay an extra week at the MTC while all his buddies left yesterday.

One thing that has really blessed me while I've been here is the opportunity I've had to be a district leader. I feel an extra need to follow all the rules and lead by example. It has been tough sometimes, since some of our district is not always committed to being as obedient. But this has been an excellent learning experience. I've gained a testimony of leading by example, which is something our Savior emphasized in his ministry. Why else would someone who was perfect and committed no sin have the need to be baptized - other than to set the example for us? 

God be with you,
Elder Hale

PS- Don't forget to keep sending me letters through the delivery service.  It works great!!

( FYI, Here is the link for the service:  http://www.mtcmexicocarepackage.com/home.html

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mexico City and the Mysterious Lego Hands

Elder Hale would love to receive mail!  (FYI, his birthday is coming up quickly - February 24th!!)  If you feel so inclined, you have at least three options to send him a note:

  • Snail Mail - 

Elder Nathan Hale
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

Elder Hale on the campus of the Mexico City MTC.  FYI, Kyra gave him that tie for Christmas. 
Hi Everyone!

So last week was pretty rough to say the least, but don't worry, it keeps getting better. By the way, things have calmed down a lot, so if you want to send me letters in the mail that would be fine and awesome. I can read them on P Day while I'm doing my laundry.  That way I'll have more time to email all of you. 

Anyway, last Thursday I got reeeeaallly sick. The doctor stated I had a stomach virus, and a few other people got it around the same time I did.  I threw up like 10 times, but it's cool. I'm fine now. I only missed half a day of class (which was actually kind of a miracle because doc thought I would need 3-5 days to recover).

Also, one of the members of our zone (a group of about 12 missionaries) had his appendix burst around the same time I got sick. We had to take turns within our zone being his companion in the hospital.  It was surprisingly developed- actually one of the nicer hospitals I've been in.  Driving through Mexico City I was expecting something a lot more run down. I attached some photos for you. By the way, if you can, take a look at the one with the giant Lego hand-looking statues. No one can figure out what they're for.
Statues of Lego hands?  Haha!
Language study has been going awesome. I've been talking a lot with Latinos and some of the teachers in Spanish and my speaking ability has really developed. My companion and I taught a 20-minute lesson on the Restoration without writing anything down or looking at the pamphlet. I purchased a load of flashcards from the Tienda (store) and I've been going crazy with them in my free time. 

Our district has gotten a lot closer, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It gets more and more difficult to keep everyone on task (including myself, sometimes). My companion is starting to get annoying because he makes the dumbest jokes all the time now. We still get along fine, though. The other set of elders has this one kid with perfect pitch who is really picky about the starting note when we sing, and his companion can't carry a tune.  It's really kind of funny!  Hahaha.
Elder Hale and Elder Schneider
On Sunday, one of the hermanas in our district got sick with an even worse version of what I got.  She asked for a priesthood blessing, so my companion anointed her with oil, I sealed the anointing, and then gave the blessing. It was cool.  I'd share more about it, but the experience was just too special to talk about.

Anyway, please let me know if you have anymore questions about MTC life.  It gets pretty repetitive, even after just two weeks
Elder Hale with a bronze bust.  Anyone know who this might be?
On Sunday, we talked a lot about the priesthood and about how power is withheld from those aspiring to the repute of men. (There's more in D&C 121 if you want to check it out!) I've come to the realization, while I've been here, that a lot of missionaries enter the field without the right order of priority in whom they are serving. Number one should always be God. Number two should be yourself, believe it or not. The most important convert we take away from our mission on the earth is ourself.

I love and miss you,
Elder Hale

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It's a Hard Knock Life...

It's been almost a week since Nathan entered the MTC, and today is his first P-Day (short for preparation day).  Hoping that maybe next week he will send pictures ! (?)  

Thankfully, Elder Schneider (on the right in light blue) uses his camera! Here is Nathan with his district: Elder Clark (Indiana), Elder Clements (Idaho Falls), Elder Schneider (Oregon), and Elder Hale.
Dear Fam,

Well, I'm surrounded by barbed wire fences and they made me cut my hair shorter than I like, but don't worry, I'm not in prison. 

To be honest, the first week at the MTC has not been that great. We are literally busy from 6:30am to 10:30pm. It's pretty stressful.  You don't get any exercise time, you have to go to boring orientation meetings all day, all the teachers are Mexican and speak almost no English, you have to adjust to new foods, Mexico City sometimes smells worse than a public restroom, and last but not least - it's awkward getting to know the boundaries of being a missionary with your companions and district. 

However, things have quickly become more and more fun. We spend almost the entire day studying and preparing lessons in Spanish for fake investigators. We taught our first lesson in Spanish the second day.  It's hard to even get to bed on time. However, as a result of diligence and obedience to the rules and daily schedule, my Spanish has progressed rapidly. 

My companion's name is Elder Schneider. He is obedient and committed to learning Spanish like me, which has made it easy to get along with him. The members in my district are also a lot of fun. We have one kid in our district that has impersonation skills that are almost as good as Brother Noble's. 

I was called to be district leader on Wednesday, and it is a lot of work. However, I have been blessed by the Spirit in qualifying me for this responsibility. On certain occasions, I have been directed by the Spirit in what to say in district meetings and classes to edify and inspire the members our district, specifically because the constant devotion to the language leaves little time to prepare for district meetings.  

Sorry if my emails are short. The keyboards are Spanish and it makes it difficult to find certain keys because they're labeled differently than an English keyboard. I will try to include as much as possible in my emails.

I love you all,
Elder Hale