Monday, March 28, 2016

There's A Fly In My Soup...

Hey everybody! 

We baptized Victoria and Mauricio this week.  It was awesome! I included a picture. 
Elder Hale, Mauricio, Victoria, and Elder Goodrich

Unfortunately, that's about the only good news for this week. We had a lot of trouble finding new people to teach. People here are very reluctant to talk with us because Catholic and Evangelical churches are very prominent here, and the pastors preach nasty and false things about us. 

We were really worried when we were teaching Victoria and Mauricio because they live with Victoria's mom and she is Catholic and sits in on lessons sometimes. When we extended the invitation to be baptized we were worried they would be pressured to say no.

One day last week we went to visit a contact we had, and the dad came outside and told us everyone was out working. We asked if we could use the bathroom and he asked us to hold on a minute. We saw him, through the window, tell the people in the living room to hide and they all filed out. Hahaha. When we were inside I saw the table all set for lunch. Lol. 

Also, one of our favorite investigators killed us. He's a blind guy named Mauricio, and during the last lesson he was having a lot of doubts. We told him to listen to the Book of Mormon on his CD that he has, and pray for wisdom. He called us like two days later and said he didn't want to do it because he just wanted to believe in God.

Also, I ate some soup at a members house yesterday that had like five dead flies in it.  Cool. 
The soup bowl looks empty...Hmmm



Anyway, despite all this I want to say that I've found a lot of strength in the scriptures, and I've found that the times we feel closest to the Savior is when we feel what he felt when he gave his ministry. How lucky we are to deliver the message of the restored gospel in an age when it will never again be taken from the earth!

Love and miss you,
Elder Hale

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Wedding, Some Dogs, And Two Packages!

So, this week was awesome! 

The highlight is that last night one of our investigator families called us and told they would be getting married today! This is super cool because we often have struggles with families where the parents aren't married. In Chile it is really difficult to get a divorce  It can take over a year to get one, and it's really hard. We have five family baptismal candidates that probably won't see the font because they are afraid to get married or they already got married and divorced and haven't done the paperwork.  So we went to the wedding this morning, it was awesome, and as a bonus we got a free lunch on P Day :).   They will be baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday in church! 

So I'll add a little more information about Chile in this email since my last one was so short. 

"This is the humble home of one of our investigators.  The floors are concrete, and the ceiling is so low, I have to duck!"
There are dogs literally EVERYWHERE. I have asked other South American missionaries about this and they say that there are a lot (of dogs) in other countries, but here it is out of control. It's okay, though.  We carry our Libro de Mormons as weapons (for both the spiritual and the temporal). 

The people here are awesome, but they are SO FLAKEY! We had horrible retention this week, even though we worked our butts off to teach everyone a lesson about church attendance, and personally invite them to church.  There was also a huge futbal game at the same time, so I think that might have been why no one came to church.  I gave a talk, too, but there were only about 39 people there to hear it. The Calera de Tongo branch has about 60 people, so we can become a ward pretty soon.  I think we need like ten more members in order to be a ward.
By the way, Mom, I got your package and I love it! Thank you so much! Also, I got a package from the Surowiec's, too. Please send me their address so I can send them a thank you card. But for now, tell them I received it, it was awesome, and thank you! They're the best!

To answer you question Dad, YES. When I get home I feel like my brain will explode. Also the food is great. I haven't eaten anything I didn't like - yet. We do lunches here and we eat something for dinner really quickly between planning and 10:30pm (which is like 10-minutes of time to eat.  Haha!)

Love you guys! I pray for you always.
Elder Hale

Monday, March 14, 2016

Tin Roofs and A Baptism

Hey Everybody, Chile is awesome! 
Elder Hale with Matias and Elder Goodrich (photo courtesy of Momma Goodrich!)

The people are nice and the culture is pretty similar to America. Many of the people are also very poor, though. Most of the lessons we've taught have been in houses with dirt or concrete floors, and tin roofs. 

My companion, Elder Goodrich, is awesome! He's not exactly a legend when it comes to Spanish, but that's okay because we are learning together. He can understand everything people say, though. I can hardly tell when someone asks me where I am from! 

My first area is called Calera de Tango.  It is a poorer area, in terms of the area surrounding Santiago. 

We baptized a 10-year old boy named Matias yesterday. His mom is less-active and Elder Goodrich met with her (before I arrived).  We have been working with Matias all week to prepare him for baptism. 

Nathan's district at the Mexico City CCM
The dialect the people speak here is very strange.  I can understand Mexicans, but Chileans are tough to understand.

Que le vaya bien,
Elder Hale

PS - Mom my email is short because I ran out of time reading emails. Sorry!

More photos of the boys at the Mexico City MTC (CCM)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hasta La Vista, Mexico City! Hello, Santiago!

Elder Hale with President and Sister Barreiros
After delayed flights, suspicious credit card charges out of Luxembourg, and 36+ hours of being awake, Elder Hale finally reached Santiago!  We received a PDF of a brief, handwritten letter, transcribed below, along with several photos and a lovely note from the mission president.



Hola!

I've made it to Chile safely.  Everything is going great.

Incoming missionaries


My new area is great!  I'm outside the city in a town called Tango.  It is much poorer than the city, but it's so cool!

Sister Barreiros, Elder Goodrich, Elder Hale, and President Barreiros


My companion's name is Elder Goodrich.  He's great!  He's super obedient and a great missionary. They call him "Goodrich la Bautista!" (Goodrich the Baptist)


It will be tough to adjust to everything, but I know God is on my side.


Love and miss you,
Elder Hale



9 March 2016

Dear Brother and Sister Hale,

Sister Barreiros and I were pleased to welcome your son, Elder Hale, to one of the finest missions in the world, the Chile Santiago West Mission.  He is well and happy, and we are impressed with his enthusiasm for the work.  After greeting him at the airport and a brief tour of the beautiful city of Santiago, we arrived at our mission home. We had a delicious lunch together. Afterward, we went to the mission office which is the Stake Center of Maipú. I interviewed your son. He met his new companion, and they departed for their pension to rest from the long flight. The next day, My Assistants and office missionaries gave him a brief orientation of the mission, and he is now off to his first day of work in his new sector. 

Elder Hale has been assigned to work with Elder Goodrich, who will serve as his training companion.  Trainers are chosen for their competence, patience and dedication, and are selected after prayerful consideration.  With this letter we are including a photograph taken of your son and his new companion with Sister Barreiros and myself.

Please accept our deep appreciation for raising such a fine son.  We feel a genuine fellowship with you in supporting and providing him this opportunity to grow spiritually as he labors to bring souls unto Christ.  It is my prayer that the Lord will inspire us all to sustain him in this challenging assignment.  Please write him frequently, weekly if possible.  Express your love, support, and confidence in him.  You will witness miraculous changes in his life as he engages fully in the service of others.

Being parents ourselves, we understand your desire to occasionally send packages.  For your information, packages sent to your missionary through FedEx often require large duty fees which must be paid by the missionary.  Those sent through Global priority mail, marked missionary supplies and valued less than $100 usually arrive duty free and within 2 weeks.

If you have any questions or if we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to write.

Sincerely, 

President Jose A. Barreiros
Chile Santiago West Mission

Thursday, March 3, 2016

El Niño, Which is Spanish for "The Niño"

Hola!

P-day got changed to Thursday this week, so you can call off the SWAT team, Mom and Dad. (JK - I love you so much!)

Elder Hale enjoying his chocolate milk.  Thanks, Momma Schneider, for sharing photos!  
So, this week has been a lot of fun. We're leaving pretty soon and things are more relaxed and yet somehow more hectic than ever.

I loved getting emails from everybody! Thank you for all the birthday wishes!
Elder Hale's birthday party!  Looks entertaining...
My companion and I have been teaching really good lessons lately. The other day we taught one of our fake investigators the law of chastity.  She stated it was our best lesson yet and that we were teaching on a high level for the MTC.  We also taught our last TRC, which are people from the area who volunteer to be taught a lesson. They speak really fast and are hard to understand, and most of the time, the lessons are usually kind of a train wreck. But we taught a bomb lesson to both of the members and we both understood everything they said, which is cool. 

The Spirit is everything here.  A few times I've had trouble feeling it when I needed to resolve something with my companion or change my work habits.  Our lessons are garbage without the Spirit.  I do everything I can to be worthy of that blessing.

Elder Hale shaking hands with Elder Oaks
So, a new district came in this last week and one of the guys is like 6´8" and the buffest dude I've ever seen. We asked one of the district members about him and he told us that when Elder Muscles opened his suitcases on the first day, one of them was filled ENTIRELY with bags of protein powder!!!! This wasn't just a little carry on bag, this was a full suitcase!! Priorities, I guess.

Santiago-bound boys on the slide
One of my buddies, Elder Simonton, left this week to go to Kansas. He was a cool guy.  We played cage soccer together almost everyday with the Latin American kids.

By the way, mom, don't send me anything in the mail because I probably won't get it.  I leave the MTC on Monday around 8pm. Our flight leaves at like midnight. Also, I will have to use my credit card to pay for a checked bag but I can get reimbursed at the mission office in Chile.

So, BTW, SEND ME PICTURES OF WHAT Y'ALL ARE DOING!!! I love hearing what's going on in emails, but pretty soon I'll have to only read them in emailing time. Pictures say everything, so start taking more photos of what you guys are doing, even if it's not that cool and just attach them to your emails. I love seeing your faces.  It's a great reminder of the love I need to develop for my companions and investigators.

Speaking of love, I just wanted to share a really brief thought. I was reading the scriptures in Spanish the other day about Abinidi when he is calling King Noah to repentance. For some reason I had always pictured the scene with Abinidi angrily preaching to Noah. However, when I read it this time, I just started to feel in my heart the love Abinidi had for the people he was preaching to. I know that if he had been angry and didn't feel genuine love for Noah and the Nephites, he would not have preached with power and authority. In fact, Noah almost let him go when he felt the power of his message. I'm going to try hard to develop this love for my investigators, because when I do they will be more understanding that the Spirit is central in conversion.

Que le vaya bien,
Elder Hale

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Bupkis...Nothing!

P-day has been on Tuesday since Nathan entered the MTC (CCM).  Well, here it is Wednesday night and we still haven't heard from him!  Momma Bear has been refreshing her computer screen every ten minutes for the past two days.  She's like a junkie awaiting her fix.

We have spent just a little time speculating as to why we've had no communication this week.  Below are a few of our ideas.  Feel free to add your own...Remember, these are only theories - pure conjecture. 

  • The computers/servers were down on Tuesday, so they missed out.
  • There was some big event at the CCM, so that interfered with computer time.
  • Because they are leaving for Santiago next week, they postponed P-Day for their group.
  • There was a massive power outage in Mexico City on Tuesday, which coincided with sacred, P-Day computer time.
  • ???
When we finally hear from the silent Elder Hale, we will update and share!  Thanks for your love and support! 

If you want to send a printed letter, take advantage of this awesome service!  But do it soon, since we believe he will leave Mexico City on Tuesday - again, more speculation. :)