Monday, April 25, 2016

Carlos Valdovinos

Hey Everybody,

This week was tough! Whitewash is really hard, especially here in the city. 

This sector here has a strange history. One of the assistants to the president (that finished his mission last change) served here and baptized ten people in one change - with a brand new greenie he was training! But that was over a year ago.  Our retention size right now is two (which means there have been two baptisms in the last year, maybe longer), and they're both nine-year olds... 

Also, it appears that the missionaries before us had either given up or just didn't care.  The bishop was super surprised when we came to ask for his help, and the folder for the sector was missing tons of important information. Also, the alarm on the phone was set to 8:30am.  All of the investigators of the previous set of missionaries have been impossible to visit with. In reality, there are only about three of them, because the others won't let us in the door. 

So we've been busy contacting all week, and already we've seen miracles here. We found an abuelita who usually is alone in her house, but it just happened her son was there....and surprise, he is a high priest! He wants his mom to be baptized.  It will take a lot of work because she is pretty old, but we have the ultimate MAC. (Member Assisted Contact?)  Can't get any better than having active family members in the lessons!

No photos from Elder Hale this week, so here is a Google image from la legua
We learned something interesting about the area, too. Turns out, we have a part of our sector that is the most dangerous area in Santiago.  It's called, "la legua." There is a map in our apartment that somebody drew a skull and crossbones over la legua, and wrote "Babilonia la Grande." I would send a picture, but the computer here doesn't have a working USB slot.  I'll send lots next week, I promise. 

Another image from la legua

Love you and thank you for your prayers,
Elder Hale

PS- I forgot to mention that we are not allowed to go the legua, so don't worry, Momma.  
Also, I love you :)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Flooding, Cambios, and a Stomach Virus...Good Times!

Editors note:  We heard Santiago experienced a 5.1 earthquake last week, but as we Natives know, 5.1 ain't no big deal.  We didn't hear anything about it from the mission office, which was fine - no news is good news, right?  So yesterday, early afternoon, we received the following email from the mission office: This email is only to let you know that all of the missionaries in the mission are ok, there is just a lot of rain in Chile right now. All are safely in their houses, you don´t need to worry they are all safe!

WHAT!  Thank goodness for the internet. Apparently, Santiago received the equivalent of their entire winter's rainfall in a 24-hour time period. Rivers overflowed, bridges and roads washed away, several people died, parts of the city are without drinking water, mud and water everywhere, etc.  

We weren't sure we would even hear from Nathan this week, but thankfully, we did.  And he didn't even mention the earthquake.

So....this week was pretty crazy.

Quick summary- lots of flooding, cambios, and a stomach virus.

So by far the weirdest thing of all is that right now I'm emailing from Republica in the city!! Elder Goodrich and I got Whitewashed! (See below) Elder Goodrich had been serving in Calera de Tango for almost nine months.  It  would have been a record. He still can't believe they changed us right in the middle of my training. 
Primero Distrito

Pray for me, please. Republica is one of the more dangerous parts of the mission. Mucho flaite. (Chilean for gangster/ghetto/sketchy)

The view from the new pension

The rain was pretty crazy! We didn't see the worst of it because Calera de Tango is more open than the city. The streets were like rivers on the way into Santiago today, no exaggeration in the slightest.

Singing in the rain
I got sick and missed a few hours of work this week, but I'm better now :)

I'll close this email down with a couple of funny stories. We were contacting last week in the rain (while I had a stomach virus) and this lady came out. When we asked if we could come in and share with the family she said, "I can't. It's raining."  *forehead slap*

We were teaching an abuelita before I left who is sooooo hilarious, but a bit skeptical. When we were explaining the Book of Mormon, she said, "I have some doubts about youuuuuu. You said the Lehi left Jerusalem 600 years before Christ was born. That's not possible because Christ created the Earth!"  *double forehead slap*

Just singing in the rain

Okay, love and miss you,
Elder Hale

PS - My new zone leader, Elder Matthews, was on the track team at BYU with Sierra Hansen.

Whitewash or Whitewashed = To be Whitewashed is when both companions in an area are replaced or taken out.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Hola! Hola!

Hi, everybody who is still reading my email!

This week was a bit rough, but rewarding nonetheless. We have been working and praying really hard because the number of people our zone is finding is dropping rapidly. Our goal is usually 12 people every week, and the two weeks before this one we only found like one or two people the entire week. This week we found nine, so that's pretty good. 

What was frustrating this week was that people are soooooo flaky!!!! We had 36 people in the church yesterday (lol), and we thought were going to have many more because we had commitments from a lot of less-actives.  We had three investigators that had really solid commitments to attend.  Que flojo la gente aquĆ­.... It's okay though, we have a solid month planned.  We want to baptize seven people, and we have a list of about eight investigators right now that could be baptized if everything goes right.   We also have a long list of references that look promising. 

Please pray for Diego, our Young Mens president. He is really awesome.  His sister died very unexpectedly yesterday. 

We got to watch the Priesthood session from General Conference on Saturday.  I loved it so much.  My favorite talk was President Uchtdorf's,  It was awesome. I think he said something like this in English, "If charity is the defining quality of our Savior, then surely pride is the defining characteristic of Satan."  Wow.

In honor of National Siblings Day, and since Elder Hale did not send any photos, again, here is a picture of Jonathan, Nathan, and Kyra from Mount Eden in Auckland, New Zealand - August 2014.

So I had two gross experiences this week - haha.  We went to visit Mauricio, who is one of our new investigators. He lives in the most humble home I've ever seen, I have to duck my head to walk in his house and through his gate. Anyway, he offered us some juice and came out with this stuff that looked like apple juice in a container. Then he told us, "Sorry, we don't have anymore juice.  All we have is water." LOL.  He poured us a glass and I put it on the table and left it there. 

Then yesterday we went to eat lunch with a member, the same family where I ate the soup with a few dead bugs in it.  We had this pasta stuff with some weird looking meat that tasted like fish. I thought maybe it was squid because it was chewy, but it tasted kind of gross. After the meal my companion told me it was cow stomach. Haha! Cool.

Thanks for the prayers and love,
Elder Hale

Monday, April 4, 2016

¡Conferencia General!

Hey Everybody! 

Elder Hale, the younger

This week was great! General Conference was awesome! We ended up missing President Eyring's talk, because for some reason, there were no micros when we needed to leave. Micros are the buses here, and the drivers are nuts. But for some reason, the one micro we found that day was the most conservative driver ever! lol.  So we missed a few talks that day, but that's okay, the rest were awesome! 

I wrote down two questions I had before the conference and had them both answered quickly. One of them was how can I have the pure love of Christ for my investigators and everyone I meet. The third speaker of conference answered my question in full - haha! But I especially loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk: "The lost sheep is entitled to divine help simply because it is loved." I think that was what he said (Whoops! I left my notes at home). 

Anyway, in between the sessions (right after that talk), we went contacting in Talagante, where the stake center is located. We found a woman who was a little hostile at first, but nevertheless, we kept talking to her to try to soften her heart. We gave her a ten question survey that Elder Goodrich and I wrote a few days ago to get her thinking, and she progressively warmed up and invited us in. It was the most incredible lesson I've ever had. She and her husband were very receptive. 

The elder Elder Hale on his mission in Oulu, Finland.
Any resemblance? 
When we were finishing the lesson, she started crying and told us that we had answered questions she had had for years. In her prayer, she thanked God for the angels that she and her husband had turned away so many times before. We're happy to turn them over to our zone leaders who are serving in Talagante. I know we were supposed to be there that day. 

I learned a valuable lesson that the worth of souls is great in the sight of the Lord. I am a witness of the power of the Spirit unto the convincing of men. Charity is the second most important commandment we have been given. Look no further than the Savior Jesus Christ for the perfect example of charity. 1 Nephi 11 (I think). 

Thank you all for your prayers.

Love you all.  
You are in my prayers always,
Elder Hale