Thursday, February 4, 2010

February 1, 2010

Mother and Family,

I can't believe it. I was in the library for an hour writing a four page letter that was perfect and then went to change the address and the server had an error. Two weeks in a row and my e-mails have been messed up. So I'm going to try and re-cap as best as I can.
So I landed in Peoria in a spitball of an aircraft. Let's just say a couple prayers went out on that ride. There wasn't even enough room to stand all the way up, so the 9 others and I got off the plane and met the Mission President in the baggage claim area. He was there with his wife. His name is President Ericson. He's a nice guy. We then went to the stake center in Peoria and were taught how to do a church tour with investigators. We then went to the mission office and received a binder about 2 inches thick full of more rules and regulations. We met the people that work there then set off for the mission home where the President and his wife live. It's huge, there are about 12 beds in the basement as well as a small meeting area. We had dinner and a meeting to go over more rules and goals which include reaching 220 baptisms for the year of 2010. After that we could finally go to bed after being up for almost 20 hours. The next morning we all went back to the stake center to find out our companions and our new area. My new companion is Elder Eldredge and we were assigned the area of Clinton, Iowa. Both of us didn't know where this was but it's actually 2 hours north of Peoria. Here's the funny part. The President wanted to white wash the area (in other words, replace both missionaries because the area has not had much success). So Elder Eldredge has only been out 4 months, and I'm brand new, we both don't know the town, don't know the streets, don't have a car, or bikes yet, don't know the members, or the contacts or investigators. Our mission leader is Brother Tingley. He is a convert and has only been in the church for a year and a half. He was called to be the mission leader 3 months ago, but got trained 3 weeks ago so we are all new to this. All this last week, Elder Eldredge and I have been doing is tracting every day. We go the members along the way for "warm spots" where we can meet them and ask for referrals. The other night about 8 o'clock we were tracting and tried a member's house for a warm spot. They are a solid core family in the branch (yes, it's a branch, a small one at that). We were there joking about the cold and being from the desert. They got on the computer and told us that it was -9 degrees outside. We didn't even know. So it is cold here if you were wondering. All this tracting has been tough to say the least. I think it's the cold though, it really sucks the energy out of you. The people here are a bit bitter, I blame the cold. The town is so small, smaller than Flagstaff, I think. We had a meeting with an investigator this last Thursday and he committed, a man named Marcus, to be baptized and set a date. The district leaders could hardly believe it. So we are doing some white washing. Our goal as a companionship is to make the branch explode and turn this town around. I'm guessing I'll be here for at least 3 months.
Please tell Aunt Lauri thank you for the letter. Aunt Debbie, thank you for the cinnamon rolls. They were yummy in my belly. And thank her for the note. She is so nice.
Mother, I know I told you a few times I would get some pictures developed, but I forgot my card while I was at the store. I might just send it home, but then you won't have the names. I don't know, we'll see.
I'm doing good. The cold doesn't really bother me anymore. I'm staying warm and am being safe. I've only gotten through half of the tape you sent me. I really love hearing all of you.
It's almost been a month! How cool.
Missionary work is fun, when I get rejected by someone, it just makes me smile and try harder. I really do like it and see all the love in members' lives. I'm staying focused and strong.
I love you all so much, and keep writing!
Love, Elder Hale