Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 12, 2010

Ok, so I know I've been holding out on letters, but we've been so busy with the work, but that's no excuse so here's a letter that should make up for all of them.
So, Dad, you got a bell? Is that right, like the one at Grandpa's house? That sounds sweet! How far along is the attic coming? I want to see some pictures of it when it's all done. It sound like Phoenix has had a ton of rain since I've been gone. I love it when it rains in the desert, enjoy the greenery and that smell of wet desert, I love that smell. The snow here is almost gone, just little bits left here and there. This week I've finally seen grass. I forgot what that looks like. People in the branch are excited. They said from the beginning of December until now Iowa has received the most continuous snow. So we are all happy to see the snow melt and see green once again. It's been in the 30's and 40's. It's been so nice, we just wear the suit coats when we're out and it feels great.
Sounds like the Pioneer handcart thing will be fun. I wish they could have done that when I was a youth. I didn't know how bad the earthquake was in Chile for a long time, but it was an 8.8 and lasted 2-3 minutes. That is so wild. I'm glad Elder Orozco is ok. We had a member print us off an account of the mission president's wife in the area of Chile that got hit the hardest. She actually was inspired in the night that there was going to be an earthquake. I sent it with this letter. You'll have to read it. It's really interesting.
Mother, tell Shannon that I write everyone back, but especially her.
I'm sorry to hear about Michael. I hope he's getting better. Aunt Lauri wrote me a letter a week or two ago and I was about to write her back, then I heard about Michael. I'm glad I waited to write so I can write something to help her out.
Thank you for the package and the birthday stuff for Elder Eldredge. He has received 2 pieces of mail since I've been here with him and he's always checking the mail, but it's always for me, so it kind of makes me feel bad. But the birthday stuff was great. I'm going to throw him a big 21st birthday. He doesn't believe me, but I will. Right now he's making me blueberry pancakes which I really haven't had since I was home. He's such a great guy.
I actually met a duck the other day. We were in South Clinton and it's separated by the train tracks, so we come out from the tunnel to south Clinton and Eldredge asks me which way to go. I look over and see a duck. At first I thought it was a little statue sitting on the porch (because everyone in the Midwest does, I don't know why) so we head that way and as we got closer, the duck starts to move. It was a super nice duck! I named him Harold and started petting him. I have some sweet pictures of him and Elder Eldredge getting along that I will send the next time I do pictures.
The other week was great because we got approached by a man named Larry. We were out walking down the main street of town looking for people to talk to. I told Elder Eldredge that we should take a side street that went off the main road. We walked for a couple blocks and saw a truck on the other side of the street with someone sitting in it while it was idling there. We both looked at it and thought nothing of it. We walked about 100 ft down the road and the man in the truck got out and was running after us asking if we were the "mormons". We said we were and he said that he had been taught by the missionaries, but then moved suddenly and lost contact. Without hesitation, he asked us "will you come teach me?" We both looked at him funny and were like "YES!" We got his info and headed off. We set up an appointment a few days later and headed over. We were on splits that night so it was just me and a member of the branch over to teach him for the first time. I always get nervous every time on splits cuz the member just sits there and looks at me. And then I feel like I just ramble the whole time. So I teach him the whole lesson and kind of talk a bit about prayer at the end. He tells me about what happened to him that night when we met. He said that since he moved, he had been praying about religions and that kind of thing. He had been waiting for someone to knock on his door, but no one did. So when he saw us that night, he wasn't going to come talk to us, but then something told him that maybe he needed to come find us, instead of us finding him. I told him that we had been inspired that night to walk down that street and he found that real interesting.
I don't have too many adventures here in Iowa, but I try to keep it interesting. Last week I was kind of in a low spot. I was really sick on Tuesday so we stayed inside all day. We had p-day before (on Monday) so that I felt like we had almost gone 2 days without doing much missionary work. It also seemed like the MTC spiritual high had been wearing off, so it felt like I was missing that new missionary drive. I kind of got down on myself Sunday night thinking about the week and then suddenly thought to read my patriarchal blessing. I read that and it has put in a new sense of determination into me. The next morning I was reading in 3 Nephi when Christ was teaching the people and talking about the last day (3 Nephi 21:26-20). It's all about missionary work and the last days when the missionary work will go abroad. In verse 29 it basically says "for I will go before them . . . and I will be their rearward" It just let me know that Christ has my back as I go out and do his work. I just need to bear that in mind and stop worrying about what I think, whenever I doubt I can always turn and find him there to help me. That's the hard part though, stop worrying about what I think and just keep doing the work. Every time I do work and talk to people I feel great, no matter what mood I'm in. If I just start talking to people and teaching them, I don't know what it is, I just forget my concerns and automatically feel great. I truly love being a missionary and going around talking to people and even being rejected. Elder Eldredge and I have so much fun serving together, it's going to be a tough day when we have to part, but change is great. Change is the only thing to help individuals progress. As much as I don't like change, to step outside of my bounds, I always see that it makes me better over all and pushes me to grow.
Sorry I don't have the best stories, or am able to explain them as much as I could, but I hope you like them. The members in the branch are so wonderful, they support us as much as they can and feed us soooo well when we are invited over. I have much more understanding of the missionary/member relationship and roles in the church. I'm loving life and am pushing for baptisms. I just received a letter from Elder (Jacob) Thompson today so we are in contact. I know you were wondering. I hope you can read my handwriting and my misspellings.
LOVE YOU ALL and can't wait to hear from you.
Much Love, Elder Hale