Thursday, October 28, 2010

A real letter in our mailbox!

Dear Mother and Family,
Ok, so I have not written you in many moons, at least not a letter written by hand. A lot has gone on the past few months. So I came into Fort Dodge with 2 other companions. As it stands right now I only have one, Elder Noel. I am also District leader for the second transfer in a row. It's tough but I think that I am getting used to it. Last transfer district meeting was only 1 1/2 hours long, but now President wants it to be 2 1/2 hours long. So I have to teach a little bit longer. The hardest part I think is being that example to everyone, and most of everyone in the district has been here longer than I have, so I have to keep myself in check. President says "As goes the district, as goes the mission". So I'm trying to do everything asked of me.
So last week was a weird week like I was telling you. Nothing to get nervous about, just a little opposition, ALL WEEK LONG!! Wow, it was a hard one. I have had days that felt that bad before, but for a whole week, it was literally draining me of energy. Never had something like that before. But I'm back to my old self, my neck still hurts, ( I think sleeping on the floor threw something out of wack), so I might have to call the missionary mom (Sister Jergensen) about it.
Enough about me, now about the area. Ft Dodge is such a farming town, and all the other outside towns. Dad you would love it. Don't worry, I got some pictures the other day. You know, some John Deere stuff. Oh and I also got you a puzzle at the World's largest Truck Stop! It's of a cow, your favorite.
I really don't have any awesome, cool amazing stories if you guys were looking for that (at least not at this point). A lot of what we have to do is defend what we believe, and not bash with people. Because of where I am at, in the Bible Belt of America, and how close I am to Nauvoo and other old church sites, there is a lot of contention with the people and the church. The other day Elder Noel and I tracted into a lady who knew a lot about our church. She went on to say that the Book of Mormon was false, because it was an "additions to the Bible" as it says at the end of Revelations. So we said if we look at Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 it states that exact thing stated in Revelations,"Do not add or take away from God's word", but Deuteronomy was written thousands of years before Revelations. And that is because the Bible is compiled of 66 separate books that were later put together to make the bible as we know it today. So the statement "do not add or take away from these things" is only talking about Revelations and not the bible as a whole. Concern resolved, right? Nope, she then went off about grace and how we (as in God's children) are in a grace phase and we don't need to show works. All we have to do to be saved is accept Jesus into our hearts and that's it. You wouldn't believe how many people actually believe this. We went back and forth about this topic for a few minutes while we were sharing bits and pieces from James 2: 17 -26 about faith and how it is tied to action. She then suddenly looked at me and said, "So what is all of this about?" I said "There is a prophet right now, leading and guiding all of God's Children" She looked me square in the face and said boldly "You're Wrong!" This was one of the times where I felt so sorry for this lady. Here is an opportunity knocking at your door inviting you to come closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father by making a covenant with Him, and ultimately receiving exaltation, but you closed your mind and hardened your heart. I just felt so sorry for her.
Oh, I forgot to tell you there is a member in the ward here, his name is Brother Jensen and he served in Phoenix, well actually it was more of south Phoenix, but he served briefly in our stake. He was transferred to the Biltmore ward for a week and went to our stake center. He also know Bishop Riding when he was a councelor to the Mission President. It's a small world in the church.
Our apartment rocks! It is way bigger than the one in Clinton. We have a ping pong table, a bunch of work out gear and a washer and dryer in the apartment. The complex really isn't that big. There is probably 30 or so apartments in the whole thing. The only bad part about it is that we are located on the edge of town on top of a hill. So when ever we take the bikes out, it is fun leaving, but coming home is always a pain.
Being a district leader is fun to say the least. It wears me out though. Right now in this new district, there is Elder Noel and I in Fort Dodge, Sister McGuire, Sister Dalton, Sister Guthery in Hampton, and Elder Franz and Elder Wilson in Mason City. I cannot believe Elder Wilson is in the district! He followed me all the way over from Clinton. I get to go on exchanges with him as well so I'll get to hear about what's new in Clinton.
This letter is a little bit different than the ones I usually send. I hope it gives a little more insight on the mission life. I agree mom, we never really talk because we write about different things on different days of the week. It's like we both say stuff and not much response, I'll try to do better.
I want to thank you for the information about Jonathan H. Hale and Elijah Thomas. When we went to Winter quarters, we were able to go on a tour of the visitors center. After we went through the temple, as we started the tour, the sister missionary started going off about how much the saints struggled and the pain and suffering that they had to bear. She then compared that struggle to the struggle of missionaries today then compared it to our own missionary struggle. Then the sister missionary took us over to the "look out" where it overlooked the temple and the graves. She then asked us why we were on a mission I got a little choked up, just a little bit, then told a small portion of my conversion and how I had got there. We then went on through the whole tour and still having our missionary struggle compared to the saints' struggles. And then you sent the stories of our families and what sacrifices they had gone through to build God's kingdom once again. It was truly amazing to realize that I am serving in the same area where my family served, still building God's kingdom. I put those stories right next to my patriarchal blessing in my mission folder.
Well, I love you guys and thanks for the Halloween package.
Love, Elder Hale