Monday, March 17, 2014

Junior and Shamar

Well my friends,

It was another fantastic week!!! I must first say that I ate at a Mexican food restaurant for the first time on my mission. (see picture below) Yea it was really good too I got a pork carnitas burrito. Holy schnikes I needed that! Barbados has been great I have never felt closer to home then here. 

We had some fun at the beginning of the week finding in the richest neighborhoods we could find. Now I know where all the white people are coming from... We had a funny experience meeting this guy that was like Jack Black off school of rock. When we met him he came out and talked to us in his underwear and it was very brief. No pun intended. He set up a time for us to come back and when we did he of course was in his underwear again and he had just woken up. We talked for like one minute and then he was like "Well I'm gonna get back to breakfast guys.." He gave us each a pound and went back in.. I was like what the heck! Breakfast at 1:30 in the afternoon! This guy is living it up. haha. Best re-enactment of Dewey Finn I've ever seen. Why did I picture that going any better in my head? 

We had another odd but cool experience with another lady. I called into the house and right when she saw us she was like "NOO!" "NO!" "NO!" I said "Ok" and as she was walking away my comp was said "Can we just introduce ourselves?" Then she said "Alright you are very persuasive come in!" I couldn't believe my ears. She changed her mind in a split second and we went in and had a great lesson. The Lord is definitely opening the hearts of the people. Before I came here I was told I wouldn't be able to get into much houses to teach, but that the people are rude and make you teach from outside their gate. That has not happened to me once. 

Our biggest success was with two of our investigators Junior and Shamar. They both came to YSA on Saturday and we played the most intense game of futbol ever. They both fit in perfectly with the youth in the branch they are all into the same stuff. This caused Shamar to come to church for the first time yesterday. His little brother Nicholas is the  one that just got baptized recently. He has never been interested in religion so I didn't know how he would feel about church. We had been trying to get him to come for a long time but he always made excuses. But to everyone's surprise he loved all the classes he got way into it and asked a lot of questions. It's funny because everything is new to him even just the basics about Jesus Christ. He had like 10 epiphanies at church. He said that he wished that it was another hour longer because the discussions were so interesting. He accepted a baptismal date to work towards in April. 

Junior is doing so well that we moved his baptismal date up to this Saturday. It's really cool because he lived a pretty rough life but has completely changed and wholeheartedly accepts the gospel.

This man Cary we met last week made for an interesting week. The way we met him was some people at his work showed him some tape where these guys totally attack the Bible and say that it was made up by white people and all this craziness. It really shook his faith. He is not a Jehovah's Witness but is kind of on the path to becoming one. As he was riding his bike home from work he saw us teaching someone so he stopped to ask us some questions. When he walked up to us he couldn't even say what he wanted to say. It was like he was so surprised or embarrassed that he actually got off his bike and was now talking to us. He explained the whole story and had a million questions. He was pretty frantic because everything he believed had just been shattered so it wasn't the best time to answer all his eccentric questions. We went back to teach him yesterday and it couldn't of gone better. We started by teaching him the reason there is so much confusion is because of the great apostasy. We went in depth of all the religious history that happened from 0 to 1800 AD. We taught him about the Restoration and then answered many many questions. With a Jehovah's Witness background we had to teach about the Garden of Eden, God's omniscience, the spirit of man, and the 144,000 to name a few.. Seriously... He put up a good fight but by the end he could see the truth of what we were saying. His statements changed from "I can't see why a loving God would set Adam up to fail and come to this evil world.." Obviously because Witnesses believe it was not part of God's plan for Adam to fall. By the end he finally got it and said "So God set this plan up so this life would play out and we could gain experience." That's pretty much the nutshell version of what happened but I think his brain almost exploded with all the scriptures and doctrine that he learned. We completely burned him out of questions. He said he feels like he learned something he's not supposed to know. haha. I am thankful for these doctrines that truly reveal the brilliance of God. 

Well love you all. Life is good!


Elder Hale

Monday, March 10, 2014

Solid for Truth

Dear You Guys,

This week we have had some great successes. We have found some people that are really solid for truth! We are teaching this guy Junior and because he has seen how the gospel has changed his Aunt's life he has been super receptive. He had been reading the Book of Mormon and changed a lot of things in his life before we started teaching him. He said he wants to be baptized as early as possible so we set a date for the end of the month. We met this other boss guy named Ronald and he lives in the Garden of Eden. He has every kind of fruit you can think of and he took us on this journey while he told us his life story. He was surprised after we taught him because had heard so many things about Mormons and he absolutely loved the Restoration. He talked about how he has been trying to get closer to God but has become so confused because every church he went to had something missing. He loved learning about the great apostasy and the first vision was his favorite part because he had a spiritual experience in his life that people said couldn't happen. He told us we could come everyday if we want. He is a super funny guy I think he'll make a great member.

On Saturday we an investigator to come to YSA and we had a blast playing dodge ball. It got intense as you can see in the pics. The last picture is a flying fish. They taste great! Well gotta go!


Elder Hale

Monday, March 3, 2014

Argo Fest

Happy March everyone! (I am writing this email very slow cause I know some of you don't read so fast..) We have dubbed this the "Missionary Month of March." We made a newsletter to promote a unified fast for missionary work. Tonight we are having a fireside to talk about the goal of getting every member to get one friend to church this month. Yea I know shoot for the moon and get the stars.. We are hoping that this will bring a lot more success for the branch.
We did 3 puppet shows this week! One was for the kids at the child development center and they really loved it. Then we performed Friday and Saturday at Agro Fest. It is a huge festival in Barbados which is similar to the state fair. There was tons of people and we performed our puppet show on the main stage! It was super funny the stage was legit I would've loved to jam on it. I don't know how it's so easy to get these great gigs with puppets. Maybe I will have to incorporate some puppets into the live performance.. Maybe not... The Saturday performance was pretty funny cause it started pouring rain and everyone took cover but the missionaries doing the puppets had to stay and get soaked. It rained twice this week. Two days the first time, three days the second time. I'll send pics from Agro fest and it will tell the rest of the story.
We are having success with Jalisa. She has told us straight up that she thinks our doctrine is much better then any church and she wishes her church talked about the things we do. She admits that the only problem is she is comfortable where she is. She has made so many friends in her church and has a lot of responsibility. So right now we just got to help her get over the social concerns. She came to church yesterday and seemed to enjoy it.
This week what I have pondered on and gained a great testimony of is this: Those who are hungering and thirsting for truth will eventually have the opportunity to learn of this gospel. And beyond that they will come to know that it is true. I can't tell you how many times I show up at someone's door and they have those great questions of the soul that no one can seem to answer for them. And it's those questions that our doctrine can knock right out of the ballpark. Or sometimes it's someone hurting from sin or many other things, but either way we seem to end up at the right persons door. I love it.
Stay classy my friends.
Elder Hale

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fantastic in Truth

Well it's been a fantastic in truth.. That's some west indian lingo. They say "in truth" or "for truth" after everything. Except it sounds like "troot" Example the other day this guy said, "That fruit makes a rale nice juice for troot!" haha you would have to hear it to appreciate it.
We had great success with the people we are teaching. Pres and Sis Mehr were in town for District Conference and I guess we were the only ones brave enough to have them come out teaching with us. No one else likes to teach in front of President Mehr. haha. So we picked them up at the Marriot hotel and took them by Mr. Coffee Black the cool Rasta man. This guy has tons of questions about everything because he has a lot of different views. But he still is open and is really searching for the truth. My favorite part was when Coffee was complaining about a lot of the churches he sees were the people basically put on a fashion show and gossip about eachother. He said that's what first attracted him about our church. President Mehr told him that none of that will matter in the end.."Your rasta hairs will go into the ground and turn to dust, my gray hairs will go into the ground and turn to dust.." It was super funny. It was great to have the master teacher out with us. Coffee brought his wife and kid to churchon Sunday and we had some great discussions in the classes.
Another wonderful success has been Debra. She is the sweetest lady ever. We've become very close to her after all our visits. She is so open and has been praying and praying about everything. Her husband has read some ridiculous stuff about the church. We had already prepared her by telling her that she would hear those things. I always prepare them for that because there isn't one person I've taught that doesn't hear something from someone once they start to progress. Opposition always comes.. So she had a little doubt but she kept soaking in everything. I knew her answer was coming soon because she was definitely praying with a sincere heart and real intent. So we promised her that she would have her answer any day now. The next time we came she told us of all these spiritual experiences she had reading the Book of Mormon and even seeing visions. She told us she prayed about Joseph Smith and she got her answer. She felt the calm assurance from the Holy Ghost that "He was a man of God." Now comes the next hard part.. She is super active in her church and they need her in the choir. She's just trying to get the courage to tell them because she has been in that church her whole life. We went to her service on Sunday after our church. It was interesting.. The pastor called us out as we sat in the back.. He said. "I'm not talkin about The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints!!" "I'm talkin about the Church of God!!!" Yea nice guy. But we enjoyed ourselves it was an eye opening experience.
Jalisa is also coming along great she has us come every night and just asks all the questions she wants. We have been teaching her about the priesthood and she is connecting all the dots. She is gaining a testimony and it's scaring her a little because she like Debra is very involved in her church. We also visited her church on Saturday. That's the Seventh Day Adventists. The people were very kind and the organization of the church is similar to ours. Rumour has it that Ellen G. White was a Mormon then she left because she couldn't have the priesthood. So all the similarities make a lot of sense... Boy you should see people's faces when we walk into their church! haha. I don't know if MJ could've got that kind of attention. But yea great people very kind. I have gained a lot of appreciation for our church and the doctrines that are taught in church. I love to have to think about deep insights, not only just learn the importance of "Praising the Lord!" It's the same with musical taste. Most people listen to what's on the radio because after a long day of work the last thing they wanna do is think deep about a song and it's lyrics. gotta go!

Sis Armstrong's famous flying fish!

My fajita's with mango salsa 
Face painting Shon-Shon

Brock sent me this jersey from Chile and my old watch!


Monday, February 17, 2014

I'za Mormon. I'z Know It. I'z Live it. I'z Love it.

Greetings from Barbados!
I hope you all are doing well. We had some great successes this week. We are teaching the coolest Rasta man I've ever taught. He has come to church a few times just because his small son likes to come. He doesn't believe in the Bible but believes in Salasi. Everything we have showed him in the Book of Mormon he has absolutley loved. He has all the deep questions about exaltation and the plan of salvation has been very enlightening to him.
All our other investigators progressed this week even the ones that seemed to be stuck. We got the Green family to come to church again and also Margaret who has been taught for almost a year without ever setting foot in the church. So that was big. What was bigger is that Pres and Sis Mehr were in town for District Conference and they spoke on Sunday. I'm telling you Pres Mehr has got to be the best mission president out there. His speaking is how I imagine Joseph Smith or Brigham Yound from what I have read in their discourses. He takes the deepest of subjects and makes them simple and edifying. We went back Sunday night to teach the Greens and we really felt the spirit with them. Definitely one of my favorite families I've met on my mission. I feel very blessed right now for all the success we are having right now. Other then that nothing much happened but I'm doing great, working hard, and having fun.
Elder Hale

My first planner cover voted best ever! 
The Green family (left Aleya, middle Dashanna, red top Sheryl) Elder Shariatmadari doing his hair(: Margaret with umbrella


Monday, February 10, 2014

"Yea, it shall be an exceedingly great transfer"

Wow this week was a blur! And so much happened and don't know where to start. I guess to start it's already been a transfer in Barbados and I only got a few more now. That is really scary I feel like I just got here. Transfer calls came and we are both staying..gladly! Elder Shariatmadari and I are working great together and I believe this transfer a lot of great things will come to pass. Yea, it shall be an exceedingly great transfer. 

We are working with this lovely lady named Deborah. She's in her 60's and belongs to a Methodist church. But she has been so great to teach she is soaking it all and is receiving answers to her prayers. She just wants to make sure this is the right thing because she has been in her church her whole life. We explained that church would help her get that answer and she would love it. On Sunday she came to church with Sis Patrick which is her long time friend. The talks and classes went really good and Deborah just loved it all she looked so happy. In the class she expressed how enlightening all the lessons have been and how grateful she is to God that she has found more truth. 

We have a lot of fun with this other girl Jalisa that loves to ask questions. She was just baptized last year but she says that she still feels like there is something missing. After our first lesson on the Restoration of the Gospel she really enjoyed it. But when we came back she said she didn't pray about it cause she was afraid of the answer she would get. She didn't want to find out that she was in the wrong place after she has already moved churches a few times. But as we talked she came to realize herself that all those experiences had led her to be where she is today and now Heavenly Father is ready to show her more. She asked the most wonderful questions about the Plan of Salvation. There was certain things that she just couldn't understand... "Just Heaven and Hell??" "What about the people that didn't know about Jesus?" Of course we taught her about the spirit world, resurrection, and kingdoms of glory. She seemed so relieved that her questions were finally answered and they felt right.

We also had a wonderful baptism after church for Nicholas Bourne and there was a lot of members there. 

Clarkson has been greatly blessed this week. He hasn't had any work for years and things in Barbados are tougher then ever now. We promised him that the Lord would take care of him if he just lives the gospel and he certainly has done that. Finally this week someone offered him work every day to do some gardening. He was thrilled!

Have a good week friends. 

You know who loves you. 

-Elder Hale

The puppet show made the papers!

Nicholas's baptism

Monday, February 3, 2014

Birthday in Barbados

Thanks for the Birthday wishes everyone I had a great day. We went to this nice Italian restaurant and had some pizza and gelato. Wow, I've been waiting for that my whole mission. The sisters made me some cake and I have been fed by members my last 3 or 4 meals... I was so glad it was fast sunday cause I needed a break from food. We have another baptism this week for Nikolas Bourne. He is the son of the beloved Sherry Bourne. When I first got here I guess she hadn't been to church for a year but now she is totally active and that's how Nikolas is getting baptized now. 
I think I decided that my favorite part of missionary work is tracting. That's usually what every missionary despises but I find it fun. It's exciting to call into a house and have no idea what kind of person is going to open the door. And then having to persuade them in about 3-4 sentences that the message we share is just what they need. I wouldn't call it a game but in a way it gives me that kind of satisfaction! We met some really awesome people this week and also some not so nice chaps. But I love it either way. We had this guy just screaming in our faces spit flying everywhere and we hardly had to say a word to get that reaction. There's not much that can get under my skin anymore I can tell you that. But on the other hand his friends were totally interested in what we had to say. It feels good to stand for the truth. 
Can't believe this is already the last week of the transfer! I would be devastated if I got transferred but I know it won't happen. Time is going too quick... Enjoy your week my loved ones!
Elder Hale  

the puppet show

Gelato for my bday!

my tourist look today