Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 1 in Tirana, Albania

Here is Elder Jonathan Hald's first letter written on his first p-day about his first week in Tirana, Albania.  Apparently, they use internet cafes to write from, and the computer he was using did not have a drive from his memory card, so he won't be sending photos until gets to a computer which has it.

I Dashur family and friends

This has been my first week in Albania. It has been SOOO CRAZY!!!! We left the MTC Tuesday 4:30am. We arrived in Albania Wednesday around noon. Everyone there were looking at us. We got our luggage and found the assistants and the Mission President and his wife. My district go to get a ride in a minivan called "Big Blue". We quickly found out that people are crazy drivers. There are almost no traffic lights. In addition, people totally ignore them. People just drive how they want. We all were freaking out a little. In Albania you have to drive as if you are in an action movie. It was great. So when we arrived at the mission home we got to eat some sandwiches and then we went out to go tracking with another missionary while the mission president conducted his interviews with everyone. It was a really fun experience. It was very interesting to go talk to people in downtown Tirana. I could not understand a word the people said. I had a The Best Two Years experience "This is not the language they taught me in the MTC". SO afterwards we tracked and I had my interview we had dinner. It was ALBANIAN PIZZA!!! It is really good. after that we went to a "the nicest" hotel in Tirana. IT was 15 dollars for a night per person. The room looked like a motel room, but just a lot lower standard then Americans are use to. Anyway, Next day we go to the place were Albania was dedicated for missionary work. we got some time to consecrate ourselves and then we had some Burek (albanian breakfast). Then we went back and had some more Albanian pizza. Then right after we got put into companionships and where we would serve for the first 4 months. I am being trained by Elder Matson in Tirana 2nd branch. I found out that we have a lot in common. So random thing, When sister Ford (mission president's wife) saw me she said "oh you must be the opera singer". I was in shock how she knew. So I will most likely be singing in mission conferences or church. 
Now it is monday, my first Pday. We went around Tirana as a district and played some soccer. Also we went into a mosque. it was interesting. 
Basically I have found out that missionary work is great, but is really hard at the same time. It demands a lot of mental strength. I really love the people the people here. Oh and did I mention that on my first day, 20 minutes after I got my new companion I invited someone to be baptized? Well I did. He says that he will when he knows the book of mormon is ture. Also we have 1 baptism coming up next week and 2 more in 4 weeks. The work is wonderful! The Lord is truly good to me. I only wish is that I can serve Him how He would have me serve. I look forward to this next week. We are now in charge of 2 areas in Tirana. They took out 2 elders out of the 2nd branch so now it is up to us to do the work for 2 areas. If everything works out then we will have so many lessons that we will not have enough time in each day to teach all of the people that we have planned to teach. I am in awe of how the missionary work is moving forward. 


Elder Hald

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week 1 Out in the Missionfield  (finally!)

This is the letter and photos we received from Elder Hald's wonderful new mission president in Tirana, Albania.

September  5, 2013
Dear Bishop and Sister Hald,
Your son, Elder Jonathan Hald, arrived safe and sound at the Mission Home last evening.  He will be serving in the 2nd Branch.  This will be in the District of Tirana.  His companion will be Elder Benjamin Matson .
Sister Ford and I are so pleased to have Elder Hald as one of our missionaries and look forward to getting to know him well. We know that he will be able to contribute much to the missionary effort of teaching the people of Albania about Jesus Christ.
Missionaries absolutely love to receive mail and can be contacted either by email or by sending letters through the post office to:

Elder Jonathan Hald
Albania Tirana Mission
PO Box 2984
Rruga Qemal Stafa, Vila 1
Perballe Postas Nr. 22
Tirana, Albania

Sincerely Andrew Michael Ford
President Albania, Tirana Mission

As you can see, Elder Hald's address is listed there as well. 

Elder Hald with his new companion, Elder Matson, and their Mission President and his wife.

Elder Hald surrounded by Elder Ostergaard and Elder Acheson at the Salt Lake City airport on the morning of their departure for Albania.
Don't they just look so happy and excited to go.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Below is the letter Elder Hald wrote on his last p-day at the Provo West MTC.  He will leave the MTC to go to Albania at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, September 3rd, exactly two months after he entered the MTC on July 3rd.

Please send all LETTERS to the mission office until Elder Hald can notify us of his first assignment in the mission field:

Elder Jonathan Hald
Adriatic South Mission
PO Box 2984
Rr. Qemal Stafa, Vila 1
Perballe Postes Nr. 22

Week 9 at the Provo West MTC

Dear family and friends

This is crazy. I leave for Albania on Tuesday!!! I am so excited. We received our travel plans last week. We just ended our consecration week today. For consecration week we set goals of things we wanted to do for the Lord and we could only speak in Albanian. It was really hard, but very rewarding. I feel I have grown so much in the language. I also feel a lot closer to the Lord. 
So then last week has been wonderful. We got to hear elder Neil L Anderson speak for our last Tuesday devotional. It was a wonderful talk about love and sacrifice. I sang in the MTC choir again. I do not remember if I have written this before, but I have been singing with the choir each Tuesday here in the MTC, except for the first one. IT has been a wonderful experience to sing with so many missionaries. I find it quite funny that there are more missionaries in the choir than not. Also my sickness that I talked about last email in healing. My voice is back and my energy is at normal again. I am so very grateful for all the support from my family and friends. It is really weird for me, but I am having a hard time talking about anything else than the gospel. The MTC really changes you. It has been a wonderful blessing to look over my stay at the MTC and see the change I have gone through. I cannot stop thinking about how I can help the person next to me or the one I am teaching draw closer to Christ. I find myself searching the scriptures like never before. My prayers have turned from being asking prayers to being gratitude prayers. It is often overwhelming at the end of the day when I reflect over my day and ponder over what Heavenly Father has blessed me with that day. I often think of so many things that If I were to include them all in my nightly prayers I would not be sleeping that night. It has been really interesting for me to see what the Lord has made of me so far. Everything that I do that is good is from my Father in Heaven. Everything I am that is good is because of Him. I rejoice in Him and in Him will I rejoice in forever. May we never forget the great love of our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ. May we always remember the infinite sacrifice our Savior did for us. If you ever have any doubts or question about the book of Mormon, I have two words of action for you, "Read it". 

Elder  Jonathan Hald

Elder Jonathan Hald with his district in front of Provo Temple

Elder Hald in front of Provo Temple

Elder Hald and Elder Baker in front of Provo Temple

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week 7 at the Provo MTC, August 22, 2013

Elder Hald's captions:  "I found Chloe I mean Sister Williams after the Tuesday devotional for missionaries."
Elder Hald's captions: "Picture of the two sisters going to Albania on their mission. the
rest of us are elders. (There are 12 elders)"
Elder Hald's captions: "This is one of our MTC teachers and I.  This was his last day."

Dear Family and Friends

This week has been a great week. It has also been a great trial of faith. I became really sick again. I was getting  about 1 and a half hour of sleep each night for about a week and a half. I was having chest pains and coughing up blood at night so I decided to go the the doctor last Monday. I was told by the doctor that I had a serious sinus infection and bronchitis. He gave me some prescription meds that should help. Well they did help. I am starting to feel better now. I know that this was a Tender mercy of the Lord. I know that because I was able to draw closer to my Heavenly Father. I was praying a lot more when I was in pain. My nights turned into long prayers that lasted till I would be so fatigued from coughing that I would get a little rest. It was not a fun experience to feel that pain, but I would not trade it for anything. I truly felt that there were angels bearing me up and comforting me. I know that there was angels by not only from what I felt, but I had a second witness. Last Sunday Brother Taylor from the branch presidency told us that when Elder Holland dedicated West Campus MTC He promised and commanded that there be angels standing at each door and window of the MTC. My heart burned when he said this for I knew that it was true. I have felt these angels help me my whole time here at the MTC. Especially, the last week and a half. I am so grateful for this experience Heavenly Father has given me. I will never be able to pray the same way again. Since this week my prayers have become more sincere and more of a two way communication with my Father in Heaven. I truly feel that I am having a conversation with Him. I hear Him answer me and I respond to Him. I feel and hear Him tell me things that I need to know at that time. Words cannot say how wonderful it is to hear your Father in Heaven speak words of comfort to thee. It is so powerful that you will fall to your kneels and weep tears of joy. I do not know what I have done to be able to receive the things I received from on high. All I know is that I will forever be in His debt and I will serve Him with all my heart for the rest of my life. I want to be able to say at the judgement day, "Lord, I have done my very best to serve thee all my days." 
I love being a missionary. There is no place I would rather be. 

Elder Jonathan Hald

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week 6, August 15th, 2013

My dear Family and Friends
This week has been wonderful. I feel like I have learned so much. I have just had the opportunity to go to the temple with my district and see the new temple film. It was a great experience. The language is coming along, but is this a challenge. Last Tuesday devotional Elder Richard G Scott came and spoke to us. He shared a wonderful and powerful message about prayer. He also left us with a apostolic blessing that "you will receive the gift of tongues according to your faith".  I testimony grew a lot from the impressions I received during that talk. Also I have seen the Lord's hand working in my district. I have been praying since my called as a district leader with help from on high of how to make the elders in my district more focused on the spiritual aspect of a mission. My prayers were answered and it is a night to day difference in how the elders act. It was a great faith builder for me that Heavenly Father would answer my prayer in such a miraculous way. I am grateful for all the support I receive from you all. I feel your prayers help me. 
I only have 3 more weeks till I leave to go to Albania. I feel ready to go there now, but I know that the Lord needs me in the MTC for 3 more weeks. I am grateful for the MTC. I have learned so many wonderful things here. I am grateful for all the Tender Mercies my Heavenly Father has giving me. I will share one of them. So I have been really sick this week. I felt as if I was going to drop. I was constantly praying. A few nights ago it got so bad that I thought I would need to go to the hospital. However, I knew that I was suppose to be a the MTC for the whole time so I asked for a blessing from some of the elders in my district. They gave me a blessing and I felt the pure power flow through me and invigorate and heal me as the blessing was given. I also received revelation for my district during that blessing. I saw and heard things that are too sacred to write. However, the Spirit told me to share a few parts with my district. So after my blessing I stood up with new strength and the spirit burning within me and I testified of the things that the spirit would have me say. It was a very tender moment for us all. Right after I was done an elder came up to me and embraced me and said "thank you. That was the thing I needed". 
I am at a loss of words. I wish I could even express a fraction of my feelings. I rejoice in my Savior. I rejoice in the book of Mormon. What a wonderful book that is.I delight in everything from the Book of Mormon. I testify that Heavenly Father always hears your prayers. I testify that He will NEVER abandon you. Pray to your divine Father in heaven. He wishes to speak with you. May we never stop praying. May we never stop returning to our Savior and repenting. You should not fear repentance. Repentance is hope. Never think that you are too far from the saving grace of the Atonement. It is infinite. Use the divine gift given to us from our creator. May we always follow the good Shepherd. "Keep the faith. Fight a good fight". I say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Jonathan Hald

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week 5, August 8, 2013

Dear Family and Friends
Another has passed by since I last wrote. The time has gone too fast. So many wonderful things has happen. One of them is that we finally got a new cafeteria. We get amazing food every meal. We have now had amazing steak two dinners in a row. Also last Sunday I was called
to be the new district leader for the Albanians in district F. I am grateful to words my branch president said to me when I was called. He said that the Lord has called me because He trusts me and knows me. That meant a lot to me because this week our teachers have focused a lot on teaching us that it is better to be trusted of the Lord then to be loved. Love will come with trust. not the other way around. I have been working really hard while being in the MTC to tell and show my Heavenly Father that whatsoever be His will I will do it. I pray each day that my will may become aligned with His will. I pray for that He may chasten me how He sees fit so that I can become what He would have me be. I have found that because I try my best to focus on these things everyday and pray about that my life has changed. I am not the same young man I was before. I feel His purifying power in my life. I feel His never ending love surround me. I find my heart overflowing with joy each day. I can I keep from singing of my Savior? I have had a lot of hard things happen too this week, but every time that happens my mind instantly is drawn to the thought that I know this is for my benefit. I will then kneel and praise my God for refining me in the refiners fire. When I read in the scriptures my soul feasts on the words. The more I read and study the more my soul wants to continue. The power of the book of Mormon is great. Whenever I read I find something that my gracious Savior wanted me to know that day. Oh I wish that I could proclaim to truth to every man, women, and child in the world. They must know of this.
In Him will I always trust. To Him I give my whole heart. In His footsteps will I always go. I wish I could tell you my dear family and friends oh how much I love my Savior and His gospel. Words are too weak to even draw close to my feelings. I will say it with every breath I take, I know Him.I know He lives. The Atonement is the greatest gift of all. I stand all amazed that He would suffer for me. He is my creator. If ever you doubt of His love, I testify unto you that He WILL run to your aid if you will let Him into your life. If I a man of the flesh has a desire to help people. How much more does Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ desire to help thee?
It does not matter what happens to me in my life, for as long I am serving my Lord I know it is His will and I will rejoice! As Paul said in the new testament I will also say, "Keep the faith". Always draw your hearts unto Him. Of these things I testify I the name of my Savior and Redeemer, ye even in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Jonathan Hald
Week 4 -- August 1, 2013

Dear family and friends
This week has gone by so fast. It feels like that yesterday was last weeks pday. I am really happy because we are finally getting a new cafeteria here at west MTC. It will open on monday... hopefully. Anyway, life as a missionary is wonderful. I am loving teaching and learning the language. I feel like I have learned so much. Everyday I think of how blessed I am of the opportunity to serve for 2 years. I love it. It is really hard at times, especially in the morning, but my Heavenly Father strengthens me so that I am invigorated. Also a really neat thing happened this week. I found out from the teachers and other missionaries in our district that my companion and I give the best lessons in albanian. They have said to some of the other missionaries that if they do not get better they will have to shadow us in our lessons. Now I do not say these things to draw any attention to myself or my companion. However, I wish that you will look to our glorious Father in Heaven and realized that miracles do still happen. My companion and I are both feeling like we are falling behind in the language. Not because we do not study. I can say that I study my heart out. Yet, dispite our weak language, we have been blessed to have the spirit with us in our lessons. I feel the spirit burning in our lessons. I know that our investigators are feeling it too. I will refer you all to a scripture that I love and that can describe my feeling better than I can. It is Alma 26:11-12. I do not boast in my own strength, but I will forever boast in the strength of my God. he is my everything. I am His servant and I have giving Him my full heart and soul. Anything I do that is good is not of me, but of my Wonderful Heavenly Father and His Son. I will forever sing praises unto the Heavens. No storm can change what I know. I could not deny what I know. How could I deny my God? I feel His loving touch. I hear His voice. He encircles me in His everlasting mercy. He refines me daily. He protects me from harm. How can I refrain from proclaiming the gospel to the world? I cannot refrain from doing so. I must tell all. People of this earth must know of the divinity of their Savior. I do not fear what man can or will do to me. I will never, ever, stop testifying of my Savior. I know He lives. I know that through the Atonement we can be fogiven of all our sins. He paid the price that we may not suffer. I testify of his divinity. He is my Savior, my king, and my friend. My life is in the hands of my God. My heart is full. My soul cries out in praise. These things I say in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Jonathan Hald
Photo 1: one of my zone leaders that left last Monday to Hungary
Photo 2: an elder that left to Hungary last Monday.