Monday, September 29, 2014

It´s so crazy that I´m writing from Ecuador for the first time. It already feels like I´ve been here for a while, (not that I´m anxious to leave, I think I´ve just settled into the schedule of a mission finally.)
I have no Idea where to start, so I´m just going to try going from Wednesday and hopefully I don´t forget anything. =)
I met my trainer after we wrote letters and got back from the temple! He´s an incredibly fun guy, from inland Peru, and only knows probably 30 words in English, (his favorite thing to say when something doesn´t work is ´fetch´ haha!) At first it was difficult to understand him, but my Spanish has really improved since my first day here, because we can literally only communicate in Spanish. He´s a great missionary that loves to follow the rules like me so we´re keeping a pretty tight agenda.
After a couple more meetings with the missionaries that work in the offices, we had a two and a half hour bus ride to our first area. That was an adventure all by itself, trying to sleep while Transformers 3 was playing in Spanish. (I almost burst out laughing when I heard ´´autobots, Vamanos!!´´ for the first time.)  It´s a pretty small city called Vinces, and we´re in one of the most poor parts of northern Ecuador. Unfortunately that means we don´t have a post office, and our mission is only connected to pouch. That means we can´t send anything back to the states through it, only recieve letters. I was really dissapointed to find that out, but I know this is where the Lord needs me. =)
We were busy at work the next morning. After study and District meeting, we meet with the Ward mission leader, and went to visit the less active members, and the recent converts. Our sector was just opened in the mission, so we didn´t have anywhere to start with investigators, but Elder Lizana and I are hard at work trying to find 15 familias to teach (that´s the mission standard of excellence) and so far we have 5 families that we´re teaching, and three of them have baptismal dates! The biggest thing that´s keeping people from baptism here is the Law of Chastity, because almost no one here is officially married in a civil service. That´s probably the biggest test of faith for the people here, but we´ve found that the best approach is to teach the people how families can be eternal if we do what the Lord commands.
The language is coming a little more ever day, and on Saturday I even got to take the lead in teaching about the restoration a couple of times and gave the Baptismal challenge! Beatriz and her daughter Katey have a date set for the 18th of October, but that´s going to have to change because they didn´t come to church yesterday. We knocked on their door for half an hour in three ten minute intervals, but they didn´t answer and we were devastated. Hopefully we´ll be able to contact them today, because they seemed really interested.
Church was great yesterday, and I´m officially the new branch pianist (I´m sure your so proud mom ;) ) and we had three of our five familias at church!
Things are going well here, and I´ve already seen so many miracles. Thanks so much for all your love! 
Elder Hales

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