Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Family,
I was really sad to hear that Brother Jones passed away. I never really thought of him as old because he had such a lively personality, but I guess the Lord needed his powerful missionary skills on the other side. Things like this though are always such a powerful testimony builder in the lessons of the kindness and support of the members, and I know that Judy is going to be okay. (Brother Jones is our next door neighbor who passed away this week from a massive heart attack.  He was 73.)

That`s so fun that you got to see the Alta Marching Band perform!
How fun that everyone got to go to the Homecoming Spectacular at BYU! I remember going just a few years ago as a family and now I am much more impressed by the Alumni they honored that spoke 8 different languages haha.

I`m happy to hear that the best pianist I know has been able to use her talents in the ward! And I know that the Christmas program will be very special. At first I was worried about playing in our branch meetings, but I`ll let you in on a secret. I don`t want to sound stereotypical, but Latinos cannot sing very well so I`m less worried about how my piano playing will sound haha.

This week was a bit exhausting I won`t lie, but I think that`ll get better when I`m more used to the mission lifestyle. (Maybe we can hope ;) )
This Wednesday I had a companionship change with Elder Penny, (I don`t know what they`re called in the States, but here they`re called intercambios or inter changes) and he is a great missionary, but the exact opposite of Elder Lizana in almost every way. For just one example, Elder Lizana and I usually wait to challenge people to be baptized until after they`ve had a complete lesson, but with Elder Penny he asks everyone we talk to in the streets to set a date to be baptized, and if they`re not married, he sets a matrimonial date for them as well. So on Wednesday we had 8 new baptismal dates, but on Thursday and Friday none of them would open their doors for us again. It`s interesting how many different ways there are to interpret Preach my Gospel, and I`m excited to see how my life and perspective on the work of salvation progresses.

I learned this week too why Vinces is so poor, and even though it has a relatively large population (71,000 ish), everyone is SUPER dependent on Guayaquil. At least once or twice a week people will go there and do all the things they can`t do here, like send letters and packages, or buy things that are not food or clothing. Because the big city is so close, they don`t feel the need to develop for themselves, so they don`t. (I asked Jonathan how far away Guayaquil is and he said 1 1/4 hours by day bus and 2 hours by the night bus.)

But I know that this is where the Lord needs me to be serving, and I`m so happy that I have this chance to help others (even if the showers are cold ;) )
Lots of Love,
Elder Hales. =)

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