Monday, October 6, 2014

My Dearest Family,
WOW things are so busy here, but I guess that`s what I signed up for haha! 
On Monday after writing I got your package! Thank you all so much! One thing though that I forgot to tell you is that there`s a 2 Kilogram law in Ecuador, which means that all packages that weigh more than like 4.3 pounds need to go through customs and usually don`t end up making it all the way. Thanks again for all that you`ve done to support me. I remember thinking all throughout the conference talks about what parents can do to have a strong family in the gospel and thinking, "wow I`m so blessed to have had such loving and supportive parents and siblings." =)

On Wednesday I had my first ever companionship interchange with our zone leader who lives just across the block named Elder Shepard. Wednesdays here are our day of contacting, and our president has asked us that we only have 15 minute lessons with our families that have baptism dates, and then contact for the rest of the day so that was a really interesting experience! It was nice being with Elder Shepard for that because he could tell me things that I needed to do better in the actual lesson (in English) haha. And we even got another baptismal date through contacting! His name is Luis, he's 19, and he has a few friends who are members, and now we're teaching him and his less active friend!

And then there was conference. I don't think I'll ever take for granted the privilege it is to be able to hear from the actual voice from the prophet, because for the first little bit we were watching in another room in Spanish with English subtitles. There are only like two translators so all the speakers sounded the same haha. Luckily we were able to figure out how to connect the branch computer to English stream and we were able to watch the rest of conference online!

That's so great about your races Isaac and Jacob! Stormy sent me a picture of Jacob crossing the finish line, and it looked very impressive. =) Joseph will you score another goal in your next soccer game for me? =) 

I can`t believe that it`s already October, where does the time go? haha
Vinces is a very interesting place to say the least. Our branch had an attendance of 65 last week, so it`s pretty small. One of the biggest problems here is that there really isn`t very much priesthood. Part of the problem is that the previous president of the mission had the missionaries baptize everyone who was worthy and able, but the parents of families won`t make changes to prepare for baptism and so there are a lot of part member families where just the children are members, and then less active members. But the church is pretty well know here, and almost no one hasn`t heard of the church, which makes contacting a lot easier.

We had an interesting experience with a women we met contacting yesterday. She couldn't walk because she had a serious injury in her knee, and had scars all up her left leg from a bus crash two years ago when she was going to Guayaquil. 11 people died, including two of her grandchildren. She doesn't live in Vinces, she was just visiting for the day, but she was really interested and humble as we taught her about the plan of salvation. It makes me wonder what the Lord's plan is for her, and I hope we were able to help her a little in her eternal journey.

I love you all so much! Good luck this week!
Elder Hales

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