Monday, November 24, 2014

My Dear Family,
I`m glad to hear things are going so well at home, and that everyone is enjoying the pre holiday stress haha! I hope, Mom, that you don`t get too overwhelmed, You`re such a valient worker to help so many people especially in this busy season. As for plans for Thanksgiving, the supermarket and stores have had Christmas decorations up since November 2.
We had a very busy week here. We got to go to Guayaquil for part of Thursday and all of Friday for an interzone conference and training with President Riggons. It was really powerful, (especially since we got to go to the temple before the meeting. We`re so lucky that we get to go every 3 months! =) ) We talked a lot about how the mission purpose, the doctrine of Christ, and the Gospel of Christ are related, and the differences between the three. It was really interesting. (We also got to eat at McDonald`s in the Guayaquil bus terminal and that was an extra plus. =) )
If things go well I think we`ll have our first baptism this week, a sister named Gloria, and her daughter Melissa. I really hope that they will be able to stay faithful and excited in this last week because this is when Satan really works the hardest to try and make them doubt themselves. But they are a great family and I`m really excited and hopeful for them.
The rainy season is just about to start, and I`ve heard that during the winter months from December to April it is even more hot because of all the added humidity.  I've also heard that the river overflows into the streets by our house, so that`ll be intersting haha.
I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving, and that you eat some pie for me. ;)
Lots of Love,
Elder Hales.
PS Sorry it`s so short this week but the internet is very slow today, and it took almost half an hour to write to our president. :p but know that I`m doing well and love you all a lot. =)

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Dear Family,
My week here was really crazy! I can`t believe so much has happened. I always try and take my journal with me to cyber so I can try and remember all the things I`ve done, and flipping through it feels like a lot of things have happened in just seven days.
On Monday we had our first FHE with a family here. It was so fun. We watched a couple of Mormon messages on a flash drive that Elder Lizana has, and then played a couple games with the familiy, and had patacones, (crushed slices from green bananas fried in vegatable oil, that taste just like french fries and are so good! haha =) ) Their family has been doing so well and are always so nice to us.
Then my next two days were really hectic because I had an intercambio with another gringo that`s been here for the same amount of time that I`ve been here. Yikes! But I was really happy with how the day went, and more surprising than anything else is that we weren`t totally lost the whole day haha. It has been such a miracle I`ve seen that all the Americans here have been able to pick up Spanish so quickly.
And then Wednesday I had another companionship interchange with someone that only has a month and a half here as well. His name is Elder Suarez from Venezuela, and that was a lot less frantic because at least I was with someone that spoke the language. (He is really elegant with his Spanish, probably because he`s had three years in college studying to be a lawyer haha)
And then Sunday was super excting as well. Our mission president put a goal on our zone for each companionship to bring 5 investigators to church. Elder Lizana and I were praying very hard to try and meet the goal. My testimony was strengthened a little of the reality that God answers our prayers usually through other people. Mariza Banchen was a less active member that we recently rescued, and through just references from her we had five investigators at church. I was so happy, and I really think their family is too. =)
I can`t believe Jacob is almost 16! That`s so crazy. (What`s really weird is thinking that by the time I get back he`ll be starting his senior year!) And I hope he takes good care of my car ;)
I`m glad Isaac and Joseph are having fun with their rooms, and I hope they stay out of too much trouble, (read and practice your piano =) )
I hope everything goes well this week.
Lots of love and lots of luck,
Elder Hales =)

PS Your christmas package arrived in the mail today and I have some bad news. There is a $61 fee that the company is charging me here now that it`s arrived.  Anyways, I`m going to use my debit card for the first time to pay for it. Sorry it`s been such a hassle. :P

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Dear Family! =)
I`m so glad that things are going so well at home! I was really happy to hear that your meeting was such a success Mom, I was really praying hard that things would work out for the best. =)
That`s so exciting about the Primary program, I don`t know if our Primary even sings here (ha ha), but I know the Primary president. She`s really nice and invited us to her house for paticones this last Sunday. (They test like french fries but are made from green bananas, and they`re really good!)
But I`m excited that everyone is keeping busy this fall. It was always hard for me to find things to do when the weather started getting cold. It`s really weird to think that Christmas is just around the corner, (Maybe because the really hot summer wet season is starting here ha ha.)
This week we had our first ward activity, an open house of the chapel. It was very interesting to say the least. It`s so funny sometimes how the members here act. We started the tour in our branch president`s office where he gave us a very profound lecture on the stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph as proof of the Book of Mormon, and the literal gathering of the 10 lost tribes of Israel. And then I don`t think the elder`s quorum president wanted to be outdone in the category of deep doctrine so he started the lesson by having us listen to the first 3 verses of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief and then we had a 30 minute lesson on the three pillars of the plan of salvation, with an emphasis on the fall of Adam and use of the priesthood in blessing our homes. I don`t think they`ve had much experience teaching investigators because I`ve come to learn that you really need to explain things like you`re teaching a child, because they just have no spiritual background. In our booth we taught the first 6 Articles of Faith, and that seemed to go okay so that was good. =) (At least no one had a glazed over expression on their faces haha ;) )
Speaking of funny things this week, the highlight of my Saturday was when I met a guy from Florida here who literally spoke no Spanish. Elder Lizana and I were passing him in the street, and Elder Lizana stopped to talk to him, saying the usual ``¿como esta hermano? ¿come le va?`` and just silence. Elder Lizana was super afraid because he was more or less six feet two, and African American, and was just staring at Elder Lizana. After a moment he said ``ya no hable, no hablo`` in a really thick southern accent. And so then I got to have a fun contact with him in English! It was actually weird to hear my own voice in English, and every other sentence I would say something like, ``en serio?`` and then have to correct myself. He`s only here for a week teaching a basketball clinic, but it was just a really funny experience.
This Sunday was really great too! We ended our dry spell of two weeks in a row without an investigator in Sacrament meeting, and I got to give a talk yesterday on obedience. It was okay, but I think our president wanted a little more of a machete for the members;)
Everything is going well here, and I hope you guys are having fun. Stay safe this week!
Lots of love,
Elder Hales
P.S Yes, I think I`ll be able to skype! But I`ll have to download it to one of the computers at a member`s house but I think we`ll be able to. =)

Jonathan's land lady put up this poster in their apartment.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Dear Family,
Mom, thank you so much for fasting for us. We had a very interesting Sunday as well. We switched from 9 AM to 10 AM so we could have Sacrament Meeting first, but apparently half the members forgot, because there were about 30 more or less people there at 9 AM. Our branch president also gave everyone an hour long machete about paying tithing third hour. I thought it was very funny to hear so many different views on tithing from the members. (Many were under the impression that tithing was 10 percent of whatever you had left over at the end of the week.) That`s one thing that has been very hard to learn and get used to here. Latinos just think differently than us gringos. hahaha!

It`s really hard to tell Sunday from any other here. There really isn`t a divide at all with the people in the city. There is still very loud music in the street, and if anything the main difference is that there are more borachos in the street. It reminds me of how lucky we are to have this restored gospel to help guide our lives! =)

Dad, I`m not living out of my suitcase, but it does make for a nice nightstand. =)

That`s fun that everyone had a Happy Halloween! Here Halloween came and went and you wouldn`t have known the difference. I thought we were out of the woods, but the main celebration is on the night of the 1st of November. And let`s just say that the people in Vinces know how to party, and don`t let silly things like sunsets, (and eventually sunrises ;) ) distract them. Today is actually a national holiday and almost every Cyber bazar is closed and there are a lot of people waiting for the computers, so I`m sorry this week is a little short. Lot`s of exciting goals for November! It`s crazy to think that an 8th of my mission is already done. I still feel very new to the field.

Lot`s of Love,
Elder Hales. =)