Monday, December 8, 2014

Jonathan's birthday is December 26th if you want to send him a card.  The address listed on his blog is the mission home address along with his email address if that is easier.  You can also send him a letter using the pouch system at:
Elder Jonathan Reid Hales
Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, Ut 84130-0150

The pouch only requires a US postage stamp but it can only be an 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper folded over in 3rds with his address written on the front. Thanks for your love and support for him.

My Dear Family,
I`m so happy to hear that everything is 20 at home, (an Ecuadorian phrase =) ) And I hope the Christmas stress is coming to an end for you all now that concerts/chocolates/Messiah/Christmas letters are coming to an end. 
it`s very easy to forget that it`s the Christmas season here, because the only things I`ve seen are small trees in a few houses and a couple of lights at night, But the 25 Days of Christ have helped a lot! I was so happy with all the things in my package, and it really meant a lot to me. (But don`t worry the only things I`m using before Christmas are the countdown stories/ornaments and the prelude book because I`m playing for our branch conference meeting this next week. =) ) It really made me feel loved, and I`m so happy that you all were thinking of me.
This last week felt very short for me because on Saturday we traveled for two and a half hours to the city of Quevado to hear our Area 70 speak to us. His name is Elder Uceda and he is in charge of Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Colombia. He talked to us a lot about how we need to focus on two things, retention, and reactivation. In our area there is a baptism every 15 minutes, but only 17 percent are active still after two years. I thought that was crazy! And I think that`s why our new president has been incresing the requirerments for baptism in the last few months. He really stressed that this is the new vision for the missionaries in South America from the First Presidency. It was a really spiritual meeting.
We didn`t get home that night until a little before midnight, so we were all pretty tired for Sunday. (My companion actually fell asleep during the Christmas devotional, and I only really tried to understand the last talk. I`ve found that when I`m really focusing on listening I can understand word for word what is being said. The problem is that it is very exhausting sometimes.
I`m finishing my training this week, so it`ll be interesting to see if I get a new companion this next week or not. I think Elder Lizana is ready to leave. Our sector is very small for 4 missionaries, and I think they might close one sector.
That`s all that`s new from Ecuador. I hope everything continues to go well back at home for Christmas! 
Lots of Love,
Your favorite Elder Hales. =)

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