Monday, December 15, 2014

Here is the mission home address if it is hard for you to read the white lettering above:
Elder Jonathan Reid Hales
Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission
Casilla de Correo 16160
Guayaquil, Ecuador

My Dear Family,
This week has been very fast! Probably because there were so many different things happening. 
We went back to Quevedo (about 5 hours in a bus both ways,) and had a follow up conference about what Elder Uceda taught us. One of the things that President Riggins is going to put into place is that once a year there is going to be a zone conference entirely in English. He is very determined to help the Latinos learn English while they are on their missions!  But he had a lot of good points especially about reading the scriptures. He drew a 4x4 grid on the white board and asked how many squares there are. We all told him there were 16, but he then pointed out to us that there were many more squares hidden in the picture, just waiting for us to read more carefully and read to find more than we can see on a first glance. (There are 30 if you want to try and count them all. haha ) 

The most important thing that we talked about is that we are changing the vision of the mission completely. Now we`re working a lot more with less active members. (And there are a ton!)  I think our ward conference yesterday really helped the branch to feel their sense of duty in retention and reactivation. Everyone is really excited to work together.

One thing that was very interesting for me this week was that the other branch asked me to lead the ward choir because their director was going to be out of town for branch conference. We had three practices for an hour each, and I never thought I would be so proud of a chior that managed to sing on pitch. They worked so hard, and it was really humbling to see how much the people were willing to work to share their testimonies through music. 

I think they`ll keep me in Vinces for 6 more weeks, because most of the transfers have already happened, but we could get a change as late as Tuesday morning. I think it`ll be nice to pass Christmas here with the members and missionaries that we know. Dad, our ward mission leader has a nice laptop with a camara so I think we`ll be good to skype. It might be a day other than Christmas though to make things easier for Elder Lizana`s family.

I love you guys so much and I`m glad things are going well for you. And Dad, I`m happy that Jacob is keeping you up to date with newest slang words. I wonder what crazy things he`ll be saying when I get back. 
Mom, I'm happy things went well playing for the stake choir. I`ve never been so appreciative of the chance I have to share my testimony with music, and I`m glad you get to do the same. =) 

Lots of Love,
Elder Hales.

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