Monday, February 23, 2015

My Dear Family,
I was also very surprised about my transfer because the mission agenda ended this week, but in the Guayaquil bus terminal there were a lot of missionaries there with changes, so it definitely wasn´t an emergency transfer, just a little out of left field.

Babahoyo is such an interesting city! It was a big change for me to go from a small district of 3 branches to a stake of 5 wards, but luckily for me, we´re living in the same house as our zone leaders and they´ve been a great help. I kind of got in a bad habit living in a house of 4 English speakers, because now I´m the only English speaker in the house and in our zone of 16 there are only 3 Americans. But I´ve been pleased that it hasn´t even been very hard to comunicate with everybody pretty much just like normal. 

When I got here we didn´t really have anyone to teach, but we were working with 12 less active families! I learned that the Elder I replaced had a very soft spot in his heart for the less active members because he´s the only active member in his family. I think that´s awesome though, and we just need to put goals together for how we can help them share the gospel with their non-member friends. With their help we were able to find three new families to teach that were able to come to church this Sunday! I was so greatful for the courage of the recently reactivated members!

My new companion is a really good missionary as well. He only has 4 months in the mission, but he´s a little more mature because he´s 26. He´s a recent convert from a year and a half ago, and has a really strong testimony of the atonement of Christ. Side note he also plays guitar and is teaching me a little at night after we finish planning so that´s been fun. =)

I´m so happy that everything has been going well for you all at home. I heard Clarke´s funeral was very beautiful, and I´m glad Jacob and Joseph are doing better. =) How is Isaac doing? Staying out of trouble I hope! haha I know he´s a great kid =)

I´m trying to send you guys a lot of love and luck this week! I´m always praying for you, family! =)

Elder Hales

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Dear Family!

That was so fun to hear about all the adventures of last week! I was glad to see that Jacob could enjoy the dance in my old vest. haha =) And it sounds like Joseph is becoming quite the athlete!

I was so glad to hear that everyone is doing well, and I hope that you were all able to travel to California safely.

I also did a little bit of traveling today (That´s why I´m writing so late, sorry!) I had my first sector change today! The zone leaders called us a little later than 11 PM last night and told us to be in Guayaquil at 11 AM (a two and a half hour bus ride). When we got there in the termanal I found out that I´m now serving in a little larger city called Babahoyo with Elder Alucema (the Elder from Chile that knows Kyle. It´s such a small world in the gospel sometimes.) 

Anyways, we arrived just in time for Carnival. I think the holiday is a part of all of Latin America except Chile, and it´s basically 3 days of just throwing water and paint at anyone that moves in the street. Everyone is throwing water balloons, painting faces, it´s basically a never ending party. (As I´m writing you I´m currently dripping wet in my P-day Clothes hahaha =) ) It´s such an interesting tradition. Nothing is really open today, and it´s even bigger than New Years' Eve was in Vinces, but that might be because Babahoyo is slightly larger.

Sorry I´m so brief this week, We´ve got to go because P-Day is ending really soon and we still have to buy food for the week, but I hope that everyone can have a peaceful moment at the funeral. Tell Doris from me that I love her a lot!

Good luck in all the crazy things you guys do in the week,
Lots of Love,
Elder Hales! =)

This is a beautiful mosiac of the Virgin Mary in Babahoyo

In Babahoyo, they have these floating houses.  Babahoyo sits in between two rivers and has a population of about 153,000.

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Dear Family,

Things here have been flying by and I can`t believe it`s Monday again. It sounds like things have been very busy for both of us.

I was so sad to hear about Clark`s passing. He was always so kind in everything that he did, and I never heard anything leave his mouth that didn`t edify someone else. It is such a blessing that we can have the hope that a knowledge of the gospel plan brings about such subjects and I know he is still smiling and helping others just in a new way now. I`ll be thinking about you guys a lot next Tuesday during the funeral.
We have continued our work with part member families, and we`re really excited that the new branch presidency is so excited to help us with the work. We`ve already made a lot of changes in how the branch is run, especially in ward council. We`ve really gotten organized and are overcoming the challenges of the branch one at a time. It`s so nice that the new presidency is so animated to work and sacrifice their time which I am so grateful for.
And then this Saturday we were able to see the baptism of one of our 19 year old investigators named Genero Omar. He´s the other son of Hermana Gloria, and while we`ve been teaching Gloria the recent convert lessons, he also took the challenge to be baptized to heart and we were so happy to see his progression. He loves the changes he`s already seen in his life and in his family.

That`s all that`s new for us here, and if there is anything that I can do for you guys just write me.
All my love from the middle of the world,  =)
Elder Hales

Genero's baptism

Gloria and her family

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Dear Family!
Wow, so many exciting things are happening at home!
First of all Dad`s experience with Joseph and the pedometers was so funny, and I`m glad to see that Joseph has not lost his competitive nature. (Joseph and Reid had a contest on Saturday to see who could walk/run the most steps.  Joseph won with over 30,800.) I think I might try and buy a cheap one as well. It would be interesting to see how much walking we are actually doing in a day.
I was super happy to hear that Jacob`s first date went well! And even if it was a little awkward you can remember my first date where we went on a scavanger hunt picnic and then couldn`t find all the food haha =)
That`s also so great that Kyle is enjoying himself and doing well! Now Dad has someone else to practice his Spanish. I`m sure you will do incredibly, Mom, on your musical number in church next Sunday.  Don`t worry about it, whenever you play I can really feel that you are giving a testimony through the music and I am always so grateful =)  What Kyle said though is 100% true about the singers here as well haha.  One time I tried to sing parts and the member next to nudged me and laughed because he thought I had messed up the melody. Very funny people. =)

Things have been going well here as well, which is always a nice feeling. They changed the branch presidency yesterday and I almost cried when one of my close friends, Henrry Lleguno, was called as the 2nd consejero of the branch. Elder Lizana and I helped him in the process to re-activate and he`s now been a faithful member for 3 months! He was a little nervous and surprised (because they called him for his interview an hour before the meeting started) but he is willing to serve.
Our other investigators are progressing really well, and we`re working a lot better with our branch to find new people to teach which has been a real help and blessing. The rains cooled down a little bit with only one big storm this week, but other than that, no unusual activity. =)
I hope that everything goes well for you in the following days. Dad I know you can beat Joseph. Just keep trying =)
Lots of love,
Elder Hales