Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mi querida familia,
Para ayudar al Padre, quizás tendré que escribir un poco mas en español :)
Wow this week has been incredible jam packed with so many crazy things that have been going on! 

First, sorry about not writing yesterday. I know that you all must have been a little worried about how we were doing.

Sunday at 7 in the morning my companion, Elder Alucema, started having a little bit of pain on the left side of his stomach, and at 7:10 we were calling the nurses because he could no longer stand because of the pain. We called the nurses of the mission and they told us to go to the hospital, and that they were going to call in advance to assure coverage. It was a really serious pain and the first thing they did was put him on an IV with some pain medication. Any guesses what he had? It was a kidney stone! I couldn´t believe it. So we were in the hospital for all of Sunday and all of Monday. We left the hospital at 10:30 this morning. 

It was a real tesitmony of the love of the members all around the world that they were so aware of our needs in the clinic. We had different families that would bring us breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Monday night, the bishop and his family came and had family home evening in our little hospital room. There wasn´t nearly enough room to sit, but It was such an incredible moment that we could share with this family that really worried about our well being. Being part of the gospel really is a faith that unites us all around the world, and I know that the Lord is looking out for us in every moment.

This Tuesday and Wednesday we also went to the temple in Guayaquil as a mission. (Really there were so many things going on this week.) We had a great time in the early morning session and I got to play the temple organ for prelude before the session! I thought how my mom would be so happy if she could see me. =)  Then the training session with Presidente Riggions are always so powerful. He talked to us a lot about the efficiency of our mission. We talked about how of all the people we talk to in the street, 1 out of every 7 agree to a lesson in their house, and of those, another 1 out of 10 get baptized, and of those one out of 7 are still active after two years. So to baptize 1 active member of the church, we need to talk with about 490 people, or improve our efficency as missionaries. It was a really powerful lesson about working with the spirit, and not simply trying to find by brute force.

It sounds like you all had busy weeks as well! I was so happy to see that everyone had fun at the MS 100! And also it looked like some very fun family bonding at the scout campout as well. Isaac, I´m so proud that you are a senior patrol leader! I know you can be a powerful example of doing a good turn daily. Jacob is so giant! I can´t believe how tall he has gotten! hopefully I can still beat him in basketball when I get back. ;) Joseph, I wish you a lot of luck this week with soccer and swimming! You are so strong!  I hope that Emily is enjoying her new semester. Podemos practicar nuestro español con ella también. ;) And I hope that my loving parents are also enjoying the summer. Good luck with your last week with your nursing assistant, Dad! And Mom, good luck with your organ practice!

All my love,
Elder Hales =)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hola Family!
It sounds like you all had a great week! I`m glad Jacob was able to enjoy EFY. That`s so crazy that Emily`s going to the first BYU football game! Actually it seems more crazy to me that BYU football is starting again. You`ll have to keep me super updated. =) Also Emily, ¡Te felicito por tomar un curso de Español! Remember if you have any questions I`d be more than happy to try to help (but I also know that there are plenty of RMs that know Spanish at BYU =)

Here in Babahoyo there have been little changes every week, and before I know it everything is different. In the zone the only missionary that is still here from when I got here is my companion, Elder Alucema. In our ward we work with a pair of sister missionaries as well, and there have been 7 different sister missionaries in the time that Elder Alucema and I have been together. It`s so crazy how time flies! 

The biggest news in all of Ecuador is that the pope is coming to visit the 8th of July. You would not believe how many poeple in the street have asked us what our church is going to do for the arrival of the pope. We just smile and tell them that we are not affiliated in any way with his visit. My companion has been telling all the members the same joke about how every deacon in the world has more power in the preisthood than all the popes put together. But in a few weeks all the Catholics in Ecuador are going to gather together in Guayaquil to hear him speak.
We were cleaning our house this last Wednesday, and we found a 21 page list of less active members in the ward. There are more than 250 names of people that live in our sector. We`ve had a ton of success finding these people with their old friends in the ward, and that`s been really fulfilling to see them change their lives. We`re working with one man named Hector Peña, who was baptized almost 25 years ago, and it has been so touching to see him be able to leave behind alcoholism and come back to the church. He`s still a little fragile, but the whole ward has been supporting him and he doesn`t feel so alone anymore.

I hope you all enjoy your next week! I`ll be thinking about the family this weekend during the MS 100, and I`ll have to repent and go with everyone when I get home. I hope you are safe in your various outdoor adventures these next couple of days!
Lots of love for everyone, =)
Elder Hales.
Catholic church in Babahoyo

Monday, June 15, 2015

¡Hola Mi querida Familia! =)
Wow! It sounds like everyone is jumping right into summer. Which is good, it`s nice to have things to do. I`m glad that Dad, Jacob, Isaac, and Joseph could have a fun time at the father and sons' campout. It`s so great that they are having experiences in helping others. 

Also Mom I`m much more impressed with all the work you`ve been doing with your family history. We`ve been trying very hard to help people find names to take to the temple, but almost no one knows the birthdates of their own parents, so we go little by little. haha =) 

This week has been super jam packed with the great stake conferance that we had. Elder Calderón, an area president, came and spoke to us to commemorate the ten year anniversary of Babahoyo as a stake. It was so powerful to hear him speak and he had lots of good advice for us. He talked to us a lot about learning our duty. He read D&C 43:8 and said this is the reason we have conferences. To learn what we need to DO. He said that about 7 or 8 times. He also talked to us a lot about how we need to study the manuals of the church and know what we need to do before we try to do it. 

Our stake Relief Society president talked about understanding the gospel and our duty. She shared a stroy about a sister who dreamed that her husband had bought her a nice diamond necklace and then shared the dream with her husband and asked him, ´´What do you think that could possibly mean?´´ He responded "tonight you`ll see," and came home with a large box. The wife got really excited, opened the box, and inside found a book called ``A guide to dream interpreting``. I think that is a great example of how we need to understand the gospel before we can do our duty. 

Before the conference the asistants to the president were in town and needed a place to sleep, so they stayed in our house Wednesday. The new assistant is Elder Shephard, my old Zone leader from Vinces, so that was really fun to see him again. We went to play basketball in the morning and I scored one basket on Elder Rydalch. (He is the 6´6´´ basketball player that`s going to start for the U next year.) I know it was just a one time deal, but I felt pretty acomplished. ;)

That was my week! I hope that you all keep safe and happy and enjoy your summer! I`ll be thinking about you all!
Lots of Love,
Elder Hales =)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dear Family,
Well I´m glad that everyone has settled back into their regular lives, (Except my brothers who just ended school. By the way I think that´s a great idea about getting things done before 11 AM. It is such a true principle that when we do the things we need to do first, and then later the things we want to do, we have so much more time in the day.) I had almost forgotten that it was summer in the states haha =) 

The rainstorm sounded really powerful! Here the rains are coming to a end until next January, which hopefully also means that the heat will also go down a little. 

Mom, I´m glad that everyone enjoyed the fireside! It sounds like it was very succesfull, and Dad, I imagine that it´s both fun and stressful to have some one job shadow you. The only thing I can relate that to is training a new missionary, and I´ve heard that it has it´s ups and downs and is a little stressful at times. But luckily your nurse practioner has an incredible doctor as her guide. =)

Saturday we got to go to the temple! We went with a family of 4 that recently re-activated, and one new convert. They got to go because they had been working on their family histories, and it was such a special experience to be with them in the baptistry. The new convert (Brenda) did the work for her mother who died 2 years ago, and one member got to do the work for her daughter who had passed away a few years ago. There´s a little bit of confusion about the work for the dead here, because they keep trying to print names of their deceased relatives who were members of the church when they were alive. That took a little bit of explaining but it all worked out in the end and everyone was happy. =)

This week is also stake conference! Our ward is really excited and we have a goal that 165 members will come to the conference. Last Sunday 132 members were in Sacrament meeting, so I know that if we work really hard this week inviting everyone that we can get there! It would be the record attendence in ward history if I´m not mistaken. The ward has become so excited about missionary work and the work is so much more joyful in an animated ward.

I wish you all the best of luck this week and I love you a lot!
Elder Hales =)

at the temple

fun on P-Day

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Dearest Family!
Sorry but we´ve had real computer problems today and for like 45 minutes we could only read, but not write our emails, so sorry in advance for being short. :p
First I´m happy that Mom and Dad got home safely. Mom, you should send me a copy of your talk. And Dad, let me just tell you that I hope that all the things I learn here as a missionary will help me to become a father like you. You are so incredible!
I was really sad to hear about Jacob´s classmate. I remember that the news about Megan Grunswald really hit me hard, and I just knew her from fourth and fifth grade. I´m glad for Jacob´s choice to turn to the gospel for comfort.
I hope Issac is getting ready to have a great summer! I think it would be really awesome, Isaac, if you put some goals of things you want to do during this time. 1 goal for the gospel, 1 goal for something physical like running or biking with Dad, and one goal to help you with your great talents you have. (like piano or art :) ) You have so much great potential, Isaac!
Joseph I´m glad you made your soccer team! I was praying that everything would be good for you. =) You are such a super star! When I get home I´m not sure that I´ll still be able to beat you. ;)
As for me, we had a pretty good week but kind of slow. My companion was sick for two days so that was hard for doing the work, but there was a lot of good things that we could do. One of the highlights was a Primary activity where they played traditional children´s games from Ecuador. They have this really interesting top that they play with that runs with strings, and they also have the wooden spike and ball that Jacob liked playing with before I left. (Kendama or something like that haha) This week we´re looking forward to our stake conference. That will be really great! I think our mission president is going to speak.
I love all of you so much! 
Elder Hales =)

Jonathan with prize winning pigs in his area