My Dear Family,
Wow! This first week in Ventanas has been very interesting, and has gone by super fast trying to learn everything, and everybody`s names!
Ventanas reminds me a lot of Vinces. Here there are also tricimotos, many Catholics, and a type of unity that only exists in small towns. There is a lot of work here for us as missionaries which is always good. It`s a great feeling to be part of the branch in such a close way with the members. They were also all very excited to have a piano player in the branch. I had to smile when they told me it was the first time in ten years that there has been a pianist in Sibimbe. (Another example of the blessings that come when you listen to your parents. =) )
My companion is Elder Samán from Arequipa Perú (just like Elder Lizana) and is a real jokester. He keeps everyone in the house laughing which is usually a nice relief from some of the stresful times of missionary work. He has a really powerful testimony and loves the people here. He also finishes his mission in a month, so I won`t have as much time with him as with Elder Alucema.
A lot of the families from Babahoyo wrote to me this week and told me that the baptism of Yoko was really spiritual, and that she is excited to be a member of the ward. I wish I could have been there, but the timing didn`t allow for it. But I hope to be able to visit some day, because Ventanas is only 45 minutes away, and since it doesn`t have a post office, I need to go anyways when I want to send a letter. =)
I think it`s great the family could get back safely from California! I know the beach is always so relaxing. I can`t believe that the school season is almost starting again! I hope Jacob will enjoy his Junior year. Junior year is always the hardest, but I know he`s such a smart guy that he can do it! Also, is Isaac starting high school this year or next year? That`s so crazy that all my brothers are so big!
I liked your example of moral courage Dad, It really does take courage to stand strong, in all types of situations. Sometimes the best source of extra courage in hard times are quick prayers. That has been very true for me so far in my mission.
I hope that you all have a great week! Enjoy the fun summer things before the new school year starts!
I love you all, and you are always in my prayers,
Elder Hales =)