Monday, September 28, 2015

Hola Familia!

I´m glad to hear that everything is getting back to normal, and that all is well in zion. =) I was really surprised to hear about Bishop Crump! He really is such a loving person, and I remember countless activites that he would go out of his way to be there and support us. For me, Bishop Crump is an outstanding example of magnifying his calling. I still can´t belive that it has been five years already. But I´m also sure that Bishop Felts is already working extremely hard and that the ward will keep growing strong.

We really enjoyed our conference with Elder Calderon, He talked a lot about our manner of teaching, and even practiced teaching with us. You could tell that all his suggestions were heartfelt and that he really wanted us to improve in our ability to bring people to Christ. One of the gems that I took away from his teaching is that to teach with the spirit, we must teach with His attributes. We talked about how the spirit always uplifts and edifies, invites and persuades us as He teaches. Also the Spirit teaches to each of us individually depending on our needs and experiences. I´m excited to try a couple of the suggestions that he gave to us!

We´re actually not through with conferences, because this Friday we´re going to Guayaquil and the temple! I think President wants to rephrase all the things that Elder Calderon suggested for the mission. So we will be in Guayaquil all day Friday, and then Saturday and Sunday is General Conference! We are trying to get everyone excited to go and see the sessions, because our Relief Society President told us that 10 sisters in the whole district went to the General Woman´s broadcast. I think there was probably just a misunderstanding, because they also didn´t announce it in Sacrament meeting which was too bad.

As for our little ice cream contest we ended up changing the rules that if we received more than five references that we would both buy each other a 25 cent ice cream bar to make it less of a contest, but still a fun way to try and find people. We ended up meeting our goal 4 times during the week! And we found a lot of new people to teach. It was a fun change. =)

One of the most interesting things that happened this week is that I went out with our zone leaders to Quinsa-loma (a little town about an hour outside of Ventanas) to do a baptismal interview, and the couple ended up getting baptized in the river there because it was so far from the chapel. It was a real testimony building experience to see how this family was willing to sacrifice and get up at 5 AM in the morning to be able to be at church for the 8 AM sacrament meeting. 

I´m glad that everyone was able to have a great week! I´m glad you´re all keeping busy and that everyone is doing so well. Remember that you are always in my prayers.
Lots of love,
Elder Hales =)  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hola Familia!

It sounds like everyone had such an eventful week! I´m glad that Dad was able to keep the fort down while Mom was gone, and I´m also glad that Mom was able to enjoy her trip so much! I didn´t know it was such an intensive trip! I thought that was very interesting about what you said about the divisions in the Community of Christ Church because that´s how 85% of the churchs here are. They are all divisions of each other, and love to get together to listen, or sing, or memorize psalms and there´s almost no order. The people aren´t exactly sure what they believe. There are actually some dangerous sects that don´t believe in sin and just do what they want, not thinking they will get any type of consequences. 

Whenever I think about the foundation of the Church I can´t help but think of how much help the Lord really gave to the early foundation of the Church. Now there are more than 140 temples in all parts of the world! That is just so incredible to me to know how the Lord is rushing his work.

We had a pretty normal week here, luckily with no trips to Guayaquil haha. Something that my companion and I have started is a competition every day for who can ask for more referances, (We´re in the week of his training that has us focus on how to find) with the winner getting a free 25 cent Ice cream cone at the end of the day. It´s actually been a really fun reminder to always be looking for people, and we found four new families to teach in just three days. We´re both a little competitive hahaha =) It´s been really fun to be with Elder Cari and remember how it was like being new in the mission.

This Thursday President Riggins is coming to Ventanas with Elder Calderon (our area 70) for our zone conference. We´re really excited for the conference! Elder Calderon spoke to us for the stake conference in Babahoyo and is a really excited speaker. We´re all working hard to get ready for the upcoming month, and everyone is already talking about general conference. It should be really great, but it´s almost a sure thing that I´ll be listening to this conference in Spanish because the district center is so small, and every room will be needed to put the broadcast on. 

Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts, And I hope that everyon has a great week! Mom, I´m sure that everyone is very happy to have you back. The home is not the same without mother =)

Lots of Love,
Elder Hales =)
Hola mi familia!

Wow, Mom. It`s fun knowing that we are almost on the same latitude! I had no Idea that you were headed for a fun trip in New York! Today during our excercise time in the morning I was listening to Elder Anderson`s talk from the last conference about seeing the hand of God in our lives, and I`m glad you are getting this chance go see the hand of the Lord in so many parts of the restoration of the gospel. 

I`m also glad that the family is doing so well on the athletic front! =) I`m so proud of Joseph`s team for almost beating the top team in the league! And Jacob and Isaac sound like such star racers! I think it`s so great to be able to have fun, and get into great shape!

Here for us in Ventanas, we had a couple of fun trips this week. On Thursday Elder Cari and I had to go to Guayaquil because Elder Cari didn`t have a visa yet. We got to Guayaquil and met up with all the new missionaries from Peru, and it turns out that none had gotten visas yet. Luckily everything worked out, but we were pretty tired when we got home to Ventanas. It`s almost three hours from Ventanas to Guayaquil, but I know that`s not anything compared to the bus rides Kyle had when he was serving in Chile. 

Then yesterday we went to Catarama to do a baptismal interview, and sadly he won`t get baptized this week, but I feel like we were able to help him make reasonable goals. Luckily Catarama is pretty close to Ventanas. 

We`ve started working with a less active family that have not been to church for almost 4 years, and we had such a spiritual experience with them yesterday. They did not come to church, and when we visited them today and talked about the Joseph Smith story, we all felt the spirit so strongly, and they were able to remember all the important reasons why going to church is important. We`re really excited for their progress! =)

I think it`s so incredible how the Lord shows his hand in every part of our lives if we are willing to look for it. This week has been a great reminder for me that this truly is the Lord`s work, but he wants us to be able to share the blessings and joy with Him.

I hope that everyone was a safe week. Mom, I know you will be missed at home, and I hope Dad and the boys don`t get into too much mischief. ;)

Lots of love,
Elder Hales =) 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hola Familia!
Well this week has gone by so fast for me! It´s been really interesting this new phase in my mission, training and helping Elder Cari, but he is full of so much love for the work, and has all of that right from the MTC spirit. 

I´m glad the family had fun at Timpanogas Cave! I do remember going once with Dad when we first moved there. I also remember not being willing to go, unless there were Skittles provided as an energy to make it up the mountain. I think I would tell Dad every quarter mile that now was probably a good time to take a snack break. hahaha =) I can´t belive that we have lived in Utah for more than 12 years now! Also how fun to see Mr. Shelly. He was one of my favorite math teachers. There is something so special about inspiring teachers.

Also how exciting about the BYU football team! What a great way to start the season, and I hope that Taysom will be better soon. It sounds like we need his help in the season. It´s always so fun a have an exciting win. 

For us here the biggest news was that the other elders that lived in our house moved out, so it´s just me and Elder Cari now. Our house seems so big for just two Elders, but it´ll be nice to be a little more peaceful and not have to share a bathroom either. Our house has seemed very quiet though. 

Elder Cari and I have had a little bit of an emotional rollercoster here in Ventanas. On one hand, a father that has recently reactivated got to be part of a baby blessing yesterday. It was such a spiritual experience, and I´m glad that his family is beginning to feel the joy of the Gospel again. And on the other hand, one of our best investigators, (a Colombian named Richard) got into a big fight with his mom the day before his baptism and ran away to Colombia in a bus with just a laptop and 40 dollars. I hope everything will be alright. He´s just 18 years old. But we´re trying to stay positive, and we´ve actually been finding a lot of new people to teach. The members are really excited here to help out with the work. =)

Mom, Dad talked about maybe sending some names to do here, and I think that would be really fun to do the work for them, but I also understand if you would rather have them done at home because this would not be the quickest way for them to have the ordinance, and I wouldn´t be able to do the sealings here.

I´m glad that everyone is happy and healthy, and that everyone is enjoying school and work. Thank you for your great letters and for thinking about me during the week!

Thank you for your prayers and support,
Elder Hales =) 
Ventanas Zone - Jonathan is in the back row, third from the left. We think his companion is standing on his right.