Monday, October 26, 2015

Hola Querida Familia!

Wow! I thought that this was going to be a normal week, but it turned out to be full of some interesting twists and turns!

I´m glad that Dad was able to get home okay, how strange that he had a problem with his passport, but I´m glad that everything worked out okay and that Dad was able to have a good sense of humor about it all. There´s a Spanish phrase that applies, ´´el que nada hace, nada teme´´ or, he that does nothing, fears nothing. But I´m glad that Dad had the chance to help so many people. Really the Gospel is something that links us with the whole world, and I´m so grateful for the help you could give!

Here on Tuesday we had a surprise visit from President Riggins! He interviewed everyone and talked a lot about how he wants to help Ventanas become a stake before he finishes his service as a mission president. There is still a lot that needs to happen before that can take place, but he helped us see the vision a little better. I´m excited to try some of the things that he taught us.

Then on Friday I was with a another elder in a companionship interchange. Then suddenly at like 6:30 at night, Elder Peralta just starting breaking out with little bumps and blisters all over his face and neck. It turns out that he had an allergic reaction to the crab we ate for lunch! We had to run to the pharmacy and call the mission nurses but the poor guy just has two weeks in the mission field and did not have the best time in his first time out of his sector. But on the bright side, he´s doing a lot better now, and knows not to eat any more crab. haha

The rains started this week (I think 10 days ago we had our first real rain) and the government is really worried about this being a year of unusually strong rains. (Usually they don´t start until the end of December.) They´re so worried that now all the schools have classes on Saturdays to finish the school year hopefully before there are any floods. No one is happy about having school on Saturdays, and I can only imagine the uproars there would be in the United States if anyone ever thought about making school on Saturdays hahaha. =) Hopefully we´ll be able to keep dry, but I´ve started walking around with my umbrella just in case. =)

On Saturday we had our first activity in the branch in almost over a year. Unfortunatley not many people came, but we´re trying to help them do more activities and hopefully this was the first of more to come. =) Also we learned how to make a very delicious Ecuadorian cake called ´´torta de tres leches´´ with a less active member. She really liked the activity, and wants to come back to the church! So I would say it was a success =)

That´s pretty much all from me this week, and I hope that everyone is doing well, and enjoys their Halloween! Here the big event will be on Sunday, November first, but it´s more like Memorial Day than Halloween. I´ll keep you all filled in =)

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Hales =)
Serving a cake at the branch FHE - Jonathan with Elder Cari

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hola Familia!

It sounds like everyone had a great and busy week! Dad, it´s great to hear from you in Honduras, and I´m glad that you´re doing well. I hope you know that all my brothers wrote me and said that they were missing you! 

Joseph, I was so happy to hear about your soccer tournament! Really that´s so great, and I´m so happy for you! =) It sounds like Isaac is really busy with school and his training, and I´m sure that Jacob is really excited for state mountin biking! So many fun things coming up!

As far as moving goes, we did not end up moving, but that is an incredibly interesting story. haha =) So our zone leaders did end up changing houses, and we helped all of them move everything from their third story house into their new house. The new house is really nice, but we were all really sore from lowering the bookcases and the refrigerators. Then two days later, they called us again and told us that in the end, the owner of the new house declined the contract, and we moved everything back to their old house. It was pretty funny, but I think they are planning on trying to talk to the owner again, so we´ll see if we end up moving them back in these next few days. 

We went to Catarama twice this week too (about 45 minutes by bus), once for an interview and once for the baptism on Saturday. So we got there for the baptismal service, and there were like 20 members with buckets taking water from a well to go fill up the Baptismal font. It turns out the water went out in the chapel (That actually happens quite a bit here) but they were determined to have a baptism!

The man who got baptized asked if I could perform the ordinance, and when we got in the water. It was probably just up to our knees. We tried doing the baptism twice the normal way, and there just was not enough water. The poor guy was soaking wet and we tried for a third time. This time we just had him sit down in the font and then lay back. It was pretty much the most unique baptism I think I´ll ever see, but the man was really content, and his family (all members) were so happy. =)

I think this next week will be completely normal with no traveling, and no special meetings, so Elder Cari and I will take full advantage to find members. I can´t believe that he finishes his training in just three more weeks! He´s a little nervous because he thinks I´ll leave when his training is done, but I think he´s more prepared than he thinks he is.

I hope that everything goes well for you this week! And I hope that everyone avoids accidents! Jacob your crash sounded really painful.

I love you all!
Elder Hales =)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Querida familia,

Thank you for all your letters! I felt so loved today as I read all your emails. 

I don´t think I explained the situation very well in my last letter. We´re actually still living in the same house for right now, but no one is sure for how long that will be. There is a small rich suburb that´s about 5 minutes outside of Ventanas called Loma Grande, and a member invited the Elders to change houses because the house there is quite nice, but if they leave we would need to close one house in the zone, and everyone voted that it be our house because it is the oldest, but the mission financial secretary is still trying to work everything out with the house contracts and everything, so no one has moved anywhere yet. 

I´m glad that BYU has been able to play so well inspite of the difficulties! I think it is so fun to watch sports when both teams play well, (but your team plays just a little bit better. =) ) I saw my friend, Elder Rydalch (the Utah basketball player) and he made sure to let me know that Utah football is also doing very well. Next year when we play I´m sure it will be a great game!

Mom, I´m glad you were able to enjoy the BYU Homecoming Spectacular. It must have been so great to run into an old friend. It´s funny how the things like going to BYU shows, or going to sporting games as a family were things that sometimes I didn´t want to do, but now are some of the things that one misses most. I feel so blessed for living in such a loving family. Also Jacob I´m so proud of you for learning your Concerto! That is really such a great accomplishment! I would love to hear it when I get home. =) 

Dad, that´s so exciting htat you´re going to Honduras next week! I know you will have a great time, but that you will also be sorely missed at home. I hope that you have a great flight and that everything goes okay. Espero que tengas mucha salud y suerte. =)

This last week they called us on Wednesday and told us we had to be in Guayaquil at 9 AM for a meeting with President and all the other missionaries who are training or being trained. We did more practices with the assistants, and then we all came together and talked about teaching simply and learning the simple stuff really well. It was a great reminder about the fundamentals of the gospel. When we got back we were all pretty tired, but we enjoyed the training. I can´t believe that in one more month Elder Cari will be done with his training. Really the time has gone by very quickly.

A week ago our primary president asked me if I could play the piano during the primary program at the end of November and I said, "Of course. No problem." Yesterday was the first practice. It was a little funny hearing the Primary songs in Spanish, (they add beats and notes because the Spanish words are longer haha =) ) but we had a good time. The children don´t really know how to sing on pitch, but they sing very loud and confidently which is very good because there are only 8 of them. I´m sure though that their parents will love the program. =)

I´m so glad that I have a great family like you all, and I hope that everyone is enjoying themselves. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Hales =)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hola Familia!
Papá! Tu Español es muy bueno, y me encanta que te estés esforzando por comunicar. Eso es lo mas importante. ¡Yo sé que serás una gran bendición para las personas que te necesitan en Honduras!

We had a great time at the temple and zone conference, and our president talked to us a lot about the importance of baptism. He read to us 2 Nephi 2:5. In English it just says, cast off, or thrust out or something, but in Spanish the translation is ``desarraigado`` ``desterrado`` and ``desdichados`` which literally means uprooted, or thrust out of the earth. He talked about how the fall cut us off from the presence of God, and we were uprooted from him. Being ``born again´´ is the only way that we can be readmitted into his presence. It was quite a deep doctrinal conference. Elder Cari and I got chosen to do a practice out of the four zones that were there, and he was pretty nervous, but he did just fine and was able to settle his nerves about his teaching skills which was really great.

We got home late Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday we had the conference. Luckily on Saturday we got to listen to the conference in English! I was so happy! It just feels like a little piece of home getting to hear the familiar voices. Sunday we had to listen in Spanish because our district center is pretty small, but it all worked out okay. I actually could understand it all without any problem, and I thought it was a great blessing that I have had so many companions that have been willing to help me with my Spanish. 

One of my favorite gems from conference was when President Uchtdorf talked about having personal interviews with yourself about prayer. I think that and the advice that Elder Lawrence gave about praying and asking the Spirit to tell you what you need to change to be able to progress will be a great aspect to our daily lives. Also ponderizing sounds so fun! I started this week with President Monson´s scripture in 1 Timothy about being examples of the believers in word, conversation, love, spirit, faith and purity. Such a beautiful goal to strive for. =)

There were a lot of changes in the zone last night, and we`re waiting for the new missionaries to get here. Because of all the changes, we`re actually going to have to move houses! So sorry to be a little short today, but we have to go pack! Next week I`ll be sure to send you lots of pictures of our new place!

I love you all and hope you have great weeks! 
Elder Hales =)