Monday, November 30, 2015

Dear Family,
Today was a very different day to say the least, haha. I just have a few minutes to say that I got transferred today!

We were in the supermarket when the assistants called us. Now I'll be working in the mission office as the historiador de la mision. 

Everything is all right, but now my Pday will be Saturday, just so you all know. 

I love you!

Elder Hales 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dear Family,

Sounds like everyone had a great week! I´m happy to hear that Joseph won his soccer game! And Isaac, seeing your pictures from your eagle project really impresses me! I don´t know if I ever told you, but one time for Broadway Kids we were building a space ship and for the longest time I couldn´t figure out why everyone else could get the screws to go in so quickly. I was having such a hard time until someone helped me realize I had the drill in reverse. hahaha =)

Also it sounds like Jacob is doing very well on the piano! I love that Sleigh Ride duet, and I´m happy that you´ve already gotten a good amount of experience playing hymns for the congregation. I miss singing the hymns a little because I´m always playing, but I´m also happy that I can share my talents with the people here. =)

I also heard that Sarah Chugg got her mission call! That´s so great and I´m sure she will have a great time in Maryland! Missions are so great. Has any one heard how Lizzy is doing in Boise? Or how Christoffer has been doing? 

The Primary program Sunday was very special, and the children did a great job! I was so happy to see so many of the parents come to church. Our Primary president has done such a great job of making all the children feel important, especially those whose parents are less active. There were three big families of less active members that went to church to hear the Primary. 

Friday was a bit of a hectic day as well because the assistants came and talked to us about the importance of being organized and using the Book of Mormon in every part of the work - to find people, to ask for references, to teach the lessons, to answer questions. It was a great reminder that the Book of Mormon is our special witness of Christ and His mission. The reason it was a bit of a hectic day is because I was in a trio with one of the assistants and with our new zone leader. But luckily the people who we were visiting were all in their homes and we were able to help a lot of people. =)

The people here are very happy because Ecuador has been playing so well in the world cup qualifiers. I don´t know if you´ve heard, but we beat Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and Uruguay, and haven´t lost yet! Everyone is very excited, and at least 1 out of three of our lessons starts with someone asking us if we´ve seen the latest Ecuador soccer game.

Other than that everything is pretty normal here, and I hope that you all enjoy your Thanksgiving this week! I´ll be thinking about you all on Thursday and counting my blessings to have been born into such a great family. (And that definitely includes extended family =) )

Lots of Love!
Elder Hales
Jonathan and the cute Primary kids in his branch after their Primary Program

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Dear Family, =)

It sounds like everyone had a great fun filled week! I was excited to hear about Joseph´s soccer game, and Isaac I am so proud of your eagle progect! Really that´s so incredible, and I know that you´ll be doing a great service for the community. It sounds like Jacob also enjoyed his date, and I´m glad that he was able to make such great use out of mine and Dad´s clothes. haha =)

To get the suspense out of the way, we were not transfered and it looks like we´ll be staying in Ventanas until at least mid December, which is actually really good because I hadn´t thought about what the Primary would do if I had been transferred, because this next week is the Primary program. The children have been working so hard, and our Primary president has been so great in involving the children whose parents are less active. This next Sunday will be a great chance for them to remember the importance of coming to church. We´re all really excited! =)

The only sad news is that our great zone leader, Elder Nelson, did get transfered. He was in Ventanas for almost 7 months, so the zone will definately feel different without him. Later today we´ll find out who our new zone leader is. It should be exciting!  

Elder Cari is also happy that he is officially a trained missionary! We had a meeting with President Riggins, his wife, and the assistants for all the missionaries that were finishing their training and it was such a great meeting. There were so many insights about how to teach with more spiritual power, and how to turn all the everyday moments into opportunities to find someone to teach the gospel. One of the pearls was what our president showed us how to use pictures and the pamphlets in our teaching. Elder Uceda (our area president) told us that Latinos don´t like to read very much, but that they have great imaginations. One of the ways to take advantage of that is by using the tools that we have been given (pictures, videos, that sort of thing) to try and invite the spirit. It made me think of my great missionary sister who always takes small moments to share videos, or messages with her friends. =)

I was happy that I was not transferred because I feel like there is still some work that needs to be done here in Ventanas. It has truly been a great experience to be able to serve others here in this district, and try to help them prepare to be a stake. I hope that everyone has a great week, and that the weather isn´t too cold. We´re about to start the rainy season, and everyone is very anxious for how the city will hold up with the predicted heavy rain storms. I´ll keep you updated about any fun weather stories haha =)

Stay safe, and have a great week!

Elder Hales =)
kitchen/eating area

the room where the missionaries study - this room also holds two wardrobes where the other missionaries living with Jonathan keep their clothes

Monday, November 9, 2015

My Dear Family, =)

Sounds like everyone had a busy week! Mom, I don´t know if I´ve ever told you, but it is so incredible all the things you do! I´m so proud of how well you balance everything. You are such a great example for me =)

How exciting to go to a Spanish branch! For me, the hardest words to remember in English are the gospel terms, because those are the words you say most often, and  I was sad to realize that I don´t really remember the words to the English hymns very well anymore, but I´m glad that you could enjoy singing in Spanish. =) I´m also glad that Emma´s baby is doing so well, but I still wish they would have named him Robin, so his name could be Robin Banks hahaha =)

The ´´Fiestas de Ventanas´´ are going strong, with the largest parties/parades being tomorrow. We´re not sure yet but we might not be able to go outside past 7 PM. Basically the whole city shuts down tomorrow, so we´ll see how productive it will be. It has actually been calmer than I thought, probably because our new house isn´t in the center of the city, but closer to the church  which is nice. Our new house is newer than our other house, but I feel bad about having to leave so suddenly. The zone leaders called us last Saturday and told us we had to move on Monday. The owner of our old house was very sad, and told us that the missionaries had lived in that house for 30 years now. It´s all very strange how everything happened so fast, and  I hope there aren´t any hard feelings.

Here in Sibimbe we´ve been working really hard, and Elder Cari is really excited because this is his last week of training. After this next week he´ll officially be a graduated missinonary! Our mission president has been having the missionaries that finish training start to train other brand new missionaries, and Elder Cari is a little worried that next week he´ll get a new companion straight from the MTC, but we´ll just have to wait and see. =)
One way or another we´ll be going to Guayaquil this week or the next, for transfers or for Elder Cari´s meeting with president for missionaries that just finished training. It´s so crazy for me how fast time passes sometimes!

I´m glad that everyone is well, and I hope that you all have fantastic weeks!  Know that you´re in my prayers =)

Elder Hales
When Jonathan and his companion moved, they left the refrigerator outside for a while hoping these big blocks of ice would melt.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hola Familia! =)

I am so proud of my great family! Really everyone is so incredible! Isaac, I`m proud of you for running a half marathon! That is so impressive bud! You sure look different than since I left, but I was looking at some pictures of when I just left, and I think I look pretty different too haha. Jacob, great job for riding in the state mountain bike tournament with a sore knee! Really that is such an honor to be riding in varsity, and I`m so proud of all your training. =) Joseph! I`m proud of you for finishing your great soccer season! From what I heard you guys all had some great victories, and I`m happy that you`re doing well.=)

This week has been very interesting and exciting for us here! 
Friday there was a fun activity that the Elders Quorom had - a barbeque on the shore of the river, Ventanas. They were a little dissappointed that more members didn`t come, and I know there was a lot of barbeque that was left over, but they`re still building their confidence with doing activities, and I think it was a great success. 

I remember reading last year that for Halloween Emily and her companion switched name tags, and I thought that was such a fun idea. It was very funny to me and Elder Cari that not a single member noticed the whole day that I was wearing my companion`s name tag haha. =) We also had a lot of fun passing out 5 cent candies to the children in the street. =) But no one here really celebrates Halloween. They just know what it is from American television. The real news is that the national day of Ventanas started yesterday and goes until the 10th of November.  They're having 10 days of parties and parades! Everyone is excited and doing so many things. As for today (Dia de los muertos) the only difference is that it`s been harder to find an open cyber spot because everything is closed. 

The biggest news is that on Saturday night our zone leaders called us and said that Sunday we needed to make all the arrangements so that we could move to a new house today. That was what we did this morning. The house is a lot nicer, but the members that we were living with were very sad. I also felt bad that it was such short notice, and I hope that there are no hurt feelings. So we`ve spent most of our day today moving in. 

Dad, the day that they gave me for a release date was July 28th, but that was what they said on the day we got here to Ecuador and I`ve heard that those dates are not always the exact date that one leaves. It could be a week or two later. They don`t give exact days until you`re about a month before finishing from what I`ve heard. Sorry if that doesn`t help much!

I hope you have a great week everyone. Remember that I love you and that you`re in my prayers! =)

Lots of Love,
Elder Hales =)