Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dear Family!

Sounds like everyone had an eventful week! And I´m so glad that you all had the chance to see the temple open house! Isn´t it just incredible? There´s a great video on the website that shows the construction of the temple and I was just stunned by how damaged the tabernacle really was from the fire. It sounds like it will be well loved and well used. =)

Mom, I was so happy to hear about your spiritual experience in the temple thinking of names for your counselors. I also had a really good temple experience this week. We´ve been working with our new convert, Ismael Sáenz, with his family history work, and we had the chance to go with him to the temple to do family names! It was so great, and there is always such a powerful spirit in the temple. Even though we as missionaries can just do the confirmations, it is still such a powerful and peaceful feeling knowing that we can take part in saving ordinances. Ismael was so excited, and he was so happy to help out some of his family members. 

I sure hope that Dad and the scouts can stay warm this week! I couldn´t believe it when Dad told me that this would be his first camp out in his years in scouting that not one of his sons would be going out. I have such great memories of bike rides and camp outs with Dad. I´m so grateful for his great attitude! Sounds like they´ll have fun.

We had the world missionary broadcast this Wednesday, and it was really interesting! The title was ´´Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts.´´ The general mission department talked about how they had been thinking for some time that something that missionaries need to be doing a little better is teaching the doctrine of repentance. They put emphasis in the fact that if a new convert knows how to repent of their sins, they are much more likely to remain active in the church because they´ll know what to do when they get into troubling circumstances. One of my favorite talks was by Bishop Waddell who gave the example of the story of Elijah and the widow who didn´t have any food and was about to gather some sticks to make a last meal for her and her son. He talked about if Elijah hadn´t helped the widow to keep her commitment that she and her son would have died! Also Elder Anderson talked a lot about the promise in Matthew 10:32 and about sharing our testimonies of Christ to as many as will listen to us as the basis of faith. It was a powerful conference! Also there were about four zones from the west mission that also went to our stake center to see the broadcast, and I got to see my good friend Wade Hanson from Alta! It was good to catch up a little bit. He goes home in July.

Then today we had a really fun P-day. Our good friend Elder Fernandez Is going home to Brazil this Tuesday and he wanted to do something fun for his last P-day. So we rented bikes on an island in between Guayaquil and Duran called ´´la isla satay´´ which is a natural wildlife reserve here in Ecuador. We got to see some ´´cocodrilos´´ do some fun tricks. It was really neat! Then for lunch we all pitched in a little bit of money and got a massive pizza (1 meter in diameter!) And it fed all 8 of us with some left over, (and that was with Elder Rydalch eating as well haha =) )

So needless to say, next week I´ll have some great pictures for you when we get together and share the pictures from off of everyone´s cameras. =)

I hope that you all have a great week! I love you all and hope that you stay safe! 

Lots of Love,
Elder Hales =)
Jonathan's companion Elder Grammel

New Year's Eve in Guayaquil

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