Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Dear Family,

I was so happy to hear from you with all of your great letters! It sounds like everyone had exciting (and busy weeks) but I was so happy that you took the time to write. =)
I will have to start praying that Jacob will be protected from so many basketball injuries! From what I´ve heard his Churchball team also is doing really well, and I might have to officially admit that I won´t be able to beat him in August (just maybe ;) ) 

Mom, Dad, I´m glad that you got the chance to go to the temple together! We also went on Tuesday to the session with a zone before their zone conferences so that was really nice. It had almost been a whole month since the last time we went. (We are so lucky. I know the Guayaquil South missionaries go just twice their whole missions.) There are always such great things we can learn, and above all, the great peace that there is in the temple. Mom I´m sure your talk will be just great! And something that might help you is that there is a part in Preach my Gospel Chapter 10 called ´´listening´´ that has some really great points. Elder Holland says ´´often more important than speaking is listening, these people are not lifeless objects disguised as a statistic. They are your brothers and your sisters who need what we have.´´ It´s a great secction that talks about how we can actively listen.

Here we´ve had a pretty normal week. On Wednesday we had a meeting with our stake presidency, our mission president and all the bishops of our stake and talked about the goals that we have for this next year. They also announced that this next stake conference will take place on the Sunday of Carnival, which if you remember last year was so crazy they didn´t even let us go outside! We´ll see how everything will work out. haha =) 

In the meeting they talked a lot about if we just change our perspective from the pessamistic, ´´there´s no way we can help all the less active members come back to church´´ to a more positive way of thinking ´´If I could just help one family come back´´ that we will be able to do so much more good in our callings. Really it has been a big change going from branches and districts and small wards all my mission to being in what could possibly be the biggest stake in Ecuador, but I feel so blessed that I can help out here. 

The First Presidency also just announced that there will be a worldwide meeting for all the missionaries that are currently in the mission the 20th of January, and our mission president has asked us to spend an extra hour each day in personal study to get ready for the meeting. Sounds like it will be important! I´m excited for the chance that we´ll have to be instructed by our beloved church leaders about missionary work. It truly is such a rewarding work. There is nothing more powerful than the great love and friendships that the gospel helps us create!  

The word on the street is that the ´´NiƱo´´ has officially started in Ecuador, and this last week we had two huge rainstorms, and rain almost flooded the house. We were busy moving the boxes of Books of Mormon, pamphlets, and other things to keep them from getting wet through the ceilling! I will definitely be using my rain jacket again this season. haha =)

I´m sorry that I don´t have a good picture for you! I left my camera at home, but next week I promise a good one from New Years' Eve, and also of my great companion, Elder Gemmell. 

I hope everyone is doing well and has a great week! Try and stay warm and I will too ;) 

Lots of Love, 
Elder Hales =)

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