Sunday, March 27, 2016

Dear Family!

It sounds like everyone managed to have fun and stay busy! Jacob, I´m glad that you had fun at MORP! and I´m also glad that are getting ready for Prom. Emily I´m so happy that you were able to get a good job! I´m so excited for you! You´ll make a real difference in the lives of all of your pupils. =)

Some weeks go by really quickly. This was one of those weeks! With all the zone conferences, and some other really crazy things going on in the office, this week went by at a blazing pace! 

I´m actually really relieved that the temple conferences are all over now. It was a really interesting element in our weeks, and there were only a few minor panic moments with people missing their buses to go home and having to stay extra nights in our house. But other than those minor setbacks the conferences went really well! I love hearing President Riggins speak.

Last Sunday to start the Easter week we had a devotional as all the missionaries in our zone, and it went really well! The spirit was really strong, and we met two new investigators that some members brought to the activity! It was a great way to start the week.

The biggest thing that happened this week was a visa emergency for six missionaries. Luckily my job doesn´t have to do with the visas, but because of a weird new law change, six missionaries' visas expired before they were scheduled for and they almost got deported! (One of them happened to be my old companion, Elder Alucema!) They had to take an emergency trip in a bus to the Peruvian border, cross the border and then come back across onto the Ecuador side. So know they are here in Ecuador on a three month tourist visa until their regular visas can get fixed. They needed all hands on deck in the office though, and it was pretty chaotic! 

On top of that, two sister missionaries almost got kicked out of their house because a house owner wasn´t getting her monthly payments. It turns out that she changed her bank account number without informing our offices in Quito. So Elder Butler our finance elder had to go up to Quevedo with my companion, Elder Norris for all of Thursday and Friday to sort things out! I got the chance though to know the sector of the other elders in the office. They have a ward that´s a lot smaller, but they know all the members. It was fun to get to know some new people.

Tomorrow is Easter, and I´m really excited. We´ve all felt the love of our Savior during this Easter week, thinking about all the things that Christ did for us. Tomorrow is the glorious day of the resurrection! What a blessing it is to have the hope and knowledge of our redeemer. 

I love you all. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. Have a fantastic week!

Elder Hales =)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

¡Mi Querida Familia!

It sounds like everyone deserves a really big congratulations! I´m so proud of my younger brothers for finishing AIM and Federation! There is something so rewarding about playing beautiful music! I´m so proud to have such a talented family. =) And Joseph, that is so awesome that you won the Pinewood Derby! You probably won because you always run the fastest inside the house. ;)

Dad, I´m glad that you´re on your way home. I remember that the house was not the same when you were in Boston. Also I´m glad that you´re feeling so much better! It´s never fun to be sick. :P one of our APs had Pneumonia last week poor guy, but he saw a doctor and is recovering. I´ll be praying for you, Dad, that you can stay healthy before your race!

We managed to stay busy with the temple conferences this week. They were Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week, and they´ll be on those same days in this next week as well. What I love most about helping with the zone conferences is that we get to go to the temple with all the zones. There is such an incredible peace and spirit in the temple, and going there has become even better now that I´ve gotten to know all the temple workers because they´re members of our ward. =)

As far as the actual conferences went, they were really interesting. They talked to us a lot about the Word of Wisdom. Apparently there are a lot of missionaries getting really sick and losing a lot of weight. They warned us again about the dangers of eating the food that is sold on the street corners. I feel like I have been so blessed with great health during my whole mission. Hearing stories from other missionaries, it´s been really incredible that in my whole service so far, I´ve only had one ´´sick day´´. The Lord really does take care of his missionaries. =)

Another thing they talked a lot about was the importance of tithing. Here in South America, having the faith to pay tithing is a real challenge. Just one of the take away ideas that President Riggins said was that we pay tithing, not because money is important to the Lord, but because paying tithing reminds us that the Lord is more important than money. I really liked that thought. We see so many examples in the Book of Mormon of the Nephites and Lamonites getting carried away with their possessions. This is a great lesson to remember!

Tomorrow marks the first day of Easter week, and as a zone we´re going to do a devotional for the whole stake! We´re really excited, and I´m going to play the piano which will be fun. We´re going to watch the new church video on ´´´´ and then have a couple of talks and sing some Easter hymns. It should be really fun! 

I´m so grateful for all your great letters, and I hope that you all have a fantastic week! Jacob enjoy MORP! And Emily, I know that you´ll find a job in exactly the right place that needs you. =) I love you all! Take care!

Lots of Love,
Elder Hales =)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mi Querida Familia! 

I´m glad that the weather has been improving in Salt Lake! The rains have been a little kinder this week which is good, but for this coming week every single day has a rain forecast. We´ll have to pray to stay dry.;) Mom to answer your question, I do still have two pairs of shoes left so alternating them between rainy days has been really helpful.

Dad, how fun that you get to go to Boston this next week! I hope you have a good trip and that you learn a lot! Being here in the office we hear lots of stories about the sick missionaries and it makes me grateful for the good health I´ve had my whole mission. On a related note, Elder Clarke (the elder who was here all last week because of a spider bite) is doing a lot better, and is working again in Vinces. I think he had his last follow up appointment today so that´s been a real blessing for him.

This week for us has been a little all over the place! On Tuesday and Thursday my companion had to go to Quevedo (about a three and a half hour bus ride) on President Riggins'a request to see what materials are out in our storage unit over there. He went with the financial secretary, Elder Butler. So I got to know a little bit of the sector of the other two elders in the office. It´s a small ward that needs a lot of help from strong leaders, and it was really fun to get to meet their members and investigators for those two days. 

We´ve also been really busy all this week getting ready for the zone conferences that are starting this Tuesday. All the zones in the mission will be coming in over the next two weeks to go to the temple and have a zone conference. It´s been a little crazy in the office with so many things going on at once! I think that the month is going to go by really quickly with these two weeks of conferences, Easter Sunday, and then General Conference the week after that! Lots of exciting things going on! 

I don´t know if I said thank you in my last letter for getting my housing all worked out, Mom. Funny story, today I was looking at who my new roommates are going to be, and it turns out it´s a group of kids from Arizona that are from the same ward as my good friend in the office, Elder Butler! I thought it was another example of just how small the world is. From what he told me they´re all some really good guys so I´m excited to get to know them.

Another really interesting development from this week is that they called me to be a district leader again. I was a little nervous about the idea of being an office missionary and a district leader, because both things require a lot of dedication and time. I was feeling a little discouraged but I opened the scriptures and read about the great example of Nephi, ´´for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.´´ Reading that verse helped me remember that the Lord will always provide the way for us to do what is needed.

I love all of you and I hope you have a great week! Jacob, Isaac, and Joseph, know that I´m praying for you to do well in your performances this week! Emily, I´m praying for you to get the job that will be best for you!

Cuídense mucho!

Elder Hales =)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mi Querida Familia,

It sounds like everyone had a busy week! With tests, the ACT, PTSA activities, and feeding hungry missionaries I´m sure everyone was excited for the weekend to start! 

Mom, thank you so much for taking care of the whole housing situation, I´m really excited to live on campus! I know several people from my mission that will be living in Heritage Halls as well, so I´m sure it will work out really well! 

This week was really crazy! My new companion, Elder Norris, is really great, and maintains a great attitude even though he´s not feeling well. He´s really different from Elder Gemmell, because Elder Gemmell was a really calm, man of few words. Elder Norris is really active and excited. I can hardly keep up sometimes hahaha. =) He´s from Mississippi and he´s very much a southerner. He has talked to me several times about cars, guns, and other things I know little about, but I´m learning=)

For this week we´ve had an Elder Clarke visit us in the office because he got a really nasty spider bite and they were worried about his health. So they brought him up from Vinces to spend a couple of days in the clinic and a couple of days with us in the office. Obviously I was worried about his health, but I was also really happy that he came in because he told us all about what´s been going on in Vinces! It was really interesting to hear about how much the work has progressed and how the people that I worked with are doing. It really is a small world in the gospel, and I´m so happy that I´ve been blessed with some great sectors.

The weather here exploded this week! For four days in a row it was down pouring here in Guayaquil! Our shoes didn´t have time to dry all the way, and everyone has said that this is the phenomenon del niño, and I believe them. The rains are supposed to continue, so we´ll see if we can manage to keep dry. 

In our ward and stake, there´s been an added emphasis in working with future elders, so we´ve been having some good experiences working with our elder´s quorum president. He´s a young returned missionary whose wife is about 3 months pregnant with their first child. He´s very exicted to work with us and always lifts our spirits. It´s always so rewarding to get to work in a great ward with great members. =)

Thank you all so much for everything that you do for me. Really I feel your support and it makes everything so much easier. 

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

Elder Hales =)
Jonathan with Elder Norris

The beautiful Guayaquil temple