Saturday, April 23, 2016

Querida Familia! 

So many things have been going on lately that the week seems to have flown by, and at the same time, last Saturday seems like it was an eternity ago. Luckily all the missionaries in our mission are 100% okay, and there were no lasting damages to missionaries houses either. There has been, however, a lot of damage to the country. Here in Guayaquil (about 300 miles from the center of the quake) the biggest damages were one bridge that collapsed, and one big mall whose movie theater ceiling fell in. In total here there were only 4 deaths. 

The real damage was done in the Poor Guayaquil West mission. They had to pull out four zones from the most affected areas. All missionaries are okay, but we have heard some incredible stories about missionaries who had to basically hitch hike 8+ hours to get to Guayaquil. We`ve been working a lot with the West mission, helping them get the materials they need to support all the missionaries that lost so much. It truly has been a humbling experience, and I`m so grateful that our mission wasn`t as affected. What I`m truly grateful for, is the fact that God protects his missionaries. =)

The hardest thing to see though are all the affected families. Guayaquil is really an immigrant state, and almost everyone you talk to has family that lives in the most affected areas. Our ward mission leader lost a nephew, and has taken it pretty hard, (as I`m sure we all would) but seems to be recovering well. We had our mission coordination meeting, and he shared a powerful testimony of the spirit world and the love of Christ. It is such a comfort to know the plan of God. 

They actually canceled church on Sunday because they were worried about a possible after shock. So we were unable to see the missionary training broadcast. Tomorrow will be the regular sacrament meeting though. Hopefully lots of people will be able to come.

But a lot of good things happened this week as well! Monday will be the first choir practice and i`m excited. We`ve got the music picked out, with one number being a special melody of ``Called to Serve`` with ``We Are All Enlisted`` and it sounds really cool! I might be asked to be the accompanist if no one else volunteers, which will mean some late night practicing, but I don`t know who else could do it because we are the only missionaries that have a piano in their home to practice. We`ll see how it all turns out on Monday. =)

Also my companion and I are going to a baptism in another stake in Guayaquil tonight. President gave my companion permission because he taught this family about a year ago, and the last member of the family finally decided to get baptized but asked that my companion Elder Norris perform the ordinance. It`s exciting to hear that the work is still going forward.

More exciting news is that the mission nurses (Hermana Yeakey and Hermana Palmer) are having a baptism this week! They are so excited. They have been in the office as the nurses for their whole missions so far, (17 and a half months) and this is the second baptism they`ve had in all this time. They`re extremely happy to end their missions with another baptism, and I get to do the interview on Wednesday. =)

Mom, I wrote you a quick message already, but I just wanted to say again how much I love you, and how much we are praying for you! You are such a hero for me. =) 

I hope that everyone has a great week! Take care, and remember that you are in my prayers!

Lots of Love,
Elder Alcuma from Chile showed Jonathan this picture this week.  Who can find Kyle?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Querida Familia!

I couldn´t believe it when I saw the size of Mom´s cast! She is by far the most careful out of all of us! It does make me laugh a little though thinking that the two women in our family are the only ones who have broken bones now. :P Remember Mom how much we love you! I know it must be hard to have to take some down time, but remember that we are all more than happy to show you some extra love!

It sounds like everyone has been doing really well! I can´t believe that Emily is officially done with school! I do think it´s a little funny though that she is going to go right back to school in just a few months. I know that she will be such a fantastic teacher.

We´ve been staying really busy here in the office. Our mission president is traveling around the mission doing interviews with all the missionaries, so every once in a while we´ll get phone calls with some extra tasks that he needs done, but can´t do because he´ll be in another area. We´ve been managing though. =)  

Yesterday President called me with some really interesting news! I can´t remember if I told you, but an apostle is coming to visit our mission in June. We don´t know which one it will be yet, but President called and asked me if I would be willing to work with the West Guayaquil mission and put together a choir of missionaries to perform when he comes! I have to pick out 10 elders and 10 sisters, and I´m going to direct the music for the actual performance, and lead the practices. Luckily there is a lot of talent in our mission so it shouldn´t be too hard. It should be a great experience and I´m so excited. =)

Then on Friday, our mission president invited us to lunch because the sister that makes all the lunches for the zone conferences and new missionary trainings turned 60.Her name is Hermana Lilian. We got her a small bouquet of flowers and sang O´My Father to the music of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It turned out pretty good, and we were all happy that she had a great birthday. Because we help out with all the zone conferences we have come to know Hermana Lilian really well. She was really happy about the whole thing. =)

We´ve also really been blessed to be working with a couple of really good families right now. I don´t know if I´ve already told you about Hermano Alex, but he´s a less active member. His sister is a member from Ventanas who would give us lunch on Saturdays! When he heard that Elder Norris and I both had met his sister he was really excited to listen to us. He went to General Conference and was really touched by Elder Christofferson´s talk about fathers. He´s been making a lot of progress and is starting to give up an alcohol addiction. Really it has been such a blessing to see how the atonement has taken affect in his life.

Tomorrow should be a good day too because we´re having an area broadcast from Peru where the area presidency will speak to Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia. It should be really exciting! We´ve been privileged to have a couple of great conferences lately!

Thank you so much for your support and love! I´m so proud of all of my siblings, and Mom I really hope you have a quick recovery. Let Dad hold down the fort for a little while. I´m sure he´ll be more than willing. ;)

I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Hales =) 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Dear Family,

Mom! I was so sad to hear about your poor foot! I'm sure that must be so painful for you! And right before your birthday. What awful luck! I will be sure to pray for you even more in these next few weeks. 

But I'm also glad that everyone was able to have some really good family bonding time at the national parks! There are so many beautiful things that we are so lucky to have in this world! I'm glad that everyone was able to enjoy themselves. Just stay safe! 

The rainy season has really extended this year! As I'm writing we're experiencing a real down poor! There are still some that are saying that it's still the year of the Nino, and that we'll have even more rains in May, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Everyone is so excited about the temple that was announced in Quito! We actually watched the Sunday sessions in Spanish to be able to sit with our investigators. We didn't even hear where the other three temples were announced because the whole chapel went into an uproar of excited comments. I can't imagine what the reaction was like in Quito. The neighbors probably thought that someone had scored a goal ;) It does make a lot of sense to me though that they are going to build a temple out their. Every weekend there are about two or three buses that come in from a small town called Ortavalo - you have to look it up! Ortavalo is the town where the native Ecuadorians live. Their first language is called Quitchua, and it's similar to Mayan. They are some of the most faithful members, and the temple in Quito will reduce their travel to the temple from 12 hours to 2 hours. 

Elder Rydalch is feeling a little sad because he's going home on May 1st. But he's very excited to start playing basketball for the University of Utah. Every day for our morning exercises we go out to the park right in front of our house and we play basketball for a half hour. I even got a shot block on Elder Rydalch once! I was very excited and made sure to write it down in my journal, because that was for sure a once in a lifetime moment haha =)

I also wanted to tell you all, thank you so much for your package! It got here on Wednesday and I was so happy. I loved all of the letters that you sent! I especially enjoyed Joseph's fun map and world puzzle, Jacob's hand print chicken, Isaac's positive attitude, Dad's jokes and Mom's love. Also I really really liked the tie that you sent, and I decided that I would wear it when the apostle comes to visit our mission in June. 

I'm so happy that everyone has been able to enjoy their spring break so far, and I hope that everyone will be able to enjoy school on Monday as well. haha =)
Mom get better soon! I hope you have an incredible birthday this week because you are an incredible Mother! I love you all!

Elder Hales =)