Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Dear Family,
Wow! I think I say this every week, but this has been an incredible busy week! I`m glad that you were all able to stay busy as well, And I`m also happy that Mom has been recovering so well! That`s so exciting that in two weeks you`ll be in a walking boot! Also it sounds like the boys are happy with the end of the school year.

I think everyone here in the office is excited that the zone conferences are all done. (Now we just have to organize the coming of Elder Rasband.)  Everything with the choir actually worked out really well. We had an extra room set up for the South mission to come and learn their parts, but they didn`t show up to the practice. Later they called us and said that they didn`t think they would be able to participate which is too bad. I guess they realized that the conference is only two weeks from today! I can`t believe how everything has flown by.

I guess I must have done a good job playing the piano in Vinces, because they asked me to go again this weekend to play for the zone conferences in Ventanas! It`s been a bit of a rush to get everything together, but I`m excited to say hello to some old friends from my last sector. Mom, I just want to say one more time that being able to play the piano has been such a huge blessing for me, and I`m so happy that I`ve been able to serve the Lord with this talent. =) It was really such an incredible experience to go back to Vinces and say hello to everyone! They were all so friendly and they even remembered my name, (a real compliment to North American missionaries!)

I do feel bad though because we need to go to Ventanas right now for the bus, so I`m sorry to be so brief two weeks in a row! Next week I promise to have some great pictures though from Ventanas and from Vinces! We`ve been working really hard and we might even have a baptism next Saturday, so keep your fingers crossed and remember us in your prayers! 

Thanks for all of your great support, I`m so glad to have such a wonderful family like you guys. =)

Lots of love,
Elder Hales =)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Querida Familia!

I´m glad that everyone is at least doing better if not fully recovered, We´ll be sending lots of prayers and love from down here. I´m glad that Jacob's ankle is feeling better though and that Joseph is back in school. I´m sure he would not want to miss all those end of school parties ;) I´m also happy that you were able to get out a little bit, Mom! We all love you so much and are happy to see that you´re recovering. =)

Well, it has been an super jam packed week again! (that seems to becoming the standard here) and I´m glad that it´s almost Sunday again. =)

We managed to make it through all the zone conferences! Getting everyone through the temple/through all the meals went a lot smoother than it has in the past which is good. We´ve been pretty busy getting ready for all the conferences next week. I´ll be happy when it´s all over, but at the same time a little stressed because when the temple conferences are over it´ll be time to get ready for when Elder Rasband comes.

Speaking of that, the choir is sounding so good! I´m so excited for everyone who has the chance to sing! This Monday will be the first day that we´ll have the practices with the South Mission as well, but we´re going to bring our electric piano and have them learn their parts separately and then practice all together. They decided to let everyone sing in the choir who has been practicing. I am so glad that nobody had to be asked not to sing, but some missionaries will not be able to sit on the stand. It should be great!

As far as the earthquakes, here we only felt slightly above normal tremors, but the real effects were psychological. There´s an almost ominous feeling that everyone has with worrying about another huge earthquake. These last two  earthquakes were relatively small compared to the first one, but luckily everyone is safe and we are all doing well. =)

Sorry to be brief this week but I´m actually going to go to Vinces right now with the assistants for their district conference. (Apparently there is no one who could play the piano for them but I´m not complaining because I´ll get to say hello to a bunch of old friends =) ) So we´ll be going in about half an hour. 

I hope everyone has a great week! No one else is allowed to get sick! (knock on wood) 

With lots of love,
Elder Hales =)

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Dear Family, =)

It was so great to see you last week! I´m so glad that everyone is doing well and that no one has changed too much since Christmas ;) I´m also glad that everyone is healthy and happy, (or at least recovering and happy =) ) But really it was so great to see everyone. I´m so grateful for your love and support. 

This week was really jam packed (which made it zoom by!) But luckily we were able to manage to finish everything we needed to do. 

The biggest news is that the a group of missionaries left on Monday, and then the new missionaries got here on Tuesday morning. It was another small group that came, (just 8 missionaries) and our mission president is a little worried because 15 missionaries are leaving in May, so we´ll need to close some sectors, and close down a couple of mission homes which is unfortunate. But one of the new missionaries from Bolivia met one of my friends from Babahoyo who left on his mission about a year ago. He was assigned to the new missionary's ward! It really is such a small world in the gospel!

Another thing that´s kept us busy this week has been the preparation for multi-zone conferences that are going to be all next week! I can´t believe that 3 months have gone by so quickly, and that it´s time for conferences again! That will definitely keep us occupied for the next two weeks.

We got some interesting news about the choir today. So the area just announced that the Guayaquil South Mission is also going to be invited for the conference with Elder Rasband, so we need to integrate them into the choir some how. Luckily we still have 7 practices before the actual performance. Sadly it looks like we´ll need to cut some people from the choir so that will be really interesting to coordinate. I just hope that no one´s feelings get hurt because they told us that we could only have a certain number of people in the choir and we now need to add in another mission. I´m sure though that with prayer and patience everything will work out okay.  On the bright side though, the missionaries are singing so well! It really sounds incredible, and everyone is learning their parts really well! I´m really excited. =)

We also had a really great experience with an investigator this week! Working in the office does have some benefits, because we get to see immediately when we have new referrals from the church general offices. We were really surprised when we got a referral sent to us from Houston, Texas. It turns out that it´s the grand daughter of someone who lives in our sector here in Ecuador! What a small world I guess! She was really receptive, and we have another visit set up for tonight to visit her and her husband. Her name is Mary and her husband is Jorge.

I hope that everyone has a great day/week! and Emily I hope that you have a fantastic birthday!! I´m so proud to say that I have such a great, Christlike sister.

Lots of Love,
Elder Hales =)

Jonathan with Elder Norris

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mi Querida Familia!

It looks like everyone has managed to keep busy which is always good to hear! Mom, I´m so happy that you are able to keep up with all the things you need to do, and that you´re feeling a little better. I hope you know that you are in our prayers. You and the rest of the family too of course! I was really impressed with all the decorations for teacher appreciation week. 

It has been such an incredible fast moving week! I feel like the weeks are just passing by in big blurs! 
The biggest news is that Elder Rydalch is back home and (from what Hermana Riggins has told us) enjoying his time with his family. Mom, to answer your question, our new assistant is an elder from Canada who´s name is Elder Mclean. He´s a hard worker and I´m sure he´ll have some great ideas for the mission. I hope he´s had a really good week though, because this Monday, Elder Salcedo (our other assistant from Guatamala) is also going home. We´ve had the great blessing of having some really good assistants.

Last Saturday right after we wrote home, we went to the assistants' baptism. When we got to our investigators house who was going to come with us, he came out and told us that they could no longer come. We felt bad, but we wanted to go to the baptism anyways to show our support for Elder Rydalch. On our way over we were talking to the taxi driver and invited him to come to the service with us. He said he couldn´t because he was working, but when we got there we invited him again and he said he would stay for the first 15 minutes! We were so excited, and he came in and loved the service! He stayed the whole time (hour and 15 minutes) and then gave us his number and address to go and visit him! Turns out he lives in another mission, but we were so happy to have been placed in his path and to help him feel the spirit for a night. =)

This Monday two sister missionaries from our district also are finishing their mission. (It sounds like a big group is going home.) One is Hermana Trochez from Colombia, and the other is Hermana Yeakey who has been the mission nurse. She´s been an office missionary for her entire 18 months, and has talked a lot about how she´s so happy that she had this opportunity to serve other missionaries. She said that she was really shocked when she opened her call and it said she would be serving as a mission nurse, but she has done an incredible job keeping us all healthy. We sure will miss them too! It´s so crazy to me that Lizze is home! 

Choir practice is also going well! We finished learning the first song! One of the songs we are singing is a medley of Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel and Onward Christian Shoulders. It´s so great to get to hear good music. And we found a pianist! She´s been practicing really hard, and I´m grateful that she´s willing to take some time out of her area to practice and help us out. It´s Hermana Wilson who was in Guayaquil with us about a month or so ago. We also found out that the apostle who´s coming to our mission in June is Elder Rasband! We´re all really excited and praying that the choir will turn out well.

I hope that everything is going well back in Utah. Remember that I´m praying for you always! Thank you all for your love and support,
Have a great week! We´ll see you tomorrow!!! =)

Elder Hales

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Querida Familia!

It sounds like everyone had busy weeks! Mom, I'm really happy that you were able to enjoy the Woman's Conference at BYU! That was so nice of Terri to help you out. And Dad, I'm glad that you're still able to serve in the scouts, and I know the boys are really grateful too. 

Isaac, I just wanted to give you a special shout out, because Dad told me that you are really helping Mom out which I appreciate so much! I'm sure that everyone else is also helping, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for taking care of our angel Mother. =)

Dad, when Doctor Rayside came and visited our mission, he actually talked a little bit about mindfulness as well. Apparently a big stress causer for missionaries is when they start to do everything routinely, so he talked about a couple of different ways to put ourselves back into the moment. One of the exercises he shared with us is called 5 4 3 2 1. You quickly name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, three things you can touch, 2 things you can smell or taste, and then you take a deep breath. I thought it was all really interesting! 

I can't believe that Lizzie is finishing her mission so soon! That seems so crazy to me! It feels like yesterday that I remember reading her first letters from a small computer store in Vinces.=)  I'm so proud of her for being able to serve the Lord. Do you know if she's going to go back to BYU Idaho or if she has other plans? Elder Rydalch also goes home this week, so we'll really miss him. I'm sure that you'll get to see some pictures because Dad is friends with Elder Rydalch on Facebook.

Our devotional on Sunday went really well! Everyone that came said that they really enjoyed it. I always love when I get the chance to play the piano. Also it looks like I might be the new ward pianist because our last ward pianist just left for the MTC last Tuesday. (He's going to Canada but not to Jenni's mission.)  I'm actually really excited to play on Sundays again. But don't tell Mom I said that ;)

We had our first choir practice this week, (with another on Monday) and it actually went really well! Almost everyone in the choir knows how to read music and parts which will make our work a lot easier, and the four parts really came out very well. It's a pretty balanced choir too, with just the right number of basses, tenors, altos and sopranos. Mom, I'll see if I can scan you a copy of the song in a second so you can take a look at it. It was also really fun to see a couple of friends from the West Guayaquil mission, like Elder Wade Hanson (we went to Alta together) and Hermana Samantha Durffy! (from marching band/Alta HS orchestra) Luckily neither of them were affected by the earthquakes. It was great to catch up with them though! Elder Hanson goes home two weeks before I do. 

I really can't believe it's already the last day of April. I don't know where all the time is going! We're going to be busy all throughout May getting ready for the apostle who will be coming to the mission in June. We're all excited, (and just a little stressed haha) but it should be really fun. I think by next week we'll know who it is that's coming!

Thank you so much for your support and prayers this week, I really hope that everyone stays safe and that you keep feeling better Mom! I'm so glad that the Lord really does hear our prayers.

Have a great week! See you next Sunday for Mother's Day!

Lots of Love,
Elder Hales =)