Monday, June 27, 2016

Mi Querida Famila,

I´m so happy to hear that everyone is doing well, and that the MS 100 didn´t have too many casualties;)  I was so happy to hear from both Jacob and Joseph this week too! It sounds like you´ve been keeping busy during the summer vacations! 

Mom, I´m also so excited that you´ve been doing better, and that everything is going well with your foot! That really does make me so happy to hear. =)

It has been an incredible week here in Guayaquil to say the least! My new companion (Elder Rojo de Bolivia) and I have been working really hard meeting the members, making appointments and working hard to find new people to teach. Here are a couple of highlights.

Yesterday we left to do some visits with a 23 year old convert named Andres Moreira. In Preach my Gospel there is a great phrase that says, ´´as you experience the atonement in your lives, your desire to share the gospel increases´´ and he is an incredible evidence of that great truth. Andres would stop and talk to everyone he knew (and this was about 1 in every 3 or 4 people that we would pass by in the streets) and talk to them about how the gospel had changed his life. He was deeply involved in a gang before joining the church. He´ll be leaving for his mission this December! He is such a great example of how the gospel will change lives.

Then on Sunday there was a baptismal service of a precious girl named Odalys who turned 8 yesterday. Her parents are converts who were baptized last November. It was so sweet to see how many people from the ward came to show their support. I was also really surprised that the familia Huayamabe (the family of 4 that got baptized last Saturday) came and showed their support as well.

We had a lot of fun going around the sectors of our area with the church lists of future elders, and we had a lot of success finding less active families. We also found quite a few families whose children or spouses aren't members! It has been a real answer to prayers!

It´s been really fun to work with Elder Rojo. I think I mentioned this last week but he and I are quite similar, and I´m glad that I´ll have such a great last companion. =)

I hope that everyone has a great week! And I also hope that everyone stays busy during the summer breaks! I have really learned the importance of time here in the mission, and I hope that you can all take advantage of the summer. =)

I love you all have a great week!

Elder Hales =) 
Odalys' baptism

View of Jonathan's area

Monday, June 20, 2016

My Dearest Family,

I´m glad that Mom, Dad, and Em were able to make it back from Aunt Betsy´s without any problems, and I´m so glad that Grandpa has been doing better! I made sure to remember him in my prayers last week, and just to be sure, we´ll keep on praying for him in these following weeks too. What a blessing it is to have such great roll models in our parents and in our parents´ parents. =)

I´ve had quite an interesting day so far! At about 11:30 last night the assistants called us and told us about the transfers that would be going on in the Kennedy Area, and a total of 8 of our missionaries are leaving! There were two companionships that cried when we told them that they would be leaving tomorrow, but I guess that´s a good sign of their hard work and dedication. They´re also closing some sectors and putting two brand new missionaries in their old wards. I´ve learned though that prayer and deep breaths are very good stress relievers =)

At 8:00 AM I went and dropped off my companion, Elder García, at the mission office. He´s a good missionary, and I´m proud of him for finishing his mission so well. I´m a little worried about how we´ll do here in the sector because I´ve only been here three weeks, but if we do end up getting lost we´ll have a good excuse to go and contact some new people. =) Then I had to go to the bus terminal to pick up the new missionaries in the zone, and help the two new sisters get to their house. There was a funny moment in the terminal when I had 4 sets of keys, and 4 cell phones while we were waiting for the new missionaries to arrive and claim their new homes! 

Right now I´m with my new companion, an old friend I met in Ventanas whose name is Elder Rojo. He´s from la Cochabamba, Bolivia and I´m really excited to get to work with him. He`s a great worker, teaches the gospel very well, is really organized, and he is a great listener. I think we´ll get along really well! 

And all of that was just today! I don´t even know where to begin with the rest of the week!

I guess I could start with the baptism on Saturday! It was so incredible! The four of them were able to get baptized and have such strong convictions about the Book of Mormon. After the ordinaces a small time was given so that they could share their testimonies and the mother of the family cried. Really the gospel changes lives in such an incredible way! Before they found the gospel, the mother was a pastor in an evangelist church, so it´s been very interesting to see the conversion process in her. She has some really funny questions sometimes, but is always willing to accept answers from the scriptures, and listen to what the Holy Ghost teaches which is never a bad thing. 

Oh! Random side note from Friday. So I´ve officially been endowed for two years now! I can´t believe it! But I just wanted to mention that because on Friday I needed to have an interview with President Riggins for my new recommend. It´ll probably be my only temple recommend that I´ll have in Spanish but it´s really cool! He even did the interview in Spanish just so I could hear the questions in Spanish one time. We have such a fun president. 

I hope that everyone has a great week! I will remember you all in my prayers and I won´t forget about my incredible grandparents either. I´m so glad that Dad´s Grandpa Boyd and Mom´s Grandpa Boyd are doing better and recovering from their accidents! 

Have a fantastic week! 

Love Elder Hales =)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Dear Family,

It sounds like you`ve been having an incredible time in Tennessee! I´m also sure that Aunt Betsy felt all of your love. I`m glad that you were able to do something special for her birthday! I got a small taste of what Emily was probably feeling when I went to Vinces and Ventanas. I can´t believe that was just two weeks ago! It seems like so much has happened since then! 

Speaking of important things happening, we sure have been busy this week! Elder Rasband´s coming could not have been smoother. I was so impressed with all the work that the three missions put into the conference so that everything could be done well. He made sure to get to the meeting early to be able to give all 600 of us missionaries a handshake. It was truly incredible! He talked about a lot of things, but one of his main points that he talked about for several minutes was that he was there to represent President Monson, and he told us multiple times about the love that President Monson feels for the missionaries. It really makes one want to represent the church (and the Savior) well.

I was also so proud of the choir! They sang so well that Elder Rasband turned around after the conference and asked us to all try out for the Mormon tabernacle choir when we got home! It was so nice to know that all our hard work had payed off. We were so happy for the spirit that we could feel after the music as well. It truly was a great experience. 

Then on Sunday Elder Rasband came and talked at our stake conference as well. He gave a heart touching talk about the Savior and how he ministered to everyone one by one. After the conference he took about 45 minutes to give every single person at the conference a handshake and a smile. Everyone was moved deeply. As they were leaving Sister Rasband turned to us, the missionaries, and said "You need to take care of these people´´ through tears. What a powerful testimony!

We`re also working hard with a family that might get baptized this Saturday! If everything goes well there should be 6 baptisms in the whole zone! We`re so excited for all the missionaries. =)

We`ve got to go to an appointment now, but I hope that everything goes well in Tennesse and that you get home safe! 
With lots of love,
Elder Hales

Monday, June 6, 2016

Hello Family!

I feel like the worst son ever right now! Sorry to keep you all waiting! My new companion (Èlder Garìa from Perú) is going home in two weeks and needed to do some things in the mission office that took up most of the day, but they gave as permission to write a little late. 

I`m glad that everyone is taking full advantage of the summer vacations! I can`t believe that school`s out already! I`m sure though that the boys will keep everyone busy even without homework. haha. =)

I got transferred out of the office on Sunday night! Then they asked me to spend all day Monday with the new office missionary to show him what to do. It was a little strange because what usually happens is that they put the new office missionary in a trio for 2-3 weeks so that they can learn everything that they need to do, but they just sent me out. I was really sad to leave the office and all the great friends I had made, but I guess that the Lord really does know better than I do. 

But before I was transferred we were able to have the baptism! It was a great way to say goodbye (even though I still didn`t know that I would be leaving).  I was really surprised when I got the call because I was with President Riggins and the assistants all day for the district conference in Ventanas, but I guess they wanted it to be a surprise.

I`m still in Guayaquil though, so I`ll be able to lead the choir on Saturday. President and Hermana Riggins came to the choir practice today, and said that they were really impressed with all our progress! I`m sure that we`ll do well, and it will be nice to have a front row seat! ;) It`s going to be a little crazy trying to get everything ready, but I`m sure that it`ll come out great!

My new sector is huge! We really need to learn how to use the Guayaquil bus system! Both the airport and the bus terminal are in our sector so we have a lot of geography to cover, but not that many actual houses. My new ward is called ``Las Americas`` which I thought was kind of funny. It`s one of the smallest wards in Guayaquil, and I`m glad because I still play the piano on Sundays.

We`re going to be working hard this week to make sure that all our investigators go to the stake conference with Elder Rasband this weekend! It should be a great week!

And I`m so sorry for not sending pictures out (again :p) but in the mad rush to pack my bags, I left my camera at home. I`ll be sure to get it though in the next district meeting.

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

Lots of love,
Elder Hales =)