Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bernard the Elf in Argentina!

(I don't know how many of you have a little Elf on the Shelf visit your house every year around Christmas time but our family had one pop into our life last year and as luck would have it Bernard the Elf found Elder Hall in Argentina!)

Querido Mak, Garret, Russ, and Laynee,

I woke up this morning and you will never guess what I saw! All of my ties were tied together like a big rope, and hanging in the middle was a note from Bernard!! And apparently Bernard can speak spanish! In spanish an Elf is called a Duende (Dwenday) and Santa Claus is Papá Noel! He said in his note that his next stop was you guys! And I figure that by the time he makes it to you guys, it will probably be December 1st so really soon! You guys will have to send me pictures of all of the stuff he does! Who knows maybe he will play a few tricks on me before Christmas!
I love you all, and am so excited for Bernard to visit you! Make sure to be extra good!

Con Amor,

Elder Hall

(PS...This is just a small piece of what an awesome big brother Elder Hall is! The holidays are his favorite time of year, every Christmas he put lights up & decorated his bedroom, we are sure going to miss his Christmas Spirit this year!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

¿Que es Tanks-hiving?

Hola Familia y Amigos! 

Mi primero pregunta es, ¿Que es Tanks-hiving? Well actually that is the question I have gotten asked multiple times! What is thanksgiving, apparently it is a Yankee holiday, I don`t know why it`s not like it is a holiday that was started at the founding of America or anything! No just kidding, but serioulsy it is so weird to think that this week is thanksgiving! Here is hot, and it is HUMID! And it is only going to get worse! Not anything remotely like the Arizona weather I am used to, especially for November! But I am cruising along, trying my best!

This week was a really great week, yesterday I had the privledge of baptizing Angelíca Milagros Nuñez or as we know her just Milagros! Milagros is fourteen years old, and she was actually baptized when she was younger, but the church lost her records, and so the procedure for the church is that when there is no record of an ordinance they re-do it! The thing was her family has been inactive for along time, and so it was basically like teaching an investigator! Milagros is the aunt of the kids I sent the picture of last week! It is has been so much fun to work with this family and such a blessing in my life! We love the nuñez`s and they are starting to come back to church, so we will see where it all goes from here! 

Daniela, the lady we have been teaching who lost her spouse, is like a sponge, she just takes everything we say, and this week we had a really neat spiritual experience at a family home evening we had with her and a family in our branch. We watched the movie, ``The Restoration`` which is great if you haven`t seen it I highly recommend it! Anyways after we watched it, I had the opportunity to bear my testimony of the experince of Joseph Smith, and the importance for her to find out for herself if these things we had been teaching were true, because she has been taught the lessons, and she likes what she hears but hasn´t had that confirming moment yet in her conversion. Well after Elder Garcia, Hermana Garcia (no relation to my companion), and I had born our testimonies we were all a little choked up and Daniela was crying becuase we felt the spirit so strong. She said the closing prayer, and as soon as she said amen, she just started bawling. It was an amazing experience to watch the spirit work in her, and how overcome she was. It was a very sweet experience that I will forever be greatful for. 

Another great experience I had this week happened in the filthy waiting room of a hospital. (Apparently dogs are allowed in hospitals here. !?aye ya yay, que va a hacer?! (What are you going to do about it)) Anyways we had a crazy man come up to us and start yelling at us how he was god, and lots of other stuff I didn´t understand, (Missionaries are crazy magnets, we deal with these people like at least 5 of the 7 days a week. Some times it gets exhausting!) But every cloud has this silver lining this lady walked uo and we started talking and i had the best conversation with her about Christ and how blessed we were to not be so confused like the crazy man, well then she started sharing some experiences she had had in her life, and the spirit hit me like a wall to share the First Vision (the experience of Joseph Smith) by the end of it she was crying and I bore my testimony. I think this week I learned most the power of testimony, and just talking and recieving the guidance I need from the spirit. It is just an amazing feeling to literally be guided almost word for word by the spirit. This was probably the first time in the mission that I felt it this strong, and it was just like WHAM! I left her a little card with the directions to the church on it and we parted ways!

This was a great week in the mission, and I just keep learning more and more! Just take things a day at a time, and time cruises! I can´t believe that while you all are stuffing your faces with my favorite foods on thursday, I will be in the pension, eating an alfajore, and celebrating just a little three months in the mission! Never in my life have three months passed by so fast! It´s just crazy to think! 

Anyways, I hope all is well at home, I love you all, and miss you, and I hope hope you have a Muy feliz Dia de Gracias! 

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Hall

 All of us at the baptism of Milagros! Hermana Nuñez, Milagros, Hermano Rafael Nuñez

 Elder Hall, Milagros, & Elder Garcia

 Elder Hall & Milagros

This is a special candy they only eat at christmas time, a lady in the ward gave us each one! It is like a big hunk, but not as good!

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Video From Elder Hall This Week!!

Pictures from this past week!

First hair cut in the field-where's Mariano when I need him?
(note from mom: why must missionaries do this, just find a barber pls!!)

 Benjamin & Celeste Nunez
 Benjamin, Celeste, & Flope Nunez (his favorite Argentine kids!)

Service project helping the Nunez family put a shade over their pool for the upcoming heat/humidity soon!

A Message on Faith

(sent in email on November 12, 2013)

Hi everyone, I hope everything is going well for at home! Elder Garcia is doing some online english tests for study this afternoon, so I decided to take a minute to share a message I have been learning about faith, but haven´t had the time to share on P-day! I hope everyone can take something from this, it sure has been amazing as I have applied this in my life! 

To begin, I want to start out in the Book of Mormon specifically Alma Chapter 32, the entire chapter talks about faith, but there is a message in it that all people of Christian background, no matter how strong or weak in their beliefs they are can take from. In verse 21 we learn the definition of faith

 21 And now as I said concerning faith—afaith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye bhope for things which are cnot seen, which are true.

In order to have faith we don´t have to have a perfect knowledge that God is god. We don´t have to have actually seen Jesus suffering on the cross to know that he suffered for our sins, and trials. We simply have to have a hope in these things that are true, that we can´t specifically see. 

In the following verses from the Book of Mormon, exemplify one of the best examples of faith, and how it works.  

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstandingg, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
 29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
 30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own alikeness.
 32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
 33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
 34 And now, behold, is your aknowledge bperfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your cfaith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your dmind doth begin to expand.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ only takes a little seed of faith to sprout into something much grander. As we experiment on the teachings and principles of Christ, and apply them to our lives, our little seed starts to take root, then as we receive more knowledge, we get a seedling or a little sprout. My message that I want to share is it doesn´t matter how firm or how small of a belief in Christ and God you have right now. Take that little belief that you have, and try to expand on it. I know that as we learn to take the seeds of faith that are planted with in us, we will be able to grow spiritually just as a little seed can grow literally into a large oak tree. 
38 But if ye aneglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
 39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your aground is bbarren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
Now unfortunately there are people who maybe had started to grow in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but as it  talks about in verses  38 and 39 didn´t take the time to ¨nourish¨ their tree. It wasn´t because they had a bad seed or because Christ isn´t our Saviour, or God doesn´t exist. No, the seed was good, the fault lies with the person. Just as a plant needs water and sunlight to live, we to need the spiritual nourishment of the scriptures, and attending church in our lives to continually build us up, and help us grow stronger.
I want to finish with a poem that I have had since I was about 8 or 9 years old, it is called Good Timber. If you watched General Conference, President Monson shared this in his talk, it is an all time favorite of mine, and I read it quite frequently! 
The tree that never had to fight                                                                 
For sun and sky and air and light,                                                          
 But stood out in the open plain                                                                
 And always got its share of rain,                                                        
 Never became a forest king                                                                
 But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil                                                                   
To gain and farm his patch of soil,                                                             
Who never had to win his share                                                                
 Of sun and sky and light and air,                                                               
Never became a manly man                                                                     
 But lived and died as he began
Good timber does not grow with ease,                                                  
 The stronger the wind, the stronger trees,                                                 
The further sky, the the greater length,                                                   
The more the storm the more the strength.                                               
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,                                                        
 In trees and men good timbers grow
Where thickest lies the forest growth                                                         
We find the patriarchs of both.                                                                
 And they hold counsel with the stars                                                       
Whose broken branches show the scars                                                 
Of many winds and much of strife.                                                           
This is the common law of life. 
My friends and family, I pray for you every day. I pray that we will be able to take those little seeds of faith in our lives, and nourish them to become those strong trees routed in the foundation of Christian Principles, that we need to survive those storms that arise. I have a testimony that we only need to take that little step, and exercise our faith, and the Lord will bless us in more ways then we can imagine. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have everyday to invite, and help strengthen the faith of others in this great work of the Lord in Argentina. It is amazing, everyday I receive some small testament that Christ truly is our Saviour, and just to think that God sent his only Begotten Son for us, specifically for our sins and problems. This gift which is the greatest of all we will never be able to repay, but we can show our love and gratitude for our Saviour, by exercising our Faith in him, and strengthening ourselves and our families spiritually. I love you all, and most importantly and I know for a fact of the love that our Heavenly Father has for each and everyone of his children. I continually pray, and hope all is well. And I share these things in the sacred name of my Savior, and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

1 Transfer in the Field Down!

¡Buenas Tardes Amigos y Familia!

¡Ojalá toda esta bien! Todo bien aqui en Argentina. I have actually had a really weird week! I have actually been sick on and off this week! Had some wicked migraines and a fever on and off from monday night until about wednesday or thursday! But I am doing good now! 

Elder Garcia and I also worked our tails off for two days scowering our area for a new apartment! They are divinding Villa España into two areas! So either this week or next week, we are going to get a set of Sister Missionaries! I am so excited because their is a part of our area that has a lot of money, and Elders have had no luck getting into houses! I really think Sisters will be able to break into this part of our area! Plus to have four missionaries working in just one branch is pretty awesome! Who knows maybe these sisters will give us the extra boost we need to make Villa España into a ward! 

I also finished my very first transfer in Argentina, and my second in total! In every mission there is 17 transfers or 6 week periods of time! I am excited because I am here in Villa España for at least another 6 weeks! The end of this transfer will mark 6 months that Elder Garcia has been in this area! And for some reason Villa España has a tradition of long time stays! One elder who actually finished his mission today served here for a year, I have heard about others 8 or 9 months! Just long periods of time! So who knows how long I am here! For now I love it here so I am good with whatever! 

So Elder Holland was AMAZING!! He was everything that I was expecting! The same powerful speaker we all know and love was here in Argentina! However it is so interesting to me how when he speaks, he has a humble weeping way of speaking combined with all the fire and brimstone strength! He spoke alot about after our missions and how we should never forget the things we learned here. He talked about the most crushing thing in his life is to talk with a returned missionary who has lost his faith. It really made me think about how I want to be when I get home, and be the kind of person that comes home changed, but in a good way. Changed as in some one who has complete faith and trust in the Lord, and has truly served with all his heart and mind. One of the things I am learning is that you can serve with all your strength, and you are still doing alot of good and helping to change other people´s lives, but if you don´t serve with all your heart and mind, you don´t allow your own life to be changed and blessed. 

He also spoke alot on the Atonement and the power that it can have in our lives, as well as in the lives of our investigators! Probably my favorite quote from his talk was this, ´´The road to Salvation always goes through Gethsemane, it is the way of the cross. We all have a cross to bear, it may be a tiny one, but we all have a tiny cross to remind us of the big cross´´ He spoke alot about how this work we are doing is not easy, and it never was meant to be easy, not after Christ suffered everything he had to save our souls. We all have a small price to pay, and that is why life in general is not always easy. 

The biggest thing that I can stress, and message that I can share is the difference between just having a testimony, and being converted to the gospel. And there is a huge difference. A testimony of the Gospel can carry us through those good times in our lives, but when those rough patches in life arise, we fall. The need for a deep routed conversion in the Gospel of Jesus Christ has never been more neccesary. I work with people every single day, who had a testimony when the missionaries taught them, they felt the spirit and that peace, but over time never tried to strengthen their faith, and in the end lost touch with the church, and fell back into the way of life they had before. Now obviously there are lots of other circumstances that cause people to leave the church, but for those of us as members, we need to do all we can to strengthen our faith and become truly converted. If there is a doctrine you aren´t sure about, wether it be tithing, the word of wisdom, hey maybe even the Book of Mormon, try it out! Pay your tithing, live the word of wisdom, read the Book of Mormon, then look at your life, I offer my witness as a missionary of the Lord, that as we take these doctrines and apply them in our lives we will become more converted. It is no overnight process, it is just a little here, and a litte there, but eventually we will be strengthened! I know it! 

Sorry I will get down off my soap box, I guess I was feeling a little inspired after listening to my favorite Apostle! Don´t worry everyone I am not some spiritual guru who doesnt do anything, but sit and read my scriptures. I am still the same goof ball Brennen, you all know! I just have learned so much, and I don´t just only want to help the people of Argentina, but the people who I love so much back home! I hope and pray all is well back home, as you can probably tell I am doing great here, and just love it so much! ¡Hablamos Pronto!

Elder Hall

Monday, November 11, 2013

Some Fun Pictures!

 I forgot to send my Halloween picture! I tried to fly home for the night, but apparently magic broom sticks don't make a round trip flight from Villa España to Palo Verde!

It was like a brownie cake actually I am limited on my baking supplies! Only had a metal bowl that I
 used as a pan! haha

Elder Garcia´s one year was on Thursday so I made brownies! This is all of our apartment! Elder Killian (Las Vegas), Elder Santos (Brazil), and then Elder Garcia and I!

Another Week in Argentina!

Hola Amigos and Familia!

Well like all my weeks here in Argentina I had another great week here! Unfortunately I don´t have any crazy stories to share this week! It was a pretty low key week as far as the mission field goes! 

Mario was not baptized this week, because of some things that came up! So we are hoping that things will work out this week! 

We have found some new people to teach though one of them is a lady named Daniela she is in her late 20´s and has a almost 2 year old baby girl. She is super nice, and loves her baby so much. About a year ago when she was still pregnant her husband passed away. So she has really loved the Plan of Salvation and it has been amazing to watch her realize that there is hope. She is only seperated from her husband for a short time, and that they will have the opportunity to be together again! 

This week we also are starting to see some results in our work with some less-active, and in-active families. It is so exciting to walk into the chapel and see some of these families who are great people, but just have forgotten the peace, and love that comes from having the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. And to get to play a small role in helping these people remember is a really neat blessing! 

This week I went on my first companion exchange! Elder Garcia stayed in Villa España and I headed off to Quilmes! Now for those of you who are familiar with where I am from it is like the drive from Buckeye to Goodyear! I worked with Elder Thayne my Zone Leader and had a great time! Him and I are very similar, we were both student body president, he did all kinds of stuff in high school his family is the kinda cowboy type, and he loves country music! As much as I love my Peruvian it was so nice to be able to talk with someone who knew where I was coming from on everything! I learned alot in my 24 hours with Elder Thayne so I am pretty grateful for the opportunity I had to work with him! (And the Zone Leaders have an awesome apartment! 11 stories up! The only scary thing was a two weeks before the other elevator fell from the third floor! YIKES!)

I had my second interview with President Thurgood this week, and it was nice to get to know him just a little bit better! He is such a great man, and I am thankful to have him as a mission president! He said that chances are I would be staying here in Villa España for the next transfer (6 weeks) to finish out my training, so I was excited to hear that! So it looks like I will be here for christmas! Which in Argentina is really different! For one last year it was about 120ish degrees with over a 100 percent humidity! Usually it is the worst day of the year as far as weather goes! And they don´t decorate and just drink beer all day! lol should be a blast! ;) 

OH I ALMOST FORGOT!! On Saturday we are headed to hear Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles speak!! I AM SO EXCITED!! He has the best missionary talks and this is only going to be the Buenos Aires North, South, and West Missions! So all missionaries! So next weeks letter should be a good one! 

Overall another great week! Love you all! Until next time, Ciao!

Elder Hall

 Day time view of a park in Quilmes

 Other day time view looking towards downtown Quilmes

 Nightime view! Actually pretty beautiful!
 Statue in Quilmes

Quilmes is really nice, and has a big city center! It is like walking thru a big city with all the shops and stuff! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Coke in Argentina?!

For those who know & don't know, Elder Hall is a Coca Cola addict. Many have given him a hard time about his need for the drink and there was some great concern about whether he would be able to enjoy his favorite drink while in Argentina, well it turns out maybe Argentina is the place for a Coke addict to live! His words to this picture:  "The coke in Argentina is amazing and giant! Three liters is the normal!!" 

So it looks like we don't need to worry that he is unable to enjoy a good coke every now again! I have a feeling in 22 months he will be sick of it since it seems to be the drink most Argentine's prefer since their water isn't the best!

!Saludos de Argentina¡

Hola Amigos y Familia

This week has been a great, and very fast week! We have seen alot of little miracles this week and are starting to see results from the work we have been putting in this past week! 

I want to start out by thanking every one for the prayers for Sebastian this week! I had the privledge of baptizing Sebastian Emilio Alejandro Marcial on Saturday November 2, 2013. He was baptized in the Villa España Capilla, Berzategui, Buenos Aires! It was such a neat experience to have the privledge to baptize him. A little background on Sebastian, some of his family are members of the church, but none are active. He doesn´t know his dad, but has a grandma and mom who care for him. He lives with his grandma though. Not a whole lot of good influences in his life, but he is a good kid, and is like a little brother to me! One of the miracles we have seen already come from his baptism is his grandma came to church with him the next day, and I really think that this event will bring her back into the church. She was welcomed with so many open arms at the baptism and at church on sunday! We pray that the example of Sebastian will remind this family of the peace, and happiness that comes from having the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. 

Then yesterday was a crazy day for us as missionaries. We went to drop by an investigators house to get them for church, and they had already left but their little brother came with us. Well we had one more investigator to go get, and truth to be told we were running late because busses are terrible on Sundays. Well we didn´t know wether to go straight for the chapel or go get our other investigator first. Then unbeknowest to me at the time, Elder Garcia had a very strong feeling to go straight to the chapel. So he told me let´s just go to the chapel first. Well it was a good thing we did, because right as we walked in the branch president needed us to go with him immediately to visit a family. The husband had passed away from a heart attack on friday and the mom had not left her bed, because she has been so upset. So we went right away to visit, and are going back tonight to talk about the Plan of Salvation, and how Christ can help us through every problem. Now this subject really gets me, I will be honest I get very emotional in a situation like this. To think well what if that was me, what would I need if it was my dad. All I know is that I am so thankful for the knowledge we have as members of the church as to where we go when we die. And to have that knowledge that families are forever. This family is not members of the  mormon church, and I just pray that the Lord will  bless my companion, the Branch President, and his wife, and I with the spirit tonight so that we will be able to help bring this family into the arms of our Saviour.

After returning to church, we went into the Gospel Principles class that we normally teach, and our other investigator Mario Sanchez was there! And because he attended this week we are set to have his baptism next sunday after church! We were so happy that he came and we didn´t stop by. It was another mini-miracle of our day!  Mario is about 35 years old and has been investigating the church for quite some time, so we are really excited he finally wants to join the church and make that first commitment and step on the path! 

During church a member asked us to give him a blessing of health after church, so we of course agreed! Well after church we met up with him to give the blessing, and if you have never seen a blessing of health it is very simple.There are two parts, the first part we place just a little bit of olive oil on the persons, head and say a prayer, and it is really short and just a simple first part. I usually do this part when we give blessings because I have it written out and can read it off. Then the second part is a prayer specifically for that person, and it is given as we are prompted by the spirit. So no specific wording. Well the brother asked me to give the blessing! I was pretty nervous because it was my first time in spanish. Well I can tell you all the Gift of Tongues as talked about in the bible is real, I gave the entire blessing in spanish and the words that I needed where there, and I felt the spirit very strong. It was such a neat experience that probably helped me more then it help the brother! 

There were some other stuff that happened yesterday that was really cool, but unforunately I am out of time! Maybe next week! I want to talk a little bit though about what I have been studying in the Book of Mormon. It is the Story of Alma and Amulek. Found in the Book of Alma chapter 5 or 6 I believe around there. Quick summary, Alma was a missionary and went to preach in a city that was very wicked and they would not except his messages at all. They through him out of the city, and as he was leaving an angel appeared to him, and told him to return to the city that there would be a man called Amulek who would except him into his house, and he would be able to teach him. Well Amulek was just a regular member of the city, but he excepted the words of Alma and together they were able to team up and teach the people. My message from this story is that for my friends and family at home, to be the member who excepts the missionaries and works with them. I can´t tell you how much stronger a lesson is when we have a member there, and it is everyone´s responsibility to help bring others unto the fold of our Savior. 

That is all for this week! Love you all and I am always praying for you guys! ¡Ciao!

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Hall

Elder Garcia, Hermana Justina (Abuela de Sebastian), Sebastian, Malena (Cousin), and Me!

Me & Sebastian