Monday, December 23, 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad mis amados amigos y familia! Ojalá yo podría estar con ustedes por este navidad, pero yo tengo alguno trabajo para hacer aquí en Argentina! (How I wish I could be with you all this Christmas, but I have some work to do here in Argentina!) 

I am pretty short on time, so I am going to do a nice short Christmas letter to you all this week. Although I am a long ways away from home, and the culture and way of celebrating Christmas is different, the message is the same. This time of year is to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. How thankful I am for that babe of Bethlehem. As I have spent some time contemplating the birth and miraculous life of my Redeemer this christmas I have come to truly appreciate the meaning the of Christmas.

I miss all of my friends, and especially my family, but the amazing opportunity that I have to serve here in Argentina is something I wouldn´t trade for the world. How blessed we are to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, and how blessed am I to get to share this with the people here in Buenos Aires. I love the people, and my companion, and this Christmas I am just so grateful for the blessings that I have in my life.

I am so excited to get the chance to talk with my family on Christmas, and I want to thank all of you for the emails, and Christmas well wishes. Know that there is an Elder in Buenos Aires wishing you all a very Feliz Navidad y Prospero Nuevo Año!

Con Todo Mi Amor,

Elder Hall

(I gave him the recipe for Grandmas Caramel Corn & he made it for the branch!)

12 Quarts of Caramel Corn, it is different because the sugars are different, but the branch absolutely loved it, I had every member of the Relief Society asking for the recipe! It was a ton of work, but worth it!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I´m dreaming of a!

¡Hola mis amados amigos y familia! 

Another week down in the mission! I am the only one who feels like these weeks are flying bye faster then we can count! Time is ¨melting¨ here in Argentina, I can´t believe we only have two more weeks left of this transfer. I feel like I am going to stay here for at least one more transfer, but I think my Peruvian Papá (Not sure if I ever talked about it, but they don´t use ¨greenie¨ traditional new missionary phrase here in argentina. They use hijo (Son) and Papá (Dad)) is headed to another place! He has 6 months now here in Villa España so it would be pretty crazy if I left and he stayed here! But hey, I will go where the Lord wants me to go! 

So as I hinted at, it is...HOT here! The sun is like crazy strong, and let me tell you the humidity isn´t even at its worst yet, but it is absolutely terrible! For my Arizona amigos, it is like the worst day of humidity and heat in august, but worse every day here! So I am using alot of sun block and looking for shade. I am wishing I could throw my cowboy hat on! Never realized how much that helps until I can´t use it! But I am surviving. It is almost impossible to imagine that it is cold at home. I am sure when winter hits I will be crying for sunshine. So I guess I gotta learn to suck it up! (And appreciate my good AZ weather!) haha While you guys are freezing at home, we had a water balloon fight for a zone activity. Loco! 

This week we had an open house at the church and we had such a good turn out! The members really helped out, and it was just a great success. I don´t know why they don´t do these kind of programs in the states, (Or maybe they have started) but basically the missionaries just gave tours of the church and talked about our basic beliefs and then every member organization (Youth, Women, Men, Children) had members of the church there to explain things! We received just under thirty references, and three people excepted baptismal dates! So we have some work to do, to try and contact all of these people this coming week! 

Some other good news is, we got the official word that our branch will be receiving a set of sister missionaries this Thursday! So we are excited to split the area, although we are going to lose some of our favorite families, (The Nuñez Family :( ) but I know that sisters are going to be great for this area and give it the boost it needs! 

 I am really learning about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It is amazing as I have really taken the opportunity to study and read it how much I have learned, and the special spirit that it has. It´s teachings are clear and basic, and they can help us all. 

I have accepted that Christmas is kinda lame here this week, and just went with it. So I am not letting it bother me, and adapting to the traditions here. I am so excited to get to talk with my family on Christmas though!

Everything is going great, and I am loving it here! I hope and pray all is well at home with everyone! One last note, as some of you know I have my blog that my mom puts pictures on every week, and occasionally videos! Love you all! 

Elder Hall 

On Sunday we received a phone call from Elder & Sister Ehmke that are from Show Low that Elder Hall had trainings with a few weeks ago! What an awesome thing to get a phone call saying what an amazing young man he is, (we all know that already!) However for a mom to get that kind of a phone call to solidify what I already know about him is awesome! They said the Argentine's love him and he has a way with them. They also said his ability to speak the language is amazing, that when they first met him they thought he was probably about the 18 month mark, never wouldn've guess he had only been out 3 months! They told us he is very loved & well taken care of in his branch & that him & his companion have a great companionship and are doing very well & that as his parents we have nothing to worry about! It was fun to hear from them & was also very nice of them. Just made this proud mom even prouder! (if thats possible!)  We can't wait to hear from him on Christmas, just to hear his voice & honestly I think we are all ready to hear his contagious laugh! We should be able to skype with him which will make things all the better!

 Lots of missionaries! 

 My Book of Mormon display during the open house!

 All of the missionaries, and members after the open house

 Ivan (One of our investigators) and us after church! 

Our Branch Mission Leader Facundo (Soon to be Elder Aguirres, we are waiting for a mission call!) and us! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hola Mis Amigos!

Hola Compañeros! 

Hope every one has had a great week, here in Buenos Aires, we had another great week in the mission! This week I am writing with a little country Christmas music playlist, going on in the background! It is hard to imagine it is almost Christmas. Ya here they have little Christmas trees, the stores decorate, but honestly Argentina lacks the Christmas spirit that I love. I think alot of it is because in the US we have Christmas with the people we love, and that is what it is all about. Here they don´t have that same focus. But the members are still so nice, and we have a little Christmas tree for the pension so I am not totally deprived! It is an adjustment like everything else! It just means I have to share a little bit of our traditions with my investigators and the members here! 

This week was a good week a little bit different than normal but it was still good! Monday when I was finishing my final email to my mom. as I hit send there was a huge clap of thunder, and all of the lights and computers in the cybers died! We had this crazy little microburst that came through, knocked down trees and all kinds of stuff! And we were in the street running back to the pension when all this was going on! Good times :)  haha luckily we made it safe and ended up talking with some of our neighbors who we found out lived in the US for 12 years and recently moved back! They aren´t interested in the church, but still it is always good to know your neighbors! 

Wednesday we had a Zone Conference! It was a full day of missionary training, but it was really great. I learned alot, and was excited to get out and try some of the new things we learned! One of the new ways we are trying to find people to teach is through Family History work! We have a family history center close by, and so we actually offered to help a family that the missionaries in this area have been trying to teach for a really long time, to find their ancestors, and they accepted! So it was a sweet surprise to see the results of this just a few hours after learning about this! 

The weather here is so crazy! We had the microburst deal, then it will be cool one day, then the next it is roasting and there is a ton of humidity. Today is pretty nice but it is always changing here, so we never know what to expect when we walk out the door in the morning! 

This afternoon we have also had an interesting experience, as of right now we can´t get into our apartment! Elder Garcia and I left this morning and then the other two elders left, and when we came back the lock is all messed up and the key won´t turn. And from one until four in the afternoon here we have the wonderful siesta (nap) that let me tell  you can really throw things off! So we have to go find a lock smith when everything opens back up! Our district was going to all have lunch together as well so it was pretty funny we had a bag of chicken and I found some rebar and we were able to open the fridge from the window, and then we were tried to sling the bag of chicken into the fridge, and all just cracking up! So hopefully we get things taken care of! I am getting a little hungry... 

Anyways all is well here in La Misión I am loving it here! I love the people I teach, and the members here. Yes it is different, but it is amazing. I have never had a more amazing experience then I have in the last few months. To be able to share this knowledge, and help people in their conversion it just is almost underwhelming at times (in a good way). I just think alot about how lucky I truly am to have the life that I have and to be able to have such great family and friends. Often times we see lots of sad cases where families have been destroyed, and it just makes me want to work even harder to try and help out as many people as I can in the short time that I have here! 

All of you norte americanos enjoy your cold weather, and I will be here enjoying my time, in the work of the Lord, roasting away! Love you all! 

Elder Hall 

On a side note: in our weekly emailing he has assured me he is not homesick. He does really miss Christmas since it is celebrated much differently there than here. He said the weather is so humid & yuck but he is glad it isn't cold because that would make him think it should really be Christmas! He loves this time of year probably more than any of his siblings do so as his mom I've been a little worried about him!  We are really looking forward to being able to Skype with him on Christmas day!  He loves it there & loves everything about being on a mission. I am so proud of him & that he is making the most of his experience there! He redeemed himself & did send pictures later today!
 Showing off his weight gain. If you know his Dad & Papa, well it looks like he will be taking after them! Skinny guys with a gut that sticks out! haha!

 Elder Garcia is 20 years old & has never shaved, so Elder Hall gave him lessons, scary!

Half done, the things missionaries do!

 ¡Capos! (A word for like a cool guy) 

So we have ¨Factura Friday¨for weekly planning session! Facturas are these delicious pastries that I love!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Crazy Storm Brings Investigators!

(I received this early this morning from Elder Hall as he was working on some stuff for a Zone Conf tomorrow)

So last night was totally crazy! I hit send on my last email and wham crack of thunder and the whole cyber loses power. We had a wild storm that lasted for about 20 minutes! Crazy winds and rain and then no power for most of the night. We ended up just going back to the pension and actually were able to contact some of our neighbors. They lived in LA for 10 years so they speak english and spanish! We are going to go teach them on Sunday. The wife hates it here she grew up in mexico and then when she was 12 moved to LA and has been there for a good 20 plus years. They have been in Argentina for two years now (the dad is from here and lived in the us for 12 years where he met her) Both of their kids 7 and 10 were born there and apparently the kids dont like it here either. So it should be interesting to teach them! 

(Apparently neither of them had ever heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints while living in the LA area for 10 years)

¿Donde está Noviembre?

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Feliz primero de Diciembre! I am still trying to figure out what happened to November because it feels like the month just started! Next week we will already be halfway through this transfer! Time flies when you are having fun I guess! 

So because I know every one was worried about me croaking from homesickness I´ll talk about that first! Thursday was just another day here in the mission for me! Seriously we are so busy, I didn´t really have time to think about it being Thanksgiving! And to be quite honest that is something I am thankful for! We just worked all day, and to be honest I never even ended up having an alfajore like I planned! So it really was just a regular Thursday here in the field! 

Friday I headed to El Cruce another area in our Zone for an intercambio (companionship exchange) I worked with Elder Silencio, he is from Peru, and actually has the same amount of time as me in the mission but has been in the field for a transfer longer, because he already spoke spanish so he only had two weeks in the MTC. He is a great elder, and I enjoyed working with him. The area of El Cruce, not as much, let´s just same I am EXTREMELY grateful for the area that I am in! Villa España is a pretty busy area, and a lot prettier! But we had a really good time!

Then Saturday afternoon we had the baptism of Daniela Godoy! It was a very nice service, and it has been so awesome to watch the way Daniela has changed so willingly and just accepted the Gospel with such an open heart! The Relief Society (Women´s Organization for our church) has helped us out a ton, and have just welcomed Daniela in. I really think she feels loved and around people who care about her. I hope that this friendship will continue to help her progress in the gospel! 

Sunday we had this training by some Senior Missionaries about an open house program we are going to be doing here in a couple weeks, and another Senior Missionary Couple was with them from a mission in the south of Argentina. Well we got to talking and Elder and Sister Ehmke are from Show low, Arizona. Elder Ehmke was the principal for a long time and he knows all of my family from Show Low. And the reason I know he wasn´t lieing was when he said, ¨Your grandma Estelle used to get so wound up at Baseball games that sometimes as a school principal, I just thought to myself Estelle would you please calm down!¨Now when I heard this I was almost on the floor dieing laughing! If you don´t know my great grandmother she is a little old lady more loving then just about anyone I know, with a side when it comes to ball games ain´t nobody in their right mind would want to cross! Anyways... it was just such a neat blessing, and such a small world that I am halfway across the world and I can still run into people that know family! 

Overall it was a truly great week here in Villa España, I still after 3 months of being here in the mission go home every night having learned something new. My testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ grows just a little day, and my trust in our Heavenly Father´s plan for me and my life, grows stronger and stronger. As it gets colder at home, and that special spirit of Christmas starts to fill the air, a little challenge, I ask that every person, regardless of religion try to share just a small message of our Savior with someone they care about. There is something about December and a chill in the air that seems to open people hearts. I hope that maybe the humidity here has the same effect! 

As always your all in my thoughts in prayers, Yo espero todo de ustedes, tengan una buena Semana! Talk to you soon! 

Con Amor,

Elder Hall  
 My Thanksgiving Dinner in the pension! A Milanesa Sandwich. Milanesa is like the main food of argentina it basically is like either a chicken fried steak but really thin and a chicken patty combined! It comes in beef as well! We eat it probably four or five times a week!

 Elder Garcia and I with Daniela and her daughter Melody on Saturday

Elder & Sister Ehmke from Show Low