Monday, June 30, 2014

19 years old, and 10 months in the Mission! SEMANA GRANDE!

Buenas Tardes mi querido familia, y amigos! 

Well this week was a good week, and a big week here in the mission! On friday I turned 19 years old, and on saturday I hit 10 months in the mission! I think it gets faster, and faster every month! And well its pretty obvious that this has been the fastest year of my life! It is crazy to think that if they hadn´t changed the age for missionaries to serve, I would just be getting ready to leave! And here I am almost a year into things! 

Thursday was an interesting day as well, we were going to leave early to go to take out money that my companions family had sent him from western union and after we prayed and were getting ready to head out the door, I tried to turn the key to open the door, and it didn´t budge. SO I sat there playing with it until I realized the door wasn´t going to open! I told my companion, and he started trying to open it. So I go to the window, and it was in this moment I realize all of the windows in argentina have big thick metal bars on them, and that the only way out was through the door. So as I am trying this, my companion breaks out the hammer and starts banging on the lock. We called the neighbor, and she didn´t answer so we had to bang on the walls, to wake her up, to try and open it from the outside! Well that didn´t work either. So after about 45 minutes of trying this, our new neighbor (who just happens to be a police officer) walks by to leave for work, Elizabeth explained the situation, and before we know it he is kicking the door in! hahaha so after like 6 super kicks, he snaps the outer metal part of the door, and we were free! Definetly not what we were expecting when we woke up in the morning! (The only downside is we lost an entires day work, because we had to wait on the owner to come, and he showed up at 6 in the evening, when he told us 12, and then 4!) 

My birthday was good, and it was just nice, to feel that really there are people here who care about me! :) But the best part of the week, was that on sunday, we had three less-active members who came, and this past week, we have had alot of success finding people to teach, and contacting in-active members. We are starting to see growth here in Spegazzini, and I am so thankful. The Lord is opening the hearts of these people, and it is such an amazing experience to be able to be an instruement in his hands, and help these people return to Him. I truly have one of the best jobs in the world, and the thought that every month that passes by, I have less and less time to commit to the Savior makes me a little sad. I honestly didn´t think I would hit the point where I would be sad, that time is passing by so quickly, but I have realized, and every day realize just a little bit more how short two years really is! 

I hope you all have a great week! Know that I love you all, and as always you are in my prayers! 

Elder Hall 

 I realized I hadn´t sent a picture of my new companion! Meet Elder Torres! 

 here is the door afterwards! 

 It was quite the adventure!

 My birthday breakfast! (Thanks to the sister next door, and the fact that her daughter´s birthday was the night before!), and the breakfast of my poor companion who was sick all day! 

 !st birthday party with the Diaz Family! They are in-actives that invited us to eat dinner with them Friday, and in a small ward gossip gets around, so they found it was my birthday, and surprised me with a cake! :) 

 Second Birthday Party! 

 It was a fun night :)

 I LOVE this family! La Familia Sosa, La Hermana Elizabeth, Rodrigo (14), Victoria (9), and Carlitos (5)! They are so great, and are our neighbors! They threw my birthday party, and are like another part of my family here in Spegazzini!

 On Saturday night I received an email from La Hermana Elizabeth pictured about with these 2 pictures attached of Elder Hall!  She also sent a nice little note to me after I replied with a thank you for taking care of him and it said: Thank you very much, I look after your child as if he were part of our family he brought a great blessing to my home that we love. So blessed to have others who love him and take care of him when I can't! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hola Amigos :)

Hey Everybody! 

I hope everything is going good at home! :) I had an amazing week! My new companion Elder Torres is awesome! We have had so much fun together, and have worked super hard! It has been one of the best weeks I have had, in a long time! I just hope this next week is as good! On Friday I turn 19, and then on Saturday I complete 10 months here in the mission! This year definitely has been the fastest of my life! And I seriously can´t believe that we are already at the end of June! I don´t know where time goes! 

This week though was a great week here in Spegazzini. I am pretty sure Elder Torres was just what Spegazzini, and I needed to help get things moving around here. It was a week full of mini-miracles, that added up to one amazing week. We have about ten families assigned to us from the leaders here, and Elder Chuliver, and I only were able to get in touch with a few of them, well this week we were able to get in touch with almost all of them, and had some really great lessons! 

The other thing that was pretty crazy was, Elder Torres told me that he wanted to knock on the door of this random house, so we knocked on the door, and a lady answered, and asked us if we were the missionaries from Mar del Plata, (a town really far from here!), we said know and asked her what she was talking about. Well she told us that her daughter, and son in law are members, and that in few weeks, they are coming to the temple to get sealed, (married for eternity) and that they were going to send the missionaries to visit her. Now here is the crazy part... this was the day before. Then later that night we received a message from the offices with her name, and address to go and visit her! It was just a testimony to me, that God works faster then men! And that when we are willing to work, he will use us, to find the people that are looking for the gospel!  

Overall things are going really good here in good ole Argentina, and I am so happy to be in the mission. I know that is has been, and will be one of the most important, and best decisions of my life. Thanks for all of the prayers, letters, emails, and everything. It really means the world to me! Have a great week! 

Elder Hall

 We had a good lunch that my companion and I made the other day! Rice, Fried Eggs, and a hamburger patty! haha :) 

Buenas Tardes! New Transfer =New Companion!

(email from 616/14)

Buenas Tardes Amigos y Familia! 

Well this morning I said goodbye to my companion Elder Chuliver, and said hello (or better said, Hola) to my new companion Elder Israel Torres, from Santiago, Chile. He is 19 years old, and has been in the mission for a little over a year. He seems to be a super nice guy, and I have heard from numerous people that he is a great missionary, who is funny and loves to work hard. I am super happy, I just have a feeling that I am really going to enjoy my time with him, and that we are going to see a lot happen here in Spegazzini! 

I will be honest transfers are a little bit of a scary thing, because you never know what is going to happen, but honestly every single time there is a change, I know that it is from God. I have learned so much from all of my companions, and from the people in each area. I have only been here six weeks, and I know my mission would not mena the same thing to me, with out this short time, even in the grand scheme of the full two years. It is just a testimony to me that the Lord, really does place us with companions, and in areas for a reason!

On friday we had the opportunity to attend a conference with Elder Viñas who is the 2nd Counselor of the South America South Area, and a member of the first quorum of the 70. He has served as a general authority for the church all over the world, for quite some time, and it was an amazing experience to be taught by him. The knowledge about the gospel that this man had, was amazing he quoted like 500 scriptures from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants without a second thought, and then explained them all in ways that even our mission president was caught pretty caught up in it! (And he studied doctrine for the church for like 8 years!) One of the biggest things he stressed was about the Atonement of Christ and that whenever there was a problem with someone in the church, it was because they didn´t understand the atonement. If someone doesn´t go to church, they don´t understand Christ´s sacrifice, if they don´t want to obey the commandments, they don´t realize the importance of what Christ did, for EVERY single compaint, problem, sin, anything that goes wrong (gospely speaking) it is because some one did not understand that Christ died for them, and that it is only thru Him, and His atoning sacrifice that we can be forgiven. It is something I think we all could think about, do I understand the sacrifice that Christ made for me? Am I honoring, and thanking Him, by my words, thoughts, and actions? What can I do to better apply the Atonement to my life, and to understand it more fully? All of these are questions that I am regularly asking my self, and I know our lives, and our families, will be  better if we ask, and follow up on these questions. 

Yesterday was Father´s Day here, and (I am almost 99 percent sure it was in the states as well! haha), and since I couldn´t call my real dad, I called Elder Garcia, (mi papá en la misión (AKA my trainer)!) It was great to get to talk with him for a little while, it is hard for me to believe that I know have the time that he had, when I got into the mission! And that he only has three more transfers left in the mission! I am thankful for the great friend he is to me, and I know for a fact we will be friends for a very long time! Of course I also spent a good amount of time thinking about my Dad, and the man that he is. I am so thankful for my dad,and the example that he has always given me, and truly for all that he has done for me. I am also thankful for my grandpa, and my papa for the men that they are, and for the ways they continue to show me how to live my life. I know that I would not be here in the mission, or be half the guy that I am now, with out the help of these great men, and I only hope that in the future I will be able to be as good of a dad, and grandpa as they all are to me!  

Overall things are going great! I also want to thank as a general thank you to all those who have sent birthday cards, and letters in the mail, you all will have a personal reply headed your way! :) Love you all! 

Elder Hall 

 Saying goodbye to one of the families! haha lot of fun actually! This was a little bit after Argentina won their game, in the World Cup last night! 

 And this is what they did to me! It hurt, but I was laughing so hard! 

It was raining and I tried to help a sister put a tv antenna up. (And yes that is a potato, apparently they use them to help attract signal, it didn´t work...haha) 

Buenas Tardes Queridos :)

(email from June 9th)

Happy Monday again! Well it is finally starting to get cold here. It has been cool, for a quite a while but we have had a few days in the last couple weeks that it was flat cold! I have started using thermals off, and on, and yesterday my companion and I had to travel to the Sister´s area, that is about 3 hours away by bus and train, and I was glad I was bundled up because we got off the bus at 8 o clock last night went running to the train station, and we got to the station just as it was taking off. So we sat and waited in the cold for an hour until the next train! It also has been raining quite a bit, and there are lots of dirt roads in my area, which means lots of mud! (Let me tell you, mud, and the missionary wardrobe don´t mix to well!) 

We have been working alot with a family, the two parents and members, and their oldest daughter. But they have two kids who aren´t members, Bruno (9 years old) and Karen (16 years old). Bruno is an awesome kid! It amazes me how smart he is, and the questions he asks! We were sitting in the lessons and we taught him about how to pray, and at the end we asked if he had questions and he asked why the good and the bad exist, why it wasn´t just good. It totally caught me off guard! He accepted a baptismal date for the 28th of June, and his older sister said that if she felt this was the decision for her, that she too would be baptized! So it has been great to get to know them all, and to help the whole family go to church and get reactivated in the Gospel. 

I can´t believe that this is also the last week of this transfers! Another 6 weeks have gone out the window, before I even knew what happened. My companion has been in this area for more then 6 months, so it is most likely that he will leave this transfer, and I will get a new companion! It will be interesting to see what changes this new transfer could bring! After 9 months of being here in the mission, I am pretty well adjusted to everything, and I am finally getting the hang of my new area and the new ward. I still am loving it all. Ya there are hard days, but the good days, easily out weigh the hard ones! 

I have been thinking and for anyone that is in what seems to be a stand still in their lives, I encourage you to take the time, and look back on your life, or on the reason that you are doing something. Many times we start out doing something, and we have a strong passion for it, and then after time we become a bit complacent, and that passion sometimes can get lost, in the tasks, and day to day things of life that drag us down. If you find yourself if this situtation sit yourself and do a little evaluation. I know that as we go back to our roots, to the reasons why we started something, we will find strength, and we will be lifted up, and become the kind of people we want to be. 

I love you all, and truly hope and pray for the best for each and every one of you! Have a great week! 

Elder Hall 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hola Amigos!

Buenos Días Amigos!

We have had a great week again! And yesterday we had a really great Pday! (Except for some computer problems! haha)  We went to Ezeiza an area three train stations from mine to watch a movie, play soccer, and
eat pizza with the zone! I gotta say I am actually starting to get the hang of futbol! I made three goals, and helped with a couple as well, and we had a ton of fun. It only hurt a little when I was playing
goalie, and one of the elders kicked the ball, and it happened to land right between the legs, but I did as my dad has always told me, sucked it up, gritted my teeth and kept playing! (They didn´t get the goal by
the way!) hahaha

This week was also a fun week because I had an intercambio with Elder Holmes, my best friend from 5th grade! It was awesome to catch up after so many years, and just to talk about some of the memories we
have of our time in elementary school. (Which after so many years aren´t too many, but it is funny the things we remember!) I felt a little bit like Alma in the Book of Mormon where after so much time being away from his friends the sons of Mosiah for so many years, when they finally met up again, their joy was so great, especially when he saw that they were all still strong in the faith. Obviously him and I have seen lots of friends who haven´t held true to the testimonies that they had, and for us both after so much time to meet back up here again it is just awesome. In the crazy world of change and newness that we live in, here in Argentina it is a good comforting feeling to have someone who just understands how things are back home! :)

As we continue to work with the less active members we have good days and bad days. There are times where we enter a house and the family is happy, and want to come back to the church, just got a little off
track, and this week, we really saw the other side of things. We went into a families house, and I have never heard a family say more horrible things about each other. My companion and I literally left the house with our heads pounding with headaches, and stomach aches, it was so bad. I was very grateful though that night because afterwards one of the active families in the ward invited us over for dinner, and to share a message. Let me tell you I have never been so glad to enter into a house with a family who understands the gospel, who want to be the best that they can, and who can improve, and love each other. It was really refreshing, and for me it was the Lord´s way of saying that he understood how we felt, and he gave us a glimpse of how things should be to help us keep that in mind!

It just really made me appreciate all that I have and the family I have, we may at times be a little rough around the edges, but at the end of the day we are a family. And I will take them with their little imperfections any day over what I saw the other night. We need to appreciate the family that we have, and maybe even if it isn´t the best their is always friends and close acquaintances who can be there for us.

I hope everyone has a great week! :) Love ya all!

Elder Hall

9 Months in the Mission!

Buen Día :) 

I`m back! Another week flew by! And with every week, my grammar gets worse, and worse, and I forget more and more english! Especially because my companion doesn`t know english, and really has no desire to learn it! I am hoping my next companion wants to learn english, because it really is fun to teach it, when it is your companion, informally!

This week we had a good week of visiting, contacting, and helping out less active, and inactive members. We have quite a few families that we are visiting, and are  truly seeing progress in. We had a lesson the other day with a family, who the dad, passed away two years ago. He was a very strong member of the church, and it was a loss for many people, especially for the family. They have been off and on with the church for a while, and we have had some great lessons, and spiritual experiences with them already. As we were sitting there talking with them about their dad, and husband, and that although he wasn`t here on the earth with us, he was on the other side preaching the gospel, and helping others. As those words left my mouth I felt the spirit very strongly. Some of you might know, but about two weeks ago, I lost my great grandpa who was not a member, and the last week one of my Uncles, who was not a member as well. I can`t explain it in words, but I know that while I am here helping this family out, he (their dad, and husband) is on the other side, teaching my family, helping them to learn, and accept those doctrines and principals that are so important, and so close to my heart. I know that when we lose a loved one here on this earth it is not the end. 

I know with all my heart, that those who didn`t have the chance to accept or understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this life, will have the opportunity to be taught, and accept it in the life to come. I am so thankful for this knowledge, that we have a merciful God, who will give all the opportunity to listen, and accept his gospel, if they are will to repent, and humble themselves. I am so blessed to have this Gospel in my life, and I am even more blessed to have the opportunity to share it with the people of Argentina. 

I hope everyone has a great week, and is enjoying the warm weather of summer, because here it is starting to get cold! Love ya all! 

Elder Hall 

 Alright so I have never really liked hot dogs, but these are Super Panchos, (Panchos are hot dogs here!) and we eat them three times a week, 3 for my companion, and 2 for me, with Manase (I forgot how to spell that haha), and these little Potato Chip things! 

 Alright I don`t know what Argentina is doing to me, Hot Dogs, Manase (Again with this word haha), and now tomatoes, I can just eat slices of tomatoes now, or make a little salad like this! 

 Saturday was an Argentine Independence Day, and so we and the other Elders from the ward made Empanadas for a church activity! They were really good! 

 40 Empanadas! 

Elder Holmes, Elder Tribe, and Elder Chuliver!

Buenos Dias! :)

(email from 5/19/14)

Hola Queridos! 

Another week has come and gone in the mission! It is amazing to me,  how fast time is flying buy! And it just doesn´t stop! This week we had a good week, and got a lot accomplished! We spent almost all day, Friday going through lists of members, organizing addresses, and placing names on our big map of the area in our apartment, and we were both pretty dang excited for our afternoon appointments to finally get outside for a little bit! 

We finally have the new program completely implemented,and all of our focus is on finding those inactive members, who would like to return, and helping them and their families. I really feel like we have seen ¨mini-miracles¨ this week! We contacted a lot of families, and the people are starting to open up their hearts, and their homes to us! I have realized that although these people, may not have walked into the church for 15 years, they have never forgotten the spirit that they felt, and they can not deny that it truly is the House of God! 

Overall everything is going great! And we are looking forward to the zone conference this week! Hope all is well at home!

Con Amor,

Elder Hall