Monday, September 29, 2014

Buenas Tardes! It´s starting to get warm again!

Hola Amigos! 

Am I the only one that these letters, and the weeks just start to blend together? I feel like I just wrote you all... :) This week we had a good week!On tuesday we had the opportunity to attend an Evangelical church! (Ya it was alot of fun!) We have also found quite a few new people to teach, and our list of investigators is growing more and more each week! Now if we could just get them to start progressing a little faster!  

So we are teaching a guy who named Agustín who is evangelical, and he is a super nice guy. I will be honest, (not trying to discriminate) but the evangelicals are usually big fighters, and ¨try¨ to kill us with the bible, usually they just talk for hours, and you can´t even get a word in, so I wasn´t sure how it was going to be with Agustín. Well we went to his house, and him and his girlfriend were super nice! We taught the restoration, and they agreed to read the Book of Mormon. As we were leaving he invited us to his Men´s Meeting at church the next tuesday so we said alright! Well the church is in the other Elder´s area so we decided to do the intercambio that night, and they came with us. I gotta say it was pretty interesting, and I did like it alot! Evangelicals talk with lots of passion, and it was cool to see just ordinary people who took times out of their lives for God. Sometimes down here it feels like we are the only ones, but it was a comforting eye opener seeing that there truly is other good christians out there. 

At the end of the meeting we had the chance to share our testimonies, and it was a lindo (A word that means like nice, beautiful, and pretty (depending on the context)) momento when were all able to agree that although we are from different religions we are all still Hermanos en Cristo (brothers in Christ), I have always been one to like to unite groups, (look at my friend circles I was the kid who was friends with the crazy StuCo kids, Business, Agg, Culinary Arts a big mix of it all!) and so it was really cool to help start a relationship with another church! Plus it is going to help us in the long run when it comes to teaching Agustín! So it is a double win! 

I seriously just love the people that we teach! On saturday  night we had a great noche de hogar (jeez, my brain isn´t working in english today...that one came out with out thinking.) Family Home Evening with The Morales Family and it was so much fun, then on sunday one of the sisters and her family had a birthday party for my companion, and we were able to visit a few inactive families that have returned to church recently. I just love them all, it makes me so happy to see these families that I have grown to love so much in the church sunday mornings, and when we go to their houses, to see that they truly are happier. It is a great feeling, and I just thank my Heavenly Father for the time that I have to be with them. 

I guess that´s all for this week! Hope everyone is doing good, and that you all know your in my thoughts and prayers! Have a great week! :)

Elder Hall 

Saludos a todos! :)

(email from Sept 22, 2014)

Como andan amigos? :) 

I was thinking about it, I don´t know how after so many weeks, there is still things I can write about. I mean seriously if some one were to think about missionaries and what we would do, they would never think that we have as much happen to us as we actually do! 

So I am loving having bikes! I imagine though if you were able to get ahold of my companions weekly update he would be saying the opposite! Poor guy, he is like a giant and well these aren´t the highest quality bikes so he has had some seat problems, and then the chain keeps falling off. Despite all of that going on with his bike it is so much faster! We can cruise around from appointment to appoinment and we have so much more time to visit people because we don´t have to walk!! 

Some not so bright news, we didn´t get to move. I was mad... We packed up the whole flipping pensión, had everything ready to go, and then there were some problems with the contract so they told us we were going to move the next day, it was an easy fix. So wednesday morning we get a call saying that it was all ready to go they fixed it and were getting ready to sign everything. Well then a little while later, I get another call saying that the lady had some kind of family problems and wasn´t going to be able to rent the apartment out! So we had to unpack everything again, and we are back to square one looking again! Thank goodness we have a nice owner who didn´t kick us out, because the offices had told them we were going to be moving! haha 

This week we also had a very powerful, spiritual lesson with an investigator. Two weeks ago we were walking down the road, and I felt very strongly that we needed to knock on a certain door! So we knocked a a lady of about 25 years old answered named Melisa. She was super nice, and as we got to talking she said that about six months ago she lost her mom, and it was still super hard for her. So we shared a part of the Plan of Salvation with her, and scheduled an appointment with her for the next tuesday! Well on tuesday we brought Evelyn, the girl who two months ago lost her mom, and Melisa wasn´t there... Well then on thursday we stopped back by her house and she was there, and had time to talk! So luckily Evelyn lived close by, we called her up and she came over, and we had an AMAZING lesson. Evelyn shared such a strong testimony, and she was crying, Melisa was crying, and my companion and I were both pretty touched! I didn´t cry until....Melisa agreed to say the closing prayer (after saying that she wanted to be baptized (ya first lesson.)) And as she was praying she got super chocked up, and said, ¨God, I thank you for sending me these people, I have been waiting for this, and you sent me the sign that I needed to continue on in your path-¨ WHAM! You wanna talk about a missionaries favorite words, and truley the spirit that was there. We have an appointment with her tomorrow, and I hope and pray that she will have the desires to continue on in this path! It was definetly an amazing experience! 

Then on sunday we had our ward conference, the bishop has been telling us for like a month that he wanted a 150 people at ward conference, and our attendance has been between 85 to 104 people every week, and so we weren´t sure if it was really going to happen. Well we invited a ton of people, and when we walked into sacrament meeting it was so great. The church was FULL. They had to go pull more chairs out of the class rooms so people could sit in the chapel. It was an awesome as well, when I looked over and saw a ton of investigators and their families sitting in one section as we walked in! I have to say after almost six months here in spegazzini I have seen a ton of progress. When I got here we had like 65-70 people coming, and now we have been averaging for the last month about 100 people. The other elders from our ward, and my companions and I have been working a ton and really it is starting to pay off! I am just trying to get as many investigators as I can, so when I leave Elder Mortensen, and his new companion have lots of work! 

That´s all for this week! Love ya all! :) 

Elder Hall 

Another week, a little more testimony, and some new bikes!

(email from Sept 15, 2014)

Buenas Tardes a Todos! 

Well I am back! Another week out the window! But I won´t dwell on the time fact like I do in everyother letter! You all know time is flying by for me! 

We had a good week this week! We are starting to have lots of set appointments with people, and we are finding a lot of new investigators, so between all of the appointments and everything we have been running around alot! Thankgoodness today we finally got our bikes fixed, and so tomorrow we will start using them and hopefully they will help us be more efficient and be able to visit more people! 

We were hoping to have a couple of baptisms at the end of this month, but it looks like they will get pushed to the end of october. One hting that I am not to sure about here, is that we only baptize the last saturday of the month as a stake, and transfers fall the week before the end of october! So I probably won´t get to see the baptisms of any of my investigators, because I am sure that I am leaving spegazzini in another 5 weeks! Truth to be told it makes me sad to think that I am probably going to be leaving, When I first got to Spegazzini, I will be honest I didn´t really like it, but now I love it. It is a ward that has alot of challenges, but there are some amazing members, and people here that I seriously can not imagine my life with out having met them. 

(SIDENOTE: Alright so you all know my english gets worse, and worse everyweek, and my grammar has just gone pretty far down hill as well. I hope you all can get around the spelling and grammar errors and get my message!) 

Each and every day I am so thankful for the decision I made to serve a mission. I have had so many experiences here that it makes me sick to think about what would have happened if I hadn´t have come on a mission. How many life experiences both spiritual, and just regular life lessons would I have missed out on. I gotta just take a second, and encourage anyone who has the desires to go out and serve the Lord, to do it. I am not just talking about leaving on a mission. I am talking about serving in our own churches, helping a neighbor, or just trying to be a better person. There are ways for each and everyone of us to serve the Lord, wether your Mormon or not. I have decided what the world needs these days is more of the simple things. We are so busy with our day to day lives that we forget what it is like to just walk, and enjoy the moment. To do something nice for a stranger, or to stop and truly listen to a friend in need. My slogan these days has been ¨Poquito a poquito¨ or in english ¨little by little¨. Its ¨poquito a poquito¨ that we can change as human beings, we don´t have to be just another person in the crowd, we truly can make a difference in the world around us. 

We could look at  the life of Jesus in a couple of different standpoints, lets go first for the world standpoint. He was a man. He was born in a small village, in a barn. He grew up and was trained in the art of carpentry. Then at the age of 30 years old he started a movement that would change the world forever. Out of fishermen, tax collectors, and all sorts of common men he chose  12 others to assist him. Through the teachings of these 13 men started one of, if not the largest changes in the world. Then three years later he died. He only taught for 3 years! We are now 2014 years after his birth, and to this day He changes lives. And He was born in a manger.This one man has changed more lives than any other person who has ever lived, and  it still is happening! How many other people in this world have done something like that? 

When we look at a religous standpoint, the actual teachings  of Jesus are the best ways to have a better life. I remember talking with my mom one day, and it was something that truly impacted me, we were talking about the church, and about Christ, and about our lives, and she said something to the degree of maybe this all isn´t true, maybe it is some big lie, maybe we die, and that´s it, but if it is that way what is wrong with the way we live our lives, what is wrong with trying to have a united family, to be honest, to help others, that you don´t need to have all the riches in the world, but can be happy with the simple things in life. She obviously went on to say that she truly belived that these things were real, and that Jesus is the Christ, but it is somehting I have shared with many people, and it kinda brings things full circle. If you want a better life, put His teachings into practice.

Some might say I am crazy to give up two years of my life to go out and teach people about Jesus, but you know what, I think the rest of the people are crazy to turn down such a life changing experience. Like I said for more then 2000 years the teachings of Jesus have been changing and bettering people´s lives, and that won´t stop. My favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 31:20-21:

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

 21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

There is no other way, this is the Savior´s gospel, and all of us even though we are each just one person, must do what we can to help out the world around us. It´s up to us, and when we do it, and when we press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, our world´s will change, our families will change, and our hearts will change. I am just one man, but hey so was He. Poquito a poquito right?  

Elder Hall 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Another Transfer Down!

Queridos Amigos y Familia! 

Otra vez estamos aquí con uno mas, hermoso lunes. Que rápido que pasa el tiempo. Ha sido mucho tiempo desde que yo escribí algo en castellano para ustedes, o un vídeo! Quizás cuando compro mi nueva camera puedo hacer uno para mandarles! :) 

I am not translating that one! You all can look it up! This week we had another great week here in Spegazzini! Today is transfers, but Elder Mortensen and I will be together until next transfer! I am excited that I will be able to finish out his training and get to work with him for at least another transfer! I can´t believe we are already here again. My time with Elder Mortensen has flown by which is great, because it means we are staying busy and working hard! I was talking with Presidente the other day about how we have been having quite a bit of success here in Spegazzini teaching alot, but I haven´t been the happiest with everything. Just kinda hard on myself, and I decided it is because there is still alot of potential that this area has to grow. And so I although we are doing good, I am always looking to the next bigger and better thing to do here in Spegazzini, and trying to do what I can to improve it. So it is trying to find a balance of the two, being happy and appreciative of the blessing that the Lord gives us, and keep the image of what this ward really could be, and doing what I can to improve. I guess all my life I have had this struggle inside of me, there have been times where I have gotten a little lost from looking to far ahead into the future, times where I have been pretty down because I felt like I haven´t done good enough, and times where I got left behind because I with content with the minimum! Who would have thought that even here in the mission I would continue with this! 

On Saturday we had a Capilla Abierta, so like an open house in our Church Building, and it was a lot of fun. We had quite a few investigators, and inactive members between the four elders here in our ward. We also had quite a bit of support from the members. So overall it was a really good activity. As we continue to try and motivate the members to work en the obra misional, and work with the less active members I learn more and more about helping people through the gospel and not through my personal advice. 

Everyday is a learning experience and this past week I have really tried to work on talking with more people in the streets, and doing more contacting like that. I have felt for the last few weeks, that is one thing that I have been lacking on, and this week I did a lot better, and am going to improve even more this next week! 

Some other news is that we should be changing apartments here in the next week or two! We found a little two bedroom house, that has a patio, and a garden (type) front yard! So the district is already planning the asado (Argentine BBQ) that we are going to do when we get moved in! And it will be better, it is in a nicer part of Spegazzini, closer to the church, and the neighbors are a little bit better! So we are excited! 

Basically the mission is just cruising! It makes me kind of sad, but happy at the same time! I hope everyone is doing good at home! Love ya and miss you all! Until next week! 

Elder Hall 

Another week down! :)

Buenas Tardes a todos! 

Hope everyone is doing good! We have had a great week this week, with lots, and lots of work! It is pretty awesome to see our area as it starts to take off! This weekend we had the baptism of Bruno Morales who is 9 years old! Finally after quite a while of teaching him, and his family, everyone is going to church and he was able to be baptized! I had the privilege of performing the ordinance, and it was pretty memorable. 1. because it was the baptism of a kid who is basically like my argentine little brother!, and 2. the water was cold! (The zone leaders didn´t turn the water on, soon enough so it got filled up with cold water! ) brrr! Then on sunday my companion confirmed him a member of the church.

It is such an amazing experience to see someone go through the process, of not knowing anything about the church, to starting to have desires to learn more, then gaining a testimony, and then finally entering into the waters of baptism. The change that I have seen in this family is incredible, and after the baptism Brother Morales sent us a text telling us that their family will be eternally greatful for  the change that we have helped to bring into their home. Hermano Morales has a goal to get the Melquizedek Priesthood in October, and then Tatiana and Karen his other two daughters have baptismal dates for the end of september! The parents now have a much better relationship, and just things are looking up for them, my only prayer and desire of my heart is that this family can just keep going that they can continue reading the scriptures, attending church, and praying, and I know that they will be ok, and that the lord will help them! 

I am just thankful to  be here in the mission, I am thankful for all of the blessings that the Lord gives me, and the patience that He has with me. I know I am a servant, who lacks a lot but at the end of the day I am trying to do all I can to help others to come unto Christ, to help the experience the joy that comes from this amazing gospel. I love you all, and hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Hall 

My Companion and I, and then the Familia Morales and us! Elder Mortensen, Me, Tatiana (19), Karen (16), Bruno (9), Manuela, Daniel! I love this family so much! They are  one of my favorites that I have met here in Argentina!