Monday, December 22, 2014

Feliz Navidad! :)

Feliz Navidad :)

Feliz Navidad mis Queridos Amigos y Familiares!

I can´t believe we are finally here at the week of Christmas! This year has gone by so fast! It feels like just yesterday I was in Villa España with Elder Garcia roasting my tail off in the hot and humid sauna of Buenos Aires. And now here I am a few days away from being here in Argentina for 16 months with a companion who is basically in the place that I was last year! Where in the world this year has gone I don´t know, all I know is it escaped before I even realized it. The months are just flying by so fast that I can´t even keep track! :) 

This we had a great week here! We have had some more great experiences sharing the ¨He is the Gift¨ video, and a really busy week in general. On Friday we had our Branch Christmas party and it was a lot fun. Only a few of the members from San Clemente were able to attend so tomorrow night we will be having one here, with our members! We were busy trying to make some souvenir type gift using the ¨He is the Gift¨cards and that night I didn´t get to bed on time, but they turned out great! We also had to travel to Pinamar (again...) so a nice 5 hours on a bus was a lot of fun... (not) I am getting sick of traveling haha. 

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas this last week, and also thinking about Christmas last year and I am so glad that I see things differently this year. Last year I was so caught up in how it was so different here, and hot, and just how it didn´t feel like Christmas that I really didn´t enjoy it as much I could have, the one thing I have to say though is that last year I didn´t really understand my purpose as a missionary and this year I may not understand it perfectly but I feel like I understand it a lot better then last year! This year I have committed myself to try to focus on the people and helping them out rather then thinking about myself, and I have to say so far I have enjoyed things a lot more this year. :)  

I realized what an amazing privilege I have to be a servant of the Lord as we celebrate his birth and to be able to commit myself to sharing his message and the true meaning of Christmas with the people of San Clemente. This Christmas the only thing that I truly want with all of my heart is that those that I have come to love so much here in Argentina (in all of my areas) continue on in the path of the Lord, and that I can be the missionary that these people need to get started or to continue on here in San Clemente. I wish there was a way that I could go and see all of the families that I was so close to this Christmas. I love them all so much and I miss them as if they were members of my family that I have known all my life. 

I am so thankful to be a missionary this Christmas, I want you all to know that I know Jesus is the Christ and He is our Lord and Savior. As we celebrate this wonderful time of the year I hope each and everyone of  you  can take the time to think about the wonderful gift that our loving Heavenly Father gave each of us. 
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 What more could we ask for. I am so thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for this time of the year when the rest of the world joins with us to remember the man who we remember everyday. May we use this time to enjoy the time with our friends and families, to help those in needs, and the recommit ourselves to being better Christians during 2015. I love you all, this Christmas you will all be in my thoughts and prayers. Have a very merry Christmas! :) 

Elder Hall 
 Christmas gifts that we made by hand for our members and investigators! 

 Missionaries at the christmas party! hahaha

I have found Papa Kenny´s argentine twin! Hermano Victor, literally he has the same personality as papa ken, humor, use of language, haha so many things!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Buenas Tardes! :)

Hey Everyone! 

Hope all is well, this week we are doing great here in San Clemente! Thankfully we have had a week of beautiful weather, (unlike Buenos Aires that has been getting hammered with all kinds of crazy storms!) I definitely am grateful to be here just because of the nicer weather it sure beats the horrible sauna that is buenos aires during summer! 

This week we have been working a lot with the churches Christmas Iniciative of Él es la Dádiva ( or for you all He is the gift) and we have had alot of success. We have been able to find quite a few new investigators and have received quite a few references as we have shared this short message with the people, it is a great video and really helps people to understand what is the purpose of Christmas. 

As we get closer and closer to my favorite holiday of the year, I get more and more excited and anxious to share with the people here about the Gospel. It seems like there is an international feeling of Christmas and everyone is just a little bit more accepting and ready to listen to a short message, or a testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am appreciating things alot more this year, I think last year at Christmas I was so caught up in how different the traditions are here I didn´t take advantage of the opportunities that this time of year provides for us as missionaries. 

This year I guess you could say I am a little more Argentine, and a little bit wiser and am just trying to do what I can to help others out, and be an example of Christ in the ways that I can. I invite each of you to watch the video of He is the Gift and then share it with all that you can. We all have a wonderful opportunity to show the world, and our Heavenly Father what it is that Christmas truly means to each of us. I am so thankful for this special time of year and for the opportunity that I have to be a misisonary this christmas! Love ya all! :) 

Elder Hall 

 So we were getting towards the end of the month last month, and didn´t quite have the money to buy empanadas in our wallets, so we changed to our change jars! haha a 100 pesos in change! The delivery  guy looked at us like a bunch of crazy! (Especially when he had to carry it all in his pockets on the motorcycle!! hahaha)

 Getting into the Christmas spirit with our planners!

 Alright so I gotta say this is some redneck ingenuity! My scale to see how much my package weighed (It was sorta accurate) using a curtain rod and a kilo of flour!

 Our district activity! (This may or may not have been the poker tournament that I talked about last week!) hahaha :) 

 With some great peruvian food! Elder Rios and E. Racchumi cooked, and Hermana (Not sure really hard brazilian name) helped! haha

See ya nice weather, hello summer...Que Calor!

(email from 12/08/14)

Buenas Tardes! :)

Man today I am pretty tired, we just got back from San Bernardo which is an hour away in a hot bus after having our District activity! The activity was fun we ate peruvian food, and watched How to Train your Dragon 2, which was pretty good, and I got a hair cut (and we may or may not have played poker as we waited for lunch haha) Lets just say Hermana Ostler (Utah) beat us all, it was like an international tournament between three americans, a colombian, a brazilian, with peruvian commentaries! (All for fun though obviously weren´t betting money or anything!) 

This week we had a pretty good week, we were able to find a few new people and have a few investigators who are really starting to progress we have 3 baptismal dates for the 3rd, and 1 for the 10th of January. I am pretty sure we will have to change some of the dates, but they are all people who if they put their minds to it have lots of potential, and could be strong members of the church in the future. :) 

A little update on Nelly tuesday we get a call saying her son fell from a high place while painting at work at severly fractured his leg, so she had to go to Buenos Aires and doesn´t know when she is going to come back to San Clemente because she has to help him with everything because he lives alone! Ugh... seriously it is always something!! But we haven´t given up hope we are praying that her son Omar gets better soon, and that all goes well and she can still get baptized on the 10th! We have talked with her a few times and is doing well, and her son after surgery on friday is making a recovery, so it is all in God`s hands. 

This sunday we had a whopping 12 members in church! 0 of which were from San Clemente. It was stormy and it is starting to gert busy with tourists so lots of people were working. The branch president told us that all of the active members go inactive for January and February because they work 7 days a week, but the church fills up with tourists. It is one of the trials that we are going to have here because almost everyone with exception to the retired people, make all their money for the year in these two months. Sometimes it is hard to have only 1 or 2 members from our side at church every sunday, but it is just one of the trials of San Clemente, I know that one day the work will start to progess and meanwhile my companion and I are trying to do all that we can too help strengthen things here. 

One of my favorite scriptures is from the Book of Ether in El Libro de Mormón,
Ether 12:6
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
I know that right now San Clemente is in what would be the trial of our faith as missionaries, and a trial of the faith of the members, I also know with out a doubt that if we do all we can the Lord will show a witness of our efforts just in his due time. 

One of my other favorite scriptures is also found in Ether 12, verse 27 it says,
 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
As I try to become a better person, and a better missionary I have asked to be able to see my weakness, and to be able to overcome them just as it says in the scripture, and let me tell you all, when we ask the Lord to show us our weaknesses he makes it very clear what they are, very clear. haha But it is a good thing, because through our trials and our weaknesses, we test our faith in the Lord and we become strong, we become the people the Lord wants us to be and the people that He needs us to be.  

If you are wanting a better life, take Moroni´s challenge and ask the Lord to show you your weaknesses. I promise it will be tough, but it will be worth it. As we change our lives little by little, we change the world around us, and we help  to ¨hasten the work¨ of the Lord. I share my testimony that the Lord will make us strong, and that His grace truly is sufficient for all those who wish to come unto Him. Have a wonderful week! :) Love you all! 

Elder Hall 

Feliz Diciembre y 15 Meses! :)

Hey Everybody! 

Well I hope your all finishing off those delicious Thanksgiving left overs! I could go for a cold turkey sandwich right now! haha :) We had a really good week this week, and I know alot of it came from all the prayers that were said on our behalf! I have to say that Thanksgiving day was one of the best days that we have had here in San Clemente, and since then we have felt a special spirit here, and have a rejuvenated hope for this little town! 

We also found out on Saturday night, that E. Racchumí and I will be together through out this next transfer! Crazy to think that today more then 63 companionships of missionaries are changing areas all over the South of Buenos Aires! I am happy that my companion and I are staying here for a couple of reasons, 1. He is getting to be a good friend, and we are working really well together, 2. San Clemente is an absolute maze, and I need 6 weeks more with someone who knows his way around, and 3. We will be together for Christmas and New Years! 

This week we have had some pretty spiritual lessons, and have had the opportunity to find some new investigators! One of the best things that happened is that on Thanksgiving night we had a big Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with some members, the branch pres. and his wife, and our investigator Nelly! Nelly is amazing, and a crack up she literally is a crazy little old lady (but crazy in a good way! She has quite the personality!) she has been a super active catholic for all her life (75 Years) and spent over 30 years as a Catequist teacher. She has been an investigator for about 6 months now and over these last 6 months she has gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and of the Restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Jose (Natural spanish reaction...Joseph Smith.) but has been a bit unsure if she was ready to commit to be baptized. Well I can say that all of your guy´s thanksgiving prayers truly helped us out. Nelly agreed to be baptized  on January 10, and honestly we all felt a special spirit as we selected that date. She expressed her testimony of the truthfulness of what she has been learning, and the way the spirit had manifested it to her. It was a special moment for all of us, and our hope is that all goes well as she can be baptized on the 10th. During the weekend at an activity she was going around telling everybody she was going to get baptized, and was super excited. 

I am thankful to be here in San Clemente as I have gotten to know the members, and our investigators here I begining to love them all, and feel that really God sent me here for a reason. As of right now we still do not have an official place to have our church meetings, but we have spoken with the Mission Presidency, and they have talked with the Area Authorities. They still arent sure if they want to commit by renting a place because of the small amount of members that we have here, but it is an option if we can´t find a member´s house to use. They said that if they rent a place that it is very likely that they would make an official branch here. As always I ask for your continued prayers for my companion and I, and for the people of San Clemente, I have faith that very soon things are going to change here, they already are starting just requires lots of work, patience, and trust in the Lord. 

Have a great week everybody! Love you and miss you all! 

Elder Hall 

 Our District! :) 

 Holy smokes these have taken me forever to write! About 24 letters this year! :) (all of them are not shown!)

 One of our Seminary students who her and her family recieved certificates for participating in Seminary and Institute! The missionaries started the program here, and so I got to reap the benefits and travel to Pina Mar on saturday night for the graduation! :) 

 When we were coming back from Pinamar we got caught in a HUGE storm that came in off the ocean, and we had to pull off the road and wait for 30 minutes it was so strong! We had alot of fun laughing, and spending time with the members as we came back! The grandma aged lady is Nelly! 

Alright so I made a traditonal Argentine Dessert, it is called Pasta Frola and it is amazing I love them so I asked a sister for the recipe! Starts with pie crust dough! And then you buy what they call membrillo, I dont have a clue what it is in english (i am not sure it exists) it is a type of fruit. Then you have to mush it up! And then spread it all over the crust! Then you do a sorta latticed top, and throw it in the oven! Let´s just say everyone was super impressed because it turned out so good!! :) haha 

Feliz Día del Pavo! (Ya sounds better in english, Happy Turkey Day!)

(email from 11/24/14)

Buenas Tardes! :) 

Hope you all have had a great week! This week was a good one for us here in San Clemente! We had the opportunity to help out lots of people with service this week, and had alot of fun! I always love getting to do service for members, for one it relaxes me to be able to work a little with my hands, (it is strange to think that this was something 3 years ago I hated, and now something I miss doing!) and to be able to help people out on another level! With it being Thanksgiving this week, I had to have a special themed letter this week commemorating for one, the start of my favorite time of the year, and for two to express how grateful I am for all that I have! There is a scripture in Psalms 100:3-5, that I really like it says,
3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
I thought it was a pretty fitting scripture for this weeks theme, and this week I will definitely be trying to focus in on the things that I am grateful for. (Alright I have a problem I am not sure if it is greatful, or grateful...ugh.)  This year I imagine it won´t be as hard for me to be away from home and let me tell you I am thankful for that. It is something that brings me a strong sense of security to know with out a doubt that the Lord is protecting, and blessing my family and loved ones while I am away, and to know that during this holiday season I will be able to enjoy the time that I have with the people that I have come to love here. 

This Thanksgiving, words can not describe the feeling of gratitude that I have for my Savior and the amazing opportunity that I have to help others come unto Him. I am grateful for my family and for how they have supported me through out my life, and especially during this time as a missionary. I suppose this year I am thankful for alot of things that maybe last year and the year before that I might have taken for granted. I hope that during this next week all of us can take the time to ponder over the things that truly are important, to throw the things that don´t matter to the side, and make time for the things that truly matter, forgive those that we need to forgive, and take time to give thanks for the blessings that we receive each day. 

I hope that this year when your all stuffing your faces with the food that I love that you can take a second, and just offer a little prayer to bless all of the missionaries and the people who are waiting for the gospel and that we will be able to find them. I am thankful for each and every one of you! Love you all, Happy Thanksgiving! 

Elder Hall 

Ok so this is disgusting but our water has been super gross lately, and the sink leaks so it turns everything rusty orange, well today I had enough and went super clean on it! Really the whole apartment my companion and I deep cleaned! Finally a companion who knows how to clean good! :) 

 Alright so you guys have all seen the evolution of my cake skills! This week was the best! IT turned out soo good, and everyone was impressed! haha if only I had a better tray to present it on!