Monday, May 18, 2015

Hey Everybody!

Here we are again another week has come and gone! This week we had a great week and I was able to participate in the Baptismal Service of Hermana Maria Magdalena Romero who is 57 years old. The baptismal service was beautiful and the spirit was so strong, I had the privilege of confirming her a member of the church and it is such a special privilege to be able to participate in the confirmations of these wonderful people. Every time I place my hands on someones head and begin the blessing I feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and a surety that it is the blessing that our Heavenly Father has for them. 

On sunday we were able to participate in the Dedication of the Cordoba Temple. What an amazing experience and the best part was the Maria was able to attend. She loved it, and I know it will help her to continue on in the path of the Lord and one day get to enter into the temple. With only having less than 24 hours as a member she didn´t exactly understand the significance of what she was able to participate in but with time she will realize the great blessing that it was. I am so thankful for temples, and for the opportunity that those who strive to live their lives in the way that God has asked have to be able to receive even more knowledge about our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and of course the greatest blessing we receive from temples is that of eternal marriage and knowing that families truly can be together forever if we do what God asks. I know that these beautiful buildings truly are the houses of the Lord, and that we can receive so many blessings by attending.

I also hope that everyone who decided to take my challenge to finish the Book of Mormon before I get home that you guys are still going strong! If you didn´t start last week and would like too there is still hope to finish before I get back to the Valley of the Sun it will require a little more reading but it is  only 6.5 pages each day. Personally I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon and for the blessings we receive by reading it each day. We don´t use it to replace the Bible because nothing will ever be able to replace the beautiful account of our Savior´s birth, ministry, and Resurrection that we read in the Holy Bible, but really it is another sacred record of the history of the people who lived here on the American Continent. We know by history and science that there were people here in the Americas long before what we now know as the current north and south american societies and in the Bible we learn that God loves all of His children. The Book of Mormon testifies of these two messages and that God sent prophets to lead and guide His children here in the Americas. I share my testimony that it is true that it does not contradict the bible but it actually helps us to have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. Anybody who reads it with a willing heart and asks God if it is true can receive a personal witness of its truthfulness. So read on :) 

Also here are some links to some more information about temples and the Book of Mormon! :) 

Love you all have a great week! :) 

Hey Everybody :)

(email 5/11/15)

Hola Amigos :) 

Well today I am getting a head start on my writing because my companion is talking with his family so I am taking advantage and writing a little bit! This week has been a good week! I am getting adjusted to my new area and I really like it! My companion Elder Perez is awesome and we are really enjoying working together! It is funny because I actually met the Bishop of our ward this summer when him and his family went to Santa Teresita for vacation, and then there have been a few people  that I know members of their families! Funny how small the world is when your mormon! :) 

With today being Mother´s Day obviously I have to give a shout out to all of the mothers that I have had in my life and for the huge influence that you all have had in my life. I read an article today that some of the apostles wrote with thoughts about their mothers, and the one that for me seemed the most similar was what Elder Ballard wrote he talked about his mother was always one of his best friends and that some of his favorite memories were of conversations that he had with her. I am so thankful for my mother and for the friend that she always has been to me. I feel like I have always loved and appreciated my mom, but now I REALLY love and appreciate her. For me one of the hardest things since I have been a missionary has been to not be able to talk with my mom when I wanted! So for all of you who have the opportunity to talk with your moms when ever you want enjoy it :) But seriously I am so thankful for mi madre, es la mejor :) (she is the best)! 

It really is weird being at this point in my mission and now even more as a Zone Leader. We had an activity this saturday here in our ward called ¨Tormenta Blanca¨ (white storm) where all of the missionaries from the stake came to our ward and we split up with members and went to visit people. (The activity went well and I was able to get know the bishop which is always important for a missionary!) After we had all came back they cooked a pig leg in the oven and we had some delicious pork sandwiches, as we were eating I felt like an old man telling stories from the mission because almost all of the missionaries here are new! My companion and I are the oldest in the zone and seriously everyone loves to tell us how little time we have left. 

I am super excited for this weekend because we are going to 1. Have a baptism! 2. Get to see the broadcast of the Cultural Celebration for the Temple in Cordoba, and 3. On Sunday we have the temple dedication! I am so excited to be able to participate in the temple dedication. This will be my first time attending a temple dedication and it is even cooler because I am here in Argentina and it is the second temple in the entire country. I am so greatful for the blessings of the temple in my life. Honestly the real blessings of the gospel come from the temple because it is the only way that we can be saved, that our families can be eternal, and the only way that we can help in the salvation of those that have already passed on to the other life. We would be so much better people if all of us attended the temple more often

I am just greatful for my life in general as I look back on everything and especially in my time here in argentina I am just so happy to be here in the mission and for everything that has happened to me. Honestly I don´t have a single complaint and I just hope that as I continue to try to do what I can to continue in this path that I will be able to always have this peace and happiness that I have now! :) Alrighty well I suppose I have written enough for the week! Love you all :) 

Elder Hall  

PS: A little challenge for everyone! The challenge is to read the Book of Mormon in 91 days (starting today) it requires reading about 6 pages everyday and if you do it you will finish right as I am getting home, so it is a great way instead of telling me how little time I have left you all can tell me how far you are into the Book of Mormon! :) 

Things just got interesting...Emergency Transfer!

(email 5/4/15)

Well as you all read in the title this week is definetly an interesting one because tomorrow I will be on my way to Los Hornos 2 in La Plata Sur as a Zone Leader! They had to pull a few of the other missionaries out of the areas where there was 4 missionaries to be able to put them in other areas instead of closing an area completly. So we are getting pullled out and the sister missionaries are going to be in charge of all of Berisso! Pretty crazy! 

I am not going to lie I am not excited about having to pack up my bags and everything, hands down it is the worst part of the mission hauling those things around, and I was pretty set and happy with finishing my mission in Berisso but hey it just goes to show that in the mission there is nothing that is set in stone! I guess after so long I am pretty used to  surprises and things like this because for a missionary it is pretty common. I am pretty sure it was just a few weeks ago that I was talking to someone about how I had never had an emergency transfer, and so I probably jinxed myself! 

Berisso is a great area and although I barely made a month these people have left a big impression on me and my heart! It is amazing how in such a short time you can grow to love people so much. It is hard to say goodbye but at the same time in a few months I will be able to talk with them again! I have literally thanked my Heavenly Father I don't know how many times for the blessings of modern technology and the facilidad (ok I can not think of this word in english it and i am not sure if facility means a type of easiness as well as a building like place or just building like place #southamericanmissionaryproblems) to communicate with people! It seriously is a humongous (man my english is terrible today, forgive me super tired with a head cold and apparently my mind is in spanish this afternoon!)

We are out of time, but I just want you all to know that I love you guys and am greatful for all that you do for me! Have a great week! 

Elder Hall 

Feliz 20 Months!

(email 4/27/15)

Well here we are again at another month mark, I'll just skip the cliche remark about time... you all already know. 

This week was an interesting week. The truth is that we still don't have investigators and we have really been looking but they are going to come! It is just a matter of time and to keep on looking, the Lord always has people that are prepared to receive the Gospel sometimes they just aren't easy to come across! This week I did have the experience of helping out an alcoholic with his addiction. Wow. Total testimony on the Word of Wisdom, Martin was a well off man he had his wife and I believe 4 or 5 kids, nice house, I am pretty sure they had a car and just a good normal life. As time went on he started drinking more and more and well as we see in lots of cases turned to fights in between him and his wife, which lead to their separation. After their divorce he lost his job, because he fell into a depression and started drinking more. Today he has little contact with any members of his family, his once big beautiful house is empty and barren because he has sold all that he had, to live and to support his addiction to alcohol. He told us how he just sits in his house and crys and drinks, and how that isn't a life. Honestly one of the saddest situations I have ever seen, and it just makes me so thankful to have the gospel in my life. Ya obviously alcohol isn't always so addictive, for each person it is different but he also didn't start out drinking so much. We are trying to help him along with one of his member friends to leave this addiction behind but it definitely is something that he is going to struggle with. 

Each of us have our own struggles with certain commandments but at the end of the day every single commandment is given to us for our own benefit. It made me think alot of what our young mens leaders taught me from the time I was 12 that we had to make the decision from that day when we were 12 years old to follow the commandments, that we had to make the decision that day to serve a mission. I know that it was because of the decisions that I made when I was young that have helped me make it to where I am today. For each and every one of us we have to make the decision to follow the Lord today, and not put off what we could do today, for tomorrow. 

I know that every time we make the effort to follow the commandments god blesses us, and that as we strive to become better people our lives, our homes, and our worlds will change. I love you all, and pray for you guys regularly. Have a great week, and thanks for all the love and support you all send my way. 

Elder Hall   

Week 80 (or something like that! haha)

(email 4/20/15)

Hey Everybody! 

The weeks have hit another gear speed wise, time is going by way to fast... The good thing is that we had some progress this week! We spent the week looking for new investigators and trying to help out some of the less-active families that the ward has assigned us and we were able to have some good lessons! Last week I mentioned that the leaders of Berisso were great because they all wanted to work and honestly it isn't just the leaders but there is quite a few members that are also willing to help us out. It just helps me to have even more desires to keep working because I actually feel supported by the ward! 

We had interviews with President this week and we were able to talk about how my mission has been and some of the different things that have happened during my mission, and then some of the things that I wanted to do better. When he asked me what my goal was I told him that it was to have more energy and desires to work and give all that I have here in Berisso. I had to admit to him that at the end in San Clemente it wasn't that I stopped working by any  means but it was a mixture of we had worked so hard in the first 3 transfers to get things moving that I just relaxed a little too much when things got moving good. So  I made the commitment to work, work and work some more here in Berisso and not get to relaxed after working super hard. I guess it is the great trial of life, endure to the very end giving it our all. It was a great lesson for me to learn and honestly exactly what I needed to keep on going strong. 

I am greatful that each of us have moments like these to help us learn, it is with the trials and these lessons that sometimes hurt, that we grow and we strengthen ourselves. I am also thankful that we can repent and for our Savior Jesus Christ and that through the power of his Atonement we can become the people that we want to be and more importantly the people that God wants us to be. 

The other great news is that we were able to find a great new family of investigators. Michel and Celia both have baptismal dates for the 16 of May! We had a great lesson with them as we explained the Restoration of the Gospel and at the end we all kneeled down and Hermano Michel said his first vocal prayer. It was a sweet and sacred experience and we all felt the spirit as he prayed out loud for the very first time. All though they were the only investigators that we taught all week it made everything 100 percent better. I have so much hope that they are going to progress and I ask that you all would have them and the missionary work in general of Berisso in your prayers! 

Hope everyone has a great week! Love you all! 

Elder Hall 

Buenas Tardes Amigos! :)

(email 4/13/15)

Hey Everybody! Hope everyone has had a good week! It feels like it was just yesterday that I wrote but it has already been a full week! I am getting settled in here in Berisso! I really like the area, it is a mixture of city and not neccesarily country, but not cramped big city so it is nice! The members here are super nice and in church we had 78 people, so a pretty big change compared to our little group in San Clemente! Probably the best thing that the area has going for it is the leaders and their desires to work! Seriously though... in all my time here in Argentina I have never seen a ward counsel that works like they do, literally a 180 degree difference from the branch counsel we had in Santa Teresita (which has got to be one of the worst moments of my mission!) So I am SUPER excited to work with them and help this ward out. 

The ward is actually the oldest in the stake it has been around for more then 40 years! There also are a TON of returned missionaries like everyone served missions here so it helps the ward because lots of people actually understand and apply the gospel to their lives. The one thing that isn't to great is that because of some other missionaries that have been here before the members some what lost their confidence in the elders because they didn't exactly dedicate themselves, so I am trying to do all I can to gain that confidence back because it helps in EVERYTHING (lunches, references, lunches, With member lessons, lunches, just the important things! ;) haha) 

The other challenge that we are having is that the area is dead...So we are spending alot of time looking for new investigators, and just trying to get this place moving! We spent some time organizing the map, inactive members and talked alot about the ways to plan and how to use our time a little wiser. My companion probably thinks I am a psycho, which speaking honestly I kinda am because it stresses me out when things dont run like they should so we are doing all we can! 

Hope everything is going great for all of you at home! Keep praying, reading your scriptures, and attending church and then just leace it all in the Lord's hands! Love you all! 

Elder Hall 

 Neli and I!

 I am going to miss this old man so much! He is my argentine grandpa he gave us lunch every thursday and put up with alot! haha we gave him heck because he treated us like his grandsons so he had to put up with everything that came with it! (showing up to his house at random hours of the day asking for something to drink, large bags of laundry to wash while we ate lunch, just about anything! haha) 

 Elder Torres finished last monday! Gonna miss my favorite chilean!

 My big ole Brasilero and I! haha 

Neli made this for me before I left! It is a painting of the tree of life! :) Absolutely gorgeous!