Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Silent Night"

December 29th, 2014    Quito, Ecuador.

Hello Family and Friends,

As the Hymn of Silent Night says, "Silent Night, Holy Night all is calm, All is bright." This phrase describes exactly what Thursday night (Christmas night) felt like for us. 

This morning Elder Aravena was changed to a different part of Ecuador and I recieved a new companion, Elder Sueldo. He is awesome and I am excited to work with him. 

This week I learned the importance of mercy. 

Sometimes as you progress along different routes you find the way that gives you success, but this week--I was humbled. We were teaching a member family who were going through difficulties with their son. However, they weren't reading, praying, nor having family home evenings. After they had shared with us their concerns, I started right in with the scriptures --explaining the importance of reading the scriptures, and then I went on to the importance of prayer, then to family home evening. The words and doctrine came to mind like none other.  But Elder Aravena, my companion, just cut me off. I was so surprised. He had never cut me off before and he didn't do it smoothly either... 
We finished the lesson with me feeling frustrated and mad, and everybody else crying. I was so confused. Why did he cut me off? What did I say? On the way home I asked him, "Hey, why did you cut me off, and what did I say wrong?"  He told me that what I had said was all true. It was pure doctrine ---but the spirit wasn't there. He told me that God is just and merciful. And that this family needed to know of His mercy.

Wow, did I learn a lesson! 

We have to remember that there is always a way or a chance to change. May we always remember that. 

Love you all,

Elder Hall

Fotos -- Spanish

December 22nd, 2014.    Quito, Ecuador

HERE are some more :)

Some very friendly Venezuelans that we contacted and taught the first lesson.

Elder Aravena getting his blood drawn cuz he's nuts and from Chile

A dear member receiving his mission call to Peru.

Zone Activity for the less active members. Elder Araven and Elder Paz.

Some Photos from my Bday

December 22nd, 2014   Quito, Ecuador

Dear Family and friends,

Alright I finally remember my camera and the chord. WOOOT!!!

Church Cleaning, it was dirty...not fun

                                        Ward fun...but man, I miss Dad's BBQ

                                           My 19th birthday....Thank You..   Sure Love all of YOu!
 sector and the view from our apartment...SO MANY PEOPLE

"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear"

December 15th, 2014   Quito, Ecuador

Hello Family and Friends,

This week has been a week of tiredness and blessings. When I look back on this week I can't help but give thanks. The reason this week was so different was that I changed my way of thinking and working. I changed it from a form of me --to a form of others. Elder Aravena and I worked very hard with over 100 contacts and 20 new investigators that all have baptismal dates. 

Wednesday afternoon, I felt literally stuck. All of our appointments had fallen through... and I had no idea what left we were supposed to do. We had 4 hours left and no where to go. I then remembered that a brother from another ward had told us about some people from Colombia that wanted to hear the gospel. I found his number and called him. His wife and answered and said the her husband was waiting for us at his job, which so happens to be in our sector. I told Elder Aravena that we needed to go. We walked over there and talked with him. He showed us where to go and that they were waiting for us. At this time my heart was so full. We walked in and there were about 20 people waiting for us in a small living room and every person sitting on the floor. I cannot explain the spirit I felt. It was incredible. 

As the time comes closer to Christmas I want to share a thought about Him. This week I have been thinking a lot of his earthly ministry. The story that has "rung" in my ears and my heart is the story of the adulterous woman. This story illustrates many different aspects of the gospel. However, the main principle is forgiveness. How many of you who have been offended have forgiven the people who have offended you? How many of you have pleaded for Him to forgive you of your wrong doings? In the story the adulterous woman is brought before Christ by the Pharasies and Sadduces, saying this woman has been caught in the very act. "What say ye?" When I think of this I think of the crude comments, and penetrating contentious questions of these men. Trying to confuse or to catch the Son of God off guard. However, the Savior bends down to the ground and starts to draw, as if He didn't hear what they said. He then says something like this, "He who has never sinned let him cast the first stone." The Pharasies and Sadducies then are stumpped by the comment of the Lord, and move on. Christ then says to the woman in a loving but firm way, "Do you see the people who would condemn you?" She responds, "No." The Master then graciously tells her, "Neither do I condemn thee." "Woman, go thy way and sin no more."

What a wonderful and hopeful lesson this is. If the Master can forgive an adulterous woman, how much more of a need do we have to forgive others. 

Forgive others. Pray for your enemies. Remember the Dear Shepherd and Christ. 

May we ever be obedient, dilligent, and forgiving. 

Smile a mile,

Elder Hall

"O Little Town of Bethlehem"

December 8th, 2014  Quito, Ecuador

Hello Family and Friends,
Thank you for all the birthday wishes! They made my day. I'm not sure why but I definately got lucky to have my birthday land on P-day. 

 I would like to share with you a story. A story of a dear single mother and 2 children:
It was Friday night and it was raining and cold. We had had a very productive day with many seen and noted blessing from God. We had planned one more lesson. As we climbed the street of Juan Castro, which is a super steep street that just goes straight up the hill, I felt the prompting to pray. We stopped and went over to a little alleyway and prayed. After the prayer we walked down the alley way-- and sure enough we saw the family that we were supposed to go visit. Luis and his sister Melanie who were baptized not too long ago, and their dear mother who looked tired, exhausted, and just beaten. They were standing in the rain without anything to protect them. My companion asked if we could share a message with them about Christmas. They happily accepted and we went to their house. When we walked in the building in which they lived, I was shocked. It was just cement and dirt floors. Their neighbors above were drinking and shouting vulgar words. When we got to the 1 room that they were staying in,  we sat on the ground because there were no chairs. I asked if we could start with a prayer. My companion then gave one of the most simple, but pure prayers I have heard. The brother from the ward who was accompanying us looked at me and was just crying.
We shared a message of Christ and how He is the Gift. We read in Luke 2 about the His birth and then what His joyful birth meant for all of us. The birth of the Son of God meant that everything was just about to change. And it did. As it says in the Hymn above, "For Christ is born of Mary, and, gathered all above. While mortals sleep, the angels keep theri watch of wondring love. O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth, and praises sing to God the Kind, and peace to men on earth." May we Discover the Gift, Embrace the Gift, and Share the Gift. For Christ is the Gift. 
I testify of these things in the name of the beloved Savior and Redeemer of the World, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
"No ear may hear His coming; but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in."
--Elder Hall

"Praise To The Lord Almighty"

December 1st, 2014   Quito,Ecuador

Hola Family and Friends,

Here in Ecuador Thanksgiving is not celebrated. So on the day of Thanksgiving we didn't do any celebrating. However, my companion and I did give lots of thanks.

The day of Thanksgiving we were teaching a recent convert family from Colombia, and we were asking if there was anyone we could share this message with. This was towards the end of the lesson. The spirit was so strong. Just then their neighbor that lives in the same building walked by and they invited her to listen. She accepted. She will be baptized the 13 of December, and is strong as a rock in her testimony. The other reason we gave thanks that day was we found a less active family in the same building. The missionaries have tried to talk with this family for months now. They are a family from Italy and speak fluent Spanish as well. They now are teaching us how to speak Italian, and we also are teaching them and they will be rescued the day 22 of December.

What a glorious work this is! How marvellous to see the tender mercies of our dear Lord and Savior. When you don´t think that there is any hope, I want you to think back on all the evidences that there is a Father in Heaven. A dear friend of mine said that before they go to bed, they reflect on all the blessing they saw that day. It helps them to be more positive and delightful. (Full of delight :))

This past week I also became very aware of how life can be full of different kinds of struggles for people-- situations  of morality, situations of reality, situations of fatility, and deep sadness.
We may not have all the answers, or solutions, BUT, we do have the tools to help us find the answers and solutions!

I would like to share a scripture about these unwanted and unfortunate situations. Alma 7: 11- 13 says,
"11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations fo every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."
Whoever you are, you are not alone. My dear family and friends, I testify of the living Savior, even Jesus Christ.  He has felt the things you are feeling.
Something that my mission president taught me is in verse 13. "Now the Spirit knoweth ALL things" -- which means Jesus COULD have been taught by the spirit and could have lived without facing problems, but because he was  born of a mortal mother and a immortal father he had to learn by experience in order to help others.

Sometimes we just have to experience the things we are experiencing in order to really learn what we are meant to learn. And most of all we experience things so that we learn how to help others. This I do testify in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Love you,
Elder Hall

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pictures --Finally!!

After completing a puzzle in our apartment 

Elder Caleb Barton, his companion, Elder Aravena, and I

At the chapel with friends

This work makes me smile :)

Can you see me?

Yes, I have my Christmas tree up before my birthday!