Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Isn't This Great? More Pictures.

                                 I'm not totally sure what I was thinking in this picture but it's good :)

     I may have fallen while running from dogs this week...

"More Pressing Forward as Saints"

September 22nd, 2014  Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Hello Family and Friends,
This week has been one of hope, praying, more praying, and continually pressing forward. This week I have seen many marvelous miracles, which only come when you think all hope is lost and you're not looking for them. One of our investigators, Jennifer Silva, is going to be baptized this Saturday! I will have the privilege of baptizing her. I am so excited that sometimes I just have to sing. Its a habit of mine. 

We also have 4 more investigators who will be baptized on the 3rd of October! This is a miracle because it is a family and we found them through a reference from a member. The other miracle with this family is that the father, Mexus, and his spouse aren't married. So we taught them about the Law of Chastity. They have so much faith and desire to follow the example of Christ and be baptized that they are getting married today. In simple words about this week: Obedience and Perseverance bring about Joy and Miracles. 

It has really rained here this week. I have returned home completely drenched several times this week. I have found that I love the rain. My Grandpa Wells challenged me to look for the beauty of this world. I have found that I love the fruit here, the rain, the birds, the butterflies, the children who are constantly smiling and playing futbol in the rain; the rice, the yogurt, and many more.

Yes, this week was long and very hard but I found comfort in the scriptures. In D&C 6:33-36, I have found peace and faith. I love all of you.

My testimony is that God is our loving Heavenly Father, Jesus is the Christ and I know that He loves each and every single one of us. Because of Him we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father once again.

Love you all,
Elder Hall

Completely drenched...

 Our apartment. My side i(with the clock, music, and UNO cards)
    The kitchen, dining room, and laundry room.

"Abide With Me, 'Tis Eventide"

September 29, 2104    Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Hello Family and Friends,
This week has been one of reflection and also learning. I am coming to an end of my first change in the mission, and I think ---where has the time gone? I can still remember eating BYU ice cream at the cafeteria on Sunday nights in the MTC. I can still remember the very long bus ride to the airport early in the morning. I remember passing the Lindon exit and breathing very hard and bowing my head as if all emotions were attacking me at once.

This week I decided to do something to get myself more involved with finding more people and getting to know the members of the ward. I started a family history class. Using the new booklets that Family Search has put out called, "My Family," I was able to help several people get started with their family history. It's such an exciting experience! My heart is overwhelmed with the power and spirit of Elijah. Everybody is very excited about it, except my companion. But I have faith that he will learn to love it too.

This week I also baptized one of our investigators. She was so happy and it's amazing to see already the difference the gospel brings to so many people's lives. It is so true, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all can obtain eternal life. But only through the name of Jesus Christ --for there is no other way.

Yes, it is still hard and very challenging. My Spanish is not very good, and I am learning to have patience with myself. The hymns are my outlet of expression and I sing them frequently. 

May you strive to keep all the commandments, endure to the end, and have patience in all things. 

Elder Hall

Elder Huisa, Jennifer Silva's family, and Elder Hall

The newest member of the church in Santo Domingo, Ecuador--Jennifer Silva

Friday, September 19, 2014

From the Mission President's Wife:

Dear Brother and Sister Hall,

We are so pleased that Elder Hall is serving in the Ecuador Quito Mission.  We welcome him with all our hearts and know that the special gifts he has been given from our Father in Heaven  and talents he has developed will bless the lives of those with and for whom he serves in a unique way only he can offer.  His dedicated service will further increase his abilities and character in remarkable ways. 

There are currently 247 missionaries in our mission, serving in 13 zones.    Elder Hall has been assigned to serve in Santa Domingo with Elder Huisa as his companion and trainer.  Elder Huisa is known by other missionaries as being a very diligent missionary and a great teacher.

 Attached are photos that show Elder Hall with his companion;  the group of missionaries with whom he arrived; and  with us.

We know and understand that there is sacrifice on your part both emotionally and financially to support him during this period of full time missionary service and we express our gratitude for your offering to further the work of inviting others to come unto Christ and to receive the blessings of the Gospel in their lives.

With our love and gratitude,

President and Sister Christensen

Letter to the Mom

September 15, 2014

Dear Mom,
I forgot my camera cord back at our apartment. I'm so sorry, but I promise to send some photos next week. 

I want to thank you for your update. I'm happy to hear everyone is doing well. Don't worry about the dogs, I'm fine, but have a new dislike for dogs!

 I'm eating just fine, and spending a lot of time on my knees. We get fed by the members every lunch. We eat breakfast in our apartment and most nights we get dinner from the members or our investigators. I eat a lot of rice and bananas. Also, I eat a lot of cereal and peaches. The fruit here is AMAZING! Its so fresh and usually comes right of the trees. 

I want to thank you for teaching me how to clean a toilet and the importance of keeping a bathroom and house clean. It has made a huge difference in our home. I clean the bathroom every day because my companion is very messy. I frequently sweep and also mop. It helps me to feel the Spirit more strongly.

It is very humid here and sometimes very hot. I also have found a new love for my BYU shirts. They are my comfort and joy in the evenings after a long hard day of work. My bed is great and I'm sleeping just fine except for my weird dreams. :|

I want to tell you that I love you and I'm grateful for your strong words of advice. Thank you for being my mom and for all you do. You are truly a blessed and beloved woman--and my best friend. 

Sure love you Mom,
Elder Zachy Hall, your happy son!

"Press Forward Saints"

September 15, 2104

Hello Family and Friends,
Well this week has been good, but a little long for my liking. 

Something that seems to always get me is this darn language. Half the time I don't what anyone is talking about, and Mom-- I'm developing your habit of talking to myself in the store. Today as we went to buy things I starting talking to myself and my companion abruptly told me that I couldn't do that. I quickly apologized and continued on in my head. :)

We have had some miracles happen this week: On Tuesday, I felt that we needed to fast. So we did. We fasted for 24 hours and I'm pretty sure by the end I thought I was going to die. This week we have contacted over 50 people, and we have a new family to teach. The familia Araujo. They are progressing very well and the second lesson we taught about the law of chastity and invited them to get married. Well this weekend they did just that! They will be baptized the 4th of October (4 people). The other miracle is that Jennifer who is a cousin to Selena, decided that she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. We held a tour at the capilla (chapel) for Selena and Jennifer. We then sat in the room where the baptismal font is and showed them the font and talked about the simplicity and beauty of baptism. I asked Jennifer about how she felt. She then responded, "'Im going to be baptized." She will be baptized the 27th of September. What a powerful moment that was for me!

Something that I continue to do is always pray. Most mornings I spend almost an hour praying. I pray every chance I get. I realized that if we keep pressing forward in the faith of our Savior Jesus Christ, we will be strengthened, and eventually sealed His.
This is very hard, and many times I have thought I just want to give up... 
DON'T GIVE UP! He has promised us so many blessings that we can't even comprehend, but CAN receive if we persevere. Thank you for your prayers. Keep praying please, as I have felt your prayers. 

Smile a mile and keep moving in the way of the Lord.
Love you all,
Elder Hall

ps. We were chased by dogs this week for almost two blocks. We have had many doors slammed in our faces, and we walk miles and miles in the hot sun every day. However, I kind of feel like Im on an Amazonian adventure every day --which is kind of fun.

Dear Family

Also Sept. 8th, 21014  from Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Dear Family,
My companion and I are....ok. He's not very patient with me which is tricky since he's my trainer and supposed to help me. So --I continue to be patient with him, and love him and thank him for his help. 

I finally got to play soccer or as they call it futbol today. We played on a cement "cancha" or court with all the elders from our zone in the middle of Santo Domingo with no nets and just bamboo posts for our goal posts. I was able to find Oreos and Chips Ahoy here. Wow does Heavenly Father love me!

 I also have been more at peace since I was able to get my CD player working. I listen to the Tabernacle Choir every morning and Every night. Last night I listened to my Vocal Point CD and heard the song which says, "C'mon c'mon you have got to move on, this is not the you I know. This isn't real it's just all you can feel, and that's the way that feelings go." Remember that song Abbie? That was the song that got me through last summer; through what I thought to be the end of my life and existence for all I knew or cared. I now find myself in a similar situation-- listening the songs about my Savior and His atonement. But tonight as I look outside and here the dogs barking, parrots chirping, and the sun is glistening on the metal rooftops of Ecuador, I think: "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world, Heavenly created for me." 

The sights, sounds, smells, food, people and all creatures of our God and King are so different here! It also is very, very, very hot and humid. My companion thinks it's cold and so I bear the heat in order not to make the Peruvian mad or frustrated.  This week I found myself reading in Alma 32 a lot. I encourage you as a family to read it.

Also, please have family scripture study. It will help you guys be able to understand your purpose and the blessings of God so much better. We are in the last days and we just have to be reading our scriptures. Even if it's only for 5 minutes a day.

Sure love you Hall Family of mine and miss you lots. I show pictures of all of you to the people here in Ecuador as much as I can, because I want them to see what a family can be. Love you guys!

Millie, Sam and Max I sure would like to hear from you next week. How are you guys doing? How's school, football, and dance?

Love you,
Elder Hall

"Glory To God On High"

September 8, 2014

Hello to all you family and friends,

I would to like to share with you a couple of my experiences this week. Something I forgot to mention is that my companion and I are opening a new sector, and I didn't know until yesterday that all of this is new. Most of this week has consisted of walking and walking and contacting and talking. My favorite thing to do while walking is just say "hello" to everybody and smile because it helps me to think positively.

We have these two investigators: Selena and Jennifer. They're cousins and we teach both of them in their other cousins' house who are members of the church. I can't even speak English still--let alone I'm way lost in Spanish. Have no idea. However, I had the opportunity to teach the law of chastity and describe the importance of families. With the help of the Lord, my companion, and the "Declaration To the Family"--both agreed to follow it. The reason this experience is significant is because Selena lives with her "esposo". Most people here are not married and just live with eachother. I then taught how sacred the calling of being parents is and the importance of marriage. They both promised to live it and currently are living it. Selena and her "esposo" are en route in planning a wedding and Jennifer will be baptized the 27th of September. What a wonderful thing that is and how excited and happy I am for the both of them!

The other experience is my own. This week I have spent just as much time on my knees as I have on my feet. Earlier this week, while my companion was in the shower, I prayed out loud and told Heavenly Father how I felt. I expressed my concerns, doubts, and even complaints about the things that were going on. I asked for Him to help me and give strength. I then recieved this answer, "Zachy, this mission is not about you." I stopped to ponder about that as I ate my cereal and had an Oreo. (Yes Abbie, I found Oreos in Ecuador, What!?) 

This "answer" was an incredible thing for me. I then realized that during this whole time of discouragement and natural-man-inward-thoughts, that not once had I thought about my investigators and how to help them. 

May I suggest that we remember there is ONE reason we are doing this work: For the glory of God on High. It is not my will but His.

The days are still long and most of my day is spent walking in silence. But I continue to watch these people and pray how I can better help them. Something I have found to help me wake up with a smile on my face no matter what mood I'm in is to go to sleep with a hanger in my mouth. Its the best thing to wake up to.

May you give glory to God on high, and I promise his angels will reply.
Thank for all of your prayers, still need them dearly,

Love all of you,
Elder Hall

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Email from Ecuador

August 26, 2014  from the Mission Home Quito, Ecuador 

Well everyone, I'm alive and well. 

This is so different. My p day is next monday. 
I have not received my new companion yet.
Everything is in spanish and I have no idea what's going on. 

Love you all,

--Elder Hall

Letter 6 "Count Your Blessings"

Monday, September 1st, 2014  Santa Domingo, Ecuador

Dear Family and Friends,
I´m going to start out by telling you to be grateful for what you have.
This is a completely different world over here. I´m also going to tell you that this has 
been the hardest week of my entire life. I have been tried and tested over and over. 
Every day is a new adventure but it´s not easy. All the things that I had in the 
MTC or at home I don´t have except for one thing: 
The gospel of Jesus Christ.

I live in Santo Domingo and it is super humid and very hot every day.
My companion is Elder Huisa, from Peru, and he doesn't speak any English. 
We are working hard still, and I continue to just push through each day. 
Something my Grandpa Wells said that a big part of faith is to just 
keep moving forward. That´s exactly what I´m doing with the help from the Lord. 

Never have I ever prayed so hard 
and so much in my life for so many things. 

The streets here are dirty, there´s no carpet anywhere, there is garbage all over the roads,
and most of the day I walk on dirt roads and through grass. It is a completely different experience.
We also don´t have any hot water. ANYWHERE.

However, When you are discouraged, and called to bear, count your many blessings--
name them one by one and you´ll be surprised what the Lord hath done.

My testimony is that God is our loving Heavenly Father.
Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.
Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and We have a living prophet today,
Thomas S. Monson,who leads and guides the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today.

So If you're feeling down, just keep moving forward!

Elder Hall