06 June 2011

The Last Letter From Argentina


Well, this is it!  This is my last p-day.  This is the last time I will sit in a "ciber" internet cafe and write to you guys.  I still remember the first thing I wrote when I got to Argentina: "Hi, I made it!  I think I live in the most ghetto part of town!  See ya later, Justin."  HAHA!!  That was in Parque Chacubuco, which is actually a pretty part of town!  Man, I had major culture shock.  But, listen, I`m not really sure who read this blog, or if anybody even did read it, but thanks for supporting me, especially with your prayers.  They got all the way down here, and they worked!  In spite of the fact that I was preaching the gospel in the slums of Buenos Aires, I was protected by angels, thanks to your prayers.

As I was studying this morning, I was trying to think of how I could sum up what this experience has been...and I couldn`t really do it!  Haha, I guess you just have to serve a mission to know what I mean.  But among the things I learned were how to receive revelation, how to exercise an active faith, what it means to really have charity for somebody, and, most importantly, that I honestly don`t know very much about missionary work.  When I started the mission I thought that I was John the Baptist jr.  HA!  Man, now I feel like I need the MTC more than anything else!  

The fact is that I`m addicted to Argentine ice cream and alfahores, that I speak spanish, and that I have recently eaten-Argentine asado running through my veins.  This land and the people here are literally a part of me, a part of my soul.  I understand them, I`ve seen the very worst and the very best of them.  And, I`ve served them with all my heart for two years.  I love them so much.  It still hasn`t hit me that I`m not going to be with them for a while, but when it does there will for sure be tears.

Now, the most important thing that has happened on my mission, apart from what I was able to give to these people, my converts, etc. is what has happened to me.  I knew that the gospel was true before the mission, and because of that I was able to preach it with confidence.  But, now, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the rock solid, absolute core of my life.  Its everything.  And, I`ve dedicated myself to it for the eternities.  In every ward I`m in, I`m going to visit the less actives, help the missionaries to baptize more people, and inspire the youth to go on missions.  I`m going to marry the best wife in the whole world, have an awesome family who is solid in the gospel, and be the best father I can possibly be.  Every part of my life will be centered in helping me, my family, and others make it to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.  I hope that that will be a start for what the Lord expects of me.

Gente, THIS IS THE TRUE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.  HE LIVES!  He has an organized and restored church upon the earth.  There are living prophets and apostles today.  The Book of Mormon is true.  If you are reading this and don`t know that these things are real, that they are true, stop reading the computer screen right now, get on your knees, and ask God if they are!  And you will get your answer.  The Holy Ghost will whisper peace, joy, and assurance to your heart.  You might think it is lame, or weird, or whatever, but you`ll never know that its true until you try.  And that knowledge has literally changed lives in front of my eyes.  I`ve seen family after family, person after person, change and become better.  This is the secret to happiness.

So, anyway, just so you know, this week is going to be SAWEEEEET.  We are planning on having 2 baptisms here in La Boca.  And, this weekend is stake conference, with a special transmission from the first presidency.  And, to top it off, we are going to combine all the baptismal services in the zone into one, right after stake conference.  Waters of Mormon style!  We are expecting 10+ baptisms in the zone.  Then, on Sunday, I`ll get to see my converts and members in a farewell for all the missionaries that are going home, held in San Fernando.  Then, next Monday I fly out of Buenos Aires and land in the humidity of NC on Tuesday, June 14th. 

Well, I don`t have much more to say.  I got a lot of stories to tell, but we`ll just have to chat when I get back.  I love you guys a ton.  Have a great week.

With love,

Elder Justin Robert Hales
Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission
June 10, 2009 - June 14, 2011

KTF (keep the faith)

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