Monday, December 30, 2013

This picture is of the baptism of Martin! Such a stud. The family Alvarez is so happy these days!

For Christmas I gave the Alvarez family my Canadian flag. They were so stoked haha. Love them.

We had an outdoor nativity last night! We were able to dress up as soldiers and participate, was so spiritual and awesome!

Christmas celebrations continue right up until the 6 of January, which is the Day of the Kings. The children polish their shoes and fill them with straw and put water nearby to feed the camels of the kings. In return, the kings leave gifts for the children.

Hola Familia! Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo de Argentina!

I love you guys so much. I am so grateful for the opportunity we had to be able to talk on Christmas, to be able to share experiences and our testimonies with one another. It really was a moment and a time very special for me. Definitely was the quickest 40 minutes ever, but I enjoyed every second of it. I have to thank you guys for your support and for your spirit. I could feel your love and your compassion through the computer haha. I could also feel the Love of the Savior so strong when you guys were talking. Thank you for living lives so worthily, you really do have the spirit of the Lord with you. I could feel it. It's something Ive been thinking about a lot today. How grateful I am for a family who is so worthy, and the biggest thing is you are worthy to be able to enter the temple. This is one of our greatest gifts, and I'm glad we are able to take use it to bless our lives and the lives of others.

Sounds like things are going great back home. Glad to hear Christmas was good as usual! You guys are all spoiled, especially Jordan. I am always so excited for you guys and love that you are having fun and enjoying life. I'm glad the Maxwells are doing well, I pray for them often and am so glad for the friends we have. we really are so blessed!

The other day we did a service project at the church. There was a field with grass about 8 feet high, and we cut it all down with a machette! haha Took us about an hour but it was so fun.
Although it has been 2 weeks I don't have a lot to say because we talked just a couple days ago. But things in Lujan are good. We had the baptism of Martin a couple weeks ago like I said. Little kid 8 years old, he is great. He wanted me personally to baptize him, which was a great honour for me. The Alvarez family is so content right now and are loving the church. They are going to mutual, activities, and church every single week! They are easily one of the most active and involved families in our branch right now. They haven't missed church for almost 2 months! Its amazing what the Lord can do. If we just do a little bit on our part, he will literally bless us more then we can imagine. I have seen this so strong with this family. We are now teaching some of their cousins as well. Its a cool process. As they become to love the Gospel more they are starting to have the desire to share it with others!

At this moment things are a bit hard when it comes to finding new people to teach. But we have a few people with baptism dates for the next couple weeks. We have one lady named L••••••• who is awesome! But all of her family is Evangelistas which is a problem at the moment. She has a testimony of the church, and she told us when we talk and when she's in the church she can feel something she has never felt before. So we are working with her a lot right now. She has the desire to be baptized but she is scared of what her family would think. Her daughter who is 12 years old actually left the house to live with the dad because she doesn't want her mom to be baptized. It is one of the hardest situations to try to deal with for her, and for us its a tough situation as well. But we have been praying to the Lord a lot for help and guidance.

Last night we had an outdoor nativity at the church! Where the the basketball and football court is. They built a little nativity and a stable where the shepherds were, and they had fire all around the outside of the fence. It was so sweet! There was one hermano who was narrating, and the rest of us participated and sang just like we do back home! The coolest part is that they had a wire strung from one side of the fence to the other, and when they started talking about the new star they turned on a light that was dangling from this wire. They pulled it across the whole court and the wise men followed it. It was such a cool experience!

I am starting to find more joy and love for the little things everyday, and especially for the opportunity to preach the gospel. The more I apply the teachings in my life, the more I know that this church is true and that it blesses families. I have seen it change the hearts and lives of so many people. And although we have been members for many years, and know that everyday it helps shape and change our lives, so that we can become better people. We really have no idea how great our potential is, but it is my prayer that with the help of the Lord we can become all that he wants us to be! I love you all. Thank you so much for your testimonies and for the love you show me. I know this is the greatest thing I could be doing at this point in my life. Thank you for supporting my in my decision! Have a great week, all the best!!

Love, Elder Hansen!

Monday, December 16, 2013

It was Camilo´s birthday on Saturday! (Son of President Peralta) Turned 3 years old, so cute! We baked a cake for his birthday, he was so pumped haha.

President Peralta dressed up as Camilo´s favorite character, Sappo Pepe! Haha they have such a great family.

We had a great activity in the church the other night! Had a dance and a ton of food. I love the members of Lujan so much!

At the Zone Conference

Lunch at the Zone Conference
Hola Fam!! 

Thank you so much for the letters and the updates again this week. Sounds like a very eventful week up there in Canada! I always love to here how you guys are doing, always brings a smile to my face and peace to know that things are good as always. Sounds like there are lots of changes and things happening in Canada at this moment, that´s awesome. I just wanna say that Darin´s comment made me laugh so hard, haha that kid is awesome. I´m proud of him for serving such a great mission!

I heard that we don´t get our packages until our Pday as a mission, which is next Monday. They always keep the Christmas packages so the missionaries can stay focused on the work until Christmas time, which is smart. Next Monday we are going to the temple as a mission, then having lunch and doing a program. I'm in the Christmas choir for the program! haha Really going outside of my comfort zone and practicing my singing skills. I'm excited. It's going to be an awesome day. We also are going to the temple this Thursday with our branch and a few of our investigators! I'm super excited about that, it´s going to be a great day. I heard that Argentina has the new movie as well, so I´m excited to see it next Monday.

Thank you for the update on the Skype. I look forward to hearing and seeing you guys on the 25th! We only have 40 minutes to talk, so be ready haha It´s going to go by quick but I know that it will be great. A good moment to share as a family to share experiences, I love you all and am excited to hear from you! And just to remind you we don´t get computer time next Monday because we are going to the temple, so I won´t be sending you a letter. We get time to Skype on Christmas instead.

Things in Lujan are good with Elder Toledo! I never knew it could be so different trying to adjust from one companion to another! Not in a bad way at all, just in general. Every missionary does things different so it is taking a little bit of practice to get good flow in lessons, but Elder Toledo is a great missionary so things are good! He doesn´t speak any English at all haha, So I have spoken English once in the past 2 weeks. It´s definitely helping my Spanish a lot. It has gotten a lot better and now I can teach all the lessons with ease and talk with people we meet. Definitely makes things more enjoyable when you can understand and reply haha. Finally I don´t feel useless. And I´m eating as much as possible I promise! I don´t know how much I weigh these days but definitely a little bit less. But don´t worry I never feel like I´m starving. I needed to lose a little bit of my fat anyways!

This week a lot of good things happened. We went to the Birthday party of Camilo, which was so fun. We had a dance in the church as well.. and even though we can´t dance as missionaries we had a blast. The members here are awesome and always love to have a good time. The craziest thing was yesterday though. We have a machine in our pension that we have to turn on to have hot water in the shower. I went to turn it on like I do every single morning, and for some reason the flames exploded and now I have no hair on my one hand haha. and I lost a little bit of hair on my eyebrows and eyelashes as well. Like a science experiment gone wrong in the classroom hey dad! Haha me and the comp had a good laugh about it. But don't worry I´m good!

Right now we have some good investigators, but it has been a tough week. We have been trying hard to find people who have a firm desire to change and follow Christ. We have lots of people who like what they hear, but the principle of action is always a hard thing for people. We are still trying to find a good way to get the people we teach to attend Church. For them it´s hard, because it´s about a 20 minute walk, and lots of them don´t have money for a bus or taxi. It´s always a hard thing trying to get them to attend with all the things happening. We usually need to help them or pick them up with other Members. We have one lady L••••••• who has gone to church for the past 2 weeks and has a baptism date for the 28th. She has 3 kids as well, so we are working with them a lot right now to prepare them for this great day! She has a lot of faith in Christ, but she was baptized before in her life.. so right now we are just trying to show why she needs to be baptized in our church. In reality, before my mission I knew baptism was important just because it´s always something we do. But now I am really learning why it is so important. It really is the only way to achieve salvation and to open up a new life and opportunities. It´s something that we really focus on. Usually when we teach we focus on the blessings it brings, rather then the negatives. It always helps them see the possibilities and the blessing the Lord has for them, if they will only extend their hand and receive them.

This Wednesday is the baptism of Martin! He is one of the kids in the Alvarez Family! He turns 8 on Wednesday and he is going to be baptized the same day! I´m so excited. I have watched this family absolutely change so much, and now you can literally see with your eyes the blessings and the happiness they have because of this gospel. The mom is so excited for Wednesday and for his baptism, it´s going to be a great day and I´ll be sure to send you pictures of it in 2 weeks!

I love you guys so much. I want you to know that the sacrifices in life are small. Somedays I feel overwhelmed, but I simply have to remember what our Savior did for us. I truly believe our pains and hardships are only for a short time. It´s my prayer that we can overcome them and enjoy this life as a family, and that one day we will be able to live as a family forever! I know it´s possible and that it´s the greatest gift that God has for us! I love you all, can´t wait to see you all in a few days!

Mucho Amor!! 
Elder Hansen.

Monday, December 9, 2013

An evening with the Alvarez family

At the transfer meeting

Last day with Elder Valdez

Doing service on Rosalia's roof with Brother Peralta

My new companion from Chile

Hola Familia! 

Sounds like things in Magrath are freezing, but great as usual! It´s so crazy how different it is, but I can tell you I don´t miss the cold one bit. Yesterday It was 38 degrees here and humid as ever, in my suit during church I was dying haha, but it´s all part of the experience. Definitely losing a couple pounds of sweat everyday haha. I can´t believe those pictures of Carter, he´s a beast! Looks like he´s having a ton of success and enjoying it. He´s huge now, but how many pounds does he weigh? Love all the updates, I always enjoy hearing how things are going. Tell all the fams that I love them, the Christmas broadcast was always my favorite. They had it last night here in the Church but we didn´t go because it was to late for us.

We are going to call you guys on Christmas day, the 25th. President Carter wrote us about this. So I´m going to write this week, and the next week, but on the following week we don´t get email time. We only get time to call our families. So we need to plan this all right now. I'm thinking that I'm going to call you guys at 3 o´clock here, so 12 in Canada. From the house of President Peralta. If you could write me back and let me know if it´s all good I would greatly appreciate it!

Well we had transfers this week like I said. They call all the missionaries the night before and tell them what is going on. They called Tuesday night, and told Elder Valdes that he was going, and that I was staying. We went to the transfer meeting on Wednesday in a taxi, and yes they pay for our rides when we go during transfers. But if we have to go other days for personal things we take the bus and we pay for it, but it´s not expensive at all. 

So I´m still in Lujan and I have a new companion! His name is Elder Toledo haha, he´s from Chile and he´s sweet. We get along good. It´s still a little different without Elder Valdes, after being with someone for 3 months straight a change is weird. But I know me and Elder Toledo are going to be great friends as well. He has about 1 year in the mission. But for now I have to lead the area and all the lessons because he doesn´t know anyone, it is definitely a little more stressful, but I have felt the presence of the Lord more in my life, and I have depended on him more then ever. There really is so much to do, and sometimes it is overwhelming but I feel like things are going good. We have a lot of work to do right now, we don´t have a lot of really solid investigators after the Baptisms in November. But we have a couple that we are working hard to help and progress. I have learnt so much in this past 3 months in the field, but I sometimes feel like I know nothing. Missionary work is hard, but I am growing to love it more and more everyday.

We did service for one of our Investigators Rosalia the other day. We helped her build part of her roof, with the help of President Peralta. It´s always nice to be able to do a little bit of the other kind of service as well. Not only teaching, but serving the people in all that they need. It´s a good way to build a relationship and trust with them, showing that we really are here to help them with all the aspects of their life. I had a little accident during the service though. I was on the ladder helping President Peralta, and the ladder started to slip. I was only about 3 feet in the air so I decided to jump off. I went to land on this giant board, but the board was actually just covering this giant hole in the ground. So I went crashing through this board and fell about 3 feet into this giant hole! I wasn´t hurt at all, and we definitely had a good laugh about this haha. Good times.

We also had to sing yesterday in Church. Me, Elder Toledo, and the 2 hermanas that are in our branch. We sang "Because I have been given much I too must give" I don´t remember the title in English. It was definitely interesting but I think it went well. I can tell you that I don´t have the same confidence and voice I had during the Primary Presentations all those years ago haha. My singing has definitely got worse with time, but it happens right. I think I´d rather give a talk in Spanish than have to sing. 

The mission is great. Now I have more of an obligation to talk and teach everyday and I´m starting to love it more and more. It is helping me develop more of a testimony and a knowledge for the Savior and his life. I have learnt the more that we apply his teachings in our life, and especially the atonement, the more we desire to follow his example and use the Atonement in our lives. I love you guys so much, hope you have a fantastic week!! Love you all, look forward to seeing you all very soon! If you can write me back about the Skype ASAP that would be greatly appreciated!! 

Love love,
Mucho Amor, 
Elder Hansen.

Monday, December 2, 2013

With the Alvarez family to celebrate a baptism!

Hello Family!! 

Thank you for the updates once again. Im so sorry Carter that things didn´t go better in volleyball. Sounds like you guys had a tough weekend. But I´m so glad that you were able to enjoy it and make lifelong friends. Winning championships is always fun, but I believe you will remember the friendships and the good times for much longer than anything else. They really are the things most valuable.

I´m so excited Carson gets out there so soon, he has waited a long time for this and I know he will be a great missionary. He will bless so many people in the process, and he will be able to learn so much himself. I can´t even explain what I´ve been able to learn so far on my mission. It´s something so different than you could ever imagine. I love it. What day does Makenzie leave?? I´m super excited for her too. Get that Spanish going so one day we will be able to talk fluently haha! I still have a long way myself before I am fluent, but everyday the Spanish gets a little bit better. 

I don´t know how or where I will contact you for Christmas, but Elder Valdes said it´s usually over Skype on the 24th. So I will keep you updated more and more. They do celebrate Christmas here yes, but I don´t think it's as big of a deal as it is in Canada. I guess I will have to wait and see. Plus its going to be super weird with no snow. It´s probably going to be 40 degress outside, so crazy for Christmas. Usually we still proselyte on Christmas I believe, it´s a good time to share the Love of the Savior with others and talk about his birth. I hear there is always a special blessing for missions during the month of December, lots of love, so I look forward to being able to share it with others.

Last Monday on our Pday we went out to eat as a District to celebrate our success. We went to an all you can eat restaurant, it was the first time I've eaten out here in Argentina! It was so good. There was all kinds of meat and sausage. But they all looked exactly the same... and I ate 2 things of cow intestine haha, They looked exactly like the sausage. I ended up being sick for about 2 days but I feel better now. What's a mission without a little sickness right? 

The 24th really was a day I will never forget. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I could never have imagined a day like that, and am so glad I was able to be apart of it. It´s truly amazing what the Gospel does for families. I sent you a picture of a family just 2 weeks ago I believe, the Family Alvarez. I am going to send another picture of them this week. They are all members but they have been inactive for about 3 years now. Federico is their cousin and has been living with them for about 2 months and was one of the people baptized last week. I can remember the first time we taught them, they were so timid, there wasn´t much conversation, and they were a little hesitant to invite us in. But every lesson their faith grew and things began to change, and now I can honestly say I love them with all my heart. They have such a special spirit with them. The day of the baptism there was 12 of them that attended, and yesterday 8 of them went to church. The gospel has given them a new light and in reality a new life. They have so much joy, and every time we go over there they are laughing and truly enjoying themselves. And even though they often make fun of me for my Spanish, I have grown to love them so much. This Gospel really does unite families like we can´t imagine, it is something so special that you can´t explain but only can feel. And I´m so grateful we have it in our lives. Yesterday they invited us over to eat at their house and celebrate the baptisms and the birthday of one our their cousins, it was a good time. We had a big meal outside and share stories about the baptism and about our families. I tried my best to explain you guys with my broken spanish haha.

Also on Sunday our 3 converts Alberto, Federico, and Fransico were able to receive the Aaronic Preisthood! It was awesome. I´m excited to see them progress and continue to grow and build their faith. Alberto has a wife who has been a member for about 10 years, and they want to get sealed in the temple! And Federico has been expressing a sincere desire to serve a mission one day! The day of their baptism is something special, but even more its the gateway to so many opportunities and blessings! I can´t wait to be able to see what things they will accomplish in their lives!

We have transfers this Wednesday. Elder Valdes and I will likely go our seperate ways, one of us will probably stay in our area and the other will be transferred. I love Elder Valdes, we have become great friends and I will miss him. But it´s part of the mission. Whatever happpens I look forward to the new opportunities I will have and the other great missionaries and people I will be able to work with! I'll let you know what happened in one week!

I love you with all my heart family. Have a fantastic week.

Love, Elder Hansen.

Monday, November 25, 2013

In front of the cathedral in Lujan.

Alberto, Federico, and Fransico were all baptized!

With our branch members.

The whole District.

25 people got baptized today!

Hello Familia!! 

Thank you again for the letters and all the words of encouragement. I always find peace and a new determination after I read your letters. The mission really is bigger then just the work that I'm doing. It's about you guys and the whole town of Magrath as well, and of course most importantly the Lord. It's something that is done together, and I'm so grateful for the support that I have.

It sounds like things in Magrath are good, nice and chill right now, and of course freezing cold. When I tell people here that its normal for it to be minus 30 in winter they freak out, if it ever gets below 0 here people don't know what to do with themselves. But then they also laugh at me when I say 25 is hot for Canada, Im definitely going to die. Its so hot right now and its not even Summer yet. Its weird thinking Christmas is going to be hot and no snow, definitely a first for me. Im so happy for Carson and that his talk was able to go well. I remember how nervous I was too, I don't know why but something about the Farewell talk is so nerve racking. Im sure he did great, he is an awesome kid. Im lucky to have friends that are such great examples.

The milk here is pretty good actually, a little different but I like it. We do have a phone yes, but Elder Valdes has it because he is the Senor Companion. I don't even remember how to use a phone, especially text because we aren't allowed too haha. I bought a bucket my first week here and I wash my clothes in that, its definitely a lot of work but its not bad. My clothes probably aren't as clean as usual, but I'm a missionary what can ya do! I have a question, I don't know of any dry cleaning places around here, what is the best way to wash my suit pants? I'm such a rookie I know.

Many times we are able to relate the Book of Mormon to the people here in Argentina. The Introduction talks about how the Book was written here by Prophets in the Americas, and also talks about how Christ visited the Americas. Many people here worship the Bible, but they don't know that Christ visited the Americas. As we talk about, Why would Christ only visit one group of people? It is often a good way to spark interest in people as they learn about what went on right here where there ancestors lived. Its definitely a good tool.

This week in Lujan was absolutely amazing. The days and the weeks seem to get more rewarding. And its not just that we are having success, but just the feeling and the attitude of myself, and the mission is definitely increasing and become something special. There is a special attitude in missionary work these days and I'm happy to be apart of it. So we had the big baptism yesterday. There ended up being 25 people baptized after our district conference!! 25, it was so special. Before the Baptism we took pictures with all the people dressed in white, and it was such a special site. The spirit was so strong as so many people demonstrated there willingness to follow Christ. We then did the Baptisms by different groups. Alberto, Federico, and Fransico were all baptized yesterday! R•••••• and P•••• both had problems, we were sad about that but they just need a little more help is all. But for the other 3 it was such a great day. I was able to baptize Federico actually, he asked me. I was so extremely nervous the moment that I walked into the water. But after as he went under the water and came out clean, and gave me a big hug, I can tell you that the Spirit that was there was something you can't describe. Elder Valdes then baptized Alberto and Fransico. It really isn't important who does the ordinances, we always give them the choice of anyone in the branch, or us. We felt pretty honored that they put their trust in us, that we could share this special day with them.

Not only the success we had yesterday, but this month has taught me a lot. As a Zone we were able to baptize 28 people this month. Something very special. We spent a lot of time praying, and fasting for these people. There is a special scripture in Alma 6:6 that was the theme to our month. As we came together and fasted and prayed for these people that they may be able to find God, we saw miracles. 

God promises us so many blessings if we will only but demonstrate our love and our obedience, its my prayer that we will be able to take these blessings that he has waiting for us. I love you all. Have a great week and good luck in volleyball Carter!! Go Zeniths.

Love! Elder Hansen.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A big bag of cereal that a member family gave us!

This is a member family that gave us the 3.5 kg bag of cereal.

Mission Conference at which Elder Jeffery R. Holland spoke. Notice me at the back!

"Elder Holland´s talk was absolutely amazing!"

At the mission conference.

Hola Familia! 

Thank you again for the awesome letters each week, I always am excited to hear what is going on back home! Sounds like a great week in Canada, that is so awesome you guys won Zones Carter! And congrats on the All star award, you are a Capo! Sounds like things are still as awesome as ever, lots of changes in the sports world. I hope things turn out well for the Canes. You guys are awesome and I´m proud to call you my family. The primary presentation sounds like it was awesome, always one of the best Sundays of the year! haha I can still remember when I sang so loud in the Stake Center that one year, oh how things have changed. Now you couldn´t pay me to sing in church haha. I´m sure all the kids did great.

I am sure I have lost some weight, I don´t starve but I definitely don´t eat as much as I did at home. With you feeding me all the time, and the restaurant like system we had at Val´s house in Kamloops. Now I just have to depend on my own cooking! Although its not great, it´s slowly getting better and I am learning. We haven´t really eaten anything too weird. Where I am right now we eat Milanesa, Pasta, Rice, Meat, and Empanada´s. That´s it. I've heard in other areas there are some different stuff which I'm kind of excited for! It´s been good though, I haven´t been sick yet so I hope that continues, I´m sure I´ll have at least one good experience with sickness on my mission. 

My Spanish is definitely improving, I can usually talk with most people but there are still so many words I don´t know. Definitely not fluent yet, but it´s getting better each day. It´s hard to learn by studying, I do look up lots of words and try to memorize them and the conjugations, but really I just learn by speaking all the time. Now Elder Valdes and I speak in Spanish all the time, with a couple exceptions. haha. My mind usually is fried by the end of the day. The chance of Elder Valdes and I being together again is rare, I think the next transfers are in 3 weeks. Then probably one of us will be going, he is definitely a great missionary and I´m going to try to learn all I can from him while I can! I definitely have learnt a lot, about the missionary life and the scriptures. It is still hard, there is so much to learn, but my desire to learn has increased a lot. 

I also looked for some hair clippers last week, they were about 250 pesos, so 50 dollars, I think I´m probably going to buy them next week, if you could write me back and tell me what you think that would be great! I tried my bank card last week too and it worked, so that is good.

This week in Lujan has been another great one! Definitely highlighted by listening to Elder Holland, but I´ll talk about that a bit later. We are getting closer to the big baptism we have planned for the 24th, definitely an important week for our investigators! 2 have had their baptism interviews and 3 more needs theirs. We have been praying a lot for them, if you could pray for F•••••••, A••••••, R••••••, P••••, and F•••••••• I would really appreciate it. I have learned a lot about the power of prayer on my mission, every prayer helps. Our investigators are great, I have really started to find a really love for them. As you spend so much time with them it is inevitable, you see the change in their lives starting to happen and the glow in their eye. It is something special that can only come through the joy in the Gospel of Christ. 

My soccer skills are definitely getting better as well! We play soccer every Wednesday night like I said before, and Elder Valdes has a ball. We play lots, I'm still horrible but I have hope that in 2 years I will be respectable. Soccer is definitely the key to a lot of peoples hearts here in Argentina.

Elder Holland´s talk was absolutely amazing! I have never felt such power and love in my life. I have heard Apostles and the Prophet speak before live, but this time being a missionary and being older, was so different. I really can´t describe the feeling that was in that church. He is such a powerful speaker and speaks with so much emotion. There are 2 things I really enjoy about his talk. The 1st is when he said to us "This is the closest you´ll ever get to real life." In reality this is like the next life, where we will be doing missionary and temple work for those who don´t have the chance. This is a great opportunity for me to learn and to grow and to help others. Because Salvation is real life, and other things are only temporary. The 2nd and the most powerful is when he was talking about why life and the mission is so hard. He said "Why is this so hard? It´s hard because it was hard for Him. Salvation always goes through Gethsemane, and we all have to go there." What a powerful line. The hardships in our life and nothing compared to the Saviors, but if we want to gain eternal life we have to be willing to suffer, we have to be willing to pass through our own Gethsemane.

I love this Gospel, and I know that it is true! This email isn´t really too long but there is a lot to do and I don´t have much time this week! I love you all. Have a fantastic week, good luck with all that you are doing! I pray for you everyday.

Les Amo, 
Elder Hansen!

Monday, November 11, 2013

With our bishop and his family.

"A horse in the middle of the street.. classic Argentina! The best."

This chart shows the total # of missionaries at 240 and where they are all from. 3 Canadians!

Hello family!! 

It is so good to hear from you again, I can´t believe another week has gone by, seriously it seemed like just yesterday I was writing you guys. Sounds like another awesome week in Magrath! That is unreal you guys won the league tournament Carter! I am so stoked, I had no doubt you guys would be able to do it. I hope you enjoyed the moment. They are rare and very special, and I wish you guys all the best in zones! Sounds like things in the Sports world are rough for the Canes and Blazers, its how it goes sometimes hey. I feel bad for them though. I´m glad that you guys are spending lots of good quality family time, they are definitely the best memories and the ones I cherish the most. Thank you for always "making" us spend time together.. haha just kidding i loved it.

Dad how could I forget the Foremost trip or the near death for Carter in Echo Lake haha, both very scary incidents. But I´m glad you guys are alright and nothing serious happened, glad the Lord is looking out for you. How many packages are you planning on sending mom? We are only suppose to get about 4 a year, so I guess now and my birthday will be perfect. I don´t need too much but I do appreciate your love and support very much. I look forward to receiving them!! It has been raining here a ton but its all good, it´s usually very warm when it rains so its not too bad. Just with all the dirt roads its a disaster, we usually walk through so much mud and my pants and shoes are so muddy by the end of the day. I´m definitely becoming a pro at washing my clothes by hand! haha. The rain coat is perfect too.

Spanish is definitely getting better! But It can definitely still be frustrating. The problem with Spanish for me is their are so many different types of Spanish. I speak in "Usted" form, but all the people here speak in "Vos" So some words and all the verbs are conjugated differently, it definitely makes it hard for me to understand. And then when we pray or give blessings we have to speak in "Tu" form, and we read from the scriptures in "Vos Antiguo" something like that haha... so their are 4 different variations. It´s definitely frustrating sometimes, but I am starting to get the hang of it. Now me and Elder Valdes speak mostly in Spanish, I usually can´t express myself perfectly but I can get my point across haha. I'm starting to love it.

We had another great week here in Lujan! As we are nearing the second half of the month we are starting to focus more and more on our investigators and how we can help them prepare for baptism. Our goal for this month is 4 baptisms, so we definitely have a lot of work to do, but we have found as we are diligent in working towards our goals the Lord always blesses us. We are actually planning a big District baptism for the 24th of this month! We have a district conference that day, and then after all the companionships in our district, which is 5, are going to baptize all our investigators! I´m super excited, we have about 15 good possibilities right now, so if you could pray for our District and Zone that would be greatly appreciated! I feel your prayers everyday, they definitely give me strength to make it through the tough times.

As of now Elder Valdes and I have a couple good possibilties for the 24th. The other day we were trying to visit an investigator but she wasn´t there, for about the 4th time in a row, we were a little frustrated. But as we were walking away I saw a house and just had the feeling we needed to clap their door.. {I don't know if I've told you but we don´t knock on peoples doors here, we stand on their front lawn and clap our hands till they come out} haha, its definitely cool. But anyways we clapped our hands and she came out, we ended up teaching her (R••••••) and committed her to be baptized on the 24th! She came to church with us this Sunday too. It was such a strong testimony builder for me of the power of the Spirit. There are moments in our lives when we think things are silly, and the feelings we have are outrageous, but we need to act on them always.

I had another one of these experiences this week. We had a movie night planned for Saturday night in the Church. We were going to watch the Joseph Smith Restoration movie with our investigators. So we went to pick two of them up, and they both said they couldn't come. We were a little frustrated, but we decided that we would go to the church alone and hope somebody else would show up. As we were walking to the Church their was a man in the middle of the street just staring at us... I said to Elder Valdes, he´s coming to the church with us. As crazy as it may have seemed to me at the moment I just felt to ask him. So we said "Hi, we are heading to the church to watch a movie right now, you should come with us!" And to my amazement he said, "Sure why not!" He came with us and had a great experience! There really are miracles everywhere. We just need to be listening to the Spirit and be willing to act upon it.

So I have had to talk in church twice already here in Lujan, nothing much just simply my testimony and usually a scripture and a spiritual thought about it.. but this week I was asked to give a legit 10 or 15 minute talk! So I had about 2 days to prepare. Before my mission I used to write all my talks out, but I just felt that I needed to speak from the heart. I put together a basic outline and a couple scriptures, and then yesterday somehow I gave a 15 minute talk in Spanish. I really don´t know if they understood me, but I felt it went pretty well. I talked about the Importance of Members in Missionary work. And in reality, members are everything. I wish before my mission I would have been better at this, but I definitely see the importance now. When we have members with us we have the trust of the people, and when the Members share their testimonies to their friends its so powerful!

I love you guys, thank you for everything you do for me. I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful everyday. I love this gospel and sharing it with others. Thank you for sharing your testimonies to us many times in our lives, it has helped me more then you can ever know. Have a fantastic week fam!

Love, Elder Hansen!

Monday, November 4, 2013

My first two baptisms! 

Little Ilia getting baptized

At the bishop's house with his 3 kids

My district on Pday

Hola familia!! 

It is so good to here from you and it sounds like you had another great week in Canada! I can´t believe it was Halloween this past week, I totally forgot about it until about 8 o clock in the night. The Peralta kids were running around the house with masks on, I think they went out and got a little candy. But Halloween definitely isn´t a big thing down here like it is in Canada. The difference in the cultures are incredible, but I love it here a lot. The people have such big hearts. In Lujan they definitely live a more tranquil lifestyle, they are all about spending time with their families. Its awesome. Sounds like volleyball is going to get intense this weekend! I hope all the best for the team and hope they can play their best! Be a leader Carter and I have no doubt you will do great :) When are provincials?? I can´t believe that the Canes are struggling that much, I feel terrible for Russ. What is happening with them? And that is crazy as well about Cross, I hope he enjoys Kootenay, definitely will be a big change but at least he will get to play closer to home more.

Transfers were great last weekend, I´ll explain a bit more this week. We took a taxi to the transfer meeting last week, and a bus and train back.. definitely made for a long day as we were traveling for about 4 hours. Yes I am with Elder Valdes for 6 more weeks, transfers are 6 weeks and usually you are with your trainer for 2 transfers.. then who knows I could be a trainer after that. haha. I definitely have seen a giant improvement in my Spanish over the past 3 weeks, but I still have so much to learn. We now have 240 missionaries here in our mission in Argentina! Its crazy, there is about 120 from USA, and only 3 from Canada.. haha sad day. And the rest are from all over the world. But I´m looking forward to another transfer with Elder Valdes he is great! There is either 2 or 4 missionaries in every apartment, it really just depends. So I´m sure I´ll have both throughout my mission. Elder Valdes has been out for 15 months now, he has 2 siblings, his brother leaves for his mission in Salt Lake in February! Pretty cool, and his sister is about 15 I believe.

I don´t know what is up with my bank card but I will try it again soon and let you know what is up, I don´t reallly need it for now but eventually I will probably need it. I´ll keep you updated.

This week in Argentina has been great. Definitely a hard week because after the baptisms we didn´t have much for investigators, so we spent a lot of time trying to find new families and people to teach. We meet a kid named F•••••••. He's 23 and he is living with a less active family and he is awesome. He came to church with us yesterday and really enjoyed it. His baptism date is for the 24th of this month! After church he was asking a lot about missionary work and how he could serve a mission one day! So sweet. He has some work to do before he is ready but he definitely has the desire to be baptized. We teach the lessons with the full family. Parents and 4 other kids, and he is the only one who prays and reads in between lessons! We are so frustrated about the family some days haha, but he definitely has a big heart and enjoys building his faith in Christ.

I don´t know if I have told you about our investigators S••••. But she definitely has a really rough past, stuff that I won't say on here. We have been teaching her for about the past month, and she lives with her friend J•••••. They definitely have the desire to be baptized but they can´t since they are living together. But just this past week they had a relapse and now they won´t talk to us. Because when we taught them the Law of Chastity they were quite angry they couldn´t be baptized.. So things are tough. But we taught them for the first time in about a week on Friday. S•••• was listening well, but J••••• was just laying on his bed not listening. I guess that S•••• likes us and J••••• doesn´t like it so he is mad at us... definitely an interesting situation. But after the lesson on Friday S•••• kissed me on the shoulder! I was like whattt??? haha The things that happen in Argentina sometimes make me laugh.

The other highlights this week were that I was able to give a priesthood blessing in Spanish, and although I was super nervous it was such a neat experience. I don´t know exactly what I said or if it made sense.. but I felt the Spirit so strong. It is amazing to think that the men of this church hold a power that Christ was able to heal the sick and raise the dead with. Although it requires a lot of faith, which usually us normal humans lack, it is the power to perform miracles. Also on Sunday Ilia bore her testimony! It was so awesome, just one week after her baptism, she and her dad have changed so much. They have been to church 4 weeks in a row and they enjoy it every time. The opportunity for Ilia's father to baptize Ilia and Omar definitely changed his heart and helped grow his faith so much. That´s why we decided for him to baptize them both. Missionary work is big about baptisms, but it is also so much about helping the less actives rebuild their faith in our Savior. 

Oh one more thing, we had a family home evening at the church on Thursday and me and Elder Valdes played the piano. Haha it is a common song that everyone knows, but I don´t know how to explain it over the computer.. We recorded it though so you can see it in 2 years!

I have been thinking a lot about your baptism this week Mom, I was too rushed to write about it last week. But I can´t imagine how special of a day that must have been for you. I wish I would have been able to be there and feel the Spirit. There is no doubt in my mind that it was a special day for you, and I´m so proud of you for making that decision. There is also no doubt in my mind that is was the best decision you ever made it your life. In Matthew 6:33 there is a promise that if we seek first the kingdom of the Lord, we will receive blessings beyond our beliefs. We are so blessed and I am grateful that we have this knowledge. And I´m grateful for you Dad, for being a missionary in Japan, and after with Mom. What a special experience, one that we have all been blessed from.

I love this church and the ability it has to change hearts and build families. I have learnt so much about the importance of family unity. We have many family home evenings with members and our investigators here in Argentina, and the Spirit is incredibly strong in each one. I encourage you guys to cherish Mondays and the opportunity you have to spend time as a family and learn about this gospel. Because in reality, after this life all we have is our families and our knowledge. I know that if you spend time together you will be blessed, and that it will help Carter so much in his preparation to serve a mission.

I love you all so much, have a fantastic week!

Mucho amor! Elder Hansen.

Monday, October 28, 2013

At a mission transfer meeting

Hey family! 

I love you guys so much. thank you for the kinds words and all the updates on life, every week things just seem to get better and better there in Magrath. I can't help but thank the Lord every week when I read what you guys have to say. I'm glad things are well and that you are as busy as ever, even though it's a lot sometimes I figure life is all about go, go, go. haha. You need to make the best of the opportunities while you have them! I cant believe another week has gone by, seems like a lot is happening these days. Especially volleyball, I can just imagine Carter out there on the court destroying it. Makes me proud! 

Snow!, Seriously? I don't know why I'm surprised but I am, all I know is that summer isn't for 2 months here and I'm already dying, it's gonna be rough. haha.

I don't have much time today because we had transfers, which Is why I'm emailing so late.. and no I didn't get transferred. haha. But I'm going to jump right into your questions. We live about a 10 minute walk from the church so its not bad at all, we have a key so we are going to try to start playing soccer there every Monday, plus we play every Wednesday night with the men in our branch.. its fun! I'm terrible but they all love the uncoordinated Canadian. 

We actually shop every week at Walmart! We have one here in our area, its super nice.. definitely not up to the standards in Canada but its got everything we need. We have debit cards, and we can take our money out at the start of every month. They are definitely on top of everything and it all works very smoothly. Its a good system. Dad I tried using my debit card for the first time this week and it didn't work.. so maybe send me some information about it? I'm not exactly sure how to access it. I didn't need the money I just wanted to try and see if it worked.

This week in Lujan was great! I have to be honest when I say the week was very long at times. We struggled all week to find new investigators and teach lessons, it was just one of those weeks that wasn't going our way. But we stayed positive and worked hard, and in the end we were rewarded. we found a couple new investigators and had 2 baptisms! Yes O••• and I••• were both baptized this Saturday! I've had a lot of special days in my life, and this was definitely right up there. To see the change in them, especially O••• in just a short 4 weeks has been such a testimony builder to me. Many of the people in the world don't feel the spirit. Our job as missionaries is simply to invite the spirit into their homes and into our lessons, and then the spirit does the rest. As we simply just visit their home, pray with them, and bring a feeling of peace and love.. the change that occurs in their hearts is tremendous! O••• has gone from a man who wanted nothing to do with us, to a man who is filled with love and happiness. It's amazing.

So the baptism day was quite special. The warm water in the font wasn't working so we had to go 3 hours early, heat water on the stove and mix it with the cold water in the font.. definitely a different experience but it all made for a great day. O••• this past week had been having some doubts about his baptism, but when he showed up the day of I couldn't have been happier! In all seriousness I was having doubts and was worrying a ton, but we had faith he would. And we were so happy. I••• was super excited for this day too, and so was her dad. He was able to baptize both of them! Seeing them all dressed in white was such an amazing site.. I have some great pictures I will send to you. I••• was first to be baptized.. and her father was overcome with tears as he did it. The spirit was so strong. But the miracle for me this week was O•••. As I told you he has some problems with his body, so they weren't able to baptize him the normal way. Instead they planned on having him get down on his knees and put his whole body under the water. I can tell you I had tears in my eyes, as he struggled for about 2 minutes to get into position. A man who wanted so bad to be baptized, it was extremely special, and as he went under the water and came out he had the biggest smile on his face. The next day they were both confirmed members of the church and given the Holy Ghost. I don't think I have ever fully realized before in my life the importance of the Holy Ghost, its companionship and support really can change lives.

I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve. some days its hard, but its never not worth it. The Lord always has blessings promised for those who are willing to serve him. I'm grateful for you guys and your willingness to serve him and for the example you have always been to me. I'm sorry this letter is so short, but time is short today we still have a lot to do!

I just wanna finish with my testimony, I have always loved this church, but this is the first time in my life where I have put the Lord first. and the difference I see everyday is incredible. I challenge you all to put the Lord first, and really study from his word! 

I love you all so much, thank you for everything!

Love, Elder Hansen.