Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hola amigo's! Como esta? Espanol es muoy defici. (Spanish is very hard) Mi Espanol es muoy malo. I seriously dont know if i spelt any of that right but oh well haha. I know how to pronounce a lot of things now but the spelling is a serious struggle haha. Im glad to hear things are going well back home, still seems like the Hansen's are partying and having as much fun as ever! That is pretty cool that one of the missionaries saw me play hockey, it seriously is such a small world. I've met a couple missionaries down here that know people I know. One of the missionaries knows Krista Bowen.. its crazy how all the world connects.

Golf and the Lake. There is not much more one could ask for. Those two things are the absolute best! I'm glad I got in my fair share of time in both of them before I left because I know I'll miss them a bit while I'm gone! The good thing is we stay super busy here so I dont really ever have time to think about things like that, it helps me stay focused on what I need to be doing. Its good!

Dad I appreciate the sports updates, I was actually gonna ask you in this email if you would be willing to send me some every week. You're all over it tho! And mom your spanish is probably better then mine already! haha. This week I have actually made some serious strides. Most people in our group are pretty even in the spanish now. You do learn so much so quick. We learn grammar, phrases, conjugations for probably 4 hours a day. Then we just do a lot of gospel doctrine teachings where we learn how to teach investigators. Our teachers speak about half Spanish half English while they are teaching us tho. It is nice because then we can understand what they're saying, and also pick up on some spanish words at the same time. Most of our teachers are like 21 to 23. its crazy.. they are mostly just RM's here from Buenos Aires. They mostly served in spanish missions but they picked up English from their North American companions. They are all pretty sweet dudes, although we are there students it seems like we are friends with them.. Its a blast. For me Just hearing Spanish all the time has helped a lot. And having all the latino's down here helps, we speak to them all the time. It's incredibly hard but it is also so fun. Mi gusta apprendo Espanol. I've mostly got down how to communicate with someone and how to tell them that we are missionaries. We've been working on how to tell people about the book of mormon so that is coming along slowly.

So the last week has been really good. Days are long but super rewarding. But the weeks seem to go by fast. We did go to the temple last Thursday and I totally forgot to mention it in my email. I was so rushed I forgot to tell you guys a lot. But yes we do get to go to the temple every pday which is super nice. The temple here is beautiful. Luckily they had translators so I was able to listen in English haha. We are going again today at 3 o clock and i'm going to try to listen in just Espanol. It's super nice that the temple is so close, it is very convenient.

So on Tuesday morning all the other missionaries left, there were about 40 north americans and 30 latinos. So for the past 2 days it has just been our district here, 13 of us. It's been super lonely but kinda fun.. all the new missionaries are starting to get here today so i'm excited to meet them. I'm just hoping there are a couple more Canadians! We are a rare nationality down here, me and Hermana Drew are the only one's from our district. Then there was only one from the districts that just left, Elder Filis, he is from Cranbrook. The only benefit of being here all alone is that we get good water pressure in our shower, and we got to eat McDonalds the one night haha. All the Hermanas hated it but us Elders were in heaven. The food is good but I do miss food from the outside world. Before the missionaries left on Tuesday it is tradition to go to the temple to take pictures.. We are allowed to send some today so I'll attach some in a seperate email! And then the night before they leave all the Elders meet together and sing "Called to Serve" in Spanish, it definitely didn't sound too good but it was a pretty neat experience. They were all excited to leave, only quatro semana's till thats me! 4 weeks :) haha.

What I'm probably most excited for is the fact we get to go proselyting Saturday! It's gonna be so hard and I'm super nervous, but I'm excited for the opportunity to get out and try to use the little Spanish that I have learnt! I'm sure I'll have lots of good stories about that next week. It's pretty nice that we have the opportunity to proselyte before our missions, I'm not sure if any other MTC's do it. So the past couple days we have been trying to learn and memorize all the basic spanish things we might need to say. We've had a little experience just talking to random people on the street outside the MTC, and all I can say is they talk sooo fast and they slur their words really bad. I honestly can't understand anything they are saying. Dad you were so right when you said that you can start to understand the language when you can distinguish between words. If people talk slow I can pick out a lot of the words, but when they talk fast it just sounds like jibberish. I'm super excited tho.

As for your questions dad. We do have an hour and 45 minutes everyday for physical activity.. outside the MTC they have volleyball nets, basketball hoops, soccer nets, and a ping pong table. We mostly play basketball and ping pong. It is a lot of fun. I have never played this much basketball in my life, so Carter you better be ready when I get home! The hoops aren't very good tho so you pretty much have to do lay ups if you wanna score, but it's fun.

I haven't used my debit card or any pesos yet. On Saturday we aren't really supposed to go shopping but I might just try to buy something small with my debit card just to see if it works. And as for the sleeping bag it's still in the bag. It's pretty hot most nights in here, so i just sleep with a small blanket they supply.

There are no missionaries from my district or the one's before that are going to my mission. So hopefully some from the next district will be. Most missionaries are going to Uraguay and Paraguay. So all the kids going to my mission will be up in Provo. And yes this area is in my mission. Supposedly there is a street right around here that separate the South and the West mission. So when we go proselyting Saturday we will be in my mission boundaries, so hopefully I can get a head start on some contacts!

One quick story before I go. Yesterday we had a lesson with an investigor (our teacher) but they are actually super realistic. So we were teaching him and my companion tried to ask him where his wife Juana was (de donde Juana) and instead he said (cuando Juana?) which means when's Juana. And our teacher was trying so hard not to laugh, and was like when is what? And so we all panicked and I tried to save my companion and said "quien Juana" which means who's Juana. And he was like Juana is my wife. We already had a whole conversation about his wife, so me asking who's Juana was soo stupid haha. It was an ok lesson still, but that moment was definitely pretty funny. The language is hard and at times frustrating, but It's going good. I'm learning a lot and I love it here. I love you guys with all my heart. And I know the Lord does too! I appreciate your prayers, i do feel the comfort of them everyday. 

Love, Elder Hansen.

                                         The Elders in my district

                                         The 3 Canadians

                                          My two companions

                                          Buenos Aires Temple

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hola! Como Esta? I'm glad to hear things are going good back home. I really wish I could be home to be able to watch Carter play volleyball, he's going to tear it up. But I look forward to hearing all about it. I'm glad you guys are doing so well at home, I love you all so much and think about you all the time! 
Things are at the MTC are going good. This keyboard is weird so don't mind if my spelling is bad or if looks like a 5 year old. I've been told that the hour you have for emailing is the fastest hour in the MTC, so I'm trying to type fast so I can let you know all that I've been up to and all that I've been thinking.
Just a little more info on the plane ride down, I actually met up with Stephanie Drew, she is Corey's younger sister so that was kind of cool. So we spent the whole time down together in the airports. It was nice to have some company. Luckily our flight from Houston to Buenos Aires the plane was like a quarter full, so I was able to sprawl out across the seats and sleep pretty well. When we got to the airport down here I was super lost, everything was spanish and happening so fast.. But we eventually found our taxi driver and he drove us to the MTC. The area here is pretty nice, the MTC isn't huge but there are about 90 of us here, North Americans and South Americans. But its a nice set up, the temple is right across the street and we have a sports court outside as well which has basketball hoops, soccer nets, volleyball nets, footballs, so we have lots to do during our physical activity.
On the first day we got here I was placed with Elder Oliver from Utah, but about an hour later we were pulled into the presidents office and were told that we were being put into a trio companionship. So its me, Elder Oliver, and Elder Smart who is also from Utah. They are both awesome guys and its a lot of fun. We have 7 guys in our room, 5 North Americans and 2 South Americans, from Brazil and Chile. It is so packed but it is also a lot of fun. I've learned that even though we are supposed to be focused on the Lord's work we are also allowed to have a good time. For the most part we focus hard and study, but during our free time it really is a blast down here. Just a bunch of kids that have the same standards, they really are an awesome group of people and I've learned to love them a lot.
One other pretty cool thing is I got made the District Leader of my district here in the MTC last Saturday. I was pulled into the President's office and was told all about it and then asked if I would be willing to accept, and of course I was. It does put a lot more responsibilities on my shoulders, on top of the millions I already have, but I have already seen it be a blessing in my life. My district is made up of 8 hermanas (sisters) and 4 other elders. So last Saturday I had to write a talk, prepare a lesson, and prepare for personal meetings with my district. It was one of the more overwhelming days of my life, but when everything went smooth and was over with I felt great. Putting my mind to things is something I've tried to learn early and its paying off well.
Our President is Presidente Openshaw. He is seriously the most amazing guy. He can answer any question you ask him with a scripture, Ive heard of him answering questions about dinosaurs, evolution, and more through the scriptures. In his lessons we learn so much, almost too much to take in but thats why we have to write it all down so we can process it later. He is super friendly and every time he sees you he lets you know how much he loves you and how happy he is to have you here.
The food is actually pretty good, we have only had one meal so far that I haven't liked.. it was some cornmeal with weird sauce on top. But for the most part we eat a lot of meat, soups, salads, bread. It is definitely different then our food in Canada but it all tastes awesome, the chefs slave away all day and are the nicest people ever. I seriously miss candy and junk food so much though its bad haha.. The stuff you sent me didn't last long. I shared it with my companions and they now think Canadian candy is the best stuff ever.. I wish I had stuffed my suitcase with 10 pounds of it. We do get a little dessert at dinner time but its not enough to satisfy haha.
And now for the part you really wanna know.. The Spanish. Well to be honest its crazy hard, and to think its one of the easiest languages to learn just blows my mind haha. I know it's early, but it's super frustrating not being able to wrap my mind on some concepts. We are told not to compare ourselves to others but its hard.. Everyone but one of my companions had taken Spanish in high school, so they already knew the basics coming in. It definitely made for a tough couple first days when everyone was understanding things and I was lost. Our teachers are almost all from Argentina so Spanish is their dominate language. Some have such a thick accent that you can hardly understand their English which makes it tough when they are trying to explain things, but luckily our two main teachers both speak pretty good english which really helps. Ive learned the basic thinks, I know how to bare my testimony and pray, and can make basic conversations such as... hello, how are you, I'm good thanks, how's your day been. simple stuff like that. But the way they do some things is so backward in my mind. But I know it'll come with time. Its actually super nice having so many South Americans around. We try to talk to them in Spanish all the time and they usually just laugh at us, but are super friendly. I was trying to ask my roommate if Brazilian girls were cute, and I accidentally asked if Brazilian brothers are cute. They laughed so hard at that one... its a challenge but its such a good feeling when you start understanding more and more. I know it will come with time and practice.
Yesterday I got to leave the MTC for a bit to get fingerprinted for my visa. It was my first time really in the city. it is huge! A lot of it is really old and the houses are in pretty rough shape.. there is also rubble and garbage everywhere. We did go down town tho which was pretty sweet, it reminded me a lot of Europe actually.
I just want you guys to know how much I appreciate your examples and how much I love you all. You have helped me so much in my life and are a huge part of why I'm here. Last thing I want to share is our experience with teaching investigators. Only our second day here we had to teach a fake investigator in SPANISH, man was it hard. But the lessons seem so real. We had some lines memorized and some written down, and our Spanish was awful, but the spirit was still there. They really emphasize everything on the investigator and his needs and to care about them deeply. That way we will truly want them to come to Christ, cause we know how much it'll bless their lives.
I love you guys so much. I miss you guys but actually haven't been too homesick. Im enjoying it, I'm stressed, I'm tired, but I really have loved it so far.
Cant wait to hear from you in a week.
Love, Elder Hansen.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hey Fam! I just got to the MTC about an hour ago, I was pretty nervous but everyone was quick to jump and help me and grab all my luggage. They really do make you feel special and right at home. There is a lot to do already. Today is our p-day but I have to unpack and meet with the president soon so I can't be on here too long. 

I also just met my companion, he just got here today as well. His name is Elder Oliver and he's from Utah, he's 18 and straight out of high school so I get the honor of being the Senior Companion. haha, I'm so lost but it'll all come together with time. I'm ready to get the first week started and learn a little spanish. I love you all so much. I hope the Lord has comforted you as he did me. Once I said goodbye I had a special feeling, I know this will be a good experience and I'm ready to get started. I will talk to you in one week!

Love, Elder Hansen.