Monday, September 30, 2013

Elder Valdez and I in our apartment

My new companion from Guatemala

Hey family! 

I just want to start by letting you guys know that I am doing great! Lots of changes in my life but I cant complain at all! Its good to hear from you guys and to hear things are going well! I'm so proud to call you guys my family, you are such great people and I am so grateful for the examples you have always set for me in my life. With volleyball, church, service, work, its sounds like you guys have a lot of stuff going on but that's good. Glad life is exciting and fun. I always look forward to hearing how Carter is doing. Glad you are still doing well bro and having lots of success in volleyball! I'm sure you are still as good as ever! Everyone hear thinks I'm sooo tall, so when I tell them my brother who is 16 is taller then me they cant believe it haha. Have you grown at all? You better be at least 6 4 by now! 

We only have an hour and a half each week to email, and we have to read a message from the president and respond, so I figure from now on I won't reply a lot to what you guys say. Obviously I will read it and comment a bit but its easier if I don't comment on everything. I always feel sooo rushed during email time haha. But I would still love to hear about the important stuff going on back at home, and I will keep everything and everyone in my prayers. 

President Carter is awesome. Because I came in 2 days earlier than the other missionaries I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him. He expects a lot of us, but he is a very loving and knowledgable man. He talked about golf a lot haha, he said he used to golf all the time when he lived in Florida but he hasn't golfed since he has been here.. so its very unlikely I will either haha. But it's all good. We went to their house on Thursday and it is super nice. Him and Hermana Carter are both super great, they have a very strong love for the missionaries which helps this feel like home.

Oh Argentina. It is such a different world than Canada but I love it. So yes my area is called Lujan, it is about 80 000 people. But the area we are in is mostly just houses so it has a very small town feel to it. I love it. My companion is about 5 foot 6 probably, maybe shorter. He is so short it is hilarious, we look like David and Goliath. His name is Elder Valdez and he is awesome. He was actually born in Toronto, but is Guatamalan. He has lived there since he was about one. He is super nice and outgoing so it is a lot of fun, but he is also very focused and a hard worker, and he does speak English very well. Its definitely better than my Spanish. His knowledge of the gospel is very immense so I learn a lot each day. He helps me a ton with my Spanish, and makes me say stuff during our lessons which is a struggle. But it is very good. Our pension (house) Is very small but its got everything we need. It is just us 2. We have a little dining and study room, tiny bathroom, our bedroom, and then about a 5 foot backyard haha. It is sweet though I do like it a lot. We don't spend a lot of time there. Its weird here, they don't eat dinner! We eat breakfast on our own and then usually a hugeee lunch with the members, and then we don't eat again. It will definitely take some getting used to and I'll probably lose some pounds but I know it will be good. When we get back to our pench at 9 each night I usually make some food. By the end of these 2 years I will be a pro chef! Although it took us about 45 minutes to whip cream by hand the other night, it was a struggle! It is funny how much fun I get out of the little things now. But being here I have already learned to appreciate every little thing in life. Oh and one more thing, I get to wash my clothes by hand! Whoot haha. So today will be my first experience with that. Should be interesting. It's not too cold here, our pench only has a portable heater so it gets a little chilly at night but with my sleeping bag and blanket I am never cold. I am more worried about the summer months, I am going to die of the heat I'm sure.

Missionary work is definitely hard, I cant lie and say that it's not. We walk so much every single day. Its like Europe all over again haha. At times it can be a struggle to stay motivated, but I know its important that we do. My first day here we walked so much and had very little success. It was about 8:45 and we could have gone back to our pench, but we decided to go to one more investigators house. We went there and had a fantastic lesson, I think it's Ether 12:12 that says after the trial of your faith you will be blessed. And that definitely has happened many times already. Things aren't going to be easy, but through persevering and trust in the Lord we will be blessed.

We have a couple good investigators. Mario has been to church 4 weeks in a row, but he is having trouble quitting smoking. Once he can quit he will be completely ready for baptism. So we have to work hard and pray for the Lord to help him stop. We also met a man named Omar last week, who ended up coming to church with us. He is definitely interested, but because of a few problems in his life he has had trouble believing God is loving and showing faith. We have been able to help open his eyes a little though, he said a prayer the other day too which was awesome. I know I felt the spirit strong and I'm sure he did too. Even though I can't understand everything the spirit touches my heart daily. Last night we went and taught a less active lady named Rosalia and her non member husband Alberto. Their house was very small and had no lights. We sat around their beds using candles for lights to read from the Book of Mormon. And it was seriously such a neat experience.

With the spiritual come the funny times too. Our first 2 days here we had a mini missionary with us, which is just a young man who is getting ready for a mission.. ours was named Hermano Calderon. So we were teaching a lesson, and we were ending with a prayer so as we went to kneel the mans dog jumped and bit Hermano Calderon right in the leg! I had to try so hard not to bust out laughing but it was seriously so funny. The dogs here and wild and everywhere! Like the deer in Magrath! But worse. I also met my first snake.. (which is a girl who is interested in the missionaries for different reasons). I think it's called a snake cause they try to lure you away like Satan did to Adam and Eve haha. She wanted to get me and my companions number which was interesting. But we explained that we aren't allowed to have girlfriends or relationships with girls. Also the other night I was washing my feet in our house and Elder Valdez asked me if my feet fingers were dirty, I literally died laughing. I then explain they were toes. He is awesome.

Yesterday at church there was about 57 people which I guess is a lot, there is usually about 40 I believe. It was so different than back home, but at the same time it was the same spirit and the same love as back home. It's pretty much custom for the missionaries to have to speak every week. So I was asked about 2 minutes before the meeting if I would, and of course I said yes. So I had to give a 5 minutes talk with only my Book of Mormon. I have no idea what I said, but with the Spirit I talked for about 5 minutes in Spanish and bore my testimony. It was a neat experience, I was super nervous I can't lie.

I love you guys! I hope I covered all of your questions. Lots is going on but life is great. Life is all about attitude. No matter what happens I know this is the Lords work so I will always do my best to be on his errand. Thank you for everything you have done for me. Keep being awesome.

Love, Elder Hansen.

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