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.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Playing futbol at the church!

Hey Family!! 

Thank you so much for the letter and the updates. You guys are all awesome! Bishop Maxwell!! Wow. That sounds good haha, you will have to give him my congratulations and my best I'm sure he will do great. Sounds like volleyball just about takes up all your time, but I'm glad you were able to have a thanksgiving dinner. I think last Monday we ate left over pizza and some pasta. About the typical meal here but it was good! I never starve so you don't have to worry.. I mean I would love some turkey but what can ya do. 

I hope things turn around for the Volleyball team. Sports are often difficult, especially when you are one of the top teams because every other team really wants to beat you. Just need to stay positive and remember its only a game. Sounds like things are rough in Lethbridge and Kamloops, I pray things turn around for Russ. The last thing he probably wants is another long summer, no fun.

I cannot believe that it has been 2 years since those 4 kids passed away, it seems like yesterday. But with all my heart I know the Plan of Salvation is real. We actually taught a lady about it this week, she had lost her mother just a couple years ago. As we bore testimony of it she was overcome with tears. The more you live these principles and you share your beliefs of them, the more they are implanted in your heart. I am grateful that I will be able to see those kids again, our Lord is so loving and has thought of everything for us, his children. I hope that others can feel the same comfort from his love.

This week in Lujan has been fantastic! Best week by far, as I start to get more used to the routine and the Spanish, things get easier. The Spanish is still super hard, but I have been trying to talk more and more everyday which has helped. Sometimes it's a bit embarrassing when I say something and nobody understands haha, but the only way I can learn is by struggling through it. Its crazy how many words there are to learn, just think about all the things around you and all their names.. and then the fact there is a different word for everyone one, its crazy. The biggest struggle for me is probably the sentence structure, everything seems to be backwards. When we say baptismal service, they say servicio bautismal. Just little things like that make it hard, but Elder Valdes is good at helping me.

We were able to do some great things this week! We had 2 noche de hogar, (FHE), with members and our investigators this week. With both we watched the Joseph Smith Restoration video and then after we all just shared our thoughts and feelings. It was so powerful. There were many tears and great things said. I have learnt the effectiveness of working with members. It is good when we share our thoughts about these things, but when they see their friends and peer sharing their testimonies it is so amazing. They can relate to them a lot. Then after these FHE we sat around and they all played guitar and shared matte. I don't know if I have explained matte yet, but they are obsessed with is here. They have a little metal cup and they put little herbs in it and sugar and then hot water, thats it, then they drink it. We aren't allowed to as missionaries, but they drink it all the time here. I personally think it looks gross.. but who knows haha. Also they love to just sit around and play music, everyone here knows how to play guitar.. except for me! haha. So they all take turns playing and singing, its quite a cool culture. They are all so laid back and chill, just like to enjoy time together doing things they love. Its pretty cool.

We played futbol on Wednesday yes! And I am so bad haha. It was super fun, but soccer definitely is not my thing. I think there was about 10 of us there playing, all ages. For about 45 minutes then we had to go back to our pension. Its amazing the love they have for soccer, they could play it all day if they could. Its also such a good way to get investigators to be familiar with the church and the members. Most people are timid to come to church, but if you invite them to play soccer they will almost every time! Then after they meet everyone they are more willing to come to church, its a good transfer. But we are going to try to play soccer every Wednesday now, so hopefully in 2 years my soccer skills will be prime!

As far as lessons and members, I••• and O••• are both still getting baptized this Saturday! We have taught her all the lessons, and O••• just needs to be taught tithing, so we are praying that he will take it well and be willing. So we would love your prayers, and hopefully we will have 2 more souls in the church on Sunday! I am super excited and have a lot of faith in both of them. O•••'s growth has been phenomenal. The first day we met him he was pretty grumpy and had a lot of negative things to say about life. But the other day we were over at his house helping him paint some stuff, and he had music on and was dancing! Can you talk about a change. Its hard for him to recognize it, but he has so much happiness in his life now. He is praying everyday and trying to read, and the blessings from the Lord are so evident in his life. I was also able to give a Priesthood Blessing in Spanish this week to a man named A••••••. I was sooo nervous, but I felt that it went well. Things are good.

I have an interesting story for you though. Saturday morning I woke up and was going out to our kitchen when I saw glass all over the floor, and in the middle there was a giant rock! So I looked at the window, and sure enough there was a giant hole where someone threw a rock! I guess not everyone here in Argentina likes us haha. But the best part is that we went out for the day as usual, and when we came back at the end of the night there was a frog in our pension! Someone thought it would be funny to put a giant frog through the whole in our window inside haha. So Elder Valdes got the broom and yelled "hockey" as he shot the frog out the door back outside. It was definitely interesting, but they are supposed to come today and fix the window.

So yesterday was dia de Madre, Mothers Day, here in Argentina. Weird I know, so they had the primary presentation and everything! It was so cute, just all these little argentine kids singing in Spanish! They sang Childs Prayer and it melted my heart. So today even though its not Mothers Day in Canada, I thought I would share why I love my mother.

I love my Mother because she has been the greatest example to me in my life. She never wanted to put herself first, and always cared more about our happiness than her own. I love her because she always worries so much about us It shows how much she cares. I love that she would sing Childs Prayer, and read to us when we were little. And I love that she took the chance to listen to the discussions, and to get baptized, because that decision has changed all of our lives for the better. I love you mom!

I love all of you, thank you all so much for everything. Have a fantastic week in Canada!!

Love, Elder Hansen.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hola familia! 

It has been another great week here in Argentina and I feel very blessed today. I didn't even know it was thanksgiving, since I will probably be eating pizza again instead of turkey! haha. I am so glad that you all are doing well and are able to spend quality time with each other. There really is nothing more special in this life than family. After loving the Lord, family is the most important thing and I am so thankful we always had such a close family growing up. It really was never hard to have fun and enjoy the moments in our house and for that I am truly grateful.

Thats rough about the Blazers and Hurricanes. I cant believe the Canes are having that much trouble, have you been to many games? What is going on? I hope that things turn around for Russ, there is nothing better in hockey than the playoffs and I hope he is able to make them. One more question, who are the 20 year olds for Kamloops? and where are all the other 19 year olds from last year?

I love to hear the volleyball updates! Carter you are a machine. Mom you better take lots of videos so post mission I can watch them ok? haha thank you! I can just see that long flow right now when you are jumping, makes me kinda miss my hair. Speaking of hair I had another missionary trim mine today with his clippers.. Its not a Jordan Hansen hair cut but it will do the job! Carter keep working hard and I know you will have success, be a leader to your team in all that you do! I know they look up to you, just like I look up to you. You have such a sweet spirited personality and people want to be like you! I was also thinking the other day... You should take a Spanish class either next semester or in grade 12! So when you get called on your mission to Argentina you will already be able to speak Spanish! 

Over my first 3 weeks I have definitely learnt a lot of Spanish. But I have also learnt that Spanish is the Lord's way of teaching me patience haha. It is very difficult not being able to express myself like I would be able to, or really share my feelings with others. But I have also learnt that it doesn't really matter what you say, as long as you are teaching with the spirit. Many times I have already witnessed myself saying things that I didn't think I knew, and even things which afterwards I thought made zero sense.. but the investigators always find a way to understand. Its special. The second thing I've learnt is charity, sometimes after a long day of nothing but Spanish I have a hard time really trying to listen to people. I don't always understand much so I get frustrated. But I believe if I really understand how important these people are to my Savior that I will be able to make it through the hard times. I cant imagine how Japanese was for you Dad, you are the man!

I thought I would give you a little overview how things worked here since I haven't really done that. Lujan like I said before has about 80 000 people, and about 7 districts, and 20 missionaries. So it is definitely small in numbers for members so there is lots of work to be done. We wake up at about 6:20 every morning, get ready for the day and then study till 12. Before I thought studying for 4 hours would be so long, but I really have found a love for studying the scriptures. Then we make lunch, which is usually pizza, pasta, chicken, its pretty routine but it's good. I am getting enough to eat so don't worry mother! haha. And 3 times a week we go over to the Peraltas and they feed us. There are 3 different Peralta families, the dad and his 2 kids which are married now. They are all involved in the mission presidency or district presidency so they are awesome and help us a ton. Then we usually proselyte and teach for about 7 hours a day. I have never walked so much in my life, but its not too bad.

I still haven't tried to take any money out, there hasn't been a need. We get 800 pesos per month, which is enough to get all our food and stuff we need. Our p-days are usually just emailing, shopping, and cleaning clothes. But we are going to go do some sight seeing one of these days. There is a huge Catholic church we are going to go see, and then there is also a zoo! So I'm looking forward to that. This Wednesday we are going to play soccer with a bunch of the members and our investigators, so it will be my first real shot at playing soccer against them.. its gonna be bad! haha. And no we don't really eat out much, usually just buy groceries because restaurants are sooo expensive, but occasionally we will go out if we have a little bit of money left.

This week was a good one filled with lots of ups and downs. For some reason we got yelled at a lot this week. I heard Satanas a couple times, one guy asked us if we were gay, and other people just scream "loco" from their cars. Its quite interesting. But as far as missionary work O••• and I••• are both progressing well and so hopefully they will be ready to be baptized on the 26th! We had 4 investigators with us in church this week which was awesome, it is definitely one of the most important out of the commitments we have for them. As they come to church and feel of the Spirit they are able to understand just why this church is so special. During hockey, I didn't really attend church much as you know, but now I am so grateful for the opportunity I have every week.

I don't have much time today and my thoughts are scattered everywhere, but I want to share what I am grateful for since it is thanksgiving. This morning I came across Matthew, 10: 32-33. It is one of the more bold scriptures in the Bible. I love being able to testify of Jesus Christ, his life, and his gospel everyday. I am grateful for that opportunity, and I challenge you all to do so as well. I am grateful that I know I can live with my family forever, and most of all I am grateful for my Savior and for his Atonement. I am so far from perfect, so I am grateful for what he has done for me.

You guys are awesome. I love you so much and am grateful for you love and support. I hope you guys have a great week. Keep being examples to everyone around you!

Love, Elder Hansen.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Elder Valdez and I with the Peralta Family

Hello Family! 

What another great week out here in the mission field. Sounds like things back home are going awesome too! I'm so proud of you Carter you are a Capo! (Stud). I showed my companion that picture of you playing volleyball and he just laughed and said, you guys are so big! Its so true you look like a beast with that long hair, have you grown at all? You look good and I'm glad volleyball is going well and you are having success! It is always a lot more fun when you are winning and doing well! Dad sounds like you are quite the stud as well. Shooting a 73! One day I may be able to beat you but it sounds like it wont be for awhile! At least 3 years. You still hitting the ball 300 yards every time? haha Look at you go Mom just shaping the lives of other people at the career fair. haha, Now everyone is gonna want to be a dental assistant like you now! Glad you guys are all doing well and having success in all that you are doing.

Lots of questions but I am glad to answer them. Mom I like both of those sweaters! But since it is getting into the summer months I wont need them.. So maybe at the end of this year I can have you send them to me? Just hold on to them I guess. It is getting warmer here each day.. and I am going to die in the summer I know it. 35 and really humid.. I don't think my Canadian skin can handle that but we will see how it goes!  Oh and we are only supposed to receive 3 or 4 packages a year.. so I guess just Christmas, birthday, and 1 or 2 other times each year. Its just really expensive and a lot of work so they don't want parents sending too many. 

We actually email from a little server shop, it's a little convenience store with some computers in the back. They work pretty well.. except they take about 2 minutes to upload one picture which is kinda frustrating. haha. I don't know exactly all the stats about Lugan, I don't know how many wards there are but there are quite a few. There are 20 missionaries in our zone, so quite a few. We had a zone meeting on Tuesday so I was able to meet all of them. Most are Latinos but there are a few North Americans.. nice to hear a little English once and awhile. My companion actually speaks English really well. Its just natural to speak English.. obviously, but I try to speak Spanish to him as much as possible. Then he can help me with the pronunciation and everything. The thing that is hardest for me is the sentence structure, its all so backwards! But it is slowly coming along. My gospel knowledge of the language is pretty good, the rest.. not so much. haha. But it will come with time I have no doubt. And yes we do have an outdoor soccer court in our church! We haven't played there yet, but we want to get a game going with some members and investigators soon!

Speaking of soccer its so crazy down here. The streets are just packed with kids playing, they play it for hours and hours. One night we were walking home and there were these 6 little kids playing in the street. So me and Elder Valdez took about 5 minutes and played with them.. we just kicked the ball around it was so fun. They are so much better then me its hilarious. It is good sometimes just to take 5 minutes to have some fun while working, plus it shows the people that we really do care about them and there kids.. even if the parents don't like it so much sometimes haha.

This really felt like my first week out on my mission, because it was a full week of work. There is definitely a lot of ups and downs that happen, and its important to always stay positive. I have 2 pretty cool stories I'd like to share. First is about a man named O•••. Im not sure if I mentioned to much about him in my last email, but he's about 65 and he has some problems with his brain which has caused some problems in his body. He is the sweetest man but he has a hard time not being negative on life and his situation. So we taught him Tuesday and made a plan to return Thursday. We were walking by his house later that day and glanced over and he wasn't there, but as we kept walking I thought I heard his voice. I took about 3 more steps and heard it again.. So I told Elder Valdez we had to go back. And there he was.. he had seen us out his window and came yelling. He said he wouldn't be able to meet on Thursday but to change it to Friday. This small little thing was an absolute miracle.. the street was packed with dogs, cars and all sorts of noise. But somehow I heard this mans voice from quite a distance away, and the only answer is the Holy Ghost. It was a neat experience. Since he had sought us out to change the lesson day we thought he was super interested.. so when he returned Friday we were very excited. But he was a different man, he was angry and had been having a really bad day. We gave him a Book of Mormon at the start of the lessons which we had wrote our testimonies in, and after a lesson of just trying to help him feel happy.. He looked at the Scriptures and gave them back. It was such a heartbreak. As we left I had a hard time staying positive.. but I knew it was important to. Just 2 days later as we were walking by his house we saw him on his lawn, as we approached him he looked more than happy to see us! We invited him to conference and he came with us! It is amazing the differences people have from day to day. One day they are consumed by the adversary and the next the Lord has softened there hearts. I have learned it is important to never give up on someone! 

The second is a family named the M••••••••. I think I spelt that right haha. They are from Ukraine. So the dad is a less active member and he is separated from his wife. We just dropped by to say hi to him, but he happened to have his little daughter with him! Her name is I••• and she is 9. We taught them a lesson and committed her to be baptized on the 26th of October. After we said the 26th he asked us why we picked that date.. and we just said we felt like it was a good day. He then asked his daughter is she knew what was special about that date, and she said.. Its your Feliz Cumpleaños. His birthday! As she said this he was brought to tears, what a special moment. The spirit was strong. We just sat there in amazement, and as we asked him if he would bare his testimony to his daughter the room was filled with love. They both attended conference yesterday and he told us that he wants to baptize her on the 26th!! So please pray for them. We are very excited and hopeful for her.

I love you all so much! Thank you all so much for the support you show me each week. I know that when ever I am having a bad moment I can rely on your love to help me get through. I loved conference so much this weekend. It left me with 2 thoughts, service and love. And the question, what more can I do? I am grateful for you guys and your willingness to serve others and show true love, it has helped me so much in my life. I love you all, have a great week!

Love, Elder Hansen.