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.