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.