Monday, March 31, 2014

This was my team for our soccer tournament! So legit!

Hey Fam!

Thanks as always for the letters! They are always greatly enjoyed, I love knowing that you are doing well and happy. Sounds like things are still freezing but good back in good old Canada. Im looking forward to a little cooler weather here, I've about had my time with the hot weather haha.

I'm so glad that Tim Bozon is better and doing well. I have kept him in my prayers a lot lately. Thank you for the bday package again, and yes the sweater and all the candy was in there! It definitely didn't last long haha. I look forward to receiving the other one, probably will get it tomorrow. I'm super excited that Carter's team is doing well and ripping it up, I bet that is some pretty intense volleyball! One day you will have to video a whole game or something, and then I can watch it one day.

I have been thinking of you guys a lot, and how grateful I am for all you do! I have the greatest family ever. The more I'm on the mission the more I love it, and the more I gain a true love for the things that are most important in life. The Lord, family, the church. These 3 things are what make life such an amazing blessing. I can't believe it's your Birthday this weekend dad! 40 will look good on ya! I will be sure to wish you a happy birthday next week as well, but for now, happy early birthday! Im so grateful for the example you have been to me all my life. Always have supported me in all the sports, and things I wanted to do, but always taught me the little life lessons that showed me what really is the most important in life. I know that your words and example are what helped me have the desire to be better, and serve a mission. I always love telling people you served in Japan, I'm a proud son. I also have a question, do you ever make contact with your converts from your mission??

We have had a trying week here in Marcos Paz. Every week in the mission is filled with its ups and downs, but I just love how the ups are always so much powerful then the tough times. This week we had our Zone Activity on Monday. We had a soccer tournament and then ate some food after, it was legit! I have some pictures to send but this computer won't let me haha, next week. Every Friday night we also play soccer in the church with all the members and our investigators. Sebastian brought about 6 of his cousins and friends this week. It is so cool to see his excitement to bring others with him, even if it's only for soccer for now. We did end up teaching one of his cousins on Saturday night in his house. I love to see the change that takes places in ones life, and like Alma says in the Book of Mormon.. when they have that true change and feel the true joy of their Savior, they have the burning desire to share it with others. 

The Familia Torres is still doing great. We should be able to go this week to set a date for there marriage! We are hoping either end of April or start of May! Then after they will be able to get baptized, and 1 year later enter the temple. It's amazing to watch them grow in their testimonies and their desires to follow their Savior. The other day the mom was super excited so we started planning the wedding a bit haha.. I might have found out my future job? Just kidding, but it was cool to see her excitement to have this special day! We also did a service project for their family on Wednesday. They have this old shed that was close to falling down in their backyard. So we took it apart and put up a new one! It isn't much. Just a couple big wooden beams in the ground, with a couple tarps strapped around the top and sides, but it was nice to be able to help.

We have some good people we are working with for April, to help them progress and enter the waters of baptism. Mission work is super exciting! It's so fun visiting people everyday and helping them in their lives. Whether the good or the bad.

Mom I love the quote you sent me this week. Just yesterday I was a bit discouraged because our 2 really good investigators didn't come to church because of the rain. But one hermano of the church gave a talk, and he talked about the small and simple things in life, and how they make all the difference. He shared D&C 64:32-33. Today I was reading those verses in my personal study and it really hit me hard. I encourage you guys to read them together and talk about it. In the mission sometimes we just want results right away, and if we don't see them we get down. But this really does teach us that we are laying the pathway to a bright future for others. Every little word and act of kindness that we do helps others see the goodness of our Savior, through us. If we always do what the Savior would do, we can help these people feel something. Lot's of times we don't know it, but we can take peace from doing all we can.

I love you all. I hope that we can all continue to pray for opportunities to serve and be instruments in the Lord's hand. He really is hastening his work, and I love being apart of it. Have a great week, best of luck in all you are doing. Know that I love you and pray for you guys always.

With Love, 
Elder Hansen

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sebastian got baptized!! What a stud. Such a great day! He's the tall one beside my comp. The other guy is Hermano Pabon

 Zone Conference lunch in Marcos Paz

 Zone Conference in Marcos Paz

Hey Family!

Thank your for the amazing emails and for the letters that arrived in my Birthday package. I am so blessed to have such an amazing, loving family. I definitely always feel your love and support, and am grateful for everything you do for me. I had a great birthday, was able to just relax and hang out. The other missionaries that live close to us came over and we baked some home made pizzas. Nowhere else I'd rather be to spend the birthday!

Sounds like a crazy week back home! Mixed with provincials and a ton of snow. Sounds like dad will have to patiently wait a couple more weeks to hit the links. Carter better be out there taking my spot this year! haha. I'm glad to hear that all is well and that you guys had a good week. I always love to hear from you all. Give everyone my love.

I have started to settle into Marcos Paz very well. I am getting more used to working with Elder Muñoz everyday. Sometimes the chemistry or unity isn't there when you first get a new comp, but I feel like we work well together. We usually just talk in English when it's just us. and then just have to switch to Spanish when we start speaking with others. I've been able to learn how to switch my mind and my thinking from English to Spanish, then Spanish to English. It's kinda cool haha. I think the more I learn Spanish, the less I actually know, but it's been coming along pretty good! I now feel pretty comfortable, but there is still the odd struggle.

Our new pension is actually HUGE. Well compared to our other one. because it used to be a pension for 4 missionaries. We have a big bedroom, kitchen, study room, bathroom, and a spare luggage / weight room (with the 2 weights we have haha). Its super nice though. Starting to get a bit chilly in the nights here though, winter is definitely coming! We don't have bikes, we could definitely use them because our area is gigantic, but we will see.

We had a pretty good week here. First off Sebastian got Baptized! It was such an awesome day. I'm not gonna lie I was definitely a little preoccupied about him the entire week, just because all that has gone on in his life. But it was amazing to see his desire as he was able to quit smoking in order to be baptized. Then on Sunday he had a meeting at 8 in the morning, and showed up nice and early, and later on was able to be confirmed a member and receive the Holy Ghost! What a blessing it has been to work with him. We have formed a great relationship with him. He turned 21 just 2 weeks before I did, so having the same age as Elder Muñoz and me we definitely have a good relationship! We always play soccer with him. We are now working with him to help him receive the priesthood and go to the temple.. and hopefully one day serve a mission! He has said it is something he would like to do but isn't sure. It really is such a privilege to be able to work with youth like him and help them gain the desire to serve, I know it would bless his life forever if he decided to make that step!

Our other investigators are still doing good! The Familia Torres are still going strong, haven't missed a week of church in like a month and a half! We are still waiting on their papers to be able to set a date for marriage. There birth certificates should be here in about a week or so then after that we can set a date.. we are still looking at over a month till they will be able to be married and then baptized. But they have more then just a small desire, it has been such a testimony builder to watch them grow. They seriously won't let anything affect their desire. They are one of the strongest familes I have seen in my time here. I love them. 

And yes mother marriage here really isn't a big thing here. One because it is money that people don't usually have or want to spend on something else. And also because it is a lot of work. As you can see with the familia Torres, because most people don't have birth certificates of ID's, and they need them to get married. That's why it's one of the biggest trials we have as missionaries. and that's why it's awesome to see the willingness of the familia Torres. 

I'm doing so great. Sometimes things are hard in the mission.. but every week goes by faster and I have a greater desire to teach. We had our ward conference yesterday so our Stake President talked. He talked about how the Lord is hastening his work, and their is no greater responsibility, or privilege, then to be apart of it. I am so blessed to be able to commit 2 years of my life to this great work. Sometimes it can be easy to take things lightly.. but I really have been trying to focus on my true calling. A calling that we all have as members of the church, to be salvation to the souls of others. It's amazing isn't it? Sometimes I know we get caught up in the world, but I know there is nothing more important then giving our brothers and sisters the blessings that we have, and sharing the Gospel with them. Their really is no happiness, or eternal families without it. I love being able to be a messenger of my Savior.

I hope that you guys will always have the desire to help and share the Gospel with others. I know that you can bless the lives of so many people, as well as your own. You bless my life everyday as you share your experiences and testimonies with me. I love you guys so much!

Have a great week!
Love, Elder Hansen!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Photo of a member that came and taught with us, and a kid from the ward! Studs!

Hey Fam!

Isn't life just the greatest! I have had such a crazy thought pattern this week. I don't know if crazy is the right word, but different thoughts. I have been so grateful everyday to wake up and be as blessed as I am, and to be living this perfect plan God has for us. What a blessing it is to be here in this time and experience all these amazing things!

Thank you so much for the Birthday Wishes! 21. Man I am getting old, It's crazy how fast the time flies by. I can't thank you all enough for your love and support. It has meant the world to me throughout my life. While I was playing hockey, and here on the mish. I have never gone a day without feeling your love. I am so blessed to have you all in my life. Give everyone my best and tell them thanks for the happy birthday wishes. I love you all!

Sounds like it was quite a tough week back home. I will not be super specific but make sure you give everyone my best. I will be thinking and praying for them all. Let them know of my love and support.. and tell them I know that their Father in Heaven loves them too. 

I'm still doing great here in Marcos Paz! 1 year older, and 9 pounds lighter haha. Today we walked by a pharmacy and saw that it had a scale, I had to weigh myself to keep the birthday tradition alive. I now weigh 197 pounds.. safe to say I've lost about 8 pounds or so.. but I'm healthy and happy!

I'm so excited that Carter got to listen to Elder Holland speak! He speaks with pure power and love, and you can't deny that he is an apostle of the Lord when you hear his voice and feel his presence. I'm sure it was a great experience for him, and I'm so proud of him for his decision to go and listen over the other things. I have learnt the important of these small decisions, and everytime we choose the things of the Lord we are blessed, and our testimony is strengthened. What a stud.

We have had a good week here in Marcos Paz. We have been hit with lots of rain which made it pretty tough, but all is well. We have been able to see lots of great people come into our pathway this week as well. The importance of listening to the Spirit is absolutely vital. We had some tough choices to make this week as far as what we needed to do, and with the Spirit and the presence of the Lord we were definitely guided. We met 2 good families, that are married, and both excited to hear the Gospel. I'm super excited to start working with them more and helping them progress. I pray that they will be able to accept the blessings the Lord has for them.

The biggest blessing has been S••••••••. He has had a tough life, and has passed through some seriously tough things. He has been able to give up drinking completely for about 3 weeks, but we went to his house on Tuesday and we found him smoking again. We were pretty shocked, he had quit for about a week but then had a relapse and smoked 2 that day. It was absolutely necessary that the cigarette he smoked would be the last one ever.. and we expressed the importance of that. We ended up making little cigarette scriptures (rolled up paper with scriptures inside) and gave them to him. Everytime he has the desire to smoke he has to read the scripture first and then decide.. and he hasn't smoked since! He passed his baptismal interview yesterday and is preparing for his baptism this Saturday! Please pray for him, he needs all the help he can get to resist the temptations of the world. He is such a stud.

I really don't have much to write this week. Where has the time gone? Every week seems like a blur now. I have been thinking a lot about what you said about my friends that are finishing their missions. What a blessing it has been in my life to have friends that have been such amazing examples and always lived the standards of the church. It has blessed me more then I could ever imagine. I was reading a quote the other day and it was talking about how people think a true friend is someone that helps you be, and accepts you as who you are. One apostle, I can't remember who was quick to decline this. He said that this definition is the farthest thing from a true friend, a real friend is someone who helps you be better than you are at that point.. and leaves you better than they found you. What truth their is in this small doctrine. I have been blessed, and so has our family for the amazing people we have in our lives. I encourage you all to keep being these types of friends. No matter how good our friends are, we can always make them better people. We can build their testimonies and help them become better everyday. This is what our Savior did. He never stopped helping his friends and serving them in every way. He left every person with a new light and desire to do good, and I know we can do this too.

I love you all. Thank you for touching my heart with your words this week. I will be sure to have a great birthday here in Argentina! I'm sure nothing too crazy or special.. but there's nowhere else I'd rather be on my birthday.
Have a great week, and know I'm thinking and praying for you all.

Love, Elder Hansen.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hey Fam!

Thank you again for all the letters and the updates. Sounds like a crazy and rewarding week back their in Canada! Lots of great things are happening which is awesome, I love to be able to see the blessings of the Lord in your lives! They really are so evident :)

I have to touch on Tim Bozon first. That is such a sad thing I can't even believe it. I will definitely keep him in my prayers. He is such a great and talented kid. Was he playing for Kootenay still when this happened? I know that the Lord's plan is perfect and that whatever he has in store for Tim is what is best for him! I will pray that he will be able to make a full recovery.

I am so stoked for Russ! I seriously woke up this morning and couldn't wait to come here and read his letter. Maybe even a little more then your guys' today.. haha sorry. That is so awesome he will be going to serve in Rome! What a priviledge. I sent him a letter and could hardly contain my excitement. I know it will be a huge blessing in his life and he will love it more than anything! What a stud!

Give Jaclyn, Justin, and the whole Low family my best. I will be thinking and praying for them as well!

I had a question as well, is Elder Toone home from his mission? I thought that he left in February 2012 but I'm not sure.. and that's crazy Elder Hatch got home! Sure its pretty exciting for his family. Are they all gonna come up for his talk?

I have been able to get more familiar with the Area and all the stuff in Marcos Paz this week! It has been a hard but rewarding week. So our area is absolutely huge, we spend a majority of the day walking. We probably walk 15 kilometers a day or more. My shoes are definitely getting some good worth! I'm no longer in a branch but a ward, and we are the only missionaries that are in the ward. We have an average attendance of about 80 people I believe. They all seem great. The other Sunday I was able to present myself in church.. the best haha. But at least this time I was actual able to do it! You asked and about the companionship, I have the honour of being senior companion now. Right now I have to just follow Elder Muñoz cause I don't know the area well. He's great and knows the area well. He has just over 9 months in the mission, so we are pretty similar.. but his Spanish is a lot better then mine haha. The area is great I have no complaints!

We had a good week here as I said. We have once again seen a lot of the trials of the Lord in the lives of our investigators. Sebastian still feels really good for his baptism, but he was super sick and couldn't even leave his house yesterday so he wasn't able to come to church. We had to change his baptism for the other Saturday, I think the 21st? We also had an investigator called Nadia. She is super great but had been having some bad influences about the church from family members.. family members that are inactive members. That is always the hardest thing. Right now she isn't sure she wants to come to church anymore and progress, so we could really use your prayers for her!

The biggest miracle is still the Family Torres. They have gone through a lot this week but are still super strong in their decision to be married. We went with them to get a date for marriage, but they didn't have all of the papers they needed to be able to do it.. So they were pretty down about that for a bit. They called their family members to send them their papers, and their family members started saying all kinds of stuff.. like "its too much work... why get married", "why are you listening to those little kids in their white shirts".. all kinds of stuff. But it amazed me at their response. They just told their family that they know what they are doing is right and important, and if they aren't going to support them that's fine. It was amazing! It has been so cool to see the big change they have made in just the short time I have been able to be a part of their lives! 

I really don't have much to write this week. I have been super busy and I don't have much time. I hope that you guys will continue to be strong in the church and always be willing to help out others. I have learned a lot this week about our willingness and diligence in doing the will of the Lord.. and helping his children. If we want to be happy in life and achieve the Celestial Kingdom we need to develop Charity. This is something I have been working hard to develop during my time here. I have realized it's more than just baptizing as many people as I can.. but it is about truly helping people with their problems. It is about helping them develop the faith and receive the peace and love the need in their lives... and it always comes through the smallest things. The smallest acts of kindness make the biggest difference. I hope that we will always be willing to do whatever it takes to give others the happiness we have.

I love you all. Have a great week and best of luck with everything that you are doing! You are always in my heart!

Love, Elder Hansen

Monday, March 3, 2014

At the (petting) zoo in Lujan! haha Where are the goats?

At the transfer meeting saying goodbye to Elder Toledo

I'm in the middle somewhere. Meeting with Elder Evans of the Seventy and President Carter.

My new companion in Marcos Paz 

Hey Fam! 

It is so good to hear from you guys again! You all sound so happy and enthusiastic this week! It is great the hear that you are all doing well and enjoying life. I can't thank you enough for the little things you share with me, they always help me so much here in Argentina. Sounds like things are busy with sports, work, church.. but wouldn't want it any other way right! Dad I love that 9 hours of meetings you went to, seriously like the mission life hey! The best! Mom you will have to say thank you to Auntie Sherri, that little message seriously hit me so much. I am so blessed to have so many families members who support me in what I am doing.

This week has been quite a wild ride, but so amazing. As you guys know, I was transfered.. but I was able to enjoy 2 great final days in Lujan. On Monday we went to the Zoo finally! It was quite the experience and something totally different from the Zoo's in Canada. You are able to enter all the cages and touch the animals.. The lions, white and orange tigers, the elephants, snakes, iguanas, camels, it was so awesome! It was definitely a good experience and nice to relax a little bit and have some fun. I was able to leave with all my body parts, so I would say it was a successful day.

On Tuesday I had the feeling I had spent my time in Lujan. The Familia Alvarez invited us over to their house to have one final dinner before I headed off to a new area (we all had the feeling I was going to go). We enjoyed a nice meal and were able to exchange some goodbyes and gifts.. but my favorite part is when we used the homemade snow you gave me. We made the snow and then we had a "snow fight" in their house haha. It was mostly just their family throwing it all at Elder Toledo and me, but it was great. I love them so much. As I left Lujan, the Familia Alvarez and the Familia Peralta, there was definitely some tears shed. I will forever be grateful for those families and the things they have done for me. They really did help me feel comfortable in the tough first months of the mission, and I have grown such a love for them. But I know that transfers are part of the Lord's plan, and I was at peace when I heard that I was going to get transferred. I really can't explain my love for them in words. I thought coming into the mission that the language, the food, or being away from home would be the hardest thing.. but that moment was definitely the hardest. Leaving people you love. But I know the Lord's plan is perfect and it's my time to go to a different area.

So we had transfers on Wednesday and I was changed to serve in the Marcos Paz 1 area! My companion is Elder Muñoz, he's a stud. He was born in Argentina, but moved to USA when he was 5 so he's fluent in both English and Spanish. My first English speaking companion, my Spanish might take a hit this transfers haha. But I have come to love the area in just a short couple days. We have a great house, and the area reminds me of a mix of Alberta and Bitterroot. It's like super campo (fields and trees) which is how I like it. It's definitely a weird feeling changing areas, but I have gained a true testimony that the church and the people are great in all parts of the world and I can't wait to get to know the people of Marcos Paz better.

We have a couple of great investigators here as well. We have one family named the Familia Torres, who Elder Muñoz and his other companion worked with for about one month but they aren't married. The other day we had a super spiritual lesson and really laid down God's plan, and how we can only live together in families forever if we follow the commandments. It really hit them, and they are now going to get married on the 29th of this month! We are super excited about that. We have one kid named Sebastian who's going to turn 21 on Thursday, who is also going to get baptized on the 15th of this month. He has stopped smoking and drinking, and has completely changed his life. The other night we were with him and he started having a weird anxiety attack because of all the things he's been through. We decided to give him a blessing, and once we finished he just started crying so strongly. He said "its a miracle". All the pain and bad feelings left. I have such a strong testimony that the priesthood power really can bless us so much if we use it righteously.

On Thursday as you know we had a conference with Elder Evans of the 70. The things he shared really hit me. He focused a lot on the importance of us teaching repentance to our investigators, and the importance of repentance in our own lives. I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I know the Atonement of Christ is real, and that without it there is no point to this life. Living the Gospel of Christ and applying it's teachings to our lives will bless us more then we can ever imagine. Every day we should use the Atonement and ask for forgiveness of our mistakes, and I know if we do this we will wake up each day with a stronger desire to do good and follow our Savior. It's not important what we have passed through or done, we can always choose to change right now in this moment. I love being able to apply the Gospel in my life in every moment, I have never felt so much peace and love.

I love you all. I pray and think of you guys always. I hope you have the greatest week!

Love, Elder Hansen!