Monday, June 30, 2014

Me and Elder Christensen (The Alaskan) the other day at the zone activity!

Hey Fam!

Thanks so much for the great emails and the words of support and enthusiasm! Always nice to get that boost of energy from your emails to have a great week. Crazy you guys are in summer now! Today it almost looks like its snowing here.. ojala!! (I wish) I kinda miss the snow. But it's just another super foggy humid day. Still making it through winter without too many problems as far as coldness.. but when its cold its way different than it is in Canada. Really humid and it freezes you to the bones! I'm sure summer for you guys is just gonna be a party as usual eh. Im sure you guys will make the most of it, golfing, the lake, hanging with the fam, what more could one ask for?? 

Crazy that Jason got home and that all the boys were there! So cool. Hope you gave them all my love, so proud of them and for the example they set for me! Always had the greatest friends who blessed my life a ton. Hope that Grandma Maxwell and Matkin are doing better, you will have to give them my best if you have the chance. Also give all the Maxwell's my love from Argentina :)

There have been so many changes going on in the mission these days its crazy! From training, to World Cup, and a new mission president it has been quite the wild ride!

Things are starting to heat up here in the World Cup and I'm sure tomorrow will be even crazier than before! I hope Argentina wins it all so I can get a first hand experience of what it's like. I have never before had so much love for soccer. It's crazy! The culture here has definitely rubbed off on me a lot, which is one of the greatest parts of the mission! Learning to love and be apart of where you are serving. I have learned that someone (especially missionaries) who leave the past behind and learn to live in the moment where they are at are truly happy. I know I'm horrible at soccer but I feel like I'm Argentino :) sometimes I just want to tell people I'm from here, but my spanish and white skin kinda gives it away.

It's crazy that we officially have a new Mission President! Today was the first day we were able to have contact with him.. just through email.. but it got me excited to meet him. He wrote the mission an email and he sounds super excited to be here and start working with us! His family seems great as well and I'm positive I will learn to love them a ton!

The work here in Marcos Paz has been a little bit tougher as of late. With the weather lately, people here are a little less receptive when it's cold out, especially the thought of going to church. It makes me thing just how blessed we are. To have cars, live close to the church, and have a warm house. It breaks my heart to see some of the conditions here, but the people are amazingly strong and make the best of every moment. It makes me see just how special they are for God. Sometimes we tend to think why would God allow people to live this way? But I truly believe they are his chosen people and he knows just how strong they are. I have learned to love them with all my heart. And to see them make sacrifices to go to church despite all the challenges has taught my so many priceless life lessons.

But the work goes on! We are still working with a few great families right now and trying to help them gain a solid testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel! It's truly never easy. Sometimes it can be hard to help people make these changes after they have been living one way for so long. But every single moment is worth it. To be able to give people the hope they are looking for is truly a blessing.

Elder Maragaño is doing great! He is learning and progressing really fast! Not having to learn a language definitely makes things a little easier. but with that being said I'm teaching him English and he actually speaks really good! It's fun to be able to teach him, and now I know how the people here feel when I speak haha. As far as the doctrine and the lessons their is a TON to learn but we have been studying a full! We have 4 hours of studies every morning. We have been learning how to invite people to be baptized, how to contact people in the street and their houses and a ton more. I have learned a ton myself from this.. just being able to pass through what I learned again. I can't stress enough the importance of Preach My Gospel! It is the key! I was reading the other day a conference talk from this April, by Elder Ballard. He was talking about how EVERY MEMBER should have a read Preach My Gospel to learn how we can be better member missionaries. I know that I drop a lot of things on you guys ;) haha sorry. But this would be great for you guys to do with Carter. You could read and talk about Preach my Gospel to help him prepare for the mish and to help you guys better understand what I'm doing.. and what you guys can do!

I have such a strong testimony of diligence. The truth is this week was tough for us but I learned a few valuable lessons along the way. It is amazing that on the tough days we never found new people to teach until the end of the night. Sometimes the Lord just wants to see how strong we are and how willing we are to continue through the trials. It's like the scripture in Ether 12, the blessings never come until after the trial of our faith! I hope that you guys can challenge your trials with a smile and know that they are their to bless and help you. If you make the best of every day I know that the Lord is waiting to bless you.

Thank you so much for everything. Have a great week!

With Love,
Elder Hansen!

Monday, June 23, 2014

 My first companion Elder Valdez returns home with his group.

Baptism of Gustavo

My new greenie from Chile

Hey Fam,

I honestly don't even know where to start my letter this week. It has been one of the craziest but greatest in all of my mission. Our transfer meeting on Wednesday was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever been apart of in all my life. I did not expect to cry quite so much, but I can thank you mom and dad for my weakness :) haha. It definitely was a day that I will forever remember.

First off I received my hijo! His name is Elder Maragaño (Mah-rah-gan-yo) something like that. He is from Chile and is a great guy! I have already learned to love him a lot. It makes me remember a lot about my first days as a missionary. He has a lot to learn, as do all new missionaries but the desire and the willingness to work is there which is the most important thing! He will become a great missionary. It's great to be able to get to know such great people, my companions always teach me so much! I don't have a picture of just us 2 yet but in the one I attached he's in there!

Speaking of Elder Valdes it's crazy he's going home hey! Crazy how fast the time passes by. The other day I said goodbye to him and definitely added a bit to the tears haha. The other week I was thinking a lot about the start of my mission and just how grateful I was, and am for the friendship and influence he had in that time in my life. Everyone says your first companion is your most important, and am I so grateful for him. Its been a great experience with Elder Maragaño already, to be able to teach him the ways of the missionary and the importance of what we do. It has taught me a lot personally.. and the biggest thing I have been taught is 1. Obedience, and 2. Attitude. These 2 things drive a missionary to be what the Lord expects of us.

The reunion was super special on Wednesday. I'm glad that you were able to read the Blog of Hermana Carter, I'm sure it was much more detailed then mine will be. But between singing the hymn of the mission and dedicating it to their service, and individually saying goodbye to them it was something incredible. I didn't know that I could come to love someone so much in such a short time, and in reality with so little contact. But it's truly amazing the love that the Gospel brings between people and I will forever have a special place in my heart for the Carter Family. They have changed my life. They have helped my faith become real and powerful and I hope that I will be able to see them again one day.

With that being said I look forward to meeting President Robertson and his wife. I know that they have been called by God and will continue to lead our mission and give us the direction we need. I'm sure I will come to love them a ton as well, it will be an interesting change but I'm looking forward to it!

Thank you so much for your letters. Looks like you guys had a great and busy week! So crazy Russ is heading out on the mission, so excited for the guy he will be great. If you see him before he heads out give him a big firm missionary handshake for me! haha. And tell him I love him and am praying for him :)

This week has been great! Adding to the craziness is the World Cup. Things are starting to heat up here in Argentina, especially since they qualified to move onto the next round. The more they win the crazier it will get, Im hoping they win it all! Would be a legit experience to be here during that time. Today I went and looked for a few Argentina things but they are pretty much sold out of everything right now haha everyone is going crazy and buying a ton of stuff. The streets are colored in Blue its legit!

We also had another miracle this week.. Gustavo was baptized!! It was a pretty special day for him and the Familia Torres! It has been truly incredible the change of heart and mind that has taken place in his life. I am always so touched by the willingness of people to change here in Argentina, and sometimes it makes me look at myself and wonder why I'm so stubborn sometimes. Changing isn't easy, but it is made possible through the sacrifice of our Savior. To have a true change of heart we need to understand what he did for us, and then learn to apply it in our lives. Gustavo has learnt the importance of this, and the importance of following the commandments of God. The service was pretty special, and Elder Puentes was able to return and be apart of the service which was awesome. It got Juan and Carla pretty anxious to get baptized.. but the search for their papers continues.

My mind is in about 100 things in this moment. So much to do I love it. I just want to share with you guys my love for this work, and for everyone of you. You guys make this all possible. Everyday as I wake up I give thanks for the family that I am blessed to have. I know that this Gospel is what gives us everything we could ever need. Just being in the mission this week has given me a true outlook on what is most important in life. God, and the family. I know that our Savior lives and loves everyone of you. 

I hope that you guys have the greatest week ever, and continue to be blessed. I love you!!

Elder Hansen.

Monday, June 16, 2014

 Fun at the Zone acivity

Hola Fam!
First off I would like to give a big late Father's day to the greatest dad out there! I have been thinking a ton about your influence as a father, and more importantly as a friend. From playing basketball in the driveway, Halo in the basement, or just supporting me in sports you have been there every step of the way and I can't thank you enough for that. It's truly incredible how the little examples that you have shown me have changed my life and my way of thinking. You always supported me in sports, but more importantly always taught me why the church is so important and for that I am here in the mission today. I will forever be grateful for what you did as a missionary, and for what you continued to do even after the mission as you met mom. This moment changed the lives of all our family, and of hundreds of people. It will only continue to touch the lives of more and more. You are a true example of what love, and kindness is.. and I can truly see Christlike attributes in your everyday. Thank you for this. Hope you had the greatest day!

Im just writing now because today we had a zone activity so we had to travel, had the activity then return. We went and did a few lessons before we headed back to the center and so I have just a few minutes to fill you in on life before we have to hit the pension.

The activity was great! We did a bunch of different team activities that included eating, strategy, intelligence and a bunch of other things. There were 3 teams and each team had a captain.. and I was one. The bad part about this was that if your team got last in the challenge.. your captain had to "pay" haha. Unfortunately our team got last in 3 of the challenges. So I had to pay all 3 times.. one was a egg cracked over my head, one was eating a small spoon of cinnamon, and the other was a face full of shaving cream. Man it was so funny. I have always enjoy these types of things, and even though I had to pay it was a great time and we laughed a ton. As you will see in my pictures I was kind of a mess after :)

For your questions. I am taking a lot of photos, I have taken over 1000 now in my time here. Or somewhere around there. I am a missionary but you have to remember I'm still a boy, photos aren't really my thing haha. I only just select 1 or 2 good ones every week. I literally haven't had 2 minutes to try out my bank card, I wanted to try it today but next week I will. I want to buy a sweet Argentina scarf to support my team! haha. So I will try out my bank card to buy that. Speaking of Argentina it's crazy here! As you guys read we had to be in our apartment yesterday when Argentina played.. and when they play this Saturday we have to be in our apartment again for 3 hours. crazy hey! It's unreal their love for soccer, there are Argentina things everywhere you look! Makes me have the desire to watch soccer for the first time in my life haha. But we aren't allowed which is good with me. Lots of work to do!!

We had a good week. Just want to update you on a few things. Gustavo is doing good and we are doing all we can to help him prepare for his baptism. People always seem to have doubts the week before their big day, so we are helping him feel more relaxed and ready. He's a stud. It's been amazing to see the repentance and change he has had in just a short period of time. It truly shows me that if we put our mind to something, we can do it. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We don't trust in ourselves. But if we believe and trust in the sacrifice of our Savior all is possible.

We saw a small but amazing miracle the other day. In the mission their are lots of little rules as you know, and one of the most important rules is to due with time. The time we wake up, do our studies and finish the day. The other day we had an amazing lesson with Gustavo and the Flia Torres. It was pivotal in his conversion as we helped him overcome his doubts. With this we spent a little more time then we had planned in his house. So we left quick and had to make a 25 minute trip in 13 minutes.. so we were preparing to run.. and just then a taxi stopped beside us and asked us where we were going. We said the address and he just happened to be going 2 blocks from our apartment.. so he drove us there and we made it in time. Something so small, but truly a sign that the Lord will put people and things in our path if we live worthy. That he is willing to help us in any form if we do our part, this little moment was so special for me.

I don't have a lot of time. But this week has been great and I'm excited and nervous for transfers! It will be the last transfers for President and we have a couple of awesome things planned for him that I will tell you the following week. I would love to stay here in Marcos Paz but I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in plan for me.

Today I had a personal moment pretty special. I have had the goal to read my Patriarchal Blessing from time to time to see what I have learned and what I need to improve. And it's been amazing to see the blessings that are in there, and how they have started to unfold as I have been on the mission. The blessings and promises really will come true if we do our part. And we should focus on the things that were revealed for us personally. There isn't a clearer way to know the Lord's plan for everyone of us personally. I challenge you all to read and study your blessings.. and for Carter to get his if he hasn't. The Lord loves us so much, and we can't even comprehend the blessings we has for us if we just are willing to take them. I pray that we can do a little more to develop our Christlike attributes everyday and learn more about our eternal importance to our Father in Heaven.

Have the greatest week.
With all my Love.
Elder Hansen.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Photo of Julian, Rosario and their family!

Hey Fam!

Thanks for the letters! Sounds like another amazing week in Magrath. Love to hear that things are going well and that you guys are happy and doing well. Always love the photos and the updates.

The last month or so has been the craziest time of my life, so busy but I love every minute of it :) There are a few people that I need to respond in emails or letters but I just haven't had time, I am going to try to get better at this. I have yet to find postcards, but I will have to go look and see if they have some in the mail service here. I also got your Dear Elder letters the other day mom, thank you! 

Is that the apartment of the Sister Missionaries? Spoiled haha, where are they living at these days in Magrath? They moved from Sister Clifton's house a few years ago right? Im kind of out of the loop.

That's crazy Carson was married. You will have to give him my best and tell him congratulations! Crazy how fast time flies by hey. 

I loved your comments about the Priesthood, it really is a truly amazing power. I have been thinking about my Linea de Autoridad (Priesthood Lineage) I believe? Could you guys put it together and send it to me? It would be a useful and great thing to have here in the mission.

We had another great week here in Marcos Paz! Julian and Rosario were baptized this weekend! Antonella still wants to be sure that it's what she wants to do so she is going to wait more time.. we are supporting here in this decision and know with time she to can gain her testimony. Rosario and Julian had a great memorable weekend. A bunch of their family members came to support them and it was a great service. I love being apart of baptismal services. The Spirit is always so incredibly strong. I was honoured that they wanted me to baptize them, and just before we entered the font Julian looked at me and said "estoy lleno de gozo" which means I am filled with joy. His eyes were so bright and he was so extremely content. It was amazing.

That same day there was a Stake Primary Activity and they both went. The next day the Primary President told us that Julian got up in front of everyone and bore his testimony! He talked about how he was just baptized a few hours ago, but that he had never felt so happy in his life. He talked about his life before and the different church's he had studied (he went to a Catholic church for a year) but had never felt this way before. He shared how he truly felt like he was in the true church of God and that God was happy with him. I was truly overcome as I heard this.

Gustavo is always continuing to progress and is excited for his Baptism for the 21st of this month! It's been so amazing to find so many prepared people. He truly has had a change of heart in these past couple months and I am excited to continue to be a part of his life. The Flia Torres is doing good, still no news on their papers. It's pretty strange but I guess the Lord has something planned. They just continue to trust in Him and His plan, and attend the church every Sunday :)

This letter is going to be a bit shorter. We are full right now and don't have a lot of time. As a mission we have started reading the talks from General Conference every day. Maybe Hermana Carter posted it on her blog.. but if not I invite you guys to do the same. We read 1 talk every day. It's amazing to be able to relate the modern day revelation to our lives. Sometimes we take these words lightly but they really are inspired for us in this time. If we follow the counsel that is contained in the words of our leaders we will be blessed and guided for the next 6 months.

I want you guys to know how blessed we are to be members of this church. To look and reflect on the things of life their really isn't anything more important than our Savior and his life. He left his teachings behind to guide us to happiness. I know the Lord loves every one of his children. I have felt this love more strongly then ever before, and I want you guys to know that I love you all. Their are so many hard days and moments in life, but that is the best part. The trials make us who we are and help us reach our full potential. Enjoy them :) and help others overcome their trials, it's one of the greatest feelings.

I hope you guys have a great week! Good luck with everything and know that I'm always praying for you.

With Love,
Elder Hansen!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hey Fam!
So glad to hear that everyone had a fantastic week! From the pictures and the comments it looks like you guys are enjoying life as usual. Looks like the weather is getting a bit nicer as well. I'm sure that's a nice change after a long winter! We had some good weather this week, still waiting for the cold to hit me. Thank you for the support and for the letter, I just received it and it was very much enjoyed. 

Loved the pictures of the track and volleyball! Lots of sports as always, pretty intense! That's awesome you were able to hit up the links with Corbin, sure he was hitting it deep just like before the mission. You will have to tell Carson congrats for me, I had no idea he was dating her.. looks like they are happy together!

This week in Marcos Paz was super hectic but another great one. I don't know where to start. There are too many thoughts and things going on in my mind. The baptisms for this Saturday are looking good. Julian, Rosario, and Antonella. We are praying for them a lot. They are such awesome kids and a part of such an amazing family. The Hna Soler (their grandma) bakes something every time we come over to visit. Reminds me of the good old days with Grandma Hansen and Schmidt. She really is awesome, has such a sweet heart and loves having us over. We always enjoy good spiritual talks together. We are getting together the final plans for the baptism this weekend. I know it will be a memorable experience for all of them!

The Flia Torres is still doing well and are as strong as ever. As I commented, Gustavo is now taking the discussions and preparing to be baptized as well. On Sunday he had a pretty rough day.. just a lot of trials and things were all hitting him at once and he felt pretty overwhelmed. I felt honoured to be able to represent our Savior in this moment. Sometimes the problems of others can be a lot to handle, but the more we come to realize the power of the Atonement and of our Savior the chance to help changes from a burden to a privelege. I really have come to feel that way. We had such an amazingly spiritual lesson with him, Carla, and Juan. One of the greatest parts was being able to watch Carla and Juan share their testimonies with him. They were able to testify that when they first started attending church they faced lots of problems, but with the help of the Lord they were able to overcome them all. Gustavo felt a pretty peaceful assurance from this, and as we left we could see a new glimmer of hope in his eyes.

The ward is continuing to put us to work :) haha. On Saturday we went to cut down a couple of trees where a member is going to build his house. A group of the Elders Quorum and us all went (about 10 in total) and we put in a good couple hours digging and cutting up all the roots. It was some hard work... and I'm SO out of shape. But there really is nothing greater then spending time together serving others, we definitely enjoyed it.

The ward also gave us a reference or a great family that we should visit. It just turns out that they live 7 kilometers from the city and there aren't buses or anything haha. So we dedicated about half of our day Friday to go visit them.. they are awesome though! We had a great lesson with them.. there are 6 of them in total. Going to church is a little bit of a problem right now because of the distance, but I know that the Lord will help and bless them. After the great lesson we were faced with the long voyage again.. it was about equivalent of walking to Welling and back. But well worth it :) we enjoyed the walk in the country side.

Don't really have too much more to tell you all. It's crazy how fast the time is going by. President Carter goes home in less then 3 weeks, Elder Valdes has about 2. It has really given me the desire to enjoy every moment. I know I'm still pretty young in the mission, but that's the best part :) still have lots of time to serve my Savior.

I have gained such a strong testimony of the power of service. I have been thinking a lot about my calling and the words that are written. It does not say that you are called to teach of baptize. but called to serve in the Mision Buenos Aires Oeste. Here in Marcos Paz I have really learned the sacred importance of service, and been able to put it to work. With the simple acts we have been trying to do for others we have seen so many miracles. Our Savior served. The great missionaries in the Book of Mormon and the Bible serve. It is my prayer that we can all learn the importance of service, and really do all we can without the desire to receive recognition. I know this is when we truly feel happy. This is when I have felt happiness I can't describe. 

I hope you guys all have an amazing week. I hope you never forget that I love you with all my heart. And that the success the Lord has allowed me to have is your success as well, I couldn't do this without you :)

Love you a ton,
Elder Hansen.