Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 25, 2015

Hey family happy Tuesday!!

It's been another awesome week out here in Lemon Grove California. We've seen miracles everyday and we are still stoked to be here doing the Lord's work.

This past week was pretty crazy with transfers. We are very happy we stayed together. Even though neither of us were transferred we got to go to transfer meeting since we had to take a car down there, with all the mission downsizing lots of stuff has changed! It was a crazy transfer meeting, but we got a bunch of our transfer predictions correct, that was exciting. The zone we are in got smaller because of the decreasing number of missionaries in the mission. In our Sweetwater zone lots changed. Our district is now made up of all the spanish missionaries in the zone: us, the Zone leaders (Elder Laws and Elder Carlson (my trainer who goes home next month)), the sister training leaders Hermanas Huefner and Chamberlain (served with both of them in Chula, they're great) and the Mormon Battalion sisters Hermanas Gross and Martindale (also great). Needless to say we have the best district ever. In the Zone we now have English, Spanish, tagalog, and Lao speaking missionaries. We were just Spanish before.

We is the international zone now.  It's purrty cool. The cooliest part was the other day I was taking a nap during lunch and I had a vision about a zone t-shirt with all the zone's languages (Lao writing is pretty cool). Elder Cloes and I got right to work making sketches of my prophesy (Elder Cloes said I sprung up out of my dream like Lehi) and today we went to this shop called Laostars to make it a real thing! It's gonna be awesome and I'm sure president Schmitt will be coveting one as well ha.

My comp and I have had a good time during our lunch breaks and night time, making fat ties into skinny ties, They are pretty sweet. We know how to make them pretty fast now. We have Made like 5-6 ties each in just a few days time. We got a sweatshop goin here. We even came up with a brand name for the ties. We just combined our names...We like"Hansoes" ;) .... We are going big!

We also have a great teaching pool right now with a couple of really awesome new families that we've been working with. We have seen lots of little changes in our investigators over the past little bit of time and it's really awesome to look back and see how far they've come--little by little.

One cool family we started teaching in the past couple weeks is Julio and Paola, plus their little girl Juliet, who just turned 1. They are a super awesome younger couple who are a blast to teach.

Their daughter is super funny too! She's having a big birthday party in the next couple weeks and we got permission to go. Saturday we did a private little church tour with them, one of our members Hermana Quiñonez came and helped us out, it was awesome. They weren't able to come to church on Sunday but next week!

We are also teaching Raquel and Jesus, who are awesome! We met Raquel through a member-Hermana Castañeda. Hermana Castañeda sells stuff every Friday on a street on our area, which is right by Raquel's house so we went to talk to them both last week (mentioned in my last email) and we were actually able to teach about the restoration and then last Wednesday and Friday we had another lesson and were actually able to teach both Raquel and her husband.

This week they were sick so they weren't able to come to church, but next week! Raquel was very grateful for us and it was great to hear about how good she felt at church and when we taught, and how she recognized the spirit.

We are also still teaching Eduardo, he's doing so good, come to church like 3 weeks in a row, has left a lot of things behind him, and we have seen a BIG change in him! He's been investigating for a long time, but as our friendship has grown. He as also grown a lot in his faith and has come a long way, it's awesome to see, and it's all because of how his prayers have changed, and his commitment to read the Book of Mormon.

August 18, 2015

The transfer ended on Sunday and today we got the news.......We are staying together. Thank goodness! We were worried it was all too good to be true but we are staying another transfer here in the Sweetwater 3rd branch. Another 6 weeks in the ghetto paradise! It's still great, I'm not tired of the area at all which is kind of unusual.

This week has been a really good one! Starting off with MTEs that I mentioned last week and then we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders one last time before Elder Cardiff went home-He left today, along with one of the English Zone Leaders Elder Hirst who lives in our same apartment complex, we will miss them!

On exchanges I stayed in our area with Elder Laws, we had a good day! We got our investigator Santiago with a baptismal date again, which he lost and taught a couple other good lessons. We had a lot of fun, even though I spilled the dinner alllllll over myself that our member gave us to go. It was some really good broccoli and beef with lots of sauce and I had ALL of the sauce on my pants/shirt. Funniest thing is we ran to the church to eat and clean up and while I had my pants partially open to dry off one of the bishops from the other ward walked in... awkward but he got a good laugh out of it.

We have an awesome new investigator named Raquel who we met by way of a member. We taught her the restoration while they were selling stuff on one of the streets in our area, the member was there to testify and everything! Raquel now has a date for September 26 and she came to church! We now have 4 investigators with baptismal dates and we started last week with 0, so now the job is keeping them on date by making sure they keep their commitments to read the scriptures, pray and come to church.

Sunday was a mission president's fireside in Linda vista, which is kinda far away but we went because we were supposed to have 2 investigators there. They cancelled last minute but we already had the ride from the member. Brother Barber. His poor little car was having a hard time though- He is having trouble with his air filter sensor and his car doesn't accelerate past like 40 was an adventure getting up there but we made it with no serious problems. People were just made getting stuck behind us, even on side streets. We got a good laugh out of it.

Things are going good out here in the branch, Elder Cloes and I are happy to have at least another transfer together and we will see miracles!

I love you all!

Elder Hansen

August 11, 2015

Hey Parents! Sorry this is coming so late, it's been a crazy p-day, but a good one! 

We had mtes yesterday and today and they were awesome. We talked a lot about recognizing and relying on the spirit. It was a great topic, and learning how to seek out and understand personal revelation is key to our progress in the gospel. 

So after we had our workshop thing at the stake center (this is with 4 zones worth of missionaries) we get to exchange with someone in one of those 4 zones, we never really know who it's going to be. I exchanged with Elder Conner in Imperial Beach which is down in my old Chula Vista Zone. You might recall we exchanged once a few months ago, we were in the MTC together he's pretty awesome and we were stoked to be together!! We had an awesome day and saw lots of miracles!! It's a cool area down there in Imperial Beach. 

Today we played ball with the Assistants Elder Stecklein and Mcchesney, they are both super cool I served with them out in the Valley. It was a lot of fun! Elder McChesney goes home next week, It's the last week of the transfer....CRAZY! I Feel like Elder Cloes just got here! We will see what happens next week with the transfers hopefully I stay with him another one. 

I'll try to send more a little later since it was a crazy p-day with the meeting and stuff. Have a great week! Send me lots of pictures as soon as you can! 

Love you!!

Elder Hansen 

August 4, 2015 Una Semana Buena (A Good Week)

What up fam!!!

It's been a sweet week this week. It seems like the mission is picking up and moving faster and faster!! My 3 transfers (4.5 months) in the valley seemed to fly by, 3 transfers in Chula flew by even faster and now I'm 5 weeks into my third transfer here. Time is going by even faster!! My trainer goes home in less than 2 months. We went to the temple together today. We also had a sweet old reunion with Elder Takke, Elder Quinonez and some other friends from the mission. We plan out our temple p-days so we can go together.

I was reflecting a lot in the temple about our family and how awesome it is that you will all be there this week. I'm so grateful for the blessings of the temple and especially the blessing of eternal families.

Anyway it's been a great week. Me and Elder Cloes have still been having a blast. We have come to learn that the key to a good sandwich is a good pickle. I have lived a whole year of my mission with mediocre sandwiches because of my lack of pickles. But I've repented and turned to Vlasic bold and spicy or Famous Dave's pickles. Makes all the difference.

We are currently teaching a bunch of drunks. But they're great drunks so it's okay. We love them. We have a couple investigators who we have been having a lot of fun teaching. It's cool because we can tell that we are gaining their respect and are able to have really spiritual lessons.

We have one investigator Jose, who has been investigation for a long time and came to church consistently for a while, but stopped. We had a lesson with him on Saturday, and he's been having a hard time because his mom died of a brain aneurysm. Just testifying of the atonement and the blessings of the plan of salvation brought the spirit so strong. And he went from "maybe I'll go to church" to "I have no other choice" (in Spanish of course). It was cool to watch the spirit work with him in that moment. Then we went back to see him again yesterday and helped  answer some questions about the restoration. It's been great working with him a lot.

Anyway, I'm doing great,  So glad you are as well! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Hansen

July 28, 2015

What's up fam??

We've had an awesome week this week!! Everything is still super sweet out here in Lemon Grove and the Sweetwater 3rd branch.

Last Wednesday we started out the morning by going to a class put on by LDS Family services. They have a therapist who councils a lot of people but she also offers a missionary class every once in a while and we were invited so we went. It was awesome. She talked about communication, it was something that is really made for families, but it applies to everyone. Basically it talked about how we respond to people who are in an emotional state. There are 12 really common responses that aren't necessarily the best ways to handle situations like that, and instead she offered 4 alternatives that would help the other person to feel loved, instead of feeling controlled. It was super good and she always connects everything to the atonement and the Gospel so it was sweet and it's something that I will use for the rest of my life. Especially as a dad but it can also help with companions and investigators.

After that we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, who are in the other Spanish ward in the stake, they live in National City. I went to their area, with our new zone leader Elder Laws. He started in the Chula Vista Zone, so we already knew each-other, he's super cool! We had a lot of fun, and had some good experiences on exchanges. It's awesome to learn from one another.

To end the exchange we went to a Mexican restaurant in our area called Mariscos Altata, we go there a lot because on Wednesdays and Thursdays they have fish tacos 2 for 99cents so we hit that up as often as we can and they're huge!!! Random fun fact but the days we go there are always good days. To be honest we went there both Wednesday and Thursday... it's that good.

Friday we had district meeting Us and our four sisters! Plus the Zone leaders came to join us so that was a good time. Our district is super fun and we talked about using the Book Of Mormon and how important it is not only in knowing the church is true but in also receiving a testimony of Jesus Christ as our savior. We have been putting a lot of emphasis on the Book of Mormon with our investigators, especially in really helping them to read it and understand it.

Saturday we went and did service with an awesome family in our ward, they have been less active lately and I had never been able to meet them with Elder Gonzalez, but Elder Cloes and I went by on Friday and she invited us to eat on Saturday at their daughter's birthday party.

So we went to eat but they were still setting everything up when we got there so we did some impromptu service and helped them set up all the tables and chairs and she did a candy table similar to the one mom did at amber's wedding, so we helped her put the candy in the dishes and everything. They are super awesome and it was good service, and they said to come back later to eat lunch with them which we did, we had chicken and beef kabobs with rice and  veggies and a ton of desserts. It was super good and they gave us a bunch to take home which was really good. We are excited to teach them and help their family grow even more in the gospel!

Sunday all the people flaked on church again... but we don't get down on it! Sometimes it's kind of frustrating when they say they are going to come and they don't, but it is what it is. We can't overcome their agency.
After church there was a carne asada at our ward mission leader's house in honor of a member who just got endowed, it was awesome. we love to share time with the members plus you can't complain about carne asada tacos...

Monday was a super awesome day, we went to go visit our investigators in one area but neither of them were home, so we started talking to someone we met on the street, named Anna. It was a great talk and we were actually able to teach her the entire restoration briefly and simply right there on the street. She said we can come back and talk to the rest of her family on Wednesday. She also mentioned that she has a brother who is a member and lives in Pasco Washington. 

Right after that we had to go do a little bit of time entering all of this information into the Area book Planner app so we went to the nearby library to use the wifi. While we were there we got a text from someone with a 425 number, which kinda freaked me out for a second but it was all in Spanish (good Spanish, not Google translate Spanish) so I figured no one was messing with me. Anyway it was Manuel, and he said he had just moved from Bellevue where he had met with missionaries. So we set up an appointment to meet up at the church with them. 

So we went along with the rest of our day, went to meet up with Santiago but he wasn't home so we went to try Hector, someone Elder Cloes had talked to on exchanges with Elder Cardiff. He wasn't home but we were able to talk to his mom. WOW! His mom is awesome. She was talking to us about how she really is trying to do her best with her kids (19, 18, 10 and 7) and how she wants them to have a belief in God but it can be hard, and she's a single mom, who was in a bad relationship before and she just has really sincere desires for her family and it is great to meet people like that, so we will go back and teach them on friday and she said we will be able to find her whole family together which is great. 

After that we went to dinner at our Branch President's house (The Dominguez family). It was great. They are an awesome family. They have 5 kids (Jose, Joyce, Josy, Joyce-lyn, and Josue) It's really hard to get their names straight but basically it's an awesome family and we had a great dinner with them. I feel like we have been developing more trust with the members  lately, especially president Dominguez. 

After dinner we met up with Manuel and his wife Paola (from the phone call, the ones that moved from Bellevue). THEY ARE SO COOL! They have lived here in the states for about 2.5 months and have been meeting with the missionaries in Bellevue for the majority of the time. They are super cool, they have 2 kids back in Mexico and are just an overall great family. We were so stoked to meet them!!

Today was a great morning as well! We took our dirty clothes to the friendly neighborhood Laundromat and they came back even dirtier! We also got the usual view from the Laundromat, not just 5 but six cop cars. (I'll include the picture). 

And that's the week!! Thank you for the love and support!

You are the best!  Elder Hansen

July 21, 2015

Hey awesome family! We had a really good week!

Things are great out here in the area! Still lovin it!

Not a whole lot to talk about this week, but we got the "area book planner" app, which replaces our area book and our planner, so we have been transitioning all the paper work information from our book and paper planners and we are getting used to using the ipad for pretty much everything now. But we still carry around little notebooks because there are a couple places where we don't want to pull out our ipads..haha

Sunday we had a mission president's fireside in Santee, brother Barber helped us out and gave us a ride, and the ward mission leader Hermano Robledo gave our investigator Eduardo a ride. It was awesome. In the firesides there are usually a couple of testimonies from recent converts and a few mormon messages and a bunch of awesome musical numbers. This fireside one of my favorites was a girl who isn't even baptized yet who sang and it was sooooooo good. She's supposed to get baptized this week out in Santee. She's like 16 or something like that. It was awesome and I think it really helped our investigator Eduardo because the
spirit is always really strong and it's good to hear from people who made the decision to get baptized.

Other highlight- I taught Elder Cloes how to juggle. haha he's super good at it now. It was pretty exciting.

Brother Barber made us dinner this week-bless his heart. I'm not sure if I've told you but he's a little old white man who goes to our Spanish branch because of something President Kimball said-to learn a language. And he's still workin on the language. But anyway, before we had the car he used to give us rides to church and stuff, he was always really helpful but he lives alone so he had never invited us to eat, but this week he did. He made us what he said was baked "chicken" but it turned out to be turkey and we didn't notice til we were eating the leftovers the next day but it was good either way. It just made us laugh that it was turkey in the end. He also made us spinach salad which was super good and potatoes and veggies, it was awesome! Then he apologized because he was going to make a cake but ran out of time. But we didn't need the cake! We were stuffed. And he served us root beer floats in an old frosting container. haha it was an interesting experience.

We have been teaching a lot of drunk people, well not really drunk but that had been drinking, and it makes it really hard because of their dragons breath, I had to back up from our investigator so I didn't puke. It was kind of a struggle, we will get to the word of wisdom pretty quick don't worry ;)

That's pretty much all I got. The gospel is true! I love the work and I love you all!

Elder Hansen

July 14, 2015

Dear family. I cannot even express to you the happiness that I have to be with my new companion Elder Austin Cloes (from Herriman  Utah).

Elder Cloes is from the same MTC group as my old companion from Elder Browne. So when I was with E. Browne I heard how cool he was. And then I saw him at a baptism in Chula and got to talk to him a little bit. And then he was companions with Elder Takke in Chula (my bro in the mission, you already       know that) and we added him to the trifriendship. In other words Elder Takke, Elder Cloes and I are bromigos.

So in transfer meeting on Wednesday there we were sitting just waiting for it to start. I whisper to elder Takke "Elder Cloes could be my new companion" to which Elder Takke responded "if only". No one would think that we would be lucky enough for that. But sure enough when they called Elder A. Hansen I     stood up and he called Elder Cloes who was sitting two seats down on the same row. We do the transfer meeting in the chapel so they ask us to be reverent, but when that happened we both speed walked through the overflow to the gym so we didn't disrupt the spirit in the meeting and hugged. It was funny, we heard a collective "ooooooh" from the rest of the mission because there are a lot of people who know how good of friends we are and how cool we both are ;). You could say we are the "it" companionship in the mission right now.

Before the meeting Elder Stecklein one of the assistants said "I'm so excited for you"  to me and it just made me scared, but now I know why he said it!!

Anyways we are super stoked to be together not just because we are great friends, think very similarly, have similar interests and relaxed personalities but  because we both love the work and are excited to light this area on fire together.

They also took a companionship of sisters out of our branch, so we added a good portion of area to ours, and they gave us a car!!! It's been a lot of fun this week to say the least.

Besides the highlight of being with Elder Cloes we have had a lot of great lessons. We are really focusing on helping our investigators read the Book of     Mormon because we understand the key role it plays in their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's been a big focus and we can see the investigators interest level change as they begin to read and pray.

We met and taught a couple of cool kids this week named Jonathan and Jason. They are 13 and 9. They don't sound Hispanic but they are :)  Jonathan has  been going to the English ward because he's friends with some members there, but the rest of the family only speaksSpanish. We taught them the restoration really simply and it's amazing how much they captured and understood. They are smart little guys and have a great desire to learn!

We also started talking to this guy Alfonzo yesterday and started teaching him the restoration right there on the street. He had a ton of real intent and real interest in learning so we are excited to teach him more this coming week.

Other cool little experience we walked up to this guy and started talking to him,, but he quickly gestured that he can't hear.   But luckily the tiny bit of my 3   years of ASL that I remember kicked in and we were able to tell him about missionaries who sign! He gave us his number and we gave him an ASL missionary card (which I had randomly put in my bag like a week earlier. usually I forget to carry them around). He seemed pretty interested and super cool!

Those are a few highlights of the week! I'll try to send some pictures a little later!

Love you all so much!
Elder Hansen

July 7, 2015

We had an awesome week! I'm just going to share a couple highlights!

So we started teaching an older guy named Santiago, he's pretty cool! He's battling with the word of wisdom but it's great to see how his interest level changed as we testified about how the gospel can help him with that. Now he's super stoked to go to church on Sunday and is interested in baptism! We are going to get him with a baptismal date this week. He had met with missionaries about 5 years ago in another part of California, but they never invited him to church, so he is super stoked to go! 

Other highlight was our Fourth of July! In the morning we got to go to the baptism Of Alma Tomayo, the daughter of Yolanda, She's seventeen. We were teaching her along with her mom when I was in Chula Vista.  She asked me to baptize her! It was awesome! It was great to see Yolanda and Bishop Corona and all the other great people from Chula Vista! 

After that we had district meeting. Its our last one with our district the way it is. We had one sister finish her mission, and after transfers we will look totally different! We talked about the Atonement, and watched an awesome video with talks from Elder Holland and Elder Eyring. The video is called Missionary Work and the Atonement. You should check it out. It's on youtube. I had to have someone send it to me. It talks about how missionary work is hard because salvation isn't easy, but that because Christ offered his sacrifice, it makes it possible and makes it worth it. It's super great and motivating!

Saturday night we had to be in the apartment before 6, but we got a sweet lesson with Ulises in before that! He's super stoked for his august 8th baptismal date. We are looking forward to that! 

After we got home we ordered some pizza and started doing the study that president assigned us. We are studying all about planning and using the area book and stuff because we are getting the area book planner app this week and so it's important that we are master planners and know the area book like the back of our hand. 

Yesterday we had an awesome day too! We did service for a member in our ward. She gave us a bunch of food too which was great! We love doing service, especially when we get to do it as a district! Then we had a sweet lesson with Santiago! He's so stoked to go to church. And a lesson with an investigator named Eduardo who has been investigating with the sisters but we are teaching him now. We had a lesson in the home of our ward mission leader Hermano Robledo and his wife made us dinner. It was awesome because its a great environment to teach and the spirit was strong! He knows it's true, we are just helping him build his faith so he has a desire to follow Christ and be baptized. He's an awesome guy! We had home-made carne asada quesadillas which were delicious. 

And this morning Sister Gamez from our district took off, we got to have their car for the day and so we did laundry and here we are at the library emailing. We got the transfer call and Elder Gonzalez is leaving and I'll be getting a new comp tomorrow! It will be another exciting transfer of course!

Hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Hansen