Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Week 103 - That's All She Wrote!

Hello All!
 And kind of good bye, I suppose.  I first want to thank you all for your love and prayers and emails and letters and packages and everything else you have done for me over these last two years.  You have honestly done so much to help me make my mission the greatest thing I've ever done in my life.  That being said, I guess it's just about over, and I suppose the Lord needs me somewhere else now.  Whatever this next chapter in my life brings, I want you all to know that I intend to cleave to the Lord through all of it.  I may not be a missionary anymore (in a few days) but I still plan on doing all of the things in my life-daily prayer, scripture study, church and temple attendance, service, etc- to keep me close to God and His Spirit.  I hope that my mission has changed me, and I plan on continuing to become the best man that I can be through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

    I also want to wish one of the best men I know a Happy Father's Day!  Nelson Hafen is honestly the best father that I could ever ask for, and I've realized that a heck of a lot more over these two years.  I think no Skype call on Father's Day is a good reflection of fathers and the quiet, often unnoticed, but incredibly important work they do to ensure their families are safe, secure, and happy.  I'm so grateful for the good and hard-working man my dad is, and I'm also so grateful that he and my mother have done so much to ensure I grew up in a family that was built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  I love you Dad!
It's been a good week....as always.  Our P-Day trip to Waterton was a blast, and I'm sorry again I wasn't able to send a proper email because of that.  I'll try to make up for it with pictures of beautiful Waterton Lakes National Park.  Sadly, a lot of our appointments cancelled, so we weren't able to see all of the people we're working with.  Things are progressing well, though!  We started meeting with a couple new less actives, as well as a new investigator!  One of those less-actives, Amber K., I actually knew back in Calgary, and she's a really interesting case.  I almost hesitate to call her less-active, because her testimony is so strong, but she has some serious mental issues that make consistent church activity difficult, especially in a new place...like here.  Our lesson went really well, though, and we're hoping to get her coming and comfortable.  Our new investigator is named Rachael, and she's from China!  She's really awesome, and has actually been going to church in one of the other YSA wards for a few weeks, though she lives in ours.  We had a lesson with the other missionaries to pass her off to us, and it was cool to hear some of the questions she'd had as well as the incredible understanding of the gospel she has even though she's only been investigating for a couple of weeks.  She's a little hesitant to be baptized for a couple of different reasons, but I know she can get there.
    Our other less actives are doing well.  Amber(Stake President's daughter) had us over again, and we had a great time!  We brought the Relief Society President as well as Laksh, our favorite Indian recent convert.  He's also our only Indian recent convert, but I'm sure you get the picture. ;)  I think Amber is starting to develop some good relationships with the members of the ward, and I'm excited to see what comes of that.  Jake is doing good as well.  We talked about Enduring to the End with him, and it was pretty sad to say goodbye to him.  He's a really good guy, and it's been a pleasure to know him.  Sam and Bernie are good as ever.  We're still anxious to see them engaged, but we went over and taught a sweet lesson on repentance with the sisters who will be their family ward missionaries, and the Spirit was definitely there.  Lots of good stuff happening.  I'll be sad to leave this area, but I know I'm leaving it in the more-than-capable hands of Elder Averett and, more importantly, the Lord.
  I got the chance to finally do a musical number in our sacrament meeting on Sunday, and I sang "I Need Thee Every Hour".  I just want to share the words of the third verse really quick:

I need thee ev'ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.

    I want to bear my testimony that that is so true.  There have been times in my life and in my mission when I forget how much I need the Lord, and it truly does make things vain.  I'm going to try to remember that for the rest of my life, because I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of joyful as well as a lot of painful times just in the next few days as I end my mission and return home.  Whatever is happening, though, I will always need my Savior.  For "I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not

boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12) 
 I will praise my God forever for the blessings He's poured out on me for this time.  I'm so grateful for the chance I've had to see miracles, and especially the miracle of my brothers and sisters coming unto Christ to be perfected in Him.  I love Him so much.  I'm grateful for His loving, atoning sacrifice, and I know it's a reality.  I cannot deny that my Heavenly Father knows me and hears and answers my prayers.  I also know that He loves each and every individual on this earth, because we are all of His children.  We are all one big, heavenly family, and I know we can be that way again.  I can't wait for that day, when I will be able to rest with all of you in the Kingdom of God. (D&C 15)
    Thank you all again so much.  I'll see some of you soon.  And I know I'll see some others of you again.  I love you all so much.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 102 - The Usual

Hey All!
Another week has come and gone in good 'ol Lethbridge.  Time is definitely not slowing down and people keep asking me how much of it I have left for some reason.  Hmmm... Weird :)  Things here are great - as usual - and I'm loving life!  the work is good, and I'll try to give you a quick update on what's been happening.
   Elder Averett and I had the change to conduct our Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday, which I think turned out pretty well!  We've set a goal for new investigators this month, as well as to maintain the number of people on date to be baptized.  Because of that, our training was mostly on The Worth of Souls.  Please, please, please never forget that each one of you are of Huge worth to God!  We also met with two less-actives on Tuesday night, Amber and Adrienne, and had some good visits with them.  Amber just spent the last few days with her Dad, who is a Stake President, so I'm hoping that was a really good and spiritual experience for her.
   Wednesday was an exchange day and I was with Elder Barlow over in the Mountain Heights and Riverstone Wards.  It was a pleasure to be with Elder Barlow, who is a great missionary.  It was also pretty fun to be in a family ward too.  I had forgotten a little how much I like teaching families and especially kids :)  
   Thursday was pretty crazy as usual, with a couple of great lesson.  One with Jake, who actually asked for a blessing as well.  He seems to be a lot happier and is progressing really well.  We also met up with Sam and Bernie.  We're hoping they'll get engaged soon.  I think our lesson was appreciated and I'm hopeful it got them them thinking about things.
   Friday and Saturday were pretty fun actually.  There was a YSA Conference going on this weekend, so we got to be involved in that a bit.  We had a pretty open schedule otherwise so we did quite a bit of finding all over the place.  It turned out really well, and the Lord let us find some pretty awesome potentials, mostly for the family wards, but we did talk to a couple of really cool YSAs.
   It was a great Sunday once again.  We had a pretty big breakthrough with one less-active, Tyler, who mustered the courage he needed to come to Church.  He looked great in his suit, and it was really good to see him there.  We also got to meet up with Kim and talk a bit about the temple with her.  It is something she's had a few questions about.  I love teaching Kim.  Even though she has doubts at times, she keeps asking sincere questions and moves forward in faith to find answers.
   I want to share something I studied a bit about this week before I close.  I read Jacob 6:5 several days ago and there was a phrase in that verse that really popped out at me.  It tells us to "...cleave unto the Lord as he cleaveth unto you."  I looked up some cross-references and thought about that a bit, actually writing a little poem to express how I felt about it.  I'll share it here with you.  Hopefully it's not too bad ;)

  Feet dangling,
  Heights dizzying,
  I cling to Him above.
  His grip ne'er slackening
  Though mine is wavering
  My one true stay, His love.

  "Can I hold it long?"
  My constant anxious song
  "Just cling to me." His call
  He can't be wrong
  His grip is ever strong
  He won't have me fall.

  We need more strength than we have in this life, and our Father in Heaven and Savior are very capable to provide it!  They do all they can to ensure our happiness and safety.  All we have to do is to cleave unto them.  Never, never give up.  They never give up on you.
  Thank you again, all of you, for your love and prayers!  I know that I say that practically every week, but I'm honestly grateful for all of you, even though I'm probably not nearly grateful enough!  Have a beautiful day.
Be Good!  Have Fun!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Week 101 - Lasts

Hello All!
    It's been another busy and crazy week in the CCM.  Sadly, with all this busyness, there have been a couple of lasts during this week.  On Wednesday, I attended my last Mission Leadership Council, which was wonderful.  It's been a privilege to serve with President Nicholas and others in that council over the past few months, and I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned from President and others about how the Lord's kingdom is run and how I can help it move forward.  This Sunday was also the last Fast Sunday I'll have in the mission, and it was wonderful.  I'll tell you a bit more about it later.
    Our friends here are doing well.  We got to meet up with Emmanuel again this week, and had a great discussion with him!  He'd actually read the introduction to the Book of Mormon this past week, and really retained a lot of what he learned.  He was really interested in learning more about Mormon and Moroni.  With all of the questions he's had and the things he's learned so far, we're planning on actually starting to put it all together for him next time we meet up by teaching him about the Restoration.  He's a really genuine and honest guy, so I'm hopeful he'll accept our message for what it is and be willing to act on it.
    We've met with a bunch of our less actives this week, though not as many as we would have liked.  However, they're doing really well.  Jake, Adrienne, Kim, as well as another guy named Tom were all at church yesterday!  It was great to see them there, and one of the things that made the meeting so great was Kim.  A lot of people were getting up to bear their testimonies, which was pretty cool to see.  So many, in fact, that we were starting to go a couple minutes over our time.  However, just as the last couple of people were starting to bear their testimonies, Kim shot up and rushed to the front.  She was the last person to share her testimony, and it was so cool!  She hadn't done it for a long time, and was really nervous, but bore a really sweet and genuine testimony of the Savior and how He's been such a rock and a strength in her life, and how she really does know that the church is true.  It was a really touching and gratifying experience.  I'm so glad I've been able to work with her as well as the other wonderful people we're working with.
    That kind of brings me to something I've learned a bit about this week, which is the worth of souls.  That's the topic we've decided on for our Zone Training Meeting this week, and it's been a great opportunity to study more about it.  In D&C 18:10, the Lord teaches, "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;".  In studying about it, I unintentionally turned to the Book of Jonah in the Old Testament, and I'd encourage you to read it yourself. (I don't have too much time left to tell you the story, and it's super super short.)  One thing the Lord says to Jonah really stood out to me: "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city,wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand...?" (Jonah 4:11)  I testify that the Lord knows and loves each and every person on the face of the Earth, no matter how many there are.  I know that Heavenly Father is doing all that He can do to help each one of us repent and find eternal life.  I know that that is only possible through Jesus Christ.  I'm also so grateful that He gives us the opportunity to help Him bring souls to repentance and real, lasting happiness.  It's such a blessing to be involved in His work.
    I love you all so much!  Have a wonderful day and a wonderful week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 100 - A Great Man

Hello All!
Well I want to start by expressing my gratitude for Elder L. Tom Perry, a great man and a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.  It's going to be strange to watch General Conference from now on and not have Elder Perry's contagious grin and enthusiasm to look forward to.  I'm grateful for his example to all of us, and all of the good that he did in his 92 years.  He'll be sorely missed by many people, but I know he's continuing to do good and build up the kingdom on the other side of the veil.
    It's been a great week in the Canada Calgary Mission!  We were kept busy with many appointments as well as the opportunity to have interview with President Nicholas as well as a final zone meeting with President and Sister Nicholas.  Being able to have a personal interview with a man like President Nicholas is always a pleasure, and it was especially nice to be able to talk with him at this point in my mission.  Since we're going home at practically the same time, I think he's in a pretty unique situation to help me and guide me through these last few weeks.  Our final zone meeting with both President and Sister Nicholas was also a pleasure, and they gave us the opportunity to ask them any question we wanted!  That was a cool opportunity.
We also had the chance to have a couple of visitors to our sacrament meeting yesterday.  Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy was in Lethbridge this weekend, and wanted to attend a YSA Ward while he was here, so he came to ours!  He was accompanied by Elder James E. Evanson, who was just called as a new area seventy from here in Lethbridge.  It was a great chance to learn from both of them, especially about the importance of the Sabbath Day and partaking of the Sacrament.  They've given me some things to think about.
    The people we're working with are doing well.  Sadly, Peter has decided that he wants to wait to meet with us until he's done with a summer class he's doing.  So we'll hopefully be teaching him again late this month.  However, we met Emmanuel this week.  Emmanuel is friends with David, a RM in one of our wards.  David invited him to dinner with us for the last two Saturdays, and we had a great discussion with him!  We talked a lot about the church and our beliefs and answered quite a few questions he had.  He's a really cool, really fair-minded guy, and we should be seeing him again this week.
    I don't have too much more time to give you an update on everyone, but things are good.  We're working hard.  The work of the Lord is progressing.
    I just want to close with a verse that really hit me today.  I finished reading King Benjamin's address to his people this morning, and as he's closing, he says "I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name [of Christ} written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you." (Mosiah 5:12)  I know that I don't remember enough that I have taken upon myself the name of Christ, and I don't think I recognize His voice enough.  I pray that I'll be more faithful in doing those things.
    Thank you all so much for your emails and your love.  Have a wonderful week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 99 - Transfer Insanity

Hello All!
    So I hope you've all had a wonderful and beautiful week!  I want to first take the opportunity to congratulate Nate and Malory Myers, probably one of the kindest, sincerest, and talented couples I've ever heard of.  Good luck with this new adventure, both of you!  You're going to do amazing things with the Lord. :) 
   Also, well done, Sister Avonlea Dalley.  You've served a truly honorable mission, and I know the people of the Philippines are going to miss the kind and loving servant of the Lord you are, but I know there are a lot of people back in St. George, Utah, who are so anxious to see you again.  Well done!
    It's been another fun and crazy week.  Transfers were on Thursday and brought lots of changes!  Last transfer we were a purely English zone, but we now have Spanish and Mandarin-speaking missionaries here!  We also have all new district leaders, and a bunch of other changes as well.  It's been a busy few days so far, but it's been great as well, and I think we have a fantastic zone.  It will be good to get to know them all a little better today.
    We've also had lots to do in our own area.  We taught Peter again this Monday.  Sadly, Marco wasn't feeling well, so he didn't join us, but it was a great lesson!  Peter is so solid, and has definitely been prepared by the Lord.  We're just hoping to help him accept a baptismal date this week.  He's reading from the Book of Mormon and came to church yesterday, and he's loving both!  We're really excited for his progress.
    We're hoping to start teaching a couple of new people this week as well.  A couple of our members had us for dinner on Saturday...along with one of their non-member friends, and they're planning on having us again this week....with more non-member friends!  The members are both recently returned missionaries, and it's awesome to see their enthusiasm for helping people receive the gospel.
    The other people we're working with are doing really well.  Travis received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday, which was fantastic!  He's planning on doing baptisms for the dead this weekend up in Calgary, and we're going to try to find him some family names to take along with him before he goes.  Liz is also doing well.  We got her started on some family history the other day, and she was so enthusiastic about it!  She just ate it up!  She's also been coming to church without her friend for the last couple weeks, which has allowed her to make some new friendships and get her out of her shell a little more.
    The other people we're working with are progressing well also, and it's nice to see their progress.  I hope they're noticing a change within themselves.
    Things are good.  Something I've learned a bit about this past week is accountability.  In our transfer meeting, President Nicholas talked to us about stewardship and cited D&C 104.  I looked at it a bit on my own, and something stood out to me.  In verses 11 and 12 it says,"It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship; That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him."  All of us have been given stewardships and/or blessings in general from our Heavenly Father, and that can teach us so much about how to be accountable to him for what He's entrusted us with.  That's such a blessing!  This life is about preparing to meet God, and when I meet him at the judgment bar, I know that I'll be accountable for what I've done here.  The great blessing is, that "whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life." (D&C 51:19)  I'm going to try to be more accountable to my Heavenly Father for all that He's given me so that I can be worthy of that incredible blessing.
    Thank you all so much for everything you've done for me!  I'm so grateful for your examples and love and support.  It's all done so much.  I hope you all have a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Friday, May 22, 2015

Week 98 - South Sudan

Hello All!
    So I first want to say congratulations to Dixie High School's class of 2015.  You've done it!  You got through 13 years of school...and now you're off to bigger and better (and just as stressful) things!  Good luck with everything.  Thank you for your friendships and examples, even though you're still just little sophomores in my eyes. ;)
    It's been another great week up here!  As you may know, it's transfer week this week, but not too much is changing for me and Elder Averett.  Both of us are staying in this area, which was a pleasant surprise, and I'm excited to finish strong for these last five weeks with him!  It's going to be great, and I can't wait to see what the Lord can do in five short weeks as we give Him our all.
    We've had lots of cool developments this week, and I'm excited to share them with you!
    Our less actives and recent converts are progressing really well!  Travis is as solid as ever, and the plan is for him to receive the Aaronic Priesthood this coming Sunday, and then to go and do baptisms for the dead with his member girlfriend up in Calgary.  We'll probably try to find some family names he can take with him to help him feel the Spirit of Elijah and just get even more solid in his conversion than he already is.  
    We also started meeting with another girl this week who recently moved into the ward. Her name is Adrienne, and she's in a pretty rough spot right now.  I won't give you too many details, but suffice it to say that she's gone through some pretty terrible things in the last few years, and has been making some choices lately that are not helping her be happy.  We've met with her a couple of times, and she seems to be getting more and more willing to repent and return to the Lord, even though she's struggling at times with feeling like He doesn't want her back.  I think we all feel like that sometimes, I know I have.  Let me just interject my testimony in here that that is not true!  Our Heavenly Father and our Savior will always love us with a perfect love no matter what.  I don't care who you are or what you've done, They still love you more than you know and want more than anything for you to be happy!
    We had some other great and spiritual visits this week with Jake, Kim, Tyler, Sam and Bernie, Liz and Lindsay, and a few others as well!  We also started meeting with a few other less actives this week.
    Holy Cow!  This is a lot of information to share.  I still need to tell you about Peter and Marco!  We were told about Peter a couple weeks back by two separate and independent sources. (We thought he was two different Peters at first.)  Anyway, we met with them for the first time on Saturday in the home of one of the members who told us about them, and they're awesome!  Peter and Marco are from South Sudan, but have been here in Lethbridge for quite a while now.  I believe they're both doing their studies here.  They come from a catholic background, I think Marco is more devout than Peter, but have a very strong faith in Christ and a belief in the Bible.  As we were teaching them about the Restoration of the Gospel on Saturday, I was so impressed with what they already knew and understood!  Peter basically taught us about the role and importance of prophets!  We invited them to be baptized, and they said that once they know the Book of Mormon is true, they will be.  We have a couple of things that we need to resolve with them before then, but I think it's pretty inevitable.  Maybe I'm being over confident, but I can definitely see the Lord's hand in their lives, preparing them to receive His Gospel.
    Before I close, I want to share a scripture that I read this morning.  Talking about the creation of man, Abraham 4:31 says, "And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient."  When I read that, it prompted me to think if that was true for me.  Am I very obedient?  Am I even sorta obedient?  Obedience brings blessings.  Obedience brings miracles.  Obedience brings the Spirit, protection, strength, power, peace, and so many other good things!  What can we do to be more obedient to what the Lord has asked us to do?  It's worth any effort to change what we need to change.
    Thank you all so much for your love and support and all that you are and do!  Have a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Friday, May 15, 2015

Week 97 - A Happy Mother's Day

Hello all!
    First off, I was just looking through my inbox, and I realize how bad I've been at getting back to so many of you who have emailed me, and written me too!  I really apologize.  Please know that I really appreciate your thinking of me and for your kind words.  I've been blessed with some really wonderful people in my life.  I will try to be better about getting back to you in the next couple of weeks.
    It's been a great week here in the CCM.  I'll first let you know about Travis and his baptism this week.
    First off, Travis comes from a very Christian family.  In fact, his dad is a Baptist minister.  So, when Travis came to Lethbridge and had some contact with missionaries, I think he was pretty determined to help them see the error of their Mormon ways.  He would read the Book of Mormon a bit to find "flaws" and points he could bash with the elders about, and was probably pretty comfortable in his ways,  However, he finally came to the point where he remembered something he'd read in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and realized that if he was really going to know whether or not it was all true, he'd have to read it with a sincere heart.  Travis gained a testimony.  This past October, he started going to church in the YSA Ward he was living in, and the missionaries later invited him to give the lessons another try.  They went well, and Travis accepted the truth of what they taught, and then he moved, and we got to be a part of his journey.  His baptism on Thursday was pretty wonderful, and his confirmation yesterday was as well.  He's going to make a fantastic member of the church, and his kind, funny, and guileless example is an inspiration to me.  I really look forward to working with him for the next few weeks and see him progress toward the priesthood, the temple, and all the other blessings of the Gospel!
    We've had a pretty great week, otherwise.  We didn't meet with as many less actives this week, but the ones we are meeting with seem to be progressing well.  Liz went to the temple for the first time this past Saturday (huzzah!) and loved it!  We saw Amanda at church again with her boyfriend.  We had a great lesson with Jake yesterday, who has a desire to get back to the temple and receive his endowment.  Things are pretty great.  We're working on finding some more investigators right now, though, as we have a goal this month to have 50 people on date to be baptized,  I know we can do it, and I know the Lord has prepared people for us, we've just got to find them.  Your prayers on our behalf would be much appreciated. #niftyfifty
    I wanted to close with a thought that came to a bit of a culmination this morning.  I'll share a scripture I know I've shared before to start:
    "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy,and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen."        (Alma 26:37)
    I love that verse because it helps me see God's love for me and all of His children.  However, I think the world "numbereth" is pretty interesting,  Something I've been learning over the past couple of days is that every person is different, and that's exactly how it's supposed to be.  If you think of numbers, you can can count (numbereth) forever, and you'll never come across the same number twice.  God loves each one of those individual and unique children of His so so much, and He commands us to love ourselves, and to "love thy neighbor as thyself".  I invite us all to remember that in our everyday dealings with ourselves and our neighbors.  Let's remember to love and not judge.
    Thank you again for the wonderful people you all are!  I'm so grateful for the choice souls Heavenly Father has blessed me with in my life.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen