Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 8 - Canadian Television Star

Hello All!
So yes, I'm famous.  As you all probably watch TSN/ Canadian ESPN all the time, you'll know that they filmed Sports Centre here in Raymond this week, and I was all over it! ;)  haha, they were here as part of a tour they're doing with Kraft, and it was a really great time.  We had a bunch of missionaries from our zone and Lethbridge here to volunteer, and we all had a lot of fun, and got quite sun-burnt.  It was worth it!
    Other than that day, things were pretty much as they always are up here in Southern Alberta.  Summer is winding down-only a week before school starts up again- so people are trying to get they're last minute holidaying in.  It'll be great when school starts and people can't avoid us as easily. ;) 
  Things are going pretty well with our investigators.  I don't think we'll be seeing much of Ben anymore, though.  He's been pretty actively avoiding us, but I still have hope for him.  He's so close!  We had a great lesson with Megan and Kaylin this week on the Plan of Salvation, and they made it to church this week!  Not so good, their dad, who is a member, but is rather-very anti, has forbidden them from being baptized while they live in his house.  Needless to say, this is a bit of an obstacle.  It's alright, though, something that I've learned from this situation is that you don't give up on people, especially in situations like this!  I've already seen the difference the gospel has made in the lives of these girls-and their little brother, Ethan, who we've also been teaching- and I know that it can help them so much more, especially since they have to wait a little longer now to enter the waters of baptism.  It'll happen, though.  I have faith that it will.
    We also had another lesson with our new investigator, Jonathan.  We also taught him the Plan of Salvation and had a recent convert there who is one of his good friends.  She's only been a member for about two months, but she's amazing.  It was wonderful to hear her story, and I hope that she'll be a great strength and support to her friend as he takes this journey.  
    In church this week, we had the opportunity to perform our musical number again.  It was great to be able to have the opportunity to do that and have people around who I can perform with and we can all help each other magnify the talents we've been given. (For your entertainment- I was Elder Huffman in one of the wards' program.)
    For my weekly spiritual thought ;) I thought I'd talk about forgiveness.  I'm almost done with the Book of Mormon, and was reading in Moroni 6 the other day.  It talks about the church among the Nephites, which was basically identical to ours, and how they received people into the church and made sure they were "remembered and nourished by the good word of God," which is wonderful!  We need to make sure we're nourishing one another.  It also talks about what happens when members of the church sinned,"and repented not, and confessed not," that "their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ."  Sometimes, I think we leave it at that.  Just go to the next verse, though.  I won't even type it.  Just look up Moroni 6:8.  I'll leave it at that.
    I love you all so much!  Have a wonderful September! (Geez, it's already September!)  Good luck to my talented friends auditioning for Peter Pan, and make sure you treat Sir good!  Cross your fingers that Ben Affleck will be a good Batman! ;)  Be good!

        Elder Hafen

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 7 - The Barefoot Canyon

Things are starting to happen in Raymond, brothers and sisters!  This week wasn't a huge one for teaching lessons, but it's coming!  

    I'll start from the beginning, though.  We had Zone P-Day on Monday this week, which was great!  We had the opportunity to go to Waterton National Park, which is gorgeous.  If you've never heard about it, which is very likely, look it up!  Anyway, we went there and hiked what's called Red Rock Canyon.  It actually reminded me a lot of the slot canyons back in Southern Utah, and we had a great time.  I wasn't exactly prepared for it, though, and didn't have the right shoes for the hike, so I did it barefoot!  Good times... good times. :)
    We taught Megan and Kalynn again, and they're coming along wonderfully!  Megan made it to church this week, and we found out from their aunt that Kalynn wants to be baptized!  We'll teach them again this week and I can't wait to see how it goes!
    We also picked up a new investigator last night named Jonathan.  His grandma passed away recently, and she always wanted him to be baptized, but he comes from a part-member and less-active family, so that never happened.  We talked for a while and taught him a bit about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and committed him to read it.  We also invited him to be baptized once he finds out that it's true, and he said yes...basically! haha  He really seems like a golden investigator and I can't wait to see how everything pans out with him.
    Sadly, we haven't met with Ben again, and I don't know when we'll be able to.  Thinking about meeting with us again and the church just makes him think of his ex, and so he's too sad to. :P  That's why you're not supposed to steady date, kids!  I've still got hope for Ben, though.  He's so close, and I hope we'll be able to see him again soon.
    Elder Musselman and I, along with an awesome member from one of our wards, had the opportunity to perform a musical number in a couple of our wards.  I sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," Elder Musselman played his violin, and our member accompanied on the piano.  It was a really great opportunity, and I hope we were able to touch those who heard it!
One of the wards we went to also had some really great talks on the scriptures.  They were both quite different, but they made me think about the scriptures a lot: how important they are, how much we should value them, etc.  One compared the scriptures to a letter from home.  That is definitely something I can apply to myself.  Letters from home are amazing things! (hint hint)  But really, think about the comfort you get when you receive a letter from home, telling you how things are, asking you questions, giving you advice.  That's what the scriptures are!  They're one of the most important ways our loving Heavenly Father communicates with us.  That's our Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can imagine, and is perfect, and knows exactly what is best for us.  Think about that next time you read.  Ask yourself what it is Heavenly Father is telling you!  You'll probably learn something.
    I love you all so much!  Have a wonderful week.  Be righteous!

        Elder Hafen

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 6 - The Blazin' Challenge

Hello All!

    It was a pretty non-typical week here in the Great Canada Calgary Mission.  On Thursday, we went to Cardston again to work at the temple.  Sadly, we only got to weed this time, but it was still awesome.  It opens back up next week and I can't wait to go through that amazing place!  We spent most of the day Friday driving to and from Calgary and in Calgary for a training with President Nicholas, which was great, and I also got to see my MTC district again!  I miss them like crazy, but I think they're doing well, and I'm sure we'll be reunited again at some point. ;)  While we were in Calgary, we also went to Buffalo Wild Wings, or B-Dubs, for lunch, and that's where the subject line comes in.
    At B-Dubs, they have what's called the "Blazin' Challenge".  Basically, you have to eat 10 wings drenched in their hottest sauce in 5 minutes.  No utensils, no napkins, no drinks, just you and the wings.  Don't worry, I chickened out this time.  Elder Musselman didn't, though.  I'm proud to say he did it, even if a few tears were shed in the process.
    On Saturday morning, we volunteered at the Raymond Triathlon, which was fun!  There was a 79 year-old man doing it.  Let me tell ya, seeing a 79 year-old man doing a triathlon really makes you feel great about yourself.
    Sadly, we didn't get to meet with Ben this week.  The night before our lesson, his girlfriend dumped him, of course.  It's alright, though.  I think he's still committed to learning and I'll be pretty surprised if he doesn't get baptized soon.  We did have a great lesson with Megan and Kalynn, though.  They're the two sisters who we've been teaching with their aunt and uncle.  We had been concentrating a lot on Joseph Smith and the Restoration, but that was not the right way to go with these two.  They really weren't seeing why what we were teaching them was important, and they didn't really have much of a religious background at all.  So, we started with the basics.  We really just talked about who God is, and how he can help us, because these girls really don't have the greatest life, and they need that.  We talked about prayer, and how Heavenly Father always answers prayers, even if we don't see the answers right away.  I've kind of been thinking about that in my own life, too, and it's really true.  Sometimes, we have to look really hard for an answer, but it will be there.  I've received many more answers to prayer than I even realize, and I think that if we think about it, that's pretty true for all of us.
    I want to talk a little about Primary now.  Elder Musselman and I have been able to teach a couple of primary classes for the last couple of weeks, and it's been awesome!  Yesterday, we were teaching the 6 year-old class, and the topic was "Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ".  We talked about what faith was and gave some examples. (the sun rising in the morning, the Brother of Jared, etc)  Then, Elder Musselman went around the room to each child, and asked them some questions. He asked one little girl to rate how much faith she had on a scale of 1 to 10.  I was expecting 10 or 11 or something like that, but she thought about it for a second, and then said, boldly, "100!"  And you could tell she meant it.  I wonder sometimes if I can have faith like that.  As a missionary, you have to have faith.  When you're given the responsibility to "help others come unto Christ", you need to have faith in Christ, not yourself, or you aren't going to be a very good missionary.  It's a little hard sometimes, but we can develop faith like that little girl.  Just think about all the miracles in your life.  I don't know anyone who has ever seen the Savior, but I know plenty of people who have had answers to prayers.  I know plenty of people who have had spiritual experiences.  For myself, I've had quite a few trials of faith in just a month of missionary work, but I've also had plenty of confirmations of that faith.  Faith is just like everything else, it takes little things for it to become strong.  Like it says in Alma, "And behold as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care that it may bring forth fruit unto us.  And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit."
    Have a great week, my friends.  Good luck to all my school-starting friends. (muahahaha) I love you all.

        Elder Hafen

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 5 - Steak and Ribs

    Hello All!

    That's what we had for dinner last night.  
Jealous, much? ; )  Raymond continues to be a great place!  It's hard sometimes to find things to do, but we manage to fill up our schedule with service and less-active/recent convert work, as well as the occasional investigator lesson.  I'm sure if we keep working hard and try to be obedient, we'll see some miracles here in Raymond.  We actually have a couple of, I believe, really promising investigators right now.
    We have fun, too.  It's great to be able to pick fresh raspberries right out of our backyard and play pranks on the Sisters.  (There's a companionship of sisters in Raymond as well.)  Last night, we got some pretty heavy rain and lightning and thunder.  It was an awesome display.  Then, we got a phone call from the sisters, who had apparently been out walking and were caught in the rain and had run into a shed in some field.  Right when we were about to drive out and rescue them in our pajamas, we found out they had set up the whole thing.  They were really just sitting on their porch laughing at us.  This will not go unanswered.
    One of our investigators is named Ben.  He's about 17 and is dating a member girl; that's how he started working with the missionaries.  He'll start grade 11 or 12 in the next couple of weeks. (They say grade first here.  Weird, eh? ;) )  When he started, he was meeting with the missionaries with his girlfriend's family, and wasn't progressing very far.  The last few times we've taught him, though, we've met just with him, and it's been great!  You can really tell that he's felt the Spirit, and that he has a testimony.  We challenged him to be baptized last lesson, and he said not yet.  I think he's a bit overwhelmed by that concept and he says he wants to understand more.  We addressed some of his concerns, I hope, and then just bore testimony to him that if he believes the things we've taught him and has faith that this is what he's supposed to be doing, he knows enough. 
    Now I'm going to get a little preachy, so feel free to ignore me. ;)  One of the hardest things about missionary work here is that almost everyone is already a member, which is great!  It's wonderful that in some places we have to deal with the "problem" of too many Mormons. (I'm looking at you, Saint George.)  But what does that mean for the non-members around us?  In Raymond, a lot of them are anti-Mormon.  Some don't really care about the church and aren't really interested in learning more.  How can we change that?  I really think the biggest thing we can do as members of the church and disciples of Jesus Christ is to "love your neighbor."  A lot of the time, as "Mormons", we'll take cookies to the new family on the block and introduce ourselves, and then really don't do a whole lot else except maybe invite them to a church activity once in a while.  Can't we try to be their real friends first?  There's really not too much of a difference between Mormons and non-Mormons; in the end, we're all children of our Heavenly Father, and he wants us to be friends!  Part of the reason we meet in church every week is to strengthen and edify one another.  I think we can do that with everyone as we really try to "take upon ourselves" the name of Christ and work as hard as we can on acting as He would act.  I really think that if we all start to love our neighbor a little more, the natural consequence will be many more people interested in why we love people so much and why we're so happy.  Then, we can let them know as their friends, not their weirdo, cultist neighbor.
    I hope you're all doing well and having a great summer!  You're great people.  I love you.  Be good.  Have fun!
       Elder Hafen