Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 78 - Post Christmas Surprises

Hello All!

    Well, Christmas was the best, as usual.  I hope it was a great day for all of you as well, especially you elders and sisters and families of elders and sisters out there.  I can't think of too many better Christmas presents than being able to be see and be with (pretty much) my family on that best day of the year.  I can't even describe how happy I was to see them again and talk to them again.  To make it all even crazier, we'll actually be with (really) each other again before I know it!  Time flies so fast, and that's just a testimony to me of how much we really have to do during this probationary life we've been given and how much I have to do in these last 6 months of my mission!  Let's do this!
Christmas was definitely the highlight of the week, but there were lots of other great things as well.  On Christmas Eve, we spent the evening with an awesome family that honestly reminded me of my own family.  There was lots of good food and fun and the Spirit was definitely there.  It made me think about how nice it will be to finally have a Christmas with my whole family back together again next year, since we haven't had one of those for six years now.  It's gonna be great. :)  We also spent some time with some pretty wonderful families on Christmas Day, and it was nice to share in some of their Christmases and the Spirit that was in their homes.  I also got to meet Diana this week.  She's a member of our YSA Branch who joined the church a few years ago, and has since become less active.  We had a really nice visit with her, and she said she'd like to get herself back in the church.  It'll be a challenge to overcome those habits that she's developed over the last few years, but I'm sure she can.
    Highlight number two from this week was a bit of a surprise Christmas gift (a couple days late).  Our branch president called us on Friday night, telling us he needed some help with something the next morning.  So, we showed up the next day to help him out with it.  He was kind of humming and hawing for a bit, and I honestly thought we were going to get in trouble for something.  Then, there was a knock at the door, and he asked me to get it.  "That's kinda weird." I thought, but I opened the door, and who was there but...Rob! 
He and Sister Paxman had figured out where I was serving, and managed to set the meeting up.  Haha, I wish someone had gotten a picture of my face when I saw them.  We had a really nice visit, and it was great to hear about Rob's progress.  He's received the priesthood now, and has been helping pass the sacrament.  He's getting pretty bored of the gospel principles class, so he'll probably be going to gospel doctrine soon.  He's also really excited to go to the temple next year, and Sister Paxman doesn't think he even needs a temple prep class since he's prepared himself so for it already.  I couldn't help but stare and smile probably the whole time.  I just can't express how blessed I've been to know the two of them as well as many of the other people the Lord has guided me to while I've been here and at home.  They (and all of you too) are truly some of the greatest blessings I've ever received.
    Well, I've got to get running now, but I hope you all have a fantastic new year this week.  Be sure to set some good goals for yourself to make sure you make the most of the time you have.  I love you all so much!  Be good!  Have fun!

Elder Hafen

Week 77 - Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!
    I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas-time, and I hope you've all felt the Spirit testify to you the real reason for this season.  It's such a great time of year to be people who know who Jesus Christ is and know that we are members of His church.  I can't wait for Thursday to be able to see my family and celebrate with them.  Because I'm pretty darn excited for that, I'm sorry if this is kind of brief.
    There's not a ton going on right now.  A lot of our work is in the YSA branch, and Christmas break isn't too conducive to teaching lessons.  To add to that, Jady, our Korean friend, flew home last week, but we're hopeful she'll keep going with the church.  It's all good, though.  I know the Lord has people for us to find and teach here.  We just have to find them.
    With the Christmas season here, Elder Macmichael and I did get the chance to hopefully share some Christmas spirit yesterday in church.  We were asked to perform a musical number, and ended up singing "Away in a Manger", which I think has become my favorite Christmas hymn.  I just wanted to share the third verse with you:

"Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there."
    That is my prayer this Christmas, and I'm grateful for everything the Savior has done to answer it for all of us.  I know that He is real, and that He does love us all so very much.  I hope we all remember Him more and more every day, especially right now as we celebrate His humble birth.
    Thank you for your love and your prayers.  Please please please have a great Christmas!  I love you all so much!

Elder Hafen

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week 76 - Moroni 6:8

Hello All!
    I hope you're all having a Merry Christmas and are getting ready for the big day!  Only 9 days left!  I'm pretty darn excited to see my wonderful family, and I hope that will be a great present for all of you missionaries and missionary families out there.  It's crazy how much time flies, and really how weird time is.  It seems like I've been in Medicine Hat for forever and no time at the same time.  I'll be gone before I know it, but I'm so grateful to be here while I am.
    We had the opportunity to have a Christmas celebration as a mission family yesterday, with President and Sister Nicholas coming down from Calgary to visit us.  We had interviews with President first, which are always great, and then the Nicholases let us join them in the family Christmas activity they do every year.  It was a really warm and spiritual experience.  It's nice to have a family here, even though my real one is a little far away.  We even got a surprise gift in getting to see "Meet the Mormons"!  We were told a while ago that we wouldn't be able to see it when it was released in Calgary, which was a little disappointing.  But, when the Missionary Department told President that, they also sent him a screening copy to show us.  It was a fantastic film, and I would highly recommend it to anyone!
    Things are going great here in Medicine Hat.  It's been nice to have another week to get to know our area a little better and get to know the wonderful people in it!  There are some fantastic members of the church here in Medicine Hat, and I'm really grateful for the privilege to serve them.
    We had a couple of really great lessons this week.  I didn't tell you about her last week, but one of our investigators, Jady, is from Korea and is actually going back home this week.  Anyway, we were able to meet with her twice this week, and it was awesome.  She is such a sincere person, and asks some great questions.  She's so willing to listen and to act, and I'm pretty confident that she'll track down some missionaries back in Korea.  Jady also had a couple of friends here who left on Sunday, but we had some really good interactions with them also, and we're hopeful they'll make some new Mormon friends back in Korea, too.
    Jacki came to church again, as did Jady, and came to a baptism as well!  We're still not sure how interested she is in finding out for herself if this is all true, but I think she at least has some real intent.  One of her friends, Kate, is a returning member in the YSA branch, and has been a great support to her.  Kate is making really good progress, and it's been fun to work with her.  (P.S. family, she actually did some rodeos with Jade back in the day.  Small world, eh?)
    We also had a really cool privilege on Saturday afternoon.  There's a man named Joseph, who Elder Macmichael has been working with for the past little while.  Joseph was excommunicated from the church for some reason I don't and don't need to know.  He introduced himself to me my first Sunday here at church, and he impressed me as a very good and kind man.  Anyway, on Saturday, he had the opportunity to be baptized again.  It was a really beautiful service, and Joseph was walking around afterward just hugging everyone there.  There was a lot of love there.  It reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures.  It's in Moroni chapter 6, when the manner of baptism among the Nephites is being described.  (It's the same as how we do it, surprise surprise.)  Also like us, so people didn't always stay in the strait and narrow way, and if they did not repent, "their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ." (v.7)  It says something that I really love in the next verse, though. "But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven."  Just because we make a mistake, it doesn't mean that's the end.  I hope we can all seek for forgiveness with the same kind of love and humility that Joseph has.
    Thank you so much for your emails this week!  I'm definitely blessed with a lot of great people in my life.  Thank you for your love and support, and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!  Be good!  Have fun!

Elder Hafen

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Week 75 - The Hat

Hello All!
    Well transfers are done, and I'm now getting settled in the Medicine Hat 2nd Ward and YSA Branch.  So far, I'm really liking Medicine Hat, and my new companion, Elder Macmichael.  Medicine Hat (a.k.a. Med Hat, the Hat, etc.) is a city of about 60,000 people in Southeastern Alberta, about 3 hours from Calgary.  It honestly reminds me quite a bit of St. George, which is great!  Elder Macmichael is from Nova Scotia.  He came out on his mission the transfer before me, so has been out about a year and a half.  The ward and the branch are great, and I've met some awesome people.  It's been great so far, and I can't wait to see what the Lord needs me to do here.
    With only being here since Thursday, and pretty much two of those days being back up in Calgary for a meeting, I don't really know what's going on too much in the area.  A lot of our work is in the Young Single Adult Branch though, and one of our investigators, Jacki, came to church yesterday!  That was great, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to help her progress towards baptism.  Otherwise, we're just looking forward to seeing who the Lord has prepared for us to find and teach here.  It's gonna be awesome!
    I hope you were all able to see the Christmas Devotional yesterday, and if you weren't, I would highly recommend watching it!  Elder Todd D. Christofferson spoke, and shared a really beautiful story.  Basically, a community came together to give a little boy one last Christmas before he passed away this past October.  It was touching to see how individuals and groups were able to make such a huge difference in the lives of this little boy and his parents.  Hearing stories like that one may be my favorite part of Christmas, and I would invite all of us to do what we can to bring some of the Spirit of Christmas into to the lives of the people around us.  We don't have to do anything big or difficult, but I think our Heavenly Father does expect us to do something to bless the lives of our brothers and sisters.  As the Lord says in D&C 42:38,"For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me."  He's given us everything!  I think we can give him a little bit back as we serve those around us.
    I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Good luck with all that you're doing.  Thank you so much for your emails and support.  Be good!  Have fun!  Merry Christmas!

Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 74 - A Sad Farewell

Hello All! 
First off, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope it was a wonderful holiday for all of you with lots of friends and family and realizing how blessed you really are.  Oh, and Pumpkin Pie.  That's pretty good too.  We weren't deprived of a good ol' American Thanksgiving, as one of our YSA members made us up a very delicious one.  I've now had 4 Thanksgivings on my mission.  Jealous much?  Haha, it's been a great week.  I'd also like to send my love to my Great Uncle Denny's family.  His funeral was this past week, and I know this isn't an easy time. 
    Well, it's transfers, and I'm off again.  I suppose I shouldn't have been expecting anything different, since I'm always in my areas for three transfers.  I'm pretty sad to go, though.  This has been a really awesome area, and I will miss it, and especially the people here, a lot.  I've learned so much here.  My testimony has been strengthened.  My conversion to the Savior has deepened.  I think I've grown quite a bit.
I'm also grateful for this new chance to learn and grow and improve, though.  I'll be transferred back to the southern part of the mission, which means I'll be quite a ways from Calgary.  I'm really excited to see where I end up, and there's even a chance that I'll go back to West Lethbridge for this Christmas. (I would be alright with that. :) )  We'll find out what happens on Thursday, and I'll let you all know next week.  Wish me luck!
    Some surprising news from this week: Lana wasn't baptized.  It's a bit of a long story, so I'll try not to leave you in suspense too long. (She should still be baptized.)  We had a lesson scheduled with Lana on Tuesday evening.  It was going to be our last lesson before the baptismal interview.  We went by, and she wasn't there.  On the door was a card from her, thanking us and the members who have fellowshipped her for everything we've done for her.  She explained in the card that her family had not been too excited to hear that she was getting baptized, and because of that persecution, she had made sure she wouldn't be there for our lesson.  We assume she told her family that she had decided not to get baptized to get them to back off.  We were a little disappointed, as you can probably imagine.  We tried getting in touch with Lana a couple times, with not luck.  Finally, on Friday night, we caught her at home.  We arranged to come back on Saturday night, and she explained everything then.  It's kind of hard for Lana to express things verbally, so she had written us a letter talking about what had happened and why she'd done what she'd done.  We were hoping her family would be understanding or even supportive, but they weren' all.  They had all turned on Lana, and done and said some pretty nasty things.  Lana was in no way resentful towards the church, and she still wanted to be baptized but everything was really hard on her.  We had a really great discussion with her, and recommitted her to baptism on the 13th of December, her birthday. :)  She came to church on Sunday, and I think everything should go according to plan this time. (knock on wood.)  Lana is great.  And I'm grateful for the chance I had to know her.
    We also had a couple of potential investigators just show up at church on Sunday.  It was kinda cool.  We'll hope things work out with them.
I wanted to write today about the blessing of each other.  D&C 18:15 is a scripture a lot of people use for missionary work, and something interesting about it stood out to me.  The verse says, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"  How great shall be your joy with them. This life was never meant to be one we went through on our own, and the next one isn't either.  I hope and pray that I will be able to see and be with and have joy with each and every one of you, and each and every one of the people the Lord has blessed me to know on my mission.  I'm trying to be better about loving everyone right now, and I encourage you all to do the same.  There is so much to love in every single person.  Are we not all children of God, with the very real potential to become like him?
    I love you all so much!  I hope you have a fantastic day, and that your week is great, too.  Be good!  Have fun!
Merry Christmas!
Elder Hafen 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 73 - Happy Birthday to the Best Mom in the World!‏

Oh glorious day!
I first want all of you to know that today is truly the best day of the year.  Today is the day that Laurel Hafen, the best mother in the world, was born, just a couple of years ago. :)  Happy Birthday, Mom!  You really are the best, and I am so grateful for all you've done for me.  I don't know who'd I'd be without you, and I don't think I want to know, either.  Your testimony and your example have truly changed my life, and I am eternally grateful for those and all the other incredible gifts you've given me.  I love you so much, Ma!
    There are lots of great things going on this week!  Tomorrow is also the birthday of an amazing person, my Grandma "Honey".  Even though she's not here to celebrate with us in body, I know she'll be able to feel all of our love for her.
    Thursday is also the day of American, or real, Thanksgiving. :)  One of our YSA members is being very kind and making us a real turkey dinner, so I'm very grateful for the opportunity to join in the festivities with all of you!
    Saturday's also pretty sweet, since Lana is getting baptized!  We had a great lesson with her on Saturday, and she seems as good to go as ever!  We'll be having one more lesson with her on Tuesday, and then her baptismal interview on Friday.  We also had a really cool experience in the lesson on Saturday, because her sister, Lisa, showed up.  I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Lana has been feeling quite a bit of opposition from her family because of her meeting with us, so it was nice to actually meet a member of her family.  It turns out that Lisa had actually met with missionaries.... for a long time.  It was a while ago, like 8 years ago, but she still remembers quite a bit, and even keeps in touch with at least one of her missionaries.  We're hopeful that she'll come to the baptism, and that Lana's example will have a positive impact on all of her family.  It's been a real blessing knowing her.
    Other than Lana, we really don't have anyone else who's progressing.  I know that the people the Lord has prepared are out there, though, and I can't wait to find them!  It's amazing how much the He providesI just wanted to share this week how truly beautiful it is to have the Holy Ghost as your companion. 
   We went to the temple on Friday, which is one of my all-time favorite places to be because of the Spirit that I always feel there.  It's nice to be in a place where the Spirit can move and communicate so easily.  He helped me feel and learn some things that I think I needed to feel and know.  There's also no feeling in the world like receiving a prompting from the Holy Ghost, and actually acting on it!  I had the opportunity to act on a very small prompting this week, and the joy I felt was so pure.  Parley P. Pratt once said something about the Gift of the Holy Ghost that I really love,"The gift of the Holy Ghost quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being".  It's true.  I'd invite all of us to do whatever we can to make sure we have that companionship all the time.
    Thank you all for your emails and your love!  I hope you have a great day and a great week.  Congratulations to the Flyers for another state championship!  Keep fighting for the cause of Dixie!  I love you all.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 72 - Just a Little Cold

Hello All!
     First off, Good luck Flyers!  I know you can take state again!  Also, congratulations to the cast of Tarzan.  I've heard nothing but good about the show, and I'm sure you all did a fantastic job!  Time is sure flying fast, but I'm glad it's bringing more and more good things.
    Things are great here, just a little cold.  Today it's actually not even bad.  It's warmed up to -2 Celsius, which is a lot better than -18.  It's beautiful, though.  The great thing about Calgary is that even though it's freezing and there's snow and ice everywhere, it's still sunny with a gorgeous blue sky.  I love it!
    I'll warn you in advance that this'll be kind of short, and that's partly because of all the great emails I got today.  Thank you everyone!  It means a lot to know that people actually remember me. ;)
    Another reason this will be kind of short is that we are no longer teaching two of our investigators.  We had a lesson with Ishan yesterday, and he really doesn't have a desire to know if this really is the one true church.  We dropped him on good terms, though, and I think we'll still see him out to activities and such.  We were also supposed to have a lesson with Crystal this week, but that didn't happen, and then we got in touch with her yesterday only  to find out that she wasn't really interested anymore.  The Law of Chastity isn't a problem for some other churches, so she's decided to go an easier route.  Pretty disappointing, but it's all good.  Even though we have to bear disappointments and challenges in missionary work and life, I've really come to know here that the Lord will always provide for our needs and for what He needs to accomplish his work.
    It's not all gloom and rain clouds, though, because we've still got Lana!  She's progressing marvelously well, and is still planning on being baptized on the 29th.  We met with her a couple times this week, and she accepted the Law of Chastity, the Law of Tithing, and the Word of Wisdom no problem.  She does drink coffee, but she knows it's bad for you, and I don't think she really wants to be drinking it anyway.  She's truly awesome.
    I think that the Lord is teaching me the importance of being bold and unapologetic about the truth lately.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to redeem all men from our sinful and filthy state, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to access that power.  It's the only way!  How grateful I am for that!  As it says in Romans. "For I am not ashamed‍ of the gospel‍ of Christ: for it is the power‍ of God unto salvation"!
    I love you all, and I hope you all have a fantastic week!  Remember who you are!  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 71 - Lest We Forget, Lest We Forget

Hello All!
     For all you down in the states, Happy Veterans Day tomorrow, and for Canadians out there, Happy Remembrance Day. Wherever you are, be sure to remember those who have gone before and fought and died to preserve the freedoms we all enjoy.  We owe so much to the people who have been willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of others.  As the Savior said, "Greater love‍ hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life‍ for his friends." (John 15:13)
    Things are as great as ever here in the CCM.  Only... it's cold.  It's about -14 degrees Celsius right now, which is about 7 degrees Fahrenheit.  After our very warm summer, I'm definitely not used to this anymore.  It's great, though!  The bugs are all gone, and snow is honestly beautiful.  Plus, I'm actually learning how to winter drive!  I would have never learned how to do that back at home.  It's pretty awesome. :)  Anyway, enjoy your autumn, everyone.
    I told you a bit about Lana last week, and she's doing great as ever.  We taught her again on Saturday, and will have another lesson with her on Tuesday.  She was at church once more yesterday, and the ward is welcoming her wonderfully.  She's still on date to be baptized on the 29th of November, and I don't see anything stopping that from happening.
    We were also finally able to meet with Crystal this week.  She's the investigator who came to church a couple weeks ago who was found by some other elders.  Anyway, it turned out she was friends with some members in our ward, so we taught her over at their house the other day.  She had remembered and understood the Restoration well from when she'd been taught it before, so we taught her the Plan of Salvation, and I think it really made sense to her.  She accepted baptism without any concerns, and is now on date to be baptized on the 22nd.  She does need to be married to her fiancee before that happens, though.  We're pretty optimistic about everything, though.  She's super awesome.
    We were also able to meet with Ishan this week.  It was a pretty decent lesson, but I don't think we were really able to help him understand the importance of the gospel and the need for one church to teach and preserve the truths and doctrines of salvation.  We'll hopefully be able to get him there, though!
    I just wanted to share with you something I learned yesterday.  We had a lesson on being in the world, but not of the world, and it was something that stood out to me throughout the day. We were reading in the President Joseph Fielding Smith manual, and he said something I really liked. "The Latter-day Saints are as a city set on a hill that cannot be hid, and like the candle that gives light to all who are in the house. It is our duty to let our light shine as an example in righteousness, not only to the people among whom we live, but to the peoples of the whole earth."  We've been given what everyone needs, and if we don't show it, how will they know that it's what they need?  We cannot be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We need to realize how important it really is.
    I hope you're all doing well.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Week 70 - Which Way Do You Face?

Hello All!
     Good morning from the great white north once again.  We had our first real snow storm of the fall/winter (It's basically the same thing) the other day, so it really is white now.  It sure has come back fast, but I've kind of missed it, to be honest.  I hope all of you are doing just fantastically with everything you're up to.  To the cast of Tarzan, break a leg!  I'm sure you'll be awesome.  Just remember to make the most of the time you have in Dixie High Drama.
    The work is progressing just as strong as ever, no unhallowed hand stopping it.  I'm amazed every week at the miracles the Lord shows in His work, and I just hope He keeps using me as an instrument in that work.
We had a great Zone Conference this week, and I was definitely edified.  We were combined with the missionaries in the Calgary North and the Airdrie Zones, and it turned out great.  President Nicholas and the Assistants gave some great trainings, and we also did something new where everyone was supposed to have a talk prepared on one of three topics, and then a few missionaries were asked to give their talks.  The three who spoke all talked about hope, and they gave some great talks! (Elder Law was one of them, and I couldn't help but feel some fatherly pride.)
    We got to meet with Cole this week, with our Ward Mission Leader, Paul, coming along, and it turned out great!  We taught Cole the Plan of Salvation, and he was really intrigued.  He'd never heard anything like it before, but it all made sense to him.  We asked him if he would be baptized, and he said he'd have to think about it once we helped him understand the importance of priesthood authority in performing ordinances.  I think it really changed his attitude towards us and our message
    Our other investigators and less-actives seem to be doing well right now, and we were blessed with another miraculous investigator on Friday.  The sisters serving in the Lynnwood branch called and told us about a woman they'd taught a bit named Lana.  She works as a home care worker for a member in their branch, and they'd found the opportunity to teach Lana a bit about the Restoration.  Oh yeah, and they put her on date to be baptized.  A Halloween miracle!  Anyway, Lana lives in our ward boundaries, so we went over on Saturday with one of our ward missionaries, and taught her some more, and she's awesome.  She's a pretty shy person, but she's so kind and has a sincere trust in the Savior.  She's still planning on being baptized on the 29th of this month.
As part of our zone conference, Elder Rigtrup and I were asked to give a talk on Elder Lynn G. Robbin's talk, "Which Way Do You Face?".  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it in my emails before, but it's really awesome.  In it, he's talking about remembering to always face God, and not men, and says,"the true badge of courage is overcoming the fear of men." I'm trying to develop more of that courage, and was trying to find some guidance in the scriptures this morning.  The Topical Guide took me to 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament.  In chapter 19, it's talking about Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.  He'd made some mistakes in remember which way he faced, and is rebuked for it.  I know I've had that experience in my life, and I think most of us have too.  The inspiring thing about Jehoshaphat, though, is that he overcame that fear that he had.  He did what he could to make his mistakes right, and then helps his people return to the Lord as well.  At the end of the chapter, he says,"Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good."  How true that is.  I know it is true, and I've seen it so many times, I just hope the Lord will help me have that kind of courage.
    Thanks for all your support and love!  I hope you all have a great week and a great day.  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 69 - Miracles Not a Few

Hello All!
     Winter is coming, and I can't believe it's happened that fast.  It seems like just yesterday I came up from Lethbridge in the middle of a snowstorm, and now it is coming back.  We've gotten a few little snow falls this week, and we're back to sweater weather, but I'm loving it.  There wasn't too much snow, but there were tons of blessings this week pouring down from heaven, and I wanted to talk about those.
    I told you a bit about Cole last week, and he's doing well.  At first, I wasn't sure if he really saw us as any different from all the other Christians running around and saying they "have" the truth, but we had a lesson with him earlier this past week, and he really opened up to us.  He talked about the decisions he's made that he regrets, the hopes he has for the future, the way he feels about himself, and it was so easy to see how the gospel can help him through it all!  There's a chance that he'll be moving soon to find a higher-paying job, and his current work keeps him busy on Sundays, but I just hope he'll be able to see the blessings of the gospel, and come unto Christ.
    Another night this week, we were at the stake center practicing for a "Whose Line is it Anyway?" activity we'd been asked to be a part of by our YSA ward, and some members of another ward let us know there was someone in the foyer who just wanted to learn about us.  We went out and met Ishan.  He's from London, and is Sikh.  He's 19 years-old, and has been going to a lot of churches trying to learn what he can.  He was prompted to come by the chapel once before, but didn't find anyone there.  The next time he felt like coming, we just so happened to be there.  We taught him a little about the Restoration that night, and taught him the next day as well.  He came out to the "Whose Line..." activity on Friday, and made it to some of priesthood meeting on Sunday.  He says he's not going to "convert", because he's quite loyal to his upbringing and his religion, but we're hopeful he'll find out for himself the truth of everything he's seen so far, and I know he can!
    On Saturday, we were supposed to be really busy teaching lessons, but a couple fell through.  We still accomplished quite a bit, and had a great lesson with Mauricio, but didn't quite have the day we were hoping for.  Then the elders in the Valley View Ward let us know about someone they'd tracted into that day.  It was actually a family whose names are Luke, Crystal, Nicholas, and Aidan.  Luke and Crystal are just a young couple with 2 year-old twins, Nicholas and Aidan.  Elder Wilson and Elder Stanley (the Valley View elders) met them earlier in the day on Saturday, and found a lot of interest.  So, they arranged to come back later with a member.  They had a great lesson with them, and found out that they are just about to move into our ward boundaries.  I'm sure that was probably a bummer for them to realize, but they let Elder Rigtrup and I know about them, and were really gracious about the whole thing.  Crystal came to church on Sunday, and realized she had a friend who is actually a member of our ward!  She was asking me about the sacrament before, and was wondering if she had to wait until she was baptized to take it.  We're going to meet with them tomorrow, and I can't wait to see, even more than I already have, how much the Lord has prepared them to receive the gospel!
    This week, and my entire mission, have strengthened my testimony so much that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly are at the helm.  They know what they're doing, and if we let them, they'll make us instruments in their hands in doing their work.  They'll also provide us with incredible blessings on top of opportunities to serve.  A lot of people just attribute those things to luck, but, as our YSA Elder's Quorum President said yesterday, "I don't believe in luck.  I believe in blessings."  I do too, and I am so grateful for the blessings I've been given.  I just hope I do what I can to be worthy of them, and use them how I'm supposed to.
    I love you all so much.  You're some of my greatest blessings, and I hope you're receiving all the blessings you deserve in your lives. (That's a lot, in case you weren't sure. :) )  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 68 - Transfer Day

Hello All!
     First off, Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to the best big brother there is! 

Conner will be turning 23 tomorrow, and I would appreciate it if you plastered his Facebook/real life with birthday wishes. :)  
It's been a good week with lots of changes.  On Thursday, Elder Mac Duff headed off to the Calgary Stake, and Elder Rigtrup became my new companion. 
He's from...the US.  That's about the best I can do, since his dad is in the Air Force.  He came out from California, but his family is living in Virginia now.  Anyway, he's awesome.  I got to serve around him for a little bit in my last area, and we're getting along great and having lots of fun already.  I'm excited for this transfer!
    We did a lot of service this week, which is always a great opportunity to soften people's hearts!  We were especially lucky to be involved in building a playground in our area.  Coolest service project ever!  We were also able to help some other people do some moving, and we hope they'll soon give us the chance to teach them about the gospel.
    We also had a really cool experience on Thursday night after transfers.  We went to deliver a Book of Mormon to someone at about 7:15, and we hadn't really had luck getting in touch with him, so it was great that he answered, and then we had until about 8 o'clock to do something.  We decided to start tracting near there.  We knocked on the first door, and got no answer.  Then we knocked on the second door, and met Cole!  Cole is a 20-something guy who invited us right in and we taught him about the Restoration.  He's a very Christian person, though he's not involved in any church right now.  He has been, but he doesn't really like the idea of organized religions.  He said he would read and pray about the Book of Mormon though, so we're hopeful that will change his mind about one church in particular.  He came out to our ward's Family Home Evening activity last night, and seemed to have a good time.  We're going to go see him tonight, and are hopeful about his progress.
    I want to share with you one of my favorite scriptures this week.  I think I may have shared it already, but it means a lot to me, and I think it teaches something we always need to remember.  It's found in Alma 38:14, and says,"Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness....yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times."  The Savior has commanded us to be perfect, and we're not.  At least I know I'm not, though I know some people who are pretty close.  Even when we're doing really well, we're still not quite there, and we need to remember that.  Only through Jesus Christ can we be made perfect.  He wants to help us through our weaknesses and unworthiness, we just have to let Him.  We need to acknowledge that they're there, because,"if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)  We can be strong with His help.
    Thank you all so much for your good examples and your love.  I'm so grateful for all of you!  Be good!  Have fun!
Love you!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 67 - Happy Thanksgiving! (The Canadian Variety)‏

Hello All!
     I hope you're all doing wonderfully!  We had Thanksgiving up here yesterday, and I'm so grateful to have all of you as family and friends.  We went out to a town called Strathmore for Thanksgiving dinner, and it made me think of the great Thanksgivings I've had in my life.  We all have so much to be grateful for, and I know I forget that sometimes.  Thank you all for everything you've done for me; I've learned that one of the best ways our Heavenly Father blesses us is through other people, and I've had a lot of those in my life.  Thank you.
    It's been a good week, and transfers are upon us again!  I'll be staying here, which I'm grateful for, but will be losing Elder Mac Duff to some other zone in Calgary.  It's always tough losing a companion and getting a new one, but I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store.  I know He knows what he's doing.
    On Saturday, we got to be a part of Jhannsley's baptism. (I was spelling it wrong the whole time.  My bad.)  It was a great service, and his father baptized him and confirmed him in sacrament meeting the next day.  Children are so humble and sincere, and I want to be more like Jhannsely in my own life!  He's a great kid.
    We honestly didn't have too much else going on this week.  With Jhannsely's baptism, we really don't have anyone else that's on the verge of being baptized.  We do have some investigators and others who we believe are close, but we just need to go out this week, work hard, and trust in the Lord to provide.  There's no doubt in my mind that there are people out there just waiting to receive us and what we have to share.  We just need to find them!
    There's not too much else to say, but I did want to share a scripture with you.  I finished the Book of Mormon last week, and it was awesome!  I love that book so much, and I know it was written for you and me and all of us.  I don't remember exactly how I came across this scripture, but I know it's one I've read before.  However, it seemed to have a much bigger impact on me lately.  It's in 2 Nephi chapter 26, verse 24.  Talking about the Lord, it says,"He doeth not anything‍ save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth‍ the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all‍ men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation."  To me, that's a comforting piece of information.  There are plenty of times where I've wondered why I'm being required to pass through a trial, or how I'm supposed to learn anything from a specific person/event/thing.  However, I know that the Lord makes sure His plan for us works out the best way possible.  Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to grow and shape ourselves into the person we have the potential to be.  I know that I need to remember that, and try to do everything I do because of my love for my Lord and my God.
    I hope you all have a fantastic week!  You're all great, and I'm grateful for you.  Be good!  Have fun!
Love you!
Elder Hafen

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 66 - We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet‏

Hello All!
     I hope you've had a great week and a truly inspiring General Conference weekend!  (Congratulations to Elder Deric Beacco for being in the awesome missionary choir!  It was so good to see him) Conference is such an incredible blessing, and I wish I'd though of it more as that blessing before my mission.  For two days, about 10 hours, we have the opportunity to hear from God's servants.  And, as He tells us in D&C 1:38, "whether by mine own voice‍ or by the voice‍ of my servants, it is the same."  Man, He really loves us to give us that chance to hear His words!  I learned a lot, but I'll share more about that in a bit.
    The work is going well as always!  We were pretty busy this week with meetings and other mission-related stuff, but we were still blessed with chances to help people come unto Christ.
    Jansley is all set to be baptized on Saturday.  We have one more lesson with him, then his interview, and then he's good.  I continue to be grateful for his sweet and humble spirit; he's just a good kid.  I know we have a lot to learn from our younger brothers and sisters, and it's always a privilege to be able to teach one.
    We were also finally able to see Josie and Clayton again yesterday!  They've been going through a rough time lately, so we went by yesterday evening to drop off some cookies and see how they were doing.  We had a good time with them, and will hopefully be going by for a lesson on Wednesday.  Though they've gone through a lot of trials, they've let it humble them and lead them to Christ.  I wish I was better at doing that in my life.
    Mauricio and Audrey are both doing well.  We saw each of them at General Conference, and they seemed to enjoy it.  I'm sure that's got to be a crazy new experience for them, but I know there was something in it for them, specifically. 
    I bet you probably noticed that there were a lot of talks about prophets, and especially President Monson, during Conference.  I don't know why that was, but I'm sure there's a reason.  Whatever the reason, I wanted to take the opportunity to bear my testimony of President Thomas S. Monson.  There is no question in my mind that he is a prophet of God.  I've been given a pretty cool blessing as far as that goes; at least while I've been on my mission. Every time General Conference comes around and President Monson stands up for the first time, the Spirit testifies to me that he is a prophet, and that I need to listen to him.  I finished reading Ether today in the Book of Mormon, and I realized more how important it really is to follow the prophet.  In chapter 13 of Ether, it talks about the prophet Ether, and a promise that he made to the king, Coriantumr.  Coriantumr and his people, the Jaredites, were a very wicked people at this point, and they were destroying each other because of that.  In verse 20, it says, "the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy‍ unto Coriantumr‍ that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people—" If he did not,"they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself... ; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr."  Coriantumr didn't repent, and the Lord's promise was fulfilled.  The Jaredites were completely destroyed.  If Coriantumr had repented, it wouldn't have happened.  President Monson is just as much a prophet as was Ether, and if we follow his counsel, we can be saved from the evil of the world we live in today; we can be saved from destruction and a lot of sadness.  I encourage anyone who doesn't feel like they know we have a prophet in President Monson to ask God if we do.  He'll tell you.  I know that.
    Thank you all so much for your emails and your love.  I've been blessed with so many good, righteous, kind, and loving people in my life, and I hope you all have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 65 - His Work

Hello All!
     How's life?!  I hope you've all had a wonderful week.  It sounds like you're all doing great, and I'm so grateful to have examples like you in my life.
Congratulations to my great friend, Sister Avonlea Dalley on being called to train a new missionary!  She's going to do a great job and make such a difference in the life of that sister. 
    It's been awesome as usual here in Calgary, Alberta.  The leaves are changing and the temperature is going down, and summer is definitely ending.  I can't believe it's almost winter again!  It seems like just yesterday that things actually became green again. (That's probably just because I'm in Canada. ;) ) It's been a good week, though, with lots going on.
    Our visit with Elder Packer was really great, and it was a privilege to learn from one of the Lord's servants and leaders.  He taught us a lot about how we can help the people we teach and baptize endure beyond that, and I actually want to share a few of my impressions from that later on.
    The people we've been teaching here are doing well, and we were blessed to find some more this week!
    Audrey is doing great, and it turns out she's actually staying here in Calgary for a couple more weeks before returning to the Philippines.  We'll actually be able to get started on the new member lessons with her, and I'm really hopeful she could make it to the temple to do baptisms for the dead before she leaves!  She's awesome.
    Mauricio is also doing really well.  He's been to church every week, and as we've been teaching him since his baptism, I've been really impressed by how much he knows and understands about the gospel.  We gave him a Tagalog Gospel Principles book this week, so he'll hopefully be able to get a lot more from that.  We're also hoping that he'll receive the priesthood soon.  He's a little hesitant to, just because he feels he doesn't understand it too well, but I think he's warming up to the idea.
    Jansley is still doing great.  We taught him about tithing on Saturday, and I'm still amazed by his testimony.  We have a lot to learn from children.  He's still moving right along to be baptized on the 11th, and I'm pretty positive it's going to happen.
    We had a great lesson with one of our new investigators last night.  His name is Stephen.  He's also Filipino, and has only been here in Canada about a month.  His English is pretty good, considering, but it was still difficult to get certain things across at times.  That didn't really matter, though.  The Spirit was definitely there, and he promised us that he would read from the Book of Mormon.  We also taught him how to pray, and he offered a really sweet, humble prayer at the end of the lesson.
    Another person we started teaching is Katia.  She's Portuguese, and is YSA aged!  We've been hoping and praying to find YSA investigators, and the Lord has answered our prayers.  Katia has a lot of ideas and opinions that definitely witness to me that she's been prepared to receive the gospel.  There are some concerns that will have to be addressed, but she seems very open right now, and we hope to see her out to some activities and church soon.
    Back to what I was saying before, I've been thinking quite a bit lately about who we all are and what the Lord has in store for us.  As He says in Moses 1:39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  That's what He wants.  That's why He does what He does.  Our Heavenly Father wants to give us all that He has, and He, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost work perfectly together to bring that about.  We have the responsibility to work with them on that as well, not just for ourselves, but for our brothers and sisters.  Sometimes, it's easy to get overwhelmed by that, and to feel unworthy.  To be honest, we are!  We're very imperfect, and we won't be perfect until our Heavenly Father gives us that gift.  I know that with His help, though, we can all get better every day, and we can help each other do that too.  And, as we endure to the very end, it will all be worth it.  We will be perfect.  We just need to endure.
    I love you all so much!  I hope you have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 64 - A Mighty Change of Heart

Hello All!
    How are all of you fantastic people this week!?  I hope it's been a good one for all of you.  It was cool to hear the chance all of you in Utah had to see the Ogden Temple dedication.  How blessed we are to live in a time where it's so easy and convenient for many of us to go to the temple, especially compared to just a few years ago.  If you have the chance to go to the temple, you should definitely do it; I'll be very surprised if you regret it.
Things are just great here in the Calgary East Stake!  On Saturday, we had the chance to be part of the City-Wide Food Drive, and it was awesome.  This food drive is something the church sponsors every year, and it brings in tons of food for those who are in need of it.  We collected something like 490,000 pounds of food all across the city!  I'm really grateful for opportunities to serve my brothers and sisters.  It's nice to know that the Lord can use us to bless one another.
Saturday was also awesome in that we were able to see Audrey baptized!  Thank you too all those who had her in her prayers, because they definitely worked.  Just a few minutes after we emailed last week, Audrey was able to figure everything out so she could be at sacrament meeting to be confirmed.  The baptismal service was great, and Audrey is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
    Jansley is progressing well, and should be baptized on October 11th.  His family is doing really well right now, and it's great to see them coming back to the church with such enthusiasm.  As for our other investigators, we weren't able to meet with too many of them this week, but we did find some new ones, including a couple of potential YSA age guys.  We'll hopefully start to teach them soon!
    Tomorrow, we have the chance as a mission to be visited by Elder Packer of the 70.  I'm sure excited for that visit, and in preparation for it, Elder Packer asked us to study and ponder on some scriptures and a question.  The question was basically having to do with conversion, and how we as missionaries can help others become deeply converted.  One of the scriptures he wanted us to study was in Alma chapter 5.  In verse 12, it says, "And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart."  This scripture is Alma speaking about his father, Alma.  We know the story of Alma the younger, and if anyone needed a mighty change of heart, it was him.  What really hit me, was that it all started with faith.  It started that way with him, and it can start that way with all of us.  If we will just believe, and act on that belief with hope and diligence, we will literally be changed from who we are, to who we are meant to become!  I know I need that change, and I know it can come because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for it.
    I love you all so much!  Thank you for your support, and for your updates.  It's always great to hear about your lives and all the great things you're doing.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya lots!
Elder Hafen

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 63 - Transfer Insanity

Hello All!
     It's been a bit of a crazy week!  Transfer week always is, but especially this one.  The snow that was coming down on Tuesday kept coming on Wednesday, just worse.  Tree branches were coming down all over the city and traffic was crazy.  Even better, just after we got to the chapel where transfers were being held, the power went out.  Transfer meeting was a pretty dark affair.  Haha ;)  It all worked out well, though, and the new missionaries got a true Canadian welcome!
    There was a lot of change in our zone, with only me and Elder Mac Duff and one other companionship staying the same.  We also have about six new missionaries in the zone, which makes things a lot of fun!  I'm really looking forward to getting to know everyone better today, because I think we've got an awesome group of missionaries.
    Things in our area are going well.  Despite the crazy week and lots of running around, we were still able to get some good work done.
    As we were walking around on Saturday, we were blessed with a couple of referrals right out of the blue.  One was for a YSA aged guy who some other missionaries had talked to.  His name is Phil.  He's from Toronto and seems to come from a pretty religious background.  We were hoping to see him at church yesterday, but it turns out he got lost on his way there; he's still new to Calgary.  He should be coming to FHE tonight, though, and we're really looking forward to meeting him.
    We also started teaching a new investigator yesterday.  His name is Jansley, and he's the nine year-old son of a family in our family ward.  They've recently returned to activity, and it's great to be blessed enough to be a part of that.  His dad actually received the Melchizedek Priesthood yesterday, and his parents want him baptized as soon as possible.  We set a date with them for October 11th, and I think everything that's going on right now will just be a start to the many blessings the gospel will bring to this family.
    Audrey is doing really well, and is planning on being baptized on Saturday.  We actually just hit a bit of a snag, though.  She's here doing marketing for some condos and such back in the Philippines, and it turns out she was scheduled to do a presentation next Sunday.  The problem is that it will be her last Sunday here in Canada, and she's supposed to be confirmed in sacrament meeting that day.  I'm sure we'll figure something out, but your prayers would be greatly appreciated.
    I want to share a scripture with you all that another missionary shared with me this week.  It's in the book of Romans, chapter 8, verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate‍ us from the love‍ of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Sometimes, things don't make sense.  Sometimes, bad things happen.  Sometimes, we do bad things.  Sometimes, it's hard to feel the love our Heavenly Father has for us.  However, I know it's there.  We are His children and He wants so much for us!  I love my Father in Heaven so much, and I only hope I can show Him that love as much as He's shown me His.
    I love you all so much, and I hope you have a great week!  I'm so grateful for the many incredible blessings you bring into my life.  Be good!  Have fun!
With lots of love,
Elder Hafen