Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week 30 - Withdrawls

Hello All!

    It's been another great week, and I hope it's the same for all of you!  It certainly sound like things are great, and unusually the same as always.  Funny how that happens when you leave somewhere, isn't it. ;)
    Up here, things are going just fantastically.  The weather is still spoiling us.  We're growing as missionaries.  The ward is supportive and welcoming, as usual.  There's really nothing to complain about.  The work is good.  God is good.  We also had the wonderful opportunity this week to have personal interviews with President Nicholas.  It's nice to be able to spend even just a couple of minutes with this man whom I have a lot of respect for, and just be open and honest with him, and not have to worry about what he'll say or do.  It's nice to have at least some form of a dad out here.  He's a great man.
    Sadly, we didn't get to meet with Sam this week.  The lesson we did have with him fell through, and he's started a new job, plus it's hard to get a hold of him, so nothing really came together.  Hopefully, we'll be able to get that to happen this week, and help Sam continue to progress.  I think it's very likely that he won't be able to be baptized on the 8th, since we haven't even been able to teach him the Word of Wisdom, but we'll see for sure next time we meet with him.  
    Rob is doing just as peachy as ever!  We taught him the Word of Wisdom last Sunday, and he texted us on Wednesday seeing if we'd be able to give him a blessing.  It turns out that, though he had wondered a bit why coffee was prohibited, he had given it up after we taught it to him.  He's awesome.  Anyway, because of this, he was having caffeine withdrawals in the form of some pretty wicked headaches.  So, we gave him a blessing to hopefully help with those.  After we closed it, we all just sat for a few moments and drank it in.  Rob had shared with us before a very spiritual experience he'd had in the past, and he said that this was the only other time he'd felt like that.  It was so incredibly humbling and gratifying to know that I had been able to use the priesthood that has been entrusted to me to bless the lives of my brothers and sisters, and at least someone had been blessed by it.  Not by me, but by our loving Heavenly Father, who also blesses us to be able to be a part of those blessings.  Kind of a interesting cycle, eh? ;)
    Of course, we don't always see the fruits of that.  We definitely witnessed that this week when we went to contact the referral that was given to us last Sunday.  We knocked, she answered, and wasn't interested, which is just fine!  The Lord works in mysterious, sometimes baffling, ways, and it's not for us to say that they've succeeded  or not.  We're not nearly smart enough to do that.  We just need to have the patience and the trust to do His will, no matter what happens.  Elder Law and I helped give a training on patience today in district meeting, and it was great to be able to learn a bit more about it for myself.  Elder Law pulled up a scripture that I especially liked.  It's in Genesis chapter 50, verse 20, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."  Sometimes, I've definitely wanted to murmur about what seems to have been a failure, but as long as I did my best, there's only reason to rejoice.  God is God, we are not, and He knows what He's doing.  It's really nice to know that.
    Well, beautiful friends and family, I hope you all have a fantastic week!  You're wonderful.  Be good!  Have fun!  

I love you all so much,
Elder Hafen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 29 - Gotta' Love Southern Alberta Weather‏

Hello All!
    Well, another week has just flown by, eh?  (Yes, I've actually started to say that a little bit.)  It's crazy to see the weeks just shoot by.  It really hits home to me again how short my time out here really is.  Anyway, I hope it's been another great week for all of you!  From what I've heard, it sounds like things are going pretty swell.  That's always a nice thing to hear! :)
    Things are just fantastic as ever here in West Lethbridge.  Even the weather has cheered up!  This week has been pretty constant 6-9 degree weather, close to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  Yeah, be jealous.  Haha, I'm sure we'll get another cold spell very soon, but it's been nice for this St. Garge boy. 
    Just to let you know right off the bat.  We did not find a new investigator this week, which is alright.  We're still working on it, and the Lord is definitely pouring out His tender mercies upon us.  For example, we haven't received a referral in weeks...zero, but yesterday after church, one of the young women came up to us, told us that they'd had a lesson on following the promptings of the Spirit in Young Women's, and told us that she thought we should go see her next door neighbor.  Huzzah!  It was definitely a blessing, and we're extremely grateful for it!  Sadly, we didn't have the chance to contact that referral yet, but we should be able to tomorrow, and even if no "results" come from it right away, we've still been blessed. 
    We may have to do some really serious work to find those new investigators coming up, because our current investigators are progressing so well!  We had a couple of lessons with Sam this week, and he has committed to being baptized on the 8th of February!  He's received so many blessings so far in his investigation, and I think and hope he's recognized that.  Unfortunately, Sam does have a struggle with smoking, which could set his date back a bit, but it's more important that he's ready!   He's doing well, though.  He, as well as Ben and Beth, weren't at church yesterday, which was a bit of a bummer, but we'll talk to them about it, and hopefully help Sam get on track for baptism.
    Rob is also doing really well!  We had a lesson with him after church yesterday-he stayed for all three hours, by the way- and he informed us that he wants to join!  Needless to say, we're a little excited for him.  He's just awesome in that he has concerns and things he doesn't quite understand, but he's willing to work through those things to the end.  He has been so blessed for that.  We were talking with him and his fiancee during the lesson, and she says that he's been so much happier lately, and that he's finally found some peace that he's been missing for a long time.  The gospel is great!  Sadly, we can't exactly set a date for Rob's baptism, because he's still in the process of being divorced.  But, some members of the ward and stake have offered to finish the divorce free of charge, and I believe our Bishop and Ward Mission Leader let him know about that last night, and we're excited to see what comes of it.
    Like I said before, the time has just flown by, and before I know it, I'm going to be leaving this area, and then the next and the next, and then I'll be done with my mission here.  But that doesn't mean the work is over!  I was reading the book of Mark this week, and a few verses really stood out to me.  The Savior is teaching about the signs of His Second Coming, and as He's concluding, He says,"For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing , or in the morning:  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." (Mark 13:34-37)  Sometimes, I think we get scared by that warning, but I think it's important to remember that we can look forward to the coming of the Savior gladly!  He's coming, and He's asked us to help prepare the world for that coming.  I hope I always remember that, because I know that it's going to be really easy to get caught up in my own life and problems when I'm not a full-time servant of the Lord.  But, I think if I do try to always remember that, there will be nothing to worry about, even when it would certainly seem that way. 
    Well, I've got to get running, but I hope you're all great!  Have a wonderful week, and Have fun!
I love you all so much,
Elder Hafen

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week 28 - Cinnamon Buns

Hello All!

    I hope you're all doing well and have had a great week!  I got a few updates on some of my wonderful friends today, and it sounds like that's the case.  I just wanted to congratulate all of my friends who are heading out on missions and getting engaged and doing all sorts of other wonderful and exciting stuff.  Life is good. :) 
    Things are going just great up here in The Great White North!  We're still trudging around trying to find those whom the Lord has prepared for us to meet and teach.  We're getting pretty good at it, too, the trudging part, at least. ;) As far as the missionary work goes, the Lord is definitely helping us.  We're blessed to be in a great ward, as well.  We had ward conference this week, and as we sat in ward council with the stake presidency (and some delicious cinnamon buns(rolls) from the bishop's wife) it was cool to see the progress that really has been made in this ward in missionary work.  You don't always know how good things actually are going when you're only in a ward for three or four months, but we have a fantastic ward.
    We're still working on finding new people to teach, and we were definitely blessed as far as that goes this week;  On Tuesday, we went over to Ben and Beth's to start the new member lessons with them, and Ben's brother Sam chose to join us for the lesson.  I don't think I've shared too much about Sam, but he's a great guy.  Like Ben, he's had a really tough life, but has made some wonderful changes in his life.  He's living with Ben and Beth right now, and during the process of us teaching them, he hasn't been directly involved, but we could definitely see that there was interest.  At the start of Ben and Beth's baptism, our Ward Mission Leader asked him if he was next, and he kind of just laughed it off.  Then, after the baptism, he asked him what he though of it, and Sam said, "I'm next!"  He does have some concerns about certain aspects of the gospel, but he's doing what he needs to to gain the answers he needs for himself.  He's come to church for the last two Sundays, and has definitely felt the Spirit.  He's awesome.
    Rob is also doing well.  He was out of town on a job for a lot of the week, so we only were able to meet with him once, but he's progressing very well!  He's already into Jacob in the Book of Mormon, and though he has had quite a few concerns, his fiancee, Dawn, has been able to do a lot as far as resolving those goes.  Having a member there to help him through this process has been such a blessing, and I know it will be for Sam as well.  Rob came to church this week, and had a good experience, I think.  He even stayed for our gospel principles class, but didn't stay for Priesthood, sadly.   
    We also had a pleasant surprise at church yesterday when the ward missionary who was supposed to be teaching the Gospel Principles class came up to us before sacrament and let us know that he wouldn't be able to be there, so we'd be subbing the class.  Hooray!  It actually turned out pretty well, I think, and the topic was a great one.  It was all on who God really is and what our relationship to him is.  Of course, we know he is our Father, but I wanted to concentrate a little more on who and what else he is.  As I was searching through the Topical Guide for some scriptures to use, there was definitely no shortage.  There are several pages with scriptures upon scriptures teaching us about God's glory, His perfection, His power, omniscience, mercy, justice, and everything else.  It's pretty astounding to realize what an amazing being He really is, and that He is our Father.  Puny, insignificant, very-flawed us.  And He loves us, more that we can comprehend.  That can be such a strength to us, I think, especially in those times where we really don't know what to do, or when we are confused or scared.  Like Nephi, we can say, "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.) (1 Nephi 11:17)
    Well, my wonderful friends and family, you're great!  I hope you all have a fantastic week!  Be good!  Have fun!

I love you all so much!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Week 27 - Happy New Year

Hello All!

    Well, the new year has started off to a great start here, and I hope it's the same for all of you!  It's crazy to think that it's already 2014, and I'm sure it's going to fly by.  I hit my 6-month mark this past week, which really isn't very long, but it kind of seems like it sometimes.  It helps me realize that my time out here really isn't very long, and that I need to work my hardest everyday in order to make out of this time what the Lord wants.  Anyway, I hope things are going well down south. ;)
    As I mentioned last week, this past Wednesday was transfers, and Elder Law and I are sticking around for at least another six weeks.  There were a few changes in our zone, and I'll definitely miss some of the missionaries who left, but the new ones are pretty excellent as well!  Exciting news: We actually have a car now... sort of.  Our district leader's area was a walking area last transfer, as well, and it's huge, so this transfer they got a car...that they are sharing with us!  I've actually been able to drive a couple of times, and let me tell ya, it feels nice!  Not driving for six months is an interesting experience.  I'm even doing a pretty good job with all the ice and snow. ;)
This week, we had some even more exciting happenings.  Ben and Beth were baptized on Wednesday!  There were quite a few members of the ward there, as well as a few of their friends who have been a big part of their conversion.  It was honestly one of the most spiritual baptismal services I've been to.  Elder Law and I stood as witnesses, and to see them both go down into the water just brought on the tears.  It was truly amazing, and I'm so grateful that we've had the privilege of being a part of these two incredible people's lives.  We were also able to spend a little more time with them on Sunday evening at our Ward Mission Leader's house, and they are so excited to be active in the church, especially to do family history work and bring the blessings of the gospel into the lives of their family members.  They are such fantastic examples.  (We're also hoping that we'll be able to start meeting with Ben's brother, Sam, this week as well.  Hopefully it will all go well.)
    With two investigators being baptized, our teaching pool has diminished somewhat, but that's okay, I'd say. :)  Our other investigators are doing pretty well.  We've met with Rob a couple more times, and I believe he's continuing to read and pray, though for one reason or another he hasn't made it to church since Christmas Sunday.  He did have a few concerns regarding the Plan of Salvation, specifically the Kingdoms of Glory, but I think he recognizes that what we're teaching him is true, he just has to find that out for himself.
    This week, I kind of wanted to share something that my wonderful big brother wrote to me.  (Hopefully, he doesn't mind.) He said, "Just always keep in the back of your mind that even when you think you know what you're doing, you really don't, you just get a little better at coping with being clueless. That's all experience is."  As a somewhat-but-not-really-experienced missionary, I can tell you that that is so absolutely true, and not just in the mission field.  We have to rely on the Lord if we are going to become anything of what He has meant for us to become.  We show that trust in Him as we obey Him as best we can, and as we just go out and act in faith, trusting that whatever happens, it will work out for our best.  We can be positive that He won't give us anything that won't be for our best, even if it's not the most "pleasant" thing.  
    Well, my wonderful friends and family, I love you all so much!  Have a fantastic week, and an even better new year.  Be good!  Have fun!  And always remember who you are!

Elder Hafen