Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 47 - Spring Changes

 Hello All!

    It's been quite the week.  I'm not sure how many of you know, but Elder Bensing went home this week.  We had just found out last Monday morning, and I didn't want to tell everyone before we knew more.  It was a medical release, so there was absolutely nothing wrong with his character, he just has something that needs to be taken care of that can't be treated out in the field.  Don't worry, though, it's nothing really bad, it's sleepwalking.  (Yup.)  Just over a week ago, Elder Bensing woke up at about 4 in the morning sitting on a park bench about a 20-25 minute walk from our apartment. (Yes, he was wearing pajamas.) He made his way home, and told me about it after I'd gotten up. (I apparently sleep like a rock.)  It was a bit of a surprise, and all quite sudden, but he was flying home to Germany just a couple of days later.  
    Luckily, I wasn't without a companion for long.  There was a three-leg/tripanionship of missionaries serving in the town of High River, and one of them came up to be my companion the morning after Elder Bensing flew off.  His name is Elder Asay.  He's from West Jordan, Utah, and he's going home in about three and a half weeks.  Yup, this is his last transfer, and he got emergency transferred into a new area for his last few weeks.  He's taken it well, though, and I'm looking forward to the rest of our time together.  I know I have a lot to learn from him, and I hope there are a few things he can learn from me.
    As you can read, it's been a crazy week.  The first couple of days didn't see too much work being done with P-Day, Zone Conference on Tuesday, and Elder Bensing and I scrambling around letting ward members and leaders know of the change.  We had some appointments fall through, and no investigators come to church yesterday, but it's all alright!  Things have settled, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Elder Asay and I can accomplish with the Lord's help in the coming days.  
    We did have one investigator lesson this week with Cindy, which went well.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation, and she expressed her desire to be baptized.  Things are still kind of up in the air with her Word of Wisdom struggles and other things, but I really hope that her desire will manifest itself in some real progress for her soon!
    We weren't able to see Drey or Robert this week, but Drey did let us know that he has a friend who is interested in the church!  He went with him to the youth activity on Wednesday, and it's been so cool to see how excited Drey is about the gospel.
Like I said, it was a bit of a crazy week, but I wanted to share with you some things I learned about a man named Howard.  Howard was born in Utah.  He went through high school, and served an honorable LDS mission.  Within weeks of returning from his mission, he was engaged to a girl who he knew was the woman he was meant to marry, and they were sealed in the temple just a couple of months after that.  He attended college, received his pilot's license, and went on to join the Air Force.  Howard and his growing family moved across the country for his Air Force training, and eventually settled in Texas where he had been given the assignment to be a flight instructor there.  Things were looking good for Howard.  He had a promising career in the military.  He had a wonderful, supportive wife, and several children already, then he was called to serve as a bishop.  The stake president who extended the call let him know his confusion at the call, since Howard was very likely to be transferred somewhere else within a couple of years, but the Lord had told him to extend the call.  So, Howard left the Air Force.  You may know, but Howard is President Howard Nicholas of the Canada Calgary Mission.  I got to know President Nicholas much more this week, and it was wonderful.  Our Heavenly Father had a plan for President Nicholas, and if President Nicholas hadn't been willing to change everything for that plan, he wouldn't be here today.  May we all follow his example, even when it doesn't make any sense.
    Thank you all for your love and support.  I am so grateful for the incredible friends and family my Heavenly Father has blessed me with.  I hope you all have a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!

I love you all!
Elder Hafen

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Week 46 - Happy Victoria Day!

Hello All!

    I hope it's been a wonderful week for all of you!  It certainly has been here; that and interesting, but that's what you get in the Lord's service. :)  It was interesting in that we spent quite a bit of time in our apartment.  Elder Bensing wasn't feeling well, and after a visit to the doctor on Monday, he was put on bed rest for a couple of days.  He continued to not do so well, so that turned into a few days, and Saturday was our first day out and about.  Don't worry, though!  With the help of wonderful missionaries and members, we were able to arrange some splits and get some good work done.  People are the best.  :)
    On Monday, we were able to meet with Drey, as well as his step-dad, Robert.  It was a great lesson, and Robert is a great guy.  He had some bad experiences in the past with some other Christian churches, and he wonders about the reasons for the bad things that happen to good people, while the bad people seem to have things made.  He has a desire to find out the truth for himself, though, and I think he could very well see the truth for himself.  I'm excited to see what happens!
    We also saw Cindy for the first time in a while this week, which was great!  She definitely sees that she needs to be more diligent in her reading and praying, but I think she has a real desire to be better.  We talked a bit about the Word of Wisdom, and she was very accepting of it and is working on it.  She has been trying to stop smoking for a while now, and is getting better, but I'm really hoping a greater understanding of the doctrine behind doing that will help her along.
    We were also able to see Jody this week!  And his divorce went through!  So he can get married!  And then baptized!  He also has some Word of Wisdom issues to overcome, but I think he has the desire he needs to do that.  He's a really good guy.
    We were also able to see Sesilia with one of our ward missionaries.  Her kids weren't there, but it was a good lesson.  We talked about the priesthood, and gave her a blessing as well due to a surgery she recently had and the pain it's been causing her.  She really felt the Spirit, though she did let us know earlier in the lesson that she doesn't want to be baptized right now because she's already been baptized in the Catholic Church, and thinks that's the only baptism she needs.  It was a bit of a surprise when she said that, but we're hoping to help her see the necessity of authority in performing saving ordinances.  It's a big deal!
    This week in district meeting, we talked about using the scriptures in our teaching, and how important it is that we study and gain a testimony of the scriptures ourselves.  One thing that I've especially been thinking about is "likening".  1 Nephi 19:23 talks about Nephi teaching his brothers from Isaiah, and he says, "for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." When we learn to apply the scriptures to ourselves, that's when scripture study and knowledge really becomes valuable and blesses us as it's supposed to.  After all, the Book of Mormon was written for us, and it's up to us to see how that's true.  I definitely know that's true, and I definitely know I need to be better at seeing that.
    Thank you all so much for your support and examples!  Being a missionary is hard sometimes (duh) and it means a lot to know that I have wonderful friends and family who are always there and who are praying for me.  You're in my prayers, too.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!

I love you all so much!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Week 45 - MOM

Hello All!
    I hope you've all had a wonderful week, and I especially hope that all you missionaries and missionary families had a wonderful Mother's Day.  I can't even begin to describe how much it means to see my family and hear their voices!  Even though it's hard to say goodbye at the end of a not-very-long Skype call, it's such a motivator to go back out and try to share the same happiness that you just experienced with others who don't have the gospel to bless their families and bring them closer together than anything else possibly could!  We are so blessed!
    I am so blessed right now to be able to share this gospel and all the blessings it brings right now, and I hope the Lord will bless and guide me and Elder Bensing as we continue to strive to do that.
    We were blessed this week to see Tehtloach (been spelling it wrong the whole time) and his little sister, Nyamal, baptized on Saturday.  It was a really great service with a lot of support from the ward.  President Nicholas even showed up a few minutes before it started, which made Elder Bensing just a little nervous since he was performing his first baptism in English. :)  The Spirit was definitely there.
    We also met with Sesilia (the actual spelling) and her family this week, which was great.  They are a really humble, teachable family.  We met with them with some members of the ward, including Tethloach's family, and taught them the first lesson.  They agreed to come to church, and to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and to be baptized when they know it's true!  We'll be meeting with them again today, and I really think they could be baptized in the next few weeks.
    Other than that, we really weren't able to meet with our investigators too much this week.  Our lesson with Rick and Cindy fell through again, the H's have a had a busy week, etc.  Drey did come to the youth activity on Wednesday, and we should be meeting with him...and his family tonight!  It seems like they're somewhat interested, and we'll hope to see more tonight. *fingers crossed*
    This week I was on for a bit, and saw a new video the church had put out for Mother's Day.  It's pretty great, but I was also reading the article and quotes that went along with it.  It was all really good, and I would recommend checking it out, ( but I want to share one of the quotes it gives especially.  It's actually from Abraham Lincoln, and I bet a lot of you have heard it before, but he said,"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."  I wish I could steal that quote from Honest Abe, because it is one of the truest things I could ever say!  My mother means so much to me, and has done so much for me, I can't even comprehend it or understand it.  She has loved me despite my pretty much almost killing her when I was born and my many mistakes and mishaps.  She has been such a strength to me, especially as I've been here, and she always will be.  She has given me an incredible example both of who I want for the mother of my children, and who I want to be myself.  I love her so much, and I want the world to know that I am a Momma's Boy!  I hope we can all better give thanks and express love for our mothers, because they are truly one of the greatest blessings our Heavenly Father could give us!
    Have a great week, my wonderful friends and family.  I love you all so much, and I'm so grateful for all of you too.  Live the gospel, it will make you happy!  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 44 - Nothin' To Write Home About

Hello All!

    Don't worry, there are things to write home about.  I'm just referring to the snow...again.  I thought we were free, but this weekend proved me wrong.  It's all right, though!  It's not nearly as cold as it used to be, and all this moisture is going to make for a beautiful green spring.  I'm kind of excited for that, if you can't tell.  It has been a great week with lots of fun happenings in the Sundance and McKenzie wards.  Elder Bensing didn't scare any old men, and we're both looking forward to see what transfers this week will bring. ( I seriously doubt either of us will be transferred since we came in together, but you never know, right?)  A little something going on next Sunday is also creating some anticipation. ;)  It's crazy to think that this is my second Skype call home, and I just hit my 10-month mark on Saturday.  Time flies when you're serving God.  
    The work is going well, and we're trying to become the most fruitful missionaries we can be in this wonderful area!
    Tethloch will be baptized on Saturday the 10th with his little sister, Nyamal.  We finished teaching them the missionary lessons yesterday, and they are both so excited.  Like I said before, it's always so wonderful to see how innocent and pure these kids are, and how much they really desire to follow Christ, as well as how much they know about Him!  It's been a real blessing to be able to work with this family.  
    We were able to meet with Jody and Leanne this week, and they're doing well.  Jody recently got a new job, and we're hoping that that will mean he will start to have more Sundays off so he can come to church.  
    We weren't able to meet with a lot of our other investigators for various reasons this week, which was a little sad, but we'll be sure to see them soon!  The Lord has blessed us to be able to teach some really wonderful people, and I only hope that we are receptive to His guidance in helping them progress back to him.  I know that He guides this work, because it is His work.
    Though we didn't see a few of our investigators this week, we did see a few new ones!  On Sunday evening, we went with one of our Ward Mission Leaders to contact a referral that we had received from Tethloch's dad, actually,  Her name is Cecilia, and she's from South Sudan, just like Tethloch's family.  She has 5 kids, 4 girls and one little boy, and they are a wonderful family!  They're Catholic, but they're more than willing to learn more about Jesus Christ, and I hope they can feel the goodness and truthfulness of what we have to share with them.  
I wasn't super sure of what I wanted to share with you today, but something just came to mind.  As we were sitting in Fast and Testimony Meeting in Sundance Ward yesterday, pretty much every testimony had something to do with the temple.  Though I haven't been able to attend the temple since November, my testimony of what a wonderful place it is is still strong.  It is my Father's house, and it is a place where I can feel close to Him!  When I was little, I can vaguely remember how excited I would be when we would drive down to my grandparent's house in Southern California, as well as how disappointed I was when we left.  (There's a picture on the wall back at home to prove that.)  I feel pretty similarly about the Temple.  The peace and comfort I feel there are incomparable, and I can't wait to be there again.  If you have the opportunity, I would encourage you to go there, even if it's just to sit outside. I know it'll be worth your time. :)
    Thank you all so much for the wonderful influence you are on me!  Your examples and support have meant so much to me, and I hope you're all being blessed as much as you deserve to be.  Please have a wonderful week!  Be good!  Have fun!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Elder Hafen