Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 56 - Larry Gelwix and Grandpa‏

Hello All!

    I hope you've had a fantastic week!  It's definitely been a different one here the Great Canada Calgary Mission.  On Tuesday I celebrated my 20th birthday and last birthday in the mission field.  I know the 'last' part isn't saying much, but man, it's weird being this old. ;)  I'm so grateful for these past 20 years my Heavenly Father has blessed me with, and especially the last year I've had to be in His service, inviting my brothers and sisters to come unto Christ.  It's been a really hard year at times, but also an incredibly happy one.  I've definitely come to know that God does know and love each and every one of His children, and we're all blessed to be in that number.  That's pretty cool to think about. :)
    With summer most definitely upon us here, the past couple weeks have been a little slower as far as being able to see people, but the Lord is still aware of those who we have been blessed to teach, and there's definitely a lot of progress happening.
    We finally had a lesson with Cindy this week on Friday morning, since her Wednesday night appointment wasn't going to work out again.  We talked about following the prophet, and learned a bit more about President Monson together.  We also set a firm date with Cindy for her baptism: August 30th!  It's pretty likely I won't be here for that, but it's so good to see her have that solid goal to work towards, especially since she's so determined to follow through on it.
    Bruce actually came to church this week, which was pretty miraculous!  Sadly, he's in a really bad place right now as far as his mental and emotional state goes, and so he only lasted through most of the sacrament before he broke down and had to go home.  As a missionary, it's been a bit blessing to come across people who are so in need of the gospel, and I just hope we'll be able to help Bruce see his need for it a little more.
    We also had a couple of great breakthroughs with some less-active members we've been working with.  One, her name is Sister S., was baptized when she was in her teens and then pretty much stopped coming in her twenties.  She's in her sixties now, and yesterday she actually stayed for Sunday School!  She's been coming to sacrament meeting pretty regularly, but she actually stayed for another hour yesterday.  Boo yah!  Another is a man who has been less-active for many years.  He blamed it on his very very busy work schedule for a long time, but because of some events in his life, he's come to realize the importance of living according to the testimony he's never lost.  He was recently called as a Gospel Principles teacher, and is going to do a great job!
A couple of other awesome things happened this week.  On Saturday, Elder Poulter and I were able to have lunch with my Grandpa Donaldson and his wife, Vickie, who are returning from their mission in Nashville, Tennessee!  It was such a cool experience to see them and spend time with them, especially since I hadn't seen them for even more time than most of my family.  I'm really grateful we were able to do that. :)
    Also, Larry Gelwix was in one of our sacrament meetings yesterday.  (As in "Forever Strong."  Former Highland Rugby coach.)  I know that's random, and it was at the time, but it was really cool.  He was a really nice guy who seemed so down to earth despite his many accomplishments in the sports world and in the church; he's also served as a mission president.  I just thought you might want to hear about that.
    I mentioned it a bit before, but I had an experience this week that really strengthened my testimony of our Heavenly Father's knowledge for us.  It actually wasn't my experience, but one I heard from someone who was baptized yesterday.  I don't want to go into too many details, but this person grew up never really believing in God.  They believed this for a long time.  One day, quite recently, they had come across some information about the church online.  It really piqued their interest, so they prayed and asked to have someone sent to them who could teach them more.  The next day, they ran into the missionaries.  He's always there.  No matter who we are or what we've done, the hand of our Heavenly Father is in our life, trying to bring us back to Him.  He wants us to be happy.  He wants us back with Him.  I know that's true.
    Thank you all so much for your examples and your support!  I've been given such great friends and family for this first 20 years of my life, and I know I'll be given more as time goes on.  Have a wonderful week!  Remember who you truly are.  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya,
Elder Hafen

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 55 - The Phone Call

Hello All!

    I hope you're all having a wonderful summer week!  It's been nice and hot up here for us.  And when I say hot, I mean real hot, not Canadian hot.  On Wednesday, it actually got up to 38 degrees Celsius. (Just about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.)  It's been beautiful, though, and I've been so blessed to have been called to serve in such a gorgeous place.
    The work is going well, and the transfer is winding down.  If my current trend continues, I'll be transferred next week, but we'll see!  I've really loved serving in this area, and I can't believe I've already been here as long as I was in my other areas.  
    In other news, I'll be 20 years old tomorrow....what the heck?  I still feel very much like a high schooler, and not at all like I've been alive for two decades, but I guess I have.  That's weird, eh?
    There honestly isn't too much to update you on this week as far as our investigators go.  Cindy was at church and is still doing well, though we've had awful luck seeing her for lessons lately.  Dre was at his biological dad's this week, and we didn't get the chance to see him.  We had another great lesson with Bruce, and he's making slow but steady progress. 
    I do want to share a pretty significant success from my last area, though: So, last night, Elder Poulter and I were getting ready for bed, and we got a phone call.  The woman who called asked for me, and so I answered. (duh)  After that, whose voice do I hear but ROB'S!  They had called to let me know that Rob had been baptized on Saturday!  It was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life, and as I talked to Rob and Dawn about it and the possibility of being with them when Rob goes through the temple for the first time, I couldn't help but feel so grateful for the blessing I have had to be a part of these wonderful people's lives.  As I continued to think about it, a picture came to my mind, D&C 50:22, which says. "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth,understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."  I testify that that is true, and I'm so grateful that the Lord allows us to be a part of the conversion of our brothers and sisters.  The joy that brings is truly one of a kind.
    Sorry to be so short this week, but thank you all so much for your wonderful support and examples!  I have been blessed throughout my life to have amazing family and friends, and I am truly grateful for that.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 54 - Caesar's Month

Hello All!
    I hope you've all had a fantastic week with lots of successes and beautiful summer weather and such.  I can't believe it's already July, and I'm so grateful for it.  It's given me a really wonderful chance to be out in our Heavenly Father's creation and enjoy the simple pleasures of summer. (Like short sleeved white button-up shirts. ;) )  I've really been blessed to serve in such a beautiful part of the world, and I love it here!  I know pretty much everyone feels the same about where they serve, but it's definitely true.
    It's been a little more eventful this week as far as seeing our investigators goes.  
    We saw Dre on Wednesday, and he's doing great.  We taught him about agency, and the importance of making good choices in our lives, and talked to him a little more seriously about baptism.  It's definitely something he's thought about, he'd just like to see one first.  Hopefully there will be a baptism this Saturday in the YSA ward, so he should get the chance soon!
    We also saw Bruce on Friday, and had a good visit with him.  The member we brought with us, one of our ward missionaries, did a great job of showing Bruce how the gospel does relate to him and his challenges.  He was definitely in a much better place than he's been in previous lessons, and we're hoping this means he's really committed to changing his life for the better. 
    Other than Dre and Bruce, Cindy continues to do well and progress towards her baptism in August.  We've had pretty bad luck with her lessons falling through lately, but she's doing well despite that.  We're also hoping to see Keith again soon, and we hope to see him starting to progress.  
    We also had the great opportunity this week to have interviews with President Nicholas.  It's always a cool thing to be able to visit one on one with your priesthood leaders in a setting like an interview, and I'm especially glad to be able to have President Nicholas as my mission president.  It was a really great experience, and he gave me some needed counsel and encouragement.
    I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the next year and how I can better live up to the potential and privileges that I know we all have in the gospel, and especially when we've been called to serve.  When I really think about it, I realize how much is possible with the Lord's help, and it sometimes makes me feel like I'm definitely living below those possibilities.  It's pretty easy to do that in any aspect of life, but our Heavenly Father doesn't want us constantly getting down on ourselves and becoming discouraged.  I remembered a scripture I found a few months ago that really helps me know what I can do.  It's in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 11, verse 18."Keep my commandments; hold your peace; appeal unto my Spirit;"  That's pretty much it.  All we can do is be obedient, trust in the Lord, and do all we can to receive the revelation our Heavenly Father wants to give us.  Then, we'll be exactly who the Lord wants us to be and accomplish all He has in store for us.  That's pretty comforting knowledge.  
    Thank you all so much for your incredible examples and support.  I am so blessed to have the friends and family that I do, and I hope you receive all the blessings you all deserve!  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 53 - A Nun...Walking a Dog...On Roller Blades‏

Hello All!
    Yes, we actually saw that.  I'm sad to say I don't have photographic evidence, but it happened.  It really happened.  It's been a pretty crazy week overall, to be honest.  
As you probably know, I hit my year mark on Thursday along with three other missionaries in the zone.  We had a really fun zone lunch, and I don't think it's quite hit me that I only have a year left to serve.  It was also Canada Day on Tuesday AND the 4th of July on Friday. ('Murica.)  Lots of sun, lots of heat, lots of investigator lessons falling through.  It has been a good week, though!  Looking back on it right now, I'm kind of surprised I'm not really discouraged.  The Lord is definitely at the head of this work, and I know He's there to support all of us who are trying to move it forward.  
    Since we really didn't meet with any of our investigators this week, there's not too much to update you on.
    Cindy is doing really well, but is having a rough time at the moment.  In order to be baptized, she and her boyfriend need to separate, and that's happening, but until it does fully, she has to be there to see him struggling with some bad habits he has.  She's still planning on being baptized in August, though, and I think she can definitely make it!
    Drey's been out of town a lot of this week, and part of that for camp with the other young men!  He had a great time, despite getting nailed pretty good by some paint balls, and we hope to see him preparing for baptism soon.  
    We didn't see Keith this week, but we're hopeful, still!  We did meet some less-active members this week who we hadn't up to this point, and it's very interesting, and sometimes heart-breaking, to see the different reasons people are not fully active in the church.  I just hope we can help them back into the fold.
    With not too much to write about as far as investigators this week, I wanted to talk a bit about diligence for a minute, something that's been standing out to me lately.  (I'm sure not because I only have a year left. ;) )  I've realized that being diligent is very connected to enduring to the end, and where better to look when you want to learn about enduring to the end than 2 Nephi 31?!  In verses 19 and 20, it says, "And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.  Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."  None of us have a free pass to the Celestial Kingdom.  None of us are guaranteed blessings just because.  None of us can gain access to the grace of Jesus Christ without first doing the necessary work.  The work is hard sometimes.  The work is tedious sometimes.  But, it is always worth it.  I don't know what the next year will bring, but I do know that if I work, and if I am diligent, obedient, and faithful in that work, the Lord will be able to work miracles through me.  I hope to be a worthy instrument in His hands, and a worthy vessel of His love, but I know that will only come if I am diligent in trying to bring those things about myself.  Then, He'll be there to fix the many mistakes I made along the way and make me more than I could ever be on my own.
    I love you all so much!  Have a wonderful day and a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya, eh?
Elder Hafen