Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 60 - The Tender Mercies of the Lord...

Hello All!
     I hope you've all had a fantastic week!  Thank you all for your emails and for the letters I received this week as well.  It's great to hear from all of you and see how you're all doing so well!    This week has been a great one for us.  Walk and Talk August continues to go strong, and we keep talking to more and more people.  Since this is the last week of it, we're determined to end strong, and I'm really excited.  This has been a great learning and growing experience for me personally, and I'm so grateful for it.
To start off, Mauricio was baptized on Saturday!  It was a great service, and we had quite a few members of the ward there to welcome him.  It's been a pleasure to teach him, and especially to see his progress.
    With Mauricio's baptism coming up, we knew at the end of last week that we were losing our only really solid investigator... to baptism, so that's awesome, but still... So, Elder Mac Duff and I decided we really needed to put this in the Lord's hands and rely on Him to provide the other people He has prepared for us to teach and baptize here.  We fasted and prayed for new investigators.  We walked a lot and talked a lot.  And we tried not to become discouraged.  On Wednesday, we had our first lesson with a young woman named Audrey, who we've known about for awhile but finally had the chance to teach her this week.  She's from the Philippines, and is only here temporarily selling real estate, but she has had some past experiences with the church, and seemed really interested.  She came to Mauricio's baptism, and I believe has been reading from the Book of Mormon as well.
    On Saturday, we were walking down the street, and talked to a Sudanese man named Simon.  He's a 7th Day Adventist, but was very open to the message we were sharing, and we should be going back to see him this coming Friday.
    On Saturday at 8, an hour before the end of the week, we met up with one of our members to go contact a referral from a less active member.  The referral was a young family named Emanuel and Ann.  They are also Filipino and were very willing to accept our message.  They said they would read the Book of Mormon and we set up a time to come back.  When we were leaving their house, the less active member who gave us the referral, (he lives downstairs) waved us over, and then introduced us to his step-son, who is also less active, and his daughter-in-law.  They were interested in meeting with us, and it seems like they really need the gospel in their lives right now.
    This week, the Lord provided us with 5 new investigators, 3 of those in the last hour we had to work.  I know for myself that the Lord works miracles according to our faith, and I was blessed enough to see that this week.  We can all see that as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and move forward with that faith. 
    I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Thank you for being the great people you are.  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 59 - I Love To See the Temple

Hello All!
     I hope you've all had a great week with lots of exciting happenings!  First off, I'd just like to wish my incredible parents a Happy Anniversary!  32 years ago, two of the best people in the world were sealed together for time and all eternity in the St. George temple, and they've been blessing lives ever since.  Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the family that you've built and the wonderful people you are and always will be.  I love you both so much!
    It's been a good week with lots going on; sometimes it's hard to believe that so many different things can happen in 7 short days, especially when those days go by so fast!
On Tuesday, we had the privilege of attending the temple as part of our zone conference.  I truly know that that is the House of God, and the experiences I have in the temple are unlike anything I could ever feel or learn anywhere else, except maybe my home.  I'm so grateful that our Father in Heaven has blessed us with a knowledge of temple, and has given us the ability to receive all the blessings that sacred place has to offer. 
The rest of the week was good, with lots of walking and lots of talking.  It's been cool to see the growth that comes with trying to get out of your comfort zone, and the opportunities the Lord gives you when you do.  This week as a mission, we found more investigators than I've ever seen us find.  Miracles abound!
    Maurisio is doing really well, and his baptism is all set for this coming Saturday!  It's been great to see his rapid progress as he's acted in humility and faith, with a desire to follow the Savior.  We had a great lesson with him on Saturday, and though he still has a lot of knowledge and experience to gain, he's more than willing to do it.  We don't really have too many other people we're working with right now, but I want to share an experience we had after that lesson with Maurisio. 
We had a few people to go by, so as we walked from place to place we tried to talk to the people we saw.  We were walking down one street, and there was a couple sitting outside their home.  Elder Mac Duff tried to begin talking to them, and the man turned his head toward us, and said two words that made it very evident he wanted nothing to do with us.  We kept going and, frankly, experience a lot of opposition that day.  Several of the doors we knocked on weren't the kindest in rejecting us.  We probably had more people yelling at us from their cars than we've had the whole transfer before. etc.  I don't tell you these things to complain.  I would gladly face all of that and more for the Savior, and I only hope I faced it and will face it well.  When we got back to our apartment for dinner, I opened up the Book of Mormon, and kept reading from where I was.  ( I was really hoping to find comfort.)  I was in 2 Nephi 27, and right off the bat it said, "And all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion." (2 Nephi 27:3)  We met a lot of people that day who the devil had deceived.  I know I'm not free of sin or pride, but at least we know the truth.  I don't understand everything, and I can't answer the questions the world has, but I know who I am, and I know that only through the gospel of Jesus Christ can we return to our Father who loves us all so much.  I only hope that people's hearts will be softened enough that they'll at least try to find that truth for themselves.
    I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Thank you for your examples, for your prayers, and for everything else.  Be good!  Have fun!
I love you lots!
Elder Hafen

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 58 - Walk and Talk August

Hello All!
     Another great week in the Canada Calgary Mission!  How's everyone at home?  Good luck to all of you starting school today!  I'm sure you'll be awesome; just remember to make the most of the time you have right now.  It has the potential to be awesome!
    We're doing some awesome things as a mission right now, speaking of awesome.  This month has been dubbed "Walk and Talk August", and our goal during this time is to talk to 1,000,000 people as a mission.  It's gonna be really hard to get to that goal, but it's going to do some great things for us as a mission no matter the actual number of people we talk to.  Part of this is that we park our cars almost all the time, and walk, walk, walk.  It's been a lot of fun, but going without the shelter of your car can be pretty risky sometimes.  This last week, for instance, we got an insane rainstorm that blew through the city, and completely drenched anyone who was outside.  (Luckily, Elder Mac Duff and I were near a member's home at the time and they were gracious enough to give us shelter.)  It's interesting what happens sometimes when we exercise our faith.  The Lord definitely has a sense of humor and a plan for us that we often don't understand.
    Along with lots of walking and talking, our area is doing well right now.  Maurisio is moving toward the 23rd strong, and is very receptive to what we've been teaching him.  We taught him the Word of Wisdom and Law of Tithing in the last week or so, and he's willingly accepted both of them.  Definitely prepared.
    We're really trying to find new investigators right now, well, investigators who will actually meet.  It's pretty easy to talk to people and arrange a time to come back here in the East, the actually catching them at home after that is the hard part.  I know the Lord has prepared people here who will be receptive to our message.  After all, it's a pretty great message.
    Tomorrow, we'll have the opportunity to realize the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ a little more in our lives.  As part of our zone conference, we'll be doing a special temple session as a missionaries.  I am very excited, especially since I haven't been to the temple since November, but also because of the opportunity to learn more about the covenants I've made with my Heavenly Father.  We've been learning more about our covenants as a mission lately, and I've learned something that I really love.  In a talk, "The Power of Covenants," Elder D. Todd Christofferson says something about gaining spiritual and moral power in the crazy world we live in: "What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him. A covenant is an agreement between God and man, an accord whose terms are set by God.  In these divine agreements, God binds Himself to sustain, sanctify, and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve Him and keep His commandments."  I love that so much.  God promises us everything, and in return, asks for our commitment to serve him.  He might not even ask for everything, we just need to be willing to give it, and He'll give us so much more than we ever could give.  Of all the things that show our Heavenly Father's love for us, this is definitely one of the greatest.
    I hope you're all doing well.  You're all so wonderful, and I'm insanely grateful for your influences in my life.  Keep being awesome.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week 57 - Eastside

Hello All!
     Well, it's been a crazy week!  Sorry not to have emailed yesterday, first off.  It was a civic holiday yesterday and we weren't able to email since the libraries were closed.  I'm now serving in the Calgary East Stake in the Elliston Park ward and Franklin Park YSA ward, and it's awesome!  East Calgary, you see, is very different from my last area.  In my last area, there were a lot of affluent, white, often LDS people.  In this area...there are not.  The East is basically Calgary's ghetto, and is therefore full of lots of humble people.  It's sometimes hard to see the conditions some people live in, but it's also such a blessing to see the difference the gospel can make in people's lives.  We pretty much hear sirens every day, there are shopping carts all over the place, and I really really love it.
    My new companion is Elder MacDuff from Quebec City, Quebec.  I actually served around him in my first transfer, and he's an awesome guy.  He's French Canadian, and didn't speak much English before his mission.  It's been fun to get to know each other over the past few days, and I can't wait to learn what I'm meant to learn from him. 
    It's also been pretty crazy learning my new responsibilities.  It's always interesting getting a new calling, but I've been grateful to have Elder MacDuff here to help me with being a zone leader now.  It's been tough, but also a lot of fun. Zone Leader has been pretty good so far.  I got to get right into it, as Mission Leadership Conference was this past Friday.  That's where all the zone leaders and sister training leaders get together with the assistants and President and Sister Nicholas to discuss the state of the mission and things we could be doing differently.  One thing we talked about is something we're doing this month called "Walk and Talk August".  Basically, our allotted kilometers have been cut to a quarter of what we normally have, and we're supposed to walk as much as possible.  The goal is to talk to 1,000,000 people this month as a mission, which would honestly be a miracle, but I'm really excited for the opportunities for growth it presents all of us as missionaries!  I've definitely already gotten more comfortable talking to people.  Anyway, things are going well.  I am having to adjust to a new zone and new people, of course, which is always a bit stressful, but it's going to be good!
    I wish I knew more about the area so I could tell you more, but I have gotten the chance to meet a few people.  Last Saturday we had a lesson with two of our investigators, Maurisio and Virginia.  Maurisio and Virginia are brother and sister.  They are Filipino, and are awesome!  The missionaries haven't been meeting with them for too long, but Maurisio especially has really jumped into the gospel.  On Saturday, we were able to set a baptismal date with him for the 23rd of August!  I really think he can get there, too!
    We also have a couple of less-active members who are doing well right now.  Nick, who I met my first day here, is a YSA guy who was baptized a couple of years ago but has come in and out of activity since.  He's been out to church a few weeks in a row now, and even bore his testimony on Sunday.  I'm really looking forward to meeting some more of the wonderful people in this area.  That's always one of the best parts about a new area; the new relationships our Heavenly Father allows us to build. 
    Sunday was also my 13 month mark in the mission, which is pretty crazy to think about.  Having this little time left really helps me realize all the inadequacies and faults I have, but it helps me want to be better, too.  It's easy to get down on ourselves and become discouraged when we realize how flawed we are, especially when we know who we really are and who we're meant to be, but the Lord keeps teaching me this lesson as I'm in His service: We're not perfect, but He's still there for us.  This life is hard, but that's just so we can learn to rely on Him.  Without Him, there would be no way to be saved, no way to be really happy, no way to become better.  How grateful I am for the opportunity to learn and grow and become who He wants me to be.
    Thank you all so much for your love and support and encouragement.  You are all such blessings in my life!  Have a wonderful week!  Be good.  Have fun!

I love you all!
Elder Hafen