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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Week 62 - S as in SNOW

Hello All!
    Another great week in the CCM!  It sounds like it's been a great week back at home, too!  Thank you everyone who sent me news and pictures and everything else about what's going on with the people I love all around the world.  It's strange to see the change and everything else that's going on, but it's also awesome.  A lot has happened in the last 14 months, and I want to congratulate everyone for the things they've done.  I have been so blessed with awesome people in my life who I can look to for support and encouragement, and especially good examples.  I love you guys a lot!
    It snowed yesterday.  In case you weren't aware, it's September.  Welcome to Alberta.  Haha, it's actually not that bad.  It's supposed to be back to nice and sunny weather in the next few days, and it's a nice preparation for this coming winter; Wearing wool socks again brings back some good memories.  I can't believe summer is over already, and how fast time goes by.  The next 10 months are going to be awesome!
 Our area is doing well.  Audrey is planning on being baptized on the 20th still, and then will head back to the Philippines soon after.  We taught her some more commandments this week, and she was more that willing to keep them.  Her faith is pretty amazing!  Josie is progressing really well, and she and Clayton were at church and seemed to have a really good time on Sunday.  We'll hopefully be able to see them married soon and then her baptized.  It's transfers this week, but neither Elder Mac Duff or myself are moving, so we'll be able to tear it up for another transfer together!  We're still trying to find more of the people who the Lord has prepared for us here, especially those who are between the ages of 18 and 30, and I know they're there!
    I realize I had a lot of cool experiences this week that I could share with you.  There was something I learned from a few different experiences and people though, that I'd like to share.  It kind of starts with my favorite scripture, Alma 26:35-37.  In verse 37, Ammon says something I really love.  He says,"we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving;
I've definitely seen that in my own life, and many people have shared with me how they've seen that in their lives.  I know that God truly is aware of us, and helps us, in even the smallest and most seemingly inconsequential things.  He answers our prayers and gives us blessings, even when the thing we ask for doesn't seem that important.  Are we the same?  I've realized that there are quite a few things that God has asked me to do that I'm not doing the best job on.  They may not be big things, but that doesn't matter!  Our Heavenly Father does everything for us, and I know I can do more for him.  The Savior taught us, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." I really want to show my Savior and my Father in Heaven the love I have for them.  I just need to be better about actually doing it.
    I hope you all have a fantastic week!  I love you all so much.  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Week 61 - Happy Labour Day, eh!

Hello All!
     I hope you're all having a great day and that you've had a good week, as well.  Just to warn you, I may be a little brief today.  It was Labor Day yesterday, so we couldn't email.  We also had a bunch of mission-related stuff we had to do which took quite a bit of our time today, but it's always so nice to email you all and get your emails!  Congratulations to the cast of Tarzan at the best high school in the world.  I'm sure you're all going to be awesome! 
    It's been a good week in the great Canada Calgary Mission!  We had lots going on in just a few days.  It's crazy to me how much can fit into a week!  Just to give you a quick update on our investigators-
    Audrey, who we started teaching a couple weeks ago, is now on date to be baptized on the 20th.  She seems really committed, and I think she will be baptized, even if it's not on that day.  (She goes back to the Philippines on the 27th, so it might be best for her to be baptized into her ward there.)
    Josie, who is one of the other investigators we found last Sunday night, is also on date to be baptized!  She's the girlfriend of the step-son of one of our less-actives (hope that makes sense) and they both seem to be making good progress.  They recently had a baby, and I think he's had some health problems.  Needless to say, it's been a big stress on them, and I really hope the gospel is helping them through this tough time.
    Simon, who we also found that week, has been really open so far, and we hope he progresses.  We're also looking forward to seeing Emanuel and Ann this week, who we haven't seen since our first lesson with them.
    I just wanted to share a scripture that I came across recently that I really love.  It's in Mosiah chapter 24, verse 15. "And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." I love this scripture because it applies so well to all of us.  We all have burdens laid upon us from time to time, and it's easy to bear them with complaining and impatience, and definitely without cheer.  But, if we do bear them like Alma and his people did, we're blessed so much the more.  In the next verse, the Lord says to them,"Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage."  We all have that promise as we bear our burdens well.
    I love you all so much!  Have a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen