Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Week 103 - That's All She Wrote!

Hello All!
 And kind of good bye, I suppose.  I first want to thank you all for your love and prayers and emails and letters and packages and everything else you have done for me over these last two years.  You have honestly done so much to help me make my mission the greatest thing I've ever done in my life.  That being said, I guess it's just about over, and I suppose the Lord needs me somewhere else now.  Whatever this next chapter in my life brings, I want you all to know that I intend to cleave to the Lord through all of it.  I may not be a missionary anymore (in a few days) but I still plan on doing all of the things in my life-daily prayer, scripture study, church and temple attendance, service, etc- to keep me close to God and His Spirit.  I hope that my mission has changed me, and I plan on continuing to become the best man that I can be through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

    I also want to wish one of the best men I know a Happy Father's Day!  Nelson Hafen is honestly the best father that I could ever ask for, and I've realized that a heck of a lot more over these two years.  I think no Skype call on Father's Day is a good reflection of fathers and the quiet, often unnoticed, but incredibly important work they do to ensure their families are safe, secure, and happy.  I'm so grateful for the good and hard-working man my dad is, and I'm also so grateful that he and my mother have done so much to ensure I grew up in a family that was built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  I love you Dad!
It's been a good week....as always.  Our P-Day trip to Waterton was a blast, and I'm sorry again I wasn't able to send a proper email because of that.  I'll try to make up for it with pictures of beautiful Waterton Lakes National Park.  Sadly, a lot of our appointments cancelled, so we weren't able to see all of the people we're working with.  Things are progressing well, though!  We started meeting with a couple new less actives, as well as a new investigator!  One of those less-actives, Amber K., I actually knew back in Calgary, and she's a really interesting case.  I almost hesitate to call her less-active, because her testimony is so strong, but she has some serious mental issues that make consistent church activity difficult, especially in a new place...like here.  Our lesson went really well, though, and we're hoping to get her coming and comfortable.  Our new investigator is named Rachael, and she's from China!  She's really awesome, and has actually been going to church in one of the other YSA wards for a few weeks, though she lives in ours.  We had a lesson with the other missionaries to pass her off to us, and it was cool to hear some of the questions she'd had as well as the incredible understanding of the gospel she has even though she's only been investigating for a couple of weeks.  She's a little hesitant to be baptized for a couple of different reasons, but I know she can get there.
    Our other less actives are doing well.  Amber(Stake President's daughter) had us over again, and we had a great time!  We brought the Relief Society President as well as Laksh, our favorite Indian recent convert.  He's also our only Indian recent convert, but I'm sure you get the picture. ;)  I think Amber is starting to develop some good relationships with the members of the ward, and I'm excited to see what comes of that.  Jake is doing good as well.  We talked about Enduring to the End with him, and it was pretty sad to say goodbye to him.  He's a really good guy, and it's been a pleasure to know him.  Sam and Bernie are good as ever.  We're still anxious to see them engaged, but we went over and taught a sweet lesson on repentance with the sisters who will be their family ward missionaries, and the Spirit was definitely there.  Lots of good stuff happening.  I'll be sad to leave this area, but I know I'm leaving it in the more-than-capable hands of Elder Averett and, more importantly, the Lord.
  I got the chance to finally do a musical number in our sacrament meeting on Sunday, and I sang "I Need Thee Every Hour".  I just want to share the words of the third verse really quick:

I need thee ev'ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.

    I want to bear my testimony that that is so true.  There have been times in my life and in my mission when I forget how much I need the Lord, and it truly does make things vain.  I'm going to try to remember that for the rest of my life, because I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of joyful as well as a lot of painful times just in the next few days as I end my mission and return home.  Whatever is happening, though, I will always need my Savior.  For "I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not

boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12) 
 I will praise my God forever for the blessings He's poured out on me for this time.  I'm so grateful for the chance I've had to see miracles, and especially the miracle of my brothers and sisters coming unto Christ to be perfected in Him.  I love Him so much.  I'm grateful for His loving, atoning sacrifice, and I know it's a reality.  I cannot deny that my Heavenly Father knows me and hears and answers my prayers.  I also know that He loves each and every individual on this earth, because we are all of His children.  We are all one big, heavenly family, and I know we can be that way again.  I can't wait for that day, when I will be able to rest with all of you in the Kingdom of God. (D&C 15)
    Thank you all again so much.  I'll see some of you soon.  And I know I'll see some others of you again.  I love you all so much.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 102 - The Usual

Hey All!
Another week has come and gone in good 'ol Lethbridge.  Time is definitely not slowing down and people keep asking me how much of it I have left for some reason.  Hmmm... Weird :)  Things here are great - as usual - and I'm loving life!  the work is good, and I'll try to give you a quick update on what's been happening.
   Elder Averett and I had the change to conduct our Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday, which I think turned out pretty well!  We've set a goal for new investigators this month, as well as to maintain the number of people on date to be baptized.  Because of that, our training was mostly on The Worth of Souls.  Please, please, please never forget that each one of you are of Huge worth to God!  We also met with two less-actives on Tuesday night, Amber and Adrienne, and had some good visits with them.  Amber just spent the last few days with her Dad, who is a Stake President, so I'm hoping that was a really good and spiritual experience for her.
   Wednesday was an exchange day and I was with Elder Barlow over in the Mountain Heights and Riverstone Wards.  It was a pleasure to be with Elder Barlow, who is a great missionary.  It was also pretty fun to be in a family ward too.  I had forgotten a little how much I like teaching families and especially kids :)  
   Thursday was pretty crazy as usual, with a couple of great lesson.  One with Jake, who actually asked for a blessing as well.  He seems to be a lot happier and is progressing really well.  We also met up with Sam and Bernie.  We're hoping they'll get engaged soon.  I think our lesson was appreciated and I'm hopeful it got them them thinking about things.
   Friday and Saturday were pretty fun actually.  There was a YSA Conference going on this weekend, so we got to be involved in that a bit.  We had a pretty open schedule otherwise so we did quite a bit of finding all over the place.  It turned out really well, and the Lord let us find some pretty awesome potentials, mostly for the family wards, but we did talk to a couple of really cool YSAs.
   It was a great Sunday once again.  We had a pretty big breakthrough with one less-active, Tyler, who mustered the courage he needed to come to Church.  He looked great in his suit, and it was really good to see him there.  We also got to meet up with Kim and talk a bit about the temple with her.  It is something she's had a few questions about.  I love teaching Kim.  Even though she has doubts at times, she keeps asking sincere questions and moves forward in faith to find answers.
   I want to share something I studied a bit about this week before I close.  I read Jacob 6:5 several days ago and there was a phrase in that verse that really popped out at me.  It tells us to "...cleave unto the Lord as he cleaveth unto you."  I looked up some cross-references and thought about that a bit, actually writing a little poem to express how I felt about it.  I'll share it here with you.  Hopefully it's not too bad ;)

  Feet dangling,
  Heights dizzying,
  I cling to Him above.
  His grip ne'er slackening
  Though mine is wavering
  My one true stay, His love.

  "Can I hold it long?"
  My constant anxious song
  "Just cling to me." His call
  He can't be wrong
  His grip is ever strong
  He won't have me fall.

  We need more strength than we have in this life, and our Father in Heaven and Savior are very capable to provide it!  They do all they can to ensure our happiness and safety.  All we have to do is to cleave unto them.  Never, never give up.  They never give up on you.
  Thank you again, all of you, for your love and prayers!  I know that I say that practically every week, but I'm honestly grateful for all of you, even though I'm probably not nearly grateful enough!  Have a beautiful day.
Be Good!  Have Fun!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Week 101 - Lasts

Hello All!
    It's been another busy and crazy week in the CCM.  Sadly, with all this busyness, there have been a couple of lasts during this week.  On Wednesday, I attended my last Mission Leadership Council, which was wonderful.  It's been a privilege to serve with President Nicholas and others in that council over the past few months, and I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned from President and others about how the Lord's kingdom is run and how I can help it move forward.  This Sunday was also the last Fast Sunday I'll have in the mission, and it was wonderful.  I'll tell you a bit more about it later.
    Our friends here are doing well.  We got to meet up with Emmanuel again this week, and had a great discussion with him!  He'd actually read the introduction to the Book of Mormon this past week, and really retained a lot of what he learned.  He was really interested in learning more about Mormon and Moroni.  With all of the questions he's had and the things he's learned so far, we're planning on actually starting to put it all together for him next time we meet up by teaching him about the Restoration.  He's a really genuine and honest guy, so I'm hopeful he'll accept our message for what it is and be willing to act on it.
    We've met with a bunch of our less actives this week, though not as many as we would have liked.  However, they're doing really well.  Jake, Adrienne, Kim, as well as another guy named Tom were all at church yesterday!  It was great to see them there, and one of the things that made the meeting so great was Kim.  A lot of people were getting up to bear their testimonies, which was pretty cool to see.  So many, in fact, that we were starting to go a couple minutes over our time.  However, just as the last couple of people were starting to bear their testimonies, Kim shot up and rushed to the front.  She was the last person to share her testimony, and it was so cool!  She hadn't done it for a long time, and was really nervous, but bore a really sweet and genuine testimony of the Savior and how He's been such a rock and a strength in her life, and how she really does know that the church is true.  It was a really touching and gratifying experience.  I'm so glad I've been able to work with her as well as the other wonderful people we're working with.
    That kind of brings me to something I've learned a bit about this week, which is the worth of souls.  That's the topic we've decided on for our Zone Training Meeting this week, and it's been a great opportunity to study more about it.  In D&C 18:10, the Lord teaches, "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;".  In studying about it, I unintentionally turned to the Book of Jonah in the Old Testament, and I'd encourage you to read it yourself. (I don't have too much time left to tell you the story, and it's super super short.)  One thing the Lord says to Jonah really stood out to me: "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city,wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand...?" (Jonah 4:11)  I testify that the Lord knows and loves each and every person on the face of the Earth, no matter how many there are.  I know that Heavenly Father is doing all that He can do to help each one of us repent and find eternal life.  I know that that is only possible through Jesus Christ.  I'm also so grateful that He gives us the opportunity to help Him bring souls to repentance and real, lasting happiness.  It's such a blessing to be involved in His work.
    I love you all so much!  Have a wonderful day and a wonderful week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 100 - A Great Man

Hello All!
Well I want to start by expressing my gratitude for Elder L. Tom Perry, a great man and a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.  It's going to be strange to watch General Conference from now on and not have Elder Perry's contagious grin and enthusiasm to look forward to.  I'm grateful for his example to all of us, and all of the good that he did in his 92 years.  He'll be sorely missed by many people, but I know he's continuing to do good and build up the kingdom on the other side of the veil.
    It's been a great week in the Canada Calgary Mission!  We were kept busy with many appointments as well as the opportunity to have interview with President Nicholas as well as a final zone meeting with President and Sister Nicholas.  Being able to have a personal interview with a man like President Nicholas is always a pleasure, and it was especially nice to be able to talk with him at this point in my mission.  Since we're going home at practically the same time, I think he's in a pretty unique situation to help me and guide me through these last few weeks.  Our final zone meeting with both President and Sister Nicholas was also a pleasure, and they gave us the opportunity to ask them any question we wanted!  That was a cool opportunity.
We also had the chance to have a couple of visitors to our sacrament meeting yesterday.  Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy was in Lethbridge this weekend, and wanted to attend a YSA Ward while he was here, so he came to ours!  He was accompanied by Elder James E. Evanson, who was just called as a new area seventy from here in Lethbridge.  It was a great chance to learn from both of them, especially about the importance of the Sabbath Day and partaking of the Sacrament.  They've given me some things to think about.
    The people we're working with are doing well.  Sadly, Peter has decided that he wants to wait to meet with us until he's done with a summer class he's doing.  So we'll hopefully be teaching him again late this month.  However, we met Emmanuel this week.  Emmanuel is friends with David, a RM in one of our wards.  David invited him to dinner with us for the last two Saturdays, and we had a great discussion with him!  We talked a lot about the church and our beliefs and answered quite a few questions he had.  He's a really cool, really fair-minded guy, and we should be seeing him again this week.
    I don't have too much more time to give you an update on everyone, but things are good.  We're working hard.  The work of the Lord is progressing.
    I just want to close with a verse that really hit me today.  I finished reading King Benjamin's address to his people this morning, and as he's closing, he says "I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name [of Christ} written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you." (Mosiah 5:12)  I know that I don't remember enough that I have taken upon myself the name of Christ, and I don't think I recognize His voice enough.  I pray that I'll be more faithful in doing those things.
    Thank you all so much for your emails and your love.  Have a wonderful week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 99 - Transfer Insanity

Hello All!
    So I hope you've all had a wonderful and beautiful week!  I want to first take the opportunity to congratulate Nate and Malory Myers, probably one of the kindest, sincerest, and talented couples I've ever heard of.  Good luck with this new adventure, both of you!  You're going to do amazing things with the Lord. :) 
   Also, well done, Sister Avonlea Dalley.  You've served a truly honorable mission, and I know the people of the Philippines are going to miss the kind and loving servant of the Lord you are, but I know there are a lot of people back in St. George, Utah, who are so anxious to see you again.  Well done!
    It's been another fun and crazy week.  Transfers were on Thursday and brought lots of changes!  Last transfer we were a purely English zone, but we now have Spanish and Mandarin-speaking missionaries here!  We also have all new district leaders, and a bunch of other changes as well.  It's been a busy few days so far, but it's been great as well, and I think we have a fantastic zone.  It will be good to get to know them all a little better today.
    We've also had lots to do in our own area.  We taught Peter again this Monday.  Sadly, Marco wasn't feeling well, so he didn't join us, but it was a great lesson!  Peter is so solid, and has definitely been prepared by the Lord.  We're just hoping to help him accept a baptismal date this week.  He's reading from the Book of Mormon and came to church yesterday, and he's loving both!  We're really excited for his progress.
    We're hoping to start teaching a couple of new people this week as well.  A couple of our members had us for dinner on Saturday...along with one of their non-member friends, and they're planning on having us again this week....with more non-member friends!  The members are both recently returned missionaries, and it's awesome to see their enthusiasm for helping people receive the gospel.
    The other people we're working with are doing really well.  Travis received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday, which was fantastic!  He's planning on doing baptisms for the dead this weekend up in Calgary, and we're going to try to find him some family names to take along with him before he goes.  Liz is also doing well.  We got her started on some family history the other day, and she was so enthusiastic about it!  She just ate it up!  She's also been coming to church without her friend for the last couple weeks, which has allowed her to make some new friendships and get her out of her shell a little more.
    The other people we're working with are progressing well also, and it's nice to see their progress.  I hope they're noticing a change within themselves.
    Things are good.  Something I've learned a bit about this past week is accountability.  In our transfer meeting, President Nicholas talked to us about stewardship and cited D&C 104.  I looked at it a bit on my own, and something stood out to me.  In verses 11 and 12 it says,"It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship; That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him."  All of us have been given stewardships and/or blessings in general from our Heavenly Father, and that can teach us so much about how to be accountable to him for what He's entrusted us with.  That's such a blessing!  This life is about preparing to meet God, and when I meet him at the judgment bar, I know that I'll be accountable for what I've done here.  The great blessing is, that "whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life." (D&C 51:19)  I'm going to try to be more accountable to my Heavenly Father for all that He's given me so that I can be worthy of that incredible blessing.
    Thank you all so much for everything you've done for me!  I'm so grateful for your examples and love and support.  It's all done so much.  I hope you all have a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Friday, May 22, 2015

Week 98 - South Sudan

Hello All!
    So I first want to say congratulations to Dixie High School's class of 2015.  You've done it!  You got through 13 years of school...and now you're off to bigger and better (and just as stressful) things!  Good luck with everything.  Thank you for your friendships and examples, even though you're still just little sophomores in my eyes. ;)
    It's been another great week up here!  As you may know, it's transfer week this week, but not too much is changing for me and Elder Averett.  Both of us are staying in this area, which was a pleasant surprise, and I'm excited to finish strong for these last five weeks with him!  It's going to be great, and I can't wait to see what the Lord can do in five short weeks as we give Him our all.
    We've had lots of cool developments this week, and I'm excited to share them with you!
    Our less actives and recent converts are progressing really well!  Travis is as solid as ever, and the plan is for him to receive the Aaronic Priesthood this coming Sunday, and then to go and do baptisms for the dead with his member girlfriend up in Calgary.  We'll probably try to find some family names he can take with him to help him feel the Spirit of Elijah and just get even more solid in his conversion than he already is.  
    We also started meeting with another girl this week who recently moved into the ward. Her name is Adrienne, and she's in a pretty rough spot right now.  I won't give you too many details, but suffice it to say that she's gone through some pretty terrible things in the last few years, and has been making some choices lately that are not helping her be happy.  We've met with her a couple of times, and she seems to be getting more and more willing to repent and return to the Lord, even though she's struggling at times with feeling like He doesn't want her back.  I think we all feel like that sometimes, I know I have.  Let me just interject my testimony in here that that is not true!  Our Heavenly Father and our Savior will always love us with a perfect love no matter what.  I don't care who you are or what you've done, They still love you more than you know and want more than anything for you to be happy!
    We had some other great and spiritual visits this week with Jake, Kim, Tyler, Sam and Bernie, Liz and Lindsay, and a few others as well!  We also started meeting with a few other less actives this week.
    Holy Cow!  This is a lot of information to share.  I still need to tell you about Peter and Marco!  We were told about Peter a couple weeks back by two separate and independent sources. (We thought he was two different Peters at first.)  Anyway, we met with them for the first time on Saturday in the home of one of the members who told us about them, and they're awesome!  Peter and Marco are from South Sudan, but have been here in Lethbridge for quite a while now.  I believe they're both doing their studies here.  They come from a catholic background, I think Marco is more devout than Peter, but have a very strong faith in Christ and a belief in the Bible.  As we were teaching them about the Restoration of the Gospel on Saturday, I was so impressed with what they already knew and understood!  Peter basically taught us about the role and importance of prophets!  We invited them to be baptized, and they said that once they know the Book of Mormon is true, they will be.  We have a couple of things that we need to resolve with them before then, but I think it's pretty inevitable.  Maybe I'm being over confident, but I can definitely see the Lord's hand in their lives, preparing them to receive His Gospel.
    Before I close, I want to share a scripture that I read this morning.  Talking about the creation of man, Abraham 4:31 says, "And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient."  When I read that, it prompted me to think if that was true for me.  Am I very obedient?  Am I even sorta obedient?  Obedience brings blessings.  Obedience brings miracles.  Obedience brings the Spirit, protection, strength, power, peace, and so many other good things!  What can we do to be more obedient to what the Lord has asked us to do?  It's worth any effort to change what we need to change.
    Thank you all so much for your love and support and all that you are and do!  Have a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Friday, May 15, 2015

Week 97 - A Happy Mother's Day

Hello all!
    First off, I was just looking through my inbox, and I realize how bad I've been at getting back to so many of you who have emailed me, and written me too!  I really apologize.  Please know that I really appreciate your thinking of me and for your kind words.  I've been blessed with some really wonderful people in my life.  I will try to be better about getting back to you in the next couple of weeks.
    It's been a great week here in the CCM.  I'll first let you know about Travis and his baptism this week.
    First off, Travis comes from a very Christian family.  In fact, his dad is a Baptist minister.  So, when Travis came to Lethbridge and had some contact with missionaries, I think he was pretty determined to help them see the error of their Mormon ways.  He would read the Book of Mormon a bit to find "flaws" and points he could bash with the elders about, and was probably pretty comfortable in his ways,  However, he finally came to the point where he remembered something he'd read in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and realized that if he was really going to know whether or not it was all true, he'd have to read it with a sincere heart.  Travis gained a testimony.  This past October, he started going to church in the YSA Ward he was living in, and the missionaries later invited him to give the lessons another try.  They went well, and Travis accepted the truth of what they taught, and then he moved, and we got to be a part of his journey.  His baptism on Thursday was pretty wonderful, and his confirmation yesterday was as well.  He's going to make a fantastic member of the church, and his kind, funny, and guileless example is an inspiration to me.  I really look forward to working with him for the next few weeks and see him progress toward the priesthood, the temple, and all the other blessings of the Gospel!
    We've had a pretty great week, otherwise.  We didn't meet with as many less actives this week, but the ones we are meeting with seem to be progressing well.  Liz went to the temple for the first time this past Saturday (huzzah!) and loved it!  We saw Amanda at church again with her boyfriend.  We had a great lesson with Jake yesterday, who has a desire to get back to the temple and receive his endowment.  Things are pretty great.  We're working on finding some more investigators right now, though, as we have a goal this month to have 50 people on date to be baptized,  I know we can do it, and I know the Lord has prepared people for us, we've just got to find them.  Your prayers on our behalf would be much appreciated. #niftyfifty
    I wanted to close with a thought that came to a bit of a culmination this morning.  I'll share a scripture I know I've shared before to start:
    "Now my brethren, 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; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen."        (Alma 26:37)
    I love that verse because it helps me see God's love for me and all of His children.  However, I think the world "numbereth" is pretty interesting,  Something I've been learning over the past couple of days is that every person is different, and that's exactly how it's supposed to be.  If you think of numbers, you can can count (numbereth) forever, and you'll never come across the same number twice.  God loves each one of those individual and unique children of His so so much, and He commands us to love ourselves, and to "love thy neighbor as thyself".  I invite us all to remember that in our everyday dealings with ourselves and our neighbors.  Let's remember to love and not judge.
    Thank you again for the wonderful people you all are!  I'm so grateful for the choice souls Heavenly Father has blessed me with in my life.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Week 96 - Falling From the Sky

Hello All!
    Another crazy, jam-packed week in Lethbridge has come and gone.  Before I go on, though, Happy Star Wars Day and May the Fourth be with you.  Watch the Star Wars trailer a couple of times for me, will ya?  Life is good and time is flying.  Good things are happening in the London Road and Vic Park YSA Wards!
    The people we're working with are doing really well as a whole!  We met with a lot of our less actives this week, and had some great lessons with them.  One, Amanda, is a recent convert who is living with her less active boyfriend.  We taught her on Tuesday and took Laksjhit with us, (who just got engaged, fyi) and taught about eternal marriage and the importance of it in Heavenly Father's plan. Gotta love YSA wards! ;)  We also got the chance to go out to Taber that day to attend Institute with the YSAs in that part of our ward.  That was pretty awesome, and there are some strong young adults in southern Alberta.  That's for sure!
    We saw Johnny again on Wednesday, and found out he got a job-yay!- and he's moving-not yay.  It's all good, though, he still wants to be baptized, and we committed him to be baptized in early June.  We'll probably meet with him and his new missionaries this week, so we're hopeful things will go off without a hitch.  We met with Tanner and Tyler (less actives) and Liz and Lindsey (recent convert and less active) as well, and things are good there.  Liz and Lindsay are actually planning on going with the ward to the temple this week, which will be Liz's first time, so that's awesome!
    Thursday saw a lot of lessons, which was pretty great.  Ryan is good, though I think pretty caught up in the things of the world.  Jake, who has been struggling with some depression, actually came to church on Sunday, and we're hoping to see him at FHE tonight.  We also taught Kim, who sadly lost her job.  However, we had a good lesson with her, and this actually means she can come to church now...which she did!  Huzzah!  We saw Sam and Bernie in the evening, and they're awesome as usual.  Sadly, Bernie's brother passed away later in the week, so we're hoping he's doing alright.
    Friday brought a pleasant surprise.  We had a meeting for a lot of the day, and afterwards, some elders in another one of the YSA wards here in Lethbridge called us and wanted to meet up to tell us about someone.  That someone is named Travis, and he just moved into London Road Ward.  Travis is also getting baptized on Thursday.  So that was pretty awesome!  Travis came to church on Sunday, and then we had a lesson with him, one of our members who he knows from their college basketball team, and the other elders.  It was an awesome lesson, and Travis is an awesome guy.  We'll be meeting with him every night up to his baptism this week, just to finish up his preparation, but we're not worried about him at all.  I'll have to tell you a little more about his journey next week.  
      I've got to get going, but I wanted to share a scripture that I've probably shared before. Moroni 7:33:
"And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."
       I want to especially point out the word expedient.  I associated this verse a lot with doing amazing miracles in the service of the Lord before, but sometimes what is expedient is not exactly what we want to happen.  However, we can still do it, and we can still learn what we're meant to as we have faith in the Savior.  
    Thank you all for your emails and your love!  Have a fantastic week.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 95 - Sailing the Prairies

Hello All!

    Well it's been a great week here in beautiful southern Alberta!  I first want to congratulate my wonderful Mother and my Aunt DeeDee for their concert at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake this weekend.  I know they did a beautiful job in a beautiful place.
    Things are pretty fantastic here.  We've had a fun and busy week running all over Southern Alberta, it seems like, which has been awesome!  We had some good lessons with a few less actives in our wards, but sadly weren't able to see any of our investigators.  As a result of that, and him not making it to church again, we've dropped Johnny's baptismal date for the time being.  We should be seeing him tonight at Family Home Evening, though, so we'll hopefully be able to get him back on track for that.  Our other lessons were good, though, and I'll try to give you a quick update on everything we've been up to.
    We had the chance on Wednesday to drive out to Taber, Alberta to teach a guy named Denim.  Denim has had some health issues that delayed some plans I think he had to serve a mission, and he's fallen into inactivity in the meantime.  It was nice to be able to go out and see him.  As we were leaving that lesson, we got a text from someone else we had tried to set a lesson up with, who told us we could come by that night.  That was at about 5, and we scheduled the lesson for 6...in Raymond...a bit over an hour away...yeah.  (In our defense, we didn't realize she lived in Raymond at the time.)  Haha, it ended up just fine, and we had a good visit with her.  We also got to meet with Tanner and Tyler that night, and had a really spiritual lesson with them about the Savior and His life.
    We also met with a girl named Yvette this week for the first time.  She expressed a lot of her concerns to us about feeling judged in the church and not feeling welcome in the YSA ward, and I was definitely tempted to judge her harshly for that, but I realized that that's just the way she feels.  I'm not sure why, and she likely has a few good reasons.  I think the best thing we could do, and I think tried our best to do, is show her love.  I think that's something Heavenly Father is helping me learn a lot about in teaching so many less actives here, and I'm grateful for that opportunity.
    Another awesome part of this week was having zone conference down in Cardston.  It was a great opportunity to be taught by our leaders and feel the Spirit teaching us what we needed to learn, and I was definitely spiritually fed!  Something I learned there, and in my study, is just how much of a blessing repentance and the Atonement is to us.  I started to read the book of Isaiah this morning, which was great!  The first chapter of Isaiah is really interesting, because a majority of it is the Lord telling Israel about the wicked and apostate state they'd degraded to, and how their offerings to Him were vain because of their wickedness.  It's a very powerful chapter of scripture, especially because of what the Lord tells them in verses 16-19: 
   "16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
    17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed,judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
   18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
   19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:"
    It doesn't matter how bad we've been in the past.  It doesn't matter what shade of red we've stained our souls.  Through the incredible gift of repentance, we can be washed clean and filled with the glorious light of the gospel.  We can be filled with peace and love and joy, and I know that that's been true for myself.  I hope and pray that none of us ever feel like we're to far gone to repent and receive the blessings of the gospel.
    Thank you all for everything!  I love you all a lot!  Have a great week and be sure to remember how much your Heavenly Father loves you.  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 94 - Busy Bees

Hey All!
    Well it's been a crazy week, with lots happening, and I'll try to give you a quick recap:
     Monday- P Day was fun.  The new zone is awesome.  We had dinner with a recent convert named Lakshjit, who has an awesome conversion story. (Basically, he was a total atheist, and after a conversation with a friend of his, spent most of a vacation on mormon.org.  He came home, split up with his girlfriend, stopped smoking and drinking, met with the missionaries, and got baptized.)  He's a great guy, and it's been cool to see how much someone can change through the power of the Atonement and faith in Christ.  Family Home Evening was fun, and it was nice to actually be able to meet some more members of our wards.
     Tuesday- Had a couple of great lessons and a great meeting.  One of our lessons was with Johnny, and investigator who is a former Hudderite. (Hudderites are kinda like Amish people, though they do use some technology and live a communal lifestyle.)  We didn't have too much time to meet with him, but it was a spirit-filled lesson, and he agreed to be baptized on the 9th of May.  Our meeting that night was with Brother Pierson, the High Councilor over missionary work in the stake, and it was inspiring!  Brother Pierson and the Stake President are on the ball here, and I'm so excited to be working with them.
     Wednesday- More lessons.  Taught a few less actives, which was interesting.  YSAs are pretty interesting sometimes in how dramatically they differ.  It was a good day, though!
     Thursday- More less active lessons.  We met with one couple, Sam and Bernie, who are super awesome!  They live in the same house, but aren't married yet, so we're trying to help that happen.  They're great people, however, and it was a really cool experience to hear their testimonies and share ours with them in return.
     Friday- Lots of service.  We were asked, as a zone, to help out with a Provincial gymnastics championship that was going on at the college.  We spent quite a bit of time there on Friday and Saturday.  We also met with another investigator, Tumelo, which was...interesting.  Tumelo has a protestant background, and is very confident in his beliefs.  He also seemed to have looked up quite a few anti-mormon tidbits.  It was a good experience if just for the fact that I realized a little more the importance of knowing the truth of spiritual things through spiritual means.  That's just how it works, not matter how tempting it is to "prove" what we believe with facts and figures.
     Saturday- More gymnastics competition.  Sadly had a couple of lessons fall through, one which was supposed to be with Johnny.  We did, however, have an awesome dinner with a pretty stellar group of YSAs.  It was really fun to talk to them about their missions and life, and to connect with them.
     Sunday- The Sabbath is always awesome.  I was definitely surrounded by a lot of unfamiliar faces, but I met a lot of awesome people and made some good connections.  We also met with Dustin, another investigator whose girlfriend is a less active member.  Dustin's in a pretty tough situation as far as the gospel goes, because he works in Northern Alberta for four weeks at a time.  It was a good lesson, though, and we definitely learned a lot more about him.
    Overall, things are pretty great!  I'm excited to be here, and to be serving the YSAs of Lethbridge, and the Lord.  I don't have too much time left, but something I've been relearning, and something I want to invite all of us to remember, is "there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began". (Alma 26:35)  We know who we are.  We know who our Heavenly Father is.  And we know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the source of real happiness.  Let's embrace that happiness as we embrace the Gospel in its entirety. 
    I love you all!  Thank you for your love, support, emails, and prayers.  They all help a lot!  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Week 93 - Blown Back to the Windy City

Hey All!
    Well transfers has brought lot of new changes!  I'm now back in Lethbridge, Alberta, serving in the London Road and Victoria Park YSA Wards. 
My new companion is Elder Averett from Yuma, Arizona.  He's awesome.  The area's awesome.  Things are generally awesome.  Another cool thing, our area actually covers Raymond, and the 12th Ward (Now Willowbrook Ward) is in our zone.  It's been pretty awesome to already see some familiar faces and get to know the members and missionaries and others I've been called to serve here.  I'm excited to be here!  
    I don't know if I ever mentioned it when I was here before, but Lethbridge is very windy.  Very windy.  It's nice, though, as it's a warm wind and it reminds me that I need a haircut.  I've had a lot of opportunity to get to know the city a little better in the last few days as we've been running around from different appointments and teaching some awesome people.  We're working with a lot of less active members in this area right now, and it's awesome.  A lot of these less actives that we're meeting with are progressing really well, and something I love about working with young adults is how humble a lot of them are.  Since this is a pretty strong area of the church, a lot of them have been raised in the church and fallen away for various reasons.  However, they have such strong foundations in the gospel, and it's so great to be able to help them build on those.  One, Braden, is doing really well after coming home from a mission early.  A lot of his friends are starting to come back, and he has a really sincere desire to get back to the temple.  Another one, Kim, is struggling quite a lot with health and family issues, and is pretty discouraged by it all.  We were able to help remind her of the love her Heavenly Father has for her and give her a blessing, though.  I've only met a few of our members and others we're working with, but I'm loving them already, and I can't wait to get more and more familiar with everyone and everything.
    This weekend we also had the opportunity to have Stake Conference here in the Lethbridge Stake, and it was a really edifying experience.  The stake theme is something like "seeking daily guidance", and the messages taught me a lot about that.  I've realized in the past few days how much God really does listen to us and bless us as we try to put forward our best efforts.  If you need help with something or aren't sure what to do, "Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (D&C 4:7)  I testify that our Heavenly Father loves us the most and knows us the best.  He wants us to be truly happy, and He'll help us all find that happiness as we seek it and ask for His help in finding it.
    Thank you all for your emails and love and support.  I'm excited for these last couple of months, and I hope to serve the Lord with all of my might, mind, heart, and strength so that I can return to all of you in honor.  Have a wonderful week!  Be good!  Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Week 92 - #LDSconf

Hello all!
   Another week has come and gone, and another transfer has, too.  Believe it or not, I've been here in Medicine Hat for my customary three transfers, and I'm off to a new area once more.  I'll be staying in the southern part of the mission, and will probably either end up in Lethbridge, Cardston, or British Columbia.  We'll find out for sure on Thursday, and I'll probably be off to my last area for this last stretch of my mission.
    I've loved it here in Medicine Hat, and it will be hard to say good bye to the wonderful people I've gotten to know here.  It really is a great place with lots of really good people.  My time here has gone by way too fast.  It's been a good week, and we got the opportunity to meet with Eva again, which is always fun.  We had a good lesson on the Plan of Salvation, and as she shared some experiences with us, it was cool to see how God has had His plan for her specifically within His grand Plan of Happiness for all of us.  Some of our other lessons fell through, but in our attempts to try to contact the part member families in our ward, we actually got to go and see one!  Marie, who is a less active member, and Bob O. are super nice people.  They were more than happy to have us over, and we shared #BecauseHeLives with them.  They really liked it, and we had a nice conversation with them.  However, Marie wasn't terribly interested in coming back to church, which is a bummer, but alas.
    I hope you all enjoyed General Conference.  The first weekends of April and October are especially exciting as a missionary, but I hope you all got a lot of out it too!  I loved so many of the talks, but I especially loved President Uchtdorf's talk in the Sunday morning session entitled, "The Gift of Grace".  I don't have too much more time, but I'd like to share a bit of it with you. "'for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.' However, I wonder if sometimes we misinterpret the phrase “after all we can do.” We must understand that “after” does not equal “because.”  I hope we can all remember that, though we can bring about much righteousness in our lives, we cannot save ourselves.  We can never do enough of ourselves.  Jesus Christ is the only name whereby we can return to our Heavenly Father, and I just hope we all learn to love Him and serve Him and believe in Him as much as we can in gratitude for His sacrifice that made that salvation possible.  I love Him so much, and I'm so grateful for His perfect love for each one of us.
    Have a wonderful week, and I'll be sure to let you know where I end up!  Thanks for all of your love and emails and support.  You're the best!  Be good!  Have fun!

Elder Hafen

Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 91 - He Is Risen

Happy Easter, everyone!
    I know it's not technically Easter yet, but since I don't get to talk to you every day, that's the best I can do.  I hope you're all excited for this wonderful week and holiday!  What a great time to not only remember the Savior, but share His love with those around us as well.  Speaking of, you should definitely check out #Because He Lives if you haven't yet. 
    To make it even better, we have the chance to hear from special witnesses of Jesus Christ this weekend in General Conference!  I love conference so much, and I want to invite all of us to go and listen with a question/questions in mind.  I know the Lord speaks through His prophets today, and I know He'll speak directly to us if we'll listen for what He has for us.
    It's been another great week here in the Canada Calgary Mission.  We had a great lesson with Jason and Brenda this week, where we talked a lot about our agency and the importance of committing ourselves to living the gospel.  They really opened up towards the end of our time there, and Jason especially expressed his desire to do better than he has in the past.  They haven't had a ton of support in living the gospel in the past, and we're hoping to change that with the help of the ward.
    Sadly, our other lessons this week fell through, but we're looking forward to a great and busy week this week!  With Easter and the #BecauseHeLives initiative, we've been sharing a dinner message with members that I'd like to share with you, too.  In 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 it says,
      "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
    Because we're in a fallen state, we will all die one day.  Because we all sin, we all suffer spiritual death, or separation from God, as well.  I know that Jesus Christ is the only way that those deaths are overcome.  He conquered them for us, and now we just have to follow him to the ultimate victory.  I'm so grateful for Him, and I can't wait to return to the presence of my Heavenly Father through my Savior, Jesus Christ.  
    Thanks for the emails and everything you all do for me.  Have a great week!  Be good!  Have fun! 
(Watch Conference!)
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Week 90 - A Proclamation‏

Hello All!
    Spring has sprung and I'm definitely ready for it!  I hope you've all had a great week, and I'm grateful for your emails and kindness.  You're the best!  I was sad to hear about the passing of President Grey Larkin this week.  A lot of you didn't know President Larkin, but he was a great man, and a righteous servant of God who I looked up to a lot.  He'll definitely be missed.
    Things are great in The Hat, and we were quite a bit busier this week teaching more less active members of our ward, though we still haven't been blessed with any new investigators to teach yet.  Jason and Brenda, who we've met with before, are doing well, though Jason just got laid off from his job, which is tough.   A lot of families are having to deal with that right now due to the slump in oil prices. (At least, that's what I think it is, with my very limited access to news.)  We were able to teach them about the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith this week, which I love to teach.  How blessed are we to have the fullness of the restored gospel in our lives?
    We also started meeting with Sarah, who was baptized a few years ago, but hasn't been out for a while and struggles with some health issues.  We'll hopefully be able to start seeing her at church some more.  Another less active brother we tried to start teaching this week, Steve, wasn't so interested in coming back, but it gave us a great opportunity to testify to him that he truly has a Father in Heaven who loves him so dearly, no matter what we do or have done.
    Eva was doing pretty well this week, though struggling with her health.  A lot of her health problems have been caused by her smoking habit, which she seems to be starting to overcome!  Boo yah!  She even had a non-member friend at our lesson this week, Dave, who we gave a blessing to.  We actually gave a blessing to both he and Eva, and it was a great experience.  We gave him a couple of pamphlets at the end of the lesson, and it turns out he already had one.  I was a little caught off guard, thinking that maybe he'd been given some Jehovah Witness stuff, but it turns out he'd found a Book of Mormon and pamphlet that I'd forgotten in the front entrance of the nursing home they live in a couple weeks ago.  That was a pretty miraculous mistake.  Hopefully he'll be interested in learning more in the future.
    This weekend we also had the privilege of being a part of the Medicine Hat Stake Conference.  Elder Donald Deshler of the 70 was visiting, and it was a great conference with a lot learned.  One thing that I gained a new appreciation for in particular was the family.  Elder Deshler invited us all to read, ponder, and pray about "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", and I took him up on that.  (I invite all of you to do the same, too!) I also want to testify that that truly is an inspired document, and that we need to commit ourselves to protecting the family.  It really is ordained of God!  Our family members aren't just people we're related to, they're people we can be with forever in unimaginable joy!  They're people who have helped and who help us become who our Heavenly Father wants us to be.  They're also people we have a responsibility toward to help and bless and serve.  I want to thank my wonderful family for being so wonderful to me.  They've all helped me become better, and they've all served and loved me so much.  I especially want to thank my good and righteous parents for doing all they've done to create such a loving home for all of us.  I've been so incredibly blessed with the family I have.
    I hope you're all having a great day, and that you have a great week.  Thanks again.  Remember to smile!  Be good!  Have fun!

Elder Hafen

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Week 89 - Sunny Medicine Hat

Hey All!
    Well there's not too much to update you on this week.  I first want to give a welcome home to Elder Brad Hauck.  Thanks for your example, man, and way to return with honor.  
   It's been another great week in Medicine Hat.  Jackets were a rarity this week with some beautiful, sunny, springesque days.  Tracting when it's nice outside is pretty glorious, and a nice change.  Sadly, despite some good time put in knocking on lots of doors, we didn't find any new friends to teach and invite to baptism.  A lot of our other appointments fell through this week, which is pretty typical in missionary life.  However, we did finally get in to see this less-active couple we've been stopping by since I got here, and had a nice lesson with them.  They have a goal to get to the temple and be sealed.  I really hope we can keep meeting with them and help them get there.
    We also had the chance to have a zone meeting on charity this week, which was a big learning opportunity for me.  In preparing for it, I read a really cool statement in Preach My Gospel chapter 6 on charity. "When you are filled with charity, you obey God’s commandments and do all you can to serve others and help them receive the restored gospel." ( I highly recommend studying that section, by the way.)  To me, having charity sounds like a pretty big problem solver.  When we have charity, we're going to do the things we're supposed to do and we'll be a blessing to those around us.  Obedience plus service equals happiness in my books.  Don't get me wrong, it's a quest to develop the kind of unconditional and perfect love our Father in Heaven and Christ possess, but I know that it's worth the effort.  Pray for help.  Serve others.  Try to understand them.  It's worth it to love like God loves and see others as He sees them.
    I hope you all have a beautiful week.  Never forget you have a Father in Heaven who loves you more than you could know.  Be good!  Have fun!

Elder Hafen

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 88 - Things to Act and Things to Be Acted Upon

Hello All!

Quite a lot happened this week, and I don't have much time left to email, so I'll try to fill you in.
  Tuesday brought one of my favorite parts of my mission: interviews!  It's always a great opportunity to sit down with President Nicholas and learn from him and his experience in the gospel.  I taught me some things I definitely needed to learn and gave me some encouragement that I really appreciated.  I've had a couple of opportunities this week to have the Spirit testify to me that he really is the man the Lord wanted to lead this mission at this time, and I'm trying harder to truly sustain him and my other leaders.  I feel so blessed to be part of a kingdom where our leaders are chosen by someone infinitely more wise than we sometimes are.
   We had a couple lessons this week with some awesome people.  Jason and Brenda seem to be understanding more and more, but they missed church again yesterday.  Brenda was apparently not feeling well.  Eva is doing well, and seems to be different, in a good way, every time we go there, according to her home teacher.  We also had the chance to meet with one of our YSA members who was baptized a couple of years ago.  His name is Brandon, and he's decided to start going to another church.  It was interesting to talk with him, and I don't know his story very well, but from what he said, it seemed like he was almost compelled to be baptized, even though he had some testimony issues.

   Now, I really don't know what happened, but his story lends itself really well to something I've been learning a lot about in the past days.  In 2 Nephi chapter 2, verse 14 it says,"And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon."  God's creations are pretty well separated into agents and objects. (things to act and things to be acted upon)  An object I think about a lot is a rock.  You can do whatever you will to a rock, and it will react.  An object can't do anything of itself.  We, however, are definitely agents.  When God created us, He gave us the priceless gift of moral agency; the ability to choose for ourselves.  Something I struggle with is being too much of an object.  Somebody does something I don't like, for instance, and I react by becoming angry or offended or whatever.  The thing is, I choose to do that.  I'm willingly giving up my freedom to gratify my natural man, but what kind of life is that?  Is it really worth it to feel a little bit of smug satisfaction if you're becoming a slave?  Is it really worth it to elevate myself above others if my heart just gets harder and harder and less able to feel the happiness the gospel brings?  This has been a valuable lesson for me personally, and I can truly testify that God intends "that we have the principal decision-making role in our own life’s drama." (D. Todd Christofferson)  We can choose whether to act or be acted upon.
   I love you all!  I hope you have a fantastic week.  Thank you so much for your love and support. 
Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Week 87 - Business As Usual

Hello All!
    Another transfer has passed us by, and the Medicine Hat zone has got some great new missionaries.  It's gonna be a great transfer, and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store.  It's been a fun and busy week with missionaries leaving, missionaries coming, and everything else going on in our area.  Things are good.
    There have been some miracles and some disappointments as far as finding the people the Lord has prepared for us this week.  I'll let you know right off the bat that Michelle is no longer interested in meeting with us.  Our second lesson with her fell through, so we called to set up another one, and she let us know that she had a couple of churches she was looking into joining, and I guess we weren't on the list.  However, in testimony meeting yesterday, the non-member wife of a returning member got up to bear her testimony of prayer, and said something like "though I'm not a member...yet." I really admired her courage in getting up to say what she said, and we're working with the ward to see if she does have interest in meeting with us at the moment.  We will see!  There was also a young woman in the ward who apparently has a friend we gave a Book of Mormon to while tracting, and may be interested!
    Otherwise, we're working with some awesome less-actives right now.  One couple we've met with a couple of times, Jason and Brenda, seem to be especially enthusiastic about coming back to church.  They haven't made it yet, for a variety of reasons, but we're hopeful that will change soon.  We also started meeting with an older woman named Eva this week who was baptized several years ago by a senior couple, but stopped coming for health and other reasons.  Her home teacher invited her to meet with us a few weeks ago to take the lessons again, and she accepted!  So, we started to do that this week, and it was a really cool experience to see the Spirit influencing her.  It's been a great blessing to see the Lord soften hearts so that they can receive His Spirit.
    In our bible study class last week, we reviewed Acts 17 and a scripture I already knew stood out to me a little more.  In chapter 17, Paul is preaching to the Athenians about the nature of God, and teaches them this: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." (v. 28)  Something else I've realized as a missionary is how important our immediate family relationships and experiences are, and that the family really is the best possibly place to learn things like love, communication, patience, forgiveness, fun, and lots of other great things too.  No matter what happens in our families, there's still love, and I wonder what would happen if we all realized more and more that each and every person on earth really is a son or daughter of God, and therefore, that we all are really brothers and sisters, one big family.  How would that change the way we treat each other?  How quick would we be to forgive?  How much heartache and hate and envy could be avoided?  I ask those questions because I'm not terribly good at seeing my brothers and sisters for who they truly are, but I hope to get a lot better at it, and I hope to make the people around me one big happy family.
    I hope you all have a fantastic week!  I'm so grateful for your love and emails.  It really means a lot to hear from you all.  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya,
Elder Hafen