Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week 86 - Walk The Walk

Hello All!
    Another transfer has again come and gone.  It's transfer week again, and though I'm pretty positive I'll be staying another six weeks in Medicine Hat, it will be sad to see some good missionaries leave this zone.  Some of them will be going home after serving honorably, and I've been really grateful for the time I've had to serve with them.  But alas, time moves on.
    It's been a fun and eventful week!  I'll go through some of the highlights for you:
    On Tuesday, Elder Alpentista and I were out pounding the pavement again, trying to find the elect, and we knocked on Michelle's door.  Michelle is a single, middle-aged lady who is a pretty recent convert to Christianity.  When she opened the door and started to talk with us, I was actually a little unnerved and caught off guard by how nice and interested she was in what we had to say.  She knew a little bit about the church, but not too much, and had never been, though she has been looking around for a church to attend.  Elder Alpentista went back and taught her on Friday while we were on exchanges, and she had tons of questions!  It also turns out she hasn't been baptized at all.  We hope we'll be able to see that change! :)
    While we were on exchanges, it was discovered that the elder I was with probably has mono.  I may be infected.  Please pray for me. ;)
    Our car was also put out of commission on Friday, as it needs some repairs before transfer day.  That's given us the opportunity to do some good solid walking, and it's been awesome! (grit my teeth)  Let's just say that I'm pretty darn out of shape.  Since we live out of our area, and since we basically cover the whole city with the YSA, we've spent a lot of time walking, and it's made me appreciate the wonderful tools Heavenly Father has provided to build up His kingdom.  I'm looking forward to having the tool of a car back soon, and I'll try to make good use of it.
    I also got the chance to teach Sunday School in the YSA Branch this week, which was a lot of fun!  The lesson was on Matthew chapter 5, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.  The part that is especially interesting to me is the when Jesus teaches his disciples what is really expected of them, as opposed to what they've been taught in the Law of Moses.  One that I really need to work on personally is found in verses 21 and 22: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."  (In the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith translation, "without a cause" is omitted.)  I've been learning a lot lately about the importance of having pure, unconditional, Christlike love for people, and I think anger is one of my biggest stumbling blocks in that happening.  How could the Spirit possibly fill me with love if I'm driving it away with anger in my heart?  As part of the lesson, I invited everyone to write down one thing they wanted to work on as a result of the lesson, so I determined to serve those whom I could get angry with.  I can't wait to see the difference it makes in my attitude and the way I treat others.
    Thank you all so much for your love and support!  Have a great day, and a great week.  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 85 - I Love to See the Temple

Hello All!
    First things first- Congratulations to two of the greatest people and greatest friends I know! Nate and Malory Myers are truly going to be a legendary, righteous, kind, loving, and fun team for the rest of eternity. I'm so happy for both of you!
    It's been a great week here in the great CCM. Wednesday brought us the opportunity to drive a couple of hours to beautiful Cardston to spend some time in the house of the Lord. I hadn't been to the Cardston temple since November of 2013, so it was definitely a treat to be there. We even drove through Raymond on the way there, which was a little strange, to be honest. I say it every time I go, but I love the temple so much, and there's truly nothing like the feeling of being there. If you have the opportunity to go and serve there, or even just be there, please go. You won't regret it.
   To make up for the time we'd be at the temple with Elder Engstrom - the other missionary we went with - we spent most of our last P-Day out doing some good work. It was actually a pretty cool day to be out knocking doors, since Medicine Hat was visited by some beautiful freezing rain. People thought we were crazy, but I honestly had a great time.
    We got the chance to meet up with Kate again this week, and answered some questions she had. She's doing well, and I think deepening her conversion and testimony enough to be a really positive example to some of her family members who aren't supportive of her in the church at all.
    We did set up a return appointment on Monday with somebody, though that fell through. We're also hoping to start teaching one of Kate's friends a little bit on Facebook. Otherwise, we'll meet with Willy, who Elder Alpentista found while on exchanges, tomorrow, and I'm sure the Lord will lead us to more and more of the people He's prepared for us as we keep showing Him our love for Him.
    I think I've talked about this passage of the Book of Mormon before, but I read it again this week, and it means a lot to me every time. In Mosiah 23 and 24, it talks about Alma and his people who fled from the wicked King Noah only to be enslaved by the Lamanites and had great burdens placed upon them. The reason that it only talks about these people for two chapters, though, is because they only had to deal with those burdens for those two chapters. Why? Because the Lord delivered them. Why did He deliver them? Because they,“they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” (Mosiah 24:15) We all have burdens placed upon us for a variety of reasons. The important thing, though, is what we do with those burdens. I testify that if we'll follow the example of the people of Alma, God will not only deliver us from our burdens, but he will refine and purify us and deliver us from the burden of our imperfections, and bring us to a “far better land of promise.”
   I hope you all have a fantastic week. Thank you so much for your love and support and emails and letters. You're all great, and I'm so lucky to have you in my life.

Be good! Have fun!
Love ya!
Elder Hafen

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 84 - Surprises

Hello All!
    I want to first thank Bishop Denos, Brother Saxton, and Brother Carlsen for their excellent service as my bishopric for the past 5 years.  You've all had such a great impact on my life.
   It's been a busy, fun, and eventful week!  Sadly, though, I don't have as much time to write this as I'd like, since this week is also going to be a busy, fun, and eventful week.  On Wednesday, Elder Alpentista and I will be going to the Cardston temple with one of the departing missionaries here, Elder Engstrom, so we're taking off some time from our emailing to make up for it.  Sorry about that. :(
    Part of the busyness of the week is that we got to go on exchanges with a couple of our fantastic district leaders.  On Tuesday, I went out to Brooks with Elder Keck, a Spanish-speaking missionary, while Elder Alpentista came here with his companion.  Brooks is kind of like taking a little chunk of east Calgary and throwing it out in the middle of the prairie, so I definitely felt at home, even though I sat through a lesson that I really couldn't understand.  (I did get to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon in Spanish, though!  It still felt about the same.)  
    On Thursday night we drove up to Calgary for a meeting we had there on Friday.  It was a great experience seeing a lot of my really good missionary friends and talking about how we can improve our mission.  We had a cool opportunity to talk with Brother Hemmingway from the missionary department over FaceTime, as well, about how we can use online proselyting more effectively; He gave me quite a few ideas.
    While we were in Calgary, I also learned something I probably could have seen coming, but I didn't.  I'm apparently coming home a week earlier than I thought I was.  I thought that I would fly home on the 3rd of July, just in time for Independence Day after celebrating my last Canada Day in the field, but I guess I'll be coming on the 26th of June instead.  We're getting a new mission president this summer, so that's the primary reason for it; It will make things easier on him, which is awesome!  I'm still trying to reconcile all of this for myself, though.  Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly excited to see all of you, but I bet you can probably sympathize a little with how I'm feeling.
   This has actually given me a lot of opportunity to ponder something I've already been thinking of a lot lately: Enduring to the End.  We all have to endure to the end of our lives if we're going to achieve our divine potential, but we also need to endure to the ends of the different phases of our lives if we're going to learn and grow from them as much as our Heavenly Father wants us to.  We all have a lot of those phases, and this on for me has been the most rewarding one so far by far.  It will hard to see it end, but I'm going to do my best to follow the commandments we're given in the Book of Mormon: "And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."  I hope we all choose to do that, whatever we're doing!  I know we can with the grace of our Savior.
    I love you all so much!  Have a fantastic week, and don't forget to return with honor.
Be good!  Have fun!
Elder Hafen

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week 83 - Saskatchewan Bound‏

Hello All!
    First off, congratulations to my good friend, Amy Hauck, soon to be Hermana Hauck in Mexico!  You're gonna be awesome, Amy! 
    It's been a fun week.  Elder Alpentista and I have been pounding the pavement and knocking on lot of doors trying to find some people to teach, and I'm sure we will one of these days!  We haven't had much luck yet, but we have met some pretty promising potential investigators, and I'm really hopeful they'll want to learn more.  We even got the chance to go out to Saskatchewan with some of the elders in the zone who cover a little town out there called Maple Creek.  It was a lot of fun, actually, and the few people we met were really really nice.
    Since we don't really have any investigators right now, there's not too much to report on teaching this week, though we did have a great lesson with Kate.  She was wondering about being able to say that we "know" that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can know.  That's something I've been blessed to have learned a lot about on my mission, so it was pretty easy to share my testimony with her that we really do have a loving Heavenly Father.
    As we were teaching Kate, a scripture in Moses came to my mind.  In it, God appears to Enoch and shows him a vision.  In the course of it, Enoch sees the Lord weeping, and he asks,"how is it thou canst weep?"  The Lord replies and says, "Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;"
 I realize how true that's been for me, and I wonder how much God has wept over me.  However, with as much as our sin makes Heavenly Father sorrow, I wonder too how much our loving one another and our repentance makes Him rejoice.  He's so patient with us in our mistakes, and He does everything He can to help us move past them.  I know that that's true, and I hope I can better use everything He's given me to do that, especially the Atonement of His Son.
    I hope you all have a fantastic week!  Please let me know if there's anything I can do for any of you, since you've done so much for me.  Be good!  Have fun!

Love ya!
Elder Hafen