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

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