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