Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bret's Homecoming Details

Bret flies into SLC Tuesday (Dec 27)! E-mail Janice if you want more info:

So far there isn't a homecoming scheduled since he won't be able to come back to Sugar Land before school starts. Maybe some future weekend.

12/20/10 Last Letter

Dear Family,

It's kind of hard for me to believe that this is the last letter I will write. I remember when I entered the MTC, and how I thought that this day was an eternity away. I can’t really believe that it’s finally here. The mission has become my life. Mexico has become my home, and Spanish has become my language. Starting the mission, everything seemed so foreign to me: the mission schedule, the language, the culture, the people, and the food. But slowly all of those things have become a part of me.

It’s difficult to explain what the mission has meant to me. It has been the most difficult yet rewarding experience I have ever lived. But I have come to learn that that is how life must be when one dedicates their life to the service of the Lord. The testimony truly comes after the trial of our faith. I have also learned that Christ has indeed suffered so that can know how to succor his people. The saving of human souls is the most rewarding work that one can do on this Earth. To see lives change for the eternities is a joy that nothing in this world can offer.

I believe that the greatest convert of my mission is myself. By accepting a mission call one accepts to be molded and perfected by the hand of God. It is a long and sometimes painful process, but in the end one can look back and see the masterpiece the Lord has created. I’m not saying that I am that masterpiece, but I accept that the work that the Lord has done for me in these two years has truly been a work of art.

Throughout the mission, a missionary always has this day in the back of his mind. But I never thought I would be this sad when it finally came. I have grown to love these people and this country. I think I understand now how Alma and the sons of Mosiah must have felt as they worked among the Lamanite people. These are truly a chosen people. I now understand what caused the three Nephites to ask to be permitted to serve until the second coming of Christ. I feel a little guilty that I decided to cut my mission a month short to start school, but what’s done is done. There are more things waiting for me back home.

I would like to conclude this letter with my testimony. I know this is the true church of Christ. I know that because I have asked and received an answer. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and is the most important tool that we have in these latter days to bring to pass the salvation of human souls. I know that God lives. He loves every one of His children. He listens to us, and will answer us. I know that He has a plan for us. Part of this plan is that we can have eternal families.

Thank you for raising me in a home where love and righteous principles were always taught. I love you and look forward to seeing you soon.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” Joseph Smith


Elder Hansen

12/13/10 Turtle Service Project & Alma Nelly's Baptism


This week was a pretty fun week. On Tuesday we did our Christmas service project. Our zone went to help out the Save the Turtles foundation. We went and painted and fixed up this little house where the run the turtle saving stuff. It was a pretty simple house. They had a big bathtub think where they kept the new born turtles, and they had a big fenced in area where they keep the eggs buried in the sand. At the end of the day we each got to free two turtles into the ocean. It was pretty cool. But we were pretty disappointed to hear that only 5 out of every 100 turtles live to adulthood.

The week got even better after the turtle saving. On Wednesday we had the interview for Alma Nelly's baptism. But as we were there I started talking to her kids and they said that they wanted to be baptized on the same day. My district leader interviewed them and said that they were ready. The kids had only gone to church once, but President always says that whenever possible we should baptize the whole family together. So we had the baptism on Saturday, and the three of them, Alma Nelly, Marcos, and Abraham, were baptized together. The baptism went really well. With them we also completed the goal of baptisms for the month. Hopefully we can pass it, but we'll see because we don't really have anyone right now.

Well, everything is going well here. Have a great week everyone.
Elder Hansen

12/6/10 Teaching Almaneli


This week went pretty well. We were able to bring 4 people to church yesterday, and we should have a baptism this week. The person who is going to be baptized is named Almaneli. She is super cool. The missionaries were already teaching her when I got here. She's already read like half of the Book of Mormon and has a strong testimony. She was in an accident a few months ago which has made it a little difficult for her to go to church. But lately she's been doing better which has allowed her to go to church. We are also teaching her two kids Abraham y Marco. They came to church for the first time last week. We hope that they can also be baptized this month.

Thanks for all of the emails. My birthday was alright. The day was pretty routine. But at night we went out for Tacos al Pastor with a recent convert who's pretty cool. We ate half a kilo of meat between the three of us. Half a kilo for 100 pesos. It was a pretty good deal. We all took turns eating habanero peppers. It was pretty fun. Then we went to McDonald's for some ice cream. On Monday we baked the cake in the church. It was supposed to be super moist, but it came out super super moist. It was a bit more like flan or pudding. But it was still pretty good. Today we went and played bowling for the second week in a row. It was pretty fun.

Last night we watched the Christmas message. It was pretty good. The translator had a bit of trouble translating the grinch references. But I am really glad that I get to spend one more Christmas in the mission. I'll be able to really focus on what Christmas is all about.

I like Jenny's idea. We should have a second Christmas. I already started buying some gifts. Who all is going to be there?

Do you want me to call on Christmas?

Ok well Feliz cumpleaños a papa y feliz navidad para todos.

Elder Hansen

11/29/10 Thanksgiving at Applebee's

Well, this week went pretty good. We started the week with zero progressing investigators, so we dedicated most of our time to finding people. We found 14 new investigators and a few of them seem pretty cool. But the bad thing is that none of them came to church this week. We hope to have that change this this week.

To answer Mom's question: yes Luis had been to church a lot of times and yes we taught him the lessons. The kid was ready and wanted to be baptized, so we didn't wait. His family is becoming active again. This week we helped them scrape the mildew off of the wall of a room they're going to rent out.

On Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving by going to Applebee's. I splurged and got some baby back ribs. I was left with almost no money left for the month. Last night I decided to check my suitcase, because I thought I had hidden 50 dollars in there a long time ago. Much to my surprise I found a hymn book hidden under the zippers. Inside the hymn I found $1200 pesos. I then decided to check my other suitcase and I found 90 dollars and 200 more pesos. I had completely forgotten about that money. It looks like Santa came early.

It's pretty weird that Steven is now married. I think the last time I saw him we were blowing up a cantaloupe on our old lacrosse field. I guess things change.

Clint, you might want to let my clothes start to air out. I'm pretty sure the moth ball stench is pretty strong by now.

Well, I don't have much more news. Peace ya'll.

Elder Hansen

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/22/10 Luis Baptism

Saludos de Acapulco,

This week went ok. We had a baptism. It was a niño magico. A member told us to visit an inactive family last week, so we did. And we found out that the youngest kid had just turned eight and had not been baptized. The kid lives with his grandma who is a member, but his mom is dead and his dad left them. So it counted as a convert baptism because his parents aren't members. We were going to do the baptism in the ocean, but the bishop never showed up. It then was too dark to go to the beach, and we needed another witness. So we called just about every member in the ward looking for a witness untill we finally found one. We then had to clean and fill up the font. Then our investigators went to go eat, and took forever to come back. We thought they had ditched. But in the end it all worked out. After three tries the kid, Luis, was baptized, and yesterday he was confirmed.

The week was a little rough. A lot of our investigators died on us. We're starting this week with almost nobody, but we have a lot of ideas, and we're going to try new things other than knocking doors.

It's weird to think that Thanksgiving is this week, because it feels like summer here. Today we got the two zones together to play football on the beach. It was our Turkey Bowl. It was a lot of fun, but the water looked very tempting. The beach was gorgeous. We should come back some day. It's called Pie de la Cuesta. I think to celebrate Thanksgiving we're going to eat at Applebee's on Thursday. Yea there's an Applebee's in Acapulco. It's pretty incredible.

This new ward is a little less organized than my last area. On Sunday they called on us to speak without warning us beforehand. I pretty much gave the same talk our president gave in the zone conference last week.
Also, the primary is preparing for the Christmas program, and they are going to sing Christmas songs in English. It is pretty hilarious. I'll be sure to take a video on the day of the program.

Well, that's all for this week.

Elder Hansen

11/15/10 Transferred to Acapulco!


Big news. I got changed. I am now in Acapulco Centro. It looks like I'm going to end my mission in sunny Acapulco. I actually got changed on Tuesday. There were some special changes, and I think because President knew that my comp and I were having problems he changed me. I am so happy here. I was starting to get kind of depressed in my last area because of our problems. But I'm loving it here. My new companion is Elder Harley from Saratoga Springs, Utah. He's kind of a quiet guy, but we get along really well.

I have a completely different opinion of Acapulco from the last time I was here. When I left Acapulco, I swore that I never wanted to go back to that ugly place. But now I am in the centro, which is a pretty nice area, and the weather is a lot better in November than it is in July. My area covers the a lot of the coastline, and almost everywhere in my area I have an ocean view. I now only have 6 weeks left, but I'm going to make the most of it. We have a number of cool investigators, and I think we could baptize a lot in the coming month.

On Sunday we had a regional conference for the whole country of Mexico. Elder Christensen of the 70, Elder Bednar, and President Eyring spoke. They all gave really great talks. Bednar spoke of how we recieve revelation. There are three ways we can receive revelation. One comes suddenly like turning on a light switch in a dark room. The next comes gradually like a sunrise. The last type comes without us really knowing it like a sunrise on a foggy or cloudy morning. President Eyring spoke of creating a heritage of righteousness.

Well, I hope all is going well back home. All is well here.

Elder Hansen