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

11/8/10 Virgilia's Baptism

This week went pretty well. We had a baptism on Saturday. The old lady I wrote about, Virgilia, was baptized. The baptism went really well except for when the Bishop started rambling and going into deep doctrine. But overall it turned out fine.
This week we found a new family that we started teaching. It's a single mom with three kids. The mom had a stroke 6 years ago and can't speak very clearly. But they are really cool, and they all came to church on Sunday. It was kind of difficult to bring them to church because the mom was afraid to leave the house by alone. She said that they never leave the house alone because someone might come in and rob them. We were able to convince her to come for just the first hour, but she was still pretty unsure. I hope we can find a solution to that problem.

We should have a baptism this Sunday. Her name is Mayra, and she is the mom of the two kids that were baptized three weeks ago. We had a cool experience with her this week. She is currently separated from her husband, but a few weeks ago we had the opportunity to teach him when he came to visit the kids. This week we were talking about her relationship with her husband and she told us that he called her and told her that the lesson we taught had really touched him. He said that in a month he is going to visit for a few weeks, and he would like us to teach the lessons and be baptized.

This week we had a cold front come in. I think it has gotten down to the 40s at night. I know that's not much for you Wisconsinites, but when you live in a cement house that's pretty dang cold. During the day the weather has been gorgeous, in the 70s and sunny. And in the evening I've been able to use my sweaters for the first time since the MTC. But the cold front has caused quite an uproar. Apparently, it never gets this cold this early in the year, and everyone thinks the cold is just unbearable. I'm enjoying it while I can before I have to face a cold January in Utah.

I liked Dad's story about the old man that won the marathon race. I guess sometimes we've just got to keep on keepin' on.

Well, I hope all ya'll have a great week.

Elder Hansen

11/1/10 Dia de Muertos

Feliz Dia de Muertos,

It's a holiday here in Mexico today and tomorrow. Everyone puts up a shrine in their houses for their deceased family members. The shrine includes all of their favorite food. The tradition is that the dead come on November 2 at mid-day and eat the food. Outside of every house there is a trail of yellow flower petals leading to the shrine. Then on the night of November 2 everyone eats the food, and drinks the alcohol that they put for their dead grandpa. But nobody celebrates anything on the 31, so yesterday was pretty uneventful.

Yesterday was the day of changes, but neither my companion nor I got changed. I guess Elder B will be my last companion. I guess that's alright. I think God wants me to learn a little more patience before I go home.

This week went alright. We were both expecting a change, so we didn't work as hard as we could have. But yesterday we planned really well for this change, and I think that we should have success. We should have a baptism this Saturday. It should be really cool, because she is an old lady that almost everyone in the town knows. Everyone seems really surprised that she accepted to be baptized. Apparently she used to be really Catholic, but ever since her husband died she has been looking for answers that she could never find in her religion.

There's not much new here in Cocoyoc. I hope all is well back home.

Elder Hansen

Sunday, November 28, 2010

10/25/10 Virgilia


This week went pretty well. Last Sunday an old lady sister from the ward brought her friend to church with her, so we set up an appointmet to visit her. We went and challenged her to be baptized in the first lesson, and she accepted. It was a good way to start the week. Her name is Virgilia, and she's an old widow. She's pretty lonely and loves when we go to visit her. Last time we went, she had little sandwiches prepared for us when we got there. She now has two times in church and should be baptized on November 6.

This week we tried out a new idea to find new investigators. We put up a stand near the market of Cocoyoc. We set up a table with all of our different pamphlets, some Book of Mormons, some DVDs, and the special Liahona about temples. We also put up posters with different questions on them: What is the purpose of life? How can my family be more happy and unified? What does Jesus Christ expect of me? So we spent the whole morning in that stand contacting people. It went alright. We got a few appointments out of it. But it's nice to try something different every now and then.

There are a lot of new missionaries arriving to the mission right now. I heard that half of the mission is going to be new missionaries and their trainers. Two weeks ago like 12 new gringos came. Today 9 more came, and next Monday 14 Mexicans arrive. A lot of the Americans had visa problems and that's why they're getting here right now instead of on their original date. My companion is a little bummed out because a lot of people are being made trainers and he's still junior comp. We had a good talk yesterday. I think our relationship has improved drastically. We went the whole week without a single arguement. I don't think that had happened since our first week together.

Today I saw one of my MTC buddies for the first time since the MTC. He's had a pretty difficult mission. I think he's had even more difficult companions than I've had. But I was glad to see that he still has a good attitude and was just made a zone leader.

Well, there's not much new. I finally brought my cable, so I'll send some pictures. (note from mom--didn't see any pictures???)

Elder Hansen

10/18/10 Jonathan & Bryan Baptisms

Well, this week was another good week. We had two more baptisms,
and we found quite a few new investigators. The two people that were
baptized are named Jonathan and Bryan. They are the nephews of a
member in the ward. We are also teaching their mom. She is really
cool and wants to be baptized, but she has only come to church once.
She works nights and going to church at 9:00 am has been a little
difficult. But I think that after seeing her kids' baptisms she will
be more willing to come to church.

We also have another family that we are teaching. But they are kind
of special. They just came here from some little town in the
mountains in Guerrero. They're from the "sierrra" as they say it
here. Sierra means mountains or hills. The sierra is kind of it's
own little world, and the people there have difficulty interacting
with other `people. They are super poor, and none of them know how to
read. The oldest son is 17 and is pretty out of control. They just
moved in to a little room next to the bishop's house. They've come to
church with us twice, but I'm not sure how much they get out of it.
This week we got the youngest girl to say a prayer and the grandma
said one once. It's been pretty difficult trying to teach them, but
we feel like they have made some `progress.

I haven't really written much about my companion. These 2 changes
that we've been together haven't been very easy. He's very different
than any other companion that I've had. With my other companions, our
disagreements were almost always over obedience or work issues. But
this companion works hard, is obedient, yet he's probably been my most
difficult companion so far. He is very sensitive, and I have to be
careful about everything I say and do. He also gets angry very
easily, and it seems like every other day he gets angry at me. It's
been a challenge. Last night, he exploded and started yelling at me.
I wanted so badly to just get up and walk away, yell back, or hit him.
Butt I just waited for him to calm down and I started thinking of what
I could say to calm him down. I asked if there was anything I could
do to serve him. His attitude changed immediately. We were able to
find a solution to the problem and make plans to prevent future
arguements. Today we have gotten along really well.

Well, I think that's all for this week. I forgot my camera cable
again, so sorry i still don't have pictures.

Elder Hansen

10/11/10 Ruby's Family Baptisms

¡Feliz Dia de Cristobal Colon!

Happy birthday Zac and Brooke.

Clint, keep telling the missionaries in your ward that they're dumb. We don't do that here.

Well, this week was a week full of blessings. We had three baptisms on Saturday. Ariel, Martha, and Jose, who are the siblings of Rubi that was baptized two weeks ago, were all baptized and confirmed. It was really cool. I had never had three baptisms on the same day before. On Sunday, Ariel even came with a white shirt and tie. But wait, it gets even better. We had 10 investigators at church on Sunday. It was great. I had never had that many in church before. Right now we have seven with baptismal dates for this month. Our goal was 3 confirmations, but I think we could double or even triple it. But wait there's more. They made me the new district leader. On Sunday, we fasted just to give thanks for an amazing month, but as we did that God blessed us even more. We can never give sufficient thanks.

Today we went to this cool town called Tepoztlan. We hiked to this temple that's built on top of a mountain. The hike was more difficult than I thought it would be, but it was worth it. It's pretty amazing how there's this pyramid on top of a mountain. It wasn't that big, but it was still cool. The town is pretty tourist friendly, and we even saw a few white people there.

Well, last week was a good week and I think this week will be as well. If all goes well, we will have two baptisms this Saturday.
That's all for now. Have a great week.

Elder Hansen

PS next week i'll send pictures. i forgot the cable today.

10/4/10 Conference & Questions from Mom Answered

This week went really well. I was able to watch all of conference, and I watched all of it except for one session in English. It is much more interesting to hear the speaker's actual voice. The talks were great. I especially enjoyed priesthood session. I felt like every talk was amazingly well prepared and well delivered. I liked when Elder Nelson asked all of the missionaries to stand. I thought about how 52,000 people standed when he said that. I imagined all of my friends in different parts of the world that were standing at the same time as I was. The prophet, President Uchtdorf and President Eyring all delivered very powerful messages. The whole conference was excellent, and the best part was that we brought 8 investigators to it. I think that this month we will have many baptisms. The three brothers of Rubi, the girl that was baptised last week, have a baptismal date. We also have a super cool family that we started teaching that came to conference with us this week.

Well, rainy season ended here in Mexico. All week it's been super sunny but not too hot. In the morning and at night it's pretty cool. Last night it even got a little chilly. Now, I will answer Mom's questions. Yes, I got your package. Sorry, I forgot to write that I received it. Thanks.

Now that we're in a fairly large ward, we eat with a different family every day. One month we eat with one ward, and the one month we eat with the other ward.
Yes they do have markets here, but I don't think I have ever bought anything in one. The only thing I ever buy is cereal to eat in the morning, and maybe something small to eat at night.

I haven't had any problems with dogs. If they bark, you just have to throw a rock or pretend to throw a rock. But the ones that don't bark are the ones that bite.
In Morelos, I haven't seen much crime at all. I'm in a pretty safe area. When I was in Acapulco, it was pretty bad. We had to be careful about what neighborhoods we went to and which streets we could walk on at night. My area in Acapulco was the ghetto of the ghetto. The streets were always full of military trucks.
Our house is pretty nice. It has two rooms and a kitchen. We have hot water and we live next to some members who let us wash our clothes at their house. We cover two wards. The wards are fairly large. One has about 160 attendance that sometimes reaches 180 and the other ward has between 100 and 120 attendance. Our area covers a number of colonias on the outskirts of Cuautla.

The fall leaves looked really cool. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that. I agree that Dad looks younger with his shaved head.
Well, that's all for this week.

Elder Hansen

Ross's Eulogy for his Father 9/25/10

Here's the talk Ross gave at his Father's funeral:

A year and a half ago my wife and I moved to Wisconsin. The area where we live still qualifies as “America’s Dairyland”. About 20 miles from our house is a town called Black Earth. It is called Black Earth because of the deep rich topsoil in the area. The neighboring community of Arena has a type of soil named after it. Ever since moving to this part of the Midwest I have wished that my father could come and see what it is like farming in this area. When they plow the fields I never see a single rock laying on top of the earth. The dairy cows provide a never ending supply of natural fertilizer . None of the farmers in our area irrigate their crops. And yet, their corn is eight feet high, the alfalfa seems to get gets cut at least once a month and the vegetable gardens produce amazing yields.
I wish I could invite some of the Wisconsin farmers and gardeners to come to Utah and see what they could do with a little plot of ground at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon. I have never seen any “black earth” and if they were to name a soil type after what was in our backyard I am sure it would include rocks in the title. There is never enough rain to grow anything other than weeds, so constant irrigation is a requirement.
It was in this soil and this environment that my father was able to raise prize winning tomatoes, corn, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, Chrysanthemums and Orchids.
In addition to fruits and vegetables it was on that plot of ground at the mouth of Mill Creek canyon that my parents raised a family. Today we are here to memorialize the life of Russell Hansen and I think it is impossible to discuss his life without discussing his passion for gardening. To my nieces and nephews I hope that I can share with you some of the lessons that I learned from my father hoping that you can learn from his life and his example.
No one becomes a Master Gardner over night and I know that my father learned many of his gardening skills by trial and error. I think he always was trying to improve upon what he had done before and to learn from what others had done. A few years ago my father finally gave us a copy of his life story. After reading his story I realized for the first time that he did not have a lot of good examples teaching him about how to be a good father and raise a family. I was shocked when I read about him and his mother hiding in the back of their small home from a drunken brother looking for money with the husband and father nowhere in sight. In spite of this start he managed to raise a functional family that works together and care for one another.
I remember a cold spring storm was predicted to come one night just as the cherry tree was about to blossom. Having recently returned from living in southern California my father was very familiar with the smudge pots used by the Southern California citrus growers to protect their trees from freezing . He figured he just needed some warm smoke to protect the cherry tree during the night and thought he could create his own smudge pot by burning a tire in the wheelbarrow. A tire was found, the wheel barrow was rolled into place and the fire was started. The next day I remember seeing one-half of the cherry tree burned black and one side looking okay. As time went by obviously nothing grew on the burned side but the other half of the tree blossomed and bore fruit just as he had intended. I suspect depending on your attitude it could have been considered a success because he got fruit would otherwise have been lost but at a price of burning half of his tree. At least it was a learning experience.
In all he did I think my father was an example of commitment. Real commitment means that at times you cannot be concerned with what others may think. Many years ago our Stake experimented with a welfare project that never really got off the ground. As a result there was a green house left in the Mahoney’s back yard. Through some negotiation my father acquired the rights to the greenhouse and he resolved to move it to our yard. The proposed idea for moving the greenhouse was to remove the glass then put the frame on scaffolding with rollers and roll it down the road to our house a distance of nearly a mile. As a young teenager my biggest concern with this experiment was fear that someone might recognize me participating in moving this aluminum beast down the road. It was truly a horrifying experience. But my father committed to this project saw it through to completion and I participated although I am sure I never raised my eyes from staring at the road as we rolled along. I think the same commitment was demonstrated in the years of church service and willingness to serve two missions after his retirement.
Succesful gardening also requires determination and a willingness to keep going when things don’t turn out right. Not every crop that is planted is going to grow and sometimes the bugs and worms win. I am sure my father hoped that his children would develop a passion for gardening. If that happened it would be news to me. If lemons grew at Marsha’s house I am confident that she had nothing to do with it. And last time I checked out Kent’s condo there was no place he could have been hiding a garden. But, in spite of such a failure to produce gardening children my father never seemed discouraged and was truly thrilled when in-laws and grandchildren showed interest in what he was doing. I am sorry that I don’t think he recognized the fruits of Sheri’s garden this summer or saw Clint’s new beehive. In spite of my failings as a gardener I never felt that I was less in his sight he accepted me for what I was “a spoiled city boy”. I would like to suggest that the gene for gardening simply skipped a generation but I don’t think that would be honest or accurate.
Reaping a bountiful harvest from a garden requires attention to detail and patience. Certainly there were times when Kathy may have crashed a car into the carport or I demonstrated a reluctance to put forth a 100% effort towards pulling weeds that I felt my father was not as patient as he could have been. However, anyone who watched him starting seeds under his grow lights and transplanting seedlings in the winter knows these were efforts requiring great patience and attention. I never recall expressing an opinion on a religious or political topic and feeling like I was not being listened to or that my thoughts would be criticized. Certain family members loved to argue the opposite of whatever opinion may have been previously expressed and even they were listened to. Tolerance and patience in listening to others are attributes which seem to be in short supply in today’s world. My children always felt comfortable talking at my parents home.
I think some of the efforts at being a good father worked in kind of the same way. I have wonderful old memories of going to basketball games at the Einer Nielsen Fieldhouse at the University of Utah and sitting in general admission seats in the end zone at Utah football games –those would be successes. I also have memories of being asked whether I wanted to work in the garden or do the dishes after ose not working in the garden. That was probably not a success. In fact, I am sure Russell felt badly that none of his children developed a passion for gardening. His rewards came later as the daughters in-law and sons-in law came and were actually interested in what happened in the garden and really did want to go outside and dig up vegetables. I am sorry that he wasn’t really able to see his grandchildren brag on their blogs about their wonderful vegetable gardens and even the beehives in their backyards. I guess the gardening genes skip a generation.
Beside trial and error every garden needs some fertilizer to help it grow. I recall more than once going off someplace to retrieve a load of fertilizer to spread around the garden. If I was lucky the fertilizer was mixed with sawdust and didn’t smell so bad. I suspect that within our family there was fertilizer in the form of humor and fun. I suspect Kent was the primary purveyor of fertilizer within our family. At the family dinner table we could discuss most any topic relating to politics or current events and we were sure that Kent would provide the contrary opinion regardless of the topic. I remember travelling in the brown station wagon and singing songs on the way to California. One song was about Ragtime Cowboy Joe who lived out in Arizona. I certainly could never imagine someone from our family actually moving to Arizona. But most of all I remember singing about Quennie the Cutie of the Burlesque Show. It was only later in life when I was singing that particular song to my wife that I started to wonder about what sort of a song that was that my father had taught us. The funny thing about it is that I suspect my children probably are also familiar with the song although the tune got lost somewhere in Nevada.
No Utah garden grows without lots of watering and irrigation. I remember various irrigation methods tried over the years. There was pumping water out of the irrigation ditch at night and funneling the water down the rows of vegetables. Finally there was a new source of water up on MiIlcreek road that required us running pipes through the neighbors yards down to the garden. Within our family the essential our Out in Arizona where the badlands are lies and how they were supposed to workThings in my life that I remember
1) Going to Scout Camp
2) Weeding for one hour a day and picking up rocks in the garden
3) Being given a choice of working in the garden or doing the dishes
4) Planting flowers at my grandmothers house on Memorial Day
5) Fathers and Sons outings
6) Being encouraged to work at a scout camp
7) Filing topical law reporters in his office downtown
8) Going to the downtown library and then getting ride home
9) Business people telling me how helpful he was when I was doing computax
10) Going to Utah Stars basketball games, University of Utah football games (endzone) the old Einer Nielsen fieldhouse, Derks Field
11) Learning to ride the ropetow at Brighton then Alta
12) Family Ski Passes at Park City
13) Bishop when I returned from my mission and when I got married
14) Giving blessings to aunt in her later years
15) Backpacking to Havasupai
16) Hiking in Buckskin Gulch
17) Burning the cherry tree with the tire smudge pot
18) Dinner table conversations with Kent arguing for whatever was the opposite side
19) Handyman projects
20) Vacation to California

Ways I am like my father

1) Obsessed by hobby outside work
2) Picking up chairs after meetings
3) Reading books
4) Watching basketball
5) Trying to be helpful
6) Wishing I had children who would do the outside work
7) Exercise – heavy hands walking in the canyon

Ways I am not like my father

1) Hate gardening
2) No handyman projects

9/27/10 Comments about Grandpa and Rubi's Baptism

I enjoyed reading Dad's talk. He was right. I may not have ever known my grandfather too well, but through my own father I have learned who my grandfather was. I can now see that as I grow to become more and more like my father I am really becoming just like my grandfather. I think that's a good thing. I can already see how Clint is becoming his father, and I imagine that I will as well. I am grateful that my grandfather created a chain of righteousness that is being passed on to many future generations. It is amazing to see how one person's life influences countless amounts of people without them ever really noticing it. I know I had never really thought about it before.

Well, this week went pretty well. We had a baptism. She is a thirteen year-old girl named Rubi. Even though her parents don't go to church she has demostrated true dedication to the gospel. Since we started teaching her she has come every Sunday and to almost all of the other church activities. The baptism was a really spiritual experience. My companion and I sand the baptism song, I like to look for rainbows. I rememberd how that song was sung at my baptism. One of the eternal investigators from the ward attended the baptismal service, and we hope that she was able to feel the strong spirit that was there.

I got my flight plans. It's weird to know the exact day and hour I'll be home. Three months from today. I'll try not to be trunky.

Ok well, I don't have much else to say. I know my letters get shorter and shorter every week. Ask me questions if you want me to write more.

Elder Hansen

9/20/2010 Mexican Independence Day & Funeral


Well, this week was Mexican Independence day which made it a little difficult for missionary work. A lot of people left on vacations, and a lot of other people were drunk and partying or hung-over and sleeping. I promised a good story about drunks this week. On the 16th there was a group of men drinking outside of a store. They called us over and offered us a soda. I said no, thinking that it would be an alcoholic "soda." They proceeded to look for a soda among all of their beer. They were unsuccessful, so they gave us 20 pesos to buy a soda. I thought there might be a catch, but no I had in fact met the world's nicest drunks.

The work is going well here. We had 5 people at church on Sunday. We have one with a baptismal date for this Saturday a couple other possibles.

I'm sad to hear about Grandpa's death. I may not have had the best relationship with him because we always lived far away. But even though I didn't see him too often, all of the memories of him are good ones. He was a good man and a righteous priesthood holder. I know that right now he is being greeted by many friends and family members in spirit paradise. About a month ago, I had to speak at a funeral. The woman that had died was not a member of the church. A few of her children were members, but they are all pretty inactive. It was very hard for me to give them words of comfort, when it is most likely that they will never have an eternal family. They all seemed absolutely devastated thinking about how they will never see their mother again. I know that this is not the case with our family. For the righteous decisions he made in life, Grandpa will be waiting for all of us to join him. If we do our part and live righteously, the covenants we have made in this life will be honored for all of eternity. I'm sorry I can't be at the funeral, but as Dad said this is the best place I can be to show my love for him.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Elder Hansen

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

9/13/10 Work & Effort

Well, this week was kind of a let down. The week went really well up until Sunday when nobody came to church. Right now we have 23 investigators we are teaching. Of those 23 we had 13 that had commited to come to church this week. Of those 13, I figured a few would fall, but I thought that for sure we would pass our goal of 5 investigators in church. We passed for a few of them in the morning, but they either weren't home or had a lame excuse. It was a little frustrating, but we were blessed with a miracle. A man showed up to church that isn't a member. We set up an appointment with him, and he gladly accepted.
In Preach my Gospel it says that a successful missionary isn't measured by the number of baptisms he has or any other number. It says that a successful missionary is measured by the effort he puts in and whether or not the spirit works through him. Often we think that if we aren't baptizing we aren't having any success. Right now, we have more investigators than I have ever had in my mission, and I think that we are definitely having success. When we are working hard and don't see immediate results, Satan attacks us and tells us to quit working hard because nobody cares. Far too often in my mission, I have seen that the miracle happens in the last house on the street, the last minute of the day, or when we feel like we can't go on but we do anyway.
September 15 is Mexican Independence Day. It should be fun. I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell next week about drunk people.
I don't have much else to say. All is well in Zion.

Elder Hansen

9/6/10 Zone Conference

This week, I started paying more attention and I realized that my recipe for making salsa was pretty bad. I hope Clint didn't eat any watered down salsa. Oil, chiles, tomatoes, garlic, and maybe some onion. Just throw stuff in the blender and see what comes out. That's what they do here.
This week ended pretty well, as we were able to bring 5 investigators to church on Sunday. It was really unexpected. We had several people that we thought were pretty sure for Sunday that ended up being lame. There was another family that we had taught a couple times but seemed kind of lame, so we hadn't really thought that they would go to church. But on Saturday our appointments went through and we went to see that family and they agreed to let us pass for them on Sunday. On Sunday we went and brought all of them to church. It was pretty cool. This week we had zone conference. It got us pretty pumped up to find a lot of new people. In the conference we talked a lot about the importance of always finding people. We also talked about how we can have a sure foundation, and how we can help our investigators to begin to build a sure foundation.
Yesterday, we ate with the sister of Elder DeHoyos. They live in this really nice private community. Walking in their house, I felt like I had left Mexico and wlked into a house in the United States. We ate salmon, with salad, and steamed vegetables. Afterwards we ate ice cream. I was in heaven. In their house I was looking at the book The Mission that has a picture of Jon Hansen in Australia.
Today we went to the house of Emiliano Zapata, the leader of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. I thought it was going tot be one of his mansions, but it was the house where he was born. It was just the remains of an old, small dirt,house. It was pretty big let down. At least we didn't pay.
I'm sorry that my letters are short lately. I don't have much news. The reason why I haven't sent pictures is because I left my camera charger in my other house. I think I might have to buy a new camera.

Elder Hansen

8/30/10 Jalepino Peppers

Well, this week went pretty well. We finally had an investigator in church. I think I discovered that it is necessary to find like 30 new investigators just so that one will go to church. But this lady is progressing and has a baptismal date. We found here one day walking in the street. We saw her carrying a lot of bags and offered to help her. As a result she let us into her house. We shared a quick message and she quickly began to tell us of all the problems she has. Before leaving we sang a hymn and gave her a blessing. After the blessing she said she felt a feeling of peace run all through her body.
Clint asked for suggestions on using jalapeño peppers. In Mexico we call them rajas, and you can eat them with pretty much anything. Try them with eggs or on a sandwich. Or put them in a blender with water, oil, and tomatoes and you got yourself a salsa. That salsa can be used in every meal.
Mom, it sounds like ya'll had a crazy, good time up in Noth Dakota. I'm sad I had to miss the giant buffalo. Maybe next time.
Sorry, this week hasn't been too exciting. I used my good story last week.
Take care,

Elder Hansen

8/23/10 Lows and Highs

Buenas tardes,
I'll start off telling how this week went. Well, on Sunday during our weekly planning session we discovered that we had zero progressing investigators. So we made a plan of how we were going to find new people to teach. The goal we put was to find and baptize a family before the end of the transfer. We talked about how we were going to find this family and the sacrifices we were going to make. We wrote down all of the sacrifices we were going to make, and how we were going to meet the goal. So the week started and we were finding tons of good people. We found two complete families that seemed like sure baptisms. By Friday we had found 18 new investigators, and we had a day full of appointments for Saturday. The day didn't have a great start because no one showed up to the English class. We proceeded to go to every appointment and one by one they started falling. A few weren't home and others simply told us that they didn't want us to visit them anymore. We got to our last appointment at 8:00, and they pretty much ran us out of their house. After that I was at an all time low. I started to wonder what I was doing here. While walking back home I started to pray in my mind, pleading a miracle, something to show me that all my work had not been in vane. Then we passed by two women talking. I overheard as we passed one of them say to the other, "I'm just looking for a church. I just want to find somewhere that can really help me understand the Bible." My companion and I stopped immediately and turned around to contact them. She gladly accepted an appointment. Do all that you can do and the Lord will do the rest. This is the Lord's work and He does not forget those who work in His vineyard.
I hope all is well back home. Dad don't break your hip again while rollerblading.

Elder Hansen

8/16/10 Getting the Members Involved

All is well here in Cocoyoc. Well, last week I didin't tell you about my new companion so I thought I would this week. Elder Bautista is from Catapec, Estado de Mexico (the state of Mexico) just outside the federal district which is only like 2 hours away. He's 26 years old and has been a member for four years. Only half of his family are members. Because he's a lot older than everyone I think he has a tough time relating with the other missionaries. We get along pretty well. He's kind of nerdy, but he's a hard-worker.
This week didn't go too well. We've had a pretty tough time finding people to teach. But yesterday we planned really well what we're going to do. Yesterday we started a project with the two wards in our area. We put the goal for them to give away a box of Book of Mormons (36 copies) in the next month. The two wards are going to give away a box and my companion and I are going to give away another box. We gave the members two questions they can ask to any person in order to give away a Book of Mormon. 1. Do you like to read? 2. Would you be interested in reading a book that talks about Jesus Christ visiting the Americas? If the person says yes they give them a paper to write their address, and then we go and give them the book with the testimony of the member that gave the reference. I'll tell you how it goes. We really hope the members get excited to work.
Dad congrats on the long bike ride. Sorry, but I don't think I will ever accompany you on one of those rides.
Sorry I don't have anything else to write about. I don't have any pictures to send either because I left my camera charger in my other area. Hopefully they send it to me soon.

Take luck,

Elder Hansen

where am I flyin Home?

hey you need to decide where i'm going when i come home, if i'm going to utah or wisconsin
because they're going to buy my ticket pretty soon, and i don't want them to send me to the wrong state.
write me back so i can tell the offices.


8/9/10 New Comp & Guillermina's Baptism

So today was the real day of transfers, and much to my surprise my companion was changed. So I now have a new companion, Elder Bautista. His name means Elder Baptist so I hope lives up to the name. Well, I don't really know the guy yet, so I can't tell you much. He just got here like a half hour ago. The last few months have been full of a lot of changes, but I think things are going to calm down now.
President has been making a lot of changes lately, and one of them is that the districts are all a lot bigger now. Our zone now only has two districts. My district got combined with another, so I'm no longer the district leader. It was a fun two weeks. I was a little disappointed because I really liked giving the district meetings, and last week I also did a few baptismal interviews which was a great experience. Oh well.
We had a baptism this week. It was a really special baptism because her son who was baptized 3 weeks ago got to baptize her. It took him 3 tries, but he did it. The hermana that was baptized, Guillermina, told us about how many years ago when she lived in Mexico City, she had an lds friend that was always trying to get her to go to church. But she always said no. This week she was able to call up her old friend, and tell her about how she was going to get baptized.
Other than the baptism the week was pretty rough. This area is very different than any other area I've had. There aren't many people that live here, but there are a ton of members. I think I could easily knock all of the doors in the area in a month or less. So we started to do so and had pretty much no success. I think this area has been knocked every 6 weeks for the last 20 years. I think we're going to try a different approach. Yesterday I read a book that my companion had called Already to Harvest. It talked a lot about how to set and reach goals, and it also talked a lot about the member's responsibility in missionary work. My companion and I are going to make a plan of how we are going to involve the members more in missionary work, so that they can be the means by which we find more investigators.
I don't have much else to say. All is well down here.
Elder Hansen

8/2/10 Transfer to Cuautla

I've got big news. I got changed out of Acapulco. I am now in Cuautla, Morelos in the area of Cocoyoc. I am also a district leader. It was a pretty unexpected change. What happened was a group of like 10 new missionaries came from the US, and because their visas were delayed they came a month late. So they had to move around a bunch of missionaries, and because I didn't have a comp I was first on the list. I was a little bummed because I had just got to my last area, and I was just starting to have success. But I am very glad to get out of the terrible heat of Acapulco. My new companion is Elder Funk. He's pretty new in the mission, and still doesn't really know any Spanish. He's from American Fork, Utah.
My new area is pretty cool. Right now we are covering two wards, so our area is really big. The wards are also pretty big. The weather is amazing. It usually doesn't get too hot during the day, and at night it cools down really nice. The area covers a lot of towns and colonias on the outskirts of Cuautla. The area has some of the richest and poorest people I have ever seen in my time in Mexico. The other day we went looking for a reference, and we ended up in this super rich neighborhood. All of the houses were massive. We finally found the reference, and the house was incredible. But the people we were looking for just worked in the house. But then the next day we went looking for some other reference and ended up in this little colonia with houses made of sticks and cardboard. It was a pretty drastic change. I'm excited to be here. I think we can have a lot of success. We have a baptism for this Saturday.
I saw the pictures you sent. I especially liked the float o graphs pics. That's cool that Mom is the new RS president. It looks like there's a reason why you had to move to Wisconsin.
Well, that's all my news for this week. Bye


Elder Hansen

7/26/10 Member Companion From California

It seems like everyone had a fun trip. I didn't know you were planning on going to jackson. It sounds like you had a great time. I need you to forward me some of those pictures.
This week went really well. I had a good time with my companion for the week. He is from Anaheim and just moved to Mexico like three weeks ago, so he is more American than Mexican. It was funny because he didn't know any of the words in Spanish because he had never been to a Spanish ward before. We worked hard and ended up finding sixteen new investigators, and we had three investigators in church on Sunday. Two of them have baptismal dates.
I kind of like not having a real companion because that means that I can work however I want. The bad thing is that I have to teach almost the whole lesson every time. By the end of the day my voice is pretty much gone.
This week we had interviews with President Spannaus. We started started talking, and he asked me if I had any questions for him. I told him that I was feeling a little frustrated. I told him that I felt frustrated because I feel like I am working hard and being obedient, but I can never complete my goals. It seems like everyone else is baptizing, but I can't. He then asked me how many baptisms I had had. I went through my mind and counted them and told him. He told me that in every mission there is an Elder Hansen. There are missionaries that work and are obedient but don't see the fruits of their labors. He then told me a story. He told me about how about 60 years ago a pair of missionaries in the Patagonia of Argentina found and taught a large family. They spent a lot of time with this family, but despite of their efforts none of them were baptized. One of the daughters, Iris, believed the message and desired to be bapitzed, but her parents wouldn't allow it. Fifteen years later after she was married she was baptized in the church. As a result, four of their five children were also baptized. Each of them later served missions, are now married in the temple, and now have children serving missions. Iris was the mother of President Spannaus. While President was attending BYU, his mother told him to look up one of those missionaries who was now a professor at BYU. They met and President was able to thank him for teaching that family many years ago. President told me that many times we don't see the fruits of our labors, but if we are trying our best and living worthily the Lord will use us asn instrument in His hands. He told me to consult this matter with God, and make sure that He was pleased with me. If He is pleased with me, then I can be sure that I am having the results that I am meant to have.
Placentero nos es trabajar en la viña del gran rey Jesus.
Take care.

Elder Hansen

PS I got your fourth of july package. Thanks Mom.

July 19, 2010 Flooding and Companion Change

This week was pretty interesting. I was with my recent convert companion. He didn't know much, so I mostly did all of the talking. But it wan't too bad. He had a good attitude. One day we got rained on super hard. It had only been raining for like 20 minutes and already the whole town was flooded. It was pretty crazy. We ended up taking cover in the church and waiting for it to die down.
Well, I have news. My companion had special changes, so I will be with a different local companion every week until transfers. It's going to be a little difficult, but I am pretty relieved to be done with the problems that were happening with my other comp. My companion this week is pretty cool. He's from Anaheim, California and is here in Mexico visiting his family for a while. He's a pretty recent convert too.
The work here has been a little slow. This is probably because of all of the changes of companions and because I got sick last week. We do have a few investigators, but I don't know what it is about this place but everyone always promises they will go to church and then they never show up. We have this great investigator that really wants to change his life. He has accepted eveything. He had a baptismal date and always tells us how we were sent to him from God, but he hasn't come to church yet. It's pretty frustrating.
I'm sad I missed the family reunion again. It might be a while before I see all of them again. Tell everyone I said hi. I have a question. What's bum charades?
I think that's all for this week. Have fun on your vacations everyone.

Elder Hansen

Monday, October 25, 2010

7/12/2010 Antonio's Baptism

This week went pretty well. We had a baptism. The man I wrote about last week, Antonio, was baptized last Thursday. It was great. I have never had a baptizm go so perfectly. In the whole time we taught him, he accepted everything. The interview went fine and the day came for his baptism, and everything went perfectly. He had really been prepared by the Lord. It was really special for me because I got to do the baptism, and on Sunday I got to confirm him. It was the first time I had ever done a confirmation.
Dad mentioned that starting next year there wil be a lot of changes in the way the mission is run. My mission president decided that it would be best if we started some of the changes immediately. So from now on we will have zone conference one month, the next month interviews and a training camp, and one month when we don't see president at all. The training camp is a four day seminar in Cuernavaca for all of the zone leaders, district leaders, and trainers. This week we are having the training session, so my companion who is district leader is going to be gone all week. This week is also youth conference, so there was nobody in the ward who could stay with me. The only person there is is Antonio, the man we baptized last week. He agreed to work with me this week. He says he wants to go on a mission, so I think this will be a great learning opportunity. Next week I will tell you about how it went.
There's not much else new here. It's been raining a lot, and the other day we got completley soaked. But we got to our appointment on time. My area is really flat, and I think it is technically below sea level, so that means with any rain the streets start flooding. When it rains a lot, the poop water rises and mixes with the rain water. It makes everything smell super great.
Well that's all the news I have for this week.
Take luck,
Elder Hansen

6/28/2010 Transfer to Acapulco

I don't have much time to write today, so this will be kind of short. I got transfered. I'm now in Acapulco in the area of Renacimiento. It's like a suburb of Acapulco, and is pretty ghetto. I'm about 20 minutes from the centro. It will be pretty different working here. It's the first time I've been in a city and the first time I've been in a real ward. There are 4 elders in this ward. My new companion is Elder Cuevas from Campeche. I've heard he's pretty dead, but I guess president thinks I'm good with dead comps. I still don't know much about the area, so I'll tell more next week.
My last week in zumpango was pretty cool. There was a big storm that came through and blew off the roof of Karina's sister. We ran over to help them while it was pouring rain. It was pretty intense. The next day we helped them reconstruct their roof. It was cool.
Ok well, I'll write more next week when I know more about what this area is like. All I know is that it is really, really hot.

Take care. I love all ya'll.

Elder Hansen

6/14/2010 World Cup / Sick Week

I really liked the story Mom sent me about that guy Christopher. It is interesting to see the effects that one missionary can cause. I think that the persucution and suffering is many times necessary for someone to have a strong testimony. I have definitely seen that in the cases of many people here in Mexico. The people that are willing to be persucuted to follow the truth are the people that go on to do great things in the work of the Lord.
You asked about the world cup. Everyone is pretty crazily into the world cup right now. It's pretty hard not to get into it. Mexico played the opener, and they tied. The US played England on Saturday and also tied. I don't really like how soccer allows tying. My father always said tying is like kissing your sister. But anyways it's pretty intense. Our mission president gave us permission to watch all of the US and Mexico games, which may not be too many considering how they are playing. I think Pres is letting us watch it because during the game pretty much everything shuts down, and everyone gets drunk. It would probably be a bad time to go contacting.
This week didn't go very well. I got sick on Tuesday and had a fever. Then from Tuesday on I got really sick to my stomach. For three days I spent the majority of my time in the bathroom. I finally couldn't take it anymore and went to the doctor. He gave me some antibiotics and some anti-diarhea pills. It worked, but I'm still not back to normal. But anyways for that reason we didn't have much success this week.
Mom said I sounded bitter. I didn't mean to sound bitter. I just think it's funny all of the stupid stuff Catholics do.
Jenny, let me know how Nashville is. The little town in Missouri sounded cool.

Ok well I'll talk to ya'll next week.

Elder Hansen

6/7/2010 Pictures

Here's some pictures of a parade I saw.
the top one shows a lady holding the doll that everyone is worshipping. (i don't think the world has progressed much from the golden calf)
the second one is a drunk, homeless guy who also wanted to be part of the parade. if you look closely you will see he has only one shoe, and is carrying a 2.5 liter bottle of mezcal (moonshine)

don't you just love apostasy?

6/7/2010 Co-Senior Comopanions

Thanks for sending me the family stories. If you have more I would love to hear them. Wisconsin sounds pretty nice in the summer months except for the neighborhood bears. I guess it might be effective in preventing stray dogs. I think we could use some bears down here in Mexico. Last week one of the elders here got a nasty dog bite on his leg.
Not much new has happened. Karina got confirmed yesterday, and she passed in front to bear her testimony. She has a firm testimony. She already volunteered to give us food during the week, so starting tomorrow we will eat with her every Tuesday. We've been teaching her kids. They haven't accepted baptism yet, but we are going to challenge them again tomorrow and hopefully they will accept for this transfer. Other than them, our investigators have been kind of dying on us. We hope to find some cool, new investigators this week.
So I don't nkow if I mentioned this before, but my companion and I are co-senior companions. My comp goes home after the next change. So far we've been working alright together, but I kind of hope I get changed next change so I don't have to be with a dying comp.
I honestly cannot think of anything else that is interesting. Sorry this letter is pretty lame. I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. I don't think about it too much, but sometimes it bugs me. Any suggestions?
I'll send some pictures to make up for my lack of writing.


Elder Hansen

Karina's Baptism / Should I Join Military?

We had a baptism this week. Yeah! The lady I wrote about last week, Karina, was baptized. It was awesome. She's going to be super strong. The baptism was held after the stake conference yesterday, so we had a good turnout. The conference was pretty good. We got a new stake president, so there were two general authorities there. The first one, Elder Avila, gave a pretty boring talk. But the last speaker Elder Johnson gave an awesome talk and saved the conference. Elder Johnson is from Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua. This week we also had a zone conference. It was a great conference. Presidente Spannaus is great. I love how he has improved the mission on so many levels, and he did it without having to be mean or super strict. He just raised the spirit level in the mission which made the missionaries want to do things correctly.
Now that Karina has been baptized we are hoping that her kids will also want to be baptized. They came to the conference as well. We are also teaching Karina's sister who seems interested. But other that them, we don't have many investigators. This week we will focus a lot on finding new investigators.
So I thought you were going to tell me stories about my first ancestors that joined the church and their stories. The reason I ask is because people always ask me how long my family has in the church, and I just say a long time. I think there were pioneers in our family, but I don't even know. I'm not asking for an entire book, but just information about who were the first ones.
I'd like to explain the comment from last week about the military. Since I've come on the mission I have been trying to think about what I want to do with my life. I've had a lot of different ideas. First I thought I wanted to start a business. I wanted to open up an outdoors shop. Then I decided that that is very risky. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, because I wanted to help people. But then I realized my hands shake a lot when I get nervous, so I probably would never get through med school. Then recently I decided that the money doesn't really matter, and I should just study what I want to and become a teacher. I've discovered that I really like teaching, and I thought teaching would be an enjoyable job. But then I was thinking and I realized that teachers make no money. My friend who just finished his mission is in the national guard, and he likes it and says that he makes pretty good money. He only has a 6 year contract, and only has to be in Iraq for one. I thought it might be an interesting experience to have while I'm still young. But I don't even know what I want to do anymore. The fact that the US might be starting another war in Korea doesn't sound too appealing. I just don't know what I want to do, and I think I was thinking that the military would be a good way to spend my time while I thought stuff out. But that doesn't sound like a very good reason. Maybe I'll just do what thoreau did and go live in the woods for a while.
But anyways, the mission is going great. We are finally seeing successes.
Take care and have a good week.

Elder Hansen

5/24/10 Gringo Companion / Teaching Karina

So I have a new companion, his name is Elder Hooker. (I wonder what he will say when someone asks him what his name means) He is from Eugene, Oregon. We're working alright together. We have very different interests, but we get along alright. It is really weird being with another gringo. My companions have always had good Spanish. We usually talk in English, even though I think I would rather speak in Spanish. It's definitely going to be an adjustment. I had gotten pretty used to being with Zozaya.
We are finally starting to see the fruits of our labors. We have a baptism scheduled for next Sunday, and we could possibly have 2 more this week. But the lady that is going to be baptized this week is really cool. Her name is Carina. We found her one day contacting. She has had a pretty rough life. Her mother left them when she was young, and she was left to raise her younger siblings from the age of 12 I think. She got married fairly young and had an abusive husband. One time he broke her nose so she called the cops and they sent him to prison. She said one time she was about to commit suicide, when she felt what she describes as two arms that began to hold her. Recently her life has started to get back on track, and she has studied a lot of the Bible. We arrived and began teaching her, and she just felt like everything made sense. We asked her to be baptized, and she said she's been prepared for this for a long time. Her baptism will be really special. We're going to do it after stake conference, so it should be full of people. Last week she took us to meet her sister and then her brother, and we are teaching them as well. I think this family could make a big difference in the branch here in Zumpango. I think I've realized that the mission isn't about baptizing tons of people. It's about finding those people that have been prepared by the Lord who are really going to accept the gospel. The mission is about making a difference wherever you go. In some areas that may mean baptizing many people. In other areas that may mean helping just one person who will go on the make a big difference.
This week we had a record high attendance in church. We had 50 people there. I hadn't seen that many in all my time here in Zumpango. An inactive family that hadn't been to church for nearly 8 months came to church. It was because the branch president has been cracking down on the members to do their visits.
Next week maybe you could write me a little about our family history. Who were the first Hansens, Drechsels, Wiggins, Saunders to be baptized. Also I would like it if you could send me my line of authority.
We get the Liahona here which contains most of the articles from the Ensign. You could send the new era if you want.
Take care.

Elder Hansen

PS How's Iraq right now? I was talking to another Elder, and the military sounds kind of appealing

New Companion 5/17/2010

Remember how I said that I was going to get changed this transfer, well they changed my companion instead. I wasn't expecting that, but it's cool. I think this change we are going to finally see some results after 3 changes without much success. Today as we we're leaving in the morning we saw one of our investigators, Juan, and he told us he's ready to get baptized. Yesterday we had seven investigators in church, which is the most that we've had in my time here in Zumpango. I think we will have a lot of baptisms this change.
My new companion is Elder Hooker. It's the first time I've been with a gringo in over a year. I heard he is a pretty difficult. I think I was sent another difficult companion because I still haven't learned what I need to learn. For four changes straight I've been with hard working companions, and I think I'm ready to take on a new challenge. They just made an Elder that I was with in the MTC the new assistant. He's also had a number of difficult companions. But I think the difference between him and I is that he has always remained positive and he works just as hard no matter who he's with. I think this time I will do better.
This week I learned an important lesson. We had been praying a lot for this one family that has been coming to church. This week we decided to fast for them too. On Friday we decided to re-teach the restoration and challenge them for baptism again. We taught the lesson perfectly. When it came to the part of first vision the spirit was incredibly strong. We could all feel it. We finished the lesson by challenging them again. They said no. I asked if they believed what we said, and they said yes but they couldn't make that change in their lives. What I learned from this experience is that the Lord saw our efforts and blessed us with His spirit, but he will never take away the agency of anyone. If they have the idea set in their minds that they're not going to accept then there is nothing we can do.
Ok well that's all I have for this week. Happy birthday Jenny. Take care.
Elder Hansen

5/10/10 Day After Mother's Day Short Letter

Stomach Soup

Well, I talked to y'all yesterday, so I don't have much news. I think I realized that the third phone call in the mission isn't nearly as exciting as the first. I think we've both run out of questions.
This week was alright. We have some new investigators. Last week we found a cool family. The mom is way cool. She's already read a lot of the Book of Mormon. We talked to her about baptism and she says that feels like she's been prepared a long time for this. They're cool, but didn't show up to church this week. We're not sure what happened. Another family has been to church several times and could be baptized, but they have a lot of doubts. But we're going to see if we can motivate them to do it this week. Another lady and her two kids want to be baptized, but the mom just got operated on and can't go to church. Hopefully soon she'll be able to go. So we have investigators and we're working, but we haven't seen many results. But we hope to see some soon.
Ok well I don't have much news. It was nice talking to you yesterday.
Take luck.

Elder Hansen

Monday, July 5, 2010

Spider Bite- Swollen Arm - Passing Out 5/3/2010

It sounds like everyone will be having fun this week in Utah. It seems like Mom and Dad are in Utah like every other week. I'm guessing that life in Wisconsin isn't as exciting as it sounds.

This week I had an interesting experience. We were out contacting, and I had my arm leaning on a tree while we knocked a door. I then felt a sharp sting on my arm. I looked at my arm and there was a mark where some insect bit me. (I'm pretty sure it was a spider). It swelled up at first but nothing too out of the ordinary. But as the day went on the swelling didn't go down at all. It was swollen up pretty big by the evening and it was bugging me a lot. We went and talked to a doctor and he just told me to take some allergy pills. I did that, and I ignored it. Then next morning my whole arm was massively swollen, and was itching like crazy. I took some more allergy pills and the itching went away, but the swelling didn't go down. We went out to work, but my arm was bothering me a lot. We decided to go back to the doctor. She prescribed me some pills and an injection. We went across the street to a member's store and asked her if she could give me the shot. If the bathroom in the back of the store she gave me the shot in my butt. That was awkward and incredibly painful. As I left the bathroom, all the blood seemed to leave my head. They gave me a chair, and I blacked out. I couldn't see anything, and I felt like I needed to vomit. But I didn't. While this was happening there were a lot of people in the store. Everyone stopped what they were doing to look at me. They just kept saying he's so pale. (ps Mexicans don't go pale). I'm sure I was the whitest gringo they had ever seen. Well, eventually the swelling went down, but my butt hurt for a while.

Other than that not much else happened. We are teaching two cool families, and hopefully they will progress. On Saturday we found a cool lady to teach.

Also this week I read the whole Book of Mormon. As a district we decided to read it in one week. It helped me to understand the book on another level. By reading it quickly, I was able to see how fast the people were corrupted by their pride. Time after time they repented and then fell in the same dumb mistakes. I was able to see how quickly pride destroys nations.

Ok well that's all for this week.
Here's the number you can call on Sunday. 01-747-47-8-17-52. Is 4:00 PM ok? That's central time. So 3:00 Mountain Time.
Write me back if there are objections.

Elder Hansen

Spitting Bug 4/26/2010


Well, I'm sorry if my letters are getting boring, but there's not much new going on here. We're still having a little trouble finding investigators that actually progress. The cool family that we we're teaching is kind of dying on us. This week only the two youngest kids went to church and they left early. I don't know why it's so hard here in Zumpango. The thing is that a lot of people listen to us and want us to teach them, but when we talk about baptism they get scared because they can't let anyone find out that they don't want to be Catholic.

The other day we were walking around and I saw some weird bugs on a branch. I decided to take a picture of them, but I think it made them angry when the flash went off. One of them spit something on me. It was probably poison or something. It was really weird. But that was my most exciting story from this week.

I'm sorry that I have no news. I appreciate the letters. I liked the story from your stake conference. And I liked the story about Zac.

I'll send you some more pictures to make up for my lack of writing.

Zone Conf - Elder DeHoyos 4/19.2010


Well, this week we had a zone conference and a member of the first quorum of the 70 came, Elder De Hoyos. He gave a really good talk. His wife also gave a really good talk. His wife talked about how we need to focus all of our lessons on the atonement. She said that if our investigators really understand the atonement they will understand the need to be baptized. And if the members really understand the atonement none of them would go inactive. And if the missionaries really understand the atonement they would all obey the rules. It was really good talk. Elder De Hoyos talked about our purpose as missionaries, how we can be more focused, and how we can baptize more often. It was cool to be with a 70 in such a small group.

We started teaching a family that is pretty cool. All of the kids came to church this week. The mom didn't come because she was working, and the dad is pretty Catholic and I think he's a drunk. (Those two usually seem to go hand in hand.) But it seems like they liked church a lot. This week we had the church full again with over 40 people. But other than this one family we don't really have investigators. It's a little frustrating because this zone baptizes a lot, but I don't know what's up with zumpango. It's pretty much just us and the branch president running the show here.

Well, I don't have much else to say. Not much happened this week. I complete 15 months in 2 days. Sorry, I would write more, but this computer is completely retarded, and I can't write anything.

I got the package. Thanks mom. The ties are cool and the cds are great.
Well, take care.

Elder Hansen

Tough Going 4/12/2010

I got your letters and the pictures Mom sent. Summer and Alli are really big now. That will be cool if you get a trampoline. I'll have to come try it out.
Well, it's pretty dang hot here in Zumpango. It's not as bad as the coast because there's no humidity, but still I'm pretty sure it's been in the 90s all week. Vacations are over so everyone here has gone back to normal. Last week was kind of rough for us. Our investigators are dying on us. Our only cool investigator is going to have an operation this week and is not going to be able to leave her house for a while. On Sunday I was feeling pretty sad because we didn't bring investigators to church and only about 25 people showed up to church. I felt like for the past 3 months I've been knocking doors and talking to people all day every day, but I still haven't found anyone. I kind of felt like giving up. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't just give up. In our weekly planning session we talked about what we need to do in order to have success. We realized that we are doing evgerything good, but we could do it better. We set a lot of goals for this week. If we do it, I know we're going to see results.

I also really liked that talk in conference that talked about adversity. I think it really applies to me right now. Sometimes I wonder why I've been put with difficult companions or in little pueblos in the middle of nowhere. I don't know why, but I just need to accept it and do the best with what I've got. There are many times that I could have given up in this area, but something keeps me going. Something keeps me waking up on time and keeps me working. I've seen a lot of missionaries that start out good but get put with a tough companion or in a tough area and just die. I think I've learned that life's tough sometimes but you just have to keep going and doing the right thing and have faith that everything will turn out well.

Sorry I don't have much news this week. Hopefully, I'll have more news next week.
Has anyone seen the Alice and Wonderland movie?

Elder Hansen

Easter 4/5/2010

Happy Easter,
So I kind of forgot it was Easter yesterday. They don't celebrate it here. They celebrate the death of Christ but not his resurrection. So the big party was on Friday. They took the giant cross out of the catholic church and carried it through the town, and everyone followed behind it. Then everyone met in the center of town. First all of the women came, and then the men came from another entrance. They were singing some creepy chant. It was weird. There had to have been like 10,000 people there it was nuts. I tried to take some pictures, but some lady got mad at us. We didn't stay for long because it kind of creeped me out. But there was no one in the street that day. At night everyone got together to get drunk. What a way to celebrate the atonement of Christ.
This week was kind of difficult because everyone was on vacation. We didn't get any investigators to church because no one was willing to go to Chilpancingo for the conference. I didn't get to see much of the conference. We didn't go on Saturday, and someone told us the wrong time of priesthood so we got there an hour late. I think I saw Nathan Harris singing with BYU choir. I hadn't seen him since he was 12. But from what I did see of the conference on Sunday and Saturday night, I liked it a lot. I liked how they focused on the resurrection instead of the death of Christ which is kind of the tradition in Mexico. It's sad how the people here really don't understand who God is. They don't believe you can actually pray to God and receive an answer. Or they think that we aren't worthy to talk to God, so they pray to the virgen or their santitos (saints?).
Dad asked if I have an exercise plan. I usually use my exercise time filling up my bucket and heating up the water. Sometimes I do pushups, but I figure that I'm not too concerned about losing weight. I think walking all day and diarhea a couple times a month keeps me pretty thin. If I want to lose weight I'll just go eat at Tacos de Cuernavaca again. (We had a bad experience there.)
Well, there's not much new here. No, I didn't know there was an earthquake. I'm pretty far from Mexicali. There were changes, but we didn't get changed. It will be my third change with my hijo. But it's cool, I think we'll have some baptisms this change.
Ok well, peace out.


Elder Hansen

Monday, April 26, 2010

3 29 10 Holy Week

¡Feliz Lunes Santo!

So it's semana santa here in Mexico (Holy Week). That means that all the kids get two weeks off of school, and almost everything closes for a week. This week might be kind of tough because everyone is going on vacation. It will be interesting to see the celebrations here. The pueblo I'm in is really traditional and really, really Catholic. I heard that they take the giant cross out of the church and walk it around the whole town. A couple weeks ago I saw a Jesus statue that was placed inside of a glass coffin and carried through the town. The celebrations usually start based around some religious theme but end up with everyone getting drunk and passing out in the street.

This week was awesome. We met this super cool lady named Elena. We started teaching her and we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her to pray about it. When we came back, she read and analized the whole chapter and prayed about it. She said that after praying she dreamed that she was preaching about the book to all of her friends. She came to church this week with her son, and said she wants us to talk to her whole family. She has a huge family! We also met another cool lady this week named Lidia. We were walking in the street and she whistled at us. Usually, the people that whistle at us are teenage girls or gays, so we didn't turn around. She kept whisting, so we turned around. She waved us down and we walked over. She told us that she met some missionaries in another pueblo a few weeks ago, and she wanted to meet with us. She came to church too. In our gospel principles class we talked about eternal families. The class went went well, but Lidia was pretty quiet. We asked her a question at the end of the class that caused her to let out all her feelings and talk about her family problems. We kind of lost control of the class and went like 20 minutes over time. It was kind of uncomfortable yet funny at the same time. But it was good. Both of them want to come back to church next week.

I think we had good results this week because we really made an extra effort to reach all of our goals and be 100% obedient. We set a goal of 35 contacts every day even if we had a lot of appointments. A couple of nights we were contacting people at 9:00 to complete our goal. On Saturday we had a lesson and we got out at 9:22. We were pretty far from home, so we decided to run home. We got there at exactly 9:30. I think God saw our extra effort this week.

Thanks for the letters. When did Jenny cut her hair? Are there really more people wearing skinny jeans? I'm not a fan. I'm glad you're making friends with crazy, old ladies. They always make for good stories.

Mom, I liked your story, and I've had many similar experiences.
Ok well I gotta go.

Elder Hansen

3 22 10 Tough Going in Zumpango

Congrats, Brooke & Aaron, on the new baby. Mom said I should call the baby cute and hot healthly. I'm not sure what hot healthy is, but I feel even more uncomfortable calling the baby hot than I did calling it cute. That's just weird. Anyways, congratulations on the new baby. (note from Mom, that was a type-o)

It sounds like life has changed a lot since I was there over a year ago. Zac and the twins look really old. It will be fun to see all the kids and how much they've grown.

I'm glad to hear that the creepy, old guy is no longer cruising the streets of Waunakee. Although, I did enjoy the stories.

This week didn't go very well for us. On Tuesday, I got really sick. It was really weird. Throughout the whole day my knees were hurting a lot. But other than that I didn't feel too sick. In the afternoon, I got a bad headache that wouldn't go away. Then I started to feel really light headed, and I didn't have energy to keep knocking doors. We got back to the apartment and I discovered I had a 103 fever. I took some tylenol, but it still took like five hours for the fever to go down. But that's not all. I also got some crazy bad diarhea. I was going to the bathroom every hour all night. The next day the fever was gone, but the bowel problems lasted for a few days. It was pretty bad. So yeah, that kind of threw off a lot of our plans this week.

So I've realized that Zumpango is kind of hard. I feel like we are working really hard, but we haven't seen much results. Well maybe we haven't had many baptisms, but I think we have helped the area. For three weeks straight we've had over 40 people in church. The first few weeks when we got here we had in the high twenties or low thirties. Even though, we didn't bring any new investigators to church this week, I think the Lord saw the effort we put in and blessed us with three non members that either showed up or came with members. One of the non-members that came brought her three kids and stayed the whole time. She accepted to meet with us this week.

Ok well, I need to go. This hour goes by really fast.
All is well down here in Mexico.

Elder Hansen

" Ey guero echale ganas!" 3 15 10

Hey yall,

That's nice that the weather is warming up in Wisconsin. It has become rather unpleasant here. I loved Mom's story about the creepy, old, stalker guy. Is he as bad as cough cough man from Encinitas? It seems like every neighborhood has one of those guys.

This week went alright. We tried out the service thing. It didn't work out very well. Nobody wanted to let us help them. I also was kind of sick, so we only tried it out one day. I think we might try it out again this week. We did realize that working with the members really is the best way, but it's kind of hard here because there aren't many members. We brought a member with us to teach a lesson this week, and it went really well. The member passed for our investigator to bring her to church. I realized that we need to have more lessons with members present. They are usually willing to help us with that, but the problem is they usually don't give us referrals. And the names that they have given us have been pretty lame. Oh well, I think we need to help them a little more.

On Saturday we had a day full of appointments. We actually had 11 appointments scheduled for the day. But throughout the day all but one of our appointments fell through. We were feeling pretty bummed out. We were walking in the street and this old man stopped us and said, " Ey guero echale ganas!" In English that would be something like " Hey white guy. Get excited!" It made my day. I don't know if the spirit inspired that man to talk to me, but I liked it. It made me laugh. Sometimes it's the little things like that that keep my from losing it some days.
I'm sorry. I really can't think of anything to write, and my time is about be up. I sent a hand written letter that you should be getting soon.

And about the cds. You can send me an efy from 2007, 2008, or 2009, michael mclean, maybe some kenneth cope or something, and a good enya cd is always nice.
I'm sorry this letter is so lame, but I have to go.

I love you. Take care.


Elder Hansen