Sunday, March 14, 2010

Getting the Members to Help 3 8 10

Well howdy ya'll.

This week wasn't too exciting. My companion and I haven't been having too much success in finding people or in bringing people to church. We realized that we needed to change something. Last week we made a plan of how we are going to work with the members. We had tried it before, but it didn't work too well. But this week we planned out a lesson to give to the members and we had them join us in a special fast this Sunday for missionary opportunities. A few of the members are excited and want to help us. On Friday, we had zone conference, and one of the themes of the conference was how to work with the members. It made us realize that members are essential in missionary work. It is a big adjustment for me. For almost my whole mission we've worked without the help of the members. Many of the members here also think that missionary work is just knocking doors. I'm excited to try this out. I think if we can get the members excited, we're going to have a lot of success. On Saturday, we had an awesome lesson that helped me realize how important members are in missionary work. We brought a member with us to teach the Plan of Salvation to an investigator we had found on Tuesday. The lesson went amazingly well. The spirit was strong as the member shared her testimony. Our investigator, Delfina, told us that she had been praying for a miracle in her life, and she feels like her prayer has been answered. We challenged her to be baptized and she accepted.

So we decided that we wanted to try other things instead of knocking doors. Our president gave us an idea that we're going to try. He said we could leave our house in normal clothes for 2 or 3 hours in the morning for several days straight and look for people to help. I think we're going to try it out tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

Dad wants to know about the food. The food really isn't too interesting. It's usually just chicken with some rice and beans, but prepared in a lot of different ways. The people that we eat with aren't really poor. We usually eat pretty well. Sometimes we get pork or beef. I don't know. There's not really a standard meal. The only thing that is always there are the tortillas. I don't know how I'm going to eat without tortillas. I love em.

Ok well. I gotta go. Thanks for the letters.

Elder Hansen

If you send another package, send me more cds. Thanks.

Life in Zumpango 3 1 10


So it's already March. When does March madness start? How is BYU doing? So it sounds like spring is starting in Wisconsin. I think summer has started in Zumpango. It's been pretty hot lately, but fortunately it's not hot like Zihuatanejo. It's dry heat. I don't sweat nearly as much as I did on the coast. I can usually get two days out of my shirts and my pants last a while. In Zihuatanejo, I had to wash everything every week.

I think Clint should let the missionaries know how lucky they are to have a ward mission leader. I think I've had one for one change in my mission. I think he should use Brother Young's POOF. I don't remember what it stands for, but I remember that he talked about it every Sunday.

Not much new has happened in Zumpango. We found some cool people this week, but for some reason we couldn't get any of them to church. We have one investigator that is pretty cool. His name is Juan, and he's dating a recent convert. He hasn't accepted a baptismal date yet, but he's way excited and comes to church every week. Other than Juan we don't have many other investigators that are progressing.

Dad asked about our apartment. It's the nicest apartment I've lived in. It has two bedrooms, a living room, a little kitchen area, and a bathroom. The only bad thing is we don't have furniture. I bought a hammock a few weeks ago, so yeah that was exciting. And Dad asked about the food. The food is pretty good. We eat with different members everyday.

Today we were playing soccer, and while we were playing soccer Elder Collins hit his head on the bar getting out of the players' box. It started to bleed a lot. He fainted for a few seconds, so they took him to the hospital. Only in Mexico can you walk in the hospital and walk out 15 minutes later with stitches and for less than $15.

The other day I found a book in our apartment. It's called The Day of the Defense. It is set in a court. There are two missionaries and like 15 religious leaders that attack them. It's pretty cool. I learned a lot reading it. The other day a pentecostal guy started bashing on us, and I was able to make him be quiet. It was pretty satisfying, but a waste of time. The majority of those guys are so close minded that they really don't want to hear what we have to say.

Here's something funny. One of missionary friends here is teaching a clown that used to be a Jehova's Witness. He says that his wife gets mad because he's always making jokes, but his response is always "well I am a clown."
Ok well, I gotta go.

Elder Hansen

New Email Address 2 22 10


They made upgrades on the myldsnail account and they gave me a new account. It's .

There were changes today, but I'm still in Zumpango with the same companion. I kind of expected that. Dad says my letters are getting shorter. Sorry. I'm trying do everything in under an hour. Mom says I needed to say the baby is cute. I'm not really comfortable using the word cute. Saying he was healthy was the best compliment I could think of.

I appreciate the letters this week. I can't always think of how I should comment of them, but thanks.

So this week I again learned how the mission is full of ups and downs. When we got here, the other missionaries left us with some investigators that had already been to church and received the lessons. They are three brothers and we baptized them a couple of weeks ago. But because we didn't know them very well, we didn't know they were lame. After their baptism, every time we went to visit them they seemed uninterested. The other day they told us they don't want to go to church any more or have us teach them. They never could be confirmed because they didn't go to church. It made us feel pretty crappy. I learned an important lesson from that experience. I learned that I never again want to baptize someone that is unprepared. We actually talked about that in the zone conference. If there is one thing for Satan to attack in this mission it is baptism. He knows it is the most important thing we do as missionaries, and he wants to take the sacredness out of it. I've learned that it is a lot more satisfying to baptize one person that is really converted instead of 5 people that really don't understand the significance of what they're doing.

To answer Dad's question, no I don't really struggle to talk about stuff in Spanish. Sometimes I say stuff wrong or I don't know a word, but I can usually talk fine.

This week we found a cool family that just moved here from Indiana. The kid speaks English. If they are cool I'll pass Tanner some references of their other family members that are in Indiana.

Today we went to a members house in Chilpancingo. They had a drum set and an electric guitar. My companion played the guitar for a while. I was pretty impressed. He's really good. Apparently he was a prety big metal head when he was at home. He played the solo in crazy train which was pretty sweet. I don't know if that's allowed, but it was pretty cool. It's funny how missionaries all seem the same when you look at them, but everyone has a different history.
Well, I don't have much else to say.

Have a good week everyone.

Elder Hansen

Juan Carlos 2 15 10

Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad!

Happy Valentine's Day. To be honest, I kind of forgot it was Valentine's Day yesterday. In Mexico they call it the day of love and friendship. I had no idea that there were Olympics going on right now. I don't think Winter Olympics are too popular in Mexico. But I'm sure the World Cup will be a pretty big deal. I'm glad to hear that the baby is doing well. When is Kelli due?

So everything is going well here in Zumpango. This is the last week in the transfer, and I think I've learned a lot in these 5 weeks. At first it was pretty tough being with a companion that really didn't know how to do anything, and in an area that I didn't know. But now I've got Zumpango memorized. I've seen a lot of progress in my companion. He now can teach pretty well, and he's not as afraid to make decisions. I've also learned to be more decisive, and I think I've improved a lot in my teaching abilities.

This week I learned the power of The Book of Mormon. We have an investigator, Juan Carlos, that we've been teaching for a few weeks. He's become a good friend, but we've had trouble setting appointments with him and he we weren't sure if he was progressing. One morning I was reading Preach My Gospel chapter 5 where it talks about The Book of Mormon. At the end of the chapter there's a story that talks about how some missionaries decided to read 3 Nephi 11 with an investigator one day and it caused a change in his heart that eventually lead to his baptism. My companion and I decided that we would try the same thing. We began to read with him, and we explained the significance behind what was read. He was really interested, and seemed to understand and appreciate what we taught. We set another appointment 2 days later, and we taught him lesson 3 (The Gospel of Jesus Christ). As we talked about baptism and the change that it would bring in his life the spirit was really strong. Again we used The Book of Mormon to teach that principle (Alma 7). He accepted a baptismal date. As we were finishing and about to leave. He asked us how he could be sure if it was the right thing. This allowed my companion and I to each individually testify and share our own personal conversion stories. The spirit filled the room.

Ok well, have a good week everyone. Cuidense.

Elder Hansen

Guillermo's Conversion 2 8 10

Congratulations Brooke and Aaron on the new baby. He'll probably be walking by the time I get home, but that's ok. I don't really like it when all they can do is lay there and poop.

Well, we had another good week. We had a baptism. Guillermo passed his interiew with President Spannaus, and was baptized on Saturday. It was an amazing experience. I'll tell you a little bit about Guillermo. Guillermo is about 65 years old and has been an alcoholic most of his life. For that reason, his life hasn't been too great. His family life struggled because of his addiction, and he has made a lot of mistakes that have haunted him for years. He had tried to quit several times, but had always fallen back in the same problem. A little over a month ago he met the missionaries that were here before us. They brought him to church and taught him about the word of wisdom. Since that visit he hasn't had a drop of alcohol. We've been teaching him for a while, and he is always waiting for us when we get there. He walks pretty slowly, but he gets to church by himself every week. He was so excited for his baptism. It's amazing to see the change that has happened in him through the gospel. It's hard to believe that this nice old man was not too long ago a drunk that lied passed out in the street. I know the Lord works miracles, and perhaps the biggest miracle of all is the change that he can make in the life of someone that accepts the gospel.

This week a huge storm came into the area. It was pretty awesome. Apparently it never rains in February, but last week it rained for almost 2 days straight. There was some pretty bad flooding in Chilpancingo. One of the churches flooded. There's a river that runs through the city that is usually just a dry canal, but last week it was almost over flowing. It actually had some sweet rapids. I thought it probably would have been pretty fun in a kayak even though the water had a lot of trash in it. But everyone here thought the world was ending. Oh and speaking of the world ending, I'd like to read that book that explains the book of revelations. The jw's sometimes throw out some crazy ideas about revelations, and I don't know what to say. A lot of people here believe in stuff that the jw's say even though they still say they're catholics. I don't really get it.

Ok well, I don't have much else to say. Happy Valentine's Day, and have a good week.

Elder Hansen

Lions Club Service 2 1 10

So, Brooke is going to have the baby this week. That's exciting. Do they still not have a name?

This week was interesting. They say the mission is full of highs and lows. This week I felt some pretty high highs and pretty low lows. But I guess that's how the mission goes. This week, the missionaries here from Chilpancingo were sent to help in a service activity. A group from the Lion's Club in Indiana came here to Chilpancingo to give away free glasses. None of them knew Spanish, so we translated for them. My companion and I went for the whole day on Wednesday. It was pretty fun. It was nice doing something different for a change. It was weird being around Americans that aren't missionaries. Sometimes I would catch myself speaking in Spanglish. So that was fun, but that night I think I got a stomach virus. I threw up a few times in the night and in the morning too. I felt pretty bad, so we didn't leave the apartment. I still felt pretty sick until Saturday when I started to feel a little better. But on Saturday morning we had three baptisms. We baptized three brothers that the other missionaries had found. That was a pretty experience, and I was feeling good about it. They were going to be confirmed the next day, but they didn't show up to church. So that was really lame. It's amazing how one day you can feel so good, and the next so horrible. I guess that's what happens when you spend all day with people trying to help them to make good decisions. In the end they all have their agency, and it's up to them what they really want to do.

Most of our investigators are kind of dying on us. We only have one solid investigator, Guillermo. He comes to church by himself every week. He has his special interview with Presidente Spannaus this week, so we'll see what happens. Yesterday we did some planning and we thought of a bunch of new ideas for finding new investigators. We're going to start an English class. I'm pretty excited for that.

I'll answer some of Clint's questions. I don't know if I've ever really felt homesick. I think that's mainly because I don't even have a home anymore. I definitely have had moments when I've felt depressed or frustrated. But I think that's pretty normal with any missionary.
No the people here don't make fire from car tires. That's kind of weird. I think cardboard is a lot easier, and there's a lot more of it lying in the street.
Preach my Gospel is pretty cool. Sometimes I kind of fall in the habit of teaching the same lesson. It's hard to keep it different especially with the first lesson.
Ok well. I gotta go. Cuidense mucho.

Elder Hansen

1 Year Anniversary

1-year anniversary. Half way point. time to burn a shirt.
Burn that shirt!

City View Zumpango


Things are going a little better here in Zumpango. This week went a lot better than the last. We aren't too lost anymore, and we have more `people that we are teaching. My companion has also openend up a little more.

We were going to have a baptism this week, but we found out that our investigator needs a special interview. His name is Guillermo and he is awesome. He's pretty old and has had a pretty rough life. He's been an alcoholic for years, but after he met the missionaries he decided to quit. He's been clean for over a month. He walks pretty slowly, but he arrives to church on his own. We are also teaching a man called Oswaldo. He works as a cop in ChilpĂ ncingo, and he accepted a baptismal date. The way we found him is pretty cool. Last Saturday, we had a day full of appointments, but as we went through the day almost all of them fell through. It was about 6:00 and we didn't have anything else planned. I was pretty frustrated. I sat down on the curb to think, and I said a little prayer asking what to do. After finishing my prayer some kid came up to us and asked me what we were doing. He said he had been to our church before. I asked him where he lived and he gave me a pretty vague address. We decided to look for it because we had nothing else to do. On the first door we knocked we found Oswaldo.

I've been using the miracle book clint sent me. I've realized the little miracles that God gives us every day. I think I've seen a lot more miracles lately, now that I have to be in charge. I've also learned to rely a lot more heavily on the Lord's help. I can no longer depend on my companion when someone begins to attack our beliefs or when someone presents us with their problems or doubts. It has been difficult, but I think I am learning a lot.

You asked about the area. The branch here is still pretty weak. There aren't a lot of priesthood holders. The branch president feels pretty overwhelmed with everything and depends on us a lot to help him. The area isn't that big, but there are quite a few people. We eat with a different member every day. I think it's good because we get to know all of the members. In the six houses that we eat in we cover almost all of the active members.

Well, I'm glad to hear that it's warmed up a little in Wisconsin. I think winter ended this week in Zumpango. It's been pretty hot.
Mom, I liked the picture a lot. I'll have to buy one before I go home.

Cuidense mucho y les amo un buen.

Elder Hansen