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