“The time of Hastening the Lord’s work is now.” – Elder Russell M. Nelson

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016 - After 14 months... I taught a white family!

Hello Friends and Family!

Sorry, I don't have loads of time because I wasted it talking to mi padres, Desoule. Anywho, I will give you the best of the best highlights that happened this week! So this week we had 2 people come to church! Tifarel (Nellie's husband) and Michelle! Michelle got married on Saturday to her member fiance, now husband, and it was great! We weren't there for it but we heard that it went spectacularly! After Sunday school, Tifarel stood up and announced to everyone that he was "on schedule" to be baptized! He loves the church! On Friday Elder Smith had an opportunity to attend the temple with my old companion Elder Oldroyd since they are dying missionaries (going home), so I stayed in Bonita Springs with Elder Steed. It was a pretty crappy day cuz they were all white people and everyone knows "white people are the worst" (not very humble or teachable). Speaking of white people, we taught a white family! All white completely and totally Blan, Blanco, Blanche what ever you want to call it they are Americans! They are a super dope family and we are excited to teach them some more! Also we taught a guy with one leg (I guess he had a leg-ectomy in Haiti). While were teaching the one-legged guy a little girl gave me this note pictured below. We also taught a guy Tyron (a Former Florida Gator), he was soooooo hungover and depressed that we just tried to keep him from killing himself or someone else, so we showed him the video on the Mormon Channel "The Hope of God's Light" and that will be my last thought for the day. I invite all of you to watch this video and share it with someone else that you think could benefit from the message that it shares!

I love you all and I wish you all a happy Halloween! (or Fet Zombi as the Haitians say)

-- Ciao 
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

Haitian-ing the Work

Elder Smith's surprise funeral!
I don't know why there is a sword involved, maybe he's not dead yet ;)

When a missionary has reached their finish date and are ready to go home, 
they call it "dying" and then have a mock funeral for them to say goodbye.

Matthew received this letter from a little girl.
I'm glad those are "like a friend" hearts that she's drawn for him!

October 17, 2016 - I am now a True Floridian

Hello Friends,

This was a crazy week, let me tell ya! So to start off, last P-day we went to Steak and Shake and some kind citizen paid for us! I thought that only happened in Utah! So that was awesome. Then on Tuesday we did some service for the Schmidt's in our ward and we painted their Curbs, which was an oddly relaxing activity. Then that night we did an activity with the youth where they were supposed to hold on the the "Iron Rod" while Blindfolded and we (the missionaries) in a paradoxical reversal of roles, were supposed to get them to let go of the rod. It was pretty fun! On Wednesday, we gave Zone Training which was super awesome, then I went on exchange out to Lehigh Acres which was fun.
And I became an official Floridian because I have now been in Florida for a full year and the weird thing is, it's only been one summer... odd. But anyway, then we taught the Haitian boyfriend of a Less-Active member from Peru, if that makes sense... it was a cool lesson. :) On Friday, we did some more service at the Local food bank and bagged zucchini into bags that said Florida tangerines on them. I don't know about you, but if I went to eat a tangerine and got a zucchini I would be a little disappointed. Then while we were out knocking on Friday, we walked away from a door too fast and knocked the next one and then both people came out at the same time, so Elder Smith and I got split up and I started talking to a Haitian girl named Madeline. I offered to say a prayer with her and asked her what she wanted me to put in the prayer and she said that she wanted kids. So I asked if she was married and then she told me that she was looking for a husband too.... (BTW this is all in Creole) so I begin to feel a little awkward at this point because of A) the Conversation and B) the way she was looking at me and C) my back up is at the next door talking to somebody else! But I am pleased to report that I made it out safe and sound and Madeline is still single and childless (at least as of Friday). On Saturday we ate at an amazing Peruvian restaurant and had "Lomo Saltado" (you can Googles it if'n you's want's to) But super delicioso! Then we contacted some Less Active's to round them up for church and we ate some chili with the Norman's in our ward. Then we got an Emergency Referral from President Richardson, he needed us to go to the Hospital to give a man a blessing. He has stage 4 lung cancer and from what I saw he doesn't have very long left. It was pretty sad to see his less-active member parents watch as their non-member son's condition continued to deteriorate. :(
On Sunday Marcel, Michelle and Tifarel (Nellie's husband) all came to church and enjoyed it! I think Tifarel loved church the most. When we had our lesson after church he asked how he could be an "active" member of the church and how he could get a calling! He will be getting baptized on Oct. 29th!!! I think that is all for the week, we had a pretty busy time running around but it is all good when you are in the service of God.

My last thought this week is from President Russell M. Nelson, "If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy! Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.

He taught us how to have joy. When we choose Heavenly Father to be our God and when we can feel the Savior’s Atonement working in our lives, we will be filled with joy. Every time we nurture our spouse and guide our children, every time we forgive someone or ask for forgiveness, we can feel joy.

Every day that you and I choose to live celestial laws, every day that we keep our covenants and help others to do the same, joy will be ours."

The only way that we can find joy is through the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have seen it in my own life and I see it in the lives of others everyday.

I hope that we can all make the conscious choice each day to choose joy and follow the plan of happiness that God has set before us!

-- Love
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

Haitian-ing the Work

I found a new friend!

The "Zone of Promise"

Elder Morgan and Elder Hansen

October 10, 2016 - Sister Richardson's Faith - 1, Hurricane Matthew - 0

Well, I know that you were all worried sick about me but I am pleased to report that I have survived the storm, fortunately it was about 200 miles away. So quick hurricane update (y'all probably know more than me) but on the mission side of things we were tracking the hurricane and saw that it was headed straight for the east side of the mission so on Wednesday everyone got the command to initiate Phase One of the Hurricane Preparedness list, which was pack up in case you are evacuated. I was not too excited to pack because I did not want to pack up just to unpack a few days later because THE STORM WASN'T COMING TO FT. MYERS! Anyway, we packed up and then that night all the companionships on the east coast of the mission were evacuated to the chapels, but the "west is best" coast kept doing missionary work. The hurricane, however, did do quite a number to the "L'sid" of Haiti, but it turns out that the places that were hit the hardest were the places that Voodoo is most prevalent... food for thought. So before the hurricane was about to hit the mission it hit Freeport Bahamas and instead of continuing north west towards the mission, the storm went due north for 3 hours before heading back northwest and because of that, the Hurricane hit just outside of the mission boundaries and wrecked the Orlando mission instead. And thus we see as taught by Nephi, "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." That 'bout sums it up for me.

Anyway, during the days that the other side of the mission was on lock down we kept working here on the west side! What a blessing, we didn't see any effects from the storm, not even a bad thunderstorm which was great. On Thursday, we prepared our report for the stake missionary report with the stake president so that was a pretty unproductive day. Then on Friday we finally got to work in our area, which was great! Friday and Saturday have sort of run together on me so I will give you the highlights of both days. First off we contacted a referral and it was an Indian family (like actually from india) and they were pretty cool! The referred us to another Indian family down the street and we prayed with both families! The next day we taught the first family and they were pretty open to the gospel. On Friday we also taught twins, Whitney and Britney and they also accepted the gospel and after that we taught a referral from the YSA sisters, he's a15 y/o kid named Marcel and he was super cool! He is turning his life around and wants to be more positive and he observed that people that were involved with religion tended to be more positive, who knew?!? On Saturday we taught 2 more people, we taught Tiara and she came to church! She is from Atlanta GA and is looking for  a church here and Elder Smith and I were like, "Well we have a church", so that was that!  To end off the night we taught Tifarel Ambroise who is Nellie's Husband. We had never taught him before, we always went in the other room when we were teaching Nellie and Neifa, but Nellie wants to go to the temple as a family so one thing lead to another and we are now teaching Frè Ambroise! All in all we got 9 new investigators in 2 days... not too shabby. Also this week as a zone we were on the countdown to 40 new investigators and we ended up getting 44 New Investigators this week! Yeah wooh!!! So awesome! Anyway that was the week in a nutshell. Now to the part that is actually cool:

My last thought, so this week as I re-listened to conference there was a talk that caught my attention. It was the last one so maybe that is why but nonetheless, here it goes...

"Joy is one of the inherent results of repentance. The word repent connotes “to perceive afterwards” and implies “change.” In Swedish, the word is omvänd, which simply means “to turn around.” The Christian writer C. S. Lewis wrote about the need and the method for change. He noted that repentance involves 'being put back on the right road. A wrong sum can be put right,' he said, 'but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.' Changing our behavior and returning to the “right road” are part of repentance, but only part. Real repentance also includes a turning of our heart and will to God and a renunciation of sin....Real repentance must involve faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith that He can change us, faith that He can forgive us, and faith that He will help us avoid more mistakes. This kind of faith makes His Atonement effective in our lives. When we “perceive afterwards” and “turn around” with the Savior’s help, we can feel hope in His promises and the joy of forgiveness. Without the Redeemer, the inherent hope and joy evaporate, and repentance becomes simply miserable behavior modification. But by exercising faith in Him, we become converted to His ability and willingness to forgive sin... President Packer said: 'The Atonement leaves no tracks, no traces. What it fixes is fixed. … It just heals, and what it heals stays healed. The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, [the Savior] has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that… The Atonement … can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated.' "

I testify that this is true.

I hope that you all have a fantastic week and you enjoy the fall weather.

-- Love
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

Haitian-ing the Work

A picture is worth a 1,000 words... 
This pretty much says it all!

A quick training for the "greenies" :)

Waiting for Elder Smith to finish "the plan"

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016 - "Here I am!... (dun-dun...dun-dun)... Rocking like a Hurricane!"

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen it is the famous, Category 4, Hurricane [Elder] Matthew [Hansen] and I am finna (fixin' to) baptize the entire East Coast of Florida and Haiti and Cuba as well, but for safety reasons and to comply with OSHA regulations I will be staying on the West coast.

Well, Friends and Family, it is good to hear from you again. This week was super awesome! We started out with a super cool Zone Activity wherein we played Smash Face and basketball. Then after the activity we taught Nellie and Elder 'Narc' (Elder Smith has Narcolepsy) passed out right after the opening prayer so I soldiered ahead and taught Nellie and Neïfa about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. The good news is that they were already following those commandments. I woke him up later in the lesson though so that was good. :)

On Tuesday after the Lehigh District Training, I went on Exchange to Immokalee (My Home in Seminole) with Elder Augustin! We had a good time catching up and stuff. On Friday we woke up early to drive 2 1/2 hours through the Everglades to Ft. Laud where we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and it was Super Bien! It was good to see my friends from around the mission again! Afterwards I stayed with Elder Johns (AP) on exchange in his area. The next day we drove back to Ft. Myers to get home before Conference! General Conference this week was soooooooo good! I loved it! We had 5 investigators come to watch the different sessions of General Conference and they all seemed to enjoy it!

The highlight of the week by far was in between the Saturday morning and afternoon sessions, Nellie and Neïfa got BAPTIZED!!!!!! WOOOOO-HOOOOO! It was sooo Bèl (beautiful)! I conducted which was interesting because first I spoke in Creole and then in English so I spoke everything twice, I got tongue tied a few times, but it's nothing I'm not used to.

That was about it for the highlights of the week, but now for the highlights of Conference!

Pres. Uchtdorf: "What shall we give in return for so much?"
Sister McConkie: "Why do I have to suffer so much? God needs brave sons."
Elder Holland: "What matters is that you love your people."
Elder Meurs: " 'That they were willing' the Sacrament provides us so much potential power."
Bishop Davies: "They were worshipping, they were experiencing Heaven."
Elder Robbins: "Kindness is what is used to unlock hard hearts."
Pres. Eyring: "Simple service, to the Lord, matters."
Elder Carl B. Cook: "All who serve will receive God's grace."
Elder Schmutz: "Our suffering will bring about greater Celestial glory."
Elder Nattress: "Patience with Brett [or Matthew]" :)

I also believe that one of the major themes of Conference can be summed up in this hymn,

"Take time to be Holy, speak oft with thy Lord.
Abide with Him always and feed on His word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be Holy, the world rushes on.
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be Holy, let Him be thy guide
And run not before Him whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow still follow they Lord,
And looking to Jesus trust in,
Trust in the Lord.

Take time to be Holy, be calm in thy soul.
Each thought and each motive beneath His control;
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shall be fitted for service above.
Thou soon shall be fitted for service above."

(Take Time to be Holy,  Text:  William D. Longstaff; Arranged By:  Annette W. Dickman, 2007)

I hope that you will take the time to be Holy and review the messages that we have heard this past weekend! I promise that you will receive innumerable blessings by heeding the counsel of our inspired leaders. I know that their messages are truly the will of God for us in this day!

I love you all and my prayers go out to you in faith.

-- Love
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission
Haitian-ing the Work

Nellie and Neifa's Baptism!

The Bosses, the Zone Leaders.

Elder Hansen and Elder Smith emailing home today!

A fun Zone Activity playing Smash Face and Basketball

Cruisin' in the sweet Minivan!

Enjoying Grandma Smith's bread and jam!

September 26, 2016 - Hello from Fort Meezy!

Hello friends and Family!

Well, I am no longer in the Zika hot spot so no need to lose any sleep over that :) This week was pretty crazy so I will try to get all of the details in. As Zone Leaders we have to go to all the DT's District Training?) and we set a vision for the Zone of "Fearing No Man and Talking to Everyone!"
Anyway, after transfers and the 2 hour car ride to Ft. Myers we taught our investigators Nellie and Neifa and they are super solid! After that we ran to a meal appointment, the security guard asked me "How's Joseph Smith doing?" and I said "I don't know he's dead" so all the missionaries in the van had a good laugh about that. Later that night we contacted a media referral who was hitting on Elder Smith and I and didn't have any teeth, soooooo that was Awkwardo! On Thursday, I went on exchange with our new District Leader Elder Roberts and he is pretty sick! We had some fun including hearing some country music at a Burger King. On Friday, we taught a lot of lessons, we are teaching a Haitian lady named Figaro Baptiste and she is super cool, she has a great smile and is just a happy Haitian mommy. We are also teaching a lady named Michelle who is engaged to a member of the ward and it's fun to teach her. On Saturday, we taught a guy named Steve Christian and his Peruvian Fiance made Ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers) for us which was super good. Steve is an army vet and is pretty straight forward so we are straightforward back, so that is fun!

Well that is about it for the week, Ft. Myers is super cool and I am excited to be a Zone Leader!
I hope that you all have a great week! Always remember to look through the lens of the Gospel! It makes things clearer!

-- Love!
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

Haitian-ing the Work

Elder Hansen sent this pocket from his "hump day" shirt to me for my birthday!

He made the planner into a card and wrote and drew all kinds of things in it.

I love you too, Buddy :)

His drawing of Idaho, camping, hiking, fishing, skiing, a beehive, etc.

His drawing of Miami, palm trees, traffic, rainstorms, mosquitos, gators and the police!