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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 17, 2017 - A Miracle! I am Staying and so is my Companion!

Well you heard it folks, Elder Hansen is staying in Linton North with Elder Christensen! Should be a good next transfer so we are excited.

So we had a pretty eventful week. On Tuesday we had Zone Training - about 26 missionaries - which went super well. We have a super awesome Zone with some great missionaries here that want to work hard. After Zone Training we had the opportunity to give one of our member's cousin a blessing in the hospital. We actually ended up giving about 4 blessings this week to different people, which is always a blessing for US. Then on Saturday we had a miracle baptism in the Zone! It wasn't in our area, but it was still super awesome! It's this guy named Victor - he has been receiving the missionary lessons and coming to church for 2 years now, but he had to get First Presidency permission before he could be baptized. And randomly, he got permission on Monday, and then he was baptized on Saturday! One of the sisters in that area wanted to do a musical number and asked if my comp would help her (she plays the violin). So they played an arrangement of I Am A Child of God. So that was a cool experience. 

Sunday was a super cool day - I'll talk about that in a second. Yesterday we were proselyting because this week is transfer week so P-day is on Tuesday. We call them "Pros-Mondays" and we usually do something out of the ordinary to make it more fun. So yesterday, the 4 of us in the house went to Ihop and got all you can eat pancakes. Yep, the "Perks" of serving in America, haha! That was pretty much the whole week.

BUT, Sunday was super cool because we saw some AWESOME miracles! Together with the other Elders in the branch, (the guys we live with, Elders Hatch and Burns) there were about 13 investigators at church, which is a lot of people! About half of them were people that members just randomly invited to church and that came, and the other half were already investigators. So that was a huge blessing. The second hour of church, we rounded up all the non-members and taught a class with them. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). I was tired and not teaching so I may or may not have fallen asleep during the lesson... Super great lesson I'm sure. Then we got return appointments to see all of them that live in our area. So there were about 6 people there that we will be seeing throughout the week. So right now we are teaching Jeff, who didn't actually get baptized last weekend because his parents wouldn't let him. But he's still coming to church and progressing. He's only 13, but his uncle is a member and brings him to church every week. Then we are teaching Nicohlson, who has been to church about 3 times now and loves it and wants to be baptized. But he is going back to Haiti on the 27th, and wants to be baptized before that day. So we'll see if that will happen.  Then we have Natacha and her daughter. Natacha's husband is a member but he is less-active because he works every Sunday. But Natacha and her daughter have come to church the past 2 weeks and are reading the BOM! They both have a date set for the 28th of January, so we're working towards that. Then we have 2 other people, a mom and daughter that a member brought to church on Sunday as well. So we will be seeing them hopefully tonight.

Also, a huge miracle was that we went to visit an etern-igator Peter and he informed us that he got married and got two Sundays off so that he could get baptized on the 12th of February, and we were like... Great, sounds good to us! So that will be a miracle baptism! I'm sure something else happened during the week but I have used up all of the memory space that I have so no new memories are being made, I need to buy a usb or something, anyway...

My last thought is borrowed from Elder Kim B. Clark, 

"Our time is a dangerous time—a time of great evil and temptation, a time of confusion and commotion.... Whatever level of spirituality or faith or obedience we now have, it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead. We need greater spiritual light and power. We need eyes to see more clearly the Savior working in our lives and ears to hear His voice more deeply in our hearts.

This marvelous blessing comes when we open our hearts and receive, truly receive, the Lord Jesus Christ, His doctrine, and His Church into our lives. We do not have to be perfect, but we need to be good and getting better. We need to strive to live the plain and simple truths of the gospel. If we take upon us the name of Christ, act with faith in Him to repent of our sins, keep His commandments, and always remember Him, we will receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.

Simple obedience brings the Spirit into our hearts. In our homes, we pray in faith, search the scriptures, and keep the Sabbath day holy. In our chapels, we partake of the sacrament and make sacred promises to our Heavenly Father in the name of Christ. In holy temples, we participate in sacred ordinances on behalf of our brothers and sisters on the other side of the veil. In our families and in our assignments from the Lord, we reach out to others, lifting their burdens and inviting them to come unto Christ.

Brothers and sisters, I know that if we will do these things, the Holy Ghost will come! We will grow spiritually and gain experience with the Holy Ghost, and He will be our companion. If we will look to Christ and open our eyes and our ears, the Holy Ghost will bless us to see the Lord Jesus Christ working in our lives, strengthening our faith in Him with assurance and evidence. We increasingly will see all of our brothers and sisters the way God sees them, with love and compassion. We will hear the Savior’s voice in the scriptures, in the whisperings of the Spirit, and in the words of the living prophets.16 We will see the power of God resting upon His prophet and all the leaders of His true and living Church, and we will know with a surety that this is God’s holy work. We will see and understand ourselves and the world around us the way the Savior does. We will come to have what the Apostle Paul called “the mind of Christ.”We will have eyes to see and ears to hear, and we will build the kingdom of God.

Life may get hard, confusing, painful, and discouraging. I bear you my witness that through the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ will cut through the confusion, the pain, and the darkness. Whether it comes in a remarkable burst or in a gentle flow, that glorious spiritual power will infuse healing love and comfort into the repentant, wounded soul; dispel darkness with the light of truth; and cast out discouragement with hope in Christ. We will see these blessings come, and we will know by the witness of the Spirit that it is the Lord Jesus Christ working in our lives. Our burdens truly will be 'swallowed up in the joy of [our Redeemer].' "

I testify that these things are true, and that we need the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives in order to "cut through the darkness" and that in order to have the Holy Ghost with us "we do not have to be perfect, but we do have to be good".

I hope you all have a great week and keep being good!

-- Elder Hansen

Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

The Super Awesome Zone!

Victor's miracle baptism!

A member sent us this photo of our Jedi Elder and their son who is a mega Star Wars fan!
Matthew is rocking his authentic Jedi pose!

Matthew asked me to send him pictures of mariachi band players, 
now I know why... this is his new planner cover!
He and Elder Christensen would fit right in a Mariachi band!

Just one of the fun activities these guys like to do in the Linton house. :)
They're squishing Elder Hansen!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 9, 2016 - The Bitter, Bitter Cold of... Florida?

Hello my Frozen Associates in the Land of Idaho!

Well, let me tell you how cold it has been here. It's been a struggle for sure! But I will go back to the beginning of the week. So last P-day we had a Super Dope Zone activity that Elder Christensen and I organized. We played Beach Volley (not at the beach) and Soccer! it was pretty cool, so cool that the AP(e)'s came to crash the party... haha, but they are cool too so it's okay.

Then on Wednesday, I went on exchange with Elder Culross, who, coincidentally, served in the Boise Idaho mission for 2 transfers while he was waiting for a visa to go to Portugal, where he served for a week before messing up his knee and going home. But now he is here and I went on exchange with him. It was a weird exchange, he got a taste of the Zone Leader life. We saw our investigators for 15 minutes and spent the rest of the night driving around, eating with a member and helping one of the senior missionaries... but it was cool.

That night there was a sister that was having a problem and decided to call at 10:27. So I was on the phone with several different people for the next hour including President Richardson.... so that was exciting.

Then on Thursday, we had a pretty good day, we taught that member referral family again and did some other cool stuff, gave some blessings, taught an Member Present Lesson, etc.

On Friday, we had MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) and that was great, it was like a mission reunion for my group of missionaries that came in together. I got to see Elder Petry of course which is always a pleasure. They gave us the training that we will use for our Zone Training tomorrow so hopefully it is good. Most likely there will be less "fireworks" than the last one but still exciting!

That night we picked up our investigator Jeff who is thirteen and is the most elect kid I have ever seen! He loves reading the Book of Mormon and can't wait to get 'tized.

On Saturday we spent the whole day prepping Zone Training sooooo.... super boring, haha!

Now for Sunday, (this is the cold part) It has been pretty chilly all week, like the high 60's, but we had a stake meeting at 6:25 and we went outside and I thought I was in Kansas. I told Elder Christensen, "We ain't in Florida anymore" It was so cold that we had to use the heat in our car to warm ourselves! Everyone was wearing coats and sweaters! It was a disaster! We check the temperature and it was 50 degrees!!!! FIFTY!!! Brrrrr... the good news is that it warmed up!

Also we had miracles at church! We had 4 investigators at Sacrament meeting! Our gators Jeff and Sylvan came and also a part member family that we hadn't met before came! Her name is Natasha and she brought her son!

Okay, for my last thought I want to share a picture with you all, if we do this we will always be happier!

--Enjoy the Snow! 
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission
Haitian-ing the Work

Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 3, 2017 - New Year, New Gators, New Car?

Hello People of Idaho! I hope that you are staying warm next to the cozy fireplace! I am not, though I wish I was!

So First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Second, I wish I had more time but we had to help one of the FM guys unload a truck so I have to be quick!

So last P-day we went to the Tesla Dealership and had fun there, the new Tesla is AWESOME!!!! I almost drove off in it but then I realized that would be stealing... and that's no bueno I hear. ;)

Anywho, we found and taught a lady this week and finally got a new investigator, her name is Rosemond and she said she is down to get Baptized and we said that we were down to baptize her so it looks like things should work out. Then on Friday is was SUUUUUUPER cold, like 50 degrees and I know that doesn't sound cold to you guys in the frozen tundra but to pansy little Elder Hansen, it was cold and I was on bike... I was on exchange with Elder Hatch and we ended up biking for 2 and a half hours... sooooo long and I was freezing the entire time. Funniest part of the night was when I went to bike through what seemed to me to be an open part in the fence so I was going at a fairly good speed with nothing to slow me down... except for the top part of the fence that was still there and made direct contact with my nose and face... yeah, it felt like it sounds, but I didn't break my nose so that is a benediksyon (blessings)! On Saturday we spent the whole day preparing the Stake Missionary report... so that was lame sauce... except that the Stake got 118 baptisms with 73% retention, so that's cool. On New Year's Eve we slept in the back yard in a tent and I fell asleep at 10:00 cuz I am lame, haha!

Then Sunday night we had a Miracle, we got a referral from the Creole Elders in Palm Beach and we went to teach him. His name is Sylvan and he studied with the missionaries in the Dominican Republic and loves the church! He told us that he would have already been a member if he hadn't of left the D.R. So that is awesome!

Then yesterday for Pros-Monday we taught an awesome, Member Referral family of four and they are all down to become Members! That was my week!

My last thought, the start of a new year is a time when everyone resolves to be better, but even right now I know that some of you have broken some of your new years resolutions and it is only the third! This is, however, to be expected. It is naive to expect to be perfect right away!  I would like to invite you all to do 2 things, first out of your new resolutions, if you do indeed break them, I invite you to start of each week fresh before yourself and the Lord through the sacrament. No matter what your Resolution is, it is important to you and what is important to you is important to your Heavenly Father. As you do this you will be able to have your resolutions stick to you and you won't have to wait until 2018 to recommit yourself to be better. The second thing is I would invite you to read this talk attached to the bottom of the email, this is just an excerpt, 

"You have moments when you want to be better than you have ever been. Those feelings may be triggered by seeing a person or a family living in a way that lifts your heart with a yearning to live that way, too.....Now your impressions will not have been quite like mine, but you have felt a tug, maybe many tugs, to be someone better. And what sets those yearnings apart from all your daydreams is that they were not about being richer, or smarter, or more attractive, but about being better. I am sure you have had such moments, not just from my experience, but because of what President David O. McKay once said. Listen very carefully:

Man is a spiritual being, a soul, and at some period of his life everyone is possessed with an irresistible desire to know his relationship to the Infinite. . . . There is something within him which urges him to rise above himself, to control his environment, to master the body and all things physical and live in a higher and more beautiful world. [David O. McKay, True to the Faith, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), p. 244]

That pull upward is far beyond what you would call a desire for self-improvement. When I felt it, I knew I was being urged to live so far above myself that I could never do it on my own. President McKay had it right. You feel an urging to rise above your natural self. What you have felt is an urging from your Heavenly Father to accept this invitation:

O, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. [Moroni 10:32–33]

That urge to rise above yourself is a recognition of your need for the Atonement to work in your life, and your need to be sure that it is working. After all you can do, after all your effort, you need confidence that the Atonement is working for you and on you."

Wow that was long... but it is good! And so is the rest of the talk!

I hope that you all have a wonderful start to the New Year!

-- Con Carino ("fondly" in Spanish)
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

Haitian-ing the Work

Happy New Year, 2017!

Checking out the Tesla dealership

Wishing he could drive it away in this one!

Instead, he puts on a bike helmet and they drive away in their Corrolla. :)

December 27, 2016 - There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays, Except For Boyton Beach, Florida

Merry Christmas Peeps!

Well, we have a pretty busy day today so I will be quick. We had a lot of Christmas related shenanigans going on this week (delivering all of the Christmas packages that arrived late, one of his included), but long story short we didn't get a lot of time to work in our area.

We had a super awesome Christmas Conference, we sang a musical Number, The First Noel and it was BOSS, then we had a funny white elephant gift exchange.

I went on exchange with Elder Flores, who is #StraightouttaPuebla so we had some fun and talked to some Mexicanos and Guatemalans and had a fun time.

This week we had a Christmas miracle, we weren't able to have contact with our investigator Nicohlson all week and we weren't able to round him up for church, so we were praying that he would come, and he showed up! It turns out that our Recent Convert named Junior called him three times and found him a ride so that he could get to church! Then that evening we were able to pass by and set him up with a baptismal date for Jan 8th and he told us that he is "ready for Baptism!"

I also Skyped my fam on Christmas which was awesome! It was so great to see them.

My last thought, I want to invite all of you to watch the "He is the Gift" video on LDS.org.

And may we all continue to Share the Gift, who is our Savior, Jesus Christ!

-- Love
Elder Hansen
Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

Haitian-ing the Work

Elder Hansen and Elder Christensen with their gifts under the Christmas tree!

Open on Christmas Eve, I wonder what it is?

His new Star Wars Rogue One Christmas jammies!
He told us when we Skyped him that he had just wrapped up his other Star Wars PJ's and some of his other things to give to a boy who wasn't getting anything for Christmas.

Merry Christmas Elder Hansen!

Holy cow, it's a white shirt, what a surprise!

December 25, 2016 - Our favorite Christmas Present, Skyping with Elder Hansen!

Today we got to Skype with our missionary for Christmas! We were anxiously awaiting the time that he would call in. At almost 4:00 his call came in! At first we were having connection problems, the audio was really delayed and then he couldn't hear us or see us and vise versa. I was starting to get worried that we wouldn't be able to get a good connect and have a good visit with him.  He hung up the call and was able to get on with an Ipad and that made all the difference! We could see him and hear him clearly and it was wonderful! He looked so good, he said he has gained back some of the weight he lost. He was looking really skinny there for a while. I asked him a couple of times if he was okay health-wise and he said he was. Looking back he mentioned that when he was with Elder Smith for the last month of his mission, he really didn't stop working to eat dinner. I guess he thought he was going "all out" before he left the mission. That didn't help the weight-loss situation with Elder Hansen. Now he is eating lots of protein and 3 meals a day and is looking really great. He said he weighs around 170 - 175. I think he got down to 155 at one point.

It was SO great to experience his personality again! That is what we miss most of all, his fun and crazy sense of humor and the funny way he tells stories. He told us plenty of those! Some were a bit too crazy and scary to hear, especially the stories about his time in Belle Glade and how dangerous it was there. :-\ He is having a great time and doing so well though! He said the house they just got transferred to was a big mess when they got there. He thinks the Mission President sends him to the dirtiest places because he knows that Matthew will get them all cleaned up and organized! I love to hear that!

The highlight of our visit was when Parker and Kaylee and I were sitting in the front talking to Matthew with Dad and Jared behind us.  Those two secretly got the new nerf guns Parker got for Christmas and while we were talking, Dad said to Matthew... "Duck!" and then Dad and Jared started shooting at Matthew (at the computer screen) with the dart guns! Matthew's reaction was the best, he fell out of his chair and out of sight! Then slowly he peeked his head up just until we could see his eyes. It was hilarious and so Matthew! He hasn't lost his sense of humor at all! I think it really helps him connect with people and put them at ease.  The kids love him!

We had Grandpa Hansen, JanMa and Grandma Shields join us for the Skype with Matthew and they all had a great time listening to his stories and then talking with him too. :)

We sent Matthew 2 Christmas packages and until today I thought one of them got lost in the mail. I had been worried about it all week and had tried to play detective and track it down but with no success. Anyway, it turns out he got both packages just fine, the mail carrier just forgot to scan one of them to show that it had been delivered, argh! What a lot of stress that caused me, but I'm so glad that he got everything we sent him. He said the other Elders were very amused that we wrapped everything in his stocking, the shower gel, shaving cream, toothbrush, deodorant, lint roller, etc. He would pull out a present and guess what it was before he opened it. He said he got most of them right!

The kids were excited to tell Matthew that there is a new Despicable Me movie coming out next summer just before he gets home. Then Matthew said a quote from the new movie in his Gru voice! It was hilarious! I guess Kaylee had told him about the movie and sent the quote in one of her emails. He nailed the quote and the voice, it was awesome. :)

He had a great Christmas and is just loving his mission! We are so glad that he is doing so well and having such success serving the Lord! We got to talk to him for over an hour, it was hard to say goodbye to him, but we knew it was time to go. We asked him to speak to us in Haitian and bear his testimony. It is a very French sounding language, I didn't understand any of what he was saying. He did talk to us about being obedient and keeping the commandments is the only way to have joy and to progress. Then he talked about the 5 C's of Conversion, they are: Charity, Consecration, Consistency, Covenant keeping, and Communication with Deity. "If you can learn anything, I think the biggest thing is to understand why you go to church, to learn how to properly take the sacrament (focus on your past weeks progression, a need for the next week, and a solution to meet that need), and when you study the scriptures to keep a scripture journal. Everything you learn each day, you write it down and you can go back to it and remember what you learned." - Elder Hansen

He has grown so much in his testimony and his experiences learning so many life lessons. He really appreciates everything he has been blessed with and realizes how very blessed his life has been.

We love him so much and are looking forward to seeing him and hugging him on August 17th!

The whole family together again!

He looks so great, we love that mischievous smile!

It was fun to have the Grandparents join us, too :)

He told us about this game he plays with his comps. He'll just pick up anything and answer it like a phone and then say stuff like, "how did you get this number?", or "Mom, I told you to stop calling me!" What a funny kid!

We had a present under the tree for Elder Hansen, so the kids opened it for him.

We knew he would love it! The kids named the gator Joseph Fielding Smith, it's a long story...

December 19, 2016 - The Sun is Shining, the Grass is Green, The Orange and Palm Trees Sway.....

Merry Christmas to All! and To all a good..... Morning?

Alright, so we had a pretty crazy week as well! We had transfers on Wednesday - everyone drove to Fort Lauderdale and we met up and switched missionaries and cars and everything, and then we went to our areas and started working! Elder Christensen (my new comp) and I are white-washing (both new to the area) into the area so neither of us really know what we are doing, haha! It's been a good time though. The guys that left our area didn't leave us much to go off of because one of them became an AP, and the other went home. So we came in on Wednesday and figured stuff out. 

Thursday and Friday were just normal work days so that was good. We're still trying to figure out our area and the whole zone, but it's been an adventure and I think we probably kinda know what's going on now, haha! On Friday, Elder Petry (the new AP) came on Exchange with us to make up for not leaving an area book and to give us some training as ZL's. It was the first missionary interaction that we have had since the MTC and needless to say, our Creole has improved (Elder Petry was Matthew's MTC companion).

When we came into the area, they did leave us a couple investigators. So right now we are teaching two pretty cool peeps names Shelly and Nicolson. Both of them came to church on Sunday and they are doing super good! Nicolson was actually a pretty awesome miracle - he referred himself on Mormon.org like 2 days before we got here to the area, and we went and saw him and he just wants to learn and come to church and change his life around. So that was super cool and an huge blessing from the Lord. Shelly has had missionaries teaching her for a couple months now and has been to church like 5 times. She is super cool too so hopefully we can get her baptized this transfer while we are here! She did come to church - actually walked there. It's not too far but most people don't just walk to church, so that was pretty awesome! Other than those two people all of our time has been spent getting to know the area and trying to find new people teach and baptize!! So pretty normal, haha. BUT, here is the best part about the whole thing. THEY'RE ALL HAITIANS!!!!! 

THEN, we had church on Sunday at the Haitian branch - one of only three in America, and the only one here in Florida (The other two are in Boston). Literally everything was in Creole and it was just so amazing. Branch council, sacrament meeting, all of the classes, we didn't have to translate at all - it was SKRAIGHT HAITIAN. I just really can't even explain how fantastic it is. So yep, I love it here! Plus I get to eat Haitian food again all the time, like pretty much every day. Which is fantastic cause I love Haitian food. Also, the branch does not have a pianist, so looks like I will be playing the piano for Sacrament meeting the whole time I am here in the Branch. So that's good. That's pretty much everything that happened this week. 

So here's a little about my comp. He's from Kaysville, Utah, and we have been on the mission pretty much the same amount of time. I've been around him a little before so we kinda knew each other. We've been having a great time the past couple days though - finna be a super good transfer. On Sunday night I saw Elder Becker, my other companion from Kaysville. He went home like 6 months ago, but he was back here visiting so it was cool to see him.

My last thought this week, "And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him..." (1 Nephi 10:17)

In this scripture Nephi teaches us 3 things about revelation and how to receive it. First, that revelation is received through the power of the Holy Ghost, and through Faith. In order to have the gift of the Holy Ghost we must have faith in Jesus Christ, which is followed by Repentance and leads to Baptism and only after Baptism can we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Then after that we must have the desire to know the will of God in our lives and then we must diligently seek after it and search it out in our hearts and through prayer in order to obtain that revelation! So it is very simple, Faith, Desire and Diligence are the steps to receive Revelation! Thanks, Nephi!

Well, I hope that you all have a Jolly Christmas and enjoy your time with your families and remember, "That maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, perhaps Christmas means just a little bit more".

-- Jwaye Noel! (Merry Christmas!)
Elder Hansen

Florida, Fort Lauderdale Mission

Elder Christensen, Elder Hansen's new companion

The former Elder Becker, Matthew's first trainer, visiting the mission

Helping Elder Lewis open one of his presents.
He looks like a little kid opening his first present on Christmas morning!