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

Saturday, January 14, 2017

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...

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