Hey there! How is everyone?? Thanks for the letters and packages you have been sending! And Merry Christmas!!!! :) I can’t believe that it is already Christmas again... So weird. It feels like just yesterday was last Christmas! I don’t know where the whole year went. But I am happy to be able to share the message of Christ’s birth as a missionary during this time of year! It is amazing to see how much the life of an individual can change because of our Saviors life. I love being able to invite people to make changes in their lives to be able to be more like Christ and use his atonement. So yeah.
Well these past couple of weeks have been nuts. We have been taking time to plan meetings for the mission ahead for the next year or so…. So just some calendaring things and working on meetings that are this month. We had a Leadership Training with all the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and District Leaders. It was a cool meeting. We talked about how to help individual companionships work toward and achieve their goals. Just increasing a little bit every transfer. We aren’t asking for impractical things, but as we just set our goals a little bit higher than before we will be able to see some great things happen in this mission. So it was a good meeting. Right afterward we had a meeting with all the newly called leaders and talked to them about their roles to lift, inspire, bless and help the missionaries in their districts and zones.
The other day we had 4 new missionaries come to our mission! The MTC just told us a week or two ago that they were sending them to us in the middle of the transfer. So we had a mini transfer with all the trainers involved and had a couple trainings. It was a fun day. I love being with new missionaries! They are so eager to work and to help people. Full of fire. It helps me remember what I wanted to do when I came out and just puts all of this into perspective. I feel so blessed to be able to serve and serve with the missionaries in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission.
As a fun test the other night my companion asked if I could name or write down the names of all of the missionaries in our mission without looking at anything. So I got out a piece of paper and started writing by zone. It took me about an hour to do it, but I remembered all 216 missionaries and where they are serving. I don’t think that I could quite tell you the names of each stake (there are 67) but I could probably get a little over half. It is so cool to see how the Lord has been able to help me and enlarge my memory and mind to be able to remember all of these missionaries and areas and housing and cars and just everything! I am not sure that I told you this but when President Hansen called me and we were talking and he asked me to serve the missionaries with him he gave me a blessing. He blessed me with exactly what I have seen happen. An increase in mind, understanding and memory to help serve these missionaries and that I would have all the necessary means to do so. I feel so blessed to see the Lord work in my life and help me to be able to bless others. I truly love this work.
Well I will email again on Monday and probably tell you when I am going to want to call (or skype / google hangout) on Christmas. I hope you are all being blessed during this time of year and have opportunities to share the gospel with your friends! I also hope and pray that you are all travelling safely in the weather!!
Thanks again for everything. I love and miss you all! Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!! :)
Peak The Strategy.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Hello! These past few weeks have been pretty good! Thank you Paula and Brian for the package! We already ate all the cookies, they were delicious!! I shared them with some of the office staff, my companion, and President Hansen. He said to tell you that they were great! ha ha Also Mom I got the two packages for Christmas but I haven't opened them yet because I think I will wait till either Christmas day or a little earlier. I appreciate all of you for emailing me and sending me letters and things. They always seem to come at the right time. When things aren't going so well or our missionaries are doing not the smartest things and it is frustrating - that is when I receive your emails and letters and it really helps, so thanks!
So. Its been forever since I wrote last... Thanksgiving was great! We ate at President and Sister Hansen's house. Some other elders joined us. President bought a Foosball table and put it downstairs in the mission home so we played a lot of Foosball and just talked and had a good time. Then the rest of the evening we worked on transfers... We finished everything up early this time and everything went pretty well! I am still with Elder Williams in our same area. It has been hard lately. We haven't had as much time to work as we would like to and then when we do it is hard to find anyone home. We set up appointments with new people and they just keep cancelling. And with finals coming up our work is going to be almost halted..... but we are still working with some people like Marlen, Justin, Gio, and some others! The Lord is blessing us for the work we do and I am so grateful for that.
Anyways, we have been running around giving trainings and working with President on where this mission is headed. It is an exciting time!! I feel sooo lucky to be serving at this time when we are defining how the work is moved forward at an accelerated pace in our mission and what our goals and plans are as a mission (all of this relating to hastening the work of salvation). I am learning so much and having such a good time. I love all of our missionaries (even when they do stupid things... :) ha ha) We have very powerful, strong, converted missionaries that uplift and inspire others and are true disciples of Christ. I love this work and I love my mission.
I will just talk about yesterday for a bit then I have to go. In the morning we went to the Wells YSA ward and we both spoke and my companion did a phenomenal musical number "The First Noel" on the piano. It was so good. Almost everyone was crying by the end. He is so talented. And I don't think that he realizes that not everyone can just do that! Especially with no music in front of him and just pretty much making it up as he goes! It was so good. Then we left there and went to the Capitol Hill YSA ward and did the same thing! My talk was better in this ward than the first. It was awesome. Then we split up and my companion went to the Cannon YSA ward and I stayed in Capitol Hill and taught Elders Quorum. Did a lesson with the video clip of Elder Ballard at conference and his invitation to invite one before Christmas. It was cool. Handed out a note card to each of them and had them write their name and phone number on the front and on the back write the names of 2 non-members they know and 2 less-actives that they know. Then circle the one that you want to invite before Christmas and on the bottom write the invitation you will give them. We brainstormed invitations that they could leave. I think it was an okay lesson. I got a little "up in their faces" to get the point through to them that an apostle/prophet of God had invited them / asked them to do this and that we need to apply it now. No more waiting around saying that we will do it sometime in the future. No more only praying that we can apply it and then not taking the action required to apply the principle and doctrine in our lives. So ya. That was fun. Then taught a girl named Erika about the gospel. She is great. She is an active member but never really knew much about the church so we are teaching her and she is asking all sorts of cool questions. For example she asked us a lot about the second coming yesterday and we had a great conversation about it. But yeah, then guess who I saw at the Institute building??? Aaron Young!!! It was so crazy to see him! It has been like 4 years! He is awesome as usual. He is in a different ward that attends in that building. So ya. That was a fun side note! Then we went to the Christmas devotional at the conference center with Marlen and her friend Laurel! We didnt have tickets but since it was so cold and snowy there were not very many people there so they just gave us tickets and let us go in! It was so good!!!! Very cool devotional! If you didnt get to watch it you should! The music was exceptional as always and the speakers were very good as well. Then some members of the Cannon ward brought us some dinner at the office. It was delicious! Then we went to President's house and worked for the remainder of the evening. It was a long, but great day.
Well that is about all that I have time to write. I love you all soo much!!!! I miss you and hope and pray that everything goes well with you this week! I hope you know how much I care even thought my writing is so sporadic.
Have a wonderful week!
Peak the Strategy
P.S. Mom and Dad I am doing great. I feel good and am no longer sore at all. I feel better and we were able to get all our stuff and most of it is handled. So yeah. Love you!!!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I am sorry it has taken so long to write! We have been pretty busy. I started this email about a week ago, but things kept coming up so I am just finishing it now. First off, thank you for your letters and emails. I will try to take some time to reply individually. I love reading about what is going on with all of you! It gives brightness to my days especially when they are not the best days. So thanks again :)
There is so much to talk about! I guess I should start with the most important event. Last time I emailed I was letting you know that Elder Bednar was coming. Now it has been about two weeks! So I’ll start by talking about Elder Bednar. We did a lot to prepare for this meeting. You would not believe how hard it was to make sure the building would be ready. We reserved it 5 weeks before and called the stake presidency to let them know we would be using it. We didn’t tell them who was coming so that nobody else would show up and to minimize the gossip. So it was reserved. We went into the chapel 2 weeks before and all the pews were being redone!! We frantically called them and were like, “Hey we have a very important meeting on Friday, will it be done??” They said yes and we went to the church building on Sunday just to make sure. All of the seats were finished and everything looked great. We were relieved. Little did we know what would happen on Tuesday night when we went to recheck the number of rows and what zones should sit where. We open the doors to the chapel on Tuesday night and all of the huge speakers in the ceiling (which is like 30 feet up) are on the ground, there is a big ladder going to the organ pipes, all of the audio ports are taken out, etc………….. I just felt this sinking sensation……. An apostle was coming to visit our mission and we would have to change the building location 2-3 days before???? You just don’t do that when an apostle comes. Sure if it was a different visitor who is more able to adapt and has more time to spend with us, but not when Elder Bednar is coming to the mission! Anyways, we were more than a little frantic. Called the stake presidency and they were like, “oh well that construction and replacement of the audio system has been scheduled for a long time!” But we had scheduled the whole building (literally) for this event and now they were telling us that this was already in the plans?! Ha ha so we called the FM group man who is in charge of the Salt Lake City general area and informed him of who was actually coming to this meeting and why it was so important. At first he says, “Well maybe you can do it in a different building? One of these buildings close by might be big enough!” We were like “What???” He then said, “Let me work on some things and see what I can do...” We were even more frantic at this point. He called back 3 hours later and let us know that they hired an extra crew to get all of the work done by Friday. It was still nerve racking, but it was finished. The last worker finished at 9:30pm on Thursday night! We cleaned the chapel up afterward and checked all the microphones and got everything ready. Meanwhile throughout the whole process I was mostly worried about conducting the meeting! ha ha I was a tad stressed. But really overall everything went great!! :)
We got there early on Friday to prepare. Set up microphones, reviewed the talks again, made sure all the missionaries were coming and sitting in the right places, reserved parking spots for Elder Bednar and the Mission Presideny, etc. I was still very nervous to be conducting. Then at about 8:30 President and Sister Hansen, President and Sister Bennett, and President and Sister Hodson (Mission Presidency), Elder Williams and myself were standing in the foyer waiting. A white car pulls up and Elder Bednar jumps out and opens the door for his wife. It was raining so Elder Williams went and opened an umbrella for them and Elder Bednar told him to put it over his wife. They walked up and I am holding the door for them. Elder Bednar shakes my hand and says, “Elder Hansen, where are you from?” I say Denver, Colorado. He says, “No, nobody is actually from Denver! You must be from right around there.” I say you are right, I am from Louisville. He says “That is terrific.” It was so cool, as soon as I shook his hand I felt all the nervousness leave and I just felt calm! I appreciate what the spirit can do for us in our times of need. Then we all went into the relief society room briefly (Elder and Sister Bednar, the Mission Presidency, and Elder Williams and I). The first thing he says is, “Alright, we are here! I only have one question for you. What can we do to help?” He asked President first and President answers by saying something like, “I wouldn’t dare infringe on the revelation and inspiration that you have and will receive, but here is what we have been doing and talking about.” He went on to describe a couple of things that the mission was working on. Then Elder Bednar looks at the rest of us and asks again what they can do to help. He looks over at Elder Williams and I and we are just standing there smiling thinking about how crazy it is that there is an apostle standing with us. Elder Bednar then said, “Don’t just stand there and smile, tell me what this mission needs!” We were both a little shocked and gave some answers that probably sounded lame but we told him that whatever he could teach about the atonement would help our mission and I said something about learning to teach by the spirit. Then Elder Bednar asked his wife if she was ready. She said yes and he used this phrase; “Alright, let’s go to church!” We walked into the chapel and every missionary stood up. It was silent. The spirit was so strong. Elder Bednar is truly called of God. We get to the stand and I was sitting right next to Elder Bednar. On his left side. We sit down and he asks me, “Are you ready?” I said yes and again he said “Alright, let’s go to church!” (What a funny phrase, I wonder if a lot of people know that he says that? He might not say it a lot, but he said it 2 or 3 times with us so I think it might be something he says regularly. Just a funny side-note). Conducting the meeting went well. I felt pretty good and it all went smoothly. I had practiced a bit and so I don’t think I messed anything up too badly. He told me I did a good job when I sat down. Then Sister Bednar spoke first. She talked about her husband’s apostolic calling and what she had learned because of it. She also talked about the Book of Mormon and about the atonement. It was powerful! Then Elder Bednar spoke. Wow……….. It was soo cool. I will never forget this experience. I know I have talked a lot about the temporal side of what happened, but I will never forget the feelings that I felt that day and the impressions I received. It was amazing. He told us not to write down everything that is said but to write in your “small plates.” Meaning to write only the impressions that come as they pertain to spiritual and precious things. Then he asked us what we had learned from his 3 talks that he asked us to read in preparation for the meeting. Elder Williams and I were running around passing microphones to everyone who was called on to answer. It was a great discussion! Over time it turned into a question/answer session. We all were taught, but not necessarily from what Elder Bednar had said, but from what the spirit had impressed upon us. And that all was predicated on our personal preparation. It was such a cool experience. He taught us how to learn by the spirit and by so doing taught us how to better teach by the spirit. Helping us get out of the way sometimes and let the Lord teach our investigators through the Holy Ghost. It was a terrific blessing. I loved every minute of it. And it felt really fast as well! He shared some experiences and so did Sister Bednar. It was a special meeting, and I believe that what we learned was determined by how we prepared. For this meeting everyone prepared really well and we were able to learn some truly amazing things and hear some great things from an apostle that I don’t think he would have said if we were not ready to be taught. I was impressed with our missionaries. They were and are very good! So yeah. A couple things that I learned personally were how to ask inspired questions and let the spirit teach our investigators more. I also learned a lot about faith and moral agency. What an awesome opportunity. I don’t think that I will ever get that opportunity again. I so grateful for it and I will never forget the spirit I felt when he was with us.
Anyways, a lot of other things have been going on! Working hard in our area and it is starting to pick up (I know I said that last time, but we have even more potentials and a few more new investigators we are starting to teach). We have had some great experiences with a girl named Marlin (its pronounced Marleen). She was a referral from temple square and we have been teaching her. She is progressing well. The only problem is that she went to missionary farewells for the past 2 weeks in different wards so she still hasn’t come to the ward. She is going to come this week though! And we will meet her brother who is interested as well. It is different working in a YSA stake. Usually in other parts of the mission if you work harder, contact more, and teach better the baptisms come in some proportion to what you have been doing. In YSA it seems like you can work and work and work and still not see success and then when you do see success it seems to have no correlation to the work you have been doing or the people you are working with. It is just a blessing dropped out of the sky. Marlin was one of those blessings. We were working hard, but nothing was coming from our work or from anyone we were currently working with and then one day a text from temple square and we are working with someone who has a desire to progress! Im not complaining though! I feel blessed when we see miracles and success in our area especially because of the little time that we have to work in it.
The days and weeks are starting to blend together so I am trying to remember what I told you in the last email… Well I don’t have much time left anyway so I will just tell you a funny experience that happened while leaving church the other day. We were walking out of the U of U institute building after Capitol Hill ward and we were kind of in a rush. We were walking quickly to our car and there was a man standing next to his car parked next to us. I glanced at him and thought wow he looks familiar…. Then I looked again and realized who it was! President Clayton from the Presidency of the Seventy! We shook his hand and talked for a minute. The reason it was hard to recognize him was because he was wearing a sweater / sweatshirt zip up thing over his white shirt and tie! He explained that he had just gotten back from Logan and that he was going to a YSA ward quickly but he had to make a few phone calls first. It was pretty random, but sweet! That is the second time on my mission that I have met him and talked to him. He is really good.
Well I am about out of time for now. I think I will send this and another email soon. I love you all! As for myself, I got sick for a couple of days but now I am fine! Always tired, but what’s new. I love the work and I love being a missionary. There is no experience quite like it. I hope all of you are feeling well and travelling safely for the holidays!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!! We will be only about 25 minutes apart when you are at Paula and Brian’s house! Love and miss you.
Peak The Strategy
Sunday, November 17, 2013
I am sorry I haven’t written for a bit. We have some really great things going on. The work in our area is finally starting to pick up a little! We are seeing some good miracles and some new people come out of the woodwork. I am so grateful when we see success in our area. All I want is to be an example to these missionaries and help them to see what they can achieve in their areas. We sometimes tend to think that we can do that through trainings and meetings and all this stuff, but honestly I think that it mostly comes down to hitting the pavement, being the example, and literally showing them what they can do to see more success. We are focusing on doing more exchanges over the next couple weeks to try to help some of the zone leaders and district leaders see how they can approach the work differently to see more success. Or maybe not even a different approach, but just to be practiced and ready to act and be led by the spirit. That is something that I am focusing on right now.
Anyways, life here is great! :) I am so happy and grateful to be a missionary at this specific time. So much good is happening. The Lord truly is hastening his work! And I get a front row seat and an active role in fulfilling the Lord’s will…. There is nothing like being a missionary. I never want to stop being one.
Well I cannot take too much time right now because we have other important things to get done very quickly. So I want to summarize some of what has been happening briefly.
First I will start with the not so great things…. A couple elders have gone home since I last wrote… It is sad. Most have gone home for medical reasons which are really hard. But even harder is that a couple went home for either plain not wanting to work or disobedience. It has been really rough to see. I wanted so badly for these elders to succeed out here and to feel good about the service they have given, but some of them don’t. And others I don’t even feel good about them going home…… So yeah. That has been one of the hardest things lately and one of the saddest. I just hope and pray that it doesn’t happen as much from now on, and that these elders still see the blessings of the gospel in their lives and remain completely active in the church.
Other than that the rest of these last two weeks have been terrific! Working hard on the upcoming mission events and transfers. Speaking of mission events, let me tell you one that we have known about for a little while but couldn’t tell anyone until Monday. We have a whole mission meeting on Friday of this week (two days from now) and we are having a guest speaker come. Guess who it is??? Elder David A. Bednar!!! He is coming for 3 hours to talk to us and it seems like it will be a question/answer session! Isn’t that exciting?!?! The story goes that President Hansen knows Elder Bednar on a somewhat personal level and at the MTC when President Hansen was there Elder Bednar came up to him and said, “Hey, you know that I like to go around and get in front of missionaries. I would love to come to your mission sometime to talk to your missionaries, just let me know.” Ha ha isn’t that sweet?? So they have been in communication for a while and decided to have it on Friday. We have known for a while, but couldn’t tell anyone so that people wouldn’t get overly excited and tell all the members and start inviting everyone they know to come. It is only for our missionaries. I am so excited!!! There is only one thing…. I might be conducting the meeting………….. Remember how I was nervous about conducting for Elder Clarke?? Ha ha yeah…….. I am more than nervous for this time. But I think it will be okay. As long as I have it in front of me to refer to and I practice it a lot before hand I think I will do alright. So that is the biggest thing that is happening. We have some other meetings coming up but nothing quite as important as this.
Other than that we had stake conference for the Pioneer YSA Stake! It was soo good. Elder Samuel Clark (area seventy / different than Elder Don Clarke) came and he and his wife spoke. It was phenomenal. They had a really great stake choir as well. Just a good time. Learned a lot. Then on Monday guess what we got to do??? Mom you will be jealous! We went golfing!!! :) First time I have golfed since we went for a quick round in Tooele. It was so fun. We went with President Hansen and 4 other Elders. We played 9 holes at a course up in Kaysville. I actually didn’t play too badly. It was a beautiful day. On the first hole I hit it onto the collar in two and a chip to about 12 feet away. And a made the first putt! It was so nice to relax for an hour or two. I am so thankful that President took us out there. He is such a kind man. And he is great at golf!! He has played all over the U.S. He shot about 6 strokes lower than I did. So ya.
Well I realize that I haven’t talked enough about the actual missionary experiences that we had so I will summarize one quickly.
We have been looking for someone new to teach for quite some time now and it seemed like no matter what we did or how we asked or what approach we took, we just could not find anyone new to meet with. So the other night we were walking through an apartment complex trying to contact a couple investigators and I remembered that when I served in Swahili that I taught a YSA age girl in a building just around the corner. We decided to stop by quickly to visit and she was home. We talked for a couple seconds and she remembered who I was! (I thought she would have forgotten since we only met a couple times.) It has been almost exactly one year since we taught her and she was even more open to it this time. She is attending Westminster college and so we invited her to church on Sunday with us there at the YSA. She said yes! And that she wants to make some more friends up there. It was so cool to see that she is prepared now to make a couple more steps toward the gospel and we will be there to help her along the way. The Lord really showed me that people can become more prepared over time and that these people that I used to teach that didn’t progress may now be ready to make commitments. It was a nice small miracle for us to see. We are going to teach her and I am confident that we can help her come into the gospel soon.
Alright, I have taken a little more time than planned. I just had a lot to say I suppose. And I haven’t written for a while and I probably won’t have time to write for a little longer. But anyways,
I love you all so much!! Thank you for everything. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers and the emails and letters that you send. They really uplift me and help me continue to work my hardest. I will try to be better at responding to emails and letters.
Have an exceptional week!!
Peak The Strategy
P.S. Mom I got the package! Thank you soooo much!!!! The journal is perfect and the snacks are great! We needed those. Since we are never home we never buy groceries… So it is nice to have little snacks around so that we can eat if we feel like it. So thanks!! Love you all.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Hope everyone is doing well! Happy (late) Halloween!!!!!! I hope that your night was filled with fun and with hot chocolate and donuts as usual. :)
Thank you for all that you are doing for me and the emails and letters you send. They make my days even better! We have been having a crazy time lately. Just running around from thing to thing trying to help people along the way as well as help our area and the wards we cover be more involved in the missionary effort. It is great though. I mean exceptional!
Side note – I don’t know if I had mentioned this yet, but when Elder Clarke of the seventy came to our mission tour he would always ask how we were doing and we would say “good!” and he would say “NO! You are doing exceptional! Not just good.” Ha ha so now when I ask missionaries how they are doing and they say “good” I usually say, “Are you sure?” “I think Elder Clarke thinks otherwise!” They have started to catch on and now everyone in the mission says that they are “Exceptional!” Just something cool. :)
So. Over the last week we have seen some great miracles. We have an investigator that came to church with her recent convert friend and they came for all three hours. Not only that, but we had been praying in the car right before church that someone would show up that we wouldn’t know but that would need our help or listen to the lessons or something. Halfway through Sunday school our recent convert and investigator friend lean over to us and tell us that they have to leave for a couple minutes to go get another friend for sacrament meeting! So our prayers were answered!! All three of them came for sacrament. And listen to what we did. (Elder Clarke gave us this advice in a meeting a week or two ago.) In our last lesson with the investigator we went around the church looking at the paintings and describing what was going on in each one and asking questions about them. At the end we went into the chapel and brought her to the very front row and sat down and talked to her about the difference between sitting there and sitting in the back of the chapel and how much better she could feel the spirit and receive revelation and answers to questions up front in the first row. We committed her to sit there on the very first row on Sunday. I thought she was going to say no, but she actually liked the idea and agreed! So for our next step we called the bishop and let him know that they would be sitting on the front row and to look for them and asked him to greet them right before. Then we asked who was speaking in the ward that day and asked if he would mind if we could ask them to do us a favor. He said sure. So we called up both speakers and asked them if when they were bearing their testimonies at the end of their talks they would look at our investigator and make eye contact as they said part of their testimony! It was pretty epic. And it worked! The one returned missionary said as he looked over at her, “I learned on my mission that the Book of Mormon was true.” It was awesome. And then to add to all of it, the other speaker came down from the stand afterward and invited all three of them to dinner that evening!! What a great ward! It was cool to see how we could make things work out even better by making a couple simple changes. Instead of sitting in the back, take them to the front row and contacting the speakers beforehand. Both were ideas from Elder Clarke. So ya. That was a great experience. Hmmmm, oh! Then right after that we went to a different ward and our recent convert Edwin asked me to ordain him and give him the priesthood!! It was awesome. Such a great spirit as he received the power to act in the name of our Father in Heaven. I will never forget things like that.
We also taught a Relief Society lesson on Sunday. It went well. They all are pumped to do missionary work and invite their friends!
Took some missionaries to the airport that were going to France! They got their visas and left on Monday. It was cool. They have only been here for six weeks and they have learned a lot already. These young missionaries are getting smarter and smarter every day! Word.
Prepared a training for one of our Mission Leader Councils. It actually went pretty well! I learned a lot from just preparing it. I was a little nervous though…. Oh well. Then we had some trouble with some missionaries. They were just doing stupid things. Nothing too horrible, but still very disobedient and just ridiculous. But President Hansen is amazing. He always knows how to handle things and help others become better. We have seen a lot of missionaries change because of what he has done! It is good to see the success in helping missionaries see their potential and do better. It is a good feeling.
Then Halloween yesterday! It was pretty awesome. We got to go to the Bountiful Temple in the morning. Finally got to see the new film. I think it is phenomenal!! I was very impressed with what they have done with it. So yeah. And I love the Bountiful Temple. The Celestial room there is soo great. So then after that we had some sushi for lunch. Then went to the office, worked on some things. Then played ping pong for a bit. My new companion has played in competitive tournament table tennis. So yeah…. He is really good! I never beat him, but its all good. Then I got a quick haircut and then home to plan out next week. We couldn’t go out last night because of our rules here. So we did our weekly planning and got some things done for upcoming meetings in the mission, next transfer stuff and information that new leaders should know, etc. I am really tired though. We haven’t slept as much as I wish we would. But its okay, the Lord is sustaining us. He is keeping us going. He has really helped to keep my mind clear and helped me remember all these missionaries way better than I could before. There are 214 missionaries in our mission right now. They are all EXCEPTIONAL!! :) So that pretty much sums it up. I love being a missionary. I love all of you so much and I miss you! I know this work is real and full of miracles that we see every day. There is one more miracle that I should share that I just remembered about. So we were going to contact a referral, on the way we contacted a man outside and asked if he knew anyone YSA age around the area. He told us of a couple places, then on our way to this door my companion started jogging over to try to help a young couple bring in groceries from the car. They declined, but we asked them the same question and they gave us a door to go to. My companion was rushing so we went to the wrong door, or so we thought. We talked to this man who is married, but he isn’t LDS. He has cleaned up his life and seems to be looking for a new direction to take! Golden. We set up an appointment and sent the other Elders to teach him. Then after we were done I told my companion that we had gone to the “wrong” door and so we knocked on the other one and it was a couple guys with long hair (dreadlocks.) My companion recognized one of them from his home in Houston! It was great! We went in and talked to him and got to get his information so that we can help him come back to church. So yeah. All because we were trying to talk to a lot of people and trying to give service. What a blessing to us.
Okay. I love you!!!!! God loves you!
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
The church is true!
Peak The Strategy
Friday, October 25, 2013
I am sorry that I have become so inconsistent in writing you. I need to make sure that I write at least one thing each week to you. I will just have to make most of my emails shorter! Thank you sooo much for your emails and letters. I appreciate them. I am horrible at responding, but I hope you know that I am thankful for everything you write and that I do read them and am anxious to know about everything that is happening out there! So thank you! I love and miss all of you a ton.
Okay. Well this might be another long email…… ha ha oh well. I’ll talk briefly about what we have been doing for the past couple of weeks.
Well after conference we had the opportunity to be involved in a stake priesthood leadership meeting up in Kaysville. The whole mission presidency came! President Hansen and his councilors, President Bennett, and President Hodson (both previous mission presidents) and Executive Secretary Brother Craven…. And us… ha ha it was pretty cool. Had a planning meeting first with just their stake presidency and then had the meeting a couple of days later. It was a powerful meeting. We all learned some very simple and specific ways that we can share the gospel and be missionaries. It was great!
The next week was spent mostly in preparation for our Mission Tour on October 15th, 16th, and 17th. We had to get together everything that would be used, reserve buildings, get materials, learn how to officially conduct meetings, put together some slides in a powerpoint about where we are as a mission and where we are headed. Used key indicators to see where we needed improvement, etc. etc. So there was a lot of preparation for it, but wow. It was amazing! Elder Clarke of the First Quorum of the Seventy came all 3 days and helped us. He trained us for about 6 hours each day. I learned so much. I think I already talked about him in my last email, but I just wanted to mention again how great it was. His perspective on missionary work is so clear and defined. So straight forward and helpful. I learned how to be a better representative of the Savior. At the end of each day every missionary would fill out a card with 5 things that they will change because of what they learned today. I made one both days, and there was so much more I wanted to put on the list, but it was good to have a simple game plan of what to do to change after receiving so much guidance and revelation while we were there. So cool. I love missionary work. So yeah. I conducted on Wednesday. I was nervous, but everything ran smoothly. I learned a bit about conducting meetings as well. Word.
We also had 2 baptisms since I last wrote! The first was a young girl names Ani from Armania! She was very prepared. It only took us a couple of weeks to teach and then she got baptized! I love when it works out well like this and when I can see their conversion and that they are being sincere. Ani definitely is. Then a man named Edwin from Kenya was baptized! He was also very prepared. The bishop tipped us off and the missionaries a couple of months ago started teaching him. And then when he was ready he got baptized! I have a picture from one or both. I’ll send them with this email.
What else happened…..
Well I will write more later, but I figure that I will get this out to you all now and I can send more later.
Peak The Strategy
P.S. I will send the pictures soon! Just don't have time at the moment. Sorry!
Friday, October 11, 2013
Hello my wonderful family! I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to email you all! We have just been so busy around here that we hardly even have chances to “catch our breath.”
First off, thank you for all the emails and letters! I truly appreciate the time you take to write. These letters and emails make me so happy because I get to hear about how and what you are all doing!! So ya. Thanks!
Okay, I had to go back and reread my last email to see where I left off.... ha ha.
Soo. A lot has happened since I emailed last. One of the coolest things was a meeting we had with Elder Clarke of the Seventy. It was just Elder Logan and I, President and Sister Hansen, and Elder Clarke. It was supposed to be an hour and a half meeting about our mission tour coming up and plans for it. It turned into three and a half hours of Elder Clarke teaching us about everything! :) It was soo cool. Elder Clarke took the time to talk to us about not only the mission, missionary work, how to help our mission specifically, etc.... but career advice, jobs, business, marriage, life in general, and principles that will bless us for years to come if we learn them now. It was amazing. Literally changed my life. I am so grateful for the time he took to do this. He didn't have to, but he saw that we could benefit from learning personally from his knowledge and so he gave us the opportunity to learn. I took some pretty good notes, but even more important than what I wrote is the feeling that I had as Elder Clarke spoke personally with us. It was so powerful. Even from the very moment that we got there we could feel such an incredible spirit that accompanies this man. It was something I will never forget. It was awesome to meet such a devoted servant of our Savior Jesus Christ. It showed me how to become more consecrated and truly serve the Lord with everything I've got to offer. Not just 100%, more like 200%. Working both diligently and effectively every hour, even every minute that we have. I have come to the realization that if I learn to do this, I will be a much stronger and/or sharper tool in the Lord's hands in achieving all He wants me to. I wondered recently how President Hansen and other church leaders do it. How they manage to get everything done and be so diligent and effective and find so much joy while working so hard and having no time to even "catch their breath". Now I am starting to understand. I believe that most, if not all of these men have mastered the principles of complete diligence and effectiveness that Elder Clarke showed us through his devotion to the Lord and his work and the spirit he carries with him. It is now one of my goals to get closer to mastering this principle while on my mission. It is something that I know will lead me and help me in every aspect of my life. Isn't it cool that I could learn such a great lesson through the spirit when hardly anything was actually said about this topic in our discussion with Elder Clarke? I have also seen that this pattern is how I usually receive personal revelation. The gospel is such a blessing to us. I don't know what I would do without it.
Anyway, sorry for rambling on so much about that! It was just one of the coolest experiences! I felt like sharing it with you because it was so powerful for me.
So much more has happened... Between working on the upcoming transfers, planning for mission tour, having like 6 meetings/trainings to work on and lay out. We had Mission Leader Council. Leadership Training. Another Mission Leader Council. District Meetings and Zone Meetings around the mission. All this while trying to stay on top of the plans for the Mission Tour with Elder Clarke and Transfers. Oh! and General Conference!!! Its been a little ridiculous. Im looking through my journal now and I will pull out things that happened that were awesome.
One thing was a YSA Fireside. Guess who was there?! Elder Ballard! It was awesome. He spoke about inviting friends to come back to institute and church. He also talked about a cool experience he had talking to some leaders of other churches. Basically at the end of the experience he said that one of the leaders asked “How is it that your young people are so motivated to go out and serve missions, or pay tithing, or go to the temple, or serve in other ways?? What makes them give up all the worldly things for the values of your church?” Elder Ballard’s response was clear and straight forward. He said, “The reason why members of our church are willing to pay tithing and give up everything in order to serve is because they know the doctrine of our church is true.” So straight forward and so true. It is the same reason that our church is in good standing and growing at a rapid pace. The same reason that our members are willing to do anything to move this work forward. The same reason we have +80,000 missionaries. It is because they know it is true. It is the true doctrine of God and Jesus Christ. Our church has the full truth. The restoration of all things. The fullness of the gospel. Elder Ballard then invited every YSA ward member in all these YSA stakes to “go and find the one”. To each invite one person to come back to institute and church by the end of this year. It was awesome. I am so excited for this challenge. It will help this work move forward a lot faster. Sorry for rambling again. This was another one of the great experiences we have had in the past weeks.
I said in my last email that I was worried for President and Sister Hansen to leave for the mission presidents seminar…. Yeah. The same thing happened as last time they left… Missionaries did some stupid things. We had to try to figure out how to deal with certain problems and try to help while he was away. Luckily we could still contact him on the phone every night. But yeah. When they got back we were soo relieved. It was so good to see them. :)
Saw some great miracles with our investigators over the last couple of weeks! Some awesome lessons and good experiences. I love teaching about Christ and His gospel. I wish I could just do that for my entire life and not have to do anything else… ha ha I still will, but I’ll have other things to do when I get back as well. Had some experiences with random people coming up to us that wanted a quick tour of temple square and there were no sisters around so we showed them places and taught them about the restoration. They were nonmembers from New York just passing through. They only had a couple minutes, but they were so prepared! We taught and bore testimony and invited them to read the Book of Mormon and meet with missionaries when they got back home. They said yes! I feel confident that they will join the church. Anyway, as we were leaving temple square that night some protestors talked to us. They just wanted to argue and stuff, but my companion knows one of them and so he talked with him for a bit. While they were talking the anti-mormon man said, “Why is it that people don’t want to talk with me??” As he was saying this, a lady walked up to me and introduced herself and said she was from Ogden and that she would like to meet with the missionaries! So I got the referral right there in front of him and my companion told the man, “The reason people don’t come up to you and want to talk to you is because you do not bring a message of hope. You do not preach the happiness that comes from living God’s commandments and being with our families eternally.” My companion pointed to the temple and said some quick things. The man seemed a little shocked, but still didn’t seem to accept what we had said. Maybe one day he will. Just another cool experience to show that this gospel is true and that there are people looking for it! (Even in Salt Lake City, Utah.)
On another completely unrelated note, our mission got 14 new cars these past couple weeks. We have been picking them up from the garage under the church office building and driving them back to the mission office. They are brand new 2014 Chevy Cruzes…… They’ve got a turbo in them… Ha ha they are pretty sweet! It is funny, I would never have thought that I would drive such a nice, brand new (27 miles on it) car on a full-time mission for the church! But its good. The church resells their cars after 50,000 miles and gets a lot back. Its cool to see how well the church operates and how good it is financially. Like what we learned in the talk by Elder Bednar in Conference! Word.
Hmmm, what else….
Oh! Random cool thing. I got my haircut from a $6 place up 400S and about 1100E. The man who cut my hair mentioned as he started, “I just cut Elder Oak’s hair only a couple of minutes ago! You just missed him.” I was like, “wooaaahh… ha ha I am getting my haircut from the same man who just cut an apostles hair” (yes, I was over reacting a bit.) Then my companion pointed out, “Im pretty sure Elder Oaks has hardly any hair…..” ha ha! But yeah. That’s my claim to fame this week.
Alright, other than that we just worked a lot with President Hansen. With the increase in missionaries we are getting another 29 missionaries in our mission this upcoming transfer. That puts us at 43 in June, 35 in July, 37 in September, and now another 29 in October…….. We split missions in July and have opened up at least 15 new areas every transfer since… It has been complicated. So most of the work we have been doing is opening areas, trying to find housing, looking at who will train these new missionaries (side note -> probably about 70% of our missionaries are training right now.) So yeah. Its a bit complicated. But the Lord is helping us to see what needs to happen. It is awesome to receive inspiration after seeking for some time about specific areas and people and so forth. Its not always easy, and it doesn’t always come quickly, but it comes.
Okay last thing to talk about. (I don’t think I am missing anything else major and this email is insanely long.)
General Conference!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) It was sooo amazing. We got to go to 2 sessions in the conference center. We brought a recent convert and her friend who is investigating the church the first time. And the second time we brought an investigator who moved here from Armenia named Ani. The spirit worked on all of these people. We also got tickets for 5 of 6 more investigators and they went with friends from the wards. It was such a good conference! So much spiritual upliftment. So bold and strong, but loving and understanding. It was one of the best I have listened to. I felt so much inspiration and love coming from our general authorities. It just adds to my testimony of living prophets and apostles today. Some of my favorite talks were; the one about Exclamation Points! , Elder Hollands talk, Elder Bednars talk, Elder Ballards, Elder Oaks, Elder Dube, President Monsons, Elder Uchtdorfs and Elder Eyrings. That turned into a long list...They were all amazing. This conference seemed to go so fast for me. We look forward to it so much and then only a couple hours and its over again! Ha ha but yeah. I saw some people I knew there. I saw Wade, Bailey, and Keagan Smallwood! I saw some past missionaries from our mission including Sister Winn (our last mission presidents wife/mission mom.) I think I saw a few others too, but in the craziness I have forgotten a bit. But ya, this weekend was the best. I learned so much! I have so much to improve on and so much to do, but through the power of Christ’s atonement I can have strength and do all that He asks of me.
Well Im sorry that this email is a little boring…and incredibly scattered. No pictures either! I need to start taking some more. My bad…… hopefully this will brighten your day and please remember that I love you all and miss you all very much!!!
The church is true.
God lives and loves ALL of his children.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
Thomas S. Monson is the true, living prophet on the earth today to guide us and help us gain eternal life with our families.
Love you all again!!
Peak the Strategy
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Hey family! I am sorry that I haven't written in a while. We have been very busy. It is hard to gather all my thoughts and let you know what has been going on over the last 2 weeks, but I'll do my best.
Peak The Strategy
So on Monday the 2nd of September President Hansen called us at about 7:30pm and told us that he needed to talk to us in person and that he wanted us to come down to the mission home immediately. We were kinda freaking out. Ha ha, just thinking why he wanted to talk to us. We thought it was because a Sister missionary in our zone was going home or because some Elders in our district were doing something disobedient outside of the mission. We drove down to the mission home and President Hansen called me in to be interviewed. When we get in the office he just started asking about the zone and other things so I thought it was just about one of the things I said earlier, but then he just put it out there straight up, "Elder Hansen, I want to call you to be one of my assistants...." I was like.... "uhhhhhhh..." ha ha.
We talked a lot more and he told me about what the plan was, what was changing in the mission, transfers, and a lot of other things. Then he said, "so go home and pack your things because tomorrow you will be with Elder Logan and Elder Hansen (the current assistants)! So we went back to Farmington.... I packed all night and got ready.. Didn't really sleep. and at the mission leader council at 8:00am the next morning I was with Elder Logan and Hansen. So I got to be with both of them until transfers. I got to learn a ton from both of them, but I still wish I had more time to learn from them.
Then the next couple days after that we had mission meetings where we presented the new mission vision. It was awesome. I had to conduct one of the meetings. Its a different feeling to conduct a meeting in front of half the mission. Side note -> We have a mission tour in October and Elder Clarke of the Seventy will be there and President says that both myself and Elder Logan will most likely be conducting those meetings... no pressure... ha ha
Mostly we have been working on transfers. Our area is the YSA in the Pioneer Stake. But we used to cover the whole stake. It split 3 ways at transfers and so now we only cover 4 YSA wards. Its good though. A lot of work. A lot of people to teach! :) It is interesting working with people that are the same age as you. Teaching them is pretty awesome because you can explain things in depth pretty well, but still simple so that they can understand. So yeah. Its going to be great.
Then transfer week happened. Busiest week of my life. Well maybe. But yeah. Got everything done for transfers on Monday morning. We created 3 new zones in the mission. We had 35 new missionaries come in on Wednesday. We had 7 missionaries leave. We drove a big 12 passenger van all over the place. I drove it most of the time. It was huge and somewhat hard to maneuver, but its all good. So the week was just crazy. I couldn't even tell you everything that we did because I can't remember it all. I know we didn't sleep much, but thats okay. People keep saying "you can sleep when you are dead." I don't know how I feel about that. ha ha I think I agree though. We still take care of ourselves and sleep some, just not as much as other missionaries. So don't worry mom. ha ha
Anyways, there were a lot of errors in the transfer. Especially with housing and with cars. It was horrible. We just don't have enough cars! We have people with heart conditions and other major problems and surgery and all this stuff and there just aren't enough cars. We have had about 60-70 new missionaries come into the mission in the last 3 months and we have gotten 0 new cars! NONE! Its ridiculous. They promised that we would have 20 new cars about 6 weeks ago, but they still aren't ready. We think it is something to do with the General Authorities coming in for conference. Anyway, enough of my complaining.
We tried to fix all the problems and worked out some things.
Problems just seem to come up all the time. President Hansen went out to Wendover this weekend for a district conference. As soon as he left, problems with missionaries..... It was crazy. Its kind of scary because he is going to a mission presidents seminar from Thursday till Sunday this week and if we have the same thing happen as last time he left we will be having a pretty rough weekend.... ha ha hopefully all goes well.
We have been planning a lot of upcoming meetings. We just had a short meeting this morning for Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. We need to get them on board and pumped and motivated to baptize weekly and rescue (re-activate) weekly! So this meeting was devoted to just that. It was very powerful. President Hansen is amazing. So filled with the spirit. He committed us all to baptize and rescue weekly, and to go out and find another companionship to follow us and do the same. The time is now. Things are changing. The Lord truly is hastening his work. This meeting was held at the Marriott city center hotel in one of the big conference rooms there. There was a hot breakfast provided and out cars were even parked for us. Valet parking. It was way nice. It was good to emphasize the point of how important this all is and that these missionaries MUST be committed to their purpose and to accelerating this work in this mission now. It is the Lord's vision for the mission. Being so close to President I have already seen that he is always being led by the Lord and that every direction that he tells us to take is because the Lord wants us to go that way. Its awesome. What a great opportunity I have to learn from such amazing leaders right here in Salt Lake City. Im so grateful for it.
I love being a missionary. I love the Lord. I love His work.
I'll have to wrap this up now. By the way my companion is Elder Logan from Tampa, Florida. He is such a solid missionary. He always knows what to do and what to say. He has been an assistant for 4 and a half transfers. Longest assistant to the President in a long time. I am so happy for the opportunity to learn from him and try to do my best to lift, inspire, encourage, and bless these missionaries. They are all so good. I hope they will have the focus and blessing to see success in baptizing and rescuing weekly. That is what most of my prayers are for right now.
Also, I have been praying for you all especially you Mom and Dad and Natalie! Please make sure to let me know that everything is okay out there! All this flooding has been pretty scary to see. I hope you are all doing alright and that the people out there will be able to recover from this disaster.
Alright. That was the longest email I think I have ever written. Sorry my thoughts were all over the place. I love you all so much! I miss you!
The church is true.
God lives and He loves us.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Hey there. :) Sorry for not emailing this week on Monday. We have been incredibly busy and it just so happens that this is the first time I have a spare moment to email. A little unconventional. But I think you will see why. My new companion, while we were working on finishing up some loose ends, told me that I needed to email right now. So this is it. Try to find me on this attachment. It is a picture of the transfer board. Hopefully it will answer some questions.
P.S. I may not be emailing on Mondays every week now, but you should still get an email once a week.
Love you all!!
Peak The Strategy
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Alright. I have very little time to write today because it is Labor day and we couldn't email at the library so we have to email at a family history center that is only open for a couple more minutes....
Anyway, this week was pretty good. We struggled to find new people to teach, but we had a baptism. Charles Dohse was baptized and confirmed. He is 16 years old. A lot of real intent to know the truth. He is awesome. I'll try to send a picture of the baptism. So that was great.
The rest of the week was pretty normal. Just teaching, meetings, exchanges with a district leader. A lot of stuff crammed into one week. I feel like there is still never enough time to get everything done that we need to. But we are trying!
Sad part of the week. Another sister missionary in our zone is going home for medical reasons... :( Its pretty lame. I am really getting tired of seeing missionaries have to go home when they really don't want to! This is like the 3rd one this transfer. Its hard. I know the Lord will take care of them and that it is best for them to be at home getting better, but its just hard to see them go. I have come to feel love for everyone in the zone here just as I did in Tooele and Wyoming. And seeing them struggle and have to end up going home is one of the saddest experiences I have had as a missionary. But anyway.
I have no time left.
I love you all very much!
I miss you and hope that all is going well.
The church is true.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Well this week we had 3 baptisms and confirmations.
One was a family, The Orozco family. The Mom and Dad (David and Keli) got baptized. They are amazing! So strong in faith! They are going to get sealed in the temple and their children will learn and grow. Their son who is only 7 already wants to serve a mission! So cool. :)
The other baptism was Christopher Miles. He is also so strong in his faith. He knows and understands the gospel and already has a testimony. I actually had the opportunity to confirm him. It was one of the more powerful experiences on my mission. I could feel his family specifically his father who was killed right after he was born and how proud they are of him. Their family will be completed soon in the temple. I love this church and this gospel. It is so amazing. I will never leave it.
I wish I had more time to write and tell you about everything that is going on, but it just isn't possible. The work is moving forward. It is getting to the point where we never have enough time. Yesterday was one of the busiest days of my life. We never stopped. Spoke in a sacrament, had 3 confirmations at different times, taught a youth lesson, went to a couple other wards to bear our testimonies and to meet some nonmembers, had 3 correlation meetings with all 3 stakes that we cover, grabbed a super quick dinner, taught a couple lessons, set up another young man to be baptized this coming Thursday. It has just been crazy, and yet the best time of my life. I can't accurately express how much I love being a full-time missionary. A disciple of Christ. It is by far the best experience I could have asked for, and has helped me to grow in ways that I never could have expected. The church is true.
Alright. I will send some pictures. Love you all! Thanks for the emails! Wish I could have responded to all of them. Sorry...
Peak The Strategy
Monday, August 19, 2013
Hello! Well I am going to make this pretty short because I want to go play sports. I miss just playing for hours and hours. But we will do it today. We go to a place called the Sportsplex in Kaysville. It is free for missionaries and it is basically a whole gym place with an indoor field and a trampoline park and all sorts of stuff. Im excited.
Anyway, This week was great. Had a leadership training on Tuesday. Im seeing more and more what it takes to be a better leader. Im still not very good at it, but I am trying. I feel so blessed to get to try to help others especially missionaries in this work. It is awesome. So ya.
We taught a lot of lessons this week. It was great. We took a family down to temple square to have a lesson there with the sister missionaries. We had a short tour there and looked at the temple and explained to them what is done there and what blessings come from it. The spirit was strong, and they recognized it and now they have a firm goal to be sealed in the temple. They are preparing for baptism this coming Saturday the 24th. Also a young man named Christopher Miles is going to be baptized this Saturday! He is awesome. Very smart and understands what the spirit feels like. He is only 11 or 12 yrs old! Way cool. Their family is also looking to be sealed together in the spring of next year. I love how this work gets families pointed toward the temple. :)
Well, other than that we had a fire really close to us. Just on the mountain in Farmington! I'll attach some pictures. It was big. It took about a day to get it out. But no damage was done to any homes. Also this week one of the sister missionaries in our zone had to go home early for medical reasons. It was sad to see her go. She is a great missionary and very nice to everyone around, but it is better that she went home so that she could get better. She may try to come back out soon.
Side note, I got to listen to Trevor Luke's homecoming talk! It was very good. He is an awesome missionary! He has come out to teach with us before and he brings a great spirit with him. So ya. I also saw the Mannings there! And the Evans family! All families that have moved here from Colorado. They said hi to you all back home.
Then today we got to go to the temple. :) I always love those trips. Its so good to just be there and listen and feel so good.
Okay. Im going to keep it short. I love you all! Keep being awesome.
God lives and loves us.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
The church is true.
Peak the Strategy