He's back!!!

He's back!!!
HE'S BACK!!!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Elder Bednar!

Dear Family,

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.


-Elder Hansen

Peak The Strategy

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Dear Family,
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!!

-Elder Hansen

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


Hello Family!
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!
-Elder Hansen

Peak The Strategy