Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24th, 2016: I'm Teaching an Apostle

 Now that you all are hooked and wanting to read my email I really am teaching an Apostle, but he may or may not be of a different religion. In the Protestant church they have Apostles and they are the equivalent of a Bishop in the LDS church. He is a Wohnpoaron in the Pros and we actually didn't know that until our 3rd lesson with him. He was really interested and asked lots of questions and really liked what we teach. He is one of the nicest people here and every time we go he gives us sugar cane, which is delicious or ohch which is bananas. It's so amazing to see how people are prepared by God. I can see that he is a spiritual man and that his relationship with God is strong and true. As we have been teaching him he says that although he never knew about some of the stuff we teach it all feels right. He and his wife are one of the coolest and strongest couples that I've seen. They always build off of each other and they truly love each other. The other day we asked him to be baptized, and after thinking for a couple minutes of spiritual silence, he turned to his wife. I can only imagine the thoughts that were going through their minds as they tried to see if the other person felt the way the other felt. At the time the wife hadn't received a testimony of what we taught and still treated us a little like the "enemy". Every time we go to teach them I can see her mortal person will start to give way to the spirit of truth that is exploding inside her. When Rodger looked back at us he said, "Right now I can't give you a for sure answer, there are lots of things that I have to do to make sure that this is right and what God wants me to do." Even though it wasn't a yes it felt like was. If you think about the situation and our relationship it really is amazing. Two 18-20 year old kids go to this 65+ year old that's the equivalent of a Bishop of another religion, saying that there’s more to what you believe and what you know,  here let us teach you. His whole life revolves around his calling in the Protestant church and to even think about baptism is life changing for him. I can tell that he has felt the spirit and continues to feel it as we go and teach him. I know that there are lots of things that have to happen before he gets baptized but I know without a doubt that eventually he will be baptized. He truly is a servant of God and did what he thought was best, now that he has felt that this is what God wants him to do, I know he will follow. It is amazing to think that the spirit works on everyone, even celebrities, presidents, kings, everyone! All it takes is to feel the spirit at the right time and to be humble enough to change. I will always remember the Tom family and for their love and acceptance, even though I was not in the area when they were baptized I know that they will be happy and I will be happy for them. Baptism is the first fruit of repentance and it truly is a fruit. It leaves us clean and pure and on top of that it gives us the opportunity to have with us the gift of the Holy Ghost when we live worthy of it. What a great gift that is that I think I took for granted for so long. I know that for at least myself, the sacrament has taken on a whole new meaning. I see it clearer now and see it as the miracle and the promise that we renew each week. It truly is amazing and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have to renew my covenants each week. I hope you all will do the same.  
-Elder Hanson

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17th, 2016: A Positive Attitude Brings Positive Blessings!

This week was a rough week for us. Monday and Tuesday we had an exchange with the District leader and an Elder from my intake (the group I came to Micronesia with). They haven't been getting along the best so we tried helping them through their disagreements. Then on Wednesday Elder Hurst and I were really sick which really sucks. On a mission you really don't have anything to entertain you while you are sick. You just try to sleep the most you can and eat and drink. There is no Netflix on a mission and no TV for you to watch and entertain you. Because we were both really sick we just decided to stay in on Wednesday. We tried going out but quickly came back in. On Thursday we were still recovering but had a solid day. Things had been dragging us down lately and on Friday and Saturday we had a really rough day. Saturday finished off awesome because I got to see two of my investigators from Mesihsou get baptized, Melsor and Senna got baptized and I got to see both of them because I was giving a talk about the Holy Ghost after. It was really, really cool to see them glowing after and so happy. I asked Senna what she felt like after her baptism and she said four words that hit me like a ton of bricks. She said "I feel like Heaven" She speaks kinda broken English so when she said that it was amazing. She pointed up and said I feel like God knows me and is happy with me. It was seriously one of the coolest things ever. Sunday morning we were back to being sad which I really didn't like. I decided that we were going to have faith that God would work miracles in our lives and in our area and that I was going to do everything I could and have a positive attitude. By the end of the night we had 5 people on baptismal date.  One of them asked us straight up to be baptized. It was a huge testimony builder that when we push forward with a positive attitude and faith, God WILL bless us. I am so grateful that Kitti is on fire right now. When we came here it was really dead and nothing was happening. Within 3 weeks we have gotten over 26 investigators and now have 5 solid baptisms that will happen around the end of the transfer. I am so grateful for all the blessing that God blesses us with as we work hard. I know that God will only bless us if we work hard. We have definitely been working hard lately and have seen the blessings. This Church is so true. It's not just the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints but it's the way back to God. The way that God has organized for us to return. He has given us His authority to work with His power on Earth so that we can have His blessings in Heaven. When you think of how hard this world is and then think of what we get in return, we get way more than what we worked for. Eternity is not something that starts after we die. Now is part of Eternity. Our Eternal Life started when we chose to come to Earth and chose Christ. Every single one of us will inherit Eternal Life because of that very important decision. I know that we all made the right choice, and because of it God will bless us infinitely. God is our Father. Not just some imaginary person that we talk about. He is someone that we can talk to, and He talks back. He talks through our feelings and through miracles in our lives. It's only when our eyes are open to the miracles that He works that our prayers are answered. In the couple of months that I've been here I have seen more miracles than I have in my whole life. Now they just seem like common place. I have really had my eyes opened to how often God works miracles in our lives. I can't believe I had been so blind in the past. Even just looking back at my life knowing God was always working miracles in my life. In fact I'm still alive because of one. I know God lives and that the Priesthood is truly the authority to work in the
name of God. That is something I know I took for granted before and I think a lot of people do. It is not just something to take for granted and throw it around. It is the power of God on Earth. I know because I've seen it and I've used it. God works miracles when we have Faith that they will happen. I know miracles happen, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Skyping for Christmas!

January 10th. 2016: Language Mastery

Language master!

Don't let the title fool you because I am in no respect a master of the beautiful language of Pohnpeian. I did however finally pass off all of the things to get my language mastery. I was really frustrated that I didn't get it by Christmas but I got it faster than most.

  This week was crazy and we had a lot of crazy cool spiritual lessons and experiences. The first spiritual lesson was with one of our investigators named Rosanne. Her daughter Roxanne is a member and she is really interested in the church and likes what we teach. We tried putting her on baptismal date the last lesson but she said she would have to think about it and pray. This lesson we did something we weren't planning on doing but it was totally spirit driven. We decided to just do a akis en kepese which means just getting to know them. Elder Hurst started and did an intro and a little story about why he went on a mission. Then I did the same and told about how when I was 3, I fell out the window and my dad gave me a blessing and I was healed. I know you've all probably heard that story at one point or another so I will move on. After I finished Rosanne talked about how her son had to go and have surgery and had to go all the way to the Philippines to get it. Then she mentioned how she could only see her son for 3 minutes before and after the surgery. She talked about how it was the most heart-breaking thing for her and how she wishes she could've spent more time. I related how that’s the same with God. How our prayers are usually only a couple of minutes and then we say Amen and we are done. I talked about how God is, He wants to talk to us and help us and make sure we are OK all the time and sometimes we don't give him the time that we need and the time He wants. Then we did an analogy that I really like which was that baptism is like a surgery, like the one her son had. Where her son even though he didn't know that he needed the surgery, the doctor knew and if the doctor did the surgery the child would be helped immensely and he would save his life. We talked about how God is the surgeon in our lives. That how, through His tool, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can work a miracle in our lives and take away all the bad in our lives and leave us with only the good. Then on top of that He gives us help or medicine like the Holy Ghost. That if we live worthy or take the medicine it will help us in our lives. The whole lesson was super spiritual and we could all really feel the spirit. After the lesson Elder Hurst talked about how that was one of the most spiritual lessons he's had on his mission and it was literally a perfect lesson, not because we did what preach my gospel says or what any book says but we followed the spirit and really listened to our investigator. 

Another one really led to my life being saved. All day we had been receiving a certain referral and we just kept saying we will see him after our appointments that day. We were walking back from one referral to our car to go to another appointment when we got a text from one of the sisters in our zone. She asked if we would go see that very same referral because she felt like we needed to go see him. We decided to pray to see if we needed to go to the referral or go to our appointment. We got the impression that we needed to go to the referral which was up the hill from our house. So instead of driving down the hill to our next appointment we walked up the hill to the referral. About half way up the hill we heard a huge crash which scared us but we kept walking. Right after that a guy called us over and we started talking to him. It turns out that he used to get taught by missionaries and that he knew what they taught was true. Now that the missionaries had left he really wants to feel good again and feel like he felt then. He also told us that the referral we wanted to go see wasn't home so we walked back down to our house. On our
way out to our appointment we had to help move a huge tree that had fallen on the road. That loud crash from earlier was a huge tree falling. We didn't think much of it besides just a huge tree fell. Then as we were driving all the dots connected and we realized that if we had gone to our appointment we would have been right under that tree when it fell and we could've been dead right now. As soon as we realized what God had done for us we pulled over and thanked Him as much as we could. 
It was really a huge testimony builder to see how God had been preparing us all day to listen to the Spirit and how He was preparing to work a miracle in our lives. 
I'm so very grateful for the gift of the Spirit and what an indispensable gift it is. Without it, missionary work would simply cease to work, and mankind would be lost in this dark world. I would urge you all to kneel down and thank God for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, something I have taken for granted and I think we all have at some point. It truly is our Heavenly Father looking out for us during our time here on Earth. I know that God lives and helps us every day. I've really noticed the little miracles that happen every day in our lives and I know that I am on the right side. I love you all and hope all is well and that the Spirit will guide you through hard times. I love you so much but it's only a fraction of how much God loves you all. I know He lives and loves us. In the name of our Brother, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

-Elder Hanson

January 3rd, 2016: New House, New Companion, New Area

Everything was super new and super cool. My new companion is awesome! His name is Elder Hurst and he is from Layton, Utah and we are actually really similar. We have similar personalities and we really do get along very well. Right now just because we have only been together for a week we are still working out getting our lessons down and really smooth but we have done really solid work and we've had a couple really good lessons already.

So when I came in he had only been in Kitti (Kichi) for 2 weeks before me. So really we've been learning about the area together and we've been finding a lot of good investigators. The missionaries, I won't say who, didn't really work the area to its potential and when we came in they had 4 investigators and 2 referrals. So I left an area that was doing really good and had 5 people on date for baptism the next week to "white-wash" an area. It was hard to leave all of the people that I got to know and love but I can already tell that this new area has so much potential and I know we are going to do great work here. I have a feeling that within 2 weeks we will have quite a few people that will be working towards baptism. I am so excited for this new area. I know it has a lot of potential.

So my new house is actually a lot better than our old house. It is still the 2nd worst on the island but I like it more. It has actual concrete walls and has A/C in the bedroom which we take full advantage of. It also has windows which really are fantastic and keep everything in and noise out. Our last house had plywood and 2x4 for the walls so concrete is a big upgrade. The only thing that is bad about this house is the water. The water pressure is really sketchy and we have to walk down our hill to have someone turn it on for us. Besides that though I love my new house and love the area. The Kitti accent has been interesting to adjust to but for the most part I have gotten used to it. I have really gotten to know most of the members already because there are only 50 people in our branch. I love all the people that I've met so far.

My companion and I really do get along really well. The only thing that has even been a challenge for us is our lessons aren't as smooth as we want them. That's to be expected with missionaries that have never taught together but we have learned fast. He trained 2 Elders before I became his companion and both of them were really, really quiet so he pretty much taught most of the lesson because his companions were so quiet and didn't know the language very well. I have 1 more thing on my mastery and it has been plaguing me for the past couple weeks. I have to memorize all of the "How to begin teaching" bullet points in Pohnpeian and it is really complicated and hard to memorize. But I know that I will get it this week. It's really cool to get to know the locals and be able to talk to them in their own language. Instead of having someone translate for me now I am the translator for some people which is really cool. I have really learned that the more work you put into an area the more success you will have. I really have come to love missionary work and it seems like time is flying by way to fast. It's crazy to think that I will be on Pohnpei for 3 months soon when it seems like I've been here for a week. I have learned so much in such a small amount of time. I love the people here and I love the missionaries here. Elder Hurst and I had a really deep doctrine talk the other night and it was really, really cool to have a super deep talk with someone about super deep things. I love talks like that. I really have come to understand so much on my mission and not just understand things on a mental level but more importantly on a spiritual level. I feel Gods love and I know that His hand is directly involved in this work every day. I'm so glad for all the experiences that I will have on my mission. I hope all is well in snowy Utah! God be with you 'til we meet again.
-Elder Hanson

December 27th, 2015: First Transfer

So this Transfer everyone knew it would be a big transfer or a little transfer. It ended up being a little transfer and only one exchange happened, and of course that one exchange involved me. I am now leaving my birth place of Mesihsou and am now going to Kitti which is on the other side of the island and pretty much exactly opposite. It was really hard to see I would be leaving because I was really starting to love my area and love the people there. I really created a lot of good bonds there and especially the last week I made a lot of good friends and had a lot of good lessons. It was hard but I am excited for my new area. It will definitely be a new challenge and new experience to go to a new area when I actually know the language. I am excited though. My new companion is Elder Hurst, he's from Utah and he actually used to be our district leader before he got emergency transferred. We got along really well before he left so it will be a good change. It will be weird to see my old companion on p-day though because we won't be together. Also I am so excited to see and meet all of the cool people in Kitti. Apparently their house is a little better than ours, which is the worst house on the island, so we are moving up in the world, slowly but surely! Anyways I'm excited and nervous to see all the new people that will become my friends. Now that my 12 week training is over I can now read other things besides the scriptures and preach my gospel chapter 3. This morning I started to read "Our Search for Happiness" which is a really good book. I really enjoyed reading it and I want all of you to read it. It is pretty much Meet the Mormons but in a book. As I have gotten into the habit of studying every day I have really come to love studying and learning every day. We really do need to prepare ourselves for those rainy days where everything is against us. There is a quote that I heard this week and it's "It's better to prepare and prevent, than to repair and repent!" I really liked it and it really does help us as church member remember why we need to study, why we need to pray every night and to exercise our spirit. One of the things we do with our investigators a lot is do CPR. Like CPR for your body, which keeps your body alive and enduring to the end. But CPR for your Spirit. The acronyms are Church, Pray, and Read. It really helps our investigators to understand and be able to realize how important it is to go to church, pray, and read. I cannot stress how important it is to always pray. At least to pray every night. God is our Heavenly Father and just like our fathers on Earth they want to hear from us. Our Father in Heaven is far from us and He really likes to hear from us. It is cool to see people that haven't prayed in a very long time and then we came along they prayed for the first time in years. They tell us how they started crying and they felt like God was giving them a big Spiritual Hug! I know that when we feel the Holy Ghost it really is like God giving us a big spiritual hug. I know that God loves us and wants to help us. We just have to ask. 

-Elder Hanson

***We were able to Skype with Travis on Christmas Eve! It was SO good to see and hear him again. He's doing good and making us all jealous with his warm weather :) Although when he started telling us about how he splits a five gallon bucket of water with his companion for a shower and just has to scoop the water out with a big cup, we realized how grateful we should be and how much we have that sometimes we take for granted. He also told us about Joseph Smith's First Vision in the language of Pohnpeian. I'll upload the video to his blog soon so everyone can see :) We hope you all had a great Christmas!
Love, The Hanson Family.

December 20th, 2015: Merry Christmas Everyone!

 Merry Christmas everyone!!! So I just realized that I get to open presents 18 hours ahead of everyone!!! ;) It's so weird to think just how far away from home I am. The world really is so small when you think about it. I'm almost on the exact other side of the world and you would never know. It's amazing all of the miracles that we take for granted. Miracles like storing images and sending words and sounds through metal and plastic flash drives. Not only sending through that but sending through the air through the internet. It's amazing how many miracles and how many amazing things that we have at our fingertips at all times. Being on an Island were the people here have little to nothing it really does make you appreciate things, especially miracles. The biggest miracle of all is the Atonement of our Brother Jesus Christ. People had been waiting for His birth for thousands of years. Finally one beautiful night the Savior of each and every one of us was born. He was born in the most humble of circumstances. He came into the world, not as the King that He was but as a Servant for our Father. Before I came on my mission I didn't really comprehend, something I'm still working on, how amazing Jesus Christ was. In the Great Council in Heaven He was the one that came forth and said, I will perform the sacrifice for all sin. I will be the one to go through the most painful, most excruciating experience ever. Not for My glory and not so that I can become a God but so that my Brothers and Sisters can become gods. I can only imagine how happy our Heavenly Father was when one of us stepped forward to save the rest of us. There is a reason why people looked forward to the birth of Christ so much. There's a reason why prophets prophesied from the beginning about Christ. Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the center of our plan here on Earth. When Jesus was born, in a little hut, on the outskirts of town, He started the most important work ever. He started the Atonement. I never really thought about this but the Atonement started much earlier than the Garden of Gethsemane. It started at His birth. Jesus had to be perfect or else the Atonement would not be complete. The Atonement started with the Birth of Christ. For thousands of years people had been looking forward to this day. They had been looking forward for the time when they could be forgiven. This Christmas I would love everyone to ask for forgiveness. If there is anyone that you feel like you have wronged or even people that you feel like you don't have the best relationship with. I would love, and I know our Father in Heaven would love for you to sit down and talk to them, call them on the phone, or write a letter. Tell them you're sorry, tell them that you want to start over again and build a better relationship. Then act upon what you say. The Christmas season is one of giving. THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE IS LOVE! I know it sound cliché but it is true. Even if you don't have much money or if you don't know what to give someone, give them your time. Give them something that you can't feel or touch, but something that will last forever. A memory with you that will last for eternities. I know that when people give of themselves they are truly in the service of God. I love you all and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the people on Pohnpei. There is no place I would rather be than in the service of my Father in Heaven. I hope you all realize the gift that our Father in Heaven gave us. The gift of His Only Begotten Son, the one person who could lead us back to Heaven. A gift that is the center of everything. I love my Savior with all my heart. I love my Father in Heaven for His sacrifice of sending His Son. I am so thankful for the love that they give to us every day. I love you all and I know that we have so many people not only our Father and Jesus in Heaven that are cheering us on. I know that if we pray sincerely we will feel their love. I love you, and I know God loves you. I say
these things in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, the person for which we celebrate, rejoice, and share our love, Amen.