Sunday, February 14, 2016

February 14th, 2016: Training Elder Woodland

So I finally got to meet my trainee! His name is Elder Woodland from Spring Creek, Nevada. He's 19 and played soccer just like me. At President Zarbock’s house when we were waiting to see who our trainees, one by one every person got called until I was the last trainer standing down stairs. So when this 6'-3" big old kid stood up I thought, "Well crap”, Elder Woodland is a super cool guy, we both play soccer and have similar interests. It's amazing to see how in just 4 months on Pohnpei how my language has progressed. Also another thing I just realized is that after this transfer I will be at my 6 month mark. It's crazy to see how much I have changed and matured in such a short amount of time. Seeing Elder Woodland come into the mission and him being a fresh missionary it makes me wonder how much of a "greeny" I was when I came in. I have learned not just the language or how to teach about the Gospel but I have learned basic life skills. I can now start a conversation with anyone and talk about anything. I can register a car, get my driver’s license, buy groceries, negotiate rent, and so many things that I thought would come after I'm married or at least college. All these things and I'm doing them in a different language and on the other side of the world. It's crazy to think just how far away I am from home yet sometimes I feel so close. I can't wait to see you all after two years and see the before and after of all the changes that have happened. It’s weird to train Elder Woodland who doesn't know any language, and just barely learned the pamphlets and the lessons. It has really given me an idea of what parenthood will be like. Having someone come into the world who knows very little about the world they just came into, teaching them how to talk and behave and then teach them to be fearless and go out on their own. It really is like parenthood accelerated by 50x. Granted there is a vast gap between training a 19 year old man and a new born baby but it is giving me a taste of parenthood. It is crazy how fast my mission is going and how fast I am already training. At this point I could train 2 or even 3 missionaries by the time I finish. Whatever happens one thing that my testimony has grown the most in is that there is power in prayer. The more I pray the better the day. When prayer is my first answer to every question it really does make everything fall into place. I know it might seem like common sense but saying it and actually doing it are two different things. Just the other day we did the math of how many prayers we say in an average day and we realized that we say between 25-30 prayers every day. Times that by 730 which is 2 years and you have upwards of 18,250 prayers that I will say on my mission. I never realized what a gift prayer really is and how much it truly does help. I know that sometimes we take prayer as something we do just to say we did it and to check it off our list of things to do. I know that when we honestly pray to our Heavenly Father every morning and every night it won't seem like He's all the way in Heaven, but that He is right there beside us putting His arm around us. I know that God loves us and as we see the world through our Spiritual Eyes and not through our corrupt Earthly, Human eyes, we will start to see the beauty and the gifts we have that we all too often overlook. I love you all and I can't wait to return with honor and say that I did my best. But enough talk, I've got to get to work!  See ya in two! 
-Elder Hanson

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 7th, 2016: Training in Guam

So it's official, I'm training! Right now I'm in Guam getting trained on how to train. My new companion will be here on Wednesday. We will go back to Pohnpei on Friday and we will start working hard in Kitti! As of right now I don't know what his name is but I will find here soon. I'm super busy running around Guam doing all these things. Last night we got to Guam at about 4 in the morning, slept until 6:30, a whole 2 hours, and then work up and started working. At the Assistants house there are about 40 Elders sleeping in one house and it is packed. Now there are tons of people emailing and super loud so I will be fast this week but I'll write a lot next week. Thank you all so much for everything that you have done. I'm so grateful for all the prayers that you all do every day for me. Know that I am praying for all of you every morning and every night. I know as I now train that I will need to pray more than ever.  I love you all and I will give you all a better update and better email next week. Know that I love you all! 
-Elder Hanson

January 31, 2016: Settling In

Last week after E-mail my companion and I and a couple other companionships went down to this really, really expensive and really nice part of Kolonia down by the docks. We asked the owner of a nice bar/restaurant if we could go and sit and eat our cheap local food that we had. They said we could and that we could come back every week- so we will. It is seriously one of the coolest places I've been to because there are like 10 ships wrecks and the water is just calm and wavy. There are sharks and fish everywhere and it is awesome. After going there is really made me realize how much Pohnpei has become my Home and that now it doesn't seem like I'm on some crazy island in the middle of the Ocean but it just feels like home. Seeing such an awesome place like that really helped me realize how lucky I am. I was thinking of home and things that I remember and it hit me that now Pohnpei seems like home. Utah seems like some far away distant place and it's weird to see how fast you can adapt and fall in love with a place. All of the green that is everywhere I really have appreciated it all and how green it really was. All of the little cool huts and all the cool people really helped me realize how amazing Pohnpei really is. I don't have much time this week but I've been trying to give a challenge each week and I would like you all to take ten minutes from the hectic and busy American day and just take a walk around your house or look at the little things, the things that you would miss if they were gone. Look at the carpet in your house and imagine if it was dirt, look at your flat screen and imagine that it's your laundry hanging on a clothes line. Look at your concrete side walks and think of a dirt trail. All of these things and many more I took so much for granted and never gave them a second thought. Now that I don't have any of them I have really come to realize how great all the luxurious things we have that to us are just common place to most people. I love you all and the people are what I have come to appreciate the most. My parents, my family, and my friends are really who I am come t appreciate the most. To all the people I have every laughed with or met I love you! I miss you and I know that even though I love you all there is something that I want to do more and that is my mission. I love you all and can't wait to see you all in two years!
Elder Hanson