Monday, March 28, 2016

March 27th, 2016: Goodly Parents, Friends and People

No sadly this week we didn't have a baptism but we now have 5 people on date that are actually working towards it. Johnny is our closest investigator and he never ceases to amaze me. The last couple Sundays he has been helping his neighbors out with a fundraising barbecue, not for any special reason, just so they can have more money. It has been something I was going to talk about in the next lesson or two but when we went to teach him the other day he told us that he realized that Sunday is the Lords day and that he needs to rest and remember all that Jesus did for us and "give the day to God". It seriously made me so happy when he said that because he truly is feeling the Spirit to the point where we don't really have to do anything, we really are his guides. Also this week we met with an investigator in Paleng area, who was preparing for baptism before the sisters moved out and is so ready. We had one lesson with her and realized that she really could get baptized this week. We just have to get permission from her mother which is the hard part of a lot of investigators. I am so grateful for all the things that are happening in this area. It truly is a manifestation of exact obedience. Even today on our way to town to email, we saw a tree that fell in the road that we had to drive around. Instead of just driving past we pulled over and moved it out of the way. Then five minutes later a car was broken down in the middle of the road. We pulled over to help them as well and helped them change a tire and push their car to the side of the road. As we were helping them the people were whispering how we were really nice and how "I haven't seen missionaries like this before". It was really cool to hear that and it was a tender mercy. I also thought of how missionaries do things like that all the time, but maybe people were "blind" and couldn't see the good, or didn't want to see the good. It was another testament that the Spirit takes the truth "unto" the hearts of men, not "into". That has always been a hard thing for me, to know what will help these people in their lives, us willing to and ready to give it, but them rejecting it. I know that one day, everyone will know, and will not be able to deny that Jesus is the Christ. That God the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove and that through him THEY restored the Fullness of the Gospel. I'm so grateful that I was born in the truth and that I didn't have to go looking for answers. I hope that we all realize the blessings of the Lord, even simple ones like "being born of goodly parents". I'm so very grateful for my Earthly and Heavenly Parents. I'm eager for the day when all we be revealed, the veil will be lifted and all will be clear. Then Faith becomes Fact, Barriers of belief become windows of wonder, the fog of the world becomes clear as day. Until that day, we must "press on in the work of the Lord". Of that I fully intend to do till the day I die. I hope you all will choose now, what you want from this life, if nice cars and big houses are necessary, or a family that will make it through the great and last day, TOGETHER. I'm glad I was born of "goodly parents" and of goodly friends. I hope that I have been a goodly friend and son to all of you. I know I am not perfect, but I can be perfect at trying. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

March 21st, 2016: Leaving Room for Blessings

The last couple weeks I have really been praying and asking God to bless us with people that would be ready to hear our message and to bless us with people that would progress. After three weeks of nothing it finally hit me why my prayers weren't being answered. It was because I wasn't leaving room for the new investigators. We had a big pool of investigators which I thought was a good thing but it really hit me on Tuesday that a lot of them had never really progressed. After realizing that, we talked about all of our investigators and decided which ones were actually willing to act. After parting ways with a couple investigators our prayers were immediately answered. We found three new investigators and put all three of them on Baptismal date on the first lesson. One of them was on Baptismal date before but she didn't feel ready to be baptized. I shared with her Alma 32:21 and 26, which coincidently is the same scripture my mom sent me. After helping her realize that faith is what we do when we know what's right and do our best to follow it she accepted to be baptized.

This week we also had Stake Conference. It was a big operation to get like 600+people from all over the island to one chapel and to do it before ten. Elder Woodland and I were working hard in the morning to help our investigators get ready to be picked up by the buses and trucks. After trying to get all of our investigators up and ready we had seen almost all of them and none were going. We were disappointed and drove to the other side of the island for Stake Conference. When we got there we were kind of bummed because all the work we had done that week was for what we thought was nothing. Until we walked in and saw that 3 of our investigators that we never thought would join, came. We talked to them and thanked them for coming. Two teenage boys, Radan and Balomo woke each other up and walked to a member’s house because they felt like they needed to go. Another teenage girl was invited by one of her friends to join and she came and had a blast. In the end I learned two lessons, one that we need to work hard for blessings we want to receive, and two, those blessings might come in a different form than you expect. I love this Gospel so much, I love my Heavenly Father. He truly is the Master of the Universe and He knows all things. I'm grateful for my family who is so supportive of me and the work I'm doing. I think of missionaries that do not have support from home and don't email their parents every week. I am so very grateful for all the blessings God blesses me with. Above all I have realized that like my mission president says, I am not the giver on my mission. I might think that I give my time and talents to God, but who is the One that gave them to me in the first place? I am the receiver on my mission. It's as simple as that, everything that my work has accomplished has been given to me by my Heavenly Father. I love Him and I love each and every one of you. I hope you all pray always, and let Him know how you feel. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
-Elder Hanson

March 14th, 2016: Boldness Brings Blessings (And a Birthday! ;))

This week was a great week, nothing really extra special just a solid week with a lot of investigators keeping their commitments and progressing. One thing that stood out though was when we were having a lesson with one of our investigators. About halfway through teaching about the restoration he put his hand up and stopped me from talking, he then proceeded to tell me how bad I was at Pohnpeian and how that I didn't know what Faith was and that maybe next time when we came back he would teach us about Faith, then he started saying how we were "Pweipwei men wi" which is "stupid white people" and continued to insult us. I patiently waited for him to stop. After he finished his rant, I bore one of the most powerful and from the heart testimonies I have in my life. I told him how "I might not know Pohnpeian the best, I might not be the best teacher or the smartest person. But one word I do know is Pohnpeian is "invite" I can say invite and that's all I need to know. Our job as missionaries is to invite in the four corners of the Earth. To invited people to come unto Christ, to use the Atonement and reap the rewards of Baptism. Maybe right now you might not understand why this church is the church of Jesus Christ on the Earth today. But that's our job to help you understand to help you learn for yourself the things we teach. Our job is not to persuade or to trick people into joining so I will speak in the most basic Pohnpeian I know, THIS CHURCH IS TRUE." After bearing that and a few other things, he was speechless for a long time. Then after a couple minutes of silence he responded and said something along the lines of forgive me, now I can see why your church is true. He asked us that instead of him teaching us about faith maybe when we came back we could teach him how we got faith like we do. It was such a turn of events and it all started by bearing my meager testimony. I know my testimony is far from complete, but the things that compose it are as solid and steadfast as can be. I want to further my testimony to you all and tell you that no matter how simple and small your testimony is, all that matters is that you share it. When you truly share it from the bottom of your soul that is when the Spirit touches the hearts of others. I have neglected sharing and strengthening my testimony for the past 18 years, I guess now is my time to catch up, to make all the progress I should have been making. I invite you all, there’s that word again, I invite you all to start today, take your testimony to the spiritual gym, the scriptures the temple, and to prayer. Strengthen your testimony for the days when you might need to move spiritual boulders that are in your way. I promise you that as you do, God will give you nourishment and help you progress. I love you all more than I can express in words and I know God loves you more than we can comprehend. I invite you to feel His love and pray. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
-Elder Hanson

Hey everyone Elder Hanson's Birthday is coming up on April 21.  Travis will be 19!
If any of you would like to send him a Birthday Card or anything
it usually takes 3 weeks to get to him.
His island is a U.S. Territory so regular U.S. Postage is all that is required.

I am sure that he would really appreciate it :) 

Elder Travis Hanson
P.O. Box #2203
Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941
Federated States of Micronesia

March 6th, 2016: Floodgates of Baptism!

Sorry everyone for not writing last week I ended up writing a long email to my President and then I had a lot of emails to respond to. The past two weeks have been great. Last week we worked really, really hard and finally hit our member present goal of lessons. It was good to see that all of our work was finally paying off until we saw how many investigators came to church and people on baptismal date. Both 0’s. We had worked really hard, invited, offered to walk with them, and do all these things to help our investigators progress but nothing went right. Our mission president has been talking about how our mission will "Plead with the Lord, that as we are exactly obedient and work hard, the Lord will open the floodgates of baptism." This week I applied that. Instead of just working as hard as I could, I asked for help from the Lord. This week was completely different. We had 4 investigators at church, and a whopping 11 less actives that came. Also after a hard week of work and pleading and praying we got 3 people on date for baptism that are solid. This area was a hard area and still is, but with the Lord, weak things become strong and God works through weak things. I am weak, I know that, I can work as hard as I want and I will never be able to get a true baptism by myself. We all need the Lord in our lives. Maybe we might not be bringing the Gospel to people on missions and trying to save souls, maybe we are trying to save our own. I know that there are times when we feel like we've worked so hard and have put every last drop of effort into enduring. I promise you that as you turn your will over to the Lord, as you meekly ask for His help, He will be the tipping point and will make your uphill battles become light and easy. "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Are we trudging along the road of life using only one side of the yoke, or are we letting the Savior help us along. A yoke is meant for two people to work side by side to make the burden light. Jesus Christ, our brother, savior and redeemer is there by our side. I promise you all that as you let the Atonement into your life, as you turn your efforts over to the Lord, HE WILL HELP YOU! I love you all and though I may be thousands of miles away, God is a simple prayer away. He is always ready to help. I love you all.
-Elder Hanson

February 21st, 2016: I Almost Died Again!

I was debating if I wanted to tell people because I'm pretty sure my Mom has a mini heart attack every time but I feel like it was a cool story and we learned a lot from it. Also I don't know how many missionaries can say that before they hit their 6 month mark they almost died twice ;) Anyway we drove up this really steep hill to go to one of our investigators houses. It has a really pretty view that is way up high over the ocean and there is an island that you can see as well. After finding out that our investigator wasn't there we were backing up to go see another investigator. The road is on the side of a steep mountain and as we were doing our 20 point turn to turn around we went a little bit too far over and the front tires got stuck. It was neither one of ours fault but just something that happened. As we tried backing up we realized that we were high centered and that's why our tires couldn't get any traction. We got out and asked a local for a shovel and started digging. After trying and failing to get it by ourselves we started asking people for help. We had about 7 people there all helping us dig out under the car and help push the car up so it didn't go sliding down the 80ish foot hill. On top of being stuck it started to pour rain while we were trying to work which made us work faster so we didn't become part of a mud slide. After working for about an hour we realized we needed more people. After getting our old branch president and his family and another car of random people coming to help us we finally were able to get out. As we were driving away I was talking to our member present (church member that sits in on discussions) and I said, "What just happened back there is alot like missionary work, you can try and try and try to help people become baptized and escape the slippery slope of life, but you can't do it alone. You need the help of members to lift them up and support them."

Even though it was a scary situation the whole time I never felt scared. I thought that night and thought of why I didn't see how I could have died and why I didn't realize the danger. Then I remembered back to the blessing I was given as I was set apart that promised me that as I worked hard that the elements wouldn't hurt me and that I would return to my family safe. Priesthood blessings have taken on a whole new meaning as I have come to realize the power that priesthood has. But just like with missionary work you need more than just one person. My whole mission thus far has been one miracle after another. I don't know why things happen the way they do or why crazy things happen on Pohnpei, all I know is that God protects his servants.

You all might not be wearing the name badge and be on some remote island but your attitude is your name tag. So many people look at us because we are missionaries and we stand out with our white shirt and ties and slacks on an island where clothes are sometimes a commodity. Though we stand out sometimes it’s the people that are the silent example that help the most. One of our investigators actually ASKED us to be baptized. We asked him why he wanted to be baptized so much and he said because he sees others who are baptized and changed and he wants to be like that. Like I said earlier, your attitude is your name tag. I know that missionaries need the help of members. WE CAN NOT DO THIS WORK ALONE. I have seen the lives of my family and friends receive so many blessings as they help with the progression of this church. I would challenge you all to join the missionaries sometime this week. Ask them when they have an appointment and ask to join. Or at the very least ask them to do a FHE or ask them over for dinner. Missionaries can't do this work alone. We need your help!

-Elder Hanson