Thursday, August 18, 2016

Island Delicacies- Octopus

August 14th, 2016: Zion's Camp

We are still on Guam!!! We have been on Guam since the 2nd (I took a 3 ½ hour flight from my island Pohnpei to Guam for training and to pick up my new companion, this is the second time that I have flown to Guam for training and to pick up a new companion) and we won't be leaving till the 19th which is Friday here (return flights were all booked up). It's crazy how fast time has flown by and it's because we have been working hard. This week we left the Talefofo area and are now with Elder Terri and Elder Jensen in Senajana. Working on Guam has actually been really good. We are just walking and knocking on doors (there aren’t many doors in Pohnpei) and talking to people and asking for referrals, we have had around 35 lessons, put 7 people on baptismal date and have met so many cool people. I have really seen our work here paying off. Usually when people come to Guam they think of it as a bad island for missionary work because some people are rude but it's exactly the opposite. Yes there are rude people here but there are so many nice and prepared people. I think the biggest thing that has helped me while here is my perspective on things. I told myself that because I was going to be staying on Guam for a longer time than usual I would work as hard as I can and help these Elders out as much as I can. I learned a lot here and that's why I titled this email "Zions Camp". Though I probably won't see any of these people actually enter the waters of baptism I wouldn't trade the weeks I've been here for anything. I have learned alot and I've changed my view on missionary work a lot.  
Far too often we think that because missionary work is the work of God that we will just have it easy, that all we have to do is just knock on a house and three weeks later they get baptized. I feel like we miss the fact that because baptism is such a great blessing and such an amazing experience that we must also struggle, work, and stumble along the way. Just as the Savior suffered so immensely for us so is the glory so immense. The bigger the trial the greater the victory. I more fully realize that missionary work IS work. For the first little while I kind of expected to just have success but not really wanting to put my heart and soul into it. Now I feel like all the pieces are together and it's showing in the work we've been doing here. Because I am a missionary I feel it would be inappropriate to tell of Jesus Christ without bearing my testimony of Him. I know that He is our Brother. That He suffered ALL for ALL of us. He submitted Himself to the Plan and He was the ONLY One able to do it. I never really understood how powerful the Atonement is until I had to use it. I will not avoid the fact that I am not perfect, I am a prideful person, forgetful, and not the sharpest tool in the shed. However, I know that I am His. That God created me not to be perfect but to learn and to become perfect. We all have a long way before that day but that's the great thing about it, that that day will come. Little by little we become better. When we admit our faults and work on them that's when they become our strengths. I want you all to know that God is mindful of us. He knows you and He knows how you will learn the fastest and more effectively. One quote that has been a comfort to me is "Today I will obey, Tomorrow I will Understand" I cannot stress how true this is. I promise you all that as we trust in God, He will help us learn, He will mold us to who we are supposed to be. Who He wants us to be. I love you all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

July 31st, 2016: Transfers

So a lot happened last night for transfers. To start off Elder Woodland is leaving... He is going next door to Pehleng area and will be with Elder Pakoa from his intake. They will have a fun time together and will have a blast. As for me I am training again and also district leader. My district will have almost all of Elder Woodlands intake in it plus my trainee and another trainee. I'm excited for all these changes and the island will be a lot different now. A lot of things happened around the island and a lot of new missionaries will be coming in. I can't wait to see what will happen and who will train who.  
So this week was a pretty good week and we finally got another car! If we didn't have a car but could walk it would be fine, but because of not being able to do either we were pretty stuck. We got the new car on Thursday and just flew through the lessons. We went and saw all of our investigators that we haven't seen in a while and checked up on them. It's seriously the best feeling ever when a friend that you are sharing the gospel with looks up at you and says, thank you for what you've done, thank you for sacrificing your family so I could change my life and receive all this happiness. I was pretty close to tears and the spirit was so strong. I have really come to love our investigators and they are like my family now. I'm excited that I get to stay in this area and show my love for the branch and area. Things are just getting better and better and missionary work is really starting to pick up with the branch. We were a little bit bold and when we set goals with the branch we told them that they would share the consequences of our work this month. They were all really on board and humbled themselves to serve. I'm excited to now see a small army doing missionary work instead of two 19 year olds. I don't know who I will train yet but he is in for a surprise and blessings when he gets here. We should have two baptisms his second week here and another investigator that comes to church the week after. I'm excited to show him the blessings of missionary work and help him start his journey off the right way. Just like parenting for the first time I learned a lot the first time. Now I get to show what I learned and help this new Elder be the best that he can be, to be a better missionary than me. I have realized just how similar a mission is to parenting and have noticed the things that I have learned about helping others are already being used by my parents. For all of you that have parents on this Earth who are still with us, call them, right now, and tell them you love them and are thankful. If they are waiting for you on the other side, pray and talk to your Heavenly Father on the other side. I know my parents will read this so when you do, thank you. Thank you for preparing me my whole life for my mission and leading me and guiding me. 
The song "I am a Child of God" has come to be one of my favorite songs because it's one of the most simple, yet powerful songs ever. I would like to invite each of you to also read it and to really think about the roles of parents in our lives. I am grateful for my parents and the life they have created for me. I love you all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
-Elder Hanson

July 24th, 2016: Bamboo Crutches

This week was an interesting week. On Monday we finally went to the Hospital for Elder Woodland's ankle and got told it was in between a type 2 and 3 sprain. Luckily it wasn’t torn or broken so they told us to rest and to do minimal walking for 4-6 weeks.  
One thing that I don't think doctors realize is that we aren't just your regular white people. We are in God's Army and we don't take breaks! On Tuesday we decided that we would find a way to rest his ankle to help it heal faster and still serve our missions to the fullest. As we were walking next door to a neighbor’s house to set up a Family Home Evening I noticed a thicket of bamboo, not something you usually see walking to your neighbor’s house ;),  I knew exactly what to do. After about 4 hours later of trial and error I had successfully made crutches from bamboo! Because we are on an island what better way to make them than by using a machete. A couple locals walked by and were like, "you're a true Pohnpeian now!" and things like that and it made me pretty happy. 
Elder Woodland seemed to like them, even though they are obviously not aluminum crutches from America, but they seemed to work ok. After that, off to work we went!
We had an ok week because we had to stay in for a couple days to rest and recover from walking a bit, but still finished the week strong. Probably the highlight of the week was asking Desiucky's niece to be baptized. After she was hesitant to answer, we asked if there was a problem and she told us it was because her parent's. They are living in America, where she is from, and she didn't know if they would say yes. We asked if they said yes if she would get baptized and she said "Yes!" We asked her why she wanted to be baptized and she paused, thought for a second and then in her 11 year old voice said, "Because I know that it will help me in my life". Baby, that's her name, is seriously the most awesome 11 year old ever. Though it's obvious that religion is not a big part in her life and she doesn't have the biggest interest in it, she still wants to be baptized to show that she wants to follow the Savior. We truly must humble ourselves as children if we wish to enter the kingdom of God. Sometimes I feel like we get too embarrassed or think we need and should complicate things because we are older and smarter. That is absolutely not the case, in the words of President Uchtdorf, what we really need to do is "simplify our discipleship". Simplify your lives and see the beauty that is hidden behind the haze of and hustle of the world today. Simplify your days and realize how many hours we have that are free. Make time for God and He will make time for you. I hope you all realize the blessings that God is just anxiously waiting to give us. I love you all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
-Elder Hanson