Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 25th, 2016: White Christmas

Merry Christmas! We have been doing a lot of things getting ready for Christmas and getting ready for calls. To start off the week we went on exchanges one after another. I was on exchanges until Thursday leading out Awak. To be honest I was really scared to lead out because I had only been in the area for a week and during that week we had a lot of needs so we probably got only about 8 hours in our area. However, just like always, God will help us and he helped me a lot.  I didn't know a lot of investigators but we got to find a lot which was good. I also got to know our area a lot better, which is obviously very important. After that more needs and skipping forward to the actually exciting part. Saturday night we were getting ready for Kanla's baptism after we went to all the other baptisms that happened. It was really cool to go and see all the success from our Zone. It was really cool, especially to be capping it off with our own baptism. When we finally got there his mother wasn't there so we had to reschedule it for the next morning. After that stressful stuff we finally got to relax and go to Christmas with the locals. I'm so very grateful for them and all the great things they gave us. They truly are amazing. Then Christmas day started off awesome. We woke up, opened our presents and then got to go give the best present of all. I had the privilege to baptize Kanla in the ocean which was a blessing and a half. Then we gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost and it was the best Christmas ever. Then later that day I got to talk to my family which obviously was amazing as well. This Christmas was seriously the best Christmas, not to mention all the surprises that are waiting for me at home. I'm so grateful for all the blessings that God has given me on my mission and for the opportunity I have to change and become like Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. I'm grateful I also get to help others as they do the same.
I love you all, Thank You for everything!
Love you!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Elder Hanson

December 18th, 2016: I Love Our Zone

Can I just start off and say how much I love our Zone! One of my favorite things is that everyone is so unified and loves one another. Another thing is that we are really, really close to hitting our yearly goal which, and I say this as humbly as I can, is pretty impressive. We had a Zone goal of 100 baptisms and we are at 93 as of today. This next week a lot of people are getting ready for baptism. Almost every area including ours is having at least one baptism. In our area we have Kala, he is 9 and super smart. When we teach him about the gospel, even on hard things like the Plan of Salvation, we test him the next time and he remembers them and all the names for everything, it really is amazing. The best part is that he is going to be baptized in the ocean, which by the way is right next to our "chapel". It's seriously one of the coolest views and we get to see it while we are at church. Church has been interesting. The area I'm in is a unit (branch?) and our unit leader is 18. He is a super awesome member and super hilarious.  He went to Kosrae for Christmas so we will be conducting for the next couple weeks. I already love our Unit. All the members are really nice and we have a couple people who are not members yet but should be. One is a older lady that we call Nohno Carmin, she hasn't been baptized yet but she comes to church each week, does everything a member does, including paying tithing, but for some reason she won't be baptised yet. Anyways everything is good, like my Mission President always says, we are living the dream. I'm so grateful for all the things God has given me and given us.
To be honest Christmas on my mission is honestly better than any other Christmas. Even though I miss my family, don't get the gifts that are usually given, and things like that, I feel like I'm actually giving all that I can to God. I feel like I'm doing what He wants me to do which makes me feel happy and whole. I'm grateful for the sacrifices that people have made for me to be here and for everyone who has every served a mission. Thank you all. I can't wait to see you all for Christmas and see how things have changed.
I'm so grateful for everything that you have done for me. I hope that my service here will somehow make a difference in your lives there, that is the best Christmas gift I can give. Thank you all!

Before I close I would like to add one of my favorite things about Christmas and Pohnpeian. I think I've already said it but it doesn't hurt to remind us.
In Pohpneian "mas" means 1st, as in to happen 1st. So every time we say Christmas here we are literally saying "Christ first". It is a great reminder for me that that is the real reason I'm here, why we are all here. Is to put Christ and his Atonement 1st so we can change in this life.
I love you all and I wish you all a great CHRIST MAS in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Hanson

December 11th, 2016: Taking Care of Our Zone

This week was a lot of taking care of needs of our Zone. It would be really tedious is our Zone wasn't amazing! I think we have the best Zone in the Mission! All the missionaries are super awesome and I love them all already. To be honest when I got here I didn't know them very much but now I'm starting to get to know them and they are amazing! The Sisters are killing it right now with Baptisms and everything just seems so much more in unity and just awesome. My companion, Elder McCluskey is from my intake and we are already having a blast together. We have been able to take care of our Zone a lot but things are starting to slow down and we are doing more teaching together. I'm so excited for this transfer and all the new things. I really have been blessed so much on my mission in every sense of the word bless. I love God so much, it's weird to think that some people don't even believe that He exists.
This week I was watching a movie produced by the church called Special Witnesses of Christ. I think we all notice the little hints that Apostles and Prophets give us that they've seen more than the regular person. The video is pretty much their testimonies of being special witnesses of Christ. It really opened my mind to how much God really does talk to us in this day and how it's not just a cool idea but all these things are real. Like they actually DO happen. I want to bear my testimony that God does work today, as I have been taking care of our Zone and getting to know the missionaries, I have seen the work of God in each of their lives and seen little glimpses of their lives. I know that God is real, that He speaks to us when we prepare ourselves to hear. I love my Savior and hope to do my best to show Him that He can trust me. I love you all and I hope that you all know how much we love you and pray for you. I hope you all have a great Christmas season and not only remember the Savior but remember that He is YOUR Savior, and do your best to show Him you know that. I love you and I say these things in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

December 4th, 2016: Transfers, Christmas & Craziness

This week was crazy, I'll start from the beginning to keep it organized. Monday we had an exchange with the Wone Elders which was good but the Elder that I was conducting the exchange with rolled his ankle at sports so we didn't really get to teach a lot. We did get to talk which was really good and learned alot about one another. Then Wednesday we did another exchange with my Son! Elder Woodland, who is now training, he has been doing good lately but was working on talking more to everyone. So to try to help him we decided that we would talk to everyone. After talking to everyone and having lessons with everyone that would let us, we had 25 lessons at the middle of the week. It was amazing and good to work with him again after being separated. He has continued to improve and we worked well together. Thursday we kicked of the Church's Christmas Initiative with a Stake Activity. After having our District Meeting we walked around Kolonia and picked up trash and gave out pass along cards and inviting people to the activity. Then we had the activity with games, testimonies, the new Church Christmas video and lots of other stuff. Friday and Saturday were awesome regular missionary days.
Sunday right after church we got a call from the Zone Leaders asking for a favor, we said of course and then they told me (Elder Hanson) to “pack your bags because you’re a Zone Leader now”! After double checking that it was actually real and not a joke they told us that we had to drive to Kolonia to have a Missionary Leadership Council with the mission and we needed to be there. When we got there we met our companions, which turned out to be the wrong companions, and had a great meeting over Google Hangouts.
This Transfer was crazy and so much happened. My companion (Elder Parker) is also leaving our area to go next door with Elder Woodlands companion and Elder Woodland is going back to Kitti to train! He has really wanted to train his whole mission and now he is getting the chance to. I'm super excited for him and to have my first "Grandson"! So much craziness happened and I still don't believe it's true but yeah. Now I get to go to Guam every month for MLC so that will be super fun. I also am with Elder McKlusky from my intake. I'm super excited to be with him and we are going to have a spiritual blast together. (I had to throw in the spiritual part so you don't think we are partying here or anything ;)
So yeah a lot of crazy other things happened with Elders areas becoming Sisters areas and vice versa and only two or three areas stayed the same.
I think that's all for now but I hope you all have a great week and remember to do the things on the advent calendar for December. I love you all.
God be with you till we meet again
Elder Hanson

November 20th & 27th 2016: Planning Brings Miracles & There's Nothing Wrong with Challenging Everyone

Planning Brings Miracles
Lately the Mission Leadership has been really focusing on planning and becoming "full purpose missionaries". For longer than I should have, I’ve been going into lessons with the thought "I'll just follow the spirit and it will teach me how to teach this topic". Though many times we were able to teach the lesson I noticed that the spirit too often was not there. For a while I have been doing my best to figure out why and we have finally figured it out. It's because our "faith" that the Spirit would guide us wasn't really "faith" is was a justification for not doing everything in our power to prepare. I read a conference talk this morning that explained really well about this. It said something along the lines that faith can never take away someone's agency. Meaning that if we really want a family member, friend or anyone we know to change their heart, repent and accept the gospel, they still have their agency and our willingness and our desires will not change that. 
Another part was that faith PREcedes the miracles. Before someone can be healed, they must first receive a blessing. Before we are baptized or partake of the Sacrament we must show our faith and repent. When we prepare ourselves for miracles then we qualify for God's work in our lives. For a while I was just expecting that God would work through me and trusting solely on this. For a long time I was failing to realize that we must do everything in our power before the power of God helps us make up the difference.
This last week we have really put in a lot of effort into planning and things are just falling into place. We have back up plans for our back up plans and have every lesson planned out thoroughly.
Just as President Zarbock teaches us to do, I applied this to real life.
I will use the example of my ambitions. I want to become an Orthopedic Surgeon after I return from my mission. Obviously there is a long time and a lot of work before that. If I just say I want to do that but take classes for art, auto-shop, and other things, sure they are great but they won't help me become a Doctor.
I've noticed that in every one on of our lessons we are working towards certain things, incorporating repentance and helping them have that "mighty change of heart" because that's our main goal here. I've noticed that the road to baptism has become clearer and it revolves around repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
So many times we have these amazing goals and too often don't make effective plans for them. Because of that there are a lot of "I'll do it tomorrow’s and a lot of "empty yesterday’s. Planning really does help us achieve our potential and has helped me see more clearly God's plan for these people. I love you all and I want you all to know how much I think of your guys. Sometimes before we go to sleep one of your names pops into my mind, and all too often I find out why the next week at email. I pray for you always and just know that some Elder way out in the middle of ocean on a little island cares about you. God has a plan for all of us and He knows us. Never forget that and make steps and plans to show Him your love for Him. Repentance is a process not an event, so take that first step and become the person God needs you to be. I'm not perfect and have my own sin and temptations but my heart has changed so much because of planning and taking those steps to change. Then as I showed my willingness, Christ has changed my heart from those things. Thank you for all those who have helped me along my path. I love you all!
 Elder Hanson
    There's Nothing Wrong with Challenging Everyone
So this past week was different but a good different. To start off I was on an exchange while Elder Parker was sick. After that he was sick for another day so we didn't really get to go out until Thursday. Thursday was obviously Thanksgiving and because of district meeting we only had a short time to go out before Thanksgiving. During our feast we watched "The Best Two Years" and it was really, really good. Everyone was laughing but I think people also took a lot out of it as well, I know I did. One of the things they said was "is there anything wrong with challenging to everyone?" That really stuck with me and then I realize how important that is. As missionaries people really do expect us to do that because that's what we do. It really helped me realize why we need to ask and why these people need to be challenged. 
We have made very high goals this week for the amount of people invited to be baptized and to come to church so we are going to be working hard to get that. I have really gotten to see why talking to everyone and inviting everyone is so important. It kind of reminds me of the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory part when they are testing the eggs and nuts. They have to test every single one to know which ones are not ready and which ones are ready. I think that's kind of how missionary work is, we test everyone and challenge everyone. To be honest there are a lot more people that need more time but that's the beauty of Gospel because for most people the time will happen and that's all that matters. 
I know for my own family, especially my father, timing was everything. For a while the timing wasn't ready until one day when the setting was right, the Spirit showed him the way. 
I would like to challenge everyone who is reading this regardless of who you are, your age, or anything like that to give one of the best gifts. I want to invite you all to find a Book of Mormon and write your testimonies inside and then give it to someone you love or feel prompted to give it to. If you need to make a list and pray about who, do it! Think about the worst that could happen, they say "Thanks, but I'm not interested" and then they put it aside for another day. That's literally the worst that could happen. Then think of what usually happens. They say "Thank you, I appreciate this very much" then they might start reading that night, a week from then or maybe a year or two from then but they will read it. And when they read it the Spirit will testify that it's true. I know this because I have read it, I've read it from cover to cover and tested Moroni's promise and I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is true. It was honestly the single biggest turning point in my life to really show me that there is something greater out there, something or someone that actually knows us and it's not just a belief like so many people say but it's a knowledge. I know that we all have desires to share these things and sometime we might not know the words to say, that's why God has given us His words to speak for us. All we have to do is ask people to read the word of God. I testify that if you will have the courage to give a simple gift, God will prepare the way. I know these things are true and I love you all, and pray for you every night, I hope you know this. 
Elder Hanson

November 6th & 13th, 2016: Kitti & Becoming Closer with God

It's crazy to realize just how long I've been in this area. Now that I've been here a year it's weird to see just how many people I know. Just as we were walking down the road, I was just saying ‘hi’ to all of the people that I know and it's amazing to see how many of them I know. It breaks my heart to walk past these people that I've come to love, know, and laugh with, and to see them deny all the blessings we have to offer them. So many times these people know what will give them true happiness in their lives but they just aren't motivated enough to go and do it. I'm so grateful that I was taught that if I wanted something I had to work for it. My whole life if I wanted something or wanted to be good at something I knew that I would just have to work hard enough and eventually I would get it. A mission is a little bit different. Sometimes it doesn't seem to matter how hard I work or how good I teach, how strong the Spirit is there, sometimes the time just isn't right. I think of agency and what a vital part it plays in God's plan for us. God, the Almighty, all knowing, and all powerful Creator of the Universe created a perfect plan for us to be happy, but even He could not force us to be happy. Sometimes as I am sulking, feeling sorry for the people that reject these blessings I think of the pain we, including myself, cause God when we chose what is wrong. We taught Sunday School this week and taught about the Atonement. One of the Scriptures we used was James 4:17 which talks about if we know something that is good and don't do it, that is sin. To me when I read that scripture I realized just how much I needed to change. So many people I would pass by because I've already tried them a few times and they are not interested, I knew what was good and I didn't do it. 
I am not a perfect missionary and nor will I be in this life, but one thing I can say and be honest as I say it. I've put my heart and soul into this area. They have taught me that I cannot force them to accept the Gospel in their lives, as much as I pray and will them to they still have their agency. I feel like that's one of God's greatest qualities, that He loves us enough to let us chose for ourselves. I'm grateful that God has given me choices in my life. Even though I have made wrong choices I wouldn't take them back because they have shown me both sides of Gods plan. 
I love you all and I hope that you will all continue to do what is right or that if you know what is right and you aren't doing it right now. Just do it. Don't be foolish and delay the blessings that God has promised you. I love you all and just like I tell all my investigators, we are here to share blessings. That is why it's the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Good News of Jesus Christ. Please accept it.
Elder Hanson
Becoming Closer with God
This week Elder Parker was pretty sick. He got a boil which got into his bloodstream and that infection is now next to his heart and lungs and is really painful. Because it's not in an organ or somewhere like that pain meds can't really help it so he has been taking antibiotics and we've been resting a lot. 
While he has been sleeping I've been doing some house keeping. Not only in our actual house but also in my own Temple of God. Lately, thanks to my awesome sister, I got a couple talks that really helped me realize why I am here. Not only why I'm on my mission but more of why I was born at this time and in this place. I have learned why the Restoration is so important and why it's such a great message.
The majority of the world believes in some form of the Bible. We believe that miracles happened, that God spoke to man and Heaven and Earth worked together. So many people believe in this yet they don't understand the importance of our message. Our message is that not only did those amazing things happen then but they are happening now. There is a Prophet of God who speaks regularly with God. We also have Apostles who have been hand picked from the whole Earth to guide us in these days. God has also given us the Priesthood, like a test drive of godhood. He has said, "here, you try" because he wants us to learn for ourselves. On top of that God has given us a way to know for ourselves that it's all true. Something to hold in our hands, to read and pray about. All these great blessings and people don't even have the slightest clue of them. That is why we do missionary work, that's why missionaries always ask people to come out and help them. Because these people need everyone’s help.
I am grateful that God is patient with me on my mission. He has trusted me with a lot more than I would trust myself. I know that these souls I am teaching really are His and they are precious to Him. But someone has to do it. God can do it alone, but He has a better way. He's let us give it our best shot, and when it's not enough we use the Atonement and it makes up the difference. 
 I would like us all if we could, to take ten minutes of our day and think of our lives, if we had not been born in the church or had not heard of the church. If all we believed was that "yeah there's a god somewhere up there but I don't know where". Take away the years of Sunday School, the years of Priesthood blessings, Patriarchal Blessings, the Book of Mormon, General Conference, the Sacrament, Mutual, Prayer, the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the list goes on and on. All these blessings that God has given us but do we realize what our lives would be if we didn't have them. I know I didn't and little by little God is showing me how. I love you all and I hope don't take for granted these great blessings God has given us.
Elder Hanson

October 23rd, 2016: My Roots

Transfers were last night and I'm still staying in Kitti!!!! It's crazy to think that at the end of this transfer I will have been here for 1 year. I have put so much work into this area and for a while it felt like nothing was happening and our investigators weren't really going anywhere. Lately though we have met a lot of awesome families and people that are really prepared. I have hope and faith that this transfer will be a transfer of baptisms! We have two families of over 10 people each that are progressing really well. They are reading and most people have prayed and received an answer that it's true.
One of the families that we meet, the Lorenzo’s, have been going very good and a couple of their daughters have a strong testimony that it's true. The father is only there some of the time so we usually have to bring a man with us to teach them. The other day as we were talking with Sister Lorenzo we found out that the husband has been secretly listening in and watching our lessons from the bushes since the very beginning!
He loved everything that we taught and wanted to know if it was true for himself. He prayed to have a dream that would tell him if it was true or not and that night he had a dream and he knows that it's true! This family just keeps getting better and better and one by one they are all getting their testimonies that it's true!
I'm so very grateful that God has given us so many ways to receive and strengthen our testimonies.  Just pause and think for a second at all the things God has given us to learn. The Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine of Covenants, Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, Prayer, the Holy Ghost, Parents, Siblings, Friends, the Internet, Books galore, and countless other things just to let us know what to do. From the time we were little we were taught how to follow instructions, it prepared us for the most important instructions we would receive, those being the ones from our Father in Heaven through His chosen Prophet. This week, I know it was late, I got to hear from our Prophet and the Apostles of God and can I say what a blessed people we are.  We have received so much direction and instruction from God I don't think He could make it any clearer for us. He literally has elaborated on His plan through the complexity of the Bible, narrowed it down in the Book of Mormon, and just to be sure we understood it perfectly He gave us 13 simple articles to state what His plan is. I think of a young teenager trying to help their grandparents figure out basic functions on their computer and getting overly frustrated with them that they don't immediately comprehend something that they have already worked out for themselves. I also draw a comparison from that to how God must feel towards us, Though He will never get frustrated or storm out of the room, He will always explain and re-explain until the day when our minds fully understand. I'm grateful that He has given us General Conference to explain to us every 6 months His plan to us again. We need these things in our lives and there are so many people who don't have them. The Church has been stressing missionary work so much lately and I think there is a reason behind that. Our neighbors need these things in their lives, they may not know how to use them or why they are important, but they do.
I'm grateful for the patience that my own parents and family have had with me in explaining things over and over again. There are many things I don't understand yet but I do know that this is the Only Living and True Church of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the blessings I have received and now I get to share. I understand that the Atonement was necessary and that we are not given the blessings of the Atonement but we qualify for them through our repentance. I understand that God will not force us to return to Him and that only through our own choices we understand and follow His plan. I love you all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

October 16th, 2016: Crazy Week

So I'm just going to go quickly through the big things that happening this week so you can see how crazy this week was. Monday: No P-day, instead we had Zone Conference with President Zarbock which was awesome and really helped us. Tuesday was P-day and super fun. Also we started an exchange with the Zone Elders. Wednesday: Walking Wednesday, which means no cars at all- just walking, finding, and getting to know people. Then ended our exchange. Thursday: One of our members, CJ was hit by a car about ten feet from us. It was a drunk driver going about 50mph + in a 25. We were down from the road at a less actives house and heard a crunch, turned around to see him flying through the air into some banana tress. We ran over there to help him out and we was all covered in blood and stuff. People started running towards us to help and we flagged down a car on the road and they took him to the hospital. Even though we could see bone from his arm and thought it was broken he didn't brake a single bone in his body. Just a lot of scrapes, cuts and a chunk out of the muscle in his elbow. The even crazier thing is that he just got back from a two month trip to Hawaii to get the skin on his neck fixed from when he burned it as a kid. He just barely got back and now this happened. It really was a miracle that nothing worse happened. Now he's back at home playing play-station with his family as if nothing happened at all. Friday: Weekly planning for half the day. Saturday: we had a Baptism! Moglee got Baptized! It was a good baptism and we had a couple investigators there. All went well and now he's super excited to come out with us. Sunday: I gave the gift of the Holy Ghost for the first time in my life and not only that it was in Pohnpeian. It went really good and the Spirit really helped me. This week has just been one crazy thing after another. It's been super short yet super long. I guess that's enough craziness for one week. There is so much to tell about what happened this week but we only get an hour to email. I hope all is well in America and that everyone is strong and healthy. Love you all!
Elder Hanson

October 9th, 2016: Waiting Upon the Lord

All throughout my mission probably one of the biggest things that I've learned is Patience. Being patient with myself, God, and my investigators. President Zarbock has always taught us to wait upon the Lord in our lessons and let the Spirit come and sink into the hearts of our investigators. For the longest time I always tried to do that but haven't been able to consistently do it. However, as of lately I've been doing a lot better at it. One of the families we teach, the Lorenzos, have been going really well. A common thing on these islands is that people believe that all churches work together and that if a church teaches about Jesus Christ then it is the church of Jesus Christ. Sister Lorenzo told us about how for a long time she thought this but then recently learned that that is not true and she wants to find the right church. One of their many daughters, Marab has awesome faith and took our challenge to read and pray to know if it's true. She also came and saw a baptism and was tearing up from the spirit. Then just recently she bore her testimony to us as Stake Conference about how hard it is in her family because her and another sister have received an answer but the 8 remaining in her family have not yet and for lack of a better word "persecute" them. We have been praying very hard for them and even did a fast for them, that Sister Lorenzo and her family would be able to feel the Spirit and be able to know for themselves. Last night we had a very powerful lesson with the spirit. We were talking about the Temple and the blessings that come from it. We related it back to the Priesthood and how it was restored and there is evidence to prove it, ie the Book of Mormon. We watched a quick video of the temples and after just waited. We just smiled and looked around at all their faces as they started to feel the Spirit for the first time. It was one of the coolest things ever to see the Spirit work on them one by one. I asked Sister Lorenzo what she felt and she said "it feels like my heart just fell from me, I've never felt like this before." Of this I can testify, when we are patient, blessings happen. All we did was smile and wait. It worked so well and I know it works on all of us. Just like with bread rising, if we start too soon, we won't get the desired result. I love you all and I'm doing my best to be patient on my mission and helping others. I love you all! See you sooner than you think!
Elder Hanson

September 18th, 2016: Preparing Every Needful Thing

This week was a crazy week with lots and lots of miracles. To start off the week we were planning on doing service for this family on Tuesday. It was raining really bad but we told them we would so we wanted to keep our word. We went and they weren't there so we just came back to our house soaking wet. Because of the rain the power had gone out the day before and we couldn't cook any food. We said a prayer that the power would come back on so we could make food and help us get ready for the day. Nothing happened but I felt like we should prepare everything so when it came on we would be able to make food and get to work asap. We did that and put the raw meat in the pan, and everything just kinda sitting there. I suggested that we shower first as well and get everything done before. We did and as we got everything ready so that all we needed to do was eat and leave, the power came back on. We both realized what had happened and that was the first miracle. The second was that a less active member had just moved to our area because the area where he lived was causing him trouble and he wanted to change schools to help him. We met him, had a quick lesson with him and his family and the next day put his uncle on a baptismal date. Their whole family is super awesome and I know that they will be great investigators. The third was also meeting a new investigator. We had heard that there was a kid who had wanted to meet with us but we hadn't met with him yet. Yesterday we finally met him and had a great lesson with him and he really want to change. He is also now on baptismal date and is excited to learn. The fourth was after that lesson.  A lady flagged us down as we drove by and she told us her car had ran out of gas. She told us she was a less active member and that she knew she could trust us. She asked us if we could go to the gas station and get her some gas. Because it was Sunday I didn't want to buy any gas but I knew that God would tell us what to do. We asked the less active to give us a prayer and she gave one of the most humble prayers I've seen in a long time where is was like she was actually talking to her Father. After that we tried all the members and eventually drove to our Branch Presidents house down the road and asked if he had any gas laying around. He thought for a second and said, "you know what, yesterday I went to the gas station and payed $10 for gas for Brother Daniel to give rides but for some reason he didn't come today, maybe that's the reason." We went and got the gas without having to pay for it and helped the lady out. When we got back to her, her husband had woken up and told us how he was really drunk right then but that he wanted us to come help him get over it. Even though we were kinda skeptical we told him we would have some Elders go see them. The less active girl really had been prepared for a long time, as she told us her story, God has been preparing her for a long time. Finally the fifth miracle was also yesterday at a family home evening. We have been trying to get a investigator to church for a long time but because of some bad blood between her family and another family in the branch she didn't want to come. We invited her to a family home evening with that family last night and we had been praying and fasting (combined as a district to help us start to get the work progressing) that the lesson would go well and they would love one another. The father asked us to teach on Charity so we did and the spirit really changed hearts in that lesson. By the end, half the people were crying and the father and mother of one of the family started crying really bad and telling our investigator how sorry they were for being so rude to them and asked for forgiveness from them and hoped she wouldn't hate them. It was such a beautiful moment to sit back and watch the Spirit work with our investigators and members and really see them work together and love one another. I'm so grateful for the miracles we have seen this week and I know there is so much power in fasting. I know that by prayer and fasting all things all possible. I love you all and invite you all to do this and receive the blessings of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Hanson

September 11th, 2016: Becoming a Pohnpeian

They say you are what you eat so I think after my mission I'm going to be full blooded Pohpneian. This week we received and bought a lot of local food from these awesome people. We've had probably 30 coconuts in just the last week with two bunches of bananas and tons of local fish. These people truly are a blessed people and I'm so grateful I am able to serve them. This week we will be hiking up to some radio towers on Sokehs rock and looking out over all of Pohnpei. It's so cool to see the airport which is just a strip of land in the ocean and to see the little docks and things all around the island. Pohnpei truly is a one of a kind island. It has it's massive artillery guns and bunkers with all these little tunnels- it's super awesome. I truly wish you all could be here with me and we could see these things together but I guess that's something we will have to work for.
As for missionary work this week it was a good but fast week. It went by super fast and it's crazy to think that it's over now. We didn't have as many member present lessons as we wanted to have but we are getting better. We just got a Branch Mission leader and he lives next to us so we will be having a lot of meetings with him and start to get the work going. He told us last night about his plan to have every person from the ward pick one person that they want to fellowship and help receive a testimony and they will set up an appointment at their house and we will come and teach that person. It's just so awesome to see the members realizing and getting excited for the work. I hope they continue to have enthusiasm and want to really help their friends and families.
I've noticed that all around the world there is an increasing urgency for missionary work and the church as a whole is pushing this really hard. I think that the work really is hastening and the missionaries can't do it alone, it has to be the church, the full body that works together. We could say that the missionaries are the legs, the members are the arms and hands of God, the prophet is the head and guides the church with the priesthood being the heart and soul of the body of Christ. One without the other and the church would fall. That's why it's so important and the work works when we all work together. We challenged all of the members in our branch to find a friend and teach them about the Restoration of the Gospel, then gave them a pamphlet and told them they have till next week to give it away. I would invite all of you and especially my family at home to do the same. Ask the missionaries for a Restoration Pamphlet and Book of Mormon and find someone to give it to. Think of all the people in the church, if we just focused on one person, took ten minutes a day to focus on one other person we would have millions and millions of converts. Please be God's hands in this great work. Sometimes the legs get tired. We need your help!!
I love you all!
Elder Hanson

September 4th, 2016: Really Worshipping God & Time Flies

*Elder Hanson had a different P-Day last week because of the Zone Conference so he sent his email during the middle of the week. I combined it with this week.

Really Worshipping God

I would like to start off and tell each and every one of you how much I love you and miss you all. I know that we might be thousands of miles away but help is only a prayer away.  
This week we had a special Zone Conference with Elder Yamishita of the Seventy, who is also going to be speaking in Conference soon, and President Zarbock. Zone Conferences are always super spiritual and they always help me answer all the questions I have. A couple weeks ago I realized that missionary work is work. Now I'm slowing figuring out and feeling that work. This week we worked hard and found a lot of people. Most were not interested in baptism but nevertheless we are finding more people. A new key indicator or rather a new number we report each week to show our work is the number of people being asked to be baptized. Our mission president was very bold but spoke the truth and told us that if we aren't asking people to be baptized and work towards that then why are we there. If we aren't asking them to change, we shouldn't be there in the first place. I feel like that principle is a general principle that we can apply to almost everything. If we don't ask people to do something with what we teach them, why did we teach them in the first place. I often try to use the things I learn here and think about how I will use it in my future life. I think of if we teach our children to never drink but never ASK them to actually do it and SHOW them we don't want them to do it, that teaching doesn't reach its full potential. Often times when I went to church and seminary we would have a great lesson where the Spirit was there and I learned alot but because I never used any of it afterwards, I forgot it all and the Spirit died down. This week we asked almost every person we had a lesson with if they would be baptized. I was amazed at how easy it was to find their concern so quickly and it really opened up their hearts. We received answers from "are you crazy, I'm a Baptist Preacher!" to "yes I would like that very much." 
To be honest I am not the best missionary, nor will I ever be. I am not the smartest or the most spiritual. However one thing I have always tried to do is be the kind of person that if God asked me to do something, whether it be to tell someone something out of the ordinary or to do something that might seem peculiar that I would do it. This week at Zone Conference Sister Zarbock spoke of the word Worship. The first time it is used in the Old Testament is when Abraham was about to put Isaac on the altar to follow Gods command. The first time in the New Testament is also when a sacrifice was about to be made. Sometimes we think that all we have to do is show up to church and we are worshiping God. We fail to realize that that was never true worship, worshiping is like a cause and effect system. When we are actually putting something into church, when we are causing us to learn, the effect is the Spirit teaching us and blessings come more freely.
Speaking of this I would like to add a little from something that just happened. We are emailing in a computer lab and a member just came up and gave us food and drinks. She told us how she was a member from a local ward and that her daughter had served her mission in Hawaii. She told us how she wishes that people would have done those things to her daughter and she said that she wanted to show she cared. 
This Sister Mark just showed her true worship to God. Sister Mark was just a miracle to two Elders she doesn't even know. She became a blessing to others and now in return I know she will receive her own blessings because of this. By the phrase "our actions define who we are" God is the ultimate blessing because all blessings come from Him. If we are truly trying to be like Jesus, let's show it. Let's bring something to the table. I last week could've done better, but this week I will be better. I love you all. See you soon!
Elder Hanson

Time Flies!

This week flew by! We were so busy doing one thing after another and the whole week just flew by! We did a lot of work finding and meeting new people this week. We have really been talking to everyone and because of it we had a lot of lessons. We are starting to find more people to teach but our investigators are doing well. Baby is really doing well, we just need to wait for her mom to come from America for her to be baptized. Shenelly is doing awesome, except for actually coming to church. She is keeping the word of wisdom but she just needs to come to church. We re-met this family who is a part member family. They seemed kind of fake interested in us last time but this time they are really reading and really wanting to know. Their names are Darney, Balomo, Radon, and Angeles. They are actually reading and progressing and it's awesome! I'm so happy for them and they are really starting to change.
The biggest thing that happened this week was probably an exchange with our Zone Leaders. Elder Lee came here to Kitti and we had a blast together. I learned a lot! The biggest thing is to talk to everyone, and I mean everyone! We had so many lessons this week and met so many new people just by talking to everyone.  We literally took an hour to make a ten minute walk because we just went back and forth across the street so we could talk with everyone! It was awesome! We met so many nice people and so many rude people this week. It was a hard week that had a lot of ups and downs but that's what a mission is! There wasn't anything super special this week and I know you all want a break from my emails so just know that I love you all and I think about you all in the ten seconds I'm not thinking of my investigators! I love you all soo much!
See you soon!
Elder Hanson

August 21st, 2016: Back on Pohnpei

This week was a kind of up and down week. As we were saying bye to all of our new friends in Guam and telling them to keep strong and keep learning I also missed all the people in Pohnpei. While on Guam we learned a lot on really just how to be better missionaries. I got to see a lot of great work and get to know other missionaries around the mission better. I also got to know President Zarbock even more and talk to him about some things. I also got permission to learn Chuukese so I will be adding that to my Pohnpeian language study every day! Ran Allim! 
As we got back to Pohnpei it seemed so foreign to me and new but it was like muscle memory kicked in and I just knew where to go and how to get there and everything, it was weird. Also we have been using a lot of the new things that we've learned in Guam and have been using them in Pohnpei and they are working miracles, literally! We have found so many new people in the three days we've been here it's ridiculously awesome! This week I have really been focusing on charity. I try to be a happy person that loves everyone but sometimes I am weak and judge others. I will not try to cover this fact but rather I want to share what I've learned in the past week. We are ALL BROTHERS and SISTERS and we are ALL in this together. 
Yes I understand that this may be obvious to most but do we really understand this. For me I didn't. As we knocked on what seemed like an endless amount of doors I started to become discouraged. We had tried talking to so many people and no one, I repeat, no one wanted to hear from us. I decided that I could either continue to believe and act as though our message was foreign to these people and that it would take a miracle for anyone to want to hear and I starting thinking and acting as if it was something we were reminding them of. Because that's what we are doing. When people are close to God, that veil of forgetfulness becomes thinner and thinner, we start to remember things that we knew in the past life. For example, Jesus Christ, the very son of God, our Savior, redeemer, and our brother, even He when He was born forgot all. Yet because the veil between Him and His Father in Heaven was so thin we learned in 12 years more than the scribes and scholars had learned in a whole lifetime. I realized that if I truly wanted these people to learn about the Restored Gospel, if I really expected them to read and do those things which lead to baptism, I would have to show them in some way that God is more than just a thought and something that we teach about each week. I would need to help them create their own relationship with Him as a person not as a thought or a book. This simple change of perspective not only changed how I do missionary work, but changed how I act. Though I am still imperfect I have learned so many things. From meeting with the Yars, a young couple who are so prepared and ready for baptism, to an atheist who has not felt the warmth of her Father's love who is just a humble prayer away, yet so stubborn she wouldn't even try, I have learned one thing, that God will not and cannot take away our agency. 
I know I am going off subject but I want to ask you all if we are using our agency to do good. Are we sharing the love that God has shown us in our lives with others. If not, change it.  This world is a beautiful place but only if we let it. Meeting those people in Guam helped me realize just how beautiful Gods plan for us is and how He wants us to learn so much. I love you all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Hanson