Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 4 - August 29, 2016 - Gallipolis, Ohio

Okay, so let me just start off by saying how much I love it here!! It's beautiful! They weren't kidding when they said that my mission is like 80% trees! It's seriously so green haha! I can see why it's going to be so pretty in the fall! My mission president calls it "Fruit Loop" season because everything literally looks like fruit loops with all the different colors and all! I'm so pumped for fall! Haha! Anyway, WOW a lot has happened these past couple days. Sooooo I'll start from the beginning.

So the first two nights we stayed at the Assistants to the Presidents home. We toured Charleston on Wednesday and I think they will send you a picture of me with them in front of the capitol. I'm pretty sure. Don't quote me on that. Then on Thursday we went to the church and met our trainers! My new companion/trainer's name is Elder Hallewell. He's from Hurricane, Utah! HE'S SO SICK! He's obedient, nice, funny, really really spiritual, and he loves Harry Potter AND The Office! So WIN-WIN! We quote the office quite a bit. Too much probably but it's fine. Then we drove to my new area Gallipolis, OHIO! Was not expecting to go to Ohio already but it's awesome here! And then we get to the apartment and he says, "Alright let's drop your suitcases in the room and then we'll go contact some referrals!" I was like "whoa." We literally just jumped right into it, which is good! I kinda wanted to do that actually but still, I was like "whoa." 

Okay, so now I'll let you know a little bit about the area! So the Gallipolis Ward is awesome! They are all so nice! It was funny, yesterday we get to the church and we walk into the ward council meeting and I whisper to my companion "Are they going to have me talk in front of everyone during sacrament meeting about myself? Cuz I'll have no idea what to say." He says, "Maybe, but I highly doubt they'll have you do it the first week." Then we sit down and the bishop was like "Alright, so thank you missionaries for coming. And welcome Elder Hanson! Elder Hanson would you mind saying a little something about yourself during sacrament meeting today?" I said "Yeah sure!" but in my mind I was like "whoa. ok." But it all worked out haha! I wasn't totally awkward when I talked in front of the ward for the most part. ANYWAY, I also LOVE THE PEOPLE IN THIS AREA! Did I say that already? It was a little bit of a culture shock because most of the people here don't have a whole lot. Most live in little shacks. It was extremely humbling to see how even though people don't have a whole lot, they're still so loving and giving! Count your many blessings!!

Okay, so now I'll talk about our investigators and less actives that we talked to this week! First, Donna. She was already a progressing investigator before I got here and she's seriously the sweetest lady you'll ever meet! (Other than you mom of course). Anyway, she is SO CLOSE to baptism and all she has to do is get married. But her and her husband, Billy, don't have the money for a marriage license. So please keep them in your prayers that they'll find a way to pay for it! Because she has so much faith in God and she's just so close. Thank you! OH AND SHE GAVE ME A QUILT! We went by yesterday and she said "This is for the new Elder". It was seriously the nicest thing ever! First thing I said was "No way! You're actually kidding!" Which probably didn't translate well to her at first but she just went along with it haha!

We also have a very recent convert named Gus! He just got baptized two weeks ago and he received the priesthood yesterday! And I was able to be in the circle for that! It was super cool! Now we're just trying to get his wife, who is a less active, to stop smoking. She's been clean the past 3 days so hopefully she keeps it up! Also keep them in your prayers! 

So something pretty cool happened to me. At least I think it's cool. We were walking out of this guy named John Chick's house and we saw a guy sitting on his porch across the street. I had a pretty big prompting to go and talk to him but we kept walking because we were running late. But the prompting kept coming back so I finally told my companion that we need to go back really quick and talk to him. So we went back and talked to him. His name was Nathan.  He didn't seem too interested but he accepted a Book of Mormon and we set up a return time. And even though nothing huge happened, I still felt really good about it. Whenever you have a prompting from the spirit to do something, DO IT! Because you never know what effect it had on someone or something! You won't regret it!

Anyway, yeah it's been a crazy past couple of days. I'm still trying to get used to the culture and everything but I'm getting there! I'm honestly just happy to be here! I know that this church is true. I wouldn't be out here if I didn't know that. God restored his gospel back to the earth because he knows that it can change lives for the better! He loves us and wants us to return to him! I love you guys so much and thanks for everything! 

So I was singing Try Everything by Shakira when I was getting ready for bed one night in my room. And then my companion from the other room yelled "What the crap are you singing?" I was like "Oh. Try Everything by Shakira." Then he yelled, "I LOVE SHAKIRA!!" Then he started fangirling about Shakira for like 20 minutes and I literally just stood there and laughed the whole time haha!

D&C 6: 36
D&C 84: 88

- Elder Hanson
Apartment in Gallipolis, Ohio

Apartment in Gallipolis, Ohio

Amazing Foot Long!

"Downtown" Gallipolis, Ohio

Make your bed Noah!

Silver Bridge - Across the Ohio River

Last night at the MTC

Friday, August 19, 2016

Week 3 - August 19, 2016 - MTC

WOW! I seriously cannot believe that this is my last week at the MTC! I've said it before but it really has gone by so fast! It's been one of the greatest experiences of my life! I've loved my district, my companion, the food (obviously, because I've gained like 4 or 5 pounds since I've been here), my TRC's (investigators), the spirit, and getting to know more about the gospel and how to teach it! It's literally been the best! But I'm so ready to just get out there and teach the people of West Virginia about this AMAZING gospel! So excited!!

***Also yes, I got the white pants you sent me! And the sugar cookies like are you're kidding!? Where did you get them? So good! Thank you so much! (Noah's mom made them haha, but she only makes them on rare occasions, like going on a mission). Also, I might be able to call you while I'm in Georgia too! But I don't know how that will work with your schedule and everything! I'll let you know for sure when I call you guys Tuesday morning!  And should I just take everything out of my small bag and put it in my backpack when I go to the airport? If the answer is yes, then where should I put my small bag? K thanks bye.***

Okay so a lot happened this week! On Sunday, we had a devotional with Daniel K. Judd as the speaker (if you guys know who that is. I didn't but he did really good!) He talked about how our job as missionaries isn't to convert. That's the Spirit's job. It was truly an amazing/humbling talk! Then we ended the night by watching "17 Miracles"! SO GOOD!  Then we also had a devotional on Tuesday with Bonnie L. Oscarson! It was actually pretty funny because literally everyone thought Elder Holland was going to be the speaker for that devotional so as everyone finished dinner early and sprinted to choir practice so that we could get good seats.  Then we looked up at the screen and it said "Tuesday Devotional: Bonnie L. Oscarson". Hahaha! I felt bad though because when she got up to speak, she apologized for not being Elder Holland (laughing face emoji). But honestly, I think she gave one of the best talks I have ever heard in my life! She talked about how we need to be willing to seek and accept corrections from the Lord. Then she showed the Mormon Message about the gardener who cut down a bush while it was still growing! The bush wasn't very happy that he did that because it was growing so well and hen the gardener just cuts it down! The gardener then went on to explain how he had to cut it down to where it started because it wasn't growing the way he knew it could. It was a great analogy because it shows that we need to show gratitude towards God for being loving enough to cut us down because he knows what's best and sees the potential in all of us! I encourage you all to look up that Mormon Message because it's an amazing one and you learn a lot from it!

We also had In-Field Orientation yesterday. It's basically just an orientation where we learn how to approach people, use our planners, and how to work with members. It was good and really helpful in some parts but it went on for 8 or 9 hours. Like, you're kidding. On a happier note, I met so many amazing people throughout the whole thing so it was well worth it! :)

We also got new TRC's this week! Last week, we committed Sahara to be baptized!! YES! It was so cool! But we didn't ever get to see if Aaron wanted to be baptized because he went out of town the day after that amazing lesson I told you guys about last week! But it's okay! He was heading down the right path! Our new TRC this week is "Brooke". She is HILARIOUS! She wanted to know more about who God was and the nature of Him. Our first 2 lessons with her went really well. She had a lot of questions about God, the priesthood, and the Book of Mormon! She committed to praying about whether or not what we taught her was true. In our 3rd lesson with her yesterday, she told us that she felt something really good after she prayed. She said it was a feeling she hadn't ever felt before. We went on to explain to her that that was the Spirit. The Holy Ghost. We then went on to explain what the Holy Ghost was and what it does and how it can be your constant companion once you get baptized. After that, we asked her to be baptized. She said that she had to pray about it first but that she felt like baptism was the right path to- go down. AHH! Guys, this church is so true. Lolz.

Also, I encourage all of you to not only look up that gardener video, but also "Come Unto Christ: Mutual theme". It's not the current mutual theme for the year but I heard it playing in a classroom somewhere and it's just stuck with me ever since. I promise you won't regret looking it up!


On Tuesday, I heard someone singing "Me too" in the shower but they changed the lyrics so it applied to missionary work. Part of it was, "If I was you, I'd wanna serve Him too." Hahaha! It was so funny!

Anyways, I have absolutely loved it here! To answer your question mom, I'm feeling great! I thought I would feel really homesick but I haven't really. The crazy thing is, my entire district has had a day where they were SUPER homesick. I was able to comfort most of them because I know what it feels like to be homesick back in the day. I think that's why I haven't been homesick so far.  Because God knew that everyone in my district would get homesick so he kept me strong to comfort them. I hope that made sense. Haha! But its been on my mind a lot lately! I've had so many funny, difficult, humbling, and spiritual experiences here! But I'm so excited to get out there to West Virginia! It's crazy how fast this has gone! Thank you for all of the support you guys have given me! I truly love all of you so much and I know this church is true! 

I'm comin for ya West Virginia!:)

Alma 29: 9

Elder Hanson

Elder Hanson, Elder Wilson, Elder Carlton, Elder Sandlin

Henry, Judson, Noah (Viewmont Student Body Officers)

Noah and the MTC Choir

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Week 2 - August 12, 2016 - MTC

Wow. I don't even know where to begin. This whole week just FLEW by! I literally feel like I just got dropped off yesterday. It's kinda crazy to think about! And, yes I got the packages you sent me! And the cookies (heart eye emoji)!! Literally so blessed. Thank you!! My Pday is on Friday (at least while i'm here in the MTC)! Just so everyone knows haha! But anyway, yeah it's been a pretty crazy week so get ready. Lolz.

So let me start off by saying that I thought I knew a lot about the gospel. But guuueessss what? I don't. I've had so many humbling lessons about The Restoration, Plan of Salvation, Book of Mormon, and The Atonement and how to teach them to investigators. The lessons were extremely humbling because all of them are more than just lessons. We need to help investigators relate to them by tying in the lessons to their needs so that it sticks with them. I mean, I kind of already knew that but it helped me find ways to relate each lesson to my specific investigators. Sorry that paragraph was kind of all over the place so hopefully that made sense! It's just hard to talk about each lesson because I learned SO much and ain't nobody got time to write about it all. (Also I'm extremely tired so please excuse my lame jokes as I type up this email. Thank you.)

We all go as a district to exercise time. We've kind of been switching off between basketball, soccer (which I can't play to save my life), volleyball, and four square. Okay, the people that play four square are INSANE! Like I don't even understand how you can be that good at that game. I only got to King once and that's just because I didn't touch the ball up until that point. So there you go.

Okay, SO I had my first Sunday here at the MTC and it was amazing!! To answer your question dad, yes. I joined the MTC choir. I was EXTREMELY hesitant at first but I decided to join because I wanted to help bring the spirit into devotionals and stuff like that. Also Elder Carlton convinced me to do it but that's beside the point. And people were saying that it's pretty cool actually so I just thought "Why not?".  For our devotional, we had Elder Holland's son, President Holland (president of UVU) talk to us about Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith went through so much in his life. This just helped build my testimony because even though he went through a lot, he never gave up. He seriously had so much faith and endured to the end. I know that I'm going to go through some hard times on my mission, but I know that if I put my faith in God, I can overcome any hard trial. I know that without a doubt in my mind that that's true.

We also have these things called "TRC's". I shouldn't say "things" because that's just rude. They're our INVESTIGATORS for the week. They're either people who are already members but are just acting like an investigator OR they're real investigators. So you never know. Lol. Elder Carlton and I have a girl named "Sahara" and an ex-buddhist named "Aaron". Sahara talks A LOT and she's really funny! Her fiance is a member so she decided to meet with the missionaries to get to know more about why this church is important to us. She's progressing and learning pretty well and yesterday we got her to commit to praying about baptism! Now Aaron. He was really difficult during our first lesson because he literally didn't know anything about God or the gospel in general. But we got him to commit to reading "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" pamphlet and taught him how to pray and why he should pray during the first lesson. And then our next lesson...HOLY COW! He had so many questions about the gospel and we were able to answer all of them in a way that he would understand. I know that it was the spirit talking. Not us. There was just no way we could answer all of those questions as well as we did without the spirit. We started talking about the Atonement and baptism and he was seriously considering getting baptized and it was just the most amazing experience! He said that he would pray about it but he already kind of knew that it's what he wanted to do! It was incredible! He also asked if he could say the closing prayer. YES! This whole TRC experience has reminded me of why I came out here. Why I'm serving a mission. And that's to see the gospel change lives for the better because I KNOW it can! Ahh! I love it here!

Guys. I KNOW this church is true. I know that Christ died for us and atoned for our sins. It is because he did that, we can return to live with Heavenly Father again if we live by Jesus Christ's example and keep his commandments. I challenge all of you to bear your testimony about the Savior to someone at least once this week! Because I know that one of the best ways we can build our testimonies, is by sharing them. I know that God lives. "Oh sweet, the joy this sentence gives. I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers! Means so much! Love you all! 

John 3:16-17

- Elder Hanson

P.S. Fun fact! I've already gained 3 pounds here at the MTC because food is good. K thanks bye.

Noah and Elder Carlton at the Provo Temple

Fun with the Elders

 Noah and Judson!!!

Provo Temple

Advice from Elders gone by!

Week 1 - August 5, 2016 - MTC

Okay, so I'm just gonna start off by saying how AWESOME the MTC is! It's been pretty crazy these past few days but they keep you really busy so that helps a lot! And the Spirit is always so strong! And it's awesome to see all these missionaries because we all have a common purpose!

Anyway, I said in my last little email that I didn't know who my companion was. But I do now! Haha! His name is Elder Carlton and he's so awesome! My very first question that I asked him was if he liked Harry Potter at all. And his answer was, "It doesn't interest me in the slightest." Soooooo that's cool. But he LOVES The Office so I mean that's pretty sick because we just quote it all day long (when appropriate). So blessed. He is really cool though. He's from Lehi and he was in the marching band. He's a little quiet at times but the spirit that he brings when we plan and teach is incredible! And he understands all of my sayings like "GG" (good game) or "Salty" and stuff like that so I don't have to hold back lol.

I absolutely LOVE my district! We call ourselves "District Watinia" because we have people going to Washington, Spain, and West Virginia (obviously lol). We all get along so great and it's awesome! I don't have any sisters in my district. Just 12 elders! 4 elders are going to my same mission, Elder Carlton, Elder Sandlin, and Elder Wilson. 6 (I think) are going to Washington. And 2 are going to Spain! And I'm not our District Leader! I was really scared I would be because we had a little interview with the Branch Presidency and they said right before I walked out the door, "A district leader needs a smile like yours and spirit obviously but mainly your smile." After that I didn't know what to say so I just walked out the door without saying a word haha. I know I'm dumb but nothing I can do about it now! 

Literally this place is like a much more spiritual version of Viewmont High School! I've seen Elder Barnett, Peterson, Huber, Thiel, Riley, Gerber, Dixon, Olsen, Cooper, Morris, and so many others!  Elder Barnett saw me and went "Come on buddy. Give me the good stuff." and gave me a hug haha! Now my roommates always say "Elder Hanson, give me the good stuff" whenever I walk into our room at night. And, being my awkward self, never know what to say so I just say "Lolz no." Anyways, enough about that. Oh! Fun fact! My roommates and I managed to lock ourselves out of our room on our 2nd night here! We all forgot to grab a key inside our room. It was pretty awkward actually because Elders would walk by and kind of laugh at us newbies just standing outside of our room haha. But it's fine! We got it figured out! 

I taught my first "lesson" yesterday to an investigator named "Kaitlyn". We taught her about putting God first in everything you do and how everything would fall into place. It was really, really cool actually because my companion and I planned a great lesson beforehand but we probably said a total of 2 things that we had planned. Everything else that we taught was by the Spirit! No doubt about it! I even got to share a personal experience about my 8th grade self and how I decided to put God first my 9th grade year. Everything else just seemed to work out and make me happier. It was an amazing first lesson! 

Okay, and I'm so sorry but I forgot to bring my camera to the computer lab so I don't know if I'll have pictures this week! I will try and get them to you by today but it might not happen! But don't worry, I have been taking pictures!

That's about it for these past few days! So much has already happened and I cannot wait to experience many more awesome things! I know this church is true and I know that God lives! He loves all of you and so do I! 

2 Nephi 31: 20

-Elder Hanson

"Watinia District"

Elder Carlton and Me
Proud to be a Missionary!

Week 1 - August 3, 2016 - MTC

So they're not giving me a whole lot of time to write but just wanted to let you know that I'm safe! I've literally been here for like 30 minutes but I already love it! I love the spirit! I don't know who my companion is yet but I'll let you know ASAP as possible! I love all of you! Church is true!

-Elder Hanson

West Virginia here I come

Noah and Hayley

Proud Dad!

We love Noah!


Saying Goodbye

He's Off!