Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Well mom, I´d like you to mark that appointment. You´re certainly right that our missions teach us more than just a thing or two. I certainly understand the scriptures a lot more. It´s exciting because every time I read them, I discover so many things. It´ll be great to see how Rick will start to understand and use the scriptures more and more. I started reading the Book of Mormon again. I´ve already read through it a few times and I read the whole old testament while I´ve been out here. 
It really doesn´t seem like I´ll be home in a couple weeks. I´m having trouble getting that through my head. My whole mission has gone by really quickly and I wouldn´t say that it´s going by slowly now but I just feel like I have to have more time here. I guess I won´t be that excited about coming home until I´m on the plane and it finally "hits" me. 
Things are slow around here as usual. We have some families that need to get married and some youth who can't be baptized while their parents don´t let them. I feel like next transfer my companion and his new companion will have a good number of baptisms though.
I guess I can´t think of much to write because I feel so weird now that I´m going home soon. Lots of people are going to make me cake and things before I go though =)
I love you guys.
- Elder Hanson 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Taking in a lot here

I feel like your prayers have been helping me a lot.  I´ve had some real happy moments this week and I´ve laughed a lot. I had an interview with the mission president on Wednesday. I told him that even as hard as it´s been, I wouldn´t trade my mission experience for anything. He said that upon speaking to some of his missionaries who have completed their missions and returned home that there are missionaries who had it really easy on their missions and come back the same as they were before. He knows I´m in a hard area and things aren´t easy but we agreed that I´ll be able to take a lot away from this. I know that I have to suffer a bit to understand what my Savior did for me. I´m sure it´s so that I can more fully understand and testify of His atonement to others. 
I found a Twix bar for the first time on my mission. It was really tiny. A little bigger than my pinky and it´s the only size they sell. The funny thing is it was about 50 cents and I had to buy it to take a picture of it. I took a picture of it next to my name tag. 
Thursday we went on the local radio show for about five minutes to invite people to come to Church. The radio station is on the second floor of our apartment building.The Radio guy (no I don´t remember the english word for this) is an inactive member of the Church. I want to help him a lot. 
On my mission I´ve tried a lot to help others and often times I´ve found that they don´t want to be helped. I´ve learned a valuable lesson from all this and that is that we have to keep plugging away anyways. I´ve cried often times because of what I desire for others but they don´t desire for themselves. I have begun to comprehend how Christ felt when he cried " Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered [thee] and ye would not!
It´s hard but it´s also been the best, most character shaping time of my life. Some families will have eternal life because of the humble efforts I was able to put forth with my companions. I also don´t think there could ever be a time where I´ve laughed harder than when I´m together with some Elders in an apartment or in a van on the way to zone conference. There´s been happy moments and there´s been hard moments and even in the hardest I´ve always felt like everything will work out because of the Rock of Christ I´ve been building upon.  
I´ve made so many true and lasting friends here. I´m also instantly liked by new missionaries and I am also able to instantly bond with new Elders.  
Tomorrow at district meeting, I will be giving a training on the use of the Book of Mormon in our contacts and lessons. It´s good to be able to offer some help to other Elders and I´m glad to have this bit of responsibility close to the end of my mission. My district leader is Elder Hollandsworth and he´s a really humble guy who says I have a lot to offer.  
On Sunday I went with my companion and some members of the Elders Quorum to give a blessing to a nice lady in the ward. She fell ill a couple of weeks ago and has steadily been getting worse. As we gave her a blessing I felt such a strong spiritual presence. Every blessing I give, I feel that it renews my testimony. 
I´m trying so hard to make the best of my time here. We´ve been reactivating a family that moved here from Quaraí. They have been going to Church for the last couple of weeks. We´re going to try to baptize their ten year old daughter before I go home. I´m confident that this will work out and I feel it´ll be a really special way to end things out. 
I love you guys. The emails you guys sent me last week really helped.  
- Elder Hanson

March 11, 2013

Cicero stopped coming to Church a while ago. He´s not progressing and we had to stop visiting him. 
One of the little boys that we were going to baptize has been coming to Church every Sunday. His family hasn´t come for the last two weeks. They think it´s too soon to baptize him or they want to all get baptized as a family or something along those lines. The parents would have to get married (which is something we want) but that takes at least a month for the papers to get back and they haven´t even started. 
One family from Quaraí has moved to São Pedro. They´d been inactive for about ten years. Now they are becoming active here and we will be baptizing their daughter who is now 12. 
We taught a lesson to a nice family yeterday. The good thing is that the branch president came along with us and it was clear that the spirit was felt there. 
I love you guys so much! The mission really does transform us. I wouldn´t trade anything for the experiences I´ve had here and I always knew the Church was true but my testimony has really taken shape here. My emails have been shorter because we´re not making much progress here. I´m sure that after I get home, some of the people 
I´ve been working with will be baptized. 
- Elder Hanson

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baptisms Coming! & Eu sinto falta comida chinesa

Ha! Rick's face is priceless. Well it sure is interesting to see where Rick is going. I´m sure that he´ll have a really funny accent (or two) when he calls/gets home. We´ll also have some time to clown around before he´s off to the field.  
This week has been great. We´ve been working with a family for a couple weeks and this Saturday the two young boys of the family will be baptized. Their dad wants to get baptized and so does the mom (she just doesn´t know when) and they are going to go to the Church and always make sure the boys stay active. One of the boys is only eleven years old and during our last lesson he bore testimony about how he felt that the Church was true upon his first visit. My companion gave him a scripture case so that he could carry his books to the Church and he cried and hugged my companion. 
A nice single mom has also accepted baptism and wasn´t at the Church this week but we bet she´ll come next week. 
Life has been good. I´m going to finish the mission here in São Pedro. Friday we´ll have zone conference and I’ll bear my testimony in front of the zone. That´s gonna make me cry.
I´m not trunky. However ... I can´t wait for the day I´ll be able to eat Chinese food.   
About that picture - no mom.  That´s a Brazilian Elder who some people confuse me with. If the picture were any bigger you´d see it´s not me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bright future

Well I´m sure Rick will get his call this week. I´m anxious to know where he´s going. I can´t believe that Mckenna will be speaking Chinese. That´s awesome. I remember the story I heard at the CTM of an Elder who wanted to give up because of problems learning Portuguese. His instructor told him to give it one more chance and he agreed. The funny thing is that the next day, the instructor sent him to study with the Elders who were learning Chinese. After just a few hours the Elder ran up to the instructor and told him that he´d have no problem learning Portuguese.
Elder Hollandsworth and I will be getting home on the same day. I would assume that Elder Jensen will be there too, but I don´t know.
Recently we found a family and yesterday they came to Church. The couple and their three boys seem to really be enjoying things there. Ciçero wasn´t at Church yesterday but I think he was out of town. We´re teaching the non-member spouses of a few members and the future looks bright.  The father in this family that we´re teaching offered a humble prayer after our lesson on Saturday and it was really great to see the spirit instructing and inspiring him. 
Time was passing by real fast but now not so much. That´s good because I´ve been wanting time to slow down a bit here towards the end of the mission.
Love, Elder Hanson

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's going well

Well this week we found a new family. They are fantastic (before I get you too excited though, they didn´t come to Church yet). They really felt the spirit and liked us and the member that we were teaching the lesson with. At the end they all went out to the front of the house and watched us (big smiles on their faces) as we went away. We found this family through a member. He was giving a ride to some people he worked with and he put on some Church hymns. One of the women he works with started asking questions about the Church and said that she felt so good with those hymns in the car. He took down her address and we went with him to visit the woman’s family. They were going to go to the Church yesterday but something must have gone wrong. 
Ciçero came to Church! He shaved and got a haircut. He´s looking sharp. I´ve seen that he´s changed a lot and has a genuine desire to follow Jesus Christ. 
The mission is hard but very rewarding. I know that if I wasn´t here there´s so many things that I wouldn´t have learned. From big lessons to little things I´ve noticed, the mission has been so important to me and I knew even when I was just starting that what I´ve learned and the changes I´ve experienced are things I couldn´t get anywhere else. I don´t know how many BIG miracles or experiences I´ve had but there´s so many times I just feel grateful to have the gift of the holy ghost and for knowing what I know. 
I remember waking up this week and saying my prayers and just feeling so grateful for that very real communication that I have with my Heavenly Father. I have come to know God the Father and Jesus Christ and I really recognize Christ’s role as Savior and mediator in my life. It´s also been in this area that I had one of my strongest testimony building experiences. I was in our small apartment about to go to bed and I just felt the real truth behind what we do. I felt the spirit so strongly. It was something simple but undeniable. 
I haven´t baptized many. But most of those I´ve baptized are active and prospering in this Gospel. Another miracle is my ability to speak Portuguese. People confuse me with a Brazilian sometimes and I can understand  everything, I can testify and I can even joke around. I know that this is a miracle because it required a lot of prayer at the beginning and now I pick everything up like a snap. 
Correct my grammar. I know that some of what I´m typing seems weird. It´s because I don´t usually speak English around here.

Well it´s funny that you´re going to serve a pork roast for the missionaries. Some lady from our ward was saying that because the Lord said in the Old Testament that his saints shouldn´t eat pork -and because He doesn´t change- she doesn´t eat pork. We laughed and tried to tell her that those things were fulfilled in the Lord but we were wasting our breath. 

You don´t have to worry about me messing around on the computer too much. I know that there´s all in one computers that make using a webcam/skype super easy and has some other neat stuff. I also don´t know how things have changed. I heard there´s already a windows 8. Shows how long I´ve been gone. 
Tell Rick I think the hardest thing about getting your wisdom teeth out is not even being able to slurp noodles. If I remember correctly I was eating pure broth for a while.

Love you all, Elder Hanson

Monday, February 4, 2013

Plugging along

Well I sat down today to write this email home and I noticed that the computer chair was really low and so I fixed that. Then I remembered how I always used to lower the computer chair at home and you guys hated it! I don´t have that habit anymore but it was funny to remember. 
This week we had a district meeting in a different chapel than last transfer (the districts and division were changed.) We have to take a bus to Santa Maria for district meeting and with this new chapel we had a hard time getting there on time. In fact we got there late. It´s all okay though. Tomorrow we´ll be there on time. 
This last week we also had a zone conference. I learned a lot and we tried really hard during the week. It´s crazy to think that next Zone Conference will be my last. 
We´ve got some new investigators. This week we´ll also be teaching a lot of lessons with members. 
Some lady came up to us yesterday and said that she´d love to come to Church but because it was at nine in the morning she didn´t think she´d go. She said she sleeps late and I told her to make an exception for Sundays. She said if God wants her to go this next week then he´ll wake her up. I told her that God helps those who helps themselves and she said that I was right. Then she called me and my companion hunks. That´s sort of how it would be translated to English. She used the word bonitão which means big beautiful.
Everyone has been noticing that I have some white hair already. Just like Adam and Uncle Bruce.
Cicero should be getting baptized on the fifteenth. Maybe his baptism will end up at the end of the month to coincide with an activity though. 
Love, Elder Hanson