Week 4

Grant’s email to me (mom). Again he is answering my questions. Such a good son. One of which was “had he received letters from dearelder.com” and also “tell me what being made zone leader means”, since he told his dad a week ago he was made zone leader but he didn’t tell me. At least his dad and I share so we know what each other knows.

(Oh and if you miss it he says in todays email that after today don’t send any more snail mail letters to him in Mexico. Since we have discovered they take so long he probably won’t get them before he goes.)

“Hi and Happy Thanksgiving!!! yesterday I recieved quite a lot of Dearelder.com letters two from you, one from tayler and Dad, and another from Uncle Danny, Thankyou all so much, but i think dear elder is taking longer to get here than regular mail, since your letters, or at least the one from dad is dated november 10th…

Oh also I got a letter from Erlyn Lyzaro today and Grandma Hagen with my set-apart blessing, it was heartwarming and a good experience to read those.
Well since last I wrote life has been pretty good, and yes two weeks ago i was called a Zone Leader over zone 16, which as of yesterday only has two districts of about 8 people each left in it. Being Zone Leader doesnt change much, it means fellowshipping everyone, and having interview with district leaders as well as sunday meetings with the branch presidency. The e-mail list you mentioned, really is who you said and grandma hagen as well, Erlyn is the only friend besides Jed I have heard from since leaving on my mission. When did Aunt Heather send another treat package is it the one with the rootbeer in it and the wonka candy? also Aunt Jen sent me a peanutbutter type package that is delicious, but I dont know what to do with the jar of peanut butter, maybe i will dip bueno bars in it. life is still good, Sunday i ruined one of my white long sleeve shirts, i left the cap off of my pen when i put it in my pockets and it inked all  the way down to about my bellybutton, only stained the shirt though, not my garmets suprisingly. I have five boxes of food in my closet, most of which we will eat tomorrow for thanksgiving as a district. One of the other elders in my district, Elder Dow recieved a box of cinnamon rolls we plan to eat tomorrow and a bottle of Martinelli Apple cider. I have tons of food to eat, I am more worried of gaining 30 pounds even before going to the mission Field! Also, my companion and I still get along quite well, he has a lot more energy than I seem to on a regular basis, maybe from wanting, and we have twice, to run at 5:45 in the morning…. It is always wonderful to hear from you and how everyone is, also, I will be on for another 37 minutes so… Have my letters been making it home? which have you recieved? should I put more than 1 american stamp on them?
Also could you take a screenshot of the blog? i would like to see what it looks like, and I will ask to post to not send any more letters to the CCM after today, they will arrive about the time i leave and I may not have the opportunity to check the mail. Love you much, love all of you, you support me so much, oh and tomorrow, I forgot to mention, my district are the ushers for any devotional we have, meaning we man the lights, and seat people so it isnt everyone sitting in the back, but tomorrow, is a Thanksgiving devotional and a General Authority is coming here to speak! I dont know who or if it is a member of the 12 but I am excited.

Sincerely, with love
Elder Grant Hagen
Pictures!”
me and our teacher/ first investigator Hermano Morillo, aka Jorge who was someone he taught on his mission
 
me and our teacher/ first investigator Hermano Morillo, aka Jorge who was someone he taught on his mission
Bueno Bar, a kitkat that breaks into 4 chunks filled with nutella (hazelnut spread), maybe i will buy a box for 150 pesos, 10 bucks, take it to texas and mail it to you.

Bueno Bar, a kitkat that breaks into 4 chunks filled with nutella (hazelnut spread), maybe i will buy a box for 150 pesos, 10 bucks, take it to texas and mail it to you.

me and several native missionaries who got here this week, they are only here 12 days so we have seen quite a few rotations of them

me and several native missionaries who got here this week, they are only here 12 days so we have seen quite a few rotations of them

heres a picture of the tienda, GYM and post office, with my compainion elder leavit

heres a picture of the tienda, GYM and post office, with my compainion elder leavit

me in my gym shirt (soccer shirt i bought, official mexico league)

me in my gym shirt (soccer shirt i bought, official mexico league)

“I Have 20 seconds so this is it, i love you all so much, be safe, be there when i get home, ask my friends if they have my address, bye!”

Week 3…. does this feel like an eternity to anyone else?

Today’s email is a bit choppy because apparently Elder Hagen’s dad (Gary) and I were both emailing back and forth with him. It isn’t exactly texting or instant messaging or a phone call, but I’ll take it. He sounds wonderful and knowing him he is working hard and loving his time there.The beginning of his email is a response to me. Being a “mom” I asked him if he had eaten a fruit or vegetable since he’d gotten there. All I can say is here at home I had to force him to take the broccoli or salad at meal times, so I pretty much assumed he’d never do it without me nagging… so it begins with his response to me…..

“I am definitely eating my fruits and vegetables down here, almost about two salads a day. Went to the temple again today it was a good experience as always, and in spanish. They are also setting up for the holidays they turned a street light into a christmas tree.”

Street light Christmas Tree.

Street light Christmas Tree.

That is a picture of us taking a picture in front of a fire-hydrant mirror thingy.

That is a picture of us taking a picture in front of a fire-hydrant mirror thingy.

And there is a picture of all of us on the bus to the temple

And there is a picture of all of us on the bus to the temple

“Oh and I forgot to mention that elder Leavitt and I got up extra early today, went to the other side of campus, and did our laundry so that it could be done before the temple trip at 8, so we were doing laundry by 5:45.”
” The weather here is the same as California, we had crazy thunder and lightning storms yesterday. The whole sky was lit up and you heard the sound that was of booming cannons, which also reminds me, whenever people are celebrating here they launch fireworks, not anything flashy but the kind that just release a huge cloud of smoke and sound like mortar fire, that was what we woke up to today.”
When I asked if he got Spencer’s letter (sent at the same time as his other 2 brothers, which he did receive) and he asked if Dad (Gary) got the letter he wrote in Spanish and the answer to both was “no” he responded….
“hmmmm…. well that’s not cool, i did however get packages from both you and the tolens, Thankyou so much!! oh and i got the first package of Doughnuts from the tolens too if they were wondering. everything came on thurday of last week if that gives a timing distance. Picture time…”
This is the Gymnasium in the Gordon B, Hinkley building.

This is the Gymnasium in the Gordon B, Hinkley building.

my view of the CCM when i walk out of the door of my Casa in the morning

my view of the CCM when i walk out of the door of my Casa in the morning

We bought bananas from a street vendor!

We bought bananas from a street vendor!

a view of the city from the bus, those are homes and streets and shops all the way up on the hillside, the CCM is in the valley i would guess center left of the picture.

a view of the city from the bus, those are homes and streets and shops all the way up on the hillside, the CCM is in the valley i would guess center left of the picture.

There was a parade today as well, so half the streets were closed, so traffic was all in one lane going both ways, i mean both directions of traffic were in one lane

There was a parade today as well, so half the streets were closed, so traffic was all in one lane going both ways, i mean both directions of traffic were in one lane

I then asked him a couple more questions…. When exactly did packages arrive so that we can figure out how long they took (in case your wondering Izzy Tolen, Heather Tolen and Gary all sent Grant goodies from mydearmissionary.com, a company based in Mexico City, so all the goodies arrive fresh and fast) and I asked if all the missionaries in his district are going to Fort Worth at the same time… and he said….

“Well, the cookies came before wednesday, i cant remember which, the package i got from you guys was dad’s cinnamon rolls, which i still need to eat, kinda storing food…. The two hermanas in our district are going to Flordia and New York City, whereas two elders in our district are going to El Salvador, Elder Smith and Elder Dow. Elder Ray, Elder Leavitt, Elder Hornberger and I are all going to fortworth texas, i think they put everyone going to the same mission in the same district. But we have met others going to NY and FL and El Salvador so im not sure. The Hermanas leave a day before us, the El Salvadoreans dont know when they leave, and we all leave december 10th.”

Elder Dow: El Salvador

Elder Dow: El Salvador Mission

Elder Hornberger

Elder Hornberger: Fort Worth Texas Mission

Elder Rey

Elder Rey: Fort Worth Texas Mission

“I have gotten 3 packages, 1st was doughnuts from izzy a while ago, then i got cookies from aunt heather and cinnamon rolls from dad yesterday, that is what i mixed up, the days that i got stuff”

“I have 5 mins left…

I want to say that I love you, and everyone else back home so much,

Thats not a complete email, accidently hit send, I want you to all know that I love serving the lord, This opportunity for me to grow is a blessing in my life, I know my testimony has greatly increased. I miss all of you and love you, but at the same time, i love the people here, especially the natives, they are friendly, kind, and mostly janitors and gardeners that my companion and i stop and talk to frequently. the letters that I sent today, i sent one to dad, and one with answers to both tayler and Jacob.. should have written to spencer too, wish i had known he wrote.
Spencer, I love you buddy, im sorry i didnt write, but you are awesome and wow you have probabily grown so much since i left. take care to all of you Love, Elder Hagen”
CCM compañeros: Elder Hagen and Elder Leavitt

CCM compañeros: Elder Hagen and Elder Leavitt

Hurray for Wednesdays!

“Well this week has been awesome! kinda getting into a routine now, same pattern as last time i mentioned, breakfast a seven then personal study for an hour, but then we teach our “second investigator” which is actually our teacher hermano montez playing the role of someone that he taught or baptized. then a class by hermano montez, followed by lunch then an hour of language study which is our decision to learn. Afterwards we are at GYM usually playing volleyball for an hour, then TALL where we learn the language through a computer program that uses headsets. Following TALL we have daily planning then a dinner (all the meals are like, show up at this time and eat as much as you want) then we are taught by our other teacher or we teach him, he is Hermano Morillo who was playing as our investigator Jorge who we began teaching on our third day here! by the time that classes end, it is almost 9:30 and we go back to our rooms, also we have redesigned our room twice now, we took a couch from the living room and put in in ours there were 4 couches total so it should be fine… Yesterday we had a devotional, it is held in the auditorium in the Gordon B Hinkley building, it was a live broadcast from the Provo MTC with L Tom Perry!! He gave an excellent talk on how to strengthen missionary companionships.
    Alright question answering time, when i say mexican food,  a lot of it is actually the normal stuff for down here, feta cheeze on chicken tacos bathed in a green sauce was my lunch today with a dessert of dulce con leche with oreos in it. My companero is in a lot of ways like jed, red hair, bigger guy, shorter than me just barely though. He was on his wresting team and very friendly, and knows more spanish then me which is good, since he and i (mostly he) lead the class in understanding and comprehending our teachers who usually only speak spanish and are trying to actually learn english. I also got 4 of Izzy’s letters, we have an Elder here named Elder Hornberger who has been getting roughly 7 letters a week, and a package, suprising since it takes 8-9 days for stuff to get here. At the temple we had the option to use headphones, my companion opted out there were about 25 missionaries that went, temple trips are always tuesdays, wednesdays, and thursdays, but you only go on your P-day which takes most of the time. So of the 25, 8 our our district, 5 used headphones the whole time, elder Dow, and I decided not to, his didnt work, and i was understanding what was being said. All in all, i spoke spanish at the temple. I have typed this much, answered all the other e-mails, i think i will send you and dad separate still maybe, and i still have 20 minutes of mail time. ill send pictures now
Stolen couch!

Stolen couch!

Giant Moth

Giant Moth

Cafeteria or Comodorre

Cafeteria or Comodorre

Good Food

Good Food

Dorm Laundry Room

Dorm Laundry Room
Did laundry today, walked what may have been half a mile to the dormotories on the other side of the compound to the washing machines, we have 2 washers and 1 dryer in our casa, but the other 8 missionaries living with us not in our district cant figure out how to do scheduled laundry and run them everyday, plus soap is free at the dorms

P-day Email time

P-day Email time

Water Tower

We also have a water tower on campus, yesterday during our service project i got to be right next to it, it is near all the workshops (metalshops, woodshops, locksmiths) and a huge laundry facility on campus. our service project was assigned to fold all the laundry, bedsheets, blankets, and pillows that are actually provided here, but i am still using my own stuff and they dont mix it in, had to wash my sheets today too

The B is for when this was a school, now it is Bauptismo!

The B is for when this was a school, now it is Bauptismo!

This is a picture from last week when we went to the temple trip, thought i should include a picture with me in it..

This is a picture from last week when we went to the temple trip, thought i should include a picture with me in it..

Watch out Texas!

Watch out Texas

let me know if there is anything specific that you want me to take pictures of!
Also, yesterday back at the casa before getting ready for bed, we need to be in
bed at 10:30, so around 9:45 we had a tie trading convention, people have
brought roughly 30 ties each! the tienda sells them for 45 pesos each, about 3$
but there isnt a variety provided here.

I love all of you so much and am happy to be here serving the lord, but i miss all of you so much inside at times, not homesick just love.

Elder Hagen

So Wednesday is the day

Finally received another e-mail from Grant today. He says Wednesday will be his p-day while in the CCM (not sure what CCM means yet)

It’s very informative… though I have a million more questions he didn’t answer. But for now it will do. The great part is that even though I was at work I happened to be on my email sending some things to my boss when I saw he had just sent me an email. We were able to go back and forth for a minute, but that’s why he says “i plan to use the half an hour i still have to type” below, so I let him and stopped asking questions.

“It is good to hear from you, i should have said that in the other message, but here i plan to use the half an hour i still have to type. It has been good here, on day one we got a schedule that follows approximately this schedule everyday except p-day and sunday. Be at breakfast at 7 (we get up at 6) have breakfast for an hour then go to our class to study personally. Then we have class for 3 hours with our teacher, Hermano Montez who looks like he got off of his mission maybe a year ago, recently married. then more personal study, lunch, GYM time, then we have half and hour of cleanup after that, shower etc. Then we have TALL class which is a computer language class. followed by language study in our classroom which is in the Brigham Young building, every classroom building is named after a prophet, with the reception being Joseph Smith, and the 3 story huge welcome building being Thomas S. Monson. After language study is usually dinner the we teach our “investigator” who is named jorge at the top of the Thomas S. Monson building. Teaching Jorge takes about 3 hours, there are 8 people in our district (16B) and each teaches him for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Then we use the rest of the time up until 9:30 planning the next day, singing in the hymnbook, telling stories of home, or whatever else we decide to do. At 9:30 we head back to the casa to be in bed by 10:30. Yesterday instead of teaching Jorge we had a devotional in the Gordon B Hinkley theatre/ GYM. The speaker was elder Johnson of the first Quorum of the Seventy. He talked about how important it is to teach the fundamental message of the gosple. God is our loving heavenly father, who created us, knows us, and has a body like us but perfected. Lots of people take that as common knowledge not realizing how many people dont have this understanding of God.

Today is P-day so we went to the Mexico City Temple at 7 and got back around 12:45 it is about an hour away in some of the scariest traffic I have ever seen, you would not want to drive here. I guess this is the reason we are not allowed off campus outside the 15 foot walls of the CCM, but hey here in the 90 acres has a gym, track, two football fields, a couple soccer fields, a store, post office, cafeteria and along with the 9ish classroom buildings are about 40 houses and two dormitories, I live in a casa, There are 5 bedroom that can accommodate 4 missionaries each and have personal bathrooms. Elder Leavitt, my companion, and I share a room to ourselves, the other 4 guys in our district live in room 3, rooms 2 and 1 are full with another district. Also, If you send anything as i said before, they dont like packages, (safety hazard) and letters take 7 to 8ish days to get here, so i havent gotten any yet. but one of our elders, Elder Hornberger has gotten several packages from Mydearmissionary.com where his family sent him a box of cinnabon rolls, and several letters that are faxed from the website. I miss you all but i am doing the Lords work, I love and miss each and everyone of you.
With love, your son / brother
Elder Hagen

The CCM buses

The CCM buses

A layout model of the CCM campus.

A layout model of the CCM campus.

Grant's companion Elder Leavitt. They Look like a goofy bunch.

Grant’s companion Elder Leavitt. They Look like a goofy bunch.

The little house Elder Hagen and others share.

The little house Elder Hagen and others share.

Grant's room

Grant’s room

Ride to Temple

Ride to Temple

District leaves Mexico City Temple

Mexico City Temple

CCM District 16B visits the Mexico City Temple

CCM District 16B visits the Mexico City Temple

Elder Hagen

Elder Hagen

Elder Smith in our district, natives have fun with his name, touching his tag then rubbing their face or bowing

Elder Smith in our district, natives have fun with his name, touching his tag then rubbing their face or bowing

Grant points out that Angel Moroni is holding scriptures.

Grant points out that Angel Moroni is holding scriptures. Only 5 temples have this type of statue. Los Angeles is another.