The After Christmas

This week we got the update of what he did for Christmas. He begins by responding to a comment I had made in an email I had sent him the night before that it felt like a lot longer then 4 days since we talked to him on the phone on Christmas day. Also in his email he responds to an article from a 1974 Ensign that I sent him. Knowing my son and after hearing his tone of voice and comments on the phone on Christmas I was concerned that he was stressing out and, being the rule bound boy he is, trying so hard to follow the rules and be perfect that he wasn’t having fun and enjoying the joys of being a missionary. I attached the article below so you all can have a feel for what I said to him. Following the article is his email.

“The Gospel and a Sense of Humor, Too

John E. Lewis


Elder Matthew Cowley tells how President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., called him to be mission president in New Zealand. His final instruction was “Now, kid” [he calls me kid] “now, kid, don’t forget rule six.”

“What is rule six?”

“Don’t take yourself too darn seriously.”

“What are the other five rules?”

“There aren’t any,” answered President Clark.

We can take things seriously that we are not solemn about. By the same token, solemnity does not necessarily mean that we are taking the gospel seriously; we are taking ourselves seriously.

There are indications in Church history that Joseph Smith, careful to refrain from lightmindedness as he was, still enjoyed joking with other Church leaders.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not grim; surely the Lord intended for us to enjoy ourselves even in Church meetings. Perhaps the secret lies in another statement by Elder Cowley: “I like to get fun out of this business—good, wholesome fun—get a kick out of it. When I obey the principles of the Gospel, I am the happiest man on earth.”

Perhaps this is what the Lord means by “… men are that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25)—to take the principles of the gospel seriously without taking ourselves too seriously. On the way to exaltation, we ought to enjoy ourselves.

John E. Lewis, Orem Third Ward, Orem Utah West Stake”

Grant’s email:

“Weird huh? how its only been a few days but it feels like a week or more to me too. Time is very different, no school to keep track of it for me, so sometimes a day feel s like a week or a month, other times it seems like an hour is an eternity. We had pizza for dinner, on Christmas, yummy freezer pizza from Walmart we had bought our first week here. sooooooo you guys got an x-box 360, that is pretty sweet. annnd spencer lost his front teeth? well Christmas here was alright, different, but still invited the spirit. On Christmas eve we had dinner with Hermano Bernard and his family in the zone leaders area. It was awesome, he is a artist and has some really cool paintings, in the pictures, that is him in front of one of his paintings that won first place in a church art competition in the late 90s.

Hermano Bernard and Missionaries

Hermano Bernard and Missionaries

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Eve Dinner

Hermano Bernard and award winning painting

Hermano Bernard and award winning painting

On Christmas day we got up and opened what presents we hadn’t opened the day before… yeah we were impatient. Also the packages that were sent by aunt jen and Brother Ferrell were delivered on Thursday, yes I’m keeping the Astrojax and the Yo-yo. Thank you to both of them for the awesome boxes.

Well now for my companion, and yes he got to call his family but once again there were difficulties setting up the call, and now a bit of his story. When he was four years old he was in a car accident, they were t-boned by a work truck going about 50mph. He has had back problems and several therapy sessions since. So on Thursday we went to a Health Clinic/chiropractor to get him looked at.

I sat in waiting room for about an hour and a half while he got xrays and such. We called president Ames that night, and from what he understood about my companions condition, he could be sent home with only 5 months left. That was  bit worrying for me, especially since he is my trainer and friend, he has helped me to not be stressed on the mission, really teaching me how to enjoy it, and be myself while being an obedient servant of the lord.

Friday we went back to the chiropractor, where he was told that his spine was actually fractured in the accident, he is missing some deteriorated bone, and in general, the equivalent of the spine of a 45 year old. There is hope though, he will probably have to regularly check with the doctors throughout his life, and for now, he may not go home, but we will have to see the chiropractor about 3 times a week for the next 3 weeks. As far as him being sick, because he has been that too for the past 2 months, we are going to urgent care today to get that dealt with, so that will be good for him.

I like the story you sent, it teaches very similarly to how my companion has been teaching me, helping me to understand also who I am and why did I choose to serve.
I love you all so much, and have some pictures to send as well.
Take care and Have a happy New Year!

I love you,
Love Grant, Elder Hagen

So we just got back from urgent care, and decided to use the rest of our e-mail time. My companion has the same thing he had in May that made him cough up blood and stay in bed for 2 weeks….. this should be an exciting experience! also in the ward that I am in they are beginning to focus on family history, is it possible to e-mail a copy of Laban Morrill’s story? and in Family Search.org I traced a line of grandpa Morrill’s family back to Adam but none of grandpa Hagen’s history is on the website.

Love you so much!”
Christmas morning, we had what is usually a district meeting was turned into a, we had a couple elders share lessons, The district leaders and Hermana Gwynn sang.
 zone meeting for Christmas

zone meeting for Christmas

 district leaders and Hermana Gwynn sang

district leaders and Hermana Gwynn sang

And we had a white elephant gift exchange, the rule was under $5 or something found in your apartment, I gifted a dollar candle in a glass jar, and a pack of mini twizzlers I bought at Walmart. and by the end of the exchange i had this… so i put it in Elder Barnettes bed for about an hour, then it now lives in our closet downstairs
white elephant gift exchange

white elephant gift exchange

i bought a smaugh at the Army Navy store

i bought a smaugh at the Army Navy store

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