Still going strong, never stopping! (Grant’s words)

I am including two emails from Grant this week. The first one is what he sent me, mom. He responds to my nagging him to be safe and healthy and to my mention that he will be done with the official “training” phase of his mission in about a week and a half. In the second email, one he sent to his dad, he describes his bike crash in more detail. What I find more interesting and telling of the kind of missionary he is are his thoughts and actions after the accident when dealing with the man who comes running to help him. He is definitely all about the work. I couldn’t be more proud of him and grateful that he is healthy and strong.

Mom’s email:

 

“Your e-mail has indeed found me happy and healthy, here in a library, after a bike crash that is in dad’s e-mail. I am writing on Tuesday because the library is closed on President’s day.

I am being careful, sometimes careful doesn’t want to be me though… I have ridden 340 miles accident free until today… I have only had to ride in snow and ice in December, it was coldish last week and this week it was been really nice weather, I guess Texas has seasons!

I am definitely listing to promptings, it is my goal to write in my journal every night how I have seen the Lord’s hand in my life that day, and so far I have had such powerful testimony experiences, and I have only been here about three months!

Elder Ostlund is from South Jordan Utah, He is awesome! really cool guy he took a year of college at BYU before coming here, he was in their student government thingy, and has given me some advice on getting back there after the mission, through the deferment, recommending that I ask you near the end of my mission maybe a couple months before the end of the mission to call BYU administration to know how to deal with a deferment and get back in winter of 2016 without any problems! He is a very scholarly kind of guy, knows how to study well, and is helping me, he has helped me understand the importance of flash cards, he has about 600ish, had double that last week, but gave some to another elder who is struggling with Spanish, and promised me the rest of his when he has them memorized.

Yep in two short, scary how fast time goes by, weeks I will be done with training, and who knows what will happen, it is up to the Lord by revelation to the mission President what will happen. Either Elder Ostlund will stay here and I will go or we will stay together for another transfer, which is a six week period, basically a month in missionary time, we have 16 transfers in the field of our mission and 1 in the CCM. Kind of scary how fast it goes. Those are our guessed odds of what will happen.

I have to go, we are going to teach a person on the other side of our area  and need to be there in about 15 minutes, I love you!
Your son who prays for you and the family every night,
Elder Hagen”

 

Dad’s e-mail:

 

Well I am loving being a missionary, You asked about bikes, I want to answer that first. Well on my way here to the library right now, I ate it hard, riding where the sidewalk should be, then the sidewalk ended, I kept going, then there was a driveway, my mind “aw perfect! a place to get onto the street” I look behind me, there is a SUV coming up fast, so I slow down to let it past, I paused, still riding, and got to the end of the driveway as it was passing. Didn’t realize it before, but there was sand and stones on the driveway, I bumped the curb, slid, and threw myself off the bike into the grass on the right (little patch right after the driveway)… I get up, the handle bars on my bike are backwards, my companion was behind me, said I slid more than eating it hard. But we were about three feet from that driveway and there was a man working on something in his car, or getting something from his car and saw the whole thing. within a minute of me standing up, still trying to spin my handle bars back around, he is over here talking to me, asking me if I am ok, and I said something like, “yeah, its all good, we bike a lot” he offered us bottled cold water, and when he went back to his house, in my mind I decided I was going to teach this man our message. He came back and we got onto the topic of religion, He is from San Luis El Estado en México, los Santos, but has been here for fifteen years, so we shared our message, he is Baptist but we left him with a card, maybe will we will go back sometime and teach him more! We kept riding to get here, the Library is about four miles from our apartment, we had to stop and fix my derailer in front, the fall and removed the cable from the gear housing and I had to adjust my spedometer, I am keeping track of all my miles on my mission, it was erased halfway during last transfer because an Elder was messing with it… but right now I am at about 340 miles, from about two months of biking. Our area is really only seven miles across about four tall, covering a part of Fort Worth, Haltom, and a city called Richland Hills.

 

In church, usually we dont teach, The Zone Leaders did this Sunday in Elders Quorum, but because we are in a ward that covers three stakes, and has about 600 members but only about 120 active, we usually don’t. I gave that talk my first Sunday in the ward, they seem to not have enough people to give talks, but manage with only having the sister missionary play the piano, that being the usual missionary contribution to sacrament meeting, Oh I have blessed the sacrament a couple times. My companion was telling me in Waco since it is a branch of about 100 members with 40 active, they got to know a lot of the ward and such, I would love to serve in a branch for the experience.

 

I have time on Mondays for letters, sometimes it gets lost with other things, for example my companion has broken both of his pedals, they were plastic and got destroyed under the stress a missionary puts on them. We have made pedals twice, when there were pieces left, we used a coat hanger to make more surface area. Since they were completely gone except for the pegs, we took them and some Nike shoes in the apartment that are small for both of us, and made new pedals, then he bought metal ones yesterday.

 

It has definitely warmed up in the last two days, no more snow! and I am riding in short sleeve shirts now, and it has been so much nicer, so many more people out and about too. I am talking to more and more people each day, it is awesome! Last week was rough, we couldn’t meet to many people and so we didn’t have many lessons, we reevaluated how we are working and are having so much more success!

 

Well, food is always appreciated, I am trying to eat health and so far so good, staying at 160 pounds, if there is any food that you could thing of to send, it would be much appreciated, getting letters and packages are such boosts to our energy and in fact I have a package that I am sending to you guys, with letters in it, Mexican candy, and the books that I had, which I want to read, but don’t have time, right now I am reading the Book of Mormon in English, Spanish, and I am reading Jesus the Christ, which is an incredible book and I recommend it if you have down time!

 

Dad I love you so much and I pray for you and for our family each day

 

I love you Dad,

Elder Ostlund wrestles

Elder Ostlund wrestles

 

Mmmmm...pancakes!

Mmmmm…pancakes!

 

The “Yalls” are here to stay

Well it is fun to say yall, all missionaries try and don’t try to pick it up but we end up with it somehow. Thank you for the letter, I like reading it, since I don’t have too much stuff to read on P-Day reading a long letter is nice and comforting.
 

 

Spanish is awesome, Spanish people are awesome! Picante es super bien! Out side of the apartment whenever we are working we speak Spanish to each other and continue to unless we need to talk to someone in Ingles. I am still working on my Spanish, I believe in the gift of tongues, I have seen it, and I have been told by some that I have it, I am grateful for compliments like that, I am working on my Spanish, but can communicate and hold a conversation with the lord’s help! I am mailing the box this week, It has some Mexican candy in it, letters, and those books that you sent to me, I want to enjoy them when I get home, and don’t have the opportunity to read those here.
 

 

This week we had an exchange where I went to another missionaries area, and they have a car! Then it snowed, lots of it and we lost car privileges due to the snow, so we walked… about six hours of the day in the snow to get to an apartment complex on the other side of his area for tracting and visiting members and investigators all in one place ! I enjoyed it, glad I have so many jackets and thermals and the such!
 

 

(This next bit is a response to a new class they started in our ward using a book called “The Power of Everyday Missionaries”.)

That missionary class sounds exciting! I am so glad the ward is pressing forward missionary work, I can almost guarantee the Missionaries there are grateful, that is a struggle with the Spanish work, it shouldn’t be, but we need to go on more exchanges with members, having them come out with us is one of the strongest ways to do the work, when a member bears testimony, it strengthens that investigator in ways that members may not always see, we had a member who is a RM of about 2 years now, he came with us and helped us in a lesson, and with him, the lesson was improved tenfold! I am grateful for member help whenever we can have it, the struggle is a lot of people believe that feeding us is doing their share which I appreciate and enjoy a good meal, but I agree and follow my mission president, I will trade all of my dinner appointments that a member may have with me for just one exchange with that member.
 

 

Thank you so much for your letter! I love you and hope you are all safe and well, I pray for you daily.
Love
Elder Grant Hagen
 
Feb. 2014 fort worth water tower
 
So last week we were on one side of town and needed to be at the other side of our area in thirty minutes when it is a 45 minute ride taking streets, so we improvised and it worked,. crossed a river under a heavy traffic bridge and such, through a field and forest.
 
The short cut

The short cut

 

The short cut

The short cut

The short cut

The short cut

 

 

Working Hard and Loving It (and the “yalls” are increasing!)

This week has been a long one here at home. Besides regular life it was my birthday and preparations for the arrival of family for my grandmother’s funeral. It’s amazing how far my siblings and cousins came for the funeral, literally from all over the world; cousins came from various mainland states plus Singapore, Australia, Hawaii, and my siblings and parents came from Utah with one brother and wife  from coming from Colombia. It was a testament to how amazing Grandma Steimle was that people would travel so many hours, sometimes days (20 hour flight from Singapore) to come honor her life. Grant responds to all of things in his email.

“I met a man this week who was different, he was dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume for Liberty Mutual and stopped Elder Ostlund and I as we were riding by. He talked about many things, dont forget the little guy, and that everyone has a “homage” (mission). What has stuck with me from this guy is at the end of our talk he raised his coffee and shouted, share your message To The Four Corners Of the Earth. Now that I have talked about that, I read your letter and pondered and am fascinated in all the different parts of the world that our family lives in, and how essentially from the four corners, we were gathered, yall were gathered to be united as a family, a sad time passing of a loved one, Great Grandma Steimle, who as your cousin said and I agree, made us all feel important.

Also, Happy birthday, I have letters, letters for you, for dad, for all yall, but they are not sent! I am putting together a box that I want to send next week, in it is a letter for your birthday… I am sorry I didnt send it sooner, I love you and wanted to hand write you for your birthday, then I forgot that I dont have much time to do stuff as a missionary…

I hope you have gotten rest, peace and happiness from seeing everyone as well. I love you and wish I could have been there. I am grateful to be doing the lords work and serving, I am loving being here, my companion is awesome, 6’5″ of awesomeness, and we work hard, we dont give up and I never will. I have changed out here I need to say that, I feel more mature more patient, but more firm and I am still changing.
I love you and am happy to serve

Love
Elder Hagen!

Super 6'.5" Elder Ostlund

Super 6′.5″ Elder Ostlund

 Potatoes, ground beef, onion, cheese, and barbque sauce. good stuff!

Potatoes, ground beef, onion, cheese, and barbque sauce. good stuff!

 

 cup of abuelita

cup of abuelita

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posing like the Four Corners statue of liberty guy

Posing like the Four Corners statue of liberty guy