Tornado Free… Yipee!!!

This is the letter Grant sent me this week. It’s much longer, so to me that means better, then the one last week. Sadly no pictures again, he forgot his camera. But on a very happy note, though they had been warned there could be many tornados, none materialized, around him anyway. That makes me a very grateful mom.

“Dearest Mother,

I am indeed tornado free, nothing touched down, only some wind and rain this time, made for a highly anticipated Sunday though, that is the day they said we would be in for it. When the first tornado hit last time, and I may not experience another one in the mission, we heard the siren as soon as reports appeared that there was a green cloud. Apparently the temperatures, and weather will make a cloud appear to be tinted green, that could in turn turn into a tornado. So we do get a little bit of warning, about five to three minutes worth before a tornado forms, clouds begin to spiral, hail comes down in droves, and we decide to drive in the midst of it all to get to the church. We do have instructions for what to do during a tornado, each apartment has an emergency supply with food, water, and medical. As for where tornadoes are, apparently they come across most states in the south, due to the flatness of the land and wherever there are hurricanes, usually tornadoes as well. My companion was in/ had to evacuate for hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina due to living in Houston.

That is wonderful that Zach has sent in his papers! I havent had the chance to talk to him in a while so I am grateful for that news and I need to write him!

This week I became more focused, both myself and my companion, in turn it helped us focus the missionary work. We invited about six different families to be baptized, three of them it was the first real lesson we have had with them, however only one of the groups has a date right now and we are working with them to get that through, that they may spiritually progress! We have another investigator family who has been taught for several months, first the wife was the one studying reading here and there, but apparently only by opening the book where ever it fell and reading the verses. Her husband recently started reading from the beginning and has become interested! It was wonderful to see he expressions and joy he found from reading about Lehi, Nephi and the brass plates, why that record was important to the family. Another person we taught this week, we explained thoroughly the authority that prophets have from the line of Jesus Christ himself. She understood the line as we taught and it made her realize that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, we invited her to be baptized! Sadly she did not accept a date, due to struggling internally over the fact that her family has historically followed another religion that is not the church of Christ. We are moving forward in this mission!

This week there was a Jazz Festival in the city, we couldnt go and visit, but each week we have an hour for computer time, so we went to the library near by. It was closed. We proceeded to go to the other one in the other corner of the area. For computer time we cant e-mail, but we can go to Lds.org or to the other church websites to read news, talks, find teaching materials. I watched the video that Jeffery R. Holland is in on Asia, it is wonderful! I also saw the one with David A Bednar while he was in Africa! These men are truly apostles, prophets, seers, and Revealators. I am so joyful to be a part of this work of Salvation, and I am glad that each of us have this opportunity! As members of the church we are all in part of the hastening of the work of salvation, as President Dieter F Utchdorf stated in General confrence, are we sleeping through the Restauration? How it is a process that is still moving forward, the Lord is still revealing the Gospel and I am grateful for that!

I love you so much, and wow, mothers day is coming up!

Take care!

Elder Grant Hagen”

Happy Easter

This week was wonderful, absolutely wonderful, and a time to reflect on the last week of the Savior’s life. How two Sundays ago, he rode into Jerusalem on the colt, rode in as a king, people waving palm leaves in his path, how he wept as he entered, knowing that they would betray him and he wept for them. The following events of him preaching in the temple, cleansing it for a second time, being anointed twice, Judas receiving the 30 of silver (the same price of a slave), Healing the lame and the blind in the temple. On Thursday night he had the last supper as Jewish days start at sundown, it was the Jewish Friday, he had the last supper, went to the garden of Gethsemane left eight of the apostles outside, went further and left peter, James, and John. He knelt or fell on his face and suffered, taking each persons’ sins and sufferings, pains and afflictions… individually. He visited the three twice during the night, the first not even after an hour had passed, the second stating (refering to them) how the spirit is willing but the body is weak. The third time he returns he tells them to sleep for he knew his time was at hand for betrayal. Sure enough, Judas arrives, betrays him with a kiss, that morning, still Friday, (now our Friday morning) he was tried by the Jewish courts, two false witnesses finally came forward and stated how he had declared he would destroy the temple and in three days build it up (not realizing the reference to his own body). He was then asked by the high priest if he was the son of man and was accused of blasphemy. Following which he was taken to Pilate, who found no fault, had him sent to Herod who was the ruler of Galilee. Herod returned him to Pilate who had him receive forty lashes (possibly trying to make him seem innocent before the people), sent him before the people as to release him as custom on Passover for one prisoner. Barnabas was released. Christ was taken to be crucified, Pilate washes his hands of the matter. Christ is crucified at about 9:00 AM on Friday, darkness gathers at noon, he cries “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me” and gives up the ghost at about 3:00… Nicodemus who was a Sadducee has Christ buried in his tomb, and they hurry for the burial so not to break the Jewish Sabbath which is Saturday. Sunday after the Sabbath, Mary and other women go to the tomb to find it empty, Christ is not there…. He is risen. As a representative of Jesus Christ I testify that he lives, and it is wonderful! http://easter.mormon.org/?cid=HPTU041514694 This video is a new one that the church released for Easter, I invite you to watch it, I find it inspirational.

I love you so much! I hope you are having a wonderful time and I am glad that Sunday was excellent! Take care!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen

New Apartment

This week was a bit of a whirlwind itself as well! There was a lot of missionary work, visiting people, no baptisms sadly but the biggest pressure this week was the anticipation of transfers!

Transfers are this Wednesday, I will be staying in the same area and with my same companion. However, we are in a new apartment now! I didn’t really get time today to take pictures and I am e-mailing a bit later than usual due to moving today!

My new address is: 2401 E. McKinney Apt #414 Denton, Texas 76209. The mission office wouldn’t tell us where we were moving but about three weeks ago they told us to start packing, wouldn’t say where but did tell us when, that was this morning.

I will start with the old apartment, it was old. The design was a second story, unlock the door, and there is the staircase, carry the bicycle up the stairs and around the corner to the house. the corner and wall were covered in years of bicycle tracks from elders scraping the wall. Then the carpet was pretty stained from old cooking mishaps and other instances, and there were several holes in walls throughout the place. It was time for a new apartment.

This new place, we have only been in there to unpack so far, and are far from finished but everything is there now. It is definitely an upgrade, we are for starters in a gated community now, the missionaries who cover other areas say that the place we are in are similar to small homes. Truly for the one bedroom place it is, there is definitely more space! We are now in a first floor apartment, with a fireplace (not going to use it), a nice large bathroom, elevated ceilings, overhead lighting that before my mission I took for granted. The kitchen is built so it isnt a five by eight walkway stuffed in the corner of the place, it is a open, new appliance kitchen and in general I am happy to be in the new home.

As for the damage done by the tornado two weeks ago it is still visible. The hail has left most if not all the cars with pocked dents on the roofs, hoods and some windows are shattered, it is common to see people with plastic wrap over where a window used to be. As far as missionaries we and the cars in the missions are fairly well of, the cars have some small dents but are generally still brand new. A city called Krum was hit by the tornado, I found out a few days ago that the winds were only at twenty-five miles an hour where as in Oklahoma two years ago? It was about two hundred miles an hour. Oh and yesterday was a tornado alert day, it was quite windy, and rained a little in the morning but nothing happened. As far as service we have offered to clear branches and such, but there hasn’t been big cleanup here to help with.

I love you! It is wierd I am starting my 4th transfer in the field, missionaries have a tendency not to count the time in the MTC towards the mission time so we will see! Take care!

Elder Grant Hagen

There was a tornado in my city!

Well….
Hmmm…
How do I say this…

There was a tornado in my city last week…
Hail the size of baseballs.
lots of broken windshields, walmart flooded and all the skylights were destroyed…
A city called krum? dont know how yall write it, was pretty badly destroyed.

It was pretty awesome.

So in a whole the week was how missionary life goes, we teach lessons, most of the days were in the 80s as far as temperature goes, pretty nice for riding bicycles. We are teaching, having really awesome lessons and inviting people to go to conference. Then Thursday…
Thursday we do our weekly planning we sit in our apartment for a few hours and plan out our goals for the following week and plan how to reach the goals we had set for the current week by Sunday. We finished planning at about three and visited an older member of the ward living by himself and taught a lesson. The day was sunny, warm, clear, no clouds whatsoever. We step out of his house and it begins pouring in under 30 seconds, so we go back inside to wait it out. After about thirty minutes it ends, and is sunny again. We ride to an upper neighborhood of our area and though we dont teach any lessons we visited with three people we are teaching and set up appointments to go back. At five we went home, and a member came by with pizza, dropped it off and told us how she had had hail the size of eggs during that brief rainstorm and showed us pictures of it on her phone. At about five forty five when we were getting ready to leave again a siren sounded. It was still clear outside, but the city siren sounded. we go to our porch and our neighbor below tells us a tornado is coming, it touched down in Krum and is heading our way. So… we go back inside and begin texting the other Spanish elders who have a car. Meanwhile we lose service, the winds start picking up and the clouds begin to spin. Soon it was raining hard, then hail hitting cars and such, some people put blankets over their windows and such. The other Elders showed up at our apartment during the hail and we all hurried into their car and headed to the church building. The city had become a lake in under an hour. On our way there we got a text from the Zone leaders to get to the church, happily we were doing so. We got to the church and waited out the storm until about eight forty five.

Friday it was sunny, clear day, the heat of the day had drained/ evaporated all the water and only a few puddles remained. We had an exchange where Elder Guiterrez went to the other Elders area and Elder Hansen came here, we do exchanges to learn from each other, how we teach, contact people, plan.

Saturday was Conference! We were at the church all day, we watched the two sessions and priesthood session in English. It was almost as a holiday, I got to sit there, listen to the prophet, and receive revelation and take notes!

Sunday we did the same up until six. However, the morning session we watched in Spanish, several of our investigators came to conference! So we watched it with them, sadly they could only come for that one session, but they got to hear the prophet speak! The second session we watched in Spanish.

I love you! I am SAFE, it is a little cloudy today, rained lightly yesterday but I am safe and all is well.

Take care!
Elder Grant Hagen

me on stilts, no i didnt walk in them.

me on stilts, no i didnt walk in them.

Elder Guiterrez and I during the storm on Thursday

Elder Guiterrez and I during the storm on Thursday

enjoying the day on our way to visit several investigators

enjoying the day on our way to visit several investigators

The Best Missionary Ever

He in his 6th month and doing great. Maybe I’m just the prejudice mom, but I’m sure he is the best missionary ever! I love his attitude and optimism. It’s so much easier to wait for him to reach the 24 month mark when I know he is happy. It doesn’t help my anxiety though when he mentions things like tornados. As usual his letter is a lot of responses to the email I sent him that day. Like his response to the earthquake we had, asking if he liked the protein powder we sent, and asking what was in the box Grandma and Grandpa sent.

“Well it definitely does not feel like I have been here for six months, really it seems more as though I am barely starting but with more knowledge and a close feeling to the Lord.

An earthquake? Wow! We had a tornado here… not really but we saw a crazy storm form a few miles away and just sweep across the otherwise empty sky. It was pretty cool, in the day it was large and just a lone cloud but as night came it flattened out, and was filled with lightning, I was glad I wasnt under it!

Well the protein drink is awesome! thats the small one? I have a blender cup I got in my last area so I drink it after exercises in the morning, which I am really enjoying as well, my goal is to getting to do one handed push-ups before the end of the mission.

G & G Morrill sent me some moon pies, milk duds, and some yummy chocolate things with peanuts and caramel. It is awesome and My companion and I have been enjoying it.

Well this week we almost had a baptism, the investigator is super cool and we are going to keep teaching them, she is going to all the ward activities, paying tithing and fast offerings, and is basically a super cool member. She just wasnt ready for an interview for the baptism, it may have scared her, im not too sure but she wants to be baptized and has told us so.

Well I love you so much! Ummm on the 14th of April we are moving to a new apartment, the office wont tell us where yet, just that it is better than where we are now? so that means cleaning it all up and getting the stuff like bike tracks off the walls from past missionaries! So anything sent in the week before probably will not get to me.

I love you! Thank you for your support and it is such a joy to read how you and everyone is doing!
Take care!
Love,
Elder Grant Hagen”

Texas storm cloud

Texas storm cloud

Sunday dinner

Sunday dinner

Elder Guiterrez and I

Elder Guiterrez and I