Cheerful Through Ups and Downs

He had many ups and downs this week. I am impressed at the great attitude he keeps through it all. I’ve included his emails to both myself and his dad. FYI… the first little bit of his dad’s in in Spanish, which I think is wonderful.

Dad’s e-mail first:

“Pues esta semana era excelente! tuve muchisimos lecciones con nuevos investigadores, uno que encontramos el Sabado era una reunion de una familia, empezamos a ensenar a tres mujeres que estuvieron afuera de su casa hablando, we asked if we could share a message, they said why not and we began to share the restoration. We were teaching about prophets, and the importance that they have to share god’s word. As we taught, a man came up from the street, from his truck and sat down on the porch as well, said nothing and started to listen, two more guys arrived, sat down and listened intently. It was fascinating and a touching moment how they all came and we had gathered quite a group listening to us preach. we didnt teach in order though, we got to the Book of Mormon, and bore our solid witnesses of the truth and importance of the book. They were fascinated by the fact it is a history and the doctrine given to those here in the ancient americas! Sadly we only had one copy and we learned they were two households. We set a return appointment with one of the families, and they all promised to come to church (sadly that didn’t work).

That was an amazing experience and I wrote some others to mom as well.

That is exciting to hear from Elder Bednar! he is amazing as are all of the apostles and others called and chosen by the Lord.

I hope you have a wonderful week, be safe! dont lose any fingers!

Love Elder Grant Hagen”

Mom’s e-mail:

“Dearest Mother,

Well my birthday week was awesome! We met some amazing people, dealt with some others, guess I will start at the beginning of the week.

Monday I got the package! I was so excited, opened it up, my companion also got his delayed birthday package the same day, so he was super excited and on cloud nine for three days as he says! That night we went on an exchange, so for most of my birthday I was in the other Elders’ area and couldn’t really enjoy the package right then and there, but I had put on the seat, and am still using it and the helmet. We also all went to a restaurant called the MellowMushroom, it is a really good pizza parlor that had some fantastic pizza and were showing the world cup, which has become a bit of a road block for us trying to teach Hispanic people while a game is going on, but I can say I know more about this years cup than any before.

Tuesday (my birthday) we ended the exchange, and that night, we went to teach a man at his house, we were teaching him the plan of salvation, that we can be with our families forever and can exist and dwell in the presence of God. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and tells us it brings him peace! We also taught his son who showed up later in the lesson, became super excited by all the ways he was prepared to meet us, such as us sharing a scripture and it having a perfect relation to his current circumstances, and wonderful things as the such. That night I did enjoy the package!

Wednesday we spent a good deal of time in a bike shop fixing what was first my companion’s bike, then I bought some brakes (plan to make them last the rest of my mission) they found a problem with my bike at the same time… Turns out that the bearing system in the front gears of my bike was worn away and actually is pitted and grooved, the bearings themselves were destroyed. Surprisingly they were amazed it has lasted this long, and on basic and old (1990’s) equipment. The bike has lasted 20 years on a part that shouldn’t have lasted 5! I had them replace it to be the same as the original, the offered to put in new top of the line parts from Japan, but then realized they didn’t have the size needed for this model of bike, and that took about an hour… So now with a part that I believe will last longer than what they offered, and cheaper as well! My bike now doesn’t sound like something is grinding away as I pedal, everything is silent, and a bit easier to turn. None of that was our intention when we walked into the shop though, we just wanted new lights for my companion since his got stolen and to tighten up his pedals.

Also on Wednesday I had a growing experience, we were at a light and a guy in his truck shouted “Elders! meet me at (insert a church name) a mile back on the road!”… We went back to visit him, that wasn’t a good idea, he just wanted to contend about the plurality of Gods, how he doesn’t believe we are literal children of God but rather adopted? Turns out he was a pastor for that church, really friendly and respectful but not interested in reading the Book of Mormon. I told him I cannot convince him and if he wanted to know if it was true he would have to read the Book of Mormon and know if that was doctrine of Christ or not… wonder if he will read. That moment made me ponder about why would someone try to take down a missionary, who has dedicated his time, talent and effort to this cause. I studied the next morning and disproved all of his points with scriptures, I may never see him again though. My testimony is that this work is true, that through the Book of Mormon, we can know that this is God’s kingdom here on the earth and that he loves each of us as his children.

Well those are just some of this weeks stories, I have been keeping my journal still, could you send me a cookbook?

I love you and hope you have a wonderful week as well!

Love Elder Grant Hagen”

Selfie

Selfie


He thinks he's gained SO much weight. Since he was #1 very underweight (size 28/29 waist when he left) and #2 rides hundreds of miles a week on his bike, besides all the walking around, I find it hard to believe he's gained much more than muscle weight.

He thinks he’s gained SO much weight. Since he was #1 very underweight (size 28/29 waist and 6 ft 1 when he left) and #2 rides hundreds of miles a week on his bike, besides all the walking around, I find it hard to believe he’s gained much more than muscle weight.


Does eat yummie food though. They made these peanut butter cookies all by themselves. So proud!

Does eat yummie food though. They made these peanut butter cookies all by themselves. So proud!

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Happy Birthday Week

He is doing some light reading it appears. I know we all read the Bible Dictionary occasionally…not! That is some serious studying. His English is a little mixed too. I think he is mixing languages in his head like every good missionary should. I think it shows how blessed he’s been with the gift of tongues.

“Dearest Mother!

Well I admit, I feel like I am/ will be tomorrow, 19 I cant explain it, but it seems as a fact of life that will happen, and due to the fact that our English language is not the language of Adam (see Bible Dictionary- Writing) I cannot explain all that I would want to, and yes I just finished reading the bible dictionary from start to finish. Now I have read the New testament, Bible Dictionary, Joseph Smith Translations, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage, and I am almost done with the Old Testament. Jajaja, it actually helps with teaching, I may not have all the direct scriptures memorized, but I know where the ones that I need are, as stated in Doctrine and Covenants 21:11 “seek not to declare my word but first seek to obtain my word, then if ye desire, your tongue shall be loosed…” or something along those lines.

Good news! My companion is no longer plagued with vertigo and we were able to have some awesome lessons this week and visit all sorts of people both new investigators and those people who we have been teaching for awhile. For un ejemplo, we met a man on Wednesday, I had met him before, but hadn’t taught, whereas this time we sat down and talked, we got into our lesson and as it turns out he loves to read (that always helps people understand what we are trying to share)! So we were able to give him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and we are excited to return and visit him again, we stopped by but he was busy, he said he read a bit and loves the story, says it is beautiful!

For father’s day we had Stake conference, and the stake here sets it up as general conference! they had several video cameras, satellite transmissions to three? other church buildings. There was a member of the Seventy, Elder Keele, the Dallas Temple President, and President Ames our mission president gave a talk as well! Overall it was a fascinating conference and I am glad to say I take notes at every meeting I go to!

I have heard about the debate that some women are having about the priesthood, and it saddens me, it is not how Christ taught us. We were with a member who mentioned this to us for the first time that I had heard about it, and he is worried because people who have been strong members are from what he heard, fighting against the church, to me this pains my heart, and as the member continued, he said now is the time to strengthen his testimony, he drove to our apartment 50 minutes away from where he lived when he could have been doing other things, but he took the time because he wanted that spiritual experience in his life. It was a reminder to me to keep my testimony strong, that we all need to and if we do, we will be upon the foundation of Christ, his teachings, his doctrine, and none of the shafts of the winds of the devil will ever prevail. I know this to be true, with my heart and I have seen it here, in more experiences that I can count.

I love you, I also got some letters from the members in Glendora, I am so grateful for their support and for your support.

Love,
Elder Grant Hagen”

This looks like another country to me. Spencer (Grant's little bro.) was thrilled to see the chickens, he has a bit of an obsession with all chickens.

This looks like another country to me. Spencer (Grant’s little bro.) was thrilled to see the chickens, he has a bit of an obsession with all chickens.

Email from 6-9

Last weeks email. Dealing with another sick companion. It’s good for him.

“Howdy mom!

It is great to hear from you, this week was successful up until Vertigo. We taught some really strong lessons, we are working with members, we figured out a monthly calendar that rotates members of the ward so we go with each about once a month unless they want to/ can go more.

Still doesn’t feel like 7 Months, and I feel like I need to do the best I can all the time, it is an attitude I want to have for the rest of my life! Something I learned from Elder Barnette was to not stress, so I personally feel that I am with this desire to do all I can, but very few things stress me now, my companion and others and thankfully told me I have a level head (hope I can keep it!) So Thursday morning we wake up and my companion goes into the bathroom, doesn’t shut the door, and loses all of his dinner from Wednesday. He has had incredible nausea for the past couple of days, thankfully Thursday is our planning day so we were able to stay home for a good time after he rested and plan out our week better.

Speaking of weeks, our mission is doing incredible, there are almost 200 people estimated to be baptized for June! that is incredible with our goal for 820 in total for the year. Last month we had a few more than 40 baptisms which is still a high mark in our mission of about 270 missionaries. We are changing how missionaries do missionary work, our mission president is working with us, we all move forward and progress at the same time!

Friday the mission doctor called us, we explained the symptoms, he explained that my companion has Vertigo, cant balance because of a virus in his inner ear. Now he is taking medicine that cures that, but makes him incredibly drowsy.

Saturday we also stayed home, but we organized and planned some more as he was able to stay awake and began to recover. Sunday we got a ride to church and were able to have dinner with a member, teach her nephew, then we had to go home due to the virus.

That was a majority of my week, I am doing better and can feel myself improving every day.

Because we have been inside I haven’t been able to check the mail so I don’t know if all sent a bike helmet or a seat, I have to check, I will send pictures of the pants today.

Love Yall!

Elder Grant Hagen”

Grant and his newest companion Elder Kreamer

Grant and his newest companion Elder Kreamer, and what appears to be the vacuum cleaner… needed some better staging in this one.

Grant and the very tall missionary he went on exchange with. Grant is about 6ft 1in, so that kid has got to be at least 6ft 6in.

Grant and the very tall missionary he went on exchange with. Grant is about 6ft 1in, so that kid has got to be at least 6ft 6in.

Better Late then Never!

Sorry all that I am slow to update his posts. I’ve been in the heart of final projects and exams (because I made the crazy choice to go back to school a few years ago). Here are the last 3 weeks of e-mails, one at a time. This one was his e-mail 3 weeks ago. He talks about his new companion, Elder Kreamer, who he is training.

“Dear Mom,

I am still loving the mission! We have had such an awesome week, and that is something about this companionship we have now that I am beginning to understand. My companion is Elder Kreamer, he is super awesome! Missionaries right out of the CCM have such an amazing spirit that doesn’t disappear as time progresses but changes. Full of “innocence” the hope and energy that he has is something I try to carry with me. We talk to everyone we meet. He is still learning Spanish, and so am I, I can definitely say that it is interesting to be teaching the language more than being taught.

I am supposed to be an example, in a meeting we had right before the transfer on Wednesday, president told us if he could train every missionary. He would. Since he cant, he calls us and trusts us with the responsibility that if done right I would say could even be sacred. I go through and be an example to him on how to be a missionary, how we study, why we do things, and how we will improve this mission. I try to work alongside him instead of in front of him as much as I can, giving him time to talk in the lessons, and generally help him see that these two years that he is entering can be the most spiritually blessed and satisfying years if we do all we can to move this work forward.

I have read the letters that my first trainer left me, Elder Barnette actually went home on Wednesday, so he just finished his mission as I start to train. The letters he left me are talks, talks from the apostles on the subjects written on the side of the envelope. They are inspiring, and though I haven’t read them all, I hope to set an example to the missionary I am training now.

I can honestly say I have seen miracles this week, this is a result of faith, and works, going out and visiting with everyone, doing all of our studies and doing our best to be consecrated to the Lord.

I will try to send a picture of the pants, possibly next week.

That is a bit crazy that Tayler is a junior! but he said that he isn’t working this summer?? there has to be somewhere he could bike to and work, I recommend donut lady by ACE, that place was always delicious.

Well don’t stress out about school, you can do it! there is a sister in our zone who apparently got pretty stressed and broke a blood vessel in her eye… don’t do that.

I love you and hope you have a fantastic week!

Love,
Elder Grant Hagen”

Grant with his Trainer, Elder Barnette, as he leaves for home, and with his Trainee, who is just arriving from the CCM (Note luggage and bike in a box) Elder Kreamer

Grant with his Trainer, Elder Barnette, on the right, as he leaves for home, and with his Trainee, who is just arriving from the CCM (Note luggage and bike in a box) Elder Kreamer, on left