Staying Put in Denton

“Hello Dearest Mom,

Sounds like this week was a week of firsts, this is the first of the transfer here, and I will be staying here in Denton! To make it more awesome, I will get to stay with my same companion!

Hmmm I will start with friday this week!
I spent Friday in the other elders’ side of Denton on an exchange! We went and visited several houses, and found a few people with whom we set return appointments. At four we ended the exchange and all met up at a members drive way, said goodbye and Elder Kremer and I went on a twenty minute bikeride to get to the stake center to meet a member for dinner. They had cooked some aweome chicken and with beans and lettuce we made burritos. That night we said goodbye to the family Pedroza, they are some of the coolest members I have ever met. They are moving/ left for New Mexico on Saturday, so we will miss them, but we got to help them with service in their house and backyard cleaning and moving things to and fro. They are the family in the picture, they are converts of seven years and are inspirational examples to every missionary who has ever been there.

On Saturday I wasn’t even sure if I was going to get to go out and teach. We biked all the way to the stake center in our suits for a baptism! We got to watch someone in the singles ward that the Zone Leaders have been teaching get baptized! It was really cool, I had gotten to teach the guy once on an exchange and now he was getting baptized about a month after they started teaching him! They had one of the YSA girls bring her harp and she played a musical number after the baptism. So that was the first one! Then! I got to interview another man named Cesar who was super cool as well and I am grateful for him and the opportunity I had to interview him for his baptism. He then got baptized an hour later and I was able to be a witness for his baptism, even though the sisters had taught him, I am grateful to be a part of his progression! Then we had dinner with a member again at the stake center at 5, they made really good french bread sandwiches! Then another member in our ward walked in and invited us to her son’s wedding! He was getting married in thirty minutes by the bishop there in the stake center. We then attended that and were able to get on our way and teach people! We got to teach this one investigator who is super awesome and understands the purpose of us visiting!

Well those were my main stories, I shared different ones with dad as well! I hope you have a fantastic week, take care! I love you!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen”

Member family that moved

Member family that moved

Spanish speaking missionaries

Spanish speaking missionaries

“Buenos Dias mi papa,

This week has been full of different adventures, but to come to a conclusion and write to both you and Mom I will space out the stories.

I want to let both of you know though that I will be staying in this area for another transfer! Which means I will be here until october! I wasnt planning on staying to be honest but now that I know I will be I am excited to be able to baptize all the people we have been teaching and it means I am with Elder Kremer for one more transfer!

This week I got to drive for the first time in my whole mission! We went on an exchange where I went to Fort Worth city si mismo and I was given driving privileges during the exchange. It was a 2014 Chevy Cruise if you were wondering, and I was able to learn a lot from the other Elder who is a native from Mexico and super cool. He taught me to use analogies to a greater extent, almost every lesson we had he used some analogy in some way, for example, why do we go to a pharmacy? To get medicine, we dont go for how big the pharmacy is, how fancy it looks, but for what it has. The Pharmacist holds the authority to give us the right medicine. The medicine is repentance, or if you want to be specific, baptism and the sacrament. The pharmacist is someone holding the priesthood authority. What happens if someone doesnt have the right recipe for the medicine? It wont work right, the authority means that they have the right recipe.

First Mission Drive

First Mission Drive

We were using analogies such as that one and it really applied deep to those we were teaching.

I also saw a gun range while driving and had my companion take a picture of it for you.

August 2014 shooting range

I also went on another exchange with the other elders in my district and we did a lot of walking, and tracting, and I found Jack’s smoker. The giant Jackrabbit is a smoker, complete with exhaust pipe ears, and the side opens up. I have seen quite a few smokers here in Texas but this one is the most creative yet!

August 2014 jackalope smoker

August 2014 jackalope smoker 2

We also did service at a members home, they are moving to New Mexico, which is kind of sad, especially since the family is pretty much permanent missionaries in their area, the mom was always talking to people about the gospel and it was common for us to visit and for her to give us a referral.

The little tiny lizard is being held by elder tanner who is 6’6″ the thing was tiny, we were moving a pile of lumber to a trailer and a bunch of the little lizards came running out from underneath, and each and every one that we caught dropped its tail as soon as we grabbed the lizard itself. One of the elders accidentally injured a lizard in its thigh, so it dropped both of its hind legs! and ran away with just its front legs, that was terrifying!
August 2014 baby lizard

Well I hope you have a great week, keep working hard and I am always proud to call you my father.

I Love you
Love
Elder Grant Hagen”

Stories

Mom email:

“Well Ya’ll be a southern thing but I am really close to Oklahoma right now, in fact, I am in the second closest Spanish area to the border, and in the Stake right on the edge!

This week was definitely interesting, for example yesterday was a different experience. We were riding a street we normally do down a local heavily Spanish populated area and I saw a man with a large guitar case in one hand riding some distance behind us. I knew we were heading to an appointment but I slowed down to wait for him to catch up so I could talk to him as we rode. He eventually caught up to us and he started the conversation! Apparently he is from Chino California and was telling us how grateful he is for us sharing God’s word and for doing it on bikes instead of cars! We talked about how much I love this work and then he figured out I was from California and told me that when I finish my mission I should bike home instead of driving or flying (I think he prefers the benefits of biking over using gasoline) He said he has done the ride from where I am now to Chino in two weeks!

That was one of the experiences that happened this week, I shared some others with dad as well.

The cruise sounds like it was enjoyable, sleeping in, ever ready food, sounds like a perfect atmosphere for missionaries, we should have staffed missionaries on every crusie ship, I volunteer! JAJAJA

I also ripped one of my shirt pockets pretty bad, I was getting out of a truck’s back seats and my pocket or my planner caught on the headrest of the seat in front, and before I knew it, all of my stuff, my tag, my planner, and my handbook were in my hand and the pocket was limply hanging on. So one down… I also have the pants and they are great! it is a different brand but they are the right length and a sturdy material!

Ripped pocket

Ripped pocket

Well I love you! I hope you have a better week this week! tell my brothers I love them too!

Love,
Elder Grant Hagen”

Selfie

Selfie

Dad email:

“I can definitely testify that if people don’t read the Book of Mormon, they will not come to a knowledge of the truth of the book. It really is all of this truth that if someone takes the time to study and ponder, then they know that it is true! That is why we follow the advice of President Jeffery R. Holland and when they don’t keep commitments we need to be DEVASTATED! A lot of missionaries love to sympathize with those who don’t keep commitments, but I try to be as depressed as possible, almost made someone cry once, we had a guy yesterday who we invited to a fireside with our mission president that he does once a month. We showed up at the investigators house after he said he couldn’t go and since he couldn’t go, neither could we. We were on his porch when he drove by and he asked why we weren’t at our meeting, I straight out told him, “well our ride fell through.” He felt terrible, I feel a bit cynical talking about this but I was a bit glad that he was truly touched by missing that opportunity.

I am constantly testifying to people of the truth of the book of Mormon, for some Hispanics, knowing that it is a record of their ancestral line is huge! They like the fact that God talked with their ancestors as well!

This week I got lost for an hour with my companion. We were trying to go to a trailer park and so we rode a different route than normal. Instead of going from our apartment, we went from the church and rode out into the countryside to get there. It was quite peaceful and an enjoyable ride but we eventually felt that we had passed our turn. I asked an older man mowing his lawn for directions and he pointed me back the other way and we got to our destination safely, only to find the part member family we planned to teach, drinking. That was a bit of a change and a learning experience, found a lot of old cars and tractors, I have seen a Shelby Cobra in town and the Corvette club on the Fourth of July.
August 2014 the long road

August 2014 bridge

Elder Hagen and companion got lost in the country side for about an hour.

Elder Hagen and companion got lost in the country side for about an hour.

Well there are some of this weeks stories, Oh I (the member we were with) also got pulled over by a cop, tore through a pocket on one of my shirts all in the same instant while trying to get out of a members truck to talk with the investigators standing outside their house watching the whole incident. They sympathized with us and blamed the racial card for the member. So I am just glad that that didn’t put us in bad standings with this family, hopefully they keep reading and progress towards baptism!

Take care, remember that I pray for yall daily and that I love you.
Love Elder Grant Hagen”

A good week

Well off yall go on a cruise! How fun again! Dad sent me a couple of selfies from the cruise so far, looks fun! Are ya’ll staying in a cabin like the ones we stayed in then?

Yes is is about 90-100% humid here all the time, there are some days where it feels like I can swim in the air, but when it rains, it rains hard and a good deal to the point where the humidity actually disappears for a while! Then after a day of nice 80 degree weather it heats back up again!

I have had a wonderful week. I don’t think anything crazy has happened to me, but I do appreciate your prayer, maybe you prevented something that was to happen! Yikes!

It got cold in our apartment, and it started raining outside! So I put on a jacket, that is the picture. Everyone says that this summer is the coolest one that they have ever had, that last year they had 90 days of over 100 degree weather in a row! wow!

Izzy commented how I have almost been out a year and that kind of gave me a heart attack! Being a missionary feels like the only thing that I have ever done in my life now. Of course I use all the skills and wonderful talents my parents taught me, (like Ironing my clothes!) and that wonderful cookbook. My companion and I have gotten into a bad habit of making a cheesecake a week, and for most of my dinners, I will pick a recipe from the book. There are something that I just dont have time to cook, but it manages out in one way or another.

We met a man this week who was super cool. He is an older hispanic man who I think is one of the coolest guys in the world! We met him while riding to our next appointment, we stopped and saw him planting a tree in the middle of his yard. We offered to help, (we try to help anyone with anything and most of the time they say no but I am so glad when we actually can help!) and he declined but stopped to talk with us. We told him we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He repeated Latter Day Saints? Like Angel Moroni? At that point we were a little surprised, apparently this man had helped build the Temple in Mexico City more than thirty years ago, the same temple that I got to enter and visit while I was in the CCM. I showed him pictures of it on my camera and I could see and feel the happiness from seeing this building appear on his face as no doubt memories came back to him of his experience there. He stated how he never got to go inside but they gave him a blue book that he was studying from until he lost it in Mexico. We gave him another copy of the Book of Mormon to his great joy and he wanted to eagerly study it out. This is a mission experience that I will not forget, and I hope I can help this man progress towards baptism. we havent taught him yet but I know and pray that he will make it there!

Well I love you so much! I hope you have a wonderful Cruise and have some fun story to tell!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen

Needing his jacket in summer

Needing his jacket in summer