“It is a wonderful work and I know with all of my heart that it is true!”

Dear Father,

I should get T-shirts, the In-N-Out here has t-shirts that say texas on the front, I have been planing to get one.

We live near a private airport that planes are always taking off from, someone has a WWII bomber that they fly once and a while, that thing is loud, some of the planes fly really low that it sounds as though they were going to hit the house. I got a picture of the plane, that is why a wrote this.

October 2014 Old plane flying over

I told mom about some of the stories we had of this week, I am getting better at writing in my journal too, that is really helping, I guess I have never really thought about it but do you have a journal? I have been thinking about all the experience that happen in life and if I record them or not.

I have been using the cookbooks that yall sent as well, that is the picture that I sent to mom, I had made chicken and cheese burritos then I fried them and covered them in lettuce and hot sauce.

October 2014 Cooking good food

You learn how to smoke things” (Just to clarify…Gary/Dad got a barbeque\smoker for his birthday. He is smoking food items, i.e. meat and vegetables. I smoked artichoke last week. So good! We are not smoking in other ways!) “and we can come to all of the barbque offs that they have here in texas, I have learned the ways of the Mexican cooking, so we can cover all bases. Victory will be ours! We had dinner with an investigator family at a family reunion, the mother-in-law invited us over, we are teaching her, her husband, and accross the street we are teaching their daughter and her husband. They are super cool people whom missionaries have taught for about four years. So when we go there we always bring up baptism. They cooked some taco meat of the ends and bits of meat all fried in salt and oil for a few hours, it was quite good with some tortillas and arroz.

“I struggled to read that paragraph about my brothers at Hometown buffet,” (Spencer (the now 10 year old little brother) chose this restaurant for his birthday a week ago. It is a buffet and several times the brothers mentioned how much Grant would like things.) “I miss yall too, I am so grateful for the pictures that yall send. I love yall so much and want you to know that these two years will not and are not wasted, and how great will be the joy when we are together.

take care!
Love Elder Grant Hagen”

“In three days I will have been away from home for exactly a year. That is a incredible and intense thought to be honest.

This week was the first week without any meetings which means we were able to work every day! We also went to a pawn shop again and bought my companion a really nice bike and I got to barter!
We took last preparation day as a bit of a relaxing day too so there wasn’t anything super crazy about it, I sat in a nice chair, turned on some instrumental music and wrote letters, it was really peaceful. This week we plan to go to the zoo today! I look forward to it and they are preparing something called “boo at the zoo” about Halloween.

I want you to know that I have really learned how to control stress, I haven’t had a moment where I have been frustrated, upset. Really all has been well and I can only ask that peoples’ agency make them take the decision to be baptized.

Yesterday I conducted another baptismal interview, as a ward we have ten baptismal dates among the four companionships and five people came to church. The work really comes down to if the people will feel loved, welcomed, comfortable going to church. That is not possible without the members, that is why sometimes it is easier to work with the friends of the members, but that requires the trust of the missionaries.

We met a fantastic guy named Ishamael from the Dominican Republic, we were biking down a street not often visited by missionaries and we had knocked a door of where a less active was assumed to live, no one answered. We continued biking and I stopped to talk to a man sitting on his porch holding a practically newborn girl. Turns out he spoke English, but he said there was a guy boarding with them who spoke Spanish. No less that five minutes of conversation of him asking us about what we do, why we do it. The other man pulled up in his car speaking Spanish on his phone! He was walking inside when the man with the baby said, “hey these guys want to talk to you” he turned, asked if we believed Jesus Christ was the savior of the world, I responded yes! if he wasn’t we wouldn’t be la Iglesia de Jesu Cristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. That caught his attention, he brought us some water and sat on the curb for about an hour as we talked about scriptures, how he is a teacher in his church and he knows a good deal of the bible. The following morning we were able to get him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Spanish before we went to our missionary meeting with our ward mission leader.

We are finding people that are prepared for the gospel! We met one man who had been taking lessons a year ago, he prayed for help as he was going through a tough time, and we showed up at his door. Sadly he goes to the english ward but now he has a baptismal date! On Friday we were biking up a street and stopped at a light near the stockyards, another man stopped us and said he had met with missionaries a while back and was ready to change his life now and asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon.

These instances are testimonies that God does prepare people and that they are really ready for the gospel, it is a wonderful work and I know with all of my heart that it is true!

I love you! Would yall be able to send something like oranges or citrus fruit? I don’t know if it is possible but I have missed fruit, I buy pineapple every once and a while and I buy bananas weekly but I feel real fruit is something that I have missed in a while.

Thank you for all yall do! I love you so dearly!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen”

Howdy Y Hola and Riding a Mechanical Horse?

Email to Mom:

“Howdy y hola,

I said I would be going home a year from that day since I have a proselyting license, each missionary has a little card that is proof signed by the prophet saying that they have the right to preach. I assume that is my day to go home since at that day I cannot preach legally anymore. I think it is a safe assumption… Unless I get an extension!

Zach and I are e-mailing each other back and forth weekly usually just a few lines, but I plan to keep in contact with him until the end of his mission! I got a letter from Aunt Heather from dear Elder this week as well, it was wonderful she told of the experience of dropping off Zach.

I am a happy missionary, I got three large and fattening packages this week! I Have been dipping the pretzel sticks in the nutella and we have a marshmallowgun… I will be making smores now though because that sounds great!

Box of Goodies!

Box of Goodies!

On Monday we went to the famous Fort Worth Stock Yards for cattle. We ate at a bar-b-que rib buffet called Riskys! Then we watched the daily cattle drive of the Long Horns, those are big creatures and their horns span about six feet! I may spend 200$ to but a nice pair and have them shipped home as a wall mount!

Stock Yard

Stock Yard

This week we also got to be in a conference with Elder Cardon of the First Quorum of the Seventy, he is amazing and shared great insights on to feeling, using, and understanding the spirit.

Te amo mas que puedo describir, gracais mi mama por todo lo que tu haces, espero que tengan buen semana y siempre oro para ustedes.

Gracias!

Con carino,
Elder Grant Hagen”

Email to Dad:

“On Monday I went to a fantastic well known barbque place called Riskys in the Historic Stockyards of Fort Worth, it is definitely a place worth going to and takes up about a tenth of my area since we supposedly cover that area, sadly not good for proselyting. We need to plan a trip to come down here one Saturday since that is when they hold the Rodeos.

As for the ribs at Riskys. It was a 12 dollar buffet where they serve you four large ribs at a time, I ended with 16, my companion Elder Tulaga holds the record before I got here at 21 ribs. That is a lot of food and we had an eating competition among the elders.

Riscky's Bar-b-q

Riscky’s Bar-b-q

October 2014  riscky's barbq missionaries

There was also a few Texan-ware store with hats, boots, belts, belt buckles, chaps, and anything else that might be needed, along with Long Horn wall mounts. Those are pretty cool!

Mmmm... gummy bacon anyone?

Mmmm… gummy bacon anyone?

Along the street are several mechanical horses, I rode one… not as fun as it looked.

Since everyone here speaks Spanish we are having no trouble finding Spanish speaking people, just people who are interested in hearing about God and the importance of the Gospel. I am learning to ask inspired questions that really get people thinking, hopefully to prep their curiosity. What do you know about the plan for this life? We helped two ladies with loading metal into the back of their truck and we found this 1950 ford Fairlainer along with a 1980 VW and a 1954 Dodge all owned by a Spanish guy named Antonio, he reminded me a lot of Uncle David in how passionate he is about cars, which was really cool to meet someone who speaks Spanish to have that kind of a hobby as well!

We have about five baptism dates set for the ward, our companionship doesn’t have any personally but we are working towards it. When we teach the members it goes really well and we are slowly gaining their trust for referrals, I feel like there is a bunch of tension building up and we are prepping for this area to burst with success!

Well I love ya’ll and hope yall have a great week!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen”

A Year From Today!!!

Dearest Mother,

Today is exactly a year from when I go home, I may celebrate in the historic stockyards of Fort Worth Texas with a bar-b-que buffet, Dad’s smoked meat looks fantastic, I made cinnamon rolls this morning that were fantastic but a little biscuity, I got them from a recipe.

A book mom sent Grant a few months ago. Mom was given one many years ago when she graduated high school. It's a very handy book.

A book mom sent Grant a few months ago. Mom was given one many years ago when she graduated high school. It’s a very handy book.


October 2014 Trying out Cinnemon Roll recipes 2

Thankyou for sending the packages! I cant wait to get them

I want to give you a heads up that I may need 400 dollars soon as well, we are getting I Pads before the end of the year and I may need the money, I can use my personal account, but I would greatly appreciate if yall would like to help as well.

I am loving my companions, and repairing the apartment. I have fixed every door knob in the apartment (they used to fall off) and we have put in all the lightbulbs we can. The lava lamp was found a few weeks before I got here and the elder fixed it up the bear has been here for more than a year.

This week we got to see Meet the Mormons movie! Check it out, I love it!

I thank you for all you do and I love you so much!

Love Elder Grant Hagen

“Amado Padre,

Pues muy bien aqui! Hemos hecho muchos cosas! I learned that a lot of the members that are in my area are less active, we are trying to animate them to do missionary work and return to church, that will come and is working!

This week was wonderful, we had a zone council on tuesday in which we set a monthly goal for the number of baptisms we would reach as a zone. On thursday we had a wonderful time and we were able to watch the new movie/ documentary Meet the Mormons, I hope yall have heard of it, I thought it was going to be just like the restoration video or the Testaments, or Legacy. This is a full blown film that is in theatres right now! I really liked it, to be honest as a missionary it felt weird to be watching a movie again. Fun, but strange. This is not a missionary movie, it is a movie that really says, look society, you have heard of us for decades, referenced us in many films, plays, jokes, and now here we are and we are going to show you what it is like to actually be a mormon! This went quite well, sadly it isnt in spanish so it may be hard to get investigators to go but I am trying and inviting all people. We knocked a couple doors and two of them said they were baptist, I said that is great we are representatives of Jesus Christ. They stated we dont believe in the same Christ and arent interested. I invited them to go to meetthemormons.com and check out the website! They did and I hope they change their view!

Posted by Sister Ames

Posted by Sister Ames


This new area is pure spanish, it is a city, well a suburb yet almost all spanish speaking!

As missionaries we are the “flagship” mission, we are pioneering new techniques and dont follow a rigid manner and method to teach. I usually go by the spirit on what I need to teach. I like teaching revelation, that there is revelation revealed to man, that is why we have prophets, and that revelation continues even in todays times through this restored gospel. We are teaching a man named Miguel who is super awesome, and knows a ton of scriptures and is a well rounded, logical and deep thinking man. It feels like a mental mind game of chess when we are over there, I struggle including my companions in the lessons just because he hasnt asked a single question that I couldnt counter, testify, bear witness, and thoroughly answer.

I am in a spanish ward but I still havent really been able to meet them! We have had general conference the first sunday, then stake conference yesterday. So this sunday will be my first!

This Thursday Elder Cardon of the first quorum of the Seventy will be here, we will have a wonderful time and get ot learn a ton!

I e-mail in a fortworth library branch, it has an awesome view of the whole city because it sits up on a hill and a field rolls forth for a few blocks until it gets to the suburbs again.

Have a great week, this computer kicks me off mid-e-mail so I want to share with mom too!

Love Elder Grant Hagen!”

Fort Worth South District (English and Spanish)

Fort Worth South District (English and Spanish)

The Haunted Mansion and Using Skills Learned from Dad

Just a note, Grant is talking about Elder Shepard because, on the “Mom’s of Texas Fort Worth Missionaries” page, several of us “seasoned” moms had been helping Elder Shepard’s mom deal with the stress of waiting for word from her missionary, who had left the Mexico City MTC that morning on his way to Fort Worth. You would think it would be easy, but waiting for word that they have safely arrived and are happily situated can be agonizing. Especially since you usually don’t hear anything for at least a couple days (it took 4 before we knew about Grant). We mom’s tried to lighten the mood by taking “bets” about who would train her son. I thought it might be Grant since only 2 missionaries left Mexico City for Fort Worth that day. I had a 50/50 shot.

“Wow! This week has been so intense! I have been so grateful for my time in Denton and now here I am on a fresh start and a new adventure. I will start with wednesday I guess, that morning I had to be on a hour car ride to be at that stake center for the new missionary meeting, it was so nice that they provided breakfast and I saw a man with a camera taking pictures of the food so I thought if I stepped in he would take one that hopefully would reach you and it seems it did!

Picture posted on the "Texas Fort Worth Mission" page by the wonderful Sister Ames, mission president's wife

Picture posted on the “Texas Fort Worth Mission” page by the wonderful Sister Ames, mission president’s wife

I am serving with Elder Tulaga from Samoa now Utah, and with elder Lickiss who was elder Shepard’s companion in the MTC. By the Way if Sister shepard is worried about her son, he has one of the best missionaries in the whole mission training him! Elder Badillo is fantastic, funny and has the best spanish in the whole mission. He was trained by the same trainer who trained me, (if that makes sense).

(first picture from left to right Elder Tulaga, Elder Tanner, Elder Hansen(their trainer), Elder Ostlund(my trainer), Me, Elder Badillo)
october 2014 trainers meeting

My new area is full, and I mean full, of Spanish speaking people! We are a bike area but we had difficulties with getting a third bike so we have been on foot for the past couple days (we got a bike today) Our area is so small that we can pretty much walk to the edges in an hour, yesterday we met a man who was being taught before we got here, we invited him to be baptized, he explained he was already in a river. We will work on that but he was super awesome, he played the guitar and sang in spanish about god.

The apartment used to be called the haunted mansion due to faulty plumbing, electricity, and the occasional break in through the garage (that has been fixed) All of that seems to be fixed now and I have even taken the liberty to clean, fix cabinet, rehinge and adjust doors. So now it is just the biggest apartment in the mission! No missionary has ever had any difficulties in this area, and I definitely wont. Some have just been spooked in the past.

(Next Picture, nuestro casa)
october 2014 new apartment in fort worth

Love the apartment mascot!

Love the apartment mascot!

My address is 1418 Lincoln Ave #2 Fort Worth TX 76164

I want you to know that I am seeing progress in the lives of so many souls and this work goes even faster with the help of the members, as President Bednar said in General Conferece, we share this message because it brings us joy!

I did get to enjoy conference, we watched the first session in spanish then the rest in english since it was easier for us to understand and since we are all still learning we wanted to get the doctrine out of the talks more than the spanish. Though it was really cool to hear some people speak in their native languages.

 We had a good Saturday conference dinner


We had a good Saturday conference dinner

Erm I am not sure about this computer, it may kick me off when my time ends so…

I love you! Could you send some snacks and protein powder, My last companion and I pretty much ate everything before I left so it all worked out that we finished the food before I left.

I hope you have a fantastic week
Con amor siempre,

Elder Grant Hagen”

I will start with the most important, yes I am getting transferred, I found out last week on Tuesday! I will be going to Fort Worth! I will be in a trio, I will still be the district leader, and I will be training again! the address will be 1418 Lincoln Ave #2 Fortworth Tx 76164. There is definitely a mixed feeling and I have heard the area is great! Every week there are reports on what districts got what numbers, this week we got rank 2 and the fortworth got rank 1. I am grateful to serve where ever I am called to go.

So I got a call on Tuesday from President Ames in the morning telling us where we would be going, I was expecting him to call to tell us that my companion was going to be district leader or something, so I was a bit surprised when I got the call. I was expecting to be transferred though since I have been here about a third of my whole mission.

This friday we had a cultural night in the ward! The ward had been preparing it for weeks and on Friday it all came together, each member brought food. It was basically a giant potluck but the food was what the eat culturally! It was wonderful, there was lots of food from Mexico, some from Honduras, Chile, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, and others! Some of the members then sang or danced as parts of cultural acts to represent their heritage. We were able to have a few investigators there from each of the companionships so it all totaled out well.

On saturday I went to three baptisms! The first one was for the local English ward, and the relief society room where the font and where we hold the meeting was packed! the only space was up front and the center aisle, there were about 6 elders 8 elders standing in the back and we all were so happy to see the baptism! The next was a man named Daniel! He was baptized into the spanish ward, the sisters were teaching him and he decided to be baptized, that was a great experience and again the room was packed! except this time it was in spanish and there were several non members there as well! His baptism was coupled with a member of the ward who had turned 8 years old. Elder Kremer, Elder Haufano, Elder Fitzgerald and I all sang “All Creatures of Our God and King” while Elder Haufano played the guitar, I plan to get a recording of that.

I had debated on shortening my mission before I left, now I am grateful I didn’t however, I deferred for the winter semester instead of the Fall so that will be different, would you be able to ask and see when we need to look for housing? and or enrollment into classes? Thank you!

I hope you have a great week! Take care! Send me more questions so I can be answer specific!

Love Elder Grant Hagen

Photos: Elder Kremer, Me, Elder Espinoza, Elder Semadeni
september 2014 riding with his homey elders
-Texas skies are beautiful
September 2014 beautiful Texas sky
– We found the texas flag by a dumpster and decided to take some pictures!
September 2014 texas flag
– Spanish Cultural night
September 2014 Spanish ward cultural night

Howdy padre,

I did get spencer’s letter and the photo card, it was funny, I was about to ask if it had anything on it.. then I plugged it in and WOW! my family was there! That was wonderful and hilarious.

I will be getting transferred, I will be going to Fort Worth proper, to an apartment that has been infamously dubbed by missionaries as “the (haunted) Mansion” due to poor security systems. Thankfully I will be with a Polynesian companion and together we will be training a new missionary!

A picture of the spanish cultural night that the ward had, that was fantastic! we had lots of food from a few different nations.
September 2014 Spanish ward cultural night 2

Spencer’s letter and the memory card
September 2014 letter from spencer

This really cool Gecko that was on someone’s house, there were three but two booked it when my companion tried to grab them. It is about the size of my hand, most that we see are about the size of a quarter. It seems to be the common animal here in texas, besides tons of cats and dogs, as well as the occasional roadkill armadillo, I have never seen a live one.
September 2014 gecko

So you want me to send the memory card back after I fill it?

I hope you have a great week and aren’t too stressed out! Take care I hope to hear from yall soon!

Con amor,

Elder Grant Hagen

Opposition

Howdy Madre,

This week was interesting, it is definitely cooling down here in Texas and we have had some beautiful skies, I hope my pictures can work, I think something is wrong with the laptop I am using…. I dont think I will be able to send pictures this week…. Uh oh.

SO I have been here and there and opposition really exists, it is a real force that combats the progress of the work of God. We didn’t teach as many people as we normally do, many people denied us or werent home at the times that we normally go by them. We had one guy start yelling at us when we waved at him, that made us laugh as we rode on by. It makes me ponder though, here I am for two years doing the work of salvation for all those who havent or dont know about this great work. Sometimes I wonder what it will be like, in the book of Jacob he talks about how he and his brother Joseph preached and taught the people to the point that they were clean of the blood of their people. If I do my work right, I will reach that too, I need to understand that not everyone accepts this message, and that right there is where some missionaries mistakenly draw their self worth. But I know that this mission is not in vain.

We are teaching a few people who are prepared to be taught, we are teaching a family named Carlos and Jill, they are fantastic wonderful people. We can set appointments and they will always be there or call and reschedule, they understand what we teach to them. It is such a joy to see people whose hearts are open and prepared by the Lord to learn our message. They havent accepted to be baptized yet but we are working on that!

I will find a way to send pictures but I cannot guarentee that it will be this week.

Also, this is the last week of transfers, Monday will be when I get a phone call telling me what I am doing for the next six weeks! I may move since I have been here almost a third of my mission.

I love you so much and pray for yall often!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen

Dear Dad,

This week I tried to go back through my pictures to reflect on the week, and my memory card wont work with this laptop, I tried it with my companion’s and it works fine… so hmmm.

My week included a lot of biking, OH! I totally ate it again, so I guess that makes four times in total now, but thats okay, I was on an exchange a few days later and the other elder fell twice due to barely clipping his handle bars on a pole.

We were riding at the end of the day, going up a street to get back to our apartment but decided to take this rough pavement/ gravel road because we had heard a potential investigator had moved there, so we were riding and I took both hands off of my bike to fix something with my bag and helmet, which I can normally do fine. The bike pitched out from under me, I over corrected, rolled and stood up all before my companion really understood what happened, He told my I got up so fast he wasnt sure if I had really crashed. My hip was bruised for a couple of days but that is the only thing that happened, not even a rip on my pants.

The picture of the lobster and shrimp looks fantastic, and very californian. I had a wonderful grilled chicken in sweet and sour sauce on friday at a member’s home! Yesterday for dinner we had a soup that is really common in mexico, I love it so much now too! It starts with a P but every time I hear it I end up forgetting the name. It is a red soup with chicken (usually with bones and all) and soaked corn in it so that it puffs up. You add lettuce, onion, and lime to it and it is fantastic. Some people serve it with tortilla chips on the side or in the soup. Really messy though and I have yet to end up not splashing a red drop on my white shirt.

I may get transferred, If I train or become a zone leader I will know this week as well!
I hope you have a fantastic week! Take pictures of the move/ new shop!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen