the Designated Driver!

Mom’s email:
“Time is going fast, I wish I knew where I will be, I will know next Monday, but I may not be able to e-mail on Monday due to a planned Temple Trip for Tuesday, so I would e-mail on Tuesday then. Time does seem to go by fast, Mitchell Edginton e-mailed me for the first time last week, apparently he guessed my e-mail! Haha! It is great to talk with him too, but he mentioned how he only has 9 months left and I have 10, 10!! that is not a lot of time and it kinda scares me to think about how short all of this really is but also how much I have learned and grown.
So lets see… Things that happened this week, well I held a district meeting on Wednesday, we went over topics on how to improve ourselves as missionaries, and I had asked everyone to take the Preach My Gospel Plan of Salvation Lesson 2 Bullet Points and apply them to their personal missionary lives, that was an amazing exercise and we all learned how to be more “refined” and how short this mission really is but how much it can affect a lifetime in the long run.
Other unusual things this week, last night I made a really good Chicken Pot pie! I cooked chicken, cubed it, added vegetables in a can, added cream of chicken with herbs, seasoned, and baked in the oven with biscuit dough on top! That turned out delicious and I have enough for a few more meals!
We had a cockroach the size of dads shortened middle finger this week, it seems like one shows up once a month, so we killed it with a coat hanger…
A highlight to the different this week was on Wednesday the Zone leaders came and picked me up right as we got home, I had no idea what was going on, they drove to their apartment, had me drive back with one of them in a different car, had me park in the garage of my apartment, and told us the car was ours! At least for a little while! What had happened is that another area closed down and we were able to get the car, I cant say why it shut down but I guess is worked out for us and I am the designated Driver!
December 2014 designated driver
I hope yall have a great week! Don’t stress and let those people at school get you down! I pray for you and los de mas every day! I love you so much!
Con amor,
Elder Grant Hagen”

Dad’s email:
“Thank you for sending those great pictures, that is the funniest man-hole cover, it reminds me of a lot of Signs I see outside of Hispanic peoples homes, just by the pot metal and the lettering. Everyone in this area seems to have a cast iron sign with their family name, address, and a statue of Christ, or the Virgin Maria, or some other object, it makes it easy to know if they speak Spanish. apparently they are bought at a flea market in downtown on sundays… So we may not be able to get one until we return to texas next November, jajajaja! They are cool signs, one of the less active members we are working with has one and he said they cost about thirty dollars, I asked him if he could get one made for me but he said that he really doesn’t go to the flea market any more, so there went that hope. I also just realized that since I normally type my e-mails in the corner of the screen they end up a lot smaller then I think they will be, like these four lines looked like a huge message while I was typing, so I enlarged the screen and discovered my error.
Here are some pictures of the week
Cockroach running in the bathroom Closet
December 2014 cockroach 1
Companion killing the cockroach while the other two take pictures
December 2014 cockroach 2
Our new car! it has about 8000 miles on it! We have mileage allotments for the months, and when a mission car reaches 40000 to 50000 it is returned to Utah where it is resold discounted!
December car
Us tracting on a hill that overlooks the main city, Northside is up on an elevated area that over looks the rest of the city, it is really cool since Texas is so flat, we can see to downtown anywhere we are.
December 2014 knocking doors
Elder Lickiss made fudge that is 90% sugar, and 10% chocolate! Really good, but really going to make me fat, that was taken on Thursday, there is almost none left
December 2014 fudge
Hope you have a great week!
Con amor,
 tu hijo,
Elder Grant Hagen”

There Once was a Cowboy who had 4 Thanksgiving dinners!

12-1-14
AHHH the first of December! I feel really strange knowing that the months are just slipping by!
I also wont know if I am getting transferred until two weeks from today. So I have no idea if I will be in Fort Worth or some other location. This week was an interesting one and stayed warm for the most part at about seventy degrees.
Before I begin I want to tell you that I got the best package on Friday!!! It was full of delicious orange rolls and some great letters from all of yall! Thank you so much! That really was a great surprise to find, the box felt a little light when I got it off the front porch, but was the best to enjoy those orange rolls, yes I shared a few with my companions. I am really grateful and happy for those though! The letters were a great joy and I am so glad I have them. Thanks so much!
november 2014 package of orange rolls november 2014 package of orange rolls 2
Okay so this week on Monday we went to the Stockyards looking for a Browing Company hunting sticker for Elder Pierce since he found out he is related to the Browning Family. We didn’t find one but I got some Christmas shopping and we saw the cattle run, met some traveling Mormons, who sent yall a picture of us! That’s the second time that has happened to us, but I just wasn’t sure about sending a picture the first time, that was at the Zoo, but I have pictures on my camera from that as well.
Tuesday we had interviews with the Mission President, I always look forward to the interviews, it is great to get insight from President Ames, he didn’t tell me anything about the upcoming transfer, but helped me understand how to strengthen my faith even more, I took notes, I have been and Always take pages of notes at meetings and conferences, I have filled two journals from studies and notes in general, it is a habit I think I will keep. Then we went and did service for a part member family in our ward, we helped them set up for Christmas and raked up their yard, then they cooked Empenadas, which are delicious fried pockets of meat with a coleslaw on top and usually a hot sauce! Then we had chocolate pie….
Wednesday was the only real normal day, Except I was on an exchange with the Zone leaders, Elder Tulaga went to their area and Elder Pierce came here, we contacted and found a few potential families we plan on visiting this week.
Then there was Thursday, Thanksgiving last year was in the MTC, so that was fine, but here, we got up and got to an investigators home at 11 and had a traditional American thanksgiving! With pie, cranberry sauce, all was there except the Hawaiian salad… I had two plates there, realized that may have not been a wise choice. We did studies after, then went and visited some investigators, really just a few porch lessons about thanks, giving thanks to god, I shared the story of the ten lepers with one, we talked about Ammon boasting in the strength of God in another, it went quite well. At 4 we visited a members home and we had another delicious thanksgiving dinner, just one plate of delicious potatoes, turkey, beef/ brisket, We shared a message with them as well and it went really well! However… we had another dinner at 6, we biked there and they didn’t start until about 7, but a ton of people were there, they had tamales, turkey, had me cook the gravy, cole slaw, empenadas of mashed banana and sugar (really good) but my stomach can only handle so much good at one time, I barely got a plate down, then we biked at light speed to the middle of our area to get to our last dinner at an investigator’s home, we got there and ate at 7:30, I didn’t finish the plate, but we had a great time, got to talk, and they gave us some great left overs! I have pictures of the three first meals, but not of the last one…
november 2014 turkey missionary november 2014 thanksgiving dinner 2 november 2014 thanksgiving dinner 1
The first picture is me in my collection of cowboy stuff, I lack some still, but I will obtain!
november 2014 He's a cowboy
I love you and I hope and pray for yall each day!With love,
Elder Grant Hagen
ps. I messed up on picture numbers, the first two are the great package I got, and me eating the Orange Rolls from heaven! These are the cowboy picture and the first “dinner”

Amado Padre,
Estoy muy bien! Tenia cuatro cenas del dia de gracias/ pavo/ juagolote, y les describe en mi carta a mama!
How did you know what I wanted to do with the horns? hahaah those are big! I saw a pair the sime diameter as those but longer on Monday, they were selling them for five grand! The normal size ones are about 6 inches in diameter and 3 feet long each horn, they go for about 100-300 dollars.
Thanks for the awesome pictures! I always enjoy seeing yall, and about the questions of the office, I was just curious, we have office elders who were called for that position, but I just wanted to know a bit about your mission life as well.
The teaching is doing well, we taught a few more lessons this week than the last, we also are finding people, some not with huge potential, but for the most part, pretty interesting. We haven’t had anyone come to church in all of my time here, so that is a struggle we are facing, but I bet we could fix that with getting members to go with us to teaching appointments, and friendship those we are teaching.
Also last Monday I Had my companion cut my hair, that was an interesting experience, he is a good barber!
november 2014 companion cuts hair
I hope you have a great week and less stress now that you aren’t dealing with the Paraguay guy, most of the people here are from different states in Mexico, but sometimes they are from Honduras or El Salvador, it is pretty cool to see all the different cultures.
Disfrute su Semana!
Elder Grant Hagen

Porch O’ Cats

11-24-14
Dear Mom,
I want you to know that I love you and I am sorry that I didn’t get as much of an e-mail to you last week as I wanted to, so this week I have divided some of my stories between you and dad.
This week we had our thanksgiving ward dinner at seven on Friday! I sadly didn’t take any pictures of it since I was up and about without my bag, but we were able to sit with a member named Sunny we are visiting to help go to the temple, and he brought his niece and 5 of her kids! That was super cool to sit and talk with them and now we are going to have “thanksgiving dinner” with them at noon on Thursday! They are super cool, not members but very kind and understanding people!
On Saturday it poured, they thought it was going to be snow, but instead we got a thunderstorm that flooded the city! It started the night before and thunder woke me up at one in the morning! There is a tree outside my window and I have a very slight fear of it falling on my part of the house! It wont happen, missionaries have lived in the same apartment for about 10 years and nothing has every happened.
During the rain we rode out to visit some potential investigators and came across one family that had been taught in the past, I felt the spirit so strongly in the lesson we shared with them as we were able to share scriptures, testify of prophets, of Joseph Smith, and of the Book of Mormon. I was so amazed by the power of the Holy Ghost, and I know that this work is so wonderful and true, I haven’t baptized a ton on my mission so far, really one person, but I make sure that everyone I meet and teach knows that this doctrine is true.
On the other end of the story, the sister missionaries in the ward had a baptism on Saturday as well! That is exciting for the ward and I hope it shows them the importance and how wonderful this work is!
I love you so much and I hope all of yall have a great thanksgiving, send pictures please!
Love!
Elder Grant Hagen
P.S. That is a picture of the porch of one of our investigator’s homes, they keep food out and there are anywhere from 7-9 cats! They offer us some every once and awhile, hahaha. november 2014 porch o cats
Other than that, I am bundled up at night while we ride, thank goodness I have all of this winter clothes, and I am using the long sleeve shirts dad sent
november 2014 bundled up
Howdy father!
Well mom didn’t send an e-mail this week, I hope she got mine from last week, I has having difficulties and the computer was buggy.
This week I will talk about the pictures I took, I had about 50 this week! First on Monday we went to La Gran Plaza, basically the megaplex of the shops we saw at Ensenada, it was also a cultural center with some cool sculptures and artwork. We toured the place on Monday.
November 2014 Steer from parts November 2014 Wall Art
Tuesday we went and had a great day teaching a new family! Sadly Elder Lickiss’s bike got a flat so we had to walk home and patch it up, on our way we found an old bike someone was throwing in the dumpster, so free bike! We stripped it for parts and patched up and got back out teaching again!
November 2014 Bike parts
On Friday we did service for an investigator named Miguel and his family! We took a few hours and helped prep their yard for landscaping by pulling up old bricks, cutting the lawn, removing a dead tree/bush, it was a fun and great time to help them and his wife brought us lunch of Gorditas! That was delicious!
November 2014 service
So those are the pictures that I took,
We also have a few thanksgiving dinners planned through out Thursday, so lets see if I gain 30 pounds! We have interview with our mission president tomorrow as well! That is a cool spiritual experience where we get to meet with him for about 15 minutes personally every three months, did you do that in Venezuela? How often did you see  your mission president? Cuando usted dice que era un asistante al presidente que trabajo en la oficina, como lo fue y por cuanto tiempo? Mientras que estaba en las mision, escribio en un cuarderno diario?
Te amo papa y espero que disfrunten esta semana!
Tu hijo,
Elder Grant Hagen

Old Technology = Bad Grammar

11-17-14

Dear Mom,

This week was an interesting one as winter is mfinally settling in, excuse the grammer errosrs as I am typing faster than this machine ish shoiwng.

This week we were stuck in the cold, most of the things that I thought were highlights I mentioned in my letter to dad, We also went on an eschange with the zone leaders in our area, it was

a good experience and I learned a great deal on how they teach and It was a moment of learning.

This computer is so slow, and it kicked me off halfway through writing this E-mail.

Normally we stay in an area about three to four and a half months, but I stayed in denton for seven due to how the circumstances worked out. I just assumed that I was going to be or will be transfered next transfer due to how missionareies had been in this area before and the relations of the companioships before me in ths area seemed that someone was lcoming and going about once a stransfer. Speaking of which transfers will be a week before christmas this upcoming month, just as a heads up. I am also preparing a package to send home I dont know when I wil lfinish it and get all that I want inside, such as stuff I dont wasnt to tlugg around, gifts, possible pictures or SD card.

We held a missionary activity this saturday that went well, a couple families from the ward attended and we talked about missionary work, our ward mission leader wants the ward to know that we have 9 missionaries in one ward and that this isnt common.

I would love to hear from yall at the christmas choir, when you do it I would love a recording, we may be going caroling as missionaries.

The hardest realization for me now is the fact that I am in the mission for les thatn a year left! It doesnt feel real and I feel like there is so much that I can still and Have to learn before I will feel accomplished.

It seems that we may not be getting IPADS until the beginning of next year, I am fine with it but I think my companoin will go crazy.

I love you so much and hope that you have a great week, I dont think there is anything that I need like crazy but If yall want to send pictures I always appreciate those!

re reading this my typing is horrendous so please excuse my mistakes, makes me sound like a texan!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen

This is my friend who walked up and decided to tract with us, I think he was part rotweiler and part lab, never saw him again thoughNovember 2014 lab friend