Investigator Interiews

FELIZ CUMPLEANOS!!
I know that is tomorrow, but I wont be able to e-mail then.. I love your e-mail this week, were you able to get all the pictures that I sent? I definitely look like I have food in the picture sister Ames took… awkward… but that’s alright.

Picture posted by the Ames', who are the mission presidents

Picture posted by the Ames’, who are the mission presidents

I know that it is a tie pin… but I have seen so many people just put them on the lapels, so That is where it will stay. It is the one that yall sent for Christmas, and I wear it on my suit always. I almost lost the back end of it on Sunday as I was taking off my shoulder bag.

So lets see what happened this week.

There was a baptism on Saturday of a really cool 11 year old who is super awesome, I got to interview him for his baptism and he has such a great testimony, I am sure that he knows more than I did at his age. We were able to go to his baptism, we hitchhiked bus rides down (we have passes, I am not doing anything crazy or illegal.) It took about 45 minutes worth of rides, but we were able to talk to the guy next to us on the bus until he got a phone call… We left him a pass along card, I hope he goes to Mormon.org

I also interviewed another investigator who is going to get baptized this sunday! That will be super awesome, he was absolutely ready to be baptized and is really excited. We just took about half an hour after church, went to an unused class, and held the interview, read some scriptures, and he bore a powerful and wonderful testimony all the way through.

We also went to the stock yards on Tuesday after e-mailing, and I sat on a steer…
January 2015 bull riding

got some fun pictures, also, Elder Shepherd next to the underground pig and sheep tunnels that take them from the pens to the cargo area.
January 2015 Elder Shepherd in the underground corrals
Elder Ray also borrowed my camera… jejeje
January 2015 stolen camera

we were given a basket of Fruit as well, so here is elder Shepherd riding with a basked of fruit. A less active woman who is super awesome gave it to us, free food is always appreciated, and I think it is more of a cultural thing to accept it?
January 2015 Elder Shepherds talents

Well I hope you have a wonderful week. I love you, you aren’t getting older, just progressing in wisdom.
Con amor,
Elder Grant Hagen

Picture Novel

Hey Father,

My week was wonderful and full of service, we had Zone conference on Thursday for 7 hours! I did a baptismal interview yesterday, and 6.5 hours of service! I also have a lot of stockyard pictures to send, ya know, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a multi-email novel of the week.

Email 1

Picture 1: A cool mural, there are quite a few different ones around here,
January 2015 site seeing 1
2: this is the “Mexican of Northside”? At least that is what I think of this statue

January 2015 site seeing 3
3. Exchange Street that leads into the stockyards, (we need to come to a rodeo here, (Every Friday) after the mission)

January 2015 Elder Shepherd in the underground corrals
4. The coliseum, this building is pretty old, and one of the original buildings of Fort Worth, this is where they hold the rodeos.
January 2015 site seeing 2

Email 2

1 Riskey’s Stakehouse cow, (he knows his fate)
January 2015 site seeing 4
2 The longhorns, Fun fact, long horns are not bred for beef, nor milk, usually just for the horns, but more often just for the wealthy to show their status.
January 2015 site seeing 5
3. Normally you have to pay to get a picture with the cow, but the owner, (after making a few jokes about Mormons) really opened up and decided he wanted to let us have a picture with it to show his care and support for us. He was really cool, and knows lots of missionaries who come through the stockyards.
January 2015 bull riding
4. This is yours, it is a size 13, the only pair they had, and they were a bit more expensive, to answer your question, I did get the other boots, I tried to give them to a missionary who couldn’t afford any (most cant but now I have a pair I found, The pair I bought, the pair you sent back, and the ones I am sending to you) but they didn’t fit him. I am trying to find someone who will appreciate them.
January 2015 boots for dad

Email 3

1. Little dog who wouldn’t leave us alone as we visited an elderly less active member, it chased us down the street and ran along side my bike as we left, my speedometer said I was going 15MPH…
January 2015 dog
2. We made burgers, I killed a plastic spatula, and we set off the fire alarm in the process, but it turned out delicious.
January 2015 dinner

So there are 10 pictures, I will save some for mom, Since I have this week well journaled, and I don’t know how to best explain all that happened.

Take care!
Love,
Elder Grant Hagen

Service Project

Well shoot, January is almost over, this is the second to last week of the transfer and time feel como si era volando! No se porque tiene que ir tan rapido pero asi es. En mi correo a papi envie algunos picturas from the beginning of the week but yesterday I wasn’t able to e-mail. Instead, the library was closed, but we were able to do a ton of service!

So yesterday I attended a multi faith religious service with the other 27 missionaries in the Fort Worth stake, and the councilor to the mission president. We sang in the choir, and we were there first of all to do service for the community, we were involved in a project of taking all of the faiths, or a large portion of them and volunteering in service in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. It was wonderful and really got us known among so many who would just refer to us a Mormons.

January 2015 service project 1

January 2015 service project 2
Our project was tree trimming, we had to make sure that no branches were lower than 10 feet and remove all potentially dangerous branches in future bad weather.

This was our service group, 6 missionaries ( two left before the pictures) and some people and their “mother” from their episcopal church.

January 2015 service project 4

All 600 volunteers got a free lunch of Subway, with seconds! They had us sit in an organized way so we were mixed with other people, and the mayor of Fort Worth spoke.

We then finished the service but they needed help to move the 6000 lunches they had made for the homeless, and while we waited, the pastor of the Baptist church where the lunch was held gave us a tour of their sanctuary, with the largest French organ in the united states

January 2015 service project baptist church 4

January 2015 service project baptist church

January 2015 service project baptist church french organ 2

They were super amazing people, and told us a good deal about the building, the chapel seems more gothic in style which is quite uncommon for Baptists, but the architect decided they needed it

January 2015 service project baptist church 2

January 2015 service project baptist church 3

The largest French Organ in the US

The largest French Organ in the US

Then the lunches arrived, this is about half, between 10 elders it took about an hour and a half to move all of them to a few storage rooms

The lunches for the homeless

The lunches for the homeless

Have a great week and thank you for your e-mail!

Love!
Elder Grant Hagen

Never a Scratch, Cut, nor Rip

Howdy Ya’ll/ Ma
I get Zach’s e-mail each week and we write each other, I support him, this week I gave him a talk about revelation by president Bednar, how it is sometimes an immediate process, but normally more like a sunrise until it covers the whole space, and I applied it to learning a language.

Based off of your e-mail I want to recount all of my biking accidents, for each to me has been a specific incident, and thankfully they are not very frequent.

The first one was when I was being trained by Elder Barnette, we were on an exchange and I was with a different elder, we were in the dark and heading home some time in January of last year. Texas had frozen over and there were patches of black ice on the road. What had happened was my bag got caught on my back wheel because it was hanging too low. I reached to adjust it, and I began to lean, I over corrected on some black ice and skid and fell. Got up, and really besides the fall, nothing had happened. That was kind of weird to be honest.

Next was being trained with Elder Ostlund. We were biking up to the library in Haltom, we were going along a road and got to a point where it was narrow and busy, so we got on the sidewalk for a bit, we kept riding and decided to get back on the road by taking a driveway, it was gravel, and I slid in  it, fell, and some how my handle bars ended up all twisted. A Hispanic man saw us, (since it was his driveway) went inside, got us some bottles of water, and came back out, when he got over to us I decided that I was going to try to share the gospel with him, he accepted a card, but that was the last we ever saw of him.

In Denton, I was with Elder Guiterrez and we had just finished visiting an investigator whom we later baptized, we were crossing a busy street to go up onto a mechanic shop’s driveway to get to the sidewalk. We went, and got up but I turned too much and slipped in the dusty gravel, got up, dusted myself off. We carried on.

With Elder Kremer we were going down a street in Denton, and I had taken my hands off of the handlebars, I lost my balance, over corrected, and fell, rolled, stood up, and the next thing I heard was my companion saying, “what was that?!?” since there was no delay, no pause in the fall, just kind of one continuous motion.

I am pretty sure I have fallen here once, but I cant remember how or why right now…. bummer.. . It is true though, I have never been scratched, cut, nor have I ripped anything from any of the falls. I am so grateful for that, Though with elder Kremer I think I bruised my hip a little, but that only lasted a few days.

Spanish Conference,

On Friday there was a Spanish Conference! This was an event similar to last year where they gather all of the Spanish missionaries in the mission and we council and train on how to get the work moving at an accelerated rate, based off of the teaching that we know individually and how we can council together to resolve outcomes. This meeting made me feel a little old to be honest, I saw so many new missionaries, or some that I knew but hadn’t served around, and a good deal of missionaries who were there last year are now home. That conference was a wonderful experience and I took about 6 pages of notes on things I learned and things I wanted to apply. President Ames led most of it, giving trainings and leading councils as we discussed the issues and solutions to cultural and idiomatic problems that we are trying to resolve. Some of the things that were shared, I already knew from personal experience, but I hope and pray that the topics discussed will be a great help to all  of the missionaries that were there. The council itself was four hours including a lunch from a restaurant called Costa Vida, it was like Chipotle in a sense, where we got tortillas and loaded up what we wanted to eat. We also role played how we would teach and invite people to commitments, that is always helpful, to see the teaching methods of one missionary, review how it went, and repractice.

Bus and Taxi
So Saturday it did begin to rain a little bit, but not as bad as last week. This time we had rain as a light drizzle everywhere, but we were excited. There was a baptism at 5 pm, and someone we are teaching accepted to go! The only problem was getting down there, the other missionaries were in a meeting for preparing zone conference and about 45 minutes away. So we took the bus, we walked to a nearby stop, called the bus line, figured out the time it was going to come by, and walked to a subway to buy some dinner before we got there using some gift cards that were given to us by some awesome people. As we were walking back, literally ten feet from the stop, the bus zoomed by…. So we sat and waited for the next one to come in 15 minutes, it came on time, we hopped on and rode it to central Fort Worth, and waited for the next one, we soon realized that it wasn’t going to come for another 45 minutes! So in a mad dash to be there on time (it was about 4:45 by that point) we got in a Taxi and rode to the church, the driver was really cool, I struggled to understand his English a little, but he was from Nigeria and had been to the temple grounds there! He kept telling us how beautiful the temple as and how he wanted to go inside. So we invited him to go to church the following sunday! He said he would and since he drove us to the church he knows where it is (he said he thought is was a Baptist church every time he passed by). Our investigator came to the baptism, we had a church tour, and they came on Sunday to worship services! It was fantastic! I know that prayers are being answered and that this work moves forth!

I love yall!
Elder Grant HagenJanuary 2015 zone conference

Bus Trip and Fried Chicken


Hi Mom,

Your last email says it is from 2014… I also got all of those cool pictures of spencers room, it looks really cool! This week I don’t think my stories are as in depth, I guess we will have to see what I remember about what.

New Years Eve
So for New Years we were invited to have dinner with a part member family, the mom is named Maria and the whole family is super awesome! We got to there house and just a few of the family members were there and the grandmother was cooking the dinner still. She asked us if we had an appointment, we told her the truth that we had one in about an hour from when she asked. Apparently that wasn’t enough time to wait for everyone and she decided to serve us some delicious pasole, which is a soup of over hydrated corn, and either chicken or beef or sometimes pork, and comes in the colors of either red, green, or clear depending on spicyness and way they cook it, this one was red and it was delicious! We also had some baked sweet potatoes, and some fried tortillas with cinnamon and sugar ( I forgot what they are called, they are delicious, and I will have to make them when I get back, Remind Me). While we were eating, other family members arrived and we began to teach and talk since this family has heard all of the lessons from missionaries in the past, so we asked them what they wanted to learn, and taught to their interests and needs. That was a really cool experience.

Elder Sherpherd eating soup

Elder Sherpherd eating soup

Bus Trip
Since this is the first Saturday following the first Friday of the month and I am a district leader, we had a DLC which is a District Leadership Council, where we discuss the plans the mission has for the month with the Zone leaders, they gave us a ride to the church but due to some paperwork they wouldn’t be able to help us get back until way late at night. So for the first time on my mission we took the bus! That was an interesting, and long experience, the night before I planned on which bus numbers we would need to get home, where they stopped and about how long it would take. Well I messed up on some of the planning, we were at the first bus stop for about an hour, then the bus came and we got to the main terminal (Fort Worth has a really good bus system) and waited for the bus that would go right by our house. I didn’t know that Saturday busses have different routes than normal weekdays. So we were waiting at the transfer stop for about 30 minutes, then decided to check the sign, realized the mistake and hopped on the bus that would also take us to our area that had just arrived at the terminal. It was an interesting experience to say the least of.

New Investigators
We decided to go tracting for three hours after all of our appointments fell through on Wednesday or Thursday, I cant remember everything blends together. It was pouring rain then it would be a light mist, but there was a constant flow of water from the sky that night, and we went door to door, inviting people to listen to the message we had to share with everyone. We met a great deal of people, apparently if it is raining outside, people don’t expect us to be there. One instance, we knocked a house and the porch was locked so we couldn’t get to the front door. I felt we needed to knock the house that was built on the back of the property (that is how most are built here, a newer house in front and an old garage/apartment in back) We locked up our bikes, climbed the stairs that were half covered by the roof, so a nice waterfall down the middle. We knock the door and sang himno 88 in Spanish (Placentero nos es trabajar) the man who answered was in a red plaid shirt, slacks, and boots, ready to leave to a party. We sang, he told us it gave him the chills, we testified we are messengers of Jesus Christ, he told us to come back the following night. We did, he is super awesome and we hope to begin teaching him more.

Fried Chicken

On Friday we made fried Chicken, I had extra chicken in the freezer, and we decided to give it a try, we made gravy, Idahoan mashed potatoes, and hot chocolate. That was an awesome meal that I wanted to be recorded in the history of missionary life. I ended up making a powder of flour, salt, pepper, and seasonings, coated the thawed chicken in egg white, and put them in the bag of batter, removed, and into the pot of hot oil on the stove. It worked out really well!

January 2015 chef grant

Making and eating fried chicken

Making and eating fried chicken

I think that is it for interesting stories, well I have more in my journal, but this is all I can remember, have a great week! I love you! I cant believe that my brothers say I only have 9 months left! That is crazy! Take care!

Love
Elder Grant Hagen


 

 

How-dy Pa
Well church starts at 1pm for us now, that is super different since we don’t finish until 4 now and we don’t get back until about 5, but I am excited to think that this time change will help. We had a break the fast with the ward on Sunday, that was a cool meal, Spanish food tastes even better after a fast, especially sweet cheese enchiladas, tuna salad, rice pudding, salad, it was really more of a nice potluck.
So during Christmas people had some cool decorations, one of which is this deer (picture #1)
Giant light up deer

Giant light up deer

I also saw this super cool bird, he was at a part members house, and he wouldn’t run from us, that was kind of weird
January 2015 winter bird
I had fried chicken we cooked this week, and it turned out great!
I know that this is Gods true work here on earth, that he lives, I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting on how as missionaries we are here to uplift and move forward as servants of God and are here to serve the members.
I hope you have a great week
I love you!
Elder Grant Hagen

Stories

I used a high exposure on my camera and it held it open for 15 seconds to write with the flashlight Dad gave me!

I used a high exposure on my camera and it held it open for 15 seconds to write with the flashlight Dad gave me!

Hola Mama!

Bummer about the mugs, (he sent us mugs that were broken when they got here) but I am so happy  that yall got your gifts! Alright! I am going to set up a couple of stories this time,

Service for Hermana Vasquez

So on Saturday Morning we had an exchange with the Zone Leaders and I was with Elder Ray in our area, during the exchange we decided to visit a member of the ward so on our way to an appointment we swing by but of her cars was missing, we still knocked, no one answered so we went on our way to try to teach more people. Later, about an hour before dinner, we were on her street again and decided to try once more. We passed by and this time her 1980s Chevy van was there, we knocked and she said she was just about to leave again so we didn’t have time to share a message but we offered to help her with her yard. She is a great grandmother and has such a kind heart. When we offered to help her, her face lit up, then a little concern since it was about 40 degrees outside, but that didn’t bother us, we went to work  raking up a ton of leaves that were in her driveway and on her patio. It was about half an hours to an hours worth of work. While we were doing it she came back outside and gave us some delicious dried cranberries, cheesecake, and some Mexican cookies that go great with hot chocolate! Her neighbor’s dog, a little spotted black and white puppy of a terrier came to help us and was running around our feet the whole time.

December 2014 animal December 2014 animal 2

Lesson with German

With Elder Shepherd we went to visit an investigator who has been really receptive to the gospel. We showed up at around seven, knocked and within  few moments he walked out decked in a Texan belt, tan snakeskin boots, and a classy tan jacket. He and his family were on their way to a wedding of their neighbor who lives beneath them. That kind of cut down the time we could teach, so we began to talk, just casually but it progressed into a discussion about the great role he plays as a father, the role model he is to his family and especially to his children. We related it to how God has set an example to each of us and loves us so dearly. We asked him what he thought of it and his words struck me, he said “well, we are children of God” That was a piece of his testimony that did not exist when we first met him. The way he said it and the pause in our talk afterwards, I know that the Spirit testified to him of the truth of those words, that it was more than just a sentence, but an understanding that went even deeper. That is what makes missionary work worth it, to see the great progress that happens inside their hearts, and it is wonderful. We ended up talking for half an hour on his porch, thankfully we didn’t make him late as we followed up again last night to see how they were doing.

New Guy we found

While with Elder Ray we decided to visit a potential Investigator that Elder Shepherd and I had found the week before. We arrived at a quite clean and organized red brick home and entered their entrance hall and knocked the door. A man in a red shirt and jeans answered on crutches, he had been walking down some stairs and sprained his calf at his work. He was very open and let us un to his home, we sat on his couch, the football game to the left of us, and this man sitting to the right on another couch. We began to talk of his life, learn who he is, what he does, what is important to him, and we testified of the truths that he stated. He was interested in what we had to say, eventually we said a prayer and shared the complete Restoration with him. He asked questions, yearned for understanding and we were able to provide to his needs. When we left the home, he understood God has his true church on the earth today, that there is a prophet, and that he will need to read the book of Mormon to know that these things are true.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas eve we had a wonderful devotional and an interesting time to end up there! We got up at our normal time, did our exercise, and soon after we were ready the Zone Leaders picked us up and we were on our way to first the 8th Ave chapel to grab a projector screen then we took another half an hour drive to get to the stake center, (in all of Fort worth there are three church buildings but the city is huge!) We got there and set up round tables and chairs in the cultural hall in preparation for the devotional, as time progressed more and more missionaries arrived, it soon became about 100 missionaries about a half an hour before the devotional started, and it was wonderful. We watched the original “Christmas  Carol” and had a wonderful lunch during it of baked beans, potato salad and pulled pork in a bun with sauce! Then we had a devotional where a missionary read what we call the “full Christmas Story” starting with the beginning of the councils in heaven to Christ’s birth, to the need to follow him. Afterwards some groups of missionaries sang and we got the wonderful letters from all of yall!

Christmas Day

There isn’t too much left to describe for Christmas day, but in general we opened presents quite early in the morning,

Christmas eve jammies, "Feliz Navidad Y'all" shirt

Christmas eve jammies, “Feliz Navidad Y’all” shirt

December 2014 christmas gifts
then we got ready for the day, and we went to District meeting! I asked everyone to bring some food and we had a great potluck!
December 2014 district christmas day December 2014 district christmas day food
Afterwards I got to call yall and each time I do, saying goodbye is the hardest part, I haven’t been able  to do it without brining a tear to my eye. We had dinner at a members home that night, they made pasole, which is a delicious Hispanic soup of chicken (sometimes pork)

I love you and hope yall  have a happy new year!
Love Elder Grant Hagen
Elder Hagen and Elder Shepherd

Elder Hagen and Elder Shepherd


Christmas and Companions

Mi amado Mama!
Well Today I went to the temple again! It was a wonderful experience that I am glad I was able to share with my companions this week right before transfers. We got up at 4:15 to get ready and be on the road with the other elders in the car of the Elders Quorum president from Puerto Rico. He drove us down there an hour away and we all got to enjoy a temple session as a district. It is definitely one of my goals that for after the mission I need to regularly attend the temple, I attached a picture of my trio and of our district as a whole. After the session we all took photos for a bit, then had the hour haul to get back to Fort Worth.
december temple trip December 2014 temple
I found out about transfers, since my companion was on an exchange with the zone leaders, a little early this time, actually on Saturday since that is when the Zone leaders get the report on who is going where and who is receiving what assignment. I will be staying in this area of Northside for a third transfer! Yet my companions will both be leaving, Elder Tulaga will go with Elder kremer who was my companion before coming here, and Elder Lickiss is going with a missionary named Elder Meyer in a place called Stevenville, which is the cowboy capital of the world, no joke, that is the title of the City! Elder Tulaga will be going to Cleburne as well and be on a bike.
We also have to give the car to another area today, it was reassigned since we are the smallest area in the mission, but it was definitely nice and appreciated during the time that we had to use it, the air conditioning and all the greatness of quick travel. I will be alright being back on bikes though, since it is much easier to contact a greater number of people on the routes we travel. Speaking of which on Saturday we went to a completely random street, stopped, and visited everyone that we saw! It was super awesome and we found about 7 or 8 families, so now we have to see how interested they are since they let us stop by once and share a quick Christmas Message. Also! My new Companion will be Elder Shepard who was Elder Lickiss’s MTC companion! So that will interesting and I hope to have some great experiences serving with him, he was just trained by Elder Badillo who is a fluent and native Spanish speaker and someone I respect quite well!
So I do have a few boots, but most are really expensive!!!! Your average price will be about $150 for a pair, but they are really nice material, I found a couple that were on discount because the store is going under, and there was a pair left in the apartment that I have claimed and jealously guard.December 2014 boots
I also did get the wonderful tree that ya’ll sent! I love it so much! The night (last night) it got here I unwrapped, and set it up, each ornament is heart warming and I thank yall so much for the support you give me!
December 2014 christmas tree
As far as Christmas calls, I will be using the cell phone, and I was planning on calling at about 3 o’clock my time which is 1PM California time right? I look forward to talking with yall and we each have an hour to do so!
I hope you have a great week! Stay dry! It is still dry here in Texas but the cold is starting in now! Who knows how long it will last until another warm spell. Take care!
Con mucho amor!
Elder Grant Hagen

Hola papi!
Muy bien! Esta semana fue excelente! Estoy muy agradecido que pudiera recibir mi mensaje de la semana pasada. So this week was transfers on Wednesday right after having that great temple trip!
Really quick, gas prices are super low here, like $1.80 for a gallon, do you know why they have dropped about 2 dollars so fast?
I haven’t gotten the Christmas package yet but we are going to have a district meeting in the morning of Christmas, then I will call ya’ll at 3’oclock Texas time, so 1 California time. On Christmas eve we have a Christmas devotional lunch with the mission president for three hours then a few great meals planned for later that night, I have two dinners planed for Christmas Eve, and so far 1 for Christmas, I don’t plan on going with 4 dinners again, that was crazy for Thanksgiving. It should be super awesome and I plan to take pictures all the way long.
This week my companions left me, they got into the white car in the picture and left, maybe I will see them at the devotional, but now I am with Elder Shepherd, he has been out as long as my trainee but speaks and understands Spanish as though he has been out much longer!
December 2014 companions leave
Shortly after he got here we went tracting and found a deer! The horns are real and it is one of their Christmas decorations, then it rained, rather poured on us within a couple of minutes, that was unexpected and crazy!
December 2014 deer
Our ward also had their Christmas party on Saturday, it was a wonderful experience, we shared the Christmas video, our district sang two hymns, they had a piñata, and we helped santa hand out presents to all of the children that were there. It was pretty cool!
December 2014 ward christmas party December 2014 ward christmas party santa
On Sunday Elder Shepherd and I were asked to teach the Gospel principles class about five minutes before it began! So we read the chapter and taught exaltation! The class was full, about 20-25 people and the lesson went super well and we got a couple compliments on it afterwards.
I hope you have a great week and I look forward to calling yall!
Love,
Thy son,
Elder Grant Hagen