He is gone, gone all the way of the earth as Lehi states it… so strange and unreal, life is the mission now…

Mi Amada Madre,

So transfers happened, I was a bit sad and a little shell-shocked of my companion going home, he is gone, gone all the way of the earth as Lehi states it… so strange and unreal, life is the mission now…
It sound like ward conference was a great experience! I am glad Bishop Homes talked about service, I need to write him again, I had plans to do it soon, maybe today. Have yall used Justserve.org yet? what kind of service opportunities have yall had? our mission is using it and it has helped so much in letting the people of Texas know we are human beings too!
What kind of missionary experience have yall recently had?
I am now serving with Elder Hansen! He is from Sandy Utah! Actually, just a few blocks from where aunt Jen used to live! Maybe they were in the same ward??!?!! I will have to ask him.
New comp. Elder Hansen

New comp. Elder Hansen

March 15 new comps edit

Hmm well I wish I had some super exciting things to talk about, oh! I am in choir still, we had a rehearsal on Friday right after transfers so some missionaries got transferred out of the metro-plex and wont be able to be in it due to travel time ūüė¶ I am still there though! We have 8 songs we are going to sing for the friday just before General Conference! That is an exciting day! To be able to hear from the Apostles and the First Presidency!
So recently we are teaching people the Nature of God, since in the beginning of the Preach my Gospel lessons it states: “God is our Loving Heavenly Father” SO what does that mean? It is amazing about all the different beliefs and concepts of who God is, and why is it so important?
Some say that he is comparable to a cloud, big enough to fill the universe but small enough to dwell in your heart…
Texas sky at Sunset

Texas sky at Sunset

Some say that it is like an egg, The father, the son, the holy ghost all fit together like a shell, the white and the egg yolk…
Some say that it is a time line, first the father, then Christ, then the Holy Ghost in our time.
ETC…….
This doctrine is so important to understand, and we get it, we know who our FATHER is, where we came from, why we are here.
In Genesis 1:26, it uses two important words, and so far, I have seen them in every bible translation, US, and OUR:
Why are they used?
In John, chapter 1 verses 1 and 14, Who is the WORD? and how can the word be with God, be god, and be sent to earth to dwell in the Flesh?
In John 17 the intercessory prayer, who is Jesus praying to?
When our beloved Savior went to the Garden of Gethsemane why did he say “father remove this cup from me, never the less, let thy will not mine, be done”
If someone doesn’t understand this concept, the first vision goes WHOOSH! Right over their head, they have no idea why there were TWO beings that appeared to Joseph Smith and none of it clicks in their head.
It is difficult to understand the sacrifice that took place almost 1986 years ago in a garden of olive trees, on a cross, then a few days later, from a tomb. That we hold and revere as the Atonement, the most important act to have ever taken place on this earth. We know why that act took place, how through it we can return to our father in heaven.
We know that when Christ refers to being one, it is his purpose, his will and the fathers and the Holy Ghost are perfectly aligned to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man!
So who is ready for that message?
I know that God wants his children to know who he is, why we are here, and how much he loves us.
I have asked people, “if God appeared in front of you, what would be his features?” That question doesnt make sense to a lot of people, they dont understand he has a figure. He has: two eyes, a nose, two ears, a mouth, two hands, two feet, two arms, two legs. We are made in his image because he is our loving heavenly father.
I understand this more now, it is making sense, we shared this with a member who has been baptized for two years, and it was hard, he at one moment said, “you mean to say that what I have known, or tried to understand for my whole life up until now is wrong?” We asked him, and he said, it is hard to accept but it makes sense.
I love you, best of luck with Tayler, I will write him.
I hope you have a wonderful week, and I hope I dont sound too preachy, that message just came into my mind and I felt it needed shared.
Love
Elder Grant Hagen
Companions and Texas skies
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The Real World Made a Scary Appearance

Dear Mom.

Well this week was pretty routine, apart from Choir on Wednesday and another singing event on Sunday night. First, the mission is putting together a super awesome choir! We are practicing 8 songs and this Friday is the last rehearsal. I am singing base and the songs aren’t too complicated. It should be a great teaching opportunity and a powerful spiritual experience.¬† The second event was we (all the missionaries in the stake) were asked to attend a fireside called “Set Your Course” for 11 year olds about to be deacons. We sang in front of the pulpit ‘Called to Serve” Texas Fort Worth style (which is different). Afterwards, as we were leaving there was an 11 year old in the hall with his mom, I asked him what his name was and shook his hand. I can’t remember all that I said, but it was a spiritual experience to see the look on his face and reassure him that this is what God would have him do. I think his mom was appreciative.¬†
 
Also transfer information was distributed this week! Being a Zone Leader, we see all information on Saturday, then we call all the missionaries and let them know what their life will be like for the next six weeks on the Monday following or in other words, today! 
 
I am going to stay in Euless Spanish area but Elder Hepworth is going to go home on Wednesday! That is interesting to see how he feels and just how the shock has been for him. He had his exit interview on Tuesday and the real world made a scary appearance in his near future. 
 
My new companion is going to be Elder Hansen! He is currently serving in the same ward as I am, but now we will be companions! And Spanish Training Leaders as well as Zone Leaders! Which means we have to travel and represent the spanish missionaries when we have ideas or learn from the missionaries on how to best help the latino people here in Texas Fort Worth! 
 
This week we also had two awesome people come to church! Their daughter was baptized almost 2 months ago after studying for about 2 years! They are super cool and after church, the bishopric had a lunch in the kitchen for anyone who wanted to come, and that is how they feed the missionaries on Sunday, the people we are teaching came! They had a great time, and the fellowship they received, along with the amazing fish tacos, salad, rice, and banana pudding, was fantastic!
The Bishopric made lunch

The Bishopric made lunch

We taught them later that night and they asked about what did the teacher mean in Gospel principles when he said “that a man needs’ his other half of the orange’ to get into heaven”, (they were talking about priesthood, and the importance of being together as a sealed couple) We glady explained parts of the Plan of Salvation, but we were in a hurry to get to the singing event so we weren’t able to get all that we had planned accomplished.¬†
 
I hope yall are having a great time! Tell Tayler that I love him and wish him a happy birthday! That was his last birthday I have to be absent for in the mission, so now I will not miss another one of my brothers birthdays for being in Texas. Love Yall!
 
I love you!
Elder Grant hagen
(p.s. I will get a better picture of my companion.)
Is this really a "better" picture of his companion?

Is this really a “better” picture of his companion?

 

Local art

Local art

Cousin Found

I discovered this week that there is a sister Morrill in Grant’s mission. After talking to her mom via Facebook we discovered that they are 3rd cousins. We were pretty excited about that.


Howdy! 

This week was pretty good, Texas had a bit of real snow! Not rain that turns into ice but on Thursday there was real snowfall. Thankfully we were planning so we didn’t have to be outside, but by the time we were done, the roads had cleared up things were beginning to melt, and we had driving privileges again!¬†
march 15 snow and ice
 
I have also heard of Sister Morrill before, I have never met her, but I wondered if we were related, and just assumed so. You said she is serving in Coppers Cove, that is a ways away in the South and she will probably finish her mission before I meet her. 
 
Wow so the daylight savings wasn’t super exciting for me, losing a precious hour of sleep is not fun, especially as a missionary. On Sunday we had a meeting we had to be at at 7 for Ward Council, since church starts at 8:30. We had planned to get up at 5:45 to get ready and pick up the other elders at 6:45, but our phone, which was supposed to be our alarm didnt switch over! what ended up happening is that since I had changed the time on my alarm clock the night before, it went off at 6:15 and we realized we had half an hour to eat, get ready and go, so that was a rush! We got there on time, but I prefer planning out my time ahead of the moments I need to act.¬†
 
Sunday night was super cool. We drove up to a city called Southlake, (google map it) it is a very nice city with beautiful homes. We had dinner with a family that lives up there and they trust us to help teach their friends and acquaintances the Gospel. When a member tells you that they can and are trusting you is a relieving feeling. Lets me know that I am acting and representing the Lord in the  way I need to be. They are a super cool family that met at BYU but come from spanish speaking countries! So they have cultural dinners when we come over! This time they made this small pancake sized cormeal things that looked like english muffins in appearance and shape, but they were cornmeal, we cut them open and put shredded beef and cheese inside and it was delicious! 
 
When we finished at the members’ home, we needed to be back at our stake center for a fireside that our mission president puts on every second Sunday of the month. This one was special for several reasons. First, we were running late, it starts at 7, we were 20 minutes away, and it was 6:50… I was driving. We did not get there on time due to speed limits. We are the companionship in charge of opening the building anytime the mission has an event, so thankfully someone covered for us. We are the only companionship that has access to the translation equipment so missionaries can translate the firesides for their spanish investigators and members who come. We did get that done as each spanish missionary was translating before we got there by whispering to their investigators.
 
So those were the challenges, but the fireside itself was beautiful. It began with a man named Steve who bore his testimony, he was a recent convert and called the missionaries during dinner one night after a sincere prayer and told them he needed to be baptized. This was after a while of investigation and study, but he found it out on his own. 
 
A girl named Dennise shared her testimony, I was at her baptism exactly a month and a day before. She told the whole story of when she first met the missionaries to when she decided to be baptized. We are teaching her parents now and they came to the fireside for the first time to hear their daughter give a talk! They loved the whole thing and are amazing and wonderful people! 
 
Then there was a musical number, a senior couple in the mission, President Ames, his wife and son, and the assistants Elders Haufano and Fitzgerald sang “I need thee every hour” and it was a powerful spiritual moment for all of us. I wish I had my recorder with me… :/
 
President Ames then ends the fireside with a talk and testimony and this time he shared some powerful insight, he referred to everyone there as his friends, at one point, and his brothers and sisters in Christ in another. His talk was a touching teaching of the love that our father has, the joy and rejoicing he must have as he had said when his only begotten was baptized This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.that was a great moment. He talked about the true nature of God, how he is our father, and that his son is Jesus Christ, they are two separate beings distinct, as we learn as Christ calls to his father throughout the New Testament. This is doctrine that has been scattered for about 2000 years, and many people dont realize they are two beings when we teach them. But they need to know. 
 
We also had MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) on Friday, it was about 5 hours long, from 10 to 3 but we had Chik-fil-et(?) for lunch so that was delicious. 
 
I hope you have a great week! I love you!
 
Love,
Elder Grant Hagen
Dinner at a members house

Dinner at a members house

 

Crazy Elder Hepworth

Crazy Elder Hepworth

 

Playtime

Playtime

Welcome in March (for the last time)

 I guess I have to welcome March! 

Time, I don’t think you are getting older, it is the world progressing around you, follow Grandma Hagen’s example and stay young forever! Wouldnt that be funny if you were a grandma in a decade? JAJAJAJAJA!¬†
 
Thank you for sending me that talk, I think I have read that in the ensign, some apartments have ensigns back to 1992. I love studying the plan of salvation, this morning I read Alma 5 and what stood out to me was the understand of what it means to be saved. Salvation is not a “one time”, “been there accomplished that”, moment. I have met, and probably will still meet people, who tell me the stories of what day and event in which they were saved! Usually they are great spiritual moments, just not interpreted to their true nature. Salvation comes from enduring, understanding, learning. God wants us to learn about him, like a father who wants to be found, he leaves teachings, guidance, and understanding for us to reach so when we do eventually get to him, we will realize how much we have become like him. If, we choose that path, choose to follow him. About a transfer or two ago, I decided I needed to understand the gospel more, So I realized that the Gospel is made of Doctrine, Covenants, Laws, Ordinances, and Principles. In each topic there are sub-topics, all relating to and depending on faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, which is the first Principle of the Gospel. Quite a fun adventure that study was and I have it written out in my notebook. I have also taking the time to chart out and am scripture cataloging the Doctrine of the Plan of Salvation. For that is extensive, as you shared a part in your wonderful e-mail and I want to know more! OH! I just realized that I made that connection to what elder Oaks was saying by what I was studying in either Alma 42, or Alma 11, somewhere about the Resurrection. We will receive our perfect bodies, everyone knows and loves that promise, we will also receive perfect knowledge! I realize that that is key in the judgement, it will not be something we will unknowingly receive punishment at, or be condemned on false charges. We will know where we will be comfortable, what position we have earned by our actions, how much we have aligned ourselves to all that he has given us, that is why there are multiple kingdoms. That is how God can be Just and Merciful, obeying both of those laws and the Law of Agency as well! We will know and accept what kingdoms we have earned by what we have done. That is part of the beauty of the plan!
 
Conversion is a fun topic! President Ames writes us a letter each Monday and I read it and write him just before opening myLDSmail. He talked about conversion, there is a talk called “The Fourth Missionary” which is quite beautiful, and there is “Becoming a Consecrated Missionary” By Tad R. Callister if you want to look those up. Many missionaries read those and may become discouraged thinking they are expected to obtain the impossible, to be perfect within two years. He wrote that we must realize that we must become converted! When we get there, we must seek even more light! Life is about progression, improvement, and becoming as you said.¬†
 
Thank you for your e-mail. As our mission says “Hurrah For Israel!”
I love you too!
Elder Grant Hagen

Buenas tardes Papa!

I never would have thought you would get an iPad! That is surprising! So what happens with all of your pictures? do you still have the data or was that your phone? I am in the basement computer lab of a local community college writing my e-mails, last week we were in a large public library on the second floor. I am just grateful for the chance I have to e-mail yall and for the fact that you all e-mail me as well! My companion is getting less and less mail now that he is going home in 2 weeks! It is really bumming him out since he doesn’t want his mission to end, but everyone else seems to have accepted the fact. ENDURE TO THE END! Jajajaja at least thats what I think he wants his family to do. Maybe they e-mailed him today though, I don’t know.
Cool story of this week, we had interviews with President Ames! I always look forward to interviews and zone conferences as great learning opportunities. Now, I have to set up! So we have a baptismal goal as a mission for the year, and he helped explain a bit more. Goals are a measurement of progress, like the data that a doctor receives to know how “living” his patient is, or in our case, the “life” of the area. We can’t let ourselves be run by our numerical goals, but we must use them as tools to measure and evaluate.
As far as funky foods, I have had menudo, which is cow stomach, and lots of cultural dishes from different nations, papusas, empenadas, different salsas, pasole, yesterday we had a dish from uruguay called Noukis? It was a potato pasta with beef and cheese, really good! There are also things called tortitas de Papas, which are like tortillas or pancakes made of potato, egg, and cheese. I havent been able to have much of a variety of foods, most mexican dishes are beef, chicken or pork. I have definitely had variety though!
Not so weird food, waffles a la Grant

Not so weird food, waffles a la Grant

We also got the truck back, but during the  cold we were walking a while, Monday, Friday, and Saturday were pretty cold, Texas iced over so we were on foot for most of the day. Then when it hasnt been frozen or snowing, we are getting a bit of a mist/ light rain on everything. The truck is holding up though!
Elders with a truck

Elders with a truck

As for our baptismal dates, one of them we will have to reschedule since they didn’t come to church, the other is still going to be baptized but moved to the Arlington area so they will teach them now. Super cool people though! I am thouroughly convinced that we will baptize a family in this area either this transfer or the next. I just need to be persistent!
I hope you have a great week! I love you!
Love,
 Elder Grant Hagen

Grounded by Weather

I am e-mailing a day late, so this is different. Texas froze over yesterday so that was an intense realization that we were immobile. So we cleaned, planned, and got out on foot in the ice, and taught! 

No bike riding or car driving allowed because of extreme freeze.

No bike riding or car driving allowed because of extreme freeze.

I did get that amazing package! Thank you so much! The candy has been all eaten.. but the massive Hershey’s kiss lasted a little while on my desk, the only thing damaged in travel was the plastic case around the chocolate, and the metal canister was a little dented.
Giant Kiss

Giant Kiss

This week I also saw a really cool hotel it was called (see pictures) it reminded me of some great times with my family and how much I love them. 
February 2015 great wolf 2

We had a wonderful family trip to a Great Wolf Lodge in Washington state once

We had a wonderful family trip to a Great Wolf Lodge in Washington state once

 
Today is weird since I feel like I am not too sure what to write, usually I have a plan or key things that happened the week before that stuck out to me and I wanted to mention. We did have three investigators at church, each of them is super amazing and on their way to being baptized! We also got our truck back on Wednesday of last week! We were at the church, got a ride home with some english Elders, and then at home, we called the dealership and the mission office, learned that the truck was ready, then had to ask the elders to come back, and drop us off at the dealership right next to the church…¬†
 
So I mentioned that yesterday froze, well the day before that we had church, we decided to go and knock a few doors before church of some of the families we are teaching. Got to church, it was ward conference! The Stake President shared a very powerful talk on the use of the atonement, that it isnt us doing as much as we can then Christ fufilling the rest, he described it as a story in a book a member wrote
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“a man’s young daughter came to him and said she wanted to buy a bike, he replied, ‘you will need to save your pennies’ She answered, ‘okay daddy I will!’ within a few weeks she returned and told her father that she was ready to go buy a bike! It was a suprise for the father as he had thought that by the time she had enough to buy a bike she would want a car! But true to his word, they went all around town until they had found the perfect bike. It was perfect just for her, and with the price tag hanging between the handle bars, with joy she turned it over, and all the happiness she had disappeared. In tears she said ‘oh daddy it is just too much’ It cost over a hundred dollars. The loving father asks ‘well how much do you have?’ the distraught daughter replied that she had saved all of her money and in total it was 67 cents. The father said, give me all you have, and a hug and a kiss, and I will buy the bike.”¬†
That was the story he shared. Maybe I didn’t explain it as well, I wish I caught the name of the book he was sharing. But the point is, no matter what we do, we wont be able to reach perfection, we must turn to Christ now. That is what we did at our baptism, we have access to his atonement now, his yoke is ours. It isn’t a thought of “once I reach that point up there I will have his help” but we have taken upon ourselves his name, and can and should turn to him now! It was quite inspiring for me and I am grateful that our investigators were able to listen to that wonderful talk.
I hope you have a great week! I love you!
Elder Grant Hagen

Dear Father,

Today is my first time ever driving in the ice! We got permission to drive from 12 to 6 today! So that is making this an interesting day, that we plan to make the most out of!
8 months!?!?!? That seems like a really short amount of time, I have always felt the mission is going fast, but I never seemed to think that I would get to feel that I am old… Plus! My companion goes home in 3 weeks, he mentions it everyone once and awhile but hasn’t gotten trunky. I for sure won’t!
We also got our truck back on Wednesday, it was a nice improvement to our transportation, but it makes it harder to contact the people on the street sometimes.
It poured rain on Sunday and Monday it froze over, today there is a bit of ice and about 32 degrees right now. So it is pretty cold, but I am staying super warm with the thermals and jackets I have!
We still have a baptismal date but the investigator is going to move to another city before the baptism, so I will need to set some more dates, but we had three amazing people at church on Sunday!
Our ward is all spanish, some people can speak English, some can’t but all the services are in Spanish.
P-days so far have been on foot except for the first, since we didnt have the truck, and yesterday it froze over. So normally we do our necesities then play basketball, but we have had time to relax in the apartment.
There are a few good fried chicken places, but in the stockyards in my last area, I have to take yall to Riskeys bar-b-que it was really good! They have a rib buffet!
I hope you have a great week! I love you!
Love
Elder Grant Hagen