Monday, November 23, 2015

Crazy Cold week & funny English signs!

Nov 23 2015

Alright hello there everyone!  hopefully this email will be better than the last one and I apologize for how short the last one was. 

So this last week was full of things, mainly being surprised and that’s okay because what’s a mission without a surprise. So the first thing that happened, that I never expected would happen,  is we taught a lesson right in the middle of the City Center....... McDonald's! That was a really interesting experience for sure!! But it was alright, we taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I thought that it went really well, our investigator even said that she wanted to say the closing prayer which almost never happens with Chinese people, because our form of prayer is so foreign to them. But a miracle came out of it!! Before we met with this girl, she explained to us that she had lost her headphones on the way over to meet with us and she wasn’t too happy about that. Well, then we taught her and told her that we receive blessings from following Jesus Christ, and we can ask for blessings through prayer. Well she said the closing prayer and as we were walking outside to catch a bus with her, all of a sudden my companion looks down and finds a pair of headphones!! And yes-  as you expected they were her headphones!  In the middle of the town center, which might I add, has thousands of people walking through it every day!! She was so happy to see them and it quickly turned into a teaching moment, where we said Heavenly Father blessed her to find her headphones because she was willing to try her faith and say a prayer!! So that was a freaking awesome experience, and it was even in a McDonald's!! Gospel work and french fries! 

And here's our little Trio...! 

So the other thing that happened to us was for sure a major shock!!! Me and elder Chen were doing our planning on Tuesday night, when our phone rang. To see the AP's number is never a good thing (according to other missionaries) so elder Chen answers the phone very slowly and reluctantly, talks for a couple of minutes as says, "I’m training a different missionary!" with a very confused and scared look on his face! Which then got me scared, but it ended up that me and elder Chen got another Companion! So I am in a tri-companionship. Elder Liss joined us this past Wednesday from the Provo, MTC and it turns out that I was in there with him for about a week. So I knew him a little bit, but yes, now there are three of us chinese speaking elders in York, And it has been full of interesting experiences for sure. But we are excited to see what happens, especially with a transfer coming up in a couple of weeks, no one knows what’s going to happen so we will have to wait and see!

So our investigators are doing pretty good, the only problem is right now they are all finishing up the semester of school, so they are all studying for exams, and writing essays so it’s very hard to try and meet with them, because they say that they are too busy studying. But we talk them to them and eventually they come around! So that’s good, but it’s alright we will get them soon. Please pray for them to find some time to meet with us!! But you guys are awesome and thanks for all of the support you give me! 

Love Elder Hanks

England has got some pretty funny signs, so I got some pics with a couple!! 
Yep ... Yep He did!

not for Spiderman......! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Work til the very last minute

Nov 16 2015 
First Zone Conference Nov 11, 2015
So before I go into my testimony I want to share a little experience with all of you. This past saturday was a really cold and really rainy day. So much so that it seemed like england had evacuated the country. There was no one on the streets, and people were barely answering the doors, and there was zero chinese people to be found. (something to know about chinese people, THEY HATE THE RAIN.) Everytime it starts to rain, my companion elder Chen prays that the rain will stop and he is cold all the time, he doesnt go anywhere without a coat on and then there is me who is walking around in a t-shirt and shorts, thinking this is Utah fall weather, and its awesome. But somedays it really does get pretty cold, but off subject. So on saturday we had very little success, so much so that I began to be angry with myself that we had not found anyone to teach. And that today felt like a complete waste of time.

 Well we got back to our flat for tea (dinner) and I was just done. I had had it with the weather, the people, and I was just done. I had been called some names by English people for the first time, some I didn't know what they were saying, but still I could tell the meaning behind them. It was definitely not what you get in Utah when you see the Elders. No honking the horns or waves, just weird looks, and stares. So I laid down on our floor and just sat there trying to compose myself when the next thing I know elder chen is on the phone with someone, I figured it was with the other missionaries asking them about how their day was going. But no, I realized that he was speaking chinese and he was asking a lot of questions, some I could understand others I could not. It was some random lady named R........ She is a 50 year old chinese lady who lives here in York, and then the next thing I know,  we would go and  see her that night! It was a miracle we actually had something to do. So me and elder chen quickly ate, and put on our wet coats and headed out the door. Well we got to her house and at first I was a little bit skeptical about what was going to happen. But as we sat there and testified about the blessings of Eternal Families and the gospel, the Spirit filled the room and me and Elder chen's eyes were watering and so was her's-  I think. I couldn't tell if it was just my eyes or hers as well. but that didn't matter because the Spirit was there. She accepted a Book of Mormon and told us she would read it and then we taught her how to pray, and then she said the prayer with us. And we was really excited to read and the fact that she could talk with God like that. She invited us back and I cannot wait to see what happens with her
it was such an amazing experience. 

I testify to all of you, that when we diligently seek to do the will of God he will bless us. That is something that I needed to learn from my companion. Always strive to be serving others to the very last minute possible. I thought that the day was over, and yet God had something else for us to do. Heavenly Father knows us personally, I know that know more than ever, he knows your struggles your fears, your pains, your wishes, he knows our weaknesses and our strengths. He knows exactly what we need at that specific time. He gives us what we need and just a little more to teach us what it is we need to change. He allows us to feel down, so when those times of happiness come we can truly know how much our father in heaven has blessed us with. 

I know for a surety that this is God's true Church. I know that Jesus Christ himself came down to earth and established his church on the earth. I know that he did perform all those amazing miracles and taught the people how to be truly happy in life. I know, and testify that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who died on the cross for each and every single one of us. And that single act, gives us more blessings than this world possibly has to offer. That Atonement allows us to receive strength in times of struggles and despair. It allows us to overcome all of our sins. He grace is what allows us to become perfect, and to return to live in the presence of him, and our Heavenly Father again. I testify to you that through the Prophet Joseph Smith, God and Jesus Christ restored the true church to the earth today. That Joseph Smith did see God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in the sacred grove, and that They called him to be a Prophet of God. I know and testify that Joseph Smith thru the power of God translated the Book of Mormon, and that that book is the truest book on earth. I promise each of you if you will read from its pages every single day, you will come to know the Savior in a more personal way than you ever have before. I love the Book of Mormon, and I know that reading it will bring us closer to Christ. I know that God gives us commandments out of love. That they are there to protect us, and gives us our agency, not to restrict and control us. I know that when we follow the commandments Heavenly Father is EAGER to bless us. He wants us to be happy in life, he knows what it is to make us happy. One of the greatest blessings we can have on earth and in the life to come is knowing that we have families forever. That right there alone is enough to make me want to follow the commandments of God. The hope that the Plan of Salvation gives me is more than i can possibly describe. I know that our current Prophet Thomas S. Monson is in fact the Prophet today, he and his apostles gives us the counsel that we need to hear. They receive revelation on our behalf. I hope we can all take the opportunity it is to reread their talks from this last conference and come to know what it is our Father in Heaven needs us to do.  I testify to you that God the Father and his son Jesus Christ live. I bear you my witness of that. 

In the name of the Jesus Christ Amen.

I love you all and sorry this was so long! Here are some fun pictures for you. 

Love Elder Hanks.
pics. This is the river Ouse that runs thru the middle of the city,

and I thought it was pretty funny that in america we show off motorcycles and mopeds, and in England they show off their old people scooters!!  
(funny Hunter- Looks like a scooter store to me! ) 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A testimony from England

So this week was remembrance sunday and let me tell you quickly what happens then i promised my dad I would share my testimony last week but I forgot to do that so that is going to happen next week so stay tuned for that! Sorry dad!

So Remembrance Sunday is different here, but cool. I think it is kind of like our Veterans or Memorial Day. We have during sacrament meeting a whole bunch of people go up and read their favorite poems about soldiers who died in the world wars, and then they sing English songs about war, and then the have a moment of silence for all those who died. Its actually really cool and really touching to everyone who participate in it, there were a lot of tears shed especially by the older generations. But because of this holiday, we missionaries all had to wear a red flower on our suit, called a poppy which is to symbolize respect for the dead and so we all have flowers on for this month. So that was a neat experience. 

As for our investigators we had a better week this week but hopefully we can get more. We had a lot of teaching this week, so that was really good and i am hopeful for the rest of our investigators, hopefully we can get them to come to church because church is so essential, even in our conversion. I love going to church here, although I do miss my home ward, people here are so nice and its good to have a different experience at church with a whole lot less people. 

Alright well crazy week so I'm sorry this week is so short, but i had a lot of people write (I assume because of his birthday) ! Next week will be better I promise!

Also thanks mom for the confetti cake and cereal!!! HOLY best thing ever, I ate the cereal very quickly, and to be honest I  didn't share any of it, well because i just loved it so much, hahaha - but I think heavenly father will forgive me for that!! Then we made the cake on the Nov. 5th, which was the English holiday. 

Love you all, see you all next week!!

Elder Hunter Hanks
Leeds England, Mandarin Chinese

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cheers & happy birthday Mate!

So this week was a hard week in regards to our investigators. We had very little success in finding new people to teach and also teaching people. We focus a lot of college students, the Chinese ones of course, and well with Christmas break coming up they are having a hard time with school and such, so no one wants to meet with us because they have no time to. However we were lucky to finally meet with one Chinese girl her name is Y..........., she is super nice and we were able to just get to know her a little bit better than we taught her a little bit about families, and how we can have families together forever!! Well, she enjoyed the lesson and then we invited her to be baptized and she said yes!! SO PLEASE pray that she will keep our commitments and have a spiritual experience. I am hoping so badly that we can continue to teach her and have her come into the fold of the gospel. But 
hopefully this week will be better! Thumbs up! 
(This was from before the Oct 28th transfer because E. Wilson is in this picture-)
Must be a serious or respectful  monument.....?

So about our investigators and coming to church- because they are in England they can speak a little bit of English and can understand a little. So they just come to an English ward, and then Elder Chen translates for them if they don't understand so it works out alright -  they like it because they are all trying to learn better English - so they enjoy it. In fact,  we sometimes think I can help them with English and like help them with their essays and such - to make sure they have the right grammar for it. Which is a bad idea because I am not good at writing essays myself!  haha -  but it seems to make them more interested in talking to us so whatever! 

I made lasagna for my companion..... wasn't bad but wasn't great either....
So quick story, there is an priest in our ward who likes to talk to the missionaries  and well, since I am relatively new he thought he would try something out on me. He walked over to me and said to my companion, "Elder Chen let me give your new companion a proper hand shake". Well he tried to squeeze my hand as hard as he could and well,  it didn't turn out for him too well-  lets just say!! Because back in my home ward I used to do this to a guy in my ward, Brother Butt, and I always lost but hey!  my hand became stronger and it finally paid off!  So he won't be shaking my hand for some time now so that was pretty funny! 

So halloween here. Very lame here -sadly. We had to be in our flat at 6:00 due to the amount of dumb people.  They use it as an excuse to drink a lot and get drunk, and do some dumb things. So we got in to our flat at around 6:00 and then we just sat and listened to music and talked. Haha kinda lame! Halloween as a missionary!  And our flat is in a tiny street in a small circle thing, so we didn't even have anyone come to our door, which is too bad because we had book of mormons and pass along cards                                                                                          ready for them!! But yeah kinda lame Holiday this year....

Alright well I am out of time but I hope that I can write more next week. We had a problem getting on to the computers so we are short on time. Hope you all have a good week and I will see you all next week!! 

And yes it was my birthday today, and I have the greatest family ever! Thanks for my birthday present!

Happy Birthday with a table top finger soccer game for your desk!  

-Love Elder Hanks