Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I met Hermione !

Jan 25 2016                                                                  

So hello there everyone it’s good to be back writing you guys again. I wish I could say that this week was full of fun things and great experiences but I am going to warn you it was just one of those weeks, that some missionaries tend to have so I will try and make this as exciting as I can.

this is my food cabinet...
This past Wednesday, I went on a split with my District Leader Elder Walter. Which was really good I was really looking forward to this exchange for several reasons. Well me and Elder Walter had been out for some time knocking on some doors in an area, and then we went to a lesson with one of their investigators named S...... And well same was very interesting because of his background. I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way, but same didn’t have the best background ever. He is from Jamaica and well, he is also gay. So his main problems with the church dealt with the church's stance on homosexuality and also how the blacks couldn’t hold the priesthood for a time. And he was really struggling with some of the doctrine of the church. But we went and we did our best to try and teach him the importance of the gospel and how it blesses lives.  He had a lot of questions and in the end he decided that the church wasn't for him,  and both Elder Walter and I  felt that we had done everything that we could of. The only weird part, was as we were leaving he said, "when your in the celestial Kingdom come find me in the Terrestrial kingdom!" So that was quite interesting, because that made it sound like he had believed some of the doctrine but still wouldn't accept it all, which was really sad. 

E. Von Cannon & I doing some "knocking" 
The next thing that happened was something that was very interesting. Me and Elder Von Cannon were on a bus, on our way to the university. We were having very little success that day and as I got on the bus I said a silent prayer to my heavenly father to just give me one person that I could talk to, just one! As soon as that prayer ended, well this Chinese girl walks onto the bus and sits down kinda far away! Then of course the thought came, "hey you should go talk to her" I tried so hard to say, "ooh she is too far away,  I will have to move to talk to her and then it will be weird" then I thought "and I don’t have good enough Chinese to talk to her alone by myself" But then I am sure-  no,  I know that Heavenly Father was giving a soft slap in the face when she pulled out some flash cards with English vocab words on it! haha,  like could I ask for anything more than a chinese girl sitting alone on a bus, trying to learn English. So because of the hit on the head I had received, I went over and talked to her! We had a great conversation about her learning english and me learning chinese and then it came to the topic that I was a missionary and how my brother had done the same thing and could also speak chinese. Then she got really curious and said tell me about your church!! It was crazy so we got her number and hopefully we will be able to see her this week. And it turns out she gave herself the name of Hermione from Harry Potter because she likes the film!  So sorry if I shattered your dreams of meeting the real Hermione, but instead I met the chinese one! 
This is what I look like after a long day in the rain!
And this is celebrating when the sun comes out because it hardly ever happens!

The last thing that happened was this week we had a worldwide missionary broadcast that was required for all of us to go! Here are some of the things that I learned from it! 

" No matter how much we speak of him, It’s never too much, no matter how much we admire him, our admiration is never enough. When we remember him, he remembers us."

"Don’t be too eager to invite people to come unto Christ through baptism, without teaching the importance and necessity of repentance."

 (My favorite one) "Real Intent does not mean to ask in curiosity, but it means willing to act on the answer we will receive, and with sincerity."

This one has some real power to it, "Speak of him and he will speak of you to the father."

"we have to make sure that we don’t get in the way of the holy ghost testifying to our investigators."

"Teaching is not talking, teaching is listening and observing. Teaching requires a much stronger spiritual focus." 

I love you all and hope that you all have a wonderful week. The Church is True!

Love Elder Hanks

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Do I stay or do I go....?

Jan 18 2015

Well this past week as we all know well, maybe some of you know is transfer week, and this is a very strange time as a missionary. So lets get into the week and see how it went shall we. 

This week was a pretty good week for us finding people to talk to. In England most of the work that you do on your mission is finding people to teach, we never get referrals or anything like that, so we have to go find our own investigators which is really good I love that we have to work for our people because they make them so much more meaningful to us missionaries. So me and Elder Von Cannon we were finally able to head back to the University this week. And it was the greatest thing ever!!!! I love talking to the University students they are all so nice, and because they are at the university they are way more open to learning new things so its super awesome to talk to them, and they always have interesting comments about what missionaries do and the fact that we are from America. We had a lot of conversations is seems like that had to deal with Donald Trump, we don’t watch the news, but it sounds like some pretty crazy things are happening over there! So i hope that all of you are doing alright and that the country is still stable!! But it feels good to finally start being able to use my Chinese again to talk to people, it has been a while since i have had to use it and so i am excited to start using it again. I love talking to the Chinese people they are so polite and just the nicest people ever! So hopefully we can start teaching some more Chinese people. 

So I guess I should mention what’s happening with the transfers in all. Everyone in my district and all the members of the ward said that I would probably be leaving the area of York and go somewhere else, the only person who thought that I would stay was my Companion Elder Von Cannon. So I was in a toss up because I didn’t know how often president Pilkington moved people around so it was exciting to see what would happen. Well it turns out they were all wrong! I AM STAYING IN YORK!!!! I love York it’s the greatest place ever and I couldn't be happier to be here! So that was super exciting to hear! 6 more weeks in this beautiful city!

So my flat the place where I live, has four elders living in it. And we have all become very close and they are all by best buds. We'll we were talking about our families and all and things we did back at home, and it came to the point where we were talking about things we did on Sundays with our families and such, and it got on the topic of food and how the best food was always on Sundays, you had big Sunday dinners!! So I decided to implement that into our flat. Now as missionaries we don’t get big fancy dinners on Sundays, normally its cereal or some sort of pasta thingy, or whatever it is we can make like a sandwich or something, however I decided to change that around. So these past two weeks I have become the cook of the flat! My mom had sent me some stuff from home to cook with and so I thought I would share with everyone. So during the week I bought a little bit more stuff than usual for this Sunday night dinner! And now it’s a tradition. This last week I made Taco's and it was awesome, we don’t have Mexican food over here, so it made it even better!! But now we have this tradition of having Sunday night dinner all four of us together making something big and its awesome!! I love it and so we will see what happens next week and all! But one good thing that comes out of this, is now I really have to learn how to cook things and take care of myself, so don’t worry mom I can make some stuff now!! 

Now I want to share with you guys an experience that I had two weeks ago, and it really had an impact on me and my mission. We had just gone through a really rough day this past Saturday, all of our appointments fell through and the finding that we did was terrible, no one was interested in our message and I was having one of the hardest times ever on my mission. It came to Sunday and the bishop got up to speak and as he was talking I was somewhat paying attention, trying to get over the fact that we had a terrible week and I was trying to get myself to be motivated. I finally decided to listen to the bishop and something amazing happened. Right when I looked up at him he quoted the song how firm a foundation, 

"Fear not, I am with thee; oh be not dismayed. 
 For I am they God and will still give thee aid.
 I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
 Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
 Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

 When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
 the rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow,
 For I will be with thee, they troubles to bless,
 And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
 And Sanctify to thee the deepest distress."

At that point I couldn't stop myself from being overwhelmed with the spirit, and the tears just started to flow and I knew that He was there watching over me! I know for a surety that God is there and that he loves us. That he knows our concerns and our need and wants to help us with everything. I know that he hears our prayers and that he really does care for us. He has a plan for each and every single one of us. I have no doubt about that. I know this church is be true, and I know that God is at the Helm of this Church. That Joseph Smith did in fact see God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ that he did restore this gospel to the earth today. That Jesus Christ did in fact die for each of us, and through that Atonement, all things are possible. I love this Church and love being a missionary, I love you all and I know that This Church is True! 

Love Elder Hanks

 statue of Emperor Constantine

My awesome District !

Whats really important .....!

another great English sign!  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Floods are gone & more English signs just for me!

Jan 11 2016
So this week I wish I could say has been a really exciting week but this week has been a little bit more on the boring side but we will see what I can muster up and write to you guys about. So let me tell you guys some things that happened this week. 
So quick funny story, as you all know I played football, or aka soccer back in the day. And well I loved it very much but I have come to learn its not that important. However, we were at the church on thursday night and we were about to have a missionary meeting with the ward mission leader of our ward. Elder Von Cannon decided it would be best to use the restroom before we started so as I waited for him outside a teenage lad walked past me. And well I recognized him but I didn’t know from where but then it hit!  I yelled "Chase" and he turns around and I was right! This kid Chase was on the Davis high soccer team with me 3 years ago but left to go to another school. I hadn't seen him in 3 years but there he was in England!  And it turns out that well he was here doing a soccer academy and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time ! So that was way awesome to see a familiar face from back home. Quick little fun story huh!

We were also able to meet this man named A……., he is a younger lad, probably around 24 who works here in York. We met A……. on the side of the street and we asked him about the bus system and he said he would walk us to this bus stop and help us out. In reality we knew exactly where we needed to go but it showed us how willing he was to help us out. While we were walking we started to talk about who we are and what we do, and then we asked if we could come by and share a message with him. He said why wait, tell me some now, so that's exactly what we did. We taught him half of the first lesson while walking and then he said we could come back and teach him more, so we got his number and we went off to the bus stop. It was awesome he seemed like the perfect guy for us to teach, and I know the lord has a plan for him, I just hope and pray that, that plan involves me and Elder Von Cannon. 

Now we can talk a little bit about the fruits of the flood. Well there is this man named S….. and we met S….. while ripping out the tile in his kitchen because of the flood. As we were ripping out the tile we started to talk and he had a lot of theories about how the world was created and who created it. So I figured why not ask, so I asked him if we could come share our views and beliefs on it and he accepted it. Well the thing about S….. is his past. His past life was so full of drugs and overdoses that he now has several disabilities and cannot socialize with people very well. And he is very slow when it comes to learning new things. So talking with him can be quite the challenge and sometimes it requires a lot of patience. However we don’t stop for anyone and so we came back to teach him. The lesson took 2 hours long, for one lesson, because of the way he responded to our ideas, and he liked to throw in some random thoughts here and there, but at the end it turns out that he accepted to be baptized on Feb 13th. Now both me and Elder Von Cannon know that this is going to be a long journey with him and will require a lot of attention and patience, but we know that the gospel can help him, and will change his life! We are excited to see what happens with S……

I think that I told all of you guys about the man named J….. Well let’s check up on his progress shall we! We'll this week we were supposed to meet with J.... on Wednesday. But when we got up to his housed and knocked there was no answer, and we started to panic we didn’t know what to do. But then we got a phone call from him. It as J….! He said sorry about not being at home he had been called into work and well he missed out appointment and said that we could set one up for later in the week so we got him set up on Saturday of this week. Well as time rolled on we came to Friday night, we were very excited to go see J……. the next day, when all of a sudden we received a text from him on Friday night, he stated that he had done some thinking and thought that the Mormon church was not for him and we should not come by tomorrow! I never thought in my entire life that I thought I would be so sad from someone cancelling an appointment on me. I never thought that I would feel that way when someone says, "I don’t think your church is for me!" it didn’t hurt me as much as the thought of them losing the chance to hear the wonderful message and hope that this church brings to people. It was heart wrenching, for the first time on my mission I really was torn apart by someone saying that the church wasn’t for them. So J…. is no longer part of my mission experience, but I wish him the best and time to move on! 

Well that’s this week for you all! Lots of ups and downs, but lots of good learning opportunities. This is the last full week of the transfer and we will see if I stay here in York, which I hope I do! 
Love you all and the Church is True!!!

Love Elder Hanks
Cool Dudes  (something) 

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Years Day with the Floods of York

I think this is my house!
So this week has been a week full of amazing service opportunities that’s for sure. As I mentioned in last weeks email, York was hit with a pretty bad flood and well this week was the aftermath week, which turned out to be a pretty good week for us. So lets get into the stories! 

On January 1st, we spent the entire day helping people out. The first was supposed to be a day off for us missionaries to do what we wanted, however we spent the whole day serving people, which was just as good if not better. We put on our helping hands vest and we went and helped people clear out their homes, and move furniture and all. The flooding was so bad that it filled all of the sewage lines as well, so all the water was mixed in with the city’s sewage, so everything smelt like really really bad. So with that we did a lot of throwing things away, couches, clothes, furniture all of it was gone. Which really turned out to be quite fun, because we were given permission to rip some couches apart and that was pretty fun. So that turned out to be quite a fun day for all of us elders, given permission to destroy stuff. So that was really cool!

Then the church was turned into a flood relief station. So this week all of us missionaries took shifts and turns serving at the chapel helping people come donate items and also helping people collect things as well that they needed. So it was really awesome the things that came in and the amount of help and service that the community was willing to give. And a lot of people who never knew who the Mormons were, are now walking into the building, talking to the missionaries, and receiving aid all at the same time. It really was quite the missionary experience, and you will be able to see all the things that the church has collected of the past week in my pictures. Now the floods are dying down, and the church is still giving out things, but York is getting back into its normal routine, and let’s hope that it stays that way! 

So some missionary experiences that happened this past week one funny story and one awesome story! We will start with the funny story first. Me and Elder Von Cannon were out knocking on some doors and we came across this house, yes it was actually a house on its own, not a flat! Pretty rare here in England! So we knocked on the door, and this really old lady comes to the door and says "go around to the back I can’t find the keys" so that’s what we did. However there was no way around the house, it was all fenced off, so she gets back there and goes "where are you?" we didn’t know how to get back there, until eventually she told us to go through the garage!  So we went through finally and had a nice conversation with this 89 yr old lady named D.......! She was really nice, but had no interest in the church, so we left after a good conversation, back through the garage of course! Well, we are in the garage and we go to open the garage door and guess what it does open! Now here garage is a two door garage on hinges, so like a regular door, just massive! So I go to push it open and it doesn’t move! I pushed as hard as I could and nothing!! We were in there for a solid 4 min, before we realized we were stuck in an old ladies garage, and we could not get out! So finally I knew that there was one option! So yes I kicked the door, and kicked it again, and finally I got the door open, and we ran away but it was a really awkward experience. Don’t worry her door still works, but I think my ego went down quite a bit. Never get stuck in an old ladies garage, it’s really awkward. 

Being Ninja at night- why won't people on the street talk to me?! 

Onto the more serious topic. We met this man this week named J............ We knocked on his door the same day that we met D.......... And well he is a 30 yr old engineer, who isn't married and looking for something new in life! We knocked on his door he let us in and we taught him the first lesson, he had a lot of great questions and was really interested in what we had to say! He liked it and said that we could come back next week. So this week we are hoping to go back and invite him to be baptized, so I am really looking forward to that! The lord really does prepare people and I am hoping that he is one of them! I know that the lord is in this work and provides a way for everything. I love this church and I love this mission! Happy Birthday to my Brother Ammon on January 7th, if you see him wish the lad a happy birthday!!! Love you all, and the Church is true! 

Love Elder Hanks