Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The events of my first 2 weeks in Sheffield !

March 29, 2016
Beautiful Sheffield!

Why hello there, Lads and Lasses! Hope you all had a wonderful Easter break! I know that yours was probably a whole lot different than mine but hey that's what I get being here in England and I would ever change it! I am going to try and make this email as exciting as I can but not too much happened this week!

So first things first I need to tell you guys something! If any of you know me, you know that I love films (movies) and I especially love the film Nacho Libre!! This past week I have been quoting so much nacho libre I feel as if I have actually watched the movie! Me and Elder Cottrell love to quote the movies, and it has made this week just so fun.

Another amazing miracle that happened this week. We were having weekly planning on Friday morning, and we got a phone call from our ward mission leader. He called to tell us that he wouldn't be able to have us over for tea tonight, and he was really sorry about it. We didn't mind too much but then he said that he would bring us pizza for lunch so that made it a bit better. However wait for it people!!! Bro. E  shows up and guess what....... COSTCO PIZZA!!!!!!!!!!!!! He drove out to Leeds, and bought us an American style pizza from the Costco there it was massive like huge, with massive chocolate cupcakes as well!!! Can you say best day ever!!! American food is just amazing! To say the least, having four American elders in the flat, the pizza didn't last very long! But that started off the day right because that day was like the rainiest day ever, it never stopped raining like the whole day! It was sooo bad!!

See how happy Costco Pizza & muffins makes us! 
So really cool story happened this week. We were doing nightly planning and elder Cottrell being the district leader, needed to do some following up with the other teams, so that left me to plan for the next day. I was looking for a road to knock on. And the road Bramwell, kind of popped out on the map! I didn't know why, and almost didn't chose it because it was so close to the other areas that we knocked on already! But I did anyways so we get to this road and no joke we were on that road like 2 days ago! I started to feel really dumb because we were already here, but I found a little side road and we started knocking! Of course no one was answering the door, because it was Easter holiday! After like 8 doors of nothing, we finally knocked on this door, and a CHINESE MAN opened the door! He let us in straight away, which was kind of unusual for Chinese people to do that, because they are a bit skeptical here! But he let us in and we started to talk and he goes, You Mormons are always from Provo!" Turns out this guy went to BYU for college, and had tons of missionaries teach him! Just so you know he still isn't interested in the church, but it was fun to be able to help him remember about his time at BYU and all. And he even volunteered at the MTC to teach Chinese to that was really cool!! We had a nice chat with him and he was super cool! Sadly still not interested, but I know now that that's, why we went there, because he was the only one who answered but it allowed him to have another interaction with the church, and I know more will come to him! 

We then left his home and we were outside plugging in the info into our Ipads, when all of a sudden, this Eastern European lady, opened her door and started to yell at us for some reason! I was so confused, We didn't knock on her door, and we weren't saying anything, she just opened the door and started to yell at us! Then she goes, "Mormons?" "yes" this is the weird part, "AHHH I am a Mormon, please come in!" so we did and she really is a member, I will admit I was a bit scared to go in, but she was really nice, and gave us this cake thingy that wasn't bad! Luckily enough she speaks Slovak and we have the Slovak elders who live with us, so we gave them a call and now they are going over there to meet with her! So there was something else that was brought from following the promptings of the spirit!

This week was a great week we founds lots of people to teach, and we are hoping to get some new investigators this next week. We even found like 3 Jamaican people so that was great, because Jamaican people are the best, they are just so opened to everything! I am looking forward to those lessons!

My golden Easter Egg!
With this being Easter and also with General Conference being this week! (BEST THING EVER!!!!!) I just wanted to let you all know something. Its not a secret but its something pretty amazing! Jesus Christ lives! He is there, and because of him, we can do the same, we can lived with our families forever! This past Easter was a good time of reflection for me, because here in England they don't really celebrate it, unless you are religious, which isn't very many people! Because of this, I was able to really focus on why we have Easter, and not so much of the free candy, and what the Easter bunny was going to bring me! During this past week, I did some serious study on the atonement. What an amazing blessing his atonement is for us! Can you imagine what it would of been like if we would of came down to earth, lived our lives, and then in the spirit world, we talked to Christ, and he says, "sorry I couldn't do it, the pain was just too much for me, I wasn't able to finish it." Everything that we hope for in this life, would be gone! Forgiveness of sins, eternal families, the resurrection, repentance, joy, peace, happiness love, living in the presence of Heavenly Father again. We would just sit there, in the spirit world with nothing to do. And of course is Christ couldn't do it, then we wouldn't have had a Savior who visited the Ancient Americans and gave us the Book of Mormon. Oh how much I love that book. This past month I have been reading out of the Old Testament. It’s a good thing, the bible is great, but people, if you want to grow your love for the Book of Mormon. Try reading out of the bible alone for a month, and then go back to the book of Mormon, I promise you your love will grow for that book, it did for me!

I love you all and hope that you all have a great Conference Weekend, its going to be great!!

Love Elder Hanks

March 21, 2016

Hey everyone I hope that you all had a great week out there in the world wherever you guys are! This week was pretty awesome and so I am going to dive right into this, but first, everyone needs to know! MAX HANKS is 16! He is mobile now, so everyone be on the watch because he is now driving! Love ya little guy and happy birthday last week! 

Alright so for what happened this past week. So this week I was able to go on and exchange with the Zone leaders here in Sheffield and that was so fun. I went with this elder Brown who is from New Zealand. And he is sooo awesome I loved serving with him and he was so funny to work with I had a great time with him, and the fact that we had to cram 6 elders into a small flat always makes it more exciting for sure!! But the funniest thing about the exchange was going to knock on some doors. As we were approaching the area, and were stopping and talking to people as we go. We were going to this place called Manor. Now as we were walking no joke, each person said "ooh you don’t want to go there, that’s a dangerous place!" We were bothered, we were more like "hey this will be fun!" until about the 5th person who finally told us that an old 85 year old man was mugged in his home and that he was hospitalized. Then we heard by the same guy that a small shop over in Manor was shot at, which is pretty crazy since all guns are illegal here, even cops don’t have guns here! So that was a bit less exciting to hear about. So to say the least, we took extra caution while being in this area, but it was fun and no problems happened. I am just glad that it’s the Zone Leaders area, and not mine! So that was really fun! 

The next cool thing that happened was here in Sheffield the members do a thing called a cottage meeting once a month. And this is a family home evening event, where one person in the ward host it. And all the members of the ward are invited to come on a Monday night, and to bring any friends that they have, (non-members) and we bring investigators to their home. And us, the missionaries are given ten minutes to do a spiritual thought which is then opened up to be a discussion with everyone on a topic that Elder Cottrell and I chose. Its sooo awesome we had loads of fun there, and then afterwards they play a game and also have treats and such but its soo fun! I love these little cottage meetings, but I don’t know why they are called that!? 

So let me tell you about a guy we met! 

So me and elder Cottrell were out finding one day, and we went and visited a member who lived close by and had a nice little lesson with him. Then we came across this man while knocking. We knocked on his door and this big African man opens the door, and just goes!! "hello there my brothers how are ya!!" but in African accent, we had a nice little chat with him and he let us into him home.  I have no idea how to spell his name- but it’s a sweet name for a sweet massive African man!! We got to know him and his background and we taught him the first lesson and he loved all of it. He accepted everything that we told him. He told us that in Africa there are a lot of churches there and he never knew which one was the true church. So we told him about the Book of Mormon and how he can come to know for himself about which church was true. He was so excited to finally get an answer of which church is true, and of course we all know that the fullness of the gospel in found in this amazing church!! So we invited him to be baptized and he accepted it! He is looking to find his answer and be baptized by April 16th! It was so fun to meet him, he is just a bright, loving African brotha, who wanted to know the truth! I am so excited to work with this lad!

Traveling to Stake Conference
This past week was stake conference for us in the Sheffield area! It was something quite unique let me tell you. So in Utah when we had stake conference we always went to the Bountiful Regional Center, well,  here they don’t have that, so what did they do, they rented out a gym in an Aquatic center. We missionaries had to take an hour and a half bus ride out to this place called Doncaster, which was actually cool because it was a scenic route. So we had church in a massive aquatic center/gym/ amusement place. It was something different for sure, but I learned a ton from this conference and the two themes of this conference were working with missionaries, and also Sabbath day observance. Now what is cool here that they do is they have a speaker from each age group talk about the topics, so everyone has someone or something to relate to. So a primary kid, a Young man, a YSA, and then Dad got up and spoke on the topics and it was awesome I loved that idea. But I just thought I would share some of the thoughts that I had during this conference. 

I hope that some of you will be able to pull something out of this and apply it to yourself because the gospel is meant to help all, not some!

 - The trick to sharing the gospel is not how well you are at speaking or how creative you are. The trick is how you feel about the gospel! The more you love the Gospel and Jesus Christ the easier it is to share the gospel and to live it. If you want to share the gospel more often in your life, increase your love towards the gospel, and the opportunities to share it will arise, and you will be ready!

- "The most important talent we need to develop while we are here on earth is a talent of spirituality!"   - President Bruce R. McConkie!

- When sharing the gospel it does not matter how we do it, or how long we do it for, what matters is what we say. If its 20 minutes or even 2 seconds, the most important thing that we can say is the name of Jesus Christ and the way we will talk about him! Nothing else is more important than our Savior Jesus Christ. If you are ever asked to talk on the spot or asked to share a small thought, and you don’t know what to do-  Simply bear testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and your love towards him and the holy ghost will do the rest! It might be difficult, but it’s so important. If we always have His name on our lips, everything else will change, our attitude, our thoughts, our wants and our testimonies! In Proverbs 3 read these verses in this order and see what it says to you! Proverbs 3: 27, 5, 6, 26. (in that order)
 The church is true and the gospel has changed my life forever! I will forever be grateful for this missionary experience!
I love you all and hope that you can remember to always have His name on our lips!

Love Elder Hanks 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Zone training & whaaatt?!

March 14 2016
Zone Training meeting

one last picture with Elder Von Cannon

So to all those who wrote me this week I promised that I would do better at responding this week but then some pretty crazy things happened so I will have to let you guys in on what happened this week.

So this week started of like any other week. We had the new elders in our flat, they are awesome and we were back in the groove of working. We worked hard that week and we were looking forward to meeting with all the potentials and people that we were working with.

So this brings us to Wednesday, where we have our Zone training. It was great we learned a lot from it and even the assistants to the President came so that was unique. Prior to Zone training, me and Elder Von Cannon were asked to do a training model on street contacting, where we do a practice situation of something that we encounter on the street. That was pretty fun to do, and you play and pause and get peoples impute on how it can be better and all. I love training models you learn so much in them. Anyways we had a great Zone training and then we went out and worked. We found a new investigator that day, her name is Becky and she is a university student, so it was fun to invite her to church and she is excited to read about the Book of Mormon! But that was fun, we got to the end of Wednesday night and we were at a tea appointment and our phone kept buzzing in my pocket but we couldn't answer it. So then we were off to teach a member and well that when I decided to look at the phone! And well it was the A.P's! Now normally when they are calling its not the best of things. So they had texted us, and called us, and left us messages and all. So we called them back and they talked to us about what we liked about Zone training, and how we are going to apply it. It was good, but then came something out of nowhere! They said "Elder Hanks can you help us out with something?" "Yes" "Great we need you to go down to Sheffield tomorrow morning!"

Now wait hold on here a second. In York we had a Zone leader go home because he had hurt his ankle and it needed to be fixed so he went home. So that cause a massive ripple effect! SO because of this, I got Emergency Transferred to Sheffield. Yes right now I am in Sheffield my new 2 area. I am serving with a lad named Elder Cottrell! Now the funny thing is.. .. .. Elder Cottrell served in York 1, I was in York 2! we knew each other and talked often. Well he left at transfers and I followed a week later. He is from Centerville, Utah! I know crazy right!!!! He went to Viewmont and I went to Davis! Lets just say that we liked to banter a lot about high schools. But he is awesome I love serving with him, he is just the coolest guy ever. If you want to learn a little bit about him you need to go to google, and type in Joseph Cottrell and look there. And yes that is my companion! So I am here now in Sheffield, sad that I left behind Elder Von Cannon and our investigators, and the great ward there. But now I am here in Sheffield with elder Cottrell. We are area booking the area, so we have no idea how to get anywhere, our flatmates are the Slovak elders so that's kinda cool. But Sheffield is so different from York, has hills all over the place, its like the English version of San Francisco! The city is huge so much bigger than York, and we need to use, buses, trams, trains. all of it! But I am really excited to see what happens here. The ward here is great they love the missionaries, because there is only 2 of us not 8. We get tea appointments every night so that will be nice! I am looking forward to what Sheffield has to offer. So I hope you all know that I am doing great and know that this transfer will be a good one!! Love you All and the Church is true!

Elder Hanks

Sorry I will send more pics next week just kinda a hectic week! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Ohhh the challenges

March 7 2016
Why hello there! I hope you all had a good week like we did this past week. I know that this week was a week of learning, and so lets gets started with what happened. 
So this past monday, on P-day we were at the chapel watching some movies and we were sitting there when an elder walks into the room with a massive 5 ft sword, but not only that- its Aragon's sword from lord of the rings! So we had a lot of fun with that, this past week, sorry mom no promises, but I might be buying a sword!:) But that was a fun start to the week. And of course with it being the end of transfer week, it was a lot of goodbyes and hello's for me and Elder Von Cannon because we were the ONLY people who stayed the same in the York area, including both wards here! So that was very interesting, but a lot of good things happened this week. 

On Wednesday, we were able to meet with our Investigator H...., now H... has been our investigator for about 7 months. He was one of the first people that I ever taught on my mission. And he has been a long hard road for us as missionaries, because he is so scientific. But this past week we were meeting with him, and we were talking about the importance of church attendance, because church is such a major blessing in our lives. And he agreed to try coming again! And then we invited him to be baptized for who knows maybe the 4th time, and he accepted it! He is looking to be baptized on April 2nd- My dads and sister's birthday!! 
Also big shout out to the sister and brother in law on the new kid!! I am now a new uncle with my first Nephew Samuel Jenkins!!!! SOOOO Awesome I am soo excited for you guys!! So that will be really exciting!
But its good to finally see some improvements with H..... over these past weeks, so I am really looking forward to bringing him to church hopefully this week and progressing him towards baptism! 

A..D...L..., is one of the coolest guys that I have ever met! He was our investigator about to be baptized- he was actually supposed to be baptized this week, but things happened and so its moved back a little bit, we aren't quite sure when yet.  But he cancelled the date, because he was scared that he wouldn't be able to attend church every week for the rest of his life, and didn't want God to be angry at him, so he thought he shouldn't be baptized!! So that was a different kind of problem to solve, we have to de-perfectionize someone! But he is an awesome guy and I am excited to hopefully see a baptism soon!! 

The next thing that happened was with our investigator J....! So J... has been our most solid investigator as of late and we have been teaching him a lot. And he seemed to be absorbing everything, which was super exciting! So this past week something came up. We taught him the Word of Wisdom. After the lesson we felt really good about it, but then came the text were J... was saying he wasn't quite sure in the church anymore, and didn't want to learn more, but after a lot of phone calls, and chats he has agreed to continue to meet with us! So hopefully we can still help him out, because I know how much this gospel is going to bless his life, he just needs to realize it as well. 

Never in my life have I ever been soooo scared, upset and sad that someone didn’t want to live the gospel, it almost left me devastated! But after some counseling from my companion, I realized that Heavenly Father will take care of everything, and if it’s not us, but other missionaries that can help him towards baptism, that’s good with me. But it left me in a bad mood and really challenged me on what I was doing on my mission and if it was all worth it! And let me tell you -ABSOLUTELY! Nothing is more important than fulfilling the work of the lord! I know that to be true!!! I love this gospel so much, and am so grateful for the role that it has played in my life! Love you all!!

The new district! 

Elder Hanks

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Another transfer week & some awesome happenings!

March 1 2016
Alright so to all those who wrote me this week I am so sorry if I couldn't reply or say a whole lts because this week has been pretty crazy and I wanted to let you all in on it, so most of my time was spent writing this right here, so I hope that all of you feel privileged. So lets get started with the week shall we. 

So first thing that happened was on Tuesday. We had a really busy day planned out and it was going to take a lot of effort to fit it all in. So we had accomplished all that we needed to but we faced a problem, we had a tea appointment with a member that night, but we also had ward coordination to go to as well, so it was going to be really tight. So we called the member to let them know that we were on our way, and the member said, that the tea appointment was for Wednesday not today, so luckily we called or else that would of been really embarrassing. So that allowed us to go to the meeting which was good, and after the meeting, since we hadn't eaten since like 11:00 we went back to the flat to make some food. well we got to the flat at about 8:20 and we are supposed to be in at 9:00 as missionaries. So we ate, and the time was 8:57 pm we had three minutes! We could of stayed in technically but instead me and Elder Von Cannon both looked at each other, threw our suits on and shoes, and ran outside to see if we could use the next 2 minutes to find someone. The first guy I saw I practically ran to him. I think I scared him a little, but ooh well!! I started to talk to him and he was a university student and was super cool!!! And the guy became a POTENTIAL!!! so hopefully we can meet him this week. But that was such a miracle and blessing, that when we were trying our hardest to do the work Heavenly Father Blessed us with a sweet guy!!! So that was awesome!!!

I was challenged at the YSA activity to a
handstand contest... Little did they know I am
pro at handstands- shout out to high school
soccer for all the practice! 
Then we come to Wednesday night and something even better happened. We have this investigator named J....., he is a 20 yr old university student, studying film making. We had taught him the importance of the Book of Mormon earlier that day, and then that night we were going to call him and set up an appointment for later in the week and to remind him to read the Book of Mormon tonight!! Well we called him and started to talk to him, and he says, "funny that you guys called, I am actually reading the book right now!!" it was awesome and then he goes on to say that he read the whole testimony of Joseph Smith in the front of the book and really liked it, and said that when he was reading, he had an "indescribable warm feeling that really made me feel some clarity in my life!"  BOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM He felt the holy ghost, and now is working towards coming to church and also his baptism!! It was soooo awesome!!!!! I love this guy - he is the greatest!! I am soo excited to see how he changes because we got a lot of things to overcome first, but I know that he will get there eventually. Please remember to read everyday, the Book of Mormon gives us more clarity, and peace than any other thing that we could possibly read!! I love that book so much, and know the role that it plays in our lives! It was such an amazing phone call I loved it so much. So after that we took him to the YSA Family Home Evening activity on Monday at the church. It was great because he got to meet members his age, and also see the chapel in a less formal setting than church and he said he really liked it there. What a miracle there!! I love this church and love the gospel!!!

Coincidence .... I think not! This could be a golden street!
Next funny thing that happened that I don't suggest for anyone out on missions or going to serve. on Monday we got let into this really old ladies home while knocking, so we taught her the first lesson.  She had no interest in the church but was willing to try reading out of the Book of Mormon so at least she did that. But as we were leaving we went to shake her hand bye! And she grasps, not just holds but grasps my shoulders and pulls me in and gives me a kiss (on the cheek) it wasn't even a light peck or anything but it was a good while, at least it felt sooo,  but still way against mission rules! I then looked to poor Elder Von Cannon who looked mortified, because he knew what was coming and he got the same thing. To say the least, we left pretty quickly after that, and that changed the whole mood of the day!! But hey I got kissed on my mission!!;)

Haha that was soo fun! The next thing that happens though was on Saturday and I just want to say how awesome it was. We were knocking around in a little village called Fulford, and we were knocking some doors and we weren't having much success, but we came to this door and there was CHINESE stuff everywhere!!! So we were golden, we knocked and this guy named P....... answered the door. He is from Mainland China and we started to talk to him. The next thing I knew, was the fact that I knew what he was saying. For the first time I think on my mission, I was able to talk to a guy, without having to guess what they were saying. I understood about 90% of it!  And so did elder Von Cannon. It was such a great experience, and really motivated me to learn more so I can have more experiences like that. The guy wasn't bothered with religion but we luckily had a Chinese Book of Mormon on us so we gave it to him, and he said that his wife would probably read it. So hopefully it gets her, and her name is even Amanda, so that was pretty sweet. 

Then we get to Sunday. And history of my life was made. So first you should all know, Elder Von Cannon is a pretty shy kid, he doesn't do crowds very well. So with that in mind we were at church on Sunday, and waiting for the meeting to start you know being missionaries, welcoming everyone to church. With two meetings before the meeting actually starts, the ward secretary comes up to me and says, will you and elder Von Cannon give a talk....  I thought yeah no big deal. He then says, "great you will be the first speaker today, and then other people will talk!" "Wait you mean today!?????????" and he laughed and said yes! So next thing I knew I was up giving a talk in sacrament with nothing to go off of, besides the fact that the other person was talking on the atonement so he said to talk a little about it, but not too much because she already is! So with no preparation at all, I got up by myself and gave a talk about the importance of turning to our Father in Heaven in prayer and in need of the Atonement. I thought it went alright, but who really knows!! But it was terrifying, giving a talk is already bad, but then being unprepared makes it even worse! So that made for an interesting day at church!

Now the moment that you have all been waiting for the Transfers news.... who know maybe its only me that cares, but anyways here we go. . . . 
Last picture with my awesome flatmates.. Elder Walter &
Elder Manu'a were transferred this week.

Elder Von Cannon is staying in York and I am...................................................................... ALSO STAYING! Me and elder Von Cannon are staying together for another transfer! It will be a great six weeks!!! The funny part is, every single companionship in the York area is changing, all 7 of them, besides me and Von Cannon. Our two flatmates are also leaving so we will be getting two new guys, but for me I will be staying in York, which means I will be in this area for over 1/4 of the mission. But its good because we got some people that I really want to stay with and teach, like Joe, so I am glad that I am here!! Well thats it for me you guys!! I hope that you all have a wonderful week. And just so you know, Heavenly Father hears and answers your prayers, this week has been a week of prayers, and let me tell you. I testify to all of you that God knows you personally and knows what we need. When we turn to him in prayer he turns to us in love! 

Love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Love Elder Hanks

Look at this tree I found in the middle of someones yard!  Oh England...!