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 

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