Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happenings this week of jolly Ol' Sheffield

April 25 2016

Alrightly everyone I need to apologize in advance because this one is going to be a shorter email this week. But let’s get started into the week and what's happening over here in England.

old church in the middle of town
This Sunday we were able to have the Confirmation of our recent convert C........ Which was really great, now she has the Holy Ghost and she will be able to use it for the rest of her life. Then right after that, she goes" now that I am a member, you guys are coming over to my house for tea!" So that will be fun and great to continue to see her after this massive step in her life, I love this gospel and what it does to people. It’s the best thing that this gospel does-  bring about change in people!

This week was actually one of the greatest weeks of weather that we have had here in England. So sorry mom but we actually had some great times (because mom always thinks its cold, rainy & cloudy) . There was a solid 3-4 days of just sunshine and it was the best, because we didn't have to wear our massive coats and people were out and about, and no joke people, English people are so much nicer when the sun is out! The happiness is just flowing over here. So if any of you decide to come to England make sure that you come during the summer time, because that's when all the people here are happiest.
Awesome Sheffield district!

This past week me and Elder Cottrell we lucky enough to go on some exchanges with the Zone Leaders. It was way fun- I went with the lad Elder Smith and we had a great time together. It was pretty much finding the entire day, which usually makes for a long day as a missionary, but it was actually kind of fun to be out with someone else. It’s fun to see the personalities of missionaries when they talk to people because we all do it differently! But I had a good time with Elder Smith and I learned a lot from him.

Us & the Zone Leaders

                                                        So this week with our investigators!

T....., our Jamaican friend- we were able to meet with him this week and we set up a plan for him to quit smoking and drinking, and we set a goal for him to be baptized on the 22 of May. So we are working towards that and he said that he can come to church this week, so that will be an amazing thing. But quick cool story. So T..... he only has one leg and then he has a prosthetic leg as well. We found out what happened!  Some gang members over here thought that he was someone else and they shot him, so yeah his leg was shot off! cool right, I  mean not really but                                                                                                                like wow!

S......and S.....
Well we are still working on getting them married but we want to make sure that they are doing it for the right reason and not just getting married in our church because it’s free. We want to make sure that they have a testimony of the Gospel first and then we will get everything else with them set up! But it was really good this past week with them.


 This next week me and Elder Cottrell have set up a lot of finding this week so we can try and build up our teaching pool. But we were able to find some really great people this last week so we are praying that now we can actually meet up with them, because that's the biggest challenge is you meet someone, then they never see you again. But hey what's a mission without people disappearing right!!

Love you all! Hope that you are all living up to your potential in the gospel and showing your heavenly father how much you love him!!

                                                                                                           Love Elder Hanks!

a little carnival by our flat

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sheffield... The Promised Land and a hot tub baptism!

April 18 2016
Hello there one in all. It’s good to be back here again writing to you all and telling you all of the adventures of the England Leeds mission! I am loving the city of Sheffield hence the title of this letter, but I want to tell you guys of what happened this week and it was a great week.

Truest quote ever! 

So first things first - T....! (our investigator!) 
Now T...... is our really old Jamaican Brotha who we have been teaching and he is soooooooo close to baptism people! He has come to church, he listens to the book of Mormon in his car, and he loves to talk about the gospel! He has stopped drinking tea and coffee, and now the only thing we have to deal with is every once and a while he has a small drink right before bed, which I guess helps him sleep. The best thing is the major improvement he has had with all of his smoking!  He used to smoke a ton, but now listen to what he just told us! -  He said that he used to only smoke 1 a day, then he ran out of the pack and said why go buy another one when I can just stop now! And he did! People he just stopped after like 3 days of being taught the word of Wisdom-  the guy quite smoking!  well kinda. We met with him on Friday and asked him about his smoking and he said the only time that he smoked was when he was at his brothers house and he gave him one, and he smoked 1/2 of it. Now we just got to get him to stop seeing his brother, jk!  but he is soo close and we are hoping that he can be baptized by the end of the month, which would just be the greatest thing ever!! I love that guy, I will be taking a picture with him this week so you can see who my Jamaican Brotha is!!
S...... and S......!
So I think that I have told you guys about them. But they are a lovely little engaged couple who love to have us over, they said that they want us over like every night, but we just can’t do that as missionaries we got to visit other people as well. Anyways they are looking to be baptized but first they've got to get married, so right now we are in the process of helping them get licensed and all for marriage, and it makes me kind of weirded out because I feel like I am planning a wedding right now! Thankfully not my own yet! But that will be fun to maybe get a marriage out here on a mission that would be really cool and then we could get them DUNKED! That will be really exciting but I love working with them and I will attach of picture of them so you can see who they are! It’s the best! I love these people, I now know what it’s like to love the people you serve! I really truly want the best for them and hope that I can be a part of bringing them closer to each other and their Heavenly Father.

And a bus ride full of Chinese people! So fun! 

On Friday the Chinese sisters had a baptism this week and we were able to take T..... our investigator to it. It was really awesome to see all the Chinese people there to support him too, and he even got up and shared his testimony and it was the best thing ever. I miss being able to work with the Chinese people but I know that the Lord has put me here for a reason! But it was fun to have two baptisms in one weekend which made it a really special weekend which means........

C.... & co-worker who introduced her to the church(and the baptizer), and the Elders!
This week we had the Baptism of our Investigator C.........! And it was full of everything, from stressful, to nerve-racking, to exciting, to everything that you can possibly imagine. The baptism was on Sunday evening and we had set everything up after church and we started to fill the font for the baptism later that night, and then we went out and did some lessons with members and some finding for the day and then we came back an hour before the baptism to check the font and to finalize everything. Well everything was set up, the relief society went overboard with food, so that was awesome!! Our programs that we had printed were perfect (members commented more on the programs than anything else!) then we went and we checked the font, and guess what?????
It didn't work!!!  JK!
The font was filled up fine and it looked good. Until we sat there and realized something! Me and Elder Cottrell were standing there next to the font and we realized just how much steam was in this room so we both thought, "Man how warm is this water?" So I stuck my hand in the water and people no joke, This thing was hotter than a hot tub!!! It was almost boiling I swear! The water temperature was crazy high and we got so worried because we were about to boil our investigator! Overall panic came over us and we started to drain while filling up the font with ice cold water to see if we could cool it down in time! That's why in the picture my face is so red, is because I was running around trying to cool down the font, while people were coming into the chapel!! Luckily everything turned out great! The baptism went smoothly, lots of members showed up, and everything worked out great! It made for a wonderful Sunday!

People the gospel is the greatest blessing we have in our lives. This past week I have been reading all the talks from this last conference and I know that this church is the true church! I love it so much and hope that you all can grow a deep love for the gospel as well. Pray for opportunities to be a missionary, pray to help those in need! Pray how you can do more now, than what you are currently doing, and I know the Lord will reach out in his infinite goodness and bless your life for it!

I love you all and hope that you all can have some missionary experiences of your own!

Love Elder Hanks!

Monday, April 11, 2016

What an amazing week!

April 11 2016

Hey there everyone this week was a great week for me and Elder Cottrell. I have really enjoyed serving here with elder Cottrell. And the best thing is this week was transfers and I am staying here in Sheffield with Elder Cottrell, and I couldn't be happier, I love serving with this kid, and I can’t wait to see what happens this next transfer, because for some reason this transfer is a 7 week transfer so I get extra-long with Elder Cottrell here. But let’s go into the week here shall we.

First things first we had a great miracle this past week. Now there is a lady named C......., now let me tell you a little bit about C........, she comes from a very hard core Catholic family and that has been her life for the longest time, she even worked in the Church as something that I don't quite remember. But what actually happened is because she worked there, she started to ask a lot of questions and the preacher guy couldn't answer the questions, and he couldn't back them up in the bible either, so she knew that she needed to find some answers. So because Heavenly Father is so great, of course some Mormon missionaries show up on her door, offering her some answers. She has been taught since December I think. She must have a lot of questions right!? Anyways she set her date for baptism to be May 28th! LIKE 5 MONTHS AWAY!!! Me and Elder Cottrell have been teaching her a ton, and she comes to church like every week, and she reads and she does everything, sometimes I think better than some members would do. Anyways we tried to convince her to move her baptism up, but she said no because of her husband, who is a Buddhist. Nevertheless! She texted us this past week and said, "Is it possible to move my baptism up a little bit!" We didn't hesitate at all, but we still knew that it would be far away! THEN............. "could I be baptized next Sunday!?" YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! It was the greatest news ever. A Family is coming to the church! She has two kids, and they are both really young so they will be able to grow up into the church! But C.......... is getting baptized next week and I soooo beyond excited for her, because this is exactly what she needs in her life. Best news ever!! So this week will be busy planning out her baptism! So yeah there that's!

Now we are going to go into a little teaching moment here. so this past week we as missionaries have been in a lot of meetings, and a lot of this meetings have been all about home teaching, along with visiting teaching and their importance. All of you back home in Utah-  if you think that home teaching or visiting teaching is hard, you remember this as you walk to your families home to teach, down the road. These members here have an average number of 5 families to visit each month. Not only that, but their ward boundaries alone are about the same size as 3 stakes over in Utah! It’s massive! So next time you think about complaining about having to walk down the street to talk to your neighbors think again okay.  Count your blessings and know that with those assignments you are bringing people closer to Christ and that's what matters, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Sorry I don't want this to be a cranking session here, but it kinda is! Do you home/visiting teaching with a smile on, and with the desire to help people come unto Christ.

my awesome flatmates! 

The last thing that I want to talk about here is the great amazing Elder Holland's talk in Conference. I had to go download his talk because you can’t read elder Holland's talk you need to watch it. What an amazing talk to end Conference! So funny first off, but also the message that he has shared with us. We need not fear tomorrow, because tomorrow will bring us more opportunities to become closer to Christ, and to feel of the spirit! What an amazing talk that was given. I still haven't read all of conference yet, but I am so excited to, and I know that it is such an amazing opportunity to have prophets and apostles here on the earth today!!  I love being a missionary, I love having a prophet on the earth today, may we all sustain him everyday, by our actions, and show our Heavenly Father our gratefulness for what we will do tomorrow. Because "for tomorrow, the lord will work wonders among you!!"

Love you All!!
Elder Hanks

                              Typical English person walking 5 dogs!                                    

Monday, April 4, 2016

It's what we call a Missionary Christmas in April...!

April 3 2016
Well everyone I hope that you all had a wonder weekend, I know that I did, because well it was General Conference. However for us as missionaries it’s known as MISSSIONARY CHIRSTMAS hence the name of the email. It’s what we are all looking for, and I wish so badly that all the people in England and everywhere - could hear it.  There is a major concern with families. Families here & everywhere really struggle, because "families" don't exist. There are too many instances where people don't have spouses, they have "partners" or the dad is gone, or the mom is gone or all the family is split up. I know that this is exactly what many countries need to hear, I just hope that I can be a tool in the lords hand to help some of them hear this amazing message!! Before I go into the highlights of Conference first let’s tell you a little bit about the week first.

We had zone training on Wednesday and that was really good, because president and the Assistants ran the training. We learned so much on the importance of members in the work and also how valuable the area book is! It was amazing I learned so much from it!


This week we were also able to find some really great Investigators. The first being a 65 yr old Jamaican man named I.......... He was super Jamaican to say the least and we had a really great conversation with him and then set up an appointment to come by later in the week. When we came back we brought a member and we had a lesson outside of his garden gate, because he said he didn't have time to talk but we started to talk to him anyways, and then next thing we knew- we were in the book of Mormon, and he accepted a copy, and said that he would read it with his bible. That was a first for me, but I have grown to love the Jamaican people they really love God, I wish more people had their outlook on life, of course without the Rastafarian beliefs. Then we also found this little couple who stopped us on the street actually it was quite cool- their names are S.......& S.......... They stopped us because we were American at first, and asked us a bunch of questions about America, then we told him what we were doing here and they let us come back. They have such amazing backgrounds, S........ the guy, has had a really rough past, but  you can already see the change in him. He said his number one goal is to marry  S........ and to start their own family. This gospel is going to be such a blessing to them, the only thing now is we got to get them married. Both of them accepted to be baptized and now we are working towards their marriage and baptism! It was awesome!!
                          Image result for images of 2016 april lds general conference
It was a really good week for us!
Alright so for conference this week, well I will just share some of the highlights that I had, because we only got to watch the morning sessions over here, so I have to go read the rest of it later this week. But for what I did here these are the impressions that I had, so they are not direct quotes:

This one was so good because of me trying to learn Chinese in England!
Mary R. Durham,
"Just like learning a new language, in order for us to learn the language of the spirit we must be completely immersed in the influence of the spirit, and not just every once in a while."

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom,
"Sometimes the gospel can seem so simple that it seems to be ordinary. However to those who TRULY know it, know it to be Extraordinary."                          OOH man so good!

"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not I cannot desert to his foes.
That soul though all hell should endeavor to shake,
 I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never no never forsake!!"                     I love this song so much!

Gary E Stevenson
"without the keys to a car, the car is just a giant piece of plastic and metal. Just like how we are locked out of the car without the keys, so are we locked out of the blessings of salvation without the keys to the priesthood."
"God can do more with our lives than we could ever imagine to do on our own. He will increase our opportunities, maximize our privileges, and improve our potential, and give us the strength that we need that we never could gain on our own!"  This one is just so powerful, turning our lives over to him is so important!

Elder Dale G. Renlund,
"If life was fair we all would need to be crucified. We would not be able to be resurrected without it, and we wouldn't return to live in the presence of god again, because that's not fair to Christ. However because life is unfair we get the better end. Oh how lucky we are to line in an unfair world, because without it we would have a whole lot more to do."  
                                                                          Think of that next time you go to say life is not fair!!                                                                                 Especially all you younger people out there!


President Nelson
" we hold the same priesthood that Christ himself holds, the same power that he uses to govern the heavens, create worlds on end, and provide the healing aid to us."

Good questions that we could all ask ourselves.
"How would your families and friends say you are doing in developing chirstlike attributes?"
"Are the earthquakes testified in the scriptures, spiritual earthquakes happening in our own homes?"

Stephen W. Owen,
"Jesus Christ is the perfect example of a leader, by being a perfect example of a follower of God." That is so amazing, to be a good leader, we must first be a good follower, and of course a follower of Jesus Christ.

President Uchtdorf - He had so many good ones
"Brethren if there really was such thing as a perfect woman, do you really think that she would be interested in you?"                      hahahahahahahaha sooooo funny! We all died at that one!

"Marriage and relationships require effort, and charity, brick by brick, building up a foundation adding pebbles of kindness, selflessness, service, love, and humility, then it will last."

"We may share the same gene pool, but we are spiritually different, and we have something to share. We should be celebrating our differences not calculating them!" 
                                                                         That last line is sooo good, I love that!


I have run out of time but the last thing that I can share with you all today is that,
"Christ will lift you up, place you on his shoulders and Carry you home to your Father in Heaven."

I know that this church is true and that families are so important, please do whatever it is that you can to help improve the relationships in your family. I love this Gospel and Jesus Christ truly is at the head of this church!

Love you all, and sorry for no pictures this week but conference is just too important to not talk about. I hope that we all can go back and reread and study the things we have learned this past weekend!

Love Elder Hanks