Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ahhhh it's transfer week!

Alrighty people this is going to be a really quick email this week, because we are having a party as missionaries and so this is going to be really quick! 

But this week we were able to give some service to his guy named G............ and now he is an investigator so that will be fun.

I am so exited to get a new missionary and to help him out I promise that next week I will be able to write more and say some more but this week was a bank holiday today and that all the libraries were closed down today so we had to email from our ipads and so that makes for short emails for everyone but next week will be a better email! 

Not much progression with our investigators, but I am still here in Sheffield to help them out a little bit. Also one really good thing that happened this week was C...... our recent convert gave a wonderful talk in sacrament and what made it even better was that this Sunday was her original baptism goal !  but instead she was giving a talk in sacrament meeting. so that was super awesome! 

Sorry this is going to be all over the place, but then we visited a less active named K...... and this guy is so awesome he was teaching us all this sweet stuff about mormon history and mormon doctrine, it was super cool, its just sad to see him not enjoying the blessings of the gospel. 

Also on sunday we were able to do some member splits and I  went with this guy named A........ he is the elders quorom president and we had a wonderful time visiting members and less actives throughout the ward area. I wish I had more to report for this week!  

Also transfers this week.!!!!  So a lot of things went on this past week. Lots of moves and lots of things going on. Two people in our flat are leaving. Elder Poggeman is being moved to a new area, and I am going to miss that lad, and then my Companion is also leaving me this week!  He is going to be the zone leader in Huddersfield. I am really going to miss serving with that guy and having fun together. So because of that I am getting a new companion tomorrow and to be honest I  don't know anything about him, like where he comes from or what he is like, I don't even know his name, and that's because I AM TRAINING!!!!!! I have never been so excited and more nervous in my life but I know that this is going to be a really good experience so we will see how that goes. I am looking forward to seeing my new boy! if anyone has any advice on training please let me know! Hahaha - alright sorry this was short and all over the place next week will be better with my little trainee!!!!!

Love Elder Hanks

Monday, May 23, 2016

Don't Drink People!

Alrighty everyone I am going to have to do this at a gallop here, but that's alright lets see what has happened this week.

One thing that was really cool that happened this week was we got a referral from the mission office this week. And well because of this we went right to them to see how we could assist them. Turns out they are a referral from St. George Utah! I know crazy right we got English people that know about Utah! But their names are G........ & M.........., they are an older retired couple and they own a small little cabin in the city of Cedar City Utah! They go there twice a year and finally decided to go check out the white castle in St. George and now she has a copy of the book of Mormon and reading a lot! Her partner not so much, but she is doing really well! So we now are working with them. so that is sweet!

We also met this lady named L......... this week. she is a mom with two little kids, who we met knocking and well she really had no interest in us, which is okay people don't have to like me, they just need to love the Savior right, So we started to talk to her and tell her what it is that we exactly do and well, she now has a copy of the book of Mormon and is scheduled for baptism! That was a great experience, now I just pray that we can help her progress towards that goal.

Something crazy that happened this past week that inspired the subject here! We were walking to an investigators house that was in the area, talking to people as we went and we were about there when I stopped this young lad on the sidewalk, (first mistake!) asked him where the nearest church was, (second mistake), then agreed to follow him to the church! (third mistake!) turns out that this guy was completely drunk out of his mind and couldn't walk in a straight line and was saying some pretty mean stuff about religion, but then comes the bad part! We come to a main road,

(now let me tell you about English roads, they are tiny, there is barely enough space for two cars on it, then cars park on the side of the roads, making less space and well there are cars and buses everywhere, so its always busy! )

our flat ceiling is under repair!
So this guy without any hesitation walks/stumbles out into the road without looking! (kids look both ways!) and cars are slamming on the breaks and dodging this guy in the road, and the whole time he is telling us to follow him. Well we didn't! then when he gets to the other side he realizes that we are still on the other side so he does the same thing back to come and get us!!! People he ALMOST DIED, LIKE 6 TIMES! Finally on the third attempt we got across when there was a bigger gap between vehicles, never ended up making it to the church with him mainly because we thought we didn't want this guy to go across any more roads! but yeah that was an exciting adventure and also a great testimony builder on the Word of Wisdom, it literally protects us people!!

So quick little updates with the people that we met last week, we were only able to get a hold of some of them and we didn't have the chance to even meet with them. All of them seemed to disappear this week, which was really sad and all the people that said that they would come to church didn't, but hey what can you do when your a missionary! Nothing?  NOOOOOO you pray your heart out for these people that they will have the desire and the heart to continue to learn about the Savior and what they will do for them!

I just wanted to end by sharing something with you,

I was reading in Alma 5 during sacrament meeting this past week and I had this thought come into my mind, and then I saw this picture on my ipad and really just solidified my love for the Savior. I was reading verse 48 which talks about the Savior. I love Jesus Christ so much without him everything that we face in this life would be so much worse! it would cause us to buckle to our knees, and sometimes it does! But with him he is there to pick us up, to lift us to bring us back even stronger with a firmer belief in him.

"He will find us,
He will lift you up and place you on his shoulders.
He will carry you home."

I know that our Savior and redeemer lives! He is the head of this wonderful church and he has the power to heal us! No matter what is broken! He continues to show me what is broken with me, all my weaknesses and then he shows me how I can make those things whole. But not just whole but even stronger! I testify of that! I love this church I love being a missionary! I love my Savoir Jesus Christ!!

Love Elder Hanks!

Monday, May 16, 2016

High on a Mountain (hill) top!

May 16 2016
My awesome Zone! 

Hello lads and lasses you alright!? I am doing just splendid here in England the sun was shining most of the week and the people here are wearing less and less clothes and well that makes for exciting missionary work. But this week was an awesome week for us we were able to find 7 new investigators!!!! LIKE WHAT!!!!!!!!!!???????????? We don't know what happened even the Zone leaders were calling us like "what is going on there?" but we had loads of success this week, it made me feel like I was down in Columbia with my mate Elder Ferre. But lots of fun things happened so let’s get into the week shall we.

First off on p-day we decided as all the elders in the zone to go and do a little hike in the peak districts here in Sheffield so we pilled in some cars and had an adventurous day with the elders, it felt like a day back at home chilling with the homies but it wasn't. So that was really cool. But we were able to hike some hills, and see some fields and that was a great start off for the week. But now we will get into the missionary work, I will tell you about some of the people that we have met this past week.

So first off update with our recent convert C......... She is doing so well, she is now teaching her friends about the church, she goes online and tells people who the Mormons really are, and she defends the church more than ever which is soo awesome!! She is just doing so well, I love seeing here at church with her two little kids, that has made the entire mission worth it!

Now for D...... So we were knocking on a road where an investigator lived and we knocked on his door and he opens up and says! "Can I get a picture with you guys?" I mean I know I am good looking but come on not that good! J.K.! But so we said yeah, so he went and got his phone and took a selfie with us and then explained how he just moved up from London and saw the Book of Mormon play, and now he had two Mormon missionaries at his door -  "coincidence I think not!!!" so we started to chat about that and Elder Cottrell has seen some of the play so he started to sing some of the songs, which really made the guy laugh and open up to us. But he accepted a book of Mormon and now we are going to teach him about what our church is really like! But hey look at that! The play really does help out the church!

Then we met these 3 people while walking and they told us to teach them as they walked so we ended up walking with them to a park, they sat down and elder Cottrell took one named C.... and I took this couple S.... and T...... and we sat and taught them separately but it was really awesome because all of them were interested and now we are going back to teach them some more hopefully. So that was awesome as well.

Then on Saturday! Wow what an experience. There is a professional soccer team right down the road from us, that had a huge game the other day, and me and elder Cottrell were on the tram at the wrong time. Because no joke hundreds and hundreds of fans got on and the entire 30 min tram ride, were chanting at the top of their lungs, all their chants, which don't always have the best of words in them, but chanted forever! And it was such a fun experience I wish I could have taken a picture but there was so many people in there I could get my camera out of my pocket. But for a kid who has played soccer his whole life it was awesome!!!!!!

So there are some good things so let’s share something that was bad shall we, we can’t be too happy over here, or people think we are crazy. Which brings me to this story. We had just tried by some potentials with no luck but then as we were walking this lady called over to us and started shouting at us and for a solid 20 min me and Elder Cottrell sat there while this lady told us how we are brainwashed and then nothing good will come from believing, and that there is no god and how our lives are ruined and how we are ruining other peoples lives! It was the roughest 20 min of my life!

But let me tell you this!

We are not brainwashed! There is a Father in Heaven who loves each and every single one of us. This gospel does change lives, it brings about good, it brings about perfection in us. Good things do come from this gospel because this is Christ's church, he blesses us for our efforts. God is real, and he is watching out for us, I can promise you this. I know that this is the true church, that joseph smith is a prophet that the book of Mormon is true and teaches us how to be good, how to stay good, and how we can be eternally good. I know it to be true! And I hope you all can feel of its truthfulness as well. I am so grateful for that opportunity, which solidified my testimony! I love this church and I love being a missionary!!

Love Elder Hanks

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

May 9 2016
Happy mother's day to all you moms out there!! Hope you all had a wonderful day and that you all got spoiled. But I will talk more about that in the end. Let’s get into the week.

This week started off really good but let’s do the bad before we do the good shall we. So we had this amazing investigator named T........ and we have been working with him for a really long time and he was so close to baptism the only thing he had to do left was come to church and to stop smoking. He got a patch for his smoking and he was about there. Until about after the 5th time of him saying he will be at church and then doesn't show up, we had to drop him, which is the hardest thing to do as a missionary is drop one of your investigators and especially when the lad, is such a brotha from Jamaica! But that was a sad note to the week. Now let’s get into the good shall we.

Our chapel
So first off we had Interviews with President Pilkington this last Friday and me and Elder Cottrell had to wake at 4:00am -  4 AM people!!! In order to catch a bus up to the church and to warm up the building since it was at our chapel, luckily here in England the sun comes up at like 4:30 so that's always nice I guess, and then it gets dark at like 10:00-  it’s a weird phenomenon. But anyways this interview with President was really good and the last one that we are going to have since he goes home next month sadly! But it was great we were able to have nice little laugh together which was good. It’s going to be so weird to have a new Mission President but we will wait and see how that goes! But that was a good time, next interview will be with President Turvey!

Also this week because the sun is out, I promise people become just so nice, the ice cream trucks are going and no joke kids are running around with barely any clothes on, and you see people having English barbeques, which are not the same as ours, but they are great! But people are just so nice during the summer time here. So because of this we were able to meet a lady named E....... E........ is from Iceland and she has a really cool accent, so we met her on Wednesday and then we went back and taught her on Thursday. And it was a great lesson out in her back garden and the sun was out, and she was so interested in learning about the church! We invited her for baptism and she was open to the idea, but wasn't too keen on choosing a day right now, but at the end of the lesson she said, "So my only question is, can I come to a Sunday service, before I get baptized?" I tried first not to laugh, but then I excitedly told her that we would love for her to come to church, so we hope that she will be able to come next week.
what I look like after a long day! 

Then with our current investigator S......, he was able to come to church this week for his first time which was really awesome!! He shows up in his beanie and baggie trousers which was awesome and he said that he had a good time. He liked how there was actually young people in our church rather than just old people. I guess here in England the only people that really go to church anymore are the old people! so next time all you parents are about to complain about a young man or women doing something weird or distracting, count the blessing of having young people in a church who are willing to serve and do what the lord has asked them to do. But yeah it was a good time with S...... at church so that was great!!

Now for mother’s day. It was so fun to be able to Skype home with my family and be able to talk to all of them, and see their faces. Sadly my little niece Remie hasn't quite warmed up to the idea of talking to someone on the computer (it was nap time apparently)  but I will get a better response some day! haha, but it was a great experience to see them and I am so grateful for the wonderful family that I have and for the support that they give me. But of course I just want to publicly thank my amazing mother! I have the most amazing mum in the Entire UNIVERSE! I can’t even describe how much she has helped me out in my life and continues to put a smile on my face every time I get something from her, even when it’s a  piece of paper with a funny picture on it! She is amazing I love her so much! Love you mum! 

But everyone- do NOT take for granted the blessing it is to have mothers in our lives. It mentions moms too much in the scriptures for us to take it likely! "No mortal love can ever be closer to the love of the Savior, than a loving mother for her Child" They are the purest examples of Christ and help us more than ever can imagine. Look at the 2,000 stripling soldiers and how their mothers influenced them and how your mom has always influenced you to do good, to be our best and to respect others. So important are mums, that one of the last things that the savior said was "behold thy mother." Mums our in the world you have a divine role from heaven, do not let it be taken likely. You do amazing things, no effort is wasted. Thank you for the love and example that you show to all of us!

Random Pic of me by E. Cottrell

me & Elder Poggemann

Love Elder Hanks

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May started out great with the small but significant!

May 3 2016

Hello everyone it’s good to be back here again letting you all know how it is over in the rainy side of the world. This week was full of fun things so let’s get started!

The Sun is out! 
This week me and Elder Cottrell got to go on exchanges with some other elders because the zone leaders felt bad that we don't get the chance to do any because all the missionaries in the district are sisters -so we can’t do that now can we.....!  So this week we did a little exchange and I went with Elder Gerlach, he is from Oklahoma and he goes home this transfer so it was fun to talk with him about his mission, and about what he has learned and all his fun experiences so that was good! This exchange was one of the weirdest ones that I have ever had, let me tell you why. First off was, I chose the area that we should knock in since he didn't know the area, and well it turns out that the area was a congregation of Muslim families. So all we got all day was rejection (kind rejection might I add, Muslims are really polite) but it wasn't the greatest place for two Mormon missionaries! Then add onto that, we found a skateboard in a bush and we tried to use it while finding- so that was a sight to see- an American in a suit trying to stop people to talk to them while on a skateboard! But not only that but this week we had some more weather of rain, hail, sleet, snow and sun all in the same day. It was an exciting day for me and Elder Gerlach! 

This week we were able to use our priesthood a lot which is always a blessing to have the priesthood in our lives. I hope all the men out there don't take for granted the amazing blessing it is to have the priesthood power to bless the lives of those that we are close to. Use its power to help others-  That's WHY we were given it! This week we gave Sister ......... a blessing after our district meeting, she is a new missionary and has been having home sickness as we all do! But we gave her a blessing and it was great to use that priesthood again, I haven't given a blessing in a long time and it was good to use it! Also we gave a blessing to a recent converts son, who has been sick for a little bit so we were able to give their son a blessing which was such a fun opportunity they are such a cute family from Africa 

 So two highlights of the week.

Also one fun thing that happened this week was when one day we decided to go the small portion of the University that we have in our area and do some finding! WOW that was so fun, talking to university students is the best - They are so open to new things and learning and aren't afraid to ask questions, which is the best part as a missionary, being able to answer questions! I love questions- if you every have any questions about England or anything please feel free to ask!! Anyways that was fun and it’s even better when you get to use Chinese! So that brings me to a fun little story. We were walking down the road one day and it was in the middle of nowhere, when all of a sudden a little Chinese family came around the corner! There was 3 kids and a mom, so that was unique! However Elder Cottrell-  I think got more excited than I did! That's because he didn't have to do the talking! But I went up and started to talk to them, and all the little kids started to ask me a whole bunch of questions about America, how I could speak Chinese and all, and it was really fun to be able to talk to them, and understand them a little bit, because I haven't used my Chinese in sooooooooo long it feels like! So that was awesome!!

Fun little thing that happened. Yesterday while doing some knocking we ran into this guy who had no belief in anything and was countering everything that we said. We didn't want to bash but elder Cottrell likes to prove his point which is a good thing to have. But the thing wasn't really going anywhere so then I just said something that I thought was small and nothing big and then the guy said this to me, "ooh you're good. You should be the Prime Minister you know what you are doing!" so that felt really good, but don't worry pride quickly left me at the next door! haha ohhh well!

This past sunday we had a great experience with the bishop of the ward. Bishop ........ is soooo amazing I love this guy! We were talking about obedience,well about everything to be quite honest and he said something that I have never thought about. First off though, people, the gospel is true I have no doubt about it, I love it! This is Christ church, but the Bishop said, "Even if the church wasn't the true church and we all died, and when judgement came, would you be afraid because of the life you lived? No you lived the gospel, gave service, no drugs, marriage, being kind to others, worship, praying, learning! All the things that the gospel teaches are blessings!" I have never thought of that before! The church is true, but even if it wasn't, we have no need to fear by living its principles.

To end I would just like to share with you something small but significant! I know that Jesus is the Christ and through him all things are possible. If you turn to him he will turn to you. I promise all of you that!

Love you all, and have a great week, and happy mother’s day to all you moms out there!!

Love Elder Hanks