Monday, September 26, 2016

Busy, busy and more busy!

Sept 25 2016
Well another week here has just flown by and we have lots of things to cover, from meetings, to exchanges, to teaching, to transfers, and more so let us "get stuck in" shall we?

Monday: Well Monday was a day of firsts. After spending a much needed day just relaxing at the chapel, we went out finding that night because our investigators couldn't come to FHE, and there was like no Chinese people out on the streets that night. When returning home to our flat, some hooligans decided to throw some eggs at us. Luckily I inherited my dads cat-like reflexes and I didn't get hit! (Neither did elder Zheng) so that was exciting! Then to make that night more exciting at 2 in the morning, all of the neighborhood cats decided to get together and have a social outside of our window! Ooh my goodness I have never heard so many cats meow at the same time!! Uhhhhh..... that was lame!

On Wednesday we had a fun day. We got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and me and Elder Ferrell got to go together! Sooo fun... me and him are really good buds, and it's always fun to be able to serve with him. We went and knock doors in a uni area and university students are so funny! We found one guy who loved the NFL so he was easy to talk to we got in and taught him the restoration! Pretty sweet guy, his name is T..... and he is a professional gamer. Like does tournaments and gets paid and stuff! Pretty crazy! Anyways, but then we had to go pick up a car from Ashington that night, which isn't really close, so we didn't get back until way late on Wednesday night!

Thursday morning was bright and early! We got up at 5:30 in the morning for a very special occasion. We had an amazing meeting in Leeds and it was for all of the Language missionaries in the whole mission. It was so awesome so the 7 of us Chinese missionaries in Newcastle had to drive down early in the morning so me and Elder Ferrell drove two cars down to Leeds-  a 2 hour drive! It was sooo scary and so fun to drive! Wow I miss driving, so now I am going to get my license, yes mom and dad, I  still haven't gotten it. But our meeting was soooo good it was all day long. With all of us there, the assistants  and President and Sister Turvey talked about the challenges and improvements we could make for the Chinese work. It was awesome, I just grew such my love for president and I am so grateful for his passion and desire to improve the language program. This is going to be a great couple of months! Then we drove back just in time for branch council that night. Meetings all day, you could say that we were pretty tired. 

All the Chinese speakers! 

Thursday was pretty sweet. We got a new investigator on Thursday. His name is M..... He is so awesome, he was so interested in prayer and was so eager to pray with us. It was so awesome, so we taught him the first lesson and scheduled him for the October 22. Then to make it even better, he came to church this week and he did really well!  He said after church that he felt "really comfortable." So we are excited to work with him!

Also we received this: 

"Dear Elder and Sisters,

I am so so excited to confirm that we will be privileged to hold a Mission Conference on Saturday 22nd October 2016 at the Huddersfield Stake Centre from 10am to 12pm..

In attendance will be: President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy, Bishop Gerald Causse, Presiding Bishop, Elder Patrick Kearon, Europe Area President, Elder Gary B. Sabin of the Europe Area Presidency."

Sunday was really sweet. So of course we got more people to come to church and at church we had the best sacrament service ever. We had two of our members give their farewell testimonies. And the spirit in the room was so strong, wow it was just so amazing. We are really going to miss those members, one of them B...... pictured below is such an amazing guy. Wow it's going to be sad not to have them. 

Then this Sunday marked the end of a transfer here, wow what a quick six weeks it has been up here in Newcastle I can't believe I have been here for that long!
So what it happening with the Chinese district this transfer you ask? :
Me and Elder Zheng: we are both staying!!!!!:)
Elder Lui and Jensen: they are also staying!!!!
Sister So and Sorensen: Sister sorensen will be leaving us, to go to Leeds. And sister Huang from Sheffield is coming up, so we will be in the same district again!

They are starting to film for the Transformers movie!

Well this week was really fun. We are still working with A...... and she is progressing really slowly but she is starting to talk a whole lot more which is awesome! Life is sooo good for me right now. I am so happy to be here and I know that this was the absolute best decision I have ever made. The church is true and I am so glad to be apart of it.

ElderHanks 韓長老

Sent from my iPad 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wowza what a week!

Sept 19 2016

Hello again everyone. Sorry for last weeks email, I forgot the pictures and didn't have much time to email. But this one is better so I hope that this makes up for last weeks email. So let's try and get it all covered shall we.

This week started off wonderfully on Monday, when we had ourselves a zone BBQ and let me tell you that was some fun! I will show you the pictures this time, but there was about £70 worth of meat alone, and then all the other good stuff. It was really good - me and the Zone Leader Elder Stirling we were the grill masters of the day! It was sooo fun - lots of food, tons of sports good laughs and good gospel music! But then the day got even better when we took one of our investigators to FHE after P-day and it was absolutely hilarious!  They did the lesson, and then had some food and then we played a game. But the person in charge of the game didn't show up, so I taught them how to play signs! And ooh wow, how fun! Chinese people choose the funniest signs ever-  oh wow so good ! Monday was just like the best day ever.


On Thursday of this week we did exchanges with the other Mandarin Elders, Elder Lui and Elder Jensen. I went with elder Lui and it was so fun-  we had a ton of fun on our exchange. The entire day was all about inviting people to our branch activity on Friday. So it was really fun, we would just walk up and say, in Chinese of course, "Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!" And it surprised so many people that we knew what that was, so we invited sooooo many people to come to our activity and we had tons and tons of success. That day we found 7 people so that was really sweet. Also up here in Newcastle I tend to meet a lot of people from Singapore and Malaysia so it really helps having had my older brother serve there, because now I can talk a little bit with them about their home and it helps out a ton! But yeah Thursday was a really good day for us. All together we found 10 people in one day so that is really really cool!

Friday was one crazy crazy busy day! So normally of Friday's we have weekly planning and that's it, but not this Friday. This Friday we had weekly planning and District meeting with president and Sister Turvey. It was really fun to have president in a small meeting like that too,  where he can interact with you more, and they really enjoyed hearing the Chinese part of things too. President Turvey is huge on languages, he just loves them. There in that meeting,  we found out that in our mission there are only 12 Chinese speakers in the whole mission. And six of them are in Newcastle! So it made me feel really privileged to be a Chinese speaking missionary. And no one is coming in for a whole year so we are all going to be with each other for a really long time! Haha which I don't mind. Then after that we had to get ready for our Branch Activity that us missionaries practically put together to get people to come to. And it went really well we had about 30 people there and no joke 18 of them were investigators and non members! WHAT!!?? I know sooo good it was awesome! Let me tell you Chinese people know what it means to bring food, they brought like the best food ever, ooohhhhhhh so good!

Sunday was a fun day for us as well. So this Sunday a lot of fun things happened. The first being that in Newcastle they have this massive monument in the middle of their town. So this morning while we were in town waiting for our investigators to bring them to church, we found out that the New transformers was being filmed at the monument so when it comes out,  look for me! Jk I wasn't in it. But still cool because that doesn't happen every day. Then at church elder Zheng and I were teaching Gospel Principles class and we decided to teach about the Holy Ghost and its role. So it turns out it was just me teaching because elder Zheng wanted to test my Chinese. So in order to make it fun for these Chinese students, so that they like church. I came up with an idea to use chairs to create "life's obstacles" - each chair had a challenge that Chinese students face here, and we had one person act like the spirit and had to whisper to someone who was blindfolded to represent us, and to guide them through the chairs.  We had things like "media" "friends" "school" and other things to distract them from the spirit. Then we taught about baptism and how we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and have him as a companion by our side, and our "Holy Ghost" then by his side led him through the chairs. Hopefully it left a clear impression to all the investigators and members of the blessing of the Holy Ghost. I thought that it went well. Then that night we had a party with all the extra food from our activity, and we had chocolate cake and ice cream to celebrate the start of the last week of the transfer!

Then a quick little spiritual thought for you all: A quote from Neil A. Maxwel,
"God does not begin by asking us about our Ability,
but only about our Availability,
and then if we prove our Dependability,
he will increase our Capability."
Our Heavenly Father Already knows our weaknesses, knows our strengths. He simply asks us to give more time to our callings, our families, those in need, and those around us. And to be patient in all we do, something I am greatly working on is Patience. Please be patient, and allow yourself some time to do something more for the Savior, so that he can then do something more for you.

Love you all and have a wonderful week.

Elder Hanks韓長

Sept 12, 2016

This week started off amazing!!!! Wow what fun! Well family sorry,  I am just not coming home anymore, not after these two weeks, I am going to stay here forever! In the best mission in the Universe. But let's go through this AMAZING week shall we!?:)

Monday: so Monday was pretty chill, not much happened on Monday except for we got 3 of our investigators to come to FHE! So that was really awesome we had, T......, S......., and J...... all come. I was most excited about J......... coming. So that was really good but then we had to say bye to another member B...... who went home this Wednesday, so sad that everyone is leaving! 

Tuesday: Well Tuesday was Amazing! We had our First Zone conference with President Turvey and his are so different. Normally the meeting was held in the chapel, with the podium with president Pilkington.
However with president Turvey,  we should up, and the chapel was empty. In the gym however there was a massive circle of tables set up with a music stand in the middle. With president Turvey presiding, it was so much more interactive! Really different and really good. I had to give our purpose for the conference-  again! Like the 3rd time doing it at zone conference. I must be good at it or something? Jk but I did have to do some push ups at ZC, when we were showing some of our door knocking approaches, that got everyone laughing which was good. But my favorite thing that I got from conference was regarding Tea appointments .........   after zone conference we had a teaching appointment, tea appointments are now called "teaching appointments" to always remind us our purpose behind the food. But then we had a lesson with our investigator D......... and we were able to schedule her for baptism on Oct 8th.

So story time: While we were having a lesson with D......., a very interesting thing occurred. We we had just taught  the plan of salvation and we were then scheduling her for baptism. During the process the opposing force of all good tried to stop us, by sending two drunk men to us. Who stunk like drugs and alcohol and made fun of everything we stood for! It was terrible - the worst timing ever!
NEVERTHELESS Good/ God will always prevail, because the two men that interrupted our lesson, were Geordie! Which means the thickest accent in England (extremely hard to understand) so I was the only one who could understand what they were saying! So D.......... knew that they were saying bad things but the blessing was she didn't understand it! So it had little to no effect on her, or elder Zheng-  really only me. So we were still able to help her set a goal for baptism, I love being on His side!

Haha well we had a fun day on Wednesday. We had some fun lessons and were able to get some new investigators. So the first lesson was with this really sweet guy named R........ He was asking so many good
questions! He was so into it, it was awesome. Unfortunately he goes home next week and so we won't be able to teach him anymore!:( but elder Zheng got his email and so they are going to keep talking about his questions and the gospel.  Then we met with T.........., in a coffee shop. And we taught him about the restoration and then scheduled him as well for the 24th of September because he goes home on the 28th. So we need a miracle with him.
Then we met with this Taiwanese girl named T........... She is awesome and we had a member R....... with us and they got along really well. So we were able to schedule her for the 8th of October. It was a really good day for us!

Won't run you through everyday but to say the least about Thursday and Friday they were just normal days of finding not much happened, except we got flogged one lesson which hasn't happened for a while but,  oh
well moving on. So to make up for it me and elder Zheng decided that we were going to make Oreo Milkshakes! So we got all the stuff that we needed and we got out the blender. And we starting mixing and the next thing we knew it was all coming out the bottom of the blender!  All of our stuff on to the floor, it was so depressing-  goodness we had a lot to clean up but,  luckily enough even with the spill,  we were still able to get two little cups worth of our shake, haha sadly this is not the first time this has happened to me! 

This was a good day as well we had 3 lessons on Saturday and they went pretty well. We met with T......again and taught him the plan of salvation, he seemed to have enjoyed it, but he just won't give us time for church. We tried so hard to convince him to come but his friend was coming in from somewhere so he didn't come this week. Hopefully we will get him next week. Then we also taught our  quiet friend. She is getting better she is talking more and more which is good. But we were talking about faith, and gaining a desire to know more and how it will make her happy. So we asked her what makes her happy. And you would never guess what she said.......   CONCERTS!? of all things, this shy girl loves concerts, like the loudest and craziest thing ever! Hahaha WHAT?!! Anyways but that was a pretty good lesson and we had to recommit all of them to read and pray because that is a big problem for lots of people, they just don't bother with it. Church okay, reading and praying no! Then we taught our other friend named R...... who is also pretty quiet, but we were able to teach him lesson 3 and it went well, but we are working with him to increase his faith right now so slowly but surely! Anyways yeah that was our day, pretty

darn good day.

That was our week, hope all is well with you all.
Take care

Elder Hanks

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Service really pays off!

Sept 5th 2016
Hello my family and Friends! This week has been so so so so so so fun! Holy cow if every week was like this week I would never come home. Sorry family but this week was just too fun! So let's get started shall we. 
A cool old church

So on Monday this week we brought one of our new friends to FHE, his name is T…….. So we had the spiritual thought for FHE. We shared the video hope of gods light a really good video. And then we talked about how we receive answers to prayers, how everyone can receive their own prayers in their own way, I felt like it went really well. After FHE we were walking home and our friend T…… was asking us all kinds of questions about prayers, it was really good.

So here in England a lot of the Chinese students who come here, come first to learn English at something called Intu. So that is the first thing they study when they get here is English. And then they have to take an English test. If they pass they can stay if they don't then they have to go back home to China. So we have 2 investigators in the Intu program, D……. and C…….. And both of them had failed the test prior to meeting with us, however after meeting with them, teaching them and them both coming to church, BOTH OF THEM PASSED! So they are both staying! What a blessing from Heavenly Father and hopefully they recognise it to. But they are both really fun people, working towards getting them baptized this month for C…… and getting E……….. on a date (for baptism of course!)

Went to a Fish n chips place on the coast!

Wednesday was THE BEST day ever. Because of something that I have always wanted to happened, really happened. My good friend elder Ferrell (who I came out with from the MTC) and my old companion elder Liss, came up from Huddersfield to do exchanges with us on Wednesday. And I went with elder Ferrell, the first time getting to work with him and we had so much fun. We tried as many things possible to get Chinese people interested. We sang for people, we got people to sing for us, we took selfies with the students, all sorts of things and it worked. It was really successful. It was like the funniest day ever! And we got to meet our member L………, C………, B……, and C……., all at the same time, it was a party! Oh boy such a fun day. Elder Ferrell is such a good missionary, I really do pray and hope that one day we will be able to serve with each other. Fun times.
Entrance to Chinatown

For our investigators:
C……M……- he is an awesome kid, easily our most solid investigator. He studies video game making and is the nicest person ever. He loves meeting with us and even came to church, he is scheduled for the first of October for baptism. He is so fun to teach so let's see what happens with him.
D……….- shy Chinese girl but loves to come to activities. So she is a little bit apprehensive about the whole church thing but, this week we got her to pray for here first time ever in our lesson. I love hearing people's first prayers, so simple but so powerful. 
I……….- well he has been on holiday for the past week but he is doing good, we taught him about commandments and he had no problem with them. So we are hoping that it goes smoothly with him. 
J……………- this week we found J………… he is a new student here from Taiwan. We met him on Tuesday and then taught him on Friday and he is awesome. We taught him the first lesson and he came to church this week and had a really good time, so we are excited to start working with him. What helped was this week we had a baby blessing for one of the longstanding members in the branch and they brought Loads of food to church, not just food, but loads of Chinese food! Ahhhhh soooo good it was like the best thing ever.
A……….- she is our shy friend, taught her again and well it was... Interesting, but nevertheless still progressing, slowly but surely.
Then we have more gators but for the sake of time I will have to share about them later!

A thing for Queen Elizabeth
 This is where the title of my email comes into play (Service really does pay off). So this week was moving week for all the students because their contract ends and so a lot of our members had to move from their accommodations. And the problem is, these Chinese students are really posh, they buy tons of stuff ! So we have helped move 3 or our members this week, and we got lucky. So when Chinese students get here, they buy loads of stuff, like loads and when they go home they all have 1 suitcase so they just toss everything they have bought in the rubbish. Hundreds of pounds worth of stuff, it's crazy. The first guy V………., he had loads of food that he couldn't take, so we inherited like 6 bags of Chinese groceries and whole bunch of sports equipment from him too! It has been Chinese food all week! Then we helped moved our friend B….., and after moving him he took us to this really really Posh Chinese restaurant. It was really good, and really spicy! Then he came teaching with us, so it was a day with B………. But you never know what blessing you might get from doing service, whether it be spiritual or temporal, or if it comes now or later. However we do know that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of our God."

With one of the members in our branch

Since the school year has officially ended here and the new year doesn't start up till the end of September. Our members and most of our investigators have gone home, or on vacation. So we are back to square one: finding. But when they get back it will be a sweet reunion. If there is one thing I have learned this week is to not complain. Not complain about the weather, or the language, or how tired you are, complaining never changes it! So when you are about to complain about something think of this,
"Don't complain about a situation, CHANGE the situation."

Thank you all for your prayers and support! I feel so lucky to have people at home supporting me, they are definitely felt here in England. I love you all and home you have a wonderful week.
Elder Hanks 韓長老

Aug 29 2016
My motivation wall!
Wow can I just say how different Newcastle is. Holy moly this place is massive! And boy are there a ton of Chinese people, haha so funny me and elder Zheng got into a debate not an argument but a debate about how all Asian people look the same. And he tried to debate the other way that all "foreigners" in translation all look the same. But I totally won the debate by the way just so that it clear and I think that most of you would agree with me! But hey this week started out really fun. Also I need to apologize my emails are getting longer and longer I hope I am not boring you guys, however whether your bored or not lets get started shall we!!?:)

Sunday: my companion making people cry! So let me tell you how sweet my companion is. So on Sunday we do a mini fireside for some of the members (whoever wants to come really) anyways we were trying to decide what we were going to teach for it that night. And he chose tithing, something I am not too familiar with in Chinese. But elder Zheng let me start and then he took over! By the end of the lesson there was not a dry eye in the room! (Sisters in the ward mainly) guys my companion got people to cry about a Commandment of giving money!?! How does that happen!? I still have no idea because I didn't understand a lot of it, but yeah soooo cool!

Ruins of an old castle
Chinese update: so my Chinese is slowly progressing. Elder Zheng has to keep reminding me to be patient because sometimes I get mad that I don't understand much. But he helps a ton and I am staring to understand more and be able to say more, so keep praying I can get this down people, cause I need it. But I love Chinese it's sooo fun!!

P-Day: Wow Newcastle p-days are the best. Because there are like 6 teams that work in Newcastle alone there are always a ton of missionaries at the chapel on p-day, and even more come from around the area because it's so close! So for this last p-day we almost had the whole zone together and it wasn't even Zone P-day! We just messed around all day, emailed home, played loads of SPORTS and what not it was sooo fun. 
My rad companion! 

Wednesday: We had a really cool lesson with this guy named I…..! And it started out with me teaching him a little bit of English and then he taught me some Chinese, but then we got into the lesson and he was so intrigued by it, it was awesome and we scheduled him for October 1st (because he goes to China for 2 weeks) but way cool lesson. Then we had another lesson with one of our investigators I……. And man did the guy have a ton of questions we covered like everything, to Who is Jehovah? What is the Apostasy? Where are the Plates? Why Joseph smith? So many questions, that I have never heard a Chinese person ask before, but he liked it all and then on top of that we taught the Word of Wisdom which is normally a bit hard to accept for Chinese people, but I……..says this, méi wèntí, kêyî zuò! (No problem, I can do it) so that was also really good! Wednesday was a really good day for us.

M……: we got this really cool guy named M…... He is so cool he is studying to be a video game designer and he is such a lad. We taught him the first lesson and scheduled him for baptism, and he committed to come to church on Sunday and guess what........ He totally came! Ahhhhhhh sooo cool! So that was a cool miracle! We will be meeting him again this week and I am so excited.
Ahhhh!  The ocean!
 Thursday: We will keep the names secret for this one. But today was officially labelled most awkward lesson  day. Now we had a lesson Thursday night with this Chinese girl and from the very start me and elder Zheng knew it was going to be a rough one. During the lesson we tried to make the lesson as fun as possible by asking all sorts of questions. This poor girl said a total of like 3 words the whole lesson. Sometimes I wondered if she was breathing, ah bless her. She is such a quiet, tender soul! I have never met someone so quiet, not even a shy quiet, she stares right at you, but doesn't say anything. Ahhhh it was so awkward haha but a good experience, now I know how seminary teachers somewhat feel like.

Saturday: Saturday was flipping sweet because we went to the coast for a branch activity. It was awesome we took the train right to the coast and we brought out investigator D…… with us, and we all got some proper Fish n' Chips, they were sooo good. And I got to see the ocean for the first time in a long time and walked on the sand, but we got some weird looks from people because it was two guys in white shirts and ties on the beach! Hahaha the life of a missionary. and also I got to see my first like legit castle, or at least what is left of a castle. It was sooo cool! Haha but it truly is amazing here in England I love it here! 
Then to end it all off, this week at church was so awesome. We had two of our members leaving this week to go back home to China, so they both bore their testimonies about the gospel. And I only understood a little bit, but they both talked about how learning about the gospel and Heavenly Father has changed their lives forever. It was so amazing to see the change in people especially people who have had no concept of God ever in their lives, bear powerful witnesses of his reality! Truly amazing, the spirit was so strong, loads of tears were shed in that little sacrament meeting. Then we taught the gospel principles lesson in church, and we did all on the life of Jesus Christ. And it went really well and the best part about it was out of the 20 people in the class 10 of them were investigators!! What soooo awesome! I love being a Chinese elder! This is the best calling in the world, there is no place I'd rather be. Love you all, hope you all have a wonderful week with school now in session whether it's yourself, your kids, or no one at all, just enjoy yourselves okay!

Elder Hanks 韓長老
Sent from my iPad