Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015


I guess this is it.

I think I've mentioned this before, but there is a former mission president serving another mission in Hong Kong, and when he told me about his going home experience he said simply enough "I was happy I did it...and I was happy when I went home."

I think I can echo that. I don't want to demean or to lose focus on the work that's yet to be done this week, because there is plenty to do. We have some great things lined up for the week.

I'm grateful for the last few weeks I've had with Elder Henrichsen. We have been consecrated, diligent missionaries. He is a great example to me. In this mission, if you have 2 or 3 investigators at church, it was a really solid week. Yesterday, we had 10. The highest I've ever had on my mission. This area is rolling, and hopefully it will keep exploding.

I've loved my time here as a missionary. I guess more important than any words I can type is the testimony I leave by the way I carry the change after I get home. There will be bangs and bruises...but what I've come to know is that the Atonement is real. And it applies to you.

RM doesn't mean Retired Mormon. It means Returned Missionary. And after so long of hearing Dad tell Sarah to stay away from Returned Missionaries, I'm finally coming back to be one of them. That's interesting.

This week should be full of good times though. Elder Daculug and I go into the mission home on Thursday morning, and then we will have our checkout, have lunch with President and Sister Hawks, go to the peak, have dinner, then go to bed...then about 11 a.m. my flight leaves, and then I get home at about 2 p.m. It will be the longest 3 hour flight of my life. 

Well...I guess the most important thing I can say is that I know He lives. I know the Book of Mormon to be true, and the keystone of our religion. Lose yourself in the gospel, because nothing but beauty will come of it. I pray that I will remember what I have felt in the China Hong Kong mission for the rest of my life, and into the eternities. I pray that what I learned here will bless my family. I pray that I will continue to grow, and that I won't stop until...I don't know, when are you supposed to stop? I guess I'll find that out later. 

Love is key. And I sure love you all. See you this weekend.

Elder Spencer Hafen
China Hong Kong Mission 2013-2015

May 10, 2015

Well, this has been a pretty spectacular week. I'm loving serving with Elder Henrichsen. He is a consecrated, focused, dedicated missionary and I am grateful for his example for me. It's nice going in to the last few weeks in my mission having a companion like him.
For my first 9 weeks in this area, we never had a single solid baptismal date. But this last week the miracles have been pouring in right and left. In the space of a about a week we went from 0 to 6 progressing investigators with dates, and know that there are more yet to come. We are so incredibly grateful for the blessings we've been seeing. The changes in people and the way the gospel is touching their lives so far surpasses anything that we could possibly do on our own. The gospel changes people in a way that we will never even fully comprehend. Isn't it just wonderful?
Calling home was nice. I'm excited to get to spend more time with everyone and not have to worry about time limits.
This last week at church we had 8 people attend, which I think...I can't quite remember, I don't remember numbers very well, is one of the highest I've had my whole mission. Hopefully this next coming week will be even better.
The Filipina ward that we're serving threw a surprise farewell party for Elder Daculug and I. It was a little bit frustrating...because surprise parties don't tend to fit very well into missionary schedules. But luckily they called while we were eating dinner so we were able to come for the last part of our dinner hour before heading back out. It definitely was an interesting experience being surrounded by Filipina women singing about how beautiful I am. I don't know if that will ever happen again, so I'm savoring the moments as much as I am allowed by missionary rules to do so. And I'm not entirely sure that they knew that it wasn't our last week...and we'd be seeing them the next week too. Oh well.
I wish I had time to just sit down and tell you play by play every single miracle that has come into our path. But there just aren't enough keys on the keyboard. I am keeping a good journal though, and will make sure that I share everything I've learned as much as possible.
All in all, things are good. Next Sunday will be my last Sunday, and then the following Monday will be the last time I will email home. So buckle up. I sure love you all, can't wait to talk to you next week and then see you soon.
Love, Elder Hafen

May 3, 2015


So, still working hard. Elder Young hit American soil a few days ago and now my new companion is Elder Henrichsen, his family has moved around a lot and is currently living in BeiJing where he lived before his mission. He is actually another Mandarin missionary, so of the 10 or so Mandarin elders, 2 of them are currently serving the English branch. Pretty cool. He is a stud, really a great missionary. I prayed hard that my last companion would be one that is optimistic and focused and a hard worker, and I was very blessed.

I had an interesting thought. More than 2 years ago, we sat around guessing where I was going on my mission. I guessed a country called Zambia in Africa, mostly because I thought it was ridiculous. And I am in Hong Kong, and I'm teaching a girl from Zambia. And a girl from Kenya, then one from Madagascar tomorrow. And from Guatamala...and Mexico...and Hungary...and Italy....this is more international than Pit Bull. (If you don't get that one...he's a singer who calls himself Mr. International. Don't worry about it. He's not that great.)

On May 22nd, the only two missionaries going home are Elder Daculug and I. Which is pretty special. We started together in the MTC, and now we are living in the same apartment and will be leaving together. When departing missionaries go, they get to do a temple session with President and Sister Hawks and then they all go up to The Peak together. Originally President was going to have us go with the group departing before us so we wouldn't have to be alone, but in the end it got changed so Elder Daculug and I have President and Sister Hawks all to ourselves for a day. It will be a dream come true.

But there's still lots to get done before then. I'm not too worried. Things come when they come. Just keep working hard, praying hard, and being obedient. All is well. 

We get to play some ping pong today and eat lunch with a deaf member, Sister Chan who is amazing. She was the first deaf baptism in Hong Kong, and just received the endowment in March. Couldn't be a cooler cat. Do they still say that?

Oh well. Things are good. Excited. The best is yet to come.
Love you all.
Love, Elder Hafen

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 19, 2015

Hmm...I just realized the list that I send this to is a lot of names of missionaries who have gone home. Oh well.
It was another good week. We got to play some tennis again this morning and then eat some food with Benji, our main man from the Philippines. After serving with Filipinos for 2 years, I can finally spell the name of their country right. I love the Philippines so much.
Serving with Elder Young is still a blast. He goes home next Friday, so next week there will be a change in the arsenal a little bit.
This morning I was cleaning something and this enormous cockroach started crawling around, and so Elder Arenas stepped on it and held his foot there for a few seconds....then it just got back up and crawled into our neighbor's apartment, which I thought was great. Interesting experience I thought I'd share with you.
The apartment we live in in Wan Chai is one of the apartments longest owned by the mission, and so missionaries have been there for generations, and so there is "missionary" coming out of the woodwork by now. But the building is still standing.
We will be getting some new banners and fliers for the Welcome Center to help bring some people in. Last night we were swinging by the chapel on our way home, and this mom and dad from Shanghai walked in and said to us "We saw that families are forever, so we wanted to come inside." Lovely.
All in all, life is good. Still working hard and happy to be here. Every week is getting better and better. Look out world, here I come. I sure love you all, thanks for all the support and the prayers. They are much needed and appreciated.
Elder Hafen

April 26, 2015


Another great week this side of the Mississippi.

This week, we got a call that there was a lady in the Welcome Center, so we run over there and she's just this friendly looking 50~ year old woman, and she smiles and we smiles as we shake her hand...she asks how we are, we ask how she is...

Then she starts telling us about how aliens and evil spirits have stolen her soul and that she was coming to the church to seek replenishment. And talked about the evil spirits stealing you when you are young, and then she looks at me with this big eyes and points straight at my heart and says.... "That's what happened to you. You were stolen as a child and raised in their horrible environment. That's why you have freckles. are one of the old ones"


Not gonna lie, I liked it better hearing that each freckle was a kiss from an angel. But oh well. So....we started giggling a little bit when she said that....but holding it in...but she noticed that we were laughing and she gets all angsty and points at us again and says "Look, look, have they got you on the laughing powder?" and then even more excitedly "Are you keeping the drugs upstairs? Are you moving the drugs upstairs?"

So needless to say we taught her how to pray and shared a good moment with her. She even invited us to visit her in her home sometime. What a sweetheart.

Since it is Elder Young's last week this week, we have been saying goodbye to many different members and investigators. It is very sad....but it's nice A. That we get to eat so much good food, B. knowing that I'm going to see Elder Young at my homecoming (or else) and C. that when I leave, I already know I'll be coming back to visit everybody. And also God bless Mark Zuckerberg because man can a missionary stay in contact with those he's come to love in his field.

Right now Elder Ly from Layton that I lived with for 14 months is the assistant to President Hawks, and another really close friend, Elder McSweeney, who was Elder Ly's companion when we were all in Macau together, who then was transferred out of Macau and then BACK to Macau to be Elder Ly's companion for another 4 months or so, just got called to be Elder Ly's new companion and assistant to President Hawks. They are an awesome companionship and tear things up together.

I can't remember if I mentioned this last week....but we had a mother and father from Shanghai walk in to the chapel because they saw that "Families can be together forever", and then they brought their whole family to the church the following Sunday. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

When missionaries depart, they have their departure activities which include going up to the Peak with President and Sister Hawks as well as doing a temple session with them. Originally, because Elder Daculug and I are the only two departing missionaries on May 22, President was going to have us simply go with the group departing this week. But since then plans have gotten a bit changed, and Elder Daculug and I will get an evening with President and Sister Hawks all to ourselves in 3 weeks :) woohoo! The best of the best. I can't fully express the adoration I have for President Hawks. He has helped me change my life and who I am in ways I could never ever do alone. I'm so grateful for him.

Well, all in is good. Things are just good. We are working hard, having fun and staying focused. There's always so much more to say, but I guess I can just choreograph it all into a dance and then do that for my homecoming talk. We'll see how things go. I sure love you all and can't wait to hear from you again.

Love, Elder Hafen

Friday, April 17, 2015

April 5, 2015

Well ni hao there!
This was a pretty cool week. We stayed busy with the Welcome Center and some other things. I've never eaten as well in my life as well as I have here serving Victoria 1st branch. I always forget what I've written before...we spend a lot of time traveling because our area is the entire we're pretty savvy with Hong Kong public transportation.
I still get to speak some good Mandarin, which I'm super dupes grateful for. I get to speak it with people probably every day. We had a girl walk into the church who is from Mainland and is studying in Macau right now, she was in Hong Kong to handle some visa things and she had this huge feeling to go into the church, and she was telling us all about she had been to like 20 different Christian churches and knew that God existed but had never been baptized because she never felt like any of them were entirely true, so when we shared about Joseph Smith she just started crying and crying and saying "That's just like me!" and then asked if she could say the closing prayer, and agreed to prepare to be baptized. So that was a nice gift to send back to Elder Hui in Macau. She was the bomb.
In other news....there are some transfer calls coming our way tomorrow. We'll see what happens, there could be some shakin' in our bacon. That's the best form of poetry by now, hope you liked it.
We had our zone training this week as well, it was extremely rambunctious. There were arm wrestling tournaments, snowball fights with newspaper, the whole 9 yards. The zone leaders (Elder Sheffield and Elder Bevans, who we're all very familiar with) put me on the spot to shoot a three-pointer for their object lesson. I made it, which was pretty much a highlight of my day. If I can say the mission statement with an Apostle of the Lord breathing down my spine, I'll never get cold chills on the free throw line again.
I got to go back to West Point to be on exchanges with Elder Sheffield, that was a blast. I just love him. He really is a stud in the finest sense of the word. We had a great time tearing up our old stomping ground where we were companions together before. We found some great people for both of our companionships as well. Some neato times.
All in all, things are just rolling right along. I'm grateful to be here, still working hard. Focused, diligent, savoring the moments. Thanks for all your support and for your love, can't wait to hear from you next week.
Elder Hafen

April 12, 2015


We work with tons of Nepalese people here. The only exposure I ever had to Nepal was knowing that that is where Mike and Sully got banished to, but they don't seem to understand when I bring that up.

Well...things are still rolling right along. We got to go play some tennis today, which was off the hook.

The Welcome Center is pretty good, let's see....we're getting some new banners to put outside of it, because right now the one that says "No success can compensate for failure outside the home" doesn't have our church logo, and the dad in the picture of a family has a devil skull on his shirt, so we don't want anyone saying things about "those dang mormons."

In Hong Kong, there's this phrase which is "Mo Men Gao", which is what everybody who thinks we are a cult says. We were on the escalator in the train station and this lady sees us and starts yelling all this crazy things about us and devils and all that jazz, and then we bump into her by accident and she screams "Don't touch me!!!" and oooohhhh how I had to fight the urge to start chasing her doing tickle fingers and saying "iiii'm gonna gitcha!" but I did, and man were we blessed because of it. We met 3 super super nice guys right outside trying to find their way around, and it turns out they were all from Utah, one of them being a return missionary who just so humbly bore his testimony of the things which we were doing. It was truly a tender mercy. Tender mercies abound.

Conference was awesome. Here in this neck of the woods we all get to watch conference a week later than all the crowd back west, so there were always the members giving us all these sneak peeks about what's going to happen at conference. President Uchtdorf speaking German....that sly dog.

We had a sickness bug go through our apartment this week, the other night we had to wake up and give Elder Peacock from Ireland a blessing at 3 in the morning because he was hurting so bad. But nothing that a little street contacting can't fix.

All in all, things are super good. We're happy and still working hard. Going hard. I sure love you all, keep up the good work and I'll talk to you next week!
Love, Elder Hafen