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

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 29, 2015

Good morning!
I don't think I've ever started an email with "Good Morning" before.
It was another good week full of eating well and working hard, basically everything that comes with the job description of serving international. Just when I was getting in swimsuit edition shape, here I am serving these wonderful generous American families. But oh well, it's amazing. In International work you spend a lot of time traveling and not as much time out pounding the streets, because our area is the entire mission field excluding Macau and an island called Lantau Island. So we get to know the bus routes to get around pretty well, and we get to talk to a lot of people while traveling, which is nice.
We're still working hard with the Welcome Center, this coming week is the last week of the "Trial Period" set by President Hawks, so we will see how it all rolls out. It's been pretty good so far. We live right behind the chapel, so we can be doing our studies and get a call from the security guards that there is someone inside speaking Mandarin and then Boom! 2 and a half minutes flat we're in the chapel in our suits spitting some mad gospel. It's a really fun assignment. It's fun being able to work with people from all around the world.
Serving with Elder Young is still super fun, he goes home in a I'll keep kicking his butt. We're working hard though. International work is really different though...I'm used to "Working Hard" being finding all day every day and sweating a lot, just going out swinging against the world. But we don't get much of that here...we do a lot of referral work, which is a little bizarre, but it's ok.
All in all, things are good. My testimony of the truthfulness of these things burns strong. It truly is something that cannot be taught, but can be learned. It's an answer that is absolutely, undeniably true. The evidences of it are overwhelming, but more important than that, God Himself told me it's true. Now that's a trump card. I sure love you all, you are the best. Keep up the good work!!
Love, Elder Hafen

p.s. Today we're going to the IFC tower, that's the one Batman jumped off of. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 22, 2015


I deeply, deeply apologize that last week was a bit of a bummer...I got caught up writing a big fat ol' report to President Hawks and then the next thing I knew we were out of time... :( 對不起.

So speaking of things that are big, old, and fat, this missionary who fulfills each one of the requirements to be described with those distinctive adjectives is now going to write you a big fat ol' email.

Last week was Temple Week, so that was wonderful. I love the temple. I'm excited to be able to go on a much more regular basis when I get home. Something funny about the temple is that because I have light sensitive migraines and the temple is always so white and bright, I always get headaches when I go through. But that's ok. It's a good headache.

We got to play some tennis today with Benji, a Prince sponsored coach from the Philippines. They had these carpet courts covered in sand, and it reminded me of Dad playing on carpet courts in Germany all those years ago. Super cool, super fun.

The Welcome Center is also bumpin'. We live right behind the chapel, so we can be in our desks doing studies and then get a call from the security guards that there are people in the church speaking Mandarin and we are in the building in our suits in less than 3 minutes. It's pretty cool. This week there were these 4 women who came down from Mainland China who wanted to learn more. Now...the thing with Christians and Mainland, speaking on a general scale of information gathered from 21 months as a Mandarin missionary, is they either know absolutely nothing about anything...never seen a Bible before, don't know anything about Christ other than his name....or they are absolutely straight out of Asian Alabama and they're throwing their arms all around and singing "Hallelujah's" and "Amens" after everything you say. We showed them to the chapel and I offered a prayer for us, and I honestly felt like I was starting my own cult there...they were like chanting and repeating everything I said and shouting praises to the rooftops, and then as soon as I said "Amen" another sister just picked it right up from where I left off and start swinging her arms around and just kept the prayer going....yeah it was rad.

We also had an amazing man named Edison walk in, and we shared some really special time. He is a humble, true Christian from India and felt a prompting to walk to a music store a different way than he usually does, and then saw this building and felt he should come in. After we met for a while, he told us he's going back to India that same night and he wants to have missionaries come and meet with him and his wife and two kids in their home. So we got that all arranged, and here's praying that it all goes as it should. 

We were walking down the street the other day, and started talking to this white guy...when our contact was interrupted by about 30 people walking by in banana suits with alcohol in their hands singing at the top of their lungs. They walked past us and were like "Hey! Mormons! Come on a mission with us! Woohoo!" But in the end we decided there are better kinds of missions to be on, so we didn't go. 

All in all, it was an awesome week and then some. I'm still loving every second I've got here! Trying hard to kick some spiritual butt but lots of times getting kicked in the butt, but it's all awesome. I love you all, thanks for your support and your prayers. They are greatly needed and appreciated.
Love, Elder Hafen

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 8, 2015

Hello everyone!
It's been a bit of a crazy week. There was the ribbon cutting for the new Wan Chai Welcome Center (not a visiting center...just to avoid confusion) and so Elder Young and I were kept super super busy getting everything ready for that. We were cleaning out all the cupboards and other places for storing materials, and somehow we ended up with more than 1000 Chastity pamphlets, 1000 Word of Wisdom pamphlets, and 1000 Tithing pamphlets. Goodness gracious. I don't know what kind of big plans they used to have in store here but they definitely had the ammo necessary to take on the world. Someday when there's more time I'll send you the rest of the ridiculous things we found...
But the ribbon cutting was wonderful. Super fun. All of Hong Kong is super excited to get up and go hard with this new tool for hastening the work here. After the ceremony everybody stood up and went outside to go street contacting to pull some people back in. Street contacting tends to be more effective when you are doing it with your mission president, all the stake presidents in Hong Kong as well as a member of the 70 with you.
We've met some really great people lately as well. A french man named Pierre who walked into the church and said "Ok...I only have 5 minutes but I wanted to see what this was all about. Can you tell me all about your church in 5 minutes? and so we did. And then he walked into the church a few days later to say hi again. He also had some questions about what we believe about chastity, luckily we had a stack of pamphlets bigger than he was at our disposal.

Also an awesome man from Jordan, who found the chapel once when he was lost, but then was never able to find it again until that day. He was outside the chapel leaning against a fence when we walked outside, and so we went up and started talking to him and he was like "I was getting myself ready to go in there...." so we brought him in a gave him a tour, an absolute superstar member named Brother Bromley who I'll probably talk more about later ran to the chapel and met him with us because it just so happens that one of the 7 languages he speaks fluently is Arabic....
Yeah it was an exciting week. But I'm about out of time......but things are great!!! Love you all, thanks for the support, I never stop praying for you.
Love, Elder Hafen

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2, 2015

Hello! Ni hao!
Well...this email is going to be overflowing with both marvelous works and wonders.
We had visitors this last week, a mom and daughter and then another family friend, a man, from a little town in Mainland with 6 members in their unit. Their going home will make it 9 members. They took a train for 3 days to get to Hong Kong, and had never even heard of the Atonement of Jesus Christ before. Never owned a Book of Mormon. They just knew this was something that they had to do. An absolutely incredible pioneer experience for them and their families.
So earlier this week, Elder Ballard came to Hong Kong with Elder Rasband, the senior president of the 70, as well as Bishop Stevenson, the presiding bishop. The entire Asia Area presidency was also there. Now that's a powerhouse lineup. We got to have an all mission meeting with all the missionaries coming in to the Wan Chai chapel to receive some absolutely mind blowing instruction.
We all met together and took a picture, then filed out after shaking the general authorities' hands, and then were seated in the chapel as they came in to take their seats on the stand. Elder and Sister Rasband came up to me and looked at my tag and were like "Ah that's the one...That's Elder Hafen." and introduced themselves and asked to send their love to Grandma and Grandpa Hafen. And then later in the meeting when Elder Rasband was speaking, he turned to me in the congregation and said "Elder Hafen...would you come up here please?" and so up I went to the stand. He brought me to the pulpit and clapped his hand on my shoulder and said "Elder, do you know your missionary purpose?" and I replied that I did, and then he said "While why don't you step on up here and say that for us."
So there I was. With an apostle of the Lord sitting 4 feet away from me, the presiding bishop of the church about 6 feet away, the senior president of the 70 standing with hand on my shoulder, not to mention seated on the stand were President and Sister Hawks and the Area Asia Presidency, being asked to recite by memory the missionary purpose. Talk about pressure. My mind was blank...nothing. Absolutely nothing was going through my head except for my heart which had started beating 400 times a minute and was up there somehow. But I did it, and I'm pretty sure I didn't mess up. Walking off the stand with "Good work Elder"s and "Well done" and handshakes from Elder Ballard and President Hawks, I went and sat down.
That was something.
The other big news of the week...we had our transfers. I got an interesting moves call. They are going to be starting something of a visitor's center in Hong Kong, in the Wan Chai chapel. And so they called me to be companions with Elder Young, a Cantonese missionary and a dear dear friend and to be a part of that. He's from Clearfield Utah and has been like an older brother to me my entire mission. President Hawks wanted to have a Mandarin speaking missionary and Cantonese speaker together so they could cover the whole spectrum of Hong Kong. We're not entirely sure what is going to be happening right now, we are having a meeting with President Hawks later today so he can instruct us on what we will be doing with this.
So right now my call is also to be one of the two English speaking companionships in the mission. I'm serving Victoria 1st Branch, which is an international branch where most of the member body are white American families as well as people from all over the globe. Our area is the entire mission except for an island called Lantau Island, which has the other companionship of english speakers. It's an interesting experience, but a really really fun one nonetheless. I hear when you serve this branch the food you get to eat is incredible. I've only been here for a couple of days so I don't have a whole lot to report on, and my mind is still in a little bit of a whirl...but it will definitely be an exciting week this week.
I would write pages and pages and pages about this week....but my mind is just...a little bit blank right now. Yeah...crazy week.
Let's see....other snippets...
- I'm living with Elder Daculug again, who is currently serving as a tagalog speaking missionary
- We also serve a Filipino branch and do Filipino work, which is always off the charts a blast.
- Elder Ballard did this. "Let me show you how the Holy Ghost works." he said, then he points to Elder Young and says "Come up here." and takes him by the hand, looks him in the eyes and bears his testimony to him of the truthfulness of these things, then is like "Thank you Elder. Take a seat." That was...amazing. Hahaha.
So much new stuff. I could write a book. But I guess I'll leave it here for now. I love you all. I know this work is true. I'm grateful for where I am doing what I am doing. It's true...this is all just true. I love you all. That's also true.
Love, Elder Hafen

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 22, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

A few years ago when we were buying the Cruiser, I remember we called the person selling it and he picked up the phone and went "Can't talk now, New Year's Party!" In a cute little Chinese accent. And then I always giggled when I thought of that. But now I completely understand.

Chinese New Year is pretty much the Christmas of America. Tons of food. Everybody gets all crazy, there are parties and banquets and all of your investigators go back home to mainland. There are lots of traditions, lots of little sayings you do, lots and lots of food. Oh and there's lots and lots of food as well. Every single member and investigator wants to take you out to eat, but as a mission we are pretty strict with ourselves on going out to eat without strong missionary purposes and so we get really good at politely declining.

One thing we did this week by suggestion of President Hawks is instead of diving right into the gospel in street contacts, we simply ask many people about Chinese New Year. Find out what is important to them, what do they love, what do they cherish about Chinese New Year. It is so fascinating to hear, you really are opening a window into the hearts of these people. Sometimes everybody here gets a little uptight and Hong-Kong-Crusty because in their minds it's just "Gotoworkgotoworkgotoworkgotowork No time to talk to you....gotoworkgotowork...." but when we have these moments shared with them I think it also helps them slow down and look around and feel the joy and light that comes from this special season.

As a tradition every year the missionaries all do what is called "Deep Clean", because all Chinese people are celebrating with their families, the missionaries stay inside all day and do a deep, DEEP clean of their apartments. It was an adventure filled with bleach stains, throwing stuff away, listening to MoTab, and eating KFC. Awesome day to spend with the apartment.

A little tender mercy story from yesterday, we were out finding and were walking past the church when this couple starts looking at the church and then the husband starts signing to his wife what it is, RIGHT when we walk by. So we got to contact a deaf man and wife, had an awesome little talk, and then as we were walking away a little while later we saw that they accidentally gave us a number that had one digit too short....and so we were just sorely disappointed.... :( but then about 45 minutes later, the wife texted us telling us how happy she was that she got to meet us, and wishing us a happy new year. And we got back in contact with them. :') tender mercy!!!!

We also get to do visitors again tomorrow, a family of a husband, wife, and daughter are coming down to learn the gospel and be baptized. Then on Wednesday, we are having an all-mission-meeting with Elder Ballard. Woo! Elder Ballard is coming to town. Then having a big member meeting on Thursday. It is going to be an exciting week. It's also transfers this week, so we'll see how that goes. Blessings, blessings abound.

All in all, it was a beautiful new year. Excited for this coming week. I sure love you all. Keep up the good work!!!!! Happy New Year!! 新年快樂!

Love, Elder Hafen

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015


Here's the game, find out what language that is before the end of the email. If you do, you win. If you don't, you have to send me a letter with some snacks in it.

It's been another good week! We've worked hard.....yep, we just did lots of working hard. Elder Henrichsen is our district leader, and is the most charity filled example of light I've ever met. Really a gift. His family lives in BeiJing, and so his Mandarin is pretty much native. He also speaks fluent Spanish...which goes along with this story.

He got transferred out of Tolo Harbour when I got here, and 7 weeks later (not even a full transfer) was transferred back in. Just the other day he met a family from Chile, who don't really speak English or Chinese. The mom and two teenage kids are members of the church, and the dad has been going to church for 20 years but hasn't wanted to be baptized. Elder Henrichsen brought the whole family to church with him on Sunday, and translated all three meetings into Spanish. After church, the dad pulled him aside and spoke to him, saying "I think it is time for me to be baptized..." Miracles. Miracles abound.

In other miracles, Elder Howell and Elder Van Orman from our apartment were out finding and they found a giant teddy bear that looked like it had been given as a valentine's day gift quickly followed by a messy break up because it was sitting on top of a garbage bin. So they brought it home, and it is now part of the family. It's just funny that it says "J and Y" on it. But oh well. We decided that means "John and Yoko." and now fill our days with Beatles jokes. We also had quite a few people cancel for church because of valentine's day. Oh well. Could be worse.

It's also Chinese New Year this week. It is the equivalent on Christmas in America. So what it means is that everybody from Hong Kong parties til they're purple, and everybody from Mainland goes home for the holidays.'s always a little bit of a slower week for mandarin missionaries. But that's ok.

All in all, life is great! Working hard. Always working hard, always wanting to work harder. The work in the Tai Po branch is growing faster than the infection on my toe, we meet more people interested in our message than we do cockroaches in our apartment, and we eat rice every day. Life couldn't be better. I sure love you all. Thanks for all your support. 

Love, Elder Hafen

p.s. Did you figure it out yet? Because it's not a real language at all, I just hit some random keys and came up with that. Sorry for cheating. I'm excited to get your letter.

Elder Spencer Hafen
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong

Friday, February 13, 2015

February 8, 2015

This will actually be a pretty exciting email...and time is running short, so I'll work my little sausages hard.
So, to start it all off, it was a weekend filled with people in white. We had an opportunity to do visitors this week, an amazing sister named Dai Qing who came down from ShangHai. She originally was coming on Friday, and communications with visitors are always crazy crazy crazy and nothing ever goes very she ended up having a surprise meeting for her work on Friday and so we waited at the mission office for a few hours, and then we heard the news that she would be starting on Saturday. So we came back on Saturday and met with her and she was wonderful. And it actually did go pretty smoothly. She was spectacular, just an absolute gem.
She also came down with two of her friends named Brother Sun and Sister Ye.....who is now....Sister Sun!!!! Because they came down from ShangHai to be married in the temple together. It was beautiful. They had their wedding reception in the chapel during the day, so for our lunch break we got to go enjoy the time with them and their families. Brother Sun was just blissfully unaware of everything going on, the father-in-law running around every which way snapping pictures and making sure everybody is eating 3rd helpings of everything like a good father-in-law should. They also shared the funny story about how in the morning Brother Sun found some instant noodles, and asked his wife if he could eat them, and she said no, and so he was sad be he didn't eat them. And that is how eternal relationships should start.
Our really really good friend Jason who was baptized about a month ago also had an opportunity to baptize Ethan, another one of our good friends. Elder Haggenmiller found Ethan when he was serving this area about a year ago, and then he returned to mainland, where he attended the branch there for about a year, and then came back looking for all the world like an Elder's Quorum president. He was just absolutely ready to go. The stud.
Miracles abound.
Ummm....I think that's everything.
Oh wait.
So in Zone Conference with President Hawks, he informed us that after the actual meeting there would be another special session. When it started, he informed us that there was a certain video that was given him by the Church Headquarters that he was allowed to share with us. He then told us it was Meet the Mormons. Hahahahaha. So we got to watch that :) woohoo! It was super fun. First time I've sat down and watched a movie in a while....
All in all, awesome week! Things are good :) Love you all. Keep up the good work.
Love, Elder Hafen