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