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