Monday, September 30, 2013

Making strides

This week has been a good one. We have been working hard every day and I went on an exchange with the zone leaders and got to be with Elder Sewell and he’s awesome.  I want to get to be like him because he knows how to work hard and have fun "I like to work hard and p-day hard" -Elder Sewell.  He is from Bristol England and he is one of 14 kids. We got a long really well and he taught us a lot.  We were chapping and we see a Nigerian man walking down the street with a huge tv in one hand and a suit case in the other. We stopped him and asked him if he needed help and he said "are you guys Mormons?!" we said yes and then he said "then yeah!"   We carried his 32 inch tv because he was moving and was just going to do it by himself and he said he was moving just down the street and we carried that tv waaayyy through town haha and just kept going but we just talked to him about the restoration and he sounded very interested and promising.  We are going to call him later this week. His name is Dalah and when we got to our end point we got to an AZDA (UK version of Walmart) and we set the stuff down and were going to give him a Book of Mormon but then he said, "Wait here. I think I know that person over there.” and ran off after a girl really far away and disappeared for like 10 minutes and Elder Sewell and I just were talking about how funny it would be if what if he stole this and just framed us.  But then he came back and we gave him a Book of Mormon before he went on the bus with all his stuff and it was really good. We also saw Todor twice that day very randomly and I just told Elder Sewell about him and he said, “Well maybe we saw him twice because we are meant to invite him to church.”,  I just said, “Haha, ok.” and the next day we called Todor inviting him and my jaw just dropped when he said, “Yeah sure.”  So we scheduled to meet up with him and take the bus with him to church and it was amazing! He just listened and took a lot of notes and when I saw him take the sacrament it just gave me a glimpse of the happiness missionary work can give me and he actually stayed through the whole 3 hours and it was amazing!

The work is really good. It’s still really hard, but Dad’s emails mean the world to me and I can tell I’m just growing every day. I love you Mom and Dad, you are everything to me. 
Elder Hanson

Handwritten letter to us written Sept 23-29, received on Monday, October 7

Dear Family                                                                                                                                        Aberdeen

Sept 23, 2013

Today was just lame.  We  didn’t get out of the flat and done with shopping until 1:30 and p-day gets over at 6:00.  Also I organized for us to go to Danther castle but everyone was done with everything stopping by the time we started because we had to clean everything.  I need a fun p-day, it’s the only thing that keeps me going.  So it’s going to be interesting how burnt out I’m going to be by the end of the week.  We just ended up at the flat because we were the only missionaries in town and we are already too much in town so I cut my hair and doodled for three hours while listening to Church music.  Yeah, pretty lame I know, but at least stress-relieving.

Sept 24, 2013

Today was a really good and rainy day.  We went on exchanges with Bridge of Dawn and we unfortunately had to pass off David because wouldn’t you know, he’s not in our area.  But we have to do whatever needs to be done.  We went around town trying to talk to people but it was raining like crazy so it wasn’t too effective.  Then we went to have a lesson but it fell through so Lewis was in charge of young men that night and we were already at the church so he asked us to do a Question and Answer with the youth that went surprisingly well.  To end off our night, we were soaking, but had dinner and watched the Emma Smith Story at the flat while eating really bad mac and cheese.  Today I was on an exchange with Elder Alyson from Edinburgh and he’s really nice to be around.

Sept 25, 2013

Today was a really good day.  We had ward correlation and I got to really notice how well the ward is improving and the work is paying off.  Aaron Robertson is an amazing ward mission leader.  He is what the ward needs.  The ward is planning on a lot more activities and the work is moving.  Today was just crazy with all we had to do and it takes so long for us to travel because the buses take forever.  But things are getting better every day.

Sept 26, 2013

I’m not sure how to react to today.  It was enjoyable and we got a lot done but our numbers didn’t show a good day.   Today we did a lot of planning and I got my tennis shoes from the lost and found that I left on the bus yesterday and am so happy to get them back.  Then we went by a guy named Peter who wants help stopping smoking.  It’s funny, I bet my spelling will get worse because they spell so much stuff in Dorick.  Then we ended the night with a dinner at the Carson’s.

Sept 27, 2013

Today we went on exchanges with the zone leaders.  I was just with Elder Sewell from Bristol England and I love him. He’s so fun and just a really good missionary.  We went finding and had a lot of good talking with each other and I learned a lot from him about the work and just life.  We walked all over town and saw a man with a bag and suitcase and a 32 inch tv walking down the street and he looked like he needed help so we said, “Hey,  do you need help?”  Then he said, “You guys Mormon?”  Then we answered and he said, “Then, yeah!”  We found he is from Nigeria and his name is Dalah and he was moving so we helped him move a 32 inch tv walking it through town and we taught him the restoration and he asked for a Book of Mormon.

Sept 28, 2013

Today we taught a good lesson with Steve.  We helped with Sister Park and her little girl’s birthday.  There were a lot of non members to see us helping and it was really good.  The little girl’s name is Sarah and she turned five, so we set up tables and chairs and blew up balloons and I helped paint some kids faces and Sarah made me a bracelet that said Elder Hanson…or her mom made it and gave it to me – either way.  Then we went chapping and talked with some really nice people including a woman named Terry that has a really good attitude and told us many stories.

Sept 29, 2013

I don’t even know how to describe today.  When we were on exchange, me and Elder Sewell saw Todor at the store and didn’t know he worked there.  Then later that day by our bus stop we saw him again.  Elder Sewell just said there is a reason we saw him twice and he told me I should just invite him to church and I explained Todor’s point of view on religion.  But he just said, “So.” And I just shrugged, “Ha, okay.”  So the next day we phoned and just said, “Hey, do you want to come to church?”  He just said, “Yeah, sure.”  My jaw about hit the floor.  We took the bus with him to church, just having small talk and we got to church and people were very inviting and Brother Ray just shook his hand with a huge smile and walked to me and said, “Miracles do happen.”  Because we took him (Brother Ray) for a joint teach and just saw how stone hearted and immoveable Todor is.  In Sacrament I had to help pass, and Aaron Robertson sat by him and explained everything to him and when I was passing and looked down the isle, and saw Todor taking the sacrament, the spirit filled my heart and a tear rolled down my cheek.  I was so filled with joy, I can’t even wait to baptize someone.  Miracles do happen, even if Todor doesn’t get baptized, I know why I got that prompting (to knock on his door), it was so I could feel the way I did passing that sacrament and seeing a child of God take the sacrament because of my efforts.  In the Lord’s time.  He even stayed all three hours and even looked comfortable and cracked a few jokes here and there that made the class laugh.  We also passed thank you notes to all the people that feed us and Sister Hallman just loved it even though she has been feeding the missionaries for years.

Elder Howie

Posh part of Aberdeen

A day in the life

View from flat back window

Country of Scotland's flower (a thistle),  Seattle's weed

Cat that is always outside our building.  One day it got into our flat and I had to pick it up and run down 3 flights of stairs to put it outside. 
Aberdeen District

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Companion Elder Howie

I'd love to hear from anyone that wants to write!

So I’m still in Aberdeen I just got a new companion, Elder Howie.  He’s a really good missionary, I have a lot to learn from him. He is a very hard worker and is just a perfect missionary. Having him here has helped a lot with the work and we both are really into taking action and really wanting to help and change things and the ward for the better. Elder Kinard is in Bridge of Dawn. Anna is just going to be gone for two weeks and Carrie we met in Garthdee, they are both in our boundaries.  

This week was the last with me and Elder Holbrook. We got to let him say goodbye to a lot of people, and it was super fun. We pretty much started with me and Elder Howie organizing. We started off with just going through the books and looking through old investigators and talking to them again. We also met David, a boy about 20 and he was taught by missionaries in the past for a really long time, he actually came up and talked to us. We also committed him to baptism but because of some issues, he can’t be getting baptized for another year in a half, but he agreed at the end of that, then he will and I know for sure he will. Another funny thing was that Elder Howie called Todor and set up an appointment, not knowing he was dropped, so we saw him the next day, haha and long story short, we read a little scripture about the story of Korihor and Todor said, "Korihor is my kind of guy." So we didn’t really tell him what happened to him and it’s really sad seeing how much trouble a person can be in and not know it.  We also have got a new idea of having people to go by and finding on the way and we will be finding always instead of just setting times for finding which didn’t really work and was just very uninteresting. We are going to work with the ward a lot more but since the other missionaries have a car and can travel far places and the other missionaries are sisters, they both had their calendars full with dinner appointments and we only got one, but what can you do. 
The weather has been really nice and we have been doing a lot of walking. Friday was awesome! We were just packed with appointments and running place to place and I loved it! I am officially at my 3 month mark in the field and I wouldn't say it went by fast but it for sure didn’t go by slow, I’m now 1/8 done and I’m ready to just keep getting better and better. We also got a referral named Kirsty Cook and she seems really interested and we are meeting with her on Wednesday. She said she talked to missionaries before but her parents wouldn’t let her see them but now that she is grown, she wants to make her own decisions and we couldn't be more excited to share with her what makes us happy.
William Wallace commemorative statue

An interesting marker we found at the park


Elder Hanson

Handwritten letter to home, kept daily Sept 16-22, sent Monday Sept. 23:
Dear Family,

Sept 16, 2013
Today has been a really weird day.  So it's moves week so we only got to email today and we have p-day on Wednesday but since Elder Holbrook is leaving, he pretty much packed all day to go to his new area in Perth.  It's kind of a sad day, I'm going to really miss him.  It's weird, I'm seeing how temporary things really can be and I just thought how much I'm really going to miss Aberdeen.

Sept 17, 2013
Moves week has been weird, I'm not used to not working all the time.  Today was another day of packing for Elder Holbrook and it was kind of his farewell so we went around town with him saying good bye to a bunch of ward members and took a bunch of pictures of things before he left.  But we did have a lesson with a 'Golden', just perfect investigator named David, he used to take lessons then he went away for a while and we started teaching him again.  He would need to get things sorted out  but I know he will get baptized.  He's already planning on it.  But there is always a catch, he is in the Bridge of Dawn boundaries.  We had dinner with the McCrays again and he told us how he got ownership of the Baskin Robbins in town and now his son owns it.  On Sunday we also got a new ward mission leader, Aaron Robertson, an RM, and I can see good things happening to Aberdeen.

Sept 18, 2013
Today I got to say good bye to Elder Holbrook, it was a sad day.  Since Elder Howie is coming from Ireland, he won't get him until 10:00 tonight.  I am excited.  So today I was with the zone leaders all day because I was companionless.  That was a lot of fun.  It was p-day but we already emailed on Monday and I can't shop until Elder Howie gets here so we just had lunch and listed to missionary music.  Then we had a bon fire at Mazlehead Park and got to meet the new sisters in the Bridge of Dawn ward, then afterwards we all played apples to apples, but the European version has a lot of words that I don't know, so that was interesting.  Overall a good day in Aberdeen.

Sept 19, 2013
Today was exhausting.  I was leading out the area and we were pretty busy and I got to meet Elder Howie.  He's a really good missionary and a really hard worker and that's just what I need.  He is also OCD so he cleans everything like crazy but that's good because I can learn to be cleaner.  The Condies took us shopping and I just love them, they are life savers.  We taught a less active that just had surgery so he couldn't go to the store for food and we were more than happy to get things for him so he gave us a shopping list and asked us to get bread, sugar, cigarettes, coffee, and tea, soooo...we returned with sugar and bread and a lesson on the word of wisdom.  Other than that it was a really good day.

Sept 20, 2013
Today was a day.  Not much happened.  We taught English and since Elder Howie is really gung ho, we only do lessons for 30-45 minutes which is really hard to get the hang of.  He also suffers from slight OCD so we spent the entire day cleaning and organizing all the records and forms we have.  It was super boring but at least the flat will be super clean.  Oh, he also cleaned every inch of the kitchen for about three hours, or it felt like it, but now that things are clean, we can get to work.  We also did a lot of planning and restructuring how we will do work in Aberdeen and I can honestly see a lot of good in the future.

Sept 21, 2013
Today was  a really good day.  We were packed with lessons and running from place to place non-stop.  I love it.  We met up again with Jewels and Daniela and they had a true desire to know.  Then we met with David and we gave him a date!  But because of some issue he won't be baptized until I am well gone.  Then we met with Steve, and Elder Howie is just amazing!  I want to be as good as him some day, if not better.  He's so experienced.  Then last night he scheduled an appointment for today with Todor, not knowing he was dropped.  So we saw him today and it just saddened me on how lost Todor really is and we did all we really can for him.  Elder Howie also had a really strong feeling that he should talk to the clerk at the store while we were waiting for our bus and the girl said she was actually taught by missionaries before and was interested and we also got a referral from Church headquarters, a girl named Kirsty Cook, and she was super interested and we will see her on Wednesday.

Sept 22, 2013
Today was  a really nice day.  The weather was perfect.  Church was really what we needed.  All the talks were about missionary work and Aaron Robertson (ward mission leader) talked and his talk was so good and powerful.  George came to church and it's really good to see him.  Then we walked all day to find some potentials.  It was really good.  We met a man that really likes missionaries because his grandmother would house the missionaries back in the day and he talked to them all the time, but he wasn't interested in coming to church, so we know the Lord will change that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

My second companion coming up

I used to think this mission was especially hard because the Church is so far behind in it and there are so many problems. But,I know that no mission is too hard and that it is meant to be this way. "Nothing good in life is easy". I get that now. I know that until I am done with my mission I will still say, "Why is this so hard? and "Why does this have to happen to me?" But that's okay because I know it's going to happen and it's only to make me better. Heavenly Father won't give me too much to handle. This week had its ups and its downs. It is moves week next week and we found out that I'm getting a new companion on Wednesday, Elder Howie, and he has about 6 months left, so I'm really happy to get an experienced companion. Also some change is nice just to mix things up.  I'm going to miss Elder Holbrook like crazy. He is amazing and he has taught me so much. But that means this week I will be leading out the area.  So pray for me to know what to do, haha.  I hope my letters home will fill you in more
We see people playing bagpipes all the time. They are pretty cool and I don't see that much dancing. There are a lot of people wearing kilts and I got some tartan from Brother Kind (the guy that designed the kilts for Brave Heart) and Sister Condie made a scripture case for me out of it.  
Aberdeen is split pretty much in half, pretty much like Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. There is a just a road that divides us. 
Aberdeen has me and my companion, the zone leaders and their trainee, and two sisters
The Bridge of Dawn has two elders and two sisters.
So our ward building has 7 missionaries in it. 
It's starting to get super cold here I found out its one of the coldest places to be here and the wind chill is crazy. So I'm going to need some thermals around winter time after all, haha. 
Elder Hanson

You know I love WHOLE milk and that's all I drink!

Handwritten letter home from Sept 9 - 15:
Dear Family                                                                                             Aberdeen
September 9, 2013
For P-day it is usually a day to reset and just mix things up but today too many other missionaries were busy so we just played Uno in our flat and listened to talks which was pretty boring.  We had dinner at Sister Parks and that was good.  She is a Filipino lady that makes super spicy food and we are there to be examples to her young boys.  Her husband isn't a member but he has gotten very comfortable around us, which is amazing and we can talk a lot.  I've been doing a lot of reflection today and just noticing my improvement is amazing.  The way I think is better and the way I act is more thoughtful.  I want so bad to bring someone to Christ but I feel the reason the Lord hasn't given us amazing success is because I still need to learn.  One thing I need to work on is always having a good attitude.

September 10, 2013
Today was really good.  It's sad that the most effective days don't look good on the records, like we only taught one lesson but we did service and tonight we had auxiliary members at our missionary correlation meeting and the ward is getting really included with an activity we are putting on in October.  It's going to be amazing.  You can't really measure that but I can feel the ward getting along better with the missionaries.  This day was just really enjoyable.  We got a lot of dinner appointments this week also and it helps loads.

September 11, 2013
Today was nah' bad, we had to give Elder Kinard another blessing.  We have given him like one every week just because he is getting not able to handle the mission and just stress and things like that.  We did a lot of chapping that was unsuccessful and got invited to a Catholic seminar thing by Polish people.  Then we had lunch at the Rays which was awesome.  Then we did more chapping and then had dinner at the Haynes and they cooked good Southern food because they are from the south and cooked really good brisket.  To end the night we did a mini MTC with the WS and that was super effective and good.

September 12, 2013
Today was awesome!  We met a super solid potential girl named Anna that speaks Portuguese and she is Catholic but her dad is a member so she knows the Church.  I showed her Devin's name tag in Portuguese from my backpack and she sounds super interested and she is even going to see her Dad in Mozambique on the 4th so he will probably watch conference with her!  Then we met Carrie, a very interested person that wants peace in her life.  I also learned why the missionaries are so separate from the ward because they have just gone through some terrible missionaries in the past and we are still trying to fix the mess after like two years.  But now I know I just need to start fixing that.

September 13, 2013
Today was very interesting.  My mind is just always going crazy with thinking what I should do, how I should do it and why.  I'm just so confused about everything.  I'm also just super tired of being more of a salesman than a servant of the Lord.  I'm tired of giving out cards and having to like, sell the Gospel.  That's not how it should be. We shouldn't have to chase people to talk to us, then when we get them, they won't want to talk to us.  I'm tired of not having investigators that want to actually learn from us.  We are always forcing people but that's what we are trying to fix  That's what missionaries did here before, was forced people and it put off the ward and it's against people's agency and it doesn't work.  I just want success, I just want help.  The problem is just me, I don't know how to get people interested from off the street.  We haven't had a single progressive investigator since I've been here.  We work all day and no one will listen.  But I know that this is all happening to strengthen me.  The only way to get better is to keep going, and I need to remember it's all in the Lord's time.  I'm actually glad it's so hard because it makes everything I do worth more.  But I can tell that I am preparing people for future missionaries and I have helped and that I have been doing a good job and no work is going to waste.

September 14, 2013
Yesterday’s blab sounded a little extreme.  Today was just a sign that everything was going to be okay.  We actually have three really good investigators at the moment.  Unfortunately, they are all in Bridge of Dawn boundaries so we will hand them off.  Today we taught some really good lessons.  We got Steve to invite a friend from South Africa and it was amazing.  He asked amazing questions there and we had Lewis there to bare his testimony and it helped a lot.  I see promise with Steve's friend.  We also had the YSA all GQ with us and Bridge of Dawn invited themselves so there were too many people at Castle-gate so we scared people away. So me and Elder Sewell and Holbrook split up and went to the college and had just a perfect lesson with a guy and all three of us just work in harmony.  I could see this man getting baptized...but he lives in Bridge of Dawn boundaries so, yeah...  Elder Sewell is awesome.  He's from Bristol England.  We ended the night with all the Aberdeen missionaries at the Brewster’s and their house is huge and that's saying a lot for Scotland.  That was super fun.

September 15, 2013
Today was a good Sunday.  They had a good primary program and Priesthood taught me just that when I am called to the work, I just need to do it.  Things have been getting better and tonight is moves call so I will find out where I am going and my new companion is Elder Howie and I'm super excited to see him. The zone leaders tell me he is really good.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hand written letter to home to re-cap September 2-8 received September 14, 2013


Dear Family                                                                                       
September 2, 2013
Today was important to me.  I got Dad’s conversion story and read it when I got to the flat.  I feel like I just didn’t know anything before, like I didn’t realize the things you taught me, Dad, and you in many ways still have missionary attributes.  Being separated just makes me really realize how important my parents are.  I’m now seeing that all the work is worth it because I’m growing and changing more and more.  I also just like the American culture.  Today we just ran errands and shopped.  Elder Holbrook bought a jump rope so we are going to start using that in the mornings.  I also love Br. Ware, the ward mission leader, he just is so loving and always gives us a big hug.  I’m excited for the days to come, though they are many, they will be a great reward.

September 3, 2013
Today I went to a funeral for Tommy Thompson, the Stake Patriarch.  He’s the one that always told missionaries to keep the heed (or keep your cool).  He was a super cool old man that I will miss.  I’ve noticed today especially, because of all the trials I have had, that I’ve been able to really relate to people.  Especially with Adam passing away, I was able to testify to a woman that Heavenly Father will comfort us and I could tell that what I said meant a lot to her.  In my setting apart it says people will notice something about me by looking at my face, that they will feel the spirit.  We were just on the street corner and I could see this woman feel the spirit.  We gave her our info and I hope she calls us.  But that’s all we can do, the rest is for her and the Lord.

September 4, 2013
Today was a nice warm day.  We had zone meeting and learned about working as one.  Then we did some service.  Their house is completely gutted and they have a lot of work to be done so us and the zone leaders helped paint in their house.  To finish the night we had dinner with the McCrays.  I took a picture of them, I love them.  Br. McCray was driving home and we asked if he knew anyone we could visit so he took us to his less active daughter that was super nice.  She doesn’t have anything against the Church.  Two of their sons served missions.  She just hasn’t been to church in a while and she loves missionaries, so we shared a message with her and listened to stories that she and Br. McCray told.  It was a really great night.  We asked to do service but she hasn’t been able to work on her garden and yard for health reasons so we were more than happy to set up a time to help.

September 5, 2013
It was a nae’ bad day.  We taught a less active named Gordon and he’s an interesting man.  He thinks he’s been possessed a couple times and he thinks his neighbor is a devil with a head shaped like a pizza.  Other than that, pretty normal, haha.  Now we will be meeting with him weekly, haha.  Then we had lunch with Steve and he pretty much just tried to bible bash but we just tried to shut it down.  He thinks he knows everything because he is a ‘born again’, so that was interesting.  We had correlation with Br. Ware and I love him, he’s like a loving bear.

September 6, 2013
Today was just a really cold day.  We were just walking all over town and not a lot of good conversations because people were too cold.  We went to see the Mundie's again today and we got to talking about their son that I went to the funeral for a while ago.  I just shared how I know what it’s like to have a big loss because losing Adam was a trial that has and will shape me, also that I am comforted to know that I will see him again.

September 7, 2013
We had to drop Todor today and we told him that if he wasn’t going to pray then there wasn’t really a point of us being there.  So we told him to call us when he decides to pray.  So that hurts because it feels like we were the ones getting dumped.  I really didn’t want to do it because we have grown close to him and I know it was a prompting to knock on his door and I just didn’t want to, but it had to be done because without him wanting to pray, there is no progress.  Other than that, we just walked all day non-stop and had a couple of good conversations with people.

September 8, 2013
It was a great Sunday in Aberdeen.  We went over to the Brewster’s and helped them move a piano just a couple of feet just so they can open a door that’s near it and we just talked to them to get to know them and Br. Brewster told us his conversion story when he was 18 and they are super nice.  They are from Alaska so they gave us some vacuum packed smoked salmon and we saw their kitchen and I miss American kitchens so much.  It’s sad that you can tell people are from America because they are so much nicer to us.  You can also tell when they are from Aberdeen because they either don’t want to talk or don’t even know who we are.  ‘Aberdeenians’ are known for not being the nicest and open people.  It’s also getting a lot colder, but today was nae’ bad, so that’s good.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Aberdeen, Oh, Aberdeen

I can’t really speak like the Scotts. I can understand it like English but I can’t roll my r's like they can and there are so many accents, it’s almost impossible to imitate. 
This week was really good.  We have been doing a lot of work and we might not have any progressing investigators at the moment.  I know that if we have faith the lord will provide. An interesting thing this week was we got in contact with a less active named Gordan and he wanted to make his life more peaceful and happy so he wanted us to read scriptures with him and talk to him. He was a pretty normal guy but his life wasn’t going the way he would have liked it to.  We were talking to him for a while and he seemed pretty normal and fine but then he talked about how he’s gotten possessed a couple times and he wakes up at night with his tongue rambling and him hitting himself.  Then he went on talking about how he thinks his neighbor is a demon with the "pizza" shaped head.  So you know, the usual and we are going to see him every Thursday, haha.
Yeah, I can definitely tell this is hard work. I watched the Mormon message "Good things to come" by Elder Holland and when he says "just keep going.”  That’s what I really needed.  So I just keep telling myself that. Unfortunately, we had to drop Todor because he wasn’t progressing and that was really hard. Fidel has been busy so we haven’t been able to see them. It's super depressing that we are one of the few missionaries with like-no good investigators.  Elder Holbrook explained Aberdeen as a refiner’s fire and I can testify to that. I know that miracles will happen, I just need hope and strength and I’ve just realized that I will need to get broken down time and time again so I can truly learn.     
We also have been doing a lot of street contacting, and it’s just getting really hard doing the same thing all day every day because Aberdeen is a small city so we try to think of new things to do but we can never think of anything, haha. Also it was a little hard because last p-day we only shopped and didn’t really do anything, so these last two weeks have felt like one month. Hopefully this p-day will be good. I have gotten really good at talking to people and I have noticed myself getting better.  I understand the gospel sooo much now and life is more meaningful to me now. I love being a missionary and I love the people of Scotland.  I also have noticed that this mission is a very hard one.  Scotland is one of the least religious places in the world and it has been so messed up by other religions that they really don’t want to have anything to do with it sometimes. It’s funny because we can always tell if people are from America if they know who we are straight away. You can also tell if they are 'Aberdeenian' if they have no idea who we are or they think we are just a new church that started up down the street. I know that the only way people will get to know the Church of Jesus Christ is through us, and it’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m ok with that. 
I also loved reading about dad’s life and his conversion story.  I’ve noticed that I am way closer to you guys now and I know it could have only been done through a mission. I love you and pray for all of you. - Rick - Elder Hanson

View from our flat window

Elder Holbrook going into our building

Outside our flat


Hand written letter received on September 9, 2013 to re-cap the previous week:

Dear Family,

August 26, 2013

Today was an adventure.  We went to two castles and they were amazing.  We didn't go in because it cost 10 pounds to go in per castle but we played ultimate frisbee by them and every time I go to the countryside, it reminds me of how much I love Scotland.  Then we got to the market at like 5:30 so we had to rush to throw all of our groceries in and be done shopping before 6:00 so that was interesting.  Now it's another week and a lot of work ahead of me.

August 27, 2013  

Today was just a really good day for me but Elder Holbrook got a lot of return appointments and so we will be busy for the week and our area is doing amazing.  Tomorrow will be super busy but I'm going on exchanges tomorrow with Bridge of Dawn and they are just finding all day and that's super lame.  They are good missionaries.  We have been working our heads off and we have been so blessed for that.  They are struggling because they don't get along very well and that's also why I'm going over tomorrow.  Today we had Elder Fisher with us and we taught a really good lesson on the street and I noticed a house by us had "Gold Rush" playing in the window and it was the new season. That was distracting, but we are having another lesson with the man later in the week so that's awesome.

August 28, 2013

Today was a pretty good exchange.  We were talking to people at city center and an old man that was super nice and super funny approached us and said, "Wait here and in five minutes I'll show you the best views in Aberdeen."  So we waited and he showed us some of the castles right around city center and he told us their history and we talked about our beliefs and he took pictures of us at the city council building and it was awesome.  Then we talked to a man from East Africa and he was super solid and he practically believes everything we do.  He was a philosophy major and he actually asked for a Book of Mormon.  Then the lame part of the night was calling Elder Holbrook to see how our area (Aberdeen) was today and Edgar actually has a baptism date set but he is in Bridge of Dawn boundaries so we need to give him to them.

August 29, 2013

Today was a day of ser vice.  We exchanged back and then we helped a guy from the ward set up his wireless internet.  We helped Br. Shawn Goldie cut down a huge tree and then we helped Sister Land move things in her attic. There are four Goldie families in the ward, there are the McCrays and their daughter is married to Brother Goldie that owns a Baskin & Robbins in Aberdeen, then he has three sons that each have families and one is the Bishop so it's cool that half the ward is one family.

August 30, 2013

Today has been really good.  This week has been super busy and we have been so blessed.  We taught a man named Tom from Nigeria and we actually will be seeing him tomorrow and we had nacho night tonight.  That's where you watch some Mormon messages and we just talk to people while having nachos.  We were also going to get an investigator handed off to us from the sisters and they made him sound so golden.  But when we were talking to him, he sounded more interested in the sisters than in the Gospel but I hope that I'm wrong.  The work is doing amazing and as Elder Holbrook said, "Tomorrow will be the best day I have had on my mission so far."

August 31, 2013

I don't know if I want to even write about today.  It's about a joke how terrible it went.  We had a day packed with lessons and we were planning on running from place to place and within a half hour, all four of our appointments cancelled and I have never felt so beaten down in my life.  The rest of the day was just ineffective chapping all day.

September 1, 2013

Today was nae' bad (Aberdeen expression).  We had a really good turn out at Church and the testimonies were really good.  Brother Ray bore his testimony about missionary work so that was awesome.  I love Brother Ray.  This week was nae' bad, it went super fast until about Saturday but that's okay.  I guess we weren't meant to see those people that day.  We also had a good lesson with Todor.  It was rough but I think we made some progress.  I can tell this week is going to be a lot better.  Today was also the only day we haven't had Elder Fisher.  Trios are sometimes hard to figure out logistics with.  The Sisters are starting to take all of our dinner appointments and it's super lame.  But I'm getting into the work and I'm starting to really like it.  I want to and really need to be a better missionary.
--Elder Hanson

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nah' Bad

We had an appointment with Fidel and his wife but he had to go to the hospital so he rescheduled and I think we will see him this week.
With Todor, we are inching closer every lesson but it's going to take time. I almost want to tell him "You're just being lazy."  But I know he will do the correct thing.
The younger boy in the red pants with us when we were at Slaines Castle is the Carson's son.  I love the Carson's.  They are the ones from Washington.
So this week was nah bad. It was definitely showing that I need to go through some more trials before I'm going to grow. The week started off great and only got better and better. But this Saturday was a day to remember. The night before when we were planning, Elder Holbrook said, "This is going to be the best day I have had on my mission." We were going to be packed with service and appointments. we were going to run from place to place because we didn't have time. Unfortunately,  within 30 minutes, every single appointment cancelled.  We got call after call of people canceling and saying they were busy or something. So we had an entire day of nothing. So we went to our flat to grab something so we could go chapping, Because that's all we could do.  I just broke down a little and just said, "Well, looks like we weren't meant to teach those people today." We just chapped for the rest of the day and we weren't that successful. But that's okay because today is a new day and we will still see all those people in the future. We also got to do service for Bro. Davis which was awesome/  I love that man. We helped him move and he gave us goldfish crackers and a blender, that's right! A blender! He said he never used it and asked if we wanted it. So we said yes!. The work is still going.  I have seen a lot of progression since I have been here.  I love Bro.Ware, the ward mission leader. He said I look like Jim Carey.  I'm not sure what that means. haha.  I know that this week is going to be good, the weather is good. and I am good.  It's still a little rough at times but I can tell day by day, its getting better.  
Love, Elder Hanson

Castle Entry

Frazier Castle

Sister Condie and I, Elder Davis in background

One pair of shoes down
These are my old ones that I've had for a while.  I'm still going to wear them out more.  I still have the three new pair I haven't worn yet.
Cigarettes are BAD!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

More details of previous week

Handwritten letter received on August 31, 2013, written daily from August 19-25:

Dear Family                                                                                                                        Aberdeen 2013

August 19

So, tomorrow we are on exchanges again and I’m not sure what to be more afraid of, either the fact that I have no idea what to do unless I’m told, like I try to think of things to do but it’s always just mindless walking and finding, or the fact that I’m just fine with wasting time.  I mean, I’m fine with working and being told what to do but when I lead, I only think of the easy way and I really want to be the best worker and tool I can be.  I just don’t have the push I need or the experience.  I mean what’s going to happen if I train, then we will just walk around all day not knowing where we are going?  Anyways, I know it will come with experience but I’m not sure I’m fully trained yet.  The work is really good and I’m starting to really like it but I have to be humble.
It was nice to email everyone and see Mom doing her same things like making pickles.  I can just see her looking at them all done and jumping up and down and clapping and giggling over them. 

August 20

Today was actually really good.  It wasn’t too bad.  When I’m leading, it keeps me busy and that’s what I really need.  We had some really good lessons with people and Elder Kinard and I just talked about how it’s hard to find the balance between hard work and just enjoying your mission.  It’s funny how when I get back I will be 20 and I’m serving for 2 years so that’s 10 percent.  Soooo, it’s pretty much tithing, ha.  Being around all of these converts has made me so thankful to all the pioneers in the family that started being a member in this family, especially Dad.  I’m so thankful to have been born into this church and it’s because of love that happened from a young man that decided to serve a mission in Louisiana even though he was the only one in his family.  I LOVE YOU DAD!

August 21

The work is getting better, not easier, but better.  I want to just become bolder as a person and I just need to work on being more excited about finding because if you’re not enjoying doing the service, it’s not really service, it’s work.  Today we helped a woman in the ward move a piano into her house.  I love the mover because he was a full Scottish, red-head and he said, “I hope you boys have had your haggis this morning!”  Today was just a nice mellow day.

August 22

Today was a good planning day.  We made a couple good changes that should be a lot of help.  We had dinner at Brother Halverson’s and he is an amazing priesthood holder and just a really nice guy.  His daughter is disabled and I just have so much respect for him.  He is just like Bishop Hoopes and he talks to her like a normal person and he is always happy, and he is from Idaho.  Mom, I am scared because I really love these people and I’m going to miss them sooo much.

August 23

Today was interesting.  We  were on exchanges again and Elder Davis (one of the zone leaders) came over here so I was leading out the area again and we just did a lot of traveling today on bus to Tori so that was fun.  But yeah, it was a pretty calm day.  I found Devin’s name tag in my bag when I was at the MTC and it’s nice to just put it by my bed.  It’s busted, it must have broken on his mission or during travel so I can’t wear it, so that’s kind of lame, but it gives me a lot of support and hope.  After my mission I now want to go on a road trip around Utah and just see all the Mormon History and just go to the Salt Lake temple.

August 24

The past three nights we have had 20 minutes left before we could go inside and so we have to still be finding until then and it is always the worst 20 minutes of the day.  But today was a good day.  We got a good lesson and a couple good street contacts.  We are having success but the more rain, the less people want to talk, and the less happy they are.  The zone leaders are having a baptism tomorrow so it does show that this is a baptizing mission.

August 25

Today was a good Sunday.  We managed to stay really busy so it wasn’t just street contacting GQ-ing all day.  Chapping doesn’t work in Scotland but it works really well in Ireland.  So we aren’t really going too much door-to-door, but we do it sometimes and it isn’t really effective.  We had another lesson with Todor and I’ve noticed he does have a strong ‘want to know’ if God is there but he is prideful and just isn’t willing to do what we say.  We told him how to pray but he said it won’t work.  So we asked, “How do you know?” and he said, “It doesn’t make sense.”, and it’s just funny how easy it can be.  We just need to try.  He also thinks God should show him He is there before he will pray to him.  He doesn’t really understand why there is opposition in all things.  But I know we will get him to believe.  I know it.  We also had dinner at Sister Harman’s, like every Sunday.  But I have noticed my teaching ability has made worlds of change.  She was just a member lesson but when you know the things you teach are true, it is no longer you teaching.