Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas!

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So since we have Christmas and New Year's, emailing days are a little mixed up. So I get to email today and next Thursday and maybe Monday, I'm not completely sure. This week was pretty much surrounded by Christmas. On Christmas Eve the Glasgow and Paisley zone all got together and we sang Christmas carols in the middle of a huge mall and it was pretty amazing. We helped raise money for a charity and you could hear us through the entire mall and we actually sounded pretty amazing.  After we were there for a little while we took a break and two missionaries did a single song of "Just the Way you Are" by Bruno Mars for a man to help him propose to his girlfriend in the restaurant next to us and it was pretty cool because she said yes and cried a little and we were all there to watch it happen and I'm not sure but you might find it somewhere on YouTube maybe. 
On Christmas it was really nice because we got to wear normal clothes and we watched Tangled while playing risk with the Black's and they are all really fun then I got to Skype you all and that was amazing but it kind of felt like a dream so it really hasn't hit me that I really got to talk to you. On boxing day it was about the same story.  We went to the McGowin's and watched Harry Potter and it was funny because everything looked a lot more normal to me when I watched it. Then we talked with them a lot and then we went over to Ryan Warks at night and just had a blast over there and today its back to the work but its really hard because we are just a little mixed up.

Letter home arrived January 6, 2013
December 23, 2013                                                                             Airdrie Scotland
Today was an interesting Monday.  We don't have an actual p-day today because we are getting Christmas and Boxing day off.  Today was so packed that I didn't have time to email or shop.  We practiced our caroling that we will do in downtown Glasgow tomorrow and there was a lot of travel time today.  We had dinner at the Easton's and Br. Eaton is huge on conspiracies and about health care and what they put in your food.  So that's pretty much what him and Elder Edwards talked about because Elder Edwards is huge into conspiracies and 9-11 and voodoo stories like that so he enjoyed it a lot.  We had FHE at Jamie's and watched some of the "Joy to the World DVD.  It was good and very spiritual.

December 24, 2013
Today all the missionaries in Glasgow and Paisley gathered at a huge mall and we all sang Christmas carols for a charity and it was pretty good.  It was really cool when a man asked the conductor a week before, if we could have the singers sing a song while he proposed to his girlfriend while they were at a restaurant next to us.  She said "Yes".  It was pretty cool.  Later that night our building had a Christmas service.

December 25, 2013  CHRISTMAS
Today was an amazing Christmas.  We went over to Jamie's in the morning because we found out he was alone for Christmas so we watched "Singing in the Rain" with him.  Then we went to the Black's.  I got to Skype you Mom, and it was amazing.  I found out later that we could Skype for however long the members we went to were comfortable with so I could have kept going.  But that's okay, next time.  It didn't feel like Christmas but it was an amazing day!

December 26, 2013  Boxing Day
For Boxing Day it was just a chill day and we just ate and relaxed.  It was super weird.  I felt like I was doing something wrong.  We went to the McGowin's and the Warks and it was just nice.

December 27, 2013
Today was super tiring because my body had gotten used to not moving all day.  Right now I'm just trying to get back into things and get motivated.  It's hard with it being freezing and rainy/windy.  I need to keep pushing forward.

December 28,, 2013
So today was an interesting Sunday.  We only had Sacrament and no other classes because the heaters didn't work and Bishop had to call it early for health reasons because it was freezing.  That was the first time that has ever happened to me.  Also, I have discovered what I call the 'lawn mowing method".  So you know how much I enjoy doing yard work and mowing the lawn but whenever I am told to, I do't want to, mainly because someone is telling me to do it.  But I like doing it out of my own efforts but something switches when force of any small type appears.  Like chapping, or talking to people on the street, or any missionary work at all.  I love doing it and serving but the moment I am asked other than by the Lord, my desire to do it drops so this is something to overcome.

                                                                                     Highlight was Skyping home
                               We decorated for the                            Christmas party

 Christmas sweaters

A little snow
Elder Utley broke my bed!

Our Christmas tree

Elder Edwards and I got a wee bit wet

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is Coming

There aren't many lights on the outside of homes.  Most decorations are on the inside of the house
I'm not sure if we have them in the states, they have crackers and they look like big candy roles.  They are having a ward Christmas party on the 20th and they want us to dress up like elves.  We sing pretty much the same Christmas songs.  We got a small Christmas tree for our flat. 

At the moment our investigators are progressing slowly but at least they still want to see and hear from us!

For Skype I'm not totally sure what we are going to do.  We have a couple options.  I can go on my email so we can figure it out then but the people we are doing it with said you can go on my Facebook and they can talk to you and get things organized through communication that way. What time do you want to do it at? We can probably do it around 3:00 or 4:00 pm (7:00 or 8:00 am) your time. We can figure it more out next week but if you we can call Skype you it would good. I'll also figure it out with the members we are doing it with.
This week was a long one just because it was moves week and things were a little off.  I made some handout cards for the ward Christmas party for the ward so they can invite there friends and loved ones.  We have actually been pretty busy but we are still doing a lot of finding and looking for the people we are meant to teach. Elder Davis said, "Can you believe you will be talking to your parents in a week?" and it blew me away because in a way it feels like I haven't been away for that long, but also forever at the same time.  We get to go in at 6 P.M. on Christmas Eve and we get Christmas and Boxing Day off.  It's weird because we don't have Boxing Day in America of course.
Love you all!

Letter home arrived Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dear Family                                                                                          Airdrie Scotland

December 9, 2013
Today was another weird P-day.  Because of moves we only get to email and shop.  But because the library we wanted to go to was closed traveling took a lot of time so we didn't get to shop.  We had dinner at the Blacks and we went with Elder Utley and Parsons to say good bye to Elder Parsons for the last time before he went home.  It was weird.  I'm actually going to really miss him.  You cold see so much joy in his eyes and it finally hit me that that will happen to me some day.  I just can't comprehend that.

December 10, 2013
Today was just one of those days that you want to get over.  It was a pretty hard and slow day.  We just kind of went through it because we just wanted it to be tomorrow.  A lot of walking and a lot of chapping.  I hate how the harder we work, the worse our numbers are.  That's why I hate numbers but I'll do whatever I need to do.

December 11, 2013
So we have P-day on Wednesday every moves week so it was pretty during because we already email on Monday so we pretty much just looked at stuff in stores and got Elder Edward's hair cut and we had dinner at the Davidson's and went to see Bill.  Nothing too eventful but I was just super tired all day so now I'm going to sleep!  Oh, and we a Christmas tree for our flat.

December 12, 2013
Today was a  pretty ordinary day.  Because of it being moves week the week has gone incredibly slow.  We chapped a lot of doors and it was funny because we went to Bill's and in the end of our lesson, he wouldn't let us go until we watched the end of "Grease" and he tried to sing along and I forgot how corny that movie was, they don't even say words and on our way out he gave us two bags of candy.

December 13, 2013
This morning we went on a mini exchange so I was with Elder Utley and it was really good.  A lot of it was traveling and walking.  Unfortunately all the people we went by were not in.  At dinner we had all four of us for dinner at our flat and to end off the night we gave a "Joy to the World" DVD to a potential investigator.  I've noticed that things are just hard for me, like the ability to enjoy doing the things we do, mainly chapping and I've also noticed just how hard these two years are going to be. The average missionary gets 1.4 baptisms during their whole mission here.  I know it's just a number, but it shows what I'm dealing with.

December 14, 2013
Today we volunteered at a charity shop and it was weird being behind a register again.  Across the street they were having a big blow out sale thing and they had a blow up Santa, a tooth fairy on stilts, and a clown.  So after we went to go check it out and it was this place where they have a bunch of small businesses and we talked to a guy that was selling guitars and we talked a lot and it was really good.  I also got a letter post card from Cemmy and when I got it, I told Elder Edwards about all the times I went home teaching at her house and about her birds and every time I went to church she would call me Ricky and it made my Day!  We also got post cards from the old ladies in our flat complex that just love us and one always calls us "Boys", so she wrote that on the Christmas card.

December 15, 2013
Sunday was really good!  I really love this ward.  They have so much love for us and you can tell they really want us around.  One thing we are focusing on is the members and just going to see them and spend time with them.  I also have noticed how much we can help this ward and make it stronger.  We went to go teach Shane today and he likes us around but it's just hard to see him progress because he likes us as friends more than wanting to hear the Gospel and I almost say to myself, 'I don't want to give up on him because I do see him slowly opening up to us', but it's just hard to not have people progress.

Letter mailed home that arrived along with another letter on the same day - January 6, 2014

December 16, 2013
Today was a pretty ordinary p-day.  We went to Motherwell to email because our library is too small and doesn't have enough computers.  We had to travel to Motherwell by bus to get there and today we finally found out there is a big library in Coatbridge which is only like a 10-15 minute bus ride and we just found it out.  I also bought a cool moose sweater for the ward Christmas party.  We watched the Christmas devotional at FHE tonight and it was pretty good.  

December 17, 2013
Today we had district meeting and then we practiced singing for a missionary caroling activity coming up.  Later in the night, we went to go help set up for the ward Christmas party and they had me put up a lot of high things.  It was funny, they kept calling me the 'tall one' and they were very thankful for my work and they said, "Oh Elder Hanson can figure this out."  But everything was pretty easy.  It was a fast busy day in Airdrie.

December 18, 2013
Today was a really good day.  It started off a little slow but at the end of the night we went to the Mathisons and they are amazing.  I've always felt that I wasn't meant for chapping doors all the time and I think Heavenly Father has been telling me that.  Something that a lot of missionaries forget to do is just see the ward members and bring the spirit in their homes with a little message and the result is that they will want you to teach people they love.  If they don't know you, they won't want to trust you with a task like that.  My new goal for this little while is, yes, I will chap and talk to people on the street, ,but the goal is to have the entire ward know me and just have me over for a small message and get to know them and hopefully that will be my way of feeding His sheep because it is crazy how much better missionary work goes when the ward brings people they are close to and then we teach them.

December 19, 2013
Today flew by.  We did weekly planning and saw that my bed frame had snapped because Elder Utley sat on it wrong or something because it must have been super cheap.  Then we all had dinner at the McGowin's and finished the night with a missionary caroling concert and it was amazing.

December 20, 2013
Today we went to see some widows in the ward with Jamie and got to just keep them company and it was really good.  We had dinner at the Black's and finished the night off with the Christmas party.  They gave us green Santa hats and we were Santa's helpers and it was a really good night and a lot of fun.

December 21, 2013
Today was a really good day.  We taught a bunch of lessons and we made a lot of good ground with people.  Bill is trying to change his life and not drink.  Shane has stopped smoking and we stayed pretty busy today.  On another note, there were huge puddles everywhere and there was one that was at least a foot deep and a car actually swerved so it would splash us and it was the grossest water ever and I was soaked but I just laughed it off because it was funny.

December 22, 2013
Today was a pretty amazing Christmas sacrament meeting, lots of music, and lots of talks about the Savior.  After church, we waited to go caroling because it would take to much time to travel back to the flat and back for lunch.  We were starving and we ate a box of chocolates a member gave us and I got a can of tuna from the Relief Society room and Elder Davis and I shared this one can, huddled over it and he said, "I feel homeless."  Then we went caroling at the local old folk's home and you could tell they loved it and when I shook the old people's hands, half of them were old ladies that called me 'Handsome'.  Afterwards we went to the Munklands hospital to visit a member's wife in the emergency care ward and it was amazing to see her husband standing over her with tears on his face singing with us.  I later found out that she was sent to the hospital a few weeks ago with only a few hours to live but got a Priesthood blessing and is still going.  I went to get a little closer to shake her hand after and Elder Utley stopped me and later I found out she hates missionaries because she had a set of "Hammer Time" missionaries that ruined her view of missionaries.  I knew exactly what he meant.  "Hammer time" was a thing they had in this mission years ago and what it was is the zone leaders would randomly search your flat to find anything and they would constantly call you to make sure they knew what you were doing.  The problem with that is it made some crazy missionaries that would demand referrals and call members to repentance and it has destroyed this country's view of missionaries to this day.  At the end of the night, all four of the Airdrie missionaries had dinner together and it was good.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Has it been six months already?!

Thank you Mom, all of those scriptures brought clarity into what I'm doing.  This week just flew by.  We were very busy because of the Christmas season and it has been really fun. It is getting to be the last week of another fast transfer. I have seen so much and I have learned so much. I have been out for 6 months and it feels like I've been out for one.  I just can't even comprehend how fast it has gone and it's only going to get faster. tTomorrow 
Tomorrow is Elder Parson's last day before he goes home, I'm really going to miss him. He gave me a couple of his ties and that was pretty cool.  His replacement will be Elder Davis back from Aberdeen. (he was a zone leader when I was there) and Elder Edwards and I are staying companions which is good because we really get along well. 
I'll probably get the package on Christmas Eve because in December they save packages until Christmas Eve and then the assistants go around delivering them.  Also, I'll get to Skype you on Christmas!
Love, Elder Hanson
Slide show of my first pair of shoes.  (The ones I
wore at home for a couple of months before I left)

Letter home, excerpts from December 2-8, arrived Friday, December 20

Dear Family                                                                         Airdrie Scotland

December 2, 2013
Today for P-day we just had a really calm day, just to rest, so we just went around shopping centers and did some things around, nothing too exciting.

December 3, 2013
Today was really good.  We had zone meeting that pretty much took up the day.  Then we went to an Indian restaurant with the zone and that was super fun.  When we got back, the Blacks made us Thanksgiving dinner a week late.  But it still counts.  They made us Haggis!  It's not bad at all, it's actually really good!  Afterwards we helped set up Christmas thing in the gym for the ward for an activity they are having.

December 4, 2013
Today was a really good lesson with Bill.  I got to share with him a really good scripture and just expound on it with him.  After the lesson, Jon, Bill's friend gave Elder Edwards just heaps of candy and we said we would be okay but they insisted and just filled Elder Edwards backpack full.  It's funny how much respect they have for us like they can tell we just aren't ordinary people.

December 5, 2013
Today we had a flat inspection and did really well.  It's easy to keep a flat clean regularly then just cleaning it randomly.We had dinner with Bishop Poorie and it was really good.  You can tell that he was a good missionary and a good man.  I've had so much Indian food since I've been here, they have poppadoms, they are like a tortilla chip thing.  I would have thought I'd be eating corned beef and cabbage every day.  I wonder what food I will eat when I get back home.

December 6, 2013
Today we went on exchange and I was with Elder Parsons.  I love the guy, it's sad that this is his last transfer and I won't see him again.  We went with Jamie, a member, to visit a bunch of the widows in the ward.  It was amazing how just visiting them is so important to them, you can just see it in their eyes.  It makes me remember being a home teacher with Dad, like when we would visit Sister Rushkie and the other lady and how much they just loved me visiting them and it really opened my eyes.  We had dinner at Ryan Waric's home and they had originally cooked for Elder Utley, Elder Parson's original companion, so they were holding off on a pie they were going to make.  So when we opened the door, Br. Waric said, "We could have had apple pie!"  Because Elder Utley is a little picky and he wouldn't eat pie.  When I sat down I instantly started playing with their two year old daughter that looks exactly like Zoey and they walked in and said, "That's weird, Miya never likes the missionaries, she must really like you."  So that was really cool.  They made homemade buttermilk biscuits and they were amazing!  I miss some of the most basic foods.

December 7, 2013
Today one of the Elder's got a letter from a sister missionary that his mom told her to write him so that was a pretty interesting way to start off the day seeing him freak out.  Today we volunteered at a charity shop and organized stuff.  Then all the Priesthood had a huge game night, then we all got pizza and told stories and jokes and it was just a great time.

December 8, 2013
Today was a pretty good normal Sunday in Airdrie.  Sacrament went well and Elder Parsons gave a farewell talk.  It was about 'by small and simple things'.  He talked about how we don't need to lift mountains, just our covers.  We need to be willing to get out of bed and say our prayers and read our scriptures.  We forget how simple things can be.  When we go to the flat we just took a sick day because I wasn't feeling good, so it was super boring.

Monday, December 2, 2013


This week I've just learned a lot about myself and who I want to be and a little about how I think I'm going to get there.  I've also been thinking about how I'll be in a year in a half.  The work was pretty slow this week but the good thing is we stayed busy and had a lot of things to do. We are teaching Bill currently and we showed him the restoration video and it was pretty good for him. He is a movie buff and he picked up on so many good things. He noticed in the end that they baptised exactly the same way John the Baptist did and all I could think of was "exactly".  We sat with him and I pretty much just said, "Why would I want to baptise you, why do you think we do this? People naturally want to share good things with people like walking up to someone and saying 'Oh did you see that movie, oh man you have to see it!" People want people to experience what they have and that's just natural so that's one of the reasons we do this."
I was also talking with Elder Edwards and I was talking about how I haven't gotten a single baptism or even had a person that wants to be. He told me about a talk that one of the presidency gave and how he said missionaries are like the cookie monster: What does he do?  All he wants and looks for and thinks of is cookies and that's it.   He's missing so much because all he thinks is he needs cookies, but we as missionaries need to let things just happen and not focus on baptisms."  God wants people to be baptised more then I ever could but I just need to keep going.

Letter sent home, received Saturday, Dec 14, 2013

Dear Family                                                                                Airdrie Scotland

Nov 25, 2013
Today for P-day we went to the Celtics football stadium.  Last week we went to the Rangers and they are sworn enemies and people are very into soccer here.  There is a history between the teams.  One is Catholic, the other Protestant, and Airdrie is pretty much divided in the same way.  Other than that, it was just a good day to recharge batteries.

Nov 26, 2013
Today was Elder Parson's last time teaching district meeting.  We watched the Restoration DVD then did role plays on having an investigator see that and how to teach them through it.  We also went to a door almost in the middle of nowhere and we had a lot of time on the way back so we went on an adventure on the way back taking a bunch of trails exploring some places and then got back and had a pretty good lesson with Bill and he is progressing.  I can still tell it will take time but I know he will make it.

Nov 27, 2013
Today we chapped on a Scottish/Indian woman's door.  It's really weird seeing an Indian person and hearing a thick Scottish accent come out.  We talked with her and things went really well.  She has a little boy and a baby girl and her husband is from Aberdeen.  We hope to keep teaching them!

Nov 28, 2013
Well today got interesting.  We took a bus that we thought would take us close to our investigator's home but we were on it for a while and noticed we didn't remember any of the roads we were passing so we thought, 'No problem, we would keep riding it until it turned around to go back to town.'  Well time passed and it kept on going so we kept thinking every ten minutes, 'Okay, it should turn around any minute now.  We were on the bus for about two hours!  It turned out we had gotten so lost we made it all the way to Motherwell - Hamilton - Eastmans-East Kill Bride.  So we had to take a train to Glasgow and then from Glasgow to least we made it to the flat by 9:00.  It was all one pretty crazy adventure.

November 29, 2013
Today we went 'Liahona finding'.  Last night I got a big map and prayed long and hard about what street to chap.  Sadly today we had no success, but on the bright side, we didn't get through all the doors in the street so there is still hope.  Also, the ward put on a Christmas dinner for all the Relief Society and all the men of the ward helped and all the missionaries helped be servers.  Over all a good day.

Nov 30, 2013
Today just flew by.  We went to see Bill tonight and it was actually pretty good.  We talked about the pre-earth life and he agreed with everything.  He is just so set in his ways. That is how it is with a lot of people here.  They will admit and know it's the truth but they are set in their ways.

Dec 1, 2013
Today was one of the best Sundays I have had on my mission.  I really am starting to get along with the ward and I can feel their love.  Every one's testimony involved Christmas and putting up decorations.  It is just so crazy it's already Christmas season.  I'm actually really excited, everything just has a good feel.
Love, Elder Hanson

On the bus

Saying good-bye to Elder Parsons