Monday, December 29, 2014

Multizona, Apostasia, Late Night Baptisms, and Happy New Year!!

Me with My Snowflakes on Christmas!

Familia y amigos,

Whats up?  How is everyone doing?  I hope all of you had a great Christmas and you are all enjoying the snow.  That’s awesome that you’re having snow!  I had a dream that I was skiing last night, I went off a jump, felt the drop and everything and woke up from falling off the top bunk hitting my knee on the ground.  It hurts super bad today but I’m just glad it wasn’t my head.  I’ve been taking ibuprofen but we don’t have any ice.  I’ll be fine.  Its pretty swollen but I’m sure the ibuprofen will help with that. 

Here we had a pretty good Christmas.  I had a great time talking to my family and just hanging with my companions.

I want to thank all of you that wrote on snowflakes for me.  I loved each and every one of them, and it was probably the best present that I got.  I feel so blessed to have so many people supporting me.

Anyway this week was great.  We had a multizona (multizone conference) on the 24th.  It was super awesome!  We listened to a message from Presidente Russell, had an awesome meal, played some games with the other zones, and then had a slideshow of our families.  Presidente Russell y Hna Russell were super generous and gave us some awesome gifts.  It was awesome to be together as a mission close to Christmas, get to know some more people, and to feel the spirit!

We met this crazy guy this week, who is puro apostasia (pure apostate).  He is a pastor for one of the churches here.  He was trying to tell us all of this super weird stuff about Joseph Smith and every idea he had was super dumb.  His main problem with Joseph Smith was that he was saying that the timeline of Joseph Smith having "the vision" and when he restored the Church didn't match.  It was dumb.  The most crazy of his ideas is that missionary companions are always a North American and a Latino because the North Americans are brainwashing the latinos.  He told my companion to wake up and realize what was happening.  It stinks because there is a super positive person who lives in his house, so we´ll see what happens with him.

We had 2 baptisms this week, both on Saturday.  They were Herty's wife and Ana.  The baptism of Herty's wife went super smooth and everything, and I'm sure she's going to be a faithful member here with her husband.  Ana was a different story.  We went to interview her on Friday and she told us that she had to go to work, and was saying that January would be better.  She passed the interview and everything but her work was the only problem.  On Saturday the APs were in Rivas and came to talk to Ana and Milagro about being  baptized.  Milagro decided she didn't want to be baptized this week.  We had 6 misisonaries in their house at 9:30 pm talking to them.  We asked Ana what was stopping her from being baptized that night.  There was nothing so she was baptized at about 10:30pm Saturday night.  The harder part was her confirmation.  She called us on Sunday and told us she was at work and her boss wasn't going to let her leave to come to the church to be confirmed. We were super discouraged but when we showed up, she was already in the church.  A miracle for sure.

After our baptisms we’re pretty empty for investigators right now. We did meet this person who came to church on Sunday, and she had all of the lessons in San Marcos, a city super close to here. We're going to try to baptize her this Saturday.

We don't have any plans for New Year's and we will be working all this week, there's no rest!  I'm sure the streets will be dead, but theres nothing we can do about it!  We will have to figure out what to do!

The zone finished with 19 baptisms for the month of December, the most in all of 2014.  We're working hard and have great plans for this next year.  I don't think we reached the mission goal for the year, which is a bummer, so I'm sure well be working even harder this next year.

I hope all of you have an awesome New Year this week and I love you all!

Elder Hanson

Going in for my flu shot
Multizone Conference (Elders Hayes, Naisbett, Trinidad, Hernandez, Collado, Benson, Sacalxot and me)
Multizone Conference

Reading Letters from Home at the Multizone Conference

Elder Collado and me

Hermana Russell, Presidente Russell and me

Elder Hernandez, me, Herty, Herty's wife, their family, Elder Miculax, and Elder Sacalxot

Elder Miculaz, Elder Hernandez, Ana, Ana's family, Elder Sacalxot, and me

Monday, December 22, 2014


Familia y amigos, 

How’s everyone doing in the 801??  I hope everything is going super well for everyone and you are all enjoying the weather.  Word on the street is there’s not a ton of snow, which makes me happy because I’m not missing anything!

This week was a little rough.  I got my first Christmas present, Monday without p-day.  We just get an hour to write and that’s it.  We're trying to reach our goal here of 1800 baptisms for the year and its not going so hot.  So we’re working hard trying to get people baptized this Saturday!

Not much happened this week, we didn’t have any baptisms, and have still been trying to find new people to teach.  This week we have 3 possibilities for baptism, which is super awesome, and I know it is the best gift that they can give to our Father in Heaven. 

Anyway, I don’t really have any stories or anything so I’m going to tell you about one of the people we’re going to baptize.  Her name is Ana and she is the sister of Lupe.  When we first started to teach Lupe, right after Felipe’s baptism, Ana didn’t want anything.  Lupe was super hard to teach too, but Ana wouldn’t even listen to us.  Slowly we started talking to her and finally we got her to commit to come to church.  She would always say, ¨I’ll come to church but I’m not getting baptized.¨  Anyway, after her first time in church she said that she loved it and it was the best church she had ever been to.  She accepted fecha (baptismal date) and we’re trying to help her stop drinking coffee!  She has a baptism date for this Saturday! She’s super hilarious and is always fun to teach!

Anyway that’s all I really got for this week.  Pray for these people to get baptized please, we really need them!  I love you all and hope you all enjoy your Christmas.

Always remember the real meaning of Christmas.  Make sure you descubre la dadiva (Discover the Gift), acepta la dadiva (accept the Gift), y #comparteladadiva. (#SharetheGift)  Love you all!  

Sorry this week was super busy and I don’t usually carry my camera so I don’t have any pictures!

Elder Hanson

Monday, December 15, 2014

One Week Until Christmas

Elder Hernanadez and Me

Familia y amigos,

Que nota?  I hope everyone is enjoying the weather in Utah, I heard its a little bit warmer.  Sounds a little bit like Nicaragua!

Anyway things are going super great here in Nicaragua, the weather has been a little bit cooler these past couple of days, and one night all of my companions wore sweaters, hahah!  It’s like unheard of to wear sweaters in any other area.

This week went super great, not much happened but I have 2 experiences to share.  First of all last Sunday we were walking to go and teach and this person came up to us and asked what the requirements were to be a member of our church. She told us she had a family of 5 that wanted to learn.  Anyway we looked for her house for like an hour one day and couldn’t find it.  The next day I was looking in antiguo investigadores (old investigators) because all of our investigadores (investigators) aren’t doing too hot, and I found the person.  Turns out the exact situation happened about 6 months ago and the missionaries visited, and everything was a huge lie.  They had an address and everything so we visited the people, they are huge Testigos (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and they were shocked when they saw us in the door.  Stinks that they are all liars but I thought it was kind of funny.

The other happened yesterday, we were trying to find new people to teach and this guy let us into his house.  We started como comenzar a enseñar (getting ready to teach) and were talking to him.  This guy was literally perfect.  He told us that for the new year he was thinking about joining a new church, and the night before he prayed that he would have direction in his life.  I know that we were an answer to his prayers.  I probably won't be here for the majority of the teaching, but it was a cool experience and lesson where I definitely felt the spirit.

We had interviews with President Russell and it went great. He told my companion I was doing really well and told me to keep working hard and baptizing.  We have interviews every 3 months and he interviews all the missionaries at around the same time.  Everyone in our district was interviewed on the same day.   I know that two other zones, Carazo y Universitaria also had interviews this week.

We didn’t really do anything today on p-day. We just wrote letters and then went to buy stuff.  I finally found a PSG jersey and bought it, and I also bought peanut butter.  Jinotepe kind of stinks because there isn’t anything cool to go and see.  One thing is that there are a lot of pizza restaurants.  Every p-day is kind of the same.  I have heard that in other zones there are awesome things to do!

The rest of the week not much happened, we're working with Ana, Lupe’s sister and she is super awesome. We're working hard here in Jinotepe, and time is flying by.  I hope all is well at home and everyone has a great week!  Love you all

Elder Hanson

And remember, #ComparteLaDádiva (#SharetheGift)

Me and Elder Sacalxot (Elder Scheffler with the photobomb!)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sunday Miracles

Familia y amigos, 

Que tal?  I hope everything is going super well at home.  I had a great week here, it was stake conference here, and I don’t really have a ton of pictures for this week, sorry!  But it was a good week, here’s what happened,

I went to Rivas on Tuesday with Sacalxot, and worked with the hermanas there.  Cool experience, we went to the house of a Recent Convert, but she wasn’t there.  Only her grandma.  Supposedly the grandma is usually grumpy but she was super nice.  We were sharing El es la Dadiva (He is the Gift) with her, and she was super receptive.  We asked her what the best gift she could give to Heavenly Father, and she said I don’t know.  My companion was whispering fecha fecha fecha, and so I said, baptism is the best gift.  She was super receptive, and has a fecha (baptism date) for the 10 of January.  It was the easiest fecha in all of my mission!

Wednesday through Friday we just worked in our area, not much to say.  We found out that Herty is teaching his wife the lessons, which is super cool.  She has a tough schedule to work with but she has been to church 3 times so we're trying to get her baptism set.

Saturday was Stake conference and Elder Ochoa, a Seventy, came and talked to us.  They pretty much chastised the members for not helping the missionaries with baptisms and other things going on in the Stake.  It’s nice for us as missionaries because now we don’t have to do it.  It was pretty good, but the asistencia (sorry cant think of the word in English [*attendance*]) wasn’t too great.

Sunday there were a lot more people. Elder Ochoa was here because our Stake got a new Stake Presidency.  Presidente Russell was there too and he spoke.  He shared the Dadiva (He is the Gift), which was cool.  Anyway the miracle that occurred, we woke up super early to leave the house at 7 to bring people to stake conference.  As we were visiting investigators pretty much everyone rejected us. Sunday was the purisima, the day when everyone worships the Virgin Mary. People go wild and scream, sing, and light off fireworks.  Super weird.  Anyway we had like 2 people because everyone else said they were catholic and were celebrating.  It was terrible.  We went to our house to pray because there was nobody.  We asked that we could bring 8 people to church.  And when we got there, some members had brought people, and we had 8.  Super awesome and a testimony builder.  We also went to the Christmas devotional and brought investigators there too.  Overall it was a great Sunday.

You guys are always asking what I eat so I thought you might like to see my favorite snack here, they’re delicious!

Plantain Chips-My favorite
I also eat graham crackers and yogurt for breakfast!  The grandpa special!  I had to eat cow liver the other week but it wasn’t too bad.  My favorite food here is queso frito, tajadas, gallopinto and this salad that they serve.  It is super awesome.  We get it like once or twice a week.  Super delicious! The salad is like pickled cabbage, pretty much shredded cabbage in like vinegar I’m not sure.  Tajadas are plantain chips. They’re pretty long, sometimes We eat a lot of chicken though.

That’s all I really got for this week.  I hope all of you have a great week, and Ill write you next week!

Love you all,
Elder Hanson

Sorry, I don’t have any good pictures this week!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nuevo Compañeros!

Happy Thanksgiving (Elder Sacalxot)

Familia y Amigos,

How are you all doing??  I hope you all had a great week, and you are all enjoying the cold Utah weather!  This week on my missionary account thing it had the temperature here, and I didn’t even realize it was 85 degrees.... Who knew someone could be super cold when it is 70 degrees…I’m going to die in the cold winters in Utah.

Anyway, I got new compañeros this week!  Cambios are cool here.  On Tuesday the ZL get a phone call with all the people who have cambios.  All of these people meet in the morning on Wednesday and take a bus to Managua.  Only the people that have cambios go, not the companions.  So on Tuesday we got a call that Collado, Kleiner, and Chicas (DL) and a couple others had cambios.  Elder Hernandez and I are staying here in Jinotepe. On Wednesday morning they all went to Managua.  In Managua there is a reunion, called reunion de cambios.  Presidente Russell shows the numbers and stuff for baptisms, goals and such.  He shares a message and then reads off cambios.  It usually goes from like 8 to 11-12ish.  So everyone came back after reunion de cambios and I had 2 new companions!  Turns out Elder Collado is the new AP (his mission is going to be hard, 14 months of no sleep).  Kleiner is finishing up someone’s training in Managua.  Anyway, the names of my new companions are Elder Sacalxot and Elder Miculax.  They are both from Guatemala, Sacalxot is from Quetzaltenango y Miculax from the ciudad (Guatemala City). So, it is 3 guatemaltecos and me in my house right now!  Sacalxot is the new ZL and has been out a year and the other kid is new!  I worked with Sacalxot my first day in Nicaragua and he is super awesome!!  He had a pro soccer contract before his mission with signing bonus and everything but turned it down for his mission.  He is super cool. The language is coming along super well. It’s weird just having Spanish in the house but I haven’t really had any problems! 

This week was definitely hard, we don’t have a ton of investigators right now so we’ve just been finding puros nuevos (new investigators).  It stinks because nobody really wants to listen.  Were working hard and trying to find new people this week!

We had a baptism this week of this lady named Silvia.  She is super awesome and has a great testimony.  This week we have stake conference, and a general authority is coming, because they’re getting a new stake president.  It’s going to be Elder Ochoa.  I’ll let you all know how it’s going.

Anyway we got these pass along cards called “El es la dádiva”  I don’t know exactly what it translates to (I think “He is the Gift”), but I hope everyone is remembering the real meaning of Christmas in this upcoming season.

This email is super short, but I don’t have a ton of time.  I love you all, and have a great week!

Hey mom, just wanted to let you know I got all 7 packages you sent!

Shoutout to my boy HJ for leaving to the MTC this week!  Everyone keep him in your prayers!

Elder Hanson

Silvia's Baptism (Elder Hernandez, Elder Miculax, Silvia, Elder Sacalxot, Me)
Elder Hernandez and Elder Sacalxot


Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

My companions and me

Familia y Amigos!

How's it going everyone??  I hope everyone is having a great week, starting up holiday season this week with Thanksgiving!  Make sure you all eat lots of food, and be grateful its not a huge mountain of rice!  Just kidding rice is great, just a little annoying when we have it every day. Buuut anyway everyone enjoy that pumpkin pie and turkey!

This week was pretty good, last week here with Elder Kleiner and maybe mis padres (my trainers).  Rumor on the street is that Collado is going to be the new AP but we're not sure, I'll let you all know this next p day.  Chances are I stay here in Jinotepe and finish my training!  We find out tomorrow at about lunch so we will see!  Here's how my week went.

Tuesday Collado had the dentist again, its like a weekly occurance, and we just worked in that area.  We needed that time to work in our own area so we had to work extra hard the rest of the week to make up for it.

Wednesday we placed a fecha with Tania's husband, for the 20th of December.  He has un monton de preguntas (a ton of questions) and we are trying our best to answer them all.  He is really the only thing that is standing in the way of Tania deciding to get baptized.  We interviewed Lupe y Milagro, but only Lupe had the desire, Milagro has a bunch of doubts and fears, so we are working with her this week.

Thursday Kleiner and I worked in the area because the ZLs were in Managua at consejo con Presidente (meetings with the President). 

Friday I went to Reunion de Distrito (District meeting) en Rivas, not much happened there and it was super hot as always, and was super nice to come back to Jinotepe.  It just feels like home here.

Saturday was the baptism of Lupe, and all went good with that!

Sunday Tania told us that she got her answer, and wants to be baptized this next Sunday.  We're super stoked and if all works out we'll have 3 baptisms this Sunday!  Super stoked!

Today we had a district activity and the Hermanas cooked for us.  It was great!

Everything is going super well here.  I hope all of you enjoy Thanksgiving, and really give thanks for all you have. One thing I have realized here in Nicaragua is that we have so much. The people here literally have nothing but are so happy.  Always be thankful.  That's all I got for this week! 

Love you all!

Elder Hanson

Lupe's Baptism

City of Rivas (notice volcano in the background)

Cool Nica Sunset

The Hermanas cooked a delicious lunch

Some P Day dominos with the district

Monday, November 17, 2014

Miracle Baptism!!

Herty's Baptism

Familia y amigos,

Como estan? (How are you?)  Espero que todo estè bien! (I hope you are all doing well!) This week was super awesome, and time is flying by.  Today is the first day of week 6, and time seriously is flying.  This week was a little warmer here and it rained 2 days, but not much has changed, I´ll let you know about my week!

Tuesday was a great day. We found this guy named Herty on Sunday at church. Long story short he listened to the missionaries in Costa Rica, but 1 week before his baptism he had to leave.  His uncle lives in our area (he lives in the area of the Hermanas and has another house in the area of our DL, super confusing and is starting problems) so we are teaching him at the house of his uncle so it will be our baptism. He had been listening to the missionaries for 4 months and has a super strong testimony.  We placed a fecha for this Saturday that just passed, and placed a date for his wife for the 13th of December.

Not much happened on Wednesday.  Elder Collado had to go to the dentist again in the morning, so I went to Masaya with him.  The busses weren't as crowded as last time (22 people in a 15 seater) so it wasn't too uncomfortable.  Before my mission I hated being packed in close with people but now its just normal.  I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I was lucky enough to eat Papa Johns on the way back.  Our area has been difficult lately because the ZLs have been working in other areas because bautismos have been falling, but we just worked hard for normas (our goals/standards).

Nothing happened Thursday too.  Hernandez and I did weekly planning in the morning, and then we just worked the rest of the day.  Herty had his interview, and passed.  There was a little conflict over whose baptism it really is, but we taught him first so it was ours.  We spent time trying to find people because a lot of our invesigators are not progressing.  The problem is that the Nicaraguenses will commit to anything, so really 15 Nica fechas (dates) is about 5 baptisms. 

On Friday we just worked super hard with our investigators and got stuff ready for the baptism.  We're having problems with Tania because supposedly her Pastor found out that she has been listening to us.  Her husband plays the piano at her church, and when the Pastor found this out about Tania, he told her husband that he was "unworthy " to play the piano.  The husband is mad at us and told Tania he doesn't want to talk to us because we will sway his beliefs.  Sounds like a family baptism to me.

Saturday was the baptism of Herty and of course something had to go wrong.  It was Seminary graduation and they had a huge party here at the Stake Center after so there was loud music.  Of course they turned it up right when he got in the water.  Whatever!

He got confirmed Sunday, and we brought 5 investigators to church.  Some investigators tried to lie to us and told us that they came but we didn't see them.  We have 3 possibilities this week and I hope they all pull through!

Hope everyone is doing well, I love you all!

Elder Hanson

Herty and his family

Elder Chicas (DL), Elder Hernandez (ZL) and Elder Collado (ZL)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pizza Hut and a Baptism

Miguel's Baptism
Familia y amigos,

Que honda?  Everything is going super well here.  I had an awesome week and am stoked to tell you all about it.  Just to start out I'll tell you about the weather here.  It is like cold.  I shiver sometimes.  And every time I’m cold I just laugh because it’s like 70 degrees. Haha! but when we wake up it's pretty chilly outside, and at night too.  There’s a nice breeze sometimes, but I think it's hilarious because I never thought I'd be cold here in Nicaragua.

Mom asked about our schedule.  In the morning, we have personal study from 8 to 9, companion study from 9 to 11, and from 11 to 12 we have language study.  At 12 we have lunch until 1.  Then we work from about 1 to 9 at night.

Time here is flying by.  Cambios are in 2 weeks, and even though it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll stay.  It's just wild to think about how fast time is passing. My companions are great and I’m having a great time with the other missionaries.  One of the other North Americans in my district, Elder Scheffler, is from South Ogden.  He loves to fly fish too so we’ve been talking about that this week!

Anyway, I had a great week.  I’ll just start with the days.  On Tuesday Hermana Russell (mission presidents wife) came out to Jinotepe and did a video interview of how the mission has changed our lives.  We were 4 of 12 missionaries she picked and it was crazy to think how much the mission has changed my life in only 10 weeks.

On the way to Masaya
Wednesday Elder Collado had a problem with one of the teeth in his mouth.  I got to go to Masaya, which is like 20 to 30 minutes outside of Managua, and 30 minutes from us.  We go on buses when we have to go longer distances and so we took the bus to Masaya.  It was crazy! There were 22 people in a 15-seater bus.  I had to stand up the whole time.  There was some dude spooning me from behind and I was leaning over people.  It was terrible! Masaya is the nicest part of the mission.  There were people with BMWs and Audis.  It was a lot nicer. 

Anyway, Elder Collado had to get a root canal, which stinks for him, but it was awesome for me because we got Pizza Hut.  It tasted just like normal Pizza Hut, super delicious.  It was like the same price too!

Pizza Hut!
We also stopped by one of the stores there and they had an amazing selection of cereal!  We didn’t buy any though because it was too expensive. It was hilarious though.  Elder Collado didn’t know a lot about the cereal and asked me which was the best.  I told him to point at the Krave! Hahaha! I hate Krave!

Elder Collado with the Cereal!
Thursday and Friday we just worked super hard with our investigators.  Elder Collado and me walked our whole area.  It is huge.  It kind of stinks because it is just like this huge long street and our house is at the top.  When we leave in the morning everything is downhill but we have to climb it when we want to go back in the night.  Our area has been receiving a little less work because the ZLs have been worrying about other areas.

Saturday I got to baptize Miguel.  There is a rule that we are only supposed to get in the water and do the baptism 1 time in the mission, but we couldn’t find anyone to baptize so I got to do it!  It was super awesome.

All of my investigators are doing well, we might baptize one of Miguel’s daughters this week, but if not for sure the week after.  The mom and aunt of Felipe, the kid who was confirmed here my first Sunday, are progressing and they have a baptismal date for the 22nd.

On Sunday we got 6 people to come to sacrament meeting, so everything is going great.  

I hope everyone is doing well at home!  Let me know how you all are doing!  Love you all!

Elder Hanson

Lunch Today!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Another Week In Paradise!

Thanks for the package Jones Family!

Friends and Family,

How is everyone doing at home?  I hope everyone is doing well, and not crashing too many cars (Ri, but I'm glad everyone is safe) hahah.  I don’t really care about the car I'm just glad everyone is ok. This week flew by.  With so many things to do everyday and investigators to teach, you just get caught up in the week.  Today is actually my 2-month mark here in Nicaragua, and this week is halfway through my first cambio!

I would first like to send a shout out to JJ and Lewis Jones from Connecticut for the package.  It had a bunch of food in it!  It was awesome.  It was just what I needed. 

Not much happened here, I got to go to Rivas on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with one of the ZL's, Elder Collado.  Rivas is super hot, close to the lake, and you can see the volcano.  I forgot to take pictures but it is cool!  It is like 30 minutes to the border of Costa Rica, and supposedly there are some cool beaches.  Obviously I'm not allowed to visit those.

Our purpose of going was to set an example for the DL there.   It was great.  We placed 8 baptismal dates the first day.  It was crazy.  The DL was blown away.  Anyway we have a goal in our zone for 50 baptisms this month, which is super high considering the average the past 2 years is like 12-15.  Our number last month was 18, the highest in 2 years.  We're all working super hard to achieve this goal and to raise the zone. Things are going great!

Trying to reach our daily contacting goal can be crazy.  I contacted a whole bus this week, it was a great time.  I was always embarrassed before my mission with stupid stuff like that but I have had no fear here.  I can talk to any person, any group of people, and I don’t even care what they think about me.  I'm not going to see the majority of them ever again and maybe they’ll remember the white kid with Spanish that isn’t exactly perfect! 

The weather has really cooled down here.  It rains almost every day, but one of my North American friends in my district went to Managua today and he said it was super hot.  Our area is supposedly "blessed" because of the weather, we have dinner appointments occasionally, and because we haven’t even had the time to contact our whole area.  I'm stoked to keep working here. 

That’s all that really happened during the week, and we didn’t have any baptisms on Saturday.  We have 2 planned for this Saturday, but probably only one will work out.  The one that will work out is the husband of my first baptism.  He is super awesome.  We leave pamphlets and reading assignments in the Book of Mormon, and then when we come back he pretty much teaches us the lesson.  He is an example to me and my companions of how to obtain a strong testimony.

I know that if we read, pray, and ponder like it talks about in the introduction of the Book of Mormon we can obtain strong testimonies, just like my investigators.  I am loving it here in Nicaragua and the work is going super well.

This email is super short but nothing really exciting happened here, so I hope all of you are being adventurous at home or on your missions.  I love you all!

Elder Hanson

Eating at "Tip Top" with the District

Our Bedroom

Elder Collado

Getting an Early Start on Christmas!