Today's the day, in a few hours I'm finally heading out to Uganda! My experience at the MTC is one that I will cherish forever. I've learned so much, made so many memories, and made so many new friends. And the fun part hasn't even started!! Here are some of the highlights...
I don't know if i've told you, but throughout this week, Elder Packer and I have been teaching two progressing investigators. It's basically a big role play with teachers posing as people investigating the church and we teach full length 25 minute lessons with them. I've learned that it's important to teach based on particular people's needs, not teach cookie cutter lessons that are sometimes impersonal and emotionless. We as missionaries aren't the teachers. It's all about humbling yourself enough to let the spirit work through you to touch the people's hearts. We committed both investigators to baptism friday and the spirit was so strong during all the lessons throughout the week. I'm so excited for the real thing!
We had an in-field orientation which is basically a pump up for the mission field for all the elders leaving. There was a portion of the time devoted to explaining why using members of the church is important to finding investigators and we got to do a role play where we shared a short message with a family then ask if they had any referrals. Really cool experience and it got me so excited to work with those amazing people out in Uganda.
We had two new districts come in and Elder Packer and I had the opportunity to conduct an orientation with them. There were some really cool stories from them. One sister is deferring a softball scholarship from Kansas to serve. One Elder is a convert of barely a year and brought the most energy and excitement out of anyone of the group, there's a few Elders who were baseball players so I had a good time talking to them:) and then one Elder played football in Australia and is a lineman. He is being recruited by Texas A&M, Nebraska, and many other prestigious football programs. He's a moose. 6'7 315lbs haha there are few times in my life where I've felt small standing by someone and that was one of those times. It's awesome to see the amount of faith people have to put aside their lives for two years even when they have amazing opportunities that would give them a valid excuse not to serve and do it anyway. Every night as a zone, we pray together and the new districts are 2 floors below us. The last few nights, Elder Guffey, (the football player) has made me carry him on my back up the stairs. Last night I was finally able to get him up the two flights of stairs haha.
Last night we had an awesome musical devotional. A musical group called the Nashville Tribute band performed. They sang a bunch of original songs about the Restoration, Joseph Smith, the pioneers, and their missions. It was like a gospel Mumford and Sons concert because they had a country/folky flare to them but the spirit was so strong. My favorite part was when the choir was able to join in singing with them about serving in all parts of the world and kids from missions all around the world sang in their native languages. so cool.
Well I leave in a few hours but I just want you all to know how much I love you and that you are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves you beyond comprehension. No matter what you are going through in your lives, know that your Savior, Jesus Christ understands your trials and times of hardship and he will be with you every step of the way.
Love, Elder Hazen