Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekly Update~ "Following the Spirit"

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm sure I've mentioned that last transfer, President Collings gave us a challenge to go into as many members' homes as possible and share the message of the Restoration in 15 minutes. The purpose of this exercise is to be simple and invite the Spirit and after we testify simply, ask for a referral. If done right with the Spirit present, President promised many referrals would come from it. He was right. We applied this in four different different homes and many referrals came from it that we were able to follow up with on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Thankfully, our teaching pool is now full of many people with tons of potential to progress.

Yesterday evening, we had a neat experience with prayer. Elder Moyes is a master at following the Spirit and I've learned so much from him already. At around 6:30, we were waiting for our investigator, Rajab, but when we called him, he told us he was just leaving his house, a 20 minute walk away. I thought it would be a good idea to go visit Andrew, who lived 5 minutes from the church, because he left church early and I wanted to find out why. But Elder Moyes stopped me and asked me if we could pray about it. To be honest, I was a little confused, because I thought it would be an effective way to use our time and it was close, so we could leave right when Rajab got there. But Elder Moyes brought up the idea that if we waited for Rajab, we wouldn't be able to meet with Alpha at 7:30. Alpha was a younger man that we met last Monday evening while visiting a less-active. When we were there, we shared the Living Christ with all who were present and set a return appointment with Alpha in the weekend. And so, we prayed about it. After waiting, we felt that we needed to cancel with Rajab, go see Andrew and maybe another individual, then go see Alpha. We found out why when we got there. At that particular time, Alpha was home with his mother, Sarah, who spoke great English, and had not been to church in some time because of a leg condition she had developed. We invited her to participate in the lesson, as we shared with Alpha the message of the Restoration. From the moment we said "amen" to the opening prayer, both were so engaged, asking questions, repeating what we were saying for clarification, and sharing insights. The Spirit was so strong in the house throughout the entire lesson and both accepted baptism dates in May. When we got back to the truck, Elder Moyes and I knew that we had to be in that home at that time for a reason and just poured out our hearts in prayer in gratitude to Heavenly Father for the blessings we saw throughout that day and that week. There is nothing better as a missionary than feeling a feeling of peace and approval that comes from the Spirit when following a prompting. 

There are many amazing things that are on the brink of happening in this zone and stake as we continue to work with the members. 

I love you all,
Elder Hazen
His Companion is Headed Home

Saying Goodbye to Elder Ward

Rainy Season


Locked Keys in the Truck

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekly Update~ "Prince of Peace"

Dear Family and Friends,

I am thankful for the Savior and the peace I feel in knowing him, his attributes, and his infinite atonement. We had a characteristically busy transfer week, no surprises about that, but the highlight of course was Easter. Elder Moyes has officially returned to Uganda from Ethiopia after a direct flight there from Rwanda. We enjoyed MLC on Friday and were anxious to apply the things we learned. One of my favorite talks from General Conference was President Nelson's on Drawing the Power of Jesus into our Lives. We began applying both of his challenges to read all 57 subtopics on the Savior in the Topical Guide and to study the Living Christ and personally, I have seen my testimony increase. I had a clear prompting Friday morning to share the Living Christ with as many individuals as possible over the weekend in preparation for Easter and on Easter Sunday. We acted upon that and had some neat experiences with members, recent converts, and even used it in our finding efforts. 

 In one particular experience, after street contacting out in front of the church waiting for someone to show up, we decided to leave and knock doors because we had been waiting for over 30 minutes. As we were driving down a road, we felt prompted to go into a particular compound we saw up one of the roads. I slammed on the brakes, reversed, and parked the truck, and went into the compound. After seeing that the gate was open, we went inside and looked for any signs for people at home. At the very last home, we saw a car parked outside and a door open and felt drawn to it. When we got there, a younger woman in her late 20's answered the door and we asked her if we could share a short Easter message. She invited us inside, but we were unable to go because we didn't have a member with us. Just then, as we were standing on the porch, the member we were supposed to meet at the church called us, and told us he was there. We told the lady we'd be back in 10 minutes, ran to the truck, hauled to the church, picked up the member, and drove back. We read the Living Christ word for word, and discussed briefly about it. The fact that we were Mormons came up and she told us she had Mormon friends from South Africa. She said, "My friends always tell me about your church and how there is just a natural feeling of belonging there. Why is that?" We testified simply of principles of truth from the Plan of Salvation and told her we are all brothers and sisters in God's family and that knowledge brings us closer. We brought up the Book of Mormon and read a few verses from Mosiah 3 and set a return appointment. Before we left, we felt prompted to testify of the Savior as being the Prince of Peace. She told us it was exactly what she needed to hear because she had a niece pass away the day before during child birth and both her and the baby didn't make it. She also had a brother in a bad car accident two days before that. 

I testify the Savior is the Prince of Peace and that his Atonement is the greatest thing that has ever happened in the world. I'm thankful each day for the opportunity I have to testify of him and his reality as the living Son of God.

I love you all,
Elder Hazen

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekly Update~ "General Conference Edition 2: The Gospel Is So Simple!"

Dear Family and Friends,

I testify that there is no greater joy that comes in this life than from living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I rejoiced over the weekend as I received answers to personal questions, but more so when I saw investigators and recent converts discussing with us and others around them about the notes they took and the impressions they had listening to modern day prophets and apostles. I was amazed, because it wasn't easy for most of them to be there. Many told me they had been sick the previous day, or they were traveling and got home early in the morning, or were working overnight, but they exercised their faith nonetheless to be there on time to hear President Monson speak and announce the temple in Kenya. That was such a tender mercy. What added to my joy was during the break listening to a group of recent converts talking to some of our investigators about how happy they were when they were baptized and encouraging them to begin down their own covenant path. 
Andrew's Baptism
The constant thought I had while listening to the Brethren was this line from a scripture found in 2 Nephi 25:4:"For behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn." As we reviewed with Andrew, one of God's elect sons who was baptized this weekend, what he had learned at conference, he told us he loved all the words spoken, but a lot of the topics were things he had learned already from his pamphlets he had been reading. Isn't it great the gospel is so simple? As Elder Cook explained, a foundation is built slowly, one brick at a time, precept by precept, here a little, there a little. We believe in a Godhead governing the universe. This Godhead is comprised of three separate, distinct, beings. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. The Father and the Son have bodies of flesh and bone as tangible as man's and the third is a personage of Spirit. They are united in their work, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of God's children. That is their goal, and their plan, is the great Plan of Redemption. Part of this plan is coming to earth and experiencing a mortal life. We have been given guides, or a care package, to navigate this life, and part of it, includes living prophets and apostles. I'm thankful for the counsel received this weekend from these chosen servants of God directed to help us in this mortal life. I loved how the brethren got back to basics. Truly, as Elder Clayton emphasized, no matter what our trial or tribulation, simple acts of faith such as reading the scriptures, praying, and sabbath worship will solve all problems, even if these simple acts of faith have no correlation whatsoever to them. I also loved the talks on the Holy Ghost. When Elder Stevenson talked about Fernando and his young family and the peace that overcame him upon his discovery of the fatal accident that took his wife and young unborn child. It was what I felt when I discovered Grandma Melendez passed away in January. I know the Holy Ghost is the Comforter. The biggest thing I took away from the conference, going back to Elder Cook's talk, a life of discipleship, devoted to the work of the Lord and following his will is lived one righteous action at a time. I know that the Lord is patient and loving and rejoices in each of our righteous choices and the fact we are even trying. I know that when I or others fall short of expectations, I can take solace in the fact that our Heavenly Father doesn't look at us with the eyes of the world, but for what we can become. I know if I take it one day at a time, I will be able to look at others with these same eyes and have that same love Heavenly Father has for me.

Transfers are this week as well as MLC. Elder Moyes, a man like unto captain Moroni, will be my new companion and I am looking forward to it more than anything. I love you all.
Mission Leader Conference
Mission Leader Dinner
Little fountains in the middle of the table
Huge Lazy Susan to feed all these Missionaries

Elder Hazen

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekly Update~ "General Conference Edition 1"

Dear Family and Friends,
My emails are going to have a common theme for the next two weeks as they will be focused on General Conference. Can you blame me? We are so unbelievably blessed to have Prophets, Seers, and Revelators in this present world we live in who communicate directly with God who tell us exactly what he wants us to know.  Conference for most of you has already come and gone, but Elder Chifamba and I are gearing up and preparing everyone and their dog to make it priority to be at the chapel in Nsambya on Saturday and Sunday. It reminds me of 6 months ago when Brother Ndarra stayed for all 4 sessions of conference, and soon thereafter, was baptized with his wife and three children. If the Spirit can testify to the hearts of these 5 wonderful people as they listened to Conference, then it absolutely can happen to others. 

If you are wondering what kind of impact the Kenya Nairobi temple announcement has on Uganda, it is monumental. Uganda is currently part of the Johannesburg South Africa temple district and it is nearly impossible to travel there as a family without the assistance of the Temple Patron Assistance fund. With it, only one trip is guaranteed, leaving many members here with only one visit to the temple in their lifetime. The Kenya Nairobi temple on the other hand, when completed, will be 40 dollars roundtrip for a bus ticket. The comparison is night and day. There are so many faithful, ready members of the church here ready to receive temple blessings for themselves, and their families, and many anxiously awaiting to return again. I am so excited for the people of East Africa and the blessings will begin to pour in waves upon this people as they begin to catch the image of what the temple means for them. 

I was able to watch the second half of the Sunday Morning session live at Bishop Omuya's house with him and his family. Sister Omuya made banana pancakes for us and it made me feel like I was with my own family at home in the basement enjoying German Pancakes conference breakfast which I'm sure they were doing at that very time. I'm thankful to be a member of this church and I know that it is true. 

I love you all,
Elder Hazen