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Monday, December 15, 2014

Turning Down My First Mission Call Was the Best Decision

In March of 2009 I received my first mission call. "Elder Hansen you have hereby been called to the Tennessee Nashville Mission... Reporting July 22, 2009." Now I was truly excited for this. My mail went to my parents house as I was attending BYU Idaho. I had my dad fax me down my mission call. The lady there let me pull it off so I would be first to see. In excitement I read the previous words. I was grateful for the opportunity to be stateside so after my mission I could visit frequently.

My semester had ended and I went back to work and saving money. Not even a month of being home my excitement had changed. I called my Stake President to inform him I was cancelling my mission. After a discussion he did so. What I didn't know was that the next few months were gonna become one of the most difficult times of my life to this point. I was very unhappy. Struggling to stay active, because of my decision. Scared I was gonna be judged. Well I was judged. My closest friends helped me stay aboard and semi-active. The day I was supposed to be in utah I was picking up my new car. Life was good, but truthfully it sucked. My attitude had changed my life was on a down hill slope. I wasn't a very social person and this made it even worse because of the judgements put on me. I was fortunate to work with and see my mom everyday. One day she told me if I want to go on my mission she will take over my car so I can do so.

After a while I secretly decided it was time to go. In October of 2009 I called my Stake President and all I said was, "I am ready to go." He inquired who this was. When I told him it was me he said,"I was hoping it was you!" in an interview he said,"I hope you are seriously ready because I am not calling and cancelling your mission again. You will be making that phone call." I assured him there wouldn't be a phone call. After a few weeks I received a phone call from him saying, "Eric, your call has been re-issued. You will be going to The Tennessee Nashville Mission, reporting March 31, 2010." For months I prepared seemed I had 5 months to wait.

At work one day I asked my mom, "Will you take over my car for me?" She asked if I was going back to school? I liked at her and said, "Mom, I am going on a mission. I am heading to Nashville March 31." Instantly I saw the tears streaming down her face in joy. It finally came time to be set apart. 7 days before I reported I was set apart as my stake president was leaving on vacation. The time came that we headed down to Utah to get my missionary attire.

Saying goodbye to my family was not hard at all. I was ready to go. After the welcoming I looked at my family, gave them all hugs and said goodbye without a tear in my eye. I was so scared and excited. I had waited for this time to come. After goodbyes I walked out the door with a smile on my face. My brother Bryan and cousins Brad and Richard we're currently on their missions. Bryan in Baltimore, brad in Boise and Richard in South Carolina. I was joining them in the field. They had encouraged me to do whatever I wanted throughout this whole time.

After flying into Nashville I knew that me waiting was gonna make the difference of my mission. Hard to turn a call down, but it was so worth it. I was more ready to go in every manner. And I knew this was my time to serve. I fell upon hard medical times 2 weeks after getting to Nashville. If I had went the first time I would've been gone home in a flash. My mission president encouraged me stay for months until one day the Apostle Elder Ballard solidified my stay.

The reasons why I say Turning Down My First Mission Call Was the Best Decision are
1. I was not ready is the biggest
2. I matured in that time at home
3. Because it wasn't my time to serve yet

I am thankful I had the courage to turn down a call from The Savior and His Prophet Thomas S. Monson. I had no intentions of going after that, but the Lord changed my mind. It made my mission worth more to me because of the wait and hardship I put myself through. Don't be afraid to turn down a call, but you better have a time already planned when you want to serve because life will go down hill quick. Waiting and then going on my mission was the best decision I made.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Memories of The Past

Looking back on my childhood and teenage years, I have some pretty good memories. As Christmas is right around the corner i look back and reflect on memories with the family. Christmas is ordinarily my time to spend it with family. I live a very busy life and don't often take time to be with them, except Christmas. 3 years ago Dec. 29, 2011 I returned home off of an LDS Mission.

I remember as a little boy I was always so happy to pull out my hot wheels and play for hours on end. I would go on bike rides as much as I could. My family vacations every year was down to Salt Lake City, UT to visit my dads family. In the summers we would go to Lagoon Amusement Park which was my favorite place. Scared to death I would ride the rides and come off of it with the biggest smile ever. Then I made my first visit to my Uncle in Florida which not knowing would become of one of my most visited places. I love every trip I get to Florida.

I say this not for pitty, but for years I was bullied and suffered much verbal abuse. Growing up my friends list was very very small. I didn't understand what it was really like to have friends not of the family. I would hang out with my brothers and other than that my cousins Brad and Mulloy. Even with all the heart ache it brought as a young boy I would do it over again because it is what taught me to be who I am. At times I was the saddest kid ever to my family, but always smiling to everyone else. I became one of the most shy kids you would meet. This lasted all the way until I went on to serve my mission when I had no choice. The only way to survive would be to talk to people. Shaking in my shoes to talk I did which was one of the best decisions I ever made.Then living in the area of Nashville, TN would also become one of my favorite places on earth where I grew.

Over the past 24.5 years I look back in total amazement at where I am now compared to where I was and where I wanted to be. I thought I would either be a teacher or a police officer. Definitely not working in the Oil Industry. Starting out as a kid who almost knew nothing of the industry I have worked my way up the ladder and will always continue to do so. Through many trials and blessings I learned the attribute of totally relaxed to the point that almost nothing bothers me anymore. Went from a yelling little boy to a very soft spoken adult. It amazes me how much different things influence our lives. Whether good or bad everything is always a learning lesson which really depends on how you interpret it.

I am so grateful for my upbringing and learning. I am so grateful for the blessings that God gives me daily when I do not deserve them. Oh how great the joy is.

Shall we always reflect and know there is good to come I hope for everyone.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Lost Sheep

A few weeks ago I was converting a chicken barn into a sheep barn. During the day we would move them outside and in the night we would put them back in. On this one occasion when we went to put them back inside two gates had been left open. Like so many different animals they all run for freedom. Sometimes there are some that get away. That day a few of them got away! After a while and we got most herded together heading into the barn the others would come one by one. There was one last sheep who kept wandering and enjoying its open space. After most were in the barn it realized it was the only one not with the group. It worked its way towards the rest, but there were barriers that kept it from being reunited with the others. It tried many different routes to get back to the group whether it meant pushing on the panels which didn't move or trying to move other obstacles. After a while it realized it was not going to be able to be with the rest on its own because it had wandered and put obstacles in its way. At this point we were able to walk up and open the gate to allow it to reunite with the rest. 

We can look at this in soo many ways. This experience made me think of the gospel as we always talk about "LOST SHEEP" in our areas. 

As we grow up our parents teach and help direct us in our lives. We get to a certain point where we go out on our own and learn. Somethings we truly have to learn by ourselves. We get out on our own in total freedom; some go wild as they call it and experience different things. Others stay close to the things they already know. Some go and experience immorality, drugs, alcohol, etc... Some won't ever go and try these things. Either way we can't judge them. Some come back to the fold and others wander for many years, sometimes the rest of their life. 

Why do some come back when they are having so much fun? Some come back because they learn that fun is not actually fun. Others come back because of another who was willing to put their friendship on the line to share the gospel. Others come back just because. Maybe something happens in their life which brings them back. We need to receive them with open arms. Receive them as the Master Jesus Christ will receive you.

Our Savior taught us in Luke 15 verses 1-7 the parable of the lost sheep,
 
 1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

 Like the sheep in my experience above certain obstacles were put in its way that had to be moved for it to return. In our lives we sin which are our obstacles that prevent us from returning to the full presence of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We must repent of these sins so that we can receive the fulness of the Gospel and all that comes with it. As we do this we return to a presence of happiness and a knowledge which is not given from man, but from Him. 
 
 Jesus Christ would do anything He could to gather His Lost Sheep. The Savior voluntarily paid the ultimate price for all mankind that we may be received through repentance back into the Gates of Heaven. 

When we physically get to see Him we will have the opportunity to touch His hands which were pierced for our sins on the Cross of Calvary and in the Garden of Gethsemane. In John 15:13, Christ says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

 “As surely as the rescue of those in need was the general conference theme of October 1856, so too is it the theme of this conference and last conference and the one to come next spring. It may not be blizzards and frozen-earth burials that we face this conference, but the needy are still out there—the poor and the weary, the discouraged and downhearted, those “[falling] away into [the] forbidden paths” we mentioned earlier, and multitudes who are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.” They are all out there with feeble knees, hands that hang down, and bad weather setting in. They can be rescued only by those who have more and know more and can help more. And don’t worry about asking, “Where are they?” They are everywhere, on our right hand and on our left, in our neighborhoods and in the workplace, in every community and county and nation of this world. Take your team and wagon; load it with your love, your testimony, and a spiritual sack of flour; then drive in any direction. The Lord will lead you to those in need if you will but embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been taught in this conference. Open your heart and your hand to those trapped in the twenty-first century’s equivalent of Martin’s Cove and Devil’s Gate. In doing so we honor the Master’s repeated plea on behalf of lost sheep and lost coins and lost souls.” Jeffrey R. Holland

I challenge us all in this New Year to take a new stand on where we are in our lives. Where we are heading and where we plan to be in the future. Are you gonna be the Lost Sheep or are you gonna help to bring those Lost Sheep back into the fold?  

I know that as you do as the Savior would have you do, you will find the peace, strength and help that you stand in need of. He will lead you to the things which you earnestly plead on your knees for.