Monday, 26 January 2015

After the funeral

After Derek got home from the funeral today and sent this.
   Today at the funeral there was honestly like 800 people there, it was crazy. Lots of family members and friends that love the Hansen family. There was also some RM's from this mission that are going to school in Utah now who were able to come.
   The funeral service was incredible, lot's of amazing musical numbers and talks just for Sister Hansen and her family. Today Elder Clayton spoke again along with some of President Hansen's children. The last speaker though was Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. It was an incredible experience to hear him speak live and right in front of us, like WOW! It was awesome, and everything went very smoothly today.
   I'm so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration of the Gospel. We're so blessed to have this knowledge of eternal families and we should always try to share this knowledge with others.
   Love all of you and take care!
   Elder Strate

Baptism Saturday - Funeral today

Hey everyone,
     I'm sorry if I didn't reply to your emails this morning because we have a crazy day ahead and don't have a lot of time! 
     First off we have a funeral for our mission President's wife today at 11 am, and we need to be there at 10 so sorry for the short letters today! We had a memorial service for her last Saturday with the whole mission and the Hansen family. It went really well, there were a few general authorities there that know the Hansen's so they came and gave some incredible talks. We had Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy and Elder Clayton from the Presidency of the 70 give talks, our President spoke to us too. He's doing remarkably well, he's taking everything really good. I talked to him on the phone Thursday morning before we found out, and he sounded normal. He was enthusiastic when he answered the phone, just like he always is. Elder Firpo and I couldn't believe it, he seemed perfectly normal even though a few hours prior to that phone call his wife passed away. He's an amazing man, I don't want a new Mission President! He's such an incredible person and all of us are going to miss him so much!
     Sister Hansen was an incredible person, she always had a smile on her face. She was spreading the gospel at every chance available and was fearless! She always taught us about personal polish, like always shining our shoes, having nice haircuts, stuff like that. She had an amazing sense of humor too, and I honestly love her and President Hansen so much. 
     In other news, we had a baptism on Saturday too! I baptized a guy named Juan Juarez, he's an incredible person. After I pulled him out of the water, he gave me a big hug and said, "I feel incredible, thanks so much Elder Strate." I almost started crying, it was incredible. I love the people in our area and the people we're teaching so much. They're all awesome and I can't wait to continue working with them.
     My companion is getting transferred tomorrow, NOOO!!!! Haha I love Elder Firpo, he's such a boss. We won't be able to cheer together when Seattle wins the Super Bowl this Sunday!     
     AAAHHHH! Lol my new companion is named Elder Osbourne, I don't know anything about him but I'll pick him up tomorrow morning. I'm staying in Bountiful, and I'm really happy! I love it here and we have a few more people we'll be putting on date for baptism soon. 
     I've had a rough week as a missionary, we've had a massive tragedy in our mission but we'll see how the next few weeks go. I love the mission, no matter what happens I'll always try my best to stay positive. Love you guys and have a wonderful week! I'm doing good with everything, I was shocked when I found out and felt really depressed, but the work of the Lord must push on. 
Elder Strate

1st is us with Juan at his baptism
2nd is me with my little Canadian flag I found  

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sister Hansen passes away

SALT LAKE CITY — The wife of the president of the LDS Church's Utah Salt Lake City Mission died unexpectedly Wednesday after she collapsed at the mission home.
Carol Vaughn Curran Hansen, wife of President Stephen W. Hansen, was 69. She was in excellent health and actively serving as she fulfilled a lifelong dream of serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"It's surreal," said her oldest child, Ken Hansen of Cedar Hills, Utah. "This was completely sudden."
"She loved her mission," he added. "She loved the missionaries. She loved serving here, so close to the heart of the church. She had not served a mission as a young woman and she had always wanted to serve and was thrilled to be doing so alongside my dad."
A statement released by the church described her passing as quiet, and Ken Hansen confirmed that it was peaceful and without trauma.
The church expressed condolences.
"President and Sister Hansen have served together as he has presided over the Salt Lake City Mission since July of 2013," church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. "They are deeply loved by their family, church leaders and their missionaries. We pray for each of them at this difficult time and extend our love to President Hansen and his family.”
The mother of eight raised her family of four boys and four girls in Minneapolis, Minn. The Hansens retired to St. George, Utah, where they enjoyed golfing together and where she served as a Sunday School teacher and temple ordinance worker when the call came to serve in Salt Lake City.
The wife of an LDS Church mission president plays a major role in the mission. The average mission has about 200 missionaries, most between the ages of 18 and 22.
Carol Hansen worked closely with the sister missionaries and managed the health and physical well-being of all the missionaries, said Ken Hansen, who described part of his parents' role as being like the mother and father of a very large group of young adult children.
Carol Hansen also trained the missionaries in conferences, standing in front of mission leadership meetings and providing spiritual instruction.
"She was a wonderful and powerful teacher," Ken Hansen said.
She also was a creative force. Musical by nature, her son remembers her as always involved in a production when he was growing up.
For the past 19 months, her creativity centered chiefly on missionary work, her son said.
"She was always busy creating graphics, posters, bookmarks and handouts for the missionaries to use and to see and understand their goals."
Previously, she served in many church callings, such as stake music chairman and director, ward Relief Society teacher, ward Young Women adviser and seminary teacher.
Hansen was born in Washington, D.C., to Philip Douglas and Frances Adelaide Metcalf Curran.
The LDS Church has more than 84,000 missionaries serving in 406 missions worldwide. The church recently announced another 11 missions will be open in July.
Each mission is led by a mission president whose wife, depending on individual and family circumstances, has responsibilities for training and caring for sister missionaries.

Monday, 19 January 2015


Hey everyone!
     First off I'll get the football stuff out of the way, so I heard Seattle won! I heard a lot about the game from a member, and it sounded like a garbage game. Like super fun to watch but it was crap, like Green Bay should have won. We walked into a members house to drop of some stuff from the church and right when we came in, I saw the last play of the game, when Russell Wilson made that ridiculous throw to Kearse in the end zone, that was an unbelievable play. After that the member showed me the stats on his phone, and I couldn't believe Seattle won with Wilson throwing 4 ints, like that's so lucky for the Seahawks haha. Looks like Lynch had a monster game though, and he was probably the difference in the end in terms ofSeattle having a chance to win. I couldn't believe we held Rodgers to only like 180yrds passing, that's crazy. I remember we talked before I left and I said the only team in the whole NFL I was scared of was the Packers, and now everyone knows why. I knew whoever would win yesterdays game is going to win the Super Bowl in a few weeks. Packers or Seahawks, doesn't matter. The Patriots don't have good matchups against either team, and the Broncos, well we saw the result of that last year :) haha. 
     When I found out about the game it was bitter sweet because I knew you'd probably have a heart attack from the result of the game, and plus it was against the Packers. I honestly like the Packers a lot and Rodgers is one of my favorite players, he better win the NFL MVP this year he deserves it. Sherman or someone better get Defensive player because our offense honestly sucks this year compared to last year, well from what I've heard. The only reason we're going back to the Super Bowl is because of our defense, love our defense. 
     I already told Mom but if Seattle wins, I want you guys to send me a shirt that says, "Repeat Super Bowl Champions" or something like that. I want a green one if they have them but if they don't, can I please have a white one? Haha that would be awesome.
     Girls- Be nice to Dad this week, it sounds like he might be incapable of doing some things after the hard loss the Packers had yesterday at the hands of the Seahawks :) haha have a great week!
     Now back to the real work, Missionary work! This week was very slow for us, probably the slowest on my mission so far. This week we had a ton of our lessons cancel and lots of people dropped us or we dropped them because they were just being annoying. Like we would set up appointments and they wouldn't be there. It's just been wasting our time, so this week we're going to work hard at finding! We'll find some more I'm sure, I can't wait! 
     We have a baptism lined up for this Saturday. A man we found a few weeks ago named Juan Juarez is very excited for his baptism this saturday and he's very prepared, He's going to be a solid member after he's baptized, his testimony is fantastic. We also have a Venezuelan family of 4 that is getting baptized on February 7th so we're very excited for them too! The girl that I skyped with on Christmas, her name was Nicole, also finally found a place! She can move in on Feb 1st so the plan is to baptize her on Valentines day! But we'll get that figured out for sure this week. 
     I started reading a book that Grandma French sent me for Christmas called the Little Book of Inspirational Stories for Missionaries. It's full of poems, stories, excerpts from talks in conference, and lots of scriptures! I read a story that was really interesting, and it really made me reflect on my attitude. 
     The story goes like this; There was an old, wise man sitting beside a gate leading into a big city. One traveler came to the gate and asked the man, "What are the people like in this city?". The wise man replied with an intelligent question, "What type of people are in the city you're from?" The traveler replied, "The people in my city were all selfish, ludicrous, hags with no sense of sensitivity for other people." The wise man answered, "You'll find the same type of people in this city, you might as well just leave." 
     On this remark, the man left looking for another city in which he could live.
     Another traveler came to the gate and asked the old, wise man the same question, "What are the people like in this city?" The wise man replied with the same question, "What type of people are in the city you're from?" The new traveler replied enthusiastically, "I loved the people from whence I used to live, they were smart and loving. They gave all that they had and worshiped God constantly. They were very humble and gave thanks for everything they had. I just left because I got hired for a new job in this city." The wise man responded to this positive remark rapidly, "Then you will find the exact same type of people here, go on in and make yourself at home, welcome!" 
     This story hit me because it's the exact same city, but the new move in (For me like if I get transferred) had a different attitude. The people in the city didn't change, but his attitude did. The wise man truly was very wise to understand this basic principle of life. It's all about our attitude in certain situations. 
     Love you guys lots and thanks for all your constant support, I pray for you daily too.
     Elder Strate

Monday, 12 January 2015

Starting 6 months! Busy week in Utah - spiritual experiences galore

Hola!                                                                                            January 12, 2015
            Que pasa? Lol I hope you're all doing good in the Great White North. It's been raining here instead of snowing which is super weird for me, but I'm not complaining haha! 
            We had 3 people baptized this last Saturday. First was Maricielo, she's from Peru. We were co-teaching her with the YSA Sisters, Sister Samartano and Sister Goormastic, because she speaks Spanish, but she wants to attend the YSA ward because she has more friends there, and she came to Utah to learn English so she has been going to the YSA ward, but we taught her haha. It was an amazing experience, the Sister Samartano is from Milan Italy, and Sister Goormastic is from Connecticut. Maricielo has such a soft heart and I am so blessed to know her! She's going back to Peru in a few months but she's already a strong member. She's an amazing person and I honestly love her so much! (not in a creepy way haha) 
            The other 2 people were Teresa and Marlon, they are also amazing people. Marlon is only 8 years old and is slightly autistic so we had to teach him in a very visual way so he would understand. He's a really smart kid, he just needed to be taught in a different style and it was a blast watching him grow and mature. After Elder Firpo baptized him, he yelled "I DID IT!" It was super cute and super funny, he told us afterwards that he felt really good. Teresa is Marlon's Mom, she's a single mom with 4 kids all under the age of 9, it's crazy how she does it! She works during the night while they're sleeping and then she sleeps during the day while they're at school! She is an inspirational lady for all of us, if she can endure all of these problems in her life and still be able to come to church, and keep the commandments then most of us have no reason not too. Her kids are Marlon (8), Madison (6), Nate and Lexi (Twins that are both 4), so she's really busy all the time, but she's very humble and grateful for Christ in her life. 
            The Guadarrama family were blessing and passing the Sacrament at church yesterday, it's been amazing to watch them grow too. I also gave Teresa and Marlon the Holy Ghost at church, and it was in SPANISH! It was my first time giving someone the Holy Ghost and it was also the first time I've given someone a blessing in Spanish. I was super nervous, and I messed up a bit but it's all part of learning a language. I did better than I thought I would haha but It was amazing to give them that precious gift. 
           I love the Lord and all the blessings he provides for all of us. He's very gracious and loving to all of us, and it's never too late for us to change. The atonement of Jesus Christ is eternal, and so are our covenants. We must always fulfill them and use the atonement in our lives. None of us should be satisfied with how we are, we should always want to improve. God always wants us to progress, we either progress or fall. We can't stay at the same level anymore, the world is just to wicked for that. We either progress or fall, so I suggest we choose to progress. We're all in this together, just like a team in basketball. When we work together and help each other overcome our trials and difficulties, we will all progress together faster.
            As for NFL Picks, I've only gotten 1 game wrong in the playoffs so far. I'm 7-1 right now, pretty good considering I don't watch the games. This week whoever wins the NFC Championship between the Seahawks and Packers will win the Super Bowl. That's a guarantee. The Colts and Patriots don't have good enough defenses to beat the Packers or the Seahawks. I'm picking the Seahawks and Patriots to win this week. Seahawks win in a close hard fought game by about 3-5 points, and Patriots win by about 10-14 points. 
            I love you all and thanks for all the support you guys always give me! 
            My companion is a boss and I love him! We have very similar personalities and we both love the work of the Lord. Clothes are fine and shoes are good. Yes we have access to washer and dryer whenever we need it. I'm not sure if I'm gaining weight because we don't have a scale that functions in our apartment, but just looking at myself in the mirror every morning I think I've gained a bit of weight, like maybe 10-15 pounds on my mission but I'm tall and slim still, like I think it's more muscle I've gained than fat honestly. I exercise most mornings. The knee is pretty good, there's the occasional day that it gets sore but as long as I wear my brace it usually holds up fine.
            Ok normal stuff now haha. I can't believe Sarah is getting that old either, that is insane! Holy Cow! Sounds like basketball is going well, good job Miranda! Thanks so much for your constant love and support so here's an interesting story quick.
            So there's a priest that comes out with us a lot, his name is Reuben Salas and he's a boss. I like him a lot, he plays football and is an Offensive Lineman, he's about 5'10ish but he weighs like 240 I'm guessing, he's super strong and super big and he's only 16 so I like him a lot. Anyways, he was baptized when he was 10 and his family loves missionaries, but one day his Mom (This is the family that gave Elder Berrios and I toques) told us about their conversion, after this story my respect for Reuben went way higher!
            Reuben was born with a heart disorder and the doctors told his parents he would die when he was 11-12ish because his heart would beat too fast and would eventually fail. When his family was investigating the church Reuben was around that age where his parents were starting to get worried, because they knew it could be the beginning of the end for their beloved son. Sister Salas was driving her son, Reuben, to school one day and he told her that his chest was hurting a lot, so she told him to go get it checked by the school nurse. She got a phone call about 5 minutes later and the principal told her to come to the school ASAP because Reuben was being taken to the hospital, his blood pressure was way too high and so was his heart beat. The doctors were able to calm Reuben's heart down, but they told her this was the beginning of the end, which was exactly what they feared. They told Reuben about it, and he asked them about the missionaries. They were really confused because Reuben was only 10 years old, and he even admits he didn't know exactly what was going on during the lessons. 
            The Salas family was very uncertain about this church and whether they wanted to be baptized or not. They liked the missionaries and stuff, but they weren't sure yet whether they were true messengers from God or not. Reuben told his Mom to call the missionaries and have them come over. When they came over Reuben looked at his parents and told them, 'I know they can heal me, but if they can heal me we're all getting baptized on February 27th, ok?" His Parents were like, ok whatever you say son! The missionaries gave him a blessing and through his great faith he was healed, the heart disorder is still there but the affects of it is very minimal, and now he is playing football at a high level. They were all baptized on that day and are some of the strongest members I've ever met in my life.
            I hope that story touched you, it definitely touched me the first time I heard it.
            Oh yeah I've been a missionary for 5 months now, where does the time go?

            Love you and Good luck with everything!
                                    Elder Strate

1st Picture is Maricielo with all the missionaries that taught her.  

2nd Picture is Teresa and Marlon and their family.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Happy New Year

Hey everyone!
     This week was very different than normal, but it was still a great week. On New Years Eve we were told to not proselyte that evening because President was worried about drunk drivers. So our zone went to a members house and watched movies, played games, and ate lots of delicious food from 6-9 that evening. The members were really nice and they told me that they had a son serve in the Calgary mission like 4 years so it was cool to make more connections! We watched Tangled and Monsters University which are both excellent films, and I gladly enjoyed both! I've been working out every morning but it's hard to avoid fatness this time of year because everyone gives you chocolate and candy, but I'm trying my best haha!
     This week was hard for teaching lessons because lots of people were really busy with the end of the holidays so we had lot's of cancellations last week. However, this week is back to normal so we have lots of lessons lined up. We have a baptism this upcoming Saturday for Teresa Hernandez and her son Marlon. Marlon is 8 years old and we are preparing for their baptism daily, it's very exciting! Today I looked back and noticed that so far on my mission I've had these stats so far: 6 People Baptized, and 7 Returning Members (Reactivated Members we count those in this mission). There's always room to improve but I'm so humble and grateful that the Lord has blessed us with people to teach, and the feeling I receive is incredible when someone comes back to church or gets baptized. Our recent converts from last week, The Guadarrama Family, is receiving the Aaronic Priesthood soon. I'm so excited for them! 
     One of the kids in that family, Guillermo (Everyone calls him Memo though) just got a full ride scholarship to Michigan State for football! He's going to be a RB for them next year! I'm so excited and happy for him. He said this year he was the #6 RB in the nation for high school according to college rankings, but he also is planning to serve a mission so we'll see how everything turns out! If you are watching college football next year and see Michigan State, try and find him haha! If you see him, always remember, Derek Strate baptized him! Lol just saying that's pretty cool haha.
     This week for the NFL playoffs I'll pick the Patriots and Colts in the AFC (Sorry Broncos fans) and I'll pick the Packers and Seahawks in the NFC. Ohio State is going to win the National Championship too for college football #UpsetAlert haha
     I'm so happy to be serving here in Utah and I love it here!
            Elder Strate

This picture is my companion Elder Fipro, and he says, "I LOVE CANADA!" Haha I converted him