Hans at 17

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I’ve been pestering Hans for weeks, “What do you want for your birthday?” and last night he finally came up with a request:

“Could you make me a lunch tomorrow? I never have time on Monday mornings and have to wait until I get home to eat.”

Why? Because even though Monday is ‘late start’ day with school opening at 8:20 rather than 7:20, Hans wakes at 5:00 a.m. every Monday to travel to the Salt Lake Temple for baptisms. Naturally a night owl rather than a morning person, Hans worries much more about serving others than his need for sleep or food.

Told ya’ teenagers are awesome.

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the James Bond look and the smile

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Erik and I are amazed by Hans. This summer he applied for a humanitarian trip to the Philippines (which feels even more urgent now); not only does he need to earn $3000 for travel expenses, but the group he’s going with requires extended service hours during the school year. They’ll be teaching at schools and orphanages as well as constructing buildings, and the group wants to make sure they have plenty of experience before they go. I watch in awe as Hans juggles five AP classes, serves at the Boys and Girls Club and Lowell Bennion Center and fits in masses of odd jobs (cleaning gutters, raking, weeding etc.) as he strives towards the $3000 goal. And still, he manages to have a decent social life, take time to play with his siblings and spend half his Saturday helping a neighbor move.

Blessed with a grateful heart, Hans takes nothing for granted: “thanks for making bread.” “thanks for my new toothbrush, mommy.” (he calls me mommy just to make me happy). “Thanks for making me lunch. That was the best present ever.” (ham & cheese sandwich and a handful of grapes)

In fact, Hans’ only flaw might be expecting that sort of gratitude from everyone. I have to remind him we can’t expect his younger siblings to be quite as perfect as him yet.

Hans’ heroes are his dad, Grandpa Fritz and Dr. Steve Edgley (read about him here; he’ll be one of your heroes too). Those three men reflect Hans’ primary values: a life of service, personal improvement, appreciation for God’s creations and laughter.

Happy Birthday Hans! We love and adore you.

p.s. Hans just surpassed me in height. We both cheered. He doesn’t care about reaching 6’4″ but it’s nice to be taller than your mother.

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