Week 9. The Weeks Fly By

The weeks fly by. It truly doesn’t feel that long ago that I was writing last week’s message. But here I am again and I don’t even know where to begin.
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This week’s post may be shorter than normal. My brain is abuzz with everything that has been happening and I’m afraid it would all come out in a jumbled mess if I tried to talk about everything.
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But… here we go. I’ll try.
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We had Mike’s baptism last Saturday. That was a wonderful, special, and beautiful occasion. I was asked to play the piano (shocker) and felt grateful for the opportunity to be employed in that way. I accompanied a friend of Mike’s singing I Stand All Amazed for the musical number as well as playing the opening and closing hymns and prelude. I’m just playing piano everywhere! But it’s marvelous. I truly, truly love it.
Mike Hasford baptism.October 19, 2013 Elders Daas & Niumatalolo, Sister Hansen, Mike, Sisters Duval & West, President Center

Mike Hasfjord baptism.October 19, 2013
Elders Daas & Niumatalolo, Sister Hansen, Mike, Sisters Duval & West, President Center

But the baptism itself is what is more important than me playing the piano. The Spirit was so strong and Mike’s face was about ready to crack, he was smiling so much. It was just…happy. That’s the best word for it. Everything about it was happy.
Mike Hasfjord Baptism  October 19, 2013 Michelle Wyson, Melissa Hasfjord, Mike Hasfjord, Matt Wyson, Sisters West, Hansen, &  Duval

Mike Hasfjord Baptism October 19, 2013
Michelle Wyson, Melissa Hasfjord, Mike Hasfjord, Matt Wyson, Sisters West, Hansen, &
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The Wyson family–Mike’s friends and the Ward Mission Leader in one of our wards–was there and was just wonderful. They are just about the coolest people. Sister Wyson (Michelle) comes out with us on appointments and when we tract all the time. We can always count on her to help us out. She loves us and treats us so well. We are so, so grateful for her and her family. And they are hilarious and so good to us.
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Well, I think the theme of this last week has been humility. And forgiveness. One of the things that has seemed to stand out to me a lot lately in my studies is how the Savior approached adversity and hardship. This is in reference to Elder David A. Bednar‘s talk on The Character of Christ from a BYU-Idaho Devotional address in 2003.  I first heard that talk at the MTC and it has already been influencing the way I try to treat others as a missionary. And as a person. I just hope it can influence me more.
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Whenever Jesus Christ was struggling, in pain, persecuted, etc, He turned outward. He worried about others, not about Himself. In every instance where any one of us would fold in and start up the self pity and the wallowing and close off, He would turn out and worry about others. The first example that has stood out to me is found in Matthew 14.
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This chapter begins with Herod beheading John the Baptist. John the Baptist was not only a man whom knew Jesus Christ but he was His friend. He was His cousin. He was family. And when Jesus heard the news of John’s death, He mourned. That was only natural. He wanted to be alone to mourn the loss of His friend and kinsman. Matthew 14:13-23 tells this story:

 13 ¶When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

 15 ¶And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

 18 He said, Bring them hither to me.

 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

 22 ¶And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

When Christ heard of the death of John the Baptist, He desired to be alone to mourn. But when He was followed by a multitude of people and saw their need, He turned outward. He put off His own worries and sorrows and performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. This expression of selflessness is beautiful. And it is one of many. He had every right to go and be alone to mourn, but instead He took care of he people first and then took time to be alone.
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Another beautiful example of the Savior turning outward is found in the account of when He was on the cross. In John 19:26-27, we read:

 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

When Christ was in agony and about to die (see Atonement), He worried about His mother and her care more than He worried about Himself. He called upon His friend, John the Beloved, to take His mother as his own and take care of her. I love this. It is… there are no words.
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My point, in sharing all this, is that in the times when I struggle most… when I am unhappy or offended or in general feeling sorry for myself, I try to stop. I try to stop and think about how Christ would approach the situation. He would turn outward. Every time. So why shouldn’t I? I have found that, nearly every time I am able to actually do this–when I am in situations like that and I reevaluate my disposition and focus on others more than on myself–I feel better. It’s so much easier said than done, but it’s so worth it. I invite you to try it. I’m not saying that any of you are selfish or anything like that, but I can promise that if you take those moments when you are offended, upset, etc. and try to think of others and how you can help them… you will see miracles in your life. You will feel happier more of the time and you will see more beauty in every part of your life. And you will feel more love for everyone around you and that just plain feels good.
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Well, I must conclude now. Transfers are this next week so it might be a little while before I write again on a normal schedule. I will keep everyone posted on any changes that happen with transfers and anything exciting that happens because of those changes! You just never know what will happen! I can’t believe an entire transfer is here and gone. I only have 12 left! Ok… that’s a lot. But hey… slow and steady wins the race. Plus, it’s already rushing by and I don’t want to blink and have my mission be gone! I’ll be content to have it go slow so I can enjoy every minute.
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Well, I’m rambling now. It’s a sign I should stop.
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I love you all! Have a beautiful week and thanks to all of you who have written or emailed. It never fails to lift my spirits. I love hearing from you! Keep writing and if you haven’t been, I’d love to hear from you!
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Love, love, love, and rice and beans,
Sister Hansen
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P.S. Hymn of the week: #89 The Lord is My Light
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Week 8. Man, I cry all the time. Seriously.

Man, I cry all the time. Seriously.

Every day I see something that reminds me of how lucky I am. I get a hug from a friend, I see the light fill the eyes of someone who feels the Spirit for the first time, I feel the Spirit as I think about my family, and then… every week when I write this message, I read about how much I am supported and loved and good grief, I tear up again. Thank you, everyone, for giving me reasons to cry every day. I promise it’s (usually) a good kind of cry. Just like one of my favorite old friends, Pooh Bear, said,
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Saying goodbye before coming on my mission was hard. But being here is so worth every hard goodbye that was said, and every hard moment that is had.
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I had the chance to experience what I can only call a miracle the other day. And if you would, allow me to define the word miracle:
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A few days ago in the Visitors’ Center I took a tour with Sister Anthian. She is from Montreal and speaks French. We took a group of about 7 or 8 women through a few different parts of the center. We started in the Savior of the World room– a room that depicts the life of Jesus Christ with a series of paintings, several of them by Carl Bloch. We asked the group if any had a favorite painting and why. Several stepped up to share. One, in particular went straight to the painting of Christ with Mary Magdalene after His resurrection.

Mary and the Resurrected Christ
Mary and the Resurrected Christ
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She said she loves it because it teaches us that Christ goes to the sinner first. I had honestly never thought of it that way. I’d never looked at the painting that way, but it touched me. It was and is so true. And it had obviously had an effect on the woman who made that observation. It struck me as such a beautiful perspective and later, as I reflected back on it, reminded me of this scripture from the book of Matthew: (Matthew 9:10-13)
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10 ¶And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth,  I  will have  mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to  call the righteous, but sinners to repentance..
Later on in the tour we went by the pictures that show the inside of the St. George temple.  There is a display that talks about what happens in the temple and why temples are so important.  We explained what happens inside the temple, what we learn, what we promise to do, and talked a lot about agency — the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves.
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It felt important to explain and emphasize that all temple work is done to give the opportunity for people to choose to accept the gospel if they didn’t have that chance while they lived.  No one is forced.  Ever.  It turned out that CHOICE to emphasize agency in relation to ordinances and covenants (or promises) was inspired.  It played a huge part in the last part of the tour.  And it struck me just how much of a connection there is between temple work and missionary work.  Both rely heavily on and include completely the concept of AGENCY.
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To conclude the tour, we took them through an exhibit called God’s Plan for His Family. It’s a presentation on the importance of families, and by golly, I cry every time I see it. The Spirit was already so strong. As we closed the video/exhibit, we were led to talk about choices and agency again. I honestly can’t remember all that was said, because of lot of it wasn’t just me talking: it was the Spirit. But I know we spoke of just how true it is that Jesus comes to the sinner. He comes to those that have reached the lowest of the low and He comes especially when we feel we don’t deserve it. He loves us. And He will love us no matter what we do; no matter what choices or mistakes we make. He has a plan for each and every one of us. That plan, put simply, is this: for us to be happy. Period. And He knows we will be happiest when we choose to do the things He has asked us to do. But He will never, ever force us to do those things. And He will always love us, no matter what we choose.
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The Plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Redemetion–the plan that God has for all of us that will allow us to find happiness now and have happiness forever–hit me clearly today as I gave that tour. I shared my testimony with them that I know this is not a gospel for perfect people. Christ did not need to preach to or minister to the perfect. His is a gospel for sinners, people are trying, every day, to be better. It is a gospel of second chances: a gospel of love.
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At the end of that tour, we were all crying. Including me and Sister Anthian. And one of the women thanked us and said that those were exactly the things that they needed to hear. Now, I didn’t know these women. I didn’t know what to say to help them. That’s why I can’t take credit. It was the Spirit of God that worked through me and through Sister Anthian to share and say that things that would help and bring peace to those sweet women who uplifted and taught us.  As a missionary, I feel like I learn far more from the people that I meet than I will ever teach them. And that’s a beautiful thing.
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I can promise you that what I just wrote is true: This is not a gospel for perfect people. It is a gospel of second chances: a gospel of love. Christ comes to those who feel they don’t deserve love and help, to those who feel tired and weary and forgotten, and He lifts them. Please let Him lift you.
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That’s the coolest thing about working in a Visitors’ Center. We have the opportunity to have really beautiful, uplifting experiences every day with new people. And every day I meet new people who I could swear are the coolest people I’ve ever met. And I tell people that. I say, “You are probably one of the coolest people I know.” And it’s true, every time. Because people are cool. And everyone is the coolest person ever because everyone is a child of God. And if that isn’t the coolest thing in the world then… I don’t know. It just is the coolest thing. Period.
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So to all of you reading this blog, you are just about the coolest people I know. Thank you for being a part of my life and letting me have the HONOR of knowing, loving, and learning from you. You are spectacular and I know I am who I am because you’ve touched my life and taught me.
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I just love being a missionary. Truly. And I love the feelings of joy that come from sharing what means more than life to me with people that I love instantly. It’s kind of weird, but I just love everyone! Because I see them the way God sees them. And that’s more love than I can really handle. But I love it. And I love being able to share the gospel and just be excited all the time! Well, not all the time, I have normal times, too.
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One of my favorite Book of Mormon heroes had an enthusiasm for her faith that I want to emulate. Her name is Abish: (Alma 19:16-17)

16 And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father—

 17 Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people.

 
Abish was a convert, but she lived in a time and place where being a disciple of Jesus Christ was against

Abish ran from house to house...

Abish ran from house to house…

the law and could get you killed. Bad news bears, I tell you. But Abish was faithful and worshipped her God and kept her faith strong in secret.

 
When people around her began to believe as well, she just about jumped out of her skin with joy. She “ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people…” that the gospel is real! That it is true! And I can’t imagine how liberated and light she must have felt.
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That’s how I want to be every day. I just want to leap for joy at the opportunity I have to share this message every day.
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So, I leave you, leaping for joy and trying harder every day to be a little better. That’s all we are asked to do. To try a little harder every day. I hope this finds you well and that you can find something in your life that makes you leap for joy. Go leap! And have a marvelous day!
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Much love,
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Sister Hansen

Week 7. General Conference was…stellar!

On the temple steps with Sisters Hee, Pene, and West.

On the temple steps with Sisters Hee, Pene, and West.

"Grandma, Mom, and Me!" Sister Duval trained Sister West, who is training Sister Hansen Sister Duval, left (from Canada), Sister West, center (from Arizona), Sister Hansen, right

“Grandma, Mom, and Me!”
Sister Duval trained Sister West, who is training Sister Hansen
Sister Duval, left (from Canada), Sister West, center (from Arizona), Sister Hansen, right

This week has flown by. I feel like it was just a day or two ago that I was sitting in about the same spot writing last week’s update. It is truly incredible how time flies on a mission. And we have been so busy this week!

First, though, before I talk about what we’ve been up to, I have to tell you Thank You. All of you. Any and every person who reads this blog. Thank you.

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Mom reported that several of you have mentioned to her how much it means to be able to read my post each week. I’m touched. To be honest, when I read that message from her, I cried. It means the world to me to know that what I’m doing can help people at home as well as where I’m serving. Thank you for support, everyone. I can feel, every day, how lucky I am to have so many people thinking good thoughts and believing in me and praying for me. It is incredible to be in my position. I am blessed and humbled daily by just how much I have to be thankful for. My gratitude is beyond words. But I hope this can at least suffice: Thank you. And I love you.
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General Conference was… stellar!  If you didn’t have the chance to watch it, it’s not too late!
STOCK.october-2013-conference-inside-crowdGo to lds.org and the videos for conference are available there. Pretty soon there will be hard copies of all of the talks that were given that you can read in church produced magazines like the Ensign, New Era, and the Friend. Those are spectacular. I have loved reading those while on my mission as part of my study. I used to take them for granted, but now I love them. Go pick up an Ensign and just bask in its awesomeness!
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But anyway, Conference: We loved it. Truly. There were so many wonderful talks and I felt so uplifted and energized and just… ahhh. We were able to watch all four sessions. We saw the Saturday morning session at a member’s home with one of our investigators: Mike. I talked about him in the last post, I believe. But that was great. The kids were running around like wild animals and the baby of the family kept disappearing and having to be rescued from the great outdoors (she was a pro escapee), but the Spirit was still so strong. The room was full of good feelings and we learned so much.
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STOCK.Quilting-180-735707We were able to watch the second Saturday session at an investigator’s home: Christine. She’s so wonderful. She loves to quilt. She has a super high-tech and impressive embroidery machine in her ginormous sewing room. She has said that one day we need to just come hang out and she’ll embroider stuff on a sweatshirt or something for us. Just cuz she likes us. Score. I’m excited for that. We love spending time with Christine. She’s so sweet to us and we are excited to keep teaching her about the Gospel.
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Sunday morning we went to a family’s home: The Tripps. They are members, but not very active, and their two oldest daughters were never baptized. Oh my goodness that home is nuts. They all have so much energy. And their enormous dog, Blue, is, like, my best friend. She is forever trying to sit in my lap. And she’s about 3 times the size of Colsette. Really big. But I love her. She makes me miss Colsette a lot, and I love having another dog to love while I’m away from my puppy (who is now 13 years old, but whatever). But anyway, as crazy as that household is, when conference was on they were all so good. Everyone sat down in front of the TV with a notepad and pen or a “Conerence checklist packet” or something and payed attention. It was a really sweet experience.
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St. George Visitors' Center Interior, Temple View

St. George Visitors’ Center Interior, Temple View

The last session we watched at the Visitors’ Center.  We were on shift in the evening so we just watched and tried to keep track of the visitors at the same time. We have a significant lull while conference was on, of course, but we still had a few tour buses come. But thankfully, we were able to watch all sessions. And I am so glad. And I took so many notes. I don’t know i that’s just me or if it’s a missionary thing, but holy guacamole. Lots of notes. But I’m so glad. I love reflecting back on what I was learning/thinking in the moment and being able to expound on that. I love, love, love it!

With Sister Sordes (France)

With Sister Sordes (France)

With Sister Schaefer (Germany

With Sister Schaefer (Germany)

With Sister Avanesjan (Germany)

With Sister Avanesjan (Germany)

We had Zone Training last Thursday.  On a mission, we are first put into companionships (two missionaries) and then we have groups of companionships that work together to keep track of one another’s progress, support one another, learn together, having training meetings, and so on and so forth. Those are called Districts. Then we have groups of Districts. Those are called Zones.  .

I hope that made sense. But anyway, we had Zone Training. I loved it so much. It is a blast to get together with other missionaries in a large group like that and feel of the collective love of the gospel and of the Savior, Jesus Christ, that fills that room.
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Being in a large group of people in the same room that all have the same purpose and are all striving for the same things and doing basically the same things is energizing and humbling. I am surrounded by so many wonderful examples of strength, diligence, faith, goodness, and dedication. That is a huge blessing.
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The training itself was powerful. We talked a lot about relying on the Lord and specifically relying on the promptings that come from the Holy Ghost. The most important thing about missionary work is that it isn’t about the missionaries. It’s about the investigator and their relationship with God. The missionary only facilitates the beginning and/or growth of that relationship. The missionary’s responsibility is to live and teach in a way that allow the Spirit to be the real teacher and allows the investigator to make the decisions for themselves and to come closer to Christ and to God for themselves. It’s so humbling and incredible to be a part of that process. Truly.
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Well, I must end this soon. I have to be on my way and try to get thing done today. But I have just a few more things I wanted to mention.
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A welcome visit from Sarah Carroll!

A welcome visit from Sarah Carroll!

I had a lovely surprise yesterday waiting for me at the VC when I got done being in my area. Sarah Carroll had driven up to see me! Sarah, if you’re reading this, I can’t tell you how much seeing you meant to me! (Picture attached) Thank you!

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Again, I love you all. Please don’t ever forget how loved you are. And in the moments when you feel unloved and forgotten, know first of all that I love you. No matter what. But also know, more importantly, that GOD loves you. And He knows how to help you. Turn to Him.
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Today is a good day to have a good day. So, have a good day!
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I love you, I love you, I love you. Please never forget how special you are and how much you mean to me.
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Love,
Sister Hansen

Week 6. Days are long. Weeks are short.

Hello, everyone!

Today is a little bit crazy. We, meaning my companion and I, have been commissioned to be the errand-runners for several of sisters at the Visitors’ Center and we have lots to do today! Our first P-Day was spent in the St. George Temple, as we had our Mission Temple Trip, and then the rest of it was quick grocery shopping, dinner-eating, and on to regular proselyting. Today will be more normal, but we still have a lot of places to get to and it will be a whirlwind! But I’m grateful for the time I have now to stop a moment and just write and think about all of the amazing things that have been happening since I last wrote.
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It’s been said before that on a mission, the days are long and the weeks are short. That’s so true. The days often drag on and on, especially when we are just tracting, or knocking-doors. We have several consistent investigators, but there are still days that we don’t have appointments, so out we go and do the quintessential missionary thing: tract. Those days are especially long because St. George is warm, our feet get tired, and our area is big. But those days are also some of the best because we have the opportunity to really spend time learning about one another as companions as we drive from place to place, and laugh and talk and dedicate the time in our area to really paying attention to the promptings from the Spirit that are leading us to people that the Lord needs us to visit.
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But just as the days are long, the weeks seem to whoosh by and then I look back and think, it’s already been two weeks?! But then, at the same time, I feel like… it’s ONLY been two weeks? It feels all at once so fast and so long. I feel like I’ve been in the St. George mission and specifically in Green Valley (our assigned area) for several MONTHS instead of just 2 weeks. And not necessarily in a bad way. It’s beginning to feel like a kind of home.
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Forgive me if I repeat things from week to week. Sometimes I completely forget what I said in the last email.
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I think I already gave a run down of our schedule, but in case anyone is more curious, I’ll touch on that again. Like I’ve said, we have half days: 6 hours in the Visitors’ Center and 6 hours in a proselyting area. When we are assigned to be in the VC, we can also be sent to the Brigham Young Winter Home. brigham_young_winter_home02I love going there. We have the opportunity to give tours of the home and every time I give a tour I learn something new. The other day I had a tour of 16 people (and mind you, the house is not that big, by today’s standards) and that was the biggest tour I’d ever taken, especially by myself. I was honest with them and just, upfront, said, “I’ve only been here about a week and a half, so forgive me if I don’t know everything!” They just laughed and we had a good tour. I was proud that I was able to handle such a big group and still feel like I knew what I was talking about.
2013.09.27.AGH.BrighamYoung homeOne of the women on the tour was so kind and asked for Mom’s phone number so she could call her and tell her how well I was doing and also send a picture of me. Did you get that, Mom?
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Yes, I did.  Here it is!
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Sister Hansen, the tour guide at the Brigham Young Winter Home
Photo from Sister Carol Sanders, Ogden, Utah
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I’ve been feeling like my testimony of Family History / Genealogy is growing. We were studying it the other morning as a companionship and talking about how to use Family History in missionary work. It’s such a cool resource to teach people how God’s love for them and His plan for families. And just yesterday as we studied that morning, I felt impressed that I should begin using Family History as part of my interaction with people in our area as well as those in the Visitors’ Center. And I had two opportunities yesterday! We visited a woman in the branch we are assigned to who hasn’t been to church in a while. We didn’t get to the bottom of why, but she alluded to her husband having some kind of issue that she hadn’t really bothered to work out yet. He passed away about 3 years ago. But I saw a family scrapbook/album looking book on her table and felt like I should ask about it. I just asked her if she was interested in family history,  and turns out she was! We talked about that for a while and then made an appointment to come back and share a spiritual message as well as talk more about  Family History. I was so glad I’d studied it earlier that day.
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Later in the day we were working at the VC and two couples from Wales came in. The Welsh in me got really excited and I was able to talk to them a bit. They picked up the Welsh copy of the Book of Mormon from our scripture display and began talking about it and about how impressive it was that there were so many different languages that the book had been translated into. In the VC we have 77 languages out in that display, but the Book of Mormon has been translated into over 100 languages. Anyway, I wandered over and began to talk to them about it. I told them that I had recently been fascinated with and fallen in love with the Welsh language and that I had some Welsh heritage. That got them talking and they even read to me from the Welsh Book of Mormon. It’s seriously the coolest language. Go look it up and listen to it. It’s trippy, but it’s awesome. It has become one of my life goals to learn Welsh. I’m going to do it. Just watch…. well…. after my mission. But then we talked about Family History and about how it’s so important to do it and how big a part of the gospel it has become. They seemed very interested and I was just so excited to be talking to people from Wales. Maybe that’s nerdy, but I don’t care.
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The other night we were able to attend the Recent Convert Fireside for the mission. All of those that were recently baptized were able to share their conversion story and their testimony. We were able to invite one of our investigators, Mike, and the family he has been living with. They’re members of the church and they have been a huge part of why he has grown so much in his own conversion. He’s going to be baptized this month! AND, he got MARRIED on Saturday. Sister West and I were able to be there for the wedding. It was small and simple and no fuss, but so beautiful. The Spirit was so strong and I know that their choice (Mike and his new wife Melissa) to be married is going to bring countless blessings to them and their two children. He is so awesome and is so excited to be baptized.
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The fireside was so lovely. The testimonies were simple, but so powerful. It made me want, even more, to help others find the peace, joy, and happiness that comes from knowing that they can come unto Christ and feel relief from sorrow, regret, pain, and all other things. That they can feel LOVE. I’ve said it before, but that is really our message. It’s love. It’s because of love that we are here today and it’s because of love that we can return to live with God and Jesus Christ again.
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At the fireside, I had the… erm… privilege of being asked to play the piano. Ha. I was so glad that I’d worked hard to be better at playing the hymns this past year so I could be able to serve in that way. The other day when it wasn’t very busy in the VC, I played the piano in one of the theaters. It felt so good to play. I played through a few hymns and improvised some, just going by the chords with melody and being, in general, a music nerd. I know I’m a nerd. I embrace it, it’s ok. But I made the mistake of playing with the door open. Piano keys with handI’ve been telling people, when they ask if I play the piano, that I… kind of do. That I plunk through a few hymns, but it isn’t my forte. That’s pretty true! It’s not my forte! Bassoon is. But a whole bunch of people heard me and now the cat’s out of the bag. I can play most hymns and I love to play, so now I’m probably going to be pressed into service more often. Sister West now no longer allows me to tell people I don’t play. She accused me of hiding my talent and is adamant that everyone know how well I play. What people don’t realize is that I come from a family of incredible musicians, both pianists, and I definitely pale in comparison to their mighty talents. But I am grateful that I get to play from time to time for different things.
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I’ve been really missing the bassoon. Several people have asked if I could play, if I had one, and I have just felt elated at the prospect. But when I asked my mission president if I could have Mom and Dad send it to me, he said no. He said it would be an extra liability and he didn’t want me to have one more thing to lug around. It totally makes sense, but I’m sort of bummed. 180101_10150137218500799_5123716_nI’m crossing my fingers, however, that I’ll be able to find SOMEONE who has a bassoon here in St. George. There has to be at least ONE bassoon here, right? I mean, seriously. It’ll all work out. But apparently there’s a Christmas program coming up in December and they might want me to play for that. That would be so exciting! I didn’t realize just how much I would miss playing. I knew I would, but I didn’t realize that there would be that much of a void. So, Janelle and Dr. Adams, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for instilling such a deep love of such an incredible instrument in me. I’m grateful for it and I’ll never lose it! And thank you to Mom and Dad for facilitating that love and my growth through it. I love being a bassoon/music nerd.
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Well, I feel like I’ve written a novel. Sorry about that. I’ll work on my brevity next week. Apparently, according to Sister West, I explain things too much and sometimes I should just get to the point. I believe it. I think I have a rather interesting tendency to be long-winded. And for those of you that have ever heard me tell a story, I know you know what I’m talking about. But maybe that’s just part of me being me! I don’t know! haha
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Last thing before I end: GENERAL CONFERENCE!!
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General Conference Banner
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General Conference is coming up and I invite all of you to take the time to listen to the Prophet and the Apostles of Jesus Christ speak to the world! There are four sessions:
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Saturday, October 5: 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm
and
Sunday October 6. 0am-12pm and 2pm-4pm
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Conference will be available online at lds.org for live streaming. It will probably also be on TV somewhere near you, but I don’t know where for everyone. But it’s going to be EPIC. And it was exactly one year ago that the age change for missionaries was announced, so I bet they’ll have some awesome things to say about that!
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Well, I love you all and I know that God loves you, too. Today is a good day to have a good day, so have a good day! And, as always, I would love to hear from you! I hope all is well!
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Love,
Sister Hansen  (Hymn #271)

Week 5. It’s Not Easy Being Green

September 24, 2013
“It’s Not Easy Being Green”

Kermit

Kermit

I have a good friend, known him for years now. His name is Kermit. He’s of the amphibian persuasion. You might know him as Kermit the Frog. Kermit is great. And he has a thing he likes to say sometimes. He says, “It’s not easy being green.” He’s a wise fellow.

On a mission, being “green” means you’re new. For the first twelve weeks (after the MTC) of your mission, you’re still training. Your companion is called your “trainer” and you’re still new and “green” so you’re called a “greenie.” It’s… the best. But really, life is good. And being new isn’t all that bad. It just means there’s lots to learn! And I really do have lots to learn. It’s not all roses and daisies and easy but it’s all worth it because I’m spending my days telling everyone I can find about how much my faith means to me and inviting them to learn all that they can/want to about it and see how much it could mean to them! It’s awesome! I just get to talk about Jesus Christ and love and families all day long!

So, I’m 6 days young in the mission. Everyone asks how long I’ve been out and all I can do is grin and say “6 days” or however many it is. I look forward to the day that I can say “weeks” instead of days. I guess that could start tomorrow! One week! Hooray! But even with just 6 days under my belt, I have learned a ton and done so much. Here’s a basic run-down of my schedule:
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We work half-days as Visitors’ Center missionaries. We have 6 hours in the VC (Visitors’ Center) and 6 hours in an assigned area in St. George. We have “shifts” at the VC every day and those rotate around. Some days we are in the VC in the morning and in our area in the afternoon/evening and some days that switches. And then once a week have a full day in our area and never go to the VC. But those days are just as awesome and any other because it’s the same work with the same purpose!
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I love being in the Visitors’ Center. It’s one of the most amazing experiences.  I can say that, even after just 6 days of it. We get to meet and greet so many new people every day. I know a lot of missionaries get excited about going out and touching the lives of the people they meet, but that’s not all that happens. I am most grateful for how everyone I meet in the VC and in my area touches MY life. Everyone is so special and I can feel how much our Heavenly Father loves every single individual I talk to, pass by, or have the privilege of teaching or learning from every day. It’s the most amazing thing. I don’t want to lose this paradigm when I get home. I want to look at the world like this forever!
2013.10.01.Dr.Who.One of my favorite TV shows is Doctor Who. I’m aware that this makes me a nerd, but I embrace it. I’m a nerd and I’m proud of it. But on Doctor Who there’s a quote that I love. The main character is an alien that travels the universe saving lives and having adventures and he meets ALL kinds of people and the number of people he has met and will meet is infinite. And at one point there’s a woman that he sees and he asks, “Who is she?”
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Someone responds, saying, “Oh, nobody important.”I love his reply. He says, “That’s incredible! In all my years of travel and with all of the millions of people I’ve met, I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important before.” Exactly. EVERYBODY is important.
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That person you passed on the street yesterday with the funny hair-do? Important. That person in the grocery store who maybe looked a little scary or a little funny or a little whatever it was that you thought about them?  Important. That lady that got frustrated at Wal-Mart and started yelling at her child? She’s important, too. And so are her kids. And so loved. If not by many people here on Earth, they are loved by God, their Heavenly Father. And isn’t that what’s most important? It’s just the coolest thing. Try looking at people that way! Your whole day will go better when you do, I promise!
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Well, here’s some more info about what I’m up to. My companion’s name is Sister West. She’s from Arizona and she’s crazy. But in the best way. She’s my “trainer” as I mentioned at the beginning of my post, and she’s great. She’s three months into her mission and has a so much knowledge, wisdom, and greatness. She’s teaching me a lot and I’m grateful for her patience with me.
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The Visitors’ Center is housing 13 missionary companionships (so 26 sister missionaries) and every single one of them is incredible. Along with the sisters, there are several senior couples that are serving here and they are all so wonderful!
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Anyway, the work is wonderful. Wow, I keep saying wonderful, sorry. But it’s true. Everything is wonderful. We have several investigators. I came in on transfer day and had to just jump into an area that was already familiar with my companion, Sister West, and her old companion, Sister Duval. I was afraid that everyone they had been working with would react badly to the change and reject me, or at least not accept me right away, but I was wrong. Everyone has been so loving and welcoming and has made me feel a part of things pretty easily. Not that it’s been a quick snap-into-action and normalcy, but it’s been a mostly friendly transition.
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So, I keep talking about how everything is wonderful and friendly and everything, right? Well, it is, but I just want you all to know, especially those of you who are thinking about serving a mission, that this is also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s hard. It really, really is. It’s rough and there are moments when you are so exhausted and so discouraged that you just want to give up. But don’t. Don’t ever. And this is true of any situation. Don’t ever give up. It’s so worth it, whatever you’re doing.
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A mission is hard. But it’s also so incredibly worth it. And my mission motto has definitely become this: Philippians 4:13. Just trust Him. He knows what He’s doing and you’re serving Him (or will or have or can start to) and He won’t let you down. Ever.I just want you all to know that this is the best decision I ever made, to come serve. It’s the hardest and most amazing thing I’ve ever done and I still have 17 months left of it. I know that time will fly, though. But I know that because the decision to serve was mine and I am not going to quit, that I am going to grow so much. And I know that I can do all things through Christ because He lives. And because He lives, we can live and have peace… and that’s the greatest treasure. I love being a missionary. And it’s only going to get better.
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I love you all and your support and encouragement means the world. I can feel the strength I am gaining from your prayers and thoughts and am so grateful. I would love to hear from you, when you have time, and hope that you are all well. You inspire me and I think of you all often! Thank you for all you’ve taught me and all you’ve given me, just by being in my life!
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I hope you all have a beautiful week!
Love,
Sister Hansen

Week 4 On the Road Again

This is Lise Hansen, Alicia’s mother:

Wednesday, September 18

We an enjoyed an hour-long, 6:00 a.m. phone conversation with Alicia from the Salt Lake City Airport, as she waited to board her flight to St. George.  She was traveling with a group of 12 sister missionaries, six of whom were going to the general St. George mission.  The remaining six are assigned to the St. George Visitors’ Center.   Besides Sis. Bolander and Sister Liu, MTC companions, these included Sister Schaeffer from Germany and Sister Hollander, from South Aftrica. She sounded good!  Enthusiastic, emotional.  It was great to hear her voice!

Thursday, September 19   A lovely birthday card for Mom!

Saturday, September 21    Birthday flowers from the missionary.   Not sure how she did that, but they were beautiful!

Monday, September 23.

We received a surprise hand-written, hand-delivered note via our friend Julie Stevens, who dropped in at the Visitors’ Center to say hello to Alicia while she was in St. George the previous Saturday.  What a great surprise!  Thanks, Julie!

St. George Visitors’ Center Interior, Temple View

In her quickly penciled little note she says:

I just want to take the awesome opportunity to tell you a few things.  My companion is Sister West, from Show Low, AZ.  She’s my trainer or “mission mom.”  She’s great!  My first area is called Green Valley, and I am working in the Visitors’ Center.  I’ll be here at least until Dec. 10.  We have a lot of work and everyone is wonderful.  I’m happy and I love you!

Green Valley South and West of St. George

Green Valley
South and West of St. George

Sister Hansen with President & Sister Center 9.18.2013 St. George Utah

Sister Hansen with President & Sister Center 9.18.2013
St. George Utah

Alicia's Trainer, Sister West, from Show Low, Arizona.

Alicia’s Trainer, Sister West, from Show Low, Arizona.

In the mail the same day was a large envelope from Alicia’s mission president, including letters from Pres. & Sister Center and Alicia.

I made it to St. George in one piece and happy!  Pres. & Sister Center greeted us at the airport and are so wonderful!  I love them already!  I knew the minute I saw the temple that I am in the right place, and I felt comforted and excited!

We were greeted with breakfast, too!  And Dad!  I met a lady who grew up in Utah and knows you!  Her name was Barbara Christensen, now Armstrong .   She is Aunt Peggy’s age and has a brother your age.  It was really comforting to meet her.    She works at the mission home, cooking and helping out.

Everything is great.  I’m so ready to work.  I am in love with my calling and with this beautiful place.  The temple is so stunning in person.  I am so lucky to be here.  I am ready to do what the Lord needs me to do.  I feel so corny, but it’s true.

Philippians 4:13                   Hymn #185              Hymns – All of them!  They’re all great!

I love you tons!   Hug the DOG!    Sister Hansen