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)
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