Week 21. Senior companion. Designated driver.

Well, hello friends and family!

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We got our new assignment for this upcoming transfer! It starts tomorrow. 🙂
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I am going to be staying in my new area, Bloomington, and my new companion will be… Sister Leota! She is from Samoa. I have served around her for quite a while and now I will get to serve WITH her. She actually came out the same time as me, but was in the Missionary Training Center longer, so trained later than I was. But we will go home together! I’m excited to work with her. There is a lot to look forward to in the next month and a half and I can’t wait to get started! Although, there is also a lot that is overwhelming. For the first time, I am senior companion, designated driver, and taking over an area that I know about 20% of. I guess that’s better than 0%, but it’s still nerve-wracking! But hey, I can do it. 🙂
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This last week has been rough, tough, good, and wonderful. Oh wait, that’s every week. I think I knew it before my mission, but my mission is just confirming and magnifying the fact that life is CRAZY and it’s all about ups and downs, and what we do with them. A sister missionary here in St. George that I’ve been serving with gave me this wisdom on the subject: Your success on a mission and whether or not you gave your all isn’t measured by the moments that you felt amazing, had all the energy in the world, got along perfectly with your companion, and had confidence to spare. It’s about the days when you are sick, dead tired, and apathetic, but you still get up and go because you remember who you’re serving, why you’re serving Him, and that… “[you can do all things through Him, which strengtheneth you]” (Philippians 4:13, paraphrased). Those are the days where your success as a missionary are measured. It’s what you do when you fall, when all your investigators drop you, when your companion is hard to get along with, when you don’t like your transfer call, or when you lose sight of who you are and what your purpose is. It’s how you rise to every challenge, get up and dust yourself off, and try again.
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The measure of success as a missionary, and perhaps in life, can be reexamined when we look at this scripture from the Book of Mormon: Alma 26:22.   First of all, I just love all of chapter 26 in Alma because Ammon is amazing. He’s one of my heroes and I just wish I could be a fraction of the kind of missionary he was. But verse 22 reads,
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“Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.”
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When we repent every day (which basically means, try a littler harder to do a little better every day), exercise faith, do good, and pray continually, we are given success that really matters: to know the mysteries of God (to understand what we study in the scriptures, what we learn in church, what God’s plan for us is, etc.), to learn things we never learned before and help others understand things, too, and to “bring souls to repentance.” Which, in my understanding means to help others come unto Christ, not by force, but by teaching them what we know, what we understand, and helping them see what it can mean to them and how to grow closer to their Heavenly Father. And that brings joy! What could be better?
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By the way, for anyone that feels like it, you should cross reference this verse to Doctrine and Covenants section 6. It will change your life. I love it.
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But anyway, that’s the measure of success that I want to adopt. Keep trying. Keep doing better every day, keep praying, keep having faith, and just… never giving up. That’s success. That’s joy.
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Speaking of joy, another one of my favorite scriptures this week, also in Alma and also about AMMON :D, is Alma 27:16-18.
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 16 And it came to pass that as Ammon was going forth into the land, that he and his brethren met Alma, over in the place of which has been spoken; and behold, this was a joyful meeting.

 17 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.

 18 Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.

I can’t express how much I love this. Next to these verses in my scriptures I have written, “So cool that joy can be that powerful.” And it can. And the joy that Ammon was feeling was directly related to meeting his brethren again. It was a joyous reunion! And that’s how I feel about missionary work. That when we teach others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, about the love their Heavenly Father has for them, and about how they can return to live with God and be at peace forever and ever, we are giving them an opportunity to prepare for the joyous reunion they will have with their Father in Heaven.
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St. George Temple and Visitors' Center

St. George Temple and Visitors’ Center

I took a sweet little family on a tour at the Visitors’ Center yesterday. We went through God’s Plan For His Family, a film that talks about how important families are, how they can be together forever, and about how to rely on Jesus Christ’s teachings. It’s my favorite part of the Visitors’ Center, and very touching. Before they watched the film, the 5 year old son in this family had asked this question: STOCK.young-boy-765101-thumbnail“Where is Heaven?” I told him this: “We aren’t really sure. But we know it’s real. We lived there before, you know. With God. And if we follow Jesus Christ, we can live there again.”

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He accepted this answer. 🙂 And then afterwards, I came to close the movie and heard him say, “That was awesome!” I asked him why. His response all but made be cry. He said, “God is a true man. He wants us to be righteously because He doesn’t want us to live on Earth. He wants us to live in Heaven with Him. Because He misses us. And He really, really likes us.”
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I was speechless. All I could say was, “Yes, exactly. I couldn’t have said it better.”
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After they left, I ducked into one of the closets in the VC and just cried. For joy. The Spirit that filled that room as he spoke that simple, beautiful truth had filled my heart and come up to spill out my eyes. I was so happy. Because I know how true it is. We are all children of a loving, Eternal Heavenly Father, who takes an active interest in our lives, in our happiness, and who cares deeply about each and every one of us individually. We are important to Him. He wants us back. He really, really likes us.
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In his last email home from Japan, my friend Elder Naylor gave these wise words, and I want to share them with you, too. He said, “If you are ever faced with feelings of doubt as to whether He is actually there, or is really listening to you, I promise that He is. I urge you to get down on your knees and pray and ask to feel His love. I know that you will.”
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I know it, too. God loves us. He will never abandon us. He wants us back. That’s why I’m on a mission.
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Much love and best wishes to all,
Sister Hansen
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More pictures from Zions’ Canyon last week:
2014.01.20.zion.1.1232 2014.01.20.Zion.2.1227 2014.01.20.zion.3.group.1155
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