Week 28.Dearest Children, God is Near You

Dear friends and family,
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My heart is full this week. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many miracles, so often, as I have on my mission. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t have my eyes open to them, because I think they happen every single day.A miracle, as defined in the Bible Dictionary, is
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“an extraordinary event caused by the power of God. Miracles were and are a response to faith and its best encouragement. They were never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith.”
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While on shift at the Visitors’ Center yesterday, two of the sisters came in from their p-day errands to report that there had been a bad car accident. Four of our VC sister missionaries had been involved, and two had been taken in an ambulance to the hospital. Before I continue, let me assure you that everyone is ok.
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Almost as soon as we heard of the accident, most of us were offering prayers. We didn’t have very much information beyond the fact that there had been an accident and there had been an ambulance taking two of the sisters to the hospital. We were essentially in the dark as for the rest of the story. All we could do at that point was pray. So we did.
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Amazingly, as the shift continued and the time marched on, I felt calm. I probably would have normally been weary with worry and anxious for news. But I was calm. Other sisters around me were pacing and worrying, but I was calm. I think, more than anything, Heavenly Father was keeping me that way so that I could hold it together and continue to do my job. The Visitors’ Center can be kind of crazy on Monday nights because lots of families like to spend their Family Home Evening there.  We were needing to prep for that and I am convinced that I was kept from going nuts so that we could be ready.
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A few hours later, in the early evening, two of the sisters involved in the accident came through the VC doors. The sister in this companionship that had been taken in the ambulance was wearing a neck brace. She looked relatively calm, too, and assured us that she was ok. Then someone asked what had happened and as she related the details of the accident, she grew more and more emotional. It hadn’t really hit her yet, she said, and she was realizing just how lucky and blessed and protected they had been. It was hard not to have tears come to my eyes as I listened to her bear her testimony of the reality of guardian angels and of God’s hand in our lives.
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Last night, one of the other two sisters came by and we spoke for a few minutes. She told us of the gratitude she has for the way that God protects His children. She said, “I don’t know how many angels were surrounding that car, but I know there were lots.” She also told me that as she was standing there, watching her companion and friend being taken away in an ambulance, the wreckage still before her, she was feeling so lost. Then she saw our mission president and his wife, President and Sister Center, pull up and felt relief wash over her. They really are like our parents away from our parents. President came straight to her and embraced her, assuring her that it was going to be ok. We are blessed with unbelievably incredible mission leadership. We have two amazing pillars of faith, strength, and love that lead and teach and train and care for us. I don’t think we could be any luckier.
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So, the end result, or at least the current status, is that the two sisters that were injured are doing alright. It was serious, of course, but they are recovering and the injuries were very minor. We are just so grateful for the fact that they are safe and were protected.
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In other news, all is well. This accident and the testimony of guardian angels and divine protection that has resulted from the situation has been the most significant event of late, so I don’t really have much else to report. But I just want to tell you that I really do believe that our Father in Heaven looks out for us and protects us. Guardian angels surround us and help us, even and maybe especially when we aren’t looking. Miracles happen every day, and they are always accompanied by faith. And prayer. I’m so grateful for the prayers that were offered.
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I love you all. Stay safe. Drive safe. Stay in contact with your Father in Heaven. Look for small miracles. Love them. Love everyone around you.
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I love you to pieces and am grateful for each and every one of you.
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Much love,
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Sister Hansen
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Verse 1
Dearest children, God is near you,
Watching o’er you day and night,
And delights to own and bless you,
If you strive to do what’s right.
He will bless you, He will bless you,
If you put your trust in him.

Week 27.Fourteen Wards. Oh, my.

Hello, everyone!

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It feels like a long time since last I wrote. Life has just been full and crazy!
Brand-new from Germany-via the MTC, Sister Arnold with her trainer, Sister Hansen

Brand-new from Germany – via the MTC, Sister Arnold with her trainer, Sister Hansen

Sister Arnold  arrived safely last Wednesday. We drove out to pick her up from the Airport that morning and went straight to work after that. On the days that missionaries come from the MTC to St. George, they get up at about 2 or 3am to make it to the shuttle that takes them to the Salt Lake Airport and then they fly and then they… don’t get a nap. We’ll put it that way. So, just as I remember my own first day, her first day was fueled by adrenaline, followed by a crash in the early evening. I allowed her a nap at that point, with permission from our mission president. That was the humane and logical thing to do. I wish I’d had a nap. Haha.

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Sister Arnold, let me tell you, has hit the ground sprinting. Not running. Sprinting. And she’s pulling me right along with her! I am loving it! She is driven, on fire, has a truck load of faith, and is teaching me every day. We get along really well and we laugh a lot. The other day as we were driving to our area, she got on this kind of soap box about wanting to work hard and doing her best and why she’s on a mission and she said the funniest, best thing. She said, “I’m on a mission! I’m not here to count dead palm trees!”
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Well said.
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I laughed out loud and applauded her work ethic and enthusiasm. She has big dreams, visions, faith, and determination and I know that we are going to see many miracles in our time together. I’m blessed and honored to have the privilege to train her. Really, I think she’s training me!
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Actually, I’ve started a quote book of the funny things we say or that happen to us. I also included this:
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We were driving home one day and came to a 2-way stop. There was a hazardous misuse of the stop sign on one side and we witnessed what potentially could have become an accident. I expressed that I never really have liked 2-way stops and that I think 4-ways make more sense. Then Sister Arnold said, “We just need a roundabout! That would solve everyone’s problems!” I said, “Spoken like a European!” That made both of us laugh. Maybe you had to be there, but we think we are hilarious.
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Well, we have great news! We had a baptism last weekend!
Sister Arnold, Joe, Sister Hansen

Sister Arnold, Joe, Sister Hansen

Joe (pseudonym) was finally baptized! He taught me so much about faith. I’m grateful for his incredible decision to follow the example of His Savior and be baptized. The feeling of peace and love that day was so beautiful and we can already see how this is going to change and bless his family forever. There are still big things ahead for this magnificent family!

St. George Temple Sketch

St. George Temple Sketch

So, some other news. Due to some shuffling around that had to happen in the mission, our work assignment has changed a little. We WERE covering 1/2 of the Bloomington UT Stake, working in 7 wards. Now, because of these changes, we are covering… the entire stake. 14 wards. Oh my. It’s a lot. It’s just…really a lot. But it’s an enormous blessing! We have so much potential and so many lives to bless, friends to make, and miracles to see.
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Because of the new changes, we already have several new people to teach and we’re well on our way to seeing lots of success. We also have a lot of adventures ahead of us, trying to get to know a new area. I am optimistically going to plan on not getting lost… more than twice a day. Just kidding. But really, with Sister Arnold’s sensibility and my permission to drive a mission vehicle, we can get anywhere safely. We’ll have it down in no time. We will also grow to love maps with our entire souls. And learn to read them much better than many members of my generation (thank you, Siri). Life lessons learned on your mission!
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2014.3.25.name tags.
So, the other day I had a cool study session on a verse in the Book of Mormon in Helaman 3:35. It reads,
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“Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of the their yielding their hearts unto God.”
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I wanted to study what it really means to “yield our hearts unto God.”
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I looked up some of the scripture references for the word “yield” and then I looked it up in the dictionary. I loved what I learned from that.
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The word yield has a few definitions:

  1. To produce as a crop, result, or profit.
  2. To surrender
  3. To concede
  4. To give way to a physical force
  5. To lose precedence
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Thinking about yielding your heart with those definitions was enlightening. When we yield our heart to God, we surrender our will (our desires, our understanding, our plans) and adopt His, with an understanding and acceptance of His authority, omnipotence, and the fact that He will always have our best interest at heart.
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It also means that when we yield, our will “loses precedence,” or in other words, our will becomes less of a priority than His will. That’s basically humility. And it’s also basically prayer, since the Bible Dictionary defines prayer as “the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child (us!) are brought into correspondence with each other.”
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Prayer should be a huge part of “yielding our hearts.” And what happens when we yield our hearts? Why, Helaman 3:35 teaches us that our hearts are sanctified! Sanctification is defined as this: “The process of becoming free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the atonement of Jesus Christ.” I read that and think that sanctification means peace. When we are free from regret and the pain of mistakes or sins when we are made clean and pure through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and when we are forgiven, we feel peace.
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I would guess that we’ve all, at one time or another in our lives, had to be forgiven for something; whether it was big or small (an argument with a friend, an unintentional–or intentional–unkind word, a major mistake, whatever…), we know peace comes through the forgiveness that is only possible because of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. I think peace also means happiness. So when we pray with sincerity and humility, seeking to understand God’s will for us and strive to let our will “lose precedence,” we are actually working on having more happiness. And we come closer to Christ, which also means happiness. So much happy!
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In a message I just received, a friend of mine said this: “The Savior was the most righteous man on Earth, He was the happiest as well. So many people wonder why members of the Church are so happy, it’s because we’ve taken the Holy Name of Christ upon us.  It’s a privilege, an honor and a great responsibility.”
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We’re happy because we’re trying to be like Jesus and Jesus was happy! Ha! That just makes me happy! And why was Jesus so happy?
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Another Book of Mormon scripture, 3 Nephi 27:13 teaches us that Christ said,
Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you– that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
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Our Savior was happy because His heart was sanctified, pure, and set apart to do the will of our Heavenly Father. Following the example of Jesus Christ and “taking His name upon us,” as my friend said, is also about trying to understand what God’s will is for us and seeking to live accordingly. That’s true happiness!
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I wish I could hug you. You and you and you. I love you all. I’m brimming with happy and with love and I just couldn’t pick a better place to be right now. I miss you.  I love you.  You’re in my prayers. Please know that beyond my love, you have the love of your Heavenly Father. Remember Him, speak to Him, seek to understand His plan and will for you, and I promise that you will find true happiness and who doesn’t love being happy?
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I love, love, love, love, love you. Happy Spring.
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Love and rice and beans,
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Sister Hansen

Week 26. Many changes. Much joy.

Sister Leota, Sister Hansen, Diane Hansen Castro, Fabian Castro

Sister Leota and Sister Hansen, with surprise visitors Aunt Diane Hansen Castro, and Uncle Fabian Castro

Well hello, everyone!!

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I have lots to report this week. Many changes. Many miracles. Much joy. This is the best.
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We received our new assignments for the next 6 week transfer. Sister Leota… is leaving me. She’s headed north to a new area. I’m excited for her and the growth she will experience and the new opportunities she will have.  But it’ll still be a bittersweet goodbye. Goodbyes are tough!
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With the new transfer will come a lot of great things! Over the past week or so I have become increasingly sure that I was going to be sent outbound, away from St. George and the Visitors’ Center.  I just felt more and more like that was inevitable.  I even began to sort out and de-junk and think about packing.  I was that sure.  And I was totally at peace with whatever was coming.
The St. George Mission boundaries cover most of the lower half of the state of Utah, and into Arizona to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Utah St. George Mission boundaries cover most of the lower half of the state of Utah, as far north as Nephi and Soldier Summit, and south into Arizona to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

In the past, when transfers came, I’ve been a wreck. I’ve been nervous, worried, stressed, and apprehensive. But I have reached a point where I know why I’m really here, I know who I’m serving, and I know that I’ll be sent where I’m supposed to be and the people I love in every area will be well taken care of and our friendship won’t end with a temporary separation. So I was really just ready for whatever came.

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Then the morning of transfer calls rolled around. In the middle of our study hour, the phone rang and it was our mission president, President Center calling. Now, let me explain. President doesn’t make transfer calls. The assistants to the president make transfer calls. President only calls when there is something specific happening. So I knew before we even answered the phone. I’ve been assigned to train a new missionary! I’ll be staying in my area, with nothing else changing, except for basically everything. Ha. And I did lose the red truck. 😦 Now we have a Chevy something. It’s a really nice car, and I am just thankful to have a car.
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Well, I’m trying to take deep breaths. I’m really nervous, but really excited. The thought that came to my mind when I got off the phone with President was,”The Lord doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies those that He calls.” That was really comforting, let me tell you. Training seems like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Because, just as my mission motto has been all along, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
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In other news, we have a baptism this week! Joe is getting baptized!!! And it is going to be pretty interesting because Sister Leota is leaving tomorrow and the baptism is… Saturday. And I don’t get my new companion for another week. Ha.
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I’m being put in a temporary trio with the other sisters that serve in my stake/area. That will be fun. But I will mostly be on my own. I’ll work A LOT with the members and have a whole slew of temporary companions. I’m actually pretty excited. I’ve found that I have a tendency to work well under pressure when I start off with a good perspective and determination. Then it’s just fun because you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot and you can look back, however worn and weary you might be after, and be proud of yourself. And I’m definitely relying on Philippians 4:13 here, as well. But don’t worry. I’m in excellent hands. The members in my area are spectacular, loving, and I am blessed more than I can say. Wish me luck!
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Well, the next time I write, I will have a brand new missionary/friend to introduce to you! I’m so excited!
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In the meantime, I love you all so much. I wish you a beautiful March, a fabulous year, and many blessings! You all mean the world to me!
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Love and rice and beans,
Sister Hansen
Cousins Janet Reid and Ruthann Bartschi, Aunt and Uncle Diane and Fabian Castro with Sister Hansen …………...

Love these funny people. When I saw them, I said, “Are you kidding me?!” And then I said, “You know you’re not supposed to be here, right…” And it was just so good to see them. I love them.
Salt Lake visitors: Cousins Janet Reid and Ruthann Bartschi, Aunt and Uncle Diane & Fabian Castro with Sister Hansen

Surprise visit from Rebecca Buxton, dear friend from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Ward, via Salt Lake City.

Another surprise visit – Rebecca Buxton, dear friend from our Gettysburg Ward in Pennsylvania, via Salt Lake City.

 

The Cannons' mission ends and they head home…  We love the senior couple missionaries!

The Cannons’ mission ends and they head home… We love the senior couple missionaries!