43. Kanab is amazing. (Including Glendale, Alton, and Orderville, too!)

Ok, everyone, I just really love you.

I love Mondays, not because they are P-Days but because they are the days that I am doubly reminded that I have a lot to be grateful for as I communicate with family and friends all over the globe.

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It’s great, because I just get overwhelmed with gratitude and joy and I cry and cry and cry… and it’s not so great because I’m usually in public and then that’s very embarrassing, because there’s a missionary sitting quietly, grinning, with tears streaming down her face. But hey, it’s all good. It is what it is, and I am not afraid to show the world that missionaries are people too, and we have feelings.
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But anyway, let me update you on some things!
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We had a baptism two weeks ago, my first Saturday in Kanab. On the very same day, back in Washington, an investigator that we had been teaching my whole time there was baptized! I had a lot of reasons to be joyful that day as I knew that two people whose lives I had the privilege to be a part of were making that important step.
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Baptism in Kanab, July 12. Bro. Kevin Church, who was baptized; Sister Donaldson; Sister Hansen; Bro. Haycock.

And to add to the joy:  I just heard from my last companion, Sister Pearson, that the man we had taught online was baptized in June!!  (The mormon.org chat miracle, if you don’t remember…See Blog Post #37)  She spoke to him on the phone not long ago and he delivered the news.  Miracles!  It was such a brilliant surprise and such a blessing to see the results of the hard work, love, and patience that is integral in this work!
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We already have a few wonderful people in the Kanab area preparing to be baptized in the month of August. One of them was quite a miracle (although, to be honest, every single one is a miracle). We received a phone call from one of the family history workers at the family history center in town. He had just spoken with a young lady who had been given a Book of Mormon and was interested in learning more. He gave us her name and number and we called immediately.  No answer. So we left a message. About 5 minutes later, she called back and we set up an appointment for…that night! We taught and got to know her and she expressed her desire to really find answers.  To make a long story short, she is preparing to be baptized the end of August. She is so amazing and she teaches us a lot. She is so eager to learn, understand, and do what is right. She inspires me.
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Kanab is amazing. Being away from the Visitors’ Center can be hard after being so used to it, but I am also loving the experiences and growth here. I can see how my drive to succeed is helping me to push forward and see growth and improvement, not only in myself, but also in our area and investigators. That drive to succeed is only possibly because it is not my success that matters, but the success of the Lord’s work and His children that I get to work with every day.
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It’s gorgeous here. So many colors! More pictures to come.

We serve in 4 little towns: Kanab (pop.4,410), Orderville (pop. 596), Glendale  (pop.355), and Alton (pop.119).  We have 3 different places we stay, depending on our schedule. That’s odd, but also cool. It makes the labor and work more important than the “stuff,” if that makes sense.
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Sort of like when Christ said, “But the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head…” (Matthew 8:20)  Except, we have 3 places to lay our heads! My point is that it reminds me that it is not about stability in the world, but stability in the Lord. That’s maybe the biggest thing I’m learning from being “outbound,” as we call it.
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Orderville, Glendale, and Alton are between Zion’s National Park to the west, and Bryce Canyon National Park, to the northeast.

I love you all. Thanks for being so amazing. thank you for taking care of my family and for being the support that I need. Stay strong in the face of adversity. Remember who you are. Remember that you are loved by the Almighty God, and that He sees who you are and who you can become. Let Him stretch you.
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Much love and rice and beans,
Sister Hansen
Sister Hansen, Sister Donaldson

Sister Hansen, Sister Donaldson, after Relief Society, July 20, Alton, Utah, courtesy Nanette Roundy Spencer.

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41. So long to Washington and the Visitors’ Center!

The assignment board - I'm outbound!

The assignment board – I’m outbound!

July 7, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

The news has arrived. I’m leaving Washington.  Well, actually, I’m leaving leaving.  The Visitors’ Center, that is. Yes. I’m going “outbound.”

I’m headed to Kanab, UT.

Southern Utah - Northern Arizona, including the Grand Canyon.

Southern Utah – Northern Arizona, including the Grand Canyon.

My new companion, Sister Donaldson, from California.

My new companion will be Sister Donaldson, from California. Photo from 2013.

 Every time I have left an area, I have had mixed feelings. I have felt excitement for what is to come, but also a sense of sadness, leaving behind what is familiar and what I had grown so much to love. Leaving the Visitors’ Center and the VC family that I have come to cherish with all my heart feels a lot like leaving home again. A bit like I’m leaving on another mission… within a mission. I feel, again, to say like Winnie the Pooh, “How blessed I am to have so many people to miss.”
 

The phrase, “leave it better than you found it,” seems to pop up everywhere, at least recently. Especially in missionary work. I feel grateful to be able to say that I can at least marginally proclaim that I am leaving behind this part of my mission better than I found it. Even if it’s just in little ways. I know there is always more that could be done, but for now I am proud of what has been done and look forward to what lies ahead in Kanab.

A few things I’ve heard about Kanab:

It’s cooler (temperature wise) than St. George. HALLELUJAH!

  • There a “Little Hollywood” that is supposed to quite fun.
  • John Wayne apparently spent some quality time there.
  • I’m going to wear out my camera taking snap shots of how incredibly beautiful it is.
  • Everyone who has ever served there has LOVED it. I’m excited to get on that band wagon.
  • It’s in the middle of nowhere, and there’s nothing out there. Good and bad, I suppose?

I already know my companion, Sister Donaldson. I served with her at the VC for the first month of my mission. It will be good to see her again!

This last week has been so great. We have worked so hard and seen many miracles in the Washington area. In a lesson we had the other night, we were discussing faith and humility. Out of the blue (like the Spirit often works), I remembered a story from my childhood that is a perfect example of consistently fueling and tending our faith… like unto tending a seed or plant (See Alma 32).
Patrick, the oxalis

Patrick, the oxalis ->

When we lived in Illinois, back when I was just a wee thing, we had a neighbor named Mr. Callahan. I’m not exactly sure if my memory is entirely accurate, but I remember him as being Irish. Even if he isn’t, it makes the story more charming, so just go with it. We received a plant from Mr. Callahan, a shamrock plant [oxalis], I want to say.

And that plant has been in our family ever since. His name is Patrick. Patrick the plant. Patrick has ventured with us from Bloomington to Macomb in Illinois, to Pennsylvania, and to Idaho and he lives with us still (at least to my knowledge). Good old Patrick. He’s always been there. He’s a stalwart, reliable thing. But every once in a while, we would walk by Patrick’s perch where he sat soaking up the sun, but silently pleading with us to remember him and to water him; for it had been just a little bit too long and he was on his last legs. Hurriedly, we would quench his righteous thirst with water from the tap, apologize to him in our heart and mind, and then carry on with our day. And there Patrick would continue to sit, happily, a picture of patience and loyalty. I love Patrick. When I get home, I’m going to tell him so. I’m sorry for taking him for granted for so many years.

But as I told this story of Patrick in our lesson the other night, I realized that all my life, Patrick has been an example of taking care and tending our faith. If we leave it un-watered and neglected for too long, it begins to wither. If we tend it diligently, it thrives. How do we water it? Daily prayer (open communication with our Heavenly Father), scripture study (pouring over the words of life!), and the weekly soul-nourishment that we receive at church (where we renew a covenant/promise to follow Christ and we have a clean slate once again for the week through the ordinance of the Sacrament). Our personal Patricks will remain green and beautiful if we continue to water them!

On another level, what I love about Patrick is that, even though we had weeks where he sat neglected, he never withered beyond retrieval. Our faith will never wither beyond retrieval or revival, either. It is a part of us. Sometimes it may lay dormant, but it is always at our core. We are children of a Heavenly Father. That is who and what we are. It lies within our spiritual DNA to have the faith, even if it is the size of a mustard seed, that we need to succeed in any and all things

I love Patrick.

I love the Lord.

I love my mission.

I love you.

Please, take time today to water your faith. Water your relationship with God. Speak to Him, read His word, know that He knows you, cares about you, and wishes to bless you. Don’t leave your faith or your relationship to wither.

I really do love you. I hope you know that. Press forward with a brightness of hope. You all deserve the best.

Much love and rice and beans,

Sister Hansen

P.S. This last week I studied 1 Nephi 8 in conjunction with Matthew 13. They tie together beautifully and relate to the withering faith we sometimes have in a perfect way. If you have the chance and inclination to study those, please do. It is worth it! Look at it through the lens of faith and missionary work!
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Also: WATCH THIS! (CLICK ON THE PICTURE)

 

CHANGE OF ADDRESS NOTICE:

Effective July 18th, there is a change of address for our mission! We have been asked to ask everyone to please not send mail from the 13th to the 17th of July, so that there is not any missed in the cross over. And a reminder, mail that is not sent by USPS (United States Postal Service) cannot be forwarded, so it won’t reach me for a very long time. Please send by USPS. Thank you!!

New address:

Utah St. George Mission

881 South River Road

St. George, UT 84790

 

2014.07.8.Transfer.AGH.Michelle.Wyson.

Transfer Day! Hugs from friends in St. George.

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Transfer Day! Elder Sawyer Davis (high school classmates from Boise) and Sister Hansen, no longer in the same zone.

 

40. Love–the Essence of the Gospel

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Happy July, everyone!
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Greetings from sunny (sweltering) St. George! It’s great to be blogging again and I hope that all is well on the homefront (or the wherever front, since not all of you are at my home… but I guess you all have homes, so I hope all is well on everybody’s homefront…anyway…).
The Utah St. George Mission takes in most of the southern part of the state, including the centrally located Nephi.  The southern boundary is the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Utah St. George Mission takes in most of the southern part of the state, including the centrally located city of Nephi. The southern boundary of the mission is the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, in neighboring Arizona.

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This has been a crazy month. Not July. It’s only been one day in July (although that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t already be a crazy month). But June, June was a crazy month. It seems like I often come to a point on my mission where I feel like I have it all figured out, I take a deep breath, and then Heavenly Father reminds me that… that just isn’t true. And then I have it all turned upside down again and I get to keep learning! It’s great!
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Well, this month was like that. This whole transfer, actually. And we are at the end of it now. Next week I’ll have news to report on the possible changes ahead. I could stay another few months in Washington, I could head up to Price or Moab or Manti or Nephi or… the possibilities are endless!
Who knows?  It will be exciting.
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We had Stake Conference this last weekend and it was amazing. I felt like so many of my prayers and concerns were answered and addressed. So many wonderful things were spoken of and I had the chance to be humbled, as well as buoyed-up, by quite a bit of it. One thing in particular that touched me was that they had a special musical number (a group of youth playing violin, cello, flute, piano, etc.) of one of my favorite hymns:  Each Life that Touches Ours for Good.
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Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
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What greater gift doest thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
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When such a friend from us departs
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
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For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior’s name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.
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This hymn has been sung for at least two of our family funerals, that I can remember. It has such a deep and beautiful message: that one of the ways the Lord shows His mercy and love is through the love and association that we have with one another. The words are poignant and piercing, especially when those hymns have been sung at the parting of a family member or friend, reminding us of the joy we are afforded as we remember the beauty of a friendship, of a life, and the bittersweet (and importantly: temporary) separation that comes with death.

In light of my current calling and purpose, I am called to contemplate another meaning that this hymn carries: the importance of being a Christ-like friend.
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A sister that I serve with at the Visitors’ Center pointed out a quote to me that I’d like to share with you. It so perfectly outlines and pinpoints why love is the most important component in any aspect of the Lord’s work. His love is perfect and infinite. We have to work with and through it.
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“The process of conversion is the process of remembering. We all came here with a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – it is locked away in our spirit. The role of the missionary is to love the people enough to allow them to respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost that will open that which is locked away.” (Attributed to Elder Kevin Pearson)
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This is the love that heals wounds, saves lives, lifts burdens, opens minds, comforts hearts, and so much more. It is the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and it is the enabling power of the Atonement.
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President Thomas S. Monson recently spoke about love in the April General Conference, in a talk entitled Love–the Essence of the Gospel.   He said,
“Love is expressed in many recognizable ways: a smile, a wave, a kind comment, a compliment.  Other expressions may be more subtle, such as showing interest in another’s activities, teaching a principle with kindness and patience, visiting one who is ill or homebound.  These words and actions and many others can communicate love.”
He continued on, imploring,
“May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of god’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total stranger.  As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”
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I would leave you with the same. The value of “Christlike friends,” as mentioned in that beautiful hymn text is truly greater than comprehension. It is eternal; a treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). How have you seen this in your circle of friends or family? How have you been this?
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Missionary work is these little things that add up to big things. Being friendly, being sincere, being concerned, being loving. These are things that we can all do.
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So, it’s the beginning of a new month. So many things to be grateful. So many opportunities ahead of us to show love to all around us. How will you do it this week? Whether it be through some small smile or gesture to your fellow travelers on the road, or taking a plate of cookies to a neighbor, or visiting or home teaching, or listening to a friend. I don’t know. You’re all creative. Think of something!
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Wow, I’m very sorry this is so long. Hopefully at least a sentence or two were meaningful. If not, well, we’ll try again next week.
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I’m finding that so much is happening and I’m not having a chance to report or even touch on all of it, so I’m going to start doing weekly highlights! Installment one to be found below:
Highlights from this week:

  • We got to listen to a player piano at a dinner appointment. It made me think of Mom and it made me want to have one! They’re so fun! #Summermagic
  • I met the Mayor of Washington. A story for another time. It was at his house that we met the player piano player.  #MusicMan
  • “Prayer works.” Wise words from a recent convert in our area.
  • “Faith is for real.” Wise words from the previous recent convert’s wife, who also was recently baptized.

This may seem random, but I want to share a conference talk with you. Whether you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, this is a beautiful talk about belief in and coming to know God. I highly recommend it. It is called, “Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ,” by Elder Robert D. Hales.  Click on the title for a link to watch the talk.

Well, I love you all. I hope that you all know and feel that. Thank you for everything.

Much love,
Sister Hansen