59. Merry Christmas!

2014.12.21.AGH.Concert.nonette

Double Quartet at the Missionary Christmas Fireside, St. George Tabernacle, December 21, 2014

 

Merry Christmas everyone!!

This week has been a whirlwind! With all the changes and the Christmas preparations, I have hardly had a moment to breathe! And it’s not over! I love it. 🙂

This last week we had our transfers, so I am safe and sound and hitting the ground running in Washington Fields with my new companion, Sister Liu! We are off to a great start. We have already gotten lost in our area together, been directed to drive across a corn field by our GPS (we didn’t, just in case you were wondering), and had some fantastic and miraculous meetings and lessons with incredible people.  We have also successfully tackled the missionary Christmas Fireside that we performed in last night! More details on that in just a moment. All I can say is that it is good to be here, it is good to be a missionary, and I am so grateful for this season.

This last weekend was marvelous! So busy. We had 2 ward Christmas parties on Friday and Saturday and went Ward Christmas Program hopping on Sunday. We started the day by singing in the ward choir in one of our wards. Beautiful music. Grateful for the Spirit helping me sightread. Then we went to another ward where the program was SPECTACULAR, made me cry–organ… Christmas carols… it will always get me, Dad–and we sat with a great Sister with whom we’d had a beautiful lesson the night before. Then we went to yet another Christmas program with an investigator. Then we rushed to meet with a bishop, a dinner appointment, and then dress rehearsal for the Christmas Fireside.

It was so good. The Spirit was strong. The Tabernacle was warm (literally, we were all overheated) in spirits and full of light. The choir sang well. I had the opportunity to be really involved.

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The instrumental quartet

A quartet of Violin, Viola, Clarinet, and Bassoon played an arrangement of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and The Coventry Carol; a small double quartet of Elders and Sisters sang Away in a Manger;  Sister Gearheart, another beautiful missionary I serve with, and myself, sang a solo/duet on O Holy Night in a beautiful choral arrangement that filled the room with an overwhelming testimony of the Savior.

2014.12.21.Concert.AGH.Tabernacle

It was breathtaking and a privilege to be involved. I gazed around the room as we sang and was overwhelmed and so heartened to see so many familiar faces from all of the wonderful areas I have served in, including a previous companion, Sister Harper, and her parents all the way from Australia!

Sister Erin Harper, Sister Hansen, Susan and David Harper, of Sydney, Australia

Sister Erin Harper, Sister Hansen, Susan and David Harper, of Sydney, Australia

Made me cry. And the choir was filled with friends and fellow missionaries that have become some of my dearest friends. I am so blessed. And this leads me to my next thought:

I have a new favorite scripture. I discovered it during a personal study last week and I want to share it. As I let it mull around in my head over the last few days, it has started to mean more and more to me. And then the other night we met a less-active sister that we met by a miracle. She talked about having an eternal perspective as she grows older. She said that she has come to the conclusion that, as time stretches on and looks and seems shorter and shorter, your priorities start to become clearer and more focused. It becomes clear that some things just need to fall out of your life or be looked at differently and then you start to worry about what really matters. Only things that have an eternal effect. She answered a big question for me in sharing that. As the end of my mission draws nearer, my thoughts turn this way. How am I going to finish the way the Lord would have me? How am I going to do all I can? What is most important? That turned my mind, again, to the scripture. It is Mosiah 7:18-19.

In this story, a Book of Mormon king named Limhi is speaking to his people, encouraging them, and motivating them to have hope. They have been in bondage for so long, but there is finally light on the horizon because of Ammon, another Book of Mormon hero, who has discovered their city and brings the hope of deliverance and help. It reads,

“18 And it came to pass that when they had gathered themselves together that he spake unto them in this wise, saying: O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.

“19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through theRed Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them.”

I guess the conclusion I draw here is that, as King Limhi says, “the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subject to our” whatever it is. Our life, our mission, our trial, our semester in school, our biology class, our whatever, is drawing to a close. But he goes on to say, “yet, I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.” Don’t let up. When something is hard (or even good!) and you can see the end near or the light ahead, don’t give up. Don’t finish the race with anything less than your very best sprint. Diligence to the end will not only make you happy, but it will bring blessings from the Lord! And the eternal perspective will always help you really focus on what really matters.

Like my experience in the Tabernacle, I was in a room filled with light, the Spirit, beautiful music, people I loved, and Christmas celebration. That was what really mattered. That’s what really DOES matter.

I love Christmas. I love it because of what it does to the world. Some people may say that it is a time when we take a break from the “real world,” but I think it is when we really see the real world. We see Christ in everything, perhaps more than we used to, when we have the right paradigm going for us, and that’s really how it should be, all the time, is it not?

I testify that Christ lives. He was born that He might live, that we might live, that we might have peace and every reason to rejoice. As the angel told the Shepherds that night as the birth of the Savior was proclaimed, I too raise my voice to say,

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

The good tidings of great joy are the many opportunities that we have to be made new, better, stronger, happier, more determined, lifted, and so much more by Christ.

Hymn of the Day

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! Screenshot 2014-12-24 11.09.30

 

 

1. Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise;
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

2. Christ, by highest heaven adored!
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Born in time, behold him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb,
Veiled in flesh, adored is He,
Savior through eternity!
Pleased as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, Our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

3. Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

He lives! (I wish you could see and feel my grin!) He does!

And that’s the best gift we could every be given. #Share the gift

Screenshot 2014-11-30 21.37.40Hope is real. Peace is real. And “once all things He meekly bore” for our sakes (Hymn #196 Jesus Once of Humble Birth), so that we can be lifted in what we bear. That’s the best news I have ever heard.

I love you all. I hope you can feel it! I wish you all the very Merriest Christmas!

Much love and all good things and sincere prayers and more love,
Sister Hansen

58. Time is Short!

Virgin River, Washington Fields, Washington County, Utah

Virgin River, Washington Fields, Washington County, Utah

December 15, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

My time is short, so this post may be short as well, but I have some news to report!
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Another transfer has come and gone and there are more changes ahead!
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Sister Jaramillo is headed home! We have had so many adventures in our time. At the same time as she says goodbye, I, too, will say goodbye to the Washington East Stake and skip over to the neighboring stake and new area: Washington Fields.
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As part of my calling, though, I will be leaving the Visitors’ Center.  And it looks like I probably won’t go back before my mission ends. That’s the saddest part. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love the Visitors’ Center. As Winnie the Pooh said once, “How lucky I am to have so many people [and places] to miss.”
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I will have many new adventures to report to you soon!
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2013.09.16.MTC.Liu.0514And, the last bit of news. My new companion…is Sister Liu! She is from California, and is Tongan. Her name may or may not be familiar. She was my MTC companion!
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Red-letter BibleLast thing: Our mission president and his wife gave all of us a new copy of the new Testament with a specific assignment. As an echo to the “Red Letter Edition” of the New Testament that is available (an edition where the words of Christ are in red text), we are creating our own “Red Letter editions.” We are to read the New Testament in the next six weeks and mark His words in red. It has been a marvelous experience so far. More on that later…
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Well, I must run. I love you all! I will have more to tell next week!
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Much love and rice and beans,
Sister Hansen

57. Patterns of Light

December 10, 2014
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Dear everyone and their dog (especially my dog),
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I have seen my faith increase exponentially over the course of my mission. I can see it as I look back and review who I was and where I have been and compare it with who I am and where I aScreenshot 2014-12-15 22.10.33m now. It’s just a thought I’ve been having. It’s one of those things, too, that has been incremental. Sort of like the way Elder David A. Bednar describes receiving spiritual answers or revelation in the videos “Patterns of Light,” like the rising of the sun. (Check them out his three videos.  They’re short and powerful and worth every second!)
Gradually. I see change in myself only when I am consistent, constant, diligent, and when I then pause and look back.  I can see progress, even when I  didn’t see how far each step-by-step motion took me. What a testimony builder for the concept of “small and simple things” (Alma 37:6 – The Book of Mormon).
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Washington East is full of miracles. We had a phone call a few weeks ago from a young lady whose boyfriend wanted to learn. She set up the appointment, we came, we taught, and he is planning on being baptized in January! He is so special. The answers that he gives to questions in our lessons are incredible. The other day we asked him what he thought of when he hears the word “Salvation,” as we were going to discuss the “Plan of Salvation.” He said, basically, that it seemed like something safe… like home. For me, thoughts of Heaven and Heavenly Father have always been thoughts of home. We believe we lived with God before we were born, and that we are working, in this life, to live with Him again. Of course, then, “Salvation” would naturally mean returning home, to someplace safe. It was so beautiful, simple, and true, the way he said it.
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This last week or so, I had an experience with a woman that came into the Visitors’ Center. We’ll call her Pam. Pam came months and months ago and spoke with me in the VC about some struggles in her life. We kept in touch over email and we’ve seen each other in often in person over the months. She’s amazing and has had some incredible changes and faith in her life, especially in the past months. She came the other day and we talked for a long time. I shared with her the “He is the Gift” video.  If you haven’t watched it yet, go now, click here:
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I gave her one of the pass-along cards that invites others to check out the video online. I challenged her to find someone to share it with in the next four days. “Four days?!” she says, but I encouraged her and assured her that she could do it. She left determined, I think. 🙂
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About an hour after she left, someone came to find me in the VC to say that I had a visitor. She was back! She reported to me that it had taken her 5 MINUTES to share it, so she was back for more cards! She had been on her way out and had the thought that she should go pick up a cake for her daughter. So off to Walmart she went. As she ordered the cake, she spoke with the employee that was helping her. The employee told her that she’d been having a really hard time lately and Pam immediately said, “Hey! There’s this video and here’s a card and…” and just like that, Christmas shared.  🙂 I was proud of her and so grateful for the way the Spirit worked in her day to make all of it possible.
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Friends and family, I love you. The Savior lives. The church is true. Salvation is real and will take us home. We just have to turn to Him.
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This Christmas I am heavily involved in music. I accompanied an Elders’ chorus (ok, chorus is a term I use lightly– it was 10 Elders) in a Zone Conference meeting today singing a medley that I threw together of Restoration Hymns (Joseph Smith’s First Prayer, Praise to the Man, A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, and We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet). It went marvelously! And it was a lot of fun. Tomorrow for another Zone Conference, I’ll be playing in a Viola, Cello, Bassoon trio, What Child is This? And then there’s the Christmas concert on the 21st! Another instrumental group will be playing an arrangement of O Come, Emmanuel and The Coventry Carol. Music is filling these months of my mission and I am SO BLESSED.
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I love you all. So, so, so, so much. Chin up. The Lord loves you. 🙂
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Much love and rice and beans and way too much pumpkin chocolate chip bread in the break-room at the Visitors’ Center! (#blessings)
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Sister Hansen

56. The Christmas Gift

November 26, 2014images

Dear loved ones,

What was your favorite Christmas gift?  Does one come to mind?

A bike, an iPod, a homemade pot holder, an “I’ll clean the house” IOU, a trip toDisneyland . . .
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Did you think of something?
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Well, there’s another gift that stands remembering. The gift of the Savior of the World.
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This Christmas, the church has produced a beautiful new video called He is the Gift. The video is a breathtaking reminder that the most important thing about Christmas is remembering that Jesus Christ is not only the reason for the season, but the first and greatest gift of Christmas.
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Screenshot 2014-11-30 21.42.38John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
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God gave us His Son, and because of His Son, we can have everlasting life, freedom from sin and regret, a knowledge that death is not the end, and the power to do all things that we could not do on our own otherwise. Just like my favorite scripture, in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
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Please take a moment to watch this video:
Screenshot 2014-11-30 21.37.40The message is universal. The story is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, the source of all light, and that He loves us each with a perfect, enabling, inspiring, and propelling love.
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Then, share this gift. Share the video with your loved ones this season and reintroduce and remind everyone of this universal, powerful gift of love.
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I love you all. Happy Holidays, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Christmas, Happy life.
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Love and blessings and every good thing,
Sister Hansen