67. I am the one who has been blessed

March 16, 2015
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Dear Friends and Family,

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This may be the shortest post of the past 18 months. It seems like as time has gone by, my posts and emails have been getting shorter and shorter. I have found that in talking with my companion and other missionaries, their experience is the same. My mind gets deeper into what I’m doing and then emailing becomes less and less important. But I feel like I have learned and am learning what is most important.
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I have kept a little book of thoughts the last portion of my mission. Right now there are over 100 little thoughts that I have jotted down: phrases I loved, thoughts that passed through my mind that rang true, lessons learned, things I learned about myself. It ranges anywhere from #1 which reads, “Ranch dressing is good on pretty much everything”– an important thing to know, apparently — to deep and meaningful thoughts about the Atonement and God’s plan for me. My point in telling you this is that I have learned what I really want. I want to know that when I reach the point in my eternal timeline when I see my Heavenly Father again, I want Him to know and I want to know myself that I brought love to the world.  That I was an influence for good.  That I did what He needed me to do, and that I gave my heart. I hope that I can say the same about my mission.
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Over the past few days and weeks, I have been doing all of my “lasts.” Last testimony shared in a zone meeting, last coordination meeting, last weekly planning, last Preparation Day (TODAY), last, last, last, last… But I have learned what will “last.” I may not have been a perfect missionary. I may have made many mistakes, missed many opportunities, not always been perfectly obedient or diligent, or whatever. But I have learned that what will last is the testimony, the witness, that I have gained–that now burns in my bones.
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Christ lives. He truly overcame this world so that we might overcome it. He loves us. He is the Son of God, a God who has a plan to bring about the eternal life and eternal happiness of His children. I have served Him these 18 months, endeavoring to bless the lives of His children, and in the end… I am the one who has been blessed.
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One of my favorite missionaries in the Book of Mormon, Ammon, put it this way in Alma 26:
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“1 My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla — [or Boise, perhaps?] — that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? 

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2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? 
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3 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.”

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One of my companions taught me the principle of the seed. You can count the number of seeds in an apple–5 or 6, maybe. But you can never count how many apples come from one seed.
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“What great blessings has God bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?” I cannot.

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And so I leave you with a scripture that seems to be brimming from my heart:
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“Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” 3 Nephi 5:13.

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I have loved this work. I have loved this time. I love the Lord.
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I love you.
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Sister Hansen
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66. Feelings are tender

March 9, 2015red.bow.white.gift

Dear all,

Feelings are tender and if you know me well, you know that it isn’t strange.  But tears have been continually brimming these last few weeks. I don’t even know where to start.
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I suppose I could try to sum up 18 months in some kind of perfect, eloquent way in this blog post and make it some kind of perfect bow on top of a mission, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to. Hopefully you’ll just see and feel it when you see me. That is my prayer.
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This is going to be a really short one, but I wanted to just tell you all that I love you!
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I keep hearing news of all the great things happening in your lives – weddings, children, success in school, church callings, the gospel changing lives. This life is beautiful. By no means does that translate to easy, but it is definitely beautiful! I am so happy for and grateful for each of you. I am so happy that you are happy! And if you’re not happy, be happy!
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2 Nephi 2:25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
An adventure to report:  I must begin by saying that both my companion and I are fine. Anyone nervous yet?
tire.warningWell, we blew a tire while driving. It’s a long story, but here’s the short version.  I will take the blame and just say we are grateful that all is well. It was a pretty normal accident. Just be careful when you u-turn, ok?  This adventure made us both realize that we didn’t actually feel comfortable changing a tire.  Well, now we do!  We are grateful for random strangers who are willing to help and for kind mission vehicle coordinators. It was a learning experience, no one was hurt, and we had a good laugh.
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Well, my time is almost gone and so I must send this along with one more reiteration of my love, my gratitude for each of you, and my wishes for a beautiful week!
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Much love and rice and beans,
Sister Hansen