Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hillary Helps at Assisted Living Home


Well, jokes on us - we got 4 inches of snow last night, and I still can't stop thinking about how cold my feet are right now as I write this. And yes Mom, I'm wearing tights, socks, AND boots to keep them covered. Help.

I'd LOVE to give a shout out to Sister Kim Bosler, Janet and Charlie French, and The Christensen Family. Your e-mails made my day! Sister Bosler, don't worry about Karli and dogs. She probably loves dogs more than I do, so I'm sure she'll be fine! Brother Christensen, thank you for the MTC to mission field analogy - SO helpful. I feel blessed to know all of you and can't thank you enough for taking time out to write your thoughts. 

So last week, I COMPLETELY forgot to write you about our latest service activity - entertaining the women of an assisted living home! So a couple in our ward, the Taylors, have a HUGE house out in Great Falls (see attached picture), where they use their basement level as an assisted living home. We get to come once a week and play games with the women like "Hangman", "Big Word, Little Word", and "Boggle". Most of the women don't like to play, just watch. But there is one lady who almost shouldn't belong there, she's too spunky! Her name is Joan and she's from Northern England. Joan LOVES when we come and she plays it all (not necessarily following all the rules). We were playing "Big Word, Little Word" and she loved yelling out and repeating words like "gin" and "piss". A true Brit, right Dana? She actually went to college in Leeds. How cool! 

This past week we also decided to sing songs together! We sang some musical tunes (YES), Christmas songs, and old rhymes. Joan knew it all! She amazes me. I feel blessed that the mission is giving me opportunities to do stuff like this! Even though I'm not teaching the gospel to her (not allowed to), I'm trying to be a loving example. And boy, do I anticipate our visits! It such a highlight of my week. I'll tell you about the other women there sometime soon.

I'll tell you about one particular lesson I had this week. My companion stressed to me how important it is that we go on "splits" with the members, where we split up and bring a member along with us to appointments instead. So luckily, I had the Young Women's President that night and she's great! Her name is Sister Ballew and the teaching appointment I had her accompany me to was with a woman named Alena, who lives in the same complex as Sister Ballew (UH, CONVENIENT). Alena is a tradional Catholic, but actually doesn't agree with many things in Catholicism. For example, she can't stand it when people show off their wealth in the church (especially with the money they're being paid with BY the church). She also hated the last pope (the one that resigned). Alena said she would turn him off the TV every time he came on. Lastly, she absolutely LOVES the idea of missionaries and constantly wonders why the Catholics don't invite people to their church like we do. She is SUCH a great lady. At the end of the lesson, I invited her to be baptized and she said she "couldn't promise anything", but she would love to come to our church. Well that's DEFINITELY a start! Pray that she'll come to church on Easter Sunday! I know it's a stretch for Catholics, but it can be DONE.

To close, I had my first Zone Conference this week (see picture), where we heard from our mission president, President Riggs, and his wife. It was amazing! I learned so much...
D&C 3:7-8  
7 For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words—
8 Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.

BE FAITHFUL and He will support you! And let us remember this with Easter JUST around the corner! I spoke in Sacrament meeting yesterday about Christ's reason for overcoming temporal and spiritual death. What I wrote:
"He overcame temporal death so that we may PHYSICALLY stand before God. He overcame spiritual death so that we may RIGHTEOUSLY stand be before God." 
His Atonement allows us to do both. I know that to be true. 

I LOVE YOU ALL! Have a HAPPY EASTER. Eat lots of candy for me. Especially those Mini Cadbury Eggs. Yum.

Sister Hansen

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hillary Meets George Q. Cannon's grandson

Hello ALL!

Shout-out to the Knecht Family (DAD insert, Knechts are our bishops family): you all are seriously too generous. Thank you Bishop for the letter, I appreciate any advice I can get. And Sister Knecht, the candy package was TOO thoughtful! I loved it. And ate everything. Already. Haha so thank you all so much!!! I'll be sending you a letter soon :)

Some connections for the week:
1) In my ward, there is a Sister Emily Anderson Titus, who hails from... DIXON. What. Crazy, right?! Her parents (the Andersons) still live there! Such a small world.
2) Sister Delis (who sent you the picture, Mom) has a daughter who served in Chicago Spanish speaking on her mission. Turns out this daughter was the trainer of my roommate, Suzy's, older sister, Nicole (Hermana Day)! Sister Delis clearly remembers her daughter writing about her and she got so excited when I made the connection. Too funny.
3) Our Bishop's counselor, Brother Lee Bazzarone, has a daughter, Ashley, who was on the BYU Soccer team. She was #12 and played in that championship game against UNC, Dad! Brother Bazzarone and his wife were at the game too, I believe!
4) The McConnaugheys are a family in the ward, and the father (Kevin) is from Visalia, CA (Insert;Linda grew up in Visialia, CA)! He wasn't a member until his 20's, but I thought that was a small world. Oh and the mother (can't remember her name) had grown up in La Canada, CA. I asked her if she remembered any Andersons, but she didn't... probably because she wasn't a member yet either.

That's about it this week. One thing I forgot to mention last week if who I'm living with! This would be Carolyn and Glenn Davis and they are the sweetest members EVER. We live in their cute house out in Vienna. Our room was converted from their library, but it's so great. Brother Davis is 83 years old and he talks to us all the time - I LOVE IT. He even has made us his "famous" Chocolate Fountain Sodas... TWICE. They're pretty yum. But anyways, I need to get a picture with them so you can see what they look like! I'll work on that this week.

So funny story - last night, we went to go visit a member couple after dinner. They live in this ritzy apartment complex so it was a challenge to get past the guard and to be "rung up" (first time ever doing that, by the way). But we made it just fine. The couple would be Mark and Betty Cannon. I had no idea who they were really, but 2.5 hours later (OOPS), we knew their WHOLE life story. Please google Mark Cannon and be amazed. He is the grandson of George Q. Cannon and was the top assistant to Chief Justice Berger back in the 70's (I think?). He dated Mitt Romney's older sister back in the day, and met/worked side-by-side with so many presidents, it's crazy. BUT GET THIS. He served a mission in Argentina... during PERON'S REIGN (Insert: The girls in the family absolutely love the musical movie EVITA). Yeah, he's old. Can you believe that though?! I had a blast talking to him and his wife. Such amazing people who love to talk... just like me :)

We have an investigator! His name is David Melendez, and he's 17 years old. We found him when we went to a potential investigator's house, only to find out that she had moved and so we talked to David instead! SUCH a nice and humble boy. But he's had a rough past. He has a 2 year old son and was in juvenile prison for 2 years, but he's doing so much better now! David goes to a computer trade school and works as a mechanic. We've been able to have two lessons with him now and we have another one with him TODAY! So please keep him in your prayers. We want him to come to church so badly - it will be a huge step in his progression towards understanding the importance of the Sabbath. But other than that, he loves to pray and does it often, and we hope that he's been reading the Book of Mormon! One thing I love about it him is that he gets on tangents. Like CRAZY ones. Last week, he got off on how he was reading about the effects of natural disasters, one of them being that rabies are going to spread. Oh and that rain forest ants are going to mutate. Hahaha I was dying. He's so cool though.

I am loving my mission! Though the work is hard and I often let my fears get in the way, I have to say that I LOVE teaching people. Being able to sit down in a lesson and share what I know is SUCH a blessing. I've had such great experiences already and I know that they'll continue to come. A favorite thought I shared this week with members what John 15:26-27: "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." Remember that! The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of TRUTH and a Comforter in our lives. Use it to share the gospel - for it is our responsibility because we've been with Christ since the BEGINNING.

I LOVE YOU ALL! "You da, you da best."

-Sister Hansen

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'm in Virginia!!


First, have to do the shout-outs. Sister Knecht and Kelsey Knecht, thank you SO MUCH for your "Dear Elder" letters. They made my day! You both are so kind and I appreciate the time you took to write those. Kelsey: thanks for calling me a cute missionary. It means a lot :)
BIRTHDAY SHOUT-OUT: Don't know if you're reading this, but my dearest JESSICA BIRD... I hope you had a FANTASTIC birthday yesterday. I love and miss you so much!

Okay, so this week has been a whole bunch of crazy. We flew out of Provo at 6am, left the MTC at 3am, and therefore, had to wake up at 1:30am. Of course, I had been packing the night before so I went to bed around midnight. Bleh. BUT we made it to DC! My mission president, President Riggs, and his wife met us right outside the gate. It was amazing! They are such a young couple, but are so kind and generous. I am definitely blessed to be in this mission, under their watch and care. We stayed the night at the mission home and then went to transfer meeting in the morning. My new companion's name is Sister Diamond Evans. She is a curvy, sassy, 22-year old from Detroit, Michgan. She's a convert of 4 years and has been serving for over 9 months - half way there! Upon receiving her as my companion, she mentioned that we are "white-washing" the area. I assumed she meant that this is her first time with a white girl companion, but I was wrong. It means that we were BOTH being sent to a new area, neither one of us with any knowledge of the members or stake or anything! So that was kind of scary. What's funny though is that her and her companion, Sister Russell, were split up and she got me as a companion and Sister Russell got my MTC companion, Sister Mitchell! That explains one of the pictures I'll send. Something I'm looking forward to this week - Expectations Meeting! It's when the new missionaries get to come back for a meeting at the mission home. I miss Sister Mitchell already! Can't wait to see her and my wonderful MTC district.

MY AREA. Get ready for this. GREAT FALLS, VIRGINIA. It's probably one of the most expensive areas in the mission and encompasses parts of Great Falls, Vienna, and Dunn Loring. It's in the McLean Stake, and is located up in the north part of the mission. After coming here, we received word from the bishop as well as the members that this area doesn't do so well. The members don't love missionary work that much and everyone is prideful. So that's cool! But seriously, what a challenge. Want to hear about my first door knocking experience? Okay. I knocked on the door, we introduced ourselves, the man's dog runs out of the doorway and nips at me. The man then says "He's trained to kill missionaries." We asked if we could leave a card with him, "Nope." Can we come back at a better time? "Never." Door slam and done. Guess what everyone... I hate tracting. Am I allowed to say that? It really is the most awkward and uncomfortable thing ever. Luckily, we don't do it too often because it's not very successful. I know that with time, I'll get used to it. But for now... eh.

My favorite part about the mission - meeting members! People in the ward are actually so nice! I love getting to know them and asking about their jobs. The ward is full of accountants. I've already met around 6 probably. There are huge Ernst & Young and KPMG towers in Vienna, so that explains it. Speaking of members, I've made so many crazy connections since being here. Brace yourselves:

- My bishop and his wife (Bryan and Nicole Richardson) moved from Escondido, CA 7.5 years ago. I asked if they knew David and Dana Livingston (my aunt and uncle). YES! They lived on Don Rolando, just a street over from Puebla. Too funny right?! He's a great bishop!
- We ate at the Roberts' home for dinner last night and there was a letter on a table with a picture. I looked at it quickly to realize that the girl in the picture was the Trottier's (from Fairfield) daughter! CRAZY. I asked how they knew her and apparently Brother [David] Roberts is related to her somehow. So nuts.
- Went to the Gardner family's home last night to visit. They have a beautiful Victorian house. I loved their dining room set and had to ask the mother, "Where did you get those chairs?" She said "Um, Restoration Hardware!" Nailed it! I don't know what the style was called Mom (my Mom works at Restoration Hardware), but they were well-known to be "indestructible" I guess.

That's all I can think of right now. But to let you know, the area is not too cold. I can go outside with just a cardigan and be fine! So that's great. I already taught my first lesson to an investigator and we plan to teach him tomorrow as well! I love the mission, but I won't lie and say that it's easy. It's actually quite hard. I was sad to leave the MTC and am still kind of sad. But life goes on! I'm learning a lot and am always striving to keep the Spirit with me. I'm quickly understanding the importance of taking part in missionary work, especially once I get home. It's a commandment, everyone! Just a reminder :) But do your best efforts, and Heavenly Father will recognize it all. I love this church. I love how truly simple and rewarding the gospel is and how happy it can make people, like me. And though I'm trying to open my mouth more, I know that what we know and do comes by example. Be a good example! And the rest will fall into place.

LOVE YOU ALL! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. They really do help.

Sister Hansen

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hillary's 2nd MTC letter

Hello ALL!
I first want to thank my family for the e-mails, they mean so much to me and almost made cry. And thank you to Sister Olivia Baeza for the sweet letter last week. It was just the encouragement and advice that I needed. So thanks :) Speaking of letters, I'll have you all know that she was the only one to write to me this week. And everyone in my district (9 other people) get multiple letters everyday. I promise them that my family and friends love me, but they don't believe me. So send me some letters y'all! I'll write you BACK. But please write to my mission address, which you can find on the blog.

I forgot to mention a few other friends I've seen since being here - Sister Brianna Swenson from Lincoln, CA. She's Mikaela's (Dana's wife) best friend from back home! I actually saw her the first day I got here and have seen her many times since. She's so cool. And Dad, yes I've seen Sister Mikologik (sp?) EVERYDAY! Our classrooms are right next to each other so I do see her all the time. She's great! And finally, I've seen two friends from Bozeman here! Sister Brynn Foster and Elder Hayden Croft. It seriously is SO exciting to see friends here! Like I said, such a comfort and happiness comes over you! LOVE IT!

Okay so the main story this week involves a TRC (Teaching Resource Center) appointment. These appointments bring in every-day volunteers, who can be members acting like non-members or ACTUAL non-members. You usually never find out their persona, even after you teach them. Well, Sister Mitchell and I got assigned to a Luann Anderson. She was an older, retired teacher who was very knowledgeable about history and stuff. It was a great lesson! I was a little scared because she was so forward, but she asked most of the questions, which is VERY helpful. When investigators do the asking, it helps out so much. Anyways, I found out during the lesson that she was originally from Glendale, but then I quickly put that away in the back of my mind. Everything seemed to be going well, and so at the end, Sister Mitchell offered a prayer to close. The Spirit was there throughout the whole lesson, but it must have hit Luann hard in that prayer because when Sister Mitchell finished, Luann was crying! She told us that she wasn't supposed to break character, but that she wanted to tell us that we did SUCH a good job! She told us that we were so organized and precise. She had been a volunteer for many years and said that some missionaries are all over the place in their teaching. She kept praising us and we both started to BAWL. I mean, CRY HARD. And I know why - when someone gives you such good feedback on something that makes you so nervous... IT'S SO AMAZING. Those were happy tears indeed. Bother Sister Mitchell and I thanked her for her kindness and support - it meant SO much. Luann also said she felt connected to us because her son served in Denver South, where Sister Mitchell is from (Aurora specifically too!). And Luann told me that she actually taught school in the Travis School District a long time ago! So crazy.

BUT GET THIS - So when we were wrapping up, I asked if she knew any other Andersons from down south. She asked why and I said "Well, my mom was born in Glendale and her parents come from that area too. Do you know Marthalene Anderson?" She immediately grabbed my arm and said "You. Are. Kidding. Me. I grew up with her! How is she related to you?" I said "She's my NANA!" She couldn't believe it. I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT. Luann told me that she grew up singing with Nana and her sisters, and that Nephi (Great-grandpa Anderson) gave her her patriarchal blessing. HOW CRAZY IS THIS. So I had to ask "Well, I know that the Livingstons hailed from there too. Do you know any of them?" She said "Well, yes of course. I had a crush on Keith in high school." Hahahaha so funny. (Keith is my grandpa everyone). It was nuts. I knew right then and there that God put us together. We were meant to practice with Luann. She was an amazing lady and it's an experience I will NEVER forget. (By the way Mom, her maiden name is Thorne. Luann Thorne. Ask Nana about her!)

Well, this week was spiritual as ever. Thank you Dad, for the advice and scripture references. I'll be sure to look them up. Elder Ballard came to the MTC on Tuesday night for the devotional, I sang in the choir! We sang "Consider the Lillies". It was beautiful! But I was so tired through out it. I did take some notes though! One thing I gained was how much of a miracle it is that we missionaries are out here. We don't get paid, there's no job incentive. We do this because we love the Lord and love God's children. I want people to be happy, eternally happy, and I know that this can ONLY happen through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must follow Him and be obedient in order to truly find that happiness.

I love you all! I feel your prayers. They make me stronger. I LEAVE THIS WEDNESDAY. So crazy. I'll be in the mission home by Wednesday night! I'm so nervous/anxious, but excited too! This is where I'm meant to be, and I feel that everyday.

Sister Hansen