Saturday, August 24, 2013


Yes, it's true. I will be leaving the lovely Great Falls Ward come Thursday! Sister Udall will be training, and I'm headed elsewhere. I'll find out ON transfer day where I'm going, so I'll let you know next week! Pretty jittery about it, since I've been here for six months and don't know anything different, but I'm excited!
We picked up a former investigator named Phil Stone! We found him on Saturday after SIX YEARS of no contact (at least, that's what the record says). He is such a sweet old man that is always on a serious spiritual journey! He remembers a lot of what the missionaries taught him in the past and agrees with a good deal of it! But like many of the lovely people in Virginia, he does not like rules (AKA organized religion). He LOVES God and Christ, but doesn't grasp the importance of rules. So I bore my testimony of commandments using what I had just read that morning from Elder Perry's conference talk "Obedience to the Law is Liberty". I told him that the commandments are COUNSEL from a loving Heavenly Father. He seemed to like that. We asked if he had read the Book of Mormon and he had read a little, but didn't understand it. I asked if he read AND prayed about it. He admitted he hadn't. I find that with most people we meet that have read the Book of Mormon - they never PRAYED! I told him that he can't know spiritual truth until he prays, which agreed to. So he said he will read the Book of Mormon, starting from the Introduction, and PRAY to know if it's true and how he can understand it better. Can't wait to follow up with him!
Just last night, we had a wonderful event! I don't know if I have ever mentioned the New Member Fireside or not, but we have those right before each transfer. At these firesides, new members of the Church get up and share their conversion stories and testimonies. It's SUPER powerful and spiritual because EVERYONE comes from such different backgrounds. Well... we had Eric Murray speak at it! We helped him write his talk the week before. He did SO great! Eric has a learning disability so his talk was quite short but still so powerful. When we assigned him to write his own talk, he told us he spent an hour on it and we looked down to find only a paragraph :/ But he read it to us and the Spirit was STRONG. My favorite line of his was:
"The Sisters asked me to read the Book of Mormon and then ask God if it was true. So I did and the answer was yes!"
Haha He's so precious. We took one last picture with him last week. I'll miss this big teddy bear! But we had SO MANY ward members come out to support him. Probably around 5 or 6 families/couples, including Bishop! It was incredible. I truly love this ward and am going to miss it so much!
I wanted to share a chapter I came across this week in 3 Nephi. I don't remember ever reading this, but I loved the message it was getting across. Chapter 23 talks about the importance of RECORDING the spiritual experiences we have, directly from the mouth of Christ! I recommend reading the whole chapter (it's small) but I've concluded a three-step process from it: Learn, Record, and Teach!
LEARN: 10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
So after Christ asked why they didn't record Samuel's prophecy, Nephi replies with this. He tells Christ that we were "fulfilled" by his prophecy, so we didn't need to write it down.
RECORD: 13 And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.
Then Christ scolds him for his response and commands him to write it DOWN!
TEACH: 14 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had expounded all the scriptures in one, which they had written, he commanded them that they should teach the things which he had expounded unto them.
Most important step of ALL! After we record our experiences, we can't learn from them until we teach others about what we've gained! We're told that constantly as missionaries (because our calling is to TEACH).
I'm grateful for this little golden nuggets of guidance found ALL OVER the scriptures! It's what makes me realize that its truly God's word.
Thank you all for the love and support! It means everything to me! Have a great week!
Sister Hansen
Me in front of my FAVORITE neighborhood in all of Vienna: Maymont (look it up on Google maps)


Hello All!
Thanks for all the love and prayers in regards to the goals I mentioned last week! Nail-biting is going well! Only picked at one nail the first day and haven't looked back. I would send a picture BUT... my cuticles are another story :(
SO we received some breaking news from our mission president regarding mail. It is as follows:
As of May 2013, the Postal Inspector from the United States Post Office (USPS) has instructed the mission office that we can no longer forward 1st class mail free of charge. With this in mind, please note the following changes in our mail policy effective immediately:

1) Please let your family and friends know they will now need to send mail directly to your apartment;

2) After this upcoming transfer, any mail received in the office will be given to your Zone Leaders at the following Mission Leadership Council (held on the first Thursday of each month) OR will be handed out at the next Transfer Meeting (whichever comes first);

3) On the Monday of Transfer Week, please notify your family that you will let them know by email on Friday whether you were transferred or not. If you ARE transferred, then you will notify them during the Progress Record Time of your new apartment address. Ask them to hold onto the mail for that week until they receive your email on Friday;

4) Fill out and submit a "Change of Address Form" through the USPS each time you are transferred so that your mail will automatically be forwarded to your new apartment.
(Hillary's new address on address on adjacent "Keep in Touch" page on this blog)
And thank you everyone for the mail that I DO get! It makes my day, my week! Hope these changes to halt anything too much.
I don't have much time to write this week, but I will share a touching experience. So LAST Monday, we met with Brother Craig Jones. He has been a member of the Church since 2000. He grew up in Logan, with in-active parents, and his grandmother always encouraged him to read the Book of Mormon. Though he never did. UNTIL his son began investigating the Church when he was in high school (because of a girl, no less). As his son was baptized, then going to BYU, then going on a mission, Brother Jones found it to be the right time to finally read the Book of Mormon. It was a spiritual journey for him! He has a strong testimony, but has had some difficult hardships. One of them being his divorce three years ago. And his son (the one who first found the Church) is always overly-critical of Brother Jones whenever he "slips" up. The poor man is NOT receiving the support that he needs!
We knew he had been working on Sundays, so we wanted to see what was up so we could help him re-gain his testimony of faithful church attendance. Well, because he is a single man, we had to have a lesson on his front porch. The bugs were annoying, but want to know the worst part? The outdoor concert venue known as "Wolf Trap" is just minutes away from his house. So you can hear EVERYTHING when outside. And guess who was playing that Monday night? THE FRAY. I'm not a big fan of them, BUT they started playing radio hits as soon as the discussion was getting spiritual. SATAN WORKS SO STRONGLY. Mind you, this is the DAY after the 40 Day Fast where we made those goals to NOT get distracted. And yet, here was this HUGE distraction. I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to help me pay attention so I could address Brother Jones' needs. And thank heavens, I was able to tune it out (for the most part), long enough to commit him to come back to church! He agreed and we wrote down on a sticky note the testimony he gave to us of why he goes to church in the first place. It is:
1) To keep me focused
2) To stay on the straight and narrow
3) To feel the SPIRIT
We gave it to him to remind him of what he knows to be true. I'm grateful that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I'm also EXTREMELY thankful for the Spirit and how strongly it can bear witness to people of our faith. Without the Spirit, we'd be nothing. How wonderful God is to give us this gift so that we can feel His power directly while here on Earth.
LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks again for all your prayers and love. It's what a missionary survives on - I'm sure of it!
Sister Hansen

Monday, August 12, 2013


Hello All!
This week was pretty incredible. We got to teach many lessons and though these are people we may/may not see again, it was such GREAT experience. Still being a trainer, I get worried that my little Sister Udall isn't getting enough teaching opportunities. So this week helped us!!!
One of the lessons was with Bethany Cuttahee and her daughter, Jessica. It was referral from a member family (their neighbor) who are about to move to Austria this week! We stopped by the house, and Bethany let us RIGHT in! They are a very STRONG Catholic family, meaning they have great morals and values that they like to live by. You can tell that Bethany respected the Rhees (the member family) a lot, and her daughters will miss their kids. Well, we ended up giving her a pamphlet and asked her to read. She said she would! We will check back on her this week. In the MEANTIME, a NEW member family has moved into the Rhee's old house. This is the Sutton family, and they are HILARIOUS. Four out of the six people in that house bore their testimonies on Sunday and had the congregation roaring. But it was appropriate laughter, don't worry :) But BOTH the mother and father are converts to the church AND served missions! They also have a son who just left to serve in Jacksonville, FL Spanish speaking. Anyways, this family has ALREADY met the Cuttahees and plan to be those inviting and helpful members to pick up where the Rhees left off. How cool is that?!
So this week, we were given a challenge by our mission president to rid of those things that keep us from focusing on the work. He calls it the "40 Day Fast". We started with a fast yesterday to find out what things we needed to correct. Then for forty days, we will do ALL we can to keep ourselves from succumbing to these distractions! It's amazing to think of how often missionaries will be thinking of other things (not necessarily bad/inappropriate things), but then waste that time by not thinking of the work or the people their teaching! I've come to realize that as I hone my thoughts in on my missionary efforts, the Spirit is MUCH more inclined to show me EXACTLY where to go, what to do, and what to say!
Here are the things I am ridding of for the REST of my mission (not just forty days):
1) Soda
I sometimes will get a drink whenever we get gas, and I actually think about soda pretty often. So embarrassing. SO I will only drink it IF we go out to meals. And that's it!
2) Dance
I think about dance A LOT. Especially if a beautiful song comes on, with lots of piano and instrumental. I start thinking of a dance to it. Hahaha and I'm not even a good choreographer! So I'm quitting that and will think about the beautiful, spiritual song lyrics instead.
3) Musicals
Gosh, I love musicals. And I love to sing them. But no more! I will be singing hymns from now on... wish me luck!
GUYS!!!! I'm going to STOP biting my nails! I'm already two days in, and it's hard. But for some reason, I feel more strength this time around. I am forever DONE with biting my nails!
So that is my list. Please pray for me on these things, for they will NOT be easy. I desire to do the Lord's work and put my WHOLE heart, might, MIND, and strength into it. And you want to know what our celebration/reward is on the 40th day?
I'm so excited, I can't think straight. My mission president knows me so well :)
Thank you for all your love and support! My companion showed me a scripture that hit me real good this week about how we overcome burdens through Christ. Mosiah 24:14-15...
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
So even though our burdens may still be there, we don't have to FEEL them in our lives! How amazing is that? We know we need them to learn and grow, but the effect of their presence can be lifted through Christ's Atonement. I know that to be true.
I love you all!
Sister Hansen
1) Hermana Bethany Hartt! She left for the Mexico City MTC on Tuesday and will eventually be in the California San Fernando mission. She's going to be AMAZING!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thank you, Great Falls!

Hello family and friends!
This week was great! Many miracles, as always, and fun experiences as well. First news first - Marlene dropped us. It was sad to hear, but came as no surprise. She wasn't really engaged in the lesson, and Sister Udall and I realized we didn't love her enough. We should have been more understanding of her situation (old and alone) and have gotten to know her better before shoving doctrine down her throat! So even though she said no more visits - we are going to drop by flowers this week! Hope she likes them.
I went on exchanges this week with Sister Erika Woodbury, a Sister Trainer Leader (it's like a Zone Leader, but a Sister). She is from Murrieta and knows the Darrel and Patty Payne family well! I went to her area and we taught a lesson to this 18 year old boy named Chuck. It seemed interesting that he'd rather have the lesson out in his backyard rather than inside, but we complied. We start teaching and things are going really well. Sister Woodbury starts talking about the Spirit and how he has felt it before, then all of a sudden, "CHUCK!!!!!". Startling, to say the least. Next thing we know, his grandma comes out and yells at us "You've been here TOO LONG and had no appointment. GOOD BYE!" Sister Woodbury says, "Actually, we did have an appointment." She says "No you didn't. This is the second time! Good. BYE!" Ooooohhhhh man. Hahahaha I've never seen anything like that on my mission! I realize now that I've been blessed to encounter VERY nice people in my own area. That grandma needs some stress relief in her life!
So we received many referrals from ward members this week! Most are just to go knock on the door of someone they know but HEY, it's a start! Sister Parker, the infamous ward missionary I've told you about, actually felt impressed to go look at this old abandoned nursery along the highway. Because she's so bold, she walked right past the locked gate and found this woman living there! Her name is Michelle, and when she found out Sister Parker was Mormon, she mentioned how she received ALL of the missionary lessons at 17, but never got baptized because her father was Atheist and forbid it. However, she did gain that testimony of the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ. MIRACLE! It is no coincidence that Sister Parker found and met her that day! We hope to meet this wonderful, nursery-living woman soon!
I challenged myself to read a conference talk everyday, and read what I think is my favorite yesterday: "Stand Strong in Holy Places" by Elder Robert D. Hales from the Priesthood Session. He said this quote and it HIT me hard:
"As we diligently live the gospel, we become strong in the Lord."
Simple, yes? But so profound! As we keep the commandments and live are lives in harmony with what God has asked, THAT is when we can say we are strong in the Lord. It's funny that as you keep these things and gain a testimony of them, you sometimes forget where they come from and who established them (or at least I do). How comforting is it to know that as I do my best in following Christ, my strength WILL be in Him! I love that.
And I love all of you! Thanks for your love and support - I'm a blessed girl!
Sister Hansen
Sister Udall and I trying Lychee (sp?) at a member's house. It's an Asian fruit. I LOVED it. Google it!

There can be MIRACLES... when you believe...

Hello ALL!
The subject title is from that classic song by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, from the Prince of Egypt. I have that song out here and sing it often, but it PARTICULARLY applies to this week!
First, a funny story. So Sister Udall and I were in the actual town of Great Falls, where we don't spend as much time because of the lack of neighborhoods to tract and lack of members/potential investigators. BUT, we do have a couple. So we went to check on someone Sister Evans and I found - his name is Mr. Khoo, from Singapore, and he HAS to be in his 80's. Well we were driving down his street to find him walking down it, headed toward the Safeway by his house! I told Sister Udall, "We're following him! Go!" So we flipped a U and went to Safeway. We scoured the aisles, looking for Mr. Khoo, I picking up a soda in the meantime so we look like normal customers, and BOOM! We found him! We proceeded to talk to him for like, 20 minutes. He's going out to California to visit his daughter (who has a private medical practice on Geary St in San Fran) and will be gone for a month. WE WILL FIND HIM AGAIN ONE DAY!
Well on Sunday, we received two new investigators - SUCH a miracle!
The first came from one of the new "unknown" ward files. We went to a certain address to find "Tiffany Darling" and found Marlene Rives, a 79-year old lonely woman with a lot of spunk. We knocked on her door and she led us right in. Even made us milkshakes (YES)! But she proceeded to show us around her house and tell us about her family. The poor woman had twin daughters, one of them a semi-finalist in the Miss USA pagaent in the late 70's, who both have died in recent years. She also had another friend die two years ago, who had helped reconstruct her house. Marlene's gone through a lot in her life! So we took the time to listen. We left her with a pamphlet to read and said we would call her in a couple days! We called her the next day and asked if we could come over Sunday. She said yes! We had a lesson with her and though she wasn't super receptive to the message (she kept getting distracted and asked questions like "Do you pencil in your eyebrows?"), we have faith in her! She's willing to let us come back, but we're going to make an extra cautious effort in not being as pushy as we were on Sunday and be more loving like we were on Friday. Pray for Marlene!
The second investigator, Kayla, is a former investigator who has also gone through MUCH tribulation in her life. She first met with Elders in 2009, and Sister Evans and I had met her in March when we first got here. She is a VERY busy woman and doesn't have a lot of time, so we knew that 10-15 minute lessons/visits were the ONLY way we could get to her. One day last month, we showed up at the PERFECT time, unannounced. Her daughter was in Africa on a service trip and was experiencing difficulties with a boy in the group, who was trying to harm her. Kayla, being the concerned mother that she is, was so stressed and worried about this situation, and invited us in to give her comfort! We have shared with her on multiple occassions now how God is aware of her and not punishing her, though these trials may sometimes feel like it. We went to help her feel PEACE and know that it will come as she keeps the commitments we give her, like reading the Book of Mormon! So she said that she would, and agreed to meet with us MORE than once a week. MIRACLE!
I'm so grateful for the little tender mercies we receive from the Lord along the way. I love the Lord so much and am just dying to tell people how they can have that PEACE in their lives. No time for a scripture today, but know that I have a testimony of this being the TRUE restored gospel of Jesus Christ. How wonderful and blessed we are to have it again.
Sister Hansen
SETTLERS OF CATTAN! A member in our ward made this 3D version. SO COOL.