Friday, November 29, 2013


Yes, it's true. "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" has now become my reality. I didn't even know these things were real, to be honest with you! But we found out on Wednesday that our bedroom has been infested with bed bugs. My poor companion had no idea, though she has had bites/rash all over her body for the last 6 weeks. The minute I saw these things though, I knew we had to report it to the office. And I'm glad we did because this is SERIOUS. We've done a LOT of laundry and vacuuming this week, and we're waiting patiently on exterminators. As of now, I do have bites all over my body too, but I felt a calming reassurance telling me this morning that "this will go away". I just have to be patient :)
Despite the drama surrounding that predicament, we had some precious events occur! First, we took a less-active to the Temple Visitor's Center (LOVE that place!). We walked in and found out that our tour would be led by one of the same sisters that did our tour with Anne! Oh, I was so exciting! This sister is about 4'10" and dresses SO cute. Haha she immediately recognized me, with a new companion no less, and we embraced in reunion! The lesson was incredibly powerful, just like Anne's was. And though each woman has such a different story, the Plan of Salvation was what they needed to hear. I'm so grateful to know that this life isn't it, and that we can get through this life with the Atonement. We can use to become better each and every day, and to heal the things we going through - like bed bugs! Susan, our less-active, was deeply touched and was ready to change her life around after that lesson. She is moving back to Pennsylvania, so we won't see her again, but I know that that lesson will stick with her and help her make right choices!
We were also blessed to have had a conference with Elder Teh of the Seventy! He talked about many things, but the overall theme was doing missionary work by the Spirit. Without the Spirit, our teaching, finding, and planning is not in the will of the Lord's. One thing that stuck out to me as he taught us was that having the Spirit with us, and having people feel it, doesn't mean their agency is taken away. He quoted 2 Nephi 33:1-2:
1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.
Notice how Nephi says that the Holy Ghost carries our message UNTO their hearts, not INTO. Though we may allow them to feel the Spirit, it's their choice to accept it INTO their hearts. Let us not be discouraged though! Because without them feeling the Spirit in the first place, they wouldn't even have the choice to accept or reject it.
I'm so grateful for this gospel and the peace it gives me in my life! Though this trial I'm having is SO not the end-of-the-world, sometimes it feels like it is! And when I do feel that way, I know I can turn to my Heavenly Father immediately and He will comfort me. Everything - missionary work, healing, you name it - happens in the Lord's time. Let us all exercise that patience and remember that He knows best!
I love you ALL!
Sister Hansen
1) My companion, Sister Anderson, and I!


Goodbye Oakton, Hello Mount Vernon Stake!
So my new ward is Potomac Mid-Singles Ward, where I get to serve the 31 to 45 year old singles. WOO! They are GREAT! Very professional, outgoing, and a pretty strong desire to share the gospel. Most (even the women) have served missions, so that's helpful! Sunday was great - the talks were all about missionary work! Very fitting. I hope that we can show these members that they can trust us with their friends and that they will be more inclined to invite their friends to the many activities that the ward holds!
My new companion is Sister Julie Anderson from Olympia, Washington. She is VERY outgoing and enthusiastic - it's like she's been here longer than 6 weeks! But... that's how new she really is! So I am finishing up her training. Shouldn't be hard - she's an AWESOME missionary! And loves to talk just as much (if not more) than I do :) I didn't get a picture with her yet (lame, I know), but I promise I will have one by next week! To prepare you, she is a 6 foot, red-head. Gotta love it!
I'm going to keep this e-mail short this week. But I will share with you one scripture that I just love. I pray that I haven't shared this with you before: Alma 7:11-13.

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

This is a very well-known and well-used scripture in the Church. But one thing that a member told me in Great Falls was that there is a specific order to this scripture! Notice that Alma states that Christ suffered first for our pains, afflictions, and temptations, THEN for us to overcome physical death, and THEN for our sins. So often we think the Atonement is JUST for repenting of our sins and asking for forgiveness. This is true, but it's SO MUCH MORE. It's the center of everything we want to do and be in this life! If you desire to be a better person, which I hope we all do, then we NEED the Atonement. Ask Heavenly Father how you can use the Atonement more so in your life and I KNOW that He will answer you by the power of the Holy Ghost. I say that because it's happened to me!
I love you all and thank you so much for your righteousness and charity towards all of God's children. You're an inspiration to me and help me to focus on improving DAY BY DAY!
Sister Hansen
1) Me on a piano in Merrifield Shopping Center :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013


(DAD note: Hillary has been transferred to Alexandria we found out 11/16/13. Her new address is under "Keep in Touch" on her home blog page)
This week has been BANANAS. But busy is good. Transfers are tomorrow and I'll be OUTTA HERE. I'll miss Oakton and it's amazing ward members. It's been a wonderful second area, and I look forward to experiencing more of what Northern Virginia has to offer.
So the Washington DC South Mission has officially started online proselytizing. Meaning, we're on FACEBOOK! I am going to create a new account soon as a "sister" so look for an add from me (or add me): Sister-Hillary Hansen. For those of you who remember, I was EXCITED not to have Facebook for the next 18 months while serving a mission. I was quite addicted when I was home and at college. So the cleanse has been quite nice. Now that we are required to get on, I'm a little nervous! I pray that Heavenly Father will remind me of my purpose and allow me to share the gospel with so many more people through social networking. Our sole purpose of getting on Facebook is to uplift others and help them come closer to Christ. Whether it's members, non-members, less-actives, or recent converts... doesn't matter! So look out for posts from me and be sure to "share" them or "like" them and help your friends find out more about what I'm doing out here and what the message is all about!
We also get iPads and iPhones on December 11th. PRETTY CRAZY.
Sister Mitchell and I had the lovely opportunity of going to the Temple Visitor Center again this past weekend. We went with Carla Mannes, who is a member of the Church from Arizona, and she brought her non-member friend Anne. Anne had a powerful experience in the hospital a few weeks prior when some Elders from the DC North mission were able to give her a blessing. She felt something and immediately became more interested in the gospel. She's read every pamphlet and is working on reading the Book of Mormon. She actually lives in the Oakton boundaries, and we're hoping to be regularly teaching her soon! Anne is a very special lady, who has a strong faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. She's experienced a lot in her life and I can see how the gospel would bless her and her family IMMENSELY. I pray that she will continue to meet with us and have the desire to lay claim on all the blessings God has in store for her!
We also had a lovely dinner a few nights ago with Mrs. Orrin Hatch (Elaine Hatch). Senator Hatch and his wife live in the Oakton ward. Brother Hatch had to go out of town, but we enjoyed the time we spent with Sister Hatch! She's a sweetheart and gave us lots of yummy food to take home. We invited Sister Hatch to introduce herself to her new neighbor! Let's hope she does it! Inside scoop: Her and Brother Hatch wrote each other his entire mission and never went on a formal date until they got married. Too cute!
Well, I love you all! Thanks for the prayers and support - it means everything! I read Alma 5 this week, and I absolutely LOVE these verses. I use them quite often out here on my mission, but I think they'll be my favorites forever. Verses 45 and 46:
45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.
Alma Jr., who's talking here, saw an angel in his younger years, but he NEEDED to feel the Spirit in order to know if any of this was true. So don't underestimate the Spirit, whatever you do! No... you didn't make yourself feel that feeling or think that thought. It is and always will be Heavenly Father communicating to you what is right and true. So grateful for this precious gift and pray each day that I can learn how to use it more in my life!
Sister Hansen


I am LOVING this fall weather! It is getting a smidge chilly, but overall - a LOT more pleasant than the humid summer. I am grateful! I actually took a picture of how wonderful and beautiful the leaves here are - enjoy (I know I do)!
This week, we found two new investigators! David (44) and Barry (40) are brothers, and Barry has Down Syndrome. We found them tracting back in early September (our second week here!). We had given them a Book of Mormon and went to check back on them repeatedly. We would set up return appointment after return appointment, only to have them always fall through. However, David was sincere and really DID want to meet with us so this time - it finally happened!

The lesson was powerful, and you can tell that they both felt the Spirit! As we asked David how he has felt the Spirit most in his life, he said that being with Barry has been such a blessing to him. He feels that he's learned so much from Barry's kind heart and forgiving nature. So tender! When we shared Joseph's First Vision, we asked David what it would mean to him to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He said, "I'm open to it!". These were all good signs that pointed David to the direction of saying "Yes!" to baptism, even after he had a previous concern of already being baptized in the Methodist church as a baby. The conviction he had as he said "Yes" prompted us to put him and Barry on date for November 30th.
They agreed! Unfortunately, the two brothers are extremely busy with Scouts and Special Olympics but they were able to come to church last week. We're praying hard that they'll read from the Book of Mormon and feel the Spirit so that they will know for themselves that this gospel is true. Yet again, member support is HUGE here, and one of the reasons is that David and Barry are of simple financial means. They don't have a car, so a member was able to pick them up for church and for the lesson we had. All in all, I'm VERY excited to keep teaching these two wonderful, humble gentlemen. Before we left, David asked very kindly, "So am I able to get this priesthood?" AW! We explained that he could after baptism. I'm so excited to see their progression over time. Pray for David and Barry!
In other news, have I told you about Ms. Maxine Dennis? If I haven't, shame on me. This woman is (and I say this lovingly) - CRAZY. She is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and has been a member of the Church for 12 years. She has had CONSTANT struggles with the Word of Wisdom since a couple months after her baptism. However, Maxine has a STRONG desire to go to the temple finally. So we're really working with her on "cleaning" up her act. It will be hard, but I know she's capable! She's just a little bit (a lotta bit) stubborn. This is a picture of us in her office. She's on the Board of Directors of a cooperative owned by HUD. This is the place where we hold our ESL class, which is still going great by the way!
We had interviews with our mission president this week and he focused on talking about our work with members. We're going to focus on teaching them the missionary lessons so they have a better understanding of the basic doctrine and can, therefore, teach it to their friends! A scripture that the Oakton Stake is using for their theme next year is Jacob 1:7, which states:
7 Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest...
We must PERSUADE them to know about this gospel! There is no other way. I think a lot of members get nervous that we're trying to convince people into something they don't want to do. But if we contemplate how it's blessed OUR lives, we should want to help them have it in ANY way that we can.
Thank you ALL for your love, support, and prayers. I feel so blessed!
Sister Hansen

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I'm sorry I don't have very fun titles for my e-mails. My creativity doesn't extend that far. This week was INCREDIBLE though! So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin... but I'll try :)
So we saw A LOT of Elena and her family this week - good sign, right? We hope so! We're working on members stopping by in between our visits and lessons so that she doesn't just have to see/talk to us, but that she can makes friendships with those in the ward. We went to dinner (at IHOP - Chicken and Waffle... YUM) with Elena and her daughters on Monday and brought a member that lives on her street. It was great! A fun, relaxing atmosphere where we could talk about how she liked church, etc. We eventually found out that Elena's main concern is with being baptized a second time. She was baptized as a Christian into the Russian Orthodox church at 27 years old. She feels like it would be a "double standard" to be baptized AGAIN. So... we knew we needed to teach about the priesthood.
On Thursday, we had a lesson at the Bratts house. Brother Bratt served his mission in Ukraine but spoke Russian, so he love chatting with Elena and she loves it too! We talked about the priesthood - what it is, why it's important, and how it will bless her! Elena has been suffering with pain from her past cancer surgery, where some nerve endings were damaged. She received a priesthood blessing from Brother Bratt and another member of the ward. The Spirit was strong and though I think she felt it too, she didn't like to admit it too much :) I think it's something she'll remember forever though. Plus, Brother Bratt offered a prayer at the end in Russian and I think that made her feel the Spirit even MORE!
Then on Friday, we went to the Temple Visitor Center with Sister Erickson from the ward, who is also a single mom and suffered a bout with cancer. Lana and Liza LOVED the temple! They thought it was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen. We got it set up earlier with the Visitor Center to provide a Russian sister missionary to lead our tour. Elena was SO EXCITED! It warmed her heart, I know. We watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration - which is definitely a powerful movie. We realized then HOW MUCH information we've been giving to Elena and that we hadn't really asked much about her understanding! So that's what we'll focus on this upcoming week.
At the Trunk or Treat party on Saturday, Elena and her daughters came, but ALSO Sun Jung and her family! I was SO SURPRISED! Because they don't know much English, I was afraid they would be too shy to come. But they CAME!!! Her little daughters loved all the games and candy. They met MANY members, all of our Korean speakers in the ward, and even considered coming to church the next day (though they did not). But it was so successful! I love activities like this where EVERYONE feels welcome!
We have definitely had a blessed week. We want to focus on finding more investigators this week because all of our time and attention has been centered on Elena and Sun. This is good, but there are more of God's children waiting to hear the message! So we have to go find them.
I find myself using this quote by Elder Richard G. Scott A LOT when talking with members, non-members, and other missionaries about the Atonement. This was said by him just this last conference:
"The joyful news for anyone who desires to be rid of the consequences of past poor choices is that the Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion. Whereas the Lord warns that unrepented rebellion will bring punishment, when the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it is always with mercy."
I am SO GRATEFUL for this knowledge - to know that God looks upon my weaknesses not as rebellion, but with mercy! I hope you all remember that. Don't be too hard on yourselves, but be hard enough that you have the desire to improve.
I love you all! Thanks for your prayers and support - it's working!
Sister Hansen
1)TEMPLE! Sandwiched between us are Lana (7), Elena, and Liza (9)
2)Sun Jung and her family at Trunk or Treat!

"There can be MIRACLES, when you believe..."!

I know I've used that song lyric before as a title, but it's because it's TRUE. And because I always love a good Whitney [Houston] and Mariah [Carey] duet :) Anyways, we've experienced some powerful changes this week that I'm so incredibly excited about!
First, I'll talk about Sun, our Korean investigator. She read even MORE chapters in the Book of Mormon and even told us that she's understanding it more easily now. Of course, she had a question about why Nephi just HAD to kill Laban, but who doesn't, right? Haha We focused our lesson this week on addressing the Spirit and helping her learn how to recognize it. We asked how she feels when we meet with her and she said she feels "comfortable". DEFINITELY a feeling of the Spirit, if I do say so myself! And the fact that her comprehension of the Book of Mormon is increasing is another Spirit indication. I'm so grateful for how the Spirit works in SO many ways!
Because we only meet with her once a week, we knew we needed to take it to the next level. So we had a member of our ward, Brother Featherstone, meet us in front of her apartment. He served his mission in Korea and still knows the language quite well. We didn't know WHAT to expect when we knocked on the door ('cause we didn't plan this visit with her), but her husband opened it (who we haven't formally met) and he tells his wife "Oh, your missionaries are here!" She got so excited!!! She let us right in (which I was a little shocked because there was us, Brother Featherstone, and a laurel we had out on an exchange with us - 5 people total!). But it all worked out :) They let us in and gave us apple cider. We got to know her husband a little bit and chatted with her cute little Korean daughters too (9 and 6 years old)! Turns out, the husband would LOVE to learn about what we're teaching Sun, but he is incredibly swamped with full-time school and work in DC. We understand, and we KNOW that as we continue to teach her, she will share with him what she's learning! I'm excited for that day :)
So here's where our BIG miracle comes in - Elena (our Russian potential investigator) is now our ACTUAL investigator and even came to church on Sunday with her two daughters. And stayed ALL THREE HOURS. I was on an exchange with a Sister Training Leader, Sister Paramore, on Tuesday and we stopped to see if Elena had read any of her Russian Book of Mormon. She said she had glanced at it, but that she wanted us to stay and teach her daughters about the Ten Commandments. Soon enough, Sister Paramore was inviting her to church and we were teaching doctrine! She said she would come and we could meet with her that Friday. One of her daughters, Liza, is 9 years old and is now a new investigator as well! So on Friday, we watched the Restoration movie with a member family and it was powerful. Definitely something that resonated with Elena, Liza, and Lana (her 7 year old daughter)! They all enjoyed church and we are having dinner (and a lesson) with them tonight at IHOP! Please pray for this family - there are some tough struggles they need to overcome before they fully let the Spirit in and realize that this gospel is the TRUTH.
I'm so grateful to have met the people that I have on my mission. Members, non-members, acquaintances, EVERYONE. At church on Sunday, I just had a little Spirit-induced epiphany and thought "I am so blessed to be surrounded by these people!" Especially Elena, to see how members have helped her thus far and how they will continue to look out for her - no matter what happens. I KNOW that this is Christ's church, full of His disciples, because I have seen countless examples of His love come from these faithful members.
Continue doing what you're doing and just as we learned in Conference, look for how you can "improve day by day"! Your influence does more than you realize. Remember that!
Sister Hansen
Picture: This picture was taken at our Day of Service Activity. We're standing with the Elders that we served alongside last transfer, Elder Day and Elder Munton. BOTH are from Southern California... figures! haha