Sunday, August 17, 2014

"HEY, CAN YOU DO ME A FAVOR AND SCRATCH MY NECK REAL QUICK!"

This came from the mouth of one of the dear old women that we work with every Thursday at Greenspring (the assisted living home we volunteer at). Her name is Dot and she's the fastest ceramics-painter of them all! But as I went to go check on her work, she asked me to relieve the itch on her neck ("a little higher, a little lower... yep, right there.") Though it may have looked strange to others, I was happy to do it. These ladies are wonderful, and I feel honored to serve them!
 

This week showed some miracles - not a surprise! We were able to expand our teaching pool by one great soul. His name is Jamal and the sister missionaries taught him for a couple months a year ago, until he dropped them due to the presence of negative influences in his life. But, a girl in our Ward brought him up recently and said we should go try him, so we did! And we discovered that he's willing to give it another try. We had a lesson with him last week on prayer and how the Spirit works within us. One question that he posed was, "Why do all religions center themselves on a book? Like the Bible with Christianity and the Koran with Islam, and now the Book of Mormon with Mormonism?" Very good question! One that I don't think I've had asked to me before. We are seeing him again tonight to answer that question more in-depth using the introduction to the Book of Mormon, specifically the last two paragraphs. I invite you all to read those and see WHY we truly need the Book of Mormon :)

 

I can't remember if I mentioned this last week, I think I may have. Our friend Bre, who we took to the Temple Visitor's Center in May before she went home for summer, contacted us randomly a couple of weeks ago. She was in need of spiritual guidance after getting in a huge debacle with her parents and sister. We met with her the morning after we received her text explaining what had happened, and she expressed her desire to return to full activity in the Church. Bre knew that the Spirit was what was helping her stay calm through this storm, and she wanted that to be there ALWAYS - knowing it would come through prayer, scripture reading, and coming to church. To give her an added measure of guidance, we invited her to seek a priesthood blessing from some men in the church and she was able to receive that this week. We asked her how she felt after and she said, "Happy, so happy. It was exactly what I needed." And yesterday, she met with Bishop of our Ward for the first time since she first met with the Braddock Ward sisters a year ago! Bre randomly opened to Alma 34:40-41 yesterday morning, when she was feeling down:

 

40 And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them;

 

41 But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.

 

I love when the scriptures help us with exactly what we need! This scripture even reminds me of a struggle we had with a sister companionship that's under our stewardship. The senior companion goes home in about two months, but she's been suffering with feelings of inadequacy and weakness. It's even causing her to become physically ill. We sat down with them later last week and basically plead with them both to pray for patience! I know that we MUST be patient with the Lord and with ourselves and with others if we EVER expect to find happiness or feel "enough". If it's something we truly want/need, we have to start on our knees.

Thank you all for your love and prayers! My mission has truly been the ride of a lifetime and I can't wait to learn what God would have me learn in these last few weeks.

Loves,
Sister Hansen

Washington Nationals Baseball Game

NATIONALS! Sigh, I like the sound of "Giants" so much better than "Nationals". Thank heavens I'm from San Francisco :)
 
We went to the Day to Serve Baseball Game this weekend as a mission. Over 500 missionaries were in attendance from the DC North and South missions. It was a bit muggy and overcast, but the game was a BLAST (see what I did there?). Nationals won 11-0 so that made it even better. Our mission president said we were the "good luck charm" since they had lost the night before. I'll take it ;) We talked to some people on the train on the way to the game. One man said he was a doctor from Dallas and he had a patient who wrote "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission". What?! Crazy. We gave them Mormon.org cards and parted ways. It awesome to see how bold some of our missionaries were getting as they placed Book of Mormons and got outside their comfort zones. A cool thing too: we decided collectively as a mission to not wear baseball hats at the game this year (we didn't wear them last year either). We felt that they didn't set us apart as the missionaries we are, so we didn't want to wear them. Well, we knew that DC North would be wearing them (as they did last year). It was pretty neat to see how different we looked :) I like standing out (especially as His representative), and it's even sweeter as a missionary!
 
We received three referrals this week! CRAZY. These are the first referrals we've been given since I've been in the Braddock Ward. One of them was from Bishop, the other two were from a member in the Sudley Spanish Branch in Centreville that we randomly met on the street. So no... none from our members, but still celebrate-worthy :) We contacted all three, but are waiting to hear back. Pray that Lanier, Maribel, and Bella will be ready and waiting to learn more about the restored gospel!
 
Due to lack of time today, I will leave with a spiritual thought. Our gospel principles lesson was on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. And something I read in the manual really struck me: "Today people who are not members of the Church learn by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. But that initial testimony leaves them if they do NOT receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." I don't think I had ever thought about this before! I think about all those sad stories of "golden" people who receive witnesses that these things are true, but then don't end up making that step to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. What's even more sad is that the testimony they had will ultimately leave if the sealing power of the Holy Ghost isn't in effect. It makes me appreciate baptism and the Holy Ghost that much more now! And helps me have a stronger desire to invite ALL to make and keep those covenants. It's such a blessing to be a member of Christ's church - there is NO greater happiness.
 
Love you all!
 
Loves,
Sister Hansen 
 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM :)

Dearest Family and Friends,

We had transfers this week. It was an emotional one! Some of my closest missionary buds traveled home this past week, Sister Hills included. But I'm excited to see what the future holds for all of them. With that, you're probably wondering where I'm spending MY final transfer. Well... it can only be here in good ol' Braddock YSA! Yes, you heard me right. I will be in Braddock for a total of four transfers - that's approximately SIX MONTHS. Haven't spent that much time in one area since my first, which was in Great Falls.

But WAIT, it gets better. Guess who my companion is?SISTER KARTCHNER. Can you believe it? Three transfers together! That RARELY happens in our mission, so we feel privileged :) I'm so grateful for her - she helps me be a more bold and daring missionary! Not to mention she puts up with my ridiculous antics, so that's a blessing. I truly love her and am stoked to see what this transfer has in store!

This week was kind of crazy (with transfers and all), but so good! A fun little miracle: we had dinner at home on Thursday night and as we prayed before going out to work, I had the thought of checking on that 17 year old girl we met in our complex a few months back. We had lost contact with her, but hadn't tried her since school got out. So I told Sister K my thought and we headed over. As we approach her door, I look down at my shirt to see my name tag missing! SUCH a rookie mistake (seriously haven't done that since my second month in the mission maybe?)! I realized that I had switched my shirt at home and forgot to put the tag back on. Sheesh. Because Sister K has long, flowing hair that often covers her tag, she said I could borrow her name tag real quick. We knocked on Paige's door and waited. And kept waiting. I told her, "Hey, maybe I had the thought to check on Paige so Heavenly Father would let me go back home and get my name tag without us being too far away!" Then all of a sudden, the door swings open and it's Paige! She lets us in and we have a good lesson with her. MIRACLE. The Spirit whispereth, everyone. So make sure you're listening :)

Sadly, Paige is moving to North Carolina next week, but we pray that we've made an impression in the time we've spent with her. We hope to get her information so that missionaries can meet her down there! Not only did we teach her, but the next day, we taught a man on the street who was 50 years old - we just can't seem to find investigators for our age range! But they'll come, I know they will.

Actually, that brings me to a cool experience we had last Monday night. We felt like we were blowing through our plans and really didn't know where God wanted us to be, so we prayed and Sister K said, "Well, we could go check on that former investigator in the complex that's not far from here?" Neither one of us was that excited to go because we had JUST checked on them maybe a week before and no one was home. But we decided to try it again anyways. As we were walking toward the townhouse, we met a YSA-aged man heading in a similar direction. His name was Waqar and he's originally Muslim but very open to all religion. We started talking about the Book of Mormon with him and he goes, "If this is the word of God, how come I've never heard of this book before?" Valid question. We invited him to read and pray about it to know if it's true. You could tell that Waqar was searching for truth!

Eventually, his roommate came home to find us all sitting on the porch talking and he jumped RIGHT into the conversation - well, he kind of took over the conversation. But that's okay! Because it was one of those experiences where your own testimony grows due to someone's trying to dispute it. His roommate told us that there can't be a modern prophet because man is not in physical crisis. He talked about how Moses was sent to the children of Israel because they were in physical bondage and needed help. He then said that we are "comfortable" these days and don't need that kind of assistance. I immediately answered with, "Yes, but we’re in a SPIRITUAL crisis! Would a loving God leave us alone in a time where people put other things before Him? No! So we need a prophet on the Earth to help guide us back to what’s most important.” It felt empowering to bear testimony, as it has felt my entire mission. But this was one of those moments that I’ll never forget. My faith in modern prophets increased greatly due to his argument, and I couldn’t be more grateful!
 
Thank you all for your love and prayers. They mean the world. Hope this week is a wonderful one for you!
 
Loves,
Sister Hansen
 

BLESSED, HONORED PIONEER

Hello all!

This week was full of little miracles. Though we're struggling to find more people to teach, it's amazing how we can still feel that the week was productive and successful. After meeting with our bishop last week, I felt reassured. As I may have told you before, he is having us really involve in the "rescue effort" for our Ward. Our job is to share the message chosen by Bishop with the members, then ask them who in the Ward could use a visit from us WITH them - that way there's that immediate fellowship. Bishop promised us that as we follow this particular counsel of his, we would be blessed with more people to teach. I need to trust in that! He is our key-holder and knows what will bring us more success.

Here are a few of the miracles members shared with us this week as we shared Bishop's message with them:
1. Alex: Our friend Alex called us early one morning to inform us that she went to a friend's birthday dinner the night before. The friend may have been a little tipsy, but before Alex left, the friend gave her a hug and whispered in her ear, "Wait, can you please pray with me?" Alex was confused, but told her yes. So they went to another room and Alex gave a prayer for her. When they were finished, the friend was crying and Alex said, "Hey, you can't cry on your birthday!" Her friend said that she wanted to improve her relationship with God and asked Alex if she could come to church with her soon. So Alex told us she'll be at church in two weeks - SWEET!
 
 2. Kim: Kim let us know about a childhood friend from the nearby Burke Ward who had recently gone less-active. We followed up last week to see if she had made contact and she hadn't. But she did within a few days and told us what happened! She texted this friend, and before she could even ask her to come to church with her, the friend said, "You're going to the young single adult ward, right? I've been thinking about coming there. What time does it start?" Kim was so shocked and excited. We are too! She should be at church within a couple weeks too!

 3. Dana: Dana is an engaged member of our ward, but is really taking all of her callings seriously before leaving. Especially visiting teaching! She's been tracking down her less-active teach-ees and found out that one had not been contacted in a while. In fact, she had moved from the address in the directory, so no one knew where she went. Now, Dana will go visit her in Sterling (out of our area) and help her attend the other singles branch in that area! YAY.

 4. Dani: We have never sat down with Dani, but found her name on a teaching record for a former investigator. We texted her to see if she had talked to him at all in the last year. She said she hadn't but that she would reach out to him to see if he'd want to come to church. He said YES! Though he doesn't want to meet with missionaries again just yet, he's willing to enter the chapel doors :) He too should be at church within weeks.
 
As you can see miracles!
A couple final miracles:
We had a walk-in at church yesterday. His name is Charles and he looks like Wolverine (serious chops!). He was looking for a young adult congregation and found the Hermanas at our complex, who pointed him in the right direction. He was there 15 minutes early, so we sat down with him in a room and explained a bit more about what we believe. He was impressed! Charles was looking for more prayer and fellowship in his life. I immediately thought of and pulled open Moroni 6:4 about what makes up the church of Christ. He really enjoyed that. We gave him a copy and proceeded to go into Sacrament meeting. As most YSA wards go, some of our speakers went on bad tangents without bearing testimony, so Charles wasn't too impressed with the actual service (sad). But we did get his contact info, so we'll follow up on his reading of the Book of Mormon soon!

Speaking of the Book of Mormon, we contacted a lady last night named Ms. B (hahaha the Baker's kitty!). She was a sweet heart. She's preparing for back surgery, so she's been reading the Bible for comfort. We gave her a Book of Mormon and as she flipped through it's pages, GUESS where she landed? Alma 32:21 - Faith is not a perfect knowledge of things... Sister Kartchner and I looked at each other in AWE. Pure shock. God is good! After she read that little bit, she said "I like what I see! Give me a couple weeks to read it." Amazing!
 
Thanks for all the love and prayers - I have the best support system in the world! Love you all!
 
Loves,
Sister Hansen

"Ohhhh say can you SEE..."‏

I just love that song. We sang it twice this week and it reminds me of baseball games :) I LOVE AMERICA!
 
This week was a wonderful one. We worked hard and saw results. First, we went on an exchange with the Fairfax sisters. I went to the Fairfax area with my good, ol' friend Sister Gray (the sister in that polaroid picture I sent a few weeks back). She's been out since December and we were roommates for a transfer when I was in the Potomac Ward. Here's a miracle from that day:

We went to a less-active family's house that night - this family is infamous for their mild profanity and lack of desire to keep commitments. However, they ALL have testimonies, so the missionaries keep working with them. Sadly, the missionaries in the past have been sucked into this trap of only chatting with the family and playing games with them - sometimes for three hours! When Sister Gray got into the area, she knew that that wasn't right and has been trying to change it ever since. But she gets scared - and it can be scary! But, I was SO proud of her that night. We talked with them for a bit, then Sister Gray said, "Stone family, you need to know that as missionaries, it is not our job to just hang out with you each week. We can stay for no more than an hour and you have to let us devote at least five to ten minutes to sharing a message and extending a challenge to you. Deal?" They all just looked at her in shock. She did so well! We shared a great message about being "spiritually fed" and they all agreed to read 3 minutes or verses of the Book of Mormon each day. I pray that that family will continue to let the Sisters teach them, but if not, I know that Sister Gray did her best in stating our purpose!
 
This week, Sister Kartchner and I had another BIG miracle happen. We had a dinner with a member out in Nokesville, VA (middle of nowhere - it's where I took my "Book of Mormon" picture on facebook), so we decided to check on a referral that lives out there as well. An elder in our district had met this cute, YSA-aged girl at BJ's - she was their waitress! They talked with her for a little bit, and eventually got her information. Months later, they remembered to give it to us. So we decided to try her house! Well, we drive up to a neighborhood of the BIGGEST mansions I've seen in my entire mission. YES, even bigger than in Great Falls or McLean. I don't think it helped that each of these houses were on 10+ acres of land. Welp, this girl's house was one of them. We parked outside of the driveway and walked ALL the way down it to get to her door... such a scary, long walk!
 
The dad opened the door and seemed a little suspicious, but let us in. He called down to his daughter (she was in the basement) and she came dashing up to greet us. She said immediately, "I would love to talk to you about your church!" WHAT?! This doesn't happen very often! But I'm grateful when it does :) We had a good lesson with her - she asked lots of questions and expressed sincere interest. Meanwhile, her father was pacing in the background (just outside of the living room where we were), waiting for us to be done and listening the entire time. He came in towards the end and we asked if we could offer a prayer. He said, "As long as it's in the name of Jesus." We assured him that it would be. I offered what I thought was a simple, humble prayer. We scheduled an appointment to meet with her at church because she said she wanted to come!
 
As we got up to leave, I talked with the dad while Sister Kartchner talked with the girl. I tried to soften his heart as much as I could! Found out that he has a brother who lives in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA that is a MEMBER OF THE CHURCH! What in the world? We had no idea. Maybe this is why he is bitter? But what's crazier is that an elder serving in our YSA ward is from that tiny Orange County town and knows that brother. Too much! Sad to say, as soon as we left, the father talked her out of meeting with us and she is no longer our investigator :( But I KNOW that when she moves out and gets on her own feet, this girl will be led to the gospel again. Her heart was pure and she was ready. I pray that she'll find her way or that others will find her.
 
I'm so grateful for this gospel! It brings me more happiness and peace than I can comprehend. It doesn't mean I don't have trials, but I know EXACTLY how to get through them. I don't have to "explore my options" or ever have to wonder where relief is found. What a blessing! I owe my family thanks for being great examples of true positivity and having that eternal perspective :)
 
LOVE YOU ALL!
 
-Sister Hansen

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

Hello all!
 
This week was great! We had a miracle happen - a new investigator! Who is actually in our age range! We street contacted her roommate a few weeks back and had a great experience. The roommate seemed interested and we set up a time to come back. She canceled our returned appointment due to busyness, but we decided to stop by the next time we were in Manassas. When we knocked on the door, Christy (our new investigator) came out! Although her roommate was home, Christy seemed more generally interested. We talked for a bit and gave her the pamphlet. She said "Yeah, we can possibly get some lunch next week after I read this and we can talk about it!" OKAY!
 
Eventually, we set a lunch date for this past Wednesday and it went so well. Probably one of the most prepared people I've ever met in my entire mission! Even having a lesson at Chik-Fil-A, it was such a spirit-filled lesson. She said that she was coming with questions, so we asked what her questions were. Christy said that she wanted us to explain Joseph Smith a little more... so we did! And it turned into a true understanding of why we needed a Restoration. Of course, she wants to pray about all of this, but she's really excited to read the Book of Mormon. Sadly, she'll be leaving for Army Training in CA for three weeks, but she's taking her Book of Mormon! We plan to stop by tonight to double-check on her before she takes off :)
 
We had the amazing coincidence (not really a coincidence of course) of talking with three atheists within a matter of DAYS. And each one was incredibly kind and willing to listen. The first was Alaina, she was a 21-year old girl we stopped in a stair well while checking on someone else. She's the cutest! We talked for a while about how she doesn't feel anything when she tries praying... so she gave up. We testified of God being our Heavenly Father and that He WANTS to hear from us, but that we have to be patient for a response. Afterwards, she said "You two are the best ones (missionaries or Jehovah's Witnesses, I'm guessing) I've met! Usually I get people barking at me or shoving stuff down my throat. But you really helped me think!" She didn't necessarily want us to come back, but I know the Spirit touched her heart.
 
Another Atheist we met was actually while I was on an exchange with another sister. We met him outside as he was letting his two chubby cats out to play. He worked at ExxonMobil, so I brought up the name of a Great Falls member that works there. He didn't know him, but it got him to relax a bit. He had NEVER talked with missionaries (though this was a complex that you KNEW missionaries had been there before), but he had worked with members. He had good feelings about them. But he explained that his atheism came from the amount of contention and corruption that comes from organized religion. The sister and I talked about how we agreed with him, and that what he described came from the Great Apostasy. After teaching that, we were better able to explain the NEED of a Restoration. Although he didn't want us to come back either, we got him to take a pamphlet (which I'm pretty sure he'll read - an intellectual guy). Just like with Alaina, I know that this man felt the Spirit too.
 
The Restoration of the gospel just makes sense. And I'm so grateful that it does because it makes it easier to teach! I appreciate Pres. Uchtdorf's words about the Restoration:
 
"In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.” ...Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It is an effort of once and for all."
 
Living the restored gospel makes us BETTER disciples of Christ. I know that that is true because I've SEEN it. And more importantly, I've felt it.
 
Thanks for your loving examples - they help me to be the person God wants me to be!
 
LOVES,
Sister Hansen

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Members Are Key

Hello all,
 
This week has been a busy one! In different ways than anticipated, but busy nonetheless. All of our investigators have pretty much dropped us BUT that doesn't stop us! We are talking to more people and are acting in faith that God's prepared souls will be lead to us or us to them. Right now, we're focusing on getting the members on board with our missionary vision - getting THEM converted to the gospel so that they can "strengthen their brethren". Here are some experiences with that:
 
We met with our new less-active friend, Haley. The girl is gorgeous and I hope that these bug boys (pest control sellers) don't scare her away by asking her out incessantly (seriously, this would actually happen). We'll have to warn her that the singles Ward is a great place but can be a little... different. Haley told us she was baptized at 14, mainly to please her mom. But luckily she made good friends in active members of the church during high school that are back from college this summer. She definitely has a testimony of the gospel, even told us a cool story about tithing: Her mom told her that she needed to be out of the house once senior year was over (sad) and she didn't know what to do because she only had $20 to her name. She went to church that Sunday and knew she should pay $10 of it to tithing, so she did. Then within a few days she got a call for a new job, where she would eventually make $1200 bi-weekly. Typical tithing miracle story, but you can tell it meant a lot to her. I see great things happening for this girl!

I have come to terms with the inevitability of being late on my mission - it just happens. But one night was the absolute worst... roughly 20 minutes late to each appointment. Like a domino effect, really! We ended up driving to our less-active friend, Mary's, towards the end of our night, and Sister Kartchner and I were ZONKED. And it's not good to be that tired on a 30-minute drive to Manassas. But once we got to Mary's, we felt better. The poor girl got sick with strep throat then a flu or cold bug RIGHT after. She asked for her home teachers to come and give her a blessing, so it was cool that she wanted us to be there for that. A ward member, David, (who served Sacramento Spanish speaking!) gave it and I was quite surprised at how simple and beautiful his blessing was! He told her that Heavenly Father was thankful for her example to her family. She comes from a BIG combined family and they are always in need of her help and she ALWAYS willingly gives it. David doesn't even know Mary that well, but stated that in the blessing... God's power is pretty amazing. After the guys left, Mary told us she already felt a little better – so neat!

A member named Elizabeth told her member friend Kim that she wanted the missionary lessons. We weren't sure why or what she was looking to get from them - but OF COURSE, we were happy to start sharing them with her. It was a great lesson! Poor Elizabeth has been feeling a void of the Spirit lately and just wants to be reminded of her testimony. She mentioned that there was a time she just felt so out of tune with the Spirit that she couldn't get herself to read her scriptures, come to church, or pray (even family meal prayers - sad!). She got a little emotional, but it was great to see the friendship that she had in Kim and others who have helped her out! Thanks to Rafael (a former Brazilian member of the ward), Elizabeth now prays so that she CAN feel the Spirit (not necessarily needing to feel it beforehand in order TO pray). Love how that works.

And one cool miracle from the week (though there were many)...

Did some street contacting this evening while checking on two potentials in Annandale near where Konnie lives. There are SO many Hispanics, so sometimes we can't help but assume that the Spanish missionaries have got this area COVERED. But we saw a cute Latina who was about to walk past us. She had buds in her ears and her phone out, but we chose to stop her anyway. Her name was Maria and she was from Peru. We only got a little bit of our message out before she said, "Where is your church? I want to encourage my family to go." We explained that we were over a young adult congregation and she said, "Oh! My 19-year old niece needs God, I'll go there with her!" Loved her enthusiasm. As we kept sharing our message, she confessed, "It's really amazing that you guys stopped to talk to me because I've been in need of some uplift. I was even at McDonald's today and a Christian man talked to me about his faith, but then he didn't even give me his information! So I'm so glad I met you." GAH. Love having prepared people put in our way and thank Heavenly Father for these opportunities. We got her information and will be back next Friday! Told Sister K after we got in the car, "Times like these make me extra grateful to be a missionary." TRUTH.
Maria's cry for help reminds me that we ALL need to be a little better at opening our mouths. It can be hard and awkward, but it pays off SO much in the end. I love my plaque scripture - Moses 6:32, which reads...

"Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good."

This is SO comforting to me, knowing that it we trust in the Lord and open our mouths, we don't have to worry how the person will respond. ALL flesh is in His hands, and He will take care of it.

LOVE YOU ALL!

Loves,
Sister Hansen

Photo 1: We went to Petland today, where you can play with puppies or kittens for FREE. This dog was an absolute MENACE... but cute anyway.
Photo 2: At Chuck-E-Cheese last week... you KNOW I love that cotton candy! Didn't get enough tickets though :( So I just bought it with money haha

Braddock Ward has BOOMED!


Hello all!
 
This week has been a busy one. Lots of things to focus on and work on, but I'm grateful for the Lord's help and knowing that I'm not alone in His work.
 
An update on Konnie and Bridget: they have fallen off the face of the planet! We can't get a hold of either one of them. We've tried texts, calls, and drop-bys and NOTHING has worked. BUT thank heavens for an eternal perspective - knowing that this is part of God's plan that we haven't been able to see them, right? It's a positive way to look at it :) But I know that we're doing ALL we can to keep teaching and loving them... it just may not be their time. Keep them in your prayers, though!
 
Got a new investigator! His name is Nef and he's from Thailand. We met him in front of CVS last week during our grocery shopping! What happened was as we were walking by, the guy sitting next to him called out to us "Where do you work?" (having seen our name tags, I'm sure). We stopped and let him know we were missionaries. Then while he was gabbing about history and politics, I noticed the boy next to him HAD to be young adult age. So we introduced ourselves to him and promised to bring him a Thai Book of Mormon and got his information. And get this! Two hours later, as we log on to email, he had already added Sister Kartchner on Facebook! Miracle miracle miracle.
 
So glad we finally could sit down with him after having a few Facebook conversations with him in the meantime. He didn't want to meet at his house so we met on the street and sat on a curb, basically. This was in between two crazy rainstorms we had, when the sun had come out and scorched everything... including us. SO HOT. At one point, he said in his broken English, "Should we go find shade?" We opted not to because it would take too much time. It was a great lesson though! He has a sincere desire to know truth and is excited to read the Book of Mormon (in Thai). We would open to scriptures in the English BOM and would ask him to find the reference in his and he goes, "I like this, this is fun." So cute! Sadly, we couldn't get a hold of him to come to church, but we hope to see him soon!

We went to check on a potential investigator, Rakov, to see if he'd still be in town for the summer (he's a GMU student) and instead we met Ferhanna! She was a sweet lady from Bangladesh that actually came out on her porch to talk to us (even though the bugs were ruthless that night). We got through the entire Restoration lesson with her just smiling and nodding, though we're sure she understood most of it. Finally, she asked what makes Mormons different from other Christians and we were able to share the First Vision with her. What's cool about this is that we met with Carmen (our member) the day before to finish our member lesson and she mentioned how the First Vision was what really sold her to the gospel - she couldn't deny it! So she spent her mission days doing everything possible to share that account with all :) Lo and behold, we actually got to share the First Vision with Ferhanna and another lady that we later had a door step lesson with. Two times in two days! That hasn't happened in a while here. So it was a tender moment!

Wow. Had a crazy evening in Woodbridge this week. Met some great people and got cool referrals: one from the Bairds (whose daughters are in our ward) for an active recent convert in their Ward who they think should come to Braddock, and then a non-member referral from a YSA-aged boy that lives in a less-active member's house. After talking with him about the importance of prayer, we asked if he knew anyone else who could use a message. He immediately said, "Oh you know who you should try? My neighbor Kate. She loves to talk. She lives right over there." So we hesitantly headed that direction, thinking the kid may have set us up for something bad. But we got there, and she was a PEACH. Haha talked WAY too much, but was so funny. We literally stood there on her porch, nodding our heads for 40 minutes while she just gabbed, even though she had company over.
Something she said really struck me though. She told us about how she never used to be a fan of the "Mary and Martha story", where Christ rebukes Martha for asking Mary to come help her in the kitchen (paraphrased). Kate felt that Martha was totally justified in requesting that and that Mary was just being lazy! After eight years of thinking this way, she found someone's interpretation of the story that allowed her to really understand why Christ chastised Martha. Our dear friend Kate said, "I learned that what Jesus was REALLY telling Martha was that if she wasn't going to serve out of love (in this case, prepare the house), then she shouldn't do it at all." I love that! I felt that it went really well with what we learned at Church on Sunday about magnifying our callings. Again, if we cannot serve with love in our hearts, it may not be worth serving at all. Pray for that desire, pray for that love and it WILL come!

Thank you all for your love and prayers - they mean so much.

LOVES,
Sister Hansen

Photo: Cool license plate, yeah? I'm doing my best to be brave!

Braven My Stride!!

Hello all,
 
Here are some journal entries from this past week:
 
Found a wonderful new investigator... that we'll have to pass. Met her while checking on a former. She moved in at the beginning of the year from near Wilmington, NC. She's a junior at West Springfield and doesn't like VA very much so shes moving back to NC at the end of summer :( She is a wicken and believes in a "goddess" AKA Mother Nature. But super open and willing to learn. In the middle of our conversation, she goes "You guys are way cool." What a peach! She's also a dancer, but her dancing dreams ended when she broke her foot a year ago - two days before competition. So heartbreaking. Also lost her father two years ago, so this girl could totally use the gospel. Pray for Paige :)

We were passed a potential investigator, Carolina, by the Rolling Valley sisters. I think they had planned for an actual sit-down lesson, but the girl was nearly out the door. She still let us inside for a short while and we got to know her. She's super smart and also VERY active in her own faith. Talked about a potential "church swap" - where we go to her church if she goes to ours. I still have never done one of these on my mission yet - clearly intrigued! However, she invited us to go to a Saturday activity with her (instead of her Sunday service), an event called ROAR, where Christian young adults gather for church rock music, socializing, and a devotional. I can just imagine the stares we would get - so exciting (Honestly, not be sarcastic in the slightest).Though we'll probably need to seek permission to attend this, I really hope we go so that I can write you ALL about it.

Before going to the library, we stopped by 7-Eleven to get gas and some drinks. Like always, we bring them into the library and a lady two seats over notices them. She whispers, "They let you bring those in here? I'm always afraid they'll yell at me. But hey, if you can get away with it, I'm going to go get the coffee I just bought!" So she goes out to her car and comes back with it. THEN this precious old lady came and sat down in between coffee-lady and I. She asked coffee-lady to help her open up her email account. Next thing I know, these two women (easily 25 years age difference) are laughing and talking for the following 30 minutes! They didn't know each other beforehand, but by the end of it, I heard coffee-lady say to the woman, "Oh, you are just TOO much! I'm so glad I could meet you today!" I don't know why it hit me so hard, but I was touched by these women and their kindness towards one another. It was one of those moments when your faith was restored in humanity - I hope to have conversations like theirs in the near future (especially as a missionary!).

We tried to check on some former investigators before Bishop's correlation but NO ONE was home. Slightly frustrating. We were on our way to check on another when we saw this good-looking YSA black man standing in the parking lot of a commercial business center (across the street from Pohick Library, kind of). I asked Sister Kartchner, "What if we just pulled over to talk to him?" She seemed okay with the idea, maybe shocked a little, but we did it (BRAVEN MY STRIDE). His name was James and he worked at the barbershop in that center – super nice (and attractive, I'll say it again). His friend from the shop came out a little later. They were more curious than interested, but each walked away with a Book of Mormon and Restoration pamphlet. I felt accomplished and happy! Sister Kartchner asked me later that night, "What made you want to stop and talk to James?" I don't know if she was looking for me to say that it was a strong spiritual impression (which it wasn't really) or what, but I told her that I just felt like talking to him because he was RIGHT there! Haha I'm pretty sure the Spirit usually works in me like that.

As for our investigators: we saw Bridget AND Konnie this week! Bridget is doing wonderfully, we just need to get her to church. But she works at Burlington Coat Factory (ugh, retail), and so her hours can be a nightmare. Funny story, she's in a summer English class for college and she has to write a 5-page paper twice a week (NIGHTMARE). The first one that she wrote? About Mormonism. We got to our lesson and she says, "Can you read this real quick? I want to make sure it's accurate." And it was! She's a sweetheart. Please pray for her!

Thank you for all the prayers and support - I feel it EVERY day! Life is good. Something I've pondered this week... take the time to recognize how you felt God's love that day. Because I'm pretty sure we COULD feel it each day if we took the time to notice it. So I encourage you all to just take a MOMENT and ponder :)

Loves,
Sister Hansen

We Love Him, Because He First Loved Us

Hello all!

So to really seize the wonderful opportunity of having an
iPad while on my mission, I've decided to start journaling in it! It's
going really well, and now I can send some of the entries to you so
that I don't take so much time at the computers. It's a win-win :) Oh
and before I forget, check out the mission blog that I have the
privilege of writing for with my former companion, Sister Hills. The
address is www.wdcsmission.blogspot.com.

Sister Kartchner and I are really working on our finding efforts
because we don't have a very large teaching pool right now. We also
want to take Elder Ballard's invitation to heart by talking to WAY
more people than we have before. Because tracting isn't too effective
for a young single adult Ward, we usually go out and try to find
former and potential investigators. In the playground area of one
complex, we talked with Ely (pronounced Ellie), who is a young mom of
three children and pretty much a sweetheart. She was reading a book
about cake recipes and I said "Do you like baking?" She said she LOVED
it and so I referred her to our Ward member's blog (her name is
Maurine and she's great - even helping us with the layout of the
mission blog). She said, "Oh my word, I actually love reading blogs!
This is perfect!" Thank heavens for Maurine and her talents :) But
then SHE proceeded to ask us about our missions and we got talking
about the gospel. Turns out she goes to a bible church but wanted the
elders over that area to come back. YAY. Usually somewhat scared of
talking to women of the Caucasian descent (always easier to talk to
people of different nationalities), but this told me that I can't let
that keep me from talking to them!

Cool story: we went to the Springfield library for the first time this
week (it's a good one! lots of natural light) and as we're walking in,
I hear a lady say in a fun, motherly tone, "is that Sister Hansen?" I
look up to find Sister Richardson, Bishop's wife of the Great Falls
Ward, sitting in her car! I asked her what she's doing all the way out
here and she explained that while looking for a tile shop, she got
lost and found herself at the library. Then she said "But obviously it
was meant to be that I ended up here to see you!" That touched me. It
was a little tender mercy to brighten up my day!

We met with a less-active, Menly, way out in Dumfries, VA. We haven't
seen her in over month, but we committed her to read the Book of
Mormon and pray everyday. And even though we hadn't reminded her
nearly as much as we should have, she really has been reading and
praying EVERY DAY.  Amazing! She definitely feels the difference -
more peace and increase of the Spirit. We talked about Christ's
mission and showed her "Because of Him" - she LOVED it. We are THIS
close to getting her to church on Sundays - her patient (she's a
caretaker) that she sees that day is near death. Never been happier to
have someone about to pass away... so this girl can take the
sacrament! (Is that bad to say? Everyone has their time, right?)

Before I finish, I forgot to mention a new investigator we got last
week! Her name is Bridget and she really is wonderful, just quite
busy. Her dad is a recent convert in the Potomac Ward (my old stomping
ground!). My trainer, Sister Evans, actually used to serve there
before I even came out on my mission and she was actually one of the
missionaries he was learning from when he got baptized! So cool. Love
connections like that! So Bridget means a lot to me. She has a sincere
desire to learn. We even asked if she saw a difference in her dad
after he was baptized and she said, "Yes, I haven't seen him get mad
ever. Except for one time... And it was because of traffic." Got to
love it! The gospel changes lives - in big and small ways alike

Thanks you all for your love and support! I feel so blessed to be a
missionary, serving The Lord full-time. Here is a scripture to leave
you with:
19 We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
I'm grateful for God's love and pray that you all find ways to feel it each day!

Loves,Sister Hansen

Here Comes the Sun...

Hello All!!

The weather is getting TOASTY. But at least that means more people are out and the nights are longer (especially excellent for missionary work). I pray that humidity won't hit hard at LEAST until June. Fingers crossed.
This week was amazing! We met with nine less-actives and recent converts - the bulk of where our time was spent. But it paid off! We had four less-active friends come to church yesterday and three of them hadn't been in a matter of MONTHS. We saw our good friend Mary. We took her to the temple visitor's center a couple of weeks ago for her first time in YEARS. And this week, there was a break through in her path back to righteousness! She works at Chipotle, and after three weeks of working there, she told them that she can't work Sundays anymore! MIRACLE. We hadn't really even asked her to do that [yet] - but the Spirit whispereth! Taught her about the Plan of Salvation, and she told us about a cool missionary experience she had at the bus stop. Hope she can hand-out those pass-along cards we gave her :) She's on top of it! Excited to see her at church this Sunday, and she may even bring her boyfriend who isn't a member of the Church. WOO. 
Speaking of the Visitor's Center, we took our friend Bre on Saturday night! She's originally from Hawaii and is out here going to George Mason University for school. School is ending this week for summer, so she heads back home this Friday. She hadn't been to the DC Temple AT ALL yet, so we knew we had to get her to those beautiful grounds! After our short and spiritual tour, we went to this cultural show held by a group from Orem, UT called Remember Our Culture (ROC). It was a bunch of college-aged kids doing dances and songs from all over the world. There was lots of clapping and interaction from the audience, and even some BeyoncĂ© music was thrown in there. It felt so strange as a missionary haha but it was actually really fun... and Bre liked it too!
Guess what? We saw practically the ENTIRE Oakton Ward there. What a treat. But GET THIS. The Ward had brought my old investigator, Elena, and her two daughters! What in the world?! Elena found me after the show and I nearly cried. Sister Mitchell told me that Elena had dropped them long ago, so it was tender to be reunited.
To end the week with a BANG, we found a new investigator! Eee! She's actually a former investigator named Konnie and she's from Sierra Leone. Since Andrew is officially leaving us this week, we are in definite need of more people to teach so this is a blessing FOR SURE. And this girl is so hilarious, I can hardly stand it! I think she stopped investigating because of lack of commitment, but as soon as she let us in, she mentioned she wanted to come to church and meet her future husband - we can arrange that! And she was watching HGTV when we came, so I knew we'd be fast friends :) Pray for Konnie! Pray that she will have a renewed desire to learn about the gospel and to seek those blessings.
A reminder this week about who Christ really is, from Elder Holland:
"Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think‍ about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?"
Christ taught love. But he also taught that there is law and order in God's kingdom. May we remember that as we strive to keep the commandments each and every DAY!
Loves,
Sister Hansen

Photo:  Me, Sister Kartchner, and Bre at Wash DC Temple

New Companion; Sister Kartchner

Hello everyone!
Am I the worst? Or am I the worst? You can say it. 'Cause it's true. No one told me that e-mailing gets harder and harder as time goes on in the mission. But it does! I have no excuse other than that. So here is some NEW news!
Did I mention that I am in a new area, as of 6 weeks ago? I am currently in Springfield, VA, serving over the Braddock Young Single Adult Ward. This ward covers the Annandale, Centreville, and Woodbridge Virginia STAKES. Yes, stakes. So it is ENORMOUS. But having just served in the Potomac Mid-Singles Ward, which covers the entire mission, I'm pretty used to the traveling time. This ward reminds me much more of the Solano YSA Ward back home. Most of the kids live at home and are working, some going to school. We have George Mason University in our area, so it's been fun to travel to that campus to meet some of the ward members. We've tried a few times to street contact there, but nothing has come of it [YET]!
Sister Hills has gone and left for Manassas 2nd Ward in the Centreville Stake. She is training a new missionary and pink-washing (taking over an area after two elders have left it). It's a lot of hard work, but she's the right girl for the job. I miss her a lot, but excited to attend U of U games with her when I return (hello Kyle Whittingham... I'm your relative!). She even gave me a shirt to rep before she left - what a peach.
My new companion is the lovely Sister Aubrey Kartchner! She is from Tucson, Arizona and is 20 years old. She attended BYU for a year before coming out to serve her mission. She's actually related to some Kartchners that I served around in Great Falls (small world, right?). Though she knows that they're here, she still hasn't run into them yet. Shocking, since she served in their stake for 6 months! Sister Kartchner undoubtedly has the prettiest head of hair in the mission. It's long, blonde, and beautiful, like Blake Lively's. Do I envy it? I try not to. But it's hard!
Our good friend, Andrew, is leaving for home in Waynesboro, Virginia this Tuesday :( He's finishing up his classes at GMU and won't be back until the Fall. He does have to come back for one more class next week, and we're hoping to have our final lesson then. Still debating on whether will transition him to missionaries down there or have Skype lessons with him so that he can come back and still be comfortable with the missionaries here. We shall see! We finished teaching the Plan of Salvation and he soaked it up like a sponge. He is ready to be baptized, but wants a certain friend of his to perform the baptism, who lives in UT. So hopefully it will work out soon that this friend can come, so Andrew can receive the fullness of blessings!
We have another friend Bre who is less-active in the Church. Her family joined when she was 11 and fell away soon after. But we showed up at her apartment last night to find out if she could come watch the CES fireside with us! She was cleaning her apartment, and we decided to help her finish cleaning so that we could all watch it at her place on the laptop. Wow, she pulled out a pen and paper and took copious notes on Elder Ballard's bold address on technology, pornography, and gay marriage. A favorite piece of advice that Elder Ballard gave (and SO fitting for our world today):
"Ask yourself, 'Do I have ANY personal quiet time?' We need to see and feel the presence of the Spirit in our lives. Take the time to FIND SOME, so that we may have a regular, personal interview with ourselves. We need to 'be still and know that [He] is God.'"
I remember being in Rexburg for school and just needing some of that quiet time. I would go on drives around the town, going into residential neighborhoods I had never seen before to look at the cool, old houses. I felt the Spirit as I enjoyed what I saw and felt the sun on my face as I drove. I invite you all to reserve some quiet time EVERY DAY so that you can feel the Spirit in your lives.
I love you all and appreciate your thoughts and prayers. They work!
LOVES,
Sister Hansen

Photo: Sister Kartchner and I with our friends, Andrew, Brigitte, Riley and Danny. Andrew cooked us a fancy Italian dinner - YUM.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Random Recent Photos





SPRING CLEANING!!


And by this, I mean that I have chosen to make a change in my life by "cleaning" up my appearance. Therefore, I cut off nearly four inches of my hair this morning. EEK. I know. So frightening, but it feels good. Sister Hills is a great promoter of "change" and how it "helps us flourish and grow and become what we need to be" (literal quote). Attached is a picture of both of our hair cuts - hers isn't as drastic because I actually told her that I don't like her hair short. I'm honest, like my Nana!
 
This week has been great! We're working with two main investigators right now: Michelle and Andrew. Michelle was a referral from a family ward. She is INCREDIBLY prepared and believes in all of the doctrine. She is constantly talking about how she has felt these things to be true all of her life, but had never heard them from anyone else until the missionaries came. Amazing, right? She will be baptized on April 19th. Michelle starts working at Banana Republic this week and we ALL know what life as a retail worker is like... right, Mom?! :) So we are praying HARD that her availability stays open enough for her to finish the lessons and of course, get baptized. She came to church for the third time yesterday and LOVED it. Michelle is a social butterfly and will touch the lives of MANY.
 
Andrew is the boyfriend of a member that is currently at school at BYU. He is 19 and is attending George Mason University (GMU). He is the SWEETEST. Such an honest and good-natured boy. The Sisters took him to the Temple Visitors Center two weeks ago, before I got here, and we met with him on campus this last week. Get this - he was on Mosiah 2 in the Book of Mormon, so we decided to read with him and it was PERFECT preparation for General Conference. (King Benjamin on the tower, with the masses of people, their tents towards the tower). Amazingly, he gave up coffee on his own 3 weeks ago and is REALLY praying about the idea of giving up wine. It's a very family-centered activity for him and he even pondered the thought of owning his own vineyard one day - so it's difficult for him. However, I know that through diligent prayer and seeking for answers, he WILL know if this is the Lord's will!
 
Lastly, I had my first exchange as a Sister Training Leader last week! It was excellent. Sister Lamborn and I walked the streets of Burke, VA looking for the elect. Though we didn't end up teaching full lessons, we found some strong potential families for her to check back on! I appreciate her honesty and the love she has for her baby missionary companion that she's training. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to learn from these sisters! As we learned at the women's conference last night, "We are more alike as daughters of God than we are different." - Pres. Eyring. TIS TRUE. Let us all be unified because "if we are not one, we are not [His]". LOVE YOU ALL!
 
Loves,
Sister Hansen
 
PICTURES:
1) New hair - bah!
2) COW TALES. Last week, I told Sister Hills how much I love these (especially Strawberry) and a few days later, during our exchange (and time apart from each other) she found them at a random dollar store and bought me four. Isn't she the best?! Such a peach. 

Hello Young Single Adults!‏


HELLO ALL!
Quite the change from Mid-Single Adults. I'll sure miss the Potomac Ward. They are an AMAZING group of individuals that deserve happy lives and eternal companions. One day, they will find them... I know it.
 
First, let's talk about Gary's baptism. YAY - it happened! Apparently, there were some delays due to a scheduled carpet cleaning at the stake center that day :/ So they pushed it back to 2pm instead of 1pm. And when I got there at 1:40, the water had only filled up to the bottom step (maybe a foot of water). Yikes. Our bishop was NOT pleasant. So, I'm pretty sure the font had a leak in it. We had to postpone the baptism until about 2:30. Very hectic, very crazy. And because the water was still so low, Gary had to be baptized twice :/ He's 6'2", so there was some adjusting to do. Though the actual SERVICE went so well! The talks were wonderful and we had a great turn out. Gary was excited and was feeling the Spirit. His brother and brother's girlfriend came, and also his mom, who flew in from Spain the night before JUST for that occasion. Amazing, right?
 
So while Gary was changing out of his baptism clothes, we had a mini-testimony meeting where a bunch of us shared our thoughts. It was VERY Spirit-filled. So glad his family could be there. Actually, his mother got up during the testimony meeting and thanked everyone for coming and supporting her son. She got emotional and talked about how she went to the Madrid temple just a few days prior after hearing about Gary's decision to get baptized. She met the missionaries there and they talked with her about the gospel. I know her life is changed because of Gary's baptism. I can't wait to see what's in store for her and her other son! At the end, Gary gave some thoughts of his own. For 30 minutes. At this point, I was already with my new companion and her and I were just tense with anxiety because of how long it was going. But, he FINALLY bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and church, and it was very tender. Overall, a success and spiritual high! Another sister missionary took pictures and I'm waiting for them, but once I get them, I will show you.
 
What a great way to end my time in Potomac! I know Sister Deaver will do a great job leading out the area. She's a strong girl and very practical, but close to the Spirit. I have no doubt that they'll have more success there. But, alas, I am in my new area - Braddock YSA Ward! It's completely different, but so wonderful.
 
I absolutely LOVE my new companion and fellow Sister Training Leader, Sister Emily Hills. In my year out here, I never really got to know her before. Had always SEEN her, but hadn't ever talked to her. Sad, right? Oh, just received word from her that she actually did give me a compliment when I sang "Amazing Grace" at a fireside. Good to know :) She is from Farmington, Utah and attended high school with the Baker kids at VIEWMONT. Small world, eh? And get this... she's my age! 22 and turning 23 in two weeks - during our time together! If you have ideas of what I could get her for a present, let me know. She is very much into movies and pop culture (WOOT), and she will be going to the University of Utah when she goes home to study Videography. Seriously, we have had TOO many good times together, and she's a PHENOMENAL missionary. I look up to her a lot and will be learning a ton from her this transfer, I know it. She goes home in July, so a transfer before me. It feels good to be paired with someone that is older in the mission! She's like my personal mentor. Love her already and can't wait for what's ahead!
 
Well, this morning, I had an interesting studies. While looking for a particularly scripture and then FINALLY finding it, I ended up in Doctrine and Covenants section 93. These verses struck me:
 
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.
 
This is speaking of Christ, and it reminded of the scripture in the New Testament that talks about Christ in his childhood years, who had to "grow in wisdom and knowledge". I find it to be rather comforting that Christ did not understand His purpose and potential, "the fullness", all at once, but that it took Him TIME. This makes sense to me because it takes US time to really grasp who we are and who HE really is! 
 
As missionaries, we often say to those that we're teaching: "Our message cannot be understood all at once. Understanding will come over time through prayer, study, experience, and keeping God's commandments." This rings true for members of the Church as well. Don't get frustrated - it takes time!
 
LOVES,
Sister Hillary Hansen 
 
Picture:
The Arlington Zone last transfer! I will seriously miss these lovely missionaries - these past 3 transfers have been too good.
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

WE HAVE TO MAKE TIME!!

Hello all! Apologies again for the delay in writing. Time slips away
from me - it's frustrating. But I figure that will happen no matter
where I am, not just on a mission. No disrespect to this older
gentleman, but he offered the closing prayer at stake conference
yesterday and asked that we may "find time" to do missionary work,
etc. I somewhat squirmed because we will never FIND time to do the
things that we need to do - we have to MAKE time! So I made time to
write this e-mail - YAY!

This past week has been great. Again, the focus has been on Gary. We
met with him three times this week and brought him to a baptismal
service for someone in a young single adult congregation. That got him
really excited for his own baptism, which we're hoping will happen
this Saturday! Pray that he will pass his interview on Wednesday.
Something cool that he described this week was how he's feeling the
Spirit! We came into his lesson on Tuesday and we asked how he's
doing. And he said, "Oh great. Just feeling the Spirit. Peaceful,
calm, and comforted." He's been listening to the Book of Mormon on his
phone and loves it! He mentions it in every prayer and refers to the
church as "Your church" (in prayer as well). He's amazing! But because
of his Asperger's Syndrome, he does have some trouble staying focused
in our lessons. His desire is real though!

Had a great lesson with Arthur as well! He's been reading the Book of
Mormon slowly but surely. We talked about where we were before this
life and why we needed to come to Earth. Arthur is usually that "nod
your head and say yes" kind of guy, but he hit us with some good
questions finally! His brother is agnostic, which really makes him
sad, especially as he is investigating the gospel. He told us that the
question his brother always poses is "why do we have to always be
playing 'this game' with God? Why can't He just make us perfect
already?" Valid question. But as most of us know, that is Satan's
plan. He wanted us to be his little puppets, so we told Arthur more
about agency and how it is such a gift to have! I used 2 Nephi 2:23,
which states:

"...wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having
no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin."

How blessed we are to have that opportunity to know what it feels like
to do right and wrong! That is the ONLY way God knew we could learn
the lessons He wanted us to learn. This seemed to make good sense with
Arthur and we hope he shares it with his brother!

Well finally, we had Stake Conference this weekend and were blessed to
hear from Elders Johnson and Carlton of the Seventy, Sister Stevens of
the Primary Presidency and Elder Perry of the Twelve Apostles (via
broadcast, of course). I believe it was Elder Carlton who said one of
my favorite quotes of the day:

"Results come from ACTION, not motivation. But the results from that
action WILL be motivating."

I loved that! As a missionary, most of the power lies in just DOING
and not waiting until we're motivated. That always comes later and
builds over time - and the same goes for all good things in life!
Another quote by Dumbledore in Harry Potter: "We eventually must come
to choose between what is right and what is easy." May we all choose
what is right!

LOVES,
Sister Hansen

Photo:  Gary and us at the Temple Visitor Center

UPDATES AND NEW EXPERIENCES

SO incredibly sorry that's it's taken me so long to send a GOOD e-mail. The longer I've been out on my mission, the harder I find it to sit down and write lengthy e-mails. But I'm disciplining myself today because there is SO much to tell you!

Updates:
1) Still teaching Arthur. He's doing really well. I think we need to focus more on teaching the doctrine then trying to help him understand why a second baptism is necessary. He was baptized as a Baptist growing up and feels that if he gets baptized again, he'll be betraying his family and what THEY taught him. Obviously, that is not our intention. We had a great lesson on the Book of Mormon with one of our members. She bore strong testimony that reading it is a commandment, but that it is also coupled with AMAZING blessings. Arthur is always very busy with his job, which can get him stressed and over-worked. We all promised that as he prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, he will obtain that inner peace, despite the chaos that's going on around him. Because he is so busy, we can only teach him once a week. Nonetheless, he's coming to church and making friends - so things are looking good!
2) Haven't heard from Eric, our Ghanaian, in a while. I think work got him stressed and is running him into the ground. He's so tired! We pray that he'll have the desire to put the things of God first in his life and trust that the rest will work out!
3) Marvin is also doing great! He's such a golden guy! We asked him to watch President Monson's talk, "Obedience Brings Blessings" and then pray to know if President Monson really is a prophet. He did exactly that and when I asked him, "Do you believe President Monson is a true prophet of God?" he replied with "Yeah, definitely. I love the way he talks - it's so soothing." Haha YAY. He passed the sacrament again on Sunday and was able to fast and pay his fast offering for the first time EVER. Can't wait to get him into family history work and going to the temple!
NEW:
1) We received two referrals this past week (BLESSINGS). The first was definitely inspired. One of our members that we actually had dinner with recently called us and said she met a guy at Safeway that wants to take the lessons. WHAT?! She said that she met him once and then saw him AGAIN and knew that she had to talk about the gospel with him. So now we are teaching Gary! He is 30, turning 31, and is originally from Spain but has grown up in this area. He works as a Domino's delivery guy (on BIKE) in DC. He's so great! It's an amazing opportunity to teach someone that is so humble and has such a strong desire to improve his life. We have him on date for baptism for March 22nd and he has already come to church twice. Pray that Gary continues to feel the Spirit and receives his answer that this is true! A memorable moment from our first lesson:
We asked Gary to say the closing prayer. He was really nervous. Gary's dad died unexpectedly four years ago, so we told him to not be nervous but to act like he was talking to his own father again. So when he prayed, he was very open yet reverent. Suddenly, he got really emotional as he was praying and was so sincere in what he was saying. The Spirit was SO strong!
2) We had a "pass" lesson this week with the Hermanas down in Springfield, VA. The investigator's name is Tiggy and she is fabulous! She's such a talker, but you can tell that she has felt the Spirit in her life on MANY occasions. How the found Tiggy is QUITE incredible. Actual, Tiggy somewhat found them. Here is the story in the Hermanas words:
"A few weeks back you mentioned that when we are led to a specific place but our plans fall through, we should continue to work in the area until we find who we were meant to contact. That exact thing happened with Hna. Weenig and I when we were on exchanges! The whole day was inspired. At one point, a backup didn't answer the door, so we prayed and felt like we should knock the three neighboring doors. Nobody answered. But as we were driving away to try another option, a woman came running out of the building chasing after us! She said felt compelled to find out who we were and what we were doing. She had been praying about things that had been happening to her recently, and she wanted God to tell her what the purpose of her life was. She saw it as a sign that we knocked on her door that day. We had an incredible lesson with her-- the Spirit was strong and directing, and I could feel how much Heavenly Father loved her. It was a wonderful experience."
CRAZY, right?! And now we have the blessed opportunity to teach her and bring her to the Potomac Ward! Keep Tiggy in your prayers as well, since she is battling some pretty bad influences in her life right now.
 
Potomac Ward is REALLY taking off lately. It's like a night and day difference from when I first got here! The working is flowing! So much so that it is hard to get things going in Shirlington. Nearly all of the investigators that they had have dropped them (not returning calls, etc). We need to delegate time to find those families that are waiting to hear the gospel! We plan to take out more time this week to focus on that.
A member mentioned recently how God has so much trust in us. He really expects us to be able to act for ourselves, and knows the outcome will be good as long as we're following His commandments. When she said that, I thought of something I had read in my personal study just a few days prior. I was in the book of Helaman, at the part where war is going on and Nephi is wanting them to remember the Lord. Well you know what Nephi does? He petitions the Lord to change His plan! Helaman 11:4-5:
4 O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee.
5 And so it was done...
 
I first read this and thought - how could Nephi ever get away with telling GOD what to do?! That takes some real guts. But then I thought - No... God meant for Nephi to think for himself. To feel the Spirit and find a better solution. How amazing it is that God does this! We are His children after all and wants us to use the brains and the intuition that He's blessed us with. I'm grateful for scriptural examples that teach me so. I invite you all to follow God and then to take action! He will not lead you astray.
LOVES,
Sister Hansen
 
PICTURE:
They had a Mini MTC in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. We took out "Sister Raza" and "Sister Morales", and brought them to Gary's first lesson! They were awesome!