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.


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.

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 :)

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

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!
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!
Sister Hansen

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