Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9 - 29 / Day 115 Summer Come Back to Me!

I am so not ready for cold rainy weather yet. I guess I just really don't want to accept that it's Fall already. 

It's been another good week though. We had lots of meetings and things to get done, but I learned a ton.

We had Mission Leadership Counsel with all the District Leaders and Zone Leaders we talked about our purpose and the things we can do to be better focused missionaries, centered on our purpose. Sister Asay & I had to give a training on dress and grooming. That was fun :) haha. 

After MLC Sister Asay & I ate lunch and talked about all the things we've learned while serving. I love being with her again. It's really neat to see how much we've both grown and how much we've learned over the past 14 months. 
I saw Ric for the first time in forever. He went to he Temple and did Baptisms! So amazing. He looked great and was just so happy. It's powerful to see the influence of the Gospel in people lives when they are humble enough to accept it and change.

I really don't understand how the days go by so fast. There really isn't enough hours in the day to accomplish all the tasks at hand. We spent 1/2 the day in our office working on the yearly report for Cyd Mcbride and working on scheduling things that are happening in the mission this week. Sister Asay & I have made a goal to find someone to teach or talk to every morning when we're opening all the buildings. Since we never find time to go on the square. It's been going pretty good actually. We got a few people to keep in contact with. They haven't emailed back yet, and some we can't call till their home from vacation. We met the sweetest couple from South Africa though. I loved them!

We had a really cool Relief Society. The managing director for Public Affairs over the whole church came and spoke to us! It was really neat. He talked about his conversion and how we can help people who have strong views against the church (cough cough antis... conference prep right there). I learned a lot about presentism, how people try to teach things against the church take a 21st century view of things and force them to be the same for old historic times. We can't apply today's views and traditions to another earlier time. It's like Halloween... 50 years down the road people might look and be like what the heck were those people thinking dressing up like witches. They must have followed witchcraft. When really little kids are just having fun pretending. People have tried to do this with Joseph Smith and I think that's why there are some many "crazy things" out there about him. Anyways... it was just a cool little lesson I learned. Hadn't really thought about it that way before.

We had MLC again with just the Zone Leaders. President gave some really cool trainings on how to prioritize our time and on the things we should focus our time and attention on.

We got to attend the General Women's Conference. It was amazing. I loved it so much. Jean A Steven and President Utchdorf's talks were my fav. Don't really have time to go into details about all the things I learned but it strengthened my testimony for sure. I really have learned from serving a mission how to Live the Gospel joyful!

We went to Music in the Spoken Word, it was such a powerful program this week. The spirit was unreal. Sister Oscarson the General Young Women's President sat in front of us. After we talked to her for a few minutes. She is just so sweet. She hugged us like 3 times each and took pictures with us and send she wanted to send them to our moms. So Mom... be checking your email!!!!! haha. 
Sister Oscarson is true to her word.  The very next day this, and a few other pics found there way to my email with a sweet note. (Yvette : )

Then later in the day we went to the Swahili ward again for a
baptism! Kelly & Jeeduh got baptized. We taught their family a few times on the square with the Elders and their 2 oldest kids finally are baptized :) YAY. The spirit there is always so sweet. The branch just loves each other so much. We even got to sing a song in Swahili with their Mom after they were baptized. haha. Yeah I only learned it for like literally 2 minutes... probs slaughtered that one but owell :) It was still fun. haha. 

It was the best thing ever to be with Sister Marsh again for a few hours! I've missed her so much. She stoke the sweetest note in my journal when I wasn't looking. I found it when I got home at the end of the night and it made me bawl my eyes out. I'm going to miss her even more when she's gone. I literally can't accept that she's leaving in a month. I love her a lot, we have truly become best friends. So many blessings come from serving the Lord. I could write a book. It's been a great week. The Lord is truly answering my prayers. My testimony of fasting has also been strengthened this week, I've received a lot of comfort and direction from it this week. 

I am really excited for General Conference coming up. Looking forward to hearing the words of the Prophet and Apostles. I truly know that they are called of God and that they hold his authority and power. I hope you are all as excited as I am and are preparing to receive revelation. I promise if you prepare yourself you will be uplifted and taught by their words!

We get to attend the Sunday PM session. Look for me on the screen ;) hahaha not.

I love you all! 
Have a fantastic week. 

Sister Hansen

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9 - 22 / Day 122 Just Another Week

Hey Everyone! Yvette here. : )  I made a correction to Emily's now counting-down day count!  She has been given a release date of Jan 21, 2015.  That shaved 20 Days off the count we were working with.  So as of today, Sept 22, 2014, Emily will be released to travel home in 122 days.  Oh my goodness.  Too much to do!

Email time!

Can I just tell you how sick of looking at a computer screen I am!?! Office work hasn't slowed down in the slightest bit. We've been working on fixing Sisters schedules all week and just a bunch of other things. We also had to start a yearly report for Cyd Mcbride who's the head manager over all the big tours that happen here in Temple Square. It's a lot of work. I couldn't even begin to describe all that goes into it. We literally have to report EVERYTHING for every month in every single language. haha. 

Sister Asay has been super awesome though. Just jumped right in and helps with everything! I love her so much. I feel so blessed and grateful to have this time to spend as companions with her again. I've already learned a ton from her and it hasn't even been a week yet. We are just the best of friends. It's fun when people ask where we're from and one answers "I'm from Dallas... well she's from Dallas too," and then people are like "woahh, how did you get that lucky?" haha. I really don't know how I got so lucky. It was so cute when she found out I was her companion. We went to pick her up at the airport and Sister Tiritilli went in to find her. I decided I would hide in the trunk so she couldn't see anyone in the car. When they came out Sistter Tiritilli said... "Hey hurry, go open the trunk" and Sister Asay was like, "what? whyy?" Sister Tiritilli was like "'Cause your companion is in it." So she opens it and starts crying and hugging me before I could even get out! hahahaha. I felt so loved :) 

Despite all the office work we had to do we still had a really good week, and I learned some important lessons! We got to attend a session of the Re-dedication of the Ogden Temple. The spirit was so strong and taught me some very valuable things. I just pondered on how grateful I am to have made covenants with my Father in Heaven that protect me and assure me that I can someday make it back to him. I realized more than ever that that is the reason why I'm on a mission. To help bring souls back to him, to help his children learn of the promises they need to make, that will bring them protection in this life. I could go on about all the things I've learned. It was a super neat experience. 

Carlos also got his patriarchal blessing this week!!! It was great to talk to him about his experience. It's moments like those that I am so grateful for this gospel. Because I can see how much it changes the lives of those who except it. Carlos just beams with the spirit and others can see and feel it. I know he will be a successful missionary some day! 
That's about it for this week. Wish me luck with the list of things I have to accomplish this week! & pray for my vision to come back. haha. We've been on the computer so much I honestly can't see anymore. I woke up this morning and everything was blurry and it hasn't gotten better either. I'm not even exaggerating like I normally do, hahah. I legit can hardly even focus on the words I'm typing right now cause they're all a blur. Hope there's not too many spelling errors! 


Get excited for Conference... it's coming so soon & I'm soooo excited. Last Conference as a Temple Square Missionary! I'm going out with a bang! 
Sister Hansen

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9 - 15 / Day 149 Work Work Work

This week has FLOWN by. It's been super busy for us with lots going on. 

  This day has been incredible!  First of all it is President’s birthday today! Sister Poulsen asked if we would go with her to Costco to pick up cakes and ice cream for President and all the sisters.  We, of course, said yes, but first went to TC for a little bit.  I contacted 2 more of the referrals that Peter gave us and it was so fun.  They are so prepared as always, and I wanted to give Peter a chance to talk with them and share with them his testimony and say goodbye to them before he leaves.  We called Danisa one of his cousins and they talked for a little bit, and it was so sweet.  Little African kids were singing in the background and Danisa was so so happy and excited for Peter to serve the Lord.  He told Peter that he wants to take the discussions, but he would like to not only have us call them but would like to have missionaries come visit him.  Man!  

Peter was so cute afterwards.  We were just talking to him and he said, “I didn’t know that I couldn’t hold babies, now I am sad, I hold babies in church every Sunday.” Okayyyy stop! Then we talked a little bit because he did not know that we are ALWAYS on Temple Square and never leave and he said, “That is so cool that you get to serve so close to a temple every single day.” Peter is the most sincere boy I have ever met.  It is the day before he goes into the MTC, and he is just like teaching all of his friends with us on the phone, and teaching a mission prep class tonight.  He told us that we could call him that whole day, and he would help us whenever we needed him.  He said, “Its ok I don’t need to rush, I just want to help my Africans.”  The cutest African I have ever seen.  

Then we went to Costco.  Sister Poulsen was so cute.  I learned a lot about her and President.  They are so fun.  They love Lake Powell and they have horses, and they just have lots of fun trips and things and toys that they use all the time.  When we got there the cakes were not finished, so we just walked around and waited.  We obviously went by the Blend Tec guy and he made us green ice cream, then we walked past these 2 guys who were advertising honey butters. They were delicious.  Then we saw Sister Poulsen getting ice cream so we told her hey you need to stop by and try this honey butter….ya we sold her on that!  She bought 2 of them! J hahha we got everything and came back to Temple Square and then we had to set up for the party.  We cut all the cakes and put all the pieces on plates.  It took us forever!  We were sweating we were so hot cutting the cakes for like a solid hour.  We all surprised President and were all down here singing happy birthday to him!  He is the sweetest man.  I love him so much.  It has been such a blessing to serve so close with him and get to know him on a more personal level.  We also had our last district meeting today.  NO way I cannot believe that it is already the end of the transfer…eww!  But the whole day I was just looking forward to Peter’s setting apart. 

We drove to the chapel and they were having mission prep.  They invited us in and it was kind of interesting, but I really liked it a lot! They had everyone there share with each other how they got to the point they are now in their spiritual journeys.  Peter shared such a tender testimony.  He talked about how rough it was when he was in refugee camps in Uganda and how he felt so blessed that he ended up in America.  He knew when he got here that he needed God more in his life.  He said that he was taught by 2 missionaries; 1 from the US and 1 from Fiji and how he knew that he needed to be baptized.  He didn’t have a strong testimony yet, but knew that in his heart he should.  

Then he became less active and didn’t go to church, but one day got impressions from the Holy Ghost that he needed to go back to church so he did.  He continued to go every week and his testimony grew and then his stake president, President Degraph started asking him if he would want to serve a mission and he was only in high school, but he knew it was right and so he met with him a lot and he helped him prepare to serve his mission and now it is the time to actually go.  

Sister Marsh and I both shared our testimonies of how we got to serve a mission and how our mission has blessed us.  Sister Burton shared her testimony after us and she told us how her mission that she served in New Zealand has changed her life forever and how she knew that she needed to serve again.  The spirit was so strong and already I started to cry.  I knew I was doomed for his actual blessing.  I was reflecting the whole time on how blessed I have been to serve a mission.  How the mission has completely changed me.  I will never move backwards, I want to continue forward. My heart is so full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to serve Him and for letting this change my life so much. 
   We talked for a little bit outside before we went into President Degraph’s office.  He gave some counsel to Peter first.  He read from D&C 4 and how missionary work is that marvelous work that he is about to be a part of.  That he will work on those Christ like attributes his entire mission and strive to follow in the footsteps of his Savior.  He gave him 3 pieces of advice.
1.       Work hard
2.       Be obedient
3.       Love the Lord
   He then asked Peter to bear his testimony before he set him apart.  Peter bore the sweetest testimony.  He talked more about how hard life was in Uganda in refugee camps for 13 years.  How he would go 3 or 4 days without eating sometimes and how he never imagined or believed that he could ever be in America and be where he is right now.  His friends all told him he was a “Chicken with his head cut off” and that he was doing the wrong thing, he didn’t have a testimony at that time but he knew in his heart that he needed to be baptized and be in the church.  He said he knows how much God loves him, and that he answers his prayers.  He said that Heavenly Father has ALWAYS answered his prayers no matter what.  “I believe the church is true.  I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the BOM is true.”  So sweet…just cried the whole time. 

After his setting apart,  we had to say goodbye and then we went in the car and just cried.  We talked about it for the whole car ride home.  Peter is such a sweet kid.  When he speaks or shares his testimony it is so pure and close to his heart you can tell that he does not even know how to express himself.  He was raised in such humble circumstances that he TRULY is grateful and so thankful for all the things that he has in his life.  The gospel means everything to him.  Sister Marsh and I talked about how the African people are so sincere and grateful because that is how they were raised…They are taught and brought up to be so humble and grateful for everything.  It is incredible to be around them.  I just want to be around him all the time. 

   This was an incredible experience for me! It has made me reflect on my own setting apart and all the things I’ve been able to experience while serving the Lord. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for the choice I made to come on a mission!!!!

After this whole long day lots has happened. We’ve been working on getting everything ready for Transfers this Wednesday. We literally haven’t left our office for 4 days! 7:30am-9pm just staring at the computer screen. Lets just say I’m an Excel Master now J We had to make schedules for every companionship in the whole mission and just a million other things I don’t even know how to explain. It was hard knowing everyone's companions before they did. Because they bother you all the time and obviously you can’t say anything! But everyone found out this morning at Transfer conference who their companions are so the pressures off now. Haha.

I am so excited to serve again with Sister Asay! I couldn’t have asked for a better companion in the MTC & I’m soo excited to learn again from her. YAY J I am a lucky lucky girl

I love you all sooo much.
 Have a wonderful week
Sister Hansen

P.S. I'm super sad to leave Sister Marsh though. I've learned so much from her it's ridiculous. She's been such a good example to me of how to truly LOVE your investigators and all the Sisters in the mission. They other night we got kind of stressed out with all that's going on and for some reason we thought that we were mad at each other. So we had personal study instead of companion study (bad idea we know) because we were just annoyed, then planned super fast and went right to bed at like 9pm.

 I just layed there and started crying thinking Sister Marsh wouldn't even hear me until I heard her nose start to sniffle too. Then I built up the courage and just said "are you crying" and in a shaking voice she replied "noo". We both started crying even harder and just opened up to each other that we were just stressed out and annoyed with ourselves not actually mad at each other. Sister Marsh said "To be honest, I'm just so sad I'm not going to be your companion anymore" Then I just started crying even harder! haha. 

I ended up moving down to her bed and we just layed there and cried! haha so dramatic. We couldn't help but laugh. We decided we were just DONE with our bunk beds. So at like 10pm we took our beds off and threw them on the floor right next to each other! hahaha. We've loved it for the past 4 days. It's the BEST. We can just talk and be like right next to each other. Just living it up the last few days we have together. I'm excited for her to train next transfer though. She's going to do GREAT. & then in 6 weeks I'm going to have to say bye to her cause she's going home! LAME! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

9 - 8 / Day 156 This Week Was N I C E

My time is super short this week.  So, I'm just popping in to say Helloo!

It's just been another super crazy busy week. Peter our friend who we use to teach all our Africans with is leaving on his mission this week! We are going to miss him soooo much. He gave us a million referrals this week all from Uganda! We've talked to them all already & they're soooo great. We called Kafemu with Peter this morning and he said he wanted to get baptized and serve a mission just like Peter after he shared his conversion story with him. So cool. The work is just hastening more & more. I am grateful to be a part of it. We are so happy that we get to go to Peter's setting apart tomorrow.  He invited us to it.  So sweet. 

That's just about the high lights of our week I guess. The work is great. We love our Africans sooooooooo much. Jamah wants to serve a mission too! 

Sister Hansen
I was so happy to see all my family on Sunday though! I'm so spoiled to be in this mission where they can just come find me. :) 
Aunt Julie is just THE BEST!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

9-1 / Day 163 Brim With Joy!

I don't think I know how to write about what an amazing week it was. It's weeks like these where I never in a million years want to leave my mission. I always ask myself.. Why Me?! Why am I sooo blessed? 
So get ready, Here's to the LONGEST email in America! 

August 28th                                 
I think Heavenly Father has just sent me a smack upside the head. All day long I’ve just felt useless and so down about everything that’s going on. Probably because our day started off completely off in the first place. Last night before bed Sister Marsh & I were talking about how funny it would be if the alarm didn’t go off. Well you’ll never guess what happened. Yup. The alarm magically decided to not work. It was fun waking up at 6:25 and saying from above Sister Marsh (Since we sleep in bunk beds), “It’s 6:25, what the heck happened to our alarm?”  Hahah. At least we only woke up 10 minutes late. We wake up at 6:15 since we are on “early schedule.”  Well that’s just where my bad day started. 

Just to illustrate my attitude today…Sister Marsh asked me, “Do you need a treat?” (to make me feel better) and I responded, “No I need a life”. Haha. Case in point. I was just pretty down.  

We did some stuff in the office and then went to TC, found a sweet new investigator named Nelly from Paraguay. Then we had square time for an hour. We were just walking past EF desk and Sis Galgiani thought it would be funny if we played a prank on her investigator, so we started stalking him. After he found out what we were doing he was said, "You two scared me. I was thinking, why are these missionaries following me all around?” Meanwhile Sister Galgiani’s companion Sister Paulino found some super concerned girl sitting on the couch watching, “I’m a Mormon” videos. Then she realized she needed to go their investigator, we told her we would go sit with her and help her in any way we could. Well this is where the sketchy stuff starts! 

We sat down and immediately my nose was just FILLED with the smell of Meth, like I just entered into a meth lab! We asked her why she came to Temple Square and how we could help her. She said she came because she wanted to get closer to Heavenly Father. Then just out of nowhere she says, “Can you still feel the Holy Ghost if you deny the Savior?” We explained to her that we have to be living our lives a certain way to have the spirit with us. We talked about how when we live God's commandments he blesses us and helps us in our lives. After asking her a million questions trying to figure out what the heck was going on with her and why she smelled like meth we found out that she was a member who literally hates herself so much that she’s tried to kill herself and she smokes so that she can take her thoughts of wanting to deny the Savior away.  She explained to us that she smokes twice a day, breaks the law of chastity, and drinks coffee. She knows she shouldn’t and she wants to repent because she knows that she can, but she is so completely confounded.

It breaks my heart talking to people like this because they know the truth. They know they are in the wrong, and they know what they have to do to fix it, but the just DON’T. She told us that she knows she needs to move out from her boyfriend’s house and go live with her grandma in Las Vegas because he is the one who helps her get into all these destructive things. During our talk Sister Marsh & I  just kept looking at each other thinking, oh my gosh what in the world are we going to do to help her. Looking down we saw the scars on her wrists from cutting herself and she was just shaking the whole entire time because she cannot control her own body. 

Sister Marsh just started expressing to her how much her Father in Heaven loved her. Such a sweet spirit entered the room. We told her that because he loves her he doesn’t want her doing these things in her life. And that she can change and repent and become the person God wants her to be, and reach the potential that she has. It’s times like these where my testimony is strengthened. I could feel the heaviness in my heart for this child of His. I can’t even imagine how he must feel watching His beloved children turning their lives into complete darkness. If it hurts me I can’t imagine how much it must hurt Him. 

After our hour-long conversation we asked how we could help her more to enter back into the path God wants her on. We gave her our number, but she refused to give us hers because she wasn’t supposed to be using her phone. As she wrote our number down she labeled it, “wonderful people.” We asked her when she would come back and how we could help her, but she wouldn’t say anything. She started to grab her bags and said, “Thank you so much, but I must be leaving now.” We felt prompted to just watch her as she left to see where she would go. She walked out of the SVC and walked up to some dude and got on his phone like pacing back and forth. We freaked out thinking, “What the heck is going on?  Who is this guy?  This is soooo sketchy.”  Found out she went up to a random visitor and asked to use his phone. We walked over and said, “Ashley… do you need help? We can get a phone for you to use.”  At this point things were getting a little too weird for us to handle so what do we do? … Call security

They came and introduced themselves to her, asking her name and date of birth and things like that. Well, it freaked her out she said, “What did I do?!!!” We explained that they were just there to help her in any way that they could. But that they needed all her info because they are supposed to report everything that happens. She then used the Security's phone to call the person that could come pick her up. I asked if it was her boyfriend who was coming. Then Sister Marsh felt prompted to ask how old he was. She said, “He’s 20 years older than me… old enough to be my Dad, but that’s okay.” We asked why she was going back to him if he’s the one who abuses her and gets her into doing meth?  She started bawling.

 I said “Ashley, what can we do for you? We want to help but you need to let us.” She said, “I want to be a different person, I hate who I am.”  Sister Marsh & I just bore our testimonies on the Atonement, that it’s not just there for big sins and to forgive us of the things we do wrong, but it’s there to change us into different people. Better people, stronger people and Disciples of Christ. We told her to come back as soon as she could. I hope she does. Security followed her out to make sure she would be okay. Some sketchy car came flying down the street and she jumped right in. 

Well there goes Ashley’s life. 

Lesson learned Sister Hansen: Never feel bad about the things I’m doing in my life. It could be a million times worse. I truly am grateful for the decision I’ve made to serve a mission. I guess I just take advantage of it and get so used to feeling the spirit all the time and doing all these things that I fail to realize the blessing it is in my life.

August 29th
I was just mixed with emotions today. We were sooooo excited to Skype Jamah's baptism on Saturday morning. But the electricity was down, so we didn't get to see it. Sister Marsh & I cried as we got back in our beds. haha. But we're just happy that he is the newest member of the church. He is sooooo happy. He said, "Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you sooooo much... I'm so so so happy." Then he sang us the cutest song in America. haha. I wish I could send you all a recording of it.

Also my arm got stuck in one of the sliding doors while we opened the square this morning. That was unfortunate. Sister Marsh had opened it and I was going to walk through it... I hadn't made it all the way through yet & it started to close on me & didn't even realize I was in it. Then my arm started gettting smooshed... at first it was hilarious & I was cracking up,  ..... until it got tighter & tighter... I started screaming to Sister Marsh "ooouchh! ouch! Help me! Help me!"  Then I was like bawling, and my arm was sooo red. All we could do was LAUGH. So dumb.

I talked to Carlos today! He's doing soo great! He's preparing to get his Patriarchal blessing & I am SOOO happy for him.

August 31st
What a blessed and joy-filled day I have had. It started off with probably one of the BEST Sacrament meetings I've had since I've been here. S Marsh, the Aps, and another great sister gave their farewell talks! I felt like the whole theme was focused on our Savior & His love for us, & the path that we are on to make it back to Him.

Some of the greatest things I learned go as follows:
Christ did not just learn the healer's art, but He become the ULTIMATE healer!
I must catch the vision of 'Are we there yet'. Am I close to living in the presence of God? I must take the path He wants & constantly ask myself "Am I there yet?"
If I cling to my covenants I WILL find rest in the Savior Jesus Christ. I want Him to look to me & say, "Sister Hansen is safe on my course. She's anxiously engaged in the things I've called her to do. I may rest".

After that wonderfully uplifting sacrament we had staff meeting. President had talked last week about how our area 70 has asked us to double our baptisms. We all counciled on how we can help the mission to accomplish this. I love President beyond measure. I honor the trust that He has in us so much. As we were talking he said, "Sisters, this is now your responsibility.  I need your help to improve the mission & help the Sisters." Well oh my, the pressure has been put on. To be honest I can think of a few things, but what it ultimately comes down to, is our hearts. If we are committed & our hearts are fully there everything else will follow. Let me just say. He is an inspired man.

Right after that we had to run to the Swahili Ward. We literally felt like we were in Africa! Talk about heaven.

This is Nelson and his Mama.  His siblings are getting baptized this month.

1/2 of the Sacrament meeting was in Swahili & translated into English.  It was cool. Super loud, though.  Peter gave his farewell talk (he's the member who teaches our Africans with us.) Then we went to gospel principles class.  It was literally 1/2 non-members! The lesson was on service and anytime someone would answer, everyone would go, "ooooh, that's good," "Ooooh, so deep," "can't beat that." There was just way too much love to be felt in that branch. Then after we got to go to the mix & mingle.  All the cute African kids would come running up and give us hugs.  My heart melted!!  Then we ate yummy African food. mmmm!

Juliet and her cousins.

Juliet is such a boss!

Peter and his little brothers.

Sister Hansen is in heaven!

Lots of other incredible miracles and experiences have happened this week, but I don't have time to write about them all. Hope this will do :) haha.

I love you all so much. I am truly blessed to be where I am & to serve the Lord! 

Sister Hansen

Sister Hansen & Sister Marsh bein' silly 

Kisses for Mr. Bug. ; )

Our District 9/1/2014 

This is what it looks like to ...
sit down and squeeze your hair?