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?

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