Okay. I’m going to take a selfish moment here and just say that I must have been out long enough on my mission for everyone to forget about me because pretty much the only mail I’ve gotten in weeks is a letter from Dad, a wedding announcement, and a letter from my friend that’s in this mission with me…. So. I guess three months is where it caps? I’m tempted to start a competition. Actually. I’m starting it. Whoever can send me the funniest letter before the end of this transfer gets a Penn State shirt! I’ve got limited options here so.. There’s my attempt at getting more mail. I think I underestimated how awesome it is to get mail when you’re a missionary… And I always thought it would be pretty stellar! Anyway, Dad, your letter was awesome. I’m pretty sure it would be awesome if I could listen to U2 on my mission. I definitely have felt the Spirit on more than one occasion listening to their music. But I guess that’s probably a little iffy. 🙂 Haha.
Sounds like things are pretty busy at home! I wish I could say the same for here. Of course, missionary life is always busy, and I always feel like I am running from place to place with never enough time to get everything done that I need to. But, as far as the work goes, it is just lagging. Sometimes that is pretty frustrating to me because I feel like my whole mission has just been riding buses and going to single’s branch activities, but the growth that I’ve made as a person is really awesome and I feel blessed for that. Although, I am pretty sure (like 99.5% positive) that I’m getting transferred after this transfer, so I’ll leave RIGHT as the students all get back… I’ve got great luck. 🙂 Haha.
We went on an exchange with Sister Ferrin and Sister White this week though! Sister Ferrin is a Sister Training Leader so she goes on exchanges with all the sisters she is over. She came to State College and I went about 45 minutes north-east to Lock Haven with Sister White. IT WAS A BLAST. Seriously, I was having the time of my life. Sister White and I get along so well and I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be like best friends after our missions because we have a HOOT together. We made a music video in the car, and we laughed our heads off while calling bingo for some old ladies at a senior center. Man, they mean business. They were totally particular and insisted that we say “five zero” in stead of “fifty” and “six zero” instead of “sixty.” But “seventy” or “forty” was okay…. They also fed us some delicacies like club crackers and room temperature cheese.
In the Lock Haven apartment, they have a basement that is TOTALLY ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CREEPY. We went down there and it was seriously one of those moments where you just get chills up and down your spine. There were cobwebs everywhere, an old pool table and trash and abandoned chairs in random rooms and stuff…. Yeah. So creepy. And it totally smelled like the cellar in Betty and Jim’s basement in Maine. I was having crazy childhood flashbacks. Good times.
We also went to teach this lady in Renovo, which is about 45 minutes away from Lock Haven. And, lest you be confused, Renovo is actually pronounced “ren-oh-vuh.” … Oh Pennsylvania. It is a glorious place. Anyway, we went to teach this lady named Rose and she’s like “sure, let’s go outside,” and then proceeded to sit in the only chair on her porch with her cigarettes and lighter. There were like millions of little kiddlets running around and the wind was blowing their 87 wind chimes super loudly, and I was certain that the Spirit could not be there. But then the Spirit so kindly rebuked me and made me realize that it wasn’t up to me to decide where the Spirit could be, it was just up to me to decide if I was going to do all I could to invite it to be there. THIS LESSON WAS UNREAL. Sister White and I taught with so much unity, and the Spirit was so strong. She agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and wants us (meaning them) to come back again. Her husband came out for part of the lesson and was saying he has nightmares about dying every night. We asked if he would have nightmares if he wasn’t afraid of dying and he said he probably wouldn’t, and then agreed to read a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and review it when we came back again.
That was one of the best moments of my mission so far. And sadly, it wasn’t even in my own area. I was kind of bummed about that, actually. I had such a good experience there. But then I was reading in Preach My Gospel or something else (everything blends together for me) and it said something about leaving your area better than you found it. So I’ve decided that I can definitely do that. And in some ways, I think I already have done that with the help of the Lord. I’m excited to really put my pedal to the medal and work hard this last six weeks in State College.
Here’s a side note.
WHY DO MORMONS HAVE TO NAME ALL THEIR KIDS NAMES FROM THE BOOK OF MORMON?!?!
End of side note.
Whitey is still doing great. And just to clear this up for Nana (and anyone else who may be confused)–Whitey isn’t an investigator. He’s already baptized, so no need to be praying for him to get baptized. 🙂 But he’s making such progress. He has been super responsive in our lessons lately and has been asking all sorts of great questions. And in his prayer this past week during one of the lessons, he said “help me to continue to learn about thy Gospel and help me to share it.” I don’t know if you realize the magnitude of this, but it’s a BIG DEAL. He’s seeking out opportunities to share the Gospel. I just can’t get enough of this kid. He’s doing so well. SWELL.
HAHAHA THE FUNNIEST THING HAPPENED THIS WEEK. On Thursday morning, we were getting ready as usual and we get a text from some elders in Philipsburg that says “Happy birthday Sister Hanseen!! 🙂 🙂 :)”
…. Confused, I responded telling them that I appreciated it but that was not, in fact, my birthday. I asked who told them it was, and Elder Gassman (I’m assuming) told me that his companion, Elder Giffin, had told him that… So. I’m pretty sure Elder Giffin was just totally pranking Elder Gassman to see if he would text me happy birthday. Either way, it made my morning. Elders are so ridiculous sometimes.
So… Dirty details of transfers. Basically, this is how it goes down in State College. There are two districts within State College. My district contains my companionship, the other University sisters, and the Elders in Huntingdon. The other district is both sets of State College Elders, and the Elders in Philipsburg. At least one missionary from each of these companionships are getting transferred tomorrow. Sister Robinson, Elder Howell, Elder Olsen, Elder Bowels, Elder Giffin&Elder Gassman… They’re all getting transferred. I’m sure this has no value to any of you whatsoever, but I’m just freaking out about it! I’m excited to get new missionaries, but State College as I know it is totally doing a 180! Last transfer, Sister Ferrin was the ONLY one to change, so it wasn’t even that weird. But this transfer it’s like musical chairs in the mission because there are like 32 new missionaries coming in. This will make us reach our cap of missionaries pretty much, so from here on out we won’t be having any ridiculous changes. It’s been so nuts though. President said that pretty much anyone who is training will probably be a senior companion the rest of their mission. So that means that I was only a junior companion for one transfer. Haha what the heck?! Anyway, nothing is for sure, but that’s what it’s looking like.
Missions are weird. They’re hard and fun and awesome and tiring and every emotion. But I’m learning more and more about this Gospel, and that’s what I love the most. This Gospel is true. I’m so grateful that I have made covenants that will bind me in Heaven. I am so excited to be able to be with God again! I know He lives and loves all of us. And I know it now more than I ever have in my life. One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is the baptismal covenant that many of us have made. Do EVERYTHING you can to uphold your covenants. There are so many blessings that are available if you do. I’m doing my best to do the same.
I love you all. I pray for you. And if you ever want to send me a package again, my request is that it has the things I’ve asked for in previous emails (AKA three copies of Lamb of God by Rob Gardner from my iTunes, and anything else to keep me sane. Oh and if anyone wants to send me some Mary Kay mascara I’d totally be happy because I only wear mascara and mine is pretty much out…. So I’m looking pretty rough these days). Anyway, long tangent. Seriously though. You’re all the best and I love you!
P.S. no pictures this week because I sent my memory card off with the moving Elders because Elder Palmer is making the mission video and I want to get mine and Sister White’s hilarious music video on it. Next week. 🙂
Sister McKann Hanseen
10 Vairo Blvd #32D
State College, PA 16803
Okay… editorial comment from McKann’s Dad. Somehow I failed to add McKann’s letter of last week to her blog, so you can read TWO WEEKS worth if you read this one and the one simply titled “July 15th”… So… THERE. 🙂
Okay I just gotta get this out there… I hate humidity. It does make nature beautiful, but it makes humans disgusting. And I think that it’s really just not worth it. This week it was at around 98 or 97 or something repulsive like that and with the added humidity, you may as well have just put us in a sauna with a bunch of grumpy people and told us to tell them about the Gospel. OH wait. That’s what we did. But we did it with a smile on our faces as best as possible. 🙂 I promise.
This week has been alright. We had Zone Training on Tuesday and that was a blast. I seriously just love whenever I get to go to anything with other missionaries. I feel like I’m actually getting to know people in the mission now and not just feeling like the total greenie that I kind of still am. The sad part is that half of the missionaries serving with me don’t actually live in Provo and aren’t going to school there so… Awesome friendship for a few months? Hahaha whatever. Life seems to be crazy like that. Anyway, we had a pot luck lunch with everyone afterward and it was just a blast. We laughed and ate and laughed more. I love missionaries.
OKAY HAVE I BEEN BELIEVING A LIE MY WHOLE LIFE?! I SWEAR that when I was a kid, Nana and Papa told me that Hyrum Smith is my great great great great (great?) grandpa. Well.. I checked on familysearch.org to get familiar with it and see if there were any cool stories, and HE’S NOT ON MY FAMILY TREE!!! Am I just delusional? Someone has got to clear this up for me. I need to know my heritage!!! [editorial comment McKann’s grandma Carol Walker will do her best to shoot McKann her heritage. Supposedly through McKann’s Grandpa Terry, she is a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith through one of his wives. Perhaps with multiple wives it doesn’t so easily render on familysearch.org – just sayin’…]
Okay. Panic over. Anyway…
This week “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (is that the actual title?) by U2 was playing on the bus. That kind of tugged at my heart strings a little bit. I’ve had U2 stuck in my head ever since. And Dad, I kept thinking about how you totally quoted that song in a church talk once. Then I told all the missionaries how cool you are. They agree. Actually, they all say that my family sounds awesome and super funny and I’m pretty sure Elder Vassallo and Elder Howell like want to be best buds with you, Dad. [editorial note: this is True. “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” contains poetic verse from Bono where he witnesses of his belief in Christ, and I used the verse in a talk, when speaking of Christ “who broke the bonds, and loosed the chains, carried the cross and all my shame.”] Here’s something… Whenever you come back out to State College (isn’t it in August?), Elder Vassallo wants you to get in touch with them and come be a team up for a lesson. I know that’s kind of wacky, and totally out there, but if you’re up for it we can definitely get you in contact and it would be way cool for you to get to meet some of the people I talk about a lot. So.. Yeah. Let me know if you want to do that. (I’m 100% okay with it, by the way. They don’t even have to tell me it happened until after the fact. Promise. 🙂 ) Oh! And this week, Sister Yates and I went to a restaurant downtown called “Fiddlehead” and it was super good. Kind of pricey, but I loved it. It’s a restaurant for salads…. Anyway, if you’re downtown when you come again you should try it out. Pretty healthy too, so no worries there.
There’s this guy I keep seeing on the bus that is wearing total manpri’s and it’s sick. I can handle a lot of weird stuff but… MANPRI’S?! Rough.
Oh! Here’s a kicker. There are new dress standards for elders on lds.org, and one of the things they’re allowed to wear now are MANDALS. Hahaha. MAN SANDALS. PEOPLE. That is so rich. I can’t even handle it.
This week a few awesome things happened. The elders have this lady next door to them named Alice. She’s been there just short of how long the elders have been there. She feeds us all the time, and she’s the best. But SHE GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!! I’m super excited I got to be there, because Elder DeRoest and Elder Boyd were the people (I think) that started teaching her, and it will be cool to talk to Elder DeRoest about it later.
We taught a new investigator named Jason this week. He’s really awesome and believes a lot of similar things to us, and is very receptive. Sadly, he’s moving to Michigan in about a week. But, he’s moving into Stuart McGraw’s mission, and wants to keep meeting with missionaries. I’m gonna shoot him an email today and see if I can pass his info along. It’s kind of perfect because he’s gonna move to this place and not know anybody and then he can totally get fellowshipped by church members. Peace and blessings.
We also taught Whitey again this week. It was awesome. I love Whitey. I think I’ve said that before???? Haha but seriously he’s a stellar kid. We talked about the Priesthood and he said he wants to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood by his birthday at the end of August. It was awesome. We also had another lesson where we read in the Book of Mormon about Alma the Younger, and he would say stuff like “this is cool because I’ve felt that before,” or he would not take his turn to read and we’d think he was just zoning out, and then he’d say “oh sorry, I was just thinking about that verse!” THAT KID IS GOING PLACES.
There’s a trio of elders in Pittsburgh called the moving elders. They move in apartments and kind of run errands throughout the mission. My old District Leader, Elder Davidson, is one of them. This week they had to bring us a vacuum. So they brought it to the church because we were there for Alice’s baptism, and it was the best!! I love Elder Davidson so much. We talked for a while and may or may not have had a Jell-O eating contest that we filmed and is going to be on the mission video… Good times.
It sounds like things are going great at home. Dad, way to go with the marathon! I’ll love to hear how that goes. I didn’t get the picture of Brenner’s mustache!! What the heck. So lame. It didn’t send. But you should definitely try again. I wanna see that puppy. I’ve been kind of missing the summer concerts in Provo this week. We drive past the Bryce Jordan Center on campus all the time and here’s some concerts that are happening in a few months: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Keith Urban, and Bassnectar. So basically lynch me since I can’t go. Oh well. All that silliness aside…
I LOVE THIS WORK. Things are getting better with Sister Yates and I. We had a heart to heart of sorts this week and realized that we are really lacking in unity. But since we discussed it, things have been going a lot better. The work hasn’t necessarily been picking up, but my attitude has changed a bit. It wasn’t bad before, but there were definitely times throughout the day that I could’ve been more positive. So I’m working on it and repenting so I can become better. 🙂
If I get a minute I’ll try and send pictures. I got some solid emails from dear friends this week though.
Keep putting these on my blog if you can! Rachel said one didn’t go up last week? Maybe you were just busy. But I’m glad you’ve been in contact with Elder V’s mom. He says nothing but great things about her, and her card to me was one of the sweetest things ever. Anyway, I’m rambling now so I’m gonna wrap this up.
I forgot the craziest thing….
So this week, we had a family sign up to feed us. We went to their house and they were introducing themselves and asking us to introduce ourselves.. You know, the norm. Anyway, Sister Covington was like “Oh, Sister Hanseen. I have something for you.” And then she just WHIPS OUT MY FIRST GRADE YEARBOOK. Ummm.. Mrs. Covington from Edgemont Elementary is in State College! THAT WAS A RIOT. I was having a blast looking at that. Shout out to Jill McCloud for telling her that I was here. That was such a fun night. Those people are really incredible. They’ve got a remarkable story and it was a choice experience to get to spend an evening with them.
LOVE YOU ALL!! Read 3 Nephi 17. 🙂
Sister McKann Hanseen
10 Vairo Blvd #32D
State College, PA 16803
STADIUM OF FIRE! Dun duh dun, Stadium of FIRE dun duh dun. We’re gonna celebrate tonight, fill the sky with LIGHT, THAT IS OUR DESIIIIIIIIIRRREEEEEEEEEE, STADIUM OF FIRE!
MAN ALIVE I am seriously so bummed that I missed the 4th of July. I’m realizing that holidays are gonna be a tough one on the mission. Like.. I knew that, but it was a little hard. State College definitely ain’t got NOTHIN’ on Provo for 4th of July festivities, so that was a little sad. But it did give me a chance to reflect on all the awesome times I had in Provo for the 4th. But of course, it would not be the 4th of July if McKann Hanseen wasn’t in the parade, right? RIGHT. So we got to be in the parade! It was nothing like Provo where the missionaries get more applause than any other entry of the parade, but we got to be i the parade nonetheless. A member of our branch has been volunteering on the 4th here for what they call “4th Fest” and needed some volunteers to carry a balloon in the parade. And since we’re missionaries and service is an awesome thing to be doing always, we opted to help out. Sadly, I’m not immune to the sun like I think I am every year, and I am totally scorched. Like.. Members of the branch yesterday were almost in tears for me when they were looking at my sweltering flesh. I’ll have to send a picture of it because it’s pretty nuts. I can’t wear normal shirts right now. And when you’re a missionary, you don’t have that many options of different outfits you can wear in the first place. So that’s been quite the challenge. But ibuprofen and aloe have been my BFF’s this week. I keep telling myself that it’s not as bad as it could be—no sunburn will EVER compare to the ones that Nyia and I got on that first trip to California. Redheads+no sunscreen+beach for six hours=blisters and a painful day at Disneyland the next day. Fortunately, my parade sunburn isn’t nearly that bad.
This week has been pretty interesting. The students seem to be coming in more and more as the summer term starts, but we still haven’t been teaching too much. I really don’t have too much of a problem with it most the time, but it can get a teensy bit discouraging to be serving in an area with three other sets of missionaries that all seem to be having a lot of success. Our weekly coordination meetings are always a little rough because the other sisters fill up like an entire front and backside of their progress record and we come in with maybe four names. This Saturday there are three baptisms for the other missionaries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so so excited for all of them. But I’m trying my best to remember that I’m totally being obedient and diligent and there are miracles happening right before my eyes every day. And that’s what matters! So no bad days, just bad attitudes, right? Right. It’s up to me if I’m having a good time or not.
This past week I had a unique learning experience with my companion. We were doing our training and she kind of broke down a little bit. And by a little bit I mean was like really really super mad at me and was kind of yelling at me and saying some pretty hurtful things. Initially, my reaction was to get a bit defensive and “correct” her. But as I sat there, shaking, I realized that it wasn’t going to do either of us any good if I just fought back. So instead, I just let her tell me everything about me that was bothering her. Some of the things were definitely out of line, but others were certainly things that I have heard before and have continually been working on. Instead of reacting and turning a risky situation into a crisis, I sat back, and saw how I could be better at loving her, and turned the other cheek. I have thought about this a lot this week. And I’m not sharing it to bash on my companion at all. But rather, to illustrate growth in myself. As you all know, I’ve NEVER been good at just letting things go. I can get pretty defensive and I hate being wrong. And I often snap and talk a bit rudely. But in that moment, I could really feel myself overcome with charity and love and just seeking how I could make the situation better. And things have changed dramatically in our companionship. There are still things that frustrate the both of us, and Sister Yates and I are still very VERY different people, but the Spirit has been with us more consistently and strongly than ever before. I have begun to realize that when things bother me, it literally DOES NOT MATTER what I think. Sister Yates is allowed to be whoever she wants to be, and it is up to me to see her through Christ’s eyes. I really do love Sister Yates.
Oh my heck everyone! I have had the highlight of my mission this week! I’m pretty sure I’ve told you about Whitey before. Well, Whitey is one of the members of the branch that we’ve been working with since last transfer and things have just been going SO WELL. I seriously feel so much love for this kid. If the ONLY reason I am on a mission is to have helped Whitey progress in the Gospel, it is ALL worth it. Whitey has been coming to church for about a month now, and he’s been staying for all three hours most weeks; this is something that he had never done in his life up until this point. He’s been at all the activities like FHE and Institute, and he has a calling now. He’s working on getting his Patriarchal Blessing and a limited use temple recommend in the next few months and I just can’t even express how impressed I am with him. But here’s the coolest part. Last transfer Sister Ferrin and I prayed for Whitey constantly, and one day we were talking about our vision for Whitey and it just clicked for us so strongly that he needs to go on a mission. Right after we had that revelation, Whitey started bringing up missions to us. He was kind of joking about it and saying “well once I’m 25 and I’ve made like 250 million dollars with my company, I’ll go on a mission.” But he brought it up a lot and we definitely noticed. So, last week we set up a lesson with us and the elders and talked about missionary work. At first, he was just asking like “what’s the schedule like on a mission?” and other random questions… It wasn’t too serious. But then Elder Howell asked him what he thinks of a mission for himself. He said, “Well, I’ve definitely been thinking about it and I’ve prayed about it and unfortunately I’ve received the answer that I should go.” OH MY HECK! I SERIOUSLY HAD TO PICK MY JAW UP OFF THE GROUND. After the lesson, Elder Vassallo was like “Sister Hanseen, when he said that I could totally feel you smiling.” I was. I was beaming from ear to ear. Whitey is so special. At the end I bore testimony to him of how much God loves him and how much he sees for him in this Gospel and I like started crying. The Spirit was so strong. I know exactly why I am here on a mission. And I know exactly why I am in State College right now. And it is the best feeling I can even describe. I may not have any investigators, and I may not even have a list of potentials to contact, but I have helped someone because I’ve been a vehicle for the Spirit to touch their heart. This work is SO WORTH IT.
I’ve got some funny stories too. So, we met this guy named Carlos the other day on the street and he is from York. He didn’t have any front teeth. He told us he would call us once his phone was activated so that we could have his number to give to the elders there. About two hours later, we get a text that says: “Hi. This is carloa. I meet ykur earlier. I promised to text you. Are you busy. Its my bday. I’m alone n very depressed and i literally have no body. Could you and the other sister come see me. I just really need someone. Plz. Sorry uf i happen to be asking to much. 😥 Carlos”
…..Yeah he was totally drunk texting us. And I was laughing so hard because of the space in the word “nobody.” HE HAS NO BODY GUYS!!!! Oh man. The texts we get in State College are golden.
Also, a guy got on the bus the other day and he had huge, round hipster glasses, a mustache that was long on the ends and gelled up in curly circles, pastel shorts, and Sperry’s. It was totally hipster status. I felt like I was right back at BYU. 🙂
And, when we were on the bus I was looking out the window, pondering life as I often do when nobody is on the bus, and I saw a girl wearing a shirt that said “Make memories, not excuses.” Umm…. What does that even mean? That is so lame.
Sister Ferrin came on exchanges and had to stay the night at our apartment the other night and IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER. We tried really hard to go to bed at 10:30……… Needless to say, it was really good to catch up. She was totally crying when I told her about Whitey, too. He’s like our pride and joy. 🙂 I miss her a lot. But she’s doing great in Lock Haven.
It’s pretty crazy that JOE LAMBSON IS HOME FROM HIS MISSION!!! Someone should give me his non-missionary email because I want to hear from him and I only have his myldsmail one. And Rory comes home in like a week or something crazy! KIDS. I am so bummed I missed them. But I hope someone tells them how much I love them! I will probably email Rory today.
I appreciate the prayers and thoughts and letters and emails sent my way. Mail really always comes at the most inspired times. I always seem to really need it when it comes. I still haven’t figured out who sent me that anonymous scripture letter but I still really appreciate that. I miss everyone a lot. I’m loving it out here, but I’m definitely still battling with figuring out how to really “leave all other personal affairs” and dig in deeper with the work. But it’s coming slowly but surely. I’m growing a lot. It’s nice though because I asked the missionaries here what they thought I was like before my mission and they all said “Well…. I think you were probably about the same.” 🙂 Yes!! I’m still McKann Hanseen. I’m just Sister McKann Hanseen. Don’t you worry everybody. I’ll just come home new and improved. 🙂
Keep being awesome everyone. I hope to keep hearing from you all!
Sister McKann Hanseen
10 Vairo Blvd #32D
State College, PA 16803
Hi McKann’s blog followers, however many there may still be… 🙂
I wanted to share with you a few pictures from State College where McKann is serving.
It just so happened that 3 or 4 weeks ago I had business travel that took me to the heart of exactly where McKann is living on her mission. Crazy, I know! The hotel where I stayed was literally one half mile from her apartment (as the crow flies – or anything else that flies for that matter).
McKann’s mission president asked that I not make arrangements to meet up with her. I had certainly asked, in the hope of getting the okay to do so – as the odds of her being in State College still at the time that I may travel back there for business is probably slim. And McKann being a trailblazer and not the homesick type of person, I thought for sure she’d be fine with it and that we’d get a green light.
But her mission president indicated that these types of visits, while perhaps not having negative consequences on *my* missionary, can sometimes have unintended affect on other missionaries. That was something I hadn’t considered. So I did not make arrangements to see her and have dinner with her.
BUT – I did take a few pictures of the area where she’s indicated she has spent time, including the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Penn State campus (the only place on campus they can proselyte); the Public Library, where she indicates she sends her email letters from; and I even got a picture of her apartment. I thought it would be fun to insert these into her blog as well. I’m not sure which apartment is ‘D’ – I didn’t dare get that close – but this is definitely #32 Vario Blvd.
A family named the Leavitts sent a photo this afternoon of a group of missionaries they had over for dinner, for the 4th of July and McKann was included in that group. I’ve included that below as well.
Now… back to the regular programming!