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.
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