Can you even BELIEVE that I’ve been gone for four months already? I can’t. It really shocks me. It’s the weirdest thing because everyone was totally right: It looks SO LONG looking forward, and feels SO SHORT looking back. And I have this weird thing where I feel like I’ve been here for my whole life but I feel like I know NOTHING about missionary work at the same time. Strange. Also, we get to go to this fair today (more on that later) and so last night I was just making sure my regular clothes fit still… You know… Being a missionary, we don’t wear pants that much. But it was the strangest thing. When I was wearing my pants and normal shoes and t shirt around the apartment I really missed those normal things. I think that’s the hardest part… I don’t get too homesick, necessarily (sorry), and I don’t really miss going to work or school or anything (well, I kind of am fibbing about that because I love school), but sometimes the hardest thing is just not being able to do normal things like wear grey corduroy pants and cool shoes.
But man, does that sound trunky or WHAT?! I promise I’m not. It’s just crazy how little milestones make you really take a long, hard look at what you’re doing with yourself. Being out four months now, I realize that I only have 14 left. That’s just barely over a year. A LOT can happen in a year. But, if you’re complacent, you can easily waste a year and have just about nothing to show for it. I’ve taken a good survey of where I’m at and where I want to be, and I’m excited to really hit the ground running with all these new students coming in.
So, about the new students. HOLY HECK THIS PLACE IS INSANE. Seriously?! There is a State College legend which I will now relate as overly dramatic as possible.
Since the dawn of time…
(Well, the beginning of Pennsylvania State University)
There have been students from all places. High, low, sideways, and slantways.
They come in all shapes, sizes, and colours.
Then, in the biggest weekend of the year (second only to football weekends) they have FLOODED THE STREETS. Children hanging out of car windows, traffic bumper to bumper, and generations of Penn State Alumni reminiscing on the “good ole college days.” Fraternities and sororities plaguing the streets and more alcohol than has ever been consumed in one location at one time.
So what can handle all these students and their new school year needs?
Okay… I’m kind of sick of trying to be creative because, let’s face it, that was seriously lacking in any sort of stupid humour that I may have once had. Well, let’s pretend I was funny at one point.
But seriously. The rumour has it that the Walmart that is just about 15 minutes of a walk from my apartment brings in more revenue in this ONE WEEKEND than any other Walmart in the nation for the whole year.
They bring employees from all Walmarts in from a 100 miles radius. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Welcome to Pennsylvania, kids. Walmart rules this world. I’ll have you know that during the Walmart pandemonium, we walked past Target and there was near to nobody there in comparison. Has everyone lost their minds? Target is easily far better than Walmart on every account.
What does this have to do with missionary work? Well, pretty much nothing. But I’ll get back to it.
So, we have the say, 50,000 people just hoarding in State College for this one weekend which made it super difficult to do anything productive. The buses were about 45 minutes behind schedule and traffic on Atherton (the main road in State College) was backed up as clear as your eye can see. Which isn’t very far, I suppose, considering there’s hills and whatnot. But for dramatic effect we’ll stick with it.
I often found myself thinking “why in the world did I want people to come back here?” It’s been so crowded and hectic that it’s been hard to talk to anyone, really. Which is frustrating because this is PRIME TIME to be teaching. Anyone who is a student or has ever been a student (AKA anyone who can read this because how else would you read it if you hadn’t ever been a student?) knows that the sweet spot for free time is right after classes start when you don’t really have homework yet. We’ve actually gotten a few potentials this week, which was a huge blessing, but we’re trying to find a time to meet with them and it’s been pretty hard. There is one girl I’m pretty excited about, though.
We were out on campus during our approved time to proselyte and there was a girl we started talking to. Her name is Kelsey. She told us that she’s pretty much born and raised Catholic, but that her parents are two separate religions. She told us that she comes from a divorced household, so something that is very important is to find someone and stick with them. Without going into too much detail, I’m sure most of you know that this was a perfect opportunity for me to testify of what I know to be true. I told her about temples and eternal marriage and that happiness is available to all who seek it. Sometimes, when things aren’t perfect in our lives, we may find ourselves thinking that it’s nearly impossible to tell others that it can work for them. I’ve seen that in myself. But as soon as she started talking about wanting a lasting marriage, I was overcome by the Spirit and I told her that it is possible to have that. I told her that the Gospel can bless her, and that even when things aren’t ideal in a family situation, that we are given opportunities to make our individual situations centred on Christ and, well, beautiful. And just in case anybody is unclear… I KNOW THAT. It is so hard sometimes for me to feel like things can work out because the world tells us that it can’t. But, the Atonement is real, and it is available to all who will receive it. What a blessing!
Well, other than that I’ve kind of got a scattered list of things that I have written down throughout the week that would be fun to tell you all about.
We had an emergency exchange that had to happen with Sister Ferrin and Sister White this week. Sister K and Sister Yates were supposed to go on one but Sister K got pretty sick. So, we adjusted, and Sister Hurdsman went up to Lock Haven with Sister Ferrin. I was pretty bummed because I was supposed to get to go on exchange with Sister Ferrin this transfer but… I guess the Lord knew that we would get way distracted and just talk the whole time or something. But, it was a blast with Sister White, as usual, and we took some good pictures. We learned how to tie ties at a mutual activity based on missionary work that we were invited to. I’ll try to send the pictures home in my next hour of email.
This adorable little couple, the Norton’s, took Sister Hurdsman and I out to dinner this week. They totally spoiled us. They took us to Red Lobster and insisted that we get ANYTHING we wanted, and dessert to take home. They’re the best. They also made sure we didn’t leave without some little lights to go on our keychains and… Mace. Hahaha. So I carry Mace now, everyone. Stay back, you’re not my dad! (Rad Kids reference, anyone? No? NO? Okay okay. I’m not funny anymore. I get it.)
I had a sad realization. The Olympics is going to happen this Winter. I’m a little depressed about it. I won’t be able to update my most cherished Pinterest board with pictures of awesome athletes and curling…. AHHH I’m getting shivers just thinking about the Olympics. Okay. Before I start crying, I’m gonna stop talking about that.
Side note… It’s kind of pathetic because I cry about the Olympics but not at a lot of other things that probably are more deserving of tears. Strange.
Last week we had an FHE activity where we played Pictionary. We were writing down different things to draw on pieces of paper and someone was asking for clarification on what we could write. Her response was, “Just nothing inappropriate.” So, thinking I was funny, I wrote a paper that said “Something Inappropriate,” and asked if I could put it in. She actually said yes, which was surprising because sometimes the FHE committee lays down the law on all things fun. Then, we were playing the game, and President Hanscom, the branch president, started drawing this picture of a man’s face with a speech bubble that had symbols in it like this: $%&!@. My competitive side far outraced my logical side and before I could realize that it was actually my paper and that I wasn’t allowed to guess, I screamed, “SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE!” President Hanscom turned around, exasperated by the fact that I had guessed it. Within about 0.00002 seconds I realized that I totally cheated and was pretty much doubled over in laughter for the next five minutes. So, that was fun.
So, the fair that we’re going to today is called the Grange Fair. It’s basically the biggest, trashiest, most ridiculous county fair that happens in like the butt crack of Pennsylvania. (Am I allowed to say that? I don’t know but it’s so so so true). It is an experience, from what we hear. Nobody in PA has teeth. And they wear far too little clothing. And EVERYTHING is deep fried. Oreos. Butter. Kool-Aid. You name it. I can hardly stand how excited I am. AND I GET TO WEAR NORMAL CLOTHES!! (Or, as all the “cool” missionaries call it, “Non-Pros”… Meaning non-proselyting clothes. Man, missionaries are so ridiculous. And I totally am one of them).
Judging by the lack of real spiritual experiences this week, I hope you recognize how weirdly slow it’s been. It’s been fun because, let’s be honest, have I ever been in a situation that is lame and not laughed at it? Not really. It’s just be slow and simultaneously hectic. But I guess that’s just how some weeks are on the mission. Hopefully the next week will have some better spiritual stories to tell. Scratch that. Next week WILL have some better spiritual stories to tell.
I love you all. I mean that sincerely. I hope you know that I think about you so much and I really do pray for you all day long, every day. Good luck to all those who are going back to school. If you want a great talk to read/watch, go watch “Remember Lot’s Wife” on speeches.byu.edu
By the way, family, did you watch “His Grace is Sufficient?” Did I actually tell you to watch it or did I just think I did? Either way, watch it if you didn’t. I want to hear what you think of it.
Pictures on their way. 🙂
photo below of Sister Hanseen and Elder Trotman
Also Sister White and Sister Hanseen impersonating Elders
Sister McKann Hanseen
10 Vairo Blvd #32D
State College, PA 16803