****DISCLAIMER: I am super shaken up right now because it’s been a way rough afternoon. So if this email is a little bit scattered, my apologies****
So I am officially in my new area. The name of the area is Greensburg East and I live in a little city called Latrobe. I think it’s officially pronounced “Luh-trobe” but if you’re a native, you pronounce it “Lay-trobe.” And there’s a city in our area called Ligonier… How do you think that is pronounced? Well you’re wrong. It’s “Lig-Uh-Neer.” Woo woo!
Greensburg is about an hour away from Pittsburgh. It’s in the Pitt North stake.. So I’m finally serving near my mission’s namesake! And when they split the mission again (I think they will at least) I will be able to say I served in the Harrisburg AND Pittsburgh missions. (By the way, I think it’s all rather confusing how the “burg(h)s” sometimes have an “h” on the end and other times they don’t. What the what? Yeah.)
Okay not gonna lie. This has been probably the toughest week of my mission so far. Like… I actually cried in a less active’s house because she was so mean to me and I was just way stressed out because it is freakin’ hard to just be dropped off in some random area where you don’t know a lick of anything. Thank goodness I’m not speaking a foreign language.. Though, sometimes I wonder with these Pennsylvania accents.. Haha.
Transfers were nuts. We had to leave State College at 5:30 am which meant I was awake at 4:45 am. Yuck. Then I hopped in the van with Elder Trotman and Elder Vassallo (Sister Hurdsman stayed with the other sisters) and we drove to pick up some elders in Johnstown before heading to Pittsburgh. I successfully made it to the training meeting this time! No vans got towed to stop us from getting there. It was really awesome. I don’t think anyone who had been in that meeting has trained more times than I have though so that was a little overwhelming. I was one of the younger missionaries there. But it gave me some really good insight that I’ve held on to as I’ve been enduring this week.
Anyway, they announced the area… Greensburg East. My companion is Sister Hathaway and she’s from the Seattle area. She can be kind of quiet, but she’s really nice. Super easy going which is just what I need right now because I tend to stress out when I don’t know what to do in a situation and that has been like the definition of this week. It’s actually super crazy because Luna’s boyfriend, Tyler, and his family live in my area! So they’re going out for her baptism this week and I’ve been able to still be in the loop with it all a little bit. Weird coincidence. Anyway, we went to the back of the chapel and they didn’t give us a car key. So we had to go back and get a car key. (By the way, I’m in a drive area now for the first time on my mission… Driving a car for the first time after not driving in 6 months is a little scary. More on that later). Went back, got the car key tracked down. Then realized we didn’t have an apartment key because the elders we were replacing left it with the elders that we share a ward with. Finally, we got out of the parking lot of the Green Tree Chapel in Pittsburgh and we were the last ones to leave besides the Assistants and one of the office couples. We drove on our way and someone cut me off on the freeway and almost hit me so that put me into a super anxious mood. Then we got to something called a TURNPIKE. Yeah what the heck? I just drove through it because that’s what everyone else was doing and I’m pretty sure that the elders will get a ticket for it… We were driving their new car back and switched with them once we got to Greensburg. We met up with the elders in some random parking lot and it’s actually awesome because our district leader and one of these elders is Elder Martin! He was in my zone in Altoona and we were good friends there because we both laugh at stupid things and thought everything was funny. So I was pretty pumped to find out that he was sharing the ward with me! And Elder Little, his companion is pretty funny and plays the piano really well. And he’s from Canada. ANYWAY. We got there and they were going to dinner with the bishop’s son, Josh, and I totally invited myself and we went with them. Haha. I’m pretty good at that I guess. It was super good. Some random wings place. I was starving too.
Enough of that. Then, after getting everything into our apartment and finally retiring to our apartment for the day to see what notes the elders had left us, I did another stupid thing. The elders had left some trash in the car (typical) and I went to throw it away. So, dropped it in the dumpster and started to walk away and within about ten seconds I realized I was pretty positive I had thrown the keys into the flippin’ dumpster. Okay. So here’s my SECOND dumpster diving story on my mission. Climbed into the dumpster and totally couldn’t find them. Dug around for a bit. Finally, I moved some bag away from the corner and I saw a little glimmer of a key on the side in a puddle of water/garbage juice/who knows what. So that was awesome. Wet keys. SO GROSS. And I was just like hanging out in the dumpster and I was probably scaring my new greenie half to death because the day was just so nuts. So that’s fine.
That’s all the crazy stuff that happened that day.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned this week. This area is eight million times different than the last one. We have a car and we’re in a family ward and it’s just nuts. I think I call Elder Martin about ten times a day asking what probably seem like the stupidest questions ever. But he’s pretty helpful and just makes fun of me in a nice way so it doesn’t stress me out quite as badly. But it’s nuts. The people here are so different. There are some pretty rural areas and there’s some pretty hickish culture. It’s awesome. But also very humbling. One of those people is Mary. She’s like a 70 year old less active lady that we hesitantly went to go visit. The elders had left notes on her teaching record about how she always talks about wanting sexy home teachers and that she has hook ups for a drug dealer. And she doesn’t commit to anything. But we talked to her for a while… Well, she talked to us. And she had this really gruesome Christus (how do you spell that) on the wall and she mentioned it was a family heirloom. I was sincerely curious about it so I asked her the reasoning behind that being the emblem of the Catholic faith.. She converted from Catholicism and I thought it was a little strange that she had a cross and a crucified Christ on her wall. And I was just genuinely interested to know the reasoning. Then later on she started talking about how I was pretty much a snob and how I had offended her family and I needed to grow up and learn a little bit about life and become more cultured because I had upset her. I had no idea! And I was tired and stressed and overwhelmed and I just lost it! I totally started bawling my eyes out and apologizing for offending her! I’m still so embarrassed. I don’t do that! What the heck?? Come to find out later that the ward mission leader had told the elders to stop visiting her because she’s not willing to progress and she just likes to flirt with young boys and doesn’t like sisters at all. So that was awesome. Not really.
We did have an awesome experience though. On Saturday, we came into Greensburg to do our mormon.org
time. Afterward we decided to try and do some street contacting and visit some less actives. But I’m a space cadet and forgot the area book. So… I debated if it was worth the miles to go back and get it. We prayed and decided to go back, and it’s a miracle we did. Because when we got back into Greensburg, we were walking down the street and just happened to run into a man named Carl. He’s homeless and is missing an eye. But we started talking to him and I used my State College street contacting skills and we taught him the entire first lesson! He was moved to tears and told us that he knows that this can change his life. And he even gave us a referral. I think the Lord was really trying to give me something to keep going because I was really at the end of my wits almost. I was just struggling for anything at all that we could possibly do because I was so lost. And then, just when I was ready to throw in the towel, the Lord gave me a little boost. That was all I needed! We will be teaching Carl again this week sometime if we can ever catch him again across from the Stereoshop. 🙂
Church was really good, though. There’s a couple of investigators we taught, Bill and Karina, and they agreed to come to church. Bill is the only one who came out of the two of them but he definitely enjoyed himself. They live in this little tiny.. shack almost. And we taught them there in pretty much the dark with like incense burning and it was really kind of sketchy. But Bill is so open to it. Karina’s got some doubts because she’s had some abuse in her life that really leaves her with some major trust issues. But we’re working on her.
Okay… Now to why today was so stressful.
I totally got in a car accident.
Brand new 2013 Chevy Cruze that we drive. Brand new to the mission. And I just got in an accident.
I was changing lanes. Had my blinker on. Checked behind me and didn’t see anyone. Right when I was moving, the car behind had moved into my blind spot and sped up. They didn’t see my blinker, I guess. And hit the front left of our car. I’m so embarrassed and shaken up. I don’t think it was my fault. I checked around me and had my blinker on, and they disregarded it. But it’s just been a long afternoon dealing with all that. The elders kept asking us why we weren’t at the library yet and then by the time we got there, they were on their way out and they just laughed and tried to be really nice about it but I’m sure it was really funny to them. I haven’t even been driving a week and I crashed a car! And I haven’t even ever had an accident that wasn’t because of bad conditions. Luckily, our Fleet Coordinator was really really kind about it and we’re going to figure it all out today. I think I’ll still be allowed to drive because I don’t think it was my fault. But it’s always scary to be in an accident… Especially when it’s not your own car, I think. And I just feel so stupid about it!
But it’s okay because then we finally got into the library and I went to use the restroom and walked around for about ten minutes with my skirt tucked into my tights before noticing. Cherry on top of the crappy cake. I’m just an embarrassing human, apparently.
I love you all. Seriously. Sorry this is kind of a bummer email. I guess it’s important to remember that missionary work isn’t all sunshine and daisies. Just most of the time. 🙂 Extra prayers this week are appreciated. I’m still a little bit in shock from this new area. Keep being awesome! I’ll do my best to make you all proud. 🙂
MAKE NOTE OF NEW ADDRESS BELOW AND START SENDING STUFF!!! 🙂
Sister McKann Hanseen
216 N. Shenandoah Dr. #302
Latrobe, PA 15650