Well Hello Laaayyyytrobe!!

****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!!! 🙂

 Love, 
Sister McKann Hanseen
216 N. Shenandoah Dr. #302

Latrobe, PA 15650
Well Hello Laaayyyytrobe!!

Peace OUT State College!!

So McKann sent a bunch of photos.  I’m a novice at WordPress.  I’m trying to simply cut in the photos as part of her post and I want to try to caption the photos so they have some context, but it seems less than intuitive so I’ll try to rig it as best I can.

So, it’s really happening. I am getting transferred. Ahhh. It’s so weird. I honestly can’t really comprehend it. I said all my goodbyes yesterday at church and everyone was so nice. It actually totally felt like the Sister Hanseen Show in Sacrament because I sang in church (what the? yeah…) and then they also made me say the closing prayer so they could awkwardly announce that I was leaving. Then, in the two meetings following they kept announcing it. I took a million pictures with people. Then in our branch missionary coordination meeting, our Branch Mission Leader, Justin, made everyone say nice things about me and they totally were way too nice. Like.. three of them cried. In my four transfers here, nobody has cried when a missionary left. So I’m feeling really humbled and grateful that I am leaving this area actually feeling like I made an impact on the people here. That has been my overall goal: LOVE PEOPLE. And it’s been working. 🙂

Here’s a crazy part about transfers, though. So… There’s kind of a twist in the story. I thought that I was getting transferred to a new area, just going in with a normal companion like you normally would. But then, my district leader told me that he had recommended that I be made a Sister Training Leader which is basically a girl zone leader. So, when President Topham called for leadership positions on Saturday, I was fully expecting that.

Nope. Not STL. Instead, I’m doubling into an area…. and training another missionary. So, I’m going to be training a brand new sister and they’re taking two elders out of some random area in this mission and putting us in their spot. Lickety split we just get plopped in some random ward or branch in the mission and keep working like nothing happened. Here’s the catch though… WHAT THE HECK I’VE ONLY BEEN IN A STUDENT BRANCH THAT WORKS EIGHT MILLION TIMES DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER NORMAL AREAS. HOW DO YOU EVEN BE A NORMAL MISSIONARY?!?!

Okay. Minor freak out over. But bottom line… I’m a teensy bit nervous. But if there was ever a situation to laugh about to shake off the nerves it would be this one. Like… What the heck?

5th transfer.

5th companion.

2nd area.

3rd greenie.

Are we reading this people? Okay. It’s good. It’s going to be fun.I’m actually excited for and dreading training all at the same time. I’m so so so so sick of doing the 12 Week training program in an extra  hour of companion study every day, but I’m really excited to try again. I think I’ve done an okay job with Sister Yates and Sister Hurdsman but I definitely could have been a lot more loving and understand and selfless. So I’m looking forward to the opportunity to grow and improve. And, honestly, I’m really flattered that the Lord and President Topham trust me to train a 3rd missionary. I guess I must be doing SOMETHING right, but there’s always room for improvement.

This week was really good. We got a lot of things done and I felt like we were productive. We taught Jacob one last time and he awkwardly tried to hug me at the end and it was one of those things where I honestly don’t think it’s weird at all but I’m trying really hard to be exactly obedient and then it’s just a socially awkward mess. We did one of those side-hug-pat-you-back-a-few-times thingy hugs. Coooooool.
Speaking of hugs, our investigator Anthony (who’s been investigating for like two years and is pretty much a dry Mormon) has this freaky tradition where he hugs all the departing sister missionaries their last Sunday. So I got a full-blown Anthony hug yesterday and there’s just a point where you have to embrace it.. Ha. Ha. Embrace it? Get it? Okay. So I’m not as funny as I once was. But I still entertain myself just as much and that’s what matters!
Saying bye to Luna was about the saddest thing that I’ve ever done. She hugged me about 9 different times and gave me the saddest puppy dog eyes I’ve ever seen. She was heart broken that I won’t be there for her baptism. Ahhhh. HEART. BROKEN. During Gospel Principles she slipped me this paper with her email on it and I could tell she was just so sad. Ahhhh nuts.But, I feel so happy that I was a part of that. I really am so blessed to have fulfilled my purpose of helping others to come unto Christ. What a miracle!

Elder Vassallo and Elder Clark are also getting transferred. They’ve both been here with me the entire time I’ve been here, so that’s kind of fun for us to all leave together. Elder V and I were really glad we were both getting transferred because we’ve been together our whole missions and it would be super strange for just one of us to leave and the other person just hangs out and is like, “Oh yeah okay weird.” So, that’s convenient.
We’re driving to Pittsburgh tomorrow starting at 6:30 am. So, prayers sent my way so that I’ll wake up and not want to rip everyone’s heads off are appreciated. Haha. Seriously… Kind of? Yeah.
Okay so here’s another quick highlight. Last Monday, we ran into Whitey downtown. It was the first time we’ve seen him in about three months. Elder V and I told him that we were probably leaving and asked if we could come see him later in the week. He agreed. It was great. Then, we were texting him on Friday and I asked if we could come on Sunday night and he said, “Yes, definitely come say bye. I will make time for you.” Ahhh. Freak, Whitey! He’s my favorite! He makes me want to cry! But last night we went over there and we got to hang out with him for a little bit and say goodbye. I totally went over there thinking, “Okay, this is bye forever. This sucks.” But then Whitey was like, “When do you get home? I’m going to Idaho next summer for a few months and it’d be cool if I saw you!” So… I won’t be home in the summer, but I’m so grateful that Whitey and I are really going to stay friends after my mission. He told me I have to tell him when I get home so we can talk about life and still have a grand old time. The church stuff isn’t his priority right now, but some people just take time. I’m so grateful that he genuinely cares about our friendship, though. There’s nothing more I could ask for as I leave this area.
Man, everyone. Leaving is tough. I don’t know how I’m going to do it when I actually have to come home! Like I’ll be way excited but it is TOUGH to leave people you grow to love so dearly. Thankfully I’ve got all of you at home that I also love so dearly to look forward to.
Onward and upward! I’ll let you know next week where I am!
Sister Hurdsman, Luna (who will be baptized on November 2nd!!!) and Sister Hanseen
Sister Hurdsman, Luna (who will be baptized on November 2nd!!!) and Sister Hanseen

 

Both State College Districts
Both State College Districts

 

Saying Good-bye to Whitney
Saying Good-bye to Whitney

 

Tyler and Sister Hanseen
Tyler and Sister Hanseen

 

Crazy District
Crazy District
Peace OUT State College!!

Easily the Best Week of my Mission so far!!

Okay I’m not kidding when I say that this week was PHENOMENAL. It’s really been such an amazing week. I could not be more grateful for the experiences that I’ve had this week. They are ones that I will treasure for a lifetime.

Unfortunately I was being a space cadet this morning and I totally forgot my journal so I may not do the raw emotions of this week’s events justice. I’ll try my best.

So this week started out kind of weird because we went on exchange. It was a completely different experience than I had with the previous exchange to Lock Haven. My first exchange, I was really just excited to have a break from bus contacting and my companion situation which was really frustrating at the time. It was a relief to get away for a day, and it was really hard to come back to State College. But this time, I was actually not too excited to leave. I missed out on two amazing lessons, dinner at someone’s house that I was dying to go to, and I was starting to feel the nerves of missing out on what was potentially some of my last days in this area that I love. I still don’t know for certain if I will be transferred or not. Honestly anything could happen. But it may be my time. It was really hard to leave for an exchange.

But, in Lock Haven I was super humbled. The living circumstances of those in Lock Haven are much more characteristic of typical Pennsylvania. They don’t have too much to give, but they give all they have. We taught a woman who Sister Ferrin actually just taught to baptism for one of her recent convert lessons. Her name is Amber. She lives with two nonmembers. When we first walked in, they offered Sister Parker a porcelain doll to keep and send home because they remembered that she mentioned she loved them. I personally think porcelain dolls are just about the creepiest things that have ever been on the planet, but hey. We all don’t have to have the same interests. And Sister Parker was so grateful for it! So that was awesome. We also had dinner at this couple’s apartment who are less active. They literally have a one bedroom apartment… We sat on two chairs and they sat on their bed as we all ate dinner together. They spent all their food stamps on the meal that they prepared for us. Wow. What a different experience from State College. They were so sweet.

Also… When we were teaching Amber, one of the three 30 pound cats came up to me, put its paws on my leg, started licking my elbow (I was freaking out), and then…. NIBBLED MY ELBOW. AHHHHHHHH OKAY KILL ME. That kind of ruined the Spirit for me for about ten seconds until I could figure out how to shoo the cat away without anyone noticing. 

All in all, the experience I had in Lock Haven was a great one. Sister Parker and I get along fabulously and we had very similar styles of teaching. But I did miss my area and I was glad to be back. I feel so at home here… Another reason why I’m probably gonna get transferred. Blah. The dynamics of missionary life, right?

Anyway, that was just the beginning of an amazing week.

So, on Thursday we had Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy coming for a mission tour. But he made a special request to hold a fireside with the young adults in the State College area the night before. So, keep in mind…. This is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy… and our teeny tiny little branch. I think about 30-40 people were there, plus the missionaries and President and Sister Topham. Elder Arnold did a whole thing about the nature of the Godhead and Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost and their specific roles and attributes. There was music playing and it was seriously amazing. I can’t quite describe the incredible spirit that was in the room. Then, he invited (keep in mind: invited, not asked) everyone there to take out their phones for ten minutes and write down all the names of the people we knew that were not members of the church. We had our investigators Luna and Anthony there and they wrote over a hundred names each. Luna was so engaged, it was awesome. Then, Elder Arnold invited the institute teacher, Brother Done, to offer a prayer and invited everyone to consider those who they had written down and put a mark next to anyone’s names that stood out. After that, he asked Luna who she had checked on her list.

Luna began to tell him about this man that she worked with who is not a member. Then Elder Arnold asked her what she was going to do to help share the Gospel with him. She proceeded to tell him how she had already invited him to her baptism that is coming up on November 2nd. As soon as the words rolled out of her mouth, Elder Arnold’s eyes lit up and he exclaimed, “You are going to be baptized! Wow, congratulations! I had NO idea you weren’t already baptized! I am so happy for you!” He just beamed with excitement. He was so thrilled. Then, the next person he asked was Anthony. The same thing happened. Elder Arnold had been so sure that they were both members. He was floored. At the end of the fireside, he asked Luna if she would be willing to pray to close the meeting. She was so nervous. She’s only ever prayed for us twice or so in lessons. But she said a beautiful prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for bringing her into this loving family of people and for leading her to the Gospel so that she could find the truth. After her prayer, she could help but bear her testimony to all who were in attendance at the fireside. Sister Hurdsman and I just sat there and wept.

THIS IS WHAT MISSIONARY WORK IS ALL ABOUT. It’s not about anything that Sister Hurdsman and I have done for Luna. This is about being the vehicle for the Gospel to touch a prepared soul like Luna’s. We didn’t find her on our own. We didn’t do anything to prepare her. We just do all we can to be obedient and have the Spirit with us and then miracles like Luna happen. Man. I was on FIRE. It was amazing.

After the meeting, Elder Arnold took Luna aside for about ten minutes and talked to her. Afterward, she showed us that he had given her his email and asked if she would write her testimony and email it to him. So… Our investigator just got a general authority’s email address? Okay. THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE. Except it is. And it’s awesome. 🙂

So, with that spiritual high I was ready to conquer the world. I was so pumped up to get out and go find more of the Lord’s children that he has prepared. And then, we had our mission tour and I just about caught fire. Man, Elder Arnold is a stellar man. He really knew how to bring the Spirit to the meeting. I am pretty sure there were about six different times in the meeting where he asked me to talk about the experience we had had the previous night with getting referrals from our investigators. He was so fired up about it, too. It gave him such a light when he talked about it with all the missionaries. 

He also did something great. He gave us all a fresh start. He said that we could start new. He had us write down specific things that we’re going to do to improve ourselves and our missionary work. And holy mackerel. I am ready to get to work. I cannot express all of the emotions that were there in that meeting. But I can express how grateful I am to be a missionary. You just don’t get experiences like that in everyday life. Maybe you do, but I sure don’t. I feel so edified and uplifted and I’m ready to hit my six month mark strong. (By the way, can you believe it’s almost been six months? These things FLY.)

I hope everything’s going well at home. I really sincerely think about all of you and pray for you on a regular basis. There’s a lot of things I miss (i.e. Mountains, naps, Cubby’s, music, etc.) but it is all so worth it. I have a goal this week to live HERE AND NOW. I tend to look toward the future too much. I love it here. And I have such a short time to dedicate all my time and attention to the Lord. I can always improve upon that. But I’m going to work on it. I’m doing my best to not be too crabby in the mornings and to shake of the mid afternoon sleepy eyes and GET. TO. WORK.

This is an incredible time in the Church. But we are ALL apart of it. Missionaries cannot succeed without members. I hope everyone is remembering Elder Ballard’s invitation to reach out to someone before Christmas… And that by doing so, millions will feel of the love of the members. (At least I think it was Elder Ballard). That is us. Nobody is exempt. Pray for missionary opportunities. That is really what this life is about. I wish I had realized it sooner. And I wish that I had realized that missionary work isn’t always just inviting a friend to sit with the missionaries. But it is loving, bearing testimony, calling back the lost sheep, home and visiting teaching, and serving your fellow children of God. Man. What an amazing time to be on earth! We have a great work to do.

I love you all! Keep the faith. And if you get a chance this week, go listen to “The Way of the Disciple” by President Uchtdorf from 2009. It’ll blow your mind in the best way possible. 🙂

— 

Love, 
Sister McKann Hanseen
10 Vairo Blvd #32D
State College, PA 16803
Easily the Best Week of my Mission so far!!

Conference was great as a missionary! Like Christmas!

Oh man. GENERAL CONFERENCE. Everyone told me that General Conference is better than Christmas on your mission. I haven’t had Christmas yet, but I’m pretty positive that is still the case. I’ve always LOVED Conference but I’d be a total liar if I didn’t admit to dozing off pretty much every year of my life during at least two or three sessions. Haha. This year was NOT the case.
For Conference, we just had it broadcasted in the Pasquerilla where we have church. It was nice to be in not so comfortable seats, as silly as that sounds. But I paid a lot better attention. There was so much amazing information and better than that, there was an amazing spirit about the whole meeting. I love that President Monson even said that Sunday morning was one of the best sessions of Conference he’s ever attended.

I took pretty good notes through all of it but during the Prophet’s talk, I just sat and listened and FELT. All I do all day long every day is teach people about prophets. I teach them about how there is a living prophet on the earth today who loves us and is God’s mouthpiece. I teach them that the authority to act in Christ’s name is currently on the earth and that we are so blessed from that. So, I decided I wanted to reaffirm the testimony that I’ve never really doubted, but want to be completely sure of. Guess what? HE’S REALLY A PROPHET. I don’t know if the spirit testified to all of you like it did to me (but if you were listening and seeking that same confirmation, I’m pretty positive it did), but it’s really miraculous to know that God loves us so much that he is literally speaking to us on a regular basis.

I think one of the most amazing things about General Conference is that all of those things that are being taught about are things that obviously pertain to us. But, sometimes the way that the information and revelation is presented is in such a way that it teaches us more clearly about things that the Spirit tries to convey to us on a regular basis. (I’m not sure if that sentence made sense at all). What I mean is that sometimes when I am learning things, the Spirit tells me that they’re true but I’m not super good at recognizing the it. So when other people outline it more clearly it helps me grasp the concepts of the doctrine more firmly. Anyway, this is more of journal stuff but that’s okay. I’m writing down my history for my posterity! 🙂

This week we did something great. We DOUBLED the amount of lessons we taught with members present. Now, considering that the number has been 2 for the past three weeks, it’s not that huge to bump up to 4. But thinking about the fact that we doubled is so awesome.

We have a new investigator named TJ. He blows my mind a little bit. He’s probably one of the more odd people I’ve ever met. Kind of one of those people that’s so incredibly intelligent that socially he’s a little bit off. But he’s so stinkin’ funny. And better than that… HE IS SO PREPARED. It’s been throwing me off because he has a million questions, but when we explain them he’s accepting the information so quickly and making really important connections between different principles of the Gospel. We taught him twice this week and he came to three and a half out of the four sessions of General Conference this weekend. This is such a result of the fast that the branch did last week for missionary work. We actually met TJ about a month ago and we haven’t been able to meet with him. Then, the week that we were doing the fast, he just SHOWED UP at church and we started teaching him. We should set him with a date this week. Probably sometime in November.

So, a little clarification again on how it’s working in State College currently (mostly for you, Dad). Sister Chang that is here from Temple Square (originally from Taiwan) speaks Mandarin, obviously. So that has been really helpful for the area in general. BUT, we don’t share a teaching pool. We share the same branch that we’re working in but as far as “areas” go, we have separate ones. She doesn’t help us teach. So, if there’s a Chinese person we’re still pretty much toast. Either that or they just don’t talk to us. Haha. So… The Chinese work in State College is definitely picking up! Just not with Sister Hurdsman and I. Haha. We actually dropped Chunxiao this week, unfortunately. She is so sweet and still wants to come to activities and things but she mostly just wants friends. She’s not too interested in learning about the religion. But that’s okay! Mormons are good friends. 

We invited Jacob to baptism this week but he wasn’t too impressed. He’s having a hard time with the idea that he needs to be rebaptized. He doesn’t feel like God withheld any blessings from him because he didn’t get baptized into this church. We’re gonna work on his testimony of Joseph Smith this week, hopefully. 🙂

Okay one other thing about Conference. Elder Holland’s talk that mentioned Stephanie Clark Nielson? So good. But all those pictures! I’m pretty positive a majority of them were Justin Hackworth’s beautiful work! That was so cool. I totally bragged to all the missionaries here. Haha. But speaking of Justin Hackworth’s pictures… You guys never sent me the ones that he took on the day of my farewell! So, if you want to do that, that’d be awesome. 🙂

This week Sister Hurdsman and I had a pretty long talk about everything that we’ve been learning the past two transfers. It started out with the things that have been bothering us and ended up with super huge motivation to kick it into hyper gear for the last two weeks. I think one of the coolest things I’ve learned on my mission, though, is that the Spirit isn’t just for teaching investigators. I think that I’ve felt the Spirit guide my teaching significantly more when I’ve had teaching opportunities with my companions and other missionaries. And I think I’ve learned a lot more through the Spirit in those situations as well. But, if the goal is to leave an area better than you found it, by GOLLY I’m gonna do that.
 

This week has flown by, though. Since everything’s been picking up it seems like P Day just comes faster and faster. And every P Day I miss you guys just a little bit more. And since this email is kind of boring, I’ll give you a list of random/funny thoughts and happenings of my mission so far.

  • I’ve lost 7 pounds. I don’t really care about how much I’ve lost but it’s just weird because I totally still eat garbage all the time. But I don’t snack. So apparently that’s been doing good things.
  • I love hanging out with other missionaries because our collective sense of humor has gotten increasingly lame. But it’s been consistent so we at least all think that we’re funny with each other.
  • It’s been pouring rain all morning and I can’t begin to describe how much more motivated to do my studies I was. I got my warm blanket, opened the blinds, and read the Book of Mormon. What could be better? Well.. It would’ve been better if I had made up some herbal tea to drink during all of that but I ran out of time before our alarm went off to start personal study.
  • This week we tried to set our alarm for 6:00 so we could snooze it until 6:30 thinking it would make it easier to wake up. It didn’t.
  • Elder Arnold of the Seventy is going to be here on Wednesday night for the young adult fireside in State College. I’m going to be chillin’ with a general authority. NBD.
  • As I’ve been thinking I might get transferred, the thought of packing up everything has given me so much anxiety that I had a nightmare about it the other night. I seriously hate packing. So.. That’ll be fun.
  • I didn’t think I’d ever been one of those people from Utah that is just “Utah or bust” but I totally am. I love it here. But I FREAKING LOVE UTAH. I have to bite my tongue anyone here tells us to “drive toward the mountains.”
  • There was a spider in our apartment this morning bigger than a quarter. Try FIFTY. CENT. PIECE. Dang. It was scary. And I was feeling kind of queasy already so I made Sister Hurdsman kill it.
  • I bought some delicious Triscuits today and I’m really excited to eat them later.
  • We’re playing Monopoly today for P Day and I’m really excited except this version DOESN’T HAVE THE MONEY BAGS. I’M ALWAYS THE MONEY BAGS. THERE’S A STUPID CAT INSTEAD. I’m a bit peeved. I guess I need to pray for charity for Hasbro or something.
 
Love you all. Praying for you every day. 🙂
— 

Love, 
Sister McKann Hanseen
10 Vairo Blvd #32D
State College, PA 16803
 
Sister Ferrin (in the middle exactly) and her ‘Posteterity’
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Conference was great as a missionary! Like Christmas!