Seven Months down — crazy!

What the heck. Yesterday marked 7 months in the mission field. I know that I say this all the time but each month gets faster and faster. Yesterday I was talking to Elder Martin and we were talking about how every transfer feels so much shorter than the last. It feels like last week we were saying, “Man, this is going to be a fun transfer!” and now it’s the last official P-Day of the transfer and we still have yet to figure out how we are going to hang out on P-Day and be obedient. Not saying we’ve been hanging out on P-Day disobediently, but P-Day has pretty much been, “Hey, see you at the library for five minutes and then… Bye.” Haha. We are now not allowed to email in public libraries because apparently some people in the libraries were viewing offensive material and the missionaries were exposed to it… Stupid. So we’re in the family history center and we had to arrange all this stuff with the ward and it’s been one big headache. Once we get iPads this will all be totally not an issue anymore. Haha. We are so spoiled it’s unreal! And I think today we’re going to go to this older couple’s house because they have a pool table and ping pong table and said that we can just come and hang out. So hooray for P-Day finally!

Okay that was all super unimportant.

This week was interesting. Sister Hathaway and I had some pretty big discussions. I kind of hit a breaking point. I was just really overwhelmed because I feel like I’ve been pulling about 95% of the weight. That’s normal when you already know an area and you get a new missionary. But we were both coming into this with a clean slate… Not knowing anything about it. But we had a good talk and I’ve noticed little bits of improvement and an added sense of accountability from her. So, hopefully we get the ball rolling a bit more. It’s felt pretty stagnant.

We taught Bill and Karena this week at the home of a less active lady, Bernadette. We taught them the Law of Chastity. Not gonna lie it’s pretty intimidating to teach the Law of Chastity to people that you know are most definitely not living it. But, we’ve been doing our best to just realize that our job is to help people know about the truth the WHY behind the commandments, and if they don’t accept it we’re not held accountable. We’re held accountable if we’re not bold and loving in teaching them things that are important to their salvation. Anyway, the lesson went from super awesome… Like we were planning a wedding for them…. to super terrible… Like they were fighting and crying and saying that maybe they shouldn’t even be together! What have I done?! That’s what I was thinking at least. I was freaking out. Bernadette was yelling at them. They were screaming at each other. We were desperately trying to scramble through scriptures and try and bring the conversation back to where it needed to be. It was nuts. 

But here’s the crazy part. After a long, loud, stressful lesson, we left feeling okay. Our minds were a little blown, but I felt really at peace knowing that there were some things hiding under the surface that really needed to come out. 

Bill and Karena came to church on Sunday. When I called on Saturday night saying that I was still trying to find them a ride to church (they live about 15 minutes away and don’t have a car) I could hear Karena screaming in the background, “I don’t care who takes us I just want to go to church!” So Sunday was awesome. They came to church. Stayed all 3 hours. Participated in lessons. Met new people. Awesome. Even more awesome, Karena told me that her and Bill are taking turns sleeping on the couch so they can be living the Law of Chastity. WHAT?! So… That’s not quite all that is required, but if they’re willing to do that until they get married, then holy cow! That is great!

We went tracting the other day and literally every single person we talked to was Catholic. So… Instead of having no religion and not even knowing who or what God is (asians in State College), they’re just all Catholic. Great.

I’ve been listening to the Hue&Hum Christmas album all week. I am obsessed. Tell Robbie and Caitlin thanks a heap because they’re beautiful voices are saving me right now!

I also realized the reason I don’t ever like hot chocolate and why it always makes me sick. I thought it was just because sugary stuff makes me sick. But actually… It’s because if you just use the recommended amount of hot chocolate powder, it takes like water still. So you have to add like eight million packets and a spoonful of Nutella or else it’s gross. And THEN it makes me sick. I think I’m just done with hot chocolate. It’s been pretty cold, so I’ve been trying to think of ways to warm up… which is what inspired this little rant.

This week is Thanksgiving! Is that even real? I’m so so glad that I will only be gone for one Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s so great. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I really came on my mission at the perfect time. I miss 2 summers, yes. But I only miss one winter. And I’d much prefer only having one winter as a missionary. Honestly, I love winter at home but it kind of is the worst as a missionary. Because you can’t just go inside and enjoy the looks of the snow. And man… It is cold. 

Well, I don’t have too much else to say. Things are starting to slow down in the PPM. We have less missionaries coming out than going home this transfer for the first time in a long time. So that’s kind of weird. Crazy stuff.

Shout out for a second. Thanks to everyone who sends me mail! I am so grateful. I do get a lot of mail compared to most of my companions and I’ve been out for 7 months. I’m so glad I’m not forgotten! Haha. And I got a bunch of emails today from people I haven’t heard from in a while, so I’m grateful for that too!

So… Just for kicks. I have a list of some music that I would love to get if anyone ever wants to send it.

“How Great Thou Art” Carrie Underwood version

“In Christ Alone” by Owl City

Any Michael Buble (or other artists) Christmas music of hymns or Christ-centered Christmas songs

Michael McLean’s Forgotten Carols

“Crossfire” and “On the Floor” by Brandon Flowers (They’re in his mormon.org video so they have to be allowed, right? I think so)

An album from “Hammock.” It’s this instrumental band that I love. No lyrics. Just instrumental. 

“Clair de Lune” and any hymns that Piano Guys do

Okay sweet.

Well, thanks everyone for being awesome. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving! I’ll be extra grateful for wonderful friends and family this year, I’m sure. Love you all!

— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650
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Seven Months down — crazy!

First Sick days on my mission…

Okay before I even START talking about myself I just have to give the BIGGEST SHOUT OUT EVER TO MY AMAZING SISTER NYIA!!!! Happy birthday you little ADULT you! I hope it was awesome! Looks and sounds like the party was amazing. 🙂

 
So this week I was sick, unfortunately. On Wednesday night.. Wait, Tuesday night, I was throwing up pretty much all night. It was really miserable. But Wednesday we had Zone Training in Butler, so I had to put on a nice face and act like it was so fun to be around a bunch of missionaries. It WAS fun, but it would’ve been so much more fun if I had been feeling better. Then, Thursday I woke up with an awful sore throat, achy body, runny nose, shaky all over… the works. I called Sister Topham and she told me I should just stay in and sleep as much as I could so I wouldn’t be sick longer. I was so disappointed. We had 3 or 4 appointments in Ligonier and it was set up to be our busiest day yet. I couldn’t believe that THAT, of ALL days, was the day that I was too sick to go out. I was feeling PRETTY sick because it was not a good day to miss, but I really couldn’t do anything. I ended up sleeping for about 18 out of 24 hours. But, I felt worlds better after that. I still have a pretty stuffy nose and a cough, but I don’t FEEL sick anymore like I did. So all is well, I s’pose.
 
Despite the being sick, this week was a lot better. It just FELT better. I think that sometimes we’re just meant to have a little bit of a down week, and that’s okay. The Lord pats us on the back and picks us right back up. Wipes the dirt off our cheeks and gives us something to get out there and work for. 
 
Our investigator pool isn’t too huge at the moment. We’re working on it. We’ve gotten a few media referrals that have had bad addresses or that we haven’t been able to contact and that’s always pretty disappointing. But we’re working with a lot of less active families. There’s one couple in particular that is doing really well. I can tell they REALLY like us. They opened up and told us some of the reasons they haven’t been at church, and that’s helpful. Our job is to resolve their concerns and the first part of that is to know what the concern actually IS! Our ward council is really pleased with the work we’ve been doing, so that’s great.
 
Other than that this week has been pretty standard. We did get to do some service with the elders on Friday and it was a blast. We raked eighty bajillion leaves for this old couple in our ward and, of course, took some good pictures. So I’ll send those as soon as the elders give back my memory card–they wanted to send the pictures home as well. 
 
Oh, random things about this week. First off, there’s this guy in our ward that totally SERVED IN THE DISTRICT 1!! Okay this doesn’t mean anything to anyone who hasn’t been on a mission during the Preach My Gospel era, but oh my heck!! He was companions with Elder Bernal! It is so awesome. Him and his wife are so rad and they have the cutest baby named Lucy and I just want to be them when I grow up!! Okay anyway..
 
The other random thing is, there’s a lady in my ward here and she is totally cousins with Shelli Jorgensen! (Sorry if I spelled that wrong). But she came up to me at our “Linger Longer” yesterday after church and was like, “Okay, I have to give you a hug because I’m totally Shelli Jorgensen’s cousin!” What the weird? I have the craziest connections out here! That was pretty nuts.
 
Well folks. The work presses forward. It’s pretty crazy. We’re almost halfway through Sister Hathaway’s training. When we’re done with her training, I’ll be halfway done with my MISSION. Time flies. Time. Freaking. Flies. So crazy.
 
Have a great week everyone! Godspeed.

 

— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650
First Sick days on my mission…

Another week down…

Okay I don’t know why but this week has been so strange. I have this terrible problem where when something fun is coming up I just look forward to it so much that I often forget to live in the here & now. But let’s be honest. Sometimes the here & now REALLY SUCKS. I think that I’m probably going to never like tracting… State College cursed me for that one. I much much MUCH prefer street contacting or bus contacting (who knew, right?) but that’s okay. The past week the thing I was looking forward to was Stake Conference. OH MAN. Stake Conference was the BEST.

So, I’ll be honest. Part of the reason I was looking forward to it was because the entire church (I think) has been instructed to focus their entire Saturday night sessions of Stake Conference on missionary work and invite the full time missionaries. So good things about that: my current favorite topic of discussion, road trip to Cranberry (that’s a real place and it’s actually where Elder V is currently serving), seeing other missionaries, seeing President and Sister Topham. All of that was SO awesome. The meeting was so inspiring. Sometimes it frustrates me because I sit in meetings from priesthood leaders and I’m just ON FIRE. Like so ready to go. Ready to go baptize all of Latrobe and activate all the less actives in one second. And then I get back to Latrobe and I realize that it’s honestly a lot harder than just that. But I’m trying. Taking it one day at a time. It’s so different here, but I’m doing my best to stay positive. I’m going to give you a very raw, very real statement here. No sugar coating. … I honestly don’t know if there have been many times in my life that it has been harder to stay positive. I can’t quite figure it out. I really do love being a missionary. And I really do love getting this opportunity. And the time I get to do this is SO SHORT. Remember, it’s already a third of the way GONE. But for some reason this is just a tough little patch. I feel like things just keep happening that feel like pouring salt in the wound. But, then I feel super ungrateful because then these GREAT things happen and it’s like I am blinding myself from them because I’m being selfish and turning inward. So… Rant over. But I’m working really really hard to just do everything I can to completely submit my will over to the Lord and do all I can to help bless HIS children. 

Okay that was a huge sidetrack. But guess what was the best about going to Stake Conference in the Pittsburgh North Stake? ELDER WEATHERSTON AND ELDER VASSALLO ARE IN IT!! Okay, I haven’t seen Elder Weatherston since JUNE and it has been so weird to not see Elder V every day. Afterward, the three of us were talking and we just were SO HAPPY. We’ve all come so far, it’s unreal. Elder Weatherston actually got to SPEAK at the meeting and his talk was stellar (of course) and I was just beaming the whole time! I was so proud to know him! It was amazing because I was immediately brought back to the MTC when he and I were paired up to do a role play for our fundamental “Teach People Not Lessons.” He had a really hard moment. I don’t know why, or what was behind it, but he just had a bit of an emotional time doing it. I remember staring him in the face and just saying, “Elder Weatherston. You know how to do this. This is a part of who you are! You know how to love people. You’re an amazing missionary.” And then seeing him up there giving a General Authority Status talk I was just pumped and kept thinking, “THAT’S THE ELDER WEATHERSTON I KNEW WAS IN THERE!!” 

Also, at different times that night Elder Weatherston and Elder Vassallo referenced something that had happened to me in the past few weeks. I was trying to figure out how they even KNEW that some lady had yelled at me and made me cry or how Elder W knew that I was training for the third time… then they told me that their moms have both been sending them little clips/highlights from my emails every week. So this is a shout out for them! You guys have got to be the BEST MOMS because your sons are my HEROES! Seriously. You’re doing something right, that’s for sure. And the Lord is so grateful because they are touching the lives of so many around them!

Our bishop here has been so nice to us. At Stake Conference, he pulled us aside and just said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I talked to your mission president and told him how awesome you guys have been.” So that was gratifying. At least the work we’re doing is actually doing some good. It’s always nice to feel like what you’ve been doing actually makes a difference, especially if things aren’t as positive in your mind. I just gotta keep reminding myself of that! It’s not about numbers. It’s not even about if I know how to do the best door approach. It’s about getting to know Christ and helping others do the same. Easier said than done, but I’m working on it as hard as I can, I promise!

It snowed today for the first time! My companion was freaking out and I was just thinking, “okay stop screaming, I’m trying to PRAY HERE!” which is super uncharitable of me but… she’s from Washington so snow is kind of a novelty. Everyone keeps saying that I must be used to the snow and it really ticks me off because HOLY COW I’M STILL A HUMAN AND IT STILL FEELS COLD OUTSIDE!! I’m not just immune to the cold because I live in the mountains! Whatever. Haha. Seriously though… I don’t think I like the snow as a missionary. It’s way different to have snow outside when you can go inside whenever you want and don’t have to be wearing a skirt. Bring on 5 months of cold. Ew. Yuck. Okay I’m shivering just thinking about that.

Well, I promise that I love being a missionary. It’s just a little tougher sometimes than others. But when I really think about it, last time I checked, nobody was trying to kill me because of my beliefs. Sometimes they’re just rude. I can deal with rude. 

I love you all. I really do pray for you on a regular basis. Remember, the Lord is pleased with you. But there’s always something you could be working on. 🙂 Keep the faith, and embrace imperfection!

 

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Elder Little (from Canada eh?) and Sister Hanseen
 
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Sister Hanseen out in a field in Latrobe, PA – Fall 2013
 
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When your companion is asleep for 3 hrs. on P-Day…
 
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Backlight of Sunshine, and a smiley Sister Hanseen face Sunshine
 
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Pittsburgh Fans Welcome Mat… Yinz Welcome!
— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650
Another week down…

Hey Everybody! Greensburg week 2. Better kind of…

OKay I’ll just start out by saying that I’m in a significantly better mood this week than last. No car accidents. No skirts tucked into tights. Good stuff.

 
Alright so there’s not a ton that happened this week, unfortunately. Because of the car accident, we had to do a lot of extra not-very-missionary stuff like get estimates, etc. And I was getting kind of down about it because I felt like our week was just so…. bland. WE couldn’t get a lesson set up with ANYONE … Scratch that. In the middle of the accident stuff last week, we got a media referral for a guy named Derek and we taught him on Monday night at a McDonald’s and it was a really awesome lesson. He agreed to be baptized once he knows it’s true! He’s like a perfect candidate for the Gospel at this time in his life so… I guess I need to quit complaining. I think that was Heavenly Father’s way of just kind of patting my cheek and saying, “Hey, McKann, you’re doing good things! I forgive you! Now get over it and get to work! :)” So… That’s how that went down. But, besides that the week was pretty slow.
 
We had about eight million setbacks this week as well. On Tuesday, our phone quit working. I had texted the elders at around 7:00 am asking a question about how our mileage limitations work, and the next thing I know our phone is just super spazzing out and won’t turn on. We were supposed to go do service at a thrift store called St. Vincent De Paul that they have a million of out here (no joke… There’s one in Latrobe, Greensburg, AND Jeanette…) but the elders didn’t leave us an address! So we’re addressless (and the GPS took us to some random alleyway), and phoneless… and I was frustrated as heck. But then we finally got there and the people were super friendly and it was a lot of fun. But it didn’t fix our phone! We called the mission office and they gave us a hotline to call which told us that basically our phone had a software glitch and couldn’t be fixed. When they told me that they would send a new phone but we wouldn’t be able to get any of our contacts back, I about broke into tears. I kept thinking, “Seriously?! Of all things, this now too?” And I was being so super whiny! I can’t even believe it. But immediately I realized there are much worse things that could be happening and that I had a lot to be grateful for. It’s all okay! Completely clean slate here in Latrobe. Worse things that could be happening for sure. 
 
Like our power going out. … Thursday morning, our power went out for about 5 hours. There was a huge storm overnight and it ended up putting the power out. We texted the elders to see if the power had gone out at their apartment and they just said, “Nope… Of course that would only happen to you.” Haha. They’re getting a huge kick out of all of this ridiculousness. When we called them to tell them that our phone was broken and wouldn’t be working for a few days, Elder Martin laughed so hard he couldn’t talk for about two entire minutes. We were using a members’ phone and I’m sure they just thought we were pathetic. Regardless, I’m glad these elders have a sense of humor or else I’d probably be losing my mind.
 
Since we didn’t have a ton of things that were particularly spiritually significant this week, here’s some funny stories.
 
So, on Friday we were at a members’ house for dinner with the elders. We were talking about eye color or something like that and then all of a sudden Elder Martin just blurts out, “What color is your HAIR?!” He was so so confused and apparently has been super curious as to what color my hair is this week because he couldn’t contain it anymore. Haha. Sadly, I never really have an answer for that question. It’s just a weird one. That conversation naturally always leads into the story of how you shaved my head when I was two years old and everyone thought I had Leukemia.. Good stuff.
 
Another story. This morning I was just minding my own business, doing personal study, when all of a sudden I hear this ridiculous honking… There was flock of geese flying outside the window! And it reminded me of one time in State College when we were at dinner at Alice’s (the elders’ next door neighbor) and Elder V shared the thought. He started it out with, “So, I really love geese.” Hahaha. Oh man. Never a dull moment with Elder V.
 
Last night we went to dinner at another members’ house. This lady was really freakin’ funny and we walked in and the first thing she says is, “Hey Dave! Hey Cherub!” I was super confused. Then they all explained that she can never remember their real names so she calls Elder Martin “Dave” and Elder Little “Cherub.” It’s so perfect, I can’t even tell you! Elder Little is just this sweet little guy and he totally is Cherub. We keep telling him that he’s going to be the cutest little old man with his walker and glasses… And we bought him a sweater vest today at the thrift store. Hahahaha. And Elder Martin… Yeah. He’s just Dave. Hahahaha. He kind of looks like what it would look like if Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller had a baby. So … Dave it is.
 
I actually had some good moments of pure intelligence this week. Moments where the Spirit just bore witness to me so profoundly. I don’t really want to recap it all in different words, so I’m just going to type out what I wrote in my journal. (*gasp! I know!*)
 
“I’ve also been realizing that I did a lot of good in State College, but there’s more good I can do here. I’m more focused on the work here. I’m really learning about ME and my relationship with Heavenly Father. I asked the elders to give me a blessing last week because I was just feeling a little overwhelmed and I needed to calm down. In it, it said, “Heavenly Father is pleased with you,” multiple times. It was kind of just one of those moments of pure intelligence–those confirmations of truth from the Spirit. He IS pleased with me. I have so many imperfections and so many things that I wish I was doing better as a missionary, and that I’m working on every single day. But DESPITE all that, He, the Almighty and omniscient being of all, is pleased with ME–Sister McKann Hanseen in Latrobe, PA doing my best (well trying my best) to do His work and feed His sheep.
The blessing also said, “He will strengthen you in these trials–not take them away but make you stronger to bear them.” It’s something I’ve been studying a lot anyway. Not just the cleansing power of the Atonement (although that is beautiful and miraculous as well), but the strengthening and enabling power of it. I’ve noticed in just small and simple things this week. I”ve noticed my attitude about schedule changes go from overstressed to seeking new opportunities. It’s a work in progress. I’M a work in progress. But I’m learning to pat myself on the back and just know that Heavenly Father is pleased with me. And that’s enough.”
 
Well everyone, I promise that this stuff is true. Heavenly Father loves you! I’m so happy for that knowledge in my life. It makes things a lot easier when it seems pretty dim.
 
And, just to top it off… I just got like 4 new skirts and 3 new shirts for $4.50. Forget DI. The East Coast knows how to do thrift shopping.. What what, what what? I’m gonna pop some tags… Don’t worry. I still know some pop culture, people.
 
Have a great week!

 

— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650
Photos below! (I hope pch)
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Nittany Lion and Sister Hanseen – on last day in State College
 
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Elder Trotman,                                        Sister Hanseen                    Elder Vasallo
 
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Elder DeRoest (2nd Cousin of Sister Hanseen)        Sister Hanseen
 
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                                          sister Hanseen                     Sister Hathaway
 
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                         Elder Palmer                  Sister Hanseen           Elder Thomas
Hey Everybody! Greensburg week 2. Better kind of…