Merry Christmas Adam!

For some reason the phrase “Christmas Adam” is super foreign to all the missionaries here. I keep explaining to them, “Well, Adam came before Eve, therefore, Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve!” and I usually just get blank stares. Except for when Sister Hathaway finally got it…. The look on her face was priceless.

This week was kinda rough at the beginning! We didn’t have the car so it was a little trying for sure. We had to depend a lot on the ward. But they were willing to help! So that was great. 

Sister Hathaway and I have had some rough patches, to say the least. I feel like we kind of have a huge discussion about some big issue like every other day. But we finally had a huge talk the other day and I basically laid it down for her: This is an equal companionship. I am no more set apart than you are. Let’s work hard and kick our butts in gear and get Latrobe on its feet for the last three weeks of this transfer.

…. hopefully that sticks. That’s been the kicker.. Getting things to stick. But, I’m out here to work hard and to do what the Lord wants. And I’m not here to just go through the motions. That’s kind of what it felt like we were doing the past little while. So, we’re gonna fix that one day at a time. 🙂

Every week I get all these emails from people saying all the crazy things that are happening in people’s lives. It kind of freaks me out and makes me excited all at the same time. I just feel like this time in life is so hectic because everyone is changing so drastically… Including Brenner and his VOICE. What the heck. I’m so nervous!! I totally thought about that…. But Brenner is gonna be like a grown man by the time I get home! Waaaa. So weird.

This email is going to be kind of short because I get to ACTUALLY TALK TO YOU GUYS THIS WEEK!! And because this week was really just kind of uneventful.

One thing about that… if you guys could think of topics or questions you have ahead of time it might make it so that we can utilize the short time we have to talk to each other better. 🙂 I can talk fast, as you all know, but it’s so much easier if we have an agenda I think! I dunno, just an idea.

I’ve gotten all the packages from you guys I’m pretty sure! I’ll wait to open them until Christmas, don’t worry. 🙂 

Well… This upcoming week is going to be great. There’s awesome families that we’re spending time with and hanging out with on Christmas and Christmas Eve. I really am excited to have Christmas out here but I’m grateful it’s just one. I’ll be home for the next one.

Oh and Dad, that MoTab/Alfie Boe Christmas CD has been to DIE FOR. And thanks for the Hue&Hum CD’s too. Tell Robbie and Caitlin thanks too! I’m sad they’re moving! But we’ll still be friends for sure. 🙂 

Thanks to everyone who sent Christmas cards! I have them all under the little Christmas tree in my living room that I plug in every night. 

I’m so grateful to be out serving the Lord and honoring him at this time of year. But I’m grateful that we can have this Spirit all year long as we strive to remember Him in our lives. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!!

— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650

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                                          Sister Buehner, Sister Hanseen, Elder Buehner

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                                  Christmas Missionaries?

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                                                             Elder Martin doing tricks…

Merry Christmas Adam!

Hello Everybody! Almost Christmas!

Okay so I feel like not that much has happened this week and I’m sorry if there’s nothing super exciting in this email. I’ll try to make it entertaining at least.
 
So this week we had Zone Conference. I LOVE zone meetings, as I’ve said before, and this one was extra awesome because some missionaries that I served with in Altoona just got transferred into my zone (Sister Yates, Elder West, Elder Trotman) and some others! So that was way exciting to see them! This one was also really fun because we got to watch the new mission video for 2013 and it was SO AWESOME. And it had some songs by Phillip Phillips and Imagine Dragons in it and we’re allowed to watch the video whenever we want. 🙂 Although it’s been kinda weird when Sister Hathaway and I will let it play in the other room while we’re getting ready in the morning and all of a sudden we hear Elder Martin’s laugh super loud coming from our bedroom… There’s a part in the video where a tree fell on his companion swinging from a vine and he was filming so, naturally, there was some laughter of sorts. But it’s been kinda creepy to say the least. Haha.
 
We also went on exchange right before Zone Conference so I actually ended up just staying two nights in Penn Hills at the sisters’ apartment because we were supposed to stay there the night before the conference. It was awesome. I love Sister Holmstead. We get along so well… Which probably means we’ll never be companions. But we always just talk about how we want to hang out after our missions. She only goes home one transfer before me and totally goes to school in Provo. Awesome. And we decided we want to go on a skydiving trip to Moab with Elder Martin… That’s all happening. Anyway, enough of the trunky. Sister Holmstead and I just had an awesome exchange. I feel like I always learn so much from exchanges. And it’s often pretty sad to end them, but that’s okay.
 
This week really has been so uneventful. Our investigators haven’t really talked to us in a while and nobody comes to church and it’s pretty frustrating. But we did stop by this one less active part member family’s house this week and they were totally glad we did because they had had a really bummer day! I’ve been thinking about them for a while and we haven’t been there since we first came to Latrobe, so I was glad we followed the Spirit on WHEN to go. It was great. We’re going back this week. I’m really praying about how we can invite the husband to take the lessons again. They’ve had some negative experiences with missionaries being super pushy and rude in the past. Hopefully we can be better than that! 🙂
 
So the worst news of the week is that our car is in the shop starting 3 hours ago until the end of the day on Thursday. You know that sick feeling you get in your stomach when you’re really nervous and unsure of what is going to happen? Like before finals? Or before a big presentation? Well… That’s the feeling I have. And all of our plans have all cancelled on us for the night so tonight is the great unknown… So are the next four days. Great. So… Prayers this week? Just that I won’t lose my mind? Okay awesome.
 
Also.. Yesterday when we were visiting this lady in a rest home with the elders, she offered us some soda. And guess what soda she had? MOXIE. Yeah. Dad. Thought you’d appreciate that. Elder Martin took it and I was mad so I made him give me some of it because I’m the boss. Says me. It worked, so I’m not complaining.
 
Well everybody I love you! I really appreciate all the letters and emails. A lot more than you realize! They really keep me going througout the week for sure. I’ve got some good pictures I’m sending home today so enjoy those!

— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650
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Missionaries in Latrobe wearing fine Christmas attire!
 
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Nothin’ like a good headband to help with the water tasting contest, or whatever this mess was… (pch)
 
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Sisters in Latrobe
Hello Everybody! Almost Christmas!

BiPolar Weather in Latrobe!!

This week went from the mid/low sixties to the high twenties! WHAT THE HECK. It was so delightful at the beginning of the week. Elder Martin kept saying how it felt like home because he’s from California. So… That got crushed when it started snowing two days ago. But I’m just gonna come right out and say that (SO FAR) Pennsylvania snow has been pretty pathetic. Everyone freaks out when it snows about an inch and decides they can’t go anywhere because of the bad weather… WOW ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Anyway… With that off my chest I will begin talking about relevant things. 

So as Christmas rolls around in just a few weeks, there are a few things my heart is just a teensy bit aching for that I will desperately miss this year. This is one of them:

http://youtu.be/gg3N7OURucM

Now don’t yinz worry your little heads thinking that I’m being all disobedient and getting on YouTube n’at because I’m not! I got this off of Mormon Newsroom. Stay cool, it’s all good in the hood. 

But seriously. I’m going to miss the Temple Square lights. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t go up there at least once during the holiday season. Sad day. But you all better go up there and enjoy it for me extra, alrighty? And go to that hot chocolate place in Salt Lake that is run by midgets because I still really want to go there and haven’t been able to yet. I’ll put it on my list of things to do when I get home. That’s a good list, by the way. It’s got some keeper adventures. 

So about this week, right? Well, it’s been pretty good! It’s the first week of a new transfer and so the district switched around a little bit. Only one sister got transferred… Sister Blake. And actually, she got transferred to University 1st! She’s in my old area! Probably sleeping in my old bed and EVERYTHING. Weird. This mission stuff is strange sometimes. Haha. But we got a new sister, Sister Burnett, who was just serving in Cranberry with Elder Vassallo so we have some good stories to swap for sure! I really love my district. The thought of getting switched around makes me super sad because we just have so much fun! Actually, I’m going on exchange with Sister Holmstead tonight until tomorrow and I’m going to her area in Monroeville. And guess what’s in her area? ABBY LEE DANCE COMPANY. You’d best believe that we’re gonna stop by there and take a picture. Because I wanna see the Dance Moms!!!! Haha. So pumped. And I just really love Sister Holmstead. Like.. I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be good friends when we get home because we just have a RIOT when we are on exchange. And every district meeting. I LOVE that. That’s been one of the best parts of my mission is getting to know other missionaries that I know I can be friends with after the mission. It makes it so the thought of being done with my mission isn’t quite as depressing. Ha. Anyway.

We have this investigator that we got through a media referral named Carol. She’s so funny. She just tells the best stories about her night job painting Harley Davidson parts and she’s awesome. She tries to act like she isn’t really interested in all this but then when we ask her if we can help her work toward baptism and knowing if all the stuff we’re telling her is true she softens up a bit and admits that she wants that. It’s great. So she didn’t come to the Christmas party but… We’ll get on her case about it. 🙂 

We also got a new investigator named Sam and I LOVE her. Like.. She asks the best questions and is so open and I really feel like she’s just been so prepared! She lives next door to one of the members of our ward and they’re really good friends so she’s invited Sam to church before. She came and she absolutely loved it and always tells us how much she loves the church. Anyway, we hadn’t been able to meet with her yet but one day this week I just decided we needed to text her and just see if we could come by that day. She answered and agreed that we could come by. We stopped by and talked for a while about a lot of questions she had about temples and what we think about Heaven and Hell. She was so receptive and kept telling us how it all just made so much sense. She has a 17 month old son and lives with her fiancé, but her fiancé is Catholic and she said he’s not really interested in changing that. We invited her and her fiancé and son to the Christmas party and on Saturday morning she texted us and told us that they couldn’t make it…. BUT. She then told us how she had been talking to her husband about the stuff we talked about in our lesson and he agreed that after they move in the next week or so and after the holidays that he’ll come to church and see what he thinks of it! OH MAN TENDERY MERCIES OF THE LORD ARE REAL STUFF KIDS. We were so excited! She’s so awesome. I’m so excited to teach her. The Lord is rewarding us for our diligence and I can really feel that with Sam. It’s awesome.

Oh… Side note. Totally cut my hair this week! This awesome girl in our ward, Janie, cut it. She’s awesome. Did I say that? Yeah. I love her. Anyway, it’s still pretty long but she just cleaned it up mostly. I really love it though. I didn’t even have the usual post-haircut freak out that I usually have so that’s improvement. But it pretty much looks the same length so you probably won’t be able to tell in the pictures I send. I just FEEL better and that’s perfect timing to have a self confidence boost because it’s getting pretty glum around these parts.

Here’s a funny story. So after the Christmas party on Saturday night, all the missionaries were cleaning up with the members. Sister Hathaway and I went to empty all the trash cans in the building and I was pushing this big trash can that usually sits on a cart with wheels. I was just pushing it on the carpet and it wasn’t a big deal. We were coming back down a long, empty hall, and my inner child kicked in. There was nothing more that I wanted to do than to just sprint down the hallway of the church building. So, I did! I started running (in my skirt, mind you), pushing the trash can in front of me. Well, when I pretty much broke the sound barrier because I was going so fast, friction decided to catch up with the bottom of the garbage can and the front end of it got stuck a little bit.. And somehow I found myself flat on my face, with the trash can behind me and between my legs. …. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t get up and I just hear this kid (who was down the hall watching all of this happen) yell, “MISSIONARY DOWN! MOM! MISSIONARY DOOOOOWWWWNNNN!!!” Hahahaha. Oh goodness. So awesome.

One last story from this week. Yesterday, a lady in our ward, Amberly, invited us over for dinner. Her and her husband are part of the handful of couples that are in Greensburg for medical school. They have some friends, Melissa and Leif, and they aren’t members of the church but they are WAY AWESOME. We have met/chatted with them a few times and it’s been good to just be friends with them for now. Anyway, Amberly invited us over because she was having them over and so we agreed, of course. The surprise, though, is that Melissa invited her friend Lisa to come as well! And, at the end of dinner, we shared a spiritual thought and Lisa was so super engaged in what we were saying. It was great. Then, as we were getting our coats on and getting ready to leave I just had this distinct thought in my mind that I really needed to give Lisa a card and just invite her to check out mormon.org. It was kind of an awkward setting to do that so I hesitated, but then quickly realized that I was being silly. So I offered her the card and she was elated! She was so excited to go check it out. When we were walking out of their house I just felt this peace from the Spirit affirming that I had done what the Lord wanted me to! It’s not every day that you get that specific of a prompting followed by a very specific confirmation and pat on the back from Heavenly Father. It was great. Knucks for missionary work!

I can’t believe that at the end of this transfer I will hit my halfway mark. That’s so crazy. It’s flying by. I’m so happy to be here! Love you all! Thanks for the prayers and support.

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Weird Elders at the Ward Christmas Party

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We made Reindeer ornaments at the old folk’s home!
— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650
BiPolar Weather in Latrobe!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

There is something about the holidays that really brings the Spirit to people in a different way than it does other times of the year. I definitely felt that this week. There is a less active lady that we visited when we first got here  who really didn’t take to having sisters instead of elders and was particularly mean to me (I think I told you about her… the one who made me cry? Oh embarrassing…). We had to help her with a rocking chair refinishing project and she didn’t trust us to do it by ourselves so we brought a brother from the ward and the elders, and the whole time she was pretty much telling the elders to tie me up and lock me in a cupboard because she didn’t like me. I just kept smiling and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Then, on Thanksgiving, she called us and left a message saying how grateful she was for us and that next time we come over she wants us to come by ourselves. She said that it meant so much to her that we would take the time to visit her and help her. It was truly a humbling experience. I think she really felt the “reason for the season” and was touched by the Spirit of the Lord.

So that was an awesome little story that I thought I’d share! Anyway… Onto Thanksgiving itself. So… All my family and friends at home might be a little bit saddened by this… But any person who’s ever been away from home for Thanksgiving will be happy about it. I WAS TOTALLY NOT HOMESICK ON THANKSGIVING!  Seriously. It was so crazy. The day was just so filled with awesome things to do that I was really excited to be there and I was with people I ADORE. So, don’t worry family. I’ll be excited to be home next year but this one was good. I did think about all of you and pray in gratitude for you, but I wasn’t feeling bummed out all day like I thought I might be.

It started off with a Turkey Bowl. MY FIRST EVER TURKEY BOWL! Holy cow. We went to the soccer field at Seton Hill University in Greensburg and it was totally covered in a thin layer of snow. We stomped out some boundary lines and divided up teams and had a freakin’ hay day for about two hours. I ran so hard. I totally got a touchdown, even! It was awesome. There was one point where I was guarding a kid in the end zone and I intercepted the throw and started running my little heart out in the direction of our end zone. I got two-hand-touched and started to slow down, lost my balance, and started falling forward at BREAK-NECK SPEED… Kind of. Anyway, I look up and there’s Elder Martin in some bright yellow hoodie just standing there like a brick wall… Well, it definitely felt like a brick wall when I completely collided with him before falling flat on my back and whacking my head on the snowy turf. (Don’t tell him that I said he felt like a brick wall because that might make him think he’s super strong or something. Can’t have that. Haha).

Anyway, after Turkey Bowl, Sister Hathaway and I went to this couple’s house, Janie and Jordan, and they’re my freaking favorite. If I am half as cool as them when I am older and married then I will have succeeded. They have this adorable baby named Lucy and she’s just so stinkin’ cute that I get a little depressed every time I see her and realize that I can’t hold her. That’s the WORST RULE!! Anyway. We helped her make like 3 batches of homemade rolls because she hadn’t done it before. It was a blast. Then we went  home, showered and changed into normal missionary clothes again, made a quick salad and then headed to the church for our FEAST! We had 5 different young couples who are here for medical school and the four of us missionaries at the church. It was a flippin’ blast. We had so much food. So… I guess that’s like the equivalent of 5 dinner appointments because there were five families? I’d say so. We sat around and talked and laughed and had a jolly old time. Then afterward, we set up the volleyball nets in the gym and played volleyball until it was pumpkin-turning time. … AKA curfew. Haha. At the end of the day, Elder Martin was like,”So… This has been the funnest day of my mission.” Easily. It was a blast. Luckily, all four of us are staying in Greensburg for this next transfer so we’ll all get to spend Christmas together! We’re going to this couple’s house, Allie and Jake, and they have three adorable kids. We went there for dinner last night and I took some pictures with Olivia and Reed and I’ll send them home in a bit. Reed’s my best little buddy. He always begs me to hold him and my heart breaks into like eight million pieces.

The rest of this week was pretty good! We got to go to a baptism in Plum for the sisters in our district on Saturday and it was awesome. I felt so much happiness for them! It was like the sons of Mosiah in Alma 29. I was just so happy for their success in missionary work! Plus, on the way there we found a drive thru Starbucks so I got myself a nice cup of Caramel Apple Spice (apple cider, don’t you worry my friends) in a red cup. It’s red cup season! Ahh the best. I think I’m going to get one on the way to District Meeting every week now that we’ve found that little drive thru awesomeness.

A few weeks ago, my mission president challenged me to refocus on the Standards of Excellence for the PPM (1 new investigator daily, 1 member present lesson daily, 1 baptism/reactivation monthly). I had a particularly miraculous experience that came from this renewed sense of focus. Earlier this week I was thinking about how we could get a new investigator for that day. There was a media referral we had received and we had not been able to get in contact with her no matter how hard we tried. We decided to stop by her house in the early afternoon. On the way, I prayed with every fiber of my being and asked Heavenly Father that he let this woman be home so that we could teach her and pick her up as a new investigator. I remember specifically thinking about the principle of faith and praying for specific blessings, expecting that the Lord will keep His word. I was filled with gratitude as we left her home with a return appointment and commitments left. The Lord DID keep His word. He heard my specific prayer and He helped us to reach that standard of excellence. I’ve set a new transfer goal to focus on the standards or excellence every single day. I’m excited to see where this leads me this transfer.

I got some amazing emails today. Long ones too. So I don’t have as much time to respond to everyone who emailed. Hopefully you will all forgive me! 

I hope you all know how much I love you! There’s been some bumpy patches out here but I’m so grateful for the support and prayers. It’s pretty crazy to think that after this transfer, I’ll be hitting my halfway mark! This thing is flying by. It’s pretty nuts. I’m so happy to be here! I love you all! Have a great week!

— 

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

Latrobe, PA 15650
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Sister Hanseen and                                              The Reedster
 
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Elders with their suits inside out at District Meeting
 
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Last District Meeting
 
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Olivia                                                    Sister Hanseen                                 Reed “The Reedster”
 
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The Whole Turkeybowl Group
 
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Plumb Sister’s Baptism for Nikala (in the middle is Nikala, if you hadn’t guessed)
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!