Craziness!

Okay so I’m thinking that this email will probably be a little bit shorter than usual because there just hasn’t been a ton to report about…and all of a sudden I have to take a break from mission world and figure out real life school nastiness (Dad–totally not your fault)…. and I’m kind of all jumbled up in my brain of what even happened!

I do know this, though. There was some great success in our teaching this week. We still have no investigators and that’s kind of been a downer. But last week when we didn’t even teach a single lesson to a less active person even I was like “WHAT THE HECK I’M JUST TRYING TO BE A MISSIONARY HERE?!!!!” … And then I got humbled a little bit and Heavenly Father was like, “Child. Calm yourself. Here’s some miracles that you WEREN’T recognizing… But I’ll just help you out a bit this week.” So we ended up teaching almost every less active person we had planned for and then more less actives came to church than we even met with! Like people just showed up out of the blue and we ended up having six people at church. For whatever reason, that’s the thing we dominate on. Having less actives come to church. That’s a victory! Huzzah!

On St. Patrick’s Day we totally had corned beef and cabbage and it was DELICIOUS. Mmmmm.

At the end of every day in my planner I have a spot that says “TM” that I’ve written in. And most days it consists of what good food I ate that day. Priorities, right?

Oh. And I just need to make a public shout out to RACHEL PETERSON BECAUSE IT’S HER BIRTHDAY TODAY!!! HOLY HECK SHE’S AN OLDIE MOLDIE!!!

And because I was totally a failure best friend and I confused her birthday with someone else and I feel like the pretty much worst best friend ever. Like what is wrong with me?!

But that just means that today is special because it’s her birthday and it’s my 11 month mark!

Folks. This just got real.

Anyway…

We had an exchange this week and it was good but man, I will say, it was nothing like the other exchanges that I’ve had in the past. Like it was just a standard missionary day. Which I think was good. But I don’t have any crazy stories even from it and that’s just so sad!!

On Thursday we had a dinner appointment in Georgetown, PA. Someone Google Earth it. Or Maps. Anyway, their house was 3 miles away from the West Virginia border, and she totally drove us to take a picture with it! So another shout out to Jason Willardson because I was in his mission stomping grounds! (Okay not really because it’s technically the Cleveland mission’s portion of West Virginia but whatev-uh). That was fun, though. I was running across a highway when it was almost dark. Shoot. That was probably dangerous but it was worth it.

Okay so on a spiritual note, this past Sunday we went to a rehearsal for the Stake Choir that is singing for a little Easter Devotional. We’re singing the song, “This is the Christ,” that the MoTab sings. And it just pulls at my heart strings a little bit. But especially because there’s a talk that the lovely Sister Holmstead gave me called “The Mortal Christ” by Jack Christensen (HIGHEST of recommendations for that one everyone!) and there’s a part where he talks about the line from the song that says, “How many drops of blood were spilled for me?” He then says how he’s tired of being a part of that scene in Gethsemane and knows that the Atonement covers even our little things. But that it’s so inspiring to make decisions that you know didn’t cause any more pain, but helps the Savior to have more joy for us.

Anyway, that song is just kind of touching my heart right now. It’s helped me feel really close to the Savior. I love it.

Again, sorry for the scattered email. Hopefully next week won’t be as crazy.
Here’s me in WV. Sorry I look totally worked. It’s all good in the hood.

Love you all!

Craziness!

Cow Stomach Anyone?

It’s official everybody! I had my first “weird mission food eating experience” yesterday! Oh man. You heard me. I hate COW STOMACH. Sometimes known as “tripe.” Yesterday we had dinner at this awesome family’s house and they were having a birthday party for one of their boyfriends… His name is Ramone and he met his girlfriend and pretty much the only good Mexican restaurant that I’ve been to in Pennsylvania. It’s called El Paso and it’s in Chippewa, right by our old apartment. ANYWAY it was his birthday and so they had fajitas and then Ramone and one of the daughter-in-laws, Sarah (who’s actually Mong) made this soup that I think is called Minuto? Or something like that. I’m obviously really lacking in culture here. But the elders challenged me…. And I couldn’t back away from a challenge of course! So I ate it. Sister Crockett didn’t want to but it was her birthday, too. So she could refuse I guess. But I totally ate it and honestly the flavor was pretty good but it was kinda just the texture of the fatty stuff that you get on the side of some steaks. So… I probably won’t eat it again.

Okay not that exciting at all but that’s okay. My friends in foreign countries are probably like, “Seriously? That’s NOTHING. Go back to your hot dogs and french fries and quit whining.” Haha. Anyway…

This week has been a whirlwind. Honestly it has been so jam-packed with everything but nothing at the same time. Like we got to the end of the night yesterday and realized that we had straight zeros on our numbers except for one less active to came to church. Woooo for Barb. Thanks for saving us from straight goose eggs. Haha. It’s totally not about the numbers, though, because we really did a lot. We started cleaning up our area book by request of the ward council and we found out a lot of information about people and where their addresses now are and where they need records transferred, etc. We also had a couple of meetings that took a lot of time and it was just busy! I don’t even know!

As for the companionship… It’s doing okay. I guess. I have just realized that I just need to stop dwelling on things and just accept that I can’t fix everything and I am just here to do the work. So… I don’t even know I kind of just don’t even want to talk about that stuff anymore cause it’s no fun and I really am loving my mission despite all the crazy drama. 🙂

We had an amazing Zone Conference on Friday. It really was awesome because we were talking about how this work is seriously CHANGING. Pretty much we need to be focusing on members and THEIR missionary work like all the time. President Topham kind of said that tracting is really not an effective use of our time… So… We’re just working on figuring out how we can best do that. It’s really cool, though, because our whole district already set some specific goals and plans for how we can involve the members more and it felt like the whole Zone Conference we were just being patted on the back and being told, “Good work, kids. Thanks for listening to the Spirit. Now you’ve got the tools to really get to work.” Awesome.

OH AND HERE’S THE BEST THING EVER. So there’s this elder who was one of the Assistants for a while and is now serving in a neighboring ward to where I am and he’s from Ireland. And at Zone Conference on Friday we were just having a BLAST for some reason. Like we had the funniest conversations with the missionaries around us. And afterward I was talking to him and I was like, “Elder Moylan, it’s my dream to go to Ireland. Can I seriously come visit you?” And he said that everyone always says it and nobody does but that if I ever did, I could totally stay at his house and he’d get all his friends and show me around all of Ireland. So… Okay. Sweet. That’s happening.

But this is just illustrating something. I feel so blessed for all the people that I’ve met out here. Members, missionaries, everyone. I can’t even IMAGINE my life without all these people and I’m so fortunately to just keep gaining more people that I love. It’s awesome.

Well everyone, this is kind of a lame email this week. But I am so happy out here! Even when things aren’t peaches and cream, I seriously just am grateful for the things that I’m learning and the tools that I’m gaining to help me to just be a better person in general. It’s awesome. How did I get so lucky?

Okay here’s the cow stomach in the bowl. I obviously didn’t eat a lot of it.

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Mmmm… Eat up.
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Success!
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First real ‘posterity’ picture!
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             Sister Hanseen                                                          Sister Holmstead

Love,
Sister McKann Hanseen
256 East End Avenue

Beaver, PA 15009
Cow Stomach Anyone?

Summertiiiiime and the livin’s easy…..

Okay pretty much nothing about that title is true because it’s cold still and this week’s been honestly pretty crazy. But that song’s been stuck in my head for the past few days as it’s been more sunny than normal!
 

We keep getting those little glimpses of Springtime here and there with sunshine and just a touch of warmth. The bishop here likened the month of February to the principle of hope. It was pretty dark and gloomy, but every once in a while the sun would peep out and we’d have hope for better weather and the warmth of Spring. How fitting. And how TRUE. Oh man. I cannot wait for Spring. When I first got the field, Sister Topham kept saying, “Now you have a lot of beauty to look forward to with Fall, but it’s too bad you just missed the Spring!” Apparently Pennsylvania Spring is just GORGEOUS and I’m so excited to see it with my own two eyes! (Or four, depending on how tired I am that day… Haha).

 

Okay so we got the new apartment officially! We are finally all moved in and we just have to get our old apartment inspected and checked out and get the washer and dryer from the members’ storage unit and VOILA! We will be all nice and at home. 🙂 But this place is seriously huge. If I have time at the end I’ll send some pictures. But basically this is going to be like the best place for anyone to want to serve because of this missionary mansion. Not kidding. It’s lovely. I’ve found my little hiding places of comfort and serenity and I love them. So, it really is just like home. And Nana sent me some pictures from when I was like six years old wearing a total 90’s dress and I put them on the mantle of our fireplace. Hahaha. YES. I can stick around here for a while.

 

Funny thing, though. The first night, we definitely forgot out shower curtain at the other place and… let’s just say… It was like we had the entire ocean on our bathroom floor. It was pretty crazy. But we bought a cute new little shower curtain and got some little decorations here and there. I’m gonna work on recruiting all of the Pinterest memories I have and making some little DIY decorations to spruce up the place a bit. It’s not ugly, it’s just really big and a lot of it feels kind of empty with our limited furnishings. So tissue paper pom-poms and wrapping paper wall decorations here I come!

 

Tuesday night the Beaver Valley Ward had its annual Chili Cook-off Fundraiser. Pretty self explanatory. It’s kind of like the good ole Edgie Wedgie 6th Ward Cake Auction for the youth. But with Chili. And cornbread. And a dessert auction. But the missionaries (which are a rarity in church buildings in Utah… At least they were in my lifetime.. AKA I’ve NEVER seen a missionary in a church building in Utah…) got to be the JUDGES! So, it was pretty fun. Then, because it was a ward function, I had to definitely add to my list of embarrassing experiences (Remember: “Missionary Down!”…. Yeah). Anyway, this little deaf girl in the ward, Rachel, has been doing gymanstics. She’s a member of one of my very favorite member families of all time: The Green’s. Anyway, she’s been learning her cartwheels and wanted to show us but was also kind of nervous. So, we convinced her to show us in the hallway. She showed us her fantastic little cartwheel (and I mean it was really awesome considering that without hearing, balance is definitely a hard thing), and then I decided that I would help soothe her nerves and try one myself. I was wearing pretty thick tights so I didn’t think it would be too much of an issue. I obviously didn’t think very much. Because I went to do the cartwheel and before I knew it I heard a big *pop!* … Which, of course, can only be attributed to the sound of a bursting seam.

 

Laughter ensued.

Cheeks were reddened.

And there was no hope for repair.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night either sitting down or wearing my mid-thigh length black raincoat… inside. Yeaaaaahhhh. MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT. Just kidding… does anyone remember that show? For some reason that’s been my go-to phrase of the week and I just thought I’d throw it in there.

 

This week was kind of rough in the companionship. Oh man everyone. I don’t know, I think I just have a lot to learn. But.. Prayers are appreciated. For Sister Crockett and I both. I really love her. And I really love the work. And I want it all to work harmoniously. It just hasn’t been. But… Yeah. Prayers would be helpful. 🙂

 

Also, one highlight of the week was that a less active that we’ve been working with finally was able to come to church with her three kids. And even better, she totally immersed herself in everything. She participated in Relief Society and was talking with everyone before and after meetings. And her kids were excited to go to primary. The best part, though, was seeing the joy it brought her to be able to partake of the sacrament and truly be CLEAN. What a miracle it is that we’ve been given such a beautiful opportunity to become whole every single week. I don’t think I’ll ever fully grasp how amazing and merciful the Lord is to let us do that every week.

This week, Grandma sent me a letter with a picture of Dad when he came home from his mission. I think this is one of the best things I’ve received in the mail since I became a missionary. And, probably ever, if I’m being honest. It has given me such strength in stressful times this week. And I was reading a talk from the Priesthood session of October’s conference this morning. It was from President Henry B. Eyring, and he talked about the role of Priesthood leaders and the blessings that come from Priesthood service. I could not stop thinking about how much of an example you are, Dad. You have always done your home teaching. You have always fulfilled your callings to the best of your ability. When I think about home, I often imagine you sitting at the kitchen table, reading your scriptures early in the morning before we were all awake. I didn’t often see that, as I was not one for early rising, but I saw the evidences of it with the scriptures still on the table when I did finally emerge from the basement. 🙂

 

I also thought of the great home teacher that we had–Brother Seifert. I can so keenly remember one particularly difficult night at home when I was at a friend’s house. Dad was gone and Mom was home alone with us and was having a hard time. But, at the the drop of the hat, Brother Seifert was there at Lydia Mongie’s house to pick me up for the night. As embarrassed as I may have thought I was at the time, I have never forgotten that. Nor have I forgotten how he came and patched up the hole I kicked in the wall next to the stairs.

Those are the things that matter. The little things. I’m learning that so much out here. That phrase, “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care,” is 100% true. I’ve seen it in missionary work time and time again. I have to love these people or they have no reason to listen to what I have to say. I have been called and set apart to be a representative, advocate, emissary, disciple of Jesus Christ, and when these people look me in the eyes they HAVE to see Him, not me. They have to feel His love for them. And unless I have that love for them, the Lord cannot work through me as effectively.

 

I had an experience with this just yesterday. There is a young man in our ward who has recently had to face a great trial. I will leave out the details, but he has been struggling with something that a dear friend of mine recently struggled with. My heart has ached for this young man, but there hasn’t been any opportunity to do anything about it. His family is hurting and we can see that, but I haven’t known what I could do. Yesterday, his mom was in Relief Society and we were talking about faith and repentance and I shared a thought that that dear friend of mine had shared with me about the difference between guilt and shame, and how God’s love for us is truly the difference. I didn’t think much of it but afterward, this young man’s mother came up to me and asked if I would share that story and thought with her son. He came back in the church building and the few of us went into a classroom and I bore to him my testimony of God’s love for him with every fiber of my being. I could literally feel how much God was sorrowing for this young man, and how much He wants his success. It brought tears to my eyes (which honestly has not happened very often on my mission) just to be able to tell him that he is, in fact, loved. And he has such great worth.

 

I don’t know if anything will come of it. But I am grateful for that experience. I think sometimes Heavenly Father just gives us little glimpses into what he sees and feels for His children and I will cherish that opportunity for a very long time.

 

Well, this is quite a long email and I should probably get on to some of the other fanmail. 😉 Haha just kidding. But really everyone is still so good about emailing and writing me and I can’t even begin to express how much it keeps me going. I love you all! Take care. Godspeed.

And here’s a picture of my lovely ripped skirt. This doesn’t even really show how far up it really was and how much you could actually see. OH and that’s just the entryway of our new apartment. Haha.
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Summertiiiiime and the livin’s easy…..

Ditchin’ the Falls….

Okay so IT’S OFFICIAL. We are moving to Beaver. So getting rid of this “Falls” business.

 
My official new address is:
 
256 East End Avenue
Beaver, PA 15009
 
And… We did a change of address card and won’t get any mail forwarded there until like two weeks from now so if anyone really REALLY loves me, they can send me a letter this week so I’m not empty handed for the next two weeks. 🙂
 
I’m just so excited because we are going to have a washer and dryer and actually… this lady said her daughter is getting rid of a treadmill and said we can have it!! We’ve got a HUGE apartment now so we’re going to make a work out room out of one of our three bedrooms. Haha. AWESOME. So pumped.
 
Okay so with all the apartment drama and shenanigans this week has been really slow. But, there were some really good things that happened.
 
So two weeks ago Elder Vassallo got instruction from the Zone Leaders to come and like “blitz” our area… AKA just come get to know our area a little bit more so he can help us because it’s just been way slow. I kind of was having a pride issue with that because I was like, “what the heck, we can take care of our own area!!!” But it ended up being really good because instead of going through our entire area book painstakingly reviewing every… single… name…. We started talking about how we can get more members involved with the work. We starting coming up with a vision, goals, and plans for how we can accomplish that.
 
Anyway, in district meeting this week we talked about it with the other sisters in the district and we set a real vision, goals, and plans to make it official for our district this transfer. Actually, it’s really exciting because our mission has focused on this idea of visions, goals, and plans a lot and it like directly correlates with my major at BYU! In Public Relations we always talk about what the end goal, the objectives we need to meet in order to accomplish that goal, and then the strategies and tactics to meet the objectives. I am OBSESSED with this whole process of problem solving and it makes me so excited that we focus on that so much in missionary work. It makes it easier to wrap my brain around. And in my patriarchal blessing, it actually talks about how my educational opportunities will greatly help me in other components of my life. This has been such a great example of that and it makes me just really excited to see blessings I’ve been promised come to be because… well, that means I’m doing SOMETHING right!! Haha.
 
We had such a crazy experience this week. 
 
Well, I’m in Pennsylvania… Right? 
 
WE DID LAUNDRY FOR A HOARDER.
I can’t tell you how many times that day I was sitting there saying to myself, “Is this seriously my life right now?”
This sweet little lady in our ward is a death hoarder after losing her husband and son and she’s recently decided to move. So obviously this has been a ward affair trying to get everything settled. Anyway, she called us and asked if we could help her do some laundry because she can’t get around too easily and doesn’t have a laundry unit in her house. We were thinking it would be like two loads or something. NOPE. Six bags of laundry. SIX. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ….. 6! Holy hannah. So, she set us with a check to cash to be able to have money to DO the laundry with and then we packed up the six bags of laundry in our car. We drove to the bank, go the money, and then didn’t know where the laundromat was. Naturally, we typed it into the GPS and it said there was “G&J 
Coin Laundry” 3.4 miles away. Cool. We had like hundreds of extra miles in February because our car had been in the shop for a while among some snow days… So not a problem. Well… This lady lives in Aliquippa… Which is like ghetto fabulous Pennsylvania status. And it’s definitely the elders’ area. Basically, Beaver and Beaver Falls and New Brighton, etc…. (My area) is anything north of the Ohio River. Then, Monaca, Aliquippa, Hopewell, etc (the elders’ area) is anything south. Well, if you go to the east of our ward you have Cranberry and Ambridge which is where the elders and sisters in our district live. 
 
We were driving through Aliquippa to this laundry place when all of a sudden we’re crossing the Aliquippa-Ambridge Bridge. It was super foggy and windy so we couldn’t see any signs until we were ON THE BRIDGE and realized we were driving out of our area. … Awesome. So we drove… And drove… And drove… And realized that 3.4 miles away meant “as a crow flies” and it was actually like a 20 mile drive. STRESS ATTACK. And then… IT DIDN’T EVEN EXIST. So, we drove to Elder Vassallo and Elder Ashton’s apartment in Ambridge and left a note on their car and went BACK to Aliquippa…. Ahhh. Finally. We found the laundomat that was a block away from this lady’s house. KILLLLLLLL.
 
We loaded our six loads of terrible smelling laundry and I’m pretty sure when we took out one of the blankets we washed, french fries fell out of it. Yikes. $30 later.. we were done. All the while, there was some kid puking in the bathroom you have to pay for and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was playing. 
 
WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME?!

 
Okay. Enough of that.
 
So here’s actually a cool experience. In Sacrament Meeting, the bishop bore his testimony and as part of it mentioned how great of an example us full-time missionaries are and how all of the ward can surely trust us with their friends and loved ones. Then, he had us all over for dinner and then sat down with us at the end of dinner and we went through the entire ward list. We discussed the needs of every individual or family in our ward boundaries and he gave some specific counsel for how we can best help these people. At the end of that, one of the elders asked if there was anything we could do better. His response was, “I meant what I said in Sacrament Meeting today. The four of you are by far the best group of missionaries we have ever had in this area. You are doing great work here. I know this area can be a hard one, but you are all working diligently and we are greatly blessed to have you here.” … Or something that effect. Regardless, I felt so energized and ready to do the work. It really has motivated me to do more and BE BETTER because we have expectations to live up to. Through humility, diligence, and obedience, I know that we will continue to help this area thrive.
 
Side note..
 
Everyone and their dog tells me that I remind them of someone they know or that I look like someone they know. I didn’t realize I was such a common person. Haha.
 
Alrighty kids well since we’re moving our new library is actually pretty sketchy and doesn’t send pictures like this one so I’m gonna hit the road on this email and send a bunch of pictures to stock up for the next little while. 
 
Love you all!! And remember everyone… Jesus saves you more!!
(This was from the little adventure we took to Ambridge.. Hahaha)
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Beaver Missionaries
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Elder Adamson, Sister Hanseen, Sister Crockett (I think — this is Dad maybe falling short…)
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Sister Walbourne and Sister Hanseen
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Sister Hanseen and Sister Morphy
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Last District meeting of this Transfer
Ditchin’ the Falls….