Transfers, Elder Holland, and Memorial Day in 1 week! I’m exhauseted!

This has easily been one of the longest weeks of my life. I can’t even tell you how physically tired I feel and how spiritually PUMPED I feel simultaneously. I can’t even believe that it’s only been a week since I’ve been in my new area.
 
So. First thing’s first. New area. The one and only ELIZABETHTOWN, PA. So. Elizabethtown. Cute place in Lancaster County (yes don’t you worry, we literally got held up in traffic behind a buggy that was turning into the grocery store, Weis, and had blinkers on the back of the buggy… Like electronic ones… Yeah, what?). I’m serving in the Elizabethtown Ward in the Lancaster Stake and my new companion is Sister Johnson. She was trained by my MTC Companion, Sister Bateman and she’s only been out east! Now, I was in State College which was KIND OF east, but not really. State College is its own little bubble of a world. But Elizabethtown is the epitome of eastern Pennsylvania. It smells like two things any given day: manure or chocolate. There’s a chocolate factory nearby and on Saturday when we got out of the car in Mt. Joy, it smelled like brownies! Haha. So weird.
 
My district is AWESOME. I’m seriously so excited for it. Sister Morphy who served with me in Cranberry is in it and I get to go on exchange with her this week! And Elder Gibson is our district leader. Weirdest story about him.. We flew out together and sat next to each other for both flights. And on the flights we talked the whole time and were instantly best friends. We both said the first areas we wanted to serve in and we both went there! I wanted State College and he wanted Hershey. So crazy! And now he’s my district leader. Awesome. The elders in my ward are the Zone Leaders and they are seriously the bomb. I love them. They’re hilarious. I’m so pumped to be serving with Elder Taylor and Elder Durham! It’s already been a blast.
 
Okay so Tuesday I drove from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, then to Elizabethtown. We got home about 10:45 pm. Longest day ever. THEN, we worked on Wednesday as normal but quickly got back in the car on Thursday morning to drive back to Cranberry for Elder Holland. So I drove into my old area almost just two days after I left it. Long drives filled with lots of laughing, especially at the Zone Leaders who got pulled over on the turnpike when they were trying to be cool and passed us. Don’t worry, we got a video of it. 🙂 Anyway, so.. ELDER HOLLAND.
 
Oh man. Quick highlights. So much to say. So little time.
 
First, Elder Coons (Area Seventy).
Talked about the new mission president and said that when there’s a new one coming in, there is usually a divide: those who are loyal to the new one and those who aren’t. The key factor? Are you obedient to mission rules and the guidelines of your current mission president? If so, you’re set. Awesome. I’m there. Sounds great. I feel like I can be successful at that.
 
Second, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom (Presidency of the Seventy)
Said that that day could be a day of significant change in our lives if we listen, ponder and DO what we are told basically. Not just in missions but in our lives. Missions are about becoming. They are about FOREVER. Not just on the mission. We should never fully leave our missions! He talked about discipleship a lot. What it means to be a disciple and what the characteristics of a disciple are. It was very inspiring. We have to act according to what we believe. That’s true faith. THAT’S true discipleship. Following Christ because we believe in Him. Whatever is standing in our way from becoming a disciple can truly be overcome through the Atonement.
 
Third, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
They shook all of our hands individually and looked us in the eyes and thanked us for our service. How cool. And then he said that they interviewed us personally in that brief interaction and that we look good. We are doing well as a mission. What an amazing thing!
 
He talked a lot about how well we were doing and then told us that we need to get with it. All of us, as a church. But as a mission, we have so much more that we can achieve. He talked about energy. How when something is going to explode, there has to be a catalyst. We have to find our catalysts to explode in our conversion. Do we draw near Him with our lips but our hearts are far from Him? We have to give him EVERYTHING. And be excited about it!
 
He got very emotional when he talked about missionaries who come home and fail to remain faithful in the Gospel. It’s hard enough to lose the sheep… but we can’t afford to lose the shepherds, too. The converts of the church ALWAYS remember the missionaries who taught them. And Elder Holland said, “Don’t you DARE betray them.” It’s so true. We have to always live worthy of the trust of those whom we have taught. Always. This isn’t just about the 2 years or 18 months. It’s about forever!
 
He looked us in the eyes a the end and told us to always and forever remember that we heard him say, “This is the truth of the Almighty God.” This is the bread of life! This is happiness. THIS is salvation and eternal life. What a miracle.
 
It was so cool to have the opportunity to see President Topham get to see us all together one last time. He was so emotional and overwhelmed by his gratitude to see each of our smiling faces individually as we shook the hand of an apostle of the Lord. What a great and glorious opportunity. One that I will never forget.
 
Now, here’s just a funny quote from Elder Holland in our meeting.
“King Noah was kind of a slob! Forgive me, that’s not an apostolic word… (after quite a pause).. Well, he wasn’t an apostolic person!”
 
Haha it was so great. He walked through the aisles and talked WITH us. Really spoke with us. There is no doubting that he cares for the missionaries of the church.
 
Anyway, there were so many other things but I’m rambling. Ask me about it in 5 months. I’ll give you all the details.
 
Other highlights of the week:
–Sister Johnson got pulled over and almost  had to do a sobriety test the first night I was with her. Um. Yeah. What’s with other people’s driving? Haha. I have pictures that I’ll send from that night. The cop showed us the video of her driving. It was hilarious.
–We had someone referred to us who has already been mostly taught and really wants to be baptized. WHAT?! Yeah. I maaaaay get to be a part of my first person being baptized while I’m there! Cross your fingers!
–Seeing all the missionaries at Elder Holland was SO SO awesome. So many people I so dearly love. What a blessing to see them all! Except my shirt came untucked for like ten pictures and NOBODY TOLD ME!! Ahhh I’m so mad. So so mad. Oh well. There’s still some good pictures. 🙂
–Memorial Day was so fun. We played volleyball and had a barbecue and played baseball! It was great. I’m so tired today but it was worth it!
 
Everyone I love and miss you! I’m having a blast in Etown! And I miss you so much you should all send me mail. 😉 Haha. Keep being awesome everyone! Love you!
Love,
Sister McKann Hanseen
6 Williamsburg
Elizabethtown, PA
17022
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Sister Jenna Johnson, Sister McKann Hanseen, Elder Jordan Taylor, Elder Alex Durham
 
 
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Sister Ferin’s Posterity.  I’m a grandma now!  Sister Peterson, Trained by Sister Hathaway, is training now!  Awesome!
Transfers, Elder Holland, and Memorial Day in 1 week! I’m exhauseted!

Let’s not say good-bye, let’s just say au revoir…

​Leave it to Beaver to steal your heart away right before you totally get ripped away. It’s official. I’m getting transferred. And I’m pretty bummed about it.

I definitely thought that it could be a good thing to get transferred, but I kind of felt like I wouldn’t actually be leaving. So, I wasn’t even slightly prepared. No pictures taken. Not a THING packed. When the Zone Leaders called on Friday I was seriously shocked. So was Sister Wilde. It’s pretty nuts. But it will be fun to see a new area and experience new things. And to go to transfer meeting. That’s always a total blast. 🙂 I love seeing missionaries. So it’ll be a missionary filled week with Elder Holland and Elder Hallstrom coming on Thursday! What a treat.

Here’s something super cool… I got asked to sing when Elder Holland comes! Totally singing a solo for an apostle! … Okay I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I’m singing in a small choir of missionaries though, so that’s pretty cool. What an awesome opportunity!

It’s been really hard to say goodbye to this ward. Some of these people here have been such anchors to me when things were particularly tough my first two transfers here. Last night I said goodbye to the Bishop of the ward and that was hard. But it’s always a good experience to feel like you’ve actually made a difference in the lives of those around you and in the places you serve. What a privilege!

This week was pretty slow as far as the work goes, which is kind of a bummer, but it was still good. We had an amazing lesson with one of our less actives who has a really big desire to change. We worked on helping her focus on her vision for herself and her family on a smaller scale. Of course, the goal is to get to the temple and be sealed as a family. But it made things click so much more for us to take it down a few levels and set a vision and goals to help her to feel how much power she truly has to obtain those things, so that she can eventually get to the temple with her family!

I think that most missionaries experience this, but it’s pretty crazy how rapidly things seem to be changing as I get nearer and nearer to the end. Satan works hard to get you distracted, and sometimes he succeeds. But it’s so amazing to be able to overcome that and just GET TO WORK.

There’s this awesome talk that Sister Holmstead shared with me called “The Mortal Christ” by Jack Christensen (I think?? It’s one of those Covenant Communications things…) and there’s a part at the beginning where he says this:

SATAN DON’T KICK NO DEAD DOGS.

Terrible grammar, he recognizes. But knows that if he said it properly it wouldn’t be remembered.

Satan has to work so hard to get at the people who are doing righteous things. When someone’s already down, he’s not wasting his time kicking them further, because they tend to do that on their own. But he works at those who are on an uphill. We are at WAR with Satan. And when we think about the amazing tools we’ve been given to combat him, how can we not feel at peace? That’s so awesome.

Anyway, I’m just rambling. But in a round-about way, it’s kind of cool to know when Satan’s trying really hard to get you down and then you can just laugh in his face and be like.. “TAKE THAT, SATAN. I’m doing what’s RIGHT. Awwww yeaaaaahhh.”

I’m looking forward to reporting on my future adventures.
I’m so appreciative of the endless prayers that are offered on my behalf.
I love being a missionary.

And to bring it back to the title of the email, Beaver Valley, “Let’s not say goodbye, let’s just say ‘au revoir.'”
And for anyone who actually knows that quote…. You’re the best. (Ahem ahem tyleraimeeheatherjoe… )

 
The Bishop’s family.

(Tyler Weeks, Haley Weeks, Me, Bonnie Weeks, Bishop Kerry Weeks)

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Nate McBride, Sister Hanseen, Nick McBride, LaVarr McBride
 
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Elder Tony Adamson                                                     Sister McKann Hanseen
 
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Sister Hanseen and the Green family being the Green Family…
 
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Haley Weeks and Schultz the Dog…. and Sister Hanseen
 
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Sister Sara Wilde, Sister McKann Hanseen, Elder Austin Waddoups, Elder Tony Adamson
 
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Eli and Lisa DeBaker, Sister Hanseen
Let’s not say good-bye, let’s just say au revoir…

Week of Miracles!

This week I got a lot of great emails that I would love to respond to and because I’ll be talking with the fam bam this week on Sunday, I’m thinking just sharing some choice experiences will be great and help you feel the spirit of what I’m learning out here.

So.. Family, sorry this isn’t really in the correct form it would be if I was just talking to you.

Last week, Dad sent me a great email about a spiritual experience he had. While listening to a homecoming talk from a boy in the ward, he had a realization that although all missions are different, MISSIONARIES and their desires really aren’t. We all have this great desire to help fulfill our purpose of helping others to come unto Christ. He sensed that I’ve been frustrated with the fact that our teaching has been limited at best. I definitely had been feeling that way, despite the amazing experiences we have here almost daily. But he decided that he would recruit the help of my siblings and some dear friends and neighbors to pray earnestly for my companion and I to find someone to teach that can progress toward baptism.

I was so touched by that and very inspired. I told Sister Wilde after email time of the experience and we both got pretty excited. And then, I kid you not, three hours later we received a media referral from a man in Utah who wanted to tell us more about his friend that lives in our area. Then, that night, we were at a dinner appointment where there were three nonmembers. Two of them have invited us over to learn more about the Restored Gospel. And another member who was at the dinner appointment gave us the contact info of her cousin who wants to learn more and just recently moved to our area.

The results?

3 really solid potential investigators. Faye, Kathy, and Jack. We are setting up appointments with them this week.

1 NEW PROGRESSING INVESTIGATOR WHO HAS COMMITTED TO BE BAPTIZED.
Renee. She’s a gem. She invited us over and we brought a member to teach her the first lesson. It went great. She told us her goal is to become “truly converted and be baptized.” She attended Stake Conference this weekend and it was greatly focused on the safety and guidance that comes through prayer and scripture study. Perfect for a new investigator. We have a lesson set up for tomorrow and we are planning to set her with a baptismal date in the coming future.

This is no accident. The Lord answers prayers. I am so indebted to all those who faithfully called upon the powers of heaven in behalf of my companion and me, as well as this beautiful soul who is coming unto Christ. I cannot be more grateful and excited for this opportunity to teach.

Quickly, I want to share another experience. Yesterday was kind of a tough day. Nothing terribly bad happened but it was just kind of hard because I wasn’t as obedient as I should’ve been. None of us missionaries were. We definitely overstayed our welcome at some members’ homes who we love dearly. But anyone who’s ever been a missionary or even knows anything about it knows that it’s a pretty big missionary no-no to do that. And I definitely felt responsible for not sticking up for anything. I gave in to peer pressure and I’ll just say this. IT WAS NOT WORTH IT. Yes, it was fun. Yes, we had a good time. But it was not worth the time we spent there and wasted. I will disclaimer all of this with saying that this is not a normal thing and I really keep the rules as best as I can. But I slipped up and made a mistake. I apologized to those who I needed to apologize to, including the other missionaries, for not taking that responsibility and I have committed to myself, the other missionaries, the mission president in my email to him today, and, most importantly, the Lord, that I will not be making the same mistake again.

I don’t tell this story to show you how bad of a missionary I am or anything. But instead, I just felt that it’s so important for you to know that missionaries are not perfect and we are learning so much. I’ve been out a year and I definitely know the rules! But I made a mistake and I felt the awful feelings that come from it. And then I felt a calm assurance that guess what? Heavenly Father still loves me and is so excited that I want to do better and BE better. What a marvelous feeling that is.

I’m sure you’re all thinking I’m totally crazy now because in reality that whole situation was not that big of a deal and I have been out on my mission way too long. But that’s okay. 🙂 I just felt like I would share the imperfections and normal experiences of missionary life. Haha.

Everyone, this work is great. I’m blessed to be here. What a privilege to serve the Lord in His divine work!

Keep on keepin’ on, everybody! You’re awesome. Have a great week!

Here’s me and my entourage. “Hey Ken, do you wanna be a part of my entourage?!” … 30 Rock anyone?? Okay. Love yinz.

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L to R  Sister Sara Wilde (McKann’s comp), Sister Alyssa Aston, Sister Hanseen, Sister Amber Gates

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Sister Amber Gates and Sister Hanseen

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Sisters Wilde, Hanseen, Gates, and Aston by the bridge

 

Week of Miracles!