Repeat title – Stadium of Fire! dun dun dun – Stadium of Fire dun dun dun

Celebrate tonight, fill the sky with light, that is our DESIIIIIIREEEEEE…
 
 
STADIUM OF FIRE!
 
Okay. Dang it. missing that one again this year. Only a little piece of my heart is ripped to SHREDS AND CRYING OUT IN AGONY HERE! Okay. I’m being dramatic. But I definitely just love the Stadium of Fire. And all that is 4th of July celebrations in Provo. 🙂 Sounds like the celebrations this year are definitely not all that they normally are so I guess that’s good. I’m not missing out on much. And unlike last year, this year’s celebrations are like.. non existant. No participating in a parade in State College. No yummy dinner at the Leavitt’s. We pretty much don’t have a dinner appointment and we probably have to be in early because it’s a holiday and… Yeah.
 
What was that? Was that a whiney missionary? Nahhh..
 
Anyway, for whatever reason I’m super short on time… Probably because I just sent our new mission president, President Johnson, a recap of my ENTIRE  MISSION. Yes. I forwarded him every single email I’ve ever sent home. Just kidding. But I did go through all my areas so he has an idea of where I’ve been, etc. So it took a while. Because I’m old. “Someone get you dentures and a cane!” as Elder Martin so kindly says to me anytime he sees me now.
 
This week has been a week of miracles though. I can’t even begin to describe them all. But I’m going to try!
 
The Lititz Sisters have officially moved out and now I’m just MEGABEDding it all my by myself. haha. Except I don’t even sleep on both the beds because it was seriously killing my back. Haha.
 
We have two new elders in our district! Elder Baggett is serving in my ward and he’s from Bountiful, UT. And then Elder Boren is from Thatcher, AZ and he’s serving with Elder Gibson in Lititz. Yes, Thatcher, AZ like the place the two football guys are from in the Mormon Message… Come on, fellow missionaries, be in shock and jealousy because I know that you’re the only ones who even know what I’m talking about! Anyway.. Yeah, “Boren” is mostly said like “Bourne” and his first name is definitely Jason. Not kidding. Serving with Jason Bourne. Holla!
 
Okay so I don’t know if I told everyone about Heather, Robert and June last week but if not you’ll just have to believe that it was really awesome to find them and set an appointment with them. But here’s what happened this week. Typed straight out of my journal (how embarrassing):
 
We had a lesson that we set with heather, Robert, and June from last week. We went… NOT home! Ah! I was so sad! But I didn’t give up. Sis. J and I decided to keep trying to find the 3 new investigators we set a goal for. We decided to tract a sketchy apartment building and knocked this door and the girl that answered acted really weird. Then, we heard someone near the door say, “I don’t care what they are coming for, if they knock on my door again…” so we quickly walked out of the building.
 
We decided to go work and then try back to H, R, & J’s later. We walked to Etown Square and didn’t find anyone and started to go try to tract a building but decided against it. Then , we were walking and randomly (or not so randomly) decided to walk down this street/back alley. Walking. Both decide one specific door to tract. Two little girls yell out from another house and say they’re not home. Talked to girls. Older girl walks up and sits on porch of tracted house. Go back, talk to girl. She just moved here. Wants to learn more. Return appointment set for Tuesday.
 
 
… Not even kidding. Everything had to work out perfectly for us to meet that girl, Samantha! It was just one of those days where I came home and felt like, “YES! I DID find everyone the Lord prepared for me to find today!” It was awesome.
 
We had a lesson with Ciara and she is still progressing swimmingly. It’s so great. She’s still set for her baptismal date of August 16th and I couldn’t be more thrilled. She’s awesome. Hopefully we’re teaching her at the Ward Mission Leader’s house on Wednesday after dinner. That will be great.
 
Last week we met this awesome Samoan family, right? Well, they said they were going to come to church this week. On Friday, I decided we should fast for them. So we did. And then they didn’t come to church. BUT, the bishop told us that day that he is planning on asking Kalili to speak in church and I think that will definitely get them to church. So in the Lord’s time, our prayers are definitely answered. I love it.
 
We had a less active girl named Amber come to church for the first time. She was well fellowshipped by one of the members and she came to church and sat with us! She’s like 11. And I love her. And that was awesome. We also stopped by to visit our investigator, Ann, who we haven’t seen in a while after church on Sunday. It seemed like she wasn’t really interested in talking at first. But she let us in and we started just talking about her and what was going on in her life and then all of a sudden her son, Alex, started asking us questions. Like TONS of questions. Turns out he went to ASU and knew tons of Mormons and really loved them. He said that if there was ever a religion he would settle down with and stick to, it would definitely be ours. So… new investigator found!
 
It’s so awesome. I just feel like everything is slowly picking up as we’re doing all we can to be more and more diligent and obedient and humble. It’s great. And I’m so excited to have a new mission president (so so so sad to see the Topham’s leave, don’t get me wrong), but I’m excited that he and his wife have gotten the latest in training about missionary work that the church has to offer and we get to be a part of that! What an honor. I’m so excited to keep working hard and truly doing all I can to reap the harvest of souls.
 
One thing that we’ve been focusing on with the elders in our ward is how to help members do missionary work and understand why they’re supposed to.
 
Missionary work is not necessarily about the obligation we have to save everyone else. It is about OUR salvation. When we do missionary work, our sins are washed away, too. We get to help in sharing salvation and eternal life, and in doing so, we learn how to obtain our own.
 
So member missionary work is not just about finding people for the missionaries. It’s about.. When we really understand the Atonement and the Gospel and it makes a change in our lives, we can’t HELP but share it. When we truly love those around us, our natural instinct is to share with them what makes us happy. That is the Gospel. That is the bread of life. That is Jesus Christ.
 
Anyway, just a little rant there. This week is going to be great. There’s a lot to look forward to! Enjoy the holiday festivities for me and then realize that unless you count Halloween as a real holiday (which it is but it’s not like one of my favorites really) then I’m going to be joining you for the next one. That’s a little freaky.
 
Love you all!
 
p.s. My current worldly concern is where I should work when I get home. It’s definitely something I’m not trying to worry to much about, but it’s a reality. So any and all advice or suggestion on that end of things would be appreciated!
 
 
We peer-pressured Sister Johnson into cutting her hair last week. There were lots of tears. And I think she hated us at first. But she likes it now and is glad she did it. 🙂

 
And here’s just a little flashback of the results of too much fun last  year on the 4th of July.. :)​

 

Repeat title – Stadium of Fire! dun dun dun – Stadium of Fire dun dun dun

Another Transfer… going … going… gone… SAD!

This whole transfer business makes me way freak out because OH MY HECK. We’re not even going to talk about how few transfers I have left. It’s unreal. Yikes.
 
So, Sister Johnson is staying in Etown. Not surprising or anything. Just the update there. The Lititz Sisters (Sister Morphy and Sister Doxey) are staying together as well. Elder Bladh is finishing his mission so he’s leaving us (how rude!) and then Elder Taylor is getting transferred. That was pretty sad. He’s fun. But we’ll be getting two new elders in the district which is pretty much a party. Hopefully they’re not lame. 🙂
 
This week feels like it was SOOO long. You thought bed bugs were bad? Oh man. Try going to the dentist.
 
So, Wednesday, we taught a lesson to this less active named Jalinn. It went pretty well. Then, we were off to Hershey. Yes, you heard me. The one and only HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA! Where they make all of your delicious little chocolate bars and once a year make the amazing Cadbury Mini Eggs. (BTW when Sister Weeks came a few weeks ago, she brought me a bunch of treats. In the bag of treats was probably the last existing bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs for 2014. I should sell it on eBay or something. Haha. So yummy!) But, as we entered the sweetest place on earth, we didn’t know we’d be entering DOOMSVILLE for the day! Holy cow.
We met up with the Hershey Sisters (AKA SISTER HURDSMAN!!! and Sister Thatcher is also so great too but I was so excited to see my baby!!) and went to eat at this totally Hershey-esque place called Phillip Arthur’s and it was awesome. Then, off to the dentist. Pulled up to 1135 Chocolate Ave. and went in to start the paperwork. Well.. They couldn’t find insurance info and it was all confusing and upon calling President Topham he gave permission for me to text Dad! As he and my siblings already know, of course. It was quite the texting conversation, let me tell you. So much confusion. The people at the office were mad. And I was just flustered as all get out because they had told me on the phone that I had all the information they needed already! Lame. Anyway. Went in to the dentist chair while Sister Johnson waited in the lobby and I had the phone. As SOON as they leaned me back and had me open my mouth, the phone starts buzzing in my pocket (shout out to sisters and Nana who bought me skirts with pockets!). I pull it up and look and it says “Elder Bentley.” Great, something with our car. We can call him back after. Well, another call with “Elder Bentley,” on the screen. Then a text message saying to call him when we get a minute. Then two minutes later a call from “Lancaster ZL’s”… And another call… and another call… all the while there are fingers in my mouth and lights on my face… Yeah. Then, “Lititz Sisters” appears on the screen. What?! What in the world is going on?! Finally, a text from the sisters saying our car was parked somewhere it shouldn’t be.
 
So, panic strikes and I stop the dentist before he looks in my mouth again.
“Um… I’m being told my car is parked somewhere it shouldn’t be.”
“What?”
“Yeah.. Hold on.. Let me look out the window.”
..
“Okay, Doctor Dentist Man, see that white Malibu?”
“Yes, what’s wrong?”
“Well, can I be parked there?”
“Of course you can! That’s our parking lot. Is there a problem?”
 
Cue super embarrassment and confusion.
 
So they finished the appointment, said my teeth were fantastic so they were really confused why my mouth has been aching and aching. But it has! They prescribed me some super fancy expensive mouth rinse that has kind of helped but I’m still just confused about how I don’t have any cavities!
 
I walked out into the lobby to find the Hershey Sisters in a panic. What was going on?!
 
… Long story short, some random man called the Lancaster ZLs (not even IN the Hershey zone) and complained that one of their cars was parked and blocking his way.. Like yelling at them! But we weren’t? It was so bizarre. Talk about persecution! Haha I kid, I kid. But it was strange.
 
And Elder Bentley was calling because when I got put in the area, I found some damage on the car that I think was caused by Sister Johnson hitting a curb (she doesn’t believe me and gets pretty defensive whenever I say that but the car had been inspected a few weeks before and I hadn’t driven the car at that point…) so we’ve had to get everything assessed. Elder Bentley said we’re going to have to get it repaired in about a week. So, my third drive area where I will be out of a car for a while because it’s getting repaired. WHAT IS WITH MY LUCK?! Okay, okay. I need to quit being dramatic. Opportunities will arise from the trials! Yes!
 
So… Besides that.. The Lititz Sisters moved out again… And then moved back… and are moving out again tomorrow. I’m seriously so bummed. Sister Morphy has just like SAVED me the past four weeks. We’ve been so close and when things have gotten hard it’s been so good to have her there with me. So I’m a little upset. But we see them like every other day anyway… So I just need to get over it and realize that I can be more effective with normal missionary life. Haha. No, but it’s been such a blessing to get to be close with these sisters and be able to grow in unity with those sisters and with our district.
 
We had a really cool experience this week. We’ve been working really hard to clean up our area book and get it into a condition that will help future missionaries be successful. In the process of that, we found a former investigator, Heather, and decided to give her a try. Some missionaries in the past have tried to be in contact with her but she hasn’t ever seemed super interested. We stopped by this week, her husband let us in, and we visited with Heather, Robert (her husband) and her daughter June, who recently moved in with her mom. Heather just got full custody of June last week and as we were talking about the Book of Mormon, Heather said, “June, maybe this is something we can do together!” The whole family got excited about reading the Book of Mormon and Restoration pamphlets together and set a return appointment for this week. I’m so excited to get June involved with the Young Women program, and I feel that will be a great resource and opportunity for us to work more closely with the youth in our ward. I’m excited about them!
 
We also were able to visit a less active family yesterday that missionaries haven’t been in contact with too frequently. They warmly welcomed us into their home and said, without us coaxing them to, that they will be at church next Sunday and that they have really missed the spirit that church attendance brings in their lives. I’m excited to continue working with them as well! They’re from American Samoa and OH MY HECK. They have the cutest kids ever. They have a three month old baby who just has like three inches of black hair that stands straight up and I just want to eat her up! I’ll have to get a picture of her soon to send home.
 
At this point in my mission, I feel more excited and energetic about the work than ever. And because of that, I definitely feel the adversary working harder on me than ever before. I’ve never had trunkier moments than I’ve been having, but I’ve also never felt so much joy coming from forgetting myself and getting to work! It’s difficult, but so very rewarding. What a privilege to be able to learn such valuable lessons! I really do know that working hard is the way to stay focused and I’ve been trying to just keep my mind on the work. There is so much work here to do.. We’re just working on finding it! So, onward and upward! Here’s to another great week in Pennsylvania!
 
Me in Hershey!

 
Our last district picture! (We actually only had two district meetings this transfer because of bed bugs, Elder Holland, and Zone Conference.. Haha weird!)
 
From back to front:
L to R: Me, Sister Meredith Morphy, Sister Shannon Doxey, Elder Kendrick Gibson, Sister Jenna Johnson, Elder Alex Durham
L to R: Elder Jordan Taylor, Elder Josh Bladh

 
Another Transfer… going … going… gone… SAD!

Hey Everybody!!!

Lamest title of an email ever. My bad. It’s just a non-creative week.
 
I actually don’t have a ton to email about this week. It’s been pretty slow on the work end of things. Ciara was out of town. Barry and Delores dropped us about three days after we taught them that amazing lesson (don’t even want to talk about it I’m still so upset!). And we had zone conference.. Which was definitely the highlight of my week. That was so fun.
 
So. Zone Conference in this neck of the woods is HUGE. We had three zones meeting together: Harrisburg, Chambersburg, and ours (Lancaster). Oh. For all yinz at home that think that I’m saying “Lan-caster”… nope. But I’m trying to figure out how I can write out a phonetic spelling and it’s not really going down. Ask me another time. 🙂 Anyway. 85 missionaries! Crazy. And then we had about 10 missionaries who were giving their departing testimonies. At the last zone conference before you go home, you give a departing testimony. One of the testimonies was pretty epic. He talked about how the greatest things in history have happened in groves of trees. Gethsemane, the First Vision, etc. Then he just paused and got this epic voice and said, “This is my grove.” Hahaha. No, it was really really awesome actually but I’m just not sure how to depict it quite accurately through email. What was really killer is sitting their realizing that next time I have a zone conference, I won’t just be a normal missionary. I’ll be an old missionary giving her departing testimony. Killer. More motivation to work hard so I have cooler things to say in my testimony. 😉
 
I got to see so many missionaries I love dearly! It was fun to be on the other side of the mission. But the coolest thing was that we got to say bye to President and Sister Topham. It was definitely hard but I am so excited that they won’t be too far away. 🙂 We got to take pictures with them and then they also both gave us hugs! Gasp, I know. But they give hugs at the airport so they got to give hugs this week.  Awesome.
 
It is going to be really cool to get a new mission president as well, though. I’m excited to see what his new training will be able to add to our mission. And then I’m excited to just keep hitting the pavement and getting to work!
 
I am so thrilled to be here. There’s a lot more I have to learn and I’m grateful to be able to repent every night. 🙂 I’m becoming so much better than I ever could’ve dreamed of at this age had I not served a mission. I will never be ungrateful for this privilege.
 
Thanks to everyone who continues to support me! I am so blessed.
 
Hey Everybody!!!

This bedbugs post is killing me…

Oh dear family and friends. You would not BELIEVE this week. It should be on some sort of “craziest missionary happenings” TV show or something.
 
Let me just start out with the beginning of the week and then we’ll get into the good stuff.
 
PSYCH. BIGGEST SHOUT OUT EVER TO MY FAVORITE LITTLE NEW SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GILLIAN!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOVELY LADY I’M SO SAD I’M NOT THERE. HAVE THE BEST DAY EVER!!
 
And almost as cool is that Nyia just graduated high school! Congratulations!
“What are you trying to become?”
“A graduate!”
 
… Name it? Anyone?? Same friends will still be the only ones to get it: Tyler, Aimee, Heather, Joe. 🙂
 
Anyway…
 
Tuesday was Sister Johnson’s birthday so people fed us good food. I’m a really good companion and didn’t get her anything… it’s way too awkward when you’re with them all the time! Haha. So. Sweet. We met a guy that night named Ralph and he refused to call us “sister” and that’s secretly my favorite.. When old guys insist on calling you your first name. It’s hilarious.
 
On Wednesday I went to Lititz with Sister Morphy (one of the sisters who I served with in Cranberry, who is now my STL and in my district). We had our exchange and then headed out there to go eat lunch and teach a bunch of people. We had some awesome lessons, laughed a lot, and just had a blast. But one thing.. Sister Morphy and her previous companion, Sister Denney, had been getting little bites on their arms when they slept for about three months but didn’t think anything of it. Then, the new STL, Sister Doxey came in and she got eaten alive! So while Sister Morphy and I are headed to Lititz we called the mission office and basically all heck broke loose because they were thinking it was bed bugs. But we just continued our day because there was nothing we could do about it right then. So, we had dinner, went to BOM class, and then some member showed us a picture of a bed bug. Well, lo and behold.. that is the same bug Sister Morphy and Sister Denney had been seeing around their apartment for a little while. Oh heavens. So crazy. We went home, got ready for bed, and were sitting in the bedroom just talking with the light on and about an hour later these little dark bugs just start crawling out of the ceiling.
“Sister Hanseen… Do you see those?”
“Yes. Oh. NO. Those aren’t…”
*screams*
*both stand up on the bed nearest the wall to take a look*
*more screams*
TOTALLY BED BUGS.
 
Sister Morphy and I went all Crocodile Dundee on them and started getting toilet paper to flush them down the toilet. Then we slowly started noticing little blood spots all around the edges of the walls. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! So. The next two hours consists of us taking a bright flashlight, turning off the bedroom light, and scanning the walls to see these nasty little baby bed bugs scampering across the walls. We killed all the ones we could find and then just layed on the beds in a state of sheer terror.
 
We decided to sleep with the lights on for the last four hours that we could sleep until 6:30 and we were terrified the whole time. I kept waking up. Then the 6:30 alarm went off and we were just like, “Heck no. There is no way we are going to function today. One more hour, we’ll turn the light off and hope that we can get some restful sleep to just get going for the day.” (p.s. I didn’t even feel slightly guilty about that because we were seriously zombies). Anyway. Turn off the light. Catchin’ some z’s. Then I’m seriously having all these freaky dreams about bed bugs. We wake up an hour later. Sister Morphy turns on the light and I open my eyes and see a freaking bed bug crawling across my sheets next to my face. FREAK OUT! Uh yeah. Then we pull off my comforter and there they are.. Little tiny blood dots on the sheets. And new ones in Sister Morhpy’s, too.
 
EW. Bed bugs! Yeah, and here’s the kicker. Lititz sisters don’t have laundry in their apartment. So, they had just taken ALL OF THEIR LAUNDRY AND BEDDING TO OUR APARTMENT TO WASH IT. Mission office is panicking. We spent the entire day on an extended exchange, doing laundry in the Laundromat. Buying tons of stupid spray stuff to sanitize. Putting duct tape on the legs of all the furniture. More laundry. Itching and scratching the entire time. Sister Doxey and Sister Johnson doing the same over in Elizabethtown at our apartment.
 
 
So nuts. Then, the mission instructed that those sisters are to live with us in Elizabethtown until about four days after the extermination, just to be careful.
 
We’ve been doing laundry for four days straight. Trying to heal up all of Sister Doxey’s bites. Playing Nertz every night before bed. Eating yummy food. Having a PARTY all living together. Never sleeping. Making shadow puppets at night. Singing Disney songs all the time.  And … In the meantime, Sister Johnson and I picked up a new investigator this week!
 
Her name is Ciara. She just graduated from Penn State Altoona and has been investigating on and off for about two and a half years, I would say. She says she just keeps getting cold feet, basically. But now, she really feels like it’s time for her to just make the decision and dive in! Oh man. Everyone. This is like Luna status. That’s how awesome Ciara is. Speaking of Luna, she moved to Latrobe! What the heck, right? Maybe she’ll follow me back out to Utah and we can be best friends forever. 🙂 Haha.
 
Tonight, Sister Doxey is going on exchange to Hershey. Guess who’s coming to Etown with Sister Morphy? SISTER HURDSMAN!!! We get to have a big sleepover tonight! I’m seriously so excited. And today, for P-Day, we’re hanging out with the elders in our district at the church and guess what we’re going to play? ONKA! I haven’t played that game since State College.
 
OH man. Mission life? Nuts. So nuts. Who would’ve thought this is what I’d be doing in Pennsylvania?
 
Loving it. ​
 ​

Love,
Sister McKann Hanseen
6 Williamsburg
Elizabethtown, PA
17022
This bedbugs post is killing me…