Went to the Temple! Crossed the Susquehanna! It’s been a great five days!

Yesterday Sister Kerby and I walked across the Columbia-Wrightsville bridge and back… it’s the widest part of the Susquehanna River but it was beautiful even if it was a long walk and we didn’t end up really seeing anyone. But it made me grateful for bridges… and feel a little bit more gratitude for the pioneers who crossed those rivers!
 
Well it’s only been a little while since I emailed and I pretty much updated everyone on the area last time (I think) but I’m just going to tell about my experience at the temple. Glory, hallelujah!
 
So, Saturday morning the alarm went off at 5:00 am. I pried my eyes open, hit my knees to the floor, thanked my Heavenly Father that I got to go to the temple, and got ready to go. We left the apartment at 5:50 and drove to the Jacob’s house. We waited there while they got their stuff together and honestly I was kind of nervous because we were leaving later than anticipated. It was a 2 hour drive according to Google Maps and we had to make it for the 8:30 session otherwise we wouldn’t have time for a session and the Egbert’s sealing. So, we start on our way and Bro. Jacob is CRUISING! We ended up making it to the temple in an hour and a half.
 
We drove around the corner into the parking lot of the temple and there was an immediate familiarity of the grounds. The Spirit there was so real and I felt all sorts of emotion come over me. I really felt (as cliché as it sounds) like I was going home! It felt so normal and good and heavenly. The Jacob’s dropped us off and we walked in and I just felt overwhelmed with the Spirit. We got changed and went up and waited for the session.
 
I got to see the newest of the temple movies and considering that I hadn’t seen ANY of these new ones, let alone been to the temple in 16 months, I was just like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited the entire time and I just felt so grateful to be there.
 
But I believe the most powerful moment for me was when they prayed for the full-time missionaries in the prayer circle. The man praying just said so clearly and directly, “Protect them.” The echoes of faithful Latter-day Saints followed and I felt like my heart was being penetrated with gratitude for the blessings that pour from the windows of heaven in the temple. This truly is a divine work we are called to!
So, we finished the session and went upstairs to wait for the Egbert’s sealing to their son, Owen, to start. They just had all the paperwork for the adoption go through officially and they were sealed as a family on Saturday! So awesome. Anyway, I’m sitting there kind of whisper-talking with the members there and I look up at a doorway and who do I see? JESSE DAILY from my sophomore ward at BYU. And if you’re reflect back on an email from when I was in State College… this is the same friend who randomly showed up at the Penn State Branch! So, I asked whose sealing he was there for and he was there for the Egbert’s sealing TOO. He grew up with Bro. Egbert and since he’s living in DC he came for the sealing. We took a picture afterward:
 

 
So that was fun! I was thinking “wow, so awesome! I got to see someone I know at the temple that wasn’t in the Elizabethtown ward!”
 
… Well, just hold your breath here for a second.
 
We were walking back down to the floor with the dressing rooms and going around the corner to start down another stair case lined with the beautiful stained glass windows and all of a sudden, before I know it, someone grabbed my arm and said, “MCKANN?!” Well, considering I’ve been called Sister Hanseen for the past 16 months I was just as surprised as you are that someone was calling me McKann. I looked over and it was my friend Nick Segard from BYU. He was in my freshman ward and we were good friends! He just got back from his mission in Guatemala a few weeks ago and he was there to be sealed to his family! He lives in Virginia so that’s their temple, I think. But it was so crazy! I was so excited to see him. It was really really awesome. We didn’t take a picture though because they were just starting their sealing and we were leaving but it was fun to see him and chat for a few minutes.
 
I guess I really have no room to correct the other missionaries anymore when they tell me that I know everyone. I really just have a way with running into people I know in all sorts of places. Like the only two people I know that could’ve possibly been in that temple right then were both there. And as Nick said in his email to me about the whole event, “And let’s not even talk about the probability of us bumping into each other by the stairs in the middle of that huge temple!”
 
… Weird life, kids. My life is weird. And awesome.
 
I just want to testify of the blessings of the temple. I don’t know all of the mysteries of Heaven, but I do know that Heaven is real and that our Father there truly loves us. We may not understand everything about it, but we can know for a surety that the temple is of God and the blessings available within the walls are not of this world. They are truly divine. I have seen so many blessings come from the covenants I have made there and I cannot imagine sacrificing those for anything. Obedience brings blessings. There is power from on high just waiting to be bestowed upon us as we make ourselves worth to be covenant makers and keepers within the walls of the temple. I am so blessed to know this!
 
I love you all! I hope that you all find a way to get to the temple closest to you as soon as possible. And as Jesse said to me when I asked how often he goes to the temple, “I try to go every week. Because I figure if I’m worthy to be within the temple every week then I can’t go too far astray.” Wise words.
 
Have a fantastic week!
 
 
p.s. it was raining so I only got a few pictures. 😦

 

Love,
Sister McKann Hanseen
316 Rivermoor Dr.
Marietta, PA
17547
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Went to the Temple! Crossed the Susquehanna! It’s been a great five days!

Mid-week Email – Thanks to the Temple!

I don’t know if all of my friends in missions where they get to attend the temple really understand the awesomeness of the fact that we now get to attend the temple in our mission! Seriously. It used to be a totally strict NO from the area assigned Seventy and now there’s rules and guidelines but it’s so much more of a GO! President Johnson hardly even asked questions of details.. He just said, “Go! Have fun! Be safe!” So, Saturday morning at 6:00 am we’re starting our drive down to the Washington DC temple and we’ll do a session before the Egbert’s sealing to their son, Owen. Man. I’m so excited. And with that being said..

 

Hey everybody!

So.. It’s been quite a while. It’s such a crazy hectic week and a half that I just can’t even fill in all of the gaps. But, because it’s been so hectic, journal writing has definitely been limited so I’m hoping by giving a really detailed email home that this week of my life will be adequately documented. J Day by day play-by-play? (I call it the DBDPBP.. haha jokes).. Yep. Here we go.

At the end of every day in my Missionary Daily Planner I have written two letters: TM. Standing for “tender mercy,” I have recorded a tender mercy every single day for the past 7 transfers (since last October). I’ll start with each TM from the days I’ve been away from you lovely folks. Aaaand.. some of the tender mercies really won’t necessarily be related to everything that happened that day but, hey! It’s my tender mercy, right?

Tuesday, August 12 TM: “Getting things done even without any plans—and seeing Vai Hunt!”

Well, early Tuesday morning we packed up Sis. Johnson’s luggage and drove to Harrisburg. We visited with all the other missionaries and then were given our logistics for the day. I found my new companion, Sister Kerby from Mesa, AZ, and we were able to actually head back to Etown right away. That has never been my experience on transfer day—I’ve always been in Pittsburgh area for the transfer meeting. So I had absolutely NO plans. But we were able to get back t Etown with enough time to get to our service a the senior center and then visited a bunch of people. We ended up teaching two lessons and then visiting the Hunt’s and I LOVE them so that was great!

Wednesday, August 13 TM: “Sweet corn at the Bushey’s and seeing Sister Raleigh again.”

Wednesday we went over across the river for the first time for a dinner appointment with the Bushey’s! I felt like I was jail-breaking or something when I crossed the Susquehanna River! Wooooo! And they had awesome sweet corn. I think that’s going to be one of the things I miss most. The Pennsylvania sweet corn is really the best corn on the cob that I’ve ever had. Mmmmm. We then had a meeting with our bishop and ward mission leader.. and the elders, of course. And it was… Well, it was kind of different. And it wasn’t looking great. But a little foreshadowing… The ward council meeting on Sunday was AWESOME!

Thursday, August 14 TM: “’Carried Away’ by Passion Pit was laying at Sheetz.”

Thursday was the first District Meeting with the new district. The new members of the God Squad include: Sister Wade (Lititz), Sister Kerby (my companion), and Elder Masina (Etown)… Elder Masina is a brand new missionary and it’s great to be around some of that greenie fire again! It’s been a while! Then we spent a lot of time packing to move.

Friday, August 15 TM: “Getting to hang out with the ward at the talent show! Love them.”

We did Weekly Planning and the got packing up our car with all of the small stuff we could fit in it! We did our walk through at our new apartment in Marietta  and then we headed to the ward talent show! Man. Ward activities are seriously the genius behind unifying a ward. It was so fun to be with all the members and watch everyone be a little goofy. And I may or may not have gotten a nice video of the elders dancing on stage with all the young men… Hahaha! So great.

Saturday, August 16 TM: “Talking with Jen Clow at the wedding reception.”

We moved on Saturday! We got pretty much everything in two trips. It was pretty quick and painless. Then after spending most of the day unpacking, we went to a wedding reception for the bishop’s son and daughter-in-law, and it was really awesome. We had some great conversations with members, some of our less active members were there, and we really bonded with the youth. Plus, Sis. Kerby got to meet a lot of the members. It was actually a really effective use of time. It’s always awesome when something fun is also a really good use of your time. Then you just feel super sweet as a missionary!

 

Sunday, August 17 TM: “Awesome ward council this morning!”

 

So.. Ward Council. I prefaced it before but OH MAN. It was seriously so great. There were assignments being made, and minutes being kept, and specific timelines, and discussions rolling and…. Yeah. Pretty sure Elder Durham and I were like BEAMING the whole time and we just kept shaking our heads in disbelief. Many weeks of fasting and prayer and study in order to seek the guidance of the Lord in how we can help this amazing ward become more focused on missionary work and how to get things done have really paid off. It was just an awesome time. Then… We had like 12 less active members at church. That just doesn’t happen in my world, people. But it did! Man. It was great. We also had dinner at the Shaffer’s and they made a classic Pennsylvania Dutch dish: Chicken and Waffles. But not the southern kind with fried chicken that you’re thinking. More of the… Well.. I can’t even describe it. But man. It was GOOD.

 

Monday, August 18 TM: “Getting to see everyone at Mission Tour–and talking to Sister Johnson after :)” ..  My mission president’s wife is the cutest, by the way. Just in case anyone was wondering. She’s the best. We always just bond at all of our meetings.

 

We had Wilford Andersen of the Second Quorum of the Seventy come to visit our mission this week and Monday was filled with great spiritual edification. AWESOME. I learned a lot about the second step that we need to take when helping an investigator make and keep commitments. We have to invite the Spirit… Seems pretty basic, right? But I was just learning so much more about how to be more effective with that!

 

…And can I get an AMEN to the cousin friend Josh Buehner who said that zone meetings are more like a big family reunion? YEAH. That’s always been a big highlight for me since my very first Zone Training in Altoona Zone back in the day… Sweet memories.

 

Tuesday, August 19 TM: “Being exactly lead by the Spirit to find Sister Aipa driving right when she needed us.”

 

LONGEST story short. Sis. Aipa. Recent convert. Living with a less than welcoming daughter who is basically kicking her and her 5 children under the age of 18 out of the house. Her car’s broken down and she’s living off child support. We visited in the afternoon and it was just complete chaos. She was so stressed about where to live, the kids were running everywhere, it was hot outside, two men were trying to fix her car and in the middle of fixing it seemed to break something else… Chaos. We prayed with her, sang primary songs with the kids, read them a story, read the scriptures with her, prayed some more… And nothing seemed to really help. But we had to go to an appointment. We told her we’d call her after. Went to dinner, then called… No answer. So, let’s go visit Grace, I guess? Knock … knock… knock… no answer. Okay let’s go to see Bradley upstairs… No answer. Hmmm.. Maybe we can find Jalinn at the fair and talk with her and her family? Okay.

 

We drive out of the neighborhood at 8:00 pm and pull up to a stoplight. There’s a white Jeep Cherokee in front of us with a FL license plate.. Then, I notice the “Aipa Surfboard” sticker on the back of the car that I had noticed earlier in the day and I scream, “SISTER KERBY THAT’S SISTER AIPA CALL HER RIGHT NOW!!” We’re waving her down and she pulls over in a gas station, gets out, and just starts bursting into tears. We hug her and hold her and just comfort her.

 

Man. Seriously. This doesn’t even sound that cool through email but it was perfect. She needed that so badly right then just to calm down and we just SHOWED up out of the blue. No such thing as a coincidence when an omniscient being is involved. 🙂 I just feel blessed to have had that experience.

 

Wednesday, August 19 TM: “Coke and Funnel Cake at the Etown Fair!”

 

Yeah… Took our dinner break at the ETown fair. It was great. Definitely ate some crappy-for-your-body-delicious-for-your-mouth food. Awesome.

 

OH and picked up Bradley, Grace’s grandson as a new investigator!

 

And now it’s Thursday and we’re headed to the temple on Saturday and I’m just pumped.

 

Well that’s it everyone! It’s been a great 10 days since we last spoke. Looking forward to working hard these next few months!

 

Love you! Miss you!

 

  1. Free Soft Pretzels when we went to a members’ neighborhood! So yummy. Eastern PA is obsessed with pretzels, BEETEEDUBS.
  2. Me and my (kind of??) cousin, Elder Whipple! Buehner’s will love that. 🙂
  3. Share a Coke with a friend! And a funnel cake!

 

And McKann gets to live right next to the Susquehenna river!

And Train tracks in Marietta..

 

Love,
Sister McKann Hanseen
316 Rivermoor Dr.
Marietta, PA
17547

 

Mid-week Email – Thanks to the Temple!

Totally quoted U2 in a sacrament talk; like father like daughter…

So yesterday I got the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting and I totally stole my Daddio’s idea of quoting U2 in a sacrament talk. I’m pretty cool, I’d say.

 

Haha just kidding but I think it went really well. They asked me to talk about what brought me on a mission and what feelings I had about being a missionary. Best topic EVER. It’s been a while since I actually WROTE out a talk and followed it mostly as I wrote it but I felt like I should this time. Partially because I really wanted my own copy of it for .. posterity’s sake, right? 😉 So I’m going to copy and paste my talk into the end of this email. And because not a TON happened this week so it’ll be kind of short. 🙂

 

Here’s the big news items of the day:

–Sister Johnson is being transferred tomorrow and I’ll be getting what will probably be my LAST companion. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Sweet, though. I’m excited. There’s something rejuvenating about getting a new companion.

–We are moving apartments and moving to a little town called Marietta at the end of this week or next week. I don’t have my address yet so just keep with the one below for now and then hopefully next week I’ll have an address to give you. Let me just tell you how excited I am to move apartments AGAIN on my mission…. NOT at all. But hey, it’ll help the work and the apartment is bigger so I can’t really complain too much. Bring on the new adventures!

 

This week has kind of been filled with dealing with a lot of problems for some new members or part member families. We’ve been really pounded with a lot of things that really aren’t missionaries’ responsibility.. like finding people places to live. And we’ve been trying to work through our ward council but it’s been just kind of crazy. Luckily, Elder Durham is actually staying and training a new missionary and he and I have been working really hard to get our ward council to be excited about missionary work and really trying to figure out our role with them and how we can help. Especially Elder Durham.. I shouldn’t take all his credit. But we have set a great vision, goals, plans, and accountability and written it up for the ward and then we have scheduled a meeting with our bishop and ward mission leader on Wednesday so I think there’s a lot of great things that will be happening in the next few months in the Elizabethtown ward!

 

I don’t have anything particular with lessons or people we taught this week that’s really of interest. But the talk that I gave really was a highlight for me because it helped me really reflect on my journey to where I am right now. Hope you enjoy! Have a great week!

 

 

 

In April of 2013 I found myself scrambling to do a lot of things. I was using any spare moment I could to search the local stores for the cutest missionary clothes I could find, knowing that for the next year and a half I’d be stuck with them so I’d better like them. I was dragging my two younger sisters along with me to Café Rio, The Chocolate, India Palace, Cubby’s and the rest of my favorite restaurants along the Wasatch Front. I was piecing together a farewell talk and planning the best farewell open house for all my friends and family to attend. I was squeezing in my last few Imagine Dragons concerts, re-runs of Modern Family episodes, movie nights with What’s Up, Doc? and The Brothers’ Bloom, and all those strangely hilarious videos that you discover when you find yourself in some deep, dark corner of YouTube.  I was seeing all of the people that I knew I’d possibly never see again as school and jobs take us all over the world. I was cramming my nose into textbooks studying for finals, staying up way too late, taking tests and finishing projects. And I was combing through the scriptures to find the perfect scripture to put on my missionary plaque that is now hanging in the hallway of the church building that houses the Edgemont 6th Ward in the Provo, Utah Edgemont Stake.  And somewhere in the midst of all of those things… I suddenly found myself in the Missionary Training Center down the road from my house. Goodbyes had been said, clothes had been packed, tears had been shed, and I was right on track. The beginning of a journal entry from April 25, 2013 reads, “It is the end of my first full day at the MTC, and if I had one word that could describe how I feel right now, it would be EXHAUSTED.”

I’ve been given an amazing opportunity today to share with you how I found myself on a mission and what it has brought to me in my life. The road leading up to a mission was not necessarily an easy one for me, but I don’t believe that it’s meant to be. I feel so strongly that when there is something in our lives that is worth doing that it is going to take effort and energy; so it has been for the greatest things accomplished on the face of this planet.

The summer after I completed my freshman year at BYU, I was working at Outdoors Unlimited, the outdoor retail and rental shop on campus and a woman named Stacie Christiansen came in to rent some ducky rafts for her family to go paddle around in. She had been in the ward that I grew up in and I was excited to see her. She was someone I really admired. We laughed and reminisced and talked about how our lives had changed since my family lived down the street from hers. And as I was rolling up her rafts, getting ready to say goodbye, she just looked at me and said “You are doing great things. I’m so proud of you for being here at BYU and working toward a great education. I am just so thrilled that you’ve been so diligent in your life to get to this point. But you are bigger than Provo, Utah. You are brilliant and you have so much to offer this world. I don’t know how you’ll do it and I don’t know what you’ll do or for how long, but you’ve got to do something outside of this city. Don’t leave forever, but go share with the world the wonderful things you have to offer.” We then said goodbye, she left, and she nor I probably had any idea how drastically that conversation would change my life.

I got to thinking and I considered all my options. I was looking through different opportunities—international internships, study abroad programs, teaching English in a foreign country, humanitarian projects… anything. And I’d look at the options and for about two weeks they would sound good, and then I would just stop feeling like I needed to do that specific thing. Through this search I kept thinking to myself and telling those around me, “Man, if they would just change the mission age to 19, I’d be gone in a heartbeat.”

I guess Heavenly Father decided he’d really put my bold claim to the test. My 19th birthday was September 26, 2012. And a week and a half later in General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced the lowering of the age for missionary service to which young women could serve at 19. Now let me tell you, when that announcement was made, it was like straight up pandemonium in the off-campus housing just south of BYU. I kid you not, after that announcement was made, I opened my apartment door and you could hear echoes of screaming and crying and way too much girl emotion erupting from the buildings surrounding me. Girls were running around and calling their parents. By the end of the session, many girls nearby me had scheduled flights home, withdrawn from their classes, and scheduled meetings with their bishops to start their mission papers. I really think I spent the rest of that day with my jaw on the floor at the chaos of my surroundings, but I quickly knew I had a big decision to make.

Had the mission age been changed about a month before then, I wouldn’t have had a hard time deciding. I would’ve just been ready to go and excited. But, about a month before my birthday, my family had a big curveball thrown at us. My mom came to us all, sat us down, and gave us the news that no family ever wants to hear. Divorce was on the table and our lives as we knew them had come crashing down. Being the oldest of the family, I felt a lot of the weight on my shoulders. My younger sisters and I really learned to band together and support one another. But with that, I felt a great responsibility to act as glue for my siblings. How could I go on a mission and just abandon my sweet siblings and my aching father? How could I go away for a year and a half when our lives had just turned upside-down and inside out? I was up against the most crucial year of my schooling up to that point—the year I would be completing prerequisite classes for and applying to my major. I was working two jobs. I was doing all I could to help the sister right below me especially as she took this life change with great difficulty. And, I was working on doing some healing myself.

I met with my bishop and he gave some very pertinent counsel. I have experienced that sometimes the truth that I don’t want to hear cuts me the deepest. He just told me that there was nothing more I could do to help my family at this fragile time than to serve the Lord. It seems like such a backward idea. Put something else BEFORE my family and it will help them more than prioritizing them? But, the Lord had made a call to hasten his work and had promised that families would be brought together through service in the Gospel. He never said that it would only be the families that the missionaries teach, and I’m a firm believer that the families that the missionaries come from are substantially blessed.

So in what felt like no time, I had my papers in and received my call. When I put my papers in, I put my availability date as April 24, 2013 knowing that to be the first day that I could physically be in the MTC, but thinking I’d probably be reporting later in the summer. I opened the call… Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission preaching the Gospel in the English language. Reporting to the Provo Missionary Training Center on April 24, 2013.

Missions are not easy. But words by Elder Holland have given me great comfort as I’ve been serving.

“Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?

“You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.‍ Salvation never‍ was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.

“Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and‍ investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.

“For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.

“If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 ‍ then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.

“The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Being here, serving a mission, has done more for me than I could have ever dreamed. This has changed my heart and softened me and sculpted me more than I can even describe to you. And I think that the other missionaries, and returned missionaries in the congregation would all agree with me in saying that no matter how difficult the day, or the companion, or the area… It is worth it.

We cannot labor in the service of the Lord without one another, and without our Savior, Jesus Christ. He carries my burdens when I’m humble enough to let Him. He strengthens my back to make my burdens lighter. After all, “He broke the bonds and loosed the chains, carried the cross and all my shame.”  Each and every one of us has the opportunity to access the blessings of the Atonement. It is a gift that is given to us by the Savior. What a privilege we have to have that knowledge and that light in our lives so that our trials can be made easier and our burdens be lightened.

Looking back, it’s not so much now about what I haven’t been able to do because I’ve been on a mission. It’s not about the music I don’t get to listen to or the movies I don’t get to watch. It is about the blessings that I am so fortunate to receive. Though my combing through the scriptures to find one for my missionary plaque may have been more of a prideful thing at first (so I’d have the best scripture on the entire wall of missionaries), that scripture has become a reality for me.

Alma 29:9 : “I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.”

My once little struggling family is doing amazingly. We’ve had the opportunity to welcome some new family members into ours as my Dad remarried a few weeks ago. My siblings are happier than I’ve seen them. My dad is full of light that I truly missed, and he’s so happy to be where he is now. They are not void of problems. They still hurt and they still cry and worry about the trials that have come and the trials that are currently upon them. But, my family has experienced the blessings pouring from heaven as we have kept our eyes single to the glory of God.  As I have served, I have felt it confirmed to me time and time again through the quiet but piercing whisperings of the Spirit that my family is well and that the Lord is watching out for them. How grateful I am for the counsel of Stacie Christiansen and Bishop McKay. Those words, and words of others, and the perfect timing of the Lord, got me to where I am today. It’s a wonderful blessing in my life to be here, to serve, to worship, and to be given the opportunity to love all of you. I can never thank my Savior enough for these things, so instead, I’ll wear out my life in service of Him. I’m grateful for the preparation my mission has been for the rest of my life to come.

 

 

——

The last District picture!
Sister Johnson, Sister Doxey, Sister Morphy, Me.
in back: Elder Gibson, Elder Baggett, Elder Boren… And Elder Durham’s hand. Haha.

 

 The last District picture! I stay in comfy clothes for Weekly Planning.. it makes it all the more bearable. Release the Quackin’!

 

 

This is Porky, as I call him. He’s the creepy cat that randomly shows up on our balcony when we’re studying in the mornings… And he has a curly tail. And weird eyes. #catjudger …. I tried to lure him into our apartment for a photo but it didn’t work. haha.

 

Love,
Sister McKann Hanseen
6 Williamsburg

Elizabethtown, PA

17022

Totally quoted U2 in a sacrament talk; like father like daughter…

So… there’s ups and downs to missionary work, right?

Well, I guess I just have to be real and open and honest. I’ve been that way since the beginning of my emails.. Right?
 
This week was hard.
The war against Satan is so real.
And he’s working on me more than ever before.
 
I hate to break everyone’s hearts that’s been rooting for Ciara, but the baptism will no longer be happening on August 16th as planned. It’s the beginning of the heartbreaks for the week.
 
So, coming out of last week with our great lesson with Ann and Alex, I was just on fire. I was ready to conquer the world. I was ready to tear up Elizabethtown like nobody’s seen since Romero & Stovall (okay pretty sure Grandma B is the ONLY one who will get that besides Sto herself haha). Really, though. I was just loving the work and getting so excited and I had all the faith in the WORLD that things were going to be okay.
 
Well, Ciara missed church. And then.. We didn’t hear from her for three days. We called and texted and we didn’t get any response. Which… a 22 year old with an iPhone.. yeah, she got the calls. And although it sounds like I was mad I really wasn’t I was just so confused and so worried about her because I truly love her as such a close friend, I can’t really describe it. I don’t think anyone gets that unless they’ve been a missionary. But I really just LOVE her! But, we had seen her car at home and I almost felt like I was in some sort of messy break up (hahahahahaha … oh boy. Yeah. It’s true though!) and I felt so sad. So, Wedensday we went on exchanges. Sister Morphy came with me to E-town (dolla make me holla honey boo boo child!! … Yeah. We love each other. We resurrected MEGABED). And we were talking about Ciara and we decided at the very end of the day to go visit her. Now you have to understand, she lives about a block away from us and we were driving home and it was literally 8:59 pm and I chickened out and drove around the block and then ended up going back and parking far away so we could walk up instead of getting out of the car in her driveway (because that’s just ALWAYS awkward). 9:00 pm… We walk into her driveway. Car’s not there. We start to walk back and she drives in. I wave and she parks and gets out and you can just cut the tension in the air with a knife. She immediately started apologizing for not responding and said she knew she was being rude but she wanted to compose her thoughts before she talked with us. You could just hear the quiver in her voice and you could feel she was hurting. But she told us she can’t be baptized right now. She told her family and they all freaked out and her mom had her preacher call Ciara and chew her out and then she’s supposed to go move with her mom in September and they’re all really against it and this is along run-on sentence but it’s just all the information that’s been playing in my mind for the past week. I cried. She cried. We talked about it. We told her that she can’t just stop meeting with us and stop going to church because then Satan wins. If she goes back into the cycle of not meeting and then meeting and wanting to be baptized, he wins. Because she’ll never build up the spiritual stamina to endure the hardship from her family. So she agreed to keep meeting with us and coming to church until she moves in September. But… I’m just still sick about it. I’m so sad. I called and put her name on the prayer roll at the temple and I fasted for her yesterday. But, prayers from the other side of the nation would be greatly appreciated on behalf of Ciara.
 
The other terribly hard thing was sitting in PEC yesterday and getting a text from Ann saying that they can’t come this week but they’ll be there for sure next week and she’ll call us later to explain… but she never called.
 
I’m still just trying to figure out why those things can happen. I just don’t believe that it’s a lack of faith on my part! I seriously have all the faith in the world that these people will do the things they’ve committed to do. And I remember praying on Sunday morning saying, “Heavenly Father, THANK YOU  that Ann and Alex are coming to church today! I’m so excited!” … Darn that stupid freaking agency. I’m OVER IT!! Okay.. not really. I think agency is the best thing we could be given but man. It is pretty frustrating right now.
 
But here, let me stop complaining and tell you the best news in the WORLD.
 
For the first time in a long time (if not, EVER)… Missionaries in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission will be allowed to attend…
 
 
 
THE TEMPLE!!!
Um.
Not kidding.
There’s about ten thousand requirements for how you can go (like it can’t be further than 2 hours from you… *cough cough* Washington DC Temple *cough cough* and you can’t drive a mission vehicle, etc…) But GUESS WHAT?! We qualify. Guess what else? There’s an awesome family in the ward who adopted this little boy, Owen, and they invited us to go to the sealing on August 23rd. … And the people who said they would take us are going to go do a session before the sealing. I GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE!
 
So, when all else fails, just keep your eyes toward the temple. That makes everything in the world better.
 
Also, tender mercy for the week was this new Mormon Message.
 
Sometimes, like he says in the video, we have to stop waiting in the dark for someone to flip the light switch. We’ve got to try it out ourselves. In the Book of Mormon, Moroni promises that if we pray, we should ask God if these things are NOT true. Not for some glorious manifestation that they are. But that we try it, and it’s not bad, and we don’t see that it’s wrong.. So we keep moving forward. Little by little. We keep trying. We keep pushing. And one day, we build up so much faith in the principle that it’s impossible to deny.
 
The principle that I keep trying is to trust in the Lord. He has never let me down yet. I keep trying out the things He tells me to do and living the doctrines He’s taught, and I have yet to see something negative come from them.
 
So, this little missionary who had a bad week and didn’t necessarily see the purpose of the hard things that happened in the moment is still just pushing and still just trying. And most of all, trusting in the Lord.
 
And just remember, everyone has bad days… “Even in Australia.” 🙂
 
P.S. Say hello to Sister Morphy’s shadow. haha.
 

 
…. Squinty squinty with the sunshine in my eyes. The pictures Jodi sent me of the wedding are WAAAAAYYYY better than these ghetto ones but hey. look at that funny sign! Someone totally honked while we were taking pictures, too.

Love,
Sister McKann Hanseen
6 Williamsburg
Elizabethtown, PA
17022
So… there’s ups and downs to missionary work, right?