Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Last photo from CCM.  All these awesome Sister missionaries just make me smile.

Book of Mormon . . . 2 1/2 weeks . . . in spanish?

My last e-mail in the CCM! So I finally got the mail that was waiting
for me at the central office, with pouch mail from Dylan, Mommy, Jen
Bushman and Aaron Cooper. As well as dearelders from Mom, Shauna,
Kelsie, Elle, Anamarie, Dallas and Dad! These were all sent to my
mission home but luckily they brought them over. And I also got
dearelders from Austin, Kelsie and Lexi. Thank you guys so much! It is
so nice to hear from home and to know that I have people praying for
me. I love you guys.
I have loved the CCM, I feel like I have learned so much while being
here. And I still have 17 more months of this! When I left on my
mission, I thought I was leaving so I could help people find this
church because I knew it was true and I knew it could bring people
happiness. However, I've realized that I'm not bringing people to a
church, I'm helping bring them unto Christ. And I know that sharing my
message with them can help them achieve that.
Easter is a pretty big deal down here, they have a whole "Holy Week"
dedicated to worship before the actual Holiday on Sunday. I always
thought Christmas was my favorite holiday but now I think Easter is
right up there with it. We celebrate Christmas because of the birth of
Christ. And we don't celebrate Easter because he died for us, we
celebrate Easter because after his death, he rose and he lives for us.
The sacrifice he made for us is hard for me to comprehend, I don't
think I could fully understand it even with a lifetime of studying it.
However, although I can't fully comprehend it, I still know it
happened. And I still know he is our Savior.
       Guatemala is starting to feel more and more like my new home. I
get a little discouraged because I feel like I should understand more
of the language, especially since I'm leaving in 6 days to go out into
the field. However, I've decided to take more action. I've been
praying to understand Spanish but I should've been praying to remember
what I study, or praying for more energy so that I can study. So I
decided to start reading the Book of Mormon side-by-side in English
and in Spanish. It is so tedious because it is about 675 pages in
Spanish but I started a couple days ago and I'm already 150 pages in.
My goal is to finish it before I reach a week in the field. So that
means I will read it in 2 and a half weeks. But I know that I've been
called to teach in the Spanish language and I know if I do my part, I
will have extra health and memory.  I gotta go but I love you all!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I am like a MANGO

HOLA! The mangoes here are my new favorite thing in the world. The
Natives love them so much that they taught me a new phrase, "Estoy
hecha un mango". It literally means "I'm like a mango", and  basically
means "I'm just that good." They are worshipped here.
Anyway, another week has passed and I have officially been away from
home for a month! Just seventeen more of these and I will be sipping
Jamba Juice at Hilberto's with you guys. I made some discoveries this
last week. For example, we play basketball every day for deportes but
one of my friends is a lot taller than me and ALWAYS gets the rebound
since she has about six to seven inches on me when she raises her
hands. So I just check what clothes she brings to change into to play
and I wear the same colors, because we usually just split two teams
into similiar colors. Nobody has caught on yet, they just know that
our team always wins! ;)              
   It kinda feels like I've been in this country for a while  because nothing
really shocks me anymore. Except for last week because I was talking about
Costco and a teacher didn't know what I was talking about! So I stopped speaking in
Spanish because my limited Spanish vocabulary could not accurately
explain the magnificience of Costco. I don't think I could adequately
explain it in English either but I tried the best I could. I hope she
can visit America one day so she can go to Disneyland, the San Diego
temple, and Costco.
Oh and we moved today! We are now living at the CCM and I should have
a room with my companion and four Latinas, they are moving in tonight
since it's transfer day. It should be a really good way to practice my
I got quite a few dearelders on Friday from mom and dad, Becca, Julie,
Kjersti, Cole, and Baby Sarah. Thank you guys so much! Even though I
can't reply much yet, it will be a little easier in the field where I
can buy more stamps and stuff. But I really appreciate the letters and
they give me so much motivation! After today, just start sending stuff
to my mission because it takes so long and I will be there in two
weeks :) Also, I got a letter from dad and from Annie Tenney! I love
that woman and it was so nice to get a hand-written letter, please
tell her thank you. (And I love you too, Daddy. Your letters mean the
world and I keep them in my Captain America lunch box on my bed! When
I'm  having a rough day I pull out my dearelder letters and read
through some of them)
CONGRATULATIONS to Lexi Hixson and Seth Risley for your mission calls!
It is so exciting to hear about friends being called to serve
missions, please keep me updated on when they leave so we can write
I was thinking about how much has changed since I left on my mission
(which was only four weeks ago). Before my mission, I loved going to
church because it helped my life. I was going because I know it was
true and I loved the feeling of going to learn for myself. But my
thoughts have changed since I left, I still love learning about the
gospel but now I feel the responsibility of increasing my knowledge
for the benefit of somebody else. I'm learning so I can share the
happiness that I have felt with my investigators. And after my
mission, I will love going to church to help my family! It's kinda
cool to think about.
It's also cool how people love us here. We went to Walmart today
(super exciting to get almond kisses and doritos, my two favorites!)
and we also went to the mall. A guy walked up to us and just started
talking to us and asking us questions. He was a super nice Catholic
man who loves God and was super excited to see people who wanted to
share messages about the Life of Christ. He asked us if there was
anything he could help us do and left us with his contact information,
and he genuinely wanted to help us. It's just amazing to see people in
this country because it motivates me to learn Spanish because I
already love them and I know that through repentance and coming unto
Christ, their lives can be improved and happiness and blessings are
just waiting for them.
I love you guys so, so much! I'll write again next Wednesday :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Just look at all the Sister Missionaries currently in the CCM. This is incredible

Universal Languages

HELLO! Every week I jot down a few things to say in my e-mail because
I can never remember what happened during the last week! The days are
super long here but the weeks are short.
I find ways to amuse myself since we are learning Spanish so many
hours during the day. I like to look out the window because every time
I hear sirens, there is a police truck speeding down the street. There
are men just sitting in the bed of the truck with guns and legs
hanging out, I don't think seatbelts are very important here.
I got dearelders from Austin, Andrew Bowns, Elizabeth Lugo, Jan
Jensen, Alexa DiAnna, Joseph Magoffin and Paige Hixson. Thank you so
much! We receive letters once a week so I will be getting more
tomorrow :) And I got e-mails from Mom, Dad, Becca and Andrew. Andrew,
thanks for sending me the lyrics to "Come Thou Fount". It was nice to
be able to remember them. Also, Happy Birthday Grandma! It's a couple
days early but I hope you have a good birthday!
There is some crazy food here. They have this salsa called "Diablo"
and it is ten pounds of habaƱero consentrated into one small bottle.
We always talk to the cooks and my friend and I told them how much we
loved their salsa, they asked if we wanted to try their "special
salsa" (the Diablo salsa). Being naive and adventurous, we tried it.
And just one drop literally made us sweat and almost cry. We drank a
bottle of water and limeade and ice cream but the flavor stayed for
minutes on end.
Learning Spanish is hard but I've learned so much, and more than just
vocab words. I've learned that there are universal things that are the
same in different languages. For example, a smile and a laugh mean the
same thing and I don't need to speak Spanish for my Latina friends to
understand that I'm happy. And more importantly, the gospel of Jesus
Christ is the same in all languages. It is amazing to make friends
miles away from my home and see that they have the same love for
Christ and he has the same love for them. Spanish is hard to
understand, but the love that God has for all of us is not. The church
is true. People can change and the gospel gives them an incentive to
do it. God has a plan for all of us and he has given us so many ways
to find out why we are here. Sorry this e-mail wasn't funny or that
long, but I love you guys and I will write a better one on Tuesday
(it's the next transfer day). Also, the girls at the CCM took a
picture and it is attached in the other e-mail. See ya!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Good bye to new friends - Hello to Elder Willardson!

My P-Day is today because it is transfer day. Which means all of my
Latina friends left- they only stay at the training center for two
weeks since they already know the language. It was really hard saying
goodbye to them because I made a lot of funny memories with them.
There was one who would try to speak English to me but she would
always mess up her words, one time she came up and said,
"Hello....where are you?" And she was so confused when I said,
"Um....aqui?" Because she meant to ask "How are you?" haha. But the
language barrier never ceases to make funny situations. When we were
saying goodbye to our friends leaving last night, one started crying
and telling me how much she was gonna miss me and I told her it was
okay and I would see her again some day. And then I said I would miss
her beautiful "casa" but I meant "cara", so then her tears turned to
laughter and it made our goodbye way easier.
Okay I want to send a shout out to Austin, Kaela, Julie, Kathleen and
Cole. I got dearelder letters from all of them! I woke up in the
middle of the night on March 1 and was super sick (I think I drank too
much of the cafeteria fruit juice...) and it was a rough day because I
didn't sleep after 4 a.m. but then that night I received the first
weeks dearelder letters and it helped my day. I get dearelder letters
every two weeks so if you sent one and I didn't mention your name, I'm
sure I should get it next week. Also, I haven't received any letters
yet because it takes a while, but if you don't use pouch mail then
make sure you use an international stamp.        I also got Emily and
Kim's email! Tell Jenna that my favorite food is probably their eggs.
Sometimes they put pieces of corn tortillas in them and they are
sooooo good. I'm trying to eat their beans since they have them with
every meal but I still haven't developed a taste for them.
I saw Nate this morning! It was so good to see him and it gave me
courage to keep pushing forward, I hope I can be as good as a
missionary as he is by the end of this year and a half.
So since today was transfer day and P-Day, we got to tour the city. We
went to a Guatemalan market where they were selling a lot of stuff
(including meat and pig heads hanging from the was gross
but I'm still never giving up bacon.) They had street vendors and one
had all these animals in cages to sell. Remember when we were on a
cruise somewhere in Mexico and we released baby sea turtles in the
ocean? They had dozens on baby turtles just in a cage on the street!
They also had hamsters and bunnies and birds just chillin in their
We also got to go to Wendy's and we got to go in the capital square
with the big cathedral, my companion and I both brought a Book of
Mormon and we handed both out to people we talked to. The people love
listening about God. Although I couldn't speak much Spanish, I was
able to tell them that I knew the book they were holding was a
testament of Christ and I promise if they read it, they could feel the
truth. The people gladly accepted the books and it was amazing! Now I
have even more motivation to learn Spanish fluently. As for the
investigator I talked about in the last e-mail, we referred him to the
Sister Missionaries in his homeward and he is still learning about the
Walking around the city kinda makes me feel like a celebrity because
the people just love to see you and love when you try to speak to
them. There was a group of kids and one kid was just pointing at us
and her friend slapped her hand down. Then, they just started taking
pictures of us when they thought we weren't looking. When I turned
around to smile at their cameras, they just started giggling and took a
picture and ran away. The children are so cute!
Also, I have been craving Little Caesar's pizza TODOS LOS DIAS. Will
someone please look up to see if there is one in my mission
boundaries? If not, look up how much it costs to overnight a box.
Ha ha, just kidding. But still look it up to see if there is one in my
I miss you all and I'm so glad that I have family and friends that
support me through this. There are a lot of people that don't have
that here, and I'm so blessed that I have you guys to think about. The
church is true! Everyday that I learn more about God, I feel closer to
him and I have a happiness here that never fades. Love you all!
--Hermana Hansen