Monday, July 28, 2014

Last post from Guatemala!

For the last year and a half, I have written emails home every week including stories and experiences of the changes I have seen in people's lives due to the gospel. Sitting down for the last time in a little internet cafe in Guatemala, this time I am going to write a little more personal. This week's letter will be focused on the change in my own life.

18 months ago, I left my home to come to Guatemala...in just three days, I am leaving my home to go to the United States. It's crazy how before the mission, I thought serving Christ for 18 months would somehow repay a small amount of the debt I owed to Him, but I'm just returning in even more debt.

Mark 5:19 "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." I came to Guatemala with my bags packed with new, unmarked spanish scriptures, empty journals, new shoes, an average testimony and a heart somewhat lacking faith. I'm returning with the same scriptures that now need to be rebound because of their use, my journals now filled with notes from conferences and experiences, only one pair of shoes that a widow gave to me even though it only left her with one other pair, a testimony that will carry me throughout my life and a heart that is now filled with hope and love for my Savior.

I'm returning with new eyes that have seen people in the hardest circumstances change their lives through the atoning powers of Christ. I'm returning with new ears that have heard their own testimonies shared with their tears. I'm returning with stories of His angels protecting me from dangerous situations and supporting me through hard days and sicknesses. I'm returning with a greater knowledge of my faults and debilities, but with a great dependance on my Savior to make me stronger. And I'm returning with a greater idea of who I am supposed to be. It will take my whole life to become who He wants me to be, but I finally know that it is possible to be lifted up by His hands. It will also take my whole life to come to know Him, but I finally know it is possible to let Him change us. Before the mission, I knew He was my Savior, but now I believe it. I knew that God existed, but now I believe it. I knew that He loves his children, but now I believe it. And now I feel it.

My greatest convert has become myself and I finally understand what God's purpose is...to help us back to Him. Everything He does is based on this purpose. I know He called prophets in the Old and New testaments, and I know He called prophets in the Americas. All of their writings and stories are to help us prepare to return to Him. I know that a young boy, Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ and they responded to his question. With all the confusion in the world, there was a need for another prophet so that we can know that there is a plan of happiness, that there is hope and faith and that there is a Savior. So that we could recieve the fulness of the gospel with all the scriptures and revelations to give us a purpose, to give us a light in our lives. I love these people, I love this country, I love these experiences, I love the culture, I love my companions, I love the leaders, I love seeing His hand every day... and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true and not only has it changed every aspect in my life, it will continue to change me. God sent me here to Guatemala to share His gospel and now He is sending me home to my family and to my friends to "tell them how great things the Lord hath done for (me) and hath had compassion on (me)." Iré y haré.
I'll see you soon,
Hermana Hansen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

One week left . . . and a few more miracles


We had a few miracles this weekend. L has been taking lessons since October and was classified as an "eternal investigator"...her parents are both less active members and she kept pushing off baptism with different excuses. The teaching record made it look like a lack of interest but the first day when we taught her, she pulled out a journal and wrote down the topic of our lesson. We were able to discover that her real challenge was that she simply wanted us to talk to her father and that she was scared of the water in the baptism font. Her dad is always working but we were able to schedule a family night with her and talk about L's baptism. He was in agreeance and after the lesson, he said the prayer and had tears at the end of the prayer. He was excited that his daughter was strong enough to decide to take this step and sunday during the baptism, her mom was also crying. It's amazing to see how children can guide their parents and be the strength in a family working to become stronger.

Another miracle was that I saw Jorge! He was working in a project and we ran into him while walking to an appointment. The branch is growing in San Pedro and G and A, the family from San Pedro that we taught and baptized, are preparing to enter the temple in just two more months. It was amazing to see J and when I went to go write about it in my journal, the thought came to me to look back at what was happening a year ago. I had a journal entry exactly a year ago, the 17 of July, when we found J almost 11 days after his failed baptism interview, sitting drunk in a park and looking like a homeless man. We walked him back to his house and explained that he could lift himself back out of this with the help of His Savior. This 27 of July will be the day when he visited him again and he told us he was ready to change everything to follow Christ. After that day, he was baptized weeks later and recieved the aaronic priesthood and blessed the sacrament...He become the ward mission leader and then recieved the Melchizedek and gave his first blessing to me the weekend I left San Pedro...and he hasn't missed a Sunday for the last year. It was a reminder to me of how much this gospel allows people to change. Seeing Jorge and shaking his hand was the same hand we grabbed to help him up from a bench in the park, but everything about it has changed. I love him as my own brother, and I know that God loves him as His own son. I know this is God's work and I can't express my gratitude at the time He has given me to be here. I will keep working hard, after this week and after I leave this country that has become my own. The gospel never ends or changes and neither does the work. I will always be an example of the believers.

P.S. I will be writing my last email next week on Monday since our zone P Day is on Tuesday. Until then!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Risking a beating - a brave little girl

I am now in Palin, it's in the same stake I started in. Amatitlan! It's also Hermana Rasmussen's old area so I have the privilege or taking care of her old investigators and converts. I have two companions, Hermana G from New Jersey and Hermana A from Honduras. They're both amazing and I'm grateful that I can learn from them these last weeks.

We are teaching R and D. D seperated from his wife and junto with R like 18 years ago but never got divorced from his first wife. The process is pretty complicated but once the divorce papers clear, it's easy to get them married. One thing that really touched me is a little girl who slipped in during my first lesson with them. She is their neighbor and she is only 8 years old. R just took her in her arms and told me how the little girl always waits for the missionaries to come and teach them..and then sneaks out of her own house into Rs house to listen to the gospel. Unfortunately, every time her mom finds out, the daughter is beaten. However, the little girl risks being beaten every day to listen to the gospel. She can't read, but she just listens and sings the words to the limited hymns that she has learned over the weeks. Her faith and determination is inspiring to me...I'm still trying to understand how to "become like a little child" with my own faith and actions.

It's also really funny to be in their house because Ds father is 100 years old! And his mother is 87. But his mother is jealous because she thinks I'm going to steal her husband away from her haha. Everybody always has a good laugh at her comments to me "Si lo lleve, le regalo!" Haha it's getting better because now she has trust in me and we are friends. We are also helping them so that they can work toward being baptized with R and D. It would be such a beautiful day.

I love this message, and I'm happy to be here for the last two weeks to share it! Hasta la proxima semana!
1
people raise animals on their roofs

She had a dream, and when we explained the Plan of Salvation to her she understood and wants to join the church.

some of the people Sara will miss!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Earthquakes, Bees and changes .. .

>News from the week! We did feel the earthquake here and it was super strong...but we are fine. There was also a huge swarm of bees outside of our house since our neighbor sawed down the tree that their nest was in...but we are fine. And we found out that I have changes on Wednesday...but we are fine. It was pretty hard to find out that I won't get to be companions with Hermana Rasmussen or in this area...and I'm not sure where I will be going for three weeks, but I'll go wherever He needs me!



We were walking about two weeks ago and a little girl approached me and asked what church we are from. After introducing ourselves, she pointed to her mother that was waiting on the other side of the road and told us that her mother wanted to know more. We walked back to their house with them and met her other children, she has a total of 5. We taught her and she told us that she would come to church on Sunday...and when we returned the next day, we taught about the Book of Mormon. The third visit she told us, "I did what you said. I prayed last night to see if this Book of Mormon was true. And I felt a peace in my heart and I know now that it is true. And I want to continue in this path." She then committed to stop drinking coffee and attended church on Sunday. We shared about the Plan of Salvation and she told us about a dream that she had long ago...she had felt that it was inspired but never really understood it until we explained the spirit world, where she recognized the significance of her dream. She accepted to be baptized on the20 of July, and I am so happy that another missionary will have the honor to come to this area to help her prepare for the step of baptism.


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I have loved this area so so much and it is hard to leave after 6 months but I will never forget the little aldeas or the fields or the mountains or the tin houses or the dirt floors or the corte clothing...but it is the most beautiful place in all of the world because of the people that live here. This message is true, this gospel is true and I will spend the next couple weeks testifying it in whatever area I am sent to.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A happy family

My parents are now officially missionaries as well. How wonderful is this work that continues to spread. I am so proud to be blessed with such an amazing family...it inspires me to work even harder these next few weeks!
My greatest fruit that I saw this week was the confirmation of S and her children. M, her son was the first who was confirmed. I peeked as they started the confirmation and when everyone else closed their eyes and they started the blessing, he just had the biggest smile ever. It's amazing how a boy of just 8 years can already feel the happiness of the gospel. He will be a great missionary one day. Sara's other daughters went after her son and Sara was saved for last. The blessing included that she will be able to guide her children so they will make eternal covenants and that she will be the medio to bring more family members into the church. They all walked back to the wooden bench and S just sat down and had humble tears running down her face. The thought ran through my head of her friend's words just three weeks before of how she "had a friend that was a little sad" and wanted us
Missionary work Guatemala style

a happy family

Sisters forever
to talk about God to her. And to see her confirmation just three weeks after we met her. This message of the gospel can change us today and tomorrow and every day. It still changes me and inspires me to become better. And for those of you who have asked, I will be finishing the 31 of July in Guatemala...I will then continue the work and spend three weeks in Bolivia....I will then continue the work in the states on the 21 of August, where I will continue the mission work indefinitely 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A miracle of protection - "mine angels round about you to bear you up"

"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." I have often felt help throughout my mission...walking with my backpack that suddenly felt lighter in the day, escaping dangerous situations, testifying of Christ to a robber with his hands around my neck. But yesterday, I had angels to my left and to my right. To my right was a physical angel, my companion...I can only imagine who was walking on my left. We walked past a huge truck and the driver tried to start hitting on us in English, he was obviously drunk but we just kept walking. A little ways up the street, my companion was on my right and to her right was a stationed car. We suddenly heard a loud honking and the drunk guy was speeding behind us and heading straight for us. To my left, I wouldn't have been able to make it but to my right, there wouldn't have been enough space. Somehow, I found myself to my companions right side, in front of the stationed car as the drunk driver sped by, passing through the spot where my body was, without even hesitating. She had grabbed my skirt as I tried to get out of the way and pulled me to her other side...and by the size and speed of the car as it brushed past us, I would've been under its right tires and I wouldn't have made it. The most beautiful thing is, I felt my companion on my right but I could also feel some pushing on my left side. I know that I have angels watching over me. It's inexplicable how my life was saved in that moment...but I know that I have a lot more help than I can see. Life is beautiful and God is powerful. With my companion scared all afternoon because she thought she was going to lose me, and my thoughts still jumbled with a fast beating heart, I have never been more grateful to be alive. The sun is shining brighter today and the skies look more blue...I hope to remember how every day is a miracle.
On Sunday was also another day that was a miracle. Sara and her three children were baptized. It was a beautiful service but my favorite part was stopping by that night to share a message with them. We passed by their neighbors first while we were waiting for a member to accompany us to the visit. While we were teaching, we could hear one of Sara's children in the next house, singing "I am a Child of God"...and they don't have hymn books, it was entirely memorized. We finished the visit and then went to Sara's house to find her helping her daughter work on personal progress and the Book of Mormon open on their table. They were overjoyed the entire day after the baptism...it's really inspiring to see how happy the gospel can help people become.
I'm really happy to be here today and I'm really happy to be a missionary. Life is beautiful and fragile and every day really is a blessing. This message is true, I knew it but I believe it more and more very day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Best Companion in the World

I officially have the best companion in the whole mission. The times I have gotten sick on the mission, I have gotten pretty sick and yesterday wasn't an exception. , On Sunday I had a pretty bad cold and was feeling really tired with a little fever. We went to bed Sunday night and I woke up with the stomache flu on Monday morning. My companion cared for me and, she just  sat by me and scratched my back.. I love being companions with my best friend.

It was also her birthday on Saturday so we made it a really special day. Throughout the week, we didn't have very much success and we were looking for people to prepare to be baptized in June. The days before her birthday, we were kind of shut down....a lot. We had three families in church the Sunday before but they weren't planning on coming to church this coming SundayOn Saturday, all of our appointments had fallen through and I was praying for a "birthday miracle"...a powerful lesson or some positive new investigators. We felt we should go up to go visit a family who have been investigating for some time but hasn't even come to church. The mother is a pastor and knows it is true but can't come to church because she has a congregation that she can't leave...We decided to leave them for some time but we had a feeling to start walking towards their house. It was raining and we just started walking to see if they were home...We met a member walking up a dirt alley and she told us we should walk with her and then loop around to our original destination of the family. We agreed and started walking with her. She then simply said, "One of my friends is really sad right now. And she wants me to go and talk about God with her." She then brought us to her friends house and we met a beautiful mom, named Sara, with 4 kids...one who is conveniently turning 8 on Friday and two more who are over the age of eight. We shared a very simple message about the love of God and invited her to church on Sunday. It was a powerful lesson and I just turned to Hermana R after and said, "I'm pretty sure that was a birthday present from God." It turned out to be even more beautiful when the member brought her to church the following day and they stayed for all three hours. In Sunday school, the teacher finished the lesson twenty minutes early and just looked at us to improvise. Another recent convert was sitting by Sara and said, "Sara just asked me what prophets were...you should explain." We then explained the whole Restoration and invited every investigator and convert and member to pray to see if it was true. When we visited them the following day for a second visit, we asked her what she had done to see if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She paused and said, "I prayed. And I received an answer. I felt something in my heart and I know it is true. I will continue in this path and in this church." We challenged her family to be baptized the 15 of June and they all accepted. It's amazing how whenever we have a period of trials, it's because God is busy preparing the miracles to come. We must always prepare of faith during these miracles so we can always stay strong in the periods of trials. I love my mission, I love this time I have to serve the Lord. My time isn't finishing next month, it's just switching over to giving my time to him in a different place with different responsibilies. But I will never stop giving my time to serving Him.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Staying here

HERMANA RASMUSSEN AND I ARE STAYING TOGETHER ANOTHER CHANGE! We were actually really surprised to find that out, I was sure I was leaving so there would be another training sister leader to stay for the arrival and first part of the new mission president's arrival but I'm excited that I'm supposed to stay here with her. On Sunday, Feliciana was confirmed and she is just beautiful inside and out. And she absolutely LOVES her Book of Mormon...when they called her to the front to get confirmed, she started walking but then turned back to grab her Book of Mormon to bring it up with her. I don't think I have seen her without it in her hands...it really is just beautiful.
We met a family up in Puerto Rico, where Feliciana lives. They had a baby recently that is super sick...They have to use ounces to weigh him because he is so light and weak. The mother takes the bus to the hospital every day to be able to nurse him and the father just pleads for his son in his prayers. We had a second lesson with them and we shared the first part of the Plan of Salvation...on the back of their pamphlet we drew a little map of how to get to the church because they don't have a cell phone and weren't sure if they could go....it was so beautiful to see this little family with their two little girls all dressed in corte walk into the church. He had his Plan of Salvation pamphlet in his hand, just holding it during the sacrament meeting and listening to the talks. I love this message because it can give everything to a family that feels that they have nothing. It gives the hope and it gives the grace and it gives the happiness. And I know it is true.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Singing at the door

I love the little lessons that I learn daily in my mission. For example, last week we were teaching Feliciana before her baptism and I said, "Hey, we should find a favorite hymn for you...." And she said, "I already have one. It's 157...´Count Your Blessings¨." It's beautiful to see the hope and optimism people receive in the gospel. Her baptism was literally perfect and she was so prepared...in only 2 weeks, she completely changed her life and was able to find out who she really was; a daughter of God with a future as bright as her faith.

Another small miracle was a family that we found while waiting for some missionaries to get to our area to start divisions. They were a door contact and we just taught a simple scripture about God's love. We invited them to church and they accepted but we weren't really too impressed with their enthusiasm until a conference we had on Saturday afternoon. A member pulled us aside and told us how we had taught one of her friends...she said, "She came to my house and asked if I was a Mormon. She said the message touched her and that all the grandkids bathed on Saturday and will be ready for church tomorrow." We picked them up on Sunday morning and the two grandparents attended. Unfortunately, the grandkids weren't able to come but they had the desire. We passed by later on Sunday and they were locked in their house because the mom had left for some errands. We decided to slip our little hymn books under the door and sing "I am a Child of God" with them. We sang and then we were about to leave again and then they asked us to sing another hymn, we slip the hymnbooks under the door again and one of their little voices said, "I want to sing ´I Am a Child of God´ again...it's on page 196!" We taught them "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" but after we sang it, they all said, "We want ´I Am a Child of God´ again!" It was something so little but it amazed me how strongly the children here want to learn of Christ here. There is a little girl who was baptized about a year and a half ago in our ward...she has 10 years and lives with her grandma, who isn't a member. She lives across a highway and about 15 minutes from the chapel but she walks every single week, alone, to the church. She always sits by us because she is shy and doesn't really have many friends. It's amazing to see the desire she has in her actions. I always like the scriptures that refer to becoming children again...children have the desire and are humble enough to look unto Him. I hope I can be more like the children here in Guatemala!

Also, funnnny story. We came back from church on Sunday to make lunch and there was a little baby rat right by our front door. The member who we live with asked us why we paused and I said, "Well...there's a baby rat...and if there is one baby rat..." And she quietly responded, "There is a mom...and more baby rats." She yelled for her husband and then disappeared for a minute and then came back with a broom. She asked, "Is it dead?" We said no and then she came up with the broom and said, "Well now it's about to die...on the sabbath day!" It was really funny watching this wife of the stake president´s first counselor kill this baby rat in her high heels and her broom. I love Guatemala. Until next week!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bringing a light . . .


                                Skyping for mothers day with our beautiful missionary daughter


I have heard that Guatemala is very, very beautiful and I believed it from all the people that I have met. But this week I was able to see the geographical beauty. We had divisions with San Lucas Toliman and it was my turn to go, but unfortunately it was pouring rain all afternoon and the ride there was super cloudy. But in the morning, on the way back, I was able to see the prettiest views of my life. To get tro Toliman, one has to take a bus, then a microbus, then a pickup truck with a bar in the bed of it to hold on to. It was a clear morning and I was pretty excited to start the journey back with the pick up truck. It drove through on an old gravel road with thick forests lined with corn and other crops seperating different pueblos. Every once in a while, there was a break in the trees to be able to see the waters Panajachel. (Lake Atitlan) The lake was so clear and so still that it matched the sky...if it hadn't been for the volcanoes separating the water from the sky, it would've looked like the heavens never ended. I turned to the man next to me and said, "After seeing that, it really demonstrates to us that there is a God, huh?" He just paused for a minute and said, "Yes, yes there is." We were then able to share a little bit about the gospel with him. I love little moments like that as a missionary...There are always opportunities to testify of our message...there aren't missionaries that live in his area and there's a very small chance of ever seeing him again but we never know how a simple testimony can impact a life.

Another moment I loved was bringing Feliciana to stake conference. When Hermana Brough got up and started to testify, Feliciana was on the edge of her seat, trying her best to listen. With the power and spirit of her testimony, Feliciana loved hearing her speak. It made me think of how my own mother will have the same calling soon. Feliciana barely even speaks Spanish, and it would be even more difficult understanding two North Americans teaching her...but she has understand every word and continues to understand as she prepares for her baptism this Sunday. The grammer and pronunciation don't have to be perfect to share a perfect message...the spirit is what these people need to become converted, not convinced. When we went to visit her, she kept telling us, "I was with my mom this weekend. I just kept telling her that this is the church of Christ, and that the Book of Mormon is true and that this changes lives. I want her to see it for herself but there isn't a chapel where she lives, but at least she knows now that this is a true message." She is someone who isn't convinced with words, she is converted with the spirit. I am so happy that we were able to find her.

We also found a random man on the street, pushing his bike. We just talked to him and asked him if we could sing to him. He agreed and we sang and shared a scripture with him. It was probably the first man that I've talked to here that said he didn't believe in God...but after our short message, we realized that it was just events that has happened in his life that caused anger at God, no an actual unbelief in God. And after more than 15 years of not praying, he agreed to end our short message with a sincere, short prayer. We challenged him to be baptized on May 1 and he accepted, recognizing all the changes that he will have to make and willing to do them. I love teaching this message to people who sometimes have nothing...no money or no family or no job or no house...or sometimes no hope...it brings a light in their life that fills to the corners of every desire. This is a true message! Until next week...Hermana Hansen

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The woman of quiche (aka the quiche woman :)

The story of the woman of quiche (Feliciana) that I shared last week is continuing to be a miracle. SHE CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY. I was a little surprised because she wasn't in her house for the scheduled date for our second visit and she doesn't have a telephone...but she either traveled the hour walk to the chapel or sacrificed paying for a bus. She was early, with her "Restoration" pamphlet and a hymn book her member friend had given her sticking out of her purse. I am not sure how much Spanish she understood during the small talk of the members or during the reunions...but she felt the spirit. After pointing to the painting of Christ coming to the Nephites, I asked how she felt and she said, "I feel...happy...and very satisfied." We walked to her house in the afternoon and after arriving, we again pulled out the gospel art book and showed her the picture of the first vision. We asked her, "Do you remember what was happening in this moment?" She replied, "Well, this was when Joseph was praying to find out the truth...and the Father and the Son appeared to him and Christ responded to his question....I know he was a prophet, I know and feel that this is real." I just paused and I looked at my companion to respond since I was holding back tears...but we both just had to pause. We then explained the Book of Mormon and the word of wisdom, she accepted them both and was already living the word of wisdom as well as the law of chastity. We challenged her to be baptized on the 18 of May and she simply responded, "Si, con mucho gusto." She then told us how her 7 year old son would be moving back to live with her in October (she is separated from her husband and lives alone...and the sons takes turns living with each parent), and she explained her own excitement that she would be able to take him to church also. Her friend on the bus proved to be right on all accounts, she truly needed this message.


We also contacted a family in the street and the husband said, "Oh you were Hermana Coleman's companion!" I was a little confused how he remembered her name, and they remembered her just because she had contacted them one day in the street. They told us that they wanted us to pass by for them and we set an appointment. When we arrived, the wife was telling us the reason why they remembered us. She said how the Jehovah witnesses had passed by for them...but they didn't feel too right about it. Then another church passed by...and they didn't feel right about them either. She then said, "I was looking for the truth and many people have tried to help me. Then you guys talked to me in the street...and I turned to my husband and said, ´Now there is the message I want to hear...they are different from the others.´" We explained the first lesson and she committed to pray to see if it is true, when we returned and asked if she had done it, she told us that she wants to believe and that she is praying to know for herself if it is true.


I am proud to have a message that is different than all the others, I am proud to be here in Guatemala with a plaque that shows to the world who we are; missionaries of Christ preaching His gospel. I am proud to sing on buses and walk miles in the sun to be able to peach His gospel. I am proud that my parents and family are examples to me of who I can become. I am proud to be a daughter of God! Hasta la proxima semana..

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A bus, a song, an old man and miracles in Quiche

Another week of miracles! We were taking a bus to San Lucas and when Hermana Haymond and Hermana Godfrey were in their training, we made up a song to the tune of "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ", sometimes I still sing it to contact the buses. After I finished the contact, we were contacting seat by seat and a little old man just looked at me and said, "Que valor!" He was a member and wanted us to pass by for somebody that he knew. He lives very far away from the main part of our area but after confirming that it was on our side of the border, we made an appointment to go meet him and his reference. We had to set aside a whole afternoon to be able to make this appointment but we both felt that it was absolutely necessary. Luckily, we were able to travel and find him, with his straw hat and old work clothes working hard in a flower field... and he then presented us to his friend. He said, "I know this is far away...but I was far away when the missionaries came and found me also." He explained how he was baptized and how his children served missions and were married in the temple and now his grandchildren are receiving their mission calls...he then said, "So I know exactly why you guys are here. She doesn't speak Spanish very well (she speaks Quiche') so it will be hard to teach her, but she needs this message." We presented ourselves to her but she kept nervously laughing and didn't really understand us...at all. I pulled out my gospel art book, ready to try to explain the restoration in a very simple way...and then the miracle happened. After the opening prayer, she was able to understand every single word that we said. We were able to explain our message completely and it was one of the most powerful lessons that we have had. She accepted another visit and accepted the challenge to be baptized. The spirit really does help us understand this gospel in exactly the way that we need it. It helped her and it can also help us in our lives. Although she couldn't understand Spanish, she understood the love of God and the need for this gospel. I feel honored to be able to be a missionary and have the opportunity to share such a powerful message.
Another miracle that we saw was a contact on the street...who asked us when he could be baptized. He is an old widow who lives alone and has a desire to follow Christ. We passed by his house later that night and taught the first lesson...and the next day when we were waiting for him at church, he didn't show up. We passed by his house that night and immediately when he opened up the door, we could sense that he had been drinking alcohol. He told us how he was invited to a lunch and how they offered him drinks...the first time we met him, he was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses. This time, he was wearing them again but we figured out why. When he told us about his drinking, he just paused and took off his sunglasses and said, "So many pastors have come to my house but I just cry." His eyes were absent of light and happiness. He explained how he wants to follow Christ but how he keeps falling into temptation. Every time he picks himself up, he falls more and more into a deep loneliness. Since he was a little bit tipsy, we just decided to sing a hymn and pass by the next day to be able to visit him in a clearer state. We sang, "Lead Kindly Light", which has become my favorite hymn these last couple of weeks. He simply told us, "You guys are wasting your time by visiting me. I've tried to change but it has never worked. I don't want you to waste your time." I learned something this Sunday from this simple lesson...we never waste our time by helping someone come unto Christ. I know that this man needs the gospel, now more than ever. Patience pays a true part of faith and He will never give up on us, so we can never give up on His children. We will keep teaching this man, because this message is the answer he hasn't ever realized that he has been waiting for. Hasta la proxima semana!

Friday, April 25, 2014

My new sleep talking companion

My new companion


I am missing Hermana C but I am super excited about me new companion, we're already super good friends. She is from Las Vegas and is probably the most consecrated missionary that I know...so much that she sleep talks about lessons every night. This week, I woke up to her sleep talking in Spanish saying, "Okay, let's finish with a kneeling prayer." (She then got out of her bed and kneeled down on the floor...) She then said, "Okay, Hermana...will you say the prayer?" I then replied, "Well...I can't." She was really confused and woke up and said, "Hermana Hansen? What time is it? Did I finally sleep through the night without waking up?" She was pretty excited for a second because it would've been the first night without waking herself up sleep talking...but it was only 2 45 in the morning haha.
We have been teaching some really positive people. They family that attended for General Conference was progressing very well. We went to their house and the dad told us, "Did you get my call last night? I was hoping you two would come and teach us and so I looked for a coin and then went out to find a pay phone last night." They wanted to get baptized and everything was running really smoothly...until we found out that they aren't lawfully married. They had told us the first lesson that they were...but the wife has a husband in Esquintla. They seperated and her husband refuses to divorce her and so she is unable to get married to Cristobal and they are unable to be baptized until they are married. This is a pretty common occurence here because divorces usually cost a lot more than weddings and they agree to seperate, but never legally sign anything. It was a little sad to find that out when their baptism was coming up, but I know that they will continue to progress in this waiting period of time.
loving the children

I thought I loved my mission, but it just seems to get better every single day. I have learned to permit myself to just be open to learning about everyone and everything, to listening to every story that these people have had...to hearing their testimony and struggles. I reflected a little bit hitting this 14 month mark and I can honestly say that, before my mission I knew Christ as the son of God...and now I know Him as my Savior. I'll be honest, my body has been a little tired sometimes this last change...but I have found strength from sources that I wasn't even aware were available. The Atonement empowers us, He knows us and we can do all things in Him. I would like to think I've worked my hardest my whole mission, but there are always things we can get better on. But I want to give Him another gift...during Christmas, I wanted to give Him my mind so that I could be consecrated. But now I want to give Him my heart, I want to get totally lost in this work so that I can complete finding every person that I promised I would find. The time is short...a year and a half is short...but I know that every minute is a gift, the mission is a gift.
Evidently Guatemalas do not smile for pictures - - - UNLESS Hermana Hansen makes them!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Protected AGAIN! The disappearing street :) (sorry this is from last week - I was out of town)

The mission is seeming more and more like precious time. With my companion, Hermana Coleman, going home this week...it's been a real learning period for me these last six weeks. And seeing the date that I will be flying home...it impacted me pretty strongly this morning. It seems a lot closer than I would want it to be, but just like I accepted to come on a mission, I must accept the next step. But I am thankful that I have a few more months here in Guatemala.
I am thankful for the protection that we have here. This week, we were headed towards a lesson in the night time. There is a connecting little calle between the main road and the street with the family we were going to go visit. Everything seemed normal as we walked along the main road towards the little street to take a shortcut...soon enough, I realized we had passed it as we were talking with people in the street. We turned around and started to walk the other way in order to find the street. We were talking again and soon realized that we went too far in the other direction. A woman seemed to be a little startled to see us in the night walking and told us that we needed to be more careful. We thanked her and returned to look for the connecting street. Another person stopped us and told us that we shouldn't be walking in that direction because of robbers and gangs in the night. I was a little confused at the reason why we could not find the street to cut across...we walked back and forth about four times on the main road but something distracted us each time we passed the small connecting road. We decided to walk along the road to look for the road again and then one more person told us to be careful...we then both felt very impressed to leave immediately and take the long way back home instead of cutting across through the connecting street. I don't know what would have happened if we cut through it...but I know that we have been protected very often these last couple weeks. 

I am also thankful for the opportunity to have divisions with the sisters. We have had 13 divisions in 5 weeks and it gets pretty busy always leaving my area but it's a huge learning experience to be able to work with all the other missionaries. I was working this week in San Lucas and we were able to have a family night with a young adult that has attended church a few times now. We challenged him to get baptized on Sunday but he had something impeding him...oftentimes we are scared to do something because we are afraid that we will fall after we attempt to do it, which was one of his fears because of his past. I learned something as we were trying to help him...God will never invite us to do something that He knows we can't complete. We had him pray in the lesson to ask if her should be baptized on Sunday...it was the most sincere prayer that I have ever heard. After the prayer, he just paused and told us of the joy he felt...but he was still a little hesitant about being baptized on Sunday. We explained that he had just recieved an answer but we invited him to pray again in the night alone and told him that we would call in the morning for a final answer. During our morning studies, the missionary that I was with called him to ask how his prayer went and to see if he would be baptized on Sunday. From the phone call I heard was, "Did you pray last night? ....And how did you feel? (and then a loooooong pause and then I heard, "So...would you prefer it on 5 on Sunday?" And she just looked up at me with the biggest smile. It's so amazing to travel to different areas and see the progress of people coming unto Christ. I love the mission!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Patience

I'll be pretty honest, these last couple weeks have been very trying. We had a baptism planned for the last week of February of a teenage girl, Abi, who lives with her aunt (her mom hadn't seen her for 7 years and communicates with her through facebook. We had to contact her to get her consent and she willing gave permission so that her daughter could be baptized.) The day of the baptism, the electricity went out in the chapel..and we were not able to fill the baptismal font. The family and the bishop preferred to wait until Saturday to have the baptism instead of finding other ways to fill the font...the day after, the teenager's mother called from the US to tell her that she no longer would give consent to having her daughter baptized. We are still trying to help her so she can make the choice when she turns 18, and we are still praying that somehow the mom's heart will be softened.
Our other investigator, Jeni, who had attended four times and was progressing is M.I.A. We heard she went to the coast and we haven't been able to teach her for a while. We had a few others that were coming to church but not with real intent...so we had to start again to look for more positive people and we found almost 100 new investigators in just a couple weeks...but nobody seemed to be progressing. And then we only had 1 person in church. Conference was coming up and we were praying to be able to find people to invite to it...

One investigator couldn't leave her house because she was locked in without keys...another investigator couldn't leave because she would miss the water when it came by...everyone seemed to have an excuse after they promised they would come. One of our investigators couldn't go because his pig was pregnant and past due date...and I actually prayed that the pig would have its baby quickly so that they could come.

On Saturday morning...nobody came to conference.
On Saturday afternoon...nobody came to conference.
On Sunday morning...nobody came to conference.
We walked a total of about 18 miles to bring our investigators (I like using the pedometer my mom sent) but everybody seemed to have excuses. But for some reason, we were calm about it.

Earlier in the week, I had an impression to go visit a woman named Hermana Paz. Her husband isn't a member...but is pretty harsh in his lack of desire to learn more. I brushed off the impression thinking it was to go see her husband with a little of hesitation at the annoyance he feels when members of the church stop by...but then it came again. We went out of our way to go visit her and we found her talking to her friend in the street. We introduced ourselves and shared a quick scripture with her and invited her to conference. On Saturday, we passed by her house to invite her again but she had left to run chores...but her son had commented that they might be able to come tomorrow. They were the last people on our list to pass by for the Sunday afternoon General Conference and when we knocked on their door, his wife, was standing their with a clean face and brushed hair and a red dress and wornout shoes on placed on her feet. She was ready for us to come pick her up. Her husband was also ready witha button up shirt and dress pants. And the little old widow we found in the street was also ready to come with us. The three came to conference with us and after greeting the bishop at the end of the session, informed him that they would be attending church with us the next week also.
On Sunday afternoon...we had 5 attending.
I learned a lot from these weeks. We were working harder than we ever had, waking up every day at 5 and talking to everyone...but we weren't seeing any immediate progress. A few weeks is pretty immediate for blessings to come, but sometimes in life we have to wait a while before we are able to see the blessings. I know that even though I was working diligently and urgently, it wasn't part of my timing at all. It's His timing and sometimes blessings come quickly, others more delayed and the best will come after this life. I am grateful for the weeks and slower progress with harder work just like I will be grateful in my life with slower years and harder work...He is always with us.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pictures!


Old Friends

Ruins at Ixmiche

P-day - at Ixmiche

Lamanite hands

Soy un hijo de Dios

I can't even start on the miracles that we see every day...when I start thinking about them, even more come! I'll tell a simple one today...on Sunday, we were out with a member and our appointments fell through. We asked her if they were any inactive members that lived close that we could go visit with her and she brought us up a long alley way to a a huge tin door. An old woman answered it and she had a son behind her doing some kind of yard work. When we asked to share a message with them, they weren't really receptive...at all. And when we asked the son if he was a member, he denied it and said he didn't know anything about the church. We felt and knew that he knew exactly who we are but he didn't really want to listen to us...and we asked if we could just sing a song with them before we left. We turned to page 196, "Soy un hijo de dios" and sang it for them. After we sang, he was just crossing his arms and scratching his head a little bit. After a long pause, he just looked at us and started walking back and forth scratching his head and questioning us all about the need for a restoration and another prophet and apostles. It was amazing to see how this song reminded him and softened him enough to listen. Every time he asked us a question, he just looked at us and smiled with his two or three teeth and then started walking again asking questions. It was so amazing to be able to teach him again about the Restoration and they should be coming to General Conference this weekend. I strongly believe that reminding somebody of the truth is just as important as bringing somebody to it.
This Sunday was a pretty rough one because we only had 1 investigator in church...and a couple weeks ago we had 8. But surprisingly, it didn't take us down too much. I know that the trials always come before the blessings...and I know that faith, patience, and diligence will get us though all.

We gave another talk in Sacrament Meeting (missionaries seem to have the privilege to give many talks ha) but this time I was supposed to talk for 10 minutes about the obra misional! I decided to take a different outlook on it and categorized the missionary work into three different parts. First, to listen. Second, to recieve a testimony. Third, to share it. I used the example of the wise men in Lucas...how they first saw the angel...and then they ran to go see the new baby...and then they shared it with everyone that they could. I related it to Alma the younger of how his dad had taught him and with his dad's words echoing in the back of his mind, he was able to finally repent later on and recieve his own testimony of Christ...and then he spent all his days sharing it. And then I finished with the Joseph Smith story. It really stuck me when I realized how if we never share our testimony, we never give others the opportunity to hear it. Sometimes, we get a little down when we can't see immediate results of our missionary efforts. But by planting the seed, it will be able to grow in the right timing. Alma the younger didn't believe his father right away, but he was able to remember his words in the necessary timing (Alma 36:17). When we share our message, we help people on their first step.
And I'll just end by repeating the words of our bishop real quick..."When you watch conference, there are a lot of men over the age of 80. And none of them fall asleep during the sessions...so you guys can't either." Hahaha. I'm happy I'm a missionary and I'm happy I'm a Hansen and I'm happy that I feel part Guatemalan...these people are special here. They have taught me who I want to work towards becoming in my life. I'll see you guys next week

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Visit to San Pedro - where part of her heart will always be


An amazing, amazing week. On Sunday, M was baptized and it was one of the best days of my mission. We organized a musical number and many people stayed after church to be able to see the baptism. Her best friend was able to talk and it was hard for her to hold back tears talking about the trials in M's life and the changes she had made to be able to make this step. When the bishop got up, he talked about how M's great grandfather was one of the 6 people who organized the church here in Chimaltenango (nobody knew this fact, including her) and then he talked about how every single person in the room had come into the church through these first "pioneers". All of the families were related in one way or another with their conversions or marriages or missionary work. It felt like a huge family welcoming her back in and it was really special to see how Heavenly Father works to guide his children back in, we are all included in His plan.
M - Baptism
One of my favorite parts this week was being able to work in San Pedro with Hermana G.(one of Saras :twins)
Forever Friends - Sara and G
 
Two companions together again in San Pedro!
 on divisions and we were able to take G to accompany us for a few appointments!!! I asked her how she was and she just thought for a moment and then said, "My life changed when I was baptized...but it hasn´t stopped changing. I feel more peace every day and my very thoughts have changed...and A (her husband) changed his whole life to get baptized, but he also keeps changing. We´re just...truly happy." And then when I saw A later, he told me, "Well, I´m reading the Book of Mormon every day but every time I read it, I feel a little bad...I love it and I love reading it, but I feel bad because it always points out things that I need to do better. And I keep changing to become better, but there´s always something more." We aren´t just changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are always changing because of it. And in his prayers, he is still asking for the strength to move forward to be able to become a forever family.


Sara with the family she loves - G and A and kids (the two in green shirts are part of the extended family - all were baptized when Sara served in San Pedro - this is inside their home. They are sitting on the family bed where they all sleep.

 I also saw J and we had a lesson with his friend in his house (he is introduing the missionaries to all of his friends and family). His friend accepted a baptism date for this 30 of March and J just has an amazing testimony. HIs mom said that because of the dramatic changes in Jorge´s life, there must be something good about this message haha. She was prepared and quickly followed in his footsteps, and other family members are listening. I love San Pedro!!
I also love my companion sooo much, she reminds me so much of Kim Hansen. She told me that there was an atheist on the bus who started to talk to her about how there is no God. She said, "I just told him that there has to be a God because of all the every day miracles. I just said ¨Just look at the orange, it has a perfectly peel to protect it and then when we open it up, there are perfectly packaged, bite-sized pieces. Isn´t that evidence? I didn´t even get started talking about my mangos...¨" Haha she is so funny and I am so excited for these next couple weeks I have with her. The work is going along in this area and we are seeing miracles every day. Like Gl and A, I´m just truly happy and it increases the more time I have to share this message.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy week

I hope I still have friends left when I get back because EVERYBODY is getting engaged! But I´m happy for all of you :)
Thank you so much Aaron Cooper, Dallas, President Hixson, Wyatt, Leticia and Terri Lamp for the letters. And the DearElders of Paige, Alexa, Cole, Michelle, Dallas and Adrian. And the packages from the Hillsdale Ward bishopric, the Garry family and Cristina and Sean! I can feel your love from afar, the mail system isn´t the best and the postcards I sent back in October never arrived...but I am very thankful for all of the support.

And ALL of your prayers have been answered concerning my new companion and my health...because my new companion was the mission nurse!!! Hahaha. We received a new nurse for the mission and my companion, Hermana C, extended a change more and was released as being the nurse so that she could be a training sister with me her last change. We have been friends the whole mission and this past week has been such a blessing, the blessings really do come after the trials!
Baptism on Sunday - Darling little girl "J"
Other good news...N was a man that I helped baptize in my first area and all of his family was baptized! Also, S and her daughters were baptized in Santa Lucia the weekend that I left. Annnnnddddd, J BAPTIZED HIS MOM ON SUNDAY. Seriously, this week has been full of miracles. We had a baptism on Sunday, a little girl of 9 years and her story is a miracle but also really funny, it´s one that I´ll have to tell when I get back.

M reminds me so, so much of my best friend at home. Her best friend here in Guatemala is a returned missionary and she has helped us out a lot teaching her. She has had a LOT of trials in her life and she talked to our mission president yesterday. We weren´t sure when she would be able to be baptized and were waiting anxiously outside of the room with her best friend. After their interview, he came out and said, "Hermanas, baptize her as soon as you can. She is ready to be baptized and is strong." She had tears streaming down her eyes and she told us, "When he told me that he feels I have repented and that I am ready to be baptized, I just felt such a peace and I have never been more excited in my life." It was a beautiful experience and her baptism will be held this weekend. Her returned missionary friend reminds me surprisingly of myself and I hope I can also be an example and help bring this change in people´s lives when I return.


Sara teaching new friends (M and M ) how to make 'rollyups' 

We are also teaching the mother of a missionary serving in Panama. She has been very hard these last couple weeks and has refused to read or pray or attend church...but we saw a miracle on Sunday as she walked into the chapel with her other children. We are still helping her make little steps and her sister, the Aunt of the missionary, was overjoyed to write her son and inform him that the mother is now starting to attend church.

And I also love this ward...we have been giving a watermelon to two families every week for the past couple weeks. With the watermelon, they have the responsibilidad to eat it with their family but also invite somebody they know to come and enjoy it with them (and we are also there with a message ready to share it with him). We have been able to have so many lessons in the houses of the members and they are getting more and more excited to introduce us to the people they know that need this message. We are seeing miracle after miracle and have 7 progressing investigators, I love this area and my companion and I am so thankful for the lessons I learned last change, they really prepared me for this time.

I am happy I am a Hansen and I am happy I am a missionary. UNtil next week

The missionaries "cook" and her family of 8 daughters.



Sara treated her "cook" to an ice cream cone. I THINK she is happy about it :)

(you may notice some fun gramatical errors - I am leaving them because I think it s fun to see her Spanish take over the English in her speech and writing. Kathy)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watch out for Llorona!

The time has come in my mission where I finally slept in my clothes with my plaque still on, the days are really tiring us out. Last week we had divisions three times and we also had over 60 lessons, including 30 with a member. We found 41 new investigators because our mission is preparing to baptize 400 in March! The work is getting harder and harder.

One of the challenges that I am facing is that I now have the responsibility to teach an investigator and prepare her to be baptized in just a week. My companion can´t teach her (I will explain later or you can ask my parents) and I have been told that I need to find members and teach her alone, without my companions. With four divisions this week, I am pretty nervous about teaching her everything alone but I know this is what I need to do. We only taught her 2 lessons before and she has attended church a few times, it feels like I´m preparing one of my own best friends to be baptized.

Besides the challenges, this week has been very, very funny. I was helping a member make tortillas and another woman came over and said, "That was your tortilla, wasn´t it?" I guess it wasn´t as round as the others...and I guess I will have trouble finding a husband because she told me that because of my tortilla talents (or, lack of) it´s going to be hard for me to marry well! ha ha. It´s funny how important cooking skills are here, I have a lot to learn! Also, we often return at night through a dirt road surrounded by dark fields (don´t worry, we are accompanied by members) but my companions have had trouble sleeping all week since a woman was heard crying outside our house, they are now convinced that the llorona is coming to get them...it´s been a fun week. And the last funny thing I can think of is that I was practicing English with them and I pointed to scissors and I asked what is was. When I said told them that they were called scissors, my companion immediately said, "Oh! Like ¨Little Caesars" and now she always says "Little Caesars" and bursts up laughing haha. I love living here and I am excited but also a little sad for changes coming up. I will inform you guys next week of the changes! ADIOS, LES AMO!

(I looked up llorona. She is part of a very common belief/legend among Hispanic and Latin American peoples  of a woman whose soul is condemned to roam the earth for eternity - crying for her children. . . )

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Funny circumstances

This week has been filled with funny incidences. The first started at about 8:30 at night when three police cars passed by us with their sirens. In the first police car, a head poked out the window of the back seat and yelled "ADIOS HERMANAAAAS!" laughing hysterically...the next day, one of our investigators asked, "Did you guys see me yesterday? The police had to take me and my friends home...and I saw you guys walking! I yelled and the policemen asked who you guys were and I just told them, `oh they are my other friends, but they weren`t with us tonight`." It started the week with many funny incidents in the wrong place at the wrong time...The second incident was when a recent convert fell back into a drinking problem and he gave us alcohol to dispose of. I put it in my backpack to throw away in the trash cans outside of his house...but before we could throw it away, another investigator saw it in my backpack. Of course she knew that it wasn`t ours, but it was pretty funny. The third incident was on Sunday when we passed through a field and a baby puppy started crying when it saw us...there was nobody living around there and no way to find his mother and my companion picked it up...which made it think that she was his owner. We tried to just leave it ... then we looked for the owner of the mother but we had no success. He followed us all the way to the chapel...and even into the chapel. With 20 minutes to spare before church, we then had to take a tuctuc to pick up investigators and ask them if anybody wanted a new puppy. He found a new home and is now happy and safe.

Besides all the funny things that have passed this week, it was also a week of miracles. I went and worked with two sisters in Solola (including Hermana E!!!) and also two sisters in San Martin. I am loving the divisions and learning all the different areas of the mission. One of the best things that happened was hearing from G and A. My "daughter" Hermana G is still in S P and is training! She came to my area and we were able to work here and I was able to hear everything that has been happening in my old area. G and A are primary teachers and are loving their calling. A didn`t come to a branch activity and when the sisters passed by later, they asked him why he missed the activity, he responded, `Ah, I know. I was making all these crafts for my Sunday class and I lost track of time because I kept wanting to do more and more." It really is amazing how the gospel changes people. From having a difficult, unmarried relationship with the two of them, to having a strong family with church callings, it`s amazing to see the changes that come. My mission is continuing to change my life every single day, I`ve been thinking about home a little more than usual, but not in a "baggy" homesick way. I`m thinking about it more because I now have a better idea of who I want to be and who I want to become. I am so grateful for all the lessons my mission is teaching me, I would never become the person that I hope to be without this last year. I love this gospel and I love every day here in Guatemala. And I love all of you! Until next week, Hermana Hansen
Beautiful girl in her 'corte'

Solola in the morning

Monday, February 10, 2014

Missing chickens - - -

The member that makes us lunch has a cage with 6 chickens, I´ve become pretty fond of them because they remind me of the chickens grandma has and I always like to feed them out of my hand. But when I finished writing to you guys last week, we went to her house and there were only three chickens...and we had chicken for lunch. She then explained to my companions the two best ways to kill chickens and the best way to kill cows. After the recommended process, they basically just take out the feathers and boil the whole chicken and so this last week, I had the privilege of eating both cow and chicken stomach. It´s pretty weird that I used to be a picky eater before the mission...

I am really loving my mission and being a Sister Training Leader. We will probably be having 3 divisions this week and we often wake up at 4 in the morning. I am not quite sure where we get the energy, but I do know where we get the source of happiness! I´ve been learning a lot about perspective these last couple weeks, and it really is just the optimism we need to have. As a missionary, we will have the same circumstances and companions and houses and investigators for a year and a half. But the mission depends on our view of it, we can decide the level of happiness that we can achieve. The work is a little hard right now but it just makes me more grateful because it is helping me learn to depend more on the Lord through it all.

Every day, we contact people in the street. On average, I usually talk to about 25 or 30 different people and about 10 families. My agenda is so full of names and addresses, that it´s a little hard to be able to talk with everyone that accepts. But there are often times, when a contact really impacts me and we keep passing for them. It happened this last week, it was just a normal contact of a husband and wife but I couldn´t get them out of my mind until we passed back for them. Her mother had died and their was a mourning type of depression that had come over her life. In a humbled, block house, we were able to teach this family of the plan of salvation and the opportunity given to everybody to have hope in this life and peace in the next. My weekly letters can´t begin to express all the little moments that pass and I´m trying to remember them all and write them down, because I´m starting to realize that I won´t be a called, set apart missionary in Guatemala forever. But it doesn´t mean I won´t stop sharing this message, I know I am where I am supposed to be and I love all of you. My home is here in Guatemala and my family is split through many different countries now. I love this work and I love my opportunity to be a missionary of Christ.  (I had to leave Saras original wording here as it shows how Spanish has become her language!) note the word passing. :)
Baptism of D and M (aunt and her nephew)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A time of reflection - Happiness

HELLO EVERYONE!!!! I am loving every second of my mission, entering the month of February and one year, it`s been a time of a lot of reflectioning. (I had to keep that word in here to show that Sara thinks in Spanish now) One of the greatest lessons I've learned is the element of happiness that can be earned with faith and perspective. Our cook that cooks us lunches is one of the happiest people I have ever met. Her father died when she was young and just years later, her mother died, leaving her at the age of 12 with many little siblings (I think she told me she had 6 little siblings) and she raised them all. I can`t even comprehend the problems that some of these people have but there is nothing more beautiful than their sincerity and happiness in their families. I am so grateful that I can share a message of such great happiness to people who so desperately need it.
Here are the answers to some of the questions I have received...
So how goes life in a Latino world? It definitely has it`s challenges but I am learning many different things and I know everything I learn this change will help me in the future.
HOW do you travel? We walk everywhere but sometimes we take tuk tuks...they are like little motorcycles with seats in the back. It`s like a little taxi. We take buses to the different areas to do splits and we stay in their area for 24 hours. I left my bag on the bus last week and by a MIRACLE, we were able to find it again. We are helped a lot in our travels

What is Chimaltenago like? It is beautiful, most of the people wear cortes (look it up on google) and Spanish is their second language. We had 2 baptisms this Sunday of a woman and her nephew. The people here are genuinely beautiful and are open to learning about Christ.

Where else did you go last week? I went to Patzisia and also to Itzapa.
Do you like the traveling? I love it and I love working with the other sisters, every area feels like a different mission.

My time is running out but I will try to write a better email next week...these last couple weeks have been crazy but it should begetting better since it`s moving into the center of this change. And I will be writing next Monday since we have interviews with President!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Life as a training sister

This week was pretty crazy! Being a training sister, we have divisions 2 or 3 times a week and today I will be going to Itzapa. (In Saras mission there are 6 training sisters - which is her new assignment. She is based in the mountains, there is another set of sisters in the coast and I do not know where the third set of sisters is. So 2-3 times a week she works with other companionships) It's an amazing learning experience to visit other peoples' investigators and I am learning a lot from the other hermanas.

Hermana Brewster (her companion) got transferred to Antigua (because a sister missionary went home) ...which means I'm living with the two Latinos now....it's turning out to be really funny. The other day, Hermana Arguello asked Hermana Rios, ´´Why do you have peanut butter? You're Latina...did you eat that before your mission?´´ And Hermana Rios just said, ´´Hey, it's good. Don't judge me.´´ Little things like that keep happening with the Norte traits they've picked up and it's hilarious with the culture differences.

Our new area is HUGE, we have to take tuk tuks all the time. We are doing pretty well, we had 8 investigators attending church on Sunday and we have a baptism coming up for 3 people! They were old investigators that we had found again and after teaching them the Plan of Salvation, they all committed to living the Word of Wisdom and being baptized. It's amazing to have an eternal view, it gives us so much hope. Before Hermana Brewster left, she told me how her best friend had died on his mission during her training (he fell from a 3 story roof in Mexico). I cannot imagine how she must have felt then - but it was amazing to see how she feels now. She has such a strong testimony in the plan of salvation and it strengthened mine so much. Sometimes life becomes really, really hard. But it's hardest when we forget our purpose here. We know that God exists and that His son died for us, but sometimes we forget the reality of it. I am so, so happy to be a missionary and to be reminding people of their purpose. I'm not teaching a new message, I have the privilege of teaching a message that reminds everyone of their true worth. I am so grateful for the perfect plan that Heavenly Father has for us. I can truly say that I know everything has a purpose, and even though we may not know all of the little purposes in life, we must not forget the greatest purpose of this life=to return back to live with our Heavenly Father with our families. I love being a missionary.
Hermana Hansen

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dengue Fever and a new assignment


Antigua Guatemala


Wow, last week was the hardest of my whole mission! I had a high fever for 6 days that literally wiped out my whole body. I wasn't hungry and my muscles were cramped and I felt super faint. We still worked and when I woke up on Monday morning, miraculously my fever had gone down...it turns out I worked all week with dengue fever from the sancodos in the coast. But I'm feeling way better and I learned a good lesson about hard work despite the challenges.

I had changes! I am in Chimaltenango and it is freezing! It's quite a change from the coast of Santa Lucia. I've also been called as a training sister, which means we go on divisions with the other missionary sisters about twice a week and our purpose is to help them and encourage them to keep pushing through any problem they're passing. I'm living with the other training sister, Hermana Arguello (de Nicaragua) and in our house is also Hermana Rios (the first missionary I trained) and Hermana Brewster (de Idaho). I love our new area but I'm a little overwhelmed with the call to be a training sister. It's humbling to be able to know that I'm trusted enough with the responsibility to serve but it's also a little intimidating for all of the details it entails.

Elder Cook spoke to us yesterday in a conference with three different missions. Never have I felt the spirit so strongly before. I thought of the time when Elder L. Tom Perry had lunch with us and I wish I had prepared more and realized how special it was. Elder Cook promised us that every person we love is going to be blessed through our service here, it's crazy all of the blessings that come through missionary service. And I've heard that the best blessings don't come until later in life. I'm very, very blessed to be here as a missionary. I'm so short of being perfect but I am so grateful that the Lord has enough love and mercy to always accept and forgives my shortcomings. I know He loves his missionaries and I know He loves all of his children. This email is kind of all over but the keyboard isn't functioning very well . . . I'll write better next week! (I did go through and clean up the crazy puncuations marks caused by her computer - Kathy)