Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 12: Bautismos!

Dear family and friends,

Thanks a bunch for your emails this week!  I am profoundly blessed to have so much support and love from home.

Highlight of this week: baptisms!  Rodrigo and Elmer both made their first covenants with the Lord on Saturday.  Cute Rodrigo has been asking us for weeks when his baptism was.  And Elmer... ah, so ready!  He´s read basically all of the Gospel Principles manual and hasn´t missed a week of church since the first time we met him.  Sadly, Jazmine isn´t quite ready to accept the gospel message, but we´re not giving up on her.  I want them to be an eternal family, and I know that Heavenly Father does, too!

Low moment of the week: I was sick from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon.  My belly was super swollen and tight during the baptism and afterward.  During the night, I made many trips to the bathroom to be sick "por arriba y por abajo" to put it lightly.  I was feeling decent on Sunday morning, just tired and weak.  I was going to be brave and go pick up investigators for an hour and a half as is the Sunday norm, but the Mama Bear in Hermana Aquian came out and she forbade me from going anywhere but to church.  We hastily made arrangements for divisions, and I learned how great our youth and young adults were as they answered the call to serve at 7:00 AM.  I was able to go to church, but came home afterward and spent a few hours sweating to death on my bed and trying not to move because my gut ached so bad.  Okay, I´m done being dramatic now. :)  But really, there were lots of tender mercies, mostly through wonderful and loving members of this ward!  And luckily, the illness was short-lived and I´m feeling 100% better today.

Miracle of the week:  On Friday night, it was 8:30 and we were out of plans for the day.  We were in an awkward spot of our area, and it would have taken our final half hour of work to get to anywhere we could have a lesson or even really to contact.  But we wanted to be obedient and not go home early, so we decided to stick around by the corner to see if we could catch Erick as he walked his dogs.  We waited for 20 minutes on a basically deserted street corner, and all of a sudden this motorcycle pulls up and stops in front of us.  Through the helmet, I see that it´s Manuel, one of our investigators from my first weeks here who was super positive and went to church with us, then disappeared to Managua without warning.  He says, "Hey, I just moved back, and I have Sunday free, so I´m going to church!"  Hermana Aquian put a new baptismal date with him as quick as can be (he had one before he moved).  Wow, talk about exact obedience bringing miracles!

Funny moment (from last week):  We were waiting outside of Elmer´s house and we look across the "street" (dirt hiking path is more appropriate) to see a rather large and hairy man sitting in his front yard with his shirt off.  His daughter was standing behind him smearing shaving cream on his back and holding a razor.  Oh my, the look on Hermana Aquian´s face... hahahahaha, I still laugh when I think about it!  Rebekah, remember this inside joke? "I´m a new man!" Ah, just another day in Nicaragua... shaving your back hair in your front yard.  Normal.

Okay, time´s up.  I promise to share more spiritual stuff next week... that´s one thing I feel like my emails are always lacking.  That´s not to say my testimony is not growing as I assist in this great work!  I know that Heavenly Father is directing His work.  I see evidence of it every day!

Love you tons!  Live your testimonies!


Hermana Ali Hansen

Monday, August 18, 2014

Las fotos!

 Noche de hogar with Martin on his birthday and Dad's birthday last week!

 How many hermanas does it take to hang a mosquitero? Tres... and one to take the pictures.

 Where we teach Rodrigo and his adorable cousin Wilbur

Happy as a clam in my new mosquito net!  Hung with an extra broomstick, a dried palm frond from the yard, and a piece of our clothesline.  Just another day in Nicaragua...

Week 11: Seis hermanas, una casa

Querido familia y amigos,

Sending lots of prayers your way as you recover from your bike accident, Mom!  So scary.  

I´ll do more or less of a daily report this week.

Tuesday:  Interviews with Presidente Russell!  It was good to receive his advice and counsel.  I learned that I need to just relax and trust the process, because I´m never going to be done learning and growing on my mission or in life.  Learning the language of the Spirit is harder than learning Spanish, it turns out... but it´s even more important!  And I´ve seen more miracles this week as I focus on following the Spirit.  Also, I´m happier!

Thursday:  Hermana Maria took us to Ticomo, the limit of our area, to meet a less active family and also to contact.  That day, we only sat down four times in eight hours.  I´m getting strong physically and spiritually as a missionary in Nicaragua!

Friday:  Everything happened on Friday!  First our district meeting in the newly renovated chapel in Loma Linda, the area of the other missionaries in our district.  Then lunch with Hermana Gladys, their lunch cita, who is a super good cook and serves HUGE portions.  Later, we looked at another house to rent, and are waiting for our leaders to come check it out.  

Also on Friday, Hermana Richins went to the hospital because she has an eye infection way behind her eye.  She´s not allowed to be in the sun for six days, so they called two mini missionaries to work with her and Hermana Peña this week.  That means we have six hermanas living in our house this week!  Showering before church yesterday was quite the feat, considering the fact that the water wasn´t running.  Just another day in Nicaragua!

Still Friday: we had a noche de hogar with a bunch of the jovenes and a new investigator in kilometro 16.  Ah, it was so great!  Thirteen youth showed up, including members, recent converts, less actives, and the investigator.  They´re all helping each other live the gospel and feel accepted as members of the church!  Later that night, one of the assistants and zone leaders came to meet Elmer y Jazmine and get them excited for their baptisms.  Unfortunately, Jazmine´s baptism date just fell through because she didn´t come to church this week.  There´s another story on that... here goes:

So, STILL Friday:  We went to visit Jazmine, who we haven´t been able to find for almost a week, and we´ve been super worried about her.  We read a bunch of the Book of Mormon with her and were trying really hard to figure out what´s holding her back from receiving her answer.  We spent longer than the 20 minutes that President wants us to spend in lessons, but it was necessary. The Spirit was there as we were trying to ask those inspired questions.  Finally, she´s talking to us, and all of a sudden she starts to cry a little.  That´s HUGE for her, because she´s very guarded in her feelings.  She tells us that she and Elmer have been having some issues as a couple and were actually separated right before we started visiting them.  They´re still thinking they might get divorced, and she has kind of connected the church with Elmer because he´s so ready for his baptism.  It was one of those Ensign moments, man!  We´re going to keep working with her, and hopefully one day soon she´ll be ready to make this covenant, too.

Ah, I think I´m out of time for funnies this week, but there were a few.  I´ll write them down for later.

But I loved being a missionary a lot more this week!  Guess what, all the answers to our problems (or at least mine as a missionary) can be found in the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, and prayer.  We just have to ask, seek, and knock.  Those promises from scriptural and living day prophets are real!  Don´t be afraid to put forth the effort necessary to live the gospel, search the scriptures, and really pray.  You´ll find happiness, I promise!

Lots of love,

Hermana Ali Hansen

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


 Sometimes when the water actually does run, it comes out looking like this.  Don't worry, we didn't end up actually having to bathe in that.  :)

 Making papusas for the third time in my mission so far!

Celebrating Hermana Aquian's nine months with bags of Pepsi.  You can basically buy anything in a bag here... soda, mayonaise, ice cream, etc.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 10: When it rains...

Hola, familia!

How do I even describe this week... so much to tell!

I´ve been writing a "You know you´re a missionary in Nicaragua when..." list over the course of my mission.  An entry from this week:  You know you´re a missionary in Nicaragua when you give thanks for the crazy rainstorms to help the drought, then ask for the water to please run when you turn on the faucet in the morning in the same prayer.  (Sorry for my attitude... five days out of seven without water starts to get old.)  Perhaps I´ll add more of these in the coming weeks.

We´ve been working super hard with our family, Elmer y Jazmine.  Elmer is seriously so ready, but Jazmine grew up as a Seventh-Day Adventist (I think) and has a hard time accepting Joseph Smith since his name isn´t in the Bible.  We´re meeting with her basically every day to read El Libro de Mormon and pray.  Man, this mission stuff is really hard on your heart... I just want her to gain a testimony so bad!  If you even knew how much the gospel could bless your life...!

The ward has been helping us a lot, especially the ward mission leader and his wife.  We had three family home evenings where they accompanied us.  Hno. Roberto also gave two blessings of healing to a recent convert and an investigator.  The most celestial family ever, la familia Roa, had another FHE of their own accord and invited some new converts, so we stopped in for a minute.  Ah, great ward!

We also had lots of learning experiences with our leaders this week.  First, on Tuesday, we had a meeting for all the missionaries and trainers who arrived here on June 10th.  I learned how to increase my faith from Presidente Russell´s message.  I also ate more on Tuesday than I did any other two days this week... muffins, McDonald´s, then a birthday meal at Martin y Meylin´s house that night.  Phew, so much food!  

Anyway, on Wednesday our district leader and his greenie companion worked with us in our area.  Elder Sacalxot is great at listening to the Spirit and talking to everyone.  It´s always awkward to try to teach lessons with four missionaries, but I learned a lot by listening.

Friday, we had exchanges with the sister training leaders.  Hermana Perez came to work with me in our area.  Wow, she is a bold missionary... no hesitation to call people to repentance, which is what our area needs.  We talked to a lot of super stubborn people with pretty confused beliefs, but I still learned a lot.  She asked me frankly, "Are you nervous?  What are you scared of?"  I need to trust more in the Lord and in my ability to communicate and connect with people here.  

Scripture of the week: Ether 12:4.  Oh, now I´m second guessing myself on that reference, but I´m trying to talk about the "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" scripture.  Let me reiterate: we don´t receive a witness until AFTER the trial of our faith.  It might be scary, or take time, or be uncomfortable, but that´s why it´s called a trial!  And then we receive a witness of the truth.

Love you all tons!

-Hermana Hansen

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 9: No hay tiempo!

Dear family,

Aaahhh, I am the worst at managing email time!  I seriously have like three minutes, and I left the general email for last.

We´re working hard with lots of new investigators.  We´ve set a ton of new baptism dates, so now it´s time to teach and prepare those people to make this first covenant with their Heavenly Father.

Elmer is progressing, and I love his faith and willingness to keep all commitments and read his assignments and more.  Jazmine, his wife, isn´t quite as excited, still.  Working on that.

I´m also working on being more bold.  I always hold myself back and assume I´m less capable than I am, but when I try, I realize how much the Lord really helps us when we open our mouths.

Thank you for your prayers... I felt them this week, on specific occasions.

Oh, and Hermano Leslie is still the greatest person ever.  He accompanied us on a lesson this week and bore his testimony... what a gem!

Love you all tons!  Sorry for the lame email, next week´s will be better, and have pictures!

-Hermana Ali Hansen