Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 38: How Mario the Miracle became Mario the Mormon!‏

Dearest family and friends,

Wow, so much to tell, so little time! (Have you heard that story before?)  This was the longest week ever, but it was so good!

-My companion was transferred!  I was blessed to receive Hermana Quezada, yet another hardworking, obedient, sweet companion.  The Lord really loves me!  We`re excited to work hard here in Pancasan 3.  Hermana Quezada is from El Salvador, has four and a half months in the mission, and has been a member of the church for... one year and eight months.  She`s also the only member in her family.  Talk about an example!!!

-Mario the Miracle became Mario the Mormon this weekend with his baptism and confirmation!  He`s probably more converted than I am.  Such an example. His goal now is to convert his whole family, who are all super strong Catholics.  With a testimony like his, I`m sure he`ll meet that goal!

Well, I have no time.  Spent more time on individual emails this week.  I`m seriously the worst, I`m sorry, but the other district is standing behind us waiting to write!

Love you all!

-Hermana Hansen

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 37: ¡Felìz dìa de amor y cariño!

Dear family and friends,

Hope you all had a good week!  Mine  was pretty normal as far as missionary standards.  You know, some miracles, some heartaches (I liked the way Elder Adam Young said it in last week`s report).  

So, here`s some random news bits from this week.  Sorry, I didn`t organize my thoughts on a sticky note in my planner this week, so sorry if it`s jumbled.

-We got a second counselor in the branch presidency!  When I came to this area six weeks ago, we only had a secretary.  The district president was acting as branch president (and still is).  But now we have a first and second counselor!  Woohoo!

-Mario came to church again!  We didn`t see him all week because he was working in the northern part of the country, but we called him on Sunday afternoon and he said (in his usual miraculous way), ``Oh yeah, I just got into town a few hours ago.  Of course I`m going to come to church.``  Ah, those are the moments you live for!

-Luis Alberto`s super negative wife always says terrible things when we come to visit.  But this week we gave Luis his baptism photos, and the wife`s heart was softened and told us that she can see we`re good people.  She gifted us coconuts, and Luis Alberto nearly gave me a heart attack as I watched the elderly man climb onto his roof to cut them down.

-We were making the rounds on Sunday afternoon before church (our branch meets at 2:00), a dog that always barks at us in an investigator`s house was loose from his chain and came running at us.  My companion screamed, but the dog only went flying by.  Then we died laughing.

-Sometimes I have bachata songs stuck in my head because they`re constantly playing in the streets.  Sometimes I can`t sleep because they`re stuck in my head.

-I`m grateful for a sweet companion!  One day I was hot and rather grumpy because every appointment was falling through and investigators had told us that they didn`t want anything to do with the Mormons and so forth.  I said in a moment of desperation, ``What are we doing wrong?  Are we really such bad missionaries that nobody wants to hear this message?  What can we change?`` And my companion`s just like, ``Maybe you just need to sleep more.``  Then she pulled out a scripture as we walked and helped me see the bigger picture.

Anyway, I`m out of time and I don`t have much more to say.  I`m going to focus more this week on feeling the Spirit and helping my investigators to feel it too.  And also, I`m going to sleep better!  Doesn`t Elder Holland have a quote about that?

It`s a transfer week!  I`ll let you know what happens!

Lots of love,

Hermana Hansen

1) The district on Valentine`s Day
2) Cocos at Luis Alberto`s house.  First time drinking coconut milk!
3) Awkward companionship selfie with our cocos

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 36: Turning Point!

Hello, dearest everyone!

Time is short because we had to write in the church and the internet wasn`t working on my computer.  Now we have the rest of the zone waiting to write.  I also spent time reading emails from the family and I love you all and love hearing your news!

-We had one of the Sister Training Leaders, Hermana Grow, come work with us for a day.  Being in a trio is the weirdest thing ever!  But we learned some things that will help us improve, so it was a success.

-Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the area presidency came to speak to our mission, and I consider the experience to be a major turning point for me.  WOW, the things that we learn when we prepare with the Spirit and the teacher teaches with the Spirit!  There is seriously no time to go into details, but suffice it to say that every question I had going into the conference was answered, either through the words of Elder Duncan, the scriptures he shared, or the whisperings of the Spirit.  I feel my vision elevated as far as what my purpose is here and what is possible for this area.  A few points: 1) Teach repentance, not just helping the investigators meet minimum requirements for baptism. 2) Everyone who will eventually join the church and become a powerful leader in your area probably already lives in your area.  Who will be the church leaders in your area in 20 years?  Find them, teach them, baptize them!

Okay, there`s seriously no time.  If it`s cold there, just think of me sweating to death and getting sunburned.  Sunday was a scorcher!

Ah, lots of miracles, but again, no time!  Mario continues to be amazing and Estefani still hasn`t returned to be confirmed.  Anyway... until next week!


Hermana Ali Hansen

1) Early morning birthday surprise for Hermana Powell!
2) Nicaraguan children are adorable: Exhibit E
3) Multi-zone photo (can you see my tan line?)

I have a couple more minutes, so here are my funnies:

-I received notes from some of my favorite converts and members in Loma Linda at the multi-zone.  One was addressed to ¨Hermana Homcel¨ another to ¨Hermana Hansell¨ and the other to ¨Gringuita Linda.¨ I love my Nicaraguan life!

-When we are contacting and see a family, my comp always says in her limited English, ¨Family Search!¨ And then we go contact them.

Out of time!  Love you!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 35: Mario el Milagro

Hello, all!  

It`s been a week of miracles!  There were disappointments as well, but I was really able to see how the Lord is directing this work.  Here we go:
Miracle:  This story begins a few weeks ago.  We were playing the game, ¨see how many Catholics you can contact before lunch¨ on a Saturday.  On the last house on the street, we yelled, ¨Buenas!¨ as usual and a smiling 50-something-year-old man walked out to greet us.  We introduced ourselves, and he said, ¨Hey, I work with a lot of members of your church, and they`ve invited me to their meetings before.  I`ve attended in (insert various parts of Nicaragua), and I really like your religion.¨ We happily invited him to the district conference the next day, but didn`t actually think he`d come.  To our surprise, we saw him waving at us as he walked out after the meeting.  

The days passed and we never could catch Mario at home.  Then on Tuesday, he was miraculously there!  He invited us in and went to get his Book of Mormon that a friend had given him.  He told us he had read 1st and 2nd Nephi and knows that it`s the word of God.  We sat there stunned and grinning, explained a little bit more about the Book of Mormon and invited him to be baptized on the 21st (because he checked his agenda and he`s scheduled to work on the 14th).  We left him a pamphlet of the Restoration and when we went back for a return appointment, he had read the whole thing AND answered every question at the back of the pamphlet.  That`s unheard of, at least in Nicaragua!  He had some great insights about the apostasy and talked about the importance of the priesthood as well.  Again, I was shocked, thinking, ¨It`s not supposed to be this easy!¨  I hope to be sending you a baptismal photo three weeks from now!
Moral of the story:  Heavenly Father loves us and blesses us with miracles when we are being obedient and doing all we can to serve Him.
Wow, there`s so much more to write, but Mario swallowed all my email time.  Back to bullet points:
-The zone leaders worked with us one day.  We learned that we need to immediately start contacting every time an appointment falls (because literally every appointment fell that day) instead of feeling bummed and wondering what to do next.
-We contacted a 15-year-old atheist who invited us to ¨forget about trying to change people´s beliefs and enjoy our lives without the weight of our backpacks on our shoulders.¨ We also contacted an ¨alien-ist¨ who is quite convinced that humans were created by extra-terrestrials.
-Estefani got baptized!  Her older sister Cecilia had a last-minute change of heart, and not a single member of her family came to support her at her baptism.  It`s not very fun to baptize children when you know they have no family support, but if they have the desire and the attendances at church, the zone leaders will machete us if we deny them the opportunity.  (Sorry for the negativity  I try to be honest and positive, but sometimes the positivity doesn`t come through.)  And despite our numerous reminders that the confirmation would be on Sunday and that the family shouldn`t go anywhere, Estefani was nowhere to be found on Sunday afternoon before our 2:00 church meeting.  That`s another confirmation that will have to wait a week...
But Estefani is a cutie and I really do love her!

-Santiago got confirmed!  And the Lord blessed us with investigators miraculously arriving at church.  That`s another story that deserves its own paragraph, but I`m out of time!
Sending love and hugs!  Read your scriptures, say your prayers, have family home evening, and pay your tithing!  You will see miracles!!!
-Hermana Ali Hansen
P.S. I read the talks from last conference`s priesthood session and was super uplifted!  I invite you to read or re-read them as well!
1) Photo of an helado, as promised.  You bite off the corner of the bag to eat it.
2) Estefani!
3) Sneak peek of the mission shoes...
4) Photo of my feet/legs that the mosquitos love to snack on.