Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 47: Careful what you pray for...‏

Dearest everyone,

Happy Monday!  Hope you`re all doing well and loving living the gospel!

I`m a little short on time, so here goes:

-I had a thought this week... Be careful what you pray for.  We prayed ALL WEEK LONG to find Miguel, our most positive investigator, and he seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet.  Then on Saturday, we finally found him for an appointment in the early afternoon and taught the Word of Wisdom (and he doesn`t have any issues with it because his kidneys have been bothering him lately and he can`t drink coffee, woohoo!).  After that lesson, we proceeded to run into him about four more times during the day.  God was just making up for all those fervent prayers... be careful what you pray for.

If you pray for patience, you will contact three devout Jehovah`s Witness couples in your search for families to teach, and they will contend with you about the Plan of Salvation.

If you pray for service opportunities, you will spend two hours hand-washing two giant barrels full of dirty clothes for a recent convert who had an emergency appendectomy.

If you are hungry and pray for Heavenly Father to provide some food, you will be gifted 19 mangos in one day.  Therefore, be careful what you pray for.

Hahaha, it`s been a good week.  Very trying, but that`s what makes us stronger!  It`s still hot.  Several of our investigators who had attendances at church have decided they don`t want to be baptized.  We`re dropping a bunch of people and searching for lots of new investigators.  But we also saw tender mercies of the Lord!  Most of them have to do with food, haha...

1) Hna. Melixza made us dinner!  The third time we`ve had dinner as a companionship, that is to say, in the last ten weeks.

2) Hno. Mario made us tuna sandwiches and gave us red soda at 8:30 on Sunday night when we were famished and exhausted.  And he came to church in a white shirt and tie and received the Aaronic priesthood!

3) Hno. Oscar has been great about accompanying us in our hopes to find Miguel at home.  He came with us four times this week and wasn`t even mad when we didn`t find him and had to return home in vain.

Anyway, time to finish.  I know that Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us.  I have felt His love in this week!  I hope you have too!


-Hermana Hansen

I hope these are the right pictures... Tan lines and mangos!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 46: No seas, pues, cual hàragan... la lucha es real‏

Dear Family and Friends,

Hey, how`s it going?  Actually, I already know that you`re all doing GREAT things, because you`ve sent me emails telling me so!  Thanks a million for your news, it makes me smile all week long.

Well, this week was... hot, as usual.  We did regular missionary things, and tried not to fall asleep or sweat to death from the heat. :)  But the best news...

Nohevia and Victoria got baptized!!  And it was the most beautiful baptismal service I`ve had on my mission.  The font was filled on time, Nohevia`s family and friends came, our ward mission leader and the other auxiliary leaders were present, those assigned to give talks came, my companion and I sang a special musical number, and there were refreshments.  Basically, it all happened like baptisms are supposed to happen, but sometimes the ideal is not reality in Nicaragua.  Oh, and one of our investigators who we had invited came, and Nohevia`s dad was there as well, who is not a member.  The Spirit was strong, and I know that these two recent converts can become faithful members of the church!

Anyway, it was a joy to see the change in Victoria especially this week.  She was still unsure of a lot of things due to some lies and weird rumors that her family had told her.  In the closing prayer of one of our lessons, she said, ``Help me to know that this is true, although I`m pretty sure it is.`` And thanks to some stellar fellowshipping by the new branch president`s wife and the relief society president, Victoria now feels at home in the church and like it`s her family.

Other happy moment:  Nohevia (who was SUPER prepared for her baptism) hugged us after her baptism with a huge smile and simply said, ``Thank you for everything!`` 

Well, I don`t have a lot of time.  There were a couple of funny moments... like when two investigators in a row in the street saw us walking and said, ``Hey, you didn`t come when you said you would!`` ... which was a lie, but it was still funny that it happened one and then the other as we finished setting another appointment with the first one.  There were a lot of super stressful moments, due to the fact that I`m still learning to love my leaders and their high numbers goals that sometimes stress me out of my mind.  But... we just need to trust in the Lord, pray hard, work hard, and study hard to feel better.  

The gospel is true!  If you haven`t reached perfection yet, try not to beat yourself up.  And don`t let anyone else beat you up for that either!  Heavenly Father knows EVERYTHING you think and feel and do, so just talk to Him and let Him help you.

I love you LOTS!  XXOOxoXoO

-Hermana Hansen


1) Baptism!  Nohevia is the taller one, and Victoria is the one with cutie Rosemary in front.

2) Chocolate prizes from district meeting stand no chance against Granada`s heat

3) I`m finally legal!! Guess who got a residence card last Monday?

4) Snapshot of Granada!  Catholic cathedral, motorcycle, Toyota Corolla (one of about 35 that are constantly haunting me in the streets... such a great car!) and the touristy horse-drawn carriage that Granada is famous for.

5) Exotic fruit!  Guayaba

6) Exotic fruit!  Nispera

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 45: We have a branch president!!!

Hello, all!

This week somehow felt eternal but also went by in the blink of an eye.  Let me tell you about it in positives, negatives, and funnies!

Positive:  One of the sister training leaders, Hermana Rivas, worked in trio with us on Tuesday!  I loved the way she kept the work fast-paced and invited everyone to be baptized.  Sometimes I hold back from extending the baptismal invitation if I don`t think they`re going to progress, but I have to remember that God is in charge and he knows which of His children are ready to accept the invitation to act.  So I can`t be afraid to invite people to baptism in a street contact!  Basically everyone accepts anyway, because that`s how Nicaragua works, haha.  The hard part is helping them progress and come to church.  Which leads me to my next positive...

Positive: CHURCH!  They called a branch president!  Pancasan has progressed from having only a branch secretary in January to now having half a branch presidency!  The negative is that we arrived after the sacrament because we were bringing investigators and President Russell was there, but still... Anyway, more positives: many of our investigators came to church, and several less-actives that we had visited this week as well.  Ah, my heart is so happy to see people I love at church!

Funny:  We went to explore el Fortìn, a part of our area that we had never been to before, to visit some less actives.  Wow, it was `` puro campo`` and so pretty!  I understand now why they don`t come to church; it`s like a 45 minute walk through super dusty shade-free roads and there is zero form of transportation other than bikes or horses.  Anyway, we contact this one house and a 20-something year old guy comes out and pulls out chairs, greets us cordially, and acts like he knew we were coming.  So we ask if he`s a member of the church, and he says he got baptized 15 years ago.  We start asking questions about his family, how he`s doing with reading the Book of Mormon, etc.  He answers that he hasn`t been to church lately for work.  We even read part of a chapter in the Book of Mormon and call him to repentance (with love).  As we`re leaving, we ask to meet his mom, who was cooking in the back, and we ask when she`s going to join us at church.  She answers, ``Which church? We`re Catholic.``  Turns out the baptism that the muchacho was referring to was his Catholic baptism.  They`re not members at all.  Oh, it was so hilariously awkward.  We invited them energetically to church, left quickly, and then died laughing on the forever long dirt road back to our regular area.

Negative:  Nohebia hasn`t talked to her mom yet about her baptism and postponed for next week so she can tell her with time to adjust to the idea.  Our zone leaders told us we lacked boldness for letting her change her date, but I love Nohebia and the Spirit told me it was the right thing to do.  Praying that all goes well with that when we visit her again tomorrow and that she can be baptized on Saturday.

Positive: We had a barbecue at the mission home today as a zone for being the most successful zone during the month of March.  We ate hamburgers and brownies with ice cream, played ping-pong and foosball, and watched Meet the Mormons.  Ah, it was so good!  And made me rather trunky, but I loved it!

Turns out there were a lot more positives than negatives.  Probably because it`s just more fun to tell you about the good things!  Know that I am learning and working and loving my mission.  There are so many hard moments, but I know I`m where I`m supposed to be and doing what I`m supposed to be doing!  Heavenly Father loves me and He loves all of you!

I love you too!

-Hermana Hansen

photos:  I got brave enough to cut my hair!  Ten months of sun damage and split ends finally motivated me to take action.  I look like a trout in my scared face photo, but everything turned out well with the exception of one awkward piece right in front that is half the size of the rest.  Oh well, nothing time won`t cure.

Sweet Hermana Dorita, who is one of my role models in this life.  She`s emaciated with diabetes and a multitude of other health problems, and basically all of her children are inactive and don`t do much to support her.  But she is fiesty and hilarious and never loses the faith!  She does all in her power to get to church on Sundays and pay her tithing.  I took this photo to send to her daughter who is on a mission in Brazil.  I hope she doesn`t get too alarmed with how skinny her mom is!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Week 44: Semana Santa‏

Dear all,

Woohoo!!!  Wasn´t conference just great?!  I´m still on a spiritual high.  Now let´s talk about this week... Semana Santa.

So here´s a brief description of what happens during Semana Santa in Granada:

-It gets REALLY hot.  What else is new?
-Everyone puts out their kiddie pools and children and adults alike chill in their littlle oasis.
-Half of the world goes to the ¨playa¨ which is actually just the super crowded shore of the filthiest lake in Nicaragua.
-The men drink a lot of alcohol.
-There are Catholic and evangelical processions in the streets where people follow a statue of Jesus carrying the cross.
-We, the LDS missionaries, run around the empty streets handing out the pass-along cards of ¨Gracias a que Él Vive¨ (Because He Lives) and invite people to General Conference.

Despite all of this, I felt really happy this week!  I´m starting to love my investigators, the less-actives, and my area in general a lot more.  And we started writing our daily blessings and miracles as a companionship, which helped us see MORE miracles and blessings.  Speaking of that, let´s talk about Conference:

Some of the members of our branch got excited about inviting their family members to come to conference, and as a result we had 11 investigators in the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sessions!  And we visited Victoria yesterday to see how she liked it, and she was touched by the talk on Saturday afternoon about repentance... ¨It was I, but I am no  longer that person.¨  We´re working on getting her ready for baptism on the 18th!  Also, Nohebia came with her super evangelical Mom (who sometimes preaches in her church using the Book of Mormon... not sure if I mentioned that in a previous letter, but it was one of my mission bucket list items that has now been crossed off!).  Other positive investigators are Guadalupe and Marlon, who each were ready when we passed by in the taxi to pick them up.

Ah, I love conference!  Three blissful sessions of air conditioning and soft benches and hearing the word of God from the mouths of His chosen servants.  I feel so blessed to know the gospel!  Here are my conference goals that I want to share with you:

-Fear God, not man
-Teach the Plan of Salvation more often and more thoroughly
-Be a Shiblon and work diligently without expecting recognition or comparing myself to others
-Fall in love with the gospel daily
-Help less actives feel my and God´s love
-Notice the Lord´s hand in all things

Whew, I´m running out of time, so here are some quick photos!  I love you a LOT!  Live the gospel and be happy!

-Hermana Hansen

1) Thank you, O3 YM/YW for your letter!  You lifted my spirits and made me feel loved!
2) With Hermana Melixza, our lunch cita, on her birthday with her Minion cake
3) Photo taken from the top of the Merced, that cathedral I took a photo in front of a few weeks ago.  Isn´t Granada gorgeous?
4) With Hermana Lord, fellow Orem-ite!  KayAnn knows her!  Also from Orem is Hermana Alexa Ortiz, who came this week!
5) Volcano Mombacho!