Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Week 51: Good things come in twos!‏

Wow, is it Monday already?   Here are the good things that are happening in my life!
-Marlon and Konny both got baptized!  Ah, it has been such a joy to see Marlon progress.  He stopped drinking, he feels happy, he goes to church faithfully on his own.  Konny was a miracle: she got baptized several years ago in Mexico but never was confirmed.  Now that she´s trying to get employment help from the church, she couldn´t find a membership record number and had to be re-baptized.  So they both got baptized on Saturday!
-Norma and Julio!  They´re our baptismal candidates for this week.  Norma needs to get married to Alberto, but we´re going to take care of that on Saturday before the baptism.  She made us dinner on Tuesday, woohoo!!!  And Julio!  He is about 50 years old and rather serious.  He sews for a living and uses one of those old metal machines with the foot pedal that goes back and forth.  Actually, there are a ton of those here.  Anyway, he has stopped smoking by substituting candy instead.  He reads his assignments!  And he prays for the attendance at church to be higher (you and me both, buddy!).

-Julisa and Braulio!  Julisa is 12 and Braulio is 10 (I think.)  They love us, and we always teach them with their homebound grandparents and their Catholic mother present.  The good news is that their mom has already given permission for them to be baptized.  They read all their pamphlets and are working on giving up coffee.
And the best news for last... We have a new mission leader!  And guess who it is?  MARIO!!!  Mario the miracle is now Mario the mission leader!  (Actually, his name is Alejandro, but he´s always been Mario to me.  Hermano Rocha, to be more correct.)  He officially has three months since his baptism and is still the most faithful, energetic, converted member I know.  Oh, I could write an entire email about that man.  He was at the church when Marlon arrived for his baptism, and when he heard that he was getting baptized that day, he breaks out in this huge grin, gives him a bear hug, puts his arm around his shoulder and walks him into the church.  ¨You´re making the best decision of your life!¨  With his help, we´re going to reactivate and baptize all of Pancasan!
Not sure what else to write... I got some type of throat infection that started on Friday and made swallowing super painful all day on Saturday, but it seems to be going away now.  Don´t worry, Mom!  ;)
Time is up!   I love you lots!  Thanks for your love, letters, advice, prayers, everything!
-Hermana Hansen

 -me with Cesar, Alison, and Diana before church
-the district at Ajua

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week 50: There is always hope!‏

Dear loved ones and liked ones,

This week was the long-awaited transfers week, and... I`m still in Pancasan 3!  Woohoo, Granada! Round 4, with the powerful companionship of Quezada and Hansen ``echando fuego`` as the missionaries always say.

Okay, I`m not going to lie, I was a little surprised and disappointed with the news.  I mean, I love Hermana Quezada, but I am in a bit of a rut with the area.  Obviously, I didn`t have changes BECAUSE I was hoping to have changes, so there`s a lot more I need to learn and more that I can give in this little part of the world!  Hna. Quezada and I decided that since there weren`t changes from the outside, we`re going to be making a lot of changes on the inside to make this the BEST change we`ve ever had!  And it`s already looking great, since we met our goal of more lessons with a member present and some miracles of this week!

-Miracle: On Sunday, we passed by for two different 12-year-old girls that we had contacted during the week who had said they would come to church.  Well, everyone tells us that they`re going to come to church, and most of them are lying.  :)  But when we knocked on Julisa`s door, she was ready and waiting for us.  Then we called Amy, and she said she would come meet us at the street.  We walked to church calmly with both of them, chatting happily, and they became best friends.  Then Julisa says, ``I was telling my grandma that I want to get baptized in the Mormon church.``  We`re like, ``Oh, that`s cool.  Do you want to get baptized on June 13th?``  Yep.  Amy wants to get baptized too.  And we got to church early, and President Russell was there, and it was just a happy moment all around.

-Miracle: Marlon (age 38) has come to church for the past eight weeks consecutively, but he couldn`t get baptized because he didn`t want to stop drinking.  Then he had a bike accident and nearly bit his tongue off, which made him unable to drink alcohol.  (Pretty sure I already told you this part of the story.)  Anyway, he was still hesitant to accept a baptismal date because he was baptized Catholic and is afraid that God will punish him if he`s baptized again.  We finally got him to commit, and he was progressing well toward the 30th of May, reading the Book of Mormon a little bit and coming to the ``Family Week`` activities in the ward.  Then one of the AP`s came to interview him and try to move his baptismal date up (I never understand why they like to do that, pero bueno...).  He got all freaked out and didn`t want to get baptized.  He came to church on Sunday and told us that he had met with his part of the deal, but he never wanted to get baptized so we couldn`t visit him anymore.  THEN our wonderful branch president started talking with him on the church steps (tender mercy: he couldn`t escape and go home because it was raining) and helped him to calm his fears.  Other wonderful members also talked with him for a little bit.  So then he comes to talk to us and asks all sheepishly, ``So, do you think, maybe, we could keep going?  If it`s okay with you, I want to get baptized on the 23rd (that`s this Saturday!!).``

Wow, I`m super out of time, but I know that God directs this work.  Sometimes He allows us to be tested to our very limits, but it is for our good.  

Ah, super quick:  1) I`ve had a few moments this week where I see things with my ``charity eyes`` as I have decided to call it.  It happens when I start to let the stress melt away and focus on the people instead of the numbers.  It`s easier to contact and talk to people and I feel more love and patience.  The weird thing is that I honestly feel that my vision changes, that it becomes more clear... I hope you don`t think I`m crazy, but I think that`s just what it feels like when Heavenly Father allows me to feel His love for his children for just a moment.

Read Alma 17-25 (Ammon and his brothers` missions) and notice how the Lord brings about His work.  There are SO many phases that I hadn`t realized before... member missionaries, references, former investigators... ah, the scriptures are so great!

SO much that I cannot even tell you all of it.  KNOW that I am happy (and happier than before) and that you have been answers to my prayers.  I feel your prayers!  I love you!

-Hermana Hansen

Sorry, I`m the worst and will not send pictures AGAIN.  Next week, pinky promise!

Week 49: Press Forward, Saints!‏

Here is last week`s email that didn`t send because of the attachment and the other district coming in to write.  So hooray!  Today you get a double email!

Dearest everyone,

I have NO time, but it`s okay because I talked to the most wonderful family in the world yesterday and you already know the big things!  Sorry to everyone else if you really wanted a weekly update. :)

Sorry for getting all trunky when we talked.  I`m usually in a better mood about everything, but Sundays are the hardest days.  We have two sacrament meetings to bring investigators to, which means about 3 hours in the sun listening to excuses of why people can`t come.  Just send me happy thoughts on Sundays, okay? :)

I was pondering this morning about weaknesses and imperfections.  I was all self-conscious about what I had said and how it may have been interpreted, so therefore... the pondering.  So here are my thoughts:

We`re all pretty imperfect people.  That`s a fact.  So what do we do about it?  Accept the fact and slide into a self-satisfied complacency, not doing anything to change and living far beneath our potential?  Or do we obsess over our imperfections and kill ourselves trying to fix them, becoming miserable and self-critical in the process?  The answer to me came in the form of a hymn: Press forward, saints, with steadfast faith in Christ.  With hope`s bright faith alight in heart and mind.  With love of God and love of all mankind.  Ponder each line of that!

Wow, I have zero time to tell you the details and the funnies and all the wonderful moments of this week.  I am learning and loving and changing and growing!  And yes, I am tired and 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Week 48: Wet

Hey, Everyone!

So, the subject line: wet.  I`ve been wet all week.  For the first few days, it was hot and even more humid than usual.  The air stopped moving, and we started sweated.  I literally dripped sweat for about three days.  Then on Friday, it POURED rain from about 7:30 until who knows what hour of the night.  The power went out.  Here`s my storm story:

We were in Miguel`s house teaching the law of chastity.  It had already been raining a little, but it started to really come down while we were with him.  We hurriedly closed with a prayer and went running like crazies down the street to Hna. Dorita`s house, because we couldn`t be alone with him inside his house (we had been teaching on the porch).  After almost an hour of rain pounding on the metal roof and us shouting hymns (Master, the Tempest is Raging), we had to start for home to arrive at 9:00.  We called every taxi`s number we had, but nobody answered.  Home is about six blocks from there, and you could hardly see, the rain was so thick.  We said a prayer that we would be able to find a taxi, said goodbye to Hna. Dorita, and ran (squealing) into the rain.  In that moment, a taxi miraculously passed right in front of the house and took us home!  We still got soaked in those few moments outside, but it was a miracle. :)

Miguel continues to be super amazing!  We had a hard time finding him again all this week, but the times we did get to meet with him, he was positive and is keeping the commandments.  He said yesterday, ``When you come visit me, I always feel so happy.  Why is that?`` Awww, Ensign moment!  We explained more about the Holy Ghost.  He`s getting baptized this Saturday!  And when we verified if he was going to come to church on Sunday, he said, ``Yep, I`m going to pass by for Marlon (another investigator we have) and we`re going to walk together at 1:30.``  Ah, makes my heart happy!

We`re still looking for new investigators.  Sometimes I let the heat get to me and we have zero energy, but we`re learning to let our spirits be stronger than our physical bodies.  And to be honest, I`m still human and I get frustrated and bored occasionally after walking the same streets for 17 weeks.  It`s all part of the learning process!

Oh, Milagros and Julio are progressing as well!  Milagros is about 30 years old and has a daughter who loved Primary the first time we went to church with them.  She`s started reading the Book of Mormon.  I LOVE when investigators read!!!  Julio is Milagros` father, and he almost didn`t come to church on Sunday, but we brought the taxi right in front of their door and didn`t give him much time to think twice about it.

Funny: A man passed by selling ceramic wall ornaments in the street, and his selling call was, ``I bring the sun, the moon, and the stars.`` And my companion and I died laughing as we pictured buying those giant things to teach the Plan of Salvation and whipping them out of our backpacks at the end of the lesson.  I think the heat and lack of sleep (it`s impossible to sleep when the power goes out and it`s deathly hot and you can`t turn on your fan) got to us a little and we were slightly slap-happy.

Okay, time to go.  I love you lots!  The gospel is true!

All my love,

Hermana Hansen

photos: Nightly planning by candlelight after getting soaked by the rain and having no power

Nicaraguan babies are adorable!  This chunker is the district president`s daughter.

Making pupusas with the zone!