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Archive for March, 2010

Hey Family,

Holy purple pen, Batman!  Here at the MTC we have a blue card we swipe to get in and out of the dorms, to get food, and to make random purchases.  We are given $8 a week (the elders get $6 a week) on our blue cards to spend either in the bookstore or in the vending machines.  I usually spend mine on flashcards or other study materials (what little of it I do spend – I don’t know why they give us so much), but this week I decided I “needed” a purple pen. J

Thank you so much for the package!  I got called to the front desk at lunch and had no idea why – I hadn’t lost my blue card or my nametag, and they couldn’t possible know it was me that switched the signs on the Men’s and Women’s bathrooms (haha, just kidding :]) but it was because someone had smuggled me in some contraband!  I love the alarm clock you found for me – sorry it took so long to find it!  We have determined that there is and 8-10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature difference between Sora Jay’s bunk on top and mine on the bottom.  Thank heavens I am on the bottom.

Thank you for sending me Jacob’s letter this week – I loved his explanation of why the lady felt both better and worse after she was trying to be more faithful.  I had never thought about that before, and I think I’ll use his explanation in the future.

Yesterday my companions and I were walking around the 5th floor of our building because we hadn’t been up there before (our room is on the 4th floor) and we needed to stretch our legs but it was cold outside.  In one of the classrooms there was a paper on the wall that said, “He never said it was easy, He only said it would be worth it.”  Sora Jay said, “I hate that saying.”  When I asked her why, she said, “Because it’s a lie – He did say it was easy.  “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.””  I had never thought about it that before, but it’s true.  Even Alma commented on “the easiness of the way.”  So we wrote on a note card, “Behold, my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” along with the scripture reference and pinned it to the wall next to their poster. J

I got your St. Patrick’s Day package in plenty of time for St. Patrick’s Day.  I put up the banner and centerpiece in our classroom and the elders had a ball with the flashing green shamrock necklace.  Honestly, though, body glitter?  What am I supposed to do with that? J

I’m glad you liked my Laundromat picture.  I was sitting almost halfway down one aisle (there are two – the other one has long tables and chairs down the middle).  We swipe our blue cards to use the washers and dryers, but they’re really cheap – 25 cents for a washer load and 10 cents for a dryer.  I wish it was that cheap everywhere!  We don’t really see the senior missionaries except at meals and at Devotional (they save seats up front for the seniors).  I’m not sure what the seniors do at night – I don’t think they live here, but I’m not sure where3 they would live if they weren’t from around here.

We got new Romanians this week!  The new district has 9 people, just like ours.  They also have a Sora Hansen and an Elder Johnson, just like ours.  I haven’t met the elders yet, but the sisters seem pretty cool so far.  We’re trying to get the newbies to believe that Sora Humphries is actually Romanian, so she talks only in Romanian around them and we translate anything they say into Romanian for her.  It’s really good practice for us, and it’s fun. J

I love you all!

~Sora Brielle

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Hey, your experience at the conference center, sounds amazing, that would
be so cool to see what they are going to say before they say it. The work
has picked up a ton here, on average we pick up about a new investigator a
month, and about a quarter of those that we pick up are usually productive,
or progressing, but this last week we picked up five investigators, two of
which are just amazing, and ready to go.
The one is a lady named Launi Reyes, about a thirty year old mom, with five
kids, married, but husband is not interested. We started teaching the
restoration, and about prophets, and she said “so if we have always had
prophets, why don’t we have them any more” Elder Still and I just looked at
each other and smiled. I have been working on building my love for my
companion, a lot lately, through service, uplifting thoughts, dwelling on
the positive, and trying to talk about everything, we are actually getting
along pretty well, it is just not the same connection that Elder Skelley
and I had, which I guess I really can’t expect to be in every companion.
We also picked up a guy named Mike, who just got out of Jail for a DUI, but
he is really nice and open, and when we were going over how Christ set up
his church with Apostles, and Prophets… he said, you guys really know the
bible don’t ya. He said the usual “I’ve been saved” but we area going to
try to bring him to church and everything any way. One born again Christian
explained what they believe better then I think any others have. They said
that when you are “Saved” it is kind of like entering into a marriage
contract with Christ” there are good times and bad times, but no matter
what you are still bonded to him, and going to heaven. Which by our
standards of Degrees of heaven, They will of course enter into the
Terrestrial Kingdom, which for all intents and purposes, fulfills what they
call heaven, so I guess we are both right.
We talk to a lot of people, and one lady that we were talking to last night
what really cool, but she said some thing, that really made me think. She
said that she had been catholic all her life, and that it would be really
hard for her to convert to another church. So we asked her, if you had a
spiritual witness from God that our church was true, would you change
religions, and she said No. Crazy to me. Oh how glad I am that I was
brought up in this church, that my parents endured, and that my children
will be brought up in this church, what a plan of happiness.

I love you guys,

Elder Hansen

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Hmm, I am sorry to hear that it feels like you are doing anti missionary
work, that is a bummer. Work has slowed to pretty much a halt here as well,
I know that you guys don’t want to hear the negative, but sometimes a
diamond against black velvet, is all that much more brilliant, in other
words, our trials make us so much more appreciate our blessings.
Elder Still and I, are still figuring each other out (no pun intended), We
are getting along pretty well, but sometimes some personalities just don’t
mesh as well as others. We are learning to teach with each other pretty
well, for example, we had a super solid lesson with a girl named Katie last
night, I think that I have told you about her a little, bit, she is only
about 21 but she has two kids, and she is trying to get her life all
straightened out. We committed her to reading the book of Mormon more, and
going to church, and praying, but when we came yesterday, she hadn’t made
it to church, she was still working on praying, and not doing the best at
remembering to read the scriptures either. She said that even thought she
can see that she is improving, and becoming stronger against temptation,
she also feels more negative now as well.
Hmm how to respond to such a thing… my mind was pretty much blank, and to
my understanding, I could not think of how to answer. I said a little
prayer in my heart, and the spirit came to me, and helped me out.
I asked her if she had ever seen the movie “Bolt” before, she had, and we
remembered together, back in the movie where he said that he felt something
that he had never felt before, he thought that the cat had poisoned him,
but it turned out that he was just feeling hungry. We explained to Katie,
that she did not have the Holy Ghost with her before as strongly as she
does now, but now that she has been working to get it back into her life,
she can also more fully recognize the void when it leaves. We told her that
just as your physical body needs food, so can you now recognize that your
spirit needs to be fed as well. In the moment, it was worded much better,
Just as Nephi said, I am weak in writing, but strong in speaking, for the
Holy Spirit guides the words that I speak, and carries them to the hearts
of men. Or something to that effect.
She also explained to us that she understands what she needs to be doing,
but she feels overwhelmed by all the steps she needs to take. She told us
that she doesn’t feel like she has time to read the scriptures or pray, and
that Going to church is sometimes something that she dreads as well. We
decided to look at it, as how it could help her out instead of what she
needed to do. We told her that we have busy lives as well, and that
sometimes we have so many things on our plate, that we can become
overwhelmed as well, How much greater the need for a time, to stop, and
relax, to gather our thoughts, and to have our Heavenly Father help us
organize our thoughts and figure everything out. This is how prayer can
help. Sometimes we don’t know what is the most important things that need
to come first,  Here is where scriptures come into play, to bring in the
spirit, and to also help us understand where our resources, especially time
should be best spent. And last church, to break up the monotony of life,
bring back a god like perspective in our lives, and give us hope and
purpose to our lives.
I have run short on time, but that pretty much sums up our great lesson, I
hope this inspires you guys as well, I know I learned something from it.
Lots of love, and thanks so much for the birthday presents.

Elder Hansen

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Hey Family,

Can you believe I’ve been here a whole month already?  I’m already halfway through my stay at the MTX!  Dad- I loved your scripture you sent.  The line in Helaman 5:8 that says, “Ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven…” reminded me of what the speaker said in last Sunday’s fireside.  He mentioned Alma 30:34, “And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the Church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?”  He asked us, “What are the Lord’s wages?”  and mentioned blessings, eternal life, and treasures in heaven.

Mom- I love that you talk to me in your head! I constantly think things like “Ooh, Mom will think this is so funny!”  Whenever I have thoughts like that, or, “I need to make sure to write this in my journal,” thought, I make a note in the notebook I keep in my pocket for just that purpose.  Otherwise, I get to the end of the day, open up my journal and say to myself, “What on earth did I do today?”

Our language study takes up a lot of our time.  We usually spend a couple of hours on language in class – we learn grammar concepts, or teach each other, or share scriptures, or play a game – between breakfast and lunch and again between lunch and dinner.  After dinner we don’t have a teacher, but we have an hour of companion study, which can be in Romanian but should be focused on either Preach My Gospel or the scripture; an hour of dedicated language study, in which we usually make flashcards, practice grammar, or practice speaking; and MDT (Missionary Directed Time), which we can use anyway we want as long as we’re being productive.  MDT is always the very last thing every day, so we’re not super-productive, but we try not to get too off track.  We usually use our MDT to play language games or learn random word of questionable usefulness in Romanian – like “monkey” (maimutâ) or “pudding” (budincâ).  {I couldn’t get the accents exactly how Brielle drew them.} There is a computer program we can use, but we’re not required to and I don’t really like it so I don’t.  A couple of the Elders use it fairly often and seem to like it.

Companion study is just with our companions (unless we teach another companionship a lesson), but in language study we usually group up.  It’s usually the thereof us and an Elder (yes, just one – the apostate J) or two.  The other two elders are usually out in the hall on a couch, though they join us if they get bored or if we’re playing a game.  The other companionship of sisters are usually off by themselves for language study, which is probably a good thing for them – they seem to be a lot better than the rest of us at staying focused.  We’re still learning just as quickly as they are, we just have more fun.

We’re encouraged to speak to each other in Romanian outside of class as much as possible, but we hadn’t really learned enough to do that until now.  Last night we played a game called “Nativul” which mean “The Native.”  At the very end of call before dinner Sora Peterson (the teacher) passed out a piece of paper to each one of us.  One of the papers said “Nativul” and the rest said “Nu” (“no”).  Nativul could speak in only Romanian the rest of the night.  But the rest of us were also speaking Romanian to convince people that we were Nativul.  It was tons of fun – Sora Humphries got wired on sugar and was jabbering on about all sort of stuff.

On Thursdays we get up at 6:30 like normal, but instead of going to class at 7:00 we start walking to the temple so we can be dressed and ready for the 7:40 session.  Then they turn all the lights out and somehow expect us to stay awake. J Afterward we come back to the room and write letters rather than email because I have so much more time to write than I do to type.  You wouldn’t get nearly this much detail if I only had a half and hour to write you in. (ah! dangling preposition!)

I saw Ben Marsden the other day!  His gym time is right after ours, so I’ve seen him a couple of time in the transition.  He’s in the choir as well, so I’ve seen him there, too.  Speaking of choir, it was announce that there won’t be an MTC choir at Conference this April L.  I’m kind of bummed because I was really hoping for that.

Also, in Mission Conference on Fast Sunday it was announce that we could start shaking hands again!  We weren’t supposed to before because of H1N1, but for the past several weeks there have only been one or two people in Quarantine at a time.

That same Sunday in Sacrament Meeting, three of the ASL (American Sign Language) sisters performed a musical number.  Did I mention I was in the same branch as the ASL missionaries?  It’s us Romanians, the ASL missionaries, and a couple random English-speaking districts – about 30-40 in all.  Every week, the district(s) that are leaving that week perform a musical number in Sacrament Meeting.  This week only three sisters were leaving instead of a whole district, so instead of singing a hymn, they performed, “Oh Lord, My Redeemer.”  Sister cook (hearing) played the piano, Sister Meagher (hearing) sang, and Sister Roberts (deaf) signed.  It was absolutely amazing – the Spirit was as strong as I’ve ever felt it in Sacrament Meeting.  The emotion on Sister Roberts’ face as she signed made the song so much more touching and personal than it has ever been to me before.

Ok, spiritual thought time.  This companion was mentioned in Tuesday’s devotional, so I looked it up and found it fascinating.  The speaker was talking about keeping the Spirit with you, and he mention the difference between lusting after a woman in your hear and letting virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly.  He didn’t mention the scripture references, but I found them and they’re both in the Doctrine and Covenants.

D&C 63:16

“…looketh on a woman to lust after her…”         “… let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly…”

CONSEQUENCES                                               CONSEQUENCES

  1. Shall not have the Spirit                      1.   The Holy Ghost shall be they constant companion
  2. Shall deny the Faith                            2.   The doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul
  3. Shall fear                                           3.   Then shall thy confidence wax strong

My Sunday School lesson I taught in Romanian went very well!  You can definitely tell when you are teaching with the Spirit, because He makes things flow very well.  People were able to understand what I was wanting to get across, and I was able to express my thought simply and understandably.

Thank you all so much for sending me questions in your letters.  It makes writing a reply so much easier.  I love you all!

~Sora Hansen~

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Hmm your story really burns me, I wonder if this Rick Goldman character is
an active member, if so, he is a poor member missionary. I don’t think I
would have done anything different, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much,
he probably got into some anti stuff on the internet or something, and is
just using this as an excuse to not join the church. Oh, well, try him
again in 6 months, that is usually plenty of time for people to cool off.

Did I ever ask you guys, if you met a new family that moved in kind of
behind the Lindsey’s I think that they are related to the Silcock family in
my last ward.

I have been having a great time with my new companion Elder Still, it was a
little bit of a struggle at first because we were both adjusting from our
old companions, and we both like to talk a lot, and so it was sometimes a
battle as to who could speak first when talking to people. It was a
struggle at first, but now we have both bent, or givin in a little bit to
each other, and now we get along great. We had a Zone Conference, about how
powerful it is to bear our testimony to people, and we all got a chance to
testify of the first vision, and it was pretty cool. During feeling the
spirit of that, I was thinking to myself the importance of having the Holy
Ghost as a constant companion, and how I could not let my pride, or
feelings towards a companion get in the way of that. We teach powerfully
together now, and we are having a great time of doing it.

We are working with a girl Lexie, the 19 yr old Salazar girl that didn’t
get baptized, but it is quite a horse of a different color, because she
doesn’t believe in God at all, so we are starting from ground zero.

That’s it for this week, but know that I sure love you guys!

Another thing that I was thinking about when we were in the spirit of Zone
Conference, was the importance of thinking positively. Sometimes I don’t
think we see the importance of this, while we are quick to put thoughts out
of our mind that are contrary to the law of Chastity, I think negative
thoughts, if entertained, can be just as destructive, just in much smaller
doses. Lets all make a goal of putting these negative thoughts out of our
head, and all being more like Grandma Dorthy

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WEEKLY LETTER 3/1/10

Hey family, I haven’t read your email yet, because the internet was down,
so I am just typing it in word first. We had a great week this week,
especially Saturday, we went tracting all day long, and we got like three
return appointment, which is almost un-herd of. One of them, was a
gentlemen, when we were walking up to his house, we saw a “traveling
atheist” book in the back seat of his car, as we walked past, so we were
thinking to ourselves “ah here is comes…” but he surprised us when he came
to the door, because he was in tears. We told him that we were
Missionaries, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and
asked if he needed help with anything. He said that his wife had died of
cancer a while ago, and that he just needed some time to get over it.
Skelley and I both bore powerful testimony that we know that we can live
with our families, and with our heavenly father after this life, and we
told him that we would come back and teach him more, when he was ready, He
said it would have to be a little while, so we left a Plan of Salvation
pamphlet with him, and told him we would be back. It was a pretty special
experience, and I think he is really ready for the gospel. We stopped back
by the next day, with a guy from our ward, and a video, about Finding
Happiness, but he said he wasn’t ready, and to come back in a couple of
weeks.

I have found that many times, if I will bring up something that I have in
common with the person on the street, more times then not, it softens there
heart a little bit, and lets them know that we are real people out here
preaching the gospel, not just brainwashed salesmen in suits. A ward member
has a friend, that is into mountain biking, that we went over to invite to
church with us, and we were instant friends, as we swapped and compared
stories, about biking different trails, maintenance, and other bike related
stuff. After we were friends, we worked in the Gospel, and he was not
interested, but he said that his kids were looking to make new friends
around here, as they had just moved in, and for something, to do during the
week. We told him about mutual, and he took our number, and said his kids
would give us a call.

Another great story for the week, we tracted into a lady, and at the time
she was trying to get her son off the roof, so she was too busy, but when
we came back we expounded some of the gospel to her, and she said that she
would come to our church if we would come to hers. We jumped at the
opportunity, because we can only go to another church, if we are invited by
an investigator. So her husband picked us up, and took us to this place
called the Harvest Christian Church. We walked in, and it was just like a
rock concert. It was too loud for me, so I waited out in the hall, until
the speaker arrived. Tons of people were trying to get me in the door, like
I was going to leave or something, but I assured them that I was staying
for the sermon, I was just too fond of my hearing to sit through the rock
band. The lady that spoke was actually pretty good, in a nutshell, it was
pretty much exactly like that movie “the secret” that uncle Klane brought
over that one time. “We just have to see ourselves thin, have faith in
Jesus, and the weight will just fall off”. “You are one good idea away from
being a millionaire, let God inspire you” “believe and you will receive” It
was good and all, but the whole thing was about money, and how we could
bless other’s lives if we were blessed with money. “just imagine how you
could bless other people’s lives when God gives you that idea and you
become a millionaire”  The main evangelist lady called the Garden of
Gethsemane, the “Garden of Get-Some-Money” which I figured to my self, was
probably the most Sac-religious thing I have ever heard. The actual sermon,
was only about half an hour, but then she started blessing people and
healing people, and they would start shaking, and fall backward, and
someone would have to catch them, and they would just lay on the ground for
a while. After that a “prophet” named Jacob, Sang a blessing on us, and a
Prophetess lady prophesied that Skelley and I would get new shoes. It was
pretty cool, and fun, but oh how it strengthened my testimony that we truly
have the restored gospel on the earth today. I could just envision myself
in Joseph Smith’s shoes going to another church, trying to find out which
one was true and how confusing that would be, especially with everyone
yelling out Amen, and Praise Jesus, through every sermon. One of the things
that kept coming back to mind was “by there fruits ye shall know them”
(Matt 7:20) and the things they were missing from the “fruits of the
spirit” (Gal 5:22) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against
such there is no law.” They truly had some of these “mingled with the
teachings of men” but the majority was missing. How to gain riches through
faith was what I would sum it up as.

How blessed a people we are, to have a living prophet on the earth, someone
who was chosen by our loving Heavenly Father (John 15:16), to guide us and
teach us correct principals in a loving environment. I love you family, and
just remember there is great happiness in obedience.

Love Elder Hansen

P.S.  I am still in Rocklin 1st ward, but I am getting a new companion
later on today, which I am not too stoked about, because I love elder
skelley, like a brother, and like one of my best friends, but I am sure
that the lord will strengthen me, and pick up the slack where the hole from
skelley is left… It’s not really that bad.. well I guess I will tell you
next week how it goes.

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