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Archive for May, 2010

Hey family, I did get transfered up to redding, which was a pretty good
drive, about three hours, and brother Clark drove me up. He actually knows
the Hone’s (Jacklyn Hone, and Ricky) there grandma, is sisters with his
grandma, so I don’t really know what that makes them. I said good bye to
the Salazars, and they were crying, and said that they would come and see
me in a couple of months, but I told them not to worry about it, and that I
would come and see them when they go through the temple, in a little less
then a year.
They asked me what my plans were after the mish, and I told them, get
married, and go to school. They said I had to promice to come back here,
and date around before I get married. Haha.
Lexa, you will have to ask presley, to send you the pictures they took of
me with the family, they were pretty good.
I got my new comp elder Jones, he has only been out about three months, but
he is probably the most responcible missionary that I have been with, short
of my trainer. He reminds me exactally of Ambers Jacob, and he is a blast
to be around. We are always joking, around, and we teach great together. I
think I get along with him better then any other comp I have had.
I also re learned to drive, which was pretty scarry, to tell you the truth,
but my comp is very paitent.
We are in a junker apartment, that missionaries have been in for at least
five years, in a super white trash neighborhood, but every one is nice.
Sorry ran out of time to write more, the country up here is beautiful.

Love Elder Hansen

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Family,
Thank you so much for writing me this week has been kind of a long one.
Good news, Sister Salazar is not solid on if she has breast cancer or not,
so she is going to get some more tests, but it is less likely, that she has
it.
More good news, I am going to go up to Redding! It is about a three hour
drive from where we are, right now, and I will be serving in a two elder
apartment, so I will really have to buckle down. It is the hottest place in
the mission just in time for summer, but with every trial comes a blessing,
so I am stoked for that, and hopefully the work up there is better because
people are more humble up there. I am sad to leave Elder Still, because we
have grown close, almost like brothers, but in the same breath, it is a
good change as well.
Salazars said that they are super sad to see that I am going, but hopefully
I come back south to come when they go through the temple.
Dad, sounds like the fathers and son’s was a blast, literally, haha, I had
totally forgotten about us sharing the Chocolate milk all the time, Elder
Still is hooked on Ovalteen, which is pretty much the same thing, but
better for you.
Well crazy to hear about Jared and Kara, I hope they both do a lot of
Fasting and Praying about it.
Bri, I am with you, not in the same way that you have read all like 4000
pages of the missionary library, but I do love to read the ensign, every
morning with breakfast, I crank through a couple of talks, and it always
uplifts me, and I can almost always apply it to the days lessons. The March
2010 issue, was probably my favorite, because I felt like there were lots
of trials in my life at that time, and it was awesome with helping me
through it, pg 27 is the best!

Love you guys, Got to go, I will tell you about my awesome new Comp next
Monday!

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Greetings, family!

If I were naming my weeks here, this would either be the Week of Much Rain
or the Week of No Hot Water.  Our bloc put up a little notice on our front
door Tuesdayish that starting Wednesday morning there would be not hot
water.  I’m not really sure why, or even how that really works because our
hot water heater is in our kitchen, but that’s how it happened.  It’s
amazing how little time it takes to shower when there’s absolutely no
motivation to dawdle.  :-).  It’s beautiful today, but this is the first
sunny day we’ve had all week.  I don’t really mind the rain (as long as
I’ve remembered my jacket and my umbrella), but it’s gotten a little old.

We got a baptismal date this week!  Her name is Adela and she is a really
sweet lady, very humble.  We’re also teaching another lady named Elvira who
we’re planning to commit this week.  She has a strong testimony of Christ
and agrees with everything we teach her and says that it makes perfect
sense.  She writes poetry, but I don’t know enough romanian to know if it’s
good.  I noticed that a lot rhymed, though (of course, in this language
everything rhymes), which I guess is good.

I can’t believe that nobody commented that I completely forgot to include
explanations with the pictures I sent last week.  Today is a holiday and so
we’re at an internet cafe instead of the library, and the USB ports don’t
work here.  So no new pictures this week, but I’ll explain last week’s.
The first one is our branch (most of it) on a maxi-taxi on the way to Buc
for district conference.  Bunch of crazies.  The second is not an abandoned
building, but actually a house under construction.  They build everything
here out of cement and brick cinderblocks.  We were out in the country (in
the rain) to visit a less-active member of our relief society.  Lastly is a
couple of gypsy boys in their gypsy cart hauling who-knows-what.

Today we got news about transfers and…I’m going to Brasov!  I will be
serving with Sora Owen, who is currently training Sora Mudge.  Sora Holden
will be training again, but she doesn’t know who yet (I’m predicting the
other Sora Hansen, but we”ll see).  Speaking of the other Sora Hansen, make
sure to put my first name on anything you send be by snail-mail because
there’s two of us now.

Say hi to Bro. Saunders for me!  Ask him if there’s anyone he wants me to
look up or anything.

Kayla–good for you for getting a job!  Just because you’re earning real
money now doesn’t mean you can spend more–remember to save lots for
college (and sign up for scholarships!  I regret greatly not doing so–it
makes your hard-earned money go a lot farther).  Don’t worry about missing
too much socializing time by doing the CNA program–there’s always after
school and having your CNA will be super-beneficial in the long run.  Also,
I got your awesome letter you sent by snailmail and am sending you one.
Did you get the birthday card I sent you yet?  (Happy Birthday, by the
way!)

People wear pretty normal clothes here, except all the girls’ jeans are
skin-tight.  Lots of adults women (and almost all of the older ladies) wear
skirts and all the little old ladies wear scarves on their heads.  The
gypsies all have amazing skirts.  The middle-aged and older gypsy ladies
have actual gypsy skirts that are really pleated and very colorful.
They’re hard to describe, maybe I’ll send a picture sometime.  But the
younger gypsy girls have awesome long, full skirts that I would definitely
wear if it were allowed.  It’s not actually a hard-and-fast rule, but it’s
been strongly recommended that we don’t wear anything that could be taken
as a gypsy skirt.  So I’ll have to wait and get some for after my mission.
🙂

The cell phones here are like cell phones were about 5-7 years
ago–bricks.  And lots of people have more than one.  Each carrier is free
to call people of that same carrier, so lots of people have a phone for
each carrier (the big ones here are Orange, Vodafone, and…something else,
I forgot).

I’ve grown to have a new appreciation for the Ensign while I’ve been on my
mission.  I love reading the scriptures, but my brain is hungry to read
something with a storyline that’s written in more modern English.  I
finished Jesus the Christ in the MTC and I’ve read The Articles of Faith,
The Truth Restored, and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder already in the
field.  So now I’m out of approved mission-library books.  But I’ve started
working on the stack of Ensigns in our apartment and I love them.  This
week’s recomendation: the First Presidency Message in April of 2008, right
after President Hinkley died and President Monson was put in.  It’s about
treasure and the proper role of the past, present, and future.  Excellent.

Mom–thank you so much for getting socks for me.  You can send them to me
now if you want, but don’t feel obligated if it’s a lot more expensive to
send two packages instead of one.  (And I heard you laugh at that comment
all the way over here.)  Tell the girls thanks so much for working on the
music project for me.  Also, something that occurred to me this week, don’t
forget Christmas music.  Anything instrumental is fine (especially Mannheim
Steamroller–I love them), but if it has lyrics it’s probably best to keep
it Christ-centered and not Santa-centered. :-).  We were listening to
instrumental Christmas music yesterday after church, which is what made me
think of it.

I love you all!

Sora Brielle Hansen

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Hey family!

We got 20 lessons this week, yay!

I think I may have given you the wrong impression when I said that I was
in charge of the apartment key.  Sora Holden told me the first day I was
here that she was Phone Sora and I was Key Sora this transfer.  But that’s
not the only thing I do.  I teach 30-50% of the lesson when we’re meeting
with new investigators, and with the member lessons I teach the whole
lesson about half the time and Sora Holden fills in the gaps and bears
testimony.  Last night I gave a lesson to our eternal investigators, the
Neag family.  The Neags progress just enough to not get dropped, but not
much more.  It was basically a “you know all of this is true, why aren’t
you baptized yet?” and I used all of the really intense questions in Alma
5.  It was a good lesson.  I was able to express myself more-or-less
understandably, and I think it was what he needed to hear.  I also taught
the lesson last time we went to visit them.  I also “get to” use the phone
to set up lessons with the people I contacted and got numbers from.  Sora
Holden is constantly asking me, “What are you going to contribute to this
lesson?” and “What do you want to teach [whoever] this week?”.  I think
it’s funny that you told me “Follow your
senior companion’s lead and try to be good about letting her be the
boss.”  I would gladly follow her lead if she would let me!  She’s always
pushing me to take the initiative and to lead the way.  She says she’s
training me to be a trainer, not just a missionary.  Next transfer every
senior sister will have a companion who’s either a first-transfer or
second-transfer sister (except Sora Hupp and her companion, but it will
only be Sora Hupp’s third transfer).  When we get new sisters after that,
those of us that are trainees this transfer will be put together to free up
the older sisters to train the newbies.  So I very well could be senior
sister my third transfer, or have a senior companion that’s only on her
third or fourth transfer.  Weird.
Mom–I love that Mike Ehlers laughed at your flowers.  Tell him he’s a
pompous windbag and laugh when your flowers are the most beautiful in the
ward because you were brave enough to plant them early (not that it’s
early–it’s already halfway through May!  Is it really still likely that
they’ll freeze?).  I’ll pray for them and for you :-).

Pretty much everyone here (85% is one statistic I heard, but it was
probably made up) is Orthodox.  From what I understand, Orthodoxism is
pretty much like Catholicism but more ritualistic and they cross themselves
forehead-navel-wallet-watch instead of forehead-navel-watch-wallet like the
Catholics.  A lot of people cross themselves on the bus every time we pass
a church, which is almost every street corner.  But Orthodoxism here is
more of a tradition than a religion.  You have those that go to church
every week of course, but most people are Orthodox because everybody is
Orthodox and they only go on the big holiday celebrations like Easter and
Christmas.  Not very many people will admit that they’re athiest. One lady
we met said that she’s orthodox and believes in the bible, but doesn’t
think that it’s possible that God speaks to prophets or that He loves us
because He’s not really anywhere.  So basically athiest, but unwilling to
admit it.  She had some pretty convoluted beliefs.

There are a few other religions.  There is a big Seventh-Day-Adventist
chapel that we pass by every day, and lots of people ask us if we’re
Adventists.  The Jehovah Witnesses are also big here.  I’ve heard that
there are lots of Pentecostals in Romania, but I haven’t met any in Pitest.

There aren’t really any fast-food restaurants like we have in the States
(except for McDonalds, but they don’t count because they’re everywhere) but
tons of little eating-places have “Fast Food” on their canopy over their
door.  In English.  You can get burgers, but I haven’t eaten them.  The
thing that’s really popular here are “shaormas”.  You can get them
everywhere.  It’s basically a round flat piece of bread (thinner than a
pita, but thicker than a tortilla) folded in half and stuffed with cabbage,
pickles, onions, french fries, chicken breast, and smothered in some kind
of mayo-based sauce.  Kebabs are the same, except they stuff the filling
into a hollowed-out half-loaf of bread and then grill it.  They’re really
good, but not really good for you :-).

They have pizza, but they don’t bake it with any sauce.  If you want
sauce, you add it on top afterwards.  In the form of ketchup, which
sometimes has spices in it.  But I like it without sauce just fine.  A lot
of investigators will serve us something when we come for a visit.  It’s
usually fruit tea or fruit juice or some kind of dessert.  I’ve only ever
eaten a meal with a Romanian family twice.  Once was with Elena Belutsa
when we went out to her house in the country and one was at the Mandric
home.  They served us a lot of different finger-foods–in different
courses, even.  It was way cool.  We had cheese and olives, and then
different kinds of fruit, then fried chicken, then cake.  We’re not really
supposed to eat meals with members without an investigator present, but we
didn’t know they were going to feed us when we came over and then we
couldn’t not eat their food once we were there.

Spiritual though of the week: Ok, so I forgot to write down an exact
quote.  But if you have a chance, re-read Elder Scott’s talk from
November’s General Conference.  It’s amazing.  He teaches about how to
learn how to receive specific, detailed inspiration from the Spirit and
shared the experience about when he was in a Sunday School class and
started receiving inspiration too sacred to record there with everybody
else, so he left the room to write it down.  Amazing.  I want to develop
myself to be that open of a conduit to the Spirit.

P.S.
Socks–the socks I was picturing were halfway in between your
descriptions.  I know Jared had some and wore them every day with
sneakers–you may have more luck in the sport-sock section rather than the
dress-sock section.  But if you can’t find them, don’t worry too much about
it.  Just send me some of both anklets and no-see-ums.  The anklets will
work better with my lace-up shoes, and the no-see-ums will be better in my
slip-on shoes, since they’re shorter.

Kayla and Lexa–thanks for helping me out!  Kayla–I will definitely pray
for you to get the job!

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Hey family, sooo good to hear from you again. It has been a blast of a
P-Day so far. Elder Dowling and I went mountain biking up in the foot hills
earlier today, and then hit up all the dry cleaners for ties that people
had left behind. We hit like five of them, but only scored on one of them.

Sad news, we saw Brother Salazar, our solid recent convert and his
un-baptized daughter Lexie, in a parking lot earlier today, and it looked
like they had been crying, and they told us that Sister Salazar, had come
back positive for breast cancer, this morning. We didn’t even really know
what to say.

Sora Hansen, Its always kind of a touchy subject as to how much charge to
take, because you want to respect the senior, but in the same breath, you
will usually be able to think of a more productive way to do something. My
mission president told me to always stay one step ahead of my trainer, like
remembering to call people and things like that, but I would say, Just
always do it her way first, coming from a senior, nothing gets older faster
then being questioned on every decision that I make, but that is ok, not
saying that you do that, but that’s it.

Dowling and I went on a three day exange, and we had a party, we picked up
two new solid investigators, and we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s
company. Our area kind of makes a horse shoe shape, around some foot hills,
and elder Still usually doesn’t like to cut across because it is a lot of
up hill, but dowling and I were flying up and down those things, every
time, it was a ton quicker, and it was a blast.

That’s all family, Know that I love you!

Elder Hansen

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Hey family, it was awesome to hear your voices, and to get an update on all
that is going on.

Elder Still and I have been working to improve ourselves, and to make the
things that we do more effective, so that we will be blessed for our
diligence. I think I shared this with you before, but we were fasting to
know what we needed to improve on, and also for our only solid
investigator, and a couple days latter, after not being able to get a hold
of her at all, we saw her and her atheist husband out side and he said that
he wanted to start taking the discussions from us. It was such a cool
thing, and really encouraged us.
So you may have heard of the Mormon Helping Hands thing, which is where
they build schools and stuff like that, in other countries, We had a Mormon
Helping Hands project here, in my area. There was a forest area, that had
poison oak all along the fence, and the fence needed to be replaced, so we
all, about 200 of us, got on long sleeve shirts, and gloves, and went out
there with clippers, and loppers, and chopped, it all down, and raked it
out 15 feet away from the fence. When we got there, one guy had brought big
plastic Haz-Mat suits, so I stripped down to my garments, and jumped in one
of those, and it worked awesome. The only down side was that, I was
drenched in sweat by the end. I brought about a gallon and a half of water
with me, and by the end of the day, I had downed the whole thing. There was
one place in the trail that had a bush covering the whole fence, probably
fifteen feet high, and the same wide, and we totally took the whole thing
out, it was amazing, we were there about three hours, and we were all way
tired after.
Well anyway, just thought I would let you guys know that I am still happy,
and still having a blast out here. Another thing I was thinking of, that
you might want to try out, is for seminary, they memorize a scripture
mastery a week, and it is a great way to keep your mind focused on the
importance of the gospel throughout the week, and it is just cool to have
scriptures memorized anyway!
Love you guys

Elder Hansen

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Dear Family–

I love you all, and I love getting your letters!

The weather has been really nice here.  It was rainy for about a week, but
it didn’t get really cold and now it’s been sunny and beautiful every day.
All the signs say 25 *C, but I’m not sure what that translates to in
Fahrenheit.  Seventy, maybe?  Warm, anyway.

We have a baptismal date, yay!  Pitest hasn’t had a baptism since last
November, so we’re really excited.  His name is Petre Petcu and the
missionaries taught him about a year ago, but nothing really came of it.
We started teaching him again, and when we asked him in our second lesson
if ye would begin to prepare for baptism, he said, “I’ll be ready in a
month.”  So May 29 is the day we set.  I’m so excited!  I love helping
people come closer to Christ and to realize the importance of His gospel in
their lives.

Mom–I was reading in the Liahona this week from last October’s
conference.  One thing that President Uchtdorf said in his talk “The Love
of God” really struck me, and I wanted to share it with you.  He said:

How do we become true disciples of Jesus Christ?  The Savior Himself
provided the answer with this profound declaration: “If ye love me,
keep my commandments.”  This is the essence of what it means to be a
true disciple: those who receive Jesus Christ walk with Him.  But this
may present a problem for some because there are so many “shoulds” and
“should nots” that merely keeping track of them can be a
challenge….One person’s good idea–something that may work for him
or her–takes root and becomes an expectation.  And gradually, eternal
principles can get lost within the labyrinth of “good ideas.”

So often in life we think we have to do everything that everyone expects us
to do, but in reality the Gospel of Christ is simple and perfect.  We
should know the basic requirements, and then take it to the Lord as to how
much above and beyond that we should go.  It’s not up to anyone else–only
Him.  And just because someone else received guidance as to how much more
they should be doing, it doesn’t mean that the same is required of us.  The
Lord may want us to achieve more–or he may want us to focus on a different
area of our lives for the moment.

Dad–thank you so much for sending me questions!  I’m so excited to hear
about Terri Brock getting baptized!  Don’t worry too much about the
Gibsons–members are the best place to get referrals, but they’re also the
hardest place to get them.  People are so worried that if they try to share
the gospel with someone and they’re not interested, that they’ll then
suddenly decide not to be friends with them anymore.

People drive Dacias here–they’re a Romanian brand and I’ve heard that
they’re pretty crappy, but I don’t know for myself because I take the bus
all the time.  I’ve taken taxis a few times, but I wasn’t paying attention
to how nice of a car it was.  It was just a taxi. 🙂

The food we make for ourselves isn’t much different from what I eat in the
states.  I eat granola (which they call musuli here and it’s really good)
with yogurt pretty much every morning and a sandwich or something in the
afternoon.  And lots of oranges–their oranges here are so good!  There are
a couple of investigators that every time we go over to their house they
serve us something, which is awesome.  The deserts here don’t have as much
sugar as they do in the states, but I don’t really mind it very much.  They
also love to drink suc (fruit juice) or fruity/herbal tea.  And mineral
water–lots of mineral water.  I’m learning to like it.

We did eat at one member’s house–Elena Balutsa.  She lives out in the
boonies and we went out with the elders to teach her a lesson and help her
prep her garden.  She served us cabbage (of course–everything has cabbage
in it) stewed with a bunch of bay leaves and chunks of solid pig fat.  It
was a very interesting meal.  The cabbage wasn’t so bad.  She had me
stirring the pot, so I saw that the big chunks were something weird and
tried to avoid them when I scooped myself up some.  Apparently last time
the missionaries went out there Elena served the same thing, but with
potatoes instead of pig fat.  Sora Holden thought it was potatoes again and
served herself a bunch.  Digging in her garden was fun.  The soil here is
super clay-y and dense, but it stays moist forever so it wasn’t too hard to
dig.  We all got red from the sun, but none of us burnt too bad.

The missionaries have their favorite little restaurant that they found who
knows how long ago.  It’s called the “Sports Bar” because they serve the
basketball players there for free.  They only serve one thing–soup with
bread-bowl-sized loaves of bread, cabbage with vinegar, grilled either pork
or chicken breast, and french fries–but it’s really good.  It’s really
cheap for how much food you get–12 ron, which is about $4.  We go there
about once a week, either for P-day or after District Meeting.

If you can get my car sold, great.  $2800 sounds like a reasonable price to
me.

Tell Kayla that she’s being rediculous and how exactly does she expect to
pay for college if she doesn’t get a job this summer?  Is she going to
bother to find a job after her senior year? Lexa–sorry you’re not old
enough yet.  But I admire your determination.  Is there something else you
could to to earn money?  I think I was your age when I made bread and sold
it every week.  Just a thought.

As to pictures: When you send me emails, right above where you right is a
picture of a paper clip that says “attach a file” next to it in blue.
Click on that, then click on where it says “browse”.  A window will open up
where you can look around in folders and find things.  When you find a
picture you want to attach, click “open” and the window will close.  Then
click “attach another file” if you want to send me another one.

I definitely like hearing what Jacob’s doing–don’t worry about giving me
too much email.  I can handle it. 🙂

I think that’s about all…plus I’m out of time.  I love you!

Sora Brielle

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