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Archive for November, 2010

Hey family,
Thanksgiving was a blast here as well.
Mom, I have no clue about school, or what needs to happen, if we have any
neighbors or anything that are going there… maybe Kara Banks or someone
like that, may know. They do frown on looking up stuff like that, but if
there is an application or something that we need to fill out, I think they
would understand. Worst case senario, would be us working for a semmester
or two if we miss a deadline. but if you wouldn’t mind finding out more,
that would be nice.
For Thanksgiving we made our root beer and it turned out fantastic. I think
it could have used a tiny bit more dry ice, but no biggie. We played flag
football for hours in the morning. I am getting a lot better at foot ball,
and I have about half of the rules down. There were some pretty rough
looking guys at the park we were playing at, all in black, with tattoos,
and head bands, foul mouths, and all. Of course we challenged them to a
game of foot ball, and it got a little rough at times, but we ended up
smoking them, thanks to the word of wisdom, (most were smokers), and one of
the guys playing for BYU on our team, and a couple that played high school
football. We all left as friends so that was good.
Having president stay over was a party. He has kind of an interesting sense
of humor, so we really couldn’t be our selves around him, and we really
didn’t have time to, but it was fun nevertheless.
Ah how I miss the hours of volly ball, sounds like you all had a fantastic
time, hopefully even dad did, despite having his pinkie paul-a-tized.
I too have been learning with bri, about obedience, it seems to me, that
some missionaries focus on obedience as top priority and they quickly
become quite self righteous, especially if they try to force it on others,
but I have seen other missionary’s that Love is there top priority, Love
for God, and Love for investigators, and even Love for there companion, and
perfect obedience just seems to fall into place. That of course is my
HUMBLE opinion, not doctrine. 🙂
We ate dinner with just a couple, but they were fun. Sister Panikie put
sossage in her stuffing, and it was awesome.
Well love you guys, and I will see ya later.

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Dear Mama,

I gasped with horror at Jake’s description of racing his companion to see
who could get done first.  I surely have missed his sense of humor!

Getting people to talk to investigators at church is definitely one of the
difficult things about being a missionary.  One time we introduced our
investigator to the Relief Society president, and she said “Nice to meet
you!” and then just wandered off.  I wanted to drag her back and say, “We
didn’t introduce you to our investigator so that she can learn your name,
we introduced you so that you can be her friend and support her and so she
feels like she knows somebody at church other than the missionaries.  So
talk to her!”  But I didn’t, because that wouldn’t be polite.

My companion is very obedient.  She reads the white handbook every day.  I
thought I was an obedient missionary before, but I have definitely become
more obedient over the course of this transfer.  It made me realize what a
problem “casual disobedience” is.  Not rebellious disobedience–people who
are rebeliously disobedient are a lot easier to identify and either root
out or help to change.  Casual disobedience is when you don’t know the
exact rule because you haven’t bothered to find out what it is, and you
just go with what everybody else is doing.  It reminds me of the scripture
that talks about Satan binding people with “flaxen cords” and “leading them
carefully down to hell”.  It made me realize that obedience is not the
default state and it does’t mean that you just haven’t deliberately chosen
to do anything blatently disobedient.  Perfect obedience is a state that we
should be constantly striving towards, and it really does require striving
rather than leasurely strolling.  Don’t think I was disobedent before–not
by any means.  I have just been thinking more this week about what it means
to be perfectly obedient and what Christ meant when He said “be ye
therefore perfect” and how to apply it to real life–not just as a
misisonary, but after the mission as well.

We had Zone Conference on Friday last week.  We left Chisinau at about
10:00 Thursday night in a hired van (the driver’s name is Oleg, and the
mission always hires him when four or more of us are traveling from
Chisinau because it’s cheaper than going by train).  We drove all night and
arrived at the chapel in Bucaresti only to discover that the gate to the
church yard was padalocked shut and we had no way of getting inside.  We
called the zone leaders and woke them up (they live closest to the church),
so they came over with their keys.  None of which fit the locks, which are
aparently new.  So we called a bunch of other people and woke them up, but
none of them had keys, either.  So eventually a couple of elders jumped the
fence, opened the church (with the ZL’s keys–they did work for that) and
woke up the security guard inside and asked him to open the gate for us.
Yeah, he was sleeping.  So we all went inside and crashed on the pews in
the chapel until 8:00 in the morning.  We woke up because people were
starting to arive for zone conference, which started at 9.  We were all
exhausted for zone conference, but it was really good and I never fell
asleep.  I was proud of myself for that. 🙂

After zone conference we got back on the van and headed back to Chisinau.
But this time it wasn’t Oleg driving, it was his friend.  And he drove like
a maniac.  But we all got back in one piece at about 3 in the morning.  And
then we got sick.  Sora Wilson was battling a cold before we went to Buc,
but two sleepless nights in a row made it worse and did me in as well.  So
Sunday we were both miserable and could not think in a straight line and
couldn’t even speak Romanian, so we went home after church and slept for
most of the afternoon.  Then we got up, ate dinner, did a couple of hours
of weekly planning, and went back to bed for the rest of the night.  Sora
Wilson got up at 6:00 because she’s crazy like that, but I had told her the
night before that I was going to sleep as long as my body wanted to and to
not wake me up.  So I got up at about 8 and started the day.  But it was
totally worth it, because I feel nearly back to normal and not sick at
all.  Yay!  I have definitely gained a testimony of taking a day to be sick
and recouperate when you need one instead of trying to work through it and
being sick for two weeks.  (can I have a testimony of that?).  I’ve done it
both ways, and taking one day off is definitely less wasted time than
working at half-steam for weeks.

Um…so that’s my life lately.

I love you all!

Bri

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Dear Mom,

I’m so glad that Grandma is doing better!  What are you all doing for
Thanksgiving?  We were told that we’ll probably be invited to the senior
couple’s house for thanksgiving dinner, but they weren’t at church Sunday
(they’re humanitarian aide missionaries and sometimes they’re far enough
away on assignment that they can’t get back for church) so there hasn’t
been an invitation yet.  I’ve also been told that we’ll be at their house
for Christmas phone calls, which would be nice.  Dad–skype would be
perfect!  The senior couples probably have skype (most do), and
missionaries in cities with senior couples usually use their skype to call
home. I haven’t ever used it, but from what I hear from others it’s the
best solution.  What’s your number/user ID/whatever?

I’ve been reading the Ensigns every morning while I eat breakfast (luckily
the apartment I’m in now has a good stack of them, enough that it will
probably last me the three months I’ll be here) and I’ve been loving it!
This morning, one article I read was talking about our modern lifestyle and
how people in our society never seem to be satisfied with “enough” (it’s by
Elder Robbins of the Seventy in the June 2003 ensign, if you want to read
the whole thing online).

“The pioneers had to discern what their true needs were. As they
hurriedly left Nauvoo, they took with them essentials such as food,
clothing, blankets, cooking utensils, and perhaps a few extras that
weren’t life sustaining but were nevertheless precious, such as a
favorite rocking chair. They tearfully left other keepsakes behind.

The trek that lay before the pioneers was not easy, but with faith
they began their westward march. Then they came to the slopes of the
Rocky Mountains. The trail that was manageable before seemed almost
insurmountable now. Many had to lighten their load and again face the
difficult process of choosing what to leave behind. Subsequent
travelers migrating west on the same trail would come across tools,
chairs, and other valuables left to decay and rust on the plains at
the foot of the Rockies.

The Saints who had to make these sacrifices must have made many
longing backward glances as they continued their journey. Yet while
they left many cherished items behind, they didn’t leave behind their
most precious asset: their children. That would have been unthinkable.

Now, some 150 years later, we are facing different challenges but a
similar choice. Tragically, this time it isn’t furniture and fineries
that are being left behind but our children. Believing that
possessions and “personal fulfillment” are paramount, many parents are
leaving the primary care of their children to day-care centers. Some,
such as single parents, may have no choice, but others do. ”
That’s pretty cut and dried!  It’s been fun reading the old ensigns,
becuase the articles are a lot longer and a lot more in-depth than they are
now.

In looking through my pictures, I realized that I’ve taken a grand total of
4 here in Chisinau.  Pitiful.  I’m sending one of my companion an all of
our baggage on the 13-hour night train we took to get here.  I had a ball.
🙂

Um…I don’t have a lot to say.  Russian is very difficult, and my
testimony is going to be pretty simple come February, but I’m still
planning on doing it.  We had a crazy lesson with a Russian-speaking lady
in the blocs yesterday.  She could not communicate with us in the
slightest, but she really wanted us to come in and talk with her.
Eventually some kid came in that spoke both russian and romanian, so we
were able to work through a translater.  She invited us to come back any
time.  To do what?  Jabber at her in a language she doesn’t understand?
She was kinda crazy.  But the kid was cool, and says he’ll be coming to
church Sunday.

I love you!

Bri

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Dear Dad Man,

Wow, it’s so crazy that it’s almost the end of the year!  This week I got
transfered to Chisinau, which actually isn’t even in Romania.  It’s the
capital of Moldova.  So I really have no idea what you’re going to have to
do to call me here–I’ll have to find out more details.  I’ll keep you
updated.  Because of the visa requirements, we missionaries can only stay
in the country for 90 days, so I’ll for sure be serving here for 3 months
(until February).  I really like it here, although it’s odd that everything
is in Russian as well as Romanian.  Speaking of, I have decided to study
Russian for the next three months so I can talk (at least a little bit) to
the people here that speak only Russian, not Romanian.  My goal is to be
able to bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting in February completely in
Russian.

So Wednesday I picked up my new companion and we had most of the day before
we had to catch our night train back to Chisinau.  We needed to drop off a
wheelchair at Anca’s house (she’s the cousin of the member that fell in
love with me), so we went over there and talked with her.  We had just
taught her a lesson the day before, so we let her talk our ears off for a
while before we shared our spiritual thought.  We read to her from Mosiah
18 (her eyes are bad and she can’t read very well herself anymore) where it
talks about the Waters of Mormon and baptizm.  When we asked her what she
thought about it, she said it was beautiful and she liked how they were
making a promise to God to support each other.  We asked her what she
thought about being baptized, and she said that she was planning on it as
soon as she had learned all the basics of the gospel.  Then my companion
asked if she would like to make a goal and set a date to work towards.  And
Anca totally freaked out.  She said that S. Wilson was way too pushy, and
rude, and was obviously not taught good manners as a child.  When S. Wilson
tried to apologize, Anca told her to shut up and tore into her for
interuppting.  She ended up insulting her upbringing, her parents, her
culture, her country (she’s from Australia), her being a missionary, the
way she taught, everything she could think of.  She said that she had hated
her from the moment that she walked into the door and that she had brought
an evil spirit into her home.  She said that she was certainly glad that S.
Wilson had not been called to Buc, because she would never allow her to
darken her doorway again, and told us that we needed to leave right now and
never come back.  As we were leaving, she gave me a kiss and told me she
still liked me and hoped that there were no hard feelings between us, and
that she was sorry that she and my new companion could never get along.
Kinda crazy.  It came totally out of the blue, too.  She’s really not that
kind of lady–she’s usually very sweet and very normal.  Her cousin hadn’t
come to any of the lessons, but he came to church my last week in Buc (he
wanted to come to support Anca because it was her first time at church.  He
didn’t come just for me).  Which was kind of awkward, but it turned out
fine.

I love you all!

Bri

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I wish I could have been there for Izac’s Home coming, that is funny that
you say that he came back the exact same, it takes a little bit to learn
that you just have to be yourself out here. At first missionary’s come out,
and they try to be a cookie cutter mold of what they think a missionary
should be, just like a robot, no personality, we call them greenies, no
matter how long they have been out on a mission, it usually wears off by
the time they have been out for three months, or done being trained. There
is a difference between this, and “keeping your greenie fire” which means
you are still excited about the work even after you find out that it is not
what the MTC made it out to be, meaning it is not teaching countless
lessons all day, and having people come up to you, and say they are ready
to be baptized. I am still finding the balance of being myself, and being
the missionary that I came out to be.
I think this may be my last transfer here, because I have been here for
four transfers and like Sora Hansen it is rare to be left for more then
that, unless unique circumstances arise.
I would be happy leaving or staying, because I get along great with
Richins, and all the other missionary in our district are outstanding
missionary’s.
We went to a member’s house for dinner last night for Halloween, and my
comp would answer the door for the trick or treat ers and give them candy,
we had Carmel popcorn balls for dessert. When we got back home, my comp was
telling me how worldly dressed even the young girls were, and it made me so
thankful for the standards in the church, and my wholesome modest sisters.
I know that it is a piece of cake for you guys to not smoke, drink or do
drugs, but remember that being immodest is as, if not more degrading then
these things, and that you have taken upon you the name of Christ, and you
represent him, just as much as I do. Don’t want to preach to you guys, but
I have gained a new respect for how important, and vital modesty is. 🙂
Well things are still doing OK here, I loved the Holiday’s back home, but
out here, it is just an easy excuse for people to not listen to our
message, which is sad.
Something I have learned out here, is good leader ship is not about forcing
people to do what we think is better, but is about setting a good example,
and making improvement as easy for them as possible.
Well, love you guy’s
Elder Hansen

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I Am Thankful For…

We have a really awesome investigator who will be
baptized Sunday.  You should see her Book of Mormon–she’s got things
underlined, and stuff in the footnotes circled, and notes in the
margin.  She studies better than I do!  Her name is Anca.

I don’t really like Buc.  It just feels wrong here–I don’t know if
it’s because I came mid-transfer or what, but I hope it goes away by
transfers, because I’m probably going to be staying here for at least
one more.  My companion is finishing up her fourth in this city, and
President never leaves someone in a city more than four transfers
unless they’re Branch President.

Um, I don’t really have anything else to say, so I’ll answer some of
your questions.

There are 18 sister missionaries in our mission and we’re out here for
11-12 transfers, so even if all of us had a different companion every
transfer (which is common–it’s pretty rare to serve with someone more
than once), there’s still enough to go around.  The big difference is
that we never get to go on splits with each other or with our district
leader or zone leaders, like the elders do.  So how Jake said he goes
on splits two or three times a week?  We just get to watch the elders
to that, not do it ourselves.

Elder Johnsen came out to Romania my third transfer, so three months
behind the rest of us.  He was here for less than two weeks and got
some kind of killer infection and was sent to Germany for treatment
for a couple of weeks, and then came back.  He wasn’t one of the ones
that were sent home–four of them were in their last transfer, and two
had between six months and a year left.  What happened is that
somebody in the mission (I don’t know who) decided to go to president
and tell everything he knew about every missionary.  They told us that
each elder was sent home for something different and unrelated, and I
was told by other missionaries that for at least a few of them it was
stuff they did in their first few transfers in the country, and that
it was just coming out now.  It really shook the whole mission up and
now a few cities are two-man cities that had four people before, but
we have twelve new elders coming in this transfer so things should go
more or less back to normal.

I don’t remember introducing a homemade caramel recipe–will you
forward it to me?  I’ve tried to make caramel popcorn several times,
and it’s turned out poorly every time but once.  It’s hard, because
brown sugar doesn’t exist in this country, and neither does molasses,
so I can’t just make it myself.  But our apartment has a bag of brown
sugar that somebody’s mom must have sent them, so I may try again. 🙂

No, Audra never sent me a towel, but it’s no big deal.  Yea, I rebound
my red journal that I bought here.  I haven’t taken pictures of it
yet–I’ll send some to you next week.

I love you all!

Bri

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