My Experiences as an English Teacher and Missionary in Mongolia Ulaanbaatar (Jan 2016 – Jul 2017)

Email me at:
Mailing address:
Sister Jennifer Hansen
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
Post office box - 242
Ulaanbaatar post office - 49
Ulaanbaatar Mongolia, 13381

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Questions, questions.

[posted by Jen's father]

For family home evening after the farewell, Jen's mom invited over some Mongolian missionaries that recently arrived home. Sister Cleveland had been home 11 days, and the Francoms, 20.

We exhausted them for 2 hours as we fired question after question at them.

Sister Cleveland inspected Jen's boots and coat, and showed her pictures from her mission, including holding a huge eagle. She also showed her traditional Mongolian clothes. She also read out loud to Jen from the Book of Mormon in Mongolian. Very Cool. I got the feeling that any missionary would be very lucky to have Sister Cleveland as a companion.

The Francoms told us about the mission home, the pianos, etc. They assured us you can get by in Mongolia using English and lots of hand signals, because they did it for 18 months. They speculated there might be another stake created in Mongolia while Jen is there. Also, they drove a long way to get to our house. Oh, and they told us the Mongolian grills in America are NOT authentic Mongolian food.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farewell. Check!

Last Sunday was my farewell. I had family come all the way from Boise, friends from Logan all the way down to Alpine, and even one of my mother's old college friends flew in from Arizona. I was grateful to have so many people that I love travel in from all over the place just to come support me in my mission calling.

This was the day that I finally 'fessed up to my parents (well, actually everyone) that I had already read my call before they got to my apartment in Logan. ADD, sorry. So the video that everyone watched online was kind of fake. But not totally fake! Because I definitely was still in shock. I may have gone a little overboard with the whole melting onto the ground, but nobody suspected a thing. Should've been an actress.

After sacrament meeting, our home was busting at the seams with family, friends, neighbors, and lots of good food. Being the classy people we are we made a make-shift dining room in the garage to accommodate our guests. I think the garage door and tool rack makes for a nice backdrop, don't you?

 As part of the celebration my old piano teacher and ward friend played Sleigh Ride for one last time for a couple years. Here, check it out!


I am so humbled and thankful by the kindness and generosity of friends and family that came to wish me luck and give their love. Everyone that I have met over the last several years has helped shape me in some way, and has etched me into the person I am now. I look forward to see how the Lord shapes me even more in Mongolia.

Shout outs:

My lovely cousin Heather. "Do I get to be on the blog??"

Blessed to have all these worthy priesthood holders in my family. 

Honorary 5th roommate. The best bros a bro could ever have.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

13 days to go

Merry Christmas Eve! The time is getting closer for me to join the throngs of spiritual soldiers. I am grateful to have a couple weeks to spend Christmas at home. We are excited to have lots of extended family coming in from Boise this weekend for my farewell- we'll be filling every bed! 

My oldest brother, Kelly also came in Tuesday night from Southern California, and it has been fun having him here as well. We went skiing, saw Star Wars (again), and today for lunch we went to eat at the Mongolian Grill in Layton- I'm sure it is very authentic. ;) Here's a rare picture of all 6 of us in the same place! 

As far as mission preparation and readiness goes, everything just kind of seems like a blur right now. The days are one by one ticking away, and I know there's a lot to do, and I still need to go shopping and maybe start putting things in those big suitcases in my room, but I honestly don't even know what to tell people when they ask "How are you feeling?" because I just don't really know. Excited, I guess? I'm just very calm and ready to take on whatever challenges that will face me in the MTC. *cough* learning Mongolian *cough cough* My parents seem to be doing plenty of anxious worrying for the whole family ;) They are very excited and supportive of my mission, and I am so thankful and humbled by all of the people that have reached out to help me and my family as we embark on this spiritual journey. Merry Christmas, all! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Logan Temple

On November 21, 2015 I spent the afternoon inside the gorgeous Logan temple with my parents, grandmother, and some dear family friends who came up from Kaysville. It was beautiful and wonderful and I loved feeling close to my Heavenly Father.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Mongolian Sisters

A couple weeks after receiving my call, while shopping in City Creak, we walked over to Temple Square and met these lovely sister missionaries from Mongolia!!

Sister Battulga and Sister Javzandulam were so kind and excited for me. They let me listen as they spoke Mongolian and told me a little bit about their country.

Both sisters will be back in Mongolia before I finish there. They said they will look forward to meeting me again in Ulaanbaatar!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Opening the Call

My calling arrived in the mail on October 27 at my apartment at USU. My family was on their way up from Kaysville, so I had to duct tape the envelope shut to keep myself from reading it right away. Here is the video of when I opened my call.

Out of all the places in the world Mongolia never would have crossed my mind. When I opened my call I was in shock. (Hence, the melting onto the floor) My dad immediately started researching the country and learning about the church there. I guess I just didn't know what to feel. In the few weeks leading up to receiving my call, naturally I had done a lot of thinking where I might go. In my young years, I have been incredibly blessed with many opportunities to travel and experience many different things around the world. I love going to new places! I had a little bit of pride in my heart, and thought because I already had quite a bit of experience under my belt and had done so many things already, of course I would be sent on a crazy foreign mission.

During this waiting period, I kept having the feeling that I was going to be incredibly humbled on my mission. I was sure this meant that I was going state-side Spanish speaking. I was sure of it. So, I prepared myself to be slightly underwhelmed by my calling.

This is not how the Lord has plans of humbling me...

Instead of being underwhelmed by my assignment, I got the exact opposite. I started having serious feelings of inadequacy and doubt. How in the world am I suppose to learn 2 new alphabets? What am I even doing? I am so not cut out to be a missionary.

For several days I struggled with these negative thoughts. It was not a good time. But as soon as I recognized that they were from Satan, I was able to get on my knees and start to trust that this call was from God. A good friend of mine said it was not bad that I feel inadequate, it even is good. He said that knowing I can't do anything without God's help will make me more teachable. That helped me a lot.

This is not to say that I'm still not nervous, because I'm freaking terrified. But I do have faith, which right now is pretty much what I'm surviving on. Faith in God's plan and faith in God's love, and I guess that faith is taking me all the way to Mongolia.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Decision Time

The first thing you should know about my mission is that I did not DECIDE to serve as a full-time missionary. It was not my CHOICE. I mean, yeah of course it was my choice, I could choose to completely disregard my spiritual promptings and personal revelation, and keep doing what I was doing, but that's not exactly how it works. So, here is my story:

This last summer (2015) I was working at a summer camp in Minnesota as a rock climbing and ropes instructor. I was one of 2 members of the church, and the other worked in a completely different area of camp so we never really ever saw each other. I met and worked with people from all over the world! I made friends from Slovakia, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, England, Ireland, and so many more.
Teaching a couple campers how to navigate the course.
Going to camp, I was hoping to have a couple missionary opportunities. I had so many more than I would have thought! Almost every day I would have a chance to share my standards, answer a question about God, or explain what the "CTR" on my ring meant ;) On the few days that we had off, almost everyone would go to the bar in town to get smashed, and would wonder why I never joined them. I was so blessed because of the way I was raised and by keeping my baptismal covenants of standing as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.
Me a guitar Instructor, who would have thought?
About a month and a half into camp, I had a very special, particular experience that Heavenly Father told me I needed to go on a mission. This prompting took me by surprise, because in the years prior when I had asked in prayer if I was suppose to serve full-time, the answer was no. So I was very confused, and scared. I was just starting to get my stuff figured out, getting close to graduating college, had very special people and friends in my life, and some pretty big plans. But now that all was going to take a 180 and I was gonna go share the love of Christ. Cool, I can do this, because I have faith in God's plan.

Returning to Utah and going back to school and jumping back into a normal routine and also trying to prepare for a mission was hard. Being isolated in the Northwoods of Minnesota it was easy to receive that revelation from God. But being home I was faced with so many distractions and temptations that I started doubting and second guessing myself. I continually had to go back in my mind to the place I was when I felt that love from Heavenly Father. Never has Elder Holland's quote been so applicable to me than at this time.
“With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now.”
That's a hard thing.