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

Email me at: jennifer.hansen@myldsmail.net
Mailing address:
Sister Jennifer Hansen
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
Post office box - 242
Ulaanbaatar post office - 49
Ulaanbaatar Mongolia, 13381

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.