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

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Yet another Testimony of the Power of Music

A really cool thing happened this week! Last week, Sister Bottorff and I auditioned to sing the duet "Coming Home" for one of the devotionals at the MTC. We were asked to sing for the missionary departing devotional on Sunday for those missionaries who are leaving the MTC this week. It was so cool! The spirit filled the whole room.

Hansen - Bottorff

After we finished, because we are not departing this week, we snuck out the side door so we could go to choir. Sister Bertasso (2nd counselor of the MTC presidency wife) met us in the hall. We expected her to just thank us and send us on our way, but she surprised us instead! She said "President Burgess (MTC president) has never done this before..." she went on to say that as soon as we started singing, he leaned over and said that we have to sing at the MTC devotional tonight. She tried to argue saying we hadn't done a sound check, the media people aren't prepared for it, etc. He said, doesn't matter, they have to sing at the devotional tonight. We were speechless! So we did, that very same night performed "Coming Home" for the entire MTC, and what a wonderful experience it was. Yet another testimony of the power of music. The following day at lunch, an older man came up to us at lunch and said "I am the Senior missionary coordinator for the MTC, and I have been to every devotional, and last night was the best I've ever heard." Thank you so much.

This is a photo in a hallway that we love, a missionary in Mongolia surrounded by little Mongolian children. Taken in 1999 I think....

We also got our new name tags this week! Our MTC name tags our last names are in English, but on our new ones they are in Cyrillic so the Mongolians can read it. Pretty cool!

So fun to see Soeur Jackson (from Nevada, headed to Paris) at the MTC! (Our dads are SCUBA buddies)

We also began our ESL teacher training (English as a second language). We'll be doing online courses for the next 2 weeks, then our last week in the MTC we will be over the ELC evaluating other teachers and teaching our own classes. We are expected to be the best English teachers in Mongolia. Because of us, we are giving these people in Mongolia the opportunity to have a better life. Mongolia is such a unique mission because it is the only one in the world where teaching English is actually part of our mission call. The more I learn about it, the more I can see the Lord working in all of the little details.

Here's a snippet from my study journal last week: Ether 12:4. The waters of the world are deep and turbulent. The only way for us to not drown in it's depths is to have a firm Hope in Christ. To have hope that this life will get better, no matter how harsh the storm.
If I have learned anything in the MTC it is that Satan targets our vulnerabilities, or the "chinks in our armour" so to speak. But with Jesus Christ as our chain mail, our anchor in the hurricane, we can overcome all the sad and hard things of the world. We can even overcome Satan. (He doesn't even have a body, how much power can he actually have?)

I was reading back through my journal from my first couple weeks at the MTC, and found this little doodle on the bottom of a page. I remember this being a particularly rough day, and feeling quite low, and thinking to myself, "Ok God, I'm all in now. Do with me what you will. I'll just move my feet to wherever you say. I'm yours."
I forgot to tell you about the First Vision thing. Our teachers challenges us 2 Wednesdays ago to have it memorized by the next Wednesday. Well, I worked hard and had the whole thing memorized on Sunday! Then I put it into action and used it during a lesson with an investigator that week. It was awesome to be able to say it to them instead of having them read out of a pamphlet. Really cool experience.

This is for my best friend Rachel Hogan!! It says "Return with Happiness" (because I don't know how to say honor...) Sister Hogan, I love you!!

Thanks for all the love and prayers,

Ханьсэн Эгч
^--turns out I've been spelling my own name wrong this whole time. I found that out when I got my new name tag. Mongolian is hard. But also cool.

Last temple walk with all the Sisters in our zone. The Cambodians left early Monday morning, and we already miss them. Left to right: Woon, Powell (Thailand) Olsen (Mongolia) Hall, Chantacoon, Lines (Cambodia) Guild, Bottorff (Mongolia) Hoeft (Thailand) yours truly, Yang (Thailand) Gallahad (Cambodia). 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I was born in the MTC

For all ya'll normal people out there, here's a poem completely unrelated to missionary work to celebrate valentines day... Say it out loud ok??

When you're kissing with your hunny
and your nose gets kind of runny
you think it's pretty funny
but it's not.

You're welcome.

Also, newest discovery of this week... NYQUIL PILLS EXIST?!? I've been drinking that rat nasty vomit juice my entire life and I could've just popped a pill?! Thanks to nobody for telling me about that. 

Writing out Joseph Smith's First Vision from memory

This week felt like 30 years. I might have actually been born in the MTC, I'm not really sure at this point. Elder Heacock got really sick, and because we live in a cesspool I also got really sick, which means everyone else will also probably get really sick. There were days this week that I literally had to make goals just to make it to the next meal. "If I can make it 45 more minutes, then I will only have 45 more minutes until dinner." Luckily today is P-day so hopefully I will be able to recoup a bit and be able to work harder next week.

Sunday was awesome. I learned an incredibly cool thing about the hymn "Nearer My God to Thee" but I don't really want to type it so ask me about it when I get home and I'll tell you. There are also rumors that our guest speaker for the devotional tonight is Elder Rasband, which would be SO SWEET, so you'll have to wait until next week to hear if those rumors are true.

The Sisters headed for Mongolia (pic stolen from Sister Olsen's blog) Bottorff, Hansen, Guild, Olsen

Here's a really cool quote from President Hunter out of Preach my Gospel:"If prayer is only a spasmodic cry at the time of crisis, then it is utterly selfish, and we come to think of God as a repairman or a service agency to help us only in our emergencies..."   We went on to talk about
how when we pray we need to have an open conversation with our Father, instead of approaching prayer as if we're leaving a voicemail and saying "Call back when you can".

I have an amazing amount of spiritual insight and wonderful things that I've learned here at the MTC, but I just don't really know how to write them in emails. So just know that things are well, and I don't want you to think that I'm not taking things seriously. It's been a bit of an off week, being sick and all, but I'm plugging through. Mongolian is still incredibly difficult, but I memorized the first vision this week, so in a month if I can't say anything else, at least I'll be able to say that. I'm grateful for my companion, who has put up with my unpleasantness this week, and is totally ok with the fact that I usually don't want to have a conversation until after breakfast. (6:30 doesn't get any easier) The Lord keeps blessing us. My testimony and love for Jesus Christ deepens every day.

My face looks bloated because I've blown my nose about 5000 times

March 17 is still the prospective departure date. We don't begin our English training until March 1st. We will do 15 hours of online, then we will go to the ELC to do live practicums. 

I'm glad you were able to go to Rachel Newbold's homecoming- she looks great. You all look great! Also, welcome home to my best friend Soeur Rachel Hogan this week from Paris. You are such a light and I love you and wish I could be there.


Ханисэн Эгч

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Half way done at the MTC

Yeah, I am about half way done at the MTC. It's strange how the time passes here. The most common phrase around here is "the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days" but after about a month the days still feel like weeks but the weeks also kind of feel like years. But that might just be me. I've always had a tendency to get antsy when I stay in one place for too long.

The 4 headed for Mongolia: Guild, Bottorff, Hansen, Olsen (pic borrowed from Olsen blog)
You are well aware that stubbornness and pride runs strong in the Hansen blood. We had a lesson last week on recognizing our Laman-like attributes, and fixing them and becoming more like Nephi. I kind of got called out, which at the time didn't feel good, but turned out to be exactly what I needed to kick my pride to the curb. 

Sister Johnson (from our ward) and me at the Temple
Dad, you've been asking about Sister Guild. She's awesome. She from Evanston, Wyoming, comes from a big ranching family. She graduated from a community college in Wyoming, and hopes to come to Utah State after her mission! She played volleyball in high school and it's super fun to play with her during our gym time. She is one of the kindest people I've ever met! We all get along so well.

Here is a picture of me and all my books
As far as the visas go, yes, we have already been assigned our sponsors, although we don't know what they are yet. The guy that's in charge of that came and talked to us 2 or 3 weeks ago, and said we'd be getting that information soon... but that was 2 or 3 weeks ago, so I don't know what he meant by "soon". So we're all anxiously waiting to hear where we will be teaching in Mongolia.

Were you able to go see Rachel Newbold? That is so exciting that she is home! 

Sister Hansen

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Our days go something like this.

I imagine you all think that I am living an incredible adventure here on my mission, but in all honesty our days go a little something like this:
Wake up
That about sums it up!
Sister Guild and I in our Mongolia coats on our Sunday temple walk

Ok, I mean, we do a little bit more than that. Like, shower and teach and build abstract art out of our dirty dishes and silverware. 

Actually, this week was Guild Эгч birthday, and thanks to mom's perfectly timed package, we had a coffee cake to celebrate! I sang her the family birthday song too,and she loved it :) 

We also had to say goodbye to our dear friend's the Thai's. About half our zone did their time and said "so-long" to the MTC at 2:30 Monday morning. It was so sad and exciting at the same time, and weird to think that that will be us in a few short weeks. We will be getting a new delivery of about 10 Thai missionaries, along with a Malay and an Indonesian within the next month. So now it's our job to welcome them and show them the ropes of the MTC, instead of the other way around! Our zone is very different and special because each district is learning such a difficult language. Our zone consists of all the weird Asian languages that people don't really ever think of, like Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese, Malay, etc. We really all lean on each other for support and have become very close friends. 

I was so happy to get this letter from my most favorite Hogan's!! Thank you all, and I love you!

This is something from like my first week at the MTC that I forgot to tell you about. When Neil L. Anderson was here speaking at a devotional, he was telling about the " A Savior Is Born" campaign video that was shared worldwide. He told us that the video was viewed by 54.5 million people. The language it was most viewed in was Spanish, at 28 million views. He went on to list the other highest ranking languages the video was viewed at. Would anyone ever guess that the 5th language most viewed was Mongolian!! What. My companion turned to me and said "Our people are prepared!!" Tender mercies. I don't know how that is even possible, where there are only 3 million people total in Mongolia, and probably less than half have access to the internet. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

On the topic of Mongolia, the people have been praying fervently for a new stake in Mongolia. There is currently only one, but they are so close to having another, and this is very important to the church and the people. If there is 2 or 3 more stakes, it may even be a possibility for a temple to be built someday. Can you imagine all the blessings this would bring to that country? God already has a very special place in his heart for Mongolia. 

Have a great week, ya'll.

Ханисэн Эгч

Yes, Sister Bottorff and I have been hosting (meeting new missionaries at the curb) the last couple weeks, and it is so fun! Unfortunately we were not asked to this week, so I won't be welcoming Sister Johnson, but I'll be sure to find her at meals or something.

I met a few missionaries on Sunday that will be serving in Logan! They'll be there next week, so I gave them a list of all my friends to find and say hello to :) Their names are Elders West, Jones, and Murphey. If you happen to run into them sometime tell them I say hi! They'll still be there when I get home actually so I'm sure I'll meet them again someday.

Dad, thanks for the temple experience. That was wonderful. We are going today and I get to do the work for Alice Boyce, who I have done her baptism, confirmation, initiatory, and now endowment! I'll be very excited to meet her someday.

This is Sister Hoeft in my zone. She is from San Francisco serving in Thailand and she is dating Nick Gruniger.