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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My new companion is Sister Jensen

So, the long awaited news. I am staying in Selbe AND Baingol! Still rockin' the double church duty! My new companion is Sister Jensen. We were kind of shocked! She is in the group just before me, but the crazy thing is, Sister Gardiner was also her trainer! So in missionary language, we're actually "sisters" because Sister Gardiner is both of our "mom".

New companion, Sister Jensen (Pday at the Internet Cafe)
I am excited to be staying with my people and hopefully help strengthen both of these new wards, because since they split they have been having a little hard time keeping their head above water! So we have A LOT of work to do. But Sister Jensen loves people a lot so we'll be ok. I have a newfound sense of responsibility because I already know these people and love them and don't want to lose any of them. Sister Gardiner was such an amazing missionary, and had these two wards totally under control, and the last few days we've just been trying to keep up with everything! But she taught me well, now I'm just going to work even harder to improve my language skills in order to take care of these wards.

It rained a lot and everywhere flooded.
As far as my other groupies, Sister Guild went to Darhan!!! Wow!  She'll be with Sister Westover for the summer, and she will LOVE IT! Sister Olsen is now with Sister Bollwinkle in Sungine doing a whitewash, and Elder Cowles and Heakock stayed with their companions in their areas. I'm not sure where Urness is.

A day at the beach!
So pretty much this week was just hectic. So hectic. The last few days with Sister Gardiner were spent trying to say goodbye to all of her people, get her all packed and ready to go, and puking my brains out from ridiculous inhumane amounts of food that people fed us. Tuesday we literally went to 5 consecutive houses where they each prepared full Mongolian meals for us. I've never wanted to die so much in my life.

Enkjargal painted our names in the old Mongolian script! So cool!!
Then once Sister Gardiner left and we were waiting for the transfer call to come out I was tossed around like a hot potato from companionship to companionship, including hosting a new Mongolian missionary at my apartment before she was actually set apart. Then we spent all day Friday moving and getting settled in our new apartment and trying to get our heads on straight.

Goodbye Pres Benson!
But now we're started to get our feet back under us, and this week will be so much better once we get back into a good routine. We've got an extended 9 week transfer and plenty of work to do in that time. Send all the prayers!

Sister Hansen

Ohh also I'm so glad to hear about Sister Gardiner's homecoming! That was so cool to see a picture with all of you! WOW you're all just in a parallel universe. So weird.

Goodbye Sister Gardiner


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Overwhelmed at how wonderful my life is.

So remember weeks and weeks ago when I told you about couch guy? Well we've been battling with that dumb guy for the last two transfers trying to get him to listen to our lessons. Well, I am happy to announce that this week WE GOT COUCH GUY!!!!! Sister Gardiner and I were SO HAPPY. We seriously chanted the rest of the night "We got couch guy! We got couch guy!" It was great. Also, it was the first time that we ever met the standard of excellence for MP lessons, and we didn't just reach it- we OVERreached it. It was amazing. What a way to go out for Sister Gardiner. It's just dumb that we finally got the guy we've been praying for, and now Sister Gardiner is going home. I hope that whoever is in Selbe next, whether me or any other missionary will appreciate all the work that we put into that guy and not lose him!!

[Click HERE for another of Jen's posts about couch guy (paragraph 7)]

I will miss Sister Gardiner when she goes home next week!

In other news, our brand new member Myagmar got called as the gospel principles class teacher! WOW! She's been a member for less than a month and now she'll be teaching the other investigators! We're so happy for her, because she loves the church so much and her spirit is strong.

This week we also met with our other new members Enkjargal and Chinhuslen, and we were talking about the Plan of Salvation. We decided to switch roles and have them be the missionaries and teach us the lesson. It was so beautiful! I felt the spirit so strong as little Chinhuslen talked about the 5 steps of the gospel and how we can reach the Celestial kingdom.

We may or may not have stole the giant area map and taped it to our wall...

The last few days I have just been overwhelmed with gratitude at how wonderful my life is. Through meeting with one investigator, Munkbat, who has experienced every religion in the book, and even now still practices many of them, I am so grateful for the simplicity and elegance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything about this church is just RIGHT. There are no secrets. No loose ends. No un-surety. It is so empowering to know that I know that truth, and how sure and solid my life is because of it.

A random little girl we met at the playground that decided we were best friends

Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Because of His infinite atonement, we can repent and improve every day. We never have to settle for what we've been or what we've done, because we have found the Pearl of Great Price.

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Hansen

Sunday, June 12, 2016

We have a Llama

Biggest news of this week.... WE HAVE HOT WATER!!! Woot woot!!!! No more early morning alarms to boil water for our doggy baths!

And our clothes are just that dirty because Mongolia is not a clean place to live haha

Also, you know you have a problem when your companion says "I just turned on the music so you'd stop singing." Fine. Be a hater.

We also have a llama. He is ours and we call him llama. Ok, so he's not the kind of llama you're thinking of. He's a Buddhist Lama! We've ran into him a couple times and he's very kind and has a great zen. We always walk away from him feeling very at peace with the world :)

We had a wonderful lesson with our new member - she is glowing with the light of the gospel and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The entire lesson I was distracted because the whole time I was just imagining her at the temple in a year. She is already planning and preparing for that day. It is such a cool thing to see people really change and become happier from the gospel. There are so many faithful women in the ward who's husbands are too stubborn to accept the gospel. They come to church every week by themselves, but work and pray so hard, and share their testimonies and examples with their husbands so that someday they may reach the highest place in the Celestial kingdom- and they are NOT giving up. Those women will be so blessed.

Me with this adorable little kitten
This is Sister Gardiner's last full week in Mongolia, and we've done some hard core planning to make it count. It's gonna be a good one!

[Jennifer answering parents questions:]
Regarding next transfer, I would love to be with a Mongolian. I know that would be very challenging because of the level of where my language is right now, but I really think that I would improve A LOT if I were with a Mongolian. I'm really torn about where I want to go- not that it matters, it's not up to me anyway. But there are so many good things happening in Selbe right now, and I really feel like I could be a great asset if I stayed another transfer. But the other part of me is dying because I am going a little stir crazy in the city. I know that if I went to any other area then I would be in a lot more cultural and poverty Mongolia- Selbe is really the most developed part of the country. But I will be happy with whatever happens.

One of our favorite investigators, "M",  has moved back to the countryside- she comes to the city during the school year, but her home is far away, so we passed her to the missionaries out there, and hopefully they're taking care of her.

I have been working on developing and improving the lessons that are taught. Sister Gardiner and I got to observe one of the lessons we made being taught and got some good constructive feedback, so we're really trying to help the English program move forward here.

Mongolia needs more couple missionaries. When Sister Gardiner came there were 7 couples, now we have 2. We need them so much! If you know ANYBODY that is able to serve a couples mission, please encourage them to do so. And if you put on your application that you would like to go to Mongolia, they're pretty much guaranteed to come here. So, spread the word.

Love, Sister Hansen

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Another cold baptism

Would you kill me if I just didn't write a big email today? I've been trying to catch up on some emails from friends and other people and dad's questions and stuff, and plus we had a pretty discouraging week. So we can just chat for a bit if you want, then I'll write something nice next week. Ok? Ok.

Mongolia was celebrating some kind of Earth Day or something and ALL the roads were closed so there were no cars or buses or anything and people were all out walking and riding bikes and roller blades and it was so beautiful and happy!! I wish every day were like this!

Our investigators are running a little dry. School is over, but I've been asked to work on an English team to help improve the lessons, which I'll be working on through the summer. Which means I'll most likely be staying in the city next transfer.

Sister Bottorff's got transferred to Khavd this week. It took everyone by surprise. She was told to go pack her bags because she's going to Khavd for the summer. I was shocked. If you look at a map, Khavd is the farthest possible west you can go in Mongolia (about a 3 hour flight from UB), and it is also the farthest mission area from any mission home. There is only one sister companionship there- that's it. So, now she's with a Mongolian- I think. I'll be honest, when she told me, my heart dropped a little bit. I was pretty jealous. Yeah, I secretly wanted to be the one sister that got to go.  Good thing we were just working on English that evening and I didn't have to teach a gospel lesson because I had a pretty bad attitude the rest of the night. I'm fine now. Yeah, I still would have loved to been able to go to the farthest, most remote town in Mongolia, and like, the world, but I know that Sister Bottorff will be amazing and she's obviously suppose to be there for a reason. I'll also miss her! We don't really get to see each other ever, but occasionally at conferences and meetings and stuff, but she'll be out in the booneys until school starts again in the Fall! Good luck Sister Bottorff- don't get sick cause the hospitals there are real freaky.

"C" and "E" got baptized! These two have been investigating the church for over a year. They would be going strong, then fall away, then come back, then go away again. On and off forever. "C" is 14 and has diabetes and a tiny, sick little broken body and she's in and out of the hospital a lot. About a month ago, they were in the hospital again, and "C" was really sick. After she was able to come home, the first thing "E" did was call us and said "I want to be baptized. When can I finish my lessons?" We don't know what happened that week, but ever since then they have been trying so hard to be at church every week and really prepare themselves to be baptized. So It was a beautiful thing to finally see them make it!

Still no hot water so Sister Gardiner and I spent 3 HOURS boiling water to pour into the font for "E" and "C's" baptism. Still made no difference... they froze. We tried our best.

[Parents asked about her English classes:]
Regarding my English classes, they are the richer kids in Mongolia. I teach at a private school so they have to have money to attend there. I probably made the most connections with this class.Sister Koefoed and I always teach together.

This next transfer we only have 4 new elders coming! No new sisters, so I guess I don't' have to worry about being a trainer right off the bat :)

WOW look at all this green!!