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

Monday, August 29, 2016

Transferred to Jargalant

Miracles have happened and I have been transferred from Selbe to Jargalant, with Sister Lichtenberg!!!! I cannot even begin to describe to you how amazing the last 3 days have been. Sister Lichtenberg and I have just hit the ground running with the work, and are already best friends. We've made goals for the next 9 weeks to become seriously kick-butt missionaries, and I've already felt the power of God so much in our companionship. I'm out of the city as well, and that has definitely helped boost my spirits.

Transferred to my new area, Jargalant. 

It's so beautifully humble here. We literally climb mountains every day. Whereas in Selbe, we would get fed full meals at every house, here it's rare to get a small bowl of soup because they just don't have anything to give.

We find so many opportunities to serve people around here, and it's an amazing feeling when you offer to carry somebody's water jug, and they ask if you're "Jesus people".

Helping an old emee patch up her ger. 
We may not wear name tags, but we're always representing Jesus Christ.

It's gonna be an awesome 9 weeks. I can feel it.

I have worn my boots every day because the other ones just don't cut it in Mongolia. They've held up pretty well so far, so we'll see how they do hiking the mountains every day.

With my new companion, Sister Lichtenberg. For p-day we went on a hike and didn't even have to get permission because literally all of these mountains are our area. I love my life. 

Sister Bottorff and Sister Guild are back from the country side and came to my choir practice today!!! Sister Olsen came too! It was so awesome to be reunited!
The choir is awesome. We're doing 2 numbers- Jesus Savior Pilot Me, and a really nice arrangement of I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me. Mission tour is on Sept 13 so we only have 2 practices left! But it's been going well so I think it will sound good and bring the spirit.

My MTC companion, Sister Bottorff and me!
Sister Hansen

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ward activity TO THE COUNTRYSIDE!!!!

The highlight of this week was that we got to go with the Selbe ward to their ward activity TO THE COUNTRYSIDE!!!! WOOO!!! Not super crazy far, but we were about an hour outside of the city, and it was AMAZING!!!

So remember that time I was awesome and held an eagle? Well. I just one-upped myself, and held A VULTURE. There is a vulture on my arm, ya'll, and it is not light! I know I should have looked at the camera to get a good picture, but I was too distracted by the VULTURE ON MY ARM! 

A traditional meal in Mongolia is called Horhog, which directly translates to "poisonous garbage". It's cooked on a giant flaming pile of poop! So here's us with our tasty chunks of mutton :) Pretty dang yummy. 


Tasty chunks of mutton

Also, where else are you going to drive down the road and see 2 humped camels, just, there

So this computer is super slow, and I spent a lot of time sending pictures, so this will probably be pretty short. But the ward activity was so incredibly fun and to leave the city is just a dream come true.

Jump roping champs! We won juice :)

Transfers are on Thursday so we're all getting pretty anxious around here. We have 3 new sisters coming so we're all excited to see who will train and also who will be our new STL's and AP's and what-not.

I was informed this week that school starts on September 15, so just a few weeks away. Sister Olsen, Bollwinkle, Koefoed and I will all still be teaching at New Generation.

Last district meeting before transfers

So cool to see Allison all moved in! Feels like that was me just a few weeks ago. And now I've been in Mongolia for 5 months. Crazy how time passes.

Sister Jensen and I

Here's a quick scripture for ya:

Mosiah 23:21-22 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

Sometimes we make plans for ourselves, and they're really good plans. And we work diligently and obediently, and somehow things still don't work out, and we still have really hard stuff. Like pain, or fear, or any other trial. That's because the Lord has to test our patience and faith to see what we are willing to endure for Him. How much are we willing to endure for Him? Are we going to show Him that we'll give up everything to follow Him? If the Lord were to come to you today and say "Lovest thou me more than these?" what would your "these" be? What would He be asking you to give up to prove your love? Let's think about it.

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Hansen

The choir Jen is directing (see last week's post)

Monday, August 15, 2016

We don't really teach- we just tell people the truth

Drunk man quote of the week: 
"Let me put on my pants, then we'll talk."

Jen & her companion, Sister Jensen

This week we had a zone training and we were split into groups and I got to skype with Sister Bottorff! It was super fun. She and Sister Guild will be coming back to the city in the next week or so for transfers, and I'm so excited! I love my groupies. 

So probably my favorite thing that happened this week was my little missionary choir practice on Monday! We made 20 cookies, hoping that maybe 10 people would come- then they could each have 2 cookies! Well, to my complete surprise, over 30 missionaries came to sing!! It was so amazing. I have never directed a choir before, only played the piano, so it was definitely a different experience to be the one in charge, but I'm really happy with how it went, and I think that the spirit will be very strong when they sing at the mission training! 

Another music thing that happened this week, was to help wrap up all the BYU English lessons, I got to help record all the English songs for the lessons, so that was pretty fun too!

So we're coming to a close of this transfer, and I have an inkling that I might be staying in Selbe and Bayangol for the next 9 weeks. I don't know why. I just wouldn't be surprised if I don't move anywhere. In which case, that would be a total of 8 months in Selbe! Woo! Haha hopefully I don't go mad in the city. There's A LOT of work that needs to be done here, and if I do stay, I'll have to work even harder. They need help. So if the Lord needs me for that, bring it. 

Yeah, a mission is hard. But in a way it's also so easy. But you can't be in it for you. You gotta take your life in your hand, then give it to the Lord. Then it's easy. Teaching isn't hard. We don't even really teach- we just tell people the truth. The spirit does the teaching. If it were the other way around, nothing would get done. 1) Because Mongolian. 2) Because 18 year old boys. 3) Because Jen. Those three things.... it blows my mind at the work we're doing, with those 3 things as the circumstances. Truly a miracle. 

Move forward with faith, be happy, and utilize the atonement. Dig your roots. Prune your branches. See the fruits. 

Sister Hansen

Monday, August 8, 2016

Choir Practice for a 70

Well ya'll, this week was 7 months! And even after 7 months I still have experiences like this....

*Explaining Alma 32*
"All of our faith starts as a little seed. But as we pray and keep the commandments, eventually your faith will grow into a great big CAT."
Sometimes, words just don't happen the way you want them to, okay?

I got the music fine. We have a mission tour on Sept 13 and a 70 is coming so that's what I'm preparing the choir for. We have our first practice today! I'm sups excited. I'll be "directing" during the practices, but I'm pretty much the only missionary that plays the piano, so I'll be accompanying :) They'll just learn it and be on their own. It's not really a choir.... there's only like 35 American missionaries total and they won't even all be in it, so it's more of like a small group.  

[Note from Mission Office after watching them practice:
Wow!!  I can't see to write cause I am still emotional, that song is beautiful and she is more amazing than I first suspected!!  The music will lift our spirits and motivate us to be better disciples of our Savior!  Thanks again!!!]
Side note: one perk of doing double church duty is you get 2 pieces of bread on fast sunday. *fist bump*
WE FOUND PEANUT BUTTER YA'LL. It's also about $15 per jar, so that didn't happen.

This week Sister Jensen and I read an amazing talk from Elder Bednar in this month's Liahona about accepting God's will and timing. He shared an experience of a young faithful couple who had just been married, and 3 weeks later the husband found out he had cancer. At the close of a visit from Elder Bednar, the young man asked for a priesthood blessing. They started talking about faith, and Elder Bednar asked the question "Do you have the faith not to be healed?" 
Do we have the faith to accept the Lord's plan for us, whether it looks mortally appealing or not? It's one thing to have faith in the good things, but another to have faith in the scary ones. May we all prepare ourselves if we are ever asked to exercise the faith to "not be healed". Also, go read that talk. 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Sister Hansen

Also, if you're sending another package soon, and it happens to be big enough to fit a cereal box, I definitely would not oppose to a box of Maple Brown Sugar Life. Yeah that would be pretty saihan. 

[Note to Dad] I was having a very interesting conversation with Elder Maynes (DIC president) this week about the English program here.

When the mission first opened, missionaries spent HOURS of their week in the English library preparing their lessons. Then in 2010 the program had been upgraded and improved, but still not perfect. The last couple years, each missionary has a flash drive with all the lessons they need on it. That is what I have been working on this whole summer, is upgrading and revamping those PowerPoints, which is something that I've enjoyed doing my whole life. Interesting to look at the Lord's timing to see exactly when I would be the most useful on my mission. I believe I was saved until this time, and working on these lessons is one of the big reasons. Pretty cool. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Giant chucks of ice falling from the sky!

I vote you just post all your experiences from trek on my blog this week! So many amazing experiences.... trek is wonderful, and I wish I could have been there!

This week has been so hot!! Like, 90's. I just sweat buckets every day. Then randomly one day, it just started raining like I've never seen rain before. Then, HAIL. Giant chucks of ice falling from the sky! In about 5 minutes the roads were completely flooded, parked cars were in water above the tires, everything was completely and utterly soaked and flooded. It was insane! And I thought Utah weather was bi-polar....

We're still struggling with lessons, but this week was better. We found a lost RM less-active who miraculously decided to let us come over and teach a lesson with her non-member husband. It was super great! She's been back from her mission in Hawaii for over 10 years, and has never even talked to her husband about the church. He didn't know who Jesus Christ was, had never heard of the Holy Ghost, and had never prayed.... I love teaching all of those things. That's the cool thing about Mongolia, is we really meet people who have never heard Jesus Christ's name before. It's just a magical thing to see their eyes opened and changed when we help them recognize the spirit. I love it so much. Also, we asked Bayartuya (the wife) to bear her testimony about prayer, and it was the first time in over 10 years that she has born her testimony, let alone to her husband, and it was BEAUTIFUL. She was teaching him why we close our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ. The best was when we talked about families. Those two are so obviously in love, but are also obviously missing something. We felt inspired to talk about the temple. When we taught of how they can be together after death if they are married together in God's temple, the spirit was so strong. The temple is a powerful, wonderful place, and I can't wait until I am inside again. But I'm selfish, because I only have to go a year without the temple, and these Mongolians save up for their whole lives to go ONCE. Then they spend a week at the temple and do every single session. That's all they do. They have so much faith.

Man parachuting in to the Nadaam Festival
One of my tender mercies that I wrote in my journal this week was this: There have been a lot of disappointments, and frustrating things, and a lot of stuff has gone wrong. But I'm still happy. I'm still really happy, and that's because I trust in my Heavenly Father. I know exactly who I am, and I am so grateful for that. The Plan of Salvation is my tender mercy, every single day.

Zuviig song. Itgeltei bai. Hairtai shuu.
Hansen Egch