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, September 26, 2016

I got blessed by a Monk

Sain batsganuu ta nart!!!

Sorry for the delayed email this week, we decided to go a little crazy for p-day and take a little road trip out to Nailakh to see the giant Chinggis Khan statue! I've been there before with the Selbe ward, but Sister Lichtenberg and Kofoed had never been there and this is probably the last opportunity they will have before their mission ends. (They don't leave until March, but the rest of their mission will be winter. We've got a heads up that this winter will reach easily to -45 degrees. Buckle up!)
It was so fun. The pictures don't do a justice. That statue is like 200 feet high. It's huge.

Here's a fun story. We didn't have a ride back to the city from Chinggis. So we hitch hiked. (Don't freak out, it's totally normal here.) The guy that picked us up happened to have 2 guys from China that didn't speak Mongolian, and he was showing them the sights. On our way back, he pulled over on the side of the road and there were these giant camels!!!! WHAT?! So cool! So, happy early hump day to me! (next Thurs. btw) Then, the guy was so nice and didn't even charge us for the ride back to the city. He said he was going there anyways, but it was still a long ride, and he wouldn't let us give him any money. That guy needs the priesthood.

Anyway, thanks for all the birthday wishes this week! It was so awesome!  We had Sister Bottorff and Guild over for lunch and cake, then we had the most perfect day scheduled and taught some beautiful lessons, and didn't get burned once and things just worked out so beautifully. That never happens!! It was like Heavenly Father just said "Happy birthday, have the best missionarying day ever!" So awesome.

Then daylight savings happened. Haha. We had no idea, had gotten up and worked out and gotten ready and were starting personal study when someone called us and told us the time changed. Perfect. That's what you get when your district leader is in Khovd!!! So we were up for an extra hour, and man, did it hit us at the end of the day! I'm afraid my mission is turning me into a morning person. It's weird.

Sister Kofoed and I also got blessed by a monk! We had some stuff go down at school and left early, but neither of us had keys to our apartments, so while waiting for our companions to finish teaching, we walked through the Buddhist ghandin. It. Was. Amazing. I love Buddhist temples. I don't have any pictures from the inside because it's a sacred place, but they are so beautiful and elaborate, and we got to observe the monks praying and doing their rituals. It was a really interesting experience, and such a stark contrast from our ways of worship, but we got a lot of really incredible spiritual insight from that experience. As we were leaving, a monk waved us toward him and motioned for us to bow and as we did he tapped us on the head with his prayer scroll. It was done in a very respectful and kind manner though, and we think he was giving us some kind of blessing of luck or something! Cool!

Since you all seem to be so star-struck by little Erdenebayar, his parents are both less-actives who are becoming more active!! They are wonderful people, but very poor. They live at the very top of a mountain in a ger, and just repainted their noil door bright orange, and were so excited to show us! Mongolians are so amazing. So giving and loving.

Doing some service at the church! (This is like, the nicest building in Mongolia btw)
I am so happy that you're having good experiences with the Mongolian names in the temple. It makes me so happy, and just know that you will get some giant Mongolian sniff-kisses in the next life :) Have a great week you all!

Sister Hansen

Monday, September 19, 2016

Camel/Yak Leggings, Socks, & Mittens

"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; pray always, that ye may not faint until I come. Behold, and lo, I will come quickly." -WINTER

Our little friend, Erdenbayar!

Yes folks, Mongolian winter is coming. It has come to the point where we don't leave our house without tights and a scarf now. Today we are headed to the big narantul zaakh to stock up on camel/yak leggings, socks, mittens, and all that good stuff you can't get in America.

We hike every day in our area. So what do we do on P-day? Hike some more!!! :)

Zone conference was this week, which you already know! It was great! Sister Harper talked about battling Satan with our words, and avoiding spreading the fire of negative comments. She was raised on a farm so she shared a really great experience of a fire during harvest season and related it to negative thoughts and speech. It was awesome.

The little choir also did so well! I was so nervous because people had kind of stopped coming to practices, and I didn't know how many would actually sing, but it was so amazing to have more people on the stand than in the congregation! They did great, and the spirit was super strong, and I'm just really grateful I had that opportunity to bring some music!

School! School. I don't know what to say about school. I think it will be better. We've made an agreement that there must be a Mongolian teacher in the room at all times, and if there's not then we won't teach a lesson. The Mongolian teacher is responsible for all disciplinary issues and classroom behavior, which will hopefully make it possible for us to teach a lesson. We'll see how it goes! Sister Kofoed and I teach two 6th grade classes and two 11th grade classes, and I also teach with Sister Lichtenberg at her school on Fridays.

Thanks for all the little letters from the Kerrybrook ward! It was so fun! For language study one day I translated them all to Mongolian :) 

Sister Lichtenberg and I were having a little problem the last couple weeks where when our alarm would go off in the morning, we would just kind of lay there for like, a minute... 2 minutes.... it was bad. So we're like, "something's gotta change." So, we made it into a competition. Last one's who's knees touch the floor in the morning has to do the dishes. Well, either we just really hate doing dishes, or we're both ridiculously competitive, because I don't think either one of us has gotten out of bed so fast in our lives. We FLEW. I'm pretty sure I hit my head on her knee on the way out. Hahahaha it was awesome. I don't even know who won, because we both moved so dang fast. Needless to say, we've been doing really well at getting out of bed on time now :)

Mongolia is great, missionary work is great, my life is great, and I'm so excited that Bekah is a missionary now!! I was thinking about her this morning during my studies. She'll be awesome. I'm so excited for all us Hogan girls to be back together....someday!!! :)

Ok hairtai shuu!
Sister Hansen

Some of our dog friends:

This one is Delilah. She is our dog. We love her more than her owners do :)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jingle Bell Rock

*Riding home on the bus Sunday night about 21:00*
♫Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock....♫
Sister Lichtenberg and I just looked at each other, laughed, then started to sing along. Asia is silly.

I know I'm pretty bad at keeping you updated on people that we teach. It's just hard to adequately describe the experiences and journeys that these people go though. But this week please keep a woman, "H" in your prayers. For a quick overview, she is a homeless drunk who has had missionaries placed in her path before us, and we are now taking baby steps of faith to try to save her life. But we really have no idea how to handle this situation and are completely relying on the spirit to know what to do next.

In other news, we had a meeting with my school yesterday, which was really good. We discussed a lot of things, and came to a few agreements on things that will hopefully make this year better. Crazy thing, Sister Koefoed and I will only be teaching 6th grade and 11th grade this year. So that will hopefully make it easier to only have to learn like 30 names instead of like 200+.

Tomorrow is our mission tour with President Funk coming from the Asia Area. I hope that the music we have put together will invite the spirit and will add to the conference! I'm really excited! I have also been asked by President Funk to have an interview with him directly following the conference, which I have no idea what about, but that will be really cool.

Thank you for all the prayers and love. Mongolia really needs it. I love being a missionary. It is really hard sometimes and usually have to drag myself into bed because we're so exhausted by the end of the day, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm grateful for the plan of salvation. I'm grateful for the atonement, and I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon. This gospel is the only way to gain real, true happiness, and the ONLY way for us to enjoy eternal life with our Father in heaven.

Have a good week everyone! Find someone to serve this week, za yu?

Sister Hansen

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tesreg Bumbug (Bomb)

I can't count the miracles from this week. I'm sorry I can't write all of them either, you'll just have to read my journal when I get home to get all the good stuff.

But we've been meeting with this one amazing girl, Zaya. She is so special. I'm just in love with her. She is only 16 but she is so intelligent and asks such deep, genuine questions. She really wants to know the truth and also gain as much knowledge about it as she can. She's awesome.

So, here's a cool language story:
Several weeks ago, I learned the word "tesreg bumbug" (bomb). For no particular reason, just cause I thought it was a fun word. Anyways, time goes on, I never used that word. Then we were having a meeting with Zaya, and she started asking a question about some kind of sacrifice, but my companion and I had NO idea what she was talking about, and we asked her to describe it simpler, and still didn't understand, then all of a sudden I heard her say "tesreg bumbug" and I knew that word!!! So I asked her to repeat the question, then all of a sudden I understood the entire thing. It was so cool. Gift of tongues. If I wouldn't have learned that word however long ago, we never would have been able to answer her question. Blessin's

It was Sister Lichtenberg's 1 year mark, so we kinda splurged and made tortillas so we could have tacos, and bought CORN!!! WOW! 

Oh man, then there was this awesome thing where we went to visit someone, but she wasn't there so we went to try to find the house of an old LA, and got lost, then we saw a lady in the street trying to roll this giant metal garbage bin, so we ran over to help, then started talking to her, and turns out she had met missionaries before (Elder Hatton!) and had been kind of lost and forgotten about, and we "happened" to be in the road right when she needed help, and then we set up an appointment and met with her and her husband and it was awesome! I'm always just so amazed at how the Lord will just put us exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there. Blows my mind. It's so awesome.

Lots of other awesome stuff happened this week. Like being stuck in a thunder storm in a ger on top of a mountain. That was sweet. And going to the first day of school opening ceremonies. And meeting random kids on the street and blowing their mind cause we can speak Mongolian. It's just so fun to be a missionary.

Have a great week ya'll!
Sister Hansen

[Some P.S.s from Jen]

We just had to go find a new internet place cause our place just had a power outage :)

OH! Also I got your package!!! It got here really fast! THANK YOU!

We're probably going to have Sister Bottorff and Guild over to make the cake and have a little birthday party :) This transfer's so cool cause I'll hit my 6 months in country, birthday, conference, and half way all during this transfer! WOW!

We will always have P-day on Tuesday from now on, because we teach English MWF

Because our area is kinda the booneys, there's not really any apartment complexes, so we still live in the city, which makes for a bit more travel time every day to get out to Jargalant. So it won't be too much of a hassle to get to school. I don't start teaching till the 15th, but Sister Lichtenberg started yesterday (why we didn't email) and she doesn't have a teaching companion, so I'll be going with her for a couple weeks until I start, then we'll have to figure out some crazy splits to get somebody to school with her. It's a mad house here when school starts!!

Also, will you send me recipes for banana bread and also the zucchini chocolate chip muffins? That would be awesome. I didn't realize until this last fast sunday how much I miss American food. Today's 8 months! 1 more month till it's half way gone. How did that happen?

Ooooh another really awesome thing!!! If you ever want to be a huge blessing to Mongolia, we can send you Mongolian names to take to the temple. There are lots of members that have been so diligent and faithful in their family history work, and have some special one's that they want to save and take to the temple themselves, but there are SO many that won't ever have the chance. So we can send them straight to you and you can do temple work for Mongolians :) I'll get you hooked up.