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, October 30, 2016

I'm training!

*drum roll please*
The new group from the MTC consisted of 3 sisters and 4 elders, but only one sister and 2 elders got their visas. We're hoping to get the rest of them by next transfer. But the one new sister is Sister Mason, from Memphis, Tennessee, and she's my companion!!! I"M TRAINING!!!! That was quite the shocking transfer call!!! But I'm so excited to stay in Jargalant too, because I really love this area so much. It's also so fun to see the area and just the mission through new eyes. Yesterday Sister Mason got to go in her first ger, and it was just so cool to see how excited she was, and got me all excited to be in Mongolia again, because we really are so incredibly blessed to be here!

New Companion - Sister Mason (MTC photo from her blog)
So really cool experience that happened this week.... We were going to check the house of a lost investigator, and there was a lady with a baby and another little kid who were struggling to carry this big frame thing, so we ran over to help, and we can't hold babies, but Nomin was with us so she grabbed the baby, we carried the frame thing and helped the other kid, and went with her to her ger. When we got inside, she said, "Can you watch these two while I go get the twin?" (The little baby had a twin brother!!!! They were the most adorable things I've ever seen) Because Nomin was with us, it was ok, so we sat in this random lady's ger with her 2 kids while she went to get another one. When she came back, we started casually talking, and she asked if we were church people, and (we're now inside her house so it's fine) we said yes, we go to the big church at 17 bus stop! (Everybody knows the church because it's huge and the most beautiful building in Mongolia.) We asked if she would like to learn about it, and scheduled a follow up appointment!!! That's like, the closest I've ever gotten to street contacting! It was so exciting!! She has a husband and 5 KIDS! And she was just so nice. So I'm really excited to teach her this week and hopefully we can bring her whole family into the gospel. That would be beautiful.

Preparing to accompany a duet (He is playing the traditional Mongolian murin huur, a cello type instrument.)
Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week, and know that I am happy and love my mission more every day! Even though it is getting dang cold and now we don't really leave without masks because the air is already so gross.... But it's great! Love you all!

Sister Hansen

Pic from a few weeks ago - Birthday dinner with Bottorff and Guild

Monday, October 24, 2016

The longest, but fastest week ever.

Sorry you keep waiting up to get my emails... we keep going hiking and doing our email later. Sister Lichtenberg and I are just trying to squeeze in as much Mongolia mountainside as we can before transfers :)

Solongo, with her cute kids

This was like, the longest, but fastest week ever. I don't know how time does that here... It's scary how another 9 week transfer has already finished. This entire transfer with Sister Lichtenberg has just been a giant party. We have worked so hard and even though we haven't always had a ton of people to meet with and haven't seen any baptisms, we have been so happy and truly found the joy in missionary work and serving others.

Oyun and Gampiil (Brother & Sister) who are awesome!!!

Like on Saturday when we went to visit a lost LA whose ger was way up on a mountain, and we found out she couldn't really walk and didn't have any water. Well, are we missionaries or are we missionaries?? Of course we'll get your water!
Then she was like, "the water station is kind of far, is that ok?"
"It's ok! We can do it!"
"Also, I don't have a cart, so you just have to carry the jugs (25 liters a piece) is that ok?"
*more hesitantly* "....uhh... yeah! We can do it!"
So there we go, tromping down the mountain in search for the water station, and keep asking people along the way, and they keep telling us "just keep going"
Like half a mile later we see the water station, and after we filled up, quickly found out that her jugs both had cracks in them! So as we hiked back up the mountain we got totally soaked in ice water.

This experience could have turned out a lot differently. We both could have had really bad attitudes and complained and dragged our feet as we lugged these heavy containers of water up a mountain face. But in that moment, I was so grateful that I had a strong, capable body that was able to help somebody in a time of need! Sisters and ladies, that is why we do push ups in the morning!

Another power outage

This week I was also so grateful for the opportunity to have met with Sister Tsetsegee's family (the one going to Logan!) Her family is awesome. Dad is on the high council, mom is in the relief society presidency, younger sister in yw preparing for a mission, and little brother who is like 6 and crazy. We just went to have dinner and share a spiritual thought with them, but being in their home was like being back with my own family. It is very rare in Mongolia to see a fully functional, active family. More often then not, the dad is out of the picture, or only the kids are members, or any other situation, but it was the first time in a long time I sat in a home with strong, beautiful family, and it just made me so incredibly grateful and happy to have been raised with the gospel in my life. Because even though this family is still poor and doesn't have a lot, you can just tell by sitting on their floor that they are happy and their family has been blessed by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so awesome!

Stay tuned for transfers next week! Love you!
Sister Hansen

Just.... trying to get a normal district picture.... so difficult....

p.s. I was reading the story of Joseph in the Old Testament and the entire soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat was running through my head along with the story. Then I had to add it to my post-mission cravings list.

[Note from parents: Jennifer asked us to forego sending her any gifts for Christmas, because she said that after serving in such a poor area, there was nothing she could ever want from home. What she wanted to do was to use the money we would have spent on her to buy a hand carved nativity set from a member. She said the cost of the set would feed the family for a month. Of course we told her to have him carve one for us too and then Becca's co-worker wanted one too! Here are pictures of the set. Pretty cool, huh? We can hardly wait!!]

Monday, October 17, 2016

I'm happier than I've ever been


 What an awesome week. So good to be healthy again! I got to go on a great exchange with Sister Bennett in Han-uul, and it will be the last time before she completes her mission in like, a week! Also, Dad, be sure to check out her blog this week, I told her that you've read her emails since I got my mission call, and she promised to give you a shout out hahaha.

Sister Bennett who goes home in a week.

We had a really interesting zone training on setting goals, and were trying to reset the standards of excellence for our mission, and it actually turned out to be a pretty heated debate! I was very surprised at how many strong opinions were being tossed around in that room. It got pretty intense, and we didn't even come to a conclusion for our goals haha. But it doesn't change that fact that each missionary here is going to continue to work their hardest to achieve the best work that we can during our short time here in Mongolia.

The intensity continued with a super crazy lesson with our investigator Z, who has been struggling with a couple commandments that are keeping her from baptism. The spirit as well as the gift of tongues was very strong in that room as we declared our authority from God and made her some very specific promises that we couldn't have made otherwise. It was a very powerful and neat experience.

The reason my email is late today is because we went on the the most epic hike with our awesome ward missionary and best friend Nomin. She is a judo champion! Like, a legit Mongolian fighter! So cool! She was inactive for quite a while, but has recently become active again, and LOVES going out with us to teach lessons. She got a call to be a ward missionary, but hasn't been set apart yet because she doesn't own a skirt haha so once she gets a skirt she can actually be a ward missionary :) She took us on an AMAZING hike and it was the best thing ever. Also, the amount of layers we are wearing is pretty ridiculous. Camel wool socks, ya'll. That's where it's at.

I am so grateful for this gospel. I'm happier than I've ever been. My mission is wonderful, and I'm glad that you are able to be a part of my mission through doing temple work for Mongolians! Have a great week!

Sister Hansen

Monday, October 10, 2016

Feeling like Garbage

Hump day came and went, and now I'm on the downward slope of my mission.... how did that happen so fast?

Doing some service for a member (almost got arrested- that's a fun story for another time)

Last week I was super sick, so we didn't get out of the house too much except for English. I think Wednesday we were trying to do companion study, and I was just feeling like garbage and wasn't being productive so Sister Lichtenberg just told me to go lay down. I fell asleep at like 4 thinking I would maybe rest for an hour or two, but then I woke up at it was 9;45 PM!!! WHAT? I came out and my companion was like, "Good morning. We have to go to bed in like 30 minutes." Wow. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep because I had just slept the whole day away, but I didn't have any problems sleeping through the night. #exhaustion. I still have a little lingering head cold, but I'm doing better and can go out and teach lessons now.

Taking some R&R time while I was sick

 Highlight of this week: CONFERENCE!! WOOO!!! General conference as a missionary is seriously like Christmas morning. So. Awesome. All the American missionaries (besides Espenosa and Kettley who are still banished) got to watch at the Bayanzurkh in English, then we had a huge potluck lunch on Sunday, and it was so fun. It's always fun to see my MTC family in the same place!! Elder Cowles has been in Songine his whole mission so far!

Conference was so amazing. So many wonderful talks and insights of how we can become better disciples. I loved Elder Christofferson's talk on unconditional love, and also Elder Rasband talking about never forgetting your sacred experiences. I am so excited to get the Liahona next month to study all their words.

It also was Sister Harper and Sutphin's birthday's last week, and I sang them the Fisher Family birthday song, and everyone loved it!! I had a couple sisters ask me to write the words for them :)

I may have left a great mom back in America, but I've gained 5 more in Mongolia!!
Sisters Maynes, (Sorry, Jen didn't tell us who the sister on the left of her is) Hansen, White, Sutphin
(Sister Harper was making cookies)

We had an amazing first meeting with a couple new investigators, O and her brother G. They are adorable! They're both in their older/middle age, but neither are married and they live together in a ger. They have read the bible, and are very interested in the church, so I'm looking forward to meeting with them more this week!

So, we made deviled eggs for the potluck
I can't believe how fast this transfer is coming to a close. I feel like Sister Lichtenberg and I just got put together, and now we're almost done!! I don't want to leave Jargalant! I love it here! Maybe I will train a new sister in Jargalant. That would be cool.

Hope you all have a great week, and feast off the words of the prophets and apostles from conference! Lots of love!

Sister Hansen

Snow in Jargalant!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Happy Hump Day!

Just quit it with the conference spoilers already!!! We get to watch it this weekend, and we're so excited!!! Saturday after the afternoon session all the sisters are going to Sister Harper's house to watch the women's conference while the men watch Priesthood. It's gonna be so great! Zaya is coming with us too, so that will be really awesome.

Hump Day (9 months down, 9 to go)

Sister Tsetsgee has been serving in Mongolia for 3 months while she's been waiting for her visa to America to go serve in LOGAN, UTAH! Go find her and give her a hug from me.

Friday when we were walking out of the Bayanzurkh for district meeting, I saw a familiar face sitting in the lobby.... it was Mendjargal!!! Woah, it was so good to see him! I haven't seen that kid since before Sister Gardiner left, and it was so awesome. When he left, I still couldn't speak hardly any Mongolian, but I told him when he gets back we'll be able to have a great conversation. It was so awesome to be able to keep that promise!! I could actually communicate with him! It was so cool.  He's doing great, in his last year of high school and getting ready for his mission! His older sister, Oyunchimeg just left for the MTC YESTERDAY and will be serving in Mongolia! I could be her companion some day!! How cool would that be? I love his sister. She'll probably go straight to the countryside with the rest of the Mongolians though. Anyway, I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture with him, but I told him to find me at conference, then we'll get a pic. That was so cool.

THANKS FOR THE BACON we made BLT's and they were amazing holla.
After church on Sunday, a boy in my ward asked if I could accompany a musical number for him sometime. Of course I said I would love to, and the music he gave me was an arrangement of "If you could hie to kolob" for violin and piano, but then he told me he was going to play the piano part on the murin huur!!! The traditional Mongolian cello instrument thing. Holy cow dreams come true! That will be so sweet.
Mongolia goes all out for teacher appreciation day. We got to go to the fanciest, most expensive restaurant in Mongolia! Good thing I just got that new dress from you in the mail, because we were definitely under-dressed. haha.
On our way to the restaurant for the teacher appreciation dinner!
I'm glad that you all loved conference so much, and I'm so excited to hear inspired words from the prophet and apostles this weekend. By their teachings we can have peace and happiness! This church is true! Have a great week!

Sister Hansen

Erdenbayar's family