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

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Happy Tsagaan Sar!!!

Happy Tsagaan Sar!!! Everywhere in Mongolia is closed for the holiday, so we are emailing from the Sutphin's home this morning.

Heacock, Urness, Hansen, Shreeve, Guild, Kerby, ??, Salvesen

For a week where we can't teach any lessons, a lot of exciting things happened. We did FHE with a wonderful family and taught them how to play "Don't Eat Pete" with MnMs. We went in with a little spiritual thought prepared, but they all just wanted to share their testimonies instead. It was awesome.

I got to go on an STL split with Sister Guild! It was so fun! We haven't been on a split together our whole missions, so it was super great to spend the day with her. Plus, she has served in BZ before, so she knew the people and area way better than I do yet, so she showed me some good places to try to find people once Tsagaan Sar is over.

Guild & I

If you have been reading Sister Bottorff's emails, you may know about the family in BZ that has recently suffered a tragedy... I will quickly share the story. Nearly 3 weeks ago, the parents went to the country side for a few days. The new baby and 9 year old daughter were left under the care of their 16 year old son, Sukherdene. One morning, the Sukherdene woke up to a very cold ger, and wanting to warm it quickly for his younger siblings, used propane in the small coal-burning stove. The stove exploded and the whole ger was on fire. The son frantically pulled 9 year old Enkhjin from the ger, but was too late for the infant, and she passed away in the fire. The Enkhjin suffered severe burns to 80% of her body. She has been in intensive care for the last 3 weeks, and the doctors are waiting to see if her body will take to the skin grafts.

Yesterday we went to see Enkhjin at the hospital. We are not allowed to enter the room because her skin is so seceptible to germs and whatnot, but we could stand outside the window, and talk to her through the phone. 2 weeks ago when Sister Bottorff went, she was completely wrapped from head to toe and could not speak or move. When we saw her yesterday, her face was unwrapped, she waved at us and spoke to us on the phone. This little girl has received endless prayers and love from the ward and missionaries. Sukherdene has received a priesthood blessing for strength and comfort during this incredibly difficult time.

Making Buuz for Tsagaan Sar (the Winter Festival)

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be meeting and serving in Mongolia. The experiences of seeing the Lord work in people's lives, including my own, are absolutely priceless.

I am looking forward to this week of Tsagaan Sar, to be able to visit some of my people that I've met through the last year, and be completely submerged in the rich beautiful culture of Mongolia.

Sister Hansen

[From Jen's parents] The guy on the left is Jen's cousin Corey at temple square. The Sister came up and introduced herself. When she said she was from Mongolia, Corey said, "My cousin is serving a mission in Mongolia." She asked, "What is her name?" When he told her she said. "I met her in the MTC! In fact, I have a picture of her on my iPad!" When we sent this picture to Jen, she said, "She is the one who taught me to say 'I love you' in Mongolian!" Turns out, Jen is serving in her ward in Mongolia right now." Her name is Sister Nyamdeleg.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What is LDS?

Let me tell you about Anar. He is a wonderful 16 year old boy that has been coming to my English class. He speaks impressive English for someone who has never had a class. He has taught himself from playing games and watching TV and youtube- and he is one of my most advanced students. Well, Anar has not been coming to my class for very long, maybe a month or so, but last week when Sister Shreeve and I became companions, they became very quick friends. After speaking club one night, Anar asked, "What is LDS?" and those are the magic words that turn us from English teachers to missionaries. We gave him a little bit of information and invited him to church on Sunday. He was very interested. Sunday came, and we were waiting and watching the door anxiously to see if Anar came. Sacrament was about to start in 5 minutes when he walked in. That is the best feeling in the whole world!! I was translating for Elder and Sister Maynes, but Anar sat with Sister Shreeve through sacrament meeting. A little girl from our ward was baptized on Friday, so he saw her receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He sat in gospel principles class and also went to young men's and young women's, and our youth are so amazing and reached out to him and made friends.

Splits with Sister Gantsetseg!

During sacrament meeting, they announced a devotional/farewell for 3 students that left this morning for BYU-Hawaii. Anar asked us after church if he could go to that too. Well, of course! This devotional was perfect for him. These students each shared their experiences and journeys of learning English, joining the church, serving missions, and preparing to study abroad. They shared powerful testimonies of the church and how it opens doors of opportunity for education, work, friends and relationships, and just making your life more happy and secure. After the devotional, I had a great discussion with Anar about what he was thinking. He told me that he has recently been researching study abroad programs but didn't think that any of them would be possible. He said coming to church and the devotional made him think that it was possible now. He said that he used to go to a church when he was very young, but that this one feels different. He said he learned and felt something amazing, and wants to learn more. He said one of the best things was that he made new friends.

Can you guess which ger is new?

I'll tell you what, Sister Shreeve and I felt all day long that we were being pushed by the spirit to help Anar. We feel very invested in this boy. He is smart. He is so polite and kind-hearted. He's gonna get it. We both feel very confident and excited for Anar. Like, he's gonna be a future stake president or mission president or something. This kid is about to be a golden miracle to Mongolia, folks.

On the tracks with Sister Bottorff
I can't describe to you how grateful I am for my calling as a missionary and an English teacher. My class at the BZ is incredible. I wish you could see it and meet the people I get to help here. You know, you'll hear everybody say they have the best mission in the world, but they just don't even know. You will just never know.

Yesterday, Sister Shreeve and I also got to speak in the long-distance phone branch! I haven't done that since I was with Sister Gardiner, and it was just as amazing as the first time! It's such a special, unique experience. Elder Sutphin is the branch president, so that it why they invited us to dinner Sunday night. We love the Sutphins! They make delicious food, and show scuba pictures, so you just can't get much better than that.

With new companion, Sister Shreeve (left) and Dr. and Sister Sutphin. We love the Sutphins!

Making Buuz for Tsagaan Sar (Winter Festival)
I would encourage each of you to look inside yourself and find something that needs to be changed and change it. Because if we are not constantly changing and improving, we are digressing. Keep moving forward. "Chin up, charge the mountain!!"-Cheaper by the Dozen. Kick Satan in the face!

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Hansen

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

They somehow always find us

Transfers! Transfers! Read all about it!

I said goodbye to my beloved hills of Jargalant, and now am serving in Bayanzurkh with Sister Shreeve! I am so looking forward to this new challenge and adventure!

Sisters Bottorff, Hansen, Shreeve

Sister Bottorff and Guild are both the new STLs! They'll be great, and Sister Olsen and Lichtenberg are now companions in Sukhbaatar!

Transfers are always pretty crazy here in Mongol. Thursday morning I moved all my luggage to my first apartment when I was training with Sister Gardiner. Then we moved Sister Bottorff from BZ all the way out to Khan Uul, then we moved Sister Nelson from Khan Uul to Jargalant, then we moved Lichtenberg from Sansar to Sukhbaatar, then we played a game of shaggai, then I taught English! It was exhausting. But great.

Moving day with Bottorff, Hansen, Mason, Olsen

The bowling-in-skirts crew.
Lichtenberg, Kirby, Mason, Hansen

ALSO! More good news, Elders Udall and Hansen got their visas, and will be here by the end of the week!!! We are so excited to finally have them here.

So Saturday we had an English training for all American English teachers (and got pizza after, so booyah) then as we were all mingling and finishing up, this white girl wandered in and was looking around, and of course we're all like "Who is this girl? Is she an RM? What's going on?" Then she approached Elder Atnip and asked "Where are your worship services?" turns out she's with the peace corps and has lived in the countryside since May! She's a Christian is going to be in the city for a few weeks and wanted to find a Christian congregation to worship with! So we gave her the address of the Khan Uul church, because they are the international branch and provide translation, and she was so grateful and excited! So, yeah, that was cool. Hahaha then she seemed really confused and started asking who we were and if we were all English teachers and what we do. We told her we were all English teachers from the same company and had just finished a training.

Even though we are not outside actively finding and contacting people to share the gospel, they somehow always find us. It's a beautiful way to do work :)

I really liked this quote this week from Elder Kevin Pearson from the 70. "Don't allow something that you don't fully understand unravel everything you already know."

Sain bodooroi :)

Okay have a great week! I'm going to meet a celebrity today! Tell you all about it next week!

Sister Hansen
My traditional clothing for the Winter Festival

Q&A Session:
Q: How is your area? Was Sister Shreeve there already, or are you both new?
A: She was here before, but BZ is HUGE and she has only been here 2 months so it's hard so we're helping each other out

Q: And you still teach english at the same church? How far away is that?
A: The English class is in the BZ building. If you haven't figured it out yet, the mission home (also called the Bayanzurkh) is like the main hub of the church in Mongolia. My ward now meets there, as well as my English class. We are actually very close to it now.

Q:How is the winter festival?
A:sagaan sar doesn't start until the 27th I think. Everyone is started to get prepped and making all their buuz though

Monday, February 6, 2017

Goodbye to all my favorite people.

Well my people, it snowed this week!! Which means, it's warm enough to snow! Spring is coming! We're in week 6 of the 9's. It'll be Naadam before you know it.

Jennifer and Buyanaa
This week was pretty sad as I said goodbye to all my favorite people and places in anticipation of the transfer. I love this area and this ward so much, and have had incredible learning and growing and loving experiences the last 5 1/2 months. These are people that I will remember fondly for the rest of my life (and hopefully come visit again some day in the future!)

We also got a wonderful new investigator this week, Sainzaya who is a good friend of Oyunbileg and Batkhuyag (cute little Erdenebayar's family) She doesn't know anything about God or religion, but has faithfully accepted everything we have taught her so far and is very excited to learn more and read and begin to build and strengthen her relationship with Jesus Christ.

I have a very strong testimony of obedience, even when you don't necessarily have a strong testimony of the principle that you are being obedient to. Being humble enough to believe that Heavenly Father just knows better than we do, and trusting and following Him whom we cannot see will eventually lead to a knowledge and testimony of all His commandments and principles and will result in a stronger and more lasting happiness and confidence in the Plan of Salvation.
Have a wonderful week! Stay tuned for TRANSFERS!
Sister Hansen

The 4 big guys are my infantry officers that all speak pretty good English

English class (only half of them!)

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