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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sister Training Leader (STL) in Sansar

Transfers! Transfers! Read all about it! I was quite sure that I was going to be staying in Bayanzurkh for at least another transfer, but Sister Shreeve and I were both surprised when we got the call and I am now the new Sister Training Leader in Sansar with Sister Guild! For those of you who don't speak Mongolian, "Sansar" translated to English is "space". So, I am now happy to say that I served part of my mission in space. *drop mic*

I taught my last English Class at the Baynzurkh last week, and it was so hard to say goodbye to so many of these people that I have grown to love so much. I'm so grateful for the amazing opportunity I had to teach this amazing class!!!

Our friend, Anar

Sister Shreeve went to Sukhbaatar with Sister Olsen, and there are now 2 sets of Elders in BZ. We just don't have enough sisters to be in each ward. Until we get our 3 waiting in America, we only have 10 sisters, and Sister Bottorff, Wilcox and Austin are in a trio trying to cover all 3 wards until their trainees arrive. There also just wasn't enough to have STLs for each zone, so Sister Guild and I are now STLs for both. We can do it.

Just the other night we got a call from a woman who recently moved from the Songino ward into Sansar, and wanted to meet the missionaries. She is a member, but we think she's been less-active for a while. So we scheduled an appointment, and as we were meeting and chatting, she looked at my name tag and her eyes got so wide and said "YOU'RE Sister Hansen? I talked to your mom on FB!" Hahahaha. Why was I not surprised? She pulled up your picture on her phone and I was like, "Yep, that's my mom all right!" It was so funny. Then we continued to have a great visit with her and talked about a loving Heavenly Father, and I think she really just needs some TLC and good friends in this new ward and she'll be just fine. It was a good meeting.

We also were able to attend Pujee's mission farewell on Sunday! (Family History Coordinator- what are we going to do without her?!) She is leaving next week for Korea. She bore a wonderful testimony and shared her experience of preparing to serve a mission. She always wanted to go, and prayed and prayed and asked and asked if she was suppose to serve, and the answer was "no." So she went and graduated from BYU-Provo, then prayed again, and the answer was still "no". So she started to work and for 4 years became very successful and accomplished and learned many things. Then one day while praying, the spirit said to her, "Pujee, you need to go on a mission soon. Please prepare quickly." She is now 29 years old and about to leave on her mission and have wonderful experiences and help many many people. Our answers come in a very different timeline then we usually would like them too, but they come. We just have to continue forward doing good things and being happy, and the Lord's will will be revealed to us.

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Hansen

[Jen]: Hi. I'm on!
[Comment from mom]: You're later than usual.
[Answer:] I blame transfers and crutches.
[Question from mom]: What crutches?!
[Answer:]: In my defense, Mongolian stairs are super jenky, it was dark and we were already late getting home. It's not broken, but I'm going to get an MRI today to check for a torn ligament.
For now it's just purple.
[Question]: Is it your ankle? Your knee? Are you in pain?
[Answer]: Ankle. Well, I didn't tell anyone for a little because I thought it was just sprained, but then it kept getting worse.Most likely it will just be a bad sprain and will just take some healing time.
[Question]: Are you able to get around?
[Answer]:  Well, I walked on it for a week before I went to have a check up, but that may have done me more bad than good.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saying goodbye to half of our sisters

Last hike with Lichtenberg
Highlight of this week: ELDER GARCIA IS IN MONGOLIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because of the beauty of modern technology, you all already know about that.
When we were leaving the MTC, he said he would come join us the following transfer, but after 2, 3, 4 transfers passed by, we all kind of gave up hope of ever seeing him come. But Wednesday evening before teaching English, we went to drop some things in the mail room, and I saw the pictures of the new missionaries arriving, and when I saw his picture, I lost my mind. The AP's were there and said he was in his interview with President right then, and we could wait around a minute for him to finish. It was so good to talk to him! It was like having a lost brother come home. Now the whole family is back together!!! After spending 2 and a half months in a tiny room with someone, you really do become family. We're so happy to have him here. He is temporarily companions with Elder Wilding and Okamoto until transfers, then I believe Okamoto will be his trainer.

Reunited with Elder Garcia
This week I also had the opportunity to attend the baptism of one of my best English students, who I didn't even know was investigating the church! It was so awesome, and she has amazing friends who are going to help her continue strong in the church. She'll be great!

Last week Sister Shreeve and I were going to visit a less-active at the farthest stop of our area, which is past the city border and way out in the boonies. Well, we were just chatting like normal, and got distracted and missed our bus stop. Whoops. I knew that the next few stops were in Nalaikh, and just assumed the bus would turn around and we could get off on the way back. Boy was I wrong. We ended up taking a beautiful long bus tour through the countryside of Nalaikh! Needless to say, we didn't have time to meet the member, and had to get back to the city for English. But it was really fun! Don't miss your bus stops, folks. 

We had a freaky little experience a few nights ago with a woman screaming outside our door in the middle of the night. It was a really horrific, terrible scream. I've had a lot of encounters with drunks, abuse, possession, and things like that throughout my mission. Scary stuff. But it only woke me up for a minute before I was knocked out again, but it shook my companion up pretty bad. She told me the next morning that the screaming went on for a while, then she listened to the woman whimper for nearly an hour. Then when we were leaving our apartment that day, the tv screen in the elevator was shattered. So, I don't really know what went on that night, but I am really grateful for Russian doors that keep out all the creepy crawlers.

Transfers should be coming out tomorrow night, and I don't have the slightest of clues what's going to happen! We have 6 new elders and 3 new sisters coming, but in 2 groups- the sisters won't be here until next Thursday, so this is going to be another dragged out transfer yum shig baina. I did hear that Heacock and Urness will both be training though, so that's super exciting. Transfers are so fun. And stressful. We'll be saying goodbye to half of our sisters this week, and our mission will miss them a lot. We sure are getting  small over here. But the work moves forward, and miracles are still happening! And it's getting warmer! 


Sister Hansen

Road kill. Dinosaur?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mongolian's take their holidays very seriously

Hello. Have I ever told you that I love Mongolia? Well, guess what? I LOVE MONGOLIA AND I LOVE MY MISSION.  This week will mark one year in this amazing country, and I am overwhelming with gratitude and love for all the experiences I have had, relationships I have made, lessons I have been taught, etc. etc.
Doing some service (shoveling poop)

Just as an update, our 2 elders stuck in Logan have been on quite a difficult journey getting to Mongolia, and we've kept being told that they're coming, then they keep not coming, BUT we just got word that they are on a plane headed here as we speak!! Ashgui dee!!! I am so excited to shake Elder Hansen's hand!

This week Mongolia also celebrated Women's Day, which they treat basically the same as mother's day, but there's no school and no work (Mongolian's take their holidays very seriously). So Sister Shreeve and I made cookies and wrote notes for each of our beloved senior couple sisters, and had a wonderful visit with Sister Maynes, who was going to be alone for 4 days while Elder Maynes was on a project in the countryside, and she just really wanted somebody to visit with!
Pic stolen from other blog


I also had the best day ever when I got to go reconnect with my favorite and best investigators from Selbe, Mygmar and Sunjidmaa!! Do you remember them? They invited me over for Tsagaan Sar and it was just the happiest reunion. I could not contain how much love I felt for them, and so cool to see after so many months that I have really made lasting relationships with people here that I will always love. It was so much fun. Mygmar is about to hit her year mark as a member in May, and Sunjidmaa has a a baptismal date for April 8th!!! They are already planning to go to the temple together, maybe near the end of the summer. What I wouldn't give to be there.
With my lovely family, Mygmar, Byanhishig, and Sunjidmaa

Chopping wood with Gantsetseg
We went to meet with an investigator who lives about an hour away, and when we got there, she and like 4 friends were all hung over and passed out around the ger, so we ate some buuz and got out of there feeling a little beat because we've had hardly any lessons this transfer. Then on the bus ride home, there was a boy sitting next to us that was VERY interested in us 2 white girls, and was acting really strange and twitchy. It's usually pretty easy to tell the ones that want to talk to us, but they assume that we don't speak Mongolian, so they just stare at us instead. So after letting him twitch for a minute, I turned to say hello, then he immediately motioned to his ears and made an "X" to tell me that he's deaf!! He was dressed like a little thug wearing all black, leather jacket, ears pierced, but as soon as we tried to start communicating with him through broken hand signals, he just lit up. This kid was radiating. His joy was contagious, and even though we couldn't communicate with him, I felt an outpouring of love for this child of God. It was such a cool experience, and I wanted nothing so badly in that moment to just talk to him and get to know him. I wish I learned more sign language from Sister Gardiner. Anyways, we got off the bus and he gave us the biggest smile and wave I've ever seen as we went out separate ways. That boy left a spot on my heart, and I hope to maybe cross paths with him again.

Can't believe how fast this transfer has gone, we're so excited to get the new missionaries here because we need them so much!! Saying goodbye to half our sisters next week will be hard and we'll miss them, but they've all got so much to look forward to!

Sister Hansen

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Pictures from Tsagaan Sar

[From Jen's parents: Tsagaan Sar is the Mongolian lunar new year celebration. It is one of the most important events for all Mongols across the country. It lasts fifteen days during which families gather to renew and solidify ties, particularly between young and old, to repay debts and resolve disagreements. Basically a week of visiting friends and eating their food]

What's a celebration without goat head?

Shreeve/Hansen - The two tallest sisters in Mongolia
Q: Did you make it thru Tsagaan Sar without getting sick?
A: Nope.

Q: Uh oh. What happened?
A; Hahaha the buuz actually weren't that bad, we made it out with minor destruction. I think we got some bad Russian eggs or something that totally wrecked us. I passed out twice on Sunday...

Q: What the heck! You better give more details.
A; Well, that's just it. We got really sick and slept for like 14 hours straight and couldn't eat for 2 days so I just didn't have anything in my body.

Q: When you say really sick, was it like food poisoning?
A: Yeah

Q: Did someone catch you when you passed out?
A: No, I was in the bathroom. I hit my head but I'm fine. haha

Q: How long were you out?
A: Not long, just a few seconds I think.

Shreeve, Hansen, ??, ?? Lichtenberg, Bottorff, Bollwinkle, Olsen (pic compliments from someone else's blog)

[Mom]: "You're not wearing a coat! Is it really that warm yet?
[Jen] It was like a solid 20 degrees outside!

Sorry no letter today haha. Too much was going on! Pictures only this week.

Sister Hansen