Monday, October 31, 2011

New Finnish companion

Hey family,

I've got some good news, and some bad news. The bad news is, I'm now the third best Finnish speaker in our apartment. The good news is we got a new companion!!! And he's a native Finn!!!! He's the first native Finn who's been called to Finland for a few years and we're really lucky to have him with us. Brings our total number of missionaries in Turku to 5 so we're ready for the work here to just explode. It's also great to be able to ask him anything about Finnish that I want. He's only been with us for four days and I've already noticed my language skills improving.


Met with _____ again and had a wonderful teach. It's so wonderful to see how the joy of the gospel has entered her life. She even said she felt like she was "born Mormon" and had just been waiting to find this all her life. So excited for her baptism on Saturday!!!!!!

After that teach we went Home Teaching with the member who had come along with us. Felt good to pay him back for his awesome work. We met with a young woman who used to be less active, but has been coming to church regularly the whole time we've been here. Talked about the Book of Mormon. We found out her boyfriend isn't a member, and asked her to invite him to take the discussions. She was really hesitant, but she brought him to church yesterday. We asked him if he would want to investigate the church and he said we'll see. I think he will eventually. He's a great guy.


We went to our leadership training in Helsinki and were delayed by an hour and a half on the train by fog. Yeah, sitting on the train going nowhere for an hour and a half....yeahhhhhhhh. But once we finally got there, it was great. Loved getting to meet with the President and his wife. They did some great teaching and we worked a lot on improving our teaching skills. I also got to see everyone from my MTC group, which was a blast. I've almost forgotten what it was like in the MTC already. Heck, I can barely remember what happened last week to write this email. It's crazy how fast time goes.


More training. Good stuff.


Kieli Koulu [langage school], and we met our new companion. Great day, lots of fun learning and practicing Finnish.

[missionary work]

Great district meeting. Wonderful spirit. I'm sad our district is going to change so much this transfer.


Primary Program in Sacrament meeting. Probably the first sacrament meeting where I actually understood everything. It was a much smaller primary than I'm used to seeing, but they were all so wonderful. We have such a great ward here. Spirit was very strong. I wish we could have had a few more people in church, but such is life.

We'll I gotta go. Pretty busy day today. Love you all. Keep pressing forward.

Elder Hansen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making Pulla

McKay sent a few pictures today - they made pulla at the home of one of their investigators.

Excerpts from his email:

I got my first haircut in Finland from a member in our ward. He's actually really good. Except that it's getting really cold here and I now have basically no hair so my head practically freezes every evening while we're out talking to people. Fun stuff.

Monday night ______ invited us over to make pulla. Think Pluckit/Monkey bread/whatever the majority of the world actually calls it in individual rolls. So good! It took a little while, so we were there longer than we planned, but she gave us a ton of pulla to take home, so it was basically worth it. She's so great. I can't wait for her to get baptized.


We did missionary work.

We had a man call us out of the blue and immediately start talking about how he was sitting there reading the Liahona. We were like, "uh, who is this?" Turns out he's a man who has investigated the church a few times, most recently in like 2009. I hope we can make a difference this time and help him to be baptized.


We found a woman who is reminds me so much of Aunt Susie. It was so crazy. The whole time I was talking to her I was like "wow, she sounds, acts, talks, laughs, everything, exactly like Aunt Susie" almost made it hard to think about what I was trying to say. I read from the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and when I looked up to explain it, she was crying. She said she felt the way she did when she sang songs in church. We testified that that was the Spirit, the love of God, and she started crying again. I was like, this doesn't happen to Finns. This is a big deal to her. She set up an appointment to meet with us and she's now reading the Book of Mormon and trying to figure out if baptism is right for her.There is so much power in the Book of Momon!

So Sunday night we decided to leave a little early to get catch our bus, to give us time to talk to people along the way. We talked with every single person we passed, with almost no success. It also made us miss the bus, but we weren't worried because we knew we were doing what we needed to do, and we had plenty of time before our teach. While waiting for the next bus to arrive, a young woman came and waited next to us. We started talking about her, where she was going, what she was studying at the university, and then the conversation naturally transitioned to who we were and what we were doing. We began to talk a little about the message of the Book of Mormon, and how it is evidence of Heavenly Father's love for us. She was quiet for a moment, and then she just started to cry. She opened up and told us about all of the struggles she has had recently and all the stress she has been under. We continued talking and bearing testimony almost the entire bus ride. She felt the Spirit so strongly and I know what we said helped her. As she was getting off she gave us her number and told us we could call her sometime and talk more about our message. I hope we will be able to teach and baptize her, but even if that doesn't work out, I know we helped heal her spirit through bearing testimony and providing her the feelings of the Spirit she had been longing for without even realizing it. That, to me, is what it means to go about doing good.

We get to go to Helsinki for a few days this week for some training with my MTC group. Really excited to see all of them again.

Have a great week everybody. Thanks for all your emails.

Elder Hansen

Monday, October 17, 2011

Four Weeks in Finland

Got a great email from McKay this week. He told us the two key highlights of the week were:

Biggest highlight: _______ and all 3 of her daughters came to church this Sunday! So great. We actually saw them walking in front of us into the chapel and the image was just so funny. Mom walking ahead, oldest daughter right beside her, second daughter trailing, head down, and the youngest stomping along in puddles the whole way. So great. And everything went well with them getting to classes and everything. We actually didn't do a thing. Just asked the members to do it and they all pulled through. I love this ward so much. If President leaves me in this city my entire mission I will be happy. This family has really started to like us too. We're heading over to their house to make bread with them before our lesson tonight (she's started feeding us little treats almost every lesson now) way excited for that.

Second biggest highlight of this week. Elder C was teaching language school in Helsinki so.....I GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE! It was so incredible. Easily my new favorite temple. It's small, and it works the same way as the Newport Beach temple (which I really like), and it's so, so beautiful. Love every bit of it. And I did it all in Finnish. It was so hard, but I actually understood more than I thought, just go a little lost on some of the parts. Such a great experience just to sit in the Celestial Room there. Want to go back so bad. I also finished reading the Book of Mormon again. I prayed, but didn't feel much, just sorta normal. I thought that was weird. Especially as a missionary, I was expecting some great, miraculous experience. But nothing came. That was in the morning. Then that night, as I was writing in my journal about it, my answer came. I wrote down some really powerful thoughts and testimonies about the book that came to my mind while I wrote. I love the Book of Mormon, I have such a wonderful testimony of it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hansen Missionaries in the Nordics

For the next two months, our two Hansen missionaries will be separated by just 600 miles (click image to enlarge):

Monday, October 10, 2011

First Splits

Highlights from McKay's email today:

"So we taught _____ and her daughters three times again this week. The mother, she's always there, but Saturday was the first time we actually had all of them there for the whole lesson. Still, they're all planning on being baptized, they just have varying levels of understanding of what that actually means. She came to church though! That was so great. She came for Sacrament meeting with her 13 year old daughter. It was so great to see the ward rally around them. The bishop's wife and all of the young women took them on a tour of the building before they left. So, the first time I've seen an investigator I've found come to church. Really wonderful experience."

"Had my first experience with splits this week. That was fun. My companion had to go to a leadership conference in Helsinki on Friday, so I worked with one of the Vaasa elders all day. He was great. We only had one teach set up that day and it fell through, so we spent the whole day finding. We talked to so many people, but no one was interested. Got one phone number the whole day and that was it. Oh well. The really fun part was ward council without my comp. Yeah, been here three weeks and I had to go to ward council by myself. Well, not by myself obviously, but my companion for that day didn't know anything about the area so he couldn't help me report on anything. But....I did it. Only had to use English once actually, which felt great. The way to know how much you're progressing is to do something you've never done before. And usually, you can do more than you think.

"So, last Monday my companion and I were out contacting by the river. It was getting late so we turned around and started to head for home. We stopped one woman and started to talk about the purpose of life. We asked what she thought and she said, "well, actually I was talking about that with my fourteen year old son today, and I just didn't know what to tell him" GOLDEN. We went into a discussion on the Plan of Salvation, then on prophets, on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and prayer. We opened and used the Book of Mormon while we talked. She said she felt something different, something new while we talked and we testified that this was the Spirit, telling her this was true. It was so wonderful. Easily the best conversation I've ever had with anyone about the gospel. At least, in Finland. She couldn't set up an appointment right then, so she got our number and promised to call. I was worried, because usually that means no, but she actually called! We're teaching her tomorrow. Then, a couple days ago we were walking in Turku and we saw her on the street and she waved to us! Apparently she's really excited for us to come over and teach her family. Please pray for us when we teach. These people need this gospel and the church needs these people.

"We've started teaching a couple really nice guys from Nepal. They're both really excited about the idea of prayer. The problem is, we haven't really been able to explain the notion of praying out loud to them well. We taught one of them this morning and when he said the closing prayer, he said 'Dear Heavenly Father.......there was about a minute and a half of the name of Jesus Christ, amen.' Hey, at least that's a start.

"I hope you feel the Lord's hand at work in your life every day, because He is there. I feel His presence constantly. Always remember who you are."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Letter from Finland

We received a letter from McKay's mission president today, with a photo taken upon his arrival in the land. Here's an excerpt from the letter:

"Your son, Elder Hansen, arrived here in Helsinki, Finland on 20 Sep 2011. His testimony and enthusiasm for the work are fully evident. [We] enjoyed meeting and working with him as he came through Helsinki on his way to the field. As we were at the temple, driving from the airport, he thoughtfully wrote his feelings and looked up and the sun shone through his smile. It is a blessing to have him here with us. After prayerful consideration, Elder ______ has been chosen to be your son's first companion and trainer. Elder ______ was released as an Assistant to train your son.

"We want you to know that we encourage the missionaries to write often and to share their positive experiences with their families. You are encouraged to write to him weekly. As we are certain you know, missionaries love to get mail. He may email his immediate family each week and you can forward his emails to interested persons. If people outside his immediate family want to correspond with him directly, they should write to him in care of the mission office. The mission office mailing address is:

Finland Helsinki Mission
Nietsytpolku 3 A 4
00190 Helsinki

"We know he will love to hear from his ward, family, and stake, as well as from his friends.

"Elder Hansen committed to his bishop and stake president to serve a full-time mission. He also has committed to put his personal life on hold. He has clearly done that, as he arrived here full of inspiration and a commitment to serve how and as the Lord directs. Brigham Young said: 'Let your minds be centered on your mission.' We know there will be many spiritual and growing experiences here which will be a source of joy for ELder Hansen and your entire family as he assists in building the Kingdom in Finland."