I don't want this email to end in tears, so I'm going to attach a picture of this one handsome guy you both know and love. No, it's not Josh Groban, it's even better...
Another quick six weeks has come and gone. Elder Johnson and I are
staying together for another round! Our zone hasn't changed that much
(thank goodness! We have a strong group of missionaries). In fact, 2
missionaries got transferred in our zone, but just moved to a
different area within our zone - pretty rare!
We've already seen improvement in this transfer as compared to last.
I'm super pumped to just baptize everyone in Annandale!!!
Our investigator, Alfred is doing really well! He's come to church
pretty consistently for 4-5 - ish weeks, and he's bent on learning
more about the church. He and his brother, Osman (member; baptized in
Missouri), are so sweet! They have difficult living conditions, but
they're staying faithful.
The person they're living with is a total tool. He's thrown out their
mattresses, changed the locks, and destroyed the hot water heater.
He's doing everything he can to get Alfred, Osman, and his two little
kids out of his house. He's even pastor! He professes to know the
Christ, yet he treats his brothers like trash. Osman and Alfred don't
have anywhere to live. One night, they had to sleep over at their
fellowshipper's house, the Andersen's. They also don't have jobs -
they're both qualified, honest men, hard workers, but nobody's hired
Despite all these trials, they're staying true and faithful to the
gospel - they come to church consistently, read the scriptures, and
pray often. They do all they can to make ends meet, and allow God to
make up for what they can't do on their own. Because of their
faithfulness, Alfred found a job last week! He's working at a hospital
The Lord will prosper those who keep His commandments! I know that to be true.
We had the best dinner ever on Sunday night with the Spaldings - I
have never laughed so hard in a member's home! Sister Spalding is from
Hong Kong, and Brother Spalding is probably from Utah, or something.
They have 4 kids, their youngest is 14, so they're all kinda grown up.
Sister Spalding is crazy! But she's a great cook, and she'd do
anything for the missionaries.
After dinner, they pulled out a torture machine. It was a shocking
toy, with two joysticks connected by a black cord. In order for it to
electrocute you, two people have to hold the metal handles. It goes
through stages 1 - 5; 1 being the weakest and 5 being the strongest. I
got all the way to level 4 and I wimped out. :p it was so painful! It
made my muscles contract uncontrollably! That thing was crazy!
Our other investigators are doing okay. The referrals we've received
were promising at first, but they aren't returning our texts or calls,
so now we're in the finding mode.
It's tough to get an appointment with Lenny, she's pretty slippery.
She wants to go to the YSA ward, but she's 30, turning 31. When you
turn 31, you've "aged-out." All she wants to do is marry a handsome,
young Mormon boy. We hope that's not her only reason why she wants to
come to church!
Other than that, everything is going swell! Elder Johnson and I are
working hard, and we're hoping and praying for more miracles!
Thank you for your support! Love you!
Elder Tanner Hansen
Sent from my iPad
This week was awesome - I've learned a lot about myself, and Elder
Johnson and I have been adopted by a Muslim family until you come to
pick me up. :)
The Egyptian family I told you about the group Email said that we are
their responsibility until you come and pick us up, then they don't
have to worry about us. :) they are so genuine - they made us promise
to go back after our missions to introduce you to them!
I heard some really, really good news today! Elder Walters is serving
in Alexandria 2nd ward, the same one I was in 6 months ago. He called
me to say that Addis Denegda is on date for baptism on August 2nd!!!
:D Elder Grow and I found him , and taught him all the lessons in the
first couple of weeks. He took us out to get Ethiopian food twice, and
was on date for baptism until he went to California to find his
mystery child (apparently he got around in Sacramento). With no
success, he came back to Virginia.
Elder Walters found him at the New and Returning member fireside in
Mt. Vernon and basically out him on date for baptism right there.
Addis just barely got back from California a week ago and is being
taught by the Colonial 1st ward Sisters. He wants to get in contact
Shalom! (I know that's not a Muslim word, but it works).
This week was packed with Muslim stuffage! Ramadan has been going on
for about 20 days, and some of our good Islamic friends who observe it
have been telling us all about it. For those who can't use a search
engine, Ramadan is basically when Muslims fast for 40 days. They do it
about every nine months, since it follows a lunar calendar. This time
of year must be one of the hardest to fast from sunrise to sunset!
We have an Egyptian family that we do service for 1 - 2 times a week
that invited us over to break their fast with them. We first helped
one of their family members, Amy, for 3 hours in her yard. She always
puts us to work! This time we did a lot of weeding and digging, weed
whacking and mowing. It's actually pretty fun to see it all come
together - Elder Johnson and I call it "our yard," because we've done
so much work on it. While we're out their working, Amy always asks us
what plant would look best, or where we could move a rock, or
whatever. We always tell her, and she's kind enough to try out our
ideas, but then she moves it back to where she wants it.
Although Amy isn't really interested in taking the discussions, she
always asks us questions about what we believe while we're working -
we've basically taught her lessons 1 - 3! She's always shocked when
she hears things that are similar between our religions. We told her
about when Jesus fasted for 40 days before he began his ministry, and
she loved that. Her heart is certainly softened from all of the
service we've done for her.
After service, she invited us into her home (which is ginormous) the
next night for a Ramadan feast! There was fried chicken stuff,
Egyptian macaroni, beets and peas, salad, and lots of other dishes. I
can't remember what they're called, but they have fancy Arabic names.
I had to at least try everything that was there!
Amy lives with her 90 - something year-old mother, and her three
siblings. The children all take care of their mom, since she can't
care for herself. Amy said she never attended college, but she did a
marvelous job of raising four successful children who all achieved a
higher education. Amy is a pharmacist, her brother, Moody, is a
lawyer, her younger sister is a scientist (biologist, I think), and
her youngest sister is an... Astronaut. Jk, I don't remember :). But
it's something awesome. They are all incredibly hospitable, and
they're are more Christlike than most Christians!
Before we started to eat, they gave us a cup of dried fruits soaked in
water. I think they were dates, I'm not certain. They drink it before
every meal to raise their blood sugar. It was pretty tasty! After I
finished my first plate, they insisted that I eat more - and more, and
more... It was nuts! I had like three plates filled with food! I can't
tell you how many times they asked if I wanted more food, and I can't
count on my fingers and toes how many times they said, "this is your
home!" It was a fantastic night.
Oh! And the best part was when they whipped out the desert! I was
already stuffed to the brim, but I told myself that I could fit more.
I don't remember what it was called, but it was dried noodles with
honey or something. It was actually really tasty! I asked for a little
piece, but they scooped a helping as big as a horse. I don't know how
I did it, but I ate it all. All I can say is, The Lord hath been my
I love experiencing all the different cultures here - it's awesome to
learn about other people's religion and background!
We also taught Alfred this week! Alfred is from Sierra Leone, and he
is brothers with a recent convert, Osman. Osman comes to church
regularly, and Alfred will tag along when he's in town. Right now
they're in a difficult living situation, and they're both searching
for jobs. They had two interviews each this week, so hopefully
something comes from that.
Alfred was a pastor in Africa, so he's very familiar with the Bible -
especially the New Testament. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and
he loved it! He paid attention and asked great questions. He accepted
and understood everything that was taught. The only things that really
keep him from baptism are the trinity, and priesthood authority. But
once we get past those obstacles, it should be smooth sailing.
Learning about, and teaching, the Plan of Salvation and teaching it
has been one of the greatest eye-openers for me. We have all fallen
short of God's glory, and the Savior has redeemed us. If we are
obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will receive "all that the
Father hath." Without the Savior, living the principles of the gospel
(faith, repentance), would have meant nothing - it wouldn't have
mattered how well we lived our lives because there wouldn't have been
anything worth living for. But, because the Only Begotten of the
Father performed the atonement, there's a bright future and hope for
us all. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which
according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively
hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an
inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for you." 1 Peter 1:3-4
This veil of tears is challenging at times. But, if we remain
"steadfast and immovable," our rewards in Heaven will overcompensate
the injustices dealt, seemingly incessantly, by mortality. I believe
in that with all the conviction of my soul! I've felt the Savior's
atoning sacrifice work through me, giving me perseverance when it gets
hard to endure, and blessing me with resilience when the world strives
to tell me I'm not good enough. There's too much evidence for that not
to be true. The GOSPEL is true, and we are living the great plan of
Thank you for all that you've done to support me and my family!
Elder Tanner Hansen
Another week in 'Little Seoul' - transfer outlines are due on Tuesday
(transfer outlines is where we put who we think should stay or go in
the zone - they're always due 10 days before transfers). It's crazy
how quickly things have gone by! Elder Johnson and I are probably
going to stay together for another 6 weeks. We're hoping for it, at
least. You never know until it springs up on you last minute.
We had a meeting with the Stake Presidency, all the Bishops and Ward
Mission Leaders in the stake, and President Riggs. We had a lesson
scheduled with Lenny at the Curd's home at the same time the meeting
was going on. We didn't want to reschedule because it had been so long
since we've seen her, so we instead did a full split. I went with Bro.
Dixon (WML) to the Stake correlation meeting, while Elder Johnson went
with Bro. Curd to teach Lenny.
It worked out fine in the end. My presentation went well, and Elder
Johnson made it safely to the Curd's home. Only dilemma was, Lenny
never showed up! The duration of the meeting, I kept thinking about
how awesome the lesson was going, I was confident some serious
baptizing was going on! But she didn't show up - she said she forgot
about our appointment, so she went to her aunt's house instead. The
troubling thing is, she doesn't have a cell phone, so we have a hard
time getting a hold of her to reschedule.
It was okay, though. When I showed up at their doorstep after the
meeting, we taught their family about faith. They had their niece and
nephews over from Texas for the week, so they sat in, too. When we got
back to the apartment, Sister Curd texted us, 'thank you for the
spiritual thought; my nieces and nephews challenge their parents all
the time about the church, and I think that was something they needed
to hear!' #Browniepoints!
Later on in the week, we had an appointment with a less active member,
Lester. He told us to swing by on Wednesday, I think. We got there
during the Argentina vs. Netherlands game when they were doing
shoot-outs. When Argentina won, Lester went ballistic! He's not even
from Argentina, he's from Honduras - he only likes them because they
speak the same language his country does :). After the game, he took
us to Starbuck's. We got smoothies and he got a frapaccino or
something like that. We listened to him for about an hour, then we had
to go to another appointment. He told us was going to hang out at the
restaurant a while longer.
Later that night, Lester texts us and gives us 2 referrals! Two Muslim
guys asked Lester about us, and expressed interest in taking the
discussions. We go their phone number and Facebook info, and scheduled
an appointment with them for Friday. We were a little bit nervous,
because we checked out their FB profiles and they had a bunch of stuff
on their proving Christianity false. It turns out two of them, Dawud
and Amid, was super nice and sincerely wanted to learn more about the
church. The other guy wanted to argue. Thankfully we took most of the
conversation and taught them a lot about e plan of salvation, the
restoration, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. By the end, they accepted
a copy of the Book of Mormon and a restoration pamphlet. They texted
afterwards and wanted to schedule another time we could meet!
Thanks for all you do!
Sent from my iPad
Monday was so sick! We payed soccer with the Spanish program at some
outdoor turf fields in Fairfax. It was hot, humid, and sweaty, but we
had plenty of water. Our team won, and we got the styrofoam trophy
painted gold. It made me really miss soccer! It also doesn't help that
almost every living soul here watches the World Cup, and talks about
it incessantly. :p but that's okay. We had 2 lessons with
investigators taught in member's homes planned, but both cancelled, so
we spent the majority of our night with less actives and knocking
Tuesday we had an exchange with the Burke elders. I went to Burke with
Elder Gledhill, a missionary I went to the MTC with. In fact, he was
the first missionary I met prior to entering the MTC that was going to
the same mission I was. He and I both served in the Reston ward
together our first 2 transfers. It was a great reunion. He just got
transferred into the Burke ward, so he didn't really know where we
were going or who we were going to visit. We street contacted around a
lake, got lost biking in the woods, and somehow, we eventually found
our way to a less active member's home. He was a 60 year old man,
baptized as a child, but he won't come to church or read the
scriptures. He doesn't believe in Jesus Christ, and he won't do the
things he needs to to develop that testimony. It was good bough, to
visit with him and help him feel the Spirit - even if he doesn't
When I got back to Annandale, Elder Johnson had some fantastic news.
Apparently, they taught a guy who basically said he wants to be a
member of our church. He was in a conference in Chicago, and he
overheard some Latter-Day Saints talking about their church, and that
sparked his interest. He wants to find more opportunities to serve in
his community, so he referred himself on Mormon.org. Elder Johnson and
Elder Miles taught him about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith,
invited him to be baptized, and he said "oh yes, I'll be baptized -
with all of my heart, soul, and conviction!"
He's out of town, like the rest of our investigators, but when he gets
back, we're going to teach him the gospel until the cows come home.
Wednesday and Thursdays were blurs, I don't remember what happened one
bit. Friday was pretty good - in the morning, we had to drive to every
companionship in our zone to give them their new insurance cards, then
we had to come back to do our studies and weekly planning. By then, it
was time to go to an Independence Day dinner with some members of our
ward, the Young's. Brother Young told us, "Do ya'll want some Sprite,
or Coke? 'Cause I don' drink water on the 4th of July." It was pretty
We drove down to Fairfax to see some fireworks (we were allowed to do
that until 10:30). The roads were lined with cars, there was literally
no place to park. Even the 'no parking' zones were taken! Every
parking lot, every green field, every square inch of Old Town Fairfax
was either occupied by a lawn chair, or a can of beer. It was so
stinkin' crowded, we just drove up and down Main Street in time for
the finale. Thankfully, we beat most of the traffic on our way home.
Saturday Sisters in our zone requested a blessing. One of the Sisters
was really sick. Elder Johnson and I went and helped. I don't remember
much of what I said, but I do remember the feeling of peace and quiet
penetrating the room. She was in tears by the end of the blessing. It
was a good opportunity.
Lenny came to church! We just need to get an appointment with her, we
haven't taught her in a couple of weeks. Every time we have something,
she cancels. Hopefully we can see her this Monday.
We also had a mysterious non-member Russian stranger show up to
church. His name is Alex, and he came to church because he was simply
curious. He had a Mormon co-worker who was very kind and righteous,
and Alex wanted to know what he believes in. He's currently stationed
in Fort Belvoire for 3 months to receive training before he goes to
Poland for 2 years. He was very kind, and he said he'd come to church
next week. Thankfully, the ward members were kind enough to welcome
him and invite him back to church as well. I asked him if we could
talk to him later in the week, but he said no.
Other than that, not much really happened. Kinda slow, with nothing
really climactic or exciting. But it was still a good week.
Thanks for all you do! Love you!
Sent from my iPad
This week was sooooo short.
Seriously, this transfer has flown by! Elder Johnson and I are rockin'
it here in Annandale - we had 3 investigators come to church, and lots
of less actives came, too! It was pretty awesome. We were sitting in
the sacrament meeting, hoping and praying to see some of our
investigators walk through the door. We were sweating bullets, because
they were playing the opening hymn, and nobody was showing up.
Suddenly, blam-o! 3 investigators walk in! Janu, Sita, and Lenny.
Janu and Sita are really cool - Sita is from Nepal, she came to the
U.S. And married a dude from Nebraska. Their son is Janu. I've never
met the husband, but apparently he's been to church in the past with
Janu and Sita. He's in Vermont, now. Janu is 16, and he's kinda
investigating the church on his own.
On a mission, you get the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.
When those darned investigators walked inside... I was struck by the
Spirit - it pierced me! It was like a new chamber in my heart opened
up that I didn't even know was there. I felt Christ's love for our
investigators. I felt really accomplished in that moment, because my
whole mission I've been working on loving everyone, seeing them as
children of our Father.
Sharing the gospel is so much easier when you love those you share it
with. That's one reason why we're expected to develop Christlike
attributes. As our love for others increases, so does our ability to
speak with boldness. "Perfect love casteth out all fear," (Moroni
We had apartment inspections this week. It was only the 2nd time we've
had inspections since I've been here - usually they do it every other
transfer. Bunch of piles!! My first apartment inspection didn't go so
well, the Senior missionaries doing the inspection were super strict
and condemned us for not clearing the air ducts of dust and lame stuff
like that. But this time was great! We passed with flying colors - our
apartment wasn't even super clean :).
Today was awesome - we had the Annandale Zone, first ever, annual
World Cup! It was so much fun! The Spanish zone showed up, and we 4
games of English vs. Spanish. Elder Johnson and I showed up a little
late, but that's okay. We showed up in style with our $10.00 Italia
soccer jerseys :). It was really hot and humid, but we had plenty of
water to pass around. Our ragtag team of English heroes took the World
Cup! Pictures coming to you soon...
We also stopped by our investigator, Romelo's house Sunday night. He
is from... Bolivia? I don't remember. Somewhere in South America. We
were talking to him on his doorstep about the World Cup, when his 2
year old daughter comes running out. He beckoned her, telling her to
come inside. He said, "Illana, come back inside! Woodpeckers,
woodpeckers!" Apparently, his daughter is terrified of woodpeckers, he
was trying to scare her inside. It was pretty darn funny!
Well, that's about all that happened this week. Love you all! Thank
you for the support and love!
Sent from my iPad