I'm in Centreville, my new companion is Elder Karbach, and we are on
bike. It's quite a turn-around from Alexandria. There are actually
some open fields here, it's not all city, and there are a lot of
really nice homes as opposed to lock-out apartment complexes.
Our area is massive. We live at least 2 miles outside of our area.
We've biked so much the last 4-5 days. After about 4 1/2 months in a
car area, my body is starting to fall apart!
I'm really enjoying it here, though. The members are phenomenal, my
companion is a stud, and we have 3 investigators on date.
Elder Karbach is from Circleville, Utah. When he first told me that, I
thought he was kidding, but it turns out that it actually exists. He
is 6'1, and he's really big. There's another companionship of Elders
in our ward who are just as big, if not bigger. I've been blessed with
my own personal bodyguards! They would've come in handy in Alexandria.
It was pretty funny going to church yesterday, all the members were
commenting on how big Elders were, then they saw me following in their
Our Bishop is great. He came on exchanges with us my first night here.
He drove us around to visit a lot of less active members. When I asked
him what he did for a living, he told me, "I'm a bio-nuclear
physicist, and we're developing a nuclear-atomic bomb..." He went on
to explain in great detail and complexity the parameters of this
device. He stopped mid-explanation and told me, "I'm sorry Elder, I
don't really do any of that stuff. I'm just an accountant."
It was funny in the moment. You just had to be there.
This Sunday was a treat - I got to meet our investigators. One of
them, Rosie, has come to church since last summer, and is preparing
herself to get baptized on April 12th. She's so dedicated, she's
already paying her tithing! (Which, I'm not so sure hat's allowed, but
I guess it's okay because the bishop authorized it?) either way, she's
Two other investigators, the Li family, from China, came to church,
too. They are a young couple who have never practiced any sort of
religion. They asked great questions in the Gospel Principles class,
and they're preparing to get baptized on May 1st (brother Li's
There's also a Philippino family (Shout out to Elder Alec Hansen!)
we're teaching, but I haven't met them yet.
I'm anxious and excited to serve here! I have a feeling that this is
going to be an amazing couple of transfers. I'm pretty nervous about
conducting District meetings, but I'm sure I'll adjust to it over
Have an amazing week! Love you!
Sent from my iPad
I just got transferred to the Centreville 1st ward, I'm serving as
District leader. My new address is:
Elder Tanner Hansen
14189 Lotus lane,
Centreville, VA 20120
Thanks! I'm super sad to leave Alexandria, but I'm looking forward to
serving in Centreville with my awesome companion, Elder Karbach!
Letter home: March 17, 2014
So much snow!!! The weather was so lovely and misleading on Saturday,
that I went without a sweater (for the first time in months). All the
day long, everyone we spoke to told us it was supposed to snow on
Sunday and Monday. We thought everyone in Alexandria was pulling some
inside joke, lying to us about the weather and whatnot. Turns out they
Yay for service opportunities!
This week we found an amazing investigator! Her name is Ana, and she
is from India. She was raised Hindu, but she converted to Christianity
when she came to America. She was taught by Elders in the past, but
they somehow lost track of her. Ever since then, she has been reading
from the Bible and the Book of Mormon often.
We scheduled a time to meet with her this week with our Ward Mission
Leader. It went so well. We taught her about the atonement and how
through faith in Jesus Christ, we can be healed. Our member shared a
scripture from the Book of Mormon that testified of Christ as our
Redeemer. The Spirit was so strong, I had a difficult time holding
back tears. We invited her to be baptized on March 29, and she
She sent us a text a couple days later one night that read, "I think
I'm ready to be baptized at the end of this month. Let me know what
steps I have to take to be ready."
I was shocked when I read that. I had a hard time falling asleep.
Lately we've taught a lot of people who think that we believe Joseph
Smith is a second Savior. We've had multiple people tell us not to
center our lessons on whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet, but
to teach only about Jesus Christ. They tell us that they ask to hear
the word of God, but they only get the word of Joseph Smith. It's a
little frustrating, but maybe one day they'll understand.
I love to bear my testimony of the prophet of the Restoration. Every
time I do, I feel even stronger that Christ's church has once more
been restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. I especially feel
that it is true whenever I or somebody else recounts Joseph's First
Just last night, we taught one of our former investigators! I was so
happy to see him again. He is an old African man who has almost read
the entire Book of Mormon. We had been trying to teach him for so
long, but he would never answer his door or his phone. Last night, I
felt prompted to go see him. We high-tailed it over there. We knocked,
he opened, and we re-taught him the Restoration. The Spirit was pretty
powerful, even if he refused to shut off his favorite African soap
Thank you for all of your love and support,
I can definitely see and feel God's love for me. That feeling is
undeniable. I feel it lift me up, I feel it numb my chest and clear my
mind. God's promises are real. When He says He will answer our
prayers, He means it. I've asked if He was there, and over the process
of time, I've received multiple witnesses and evidences of His
reality. There is no doubt that He loves all of us, and that He wants
us to experience all of His precious blessings.
I bear you my testimony that God really does live.
Our mission got iPads! I'm typing on mine right now! It's wonderful.
We've scrapped the old planners, and everything (investigators
addresses, phone numbers, lessons, background information, ward lists,
less actives, etc.) will be updated into our mobile devices. Which
means we have the unique privilege to type in all of the information
found in our area books daily.
Everything will be so much more efficient once it's all been updated.
Immediately after teaching a lesson, we can pull out our tablets and
write down what happened. The hastening of the work is real, and it's
moving at a rapid pace!
This week we taught Addis. He's moving to California this Friday. It's
super sad, because we got to become his really good friend. He came to
church with us 3 times, and he was getting familiar with some of the
ward members. He was progressing really well. With every reading
assignment we gave him, he would read it 2 - 3 times. He was on date
for the 22nd of March, but he won't be in Alexandria to be baptized.
This last meeting we had with him, we showed the Restoration video. I
always feel the Spirit confirm to me that Joseph Smith is a prophet
whenever we watch it, especially when we watch it with investigators.
After the video, we bore our testimonies. I felt very peaceful, and my
mind was clear and focused. Addis told us he knows the Book of Mormon
is the word of God. It was awesome. I had a hard time holding back
tears. It was a powerful moment with the Spirit.
After the lesson, we ate Ethiopian food with Addis. He ordered us
something called Kitfu. More commonly known as raw beef. They gave us
a large plate stacked with ground up beef, and rolls of ingera (ingera
is a thin bread that's used in most Ethiopian meals). Addis warned us
that it was super spicy (Elder grow and I later agreed not to tell
Addis that we have had hotter Tabasco sauce). Elder grow and I had
fasted in preparation for this experience, so we could at least
stomach a few bites. I gagged a few times towards the end of the meal,
but I forced everything down. It actually didn't taste too bad at
first. Just the thought of eating Kitfu made me slow down.
Luckily, my companion pointed out that someone else in the restaurant
was eating an entire fried mysteryfish. Had he not, Addis wouldn't
have so quickly ordered one for us to eat. The waitresses hastily
slapped a crispy sea creature in front of us, anxious to see how the
timid Americans would react. We used our hands to dig into the scaly
sides of the fresh water fish. Surprisingly, it tasted really good. My
companion ate a bone and some fish brain, but besides the gooey
treasures found in the fish carcass, it wasn't half bad.
We were out tracting late one cold night. I was tired. I was a little
disappointed at the lack of success we've been seeing. We stopped and
said a prayer to be guided towards those that are elect. We continued
knocking. I really seached out in my mind and my heart what The Lord
wanted us to do. An image popped into my mind of us walking in the
street just outside the apartment building we were in. I immediately
went there. I had no idea what to do, but I kept walking. I turned to
the right, and a small African American woman with a thick gray jacket
stood at the curb. I felt prompted to speak to her. We had an awesome
discussion. We gave her a Book of Mormon. I told her that God lead us
to her, that we had just said a prayer to find her. It was really
cool. We got all of her information on the iPad and we were off on our
I've loved learning how the Spirit works with me. I know that it's one
of our responsibilities while we're on this earth. I know that God
expects us to follow His guidance so that we can be a blessing to
those around us, even if we don't see e end result.
We had a funny experience while street contacting this week. Elder
Grow and I spoke to this old couple carrying in groceries. We offers
to help, but they denied it. We tried to get to know them, but they
just wanted to argue. They looked so gentle from far away!
The husband, with a gold-tooth filled mouth spat, "how many wives you got?"
I answered, "I'm not even married."
"Don't lie to me, how many wives you got!"
"I'm only 18 years old. I'm not even married!"
We left without a return appointment. But we did leave with a good laugh.
Church was awesome! I felt like every message given that day was
designed especially for me. The Spirit gave me lots of instruction on
how I can become a better person. The speakers that day gave talks
about how we sometimes look at our failures and dismiss the blessings
that we received along the way. That's something that I need to work
on. I often compare my efforts against that of others. That isn't
right. I should be comparing and evaluating myself, to see if I've
improved. I need to recognize the good things that God has given me,
and exhaust them.
love you, have a great week!
Peace from the east to the weast,
Elder Handsome Hansen.
It snowed 8 inches yesterday! I thought the madness was over, but it's not. I think it's just going to keep snowing until June.
We have 2 investigators on date. It's pretty exciting! One of them was a former investigator for a long time. I remember when I first got to Alexandria and Elder Davis and I put him on date. He fell off the radar as soon as Elder Grow got here, and we were fortunate enough to see him again earlier this week. He's working towards being baptized on the 29th of March.
Our other investigator has been toying with the idea that "religion doesn't save you," for a long while. We've been trying to explain to him prophets and dispensations, but he just wasn't getting it. He understands it all, he just doesn't feel it yet. We invited him to read and pray about the book of Mormon every night. He accepted the invitation, and the invitation to be baptized on the 22nd of March. It's so cool to see him progress. He started out being very firm on his beliefs, but as he's read the Book of Mormon and come to church, we can tell that his heart is changing. As his faith in Jesus Christ grows, so will his strength to overcome concerns and objections to the church. I'm honored to have a front row seat in watching and helping others come closer to Christ.
At the beginniing of this week, the other Elders in our ward gave us a referral. They didn't think it was very promising, but we checked it out anyway. We get to his home, and he lets us inside. We try to begin teaching, but he stops us right there. He tells us he's waiting for his wife to come so she can hear the word of God, too. He promised she was only 2 minutes away.
30 minutes later, she comes home. We begin our discussion about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Halfway through the discussion, we switch our topic from the gospel blesses families to prophets are callled in every dispensation. We hint towards the fact that there was another prophet called in these latter-days, and they get a little wary. They asked some questions like, "was I baptized by the right authority?" and, "am I not following Jesus Christ?" "Will I not go to Heaven if I don't follow your church?"
It was getting pretty aggressive and sensative. I could feel the tension mounting. They weren't very happy with what they were hearing.
Elder Grow and I followed the Spirit and answered their questions in a non-threatening way. In the end, they accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon, and committed to read and pray about it.
It was a tender mercy of the Lord. We saw how all the things we studied that morning were used in that lesson. All the teaching skills that God has allowed us to develop were put to the test. We felt really good about it, and we are anxious to teach them again.
This morning I felt the Holy Ghost confirm to me that Jesus Christ came to the earth. I was reading in John 13:1-16. I love Peter's conversation with the Lord.
Peter asks Him, "Lord, dost thou wash my feet?"
Jesus Christ answers, "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter."
"Thou shalt never wash my feet."
"If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."
"Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."
Thank you for all of your love and support!