Monday, July 25, 2016

1.5 years, 18 months, 81 weeks, 565 days.

However you want to count it, it is the experience of a lifetime. It
is the experience of eternity. In that time period, more happens for
the spiritual welfare of a soul than anything else in this world can
offer. A mission has changed my life forever.

This post is long (very long), but good! Fair warning! [I mean it only
sums up the best 18 months of my life and this last week.]

This week in CTown:

We had a better week! We went on exchange with Shepherdsville and I
was there with Sister Bogardus. We had a blast, I just love her. She
is a hard worker and knows her purpose! She does everything she can to
please the Lord! I'm going to miss her dearly!

Later in the week we found some really cool investigators! They were
all set for baptism and excited too! We told them about the word of
wisdom and the next day they dropped us. It was a bummer but I know
that the Lord will use this experience to prepare them! They will be
ready at a later date!

Brother Dean and Sister Warford also came to church! They are doing
really well! I'm so excited to see how they continually progress! They
are still working towards their baptismal date! We weren't able to
meet with them this week due to scheduling conflicts, but hopefully
this coming week! We have a lot to teach them before their baptism!

A few nights this week a member, Suzannah, took us out for the night.
we saw so many awesome miracles with her! We were able to get into
houses we normally wouldn't have and we taught a bunch of lessons! It
was a tender mercy! I have a testimony if bringing members! It makes
everything so much better! :)

This past Saturday was transfer calls! Thankfully, president Brough
didn't sing to me when he told me I would be moving areas, again! He
kindly is kicking me out of the GKLM. It is a kind kick though, full
of love. Next area: Mission Viejo, California. Here is how the
conversation went:
Me: "good morning president Brough! How are you?"
PB: "I'm doing great! Well sister hannah, You're getting transferred again."
Me: "what? Again? Ok president. Where will I be going this time?"
PBROUGH: "I'm sending you to California and I'm even going to have you
pick your own companion. And it needs to be someone of the opposite
sex. It's called dating."
Me: "hahahahaha! Well president, give me a few days ok!!"


Mosiah 18:30 reads: "And now it came to pass that all this was done in
Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the
waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the
forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there
came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are
they, for they shall sing to his praise forever."

But this is how I read it today as I reflected on my mission:
"And now it came to pass that all this was done in [Kentucky &
Indiana], yea, by the waters of [the Ohio River and Lake Cumberland],
in the forest that was near [Richmond, Somerset, Winchester,
Louisville, Mt. Vernon & Charlestown]; yea, the place of [Kentucky &
Indiana], the waters of [the Ohio River and Lake Cumberland], the
forest of [Richmond, Somerset, Winchester, Louisville, Mt. Vernon &
Charlestown], how beautiful are they to the eyes of [Sister Hannah]
who there came to the knowledge of [her] Redeemer; yea, and how
blessed [is she], for [she] shall sing to his praise forever."

Kentucky and Indiana are my personal "waters of Mormon". Kentucky is
where I came to know my Savior. It is where I truly became converted
to the gospel of Jesus Christ. My mission is sacred ground. I have
seen and felt things that have so deeply imbedded the truthfulness of
this message that I can never deny that this is the fullness of the
gospel of Jesus Christ. I am eternally indebted to Heavenly Father for
the blessings I have received and the lessons I have learned from
serving in this capacity. This truly is once in an eternity. In each
area I served, there was a specific reason I was there and for that
duration of time. I learned lessons that no other place, person or
experience could have ever taught me. I wouldn't and will not trade
this for the world.

The greatest lesson I have learned is the importance of obedience and
why it is important. There is a promise given to us in the doctrine
and covenants that reads: "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in
heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings
are predicated-- And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by
obedience to that law upon which it is predicated," (D&C 130:20-21)
God is bound to bless us when we obey His laws. Simply, be obedient.
Just do it. There is no better way. It will most likely mean change,
which can be hard, but any blessing we receive has law that must be
followed to obtain it. The Brough's were a prime example for me. The
first year-ish if my mission we had formal transfer meetings. All the
missionaries who were being transferred would come in to Louisville.
We would gather in the chapel and president would read off who our new
companion would be. It was exciting and fun. You got to see all of
your friends. Then, the brethren came out with the tune up on how
transfer meetings were not authorized. President Brough talked to the
MLC about it and explained to us that sometimes the traditions of our
fathers are not correct. In order to be obedient, to gain the Lord's
trust and all of His intended blessings, we needed to heed to the
counsel of the brethren and stop transfer meetings immediately. So we
did. It was that easy. (Now the logistics of transfers from there on
out, we are still figuring it out.) Being obedient is key to a
successful life. The Lord's commandments keep us happy and safe. I
learned that I must hold myself accountable if I want to receive the
blessings. Obedience to God & His commandments brings peace in this
life and eternal salvation in the life to come!

Richmond taught me humility first and foremost. Not only was the
greenie Pride real and I had to rely on and learn from my incredible
trainer, sister Heiner, I also had to ask for rides (and help for
pretty much everything). Never have I relied so much on others for
everything I absolutely needed. I've always been able to take myself
places I needed to be (or mom and dad helped). The fact that I had to
ask for so much help was humbling. Biking made me a stronger and
better person! It helped me understand that I have to let others have
the opportunity to serve.
Sister Jones and I found success as we made our catch phrase "hearken
to it and DO IT!" The understanding I gained of obedience started
there. Sister Jones was incredibly obedient and we grew so much
together! It was with sister jones that I realized I had super scuffed
knees. (My skirt kept catching on my dry knees and I couldn't figure
out why) I didn't realize hitting the ground every morning and night
and multiple times during the day to pray would scuff em up. Not to
mention our carpet was ripped out one day because of black mold and we
were left to pray on concrete. HAHAHAAH good memories.
One of the most touching spiritual experiences from Richmond was my
second day in the mission field. Quite possibly the worst day of my
whole mission experience, hands down. It was frigid freezing. All day
everyone cancelled on us or just didn't show. Everyone we talked to
wasn't interested and was downright rude. I began to think "yeah, I
can't do this. I am not cut out for this. This isn't what I signed up
for." And then a member picked us up for dinner. That was the greatest
tender mercy of my life. The second we got into her car, the spirit
was so strong. When we walked into her house, it was even stronger. I
was overcome with love and peace from my Father in Heaven. It was at
that moment I realized that I would have hard days, but that God would
always be with me. I also realized how important it is to have the
spirit with me always and especially in my home. That dinner quite
possibly saved my mission.

Somerset taught me patience. Lots and lots of it. I had three new
companions. I follow up trained sister Crofoot, then trained sister
Starkey and immediately following her trained sister Schultz. I
cherish those five transfers, all 30 weeks of it. I learned patience
because my companions literally had no idea what they were doing at
first. Haha I had to be understanding and help them learn! had so
many experiences that taught me to take a deep breath and say
"everything will be ok! It's all good in the hood!" I grew a lot and
loved every second of it. The somerset branch is my family.
I met Billy here. He is my baptist friend that frustrates me. He knows
everything is true but is too stubborn to be baptized. One day it will
all click and he will roll right over to the church and beg to be
baptized. You better call me, ok billy?!
I also obtained the gift of Interpretation of tongues and translation.
I kid you not. Understanding eastern/southern Kentucky is a gift.
Youins, yuns. (Meaning you over there) No teeth, some teeth, fake
teeth + a thick country accent and trying to understand what they are
saying. Translating for my companions was always an adventure. The
looks I got from them was fantastic. I love southern Kentucky.
I had so many amazing experiences down there that I can't even contain
it to one. The whole 7.5 months was the spiritual experience!

Winchester taught me Spanish. Hahah jk but really. I now had the
responsibility of exchanging with multiple sisters and some of them
were Spanish speaking. It was incredible to go on a Spanish exchange
and not understand a word of what they were saying but to feel the
spirit so strongly. "Truth is a knowledge of things as they really
are, were, and will be. It does not change with conditions or time.
Truth is the same in every age and culture [and language]. God is the
source of all truth," (PMG pg 75). It was also incredible to see at
the end of the two transfers I was there to go on a Spanish exchange
and actually be able to understand everything that was being said in
In all reality, Winchester taught me that I didn't know what I was
doing for the first year of my mission! Haha. Sister Resendez and I
had an absolute blast as we crushed it over there. The greatest
spiritual experience was by far our Christmas cookie miracle, the
Johns family. One day when we didn't have anyone to teach we made a
ton of cookies and dropped them off to less actives. The Johns were on
our list. When we dropped them off they asked us to come back and
teach and baptize the youngest boys, Colton and Isaiah. In one months
time they were taught and "bapatized" as Isaiah says! The change I saw
in both the boys was miraculous. The family was reactivated! "True
doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the
doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of
behavior will improve behavior." (President Boyd K. Packer)

Louisville taught me how to love people who didn't necessarily love me
and get down to business. Quite frankly, I was a little bit bitter
about being ripped from Winchester. I didn't want to be there at
first. The ward wasn't welcoming and I felt like I had to prove myself
to the Ward and the Lord. It was like being in a whole new mission.
All city. So dense. A different way of doing missionary work. Sister
Holt and I mainly focused on brother Chad, sister Heather and the
Hutcherson gang. A few weeks after I left, sister Heather was
baptized! Sometimes we don't get to see the fruits of our labors, but
there are still fruits! They are just as rewarding!
Louisville also taught me that I have to adapt to whatever
circumstances the Lord throws at me! Little did I know I wouldn't be
finishing my mission there like I anticipated after arriving and that
I would have to adapt to another two areas. It was a great precursor!

Mount Vernon taught me that people are genuinely good and love
unconditionally. I had to suck up my pride and get over the fact that
I was in Indiana and just love the place and the people and the work
in a very small town. I was a little bit sad I had been uprooted from
Louisville. I had just started to love it! For the previous 15 months
I had been in Kentucky. My home. My favorite place. Adjusting to
Indiana was different. This sweet small town was incredible. The
branch was so loving and welcoming. I felt a little bit trapped at
times but when I got sister starkey because of the ET, things started
to pick up. It is amazing to me the blessings that come from two
companions united in obedience. We definitely had some hard weeks in
the work with no investigators but it was all worth it when the
blessings poured down.
It also taught me that the scripture 1 Nephi 16:2 is REAL!! My crazy
companion prior to sister starkey's et to mount Vernon definitely made
that apparent. There is always one. Always.

Charlestown taught me to be grateful for the knowledge and experience
I have gained over the course of my mission. Working with five brand
new missionaries was humbling. They all had such fire and zeal for the
work. They are so sincere and innocent still. They haven't seen much
in the field but their testimonies are strong! I was always so
grateful to come back after exchanges and see sister Windley! A
companion who is experienced makes me think "why am I so blessed to be
in this companionship, to have an experienced companion who knows what
to do and how to do it?" I would go back and do it all over again, be
in their position, IF I could take with me the knowledge I have now.
The trials and challenges have shaped me and molded me but I don't
know if I could do it again! C-town also taught me sincere love and
concern for those around me, especially my sick companion! I worked a
lot on love and charity while I was here. It was hard to be cooped up
but I know that it was all worth it to help sister Windley heal. She
has the greatest work ethic I have seen. She will literally work
herself to death! I had to teach her to take breaks! Haha!
The mega miracle of Charlestown was brother DiAundre. He was so
prepared and so ready to receive baptism. He wanted to serve a mission
just like us! Seeing someone completely change their life and come
closer to Christ is a huge blessing. It is simply incredible. It is
exciting to see how the gospel molds individuals. He ended up dropping
us due to circumstances out of him control, but I know he still wants
this and he keeps in contact with us. God works in mysterious ways!

Russell M. Nelson said it best: "The gospel of Jesus Christ is a
gospel of change!"

I love the GKLM! I am going to miss this with all of my heart. I am
going to miss wearing the Savior's name on my heart everyday. I am
going to miss being awkward when approaching people and asking them
about the Book of Mormon. I will deeply miss answering the phone
'Brough style'. (Hello! This is sister hannah serving in the
Charlestown area of the great Kentucky Louisville mission of the
United States of America, GOD BLESS IT!!") I'm going to miss the
humidity and the kindness of these people. I'm going to miss all of
the incredible examples that have been placed before me. I am going to
miss the raging baptists who anti me left and right. I am going to
miss the love I have felt from each and every place and person I have
served. I will miss the rolling hills of Kentucky and and the tree
tunnels of Indiana. I will miss the greenery that never gets old. I
will miss being called Sister Hannah. But most importantly, I will
miss being full time, set apart, representative of my Savior, Jesus
Amidst all of the things I will miss, I know that God has so much more
in store for me. I can't be a missionary forever (sadly). The only
place to apply what I have learned is back home. It is time to start

Thank you for all your love and support that you have shown me the
whole time I have served as a missionary, it has meant the world! I
love you all and can't wait to see you in a few short days! (That is
absolutely crazy to say and hear.)

Stay rad,
Stay righteous!

For the last time,
So much love from the blessed GKLM (of the United States of America,
❤️ Sister Hannah

Something incredible I heard recently:
"There are some things our Almighty, all knowing, all loving God has
never seen and never will see. He has never seen someone He can't
save. He has never seen someone He can't love. He has never seen
someone too far gone." God loves all of his children and can help each
one of us. Allow the Atonement to work in your life! :)

The promises of serving a mission are real.
Helaman 10:4
"Blessed art thou, [Sister Hannah], for those things which thou hast
done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the
word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast
not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought
my will, and to keep my commandments.5 And now, because thou hast done
this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever;"

3 Nephi 28:23
"And it came to pass that thus [Sister Hannah] did go forth among all
the people of [Kentucky & Indiana], and did preach the gospel of
Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and [she was]
converted unto the Lord, and [was] united unto the church of Christ,
and thus the people of that generation were blessed, according to the
word of Jesus."

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