Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow in Manhattan

 Well we received almost 2 ft of snow in Central Park last night. With the drifts and snow plows, you can see it made for quite a mess.    The show house was closed because of the storm so we can't go to the movies.  Snow plows and snow blowers were working all night so it would be ready for traffic and pedestrians today.  I walked to the grocery store this morning and took these pictures.  Things were pretty much normal except not a lot of people, but you could get around.  I saw two cars stuck in the middle of the street because part of the streets were not plowed yet.
The cars that are parked will be there a while it looks like, but we are warm in our little apartment.  We were able to sleep very well because there were no fire engines and sirens going all through the night.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Buba Gumps

Looking out at Time Square from Bubba Gumps
Bubba Gumps at Time Square

Tonight, December 13th, we went with a group of about 16 temple missionaries to Bubba Gumps Restaurant for dinner before going to the "Donny and Marie a Broadway Christmas" show.  Actually 16 went to dinner and 14 went to the show. Another brother and I decided to save the the $110 for the ticket.  This was Verae's anniversary gift from me.  She said it was worth every penny to her.  She told me she didn't have words to explain how spectacular it was.  We will have been married 44 years on the 21st of December.  Honestly she only wants her 6 front teeth for Christmas, but she won't get them until January.

Yesterday at Church we had the ward Christmas program.  It was very special.  The musical talent here is wonderful.  The soloists were members of the church who are also professionals with wonderfully trained voices.  The final song of "Oh Holy Night" was sung by Michael Ballam who was just visiting and was asked the night before to sing on the program.  Tonight at dinner President Garff told us that Donny Osmond was there also, but we didn't see him.  Later in the evening there was a Messiah Sing a Long.  This is where they have an orchestra and opera singers perform the Messiah on the stand and the congregation sings along on some of the songs if you want to.

We are looking forward to Christmas here and New Years also. New York is decorated so pretty.  It is pretty cold now.  We went out and bought some gloves and ear muffs, and a scarf and hat for Verae.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving has arrived and we are still here in New York.  We are happy to be here .  Verae is most of the way through her ordeal with the dentist or should I say dentists.  She is very thankful that the drilling and carving on her teeth is over.  She has the temporary bridge and they gave fit her for the permanent bridge which should be ready in maybe 3 weeks, but most likely 4 weeks.  So we may be here for Christmas also. One of the largest holiday festivals in NY is here at Lincoln Square just in front of the temple.  There will be live music and the lighting of a large Christmas tree. Still no word on the visa accept that SOMEDAY it will just show up and they will call us.
We love serving here, the people are wonderful. Besides the temple missionaries some of the senior missionaries in the area work one day a week in the temple.  Many of the workers are young adults without children and give one day a week.  A few are even coordinators.  We have a new Temple Presidency who we love already.  We had a wonderful dinner with the missionaries and the presidency at President Garff's apartment. Everyone brought what they wanted to make.  Everything was delicious and there was more that we could eat.
Click on the picture for the whole album

I took advantage of the fact the the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was just a block away on Central Park West street. So I went at 7:00 AM to the Parade to get a seat.  Many people were there since 5:00 AM.  The parade began at 9:00 AM.  The weather was milder than I thought it might be, but I bundled up anyway and I am glad I did.  The rain held off till the parade was over.  Here is a link to the photo album.  Verae decided to go up to the top of our building on the 37th floor and see what she could see from there.  Because of the other taller buildings all around, she could just see what passed between the building at the end of the street which wasn't much.  We then watched the last part on TV.  The picture at the left was taken after I raised my camera as high over my head to take the picture.  This is what it looked like if I didn't raise the camera.  It really was neat to see all the balloons though.

The week before we went to the New York Natural History Museum and walked and walked till our feet fell off.  We saw the Journey To The Stars show in the large planetarium sphere.  This was really spectacular.  This made it worth the walking and sore feet.  See the photo album here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Statue of Liberty Trip

Click on Picture for FULL Web Album
   For our P Day on November 8th we went with another missionary couple from South Carolina to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  I have been procrastinating this trip because I don't like finding out how to get to new places here in NY. and I had other things I wanted to see, like ground zero.  We went to Ground Zero last week so my excuse was gone.  The day Verae wanted to go was a beautiful day, but I didn't want to go very bad.  Our friends tried to go but the lines were just too long.  So I felt vindicated for my reticence to go.  However we mad plans to go on the 8th of November at 9:00 AM and so we bought our tickets online to avoid some of the lines and make sure we got tickets.  It was a horribly cold and windy day, too windy to use umbrellas.  We walked or stood in line for an hour anyway, but were finally able to board the ferry to Liberty Island after the security search like at the airports. Then when we were on the island we had another security search.  So much for the freedom we take for granted.  I didn't mind the screening because I know it keeps us safer.  I still thought it was ironic that to a degree we don't have the freedom to travel like we used to.
   I did enjoy the visit even though it was super cold and it even hailed a little.  There is a museum in the pedestal that supports the actual statue.  I learned a lot about the history of the statue which can be viewed at this link:  History of the Statue of Liberty.  It stirred in me deep patriotic emotion about the goodness of America and the symbol of freedom for which she stands along with our flag.
Click on Picture to see the FULL web album
   Next it was off to Ellis Island on the ferry which is very close to Liberty Island.  You can find the History of Ellis Island here.  I felt more emotion as I toured the great hall and visited the rooms that my father and grandmother passed through in 1918 we they arrived in America from Norway. Again it was fascinating I didn't want to leave after only 2 hours there.  We had to get back home to a group Family Home Evening with our new Temple Presidency.
   Sunday the 14th we went to two evening meetings.  One was a devotional for temple workers and friends and family. This was very inspirational. The other was a singles fireside which we crashed.  The speakers at the fireside were Elder and Sister Yost.  Elder Yost is a retired 4 star admiral and past commandant of the Coast Guard.  Their assignment now is in the New York Public and International Affairs office, assigned to represent the church in the United Nations.  They have hosted many affairs for the ambassadors of the various countries.  They learn more about our church.  To learn more about Admiral Yost and his career click here.  Needless to say it was an inspiring fireside for all who were there.
I have been working in their office helping with the computers.
   Verae has her temporary bridge now and we will go to the dentist again on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  We will really miss not being home for the holidays.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stake Conference in Manhattan

New York, New York Stake Conference                   24-0ct-2010

Well today was stake conference here in Manhattan.
In every respect it was like conference in Richfield with a few twists.
1st of all we walked in and found a few rows of seats on the side that were marked reserved for Chinese.   (There is a Chinese branch in the stake.) The overflow in the multipurpose room was almost full and there was a monitor set up in another room for mothers to take there children to.  The chapel is on the 3rd floor, (the temple is on the 4th, 5th and 6th Floor) so all the strollers with kids in them had to come up the elevators too.  Most members don’t own cars and use public transportation to come to church.  That means families come with backpacks and strollers on the subway and buses to attend church.  (A few weeks ago I was late leaving for Stake High Priest meeting, in another building, and I had to take a taxi in order to get there on time. )
After the meeting started they explained that the conference was being broadcast in other buildings in the stake by way of the Internet. There are at least 3 ward houses here in Manhattan.  Isn’t technology wonderful.  They also handed out earphones for those who need to hear it in another language.  They are similar to those used at the Conference Center in SL.  Hymn numbers are announced for English, Spanish, and Chinese.  One other difference is that there is someone in the front doing the signing for the deaf for the whole session including the songs.
By now you are getting the picture that things are just a bit different here in NY. The feeling was the same the spirit was the same.  We felt at home.  It was with all this in mind, the mixture of so many nationalities, that we sang the opening hymn “Now Let Us Rejoice”.  The spirit was really strong for me and I couldn’t even sing I was so choked up.  I’ll type some of the words here.

“Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation. No longer as strangers on earth need we roam.  Good tidings are sounding to us and each nation.  And shortly the hour of redemption will come”.  2nd verse. “We’ll love one another and never dissemble, but cease to do evil and ever be one. And when the ungodly are fearing and tremble, we’ll watch for the day when the Savior will come”.  3rd verse  “In Faith we’ll rely on the arm of Jehovah to guide thru these last days of trouble and gloom, and after the scourges and harvest are over,
 We’ll rise with the just when the Saviors doth come.  Then all that was promised the Saints will be given, and they will be crown’d with the angels of heaven, and earth will appear as the Garden of Eden and Christ and his people will ever be one.”

The theme of conference was on missionary work.  We had wonderful talks.  I will only mention one here.  The Branch President of the Chinese Branch spoke about his conversion and how his life has changed since becoming a member 7 years ago.  It was difficult for him to speak in English but I could understand him well.  He is so humble and thankful for his family’s blessings.  When he joined the church he and his family were living in an apartment of about 150 square feet and worked 13 hrs a day 6 days a week.  They now have a bigger apartment and a new job that lets him serve in the church, and he has Sat. and Sun. off.
The Gospel is True, The Lord lives and he blesses our lives when we obey His commandments.
The Stake is having a special Thanksgiving worship on the 21st of November.  They are calling it “Come and See”.  We are asked to invite someone to come with us to church this day. 
One of the ways we can share the Gospel is by contributing to  In fact I just found out that the Church has special missionaries that find and teach over the Internet only.
Check out this profile on from one of the members of our ward.

I will close for now,  we miss all of you
Love Elder and Sister Hansen

Sunday, October 17, 2010

17 Oct 2010

17 Oct 2010

Dear Friends and fellow missionaries;

I have been wanting to write for some time and give you an update of our mission.  Some of this may end up in the blog as well.  Which is

We are enjoying New York City and the mission a lot. It is very different than life in Richfield.  We have a nice apartment in the same building as the temple.  Part of the building is a high rise apartment building with 37 floors (as seen in the picture behind the temple).  The other part of the building is the temple and ward house.  There are 3 wards that meet here.

This picture was taken from the building across the street where the New York Philharmonic Orchestra is housed.  The snow flakes were on the window of this building.  As you can see there is a lot of traffic all the time.  This city does not sleep either.  We are on the 6th floor of the high rise and there are 6 floors to the temple part of the building.  The 2nd floor houses the distribution center for clothing and the Public and International Affairs offices.  I have been working on their computers to get them to talk to each other.  The 3rd floor is the ward house, it fills the whole floor including the high rise part.  The multipurpose room has the same high ceilings as in other chapels.  The 4th  5th and 6th floors are the temple and the 1st floor has the baptistery in part of it and the main lobby in the other part.

I can describe a little about the temple.  The 4th floor has the laundry and clothing rental, and the temple office and dressing rooms for the workers.  The 5th floor is the patron dressing rooms the ordinances rooms and the 6th floor is the 2 sealing rooms and waiting room.  We have had some wonderful experiences here already and have met many people who are devoted to the Lord. One of the big differences we have noted is that many young people serve here weekly, some couples but mostly single people.  The other workers come from various parts of the world.  They live and work here in the NY area.  We have met people from Nigeria, Algeria, Dominican Republic, Japan, Brazil, Ireland, and other parts of the world.  I say “If you can’t travel to see the world, come to New York, everybody is here”.  Spanish is the most spoken of languages other than English.  It is very common to have Spanish speakers in sessions.  There are 3 session on Saturday that are in Spanish and English speakers wear the earphones.

We are part of the Manhattan 1st Ward.  It is estimated that about 284,000 people live within the ward boundaries. The ward has within its boundaries many notable sites, such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, and part of Central Park, Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center is home to the famed Julliard School of Music which is directly across the street from the temple.  Our ward has about 600 members and the new bishopric spoke today.  One of the counselors said he was aware of about 6 families in the ward who had cars.  Everyone travels by public transportation.  If you do bring a car to NY, parking is between $15 for ½ a day to $24 for 2 hours.  There is parking on the street for up to 1 hr for less money, but they are hard to find and have meters.

We do a lot of walking, even though we live so close to the temple.  When we go grocery shopping we walk a few blocks and then each of us carry two bags or sacks the few blocks home again.  The few times we have gone out to dinner we have had to walk.  There are a lot of places to eat very close, but are pretty expensive.  I had the best hamburger I have ever had.  It serves pizzas and burgers and fries.  I paid about $15 for the burger, fries and a drink.  The burger was very large and the fries were great too, so I didn’t feel too bad about the price.

We are still waiting for visas to come, but some visas are now coming through.  Our friends who were supposed to leave for Brazil in July, left on Oct 11th.  So we have hope ours will come.  Verae has a dental problem now that will take maybe 2 months to get fixed.  She has to have a new larger bridge made for her front teeth because the tooth that was anchoring the bridge has some decay in it.  She will begin next Wednesday so we hope the visas come before we are though with this.

Love;  Elder and Sister Hansen

Monday, October 4, 2010

Feelings from Manhattan

After three weeks here in Manhattan I want to try to give you an update.
Today the water is off in the apartment all day.  They are doing a repair of the "Standpipe System" of our building.  Every building has a place for the fire department to connect into the building sprinkler system. There are signs on all the building indicating where the standpipe hookup are.  Verae and I have colds now.  Verae was first and then me.  We were able to watch conference in our apartment on the computers.  One Saturday session I watched in the living room in Portuguese, and Verae in the bedroom in English.  That was different.  I then went into the bedroom with Verae because I thought I was missing too much.  We could have gone next door to the chapel but she wasn't feeling well enough.  I went to Priesthood Meeting there with the other missionaries for the Priesthood session.  Then on Sunday, I wasn't feeling so good so we both just stayed home.  Conference was very uplifting,  we were able to watch all of it without distractions.
New York is a melting pot for the nations of the world.  There have been many people of different national origins come to the temple.  This we are not used to.  We have three sessions on Saturday that are in Spanish, but many sessions have people wearing the earphones.  We even had visitors from Brazil.  One brother came to visit his daughter here in NY and they came to the temple.  He is a worker in the Curitiba Brazil Temple.  I was able to use my Portuguese and visit with him.  One of the sister missionaries here in the temple is Japanese and speaks English with an accent.  Since July she has learned the ordinances in English and Spanish then Japanese.  She is an inspiration to us.
One of the other couples here went to Mongolia on a prior mission where he was the mission president, and another couple served in the Philippines prior to coming here to NY.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

P Day in Manhattan

You can't leave New York without seeing the Empire State Building.  So that is where we went yesterday. We took the subway to 34th street and walked to the Empire State Building passing Macy's department store. We also got the ticket for the New York Sky Ride.  It is kind of like a ride at Lagoon.  They call it a MOTION ride.  It is a synthesized experience of flying in a helicopter around NY.  They pull the lap bar down to hold you in and then you take off.  The floor tips and bumps to give the feel of really moving up and down.  Verae wasn't so sure she wanted to go on it, but after paying $78 for our 2 tickets, I wouldn't let her out of it.  She closed her eyes part of the time, but she lived through it and did like some of it.  We then went up to the observation deck on the 86th floor to take pictures.  You can go to the 102nd floor, but that costs more.  The view was spectacular as you can see by the photos. Click on the Photo to see the other pictures.  After that we walked to Time Square and then past the Trump Tower and home again a total of 2.5 miles.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In Manhattan

  • We are finally in Manhattan.  We landed on Sept. 11th the 9th anniversary of the attach.  We were met at the airport by the President Frost and his wife.  They are so nice.  They took us to dinner and then brought us to our apartment.  We were surprised in was a large as it is.  Pictures are included in the photo album below. We found that the fridge was stocked for us already by the other missionaries who are here.  We had things like milk, oatmeal, OJ, bacon, lettuce, cheese, bread, grapes, pineapple, bananas, plumbs and a lot more. Such great people and we are getting to know them.
  • We went to church Sunday around the corner from our apartment at the Manhattan 1st Ward Chapel which is on the third floor.  The temple is the 4th 5th and 6th floor.  That evening there was also a general priesthood meeting which I attended.  Monday was the unpack and rest day and we tried to go shopping for a few things like Frosted Mini Wheats and Life.   Monday they had arranged for a family home evening for all the temple missionaries to get to know us and another couple who will be serving in a public relations capacity.  Then on Tuesday we went to the temple for our 1st day. It was wonderful.  We went on the a session and later I was able to baptize 2 sisters who came in to do proxy baptisms.

  • From -Manhattan
Please see our Photo Album click HERE

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Devotional Experience

Well we have completed our 1st week of the 2 weeks here at the MTC.  I must say it has been more wonderful than we could have ever imagined.
The 1st week we were instructed and tutored by Elder Rex Pinegar and his wife in the Provo Temple.  They are the Temple Training Coordinators for the church.  Elder Pinegar is an emeritus  General Authority from the 1st Quorum of the Seventy.  We had three and one half wonderful days under their instruction.  We met 5 other couples going to temples in the US, Chile, and Nova Scotia.  We came to feel so close to them in those 4 days.  On the last day we were instructed by Elder Kikuchi and also Elder Zivic of the 1st quorum of Seventy.
In addition to these great men, we have been able to addend two devotionals. One in which Elder Richard Hinckley was the speaker, and another where Lowell Snow, of the 2nd quorum of Seventy, was the speaker. This week we are now learning Preach My Gospel, another great experience.  We have to leave our comfort zone for this one.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Entering the MTC

Well its been a while getting here but we are finally on our mission.  The short version of the long story is that if the visas haven't arrived by the time we finish the 2 weeks of training, we will begin serving in the Manhattan New York Temple while we wait for the visas.  This seems great to us.  One more place we would not have been able to serve if we hadn't sent in our papers for a mission.  The first day has been wonderful.  We will be training in the Provo Temple this week and next week will be the Preach My Gospel training.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Las Vegas instead of MTC

Hello everyone.

Monday the 23rd of Aug we were to go to the MTC.  But the Visas still aren't here.  We may go in next week.  So instead we went to Las Vegas to help our daughter-in-law move. Our son has been working there for a few months.  We went to the water show at the Bellagio and it was worth the trouble to go to the strip.
Water Show from the Bellagio
Eiffel Tower from Bellagio
So I hope you don't get the wrong idea.  It was 106 that day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Visa Delayed

In the afternoon of the 13th of July we received a call from the Missionary Department of the the Church and were notified that the day for us to enter the MTC had been changed from the 26th of April to the 23rd of of August because of delays in receiving our visas for Brazil.  We were asked to go to the Brazilian Consulate website and fill in a form and print it in triplicate for each of us.  We also needed to get 2 more photos the same as the passport photos for each of us and mail in with the forms.  We did this the very next day. Verae was relieved to have more time to prepare.  I had mixed feelings because I am anxious to begin our mission but I also have some projects to do before going into the MTC.

 On the 18th of July many of our friends came to our sacrament meeting where Verae and I were speaking.  It was gratifying to see so many there and to visit with you at the lunch afterward.  As always Verae was worried about giving her talk and prepared for days.  I on the other hand,  worried more about the song that we sang for the special musical number.  Clive Romney did his normal magnificent job of getting a version of "My Testimony" that we could sing.  There were nine of us in all that sang.   I received many compliments on the song after the meeting.  Most of those under 35 hadn't heard it and those of our age wanted to sing along with us.  Some asked after the meeting if that was 'the' Clive Romney.  Yes it was and he is my brother-in-law.  My brother Ralph Hansen told us at the dinner that he and Yvonne Burgess were going to be married on  July 28th in the Jordan River Temple.   Yvonne has been a friend of the family for many years.  My oldest daughter remembers when Yvonne took her and some other cousins out for Ice cream when they were about 10.  We were able to attend the sealing because of the delay in our visas.

The Portuguese is coming along as well as can be expected.  I was able to bear my testimony in Portuguese in my talk and I was able to say the things I wanted without hesitation to form the sentences.  I even surprised myself.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Verae's foot is operated on

On Wednesday June 23rd Verae had a cyst removed from  her right foot by the right ankle.  It was not bothering her physically but she had thought it best to have it checked before we went to Brazil.  As it turned out it was a good thing they took it out because it could have grown and caused her problems.  All was OK and now she doesn't have to worry.  They gave her some pain pills in case she needed them.  She was very tired when she came home from the hospital so she slept most of the 1st day.  The next day she had some pain but it wasn't enough to use the pain pills. Now after a week she had the wrap and boot removed and she can walk normally again.  Next week on the 7th of July they will remove the stitches.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last Day at the Manti Temple

Well we knew it would come sometime.  on June 10th we went to the Manti Temple for the last time before we go to Brazil.  We arrived early to be at a sealing at 10:00 for my niece and afterward went to Ephriam for lunch.  It was so wonderful to witness a live sealing of someone you are close to.  After lunch we came back for our last shift which began at 2:30.  Everyone was so cordial and loving and wanted us to know we would be missed, but they were very happy for us.  We finished our shift at 9:30 and headed for home.  We were very tired.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Tutor Brother Mateus

This is Brother Mateus our tutor.  He gives us one hour lessons 2 or 3 time a week on Skype.  The picture at the right is a captured frame from our lesson.  One hour for Jim and one hour for Verae.  I am not allowed to listen in on Verae's lessons because Mateus says that the husbands are too critical of the pronunciation.  Verae is now able to say a prayer in Portuguese and is learning to bare her testimony.  Mateus is from Fortaleza in the North of Brazil and is studying at BYU.  He is so kind and patient with us.  I think he is a bit of a soccer fan.  They call it futebol and our football is called futebol americana.
I am learning things like trying to arrange transportation, speaking with members, and some temple tasks like the recomend desk and guiding those who are at the temple for the first time.   Our lessons are mostly in Portuguese.  After I try to say something.  Mateus will give me the correct phrases and pronunciation.  I believe he has been here in America just a little under 2 years. He is teaching a couple of other couples besides us and one of the couples has left for Brazil now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Learning the Portuguese Language

We have been trying to learn the Portuguese language now for about a month. We drove to Salt Lake and then to the MTC Bookstore in Provo on May 4th to pick up our language study materials. Ever since then we have been reading and praying and listening to the recordings assigned to us by our tutor. His name is Mateus and he is from Fortaleza in the northern part of Brazil. I have copied the audio lessons to the new mp3 player that I bought so we can listen to the lessons on the road. We have been spending a lot of time on the road lately.