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.