Sunday, May 18, 2014

#1 - I Made it to North Dakota! (5/5/2014)

I've been sent to Bismark, North Dakota! My new address is: 

Sister Sanderson
444 E. Brandon Dr #9
Bismark, ND 58503

But yeah! A bit about where I'm at:

We have the temple!
We have the only temple in the mission. The whoooole mission. It's sooooo tiny. And we have it! Five minutes away! 

The church right across from it is at least twice, maybe even three times as big as it. So funny. And it's only open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and only at certain times. 

On the mission, you are allowed to go to the temple every three months, and only on the first week of the month. I think we're going this upcoming Wednesday. Excited to go in the tiny temple!

The weather here is quite windy as expected. The clouds are never stagnant. And it hasn't been too overly cold. Though it sometimes will snow in the morning still. So, take that as you will. It's a nice city. And there's bunnies and squirrels and robins here. You don't see them in Tempe, Arizona! 
Here's pictures:

 













About the logistics. 

We (my companion and I) have $163 a month to use for spending and the card gets reloaded at the end of the month. 

I'm living in a three story apartment with another set of sister missionaries. 

Us four Sisters are on the top floor.

[A note from Dad:  Hannah worked and saved for nearly a year to pay for her mission and we are very proud of how much she did to prepare financially as well as spiritually.  For those who are interested, the contribution asked of each missionary (including family and friends) is $400 per month regardless of the mission.  (The church averages out the cost of all the missions world-wide.)  Look for the PayPal widget to be added soon so that you can help Hannah with this financial blessing...for it IS a blessing to be able to make this kind of sacrifice.  Any funds that aren't used for her missionary service will be used to pay down her school loans and her future schooling.  We will make sure that any funds that are donated specifically for missionary service (just indicate that if you contribute) will be paid to the General Missionary fund to support those missionaries who can't afford the full $400 themselves.]


We do have a car, a nice one with beautiful acceleration. 

We have a 'dumb' phone which I can't text on to save my life, but we can connect it to the car's touch screen and bluetooth and all that, so that's pretty nice.

I have a GPS that I bought previously, but I'm not using it because we do have a map and my companion Sister Easter mostly knows where things are. The GPS hasn't been needed thus far. 

We don't have ipads, but the request has been sent in to get them, so I don't know how quickly we'll end up making the switch from good old fashion (but heavy) scriptures to electronic ipads. We can only use computers at the library or at members houses and really only on preparation day, or P-Day.

So how'd I get here you ask? 

Well, there's a lot to catch you up on. 

The expedition started on Monday. But before I get into that, I should explain something.

This is my travel buddy. 
His name is Hamlet.   
My best friend, Alyssa, made him for me two years ago before I went to NAU for a year of college.  Hamlet is from an old video game called "Illusion of Gaia," a game that I have probably no doubt mention to you if you've known me for awhile.  In the game, Hamlet travels across the world to find his owner again. What a loyal loving little pig!  So, I've decided Hamlet is going to be my travel buddy.  He represents all of the loyal and loving friends that I had to leave behind.  So as you see Hamlet pop up in my blog, remember, I'm thinking of all of you!

Going to the Airport at 3am
The night of our departure, I had a nice hour and a half 'nap' before we got up and met outside at 2:00am in the morning on Monday. 

Hamlet in front of the rainy window.
We then took a bus to the airport where we had a six o'clock flight.

We then had a layover in Mineapolis actually.

It was raining when we landed, also when we were scheduled to take off.


Wow! So greeeeeeeeen!
And then we arrived finally at the great land of South Dakota.


We were met by President and Sister Anderson at the airport (we spent about 5 hours on planes,
Backyard Treeees @ Mission Home
got there a bit before 1) and we rode in a van over
 to the Mission President's house, or the mission
home.

They have a beautiful home, and a beautiful backyard!





Ping Pong Anyone?...Anyone?
We were soooooo tired, but some people still played ping pong. That was entertaining.

Bunk Beds....Ahh Sleep!

And we slept in nice bunk beds in the basement later that night.

But before we slept of course, We were interviewed one by one by the President Anderson so he could find out a little more about us so he could decide where we should be sent. 


And the moment of truth.... I was chosen to be sent to Bismark, North Dakota! 
Assignments of the New Missionaries

There were eight sisters and seven elders that he had to chose where they would first serve. All of those people who I was with at the MTC, my MTC district, we were going our separate ways. 

It's crazy to think of them serving in such spread out places. 

We bonded so much in the MTC. I'm really gonna miss them. I can email the sisters, but not the Elders since we can't email those of the opposite gender who are in the mission boundaries. I drew a picture of where they're all going.


I'm glad I was among the first to leave though. Every six weeks, some people hop on 'the transfer train.' Basically, they drive from the mission home and drive to North Dakota for pickups and drop offs and loop back around down to Nebraska.

Are we there yet?!?!
And on day two, that's when the Wyoming people get picked up and dropped off. Pretty crazy.

So we left at 7 in the morning on Tueday, saying goodbye to my district, only being able to shake the Elder's hands in goodbye, and we were on our way.

It was snowing, so weird, it was very white on the way up, but when we got there it was green. The road looked like this (see picture):

 Pretty exciting huh!



The Dakota's idea of a "Circle K"
Though we did make a stop at a cute little shop.

The "Circle K in the middle of nowhere!"

Okay well, not really, but it was still close enough to reminding me of Circle K a lot.

 I miss you all my regulars!
















Hamlet, where have you been?

Oh, and Hamlet had his first adventure.

The wind kinda blew him away. lol


So after seven hours in the car, we got to Bismark, North Dakota!

I was the first one to be dropped off! Woo!

Oh, and we here in Bismark are two hours ahead of you Arizonians (during the summer and ONE hour in the winter--darn that daylight savings time thing), just to let you know.


I met my companion, Sister Easter, (or Sister Hiccup as I like to call her.  Seriously, she's been out ten months and she hiccups randomly and it only started for her when she started her mission lol), and we drove to the apartment, my home for the next while, maybe for the next nine months.
I was told that that's the new average on how long they are trying to keep people in an area now.

Here's pictures of the apartment.
  
So the first day was kind of a weird day. Well, first off, we went to visit some less active families and I don't know what it is, but the kids here are all SO CUTE!
I don't know, cuter than what they seem to be in Arizona. haha.

But after dinner we went to a member's house for a scarf/skirt burning. Say what now? a burning? Like, kill it with fire? Yep, that's what I mean. Apparently when Elders hit their year mark it's customary to burn a suit. So on the sister's half mark (nine months), we've decided to burn skirts or scarves.

Some sisters do pregnancy pictures, but we all agree here that that is not appropriate. We're trying to get rid of that custom.

There were two sisters who were at their half mark, one who was leaving in the morning and also Sister Easter burned a scarf.

But life in the mission field. Yep, it's pretty good, haven't had too hard of a time adjusting.

Cool story for the week:

We were going tracting (knocking on doors) on Wednesday.

My first tracting experience. And the first, the FIRST door we knock on, the man opens up and invites us in. That never happens!

He's a pretty lonely guy, doesn't have a lot of company, and yeah, he talked to us for two hours. I'm super impressed and proud of myself, because I was able to hit all the main points of the first lesson, and right out of the MTC? Yeah, I was proud of myself. =)

And then, to top it off, he attended a church meeting on Saturday! He's convinced that he needs to get to be a missionary like us. haha, we haven't quite had the time to explain to him that you can't really serve a full time mission after you pass age 25 if you're a male unless you go on a senior mission with your wife.

Another short story. We were waiting for this lady to show up for a graduation party thing she was putting together for her husband. She never showed up. But... I think we were actually at the wrong park. ...But! I did have fun trying to find the frogs which were croaking. I wanted to see the froooooooogs! But I couldn't find any.
A fluffy reed explosion!
Yummy! Reedwich!

But I was very intrigued by the reeds.

Sister Easter was laughing at me. And as soon as we walked away the frogs started croaking again.
Stupid frogs.
Taunting me.

I know you were there. lol



Oh, and one big thing. A historic event!

We had stake conference up in Minot this week, two hour drive, and the stake has grown SOOOO much in past four years that this Sunday they split the stake!

One more East, the other West. So that's a big thing!

Oh and it was awesome. All of the dad's were out in the hall on the side with the fussy kids. There were five of them.

The Five Guys.

And we're even going to eat at Five Guys tonight. Too awesome not to be shared.



Oh, and this also is too awesome not to be shared:

Hahahah!

Believe it or not, I didn't do that, it was already there!

Apparently the Sister two transfers before me loved Zelda and drew that. I'm not the only one! haha.

So this is what I see whenever Sister Easter and I study together. It's pretty fantastic. (Perhaps you could even call it an "Easter egg" lol)

That's it for this week, I'll update you again in the week coming!

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