Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Giddy all night, life felt very fragile, the miracle of Tom and Ting, what is real

Thank you, Sister Huang!

January 26, 2015

Sister Worthen and me "killing" Sister Huang -- 
missionary slang for being the final companions for 
a missionary when she completes her mission
Dear family and friends,

Giddy all night
I experienced my first transfer call last night. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but my companion and I had been nervous all week.

Sister Huang went home yesterday. I'm so proud of her! She served a great mission and now she's back with her family in Taiwan.

But that left Sister Worthen and me... and we get along so well we really didn't want to be separated! We also absolutely love this area, all our investigators, and everyone in our ward so we really didn't want to move to a different area. We finished our planning and gave our report at 9 am, so we expected them to get back to us quickly about where we'd be going.

When it takes a long time, that usually means you're leaving because it takes a long time for them to figure out the information of where/when you'll be getting picked up, etc. 

silly goodbyes

Our phone didn't ring until 9:45 am.  So at this point we started to get a bit nervous and started thinking that maybe we were being transferred. 

But it turns out we're staying in Moscow!!! (So it will be just Sister Worthen and me in the apartment:)

We were giddy all night.

We stayed up super late talking and we couldn't fall asleep because we were so happy.

But everyone else in our district is leaving so that part is kind of sad :(

Goodbye district!
Life felt very fragile
I'm not sure how, but I totally forgot to share about this last week! It was a super intense event. Last week, new missionaries and their trainers all drove to Spokane for a training meeting. So our trio went and it was a really good meeting. One of the things I remembered was President Mullen said something along the lines of "Coincidences are really just miracles people don't give God credit for." I was thinking about this on the car ride home. 

I had just woken up from a nap when a minute later, this huge car crash takes place literally right in front of us. I don't think I had ever witnessed an accident like that before. I can't remember exactly what happened--just that it was really scary. In that moment, life felt very fragile.

Somehow 3 cars all collided and one of them flipped and went flying at least 60 feet away all the way down a hill on the side of the highway. We immediately pulled over and it was my first time calling 911-- so that was exciting!

I just remember how amazed I felt that it wasn't us. It very easily could have been! Sister M. was driving us home and she was in a rush to take her daughter to her dance class, so the entire drive she had sort of been passing people and speeding up. If we had been literally one car ahead, or even 10 feet closer, it would have been us in the accident. Especially because it's an hour and a half drive, it doesn't seem like any maneuver will make that much of a difference, but if she had been going even 2 mph faster, we would have been hit. I'm not sure why those 3 cars got hit. We don't have all the answers, not even missionaries! 

Heavenly Father loves his missionaries.  He was watching out for us.
But I do know that Heavenly Father loves his missionaries and that He was watching out for us. 
Never before had I felt such love and protection. The missionary shield is real! I felt it that night for sure. God is so good to us! I know He loves each of His children.

The miracle of Tom and Ting
Our investigator Ting was baptized last Saturday! It was such a sweet experience. Any baptism is, but the backstory makes this especially neat. 

Ting and Tom have been married about 10 years. Tom has been a military guy all his life. He served in Iraq and other places for much of his life. I won't go into the graphic descriptions that he gave us, but basically he's seen a lot of things. Horrible things -- the type you don't really think exist in the world, except you've heard of it before, but then it turns out they really are true.

He's the type who has a hard shell and was very, very angry with the world for a long time because of the things he experienced and the type of injuries that happened to him while serving. All of this led to a certain type of living that does not bring happiness. Basically, go down the list of all the commandments and he has broken each one of them. He wasn't in a good place. 

One night he was out with his friends and one of them suggested that he put his profile up on a dating website because he had just gone through a divorce. Because he was so drunk, he agreed. The next day, he had 97 requests and so he sent a message to all of them saying "I'm dirt poor. I'm working 2 jobs. If you're looking for a marriage to get into this country or a marriage for money, look somewhere else." Of all the 97, one person wrote back the next day. Ting. 
New life

She was in China looking for love like him. They dated online and decided to get married. This was a hard process to get visas and such because he found out he had to go to Iraq for 2 more years. So Tom flew to China, they got married, she came home with him, then he returned back to Iraq. She didn't know any English at all and lived with her mother-in-law in Idaho until he came back 2 years later. 

With Ting, he started turning his life around. Fast forward years and years, the missionaries met Ting. She agreed to take the missionary lessons, she came to know the gospel was true, and agreed to get baptized.

We've been meeting with her every week since I arrived here and she is so great! She has so much faith. But she's also incredibly shy and anxious. She has the quietest voice you've ever heard! I have never met a couple that is more different. But they're so happy together and so good to each other. 

Every time we went over, Tom played his video shooting games while we talked to Ting in the kitchen. Each time we invited him to join us, or turn down the TV, but he always said no. I thought he had no interest whatsoever. But while we were helping Ting try on her baptismal clothes, Tom mentioned that he would be the one baptizing her. I was so shocked! 

This man has not set foot in a church for 27 years. I have heard his stories of how he has forsaken God over and over again in the middle of the desert.  But it turns out he has spent a lot of time trying to make things right in his life again. 

What is real
The Atonement is real. Forgiveness and change are real. It was such a good reminder to me that we never know what people are going through. I had no hope for Tom. I thought he was a nice guy, but I thought he would never be interested. But we never know what's going on inside someone's head. 

I didn't know he was reading his scriptures every day and spending hours on his knees begging God for forgiveness of all the things he had done. I know Heavenly Father sent Ting to Tom. 

I know Heavenly Father is merciful and that He loves us and that this is His work. This was a miracle and would not have worked any other way, if any one thing had been different. 

If Sister Huang had not been here, if nobody had approached Ting, or if she had taken the discussions in English, this never would have worked out. 

It was beautiful to see Tom baptize his wife and the Spirit was so strong. I'm so excited for their new life! I can't wait to see what else is in store for them :) 

Love to you!
Sister Hancock
the volleyball squad

Mexican dinner with Sister Randall

Thank you for this dress in my Christmas box :)


  1. Thank you for sharing these beautiful accounts. What a sweet conversion for Ting and Tom. we're so thankful you are safe!

  2. Totally felt the Spirit! I'm so happy to see you so thrilled out there!