Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013 - Week 2 in Omaha

Hello my family!! I love you!!
How are you all doing? I miss and love each of you so much! I have made it another week! A lot has happened this week but it is hard to remember everything that I want to say to you when I get my hands on a computer:) Happy Halloween this week!! I am so excited to hear about the fun things that you guys do and what you choose to dress up like! Send me pictures! I would love to see your cute smiling faces and costumes:)
People in Omaha go a little crazy for Halloween. I don't like it! They have the creepiest decorations! There are skeletons crawling out of cemetaries, death eaters in the trees, etc. on like every yard. It is major creepy! I will be so thankful when Halloween has passed here!

Ive gained all of the weight back that I lost from my first week out here. We weren't able to go to the store my first week so I had to survive on white rice, white rice krispy cereal, and oatmeal. I'm dying from starvation!! haha So funny story, we didn't have any members feeding us our first week either because there haven't been sisters in the area lately so they hadn't passed around a food sign up thing for dinners. So I was so excited when Monday came around and I was able to eat with a member! Guess what they fed us? LAMB!!! EEWW!!

We went to this place to go out to eat and they cut up the animal and meat in front of you and you have to watch the whole process of it being cooked and it was gross! Then we had to eat it! I almost died im pretty sure!! Never having that again!
Thank you so much for the support and encouragement that you guys show me! It means so much to me! I love you guys with all of my heart! Thank you for the letters and the package that you sent this week. It was all perfect and exactly what I needed! you guys are the best!! Keep them coming!! Missionaries thrive on letters!
Mom and Dad, I love you!!! You guys are the BEST parents ever!! Im serious. I couldn't do this without the two of you!  I keep forgetting to tell you but I forgot to bring those PMG tabs that you bought for me to mark my scriptures with the lessons. Can you send me those sometime? thank you!
Ryan, how is your scripture study going? I thought of a good idea! Im going to send you one thing that I learn from my scripture study every week and I want you to do the same thing. You can do or say whatever you'd like. It can even be as simple as telling me a verse that you really liked. I think this will be a really cool way that we can remind each other and learn together! Anyone else that wants to do this in the family is welcome to as well!
Maddy, thank you for the letter!!! I loved it and I love you!!! you are fabulous! have you signed up for dance yet?
Emily, how is your scripture reading going? I was so proud of you when I found out that you had started reading it and set the goal to read it while im gone!! Keep it up!!
Ashley, are you enjoying all of your Utah clothes? Haha I miss wearing it all so keep good care of it for me! I love you my little twinner!
Derrick, come to know the Savior! That is the best advice I can give you! Seriously, missionary work is hard. So hard. But if you turn to the Savior, it is possible. Learn to do that now:)
Chan Chan! Stop growing up!!
Jacob! I heard that you went on a field trip and road a pony! So fun! I love you and our special pictures that we took before I left are hanging up on my wall. I love seeing your silly faces everyday! It makes me so happy! I am on a mission because I love you so much and I want to help other kids just like you so that they can know that they are children of Heavenly Father too!
I helped with activity days this week and that was fun:) We made pumpkins by covering up toilet paper rolls with fabric and stuff. It was cuter than It sounds. It was a lot of fun being around children again.
My testimony of the Atonement has grown very much in this week, both from personal experiences and how it has effected others as well. Long story short, I was having a really hard time. I didn't know if I could do it anymore. I realized that I was trying to handle too much on my own. I wasn't turning enough to my Savior like I needed to. Once I turned to my Savior and have continued to, things have gotten better. The challenges and situations haven't changed at all. In some ways they have actually gotten worse, but my ability to handle them and push through them has increased. I was reading in D&C 100 this week one day in my personal study and came across a couple of verses that I'd like to share with you. You will have to read it on your own time but a few thoughts that stood out to me. In verse 1: He gives comfort saying that your families are well and that they are in the Lords hands. This gave me so much comfort as I read it and I knew that Heavenly Father was watching over my loved ones back home for me while I was away. Also, verses 3-6: He has sent me here for a specific purpose. He knows my companions, my mission president, my investigators, me, etc. perfectly. He knows what challenges I will go through and need to go through to become the person I need to be. He has promised to stand by me. Verse 12 was the one that really helped me the most though. It was at a point where I wasn't sure if going forward was the right thing and if I could really do it. It says, "Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end." This gave me so much comfort and helped me to know that even though being on a mission is incredibly hard, this is where I need to be and He will be with me to strengthen me every moment until the end of my mission, and even after that too:) Verse 15 is great too. I just loved this section and read it at the perfect time.
We are helping a less active family, the T's right now. They have had a very rough couple of years because of personal choices. I was able to share a message of the Atonement with them. It was a very powerful experience and the spirit was so strong. I was able to bare testimony that they have a loving Savior that gave His life for them. I shared Alma 7:11-13 with them and told them that no matter what they were experiencing, they have a loving Savior that knows exactly what they are going through and as they turn to Him, He will give them the strength to push forward and change. I love my Savior so much and am so thankful for Him in my life. I truly have come to figure out that I really do need him EVERY hour.
This week is fast sunday! Try to think of the reason that you want to fast for throughout this week so that it can be more meaningful:) Keep praying!! Stay strong! Know that I love you each so much!!
Love your favorite missionary;)
Sister Erica Lynn Christensen

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 21, 2013 - I'm in Omaha!

Hey family!! I love you!!

How are you all doing? I'm so happy that today is pday! I have missed you guys so much and I am so thankful for email communication so that I can talk with you guys! This has been a crazy week. I don't even know where to begin. Last Sunday was a really cool experience being in the MTC. Bonnie L. Oscarson the General YW President came and spoke to us and it was great! It was basically about how when the Lord asks or calls us to do something, he ALWAYS provides a way for us to accomplish it through the enabling power of the atonement. 2 people can accomplish anything as long as 1 of them is the Lord. That was a perfectly timed message considering I left the next morning to go out in the field. We woke up at 2 on Monday morning getting ready to head out. We took the front runner at 3:30 so we were all really tired:) It made for a long day of flying but It was so great to talk with you guys on the phone! It was hard im not going to lie but it was so great to hear your voices and encouragement!! I really appreciate all of your support to me!

MOM! get on facebook and become friends with Zoe Anne Weston!! She is the mission Pres wife and she posts pictures of us on there for our family!

When we arrived in Omaha there was a crazy storm welcoming us in:) I have never seem so much thunder and lightning and rain in my life in one setting! Its crazy! There are literally rivers running down the street and the sky was purple with all of the lightning.. I am definitely not looking forward to the winters here.. haha but all is well:)

So I am serving in west Omaha in an area called Lake View. It is really pretty and the people here are very wealthy. There are a lot of trees in Omaha which I didn't expect! Its really green and pretty:) So I live in a members home and it is really nice. My trainer is Sister Frisina from Arizona.

We were able to go to the Trail Center on Tuesday and go on a tour. It is by the temple grounds and it is so pretty! On the temple grounds there is the cemetery with a lot of the pioneers buried that died there. There is such a special spirit on the temple grounds there because of that that you don't find anywhere else. After all of that we teamed up with another missionary and went on splits. My first tracting experience was getting a knife pulled on me.. That was welcoming..:) haha the guy was a little crazy and he hasn't had a good experience with Christians in the past. So He said, "I've got my eyes on you and my hand on this.." as he pulls out a knife. So we ended the conversation and quickly went off:) haha but don't worry I'm safe:) That night we had dinner at the Mission Pres home and had a testimony mtg before we got our calls where we were headed.. :) It was a very spiritual experience. It is always amazing being surrounded by so many missionaries.

Thank you for the emails! im going to read them later so it doesn't take up my email time and I'll reply later! Thank you though!! I really appreciate it!

The address of the home I am living in is:
16611 L Street
Omaha, NE 68135

I think I'm sending home pictures today through mail.. so hopefully that gets to you soon:) 

Sister Erica Lynn Christensen

Friday, October 18, 2013

MTC Companions

Sister Reidhead is from Kanab, Utah.  She is going to Omaha with me.  She is the one in the blue shirt.

Sister Heaton is from Payson, Utah.  She is going to Portland, Oregon for her mission.  She is in the orange.

We make a great companionship!

October 11, 2013 - 2nd week in the MTC

Hey Family!! I love you!!! 

This week has been really crazy:) I can't believe that I have already been here for over a week and I'll be leaving in just over 2 days! Time flies and goes so terribly slow all at the same time! The days are so long but the weeks are short! I have had the flu this week. So that wasn't fun. It is really cool that people can tell I'm a missionary without a name tag on. They say they can see it in my eyes, I don't need the tag for them to tell. That was a pretty cool thing for them to say and it is humbling. But I got a blessing and I'm doing well now. I was able to go to the temple today again! So that is always fun! I'm hoping to send pictures today, so we'll see how that goes:) I have so much to tell you but I don't even know where to begin... so here it goes!

General Conference was amazing in the MTC!! It was incredible being surrounded by so many missionaries! Everytime we stand and sing the spirit is so strong! I love it when we stand and sing Called To Serve!!! On Sunday night we had a devotional and Vocal Point came and sang to us! It was amazing! 

Also that night we watched the talk titled the Character of Christ by Bednar!! My life is changed! Christ was the perfect example of turning outward and helping others when He had every right to turn inward and feel bad for Himself. In my studying right now I am reading the scriptures and marking anything that has to do with the Character of Christ. (I bought a little book of mormon to do this in) I love studying the life of the Savior. I have grown a lot closer to Him this past week. 

Thank you for the letters and packages!! They are all great and give me motivation and encouragement to keep going! I always love days when I get to hear from back home! 

Our main investigator, Christian, is slowly coming around. I can't remember if I've told you about him or not so I'll share a little bit about him with you. He studies theology and youth ministry. So he is very familliar with all of the different religions. So that's a little intimidating because I don't know very much about a lot of the other religions. He knows the facts but isn't really willing to find out for himself if its true or not. But he has made great progress since we first started teaching him. And..He committed to be baptized when he feels that it is true. I have learned so much from teaching and helping him. It is so important that we have the spirit with us because that is the real teacher. It's not so much what you do in the lessons, its what you do outside of the lessons. It is important that we read the scriptures, pray, and do the little things that invite the Spirit to be in our lives all the time. 

Oh before I forget.. rumor has it that I might get to call you on monday! No promises but I will really try!! I'm leaving the MTC at 3:30 am on monday morning!! I have to take the front runner so wish me luck! If I'm able to call I will call your cell phone mom! So keep it close to you! I'm guessing it will be between 5 or 6 but I have no clue!! Sorry! My flight leaves a little after 8 I believe..:) 

Dad, I hope you have a great birthday this next week if I don't talk to you before!!! I'll be thinking about you! I love you!!

As a family, watch the mormon message titled Lifting Burdens! It is great!! I want you all to think of the relationship you have with Christ, how He has helped you, and what you each can do individually to gain a better relationship with Him. 

I want you all to know that I know this church is true! I really feel so strongly that it is! I have never felt the spirit so strongly in my whole entire life! It is incredible! I know that we have a father in Heaven that loves us more than we could ever imagine! He wants to hear from us. It doesn't matter what mistakes you have made, how far gone you think you are, how you look, how much money you make, etc.. He will ALWAYS love you and ALWAYS be there for you! All you have to do is pray to Him and you will feel His love that He has for you! I love this gospel and the joy that it brings to my life and others. I am excited for this next chapter in my life as I head out to Nebraska. I know that there are people there that are prepared and getting prepared for me to help them. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. My purpose is to bring soulds to Him.  This is not my mission. It is the Lord's. I am just standing in proxy for Him.

I love you all!! I have the greatest family and friends!! You have been so supportive of me since I have been out and I am so thankful for that! Thank you!! 

With Love,

Sister Erica Lynn Christensen!

October 4, 2013 - The MTC

Hey Everyone!!! I love you all so much! I have so much to tell all of you and I don't even know where to begin! The first day of the MTC I was so blessed. After they took me off I was able to focus on what I am doing and didn't experience homesickness problems. Don't get me wrong!! I miss and love you all like crazy! Heavenly Father and Christ are just supporting me and helping me through this great transition. 

Who's excited for conference tomorrow?!?! I know I am!! It will be a great experience.

You are constantly learning here! It's hard to soak everything in! Its really like trying to drink from a fire hydrant:) haha

The Spirit is so strong here! I can't even believe it! Everyone is so happy and looking out for each other. I have great companions! I have Sister Reidhead from Kanab and Sister Heaton from Payson! They are amazing and I just LOVE serving with them. Sister Reidhead is coming to Nebraska with me and Sister Heaton will be serving in Portland Oregon. It will be really hard to say goodbye to her because we have grown so close in the short time that we have been here. I have taught 5 investigators so far since I have been here. They are Arnold, Jose, George, Ian, and Christian. Christian is our primary investigator that we prayed about and decided to focus on the most as a companionship. It was very humbling when we learned about our investigators. They gave us the stories of Russell, Christian, and Brian and told us that we needed to pray as a companionship to figure out who we were supposed to teach. Initially all of us said that we didn't want to teach Christian but at the end when we prayed, Heavenly Father humbled us and let us know that Christian was who we should focus on. Heavenly Father knows who we need to teach and help and will direct us as we seek His will for them. One thing that is truly amazing is feeling the love that our Heavenly Father has for each of His children. He loves them all so much and it is amazing that He is allowing us to feel that love for them. 

Sleeping has been a struggle here but I am confident it will come eventually:)   Thank you all for the support you give to me! It means so much to me! I love each of you so very much!! Keep up the great work! Mom, things are great and you have no need to worry about me! I will be just fine:) You can do this! 

Oh! While I remember, I forgot my navy blue blazer, white slip, coral cardigan, and not sure what else yet:) so if you find them, send them to me:) Im not sure if i will keep my shoes or not from sister missionary mall. I wore them just my first day and I have huge blisters all over my feet:) haha so we'll see if that improves. 

I have seen several people that I knew while i have been here which was a great blessing. When I first got dropped off and was getting my things I ran into Sister Howe (Ali's mom from dance showcase that volunteers here), Sister Bateman who went to high school with me who volunteers here, and Sister Crandall from Lehi High School is in my Zone! Awe, gotta love those tender mercies! 

I thought that you would like to know that I have fallen twice now and got stuck in an elevator! haha You have to use this card to get in everything and if you don't get the timing of it right when you swipe it, it doesn't work. Haha my missionary struggles:)  

Wow! I am a missionary! this is real life! and its a great life! I am doing my best and will continue to work hard and trust that Heavenly Father has great things in store for me in Omaha:) I know that this church is true! It really is! After the spirit that I have felt here, I can't deny it:)