Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013 - Gingerbread Fun!

December 30, 2013 - Bring on 2014

Happy New Years!!!
I LOVE YOU my dear family:)
Wow, it is crazy to think that 2014 is just around the corner! I have reflected this week on 2013 as many people do, and I consider myself so blessed to be where I am today, serving a mission for my Savior. I would have never believed someone, if one year ago, they were to tell me where I would be today. I am so thankful that I chose to serve a mission though, despite all of the hard times that have come as a result from that. I have been so blessed. It is really such a cool thing to be a part of the largest increase of missionaries in 1 year that this world has ever seen! I am so lucky.

It was really nice seeing all of you on Christmas. It was nice to see that most of you haven't changed that much from the last time I saw you. Chandler on the other hand took me completely by shock! I will admit, it was difficult to say goodbye again after talking but it is comforting to know that it will only be a short time before I am able to see and talk with you guys again. I am so blessed and looking forward to spending eternity with you lovely people:)

Thank you so much for all of the great Christmas gifts and letters!! I really appreciated it so much!! A missionary loves letters:) true story:)

Out for Lunch and Enjoying a treat!

I think I already shared this in Skype but I wanted to write about it for journaling purposes:) On Christmas Eve this year we got together as part of our zone and went caroling to several nursing homes. Most of them couldn't talk with us or weren't "all the way there" but it was a really neat experience to bring the spirit of Christmas to them. It is a tradition that I hope to do in the future because it was such an incredible experience. There were about 20 of us missionaries and the spirit was definitely there as we sang those Christmas hymns. It brought a lot of joy to those people and it made me feel at peace and happy, knowing that because of my small sacrifice, I was able to bless so many people in such a simple way. I love being a missionary!! If any of you that are reading this are questioning whether or not a mission is for you, I would advise you to seriously think about and pray about it! There is nothing that will stretch you the way a mission does and there is nothing that I could have been doing to bring me closer to my Savior in such a short amount of time. Honestly, a mission is great!!

For Christmas we ate lunch with the Frederick's and their extended family and went to a few member homes that evening to share Christmas messages with them. It was definitely so much different than any previous Christmas, but it was well spent:) We put together some Christmas goodie plates with Sister Cooper the previous week to deliver to lots of people:) so that was fun to deliver them to those families and see the children's faces light up:)

My companion and I were actually sick this past week from Thursday-Saturday with the stomach flu. We had to stay in for part of the day on Friday and Saturday which was torture! I remember I used to love staying home when I was sick but being on a mission is so different! I knew there were people out there that needed me and I had to stay inside instead because of my human weaknesses. but.. I am feeling much better now and working hard again!!! Don't you worry:)

So this week is Fast Sunday again:) My challenge will be the same one that I left a while ago with you guys:) Think about your reason for fasting this week so that when you actually fast, it will be meaningful. Find out what Heavenly Father would have you fast about this week. He will let you know as you ask in faith! I love you all!! I hope that you guys have a wonderful week and enjoy your New years eve and day!! My prayers are with you and I am sending my love your way:)  

I love you guys so much!! seriously I have the most amazing family! you are in my prayers each morning and night and I know that Heavenly Father is watching over you guys while I am away because I ask Him to. Keep going! you are strong! and so loved by me:)

With love,
a.k.a Sister Christensen:)
or.. your favoritest missionary:) haha

any of those work:)

December 23, 2013 - Merry Christmas!

My dear family!! I hope that everything is going well for you back home in Utah! I am so excited to see and talk with you on Christmas this week! that will be so great:) I am really looking forward to it!

This week has been pretty eventful with Christmas activities. It has been really great and busy!! As you know we had zone conference this week which was so great. It is always great to hear from President and Sister Weston! The whole thing was about the Atonement and I learned so much from it.

I went on exchanges with our new Sister Training Leaders, Sister Peterson and Sister Hamilton, this past Friday! It was so great! It was very cool because I went out with Sister Hamilton my first day here in Omaha about 2 months ago, so it was cool to see how much has changed in that short amount of time and how much I have grown and changed as a person. We saw a lot of miracles that day but there is one in particular that I want to share. His name is Jebadiah and he is so prepared! Sister Peterson and I were walking around in their area (Ralston) and we saw this guy a ways down the street. We decided that we needed to hurry and catch him and talk to him! so we basically ran down the street! haha it probably was pretty funny to watch this all take place as an outsider:) When we caught up to him and started talking to him he seemed really surprised. he said that his whole life he has been getting caught by Mormon missionaries and he cant get rid of them. He said that no matter where he goes in the world, they always seem to find him:) He has been meeting with the Elders I guess but has got to a point where he wasn't sure if this was the right thing for him and if he should continue meeting with him. He prayed that morning and asked Heavenly Father if this was the right path for him and if He saw Sister Missionaries than he would continue learning and be baptized. It was really funny because he thought that there wasn't such thing as sister missionaries. So when we saw him that day we taught a watered down version of the Restoration and committed him to be baptized! It was really cool to see how prepared Jebadiah was! This showed me that the Lord is so aware of us! He loved Jebadiah so much that He found a way for us to come in contact with him that day, to show him that God was aware of him. I love being a missionary! We see miracles like this all the time!! I love it!!

Last night we met a new potential investigator! We were visiting a less active in our ward and felt like we should go knock on some ones door and carol to them! So we did and it was really cool. She has a little boy maybe 4 years old. They don't really talk about religion very much in their home but he went and found a cross in her dresser drawers and asked his mom to tell him more about Christ. He wanted to know more about Him and what He was like. Right after that all happened is when we knocked on her door. She kind of just stood at the door in shock!! She was busy but we made a return appointment with her tonight at 7 so keep her in your thoughts and prayers!!

Christmas this year has been very different for me in comparison to all of my past Christmas's. I have found myself understanding Christmas and not just enjoying it. In my self centeredness I never imagined a Christmas day spent any other way than with my family. I now find myself 1000 miles away in a place that I never expected myself to end up in. But, I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve my Savior this Christmas. It is a remarkable privilege to share my testimony of the Savior and His love with everyone that I come in contact with. I want to share with you guys my testimony of the Savior. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us unconditionally and more than you could ever imagine. You are never alone because He has overcame everything that you will experience on a very personal level. He understands your pains, worries, and weaknesses and He will always be there for you to strengthen, comfort, and heal you. I have been so blessed to be a missionary and to feel of the love that He has for me, but also for the love that He has for the people that I am serving. Something that I have come to understand about the Atonement, is that when we understand it better, we have greater concern for "the one". In our lives, we are "the one". The Savior is ALWAYS there waiting for you to let Him help you. He loves you! Never hesitate to turn to Him. If you would like, there is a really great Mormon message. I think it is called Lifting Burdens:) You should watch it!!

Love you all so much!!! See you in 2 Sleeps!!!!

With love,
Sister Christensen

(your favorite missionary in Omaha) haha

December 16, 2013 - One More Week until Christmas

Hello Family!! Happy Birthday mommy!! I love you so much and I hope that you have a great day!! I love you guys and I couldn't have asked for a better family:) I hope that you are all enjoying this Christmas Season and remembering the real reason for the season:)  

Thank you for the 12 days of Christmas packages that you guys sent to me last week:) it has been so fun to open one each night after a long days work:) I have loved all of the gifts and thoughts that have been sent so far. My companion has as well:) thank you!! Love you!!

I want to reassure you all that the members here are taking good care of me this Christmas. The Fredricks (the members that we live with) are so good to us. They are actually doing the 12 days of Christmas for my companion and I as well:) so that has been really exciting to have so many people show that they care about us.

Last Monday we went with Sis cooper and got some things at Goodwills and some peppermint shakes:) she is so good to us! I love her so much and I am so thankful for her:)

We are working with a lot of less actives and recent converts right now so that is what most of my week was filled with. We are still working with the T's and they are doing great:) The O's are another family that we are working with right now. She has extreme anxiety around people but we are working through that:) She is planning on coming to Sacrament Mtg this next Sunday!! We are going to sit out in the hall with her during that part:)

I want you to know that this week I had a very spiritual and personal experience:) I know why I was called her to Omaha Nebraska. I have thought about who I am a lot recently.:) and who I have always been. Through this I have found out why I am called to serve here:) I'm really sorry its too personal and sacred to share right now, especially through an email. But at some point, I do plan on telling you guys of my experience:) it just may be after I get back so I can tell you in person:) But know, that I know that I am truly meant to serve here. This is where I am supposed to be and Heavenly Father is very aware of me.

Keep doing your missionary work back at home!! I know that as you pray for those opportunities and be willing to open your mouth, they will come to you:) It can seem scary and hard at first but I know that you can do it!! I love you!! See you 10 sleeps:)

P.S. Sorry this email is so short and scatterbrained. I had to prepare a talk on the Atonement for Zone Conference this week so that took a lot of my time typing that up:) I want you to know that you don't need to worry about me:) I am doing good and continue to be strengthened through the Atonement every day. I love you all!! see you soon!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013 - It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

Hey family! how are all of you doing back in Utah? Enjoying the cold weather? haha its been really cold here and we got quite a bit of snow this past week:) so that's been kind of fun:) except its so cold!! haha:) Christmas will be here very soon and I'll be able to talk with you guys so I am so excited for that!!! I look forward to hearing your voices and seeing you guys!!! Thank you for the letters and package that you sent:) Sorry I am a little behind on replying to everyone but it will get there eventually:)

This week was a really good week:) On Wednesday, we went to the young womens activity. They went up to the Trail Center to the Gingerbread display! It was so much fun and they had some of their non member friends come which was so great! The young women are really starting to warm up to us and it has been really cool to work with them and help them prepare for their missions! One girl got her call this week and she is going to Salt Lake City!! I will admit, I was a little jealous:) haha but I love Nebraska:) don't worry:) haha. Anyways, the gingerbread display is huge in Nebraska. Let's be honest, there isn't much else here so when they do this, they go all out. I took some pictures of some of them and so I will send them in the next couple of weeks for Christmas.

We did some service for our Primary President Sister Cooper this past week which was so much fun! She has been making Christmas gifts for them and needed some extra help. She is making a plaque that says the words of I am a Child of God on them for each of them. She has 142 active primary kids so its quite the project:) it was nice because it switched up everything a little bit:) It was nice to get crafty while doing some service:)

Today for part of our Preparation Day we are going with Sister Cooper to a Goodwills. She is taking us there and giving each of us $20 to spend there for Christmas from her. Then she is taking us for peppermint shakes afterward. I am pretty excited! I am lucky to be in such a great ward where the members are so good to us!

We are still working a lot with the T's, the less active couple in our ward. They are doing great! She found out that she is having a baby boy and she is due on april 1st! They are working towards going to the temple in a little under a year from now and I am so happy for them!! It has been such a joy and blessing to work with them and help them turn to the Savior. If they are the only people I helped while I was on a mission I would feel satisfied and so great! they are amazing!

The Christmas Devotional last night was so great! We started watching it a little late because our lesson before that ran late.. but it was so great! I loved Russell M. Nelson's talk. We all yearn for peace. No matter what our circumstances are, we all seek for it. The world has some substitute sources for peace and happiness but it doesn't last. The only constant source of peace comes through the Savior, the Prince of Peace. Peace will come to your soul as you strengthen your faith in the Prince of Peace. It doesn't matter what your circumstances are at this time, He can heal you. Turn to Him and trust in that promise. What can we give to our Savior around Christmas time in return for all that He has done for us? We can give Him our heart:)  

So we have a little over 2 weeks before Christmas and I want to extend you a challenge as a family. I want you guys to do some missionary work! Prayerfully think about who you guys could help bring closer to the Savior between now and Christmas. Read M Russell Ballard's talk from this past General Conference and reach out to at least one person between now and Christmas! You can do it!! Missionary work is actually really simple and easy! There are many simple ways that you can share your testimony with a friend, neighbor, or family member:) I love you guys! I know that you will receive great blessings from being involved in Missionary work!

Love you all so much!! (To the moon and back times infinity:) )

Sister Christensen

December 2, 2013 - 1/9th of the way done!

Hey family!! I love you guys so much!! Like seriously, I just love each of you so so so much!!! I hope that you had a Happy Thanksgiving this past week:)

Since I am sure that you are wondering, I had dinner on Thanksgiving with the members that we live with, the Fredricks. They are really great and she made delicious food. She had all of her children and grandchildren over as well for the dinner so it was really nice to be surrounded by family and children. It was difficult being away from home but I had great members watching out for me here. One really nice thing that Sister Fredricks did, was surprised me by making an attempted version of your orange jello salad, mom:) I'll be honest, it was far from what its normally like, but I was so touched that she did that for me:) She makes us feel really at home and loved:) So I am very lucky to live with such great members:)

Also on Thanksgiving we went over to the Broyles house and made some banana bread for some of our investigators and less actives in the ward:) that was really fun:)

Transfers happened this last week! We waited anxiously by our phone waiting to get the phone call that would tell us what would happen to us for the next 6 weeks of our lives:) I am staying in the Lakeview ward with Sister Frisina:) I'm actually really excited about this and I feel really good about it:) There are great things in store for us here:) I can feel it:)

This week was kind of hard and discouraging at some points...:) Our 3 "most promising" progressive investigators dropped us. C (the young boy that read the book of Mormon twice) told us that he didn't want us to come back anymore. That same day we went over to an investigators house, E. She is 9 years old and wants to be baptized and become a member so badly. She has had all of the discussions and believes everything. Her parents are atheist though and they have a problem with our churches stance on gay marriage. So they told us that we weren't allowed to come back and see E anymore. Also we took one of the loafs of banana bread that we made to Ev's house, our other young woman investigator. She has been living with her aunt but a family crisis came up and she had to move that day back to her home in Texas. It was really discouraging because this all happened on the same day. I was really sad and discouraged but I know that whether we are planting the seeds, or reaping the seeds, we are all called to the same work. I know that they have been given the experiences that they needed to accept the gospel at a later time.

On a positive note! We have another potential investigator! We went on  Tuesday with a member for team ups and we felt like we needed to go see our investigator K. She is 16. We got to her house and her sister answered the door and told us that K wasn't actually home. We talked to her sister though for a minute and asked if we could talk to her instead. It was really cool though because she had a lot of questions that she wanted to ask and she was really interested in what we believed in. So we taught her the first lesson and plan to go back sometime soon this week to follow up with her. Her name is S and she is 19. It's kind of interesting how most of our investigators have been youth aged. I really like it though!

Guess what happened yesterday!!! We got a call at 8:30 asking if we could teach young womens that day:) 10 minutes later we got a call asking if we could teach gospel principles/essentials (not sure what its actually called) Yea church started at 9 and we had to teach the two lessons. Yikes! haha I guess when you are a missionary, you are the default person for ward members to call! I couldn't believe that we had to teach two lessons the same day though with no time to prepare! The spirit was there though as we were teaching and both of them turned out really great! I was so relieved! One of the lessons was on charity. One thing that I realized that I haven't really noticed before, is that charity, and how strongly we feel the spirit, is connected. When we feel charity, we also feel the spirit. When we feel the spirit, we feel a strong sense of love and concern for others. As we increase our ability to feel pure love for others, our ability to have the spirit with us stronger increases as well. So for this week, I want you guys to try and find a way to increase in Charity. There are 4 ways in the lesson that you can do this. 1: Study the Life of the Savior. 2:Pray for it (Moroni 7:48) 3: Learn to love yourself. (Matthew 22:39) Something that stood out to me is that we can't fully love people, unless we love ourselves. 4: Avoid thinking that we are better than others. I want you guys to think of which of these 4 things you could better implement into your life and do it:)

I love you guys so much! I have been so blessed to be a part of such a great family! I love you guys dearly! You will always have a special part of my heart:) Don't worry about me:) Heavenly Father is taking good care of me here:) I am being protected and guided and He gives me tender mercies each day to know that He is mindful of me:)

Have a great week!

Sister Christensen

November 25, 2013 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Family!! Happy thanksgiving this week!! I hope that it is amazing and that you don't get too big from all of the food you will be eating:) haha:) I am so thankful for each of you so much! When I count my blessings, I hope that you know that you are on the top of my list:) I have such a great family and I am so thankful for each of you and for the many ways that you help support, encourage, and strengthen me from where you are at. It means the world to me and I couldn't do what I do without you:) THANK YOU!!!

This week was pretty good. I think things are starting to pick up and become more familiar for me. I still struggle with a lot of the same stuff but things are getting better. Can you believe that after this week I will have been gone for 2 months now? I can! haha Longest 2 months of my existence! haha:) oh well:) Hopefully time decides to speed up again soon!:)

Winter Quarters Temple

This past Friday, we were able to go to the temple and do an Endowment session together as a zone. It is always such an amazing experience to go to the temple and feel of the strong spirit that is there. President and Sister Weston came as well and they were both so loving and comforting to each of us. President Weston reassured me that homesickness is normal and he is actually really proud of me and says that I'm doing a great job:) He says that the holiday season is really tough on missionaries but if I can make it through the next couple of months, I will soar:) so that is comforting and reassuring:) In the Celestial room I kind of broke down, not because I was sad, well partially, but because the spirit is so strong in the temple. I just couldn't help but cry, knowing that I was in the house of the Lord and that I had ancestors there with me. (I did a family name and I had 3 other sisters do some for me) So I had 4 ancestors get there work done at the same time and you could feel the strong spirit that came from doing that and their presence there. It was a very neat experience.

Another experience helped me this week. It's kind of interesting but we were going to visit someone in one of the more run down areas that I serve in. We were in the car finalizing what we would teach on and everything and talking about the previous visit when all of the sudden I got the most horrible feeling inside and the Holy Ghost basically screamed at me to get out of that area. So I told my companion and we followed that prompting immediately. Not sure what could have happened but I'm glad that I will never find out:) That was a cool experience for me to have such a strong prompting and be able to recognize it. That has been a huge blessing from me serving so far. I am able to recognize the Spirit better and have a clearer mind. A lot of people wonder if what they are thinking or feeling is the Holy Ghost or them. Since I have been out I have noticed that every good thing comes from God and is inspired. Sorry I don't have my scriptures to tell you where that is.. maybe moroni 7? One thing that I started doing was every good thought or prompting I have gotten I have followed. There aren't always amazing results or miracles that follow, but I am able to show Heavenly Father that I am willing to follow anything He needs or asks of me to do. So here is my challenge for you this week:) I want you guys to strive to follow every prompting that you receive this week, no matter how small or large it seems. As you do this, you will be able to recognize the Spirit easier and it will be a great blessing for you. It is a really cool experience to feel the Holy Ghost work through you to touch other people. I have been blessed to see that on my mission so far in so many ways. I know that this church is true! I really do!

Derrick! Did you like my dating sheet I sent you? haha I loved it so you better love it too!! haha jk:) but really I think its great:) how is mission prep going? are you learning and retaining lots? One suggestion that I could give you is to study ch 3 in preach my gospel and practice teaching it at Family home evenings. I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of the gospel before I left but I really don't. There is so much more to learn and you will greatly benefit from knowing those really well! Thank you for your quiet example that you set for others of faith. You have been a great example to me all of my life but also through things that I hear you do from letters from home. I love you!!

Madelyn! I love you optimistic attitude! You are always trying to build others up and help them feel good about themselves:) I love that about you and I have been greatly blessed because of that:) For dance advice, just be confident in yourself! Cheryl doesn't look for flexibility or anything like that:) she has you improv:) so you can practice improv and being confident in yourself while you dance and you will be just fine! Your amazing! reality town sounds fun:) I'm excited to hear your talk:) you did a great job im sure:) you always do:)

Ryan! How is it going buddy? I love you!! One thing that I love about you is your courage to choose the right in any situation you find yourself in:) you are a friend to everyone and you have a strong desire to follow the Savior and do those things that will bring you closer to him:) Try to make the temple a priority in your life:) It will be a great blessing to you and others around you:) I love you!!

Ashley I love you!! I love that you are always joking around! I love my goof ball twinner so much!!! I love how you wore that Utah utes shirt for me at that game!! You are too cute!!

Emily I love you!! You have such a strong faith at such a young age! I loved the joke.. What illness do martial artists get? the kung flu!! it was so funny and I loved hearing those jokes!!

Jake thank you for those cookies!!! I loved it!! thank you for the pic you colored at church for me as well!!! it was so great! I love you my little man!! You are so helpful to mommy:) keep it up!

Mom and dad, you guys are just the greatest:) that is all there is to it:) I couldn't have asked for better parents and friends all of these years:) Thank you for all of the sacrifices you have made and continue to make for me:)

I love you all!!! I hope you have a great night and week and remember that you have someone in Omaha that loves you so much! more than you know! Love you!!

Sister Christensen:)