Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014 - Highlights of my Amazing Life

Hello my dear family:)

I hope that everything is going very well for you! I hope that you had a Happy Valentines Day!! Hope you had a happy birthday ryan!! Maddy, I have a letter coming for you, but with it being President's day yesterday and the mail behind, I am not sure if it will make it on your birthday or not.. If it doesn't I am really sorry!! I had a good last half of the week:) It has been amazing to say the least:) Let me share with you a few of the great things that happened:)

First off.. guess what??!!? it was 64 degrees outside as we walked into the Library!! Hallelujah!!
haha its a very dramatic change to what its been like lately! I am so thankful for the sunny skies here in Omaha today!

So on Valentines day, we went to the temple as our missionary zone!! What a perfect day to have the temple trip fall on:) It was absolutely wonderful! There is nothing like being in the temple and doing the work for ourselves and our family members that have passed on. It is amazing! I was able to give the names out to several fellow missionaries that you sent me so the work was done for all 8 females:) I will send them back to you sometime this week:) There is such a special spirit when you do the work for your own ancestors:) Oh and I was able to see the "new, new" video!! The one that just came out last week apparently! I didn't realize that there was another new one! It was really good:) I liked having a variation and trading between the 2 new ones because I felt like I was able to learn more and get more incites out of it that I hadn't picked up on before:) It was really cool:)

Yesterday was the BEST preparation day ever!!! Not even kidding:) With it being Presidents day, we had a little extra time yesterday due to the fact that we weren't emailing yesterday.. so us and the millard sisters (Sisters Rasmussen and Willis) went to the amazing pizza machine!! It's very similar to a chuck-e-cheese or something like that. There is a big lunch buffet, arcade games, bumper cars, rides, laser-tag, etc:) Haha so we had a blast!! We played a game of laser tag with just us four sisters:) It was awesome!! I had 3 slurpees as well!! Delicious!! It brought back so many great memories with the younger kiddos:) We did a photo at a picture booth while we were there so I will try to send you a pic of that today while im emailing:) haha it was so much fun!! And we got permission to play the dance dance revolution game there:) I won:) haha so that's all that matters:) The Zone Leaders are trying to get permission to get together as a district next pday and go there again.. but im not sure if that will get approved:)

Today we had our last district meeting before transfers so it was pretty sad to know that it was coming to a close. This has been the absolute BEST district of my mission so far! We have gotten really close to the other sisters:) (Sister Rasmussen and Sister Willis) and the Elders. haha I finally remembered to include this.. Elder Demke from Lehi has been one of my zone leaders this transfer:) So that has been really entertaining for all of you that know him:) Haha I have loved it!! The Zone Leaders got permission to go to lunch as a district today which was really fun for a change:) (As a mission rule we aren't allowed to eat lunch or do anything with both Sisters and Elders together) So it was really neat to be able to go today:) We went to a Mexican place called La Mesa:) It is very similar to Guadalahonkeys:) So it was really yummy:)

Yes, transfers are this week.. Im really hoping that nothing changes with my companionship and the other companionships in our district. But.. we'll see what happens:) We will get a phone call sometime on Thursday letting us know what will happen to us for the next 6 weeks of our lives and then transfers will happen about 7:30 on Friday morning. Can you believe its already time for transfers again? This transfer flew by it feels like:)

Oh, some exciting news:) The millard sisters are moving in with us tonight!!! Just for about a week:) The members that they are living with right now have some family coming to stay with them.. so they are coming to stay at our house through next Monday:) So that will be a par-tay!! haha

Funny moment in a lesson this week: We were at a members home, the G’s, and we were teaching about the Book of Mormon. In a verse that we read, the word ignorance was in it. So.. we checked for understanding and asked them what they thought ignorance meant:) Right away, their 3 year old boy answered, "Uh.. Parents?!?" haha we all just about died laughing:) It was a pretty perfect answer:) haha

M T's baby shower is this Saturday! I can't believe that she is already 8 months along! That baby boy will be here before we know it! I hope I'm here to meet him when he comes, but if I'm not, I know that that is Heavenly Father's will. Haha I will just have to come back and visit in a year and a half or so:)

Mari Simpson (the yw preparing to serve a mission) Leaves in like 3 weeks!!! She reports to the Provo MTC on March 12th! She is going down early though to stay with some family:) It is coming quick!! So it is really cool being on this side of the situation and being the one that is encouraging the future missionary to be:) haha It is much nicer!! Seriously, a mission is great!! Do everything you can to live worthy of it because it is seriously one of the best things you could be doing!! I love it:) The work is difficult, but so worth it!

Oh Yea!! How could I almost forget? We had zone training this past Wednesday! We are doing what is called "The Mission Olympics". It is a series of events (sit ups, push ups, stick pull, ladders, and curl ups) that we all compete in. We compete first in our zones and they have a Sister and an Elder that wins from each event. Then they have those winners compete against other zones until we have a champion:) Hope that made sense:) So guess what?? I was the winner for the Sisters in Sit ups!!! (Just for my zone so far) I got 102 in 3 minutes:) I will be competing against 2 other sisters at zone conference this next week. Wish me luck! I'm starting to train:) better late than never right? haha It's a little pathetic:) I was so sore those first couple of days after it! My stomach muscles were honestly torn apart! I couldn't move, it hurt to breathe, laugh, etc:) It reminded me of a horror movie:) or Hell. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth going on when it was time to get up in the morning:) haha it took all of our strength to make it out of bed:) haha So mom, on facebook, Sister Weston said that she was going to be posting some pictures from that:) You should look on there and see if any of them are up yet:) one funny moment that she might put a picture on of.. Is of Sister Rasmussen, Sister Winterton, and I doing stick pull with Elder Demke. It took all 3 of us but we were able to win him!! haha It was pretty sweet:)

Thank you for the Valentines day package that you sent!!! It was wonderful!! the owl theme was so adorable!! I loved the hot chocolate! I have actually been wanting some of that!! They don't sell very much hot chocolate here in Nebraska.. Apparently a lot of the brands that we normally get are Utah only.. Weird.. :) But thank you so much!! I loved the letter, card, scarf, mug, candy, talks, etc!! It was perfectly perfect!! thank you much!! haha

Something that stood out to me this past week was in the temple. In a few instances, they are told "go and be happy". In Second Nephi chapter 2, we read that "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." I think we often tend to overlook that last part of the verse. We are to have joy!

Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave a talk titled "The Tongue of Angels" in the April 2007 general conference. In it, he states, "I love what Elder Orson F. Whitney once said: “The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things. The opposite or pessimistic spirit drags men down and away from God, looks on the dark side, murmurs, complains, and is slow to yield obedience.”    We should honor the Savior’s declaration to “be of good cheer.”   (Indeed, it seems to me we may be more guilty of breaking that commandment than almost any other!) Speak hopefully. Speak encouragingly, including about yourself. Try not to complain and moan incessantly. As someone once said, “Even in the golden age of civilization someone undoubtedly grumbled that everything looked too yellow.”

I have often thought that Nephi’s being bound with cords and beaten by rods must have been more tolerable to him than listening to Laman and Lemuel’s constant murmuring.     Surely he must have said at least once, “Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.” Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse."

I love that!! So I'm not saying this to make you feel bad if your language or attitude isn't always great:) We all struggle at times to find the hope and happiness that we seek for. But, we should be happy:) Look around:) We are so blessed:) I am so blessed:) I have an amazing family and friends back home that support me:) I have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation:) and I have a loving Savior that seeks to comfort, strengthen, and love me unconditionally:) I may not be around my mortal father at this time, but my Heavenly Father hears my prayers and watches over my family and I while I'm here. I have so many more things that I am grateful for:) but that would take all day to type out:) I want you to know that I am happy:) Quite honestly, happier than I have ever been my whole life! I am so thankful and privileged to be a part of Hastening the Lord's work!! It is an exciting time to be alive and an exciting time to be a missionary!! There are so many things that we have to be happy and grateful about:) I would challenge you each to take a moment at the end of each day and find something that happened that day that was great:) Find a tender mercy or a miracle that happened that day that showed you that Heavenly Father was aware of you:) There are so many things that happen each day that show this:) I promise you that as you look for the good things, you will be more happy! I have seen this in my own life as I find a miracle or tender mercy each day in my own life:) Heavenly Father is aware of us and He loves us unconditionally:)

I love you!! Have a great week and know that I love you!!

Sister Christensen 

February 10, 2014 - Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!
Hello my dear family!! I hope that all is going well with you back in Utah:) Things have been challenging this week in Nebraska, but I have been strengthened and comforted through those times:)

First, some updates that have happened this week!!
J Mc has now gone 15 days sober!! It has been a miracle! The Elders are working very closely with him and he is making so much progress! He came to Sacrament Meeting yesterday! I almost fell off of the stand with happiness when I saw him walk through the doors:) He says he is not ready to be baptized right now with all of the life changes that he is making. He wants to feel more stable and change things around before he takes on another commitment. He is doing awesome! Keep him in your prayers:) The spirit is working very heavily on J right now! :)

We were able to do a lot of service this past week! We did some service for the Maldinados again. We were making jewelry and dream catchers for their tribe to use in a fundraiser. It has been pretty cool!

We got some snow this week which was also an adventure! Our cars were grounded for about 24 hours. (meaning that we couldn't drive them at all) So we walked around a lot and shoveled a lot of driveways and side walks:) We did several less active members, active members, and just random ones that hadn't been done yet. It was a lot of fun doing so much secret service, but ill be honest, my back wasn't as thrilled about it all:) haha

So a funny story that happened yesterday at church. We were in Relief Society and sister Burdick was giving the lesson. It was on the Plan of Salvation. She was talking about the Resurrection and how her husband wanted to be cremated and spread across the Colorado mountains once he passed on. She said in a bold and quirky voice "that ain't happening!! There is no way that I am going to stand around after being resurrected waiting for you to go around looking for all of your pieces!!" It was pretty funny! I laughed a lot:) Maybe you had to be there:) 

I think I did well on my talk yesterday:) I always critique myself and give me a hard time, but my companion and several people in the ward said I did well, so Im trying to trust their judgement:) haha

Sorry not a lot of cool stories from the week.. It was rough:) but I learned a lot in my studies this week so I wanted to share one of the talks I read:)  

So I read a talk this morning in my studies called Lessons from Liberty Jail, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I would highly recommend that you read the full talk! It is really amazing and powerful! I have included several parts of his talk that I really liked:) When you have time, look up the rest:) sorry the thought is a little more long winded this week:) haha here we go.. 
"Most of us, most of the time, speak of the facility at Liberty as a “jail” or a “prison”—and certainly it was that. But Elder Brigham H. Roberts, in recording the history of the Church, spoke of the facility as a temple, or, more accurately, a “prison-temple.”8 Elder Neal A. Maxwell used the same phrasing in some of his writings.9 Certainly it lacked the purity, the beauty, the comfort, and the cleanliness of our true temples, our dedicated temples. The speech and behavior of the guards and criminals who came there was anything but templelike. In fact, the restricting brutality and injustice of this experience at Liberty would make it seem the very antithesis of the liberating, merciful spirit of our temples and the ordinances that are performed in them. So in what sense could Liberty Jail be called a “temple”—or at least a kind of temple—in the development of Joseph Smith personally and in his role as a prophet? And what does such a title tell us about God’s love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are made manifest?
As we think on these things, does it strike us that spiritual experience, revelatory experience, sacred experience can come to every one of us in all the many and varied stages and circumstances of our lives if we want it, if we hold on and pray on, and if we keep our faith strong through our difficulties? We love and cherish our dedicated temples and the essential, exalting ordinances that are performed there.
You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced.
Now let’s talk about those propositions for a moment. Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.
(Speaking of praying to our Heavenly Father he continued) He does hear us. He does see us. Hedoes love us. When we are in dire circumstances and want to cry “Where art Thou?” it is imperative that we remember He is right there with us—where He has always been! We must continue to believe, continue to have faith, continue to pray and plead with heaven, even if we feel for a time our prayers are not heard and that God has somehow gone away. He is there. Our prayers are heard. And when we weep He and the angels of heaven weep with us.
When lonely, cold, hard times come, we have to endure, we have to continue, we have to persist. Keep knocking on that door. Keep pleading. In the meantime, know that God hears your cries and knows your distress. He is your Father, and you are His child.
We are not alone in our little prisons here. When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.
Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised:
I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. [D&C 84:88]
That is an everlasting declaration of God’s love and care for us, including—and perhaps especially—in times of trouble."
I know that our Heavenly Father is very aware of us. Sometimes we have things happen to us that are challenging and you are unsure of where to turn or how to get through it. But I promise as you turn to your all-knowing, unconditionally loving Father, you will receive the strength, comfort, and peace to make it through any challenge triumphantly. Our Savior suffered and personally experienced everything that we would face so that we wouldn't have to go through any trial alone. He has already done that. The times that I have been happiest in my life, is when I turn to my Savior through the good and the bad times. It is not the adversity that defines you, it is what you do with the adversity that we are given. As we remember our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ and turn to them in every situation, they can and will strengthen us, comfort us, love us, and lift us up. They can change our characters and refine us to become more like them, and in turn, better able to handle future situations. I know that my Redeemer lives. That is one of my favorite songs now! I have truly come to understand how much I truly do need my Savior. He is always there for me. And we do need him every single hour of every day. Never hesitate to turn to Him! I have never felt closer to my Heavenly Father before. That promise above is true! The Lord is with us, carrying us, and angels surround us (both seen and unseen) to lift us up! You are known. You are important. You are loved.
Happy Valentines day this week!! Happy Birthday Ryan!!
Love you all!!

Sister Christensen:)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 3, 2014

Wow!!! what a week:) This was a more trying week of sorts:) but all is well still here in Nebraska:) I love being a missionary and feeling the spirit so much! I love how I can go up to random strangers all of the time and share my testimony with everyone:) I love how I have so much time to study the Book of Mormon and other church material every morning. There is never enough time to study it feels like:) Isn't a mission great? I love it:) well.. onto my week:)

Last Preparation day we went with the Millard Sisters (Sister Rasmussen and Willis) to go to the members home that invited us to go to the Pow Wow and serve. (the Maldinados) They are Native American's and we had a great time learning about their culture! We made dream catchers while we were there so I will have to send you a picture:) They turned out pretty sweet for a first timer I think:)

We have started up our normal routine of going with Sister Cooper again which is always a highlight of my week! We went to lunch at a place called Mimi's CafĂ© and it was fantastic! She bought us a plate that had 3 desserts on it to share! I was in Heaven! None of the waiters or waitresses or people in the restaurant were interested in our message.. but Hey.. It was worth a shot:) We tried anyways:)

We were able to see and keep an appointment with Sister R! (A less active member in our ward) I had been trying to see her for like 3 months now! So this was a miracle! She is the only member in her family. Her husband is very science minded and her 2 kids have taken on the dad's beliefs about everything, but they have so much hope and potential! We have now been able to see her 3 times in the last 3 weeks! So I know that the Lord's hand is in this work and timing is everything! We just have to trust in His timing.

On Wednesday my companion and I went to the Young Women's activity. It was a stake service project for the oncology unit. (cancer patients) We made blankets, friendship bracelets, inspirational message books, stuffed animals, etc. It was a lot of fun and we had several less active young women come! I really enjoy serving around the youth. Probably because I still feel like one and I was just there:) haha:) but it feels normal when I'm around them:)

Funny moment of the week that I couldn't help but share... haha I hope its as funny to you as it was to me:) I doubt that though:) I still laugh whenever I think about it:) So we have started this new thing where we play rock, paper, scissors each time we make a phone call to see who the lucky victim is:) haha:) I know, I'm still immature at times:) haha (*insert shocked face*) Ok so anyways, back to the story:) Sister Fulbright decided she would be ambitious and call the next person on the list without playing rock paper scissors:) She called a sister in the ward, sister standridge, to verify a meal appointment with her for the following day. She didn't answer so she goes to leave a message.. here is kind of how it went..:)
Sister Fulbright: Hello! Its the Sister Missionaries! We are looking for Sister Standridge.. or.. brother standridge..
Me: *muffled urgent whisper* SHE'S SINGLE!!
Sister Fulbright: Oh!! I'm so sorry!.. uhh.. *pfff* well.. *wheezing laugh* umm.. can you *laugh* give us a *laugh* call back when you get this *more wheezing* message? Luckily she took so long that the answering machine gave us the option to delete the message before it got sent! Tender mercies from the Lord! Maybe you had to be there.. but it was hilarious! We were both laughing so hard! I was rolling all over the ground having a laugh attack:) I learned my lesson! I now make sure I tell her if the people are single or not before she makes a phone call! And.. we are back to square 1: playing rock, paper, scissors again! haha

Oh and p.s. I found the best weight loss diet of the century! I could make millions off of this I'm sure!.. its the flu! A nasty case of it that is:) Yes, I came down with the flu.. what a bummer right? haha I had just gotten over my cold on Wednesday. So on Thursday I felt great! Then I woke up Friday morning around 5 feeling really nauseated.. and a short hour later I threw up.. yes I know, that's tmi:) I couldn't think of a better way to word it though:) haha I haven't been that sick for as long as I can remember. In 12 hours I threw up 29 times! It was awful! But I did manage to lose 9 pounds:) I'm sure its all water weight though:) haha so I am recovering:) But I am doing much better now! I wasn't able to go to church yesterday.. haha so I got a phone call after church asking if I could speak next Sunday in church! haha I guess I asked for it:) Jk. apparently he was planning on asking me all along:) so wish me luck! haha

Thought for the week:) Look up and watch the Mormon message titled "good things to come". Its by Elder Holland and it is really great!! Here is a little piece from it.. “Don’t give up, boy.Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot ofit—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end.Trust God and believe in good things to come.” I love that! No matter how bleak, dark, or hard the present may look, you keep walking! Things will always get better! Your future is as bright as your faith!!

Love you all!! have a great week!! Good luck in surgery dad! I'll be praying for you!!

With Love,
Sister Christensen:)

P.S. "Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you do the best" (Marva Collins).

January 27, 2014

Hey my lovely family! I hope that you are all doing well back at home:) Always remember that someone in Nebraska loves you so much! Seriously! Who knew a heart could hold so much love for so many people? It's true though! I love everyone in Utah so much!! and I love the people here in Nebraska! If I love anyone else, my heart might explode soon!! haha jk:) sorry for that visual:) I'll move onto the letter now before things get out of hand:) haha

Wow!! Can you believe its the end of January already? time is starting to cruise:) I love serving here in Lakeview. We see miracles every day:) And.. I really love my companion Sister Fulbright. She is so sweet and we have a lot of fun together:) We have been in a car share with Sister Willis and Sister Rasmussen so we see them more often as well, which is a blast! We have a good time and laugh a lot! 2 of my favorite things:) haha

So this week we had some crazy adventures:) I will tell you about one of them. On Saturday, we got asked to serve at an Indian Pow Wow!! It was pretty sweet! not gunna lie:) So us 4 sisters (the ones above) went and spent the day serving the Lamanites:) They have such an interesting culture and traditions. Most of it was dancing, which was neat:) Because, Surprise! I love dancing:) So that was fun:) we made and handed out all of the food for meals and did all of the setting up and clean up. It was a lot of work but such an enjoyable service project! Isn't a mission just great?!? I love it!!

Also this week we had our interviews with President Weston! They happen about every couple of months. He is such an inspired man! I received a lot of answers to prayers about how I can help myself, my companion, and my area. I am very lucky and privileged to be serving here at this time.

Oh and I forgot to tell you.. but I got a Priesthood blessing last week and it was wonderful! I am so thankful for the Priesthood and how accessible it is! I have been feeling much better since I received that and I know that Heavenly Father is aware of both you and i:)

I'm pretty sure that I mentioned the McM last week in my email.. anyways.. you will be excited to hear that.. J wants to quit drinking!!! Miracle!!! He got a Priesthood blessing to help and he has now gone 3 days without it!! YAY!!! I honestly never thought that I would see this day coming:)

So here is my monthly commitment that I give you each time:) Next week is fast sunday:) so I want you all to pray about and think about what the Lord would have you fast for:) and do it:) I promise that as you think about it throughout the week and prepare for it, it will be much more meaningful:) I know from my experience, that I don't always want to fast for the things that I do, but as I have followed Heavenly Father's will for me, I am extremely blessed because of it. He sees the bigger picture and He knows what we can become through His help. Keep up the great week!! I love you!!


Sister Christensen