Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

Dear Family,
 I love you!! I hope you had a wonderful Easter! I did:) It was a wonderful roller coaster of a week:) Apparently I have a lot of stretching still to do:) haha but I am being strengthened:) I had an interview with President Weston that helped a lot:) I will have to write about it later though for lack of time:) anyways, don't worry:) I'm doing ok:)

First of all I have huge news!!! R accepted the baptismal commitment to get baptized!!! This is for reals!! We have set the tentative date of May 3rd but we think we are going to move it back a week. (May 10th!!!) I am so happy I might die from happiness over here:) not going to lie. As soon as Sister Fulbright and I walked out of the lesson and she was out of sight we were dancing around and doing heal clicking:) haha:) Then as we got in the car, we were screaming like crazy!! haha:) good times! good times:)

Easter was really great this week:) We had a lot of great members looking out for us:) I believe you got a couple of pictures from this week:) We decorated eggs with the Gudjenovs Saturday night:) It was a lot of fun:) They have really cool traditions in Bulgaria and we implemented a few of them into our routine:) One of them is they take the eggs after they have been hard boiled and decorated, and you smash the tips of everyones eggs together. The person with the last egg to get cracked is the winner:) (hope that made a little sense:)) Sister Fulbright and I won:) Apparently it is a huge thing there and all of the kids run around smashing eggs with each other until they have a winner:) the winner is supposedly supposed to have good luck for a year:) Pretty sweet:) haha

We had dinner last night at the Taylor's house. They had a non member friend there (her name was Teresa) and the spirit was so strong during that lesson! I honestly don't think I have ever felt the spirit stronger in a lesson than that one. She is leaving to Alaska for 5 months and is going to read the Book of Mormon while she is there. It was awesome! Oh and I had to repent after being in their house;) It was gorgeous!! Haha I tried not to covet:) haha:) He is the CEO for Oriental Trading Company. Do you remember the magazines we always got in the mail? yep that's the one:) haha:) So I have some ins now:) haha

Thank you for the cards that I received and the pictures today through email:) I loved them!!! you guys look so good:) you are growing up way too quick tho!! do you want to do me a favor and slow down a little bit? :) I'm glad that you had such a fun time at Arches and that you soaked up some sun:) how wonderful:)

So I am sure that you watched the video "Because of Him", but if you haven't already, I recommend it!   "Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Because of Him, death is not the end, and life takes on new meaning. We can change, we can start over—and we can live again with God. This Easter, celebrate His life and discover all that’s possible because of Him." One of my favorite scriptures on the resurrection is found in Mosiah 16:7-9 

7 "And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no asting, there could have been no resurrection.
 8 But there is a aresurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of bdeathis swallowed up in Christ.
9 He is the alight and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death."
Because of Him, the grave has no victory and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. Because of Him, no goodbye lasts forever. Because of Him, we will be able to live again in our Father's presence with our families for eternity:) I am everything, because of Him!
Have a wonderful week!!
Love you lots!!

Sister Christensen:)  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 14, 2014 - Happy Easter

Hey my dear family and friends:)

I hope that things are going well for you and continue to do so. I am glad that you were all able to have a really great Spring Break. From what I've heard, it sounds like you were able to do a lot of fun things and enjoy your time off:) That is wonderful! I am so glad to hear that:) Omaha is pretty crazy when it comes to weather:) It has been a long, cold winter and then all of the sudden it got really hot and humid:) Saturday was in the 80's and very humid.. then we wake up this morning to snow everywhere again:) haha it's super bipolar:) I don't understand it:) Only in Omaha:) haha so I'm sorry if the email is any shorter today than normal:) we realized that we didn't have a car scraper in our new car our hands were the next default option:) so I am trying to defrost my hands as we speak:) haha:)

This week was a pretty good week:) It stretched me emotionally but everything is ok:) My testimony of the Atonement continues to grow each day:) I am so thankful for a loving Savior that overcame everything that we would ever experience so that we would never have to run this race alone:)

Haha so onto my week. We had exchanges again with our Sister Training Leaders, Sisters Page and Larson. I spent the day in Papillion again with Sister Larson this time which was wonderful! I had no idea that you could get a headache from laughing too much:) but, it happened:) haha our heads were pounding by the end of the exchange:) haha at least we had a really good time:) haha she had us switch roles for a little bit so I was acting like the STL:) It was nice to be able to feel like I could help her:) haha you know me, I am not one to normally open up to people and share problems, so it was nice that I could do what I like to do and help other people with their things:) But, let me tell you:) It was the most awkward exchange in the world!!! no joke!! I will tell you of a few of the things that happened:)

One of their investigators had her home flooded. But, this wasn't any normal kind of flood. It wasn't the kind where your basement fills up with water... It was their sewer! It got backed up or something and so it all came back up through their toilets, sinks, etc. Their basement was about 4 inches tall everywhere you could see with nasty sewer water. Haha so here is a lesson for you kiddos:) when mom asks you to clean up and do some simple chores around the house, don't complain! It could be worse! You could have been cleaning up a basement full of nastiness like I did:) haha:) Being a missionary has really humbled me, because I now have the opportunity to do a lot of service that I would have never gotten the chance to do before.:)

Haha some other things from the exchange I won't go into detail in, but needless to say, we had quite a few people open the door without sufficient clothing on. There were 2 that were completely bare. I never know how to react and what to do in those situations:) haha:) it must have been because its a lower class area because I saw more people like that, that day, than I have my entire stay in Lakeview combined! Awkward:) haha:) on that note...

I am really looking forward to Easter this week:) It is a wonderful time of year to more fully remember our Savior and His sacrifice for all of us. I watched a Mormon message titled "None were with Him" if you would like to take the time and watch it. It is from Holland so you can count on it being super powerful! I am so thankful for my Savior. Here is an excerpt from Elder Bednar's most recent General Conference talk on the Atonement.
"The Savior said:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
A yoke is a wooden beam, normally used between a pair of oxen or other animals that enables them to pull together on a load. A yoke places animals side-by-side so they can move together in order to accomplish a task.
Consider the Lord’s uniquely individual invitation to “take my yoke upon you.” Making and keeping sacred covenants yokes us to and with the Lord Jesus Christ. In essence, the Savior is beckoning us to rely upon and pull together with Him, even though our best efforts are not equal to and cannot be compared with His. As we trust in and pull our load with Him during the journey of mortality, truly His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
We are not and never need be alone. We can press forward in our daily lives with heavenly help. Through the Savior’s Atonement we can receive capacity and “strength beyond [our] own”
I know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us more than we can comprehend. The Atonement is for us and His sacrifice is in vain if we don't use it. We can repent and become more like Him, receive strength and comfort through hard times, etc. It covers everything and is there for us each time we need it:) I know this, because I have seen this personally in my life and in those people around me. It is amazing!
Have a wonderful Easter! I love you!
Sister (Erica) Christensen:)

"Life by the yard is hard, but by the inch it's a cinch". "Consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God...if they hold out faithful to the end...they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness."(Mosiah 2:41). "Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 'Tis not so: all is right...Happy day! All is well!" Don't worry. whatever the struggle may be, we have lots of people around us and the Lord to help:)

April 7, 2014 - Nasty Oreos

Hello my wonderful family and friends!

I hope that all is going well for you back home:) I saw that you are headed to Arches! That is awesome!! Have lots of fun and take pictures:) Enjoy your spring break!! (I'm assuming that's happening this week considering dad and mom are allowing you to miss school:) ) haha:)

I am sure you want to know what happened with transfers this week:) Everything is actually staying the same:) I am with Sister Fulbright, serving in Lakeview for another 6 weeks:) We moved houses though. So we are staying with the Gudjenovs! They are converts from Bulgaria! They are wonderful and it should be really great living with them! Haha it is a little weird not being able to understand half of what they are saying tho:) they speak pretty fluently now but they prefer speaking to each other in Bulgarian:) I will send my address in a different email to you mom:) Elder Demke and Sister Rasmussen both got transferred so I will miss having them in our District, but I am very happy to know that I will see them again. Sister Rasmussen and I plan on working at a dude ranch after the mission:) haha we'll see if that happens:)

So I cut my hair:) Only about 4 inches though so nothing too extreme:) Oh also, on April Fools Day we had some members pull some pranks on us:) One member gave us a bag of oreos, but she had taken all of the cream out of them and replaced it with tooth paste!! sick!! haha

I forgot to tell you a funny story that happened a couple of weeks ago:) maybe you had to be there but I thought that It was really funny!! So after District Mtg, we were going out to lunch with the Millard Sisters and we really like this place called A+ Buffet:) It is a Mongolian buffet:) The waitress doesn't understand much English but it hasn't been a problem in the past:) She was asking what drinks we wanted and I told her that I would like a Sprite:) haha! She brought the drinks back and they were in plastic cups with lids so you couldn't tell what you were drinking very well. I was really thirsty so I took a big gulp!! You can imagine my horror as I realized that what I was drinking was most definitely not Sprite! It was tea!! I was mortified and quickly spit what I could back out:) haha!! it was quite the scene:) JK!! So yes, my first and only time having tea, happened to be on my mission:) How ironic, right? I hope that you found it humorous:) haha

R is doing really well! She has been receiving an answer:) Last sunday she said that she woke up and she described it as a voice that spoke to her in her head and told her that she was on the right path!! She watched the Sunday morning session of GC with some friends from another ward and really liked it and she got another priesthood blessing! I love her! She was so relieved to hear that neither of us were getting transferred:) She is wonderful!

So from Ballard's talk, you probably heard that we should share insights we learn from Preach My Gospel. So here is something that I learned from my personal study in it this morning. I am studying the section 11 on commitments right now. On pg. 195-196 we learn that Commitment is an essential part of repentance! commitments prepare people to keep commandments which then prepare people to keep covenants (full access to the Atonement) which leads to a deep and abiding conversion! Did you follow that? Commitments prepare people to keep commandments, then covenants, and ultimately conversion! People will not likely change unless they are invited to do so!

Did you just love General Conference this weekend?? It was incredible!! I always feel like I am on a spiritual high after listening to our Prophet and church leaders. They speak for God and tell us what we need to hear. I hope that your heart and mind was open to the Spirit and that you were able to receive revelation on how you can improve and how you can improve the situations you are in:) I know that I did! As we learned in the Priesthood session of General Conference from Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, the purpose of conference isn't fulfilled unless we intend to act. Intend to change! The messages that we heard and the guidance we received will do nothing for us if we don't act on those things we have heard! I fully understand that change can be very hard. I am not discounting that at all. But, change is possible as we have faith in Christ and allow His atonement to make weak things become strong!

In Mosiah 3:19 we learn "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, andputteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." We have weaknesses because we are human, but through the Atonement of Christ, we can change our natures to become more like our Heavenly Father.

In Helaman 12:27-28 we learn "27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theirweakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness." As we exercise our faith and overcome our ultimate weakness, which is our lack of faith in our Savior, then He can make those weak things become strong!
I would invite each of you to look at the things you have learned from Conference. I know that each of you received inspiration on what you personally need to improve on. Individually, pick one thing that you want to improve yourself in. It can be anything! It can be making time for scripture study or prayer daily, your attitude, going to the temple more, putting God first, etc. There are infinite possibilities! I know that as you have faith in our Savior, you can make weak things become strong. It is difficult and you will mess up several times before you get it right, but through the Atonement, it is possible!!
I love you all so much and I hope that you have a wonderful week!! Mom and Dad, I hope that you have a wonderful 21st Anniversary this week! You are wonderful examples to me of what I want to aspire to grow up to be like:) Thank you for your love, support, encouragement, and prayers that you send my way:) The same comes back to you from me:) I love you!
With love,

Sister (Erica) Christensen:)