Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 2, 2014

My dear family and friends,

It's Summer time!!! can you believe it? I hope that everything went well for your baptism Emily! I am so proud of you! I hope that you liked your little gift:) Know that I was thinking about you during the time of your baptism on Saturday:) I sure do love you all so much! Time keeps moving forward:) I remember thinking about (before I left on my mission) what it was going to be like when I got to this point, being 8 months out. Haha to say the least, it is nothing like what I expected it to be:) In some ways it has been much more challenging than I anticipated, but in other ways, I have been blessed and strengthened more than I thought was possible! My testimony continues to be strengthened and my love for my Savior increases. I am so thankful that He not only knows and understands what I am going through, but He overcame everything as well. So as I rely on Him and keep pushing forward, He is able to strengthen me and help me to overcome those things too.
We have been doing a lot of finding these past 2 weeks, trying to build up a teaching pool to work with. We have several people that we have started working with. I will tell you a little bit about some of them.:)
First, we have an investigator named S. He has a very open heart and is willing to listen to our message. As we were talking with him, he said that he could feel a difference from us being around. He could feel something, the spirit!! He told us that it was really neat because the things that we had him read in the Book of Mormon was directly talking to him and what he needed at that time. I love the Book of Mormon and how individual it is:) Everyone reads the same words, but as we liken them to ourselves, it speaks directly to our needs and concerns. He has run into some anti from his mother and some friends and so we haven't been able to contact him this last week, but I know that things will work out the way it needs to!
Another lady that we have begun teaching is K. She is Sister Darling's older sister. Her main hold up is that she has problems with the Word of Wisdom and she has manic depressive disorder. But she is so kind and I feel like she has a lot of potential:) We just have to over load her with kindness and love:)
Before we left our home Saturday morning, we were really praying hard that we would be led to where Heavenly Father needed us that day. We wanted to find someone to teach or serve someone. We had plans written down but we felt like we needed to be somewhere else. So we walked down the road and about a block up the street, we saw a family sitting outside on their porch. To paint the picture in your mind, they are not your "typical" idea of someone that is prepared. All the guys had their shirts off, gruff beards and expressions, and lots of tattoos. We went up to them though and asked if there was anything that we could do to help them in anyway. They immediately said, "Sure!" so they took us around to the side of their house where a huge pile of rocks lay. They had us shoveling up rocks into wheelbarrows, then taking them around their yard to spread. Apparently they don't live there, they just rent the property out. I think that they thought we were really crazy because we kept telling them "thank you for letting us help you! We just love serving people!" haha. At first they were really suspicious about us and why we wanted to help them so much. They literally thought we were crazy!! Let me remind you that it was 85 degrees outside with lots of humidity so we were pretty soaked with sweat by the end, and we were in skirts:) haha:) but towards the end, they were very thankful for us and their hearts had been softened. The dad was nearly in tears:) I may or may not be able to walk for a couple more days:) (my body is really sore) but it was worth it! They have a way to contact missionaries now in Minnesota where they live:) I was very happy for that tender mercy that Heavenly Father provided us with someone to serve and put us exactly where we needed to be at that time.
So there were a couple of things that I forgot to mention last week. We have been trying to think of a lot of finding ideas. One of them that we have tried, is we went to a park and drew out the plan of salvation on the side walk:) It turned out really neat! It stayed there for about a week so we hope that many people saw it. We left the information for them to request a visit on So we probably won't see a lot from the work or efforts we are doing right now, but we are laying the groundwork for great things to happen in this area. It was revealed when the Spencer Branch was organized that the church building would one day be a stake center! So this area will grow a lot in the years following us:) Whether we are harvesting or planting seeds, we are doing the same work and doing our Heavenly Father's will.
As I was thinking about Baptism songs with Emily's baptism last Saturday, I was thinking a lot about the song "When I am Baptized." The first line of that song is "I like to look for rainbows, whenever there is rain". How interesting. I have never really thought about this but you can't see the rainbows while it is raining. Only after the rain stops can you see the rainbows. Although you can't see them during the storm, rainbows do come. In life it can be the same way. We go through storms in life where sometimes, all you can see is the storm around you. You can only see the rain pouring down, but just as there is a rainbow after the storm, good times will come. As we look to God, we will be able to recognize that He is always near us in the storms of life and that He will give us those tender mercies (or rainbows) to show us that He loves us. I know that our Father in Heaven loves us and is involved in the details of our lives. If it matters to us, it matters to Him. Keep looking up and remember how much I love you! I hope that you enjoy your first full week of summer vacation! And.. only 10 fast sundays left!
With love, Sister Christensen

May 28, 2014 - My Friend Sparky

Dear family and friends,

I hope that you are enjoying your last week of school! I can't believe that it is already time for summer:) You are all probably super busy this week:) I can remember how crazy everything is:) Enjoy your time
though, it ends quickly:) Emily, I am so happy for you that you are getting baptized this week! You have made the right choice and I know that mom and dad are so proud of you, friends and family are proud of
you, I’m proud of you!, but even more importantly, Heavenly Father is so proud of you!! In 3 John 1:4 it says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." I know that our Heavenly
Father is so happy when we make correct choices:)

This past week was wonderful going to zone conference! It was such a tender mercy! We drove up on Wednesday afternoon to meet some sisters in Sioux city to car pool up the rest of the way.. :) and guess who I
saw? Sister Rasmussen!!! My dear friend that used to serve in Millard! It was so great and I laughed and had a good time! It was wonderful! I'm sure that we are going to remain good friends for a long time:) I
also saw Sister Reidhead! My MTC companion!! It was a happy day of reunions!! I couldn't help but think how it will be to see all of you again:)

Our zone conference was focused a lot on families and our future families:) It was weird because that is usually a taboo topic out here! haha:) Satan tried to destroy Joseph Smith, then He attacked the Book of Mormon, and since that hasn't worked out yet, He is after the family. We need to do all we can to keep ourselves and our families strong so that we can push those influences out!

If you have any fears about spiders, stop reading right now!! So.. we had a pet spider last week and we called him sparky.. He liked hiding in the base boards under one of our power outlets.. So we couldn't ever get to him because he was really quick. So we went several days without finding him. We hoped that he had died. But.. we weren't that lucky.. yesterday morning I woke up around 5 am to something crawling up my leg! It was a wolf spider! and it was huge! I thought that I
was going to die!! haha:) but I was able to get it off without any harm and we had sister darling kill it:) (she was awake already! don't worry!) haha:) It was terrifying though!!! R.I.P sparky!

This next week is fast sunday so I want all of you to think of what Heavenly Father would have you fast about and do it:) Make it meaningful and prayerful:) I know that there are great blessings from fasting:) Our Father in Heaven hears and answers prayers!

I love you all!!
Have a great last week of school and baptism!!!
Sister Christensen

May 19, 2014 - First Week in Emmetsburg, Iowa

Dear Family and Friends,

I am not sure if you have heard the news or not yet, but if not, I got transferred on friday to Emmetsburg Iowa. When most people think of Nebraska or Iowa, they think of miles and miles of corn fields with no people and really flat. That my friends, is exactly how Emmetsburg Iowa is! It has been a huge adjustment from being in Lakeview. I am not going to lie, it was very hard saying goodbye to my dear friends in Lakeview. Very comparable to leaving home when I came out on a mission.There was a lot of tears from everyone there. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father that He allowed me to serve for so long in Lakeview. I met so many remarkable people that have left permanant traces on my heart and hopefully friendships that will last forever. But I look forward to seeing all of them in a year from now! :)

My new companion is Sister Peterson. She is from Texas/Colorado. (she has lived in both places) She has been out 1 transfer less than myself so we are about the same which is pretty cool. She is a "visa waiter" so pray that she can get her visa really quick so that she can go to Brazil! I know that she would love that.

We are opening the Emmetsburg area so for those of you who don't know what that means, there weren't any missionaries here before us. So in short, that means we have a lot of work to do here to find people to teach and help members gain trust in us. Emmetsburg is part of the Spencer branch here in Iowa. The Spencer branch boundaries go about 90 miles one way and 60 miles the other way. So it is a huge area geographically to cover. There are about 50-70 members in the branch here. They are all great and have such simple and pure testimonies. We are very limited on miles so we spend most of our time walking because we use all of our miles to get to church/district meetings/zone conference this week!/and driving down here from Omaha. Haha it was a long drive and I ended up driving here the whole way:) My companion got her license about 2 months before her mission and hasn't driven since so we are taking advantage of the wide open spaces and I am teaching her how to drive. haha I shouldn't say this probably but it can be pretty scary putting your life in that situation:) haha I have so much more empathy for how my own mom and dad felt when I was learning how to drive:) Jk! Cuz I was a pro from the start right? haha:) So things are very difficult right now, but I know that things will get better in time.

Listed below are some of the towns we will be covering and their poplulation.:)
Emmetsburg (the largest area)= 3904 individuals.

So they are all pretty small towns and very far apart. It will be interesting to see how everything will work out. :) We live with a wonderful member though! Her name is Cheryl Darling! and.. she is darling:) haha I know, lame joke right? :) We have dinner with her most nights which is nice:) The members are too far spread out to eat dinners with them most of the time. (the nearest member is about 20 miles away) haha so it is very different than Lakeview. I am sure that I will come to love Emmetsburg and the people here though.

So, did any of you do the challenge that I left you last week? If you haven't yet, I will extend the same one. Look on and share a picture online from one of the conference talks. When you do this, I would love to hear about which one you did! Sharing the gospel really isn't all that complicated:) There are very simple ways to share your testimony:)

I have shared this quote before but it has always brought me peace when I need it, so I will share it again. It is from Elder Holland in the talk titled "An High Priest of Good Things to Come."

“Don’t give up. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead...You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come...Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."

I know that there is great power in prayer. I have been strengthened to do things that I didn't think were possible these last couple of days. I have felt the love that Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ have for me as I have tearfully prayed for strength. I know that they hear and answer prayers. They are there for us all of the time, through the good and the bad, and they will never leave us. I know that my Redeemer lives!

I hope that you all have a wonderful week! School is almost out! Can you believe that summer is already almost here? Remember that I love you all very much! You are amazing!

With love,

Sister Christensen