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 Mormon.org. 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