Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 21, 2014 - RAGBRAI

Hey mom, dad, family, and friends!!!

Anyone ever heard of RAGBRAI?? well at this moment, I am sending you
this message while being surrounded with nearly 30,000 people!!! its
crazy!!! Ragbrai is a bike event where people from all over the world
come to ride across Iowa! There are lots of people that come out,
including Lance Armstrong! We have been volunteering here for the
event and it has been pretty sweet!! We were in charge of hospitality,
so we were welcoming in all of the riders as they got here, cheering
them on, and warning them of hazards in the road! I am really tired:)
We started at 7 am this morning and we just barely got done! And its
90 degrees plus humidity! I feel kinda bad for all of the riders:)
haha:) And the riders are still coming in! They say that they will be
coming in all day! If any more come in, I think that the city will
blow up with all of the people:) But hey! its a good service
opportunity because I am sure that they will need a lot of help with
clean up! As we walk outside, there are tents on any green area:) Our
little town of 3900 jumped to 30000 in just a couple of hours!! A lot
of the people get pretty drunk so we wont be able to go out after 6..
but it should be entertaining because we have hundreds of people right
outside our front door. I have seen a lot of interesting things
today:) haha It has been really cool having so many contacts! I don't
think that I have ever talked to so many people in my life! There were
several members from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!
So that was fun! We even met a professor at BYU!

We had some pretty good lessons this week. We have 2 investigators
that are named D and they are both 81! odd coincidence right?
Anyways, we had a lesson with both of them this week and talked a lot
about baptism with both of them. They have various concerns about it
that we are trying to help them overcome. D K. thinks that you can
only get baptized once no matter if it was done with the right
authority or not. If it wasn't by the right authority, then you are
out of luck and lost. The other Dale, D N, had a very traumatic
experience when he was baptized the first time. He had 2 men hold him
under the water with a white sheet over him. We have explained how it
is and how its done but any thought of being baptized again terrifies
him. So we are trying to work with them on that.

We got 2 new investigators this week!! I was so happy! Their names are
K and L. K has a younger sister named N that we
will be teaching as well! We go and see them again tomorrow actually!
So I am excited for that one! At this point, they don't really believe
in a God and don't have a church that they attend, but they said they
would be open to learning more. It was neat because they said that
maybe we knocked on their door for a reason and it was meant to be. I
know that it was. They are worried that they won't be together after
they die so they want to do all that they can to be able to be
together forever. They are great and so open! We read the introduction
of the Book of Mormon with them and left them a chapter to read from
it! And they said yes!! Hallelujah!! I love it when people come out of
the woodworks! So pray for them!

We had a pretty fun Branch activity this past week:) It was at fort
defiance in Estherville. They had a potluck and played football and
ultimate frisby. It was lots of fun and good to get to know the
members better. I think that that is one of my favorite parts about
being a missionary, meeting the members and feeling of the strength of
their testimonies.

It can be pretty scary being a missionary because members think that
you know everything. haha. so whenever they have these big concerns or
questions they have us come over and ask us these things on the spot.
Sometimes I feel really inadequate but someone, the Spirit helps us
know what to say and what to do in these various moments. Man,
missionaries could not do what they do without the Holy Ghost.

We also had a couple of interesting lessons this week. It is really
hard when you meet people that just want to argue with you or catch
you in your words. One in particular, was Daryl. He is a shawman(sp?)
Someone that talks and works with Spirits. At one point, he tried
commanding evil Spirits to attack us. So.. needless to say.. that one
was an interesting one... :) But, Heavenly Father protects His
missionaries:) While we were in that lesson, He was trying to convert
us and it was really cool how my testimony was strengthened in that
lesson. The Spirit helped us to feel what was true or not and confirm
our own testimonies as he was talking with us. So, if nothing else, my
testimony was strengthened from meeting Daryl:) the opposite of what
he was intending to do:)

I hope that you had a wonderful time on TREK! I am so jealous you were
able to go! I am sure that it was a great experience! I hope that the
little kiddos had a good time at grandmas as well:) Happy Birthday
this week Ashley!!! Hope that it is as great as you are:) I hope that
you can all feel my prayers:) I can definitely feel yours:) Keep on
swimming! Talk to you next week:)

Here are some parts from one of the talks I was reading this week.
It's called "Love, the essence of the gospel" by President Monson. You
should all go back and read it:)

"We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on
this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if
we do not love God, the Father of us all. The Apostle John tells us,
“This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his
brother also.”3 We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and,
as such, are brothers and sisters. As we keep this truth in mind,
loving all of God’s children will become easier.

Brothers and sisters, some of our greatest opportunities to
demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love
should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not.
There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights,
too many tears. Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Why is it that
the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our
harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers
that cut to the quick?”9 The answers to these questions may be
different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons
do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another,
we must treat each other with kindness and respect.

Forgiveness should go hand in hand with love. In our families, as well
as with our friends, there can be hurt feelings and disagreements.
Again, it doesn’t really matter how small the issue was. It cannot and
should not be left to canker, to fester, and ultimately to destroy.
Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.

May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s
children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere
acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us
determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our

With Christ, ALL things are possible:)
With love,
Sister Christensen

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