Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 25, 2014 - New Area in Bellevue, Nebraska

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope that you had a great first week of school!! And, good luck
Derrick and Jacob with starting school this week! You may have got the
news that I am no longer in Emmetsburg. We got a call on Monday
evening, informing us that we were no longer able to stay with Sister
Darling for the time being, and there are no other members that we can
stay with out there, so they had to close the Emmetsburg area to
missionaries. It was hard leaving because of all of the work we have
put into the area, but I know that Heavenly Father has great plans for
Emmetsburg in the future. Although I may not understand at this time
why things have to happen the way that they do, I do know that as we
continue to put our trust in God, things will work out the way that
they need to.

So our week was pretty crazy! We got the call Monday evening and then
had a wonderful dinner appointment with Kameron! She is the recently
returned missionary that I was telling you about last week! She is so
great! I am so thankful that I was able to meet her! We are so much
alike and actually struggle with a lot of similar things, so she was
able to help me through some things which was great! She is the oldest
of 8 kids as well so that was cool! I remember leaving her home
feeling empowered and ready to conquer the week. I hope that it will
work out for me to see her again someday!

We drove down to Sioux City on Wednesday afternoon to stay over with
Sister Larson and Sister Wrubell for a couple of nights. We were on
exchanges with them from Wednesday evening, to Saturday morning. It
was great to spend so much time with them and serve the people in
Sioux city! We saw quite a bit of miracles! We were able to have 4
lessons with less actives that they had never met before in just 2
hours on Wednesday night! It was awesome! The Lord was definitely
helping us to know where we were needed that night. After all, this is
His work and we are only the instruments through which He is able to
bring about His purposes. I am thankful that I am able to witness all
of the miracles that happen each day! I was also able to get a
Priesthood blessing on Friday which helped me out a lot I think! I am
thankful for the Priesthood and worthy Priesthood holders:)

We had Zone Conference on Thursday which was wonderful! The Spencer
Branch was in charge of the lunch so I was able to say goodbye to a
few people:) that was a tender mercy:) It was cool how everything
worked out like that in the timing:) Zone Conference was focused on
the Book of Mormon and Sacrifice. We got a challenge from our Mission
President so I would like to extend that invitation to all of you as

"Today is our start of reading the Book of Mormon together! Please
invite all to read with us (your family, friends, members, part member
families, investigators) 5 pages per day ending on December 8, 2014.
Center your reading on The Atonement and having a change of HEART! I
know our Mission will be drawn nearer to God as we abide by its

So our Mission President has asked each of us missionaries to buy a
Book of Mormon and read it together by December 8th. Why would he have
us buy one when we have boxes of free ones sitting in our car? Well,
He wants us to treasure it! If we have to buy it out of our own funds,
we will appreciate it more.:) As we read through it, He wants us to do
a study on Christ and the Atonement and how individuals have utilized
it. We are marking whenever it talks about that, as well as counting
the references to Christ, and circling the word heart whenever we see
it. He want's us to continue learning how to utilize the Atonement and
have a change of heart. I am very thankful for this invitation and I
would love it if you would do this with me!! Even if you aren't a
member of the church or haven't been in a really long time! It is only
5 pages a day! :)

"I would like to urge (everyone) to again read the Book of
Mormon...There is nothing we could do of greater importance than to
have fortified in our individual lives an unshakable conviction that
Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of the living God. And, my
brothers and sisters, that is the purpose of the coming forth of this
remarkable and wonderful book." President Gordon B. Hinckley

On Saturday morning, we drove down the rest of the way to Bellevue. It
is a great area and I am thankful that we have this chance to serve
here in the Fairview ward! We are the only set of missionaries serving
here right now, so we have our work cut out for us to do. We are
re-opening the area:) It is crazy getting transferred mid transfer,
but I know that there is a reason for this:) The fairview ward is
actually the smallest ward geographically in the area. It is about 2
by 3 miles:) So it is a big change from Emmetsburg! Our ward has an
air force base in it, so a big portion of our ward is Air force
families. It is really interesting watching their personalities come
out how they have been trained in the army:) They get the job done
though and it will be a good experience serving here:) When we got
here on Saturday, we went right to an appointment with the Harrison's,
an active family, and Brother Brown, a recent convert. He was baptized
almost a year ago! After that, we went and did service for a family
that was moving out of the ward, and met with our Ward mission leader
and Bishop Townsend. So it was a busy day! We are living in an
apartment and I think the mission is trying to spoil us:) It is a
pretty nice one compared to other apartments that missionaries live
in:) Besides the giant spiders right outside our door on the back
porch:) haha:) but we have an exterminator coming on Sept. 19th!!!

Thank you for your continual support to me:) I really appreciate it
and all of your prayers:) I have been lifted up and carried this week
by angels and ultimately, the Savior. Because of Him, we never have to
walk this journey of life alone. He is right by our side to carry and
strengthen us! I know that to be true. I love each of you so much and
I hope that you have a wonderful week!

Sister Christensen

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 18, 2014 - Late Notice Move

Hey mom and dad,

We got permission to come back in and quickly let you know that we
just got the news that we have to leave Emmetsburg... They are closing
the area.:/ We aren't able to stay with Sister Darling because she is
having family come and stay with her. so they are having us leave. We
don't know how long this will be. They don't have any other members
that can house us here.. They are sending us to Fairview. I guess its
about 30 minutes from Bellevue in Nebraska? So please send any mail to
the mission office this week!!!! Also let anyone else know as well! I
am going to try and have the mail forwarded to the mission office but
no guarantees..I don't know what day they are having us leave...

Mission office address:
Sister Erica Christensen
11027 Martha Street
Omaha Nebraska 68144

Love you! Have a good week.

August 18, 2014

Dear Family,

So you guys all start back to school this week? How exciting!! I can't
wait to hear about your first week of school, teachers, classes,
friends, ect. Smile big and look your best:) Try and look for those
individuals that may not have as many friends or could just use a
smile! You never know the good that a simple smile can do:) As you
lose your life in service to others, no matter how small your acts of
service might seem, the Lord will make more out of you than you could
imagine and He will use you as His hands to bless others!

Last Sunday, a young woman shared this quote in her talk and I really
liked it! So I kind of made it my theme this week:) Here it is: "How
do we get through the times when it seems the whole world is crashing
down around us? How do we find the desire and outlook that will allow
happiness to return? I love a scripture found in first Peter that says
"For he that will love life, and see good days... happy are ye" (1st
Peter 3:10, 14). Peter's suggestion is simple but profound: love life
and see good days. I find it so interesting that the scripture does
not tell us to love life and have good days. Sometimes I wish Peter
had counseled us to have good days- I need more of those. Instead, the
counsel is clear: see good days."

I love this!! Each day, we get thrown a lot of stuff, whether its good
or bad. It is then our choice how we will respond to those things.
Happiness is a choice.:) It is very important to look for the good in
each day, even though it can be really hard some days. Trust me, I
know that it can be very hard to find good things that happen
sometimes. But, it is possible! We just have to open our eyes and look

So here are some things that were good each day this week:)
Monday: On last Monday, it was preparation day! I was able to write to
a couple of people that I hadn't for a while, and I was able to
receive an email from someone at home. That helped lift my spirits!
Also, I was able to see two pictures of my beautiful family! You all
look good, happy, and healthy:) so that put any worries I may have had
to rest:) We also had a wonderful member, Sister Sorter, invite us
over to her home for dinner and to help her continue to work on
personal progress! She is wonderful! And, offered to fix a couple of
my clothes that needed mending:)

Tuesday: So it was Tuesday evening and we were walking around. We had
planned to try one of our potentials, Lonny, so we headed towards his
house. As we got to his street, we noticed that there was a girl
sitting on his steps. So, we went up and talked to her. She is so
friendly! Her name is Susan and she is in her early 20's I think:) She
has a lot of doubts about God because of some experiences that she has
had recently. She said that just the day before, she was with her
friend and they were talking together about the doubts they had in
God. Well, we showed up the next day to talk with her and it kind of
took her a little off guard:) She said that that must have been a sign
that He is there and is aware of her, even if things get hard. It was
so cool! We bore our testimonies on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and
the Book of Mormon and said that she would look through it this week:)
Yay!! Younger investigators!!

Wednesday: On Wednesday, we decided to do the chalk finding activity
again, because it had been a long time since we had done that. We
didn't know what to draw or write, but in the end, decided that we
would write out a couple of simple quotes or phrases. While we were
drawing, a lady came up to us and talked with us for a little bit
because she had noticed us out and wondered what we were doing. She
said that what we wrote was the message she needed that day. So it was
cool to see how the Lord worked through us, even by doing something as
simple as writing a phrase on the sidewalk with chalk:) While we were
walking that night, Jodi and Jeremy (potentials) were outside and
talked with us for a little bit! They even invited us over for dinner
sometime this week! so we are excited for that!

Thursday: On Thursday, we had zone training down in Sioux City, so I
was able to see all of my missionary friends! The Spirit was so strong
as we all talked about sacrifice and consecration and thought more
about what we could each give up for the Lord. I know that as we
sacrifice things that may be really important to us, the Lord will
bless us abundantly. So much, that we won't have room enough to
receive it! That night coming back, we were able to have dinner at
Pizza Ranch with a member, Sister Elwell! Pizza ranch is a huge thing
here in Iowa! I will have to take you all here sometime in the
future:) haha:) It's basically a big buffet with pizzas and chicken
and stuff like that:) anyways, it was great!!

Friday: We contacted a girl named Haylee. She is a non member girl
friend to one of the members that just moved here in Spencer 2 weeks
ago. Her grandparents were involved in a train accident this past week
and she has been struggling. We are going to meet up with her
hopefully sometime soon to go to lunch and get to know her better in a
less threatening environment:) haha:) Because I can be pretty scary,
you know:) In our lesson with D that night, he said the prayer at
the end of the lesson!! So that was cool!

Saturday: While at the funeral, I was able to really reflect on the
Plan of Salvation and it strengthened my testimony. It was an
interesting funeral but it was a good one for him. It was at a
beautiful Lutheran church here in Emmetsburg. After the funeral, the
Holloways took us out to lunch at A&W. Good member support all around
this week:) we had 3 meals with members!! sweet!!

Sunday: We found out that a new member moved into Emmetsburg this past
week!! Her name is Kameron and she is awesome!!! She is a returned
missionary! Just got back in February actually and she moved down here
for a nursing program!! Yay!! We have 2 members in Emmetsburg now!!! I
almost died from excitement when I met her yesterday:) A kind lady,
sister Ross gave us some milk and bread and a few other things as well
yesterday so that was such a tender mercy:) It lowered the cost of
food quite a bit today:) Missionaries could not do this work without
the help of members!

Anyways, I know that as we look for the good in each day, we can find
happiness! Have a wonderful week! I love each of you dearly!! And you
are continually in my prayers:)

Sister Christensen

August 11, 2014

Howdy Ya'll,

First of all, I just want to tell each of you that I love you so
much!! Much more than you could imagine:) Thank you so much for the
package!! I saw those chocolate covered almonds and about died:) haha
Thank you for the letters as well!! I love getting mail!! Wow! Can you
believe that school will be starting soon? Where has the summer gone?
How was your trip to Idaho and Yellowstone? That sounds like it would
be a lot of fun! I hope that you all stayed safe and enjoyed
yourself:) I can't wait to hear more about it:) I loved the pictures
that you sent me:) It made my day! But.. you guys all need to stop
growing up so quick!! You all look so much older from the last time
that I saw you! Especially Chandler. He looks like a little toddler
now! What??

Anyways, you are probably wondering what happened with transfers? Well
a crazy thing happened and I got reassigned as a Spanish speaking
missionary in South Dakota. haha psych! I am still with Sister
Peterson serving in Emmetsburg. We didn't have any changes hit us this
time. Although, we may be switching housing in the Branch.. President
accidentally let it slip yesterday so we will see what that may bring
in the future. Hopefully we won't have to open a different area in the
Branch but whatever ends up happening, I will do God's will.

An update on the other missionaries in the Branch. Elder Demke
completed his mission and is now back in Lehi, as I am sure that many
of you have found out:) Elder Wright from American Fork is now
training Elder Olsen. Elder Wilson got a new companion, Elder Collins,
and his old companion, Elder Hansen got sent to Walnut Creek in Omaha.
So there was a lot of change that happened in our Branch:) They had us
missionaries sing in Sacrament Meeting yesterday which was cool! The
spirit was really strong:) I feel very privileged to serve as a
missionary at this time. I attached it in a different email.

So, I think that Satan has been working on me quite a bit lately. I
guess the reality that I am over half way done with my mission hit me
and I am not where I had hoped to be by this point in my mission. I
have been trying not to let that discouragement hit me too hard
though. I just need to continue to humble myself and allow the Lord to
shape me into something better and refine myself. Whenever I find
myself going through a hard time, I just try to ask myself, "How
refined do you want to be?" I know that all of our experiences will
one day work together for our good. We may not ever know in this life
why we had to face a particular trial, but our Heavenly Father's plan
is perfect and He knows what we need to become what He intends for us
to become.

This week, I studied a lot from the talk "All things work together for
good" by James B. Martino. It is very good and I would invite each of
you to read it. It has helped me a lot and I know that it could relate
and help each of you as well. I have included the link in the email
below. You can copy and paste it into your search bar. See, I have
done the hard part of finding it for you:) No need to thank me:)

I love you all and appreciate your support and prayers:) I can feel
them all coming my way:)

Sister Christensen

August 4, 2014

Hey family and friends!

I hope that you have all had a great week! You are continually in my
thoughts and prayers. I hope that you have a great time in Idaho! Tell
everyone hi and that I love them! haha and maybe you can even start a
water fight for me? :) haha.

So I heard the news that Elder Bayles will be going back out next week
right? I am not sure if it is the same mission or not, but someone
from the Spencer Branch left to the MTC about 5 weeks ago. His name is
Elder Olsen and he was called to the Argentina Mendoza mission. His
plane goes out next week. (maybe the 11th but I am not quite sure on
the specifics.) but it is sometime next week! So maybe if you get a
chance, you can tell Elder Bayles to look out for an Elder Olsen!
There are always pretty cool connections all the time:)

We actually have 2 young women that are almost ready to put in their
mission papers! (Kendal Bosch and Jessica Holloway) It is so exciting!
And Elder Holloway (Jessica's older brother) comes home from his
mission in about 3 weeks! So I hope that I can stay here to see all of
these great things happen!

On Friday, we had another Branch activity which is always fun!
Everyone brought their own meat to grill and a side. They had several
families in the Branch make their own homemade miniature golf hole. So
after the food, we played mini golf and field games. It was a lot of
fun and a lot of people got pretty creative! I will have to send some
pictures of it. :)

On Sunday, we had 2 little girls get baptized. They are both 8 years
old:) One of them, Vanessa Tunzer, is actually a girl in a part member
family that we have been working with lately. She is setting such a
great example for her father and other family members! He is not a
member yet but he has expressed that he really wants to get baptized!
He said that he needs a few months though so the Elders are working
with him. We try to visit and help the mother, Sister Tunzer. They are
great and doing so well! We went over to their house on Saturday for
Vanessa's birthday party and we had a huge water fight!! It was so
much fun!

So I wanted to share with you all, a miracle that happened last night.
It was 8:50 pm, and all of the plans that we had made had fallen
through. It is one of the hardest times for a missionary when you
don't have anything left planned. You only have a little bit of time
before you have to go inside, or if you are lucky and get in a lesson,
you can be home by 9:30 pm. You can walk around for a little bit and
try to talk to people, but most people are inside by that point. You
can knock on a door, but most of the time, people don't really like
that when it's that late. So we were trying to think how we could best
use our time and decided that we needed to pray to see what Heavenly
Father wanted us to use that time for. As Sister Peterson was praying,
I got the impression that we needed to go and try this particular
house. I am not sure if you would call it a potential investigator or
not? haha We had been walking back home one night and it was about 9
pm so we were trying to get home on time. Sister Peterson glanced over
at a house and noticed that a lady was just standing there watching
us. She acted like she was just talking to me so that the lady didn't
notice that we had seen her. We have been feeling like we needed to go
back and try to talk with her, but we haven't felt right with the
timing quite yet. But as we were praying, I couldn't get her out of my
thoughts. I knew that we needed to go and try to contact her. So we
did. We quickly walked down the road towards her house, when lo and
behold, she was sitting outside! This is a missionary's dream! It is
great when people are outside because it is so much easier to start a
conversation with them naturally! So we said hi and asked how she was
doing and little conversation starters like that:) Then, she came up
to us and just started talking with us! She is
Evangelical Christian. She has 4 children but most of them are grown
and out of the house. She has one daughter age 15, that still
lives with her. Her husband died from cancer about 5 years ago, and
that's when she decided to move to Emmetsburg. She thought that it
would be easier to raise her children alone in a small town. She has
been to Utah before so she has seen and talked with missionaries in
the past. She had some good questions about Prophets, the organization
of the church, and the Book of Mormon. So we were able to teach her a
little bit last night. She was so friendly and it was cool because it
felt like I could be myself around her:) Oh and they have a foreign
exchange student coming to live with them on Friday from Spain!! Sweet
right? She gave us some sweet corn:) (we get a lot of that this time
of year:)) and said that we could come back anytime. She works a lot
so she said it will be hard to catch her home, but she is ok with us
coming by! It was a very cool tender mercy last night as we were
guided in our steps with the short time we had left.

So that's all for now. I hope that you have a good week! and please
stay safe!! I love you all so much! Wish me luck! I am giving another
training this week for District Meeting and it's transfer week!
Anything could happen.:)

With love,
Sister Christensen