Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 27, 2014 - Happy Halloween!

Hey family and friends,

Hopefully Erica doesn't act like Ammon and start cutting off arms!

I hope that you are all doing well! Happy Halloween this week! I hope that it is wonderful! I hope that you are handling the changes well. Know that you are all continually in my thoughts and prayers. I'm not sure on what my plans are for Halloween:) We are going to the Gray's house for dinner that night:) they are great! They are one of my favorite member families, if you are allowed to have favorites:) We will probably have to be in early again that night like we did last year, but who knows. I guess we will find out more specifics later this week:) Also on Halloween, we have transfers.. I am really praying and hoping that nothing changes this transfer and that I get to stay with Sister Hirro for another transfer. I just have so many things to learn from her:) She is a great missionary! You all will love her so much! I am excited for when she goes back to Temple Square and you all get to meet one of my companions!:)

This week has been another packed week:) Sister Hirro and I each carved a pumpkin last week which was so much fun! I decided to carve the Salt Lake City temple.. but.. it didn't turn out so great:) haha it's the fun and thought that counts right? haha:) Sister Hirro decided to be creative and chose to carve 16 stones from the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon:) She thought that that would be easy for her for her first time:) But... she cut so much out of the pumpkin that it collapsed.. whoops! We tried to perform surgery on it to help it stick together, but it didn't work:) She had a really good time though! 

We had our big ward party on Friday!! The Trunk or treat is always a big success here and this year was no exception! There were a lot of people that came out that I haven't met or seen before so it was a really great opportunity to get to know so many people! Several members invited non member friends which was great! I entered my pumpkin in the pumpkin contest just to participate in the ward functions, and I got 2nd place!! Ok, so there were only two pumpkins.. but.. no one needs to know the details:) haha:) We started the activity with a big chili cook off with chili, corn bread, and similar foods:) Then there was a pie contest after:) The food was so yummy! Following the dinner, everyone went outside to their cars and handed out candy to the children as they walked by. It was a lot of fun! I will have to send some pictures:)

Last Monday, we had family home evening with the Browns and Hartigans. Angie prepared the lesson and she did so great! We watched Ephraim's Rescue (I loved it! It was my first time seeing it:) and then talked about principles to learn from the movie afterwards. I was so proud of her! She has always been nervous to teach and hasn't wanted to in the past, so she did so great for her first time! She is the investigator that is Brother Brown's daughter. Speaking of Brother Brown.. good news! He hit his year mark of his baptism, so he was able to got through the temple last week for his own endowments!! We stopped by after and asked how he was doing with everything, and he said, "Well.. I'm still standing!" He is doing great! Please continue to keep Angie in your prayers and that her husbands heart will soften to allow her to be baptized. :)

Just a few random updates.. We have started going to young women's more recently because we want to get more involved with the youth in this ward. The youth here and everywhere are great! They are so prepared and willing to stand up as a light to those around them:) We had our Trainer/Trainee Meeting on Tuesday with the Assistants and President and Sister Weston! IT was so good to see all of them and to receive more revelation on how to further help Sister Hirro, our investigators, and the ward members. We are working with a couple of families consistently each week to help them in their preparation for missionary work! They are the Simmons and the Riffles. The Simmons have a son out on a mission right now and another son that is preparing for a mission right now. He just finished all of his paper work. The Riffles are a young couple with 2 children that recently moved into the ward. They are so missionary minded! I am sure that I will have more to update about them in the coming weeks:)  

Just a reminder that this week is fast sunday:) Remember to ponder and prepare so that you are ready for the Sacrament and have a meaningful fast. I know that there are great blessings that come into our lives from fasting. We have a great ability to access Heaven's help.

Have a wonderful week and happy Halloween!!
Sister Christensen

October 20, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm glad that you had a good week and enjoyed your birthday Daddy:) Congratulations on your color guard competitions Maddy! I am so proud of you and your team:) You are all doing so well this year! Wow! Can you believe that it is already the end of October? Thank you for sending those instructions for pumpkin seeds and templates for carving pumpkins! I want to make this a really fun experience for Sister Hirro, since it is her first time celebrating Halloween!:) so thank you so much for doing that for me:) We have had a good week:) Sister Hirro and I feel very exhausted most of the time, but that's missionary work for you and good prep for being a mother I suppose:) Many nights have been spent pondering the individuals that we are working with because sometimes, I just don't know what to do to help them. You grow to love the people that you are serving so much so it can be hard when they don't understand or accept things we teach. But, we keep moving forward in hopes that something will click as we share those truths that we have come to love so much:)

We saw the Fs twice this past week. N is too busy at this time to commit to read anything from the Book of Mormon but he said that he would love us to continue to stop by and teach them. B and K had both started to read the Book of Mormon but they said that they always want to be doing what God wants them to do and they aren't sure that He wants them to spend their time reading the Book of Mormon. They are very strong believers in the Bible which is wonderful! They just don't understand the importance of the Book of Mormon yet. But we are really hoping that as they hopefully open their hearts in the future, that they will come to feel of its importance and truthfulness. They are very kind but have a lot of concerns and hurdles we need to help them jump through. I have high hopes for them though because I can see their potential and how much this message would help them if they would allow it to. Like I said, they really like Sister Hirro and I. They fed us dinner last Friday and sent us home with some pepsi's, a package of water bottles, and ice cream treats! Then they called us that night to make sure that we made it home safely:) They said that our church is lucky to have us because we share the message very well. For our age, we stand our ground despite accusations thrown at us. I don't take credit for any of that though because I'm just a 20 year old girl:) It's the calling of a missionary and through the strength of Christ that anything good comes from me:) I know that they can feel the Spirit when we are there though. They recognize it and they are very scared because of it. Please continue to keep them in your prayers. Our next appointment with them is this Friday:)

One of the less actives that we are working very consistently with is Angela Barber. She is so great! She is in her 50's and the only member of her family. Her husband isn't very supportive but she is so strong! She has come to church the last 2 weeks now! We saw her twice this past week. For one of the visits, we took her to see "Meet the Mormons". She is working on overcoming some struggles with the Word of Wisdom right now. Overcoming anything is a process, but as we work on them and just try to improve a little each day, those weaknesses that we have can be turned into strengths.   

A young women in our ward, Aleksy Peterson has been called to the Provo, Utah mission!! She will be serving in our home mission:) Pretty cool we are swapping places:) She reports in December I believe:) So keep an eye out for her!

Sorry my email is kind of short this week. I hope that you have a wonderful week! My thoughts and prayers are with you this coming week:) I love you!!

Sister Christensen 

October 14, 2014 - Meet the Mormons

Hey mom, dad, family, and friends,

I love you all so much! Thank you for your support! Good luck Maddy with your competitions! It's good to talk with you again and tell you of a few of the many miracles that we have seen this week! Thank you so much for the package with the Temple names!! I really appreciated it!

First of all, I was able to go to the temple on Saturday Afternoon with Sister Mandy Peterson! She is a lady that I worked with while I was serving in the Lakeview Ward, and she was able to go through and receive her endowments in the Winter Quarters Temple! I was so happy!! It was amazing to see her and the changes that she has made in her life from the first time I met her:) She is still trying to stay strong and raise her children in the church, even though she doesn't have a lot of support from her husband right now. She is amazing! There were many people that came from the Lakeview Ward to support her as well!! So we had a big, happy, Lakeview family reunion in the temple:) It was wonderful! I was smiling ear to ear the whole time:) Among the people there, some of them included the Gudjenov's (My Bulgarian family that I lived with!!) and Sister Fulbright! (who goes home in 3 weeks:/) There was probably about 15 people from Lakeview there! I loved it! It has been a while since I have been in the temple but it was well worth the wait:) And.. I was able to have the work done for all 12 females that you sent! Thank you! There is always such a special spirit in the temple when we take our own family names:) I know that they were there and it is such a wonderful feeling to feel so close to your ancestors:) 

I was able to go and see "Meet the Mormons" last night for our family home evening with Bro. Brown, Angie, the Hartigans, and a young single adult- Krista Green! I am not going to lie.. it was so weird and awkward being inside a movie theater again! I didn't like it:) I felt like I was committing a crime the whole time! haha jk:) but I loved the movie!! It was very well put together! I think I liked the parts about the candy bomber, the kick boxer, and the missionary mom the best.. well actually. I think I liked all of it! I am not sure when it is showing in Utah, but it is a great non threatening missionary tool! We went for Krispy Cream doughnuts after:) Lots of fun!

So last Friday evening, we went and saw our investigator N F again! We didn't have an appointment set, just felt like we should stop by:) If you remember, when we initially met them, his wife K and mother B were very stand-off-ish! They didn't seem interested at all! But we talked with N and began teaching him. Sister Hirro and Sister Dumont saw them next and gave him a Book of Mormon! which was a huge miracle because the first time that we met him, he wouldn't take it:) He watched General Conference! and really loved it! He said that he was really shocked to see that they talked a lot about the Bible and not just the Book of Mormon. That really opened him up and he loved listening to the Prophet. K had been in the other room over hearing it and came out for the last talk to watch it with him! She also glanced a little at the Book of Mormon because he had sat it down on the counter. So that is all stuff that happened prior to Friday:) onto Friday when we saw them.. B answered the door and let us right in and said that she would go grab N. He came right out of his office and we went into the living room and... B and K both grabbed their Bibles and sat down with us! K was so receptive and soaked in everything that we taught! She didn't even quote one Bible reference against us! (N warned us that she has Bible bashed with any missionary from any religion that has ever come by! so this was a huge miracle!) We taught them the message of the Restoration and they each accepted their own personal copy of the Book of Mormon to read and pray about! The spirit was very strong! We have an appointment with them on Friday night to follow up with their reading and praying! Pray for them!

So good news!! As of yesterday, we are no longer in car shares!!! We got a call yesterday saying that they had a car that we could use at the mission office so we zoomed down there to pick it up! It is a sweet car! It was the Assistants old car:) It is one of the newest cars in the mission! It is a 2014 chevy cruze LT:) I really like it!! Haha I think that this is the nicest car I will drive for a long time:) 

Another quick story. We have an Investigator named B. She has a lot of trust issues and is not all the way there mentally. There was a pretty bad situation that we got put in the other day but I will have to tell you about it another time. We had to leave her home due to some things going on there, but we left her a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD of mine to help her lift her spirits and create a peaceful environment in her home. We got a call the next morning at 7 am from her husband. I was really nervous when I first answered the phone, not knowing what to expect, but he said that they both really, really, liked the music and they wanted us to get the lyrics for them so that they could read and study them:) The spirit in their home completely changed over night from a simple thing of listening to a spiritual cd. That was a neat experience to show the power of music and how it effects us so much for good, or negatively:) So be very careful on your choice of media and music:) It has a huge effect on you without you even realizing it!

On Wednesday, we got a pretty cool service opportunity that we will be volunteering at a couple weeks each month. It is called JUMP (Jesus Use Me Please). It is a non-denominational Christian church that we are serving at. They provide service for the community each Wednesday night. Last week, we made sack lunches for the Open Door Mission. It is for homeless people:) It is a really neat service opportunity, being involved in other churches, but it is really hard not being able to answer the kid's questions that they ask. We aren't allowed to proselyte there as part of the volunteer thing but I know that seeds are getting planted and one day, they will find someone that they can ask those questions to again:)

We had interviews with President Weston and that went well and my training was pretty good as well this week:) I will tell you more about it later! Sorry there is so much stuff to write about! Overall, it has been a good week and we continue to see many miracles! It was a packed week! But packed with Spiritual greatness:) haha:) Love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!! 

Sister Christensen

October 6, 2014

Hello Everyone!

I love you all so much!! It's so good to talk with you again today and tell you a little bit about my week. It's been another good week here in Bellevue:) We see miracles everyday! I am so thankful for this time that I have to be a missionary! It is the greatest experience of my life up to this point! But, can you believe it's already October? Halloween will be here soon! I really, really, really love my companion Sister Hirro! She is one of the happiest people that I have ever met and I have learned so much from her over the past couple of weeks that we have been together:) She is really helping me to grow and really love every second of my mission:) We laugh all of the time and have so much fun together! Don't worry, we take our work seriously around here:) But, we find many opportunities to enjoy life:)

My legs are getting pretty strong and my endurance is improving since we have been on bikes! I think that it is getting a little easier with time and practice:) It takes a lot of skill to ride around on a bike, in a skirt, up and down hills, with a wind factor:) haha:) It is not for the faint of heart:) We are really rocking the look though with the helmet if I do say so myself!

I had a Philippino dinner this week!:) It was actually very yummy! We had Lumpia:) You will have to look it up sometime on the internet:) It is delicious! We also had Asian noodles.. it was a very odd texture:) haha:) but all in all, it was great!

I went on exchanges Wednesday- Thursday this week which was a lot of fun! We did some service at a thrift store:) Then on Saturday, Sister Hirro and I went to goodwills (a thrift store) and did some service there as well:) We finally found a consistent place to provide service in our area! We were both very excited to do that! So, we will be serving there a couple of hours each week:)

While on exchanges, Sister Hirro and Sister Dumont, went to see N F! He is so great! His heart has been softened since the last time that we saw him:) He finally accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said that he would start reading it! He actually already believes in a lot of the same things that we do! He believes in "3 tiers of Heaven with God dwelling in the highest one" and that there are 3 separate beings in the Godhead. He really wants to find truth and was intrigued by General Conference and hearing that we have a Prophet in our day. He is doing very well! Keep praying for him!

Did you just love General Conference? I know that I sure did! It was so amazing!!! I am so thankful that we were able to watch all of the sessions! I had many prayers and concerns answered through not only what they said, but what I felt:) It was so neat that they had many people give their talks in their native languages! That was really historical:) Although I really liked many of the talks, one of them that had helped me a lot at this time was from Jorg Klebingat. He started off by asking each of us a question. If we were to have a personal interview with the Savior, Jesus Christ, in one minute, would we be prepared? Would we feel confident and comfortable in His presence? Would we run to Him or hide our face? He shared 6 things that we can each do to become more Spiritually confident! They aren't anything new that we haven't heard before, but when applied with faith, we can change our very natures through His Atonement, so that we can truly feel comfortable in His presence! Those 6 things are (1) Take care of your spiritual well-being (2) Take care of your physical well-being (3) Embrace whole hearted obedience! (4) Learn to repent thoroughly and quickly (5) Forgive others quickly and thoroughly (including ourself) and (6) Accept trials, set backs, and surprises as part of life. I really liked the part when he said to acknowledge your weaknesses but don't become immobilized by them! I felt like he was speaking directly to me because this was actually one of the questions that I had written down, prior to conference.

We hear wonderful things at Conference. Many of us write down notes on great things they said. But as we learned from the last General Conference from Elder Hallstrom, "Simply stated, the purpose of general conference...is fulfilled only if weare willing to act—if we are willing to change." We all learned great things from conference but it will do us no good if we don't act on the things that we learned.:) Remember, we all have weaknesses but we can change because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "The invitation to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”(Moroni 10:32) both requires and expects change. Mercifully, He has not left usalone. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  Then willI make weak things become strong” (Ether 12:27). Relying upon the Savior’sAtonement, we can change." I know that this is true! Although I am still far from where I would like to be, I have found strength through the Atonement to change my very nature and become more like Him.  

I love you all so much! I hope that you have a wonderful week!

Sister Christensen