Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11, 2012 - Last email from the mission

I feel a huge weight on my shoulders about what I should write about. I cannot believe I am at the end of my time here. It's such a bittersweet feeling. Sister Tua'one and I rocked our last week. We worked hard. We taught a bunch of non-members and contacted 101 people. I finished on such a high note, I am thrilled. We said many "goodbyes" throughout the week--this ward was so beyond good to us (we are both being transfered out--the ward was NOT happy)! Last night I taught my final lesson to an investigator, Nicole, and cried. I will miss this. I know as soon as I get home, my heart will ache for California and my people...I could not have had a better mission.

I love my mission....I want everyone to know that I am still very much me. I still have my character flaws and I am a little rough around the edges. I am still as impatient and demanding as I ever was. I still like to be the leader and have my opinion heard. And I still get very grumpy if I am not well fed and well slept :) .....but spiritually, I have grown immeasurably. My testimony of the gospel is 10x what is was pre-mission. I have had so many life experiences that will most definitely shape me into who I am. The Church is so true. I never want my life to be without this knowledge. And I never want to stop being a missionary. I cannot wait to take the skills I have learned and apply them into my normal life. I feel confident to answer any question that is thrown my way. This was the hardest, funnest, scariest, most happy, frustrating, building experience of my life and I wouldn't change it for the world!!!

The Church is true.
Party Hard, Get Crazy
Do (missionary) Work.
Love you all!
Sister Amy Lauren Christensen.

My last zone meeting

My final sister exchange (with Sister Barratarra from Kiribesh)

Christmas caroling with the elders

A live nativity with Nicole (our investigator)

Saying goodbye to Elder Daniel

Saying goodbye to my favorite puppy!

I'm Done!?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 4, 2012

Tuesday: We had zone activity. It was the most competitive zone activity I have ever had. We split into two teams, team red and team green (for the holiday season :)) and within the first 5 minutes we were all in it to win it. At one point the zone leader on my team goes, "They are being really competitive.....we need to step it up."  I laughed out loud. I thought he would say something like, "We need to relax" or "Bring it down a couple notches", but nope! And we proceeded to play hard. Right at the end, during a little two on two, my zone leader on the opposite team fully on body-slammed me in the air, as we were both jumping for the ball, and I came down sideways on my foot. Oh baby...it hurt so bad! There were many choice words that came out of my mouth. I swear it felt like it was broken. I had to be carried to the car. It was a terrible way to end zone activity, but at least it was at the end, right?

So I did the whole hurt foot routine, put some ice on it, took meds, and elevated it. I was out of commission from walking from Wednesday to Friday, which sucked hard core. There is a long dark bruise from my pinky toe to my ankle, and an EMT in my ward said she believes it's a sprained ligament based on the symptoms and her touching it. Now, a week later, I can limp around on it fine, but it definitely slowed us down all week. And it was rainy, so that made our week even less productive.

On Friday I wore a walking boot for a couple hours and got to see my favorites, Laurie and Dana Del Francia. My district leader served in San Clemente, and he worked with them as well, so all six of us went out to lunch. It was such a spirit booster. I love them.

On Saturday was our ward Christmas breakfast. We got to see Santa! I stood in one place all morning and scrambled about 100 eggs. Fun stuff. Saturday night we had dinner with the McNeil's, who are about the funniest people I have ever met. Sister Tua'one and I were laughing inappropriately long and loud. Haha. I can't help it if someone makes me laugh!

Sunday was wonderful. Vivian came to Church, which was awesome. I had forgotten how stressful it can be to have an investigator at Church (because you want them to meet people and have a nice time and learn, etc etc etc), but we were thrilled to have her attend.

And Monday was even more wonderful. Yesterday we worked really hard to talk to everyone on the streets. Then we had FHE [Family Home Evening] with a nonmember and then later we had a lesson with another nonmember we picked up as an investigator. Her name is Nicole and she is 23 and so stellar. Seriously. She is so going to be baptized. I love when young people investigate the church. It is so awesome to see them change their lives when the world is telling them not to! THEN, when we got home at 930, the Terry's and McNeil's were there to deliver a full-sized, live Christmas tree to our apartment, with lights and ornaments. It smells wonderful and seriously feels like Christmas. It was SO NICE!!!!

Ahh! So I have a fabulous last week of my mission all planned out. It's going to go quick and I still cannot believe it's almost over. It's so bittersweet! I will talk more about that next week....but really. I cannot believe it.

The church is so true.
Party Hard.
Get Crazy.
Do (missionary) work!
Sista C

Monday, December 3, 2012

November 27, 2012

I am just going to hit the highlights for this week!

Wednesday we participated in an interfaith, feed the homeless, service project. It was so fun. We got to sit in during the service and learn how a handful of faiths worship. Then we served Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless and we got to eat with them. This was Thanksgiving meal number one. It was a great way to spend the night before the holiday weekend.

Thursday was my favorite holiday! (I may or may not say that about every holiday....I just love holidays!) But really, I love my family, I love eating, and I love napping -- all of which are major parts of Thanksgiving! We had district meeting in the morning and, as I did last year, I made all the elders wear Indian headdresses with accompanying names. I was "Dancing Flamingo" and my companion was "Spotted Cheetah." We really love our elders and had fun taking pictures. We also went around the room and shared what we are thankful for. Mine was three-fold. 1. I am thankful for where I am in my life (grateful to be here in CA with my companion and my district and my ward). 2. I am grateful for my support system back at home. I could never be here, doing what I am doing, without them. And 3. I am thankful for dogs. They show unconditional love and I love them! I cannot wait to see my puppies again soon!

Anyway, at 1 we all headed off to our respective meals. We had Thanksgiving dinner number 2 with the Del Rosarios. Next year at this time two of their kids will be on missions. They are so legit. See the picture of the turkey with Melanie. Oh man. It was delish. Then, at 5 pm, we had Thanksgiving meal number 3 with the Terry/Turner clan. It reminded me of Whitmore get-togethers and felt right at home. There were tons of kids, four different tables, and lots of noise. Love it! The Terry's have a daughter on a mission in Brazil and we just love hearing about her! We love knowing about families and their missionaries!! At 7pm we went to the Johnson's for dessert, but we both could hardly eat because we were so full! But we still had a blast spending time with them.

Friday and Saturday were recovery days where we just took it easy and did smaller items on our missionary to-do list. Sunday and Monday were both awesome. We love getting to know our ward better. We had back-to-back appointments all night and we got to see Vivian, our investigator with a baptismal date! She thinks she is still good for December 8th, but we will see how it pans out this week. Also, yesterday I had my exit interview with President Cook. So surreal.

We had a district meeting on Monday and I have some sweet quotes to share...
1. "A man is who is based on what he thinks about when he has nothing to think about"
2. "God-like character is the natural result in continued effort of having God-like thoughts"
3. "When a missionary loses himself, He becomes his True self, and goes home his "new self"...and I have to ask myself, who is my "new self."
The meeting was all about self-improvement and virtue and how our thoughts become our actions, which becomes who we are.

I loved it. Hope everyone had a happy holiday and is looking forward to Christmas! Love you all.

Pce and blessings
Pce and blessings!

-Sister Christensen

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 20, 2012 w/ 6 pictures!!

It was a legit week in the world of missionary work. Not so much in terms of teaching investigators, but more so in just feeling good about the area, the ward, and the work we are doing.

Tuesday was great. We had a lovely district lunch party thing where we all sat on the steps of the church and ate lunch. I love some good old district unity. Then I gave one of the elders a haircut! I am learning so much on my mission! (I have previously given haircuts to my dad and cousins, but I had no idea what I was doing, so this time I actually learned how to do it properly). Later that night we had dinner with a cute young couple and their adorable Spanish-speaking two-year-old. Loved it!

Wednesday and Thursday were both long days full of missionary work.

Friday we had a mission wide zone conference. Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy came to our mission and spoke. It was wonderful. I took four pages of notes and enjoyed seeing all my favorite people, including my baby, Sister Andrus, my old ZL [Zone Leader], Elder Martin, and my favies, Elder Hemmelgarn. Also got to see my favorite APs! (see pictures!) We are a little gang and always hang out together when we see each other. Love them all! The conference ended at 2:30, but Sister Tua'one got invited to a baptism in Escondido, so instead of driving home we drove more south and hung out in Escondido for the baptism. The girl getting baptized didn't show up because her mom got busy and couldn't make it and she didn't want to get baptized without her mom! At first we were a little panicked, but we ended up going out to Golden Spoon for some frozen yogurt and then had the baptism later that night at 8pm. It seemed like a true Friday night! We didn't even get home until 11pm! It was an adventure and was way fun!

Saturday we did what we were supposed to do on Friday, which was weekly planning. We went out to dinner at Chili's and I had the most amazing grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and honey mustard. I have only come to love bacon on my mission, and it really does make everything so much better!

Sunday and Monday were both great days. On Sunday we did a ward service project and delivered Thanksgiving meals to ten families in need. That was rewarding! And then Monday I got to see my "cousin" Tiersha who is going to my house for Thanksgiving! I got to meet her new baby, Charlotte, and catch up! So much fun! Also, the weather here is ridiculously beautiful and I just really enjoyed the day!

This morning we started off the day with a trip to the Newport Beach temple. Everything went so smoothly and it felt so good to be there! I feel so happy. Life is just good. I am stoked for Thanksgiving and the week we have ahead! I hope everyone enjoys the holidays--party hard, don't get too crazy. The Church is true!

Loveee, Sister Christensen

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 13, 2012

I can hardly believe it's only been a week since my last email! I swear, time slows down the closer you get to the finish line!

Last week was great. We were a little bummed about the elections, but my testimony is strong enough and I honestly believe that things happen how they are supposed to, so keep it real, live right, and it will all work out!

On Tuesday we had district activity. There is nothing quite like being holed up in a gym with 8 19- to 20-yr olds. It was a good time haha. We played frisbee, insane kickball, and basketball. Holla. Also, I think I mentioned this last week, but we have started working with some young women in our ward on their Personal Progress projects and I love it. Two girls in particular are the same age as my little sister and I cannot believe how mature they are! Is Amber that mature now too?! They both shared with us how they are setting examples to their friends and doing missionary work and I just love it. These kids are stellar!

On Wednesday my companion and I had a sweet companion inventory that helped us set our goals and standards for what we expect out of this transfer. I love goal setting! Afterward we promptly went out and picked up a new investigator! Her name is Vivian, she is 24 with a 5 yr old son. In her own words she is "just trying to find out how to worship God the right way." We were both stoked on life to have found her and truly hope that she will find the answer she is looking for! It was such a beautiful, perfect day--love it!

Thursday we had a zone meeting and a couple great appointments that kept us fresh and happy! Friday we had a second appointment with Vivian and that went really well. We weekly planned and had dinner with a return sister missionary who I adore. She is so spicy and hilarious! Saturday was great, Sunday was great, and Monday was great! We are just rockin' out and doing missionary work. Seriously, I would tell you all about it, but it was all just doing what we got called out here to do, and that just makes me happy! I love my ward, I love my companion, and we have a fabulous week ahead, which I am stoked about!

Hope all is well wherever you may be!

Love, Sista Christensen

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 6, 2012

Big week!

Tuesday was the long awaited transfers! I got to see my baby Andrus, so that was fabulous, and then, I got the companion that I was hoping for......Sister Brook Tua'one, from Fort Lauderdale, FL. She is Tongan and is one of 10 children in her family. She is the 8th to serve a mission in her family! She was in the MTC with Sister Andrus and I had heard great things about her, so I was happy when she got called to serve with me in Laguna Niguel. It was a long day of goodbyes (to Sister Farmer and Sister Rokobuli) and hellos to all my friends and my new companion!

Wednesday was Halloween. I. Love. Halloween. Naturally, I made the entire district dress up for district meeting. They were all good sports about it. See photo. We had a couple appointments and then enjoyed a Halloween-themed meal at the Bell's. We had to be home by 630, which wasn't so bad because we got to relax and get to know each other better.

Thursday and Friday were lame days so I am jumping straight to Saturday. On Saturday we got to participate in a mini-MTC experience for all the 16-18 yr old prospective elders in four surrounding stakes. It was so fun! We conducted a district meeting and had them practice different skills that they will one day need to use in the field. President Cook was in my group, which made me nervous, but we rocked it so well that I was happy he got to see us in action.

Immediately following the mini MTC we got to drive down to Vista so I could speak at Mike Mieure's baptism! It was such a blast. I loved Vista soo much. I was way nervous about my talk and had re-written it like 3x, and finally I just kinda went up and winged it. I got a lot of compliments so I think it went well! I was so happy to see Dani and Mike and baby Kami again. I really love them. And I got to see S. Andrus and S. Allred. It was a little reunion! It was hard to leave!

Sunday was fabulous as well. It was Fast and Testimony meeting. So many youth in our ward went up and bore powerful testimonies of the gospel. These kids are truly the elect. I don't remember being so brave and having such a strong testimony of the gospel when I was a teenager. It was so fun to listen to and be a part of. Also, we taught YW [Young Women's] in third hour and got to know more of the girls. The youth in the ward are so awesome.

Yesterday it was 90 degrees! It was kinda a long and hot day and we did a lot but didn't accomplish much--such is the life of a missionary. I am still enjoying getting to know Sister Tua'one and trying to rock out this area. We are on the hunt for new investigators so wish us luck.

Love you all!
-Sister Christensen

Goodbye Farmer!

Happy Halloween!

Mike's baptism

Sunday, November 4, 2012

October 30, 2012

Long long long week! I feel like things that happened last week, happened like six weeks ago, but I guess I'll still tell you about them...

On Tuesday we had dinner with a woman who is exactly the type of wife and mother that I want to be when I am married with five children. And she's not even a member! (which makes the fact that the is so amazingly awesome, even more impressive). She cooked us a delicious, fancy meal, and her house looks like it's straight out of a Pottery Barn magazine, her kids are adorable and she is super selfless and giving. Everyone who meets her, loves her and wants to be her. I am serious, she is fabulous. Needless to say, I really enjoyed spending time with her.

On Wednesday we visited a bunch of wonderful families. One woman has a two-week-old baby who I love and adore. I love babies, therefore babies make me happy. We had a fun dinner appointment and finished the evening in a very spiritual lesson with our surfer dude slash airline pilot friend, Sandy.

Thursday we did service for the elders. And it was fun. And got done way quick. District unity for life.

Friday was weekly planning, which I did all alone because my companion is going home and didn't care to help. So that wasn't very fun. But we did teach early morning seminary, which brought back a flood of memories. Those kids are seriously troopers. I don't know how I ever even passed Seminary! Getting up before 6am should not be legal, no kidding. Ahh! That night we had souplantation for dinner, which was a first for me.

The weekend was good. And Monday was busy! Farmer said goodbye to all her favorite families, which was fun but exhausting. Oh, also we found out that our mission is going from 178 missionaries to 250 by January!! And in Salt Lake City, mission applications jumped from about 700 a week to 4500 in a week!! It's insane!

The Church is true. That's my testimony.
-Sister Christensen

My idol! She has Wonder Woman socks and I had my Halloween socks, so naturally we needed a picture.