Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 18, 2011 w/ pictures!

I survived another transfer!! As did my companion!  Ha - our ward mission leader wrote a letter to my mission president requesting that we both stay for another six weeks and we had a bunch of families praying that we stayed. Not going to lie to you people, but my ward loves us! When I got here, it took two or three weeks to get our dinner calendar filled and now it takes one Sunday and it's done. Madsen and I just work well together and we know the balance between having fun and working hard:: the downfall is that now we are almost positive that we will be separated in six weeks which is like an awful countdown to the unknown. We would love to be together for the holidays, but we are pretty sure it won't happen :( Such is the life of a missionary.

Anyway, this week was good! On Wednesday we had sister exchanges. Another missionary, Sister Richards, came to my area with me, and Madsen went into their area, with Sister Columbe, for 24 hours. I was a little worried because Sister Richards has a bad rep. for being a white handbook and some what stiff, but I actually really liked her. She was different and def. more strict, but it was a great learning experience. I found out that her bad rep. came about because of the elders in her district who haven't quite found the balance between fun and reverent, so they didn't like her. My opinion changed though and even though I missed Madsen, I was glad to see different ways to do missionary work. Also, I came to realize how awesome my area is. She was white washed into her area and is lucky to have three or four lessons a week. Teaching is easily my favorite part of missionary work so I can't imagine not being able to do it a lot. I appreciate my area and ward much more now!

We switched back on Thursday. At the beginning of the week, Madsen and I made a goal to teach 21 lessons and so we really tried to stay as busy as possible. We got canceled on a bunch on Thursday so that was a downer. Making goals that are hard to attain really stresses me out!! I hate making goals I cannot achieve so I was frustrated Thursday because things just kept not happening for us.

Friday we kept way busy and taught three lessons to investigators which is awesome (all while trying to get our weekly planning done which usually takes 3.5 hours so we were never without stuff to do). I don't know if I shared this with you, but it's a bit of a long story. Awhile ago, Sister Madsen and I started this "member missionary lesson" where we teach active families and then leave them with an envelope and challenge them to give us a referral within a specific date. So we did the lesson for our ward mission leader and his wife and daughter. Thankfully, they took the challenge seriously and were really trying hard to pray about a name to give us. Sister Thatcher, the wife, was praying about it and her sister (who is not a member) kept coming to her mind. She kept thinking, "No no she is not ready and wouldn't want it." Brother Thatcher (our ward mission leader) said to her, "Stop trying to decide who the Lord has prepared to hear the gospel" so Sister Thatcher challenged her sister to take the missionary lessons. Her sister accepted. This is a big deal for their family. Now we are teaching her sister, Heather, once a week. She is so awesome. She has had a hardddd life and is really humbled. She is following through with her commitments and really has a desire to know the truth. My challenge to anyone reading this is don't try to decide for God who is ready to hear the gospel. If you have had a friend for 20 years and you get the impression that you need to talk to them about the Church, do it. That is the Spirit telling you that it could be the right time or moment to let them know. I loved Sister Thatcher's story because I know I am guilty of making up excuses for why I can't give missionaries referrals. Now I am a missionary and I know the other end. We just want to knock some of you people upside the head and tell you to do what the Lord has asked and gather his sheep! haha. Ok, I am stepping off my soapbox.

Saturday we did service and had a picnic with one of our favorite families. Sunday was busy busy busy with meetings and appointments. It was the primary program which was so cute and fun! I love that I can look at the kids on the stage and I know 3/4 of them and their families and I adore at least 1/2 of them! We have really gotten to know our ward which makes it feel like home.

We didn't reach our goal of 21 lessons but we got close enough that I was happy with it. We tried really hard. I got a taste of how Heavenly Father must feel. I so badly want to force people to let us come over and teach and allow them to grow in the gospel, but everyone has their agency and are free to choose how they want to live their lives. It must really frustrate Him when we make dumb decisions and pull away from Him. Madsen and I just want to help people and do service and allow people to feel the Spirit and enrich their lives, but we cannot force it on anyone. Ha. Oh well.

Monday was great despite the fact that we got canceled on. We have such an awesome ward that even when we get canceled on, we can still find a family to teach and get our lessons in. We also got a referral this week and have an appointment set up for Wednesday, so we are excited about that. We really want to increase our teaching pool so we plan to do some solid work to find more people to teach.

Today in personal study I was reading in Alma and it felt like stuff I was reading for the first time. Alma is giving some solid advice to his sons, and when you think about it in terms of your parents giving you advice, it can really hit home. If you cannot read the whole chapter at least read Alma 37: 32-37 and Alma 38. It's legit advice. Currently in my Book of Mormon reading, I am marking all mentions of any member of the Godhead and, in only six verses, a variation of God is written 11 times....I think putting our trust in God is important, no?

We also discussed faith in our companion study. I love teaching about faith, but faith is so tricky!! If you have lots and lots of faith you can move mountains and perform miracles, but if you don't exercise your faith CONSTANTLY, it gets taken away. And it's easy to have a little faith, but to be constantly building it up, sometimes we hit walls where we aren't really sure what we need to do next to increase our faith. For instance, I am reading my scriptures daily, and I pray like 10000 times a day and I am teaching people all the time, but I am falling into a rut. I want to challenge my faith to build it stronger...does this make sense? I don't know. Feel free to send advice my way :)

No matter what, I love the gospel and I love what faith in Jesus Christ can do for your life. It makes life more beautiful and meaningful. Never forget that! Have a great week everyone! Loves from California!

-Sister Christensen

Sister Madsen and I happy to still be together!

At the picnic playing games with the Scott's.

Ok this picture is so funny. We were playing with the Everts' and the little boy got mad and ran outside and sat by the tree crying. I got permission from Sister Everts to take a picture of him -- we couldn't stop laughing. It was the cutest tantrum ever!

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