Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011 w/ pictures

As far as missionary work goes this week, there was little to none -- relatively speaking -- Thanksgiving was on Thursday which was basically a day spent eating. We had two Thanksgivings and three desserts. I most definitely have now gained about 12 pounds since I've been out. Harsh, but delicious. On Thanksgiving I also got to see my cousins, Josh, Tiersha, and Megan. It was so fun seeing them and it was nice getting an update on the Whitmore family.

On Saturday Sister Madsen and I decided to do it elder's style and ride bikes all day. We looked like total dorks in our helmets and skirts, but it was fun. It was close to 80 degrees so we were sweating hard core. We have some huge hills in our area which were killer. S. Madsen put the mountain bike on speed one and I was on speed five. She was peddling so fast and furious, but getting nowhere. I was already halfway up the hill, but once I started laughing it was hard to keep going. Oh my goodness it was hilarious. Another biker passed her and was like "Good job! Keep going!!" She felt like an idiot so she turned her speed up and made it up the hill. Unfortunately with riding bikes, you end up spending so much time trying to get to your appointments that you lose out on a lot of your proselyting hours. Our bums really hurt afterwards, but we would totally do it again if we were staying together.

Yes, that's right, Sister Madsen is leaving me. She is getting transfered out today. I feel really bad for the new sister coming in. Everyone loves S. Madsen and it's going to be hard to compete. After we found out on Saturday night, both Sunday and Monday were spent tying loose ends and saying goodbyes. Hence, not too much missionary work. I am really going to miss her. We have a lot of fun together and I laugh to tears at least once a day. Last night we had our last lesson with Aaron and Jessica together. The Merricks and the elders came over too, so it was a little party. We played Apples to Apples, ate a million cookies, and played only the funniest game known to man, the slap game. I have video evidence of how funny it is, but I don't know how to upload it?  Anyway, it was a really good last hurrah together. She will be missed.

This is probably my shortest and least inspiring letter written, but missionary work took a back burner to holidays and friendship. I promise it won't happen again....at least until Christmas. I have just started reading "Jesus the Christ" and already I am learning so much. If you decide to try it, make sure you have a dictionary nearby -- he uses a lot of tricky words. Anyway, the Church is still true! Spread the gospel and be good examples. I love you all cause you are all children of God! Holla!

-Sister Christensen

The elders made us have district meeting on Thanksgiving so I made them all Indian headdresses with appropriate names to match. Ha, they were all willing to wear them the whole meeting, it was funny!

Us in our dorky helmets. Don't hate.

There is a house all decked out and it shoots out bubble-snow. It was so fun! We love seeing all the Christmas lights and decorations. People go big here - it's awesome.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 22, 2011 w/ pictures

What a week.  It went fast and slow, like it tends to do. First and foremost, shout out to my adorable sister and awesome brother-in-law and their new baby, Aiden Kent Knuckles. I got the phone call on Friday morning that he arrived. Before the lady could even tell me that he was born I was in tears of excitement and may or may not have been somewhat screaming into the phone. I could not be happier for them and am already in love with my new nephew. Ha, I keep randomly telling people that I'm an aunt! It's so surreal and I wish I could be there to see him, but I know that when I come home, he will be as cute as ever and more fun than a newborn!

The second big event of the week was the baptism of our investigator, Ricky. She was the first lesson I ever taught as a missionary. At the time, I really didn't think much would come from teaching her, but as we progressed, we grew to love her and her daughter Meg. She is from Japan, so we involved a lot of Japanese speaking RM's (older men, who loved getting the opportunity to use their mission language again). Ricky was so happy at her baptism. She just kept talking about how good she felt and how it felt so right. Sister Madsen and I got to sing at it and overall it was really special and awesome. See pictures.

It's awesome getting baptisms, but then there is that problem of not having investigators. It's been stressful because we want to just sit back and enjoy our baptisms, but the work ain't done! We have been doing a lot more tracting, contacting, and working with members, trying to find new people to teach. We are both really crossing our fingers that with the holiday season and all the ward activities going on, that through member referrals, we will be able to put some people into our teaching pool. Pray for us haha.

On a freaking awesome note, we had some Bible bashers last week, and guess who was awesome and did not freak out, but just calmly stated our purpose and left their home on good terms??? Yes people, it was me. These people were hard core and pretty much ready to bash the moment we stepped in the door, and Madsen started to do it, but I was like Nope. I told them that in other circumstances we would be happy to have an animated discussion about the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but as missionaries and servants of the Lord our purpose is to teach and educate people about our belief in the Book of Mormon and help them gain a better understanding of our faith and gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you very much and good night. Haha it was legit.

We did some service and lots and lots of walking and talking to people. I am such a whiner and don't really have supportive shoes so it really hurts! Poor Madsen had to endure it all, and she endures it well. At one point, we were walking up the 100th hill and I made Madsen let me hold her purse handle so she could kind of pull me along.  We looked like the biggest dorks, but just laughed about how wimpy I am.

We are super excited for Thanksgiving! We are eating TWO Thanksgiving meals which is going to be....interesting but fun. Also it's transfers week. On Saturday we find out who is staying and who is going. It's like 99.9% that Madsen or I will be leaving (more likely Madsen), but we really don't want to!!! I am not ready!!!!! Our bishop made us give him our Mission President's number so he could call and our ward mission leader plans to call too to try and keep us together, but I am not holding my breath. I might be in the depths of bitter sadness and depression by next Tuesday. Ha pray for me.

The Church is true people. Don't hide it and don't deny it. Be good missionaries and share the gospel in every way you can. Our challenge to our ward and my challenge to you is to link mormon.org to your Facebook pages. I know that 99% of you reading this have a Facebook page so don't be lame and make excuses! Share the gospel because it's that important. And read Moroni 7 because I just read it this morning and I love it.

pce out from CA
-Sister Christensen

These first two are from the baptism.

This is our ward mission leader and his family. We took a "family photo." We are seriously at their house all the time. We love them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15, 2011 w/ pictures!

This update is going to be a little different. I have titled this letter "A Love Hate Relationship" because I have a love hate relationship with being a missionary. I will intermix the loves and the hates so it doesn't sound too negative haha.

1. I HATE Bible bashers. I am pretty positive I have said this one before, but let me reiterate. I HATE Bible bashers. Ha, I need to start praying for more patience because I know I am going to run into many, many more Bible bashers, but oh man, they totally get under my skin. We taught a Bible basher last Wednesday.....my companion did amazing. She kept her calm and explained things and bore testimony and left feeling victorious. I, on the other hand, was awful. I was shaking I was so angry and I may or may not have been slightly mocking him within my questions. It's fairly easy to catch Bible bashers in a web that they cannot explain, but yet they still stand strong that they have a point and that we are wrong and are doomed to hell. No joke. People love to tell us they "will pray for us" and try to help us change our ways. In my head I am like, "Buddy, if you could only hear what I really want to say to you, but won't because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ...." I guess it's a good lesson in loving everyone and patience. And clearly it's a lesson I am still learning.

2. I LOVE doing service. I love doing service for people who need it. This week we did a lot of service and it was so fun. We helped clean a woman's house whose husband has cancer and they have two young daughters. Their girls are beyond adorable and I loved getting to play with them and organize and clean at the same time. Also, we helped with a ward service project, packing Thanksgiving meal bags for less fortunate. It was nice to think that these families can still have a nice Thanksgiving even when they are having hard times. Service is awesome.

3. As a missionary, I HATE the rain. It rained twice throughout the week, and when it rains it's so dreary and hard to work. I just want to curl up on the couch and read a good book and take a nice nap, but nope. Not as a missionary. My shoes were so wet and gross that I just started proselyting barefoot. I was wearing a long dress so I tried to cover my feet so no one would notice. It's just not fun at all walking around in wet shoes. But people do tend to be a little nicer when you are standing on their porch in the rain haha.

4. I LOVE my ward. There is one neighborhood, that no matter what time it is, we can find kids outside to play with. This week we have played some intense games of tag, football, racing on scooters and bikes, and lacrosse. It's so much fun because we will be playing with one family, and then another family will come out to talk, and more kids will come play, and someone else will be walking their dog, etc. We always end up talking with at least three LDS families and get a moment to relax and have fun.

5. I LOVE baptisms. Jessica got baptized on Friday night. It was awesome. I was beaming. It felt like my little girl, growing up and making the best decision ever. Haha, Jess was smiling so much - I love all the pictures because she looks so happy and we were all so happy and it was just awesome. Sister Madsen did bomb in singing and my talk was good. It was a great night! Pictures will be included. This Saturday is our next baptism with my investigator Ricky, so it should be another great weekend! Tonight we are setting the program and making the final details - yay :)

6. I HATE 6:30 am alarms. It's impossible waking up on time. My bed is so cozy and warm and nice --once I am up I am fine, but that initial getting up is painful. Although I do go to bed at 9:30, the latest 10:30, so I really shouldn't complain, but I just love my sleep.

7. I LOVE Zone Conference. We had Zone Conference yesterday from 8am-4pm. It was legit. We learn a lot and were inspired and given great advice. It was much needed.

Missionary work is a roller coaster, I love it and I hate it. The fact of the matter is that I love it MORE than I hate it so it's all well worth it. Keep rocking on and be good examples. The Church is true. Be a living example of that. Loves from CA.

-Sister Christensen

November 8, 2011

I am such a wimp. It's getting "cold" here in sunny California (aka 60's at the lowest) and I am freezing my lil bum off! Finally, yesterday, the women we stay with turned the heat on. I was sleeping with three, yes THREE, comforters. Every time we go from a house to the car, I have to let out a "I'm cold" screech which my companion loves (jk, she really hates it, but I can't help it! I hate being cold!) I want it to stay warmm!!!!

Ok onto the week. I have a couple funny stories:

Wednesday, Sister Madsen and I went to check out a referral we had been given. We knocked on the door and this older man comes to the door and invites us in immediately (we hadn't even introduced ourselves). We were really confused but we never turn down friendly people so we went inside. His wife comes out and is sooo nice. She is telling us about her dog, Charles, and about her daughter's recent wedding and all this stuff and we are just smiling and talking, but both of us are still thinking, "Wow these people are so friendly...how do they know us?!" So after playing with Charles for a while, she's like, "So you must be here to see George!" and I said, "Who's George?" (Sister Madsen was like, "We are??") and she laughed and was like (in a you're-so-silly-you-know-who-George-is-tone), "Who's George? This is George!"....Both Sister Madsen and I were thinking George was another animal, but no, George is their sick grandpa...Now we are reallllyyyy confused. But still we continue to play along and start talking with George! Finally I bring up the Church and we find out that they thought we were the nurses coming in to take a look at George because he is sick. AWKWARD! Yeah, as soon as we got out of there we died laughing. It was funny.

Later that day we had sister exchanges. Sister Hermanson came into my area and Sister Madsen went into their area. It was.....hard being away from Sister Madsen. Sister Hermanson was, what we like to call, an extreme white handbook. Sister Madsen and I are generally very obedient, but there are some rules we are not good at (like holding babies, chewing gum, etc). In an effort to be positive and nice, I will say that it was an educational experience and I was very happy to get Sister Madsen back on Thursday, as was she.

Thursday we taught Activity Days for the kids 8-11. It was a lot of fun. We set up a "day in the life of a missionary" relay race, which was so cute! The little girls loved it and it was a fun change to our schedule.

Friday was lame.

Saturday I had a great personal study. Read D&C (Doctrine & Covenants) 6. It's legit. Also we did more tracting in one day than we have in like 8 weeks. Not so fun, but the weather was beautiful which made it easy and fun to be outside. Second funny story: We have a list of former investigators that we go visit. So we drive to one house, get out of the car, go knock, no answer, so we get back in the car. We buckled our seat belts, pulled out the map, turned on the car, and Sister Madsen was like, "Where to next?", I tell her the address, she starts driving only to realize that the house was only two doors down. I died laughing. We must have looked like the biggest idiots to put on our seat belts, get all prepared and then drive two houses over. That night we attended a baptism and then had a late dinner.

Sunday was fast Sunday. We had the best apple pie I have ever tasted at our dinner appointment. Seriously it was amazing. She is going to teach me how to make it.

Monday was sort of lame. We both weren't in the mood. But we did have a fun dinner and played Phase Ten.  I won for the record. And then we had a great lesson with Jess and Aaron. Jess's baptism is on Friday! We are really excited. On Sunday I was introducing her to some people and I said she was our investigator, but that felt so wrong. She is my friend! I love her and Aaron and baby Oliver! They seriously help make this experience even more worth it. I am speaking at the baptism. I am nervous, but it will be fun. Sister Madsen is singing.

Ricky has her baptismal date for the 19th so hopefully that will happen as well!

Hope everyone is doing well. Write me!

Sister Christensen

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 1, 2011 w/ FIVE pictures!

It's November 1st. What the what?! This is going to be a very jumbled email because I am sleepy.

It was a pretty good week in terms of fun, but may not have been the most productive week in terms of missionary work. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Halloween. On Friday it was our ward Halloween trunk or treat. It's against the rules to dress up, but Madsen and I got permission to be pioneers...and we may or may not have decided to be dead pioneers. The next night, a family in our ward threw a huge Halloween party that we took both of our investigators to and, since I never repeat a costume, I was a peasant girl. The party was legit and our investigators loved it. We took lots of pictures, but I'll spare you and just share a couple. Also we got to carve pumpkins with one of our favorite families. We made ours be throwing up. It was so fun and I am glad I got to carve one so it felt more like Halloween!

Our investigator, Jess, has her baptismal date coming up so soon, we are excited (11.11.11)! She is right on track and doing well so we are just on the countdown.

On Friday, we did sister exchanges for the day and I went into a Spanish area. I had fun trying to talk to people in Spanish. I love Spanish and hope one day I can be fluent. I also enjoy going in other peoples areas to get a feel for how they do missionary work. We have another exchange coming up this week, but I'll be staying in my area. Madsen is not happy about it. Ha she hates when she has to leave the area/me :)

In our ward, we have a German war veteran, Brother S, who spent four years in a Russian prison camp. He was raised as one of Hilter's Youth and has the most fascinating stories ever! We spent almost two hours at his house just hearing his insane stories. He wore the same outfit and didn't shower for an entire year. He was Mormon and while in the camp the only drinks were coffee and typhoid fever water. He promised God that he would keep the Word of Wisdom if God would allow him to survive, and he drank the typhoid fever water every day and was totally fine! Another story was, the prisoners would always steal to survive and one of his buddies got caught stealing. For punishment, the guard was going to put him into a hole and pour water over his head so he would freeze to death over night (it was below freezing), but instead the friend beat up the guard, took his clothes and poured water over the guard. The next morning the guard was found dead in the hole and the friend escaped back to Germany. Brother S. just laughs as he tells the stories, but he is no joke. He is in four books, has been on TV and apparently you can Google him! It was an educational night to say the least.

Sunday we started our 40-day fast with our ward. Each family that signs up for dinner, fasts for a missionary opportunity that day and then we break their fast when we come over. We are hoping it really gets people focused on missionary work and thinking about the different ways they can serve and share the gospel. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Monday was good. We have a great district that is really good at pumping us up to do better and work harder. We stayed crazy busy right up till 6:30 when we were forced to go in because it was Halloween. We were sad we didn't get to stay out and hang with members but whatev.

This morning we went to the temple (Newport Beach) in the white hummer limo again. It's legit. While in the Celestial Room, I decided to start reading D&C (Doctrine and Covenants) since I have never read it cover to cover, so I open it up and read the heading....it was written November 1st in the 1800s. I thought it was a funny coincidence!

Anyway, I am super tired. Sorry this was a lame update. I promise the Church is true and that God loves you!
-Sister Christensen

OK five pictures:

Ward trunk or treat with one of our favs, the Reynolds

Pumpkin carving with the Everts', we love them!

Halloween party with Jess and Aaron. It was a multi-million dollar house and was legit.

They built a haunted house in the garage, it was terrifying. My throat hurt I was screaming so loud.

My district after the temple.