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.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 23, 2012

The highlight of my week was that my former investigator, Jennifer, from San Clemente, decided to be baptized! I got permission and went down on Saturday night. It was so awesome! I got to see Sister Andrus and Jennie (my RS President), Shauna and Breanna (from the Vista YSA ward)! And all my old peeps from San Clemente! It was so fun and such a boost for the week. I am so glad Jennifer made the decision to be baptized. There is such a special spirit present at baptisms that I love, love, love to feel!

The Church is true and is such a blessing. We had a RS activity this week, that was centered on scripture study and getting the most out of reading. There were five mini-lessons, each with a different emphasis. It made me so excited for my future family and implementing the scriptures as a daily part of our lives. My parents set a great example for me because I would randomly see them studying the scriptures each day and I knew that it was important. Although family scripture study was a disaster 5 out of 7 days of the week, it still made the difference because it stuck with me and was important to our family!

Hope everyone is doing well. Loves!
-Sister Christensen

Jennifer's baptism!

My homies

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16, 2012

Tuesday we had zone activity. We split into team blue and team white and played a bunch of games. It was fun, to say the least.

Wednesday and Thursday we had sister exchanges. Sister Semones came into Laguna with me and Farmer went to Mission Viejo with Sister Somers. It was fun and keeps missionary work interesting.

Friday we had weekly planning and met some awesome people who I really liked. That's always a plus.

On Sunday I met the sweetest dog ever that I really, really wanted to take home with me. He reminded me of my Tessy from home. It made me slightly homesick, ahh, I loved him so much!

Monday was full of lessons and keeping busy. I signed the mission dresser yearbook...and overall it was a good week.

Today during studies, I studied repentance. Did you know in the dictionary the word "repent" is a verb? When I was younger there was this big campaign for kids called "Verb: it's what you do" and so when I saw that "repent" was a verb, I thought "it's what you do." I tied it into Holland's talk from Conference last week, "The first greatest commandment", in that if we truly love our Heavenly Father, then we should all be repenting regularly and showing God that we do love him above all. And that love should manifest itself in our actions. Repentance in my mind also means change...I am far from perfect so I should be striving to change each and every day. This might have been jumbled, but I enjoyed my studies and thought I would share.

So repent cause the Church is true.
Love, Sister Christensen

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 9, 2012

We did a lot of service this week. I really love to organize because it helps me de-stress, and I got to organize one of the messiest rooms I've encountered on my mission. It took about six hours over the period of two days, but it was so beautiful by the end! I was very proud.

We also got a handful of potential investigators who will hopefully bloom into for-real investigators asap. Over the weekend, Conference was wonderful. I especially loved the Saturday morning and Sunday morning sessions. I took lots of notes and cannot wait for the Ensign issue! On Saturday we had a zone lunch which was fun, and yesterday we were super busy, I was exhausted by the end of the day.

I didn't take too many photos this week, but here is what I got - 

1. Zone lunch--this was only half the group

2. My district

3. Me and my companion....JK.

End testimony, "I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it." The Church is true.

-Sister Christensen

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 2, 2012

Today will be a blog email via pictures and comments..

1. On Thursday night our recent convert, Tammy, told us to come over for a light snack, and to say "goodbye" to her dad, who was leaving back for Iran on Sunday. Earlier we had eaten a full dinner and dessert, plus a second dessert at another members' home. We showed up at Tammy's house and apparently by light snack, she meant full Persian feast. I literally said a prayer in my head as I looked at the food, that my stomach would expand. They were so excited about our meal and feeding us, so I did it! I ate a lot of interesting food that I otherwise would never eat, but I love them! I would upload a video I have from it, but the computers are slow. Needless to say, I think I gained three pounds that day.

2. On Friday Laurie and Dana came to take us out to lunch. I've missed them. Has it really only been 10 days?!

3. I saw this license plate while driving. I think God is cheering me on. This has easily been the hardest transition in my mission.

4. We went to a 13 yr old's birthday party on Saturday night. We were doing service, helping set up, and fellow shipping a bunch of non-members so we felt justified in participating in the fun.

That was a tour of my week in pictures. I also got to meet our investigator, Sandy, who has been on and off for a couple months. The lesson went really well, but I still can't tell how sincere she is. We'll find out! On Saturday we attended the General Relief Society broadcast, which was great. Sunday was the Primary Program, which was so dang cute, and then yesterday we had an awesome zone meeting which boosted my spirits. The Church is still true, despite opposition.

Sister Christensen

Monday, October 1, 2012

September 25, 2012

This is weird but I really have nothing to report on! I got transfered to Laguna Nigel, Wood Canyon Ward. My companion is Sister Amber Farmer. She is 29, from Boise, Idaho/Phoenix, Arizona/SLC, Utah. She has been on her mission for ten months. If you know the color code book, we are both red/blue. It will make for an interesting companionship, but so far so good. We currently have no investigators. The first week in a new area is always slow because I don't know anyone and she has only been here for six weeks! We had a fun hoe down slash 30 yr. anniversary for the Laguna Nigel Stake on Saturday and that was great. Our ward is mostly middle aged couples with lots of kids. I really like all the people I have met so far so I am excited to see how this area progresses. It definitely has tons of potential. Also this week I finished Jesus the Christ for the second time. That book is a beast so I was pretty stoked!

Anyway, the Church is still true. I always mourn the loss of my old areas, but it forces me to do a lot more praying and relying on the Lord. I had a fabulous Sunday full of spiritual experiences and people saying exactly what I needed to hear to make it through. I am choosing faith, not fear! Party hard people, you are loved!

-Sister Christensen

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 18, 2012 w/ 5 pictures!

Oh baby, we are trying to be fast today because our day is short so here goes:

Tuesday we had a fabulous district activity. A human pyramid may or may not have been involved. And some basketball stunts. I love balling with the elders. They can't touch us and they are forced to pass us the ball, so it's a lot of fun! haha.

Wednesday: We visited one of my favorite families, the Cleveland's. Sister Cleveland had her third baby in her backyard. She did Hypnobabies and totally inspired me. She is the biggest hippie I have ever met and we love her so much! Also, for dinner I got Cafe Rio!!! It's been almost a year since I have had my all time favorite, sweet pork salad. It was BTS. We ended the evening taking two huge German shepherds for a walk and giving them a bath. It made me miss my puppies!

Thursday: It was our last color for unity day at district meeting. We did red. I have loved this district a lot. We had so much fun! We had a great Relief Society activity that night and a little cake adventure.

Friday was a chill day. We didn't seem to accomplish very much...oh well. At night we watched "Legacy" with Cheyanne and Miguel. It is one of my favorite Mormon movies. Ahh! It makes me love and appreciate the pioneers soo much!! I love my heritage!!!!

Saturday was the hottest day in San Clemente in years. No bueno, but we spent the day with people we love so all's good. At 9:30pm we got transfer calls...it was a big shocker.....BOTH Andrus and I are getting white washed out!!! WTC?! We were in a state of shock for a couple hours. It was so unexpected. Three sisters are white washing in. I am thrilled NOT to be in a trio, but I wish one of us could have stayed here. We love San Clemente and we have really worked hard to make it awesome! Needless to say, we are leaving extensive notes about the area and what they need to do!

Sunday our bishopric announced over the pulpit that we were leaving and had us bear our testimonies. People were crying! It was so tender. I swear, I am not even bragging, we were super popular here. People loved us! We spent the Sunday and Monday teaching last lessons and saying goodbyes! It was emotionally draining. The best part was that we set a baptismal date with Jennifer!!!!! It was so bittersweet 'cause we are stoked for her and beyond excited, but also sad that we might not get to come back for it! Ahh! It was a great last day. We spent all morning packing and getting ready.

It's so surreal that we are both being ousted, but we are excited for the adventures that lay ahead. We keep saying "keep calm and carry on!" Life is going great. Hope everyone's week was fabulous!!

Lovies, Sista Christensen

This was the only semi-successful pyramid. There are some hilarious other ones that were not so successful...

The wonderful Barker family.

Meet Sarge and Kaya.

The transfer of faith and fun has ended!

Our favies, the Del Francia's.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 11, 2012

Missions are such an adventure. It was a good adventure this week. Here are some highlights:

*We saw some homeless people holding a sign on the side of the road so we decided to pull over and talk to them. Never in my life have I ever approached homeless people with the intent of learning about who they are or where they came from, so this was fun! These crazy kids were from Washington state and had a whole lot of bad luck (and I am sure, bad decision making skills). They were very optimistic about their lives, which was interesting. As we were standing there chatting with them, people drove by and made rude comments to them, but they just smiled and waved. It reminded me of my life....although sometimes I don't smile or wave! haha.

*We love serving on base. I cannot tell you the hours of conversations we have had with Marines about their MOS's, ranks, Muhs, deployments, politics, families--the whole nine yards. It is so interesting! I don't have any family members serving in the military currently, so I am kind of out of touch with how it all works. It's fascinating and eye opening. I have most definitely gained a greater appreciation for what the military does for us and what they have to go through....I'll have to share some of the stories I have heard when I get home!

*We had an insane street contact this week. We approached this guy on the street named Doug. As soon as we said "hello" his eyes lit up because, surprise surprise, he used to be a member of the Church but was now free!! He served a mission, was married in the temple, attended BYU - basically the ideal Mormon life, but somewhere along the way he got mixed up with anti-Mormon lit. and left the Church. He was so thrilled to tell us how wrong we are and all the knowledge he has learned. Sometimes I am cool with it and just smile and nod, but this day I was fired up. I did not just lay down and take it. In fact, it was probably the most fun, fulfilling, testimony building "argument" I have had my whole mission. Let me explain:

He was going on and on and on about temple ceremonies and Joseph Smith and false teachings blah blah blah, but what I retorted was that my faith and testimony lie with my Savior Jesus Christ. This guy had completely overlooked that simple fact. I have a relationship with God and Jesus Christ and because of that relationship I know I am on the right path. I may have gotten a little too into it when I started sarcastically and theatrically telling him that he was right, therefore, "I was greedy and needed to get my 10 percent back, and that the time I spent at the temple would be better spent watching MTV and playing on Facebook, and oh, all that food I have made for others in need, I shouldn't do that because heaven forbid I serve and love others. Nope, I shouldn't do any of that because Joseph Smith had an extra wife." Oh man. It was good stuff. Maybe not as Christ-like as it could have been, but whatever. My parting words to him were "Thank you, you have now only increased my testimony and faith in the gospel!" Good riddance. haha.

*We had a dinner party and movie night which were both fun. Also we found some really nice boxes on the side of the road...I know that sounds stupid, but it's the small things that make days fun haha. We had a sweet zone meeting on Thursday and Church was superb on Sunday--both spiritually uplifting experiences. We enjoyed lunch with the Del Francia's and their son, and their son's boyfriend, and yesterday we walked two huge German shepherds. We looked totally BA with those dogs.

Also, wanted to make mention of today being September 11th. I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I was in 6th grade and all these crazy rumors were going around the school about what was happening. I didn't grasp the enormity of the situation until later years, but I still remember tons of American flags going up all over town and the feeling of somber unity. I love America a lot a lot and the older I get, the more patriotic I feel!

The Church is true. Keep it real.
Love, Sista Chris

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 4, 2012

Today feels like a bullet point day.

- Our investigator, Jennifer, is plugging along great! She had an awesome spiritual experience that really helped her realize that this is something good in her life. We are stoked. Her little boy, Nathan, is so cute and loves Church. We were able to have Jennifer come to a stake baptism and a ward party and a BBQ. She is diving right into the social world and we continue to teach her weekly. We smellll a baptismmmm!!!!!

- I don't think I have ever written this before, but I realized one reason why missionary work is so hard....it's hard because people tell us everything! Like their entire life story - the good, the bad, and the ugly. And it can put a huge damper on your Cinderella, happily ever after dream. We heard soo many stories this week about broken homes, shattered dreams, abusive relationships, rebellious children......the whole lot of them. I just wanted to crawl back into my naive Mormon bubble where everyone follows the rules and loves the gospel and their family and it's all happy go lucky! The weight of the world tests our testimonies constantly but, thankfully, it is also a reason why mine has grown stronger. More and more I have come to find that I literally cannot put my faith in anyone except Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Even the best of people can disappoint and fall short, but my faith in the gospel and my Savior just won't. My mission has taught me so much about what a good relationship, or family, or home life is all about and it sure as heck isn't about things of the world. If my mission wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth it. Despite all the harsh stories and news we were told this week, it only solidified for me what I need to acquire, and where I need to go, to get what I expect out of life...and that is exaltation and eternal life baby! Sorry if this was a random gumble of thoughts, but there you have it.

- Saturday night we had Navajo taco night with a bunch of military wives in our ward. It was an adventure to say the least. haha.

- Hmmm, what else.....it was yellow for unity day for district meeting.

I forgot my planner in the car so I really don't remember what else we did. We had a long but very productive Labor day and we still cannot believe the summer is over. We have no idea how we survived the summer in the tourist filled beach city of San Clemente, but we loved it. We are excited to see how things change now that our ward will all be back from summer vacation and we can get to know everyone better.

Ohhh I totally forgot!! Also, on Sunday we started a 40 day spiritual fast. It was a challenge given by our zone leaders to pick ten things we want to stop doing or start doing to improve ourselves personally and as missionaries. We thought about it all week and came up with our lists. It might be TMI or weird, but I will tell the world my ten because I need to be held accountable.

1. Open doors for people. It might sound dumb, but I literally want to open the door and let others walk in first. It will help me think of other people first and it's a measurable way of doing it.
2. Be healthier. No more junk food in the house.
3. 20.20.20 - for our lunch hour I want to spend 20 minutes eating, 20 minutes studying, and 20 minutes relaxing.
4. No curse words. Even pause swears. You would think I would be over that, having been on a mission for a year, but you would be wrong. I love a good curse word every once in a while, but I am trying to break the habit haha.
5. Have a positive attitude.
6. Get up on time, I am always five minutes late.
7. Have clean thoughts and words.
8. Budget!! I am terrible at how I spend money so i am going on a budget!
9. Kill people with kindness.

Ok I forgot number 10. So annoying. I will let you know next week haha. Anyway, we are taking the challenge very seriously and we are excited to see the results! The church is true. I love it all. Party hard, get crazy, be happy.

Sister Chris

Yellow day

We went to the temple today!

Our bench, at the beach