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 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'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 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

Monday, September 3, 2012

August 28, 2012

Tuesday: We had such a great It was relaxing and carefree. We did some shopping at Target and gave two great lessons to end the evening.

Wednesday: We spent the whole day with ward members and loved it. I love the San Clemente ward. We have so many great people who build us up and encourage us. We had breakfast with the Del Francia's, did service for the Jackson's, had a fabulous dinner with the Faulkner's, and ended the evening doing scripture study at the Del Francia's. None of you know who any of those people are, but they are all wonderful.

Thursday: We went to an addiction recovery program. It was so interesting! We deal with a lot of people with addictions so we went so we could better understand how it works and what they can expect if people go. We joked that our addiction is overeating. Which it is.

Friday: We had sister exchanges! It was a fairly successful sister exchange for me, but we both got homesick for each other by Saturday morning. I was with Sister Lee in my area. We had a little dinner party and a wonderful lesson with an investigator on Friday night and on Saturday we had a couple lessons and did service, painting for a single sister in my ward. I picked up Andrus at four and we spent time "catching up" over cheesecake at the Del Francia's. Haha. Then we had a BBQ with our fabulous bishop and his wife. We really love them.

Sunday: We taught Primary and had two investigators at Church! Holla!

Monday: We had such a great day. We taught our investigator, Jennifer, and she is totally progressing. We found her because of a recent convert, Megan. Megan is a rockstar in terms of missionary work. Seriously, she is fearless and shares the gospel with anyone and everyone. We always say we have never met anyone in our lives like Megan and probably never will again. She is such a great example of a true disciple of Christ in doing her calling and being ready and willing to help anyone. We are grateful for her and we are excited about Jennifer. Later in the day we did service and partied at a ward activity (frisbee dodgeball anyone?).

Well, that was my week in a nutshell. Since my mid-mission crisis I have been doing significantly better. We joke about it now. And we really do love San Clemente a lot a lot. Party hard, get crazy, and spread the good word.

Sister Chris (Andrus calls me that)

Breakfast with Dana and Laurie!

Pink for unity day. We were ridiculous and wore all pink outfits. Don't worry, we didn't proselyte in those clothes.

It was time to say goodbye to our trampoline. It was emotional day haha.