Monday, August 31, 2015

6 weeks and still going strong‏

A quick lesson for those of you who don't know how mission time/transfers work (if you already do feel free to skip down to the next paragraph). A mission as a whole is more or less 2 years or 18 months depending on how transfers fall. A transfer is a 6 week period of time and is the basic unit of time measurement in the mission. The last Saturday of each transfer is when transfer calls come, also known as the worst day of the transfer. You only get a call if you are changing areas which is called being transferred. If you don't get a call then that means you aren't moving. The fun part is that they don't tell you who your new companion is, just what area you are going to. Then the next day the companion who is moving calls the missionaries in that area to find out who their companion will be and to work out plans for Monday. All in all it is a very stressful night. 

Fortunately we all escaped from transfer calls relatively unscathed. Hermana Evanson is moving to Bell 1, which is in East LA, Elder Jimenez has finished his mission and is heading home, and we get a new district leader, Elder Lane. The best news of all is that Hermana Diaz and I are still together at least for another 6 weeks. There was much rejoicing after we found that out. 

I figured that for this e-mail I would share some of the things that I have learned since I left home 3 months or so ago. 

1. I can now patch and change bike tires without help from my dad as well as other things like adjust the brakes, align the chain/get it unstuck, and take off the front tire and get it back on in under 30 seconds. 

2. I've learned how to use public transportation. I'm still working on the talking to people while on public transportation part but I'm getting better at it. 

3. I've learned how to really pray. I though I knew how to before I got the the MTC and then I thought I learned how to do it there, but in reality I don't think I really got the hang of it until I got to the field, and the best part is that I'm still learning how to do it even better. It's something to work on over a lifetime and I will never be perfect at it. 

4. When there is a problem between companions it's best to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I've mostly learned this one from watching other companionships, but there was one day where my companion and I had a disagreement and it was probably the worst day I've ever had in the mission. The day didn't get better until we worked it all out, and then the Lord allowed us to start having success again. Contention is not of God but of the devil. 

5. Daily repentance is essential. Missionaries are not perfect, not in a long shot, and I know that I'm not either. Something that has really helped me with this has been my study of the Book of Mormon. Right now as I'm reading I'm looking for any mention of repentance and the results of it. It has been a really good experience. 

6. I've learned to eat anything and everything, even if I don't like it, like raw onions. Enough said. 

7. This cannot be done alone. No part of this life can be done. One of my favorite quotes is "because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path--the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are." (Jeffery R. Holland, April 2009 General Conference) I have never seen this more than I have here on the mission. I know that there are so many people around me to help me and support me, and the greatest is my Savior Jesus Christ. 

So there you go. A small list of things I have learned thus far. I'm excited to keep learning and growing. 

I hope all is going well for all of you. 
Nos vemos.
Hermana Anna Christensen 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Someday the bus may come...‏

I'm starting to realize that I spend a good amount of time just waiting for the bus to come, and then riding the bus to wherever it is we are going. For a while we haven't been using the bus but because Hermana Diaz's bike is broken we have been using it a lot more. The good news is that it gives me lots of opportunities to contact people. The bad news is that I am really bad at contacting. But sometimes I can get myself to do it and sometimes it even goes well. Like a few nights ago we were waiting for the bus and we got to talking to a guy also waiting for the bus. His was really interested in what church we were from and why we were doing what we were doing. We gave him a card and our number. He might live in the Elders area so we might not get to teach him but it was still a cool experience. 

The theme of this week was contacting. We have a district goal to get better at it, because it is something that so many missionaries struggle with. (Contacting is starting to talk to someone, hopefully tie it into the gospel, get their name and number and address and not be pushy about it. It is just as hard as it sounds.) While I was on exchanges this week that was mostly what we did. It was really cool to see and learn from someone who wasn't my companion and learn some new tricks. The biggest thing was to not think too much about what you are going to say during a contact, because then you won't do it. The trick is to just go on and let the Spirit guide. Which is of course the theme of missionary work. 

To finish off the week we got to see why contacting is so important. On Sunday morning we got a call from some of the English elders telling us that a man had called them that morning and was interested in coming to church. The man had gotten the elders number from a set of elders a year ago during a street contact and had held onto the card and finally called the number. He came to church, loved every part of it, and we have an appointment with him on Wednesday. So yeah. Contacting is important. Even if we don't actually get to teach them at that time we never know what could happen in the future. Lesson very well learned. Now my goal is to better apply it. Stay tuned for updates on my contacting abilities. 

I hope everything is going well for all of you with summer ending, school starting and the weather beginning to cool down, well more or less. If there is anything that I could ever do for any of you please let me know. I am very good at praying, which can sometimes help a bunch. And if it's another need, to quote Russel M. Nelson, "Ask the missionaries, they can help you!" And as a missionary I promise that they would be happy to help in any way they can. 

Nos vemos. 
Hermana Anna Christensen

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Life is a bike ride on Azusa Ave.‏

So my companion and I usually end up riding home at night, and if we are at la capilla (chapel) or in that area then we go home along Azusa Ave. a few nights ago we were riding home that way and I thought of an analogy of life in the gospel that works with it. I call it life is a
bike ride on Azusa Ave.

The scriptures say that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life. When we ride home on Azusa we don't ride on the side of the road, but on a small bike and walking trail that runs
alongside it. At first glance the side of the road looks safer because it's wider, flatter and more well lit. But after one ride on it you discover that the chance of getting hit by a car or a bus is fairly
high, and that the hills are actually harder and steeper. This is like the gospel. At times it looks like the world's way is the better safer way, until you try it and find that it much scarier, so we need to
follow the gospel. The bike path isn't the best lit, so my companion and I use our bike lights to light the way. They only light a few feet in front of us but it's enough to avoid any dangers, much like how we can't see the entire plan of our Heavenly Father just the part right in front of it. Our lights our like our testimonies. Unfortunately sometimes our lights aren't the brightest, but our companions light is
so it can help to light our way as well. That is like being helped by prophets, leaders, friends, family ect on our journey. On our bike ride home sometimes we get to coast downhill, pedal across flat land,
and struggle up hills. Sometimes we pass others and sometimes others pass us. And sometimes your tire gets popped really early on the journey so we have to walk the rest of the way home. We are all on our journey back home to our Heavenly Father, and sometimes the journey is easier than at other times, but we all will make it back in the end.
And there is my analogy for life.

As for here, zone conference was super great. It was a really cool experience because instead of just 2 zones it was all 4 Spanish zones and it was held in the mission offices in Arcadia. My favorite part
was when President Villanueva spoke to us. He gave a lot of great counsel to us. It gave me a lot of things to think about and gave me some ideas on how to improve myself as a missionary. This week we also had a super great lesson with Shirley and Christian. We got them to set a date for their wedding and baptism so we have something to work toward with them. We keep looking for new people to teach and keep trying our hardest to be obedient and be the missionaries the Lord wants us to be.

As always I hope that this e-mail finds all of you well.
Nos vemos.
Hermana Anna Christensen

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Good news because of the gospel‏

These are the other hermanas in my district. My trainer is Hermana Diaz, the one in the red shirt behind the Hermana taking the picture. The other two are Hermana Evenson and Hermana Hernandez.

I received 3 pieces of good news this week, here they are in the order received...

1. My friend Aubrey received her mission call to the Nashville Tennessee Mission, Spanish speaking. She reports in early December to the México City MTC, (the best MTC in the world).

2. The ground breaking for the Tucson Arizona temple is in October! It's going to be built on Ina and Skyline, about 10 minutes away from my parents house. It was announced in the October 2012 General Conference so I'm sure I'm not the only one who is super excited that the process of construction will soon be beginning. When construction is finished, the temple will be open to the general public for tours until it is dedicated. Temple open houses are a wonderful opportunity to see the inside of the temple and learn more about them. It's a ways in the future but I invite everyone in the Tucson area to attend the open house at the end of construction.

3. The last piece of good news came during one of our lessons with our investigators Shirley and Christian. We gave them a tour of the church building and talked about the different meetings that happened there on Sundays and throughout the week. Afterward we were talking to them about their expectations and doubts about joining the church. They both said that they wanted to get baptized, but first they need to get married, (couples living together either need to get married or live separately before getting baptized) so we asked them about that and their answer was that they wanted to get married as well! That means that hopefully very soon we will be having a wedding and 2 baptisms
here! Which is really exciting. It is so cool to get to teach these two who have been so well prepared to receive the gospel.

In other news, we might be starting to teach English lessons here, we have zone conference tomorrow, and I hit 2 months in the mission today. All exciting things that have happened or will happen.

I hope all of you are doing well and that everything is going well in your lives. As always I would love to hear what is going on from all of you. The invitation is always open.
Nos vemos.
Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, August 3, 2015

Good things always happen‏

My biggest lesson this week is that good things always happen to those who are doing their best. Sometimes it's a guy buying you and your companion free ice cream because he was trying to break a hundred at an ice cream truck. Sometimes it's trying to teach a parrot how to say misionera while waiting for someone to answer the door. And sometimes it's an investigator finding you instead of you having to find them. That's what happened to us this week.

We received a refural this week from someone who requested the Book of Mormon in Spanish. There wasn't an address listed so we called the number. That was how we met Shirley and her boyfriend Christian. They wanted us to meet with them right that minute but we couldn't because we were on the other side of our area and it was time for us to head home, so we set up an appointment for the next day. Shirley recently got here from Peru, and most of her family joined the church last month there. Both she and her boyfriend are super interested in learning about the church. For our first lesson we taught them about the Restoration, which goes through God is our loving Heavenly Father,
prophets, the Savior's earthly ministry, the great apostasy and then the Restoration through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. They are both really excited to read the Book of Mormon. Yesterday Shirley came to church and loved it, and let us know that they had been reading. We hope that Christian will be able to arrange his work schedule so that he can start attending church with her. He really wants to so that helps.

I have gained such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon during these few weeks /months here. I know that it is a book of scripture that with the Bible teaches the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. I know that it answers al, questions of the soul and that through reading it, it is possible to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ. I invite all of you to read it if you haven't and to read it again if you have. It is so easy now to do so. It is possible to download it o the Gospel Library app and listen to it. You can request a copy in almost any language on This book can change your life. I know it's changed mine.

Hermana Anna Christensen

  P.S. A view of the mission from the hills. It looks like Southern California to me.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

a few more pictures

July 20, 2015  Anna and her district with their teacher, Hermano Martinez.  This is their last day in the Mexico City MTC. 

 July 21, 2015  Anna with her new mission President and his wife, President and Sister Villanueva.  Below is Anna and the President and his wife, with all the new missionaries that arrived that day.