Monday, February 29, 2016

Left to the dogs‏

Well this week I decided to follow in my companion's footsteps and got bit by a dog. I wish I could say it was something cool like a pit bull or an English bulldog, but no, it was a toy poodle. Not my proudest moment I'll admit.

The real highlight of this week was Saturday, which was a Stake women's conference. The keynote speaker was a woman who has spent many years working for LDS family services as a counselor, and so has a lot of experience helping people in pain. In her talk she used this metaphor, the happiness cup. She said that we all were born with a happiness cup and we are here to fill up that cup. As we grow up we learn how to fill up that cup through the help of others and by ourselves, but eventually people start poking holes in our happiness cups so the happiness we have stored in there starts to leak out. There are things that we can do to slow that down, like reading the scriptures, praying and going to church and the temple, and eventually we can learn to patch those holes. However those patches are not permanent and can still spring leaks or be pealed off entirely (anyone
who has tried to patch a bike tire knows that). Eventually we need those holes to be sealed completely, but that's not something we can do on our own, we need the Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him and His Atonement we can learn to understand our pain and then have that pain taken away. It was an awesome talk.

Next there were break away classes, one of which was learning how to make tortillas, guacamole and salsa, taught by a few of the hermanas in the branch. Hermana Glenn and I were roped in to help translate from Spanish into English, however the hermanas eventually just started speaking in English so I found myself translating into Spanish for the people who couldn't understand Spanish! It was all a lot of fun though and the food was wonderful.

The rest of the week was just business as usual, lessons, meetings, contacting, bike troubles, and overcoming anything that we faced!

Happy March to one and all!

Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, February 22, 2016

New missionaries, small trees and English Bulldogs‏

Yet another week down. Here are a few of the exciting things that happened this week.

With transfers we had a new Elder come to our branch, Elder Hsu (pronounced shoe more or less). He has spent the last 20 months of his mission in Chinese work, and has now been transferred to Spanish work. He is throwing himself into learning the language and always has a smile on his face. An explanation on to how this came about, the California Arcadia mission is now qualified as a bilingual mission, English and Spanish. So here Elder Hsu is.

We also got to go up to the mountains for a service project and water baby trees. It was super fun, I haven't done good honest hard labor in a while, and the view was beautiful. It was a little bit of a nice
mental break, and we got to know the zone a little bit better. And there were two big dogs, who were very sweet.

Speaking of dogs we met one this week that was a little less friendly. We were meeting with one of our investigators and her family's English bulldog slipped through her legs and went straight for Hermana Glenn. Fortunately he wasn't able to latch onto her and she walked away with
just a small scratch, a pretty nice looking bruise and a good story. Still, not a fun thing to watch.

In other news Blanca is still doing well. She is reading the Book of Mormon and praying. She is having a little bit of trouble coming to church but we are trying to help her with that. She is also super
interested in learning more about her family history so an Hermana in the ward is helping her out.

With everything else we are dealing with playing the piano in sacrament meeting (Hermana Glenn and I are switching off week now), investigators not keeping their commitments or flaking on appointments and the general missionary life. We did see a few miracles this week, like actually making and then bypassing our goals, and a few less actives we though would never come to church coming. Basically life is continuing.

Thank you for all you do!

Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, February 15, 2016

All quiet on the Azusa Front‏

                                                                     My roommates

                                                              Our nutty little district

Another transfer call night has come and gone here in the California Arcadia mission, and it was a fairly quiet one in our pad. None of us (Hermana Glenn and I, and the English sisters) are leaving. There was much rejoicing when none of us got the call. There is just so much for us to do together here. Two elders in my district were transferred however, Elder Bair is being sent to Pasadena and our district leader Elder Bardsley is going back over to East LA. Elder Bardsley was also the branch pianist, so Hermana Glenn has stepped up. I had better start practicing too, just in case.

The run down of the past few weeks..

Zone meetings and zone activities: we had a wonderful zone meeting where we learned a little more about aligning our wills to the will of the Lord and then helping those people we work with to do the same. We have learned a lot lately about making sure we are converted, because we can't convert people past our own conversion. Then last Monday we had a zone activity with pizza, ice cream and volleyball. It's always fun to see different missionaries than the ones I usually see.

Progressing investigators! We have almost more progressing investigators than we know what to do with! We are still teaching Joaquin, who is progressing fairly well, then we also added Blanca, Mario and his son, and Maria. It's so interesting to see how all of these people found the gospel. We contacted Joaquin on my first day in Azusa, Blanca was contacted by the English sisters then sent to us, Mario was a self referral through and Maria was a former we decided to try teaching again because her son is currently being taught by the English sisters and her grandson is being taught by the YSA elders. (Yes there are 3 sets of missionaries visiting that house almost daily, we keep running into each other and accidentally interrupting lessons).

Exchanges: this week we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders, also known as the Azusa 1 sisters or our roommates. Hermana Glenn went with Sister Cardiel to the English area, and Sister Duncan and I went to the Spanish area. It was interesting because Sister Duncan speaks little to no Spanish, and most of the people we teach speak only Spanish. So I did a lot of teaching that day, which was good for me. We also got some help from the members, which was incredible.

Valentines Day: we celebrated Valentine's Day this year by Heart Attacking a few of our MVPs who help us the most with lessons and a few of our investigators. It was so fun! Then later we had the branch Valentine party, (for those who want to know Valentine's Day is usually called día de amor y amistad en español) complete with food, games and a dance. Best of all our investigator Mario and his family came and loved it!

Regional Conference: yesterday we had the wonderful opportunity to listen to a few of the General Authorities over a satellite broadcast to the people in the Pacific areas. It was incredible! Two of my favorite parts were when Sister Oscarson explained that the church is "more than a Christian social club" but is the kingdom of God here on the Earth on preparation for the Second Coming, and when a member of the 70 (can't remember his name and I don't have my notes) talked that every broken thing can be mended through the Atonement of Christ. All of the talks were incredible though.

That about wraps it up for this week, we'll see what this new one has to bring!
Hermana Anna Christensen

Monday, February 1, 2016

I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain‏

My subject line this week comes from a primary song that talks about
baptism and the promises that are made. It seemed fairly appropriate
this week because....

Krystal got baptized yesterday! It also rained for most of the day, but this is what we found when we left the building afterward
So not quite a rainbow, but still good.

And Miracle of miracles, Joaquin not only came to church, he also came to the baptism!

In other news, this week was kind of missionary Sunday, with Elder Castañeda and I speaking, me giving the special musical number, and finally with the presentation of the ward mission plan. All in all it was an awesome day.

Thank you for all of the love and support!
Hermana Christensen