Monday, March 28, 2016

It's that time again, last week of the transfer‏

Hello all! Here's a quick summary of this week:

The end of the bedbugs: we ended up having a few early days ant late nights this week, but with the exterminator coming this morning we are now hopefully seeing the end of the bedbugs. We ended up having to clean almost everything again, and most of our stuff is currently on our porch in plastic bags and tubs, but it will all be worth it when we get our house back! During the call in report last night our district leader asked what we have learned from this whole experience and my words of wisdom are, bed bugs bite in lines and in triangles, call the exterminator before you do all the work so you only have to do it once and patient perseverance. Lots of patience.

Investigators: Joaquin came to church! And he even called us to confirm where and when it was at as opposed to us having to call him! He had a great time, and is still really excited to learn more. We also found a few new people, a man named Carlos who I contacted on exchanges, a woman named Annabell who is super open to learning more and speaks English but wants to come to church in Spanish, and a new family. And so the work continues.

Women's Conference! Saturday night was the General Women's session for the upcoming General Conference and it was amazing. The overarching theme was service and love for others. It was discussed how as women, we have been given certain divine attributes that help us to nurture, to love and to serve. An invitation was extended to not only try to serve on a large scale but also one on one, friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor. Often we can feel like we aren't making a difference, but so often what we think is our small act of service is actually changing someone's world.

Easter: I think Easter might now be my favorite holiday, not because of the candy and carrot cake, but because I now better understand what we are truly celebrating. Hermana Glenn and I taught the 10 year olds this week in Primary and it was amazing to hear their pure testimonies of the Savior. Those 5 girls know that the Savior loves them, and that because of Him, all the wrong things in the world would someday be made right.

I also spent a few moments again in the scriptures and in conference talks to better remember the Savior. A few of my favorites included:
-None Were With Him by Jeffery R. Holland, April 2009 General Conference
-Where Justice Love and Mercy Meet by Jeffery R. Holland, April 2015 General Conference
-The Purifying Power of Gethsemane by Bruce R. McConkie, April 1985 General Conference

I am so glad for this mission experience and how it has helped me come to know my Savior more completely. I know that He lived, and that He died. I also know that He rose again and lives on today, and because of this, I and everyone else in this world will someday live again.

Thank you for everything you do for me! Have a great week!

Hermana Christensen

Monday, March 21, 2016

Phrases I will never say to my children...‏

                                            On the way home from the Easter activity.

Our dinner from Hermana Nascimiento. There is rice, beans, chicken, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes on that plate. It was incredible. Yes, that is how much we usually get fed. Usually we get asked if we want seconds as well.

So some of you might remember a few months ago when I mentioned that we had a bed bug scare. Well we had part two this week, which was the reality that we do actually have bed bugs. That lead to Friday being spent almost entirely cleaning out our apartment with the help of the zone leaders. We spent roughly 80 dollars on laundry, vacuumed out everything in our apartment, and got new metal frames for our beds. Unfortunately even after all of that we still have the little critters. So next Monday our apartment is getting fumigated. Until then we have only the bare minimum clothes and bedding, and are keeping everything else in the English sisters car. I have also heard the phrase 'don't let the bedbugs bite' more times than I can count. Hence I will probably never ever use that phrase to my children. I have been scared for life.

In other non bug related news, this week was packed! The weird thing is that the only days we really proselytizing in our area was Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was our zone conference followed by a quick dinner with the wonderful Hermana Nacsimiento, and then back over to Glendora for a zone blitz. We were working in the area of the Glendora first sisters and we were tracking. I was with Hermana Cardiel, one of the sister training leaders and I am now so glad that this is not how we usually find out investigators. We had quite a few doors slammed in our faces. But we did also meet quite a few cool people.

On Saturday we were on exchanges and this time both of us went to the sister training leaders area. It was weird because they have the exact same borders as we do, so I was still in my area. It was also strange because we started the day by going to the two ward Easter egg hunt,
then did service, (helping someone move). Finally we got out and working. I was with Hermana Cardiel again and we knocked a few doors then contacted. We met a man named Carlos, who fortunately speaks Spanish and who we will be visiting this week. The best part though was when we were visiting a recent convert. Her mother came in at the very end of the lesson quite drunk. Her first words were about how she has sinned. The recent convert Maribel told her to confess, and she
apparently took that to mean she needed to confess to us. That involved her kneeling down in front of us and then leaning on my lap with her face about 3 inches from mine and began telling Hermana
Cardiel about how she drinks too much and how her daughter thinks she's a bad mama. We told her that it was okay and that God still loves her, all while Hermana Cardiel was cracking up. Then as she was getting up she basically fell right on top of me. Probably one of the strangest experiences of my life. All in a day's work I suppose.

I think the biggest thing I learned from this week is that Heavenly Father always provides. I certainly would never have chosen to have a week like this, but we laughed a lot and grew a lot closer. We learned how to rely more on the Lord and less on our own strength. So even though there were trials, I would not change this week for anything. Now all we have to do is hit it hard this week and keep helping the work of the Lord roll forward.

Now vemos.

Hermana Christensen

Monday, March 14, 2016

More meetings than you can shake a stick at‏

                                                             Zone Conference

Hello one and all! Lately the California Arcadia mission has been blessed with on over abundance of meetings. Usually we average about one meeting a week, usually district meeting, with the occasional zonemeeting or zone conference thrown in every month or so. Since the Saturday before last however we have had 3 large meetings with another one this Thursday. This is combined with Stake Conference this Sunday as well. Long story short there has been a lot of sitting, with a lot of spiritual upliftment recently.

Here are some of the highlights:

The meeting that started it all, a mission wide training for the upcoming Gladys Knight fireside to be held in Arcadia. We learned what it was, how to prepare for it, how to invite people to it and how to
follow up with any referrals we receive from this event. It's going to be huge! This meeting was also exciting because I got to see some old friends like Hermana Diaz, Hermana Packard, my MTC friends, the Chinese sisters and of course Hermana Austin.

Zone meeting! One of the best zone meetings I have ever attended, very spiritual and uplifting. It all started out with the introduction of some new mission wide rules. The biggest one is that we now only have an hour and a half to e-mail on P-day as opposed to all day like before. I personally am in favor of it. It will force me to e-mail in a timely manner and leaves more time open for other activities on P-day.

The big meeting, a general mission meeting with Elder Hamula of the 70. It was incredible. If you want to read a talk by him, he spoke in the October 2014 General Conference. His talk is entitled The
Sacrament and the Atonement. It's awesome, and so was this meeting. When it was his time to speak he just left it open for a question and answer session. So many questions that were asked and his answers lead to the Spirit teaching me what I needed to hear. He can also expound upon the scriptures. He was making cross references and connections like crazy. It was amazing. One of my favorite parts was when he explained that we need to grow grace by grace. We all need to change
and improve, and often it needs to be big changes. However we need to start by making small changes so that we don't get discouraged. Grace is what carries us up through here changes until one day we will become more like our Heavenly Father. He also quoted himself from the recent regional conference in that some day every broken thing will be made perfect and whole through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every broken bone, every broken dream, every broken family, every broken promise, will someday be fixed, and we will not even remember the pain that we felt through those breaks.

In other non-meeting related news, I reached my nine month mark, Joaquin actually came to the stake conference and we are finding a lot of awesome new people to teach. Basically it has been a great few weeks!