Monday, July 25, 2016

And probably getting gorgeously tan in summer‏

 The Pioneer Day picnic with Elena

 Sometimes In and Out is a tender mercy, especially when the closest one is out of your area

Riding into the sunset

And by gorgeously tan I mean gorgeous tan lines. It has been hot this week! And that means that we were out in it. We have been slathering on the sunscreen and drinking a lot of water, and also enjoying watermelon at every chance we get. Fortunately people feel a little bit bad for us and so will at least give us a bottle of water when we knock on their doors even if they don't let us in. And so the work continues.

We had a full week, starting with a family home evening with our recent convert Lorena and her family. They also invited our branch president and his family and another family from the ward so it was a full house. We did an activity about the iron rod, where the challenge was to hold on to the rod while blindfolded and make it to the end while not listening to any tempting voices, aka Presidente Tehuitzil and Hno Meza. It was a good object lesson, and was a good way to show
that the Lord has given us His word, and we need to follow it, no matter what everyone around us is saying. Then of course there was food afterwards, tamales, various salads, and almost every type of dessert imaginable. There were tons of left overs, and so of course the missionaries benefited from that.

Another highlight from the week was interviews with our mission president. I love that every three months or so we have the blessing of spending one on one time with this man. He is honestly one of the most loving men I have ever met. You can tell that he cares about each and every missionary in the mission and wants the best for them. I also was able to spend a little time talking to Hermana Villanueva. We talked about her family and experiences from her mission.

And then there was the Pioneer Day picnic on Saturday. We brought Elena, and she loved it. It was an interesting mix of people because the stake has 2 Spanish congregations, the Samoan congregation, a Chinese ward, a Korean ward, and then various English congregations. So what that meant was a lot of people, and a lot different types of food. I love the diversity of Southern California, and I love meeting and talking to all of the different people that have been brought
together by the gospel. It really is a unifying factor no matter where you are or what language you speak.

Then of course there are the investigators. Elena is loving everything we are teaching her, and can't wait to get her drivers license (she's taking the test today, pray for her!) so that she can come to
activities and give rides to all the Hermanas. She can see the difference the gospel is making in her life, even though she is making sacrifices. We also started teaching the sweetest little girl named
Yuri. She's nine years old, but hasn't been baptized yet because her mom doesn't come to church. But Yuri loves church and the gospel and so comes to church with her grandma every week. She honestly knows so much about the gospel, and has so much faith. We asked her when she wanted to get baptized and she said as soon as possible, and so we set a date with her for the 31 of July. And knowing her she will be completely ready!

I hope this week finds all of you healthy, happy and staying out of the heat!

Hermana Christensen

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Short and sweet this week‏

 Chinese exchange students staying with one of the members.

 Softball game with Elena and her family.

Hint hint
I'm running out of time to e-mail, we went and played softball with a less active girl we are working with. It was super fun, but it didn't leave me a lot of time to write.


I got my stitches out on Tuesday!

Elena is progressing super well!

The ward sold pupusas for a fundraiser, which were delicious!

We met some Chinese exchange students staying with one of the members!

We don't have strep throat!

We found some Mormonads, I included my favorite at the bottom.

We delivered gift baskets with some of the young women and we have some budding missionaries there! They did awesome!

I will write more next week! Thank you for everything!

Hermana Christensen

PS, last minute shout out to my brother, he started his mission today!
And shout out to my parents who are now empty nesters!

Monday, July 11, 2016

What a week!

Lorena's Baptism

 At the LA Temple with Lorena and her family
 Fourth of July
 Finger getting stitched at the Urgent Care after the fight with the avocado
Zone Conference

It has been a whopper. A lot of really good stuff happened and a lot of not so good stuff happened. It was kind of all over the place. It was a really good reminder of how when we are at a loss as to what to do the Lord provides a way, we just need to rely on him. Here are the major events from the last two weeks:

Baptism! Last Thursday night there was a baptism for an amazing woman named Lorena. From what I have heard about her she has changed so much. She is super sweet and was so happy to be baptized. She asked me to do her hair afterward and it was so cool to have just a few moments with her to ask her how she felt and what she was thinking. She has basically turned her whole life around and is loving the gospel.

Temple trip! Then on Saturday we were able to go to the Visitors Center at the temple with Lorena, her daughter, her niece and her dad, as well as our ward mission leader and his son. It was a super good trip. Lorena loved seeing pictures of the rooms inside the temple and has now made it a very firm goal to be able to go inside in a year. And it was also nice to just be there on the grounds and feel the spirit there.

4th of July. We celebrated the 4th at an FHE with our branch president and his family, Lorena's family and another less active family. We had huge burgers that had bacon, half a hot dog, ham and grilled pineapple on them. As most of you probably know I'm not the biggest burger fan, but I loved them. It was a great bonding experience for everyone, and really made Lorena and her family feel included.

My fight with an avocado. I'm sad to say I lost. Tuesday night we were eating with one of our ward missionaries, and she asked me to cut an avocado. Normally I'm quite good at it but this time as I was taking the pit out the knife slipped and ended up cutting through the avocado into my hand. My first thought was to just stick a band-aid and some Neosporin on it and moving on with our day, but after looking at it and letting my companion (who wants to be a nurse) examine it, we decided that it was probably a good idea for me to get stitches. Then we were faced with the problem of finding someone to give us a ride to Urgent Care (the member we were with didn't have her car). Fortunately the first member we called could make it, and also knew where all the closest Urgent cares were. So now I have 3 stitches in my hand which hopefully will be taken out tomorrow. A major shout out goes to my companion for being super patient and loving this and also making sure I didn't do anything that would rip out my stitches.

Service! We had some awesome opportunities to do service this week. We have started an English class, and a lot of people are really excited about it. Part of the problem is that we don't really know what we are doing, but people seem to be learning so we'll see how it goes. It usually takes a while for an English class to get up and running, but it can be very successful we just have to stick it out through this hard part, and then it will be super cool. Also one of our ward missionaries (the same one mentioned above) gave us a call this week and asked if we could help her clean up her house. The woman who had been renting a room from them had moved out and left a huge mess. It was perfect though because our plans for the night had just fallen through and we had two hours left before correlation, and just at the moment when we were trying to figure out what to do she called. Also
we love doing service and never really get to opportunity to do it.

Zone meeting. We had our first zone meeting, and it was one of the best I have ever been to. This is a fun zone because 4 of the 7 languages spoken in the mission are represented. We have English, Spanish, Chinese and Samoan missionaries, so it's really diverse, and everyone has crazy experiences to share. The main focus was what truly defines a successful missionary. It was a really good reminder because this week was so crazy, and we basically had dropped everyone, and we're really starting to feel low, but it was the perfect pick me up.

New investigator! In the midst of all the crazy, we found an amazing new investigator named Elena. She is super excited to learn, and has a lot of good questions. She also came to church and absolutely loved it. She is definitely a miracle.

Sunday. I've realized that it doesn't sound too crazy thus far, but that was because Sunday was the craziest day of all. Just imagine other days like this for the rest of the week. We started out by forgetting our phone at home when we left for ward council. Then when we went back for it we couldn't remember where we had put the keys to the font so we just had to pray that they were in our bags in the car and not in the apartment. Then everyone and their dog wanted to talk to us at church, or needed help with something, like leading singing time in primary, or making a program for the baptism that afternoon (for an 8 year old) or teaching gospel principles because the teacher wasn't there (we actually made the elders do that). We finally got to take a breath during sacrament meeting which was lovely before the crazy started again. We finished up making the program and then battled with the copy machine for about 30 minutes trying to make copies. By this point we were starving, but when we got to the kitchen we discovered that the food we had left there to eat after church had been thrown away. Fortunately our branch president had invited the elders over for dinner so we hitched a ride with them. Then we got another breath before plunging back in. When we got to the church for the baptism (Hna Shmutz was playing the piano, I was speaking and we were the musical number) we found out that it hadn't really been set up for, only the font had been filled, so we set up real quick, as people were coming in. Then the baptism was wonderful. The little girl who was getting baptized was so excited, and is helping her family come back to church. Then we called it a night and went home and collapsed.

This week I am so thankful for the Lord and all he people who helped us this week. Every time something crazy or stressful happened the next minute a solution would come, even if it wasn't what we expected or wanted. I think the biggest lesson I learned this week is to just trust in the Lord and everything will work out.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!