Monday, August 29, 2016

I do all that for this‏

 Ashley and I at her birthday dinner

 Sometimes your third flat tire of the week leaves you stranded at a bus stop, but it's okay because there is hot chocolate at home.
 Yuri's baptism!

She was really really happy I promise. We just cannot get the girl to smile or look at the camera.

All I can really say is that it's been one of those weeks. Hermana Johnson and I were basically at the end of the rope this week. But some General Authority said "When you're at the end of your rope tie a knot and hold on!" So we held on, with a lot of help from a lot of different people, and we saw the blessings of it.

Last week ended with the birthday dinner for Ashley, Lorena's s the usual carne and other meats asada, and then a cake. The food was really good, as usual, the problem was that we had eaten lunch only a few hours before. Shout out to Elder Pugh for finishing his own plate and Hermana Johnson's and mine when we failed. The boy can eat. The over eating was all worth it though, to see Ashley get so excited about the simple things like getting her face stuffed in the cake, and opening her present from us, a piggy bank and stickers from the dollar store. It was so sweet.

Monday was fun, we went bowling with the elders and some of our ward missionaries. We learned three things 1. Elder Pugh is really good at bowling. 2. Elder Chavarria is very competitive and doesn't like to lose. Especially at bowling. 3. I am spectacularly bad at bowling. I probably had the most fun though because I flat out didn't care about the game. What can you do.

And that's when the crazy started. The main reason for the crazy would be our primary source of transportation: the bikes. We got a record of 3 flats with some other random problems thrown in there within like 4 days, so that was fun. Hermana Johnson managed to pop both of her tires somehow, I popped my front one, her chain got wonky, and my front wheel got busted, so we had to replace that. It was as much of a nightmare as it was an enormous headache. Thank goodness for the elders who brought us rubber cement (twice), random members who helped us out, and the fairly decent bus system to get us where we needed to go. Hermana Johnson is convinced that she was never supposed to bike on her mission. But we survived! We conquered! And it lead to one of the biggest miracles of them all....

I can't even describe all my feelings about this baptism. First of all it was almost zero stress. The font was filled on time, and was the right temperature and depth, she passed her interview (which finished 15 minutes before the baptism was scheduled to start, that was a little stressful) everyone who was supposed to be there was there mostly on time, the talk showed up (well the talk was given by me), she remembered her towel, she was early to church on Sunday to be confirmed, the Spirit was felt by all, basically it was perfect. Yuri was happy, her family was happy, the branch was happy, the elders were happy (it was Elder Pugh's first time baptizing and confirming someone, he was really excited) and we were happy. Though I still wish that she didn't have to wait a month it was well worth the wait.

Which leads me to my subject line, I do all that for this. I eat way to much so I can see the joy in member's faces knowing that they are feeding the missionaries. I ride my bike and endure all the fun things that comes with that so I can go and teach people. I have sometimes quite awkward conversations with everyone so that I can find just one person who is prepared. I tolerate the elder's shenanigans because really they do so much. I put my own pride, and comfort and choices on the line everyday so that everyday I can grow a little bit closer to the Savior, who did the very same, and who did it perfectly. And He did it all for us. So that way we could have bad days and good days. So that we can feel the joy in the simple things. So that we can repent and change and grow and become better. And at the end of the day, everything I do, I do for Him.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Hermana Christensen

Monday, August 15, 2016

It's the circle of life

Hello one and all! It's been a fun week. Hermana Johnson is learning about the joys of being in a bike area (she nearly died a couple of times, but it's okay, she's taking it like a champ), we have some
awesome investigators, we have been eating a ton, (Sunday consisted of a barbecue where we each ate a hamburger, a hot dog, a bag of chips, salad, an ice cream cone, and then dinner which was 3 slices of pizza and 2 slices of cake about 3 hours later. The elders ate even more. (Don't ask me how), and then of course there was the stake activity. More on that later.

Our investigators: Yuri is still doing super well, and is becoming a little missionary. She's trying to get her older sister to start coming to church with her and is encouraging her to get baptized as well. It's honestly the cutest thing I have ever seen. I think little kids are the best missionaries, just because they know the gospel makes them happy and they just don't get embarrassed about telling people about it because they want other people to be happy as well. We also have started teaching a man named Jose. Hna Schmutz and I found him at the end of last week, after we both had the feeling we should knock the neighbors of one of our other investigators. Jose was taught by the missionaries for a while in Mexico, but couldn't get baptized because he wasn't married. Now he is living alone, and is totally and completely prepared to be baptized. He told us he would do everything he needed to do, up to quitting his job so he didn't have to work on Sundays so he could come to church. Basically he's awesome.

The hero of the week: Darlene. Darlene is one of our branch missionaries and is probably one of the cutest people in the world. She's awesome because she loves coming to help us on lessons and if
she can't come at the time we ask her she tells us when she is free to come with us. She is also totally cool with giving us rides or just walking around and talking to people which is a lifesaver. She and her husband also like to make sure we are being fed. This week we had lunch with them on Tuesday, then dinner with hem after the stake activity (they took us to Pieology, it's like Subway, but with pizzas) then invited us over for lunch again after church with the elders. Basically they are some of my favorite people in the world right now.

Finally the stake activity. It was an ice cream social, and each congregation was asked to preform a song from a musical/movie. The Chinese ward did Mulan, which was beautiful, and then the Samoan ward did Lilo and Stitch. And then there was our little Spanish branch. Something you should know about the Los Altos branch, we go all the way or not at all. And so when they told us Lion King, we gave them the Lion King, complete with scenery, costumes and choreography. Another thing, it was all hand made, basically out of things they found in the junk room of the church and the dollar store. It was definitely the highlight of the whole night. Each organization in the ward had a part, the little girls were birds of paradise, the older kids were leopards, the young men were antelopes and zebras, the elder's quorum were the large animals, the relief society sisters the birds, and the young women the lionesses. The missionaries provided labor, support, and a recent convert to be Rafiki. It probably was the best way to build branch unity.

All pictures are from the prep for the performance or other random pictures from the week.

Monday, August 8, 2016


 Some of our favorite less actives
 The Samoan elders and Elder Pugh
Zone meeting
Hello one and all!

Yet another 6 weeks has passed, and another transfer has ended. Good news, I stayed in the area. The sad thing is that Hermana Schmutz was transferred. My new companion is Hermana Johnson. She's from Utah and is tall, blonde and skinny. We've met before and are getting along just fine. It's going to be a good 6 weeks. Also, this is the beginning of my third to last transfer. The end of my mission is rapidly approaching. I think I'm currently in the denial stage.

This week was all sorts of crazy. Actually Monday was fairly normal. And Tuesday was normal until about 10 at night. When the assistants to the president called. That always means something out of the ordinary is happening and in this case it was Hermana Schmutz being invited to attend MLC on Wednesday. So I spent a good portion of Wednesday with a different sister whose companion was also attending MLC. She is serving in the area just above us and so we visited some people in both areas. It was fun because the people we visited in her area were people that I had taught in my first area.

Then Thursday was zone meeting which is always a good time. Then on Friday another sister was with us for the first part of the day because her companion was going to the meeting for trainers. So basically we were on exchanges for most of the week. But now the transfer has come and things should calm down to normal. Hermana S
chmutz is now a sister training leader in El Monte, Elder Pugh now has only one companion and one area, and all should be well. At least for the moment.

In the non crazy parts of the week, we did some service, went to a fireside for a departing missionary, ate with a lot of members and visited a lot of people. It was all a lot of fun. It was a good way to end the transfer.

See you all next week!
Hermana Christensen

Monday, August 1, 2016

A week of surprises

 Saying goodbye to elder Aguilar

 Tthe combined missionary force of the Los Altos branch and Turnbull Canyon ward

 tissue paper dresses

 the temple trip with Yuri

A trip to the local swap meet. We didn't buy the hats.

Every once in a while I have these ideas that I'm in control of my life and what is happening around me. And then weeks like this happen and it proves that the Lord is truly in charge. He works in a
mysterious way, but it is all part of a greater plan. That's what's been getting us through the past few days.

You might remember that last week I mentioned a cute little girl named Yuri that we are teaching. Well this week was all about getting her ready for her baptism. She was super excited, we were super excited, and her mom when we got the baptismal white signed, (basically a paper with information that says the person agrees to be baptized) her mom was super excited too. Then literally the next day we get a call from her mom telling us that it was too soon and she wanted Yuri to wait until August 28th. We were all really sad, especially Yuri, but the fifth commandment is honor thy father and they mother and so on there was nothing we could do. So we did the next best thing. Instead of having a baptism on Sunday we had a temple trip with Yuri and her grandma. It was a super good experience for them both, and now we are also going to work with her grandma to enter the temple as well. So it wasn't a complete loss.

Then there's Elena. We had a super good lesson with her on Tuesday where we cleared up some problems with the Book of Mormon. Then she also had invited us to dinner. The thing about Elena is that she has basically taken it upon herself to teach us how to cook. So we learned how to make gorditas. We definitely need more practice but they were super good. The next update was on Friday when we found out that she and her husband aren't actually married, which means that Elena can't
get baptized. Fortunately they both know it's important, so hopefully we'll be planning a wedding pretty soon. We're trying really hard to focus on the positive.

Probably the most heartbreaking part of this week was Elder Aguilar. He had some pre existing medical problems and it was a miracle he was even able to come and serve a mission. Then this last week he spent Monday through Thursday in the hospital. Then Friday morning he boarded a plane for home with an honorable medical release. So for the rest of the transfer elder Pugh is in a trio with the Samoan elders. It's been a little rough because we have been picking up some of the slack for the elders, covering lessons and the like, which has meant that we have been running around like crazy. It's all part of the Lord's plan though, and everything will turn out for the best.

There were also some bright shining moments this week. The first was a little day camp for girls between the ages of 8 and 11. We were asked to help out and teach about modesty and good grooming. So for an activity we made modest dresses out of tissue paper. A shout out goes to my mother and all other elementary school teachers who teach that age group every day. We were just with them for an hour and we were absolutely exhausted afterward. It was so fun and so rewarding though. They were so sweet and many of them said it was their favorite activity.

Another highlight was Sunday. They had put the missionaries in charge of speaking and the musical number in Sacrament meeting, and so Elder Pugh and Hermana Schmutz spoke, and I was in charge of the musical number. Fortunately Elder Pugh had to be on exchanges with the elders from the English ward, one of which is a pianist, so it was awesome. The only price was that I also had to play in the English ward because their musical number bailed. Oh well, that just meant that I got to play flute for longer, which I don't get to do as much.

All in all it has been a fun week, a full week, but a fun week none the less. We've been busy in the work of the Lord and that's what really counts. Peace and blessings!