Monday, December 26, 2011

12/26/2011 Elder Christensen "Bah Humbug!"

White elephant extravaganza. Its two pictures
 because its two tables full of gifts!
 Merrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Christmas to you all!!!!!!!!!! Man it`s still too dang weird to have a hot Christmas. This is the 3rd hot Christmas of my life and I still don`t really know what to think of it. Once again this year I forgot on various occasions that it was even Christmas.. only to be reminded by some ghetto decor and the smell of beer. Haha. Actually I think this has been one of the best Christmases I`ve ever had. The ward has been really..... warm.. Does that work? They´ve just LOVED us. We got a mountain of gifts as well from the members which is something I never had even thought of! Everything from ties to scripture cases to MOUNTAINS of food. I honestly was blown away by them... everyone... not to mention the spirit of Christ that they have really determines the way they live their Christmas. It`s interesting to see the difference between the members and the non members.... the difference in both spirit and atmosphere only separated by a chain link fence. We, being members of Christ`s church, have EVERYTHING it seems like. I dunno... kinda weird to describe. I just love our gospel and what it does in our lives. On Christmas eve and Christmas day we just shared with all the members we possibly could about the Atonement.. Although we went with roughly the same lesson plan for every one, the lessons all turned out different and special for different reasons. We also tried to sing all the Christmas songs we possibly could with EVERYONE. As I`ve written in previous letters, the Spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ... and we tried to take it to EVERYONE during this special time. Excellent.
As a mission, we got together in a chapel here in la cisterna. WOW it was hotttt there honesty. 180 missionaries in a fairly small chapel. We listened to talks, choirs of missionaires, and watched " A Christmas Carol" together. Man WHY have I never seen that movie??! Honestly I loved it. Simple story but it has a very powerful message. This man HATED Christmas... you could even go far enough to say that he hated charity... but as he was reminded of his past and saw things in the present and future, he changed. He promised himself to remember Christmas forever... Past, present, and future. Thats honestly something that each of us could do. Obviously we won`t keep the tree and lights up year round but we CAN maintain that same spirit and respect for what our Savior, Jesus Christ did for us. Thats something I plan on doing... In turn, I believe that will help us live with a spirit of Gratitude like the prophet has asked.

One little thought I`d like to share before I wrap up, about the atonement... I find it very interesting that in verse 11 it says.... "laying it aside.."

11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.

12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;

13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.

14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.

15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.

Elders Monsen, Christensen, and CRIST... The Utah 3 Party. At the Christmas Party.
 The atonement is amazing... My understanding of that great merciful act is one of the key pillars of my personal testimony as a member of this church. Sometimes, we as members, "Lay it aside", we take Christ and his atonement for granted... We sin. We stray from the straight and narrow path.... But, at one point or another, we recognize once again how NECESSARY the atonement is in our lives.... As the scriptures say, without it, we have no way to be reclaimed. We have no way to be rescued. The entire plan of salvation is voided.... What a miracle it is to have a Father in heaven who loves us.... as John 3:16 says, he loves us SO much that he sacrificed his SON for us.... so that WE could have eternal life. Amazing. Bliss. Love. That is how I`m feeling during this time of the year. Grateful.. Maybe I even feel a little bad because I`ve neglected these same feelings for YEARS. Being a missionary has opened my eyes and changed the way I see with them. I used to trade time with the family or friends for time playing xbox or even just time alone. I would think about myself... what I needed. What I could do. Why I wasn`t happy. But now, I don`t even know who I am anymore. I hope to never re-discover that either. I`m happy with who I am now. I`m happy with what I`m doing now... I KNOW that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is GODS KINGDOM ON THE EARTH. I know it. I know that he sent his son as a great part of his eternal and loving plan for us. I know that through Christ and his atonement, we can once again find the peace and joy that is eternal... That lasts... I know that the backpack of pain, sorrow, and grief, can be taken from our shoulders if we just submit ourselves to our fathers will and agree to take it off.... to live a higher law. That is why we make covenants.... to sign the contract and agree to change. It`s so clear to me... it`s so perfect to me. I`m converted. This is the best time of the year to really count your many blessings and plan for the future. So do it. Kneel down and thank Heavenly father for all of your blessings, then, by the spirit, set some worthwhile goals for this year. If its by the spirit, it`s God`s will. Remember that. Bueno. I`m wayyy outta time now... but I love you all. I wish you all a Merry Christmas (belated), and a Happy new year.

Christmas BREAKFAST! Actually I made that today
 because I wasn`t hungry on Christmas Morning... Haha.

Much love,

Elder Christensen.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12/20/2011 Hermana Christensen comes home!


Monday, December 19, 2011

12/19/2011 Elder Christensen "The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ"

Elder Tialavea and I... He`s GONE...........
Dear Friends and Family,

Wow.... Life is insane to be quite honest with you all. This whole thing is just breezing right by my face... This week, our group becomes the oldest group of Elders here which is mind boggling to me. Ugh. Anyone who has served a mission knows how I`m feeling..... just in a state of unbelief.

Elder Monsen and I....... Thank rella for the SWEET TIE!
 We`ve been working like crazy here both in the sector and in the zone. Our zone is really special.... We just have a really good mix of people that get along and work well together. This change we have a special iniciative from President King that is called.... "El Espiritu de Navidad es El Espiritu de Cristo"..... During this time of year, it`s SO important that we can remember Jesus Christ. My whole LIFE I`ve heard people say that... but I guess I never really understood it until now.... Now I know because I`m converted... Now I get it because I have come to know Jesus Christ and his gospel. But how can we remember him? What can we do to make this the best Christmas ever? Our initiative is a chain of scriptures in the Book of Mormon... It starts talking about the prophets and the prophecies they received about the coming of Christ... then it goes all the way from his birth to his death... really pretty cool.. We read this chain of scriptures with members and invite them to give away THAT Book of Mormon, with the chain already marked, to somebody special. Then its up to us as missionaries to go to the house of the person, sing a hymn, and start sharing the gospel. That is just an example. There are TONS of things that we can do to honor Christ and make this the best Christmas ever. You can pile up a bunch of money and go deliver sub for santa stuff... or you can take dinner to someone who you know is in need. I`d like to invite you all to pray in your families and think of something you can do. There is NO better time to preach the gospel than during the Christmas season. Even in Utah there has to be people that aren`t members. You return missionaries try to find someone who speaks your mission language! The opportunities are all around us.... thats why it is important that we pray so that we can be alert.
COMPLETOS! Our Pday Lunch

Runnin out of time here so I want to just share this last thing.... Mosiah 4:6-9......

6 I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—
7 I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the afall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.

8 And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.

9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend

Elder Clark and I after our divisions.....
..BELIEVE IN GOD.... believe in his son Jesus Christ... Tawny this is personal so I hope you don`t mind me sharing... We had a lesson yesterday with some members.... and I felt prompted to share this.. It doesn`t have a ton to do with Christmas until you really piece things together.... It talks about coming to a "Knowledge of the goodness of God"... as well it talks about the atonement and the plan that has been made for us. I shared with this family about your accident in Lake Powell Tawny... about Chase who passed away... the spirit was suppperrrr strong by the way..... then I went on to tell them that your testimony had been made strong because of that... You were converted even more to this gospel because of what happened to you. I remember once you also said.... " I dont know how people can live in this world without having this plan, without having a surety of what will happen tomorrow." WE have that surety... WE have that plan. We know our savior Jesus Christ.... During this special time of year, we need to make it known. We need to really push our testimony into the hearts of everyone. Whatever is to be done, it is to be done with the spirit.... Lets make this the BEST Christmas ever... and remember.. the Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ......

Me at the Ciber! Mom thats the Tawny tie....
Wore it in her end of mission honor
 I love you all. Elder Christensen


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/13/2011 Hermana Christensen "you are no longer an american. you are a LATIN american"

so we met this lady named zelda gave us these slippers because
we helped her move a rock.. hahah they're so funny!
hello beauties.

what a week.

this is us after a devo blowing out our candles
well, i must say that there is absolutely nothing in the world that could possibly physically even come the slightest bit close to the indescribable beautiful incandescent translucent full complete eterno love and happiness i felt on friday night as i sat across the room from my chilean father, armed in the robes of righteousness, making covenants with our heavenly father. it. was. BEAUTIFUL. i got to sit next to his sister, dearest sister peterson, and we just giggled and cried and held hands and rejoiced together. i don't think our feet were on the ground as we floated in the celestial room together. a bunch of his ward members came; i loved seeing those familiar faces and feeling that love and unity and gratitude for our father's plan that unites us all. ahh. so joyful.

a funny: the session started at 8. do you realize what that means?! we were looking at sealing rooms at 10:15 at night. HA! uuum.. we got outta there fast. (don't worry, president knows.) but as we were drivnig home (not speeding!) we saw a utah license plate on the car next to us. now, normally i would've flashed my fellow utahn the black badge of honor and glory to foster some instantaneous camaraderie (sp?) without palabras... but imagine that! missionaries cruising down the freeway at 10:20 at night! hahahah. needless to say we just smiled at her innocently.

look familiar? surprise! paulita as the soldier!

oh, i forgot the sweetest part of all. we got to also be in the session with our members who got sealed on saturday. they received their investiduras that same session and it was stunning to be with the rama, too. on saturday, after their sealing, there was a fiesta at the capilla. they had a guy come and do mexican tacos and oooooooooooooooh were they good! they are so happy, it was unreal to see them and the great difference they've made. they'd invited a ton of friensd and we were able to get things set up so they can also have that joy. ah. and also, what was so neat, and sis mccullough and i talked a lot about this afterwards, was the FEELING of their "reception" you could call it. it wasn't a utah, mormon reception. ew no. boring. it was a celebration. and it ws for the RIGHT REASON. it was that this family (mom, dad and two kids) had been united for ETERNITY. that they'd changed their lives and they were one with god. it wasn't about the dress. it wasn't about the ring. it wasn't about the colors or the decorations or the hair or the bridesmaids or ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the garbage that it ALWAYS is about. it was simple and plain and about this family. and the spirit was strong. and it was just beautiful. i was so inspired and uplifted!

Hermana C with Paul, Angela, & Grandma Judy
 on thursday we went on exchanges. i'd talked with one of the sisters who's struggling with her companion, and we'd kinda plotted that i'd go out with this struggling sister to help her realize that she actually does want to be here and doesn't want to go home and that this is the GREATEST WORK AND TIME OF OUR LIVES EVER!! but i was sad that day man. i was just way bummed out because our area's kinda struggling and i'm feeling like a really small little missionary doin nada buena. so what went down? well so we go on this exchange, and this sister... holy cow. she just... she transformed. she lifted ME. she boosted ME. she helped ME remember. we taught people and made THEM happier.. and it just.. it wasn't about us. it was about losing ourselves! and as we did, holy hannah. it was pure bliss. both of us rejoicing. and we saw milagros and had way bomb lessons and added people and just felt so guided by the spirit. it was incredible. that's how the Lord works. he answers our prayers as we just get to work. as we serve him. as we forget ourselves.

this is one of our sweet members. she made us
straight up pose with these hats in front of her
tree... in frnot of the fireplace.. i've got like 500
 more pictures from this photoshoot.
she was so into it.
 ps. something about that that touched me: the rs pres was going to come out with us, but she couldn't. so what did she do? she didn't just say, " no lo siento hermana otro dia" freak no she FOUND SOMEONE ELSE! i was blown away. this is coming from one of the branches with the highest baptisms in the US. and why? beucase the leaders GET IT. this is about ETERNAL LIFE AND HAPPINESS AND SALVATION. they get it. and that's one of the many millones de reasons that i'm grateful for my mission. in some small way, i GET it now. i get it a little more and i want to ALWAYS be a missionary and ALWAYS be building the kingdom and ALWAYS be striving to share the gospel.

does the lord bless us or what? on sunday we had FOUR SEPARATE INVESTIGADORS AT CHURCH!!!!!! the room was FULL!!!!! the ramam is creciendo! it was sooooo cool! ah! and one of our investigadores committed to live the word of wisdom and is reading and coming to church and saw the baptism on saturday and AH! we're going to invite him to get baptized THIS WEEKEND so pray hard for alberto to accept the invitation to move his date up!

i'm sorry this is long and i've got soo much to say! it's just been a great week!

on sunday night it was my last spanish charla foganera. i wanted to go SO badly! but. we didn't have an investigator going. now we could've gone anyway to sing in the choir, but we KNEW that god would bless us if we sacrificed. so we didn't go and we found a new investigator and one of our investigators (who's ebeen coming to church for 11 years but WON'T GET BAPTIZED) CALLED US!!!! we were SO bold and invited him to get baptized. it was just amazing to see how the lord truly does provide when we sacrifice.

i have some great homework for you and me, it's going to be fun! in the liahona this month, there's an activity for the jovenes to make a list of 100 things you're grateful for. it's right at the beginning and it's going to be EEEEEEASY and way fun. will you do it? it's on page like four or something, right after e eyrings message.

this is us settin up the christmas tree. willy
you would LOVE IT! it's a huge, full tree!
last night we watched the joseph smtih dvd with another investigadora and her novio who's islamic. huH? well, it was SO AMAZINg. the spirit in that movie is UNREAL! and they FELT it. i was just flooded with emotion. i am so eternally thankful for the clarity of the restored gospel of jesus christ. it is SO CLEAR. it always has been! it's so simple! there is NO OTHER WAY to be happy. there is no other way! tha path is clearlyu outlined; got wants to answer our prayers and he WILL tell us if the bom is true if we just READ IT and ASK. as i gave them my testimony i was so overcome with the realization and gratitude of the profound blessing it is and has been to testify on the daily that there has been a restoration of the truth, that god never leaves us alone or confused. i am so thankful. i love being a missionary more than i could possibly put into palabras. i feel such deep gratitude for my savior and for his sacrifice. i love him . i love his gospel. i am more sure than ever that there is no other way to everlasting joy than by living his restored gospel and the making and keeping of covenants through his restored priesthood power. i know that joseph smith restored that poiwer, that he's a prophet, and that tomas s monson is the profeta hoy en dia. i know that god lives. i know that jesus is the christ. i love him. i love representing him. i will always and forever be grateful for this sacred time of my life that iv'e been able to draw ever nearer to him and my father in heaven. i love this work. it's his. he's at the head of it. his spirit directs us. let us always follow him and ALWAYS share this message of great tidings and glad joy with the world.

i love you. so much. and i thank you for your continued support and prayers. have a beautiful week!

hermana christensen
the solanos sealing. :) kristen, she's wearing the
pink crystal earrings!

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/12/2011 Elder Christensen "The Light of Christ"

Man aliveeeeeeee is it HOT in Chile! Almost every day I ask the people.... "¿Y como suportan este calor?" How to you guys put up with this heat?????????? They usually say...... WE DONT. Hahah. Super funny. I miss the ozone layer. What a great thing.
Moving on! We had a pretty sweet week to be honest... A couple MIRACLES. My mission doesn`t seem to be stuffed full of miracles like that of tawny, (haha!) so when we get one I KNOW that Heavenly Father sent it. We were walkin in the street one day and this guy we had contacted the week before just yelled from a distance, HELLO BROTHER! In english and everything... Then he just opened up his door and said... Come in! Again in english... We talked to this guy and his family for a good half hour about their beliefs... They aren`t married because the guys is "waiting for his ex wife to die"... Sounds CRUEL right? It`s just really expensive to get divorced here... kinda kills us sometimes. Anyways, he seems pretty interested so we`ll be going back there. We sang a hymn, blessed his house, and bounced.

The next day, we showed up superrrrrrrr late for one of our citas. We had another two set citas as well that were going to end the day so we tried to re-schedule it.. The people wanted us RIGHT THEN so we were kinda... unsure of how we were gonna do it. These people are catholics... Also a miracle. REALLY SICK people. We taught them the first half of the plan of salvation...they loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed it. Like pretty much everyone not of our faith, they had always thought of Adams fall as a BAD HORRIBLE thing... but they just don`t realize the GREATNESS of it becuase they don`t have the Book of Mormon. We read 2 Nephi 2:19-25 with them and just talked about it... I was about to ask.... now... Was it good or bad that Adam ate the fruit? But before I had the CHANCE, the lady, Graciela, just blurted out... SO IT WAS GREAT that Adam ate the fruit! Now we have a chance to get bodies! I could see her whole face change and her eyes light up as the power of the restored gospel sparked the light of Christ in her. AMAZING honestly. SO cool.

Alright.........HOMEWORK TIME!!!!! Everyone MUST read Alma 37 this week. DRINK from it please!! Don`t just skim over it! Wow it`s full of goodness. The following are GREAT....

34 Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.

Relate that to D&C 64:33... Man SO good. We should neverrrrrrrrrrrrr be weary of good works. Just serve and serve and serve and serve with a smile... Realizing that this is what God wants us to do. LOVE it. This is even BETTER.... 41 to 45....

41 They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;

42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.

43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.

44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.

45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.

SO good... I love it in spanish... the start of 45 in spanish says.... Is there not symbolism in this?? THERE IS. Often times we CHOOSE to make ourselves suffer. We CHOOSE to fall off the path or even go in an entirely different direction.... They "Tarried" in the wilderness.... LET US NOT TARRY. We can read the scriptures, find the quickest route, and TAKE it. Why do we as human beings CHOOSE to do things that disctract us? That NUMB us.. that freeze us. IT IS EASY TO GIVE HEED TO THE WORD OF CHRIST.... As it is promised.... we will be carried beyond this place into a FAR BETTER land of promise. Don`t be stubborn.. Don't let the natural man take over... I know that this is what we need to do to be happy... Its the recipe for rejoicing. Obviously if I want something to turn out right I gotta follow the recipe EXACTLY... When we decide to add salt instead of sugar is where life turns sour... Please just be obedient everyone. Pay attention to the compass and I promise it will really change your lives as it has changed mine. Know that I love you all.. I hope you have a great week and that you welcome home my wonderful SISTER and my good friend Ammon.... Man alive.. Shoulder to the wheel yet again!

Chao!! Elder Christensen
Just one pic.... Sorry I`m lame! We went bowling... Gotta love it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12/6/2011 Hermana Christensen "Always"

awww a bunch of battalion sisters after shift
Oh my dearest darlingest familia!

what an amazing week. holy hannah. i feel like i have so much to tell you i don't know where to begin! haha.

me in my fave place: the BATTALION!!!!
 just chillin after our meeting
so on thursday we had a bomb
lesson with our golden family... FINALLY. haha. what went down was one of our rockin members invited them over for a carne asada. and what's cool is that this family went through a lot of the same probs that our golden familiy is going through... but they overcame with the gospel and are getting SEALED on saturday! so they can testify hardcore of the power of the atonement and how the gospel blesses families. it was amazing. really. we watched the "remember lots wife" mmessage and then our member just started in promising them blessings. and then there was another solid family there that also testified hardcore, and it almost turned into everyone promising this family tons of change and blessings and ahhh. i think she felt a little overwhelmed because there were a LOT of us and one of her arguing her point... but it was wonderful. it was also a bday party so it was deeeeeeeelicious and we just had a fiesta. and tonight we're having another one. YES!!! anyway. the family is coming.... kind of. we're nervous about it. they aren't keeping their committments and stuff. agency is SO HARD. it's so hard. i'm so grateful for it. but i hate watching people use their agency like this. it's killing me. i love that family so much! keep the salvador fam in your prayers.
sunset... from our apartment!

i had a really bomb study the other day. i was delving into perseverar hasta el fin (enduring) and i came down to this gorgeous conclusion as we studied in pme capitulo 13 about strengthening new converts/ less actives. go check it out. but okay so look at this. it says that these people need to have an amigo, an assignment and be nutridos por la palabra de dios. so i was thinking about this and they need to be taught about the gospel of christ... they need to unerstand that restoration especially and then all the commandments. aka so they can be obedient and perseverar verdad que si? okay so then what do they need? they need to be given opportunities to serve. mosiah 2:17 right? okay so then check this out... as they serve others their own testimonio va aumentando and they are able to... PERSEVERAR! so then look at what we've got here! our conversos recientes need to understand what exactly the gospel is so they can keep the commandments and be obedient--which is how we show our love for our heavenly father. and then they need to serve others by sharing the gospel and serving in different capacities and callings... is this sounding like the two greatest commandments to anyone else out there?! LOVE GOD (by being obedient to him and keeping his commandments! that's why we teach lessons 1-5 after their baptized so they CAN do that!) and to LOVE THY NEIGHBOR?! it was so cool. the gospel is... SO COOL. it is so full! it is SO TRUE!

your caramel!!
 ready for a beautiful story? okay so remember how the solanos (the couple helping us with our golden family) are getting sealed on friday? well, we aren't allowed to go to that becuase we're not the missionaries who taught them. BUT. remember ENRIQUE HERNAN GONZALES?!!! my chilean father?! WELP! he's receiving his endowment on... FRIDAY AT 8!!!!!!!! hahah i am THRILLED that it all worked out and i'm just hoping that they'll be in the same session. and so, beacuse he's my convert, WE GET TO GO!!!! we get to go see my sheave taken to the garner! i am just EXPLODING with joy here!!!! and it'll be in spanish, too. :) can't wait. heavenly father is so generous! pics to come.

something else about His generosity towards me. this past week, well, it's been good of course, but it's been hard. we feel like we worked our TAILS off all weekend to get people with dates and at church and stuff, and then, last minute, they all fall through. they CANNOT progress unless they come to church! and i'm feeling like a failure of a missionary over here because no one is coming to church... how are they supposed to progress towards baptism! anyway, so me and my misery are sitting in sacrament feeling miserable as alma 30:60 haha not really but you know what i mean... i'm feeling all sad and discouraged, hearing hermana mccullough in my mind from earlier in the morning when she asked, 'are we not working hard enough?"... when into the reunion sacramental walks our good friends alberto, monica and olivia. I GASPED AUDIBLY!!!!!!!! hahahah of COURSE! Heavenly father NEVER lets me be sad for too long! i'm telling you! on thursday we were headed to go visit someone in our plans, but it didn't feel right. i am trying SO HARD to follow the spirit and be an effective missionary who heeds myf ather's promptings, so we pulled over and prayed and felt like we should go visit alberto. this guy has so much potential and has met with missionaries for like 10 years off and on.. anyway, he's not progressing so it was going to be the charla franca. we go and had the most beautiful lesson. and the spirit was strong. he cried and said he wants to change, and accepted the baptismal invitation. so he comes to church with his inactive roommate and another investigator and they loved it. i was just... i was so happy. i was so full of gratitude for my heavenly father and his infinite patience and love and GENEROSITY. i know i'm a weak missionary and i know i mess up and i could be so much stinkin better it's discouraging, BUT! he knows that i'm trying. he knows that i'm esforzandome al maximo and so what does he do? blesses me way more than i deserve. :) ah. so there's that. we'll see what happens with our dear friends! bottom line: heavenly father loves us! we just do our part and wait for the blessings ... and they'll come! and oh, they will be sweet! so this week, when you're feelin down, just think what more could you do to esforzarse, do it, and then wait. you'll feel better after that, and you'll feel EVEN BETTER when you see the blessings!
these are the three families: the salvadors,
 solano y aguilar after our riiiiiiiiiiico
carne asada. oooooooooh!

life's a bowl of cherries. i love being a missionary more than anything. thank you for the support and emails! i sure love you guys! hope you have a GREAT week!!!

hermana christensen
the woodburys took us to el torito!

Monday, December 5, 2011

12/5/2011 Elder Christensen "Workin Away"

SICK hawaiian tie! Wow... just wow. Great for pday! Hahah
 Hello Friends and Family!

Not sure what happened to this week.... whoops! Just disappeared!

Okay anyways, lets get down to business here. This week was pretty good.. Lots of contacting to be honest. Every spare second we had we were contacting. I think we did 142.... which is a TON at least for our mission. As well we found ourselves talking to several pastors which is always...... well.... you get the point. Its LAME! All they ever want to do is fight and share stupid scriptures nada que ver. Yesterday we ran into some guy from a church I`ve never heard of. They also claim to have a prophet and twelve apostles... It was horrible honestly... we just sat there humbly while he pounded us into the ground with his doctrine.. But you know what? It means NOTHING.... Nothing at all... they were all really deeply analized scriptures with all kinds of deep apostate interpretations..... but whos going to argue that? All we could do was boldly testify of the Book of Mormon... I love that Book.... It is a second witness to the bible. It testifies of the exact same doctrine.... except it is pure because it has only been translated once... I KNOW that Jesus Christ came to the Americas after his resurrection. I know it. In the end we talked about the Priesthood... We testified boldly yet again about how Peter, James, and John came down to confer the priesthood upon Joseph Smith... THAT is how it was restored to the earth... He couldnt tell us where his "Prophet" had received the priesthood... We are 20 years old... We`re not that smart. BUT we DO have the truth of the restored gospel in our lives.. I can recall saying that like 6 times in the contact... The world is lost.... and its up to US to rescue all of those found on the side of the trail. Interesting what things happen when you talk to everyone eh?
The advent, all the presents, and yours truly. You guys truly are amazing.
Thanks! Christmas is gonna be a BLAST!

I`m runnin out of time here so I gotta be quick.. Last week I had the opportunity to do a baptismal interview... Man that is COOL. Knowing that you get to give the green light for somebody to be baptized and in turn, enter into GODS KINGDOM.... Is just a great feeling.. Anyways, she passed no problem and we had a great time during the interview. On Saturday, we were able to go to her baptism only a few minutes away in a taxi.. We showed up and there was NOBODY there except for us 4 missionaries, the lady (Iris), and the bishop from the ward... I had only met this lady once when I interviewed her but I noticed right away that something was wrong.... I sat down and talked to her a little bit. How she was you know... small talk. Then I asked where her NEW husband was.... They had been married 2 days before her baptism..... Turns out, they had gotten in a fight as she was leaving for her baptism, and her husband told her he wasn`t going to go. This is a return missionary we`re talking about here.... just inactive.... She started to cry.... I honestly felt awful for her. Here she was, about to make coventants with her heavenly father, and her own newlywed husband turned his back on her... Not to mention that NOBODY from her family came to support her and nobody from the ward had shown up yet.... I pulled out the scripture 2nd Nephi 2:27.... It shows that satan wants us to be miserable.... Ya we`re free to choose and all but he wants us to be just like he is.... I congratulated her for having come and testified to her that she had beat satan. Honestly it was amazing and the spirit was strong there.... That was a HUGE testimony for me.... It would have been SOoooooo super super duper easy to say.... Nope I`m not gonna get baptized today.... See ya. But no.... she chose to follow through with her commitment and to be baptized. She chose to do what God wanted her to do even though maybe the circumstances in her life weren`t that great in the moment.. Thats how I want to be... We are members of this church and even we aren`t that strong sometimes... Thats my challenge to you guys this week.. CHOOSE GOD. Choose his way. Choose what he wants. No matter what may be your plan... no matter what other thing you might have going on.... Drop it. Make your will and his will be one. Forget yourself and go to work as Gordon B. Hinckley did.... Is my prayer for each and every one of you.

We have an investigator progressing well for his baptism on the 8th of January. Keep praying for him. His name is Eduardo. Every prayer counts. Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name. Thanks to all of you for everything that you do for me. The church is amazing. I hope you all have a great week!

Chaooo! Elder Christensen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

11/29/2011 Hermana Christensen "Verge of Explosion"

making a "mad" face. no more pumpkin pie! hahah elder
 woodbury, brenchley and sis kearsley
 (from being so full and being so joyful)
How am i emailing you again?!

well. it has been a WEEK! and i mean that with emphasis on the week because it's been great. it's actually been really rough. haha. but it's been great! funny how those two words always seem to coincide verdad?

how was everyone's thanksgiving? i have got something REALLY exciting to tell everyone, mostly grampa. so.. you know how i hate mixing foods? well for TWENTY TWO YEARS OF MY LIFE i have been missing out on a SCRUMPTIOUS experience! but this past thanksgiving, elder brenchley cooed me into trying gravy (sorry folks, i've never been a gravy lady. but for e brenchley i'll do anyting. especially when he fantastic chef of a wife cooks it!)... and i put it on my potatoes.. and ate that WITH GRAVY! alll in the same bite! hahah ooooooooh my goodness! what have i missed all these years!? it was wonderful. we served in the battalion that morning, and i knew it was going to be crazy. last year it was busy but then everyone magically stopped coming around lunchtime. all day long i was wondering what was going to happen when our feast started at one with tons of people here... well, of COURSE people started trickling away, but at one on the dot a cute brown family came in wanting a spanish tour. haha. so the person who'd been counting down for thanksgiving missed the feast. but it's okay becuase i am a firm believer in sacrifice bringing forth the blessings of heaven. and they were great family. and when i was done being edified by their lamanite goodness i still got some grub. sweet potatoes OH so good kaylynn! i love serving at the battalion. seriously. i am so blessed! these sisters and the senior couples... it's just this family, this bubble that we're in. i love it. there is so much love here actually that elder evans told us we can't hug so much anymore because people think we're lesbians. dot dot dot question mark. but okay. anyway. moral of the story, i love my call. second moral. thanksgiving was bomb. i've always heard stories of missionaries eating so much they felt sick and wanted to burst, but i've never experienced it. well, i did then. haha. never before have i prayed first to throw up and second to just not explode, please. haha. our branch mission leader fed us and it was tasty but i was SOOO FULL I COULDNT'! and then he was all offended and said we ate like cats.... umm well roxy eats a lot... haah but seriously. it was annoying. and i didn't get any pumpkin pie. i'm still bitter about it. but i am SO THANKFUL for all that i do have! i count my many many many blessings--namely my family and the gospel! and also that i didnt' explode on thanksgiving. it's been four long thanksgiving away from jude's so i was thinking fondly of all of you. i love you all so much!

most of us before the feast.
we had a really beautiful devotional on thanksgiving. we always have devos at the mb on thursday--have i ever mentioned that? well, this week the sisters had us make a list of all the things we were grateful for yadda yadda and then we shared two each. and then they pointed out how strong the spirit got as we all expressed gratitude. so true. express it. it's prideful to withhold gratitude! ---- and theeeeen they asked us to think back two or three years ago to what our gratitude lists were like. we all kinda chuckled and then these sisters got quiet and invited us to think about how much our lives had changed from serving missions. it was stunning. the moment was just... so tender. we are all so thankful to be missionaries. i love what the mission has done for my life and how much my Savior has helped me to change. life is so much clearer and better and i am just SO full of thanks!

we've got a drill to clean dishes after people feed us.
haha tiny kitchen lotsta brown love.

i didn't get enough food so i had to dumpster dive...
in a pioneer dress... hahah no jk. lost car keys.
 speaking of baptism.. our golden family is failing. we haven't been able to find them all at home for weeks. they haven't come to church. it's been sooooo sad. so so so sad. they lost their baptismal date. but. finally. on sunday night, we found them at home and we had a great lesson. we made no bake cookies and had each part represent a part of the gospel, like FE is that we're going to have the cookies... but you have to START! butter and sugar. but then you mess up (cocoa) so you need to REPENT. and then what? BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (leche) and then you add the other garby like vanilla and pb and oats and then what? the cookies STILL aren't done because they've gotta harden.. they've gotta ENDURE TO THE END. it was cool to see the lights click in their brown eyes and the realization about what they need to do. they know they need to get married and get baptized. the mom doesn't want the girls to do it without them,a nd she doesn't want to get married to her h usband. we were REAL bold.. we asked 'what is your butter and sugar? where are you going to start?' and it's annoying because she just points all the blame at her husband and the marriage therapist inside of me just boiiiiiiiiiiils but i can't counsel people on their personal matters.... so we throw down doctrinally. but she's just so stubborn. please pray for the familia salvador. the girls and the dad want to get baptized but they can't. they're just stuck. but we're going to seguir and hope that the Lord blesses her with a softened heart. the cookies were fun though, even though we left a little sad. we have faith it'll all work out.

after our no bake cookie lesson. :)
so guess what? on saturday we had two baptisms in the rama! comin comin comin comin! even though it's been a hard week, there is sooooo much light and potential for this ramita! just gotta be patient and look towards the future with a bright eye of faith and hope.
purple pioneer dress in honor of kristen!

life's good. the work of a missionary is hard and slow but it's noble. i love my father in heaven for giving me this chance to understand a MORSEL of what he feels. a tidbit? i tiny sliver. i love him for that. i love him for his endless love and patience. and wow. lately i've been feeling and recognizing how short i fall. and i was just thinking about how heavenly father will somehow accept my small, humble weak offer because the atonement of our savior jesus christ makes up for all my deficiencies. somehow. wow. i love jesus christ. He is the only way. i love His gospel, more than anything. i am so thankful to be a missionary--it is unreal. i wouldn't trade this time for anything in the universe. hermanos, we are so blessed. let us always just keep in mind the blessed state we're in.

i love you. que esten bien y sepan que les amo muchismo.

hermana christensen

ps two weeks worth of pics

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/28/2011 Elder Christensen "Hot, hot heat!"

Elder Crist and I at changes... He was nervous for the
whole office thing! Check that FACE out! haha.
Hello from sunny burning hot Chile! Man I do NOT know how the people get used to this heat over here! I was just day dreaming about being in Alaska with Elder Roney in that -15 degree stuff... Man missionary work is the greatest. Remember Elder Roney, many are called but few are frozen. They should invent a saying like that for us missionaries in HOT places. Anyways, I think it`s a cool thought that we, the missionaries of the LDS church, get to go out and preach the gospel ni importa how the weather is. To think that we`re getting burned here, the Elders in Africa as well, then you have Elders in other parts who are FREEZING. But we do it for a reason... because we KNOW that what we share can change lives. I`ve definately seen the change in not only myself, but in many people who I`ve been blessed to share with for an extended period of time. The gospel blesses families. Second principle of lesson one. I can testify of that honestly. Just doing simple things like reading the scriptures, praying together, and having an edifying yet FUN family home evening can bring us together, united in Christ.
Elder Tialavea and I at Presidents house... He finishes the same
  time Tawny does... SOON! Check that sick tie out parents!

This week, we had one really interesting lesson... We had previously had a baptismal date with a kid named Eduardo. He`s great honestly and has the desire to follow the Savior. Before, for family reasons, he was unable to follow through with his goal for baptism... A couple days back we taught the whole family together in their back yard. We put a blank piece of paper down and asked them to write down some goals that they want to achieve as a family. Of course it started out with stupid stuff like money and cars and blah blah blah.... Then it got more serious.... They wrote down Eternal Life.... From there, we made a tree of goals... Eternal life> Sealing in the temple> Bishops interview> Priesthood> Receiving of Holy Ghost> Baptism > all the way down to reading the scriptures and praying.... They themselves wrote down ALL the necessary things to gain eternal life.... This example helped them see the importance of the commitments that we leave and WHY they have to commit to doing the small things... Most everybody lost attention except Eduardo... We set another baptismal date with him for January 8th. PRAYYYYY please.... We took him to church... he went ALONE... What a huge leap of faith and a miracle for us as missionaries. The work moves on.... hay que poner tu hombro a la lid... Put your shoulder to the wheel and WORK...

We didn`t have turkey for thx giving, but we DID buy
a whole Chicken, fries, and make a cheescake.... all
of which you see on the table. Happy Thanksgiving!
1 Nephi 17:13 And I will also be your alight in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the bpromised land; and ye shall cknow that it is by me that ye are led.

Push on... he will be your light in the wilderness.. Love you all a lot and I hope you have a great week in the SNOW. Much love, Elder Christensen.

About to FEAST on some pollito!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/22/11 Hermana Christensen "When God give you rainstorms......PUDDLE JUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is from one of my friends weddings here in sd! so cute!
well hello my dears.

we just came from a huge spiritual banquet (aka zone conference). loving my life.

this is the pic of us outside the temple after
 our awesome leccion
this week has been bomb. on saturday we had an incredible cita with one of our investigadores who was a referencia from a filipino member up north in a different stake. BUT. we decided to get this guy here to the cita we had INSIDE THE TEMPLE and it was soooo cool. first of all, our investigator is BOMB. she is SOOO solid! we showed her the pictures of the inside of the temple and explained everything to her (that was how this whole thing came about... she was talking to her member friend about the temple because she lives right by it) and it all basically just came down to the restoration of the gospel. and it was AMAZING because the members were just ON FIRE! and they threw down testimony and did EVERYTHING that an ideal member would do.. they didn't interrupt the missionaries but testified of what they said, invited the investigator to listen to us and to do what we said and they promised blessingsand shared stories from their own conversion. oooooooh so good. and she felt the spirit. and sister mccullough! she invited her FIRST EVER REAL PERSON to be baptized! and? SHE SAID YES!!!! oooooooooh the spirit was so so strong and everyone left edified. i have pictures. the best was her (our investigators) prayer at the end. she was all, " we come before thee from all different parts of the world--my friends from the philippines, me from mexico, and my sisters from the states--and we're all speaking different languages, but here, in your house, in your presence and by your spirit we are all speaking the same language..." uh! and then she prayed to be able to make her baptism... it was just.. amazing.
lioness after the rainstorm. haha so wet!
love puddlejumping!

and earlier on in the day we went to one of out less actives--well wait. we took a member out that i've been thinking for a long time would be good for one of our investigators who's 81.. but this lady wasn't home. so we had a member with us and we had good backup plans, but i asked if she knew so and so.. and she went on to tell me that they worked in the temple together. they are best friends! they talk everyday! but they live far away and they don't get to see each other very often (and the one lady is inactive because she was offended). so! we go over there and our member THREW down. we'd planned to share matthew 18 about the talents and the debt and forgiveness and that, and our member was just like, "you aren't forgiving when you have been forgiven of wayyyy more." bold. just like that. and then she started crying and said that everytime she goes to the temple she thinks of this less active lady and knows that SHE NEEDS TO COME BACK.


and i loved that. i loved that both of these lessons BEGAN WITH THE TEMPLE. that is the goal! our district leader a few weeks ago talked about how if our investigators could just see that the TEMPLE is what it's alll reeeeeeeeeeeeeally about, baptism would just be a little step to get there! it wouldn't be SUCH a holdup! and i remember president donaldson always saying that our converts should be able to see the temple spires from the baptismal font. THAT'S what this is all abuot. and just barely in zone conference we talked about alma 26 ( :) my favorite ever! small world broseph!) and how SHEEVES are our fruits, our converts. but the garner is the refinement that comes from the TEMPLE. from making covenants.

family. i love you. i am so grateful for you. this gospel is so clear and simple. heavenly father's plan is that jesus christ could come to the world to save us. to give us the example. we live in dark times, truth has been lost. but it is RESTORED. enduring to the end isn't simply enduring and performing tedious tasks like sitting through sacrament meeting. enduring to the end is really enduring to the endOWMENT. the phrase of enduring to the end LITERALLY means to make everlasting and omnipotent. as we make those covenants through the restored priesthood power, we are able to live our lives with the light, knowledge, and JOY of the gospel in our lives. it's so simple! that's what this is ALL about! remember how simple it is! and get our brothers and sisters under covenant, first, but then onto higher covenants and the consistent renewal of them!

and, well, with that, i'm off. i've been studying gratitude, like the rest of the world, and we talked the other day bout how gratitude is an expression of our faith. WOW. as we humbly express our gratitude, our faith increases. so. if we want increased faith in our Savior and His plan, let's be GRATEFUL for it and share it with the UNIVERSE! Let us live in thanksgiving DAILY! (alma 34:38)

know that i am thankful for you. i am thankful for my Savior. i am thankful for His atonement. I am thankful for my gracious father in heaven and His infinite patience with me as i struggle weakly to preach his gospel. i love. love. LOVE my mission. i am so grateful i came. i am thankful to all of you for your love, prayers, support and encouragement. my heart is SO full of thanks! i hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving. feel my sincere love and prayers for you and know that your sister in sanD has you on her mind.


hermana christensen

ps my subject line is because it poured down on sunday night. and when i couldnt' see and stepped into a puddle, it was all downhill from there. i guess uphill. because i then just started puddle jumping. haha. hey! if you're already wet, why not have FUN!? my compa thought i was crazy but i thought of staisha ann and had a BLAST. i love you sassar! never forget that day! gutter laying, red truck splashing...! gotta find joy in the journey my friends!

ah! totally forgot!

1 we had a BOMB lesson with our golden family! th ey came through the tour and thenwe watched the js movie and the mom siad she knows js was a profeta. they are movin slowly but sure. aren't they ADORABLE?!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

11/21/2011 Elder Christensen "Happy Thanksgiving"

Elder Van Dyke and I... After our division!
Happy Thanksgiving.... does that even work? Merry Thanksgiving? I dunno anymore. If we are lucky we might end up making some cheesecake on that special day sooo.... Keep us in mind while you`re eating all that rico (delicious) garbage in the US of A!

What did we even do this week? We shared a lot of lessons with members and did a heck of a lot of contacts. Our ward is a ward that is full of older people or families that have been here for a really long time. Other people have been here but they have come and gone with the time. The work of the Lord does not function at all with just missionaries... the members MUST get involved. Anyways, we`ve been working a lot on strengthening our recent converts and helping a lot of the families. President King described to us once a parable of a flywheel... I didn`t even know what that meant when I heard it so I hope you guys can imagine something.... Its like a big huge metal wheel and, like any wheel, its purpose is to spin. So... this work, the work of the Lord is like this flywheel.... Now.. The flywheel is at a stand still... The work isnt moving. Nobody is working. Us, being the missionaries or members, have to push with ALL of our might to even get this wheel to budge an inch or two. It takes a lot of work but it moves several feet. After a long time of constant effort it makes one entire revolution. It`s moving slow but it is still moving. Eventually, it starts to get faster and faster and faster... it becomes so fast that we don`t even need to push anymore and it spins on its own... What do I want to say with this.... Think of something in your life... some goal that you REALLLLYYYY want to achieve... Then apply the flywheel parable.... here in our sector the ward seems to be at a stand-still with the obra misional... People just aren`t understanding that this is IT. I don`t care about sports or video games or any of this garbage that they seem to be doing... lets think about the game of life here.. I don`t care if you`re tired or if your friends might not want to listen... At one point or another in life we decide that we are ourselves and the rest don`t matter.. That my friends and family is what we want to change. This needs to be a ward of miracles. A ward of people that want EVERYONE to arrive to the correct conclusion. The conclusion that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day saints is the only true church on the face of the earth.
The Zone

Changing temas a little bit here... A great friend of mine, Elder Poulsen, taught me a lot about charity. Yesterday in church my companion and I had the opportunity to discursar... o sea... to give talks in church. I can`t lie I`ve actually grown to really like giving talks. I still don`t like when they ASK US right in the moment.... "Elder... can you give a talk?" uhhhhh...... Diez Virgenes plz? Fill your lamps with oil already! Whats the scout motto? Haha. But, as I said, I like it. I chose to speak on... well.. you guessed it. Charity! I thought a lot about it before I got up there.... Obviously we know that Christ was our biggest example of Charity... His atonement was the SINGLE greatest act ever of Charity... I also used the example of him performing miracles.. Theres one point in matthew where he is healing a lepper... The lepper asks Christ to heal him and Christ responds by saying..... in spanish... "Si Quiero"... YES I WANT TO! Desire.... Desire is one of the greatest things that we need to have in order to be charitable! We gotta really want it. Service is a great thing.... but if we have a bad attitude the whole time we are doing service then it doesn`t mean anything... we aren`t having the desire.... I invite you ALL to read Moroni 7 45-48..... I think about these verses several times every day... Man its hard to have charity but.... read those verses and you`ll understand... Pray to the father with ALL the energy of heart.... and he will grant unto you this attribute.. the greatest of all.

Okay... well... i think that about wraps it up. Kind of a boring letter... not too many miracles or anything huge this week. We have a few investigators we might leave because they aren`t really progressing... Its an inactive couple with investigator kids... super complicated... They have been going alot to the Evangelico church... We´ll see. Pray for us. Be grateful for all your blessings this week.. Count them, name them ONE BY ONE as the song says, and be happy. Like Tawny said.. an attitude of Gratitude. I`m going to read the prophet`s talk from 2 conferences ago for my personal study that day.... DO THE SAME! SOoooooooooooooooooooooooooo baller. Love you all so very much. Have an excellent thanksgiving week. Have fun putting the Christmas tree up as well. RAWR!! Chaooo! Elder Christense

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11/15/2011 Hermana Christensen "My Life is so Great!"

this is gorrrrrrrrgeous mt soledad!

this is us with CALVIN! huge baller!
okay so have i ever got a story for you or WHAT. last tuesday to end our preparation day we went to mt soledad--easily one of my favorite things to do here (see attached fots). well first, actually, we went to lunch at my FAVORITE restaurante (EL TORITOSSSSS SOOO GOOOD) then my favorite (free) ice cream shop (GOLDEN SPOON [sooo rico!!]) which both happen to be in an amazingly wonderfully strikingly familiar place of mine (la mesa) and we were almost about to just go home... but we thought we'd go to mt soledad even just for a sec. so we go there and start taking pics, etc, then this guy asked if we wanted one altogether. sure thang! so he took one then--you know how it is when you wear a black nametag--we just got into this beautiful gospel discussion. turns out his name's calvin from tennessee and he had a vision about coming to san diego to find TRUTH. ummmm. so he came here to meet these two guys from his vision so he could get a church started. wow. um. so basically what went down is that we taught him EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW (very helpful that the temple was in plain sight!) and then he left us with every possible piece of literature a missionary could offer. family, it was... unreal. like, we were just GIDDY, GIGGLING and beaming. we were all freeeeeezing but there was NO WHERE in the world we would've rathered to have been! he had so many great questions and is just this young guy, TOTALLY prepared and looking for the truth. we were so bold with him. he was bold back. but we had ALL THE ANWERS--and when i say we i mean THE SPIRIT. seriously, it was incredible to see how everything came back to restoration and the bom being true or not. at the end he was just fumbling for questions because he did not want us to go. the gospel is full. it is complete. it is PERFECT!!! one of our members always says that it's like a circulo completo (a full circle) while the other churches are medio circles (half circles [if even that!]). It was one of the most beautiful experiences ever. And there was NO other way i would've rathered to have spent the last two hours of my preparation day! funny h ow the most memorable preparation days are the ones when i do actual missionary work... like teaching... and not being selfishly involved in sports or shopping or whattheheckever. I love being a missionary. there is nothing that fills me up quite like this does. nothing! not even ICE CREAM!

though that does a pretty good job.

our 11/11/11 11:11 DISTRICT BRUNCH!!

ps thanksgiving is in nine days. WHO'S EXCITED?!!!!

alright so guess what? well, i knew for sure we were going to have changes. hermana ortez and i were just too dang good to stay together. she is INCREDIBLE and helped me be myself and reach my full potential as a person and missionary and i will be FOREVER grateful for those gorgeous two transfers we had rockin linda vista. welp. she peaced out. WHAT! i thought IIIIIIIIIIIIIII would be the one to go! but god's better. so i'm still in my good ol area with a brand new beauty named hermana mccullough from oregon. she's bomb. i know she's going to touch lives and change eternities! we're finding out that we're really similar (apart from the fact that she doesn't like ice cream and i don't like chocolate). last night we cleaned out a cupboard that's been driving me BONKERS in our apt, and we both looked at each other tentatively at first about what we should throw away, but then we realized we're both PRO for cleanliness and de junking and we laughed and tossed a lot. it was gorgeous. i love her lots. she's got a lot to offer, and I feel like part of my role will be helping her see how AMAZING she is so she'll open up, speak up and be bigger than life. i'm muy animada.
sis mccullough and me!

so linda vista is still treating us amazingly. if only you could've seen us on sunday! i was beeeeeeeeeaming! our little reunion sacramental was PACKED!!!!!!!!!!!!! we had TEN INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH! ARE YOU HEARING ME?! TEN!!!!!!!!! we had miracles EVERYWHERE!!!! this one SAINT of a member brought the whole salvador family, then drove all the way home to bring ANOTHER family! what?! okay. so then the second hour we've been teaching a dinky little gospel principles class. BUT. this week it was taught by actual brown people, we had more than five people (four of them being missionaries)--in fact, the room was totally FULL!!! we all sat in a huge circle around the room and talked about how God is our Heavenly Father. what? it was unreal. investigadores that normally peace after the first hour stayed for the second, less actives showed up, one paid TITHING, hermana alamillo was called as a branch missionary and hse paid tithing, too! i mean... wow. it was sooo amazing!

also, on tuesday night we had a training with our branch mish leader, branch pres and the leaders of auxiliares. whatever. haha. but seriously. okay. so um. branch council? SO INSPIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it is SUCH AN INSPIRED PATTERN! order! way to do it! seriously! as we talked about how we can improve our consejo the spirit just filled the room and you could see it click in our leaders' brains and hearts and wow! it's like... if we want our little branch to grow then DANG the leaders have got to be united first! and how can we do that? branch council. i love that new manual. seriously. we are SO BLESSED. the Lord's church is perfect and so organized! i am so thankful to be part of a mission that focuses so much on something like this. we have received so much training and are so blessed! i know that this little branch will soon be standing on it's own feet and that it''ll be a self ran WARD!
sis mccullough and me again....

i feel like i'm living on borrowed time. i was just telling bro that this extension makes me realize how this time REALLY isn't mine and how this is bonus, extra time that i have. so i' have GOT to find the people the Lord needs me to and to say what he needs me to and to BE what he needs me to be! Why didn't I always look at it like that? I mean, i tried, but this really is crunch time... final countdown haha willy... but seriously. and i'm SO grateful!

one of my transfer goals (like the other 11 transfers) has been to focus on humility. and i had a HUGE epiphany the other day... nothing new or way amazing or anything but i realized that i'm being prideful as i withhold gratitude..whether to the lord, my comp, whomever. so to cmobat my pride, i'm going to be EVER GRATEFUL!!!!! there's something about november that ust really brings it out of us huh? so ... have an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!

funny thing. sis mccullough is always cold. so we have been keeping things a little more toasty as of late, which i LOVE doing for her. the other day as we drove the heat was on and i was just sweating and started laughing thinking of how kristen always turns the heat waaaaaaaay up and kurtis and i die in the back.. rolling down the windows and everything... and then willy just asks her to turn it down and she says, "well turn your side on cool!" hahah and he's like "it's not like the air can stay separate! your side is hot and mine can't be cold!" oh the imagery/memory was sweet and made my day. i love my family SO much!
hayden! SO ADORABLE! thanks for the libro!

this morning i studied for the salvadors about how they can be happy as a family. and i was led to mosiah 2. um. can you please go read it and look what it says we need to do to be happy as a FAMILY. i was blown away. soooo cool. read it!

i love you all. life's bliss! thanks for all your love and support--it means the WORLD!


hermana christensen

so incredibly wet. you see, parents allow us to stand in the rain and babysit as their children pan for gold while they comfortably sit on the benches under the roof. REALLY?! i wsas seriously out in the rain for a SOLID 30 MINUTES!!!!!!!!! sooo wet!