Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Emily sent the following email yesterday--Monday, October 21, 2013:

Hey familia!!

This was unexpected.  We got the word Saturday night:
I will be leaving El Camino Real.  I don't know where I will be going.  I will go to the transfer meeting Tuesday morning and see where they send me.  I didn't think that I would be leaving here for at least the next 5 months.  We were pretty dang sure Hna. Pulver would be leaving so we prepared for me to be here by myself and got everything in order.  When you don't even kind of mentally prepare for things like this, they hit you pretty hard.  I've been crying since we got the call.  Every time I see people, it could be one of the last times.  I do know that I will be going to a car area.  They will take my bike to the shed that the mission has.  If you send anything in the mail, send it to the mission home address or wait until I  can tell you where I am sent.  Some people think I will go to Recita, others are thinking Santa Clarita.  I suppose Arleta is an option.  Wow.  

We had the most fun Halloween party!  Something really controversial in the Hispanic culture is whether or not dia de los brujas (Halloween) is celebrated.  The direct translation is 'day of the witches' and I totally think I'm adopting that name instead.  We had to announce it in la sociodad de socorro and when we did Hna. Cabrera said we don't celebrate Halloween and that was about the end of that announcement.  We texted all our investigators and futures we've found to first see if they celebrate the holiday before telling them we have an activity.  We got a lot of texts back from people that do not approve of celebrating Halloween.  Eulogio Chic responded that people that celebrate the holiday don't know Jesus Christ.  Yes.  There are strong feelings.  But also, it is not quite as innocent of a holiday here.  Our curfew is 7:00 like Peter was thinking.  Since it will fall on a Thursday and Thursday is weekly planning, it will just happen during the hours after 7:00 until we have to go to bed.  

I have had my testimony built by a lot of the really good people here.  First of all, we had sweet Francisca come with us to a lesson with Victor Torrez.  Victor worked as a bartender and he drinks 3 cups of coffee a day.  He was going to be baptized quite soon, but when we did the word of wisdom lesson we had to reevaluate the date.  He actually is incredible.  He wants to be baptised and he wants to overcome his habit.  This really is so rare and cool.  We set his baptism date for December 8th.  Francisca used to drink about that much coffee daily, and her husband overcame drinking.  She was nervous to come with us only 2 days after her baptism, but she encouraged him and told him that it all was possible.  It really touched me.  Really it was a lesson to let Francisca realize what she knew.  She told Torrez that her husband overcame his drinking problem with the help of a blessing.  We should get Torrez a blessing pretty soon.  It was cool because we set the dates for him to be at certain progress points and had him write down his goals in the back of the word of wisdom foyetto.  

(To answer your question about Alfredo, he more or less dropped us.  He was so close and then he texted us and told us that he didn't want to be Mormon.  This could be partly because we talked about baptisms for the dead or because it became necessary for Hna. Pulver to tell him that we both had boyfriends.  Neither of us do so it was really uncomfortable telling him this.  I can't lie and neither can Hna. Pulver so when she delivered the line her face was just a ridiculous grin the whole time.  It got worse when she told him that her boyfriend was serving in Omaha (her boyfriend is her little brother) because sometimes less is more.  Luckily the giggles could've been passed off as giddy school girl love.  We really should've roll played this one first.. ;) It was kind of a priceless moment.  We've been trying to make contact with him.  He seems to see us every time we go to his work (He works at Marlene's building).  Sometimes he texts us and tells us he's seen us.  We think he watches the cameras for us.  We basically have to run through the garage doors when they open to get into the building every time.  I don't want to make him sound totally creepy.  He's just lonely and I think he feels like he should be married by 30.  I don't know what will happen with him after we leave.  When we text him he usually tells us that he is triste (sad) or that he misses us.  I think he will come around and get comfortable with it again.  I have hope in this category.)

Javier, another really recent convert came with us to a lesson.  We taught Delfino (who is creepy and difficult), and Javier was wonderful.  When Javier shakes our hands he almost does this little bow thing.  He is a faith giant.  When we would ask Delfino questions and he would pretend not to understand them, Javier would help and ask the questions and explain them to him.  Javier has a testimony of really asking and really wanting to know.  He was able to explain to Delfino what the spirit feels like.  He told him that when you ask, you really really really got to want to know the answer and you just gotta pray to him and really want to know and...  He has a lot of conviction about this principle and it was cool to see him trying so hard to express his testimony.  We really do get more answers when we are asking and it is not a passive question, but we really really want to know.  It is hard to ask with that much desire and sincerity when we feel happy or stable in life.  It's almost like we are pushed that far into our desire to know by hard times.  

So for the little ward "October fest" Hna. Pulver and I did exactly what you suggested and we dressed up as each other.  We were on our way to a blitz when we read your letter and laughed because we'd already done just that.  Victor Torrez came to the activity with his little beasty son and his cute daughter and then her cousin.  After I had been running around being victor's friend, Hno. Jesus Lopez came over and befriended him.  Hno. Jesus Lopez is such a great guy.  He came with us to some lessons and he just showed up on his bike and followed us.  It was wonderful.  And then Hna. Anderson's bike got a flat and he paid for them to fix her tire (It was one day that I was with her instead).    

We did root beer and dry ice and hung little white powdered doughnuts from string and the kids loved it.  We kinda had the rootbeer overflow and I think the kids tracked doughnuts all through the church so they probably won't ever let missionaries have a booth again, but really it was quite great. And no one had ever seen dry ice before!  I was very impressed with the spook alley that they set up IN THE CHURCH.  HAHAHAHA This really shouldn't have happened in the church building, but it was totally fun!  (I have some pictures of this I will email you)

I love Hermana Trujillo and her daughter Ashlee!  She had us come to another Noche de Hogar at her house yesterday.  These are almost becoming a fun little tradition with her.  We thought it would just be her and Adrianna at the beginning, but when we called her and asked who all was going to be there she told us "bastante!" and started listing them all off!  Hna. Pulver and I are pretty good brainstromers and we ended up biking about 30 Libros de Mormon to her house.  First we had people write down a question they wanted answered.  Then we taught them how to use the topical guide and find a scripture that might help someone.  This was my favorite time.  I just watched people look through the scriptures.  I almost plan all the Family home evenings that we do there for Hna. Trujillo's husband.  He doesn't come to church and I love her so much and want her to have the support of her husband.  She does so much for the ward and she has some different challenges.  She went through the temple just this last week.  We've been looking forward to this for a while.  People helped each other find scriptures and some people had their fingers in lots of different pages comparing the verses.  It was super super cool.  We had them mark the scripture they found and told them when we gave away that specific libro that we would share the scripture they found.   We went around and every person (even all the kids) shared the scripture that they had found on whatever topic.  We told people to think about the questions they had asked God and see if he wouldn't answer them.  It was really cool and Hna. Albarracin pretty much cried the whole time.  I was so proud of Hno. Trujillo.  He shared the Lord's prayer.  I watched him search for a scripture for a long time.  He read a lot of the guia and probably more verses in el libro de mormon than he has in a while.  

Adrianna is a sweet friend of Hna. Mayella Trujillo.  Hna. Trujillo called us the other day and asked us to come to her house to teach Adrianna.  It was probably the most spiritual lesson we've ever taught.  We happened to be fasting because we needed extra strength for our lesson with Mercedez and Vianney that night, but I think we actually fasted for that lesson.  When she came into Hna. Trujillo's house and we asked her how she was, she just started to cry.  She is so sweet and needs the comfort and support that the gospel gives.  She loved us and came to the Halloween activity the next day.  She dressed up as a witch :)

Hna. Chanchavoc is such a sweet, hilarious, gentle, generous woman.  She lives right under German and Francisca.  Last night we were at Hna. trujillo's after our lesson and there was a group gospel discussion that got going.  It was mostly lead by Hno. Albarracin.  He started talking to Adrianna. She was crying and he was telling her things.  Hna. Chanchavoc bore her testimony and told her how she was a single woman without a husband and she had kids just like Hna. Tzun who lives with her.  They told her that everyone there was all one big family and they would be there for her if she needed anything.  I love the strength and goodness that Hna. Chanchavoc has.  She had us come to dinner at her house this last week and told us that if ever we need to eat we can always come to her house and eat.  Then she told us this dicho: cuando come uno, come dos y cuando comen dos, comen tres.  Basically the saying is that when one eats, two eat and when two eat, three eat.  She is so cute when she smiles.  She has a good sense of humor.  
When I left the Noche de Hogar last night, it was really hard to leave all the wonderful women of the El Camino Real Barrio.  I asked Hna. Trujillo and Hna. Chanchavoc to take care of German and Francisca and they promised me that they would and Hna. Trujillo pinky promised me <3

Saying good bye to the Chavez's was really hard.  I know we can be reunited in one year when they go through the temple and I can see all the ward members then.  Francisca came and kept holding my hands and rubbing them.  German was trying not to be teary.  He talked to us about how we were different from all the other missionaries that they have ever had at their house.  They have had a lot.  He told us how he loved that we were generous with our time and that we were patient with them and gave them all the time that they needed.  He said that the two of us, and one other missionary that they had, treated them like that.  Before we left they woke Erick up so he could come out. He came out and I did my Erick-handshake with him.  He left the room for a second and then he was pretty much directed back out by his dad.  He walked over right in from of me and said, "Thank you for all you've done for me" and then he started to shake and get emotional.  His older brother was so confused as to what was happening and thought it was really awkward that Erick was about to cry, but I thought it was really sweet. I comforted him and told him that I would miss him and that I would see him again and it got to where his mom took him into the kitchen to get him some water to drink.  It was really sweet and really sad.  Francisca even told me that they would come to church at whatever area they transferred me to so we could see each other again.  Dad, you're right.  This is a friendship that will last a lot longer than this life.  I gave them the mission home address so they can write me and they also have our home address.  

I love you all so much.  

Over and out!

Love, Hna. Christensen
Mercedez y Vianney.   They are so wonderful.

Hna. Pulver and me celebrating Halloween as each other!

They are wearing each other's clothes and they swapped name tags. :)

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