Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Emily sent us the following email on Monday, December 30, 2013:

Hola Familia! :)

You are wonderful and I loved hearing from you for Christmas!  That was the best thing that could've happened!  I am so excited that everyone is loving the things that I sent to them.  I love you guys very much and know that family is the most important thing EVER.  SAM!  You put your papers in!  That is absolutely incredible and I am so proud of the decision that you've made to serve the Lord.  You will love being a representative of Him.  I always feel so much pride when we come to doors and introduce ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ.  Being a member of the true church is never supposed to be easy because there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that calling and association.  It is exactly like being a part of a family.  You are born into responsibility that you are going to fulfill, with the end result being more joy than you can realize. 

So it turns out that I love contacting!  I feel more like a missionary when I am contacting than almost anything else.  We have been analyzing different strategies and trying different things.  We have had to adapt how we contact people so that we can make contact with more souls.  I have realized that right now the efforts in the mission are more on finding the ones that are ready than on convincing everyone.  I think at different times and in different places missionaries play different roles, and I am ready to accept all the inspiration and guidance that our leaders have for this mission and do the work in the way that they want it to be done. 
We had an exchange with the sister training leaders and I feel that our companionship is doing a very good job contacting.  During weekly planning we analyzed everything and compared our numbers with our vision and we sought out the point of disconnect.  The biggest problem sources down to the fact that we have potentials that frequently don't progress from that state.  This usually seems to happen because when we call to confirm they cancel or when we show up they are not home or tell us that they are busy or just about to leave.  To diagnose this specifically, we have a plan.  There are two things that we are going to start trying:
1) When we show up for an appointment that we have with a potential, we are going to be bolder in telling them that we came to share with them a message that is very important and will only take 10 minutes. 
This message is very important and should be made a priority.  I am going to show my confidence in this message by telling people of its importance and insist that it needs to be shared.  (always with love, always with love)  There are those that reconsider.   (this one directly addresses the problem we have with flaky potentials)
2) Inspired questions.  I love this because they are so powerful.  I am not very good at asking inspired questions and I think that is because a good question takes thought and is harder to form on the spot in Spanish.  I'm going to do the same thing with this that I had to do with contacting.  This is a weak area, but I'm determined to make it one of my strengths.  I have been thinking of inspired questions for contacting and different parts of each lesson.  (This more addresses contacting and lesson teaching--We are working on becoming gospel wizards.)
Also, Adrian is one of the most wonderful, faithful people I've ever met and he is going to get baptized on Saturday.  My testimony has grown through teaching him and addressing his concerns.  He had his baptismal interview on Sunday and he passed with flying colors.  President Mendez is going to baptize him and it is going to be a joyous moment. 
I love being a missionary.  I love feeding His sheep.
Love, Hna. Christensen

Friday, December 27, 2013

We were able to Skype with Emily for about 40 minutes on Christmas Day.  She is SO HAPPY!  She loves being a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ.  She loves sharing the gospel and witnessing the way it touches people's hearts and changes their lives for the better.  Peter and I are so grateful for the wonderful experiences Emily is having as a missionary.  Her service is blessing all of our lives.

Here are a couple of photos of Emily with her companion, Hermana Larsen:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Em sent the following email on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013:

Hey Familia!

I did get my birthday package and I felt so much of your love!!  I love everything!  I sent you a Christmas card and I'm guessing it could get to you today or tomorrow. 

You'll get to read about Adrian.  He is absolutely wonderful.  

People who have been prepared by the Lord will be able to recognize us as servants of Him and will be ready to act according to the invitations that we make.  We are looking really hard to find these families.  We are knocking lots of doors and testifying of the Savior.  It's such a cool thing to be able to proselyte and preach the gospel.  There isn't another time in my life that I will be able to knock an apartment complex and tell people that I am a representative of Jesus Christ.  I won't be set apart at any other time to do that.  I won't have charge over an area like this at any other point in my life.  I like this privilege and I do recognize that it is a privilege even though it isn't in the past yet :)  Privilege is a hard word to spell. 

The mission really is changing me and helping me to be more Christ-like.  Dad, that talk that you send me about us being dually co-creaters and masterpieces in progress really hit me.  There are lots of things from that talk that I think about and refer back to often.  My absolute favorite part is the part where is says that one of the most Christ like things we can do is unexpectedly forgive someone.  

Ok, I'm going to just type this part from the article:

Esau is another unheralded example of one who showed us how to shape our lives in the image of God.  When his brother, Jacob, tricked him out of the birthright, Esau was enraged to the point of seeking to kill his brother.  After many years of avoiding each other, there was a dramatic moment when Jacob encountered his brother.  Jacob, fearing for his life, prepared gifts for Esau.  When Jacob met his brother, Esau unexpectedly forgave him.  Looking into Esau's forgiving face, Jacob exclaimed, "For therefore I have seen thy face as though I had seen the face of God."  The image of God is forgiveness.  As Brother Nibley always used to remind us, "the two things you can do in life are to repent and forgive."

Ever since reading this when you send it to be months ago, it has been my goal to unexpectedly forgive someone.  I'm too imperfect, and Heavenly Father has forgiven me so I want to always forgive people too. 

Love, Em

We got the following email from Emily on Monday, December 9, 2013:

Hola Familia!

Hay algo Nuevo que es empezando en este mission.  We can feel the urgency and the hastening.  I can feel the urgency for the salvation of souls.  We have to bring more people to the fold.  We are the hastening.  Not only is the work being hastened by the number of missionaries, but also there is hastening that is happening within every missionary.  We have to be the best teachers we've ever been. 

If we want to baptize more people, we have to teach more people.  If we want to teach more people, we have to find more people.  If we want to find more people, we have to talk to more people.  Our efforts in this mission are being focused on contacting.  We are going to become a mission of excellent contacters.  We role play and we practice different strategies and we are honing our skills so that people will hear true and powerful doctrine and accept the invitation to learn more about the truths that will change the lives of them and their family. 

There are high expectations and we are setting our goals so high that it is making us  change the way we work as missionaries.  In the valley missionaries can set goals to contact over 100 people a day.  This is incredible.  It is a little different in this valley because we contact by knocking doors, but I have knocked more this last week than I have my whole mission combined up until this point.  I love it.  We have to find the people that are prepared.  

I wish I could let you feel what it feels like to approach strangers and testify of Jesus Christ.  My heart bursts with pride to be a representative of him.  I love introducing myself as a representative of Him.  I love having his name on my plaque always above my heart. 

This last week we found 6 new investigators and two of them came to church yesterday.  Meliton also came to church with his little son.  He brought him on the bus and dropped him off in the primary.  Adrian also came to church.  His baptismal date is the 5 of Enero. 

VICTOR TORRES GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!!!!!!!  Do you remember that date I set with him when I was back in El camino?!  What a champ!  I know this is a miracle. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Emily sent us the following email on Monday, December 2, 2013.  (I'm sorry to be so late posting it on her blog!  It's December and there's SO much to do!)


Guess what!  I am going to transfer meeting tomorrow!  I actually know though that I am going to be staying in the branch and just moving to the other area.  This is going to be good.  My companion is going to be Hermana Calderon and she has a really thick Spanish accent. 


I had a miracle yesterday!  Hna Larsen and I have this investigator named Meliton and he is the cutest man ever.  It's just him and his 5 year old son.  He loves God so much and has more faith than anyone I've ever seen.  He loves to read the Bible and he writes alabanzas.  (song-praises)  He wrote one for one of the verses in the Book of Mormon. 

I met him the first time I taught the English class here and immediately fell in love with him.  We wanted to take him to the Los Angeles Temple and let him feel the spirit at the visitor center and also, they are having musical performances every day of December.  There is no better place for Meliton than the temple visitor center.  We had everything fall through last minute and we had no ride and no plan.  Randomly and half-heartedly we asked the old ward mission leader and his girlfriend if they would want to drive all of us up there in 30 minutes and minutes later we received an "esta bien".  WHOOOOO!!!!

30 minutes later we have Meliton, and a bit later we are on temple grounds.  He adored EVERYTHING!  He loved the lights and the people and the feeling.  There were trees that looked like they had fruit of life on it, so I read him some verses of 1 Nephi 8 about how the fruit, or love of God, is the most desirable above anything else. 

He loved the Christmas songs.  He wanted to know if he could find them online and put them on a CD.  They sang all classic Christmas songs, but they must've been new to him.  And I mean, he doesn't understand the words, but that is besides the point. 

I walked into the Temple Visitor Center after having almost not made it out of Santa Clarita and after meandering around the grounds with Meliton and just when we were about to leave the entrance way to walk into the back on the left,
I SEE SOMEONE WHO LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE FRANCISCA CHAVEZ walking from my right to the main entrance way.  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This really happened!  I stopped mid-sentence and ran to her and we hugged for so long!  We were all letting out excited noises!  And then I hugged German Grande!  I was probably breaking every rule, but It didn't matter!   Like this one event was almost more coincidental than any other event I've experienced in this mission and that statement carries weight!  30 seconds either way and we would've missed each other.  That was the first time I'd been back to the LA Temple visitor’s center since I was there with them!  That was their first time back since they'd been there with me!

German received the priesthood.  They are all doing well!  They looked happy and good!  Most of all, they looked like a Mormon family.  They came on their own and were just walking around.  They saw the 5:00 performance and somehow had been in the visitor center until almost the second performance which we were attending.  I think about them pretty much every day and it was so good to be reunited even for just that short time.  Something about being with them makes everything in the world seem happy. 

I'm sending you the picture evidence of this miracle :)

I love you all so much.  I LOVED the thanksgiving CD!  And the turkeys!  It rained here on thanksgiving and we knocked on a ton of doors!  It was wonderful.  I love singing the other parts of the rounds with you guys!  Really, you should just see the joy it brings to me. 

Also, there is a weird bear noise on one of the songs.  I'm pretty sure it is Nate, and I just want to congratulate him on his realistic bear sound.  It is the "Indians in the forest" song and it is at the second "Shhhh".  You guys should listen to it.  I get a kick out of it every time :)  So does Hna. Larsen:)  She noticed the noise first and now we wait for it.

I spent most of today trying to deep clean our apartment because they are shutting this apartment down.  They are breaking the lease early and we are turning this apartment in. 

I love you!!!

Love, Hna. Christensen