Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Emily sent us a short email yesterday--Monday, February 24, 2014.  Peter's dad, Lloyd, had a heart attack a little over a week ago, but thankfully, he is recovering and doing well now. :)

Hello family!  I love you!  I am transferring!  This is good news because it is torture to leave someone in an area for 4 transfers.  I already have way too many people that have already seen me and I've knocked too many doors here.  I am really sad to be leaving my companion, Hna. Herrera.  I think she is one of my favorite people. 

I've been saying goodbye to people and it's been hard, but not as hard as before.  The more Hispanic the area, the more they just impress you and love you.  I should be going to the valley!  

My whole family of a district is leaving so it's fun to be going too.  It's good to rotate Santa Clarita through frequently.  I feel like I am starting my mission all over again.
I am glad to hear that Lloyd is doing well.  I know he will still be there when I get back.  So don't worry too much.  Take time with the people that we have.   There is nothing better than family and having people know that they are loved and taking the time to love.  I'm glad that he likes the letter I sent him :)  I think the only letter I wrote this whole transfer was to Skibby and I sent that so late.  I'm going to try to write a little more. 

I promise I'll tell you more next week.  Today has been really crazy!  Love you!

Hna. Christensen

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Due to the President's Day holiday on Monday, Emily emailed us Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014:

I love you guys so much!

I love the Gospel.  It's all completely true.  I've been thinking about how the Book of Mormon isn't supposed to really be like "evidence" that this is the true religion because we should be able to pray and receive the answer through prayer and the Holy Ghost, but because the feelings of the spirit are so delicate, it is the Book of Mormon that will convince us of the truth of everything. 

Church attendance has become crazy important to me.  It's probably the easiest commandment to break which makes it one of the most dangerous.  I think I'm becoming a little bit of a fanatic but I know there are things about, and reasons for, attending church that we don't understand and can't possibly understand.  I have read so many scriptures that I feel apply directly to this.  For people that are just hearing about the gospel, coming to church is their first act of repentance.  Coming to church is their fruit meet for repentance.  (Alma 12:15, 13:13, 34:30, 32:40)  Of everything I've read and studied, I believe my favorite verse is this one in Alma 37:6-7 that says:

Por medio de cosas pequenas y sencillas se realizan grandes cosas; y en muchos casos, los pequenos medios confunden a los sabios.  Y El Senor Dios se vale de medios para realizar sus grandes y eternos designios; y por medios muy pequenos el Senor confunde a los sabios y realiza la salvacion de muchas almas. 

This is so powerful.  God uses these small and simple things to realize grand things.  These small means confound the wise.  To realize his eternal designs, He uses these small things and He confounds the wise and brings about the salvation of many souls.  (Sorry--I don't have my English scriptures with me ever, and now it is hard to translate back.)  Obviously I am seeing everything through my church attendance lens and I see these small and simple acts to be coming to church and reading and praying.  God confuses the wise.  They don't understand what goes on at church or what it is that is happening to our spirits when we are there.  There are effects of going to church that we don't even notice and that makes it so we don't appreciate going to church as much as what it does for us. 

I'm sorry I can't speak English anymore.  There is more I want to say, but this day has been weird and the computer is going to log me off. Transfers are on Tuesday (one week away) and we will find out Saturday if we are staying here in Santa Clarita or leaving.  So basically, I should be able to email you on Monday and let you know what will happen. 

I love you and I'll write to you in a week.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Emily sent the following email on Monday, February 10, 2013:


We have such a good plan for this 2014 year in the mission and I am really glad that I have the full calendar year left in my mission!   We have a 5-step plan and I feel that it is really inspired.  A lot of the inspiration for this plan was a letter that President Hall received from Elder Ballard. 

Sam, something that I would advise you to do with the time you have before you mission is treasure up doctrine.  Aspire to become a scriptorian.  I know it sounds really hard and unreachable, but there are small ways that you can start.  If you haven't read all the way through the Book of Mormon quickly, I would do that.  Like I'm sure you already know, I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon audio style.  I think you should get a Book of Mormon that costs about $6 and follow along in that as you listen to it.  If you listen to ~5 chapters a day (45 min), you will finish in less than 2 months :)  Mark the scriptures up with anything that you like.  You could even keep a couple of sticky notes with topics that you like and every time you find a really good scripture on that topic, you can write it down. 

Topics could include things like (atonement, faith, repentance, BOM prophecies, conversion, commandments, family, "come unto me", "this is the gate", etc..)

I know that your love for the Book of Mormon will grow so much if you do this.  I know you will love the stories that are contained in the Book of Mormon and you will have an idea of how everything fits together.  I know that when you do this you will know that it was written by prophets and it contains true and pure doctrine.  I know it will be a strength for you to have done this by the time you enter the MTC.  I love you and I am so excited for you!  I made a list of all my favorite scriptures to send to you, but then I realized that the thing that makes scriptures powerful is when we discover them.  Don't worry, I'll still tell you lots of ones that I like and that are good ones to reference, but I want you to try this challenge of a new Book of Mormon, with the audio, in 2 months :) 

There is a perfect scripture in Alma 32: 28 that I feel like describes how my love for the Book of Mormon has grown.  In Spanish, it says that "empezara a hincharse en vuestro pecho; y al sentir esta sencion de crecimiento, empezareis a decir dentro de vosotros: debe ser que esta es una semilla Buena, o que la palabra es Buena, porque empieza a ensanchar mi alma; si, empieza a iluminar mi entendimiento; si, empieza a ser deliciosa para mi" and this is so true!!!  I feel a big lot of love from God well up in my chest when I read in the scriptures and I feel it more now than I've ever felt it before. 

I've been thinking about different ways that the spirit talks to us.  The spirit is very gentle.  The spirit works differently with different people too.  We are able to develop spiritual sensitivity and understand the spirit in different ways.  We aren't confined or limited to only certain ways of understanding promptings.  One of my most dominant receptors to the Holy Ghost is that the gospel brings perfect clarity to me.  There is something written by Descartes that says something like 'the idea that something in its entirety makes such perfect sense is sure evidence that it is pure truth'  (that wasn't even paraphrased so don't quote it).  I feel like Descartes's idea describes a way that we can feel the spirit even if people haven't recognized that that is a way of feeling him.  There are a lot of things (especially other religions) that if you research deeply only make people feel more confused, but an in-depth research of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leads to enlightenment and clarity.  We had a lesson with an intellectual (and he is well enough educated that he is open to learning things and he very reasonably considers things) and when we told him about Joseph Smith he commented that that was a very powerful passage.  He was delighted by how concise and clear our explanation of religion was.  He is very excited to go online and look around and I am more excited for him to read conference talks because those are powerful!  This happened to be a lesson in English, so it was very different, but I loved it too.  I love when I see people astonished at the gospel. :)

Adrian is a champ and he blessed the sacrament on Sunday!  He is such a good man!  He is a real strength to this Rama.  I think president Mendez is giving him a calling too as a secretary of something.  I love it when callings are given to people!  It grows people's testimonies so much and makes them feel needed. 

I firmly believe that there is nothing that more greatly shows your conversion to the gospel than your church attendance. 

I love you all!  Thanks for being the best family in the world!  I know God put us together because he knew we needed what each other had and he knew that we would make such deep friendships with each other. 

Con amor,
Hna. Christensen

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Emily sent the following email yesterday, Monday, February 3, 2014.  The Chavez family (German & Francisca, and their son, Erick) she refers to at the beginning of her letter is a family she met in her very first area.  She taught them and really bonded with them.  They were baptized before she was transferred.  She loves them dearly.

Dear Familia,

You'll never guess what happened to me yesterday!  I got a phone call in the morning form the mission office and they told me that a family was there to see me.  I knew that you guys wouldn't pull a thing like that so I was really confused.  Then, I heard German Chavez's voice on the other side of the phone.  They had decided to come and visit me.  I had sent them a letter for Christmas and they came to the return address to find me.  They found the mission office and they looked me up and we gave them the address so they could come to church with me.  I basically danced everywhere I went from the moment I received the news on!  I was really worried that they would get lost, and after receiving one call from a perdido German, they made it to the church in Canyon Country!  They told me that they had wanted to surprise me and I told them that they definitely had!  Wow! :)  I'll send you a picture next week, but I think Erick was really happy to see me and Francisca hugged me a lot and so did German.  German gave me a sweet little letter that I will show you next time too.  Adrian passed the sacrament to Meliton and German and Francisca and Erick.  It was a beautiful moment!

We had an amazing zone conference and I feel like I learned a lot of things that I am going to change and implement to make this area blow up a little.  I had been thinking that I would probably get moved at the end of this transfer (which would be 3 more weeks), but now I'm thinking I have this one and the next one and I'm super pumped!  I have decided that people and the spirit respond really well to commitments and commandments.  I think sometimes people don't receive answers from Heavenly Father about the validity of Joseph Smith (lesson 1) until they have had to make personal sacrifices and changes like living the word of wisdom.  This is not always the case, but I think teaching the commandments a little sooner in the line up is going to be a good thing.  I want to start teaching dia de reposo every time we teach the first lesson.  If we have people that don't work Sundays and don't come to church, we have to drop them.  Church is so important!  When people start listening to us, they are already committing time and attention, and we will invite them to repent.

I love you so much!  I'm excited to talk to you next week! :)

Love, Emily