Monday, March 31, 2014

Emily sent us the following email on Monday, March 31, 2014:

Dear Familia,

I am so glad that I am a missionary.  Sometimes I think what it would be like to be a real person and I feel like being a real person would be really sad. 

I have realized that I need to be a lot better at a lot of things.  I try to do diligent studies but I want to increase that a lot.  I'm trying to figure how I can have more revelatory personal studies.  I know that they are better when they are centered around a question but sometimes I feel like I'm just picking a question so that I have one. 

I want to get my language skills a lot better.  I hope that at some point I can get to have another native companion. 

We are trying to improve church attendance again.  It is a constant thing you are working on. 

I'm excited that general conference is so close!  We watched the women conference all in Spanish because we were able to get an investigator there from just 1.5 hours earlier.  Surprisingly, I understood basically everything but I wasn't able to have more advanced thoughts because my mind was just working on translating everything. 

We have an investigator named Teodoro and he is about the most tender thing you can even imagine.  Every time he sees us he says "hermanitas!!"  We got him to church on Sunday and I think he just loved it.  He is probably in his 70s..  He diligently reads El LDM [El Libro de Mormon] and has never even had a question as to whether any of this is true.  He just accepts it all.  Even though it seems like he is childlike in his acceptance of this message of truth, his example shows a lot of spirituality and faith.  His heart is so open to the truth and even though a lot of people might even want to do what he is doing, I don't think they could pull it off with his sincerity.  He is precious.  We took our recent convert Enio to a lesson with them and watching them interact melted my heart.  Teodoro's wife Yolanda goes to Dialysis every other day and takes the bus.  She works in the morning selling tamales she has made and so she isn't able to come to church.  I don't think she quite has the mental capacity to understand what we are teaching because she can't really focus very well. 

I love you!

Love, Hna. Christensen

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Peter and I heard on the radio yesterday morning (March 17, 2014) that an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale had occurred near Los Angeles just before dawn.  In our email to Emily, we asked her if she had felt the earthquake, and she said she had.  She described it as "exciting/scary/exciting!"  Here is Emily's main email for the week:

Someone from the ward gave me a green lantern ring. Apparently he gives all the missionaries one once he zones in on their 'strength' o algo asi. Each color of ring means something different. I don't really even know if this comes from a movie or a TV series or comics.... but he awarded me with a green one which means: will--as in willpower. His radars blew up with that color and he didn't even have to wait to hone in. Ha:) This ward is really great!

I love the ward mission leader. He is the sweetest man. His name is Hno. Sacor. He is trying so hard to magnify his calling so that he can earn blessings for his family. I am always touched by him and his eagerness. He bought a manual so that he can truly do what a ward mission leader needs to be doing.

I remember in my last area I started wondering if an earthquake would come because we are always just waiting for one.   I basically hoped that one would come and that I could use my preparedness bag and practice my survivor skills.  Hna. Herrera and I would use earthquake preparedness as the reason why we were running every morning--haha to be ready to "hunger games it" when the city crumbled.  Don't worry. The first thing we did when the earthquake came was gather in the door frame and I said a prayer.  Don't worry about me while I'm on a mission because Heavenly Father will protect us from all dangers.  

Like I said, this ward is really great.  The members have noticed--and think it is hilarious--how easily I blush and so now at dinners that becomes somewhat of a game. 

Enio is one of my favorite people.  I know I haven't told you very much about him, but that is mostly because you need to experience him.  He just barely got baptized my first week here.  I try to take very good care of him.  We took him to a first lesson that we had with really solid potentials.  He was absolutely the perfect member.  To describe Enio in one word would be: tender.  

He is from Guatemala, about 41, single, has one adopted daughter still in guatemala, most spiritually sensitive person ever, trusting, delicate, reliable, willing to help.  He is just a small little adorable man.  The couple that we took him to are named Yolanda y Teodoro and they are also from Guatemala.  She sells tomales that she makes and when Enio found out that she makes ones like the ones from Guatemalteca, he was so excited!  They exchanged numbers so that he can come and buy some from her!  They are about the age that his parents would be and I'm hoping that they can form a family friendship.  My heart was so large and bursting with happiness to watch them interact at this lesson.  Enio had been a little nervous because he'd never been taken to a lesson, but his sweet sincerity and excitement for life and faith in Jesus Christ just radiates from him and you can't help but love him.  He was touched when we told him that we would always be here for him.  

There are just things that you have to see to really understand them.  There really aren't words for the spirit we had during the lesson.  They both have baptismal dates for the 6th of April.  

I love you so much.  Happy anniversary!  I'm excited for you to get my package!  Enjoy the card!

Love, Em

This is at one of our investigator’s houses.  Terry and I are both Sagittarius and so he gave me milk in this cool matching cup so I could eat it with my Mickey Mouse brownie.  These are his specialties.

My area just doubled in size!  The combination of the two areas is shown with the light yellow line.  The missionaries that were in this area previously got suddenly moved and so now we work both areas.  I love it there!  It's exciting and feels like Canoga Park!

This is called Pan con pollo and it is delicious!  It is basically a work of art.  It is from El Salvador and one of the tastiest things ever.  This was made out of season and on special request--usually it is eaten as a Christmas dish.  So many of the women in this ward seem to really love me.  They love teaching me things.  When I come home, we are going to have this for Christmas or at least try to have this :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Emily sent the following email and photo on Monday, March 10, 2014:

Dear familia,

Things are good here in Arleta.  We have good ward members.  Our investigators should be more committed.  We do a lot of finding.  We need to do more 'potential' follow-up because otherwise the contacting is useless.  I think this transfer is more about other things than specifically contacting.  I think there are other things I'm supposed to learn.  

Something about Laman and Lemuel is that they go through the same things that Nefi does, but in the end, Nefi is strong and Laman and Lemuel are bitter.  What is the difference?  You could say obedience or humility but actually I think it is that Nefi knows the purpose that the Lord has and he realized that these things are meant to make him who the Lord wants him to be.  It is almost more his mind-set and that he can see and use his trials to make him more faithful/obedient/humble/diligent/etc.  When we truly realize that we can take the same situation and either come closer to the Lord or pull a Laman and Lemuel, the choice is obvious and we feel like we've broken out of a lesser mode of coping.  

You and Peter need to do something fun for your anniversary.  I am going to spoil the surprise and tell you that next Monday I am mailing you some pan dulce to eat. (very Mexican)  You will probably have to carefully warm it up before you eat it.  It will make it get soft again.  I always think it is best when eaten with soy milk.  I will also mail Skibby's birthday present with it so don't let her open it until the 25th.  

I love you so much!!!!

Love, ME!

This man is 99!  And we started teaching him and when we asked him about his 
religious background he told us he was Mormon! (truth)

That cute old man.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Emily sent the following email on Monday, March 3, 2014.  She has been transferred to Arleta, CA, but we don't know her new mailing address yet.

Hey familia that I love so much!  

I am back in the valley! This was a good move by the president.  I have a testimony that President Hall is an inspired man.  The work is so much harder in Santa Clarita that I have this theory that they send missionaries up there so they can become excellent and then come back and destroy it in the valley.  

I am in a tripan now.  My new companions are named: Hermana Clifton and Hermana Blankinship.  I feel like I have learned a lot about loving people and being patient and about what is important. Before I left Santa Clarita on the morning of transfers, my zone leader Elder Guevara (from south/west jordan) came to my apartment to pick up my bike and offered me a blessing because he knew that I'd never ask for one even if I needed one.  As time has played on and experiences have unfolded, I have found the words he told me to be more and more inspired. 
To say we have been experiencing a lot of rain here would be an understatement.  It has been dumping.  (Hopefully pictures to follow)

Edilberto got baptized on Saturday.  Yay!

Enio got baptized on Sunday.  Such a tender man!

The ward here wants to be very involved.  Maybe to a point that it is almost detrimental, but I'm going to have it work for our advantage.  

Woo!  Arleta!!

Con amor, 
Hna. Christensen

I said goodbye to Santa Clarita this last week. This is the sweet little Mendez daughter. 
She cried when I left and gave me these flowers. 
She told me that she wants to go on a mission when she gets older.  
She is the smartest little girl I think I have ever talked to.  And president Mendez
 is one of the best men.  He really reminds me of you, Dad.
  He always has so much energy and gives everything to the work.
  He is the miracle our branch needed. :)

Hello Arleta and the rain!  This is us on the way to the Baptismal interview!  We were trying to help Edilberto find us so he could pick up Enio (right) and take him to his baptismal interview.  We met this wonderfully sweet Chinese woman and it was a bonding moment for all involved!  This picture doesn't do the amount of downpour justice.

Two of my absolute favorite comps

Hermana Herrera (left) & Hermana Larsen (right)