Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Emily sent us the following email and pictures on Tuesday, May 27, 2014:

Hey Everybody!!

Transfers happened!  I am still in my area, but I have a new companion named Hermana Hardy.  I'll send you a picture of her next week.  I feel like I am in the MTC again.  

I have been a sad little missionary for the past couple of days, but I'm hoping that things get better.  On the up side, Hna. Blankinship (one of my favorite people ever) is just in the neighboring zone (and with all my other friends) which means that I still get to see her on preparation day.  We had a big running day yesterday with soccer and ultimate Frisbee.  I live for this time to be with friends and have this release. 
I am excited that Hna. Hardy and I will be able to practice our Spanish with each other.   After this transfer, she will only have one more, so her Spanish is better than mine and she has had a lot of practice teaching.  I think I can practice honing a lot of the "academic" skills of missionary work this transfer. 

Oh!  I spoke in sacrament meeting!  I talked about El Libro de Mormon and all the scriptures that talk about the profetas escribiendolo por un sabio proposito conocido por Dios, pero disconocido a ellos (profets writing the book of Mormon for a white purpose known to God, but unknown to them)  I felt like I did a good job and my two zone leaders were very complementary. 

Teodoro is struggling with his health again!  He went to the hostpital and wasn't able to go to church because he couldn't get out of bed.  I think we should adopt them too!  They are so sweet and they would love to come and spend time with Grammy and Bompa and work in the yard and cook and speak in Spanish!  Teodoro could be Bompa's number one helper for anything Gardening, constructing the tower, assembling anything!  Teodoro just loves to be helpful and he is the most sincerely grateful little human being. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Lillian.  She is having us teach her humble and prepared friend Soila about the gospel.  Lillian is doing her reading in the Book of Mormon and I am so proud of her for that!  I met Lillian because she is one of the menos activos that I am supposed to take care of.  Lillian has made good on a lot of the commitments I have given her and I am watching her testimony of El libro de Mormon grow.  Back to Soila!  Soila is so sweet and has a very hard life.  She only met Lillian about 2 months ago and Lillian helped her see that she needs the gospel in her life.  We prayed about a date for Soila and felt good about setting the 15 of Junio for her.  We talked with Soila about it and made a Calendar.  Soila can barely read, yet she is going to start reading the Book of Mormon everyday and we are going to call her and talk about the verse(s) that she was able to get through.  She feels the spirit very strongly and has felt better ever since we started having lessons with her. 

I like that people's lives will start changing just after the first time that we meet with them and as soon as they start keeping commitments that we leave them, they will feel more of the Holy Ghost and start receiving blessings from Heavenly Father.  It's cool how the Holy Ghost will come and act on people while they are being introduced to the gospel and if they accept the message within a reasonable amount of time for their person and their situation, the Holy Ghost never has to leave them again.  These people have to act on what they feel, or else the Holy Ghost stops working on them.  This is an interesting principle that you can apply to members already.   When we get promptings of the Holy Ghost, they are time sensitive and we need to act on them right then.  Something that seems inspired in the moment just might be inspired for that moment.  If you feel like there is a potential you need to get ahold of or an investigator that might need a phone call, frequently 3 days later is outside of the window. 

I love Maria Linda.  I don't know if I've told you too much about her, but I call her Maria Linda because she is just so cute.  She is very smart and reasonable.  She is humble and teachable.  Her husband is wonderful too.  When we were teaching him about the restauracion to catch him up to where she is in the lessons, he kept getting side tracked about the form in which we baptize.  It kept throwing him off that in the bible it says to be baptized in Jesus Christ's name, yet we baptize "in the name del padre, y del hijo, y del espiritu santo".  We were able to keep this question at bay because it wasn't the moment to explain that and a testimony of the restauracion helps people accept every other principle.  I read in the scriptures where I knew I could learn about baptism and I read in 3 nephi 11. 

 When I read this chapter, I was touched my the Savior's pleading words and attention to this very sacred and important matter.  So many times he tells us that THIS is his doctrine.  I felt a very overwhelming peace and trust that this truly is the answer to how a valid contract must be made with Heavenly Father.  This is almost the question of the ages: "How does one enter into the kingdom of the Lord?"  People have spent lifetimes seeking and inventing solutions to this question of the soul.  How lucky we are to have the answer purely revealed to us in the Book of Mormon and to not be blinded by tradicion or invented concepts that we've decided make sense as truth because we had holes in our understanding. 

I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that is was written for a wise purpose known to God.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the tool that God safely protected in the earth until the opportune time to bring it to light as voices from the dust, to realize the immortality and eternal life of man. 

Love you!

 Love, me
Emily and her former companion, Hermana Blankinship, whom she LOVED!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Last Sunday afternoon after we had gotten home from church, I (Heidi) was in the kitchen working on dinner, when our phone rang.  I looked at the Caller ID and didn’t recognize the caller’s phone number.  Usually when this happens, I don’t answer the phone.  I figure if it’s someone other than a solicitor, they can leave a message and I can call them back later.  But for some reason, I felt like I should pick this call up.  I said, “Hello?” but didn’t get an immediate response from the caller.  I could hear some voices in the background and some words spoken with a Spanish accent.  I said “Hello?” a couple more times, and was just about to hang up because I had concluded that the person had dialed our number by mistake, when the caller said, “This is Teodoro!”  Then it hit me!  Teodoro!  Emily’s precious new convert in California--Teodoro--was calling us!  Emily had told us on Mother’s Day while we were Skyping, that she really wanted us to talk to Teodoro on the phone.  At the time, I thought that was sweet sentiment, but I didn’t think it was very realistic to try to have a phone conversation with him since he speaks only Spanish, and my Spanish-speaking skills are practically nonexistent.  But Em apparently thought otherwise!  And when Em puts her mind to something, she makes it happen!  So, sweet Teodoro was calling us!  I didn’t know what to do since I can’t converse in Spanish, so I tried to pass the phone to Skibby, figuring she was our best option.  She did just pass Spanish 3, after all.  But she insisted she knew “NOTHING” about Spanish...  Nice.  I didn’t know what to do!  Then Peter took the phone and calmly greeted Teodoro in English.  That was when we found out that Emily was right there with him, ready to listen in on our conversation and translate for him!  So, with Em translating, Peter talked to Teodoro for a few minutes, congratulating him on his recent baptism and confirmation, asking him how his wife, Yolanda, was doing, asking him if he liked Hermana Christensen, etc.  It was a very sweet phone visit!  We didn’t talk to Em directly, but I know how much fun this visit must have been for her to orchestrate!!!  

On Em’s P-day the following day--Monday, May 19, 2014--she sent us the following email & photos: 

Hey Familia!

I hope you enjoyed that cute phone call from Teodoro yesterday!  He was very excited to talk to you guys and he is excited to receive you after I finish my mission!  He was able to get confirmed!  I only barely could hear your voices from the other end of the phone because we didn't know how to put it on speaker phone or anything.  He was overjoyed and so was his wife!

Transfers are going to happen this Tuesday!   Hna. Blankinship is out and I will be staying to take care of Arleta!  They are taking a HUGE chunk away from my area and giving it to the zone leaders and in turn we are taking over all of Pacoima again!  Pacoima, shut me down!!

We have some really great investigators: Maria, Luz, Oscar, Soila, and Alba.  We have more than that, but these are the ones I think can get baptized in the next transfer while I'm here teaching them :)  It's really cool to see how much people trust missionaries.  We have so many people open up and tell us the things that scare them or that bring them the most anxiety.  Alba especially was very closed and didn't want us to talk to her.  Sometimes it is mis-information and people's opinions that really mess them up and really become their biggest obstacle.  We were able to get her to open up and she ended up crying to us.  I can't even begin to tell you how many people cry to us. 

Maria is my favorite.  I call her Maria Linda because she is so cute and I don't know her last name.  Her husband likes us too and put her in charge of telling us 'hi' for him.  We must be doing something right because a lot of people are really responding well.  Maria has 4 children and her oldest is autistic.  Maria is a little shy, but very content and competent.  She is very humble and smart.  She likes to read books and has high values for her children.  She is already living in the world, but trying to live apart from the filth that drives away the spirit.  She was worrying about what would happen to her oldest son because she didn't know if he was going to be able to "accept Jesus Christ" because of his mental capacity.  It was wonderful to be able to share with her the doctrines of Christ and help her feel comfortable.  We shared Moroni 8 with her and Alma 29:4.  These scriptures tell us that those that can't discern good from evil will be blameless before God.  Her son Jonathon can't discern and therefore is as innocent as a bebe, and Christ's mercy covers him over and over again. 

I feel like I've come to a little bit of a lull in my mission where I don't feel like I'm being pushed as much as I have at other points.  I want to keep progressing and growing.  I'm trying to prayerfully seek guidance for the goals I want to set for this next transfer so that I can continue to grow.  I want to be the missionary and the daughter of God that the Lord needs me to be and I know I still have so far to go. 

I loved Sam's farewell talk!  It was really nice.  Love is an incredible thing and the further you get into learning about the gospel, the more amazing it is that Christ loves all of us.  Sometimes it feels like we will never be strong or competent, but we have to use his love and his atonement so we can be perfect in him. 

I love you guys and I'll talk to you soon :)

con amor,
Hna. Christensen

Emily & Teodoro :)

"Our favorite English counterparts"

Emily & her companion, Hermana Blankinship
Ward Party

"We won the cleanest car award!  This is a miracle because our car is a boat.
It has been in the mission longer than any other car and everyone knows it!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Emily sent the following email on Monday, May 5, 2014:

Hey!  I got your letter before email time!  Teodoro is just so precious!  Here is something really sweet: we had Stake Conference on Sunday.  Elder Oaks didn't come, but Elder Christensen and Elder Garns from the Seventy came.  Teodoro should've been picked up by Hno. Sacor or maybe Hno. Garcia, but he was working all last week and nothing was ever solidly coordinated, and so no one ended up passing by to get him.  But, guess who we found at the end of the conference!  LIttle Teodoro with his mochila to carry his Libro de Mormon.  He tried calling for a ride, but when nothing worked, he went and caught a bus and made it for Stake Conference!  He already understands the importance of church more than all the menos activos in the world!  I honestly was very surprised and touched that he had done that!  I thought it'd be appropriate to reinforce this idea and praise him for his faithfulness.  He really understands.  We talked to him about it and he told us that, "he'd made a commitment, and therefore was promised and he had to go and since no one came, he had to get a bus and he went as fast as he could because he had to get to the church."  He loved getting to see us on the stand when the missionary choir sang during the meeting. 

The royal man (President Hall) was in attendance at our Stake Conference and he had the crowd of Hispanics all in love with him.  One of his favorite icebreakers is to tell everyone that he'd always heard that Spanish was the language of los angeles, and here he is living in Los Angeles, and sure enough, that is the language that they speak!  They all loved him after that!  He helped them understand how much this mission means to him and about how his parents had both served their missions in this same valley 50 years ago.  He had every person in that room ready to do anything he asked them to do. 

I was so impressed with both of the Seventy that were there.  They addressed the crowd in perfect Spanish.  If nothing else, that had to be a testimony to the people that those men are backed by God.  I don't know how they keep their Spanish up so well, but I am determined to be like them!!!  Basically what needs to happen in my future life is that I need to marry someone that gets called as a mission president in a foreign Spanish speaking country so I can really get it down.  I would LOVE that!

I am still thinking the ipads will come this week.  I have my suspicions for Friday because they are having zone conferences (which are usually all Spanish) but this time it is every two zones.  I think they'll be giving them to us then and going over rules and training us. 

I should be able to Skype you on Mother's Day at about 6:00 or maybe 7:00 my time. 

I got the bike seat you sent and I like it very much!  We basically always only bike.

I also saw German and Francisca at Stake Conference and they love me just as much as ever.  They look very Mormon!  Most people take Stake Conference as a day off and the fact that German, Francisca, and Eric all were there looking so guapo!...It was wonderful!

It turns out that Adrian is going to get married in September and he wants me to go to his wedding, but I obviously won't be able to go... :(  Maybe for his sealing later on in life.  The one thing that scares me is that his to-be wife doesn't seem that converted to the gospel.  She goes to church when it is convenient and that is not good enough. 

This week, we were walking and a man was smiling really big at me and told me he recognized me from Canyon Country.  I didn't recognize him.  He told me that he remembered that I was the girl that would run in the mornings and be followed by the other girl on a bike!  This is how I knew it was true!  In Canyon Country, I would run, and Hna. Larsen would ride by bike behind me and we ran around our area!  He is the dad of a family and lives in the building almost right next to ours!  How crazy is that!  I think he works at the apartment complex where I lived before or something!  He must be a gardener!

We had a very spiritual lesson with a man named Oscar.  In the mission, we are making efforts to teach to understanding, thus asking more questions and really listening to thoughts that they have because very frequently, intellectually they don't grasp very much of what we tell them.  During our lesson with Oscar we talked about how people would have hunger for the word of God.  But also how they'd had the Bible all along, so how could it be that they would have hunger for the word of God, but have the Bible.  He stopped and after thinking, replied that that was a great question. 

Bertha, the owner of the hot dog stand cried when we read Mosiah 24:14 with her. 

I think I had the best day of my mission on Wednesday!  I worked really hard, Hna. Blankinship got a flat tire, other things, and yes!

I love you and I can't wait until Sunday!  Love, me!  If you need to tell me anything before Skyping, you can write me a letter.  The whole Skyping process is going to be pretty flexible, so just tell me if you have any requests or anything.

Love, me!