Monday, July 28, 2014

Emily sent the following email on Monday, July 28, 2014:

Hey Mom and dad !!!

Here are some of the things that happened this week:

Here is a cool story about Hna. Escobar.  She really knows that she can trust us.  My heart goes out to her because she has such humble living conditions, but at the same time she gives so much.  This week we saw her and she'd been sick for a few days.  The next day she went to the medical clinic.  I'm so glad she trusted us enough to call us because that evening she called us and told us that she needed to go to the emergency room.  She didn't want us to tell anyone though.  We asked her if she needed us to come to where she was or how we could help.  She told us that if we were going to come to her, she would come with us, but otherwise she was going to go by bus.  We can't drive members anywhere.  We were back to our car after visiting a less active and headed toward another apt. As I was on the phone with her, I felt caught in a midst of confusion without a solution, and no where to turn when 6 feet away, Hna Davila cruises by.  Hna. Davila is Hna. Escobar's best friend.  We chase her down and make a phone call back to Hna. Escobar.  We didn't know how to tell Hna. Davila without betraying the confidence that Hna. Escobar had placed in us.  Hna. Davila spoke up when she heard Hna. Escobar's voice and took control of the situation and told her she would be there in 10 minutes to pick her up.  I know we were in the right place at the right time.  Hna. Davila also was in the right place at the right time.  

We had dinner with German and Francisca.  They are the cutest couple!  Something wonderful about German is that he understand that the covenants he makes with God are serious.   This can sometimes work in the negative when we think that the commitments are too big and that we aren't good enough.  The next step for German is going to be receiving the Melchizedek priesthood.  The bishop has told him that he is ready but German does't feel ready to take such a big step.  We got to share a lot of scriptures and thoughts with him and he made a lot of discoveries.  

We talked about how we don't need to be perfect.  Perfection is something unique and identifying of Jesus Christ.  Perfection for us will never be reached in this lifetime because in this lifetime we will never stop being human.  

Sometimes we have this little voice inside our heads that tells us that if we try hard enough we can do it and we can be perfect.  If we take this a little farther, we could say that this same voice, then, is also saying that we can do it on our own and we don't need help and we don't need Christ.  So this voice that starts out very innocent is actually anti-Christ.  It makes us think that we don't need his grace and we don't need him.  

We are supposed to be perfected in Christ.  In Moroni 10: 32, 33 it tells us that we should love God with all our soul, mind, and strength and then will his grace be sufficient so that for his grace we will be perfect in Christ.  Then the verse reaffirms that it is by the grace of God that we are perfect in Christ.  It's interesting to think about what all this means.  We need to accept his grace.  What does that mean to you?  How do we accept Christ's grace in our lives?  

German discovered that our Lord came to help people that weren't perfect.  Those are the ones that Christ invites to take advantage of his sacrifice.  When we asked him about how he could let the atonement work for him, he talked about having faith in Christ and about repentance.  That faith must also be faith that repentance truly cleanses and we have to accept that forgiveness so that we are not denying the power of Christ.  

It was such a spiritual experience and I felt so confident that God is very aware of our imperfect nature as humans.  I know the gospel was created for us as humans.  I know Heavenly Father knows us and knows that we are weak.  German got a little choked up a few times during our conversation with him.  I see how hard he is striving to be a man of God.  The more I see of his weaknesses, the more touched I am by his faith and his understanding of the nature of God and the gospel and how progression works.  German said that they have to be constantly advancing because they are members of the church.  Being a member of the church is a continual battle, but once we are soldiers and we are in the battle, we just have to give it all we've got.  When I look at German I see so much strength, but I also know him so well that I've seen his weaknesses, their weaknesses.  When I see German scared to make another covenant with God or struggling to pay his tithing, I just love him even more.  The more weak I see that he is, the more I love him.  I would also say that when God sees our weaknesses and our debilities, but he sees us coming to him with faith, that he loves us even more.  ether 12:27.  I told german his name was in the footnotes.  

I love this gospel.  I love you two so much <3  You are my favorite people on the whole earth.  I can't even wait until we can be together again.  Heavenly Father couldn't have given me any better parents or better best friends para siempre.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We received the following email & photos from Emily on Monday, July 21, 2014:

I am loving being here in El Camino Real!  I am officially the sacrament pianist and that just keeps all the missionaries amused!  I'm just kidding, but the struggle is real.  I was able to decently play the right hand yesterday and I think I can slowly get both hands on the ones for next week.  

Francisca calls us at night and we sing over the phone and then pray together.  It is the sweetest thing. She loves me mucho mucho!!  I can't wait until you guys get to meet her.  She and German are almost on track to be able to go to the temple. German is so sweet.  You should see how much he loves me at church.  He is so humble.  I would do anything for that family.  

Speaking of humble, Hna. Escobar is a cute little Guatemalan that feeds the missionaries dinner every Monday out of her little trailer.  She does little odd and end jobs selling things here or there and doing sewing jobs.  She is the perfect example of one who temporally doesn't have very much, but gives almost everything she has.  

I felt very guided by the spirit this week.  We have been praying with the members over our map and letting them send us wherever they want to and in almost every place, we find someone that we both feel was the person that we were meant to reach.  

We diligently pray over the map too and it has changed my whole mission experience.  We picked this one place for a blitz that didn't make sense for almost any reason so we thought we should at least drive out there before we took our whole district there.  We drove there at night just before going home and found a very familiar utah-looking chapel and even though it was dark, it was so obvious that we'd driven across our whole area exactly to a mormon church.  

We are doing a lot of work with menos actives.  We had about 8 at church. 

Hno. Sacor and his family made this dinner for me because I was leaving.  He said when I come back that we will have another party and we will be dancing..muhaha!

This was Hna Pulver’s last transfer meeting!! 
[Hna. Pulver was Emily's trainer a year ago and Em loved her!]

These are our zone leaders and neighbors!  These handy little fruit things grow on the bush right below their window.  Let's just say we have frequent Romeo and Juliet window scenes Haha

Monday, July 14, 2014

Emily sent the following email on Monday, July 14, 2014:

Hello!  Ok!  things are really crazy today!  

Mom, Happy birthday!  Something will come in the mail.  It will look like a padded envelope.  Don't open it until your actual birthday and until the letter comes :)

Hey Peter, thanks for your letter.  I love Hermana Pulver and I am so glad that you got to see her!  And hear her testimony!  No, absolutely no magic is gone; this place is great!  It was a place where we worked so hard!  I am handling stress fine!  My companion is smart and cute and such a good missionary already!  I actually feel bad because I don't feel like I'm training her!

I am so proud of you guys for having the missionary lessons in our house!  That is wonderful!!!!

Hna Blankinship just said, "tell Peter and Heidi I say hello!"  She loves you both very much even though you have never met in person!  I got to see her today and that was a miracle!  They came to our church to play basketball because technically they are in our zone even though they live really far away!  She got her district to go to the other church when that was the only place I could go and now she gets them to come here.  She is so good to me!  I love her so much!!!!

Watch this!  This is Hno. Sosa.  He is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric.  He is super cool and works for Marvel or something! :)

Con amor, Hna. Christensen

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Emily sent the following email on Monday, July 7, 2014:

You are never going to guess where I ended up!!!!!

EL CAMINO REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have made the return!  I am not in the same area that I was before, but it is the very same little barrio!!!!  All the women are so excited that I am back!  They have been calling and telling everyone!  I had many joyous reunions at the church.  Francisca was so happy!  I was going to wait to surprise her on Sunday, but somehow word got around and she called us Saturday and left the sweetest little Francisca message: 

"Hola!  Hermanita Cristensen!  Estas devuelta y la quiero mucho!  La quiero mucho mucho!"

My new companion is Hna. Avila!  Oh and she is SOOOO wonderful! <3  She is cute and little and intelligent and spanish and classy and charming! <3  She is from New York, but her family comes from Mexico.  She is 23 years old and she graduated in Business.  The president gave us a training before we had transfer meeting and he talked to us about the importance of being a trainer.  I know that there is no more important calling than this.  I remember how much of an impact Hna. Pulver made on me and I am hoping I can do the same for her.  When I was with Hna. Pulver, we basically didn't eat and we just ran all the time.  I don't want to kill Hna. Avila, so right now I'm going more for methodic diligence.  That will be easier to sustain for her stay in the mission.  

During the training the president said that when we was talking to one of the girls (Hna. Avila) that the whole time he was thinking: Hna. Christensen, Hna. Christensen, Hna. Christensen, she is perfect for Hna. Christensen.  :D  I'm very pleased!

It's cool because the ward members here...well, they don't just feel like miembros.  To me they feel like family and so it more just feels like I am surrounded by my friends.  This is actually the relation that people always hope to have with members, but it can never be achieved because of the amount of time that missionaries stay in an area, and...I mean, all the best members are here.  

I've started sending them words of latter day profets in texts everyday, and they love it!  We got a phone call from an hermano last night after I sent one about obedience and he wanted to come and see us and bring us food!  Hna. Trujillo told us that that text arrived in an opportune moment.  Francisca called us.  Hna. Davila sent us blank texts back (a frequent occurrence because our mission phones can't handle anything sent from iphones) and there were some other responses!  The biggest thing about this is that we also send them to our investigators and the most promising recent investigators and I can see that this little bit of additional diligence and caring for the talents we've received is going to show the Lord that he can bless us with more.  It's always bothered/haunted me that we get so many potentials and they just go in a book and not that much seems to come of them.  I think every missionary wants to keep better and more diligent track of them, but somehow it seems to take last priority.  Finally, I feel like I am doing better!  

The girls in the area before us had a sick one and really didn't work that much, so we are building up from scratch and that is completely ok. 

I am very officially the piano player for Sacrament!  I'm going to have to take some time because my skills have diminished and I never really even played hymns in the first place.  

It just blows my mind everytime I drive through town because everything is so familiar.  I didn't think I'd get to see it again until after my mission.  It's kind of like God knew that this is where I was the happiest, and he is going to let me develop an even better relationship with the people here by letting me be around them when my language skills are better.  

We speak in spanish a lot and I love it!  Basically all the time!  I don't think learning a language inside the united states or out makes a difference, I think it has completely to do with your companion.  

Mom, this bracelet is definitely the best!  I found some purple ribbon in our apt and threaded the beads on that and it's nice!  I want to make one for Hna. Blankinship.  Do you think you could mail me just the beads or something? :)

That is exciting that Skib is heading out so soon!  Wow and Sammy!  I mailed him a little book in which he can write scripture references that he likes.  

Nothing else scary or crazy yet!  Coincidental...that doesn't even phase me enough to recognize anymore!  Mostly just overly loving spanish people that want to give us lots and lots of food.  They think that we starve and are always running around with hunger!  Haha  Also, they want to make us fat!  

Love you!

Hna. Christensen

p.s. 19050 Sherman Way 242, Receda......just for you mom :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Emily sent the following email on Monday, June 30, 2014:

Ok, so today is a crazy day because....wait for it......  I AM GETTING TRANSFERRED!!!!!!   I was extended a calling to be a TRAINER!!!!!  This is really cool because we haven't gotten Spanish Hermanas for a long time and this time there is only 1!  Since the big groups, only released sister training leaders have been trainers, so my companion says this is really a neat opportunity! 

I have wanted to do this for my whole mission because I feel like there is something so magical and special about being trained and having a trainer. 

Speaking of trainers, my HNA Pulver is going to be leaving the mission this transfer meeting.  I got to share some special time with her when all the Spanish missionaries in our mission went to the temple.  She hugged me a lot and told me how much I meant to her.  We both felt like we'd done the most pure missionary work of our missions when we were together in El Camino.  She told me that I gave her her 'kick' back and that I could even ask the president. 

I have this feeling that I am going to be transferred into YSA because they are white washing that companionship..  I'll let you know!  Kaylie Pulver is the name you can look for on facebook or something.  I told her that you guys wanted to go to her homecoming.  She is going to give me the info and stuff, and I can mail that to you.  I'll see her tomorrow at transfer meeting. 

I think you guys should stop worrying and plan to come and pick me up and stay here for 2 days!

Love, me!