Monday, June 24, 2013

We Have Hermanas


 
Hola hola hola!! I was so excited to hear that  you got to watch the missionary conference also! We were required to go to the stake center last night to watch the broadcast. Arriving in the stake center was an adventure but it was so worth it; I really enjoyed the broadcast. I got chills a couple of times especially during the video showing all the missionaries - just knowing that Meish and Spence were watching the same video, all of us thousands of miles apart. 

 

One week down in Benjamin. I love Benjamin. We live in a really cute and tranquil neighborhood. We have to cross rail-road tracks everyday and walk a distance to the houses of our investigators. Our area is huge. Also, I am loving the ward here. We took one of our investigators to the ward movie night (which turned out to be a video about family history, she was super bored and confused). Anyways it was dark and quiet in the room and one of the members walked in late and saw us and in a really loud and obnoxious voice so everyone could hear said, "Misioneras! We have Hermanas." Ha she is an awesome member. 

 

Everyone is so kind and welcoming. Also, no one can say my name its usually christen or christina. Also, we get called Elders every day by people in the street. Usually by men trying to be all flirty. I have to try not to laugh. Have I mentioned that all the men hiss here. Thats their form of cat-calling. The sound gets so annoying. And I get called rubia (blondie) all day long; in my head i just think, you should see my sisters. 

 

I recieved the Ensigns and talks you sent. Love love love. I am especially impressed with the talk by Michael Otterson, "Exploring Questions through Faith and Reason." Some things I found interesting were:

 
1) Faith stretches us. Its an active force not a passive condition. 

2) My favorite part is his theory that we have to develop faith on the earth because of the expectations that will be placed on us in the next sphere. "In the eternities to come, will those who create worlds do so because they have learned the laws of physics that govern the universe, or will they work through the exercise of perfect faith or a combination of both... when Jesus says that by faith we can move mountains, is he merely being figurative or is there something about the power of faith that we now only dimly perceive, but that we must learn while here on earth"

3) It's ok to ask questions. Questioning, probing, searching and exploring when accompanied by an attitude of personal growth and spiritual enrichment is not only one of the joys in life, it is absolutely essential to our progression. A religious truth will never be in contradiction with a scientific truth. If they appear to be so, it's because we are lacking information on one side or the other, or both. And if a question can't be resolved immediately, don't worry; time has a way of solving lots of questions. 

4) You can work through doubts. Don't let the things you don't know take on a larger life than your faith. This reminded me of the talk that President Holland gave this past General Conference. "Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes." Or as Alma says, it will grow inside you as a seed. 

5) The balance between faith and reason are interesting but it is our faith is driven more by a feeling than reason. This reminds me of something Gram wrote in her letter to me, she said that she has found the spirit speaks to her in a feeling not a voice. 

Ok my apologies; that was a longer summery than I intended. But I really connect with this talk. He says that faith is one of the spiritual gifts and its a wonderful gift to have the kind of faith that brings peace of mind and surety of purpose. For me, I don't think faith has ever come that easy. It's not one of my gifts; it's something I have to work at. Since coming into the field, I understand faith so much more and have grown so much. As Dad said in one of his letters, faith isn't faith until its tested. 
 

Ok that was a novel. Love you to the moon and back (what a pretty full moon last night). 

xoxo

Hermana Christensen

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Benjamin



Happy Father´s day!! Love you so much JR and am sending you a big old air hug from the DR. Hermana Thomas and I are being transferred from Villa Verde to Benjamin. It is still in La Romana, and now we´re boardering the beach. I´m suprised with how sad I am to leave. I' ve grown pretty attached to some of the investigators, members, and people we pass on the street everyday. Its a weird feeling leaving because I dont know if I´ll ever see these people again. Also, Im a little sad because we have two baptisms coming up. 

One of the baptisms is Beatriz. She is twenty four and has two little girls. Her spouse was baptized but never really went to church but now he is going with Beatriz. She has communicated to us how her life has changed since she allowed the gospel into her life. She said there is more peace in her house and she and her husband have a better relationship. She was in a bus that got in a bad accident and killed a woman in the car the bus hit a while ago. For her this was a pivotal moment. It made her reflect on her life and her relationship with God. I've been visiting Beatriz since I first got into the field and I am going to miss her. She is going to get married in the next couple of weeks so she can get baptised in July. 

 
The other Hermanas we live with had a baptism on Saturday. It was a muchacho named Daniel. He is 18. I was on intercambios when they were doing the paperwork for his baptism and he didnt know the names, location of birth, or date of birth of either of his parents. It broke my heart a little bit. Apperently, his mom died giving birth to him and his dad died a few years later. He lives with a aunt who disregards him and really isnt part of his life. He is a smart boy and has tons of questions. He smiles a lot and is very kind. His baptisimal service was very nice. There weren't many people there but it was nice. 

 All is well in the D.R. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Spence and I forgot last week to wish Owie a happy birthday. 

 
 

¨I think that every person you meet you fall in love with. Just a little bit. And a piece of them always stays with you. So overtime you collect people, and maybe you dont remember every single one, but that doesn´t mean they haven´t affected you. For better or for the worse, They changed you.¨

xoxo

Hermana Meg

 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Good Tan Lines



Saludos! So good to hear from you and see your fun pictures! We had a fun p-day today. We played futbol and volleyball with the elders in our district. The boys wanted to play dodgeball with coconuts but we didn’t end up doing that. This week I hit my four month mark and I have been reflecting on my life now and how different it is. Mission life is very unique. I made a list of some of the quirks and unique aspects of mission life. 

You might be a missionary if... 

- you make popcorn and look forward to watching The District (The District is dvds we have to watch during our training to learn how to be effective missionaries.)

- your main arsenal for jokes and quotes come from The District

- the weeks feel like days and the days feel like weeks

- the words mail, referencia, and bedtime make our heart skip a bit

- the words companionship inventory white-washing and role play-practice lessons make you cringe 

- you feel naked without your nametag

- you have dreams-nightmares about not being able to find the scripture you want

- your selection of clothes is about as versatile as your selection of food 

- you always have to be prepared to give a thought or talk because you are definitely always the back-up

- you have lost some connection with your first name and it feels like a secret identity you don’t want people to find out. 

- if male investigators or members try to hug you or grab your arm or shoulder you panic and are ready to go Jacki Chan on them, ¨No touchy!!¨

- you can’t remember things that you used to know perfectly i.e song lyrics or movie lines. I always say I´ve passed through the veil, the mission veil. 

- people assume you know everything and are perfect. 

- your tan lines are very good. Very good! 

- you have a weird, probably unhealthy attachment to your day-planner. It’s somewhat of a lifeline. 

- you give the pioneers a run for their money as far as the amount of daily walking goes. 

- when you get home for the night, writing in your journal always seems like a good idea. But going to bed also always seems like a good idea. Going to bed usually wins. 

- you can measure the end of the month by the lack of food in the house. People start getting creative and start making weird creations with their condiments and whatever else is left. 

Life is good. Transfers are in a week, I am getting nervous. We had ward conference yesterday and there was a white family that is vacationing here and attended the sacrament meeting. Later that night when we visited one of our investigators, the investigator was asking me where my mom was. It took me a while to figure out what she meant but finally I figured out that she assumed the white family in sacrament meeting was my family haha. I wish it was my family visiting haha! Miss you lots and love all the photos and letters. xoxo

 

Hermana Christensen



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hermana Christmas Had A Good Week


 
If you put our names together (Hermana Christensen and Thomas), we make Hermana Christmas. Hermana Christmas had a good week. 

Perhaps we arent supposed to have favorite investigators but Jessica is one of my favorite investigators. She is eighteen but seems much older and has a little toddler. She is from the island of Saint Martin and is waiting for her little boy to get a visa for her to return home. English is her first language but we haven't been able to teach her yet in English because her cousin, who is Dominican, is always present. After our first lesson she said she had been praying to God to know what she should do with her life and what path she should take. She´d been wanting to be more religious but is scared she will be miserable. We showed her the Restoration. It was on her old laptop without sound so we only had subtitles; her little boy was climbing all over her and there were many distractions. However, at the end when I asked what she had understood she was able to tell us every detail of the movie - dates, names, and details that I had missed. It is always a treat as a missionary to be able to teach someone who has the desire to learn and hungers for truth. She is like a friend. Jessica is going to be going back to her home any day now but I hope she can continue her search for the truth that she has begun. 

In the past I have been lazy with prayer and have been thinking a lot lately about how to have more meaningful prayers. In the bible dictionary it says, "The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and others the blessings that God is already willing to grant."

 
The lovely Hannah Jenking (who I miss dearly!) sent me a quote from Mother Teresa, " I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I am supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I'm praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things."

And in A Grateful Heart by Ray L Huntington he says, "Does God need our thankful hearts and praise? Is Heavenly Father dependent upon our gratitude? Do our thankful prayers make God holier, wiser, or more omniscient? Absolutely not. Why, then, is it a commandment to be thankful in all things and acknowledge God's hand in our lives? In short, we are commanded to thank God in all things because it promotes our happiness and well-being. Grateful people are happier people. If that were not the case, God would not command us to express our thanks to him and to others. He loves us and desires our happiness, and He knows that expressions of gratitude to Him and to those around us will bring positive changes to our lives. 

Our prayers can enlighten, change our perspectives, sanctify, and give us an opportunity to reflect on what’s important and what blessings we have. I love the quote by Mother Teresa because more than praying for changes we should pray for changes within us. 

Happy one year to Meish! Spence - a little jealous about Elder Holland’s visit and love the Bienvenidos a la obra quote. Rest of the fam, have lots of fun but lie to me and tell me the trip was awful when you get back. Thanks. LOVE YOU!
 
It's Hot Here