Monday, July 29, 2013

Will Smith Revisited




 
Another week in La Republica Dominicana has passed. I would think that I would be accustomed to the walking and my shoes but this week was the best week yet as far as blisters go. Hermana Thomas and I are staying in Benjamin for another transfer together. By the end of this transfer we will have seven months living together. 

  


This week we had the first ever meeting for the Hermanas in our mission. There are now about 40 Hermanas in this mission. It was so fun to go to the capital and reunite with Sister Coe and my other old companions. It was also great to see all the Hermanas together. Everyone kept coming up to Hermana Thomas and me saying we were the only ones they hadn't ever seen. Yes, it’s because we are way out in the boonies. Also, one Hermana came up to me and was a little hesitant but said she wanted to tell me something strange. She said she had had a dream a week ago of a Hermana that she had never seen and the Hermana kept telling her to remember a specific date in March or May. She said as soon as she saw me she knew it was me. Who knows?? Maybe we'll be companions at that time. But she's already forgotten this date I apparently told her to remember.

 

Another story of a dream: We are teaching a man named Eduardo. His family joined the church some time ago in my old area Villa Verde. The story of their conversion is kind of funny. Eduardo was a young teenager and saw the elders walking down the street and yelled at them to come teach his family. Well, his mom and two of his brothers ended up getting baptized but Eduardo never had any interest in the church. But for twenty years missionaries have passed by and tried teaching him; he just never felt like it was for him. But a few weeks ago his mom died after a year of suffering from cancer. About a week ago we showed up at his door and he kindly let us in. He said he knew we would come and felt good about it. He had a dream where he and his mom were lost in the Grand Canyon. They were stuck with nowhere to go. But then they saw Christ who showed them a path leading out. He saw his mom following the path and decided that he too was going to follow this path. He feels like he is ready to accept Christ in his life. 

 

Another Will Smith story: We met this really tall guy about our age who asked if we could come teach him. He was super flirty the first visit but stayed quiet during the lesson. Then the second lesson he went all crazy on us and freaked out saying we need to change our lives and repent and stop worshiping Will Smith. I knew he meant Joseph Smith but I just lost it laughing. It was an interesting visit. Then I asked him to say the closing prayer and he did this really intense shouting prayer which sounded like the language Voldemort’s snake speaks in Harry Potter. Anyways, he was using that language in his prayer and shouting and then I heard him get up and walk towards us and I was getting real nervous and trying so hard not to laugh. He came over and put his hands on our heads during this prayer to bless us. 


Reunion


"It is not given to us to see the end from the beginning. But the habits we develop will eventually determine what the end will be. 

xoxo

Meg


 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Soccer/Volleyball

This is not Megan in the Dominican Republic
I was looking at pictures of her the other day and
this reminded me how much I miss this little girl.


We had a really great week in Benjamin. We had some really great lessons and some investigators are starting to flourish. In particular, there is one family that I love to visit. The three kids are less active members and the parents are not members. They have already recieved all the lessons so we have just been picking a chapter of the Book of Mormon to read or we pick a theme to learn about and discuss. I always come away from the lessons feeling great. The mom, Nanci, has such a desire to learn and is so intelligent and kind. This week in particular we discussed the Plan of Salvation and the potencial we all have. At the end of our discussion I asked her if she would be baptized. She smiled and slowly nodded. It was such a satisfying moment for me. She is wonderful. We have also been meeting with this cute single mom of three. She can't find work but sells fruit outside her house. I bought an avacado from her and asked if we could meet with her. Her little girl Melanie is such a doll. She is twelve but has some kind of height problem and is just a cute little thing. But she loves to talk. She loves the hymns and asked if we could translate a hymn for her in English. I wish I could write more about the people we're teaching but... no time. 

 
This is Megan in the D.R.


I laughed out loud about Spence's description of the dog's in Mexico. Here in the DR, we also enjoy a numerous amount of stray dogs. The poor things are disgusting. Every time my companion and I pass one we sing Sara Mclakin's(?) "In The Arms of an Angel" (if you haven't seen this commercial consider yourself lucky). There is also a dog that has it out for Hermana Thomas and me. This dog is always very calm until we walk past and then it goes crazy and does this scary growl and follows us. We have started taking a very round-about route to make it past this pup. #dogproblems... (are hashtags still cool)? 
 
Today for P-day we played volleyball with the district and the district next to us. Because the majority of the missionaries are from South America it was actually more soccer-volleyball. It was really fun. The D.R. is very different than its fellow Latin American countries in that soccer is nowhere near being the sport of choice. Baseball is clearly number one. Basketball is second. The people here that are into baskeball are very familiar with the Utah Jazz and they love Karl Malone and John Stockton. You may think I missed the NBA finals - but I knew exactly what was going on. 

 Sister Thomas

Transfers are next week and as always, there is a buzz in the air from all the missionaries, wondering what's going to happen. We shall see.
 
Right now there is a cute little girl in the internet cafe that has pulled up a chair next to me and is leaning over me intently watching every word I type - not understanding any of it. 

Les quiero, 

Hermana Meg 

"Salvation" in Mormon thought is not a reward hereafter for a life of obedience here. It is, rather, a process of learning to live by christian ideals; of becoming more christlike in intent, feeling, and living. Beliefs and rituals are not ends in and of themselves. They must be translated into lives of integrity and love to be efficacious.                          - Lowell Bennion


Monday, July 15, 2013

Siervas



 
It was an eventful week here in Benjamin. 

We had interviews with President Hernandez this past Tuesday. I love being able to talk to President and hear his insights. He told me the same thing he told me when I entered the field and that is that the mission is for me. He said I'll be a better daughter, sister, mother, wife, student, and employee because of it. President and Hermana Hernandez are such wonderful people. They are from Puerto Rico and both are dentists. 

Wednesday we were told we couldn't leave our apartments at all because there was a storm passing through (Hurricane Chantel). It ended up being a lot more wimpy than anticipated and was just a little bit of rain and wind. But still we were told to stay inside. 

It was also a week of breakdowns. We have formed a wonderful relationship with a recent convert who just moved to the area. She has started to experience increasingly severe pain in her feet and hands and they are quite swollen. When we were visiting her she had a breakdown. She is scared about her health and worried she wont be able to work. One of our investigatores opened up about her failing marriage and dysfunctional family. Her husband comes home around 3am every morning after a night of partying. There is a young Haitian mother of a three-year-old baby who visited the church once so we've been meeting with her. She expressed her fear because neither her nor her husband can find a job and they literally have nothing. I went door to door with her for a while asking shops if they were looking for help cleaning or anything; but nobody was hiring. I know that isn't really my job as a missionary but its hard to just do nothing.

Almost everyone shares their hardships with us. People look at us as mesengers from God and seek comfort and advice. We always get called "siervas" (servants), meaning God's servants. The balance between caring about people and trying to help them and accepting the reality that I can't fix their problems is an interesting equation and one I have yet to master.
 
The mission is a time when you try not to think about yourself and dedicate your time to helping others. For me it can be a little tricky taking on the problems of others. My own problems are less complex and I feel more in control. This has given me a better taste of Christ's atonement. The way he carried all the loneliness, illness, poverty, abuse, and sin for all of us. I can't tell you how grateful I am for a loving family and for such wonderful friends. I love this church and I love the Dominican people. 


Love you

Hermana Christensen
 
 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Will Smith



Hola. Here is a summary of the week. 
Many of the Haitian women walk around the city with buckets of avocados and bananas that they sell. I occasionally buy from this cute lady who doesn’t speak much Spanish. I finally asked her what her name is and she said, “Will Smith.” We see Will Smith almost every day. 
After a long day we came back to our apartment to find that the toilet had flooded. I had the pleasure of seeing my companion mad for the first time yet. We worked out a system to sweep all the water off the balcony. She would use the broom and I was working the mop. She hated the toilet water touching her but I was carelessly pushing it towards her. She said, Hermana Christensen, I swear if you splash me one more...I am going to bed. Haha - we both laugh about it now. Hermana Thomas is my sister. Or as she puts it, I’m her honorary sista.
The only thing I understand less than Dominicans speaking Spanish is Dominicans trying to practice their English on me. 
There is one investigator that has been receiving lessons for quite some time. He is one of the most sincere and genuine people I have met. His name is Mario and he is from Haiti. He goes to church and reads but what is stopping him from joining the church is that he has a big doubt about a modern day prophet. In our last lesson with him he said if there is a prophet he would like to talk to him. We pray every night for things to improve in Haiti and things still haven’t gotten better. If there was a prophet, I would ask him to pray for Haiti. He is so humble and I know he just wants the best for his country. 
The 4th came and went. When we were laying down at night my companion and I sang the National Anthem in our celebration of the wonderful holiday. 
We live by a molasses factory. All day long we smell this sickly sweet smell. That and the other strange odors really have my gag reflex going. 
In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes - none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent land-scape of a wheat field. - Elder Bednar 
Life is good and thank you for all your support. I am so so grateful. It sounds like everything is going well back at home. Love you Love you
Meg 




Monday, July 1, 2013

Isha and Gandalf



Happy Birthday 'merica! My companion has so been looking forward to the 4th for the past couple of weeks. She is planning on making a BBQ-style lunch that day. So, it’s pretty hot in SLC? In the DR, it is also a little warm; seems to get hotter every day. Good thing I like the heat. 

I read Your Wonderful Journey Home by President Uchtdorf. He starts off talking about the journey of his family from East to West Germany. They all had to split up to safely cross the border. He says life is a collection of individual border stories. We've all journeyed from a pre-mortal sphere; this life is a journey as a whole and comprised of many different journeys. He invites us all to evaluate our lives- if we utilize the opportunities we're given we can develop into the people we can become. "There will always be things to complain about- things that don't seem to go quite right. You can spend your days feeling sad, alone, misunderstood, or unwanted. But that isn't the journey you had hoped for, and it's not the journey Heavenly Father sent you to take. With this in mind, I invite you to walk confidently and joyfully. Yes the road has bumps and detours and even some hazards. But don't focus on them. Look for the happiness your Father in Heaven has prepared for you in every step of your journey. Happiness is the destination, but it's also the path." 
 


 
The photo is of Isha's baptism. She is eighteen and has been receiving lessons from the Elders since January and finally decided she was ready. Her mom is Evangelica and really strong in her church and wasn't on board with the baptism but always was very kind to us. I love Isha and love visiting her. She is so darling and like a friend to me.

That is the D.L. in the DR. Hugs and Kisses xoxo

Hermana Christensen 

""It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule. 

- Gandalf in Lord of the Rings