Monday, August 26, 2013

Heavenly Choir

 

Hermana Romero from Honduras is one of my favorite humans - so hilarious
 

This week cruised by! We had zone conference on Tuesday and it was wonderful. Elder Zivic from the seventy spoke to us; he is also in the area presidency for the Caribbean. Let me just say we put an end to the misconception that all women can sing. They asked the Hermanas to do a special musical number. We put together The Spirit of God and practiced singing it half in Spanish, half in English. The chorus is similar so we thought it sounded good; however we didn’t practice with the instruments. Two of the Hermanas played the floute and piana. They decided to take it up a few octaves. So pretty much it was just the four of us singing The Spirit of God as high as we could.... well it was more like three singing because I was trying to compose myself the whole time to refrain from laughing. It was a disaster. I feel so bad for disturbing the ears of all the listeners especially Elder Zivic and Presidente Hernandez and their wives. And the picture I attached of Zone conference was just La Romana missionaries; there was an additional zone there that was blessed to hear our lovely voices. One elder came and found us after the conference and tried to make us feel better. Bless his heart he had the best of intentions but he told us that he admires us for our courage and when we fall we just have to learn to get back up again. All the other elders may be laughing and talking about it, but they need to learn to listen with celestial ears. Thanks elder. Made us feel worse. 


I love the district we have right now!

Gracias for the talks you sent me! I especially love Grounded, Rooted, Established, and Settled by Neal A. Maxwell. It is a reminder that we need to find meaning and purpose despite the routine of life that at times appears very mundane. It is incredibly applicable for a missionary. Every day on the mission is absolutely the same and yet very different. I am learning so much about how to gauge success and growth and to enjoy every day. Maxwell says:


 

Occasionally I see individuals who are meeting life's challenges reasonably well but who unfortunately fail to appreciate the general adequacy of their response. They let the seeming ordinariness of life dampen their spirits. Though actually coping and growing, some lack the quiet inner-soul satisfaction which can steady them. Instead they seem to experience a lingering sense that there is something more important they should be doing or that their chores are somehow not quite what was expected, as if what is quietly achieved in righteous individual living or in parenthood is not sufficiently spectacular. 

Loved this talk! Loved his analysis on how we can find meaning. Also, this week we have had a couple experiences that prove a lot of times we are planting seeds for future missionaries. One man we contacted said he had visited the church twenty years ago and could never forget some of the things he had heard about the Book of Mormon. We are now teaching him and we went to church on Sunday and loved it. There is another investigator with a similar story. Effort is never wasted. 

 
Les Quiero

Hermana Christensen

 



Monday, August 19, 2013

Dogs


 
We have one investigator progressing right now. That is we have one that is going to church. He is an older man, really tall and skinny. He loves to read and write. He has a giant satchel of all sorts of stuff he has written on notebook paper and collections of pamphlets and newspapers. He gets embarrassed to go to church because he thinks he is too skinny. He is very kind and humble. He gave me a note but it appears to be in some ancient writing so I'm going to have to find a Urim and Thummim to decifer it. Hopefully he can continue to progress.

It is official, I hate dogs. Whenever we are in certain neighborhoods that I know contain a plethera of dogs, I arm myself with a stick or rocks. Another exciting update is that Dominicans' don't like licorice. We can find a lot of the same treats here that we have at home but Hermana Thomas loves licorice and couldn't find any so her family sent her a ton in her birthday package. We have been giving it out occasionally. Almost always they make a face of disgust or spit it out and say it needs sugar.

 
I have mentioned before how incredibly religious the DR is. From what I have noticed, it is mainly divided into Catholics and Evangelicals (who usually call themselves Christianas). Many of the Sects are quite radical and don't permit make-up, listening to music, or wearing pants. Quite often, when we meet people they right away want to know what our rules are. I am still trying to come up with a good response but I never answer it directly. I don't want them to close their ears out of fear of our "rules", and I especially don't want people to only be interested because the rules are comfortable. We have the "rules" to help prepare us. It makes me think of a talk by President Uchtdorf where he said we should never forget the why - why we have certain standards

Wow, Spence looks like he is baptizing all of Mexico! Keep up the good work Spence. Hermana Thomas and I also have a baptism every week - I just forget to mention it and send the photos... But I was talking to an Elder from Mexico and he was telling me about an area in Mexico where something bad happened four years ago. Then I asked Spence about that area and it is the area he just reopened after four years of being closed... ah scary! Everyone pray for Spencer.

Love you so so much. Big air hug all the way from La Republica Dominicana.

xoxo

Hermana Christina, Christensence, Christen. (The names I usually get)

Sister Thomas Burning a Blouse She is Sick of at 6 Month Mark
 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rubi


My Hermanita Rubi
 
Hola hola!! Here is the summary of the week in bullet points:

-There has been a lot of emphasis lately about the importance of loving your companion. I think a lot of companionships are having a hard time. You are with them 24/7 so it is so important to get along. It is so true that you can learn something from every companion.

- There is a group of Jehovah's Witnesses Missionaries that we see everywhere. We are pals with them and always talk. We will have to take a photo with them, the Mormons and the Witnesses.

- I have been thinking a lot lately about, in general, whether we are slaves of our circumstances or if we have the ability to overcome our circumstances. I have noticed that for the most part, when the parent is a drunk on the corner, the child also becomes a drunk on the corner. But we ran into a lady this week that proved otherwise, I really liked her story. We were contacting in a really nice neighborhood and we met a woman sitting on her porch and immediately told us to come in. She said she was baptized in the church but after she moved houses she hasn’t attended the new ward. Her story is pretty great. Her dad left the family when she was young and her mom left not long after that. With time, she got involved with drugs and ended up on the streets. She said she was always getting into fights and would eat whatever she could find. She ended up having three kids of her own and she said the worst thing she has done in her life is leave her kids. But she was able to turn around her life. She came in contact with the church, got help with her drug problem, got a job selling purses, and went back to her kids. She said she used to blame her problems on other people and focused on what others had done to her. The turning point for her was when she realized that she was in charge of her fate. Now, she works really hard and has a beautiful family and home.

 - The avocado season is in its prime. The avocados here are green on the outside and HUGE.

- There is a man on our street that is always drinking and every time we pass he laughs and (jokingly) tries to get me take a sip.

- Hermana Thomas did the cinnamon challenge for the first time last night. Very funny! (Eat a spoonful of cinnamon, it’s impossible)

 
Hey! I GOT YOUR PACKAGE that you sent with Cowley’s! Thank you so much; love all the treats. It was perfect, you know me too well. Thank you thank you for sending new shoes!!! haha desperately needed.I love you so much and thank you for all the updates. Grandpa Reed wrote me! haha I was shocked.

" Faith to be faith, must center around something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. faith to be faith, must go into the unkown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness. If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it."

                                                                                                                - Boyd K Packer

 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Big Bang



Another fun P-day has come and gone. The first p-day of every transfer all of the missionaries in the zone get together to play games at a park or something. We went to a stadium and hung-out and played soccer. Talking and getting to know other missionaries is one of my favorite things. Most of the missionaries here are from South or Central American and are people I would never otherwise know but it’s crazy how you can build friendships quite easily when you are experiencing something like a mission together. 


We had a really good week and had really high hopes for the investigators that would go to church. There are a handful that are really starting to progress. We were doing the math and figured that there would five or six that would for sure go to church and then a few other maybes. Shakespeare said "expectation is the root of all heartache." Heartache may be overly-dramatic but we were disappointed when only one investigator was able to attend.  Especially because when we passed by the house of our main investigator to go to church together as we had planned, her daughter said she was sick with stomach problems. But when we were walking back from church we saw them on a bus headed to the beach. But, it was a really good Sunday at church. In Relief Society they started talking about the "Big Bang" and they were just laughing at how ridiculous they thought it was. They kept saying Big Bang in English. To Dominicans’ God is a huge part of their culture so the idea of the Big Bang is ridiculous. Hermana Thomas and I were laughing thinking that this would be a heated discussion in the states. 


 
No one can drink the water out of the faucets so everyone gets big blue bottles and rotates them. It's about the equivalent of 50 cents to re-fill that thing. I’m getting strong from carrying them... just kidding, not really. 

All is well here! I’m sending lots and lots of love home from the DR. 

"Make it a point to do something every day that you don't want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain."                            -Mark Twain

xoxo

Meg