Monday, August 4, 2014

Open That Jar



I remember when I opened my call- the happiness I felt. That evening when we were sitting around talking, I expressed how content I felt. Mom told me to figuratively bottle up some of that joy and open that jar when times were hard. I didn’t really understand at the time. I said something along the lines of "I know it will be hard but I'm going to love my mission." Time and time again I have had to open my jar.

In so many ways the mission is a metaphor of life. In the book of Job it says we shouted for joy when we knew the plan of God would go forth and we would have the opportunity to come to earth. God had warned us of the risks, pain, heartache that were awaiting us. However, we chose to follow him and accept his plan because the opportunity outweighed the risk. Now that we are here in our mortal state, we often feels overwhelmed and heavy laden. Our perhaps it is underwhelmed and without meaning and purpose. Regardless, one has to be patient, look for daily meaning, and continually learning to love. 


I don't regret one bit my decision to serve a mission. It has been such an adventure to be on this little island; to talk to anyone and everyone about their relationship with God; to buy fresh fruit of the streets everyday; to sweat from every pore; to strengthen my faith; to be bold and to be brave; to find my way around the country, crammed into buses and taxis; to shout "saludos" in thousands of doors; to anxiously read your emails every Monday; to walk until there were holes in my shoes; to learn to trust in my God. 



I will never forget the past 18 months or the people I have met. Thank you for the support you have given me- financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I am so excited to see you all next Tuesday. I don't think I will let you out of my sight. (I am going to make a bed on mom and dad's floor next to Owen's). 

"You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. you are what you take from these. you are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind."                               - Jac Vanek



"Blood, toil, tears, and sweat. The best things are always worth finishing; as long and laborious as the effort may seem. Please keep shaping and setting the stones that will make your accomplishment a grand and imposing spectacle. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Dream dreams and see visions. Work towards their realization. Wait patiently when you have no other choice. Lean on your sword and rest a while, but get up and fight again. Perhaps you will not see the full meaning of your effort in your lifetime. But your children will, or your children's children will." 
                                                             - Jeffrey R Holland

Meg & Her Trainer


hasta martes
xoxoxoxoxo
Hermana Christensen  


Monday, July 28, 2014

Hermana Arce



HEY hey!!! I can’t believe that this is my second to last p-day!!! Everyone keeps asking me how I’m feeling. i feel normal because nothing has changed yet; just doing the same thing I've been doing for the past 18 months. I do feel like I am starting to get kicked out because missionaries keep asking me to leave them my stuff.  

I got a call this past week from my trainer hermana Arce. She went home a year ago but is on the island visiting and wanted to get together. She hung out with us today since it was our pday. It was so fun to see her and reminisce about all of our adventures. 

One of the biggest bonuses of being in this area is the hermanas that I live with. I have gotten so close to them. We love chatting and always gather at night to laugh and tell stories. 

One of the biggest cons of our area is all the creepers. We have to plan our routes to avoid certain streets. The interesting thing is that most of the men that give us problems are older men. The teenage boys just hiss or cat call and then leave us alone. It is the 40 year old men that give us problems. 

This transfer has been really challenging but the biggest joy has been working with the less actives. Many are now going to church and it has been so fun getting to know some of their families.

I am getting excited to see you all!!! Thank you for your letters:)

con mucho amor, 
hermana christensen

This quote has helped me keep pushing through: 

"Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. it means staying with something and doing all that we can- working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well. "
                                                       - President Uchtdorf


Friday, July 25, 2014

Perseverance



Fam

Hey, hey! It looks like the wedding plans are coming along nicely. I am so excited for Meish and Sam. And cute Cate looks like she is having a good time in the motherland.

It has been a very challenging transfer. The chickungunya left me weaker and I feel tired all the time.  Maybe it’s just because my body knows the end is near and is starting to break down. On top of that, the area has its challenges. We are still working hard and are always laughing and joking but it hasn’t been easy; I have definitely had to learn a lot about perseverance. I want to finish strong and not falter and trip at the finish line.

Every day we teach the gospel and the last point is enduring to the end - to keep pushing and digging deep. My favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon is Lehi's vision. Elder Bednar classified the people in the vision into three different groups. Those who never take hold of it, those who grasp it and then let it go, those who hold tight until they reach the tree; The last group eventually falls to their knees and partakes of the fruit.


We had a woman this week who realized that the Mormon Church is also called the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. She said she used to watch a TV show of old men in suits giving their testimonies and it always said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was pretty excited to hear our message.

My favorite investigator right now is a doctor. She has one little girl. She is so intelligent and personable. She works on Sundays but is reading a ton in the Book of Mormon.

Hope you have a great week. hugs and kisses

Hermana Christensen

"The harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheeply, we esteem to lightly."                                                                      - Thomas Paine

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But it takes courage and persistence to make all the rest.                                                            - Chip Cooper



Monday, July 14, 2014

Dogs and Avocado's



We had interviews with the new president, President Corbitt. He is incredible. He is very intelligent, loving and funny. I really enjoyed the interview; it felt like a warm-up exit interview. He has already made quite a few changes in the mission and is transferring missionaries even though we are in the middle of a transfer. It is interesting to see how smoothly things transition even though he has his own take. The work moves forward.
We received a referral this past week of someone named Louis. I called him and set up an appointment. He sounded young on the phone. He lives in a part of our area that is really poor and far; we had to take a bus to get there. We live in a rich area so it was a bit of a shock for my companion. It was my first time in this area so we had to ask everyone for directions. We were given wrong directions and were searching on the wrong street but found the right house number. It just so happens that the man that lived there was also named Louis. He was about 80 and didn’t have any teeth. When we saw him, I just thought, what a reference. We shared with him and the whole time he smiled his toothless smile at us- he was the cutest old man. When we were leaving I asked him if we were on street #11 and he said we were not. We left his house laughing and the Louis search continued. Everyone tried to point us in the right direction even if they didn’t know where it actually was. They would send their kids to show us. Then the kid's friends would see us and join our little mob. We accumulated quite a lot of kids. We finally found him and had a wonderful lesson about the plan of salvation. His mom had just died a month earlier from Chickungunya.

So you know that awkward moment when someone is walking towards you and you both try to step the same way and then the other way and do that weird side to side dance? Well that keeps happening to me and the stray dogs. We keep doing the awkward trying-to-pass dance. It has now happened three times. It gives my companion so much joy and laughter.
Our only progressing investigator has disappeared off the face of the earth. I really have no idea where he went. It has been a little bit of a frustrating week because of all the tracting we have had to do and then no one went to church. The work is really challenging in this area and I am exhausted but still enjoying it.
It is avocado season and I am in heaven!!!! I eat an avocado every morning with my toast.
I’m sorry, I don’t know why but my pictures aren't sending. Love you all so much. Have an amazing week! Thank you for your updates.
Hermana Christensen

You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than over yourself... the height of a man's success is gauged by his self mastery, the depth of his failure by his self abandonment... he who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others.
- leonardo da vinci




Monday, July 7, 2014

Healthy Again



Hey hey!! Looks like you had a good 4th! Happy Birthday America. We were going to do something special but it ended up just being a normal day. It hasn't been too long since I last wrote. I did indeed write last Wednesday because we were trapped in the house for 4-5 days due to the virus. It was sooo hard to be trapped in the house so long.
Every transfer has its trials and challenges. I would say that this transfer I am learning a lot about communicating. I think communication is one of my weaknesses. my companion and I were at each others’ throats after a week of being trapped in the house for so long. We were having problems with miscommunication, differing expectations, and personality differences. One afternoon we talked for over an hour about why we were clashing so much; we now talk every night after we plan about how well we communicated and taught together.I am grateful because I have learned and can say that I really do love my companion.

It is so important to get along with your companion. We often are very critical of other's weaknesses but expect others to be merciful to our flaws. I think the key to getting along with someone is trying to see through their eyes; understand why they do the things they do and say the things they say. But it can be miserable if you don't get along because we are together 24/7 and it is nearly impossible to teach effectively when there is tension.
We are teaching the most darling family. I just absolutely adore them. When we go to their house the kids run out and hug us. It’s the most awesome feeling- to feel loved by the people you teach. The mom is a single mom and the message just really clicks with her. She is so loving and hilarious.
A high point of the week was that three inactives went to church! yay, we were super excited.
I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. I still feel pretty focused but my companion remind me how much time I have left. She keeps telling me about things I need to do and what it’s going to be like when I go home.
Thank you for all the pictures and updates! Have a great week.
Hermana Christensen



"When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom and ascend step by step until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel. You must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil (died) before you have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.
                                    - Joseph Smith

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."
                                     - Proverbs 16;32
"The people we serve don't care how much we know until they know how much we care about them."
                                                                  Jeffrey R. Holland


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

We Got it! :(



Family!!!!!!!!

Well, the bad news is that we caught Chickungunya. It was horrible! On Thursday, I noticed the rash and just about died knowing what was coming. Sure enough, the fever and bone pain followed; even my teeth hurt. On Saturday I started to feel better and then my companion got it. I think she had it even worse than I did. From what I've heard, the virus stays in the body from for about a year but is dormant. I am getting the rash again so I hope I don't repeat. 

We only were able to go to 20 minutes of church and then decided to leave because Hermana Gingell's fever was too high. I have now missed two Sundays due to Chickungunya. I feel like an inactive missionary! 

It was rough not getting to email you all on Monday. I don't know how you survived the mission back in the day - without email! 

This week we had a Mission President switch. I have loved the Hernandez's and am going to miss them. It will be interesting to see the changes that happen due to a new president. 

I apologize that I write about Chickungunya every week but it is really disrupting the work. 

I am printing out your emails and am super excited to read them. I hope you have a great week. love you so much

LOVE YOU xoxox

hermana Christensen



What In The World Is Chikungunya?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting a rise in U.S. cases of a painful new virus.

Chikungunya (which is pronounced chick-en-gun-ye) triggers a very painful but seldom fatal illness, and is already common in central and southern Africa, southern Asia and has recently spread to 17 countries in the Caribbean. Cases have also been reported in Italy and France.

As of June 17, 80 cases have been reported in 13 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, the CDC says. Puerto Rico has 23 locally-transmitted cases; all of the others are travel-associated, in people returning from the Caribbean or Asia. Health departments in Tennessee and Georgia have also reported cases.

“We do anticipate that there could be local transmission of the virus, particularly now as we are coming into summer when mosquitoes are active,” said Dr. Erin Staples, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. She said that few people in the United States have been exposed to chikungunya, “so no one is really immune.”

Chikungunya 101
How Is It Spread?
The virus is spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which pick up the virus by biting an infected person. Someone infected outside the United States who brings the virus back will likely, at some point, be bitten by a mosquito and then the virus will be passed on to the next person that mosquito bites.

What Are The Symptoms?
The chikungunya virus causes high fevers, joint pain and swelling, headaches and a rash – people often first associate the symptoms as being flu-like. For some people, the sometimes-debilitating pain can last even after other symptoms disappear. Doctors say that a high percentage of those infected become sick – over 90% of those bitten will develop symptoms.

Who’s Most At Risk?
Those most at risk of a severe infection include newborns, adults 65 and older, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

How Is It Treated?
As of yet, there are no special treatments available. Typically, fever-reducing medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are given to help alleviate pain.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rooftop Laundry



Hey! 

I’m racking my brain of what happened this past week but it was a pretty uneventful week. The highlight was yesterday; a family went to church with us! Other than that, it was a week full of sweating and walking. 

Also, the homeless man visited my Sunday School class again. He came in and started singing his song again for the class. Then he asked me if I would like to buy a Chihuahua. He pulled out the tiniest dog I have ever seen from his bag. Poor thing was scared to death. It's probably a wild dog that he found. 

Here is an awesome poem that President Eyring used in a talk but it was written by a missionary named Jack L Brinkerhoff. It’s pretty accurate.



A mission is a strange experience. Its a trial and a test.
 A mission throws you at the worst yet teaches you the best. 
They told me this would be the best period of my life. 
But I gues they didnt explain it all too clear. 
I came out looking for a bed of roses,
 I just wasn't expecting all the thorns I found out here.
 Since I've been out I'v e never been so happy.  I've never been so depressed. 
I've never felt so forsaken, I've never felt so blessed. 
I've never been so confused. My mind has never been so clear. 
I've never been so discouraged. I've never been so full of hope. 
I think i can go forever. I think I've come to the end of my rope.
 Ive never had it so easy. IĆ© never had it so tough.
Things have never gone so smoothly. Things have never been so rough.
 I've never traveled through more valleys. I've never ascended somany peaks.
 I've never met so many neat people. I've never met so many freaks.
 I've never had so many ups. I've never had so many downs.
 I've never worn so many smiles. I've never worn so many frowns.
 I've never been so lonely. I've never had so many friends. 
Man I hope this is all over soon. Gosh, I hope it never ends. 


I love my cute companion. We are doing well. We have made it a goal to try and say hi to everyone, always smile, and try and talk to and teach everyone! Thank you so much for your emails and updates! I love you so much!

xoxo
hermana Christensen




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Mystery of the Chickengunya



Hey! Happy fathers day Jeffrey Reed! Love you so much. And Birthday shoutout to Owen, Shanbabe, and Speen!! The big 20 wahoo

Mango season is at it's height! I am loving it. Yesterday we made mango smoothies and they were fantastic. I love my cute companion. We get along great. Congrats to Owie graduating from elementary and Cate from high school!!! SO EXCITED THAT MEISH IS ENGAGED! Yay!! Sam will be a great addition to the family. Looks like you will get one daughter back in August and then lose another.  

Last week i mentioned that there has been an outbreak of chickungunya. It is getting stronger and stronger. At first they were saying that it comes from the mosquito but now it appears to be more of a virus. A highly contagious virus. Luckily I think I already had it, and in a relatively mild form. 

We have heard many theories to explain where this chickungunya came from. It has become sort of a game to us and the other sisters in the house to ask everyone its origin. Some of the answers we have received include: it comes from a chemical the Chinese dumped into the Caribbean ocean; it came from a contaminated boat from Africa; my favorite is that it came from a big truck. Its unclear what this truck contained or where it came from, but it came from a truck. The mystery of the Chickengunya continues. 

Our area is pretty good. We are still searching and trying to get things going. There is one investigator that is really interested. Unfortunately, he has had pretty bad luck. Last Sunday, he mistakenly went to a different church that is on the same street. Then, the other night we invited him to what we thought was a ward activity which actually turned out to be a young women's volleyball night. He showed up to play volleyball with a bunch of thirteen year old girls. Then he was unable to go yesterday because he was sick with the infamous Chickungunya. 



We had an interesting week. The first half of the week was really challenging and I was feeling frustrated and discouraged. We've been working so hard and I didn't feel like we were getting anywhere. But in the second half we found some wonderful less actives and investigators. It turned out being a good week. We finally had a few people go to church! 

We had a couple of really good lessons. I love when I leave a lesson and I feel edified and the people we visited also feel uplifted. A lot of the people we visited opened up about their fears, worries, and life stories:

One woman told us that her son who lives in New York is going to have surgery on Tuesday. She began to cry as she expressed the guilt she felt that she wasn't there to support him. She felt like she was failing as a mother. We talked about how often parents lover their kids but can't protect them from all the band, hard and painful things in life. And how that is like our Heavenly Father. He wants to protect us but sometimes in life we have to pass through hard things and he can't interject. 


One progressing investigator opened up about his life story. When he was three he was abandoned by his mom. He remembers perfectly the day she left; she told him he would be right back and never returned. He was raised by his grandma but always dreamed of knowing his mom. Then when he was twelve, she came to "visit" but ended up taking him and his sister in the middle of the night. She snuck them out. At first he was so excited but as time went on he felt so much pain and guilt for leaving his grandma and tht we could never tell her goodbye. He has never seen or talked to her since. She lives in Haiti and he doesn't know how to communicate with her. 

In one lesson. We sat on a woman's patio in rocking chairs. Her patio was full of different types of plants. She described each plant and what it needs to grow and flourish. She talked fondly of her plants and how its interesting that some of them thrive and others don't. She said she talks to her plants and loves them. We chatted about how the principles of gardening can apply to our relationship with God. We are all so different; often we have different needs, backgrounds, and abilities. But as with all the plants, the flourishing process is gradual and takes diligence patience and faith. Something that begins as a seed or bulb can truly develop into something beautiful. 

A part of mission work that is fun is that people trust us and open up about their stories and we get to translate these experiences into something meaningful and spiritual. Everyone has a story and everyone wants to be understood. 


Church was pretty interesting yesterday. Pretty strange. Due to the Chickungunya a grand total of 41 people went to church. None of the assigned speakers or teachers were their so it was all pretty improvised. There was also a homeless man who was sitting on the first row and in sacrament meeting and was swaying his arms in the air, then pacing, then took of his shoes to kneel in prayer; it made the meeting pretty interesting. Then we had Sunday school. I was teaching a class and the homeless man came in and sat down in my class. He participated a lot while he chowed down on a banana. The he asked to sing us a song. It actually was helpful because I didn't have a lot prepared and he ate a lot of the time; I also didn't think I could kick him out because the class was on love and charity. They ended up canceling the last hour of church due to a lack of people. Strange day. 

One investigator has told me on many occasions that there is a striking resemblance between my hair and Jesus Christ's hair. It is just shocking to him.

We are going to have a new mission president in two weeks- they had to change transfers. So we just finished a transfer and Hermana Gingell and I will be staying in our area. It is my last transfer- so strange. 
Lake Powell looked so fun! Miss you and love you. Hope all is well

xoxxoxoxox
Hermana Chritensen

¨Envy is ignorance. Imitation is suicide¨
                          - Ralph waldo Emerson

There is a feeling of inner peace that comes from total relinquishment of judgment. We dont feel the need to change others, and we dont feel the need to be different than we are. We can see for whatever reason the total beauty of another person, and we feel that they can see the beauty in us as well
                           - Marianne Williamson

"You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind." 

"What we love determines what we seek, what we seek determines what we think and do, what we think and do determines what we become."
              - President Uchtdorff


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Chickungunya


Another week has passed. We had a good week but unfortunately I have been sick. I had aches, fever, and lots of stomach pain. I am not sure what I had but there has been a huge outbreak of Chickungunya. This is a mosquito borne illness and everyone is getting it. I think I may have had a more mild form of it. We still worked but would take many breaks. I lived off a crackers and bananas diet for a few days.
Our area is very big. It’s a little overwhelming but I also like it because it keeps us busy. So far, we haven't had any investigators in church. We are starting to work more with less actives and one did go to church on Sunday. I love working with less actives. Tonight we are going to do a family home evening with a less active family and learn to make Dominican food and play games.
I adore my companion. She is so funny and cute. The Dominican men also love her. It’s fun to be with someone new because there are things that I now consider normal but her reaction to things remind me how different our cultures can be. I forget that in Utah we don’t have exotic flowers, people driving motorcycles hauling hauling mattresses or big pieces of furniture, wild dogs, or men hissing at us all day long.

The other Hermanas that we live with are Hermana Munoz from Costa Rica and Hermana Cearc from Guatalupe. One night we were all talking and they were showing us all the traditional dances from their countries and the dances they like when they go out with their friends. They wanted us to show them what we dance like so Hermana Gingell and I showed them how we mosh pit and the awkward way we dance at dances. They were so confused and disappointed because the Americans dance so well in the movies. We were able to show them a little bit of country dancing. It was a fun night.
We spent all of Saturday morning lost. We were trying to find a street and asked so many different people for directions. Somehow, almost everyone gave us such different directions. We were walking all over the place without getting anywhere. After quite a bit of back-tracking and wandering, we finally found the street. The person we were searching had incidentally moved. I was thinking about how there are so many different paths, voices, opinions, and doctrines in this big world. We are lucky for all the opportunities we have. But we also have to be mindful about who we are listening to and what we choose to believe. It is easy to feel confused and lost. The gospel has been such an anchor for me and I am grateful for the purpose and sense of direction the gospel gives us. I love what Cate said in her testimony: that if we are constant in the gospel, regardless of where the road of life takes us. We will be ok.

I got an awesome package from cute Gram!!!! Thanks Gram! It had her delicious fudge and a cute skirt to give away. Congrats to Cate for graduating. It is too crazy that you will being going to the university. And congrats to Gary and Shawna! How exciting!! I love you all so much.
xoxoxo
Hermana Christensen


Monday, May 26, 2014

Cancino & Hermana Gingell



Hello!!!! 

My new companion is Hermana Gingell. She is 19 and from Myton, Utah. You are probably asking yourself where the heck is Myton, Utah??? Yes, that was precisely my question. It is between Duchesne and Roosevelt. She is so darling. She makes me laugh, is so kind and thoughtful, and she chases away the dogs for me. It has been interesting being back in the training program. As I´ve watched her go through the transition into the mission field, I remember what it feels like. It is such a distinct feeling. It feels confusing and overwhelming - like an out-of-body experience. It feels like all of these things are happening but you are not really there. Learning the language is incredibly frustrating and people often laugh when you don’t speak well or don’t understand. It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting - come 8 p.m. you can barely keep your eyes open. But she is doing very well and fighting through all the challenges. 

We made it through our first week here in Cancino. I have now had four areas and have whitewashed four times! This time has definitely been the most challenging because my companion obviously can’t help me too much. It has stretched me sooo much and forced me to work hard, manage my time better, and plan more effectively. 


We are in a great area. I think we are really going to like it here. We have made a to-do list of things we are going to do while we are companions. It’s important to try and make it fun and take advantage of the time we have on this beautiful island. 

I was reading about when Christ told his apostles to leave their nets behind and follow him. In Luke´s version he says, “launch out into the deep, and let down your nets.” I definitely think this metaphor applies to the mission. The mission requires you to leave behind what you were doing before: “launch out into the deep - even if it is scary and uncomfortable. At times we find ourselves reminiscing on the past or even longing and glorifying the past. It is so important to live in the present and always be moving forward. We must travel into the unknown, be bold, make good sacrifices, leave behind bad habits, and develop the attributes of Christ. I like what Elder Holland said in Remember Lot´s Wife, ¨It is possible that Lot´s wife looked back with resentment toward the Lord for what he was asking her to leave behind. So it isn't just that she looked back- she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future.¨


It sounds like i am missing out on some quality yard work haha. My companion said the movie Divergent was super awesome. It’s weird to me that she saw the same movie you went to see. It shows how little time she has in the field. She is super cute. I am teaching her how to cook, shop, and manage her money. We are growing together. 


Have a good week! I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Xoxoxo

M


“We make our own destiny... We can satisfy ourselves with mediocrity. We can be common, ordinary, dull colorless, or we can so channel our lives to be clean, vibrant, progressive, colorful, and rich.”
                               - Spencer W Kimball

“To achieve sustainable innovation you need to seek persistent disequilibrium. To seek persistent disequilibrium means that one must chase after disruption without succumbing to it, or retreating from it. A company, institution or individual must remain perched in an almost falling state. In this precarious position it is inclined to fall, but continually catches itself and never quite topples. Nor does it anchor itself so that it cannot tip. It sort of skips along within reach of disaster, but uses the power of falling to propel itself forward with grace.”
                                   - Kevin Kelly 


Monday, May 19, 2014

Heinamosa


Familia!!!
How is my lovely family?
We had a good hot week here. On Saturday I looked at our phone and noticed two missed calls from President. I thought that’s strange. In that very moment he called again and told me that I am going to be training in Heinamosa in this next transfer. I am so excited!!!!! 
The transition from the MTC to the field is a tough one. It’s like sprinting and colliding with a brick wall. I'd love to hear your ideas to help me be a good trainer. 

I am definitely going to miss the sassy Hermana Mack. She is nuts. Also, I am going to miss Gazcue. The ward is so incredible and the area is beautiful. It is so fun to be in the same area as the mission office- so much energy and there is always something going on. But, I am excited for this new adventure! Guess who is going to be Hermana Mack's new companion and take my place here in Gazcue.... Hermana Thomas!!!!  Hermana Thomas and Mack together = trouble. 


I told you last week that Hermana Mack had Dengue but turns out she actually has Chinkungunya fever. There has been a big outbreak of it. Fortunately, she is feeling a lot better. 

I just finished reading Jesus the Christ. I absolutely loved it. It is a very long and insightful but some points that I really liked are: 

  • His realization that he was the chosen and foreordained messiah came to him gradually. 
  • His advancement was from one grace to another; from good to greater good. He was in a different lever, but he progressed as we progress. 
  • He experienced the full range of human emotions. Sometimes I have imagined him to have responded like a robot but he too felt loneliness, pain, friendship, happiness, relief, hunger, illness, abandonment, anger and contentment. 
  • His service and sacrifice was completely voluntary. God never obligated him and he had the option to back out. He chose to continue, persevere, and stick to what he chose to do. 


I loved reading this book because I feel like it gave me a new perspective of the man who died for us, the things he had to go through, and the courage he had. 

My feet got fried today at our P-day activity! I didn’t put on sunscreen and the white part hasn’t seen the sun for many moons.

Note Meg's Tan Line on her Feet

I love your emails and love you all so much. Have an excellent week. I’ll fill you in next Monday on the details about my new area and companion. 

Meg

Meg's Opinion of the Laker's


"Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... you find out the strength of the wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down."
                                             - C.S Lewis

"Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills, against the misery, against ignorance or injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the new world, and so can we all."
               - Robert F Kennedy


Notice the elder's arm on my shoulder. I felt it and said: "that better be an hermana."



Monday, May 12, 2014

Mothers Day


It was so incredibly wonderful to talk to you all yesterday. It felt so natural and like nothing has changed. I have to admit, it was so hard to end the call. I always miss you and always think about you all; but I've gotten used to missing you. It really gave me so much strength to talk to you. I want to work hard and finish strong. I really like what mom said in her letter: I don´t want to wish it away because it will be over before you know it and this is precious and sacred time which you will never have back again; so finish strong. 

I was finally able to print off and read your letters from last week describing your trip to the Philippines. I love how much Meisha loved her mission and how much the people loved her. Your descriptions of her reunions with members, investigators, and companions make me reflect on my own relationships with the people. I want to take advantage of all the opportunities I have to meet people such neat people and to truly love them. 


This past week, we shared with an investigator the talk by President Uchtdorf, Forget Me Not. One point that I liked is that we shouldn't forget to enjoy the little things in life and be happy now. He talks about Charlie and the Chocolate factory and how we put off our happiness until we find our ¨golden ticket¨, to be happy. ¨The happiest people are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals discover and reassure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy." So often in our lives we think we will feel happy when we get a certain job, finish school, are less busy, etc. We create this list of things that have to be reached, and then after we'll feel happy. It is an art to be able to see the beauty and joy in the little things of life - even though there are always problems. 

The woman we shared this with told us a story of when she was a child. She would hide all the gifts she would receive in a secret spot. If she received a doll or a piece of candy she would put it away in this secret place. Then there was a civil war in 1955 and her family had to leave their house for a short time. When they returned she ran to her secret spot to find everything she had hidden stolen. She said after that she stopped hiding her gifts and started enjoying them. 


We are going to the doctors’ tomorrow to confirm (but I’m 95% sure) that my companion has dengue fever. She has a high fever and can barely walk her body hurts so bad. As a result, we have been stuck in the house. I have had lots and lots of reading time. I finished the conference ensign you sent me (thank you for sending it!). Here are my top ten ideas or statements from conference

  •          Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most. 
  •          Not only does the atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but his atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities... I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe that we must carry our load alone- through sheer grit, willpower and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities. 
  •          Let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person's confidence through careless words or actions. 
  •          Perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we count. I don’t believe the Lord expects us to be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease. Most of the scriptural references do not speak of gratitude for things but rather suggest an overall spirit or attitude of gratitude. 
  •          Truth is truth! It is not divisible, and any part of it cannot be set aside. Whether truth emerges from a scientific lab or through revelation, all truth emanates from God. 
  •          The priesthood is the power of God delegated to man; the consummate power on this earth by which it was created. We are accustomed to thinking that all the keys of the Priesthood were conferred to Joseph Smith in Kirtland temple, but... there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection. 
  •          What we insistently desire, overtime, is what we eventually become and what we will receive in the eternity. If you are not proactive in education your desires, the world will do it for you. 
  •          As you pray for forgiveness, you will find yourself forgiving others. As you thank god for his kindness, you will think of others by name who need your kindness. Again, that experience will surprise you every day and over time it will change you. 
  •          The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose again on the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages of it. 


Happy Mother’s day yesterday! And happy birthday tomorrow mom! You are an amazing, inspiring, loving mother and i am so grateful for you. !Come mucho pastel! I am stoked that Spence's new comp is Dominican. Can't wait to hear where he's from. 


We have an investigator who contacted us a while back in the park. We were teaching someone else and he sat down and asked where the church was. We told him and he actually ended up going. We took down his info. The first time we went we were on the phone with him- lost and asking for directions. He said just look for the Dora the explorer; He had placed a giant stuffed Dora over his balcony. He is such a character- has a big Afro, loves to laugh and talks with so much slang that I barely understand him. He reminded us that we had passed him one time before when he was playing basketball and he shouted at us, "When are you going to preach to me?" We waved but kind of ignored him. The reason he is so interested in the church is because his girlfriend is a member and lives in none other but Salt Lake City. He said that he is moving to Salt Lake in June (i told him i was moving there in August). he has only gone to church twice but is starting to progress. 

Last week on P-day we went to a modern art museum. it was super fun. 

I got the new shoes! Thank you, thank you!

We had a baptism this past Saturday - yay!! I'll give you the deets next week

"Patience is not passive resignation; nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can - working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well
                                                                  - President Uchtdorf

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
                             - Polonius from Shakespeare's hamlet

Have a great week! 

Meg


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cheese, Harrison Smith, and Other Stuff



Greetings!

Another week has come and gone. The days are flying by. 

We had zone conference this past week. We watched a little cartoon based off the popular book: “Who stole my cheese?” The video has a depiction of two men who leave their houses everyday to a big mountain of cheese. Every day they eat this cheese. Then one day they find the mountain of cheese is gone. One of the men becomes angry and wants to know who is to blame. He wants to know who did this to him. The other suggests that they can go looking for other cheese but he says he doesn't want new cheese - he wants the old cheese. The other takes proactive steps. He goes searching for new cheese. The difference is that this man visualizes success. He is willing to take a risk, think positively, celebrate little successes, and can adapt and enjoy the taste of the new cheese. 


I like the idea that our reaction to certain situations is the key to our state of being. As missionaries, it is easy to live in the past and want the old cheese and forget to enjoy changes and a new challenge. It can also be easy to be negative and search for someone to blame when things don’t go right. I am feeling ready for a new challenge in a new area. I have absolutely loved it here in Gazcue but am ready for a change. I feel that I have done what I can do here. While I was watching the video I was reminded that I need to be adaptive and make the most of what I have because where we work is out of our control. 

Someone shared a spiritual thought this past week that I really liked. She talked about how Laman and Lemuel were actually quite obedient in the quest to go retrieve the plates. They did what they were told but with a bad attitude. They complained and said, "it is a hard thing which is required of them." It is interesting how much of a difference their attitude made. Our obedience isn’t beneficial if it is done with a heavy heart. 

At zone conference a missionary was showing us pictures of his family. I saw a picture of him at his baptism with the two missionaries that taught him. One of the missionaries resembled Harrison Smith. I asked him the missionaries name and sure enough he said: Elder Smith. I told him “no way, he married one of my best friends.” It’s a small world in the church. 


We got to go through the temple this past week because robert went to do baptisms for the first time. That was wonderful. Also, my companion is working on her English. We practice as we are walking in the streets. My companion lives 20 minutes away so she often runs into family and friends in the street or in the market.  It would be very different to serve so close to home.

I got a dear elder from uncle Robb. Thank you Robb! He has such a funny sense of humor. 
Also, I straightened my companion’s hair this past week. She showed me how to do it. I gasped and told her she was going to fry her hair. She told me, "hermana calm down. My hair is very different than yours." Ain’t that the truth. Mine would fall out if I straightened it like she does. 


peace and blessings, 
meg

"Write your fears, grief, and the things that offend you in the sand and the things that make you happy in a stone. For the words in the sand will be erased by the tide but the words in the stone will last."

"Is man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water impotently crawling on a small and unimportant planet? Or is he what he seems to Hamlet?"
                                                                        - Bertand Russel