Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cheese, Harrison Smith, and Other Stuff


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, 

"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 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Habichuelas Con Dulce

Happy Easter! 

To celebrate the occasion, hermana manalo and I had eggs for breakfast. It made me think about Jim Gaffigan: 

"What do eggs have to do with Easter?" 
"Ok, we'll hide em." 
"I don't follow your logic." 
"Don't worry. There's a bunny." 

Here, they celebrate the semana santa  during the week leading up to Easter. its really more like spring break because everyone goes to the beach. 

Also, a tradition here is to make habichuelas con dulce for Easter. This consists of beans, condensed milk, sweet potatoes, raisins, coconut and lots of sugar. It's different but yummy! Add enough sugar to anything and it tastes good. 

One night we got a call that we had to stay home because the streets can get pretty dangerous. What did we do? We made treats and watched Legacy. Then we painted each others nails and jammed out to efY songs. It was girls night-in; missionary style. 

The sun is getting stronger and stronger. I always walk with an umbrella but i was still getting terrible squinting headaches. There were a few mornings I couldn't study because my head hurt so bad. President gave me permission to use sunglasses. So now i walk around with shades #missionarywithsyle. Some people here already thing that missionaries are spies. I feel pretty ridiculous but it's worth it. 

We really tried to focus all our lessons on Christ this past week. He truly is the center of our message. I thought a lot about Elder Holland's talk about the days leading up to his crucifixion. His apostles betrayed him; his closest friend denied him; and the father had to take the spirit from him. He was completely alone. I wonder if he had doubts or second thoughts. Nonetheless, he fulfilled his mission and gave us the greatest gift. Everything in this world has a price and that which holds more value has a greater price. I am so grateful that he paid that price for us and that he had the strength to do what he came here to do. I love my savior and am grateful that I can testify of him everyday. 

Good job Cate on the marathon!!! so proud of you. I love you all so much and am so grateful to have you in my life. 


Hermana Christensen

"It's great to have your feet on the ground - but keep them moving. Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind. Thinking without constructive action becomes a disease."
                          - henry ford

"you cannot control the length of your life, but you can control its breadth, depth and height."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hermana Mack

New Companion

Hey hey! How is my beautiful family? We had a good week here in Gazcue. The temperature is definitely rising again.  I walk with my umbrella and put on sunscreen but  I still seem to always burn. 

I was sad to say goodbye to hermana Morales. We got along really well and had a lot of laughs. However, my new companion is also wonderful. She is super sassy and hilarious. The other day a pigeon pooped on her head and shirt and I was crying and laughing watching her freak out. She got all the pigeon poop off then drenched her head and shirt in hand-sanatizer. She loves accessorizing and is really creative. Her goal is to teach me all the Dominican slang so that I can be a “Gringa on the outside and Dominican at heart.”

One thing I have discovered throughout the mission from living with people from different countries is that there are indeed different customs within cultures. Many of the American sisters have a "this is mine and that is yours" approach to life and my Latina Hermanas generally have more of a philosophy of "what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours" approach.  It’s something I had to adjust to at first but I can see the beauty in the Latina mindset. 

Another thing  I have discovered here is that I like change.  I have found that whenever I am transferred or get a new companion, I am more likely to progress both personally and in the work. It also helps to keep up my excitement for the work. A lot of what we do everyday is very routine and it is nice to get some change so that I don’t get complacent. 
Meg is Praying
Robert is preparing to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. He is gathering information on his grandparents - which is pretty exciting! I hope you all have a fantastic week. 

hna Christensen

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sister Mack


Thank you for your emails and pictures. It looks like you had a fun weekend. Conference was so wonderful. 

Transfers are tomorrow and my companion and I are going to be separated. I am going to be staying in our area and my new companion will be Hermana Mack. She is Dominican. I am getting demoted and will no longer be a Hermana Leader. I am going to miss the meetings and I have learned a ton, but it will be nice to not have to go on so many exchanges. 

The pros in staying in this area are that 1) I love the ward, 2) the bishop is wonderful, and 3) Gazcue is beautiful. One of the cons is that I have already contacted all the buildings and I am not sure where to work now. My companion and I decided that I will make my new companion re-contact the apartment buildings; I will wait at the bottom and she will yell down to me if someone lets us in. Hopefully, Hermana Mack is down with the plan. 

The other night when we came home we found our door open; the lock was thrown on the floor, the lights were off, all the dresser drawers were opened and it looked like someone had gone through them. My companion and I saw the mess, freaked out and ran. I was so scared I couldn't get the gate open. We finally worked up the courage to go check out our house again and the Hermanas that live with us jumped out and said, "April Fools!" I didn't remember it was the first of April. They got us big time. I love the story you wrote about Karla aka "bambi" tricking Wayne. 

The leadership meeting was really good last week and I think my talk went well. I didn't blush like I usually do when I am embarrassed - so that was a plus. I used quite a few of the ideas you guys gave me. The A.P.s gave a talk that I really liked. They talked about the middle of things; we often focus on strong beginnings and strong endings - but there is a lot more in the middle. They showed a clip from a movie about a football team. The coach challenged a player to crawl from one end zone to the other with a player on his back. The player didn’t think he could do it but the coach was by his side the whole time cheering him on. The player said his arms hurt and he wanted to quit but the coach said, "I know they hurt but keep going!" It was something I needed to see. There are definitely moments when I feel exhausted or unmotivated, but we have to keep going and push through. The AP’s asked if we thought that Christ ever felt tired, discouraged, or alone during his ministry. Of course he did. But he just kept going and focused on what he needed to accomplish. 

Conference was great! It seemed like quite a few speakers focused their talks directly at the youth and young adults. I was hoping I would be able to watch it in English but it wasn't an option; the voice-over’s are not the same but it was still cool to have that experience as well. We took our fifteen-year-old investigator to one session and I didn’t get one thing out of it. He was asking me the whole time why everyone in the choir was old; how many people were in the conference center; is the pope or President Monson is more powerful? Haha – it’s funny to see conference from his perspective.

Congrats to Madelyn on her mission call! That is so exciting.
Have a great week. 

Love you so much,
Hermana Christensen