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