Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 80 :( :( :( :( - Florence, SC - 1/19/15

Hey y'all!

Wow. It's the final email from me as a missionary. I can't believe the time has already come. I feel like it just flew on by... I don't even know how to react right now.

It's been a pretty good week! This week, we had another "double exchange". One was with Sister Davis and Sister Lamb in Sumter and the other was with Sister Latham from Hartsville in Florence. They both ended up being really good exchanges! I got to eat in a barn and teach a lot of recent converts in Sumter with Sister Lamb. Then Sister Latham helped make my last exchange memorable by taking me out to eat! It was super nice of her! We also did a service project for Florence. We helped put together lunches for kids who don't get food on the weekends due to various circumstances. They really loved having us there and hopefully it helped open up their hearts to hear from missionaries in the future! 

Other than that, this week has been filled with finding new investigators and less-actives. On Saturday, we spent a good part of the day in the outskirts of our area finding out if the less-actives lived there or not and if they were interested in letting us teach them. It was super productive and it helped weed out some of the people on our 40 page ward roster! This ward is huge! Haha.

And the Florence ward is just getting bigger! On Saturday, we had a baptism for John Owens and one of the sets of Elders had 3 young men get baptized too! It was amazing! Brother Owens is a pretty serious man and when we asked him if he was excited to be baptized, he said "Maybe." Haha. But once he was baptized and confirmed, he was so happy! It was a great experience for all of us and a great way to end my time on the mission!

I don't want to leave! This has been the hardest but most incredible and worthwhile 18 months of my life. This is rough on me. I have loved the experiences I've had as a missionary - especially the hard ones. It's helped make me into a better person. I'm so grateful for my Heavenly Father who sent me to South Carolina to labor among these people. I know that this is where I was needed for 18 months. I know that even though my time as a full-time missionary is up, it's not the only time that I get to do missionary work. I'm now going back home to be involved in the most important part of this great work - member missionary work! The church is true! I know it with all my heart! I'll see y'all later this week! Love y'all! Have a blessed week!

(Signing out for the last time)

- Sister Amy Christensen

Sister Davis, me, Brother Owens, Brother Thompson, and Sister Gardner at Brother Owen's baptism.

Celebrating the baptism with some Cook Out! I'm going to miss that place when I go back to Utah...

Me and Sister Davis with Sister Lamb from Sumter

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 79 - Florence, SC - 1/12/15

Hey y'all!
Let me tell you this... This has been one of the busiest weeks of my mission! So many things have been going on that's kind of stressful but wonderful!
First off, I went to my first MLC (Mission Leadership Council). It was awesome! We basically discussed the needs of the mission as Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. It was really neat! I'm sad I only had one but on the flip side, I'm happy I even got one at all!
So I have great news! My physical therapist, Cathy, has promoted me! I went from that hand/wrist splint to a finger splint! Hurrah for Israel! Seriously though. I was so happy! I was grinning the whole time and I kept telling Cathy, "This is the best day of my life!" Ha ha. It's the little things that make me happy :)
Here's where all the crazy stuff comes into play – we went on double exchanges this week. From Wednesday to Thursday, Sister Gardner and I were in Florence with Sister Hathaway from Conway then Thursday to Friday, Sister Gardner and I went to Myrtle Beach with Sister McNeece. We saw some really cool miracles in both exchanges!

In Florence, we felt really prompted to knock this street the night before in planning. We had no clue why we were there until we decided to knock one more house. This man, Dean opened the door and let us in right away. We found out that he was a less-active who had moved and we didn't have his new information! We talked a bit to him and he's very open to us coming over and helping him get back to church! Yay! If that's not cool enough, we talked about it in Ward Coordination that night and one of the Elders said that he worked with Dean's family in his last area. Dean's family gave him Dean's information wanted the missionaries to visit him to help him get back to church but the Elder forgot to give us that information. So cool, right? It shows that when the Lord needs someone to be found, He will lead us through the Spirit!
In Myrtle Beach, we saw a media referral, Scott, who wanted a Book of Mormon. When we showed up, Scott was there and he was very warm and welcoming to us - especially because he is an atheist! He likes to learn up on the different religions and his best friend is Mormon! His best friend did so much missionary work with Scott because Scott thinks the world of missionaries! He kept telling us that he appreciates what we do for the community! It was awesome! He's going to start letting the Myrtle Beach Sisters teach him. So cool.
I also had the opportunity to train in ZTM this week on something we discussed in MLC about getting referrals from members. I think it went pretty well other than the fact I was a little nervous to get up in front of 30ish missionaries to teach them how to do missionary work by myself!

If that's not enough, I was also asked to give a talk on missionary work in Sacrament meeting yesterday and we were asked to sing as well. Ha ha. It went really well though! The life of a missionary...
Now the moment that y'all have been waiting for, Brother Owens was interviewed yesterday... And he's good to be baptized on Saturday! Wahoo! We are so excited for him! I'll let y'all know how that goes next week!
Well, that's all I've got for you! It's been a pretty busy week but I've enjoyed it! I love y'all! Have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Finger Cast!!!!!!!!! BLESSINGS!!!!

With Sis. Hathaway after our exchange

With Sis. McNeece after our exchange

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Week 78 - Florence, SC - 1/5/15

Hola Familia y Amigos!
How's it going? Happy New Year by the way! I can't believe it's already 2015. This is crazy.
We spent the first part of the week inside, due to Sister Gardner's illness and being on lock down on New Year's Eve. I had a lot of time to think about the past year and what I can do in the upcoming year to be better. While I was doing this, I came across a DVD that had the "Because of Him" video on it ( I watched it because it's my favorite video that the church has put out and I had a cool realization. Each new year, we think of ways that we want to change. It's not because it's a new year that we can change, however. It's all because of Him that we're able to have a clean slate and a new beginning. I'm so grateful for our Savior making that possible for each one of us!
Brother Owens is doing great! We are very excited for him to come home this week so we can get members in his home and have more of an interactive lesson with him. Sometimes phone lessons just don't cut it. We taught him the Law of Chastity this last week and he told us he didn't have a problem with it because he's 70 years old. Then we asked him what are some ways that we can live the Law of Chastity and he told us "Get old!" Hahaha. He's hilarious!
Also the reason behind me starting this email with a Spanish greeting is for this reason. We have been making a lot of visits to members and teaching them the lessons so we can help strengthen their testimonies and they can help us find people to teach. We went to this family, the Ortiz' and the father was so open to our visit. He told us he has been meaning to speak with some missionaries because his 8 year old daughter, Jennifer wants to be baptized but doesn't know too much about the church. Brother Paz (Jennifer's step-dad) said that he wants his whole family in on the missionary lessons too! The problem is there is a slight language barrier. Brother Paz' English is very good but Sister Ortiz can't speak much English. I think this is the Lord telling us that we have to start simplifying our lessons. Haha. We are so excited to start teaching them though even though Jennifer isn't technically a "convert". It will still be great to help strengthen the ward!
Well that's all I've got for this week! I love y'all! Have a blessed week!
- Sister Amy Christensen

Get away from that sign, Sister!

It's the Missionary New Year's Eve "Party-in-a-Box" - thanks, Dad & Mom!!

Post-Silly String fight - the 2nd annual one for me and Sister Gardner!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 77 - Florence, SC - 12/29/14

Hello Family and Friends!
We meet once again on this stormy P-Day in Florence! You know, it's been a most interesting week! No complaints from me. Basically to sum everything up, we've been finding people to teach. It's hard to do during the holidays because all of the people who are interested are telling us to come after the holiday season. But we keep going! We are ready to find the elect!
Speaking of elect, Brother Owens is doing great! He's still ready to be baptized on January 17th! We've been doing "mini lessons" with him over the phone since he's in California until January 10th. He's so great! He forgot his Book of Mormon at home and so he ordered a new one to read while he was gone. He called us a few days ago and said "I got my Book of Mormon and it's from 1840! It was one of the last ones that Joseph Smith printed!" We're pretty sure it's one of the replicas but still! He just loves it! We're excited to keep working with him!
Christmas was pretty good! On Christmas Eve, we saw a few members and then we were on "lock down" where we were in from 5 pm to the end of the night. We had some good times with that! We watched "The Testaments" and also gargled "Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains" with salt water because Sister Davis and I were starting to get sore throats. I recorded it for y'all to watch when I get home. It is hilarious!
We were booked with appointments with members on Christmas which was great! We started out with Skyping of course! It was great to see my family again!  Then we went caroling to like all of the members in our area! It was so awesome! We really had a good Christmas overall!
Well, unfortunately Sister Gardner has been pretty sick these past few days so we've been staying in to help her recover. Hopefully she recovers soon! But here's a cool story! We went to CVS to ask a pharmacist what medicine would be best for Sister Gardner to take so she could get feeling better. When we went there, we saw Hana Jackson! Back story time! Sister Clinger and I met her there in mid-November while getting prescriptions for some medical conditions. While we were there, we found out that she was a less-active member living in my area in Marion! We got her information but we weren't able to visit with her before I got emergency transferred to Florence. She saw us and gave us a hug. She asked where we've been and I explained that I got ET'd. She was ok with it and we told her that the Marion Elders would go visit her soon. We'll probably go follow up with her at the CVS in a week or so to see if they've been able to see her though. She is so cool! I know that the church needs her in Marion!

I can't believe that it's the end of 2014. So many great things happened this past year! I'm looking forward to 2015 and for the new beginning that I'm about to have. I watched the "Because of Him" video ( yesterday and it talks about how it's all because of Jesus Christ that we have so many new opportunities. I know that because of Him, I get to have a fresh start, a clean slate. I don't have to worry about dwelling on the past! I can move forward. I will do as the Lord directs Lot and his family in the book of Genesis, "Look not behind thee" (Genesis 19:17). I hope that y'all will do the same in this new year!
I guess I'll talk to y'all next year!  I love y'all! Have a safe New Years! Have a blessed week!
- Sister Amy Christensen

Merry Christmas to me! Thanks for all the presents!

The most decked out house in Florence and they're members of the Church! Yes!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Week 76 - Florence, SC - 12/23/14

Family and Friends!

Happy Tuesday! Sorry this is a day late! We literally had the most stressful P-Day of my mission yesterday and the computers at the library were not working at all so we got permission to email all y'all today!

It's been a pretty good week regardless though. We've been doing a lot of dropping and a lot of finding. There is a less-active in our ward that some previous sisters knocked into named John Owens. We could not locate his records for the life of us however! Finally we got the word from Bishop Keith that we are going to have to baptize him again since even the Church Headquarters can't find him. We were nervous to ask him if he would be baptized again but he said "Sure!" So John will be baptized on January 17th! Since he'll be out of town until January 10th, we've been teaching him the lessons over the phone to help get the ball rolling. We felt like we needed to hold his baptismal service soon since he's been going to church on a regular basis for a little bit now. We are so excited for him!

We had Christmas Zone Conference this week. It was really great! We had a lot of great trainings on how we can become the best missionaries we can be through finding, planning and obedience! After we finally got to watch "Meet The Mormons"! That was incredible! I may or may not have cried a few times. I loved it! I would definitely recommend that everyone watches it! It helps give a whole new light to Mormons.

I also went on my first exchange this week! I went to the Cheraw branch with Sister Jensen! It was cool to go to a different part of the stake to work in. I think it was nice for me to go with Sister Jensen because I knew how to work with branches instead of just wards and I've gone through a lot of experiences that I'm sure were able to help her out. But I will say this, it was great to come back to my companions and serve in Florence after that!

And of course, the big news is Faye was baptized! *Cue Victory Dance* It was amazing! John did great at baptizing her! Seeing them both in white was probably one of the coolest experiences on my mission. Man! I just love them and I'm so happy that I was able to go back for both of their baptisms. The Elders in Marion have been doing great at preparing them for baptism! I'm just happy that I was able to be a part of the process!

Well that's it for this week! I'm so happy to be serving the Lord again this Christmas season! There is no better time to serve! I'm grateful for Jesus Christ. I know that He came to the earth so that we all can live again with Him and our Heavenly Father! I hope we can all remember the reason for the season this Christmas! Go check out :) Alright, I love y'all! Have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Merry Christmas from Sister Christensen!

Elder Smith, John, Faye, me and Elder Speck at Faye's baptism!

My first exchange with Sister Jensen in Cheraw

With Bro. Hill in Marion after he gave us stockings for our Christmas presents

The Sunday before Christmas - we matched on purpose!

Our matching "Merry Christmas, Y'all" shirts from Sister Cayce

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 75 - Florence, SC - 12/15/14

Hey y'all!
So much has happened this past week that I don't even know where to start! I guess the best place to start is the beginning.
Sister Davis and I went to transfers last Tuesday to get our new companion and to drop Sister Dougherty off since she was going home. And here's the crazy news, Sister Gardner is our new companion! For those who don't remember, I trained Sister Gardner last year in Boiling Springs! Yeah. I'm in shock still! It's been great to be back with her and interesting to see how much our teaching styles have changed since she got out of training.
We have been so blessed in Florence by meeting a lot of people who are legitimately interested in the message of the Restoration whereas some people say that we can come in just to be nice! There was one couple in particular that we knocked into, Steve and Frankie, and it was his birthday! We sang them "Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains" for a gift and they loved it! They were so impressed that they gave us two referrals, been telling everyone about us through conversation and Facebook and they even came to church! Total miracle! They said they'd come next Sunday because we're taking part in the Christmas program in Sacrament. Yes! That's why we don't hide our talents under a bushel! Haha.
We've even had a lot of success with sharing the "He is the Gift" video with everyone! It has softened so many people's hearts! I know that this video was inspired by the Church to help others want to learn more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! #ShareTheGift with everyone!
For the moment that y'all have been waiting for, JOHN WAS BAPTIZED! I was so happy that President Turner allowed me and my companions to go back to Marion for it! It was amazing to see all of the changes that he has made to be able to be baptized into Christ's true church. Even from the week that I didn't get to see him, he looked changed (for the better, of course)! He was smiling so much and there was just this glow about him. And this Saturday, Faye will be baptized by John! It's going to be a special baptism, I'll tell you that! I just love those two so much! They are going to be a great asset to the Church!
That's about it for this week though! My first exchange is happening on Thursday so I'll let y'all know exactly what I do as a Sister Training Leader next week after I figure it out myself! Haha. Love y'all! Have a blessed week!
- Sister Amy Christensen

With John and Faye on John's baptism day!

Way to go, John!

The new Sister Training Leaders in Florence - Sister Davis, Sister Gardner (who I trained one year ago) and Sister Christensen

Cayce Blackmon was such a great support to us in the Marion Branch and
she was my mom's lifeline!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mission Rap - Bonus Post - 12/8/14

Here is a rap I wrote today.  It's good!  Someone copyright it!  (To the tune of The Fresh Prince of BelAir theme)

Sister Christensen's Mission Rap

Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down.
So I'd like to take a moment, just sit right there
And I'll tell you how I got to South Care (olina).
In Sandy, Utah I was born and raised,
Learnin' 'bout the gospel is how I spent most of my days.
Young Womens, Seminary, Mutual, Sunday School
But going on a mission didn't seem too cool.  
Then the prophet came out with the mission age change
And suddenly the mission was within my range.
My choices were clear, I had to fast and I prayed
Until I finally found that my decision was made.
The mail man pulled up to my house with my call in hand
And I ran to my mailbox as fast as I can.
I opened up the letter, God qualified my call.
Now I'm in a place where everyone says y'all.