Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 29 - West Columbia, SC - 1/27/14

Greetings Family and Friends :)

This week has been probably the busiest week of my mission. I can't even believe it! It definitely helped keep us busy since we were helping out the Traveling Sisters with their area... But that's beside the point! We had so many lessons this week. Our mission has a goal of how many people we want on date, how many come to church, lessons taught with a member present, etc. each week and we hit our mission goal for lessons this week!  We taught 20 lessons (Member presents, other lessons and less-active/recent converts)! I've only done this one other time on my mission so Sister Manning and I feel pretty accomplished right now!

We had Stake Conference this week and it was excellent! It was all about Hastening the Work again! It was so good! It was interesting because our stake president actually did more like a Q & A during his message. He had the youth who were there share their experiences of doing missionary work! I loved it! Then on Sunday we had a broadcast for all of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina where General Authorities spoke to us about keeping commandments and hastening the work. Elder Nelson spoke and he's kind of the greatest. One of my favorite things he said was "If Elder Uchtdorf can tell airplane stories, I can tell heart stories!" Classic.

My investigators have been doing great and we're going to have 2 baptisms this week! K (9 year old girl) was interviewed to be baptized yesterday and she was cleared! She's the cutest little girl! She remembers everything we teach her! She loves the way we taught the 10 commandments to her. I'll take pictures of how we taught her and send them home next week! They are excellent!

T is still doing well! We had to teach her some more last night about tithing and the Sabbath day so she could be interviewed tomorrow. It turns out that she still remembers the stuff that she was taught a few years ago so she could have been interviewed yesterday! Oh well! It's better to be safe than sorry, right? But get this, T invited her neighbor to sit in on the lesson last night and her neighbor is now interested! T's doing missionary work and she's not even a member yet. This is golden.

Well, the West Columbia area is booming and is ready for the gospel! We have been seeing so many blessings in the people we teach! I know that when we work hard, are obedient and love the people, the Lord will bless us with people to teach and to help enter the waters of baptism! I've seen it so much this last week! I'm excited to keep the good work up! #BaptizeWestCola. Have a blessed week! I love y'all!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 28 - West Columbia, SC - January 20, 2014

Wow. This week just flew on by! I really don't even know where the time went! It seemed like it was just P-Day a few days ago! I won't complain about time flying though because when the time's going by fast, you know that you're doing something right.

On Tuesday, we had our specialized training with President and Sister Holm! *Spoiler Alert* No iPads. At least President told us that they are coming but even he doesn't know when. Basically a General Authority is going to come to the mission and be like "Hey. Here are your iPads." Then there will be much rejoicing in South Carolina! The next time a General Authority will be coming our way is in March. So maybe the iPads will be a birthday present to me ;) It was a good meeting though. We just went over a bunch of policies and procedures and then we got out to work for the rest of the evening.

We've had a lot of really cool successes lately though. This week, we got a call from Bishop saying "Hey! I have a baptism for you!" This eight year old kid was interviewed by the Bishop for baptism and his non-member dad said "I'd like to get baptized."  He's actually been taught by the missionaries before but he wasn't ready to give up tea and smoking at the time. Now he is! I'm so excited to be teaching him! We're going to be going over the 15 Step program to stop smoking with him this week so I'll keep you updated on that!

So we've been teaching this lady, T for the last week and a half. She's one of the Elders' old investigators and she is so awesome! She has been taking the discussions for like two years I think. But guess what? She's getting baptized! She kicked out her boyfriend last Monday and we put her on date for the 8th of February. Then we found out that the building is going to be in use for some public relations seminar like all that weekend... So we bumped her up a week! She's ready to be baptized! We see her on a daily basis to make sure that she's staying strong because she has a lot of financial struggles that make her want to invite her ex-boyfriend back to live with her. We have to reassure her that everything will be alright without him though. It's been a roller coaster but we love working with her!

Something that's different about being in the city is we see a bunch of people all the time that recognize us as sister missionaries! That never happened in Boiling Springs. We went to the zoo today and we had like four people come up to us and say "Hi Sisters!" I thought they were from the ward but really they're just some friendly members! I love it!

Yesterday I was asked to talk for like 5 minutes on member missionary work... And guess who else just so happened to be speaking in our ward? President and Sister Holm. So was that intimidating? Absolutely. But I love them! I'm glad I had the opportunity to speak with them!

Well that's all I have for this week! I love y'all! Have a blessed week! Stay warm! I know I sure am as it's like 65 degrees here today! I'm loving it!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Sis. Christensen and Sis. Manning at Riverbanks Zoo

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 27 - West Columbia, SC - 1/13/14

Hey y’all –

Last P-Day, Bishop and Sister Fore took us to this Japanese Steakhouse to celebrate me leaving. Hahah. Well it was kind of the best. I mean this is the type of place where the chefs come prepare the food right in front of you. It was the first time that I've ever been to a place like that and I loved it! Bishop and Sister Fore told everyone that it was my birthday for some reason... But it was awesome because the steakhouse has this tradition that the chef will flip a small ball of rice with his spatula into the birthday person's mouth. Since it was my "birthday," I got to participate in that challenge. Guess what? I totally made it in my mouth! Another member of our ward was there and he recorded it all on his iPhone. I told him to email it to me when he could so I'll forward it to y'all when I get it. It was great! (My brother) Aaron would be proud of me.

And it's true. I'm out of Boiling Springs now. It's kind of sad. I loved that little area of mine and the people as well. It was pretty much my baby. I mean I was there since the beginning. But I had to leave. We went to transfers on Wednesday and I'm now in the polar opposite of where I've been serving for 1/3 of my mission... I'm now serving in West Columbia! I'm in the city again! I about had a heart attack when I saw how many buildings there are! Hahaha. Sad but true. My new companion is Sister Manning. She's from ID and she came out the same time as Sister Gardner. We get along pretty well right now! I enjoy being her companion anyway. It is a little weird though because I'm living with other sisters... And the other sisters just so happen to be the Traveling Sisters (The Sisters' version of AP). So that has been interesting but I'm excited to learn from them!

Get this. Our area just got a lot bigger because they made our elders biking elders. They took away their car so we gained a lot of people which has been great! And my first full two days out here we saw tons of miracles! We put four people on date! We're working with this less-active/part member family, the D’s - their daughter K accepted a baptismal date. Then we put this mother and daughter, A and D on date. And last but not least, we put T on date as well. We're so excited for all of them! We'll be meeting with them more this week so I'll let y'all know how that goes! We also had like five investigators at church yesterday which is apparently rare for this area so we have been extremely blessed this week!

We talked with Bishop Delpriore in Ward Council yesterday and he told us that 77% of our ward is less-active... 77%! He told us that number and my jaw literally dropped. We have our work cut out for us in this area and I'm just pumped to get to work! We're going to be reactivating like crazy!

Also we've had flash flood warnings two days in a row. Like to the point where our Zone Leaders were giving us texts saying that we had permission to be inside if we felt unsafe. We continued to go out and work because we've been booked with appointments. It's been crazy though. Mom, you'd be proud of me because I've been driving in this craziness and I've been doing well with it... Even though I was basically driving in a river but that's neither here nor there! We were safe and our car is still intact!

That's all I got for this week! I'm excited to see what this week has in store for us! We have a specialized training tomorrow but I have no idea what it'd be for... iPads maybe? Hahah. I can only hope, right? Anyway, I love y'all! Have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Me with my new companion, Sister Manning

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 26 - Inman/Boiling Springs - 1/6/14

Happy New Year family and friends! I can't believe 2013 is gone and 2014 is here! My goodness. Time has just flown by!

So much has happened this week and I don't even know where to start! Well... I guess I can start with New Year's Eve! It was pretty much a party! Sister Gardner and I got to party it up with the I’s and M’s for the first part of the night and then we moved on to the K's house for the rest of the night for a big party they had for the ward! It was pretty awesome! The best part about New Year's? Definitely the package that my family sent to me. They literally sent me a party in a box! It was filled with noise makers, "Happy New Year" headbands and necklaces, Martinelli’s, cheese and crackers, and cans of silly string. Holy cow! We had way too much fun! Just check out the pictures if you don't believe me! Thank you so much for the package and the good memories that we have associated with it :)

This week we also went on exchanges! I went with Sister Jones and get this! She's from Sandy, Utah. When she said that I was like “NO WAY!”  She went to Jordan High and knows all of the people I know from there. That was pretty crazy... But awesome! I loved it! I actually learned a lot from her! We taught a ton of lessons that day which was good because my goal for the exchange was to teach by the Spirit better. For all 4 of the lessons, I had to teach by the Spirit because going in to every single lesson, Sister Jones told me that they've taught them a lot of the basic lessons and she wasn't quite sure what their investigator needed to hear today. I was freaking out a little bit but I had to pay attention to the Spirit for those lessons. It was a good lesson that I learned!

We met our companions back up at ZTM the next day and it was a great meeting. It gave me a spiritual slap in the head. It helped me get back on track, not that I was super off track... I just needed that spiritual boost to help me be the best missionary I can be. It was a lot of stuff that I needed to hear for sure.

As for our investigators... Yeah. They're doing alright. We received this referral from the Spanish Elders for this guy, D who is super cool! He was very enthusiastic and everything about the gospel makes sense to him. We committed him to come to church along with the S’s and the M’s. Speaking of which, we finally got to see the S’s and Sister M this week. With both families, I felt like we got them back on track for teaching because we didn't see them for like 2 weeks. Well none of them came to church unfortunately. Better luck next week I guess!

On Saturday, we got transfer calls. And I'm leaving Boiling Springs. Oh my goodness. I can't believe it! I'm kind of excited to leave but I'm also very sad. I've put a lot of hard work into this area, especially since I opened it with my trainer and I love the people so much! I actually didn't want to tell anyone at church yesterday because I knew I'd just cry. But then Bishop Fore came up to me and was like "Is this a bad week?" I was like “... Yeah.” So I told the people who asked me if I was leaving but I was leaving it at that. Then at the end of church, everyone was coming up to me thanking me for serving in the Boiling Springs ward. That's when the water works began. Then even more people were coming up to me because they noticed I was crying. My goodness! It was so embarrassing. I don't like to cry in front of people and now that's like everyone's last impression of me. Hahah. I just love this area and the people so much. I'm very sad to be leaving. As of right now, I don't know where I'm going next. We don't know until we get to the transfer meeting so I'll find out on Wednesday! What I do know is that I'm not going to be training or a Sister Training Leader! I'm kind of happy for that! I just need a normal missionary experience. I really think it will benefit me as a missionary.

Well that's a pretty big cliff hanger to leave you on! Hahah. Also it's my 6 month mark this week! I'm already 1/3 of the way done with my mission! I can't believe it! This has gone by so fast! Anyway I love y'all! Have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Happy New Year from Boiling Springs!

Post silly string fight... Sister Gardner clearly won.

Clink! Thanks for the Martinelli’s :)

Me and Sister Gardner eating bamboo (Yes, I said bamboo) at the S's!

The Boiling Springs District! Elders Willie, Peterson, Cutler, Goodspeed, Fastle and Call, Sisters Gardner and Christensen

I found this on! I love it!

Also this. I was totally pioneering the way in Inman. Holy cow. I'm finding some good stuff on today!