Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 59 - Latta, SC - 8/25/14

Hello Family and Friends :)

It's been a crazy week here in Marion, SC! Mostly because it's the "dog days." I never really knew what the dog days were, even last summer because it was an unusually cool summer... But now I know. It has been extremely hot and humid. The mosquitoes are out like crazy! But apparently this last week was the hottest week of the year. It was in the 100's with the heat index and today it's in the high 70s/low 80s. No complaints here! But now I see why Florence + The Machine made a song about the dog days being over. It's kind of an exciting thing!

I don't know what it was about this week, but it was kind of a hard week. We were knocking and trying to see potentials/investigators but not having much luck especially toward the beginning of the week... But out of nowhere on Thursday, we started meeting all these people and having all these lessons! It was truly a miracle that happened "after the trial of [my] faith" (Ether 12:6).

I'll tell you a story from this last week! Sister Parker and I were about 7 miles away from home when we realized we forgot our junior area book (which has all of the addresses of people we go to visit) at home. We've been really low on our miles so we didn't want to go and get it especially since we planned to be in that area the whole day. It was pretty frustrating... But we decided to do what we could by memory and then go home for dinner. As we were out walking, we were both kicking ourselves for forgetting junior and I suddenly had the hymn, "Count Your Blessings" come to mind. So Sister Parker and I counted our blessings as we walked down streets and up to doors. It was amazing how fast that changed our attitudes! It shows that the Lord will truly bless us as we show him how grateful we are for the little things in life.

This past week, Elder Bednar gave a talk in BYU Education Week called "To Sweep the Earth as if a Flood." If you haven't had the chance to listen/read it, I want to invite you to do so now! I printed it up last week and it was amazing! He talks about how we can use technology to hasten the work. It makes me so excited to use social media when I get home to help people know more about the gospel! Here's the link and be sure to hashtag #ShareGoodness :)

Anyway, I've got to get going! I love y'all! I hope you have a blessed week! Write me some letters ;)

- Sister Amy Christensen

The front license plate says "American by Birth." But I heard on an "I'm a Mormon" video something that completes that quote... "American by birth, Southern by the grace of God."

From sweat (walking around all day in 100+ degree weather) . . .

To wet (running out in a flash flood and standing at our investigator's house for literally a minute... he didn't answer)!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 58 - Latta, SC - 8/18/14

Buenos dias! How're y'all doing? This week has been pretty good! We had some great things happen but not too much to report on so I'm not sure how long this email will be!

First we had exchanges... again... and I again stayed in Marion. I don't think I'll ever go to another area for an exchange! Hahah. But Sister Dougherty (My STL) and I had a great time here in Marion! We found this guy, R and he's totally elect! He knows like half of our branch and said he'd be willing to come to church! After we found that out, we invited him to be baptized on September 6th and he accepted! He even came to church on Sunday! The branch members were fellowshipping him perfectly! Hopefully we'll have another baptism coming up shortly.

Later in the week, Sister Parker and I did a 15 Step to Stop Smoking lesson and the lady, C committed to every step (which is super important). She didn't have any cigarettes or lighters to take away... So we took her ash tray. That's the first time someone actually let me take their ash tray so that's kind of a great feat!

So time for the news that y'all are waiting for... BROTHER J WAS BAPTIZED! Cue victory dance! Sister Parker and I were so excited! Brother J was just one of the most elect and most prepared people I've ever run into. R, our recent convert, did a great job baptizing him! We were so proud of both of them!

So yesterday, we were waiting for Brother J to come to church... It was 9:45 and I was starting to get worried that he wouldn't show up... Then it was 9:55 and he still wasn't there... Then at 9:59, literally the last minute, he showed up! I was pacing in front of the church. Haha. I'm sure it was all because I prayed for patience the night before...

After church, we saw Brother J and he was like "I feel great!" But apparently there was more to it than just him having the gift of the Holy Ghost! I guess he was interviewed and the ordained him to be a priest in the priesthood meeting as well! No one even told us! We were shocked! But he's so excited for all of this! He's just so great!

And as if that's not good enough... There's some more great news! To give you a back story, our mission sends out baptism/confirmation texts every Sunday night of the people who were baptized throughout the mission and guess what? W R FROM WEST COLUMBIA WAS BAPTIZED THIS WEEKEND TOO! Sister Parker and I were screaming! I was so happy. It reminded me of Alma 29:14. Sure I wasn't there for the baptism, but someone I taught and came to love had finally got baptized! I was happy that Sister Johnson and her new companion were able to help him enter the waters of baptism!

Pretty good week, eh? Oh by the way! Yesterday in Sunday School, we were talking about appropriate Sunday activities so we can still keep the Sabbath Day holy... One of the activities was writing to missionaries. Just throwing that out there ;) Well that's it for now. I hope y'all have a blessed week! Love y'all!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Taking away the ashtray!

Us, Brother J, S and R (S and R have been members since March) - R performed the baptism.

Post-baptism selfie!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 57 - Latta, SC - 8/11/14

Hello Family and Friends!

It's been a great week here in Marion! I'll start out with one of our funnier stories. But before I tell you that story... I need to give you a preface. When we teach the Restoration, there's always a distraction that happens when we recite the First Vision, whether it be a cell phone or a child acting up. That's not even a joke. It probably happens 9 out of 10 times. We contacted this lady, M, just the other week and we went to appointment to teach her the Restoration on Thursday. Well we were literally about to recite the First Vision. I said "We'd like to use [Joseph's] own words to describe the experience..." Then a car pulled up and she was like "Oh that's my ride to the doctor's!" and just up and left! We didn't get to end with a prayer or get a return appointment or anything! We left the house with our jaws dropped. That was the most extreme distraction ever! But all we could do was laugh. Crazy.

Brother J is still doing fantastic! He's been to church twice and has been interviewed for baptism! He will be baptized this week! We are looking forward to it - especially because one of our recent converts, R accepted the invitation to baptized him! R and his wife, S were so excited when we asked him last night! We think that it will be a great opportunity for him. Anyway, please keep praying for Brother J! He's been amazing!

We also had a great day at church yesterday! We had 2 investigators there - M, who ran out before the First Vision, and Brother J - and R and S came with their family which was the first time that they've come as a family since I've been here! It was a total blessing! We were some happy sister missionaries!

Then after church, Sister Parker and I went over to S and R's house to clarify some things that were said in Sunday School yesterday. We had the most spiritual lesson ever with them about the Sacrament and about getting S and R to the temple! We were almost in tears because of how much the Spirit was there. We promised them a very specific blessing in order to get them to the temple by next March. They're going to make it! I just know it!

After we finished planning last night, we got a call from President Turner. He asked for me and I was scared that he was going to ask me to be emergency transferred especially since we had all these great events happening! But then he said "Your mother called me..." I knew that Grandma had passed away. It was really pretty sad but at the same time, I felt peace. I knew that Grandma was suffering and that it was time for her to go. The funny thing is on Saturday, we taught Brother J about eternal marriage. I explained to him about Grandma's situation and how I knew my family was being blessed for Grandma and Grandpa's righteous decision to be sealed in the temple. After he said "Well I know that through the temple, I won't have to worry so much about my family then." I realized the same is for us. We don't have to worry because of the knowledge we have of the Plan of Salvation. I know that we will see Grandma again and she will be perfected. I look forward to that day when we will all be reunited and see the blessings of a temple marriage.

Well that's it for this week! I love y'all! You're the best! I hope y'all have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Found this in the mailbox on Saturday! The best!

We love rainy Sundays! (And by rainy, I mean flash flood!)

I was basically in a jungle. No big deal, as the kids say!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 56 - Latta, SC - 8/4/14

My dear family and friends!

It's strange how fast weeks go when you're on a mission. It seems like I was just emailing y'all just yesterday! But I won't even complain about that!

This whole week, I feel like I've been working on a farm because the Weatherford’s (who are members in our ward and they do so much for us) went out of town and they asked us to take care of their dogs, water some of their crops and pick okra from them. It was a lot of fun but we woke up early every morning and ran to their house (which is about half a mile away) to do all of it so we wouldn't take time out of our proselyting. I realized that I still hate running... But I did it anyway because we love them and they already do so much for us! Luckily we don't have to do that again.

We've still been working with Brother Josh. We just finished teaching him lesson 4 yesterday and reviewed the baptismal interview questions with him! He's doing great! We still have lesson 5 to go over with him since the First Presidency has made that change in our missionary teaching a little over a month ago. But he's still solid and ready to be baptized on August 16th. He's definitely the fastest person I've ever taught! He's just elect! Please continue to keep him in your prayers!

So this week, our branch president called us and told us that there was a recent convert who just moved into our area. He is this Asian guy named William. The address he gave us was for the Japanese restaurant in town. We figured we'd give it a try and see if William was there. When we walked in, the guy taking orders saw our name tags and was like "Oh! I'm member!" He has a really strong accent but he's the sweetest guy! We love him already! He's been a member for about two months and hasn't received the priesthood yet. We're definitely going to be working with him on that!

Well we got transfer calls on Saturday night and *drum roll please* neither of us are being transferred! Wahoo! We'll be in Marion together for the next 6 weeks! Crazy how fast those 6 weeks went by! It might have been the fastest transfer of my mission! Well four more transfers to go!

Before I go, I wanted to share with y'all something that I learned in my personal study yesterday. I was reading in Alma 62 and I loved verse 4. It was talking about Moroni and how he "did raise the standard of liberty in whatsoever place he did enter." I know that applies to us today. While we are out in the world, we can live our lives in a way where our "standard of liberty" is raised anywhere we go! I know that as we live the way our Heavenly Father wants us to, people will want to know Him through the way we live!

Anyway, I've got to get going! I love y'all! Have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Nothing finer than celebrating Harry Potter's birthday with some ice cream!

Me with Sister Jackson. She's a 96 year old lady in our branch and still kicking!