Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 64 - Latta, SC - 9/29/14

Hey y'all!

How's everything going? I'm just going to forewarn you, it wasn't all too eventful of a week...but it was still a great week, nonetheless!

First off, we had exchanges on Tuesday and Wednesday! I left went to Florence with Sister Dougherty this transfer! It was way neat! I forgot what it was like to work in a ward and to work in a city! I've missed seeing sidewalks and street lamps! Hahah. I learned a lot especially about what we can do to help the area out. The Florence ward has been booming with baptisms so I asked what the big secret is... And I found out. They go out and find the people who are ready for the gospel and they particularly focus on finding families to teach instead of just single people. That's definitely something that we can improve on.

To go along with that, we've been cleaning out our area book. In Marion especially, people move houses and change numbers like it's going out of style so we've been visiting with formers and potentials to see if they are truly interested in our message. That way we're able to separate the wheat from the tare because ain't nobody (Yup. I'm using Southern slang now) want to harvest tares when they could harvest wheat! It's going to take us some time but Sister Parker and I are bound and determined to leave the area better than when we found it.

The General Women's Broadcast on Saturday was fantastic! One of the things that I love about Conference time is that I know that everyone around the world can hear this message from my family in Utah to me in South Carolina to Cody in England! It's just a neat way that we can all connect! I definitely felt that connection on Saturday! Also Stacee was there with us and I felt like every message was meant just for her! It was amazing!

One thing that Sister Parker and I have decided to do, which was inspired by the General Women's Broadcast is to memorize "The Living Christ" by Christmas time! As I was reading through it yesterday, I saw a scripture that I haven't seen for a while. In D&C 76:22, the Prophet Joseph Smith says "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!" I love that it's as simple as that! I know that Christ lives! He is the head of our church and we have a prophet on the earth today, President Monson who is literally His mouth piece. We are so blessed for this opportunity we have to listen to our prophet's voice this weekend!

With conference coming up, I would like to invite all y'all to think of a few questions that you'd like to have answered and write them down. As you go into this conference weekend, pay close attention to the Spirit and I know that the Spirit will help you answer these questions.

Well that's it for this week! I love y'all! Have a blessed week and a wonderful time watching General Conference :)

- Sister Amy Christensen

Nothing like ending the night with hot chocolate and oatmeal cream pies :)

First off, thanks for the new journal, Mom and Dad! Second off, this was when I finally got caught up in my journal after at least 6 months! Woot, woot, double woot!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 63 - Latta, SC - 9/22/14

Hello Family and Friends :)

First off, I'd just like to say "Happy Fall, Y'all!" It's the first day of Fall and it sure feels like it! It's been in the high 70's and we're happy about that! So much better than the high 90's we were having a few weeks ago!

We've met with J a few times this week and he has been awesome! The spirit was so strong in the Restoration! The new senior couple, the Johnston’s, came with us and even they were amazed by the spirit there. Then we taught the Plan of Salvation and that went well too! He has a lot of deep questions about it! Hopefully he'll find his answers as he reads the Book of Mormon. We've invited him to be baptized but he says that he won't commit until he finishes the Book of Mormon. Totally respectable. On Friday, he told us he's on Alma 33!

This week, S decided to go cold turkey from some past addictions. This has been a huge step for her so we've been making sure to go over nearly every day to help her out. Most of the days, we were just reading scriptures with her but one day, she let us help her clean up her house! We were so excited to do some service! We don't get to do that much so it was great :)

Church was great yesterday! First off, Sister Parker and I got to speak together... literally. The 1st counselor of the branch presidency asked us to teach the Plan of Salvation to the congregation. It was kind of weird... But it went really well! We were pleased with how it went! I also don't know if I've told y'all this but Brother J has been passing the sacrament these past few weeks! Then R blessed the sacrament for the first time yesterday! It makes a missionary proud to see those things happen!

This week has been kind of an odd week... I've been chased by more crazy dogs and had more people try to "bible bash" us this week than probably my entire mission! I won't lie, it been a little hard to handle (especially out running the dogs! Ha ha). But it's reminded me of a quote in Preach My Gospel, "Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand." Throughout my mission, I've realized that we aren't here to bash but to help people come to know the truth of this message. As I boldly make my stand, without being overbearing or contentious, it's made my testimony even stronger! It's been a very eye opening experience for me!

Well that's it for this week! I hope y'all have a blessed week! Love y'all :)

- Sister Amy Christensen

Me and Sister Parker with Sis. Phyliss Blackmon from the Marion Branch

Me with my food from Little Tokyo! Notice the chopsticks! Totally ate with them!

Yes . . . yes, He does!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 62 - Latta, SC - 9/15/14

Good Morning Everyone :)

Well I hope y'all have a bowl of popcorn ready and are sitting down because this email is one for the books!

First off, this week started off kind of rough. Our appointments were falling through, no one was answering the door, nothing. On Wednesday, a quote from one of Cody's emails came to mind when I wanted to quit. "What are we doing to deserve miracles?" I figured that going back to the car wasn't going to help us so we kept working. Later that night, we had an appointment with a potential investigator, J. Previously we knocked into him, gave him a Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment. When we got there for the appointment, he had just pulled up in his yard. He said "Listen, I have good news and bad news. The good news is I'm alive! ... And I've read about half of that book! The bad news is I have to reschedule because I just got sunburnt at work and all I want to do is sleep. But what happened to the Lamanites?" My jaw dropped! It was a miracle nonetheless! Our hard work paid off! We rescheduled and went back. We had a 45 minute lesson and when we told him we had to go, he said "Wait... That's it? I only get 45 minutes?!" We have another appointment with him tomorrow and he said that he wants to finish the Book of Mormon by then. Total miracle.

Also here's a scary story for y'all! Sister Parker totally passed out. We were out knocking and I go to put a pass along card in the door of someone who didn't answer. Well I turn around and I see Sister Parker kneeling and leaning up against the house we were at then all the sudden, she passed out. It was so scary mostly because it took me back to 13 months ago when I passed out... I was freaking out and then all the sudden I had the thought to do what I would have wanted to be done when I passed out, so I got the car and we went home for a little bit for her to rest. Luckily she doesn't have as many "battle scars" as I do from passing out. She's totally fine now though and we've been joking about it for the past few days. I'm grateful that she's had a good attitude about it!

So get this, we just got another senior couple in the branch! So now we have not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 sets of missionaries here! I didn't even think about how big of a deal it was until we saw R and S last night and S was like "Why aren't people announcing that there are 8 missionaries in our branch? Do they not know how big of a deal it is?" It's pretty neat to think about!

I also finished The Book of Mormon for the 4th time on my mission. This time took me a bit longer to study because I was studying "Because of Him." I've been reading it since Easter so I'm glad to have finished it. It was cool to read because I found out how much is possible because of Jesus Christ. I know that He is the reason for everything and that because of Him, I have this wonderful gospel to share with South Carolina!

Now for the moment that we've all been waiting for. I hope everyone's sitting down for this! Transfer calls... Sister Parker and I are staying together for another transfer in Marion! That'll be 4 1/2 months together! Our minds were blown! We were expecting for one of us to leave! And if that's not enough, the elders in our branch aren't leaving either! We'll all be together for 3 transfers at least. Man. I still can't get over it. I'm happy though! I know that Sister Parker and I have some great things to accomplish this transfer! We're just going to work hard so we can see all the miracles that God has in store for us!

Well that's enough mind blowing news for this week! I love y'all! Write me a letter or something! Have a blessed week :)

- Sister Amy Christensen

Check out my new planner! It's pretty great! (on the left is a photo of Sister & Elder Christensen's missionary plaques hanging side by side at our church)

Me and Sister Parker after the Stake Relief Society activity about the 10 Virgins

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 61 - Latta, SC - 9/8/14

Hello everyone :) It's been a pretty good week in Marion! Nothing that Sister Parker and I can complain about, that's for sure!

We had ZTM this week and it was kind of an... interesting one. Mostly because our trainings were about district leaders and one training was about how sisters can have appropriate, non-awkward phone calls with their district leaders. It was kind of funny mostly because it totally happens. It was a good meeting but the trainings were very unique!

We've been doing a lot of finding lately. And by "a lot", I mean a ton! We are trying to find new people to teach but we keep finding people who aren't quite ready for the gospel yet. But we keep going! We know that our area is ready to baptize now! There's actually a quote by an apostle that says there are five people who are ready to be baptized in your area every day! Those five people can change from day to day but we just need to go out and find them! And that's what we're trying to do :)

But we do have some people that we're currently working with! One is R. She is the sister of a recent convert who was baptized last year and then passed away a short time after that. She's really sweet and totally understands what we're teaching her! We've taught her the first two lessons and she's on date to be baptized on the 27th of this month! She wasn't able to come to church this week though because of some health problems unfortunately...

And then there's M. We've been working with her for about a month to a month and a half. She's very elect. She's come to church twice already and she says she knows that The Book of Mormon is true! We've taught her the first three lessons, tithing (Because she had some questions about it) and the Word of Wisdom. We invited her again to be baptized last night but she said she's not ready yet. She has a history of finding a church she likes, joining it and then not going back. So we're just trying to help her become more comfortable with the church. Please keep her in your prayers!

You know, I love being a missionary! I love it so much! I've had a lot of great experiences with a lot of great people! At church yesterday, we had some members thank us for the visits and how much it meant to them. It really made me feel like everything I've been through, good or bad, on the mission has been worth it. I know that I'm here for a reason and it's great to be able to feel like I'm accomplishing my purpose - whether it's with members or nonmembers.

I love y'all! Keep on looking for missionary experiences! I know that y'all will be blessed for helping the Lord hasten His work! Have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

I live in the smallest house in the mission!

Sister Hathaway, Sister Simmons, Sister Parker and me after our long drive from Florence for ZTM.

We totally made cinnamon flop last night after planning! It turned out pretty well :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 60 - Latta, SC - 9/2/14

Hello Family and Friends! Happy Tuesday! I'm always Feeling Good when I get to email on Tuesdays, although it completely throws off my week! I hope everyone had a good Labor Day though :) I know I sure did! We didn't do anything too eventful but I did get to take a nap! Pretty exciting day, huh?

This week has been amazing! We had a ton of members come out with us this week and it has really made all the difference in our missionary work! One of the families that we're working with completely opened up after we brought members to the past two lessons! I think since I've been in a branch and haven't had a ton of members available to come out with us, I've forgotten how big of a difference that members can truly make... it's amazing!

So we had some big news this week! We had Zone Conference and President Turner proposed an idea to us - he wanted to lower our annual goal for baptisms and confirmations from 1000 to 720! He said that in the past two years, we have baptized around 600 people so he thought that we could make our goal a little more realistic for us to hit. He showed us the numbers of how we could reach our new goal of 60 baptisms a month and it all made sense! It was actually relieving to me for our goal to be lowered. It suddenly became more attainable for us to hit that and it's helped us as missionaries a ton! We're super excited to be goal setters and goal hitters!

Sister Parker and I had a lot of teaching opportunities this week! We were asked to help teach seminary (but none of the kids came, unfortunately...), do a training in Zone Conference, and teach the Restoration with the Elders for a member fireside! It's been a little bit stressful but a great experience! I actually haven't had to give a training in Zone Conference or Zone Training Meetings (ZTM) since my very first ZTM so that was exciting to do! It was also just a 4 minute training on Teach People, Not Lessons. It went really well! We were proud of ourselves!

Then our fireside on Sunday was great! During church, President Cabaniss told us that he was thinking about cancelling the fireside because no one was coming. We told him that Brother Josh was planning on coming so he decided not to cancel it. Well, that afternoon, we were preparing to have a discussion with Brother J, but then we got to the building and we ended up having about 15 people there! It was amazing! The turnout was great so we were really happy with that!

Well that's about it for this week! It's been a good one! And guess what? I survived July and August! Although everyone says those are the hottest months, it's still in the 90’s plus the humidity this week... Just keep me in your prayers ;) I love y'all! I hope you have a blessed week!

- Sister Amy Christensen

Us with our SC cups that the Weatherfords gave us as a thank you for feeding her dogs and picking their okra.

Sister Parker and I after Zone Conference

Super Southern way of drinking. Pepsi in a can with a straw. Gotta love it!