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!