Monday, August 25, 2014

 Hey everyone!

This week has been a good one. 

but not terribly exciting? or maybe not to me anymore.  I kind of forget what used to be exciting or different when it happens like every day. so

My companion is cool.  Her name is Sister Grace Gochnour, she's from Holiday Utah, and she is a super cute missionary.  like actually, she makes me look like a cat in a potato sack but I just blame it on being 16 months. She loves her family and Playing Soccer, and doing regular people things, and she also loves being a missionary.  It really is a magnificent calling, being able to surrender your time and talents to serving in God's kingdom, being able to help those around us as much as we possibly can, even if that influence is limited to just a smile or a welcome hello. 

New Glasgow is pretty awesome.  It's a little Nova Scotia town that has a lot of history and is a great peaceful place to live.  The people here are nice, or I'm sure they would be if they were not terrified to talk to missionaries 95 percent of the time.  It's actually kind of funny how fast people will walk to avoid us, and I have heard more unique ways to blow us off than in any other Provence. I guess that is what happens when religion is a taboo subject, and everything people read on the internet paints us to be soul sucking demons. really, when was reading un-sourced webpages ever a creditable way to learn anything about anything? let alone mormons, it doesn't work for law, it doesn't work for university, it doesn't work to learn a trade, it doesn't work for anything else, why would people assume that they could just look up some u-tube videos and know everything about it? rediculous. but I digress. 

So I learned that there was a documentary coming out about families that happen to be mormon and looked at a few comments to find that my irritation is pretty much common for the rest of the world. ignorant people saying rude and ignorant things. but if that were the only offence then it would be fine, but people seem to be amazingly stubborn to believe that if they do happen to believe in god, then he does not speak on any subject today.  that somehow when they do find information, then that closes all the arguments and all decisions are final.  have you ever asked him about it? have you ever imagined that largely what we read and see today is unconcrete and all product of human efforts, inspired or uninspired?  If there really is a story about God then why is it surprising that he might be a valid source to seek from on such a subject?  ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.  that works, every time. whereas the internet probably works only 50% of the time in best circumstances, and when discussing mormonism, probably only 10% of the time.  there is a lot of garbage, said by a lot of people. 

but anyway. so we did find some new investigators who decided that they trusted the internet more than God. and then we didn't have any new invstigators anymore. fun times.  I'm not bitter.

sigh.  The best way to share the Gospel is by loving people.  even when they are irritating.  so you have to teach yourself to be patient and not irritated, because this is not my work, it's God's work, and though I may not see any results of my efforts while I'm here. I still have to love these people, so that they will have softened hearts for someone else who comes after us.  Without experiences with members of the church that are happy and joyful, no one will have reason to want to know more about us, no matter how good our message is. they will not feel the Spirit of the Lord testify of the truthfulness of this work, if their hearts are hardened because we don't show them that we love them, and really that that is an expression of God's love for them.  so basically I've just resolved to love the crap out of people.  and surprisingly that makes everything a lot easier. 

so I hope you all have a good week, that you are blessed with happiness and success, and that you have a minute to talk to God. 

Love you all

Sister Christensen

Monday, August 18, 2014

So he's murried.  Congratulations!  the pictures look fun and like everyone was happy, which was my greatest hope.  that is good. 

this week was pretty good.  It was kind of weird saying goodbye to Presque Isle after so long, really bittersweet.  The good thing is that we spent most of our time trying to get everything ready for the sisters to follow us. so ots of finding, checking referrals, and refining the paperwork.  there were some goodbye moments, but we made sure to share lessons or messages every stop.  We will teach you the gospel! rawr.  so that kept me focused, and really I was kind of ready to go somewhere else.  there was one moment when sister Renda and I had a conversation about how long it has been since I've been on a plane. funny times.  I will probably get on a lot of planes when I have the freedom to again. It's weird to be in someplace longer than you have ever been in a dorm away from home.  It feels like I live in presque Isle, that I'm only on vacation to New Glasgow and at some point I'll go back and go to church in caribou.  maybe someday. 

New Glasgow is really good though.  people are friendly, and there's a concentration of people from the Isles across the sea, like Scotland and Ireland, so every once in a while we get an awesome accent and that is fun.  the branch is pretty small, and I love all the quirky people, they're so welcoming.  I love being back in a place where it's small, but you can tell that there is a lot of strength in all the members, because they're all converts and there is no place for them to hide, so they all just shine bright even though they're reserved in personality and would easily seclude themselves to the back row in other situations.  It's cool to see how service of their fellowmen has made them strong and intelligent as to things pertaining to righteousness, it's awesome. 

our appartment is has some character though.  It has been housing Elders probably since this mission started, so there are alot of weird random things everywhere, and lots of broken stuff. hopefully I can get permission to replace a couple of things because woof!  MEN. that's all I'm saying. 

we also made a fruit fly trap because they are coming out of the walls it feels like, by putting a banana in a tuppleware and using plastic wrap to poke holes in the top to catch them.  they walk through the holes but can't remember when they get inside and are trapped.  WE CAUGHT A CRAP TON OF THEM IT WAS DISGUSTING!  but because I found it fascinating I was watching them go in and then one of them finally figured out how to walk out.  so after a few hours they can do it, but for the most part ingenious. 

so there you go. 

I love reading Chapter 1 of Preach my Gospel.  It's my saving grace. and it's all really simple but super inspiring to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ really has a profound effect on who we are!  I particularly love the part on the Gospel blesses families. 

"The message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ makes it possible for families to be united now and in eternity. By living the principles of the gospel, families can experience peace, joy, and sense of belonging and identity in this life. Through the light of the gospel, families can resolve misunderstandings, contentions,and challenges. Families torn by discord can be healed through repentance, forgiveness, and faith in the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families  are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer,repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities”"

How much good could we do if we worked every day to incorperate fogiveness in our lives?  how much better would our families be if we just spent time listening to each other? How much easier would it be to love one another if we studied the scriptures and shared what we learned together each day?  I know that the spirit would be stronger in our lives, I've felt it impressed upon me each time I study this section. 

I love you all you boobs.  have a good week.

Sister Christensen

Monday, August 4, 2014

hey so

this week was pretty good.  It's always hard to sum up what has happened in a week. so...


what did I enjoy? we had an awesome dinner appointment with our bishop's family this week.  They are just amazing examples to me. Bishop freeman is a convert of probably 15 or so years, has six kids and an amazing wife.  Sister freeman and he both went on missions, and they both grew up in maryland.  they are pretty much always happy, they hardly ever raise their voices, andshe homeschools all six kids, and it gets better, without them being weird!  the best thing about our dinner appointment was that most of our time was talking to their kids, they carry on conversations without being shy or weird, and we answered riddles the whole time. they were just normal active kids! maybe shouldn't be a huge surprise to me, but let's just say, it was. I've met lots of families who are good families, but have a lot of behavior issues, and mostly i find just because the influence of our world is poisonous. It doesn't always have to do with parenting, but the things that are freely shown on our tv's as "cartoons" teach against moral values, and provide meaningless quick pleasure highs that kids and adults seem to think must be how their life should be. shows that are mildly funny, but illustrate dysfunctional communication and little diligence and patience set kids up for a life full of dissatisfaction and intolerance. no wonder our schools are unmanageable, (along with a lot of other things) their environments are increasingly chaotic and foundation-less, from what they view to what they teach each other.  anyway, rant over. 
So we had a really good dinner appointment in which we talked about entertaining and educational riddles, and then tried to rationalize why kids need to eat more sugar, which was actually very well defended, and easily led into why kids are so good at sharing the Restored Gospel.  basically I like Sister Monahan wanna be like sister freeman when I grow up. 

we are the salt of the world, if the salt looseth it's savor, wherewith shall the earth be salted? definitely extends beyond church walls. 

other things I liked...hmm can't really remember much about the week. 

we found an awesome girl named LaShonda, who we met tracting. we were out in a neighborhood I'd spent little time in, mostly because people told me not to go there, but during the day time in summer it's not so bad. lots of humble people, let's say that.  LaShonda had been living in jersey and just has had a harder time with life,  her mom got sick when she was 8, passed away at 14, and she pretty much fended for herself after that.  when we asked her on her doorstep why she was in Maine, she said, "so my son can live past 17." she moved up here three years ago, first to Houlton and then to presque Isle. no family, no support, just her and her little man. she is an inspiration of perseverance and hope, as she has carved out of the rocks of life a place for herself and her growing family. but much more impressive was the spirit that was there, and the testimony she gave of her savior. those words of love will always be remembered in my heart. "he is our savior, because he put us before himself, so that we could be individuals. so that we could live."

the last thing I wanted to write about, was that it's really awesome to be able to see the progression when people stick to the Gospel. I think that has been the greatest blessing of being able to serve in one place so long.  Remember Sie?  He's the guy who was baptized last December, who moved from Texas, and went from having less of a belief in God than he did in Santa Clause, to a powerful witness and testimony of fasting and prayer, so that he like Alma can say "Do ye not suppose that I know these things of myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose I know of their surety? Behold I say unto you, they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself, and now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me."  (Alma 5:45-46.) Yesterday Sie was able to bless the sacrament for the first time.  there is something incredible and amazing about seeing someone have such a huge change of heart, and about seeing him in a white shirt and tie. 


'till next week.