Thursday, February 14, 2013


Mi Querida Familia!!

I'm so glad to finally be emailing you all. It sounds like you got my first letter home. Ever since I wrote it, I've been thinking of other things I need to tell you guys. Let's see how much I can remember. In the interst of using all of my 30 minutes to say as much as possible, I'm going to try not to worry to much about structre nor grammar nor typos. So pull out your Rosetta Stone!!

Lets start with my companion. Hermana L is from Ogden Utah. She's really great. We get along super well, and we're helping each other stay healthy. More importantly, we work together really well. After each of our lessons, we talk about how it went, what we did well, what we could do better. She and I have very similar sensibilities about the gospel and how we feel the spirit and stuff, so that's been wonderful. This week, we taught our first investigator, Gabriel. Our first lesson was on Friday (our second full day here) and it had to be all in Spanish. All things considered, it went pretty well. My Spanish was ok, her Spanish was ok, and I think we said everything we needed to because we've figured out how to conjugate about five essential verbs (poder, necessitar, tener, querer, pensar, sentir) and then add whatever else we need to those. As our lessons progressed we learned a lot of really important things. First, nobody tells you this, but the MTC is NOT about learning a language, or even preparing yourself to be a missionary. It's about learning how to invite others to come unto Christ, and in order to do that, you have to be continually coming unto Christ yourself. That's what's hard about the MTC. It's not the Spanish or the Finnish or whatever it is your learning, it's the constant spiritual, mental, and emotional effort of always improving yourself and becoming more like the Savior that is so hard. I was really frustrated the first few days because of the Spanish, but then Sunday came, and I got slammed in the face when I realized that I've got to get over myself and quit worrying about the Spanish. It'll come. What I need to be doing is filling the immense gap between where I am and where I need to be as a representative of Christ. Some other important things we learned . . . At the beginning of the week, Hermana L and I were giving ourselves ulcers trying to prepare our lessons. We were straining to feel the spirit and when we taught Gabriel (our investigator) straining to make him feel the spirit as well. It didn't really work. At the end of our lessons, we always came away disappointed, even when we committed him to prepare for baptism. You know why? Because the spriit can't be forced. After that, we stopped writing our lessons in Spanish so that we could mostly memorize them so that they would be perfect,and we stopped being so spiritually constipated. The message we have to share about the Atonement of Christ and the change it can bring into our lives is incredible!! It brings us so much joy! when we teach people, we shouldn't be giving ourselves ulcers from the seriousness of it. We should relax and remember how happy the gosple makes us, and then focus on how much you love the investigator, and how much Christ loves the investigator, and the rest will take care of itself. We simplified our lessons to teach just the most basic things. We taught Gabriel how to pray, we taught him how to repent, and we did so with a smile on our face, and the Spanish took care of itself. It's been great having Hna. L because we've been able to help each other figure this out together.

A little bit about my district dad, Hna. M is from Washington, Hna. R is from Springville. I really love our district and our zone as well. We all sit together during meals so that we can get to know each other better. One of our Zone leaders is from England, and he is Ferb in the flesh. Sounds just like him, is quiet just like him, but when he says something, it's totally worth hearing. Elder W is great. I also really love the Elders in our group. Our district leader, Elder W, is SOOOO earnest. It makes me laugh sometimes listening to what he says to his companion, just because he's trying so darn hard! And he does it with everything, which is so great! When he exercises in the gym, he kills himself. When he's talking to Elder We, he's always tesifying or encouraging Elder We to let him know how he can improve. It's really great. We have two elders who are 18, and you can totally, tell, but we love them too. It's great having a district because whenever we come back from a lesson and it didn't go so well, there's a whole group there to support you and cheer you up. I wish we were all going to Texas, but I'm sure there are people in Honduras who need them,so it's all good.

A message to Grandpa S, my branch president is President Cameron, who says he knows you. One of his counselors is a Brother Blackham, formerly your Elder Blackham from the Santiago, Chile mission. We figured that out the first night we had a chat, which was really fun.

There are so many other things I could tell you about, I'm not sure what to say first. My Spanish is really coming well. With the benefit of four years of high school Spanish and exposure to almost fluent Spanish most of my life through Mom and all of her Latin friends, I can honestly say without being arrogant, but just as a fact, that my Spanish is really pretty good. What helps me the most is having to speak it every day, which is why the MTC does this thing, which, in Spanish is called HSI (Hablar su idioma). We give ourselves a rating every day of how much of the Spanish we know we have used. We have a zone goal of 8, and honestly, mine is pretty low most days because I am accountable for speaking more Spanish than the others. I have to say though, that the members of our district are doing a fantastic job with their language study. It's so incredible how far they've come. In some ways, having a decent amount of Spanish to start wasn't a blessing all the way around. I had a really hard time being humble and getting over myself the first few days. That was definitely my biggest struggle, and an area where I could still use your continued prayers.

This week, we should start teaching our second investigator. We're going to try to do things differently our second time around. last time, we jumped right into the gospel of Jesus Christ, which was great, but we committed Gabriel to be baptized before he even heard about Joseph Smith, which is totally legal, but somehow seems a little off. We had our last lesson with him yesterday, and we still haven't brought up the Restoration, which is the first lesson in Preach My Gospel. Looking over Lesson 1, we realized that it gives an overview of everything we taught, which would probably have been more appropriate anyway. Next time, we're going to try to focus on the restoration, and let that lead us into other things.

I've been thinking this week about Alan and whether or not he should turn in his papers this summer. I still stick to my opinion that if he wants to go then, he should go BUT, he needs to know up front that most of your time in the MTC is self directed. The majority of our waking hours, we spend in a classroom without a teacher to assign us work, and it's up to each individual how much they accomplish. Alan is capable of doing it, but it'll be a challenge. I just think he should know that up front, because it was different than I was expecting.

Well dear family, my 30 minutes is just about up. I want to add really quickly that in the MTC, Dear Elder is a great way to communicate. They print off the letters every day so that I can have them and read them during the week, and possibly even respond by snail mail depending on how things go. Also, missionaries really do love mail, so don't be afraid to lay it on THICK!!

Mom, I got my Valentine's letter. Thank you! Also, my polka-dot shirt is appropriate. I've asked a bunch of people about it, and they all say it's fine. However, after sitting down all day, my white skirt doesn't cover my knees because it wrinkles and rides up. I might end up sending it back. We'll have to see. Also, I've see a ton of people here that I know, including Quincey, which has been great.

I love you all! The gospel of Jesus Christ is so true, as is his restored church! I am so grateful to be a part of this work. I'm praying for you all!

All my love,

Hermana Christensen

PS, it's amazing how quickly that name begins to feel completely natural.

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