Monday, March 27, 2017

I absolutely love Buin!


I ABSOLUTELY LOVE BUIN!!!!!! I don´t understand how God loves me so much to send me to the BEST sector with the BEST people in the whole wide world!!! I already feel like Buin is my home. It is a sector of miracles, let me tell ya!!!! 

 Okay first of all this week has been absolutely INCREDIBLE!!! Buin is amazing!!! I have never had so many members ask us, the missionaries, if they can accompany us to lessons! There is SO much potential here!! The people are so nice! Everyone we talk to is JUST SO INCREDIBLY NICE!!! And so prepared! I don´t know what I did to deserve such a good sector, but it is AWESOME! 

 Our sector is amazing! There really is so much help from the branch for the missionaries! Everyone is so excited to share the gospel! We have one fecha, P., and she was reading the Book of Mormon, and realized she needed to be baptized! We have a few other investigators and we are in the process of finding more people to teach. On Saturday, in our planning, we put the goal to find 3 new investigators, and at about 6:30 pm we still hadn´t found anyone.... so my totally inspired companion was like, "We should pray", so we did! And the very next house we went to let us in! We taught U. y R., and they were two new investigators! We could not believe just how fast the Lord had answered our prayers! It was INCREDIBLE!! So many miracles in this sector! There are always people the Lord is preparing! And then later at 8; 30, we were just contacting to find a bathroom because I was just about dying in the street!!!! So we just started yelling "Halo"at every house!!! And a woman came out, but before we could ask her to use the bathroom, she asked us if we wanted to come in! OH YEAH, WE DID!!!  We more than gladly accepted! And when we shared the Book of Mormon with her, and she was reading the verses, she was saying ¨Oh that´s true, ¨ or ¨Wow, that´s right¨ throughout the whole verse we shared with her!! IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE DAY!!!  The Lord is always more than willing to fulfill with his part when we show him our faith! I LOVE being a missionary!!! I JUST LOVE IT!!!!! 
But all in all, this is the Lord´s work, he is always in charge, and he loves us SO much that he is so willing to bless us when we show our faith!! Show the Lord your faith and he will work wonders in your life!!! I love you all SO much! But hey, I´m sorry, but I love this gospel even more! It´s just so true!!!! Have the BEST conference weekend! It´s the best weekend of the year! I love you all! KEEP SHARING THE LOVE!!!! 

Hermana Christensen :) 

Monday, March 20, 2017

SURPRISE! I'm leaving Santa Cruz! (and right before Hermana Whittingham got there!)

Wow what an exciting week this has been! Definitely one of the most tiring weeks in my mission! I don´t know why, maybe because we were running around doing service and teaching and changing sectors between Paniahue, Relief Society anniversaries and mutual for the young women! But with that said, it was also the best week of this cambio!!! I had such a blast! And SURPRISE!!!!!! I am leaving Santa Cruz! I am going up to Buin (suburb of Santiago) still as a Hermana Leader, but with Hermana Owen! (Hermana Gardanier’s CCM companion!!) I AM SO EXCITED!!!! 

But I am so sad to leave Hermana Hilburn, and Nathaly, and all our amazing people we have found here in Santa Cruz!! Yesterday was the BEST day here! We gave our testimonies in Sacrament meeting in Paniahue, then we taught Principles of the Gospel, and taught Luis and Nathalia, our GOLDEN investigators in Paniahue, and we taught Joanna! WE TAUGHT SO AMAZING!!"! It was like the peak of our teaching as a companionship!!! We both felt the spirit so strong!!! We felt it guiding our words and our lessons!!! 

I don´t have much to say, but I just want to express how grateful I am for this cambio! Santa Cruz was definitely my most humbling sector, and even though this cambio was a bit of a rollercoaster, I wouldn´t trade my experiences for anything! 

All I know is that this gospel is so true. I have seen it change lives. There are miracles in every moment. And when we center our lives on Christ, we can always hope for better things to come! 

And it looks like for this crazy lil’ missionary there are miracles awaiting me in BUIN!!!! But I am so ready for this crazy ride!!! 

I love this gospel. And I just LOVE being a missionary!!!! Keep sharing the light!! I love you all!!! Have the BEST week!!! 

All the love in this Chilean heart, 
Hermana Christensen 

PS. I now will have 6 transfers as Hermana leader... that’s half my mission! And I will have 7 transfers with gringas.... that’s over half my mission! Crazy! 

*****We were hoping that Ashley and her friend from high school, Kristi Whittingham, who just got to the mission this week, would g et to serve together.  Sadly, they JUST missed each other!!!  Kristi was sent to Santa Cruz the day that Ashley was transferred out of Santa Cruz!  If Ashley hadn't been transferred, they would have been housemates and with Ashley as a sister training leader, they would have got to go on exchanges together.  So that was sad!  Ashley is excited for her new area though.  She said in her journal, "It's so funny!  My whole mission I knew I was going to go to Buin! (because she didn't want to)  But wow.  I am going to be with a gringa again!  That is over 1/2 my mission with gringas!  And 1/2 my mission as a Hermana Lider.  Wow.  I am so blessed!  I love these Hermanas!  And my zone in Buin is going to ROCK!  Hna. Betaneur, Hna. Brown!  And Hna. Mendoza, the Filipina! (the trainee of Hna. Hilburn). SHE'S GOING TO TEACH ME TAGALOG! I am SO PUMPED!  I know my Heavenly Father just loves me so much!  I will forever love Santa Cruz!  It was just a little time, but it's changed me!  I love the mission! I am so excited! AHHH!"*****

*****Also, I didn't get any pictures from Ashley this week, but I became friends on Facebook with her investigator, O., from Rauquen/Curico (where she served for 7 months before transferring to Santa Cruz)  And from O.'s Facebook, I got some pictures of O. and her family at the Santiago Temple grounds with Hermana Kristi Whittingham!  They met there while Kristi was still in the MTC (which is right next to the temple) and Olga and her family were visiting the temple grounds!  Small world!  Below are a couple pictures of that!*****

Monday, March 13, 2017

Land of Miracles!

From Capillas Abiertas at the beach, special trainings, new investigators, intercambios, peralillo, Bible videos, falling off bikes, rides through the country, lots of laughs, answers received, hearts changed, and the miracle of forgiveness, this week has been INCREDIBLE!!!! And wow this week has just flown by!!! But it´s been incredible! I feel like I learned SO much! And the Lord totally answered all of my prayers! I feel so blessed!  

This week I have decided to really focus on charity. I decided to start memorizing Moroni 7:45-48, and it has TOTALLY helped me! So whenever I have an impatient thought, or I get bugged, I think of that scripture, and it helps remind me of how incredible charity is! And I have just been trying to replace my negative thoughts with scriptures and hymns, and IT TOTALLY WORKS! I love memorizing scriptures! And I have definitely noticed and increase in love for everyone and everything!!!

But as far as the work goes, N., our fecha for 16 de Abril RECIEVED AN ANSWER!!!! We have been continually talking about her baptismal date, and inviting her to read and pray and really ask God about everything we are sharing, and she has been keeping her commitments SO well! But the other day we were in intercambios, but Hermana Hilburn passed by, and N. was so excited to tell her that she was just cleaning the other day, and thinking about everything we had shared with her, and when she started to think about her baptism, she said a huge peace overcame her, and she just knew that was her answer!!! How cool is the Holy Ghost?! She couldn´t come to church though because Saturday night she was in the hospital with a kidney stone, but she is progressing SO much!!! I love how we can always count on the Holy Ghost to testify!!!

Also, Paniahue. I think that name is probably translated into English as ¨land of miracles¨ right? :) Because let me tell you it is the LAND OF MIRACLES!!! Yesterday we passed by a menos activa, who is a single mom, and she let us in! Words cannot express the amount of excitement she had to receive us, share with us, and learn with us!!! She has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, and a strong desire to return to the church, she just needs a little bit of help getting there! But she was SO HAPPY to receive Hermanas, she told us how hard it was because she could never really receive the Elders. But she committed to read the Book of Mormon every day and to pray, and she is preparing to come back to church!! MIRACLES!!!

We also found a new investigator yesterday that is looking to change his life and come closer to Christ. He is married to a menos activa and she doesn´t remember anything, but we had an incredible first lesson with them yesterday! The spirit was so strong!!! We are just seeing so many people prepared to receive the gospel! And we are SO GRATEFUL for the chance to work in Paniahue!! This little branch has so much potential! I just love that place with all my heart!!!!  

But the thing I have learned probably the most this week is that we are all agents! We have the power within us to CHOOSE!!! How cool is that?! We can choose to be happy, choose to repent, choose to be patient, choose to love, and choose to be a disciple of Christ. And with this agency, we can CHOOSE TO RETURN TO GOD´S PRESENCE!!!! Isn´t that incredible? God created us with the capacity to choose to return to his presence if we want to! I am so grateful for my agency! And every day I just want to choose Him.

I love this work! I love being a missionary! I have seen the divine power of the Atonement work not only in my life, but in the lives of many others here in Chile, and I know it´s all true!!!!

Thank you for all your love and support! I love you ALL!!! Have the best week!
Sending all my love from Chile,
Hermana Christensen 
Ashley's 1st time to see the ocean on her mission!

Beautiful countryside

Capillas Abiertas

Found a cute puppy!

Puppy love!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Love for Paniahue and comic relief from some old ladies!

Ashley didn’t have time to write an update, so she just answered my question of if there was anything I could do for her.  She said:
Just keep loving me and keep praying for me! I feel like I have been so serious lately, like not really myself…I was just trying so hard to be perfect and feeling down every time I wasn´t, but I am good now! And I am happy!
But you can definitely pray for our investigator Fl.! Oh and N.!!!! We put a fecha with her this week! She is so amazing!!! I love that woman!!! She is dating a menos activo, and she came to capillas abiertas and a baptism and TOTALLY felt the spirit so we just put a fecha altiro with her!!!! I love the first lesson! It always gets me so pumped up about life!!! But Also M. and F., and L., they are our investigators and they are AWESOME but this week absolutely no one was there for their citas... But we are SO pumped for this week! 

Oh and this week we went to our other branch we are working with in Paniahue!!! I LOVE THAT BRANCH!!!! It was so sweet! There were only 10 members that came to church, and 2 kids but, all the members except for 1, and all the missionaries bore their testimonies and it was the sweetest thing probably EVER!!!! Awwww!!! I really love Paniahue! There´s so much potential I feel like! I am so excited to work there more!!!! And the Elders are SO excited to have some more support!!! WOOOOOO, it’s so awesome being a missionary! You just feel like a superhero!!! 

I am sorry I don’t have time to write an update. I love you.  Have the best week EVER!!!!!!! And keep sharing your testimony! That’s how I stay happy! :)  


And since she didn’t write an update, here are a couple excerpts from her journal this week:
March 5, 2017
“We went to work and I was being all serious… ugh.  And my companion was a lil’ down, but GOD KNEW what would cheer her up!  He literally sent two crazy old ladies to talk to us!  They were SO funny!  They just came literally out of nowhere!  The first lady helped us LAUGH so much!  With her crazy questions, blue eye shadow and hot pink lip stick!  Then the other old lady came and just greeted us and then didn’t say anything.  And then they just said how we were so pretty and they asked about our moms.  And then they said bye and disappeared in like 2 seconds!  We are convinced that they were sent to us to give us a little laughter!” 

“…With my comp we realized that I was trying to be perfect!  And that never works because you’re always just worrying about that one thing that you did wrong.  So that’s it!  My companion really is an angel sent to help me!  It just clicked.  I can’t be perfect!  I’m not going to be perfect, and if that’s what I think/worry about all the time, I’m never going to be happy, because I’ll never be satisfied.  It’s okay, Hermana Christensen!  Just because you have over a year in the mission doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect.  It just means you can be a little better than when you started!  I love the mission!  I love my companion!  And more than anything, I LOVE THE GOSPEL! And Jacob 4 is bomb!