Friday, August 18, 2017

Skibby sent the following email & photos on Wednesday, August 16, 2017:

Date:  August 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Hi Family,

It's been a hard week. We met a lot of people. We met someone made Ignacio who was atheist and so happy. He was so fun to talk to. I couldn't figure out why he could be so happy.

We had zone conference and it lifted my spirits so, so much. I think things are looking up.

This is all for this week. Sorry! I wanted to write more, but we were playing frisbee and an Elder fell and ran into the wall and had to go get stitches and so we made him yogurt fruit pie, but the time flew. Hna Eckel is awesome.  We will talk on Monday. Love you!   

Photo:  first procession..... Virgin Maria

Madrid Temple--Elders with Hna. Eckel & Skibby

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Skibby sent the following email & photos on Monday, August 7, 2017.  My translation attempts are italicized and in brackets:

Date:  August 7, 2017 at 9:46 AM
Subject:  Dios se quiso comer una pizza, por el calor que hay, parece que se le olvidó apagar el horno  [Translation:  God wanted to eat a pizza, because of the heat there is, it seems that he forgot to turn off the oven]

Hola! Esta semana hacía mucho calor. Pero bueno.  [Hello!  This week was very hot.  But good.]

We just finished week 2 as a companionship! 

Here is the story of Yvonne:
She is a Peruvian that came here with 2 of her 3 kids last October. She came to live with her oldest sister who has been a member of the church for about 13 years now. Her sister's name is Elizabeth. Anyway, the hermanas taught Yvonne a little bit in December, but her kids were so unreceptive and she was working interna (which means you live with an old lady and take care of her about 24/7. Working interna is brutal on missionary work because you can never meet). And all of a sudden, she would never pick up her phone. So when I arrived in B6, my companion pointed out Yvonne, who always came to church, but apparently didn't want to have contact with us. I asked when we could come and visit, and she said in about 3 weeks on Monday we could come by. 3 weeks is a long time to wait, so we were a little bummed. Well, as we were trying to help her kids get a little more integrated into the ward, we found out that we didn't have her right phone number. So now we could communicate with her through telefono. Then! The next Sunday she and her sister told us she wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. I was so stunned. Well, we agreed we should start teaching her from the beginning. So that's what we did. Every Sunday and Monday we taught her. And we put the date for August 5 a little less than one month before, so we felt like we didn't have very much time. But every time we went, it was awesome. I love her sister because she is this cute little Peruvian full of spiritual experiences. I love it because she tells her stories like she's just going along, minding her own business, trying to figure out what to do and then ploomf! All these cool miracles always happen to her. I don't know what goes on in that house, but it is one of the places that I have felt the spirit the strongest. I think it's a combination of Yvonne being so pure at heart, and Elizabeth having such a strong testimony. We always leave very well fed spiritually and physically... Los peruanos aprovechan de su derecho de comer rico... [Peruvians take advantage of their right to eat rich…]

Also, the picture of morir soñando [the literal translation is “die dreaming,” but it is a popular beverage of the Dominican Republic made of orange juice, milk, sugar, and chopped ice] I sent a few weeks ago is from Yvonne's house. Their friend Hna Digna was there for a lot of our lessons. She is Dominicana.

One day we sent Yvonne Alma 5:62 to read, and the next time we talked to her, she said she had read the whole chapter but had lost where it was. She said it talked about how to make a happy family and how she needed to be baptized to help her kids. We have looked all over for this chapter, but I have yet to find it. I don't know what she read that day, but I really think she received straight revelation.

Anyway, we found out that Yvonne has had a past bastante duro [pretty tough]. She is very quiet and sweet, and lived for a long time with everything that happened alone. She carried around a big burden. She was really nervous right before we started the baptismal program. She said she was feeling better, but still felt this burden. We promised her that when she was baptized, she would be able to leave all of those things behind and that she could leave freed. Well, we were a little stressed and rushed for the baptism, and we forgot to plug the drain before we filled up the font. The water was really hot at the beginning, so we put it on cold, thinking it would even out. But all the hot water drained and when we plugged it, it was all cold. So her baptism was a little more authentic to Jesus Christ's than the rest of ours. Afterwards we asked her how she felt, and she said, "pues, ustedes tenían razón, los dos tenían toda la razón." [“Well, you were right, the two of you were absolutely right.”]  I know that it is thanks to Jesus Christ that we can discard the things of the past and rejoice in the future. I know that what the scriptures teach are true. I know that Yvonne has felt even more the love that God has for her.

So the water was a little cold, but we ate aji de gallina [a Peruvian dish of spicy, creamed chicken] afterwards, Yvonne was happy, and I think everything turned out well.

Here is a tender mercy I got today: we went with the b1 hermanas (hnas Sam y Quispe) to a castle in their area today. Well, the bad news is that all castles in Madrid are closed every Monday. BUT, we went anyway. It was fun, and as we were talking they mentioned something about their recent convert Victor. I was like, wait a minute..... where is Victor from?? Nigeria, they told me. Do you remember about 6 months ago how I told about a guy I contacted on the bus even though I was scared? That was Victor. He got baptized 2 weeks ago. He wants to serve a mission. I'm really grateful I was able to play a small part in his process of coming to find the gospel. I know that God rejoices in the joy of just one saved soul, and even though we look for millions, and find few, I also rejoice that they have found the gospel.

Sorry this email is so long, but I wanted to let you know a little bit more about Yvonne. The rest of the week was doing little bits of service with English, and piano. And trying to find more people. We really need to find more people. 

Thanks for all the support you give me back at home. I love you and miss you all, and hope you have a great week, y que no pase frío [and do not get cold] !

Hna Christensen 
Yvonne (center) at her baptism

Above & below:  Visiting a castle in Spain
Skibby and her new companion, Hermana Eckel.
Skibby has been her trainer for the past two weeks, and she loves her!

Victor (second from the left) at his baptism 2 weeks ago

Skibby first met him on a bus last March.  She told us she had been trying to muster up the courage to talk to him.  Here's what she wrote in her March 13, 2017 letter: 
"So, I thought about it for a while. I decided that I was going to have to do it. There's a whole bunch of scriptures in DyC [D&C] that say if you open your mouth, the words will just flow out. So, I sat there with my mouth open for about 2 minutes, and then finally got up the nerve to say something. I talked to Victor from Nigeria who is learning Spanish. Just when we had to leave I was explaining about who we were and why we're here. Then the bus doors were opening and I threw him a card and said, "Call us, and we'll give you a Book of Mormon in English!!" and went out. Well, that night or the next night, guess who called? Victor. He was a little distraught that we didn't remember him at first. We set up an appointment, and he called the next day to confirm with us. I don't know what it is about Nigeria, but everyone there loves God. If everybody in Utah loved God as much as everyone in Nigeria, there would be no less actives. So, we met with him and he said he loves to talk about God. He has a whole bunch of friends who like talking about futbol and sports and he says he gets tired of that, but he never gets tired of God. Unfortunately he doesn't live in our area, so we passed him along to the missionaries in Alcobendas. It's amazing to me that he used his agency to call us. It could make the biggest change in his life."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Skibby sent the following email & photos on Monday, July 31, 2017:

Date:  July 31, 2017 at 11:09 AM
Subject:  It’s a girl!!

Hola famila!

It has been a great week!
Well, the biggest news is that I am training again. I thought it would be a good idea to put you all on a cliffhanger, and not tell you till this week... until I was sitting in the training meeting and knew I should have told you so you could have been praying for me!!!! But it has been amazing. My companion's name is Hna Eckel, and like all the good ones, she's from Arizona. It has been great to walk in the street and talk to people, go to lessons, have companionship study and so on. We've seen miracles.

This week Yvonne will be baptized. I'll tell you more about her next week. We found Libia, José Luis loves us, and the restoration is amazing! 

Love you all, have a great week.

Hna Christensen 

Baptism of Marta

Skibby with her new companion, Hna. Eckel

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Skibby sent the following email and photos on Monday, July 24, 2017.  I was away at girls camp all last week and wasn't able to update Skibby's blog until now.  Sorry it's late!

Date:  July 24, 2017 at 10:47 AM
Subject:  Exciting news to come!

Hey! This week has been awesome. We have been stressing and prepping and everything has gone really well. 

Cool experience: about 2 weeks ago we fasted. It was a Wednesday. It was really hot and we were really thirsty. But it was really good. I prayed to find someone ready for the Gospel that day. Well I didn't find anybody. But I did make a few calls of some people I had contacted before. At first Lourdes hung up but, I called again and set up an appointment. Well we talked with her later that week and she was really, really awesome. She's had a really hard life and believes a lot in God. She was sad that she wouldn't be able to come to church the next day. Well lo and behold she came!!! We were sitting in Sacrament Meeting and saw her there all by herself! So I went and sat by her. Miracle of the fast. Hna White also received a family miracle from that.

Best thing: Marta got baptized on Saturday. I really, really wish I had pictures, but I don't. Her 3 kids came from Alicante and are so cute and so happy to be with her. She gave a really strong testimony at the end. It was a great day. She was confirmed a member yesterday.

Our English class is growing. It's fun to teach and I think they're learning.

Gabriela dropped us. She's not ready.

Jose Luis-- the older Venezuelan-- tried to drop us on Saturday. But we weren't letting him go that easily. He said he wanted to stay Christian. We explained that we were Christian and helped him understand that there were many more blessings in store for him (see su potencial su privilegio --Mormon messages for more information) he agreed to continue reading the book of Mormon.

Hna White was transferred to Alcobendas! Wow, it's been a great, hard, fun transfer.

Love you all!
Tune in next week for more news
Hna Christensen 
Also, Mercedes in Barrio 3 was baptized on Saturday. Wow.

Gabriela, Skibby, & Hna. White

Marta, Hna. White, & Skibby

Hna. White, Jose Luis, & Skibby