Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email on Tuesday, August 30, 2016.  I have added a couple of notes and italicized them.

Date:  August 30, 2016 at 4:59 AM
Subject:  they say the best way to learn how to swim is simply to throw you in the water

Hola from afar!!

First off, I want to know who "they" are, and what gives them the authority to make such outrageous statements?

But here I am. President Pack said there would be a lot of ojt (on the job training).  So far this statement has held true....

Sorry if this long winded, but so goes the week.

A year ago Saturday (I think Skibby's phrase "a year ago" is meant to be tongue in cheek; it probably just feels that long ago to her!), I went to the park for the last time. Nothing super spectacular happened. But my companion and I decided to wait for the next metro stop because there were a lot of missionaries boarding. After the doors shut, the metro rushed past. Every car was like a window passing by. The metro is really fast so when it left, I only got a glimpse into each car, but in each car I saw young men and women in white shirts, suits and ties/ skirts trying to spread the gospel. And for a moment, I felt a little like Alma or Isaiah, or some other prophet who prophesied of missionary work. How cool that they really could have seen me, or what I saw at the metro. It’s crazy that we’re really fulfilling the words of the prophets of old.

All right. Monday, my companion and I said goodbye to all the other elders and hermanas early in the morning to catch a train to malaga/barcelona. At 9:00, our Madrid group met President and Hermana Pack at a view point of Madrid. We had a little devotional, and later in the mission home, we had "orientation" mas o menos. Pres told us that the church has been in Spain for about 40 years, so in reality, it’s pretty much 1870 here. Talk about a time change.

Then we headed back to the stake center to meet our companions. Naturally I was placed in the best area with the mejor companion. Her name is Hermana Mendoza, she’s originally from Bolivia, and she’s been out for 6 months. We are serving in Barrio Mostoles! It’s about an hour south of Madrid. I love it here. It’s beautiful, and the streets are full of people.

Right away we started contacting and trying to have lessons with people I don’t know, in a language I can’t speak. I feel right at home. So far we’ve had some great lessons. Hma Mendoza says it’s the time of the Nigerians because pretty much all our investigators are from Africa. True. Our best investigators are Kingsley and Carmen- from Nigeria and Guinea.  I saw a miracle on Sunday. Carmen came to church. She has a lot of pain in her knees and walks with a cane. After church was over she had a huge amount of pain in her leg and could hardly walk. The Elders gave her a blessing. Her faith is grand. After the blessing she stood up and shook her leg and laughed at how good it felt!! Basically the lesson of the week is that your faith determines your miracles.

Our district is amazing!! There are six of us serving in Mostoles, my companion and me, and 4 elders. Our leader’s name is Elder Smurthwaite, but the members call him "Elder Es muy guay" translation: “is really cool.” Your challenge for the week: substitute “guay” for the word “cool”....... because it’s way more guay. We eat at members’ houses for mediodia every day. The members are great!!! There are about 150 members in our barrio. Anyway, there is always a lot of really good food and lots of laughter. You remember that joke about the penguins?  I feel about like that 90% of the time. (This joke Skibby is referring to is kind of a reverse joke.  A group of insiders who already know the joke tell it to an outsider to watch his/her reaction.  The joke really isn't funny it all.  It is a stupid little story about a penguin, and it has a totally meaningless "punchline" about a radio.  But right after telling the "punchline," the insiders all laugh hysterically as if it was the funniest joke ever, and they watch the outsider's reaction to see if he or she will try to laugh along with the group pretending to "get" the joke, or say honestly, "I don't get it."  So, I think what Skibby means is that, because of her language barrier, she is really not understanding much of what people are saying, but when they say something and then laugh, 90% of the time, she just joins in laughing too, in an attempt to appear to be understanding.  That's my take on it anyway.  And just for the record: I hate the penguin joke.)

Here is what you need to try to make this week:
-your pie crust, but instead of sprinkling cinnamon sugar on it, put nutella on it and wrap it up. You won’t be disappointed!
- make squash soup with french fries. --- I know it sounds terrible, but I promise it’s not
-can you freeze whip cream and then eat it later with fruit? Will the whip cream be more solidish?

We taught a lesson to a woman named Josepha Smith. Just kidding!! Her name is Angela, but as we were talking about the first lesson she said, "I don’t understand why there are so many different churches, and how you’re supposed to know which one is true." I pretty much said, "Yes. You are right. That is the question. You are Joseph Smith." Except I didn’t say the last sentence out loud.

Well, I feel like I had so much more to say, but I can’t think of anything else right now, so it will have to wait!! I’m loving it here and hoping all is going well at home.

Love you all, and have an amazing week!!
Hermana skibby christensen

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