Thursday, September 29, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email and photo on Monday, September 26, 2016:

Date:  September 26, 2016 at 9:54 AM
Subject:  Soy de la fabrica

Hola familia!!

When I introduce myself to members I don't say, "I'm from Utah," anymore, because the majority of the missionaries they meet are from Utah. So I just tell them I'm from the fabric, and everyone understands.

This evening my companion and I have to be in Pavones for a training meeting. It'll be the 3rd time I've been to Pavones within a week. (temple for p-day, baptisms for recent converts, and this meeting.) I love Pavones. It feels like my home here because it's where I was born.

Facts about Spain:
- They have really good food here. Mostly really good pastries. I've determined that it's impossible to eat healthily here. But I'm still going to try. If I hadn't bought carrots last week, I don't think I would have even seen a vegetable in the past 3 weeks.
-The elevators are tiny. I know I used to be claustrophobic, but I'm telling you, if I had written that when I sent my papers in, there is no way President Monson would have sent me here.
- And besides elevators, everything else in Spain is also tiny. I don't know if this is only in Spain, or if it's all of Spanish culture, but they minimize everything. If it's a beso, it's a besito, if it's a casa, it’s a casita, if it's a large man, it's an hombrecito. All I can say is, I'm definitely not in Texas.
- The only thing that is not tiny here is the population of cats.
- I've decided that the most common question to ask here is, "where are you from?" because there's a 97% chance they're from somewhere in South America or Africa. It's really crazy to me how many people just gather all their things and move to a different country, but practically everyone here has!

The major 3 miracles of the week:
1. Oscar. Hna Mendoza and I were returning to our Piso, passing the biblioteca and park that is right next to us, and a man came running after us. He said something like, "let's walk and talk. You are looking for people right? I see you coming and going all the time, so you can talk to me. Convince me. I don't believe, but tell me what you would tell someone who did believe..." (we were a little startled, but I promise it wasn't creepy). So we talked to him for only a few minutes because it was curfew.  He wouldn't let us take his referral. But it showed both of us that we are making an impact. Even though it might seem really small, people are noticing.
2. Flor. One of our members brought Flor and her 2 daughters to a Noche De Hogar [Home Evening]. We have NDH as a ward every Friday. Anyway, she works with Flor, and I guess we gave her a card in the street (like we do to all the people who will accept one), and she ended up coming to our NDH! And we have her number! And it just goes to show you that by small and simple things, are great things brought to pass.
3. Carmen. Carmen has been coming to church for about 2 months. She has wanted to be baptized for a while, but her family is against it. She's from Guinea and apparently her spouse is a king over their people.... so she holds a lot of influence there. She's been waiting for their approval. But, she told us she was talking to God, and he basically said, "Carmen, you have to do what you have to do!!" And she remembered the story of Lehi and how some of his sons were against him, but he did what he had to do anyway. So she's going to be baptized Oct 8.

This was really an answer to my prayers. It showed me that God works through people. God answered my prayers through Carmen, and she has no idea. But she is using her albedrio to follow Christ, and it's already blessing others.
It's been an interesting week, but a good one. I hope all of you are well and happy. I love you, and miss you lots!!

Hna (skibby) Christensen

Skibby and her companion, Hermana Mendoza, are on either side of Gabi, who was
baptized September 11th.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email and pictures on Wednesday, September 21, 2016:

Date:  September 21, 2016 at 4:52 AM
Subject:  Hola and lo siento!!

Hi Mom and Dad!

Honestly I’m really sorry that I’ve been terrible at emailing. I’ve read all of your emails and enjoy them thoroughly. We don’t have a place to print them out, but I make sure to read all of them. Don’t worry about the length, I just need to use my time more wisely.

[A couple of weeks ago, Skibby told us in an email that she had been asked to accompany her ward choir, so we asked her about that.]  I’m not sure if we have a choir here or not. We started one 2 weeks ago, and I was the pianist, but last week we didn’t have practice and I have no idea if it will continue. I’m pushing for it though! I don’t play the piano in the ward because hermano juancito is the designated pianist. He’s partially blind, but has a ton of hymns memorized and does a wonderful job. There’s an organ in our chapel, but we don’t use it. I think it’s because the lid doesn’t open up all the way, but I’ll try to work on that.

We had a baptism last Sunday (Sept 11)!!! Her name is Gabi and she is amazing. Technically my companion and I are teaching her, but she was converted and received most of the lessons in Barcelona. But she lives in our boundaries, so we were in charge of the baptism and are in charge of all the lessons afterwards. Gabi is 28 and has a son almost 4 years old named Sebas (Sebastian). I’ll try to get a foto to send, but I don’t have one right now. She just has a glow in her eyes and is so happy. It’s what I hope everyone that I teach can have. The missionaries sang the musical number -- el bautismo. I played the piano.

The last time I wrote was 2 p-days ago. There was a fair in Mostoles. The festivities in Mostoles top anything that Riverton ever had. There were little shops up and down about 5 different streets. I’ll send pictures of the candy! So my companion and I enjoyed walking around and looking at all the stuff they were selling.

Would you tell Boo and Brian there is a brother and sister here who remind me of them? Daniel and Virginia. They rescued a little puppy off the streets and gave him surgery for his hip so he can walk. He has grown into a giant dog, and they have named him Dante. They love all animals. There are a ton of cats on the street. Every day we report to our district leader whether or not we saw any cats and how many. The people here buy food for the cats and leave it out in random places. So we see lots of cats here on the streets. But here they don’t call them cats, they call them gatos.

I’m not sure exactly what to report on lessons. We have a lot of "investigators", but none are progressing. It’s frustrating when they cancel and tell you that they don’t have time at the moment to meet with you. I feel like the only thing they do is work and sleep, and there’s just no time for anything else. I need to learn how to help them realize the importance of the things we’re teaching. So it’s hard to help them progress when lessons are really far apart.

Yesterday we had a really good lesson with Edgar. He’s from Ecuador, but has been living here for a really long time. His wife died from cancer, so the first lesson we taught was the plan of salvation. Yesterday we taught the restoration. He knows that he needs to read the BOM to learn if it’s true, but he feels guilty that he’s not reading the Bible because he’s Catholic.

I was thinking about how people say "I’m Catholic," "I’m Mormon" ,"I’m Protestant" or whatever else. It seems like it’s something that defines their character, or something that doesn’t change. But I don’t think it should be like that. The real difference between "us" and "Catholics" is that we have a little bit more information than they do. When people on the street tell me they’re Catholic I think, "hooray! they’re halfway there!! (they already believe in God and understand a little bit about the Gospel)" The problem is trying to help them realize that. Is this making sense? We’re not trying to change their faith in God, just increasing the knowledge and blessings.

I’m doing really well. It’s week five here in the mission field. My trainer has a lot of work to do, but I’m working on improving. I love and miss all of you. Sorry, for my terrible time at emailing. I’ll talk to you next Monday!

love, Skibby

Skibby & her companion

Our district.  Of all the things to do for our first p-day, we went bowling…

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Skibby sent us this very short note on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016:

hola! I’m sorry, I’ve wasted time today. We are at a barbecue with ward members and I felt like I needed to try to talk to them and I’ve run out of time to write. I love you all and I’ll have to talk to you more next week!
hma skibby

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email on Monday, September 5, 2016:

Mostoles is amazing! Our barrio is amazing. It’s about 40 degrees celsius here daily [104 degrees Farenheit...]. The people on the street are of all sorts of niceness. Some refuse to say hello while others of the viejitos (little old men) are a little too nice. But don’t worry! All is well and I’m figuring out how things are working. My companion and I live alone in a little piso on the 3rd floor. She really is very nice and very loving and very patient. We live next to the biblioteca and a little park. We teach a fair amount of lessons at the park. It’s really pretty.  I'm trying to do good diligent work. Diligence reaps rewards huh? That’s what I’m putting my money on.

Pres. and Sister Pack are amazing!! the main thing I like about them is that they are just normal people doing the work. They don’t act like they’re really great or try to be really spiritual. Just really good down to earth people.

We are starting a choir here in our ward, and apparently I think I’m the pianist. They just elected it and all of this was in Spanish so I didn’t really know what was going on. I miss being able to sing with people who can sing. I hope there will be a few in the choir who can sing!!!

I’m trying to figure our how the best way to work here is. I’m new to all of this stuff, but I really want to change lives and help people. I am really trying to take advantage of every day that I get to wear Christ’s name over my heart. There is a man from Nigeria named Boroku that we are teaching. He owns the fruteria where we buy fruit. His family lives in Nigeria and he hasn’t seen them for about 11 years I think. He has a daughter 16, son 14, and wife and mother. He’s amazing and he works really hard.

Here is my question: the teachings seem simple in my head, but to try to explain them all of a sudden becomes very complicated and you’re never quite sure the investigators really understand what you’re telling them. How can I know how to explain things and help them understand?

love, skib!