Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email and photos on Monday, November 28, 2016:

Date:  November 28, 2016 at 5:38 AM
Subject:  Everything that happened this week, and all I’m grateful for..

Hello Family! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. I forgot to wish you a happy thanksgiving last week because they don't celebrate it here. Also I hope Christmas tree hunting was fantastic and that Cubby's feet weren't too cold.

This week has been really good.

On Wednesday we went to see Carmen. We arrived right when her visiting teachers were beginning their lesson. So we just sat in on their lesson. While they were teaching I thought about how lucky we are to have this opportunity to talk about the things that are most important. Visiting teachers are one of the arms of the Bishop, Stake President, Apostles, and Prophet, that help protect and take care of all of the people in the church.  Even though sometimes it seems like a burden, it really is a way to serve God and our fellow men.  I'm also grateful that I have the opportunity to be a missionary and be called to talk about the gospel to all people for a short period of time.  I'm also grateful for faithful members who are strong in the church and help others stay strong.

After Carmen, we had to hurry for our appointment with Andrew, but on the way an older man stopped us and said, "Now I want to talk! I have time now!" I was surprised that he stopped us. Usually it is the other way around. Anyway, he said his name was Pepe and we received his number so we could talk in a different time. Then Andrew called. If we are not right on time for our lessons with Andrew, he assumes we decided to do something else or aren't going to come, and leaves (like we have other things to do!). I had called him 5 minutes earlier to tell him we were on our way, but he called and said he didn't see us and so he was going to leave, so I kept him on the line while we ran to the bench where we teach him. He was standing up because it was cold. I have been trying to get Andrew to come to the church for weeks. So, we decided to walk to get him warm. I am grateful that my companion doesn't speak English and he doesn't speak Spanish, because they taught each other while I walked to the church. Several times Andrew expressed a desire to go back to his bench, but finally we arrived at the church. It usually takes about 15 minutes to walk to the church, but it took at least 35 this time because I didn't know exactly where we were going, all I knew is that we needed to keep walking so that we didn't go back to the bench. We arrived and taught our lesson, and everything was good. I hope it helped Andrew to feel a little bit more comfortable with the church and want to come on Sundays. That is the end goal so far!

Earlier that day, another guy stopped us and asked, "so, you guys are missionaries right? I have a question, is Joseph Smith real, or is he a myth?" His name is Ernesto and he has a lot of interest in different religions. That was also a locura [a crazy thing]. We're going to call him this week.

Thursday, we had a zone training, so we all ate together. It was a potluck. We had chicken, a little bit of stuffing, and a little bit of potatoes. It was great! I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. It felt a little bit like Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.

That night, Hna Vilma had an institute activity and made a Thanksgiving dinner. I am grateful for Spaniards cooking Spanish food, and Americans cooking American food. It was really good though because Miguel Angel and Francisca came.

Saturday we visited a pueblo called Mentrida, and taught the daughter of a member named Xiomara. Her daughter's name is Xiomari. She is married and has 2 kids. Her husband is Catholic, but she and her kids are interested in learning more. Anyway, we are blessed to have her and her kids in our lives, and hopefully we can help bless their lives with the Gospel.

Luz. We have been calling Luz for the past week and she never picked up. I was worried. We called on Saturday, and FINALLY she answered. She said her husband took her phone away because a relative escaped from Colombia and needed help from her, and her husband didn't want her to help him. But I think things are getting better, and she was able to come to church yesterday. I am really grateful for you guys (family) and for the example of love and respect you are to me.

Well, that's about it for this week. Sorry that this letter was really boring. Right now I'm in Pavones and my companion and I are going to go to sol to buy rain boots for her because it has been raining steadily the past couple of days. We are wrapping our Books of Mormon in saran wrap so the water doesn't ruin them..:)

Hope all is well! I love and miss you! Have a great week! 
Hna Christensen
Above & Below:  Thanksgiving dinner during zone conference
Skibby with her new companion, Hna. Quispe.  They are experiencing the RAIN in SPAIN! 
Skibby is holding up the Halloween card I sent her--which arrived on Thanksgiving Day!
Skibby with her previous companion, Hna. Mendoza
A translation is probably unnecessary here, but just in case..."BEWARE OF DOG"

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email and photo on Monday, November 21, 2016:

Date:  November 21, 2016 at 8:41 AM
Subject:  Some pictures!

Well folks, I don't have much to tell this week. It's definitely different with a new companion, but we are figuring out how to work together and how to help Mostoles. I think we have different companions so that we can repent and avoid apostasy. We visited a lot of members and menos activos during the week. Hna Quispe is really sweet. I know I am learning and will continue learning a lot from her. This next week is going to be awesome!! Next week I will send pictures of the both of us. Thanks for all the emails, and keep up the hard work at home!  

We had a really good lesson with Andrew.  We talked about the restoration and focused on the authority.  I think he understood really well.  It was a process because I speak to him in English, but Hna. Quispe in Spanish.

Sorry this email is a little bit short and a little bit scrambled! I love you all and will talk to you next week!

Hna Christensen

Skibby with her former companion, Hna. Mendoza, and a friend named Edgar

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, November 14, 2016:

Date:  November 14, 2016 at 10:15 AM
Subject:  Normal

Hola familia and everyone!

Sorry, because I'm writing this really fast and I'll have to read your letters tonight, so sorry beforehand.

Hna Mendoza left this morning for Leon, with my ccm companion, Hna Webster. Weird. Also it was really sad, but good. Mixed feelings.

So we traveled a lot today and that's why I don`t have a ton of time to write. My new companion is Hna Quispe. She is from Peru. Already she is great. I guess my Spanish isn't good enough yet because I've been blessed with another native speaking companion.

This week has been incredible.
On Friday we had recent convert baptisms in ... Pavones! We took Carmen. Being young and spry, my companion and I didn't realize that the metro and renfe system would be a little bit rough for Carmen. There were a lot of stairs. Too many. But she braved them like a champ.  The temple was really awesome. She was baptized for her daughter and her mother.

I had another Hank Nelson sighting. [Note:  Hank Nelson and his wife, Kristy, are a senior couple from our stake who are currently serving in the Madrid Temple.]  He is a really good man. He said he was glad to see me there again and I said that our converts had been miracles. He said, "I believe in miracles." I don't know why I felt like this was really profound, but I did.
We took a taxi home. One of the members of barrio 6 came and picked us up. He is a taxi driver. That was a blessing for Carmen.

Our friend named Miguel Angel is very straightforward. Every time we ask him how he is doing he says-- normal. We are trying to change this and figure out how we can help him.

I was thinking about how we are a peculiar people. We walk around with badges and titles that we give ourselves. We have big meetings and transfers and lots of things happening in our world that nobody else knows about. We wait for transfers while the rest of the world waits for the next movie or iphone to come out. We are anything but normal. If we didn't have the authority, I, like everyone else would think we were crazy. But the authority makes everything real and important. I know that we really are here to help all of these people and that our calling comes from God. I'm so grateful to know that we have the permission to act in the name of Jesus Christ and have the fullness of the gospel.  When we ask the people on the street what their belief in God is, many of them say, the normal... this means Catholicism.

Everyone have a great week. Love and miss you all. I will send pictures next week.