Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, February 27, 2017.  I have put translations inside brackets.

Date:  February 27, 2017 at 9:46 AM
Subject:  Carabanchel—Heart of Madrid.

Dear Familia!!
This traslado [transfer] is going by very very fast. I think it's because this week we had intercambios [exchanges] and a mission tour and ................ we left our area again on Friday because...................LUZ AND GUSTAVO WERE BAPTIZED.

Firstly, I will try to tell you a few of the things we've been doing here.

We are sort of teaching the sister of a member named Gonzalo. Her name is Maria. She had surgery on her knee about a month ago and can't leave her piso [floor] because she lives on the fourth floor. So she's basically castigada alli [stranded there] and walks around in circles to build up her strength. So we go to visit her and talk about the Book of Mormon. She is awesome and open and has a whole bunch of questions about stuff. The only problem is -- she is religiously Catholic. 
        She told us about an old legend that her ancestors showed her. She drew a picture of God and 2 pathways. One very thin and straight, and the other very wide. All around the 2 pathways is fire. On the thin pathway there are people finding food and being productive. On the large pathway, there are people being lazy and getting drunk and doing all that sort of thing. Both pathways look like they lead to God, but really only the narrow one does. Ring any bells? She is from Bolivia. She was like, "So how did my ancestors know about these things? How did they have this knowledge?" That's when we talked to her about prophets being called from different parts of the world and how the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I'll take a picture of the drawing she drew to send next week. We left her with 1 Nefi 8 to read.
       We talked to her the other day about the Book of Mormon and how we as missionaries share it because, unlike the Bible, it hasn't been around for centuries and taught to all the people all around the world. So Joseph Smith found the book and translated it so all the people can have another testament of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon, if it's true, shows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth. She said something along the lines of, "Oh, so that's why Daisy and Gonzalo and all of these people who were Catholic were baptized into the Mormon church. Because they found the Book of Mormon which adds to their knowledge of truth." Nosotros [Us]: "YES! Exactly. When you come to find that the Book of Mormon is true will you also be baptized?" Maria "No. Tengo una cosa clara. Nací Catolica y moriré  Catolica." [I have one thing clear.  I was born Catholic and I will die Catholic.”] Upon leaving her house, we sang the “how do you solve a problem like Maria” song. 
    But she's reading in the Book of Mormon and likes having us over. We are going to teach her the plan of salvation this week.

Glenny. She is one of our investigators. She is from the Dominican Republic, which is awesome! They should have Dominican people translate for English talks or movies or something because I love their accent. Anyway, she is really great. She has 3 kids and a husband. We’re going to try to teach all of them. Her kids really like brownies, so that might be the way in. 

Blas and Maribel. We found Blas in the street and he told us right off he was Catholic. But when we explained what family home evening was, he invited us to his house in that moment and introduced us to all of his family. 

There are lots of other people we are teaching, but with every single one there are obstacles. Miriam, Lourdes, Fatima, Maida, Luz, Nemessio, Carla, Denilson. There is always a problem. Everything we think of, we run into these obstacles and they seem to be so large that we can't fix them. That is probably the most discouraging thing because we know how much the Gospel can bless their lives. I think I really need to trust in Heavenly Father and work with him, because there's nothing I can do on my own to fix these problems.

The missionary tour. 
Elder Suarez of the seventy came to talk with us on Tuesday. It was awesome. We talked about Companionship study, planning, the nature of our calling, and Goals. All things I need to improve on. I love it when they talk about the scriptures because they really have the power to expound on every little phrase.

Luz and Gustavo. 
It has been a little bit of a rocky road with them. Not because of them, but lots of things that happened before they were able to finally be baptized. They were interviewed about 2 weeks ago. After their interview, Gustavo invited the district leader to attend his baptism. Anyway, Pres. Pack told me I could go to the baptism, so Hna Hinton and I packed up and headed to Mostoles. We got there right on time and we were greeting everybody. Obispo came over and greeted us and asked, "Esta lista para tocar el piano?" [“Are you ready to play the piano?”] I laughed because I thought he was joking. That's the same question he asked me every week before sacrament meeting. But he wasn't! So I ended up playing the hymns for the program. All the missionaries sang "When I am Baptized" and the program was great. Luz and Gustavo have some of the purest hearts of anyone I have ever met. I am so grateful Hna Mendoza and I found Luz. Here is what happened that day. I was not doing so well and Hna Mendoza told me to ask Heavenly Father if this really was his work. So we did as James directs and asked. We found Luz early on. She said, "que sois? [what are you?]" Nosotras [Us] "Mormonas." Ella [She]: "Ah, me gusta. [Ah, I like.]" Later we found out that she had met missionaries about 2 years earlier, but had fallen out of contact with them. Anyway, Hna Mendoza left, and they weren't baptized until I also left, and I think it just goes to show that there were so many hands that worked to help her find the Gospel and be baptized, but the mightiest of them all, and the one that was always there, was God's. I am so grateful because I know their future is so much brighter than it could have been. Especially for Gustavo. Gustavo turned 12 last week. They should be able to go to the temple and do baptisms together. That is a miracle. I don't have the pictures of their baptism, but you guys probably already have them. If not I'll send them when I get them.

Hna Hinton and I decided that we should get some chocolate and churros to help us study the language. We sat on a bench and ate, and when we had finished, we opened the Book of Mormon to read out loud and together. I was just excited to read the BOM. Little did I know Hna Hinton was eyeing the guy on the bench on the other side of the sidewalk. She thought, maybe if we talked loudly enough, we would draw his attention.
Well, she was right. I saw her looking up, and so I looked up, and he was looking at us. We smiled and went back to reading. Then he said, "Are you reading the Bible?" Me: "No, it's not the Bible, but it's scriptures like the Bible." Hna Hinton just tapped the seat next to her on the bench and he came over and, after wiping away the extra chocolate on the bench, sat down with us. We had a really great conversation about the Book of Mormon. He told us he came to this part of town because he was checking out a bajo [?] that was an evangelical church or something, and then found us! He's really active in his church, but is open to listen to us and coincidentally (I think not) lives very close to us. I know God puts people in our path, and we just need to find them. I don't know if we would have been able to talk to him in another way, but I feel like God knows the hearts of his children and how and when they will be ready to hear the Gospel. I hope Jimmy will be able to let the Holy Ghost testify to him about the truthfulness of our message and the Book of Mormon. Side note about the churros-- While waiting to pay, a lady started complaining to the churro stand guy about the chocolate not being very catholic. We gave the guy an apologetic smile, and he threw in a few extra churros for us. 

These are just some of the things that are going on here in Carabanchel. 

Miss you and love you all! I'm working on developing myself as a missionary and putting my trust in the Lord to help us solve these obstacles, but I'm happy and grateful to be a set apart representative of Jesus Christ and be able to talk to every creature about the restored Gospel. 

Cuidense mucho! [Take care!]
Hna Christensen

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