Monday, May 29, 2017

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, May 29, 2017.  She is currently serving in the city of Madrid with two "green" Chinese-speaking companions.  This is challenging for her.  Last week, Skibby told us that her mission president had instructed her and her companions to focus their missionary work in Usera, one of Madrid's 21 districts.  In my email to Skibby yesterday, I asked her if Usera was like Madrid's version of San Francisco's Chinatown.  She answered in her email below.

Date:  May 29, 2017 at 10:40 AM

Hola a todos!!

I hope everyone is doing well and is happy! It's been another week of ups and downs and hurrying from one place to the next. It is hard enough to get myself on time to everything, let alone 3 of us.

I don't have anything really exciting or interesting to say, but I will do my best.
We put a whole bunch of hearts on Miriam's door for Mother's Day on Saturday and she was really happy. I am teaching her daughter piano. She won't be baptized in the near future. 

We met an evangelical named Aaron in the street who was very informed on his anti-every-theory-except his-own. I thought I handled the situation very well, but my companions said I was respectful but needed to calm down. But they don't really understand Spanish either. I don't know. He cited 1 Corinthians 15:29 to say that baptisms for the dead was an abomination.

We had a mini intercambio [exchange] with the b9 [Barrio 9; a barrio is like a ward] hermanas. Hna Tang stayed in b3 and we went to b9. It was really nice. I think it's nice for them to have some time in a companionship.

Eating cheese brought here from Bolivia was probably the worst decision I could have made last week. I learned a lot about the consequences of agency this week.

Usera is China town. I am trying to learn.

We traveled to teach some chinos. We're working on setting up Skype for them.
Love and miss you all!

Hna Christensen 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, May 22, 2017:

Date:  May 22, 2017 at 10:23 AM
Subject:  Hola hola.

Hello Familia! Long time no see? I feel like we just talked and just saw each other so I'll make this short.

We had intercambios [exchanges] on Wednesday and I learned a lot about Ether 3 and how God answers the Brother of Jared 3 times in different ways.
1--direct (makes hole in boat)
2--don't worry about it (protects them from waves and sea creatures)
3--asks us to do all we can (asks Jared what he thinks and then touches rocks)

Well, I learned that all of those are miracles. But they happen in different ways. I am trying to apply this better to my life this week and forever. Sometimes miracles aren't always what we expect them to be, and a lot of times we don't even recognize them. But they are miracles and communication with God nonetheless. I'm grateful for scriptures and inspired leaders that help us receive direction from God.

On Friday we had a lesson with Luz and her husband. We have been praying to melt the ice! (I'm pretty sure this doesn't make sense; what I mean is just trying to have God soften his heart.) Well the lesson was a little bit jumbled. We wanted to talk about the Holy Ghost, and then he had a ton of questions and we didn't finish and she gave us food (mas amorra morada and Peruvian tamales, super rico), but the good news is they both came to church and he wants to learn more and doesn't want to be baptized, but is perfectly happy that Luz wants to. She is in a piso with a single ward member. I don't know why we had to pass through what we did with Oscar, but now I am being especially very careful, so at least I've learned a little bit to help Luz. I will send Oscar a text today, and we will drop him.

Saturday there was a Relief Society talent show that we had to attend and take part in. We took our future investigator Mercedes, who is a doll. It was fun to see a lot of dances from different countries. I was excited when b9 came out with the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” There are like 3 American families there. 

I missed the sacrament, bringing some people to church.
1. Cynthia and family minus Cesar
2. Miriam and daughter
3. Luz and husband and aunt
4. Fatima and family
5. Some Chinese guy that hna Tang found
It was good and busy and stressful.

That is that. Today we traveled to the mission home and had interviews. Pres wants us to spend considerable time working and finding in Usera. Maybe I'll crack down a little more on my Chinese studying. He says it is a miracle that my 2 companions are here. I hope I am helping.

Love and miss you all!
We disfrutéis su semana!!  [Enjoy your week]

The fav

Monday, May 22, 2017

We got to Skype with Skibby on Mother's Day--May 14, 2017--and it was wonderful to see and talk to her!  She sent the following email and photos a few days later--on Wednesday, May 17, 2017:

Date:  May 17, 2017 at 10:58 AM
Subject:  Catch up letter.

Hello family!!
Well here is the catch up letter. Basically it's been hard, but it's getting better. It was so great to talk to all of you! 
Last Monday we went to Segovia. We left late and barely made it back on time so it was a little bit of a fiasco. But it was fun. So that's where the pictures come from. Then this Wednesday we went to the temple and then went shopping. My companions really like Chinese food, so we spend a considerable amount of time just browsing the Chinese supermarket. It's fine, don't get me wrong, but there's a lot of slimy things in there that look and smell like they shouldn't be eaten. I don't know how Sammy survived in Cambodia. And then went back!

This week there was a really big rainstorm a few of the days. My shoes are telling the story of that. But don't worry, mom, they are just fine!! I think there is a picture of hna Leong looking for shelter. We were on a street and had been looking for a few minutes for Hna Tang's ring that she lost, (after ling yong gon failed us) and I didn't know what we were going to do because who knows where it could have gone after the rainstorm. We were asking Heavenly Father to help us find it, but al fin, we had to leave. We really worked our hardest to talk to people and fulfill everything we have to do. When we got home, Hna Leong found it on a shelf. Woohoo! Hna Tang was sure she had it on. I don't know what's true, but either way God answered our prayer.

No news on Oscar.

Luz went to France with her husband (luz de Peru, not my Luz) and they should be getting home tomorrow. We are praying that her husband will accept the Gospel.

We are meeting with a family of Peruvians -- Cynthia, Cesar, and their 3 kids. Cynthia is menos activo after mucho tiempo. She doesn't remember anything. Cesar is ..... catolico. But we are just working slowly and surely to help improve their lives. Family prayer. They have a lot of things going on, but Cynthia told me they both feel a lot of tranquility and peace when we are with them. Point for the Holy Ghost!! Cynthia thinks they are lacking going to church and just wants them to be able to go soon. As soon as Cesar can let go a little bit of his weird Catholic traditions they will be able to let the Gospel bless their lives!

I'm sending a letter that Carmen sent me. If you can't understand all of it that's ok. Like Emily, she struggles a little bit with spelling ( jk emily..jajajaja). Hna Quispe told me this story about Carmen:
They were in principios del evangelio. Carmen. Talking about baptism or something. And then Carmen interrupted with a question. About (I'm butchering this story. Hna Quispe tells it so much better) little children and what happens to them when they die without being baptized. So Eva (maestra) stops the class to explain everything and talks about Moroni 8 and everything it entails. At the end Carmen explained, "That's why I got baptized in this church. To learn things!"

Well it's a pretty darn good reason if you ask me, especially if you're learning true doctrine. The church is the best thing that can happen in someone's life. Teaches true doctrine, helps you stay away from evil, you have fun, gives opportunities to serve. Where are the cons?

Thanks for your letters. Have read them but not responded. We'll talk Monday anyway. Keep up the work!
Your favorite

Skibby with her two Chinese-speaking companions

Skibby and companions at Madrid Temple

Our Mother's Day Skype with Skibby (before we got Sam added to the Skype session)

Family Portrait!
At 1:00 pm Utah time, we got a 3-way Skype going with Sam and Skibby!  Sam (left side of laptop screen) is doing an internship in Cambodia this summer, and he joined us at 2 am Monday morning his time.  His roommate was asleep in their room and Sam didn't want to disturb him by turning on the lights, so he joined us in the dark and limited his comments to just a few whispers!  Skibby is on the right side of the screen.  It was 9:00 pm Sunday night for her in Spain.  My parents, Clifta & Boyd Tobler, also joined us.  It was fun having our family "together" again!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, May 8, 2017.  She is in a 3-person companionship right now, and her 2 companions are Chinese.

Well, this week has been a little bit rough for me. Hna Tang and Leong are still learning the language and they're both fairly new in the mission, and they don't know the area, so I feel like a lot of things have just been falling on my shoulders. In the lessons they don't understand what the investigators are saying and I am having to do the starting and finishing of all lessons and looking for places and trying to figure out the best plan of the day, and I just feel like it hasn't been that fun. I want to receive revelation and know what the best plan is and how we can use our time most wisely, but sometimes I just don't know. I'm trying to figure out what my role is supposed to be this transfer with them. I know the gift of tongues is real, but I don't know if I'm supposed to be learning Chinese or not. They are called to speak Spanish. But I know I'm really blessed to be with them and to learn from them. I just hope I can be a good example and still have fun and feel like I'm fulfilling everything I am supposed to be doing! We visited the only Chinese member here last Saturday. He is a less active. We also visited an investigator named Julio. I didn't understand anything. I did have contact with Oscar Friday night. I called him again and finally he answered. He apologized for not answering before. He said he moved to Usera [another district within the city of Madrid] and that we needed to talk. We called him Saturday and he didn't answer. We'll call him today and see what happens. 

We visited a fair amount of members this week. I need to get better at visiting members because we always spend more time there than I would like to. We have some really good members here and I wish I knew how to develop better relationships with them. 

We are going to try to start Spanish classes for those who speak Chinese. We made fliers and are going to distribute them. We'll try to play badminton despues [afterwards]. Apparently that's a big thing in Asia.

We are visiting a familia of peruanos [Peruvians]. The wife is less active. I think it must have been after several years after her baptism though, because she doesn't remember anything. We taught them how to pray the last time. They don't have the custom of doing it. It's crazy for me. I don't even remember learning how to pray. I feel like it's just been ingrained in me that that's something you have to do. 

I think we can email around one next week? I mean Skype? It will be 9pm my time.

Love you! Have a great week!