Thursday, June 29, 2017

Skibby sent the following email & photo on Wednesday, June 28, 2017:

Date:  June 28, 2017 at 10:51 AM
Subject:  On the Lord’s time.

Hola familia!
How is everyone doing?! Surprisingly it's been really nice here. Not too hot, not too cold. Windy and stormy but no rain.

We had the temple today so our p-day changed. Sorry for not letting you know beforehand. The temple just got redone and opened yesterday, so we got almost the first peek at it. 

We have been working a lot to try to get to know the members. I think we need to use our member missionaries a lot more. Other than that, we've had a lot of lessons with an 80 year old Columbian grandma named Libia. She lives with her daughter and their family, but she feels like she's in castigo [punishment]. So every morning she makes a prison break and leaves for the entire day. She doesn't have a phone, so she's been tough company to get ahold of. But we finally caught her at home and set up some appointments. She's super funny and very delightful, but she suffers from some things that have left scars on her heart. I'm really excited for her to use the atonement to feel better. I realized that when Jesus suffered the atonement, he suffered the price of sin, but he also suffered for the damage made by the consequences of sin. He makes it possible to heal the sinner and the wounded. That's pretty incredible.

Also yes! Luz was baptized. She was so happy. President gave me permission to go. We arrived right at 7 when it was supposed to start. Luz arrived around 7:20. We were all a little bit nervous. Bit she arrived and everything went great. Her husband Luis was worried she was going to drown. Afterwards she shared her testimony. I think she shared Jacob 2:18. It was really powerful. She said she was stopped by the elders in a time when she had been praying to God a lot. She was in a hurry and said she couldn't talk, but decided to give him her number even though she didn't give ANYONE her number at that time. And she has learned a lot. I hope someday Luis will be able to take the same step. They are excited and a little bit nervous about their future, but they have a lot of trust in God.

We read the 1st chapter of the bom with a member girl (age 14). By he end, she was like-- whoa. We were like, what? She said, "I've read the first chapter of the book of Mormon so many times and I never understood it as well as this time". I love chapter one because it testifies of Christ right off the bat, teaches about profetas and revelation, sacrifice, the importance of prayer. Nefi coming in strong. We got the challenge to read the bom in 4 weeks. So I am reading real quickly.

Love you all!!

Hna Christensen 
Bautismo [Baptism]

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Skibby sent the following email & photos on Monday, June 19, 2017:

Date:  June 19, 2017 at 10:34 AM
Subject:  It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world

Hello family!

Well, It's been a crazy week. And when I mean crazy, I mean crazy. Actually, it wasn't that crazy. I just was thinking about how in that movie, there are a bunch of people running around like crazy not really knowing where, but with a clear purpose. That's how I felt this week. I have no idea where anything is, and we've been running around all week like crazy. And also the heat. It is a killer. Spain is like a heat wave.

B6 is situated in a place called Moratalaz [another district of Madrid]. It just happens to be on line 9 of the metro, which includes... Pavones! Remember how I told you every time I went to Pavones I felt like I was going home? Well now Pavones is home. We live a 3 minute walk from the temple. My companion is Hermana White. She's from Arizona. She's really awesome! 

Monday we talked to a ton of people. We were supposed to go to a family home evening, but they canceled so we were able to talk to a lady called Lionela and her daughter Noelia. But they haven't answered us yet.

Tuesday, we went to talk to a ton of people in the morning. We ran into this guy named Jose Luis who was seated on a bench. We taught him a little bit and then walked to the metro together. After going past 2 metro stops, Hna White decided to remember that she had forgotten her tablet on the little bench. So we ran back there as fast as we could, but it was gone. But It's ok because she only had her tablet, dni, credit cards, Temple recommend and all important documents in it. I sat there on the bench trying to think of something rational to do while Hna White threw a fit and wished that everyone that passed by would just come and bring her tablet. So we prayed a lot. And we went around looking for a little bit. Then we wanted to go home, but we also knew that Heavenly Father knew exactly where her tablet was. So we prayed and looked some more and then headed for home. And that's bad luck because that tablet had our entire carpeta de area on it. While we were eating, our phone rang and a lady told us she had found her tablet and had to do something first, so she took it home and just had the chance to call us. She found our number on one a card that we tried to give out. So that was a great miracle for us. I know God works miracles and I know that we had this experience to test our faith and grow our testimonies. So we recovered everything and Hna White took some of her important things out of her tablet and put them somewhere else.

The rest of the week we spent visiting Marta at the hospital (she's taking care of someone that is now in the hospital), and other people here and there. We met a lady named Francy who I had actually met earlier on an intercambio [exchange]. She is really awesome and has the desire to come closer to God, but it's hard for her. And we talked to a lot of people. We talked to some atheists who offered us some cigarettes. We politely declined. They said they only believed in what they saw. I thought, how shortsighted that is. It makes it seem like none of history even took place. Or any news that happens in the world, if they haven't seen it, they shouldn't believe it. I am telling you, if there's one thing they should believe in, it's that smoking kills. It is posted all over the place. For all to see. I remembered asking Carmen when she knew the bom was true, and she said, "as soon as I read the testimony of the witnesses, because they can't lie". I think it's so much better to have faith than to just believe in what you see. It really limits the perspective.

I love you all! Sorry this letter is so boring. I have lost any sense of humor I used to have. Luz should be baptized this Friday. I don't know if I will go. Have a great week and keep me updated.

Hna Christensen 
View from our kitchen window [Madrid Temple]

Skibby, Francy, Hna. White (Skibby's new companion)

Hna. White & Skibby

Skibby wrote:  "metro poster sign--do they have these in the US?"

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, June 12, 2017.  Our translation attempts are in italics:

Date:  June 12, 2017 at 10:55 AM
Subject:  Que susto de verle!  [What a shock to see him!] [We think Skibby is referring to Oscar, 
an investigator she was working with several weeks ago who was on the verge of getting baptized, 
but then just suddenly disappeared...]  

Hola buenas a todos! Que tal estáis?! espero que estén disfrutando el calor. Super super fuerte el calor aquí. Cuantos grados es allá?  [Hi, everyone! How are you?! I hope you are enjoying the heat. Super super strong the heat here. How many degrees is there?]

This week has been awesome! It's been a little crazy. First off, we had transfers. They tell us Saturday night who goes, and where. I knew our companionship was going to change, but I didn't know who was going or where.

Monday night we saw Luz! Nilo and Luz's husband Luis were there. They are both amazing. Luz has a baptismal date for the 24 of June. She is super excited and Luis doesn't have any problem with it. He doesn't want to be baptized because he's already been baptized, but he really likes talking to us and learning more. 

Tuesday we had a special zone conference. Elder Gay of the Seventy came and talked to us. He is a crazy guy, but he said some pretty inspired things. Then later that day we met with someone named Shirley. Her cousin is a member visiting from Bolivia. We got to talk about the restoration. She said she's felt like she keeps moving farther and farther away from God, but really wants to come closer to him like she was before. She's hoping we can help her. It's really cool because every time we teach the restoration, we are ending the personal apostasy of that person, or restoring them personally to the truth. I really hope Shirley will be able to accept the Gospel because it will bless her life and help her come closer to God. We had another lesson scheduled with a man named Usiel. But he failed us. Luckily, we got a call from a guy named Li Kai that we had a lesson set up with (but we had forgotten to put it in our calendar.) If we had been in the lesson with Usiel, we wouldn't have picked up the phone to talk to Li Kai. We just shared something small, but I'm really glad we were able to talk to him and make a good relationship. He's Chinese.

Wednesday we had a family home evening in Daisy and Gonzalo's house. We talked about the good Samaritan. That's such a great parable because it shows the true character of all the people and how the higher law (of love) is always better than the Mosaic. I gave Noelia, their daughter, a piano lesson.

Thursday. We were supposed to see Miriam. Wednesday night my heart started hurting because I was thinking about all the people who I've taught and loved who haven't accepted the Gospel. So anyway, Thursday morning we headed to Miriam's. She lives in Oporto. We were passing by a tiny park when I saw someone I knew sitting down on a concrete bench. I stopped dead in my tracks. When he saw me, he covered his face. It was Oscar. We sat down next to him. He was unshaven, and dirty, and drunk. He said he left the church because there was a woman in the way of him being able to be baptized. He felt guilty because we had called him so many times and worried so much and had always wanted the best for him. Now he doesn't have a phone or a job, and he can't remember the address of his piso. He wanted 1 euro to take the bus to his house. So we gave it to him. He promised he would come to the church Friday at 8 to see us. When we stopped at Miriam's house, she couldn't meet with us, so we ran back to Oscar. He hadn't moved, so we left him with a note to come to the church in case he forgot. I think that’s all we could have done. 2 days late, he was still there. We couldn't stop and talk to him this time though because we were on an errand for Miriam. There is a stark difference between people who have the Gospel and those who live in sin. I hope Oscar will make it to the church. Friday night I saw Elian and Obispo Jabonero from Mostoles! It was awesome. Elian is trying to become president of herbal life. Also, hna Keller came and visited b3 with her families. My first intercambio [exchange] ever was with her in b3 [barrio 3]. Weird.

Saturday. We got the call. I am now in b6. Hna Tang and Leong will take on b3 solar. They are awesome. That's all for now. Love and miss you all

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Skibby sent the following email & photos on Monday, June 5, 2017.  She has experienced some challenges working with her two Chinese-speaking companions, and she refers to this at the end of her first paragraph.  They are nearing the end of their current transfer, ie the "home run stretch"! :)

Date:  June 5, 2017 at 11:06 AM
Subject:  Warrior or worrier

Hola! Well so many things have happened this week that it is a little bit crazy, but mostly what I have realized is that I have inherited Peter's lovely gene of worrying. Thanks Dad. I would love to be both (see title of email). It is good to worry sometimes. At our last zone conference we talked about urgency. Sometimes we have too little, and sometimes too much. They showed us a graph of stress and productivity. It's one of those math curves they show you in school like a bell. On the left side there is stress and motivation, and on the right side it is too much stress and overwhelmption. Stretch not stress is what Hna Pack says. I am telling you, living day revelation exists because that whole conference was directed straight at me. But actually things have been getting a lot better. We have been ironing out the wrinkles in our relationship and how we do work and everything. There are still quite a few wrinkles, but it was getting a lot straighter. Sadly we are on the home run stretch.

I will give a brief report of the week's happenings
1: Sunday-- a member tells us her 9 year old daughter is getting baptized this week and we have to plan it.
2: Cynthia told us they were throwing her out on the street because they haven't been able to pay for their room. They have been looking for somewhere else to go, but haven't found it.
3: there was a wedding in the church.

I'll send pictures to help sum it up.

Skibby with her 2 companions and someone else...

Translation of sign:

When it comes to your food, all the details count, and at Royal Canin, we know it.