Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21, 2012 (Zhongli)

So many good things happened this week!

This week I went on exchanges in Tao Yuan - only been on exchanges there like seven million times because I've been here forever. But,I really do love this area. I love going on exchanges because I feel like I always learn so much from the other missionareis. I went with Sister Laumatia, who is awesome. We went to find a former investigator - an older woman. I was extremely exhausted that day and her house was super dim and super warm, so I was so drowsy. Felt my head jerk during the prayer. But perked up when she was talking about her health problems. We didn't understand a word she was saying - a medical condition - so she lifted her butt up and pointed at her butt, like it had something to do with her medical condition. so good!

We've been meeting with our recent convert Qian jiemei's little boy, Yun En. Oh, how I love him! He is precious and innocent and adorable. He's 8 and we've been having so much fun having lessons with him. I love that I've had this opportunity to teach children a lot lately. We taught him the sabbath day - we spread out a bunch of little things all over the floor and then he had 2 minutes to run and pick them all up and put them in a certain spot. We related it to how we get tired doing all the stuff we need to do and so on Sunday, we need time to rest. (did I already tell you about this lesson?) Anyway, it was awesome and him and his little sister Cherry collapsed on the floor after they were done. So cute and funny. Also Qian jiemei brought her pregnant friend and her little girl to church on Sunday. So cool. Made my heart soar! Also, Cai jiemei and her little boy Bo Yun are getting baptized on Saturday. I'm so stoked! Pray that everything will go smoothly, because I'm nervous a little bit!

On Friday, we were in Taipei doing temple tours. We gave a tour to this recent convert from Taizhong. He was super handsome and super cool. And we have this perfect investigator and we thought they'd be perfect together. So normally I wouldn't do this, especially as a missionary, but we told him about our investigator yin ru, got his contact information, and are totally setting them up, but we had to ask yin ru's permission first. Yin Ru is our investigator who is so classy and always wears beautiful clothing. Anyway, we talked to her and she was way into it and kept asking us if we were sure he was attractive - she didn't fully trust us. But yesterday she saw his picture on some facebook thingy and she thinks he's a dreamboat. And they're both super spiritual and awesome and she's from Taizhong, so it's all perfect. Also, I love her! (she's my cool scooter contact story one.) Anyway, so she is moving next to Taizhong next month, which is a bummer because she won't be here for her baptism, but she told me that when she moves there, she's taking a break from work, so she can really focus on learning the gospel, and then once she gets a job, she's going to make sure it's one that will allow her to always come to church and in the evenings can attend institute and english class. Wahhh, such a rockstar! Also, she said she used to be really depressed about some things going on, but since she's met the gospel, she feels way happier. So cool! The gospel is so cool, because it totally changes lives.

Friday night, we slept with the temple sisters in Taipei because on Saturday, we went to Xin Dian (part of Taipei) to attend a baptism for an investigator we share with those sisters. (lives ehre, goes to church there.) her name is Pei Hua and she's great. We love her.

Also, this week - super miracles with getting tons of new investigators in awesome ways. It was awesome.

Also, this week had some serious wardrobe malfunctions. Biking with a skirt and windy weather is the worst. Kept screaming because my skirt kept flying up.

In English class, I teach beginning English now, by the way. It's fun, but so far no good stories.

I love you all so much.

love, Natalie

October 8, 2012 (Zhongli)

This is a post Natalie sent today. It is from Oct. 8th and for some reason we didn't receive it then. However, the photos still did not show up. (Matt, aka The Faj)

Dearest everyone,

On Friday morning my stomach started feeling really weird and sickie, and so did Sister Crofts. We were being the worst contactors ever - moving really slow and talking really slow because we kept feeling like we were going to throw up. At dinner time we went home to rest and woke up still feeling so sick, so I called our mission mom and she told us to stay home. Good thing, because I threw up three times after I called her and felt like I was going to die. I think it was food poisioning. It was terrible. Being sick made me miss you, Faj and mom. Also, I am still needy when I am sick. Sister Crofts was making fun of me because when i was on the phone with Sister Chen telling her to buy stuff for me, I was like, "And make sure the bananas are fresh. If they have brown on them, I won't want to eat them." Also, our mm leader and his wife are so cute. I feel like they are my Taiwan parents. When I talked to Brother Wu (mm leader) on the phone, our conversation was like this:
him: "Cen jiemei (me)! Is it serious?"
me: no
him: do you have diarreah?
me: no
him: (a word in chinese I don't understand)
me: (making a throwing up noise) is that what you mean?
wife in the background: ask her if it's all the stuff in her stomach coming out her mouth!
him: repeats
me: yes
him: well, that's throwing up.

Anyway, I love how sometimes it's hard for us to understand each other and I think it's so precious how good of care they take of us. 

Other eventful things from this week - got the warbys! Thanks parents! I looove them, even though with my missionary style (aka no style) they sometimes look really dorkwad on me. But I do love them.

Yesterday at church I was sitting on the same row as Yi Qi, our 11 year old recent convert, and a blind grandma in our ward. During the hymn, Yi Qi was talking really loud, so i was about to turn to her and tell her to be quiet, but then I noticed that she was reading outloud the words to the song a line at a time so the woman could sing along. So precious - eyes welled up with tears for reals. Also, Yi Qi always helps her walk and get to her classes. It's seriously so precious. Also, during sacrament, tons of huge loud fireworks and firecrackers were going off. No clue why.

I know it's awesome that this mission gets fed all the time, but you guys, YOU GUYS. Dying DYING from how much we had to eat this week. We got fed so many meals this week. I know, I know, some missions never get fed and they're out finding in the cold all day every day, but seriously, this week was rough. So full. 

We have a few investigators that are doing really, really well. Yi Xuan (one of my dear friends here, because she's been our investigator since I moved here) is super ready for her baptism. And the ward is extra supportive of her because they've known her for so long and they really include her in everything. They've already been annoucing her baptism in relief society. We've still been working really hard on our lessons with her son. This week we taught him the gospel of Christ, and it wrapped twine all around the church to be Lehi's vision (yeah, included scriptures, book of mormon, and prophets with that one!) and then having him "endure to the end" by following the rod. Man, the things we do for him. We love him and his mom so much.

Another investigator is named Yin Ru. Man, she is so pretty and classy. I want to go shopping with her. She wears these delicate, beautiful pinks and cream lace, or she'll wear all black. She has bangs and reddish-wash dyed hair. And she's sooo golden! Super, super prepared and loves all the church lessons and she's just so wonderful. (She's the one amazing scooter contact girl.) We're trying to get this handsome young guy in our ward to fellowship her. Right, right??

Okay, I think that's about all I have for this week. Man, love you all so much. Really, you guys are huge examples of support and strength. When I think of you guys and my relationships with you and how blessed my life is, it makes me want to be a better and better missionary. 

Thanks for all the awesome support (aka letters!) Love you all!

love, sister nad.

Allison!!! Thanks for the big emails and pictures! I loved seeing and hearing about San Francisco- too fun. I'll write you in the next couple of weeks!!
Erin! I'm still writing you soon. I hope you have some dramatic roommate stories to share with me. yeahh, kidding.
Trev4: brobro.
Kjirsten: overjoyed to get your letter! i ate it up. writing you back soon!
kayla: thanks for your big letter. love you.
cousin anja: love you so much. excited to hang out with you in a few months!
aunt jenalicious: love love you. hawaii?

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012 (Zhongli)

This week we had such an epic baptism. It was the other sisters' investigators and it was held after English class - which was weird and awesome. For the spiritual part of the lesson, we're just like, "All right, everyone, let's go watch a baptism!" Anyway, so me and Sister Crofts are sitting up there as the baptism service is starting, and Elder Patrick, our beloved district leader, runs up and beckons for us to leave. We go downstairs and the baptismal font was empty - no water! This is a big deal, because a.) it had just barely been all the way filled up and b.) it had been filled with warm water, which there is not very much of and c.) takes like 45 minutes to fill up, and people would be coming down in like 20 or something. So we were trying to figure out how to fix it and we got the clever idea to grab the hose from outside, bring it in through the font window, so it's be filling up from two places. Anyway, it was a little frantic as we tried to get the font filled as fast as we could (with cold water), and I had a fun time hanging out in the font, because I had to hold the hose in through the window until the water got too deep. We prayed that everything would still go smoothly for the baptism and right before the people came into the room, Elder Deal checked the hose out of the window and she got baptized by immersion in one dip. Yeah for traumatic baptisms! 

Conference was the best, right? We biked as a big missionary bike pack (my favorite!) about an hour to Tao yuan, to watch conference at the stake center. When that one man (sorry forgot his name) testified of how children don't need baptism and the power of the Resurrection of the truth of it, I was overcome with the Spirit. I was so touched as he testified of the resurrection and I felt that the resurrection is a real thing and even though I sometimes wonder about it, I felt that I have no need to worry. He also testified that all the things the prophets have spoken concerning it are true. I'm so grateful for prophets and apostles. 

Oh, man, I can't think of anything else that happened this week....

Lately, I've been getting all bummed out on finding. Lately we have not been getting a lot of new investigators. Stressful. Last night, we were contacting on a busy street corner by a university and night market. I almost started crying because everyone rejected us and I thought about Jesus Christ, and how even though He is the Christ, people rejected Him too. And it's not even about getting rejected, I think missionaries get used to that (and Taiwan is the best, because people are so nice and often talk to us) as much as that I always want to be at the right place at the right time and sometimes I feel like I'm not being the best tool for the Lord. I know there are prepared people and there's got to be a ton of them, right? "Eternal life hangs in the balance", as Elder Holland says, but sometimes we don't find them. And I'm worried that I'm not as in-tune with the Spirit as I want and need to be. Anyway, I am doing good though. I'm grateful and feel honored and humbled and super loved by the Lord as He allows me to do His work. I only have like 6 months left on my mission, and I hope to still accomplish a lot. Even though I don't know what those things are. Yeah, goal setting - still a weakness!! Well, I love this gospel and I know that it is true. I'm so grateful for the ordinances, doctrines, and commandments that make up the church and gospel. This church, this gospel, is the best thing in the whole entire world. This week we met with one of our beloved investigators whose progress is really slow as far as missionary work goes, but I love working with her and her little family so much. Anyway, she was confused and perplexed at how we can have so much faith towards the future. We realized with her that that was the big difference between her and us. She doesn't have very much faith and we have a lot in comparison. And the difference is huge. But I always tell her that what we have - the faith, the happiness, the assurance of God's existence, etc. - is all completely attainable. 

Our all-knowing and all-loving Father in Heaven lets us learn line upon line, precept upon precept. Oh, also lately I made a decision. Because I worry easily, and I'm always worried about the future, despite what phase of life I'm in. But, the other day I decided I'm done worrying about the future. In my entire past, God has blessed me with soooo, so, so much, He has helped me have success and joy in all areas of my life, and in retrospect, there has never been any need to worry about anything. I'm trying to face the future with complete faith and confidence in God. He loves me, as He loves all of us. And He only wants the absolute best for us. I want everyone to come unto Christ, because it's the best life you'll live.

I love all of you so much. Thinking about all of you makes me want to be a better missionary. I've been too blessed.

Love, Sister Natalie Christensen

Niels- yeah, for realz cryptic email. I haven't finished the letter or sent it yet, so don't worry! Sending it in the near future!
Emily Brown - I'm already dying at your description of Russia. In love.
Lou- I love hearing from you!! Where is Hannah at school? When I get home, we're having a girl day when you're family is all out of town. I'm serious!
Kayler- got your letter. loooove you.
kjirst! loved hearing from you! cracking up in your letter.
trevor - look at me! not worrying so much!

[No photos were attached to this email; Natalie said that her email has been acting up]

pictures: Check out my zone leaders' ties!!
I LOVE THIS PICTURE. Fillin' up the font. Aka just doing the Lord's work.
Inside of a convenient store/mirror photo.
all of us sisters in the zone watching relief society conference together.
Taiwan - one day had all these beautiful taiwan flag streamers across the road.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 8, 2012

No letter from Natalie this week, though she did send a couple photos. I think she must have forgot to post here regular blog letter or it didn't go through or something. Here are the photos. (Matt, The Faj).