Friday, September 16, 2016

Douggie Fresh

A Toast Composed In My Head Around Mile 5 
on a Morning Run in Late November 2015
(before any of you heard about Alexander Hamilton in rhyme)
By Douggie Fresh

Adelide was named Grace Adelide Christensen. But Sara never wanted her to be named Grace. When she was 4 we legally changed her name: Adelide Louisa Christensen. We called her Addie for the first 5 years and then in kindergarten she officially said she wanted to be called Adelide. She also goes by Adeline and Adelaide because people are slow to call us by our names if our names sound strange. You might already know where this is going. After dating lots of boys and even some who liked the mountains as much as Adelide, she hiked up to Cecret lake with a boy named Chase, who goes by Chico, who was almost called Wolfgang, so he answers to that too. Of course, some people call him Thor and others Wesley. All of these different names sound so much like destiny, two goons brought together by a mutual confusion about who they really are until they finally meet their match, someone who will hike at night, or who will hike in the rain, someone who understands intolerance . . . of gluten, but someone who has so much tolerance for high-octane activities. So now Adelide will finally leave us because that is what we want, right? Mr. Cosby, for all his flaws, said it well: I have 5 children and the reason I have 5 children is because I do not want 6. And the ones I have I want out of the house. So go Adelide, or is it Agnes? I am not sure. Take your stuff and leave if you must. I want you to, no wait come back. Please stay . . . No, no, no, you are a goer, go then. Run off with this Wolfgang fellow, whoever he is. This is the parenting paradox. The kids grow up and we sooo want them to leave for their own sake, and stay for ours, keep us company a while. Such an elegant conundrum right there on the second page of the Bible: A man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife and the two shall be one flesh. It’s okay. 

I sent them that scripture by text message on Thanksgiving day (which was also her birthday) because I was missing them and I knew she was missing us, cause, of course. But they were with his family -- this is part of the deal, we have to share. So they replied: “We like the next verse better (I had to look it up): “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Yes . . . I guess . . . it is time to leave if you feel comfortable enough to send that as your reply to your future father in law, to say nothing of uttering those precious words 7 months before your big day. Adelide and Chase, just remember that this paradox hurts us. Leave, go already, come back . . . . . soon. Often.

Your lives together will be full of paradox. This is my promise to you, my little chip off the old block if ever I had one. Remember what the Dred Pirate Roberts said to his beloved Buttercup: “Life is pain Highness, anyone telling you different is selling something.” How fitting to meet this pain with your Wesley. You cannot have Trevor Hall, so take him instead, a future physician with dreads. Tie the knot, with this man who fancies knots in his hair but is not a knot-head. Or maybe you will both have matted hair because you mutually agree to only wash it once a week. Life’s paradoxes will make you strong especially if having your children grow up and leave you in order to make it on their own is as bad as it gets. This is the hope chest I leave to you, make do with your faith and your grit, work together when the going gets thick. In the end this destiny that you both embrace will have little power to blow up in your face, your ace will be your family tree with deep roots and strong branches, for two people that are willing to take chances in life. But wait, Lidie Lou, that was another name I gave you when you were no more than two, before you go: Remember that one time when everyone went home from the lake cause it was cold . . . and you stayed? And that other time when you went full speed on your skis into the out of bounds rope which caught you by the neck and your head hit the ground so hard that you didn’t know where you were and I left you in the car and you got scared, but not scarred? Remember that other time when we layed on our backs in the middle of the yard and looked up at the summer stars? And then that time we hiked too far and you cried, but you kept on going like you do? Do you recall your silly dance to Michael Jackson down our street? Or that one time when you wore no shoes for a whole year? That time you didn’t make cheer, or dance company, or officer, but then you went to Sweden like your dad, remember that? And your mom and I cried for a year and then before we knew it you were here and you cried because what now? And where is Chase? And will I ever find his face? Adelide Louisa, tomorrow you will be Bob and Paula Paulson’s newest Paulson, but please don’t forget those meals we had together these last 20 months, sittin in the kitchen after work or on a Saturday morning, eating crepes or eggs that I made special for you, and talking together because those times are sacred and I will never not remember them. They are the glue. There may not be another time when we share a tent, or when I rescue you at Kimball junction real late, or when you crash into our bedroom at ten, two hours after we went to bed, to tell us all the stuff you did today and how you met this cutest boy on a hike and how you are so glad you went, but we will still be here waiting to hear, watching up close and from afar as you and Chico visit the moon and all the stars. 

Adelide we changed your name from Grace, but Adelide means full of grace. And you are. And Chase means go. So go. Chase life and grow. Go slow. Push and pull each other up the mountain of life and the only thing you will regret is that you cannot do it twice. Meow!

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Believe

I believe in all things good.
I believe in things that bring happiness and light into our lives.
I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.
I believe that there is a God who knows me by name.
I believe in trials.
I believe that relaxation heals.
I believe in doing things that I love.
I believe that there is a reason each of us is on the Earth.
I believe that there are certain things that feed our lives and that we should do those things.
I believe in education.
I believe in family.
I believe in living a healthy balanced lifestyle.
I believe that there needs to be moderation in all things.
I believe that we have a living day prophet on the earth today.
I believe in the Book of Mormon.
I believe in the bible.
I believe in all books that are full of knowledge, truth, wisdom, and light.
I believe in writing in a journal.
I believe in taking time to love ourselves and really know who we are so that we can love others.
I believe that being around children helps us to become humble and pure.
I believe in service.
I believe in friendships and relationships.
I believe that we can really live in the world and love the world and still not live of the world.
I believe that eating snow cones on a hot summer day is a perfect day.
I believe that each of us are given specific talents so that we can help others.
I believe in missionary work.
I believe in living in the present.
I believe in eating good, natural, healthy foods.
I believe in wearing clothes that make you feel happy and feel like YOU.
I believe in planning and goal setting.
I believe in working hard.
I believe in having adventures.
I believe in music.
I believe in meditation.
I believe in being kind.
I believe that yoga is essential for the body.
I believe in doing exercises that you love.
I believe in going to the temple as often as I can.
I believe in astrology- not as a religion but because it is interesting to me.
I believe in becoming more like Christ.
I believe in taking the sacrament weekly.
I believe that we have the power to choose to be happy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

2014 in review.

Started the New Year off with Sister Hosenfeld, Elder Zaugg, and Elder James wandering around in Båstad.
It was my last month in Halmstad and with my baby Hosie.
I learned a lot about repentance and had many spiritual experiences with my testimony of the Savior.
I decided to give my all to the work for the next nine months.
Morgan was baptized.

Got called to serve in Katrineholm with Sister LaFontaine.
Spent many days tracting and helping the Forsman family move.
Taught Anicet with google translate.
Tried our hardest to be happy with the cold weather and darkness.
Ate way too many Daim chocolate balls.
My hair was turning from brown to red, I broke out all over my face, I gained weight, and through it all I learned a lot about loving and accepting myself and not caring about how I look on the outside.
It was really hard.

We did a lot of service this month.
We tried doing a lot with the members to help them become closer as a branch.
I hit my year mark.
We spent a lot of time doing more tracting, cooking with grace, and hanging with cat.
We loved being with Elizabeth and teaching her friends Swedish.
I learned a lot about myself this month.
We found Esther- which was a huge blessing.
We spent a lot of time working with Asa, Michaela, Paoline, Annik, and Nills.
Nills became considered as “active”.

Emi Christison became my companion- which was a huge blessing.
We did a lot of running.
Paoline became considered as “active”.
We sang “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman everyday.
We spent almost all of our time in Vingåker.
We celebrated the end of Winter and gladly welcomed in the spring. 
 We spent our lunch hours sitting in the sun- it helped me be happy.

We skyped our families on mothers day.
We went on fun adventures on Pdays.
My body wouldn’t let me take naps on pdays so I learned that I love to cook.
And write.
And create.
I tried to learn to love cats.
We spent a lot of time helping Asa learn to love herself- which helped me learn to love myself more.


I left Katrineholm... and went to Orebro.
I was a Sister Training Leader with Sister Lowe.
We ate out a lot.
We celebrated Midsommar at the Keannes house.
I loved the members there so so much.
I went on splits in Katrineholm and got to see Cat and Asa.
I went on splits with Sister Swenson and we got caught up on EVERYTHING. 
I realized that she will be a best friend of mine for a long time.
I enjoyed every minute of summer.
We learned how to make homemade ice cream.
We spent a lot of time with the YSA’s and with our investigators.

We celebrated the fourth of July with the top half of the mission with our new Mission President- the Beckstrands.
We had dinner that night with the YSA couple- the Browns.
We did a lot of contacting.
We did splits with the sisters in Norrkoping.
Swensons group went home.
I got transferred to UPPSALA- my last area.
My new companion and best friend was Sister Anderson.
Isam and Sister Lowe (and parents) came and visited.

This month was so much fun.
We had a lot of energy.
We worked so hard.
We taught Mohammad almost everyday.
We sang songs, we tracted, we contacted, and we spent a lot of time with Maria Shaw.
I was so happy.
We laughed everyday.
We had a lot of fun with Elder Forsyth and Miles.
I learned that I cannot play soccer. At all. Or ping pong.
We went on splits every single week.
We went to Lulea!

Last Month on the mission for me.
It was bitter sweet.
We worked really hard.
We had fun.
We ate a lot of sushi.
Mohammad was baptized.
We taught Gabriella.
We counted a lot of dead frogs in the roads.
We went to Lulea again.
I packed up my stuff and went home on September 26th.
It all went so fast.

I was home.
It was bitter sweet.
I loved being with my family but I really really really missed the mission.
I cried a lot.
I had fun hanging out with Chelsea and Amy.
Sarah Cameron got married.
I went on a lot of dates.
I nannied everyday.
We went to St.George twice.
I looked at mission pictures a lot.
I skyped Mohammad every week and talked to Isam on the phone every week.
I enjoyed going to the temple each week.

I still had a hard time adjusting.
I turned 21.
I continued to go to the temple, read my scriptures, pray, get a hold of everything in my life.
I went on a lot of hikes.
I continued to nanny.
I felt selfish doing so much for myself. 

We spent Thanksgiving in St. George.
At the end of the month- I had a turning point and learned to love being home and be so grateful that I was able to serve a mission.
Brooke Waltman got married.
I fell in love with listening to music.
I continued to date a lot.
Sister Lowe got married.

I stopped nannying.
I did a few babysitting jobs here and there.
I studied scriptures about the Savior everyday.
I got a gym pass and started doing yoga and spin classes again.
I continued to date.
I went to the temple each week and received a lot of answers...
All of the answers had to do with patience and having hope.
I hung out a lot with Swensie.
I kept in contact with a lot of missionaries from the mission as well as Isam and Mohammad.
Christmas was the best Christmas thus far.
We focused on being together as a family more than we focused on presents and it made all the difference.
Sarah Flynn, Madie Hart, and Carli Barlow all came home from their missions. It was fun to be with my friends this month.
I slept a lot. And I watched a lot of movies.
Anderson and that whole group of missionaries came home and it was the best ever.

Cheers to 2014- what an amazing year.
So many ups and downs.
So many lessons learned that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I am excited for a new year. I know 2015 will be equally amazing in different ways.

Monday, October 6, 2014

on to new adventures

The transition from the mission to home life is an interesting one.

i miss the mission
i miss sweden

…And I think its okay for me to admit that. I know that there will not be a day that goes by without me thinking about it… But I also know that for the past 18 months, I have been missing my family and friends and home…

So there is a lesson that I obviously need to keep learning over and over and over again: TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT.

I think that the best thing I have learned from returning home is to not FORCE myself into living in the world or to being different. The transition should be natural. And as I have let it be more of a natural process, it has helped me to enjoy and appreciate each day.

There were many reminders this week of how wonderful it is to be home, (till exempel…)

doing errands with my mama.

driving around with my dad and having amazing conversations about life- the ones that we used to have through letters but can now have in person.

visiting my grandpa at the hospital and singing hymns to him in Swedish with dad.

watching my moms dad- papa, play softball at age 78 and win.

being able to run at whatever time and for however long I want.

watching my aunt martha coach volleyball.

trying on bridesmaids dresses for two of my best friends.

going to the salt lake temple with mom.

helping out my aunt tausha with her kiddos.

moms dinners.

staring at the beautiful mountains all day long. 

road tripping it down to st. george, singing my favorite songs with the family.

first bike ride with dad.

watching conference in my pajamas.

and last but not least, being able to drive to the airport to see my darling brother who I hadn't seen for 18 months and won't see for two more years… after I talked with Henry on the phone the day before, his companion said to him, "she is your best friend, huh?" and henry replied "yes, yes she is." he told me he got teary eyed- I don't believe him. but I am so grateful for our friendship. I LOVE THIS BOY.

SO it turns out that life at home is good.

Elder Holland once said "don't you dare come home from your mission and be who you were before… that is not you anymore." I am trying to do this and its hard. But I don't want to be who I was before... and that doesn't mean that I can't be ME. I am still Adelide… I still love handstands and peanut butter and sandals and mountains. But I am not the same person because I HAVE A TESTIMONY of the gospel and I have a desire to continue to be more like my Savior everyday. That is something that I did not have before. 

And I needed 18 months to figure it out.



I am so grateful for the inspired speakers that know just what we need to hear. 
& that encourage us to stand a little taller. 

I have only been home for a little over a week and already- it is so easy to fall out of the habits that I have made. But I know that if we just try little by little- we will do the things we need to do to become closer to God. 

I loved Elder Klebingat's talk- it was cool to hear from him because I went to elementary with his daughter when they first moved to Utah. His talk focused on us being in charge of our own spiritual well-being. We can't depend on others to give us a testimony and we can't blame others for our individual weaknesses. I love how he said "acknowledge your weaknesses but don't let them immobilize you."

I love that we are agents of our own lives. And I am also grateful that our weaknesses CAN be strengthened through Jesus Christ. But we need allow HIM to help us overcome. 

This week I was not a perfect scripture reader or conference watcher. I get distracted ALOT... but I am trying. And I felt like what I put forth was ENOUGH… I am grateful that all God asks of us is to do our best and we will always be enough to Him. 


Sunday, October 5, 2014

coming home- homecoming talk.

Hello Brothers and Sisters- it feels so good to be with you today. I think this is culture shock number one for me- to see so many members gathered together. We are so blessed and I feel the spirit so strongly. For the past 18 months I have been walking the streets of Sweden, speaking the beautiful Swedish language. I love the Swedes and their unique culture and traditions. They are very simple and quiet people- They are down to Earth and I loved their slow pace of life because it taught me to be more appreciative. But one of my favorite parts about serving in Sweden was that I got to know about 40 different countries and cultures. I was very humbled from the stories of these different people and from the unique lives that they lived.

As I prepared to come home, I thought back on the past 18 months and about the changes I have gone through and also the changes that will be taking place in my life now. It was an adjustment to leave home and wander in a strange land with a new language and culture for 18 months. But for some reason it has been harder- and almost always is harder for return missionaries to adapt being home. I keep putting my hand over my heart to feel where my tag used to be- only to find that it isn't there. And I think it hit me pretty hard when we passed two Sisters out walking in the rain yesterday. While I've been gone, my sister has gotten married, my family has moved to a new home and home ward. My baby sister, Lillie, is now on her second year of high school- so old, and my brother and best friend, Henry, has left for his own mission to Taiwan (or Idaho for now). It is easy to say that I am feeling a little bit out of place.

When I came home just a couple of days ago, I was welcomed home from my journey in Sweden by my loving friends and family... and by a big sign that said WELCOME HOME, made by my wonderful mother which reminded me of a letter my mom wrote to me about how the words "welcome home or welcome back", are the central messages of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I had the opportunity of teaching a Swede named Gabriella just three weeks ago. She is dating a member of the church and had tried learning about the church once before but only wanted to meet with the missionaries to get information- she said that it was hard to accept because it went against everything her parents had taught her. But after many months, she decided she would give it another try, so she prayed to a God that she didn't believe in for a week and then messaged us and said she would like to meet. 

My companion and I loved this girl from the first time we met her- and we could already see that her eyes and her heart had been opened. She would meet with us whenever she could, she would keep all of the commitments we gave her, she would take notes during our lessons... she wanted an answer- she wanted to know if there was a God and if there was a deeper meaning to her life.

Like most Swedes, Gabriella had a good life. Everything was going good for her- she was a good girl and she grew up in a good family but also a family that taught her that she was independent and she could do everything on her own- that there was no need for religion because the government takes care of them. But as we taught her, and as she read and prayed and searched with real intent- she discovered that everything we believe in is good and that she felt good and happy when she allowed the spirit to testify truths that she once knew, and had forgotten for a time. I believe that she felt like she was "coming home" even though she didn't know she had been lost. 

There is a profound metaphor found in the scriptures about the idea of "coming home" that is particularly illustrated in Luke 15 where we read of three parables. These parables or stories are given by Jesus to the Pharisees and scribes who murmur because He "eats with the sinners". The first story is about a lost sheep, the second; a lost coin, and the third; a lost son. The third parable- The Prodigal Son, is a story of a boy who leaves home and takes his portion of his fathers money and goes into the world. He spends all of his money and has no where to go. So, he comes up with a confession that he thinks will help him obtain mercy from his father. His confession is this: He will return back home and work for his father so that he can earn back the money on his own. In verse 18-19, he says, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: Make me as one of thy hired servants." And in Verse 20, "...he arose, and came to his Father..."

In Sweden we taught many Muslims and other non-Christians who believed that this story proves that we can make it home(back to God) without a Savior because the prodigal son "came to himself and came to his father"- on his own he returned home. In the words of a New Testament scholar, Kenneth E. Bailey, those people believe "that [we] are not prevented by original sin or depraved wills and can by [our] own effort, without divine grace, take steps towards salvation." But is this really what happened? 

In the rest of Luke 15: 20 it says, "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." This verse shows us that the Father had been waiting. Anxiously waiting for his son to come home. He saw him at the end of the road and he did not wait for the son to get there, he got up and ran and hugged his son and welcomed him home. And as the father runs to his son and embraces him, the sons confession has a new meaning. In verse 21, it says, "and the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." His sentence changed. He confesses to sinning and not being worthy but he changes his mind about needing to earn back the money on his own, and in a moment of genuine repentance, he accepts to be found. The miracle of this story is not that the Prodigal returns home but that the father welcomes him in and then celebrates him being found. The father does not say in verse 24 that the son "was lost and has come home" but rather he says "he was lost and is found." 

The three parables in Luke 15, are all about our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Sheppard who searches for the lost sheep, the woman who gets on her hands and knees to search for the lost coin, and the Father who embraces his lost son. He doesn't just eat with the sinners- he searches for them, he runs down the road, showers them with kisses and pulls them in. Shouldn't we as members of the church do the same? On a cold spring day in May, my companion and I sat at a table with a woman named Frida who looked at us with teary eyes and said "I've done everything bad that you could possibly do... What would your church think of me?" 

As my dad said in his letter to me a couple of weeks ago, "Isn't it our job as Latter Day Saints to put welcome home signs up for all of our prodigal brothers and sisters? But to put those signs up not to communicate that they were lost and are now found, but to put them up all the time, to always have the vacancy sign flashing for the passer by, to always be ready to welcome the stranger, the weary traveler, and the lost soul. That we make sure that they know they are always welcome home." Our answer to Frida and to everyone should be these words spoken by President Uchtdorf, "Regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this church."

In 3 Nephi 9:14, it reads, "Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." In the words of our beloved Prophet, President Monson, "Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly the master speaks to these and indeed to all: come back. come up. come in. come home. come unto me." 

Brothers and Sisters, coming home is not a small endeavor. It is a big deal and it's something we have to do over and over and over again... and we cannot do it alone. We cannot make it home without the love and grace of the Savior. He is begging for us to come to him. I am grateful for the people that I taught and grew to love on my mission who helped me to see that I was in just as much need of repentance as they were. It helped me understand that we are all wanderers. We are all imperfect. We would all return home, unwelcome, if it were not for our Savior- because "no unclean thing can dwell with God (1 Ne 10:21)." I love the words in Alma 34:9, "For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which is expedient should be made." 

Return missionaries are typically known for "getting lost" after returning home, because they come from a structured setting of edifying others and they have to now concentrate on their own affairs and not lose grip of what they have gained on a life of altruism and service and sharing and developing spiritual roots. As I flew home, I thought of how I will keep from getting lost. I read notes in my journal that I had taken from my Mission Presidents wife, Sister Newell, who taught me how important it is to do the simple things. She said "These are the things that will get us home: reading from the Book of Mormon everyday- even if it's just one verse, praying, attending the temple regularly, having a gospel conversation everyday, and serving others." 

I have a testimony that these simple things are the things that will bring us home. These are the things that remind us to put God first and remind us of our baptismal and temple covenants- to "...stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that we may be in (Mosiah 18:9)." We come home as we turn our hearts to our Father by turning our hearts to our brothers and sisters. I have a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that as a sinner myself, He allows me to have another chance and allows me to return home. I love the words He speaks in the old testament, "return unto me and I will return unto you. Turn to me and I will turn to you. Take one step towards me and I will take two steps towards you." 

I love the scriptures. I love the stories that are told. I believe that the Book of Mormon is true and I believe with all of my heart that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God and that this is the restored Gospel on the earth today. I am grateful for Gods plan. I am grateful for missionary work and I am so grateful for my mission. I am grateful for all of you. For your examples and support and love. And I am grateful to be home. 

In the Sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


So... the day came and now I am home. Its 4 am in Utah and I am exhausted, but I can’t stop thinking about what I would be doing at 12 pm in Sweden right now. I am happy to be home of course but it already feels as though it was all a dream which kind of scares me.

My last week as a missionary is one that I will never forget. We had a good last couple of days- tracting, contacting, packing, laughing, crying... sitting on my last bus and train rides, looking out of the windows at the beautiful city that I love... saying goodbyes, attending the Stockholm Temple, bearing testimonies, having my last interview with President Beckstrand, and waking up at 4:30 am to get to the airport. I felt content but also unsure and a bit nervous... 

The morning at the airport was stressful because our flight got changed last minute- But everything worked out and on our first 9 hour flight from Sweden to Chicago, I think we were all a little “slap happy” and I didn’t really have any emotions/couldn’t comprehend what was happening. We landed in America and one of the Sister Missionaries without thinking said “hej hej” to a flight attendant who answered back “hello” in the most American accent I have heard for a while and we all looked at each other in shock and a bit teary eyed realizing that we were not in Sweden any more... The airport was so loud and everyone seemed so rushed and that is when the emotions hit me... that this is all really over- that there were no more lessons to be taught in Swedish and that my missionary tag would soon be coming off. 

We boarded the plane to fly from Chicago to Arizona and I sat next to a man to the left of me and my MTC companion, Syster Hauglid on the right- It was fun to be with her on the flight home. I noticed the man sitting next to me, put a thing of mints called “Läkrol” on his table, which is a Swedish brand. I immediately knew that he was from Sweden so I began talking to him- he just so happened to be a professor from the Uppsala University and was attending a conference in Arizona. I knew at that moment that it was no coincidence that our flight plans had changed that day. I told him that I just lived in Uppsala and was given the most amazing opportunity to teach one last lesson in Swedish to a Swede. He took a Book of Mormon and we ended up talking about it for the next 3 hours. I opened up my scriptures to read for the next thirty minutes we had left and read this scripture in 3 Nephi 5:13- “I AM A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST, the son of God. I have been called of him to declare this word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” 

It was a peaceful confirmation that my mission is not over. I will always be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for a thoughtful and loving Heavenly Father who knew that I needed this experience. To be able to teach one more lesson as a missionary to a Swede who lives in the same city that I lived in. 

I am filled with so much gratitude. 

I love missionary work.

I love the gospel.

I loved my mission and I know that it will forever be a part of me and that I will continue to think of my experiences and feel the blessings from it everyday for the rest of my life. 

I am so grateful that I was welcomed home by my wonderful friends and family. 

It feels good to be here. It is going to be hard- I can already feel that but I know that it will be awesome. 

My cute mom and dad went to some serious work on my new room and I love it. I think that is what actually woke me up this morning- I just started bawling because I am so grateful for them and all that they have done for me over the past 18 months. And I don’t think that they are wanting me to be moving out any time soon :). It feels at home in this new house that I have never been to. It was so fun to sit with my little Lillie and sissy Hannah and just hold them. I love them so much. And it was so fun to sit in my room and talk face to face with my parents for hours. They are incredible people. 

Life is wonderful and filled with so many happy endings and beginnings- I know that this is where I am supposed to be. 

- l i d e. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

looks like i'm being transferred home

Our amazing investigator Gabriella
Wow. What a wonderful week to end on. We have been so busy- trying to get everything done and ready for transfers. We had a group of about 12 students come to church yesterday which was soooo cool! I gave my last testimony and said a lot of goodbyes- which are always hard. I have met the best and sweetest people who have influenced and blessed my life and I am going to miss them. 
I tried my hardest everyday this week to just ENJOY every single moment- the good and the bad. I have had so many thoughts and emotions running though me as I tried giving my last week my all and also as I have been preparing to come home. I have been overcome with the spirit again and again this week that I have done all that I needed to do... and I am so grateful for that. I was not a perfect missionary- in fact I know that I did a lot of things wrong but I was learning along the way and I was trying my best... and I do not have one regret. 
It is interesting that even though there are not very many things that are "comfortable" on the mission, I feel comfortable and look forward everyday to being here. Everyday I have to stretch outside of my comfort zone... it has never gotten easier for me- and yet I know that I am going to miss it with all of my heart.


Thank you for allowing me to be here.

Thank you for your letters- I couldn't have made it through some days without your inspired words and love and prayers. I will miss this time that we get each Monday to write home and to read letters from home. It has been spiritually uplifting and very fun for me.

There were beautiful moments this week that caused me to pause, smile, and offer a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity that I have had to be a missionary in Sweden... Here are a few of those things... Having an hour every morning to study the scriptures. Singing Swedish hymns with my companion. Taking buses and trains. Going up to strangers on the street to invite them to learn about the gospel. 
Taking a plane to the top of Sweden and looking out the window at the beautiful world that God has created- and having a confirmation that God is real and that he loves us. 
Luleå- splits with sis eborn
Going on splits with the AMAZING sisters on this mission. Teaching the Restoration. Bearing testimony countless times during the day. Laughing with Sister Anderson about everything. 
Gabriella at church
Eating food that I would NEVER eat at home. Looking for ways to serve others all day everyday. Speaking Swedish. Running in the fog before the rest of the world has woken up. Being surrounded by inspiring members of the church. Listening to people tell us about their adventures and their struggles. and last but not least, admiring the forests, lakes and huge skies. SWEDEN IS BEAUTIFUL and my mission has been INCREDIBLE. I have been so so blessed. 

We were invited over for dinner or lunch almost twice a day everyday this week. Everyone has been so sweet to me and I am so happy that I got to know this ward so well in the past 10 weeks. I love them and can't wait to visit next summer. 
dinner at my favorite family!!
I read an awesome talk this week while preparing to come home. It is called "Get On with Our Lives." :) In the talk, Elder Steven E. Snow says,  
"Most of us do not seek or even welcome dramatic changes. But change is an essential part of life's experiences. Many of these changes come as we naturally make our way though our earthly journey. Our lives change as we progress from childhood through youth and on into adulthood and finally old age. Schooling, missions, marriage, employment, and retirement are all examples of milestones of change." 
We were at the Swedish Church with a less active and these people asked me if they could film me with the King's crown on top of my head hahahaha. It was hilarious.
Although I know that coming home is not going to be easy- I am so excited to get on with my life. I am excited to hold you all in my arms and to continue to learn about the gospel and do the things that I have learned how to do on my mission. I look forward to learning and working and fulfilling the rest of my goals and plans and dreams. 
baby milla

Elder Snow also says that our answers to how we should deal with any type of change is by listening to the prophets, keeping an eternal perspective, having faith, and being of good cheer. I have a testimony that we can accomplish any change in our lives if we do those things. Those are the things that helped me adapt to being a missionary and they are the things that will help me when I'm home. 
my favorite girlies

painting our favorite family's fence
I love you all. I WISH LILLIE THE HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY OF ALL!! I canNOT believe she is 17. She was 15 when I left!! So crazy. I look forward to squeezing her guts out in a few short days. :)
We are going to the temple with everyone who is going home on Wednesday, sleeping at the mission home and then heading out on Thursday morning. C U SOON.

Puss puss och MÅNGA KRAMAR-

love, Sister Christensen ~for the last time.

hahaha mohammad's texts

Mohammad made dinner for us on the beach!

Elder Bednar spoke to our mission!