Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Last Letter -- (maybe)

(Monday, September 22, 2014)

Hello family and friends!  So I'm not sure if I will be sending off anything next week at the office, so this might be my last letter.

Not much has changed in the area this past week. Sandra is still amazing. She came to church for the 5th or 6th time in a row. Alonso is still being pulled in two directions my Sandra and his mom.  Sandra sees everything that is wrong with Alonso's mom's church and Alonso is just confused about it all. On Tuesday, we invited Alonso to pray again to know if our church is true.  He definitely felt it, but he is still confused.

Santiago is about the same too.  We had multiple lessons with him. He's doing better in regards to his addiction, but he didn't come to church.  We saw Nancy at a stop light.  We saw her take a few glimpses at us and act like she didn't see us.

I want to thank all of you for all the prayers and emails and letters and packages over the past two years. I really don't know what to say at the moment.  My head is spinning as I'm thinking about everything.

I am and will continue to be grateful for this opportunity to be here in California.  I had to come to California to understand how blessed my life has been in Utah.  I now have direction to my life that I was seriously lacking beforehand. I feel like I have come to a more clear understanding of who I am, who God is, what he has planned for me, and what I have to do to be able to be what he wants me to be.

I love you all so much.  See you all very soon.

Elder Christensen


Feeling a lot better. The package helped a ton. Thank you thank you.

So I originally had assumed we wouldn't see each other till the farewell thingy. But after talking to some missionaries, I guess there are some parents that have gone to sacrament meetings.  Honestly, we need to run around all over the place on Sundays at church, so I don't know how good it would be.  I feel like I would want to be with you, but I'd need to be with the investigators, etc. Not sure what time you have planned to arrive in Cali, but my opinion would be that it is best that we wait till the farewell.  What do you think?  I probably could get permission to text you if we need to coordinate something.

Farewell starts at 6:30.

I think I'll get permission to text you. If you don't hear from me at all, we'll see each other at 6:30 at 614 W Foothill Arcadia, CA.

Thank you so much for the quotes and thoughts.  Love you so much!  See you soon!

Elder Christensen 

Week 93

(Monday, September 15, 2014)

Hey everyone.  Due to a lot of running around and funness, this letter will be a little short.

So Santiago is still having a tough time.  He has been having a hard time getting the momentum back.

Still no word from Nancy... sadness...

Sandra and Alonso are awesome.  Progression towards baptism is slow, but sure.  Alonso was able to get work off this Sunday so he was able to come to church.  They won't commit to getting married yet, but they both know that they need to do it.  Sandra is still understanding everything super well.  Alonso said that he has been having a tough time understanding what we have been teaching.  We are going to shake up the way we do things a bit to help him out.

Now here is the most memorable experience of the week.  :)  On Wednesday, we were playing soccer with the youth in our ward during mutual. Elder Bardsley collided with one of the youth, went down, and dislocated his shoulder.  We were in the ER till 12:30.  That threw off my energy for the rest of the week.  Still working on recovering from that one.

Sorry for the shortness.  Love you all!

Elder Christensen


Hey before I get into everything else, the past two weeks has been super rough blood sugar wise. I bought some trail mix just barely for the week so that should help. Just to give you an example, this morning I woke up at 6:30, ate a bowl of raisin bran at 7:30, then near the end of personal study at 9:00 I was feeling a little weird. I checked my blood sugar and it was at 88. There have been a few times in this past week that I have tested my sugar and it's been in the 70s. So it's been super tough.

Follow up question. Do you remember that weird fever-like episode I had? Do you ever feel hot flashes when your blood sugar drops? Maybe that was it that one day, because I felt a little bit like that this morning.

Ideas for keeping it stable?


Eat something as soon as you get up. Don't wait the hour... Half an apple or yogurt. Raisin bran isn't enough protein. You need to have good protein to start the day. Oatmeal with a string cheese, egg with cheese and wheat bread, egg with cheese and deli ham or bacon on English muffin. If you are wanting a quick cereal, regular special k has more protein. Then you just have to make sure you are eating something every two hours so you don't get the huge drops. While it's really sensitive, you may need to eat every hour for a few days. Nuts, protein bar, apple, trail mix, string cheese, etc.

Yes, I get hot flashes, nervousness, anxiety feelings, cold sweats, nausea, dizziness, etc.

Are you being your packages on Wed or Thurs? I'm sending a package today and can throw in another protein package of you would get out all this week. It should arrive at the office Wed.

You may want to test it as soon as you get up before eating anything to have a starting point for the day. If it's low, the apple will help. Or, have done juice, wait 15-20 minutes then eat the protein. If you are eating while it's still low, it's a harder fight to get it up and staying up.

Week 92

(Monday, September 8, 2014)

Hello family and friends!

This week was another roller coaster week!  Man, it's draining me. We'll get the lows out of the way again.

So, part 1.  No contact with Nancy still.  We have decided we won't try again till Sunday night to give her a little bit of space.  We got really close to having contact with her on Saturday, but it wasn't the best circumstances.  So we'll see how that goes.

Part 2.  Santiago was doing SOOO well.  We took Bishop with us on one of the lessons and we were super stoked about how well everything was going.  We still had daily lessons with him.  He slipped up on Saturday, cancelled the lesson we had Saturday night, then didn't come to church.  Buh...so close.  We hopefully will see him today.

Now the good stuff.  This part made my week.  It was awesome!

So Sandra came to church again (4 weeks in a row! She's headed for Raul and Rosy status!)  After Sacrament Meeting, we were talking and there were two things that she told me that blew my mind.  As you are reading this, keep in mind that we have been teaching her for a month.

So in our first lesson with her, we also taught her sister.  She didn't act quite as interested, but we still saw some potential.  We haven't seen her for about a month.  Sandra said that she has been talking to her about how awesome church is, but that she isn't interested at the moment.  Now get this!  She said something like this, "So ya, at this point, I don't want to keep forcing her.  I have seen the changes in myself since I've been coming to church and I know it will help her, but if I try forcing her to do it, she won't get anywhere. So I think that I'll just keep talking to her about what things we talked about in church and how it's helped me.  Then, with time, she'll see my example and want to come."  Speechless... Whenever there are moments like this, I feel like my responses are always super unintelligent.  Something along the lines of, "Uh, well...yes...exactly.  I totally agree with what you said. Wow, you're smart."  I don't know.  I always feel like a dork.

Well, in case that wasn't enough, here's something else from that same conversation.  "So I was talking to Alonso about some stuff, and he brought up some stuff that his mom said about the Evangelical church that she goes to.  Then as we were talking, the question came to my mind: Why are there so many churches?"  Pause in the story.  At this point, I'm hoping she says, "I remember you told us that..." or "I remember reading in the pamphlet that...".  But her response was even better.  Continuing... "So I picked up the Book of Mormon and opened it to a random page and I got my answer.  If I remember right, it was in 3 Nephi 27.  It said something about if it's Moses's church it will be named the church of Moses and if it's the church of a man then...I don't know, something like that.  Then it said if it's Christ's church, it will be called in his name.  Then I thought about the name of the church.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Christ's name is right there.  So this church must be true."  Again, it was followed up by a super unintelligent response.  Speechless. Uhh...ya...that's right.

In case you're wondering what the verse in 3 Nephi 27 says, here it is:

And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel. (3 Nephi 27:8)

Ya, wow. But wait, there's more.  Still the same conversation.

Sandra: "So Alonso still isn't sure if it's okay to get baptized a second time.  His mom said that you should only get baptized once, so he's not really convinced of that part yet." 
Me: "Okay, so you were baptized in the Baptist church, so why do you want to be baptized again?"
Sandra: "Well I don't feel like it counted.  They don't have that power since it's a church of men."

She is amazing.

Thanks for all the love and prayers and support.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tanner's Facebook post on August 23, 2014

(Mom’s note: This painting is one that Spencer did for Tanner for Christmas.)

Jesús es mi Salvador. Es difícil expresar lo que he llegado a sentir en cuanto a su amor para con nosotros. #GraciasaEl podemos volver con Dios. Las cosas que nos pide que hagamos son relativamente pequeñas en comparación a la gran recompensa que nos espera. Por eso, #sigoael. #Ifollowhim  #ComparteBondad

There was a period of time that I felt like my life did not have much purpose. I attended church, I was studying in school, but everything felt monotonous. The Book of Mormon changed all that. I began to read it a few minutes every night. Those few minutes soon turned into over an hour every night. Everything that Christ taught and did began to have personal relevance. I felt fulfilled and I no longer felt like a robot trudging through life. Life had meaning. Since then, my testimony has deepened. #BecauseofHim this life has a purpose. To be able to continue to have peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come, #IFollowHim.  #ShareGoodness  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 91--A Crazy Roller Coaster!

Hello family and friends. This week was such a crazy roller coaster!

There was a lot of bad and a lot of good. Let's start with the bad and crazy stuff first.

So part one. Nancy has basically dropped us. Feel like that came out of nowhere? Ya, us too. We have done everything we can to get in touch with her, but she won't talk to us. We actually don't have any idea why. Frustrating... The sisters from the singles ward are trying to get in touch with her as a last ditch effort. Please pray for her!

Now, that the worst of the bad news is out of the way, here are just some random annoyances of the week (not complaining, just helping you get a feel for the week):

- my iPad factory reset, which means I lost a LOT of studies and notes and quotes and reminders that I hadn't backed up. I still don't have it fixed.

- our water heater broke. I've been sponge bathing with water warmed from the stove because I can't stand how cold the showers are.

- on Elder Bardsley's iPad, the Areabook app updated without us seeing any warning, so we had to re-enter a lot of data.

Now, not bad news, but stuff that added to the stress:

- I gave a short talk at a stake meeting about retention.

- I gave the 5th Sunday lesson to the adults and had a little over a day to prepare (without the help of my iPad and my previous markings). Feedback was pretty positive though.

Okay, now all that is out of the way. Now the good news!

So, we found out things were rough with Nancy on Monday night. Tuesday I tried something new. Instead of fasting from food AND drink (since that destroyed me last time I tried due to my hypoglycemia), I just did a no drink fast. I felt it was better than nothing. On Tuesday night, we kind of did our last effort with her before giving her some space. It didn't work out. Then, Wednesday night, we get a text from Santiago. We had stopped visiting him and asked him to tell us when he was ready to give it a try again. He told us that he was currently with the Elders Quorum President and was heading to the church (where we were at). We were super shocked. Santiago showing up as a result of our fast for Nancy? Maybe... The thought did cross my mind. He talked with Bishop. Bishop helped Santiago gain some confidence and feel supported. Then we had daily lessons with him. He hasn't had a drink since Wednesday. He came to church. Multiple people in the ward said hi and made him feel awesome.

Sandra and Alonso are doing awesome! Sandra has been the one that has been more involved to this point, but Alonso still likes it. She said that on Saturday night, he came to her and said, "hey, we haven't read today. Let's go." They then read a whole chapter together and both understood it! Alonso is still trying to get Sundays off.

So ya, roller coaster week. We haven't given up on Nancy. We're just letting her breathe a bit. Her mom told the sister missionaries that she felt pressured to be baptized. I personally think it might be a cover up, but hopefully we'll find out what's going on soon.

Love you all so much! Thanks to everyone that sent suggestions on how to finish strong. If anything else comes to mind, let me know! I still am thinking a lot about Elder Blanchard and Elder Febbo and how they finished. I feel like I'm headed in the right direction.

Elder Christensen

Monday, August 25, 2014

Check This Out!

Hello family and friends.  Remember last week how I was talking about hoping to get in contact with Carmen?  Check this out:

We go by Monday night trying to find her and we find her outside with her kids!  So as an intro, we use the Restoration pamphlet with the picture of Jesus holding a lamb.  We start talking a bit about why she wanted us to come over.  She said that she had been going to the Catholic Church in Idaho for awhile, but didn't like some of the things that she was seeing.  When she moved out here, she decided it was time to find a new church. She said that a few weeks ago, she said, "Hola" to some Elders and they didn't respond since they only spoke English. Then she was super excited when she found us.

So we get talking and she said that she felt like a lost sheep.  When we whipped out the pamphlet, she said, "Oh my, I feel so much peace when I look at this picture."  Then she was talking a little bit more about everything that has been going on, then she said that she felt like somebody just wandering through the mountains.  We then directed her attention again to the picture and pointed out that Jesus is there with the lamb in the middle of the mountains.  We asked her how she would like to be in the arms of Christ like that.  She got a little teary and said that she would love that.

The rest of the lesson went basically like that.  When we got to Joseph Smith, we were saying, "A young man went into a grove of trees to ask God a question--Which church was the true church?  This young man's name was Joseph Smith."  She then responds, "Wait, Joseph Smith was a prophet, right?" (WHAT??!!) She continued, "Ya, I heard some people talking about him a few months ago.  In their conversation, they were talking about him being a prophet." She accepted the baptismal invite and tonight we will be giving her a baptismal date.  We are super stoked.

So that was highlight of the week.  Nancy is still doing well, but there are tons of little things getting in her way of progressing all the way.

Sandra and Alonso are also doing amazing.  We taught chastity this past week and asked them what they thought about getting married. Sandra said, "Well, I want to get to the highest one [celestial kingdom] and this life is pretty short, so I better do whatever I have to to get to the highest one."  We were blown away.

So ya, things are going well.  Awesome experiences!

Elder Christensen

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week 89

(Monday, August 18, 2014)

Hello hello family and friends.  This week we had some super cool stuff happen.

Before getting to that, I am now starting my last transfer...what?!?! Elder Smith, Elder Trauntvein (past companions), and a ton of other missionaries I got really close with are heading home tomorrow.  I got to play basketball with Elder Smith last week and that was a lot of fun.  Seeing as there are not really any other Elders in my group of missionaries, I always felt like the group that just went home was "my" group.

At the "Despedida" (farewell meeting) last night, I got to see the Lopez family from Pomona AND Raul and Rosy!  Rosy is now the Primary president in Boyle Heights and is loving it!  The Lopez family is doing much better now. They are getting back on track.  I actually introduced Omar Lopez to Raul and told Omar how Raul is planning to get married in the temple. They connected super well.

Okay, so now the rest of the cool stuff...

1) We had two AWESOME lessons with Sandra and Alonso.  We haven't set a baptismal date with them yet because of their need to get married. Alonso was unable to come to church because of work.  Sandra and
Natalie (her 4 or 5 year old daughter) came to church!  A member family went and picked them up and they did so so well to make them feel comfortable.  We almost didn't even need to talk with them at church.  It went really smooth.  We are going to be doing everything possible to get that family involved in the teaching.

2) We were at a dollar store picking some stuff up and this lady says (in Spanish),

"Do you speak Spanish?"
"Yes we do."
"Are you Mormons?"
"Yes we are."
"Well why don't you come over some time.  I need this."

Umm...okay. Yes, I think we might be able to squeeze you into our schedule...maybe.  My goodness...it was so cool.  In my mind, I was thinking, "did LA just turn into Mexico?" Then we found out that she has only been here for 3 months and then it all made sense.  Haha. I've noticed that something happens to Latinos once they are in LA for a long time. Not sure what it is...  Anyway, slight downside to the story is that when we stopped by when she told us to, her kids told us she was in the shower.  We have tried a few times to catch her again without any luck.  We haven't even seen the kids again, but we confirmed that she does live there.  Hopefully we will be able to get that all worked out this week.

3) Remember Santiago? He called us on Monday saying he wanted us to come back.  We were super stoked.  We showed up and he was still struggling pretty bad with his addiction.  We set up a return appointment and had a great conversation and he was saying that he really wanted to stop.  Then he started canceling all our appointments again.  The ball is in his court at the moment, but we are going to keep sending him texts to encourage him.  It's such a sad situation to watch...

Love you all so much.  For any and all that have suggestions about finishing a mission strong in your last transfer, please let me know what I can do!  I don't know if you all remember, but I had the chance to be Elder Blanchard's and Elder Febbo's last companion. Both of them finished their missions so gracefully.  I'm really glad I got to see that example first hand to be able to try and emulate it.

Elder Christensen