Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 1: I'm Happy!!

Hello hello family and friends!

First a thank you to Mom, Dad, Emmy, Johnny, Jessica S, and the Christensen Clan for your letters.  I have loved hearing from you all.  I'll try to get responses out as quick as possible.  I should be able to write them all today.  And thank you to the Jakins and Durstelers for the treats.  Did you two cooperate on the peanut butter theme?  Haha, they were amazing.  I tried to make them last as long as possible, but I wasn't super successful with that. 

First off, how bout that missionary age announcement!  I think that is going to be so amazing.  I really think that the timing of this is inspired.  If I had had the option to go on my mission when I was 18, I totally would have done it.  But I feel like I really really needed this last year and half to grow as a person.  If I didn't know what I know now, I think that it would have been much more difficult to be here on this mission.  I am very grateful for it.  So, Emmy can leave on her mission before I get back! Craaaazy!  But how bout you wait an extra month so we can see each other.  Good?  Cool.

So I have been made the District Leader of my district.  I think it's funny that people in my district ask me a bunch of questions that I don't know.  I feel a little weird needing to be the leader when I'm just as new as everybody else.  I really love my district.  We have a lot of Elders in our zone that are a little too energetic at times, and our district is really good to stay focused.  We have two companionships of sisters, so that's probably what is keeping us under  control.  It is a huge blessing to have them here.  We have two converts in our district.  Both have been members for about 13 months.  One of them is my companion.

My companion's name is Elder Reinhardt.  He's from Florida.  He's had a lot of background in business and he definitely talks like a business man.  We come from totally different worlds, but I think we're doing well to get along.  His conversion story is crazy awesome.  He was baptized 3 weeks after he met with the missionaries, and he has gone out a lot with the missionaries since then.  I think that sometimes he thinks that the way those missionaries did everything is the way we should do everything, and I disagree...with love of course :)

The food hasn't destroyed my insides like it has some of the other missionaries in my zone.  I enjoy it.  I have been getting up at 6:00 the last couple of days to work out a little bit and I already feel a little bit of a difference.

Hey funny story, I found out there are some Elders from my zone are going to McAllen.  I just found this out like 10 minutes ago, so we haven't had a chance to talk much yet.

Spanish is going really well for me.  Dad's letter to me revitalized my work ethic about everything though.  I definitely need to start working harder at all that stuff.  In the lessons I have had so far with investigators, I have understood everything they are saying, but the language is getting in my way of what I want to say.  It will come with time, though.  I think I would totally we lost if I didn't have Spanish before getting here to the MTC.

I love being here and I am happier now than I have been in years.  Again, I can't imagine doing this a year ago.

Alright, now the highlight of the week.  On Tuesday, Elder Bednar came and spoke to all the missionaries at the MTC.  It was amazing amazing amazing.  He started by saying that he thought it was funny hearing all the speculation regarding why the mission age has changed.  He then said something along the lines of, "The Lord can do His work and He hasteneth His work in His time."  The way he responded to all the speculation was really funny.  In his words, "it just cracks me up."  His talk was on how we should study the conference talks.  He provided 3 very simple guidelines: 1) find the doctrine, 2) find the invitations to action, 3) find the promised blessings.  We went through a couple of segments of this past conference and it was amazing how much was packed into the 3 minute segments we watched.  In talking to my district and Branch Presidency, we decided that studying scriptures in this way is very effective and we also decided that teaching with these things in mind is very important.  "What doctrine do we want to communicate?" "What do we want to invite them to do?" "What will we testify the promised blessings are for following these invitations?"  Walking out of the Devotional, I wanted to grab an Ensign right away and start marking it up.  It was a really cool experience.

I am so grateful to be here and I am so grateful that I have the chance to be a representative of the Lord.  I feel like I am growing faster as a person than ever before.  This is the Lord's work and I am grateful that I can be a part of it.  Keep the letters coming.  I would love to hear from you all.

Thank you all so much!

Elder Tanner Christensen
(I love being able to put 'Elder' in front of my name, haha)

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