Monday, March 4, 2013

"5 Months Down!".....says my mom :)

This week was pretty similar to last week.  We had some big goals that just didn't end up coming through in the end.  It's all good.  This week is a new week.  Thank you so much to Hermana Franklin and Jessica S for the letters.  Thanks to Emmy, Mom, and Mark for the emails, and a huge thank you to Jakins for the birthday package!  I'm forcing myself to wait to open the Milanos until my birthday.  Again, thank you all so much. 
Things are moving bit by bit with Raul and Rosy's marriage and also with Armando's marriage.  Hopefully Armando will be able to be baptized this month.  I believe that he now has all the information that he needs to get his divorce papers filed.  And they were married in California, so there shouldn't be any crazy waiting times.  Raul and Rosy want to go on a mission as a couple.  That may have been one of the bigger smiles I've lashed out on my mission.  Also, Raul's mom and niece said that they would go to church yesterday (in Mexico).  I don't know if they did or not, but they are doing so good!
I don't know if I've mentioned Javier before.  He lives with Armando and we have been teaching him on and off.  He wants to change his life around and he wants a fresh start.  To this point we have had a hard time teaching because he doesn't read very well and doesn't understand super quickly.  We were able to have a really good lesson with him on Sunday morning.  It was by far the best lesson we had had with him.  He is reading in the Book of Mormon, he just needs to do it slowly.  He also has finally got the proper way to pray figured out.  That was really cool to see.
We have some potentials and referrals that may get moving pretty soon, so hang on till next week for an update on that.
The highlight for the week for me was probably Sunday.  Elder Trauntvein and I (he's in my district) went on an exchange to sit in on the Young Men's meeting.  Many of the priests are Ward Missionaries and we are trying to get them more pumped up to help us out.  We had a lesson on the Atonement, like I'm sure many of you did.  The Young Men's President shared his part and then kind of turned the last 10 minutes to us with no real warning.  Elder Trauntvein and I switched back and forth testifying of how important the Atonement is.  Like many Young Men's groups out there, they were all on the back wall and had their phones and ipods out.  I shared a bit how we shouldn't be taking any of this stuff lightly and that the Atonement is literally the most important thing that there is.  Then Elder Trauntvein shared a story that I would now like to share:
"There is a train conductor that works by a bridge along a canal.  His job is to go out and hold the switch to lower the bridge for the train to come along, and to raise the bridge so the boats can pass through.  This train conductor had one son.  One day his wife got sick, so the train conductor had to take his son to work.  He sits his son down in the little shack along side of the tracks and then walks out to lower the bridge for a passenger train that's coming off in the distance.  As he is lowering the bridge, he hears his son call out to him.  His son had left the shack, walked onto the tracks, tripped, and was now crying out for help.  If the train conductor let go of the switch, the bridge would not have enough time to lower and everybody on the passenger train would be killed.  If he kept hold of the switch, he would save all the people on the train, but his son would be hit by the train right in front of his eyes.  What would you do?  Who would you choose to save?  For us, God chose to keep holding onto that switch.  We are the people on that train.  Christ sacrificed His life for us, but God made an equally excruciating sacrifice.  At any moment, God could have stopped everything, but he didn't.  'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved' (John 3:16-17).'" 
I know that the Atonement is everything.  As you come to understand it more, the weight of the sacrifice will grow within you.  Through the Atonement we can receive strength to overcome all things.  I know this is true.  Read the Book of Mormon, because it was written for us.  It's such a good book.  I love you all and hope to hear from you soon.
Elder Tanner Christensen

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