Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Week 25 in Cali--Week 34 Overall

Hello again family and friends.  So the highlight of this week was DEFINITELY Raul and Rosy's wedding!  At first, I thought there was going to be no possible chance of me going.  But then, one of the assistants was on exchanges in our district and I asked him, and "if I played a major role," I could go.  It was so awesome!  They said they would be getting sealed in a year like 5 times.  It was so cool!  They'll just need to hop areas my whole mission so I can keep seeing them.

A HUGE thank you to the Sellers family for the package.  Bro Sellers, I've been trying to remember those jokes you would always share in Spanish and now I don't have to search my brain anymore.  Michael, no I haven't met the Beach Boys.  Thanks to all those that emailed me as well.

I gave a talk in my ward this past week.  I think it went really well.  Hopefully it'll spark something for missionary work.

Unfortunately, it looks like we will have to push back Elvia's baptism one week.  They've cancelled a few lessons with us and we don't want to do a frantic sprint to the finish and drag her to the water.  Next week for sure.

We got to have a lesson with Antonia yesterday and it was awesome!  At the beginning of the lesson she said, "Do you know how you are always asking me if there is anything that you can do for me?  Well I've got something.  I need a witness that I'm dumping all the alcohol in my house down the drain."  It was AWESOME!  She hasn't had a drinking problem in years, but she wanted it all out of her house.  We dumped hundreds of dollars worth.  As far as the spiritual stuff goes, it looks like she might not take off like a mad-woman like we initially thought, but that's okay.  We told her to "fan the flame of her faith" and she really liked that.  Poco a poco.

Since my last letter, we have picked up 3 new people--2 from the family with the Grandma from Mexico, and 1 from a family we street contacted.  There are 3 more we can get from her family.  Her husband used to live in Pleasant Grove and he knew tons of members up there but they never invited him to stuff and he didn't ask them much.  I think he's going to be the key to getting that whole family going.  During our lesson with the wife she seemed kind of skeptical, but the idea of eternal families had her excited.

Everybody else is hanging in there bit by bit.  Everybody is busy, and we're finding out that Friday night is apparently EVERYBODY's free time.  We'll probably end up needing to go on splits with members on Friday.  

Also, we had Zone Conference yesterday.  In essence, we were told (with as much love as possible) the Lord is hastening his work, so we need to step up.  Be better.  Be more diligent.  Do those basic things that we've talked about a billion times.  Pres. Becerra is amazing.  He was pulling out all kinds of stats on the mission. It was great.

Love you all so much.

Elder Christensen

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 24--A Great Week!

Hello family and friends.  Thanks to everybody for the emails.  Since we started to be allowed to email more than just family, the inbox has always been full.  Even though I'm not calling you all out by name, thank you all for the emails!
First off, Raul and Rosy are getting married this Saturday at 2:30!  Rosy has her ID and everything is set for a baptism on June 2.  My old area is about a 15 minute drive from my current area, and usually President allows missionaries to go back for baptisms.  Just need to find a ride with a member.  Worst case scenario, it's an hour-and-a-half bike ride.  I think it'd be worth it :)
Elvia is progressing really well to her baptismal date June 2. (We'll clearly have to do some juggling in order to be to both this baptism and Raul's and Rosy's.)  We are super stoked for her.  We finally got to talk to Christina again and we got her a baptismal date for the 9th, but she may or may not be going out of town that weekend.  She didn't come to church this week, which was a bummer, but we'll get her.
With all the back and forth we had with Jaime, we finally got a definitive answer: he is an excommunicated member.  We were 50% bummed that this was reality, 50% excited that we FINALLY knew what direction to take with him.  He still has really good desires to come back and we finished teaching him everything, so we are now going to start helping out his family (all are less-active).
Quick note, I believe this will be the week that we can start working with Antonia.  I think grades are due in the middle of the week.  I don't know if I mention this before, but if I didn't here is what she said about the Book of Mormon: "I can tell this is just one of those books that I will read and read, have tabs everywhere, and things highlighted left and right."  She's golden.
We picked up a new family this week that we found in the list of former investigators.  They seem super super awesome.  They're really busy, so that will be tough.  All you need is one blow-their-minds lesson to give them a reason to make time for you.  That's how Raul and Rosy started :)  My favorite drop note to see on a teaching record is:  "hard to get a hold of them, but they have tons of potential."  We'll get another lesson with them this week.
We found TWO part member families with less actives that aren't on our ward list.  One of them consists of an active grandma that came to the US this summer with the goal to reactivate her son and get her grandchildren baptized.  She was going to bring them to church, then Saturday night she fell.  It'll be an awesome day when Satan is bound.  Looking forward to it.
Things are looking up.  We had a great week in the area.  Elder Smith and I didn't laugh quite as much this week.  We're a little frustrated with some ward stuff that's going on.  We're kind of battling with the classic: "we see this is definitely a problem, but what can we, as missionaries, do to fix it?"  Also, we both slept awfully this week, and we're starting to need to juggle a lot more people while the ward is struggling.  Lots on our minds nowadays (sp?)
Anyway, thank you all for your prayers and support.  If you're feeling down about anything, best way to handle it is to think about somebody else.  Sounds easy, but that's why missionaries are happy all the time.  True story.
Love and kindness,
Elder Christensen

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Hello family and friends.  Happy Mother's Day again!  It was good to see you on Skype yesterday!  You're all looking good!  Thanks to the letter from Dad this week.  Thanks to all those of you that shot me emails this past week.
So this week was kinda interesting.  I think the best thing to say that would sum up my week would be to say: We didn't get inside a house and have a lesson until Friday.  We found new people we could teach in the near future, but no new investigators.  It was one of the tougher weeks of my mission so far. 
If there was one thing I got out of this week, it would be this:  I am starting to internalize what "success as a missionary" means.  During this week, even though it was pretty tough, I didn't feel like I was going through one of the tougher weeks of my mission.  From Elder Smith, I have learned the power of a positive perspective.  Not so much because he helps me snap out of it when I hang my head, but more because I have realized how much easier everything is when we laugh all the time.
I think I described the situation a bit regarding Jaime last week.  We haven't gotten anywhere on that front.  All he needs now is a baptismal interview as soon as we find out if he already has records.  
Elvia came to church!!!  She loved it and was saying hi to everybody that looked at her.  It was awesome!  We have her baptismal date set for June 2! (Happy Birthday, Mom).
We were also able to have another lesson with Carlos and Fatima this week.  They have such good questions!  And we teach in English so we are definitely able to be on the same page.  We had dinner and a lesson that kinda jumped around based on their questions.  Carlos is definitely closer than Fatima right now.  I think I mentioned that Carlos went to the Sunday sessions of conference last month.  I think his main obstacle will be stopping to drink.  He works as a trainer, so hopefully it won't be too difficult.  He already recognizes it's bad, he just likes to party.
And that summarized every single lesson I had this week.  Haha, ya this next week will be better.  We are currently "on hold" with everybody else.  It'll all fit together this upcoming week.
Love you all!  Go read the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes if you haven't already today.
Elder Christensen

p.s. I just got this email from my last companion, Elder Bennett, giving me an update on my last area, Bel 2 North:

"...we passed Jeaneth off to the South elders. She's doing well! She came to church yesterday with her mom. We ate with them this past and they're doing well! As far as I know, they haven't gotten her abuela's info yet.

Ok, so Armando. To be honest, we dropped him. Not like we're never going by again, we'll go by every once in a while, but he's already told us they're nothing we can do to help him. He's trying to buy a car, which is great because then they can come to church again! They're doing well overall though! We've started teaching Fernanda, the friend of Hna. Nunez's that lives in the same apartment complex, but in number 14. That will be a good way to keep in contact with Armando! Hna. Nunez told us she had thought about calling Hna. Rosales to come and get her so she could go to church, so hopefully that happens!

We passed of Jaime to the ZL's, and he came to church 2 Sundays in a row after that. We've honestly dropped like everyone since you left, but it's all good because we've got some cool new investigators!!!

Ok, so here's the best part of this e-mail! Raul and Rosy are getting married the 25th of this month!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! And they'll be getting baptized the weekend after that!!!! You need to be at both elder!!!!! They asked me to tell you about it!!! So we'll see you there!!!..."

Thought you'd like to know this stuff,
Elder Christensen

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 22 in California

Hello family and friends.  Thank you to Dad for the letters this week and a huge thank you to the family for the package!  The Apple Beer was definitely my favorite part.  And the district had a fun time messing around a bit with the mini sombreros and mini maracas.  Pictures have been taken.
So there isn't anything crazy awesome to report this week.  I was sick on and off all week and I also had a pretty bad sugar drop that kinda made my levels unstable for a few days.  I'm almost back to normal.
We picked up two of the children of a current investigator.  One of the children is Carlos, the guy we gave a blessing to that was having anxiety problems.  I think that blessing was about 2 weeks ago.  I think I mentioned that in an email.  Most of our lesson was focused on the sister that feels like her prayers for a new job and a better life aren't being answered.  We talked about faith and trust a lot and she very willingly set a return appointment with us.
We have been working with this guy named Jaime recently.  We were told by previous missionaries that he is excommunicated, but Jaime has no idea.  He can't remember if he was ever baptized, ever got the Holy Ghost, or any of that.  He, nor his family, was on any of our lists, so we asked the Bishop to find his family's records.  We are getting the feeling like he wasn't ever excommunicated, and that his records may just be lost.  Hopefully we will find out what's going on soon so we know what the next step is with him.
Unfortunately, we didn't have any investigators in church this week.  We were pretty sure we were going to be able to get a few and they were either super sick or slept in too long.  We'll get them next week.
Now, on the fun side, I went to a seafood buffet in Glendale called Osaka.  Holy cow, it was good.  Mom and Dad, add it to the list of things to do.  I ate so much sushi, so much crab, and so much lobster.  Taylor, if you're reading this, I finally have tried sushi with eel on it.  It's probably my favorite now.  Then yesterday, I ate a dried ant thing that was the size of a bee.  Apparently it's common to grind those up and put them in salsa.
Elder Smith and I are still doing awesome.  All my companions have been fantastic examples and great missionaries, but I think I'm definitely having the most fun here with Elder Smith.  We find out this upcoming Saturday if we are staying or not, so I'll report during our Skype call this week.  So stoked for that!  It looks like I will be calling about 6:00 your time.  It could be as early as 5:00 your time, so be near the phone and computer :)  
Just to warn you, I am now up 30 lbs from the MTC.  I have actually lost a bit of weight in this area.  I'm trying out this new thing of only eating when I'm hungry.  Interesting, right?
Love you all so much, and I'll see you on Sunday!  (I just got to say "see you."  SWEET!)
Elder Tanner Christensen