Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm Staying!!!

Hello family and friends. For the next 6 weeks, I will be STAYING!!!  AND, I will be staying with Elder Smith as well.  We have already been together for 3 months.  The time has been flying.  And, I have also been made district leader in Fletcher.  I have no idea what I'm doing or what President saw, but we'll see how that goes.  Family and friends that know what to do with all that, help please?  I'm super excited that I'm staying.
So this week was another kind of slow one.  And my time is a little short today.  Sorry.  After that amazing week with all our baptisms, our stuff has kinda been falling apart.  So we're currently in the rebuilding phase.
I hope that all of you had a chance to watch that leadership broadcast yesterday.  The whole time I was thinking, "Holy cow, I hope everybody is watching this!"  The hastening of the work is happening.  I'm pretty sure there's no arguing it.  In D&C 88, it talks about hastening the work around verse 75ish.  It's kinda nuts to see what's coming after the work is hastened.
For this week, I'm not really sure what to talk about.  We didn't have much happen.  With transfers, one of our zone leaders is now just serving as one of our district members in our ward.  So we basically have 3 zone leader quality missionaries in our ward now.  There's tons of potential here, we just need to get it going.
After the broadcast yesterday, President Becerra shared a few thoughts.  We opened up Luke 5; and applying what we read there, we are now, "launching out into the deep."  Going into new places where we aren't comfortable.  And the haul will be huge.  We are now working on hastening ourselves as the Lord is hastening His work.
Thank you for all your prayers.  I WILL be having some sweet stories to share this week.  One quick story.  Raul and Rosy went and did baptisms for the dead this past week without the missionaries committing them to do it.  They are amazing!
Love you all,
Elder Christensen

Monday, June 17, 2013

"...felt a little like Moses this week..."

Hello family and friends.  As always, thank you to everybody that sent me emails.  I'm a little short on time today, so sorry to those I was not able to respond to.

It's been an interesting week this week.  Felt a little like Moses this week.  When he went up to the mountain, he saw God face to face.  He saw and comprehended his power.  Last week, we saw God's power.  It was undeniable.  After Moses' vision, Satan came and tried to ruin everything good that had just happened.  Well this week was definitely a tough one.  I feel like we were definitely being tested this week.  We had lessons drop all over the place.  It was insane.  Numbers wise, it was like we were starting the area all over again.  It was just weird.

So updates and some of the stress we were going through: Cristina got confirmed (after showing up 15 min late), Elvia went out of town last minute, Raul and Rosy got confirmed (and I had a huge sugar drop right in the middle of the blessing).

This next week is looking a lot better.  We already have a few lessons set with some people we want to pick up. 

This week is the last week of the transfers, so hold off on mail to the Mariposa address for now.  I personally feel like I'm staying, but you know how it goes: anything can happen.

Sorry, time's a little short this week.  This next week will be a lot better.

Highlight of the week: Bishop in Bel 2 said, "Raul and Rosy, you are now officially members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Congratulations."  Temple in one year!

Love you all!

Elder Christensen

Additional comments...We asked Tanner in our letter if he ended up being able to golf as planned last P-day, and this was his response:

"YESSSS!!! And the place was a total dump. It only cost $5, and that's about what it was worth, BUT I LOVED IT! I played pretty bad, but every time I hit a bad shot, I thought, 'I'M GOLFING!'"

Monday, June 10, 2013

The most legendary, unforgettable weekend EVER!

Hello family and friends.  Really quick note on the package I got last week:  The guitar part you sent me was EXACTLY what I needed.  Now I just need to find somebody with a guitar amp. (It's sooo cool that President will let us play the guitar!)  And that Pi day shirt is so freaking awesome!  I've been wearing it almost daily.  One of the Elders in my apartment is thinking about studying math, so he really enjoys it too.  And Mom, I got your letter and if you haven't gotten the return letter yet, it's in the mail.

It seems like this week has kind of been a long one.  This is one of the few weeks that passed very, very slowly.  But we got everything done!  

Cristina: baptized (by Elder Smith, and I helped.  She has a bad back)
Erik: received the priesthood
Elvia: baptized by Erik (husband)
Raul and Rosy: baptized (Elder Flores baptized Rosy, I baptized Raul)

I don't really know where to start!  There were lots of little miracles along the way that made all of this possible.  We weren't positive that Cristina's baptism was going to happen until Thursday night, so attendance wasn't super awesome.  When they showed up, Cristina asked, "can my grandson get baptized today too?"  He's 7 1/2.  Darn...

After the baptism, we were in this stake play thing on the Book of Mormon.  Our ward didn't have enough people to cast our part, so all the missionaries were the robbers in the story of Ammon.  Unfortunately, I don't have any of the pictures, but I'll bug the bishop to get them.

Elvia's baptism was better advertised and we had a full room.  For any of you that have seen the District 2 videos that the church gives the missionaries, it was totally a Robles Family experience...a long time less-active comes back to church, gets the priesthood, and baptizes his wife.  There was such a special spirit there.

Raul and Rosy FINALLY GOT BAPTIZED!!!  And they mentioned one year until the temple like 3 times.  It was awesome.  Easily the best baptismal service I've been too.  And it was awesome being able to actually hug somebody that I've baptized, since all of them have been women up till now.  I admittedly got a little choked up during the baptismal prayer.  Then, another awesome moment, all of the missionaries there (and there were at least 10) were asked to sing "I believe in Christ."  Raul and Rosy had their hymn book open following along.  Then verse three, they started singing with us while they were still sitting in their chairs.

So, as a reminder, I got the call to come to my current area on a Tuesday night, and had to be in my area Wednesday morning, so I didn't have a chance to say bye to anybody.  I felt the worst about Jeaneth, my first baptism.  She came to the baptism Sunday, and it was awesome to get to say an official goodbye.  But it gets crazier.  So the baptism was yesterday, she moves to northern California TODAY.  So we got some pictures and stuff, said official goodbyes, and one of the last things she said to me was, "Thank you for baptizing me."  I was speechless.  She's still been active in church.  She was baptized 4 months ago today.

So ya, all this happened Saturday and Sunday.  Now I'm tired.  IT WAS ALL SOOOO WORTH IT!  

Today, we're throwing a mini-party for a sister, Hermana Thayne, that goes home at the end of this month.  It involves GOLFING!  She has told us that her brothers golf, she always wanted to go, but they never invited her.  We have a guy in our ward that makes cakes for a living.  He made a cake for her that looks just like her red dress she always wears.  We convinced her it was "National Red Day" so that she would wear the dress and then eat the cake that looks like her dress.  Hopefully it all works out.  I'm having a freaking blast! 

This upcoming week, we're going to be focusing a lot on making it perfectly clear what it is that we do as missionaries, and we're going to analyze which of our contacts are ready to keep going.  We still have tons of potential in our area.  I'm loving life, and it hasn't gotten too hot...yet.

Love you all so much, and thank you for all the prayers!  There were tons of miracles this past week!

Elder Christensen

Cristina (and 7 1/2 year-old grandson that wanted to get baptized)
(Tanner and Elder Smith)

Elvia and Erik
(Tanner and Elder Smith)

Raul and Rosy

Jeaneth (baptized 4 months ago)
(Elder Flores, Tanner, and Elder Blanchard)

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Crazy Roller Coaster

This week was a crazy roller coaster.  Man oh man!  We had some days full of zeros and other days where we entered every house we went to.  You can probably guess which type of days I prefer.  Thank you so much for the package, family!  Those little caramel things with Nutella are awesome.  Oh ya, I've become an even bigger fan of Nutella while being here.

Baptisms.  Last week, I described that there was potential for 4 baptisms.  Raul and Rosy's (in my old area) and two in our area.  And...drum roll please...they ALL got moved back.  Booooo, right?  The Elders wouldn't tell me why Raul and Rosy's got moved back, so that was on my mind a lot this week.  We weren't able to teach everything we needed to Christina, so we had to move that back.  Elvia was improving on her coffee consumption, but wasn't able to drop it all the way.

Now the good news about all these baptisms.  Raul and Rosy rescheduled for this upcoming Sunday.  When Elvia found out that she couldn't get baptized because of coffee, she said, "today will be my last day drinking coffee."  That was Thursday, and as of last night, she's done it!  She didn't come to church because she had a migraine and stomach pains for trying to go off of it.  Consequentially, Erik didn't receive the priesthood either.  Planning on having her baptism this weekend as well.  We had a great lesson with Christina last night and finished up everything we need to teach her.  She is so funny.  We sneakily asked her all the baptismal questions and she's all good except for her understanding of sin.  She doesn't think she sins much.  We are going to have her baptism this weekend.  Either Saturday morning so her husband can come, or Sunday afternoon with Elvia.

More good news, about 2 months ago, we started this area.  We are now just a hair short of the "standard of excellence" for the mission.  It's been so cool to be here and be a part of it.  We think our area can be its own ward.  So many latinos.  We just need to find them among all the hipsters.

We picked up a few new investigators this week.  They all seem pretty cool.  We stopped by this one inactive from El Salvador.  He's not on our ward list.  We were talking to him and he's been going to his wife's Christian church.  He was baptized as a teenager and never really read the Book of Mormon much.  He had his wife's uncle with him.  We decided to read 3 Nephi 11 with him and invited his wife's uncle, Ignacio, to join in. 

He responded, "I've already read it." 
"What?  What do you mean?" 
"I've read the Book of Mormon. With Nephi and Moroni and all of them.  I've read it."
"We're you baptized in our church in El Salvador?"
"Did you ever attend church in El Salvador?"
"Where did you get the book?"
"There was a doctor from the Church that came to El Salvador and he gave copies of the Book of Mormon to everybody he helped.  Then I read it."

How cool is that?  We'll be talking with him again on Tuesday.

This next week looks like it's going to be a stressful one.  We have two baptisms to plan and potentially two different services.  And we have the goal to beat the "standards of excellence" this upcoming week.  And we're in the car this week.

Love you all so much, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!  Sorry I didn't get the SD card to you.  My original plan was to wait for the baptism pics to be on there.  Hopefully you're okay with that.  Congrats to Emmy for being out of school.  Go golf for me.  Oh, speaking of golf: I found out there is a Par 3 course in our ward boundaries AND the bishop has golf clubs.  OH YES!  Hopefully next week!

Go read Hebrews 10.  The second half is my favorite thing ever!  "cast not away therefore your confidence....we are not are not of them who draw back...but of them that believe..." 

Hasta luego!
Elder Christensen