Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Week to Remember

Hello family and friends.  So this week will definitely be one that I never will forget.  Let me just jump right into it.  We'll go in chronological order.
First, I had my first exchange with the zone leaders this week.  The zone leader I went with is awesome.  His name is Elder Ingram.  We laughed for hours on end.  We found a super prepared lady, a less active not on the ward list, and then a lot of people not willing to make any changes.
Now, here's where the major changes jump in.  I am sure that many of you have heard that we had an elder here in Arcadia pass away.  Not sure if they reported that he had only been here for 4 weeks.  That made it even more tough.  His trainer, Elder Ostler, was in my MTC zone, and it all has been really hard on him. 
On Sunday, we had a really nice memorial service for him.  I had the chance to sing Be Still My Soul with 3 other elders.  We had a chance to find out a lot more about him.  Something we found out that made the story even more sad is that his dad past away a few years ago and he was their only son.  He left behind his mom and his sisters.  They were able to record the whole thing for Elder Page's family back home.  Elder Ostler said that the conversation they had with every contact had something to do with the Plan of Salvation.  Throughout that whole night, I felt the Spirit like I haven't felt it before.  I feel like everyone got a huge wake up call.  I might forget the details of that night, but I will never, ever forget how it felt. Quote of the night, "For [Sister Page] so loved the world that [she] gave [her] only begotten son, that whosoever believeth [the words of Christ proclaimed by Elder Page] should not perish, but have everlasting life."  Sister Page and Elder Ostler had a chance to talk over the phone, and it was reported that the whole time Sister Page was trying to make sure that Elder Ostler was okay with everything.  Quoting Elder Bednar, "The Character of Christ is being able to detect the suffering in others when we ourselves are suffering."  Everybody involved in this story are amazing examples to me.
Because of this tragedy, Elder Ingram (zone leader exchange described above) went to be Elder Ostler's companion.  Elder Ingram was Elder Ostler's trainer.  I have been called to take Elder Ingram's place as zone leader in the zone I've been in for the last 6 months.  I am now serving in the Arroyo ward.  It shares the same church building as Fletcher.  I was in Fletcher for just a few days over 6 months.  My new area borders my old area on the east side.  The way the areas are divided, Bel 2 North (first area), Fletcher South (second area) and Arroyo South (current area) all come together at the same point, so I've been right in the same general area my whole mission.  I'm serving in Lincoln Heights if you want to look it up.  My companion is Elder Mostert.  He has been zone leader for a long time now.  He was also trained by Elder Flores.  We are very, very similar.  It will be a lot of fun.  In our area, we are on a special assignment from the stake president (who is amazing, by the way).  He has a vision for a branch containing, basically, my last area and my current area.  Currently, there are no active members in our area.  Our area is about 70% Spanish-speaking as far as I can tell.  This area definitely has the most potential out of any in our whole zone, and second place would be my last area.
Elder Marchan has been paired up with a visa-waiter that has been out as long as he has.  Bishop was pretty upset to lose a missionary that had been there forever to get a visa-waiter in return.  Now 3 of the 8 missionaries in Fletcher are visa-waiters.  Elder Vasquez, who has 4 months in his mission and was Elder Alvarenga's trainee has been named district leader (admittedly, under my recommendation). 
There was a lot of time that I was thinking that Elder Marchan wasn't really getting much from me.  When we found out we were getting split up, we talked a lot and it was cool to see how much he has changed.  He even said that he looks at me as a really good trainer.  The whole time I felt like I wasn't getting to him, so it felt really nice to hear that.  Another feel-good moment:  when I stood up in sacrament meeting to tell everyone that that would be my last day in Fletcher, there was an audible gasp.  That was a priceless moment.  I'm going to miss it a ton.  It's going to be cool to see everyone still at the chapel, but hard since they aren't mine anymore.
And lastly, this morning we got to go to the temple and we got to see some of the updates to the endowment session.  It was soooooo good.  My understanding went through the roof.  It cleared up a lot of questions that I wasn't really aware I had.  I wanted to go through again right after getting out. 
Sorry this was so long, but a lot happened this week.  If any of you that are reading this have any great advice for a zone leader, I would love to hear it.  Having an experienced companion like Elder Mostert definitely brings comfort to the situation.
We live about a 30 min bike ride from our area and will be moving very soon.  We have multiple potential apartments right in the middle of our area.  For now, send all mail to 170 W Duarte Rd. Arcadia, CA 91007.  And now there's a bit more of a guarantee that I'll get it since there won't be a middle man :)
Love you all, and a special shout out to Emily and the rest of the Timpview Girls Tennis team for taking state!

Until next week,
Elder Christensen

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