Monday, November 25, 2013

There's Agency for Ya

Hello family and friends.  This week was pretty cool.  We had zone conference and kind of reviewed what we talked about in our zone leader meeting.  We have a goal as a mission that everyone in December baptizes.  The whole meeting was about what little things we can do different to get that done.
I had a chance to talk to President Becerra a little bit after.  I've kind of gotten myself worked up recently wondering why everything isn't going better than I think it should be.  The take away from our meeting is that when we work ourselves into knots, only God can untie them.  We let him untie them when we hand ourselves over and stop thinking about ourselves.  It was awesome.
This week, Leticia passed her baptismal interview.  If she doesn't drink this week, she'll be baptized this upcoming Sunday.
We've been teaching Oralia and Delfino.  Oralia started off super solid and Delfino not so much and now it's totally switched.  Delfino wants to get baptized, Oralia doesn't want to get married and doesn't want to talk to us anymore because she knows that's what we're going to bring up eventually. They can't separate because of their young kids.  It's kind of a mess and we need a massive miracle.  They both know what God wants them to do.  They both know it's all true.  It's a little frustrating, but there's agency for ya.
Random:  we picked up a guy named Rolf as an investigator.  No joke.  We had a pretty good lesson with him, and we'll be going over there again on Wednesday.
Thanks for all the love, support, and prayers.
Elder Christensen 

Monday, November 18, 2013

"It's Like One of Those Feel-Good Poems"

So, as I described on Friday, last week was nuts.  Since Friday, not much has changed.  By the way, I don't believe I ever sent out thank-you's for the packages.  To my family and the Jason Kerr family, thanks a ton!  I love the new music!  Love it, love it, love it.  Variety is much appreciated.
We had a cool lesson with a girl named Destiny.  She's kind of like Jeaneth part 2 (Jeaneth was my first baptism).  She's 13, her older sister is baptized, then while the Elders were working with the family, the dad got offended by one of the Elders and they stopped investigating.  Well, Destiny hangs out at this less-active's house all the time.  We showed her the Bible Video when Christ gets baptized, and when we asked her what she thought about it, she said, "I want to be baptized."  So this week, we were talking about the Restoration.  After Elder Febbo told her the First Vision story using Joseph Smith's words, she put here hands over her chest and said, "It's like one of those feel-good poems."  Then we helped her realize that was the Spirit.  It was super cool.
So ya, the zone is doing so so.  We need to get some faith pumping into them!  We are seeing cool stuff happen, but there are many companionships that aren't at the moment.  The whole mission is in a bit of a rut.  BUT WE'RE GETTING OUT OF IT! 
Love and kindness,
Elder Christensen

Friday, November 15, 2013

It Totally Made It Worth It!

Hello friends and family. So it's been a little over a week and a half since I had a chance to write.  This past Monday was a holiday so the libraries were closed and we've been going nonstop since.  Really quick, I had a chance to play tennis with my companion Elder Febbo.  We only got to play for about 30 minutes, then it got dark.  I hate how early it gets dark.
Finding has been a bit of a struggle for us until this week.  In the first 2 weeks with Elder Febbo, we only found 1 new investigator.  This week, we have found 8, and we have potential to find a few more.  Hopefully the appointments we have set will go through.  Most of those were found when Elder Febbo was on exchanges with Elder Mostert (my companion from last transfer).  They found a family of 4, an old guy, and set an appointment with a guy that said he has 10 kids.  We'll be going by the big family today.  They told me that in their contact with this guy, he asked, "Why are there all these churches and just one Bible?  Why can't we all be united?"  I love how logical the Restoration is.
Little miracle of the week (sorry, it's a bit of a long story).  So Elder Smith and I were on exchanges yesterday.  To set the ground work for this story, remember back to Jaime Morales that Elder Smith and I baptized right before he left Fletcher.  Since then, Jaime moved into Arroyo boundaries, but got permission to keep going to Fletcher.  At about 3:00 yesterday, we get a call from Elder Alvarenga (Elder Alvarenga was in my district the whole 6 months that I was in Fletcher and is now in the area where Jaime is living).  Elder Alvarenga tells us that Jaime just found out that he has cancer in his kidneys.  We were blown away.  Thinking about the situation, I said to Elder Smith, "What are the chances that the day that you and I are together again, we get a call that Jaime has cancer AND that he lives in our ward so we are allowed to go visit him?  This is too much of a coincidence.  We have to go." 
I was super worried at first that we weren't going to be able to make it because we had set appointments for the whole night.  Then, our 8:00 cancelled which gave us our opening.  We show up a little late, and he's not there.  I call Elder Alvarenga to get Jaime's number to call him, and Elder Alvarenga didn't pick up.  I remembered that a few weeks ago, I asked one of the Fletcher missionaries for Jaime's number and luckily the text hadn't been erased yet.  So we gave him a call, and he said that he was at the store getting something quick, and he would be home in 5 minutes.  So we wait outside his new place and he comes up and we spend about 30 minutes with him.  He was absolutely beaming to see us.  We talk a bit and pray with him then share D&C 122:7,9 (love that scripture!)  We then ask him for a ride home. 
On the way, I remember that I had something in our apartment that I had been meaning to give him.  At his baptism, we had everyone write down their testimonies super quick while he was changing and we were going to put them into a book.  For about a month, that stack of papers stayed on my desk.  One day, randomly, I decided I needed to put this thing together.  So I put it all together, made it look nice, then put it back on my desk.  So I remembered on the way home that I still had that book to give him.  And I had Elder Smith there with me to give it to him.  His face was priceless!  It was totally the pick-me-up he needed.  He kept on saying, "I know the Lord is with me.  I know the Lord is watching me."  It was soooo cool.  Elder Smith and I were actually having a pretty rough day to that point.  Everything, EVERYTHING, cancelled.  But then that totally made it worth it.
Sorry for the long letter.  Have a great day!
Elder Christensen

Monday, November 4, 2013

Quick Updates

Hello family and friends!

This week was super weird.  The first few days, I felt tons of pressure to do everything just right.  I had 2 weeks in the area and my companion just got there, so I felt like it was all on me.  It was bad of me to think that way.  We have gotten into the grove of things and now we're focusing on getting our area going.  We had tons of administrative things to do this week.  One day we spent from 8 am - 6 pm moving missionaries to get them closer to their areas.  We have been redoing areas in our zone to balance out the work a bit better.  All kinds of goodness.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this last week, but our Stake President has a goal for us to get 66 baptisms in the stake by the end of the year.  That breaks down to 3 per companionship by the end of the year.  That number is super possible, but I don't feel like our zone has the faith to get that since it's been really, really tough recently.  I look at the missionaries and the leaders we have and I often ask myself, "why doesn't this go better?"  So right now we're working a lot to get the zone stoked and out of this rut.  We'll be teaching the whole zone on Thursday, so hopefully we'll be able to spark something.

Quick updates on who we are teaching:

Leticia.  Super, super, super awesome.  She looks like and sounds like a member.  She wants to be baptized and is totally ready except she's an alcoholic.  It might get to the point that we need to get medical help.  She wants to do what's right so bad.  As soon as she gets this worked out, she'll be baptized.  The goal is Dec 8.

Delfino and Oralia.  They were progressing really well and it came time to throw out the fact they need to get married.  I think that has acted like a bit of an obstacle to their progression.  They look at it as this super, super inconvenient thing that is getting in the way of their baptism.  They understand what they have to do and what God wants them to do, they just need to buckle down and do it.  Good news, there won't be any paper problems like with Raul and Rosy.

Alvarez family.  This is a part-member family.  The dad is a member and everyone else looks like and talks like members.  The parents work on Sundays.  We invited Fernando (the dad) to fast this week that he'll be able to get Sundays off.  The wife said it would be easier to join the church if her husband was setting the example.  They are super awesome.  We're shooting for an end-of-the-year baptism with them.

Everyone else that we're teaching is doing okay, but just okay.

Fun update, Raul has the Melchisedek (spelling help, mom) priesthood and just got called to be the financial clerk in the new Boyle Heights ward.  Raul and Rosy have both been called as ward missionaries as well.  They're so awesome!

My first ZLC meeting is tomorrow! So stoked! Numbers were awful this month, so not excited to report that...

We hardly ever get fed by the members here in this ward...I'll have to adjust. :)

Elder Smith (last companion) is one of the DLs in my zone, so I'm talking to him multiple times a week. He is the district leader most on top of stuff in our zone. Love him!!

So ya, sorry for the long letter and the rambling.  

Love you all! 
Elder Christensen

p.s. Here's a guy that's leaving on his mission from the Fletcher Ward.  We took him out with us all the time and got him ready.  He's the only member in his family.  Super cool!