Monday, August 25, 2014

Check This Out!

Hello family and friends.  Remember last week how I was talking about hoping to get in contact with Carmen?  Check this out:

We go by Monday night trying to find her and we find her outside with her kids!  So as an intro, we use the Restoration pamphlet with the picture of Jesus holding a lamb.  We start talking a bit about why she wanted us to come over.  She said that she had been going to the Catholic Church in Idaho for awhile, but didn't like some of the things that she was seeing.  When she moved out here, she decided it was time to find a new church. She said that a few weeks ago, she said, "Hola" to some Elders and they didn't respond since they only spoke English. Then she was super excited when she found us.

So we get talking and she said that she felt like a lost sheep.  When we whipped out the pamphlet, she said, "Oh my, I feel so much peace when I look at this picture."  Then she was talking a little bit more about everything that has been going on, then she said that she felt like somebody just wandering through the mountains.  We then directed her attention again to the picture and pointed out that Jesus is there with the lamb in the middle of the mountains.  We asked her how she would like to be in the arms of Christ like that.  She got a little teary and said that she would love that.

The rest of the lesson went basically like that.  When we got to Joseph Smith, we were saying, "A young man went into a grove of trees to ask God a question--Which church was the true church?  This young man's name was Joseph Smith."  She then responds, "Wait, Joseph Smith was a prophet, right?" (WHAT??!!) She continued, "Ya, I heard some people talking about him a few months ago.  In their conversation, they were talking about him being a prophet." She accepted the baptismal invite and tonight we will be giving her a baptismal date.  We are super stoked.

So that was highlight of the week.  Nancy is still doing well, but there are tons of little things getting in her way of progressing all the way.

Sandra and Alonso are also doing amazing.  We taught chastity this past week and asked them what they thought about getting married. Sandra said, "Well, I want to get to the highest one [celestial kingdom] and this life is pretty short, so I better do whatever I have to to get to the highest one."  We were blown away.

So ya, things are going well.  Awesome experiences!

Elder Christensen

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week 89

(Monday, August 18, 2014)

Hello hello family and friends.  This week we had some super cool stuff happen.

Before getting to that, I am now starting my last transfer...what?!?! Elder Smith, Elder Trauntvein (past companions), and a ton of other missionaries I got really close with are heading home tomorrow.  I got to play basketball with Elder Smith last week and that was a lot of fun.  Seeing as there are not really any other Elders in my group of missionaries, I always felt like the group that just went home was "my" group.

At the "Despedida" (farewell meeting) last night, I got to see the Lopez family from Pomona AND Raul and Rosy!  Rosy is now the Primary president in Boyle Heights and is loving it!  The Lopez family is doing much better now. They are getting back on track.  I actually introduced Omar Lopez to Raul and told Omar how Raul is planning to get married in the temple. They connected super well.

Okay, so now the rest of the cool stuff...

1) We had two AWESOME lessons with Sandra and Alonso.  We haven't set a baptismal date with them yet because of their need to get married. Alonso was unable to come to church because of work.  Sandra and
Natalie (her 4 or 5 year old daughter) came to church!  A member family went and picked them up and they did so so well to make them feel comfortable.  We almost didn't even need to talk with them at church.  It went really smooth.  We are going to be doing everything possible to get that family involved in the teaching.

2) We were at a dollar store picking some stuff up and this lady says (in Spanish),

"Do you speak Spanish?"
"Yes we do."
"Are you Mormons?"
"Yes we are."
"Well why don't you come over some time.  I need this."

Umm...okay. Yes, I think we might be able to squeeze you into our schedule...maybe.  My was so cool.  In my mind, I was thinking, "did LA just turn into Mexico?" Then we found out that she has only been here for 3 months and then it all made sense.  Haha. I've noticed that something happens to Latinos once they are in LA for a long time. Not sure what it is...  Anyway, slight downside to the story is that when we stopped by when she told us to, her kids told us she was in the shower.  We have tried a few times to catch her again without any luck.  We haven't even seen the kids again, but we confirmed that she does live there.  Hopefully we will be able to get that all worked out this week.

3) Remember Santiago? He called us on Monday saying he wanted us to come back.  We were super stoked.  We showed up and he was still struggling pretty bad with his addiction.  We set up a return appointment and had a great conversation and he was saying that he really wanted to stop.  Then he started canceling all our appointments again.  The ball is in his court at the moment, but we are going to keep sending him texts to encourage him.  It's such a sad situation to watch...

Love you all so much.  For any and all that have suggestions about finishing a mission strong in your last transfer, please let me know what I can do!  I don't know if you all remember, but I had the chance to be Elder Blanchard's and Elder Febbo's last companion. Both of them finished their missions so gracefully.  I'm really glad I got to see that example first hand to be able to try and emulate it.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yoking Ourselves with Christ

Hey family and friends. This week we had another lesson with Sandra and we were able to start teaching her boyfriend, Alonso.  He is super cool.

Sorry, time is super short.  We didn't really find anybody new this week.  We are still having a tough time finding new people.  Our whole district is full of solid missionaries and we are all having a hard time.  We are trying to figure out what's up.

We need to push Nancy's baptism back a bit again.  Her church attendance has been a little hit-and-miss. Hopefully we will be able to get her little sister ready to be baptized the same day!

Sorry, if I have already shared this, but here it is anyway.  I still have been thinking about this a lot. In one of my personal studies recently, I studied about the Atonement, grace, and covenants.  From Elder Bednar's talk this last conference, he said something along the lines of "when we make and keep sacred covenants, we yoke ourselves to and with Christ."  When we yoke ourselves to and with Christ, he then helps carry our burdens.  I remember early in the mission I had the question of what I needed to do to receive of the enabling power of the Atonement.  All we have to do is be faithful to the covenants we have already made.  I'm not really sure why that never clicked in my mind before, but it's so simple.  Elder Smith (old companion) told me that focusing on keeping his covenants is what has helped him make it strong to the end.  He goes home next week.  We have transfers this next week.  I don't expect any changes, but we'll see.

Love you all!

Elder Christensen

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 87

Hey family and friends.  I have very little time today.  Sorry!

So this week we found two super awesome people.  First, Baldomero's wife Lourdes is awesome! We found out her mom is a member.  She said that every time she sees the missionaries she remembers her mom telling her that she should talk to us.  Baldomero is now being straight forward with us and said that at the moment, he doesn't feel the desire.  We are still working with them.  Hopefully Baldomero will come around.

The second awesome lady we met is named Sandra. She was baptized as a baptist when she was younger then fell away a bit.  She wants to get closer to God and found the sister missionaries. Since she speaks Spanish, they referred her to us.  She is super prepared.  All of the assumptions she has made over the years about what church should be were totally spot on.  It was sweet.

Love you all!  Sorry for how short the letter was!

Elder Christensen