Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year

  Well it looks like I will be here at least 6 more weeks, but sadly I am losing my companion. We got calls last night that said he was leaving. It is kind of hard because we have only been with each other 3 months, and so many things were going so well here. But we both know that the Lord has a plan. So tomorrow we will find out how it will all work out. I don't know if I am training or just getting a new companion. Once again I will just have to wait till tomorrow. Well this week had its ups and downs.

Monday we met with Stephen for lunch and he told us that we was absolutely ready for baptism, and we were excited to hear that. And then that night we met with Stephen and Ben, and Ben said he had a feeling of worry and just wanted to wait a little while before he got baptized. But we just talked to them about really studying the scriptures and praying. So we thought we helped them with some of there concerns.

Tuesday we helped our Ward Mission Leader put together a play set for his kids, and he had non members that were present, so that was good. But after we went around and visited with members. We went to a couple different homes that night that had us over for dinner. It was really fun to be able to spend time with those families. Then they did a little nativity as a family and we were able to just listen and feel the spirit. We have some amazing members here in the ward! 

Weds was amazing. We did our studies in the morning and then went out to visit some members and then went to our Ward Mission Leaders home to skype home. And that was like the greatest thing ever. I was so blessed to be able to hear from my older brother. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to talk with him but we got to talk for a little while! And then skyping and seeing my family was really fun! It scared me at first because when I logged on to my skype account my dad was trying to call me with in seconds and it freaked me out cause I wasn't ready! But as I called him back later it was so great to hear his voice and see my family! It was really good and by the time I got done talking with everyone I was ready to just get back to work, and work hard. 

Thursday and Friday were really hard for us. So many members left town and are gone until next week. We were struggling so bad to find people to teach and things to do. It completely slowed the work down. But we will still work hard to stay busy. It was just a little bit discouraging going back and forth from homes trying to find some one who would answer. 

But Friday we had district meeting, and it went all right. But right after district meeting we got a call from Stephen. He told us he wants some more time to investigate. He was reading something that his dad asked him to read, and we were nervous about that. But as of right now we are trying to reschedule baptismal dates with them. Right now we just need to help them overcome their concerns. But I know with the Lord that it is possible. 

Saturday was very similar to the end of the week. We were able to get in with some members that day, but really the majority of our success came that night when we went street contacting at the mall. So that was a blessing to be able to teach some lessons there. 

Sunday was a missionary day, my companion spoke in Church and I helped teach the combine 3rd hour. I talked about setting goals. And just really made me think of why we set goals in our life. We do it because we want to accomplish something. Well then we think well why as a missionary is it important to set inspired goals. I continued thinking, and just thought when we set goals as missionaries and we include the Lord in our planning, the Lord will provide opportunities for us to accomplish those goals. When we include Him, He will help us to achieve them as well as help us to go above and beyond those goals. We just have to ask Him and have a faith as well as hope that we can accomplish them when we rely on Him. 

So with this new year, I would just invite Y'all back home to set goals with the Lord. Goals about missionary work and other spiritual goals that  you may have. I promise you that as you do this you will be able to achieve those goals and that you will be able to be spiritually strengthened. I know that this is true.

I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas Y'all!

   Time is flying by so fast. I can't believe that Christmas is almost here! Well it has been a really good week. We have continued to see some amazing miracles happening at this time of the year. This week we were able to meet with Stephen and Ben a couple of times to teach them and had some great experiences. We got in with alot of families that we have been trying to meet, and we are just seeing the work continue to press forward. We also had an incredible Christmas Zone Conference. 

    So Tuesday I was on exchanges with the zone leader and we had some really good things happen. We were able to get in with alot of  the families and we were able to share some great Christmas messages. But we had a cool experience during our studies. We were both studying about the Book of Mormon because we were preparing to teach one of there investigators. And the study was truly let by the spirit. When we started our companionship study we were talking about the things that we had learned. And we read the exact same things and had the exact same thoughts of order to teach it in and what to talk about. It was truly inspired. So we went to go visit this investigator, but the appt fell through. We joked about preparing that lesson for nothing. 

But we went around visiting some different people that day, but one of the less actives in that ward was trying to get better at reading the Book of Mormon. So we were able to share that inspired lesson with him. And it really helped him. It is amazing to see what happens when you put things in the Lords hands. Even when you think that things fall through, God can lead us to others that need help. 

   Wednesday we went and did some more service at Panther Creek inspirational ranch. That was good and then the rest of that day we just went around trying to meet with different members of the ward. And we were able to see some great things happen. That night we met with Ben and Stephen and we taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We did it a little different then we usually would. We decided to read through 2nd Nephi 31 and point our the doctrine in there. It went really well and they said they understood it. We then committed Ben to be baptized on January 4th with his Brother. He said if he finds and answer then he would. See these blessing that are going on here. That is 4 with a baptismal date in January. The Lord is truly hastening his work. It was really great too because we had a member at the home that connected really well with Ben and Stephen.

Thursday we did our weekly planning and were able to plan for how to help each of our investigators. We really focused on what we could teach that would help them as a person progress. And we really feel that we found ways to help them. We came up with lesson plans and way to teach them. Then that afternoon we went out and again were able to get in with alot of different families and meet other members of the ward that we didn't know as well. And we got in with some of the Less actives that we have never met before. So those were miracles in an of them selves. 

   Friday was when we had an amazing Zone conference. We talked so much about the plan of salvation and the need for our savior Jesus Christ. And then after that they did a Christmas Program with music and with talks about this time of the year. The spirit could be felt so strongly while we were in there.It was just an all around great day to be a missionary. As we all sang the spirit was just so strong. We had over half of the mission there for this zone conference. 

   Saturday we were able to have lunch with a recent convert from another ward that I have come to know really well. He was the one we went and helped at a food drive a couple months ago. He told us that he is now moving to take another CEO position in San Antonio. Well we just started talking and we got on the subject of Schooling, and he asked what my plans were for when I got back into college in a couple of years. I told him originally I thought about majoring in Mechanical Engineering, but now I am thinking more in business and finance. And he like that and said, " Well when you graduate college, give me a call and I will have you come work with me." I know that is a long time away, but it was just a cool thought.  Being able to have a job out of college and being able to come back to Texas. 

Well after this we went to teach Ben and Stephen again. And we were planning on teaching some of the commandments. But we thought we would talk about keeping the Sabbath day holy and follow the prophet and the Word of Wisdom. We started talking, and opened with a prayer. It was like a spiritual roller coaster ride for the first part of the lesson. One minute the spirit was so strong and he next jokes were being said. I was trying to keep pushing through he lesson. Well were talking to Ben about the Word of Wisdom and when we said that it included not drinking tea he was not very happy about it. He wanted to know where it said that in the scriptures. We took him to Doctrine and Covenants 89. When we read the vs. talking about the hot drinks we told him that it meant tea and coffee. 

And he began to say well if got wanted us not to drink coffee and tea he would have put it right in there, and my companion was beginning to get a little frustrated and was beginning to say " Ben we can tell you this all day what it means but you need to pray about it and ask God." Ben then said well if I pray to God and ask and he says I can't then I am drinking it. It was getting a bit contentious, and then I just looked at Ben and started talking. I said something along the lines of... " Ben at the end of the day the Book of Mormon is true or its is not. We ask you to read and pray about it because if you come to the knowledge that it is true, then it means that Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. That means that Joseph Smith was a prophet in these last days and could recie.........." And then he cut me off and said " Fine I have my answer."  my stomach dropped thinking that he was going to want to drop us. But he then said in a hushed tone, while you were speaking I got an answer to my question, and I didn't even pray." He had the still small voice touch his heart. He then told us I will dump out all of my tea and wine. The spirit was so strong and my jaw was just dropped. I couldn't believe what just happened. They tell you alot  that the spirit it the teacher and you are the mouth piece. 

   I again have a stronger testimony of this. I know that God will put words in our mouth that can help someone. I know that the spirit testified to him of the truthfulness of the message. The spirit really teach others. It was such an amazing experience I can't even fully describe the feelings that were felt at this point in the lesson. I know that this gospel is true.I know that Jesus is the Christ and in and through him we can find peace that our Heavenly Father wants us to have. I know that this is true, and I testify of it. 

Well I hope y'all have a very merry Christmas! Remember to look for ways to help others out this Christmas season! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, December 16, 2013

CHRISTmas season!

Hey hope y'all are having a wonderful week! 

Things this week have been really good. We have continued to see miracles going on in this area. I went on exchanges this week. It was really good! On Monday and Tuesday I was on exchanges, and exchanges are a great chance to go and learn from other missionaries! Tuesday we were able to get lessons taught, but that night when we were trying to contact people at the mall we ran in to someone who wanted to ask us some questions. We tried to answer his questions and use the scriptures to help him understand. We were there for an hour and a half. It was a long night, and he walked away trying to prove what his bible believed and wasn't very happy with us. It was another one of those moments that are hard to be a missionary. But at the same time, those moments are where you really can grow and learn and feel of the saviors love for each of us. We didn't have all of the answers to his questions, because we are not perfect teachers. But to end Tuesday night we exchanged back and did our planning. 

Wednesday we went around finishing delivering invitations to the Christmas party that we had planned for Saturday. We were able  to get in with some different less actives in the ward, and with other members as well. We were giving extra invitations out so others would invite there friends to come. But that night we went over to teach Ben and Stephen the next lesson. And for the first hour we were just there answering alot of the questions that they had. And Stephen is one that is truly prepared. He has started reading the Doctrine and Covenants just for fun, and he is really sincere when it comes to learning about more.  

Ben is also very prepared. They had alot of good questions that tied into the lesson we were going to teach them on the plan of salvation. So after answering alot of questions we dove into the plan of salvation and started to be able to answer some of the questions they had. I love being able to talk about the plan of salvation because of the joy and knowledge that it has brought into my life. I love being able to know that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ I can continue to progress back towards my Father in Heaven. I love being able to know that as I continue to repent and become better that someday I can live with my Heavenly Father and my family and have eternal life! That is such a huge blessing of knowing about this wonderful plan. 

So we taught it and committed Ben and Stephen to come to church, and they accepted and they also said they would come to the Ward Christmas Party. So it was just a great night and the spirit was so strong, they are truly interested in learning more, and are very open to the idea of Baptism. 

Thursday we did a lot of service with the Bishop. We helped him boil 4 sheep heads. That is also whats cool about this ward, its the only ward where you will talk about missionary work while helping do taxidermy! It was a good day and we were able to really help the Bishop out. After helping him out we did our weekly planning which was good! We got a lot of ideas for how we can help our investigators to progress and help them out. Weekly planning can be long, but it is also so good! When it is done right you really can receive revelation on what we can do to be better and help others out. 

Friday we had a great specialized training by the President, and it was about planning and setting inspired goals. It was such a great training and some of the things that were said I absolutely needed to hear. It was good to learn more about how to better use our time. We had the chance to also meet with one of our investigators named Morgan and we taught him about the plan of salvation, and he agreed that he would take the time and read the Book of Mormon. Also that night we made these little bundles that we wanted to give out at the Christmas party as gifts people could take to there friends. So we had a big assembly line of us putting those together and we made about 40.

Saturday we had our ward Christmas party and it was a really good turn out. We had Ben and Ashlie come to it which was really fun. We were wearing these ugly Christmas sweaters that we found at Walmart, so that was fun. 

And alot of people took the bundles for gifts that we made. So we will be following up to see how it goes. But we were so happy when we saw Ben come to the party. They stayed and we were able to share a Christmas message with those who were at the party! Sharing messages about our Savior Jesus Christ really can bring the spirit into our homes so much! I love being able to share that with others! 

Sunday we had Ben and Stephen and Adriann all come to church. So that was way good. Ben and Stephen stayed for all 3 hours and they said that they enjoyed it. The ward did a great job at making them feel welcome. They had alot of good questions that we were able to help them answer while they were there. That night we met with Adriann and taught her the next discussion. She is continuing to progress. We are so blessed to be able to have our investigators progressing!  There are alot of great things going on here in this ward. 

 Things are going well, and I would just encourage each of you to continue to look for opportunities to serve during this great Christmas season. I know that so many people can feel that peace and love that comes from the savior Jesus Christ. It all just starts by talking with one person. You can do it. Things really are going well here and I feel so blessed to be able to serve in this ward this Christmas season! :)

I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, December 9, 2013

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hey everybody, 

Sorry this was a slower week, so it might not be a very long email. But this week was kind of crazy trying to get in contact and meet with some of our investigators. But luckily this next week we will be able to meet with a bunch of them. But this week was good, we had some great service opportunities. 

We had a member of our ward that had surgery on his knee, and he was up and moving really quick. He was able to work at the temple and get some things done around his house last weekend. But on Tuesday right before we were going to the temple we got a call from his wife saying that he was now in the hospital because of blood clots. So we went and helped give him a blessing. And then after we went to the temple which was really good! I always love going there. 

But then we just got back to work that night trying to meet new people at the mall and teaching members. We met with one of our investigators named Adriann and she accepted the invitation to be baptized on January 11th! We have some great things going on her in the ward!

Wednesday we went back to the hospital to check back on this Brother in our ward and he was doing a lot better. They put him on some blood thinners and it was helping him a lot. He just mentioned that he needed to be careful to not cut him self. But we just went and checked up on him and then met some new members of our ward. They are such a great family, and are really wanting to help in anyway they can with missionary work. I love seeing how much members of this ward are wanting do missionary work now. It is so amazing!

Thursday we had weekly planning, and came up with some different finding ideas that we can use for the holidays. And we came up with some good ideas that we were wanting to share the next day at district meeting. We also had the chance to go and meet with our bishop that day. We just discussed and were seeing how we could help members in the ward with there missionary work. 

Friday we had district meeting, and we were sharing some ideas for finding, and for the role plays that day we discussed how we could include members in the finding this great Christmas season. One of the ideas that me and my companion came up with is this. We will get a copy of Joy to the World DVDs and then a copy of The Living Christ, the Testimony of the Apostles, and a copy of The Book of Mormon. And we are making a bundle out of those. And we are going to make about 40 of them. And our Christmas party is this week and we are taking them there and we are going to show them to the members. We are going to share a brief Christmas message and invite members of the ward to take these bundles and give it to there friends or neighbors this Christmas season. Christmas is truly a great time when we can help and serve others, and we know that these little bundles can help bring Joy to others. 

Saturday we went over to the Brothers home in our ward that had surgery and we helped him put up his Christmas lights. We had to keep watching what he was doing because he really wanted to help, but he is on a blood thinner, and every time we turned around he was trying to string lights through a rose bush! So we had to keep giving him a hard time. But it was a great chance to go help out. It was a bit chilly, but it was so fun. I am amazed at how cold it can be here in Houston. This year it has been a bit different than past years I guess, it may only get down to 30 degrees, but the humidity and wind chill really can get you. But it was still fun. After doing the lights we were able to just chat with this family for a little while and help them out with some other things.

 Later that day we went around and were delivering invitations for our ward Christmas party. And then we went to our ward mission leaders home that night to decorate ginger bread houses. Now the great thing about his is there were about 20 non members. So we got to meet some of his friends and got to talk a little bit about what we do as missionaries. Well we did decorate ginger bread houses that night, but me and my companion decided to switch things up and so we teamed up and made a ginger bread temple! It took some work, but it was really fun! But it was a great day.

Sunday we had church and we had 3 of our investigators come, and it was really good! We are have a lot of our investigators progressing right now which is really good! But that night we went to a members home to watch the Christmas Devotional! It was really great! I loved the things that were said during it, and I just love this time of the year. We celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus Christ we can find true peace in each of our lives. Because of the atonement he created we can find peace when we are going through hard times in our lives. I know that it is true, because I have been able to feel that peace in my own life when I have had struggles. I also love how Christmas is a great time to serve. I thing I remember hearing when I was younger was this, " Joy comings through serving, it comes through Serving Jesus, Others and You. This Christmas season I hope we all can look for more opportunities to serve those around us. Keep praying for missionary experiences. Remember what M. Russel Ballard said in last general conference.  

  "We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just “one” between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior."

I know that if we do this, we will be able to help so many people feel the love of Jesus Christ. So keep up the good work and look for those chances to serve. As you do it you will have more of a desire to share the gospel and I also promise that the Lord will help you with the things you need to say. I know that it is true. 

I hope all Y'all have a great week!

Elder Christensen

Elder Christensen included the following picture in his email:

When asked what this was he explained:
That is the Pavilion, if you look it up you will find it, but it is a big out door theater where people perform. 

Random....So if you are in the Woodlands and want to see a concert, you can go check it out.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Howdy Y'all, this week has been a good one. We had a great opportunity on Monday to have a thanksgiving Preparation day. We went to the stake center and got to watch Ephraims Rescue. It was such a great movie. It is very similar to 17 miracles. But it was great to watch, and the spirit was there as we watched it. I loved seeing how obedient Ephraim Hanks was. Whenever asked to do something by the prophet Brigham Young. It was very touching to see that when Brigham was asking some of the men to go and help the saints coming across the plains. And many of them were willing but needed some days to get ready to make the journey, but Ephraim was ready to go at that moment. I love the message of how we should always be prepared for callings or things we are asked to do by the prophets. 

Tuesdays was just going around to visit with members, but we were able to go do some service at a local food bank.  So that was fun. But then after we did that we then went and talked with members. But that night we had an opportunity to teach some new investigators. So that was a great experience. We were able to set up a return appointment for tomorrow. 

Weds was a bit crazy. So we started out by visiting some members and we were actually able to help someone who was moving out. He was a really nice guy, and after we just continued to go to members homes. So after going to a couple different homes we parked and were getting ready to go meet some more members. My companion tried to open the door, and it made a clicking noise and the door would not open. Something on the inside of the car had broken off. So then we got to call our vehicle coordinator, and he already doesn't like our car cause it had different problems. But we basically spent 4 hours in the car in traffic driving to get it fixed and then driving back to our area. But luckily it was a quick fix once we got there and we decided to go to the mall that night and see if we could get some more lessons there. 

So we got to the mall and went in and with in the first 15 minutes of being there we were able to teach 3 lessons to some members. We had a big family stop us and we were able to talk with them and teach them a lesson. So after a crazy day we were able to teach some lessons. 

Thursday was Thanksgiving, and we only had a few set appointments that day. But in the morning we did our studies and our weekly planning. And while doing our weekly planning I started to set up this Christmas tree in our apartment that we had and started to get the lights to work with it. And when you are poor missionaries with know decorations you need to get creative. So we did. We decorated our tree with cards and with pictures of the temple. 

We also put some other things we had there in the tree. I found a golf ball and thought how I could use it in the tree. So I also realized that I had a couple other golf balls in one of my bags, so I got those out and then I had the thought to put a push pin in them and tie a string to them and I make decorations out of those. That was what we did during planning for the morning. 

So then we went over to the Jackson's home where they made us a wonderful thanksgiving meal. It was so good. I really enjoyed being able to have a thanksgiving this year. I joked with these members about how last Thanksgiving I couldn't eat anything because I had just got my wisdom teeth out. But then following this meal we were able to get to know the members a lot better. We then went to some more members homes and we had the chance to be able to teach some lessons. So it was a great day! 

Friday we had zone meeting and I was having a hard time concentrating during it. This week I came down with a cold, so I didn't feel to great. But it was a good meeting we just talked about how we can do better at making commitments and following up with our investigators. Because we we invite our investigators to do things like read the scriptures or go to church or to live certain commandments then we are inviting them to repent. Or in other words helping them to make changes in there lives where they can come closer to our savior Jesus Christ. 

But that night we had dinner with a a member of the ward and with her non member friend named Stan. And Stan is a great guy. We were able to explain some of the things that we believe as well as why were came out on mission. And he thought it was very interesting. He told us he will not convert, but we aren't out here only to convert people to the gospel. We are here to help others come closer to Jesus Christ. And as we do this it does help them to gain a testimony as they do read or pray. So that helps them, and that can lead them to want to make that decision of baptism and becoming a member. But we are not here just to increase  membership in the church. 

Saturday we had a cool miracle happen. So we got a referral from the church, and usually when we get them from they really aren't real. They always fall through. But we got a referral and we went to go check on it. And we pulled up to this house that was in the same neighborhood as a different referral we got a couple weeks ago. That referral wanted nothing to do with us and wanted us off his property. So we were a little nervous when we went into that same neighborhood. But the new referral we got was two houses away from that old referral. And we saw a black ford fusion in the driveway and we both thought, why do we know that car? And it turns out it was one of the people that lives in our apartment complex named Ben. So we knocked on the door and Ben answered and we told him that we got information about someone wanting to learn more about the church and he told us that it was his brother Stephen that was interested. 

So we set up an appointment to meet with him yesterday. And we took one of the priests with us and he was so awesome during this appointment. It was really good. Ben let us teach over at his apartment and Ben invited one of his friends that is a member. And it was just an incredible lesson. The spirit was there and we invited Stephen to be baptized and he said if he is ready and has an answer to his prayer he will get baptized on January 4th!! And they are both going to try and go to church this next week! Stephen is going back to school until December 14 but Ben said he would come. So it was just a great night to be able to and teach. 

I love being out here, and it is crazy to think how fast it is flying by. But I know that this is where I need to be. I am grateful for this gospel and the chance I have to share it with others. I hope that all y'all have a great week! Keep praying for missionary experiences! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen 

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Purpose

So this week has had its ups and its downs, I can honestly say that this has been the hardest week and the best week of my entire mission so far. 

So I don't remember if I mentioned this in my email last week, but we have new sister missionaries in the ward. We are excited to be able to have them here. The work here in College Park is just going to take off I feel. But we have been doing our best to help them get to know the ward and trying to get them all of the things that they need. So it has been a stressful week for me, and I felt on edge or a good part of the week. 

We added four new people into my district so now we have 12 people in the district which is pretty big for a district here in this mission. So that made me a bit nervous. We have been trying all week to get in contact with our investigators, and we haven't had much success with that. But we were able to meet with Lexi yesterday and her dad is now letting her get baptized and her mom seems to be interested. So we set a date with her to be baptized on January 11th. So we are excited to be able to see her to continue to progress. 

So kinda like I said this whole week has been just crazy and stressful, but absolutely 100% worth it. We were able to get to know many of the members of the ward a lot better. We were able to get in with some of the Less Active members of our ward and talk with them and see how they were doing. But here are some of the miracles we were able to see this week.

Monday we were schedule to have dinner with the Bishop and his wife, and so we went over there and the house was dark. We looked at each other and wondered if they had forgot about it. So we said if that was the case we wouldn't bring it up with them. So we knock and Bishop answers the door, and he looked at us and wondered why we were there. He said that he was getting ready for bed. And so we ended up talking to him for a little bit and then we left close to 7:00pm. 

So we thought well we could do a couple of things, we could 1. Go work for an hour and a half and then go in and eat and plan a little early, or keep going. Well the thought that went through my head was, well from 6-9 is the best time for us to be out and to proselyte. So I told him I think that we should just stay out and keep going. He agreed and we kept going on. 

Well we went and taught a couple lessons over by the mall, and then we thought we would go visit some members who were in our ward, the Chappels. They are actually in the mission presidency. So we started talking to them because they got back from a trip. So while talking to him our phone rang and Elder Harris answered it. And it was a long call, but after he looked at me and his eyes were just beaming! It was a call from the Prows family saying that they had talked with Lexi and basically her dad gave her permission to be baptized and her mom was interested in coming to church! So this was a huge miracle for us, but it doesn't stop there. 

Within 3 minutes of that phone call we got a couple of messages from another one of our investigators that have been taught in the past. We have been trying to meet with them for almost 3 months now, and she texted us and told us she wants us over this Tuesday to talk with them. She also invited her non-member friend that is interested in learning more! This was absolutely huge for us! Definitely a blessing of staying out and working hard!

Tuesday we went to an interfaith Thanksgiving event. It was where we went and we listened to different religions that talked about what they believe. Our Bishop was talking about temples at it so we went and got to meet some amazing people! That night we got to teach some lessons to people that were curious about learning more.

Wednesday we went and helped out some members of our ward, and went around trying to find more people to teach as well. So that was good, but that was about it for Wednesday.
Thursday we had a weekly planning and we met with the Sisters to try and help them out. And then we went back to work to find people to teach. 

Friday we had district meeting and that went well. And then we met with the Bishop that day along with the Sisters and correlated what was going on in the ward and how we would try to divide up the  missionary efforts. But we decided not to divide it up so we will just all work together in the area which really is what is needed. 

Saturday we went and met with different less actives and with some different members and we were able to get in with some of the less actives and we got to talk with them. But I had the most incredible experience that happened to me. This has been the most amazing thing that has happened to me on my mission so far, and has really grown my testimony of this church. 

So we went to one of the less active members of our ward named James M. And so the first time I heard about this family was 2 1/2  months ago when in ward council they said that there youngest son would be able to go on a mission. Well when they said that I took a mental note to remember that. Well through out those couple months we tried to stop by a couple different times and we would leave cards, but we never go any replies. Well we were in the area where this family lived and I thought to maybe try back at this home. 

So we drove there and we knocked on the door, and he cracked the door and said, "Who is it?" We told him who we were and he said ok just a minute, and closed the door. He was putting his dogs away and while he was doing this we got a call from the sisters asking us about directions on how to get somewhere. So I am trying to help them find out where to go and he answers and lets us in. I told him I was so sorry, and he said it was fine, but my companion was talking to him and he asked Brother M where he use to live and he said, Orem, Lindon and Provo. I heard the word Lindon and that stuck with me. 

So I finally was able to get off the phone with the sisters, and I asked him immediately which part of Lindon he lived in. And he said 835 East Lindon, now I don't now why in my head that made me think of my grandpa, I am not even sure exactly what his address is, but I had the thought to ask about my grandpa. So I looked at him and asked do you know a Lloyd Christensen? He looked right at me for a few moments and his eyes watering a little, and said this to me. " How do you know that name?"

I explained to him that was my grandpa Christensen. He continued to look and me, and he said this. " I know him, I worked for him." My grandpa use to have his own typewriter business, he worked for my grandpa for many years. He said that because of my Grandpa Lloyd he was where he was today. He got started off with typewriters and later go into word perfect, and now works with a college down here in Texas. But he told me how much my grandpa helped him. And he knows a good portion of my family on the Christensen side.

Brother M served a mission in Colombia and that is actually where he met his wife. Well once he was home and after he got married he told me that My grandma and grandpa put together their wedding reception at their home in Orem by the University Mall.  My Uncle Reese came and took there photos, and he knows my uncle Peter. They use to always go water skiing up at Deer Creek together. He told me he know knows my father and worked with him a little bit. He opened up so much. The spirit was so strong and my eyes were watering. 

I then went on to tell him about how my grandpa was doing, and I told him that my grandma Marilyn Christensen passed away on June 1st 2001. And he was sad to hear that. He continued to tell me how much my grandma also helped him. The spirit was so strong and I felt like my grandma was right by me on the couch during this meeting. We continued to talk about it, and sadly we didn't have a lot of time to talk. But at the end he looked right at me again and he was almost crying, and he said, " Every time I have come in to contact with a Christensen I have questioned them and asked if they knew Lloyd Christensen, and now you are right here in front of me. His Grandson, and this was absolutely meant to happen. You came here and you found me!" 

At this point we were both in tears. After this he said he wants to come to church, he wants to come back, and after talking to him I went out to the car and just started crying again! It was incredible! I have such a strong testimony that we are sent to places for certain reasons, to find certain people. 

When I got my mission call I prepared myself, and said I would go any where. And when I opened my call at first I was happy to go to Texas, but I did wonder if it was the right place for me. I can tell you with all of my heart that I KNOW that this is where I am suppose to be. I know that all mission calls are inspired from God. God knows all of his Children, I know that it was not coincidence that James M worked for my Grandpa and not coincidence that I am here in Texas in his ward. God has a plan and he knows the people we can touch in each of our lives. 

I know that this gospel is true, I know that there are others out here that I am suppose to help. So after a long week it was the most rewarding week. This email doesn't do the experience justice but it will have to suffice for now.

Keep up the good work and I hope all Y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another transfer here in College Park!

Howdy Y'all!

 This has been a really good week. We had some really great miracles happen. We also had some fun with car troubles. So Monday night we got a call from our vehicle coordinator telling us that we need to take our car up to the Ford dealership to get some repairs on the transmission. ( It has been miss shifting really bad, probably for about a month and a half.)  So we did that and we dropped off the car and got a ride from some of the Elders who work in the office and they drove us up to the mission office where we got a new car to use. It was a 2014 Chevy Cruze which was a fun little car to drive. But we used it for two days and got our car back. 

Thankfully it actually wasn't the transmission, it was actually the software that was loaded into the cars computer that went bad. So they changed it and now out car runs so much better.  That is what mainly happened on Monday and Tuesday. We also went around to members of our ward to try and get to know them better and help them in any way we could. 

  Well Weds was  a day of Miracles, the first being that is actually when we got our car back and it wasn't to much trouble with it. But Weds I was scheduled to give a baptismal interview to an investigator named Loveline from one of the other wards. And so we got there at 5:00pm and we were expecting her to be there at the same time as us. But she didn't end up showing up till about 6:00 pm. But the whole time I was super nervous about giving the baptismal interview. 1.  being that I have never given one before and didn't receive any training on how to do it. 2. being that Loveline is a super nice Nigerian lady with a really thick accent. I was told by my companion and by the other Elders that it was really hard to communicate with her and understand her. I was praying so hard that it would all go well. 

Well at 6:00 when she got there, I introduce myself to her and lead her to the room we would do the interview in. And we went in the room and started off with a prayer. I said it and asked for the spirit to be there and some other things that I can't remember. At first I just had to listen really careful to her, but the spirit was absolutely  there. The gift of Tongues must have kicked in or something. I was able to communicate with her and  could understand her completely. It was truly a miracle! 

The spirit so strong and you could just see the desire she had to make that promise with our Heavenly Father. She wanted to be take upon herself the name of Christ. I can't even tell you everything that was said, but the conversation was led by the Spirit. I know that because of the Help of my Father in Heaven I was able to understand her, and she was able to understand me. Our Heavenly Father does listen to our prayers, we just need to remember to have faith and know that he will provide away for us. 

So right after the interview we drove over to the house of one of our members. They invited there friend from work to come and listen to the missionaries. We learned that there friend was afraid of dying, and didn't know what would happen after death. So we got to teach the Plan of Salvation! It was so good! We were teaching her and she had a lot of great questions about it, and the best part was when she learned about the great gift we receive where we will all be resurrected. This made her so happy, and at this point we were able to bare testimony to her about the truthfulness of this principle. 

And it was cool because after we said this she looked at us and said I know that you believe this but how can I learn this for myself? So it was the perfect intro to The Book of Mormon. She said that she would start reading it, and she said she wanted to see how it compares with the Bible. But she has started to read it. I can't tell you everything that was said but it was defiantly driven by the Spirit. 

I have said that a couple times already this email but it is so true we had this happen to us so many times this week as we tried to meet with investigators and members. We come out of an appointment and can't even remember how we answered the questions. The Spirit is the true teacher in missionary work. As missionaries we prepare and do the things necessary to have the Spirit, but in the end the Spirit communicates through us, and it can tell us the things that we need to say to be able to help others out. 

 Thursday we had a great meeting with the Bishop where we talked about what was going on in the ward. But after we thought we should go check on an investigator that lived by. And we knocked on the door and no one came. So we were walking to the car and Eva walked out and we were actually able to meet with her that day. And her biggest concern about being a member is what her family would think. She come from a Roman Catholic background, and so she doesn't want to disappoint her family. But just asking her how she was doing she began to start crying, and me and my companion didn't understand, but we just let the Spirit speak through us again. I don't know what was said but the lesson was great! 

This week was so full of miracles! I just love seeing the tender mercies of the Lord. He does care about all of his children and wants them to be able to return and live with him. I know that this is true! I have seen it out here as I have come to know the people here in this area. I care so much about them and there are amazing people here in this area! 

Friday we had a good district meeting, but at first I was worried that I taught terribly, I was worried I didn't help the district out in ways we can use The Book of Mormon to help our investigators. But I have a firm testimony that the topic is presented each week in district meeting is inspired by the Mission President. After district meeting I heard of different companionships using what they learned that day in their missionary work. And we had an experience that night where we were able to give Ashlie (The leasing agent for our apartment complex) a copy of the Book of Mormon. The things president asks us to teach on is really to be able to help us in all of our missionary work! 

Saturday we met with different members and went to Lovelines baptism, and that was it for that day. The spirit at the baptism was so great! You could tell how excited Loveline was to be able to be baptized and feel clean from any feelings of guilt and sin. Her countenance  has changed so much! This gospel can change lives and can bring so much happiness to others. It is a gospel of change and joy. 

Sunday we had our normal meetings, but for the 3rd hour we talked about a new program the church has come out with for family search. They have a booklet called my family, and it is so great! I would invite all you that are reading this to look it up and get a copy. It is such a great way to be able to look at your family history and get started and show it with others. It helps deepen that connection you have with your ancestors. Please look into it. 

But to finish off my week we had a devotional at the bishops house. And I was asked when we got there to share my thought on goal setting and how we set goals here in the mission field. I loved being able to stand in front of all these youth that I have been able to get to know and share my testimony to them. I talked to them about how it is important to set goals that are important to you and to check back in with them and measure them. 

There is a quote in Preach my gospel that says, " When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates." That is so true. When we report back on our goals we can see how we have improved and see how we can improve. But the important thing about goal setting is having your Heavenly Father involved. With the Lord nothing is impossible, and he can help you to be able to accomplish any goal you have in your life. I know that this is true. I know that this church is true, and that Jesus is the Christ, I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers! He cares and wants to help us we just need to go to Him! I say that in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. 

Well I hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Elder Christensen sent the following pictures of P-day activites:

 He said he loves ultimate frisbee because it is fun and a good way to work out any stress.  The missionaries play with members and some others each week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Howdy Y'all

Well this week was a bit rough, but still really good. We tried to meet with alot of our investigators, but a lot of them are out of town, or they had to cancel with us. So that was a little rough on us, but the work will continue to move forward. Some really great things happened this week. 

Monday was just P-day, but later that night we went to the mall to walk around and try to talk with people. This is proving to be a good place that people will approach us. But we always open up with a prayer before we walk in, and we asked to have someone put in our path. Well that night we were able to teach a couple different lessons. We talked with a guy that worked at one of the shops, and he was just cleaning the windows of the store but he started talking with us, and we talked with him for a little while. And he told us about how he has young kids and how we wants to raise them in a good environment. And so we got to talk to him about the youth programs that the church has, and he seemed interested, but we will see what happens. 

That night we also got to have an experience with someone that didn't really like us. He stopped us and started to talk to us about Jesus. So we got to talk with him for a little while. He was a nice guy, he just didn't think that we should have organized religion. So he started bringing out scriptures right and left. We asked him questions to try and help him see what we were trying to tell him. With all of the scriptures he was reading I could have put out a scripture to try and help him see what it meant, but right when I was ready to do this, I felt that I shouldn't. I felt that if I would try to help him see what we were trying to see with him it would progress into Bible bashing, and this is the last thing that I wanted to do, so I had a feeling that we should just say thank you for talking with us and then to keep going. So that's what we did. Listening to the spirit really has helped me so much in my mission. 

 Tuesday we were going to meet with Lexi, but she had something come up right before. We wanted to meet at the church building so after she could have the chance to go to young womens. She is way nice and a great person, but she just couldn't make it that night. But that night we had a miamaid in our ward invite her friend to young womens. So we went and were with the young women that night. We got to meet her friend and we were able to tech a lesson to the  young women in the ward. 

Thursday we had a great meeting with the ward council where we were able to talk about a lot of the members of the ward who were Less Active, or other members who needed help with something. We were able to help the ward council out a lot  that night because we have stopped by every house in the ward that is LA, and those that the ward council wanted us to meet with. We unfortunately haven't made contact with everyone but we have knocked all the doors, and were able to answer a lot of questions that ward council had.  

We just visited  with members the rest of the week, and just have been going through the lessons with a lot of them still. It is great to see them looking for more missionary opportunities. But my favorite part of the week was on the training we received from our mission president. It talked about how we need to become more converted. First he asked us what is the difference between a testimony and conversion. And we went through and talked about it. And we talked about how testimony is gained through the holy ghost, and it is the foundation up which conversion is built. We went through the scripture Moroni 8:25-26. And it talks about the process of conversion. 

First before we start reading this we need to understand that conversion starts with the words of God. It starts by reading the scriptures and going to church and living the gospel principles. This then leads us to build faith in Christ and we want to then change. This change is simply repentance, and then later on when we are baptized and confirmed we enter onto the path of discipleship. So starting in vs 25 of Moroni 8, it says  that the fruits of repentance is baptism. When we do this we are able to receive a  remission of sins. 

Going on to vs. 26 it says that the remission of sins leads us to become meek and lowly in heart or humble. And when we are humble we are able to have the Holy Ghost as our comforter which fills us with hope and perfect love. So as we do this we are slowly becoming converted.And this whole process is centered around the atonement. When we use the atonement in our lives and when we always strive to be better, we can become converted. A great quote that was talked about says, “You cannot convert people beyond your own conversion” (General Conference, April 1996).  As you deepen your own conversion, you will have more power to help others become converted. I love this, so I would invite you to take these steps and try to become more converted to the Lord. I promise that as you do you will be able to help others around you feel the Love of our Heavenly Father. I know this is true, and I have felt this in my life. 

Well it is weird to think that another transfer about about to come to a close. This Sunday we will get transfer calls. I am not to worried, I am sure me and Elder Harris will stay in the College Park Ward. I love this ward so much and I am so excited to continue to see it grow. The members here are great and I have truly grown to love each of them. 

Have a fantastic week Y'all

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Week of Miracles!

This was a crazy good week! On Monday we taught a guy who is totally prepared for the gospel! His name is Tony, but we went and talked with him after a couple weeks of trying to get in contact with him. We had a great dinner with him and his girlfriend that is in the ward. They were so kind, and after dinner we had the great opportunity to teach the restoration. 

The spirit was so strong, and when I recited the first vision, " I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun,which descended gradually until it fell upon me... When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-- This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!" There wasn't a dry eye in the room. You could tell that Tony felt something. 

He has been reading the Book of Mormon and see that the Book of Mormon and Bible support each other. And me and my companion both felt that we shouldn't give him a firm commitment for baptism. But we left him with a soft one. We committed him to baptism once he finds and answer to his prayer. And he accepted. After we asked if he would come to church and he said yes. He also wants to start inviting his friend to church. It is cool to see Tony already being a missionary and he isn't even a member! 

Tuesday was so great! We had the chance to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead with the youth. We couldn't do baptizing, but we got to help confirm. It was great! But the reason we were able to go is because it was Austins Carroll's first time going to do baptisms. So I had the great chance to see him there and be able to do temple work. It was so cool when I got to confirm him in proxy for someone else, and when I got to see him preform the ordinance of baptism in proxy for those who have past on. I have loved being able to see Austin progress. We also have been able to start into the new member discussions this last week with him, and they have gone really well. But it was such a great experience to see him there dressed in white in the temple. I loved seeing how happy he was. 

Wednesday we did service at Panther Creek inspirational ranch. And it was raining and we were trying to move hay to a new building that they built. But we had to be careful cause there were some snakes hiding on the bottom level. Those who know me know that I don't do snakes very well, but it was a great experience to be able to serve. 

But later that afternoon we went out and tried visiting with less actives in the ward. We went to meet with a LA Member in the hospital. He is 91 years old and he is still as sharp at a needle. He really opened up to us and allowed us to share a message with him. But he is a super friendly man. 

Thursday, so this last week has rained quite a bit and there has been a little bit of flooding here in some parts of the Woodlands so we got a call from Panther Creek Ranch and they said they needed some help evacuating the horses from the ranch. So we got ready and went over there as fast as we could. It was absolutely pouring. When it rains here, it pours. And I don't have a jacket yet, so I got soaked! But it was good. 

We volunteered for those hours of the morning and helped get the horses to safer ground. This same thing happened last year and they lost a horse last year because the flooding was so bad so they really needed some help. I just love being able to be out here and serve everyday. Whether it be for physical needs or spiritual needs. That is my favorite part of serving a mission is being able to help others out for this period of two years. But that day it got even better. 

So we got to meet with a guy name Morgan. We set a time to meet with him, and we met him at Greg's mission farewell open house. And we went there to see how things were going, and his dad sat in with us and we got to just talk about god and beliefs for the first 30 min or so. But we just decided to go into the restoration. And the spirit was truly guiding the conversation. They were asking so many questions, and for almost every single one I had a scripture pop into my head. 

We were talking about apostles and prophets, and Morgans dad ( Phil) Asked us this, " I think it is so interesting that there are apostles and prophet just like when Jesus Christ was here. But I wonder if there is a prophet and apostles why they don't make them selves known to others." We started talking about general conference and how he could go online and see and listen to them. He got so excited and he asked for the website immediately. But this went on for the entire 2.5 hours we were there. At the very end he asked if we could pray with them. And it was so cool, they both prayed and asked our Heavenly Father if this is the path that He would have them take. They said when they get an answer from God they will follow it. 

Friday we had a wonderful zone meeting, it was focused on making members a priority in our everyday finding. The spirit was so strong and I loved being able to listen to the message that was taught that day. But members really are the best way to get things done. So after zone meeting we went on exchanges with another elder in my district, and it was a good chance to learn and teach. That is what is nice about exchanges. You have different opportunities to learn from other missionaries and other areas. And that kinda finishes out the week. 

 But again what I want to focus on is the member missionary work. We have been  going around to about 20 different families in the ward going through the missionary lessons with them. And we can see that they are getting excited about the work there are more missionary chances that members can see. The 2nd counselor in the bishopric wants to be know as the Master Inviter.  He wants to become the best at inviting everyone he talks to. He had a great experience this week where he prayed for a missionary opportunity and he found one that day and he acted on it. He bore testimony and said that his co worker should meet with the missionaries. And she said, "You tell me when and where, and I am there." Just a simple invite and they accepted. 

A priest decided to just invite his friend to learn more, and we will be meeting him on weds and teaching his friend. Another family is going all out the daughters went trick or treating this week and talked with there friends about coming to church and other things as well. These are just a small amount of things that have been going on in the ward. But because of the member efforts we are seeing the fruits of teaching them in this last week alone we got 4 brand new investigators all based on members inviting or member activities. We have two more potential that I just talked about. We are almost up to 10 investigators, and only a couple have been found through us. Believe me when I say we try everything we can do to find on our owns, but when the members get involved miracles happen. 

This is my testimony! I have seen this here in this amazing area that I am in. So pray for those opportunities and you will find them!  Once we show our faith to the Lord by setting a goal and asking, we can be blessed and help someone to experience the happiness of the gospel. I know this is true, so please I invite you to keep doing your best. Just remember the the Lord answers the prayers of his children through others.  

Have a wonderful week Y'all

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Blessed Week in The Woodlands


This has been a pretty good week. It has had its ups and downs. Over all things have been good. Last Sunday I went around and set up a lot of appointments to meet with members so we could continue to go through the lessons with them. You can just see how much the members are wanting to have missionary opportunities, and the lessons are just getting them excited. The ward is now looking for more chances to share the gospel with others. It is really good, and we know that it is the members that will help this work to progress. We have been able to teach many lessons this week. 

Monday was P-day and it was fun because we carved pumpkins as a zone, but afterwards me and the Zone Leader Elder Stewart went on exchanges with each other. It was really good we taught 3 lessons just on that Monday night which was really good. It went through Tuesday, and we were able to do a lot on Tuesday as well. It was really nice being able to leave the apartment at 10:00 am instead of around 12:00. The Church has a 12 week training program for new missionaries, and so since I have been in Texas and me going through that, and now me training another missionary we have been doing that up until around 12:00. But we went out and tried to street contact. We didn't have much luck, but it was still a great chance to be able to learn some new things from the Zone leader. We exchanged back later that day, and we went and taught Lexi. It was a good lesson, and she is still progressing which is good. 

   Wednesday we had zone conference, and so it is were different parts of the mission gather for a big meeting and training. It was so good. We talked a lot about how we can help out our individual areas. Again me and my companion were thinking that we need to try and do some more family history stuff. So we will see where that takes us. But we both felt spiritually exhausted by the time it was over. We had to be there by 8 am and we left around 4 pm so it was a bit of a long day. There were some really great things that were said though. The spirit was so strong while we were there, and it just made you want to go back to your area and just keep using new ideas on how to find people. Also the members were brought up again so we will continue to work towards that. But something that stuck out to me was when you go out, pray for someone to be put in your path that you can talk to. It would not leave my head and I knew it was something that I wanted to try and do more often.

Thursday rolled around and we did some service over at the bishops house. He just had surgery on his eye. So we helped him out. He needed some things built on his wall so I was able to help him with that. It took a couple of hours but I think the end result was pretty sweet. I built the things on the walls, and my comp took the meat off of a deer skull. So that was our day there. 

  Friday!! We had a great miracle happen on this day. We went out and I was trying to figure out where we should go that day. And me and my companion decided to grab out bikes and put them on the back of the car. We drove to a certain point in our ward. We were going to go to less actives around that area. There were 8 we wanted to try and visit with. We started and door after door, no one was home. But we kept going to the next home, and we came to one home where we were going to talk to this family, but they didn't really even want us on there property. They weren't too happy when we showed up. We talked to them for just a little bit, and we kept going after and we went down the street and took a right into a dead end. We didn't want to have to turn around and go past that house again, so I thought well lets just try to find a way through. 

Well we found this path that lead to this park. And we followed it until it came to a parking lot. I saw this person who was in the car, and I thought I would just smile and wave to them. We kept biking for like 100ft and I heard a faint voice saying something. I turned and looked back and I see this hand signaling to us to come back. We turned around and started to go back. It was a man named Paul. He said he had a Mormon roommate, and always wanted to learn more just never had the time to stop and talk to missionaries. So we sat down right there and taught him the beautiful message of the restoration. He said that he was going to read the Book of Mormon. He said he would be interested to learn more. So we are waiting to hear back from him. 

The coolest part of this whole experience is before I took  my bike off the rack, I said a little prayer in my heart. I asked Heavenly Father to please put someone in our path that we could talk to. That thing I heard at zone conference absolutely helped me. I believe that is the reason that we were able to find and teach Paul.  God does prepare others to hear this great message we just need to pray with sincere intent to have those opportunities. So I would like to invite/challenge y'all to pray for a missionary opportunity each day. They are out there. Please look for them because as you do, you will be able to feel the love of our Heavenly Father more. I promise that you will be blessed for it. This is a wonderful work that we are all apart of. Keep up the great work. 

Saturday we had the great chance to do more service. Sean Micheal is a recent convert in one of the wards near us. He is a CEO for the Montgomery Food Bank. We helped with this big project to give a lot of people food. So we were going to be in charge of directing traffic. But Sean Micheal wanted me to go with him. I was helping him with a lot of the organizing of what would be happening that day. So I was running all over with another missionary checking on stations and making sure people were ready and prepared to help out. People started lining up at 5:00 am in there cars to come and get food. 

These people come from very humble lives. They don't have enough money to provide to things in there life. So they came to get food to help them out.10:30 was the time that we were scheduled to start handing out the supplies, and we were there by 8 am to help. Well at 10:30 Sean Micheal and I along with another missionary that was there, (my companion was out with another missionary helping with other things) started to help direct traffic at the very front of the lines. It was a great time. I got to help, but I also got to talk with a lot of these people who had been sitting for quite sometime. My love really grew for the people of Texas in just those early hours of the morning till the later hours of the afternoon. So many people have been struggling, and I just wanted to help each of them so bad. Many people asked me if I was in school, and I had the chance to explain to them that I was a missionary. Many of the older people thought it was just mind blowing to have an 18 year old Elder. That sure gave me a good laugh! I just loved being able to smile and talk with them. It was really such a great experience to share with these people.

Saturday night to Sunday we had stake conference. For the first time the missionaries were invited to go to the adult session of stake conference. The Spirit was so strong. The whole message of the conference was to help members become the full time finders. It was a great chance to be able to hear from the mission and Stake President. They bore such great and sincere testimonies! Again just this whole week has been so great, and we have truly been blessed in many ways. Lots of little miracles have been happening! I love being apart of this work, and I am so grateful to know that I am not alone. I know because of the saviors great and infinite atonement that we all can be helped from day to day. It is just one way that we are able to see the great love that our Father in Heaven has for us. I love the Lord and this gospel, and I am so happy for the chance I get to share that with others. 

I wish  Y'all the best and safe week.

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hey Y'all

  This week has been a great week. We were able to see many miracles while working this week. I guess just starting from the beginning, we met with our bishop last week and got a list of names from the ward he wanted us to try and meet. We did this most of our days, but we were able to get into a lot of the homes of those people and see how they were doing. I love going around and meeting with the people in the ward. It is a great time to get to know the ward better, as well as to share messages about our Savior Jesus Christ. 

 Training has been going well, I am trying to help Elder Harris out in any possible way that I can. My goal for training him was to make him a better, more prepared missionary than I was when I was first out. We have been going through the different lessons practice teaching and working on the main principles we have to teach. But not only that, creating an environment where the spirit can dwell. As we work on getting the spirit there we can build companionship unity as well as have the spirit be the true teacher. We are only the mouth pieces for the spirit. But for the last couple weeks we have been trying to hard to get our investigators to answer us back. Sometimes this can be so frustrating, but as we continued to work hard, we were blessed. 

Tuesday we had a great chance to go to the temple. I absolutely love being able to go to the temple and being able to feel of the spirit there. I went with different questions in mind of how I can be a better missionary, trainer, District leader, and just how I can help my area out the most. I just felt that I needed to keep working hard and doing my best. Those were my thoughts when leaving the temple. 

But I had a great tender mercy when walking out of the front doors of the temple. I saw Tammy Sue Thayer. She was a member in my last area that always would have us over and would always take good care of us. She was our ward mother. I loved being able to see her and catch up with her. She made me feel so good when talking to her, she said she loved having the other missionaries in her ward, but she missed having us. It was just a tender mercy to me, and she just helped make my day that much better. 

Wednesday rolled around, and we were still working hard to find people to teach and to find new investigators. We biked around a lot that day because we had used so many of our miles to be able to go down to the temple. But it was worth it, we were able to be seen by more people. But that night when we got back was when the miracles were beginning to happen. That night after planning we got text messages from Lexi, Evan Dodge, and Brittnee Podejec. These have been 3 of our investigators we have been trying to contact for the past few weeks. And we were able to catch back up and see how they were doing, and also set up an appointment to meet with Lexi.

 Lexi is one of Greg Prows friends. So because of the member missionary work of Greg we have been able to get more investigators. But Greg just left this last Wednesday to go on his mission. He will be serving in the Alpine German Speaking Mission. Its cool because that is the same mission where my older brother Elder Ryan K. Christensen is serving. 

 The next day we started to prepare to teach Lexi that night and we got a message saying that she would not be able to make it. She has done this before, and my companion was a little upset that this kept happening. But I thought for a little bit how to reply to her. I told her this, "Lexi, we would love to meet with you tonight, but we understand that things come up. What time works for tomorrow?"  I tried to make it sound as nice as I could. But she later replied back and said she would try. She ended up changing her schedule to meet with us which was another miracle! 

We called up the Prows family and asked if we could meet at there home for the lesson, and they accepted. We got there early to talk to the Prows about what we would be teaching that night, and I had the thought to tell them to try and not bring up Greg being gone through out the lesson. But right as I began to tell them this the doorbell rang, and Austin and Lexi showed up for the lesson. I totally forgot to tell them about the feeling that I had. Well we started into the plan of salvation, and it kept going off topic to the thought of Greg being gone. Several times this happened, and it just made me realize that the thought I had was absolutely from the spirit. And I was slow to act upon it.  The spirit can tell us so many things and can help warn us of things. It is so important to listen, and if we do we will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. 

The lesson with Lexi still went well. The spirit was still there and she could feel it. She told us that when she was home that she was happy, but when she was in the Prows home with us she felt 10X happier. She described feeling the spirit as a happy feeling heart burn. It is so true when we feel the spirit we can have those warm feeling in our heart. That is the holy ghost testifying of truth. At the end of the lesson we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to be baptized. And she looked at us and said YES!! We set the date for November 16th! So now we will continue to help her work towards that date. 

We also committed her to come to church, and we have done that in the past, and for about the last month, but yesterday she came with the Prows family. It was such a great feeling to be able to see her there. And she really enjoyed how welcome she felt. You can also begin to see the changes that are going on in her life. She is seeming more happy, and she wants to continue to read the Book of Mormon. She is really excited about being able to get baptized!! I love this gospel and the change that it makes in each of our lives. It is truly divine. 
To end the week we had a devotional at the Bishop's home with the youth last night. And they were focusing on family history. I loved the sweet spirit that was felt during this meeting. We went through it and it helped get some of the youth more excited to try and do family history and indexing. And at the very end Bishop gave us the opportunity to talk with the youth about our thoughts with family history.  And I was so happy to be able and talk about the subject. 

I was able to speak on how much family history has affected me while just being out here on my mission. I have felt closer to my family back home, as well as my past ancestors. There is a real protection that comes from doing family history. I told all of the youth this. And I really do believe this. " I am closer to the age of a lot of you, I only graduated this last year. But if there was one thing that I could change doing through High school, it would be taking some time each week to do family history and going to the temple. Satan is going to do all that he can to throw us off, and to get us to make mistakes, but as we do family history we can be protected!! I know that this is true.

 I have already experience this while I have been out here on my mission. I would invite you to think about doing more family history. It will help you so much in your day to day life. I know that some of us have busy schedules and don't feel we have enough time to do it. But do you think if you want to do family history more in your life that your Heavenly Father will help you to have the time?  I know that he will help us to be able to do it. He can help us and He wants to. This is a great time of life to be living in, and we have so many opportunities to serve. We just need to take advantage of those opportunities. Our ancestors are real people. They aren't just names in the computer. They are just waiting to be able to experience the happiness that we do. And they can receive that as we do their family history and temple work. I know as we do this we will be blessed abundantly. This is my testimony, and I know it will help us. 

Well I hope all Y'all have a great week.

Elder Joshua V. Christensen 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Transfer Update

Well this last week was a great week. It has been a bit crazy but it has been good. First off, my good friend Elder Peterson finished up his mission and is now back home in Utah. He was a great companion, and I loved being able to serve with him. I am going to miss him, and I was a bit sad when we dropped him off. But other great things have been happening while we have been here. It has been crazy with how transfers have been. They have now been moved to Tuesdays instead of Thursdays. So  Elder Peterson left the area  on Monday. So I was with Elder Petersen, he was another companion that was with us for the past few weeks. We got calls that Tuesday night to see who would be training. President Pingree called me, and has asked me to train this transfer, I was kind of nervous, because I have only been out 3 months. But I did understand that anything is possible when you have the Lord on your side. So Tuesday was transfers, but the new missionaries didnt come in Till Thursday, so I was then put with Elder Cornwall. And we worked in both our area till Thursday. 

   That Tuesday though we had a great experience. We went with some other Elders to a dinner appointment at a less actives home. I have met with him 2 times, and the first time he did not want us to talk about the gospel at all. Well the 2nd time I saw him was on Tuesday night. And that night he had a feeling saying that we should stay and talk with him a little longer. He said that he felt like we were suppose to ask him questions because something was really bothering him. 

Well this discussion we had was truly inspired. The other Elders started asking questions, and after about 5 minutes of sitting there and thinking, I asked  a question to him. And I asked him what was his main reason for wanting to go and serve a mission. He sat back in his chair and you could tell he was really thinking about what to say. After a minute or two of silence he looked at me and said he thought that he would be blessed. So we kept talking, and I then asked him what he wanted to do after his mission. Well he said back to me, "While I was serving I had thoughts that I needed to go to college and get an education. I never had any plans to go to school before my mission, but while I was serving I had that thought to go to school." I asked him if he thought this was a blessing of serving a mission, and he agreed saying that it was a huge blessing of going. 

He continued to talk talk with us for a while about getting through school, and how he stopped a couple times. But he kept having those feelings to go back to school. Part of the reason he stopped was for financial reasons. After feeling those things about getting an education he wanted to go back to school and so he took out some student loans. After he had finished school he had about $8,000 to pay back in loans. He had a two years to pay back this amount.So he went into construction for a little while to earn money and he did that for a couple of years. He knew that the time was coming to pay that amount back to the bank, and he was getting ready to price a lot he was working on. He was working on deciding how much to sell it for to make a profit. Well after he had figured the price out he took it to the buyer. The buyer accepted and guess how much he made.   Thats right, exactly $8,000. He was able to pay off that debt. I asked him if he believed that this was a blessing of serving a mission. He thought about it and agreed that it was. 

I asked him what caused him to have those feeling on his mission and through out going to school about getting and education. He thought for a couple minutes when I asked him this. And he then said it was the holy ghost. There were many other things that we talked about, but one thing he was wondering was what serving a mission did for him. After talking he was able to see that he was blessed for serving, and after we talked he looked at me and said, " That was a good question to ask me." 

    The spirit can help us so much from day to day things. Those questions that were talked about during that meeting were inspired questions that the spirit brought to our attention. Its just all about listening to the promptings of the spirit. It was a great experience for me to be able to see how the spirit can help lead a discussion. 

   I mentioned earlier that I was asked to train, so on Thursday morning we went down for some training and to pick up my new companion. When they called my name to go up, I went and explained the area I was serving in. And then right about President Pingree got up and called the name of my new companion. His name is Elder Harris, he is 24 years old, and from Lehi Utah. He is a great companion, and he is so excited about the work. He really enjoys hunting and being outdoors. It will take a little time to get use to the change, but I am ready to continue to work hard and to try and help this work move forward. 

    We got back to our area that Thursday afternoon, and I got to work trying to get him up to date on the potential investigators we have as well as some of the members of the ward we have been working with. So thats about all that happened on Thursday, but Friday we got to meet with the bishop, and with some other members of the ward council and get him introduced. We also got to teach a family in our ward the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been meeting with lots of families and teaching them the lessons. But it was a really good lesson. Elder Harris did a great job at the lesson, and the spirit was there. It has been so great being able to see the change that has been taking place in the College Park Ward. So many members are now striving to have missionary opportunities. I am really loving seeing the excitement that comes from seeing the ward get involved.

   Yesterday was Greg Prows mission farewell, and he is best friends with Austin Carroll who got baptized last transfer. And yesterday for the first time Austin got up to bless the sacrament. We had to run out right before the sacrament because of something, but I got to hear him bless it over the speaker in the foyer. I felt the spirit so strong at that point!! To hear him bless was absolutely incredible!! Just seeing that change that has taken place in his life is amazing! You can tell how much more happy he is, but seeing him continue to progress and to bless the sacrament was a tender mercy for me! It helped me to feel the spirit and to better understand my purpose of being out here. 

The gospel is a happy message. I have said this before, and it changes lives. This is so true! I have seen it take place in my life and those who we have been able to teach. This is my testimony that Jesus is the Christ, he created the atonement so that we all could feel peace and the love of our Heavenly Father.  He suffered for not only our sins but for our pains, temptations, afflictions and everything else we ever endure. He did it because he LOVES us and wants to be able to help us!  He stands at the door waiting for us to open it and let him in. We just need to take those steps to let him in such as daily scripture study, sincere prayer, and continual faith. I know he is there and is always waiting for us. I know he wants to be able to help us in anything we do. And I leave that with you as a representative of Jesus Christ.

I hope all Y'all have a great week. 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen