This week has been so crazy, but it has been so good. When I arrived at the MTC the host took me to the places that I needed to go. From there he took me to the class room, where I met my new teachers. Brother Woolf and Brother Gray. They have the spirit so strong in class and it is just a neat place to be. I then found out who my companion would be. His name is Elder Anderson, he is a way cool guy. He is from Gilbert Arizona, and he is just fun to be around. But what is really funny is the morning that I was going into the MTC, I had some really good neighbors come over and talk to me. And they were telling me of an Elder they knew going to my mission on the same day. They didn't know what his name was but they said his mom just was remarried to a guy with the last name of Stalei. I was telling the Elders in my district that if they met anyone going to Texas with their father having the last name of Stalei to let me know. My companion looked at me and said wait a minute that’s me. I was totally joking around when I said that he would be my companion the morning just earlier.
Well we had a chance to go to a meeting with all the new Elders, and when everyone was singing the spirit was so strong. Later that night we met the zone leaders and Branch Presidency, and we had interviews to see how we were doing our first day. After they did all the interviews, they walked back in and called new zone and district leaders. I was asked to be the district leader for my district. This came as a bit of a shocker, but I knew it would be a great opportunity to serve. So with this calling I now am in charge of approving all companion exchanges in the district, as well as I conduct every class, and I am in charge of leading Sunday discussions during district meeting, and I also conduct district devotional review. It is just some more stuff that I get the chance to do. But it is so nice, over all I haven't been feeling home sick at all. I have just been so happy since I have been here. After the night I got set apart, all my fears and worries went away, and I was ready to go and serve.
Class can be very long. We are in the class almost the entire day learning and studying. When we got here they warned us it would be hard, and they were right. But it is so good to be here. They say learning here is like drinking water out of fire hose, and they are right. There are so many things to learn. My companion has had points where he has become discouraged, and he felt like he was the only one who was struggling to pay attention and focus on what was being taught. We tried to talk to him as a district but he still didn't seem to be his normal self. So on Monday I had the chance to give him a priesthood blessing. He seemed to calm down a little bit but when we went back into study he still wasn’t quite in it. So I said "Elder Anderson let’s take a quick break and get some water." We went out and after we had a companion inventory. We discussed things that were going well, and things not going too well. And after that he seemed to do a lot better.
Monday we also received our missionary referral investigator. His name is Arnold Young. He loves the outdoors, and he is a neat guy. For the first 15 minutes he was just talking about lacrosse with my companion, and I didn't even really say much. But when those 15 min had passed I knew we need to start to get into a lesson. So I saw he had a bible and said what’s your belief and relationship with God? And he said that he had to different views about him. Well the discussion went on and I didn't feel the spirit quite there liked I hoped, so I said a prayer in my heart asking Heavenly Father to allow the spirit to be there. And then we got to a point where I was introducing the Book of Mormon to him, and I can't remember if I read something in preach my gospel to show them the introduction or if someone told me, but I asked Arnold if he would read the 2nd to last paragraph of the introduction. He began to read it out loud and then he got quiet as he read it. He was thinking and then he said to us, " many men have tried to teach me about religion, but never have I had someone tell me to ask of God for an answer. The spirit was strong and I looked him in the eyes and bore my testimony and invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ, by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God. This kinda shocked him. He didn't know what to say. He said he would think about it and let us know. So we get to meet with him tomorrow and lead him more towards the Savior.
The highlight of the week had to be on Sunday after the devotional. They played a film of Elder Bednar talking to the missionaries, and it was called "Character of Christ". This was absolutely a life changing message. He talked about how God would ALWAYS turn out even when men would turn in and be selfish. If we read in Mathew 4, we see that Satan is trying to tempt God. Now He is tempted to turn rocks to bread, and we see the other one in verse 5-6, but these are secondary temptations. Satan says If thou is the Son of God... this is the thing satan is really trying to tempt Christ with. So this is after we also learn that Christ has been fasting for 40 days and nights. In vs. 11. It says, Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him. This is a miss translation, go to JST 11a. Jesus knew that John was cast into prison so he sent angels to minister unto John. After fasting for 40 days and after being tempted Christ could have complained or been selfish and said feel bad for me, I just did this, and it was hard. But no, He didn't. He helps someone else while he went through a hard time. This is incredible to me. We also can see in John chapter 18 and 19. After Christ made the great intercessory prayer, he was betrayed and was arrested. Peter drew his sword and cut the ear off of the soldier, Christ healed him. This is incredible to me. God loves us so much and I love seeing how he is. I am striving to be a better follower of Christ. I know he loves us and cares for us and I bear testimony of that.
Well I hope you guys have a great week! I love you all and thanks for the support!
Sincerely Elder Joshua V. Christensen