Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week 8....Howdy

   This week has been another good week. We are still trying to go out and find people. We were able to talk with some more people this week that seem interested in learning more. We followed up this week with Alex. Now Alex is a great guy, and he loves talking about God. We went back and we taught him the Plan of Salvation. He seemed to like the things that we talked about, and he likes the thought of being able to live with our families for ever. And what was cool, is we gave him a reading assignment last time, and we had him read Alma 32. And when we came back to check on him he had read it and he liked it. Now the great thing about Alex is he feels the spirit. He says he feels good, and when we talk he feels peace. Well if we go to Galations 5, we read in there what the fruits of the spirit are. And in there it talks about those things that he has been feeling. He have been explaining to him that feeling he has is the spirit. And that the spirit is testifying to him about the truthfulness of the message. We are praying that he will be feel spirit as he reads the Book of Mormon. When we go back we will be making sure that he knows how to pray. We kinda assumed that he did, but we want him to pray with us. We will also be able to teach him about family history!! :)
     Were really trying to get more into family history. More people are interested in talking about family history. And when we do family history, we can feel the spirit as we learn about our ancestors. I had the chance on Monday to go over to a members house, and they taught us more about family history. It is so cool because on Family Search, we can see pictures of our ancestors and sometimes there are stories. I found out this last week that my great great great Grandpa, met Joeseph Smith, and hear him talking with another man one day. Also that ancestor of mine his brother worked along with Brigham Young, and they would occasionally stay at Brigham Young's house. When they came over to meet with the saints going to Salt lake, they stopped and they went to see the place where Joseph Smith was killed. He talked about how it was a sad time, but the saints kept moving forward. He helped lead people over to the Salt Lake. That night I could absolutely feel the spirit when I was learning more about my family history. And what was cool, is on Thursday after our planning session for the week, we decided we wanted to go to the library to learn more about family history. With in 30 secs of walking in, someone came up to us and started talking with us. He told us about he liked our church and it made sense to him. He struggled with somethings though, and we promised him that as we do our family history we can receive help with the things that we struggle with. We have been told by apostles that as we do family history we can eliminate the influence of the adversary in our lives. That is something that we all need. After this we sat down and we talked to him about how to do family history and we helped get him started. He said he wanted to come to church, and it just so happens that he lives on the street of where we meet for church. Again it just goes to show that our Heavenly Father is constantly putting people in our path that are ready for this gospel. We just have to go about finding them. Sometimes it is nice when they approach us and talk to us about it and want to learn more. But sometimes we have to go out of our comfort zone and go the extra mile to find those who are ready. Pleas pray to have missionary experiences and I promise you that you will have them. You will be able to bring happiness into someone Else's life.

 I always loved hearing the quote that says, " sometimes the lord answers prayers through others." We can be that answered prayer for someone as we strive to look for serving opportunities. We don't need to go straight to someone and start preaching about the gospel, but as we go about and try to have activities where we can invite others to come and participate is a great way that we can bring others closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So look for those opportunities and you will be blessed. The Lord is hastening his work, and he is going through the members for finding. John 10, and the end of John are great chapters to read. If you have some free time try to read them. If you have some experiences, I would love to hear about them, because they will come as we do what we need to and we are constantly looking for others who are ready for this wonderful gospel.
  Transfers are coming up, so we will see what happens, it is crazy how fast time flys, days may sometimes seem long, but the weeks fly by. This week we went to a baptism for a guy named Marcus. He is 18 years old, and was baptized last Saturday. It was a great experience to see him have the chance to do that. The spirit was so strong, and we had a great turn out there. Alot of his family came and we got to welcome them and introduce our selves. On Sunday he was conferred a member of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, he told us afterwards that he loved the feeling that came when he did it. He is a great guys and he will be a great member of this church. And whats also cool is he loves to golf, so one of these P-days we may be getting to go golf with him.
I will keep extending the same challenge just becasue I know that it can bless your lives so much, learn more about family history, go to the temple as much as you can, and read and ponder the things you read in your scriptures. You will see miracles in you life! :)
Well I hope Y'all have a great week!

  Elder Christensen

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week 7...The Lord Works Miracles.

This has been a really good week. One of the biggest things I have enjoyed is going to the temple. The Houston Temple is so beautiful. I loved being there so much. When I was done I just wanted to go back in so bad. It is incredible how much the temple can help your day go better. There is such a wonderful spirit that comes from going to the temple. I also got to learn some more about family history. A sister in our ward showed us some stuff about family history, and it made me even more excited to do family history. I want to go and do family history, and take names to the temple.
 Well this week we have been really focusing on finding people to teach. We have dedicated some of our days just to finding. For example, on Weds we prayed like we always do right before we leave the apartment. And we asked our Heavenly Father to put people in our path that we could talk to. With in about 5 minutes of leaving the apartment, we found someone to talk with about the gospel. He wasn't very interested, and he said he didn't have much time. We hope he will still call us, but we will see. We went on and we walked for about another 20 min, and a car pulled over and these people said they would give us a ride. They were a catholic family, and drove us to the park we were going to. We talked to them for just a little bit, and they said we are welcome to come to there house and get water anytime. Well the park they dropped us off at had 3 Hispanic men. We started to talk to them and basically we taught the restoration to them. They were all interested and we gave them Books of Mormon. It was really good, but we handed them off to the Spanish sisters, so they will continue teaching them. We kept walking and we found 2 cars right by each other in the entrance to a golf course. One of the cars wasn't working, so we went over to check on them. We talked with the guys who were in the car, and one seemed very interested. We will be calling him this week, and hopefully we can teach him. So just in that day we came in contact with many people, and 4 who seemed that they were interested in the gospel. That just goes to show that the Lord puts people in our path when we go to him and dedicate out time to finding. He will help put people in our paths. I want to encourage all of you back home again to be open with those around you about the gospel. I know it can be scary, but the Lord really will help each of us to share the thoughts he wants us to share. So keep in mind how you can help someone come closer to Christ this week. 

Later in the week we also were able to meet one other person who was interested in the gospel. We tried to contact him, and he is  just not ready for it yet. We hope he will call us back when does feel ready. He said that he had been to Salt Lake and has seen the temple, and he really did show interest in learning more until we contacted him. Last night we were walking in a park and there is this Asian couple that is always there. We always say hi to them and talk to them a little bit. We decided it was time to talk with them about the gospel. We told them the things we believe in, and the husband said he would want to take a tour of our church, and also he is going to read the Book of Mormon. We are so excited for this. He also says he wants to take us to lunch or dinner this week, so we can talk more. So for this week, we have 3 investigators. We are praying for them and hope they will want to learn more as we teach them. While on exchanges this week, my companion and another missionary that was on exchanges with him found an investigator. I was so excited when I heard about this, and I was so excited to go and teach. Well we went over the next day and the husband answered the door. He told us about how him and his wife( who was the investigator they had found) had been going through some crazy things and wouldn't be able to be taught by us at this time. I was kinda sad when I heard this, but we are going to keep going back to checking on them and try to help them.

One of the coolest experiences we had this week though was, we practice taught a part member less active family. And the spirit was so strong there. We had the stake president and his son with us as we taught them. Alex who is the dad, and non member was listening very intently to what was being taught, and he was asking questions. They had a little daughter that was being a little loud, but I began to recite the first vision to this family and the spirit was so strong there. I didn't see this, but my companion said as soon as I began there little girl was completely quiet and  just looked at me. The spirit has a might effect on people and even kids. We know that Alex felt the spirit, and he is allowing us to come teach again next week. I am so excited for this.

I am sorry that I don't have alot of time to write more this week, but the Lord does prepare people every day to hear this amazing message. I have seen that, and I know he will help us find them. So again I am wanting to challenge all of you to find those to share this gospel with. It is so important to not just take it for granted. We can help someone to feel the same peace we feel. And I know that Heavenly Father will help us! Continue to do family history and temple work and you will be more prepared to share the gospel. 

I love the chance I have to be our here and to serve, and I hope all of you have a great week. Look for those who are prepared to hear the gospel. There are many. 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 6...What a Crazy Week

This week was a cool week. We had the chance to meet with Brother Monnich. I am not sure if I have mentioned him yet, but he is a less active member. He has been going through alot of problems with his health. We have been able to visit him a couple time since we have been here. We were able to talk with him for about an hour this week, and we talked about family history, and some other things. And we talked about different dates/events through out church history that were really cool. He talked about the day of healing, and about the saints that came over with Joseph Smith. When they were in Nauvoo on the banks of the river, many of them were very sick. Even Joseph Smith was very sick. And he went around giving blessing to the saints and healing them. At the end he look at me and said, "Do you believe you have the power to heal." and this kinda took me back, and I said to him that I believe I can heal if the spirit prompts me to do so. Then he said something else, but the whole discussion really had me thinking about what he had asked. We continued to talk with him, and he mentioned that he wanted to come back to church, but he was just getting to sick to make it. We asked him, "Brother Monnich do you believe that if you came to church, that the lord would help you make it through the meetings? And he said yes. My companion went on to say, " Brother Monnich, we can make you this promise that if you come to church the lord will help you get through it. It may be the hardest thing you have done, and you may not feel well at all, but the Lord will help you get through it." The spirit was strong, and we were quiet for a minute. We asked him if we could find him a ride to church would he come, and he said he would!
   Well we were trying to find out who would be the best person to give him a ride to church would be. We first called his home teacher, and he lived on the other side of the ward. His home teacher said he could, but said ask the Rotolo's( A new family that just moved into the ward this last week, and lived just down the street from Brother Monnich.) I went on splits that night and met with the Rotolo's, and they were clearly the perfect family to take Brother Monnich. They are so kind and were happy for the opportunity to serve. It was good to get to know them as well, and build those relationships with the ward members.
   Well we got a call on Sunday Morning at 7:30 from Brother Monnich, and he said that he was ready to go, and to have the Rotolo's call him when they left. He was ready 1 and 1/2 hours before church. I was so happy to know that he was coming. When I got to church I stood by the doors where most of the members came in from, and I saw him walk into the building. He looked so happy, and he said "it feels good to be back" that really hit me hard. I was so happy to be able to see him there.  He struggled  during sacrament meeting, but we said a quick prayer with him during it. And he made it through, he wasn't feeling up to staying for the rest of the meetings, but it was so good to see him there at church.  I was praying so hard that he would make it through, and in my mind I said, " Heavenly Father, please help Brother Monnich, he has shown his faith in coming, and we felt prompted to tell him that it wouldn't be easy, but he could make it through. After this and the prayer with him, he started to seem to be doing a little better. And he had the chance to partake of the sacrament. It just goes to show that our Heavenly Father really does care for each and everyone of us. And if we show our faith and put our trust in him, then he will bless us. He really helped Brother Monnich during that church meeting, and I was so happy that he made it through the meeting.
  This week we also said goodbye to our good friend Mark Chamberlin, he has been in Houston selling pest control, and he is heading home this week. We have been able to practice teach the lessons with him, and it is just so cool to see how much he has changed. We talked with him on Sunday, and he said he wants to go home and change his life around. He decided to start coming back to church when he came here to Houston. He is such a great example and he will do great.

I am so grateful that I am serving in the area that I am, and I know that we will find people to teach soon. I want to challenge everyone just like last week to find the time to go to the temple, and to do some family history. I know that as you do this, you will be blessed, and you will be able to feel the love of Jesus Christ more in your life. I testify of this, and I know it to be true. I look forward to hearing from the experiences that you have.
I hope all of y'all have a great week. 
 Elder Christensen

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 5....Boy Howdy

(I can't believe my son is already into the Texas slang, his use of y'all made me smile)

 Things are still going a bit slow here, but overall we have seen some pretty cool miracles this week. So far since we have been here we have been going down the ward list meeting all of the members. Now this list doesn't show who the less active, and non members are, so we are just going through it. Brother Lutzel was next on our list. We dropped by and knocked on his door, and no one answered. So we were just getting ready to go. My companion was plugging in the address for the next house when Brother Lutzel walks around the corner. We just started talking, and we originally thought he was a member because of how friendly, and how open he was talking with us. We asked him if we could practice teach the lessons with him and his wife, and he said if he was home he would be ok with it. Well it turns out that his wife is a less active member, but he is a non member. So we may have a chance to practice teach him. We have been practice teaching the lessons with members and less active members because of the fact that we don't have any investigators yet. We also found out that Brother Lutzel was a professional racket ball player, and because our apartment has two racket ball courts, he has offered to come over and teach us how to play. So we will have a great opportunity to get to know Brother Lutzel. We also found out that the stake presidents wife is Sisters Lutzel's visiting teacher. And she has always told the family that if the need anything to let her know.  Brother Lutzel has been having some medical problems, so he got a blessing from the stake president. I am not sure how everything will all turn out, but I think some great things are beginning to happen.
     We also were able to practice teach the Restoration lesson this week to a part member family. We went into this lesson wanting to really have the spirit there. Gary is the father, and he isn't a member, but we were able to meet with him for a little while. It was awesome being able to teach them. The spirit was so strong, and at the very end of the lesson we asked how can we improve. They really didn't have anything to say. But Elder Brown asked was the spirit here while we taught? Every one in the family nodded, even Gary. He felt the spirit, and we explained what the spirit felt like during the lesson. He is such a nice man, and we have been invited back to practice teach the other lessons. We are excited to be able to have these chances to teach. They have a son going on a mission to Guatemala, so there family will be blessed.
 The members here in White Oak are so generous and so kind. They are always willing to allow us into there home and feed us and let us share spiritual thoughts. But they even help us fix up our bikes if they have problems. Like on Saturday night we were biking and my companions bike chain fell apart while we were biking. So I had to tow him like a mile  or two to the ward mission leaders house(Brother Stone) . We knew that he had experience fixing bikes. So after we arrived he took us to some stores to try and find a new bike chain for my companion. This is at like 8:00pm so most places that would have chains were closed. So Brother Stone drove us home that night and picked us up for church the next day  and also fed us. Then he drove us to another members house that was able to repair the broken chain, and we were able to get on our way. We really have been blessed to have members in this ward who can help us out. And it will be through the members that we will find people to teach. So thats why we are focusing on getting to know the members so well.
      In my personal study this week, I was reading in D&C 112, and there are some really cool things in this section.I would encourage Y'all to read it. But particularly vs 10-11 and 14. Now these are things that can be done to help us be better missionaries, and member missionaries. We need to be humble and love others as we love ourself. And if we do this we are told that God will lead us by out hand, and will answer our prayers. But then I love in vs. 14 when it says Arise gird up your loins, take up your cross, follow me, and feed my sheep.  As we follow the example of Jesus Christ, and we are humble, we can help so many people out and help bring an increased happiness into there lives. I know it may seem hard to love some people, or hard to talk to others about the gospel, but I know and I testify as a representative of  Jesus Christ, that as we are looking for others to serve, and others who are ready for that gospel, and as we follow christ and feed his sheep, we will be blessed, and we will find those who our Heavenly Father is preparing.  Just like in vs 19 the lord will be with us, and we will be happier as well. I want to encourage Y'all to find others to serve or share the gospel with. Get to know others, and help bring the light of Christ into their lives. It may not happen right away, but you will have those opportunities to share the gospel and have those missionary moments.
Another thing I would encourage Y'all to do, is to look into family history a little more. There are some amazing blessings that come from doing it, and so I also want to encourage you to find a family member who needs temple work done, and to help do it for them. You will be able to have your testimony grow as you do this. And if you are not yet 12 and can't go to the temple you will still be able to see those blessings as you search for you ancestors who are waiting for the work to be done. This is a cool thing and I can't wait to learn more about it out here. 

That's all for now, I hope you have an amazing week.  

Here are some pictures.  Texas is beautiful!

Josh also added a brief email to me, I will include the relevant parts below...

... This last week we had zone conference, and that was kinda cool. We learned more about how to find people and stuff like that. And that happened on Tuesday. This week was a busy week with service, but I had the chance to give a blessing to a man in our ward. He thinks he has a stomach parasite, and his wife just had a baby like a week ago, and the baby was born with a broken collar bone. But even though I sometimes am nervous about giving blessings, I know that the power of the priesthood is and incredible thing. I haven't had a chance to see how he is doing, but I was gonna call him later and see how his family is doing.