Monday, September 30, 2013

Another week in the Woodlands!


This has been kinda a crazy week, but it has been good! 

To start the week we went to Market Street again to try and do some street contacting, and this was after meeting with our Bishop and coordinating the missionary efforts in the ward. And we started walking around, and I thought to myself that I should say a prayer real quick. So I stopped and said a prayer, and asked to be able to have someone we could teach a lesson or scripture to, and I said amen, and with in 45 seconds we ran in to someone who we taught a lesson to. And the scripture that I wanted to share was 3rd Nephi 5:13 which says: 

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. " 

This is one of the reasons why I am out here. I have been able to feel the abundant love and peace that comes from this gospel, and I want to be able help others to feel that same feeling! This gospel can bring so much happiness to everyone! So that was one of the tender mercies I was able to experience this week. 

We also were able to have interviews with the mission president, and have a training from the assistants. And it was such a great training! We talked about how to have a powerful first lesson. But one thing we worked on quite a bit is our purpose and helping others to understand why we are here. And they challenged us to get up in testimony meeting to state our purpose and to bare testimony of our purpose! And I want to do the same thing, because I believe that it is a very powerful and true message!

 Our message is central to Jesus Christ, and as called representatives of Jesus Christ we invite all to come unto him. We do this by helping them build faith in Jesus Christ by inviting them to do the things that will build there faith in Jesus Christ. Things such as praying at the end of the lesson, reading the scriptures and Praying to know if they are true, and then attending church. By doing these things we build faith in Christ and it will cause us to want to change the things we do. We will want to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.  This is simply what we call repentance. And as you make those changes your desire to follow Jesus Christ will increase. You will want to enter into a promise that you will take his name upon you, and always remember him. This is baptism, and after we are baptized and are able to receive a remission of our sins, we can feel the peace and love of our Heavenly Father. We are then also able to receive a special gift. The gift of the Holy Ghost, which can be our constant companion. It can lead us and guide us through temptation and difficult times. It can protect us from physical and spiritual danger. It has helped me so much in my life, and I know that it will be able to help you in your life as well. This is my testimony and promise. 

General Conference is coming up, and we have a great experience to listen to the prophet and his apostles and learn of the things that he would have us do.  I am so grateful for the time we will have to be able to listen and learn. The things they  say are truly inspired and they receive revelation of the things that we need to hear. I want to invite all Y'all  to think of a question or questions you have or things you have been praying about, and write them down on a piece of paper. Then as you listen to conference listen for an answer to that question. I promise you as a representative of Jesus Christ that you will find an answer!  I have experienced this in the past couple years, and I know it to be true. 

I heard a quote yesterday, and it was, " God doesn't always give us what we want, but when that happens he gives us something better" It might not be the answer we are looking for or want, but our Heavenly Father Knows each of us and what will help us to become better. Times can be hard, but with our Heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ we have no need to fear or worry. We can be "Saints of all seasons." 

I wish y'all the best week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Boy Howdy, We Had A Baptism

This was a bit of a crazy week!

We had a baptism on Friday, and we had planned to start setting up for the baptism at 5:00 (2 hours and 15 minutes before the baptism.) We were told that the font takes about 1 1/2 hours to fill. So we started filling up the font, and setting up the other things. First thing that went wrong was the printer was putting lines through almost all of the programs we were trying to copy. Once we got that all worked out we continued to set up chairs and get some Mormon Messages ready. I had the feeling to check the font, and I just put the thought out of my head. Like a minute later, I had it come back, "check the font".  Well at this time it is almost 6:15 and I went to go look into the font,and it is like a foot of water. The font had been filling for about an hour and 15 minutes, and it only had a foot of water. By this time it should have been almost full. I got my companion and we started to get a little nervous and so we were trying to find out what we could do to help fill it faster. Well we go into the kitchen and we find 2 five gallon barrels. So we go to the Janitors closet to fill these up. Turns out the was more pressure coming out of the janitors closet. So for about 45 straight minutes me and my companion were bailing water into the font trying to get it to fill faster. After those 45 minutes people started to show up, so we had to stop doing that. It was only about 2 feet at this point. Austin and Greg both came early, and they were a little nervous with how low the water was. The baptism soon started, and I was running back and forth during it to see if the font was filling any more. We had it going up until the time that Austin was baptized. Well it ended up working out, and after he was baptized a couple of times, it was good! :) Well while he was changing, of course we had technical difficulties with the Mormon Messages. After all was said and done that night, it worked out to be a great baptism. I know that Austin will be such a great member, and it is so cool to be able to see the changes in him now. He is so much happier. This gospel really does change lives, and it is so important and it makes me want to share the gospel even more. 

 Sunday came and we confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I had a chance to stand in on the confirmation, and the spirit was so strong. I love the chances I get to be able to use the Priesthood. 

So even though we had some problems during the baptism, it all worked out. Satan didn't want Austin to be baptized, and he tried to mess up the baptism several times, but of course, the Lord Always provides a way. I know He is pleased with Austins decision to be baptized. And I look forward to being able to see him go do baptisms for the dead. 

This week we had another really cool thing happen. One of the girls in our front office was talking with us, and we got on the topic of families. We were both taking about our dads, and they had  a ton of things in common. It was almost scary how similar they were. Well she started out writing her family members down on a piece of paper, and she said " I just need to make a family tree or something". I probably looked like a kid in the candy store as soon as she said that! I started telling her about family search. And it was cool, before I even had finished explaining it she was on the website and she was signing up. By the time that afternoon was done she had alot of stuff entered in, and she even had all the birth dates, and other dates of her parents and grandparents. It was funny we told her that is would be kind of addicting, but she didn't quite believe us. That night she sent us a message and asked if we could come back the next day and help her out some more. And she said she just couldn't stop doing it! The spirit of Elijah is very real, and it affects us very much as we go about doing family history. We can see it in just this case. 

We read in D&C 88 That the lord will hasten his work.  We can see that he has with all of the changes that have been taking place in just the last couple years. The push for family history, the mission age change, and the hastening the work broadcast.  I love this because as the members and the missionaries come and work together we can help the work move forward on this Earth. And as we also teach about family history, and the members go about we doing temple work, we are able to hasten the work here on Earth as well as in the spirit world! Please continue to look for people to talk with about this gospel. This is something that everyone needs. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I promise you that as you go about talking with others, your mouth will be filled. You will know what to say to those you talk with. (D&C 11:21-22, D&C 84:85, D&C 100 5-8) We are promised that through out the scriptures. 

I wish Y'all the best week, and look forward to hearing about your missionary experiences.
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life in the Woodlands

  Things here in The Woodlands are still going well. It is cool to be able to be out here and serve. Our ward here is so great, and they are continuing to become more missionary minded. We have been able to stay busy for the most part which is great! 

  This week has been good, we have continued to teach Austin this last week, and he has decided to move his baptism to this Friday!! He is so ready, and we are so excited for him. We also had a cool experience this last week. One night when we were on our way home we got a message from a girl named Lexi. She said she said she wanted to learn more about the church. Immediately me and my companion look at each other and we were speechless! That doesn't  usually happen out in this area. So we were able to meet with her and answer alot of the questions that she had. And she seems to want to learn more. At first she was kind of concerned, but then when I started to explain how once we are baptized we can have all of our sins and feelings of guilt washed away, and you could see her countenance change! I then asked her what she thought about that! And she said she wants that! So we are excited to see what happens with that. The Lord does truly prepare people! This gospel is such a happy message we can share with others and I love that! Its is so great to know that we are all human and that we mess up. But because of what our savior Jesus Christ did we can repent and partake of the atonement he did for us. We can feel clean each week when we partake of the sacrament and we remember the covenants that we have made. It is such a blessing to be able to have that knowledge and know that when we stumble and fall we can get back up and keep going.

  This last week I also had a crazy experience with prayer! One of the days we were going  from place to place, and we went street contacting at Market Street, and also around the mall. Following that we went and taught a lesson at a members home. Well I got back that night and I reached into my back pocket to get my wallet, but it wasn't there. I was freaking out, I searched my whole apartment and was frantically trying to remember where we had been that day. I  began to make myself sick because I was worrying so much about where it would be. I had my licence and my temple recommend, my debit cards as well as some other things we need out here. Because of some changes back in Utah there would be no way I could get a new license sent to me, and so I would have to end up getting a Texas Licence which would include me having to re-test and road out here, and then also with the debit cards I was not doing to great! I went into the bed room and I prayed to my Heavenly Father. I was worried and I wanted to find where my wallet was, but after I prayed I felt a little bit better. I had the thought to call the members home that we were just at. And when I called they said they would look for it, and after a couple mins they told me that they had found it. Now it may seem kind of lame for me to be so scared, but with all of the places that we were that day, it could have fallen out at Market street or the mall, and I would probably had never seen it again.  But I was able to have my testimony strengthened with the power of prayer. In 3rd nephi 18 we read that Jesus Christ set the example of Praying, and the power that can come from prayer. I was able to be comforted and was able to find where my wallet was. The spirit can help us do things, and even though my prayer was small, and was about finding a wallet, my Heavenly Father listened and helped me. I love the gospel and the chance I have to be able to communicate with my Father in Heaven anytime and any where. It is amazing.

We also have a chance to go each week now and volunteer at a ranch, where children with disabilities can  go and ride horses. It is so cool, and so fun to be able to work with these kids that are here. They have such sweet spirits to them. I love being able to go and to help out. Service is a great time were we can go and serve Heavenly Father and also our fellow beings! 

Well that was pretty much this last week, the only other thing that really happened was when we were street contacting, we were walking and someone yelled "Go BYU"!! Well of course I turned around to look!! And some guy was looking at us. And so I walked over to talk with him. He was telling me how he was so glad that BYU beat Texas! He was a funny guy, and he wasnt a member. But he kept telling us that when they won he was cheering saying "Yeah BYU, good job mormons!" It was pretty funny, but we were able to share a scripture with him. So because BYU won we were able to talk with another person about the gospel. It was a great week.
We also got challenged by the young men to some tennis for there young mens activity, and we had a little competition to see who could dress up with the most tennis stuff. We will just say we won! :)

 Well I wish you all the best this next week,
 Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another week in Texas!

 Hey guys,

Things here in College Park are going well. This last week has been really crazy with all of the meetings and leadership training stuff going on, but we had some very cool experiences. 

We got to meet with Austin a couple more times this week, and he is still wanting to be baptized. We talked with his good friend Greg, and he mentioned that Austin might want to get baptized one week sooner!! That is cool because he really wants to get baptized. We have been teaching a lot of the members lately also, and we are trying to help them get excited about missionary work. It seems to be working, but it really is through the members that we will start finding more people to teach. The members are so so crucial in helping this work move forward. 

First of all our purpose as missionaries is to help invite others to come unto Christ. We do this by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. As we help others understand they will be able to feel the love of our Heavenly Father more abundantly in our lives. Now each of us are at different stages in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some who are building their faith in Jesus Christ, those who are repenting, those who are preparing for the ordinance of baptism and confirmation, and receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and then many of us are in the enduring to the end part. 

Now the message that missionaries have and the lessons they teach are lessons of happiness. As we listen to them we can have the spirit in our homes and be able to feel of the peace and the love that the message can bring. The lessons they teach are not a one time lesson, and as soon as your baptized you don't need to listen to them any more. As we hear them we will be reminded of the importance of why we are here and of the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father. 

Now our Heavenly Father loves us so very much, and he wants us to be happy, and we can feel an increased happiness as we listen to the missionaries. I have said this many times, there are people who are being prepared daily. We just need to go and find them. They are people who we associate with every day. Those we go to school with, those we work with, and our neighbors around us. We have so many opportunities to share the gospel with others we just need to be praying for those opportunities. 

There are so many promises through out the scriptures that tell us if we open our mouths then they shall be filled ( D&C 33). But I really like what D&C 100 says. I would invite you to read it and read the promise it gives us if we speak the things our Heavenly Father would have us do. In my last area I was in our ward mission leader came back from a follow up meeting  to the Hastening the work broadcast with an area authority. He said one of the talks said somethings that I think is so true. 
Some of us look at finding by the spirit to mean we climb  into our cars and start driving, and have the spirit say go 3 blocks turn right, then drive 1 mile and turn left. That person in there front yard, yeah talk to them. It would be nice if it worked like that, and sometimes it does. But finding by the spirit means that we go and we talk to those we associate with, and as we speak to them, they will see the light of Christ in your eyes. They will be able to feel the spirit, and have the spirit testify to them of the things which you are talking about. This is what finding by the spirit is. 

We are always worried about what they will think of us, but we shouldn't fear. A quote that I love is " True conversion is measured by your desire to share the gospel." When we experience something that we love and something that brings us happiness we want to share it with others. Why should it be different with the gospel? I can promise you that as you try and talk to people about the gospel and you prepare by doing the daily simple things, Pray, Read your scriptures, and look for opportunities to serve. 

 I would encourage all of you to find out who the missionaries are in you area and have them over for a lesson. They will bring the spirit into your home and you will want to share the gospel. I know this is true.

Some cool talks I would recommend looking at are from last conference by Elder Neil Anderson, titled Its a miracle. It talks about how we can be missionaries in the area we are in. 

I wish Y'all the best in this next week and look forward to hearing about your missionary experiences.

Trees Everywhere.

My first cochroach.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 9...Curve Ball

Howdy Y'all
This last week was incredible and I had some unexpected things happen. First off in White Oak we had some really good thins going. We were talking with lots of people. We were beginning to get some more investigators and I was getting so excited. We were on the side of the road and a car pulled over and invited us to his house for some water. Of course we accepted, and we went. They were such a nice family, and we talked about the gospel with them. It was so cool and they really seemed interested in learning more. This happened on Tuesday and me and my companion were so excited! It was great!! That area is so prepared!!

  On Tuesday we also had transfer calls, and I really just expected to stay in my area. If anyone was getting transferred I thought it would be my companion. Well we got back to the apartment on Tuesday night and planned and we were just waiting for the call. We got called about 10:20 and I was just sitting on my bed writing in my Journal, and I heard over the phone, " Tell Elder Christensen to pack his bags, he is leaving." I didn't even know what to think. I was kinda freaking out. My mind raced all night long, and I probably didn't fall sleep until about 2:00. I was sad that I was going to leave this area that I had come to love. We were just beginning to find people and I was so excited. 

Well Weds came we went to some members homes and I said good bye to them. They didn't expect me to be leaving either. At this point I knew that I was leaving, and that night we were waiting on a call from President Pingree to find out if I would be training or not. My companion said that I would be training, because he said he talked to President and I guess he said I was ready to him. So I knew that could be a possibility. Well again late that night the phone rang, and it was President and he was talking with Elder Brown. He asked him to train again, and it sounded like that was all he was calling about so I went into the other room to finish packing my bags. And then I heard him say, "Can I speak to Elder Christensen. I picked up the phone and he said he was sorry he was pulling me out, and I told him I didn't mind. It shocked me but I told him in the beginning and that night that I will serve where the Lord will have me serve. This is His two years. And then the shock came as he asked me this. "Elder Christensen would you be willing to serve as District Leader up in the College Park ward in Spring Stake?"  I was completely thrown off. I expected to train, and he asked me to be a district leader and only after being out for 6 weeks, I was completely humbled!. I told him of course I would serve in that spot, and he told me Weds night that I needed to be prepared to teach the district that Friday Morning. 

Well after another night of not sleeping came transfers. I met my new companion Elder Peterson, and he is a great Elder. He leaves in 5 weeks, so the President said that I need to learn the area asap because he is having me take over and train most likely next transfer. I love serving the Lord, and I knew that I could do it with Him by my side, but it is still crazy how fast that all took place. I was so nervous, and it just took me by surprise because usually a new missionary would be in his first area at least for a little bit. But I am so excited to be able to have this extra opportunity to serve as a District Leader here. I had to throw a lesson together quick for District meeting, but I feel that it went ok. It is amazing how much the spirit can help us when we feel like we are incapable of doing a job. The Lord certainly does qualify those he calls to the work. I know because of him and because of the spirit that District Meeting went well. The spirit is the real teacher, we are the mouth piece, and the spirit really can talk through us. I testify of this. I mean here I am,  an 18 year old teaching missionaries that have been out longer than me, and are older than me. I just hope to work as hard as I can, and I know the Lord will help me.

  This week I began to also meet members of this new ward. They are a great ward just like my last, and I met with the bishop and his wife on Friday. We had the chance to go through the restoration with him, and the spirit was so strong. I love how strong the spirit can be when you recite the first vision, and you testify of the truthfulness of it. On Saturday, we met with a kid named Austin. He is best friends with Greg Prows( who is a member, and also getting ready to serve in the same mission that my brother Elder Ryan Christensen is in). We met and we talked with him and re-taught the restoration. Now the missionaries have been meeting with him the past couple months, but when we taught this last week again the spirit was there. And we ask him, " Austin will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood Authority of God?" And he excepted! He is going to be baptized on Sept 28th!!!!! We had the chance to meet with him again last night, and we will meet with him tonight, and he is loving the lessons, and it is incredible how much he knows. He is so prepared!! This just goes to show that the Lord is always preparing those who are ready for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  Another cool miracle was, we wanted to end the week with 20 lessons. So at the end of Sunday night we were at 19 and we only had one hour before we had to be back to the apartment. We tried to go to one other members home, but they weren't home. So we went to Market street to do some street contacting. Before we left we said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to put someone in our path who we can teach. So we go out and we begin walking, and with in 15-20 min of getting there someone stopped and talked to us. It was a man who use to be a member, and we asked if we could share our favorite scriptures with him. He agreed and we started to share. The scripture I wanted to share was Either 12:27. As soon as I told him what scripture it was he was so happy. He said he loves that scripture and that helped him get through so many hard times. He then had me read it, and he said it almost brought tears to his eyes to hear that scripture. Our Heavenly can prompt us and put people in our path who need a specific message. I know that it is because of him that we were able to talk to that man. I know that the scripture I thought I should share was for that man we talked to. It just all goes back to relying on the Lord and looking for those chances that we have to serve others. It was a great experience. This last week has been spiritually and mentally draining, but the Lord has blessed this area, and I am so excited to continue to move forward and teach people. I know that Heavenly Father wants me to be here in this time, and I am so excited for the chance that I have to be able to be out and serve. 

  Keep looking for opportunities to share the gospel because they are there. Keep doing family history, because it will help you so much, and there are those beyond the veil who are waiting to have temple work done. You can help them so much, and be blessed for doing so.

 I wish you all the best week,
    Elder Joshua V. Christensen