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

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Confrence

Howdy Y'all,

 What a great opportunity we had to listen to a prophet of God this last week end. I love general conference so much, and the guidance that can be received from it. I agree 100% with President Thomas S. Monson, when he said this had been the most inspired conferences. I wrote down a bunch of different questions that I wanted help with, and I received answers to all of them. There were also two talks in particular that I feel were said just for me! Some of the things that really stuck out to me were, the emphasis on gaining a strong testimony. This really is such and important thing that we all must do. As we read the scriptures we can find strength, and we can find help to our questions. As we do this we gain a testimony. Also one of the talks mentioned that we grow our testimonies by living the principles of the gospel. How can we gain a testimony of something that we don't live. We can't do that. If we want to gain a testimony and begin to become more converted we have to live the way our Heavenly Father would have us live. And we need to do the simple stuff as well. 

1. Read the scriptures
2. Ponder the meaning of what you read.
3. Pray, and as our Heavenly Father if it is true. 

You also need to act on the principle

This works for every aspect and principle of the gospel. If you are trying to gain a testimony of tithing. You need to be paying your tithing. And it isn't just a one time thing. Conversion isn't just a one time thing. It is a day to day process. I love this because it just goes to show that we are always teachable. We can always improve and become better sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. So please if you feel that your testimony is struggling do the things that were talked about in conference. And then be on you knees in sincere prayer that you may know if this message and church is true. Because if we gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon, then Joseph Smith is a true prophet. If Joseph Smith was a true prophet, then the priesthood has been restored, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's kingdom re-established back to the Earth. We will also know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He came and he payed the price for our sins. Because of him we can feel the peace and love of our Heavenly Father. I also love the truth that was talked about in conference, it is NEVER to late to come back. All of us make mistakes, we are human and it happens. But we can repent and become better! 

   The gospel of Jesus Christ is so important, and it was discussed alot during conference! I would invite you and ask you to please study it. You will be able to understand more of our Heavenly Fathers plan for us. Read, 2nd Nephi 31, as well as 3rd Nephi 11. These both talk about the doctrine of Christ. It is so important and it will lead us to want to be better member missionaries. 

This also leads me to the next thing that I really liked. Elder Ballard talked about the importance of member missionary work. He talked about how we have so many missionaries now, and the light of Christ that comes from them. But we can't help the work move forward with out the help of the members. "Now is the time for members and missionaries to labor together in the the vineyard." We read in Doctrine and Covenants 88:73, 

 73  Behold, I will hasten my work in its time. 

Now is the time when He is hastening His work. And that is through the members and the missionaries. Elder Ballard said, that many of us don't pray for missionary opportunities because we are afraid we won't know what to do when they come. I promise you that if we pray for these experiences and we read the scriptures and "Treasure them up in our minds" then Heavenly Father will help us, and the Holy Ghost will bring things back to our remembrance. I know that is true, because I have experienced it out here while on my mission. It has blessed me, and I know that it will bless you.

 " It is impossible to fail when we do our best, and we are on the Lords Errand." and " Its a matter of faith and action". There were so many great things said in general conference  and I can go off on them all day, but I don't want you to take my word for it. I want you to be able to find this out for your self. So please pray about it, and do the things that are needed to have those experiences. They will bless you I promise.

   Things here in the woodlands are great. I am loving it here, and I will be getting a new companion this week. I will find out on Thursday who it will be, but it looks like I will be training. It will be a good experience for me. I am excited to be able to serve, and help the work go forward in this area. 

  Well I hope Y'all have a fantastic week, and I would invite you to go back and read the conference talks again.

Elder Joshua V. Christensen