Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A wonderful Christmas Week.

 Again this week we don't have a ton to report on! Being in a singles wards during the holidays its a bit harder to meet with many of our investigators as well as members. But it was a wonderful week! We did have members have us over for Christmas eve and Christmas! And then of course being able to see the family was great! So it was a great Christmas!

 So one of the big things we are working on right now is working to find more investigators. We have pondered a lot about what things we can improve on. And the big thing we have decided on is to find effectively in a YSA (Young Single Adult)  ward we need to be working through the members. So we are going to make a bigger emphasis to have members help us by bringing there friends to activities as well as institute classes. Activities definitely play a big role in finding people to teach in the ward.

So to also find more people we went through our area book more in depth this week and called about 35 former investigators. We were able to get a hold of quite a few of them, and then there are a handful of people that would like to meet up again! So we are hopeful that we will see some great miracles come from that! 

And also we had our ward mission leader call us this week and invite us to come play basketball with him and a bunch of his friends who aren't members. And he brought some of his less active friends also.  At the end of the game we had a great lesson with them! We heard from our ward mission leader the next day that one of his less active friends after hearing the message on faith in Jesus Christ now wants to take the steps to be active and make his way to the temple! It was a great opportunity. 

He also told us that many of his friends thought very highly of us. They were impressed that we didn't let the game get to us, or get us to competitive. In there words they said, " I totally just blocked him and all he did was smile and give me a high five saying nice block! Who does that!" 

Now as funny as that sounds it really made me ponder. They saw something different in us that caught their attention. It was as small us not getting upset with a game. When we are baptized we promise our loving Father in Heaven to take the name of Jesus Christ upon us, and always to remember him as well as keep all of his commandments. Now focusing on taking Christs name upon is and always remembering him play a huge role in helping other recognize the light of the gospel. 

When we honor these covenants and as we stand as examples of our Savior Jesus Christ people will notice. They will feel a difference. That feeling they have will be the spirit testifying to them that there is something more for them! Now a lot of times they may not realize this at first, but little by little your example will bring people closer to Christ! I love the saying, " Preach the gospel always and when necessary use words! " Your example will go far beyond what you expect. 

I would just really invite you to ponder on this last week, and think to yourself. How did I take Christs name upon me this week? Did I look for opportunities to serve others? How can I improve this next week? 

I promise you that as you take these thoughts into consideration that you will be able to help others come unto Christ! Many will see and feel of the light that you have! I know these things to be true! 

I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas time!

Hey we don't have alot of time this week, but just wanted to give a brief update with this last week! We spent a lot of time just preparing for out Christmas zone conference. It was such a great time! We had the conference on Friday, so the night before we were up a bit later getting everything set up! I think it was a fun thing that the missionaries were able to come to! There were great talks given by president and Sister Mortensen on the atonement of Jesus Christ as well as His Birth. 

 Other than that this week we went on an exchange. I was able to go back to the white oak ward which is where I was first at when I arrived here in Texas. It was great! We had a couple of lessons that were set up that day with some of their investigators! One of their progressing investigators right now is named Will. And we went to teach him about the Plan of Salvation! It was great because when we got there he had one of his friends that were there. And so we began to teach him also about the plan of salvation! And at the end of the lesson we invited to be baptized! He said yes and accepted a date for Jan 17th! 

So the work is continuing on! I love it so much! We are seeing so much success right now in the mission! I am just so glad to be apart of this great work! I know it is the Lords work and that we are blessed to have the opportunity to be apart of it! All you need is a desire, and you are called to the work! 

Well I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Remember the true meaning of Christmas and I promise you will have a very memorable and joyous Christmas time with your families! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, December 15, 2014

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hey everyone! 

Again I can not believe another week has gone by so fast! December is just flying by! Well 
things have been going really well this week! We are continuing to work with our two progressing investigators. Right now they both have baptismal dates for December 27th. There names are Christian and Alicia! 

We have been meeting with Alicia since late September, and then we started meeting with Christian a couple weeks ago. We were able to meet with them a couple times this week and things have been going so well! I went on a mini exchange on Thursday so we could have one of our zone leaders meet Alicia. 

So during that time I was back in college park. It was fun to be able to meet with some of the members up there again, and we were able to talk to them about He is the Gift video. But with our investigators they are doing very well!  As they continue to read from the Book of Mormon they are gaining their own spiritual conversion. 

They were both at church yesterday and it was such an amazing Sunday. Our Ward decided to do a Christmas program this last week. So if was a very powerful experience. It was perfect for the investigators we had there! 

Other than that we spent the week checking on referrals. We have been getting more and more lately! It has been such a blessing and our teaching pool is now increasing! The Lord is blessing us so abundantly! Also we were visiting one of our missionaries in the hospital this week who got and infection in his hand after wrecking on his bike. But he is doing great now !

I just want to share one miracle real quick that we saw this week! So on Saturday night. So we got home around 8:45. And we were walking around the complex to see if anyone would be out walking. And so then went through different buildings and we found this guy who was just sitting one of the flights of stairs. And we invited him to watch the He is the gift video. 

And after watching it he began to ask us more about what we do as missionaries. And we were able to answer him and talk to him more about the church and the teachings of Jesus Christ. He mentioned how he had some friends who had passed away a couple weeks a go in a car crash. He said he had been thinking more and more about what our purpose is here on the earth. And we were able to talk to him briefly about the plan of Salvation. And he accepted a return appointment. 

So just because of the video it opened up missionary opportunities, and as well as that it caused him to think more in depth about what role Christ has played in his life! I know that as we continue to share that video with others that it will bring many unto Christ. And millions of Gods Children can experience the true spirit of Christ this Christmas season!! I know that to be true! 

​( Very top part of our Christmas Tree) 

Well I hope y'all have a great week! 
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

More Random Picks from Josh:

You would be so proud of me! I totally fixed this! Like father like son! 

Finding those the Lord has prepared!

Life is just so good!  I am loving being a missionary! It has been kinda a crazy week with transfers, but we have also seen some crazy miracles! For the most part things with transfers went pretty smoothly. I just can't believe how fast time is continuing to fly by. I am not sure how much longer I will be able to serve as an assistant, but I sure have enjoyed it. 

 Well I don't have a lot of time to email today so this will need to be a bit shorter. But this week we have seen some incredible miracles with our investigators. And previous to this we were having such a hard time getting in and meeting with our investigators. And so I was pondering this last week about what things we could do better to help the people we are working with. And I just had the thought that we got to be making sure we are getting our weekly planning in each week. 

Sometimes with how busy we are we don't get the opportunity to get our weekly planning done. And this is somethings I have been wanting to make a greater priority with. Weekly planning is the time that we get to sit down and have a divine appointment with the Lord where we can seek and learn his will for our individual areas. I have some  amazing spiritual experiences where I felt I received direct revelation about lessons we need to teach and how to overcome there concerns or questions. 

And so with that being said as we sat down and pleaded for the help of the Lord, we were guided with the things we needed. We planned lessons for two our our investigators we have been working with, and they went so well! 

(This is one of the missionaries I worked a lot with while I was in the Woodlands. He has finished his mission and we dropped him off at the airport on Wednesday.)

Alicia is one of our investigators we met with later in the week after our planning. We had planned to teach the plan of salvation because she has continued to keep her commitments to read the Book of Mormon. And we were feeling like she was ready for the plan of salvation. So we decided we would have this lesson at the temple this last Friday. 

Just before our lesson with her we met with one of the recent converts in our ward named Evan. And he was getting ready to leave when he ran into one of the members that was coming to teach. Well we invited both of these members to come join us for the lesson with Alicia. And it was such a powerful lesson with her. We were master teaching and she was understanding so well. And there were some different points where this recent convert Evan just jumped in and started teaching. 

There is a saying by Boyd K. Packer that is when a testimony is found as it is shared. And literally as Evan taught he began to see even more fully how strong his testimony was! It was incredible! And we ended by inviting her to prepare to be baptized on Dec. 27. She accepted!! She was about to bring up concerns but Evan jumped in again and testified to her to really just remember back to the way that she felt since she has been meeting with missionaries. And so it helped her to overcome some of her concerns. So she is pumped! She texted after saying she would do her best to find her answer! 

And then also our investigator Christian we planned for also in weekly planning in depth got back in contact with us. And he has had a rough week. He lost his grandfather this last week and that is why he didn't show up to our appointment with him. But we asked what we could do to help him out. And he mentioned that he just wanted to meet up with us! 

And as we planned previous to that we had planned to go in and teach him the Plan of Salvation. That right there is just another testimony builder of the fact that God is aware of all of his Children. I know that to be true! So Saturday he also came to frisbee and got to be fellowshipped really well with members of the ward. He mentioned that he wanted to come to church also. So we gave him all of the information. 

  So fast forward to Sunday, he came and he loved church so much! This last week was fast Sunday. And we were getting right towards the end of the meeting. There was a common theme of people talking about trials and how we go through trials to make us stronger. And it touched him so much. So he said, " I think I want to go up there." and now remember this is his first time ever coming to church. So he went up to bear his testimony. And it was almost like he has been a member for his whole life. 

He thanked the missionaries for helping him. And he mentioned how when we started teaching him he had the question of how to know if this church is the true church. He said to me, " I have heard so many different stories about these churches coming up and being "true". How can I know if yours is any different. " And he is using this example during his testimony and then he said, " I had this question and I posed it to them......................... and then, Christensen just had this big old smile on his face as he looked at me. And he said,  Christian the beauty of this message is  you can know for yourself.   Pray and ask God to know if this is true! I testify to you that He loves you, and he will answer you!" 

 Christian said at that point he was going to give his all to know if it was true. And again while bearing his testimony he said, " Some of you know that I use to work t the Galleria Mall. And it required me to have to work on Sundays. Well since then as I have prayed, He has taken that job from me so I can be at church." He was laughing and said if that is a good enough answer I don't know what is. He just then continued to testify of his experience of him coming to know if this is true! It was such a powerful testimony meeting! 

And just as I mentioned that when Evan testified he found his testimony the same happened to Christian. Members were thanking him after for his testimony. And many thought he was a member. And just told them. I am preparing myself to be baptized. So we will meet with him on Wednesday. And we plan to also to extend a baptismal date to him for the end of the month. 

I have a firm testimony that the Lord is preparing his children. Christian and Alicia are just two examples of that! There are so many more who are prepared. It just takes our effort in reaching inviting people to come closer to Christ. With the initiative that the church has with He is the Gift, it makes it so easy to be able to invite people to come closer to Christ. Christ is the Gift, so again I just want to invite you to prayerfully think of who you can Share the Gift with this Christmas season. I promise you as you do you will experience the true joy of Christmas. And you will feel Christ loves more abundantly this season. 

I hope y'all have a great week! 
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Some more pics from transfer week. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

He is the gift.

  Sorry this is going to be another short email. It has been a really crazy day for us. But I can not believe that we are officially into December now! Where is the time going! These last few months have gone by so fast. 

   This last week has been another great one! We were able to have our mission leadership council. And so we help lead many of the discussions, and then we finished out by helping watch the role plays that were taking place. And we were able to help provide feed back and training. We practiced teaching the Plan of Salvation again. We are doing everything we can to master our teaching here so that we can be the most effective in helping bring others unto the truth. And helping them to receive the restored gospel! I love it so much!

Then of course later in the week we had a wonderful thanksgiving. We had the chance to go over to our mission presidents home. We got to spend sometime with his whole family! They are such a great family and every time you are with them you just learn so much from them and there family. 

It was also nice to because while we were there we had some opportunities to discuss more about transfers. We have taken a lot of time this week with preparing for transfers. But it was such a nice day and a great chance to spend with there family.  

These were just some of the main things that we did! But something I really wanted to take some time to talk about is the new video the church has put out called He is the Gift. Many of you may be familiar with this already. But if not I would encourage you to look it up. The church is going big this Christmas with helping spread the true message of Christmas. 

  This last Easter the church also made a video called Because of Him. And that was a great success! There were about 4 million people who viewed the video. Now the reason I say this little fact is to set up this next statement. The church is estimating about 220 million to see the He is the Gift video. I may have already mentioned this in past emails also. 

But the Church has bought the mass header on youtube for the month of December. And it will start December 7th. And then the Church has bought video boards in Time square in New York City. And the video is such a great video! Here is the link for the video.  As you watch it please think of who you could share this with to help bring them joy this Christmas season. 

You can also find it by going to 

See it is such an amazing video! But to help spread this to as many people as we can, we as members need to share it. You may have noticed in your ensigns that they have packets of pass along cards for he is the gift. That is one simple way you are able to share it. You can also post it on Facebook, twitter, or any other social media way. 

I would just invite you to please just do your best to share it. I promise you that it will bring such a stronger spirit of Christ in your home this Christmas season! It will bring you and your families closer one with another as you unite in sharing it together.  This is the Lords work and this is just one more way we see that the Lord is hastening His work! I testify of that!

Well I hope y'all have a great week! 
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

( here is a pic of the mission presidents fireside the week before. )

Monday, November 24, 2014

Zone Conference week!

Hey everyone! 

Sorry this email will be very short! We started talking with President about transfers. And so that took up a bit of our time today! But things have been going well. 

This last week we had zone conferences. This time around we really focused on the Plan of Salvation. The format was very similar to the last time we had zone conferences. President would teach the majority of the morning and then from there we would role play teaching the plan of salvation in front of everyone. Following that we went in and had everyone else role play. We then went and sat in on different groups to listen and give feedback on how to help with the quality of the teaching. So that took up the majority of our week.

I am just so grateful for the plan of salvation and the joy and comfort that it brings into my life. As I continually study about it and ponder upon it and pray about it my testimony of it increases. I am grateful for how it helps us answer questions of the soul. It brings hope into our lives. It is one of the happiest messages that we can share with others. 

It is the message that helps families to know that God does have a plan for each of us! Jesus Christ truly is the center of the plan and I know that it is because of him that the plan works! He is the reason that we can find peace in this life. I know that to be true! 

 Along with that we had a couple of teaching appointments that went pretty well. We have some really good people that we are working with right now so things are going really well! We are hoping to get back in with many of our investigators this next week so we can continue to help them progress. 

I am just so grateful for this work! I know this is the Lords work! Many of us say so often how grateful we are for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if we are truly grateful for this wonderful gift Heavenly Father has given us then we should be active in trying to share it with those that don't know it. 

I would just invite you this thanksgiving holiday to pray and ask for who you know that could benefit from this message, or what you can do to help someone else out this great time of year! I know the Lord will be able to help lead you to someone you can help! 

I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hey everyone! So things are going really well. I don't have a ton to report on this week, but we have continued to see the Lords hand in our lives and in his work. It is also beginning to get pretty cold here! We have had some pretty cold days this last week. Or at least it feels cold. Back in Utah I could be out in like 30 degree weather or lower and where shorts, and now its like 40 here and I keep getting more layers! It is the wonderful humidity that makes difference. But it also has been great to see the change. 

This last week mainly consisted of exchanges that we had with different zone leaders. This is what a pick part of this transfer is for us. It will manly consist of zone leader exchanges. So in the last week and a half we have done almost 7 exchanges. And this pattern will continue for about the next two weeks! So my assigned companion and I will only be with each other on the weekends. Other than that we will switch off from being in our area or going to the zone leaders area. 

I must say though as tiring as it has been, it has been so great! As we have continued to work closely with each of the zone leaders we have gotten a better feel for the different areas and zones that are in the mission! And it helps us to identify concerns or problems as well as council together on how we can improve the work in the zones. 

We also ended up sending our mini van out to some zone leaders in Cypress so they can help move more people in there zone if needed. And we actually got a different car. It is a 2015 Ford Fusion. And when we drove it it only had 13 miles on it. So it is a awesome car that we are blessed to be able to use!

We are still making a big push to get on different campuses and so as we had the chance to go on some of the lonestar campuses in the area. We got onto the cy-fair location and we had some family history boards up and invited people to put a sticker on a map of where there ancestors were from. And then from there we were able to begin talking with them about there family history and ended with an invitation to learn about family history and the gospel. That is one thing I really do love about family history. It is a very non threatening way to invite people to learn about the gospel. And as they do it they are able to really feel the spirit of Elijah 

Also what made this week so great was the fact that we have been able to get Kyle back to church. Some of you may remember when I talked alot about Kyle 5 months ago. He is a recent convert to the church. Shortly after he was baptized because of work and some other things going on it made it hard for Kyle to be able to come to church. And little by little he stopped coming. He still would always meet up and would still read the scriptures but just not come to church. 

Well after months of working with him to help him come back to church he came yesterday! I was so dang happy! And you can tell as he has partaken of the sacrament that he has felt the cleansing power of the atonement! And he was able to meet so many new people at church yesterday when in the past he was shy about getting to talk with different people. He said how he wants to request work of on Sundays so he can feel that way every week! So that was definitely a tender mercy for me this week. 

And so now we are just preparing for zone conferences that we will be having this week! We will have 4 days that we will be training missionaries on how to more effectively teach the plan of salvation. So we are excited to be a apart of that! This really are just going so great right now!  

But that has mainly been my week! I am just so grateful for the chance to be a missionary. I love being able to see how the work is hastening! As members of Christ restored church we are all enlisted, we just have to do our part and act. And then that is when the miracles are seen! I know that to be true! 

I hope all y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Lord is Hastening his Work Continually!

Hey everyone! Things are going well! I told you a little bit about last week. And I mentioned that I was able to have an interview with Elder Corbridge. And that was very cool! He just began by asking me about why I ended up coming out on a mission and I explained to him the reason that I had. And I told him about just some of the experiences that I have been able to have so far on my mission. And we just had a great conversation about that. 

And towards the end he opened it up to me and asked me if I had any questions for him. I can't honestly say I had no questions coming in to my mind right away. And I sat and pondered for just a few seconds. I then turned to him and said, " In your thoughts what can I do to be the most effective missionary? And in addition to that I might be training again in a few transfers so what can I do to prepare a new missionary the best I can? 

I am on the right side fourth row

He replied after about a minute of pondering. And it is cool to see a general authority answer through the spirit. Elder Corbridge would just close his eyes and think. You could tell he was discerning the spirit and the thoughts that he had. And after thinking for a little bit he look at me and said effective teaching. "The best thing that you could do is become and effective teacher. And that same follows for what you can do if your training." And this had been a cool trend for me to see because we are continually been working on our way we teach! We are really helping bring out the truth from the learner and help them to have their own personal spiritual experience. 

Elder Corbridge also gave me some other advice and said if I used this I would be able to be an effective missionary and an more effective member later on down the road. It was a great chance to be able to spend that time with him and I truly had learned so much! 

2nd Day of Conferences with Elder Corbride. I am on the 2nd row
next to the Mortensens and Elder Corbridge.

The rest of the week we had a couple different teaching appointments as well as a couple of different exchanges that we went on. We were able to teach one of our new investigators named Nick. He was an investigator from when Elder Halterman served in a neighboring ward. We got in with him and had a great lesson at the church with him. We taught him the restoration again. The last time he heard it was back in February. It was so incredible and the spirit was so strong. He said there were certain questions that he had for years, and as he talked them out with us the spirit worked through him and he answered a lot of these questions that he had. And then we would help teach the gaps that he didn't quite understand. But by the end of the lesson he was just glowing. He was so happy! So we are going to be hopefully meeting with him this next week to continue teaching him. He sadly didn't make it to church this last week but we will help him come. 

  Following that night we went over to a former investigator we had. And we tried to talk with him. And he was looking all over his house for more cigarettes because he ran out. And while he was looking one of his friends walked in. His friend looks at us and says I can't believe that your here. And he sounded happy to see us. We introduced ourselves to him and found out he was actually baptized a couple years back. He said that he had a blessing before he was baptized to help with his addiction to smoking. And he said that after the blessing all his cravings went away. He said later on down the road something happened that made him upset and he ended up choosing going back to smoking. And he said since then he hasn't been able to quit again. 

Now during this time our former investigator was still being frantic about getting another cigarette and tried to get this friend to go with him to the store to get some. And he look at him and said nooo. I am staying and talking the missionaries. He mentioned how there had been many points in his life where he asked God to show him that he still loves him. And everytime he did this he would run into different sets of missionaries from our church. And he said and it happened again tonight. He said " I wasn't even planning on coming over here tonight but I prayed to ask God to help me today and I felt I should come over here and I find y'all here! God answered my prayers again! And he mentioned how he wanted to to quit smoking again. 

  At this point I received a very strong prompting. I asked him" Hector do you have the faith that through Christ you  can be healed from your addiction again?" And he said "Yes I know that I  can!". And then I asked "Hector do you have the faith that a priesthood blessing can heal your right now?"  And he said Yes I do!" He had conviction in his voice. I then invited him to receive a blessing.  He only had one cigarette on him and he said that he wanted to throw it away because he knew God could heal him. And we were able to give him a blessing. 

And I felt the spirit so strong as we gave him the blessing. And he said after that his desire to smoke was gone again! He was so so thankful! And he acknowledged that it was through God that was made possible! What a wonderful experience it was. And again it strengthened my testimony that God is aware of all of his Children!  I know that the Priesthood is a real and powerful power. It is Gods Power here on the earth and is used to bless the lives of his children! I love this gospel so much! 

And to finish the week we had exchanges up in College Station and Huntsville. Both days we were on campus for Texas A&M And at Sam Houston University! I love working on Campus so much! It is so much fun and it is so easy to talk with people! And so many more people are open to listening! It gets me really excited because this week we will hopefully start proselytizing on  a smaller campus called Lone Star so we will see how that goes!!! 

Things are going so great! And right now in the mission we are seeing us double baptisms. And average month for this mission is around 40 and has been like that since the mission began. And now this next month we are getting close to 90! The Lord is hastening his work and I am just so grateful to be able to be apart of it! What a great time we live in! 

Please keep praying for opportunities and ways to get involved with the missionaries! I promise you it will strengthen your family and yourself against any temptations that may come! I know that to be true! 

I hope y'all have a great week! 
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

General Authority

This is late in the week again, but we had to move our time to email to today. On Monday and Tuesday we had Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge from the first quorum of the 70. It was so great to be able to have him come and visit our mission. Many of the things that he said were right in line with some of the things we have been trying to get going here in our mission. And the big emphasis being on being effective teachers. 

I have mentioned in previous emails that we have been working on a teaching method we call master teaching. This is very much similar to what the general authority told us. We learned a lot of great things from him. 

Sunday night he did a new and returning  member fireside. And it was cool because he just asked if anyone had any questions. And then from there he just began to speak on the question that was asked. And he took like 30 seconds where he closed his eyes and he was just pondering, and then he went and spoke for the next 45 mins. It was so cool just to see how the spirit worked through him to answer the specific question. And it was very powerful. He made mention how we need to always stay focused on what the will of the Lord is. He quoted several times from Isaiah 55

 ¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways  my ways, saith the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

  The Lord wants us to be happy, and for us to really be happy and experience the things he wants us to experience we have to align our will with his. That is where we will find true happiness in our lives. And even into the next 2 days he was with us he kept bring this point back to the message he was presenting. 

It was such a blessing because I actually had to opportunity to have and interview with Elder Corbridge. And he gave me some great council. I wish I had more time to talk about it, but I will talk more about it next weeks email! :) 

Other than that the last weeks we have been working with different institute directors and college campuses. We are trying to get on more colleges so we can find more YSA's. So that was alot of our last week! And we also had MLC and had a great meeting with the zone leaders and sister training leaders! 

The work is continuing to go forward! Sunday we had such a great testimony meeting and the majority of the members talked about doing member missionary work! More and more they have been getting involved and it has made such a huge difference! I am so grateful for the members! And I know as they continue to get involved the Lord will bless them so abundantly! 

Please keep looking for missionary opportunities. And please try to help the missionaries in the areas you live. I know you will be blessed for it as you get involved and allow them to work with you. 

Sorry this isn't very long, but I hope y'all have a wonderful week! 

Elder Joshua. V. Christensen. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hope through Jesus Christ

Hey everyone! This last week has been pretty crazy for us. We were running around yesterday doing a bunch of things we had to get done as assistants in preparation for our MLC today. And so we didn't get to time to email. So our mission president gave us this little bit of time to write home. So I am grateful for the chance to write home because this last week has been so great! It has been filled with great things as well as its challenges. This last week we had transfers. And it was my first week with my new companion Elder Halterman! He is doing really well, but I was showing him some of the ropes in regard to transfers.

Tuesday we had the chance to spend sometime with the departing missionaries. And we were able to go through the temple with them which was great. The temple has been closed down for the last month or so, so it was nice to be able to go there again! I felt so blessed to be able to go there with some questions that were weighing down on my mind and come out feeling peace in the answer that I received.  We had a great departing testimony meeting with them also. 

So overall  things went over smoothly with transfers, but unfortunately I got pretty sick this last week as well. This was probably the sickest I have been on my whole mission, and probably the sickest I have been since I was young. I woke up one of the mornings and just felt as if all the energy I had was completely gone. We still went over to get the incoming missionaries where they were staying to take them over to the mission home on Thursday morning. So I got there and I new that in order for me to make it through the meetings that day I would need a priesthood blessing. 

So I asked my companion to anoint, and my mission president to seal the anointing. And in the blessing he blessed me that I would have relief from the pain and discomfort and that I would have the strength to do the training that I needed to be a part of.  And I guess a bit of a back story 2 weeks ago our bishop called us and asked us to give talks  for this last Sunday. So they gave us the topic 2 weeks ago so we could prepare. And my topic was hope. 

And so during the week previous I had the chance to really study about hope and gain a strong understanding of what hope is. And it is the trust that God will bless you with what he has promised you. And so during the blessing I had this on my mind as I pondered. And I said I have a hope that God will give me the strength to preform the labors that he needs  me to preform. And after the blessing I felt so much better. I still didn't feel 100 % But I knew God was going to give me that time to feel better to have an effective training for these missionaries. And he definitely blessed me! 

It was kinda funny though because as we were getting ready to close the meeting, we were singing the last verse of the hymn we were singing. And I looked up the clock and thought well here we go again. And sure enough once we closed the meeting and got the missionaries on the way it hit me again!   It was just a really really bad cold. But it was great because it gave me the opportunity to really rely on the atonement that much more fully! And I know it was Heavenly Father that blessed me and helped me that morning! And he let me feel sick again so I could really more fully rely on him, so I am so grateful for that. 

Other than that the big highlight was being able to speak in church. Elder Hillebrant was able to come back down and speak with me. And it was such a great experience. I felt that we had a very strong sacrament meeting! They had the sisters speak first, and then Elder Hillebrant, and then they asked me to close off the meeting. And I was just so grateful to speak with him! We spent alot of time together and we became close friends. I loved the chance I had to speak because again I talked on having a hope in Christ. 

And in today's world the word hope sometimes has a different meaning. It tends it have a hint of uncertainty. For example, " I hope the weather changes, I hope  I passed my test, I hope that I can get this job or project done." Now the Lord intended hope to be unwavering. Now because we do live in a fallen world we are subject to death, sin, pain, sickness, and all manner of affliction. This includes stress, or others things that may cause us worry also. But they are needed because that is what helps us Grow. In 2nd nephi 2 we learn that there needs to be an opposition in all things.

I love what Mormon councils us to have a hope in though. In Moroni 7:41 We learn what we need to have a hope in. 

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

So if we have a hope in the atonement and resurrection then we have no need to fear anything. For Jesus Christ truly suffered for everything. Look at Alma 7: 11-13. He has suffered for all of our pains our afflictions and even temptations. The words of modern day prophets and taught us more about the atonement. We know Christ has suffered for everything thing you are feeling, have felt and will ever feel! That is such a wonderful thought. He knows how to help you because he has felt everything. And just think. He did it just because he loves you. He did it so he could know you. 

So when you call upon him for strength he is there with his hand out stretched ready to help you and lift you up. The answers may not always come right away, but know that the Lord is holding on to you. He will not let you fall. And when you come to feel that you are at the deepest moment of despair and you can't hold on any longer, he will uplift and support you. He will raise you and you will have a stronger relationship with the savior. You will have the hope that he is there for you. And that hope will eventually lead to a knowledge that he will support you in your trials or challenges. 

I know this last week as I felt like I was at the bottom, I showed my faith( for faith is absolutely necessary to be able to obtain this hope.) by doing everything that I needed to. Even asking for a blessing and petitioning for the Lords help.  And thats when I found strength. And I was able to be healed for that short amount of time. And I continued to have a hope that the Lord would help me to recover quickly and I did. 

I know as we have a hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will find support in anything that we do. We will know that we can live with our Father in Heaven again because Christ overcame the bands of death and he suffered for our sins. He is the ultimate source of peace in this life. So if you are feeling like you are having struggles in your life. Pray for the hope of Christ in your life. Know that the Lord will come through and answer your prayers. It may not be in the way that you expect, but I promise the Lord will answer. And you will be able to have the calm assurance that he will bless you with the promised blessing! I know that to be true! 

If you feel you need more hope in your life I would invite you to ponder over the following scriptures and see what things you can do to increase this hope in your life. 

Alma 22:16
Moroni 8:16
Romans 15:4 

Bible dictionary: Hope. 

Well I hope y'all have a wonderful week! 
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

(ps. Next week we are having a general authority come to the mission so if I don't email on Monday it may be Tuesday depending on how the schedule works. Just so y'all know.)

Interviews are over!! And Transfers and just beginning! :)

From October 20th (we had problems with the blog)

Hey everyone!
   It has been a long and adventurous week! We have finally completed all the interviews this last week. And we had some of our biggest groups that we went and did trainings with this week. So that is nice that we are able to have that done just in time to get transfers going. So the majority of our week was just interviews and doing transfers. Monday night we had a great little adventure though.

  So around 11:30 we got a call from our mission President. And he said that church travel had called him and there were 8 missionaries that were stuck in the Houston Airport. So we drove over to the mission office to hook up the transfer van and trailer and around midnight we were on the road. President called us again and mentioned that they were in the C Terminal. And he gave us the number for the missionaries that were there. 

Well we pulled up to the arrivals at terminal C. So we were getting ready to go in, but then we realized that one of us would have to stay with the van so it wouldn't get towed. So because Elder HIllebrant was driving he volunteered to stay with the van. So we have two phones so we would still be able to talk to each other if needed. So I went into the airport and went to the gates where we were told they were. I was looking for about 10 min in terminal C and then asked if that is where they were and they originally said yes. And they tried to describe where they were again to me. And I asked them to check the terminal one more time and they did and found out that they were in terminal B. 

So I ran back out to the van and we headed over to terminal B. I went inside and started looking around for them. I called them again because I still couldn't find them. And I asked them if they had come out from the gates. And they said they hadn't. So I tried to guide them over the phone how to guide them towards where I was. And after a little while they made there way out of the gate and found where I was. They were a  great group of missionaries. There flight had been canceled and they had been in the Houston Airport all day. They were on there way to one of the missions in Mexico. 

  So we took them back to our apartment for the night. We got home around 1:20 am and we were told by our mission president that we needed to get them back to the airport by 530. So they got a couple of hours of sleep before we took them back to the airport. We got them to the right terminal and helped them get checked in. We said our goodbyes and sent them off again. 

It was a fun but crazy experience. They handled it very well. They tried to talk with a bunch of different and were able to hand out some copies of the Book of Mormon. So after we had dropped them off we went over to the mission Presidents home around 615 am to carpool with him out to Katy Texas. So it was a night with not a lot of sleep. But we were just glad that we were able to help these missionaries out. 

So also this week we finished up the transfer assignments in preparation for transfers this next week. So my companion Elder Hillebrant will be transferred up to a YSA Ward in Huntsville. And my new companions name will be Elder Halterman. The name may sound familiar to some. We were in the same dorm at the MTC and we were in the same district. So we came out at the same time from the MTC. So I will be picking him up tomorrow. So I am excited, it will be good! I  will miss Elder Hillebrant, but I know he is need up in the area where he is going. 

To finish off the week we had another mission presidents fireside. It was just another incredible night. The spirit was very strong. We had a lot of missionaries bring investigators and members to the fireside. It has been so fun to be able to participate in these firesides. I think they are really making a difference. So overall it was just a great Sunday. It was interesting though because our ward didn't actually meet yesterday. The YSA had a conference downtown it an area 70. And so it was just barley out of our mission so we weren't able to go. So we decided to just go to a couple of different family wards. So we ended up going about 3 sacrament meetings yesterday. 

Now the reason for this is because in this last set of trainings we really discussed about how we can become effective ward and branch builders. So we trained on how to work with the wards. We talked a lot about how before sacrament meetings needs to be our prime time to greet the members and try to get to know them better. So we went to observe and follow up on a couple of different wards on how they were doing with working with the members. And it was good because we were able to  give some feed back. So overall it has been another fantastic week to be apart of the Texas Houston Mission! 

I am so grateful for the chance that I have to be a missionary here! And I know that this work that we are involved with is a great and important work. We are able to help bring others unto Christ and help them to see what they potential can be. It is such a blessing to be able to do! I would just invite you to keep praying for the missionaries in your areas, and pray for missionary opportunities. God will give them to you if you ask and it will bless you and your families abundantly! 

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful week! 
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Here are some different photos from this week. ( The one with the lights was on our way to pick up the missionaries from the airport.) ( And the others is a barbeque.) 

Another Great week to be in Texas!!

From October 13. (this is late as we had some problems with the blog)

Hey everyone! 

  Life is still great and just some great things are continuing to happen. We still had another full week of interviews. The interviews have been pretty good though. On Tuesday we were back up in college Station, and then on Wednesday we were north east of College Station in a city called Madisonville. It was so cool because on Tuesday we asked to carpool up to Madisonville with President Mortensen. And so for the 1 1/2 hours up we were able to talk with him about a variety of different things. 

But he just really helped give us great suggestions about how to be successful in life and he tied it all back into the gospel of Jesus Christ! It is just so inspiring to see the things he has done, and really just ponder more fully on how I can continually improve. It was just a great chance to also discuss with him what things we can do in the mission to help get the missionaries working even more effectively. 

 Those interviews went great, and after being in Madisonville we traveled down to Huntsville to the Sam Houston State University. We went around the campus and toured the instituted building. We met with the senior missionaries over the instituted program, and they are doing great. We also recently added another companionship in that area to assist with the work. We are really making a big push to get missionaries on college campuses. 

So many young people are receptive to learning from the missionaries and we have fun some great success. So we talked with the instituted director also and talked about what there plans were for increasing the number of members in the program. And they set a goal to help expand there vision even more. It was a great day to be there and to just see another way we see the Lord moving his work forward. 

So interviews went from Tuesday to Friday, and then Saturday we took a big amount of time to get a full weekly planning in. Weekly planning has been the emphasis we are also pushing for in the mission. Not just weekly planning but chapter eight of preach my gospel. The average amount of investigators needed to be found in this mission  for just 1 baptism is about 23. And in other missions that are using chapter 8 effectively it is only about 5 new investigators. So we are striving to improve in that aspect. And we are already seeing much more success. 

Going into these trainings we had about 270 progressing investigators and only about 70 with a baptismal date. Now obviously there is a big difference there. So we have been working on always inviting people to be baptized in the first lesson when they come to the knowledge that it is true. And giving them a date no later than the 2nd lesson. Now the reason for this is because the church did a survey with about 3500 recent converts. And they asked them what was the most spiritual moments when you were being taught by the missionaries. And almost of of them said it was the first vision, and the plan of salvation. 

Now these principles that we teach are found in the first 2 lessons. These are going to be the principles that will allow the holy ghost to help them have a spiritual witness. But we will also not move on unless they are keeping there commitments! This is another big thing we are changing here in this mission. And just since we have been doing it in these last couple weeks we have seen miracles. As missionaries have been more bold in there work they have set more dates for Gods children to enter into a promise with God that will change there lives forever. It is such a blessing to be able to be apart of missionary service.

  On Sunday we had stake conference. And we had Elder Schwitzer of the 2nd quorum of the 70 come along with Elder Southerland an area 70. And they came and created a new stake. The new stake is called "The Woodlands Stake." And the new stake president is one of the members I got to know really well while I was serving in The Woodlands. The spirit was so strong and as we sustained him and the new stake presidency. It helped my testimony grow on how much of a blessing it is for us to be able to sustain church leaders. It made me ponder alot about General conference 2 weeks ago, and all the talks that were given about sustaining. 

After sustaining the new stake presidency Elder Schwitzer had an amazing talk about the Book of Mormon. It was just an all around great day yesterday! 

Things are going great and I am just so grateful to be here in Texas! It is a wonderful place! I would just invite yall to keep look and praying to be able to strengthen the wards that you live in and seek out friends and help them feel God love for them. I promise you as you do these things you will experience so much joy with in your lives. I know that to be true because I see it from day to day. I love being a missionary and I wouldn't change it for anything! 

Well I hope y'all have a wonderful week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, October 6, 2014

Conference was the BEST!!!

So this last week was a great week! We started it off with a great MLC with all the mission leaders. And it was great because we brought up a lot of great discussions  on different things we are working on as a mission and how we can accomplish those things. All of the leaders were participating which was making it a great revelatory experiences as we came to conclusions of what we should do to be more effective. 

Alot of the week was interviews with the different missionaries. So we would help present training as President interviews each missionary. Now 3 months ago when we did this it was a bit more exhausting. And the reason for that was we taught the entire training which was about 4 hours long, and we did the same training 26 times over the course of 11 days. Luckily this time around we are giving a much smaller training. And it is also much more hands on. We do peer reviews for lesson outlines as well a lot of role playing. We have been trying to help many of the missionary become more  effective through working with members and also setting meaningful and realistic goals. Now we have split the training between us and the zone leaders and sister training leaders.   

Wednesday was our first day that we did interviews and we got there about 1 hour late. We had to run to the mission office real quick to pick up some supplies for other missionaries. And right outside the mission office was a guy that had high centered his car. Hafer rd. is a very small road, and on the side it has ditches that go down about feet. And so we decided that we would get out and try to help him move his car up. So we were in our suits in a ditch trying to help this person. And this guy only spoke Spanish so we had a harder time communicating. Just the two of us were able to move the car forward about 10 feet, and we had the car in a spot that it would be easier to push out. So we also called two more missionaries that lived in our same apartment and they came and helped. We had some police officers that drove by and then turned around to come and help with traffic. But we were able to get this car out safely, it just took a little longer than we expected. 

It was cool because the Spanish elders were able to get the guys information, and then the police officer that was helping direct came and talked with us. She invited us to this big police department/ community party. She said they would do a little barbecue and then we would be able to meet new people. So that was a great way to start the morning. We got to interviews, had mud on our shoes and suit pants, and we were ready to go train on effective member missionary work! :)

The rest of the week was just more interview sessions until Friday. We were able to leave the 2nd interview session early so we could go to a ward service project. We went over to a library near the temple and helped set up tables and chairs and other things for this event called Creek Fest. It basically is a big event where kids can come and then they can do arts and crafts. We were able to serve there for about 3 hours. 

Our mission is really wanting to emphasize being out in the community more each week doing meaningful service. Also the church has just come out with a new website that is called justserve.org. And it is a website where you can find all kinds of different service opportunities. It is so great because of the fact that when we are out serving people recognize us and talk with us. When we serve we do not openly proselytize. If someone asks us questions then we can freely answer. But while were were serving we are just as happy as can be! 

And it was funny because we were having a great time serving and talking with people, and the person who was head over the service project came up to me and said, " who are you people? Y'all are just so nice and friendly and you work hard?" It was so simple but we were just able to explain how we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and then explained how we just love service opportunities and helping out in any possible way that we can! They expressed to us how grateful they were, and it was just a great experience.

And then to just finish off the week we were able to watch general conference! This is like my favorite time each year! I love being able to sit down and listen to what he prophets and apostles teach us. I know I came out of all the session just feeling so motivated and happy! And there were a couple of great themes that I was able to see! I loved how much they talked about prophets and apostles and sustaining them. There were so many talks that discussed that. There were also many talked about gaining this testimony through studying the scriptures and then asking God. 

Now through out the sessions we were able to have a couple of people who are not of our faith join us for general conference. And specifically one of the girls we have met with a couple times came. And before hand she said she didn't really have any basic belief in God. And so then right at the end of conference when Elder Bednar spoke it was just the cherry on top. He did such a great job at discussing the role of missionaries and why members invite their friends. I also just love the boldness of his talk and the love that you could feel as he spoke. 

I just have such a strong testimony about prophets and apostles! I know that they Gods mouthpiece here on the earth and are the way that we can learn more full how to stay on the path that leads back to the presence of our Father in Heaven. I love the idea that Elder Neil Anderson talked about in his talk about how for those who may not have a testimony of Joseph Smith, now is the time to get one. And he also explained how  can also strengthen our testimony of Joseph Smith. 

I loved the idea of how he said to read Joseph Smith History, and record it as you read and listen to it time and time again. And then read then how as we read the Book of Mormon we and pray with a sincere heart we can come to the knowledge that Joseph Smith was a Prophet here in the last days. This is something that I am going to try to do. I have a strong testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but the great thing is we can always strengthen our testimonies that much more! I would just invite each of you to strengthen your testimony of prophets and apostles. 

There is a variety of ways to do this. You can start by doing just as Elder Anderson counseled and read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. You can also then read the Book of Mormon as a family and pray to ask God if Joseph Smith was a Prophet. I promise you as you do this that you will come to the knowledge and and even stronger knowledge that Christ's original church was established back to the Earth through Joseph, I know this to be true. 

I also promise you as you make this a priority in your families and as y'all strive to do this that you will find more peace and happiness with in your families. And you will  know with an even greater knowledge that we are being led by a living modern day prophet and apostles! That is so comforting to know! I am so grateful for this knowledge and I know that to be true! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet the Mormons!

Hey everyone! I hope you have had a great week! Things here have been going great! There is not a ton to report on this week, but we have had a couple of great opportunities. A lot of this week has also been us getting ready for these up coming interviews that will take place these next 3 weeks. So a lot of time has gone into making those plans. 

 So this last week we did something that the mission has seen before!  We had a couple days where we went through the mission and watched a movie!! Now this wasn't just any ordinary movie. We got to watch the new movie that will come out October 10th called, Meet The Mormons! The missionary department got in contact with President Mortensen this about 2 weeks ago. And they requested that all the missionaries watch this movie so that when it does come out, we as missionaries can be able to answer questions. 

Now the movie will not be used as a proselyting tool. We as missionaries have been asked to not proselyte at or near movie theaters. We want this to be a way for people to learn a little more about  why we live the way we do! It is such a great movie!! We were able to go and watch it 3 times as we went around the mission. We were asked to set up and take down all of the equipment for it. We watched it in different church buildings around the Houston area, and we watched it through a internet link sent to us by the missionary department. And can I just tell how well this movie was done! Its a documentary that goes through the lives of 6 different families who are members of the church. And it just really helps to clear up a lot of  misconceptions about the church. 

It was also cool because while  President Mortensen was in the MTC, he watched this film. And after they also were able to hear from a couple of different focus groups that talked about there thoughts on the film. And about 74% of them said that they would recommend and take their friends to go and see it! And many non members said they would be more willing to have missionaries in there home after seeing it! 

I would just like to invite each of you to go and watch it when it comes out! I promise you that you will absolutely love it! And please go and see it with your families and also invite all your friends. It is also great because the the money from it goes straight to the red cross. We are encouraged to invite members to go see it so that it can stay in the theaters and give more opportunities for people to see it. Please make it a priority to see it! You won't be disappointed! Like I said I was able to watch it 3 times and each time I loved it that much more! So please again if your have the chance go and see it!  Here is a link to a trailer for it.

Other than that this week we have had the chance to meet with a Kevin a couple of times! He has been reading in the Book of Mormon a lot more this week which has been great! That is really what he needs to help him overcome the obstacles he is going through. And he has even recognized that himself!  We have also been able to get more members involved in helping teach and fellowship.So I think that has been helping him also to have a great support system.  But we will continue to meet with him and help him out in a possible way that we can. 

We are also continuing to get in the homes with different members and help them find ways they can get more involved with missionary work. And the member excitement has just been incredible! We are getting about 1000 members+ each week to commit to help with the work!  And it is just based on what they feel they can do to help. I just know the Lord  is hastening his work so much at this time! I love it! 

(Us with a member this week after we went to teach Kevin)
Sunday we also went and sat in on some Stake Correlation meetings. We were in meetings most of the day but it was very much worth it! We had the stake presidency, zone leaders and some of the high counselors that usually meet in there meetings. The mission President will also go, but this time he had the mission presidency and us come along. We were able to discuss some of the revelation he had received from the last mission president seminar. And as we discussed with with this council it was just incredible. Both meetings the councils came out with a action plan to get started on how they can get themselves more involved and make things more effective! It just gets me all pumped once I start talking about it! 

Things are going very well, and I am just also so excited to be able to listen to general conference this coming weekend. I just know that I will be able to receive answers and be spiritually nourished as I got and listen to the words of the prophets and apostles. I just want to extent a promise to y'all in preparation for this conference. If you are looking for an answer to a question or concern you have in your life, then prayerfully listen to the speakers this week during general conference. Start with a prayer and specifically asked our Father in Heaven to bless you with the answers you came with. As you do this and your really strive to listen with your spiritual ears, then Heavenly Father will bless you with those answers, and he will make them know unto you through the Holy Ghost. I know that to be true and I promise that to you as a Called representative of Jesus Christ! I have done this every conference and I know that it works! 

I am just so happy to be a missionary at this time, and I know the Lord will continue to hasten his work! I know that as we are as effective as we can he will bless us and help us to become instruments in his hands to bring about much good. I know that to be true! I know that we are being led by a prophet on the earth today, and that God continues to ​reveal truths to His us because he loves us! I know that to be true! 

Well I hope y'all have a wonderful week! 
Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Put your shoulder to the wheel...because it's go time!

Received on September 22nd.

Dang this last week has been one of the most epic weeks!!!! We have just been able to to teach so much this week, and we have just had some incredible things going on here in the mission and especially in the area! So this week I will just highlight to great things that happened. 

But a last week think I mentioned how our mission president went to a mission presidents seminar. And he was able to get some great revelation on what the mission needed. And it really just focused on planning and working more effectively in ward council. And so we have been working harder to get better at that. This last week we took a lot of time having a very in depth study and planning session that was entirely focused on the people who we are teaching. 

As missionaries it is so easy to get sucked into thinking more about numbers for your goals and just making ideas that have no action plan to them. We we spent so much more time coming up with effective action plans for what we were going to do! And that really is what helped us have such an incredible week! Over the past few months we have been so busy with trying to get our administrative things done we haven't really been able to give all our time and attention to our assigned proselyting area. And we also had discussed ways to try to get the ward council more involved. 

A couple weeks ago when we met with them we were able to bring an idea that Elder L. Tom Perry came up with in 2009. It  is called the ward mission process which long story short is where the ward council comes up with a list of names. Now from this list each auxiliary leader choose five names and delegates people to go an reach out and invite them to take lessons from the missionaries. Then later they report back to the ward council, and the missionaries go over and start teaching and get referrals from the families. And it is this constant cycle. It is very effective when it is done right.  

And at the time when this idea was brought up to the bishop he shot it down pretty quick. He was worried that we were trying to reinvent the wheel. But we had one Ward missionary who was with us that used this in his mission and he was really pushing for it because of how effective it was. With that being said that kinda sets us up for how our week went. 

Tuesday night we were invited by this same ward missionary to go to a meeting with him and the high councilor over missionary work up in the Spring Stake. And we met with him and just had this great talk with him about the ward mission. We taught him all about this plan and how it works. Now many people have heard of the plan before, but they haven't been able to fully connect the dots with how it is fully suppose to work to get the missionaries and the members involved together. So we met with him for about 1 1/2 hours. And by the time we were done talking he was stoked about ward mission plan, and he wants to start training all the ward mission leaders in the stake on how to use this great tool from Elder Perry. So we are going to really try to get this going in our mission. 

Wednesday and Friday were just epic teaching days for us! Literally both of those days went like this. In the morning we went in the office after studies just to get a couple little administrative things done. And then for the rest of the day we had appointment after appointment after appointment! It was just teaching all day! We have had a couple of just amazing teaching experiences this week! We got 2 new interested investigators. And both of them have been member referrals. 

I also mentioned in previous emails about Kevin. Kevin has a strong desire to do what is right and has brought up baptism again. He just has some different obstacles with some drug addictions that he is working with right now.  And he has told us how much he wants to stop, but it is just to hard for him. So we taught him on Weds about the Book of Mormon in depth and he committed to read it. And when we came back on Friday he read a small part of the chapter we assigned to him, but other than that he didn't read. So we said we wouldn't go on to the next lesson until we make sure he is keeping commitments. So we read with him out of Alma 36. And chapter related so well to him and as we discussed it he really tried to apply this chapter to him, and how he could find relief. He said that he wanted to continue to read more from the Book of Mormon and learn what it said. 

We also asked him if he wanted a priesthood blessing. And he said yes. We were able to give the blessing and the spirit was so strong! We had a return missionary who has been coming and helping fellow ship Kevin, and she mentioned that the lesson was great the spirit was just as strong! It was cool seeing Keven come out of these appts just as happy as could be! Already in the short time we have met with him his countenance has changed! The gospel is already beginning to bring this strong spirit into his life.

We are also meeting with an investigator named William. We met him through going through the ward list, and he is the friend of one of the members. We were able to teach him on Friday also and he connected the dots so well with the restoration! I have never seen anyone put the dots together so well with a lesson! So there looks like there will be some great potential, but he has some different obstacles he will have to over come also. But it will be good! 

Ok now Thursday was alot of planning but as well a great meeting with our bishop! We went to go and meet with him about the ward and maybe ways we can better help the ward. And it was a great meeting! This one turned into  a 2 hour meeting. And we went over the ward mission process again, and after we went more in depth with it and taught him about it he was all over it! He was so excited to get going! It was so funny because he  stated his last concern right at the end. And he said," now that I understand this, I only have once concern. Will you have enough time to teach all these people." And Elder Hillebrant and I turned and looked at each other and then back to bishop and said, "Bishop that a good problem to have" and then we explained how we will do splits also to get all the work done! I wish I could go more into detail, but I am running out of time and it was just an awesome meeting! Bishop committed himself to read chapter 13 in preach my gospel, and he is also going to commit the whole ward council to read it! The work is seriously picking up so much more! As our mission president always says, "Its go time!!!

Saturday was all day of just being out and committing members to do missionary work! We got 5 different commitments from members. And so now we have it all written down and we are just going out and follow up now! We have also been committing members now to bare there testimony in sacrament meeting when we here they are having great missionary experiences! So the whole ward is just getting really excited! 

Sunday was also dang epic because we had church! And then had a great correlation meeting where we brought up all of the needs of our investigators as well as brought up the idea of the ward mission process. And we got the ward mission leaders on board and now we are beginning to move forward. From what we have heard the bishopric has already come up with the list. So now we are working with the auxiliary leaders to pick names and delegate members to reach out to them. It really is so much better if members reach out, because sometimes LA members view the missionaries as the "church police" so many times they don't want to talk with us. But when a member reaches out to these members they are much more welcoming. And they also then have a friend to be there for them which is a direct link to the ward. And when we are able to get in and start teaching and strengthening the members, referrals will begin to come and the work will just continue to take off! 

If you can't tell this kinda stuff gets  me all fired up! I am just so excited to see where it goes. And they actually just announced the formation of another new stake here in our mission. It will be called the Woodlands stake. So that was great to hear!  

  We have also started a new thing in the mission. We are now doing mission president fireside. And that was last night! It was such a spiritual experience. It was a mix between a missionary choir of almost 100, Mormon messages, testimonies from recent converts in the mission, and then President and Sister Mortensen Speaking! It was such a powerful night! We had Kevin come to it, and there was actually a point where he went and talked with President Mortensen. They had a great discussion. 

And I forgot to mention this a little bit earlier, but Kevin also came to church. And the reason why he has been struggling to come to church is because with the drugs he would always wake up sick. And he would begin to go through the withdrawals. But he told us that since the blessing he has had no desire to do it anymore. And so he was at church and and came to the fireside and talked with president Mortensen. And it was great because President really talked with him and helped him to understand that if he really does want to get fully away from his addiction he needed to continue reading in the Book of Mormon, and he needed to pray sincerely and really rely on God. He said it wouldn't be the easiest thing to fully get away from but as he continues to work hard God will bless him for his efforts. 

I just want to bear my testimony on the great miracles that have been seen this week. I know that God does still work miracles! He has been helping Kevin to not feel sick as he goes through the withdrawals. And that blessing has been working according to his faith. As he has read the Book of Mormon, and as he has really prayed and relied on God, he has been blessed and I know that he will be healed! I know so many times God wants to bless us and help us, but we again just need to fully rely on Him, and trust fully in His timing for things. I also bear witness that the Lord is continuing to hasten his work!  I have seen this so much even in just this last week! Aren't we so blessed to be able to be apart of it! I know I am blessed to be apart of it! 

It is because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I have found lasting joy in my life! I know how much it can mean to others! That is why I am out here sharing it! I want others to find relief from the things in this world! The gospel of Jesus Christ can defiantly do that for them! I know that to be true! I would again just invite you to prayerfully search for missionary opportunities! You may be going through trials or feel that you don't have enough time for it. But I promise you if you commit to the Lord you want to share this message with someone else, and that you want to help strengthen his children, he will provide the way for you to share the gospel, as well as accomplish the things you need to get done! I know that to be true, and I know he will bless you! 

Also just begin to be prayerful about how to share it. And as you do this and your prepare for General Conference that is coming up Heavenly Father will reveal to you through the spirit on what things you can do. I promise you that as a called representative of Jesus Christ.

You can see how the fireside went by going to the mission blog. They even have a short video from it!  

Well I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen