Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This is God's Work

This week has been a long week, but so full of miracles! I will just start off with what happened on Tuesday.

So Tuesday we started out day out with studies and with some training things that needed to get done. Well right after this we decided to go out and go around to get Elder Deluca introduced to the members in the area. So we went out and tried to meet with a list of families in our ward we wanted to get him introduced to. So we were able to get in with a couple of the families that we wanted and we shared our mission standards with them, and committed them to pray to know if they are true, and to pray to have missionary experiences. 

So after this we had to run to the apartment because I needed to call the mission office and report some numbers that they wanted. We decided to go check on some referrals after this and while on our way to one of the referrals, we passed one of our member on the road and followed them to there house to talk to them. We talked with Sister Prows because one of the referrals we got lived over by her house. And she was telling us about the referral and about some of her neighbors that she will be trying to have missionary experiences with. Sister Prows told us about one of her neighbors that found out they had brain tumor. And she said that she was going to talk to them and see if they needed help with anything. And she said  she would call us once she talk to her neighbors. 

After talking with her we went to check on the other referrals and we didn't have any luck getting in with them. We were getting ready to go to a dinner appt and wanted to go also check in with a less active member in our ward that we didn't really know. So right as we were getting ready to go talk with him our phone rang, and Sister Prows told us right after we left she went inside to get the key to check her mail, and then went out and saw the neighbor that was struggling. She asked if the neighbor wanted to have a priesthood blessing. And the neighbor said she would like that. 

Later that night we were able to go over, and my two companions stayed at the Prows home, and I was asked by brother and sister Prows to go and help out with the blessing so it wouldn't be so many people showing up. And this experience was truly one of the coolest experiences I have had on my mission. I watched as Brother Prows sat down with his neighbor. And he explained how Jesus Christ came to this earth and preformed many miracles while he was hear. He healed the sick, caused the blind to see, and even raised the dead. So many great things he did! And he told her that through her faith and through that authority we held she could be healed. 

Well I was able to anoint her head with the oil and Brother Prows sealed it. And the spirit was so strong while we were there. There were some cool things that were said, and she defiantly felt the spirit. I am so grateful for the priesthood. I know that it is truly Gods power here on Earth to help serve others, and to help others return back to our Heavenly Father. It is by that authority that baptism and other saving ordinances can be preformed so that we can return to live with God someday. I know that is true.

Wednesday wasn't quite as exciting. I sat in an office for 3 hours with my Zone Leader Companion and we prepared for stake correlation. So during that time our companions were out between the two areas. But it was a good experience for 3 new missionaries to go out together and invite others to come unto Christ. 

Thursday we had weekly planning, and then we went around to visit with a couple of different members. But that night we were able to meet with one of our investigators named Andrellia. She was a referral from the Conroe Sisters. We were teaching her the plan of Salvation and it was a good lesson. We invited her to be baptized,and she accepted for March 29th. We will probably be handing her over to the sisters here. 

But after I went on a split with our Ward mission leader Brother Harris, and he said during that lesson he could feel the spirit. He had his daughter there and was trying to keep her quiet. But he said he knew when we were testifying because he just felt the spirit so strong! It just really goes to show how much the spirit takes part in the conversion process. I know that through the spirit lives can be changed and others can experience a change of heart. It was so great to experience. The couple appts we had scheduled fell through, so we are going to go again tonight so we can get those done. 

Friday me and my zone leader comp did something different. Instead of going to our district meeting, we decided that we will start to go to the other districts in the zone. So we traveled to the Conroe district that day. We got there at 1015 and district meetings was to start at 1030. We saw the Conroe sisters and they asked why we were there. We told them what we were doing, and then they laughed and said district meeting didn't start till 1130. Well me and my companion didn't want to sit down for an hour and wait so we decided to go our finding. We got some cards, opened with a prayer and went out. 

We walked up this road and saw that there was a Walmart. So we went around and asked people if they needed any help as well as we invited people to learn. We also walked in and tried to see if anyone would come and talk to us. Well we were able to talk with just a few people but we grabbed some food real quick so we would be able to get back to our areas after. And while checking out we also put a copy of The Book of Mormon with the food and she picked it up and she just looked at it and asked what it was. And we were able to talk to her about and she actually seemed interested, and so we got a referral for the Conroe Sisters. So that was a huge miracles to us. It just shows that when you put the Lord first and you do all that you can to serve, God will put people who are prepared in your path! I know this is true and I know that goes for any of us looking for experiences to share the gospel.

Saturday we went to a baptism for a investigator I got to help teach a couple times in the Woodlands ward. And that was good. Baptisms are always where you can feel the spirit. And then the reset of the day we went around and visited members. That night we had dinner with a family and asked them to pray at the end of the lesson and to ask to have someone placed in our path that is prepared for the gospel. We went to the mall after and started to try and talk with people. Half way through I got a call that I  needed to return. So we went to sit on a couch by one of the stores. I sat on the end and sat a guy on the other side of me. I sat on the side on purpose to try and put my new companions in a position where they could work together to share the gospel. 

So they started to talk to him and he was interested in learning more. So after the phone call I pulled up another couch, and we pretty much taught him the plan of salvation and restoration. We read about the atonement in Alma Chapter 7, and we pointed out that Jesus Christ didn't just suffer for our sins, but he also suffered for all of our pains afflictions, temptations and sickness. And because he has felt that for everyone he is able to help us out. And that really got him thinking. We gave him a copy of the book of Mormon and right as we were going to ask him to read his sister came out of a store and he had to leave right then. So we weren't able to get his number but it was just the answer the the prayer of the members. 

We truly had someone who was prepared put in our path tonight. I know that is true and I am grateful for the chances I get to see miracles everyday! God is a God of miracles. As we show our faith and have open minds and eyes.. We will see them. 

Sunday I had Stake correlation and it is great to see how much love the stake presidency has for the stake. I know that this is the case always. But during these meetings they really discuss what ways we can help the members, and how we can help the recent converts. It is such a great blessing to be able to see this and participate in it. 

That morning we also had a great missionary meeting with the ward auxiliaries. We set some great goals for missionary work in this area for the coming year. And then we had church and had some of the less actives families we are working with come. 

I love this great and glorious work I am involved in. I now that as we reach out and help all of Gods Children we can bless there lives and bring them close to Jesus Christ. "I am disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." 3rd Nephi 5:13 I know this is our divine calling as members of the church. This is our goal to help all of Gods children return home. I know this is true. And I have come to this knowledge through diligent scripture study and prayer. 

Please look for these opportunities. They will bless your life and the life of others. I know this is true and I bare witness of it in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

I hope all y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another week in The Woodlands!

 Hey! Things have been going well, it has been kind of a crazy week, but we have seem some cool miracles! So Monday we did our preparing for the week, and we had dinner with one of the ward members in our ward, and our investigator named Ben came with us. He connected really well with this family, and had a good lesson that night. 

  Tuesday was the day of transfers, so we weren't expecting to go up because we hadn't heard anything about us needing to be there. We were getting ready to start our personal study, and then about 10 min before 8:00am we got a call from the other Elders in our District, and they said that we needed to be at there apartment and needed to go with them to transfers! They got a call in the morning saying they needed to go and they needed us to go with them. So we grabbed our stuff and we went over and went down with them to transfers. But on the way to there apartment and we got a call from the assistants and they asked if we would be willing to train another missionary. And we accepted the opportunity to train, and then went down to transfers. 

The other zone leader got transferred out, so they called a brand new one, and I will be training him on how to do the zone leader stuff here in the stake. So once we dropped Elder Stewart off, we left and we were with Elder Neville. For Tuesday and Wednesday we were over 3 different wards! So the good news is we were super busy! We were teaching investigators in there wards, and a lot of inactive members in our ward. 
We taught one of there investigators named Angel both of the days that we were together. He will be getting baptized this next week, and so that was cool to be able to take part in teaching him. 

Also that day we went to a less active member in the Woodlands ward, and there was an older man that needed some help with brushing down his pool. And so I was able to help him out. It was a quick job, but it was fun to be able to help him out. He looked at me and asked if I had done it before, and I told him that I did that kind of stuff for 3 summers at a pool that I worked at.  

We were still between the 3 wads, so we were nice and busy. We did get to go back to Randy's house again and teach him the rest of the commandments. He has been working really hard to quit smoking since we met with him last. I know that as he continues to show his faith to the Lord that he will be able to over come this. He also loves coming to church, and has continued to come and stay for all 3 hours! 

That night we met with another investigator in The Woodlands ward named Jose. He was so kind, and he had a lot of great questions. We also had there ward mission leader come with us and help us out. We taught him the plan of salvation, and it was a good lesson! The spirit was strong, and we taught it simply and did our best to help him understand. In the beginning it was a bit hard because his dog was all over the place barking and knocking stuff over, but overall it was a good lesson. Having there ward mission leader there was so good, he bore really sincere testimony and it helped the lesson so much. It strengthened my testimony on how much a member can help out in a lesson. 

So today we went and picked our new companion. And his name is Elder DeLuca. So me and Elder Peterson will be training him. I will finish Elder Petersons training this transfer, and then we will both help with Elder DeLuca. But he will be a great missionary. Both of my companions are really good. I can see the work really getting ready to hasten in this area. 

So after we got back from picking up our trainees, we went over to our bishops neighbors house. His neighbors name is Roy Stone, and he has a big putting green in his back yard, and we went over along with the sisters and bishop and had a little competition with him. It was fun, and the winner of that would take on bishop and Roy.  Well I was lucky and I ended up winning and so I moved on to play against Roy and Bishop, and it was fun and it was close, but I finally got warmed up to his green and started doing a lot better! 

Well it was a good activity and we got to know Roy better. After he asked me to give the thought because I won. Bishop talked with him before hand, and told him that as missionaries we go out and invite others to come unto Christ. So we sat down and we just talked to him about Christ's atonement. It was a good little discussion. He was asking us questions and he said that we could come back and talk with him some more. So that will be cool!

We had district meeting,and we went and helped bishop out with something, and then from there we went and taught the plan of salvation to a family in our ward that was struggling a bit. And that went over really well and we talked to them about what we could do to help them. But after that we were getting ready for dinner, and the member that was making us dinner ended up just bringing the food to us, and then we got to talk to her a bit. She is one of the members that is coming back to activity and you can tell that things have been going better for her since she has come back.  

And then to finish the night we went and met with our Ward mission leader. And we were able to share the mission standards with him, and the spirit was really strong. They said that they would pray for people who they could introduce the gospel to. 

So today we went and just visited members, and tried to get in with a bunch of less actives. We have been getting Elder DeLuca introduced to everyone. And we were actually able to get back into Brother Marshburns house! That was such a blessing to be able to get back in again.  More and more lately we have been able to get in and help in out with things. So that has been a huge blessing! We are just seeing a huge reactivation effort going on here in the ward right now! It is so great!


I always look forward to Sundays. I love being able to partake of the sacrament and renew my covenants and to be able to just feel peace and happiness. So that has been good. And then we met with Morgan and he said that he will be going to church this next week with us. We sat down and had a lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also focused on priesthood authority. But it turned out to be a great lesson! And that was just overall a great week. We finished the night with street contacting on the water way and we have 2 new potential investigators, so we will see how it goes.

I know that his gospel is true. I am so glad to be apart of this church and able to be our hear and share this happy message! I can't think of anything else better than being able to share this message! I love being here, and I just am so grateful for the opportunity I have be here in the College Park Ward. This is a great ward, and I am excited to see the work move forward. I know that this is our Heavenly Fathers work, and as we include him in everything that we will be able to be lead and guided in our lives! Please continue to look for opportunities to serve! They are out there! 

Well hope yall have a great week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

I am staying at least one more transfer!!

This week has been filled with more miracles and great opportunities to serve! Monday we just had our preparation day. 

I had MLC, so I went up and met with all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders and with the mission president and we had another meeting and talked about the training that will be presented for this month. But we had a great discussion on light and darkness. And we read alot out  Doctrine and Covenants sections 50 and 93. They had some great scriptures in them. But one of the main things we talked about was how we can add more light into our missionary work in out areas. And I wish I could describe the conversation we had better, but I can't. The spirit was so strong and just had an incredible lesson.  

But some of the ways that we talked about applying this lesson in our work are, things like obedience to the rules. As we are obedient we are able to receive blessing and are able to see more miracles in our life. We also talked about how we can add more light by keeping things clean. Whether it be the apartment or the car, or anything like that, that is how we can receive more light into our lives.  After this we went straight in to our role play and me and Elder Stewart really seem to teach well together, and we had a great role play. But it was good to be able to hear the things that were taught there. 

After that we traveled back and we started planning on how we would present this training at our zone meeting. So after a couple hours of throwing ideas back and forth we were able to come up with a good lesson plan on how to present this training. And we came up with a fun activity that would catch all of the missionaries by surprise. Also that night we went to the mall and street contacted and taught like 3 different lessons! It was such a blessing. We were able to talk to some different people because members would stop us if they worked at stores and invite us to come and talk to there friends. 

We volunteered at at PCI and we were able to get alot of stuff done that day. But after we volunteered that morning we went aback to our apartment and we changed and got ready to go teach a lesson to Randy. So we taught him the first half of the commandments, but we really emphasized the word of wisdom. And it went over really well. He committed to stop smoking, and we gave him a priesthood blessing. He really is continuing to have a desire to change and come closer to Christ. 

We went over to the bishops house and helped him with some things he needed, and boiled some deer skulls with him. But this is always been good because we sit down and talk about the missionary work that is going on here in the college park ward! But it was good, and we were able to have a really good lesson with bishop after. We talked to him about our new mission standards to baptize weekly and he is ready! He wants to find a way to really get the members to act on the promptings they have. I know that as we continue to come together as the members and the missionaries, then this work will move forward so much! I know that this is true! So the spirit was there and now bishop is even more excited to get the work moving forward! And tonight we saw another big miracle! 

We went and knocked on Brother Marshburns house, and he let us in. This was the first time I have seen him in  a while, and he was excited to see me and we talked alot again. For those who don't remember James Marshburn worked for my grandpa years ago and actually knows alot of my family! And so we were able to share stories. He talked about how he always felt like he was apart of the family. And I looked at him and told him that he will always be apart of our family. And I think that really helped him. He opened up even more and we just had a great discussion! But that was such a miracle as well! 

We had zone meeting, and I was conducting this time. And the meeting went really well. We always seem to be very short on time, but it was still a great meeting. The big part of the training was on inviting people and helping them keep commitments. I know it can be hard, but I know that when we are able to help investigators and members keep commitments there are able to be blessed. They open up doors that will bless there lives forever. So after this we did the role play and I was just going from group to group and giving advice where I could. But at the end we gave all the missionaries a pen and paper and told them that there was a picture we drew on the board in the gym that they would go in and draw. 

So we told them they had a couple min and then they started to go into the gym. They sat down and then we turned the chalk board around and the missionaries saw if for about 3 seconds and then all the lights turned off. We told them they needed to draw it in the dark and add as much detail as they could to it. And then after the couple minutes were up we had them draw it in the light and see the difference. We then compared this back to the training given in the meeting we had.  But that was a great lesson and it turned out to be a great day. We were able to get in with some different families and teach lessons to them.

Today was a day where we saw more miracles. We went and got in with different families. We wanted to go check up on randy though and so we went and knocked on his door and he wasn't home. But then I remembered an apartment we wanted to go knock on and check from a previous referral in the last year and we knocked on it and it was a whole family of less active members that wanted to start coming back to church. That was such a huge blessing! We talked with them for a bit and they said they wanted to come back. And so we told them we have church at 11 and they said there are going to really try to start coming. 

And then we got there information and brought there records into our ward. But right after we left, we ran in to another less active family who is also wanting to come back to activity. So we taught them a lesson also! It was a great day! We are seeing so many opportunities to help reactivate members! This is just as big and important as helping someone get to the gates of baptism. So I know that as we continue to do this that we will be blessed and we will continue to see the hand of the lord in our lives! So please look for opportunities to serve those around you!

We had meetings all morning, but they went very well. And then church is always a blessing. It is one of the best parts of the week to be able to sit down and to partake of the sacrament and renew the promises with my Heavenly Father. I always feel peace and just feel happy every Sunday after coming out of church. And then the rest of the evening we went around and taught the missionary lessons to different members. I love seeing when members get excited to do missionary work. It is such a great blessing, and I know that once they get more involved the work will move forward, and we will be able to continue to see the work hasten here and in the places we live! 

I know this is true. I have seen this through out my mission. Members influence the work so much so please pray for the missionaries in your area and for missionary experiences. And if you do I promise you that you will be able to have incredible experiences and the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared!

I hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, February 3, 2014

Follow the Promptings of the Spirit

Howdy Y'all!!

Things this week have been pretty good! We have had a very blessed week. So starting with Monday, we had some members sign up on our dinner Calendar to feed us that night, but at the same time bishop really wanted to have us over that night, and asked to see if we could have the other family switch him days. So we were trying to switch days, but then I found out that they would be having a less active member over that we have been trying to meet with for months now. So I felt that the impression to meet with them,  So what we ended up doing was we went on splits. 

My companion stayed with the Bishop and the other missionaries, and I ended up going over to this other families home to have family home evening with them. We had a good dinner, and then I ended up kinda teaching solo cause I was with the members on the split. But the less active member was participating in the lesson, and it was really good. We went over the Doctrine of Christ with him, and actually had a really good discussion. So I was glad I was able to help them out that night. I know it was defiantly what I needed to do that night to best fulfill my purpose as a missionary.

We had dinner with one of our investigators Ben. After we ate, we sat down and watched the restoration video on Joesph Smith. The spirit was there, and I think it really helped Ben out. He has talked about how he wants to make sure that he is doing this for himself, and not because of the members. And we are so glad he understands that. We then talked to him about how he could find out for himself if that was something that God would want him to do. And he looked at us and said, "Well I guess I need to be reading the Book of Mormon more. And then we told him that is exactly how he would be able to find out for himself. So we committed him to keep reading, and we will continue to help him out the best that we can. 

Also that day we had an opportunity to meet with a new investigator that we have. Her name is Andrellia  and she is so prepared. We had a great first lesson with her, and are excited to see her progress. She had so many great and sincere questions. We may end up handing her off to the sisters though. She is mid 20's, and it would be easier for the sisters to meet and teach her so that may be the next step.

We had the opportunity to go to the temple on Weds, and I just love going there so much! I can't even explain how much joy and peace it brings in to my life. The Spirit is so strong there, and I love being able to go and find answers to prayers. And I love the knowledge that comes from the temple, and knowing that families can be together forever. This is truly a blessing in my life! 

Well after the temple, we had an appointment with Randy D. He is the one who has been coming back to church. And we were able to have a really good discussion with him. He explained to us some of the concerns that he is having, but overall he really wants to continue coming! He is seeing how much of a difference comes from going to church. And I know that is so true. 

Church is the great chance when can go and partake of the sacrament, and renew those precious covenants or promises with God. That is where we can continually feel as clean as we do when we decide to get baptized. God loves us so much and that is why he has given us the doctrine of Christ to make us happy! It is his way to bless our lives as well as our families! 

We had weekly planning, but then that day we got a call from some members that needed some help with some stuff.  So we went over to there house and helped them for about one and a half hours. By the time we finished we went back to our apartment to finish our weekly planning. But that night we went to the mall, and we could see the tender mercies of the Lord. 

My companion and I were having a bit of a rough time, because we didn't have a lot of teaching opportunities that day. But that night we were going through the mall trying to talk with some people. And we had some members stop us and thank us for what we were doing. They said that they could tell there was something different about us. They said something that really made me feel good and feel of the love that my Heavenly Father has for me. They said "even in the mall, where it is loud and crazy things going on, the Spirit shined through us and all the people that see us could recognize it. They said they saw us walking towards them and they could just feel something different when we walked towards them. And that was such a blessing to me. 

It goes to show that if we are doing whats right we can have the Spirit with us. And we can make any place a place where we can know of the love God has for us.That helped me and my companion out so much that night and I am grateful for the chance we had to be able to talk with them and share a lesson on Jesus Christ with them. The Spirit was just so strong where were and it was just and incredible feeling!

We had a good district meeting, and then we just went around trying to visit with different members that day. Alot of people were gone or busy this day, but that night we just walked around a big park and also went back to the mall to street contact. But we had someone recognize us and they ran from one of the stores to catch us. They saw we were missionaries! 

They were asking us questions about what we believed about Joseph Smith. And so we were able to teach her about the restoration. And she wanted to have a copy of the Book of Mormon, so we gave that to her and gave her our number. So hopefully she will will read it and then give us a call. She seemed pretty interested though. But it just goes to show as we continue to show our faith to the lord, he will put people in our path who are ready to hear the gospel. The mall is been a blessing because of the lessons we have been able to teach there! 

We went and met with a member who has been going through a bit of a hard time, but we got to see how he was doing. He is such a great and faithful member! But then we went to help a less active sister and her family. She needed help moving a bed into her sons apartment, and originally we thought it would just take like and hour or two because she wanted to feed us also. So by the time we got the service done it was close to 6:00pm and it was a bit of a long day because there was alot of arguing going on with the family and it was hard to feel the Spirit. 

But we kept trying to help in any way we could, and at the end of the night we asked if we could share a lesson on the Book of Mormon. And then the Spirit took over and the less active sister started asking us questions, and we were better able to help her understand. And for some reason after one of the questions I asked started sharing our missionary purpose. And then I connected it in with that is why it is important that we go to church. And it just totally clicked for her. 

She understood that she needed to start going to church again, and she told us how she had a desire to go through the temple and started asking us how can I get back on the right track so I can go through and we talked with her and had a super spiritual discussion. I know that because of the Spirit we were able to help her. 

This whole week I have seen how the influence of the Spirit can truly guide each of us in our lives and can help bless the lives of others. I know that is true. So when you receive promptings, make sure to act upon them. When you act you are blessed beyond measure! I now this is true. 

Keep looking for these great opportunities to serve! They are out there! I love y'all and hope you have a truly wonderful week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen