Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Testimony

Hey everyone!!! 
So I will be staying in College Park at least one more transfer!! I feel like I have said that every transfer for the past few months, but I am glad that I am able to stay here. Elder Peterson will be heading out, and I will be helping finish Elder DeLuca's training. 

Temple day with my companions

But I am excited for this next transfer, I feel that we are going to continue to see miracles here in this area! We had another good but busy week this last week! I have a bunch of meeting and things this week, so I was one alot of different exchanges. So we will go ahead and start into the week! 

Monday

We went over to a members home, and was able to teach Chris, a less active member in the ward. The past few times we have met with Chris it has gone pretty well, he would participate in what was being taught. And so we went in and we wanted to teach him the Plan of Salvation, and we were prepared to share that with him. So we started to teach him, and it was going very well, but at the end of it we invited him to pray about the Plan of Salvation and to ask God if it was true! He said he would do it. But he had a question about something and I felt so prompted to share a scripture with him and the spirit was there, and you could tell that he felt it. He was beginning to push back a bit more, and he was trying to take the scripture out of the context it was written in, and he began to start arguing a little bit. We bore out testimonies of what it meant and tried to explain it the best we could, but It just all goes back to what I have been taught and experienced since I have been out. Contention will drive the spirit away in any situation, so sometimes all you can do is bear your testimony and leave it at that! 

I know that testimony is the way the the spirit can work through you to touch the hearts of others. It is the Holy ghost that is able to carry the message into the hearts of Gods Children and it testifies to them and bring those feelings of love and peace. I have seen that so much as I have been out and worked with different people. Testimony is very precious and it  is a powerful tool that we all should seek to strengthen. And the only way we can strengthen our testimony is by living the principles upon which our testimony is set. So if you feel that your testimony is not as strong in a certain principle of the Gospel, I invite you to live the principle and to plead with our Father in Heaven to be strengthened, and I promise that your testimony will grow and you will be blessed for it! 

Tuesday
Tuesday we went out and were just meeting with different members, and then that night we went to mutual to see if our investigator Morgan was with the young men. But he wasn't there. But we were able to see him later in the week which was good. Over all it was a great day.


Wednesday

We went and did our weekly service over at Panther Creek inspirational ranch, and it was good like always! It is such a blessing to be able to work with the kids there and help them out. And then after that we went on a small exchange for the rest of the afternoon. Me and my zone leader companion were preparing reports for Stake Correlation that would take place on Sunday. But then that night we went and walked the water way and tried to talk with the people who were there. 

Sign at Panther Creek

Thursday
We had an early morning with going to the Temple, but it was so worth it! Everytime we go to the temple I just feel so great afterwards! I can't fully explain the way I feel, but I just feel so peaceful and I feel that I am really able to receive answers to my prayers and to questions that I may have. 



Following this we went back to our area and we had  our weekly meeting with Bishop Cheney and then we helped him out with some service things that he needed help with. It is always good to help the bishop out. When we can we do this so we can try and be the missionaries that are helpful to the bishop and the ward! If we are these missionaries then we are able to do more work, and really have the trust of the ward members. After that we did weekly planning and really just trying to include  God in our planning, and see how we can accomplish his work in this area!

Friday
Me and Elder Neville went on exchanges up in the Conroe Wards. The Conroe Elders ended up going to the temple during that day, and so me and Elder Neville were up in there area working. We really wanted to see miracles with finding in these two wards we were working in. So we started working in the Conroe 1st ward and we were just out in different parks and walking around on roads and some busier roads trying to see if we could find people to talk to as we walked. And we truly did see miracles we were able to talk with different people. 

Tracting with Elder Neville

But after doing this for a couple of hours we went back to the Conroe Elders apartment to change into service clothes and we did some service tracting. And we went back to similar areas and knocked on doors and asked if people needed any service done around there home. When we did this people saw that were normal people, and they were more willing to listen to us as we would talk with them. And so because of that we were able to talk with different people and actually by the end o the day we were able to get 3 new referrals for these Elders. So we did experience so many miracles, and they came through faith and diligence. And we showed that by talking with everyone we could. Even just by offering service we were able to help others out. When we do service more people are willing to listen to the message of the Restored Gospel and it can bless so many lives. I know this to be true and we did our best to find those who were prepared for this great message.


Saturday 
We were able to get in with a bunch of different members and see how they were doing and it was a great day. I thought that I was the one who would be leaving this transfer, but I guess I am staying one more! But over all it was a good day! 

Sunday 
I had an earlier meeting for stake correlation and it was really great! I enjoyed it. I love being able to meet with the stake presidency. It is always great and I love the insights that are given. Also that night we had a stake Priesthood meeting. And it was really good! The focus was on strengthening families and the power and authority of the priesthood. 

The stake president likened the priesthood to a hunting bow. And I love the visual, if we are unworthy of being able to  use the priesthood, it is like drawing the bow back with an injury! Many times it can't be done and it is painful. But as we are worthy of the priesthood then we are able to use it. 

The priesthood  is such a great blessing, and I am so grateful for that! It really has blessed my life so much! I am so happy for the blessing of being able to use it, and we actually went and gave a blessing to our investigator yesterday and they are always great experiences and he said after the he felt so much better! The power of the priesthood is real and it is powerful, I know this to be true! 

All the miracles that we experienced this week really helped my testimony grow! And I am so grateful for that and all that it does for me. I know this work is true and that it is God's work. I know he is hastening it and I am so happy to be able to continue to be apart of it! I love my mission and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! 

Sweet Ride

Hope all y'all have a blessed week!
Elder Joshua V. Christensen


Monday, March 17, 2014

God is aware of his Children!

Hey everyone! I hope all y'all had a great week! Things have been going really well here! I am a little nervous to say, but I think that this may be my last week in College Park. We will find out for sure on Sunday, but I have already been here for almost 7.5 months. That is usually the longest they have kept a missionary in this particular area. But we will see how it goes! But I am glad to have been able to serve here! It really is such a great place!

Tuesday
 We were able to go and meet with Andrellia and teach her another lesson! We had the Sister Missonaries there with us, and they will be helping us teach her! We had a good lesson on gospel of Jesus Christ. And she seemed to understand it! She always asks alot of really good sincere questions! Originally she was scheduled to be baptized at the end of the month, but now we will be working with her to move it back. 

She hasn't been coming to church so that is something we are going to be working on with her. She has a really busy schedule sometimes, and then she was out of town the past couple weeks. But this next Sunday we are expecting her to be there, so that will be great! To end the night we just went over to the water way and tried to see if there was anyone that we could talk to. 

Wednesday
We went over to the Sister Zelzulka's home with Brother Dowdle to help her with here fence. The fence in her back yard has been broken for the last 7 years. And when we heard about it we told her we would go help her out. So we went and were able to help her put up the fence, and we cemented in the new posts. And got it all back up and working for her. It took a couple of hours, but it was good to be able to help her out!

 This is the Fence:
 There is Elder Christensen (where's Waldo):
It was pretty messed up! 

We were also able to help clean off her roof and help her with some other things going on around her house. And then that night we just went around and visited with the members of the wards and shared messages on prayer and faith with them! And I am just so grateful for prayer and the power of it! I know that as we use it daily in our life we can grow closer to our Heavenly Father! I know that is so true! I have seen it so much since I have been out here on my mission! 

Thursday
 We went to Bishops neighbor named Roy and got to be with him for a bit, he showed us his pool table, and then after that we had to leave because we had an appointment with Morgan. But the sisters were able to teach him a lesson, and from what we heard it went really well for them! Roy asked alot of questions about how we can receive answers to prayers. 

Our appointment with Morgan went well. We taught him about the commandments that God gives us! And he understood them all really well! He believes everything thing that we have been teaching him.

Friday I went on exchanges with another companionship in the zone. We went to their district meeting and were able to see things that went well and some of the things we can help them improve on. But over all it was good! We just went over how to extend better commitments. And so it was good!  

After that for most of the day we ended up doing service with them. But we tried to stop by some different potential investigators for them. But none of them ended up being home. But we had a good message with that family that night. And at the end of that night we switched back into our areas. 

Saturday
Our mission President now gives us one hour each week that we can go onto family search and learn more about family history! And I really enjoyed that! As I use family history more it makes me feel so much closer to my ancestors! And I just feel so much happier! I think that is one of the blessing that can come as we strive to do family history! Well after that I went on a split with Brother Harris and we went to meet with Brother Marshburn. It was a really good visit! Brother Marshburn and Brother Harris connected well. They have a lot of stuff in common with each other. 

But we shared a message with him and it went really well! And he mentioned to us that he was able to meet with bishop earlier in the week and that they had a great discussion! But he also mentioned to us that he wants us to come over sometime when his kids are there and start teaching some of his children more about the church. They are all members, but many of them are inactive. 

Sunday 
It was a good morning with the meetings and things we had, but sacrament meeting was the best part of the whole day!  In the beginning they started out with people who were receiving callings! And Brother Marshburn was called to be a family history consultant in the ward! I was so happy! I have been working with him over that past couple months, and to see him come back to activity has been such a huge blessing for me! I really truly feel that I was sent here to this ward to meet him and to help him! 

It was no coincidence that I came to this ward and met him! He is back and he is working on getting his temple recommend renewed! His son is getting ready to go on a mission and he is just so happy to be back!  

I know that this email isn't very long this week, I have been pressed for time. But I just want to bare testimony that God is aware of all of his children! I know that he listens to our prayers and that he does answer them! I know that if I am transferred out this next week that I have completed the work I was suppose to do here in the College Park Ward! 

I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and to be serving the Lord! This truly is his work and he does lead and guide us to the people that are prepared to hear this great message! What a great blessing and privilege  we get as members of the church to be apart of it! I would again invite all y'all to please pray for opportunities to help those who are around you! And find ways to serve them! I know that as you do you will be blessed and you will have so much joy! I know this is true and bare witness of it! 


I hope all y'all have a wonderful week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another great week to be in The Woodlands!

Hey I hope everyone has had a great week! Things have been going pretty well this week! Monday was just the same as usual, but we will just go right into Tuesday!

Tuesday
So on Tuesday me and Elder Neville (my zone leader companion) went to our mission leadership council meeting. It was really good as always! I really think that this is one of the best meetings you can attend as a missionary! I  really wish that the whole mission could participate in this meeting! I know that the training presented in these meetings are direct revelation from God to President Pingree! It is always to cool to see that after you receive the training that you are able to go and use it back in your areas. But that went all morning, and then we went to the mission presidents house for lunch and then went back to our areas to start planning on how we wanted to present the training to the rest of the zone and the goals that we wanted to focus on this month. It took a little while to plan, but we felt like we could present the training for zone meeting. 

As soon as we were done we got back with our other companions and we had to go straight to a dinner appointment.  Well my companions had some exciting news for me. They met with Morgan, and he asked if he could be baptized! Background with him was we found him back in October and have been teaching him on and off, he believed that the church was true but wanted to be apart of all the churches! So we have been working with him for several months, but it was exciting to hear that he wanted to be baptized! But that is about all that happened on Tuesday


Wednesday
We met with Randy, and introduced the addiction recovery Program with him on Weds. He is really trying hard to quit smoking. But we sat down and talked with him about this program that this church has. And he just kept telling us that he felt like he wouldn't be able to give it his all while he tried to do this. So we just talked wit him for a while and tried to help him see how much happier he could be if he were able to quit smoking. He has smoked for many many years and so it will be hard for him to quit but I know that with the atonement that he will be able to quit smoking if he really wants to. 

While I was talking with him I had the thought of family history pop into my head and so we think that we will try to get him more involved with that. I know that there is real power that comes from doing family history and I know that his ancestors will be able to help him out so much. And we have even heard all of the promises from general authorities

Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple and stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life. 

That comes from Elder Richard G. Scott, and I know that that promise is for any of us. There is so much protection that comes from being able to do family history. I know that is so true! To finish up the night we just went to some different members houses and we were able to teach them some of the missionary lessons.
  
Thursday
We went to the funeral of the member of our ward that I mentioned in last weeks email. There was such a great spirit that attended the funeral. During the early hours of the day we went to help clean the church and prepare for it, and then we did weekly planning and then we went to the funeral. But over all the day was really good!

Friday


We had zone meeting and I was stressing out about having everything ready for the meeting. The meeting was scheduled to start at 9:30 am, and we had one final talk before we (me Elder Neville, and the sister training leader) went into start the meeting. 

And it also was my birthday this day, but I didn't want to make a big deal of it. But I walked into the meeting and there was a whole bunch of balloons in the front of the relief society, and I was so dang confused! Well it turns out that the College Park Sisters got them and put them up there! They found out from other members in the ward that it was my birthday! So that was kind of fun. But over all the meeting went super well. 



After the meeting I had another meeting with the District leaders, and it took a little longer than I expected. Then we just went out to the water way and tried to talk with different people that were there. We ended up being able to talk with 28 different people and invited them to learn more. We had so many different kind of replies, but we were able to teach a couple different lessons, and we have some new potential investigators! 

And then to end the night we went to some members and they ended up surprising me with a cake! So it was a fun night, and we were able to get a  lot done that day!



video

Saturday
Today we were on our way over to our ward mission leaders house to talk with him a little bit. And on the way over I had a thought to go to a less active members house that was near. And just that morning my companion was telling us about his study about listening to the promptings of the spirit and acting upon them. And we all wanted to do better about acting upon promptings. 

Well this less active I have been trying to meet for months, and we pulled up and he was outside in his yard working on his car. So we were able to talk with him for almost an hour! It was such a blessing and a miracle to be able to get in with him and see how he was doing! Then the rest of the day we went to different members and went to the water way again and talked with a bunch of different people again! The water way has been one of our best street contacting places by far! So I have really enjoyed it!

Sunday was a great day! We went to church, and Brother Marshburn was there again! From what it looked like he seemed to have a great time! It was just such a great day! But that night after we had gotten done with walking around market street to go home, I looked at the clock and saw that we would still have about 10 min to do something before going back to the apartment. So I had the thought to take a different road back to the apartment, and then while we were on that road we got a message from out ward mission leader to see if we could give his wife a blessing. And we were literally 30 seconds away from his house! 

So because we took this different road home and we listened to the spirit we were able to make it to his house and give his wife a blessing and help them and get back on time! I love seeing tender mercies of the Lord! I am so grateful for this inspired work I get to be apart of and I love being here in Texas so much! There is nothing better that I could be doing at this time than serving the Lord! I Know that is true!




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


Monday, March 3, 2014

Gods Purpose and Plan for us

Hey Everyone! I hope everything is going well! This last week has been a really good week! Monday we had dinner with some members of the ward, and then we just went to the Waterway to go and to try and do some street contacting. So that was pretty much all that happened on Monday, but it was still a good night! We invited alot of people to learn that night, but none of them were interested. We returned home that night after doing that and just planned for the next day. 

Tuesday
We went around with a couple of different members, we only got in with one family during the day, but we were staying busy. That night we were going to go over to Diana's house. Quick reminder, we met Diana in the mall while walking around and talking with people. She said that she was going to be moving, so a couple weeks ago we helped her move, and she said that she would invite us over for dinner. Well we went there and met her parents and her daughter and they made a really good meal for us! But before going there we talked about how we wanted to discuss the Plan of salvation with them. 

And even from the moment we showed up, they were prepared. Diana's dad named Bert had already started reading the Book of Mormon and said he has been enjoying it, and they were also asking all the right questions. "Why do Mormons put a focus on family history, what do you believe about when we leave this world," and other questions talking about the temple. And so after dinner we started right into the plan of salvation. And I feel like it went pretty well. The spirit was defiantly there, and they were very receptive to the things that we talked about. They said they would continue to read in the Book of Mormon, but it was just a great night! 4 new investigators, and even better than that it was a family! We were defiantly blessed so much to be able to meet them and teach them!

Wednesday
Speaking of Family, on Wednesday we had a zone conference, and it was all focused on family history and genealogy! We talked about how we can use family history more effectively in our areas.I love this quote that we talked about during the meeting.  “People typically have spiritual feelings as they talk about families.  People also feel the Spirit as they are taught about the doctrine concerning why we do family history work” (PMG, 165).  Many are now being prepared for the gospel by the Spirit of Elijah which is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family” (Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, Apr. 1998). 

I have seen this so much during my time here in Texas. Look at just the day previous, we found a family  and we were able to talk to them about family history. I also know that Diana and her family were prepared to hear that message. Another quote that really stuck out to me was, “It was made known to me that it is because the righteous dead who have received the Gospel in the spirit world are exercising themselves, and in answers to their prayers elders [and sisters] of the Church are sent to the homes of their posterity so that the Gospel might be taught to them, and that descendant in the flesh is then privileged to do the work for his [or her] dead kindred.  I want to say to you that it is with greater intensity that the hearts of the fathers and mothers in the spirit world are turned to their children now in the flesh than our hearts are turned to them” (Melvin J. Ballard) 

I know that this is true and because of it I am so grateful! I would like to invite all y'all to really get into family history! When you are doing family history you are doing missionary work. I know that it is true so please make and effort to do it. I know it may be hard sometimes but it will make a difference in your life. I know that to be true!

Thursday
We did our weekly planning, and we received some incredible revelation for the things we needed to do in our coming week with our investigators. It was great! But also this day we decided that we wanted to go and meet with a member of our ward who has been completely paralyzed  except for his right arm for about 14 years. For this email we will call him Brother Z. And about a month ago he was diagnosed with  terminal Leukemia. We have been going through the lessons with him and two weeks previous we taught the Plan of Salvation. And it was great! 

But when we went he was alot weaker than the previous time! He could barley speak, and his wife told Elder DeLuca that Hospice said he only had 24 hours to live! I didn't know that, but I told him that we would come back and see him soon. After my companion told me about that I was sad, because I thought that would be the last time we would get to see him. I have got to know him so much better over the last 7 months, and it was hard for me to think that. But I had to keep thinking about being a missionary and work. We had some other appts that night, but none with investigators. But over all it was a good day. The spirit was strong and we worked hard. 

Friday
We went on exchanges with another Elder, while Elder DeLuca went with the District Leader on an exchange. It was a pretty good day. Nothing to exciting happened, but we were able to go and meet with some different members and share lessons with them.  Over all a good day!

Saturday
This entry will be pretty long, but it was just such a great day! We started out by doing our studies in the morning, and then later that morning we got a text from a number asking if we could help them real quick. We said sure we would love to, but who is this? Turns out it was James Marshburn! I was so excited when I heard he wanted us to come over and help him real quick with his truck. He has been trying to replace his a/c compressor, and it seized up his car, so he needed some help replacing it. We went and helped him. My comps were helping him from the top part of the engine and I was helping him underneath the car. I just kinda help hand him stuff and did some different things when he told me to. After about 2 hours we completed it, and we got to talk with him for a bit and he said that he would for sure come to church! It made me really happy to hear. 

After we volunteered at the woodlands marathon and we helped from about 1-5 with cleaning it up. We had most of our district there, and we were able to talk with some different people. It was good! But then that night we went back and got changed, and we went back out and we were wondering what we should do because we had appts fall. And Elder DeLuca mentioned we should go back to check Brother Z, now we didn't know if he had passed on or how sister Z was doing, but we tried calling and we got no answer. We were wondering if we should still go over or if we should not worry about. And we decided to at least drive to the house. 

In my head I kept thinking of Thursday when I promised him we would come see him again. So we drove there and pulled up in the front, and we didn't know whether we should go in or leave. And so we decided that we should pray about it. We prayed and after the prayer I said another little prayer. I asked my Heavenly Father if we should not bother them, and I felt like I had a stupor of thought ( D&C 9) and so I then asked Him if it was his will for us to go inside. And I felt so warm after. I knew that we needed to go inside, and then my other companions agreed so we went to knock on the door. 

Sister Z answered and told us to come in. She was just getting ready to feed her dog, and we saw through the door way Brother Z was still hanging on, but he was very weak. We went in and sat down by him and Sister Z began to tell us about how they met and their love story. We were talking and it was hard to see Brother Z he was so weak, and he kept coughing. And then there came a point where he reached up his hand grabbed sister Z's hand and used all of his effort to say something. And Immediately sister Z knew that his time had come. He was getting ready to pass through the veil. And she embraced him and kept telling him that she would be ok. 

Shortly after he passed on. I could not help but to cry. I had worked with Brother Z since I have been here. This was the first time I have ever witnessed  someone pass on. After he had passed on, there was such peace in the room. We all knew that Brother Z was in a better place, and that he was free from pain. My testimony on the Plan of Salvation has grown so much this week. This experience really makes me so grateful for the knowledge that I have about the plan of salvation. I know that because of Jesus Christ that we will be able to see our loved ones again. Jesus Christ overcame the two barriers that keep us from returning home to our Father in Heaven. 

We read in The Book of Mormon, in Alma 7:11-13 all the things that Jesus Christ suffered for. He suffered for our sins so that we can receive forgiveness as we follow that example that Jesus Christ set. As we build faith in Jesus Christ, repent or in other words make changes in our lives to become more like Christ, are baptized by someone who holds the proper priesthood authority of God and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost we can truly receive a full remission of our sins and fell clean and happy! And also because Jesus Christ was resurrected  we will be able to have that same opportunity to have resurrected bodies and be able to live with our Heavenly Father again. I know that the Plan of Salvation is Gods plan of happiness for us and through it we can see our loved ones again. I know this to be true and I can not deny it. 

This gospel brings so much joy to me and that's why I am out here serving. I know we were led to that home that night and I know that God is mindful of all of his Children. I know how much it can help others and so I would also encourage you again to please pray for missionary opportunities. There are those who are prepared that are waiting for an invitation to learn. I know as you pray you will know who to invite and when and how to invite them . I now this to be true. I bare witness and testify as a representative of Jesus Christ that these things are true and say that in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Sunday
Today was a great end to the week! Fast and Testimony meeting was so powerful and so spiritual. Also about 20 min into the meeting Brother Marshburn walked in! This was such a tender mercy to me! He was there, and I just was so happy to see him back at church! He is such a great man, and he was touched by that meeting. He talked about how strong the spirit was and it brought tears to his eyes. It has been such a great week and am grateful for the miracles I have seen, and for the tender mercies of the Lord.

I hope all y'all have a great week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen