Tuesday, April 8, 2014

General Conference!!!

Hey everyone!! Hope everyone has had a good week! This week has been a busy week, but it has been a good week. Monday wasn't anything to exciting. Just P-day and then we had dinner at our bishops house that night. And then at the end of the night I was dropped off at the Woodland Elders apartment because we were going on an exchange for Tuesday. 

So I was with my zone leader companion Elder Neville. We had MLC this week, so we drove down to the TC Jester church building. We had such a great meeting with President Pingree and the assistants. There was so much training that was presented. We had a training on how to use Preach My Gospel more effectively in our missionary work. We also talked alot about the Book of Mormon and the power of it. Then we were trained on the first principle that we teach as missionaries. 

The principle is, God is our Loving Heavenly Father. Now I know alot of times that I have taught this lesson, I have just blown through this point. After this training though my thoughts have been changed and my eyes have been opened to the importance of teaching this principle with power. If we can help people truly understand this concept then it will make it easier for them to accept other things that we teach. 

We talked alot about the characteristics of God. We read in D&C 130:22 that he has a body of flesh and bone. We know he loves us because he sent his son Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and overcome the obstacles of physical death, and spiritual death which is when we sin or become separated from God because of sin. Genesis 1:26-27 we learn that we were created in Gods image. And there are many more characteristics that I would invite you to go find and learn about. 

As we learn more about our Loving Heavenly Father through sincere scripture study, we will be able to have our testimonies strengthened and we will feel closer to Him. And the final part of the training was by far one of my favorites. 

We talked about doing church tours and teaching about the sacrament. We read in Moroni 4:3 which is the prayer they offer when blessing the bread for the sacrament. And as we read it we see that there are things we promise God, and in return he promises us something back. We promise to 

1. Take Christ names upon us.
2. Remember Him
3. Keep his commandments

God Promises
1 That we will have his spirit to be with us. 
2. We will have eternal live as we partake of the bread and water each week and strive to continue to do better. (John 6:54)

I love this concept because this is exactly what we promise when we are baptized and when we partake of the sacrament we renew those covenants. Well we went and role played teaching this in the chapel, and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had. We all were completely silent as we walked into the chapel and the spirit was so strong. We each whispered as we taught this sacred principle, and after we came back at the end we all agreed the we felt as if we were in the temple. That was how peaceful it was. I have a whole new respect for the chapel and the sacrament. And I testify that as we make the sacrament meaningful each week, we can feel the spirit just as strong as when we are in the temple. Even if there are crying and screaming kids, we can still feel this peace if we try to to make it meaningful!

We had a couple of teaching appts set up, but one of them fell through. The sisters wanted us to come with them to a teaching appointment with two new investigators they have. The sisters said that these new investigators had some questions about the bible so they wanted to bring me along to help answer questions that they might have. Well that is the appt that fell through but right after we went to meet with one of the members we have been working with to quit smoking. And we wanted to meet with him in a park. So we went there , but when we got there and started talking with this member someone came up and asked if he could use our phone. His name was Luis and you could tell this man didn't speak alot of English, but after he was off the phone I started to talk with him a little bit in Spanish. 

My Spanish was pretty bad because I really haven't used it since High school, and all of the vocab that I knew I totally forgot. I only have used Spanish for a couple of door approaches while I have been out but other than that I haven't used it. Well between so English and Spanish I was able to communicate with this guy, and we started reading through the introduction of the Book of Mormon. I kept trying to explain different principles to him as he read the El Libro De Mormon. I got to sit and talk with him for about 1 hour or so, but before I left I asked him if he would read 3rd Nephi 11 and I was actually able to talk about it in Spanish and it was such a miracle. We got his info and got a hold of the Spanish sisters and they had an appointment for the next day.

We had our studies and had a good long weekly planning, and after that we did some family history and then we went and tried to get in with some different members. That night we gave a ride to the Spanish sisters back from the teaching appointment with Luis. And it turns out that he is super prepared! He read what I asked him to read and he loved it so much! He wants to get baptized and wants to keep learning more! Talk about a tender mercy from the Lord! It was a great week!

We had zone meeting and I was pretty stressed going into it. I don't even know why. Over all the meeting went by really well. We were worried that the training we presented was pretty long, but the other missionaries received it very well. Again we did the role play with going into the chapel and again we had such a great spiritual experience. I think all of the missionaries benefited from the training. I also just have such a strong testimony that the training that was presented by president to us was from God! I know that the things that were taught were meant to be taught and will benefit our mission greatly! 

Saturday and Sunday
General Conference was so dang good! I love listening to the prophet and the apostles! We are so blessed to be able to have them here. I loved all of the talks so much! But there were a couple of themes that I really would like to touch on today. We can see that the world is changing more and more. We can see that the family is under attack, and it has been for many years now. But we can see from this conference that we must be prepared to defend out beliefs. We must be ready to exercise our faith and our courage! We will all come to a point where we must be steadfast and immovable, when we must stand up and defend this great church we are apart of! "Now be strong, live the gospel faithfully even if those around you aren't Defend your beliefs with courtesy & compassion but defend them. Times will get harder, but at the same time the church will continue to grow. 

As we listen to the prophets and apostles and we do what we need to do we will be kept safe. How do we do this? This is the next thing I want to talk about. We must be having DILIGENT DAILY SCRIPTURE STUDY AND PRAYER. These are going to make the difference in our life! As we do this we will be blessed. We will have the opportunity to have the spirit to be with us so much more. This is so important! Don't ever take it for granted. I have such a strong testimony of this and I testify to you that we must all do this! I am so grateful for this general conference and all that it has done for me. We are disciples of Christ and as we follow him diligently we will be prepared for when hard times come. Please review and go back frequently to these talks that were given. Take the time and study them. They will bless you and your family. And again I know this to be true and I testify of it! 

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

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