Monday, August 25, 2014

Master Teaching!

Hey Y'all! 

Things are going well here in the great state of Texas! We have a very busy week. This week we went around the mission with zone conferences. Tuesday through Friday we had zone conferences from 8:00 AM until 3:30 PM. We went through and were training the missionaries on Master Teaching. We have really been stressing the importance of helping the learners state the truth. 

I know I have already said this, but as missionaries we get in the habit of just talking and trying to tell those we teach everything we know. This is not the way the lord would have us teach. If we can ask inspired questions and help those we teach come to the answers on there own, then at that point the learner has become the testifier. And we can add our witness as a 2nd to there answer. 

A big portion of the zone conference was just role playing. We role played for about 2 hours in the afternoon. In the first couple days we saw quite a few train wrecks, but that is how we learn. President Mortensen asked us to role play master teaching in front of the whole mission. So each day during the zone conferences we role played with President and Sister Mortensen. At parts, I was very stressed out about having to practice teaching in front of the whole mission. Because after they talk about what things went well, and what could have been better. So again it is a great learning activity. Well each day of role playing it went very well. 

 The Lord has been so good in blessing me! I know that the reason why the role plays went well was because of him. Tuesday was probably my favorite day of all the role plays. It was one of the role plays where the spirit was just there so strongly! I know that the Lords was guiding my words and helping me know what to say. Right at the end I opened my mouth to testify to a thing that they said, and words just came out! President and Sister Mortensen eyes both began to water, and the spirit was there so strong that everyone in the room could feel it! I know for a fact that was not me that caused that. I was just blessed to be able to be an instrument during the role play for the Lord. 

The teaching came across very powerfully as Elder Hillebrant and I did our best to use this new teaching approach.  D&C 11:21 is one of my favorite scriptures. I just know for a fact that the promise given here is true! I have seen it so much through out my chance to be out here in Houston. 

We have seen other great miracles this week as well as we have used this new master teaching approach. I wish I could explain master teaching better over email, but it can be very difficult. Well this week we were going and checking up on  a referral that was received a little while before I got to the area. We ended up taking Kyle with us to go check on it so he could see what missionary work is like. And we talked with this lady named Casey. She said we could come back the next day and teach her. 

Well the next day came around and we went back over. And Kyle was with us again. We started teaching her, and asking her questions. And she began to teach herself. We asked her questions that would help her state the doctrine. " Casey God called me through out the bible to be his spokesman. Do you know what these men are called?". Then she went on to answer saying they were called prophets. We then say" That is exactly right, I bear testimony that what you just said is correct." She became the testifier when she answered with the doctrine. And then we would add our witness to it. If she didn't know an answer we would use a scripture to help her learn the doctrine. " Casey what is the role of the prophets." She then said, "  Well they would talk to God" . 
(Us) .. " Casey that is exactly right, and what was there purpose in talking with God? "
(Casey) " Um I really don't know"
(Us) " Well lets turn to a scripture and find out." 

We opened up to Amos 3:7. We asked to her look for what the prophets revealed, and who there revealed it to. After she would read we would just ask her answer those same questions. 
 (Casey)   " Well God revealed his secrets, and he revealed it to his prophets."
(Us)          " yes that is right! So why do you think Prophets were so important for the people?"
(Casey)   "That is how the people would understand Gods will!"
(Us)          " Casey you are right again! We want to at our testimony to what you just said! 

Ok so that was just a small example of Master teaching, but with that she was able to learn the doctrine for herself. We were the ones do all the talking. And with that it gave the Holy Ghost the better chance to testify to her! It was such a great lesson. By the time we talked about apostasy and why there are so many churches in the world today she got very excited. She stopped us and asked, " Wait a minute! There is only one true church isn't there! Do you guys know which one it is! Please Please Please tell me!!!" 

There is just such a difference in the teaching method that helps others come to the knowledge for themselves. And then it is more meaningful to them. We will be meeting with her again later in the week, and checking up to see how her Book of Mormon reading has gone. She committed herself to read! She just wanted to know so badly the truth. The Lord again has blessed us with miracles as we have made our teaching more focused on just helping the investigators to learn for themselves. We may have to end up passing this sister off at some point to other missionaries, but the first lesson was great! 

Well that is about the main points of the week that I wanted to share. But I just again want to bare my testimony on the importance of missionary work! We know that Gods work and His Glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. That is His Goal. His plan to accomplish that is missionary work! Please pray for opportunities to have these experiences. I invite you to ponder on someone you know who would benefit from the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After thinking of someone, think of what the next natural step would be in helping them feel the Love of God. 

You don't have to immediately invite them to meet with missionaries, but set a goal with your self to help someone else experience the same blessings you are privileged to have. I promise you as a called representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, that as you do this, you will experience more JOY with in your homes and your families! You will have deepened conversion, and a greater relationship with the Savior! I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. 

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

Here is another P-Day Selfie!!! We are off to an afternoon of TOP GOLF with some members!! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Relying on the Lord brings Spiritual Strength.

Hey everyone!
Things have been going very well this week. It has been such a blessing to be able to just be out more this week and proselyte! It was still a busy week with trying to prepare for zone conferences, but we have seen more miracles this week!  

This week some really great things happened. Tuesday we were able to go out contacting on the waterway. And we were able to teach a couple of different lessons while were were there, and we were able to find some new potential investigators. I love just being able to be out and talking with different people! It really is the best part of missionary work! 

Later on that night we went over to the bishops house. Kyle met us there, and we were able to ordain him to the office of a priest in the aaronic priesthood. The spirit was so strong as we laid our hands upon his head. After this great experience we drove over to the temple and had a great lesson with Kyle. We were helping prepare him for the next day when he would be able to go into the temple and perform baptisms for the dead. 

Wednesday we got back with Kyle again and went to the family history center. We spent about 2 hours with Kyle finding some of his ancestors or do baptisms for. At first it was very slow, but once we started to find 1 or 2, we found more of his ancestors that were in need of these sacred ordinances. The spirit was also very strong as we did this! 

There were different points where the family history consultants were working with Kyle, so it gave me a chance to look for some ancestors. I was able to find one to take to the temple. Well as I mentioned earlier that we had the chance to go to the temple with Kyle and see him do baptisms for the dead. I feel so blessed to have been able to work with Kyle over these past few months. He is continuing to progress, and you can tell how much happier he is! 

Kyle's first night doing baptisms for the dead!

He was also very kind and took that family name that I had and did the work for him. And as he was baptized in behalf of my ancestor I felt an out pouring of the spirit upon me! I knew that my ancestor I found that for had accepted the work! It was such a great night! 

We had all day to be out and teaching! We met with Kyle again, as well as a couple other recent converts to the ward. We have been going through the new member discussions with them. It has been cool to see how much more they understand as we teach them, and they have the gift of the Holy Ghost. We begin to talk about some principles, and they begin to just teach themselves. 

We went to a district meeting down in the Melbourne area. It was a great meeting! We talked more about how we can effectively work with the members to get the work moving forward at an even faster rate. Following the meeting we came back to our mission office and met with President Mortensen to make the agenda for zone conferences that will be taking place this next coming week. We will be trying to train effectively on helping the missionaries to become better teachers. 

That night we had our weekly ultimate Frisbee. This really has been a great finding idea for us. For the first month or two it was more of just have those who are not of our faith come out and join us as we play. But now we are getting to have more teaching opportunities. On Friday I spent a good part of the time teaching. I was on the sideline talking with different people who had come. Some of them were very interested. There was this guy named Justin I talked with. He is also very interested, and has mentioned he wants to start meeting with us. So towards the end of the week we are hoping that we will be able to start meeting him. 

I was on exchanges with the Cypress Creek Elders. We saw so many miracles during these exchanges. During the morning hours we were out doing some service for some different members and less actives in the ward. We had a great lesson with one of the members and committed him to talk with his neighbors across the street and invite them to learn more! It was so cool because as we talked with him he shared with us a very cool experience. 

He told us about his conversion story. And he began to testify about how the gospel had blessed his life and what it meant to him. And so once we pointed out how great and sincere his testimony was, he wanted to go and start sharing the gospel with all of his friends! 

Later that afternoon we went out checking up on some referrals. Now in Preach My Gospel it teaches that after we check on a referral that we should stay in the neighborhood and talk with the people in it. Some times we get referrals because someone else in the neighborhood is being prepared. So after a few referrals I mentioned to the Elders that we could try tracting in the area we were in. And we tracted for about 1 and a half hours with everyone turning us down. 

But towards the end, we went up to this house. The garage was open, and there were 4 people in there talking. After some hesitation they invited us to come and talk to them about Jesus Christ. Once we started explaining principles out of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ they became more interested. We gave them copies of The Book of Mormon, and taught them about what it was and how it could bless their life. We talked to them about setting up a return appt for the next day. We saw so many miracles as we just went out and allowed the Lord to work through us. 

We had a couple of things to try and finalize in the morning for zone conferences, but after we headed up to church for a couple of different meetings we had in the morning. We then  had the chance to go to church and partake of the sacrament and just have a spiritual day as we attended our other classes. 

To end the night we went over to the mission presidents home to talk with them about if there were any changes or any last minute things we wanted to discuss at zone conferences. And then he asked us to help model some teaching during the zone conferences. He put us right on the spot and asked us to practice teaching the restoration. He wanted us to use the new master teaching method I think I have mentioned in the past. It is just teaching more with using questions and listening to know how to help them come to know the truth for themselves. 

I really have been trying to do better at working on this kind of teaching. And it wasn't necessarily bad, but there was a lot of refining that needed to be done. And so we kept stopping and evaluating how things were going. Well it took us about 1 hour to get through the lesson and to talk about the different aspects that we wanted to teach on. So I came out of there very humbled. I knew I wasn't the best teacher, but this gave me an opportunity to rely on the Lord and try to master this new teaching method that we have been using. 

We went back to the apartment after, and I just prayed for the Lords guidance and strength to help me become better. And I know that as I continue to rely on him that he will indeed help me. I know that to be true! I have seen it ring true through out the different aspects of my mission. I know that that principle is true in all of our lives as well. I know and testify that as we all humble ourselves and as we see what things we struggle with and then we rely on the Lord; he will make weak things become strong! I ​know that to be true and that is the prompting that I received. 

Well I hope Y'all have a great rest of the week. 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Preparing for Zone Conferences

Monday, August 11, 2014

Enabling and Strengthening Power of the Atonement.

Howdy Everyone! 

I have said this quite a bit, but this week is very similar to last week. On the bright side though we have not had any more car problems this week!! That has been very nice to not have to worry about. Every time we think we get close to finalizing transfers it seems like we have some other problem that comes up. And if it isn't problems that need to be fixed then it seems to be different meetings that we have to get done. This has helped me so much to rely on the atonement of Christ more fully. 

  On Tuesday I went to my first MLC as an assistant. So usually at MLC I would come and listen to the training that was presented. But now my companion and I help President present the training to the zone leaders and the sister training leaders. So in preparation for it we met with President the night before to discuss the plans on how we would go about the meeting. President ended up training on becoming master teachers. 

So he took a lot of time and emphasized how during our teaching we need to be using more questions to help the people we teach become the testifier. If we can ask direct questions that help them to ponder on what we are teaching, it will give the Holy Ghost a chance to teach them. It was such a great training. 

Following that part of the training we talked about working with members and how to help members with there missionary work by using this master teaching technique. Working with members is so important to us as missionaries! And it is the Lords way of hastening his work. You play such a huge part in bringing people into the Gospel! I hope you understand that. If you do understand that it should be evident by you praying daily for missionary opportunities. And after praying for missionary opportunities you should be acting upon the prompting you receive! I know that if you promise the Lord you will do this then he will help you know exactly what you need to say. But he can only tell you what to say if you open your mouth and talk with those around you.  
    Wednesday we had our new leadership training. And overall that went pretty well. We just helped train the newly called leaders in the mission understand what is expected of them. That training went a good part of the morning. Later on that afternoon we were asked to come to a lesson with another set of missionaries for a hand off lesson. They had an investigator that got baptized this last week that wants to start coming to the singles ward, so they invited us to come and meet him so he knows someone when he goes. 

The missionaries after introducing us began to teach out of Enos. They were doing all the talking, and not giving the investigator a chance to talk. There came a point where they handed the discussion off on to us, and then Elder Hillebrant and I started using the master teacher approach we had just been trained on, and we saw so many miracles! Like that was one of the best lessons we have been apart of so far in our companionship. When we really focused on using inspired and direct questions, it did give the spirit a chance to teach him. And it was much easier to overcome his concerns because the spirit taught him exactly what he needed to do! It was such a great lesson. We were able to use the master teacher approach a couple more times that day. 

We had a day of doing finishing the bed route. We drove to parts of the mission to deliver beds to different missionaries. We got back close to 5, and then we ended up going to institute that night with Kyle. And he loved it! We talked a lot about the articles of faith, and we got into the doctrine behind each one. 

We were on our way out to Katy to go to there zone meeting. We went to check and see how the training was coming across for one of the zones for master teaching. It was a pretty good zone meeting. We went and talked them about things that went well, and just followed up on what they needed to do to stay on top of the goals and commitments they left with the zone. 

Saturday I ended up waking up sick. I am sure you have heard before where maybe college students prepare for there finals and study super hard, and then after there finals are over they get sick. I think this is kinda what happened to me. I think that after all of these things piling up one after the other for the past couple weeks really took a toll on my immune system. So Saturday and Sunday were kinda difficult for me. 

Now I don't mention this to try and get sympathy. I mention this because of the fact that this is an example of me having to rely on the  strengthening atonement of Jesus Christ. I remember on Saturday I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a bus. I rolled out of bed, and just prayed so hard that I would be able to have the strength to be able to accomplish the work we needed to do that day. I have used this reference before, but Mosiah 24:15 the people are praying and asking for strength, and the lord answers there prayers and gives them the strength. It doesn't say in there that he takes the burdens away. 

That day of missionary work was still very hard for me because of how I felt, but I have a strong testimony that it was because of the enabling power of the atonement that I was able to make it through the day. The Lord gave me the strength to do it. That night I got home and just was so grateful for the fact that I was able to accomplish the things that I needed to that day. I promise that this is true for all of us. In life we have struggles, or go through hard or difficult times. And it won't always be easy. But I KNOW that if we rely on the Lord and Plead for his help, he will give us the strength to accomplish the things we need to. It will still be hard, but he will help ease your burdens. I promise that to you! 

   To finish off the week, we had a great time at church as always! But that night we were able to have a great meeting with Kyle. We met over at one of the stake centers in our area. He will actually receiving the priesthood today, so we talked with him about that. But we wanted to help him see more fully the life of Joseph Smith. So we watched part of the Prophet of the Restoration Movie. And that movie brings so much of the spirit! If you want to have a great spiritual experience, then watch the movie. It was such a great discussion. 

Kyle kept stopping us at parts and asking questions and making comments. It was so cool! At the end we asked him what he thought. He explained that he felt like he was hit with a spiritual defibrillator! He just kept getting more and more excited! We defiantly also felt the spirit, and both of us were just pumped to go out and work!! It was the perfect way to finish off this week.

Awesome Lesson with Kyle

Like I said, parts of the week were hard, but because of the Lord I have been able to accomplish the things that he would have me do. I know and testify that if you feel like your are struggling with trials or with doing missionary work or anything, take time and pray to our Father in Heaven for strength. He will bless you and help you! I know that to be true because I have seen his hand in my life, and especially our here on my mission. The reason I have seen his hand more in my life on my mission is because I have had to rely on him so much more fully.  He wants to help us, we just need to let him help us. I know that to be true. 

I know parts of that were very repetitious, but repetition is the law of learning so it was good. :)

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

Random P-Day picture

Monday, August 4, 2014

Transfer Week done!!

Hey everyone! 
Things are going well! This last week has probably been one of the craziest weeks of my life. But looking back, it has been so worth it. So with this week being transfers we have not had much time to be out and try to find and teach others. But this next week will be a lot better for us. 

Tuesday was our actual transfer day. We had such a big group of missionaries transferred! We had about half of the mission that was getting moved. We stood up in the back of one of our Nissan Frontiers and gathered everyone in. There was such a big group of missionaries that made there way over. We first started out by thanking the departing missionaries and all they had done to contribute to the mission. And then from there we had the coveted transfer sheet that tell missionaries where they are going. So as I walked through the parking lot to get in the back of the car missionaries started falling me and grouping around me. Well we got them passed out and then the craziness started! 

This transfer we had a ton of sister missionaries leaving so we had to close a lot of sister areas, and we had to white wash a bunch of areas with elders. So with that happening we were answering questions and changing cars out for missionaries for about 3 straight hours. Once we got that taken care of we loaded up all of the departing missionaries and drove them over to the mission home. 

They then had some training that day, and then we were able to go to the temple. We then had a had the dinner and the devotional that night at the mission home. I love hearing the testimony of the departing missionaries! They are just so powerful, and make you want to go work your tail off! I have such a a strong testimonial of how important this work is! Seeing missionaries leave is such a hard thing because of how well I have been able to get to know them but it helps build your testimony of how blessed we are to be able to be out here for such a short time and to dedicate it entirely to our Father in Heaven! I love this work more than anything else! 


We dropped off the missionaries and it was sad seeing them go, but at the same time we were able to pick up the new missionaries! And if you need to get excited about missionary work then you need to be with the new missionaries! They carry such a great spirit with them. 

We didn't have all the missionaries fly out that we were expecting. So we had to make a couple of changes for the transfer because we called more trainers then there were missionaries. But that day we trained them on a  couple things, and had a great dinner and opening devotional with them. This group of missionaries that came out are  such a good group! I feel like they will help lead the missionaries in the mission! 

We had our training meeting, and then we got the new missionaries with there trainers. But we had a bunch of trainers show up late because they had their cars towed. Just that morning we had 3 companionship's get their cars towed. This week hasn't been the best week for cars. But after we did some training we got the missionaries out on there way. We then just had to do some different office work, and then help run somethings to different areas that were pretty close to us. 

 We went up to some other missionaries district meetings to see how they were doing. It was a good experience. We went to an English and Spanish district meeting. The Spanish one I surprising  understood a good part of it. It was a good and fun learning experience. Again that day we had to do a couple more things to finalize transfers. And then that night we went to play some ultimate Frisbee with our Ward. 

We have been trying to make this a big missionary effort, and we have been seeing success. In the beginning we had only a couple non members show up, but now we are getting close to 7-10 each time. Now we are at the point where we are trying to transition to members inviting there friends they bring to take the lessons. 


We had a lot of craziness this day as well. We had one of the missionaries who was going to fly out on Weds fly in. He had to stay in Provo because he was having some medical problems going on. But he was cleared to come and so we went to pick him up. Well we had to do a couple of emergency transfers to get different companionship's together. So we were asked to go and pick up and elder from the Woodlands who was in a trio. So we needed to bring him to the air port to get his new companion. Well there was a miss communication so when we got there he wasn't quite ready to go. So we called the mission president and asked if he could bring the elders from the air port to the mission office and he said he could. 

Well while we were on the way down, we got a call from him. He said his car starting smoking at the airport and they towed it off. They said that they needed a ride. Well that morning we had another mission car that was putting out white smoke out of the front and the back up in College Station. Like I said not the best week for cars. 

But we picked up the everyone with the transfer van that we have at the office and brought them back to the mission office. We also cleared out the mini van we usually drive because it was going to be taken up to college station to be used. So for the mean time we are driving the 2013 Silverado! I can't quite complain about that part! We also tried to get our bed route done for the mission. We needed to pick up some beds and drop them off at different areas, but then more things went wrong so we weren't able to finish. So we will have to do that this week. 


Was good as always! I had a great study for personal that really helped me. Well after church we went and had to go back to the office to really finalize transfers. And we were here for about two hours. And again that night we had another vehicle go out on a companionship. 

So this week has been crazy but it has been good. It has allowed me to rely on Christ and use the atonement to help me through it. Some things got frustrating, but like I said I had a great study on Sunday. It was on patience. I know with out a doubt that good times are on the way. Faith proceeds the miracles. I know in live as we go through hard times or crazy time the lord prepares us for something better. I have seen this so many times in my life!  Just keep working and do the basics of scripture study, prayer, and church and you will be blessed! 

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