Monday, September 29, 2014

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

Received on September 22nd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

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