Monday, November 24, 2014

Zone Conference week!

Hey everyone! 

Sorry this email will be very short! We started talking with President about transfers. And so that took up a bit of our time today! But things have been going well. 

This last week we had zone conferences. This time around we really focused on the Plan of Salvation. The format was very similar to the last time we had zone conferences. President would teach the majority of the morning and then from there we would role play teaching the plan of salvation in front of everyone. Following that we went in and had everyone else role play. We then went and sat in on different groups to listen and give feedback on how to help with the quality of the teaching. So that took up the majority of our week.

I am just so grateful for the plan of salvation and the joy and comfort that it brings into my life. As I continually study about it and ponder upon it and pray about it my testimony of it increases. I am grateful for how it helps us answer questions of the soul. It brings hope into our lives. It is one of the happiest messages that we can share with others. 

It is the message that helps families to know that God does have a plan for each of us! Jesus Christ truly is the center of the plan and I know that it is because of him that the plan works! He is the reason that we can find peace in this life. I know that to be true! 

 Along with that we had a couple of teaching appointments that went pretty well. We have some really good people that we are working with right now so things are going really well! We are hoping to get back in with many of our investigators this next week so we can continue to help them progress. 

I am just so grateful for this work! I know this is the Lords work! Many of us say so often how grateful we are for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if we are truly grateful for this wonderful gift Heavenly Father has given us then we should be active in trying to share it with those that don't know it. 

I would just invite you this thanksgiving holiday to pray and ask for who you know that could benefit from this message, or what you can do to help someone else out this great time of year! I know the Lord will be able to help lead you to someone you can help! 

I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hey everyone! So things are going really well. I don't have a ton to report on this week, but we have continued to see the Lords hand in our lives and in his work. It is also beginning to get pretty cold here! We have had some pretty cold days this last week. Or at least it feels cold. Back in Utah I could be out in like 30 degree weather or lower and where shorts, and now its like 40 here and I keep getting more layers! It is the wonderful humidity that makes difference. But it also has been great to see the change. 

This last week mainly consisted of exchanges that we had with different zone leaders. This is what a pick part of this transfer is for us. It will manly consist of zone leader exchanges. So in the last week and a half we have done almost 7 exchanges. And this pattern will continue for about the next two weeks! So my assigned companion and I will only be with each other on the weekends. Other than that we will switch off from being in our area or going to the zone leaders area. 

I must say though as tiring as it has been, it has been so great! As we have continued to work closely with each of the zone leaders we have gotten a better feel for the different areas and zones that are in the mission! And it helps us to identify concerns or problems as well as council together on how we can improve the work in the zones. 

We also ended up sending our mini van out to some zone leaders in Cypress so they can help move more people in there zone if needed. And we actually got a different car. It is a 2015 Ford Fusion. And when we drove it it only had 13 miles on it. So it is a awesome car that we are blessed to be able to use!

We are still making a big push to get on different campuses and so as we had the chance to go on some of the lonestar campuses in the area. We got onto the cy-fair location and we had some family history boards up and invited people to put a sticker on a map of where there ancestors were from. And then from there we were able to begin talking with them about there family history and ended with an invitation to learn about family history and the gospel. That is one thing I really do love about family history. It is a very non threatening way to invite people to learn about the gospel. And as they do it they are able to really feel the spirit of Elijah 

Also what made this week so great was the fact that we have been able to get Kyle back to church. Some of you may remember when I talked alot about Kyle 5 months ago. He is a recent convert to the church. Shortly after he was baptized because of work and some other things going on it made it hard for Kyle to be able to come to church. And little by little he stopped coming. He still would always meet up and would still read the scriptures but just not come to church. 

Well after months of working with him to help him come back to church he came yesterday! I was so dang happy! And you can tell as he has partaken of the sacrament that he has felt the cleansing power of the atonement! And he was able to meet so many new people at church yesterday when in the past he was shy about getting to talk with different people. He said how he wants to request work of on Sundays so he can feel that way every week! So that was definitely a tender mercy for me this week. 

And so now we are just preparing for zone conferences that we will be having this week! We will have 4 days that we will be training missionaries on how to more effectively teach the plan of salvation. So we are excited to be a apart of that! This really are just going so great right now!  

But that has mainly been my week! I am just so grateful for the chance to be a missionary. I love being able to see how the work is hastening! As members of Christ restored church we are all enlisted, we just have to do our part and act. And then that is when the miracles are seen! I know that to be true! 

I hope all y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Lord is Hastening his Work Continually!

Hey everyone! Things are going well! I told you a little bit about last week. And I mentioned that I was able to have an interview with Elder Corbridge. And that was very cool! He just began by asking me about why I ended up coming out on a mission and I explained to him the reason that I had. And I told him about just some of the experiences that I have been able to have so far on my mission. And we just had a great conversation about that. 

And towards the end he opened it up to me and asked me if I had any questions for him. I can't honestly say I had no questions coming in to my mind right away. And I sat and pondered for just a few seconds. I then turned to him and said, " In your thoughts what can I do to be the most effective missionary? And in addition to that I might be training again in a few transfers so what can I do to prepare a new missionary the best I can? 

I am on the right side fourth row

He replied after about a minute of pondering. And it is cool to see a general authority answer through the spirit. Elder Corbridge would just close his eyes and think. You could tell he was discerning the spirit and the thoughts that he had. And after thinking for a little bit he look at me and said effective teaching. "The best thing that you could do is become and effective teacher. And that same follows for what you can do if your training." And this had been a cool trend for me to see because we are continually been working on our way we teach! We are really helping bring out the truth from the learner and help them to have their own personal spiritual experience. 

Elder Corbridge also gave me some other advice and said if I used this I would be able to be an effective missionary and an more effective member later on down the road. It was a great chance to be able to spend that time with him and I truly had learned so much! 

2nd Day of Conferences with Elder Corbride. I am on the 2nd row
next to the Mortensens and Elder Corbridge.

The rest of the week we had a couple different teaching appointments as well as a couple of different exchanges that we went on. We were able to teach one of our new investigators named Nick. He was an investigator from when Elder Halterman served in a neighboring ward. We got in with him and had a great lesson at the church with him. We taught him the restoration again. The last time he heard it was back in February. It was so incredible and the spirit was so strong. He said there were certain questions that he had for years, and as he talked them out with us the spirit worked through him and he answered a lot of these questions that he had. And then we would help teach the gaps that he didn't quite understand. But by the end of the lesson he was just glowing. He was so happy! So we are going to be hopefully meeting with him this next week to continue teaching him. He sadly didn't make it to church this last week but we will help him come. 

  Following that night we went over to a former investigator we had. And we tried to talk with him. And he was looking all over his house for more cigarettes because he ran out. And while he was looking one of his friends walked in. His friend looks at us and says I can't believe that your here. And he sounded happy to see us. We introduced ourselves to him and found out he was actually baptized a couple years back. He said that he had a blessing before he was baptized to help with his addiction to smoking. And he said that after the blessing all his cravings went away. He said later on down the road something happened that made him upset and he ended up choosing going back to smoking. And he said since then he hasn't been able to quit again. 

Now during this time our former investigator was still being frantic about getting another cigarette and tried to get this friend to go with him to the store to get some. And he look at him and said nooo. I am staying and talking the missionaries. He mentioned how there had been many points in his life where he asked God to show him that he still loves him. And everytime he did this he would run into different sets of missionaries from our church. And he said and it happened again tonight. He said " I wasn't even planning on coming over here tonight but I prayed to ask God to help me today and I felt I should come over here and I find y'all here! God answered my prayers again! And he mentioned how he wanted to to quit smoking again. 

  At this point I received a very strong prompting. I asked him" Hector do you have the faith that through Christ you  can be healed from your addiction again?" And he said "Yes I know that I  can!". And then I asked "Hector do you have the faith that a priesthood blessing can heal your right now?"  And he said Yes I do!" He had conviction in his voice. I then invited him to receive a blessing.  He only had one cigarette on him and he said that he wanted to throw it away because he knew God could heal him. And we were able to give him a blessing. 

And I felt the spirit so strong as we gave him the blessing. And he said after that his desire to smoke was gone again! He was so so thankful! And he acknowledged that it was through God that was made possible! What a wonderful experience it was. And again it strengthened my testimony that God is aware of all of his Children!  I know that the Priesthood is a real and powerful power. It is Gods Power here on the earth and is used to bless the lives of his children! I love this gospel so much! 

And to finish the week we had exchanges up in College Station and Huntsville. Both days we were on campus for Texas A&M And at Sam Houston University! I love working on Campus so much! It is so much fun and it is so easy to talk with people! And so many more people are open to listening! It gets me really excited because this week we will hopefully start proselytizing on  a smaller campus called Lone Star so we will see how that goes!!! 

Things are going so great! And right now in the mission we are seeing us double baptisms. And average month for this mission is around 40 and has been like that since the mission began. And now this next month we are getting close to 90! The Lord is hastening his work and I am just so grateful to be able to be apart of it! What a great time we live in! 

Please keep praying for opportunities and ways to get involved with the missionaries! I promise you it will strengthen your family and yourself against any temptations that may come! I know that to be true! 

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

General Authority

This is late in the week again, but we had to move our time to email to today. On Monday and Tuesday we had Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge from the first quorum of the 70. It was so great to be able to have him come and visit our mission. Many of the things that he said were right in line with some of the things we have been trying to get going here in our mission. And the big emphasis being on being effective teachers. 

I have mentioned in previous emails that we have been working on a teaching method we call master teaching. This is very much similar to what the general authority told us. We learned a lot of great things from him. 

Sunday night he did a new and returning  member fireside. And it was cool because he just asked if anyone had any questions. And then from there he just began to speak on the question that was asked. And he took like 30 seconds where he closed his eyes and he was just pondering, and then he went and spoke for the next 45 mins. It was so cool just to see how the spirit worked through him to answer the specific question. And it was very powerful. He made mention how we need to always stay focused on what the will of the Lord is. He quoted several times from Isaiah 55

 ¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways  my ways, saith the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

  The Lord wants us to be happy, and for us to really be happy and experience the things he wants us to experience we have to align our will with his. That is where we will find true happiness in our lives. And even into the next 2 days he was with us he kept bring this point back to the message he was presenting. 

It was such a blessing because I actually had to opportunity to have and interview with Elder Corbridge. And he gave me some great council. I wish I had more time to talk about it, but I will talk more about it next weeks email! :) 

Other than that the last weeks we have been working with different institute directors and college campuses. We are trying to get on more colleges so we can find more YSA's. So that was alot of our last week! And we also had MLC and had a great meeting with the zone leaders and sister training leaders! 

The work is continuing to go forward! Sunday we had such a great testimony meeting and the majority of the members talked about doing member missionary work! More and more they have been getting involved and it has made such a huge difference! I am so grateful for the members! And I know as they continue to get involved the Lord will bless them so abundantly! 

Please keep looking for missionary opportunities. And please try to help the missionaries in the areas you live. I know you will be blessed for it as you get involved and allow them to work with you. 

Sorry this isn't very long, but I hope y'all have a wonderful week! 

Elder Joshua. V. Christensen.