Monday, February 23, 2015

The Great Sifter

Hey Everyone! 

This week we saw more amazing miracles with finding. We were able to find 3 new investigators that we are beginning to teach. 

We are still working with some of our areas that are having a harder time finding. And we went over for a companion study to work on finding and role played talking with people. It helped us so much. We talked with them about bringing up families and how they can live together forever with the people they talk with. Everybody loves talking about their families! And alot of time people become more comfortable with talking with us once we try to relate to them. Well after practicing this with them during companion study we were able to use it that night. 

The previous night of planning we prayed to know where the Lord would have us go. And we felt prompted to knock some doors in a neighborhood near a member's house we were going to eat with. We didn't know exactly which street but we knew we wanted to be in this neighborhood. So after the dinner appointment that next night we went out and we prayed again to know which street to visit. And we felt prompted to go to a certain street. 

We began knocking, and the first person to answer really didn't want to talk with us at all. But we tried the next house with no answer. And then on the 3rd knock we had a teenage girl answer the door. It had look like she had been crying, and we began to talk to her about who we were and how we had a message about families, and how through Jesus Christ our families can live together forever.  And she look at us and said, " this is so interesting that you came tonight, my boyfriends dad just passed away a few hours ago." 

Immediately the spirit testified to us that we truly had been led to her. We were able to talk there on her porch with her for the next 45 minutes about the plan of salvation. She thanked us at the end of the lesson, and we asked her if she would be willing to meet again. She wanted us to follow up with her sometime in the coming weeks when things calm down, and hopefully we will be able to meet with her. 

Well after we left we received a referral for someone named Lois. It just said she was in the Hospital in our area, and that she wanted a blessing. So we went over and met her and it turns out that she wasn't a member. Her member sister referred her. She hasn't learned alot  about our faith, but she wants to learn. She doesn't live in our area, but she is an older lady who we gave a blessing to in the hospital. We were able to give her a blessing, and it went really well. She told us how after the blessing the most calming and peaceful feeling come over her. She said it was something that she has never felt before. She then told us how she wants to start reading from the book of Mormon, and how she wants us to begin teaching her about the church and the beliefs. And so we have been teaching her and we hope to go back to teach her tonight. The Lord truly is blessing us with people who are being prepared! 

The 3rd new investigator we found this week is the wife of a member that is coming back to activity. They both came to church for the 2nd week in a row, and they came up to us and said they wanted to start meeting. So we set up an appointment for yesterday at our Bishop's house. And we went to teach about the restoration. And it was so great to have our Bishop there. He gave great insight and had a lot of comments that helped resolve different concerns with this sister. 

It was amazing also because we had started to talk about the Book of Mormon and she said she was already a good way through 1st Nephi. Now already you can tell that she is being prepared. The book of Mormon truly is the best tool to see if someone is prepared. I believe it was President Ezra Taft Benson that said that the Book of Mormon is THE tool to find those who are prepared. It is the great sifter. If someone is willing to truly read the Book of Mormon and ponder in their heart the message that it contains then ask God the eternal Father if these things are true. The Lord will reveal to them the truth. I know this to be true! 

This last week we have seen how the Book of Mormon is the great sifter and through it we were able to find those who were prepared. When we ended the Lesson with this sister we committed her to read and pray, and she said that she would. And then we invited her husband to pray at the end of the lesson. And as he prayed he began to cry. He felt the spirit so strongly as he prayed to God and asked for a reconfirmation of the truth. Seriously being out on a mission is the greatest blessing I have had so far. To see peoples lives changes because of this gospel is incredible. I think of D&C 18

 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
 17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.
 18 Ask the Father in my name in faith, believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men.

I know if we follow this scripture we shall have great joy with in our families. And I love how it ends with saying if we ask our Father in faith believing we will receive, the holy ghost will manifest the things we should do. I know this to be true and I testify of it. 
So I would just invite each of yall to again pray for missionary opportunities. Pray and think of people in your church quorums or classes that you could reach out to and lift their spirits. Think of those your home teach and visit teach. What can you do to help them feel Christ love and strengthen them. I promise you as you have this mindset, great shall be your joy! I testify of this. 
Well I hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, February 16, 2015

Miracles in Tomball!

So we had a great week! I wish I could explain all of it but we are really short on time. But this last week we were able to find 4 new investigators. I will explain some of them real quick. 

One of the new investigators names is Paul, and we met him at a apartment complex in  our area. And we began to just testify and teach about how families can be eternal. We asked him what it would mean to him to know that his family can be together forever even after death. And he grew up Catholic, and so he said it would be incredible and so relieving to be able to know that. 

And so we began to teach him right there about the restoration of Christ's church and the priesthood and how it is through the the priesthood that we can be bound together with are families forever. We referenced Mathew 16 where Christ is teaching Peter and the apostles. And we talked about the keys of the kingdom that Christ would give to Peter was the power to seal and bind families together. And he asked if we could come aback and talk to him more about it! 

Another experience that had was with a former investigator this week. We went a back to teach her and her daughter. We taught them the restoration, and this time around you could tell that some more things clicked with them. About 4 years ago there was another daughter of the mom that was baptized. And she is currently up at BYU. 

At the conclusion of the lesson we talked to them about baptism. And they said that it was something that they wanted to work towards. But if they did continue they would want to be baptized when her daughter Cathy was home form BYU. So we are going back tomorrow to set a date with them for the last week of April or the 1st week of May. 

At church yesterday we also had two non members there that we may begin to teach in these coming weeks. They were both from part member families. And they have come consistently to church for the past few weeks. So we are excited to see what great things happen with them. 

Also this last week we went on exchanges with one of the district leaders. And we had a good exchange with them. They had a good planning session the night before, so they were prompted to go to a certain members home to check on them and see how they were doing. 

And so we knocked on the door and the family came to the door and they had been going through a really hard time. So we were able to go in and teach them about hope and faith in the atonement. By the time we had left they felt alot better and the mom asked me to give her a blessing. And so my companion and a member and I were able to give her a blessing. I am just so grateful for the way we are lead in this work. 

The elders the night previous had a prompting to visit this family and there ward, and then as we went into teach teach the spirit directed the conversation and as well as the blessing. I know that the Lord will continue to guide us! He truly is yesterday today and forever! Because he loves each of his Children he will listen and answer their prayers. I know this to be true with out a shadow of a doubt! 

Well just to close the week we had a zone conference and a mission president fireside! They both were so wonderful! This work is so great and so true!

Please keep praying for missionary opportunities! The Lord is hastening his work! 

Well I hope y'all have a great week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Monday, February 9, 2015

The field is white and ready to Harvest!

Hey everyone! It has been a great week! I don't have a ton to report this week, but Nikki and Pamela were baptized this last Saturday. It was a great little service! We had a harder time getting in with them to get things planned, but we were able to get it all figured out! And it was great! They had the majority of there family was able to attend which was great! Elder DeLuca Baptized Niki and then I was asked to baptized Pamela. 

It was so awesome to see how excited they were for there baptism. We went by this week like I said to plan the baptism but as well as that we taught them the last few principles of Lesson 5 which talks about missionary work and temples and family history. And when we talked about missionary with them they were about as excited as they could be! We asked them who they wanted to invite to their baptism and they just started listing off members of there family and extended family that were less active members or even not members of the church. They also talked about inviting different friends to attend. It was very neat! 

We sadly weren't able to see them confirmed on Sunday though because we had meetings the Stake presidency that morning. But they said it was so amazing. And then even brought some family members to church. Their older Brothers name is Orian and he said he wanted to start learning more. He is about 14 years old, and had a great time at church being with the teachers quorum. 

Other than that the only other thing to report on is specialized training and interviews. It felt quite different not being apart of the training with President and the Assistants. While I missed that for the first part it was still very nice to be able to listen to the meeting and help give feedback and training more one on one with the zone. We also had members of the stake their to discuss how to work more effectively with ward councils and with the members.

  So during the stakes training I went back with President Mortensen and had my first interview with him. I walked in and he looked at me and said, "Wait a minute is this our first official interview together since I have been here?" We kinda joked about it, but he said he was with me so much with training and we had contact almost daily he didn't need to interview me! But I had a great interview with him. 

We discussed more about the zone and potentially some changes that may take place with the zone. And then also he talked to me about where we are at in terms of getting on the Tomball lone star campus. He then helped me to think about some personal goals that I want to set between now and the end of my mission. So It was a great discussion and a great week! 

After my interview I just went back in and we helped train the missionaries on finding more effectively and we actually did role play door approaches with them. So we had 4 different doors they would knock on in the church building, and then they would practice talking to the person who answers the door and how to make it a conversation that is focused on the person and their families. And I think it did a lot to help the missionaries feel more comfortable. 

And looking at the key indicators this week again almost all of our areas have found new investigators each week in the zone! We know that along the way we are hear to plant seeds, but our main purpose as missionaries is to harvest. That is what all of our responsibilities are. 

I love how in the Doctrine and Covenants section for it says, if ye have a desire to serve God, you are called the work. The Lord needs every single one of us to accomplish his work as it hastens! I would invite you to think about if you have the desire to serve God, and if you don't how can you get it? Also what can you do to show God that you have a desire to bless his Children?

I love how in Enos it talks about the great change that took place in Enos after he had received forgiveness of his sins. He then began to pray for his brethren the Lamanites. Once we experience this change we want to bless the lives of others just as Enos did! But it doesn't just take prayer, it takes mighty prayer. 

I just have such a strong testimony that this is the Lords work, and he is preparing his children to receive the gospel. WE are seeing so many great things happening! 

Well I hope y'all have a wonderful week! And I would please just ask you to pray as a family each day for missionary opportunities. Be specific. I promise you that the Lord will bless you to see opportunities as you do this! I know that to be true! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Miracles in Tomball!

(Email from Elder Christensen dated 2/2/15)

So we have had another great week here in Tomball. We had MLC this week, and it was so nice to be able to listen to the meeting and then participate with the thoughts that I had! But we did a great training on incorporating family history early on in the teaching process. Before hand it used to be we would cover it in lesson 5 or when we felt it would be best for the investigators. But now after we teach the plan of salvation lesson we we will talk to them about family history and temple work.

 We were able to meet with a few of our investigators through out the week, as well as we were able to do some more finding in one of the areas in our zone. This week we went on a little exchange from 6-9 with one of our district leaders and his companion to help them find more people to teach. They had voiced in zone meeting on Friday that finding was an area that they wanted some help with. So we went with them on Friday night! 

And as always, the Lord provided people to teach!  I went with the District leader, and his name is Elder Meyers. He is a fantastic missionary. This area has not had any baptisms for about a year, and so going into the exchange Elder DeLuca and I both were ready and knew we would see some great miracles. We starting knocking on doors in the area, and we still ran into people who didn't want to really talk with us, but we also had 3 different people say we could come back and share a message with them. 

We kept knocking, and right as we were walking up to this next house a car pulled into the drive way. I turned it Elder Meyers and said, " this is divine intervention elder!" I was joking when I said it, but a 18 year old girl got out of the car and saw us and started asking questions about who we were. We were able to then teach her about the restoration over the next 30 minutes. We invited her to read from the Book of Mormon and committed her to pray. 

We then asked her once she comes to the knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God. After thinking for just a couple of seconds she agreed she would do that when she finds out it is true. We walked of the porch of her house, and Elder Meyers said " That was so awesome!!" They now have a return appt for tomorrow and they will be taking a member who goes to the same high school as her to have another lesson. 

It was great because Elder DeLuca and Elder Meyers companion were able to also find a new investigator who also accepted to be baptized once he knows the Book of Mormon to be true! The Lord defiantly provides. That is just another experience where were were blessed to be able to see the Lord work Miracles! 

And then to finish the week we had two of our investigators name Nikki and Pamela have their baptismal interview. They are the little girls we have been working with. And so they are planning to be baptized this weekend! We are just seeing so many great things happen this week! 

Well I hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Joshua V. Christensen

Another Great Week in the City of Tomball!

(Email from Elder Christensen dated 1/26/2015) I am a little behind on posting:

We are continuing to see the Lords hand here in the Tomball 2nd area and the Klein 2 zone! We are still trying to do what we can to help out some of the surrounding area so that they can also see more success in the areas. 

So about 2 days this week we were in other missionaries areas trying to help them out. And we saw some good stuff. One of the areas we felt needed some help was up in Magnolia! We have some great missionaries up there, but they have just been having a harder time this last transfer finding! They are working so hard to find. So we decided to go to there area and see some miracles! 

And as always the Lord provides! I went with one of the newer Elders in the mission named Elder Hanks. He is a good Elder! So we talked about how we were going to go knocking from 6-8, and we had them pick the area just previous to going. And we went out! It gets darker a lot faster, and so the neighborhood we went to had a lot of big dogs, and its so dark you can't tell where they are you can just tell they are close! But we continued to knock even with the dogs out everywhere, and we were probably knocking for about 1 hour and 50 minutes, and we had about 4 people say that we could come back and visit. 

During this time we were talking a lot about the need to have the faith to find. I was talking to him about how we need to have the belief that people are prepared and then we will be blessed for it! And the Lord blessed us again. 

At 7:50 We knocked on the last door we had planned on doing and a couple walked outside and started talking to us saying that they have been looking for a church. We were on there porch for the next 40 minutes teaching them about parts of the restoration and the plan of salvation. They had worries and fears about not having enough faith, and so we were able to talk with them and by the end the spirit had testified to them. It was so amazing! They asked us if we could come back and keep teaching them! They were very sincere! 

So as we went out together that night to find those were prepared the Lord provided! I hope it was a good experience for Elder Hanks. He seemed to come out of it more confident, so we are excited to see the miracles continue! 

Also this week we met with some more of our investigators. Our top investigators right now are Nikki and Pamela. They are two young girls in a part member family in our ward. One is 9 and the other is 11. And these girls have been taught over the past several months, and I think that they are ready for baptism. I was very surprised with how much they knew and could remember. We went through the baptismal interview questions with them, and some of them we had to word a little different so they could understand but they then answered great!  So right now with them we are planning on having there baptismal service on Feb 7th. So we are excited to continue working towards that with them! 

  The Lord is just blessing us so much right now! I am just so grateful to be apart of this wonderful work! This gospel changes lives! We are so blessed to be apart of it. I would just please again invite you to continue to look for service opportunities, as well as chances to bring others to Christ. 

I hope y'all have a wonderful week! 

Elder Joshua V. Christensen