Monday, December 26, 2016

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Well people of the real world!! Merry Christmas!

Well, I hope that you all had a great Navidad! I had a really great one! It didn't seem a lot like Christmas since it feels about 110 degrees here in the jungle of Pichanaki! Not a White Christmas like you all had!

Drinking coconut milk out of a coconut on Christmas Day is not the same as
drinking hot coco and watching it snow on Christmas Day!

The Christmas Tree sent from home with twinkle lights and pictures
of Elder Christensen's family and extended family!

So let me tell you about the adventures that have happened this past week. Hopefully, I can tell you like it was. Today I am so tired and so lazy! But like every week we were just working hard and loving it! Well we worked as hard as we physically could without passing out from the lack of water. Because seriously, I sweat all of the water out of my body in the day, it is just so hot here. It really was a great week, but I was on the verge of tears on thursday night. because so many cool investigators just randomly said they don't want to listed to us. It was just awful. So Thursday night the revelation came to my head that I needed to go to the Comiseria (police station) in the morning. So I told the other missionaries about the plan and what was going to go down they liked the idea! Do at 6:00 we woke up, we got ready, wrote out the address to the church, and our names and our phone number on some contact cards, then went on a journey to visit the Police. We got there and contacted about 43 police men. It was a sight to see. I didn't get a great picture because the stinking guard was being a jerk, but everyone cooperated well and promised us that they would help us out. So we'll see how that goes! I love going there!
There were some pretty crazy things that happened on Saturday tooOn Saturday we were feeling a little crazy, so we were thinking that we were going to be like Alma, or like Samuel the Lamanite. And the idea came to our heads that we are going to go and preach to the hundreds of people in the Plaza (the Plaza is in the city centre where everyone gathers). We planned to have a big crowd just listening to Elder Gonzalez and I, while our comps were taking down appointments with people. So that was the plan. So we took about 200 Liahona's (the church magazine) to the Plaza and set everything up. I started preaching to a small group that was growing in size, and it was all going great. And then... Flippppppping SATAN came to the park at the same time, well actually 2 Satan's came. They were 2 street performers that thought they needed to steal all of the people from us. So they started talking bad about us and said, "don't listen to them, they are just Mormons! Come and be entertained!" Seriously, isn't that exactly what Satan would say! haha So we packed up and went to the corner of the park and just contacted people. We contacted about 150 to 200 people. We almost gave every single Liahona away! We also had Books of Mormon that were gift wrapped that we gave away also. Nice gifts huh! We found so many people that were old investigators that want to listen again, and tons of new people that want to investigate the church. It was a huge success! So we're back on track now, with lots of people to see and lots to teach! It's going to be great! 

In Peru they start Christmas on Christmas Eve, they give gifts to the kids, they eat, do fireworks and get drunk. Then sleep all day on Christmas day. We had a brunch on Christmas morning and then went to the church to skype with our families. It was so great to see everyone!! I miss you all and love you all! Happy Birthday to my bro Nick, and thank you to everyone who sent cards and gifts! I am here in Pichinaki with 3 Latin missionaries so I just shared everything that was sent to me with them. It was a very Merry Christmas!

Love you all,
Elder Christensen

Drinking Inca Kola on Christmas Eve, while the rest of 
Peru celebrates very different! 

Christmas Eve Fireworks show 

Christmas Lunch at Hermana Helady's house 
Hermana Helady and her 2 sons

Mama Mary and her husband
Luke's Pensionista in Pichinaki 

Talking to Elder Christensen on Christmas Day.
The connection wasn't too good, and his face was so bright and pixelated
on the screen.
But he looks good and sounds so good!
He's loving his mission!

Got this picture on December 26th from 
Elder Christensen's Pensionista while he was eating breakfast!

Multi Zone Christmas Conference


Playing a White Elephant Gift Exchange Game 
at the Christmas Multi-Zone Conference
They also watched videos of their families that were sent from home.

Back in November 2016 several families (mothers) put together Christmas
bags for Elders/Sisters who would not receive a gift from
home. These bags included Candy, Bookmark, Chapstick, Pen, Tie/Scarf,
a Christmas Story, Christmas Card and a crisp $10 bill (equal to about $30 in Peruvian Soles)

Here is President Silva and his youngest son handing out
these gift bags to Elders and Sisters at the
Multi-Zone Conference.
Luke reported that "it was such a cool thing for you to do".
He thanked everyone who helped, and said what a great thing
it was!
Hopefully this can be carried on year after year!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Miracles Are All Around Us

Hey there people of Gringolandia!! (that's what people here call the United States)

Bueno!!!! this week was a pretty solid week. It was full of ups and downs. But, mostly one giant up and an even bigger down. haha!  Well, to start of, we played soccer and volleyball on Monday and we won!!! We barely beat the ward here, but we did win!!

After we had our p-day we went to visit the 1st councilor in the ward, and gave him a Priesthood blessing. He came walking into the room at 1/18th mph. He has the same thing that happened with my back a few years ago when I could barely walk! He came in and sat down, we were going to have birthday cake for his birthday. He looked into my eyes and said, "Elder Christensen, I need a priesthood blessing".  So I said, "ok, I think that would be a good idea".  So the 4 of us Elders put our hands on the head of this 65 year old man's head and I gave him a blessing of healing. He stood up right after the blessing and just started walking. He said that he felt almost like normal, and then he started to tear up. It was his birthday, but he wasn't planning to do anything because he was so laid up. He actually had the best birthday ever. He was able to see a miracle. I seriously could feel the power that I really have as a Preisthood holder. I truly have an immense testimony of the Preisthood, and the power that God gives to his children. I feel so blessed and humbled by this power. I want to always live worthy to hold this special power. 

The rest of the week was ok. We had some way sweet people that are getting ready for baptism! Their testimonies are growing so much and so fast. It truly is a sight to see. We even had a family that has been investigating for 5 months tell us that they are ready to get married and baptized. They won't be able to get married for a month or two, but they are super happy because they are following the commandments and doing all the things they need to do to become members. The man of the family even wants to help bless the sacrament!

So the whole week was great, up until we got to FridayFriday we went to Satipo for a zone meeting. When we got back on Saturday morning everything went bad. We had a whole day planned with such cool investigators. We were so excited to go out and see these people, but we had several of them tell us that they don't want to listen to us anymore and the rest literally just failed us! We did this from 12 o'clock in the afternoon until like 9:00 at night. We just contacted people that didn't want to listen to us.  

Sunday was more of the same, but Sunday turned out to be a great day. First of all, we got to church, and the bishop walked up to tell my comp and I that we needed to be the Sacrament Meeting speakers. He told me that I needed to talk for 15 minutes and my comp for 10 minutes. So I had to give a talk that was prepared on the spot! I said a quick prayer and knew I really had to rely on the spirit! I felt like the spirit definately was prompting me and telling me what to say. I guided my words enough to have the whole congregation sitting on the edge of their seat. After they told us that we had given talks that sounded like they were from the Apostles. haha Sometimes the spirit can work better on us if we don't over prepare (or prepare at all!) It's an amazing thing to let it work!
I truly did have a great week. We saw miracles happen and we suffered some too, but what is God's plan without opposition. I love you all and miss you. We'll see ya on Sunday family! I can't wait!! Merry Christmas or as we say it here.... Feliz Navidad!

Elder Christensen

Luke's Pensionista in Pichanaki 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Crashed in a MotoCab!!

Hey mama, and other people that read these letters!!

Well I just want to thank you all for the support that I have received the past few days.  I seriously can feel that at least one or two people are praying for me. Maybe it's just my mom and probably my dad!! But, really I thank you all for the prayers that you have given in my behalf. Really, my entire mission I have felt the prayers and support of so many people. It's such a cool thing! So thank you!
So this was another amazing week! I can say that this week was the greatest work week I have had. All of the weeks really are so great, every one seems better than the one before! So, to start off the week, I traveled all day Monday to get to this little village out in the middle of nowhere! Seriously! but, it's a super beautiful and sweet jungle village. I wish you all could see it! When I arrived we played some volleyball in the heat! And it was so much fun, and fun to be warm again! It's in the 90's here with about 90% humidity. I go from one extreme to the other! From 12,000 feet and freezing to the heart of the jungle! I am living in an apartment with my comp and another companionship. There are only 4 of us here in Pichanaki. Elder Jordan is super cool! I really like him! and my Pench is so freaking sweet! She cooks amazing. I really love her. Also we live right next to the Main Plaza right in the middle of the village. I couldn't take many pictures this week because I thought I lost my charger, but I have found it so I'll take some good pics this week. The rest of the week we just worked our butts off! I really don't have much to report, other than we worked so dang hard this week that by Sunday I was so tired I almost fell asleep while contacting someone! 

I guess the excitement of the week was getting in an accident in a motocab!! They are like motorcycles but with three wheels and seating for three. Really, it was kind of a bad one, we wrecked really hard! The man that was driving had some minor injuries. My companion and I were in the back and we were fine!

I do want to tell you about this man that we have been teaching. We've been teaching a guy named Luis Vasques, he's 24 years old. He, as a child, teenager and young adult had a super hard life. He did many things in his life that he now regrets. When I say that he has broken every single commandment, I mean he really has broken every single commandment that God has given to man. Luis, a few weeks ago was praying super hard about how he needed help to change and become better. After meeting with the missionaries he has decided to start his repentance process and is making better decisions. We hope he can stay on the path that he needs to and work hard to right all of the wrongs in his life. Luis is literally one of the the greatest men that I have ever met in my whole entire life. i have never seen a man change so much in the week that I have been here in Pichanaki. I love to see the change people can make when they have God in their lives.

We also found a lady on Tuesday that really wants to get baptized, her name is Trinidad. Trinidad is a down syndrome girl and seriously she wants to be baptised so bad. She has been attending church for the past few months, the missionaries here either thought that she was a member, or they just didn't ever contact her because really she doesn't need to be baptized. We aren't sure that this perfect angel will be able to have her wish fulfilled to be baptized because she already has her way made to the celestial kingdom. But I will keep you updated and let you know what happens with her. She is just the sweetest!

Literally we didn't have anything super cool or out of the ordinary happen most days this week. We just worked so hard, and it really felt so good! Hopefully this week we will see the fruits of our hard work, and the miracles that come along with hard work. Well that's all I have for you this week. I'll try to have a crazy week so I have something great to report! The gospel is true, and I love it!  

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Goodbye Chilca .... Hello Pichanaki!!

Hey there people!

So this was probably the craziest week that I have had in my whole mission. So there is a young man named Daybin, I've talked about him before. He's preparing for a mission and he's been my comp on and off during this transfer. So I've been teaching Daybin how to contact the people, and how to teach the lessons. We started off the week great! It was one of the greatest weeks that I have ever had!! We started out with P-day on Monday... we ate Anticuchos (cow heart) and it was so good!!! The rest of the week was straight work. We literally found like 5 different families to teach!. By the end of the week we had like 15 people with a baptismal date! I was so exciting, we were working so hard! We found a family of 4 that we started teaching. Like many people in Peru, the parents aren't married. But Daybin started talking to the dad, about how the dad needs to get married and how God will bless them for following that commandment. The dad, Percy, changed his mind 180 degrees, the same with his wife Deena. It was so great! So the rest of the week we were working hard to find those chosen people that God needs in his army. By Thursday night we had 100 contacts, about 17 lessons and 11 new investigators. A record week, proving that hard work pays off! This is the greatest work ever!

But.... we all know that to every great story there is an ending. There is always opposition in everything. At 9:30 Thursday night we got a call from the Assistants telling us that "Chilca has been closed to the Elders." There would only be sisters teaching in Chilca. I first thought that it was just a giant joke. Then at about 10 o'clock that night the financial secretary called us and said that the next morning I needed to pack my bags and leave my room in Chilca. He also said that I needed to move every single article that was in the house, like the beds, closets, the desks, everything from the 3rd floor to the Zone Leader's room (remember I don't have a car). So on Friday morning we took everything out and moved it all.  Later that day I went to Pampas again to do a baptismal interview. It was great to be back in Pampas, I love it there, the two people passed the interview and we bought three 3 liters of soda, 2 Inka Kolas and 1 Coke, and we sat down and drank them!

 Familia Inga
 Familia Quispe
Jose Luis and Edith
 Elder Vinola
Saying Goodbye to Chilca
On Saturday and Sunday I worked with the Sister missionaries showing them the area and introducing them to the people that I had been working with and preparing for baptism. It was so sad to see so many people that I have grown to love, and that are so close to entering into the waters of baptism. It was the hardest thing ever to tell them that I wouldn't be teaching them anymore and then to have to say goodbye knowing that I may never see them again. I guess it´s all a part of the mission and mission life.

Hermanas ... Aramayo, Schmid, Dymock, Martin
Elders Mulatillo, Christensen, Ayala
The District
I'm really going to miss Huancayo/Chilca, and the people but I'll continue my journey here. I'm on to my next adventure ... I'll be in the jungle again! On Monday I took the long 5 hour ride to my new area PICHANAKI or PICHANAQUI!!!!  It's on the eastern edge of my mission in the middle of the jungle! It's beautiful here, and yes, it's very very hot, of course it is Summer here. I'm still a District Leader here. My new companion is from Bolivia, his name is Elder Jordan and he's taller than me! Crazy for a Bolivian to be over 6'! I really like him! We have already made some goals, we are going to have to work hard to accomplish them, but we're going to do great things here. Maybe I'll be here for another 6 months? Who knows? I miss you all and love you all. 

Good bye!
Elder Christensen
 Hello Pichanaki Corazon de la Selva Central!!
"Pichanaki Heart of the Central Jungle"
Pichanaki is going to be a beautiful and warm place to serve!

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's All in God's Timing

Hello there family and friends!!

How is life? So this week was a pretty crazy week. To start off we had a pretty sweet p-day last week, we played some soccer! It was so much fun!

Tuesday we had a Leader's Council, so every single leader all met up in Huancayo and talked about how we are going to make the mission better. I got to see all of my buds that I came to the mission with and more. Every single American missionary from my group that I came with was there in the Council, it was great to see everyone again after so long. I got to see my bud Elder Ramirez again after like 9 months, such a great reunion!

Elder Christensen and Elder Ramirez 

At Leader's Conference

So this week we had a great time and I worked so hard and kept really busy. I am still without a companion. I just have to call people everyday to figure out who can go with me for the day. So last Tuesday and Wednesday we worked super hard. I was with a young man named Daybin. Maybe you remember him, he's the young man I talked about a month or so ago, he had the crazy dreams and he is preparing for a mission. We literally saw miracles during those 2 days. We found 5 super sweet investigators on Tuesday. These people are truly looking for the truth. We just happened to show up at the exact time to be able to help them. Of course, after a lot of prayer and asking Heavenly Father to guide us to those who need us, and those searching for the happiness the gospel can bring, we were led right to them. I really have been noticing that God works in the simplest ways, and that everything happens for a reason. I know that there are people in the area that we have found, that I never would have found if I hadn't been without a companion and with a member all day. I know that I have been led to certain people that I probably would not have found. I know that even through the simple things, like putting a thought in my head to stop and wait 3 seconds can and has changed the lives of people. If we will take time to stop and listen, we can all be led everyday of our lives, even in the simplest of things.

So on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day in America!) Elder Mulatillo, Elder Ayala, and I embarked on a journey.  We went to Huancavelica! It's a place about three hours south of Huancayo. We got there and went on divisions with the Elders that are there. I went with an Elder that is a real big "Debbie Downer". He has like 19 months in the misson, but he just hates his mission. He seems so miserable. So I had to try and inspire him and give him some tips. Yeah, it was an interesting day. But he is feeling better and doing better now too. We left to go back to Huancayo the next morning, and on the way back we saw a sweet colonial bridge and a tower on the bridge. It was sweet! Then when we were walking back to get in the car we hear people yell "BOYITOS, BOYITOS!"  We were so happy! A boyito is a piece of bread, but it is not just any piece of bread, it is the best tasting bread that I have ever tasted in my 19-1/2 years of life! Eating the boyitos made the week one of the greatest weeks in my whole mission. It really is the little things! It was a great week full of success. I am happy. I am grateful for the lessons learned here. Things as simple as stopping to listen to the spirit. 
Well that's all for this week. I love you all!

Elder Christensen

Remember to #LightTheWorld


Izquchaca, Peru 

The Colonia Bridge 

"The Utah View"
As named by the Utah Missionaries
because of the Red Rocks and Green River