Monday, January 25, 2016

Preparing for a Baptism!! And, Yes, I'm Still Sweating!!

Hey everyone!

So that was a slow, but a fast week. I want to start off and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO VIANSA!! Sorry, I know it was last Friday, but I can only email on Mondays!

The past week has surely been different. It has been an emotional roller coaster. I want to tell you about a kid that is 15 years old, and his name is Jin. He is a really cool kid and he is our investigator. He has been investigating the church for a while. We were teaching him on Thursday and we had such a spiritual lesson. I was telling him the reason that I am here in Peru. He said that he couldn't get baptized or his dad would disown him. He could go live with his aunt, but his family would be unhappy. I told him the story of the morning that I was leaving for Peru. I told him about how my brother Nick just never cried. I don't think he'd ever cried in his life, well at least I had never heard, or seen a time that he had cried. I told him how we said our goodbyes and Nick was headed to work, I cried but Nick really didn't cry, but then about 10 minutes later he called me crying hard. he told me that he loved me.  i said to Jin, "I know it is your decision to be baptized just like it was my decision to come to Peru on a mission. It wasn't an easy decision or easy to do, but I told him how blessings come when you follow Jesus Christ and do what he has commanded us to do. I know that Jin's dad will come around and probably be baptized, and so will his mom. Jin's parents did signed the papers and they are letting him get baptized the 27th of February!! 

Nothing else really happended this week. I have not stopped sweating since I got here 2 weeks ago, other than the time in my ice cold shower!! I am learning a ton. This place is so beautiful!! I went to a waterfall called Santa Carmin last week. It was cool, not my favorite waterfall, because really I have seen cooler waterfalls in my life but it was really cool and really fun! It really was just a super cool setting, so beautiful and so green. Also these missionaries here are all malgrados (disobedient missionairies). Two of them don't want to wake up till 7:30 a.m. but I've been forcing my comp to wake up. Then they don't get back to the house until 10:00, they're just always pushing it. Also the one right next to me is listening to Drake on his computer! Good thing he can't read English because he just tryed to read that sentence haha!!! 

Welp!!! wish me luck that, and wish for rain here everyday for me because when it rains it is cooler and the days go by in like 1 hour I swear!! 

Love you all. Chau!!
Elder Christensen

All you missionary moms check out ... There are lots of great helps, videos, questions answered and blogs from missionaries in your son's mission. They're fun to read! Check out the website!!

Waterfall called Santa Carmin near Tingo Maria, Peru

Beautiful green jungle surrounding Santa Carmin

On the road going back to Tingo Maria from Aucayacu
Aucayacu has many "less active" members so the missionaries visit this village often.

Monday, January 18, 2016

From Snowflakes to Palm Trees ... WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!!!

Well everyone ... 

I left the bitter cold, and now I am in the completely opposite climate! I am in TINGO MARIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This place is literally the 2nd most beautiful place that i have ever been to. The members and even investigators give us stuff everytime we go and visit! The best fruit I have ever had is right here! For dinner we usually just have huge bowls of fruit and the rice is so good. I guess after every trial there comes a blessing. Now my problem is, I have not stopped sweating! The people here think that I am dying because I am just always sweating! I carry around a sweat rag with me to wipe my face! haha  There is not one person to talk to in English within 3 hours of here so I guess my Spanish will come along even better and faster. 

We should have 3 baptisms next month, and in 3 1/2 days of working we have had 17 lessons, what a difference from Carhuamayo!! So yeah, I guess you can say that my week was super fast.  Now, hopefully I get use to the weather here, or i will want to just jump off of a cliff! I am serious. It is probably 100 degrees and 100% humidity, and I am accustomed to and acclimated to the bitter cold. hahaha!!! 

I have a ward here with 200 assisting members, we have ward activities. and everyone is so nice. There are a lot of different kinds of people here. It is so easy to tell the people who are educated and the non-educated apart. The educated people mind their own business and say hello when you pass by. The uneducated people, they stare at me like I'm some sort of monster, they point and say "gringo", actually they yell it, sometimes from across the park, or the street! It's like they've never seen a gringo before in their life!! haha!! These people are crazy!!  I think I'm going to like it here, I am having a good time, and I should see a lot of success. 

My new companion is Elder Arpires, he is from Argentina! He's a cool guy, and we get along really good! We're going to be great together! And I am in Elder Rocky Evans zone!!!! He is the zone leader here and I'll be going on splits with him tomorrow! Rocky Evans is another Elder from Sandy/Draper, he went to Alta High School with Luke, he's a year older in school! 

Today we are going to a waterfall. It should be super cool. I miss you all more than you can imagine, but I am almost 1/4th of the way done with my mission, it is going fast! Everyone please be safe and be happy! 

I want you all to know that I know that this church is true. I have been praying so much lately for so many different things, and my answers come, it's not always when I want them, but in the time that they are most needed. Prayer is the only thing keeping me going some days, and also my patriarchal blessing. I have read my patriarchal blessing at least 60 times since I got to the mission. It has given me great comfort, and direction. I am so grateful for my blessing. It talks a lot about my mission and it has given me the greatest guidance. I know it's straight from Heavenly Father, through the mouth of his patriarch. I love you all and I know that the only way that we can live again after this life and be together is through our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Everyone have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Christensen

Marcelino Chavez and his son
Mercelino is the husband to Luke's Pensionista Hermana Beti.
Luke really loved this family, and they took good care of him!

Saying goodbye to Cerro de Pasco with some of his favorite Elders and friends.

Saying goodbye in Cerro de Pasco to great friends!

Elder Baca and Elder Christensen saying "See ya later", not goodbye!
Elder Baca has fast become one of Luke's greatest friends, mentors and Zone Leader.
We are all so grateful for Elder Baca. Luke will truly miss him!

Goodbye to Cerro de Pasco and Carhuamayo

On the 6 hour drive to Tingo Maria (the jungle)!

Along the way to Tingo Maria, looking a little more like jungle.

Welcome to Tingo Maria!!! Love the palm trees and blue skies!
Luke went from 15,000 ft to 2,200 ft.
He ought to be able to breath really good now!

Tingo Maria!!!
Tingo Maria has a population of 55,000 and sits at 2,204 feet above sea level.
It is known as the "Door of the Amazonia"
Tingo Maria was considered unreachable until 1936.
In 1942 the US Government sent funding to Peru to cultivate the land. They now grow
large amounts of coffee beans there!
Tingo Maria is about 8 hours north of Huancayo at the northern end of Luke's mission.
It looks beautiful!!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

My First Baptism and It Was In The River !!!!!

Hey everyone! 

So how are you all doing? I had a baptism this week and it was pretty cool!!!! We baptized in the River Rancas. I don't know for sure how to spell it, but yeah, it is in Cerro de Pasco. It was the first time that has happened in over twenty years in Cerro de Pasco!! I baptized the lady standing by me in the pictures. Her name is Isabel Jenny Macha Wertes. She's a funny lady!! Elder Baca (my zone leader)  just called me up on Thursday and said she was going to be baptized and I was going to baptize her.  The baptisms were on Saturday. Elder Baca baptized someone and so did Elder Delgado. It really was such a neat feeling! What a great day! 

This week we got water! But our duchy (means shower I'm guessing?) doesn't work at all. It is still like just a little bit warmer than cold. haha!! and especially in Carhuamayo, haha yeah it's not that fun to shower!! but I guess it's all part of the experience! It's kinda cool! 

So also this week I learned how to solve a Rubics cube fast! But, I am trying to figure out how to do it in 30 seconds. I can get it in 1:38 seconds but not any faster! haha! I got a super good cube for a professional, but the day that I got my cube, (last pday) we hiked up the highest mountain in Cerro de Pasco and we all solved a Rubic cube there!! and took a few cool pics too! And.... I did a backflip at 17,000 feet. So cool to think about that. I did take a pic of it. 

Not really that much that went on this week. The baptism and the hike were the highlights! I got pizza on Sunday morning. I read that book Our Heritage that is in the missionary library, it comes with Jesus the Christ and 3 other books. I read it in 2 1/2 days. It was really good. I am reading Our Search for Happiness now and it is super good. Really, I never want it to end.

Transfers are this week. I guess we'll wait and see, I might get transferred?? I won't know until tonight, or in the morning tomorrow. I really am so sick of burned rice and chewy chicken. I sometimes just eat only like a fourth of my plate. I do love my Penchinista. She is super cool and the same with her husband. They are great people!!

Oh and I forgot to thank a few people after Christmas!!! I want to thank the Primary kids from the Crescent Park 3rd Ward for their letters, they were awesome! Sister Snow for her package... I have loved the gummy worms!!! Thank you! My awesome First Grade Teacher, Mrs. Richardson, I loved the sour gummy worms!! The Vickery Family, again loved the sour gummy worms! The Jordan's for their package, I do love Swedish fish and the caramels were great! Also, Mimi and Papa, thank you for the package, the candy, the money and all the goodies, and I loved your letters! Thank you everyone for thinking of me. I felt really spoiled! I am starting to gain weight again I think  from all of the candy that I am eating. I guess that's a good thing!!!

I love you all and be safe. 

Elder Christensen

Overlooking the City of Cerro de Pasco, Peru
One of the highest cities in the world. The second highest in Peru at 15,000 ft.

Luke's backflip at 17,000 feet

Luke's beloved Rubic's cube over the city of Cerro de Pasco!

A house in Carhuamayo, Peru

Elder Baca and Elder Christensen with Isabel Jenny Macha Wertes

Elder Christensen, Elder Baca, Elder Delgado and those getting baptized

Elder Christensen baptizing Isabel Jenny Macha Wertes 
in the River Rancas in Cerro de Pasco, Peru

Monday, January 4, 2016

A New Room ... Rubic's Cubes ... Ugly Dogs ... and Maybe Even a Baptism!

Hey so what's up everyone! 

This has been a patience tester kind of week!  My comp and I moved on Thursday to a new room and it's way cool. Our bathroom is super nice!! Most of the houses don't have bathrooms inside the house. The only problem is we don't have any water! So I haven't showered since like last Wednesday. I feel so gross! Hopefully I get a shower soon! So Friday the Branch President came over and he was trying to fix our water problem. My comp who has 13 months in the mission and is a Latino from Paraguay came in the the room flipping out and breaking all of his things! I told him he was acting like a baby and to stop, he said, "all babies inherit the kingdom of God" and I told him that he needs to figure things out, maybe pray about it. He was mad the whole day and pouted! Saturday he did the same thing, and Sunday he was super depressed and cried again. I showed him D&C 136:31, "My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom."  Wellafter I read that to him he got really mad at me! Then he told me everything that was wrong with me!!  I haven't done anything to him at all, I was just try to help him and he makes me feel likeIi have no purpose! Anyway I guess it's all ok now! 

One great thing about this week is that we found a guy that actually wants to get baptised!!!!!  He is super cool. His name is Cirilo Dominica. I think that this town started out with three families because everyone in the whole town has one of three last names... Cordova, Dominica, or Arsepalo. I am serious, it is weird! The mission leader for the stake in Cerro said that Carhuamayo is like an 1800's little old town in the movies. haha!! 

On Wednesday I figured out how to solve a Rubics Cube so I am buying a really good one today for 40 Soles, that's like $12.00. Another funny thing that happened this week, I was walking down the street and saw the ugliest dog in the world. I am not lying this dog should be in a record book it was so ugly! So I just kept laughing over this throughout the day. Later we were on our way to a lesson and I looked into this truck and again, I am not lying, I saw a dog that was 15 times uglier than the first. I got some videos! haha  So the next day we were walking to the same people's house and there was this drunk that stopped us and kept asking if we could bless his car and his dog because he wanted them both to be prettier! So we walked to his house and I saw that ugly dog again, the one that was the uglier dog and i just started laughing so hard! The drunk guy got super mad at us, so we walked over to his car, gave him a Word of Wisdom pamphlet and left. It really was a pretty funny! haha. 

On Sunday I read this talk that President Henderson gave me. It was written by some other Mission President somewhere else. It is called the 4th Missionary.  I loved it! I realized that I was a "3rd Missionary". That means you work with all of your might and strength, and the "4th Missionary" is someone who works with all of his heart, might, mind and strength, and I am working to be a "4th Missionary" for sure! 

Well that's my week so far. I love you all and thanks for the support. Hopefully I get out of here at transfers in a week. But, if not, I think I'll be just fine, I can make another transfer here! 

Elder Christensen

Luke and Pablo (an investigator) ... Luke says Pablo's a little crazy, but he loves him!

Elder Christensen and Elder Alfonso making pizza.
Luke says Elder Alfonso always tells everyone how ugly Luke is!! 
He's not sure why he says that!!!
I think he's kinda cute!

This cute little kitty belonged to Luke's Pensionista. He was left outside one night,
and it was so cold that the cat froze to death. So sad :(

Some of Luke's favorite Elders in the mission...
Elder Baca (California) Elder Leonard (Colorado) and Elder Christensen (Utah)
This picture was taken in Huanuco at a Zone Conference.

Christmas night in Elders Christensen and Alfonso's room. They had no power that night!

Somewhere in Carhuamayo, Peru

Main Street in Carhuamayo, Peru

Luke at the Internet Cafe.
He's looking pretty suntanned and he also has the rosy red cheeks!
They call those cheeks "Cerro Cheeks". I'm not sure if they're from sun burn, wind burn or frost bite!