Monday, April 25, 2016

Still Working Hard in Tingo Maria

Hey everyone in los Estados Unidos,

Well, this was a pretty good week. Let me start off with the fact that I have a new mini missionary that came in last Monday and he will be going home in 2 week. haha So after this transfer he goes home. He is a pretty cool guy, his name is Eduardo Rosas. He is from Huancayo and is a recent convert, as of like 5 months ago, so I am part of his retainment in the Church. So, basically I have to be perfect or he might go less active I guess! and I have to help him learn, but this is a great way to learn a lot, and fast! Finally, he has come out of his awkward shell and is talking. I make him talk to everyone. He really is cool and a lot more humble than the other mini missionary that was here before. He is a super good guy. 

This week for p-day we went to Huanuco and we played soccer the whole day. It was super fun!! I got to talk to my mission father, Elder Bullock for a while. He is doing pretty good. Then after we went to Metros, which is like a Walgreens, sort of, and I bought a Vanilla Coke. They ran out of dang Mtn Dew! haha I miss the sodas from the United States. They all are just so much better than any other drink here in Peru. On Tuesday we went back to Tingo from Huanuco and went straight to work. This week we basically just contacted the whole time it felt like. We had 65 contacts, and normally we only have like 30. It is so funny to listen to the wierd things that people come up with. Everyone we contacted we would ask if they believed in God. Then we asked what they knew about Him, and what they knew about his son, Jesus Christ. literally every answer was... " He was a good man" or "he came here to tell us that we aren't aliens but, there are aliens in the world." Just weird stuff like that!!! I sometimes would just start laughing right in front of them. I couldn't keep it in. It is just so hilarious. I guess that just means that there is a lot of work still to do here... we better get teaching! 

Also, this week we were teaching a recent convert and we helped him to know if he had a testimony or not. We taught him how to know what things are answers from God. It didn't seem like he knew a lot about the gospel. I feel like the missionaries that were here before I got here were just baptizing because they wanted a lot of baptisms. In these past few months I have been working with less actives and people that are starting to become less active. I hope that I am helping them to learn and helping to strengthen their testimony.

I'm so excited! This week we should be baptizing Angela, if she is ready. Veronica and her daughter are still progressing well, but I think that we are going to postone her baptismal date for a few more weeks. I want her to be converted, and never stray from the church, she is just that awesome. 

That is my week. I am super sorry, but I only took one pic this week, and I cannot send it because I forgot my camera. One funny thing that happened...I was in a Pensions house and I looked over and I saw a picture of Spencer McGhie!!!! haha from our stake!! Then the Pension talked to me about him forever! It was super cool that we both knew him! He was loved when he served here! 

I also want to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who emailed me on my birthday! It made my birthday! Also, thanks to Mom and Dad, Katie, Marci, Tate and Demi, Grandma and Grandpa and Mimi and Papa and my 1st grade teacher, Joani Richardson for the birthday gifts, the letters and the cards! You're awesome to think of me! Today we are going to another cool waterfall and we're going to make fajitas! I am really looking forward to seeing you all in 13 days .... via Skype!! haha!! Love you all and miss you all, you are always in my prayers! Thanks for all your love to me!!

Elder Christensen

Monday, April 18, 2016

A 19th Birthday to Remember!

Hey there people in the United States of America!! 

How are you all doing? So, this week was a really strange week. We started off trying to get to another cool waterfall, but we couldn't get there. So, we just took a picture and got out of there. We hiked forever just to get to the area where the waterfall was, then we couldn't get to it because it is against the rules to swim and we would have had to swim the river to get to it. Darn! It seemed kinda like a wasted p-day, but oh well. That night we had the pre-interview with Angela to see if she was ready for baptism. She lacks a few things, so we are postponing her date for 2 weeks so she can increase her testimony and work on a few things. We had a very nice lesson with her and her brother, and after the lesson we knew the spirit was there, she is so close and I know she'll make it, she wants to be baptized. After that we went back and ate some blueberry pancakes! Well, at least Elder Bartchi and I ate some. Those pancakes were some of the best things that I have eaten in Peru so far!

Tuesday I just sat on my bed all day and read and studied because my companion was "sick". I was happy to take advantage of that time to read, but then on Wednesday he was sick again until like 6 o'clock, then we went out for a while. By Thursday I was so ready to get out and do some work, but he was sick for part of the day that day too. I guess they thought I was sick of his whining so he was sent home, back to Huancayo.  So, today a new mini missionary is going to arrive, and be my companion. 

Friday we actually got to work AND it was my birthday!!! We went to visit Veronica! She is preparing for her baptism on the 7th of May and she is super happy. We are trying to help her as much as we can. I never thought that someone could live like she lives, it really amazes me, she's such a great lady. It really makes me realize that you don't have to have money and lots of material things to be happy. She always has a good attitude about everything. She even has a good attitude about having 8 kids hahaha!! She really does have a rough life. I really love her and I can't wait for her to be baptized in a few weeks, she's going to be a great member! 

After we visited Veronica, we went to visit a lady named Celit. She is super cool! She really likes the church and loves the Book of Mormon, but she wouldn't accept to a baptismal date yet for some reason. We will keep working with her and teaching her and help her testimony to grow so she will want to be baptized. She gave me a whole papaya, and they're huge! I couldn't finish it. After we visited her I had to go and have a meeting with the ward mission leader. I still can't figure out what it was all about, he was just saying the dumbest stuff, I just listened. 

That night we went to this ladies house named Laisdy, and she held a birthday party for me!! It was fun, but they have some pretty crazy birthday traditions here in Peru. We had Tres Leche Cake and then after I got destroyed with 20 eggs and flour all over my head. Yeah, it was awesome haha!! I guess I'll always remember my 19th birthday in Tingo Maria being plastered with eggs and flour! 

Today I am in Huanuco chilling with the Zone Leaders for p-day! That was my week.... not much to report since I spent 3 days sitting in my room! The church is true and I love it!!

Love you all ... be safe,
Elder Christensen

Tried to visit a waterfall on p-day, but we had to swim across
this river and swimming is against the rules, so we didn't make it to the waterfall.

Birthday Tres Leche Cake for my 19th Birthday at Laisdy's house
with the other Elders.

It is a Peruvian tradition to smash eggs over the head of the birthday person,
then they throw flour over the top of that. They usually smash the cake in the birthday person's
face. Doesn't look like they did that... maybe they decided to eat the cake instead!

Not sure what this is .... a skinny Peruvian kitty?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Another Cool Waterfall, and Even Better .... A Few Baptisms


I don't have much time to write this week, I had a lot of birthday emails to respond to! Thanks to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday! It means so much to me! 

I will keep this short and sweet. So last week, on Monday we went to a waterfall called San Miguel. It was an hour in a car, then half hour in a moto and an hour walk to get to the fall. We trekked through mud, water, and all sorts of crazy things that are hard to imaging. haha!! It was super crazy! We got up there and it was the coolest waterfall that I have ever seen in my life. I know I say that every time I go to a waterfall, but they just keep getting better and better! After, we went back and had a lesson with an investigator named Angela. She is getting ready to be baptized this Saturday. We have been working with her since I got here to Tingo Maria. It was so hard to get her to study so that her testimony could grow and she could know the truthfulness of the gospel, because she is super lazy, but now, finally, she is super ready. Hopefully she follows through and gets baptized this Saturday. Please pray for her to have the strength she needs to do all she needs to do. It is going to be super. Also, Veronica and her daughters (that I talked about last week... the lady who had the dream), have a baptismal dates for the 7th of May. so that is one of the main focus lately. I'm so stoked about them getting baptized! They're so awesome!

The rest of this week we didn't really do much, we have been trying to get the members here to help us out and accompany us, because Ericckson went on a mini mission just like my comp is a mini missionary. My comps name is Elder Orellana, and he's from Huancayo. I am training him, and hopefully when he goes on his full time mission he will be so far ahead! He is from Huancayo and weighs in at a whopping 100 pounds!! He is so skinny, and a lurp, but he is a great guy and I am loving serving with him. He has been kind of sick this week, so I gotta get him better.

Well I don't have any more time, I just got an emergency phone call to go and give someone who is sick a blessing, so I will go and help them. Just want to tell everyone that I love you all, and thanks again for the birthday wishes, it made my day!!! Now... I'm really hoping for a good Friday the 15th  because it's my BIRTHDAY!! haha. I will write next week. Thanks to all!! 

Les amo. Chau Cholitos.

Elder Christensen

Waterfall San Miguel

Elder Christensen and His Comp Elder Orellana

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Dream Led Her to Us

ON FRIDAY, APRIL 15th IT IS LUKE'S 19th BIRTHDAY!!! I would love to flood his email next Monday, April 11th with birthday wishes! Please send him just a short "Happy Birthday" email before next Monday to! Thanks for helping him have a great birthday!!! And thanks for your continued support as he serves in Peru! Love you all!

Welp, that was an outstanding General Conference, but I'll talk about that last. So this week for p-day we went to La Lagoona de Los Milagros (the Lake of Miracles). It was one of the coolest things ever. We saw some prehistoric birds, and just super cool random stuff. There were rope swings with a vine that you could swing on that was safe and tight!! haha These Peruanos are crazy though!! There was a crazy dog that belonged to this big guy, and he flipped out and started beating the crap out of the dog, it was really pretty awkward, we didn't know what to do. But, this lake was just super beautiful!!! It was one of the prettiest lakes that I have ever seen. We had a great time there, just soaking up the beauty! 

Then we got back to Tingo and I still didn't have a companion, because remember, Arpires went home the Friday before. So I was just a lone wolf this week, until my new comp arrived on Thursday. I'm basically training him because he knows fewer things than a new missionary directly out of the MTC. He is what we call a mini missionary. He is a member waiting for his mission call, he is from Huancayo, and he will just stay one transfer while he waits for his call to come. We don't have enough missionaries in the Huancayo mission and so he was asked to help us out. He has sent his papers in and everything, but doesn't have his mission call yet. This will be a great experience for him before he actually goes out to serve! He is a super cool dude, we will do good together and I'll teach him all I can in this one transfer. 

I really have started to take initiative and started to challenge a ton of people to baptism. It is super funny to see the reactions sometimes. We have been talking to this family of 8 kids. These kids are crazy, every single one of them are crazy! Whenever I see them they just start yelling from across the road or across the church ... GRINGO! GRINGO! haha they are super funny. The mom's name is Veronica. She has had a hard life and has made it even harder by having 8 kids to take care of, but she is a wonderful lady. She had a dream that was super crazy. I'll tell you the shortened and revised version of her dream so that everyone can understand it, because it has so much meaning. Her dream starts off and she walked into a church with a cross on top of it (a Catholic church), and she asked someone which way was the correct way to be able to return to God and live forever. The guy said there is no way, so she left the church and as she was leaving she asked two white men with white shirts and ties and looked very clean and nice (missionaries), these two men were holding a book made of gold (the golden plates). She asked them which way to go, and they said go this way, and never stray from the path. She down this path they told her to follow, and this path was to a mountain. While on the path, a snake bit her (Satan) and she was trying to rip the snake off her, the farther the two men in white got and closer she got to them, the snake would get bigger, and bite harder. She came to this rope bridge that was over a huge crevasse and she couldn't see the bottom, she crossed the bridge fine, and came to a door. She opened it and came to another, and another, and that happened 7 times. After she got through all the doors, she found a white man (Jesus) and this man said to get to God you have to finish hiking up the mountain (endure to the end), and at the top of the mountain God will be waiting for you in his house. She got to the top and saw the house, and the house had 6 tall points or spires, and was a white and grey color (the temple). Then she woke up. The last part where she told about the building, she described the Salt Lake Temple perfectly. She said this building is in some Rocky Mountains. And that is where the headquarters of this church is located, around that temple. As she was telling us this dream, I couldn't believe it! It was just crazy! I have been slowly helping her to understand her dream by explaining the doctrine that goes right along with it. She is progressing well. She doesn't have money to take every child to church every week but she really loves it, and I know she will be taken care of. I hope that soon she and her children will be able to get baptized. It is hard to teach her because her kids are always going crazy during the lessons, but we are making progress.

Then on Saturday and on Sunday.... wow! I have never been so tired in my life! not physically tired, but spiritually tired. I LOVED Conference! Me and Elder Bartchi got to watch it in English. We watched it in the ward clerk's office. That is the only place in Tingo that has air conditioning, so even better!!!  So me and Elder Bartchi just chilled and ate snacks and drank soda and learned from the most spiritual men on the earth. The spirit was so strong, and I cannot wait until next conference. There were so many things that stuck out to me, but the thing that has not left my mind was the testimony of Elder Holland. I have never heard an Apostle be so straight forward. Usually the Apostles or Prophet or the Seventy just say, " I bare testimony that Christ lives."  But Elder Holland said something different. It was quiet in the room, all I could hear was the Conference. The spirit was so strong in the room and then he said " I bare my witness to you all, in fact I AM A WITNESS OF CHRIST and I KNOW that he lives!" There has never been anything in my life that has hit me so hard and so deep. I know that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, and the Savior of this world. I KNOW that He lives. I can say that, even though I have never seen him, I know. I want you all to go to your Book of Mormon and read Alma 32:21, then search for Christ and He will make himself known unto you by the Holy Ghost. It was such a great week and especially weekend! Keep those messages with you always! I'll talk to all of you next week. 

Hasta luego amigos,
Elder Christensen

La Lagoona de Los Milagros (the Lake of Miracles)

A prehistoric Bird

This looks like Masterchef (from Halo) in his helmet

A statue of a bird in the rock

Looks like some things never change ....
He's still a monkey swinging from vines through the jungle!

Luke, Elder Bartchi, Elder Bartchi's companion and ??? 

Luke and Elder Bartchi watching General Conference,
and sustaining the Prophet, Apostles and other church leaders