Monday, January 30, 2017

The Holy Ghost is Real

Hey there!

So I have absolutely no time because I had to solve a bunch of problems and read a bunch of stuff while I was online. But, I just want to say that this week was a pretty great one. 

On Tuesday we walked all day long..... the greatest thing that happened this week was on Wednesday. On Wednesday we had a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast with the Executive Council of Missionaries. It was so cool knowing that this was being broadcast throughout the world! They talked about how we can help investigators repent and feel good about themselves and then get baptized and be good productive members. They talked about changes to our daily schedule that will really be helpful, especially since missions all over the world are so different from one to the next. It really was a super sweet, and crazy, and amazing conference! I loved it! It was so good to hear from the brethren.  

After the broadcast I had a talk with President Silva. I guess it really was an interview. He wanted to have a little talk with me. I expressed what I was feeling, and he taught me so many things that were so edifying. He is an amazing man, with so much knowledge, and filled with the spirit. He really knows how to touch me and knows just what I need. He's very inspired. When I left I felt like I was walking on a cloud, it was seriously the coolest thing! We went straight to an appointment, and we had a Family Home Evening in the house of a less active family. There were also these two return missionaries with us. They started sharing a message with the family and these two RM's just started burning the heck out of the less active family. It was awkward to say the least, everyone just felt so uncomfortable. I stopped them, and I told everyone that I wanted to talk. I just felt like I couldn't leave while these less actives had just been the "wood that we used to grill our steaks on".  So the spirit was screaming at me to talk and fix it! I don't remember what I said exactly, but I did feel like someone had entered into my body and spoke to everyone using my body and my mouth. Everyone there said that I even had a different voice. The man thanked me for what had happened and the words I had said, and every one left a little bit more edified and lifted, and we all left with some cake too! It was such a neat experience. I truly believe that the Holy Ghost is with us and will talk to us, or for us, if we are in tune with the Spirit and listen. It's amazing. I've felt so good since I've been back here in Huanuco. I really don't have words to explain it, I just feel so good. I love it!

That is my week. I love you all and I miss you all.

Elder Christensen

Monday, January 23, 2017

Made It Out Of The Danger Zone!

I just want to say  HAPPY late BIRTHDAY VIANSA!!!!!!!!  So this week was a pretty strange week, also super funny, and also super tiring! I'm not going to write a lot because the keyboard that I'm using is awful, and it is super hard to type on.

To start off.... Monday I was supposed to leave to go to Huanuco to meet up with my new comp and be in my new area, but, I had to stay in Pichanaki until Tuesday afternoon because last Monday morning we woke up and it was so strange, but no one was in the street and it's usually so busy in the mornings with everyone doing their thing, so we were all so confused! So we went to our Pench's house, like usually, but when we got the the bridge we could see gigantic tires in the middle of the bridge and they were all on fire. All over in the road and surrounding the bridge there were lots of native people that were mad because the banks haven't given them their money so that they can build their farms. They are seriously a little crazy! And it was a little scary!

Luke's Pensionista, her husband, Luke and Hermana Benedicta
Having Slushies with his Pensionista with the rioting in the background.
 Rioting on the Bridge as Luke was trying to leave Pichanaki
 The Pichanaki Elders
Saying Goodbye to Pichanaki

On Tuesday I had to embark on a very long journey that was supposed to take like 9 hours. I was headed to Huanuco, my new area. But instead of a 9 hour trip, our trip to Huanuco took about 12 hours because we had to sit in the car, in the middle of all of the rioting for 3 hours. These natives here are crazy!

After a long trip we finally made it to Huanuco. (I seriously was so sad to leave Pichanaki, I have loved it there!) But we made it safe and sound after making our way through the rioting and driving forever, we finally made it at like 8 o´clock at night.  And then I started my work for the week with my new comp Elder Islas. This is his last change before he will go home. I really like him, and we'll do great together.
It was a week full of walking! I have never walked more in my life!! We've seriously got to work this area, this week we started with about 3 investigators, and now we are at like 10, so we're feeling good with our progress in a few short days! We walked, contacted what it seemed to be like 500 people, just to find our 10, I feel like it's a super hard area. It was so hard just to find someone that wanted to listen to us and repent of their sins, and try to be better. We walked, and walked, and laughed, and we felt sad, and then we laughed some more. The people here are super hard hearted! So after contacting forever, my comp and I went and knocked on a door, when all of a sudden the door flew open, and a little old lady opened the door and she seriously about had a heart attack when she looked at us!! She started screaming for her life!!!! "PISHTACO, PISHTACO, PICHTACO, etc.etc." haha!! for what it seemed to be like 30 seconds!! She ran inside of her house and grabbed a mop, and came out and tried beating us over the head with a mop. I just started laughing!!!! I laughed harder than I have in my entire life, I think!! (In case you've forgotten what a Pishtaco is ... According to South American folklore, mainly in Peru and Boliva, a Pishtaco is an evil monster-like man - often a stranger and often a white man - who seeks out unsuspecting Indians to kill them an abuse them in many ways. The legend dates back to the Spanish conquest of South America. Primarily, this has been stealing their body fat for various cannibalistic purposes, or cutting them up an selling their flesh as fried chicharrones. Pishtaco derives from the local Quechua language word "petty" which means to "behead, cut the throat, or cut into slices.") 

Then on Friday we walked all day long and contacted, when out of nowhere my comp received revelation. The spirit told him that we need to go and visit a member. When we got to the members house, the man was so happy, (Hermano Huaytan) he is a cripple, and he started to cry and tell us how before we arrive he had been crying and pleading with God to send us to visit him. We had a good visit with him, cheered him up while spending some time with him. It truly was one of those experiences that tells me just how much God loves his children! He does love us all, no matter who we are, we are his children. He is there for us if we will live our lives according to his plan and his will, be obedient and ask for his help, he is always there to help us. We can be so blessed by Him if we will just allow him in to help us.

It really was a great week of learning, and I have a feeling this will be an even better week. Love you all!!

Elder Christensen

 Beautiful Jungle ... Pichanaki
Los Negritos

Monday, January 16, 2017

Life Lessons ...

Hey there!

This week was a pretty decent week. It was a week of pure happiness! To start off, we went to a super sweet WATERFALL last Monday! It's called Tsumontosonari. The trip to get there was so crazy! So, we were headed to a waterfall but then we heard there was a waterfall that was even bigger than almost any waterfall that we had ever seen, so we changed our plans and decided to go to the other waterfall! President has given us permission to go to ONE waterfall or another cool sight during each transfer with our district and one with our zone. Well, the whole day was so crazy! 

So, to start off, we get going and we are going in the little motos. We took a little grill so that we could have a BBQ at the waterfall, and we get to a bridge, I tell everyone, "hey, there is the sign to the road to get to the waterfall." Everyone else said, "no, that's not the road to the waterfall". So, I just went along and followed everyone. We traveled like 1-1/2 hours in the very uncomfortable, hot, bumpy motocab to get to the waterfall. We went through a ton of mud, we came to many crossroads as we traveled along. We had no idea which way to go, so we would stop and pray to figure out which way to go. In Peru there are no clear maps, just someones word of how to get somewhere, so we depended on the Lord a lot that day as we looked for this beautiful waterfall. We could really relate this to our lives... we journey along every day, and every day, sometimes several times a day, we come to crossroads. If we do not ask our Heavenly Father which path to take we can easily be led astray. He listens to our prayers, he knows us and he answers in his time and with what is best for us, his children. So we finally made it to the waterfall, and the lady there told us that we couldn't make it to the waterfall, there was way too much mud, and it was super slick to walk down the mountain with the grill, and all of the food. Well, we hadn't come that far to turn back. We had worked hard to get where we were, we had found the right place and we were going to follow through with our plan. Again, just like Satan tries to mislead us, or tell us we can't do it so we will turn away from our goal, he wants us to turn back, all because it's too hard. Well, our goal was within sight... we said, "ahh, no!, lets just go! We have to do this!" We loaded our arms and we made it down safe and sound. Only a few of us fell, but got up and kept going. There are always bumps in the road, and many times it would be easier to turn around and go back, that's what Satan would want, he wants us to stop and quite believing in ourselves and stop believing in our Father who knows all and guides us in all that we do. Well, we continued and we got down and saw the most amazing waterfall! It was what we'd come for, and it was worth it! Never give up, keep going, the treasure at the end is worth it. My pench had come with us and she BBQ´d some chicken and we had a sweet BBQ feast right there at the foot of the waterfall. It was such a sweet waterfall! We had a fun day enjoying the waterfall and the beautiful place that we were in. We really enjoyed the "fruits of our labor". Then it was time to go back... We had a great time climbing back up the mountain, it was time to head back to Pichanaki. As we were leaving I saw the same road that we passed at the beginning of our travels by the bridge. I said, "we need to go this way!" Well, again, they were all doubting me, but I said, "let's just follow the spirit like we have this whole day, the spirit led us to the waterfall, it will lead us home again." Plus, we were almost out of gas! We went back to Pichanaki on the road I found, and guess what! It only took us 40 minutes. It had taken us 2-1/2 hours to get to the waterfall because we did not follow the first prompting and take the road by the bridge, that I knew was the road we needed to take. We made it home safe and sound, and with some gas to spare. But what a good lesson in listening to the spirit, stopping along the way to pray and ask for help to get to our destination when in fact, we had taken the wrong road to begin with. Heavenly Father helped us get turned around and back on the right road so that we could get where we were going. Prayer is real, he hears us, and he answers.

This whole week really was so great! We have so many people that are progressing, and many that are wanting to get married so that they can get baptized. I've seen many miracles here in Pichanaki, God is doing everything and we are just the tools in his hands and to his work. I am sad to be leaving Pichanaki, one transfer wasn't nearly long enough here. I've grown to love it here in the short 6 weeks I've been here. I'll be heading back to Huanuco where it's warm, not hot like the jungle, but nice. I'll be serving as a Zone Leader in an area called Colonial. My new companion's name is Elder Islas, he is from Mexico. I'll tell you more about it next week. I'm not there yet, I'm still in Pichanaki due to some giant riots that are going on here in Pichanaki right now. The people are rioting because the people with chakras (a little farm with potatoes or bananas or vegetables, or fruit...) all of the farmers and the natives (Indian) people are mad that the banks and the State haven't paid them yet. So needless to say, they are freaking out. This morning there were giant tires on fire, everything was just burning!!! it was crazy. We had to sneak over to our pensionista's house without them noticing us! A little bit scary! haha So I'll head to Huanuco hopefully tomorrow, if not then, as soon as I can leave here safely. So I'll let you know how it's all going in Huanuco next week!

I love you all and miss you all, I'm off on my new adventure.... 

Elder Christensen

 Luke's Pensionista, Elders and Luke's Pench's son
 BBQ Chicken at the Waterfall

 The motocabs they traveled in to the waterfall
Looking over the muddy river in the jungle

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Time Here is Flying By ....

Well people from my World! 

I'm going to say that this email will be kinda short because 1) I don't have much time and 2) I'm feeling too lazy to write a letter today haha

So this week was many things... Good, Sad, and Happy. So, it started off that we were all just so dead tired from working such long hot days that we just slept last p-day, and it felt so good to get some extra sleep! We slept all day, and then from 4:30 till 6:00 we played some volleyball.
The rest of the week was pretty good. We went to La Merced to have interviews with President Silva. It really was pretty sweet! He taught us, (well, he taught me at least) a ton of things. I felt so good afterward, like someone really cared for me and wanted the best for me and my wellbeing. He was so nice and went over some great things with me. I've thought a lot about it this week, and I really enjoyed my time with President. My testimony of so many things just continues to grow.

Also this week we talked with so many people! President has been putting the pressure on us to have at least 140 contacts every week. So the past about 2 months every single week we have contacted like 140, 150, 160 people! That's a ton! At the beginning of my mission we would usually contacted like 20 to 30 people a week. This is a pretty stressful goal. I see why he wants us to do it, but it's still really stressful. But I guess someone who is looking for the gospel is bound to be in those 160 contacts we make each week. We need to progress the work! This last week I was pretty sick until Friday, and we couldn't go out contacting, so again, we were feeling pretty stressed that we weren't getting our work done and our goals met, so Friday and Saturday we literally did 60 contacts everyday. It really was crazy! But we did it!
The mission is going great! I really am loving it here and loving the work. I feel good about being here in Pichanaki, the work is good here and I love the people. Next week we have changes, it's gone by so fast. Hopefully I will stay here a little longer. I feel like there are a lot of things I can work on here. Well, I have to go. President gave us special permission to go to a waterfall today, so I am super excited, we're going to go and have a great day! I miss you all and I love you. I will see you all soon!

Elder Christensen

 Elder Jordan being silly!

 Elder Jordan, Elder Gonzales and Elder Valdes
Luke lives with these 4 Elders
 Elder Jordan at the church

Monday, January 2, 2017

Feliz Ano Nuevo

Well hello people!! 

I officially can say that I will be home this year! Happy 2017! It's passing by really fast! 2016 has been a great year with many great times, lots of trials, lots of blessings and so much learning.

So it was a pretty decent week. We had a great time, sad time, tired time, and also a BAPTISM!  Great way to start the year!

So this week we started off with a little hike. It took about 20 minutes, but I would have never imagined that it was going to be hotter that the furnace that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego got thrown into!! It was SO FREAKING HOT! We all got to the top of the mountain and were just drenched in sweat. So when we got to the top we decided we would just stay up there for a while. We stopped at a little hut where they sell drinks and we bought a 3 liter Inka Kola that was basically frozen and we just sat and chilled for like half an hour and talked and told jokes. Then we went and looked at the cross of Pichanaki, it is gigantic. I climbed it, but I didn't get a picture while I was at the top, but I got a picture of me jumping from the middle of it. We really just worked hard and played harder this week.

So a few months ago the elders here found a family, the Family Saavedra. They really love the gospel and want to get baptized, but the bad thing is that they aren't married. So Elder Ramirez, right before I got here, baptized the daughter, but the mom and dad aren't married so they couldn't get baptized. The bad thing about the whole situation is that they didn't want to get married because they have a giant debt. But this week we were talking to them and the spirit was guiding our words and helping us out. I have really learned to depend on the spirit, and I love it! It's incredible when you trust in the spirit and it guides you and guides your words. Elder Jordan and I felt so great about what God had done for us by blessing us so strong with the spirit during this lesson. So, on Thursday we passed by their house to see how they were, and what was going on with them. The first thing that they told us is that they had felt so strongly this past week that they need to take a new step in there lives, and that they need to get married and then get baptized. They told us that they are planning on getting married at the beginning of February. They said the first week! Then after they are going to enter into the waters of baptism! We were pretty excited about this since we didn't think they would ever decide to get married. Amazing what the spirit is capable of. It touched them and it taught them.
This Saturday a special daughter of God got baptized. Her name is Trinidad and she is our Pension's husband's mom. (I hope that made sense?) It's always so great to see someone make the decision to be baptized and watch them go into the waters of baptism. There is no spirit like it!  We also had a baptism for a mentally handicaped lady that really, really, really wanted to get baptised. She didn't need to be baptized, but she had such a great desire that we just decided to let her be baptized. Again, it was one of the greatest moments that I have felt in my whole life. She has such a great spirit about her anyway, and then to top it off with a baptism. It was a great day! The spirit is real.

That is all for this week and I'll report again next. I love you all! 

Elder Christensen

Pichanaki Peru 
Luke with Pichanaki Peru in the background 

A cross on top of a hill overlooking Pichanaki, Peru
Many cities in South America have a cross or religious statue overlooking the city 

Elder Jordan, Trinidad and Elder Christensen
Trinidad is the Mother of Luke's Pensionista's husband