Monday, April 24, 2017

A Long, Tough Week .... Full of Lots of Great Stuff!

Hey there pople of the great States....

How in the heck are you all!!  It truly has been a great week. It's been kinda long and kinda tough, but then aren't the hardest weeks the greatest weeks.
So we started out just literally sleeping all of last p-day because the whole week before I was just dead, and then I got to Monday and I was even more tired. But then around 2 o`clock when I have the chance to sleep, I couldn't sleep! Jaja I was like What the heck! I thought about talking some Melatonin so that I could fall asleep, but didn't. So I got minimal sleep on Monday. Really, I can't wait to just sleep for as long as my body wants to.... but not for a few more months! 

This week was like a man was ripping and tearing at our hearts, like a man who can't accept that we are going to save souls. Turns out that the man is real and his name is Satan. The One and Only!!  The man that makes us sad when we should be most happy. It's been a little bit of a tough week, but nothing we can't work through. Satan is really there and he works on us like no other. He doesn't want us to be here, but we're here and we're here to work and bring people to Christ. So he should just get used to it! 

So I'll talk about the good stuff! We started off with a grade A lesson to begin the week. We found a young man name is Brandon. Brandon has had way too many problems throughout his life. He has done many things of which are confidential.  But, the fact is, he is the most sincere 17 year old that I have ever met.  This kid wants to change his life so much, he just doesn't have any good influences in his house or his life, and he said if he gets baptised his aunt will stop paying for his schooling. So, he's in a really hard place and he doesn't really know what to do. We are praying for and expecting a miracle in the next week or two. God needs to show him what`s up!! and help this kid out with a miracle.  We had Stake Conference here this past Sunday and I really couldn't believe it... we forgot to call and remind him to come, but...he showed up to stake conference and listened to President Silva and the visiting Seventy speak and he loooooooooved what they said and what this gospel has to offer!
President has been in Huanuco almost all week long. He came here on Thursday and gave a sweet training. I think it was one of his best trainings yet! I have loved every training I've ever been in with him. The teaching and counsel he gives us is amazing. The training this time was a huge call to repentance for all of us!  But everybody left saying Wow! And yes, I have a lot of things I need to do better on, and work on being 100% obedient... like I'm not supposed to email or chat back and forth with all of you on Mondays. I guess I missed that somewhere cause I didn't know that. So sorry.. no more of that! Really, President Gave one of the best talks that I have ever heard him give. I know for a fact that he is a man called of God to lead this mission. 

The next few days were some crazy days I was deathly sick on Saturday, but I had to go to do interviews with President. I drug myself there and I had an amazing interview with him. I'm not going to lie, he told me so many things that were just plain awesome! I love talking to him! He told me why I was transferred here to Tarapaca, and how the changes all happened and my change came to him later. It was pretty sweet. I loved it!  He also made me a promise.... he promised me that I will have to opportunity to finish my mission in CERRO DE PASCO!! How sweet right. I started there, and I didn't like it, and I feel like I need to go back there and accomplish something there. I don't know why but I just really feel the need to return there and work hard. Maybe I have to prove something to myself, I don't know!

Well Milton and Biliana are going to be married on May 5th!!! And... Biliana is going to be baptized on May 6th!! If you'll remember Milton is a returned missionary and already a member. President gave me permission to go to the baptism! I'm so excited for them. All of the promises that I was so prompted to give them are coming true. I'm so happy for them!

Well, that's pretty much it! And yes, I know that I spelled people wrong at the beginning... I'm just testing you, and I just wanted to see how many critics are out there. haha!! 

Heading into another week of the greatest work. I love it! I love this gospel and I know I'm here in Huanuco Peru, in this little area of Tarapaca, because that's where the Lord wants me to be right now. I'll do what he needs me to do. It's true. I know it.

Elder Christensen

Paul and Elder Christensen

Monday, April 17, 2017

I'm a Dad!!!

Well hello everyone. I'm a little short on time because I got so many birthday wishes! Thank you so much to everyone who remembered me on my 20th birthday! It means a lot to me!   
So this week was a flipping great week!! I learned a ton from just living my life. I'm a dad now, I picked up my kid from Huancayo and we had absolutely no time to proselyte this week, it was pretty busy!

I spent Monday hanging out with Elder Crosland wrapping up some things we needed to do before I had to leave. That night we went to a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with Luisa and Guillermo. It was such a great time. We talked about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and the blessings that come from keeping it holy. They are such great people and the spirit was so strong. I'm glad I got to spend my last night with them and Crosland. 

After that I got on a bus at about 9:30 p.m. and headed to Huancayo. I feel like I have been in Huancayo more than I have been in my area this month! When we (Elder Walker and myself) arrived there we slept for about an hour then Tuesday morning we went to the mall in Huancayo and contacted crowds of people for about 3 hours. Being Semana Santa (Easter week) the crowds were huge. Everyone was there to see the artwork of Christ's life. We had a good time talking to people there.

Then Wednesday morning we went to pick up our new companions (our new kids). I was feeling a little bad about leaving Elder Crosland and my area in Huanuco and being a Zone Leader. I talked to Elder Larson, one of the Assistants. He told me that I was set to stay where I was with Elder Crosland, and then Sunday night President called him and said he had had a strong confirmation that I needed to train Elder Shaul and I needed to be assigned to Tarapaca. I know that President is inspired and I would trust anything that he asked me to do. But I consider myself very lucky, or blessed this time. I know now it was inspiration, I should never doubt President's inspiration. I got the only white kid in the whole group!! And he is the coolest!  His name is Elder Shaul, and he's from Bear Lake, Idaho!!!!! There were about 19 new missionaries arriving in the mission and what are the odds that I get to train him. I know the Lord's hand was in that decision, and I know it is right. I know I am supposed to be here in Tarapaca. I walked into the church here and I had that feeling of deja vu, only better, I feel like I've been here before, everything here seems so familiar to me. It's not by chance that I'm here, I'm supposed to be here.

Elder Shaul and Elder Christensen
 Elder Christensen and Elder Shaul
Luke will be training Elder Shaul
All of the new missionaries and their trainers
We arrived back in Huanuco (Tarapaca is my new area) Thursday night and worked hard to figure out what the area is and how we are going to work it. Tarapaca has been closed for a while so we needed to get in and find out if the members have been doing missionary work or if we're starting from scratch. Friday night we went and stayed with Elder Moss in his area (he's the ZL here). I spent my birthday just chilling with him and our companions. We even got a Mountain Dew for my birthday! I didn't lack for cakes on my birthday! I actually had 3 birthday cakes, so don't worry Mom! It was a pretty good birthday, thank you to everyone who put stuff in the package that my mom sent to me! I loved the cards and letters!

On Sunday night after praying super hard for the past week, my prayers were answered. We made an appointment with a man named Raul. When we got there he had totally stood us up. It was about 7:45 at night and I was thinking, "now what do we do?" So we walk over to the street corner and a man comes over and drops his trash off and says, "hey, how are you?" and I say to him, "I'm Fine, I think" and my companion then said the same thing. We talked to him for a few minutes. He asked us who we were and what we were doing. I explained to him that we were representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I asked him if he had ever talked to the missionaries before. He said, "no". I showed him a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked if he had seen the book before. He said, "no" again, and then he asked how much it was to buy it. I told him it was free, that I would give it to him. He seemed pretty excited that I would just give it to him. He turned to walk away, and then turned back and said, "so when are you going to visit me?" Honestly, that caught me a little off guard! I said "Uhh how about Wednesday?" He said, "great"! We got his information and now we have an appointment on Wednesday with him. I hope he's read some of the book by then. I have such a good feeling about him. He seemed so ready to receive this book.
When we arrived back home at 9:30 Sunday night I recieved a call from the Relief Society President and she said, "Elder Christensen, I am super happy that you both are here in the TarĂ paca ward; but I'm even happier because I've been talking to this lady, she is Jordi`s mom and she just agreed that this week she is going to get married and then get baptized on Saturday!" I'm so happy the members have continued to do missionary work here even though there have not been any missionaries here!! What great news!

Also, do you remember Milton and Biliana? They are the couple that I promised that if they would leave their jungle home and move to Huanuco where they could attend church weekly that they would be blessed with a job and what they needed. Well, they did it. And... they are getting married on April 28th and then baptized. I think I may be able to be there for both of them! I'm so happy for them!
It's been a great week, full of miracles. I love to look for the miracles, they are always there. Once again, it was reaffirmed to me that GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. He answers mine, and he'll answer yours. You just have to talk to him, ask him, he is there. Keep praying, I know that He will answer. I know it. He loves us. He wants happiness for us. This gospel is true, it makes us happy when we live it. I know it's true. I love you all and I'll see you all very soon.  goodbye!

Elder Christensen

Monday, April 10, 2017

Changes Mean Change

Hey everyone! 

I really have absolutely nothing to write about this week. Most of my week was consumed with going to Huancayo for Zone Leader meeting and training. For our p-day we played soccer... the Americans vs. the Latins, and President was on the Latin side, of course! It was a tough fought game. We wanted to beat them so bad and show them who dominates! haha They scored, then Elder Moss scored a goal making it 1-1, then I scored a goal making it 2-1, then President scored 2-2, and then Crosland scored the last goal 3-2 and we won!!! President is so competitive!! He was so flaming angry that they lost!! He just hurried and left so we couldn't see how mad he was! haha 

We had a great meeting on Tuesday and talked about being accountable and being good leaders in the mission and how that carries throughout our life. It was great, as it always is. I love listening to President. I respect him and his words so much. President answered a question for me that I have had for a long time. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and studying. I asked him, "Does God know everything about us, does he know every move we will make, every little thing that we will do?" I loved President's answer. He said, "No, he does not know every little thing that you will do. He does not plan our lives out for us. He knows our destiny, and he knows US, He trusts us and knows us well enough to know if we will make good choices or bad choices, He knows what we are capable of, He knows our weaknesses and He knows our strengths, He knows our thoughts. But if he had planned every moment of our lives there would be no need for agency, and agency is important for us to learn and grow." I've thought so much lately about fasting and prayer, and this question. I know now that we fast for ourselves, to strengthen ourselves and humble ourselves.  Prayer and fasting create a relationship between us and God that strengthens us in many ways. We learn to rely on the spirit when we fast and pray for guidance. I love the knowledge that President has and that he's so willing to share with us. He's such a great man!

 Elder Ramirez and Elder Christensen
 Elder Walker, Elder Crosland and Elder Christensen

That night the Zone Leaders from Huanuco went to FHE at President's house with his family. It was really fun and good to get to know his family more. We played a game where one person hides a ring somewhere in the house and then everyone else has to try to find it! Man! President is one competitive guy!! He doesn't stop until he's found it and wins! It was a great evening, and President always makes it so spiritual, and we learn so much. 

It was a great trip to Huancayo, but took up half our week so we didn't get much accomplished here. We do have a few people who are nearing baptism and I'm excited for that! But, I'm pretty sad that I won't be here to see it happen. I'll be packing my bags and moving across Huanuco to an area called Tarapaca. It's been closed for a while and I will be reopening this area. I will also be training a new missionary here.

So, tonight I will be getting on a bus and heading back to Huancayo to pick up my new companion. It's going to be a very interesting. I'm really pretty sad to leave my area, and to leave Elder Crosland. We've done some great things together. But, I have a good attitude and know that good things always await us in a new area. I'm also a little sad to leave right before my birthday (Saturday). Elder Moss will be my new Zone Leader, so I'll probably go spend my birthday evening with him celebrating. Thanks to everyone who emailed me for my birthday! It was great to get so many emails. 

Also, I'm pretty sad about this ... I heard that Curtis Fellows who is a decently close friend, passed away this past weekend. Josh said he talked to him at the Pepperwood gate right before. Everyone pray for his family, it's so hard to lose someone. I'll be seeing you all very soon! And, thanks again to everyone for the early birthday wishes. 

Love you all! Bye!
Elder Christensen
 Luke, sad to be leaving his area
 Luke with his new "nerdy" reading glasses

 Elder Crosland and Luke eating plantains
Elder Christensen and Elder Crosland companions and best buddies
with Huanuco in the background

Monday, April 3, 2017

This Week ... A Highlight Of My Mission

It was a very great week! So I have come to realize that the weeks in Huanuco are the exact same weeks over and over, repetition upon repetition. They're good, they just don't change much! But, this week was a little different.  We got the news that Elder Crosland and I are different than ANY OTHER MISSIONARY IN SOUTH AMERICA! And I like that! So as of right now, President has given us the opportunity to be in charge of more than one ward. We now have the privledge of being in charge of the Micaela Ward still and now also the Paucarbamba ward! (weird names, right!)  So, the great thing about this whole situation is that we have a ton of work to do, and we have to work super hard to be able to learn the new area and still keep our other area afloat and productive.  There was nothing extravagant that happened this week other than that! And we are pretty happy about it! Grateful President has entrusted us with it!  

I really loved General Conference. It's like fuel to the soul. I learned a ton of patience, humility and loved during every single talk in the Conference. I really loved them all, but the one that really stood out to me, and the one I think was my favorite, was Elder Russel M. Nelson's talk, he gave a killer talk about drawing the power of our Savior into our lives. He said, "the more we understand the doctrine the closer we will be to Him.... Look to Him in every thought and your doubts and fears will flee". I loved it a ton and will always remember those things!!

I think that the coolest part of the week and my very most favorite part was when we walked out of the first session of General Conference on Saturday.  As I walked out of the church I saw a girl. I thought to myself, that girl looks awfully familiar.  And then I heard her yell, "ELDER CHRISTENSEN!!!!!!"  It turns out that it was Eloisa, a 21 year old girl that we baptised when I was here in Huanuco in Pedro Puelles like 7 months ago.  She is still active, and she is dating a returned missionary from another ward and they are GOING TO GET MARRIED IN THE TEMPLE IN OCTOBER!!! It was one of the greatest moments of my mission! She looked so happy, and I was so happy that she was truly living the gospel and was planning for a temple marriage. It made my week, and I left the church grounds saying WOW! It's so good to know that I have brought at least one person into this gospel and helped them to accept it wholly. To watch her go from baptism to the temple is such a blessing.  It truly is one of the greatest moments in my whole mission, and possibly my whole life. The gospel is so good. It's true and it brings happiness to us. I could see all of that in her!

Eloisa and her fiance and Elder Christensen
I am so tired lately. I don't think that this week there has been a day that I haven't fallen asleep in a lesson because I'm so tired, it's every time I sit down. So, we were with some less active members teaching them, and I fell asleep while Elder Crosland was teaching, then he passed it to me so that I could talk and add my part. I woke up and looked at him like, "I have no CLUE what you were saying, and I have no clue what I am going to say"!! My eyes apparently were red and I looked like I was in the middle of a REM cycle. Elder Crosland busting out laughing in the middle of the lesson, and so I started laughing and then everyone else started laughing too.  It was a pretty funny moment! This same thing basically happens at 4 o´clock, on the dot, every single day of the week. haha I don't know why I'm so tired!

That was my week. Conference was the highlight and seeing Eloisa there! I really am so thankful for the opportunity to listen to our Prophet's testimony. He is getting old and I'm sure it's one of his last in this life. He is weak in body but not in spirit and testimony.

I'm in Huancayo today! We travelled last night by bus and arrived here at 5:00 a.m. this morning. We are here for Leader's Meeting, so we're going to go have a great p-day here in Huancayo and then Leader's meeting and then we'll head back to Huanuco, probably tomorrow night!

Goodbye ... I love you all!
Elder Christensen

 Zone P-Day
 A very special person ... Francis with Elder Christensen
 Jessica (Luke's Pensionista) Elder Christensen and Elder Crosland
 The Patacones they made with Jessica (Fried Bananas)
Luke's latest character drawing ... Timothy Burnstein