Monday, September 29, 2014

Week three-ish (in Idaho)

This week was awesome! Last week I spent forever talking about my whole week so you could get a feel for a week here in Idaho. But this week I am going to focus on one crazy day over email and another great day over written letter. 
my district
The day was Tuesday night through Wednesday. We started exchanges which means my companion packed a night bag and went to the district leader's house and our district leader came to ours so I was companions with him. His name is Elder Cooley and I believe I have briefly mentioned him, but he is a good guy. So the next day I was leading our area since he doesn't know it at all and I wasn't too nervous but I planned forever because I didn't want to run out of stuff to do. Then we went to bed! BOOYAH.
Elder Cooley
Ok here's where it gets good. Wednesday morning we woke up and had studies for like four hours. Since I am getting trained we have an extra hour for companion study and I also have an hour for language study. Then also personal and regular companion study so we have quite a bit of time. But after all that and lunch we headed out to fulfill my awesome plan to visit a ton of people. We headed out the door and at that time in the week it was still super warm and actually hit some record breaking heats for Idaho so it wasn't too hot but for Idaho it was sweltering. 
We ventured across Sunnyside street and walked into a grouping of identical houses that stored a whole bunch of elderly people. As we walked up to the first address on the schedule we received a call from the zone leaders. They asked to speak with Elder Cooley and so I handed the phone to him and he spoke with them for like 10 minutes. Then he told me I was getting emergency transferred. This means I am getting sent to a different area and that my companion would be staying here. It was quite a shock and I was at a loss of words so I made Cooley walk back across Sunnyside to Wallace's, which is a sandwich and Ice cream joint,  and got some ice cream. 
A very nice lady paid for us and I sat there enjoying my mint chocolate chip kids cone just staring into the distance contemplating my fate. We headed back and I started packing up all my sheets and stuff. By that time Cooley called Elder Abbott and told him his companion was getting transferred and Elder Abbott didn't believe him so he called the Zone Leaders. 
our apartment
A few minutes later Elder Abbott called crying and apologetically told me he could have been better. He had just called President to try to talk him out of it and wasn't given a clear response to what would happen. He came back and gave me a big bear hug. We talked for a little and I was still kinda mad. I was sorta peeved because I had just gotten to know the area and all the wonderful people and my companion and I had become really close. But then the Z.L.'s called.
After a few minutes of questioning me about my companion and how we were doing we convinced them that we should stay together and they let us!! We were super happy and had a mini party!~~~~~ 

Then we went back on exchanges and Elder Cooley and I had a box of time just before dinner time called inspiration box. Here we let the spirit guide us to find those who may listen. We walked right up to a gray house on a random street and knocked. We met Kia and ended up sharing the first vision, inviting her to baptism, and giving her a Book of Mormon. WOAH. We are contacting her again this week to see if she checked it out or anything. 
Elder Abbott shaved his legs lol
After dinner we switched back and Elder Abbott and I were together again. We went to an appointment with the Burton family and invited their daughter Lacey to baptism and she ACCEPTED!! She is about 9 years old and very intelligent. She doesn't hold back on the questions! It was awesome and we have another meeting with them soon. 
So Wednesday was crazy. Some would call it a very long day and it definitely was. But we saw the Lord's hand in guiding us as missionaries and as teachers of the gospel. We would not have been able to do what we did if I had left so we were kinda joking about that. And Elder Abbott wanted to try to rub it in hahahaha oh mally.
I am grateful to be here right now and would not want it any other way.

Love, Elder Christensen

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

AI DDA HEE Week 2 out of possibly 6

OK very exciting week. 
In Idaho everything is kinda sparse. Houses are usually farther apart and towns aren't huge. But my area is actually pretty populated. Because of that there are a lot of Mormons. In our area there are definitely non members but there are even more less active members. So we rely a lot on members here but a lot of the members aren't really in to missionary work. So it is kinda slow at times especially because we are working in an area that was not really being worked on before.. haha
Alright so Monday we didn't have very many lessons or anything planned so we went and pulled up sod for 4-5 hours. They are laying a sidewalk in a park area and we helped set it all up. It was a huge job!! I really enjoyed it and thought it was a good activity but there were no nonmembers there. But we helped people and that's what matters! It was a fun time and we got Jimmy Johns for doing it not that we expected pay or food but it was nice. After that we went back, showered and headed to a dinner appointment with Stake Patriarch Hall and his wife. We have had a lot of salads here. And we had another. But the dinner was nice and they are friendly. 
Then we met with J. Williams who is a total biker. As we were getting to know him his was cleaning his leather chaps because he had a date that night and was riding his motorcycle. Haha but he is awesome and really wants to improve his life. He is on parole and he won't be off for 2 years but he says he has already been baptized and they are trying to find his records. So we are crossing our fingers and praying because he can't get baptized if he is on parole so if he already is that is a great thing haha.
Tuesday we had exchanges and they weren't too bad. They were sorta silly because they put me with an elder who has only been a missionary for like 2 weeks more than I have been but he has been in the field for a while longer. Anyways, he is a Spanish speaking elder and I am not and I went into his area.. So we had some Spanish lessons but none of them went through, which is sad. But I couldn't have helped anyways so I guess for selfish reasons it was a blessing haha! We taught a kid about our age named Jesus Castillion and he spoke perfect English so the lesson went well for me. He committed to be baptized!!! YAY! Plus the whole day we got the car and that was nice because my legs are always tired from walking all day. But exchanges were good. 
BUT THEN. I returned to my apartment only to find we had been invested by gnats! The previous missionaries had left a bag of rotting potatoes in the drawer and gnats came in force. Our apartment smells of broken dreams and hard times. So we spent forever cleaning and had the housing coordinators, Brother and Sister Wilkins, come and hook us up with cleaning supplies and good vibes. That takes us clear into the next morning all the way through comp study. 
After cleaning and trying to fix the bad smells that dwell, we got picked up by our district leader Elder Cooley, who is awesome and a really great guy, and went to do service for an older lady. My companion and Cooley's companion went to trim her bushes and Cooley and I took out a full fledged rose bush! It took a while and I received a battle wound or two but It was good fun and we got the best of the bush. Soon after defeating the bush we returned and got ready for dinner. 
We had dinner planned with the Ribiero family but when we arrived she told us her husband was not yet home from Brazil, which is where they are from, so we could not eat inside. So we ate in her backyard hahaha it was funny. She has three little girls and they are all awesome. Sister Ribiero has a super strong accent so sometimes she would ask us how to pronounce a world or in Portuguese ask her little girls how to say it. They all have perfect English and Portuguese so she asked them for help a lot haha. Anyways, dinner was good! We had fish and for dessert she gave us this guava thing, that looked like a cube of jelly, with cream on it and it was super good! It started raining a little so we finished and headed on our way. 
Our Mandarin appointment was next but we had to wait for Brother Maughn, who is in the stake, to eat dinner. So we played basketball and I beat my companion in Horse somehow because he is pretty good at basketball and I have -9 skill points. But that was fun. Sadly when we finally made it to our Mandarin appointment the guy couldn't meet with us so we had to move the appointment to Sunday. (get excited for that part)  
We had an appointment with the Burton family but they canceled as well so we will meet them for the first time this coming Wednesday. The parents aren't at all interested but they want their daughter to choose for herself so they are super supportive! We are stoked for that! 
Fray-da-hey! This was the hardest day this week. We had dinner with these Old People who really liked talking and feeding us sloppy joes at 1:30 in the afternoon Laugh out loud. So that was odd and we couldn't find anyone else to feed us so we ordered Jimmy Johns haha. Gotta love the Jimmy Johns.
Then we just explored the zone and walked around for ages and no one would talk to us. I got home and was super tired but not sad or anything. I just determined I had to work extra hard in the next few days. 
Saturday was a good day! We studied the stress book for part of comp study and had a good laugh. It is a good book but some of the things are sort of silly. We went to a burger joint called Shakas and it is inside of a gas station so it was weird at first but they make dang good stuff and missionaries eat for free so it was awesome because I am down to 4 dollars of my mission funds haha. On this particular Saturday there were like fifty garage sales! So we went to a few because those people have to talk to us! I bought a storm trooper and named him "5 million" because that's how cool he is. 
That night was the Cedar Ridge Ward potluck in the park. On our way there a mildly obese lady called out to us. As we approached her she explained she wouldn't get paid for a week and had no money left for gas and that she needed some.. SO we gave her like 16 bucks which explains why I have only 4 dollars.. haha but she was kinda not all there and kept saying she wanted to kill her ex-husband. She said she knew it was illegal so she would let God punish him for her. so we were like alright well do you want to get baptized?!?! And she was kinda interested haha so we got her info and what not and went to the potluck. At the potluck they had squash and I ate a ton of it and it was well. 
Later we went back to the Homeranch ward area and talked to a few part-member families. We met with the Brown family for a while and only the Husband isn't a member but he let us share a message and pray and they gave us cookies! Then we knocked on the Quick's door. We had their address down but no info. An approximately 16 year old girl dressed rather scandalously answered the door and we talked to her for a little and though she was beyond awkward she did seem a little interested. She gave us a number but when we texted it it said it was a land-line so we think she gave us the home phone but it was still successful though a little odd. Then we saw a kid who looked about 14 in a black wife-beater and pajama pants walking around with a little chihuahua in his arms and it was funny looking. 
Sunday! This was my most favorite day. We woke up at 5:30 for a meeting with all the ward Mission leaders and it was good and not too long. Then we waited for the Homeranch ward to start. Bishop Hillam is awesome and had us bear our testimonies and introduce our selves to the ward and it was great! After that we headed to another ward and did the same thing because we asked if we could. Then we went back for lunch and I had giant pretzels. Then we taught Brian Peterson again and it was awesome! He is a good guy and is really trying hard to come to Christ. We discussed scriptures and stuff for a while then headed to the last meeting. Brother Maughn spoke in that meeting and he mentioned us and talked about the guy from China he found for me to teach and it was AWESOME! That ward is the least missionary minded so its kind of hard to work with them. 
Immediately after the meeting, Brother Maughn drove us to the MANDARIN MEETING! Yongteng is an awesome guy! I'll be sure to get a picture with him soon and send it to you all. He let us in, offered us tea (which we declined) and had us sit down. We talked about a lot of things and all in Chinese! I was surprised that I could get a general understanding of what he was saying and we actually conversed a lot about the church. He has read the Book of Mormon! But he read it more as a work of literature than as the words of God. But he is very respectful and loves Christian religions. Today I am teaching him the difference between Mormonism and other Christian religions! 
Then we went to dinner with a ward member and a less-active guy named Robbie Hall picked us up for a devotional. He has had a hard life. He is covered in tattoos and has a pony tail and drives a super cool black camero. He is awesome! He was baptized young so now he is just trying to really keep the commandments and he is really good about going to church and is always willing to learn more. We are having dinner with him tonight! 
So this week was awesome! I loved it and I know that the Lord has blessed me and helped me so much already. I believe I was called here for a reason and whether or not I help that Chinese family I know that my ability to converse with him will at least plant some seeds. I love you all And I am so grateful for you and your prayers! 
-Elder Christensen

Monday, September 15, 2014

愛達荷 - Ài dá hé - (Idaho)

my MTC district
 I am in Idaho! I am currently serving in the Idaho Falls area, which is a very populated area. We only cover three wards and it is pretty condensed. It really actually reminds me a lot of Salt Lake in some ways. The wards are pretty cool, but they don't seem super excited about missionary work. And a lot of the missionaries are kinda wild and don't really follow many rules. My companion is elder Abbott and he is pretty good about that and he is a great missionary. He has been here for 20 months so he is getting close to going home. We are whitewashing this area which means we are both new to it. When we showed up we had very few records and most of those were super outdated. The apartment smelled bad and had a ton of trash in it. But once we cleaned it it is actually pretty nice. No dishwasher but that is about it. We are pretty blessed! 

It has been very warm during the days and we had to wear suits the last 2 so that was lame. But today we get to wear short sleeves! Hurray. The nights are super cold an being packed for Taiwan has not helped with that but I have enough blankets and such that I am not cold at nights. 
Wheeler and Perkins. My two best buddies at the MTC
Yesterday we were walking around and checking out the area and we met Brother Trumane. He is one of the mission leaders and is super cool, he told us about his ward and how to get around best. OH and we don't have a car or bikes so we are always walking or getting rides. We have spent a lot of time finding records and meeting people to we haven't gotten too far into the investigator side of things but we will be able too start this week. 
    After our first sacrament meeting we ate lunch at our apartment then left to find the Stake Center, which is a little farther than we thought. But as we were walking, a guy who looked like a Mormon came up to us. (insert Jim Gaffigan Quote)  SURPRISE he was a Mormon! He was coming from the building we were headed to. His name is Brother Boyle and he is Elders Quorum Adviser. He said that every Sunday they met with a brother named Brian Peterson who is less active at around 2:00 PM. And what'daknow!?! It was at that time 2:05! So we ran up to his house and grabbed his car then headed over to his house. 
My new Comp. Elder Abbott
Brian was sitting on his front porch reading the Book of Mormon and taking notes, which was super cool. For all reading this, Always take notes! So we walked up and he was really nice and let us in. We sat down and started talking about where he was and what his questions were (which he had written down ;) ) and we got into a pretty good discussion. He says he knows it's true and he is very into it. He hasn't finished the B.o.M yet but he is in 2 Nephi and is trying to read a chapter a day. I shared with him a scripture from Alma (sorry I couldn't remember what verse or chapter) that said something about the small means and diligence it takes for miracles to come and when faith and diligence cease so do miracles. I bore my testimony on how if he continues to diligently read and pray about it he will continue to receive blessings. Previously he had been let go from his job and then he found another one (where his boss was Mormon) almost immediately. So now he doesn't have an excuse to miss church! The lord works in mysterious ways Right?? 

And not as cool but still pretty cool. There are two Asian families in my area and they could possibly speak Chinese. And a Stake member knows a Chinese native who is just out of our area and we are trying to get permission to meet with her. So that is pretty exciting! my companion is excited to learn Chinese. Haha he keeps asking me all these questions about how it works and it's keeping me on my toes. I hope I don't digress too much here but it will be difficult getting back to where I was. My companion has told me a few times that I came pre-trained but I know I have a lot to work on.And all that I do know I credit to the MTC. I had a lot of lame experiences there that made me not appreciate it sometimes. But I grew so much there. Spiritually and also my knowledge on the gospel and of teaching. I credit all of that to the wonderful speakers and teachers there. It is a blessed place.
My new Mission President and Wife, The Brinkerhoffs
So we have had some amazing experiences. This area is gold and I am very excited to be here! I am doing very well and I am happy to be here! 
Ài dá héeeeeee is the place to be!

- Elder Christensen

P.s. The mission president, according to the Zone Leaders, is ok with people like Adelide visiting. So if she wants to and I am still here I would love to have lunch with her. Just let me know.

Monday, September 8, 2014

An Inconsistent Schedule

This week was a boxing match. My body vs. Rocky Balboa. I lost.
I went to the doctor's office on the 5th of September because I had been sick for 2 weeks already. He said I was past a virus and that I needed some good medicines.
He wrote me a prescription for 2 different antibiotic pills that are just healing stuff and then some very strong cough syrup.
The health clinic is outside of the MTC and about a half mile away so not to far but I was coughing out my soul the whole way there.
We got the medicine and it wasn't too expensive, only twenty bucks or so, and headed back to the MTC.
It was weird being outside of the MTC for even a few minutes. On our way back, a car screamed at us but we couldn't understand them, luckily there were some other elders just in front
of us and the car screamed at them " WE APPRECIATE YOU!!!!" so we knew they weren't out for blood. We got back into the class room and I loaded up on the drugs and totally lost it. I drew some really weird pictures and felt like there was helium in my veins! 

We got back that night and I went to bed and slept OK.
The next day was pretty good. The drugs were helping and I was starting to feel better! but...
The next day I woke up and I was a little off still. But it wasn't as good of a feeling. And took my medicine. BAD IDEA! I felt really sick and couldn't focus at all.
I started throwing up and I couldn't hold anything down, so my companion made me go back to the Susha (residency) and I slept for the whole day. I felt bad because we missed temple walk, priesthood, fast and testimony meeting,
and barely made it to dinner. But by then I was feeling better and it was great! I ate dinner and though my body was shaking all night I made it through two devotionals and a movie before bed. 
By bedtime I was feeling greaat!!!
Paul Huntsman's parents gave him a bunch of Tai food somehow and he had a ton so he shared it! I haven't had that good of food since the last meal I ate at home! The curry was my favorite part. It was probably my favorite part of the MTC I have had in a while. SO AWESOME. And luckily I didn't feel sick at all. My synopsis of this whole situation is that cough syrup made my body so weak it was just rejecting everything.
I got to the last page of my little brown leather journal this week and I was sad because I wanted to write the first page in Taiwan! But oh well... I started the Journal on 3/18/14!! So it made it pretty far! Now I will start writing in the
super cool black leather journal Kristin Christensen gave me! YAHOO! I am excited about that! 
It is weird looking back on my opinion of people and all the weird people that have passed in and out of my life. I also realize I am pretty insensitive. haha oh well :)
I got a lot of packages and wonderful letters this last week and I want to express my gratitude but I will do that over letter!
So in regard to the new mission call, I am very excited! I think it will be a great experience but I really just want to leave the MTC!! I will be the end of all this have 4 different sets of name tags
probably haha. (English, English/Mandarin, Mandarin, and one with both full languages side by side!)
I am feeling better today and I hope this is the week I leave this accursed place (jk it's not too bad, but I also hate it) :D
love Elder Christensen

Monday, September 1, 2014

Elder Christensen~Taiwan

Here is my first letter to all you wonderful people! If you know someone else who might want it, send me their emails! It took me a lot of time to plug in all the addresses so this letter will be short!
The mtc is good. But I want to leave pretty dang bad. It has been 54 days.
Elder Ellsworth
We were scheduled to leave the 5th of September but then our visas didn't come so it will be random when we leave -haha booyah. That event made this week really hard because we were so ready and then all of the sudden we just aren't leaving. So it messed up our mind-set quite a bit. 
I was really down in the dumps and I just couldn't be positive. I was so ready to get out of here!!
Elder Griffin, me and Elder Perkins
But then I prayed. I prayed for like 15 minutes and after that I felt motivated and happy. At that time I got up and I made some goals. 
Elders England and Barton, and Elder Perkins
My companion and I plan to accelerate out of the MTC. 
In life we kind of wait things out. And we were on our way to doing that. We were just waiting to leave the MTC. And I think that's why our visas did not come. We had to learn that small lesson. So instead of just sitting and waiting for Taiwan we have decided to accelerate. Accelerate right into the field and after that accelerate through life. We all can use constant improvement. And when we try to constantly improve we will find more happiness as well as success. 
Elder Miner
So this week was hard. But I learned a lot and I would even go so far as to say it was life changing. 
Thanks to all of you for always being a support! I am grateful!
the Provo Temple
Next week will be longer! and when I am in Taiwan I will have a lot more exciting things to tell you all!
Love, Elder Christensen