Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8/31/2011 An Email from President King

Dear Brother Christensen ,

I am pleased to inform you that your son, Elder Christensen, has been called to serve as a Zone Leader in our mission. He has exhibited leadership capabilities through his desire to learn and lead out in his efforts as a missionary. His example of hard work, following the Spirit, and concern for his fellow missionaries have prepared him to assume these new responsibilities.

This opportunity will stretch him and give him new opportunities for growth. As he lifts and sustains the missionaries under his stewardship, he will develop a deep love for them and for the Lord. These abilities will sustain him throughout his life.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve with your son here in the mission field. This is the work of the Lord. His efforts are blessing the lives of so many. I am grateful to you for supporting him in this new and important calling.


President Richard W. King

Chile Santiago West Mission

(As a side note I wanted to let you know what a wonderful job your son did in the mission office. We will miss his enthusiasm, generosity and hard work. He was really nervous about leaving the office and becoming a Zone Leader but was much relieved when he found that Elder Pari, a Latin, was his companion. Elder Pari is a very kind and gentle soul. I know Elder Christensen will be a wonderful Zone Leader as he teaches those elders he has stewardship over to be obedient and faithful just as he is. Sincerely Hmn Dorius)

Hermana Dorius

Secretaria de Registros

Mision Chile Santiago Oeste

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8/30/2011 Hermana Christensen

we get to wear bonnets when we go talk to
people in old town! :)
my dearest friends!

aka my familia. mis seres queridos wow how mucho do i love you?!! so much! wowowow. okay okay okay let me just thank you, again, for your prayers. i know you've been with me this week! i've FELT IT!

second week in the rama already. what? i have no idea what is going on anymore. BUT. i do know that things are good! things are going well well really well and we are happy. i realized last week that i didn't say nothing about hermana ortez. she is AMAZING! freak! okay so she looks like jennifer love hewitt in her face, except imagine her mexican style. hermana's mom is from guadalajara mexico (where people think i'm from, which i accept gladly) and her pa's from el salvador. she's the FIRST missionary in her family! she is sooo good talking to people and is so friendly and open and outgoing. she's also really meek and humble and teachable and is taking all this in so well. she never seems to get stressed out and is literally the happiest person i know. she's really feminine and matchy and reminds me a ton of kaylynn. she's also pretty dang funny and says things like kay would. so that's a sweet tm to be think of my seester with mi hermana. both of whom i love. dearly! anyways. so she's wonderful and teaching me a lot.

i feel genuinely happy. it's been a difficult change, but, again, like i said last week, i'm grateful for the chance to grow and stretch.

very secure fence
we've been going around trying to meet the members and less actives and find NEW PEOPLE TO TEACH! and it's been going alright. i've realized that when it comes to this, to building an area, practically starting from scratch, you go back to the necesities of pmg. to work with ward leaders, to teach the restoration, to talk to everyone, and to ask EVERYONE for referrals... just the basics! i didn't always do all of that in la mesa.. or even in chula. but it's like here, there is no other way to grow the area than that! so that's what we're doing. the other day we were visiting a less active and her son and we talked to a guy out front gardening. and he is a BALLER. he came to church on sunday! hahah except he showed up about three and half hours late. aka he missed 100% of church. hahah we laughed way hard because it was SO uncomfortable for all of us since we cleeeeearly said church ended at four and then he was dropped off and lives kinda far away.. and his shirt was unbottoned way low... and he was checking out my companion... oh my! hahaha. but we found the guy a ride home and were able to meet with him later and teach him the restorash. and he was so stinkin open to it. it was awesome. he's met with missionaries before. but they pressured him to get baptized and he peaced. but he accepts that js was a profeta and that the bom is the palabra de dios. so that's ballin. we told him that we could tell him tons of things but he should ask god for himself--and he cut us off and said that he trusted that if we were lying god would let him know. it was neat to see that he has that open relash with his padre celestial that he could recognize that we were bearing a true message and that we were true messengers of god. it was beautiful.

then, we've tried passing by another less active a few times with no luck, but.. we talk to her neighbs! and we set up a cita with this one lady named olivia that we visited yesterday. we were talking to her when this guy appears then disappears. he came out and stood awkwardly in the hallway for a little while and then said he had a question he's wondered for a long time. he asked why the heck there were so many different churches and how we could know which one was true. haha. ooooh wow what a grrrrrrreat question! you just take a seat buddy, we'll tell you why. :) so we did. and it was beautiful. especially in the middle when he surprised us all by saying, "and so is this when joseph smith had the vision?" ................ huh? haha. yeah. so he's familiar. we'll be going back to teach him. he was way open and even cried a little bit in his prayer when we left saying how thankful he was that we'd come. wow. so things are going. slowly but surely, but they're coming!
this was about an hour ago. AT THE

and the branch is awesome. really. they have so much stinkin potential. we had a party on saturday and people were showing up like two hours late.. and the guy who was going to bring the pollo or chicken forgot to come, so we had rice and fruit. hahah! so funny. but we got to be with them and hear some of their conversion stories and WOW. powerhouses. i don't know why it's been a branch for so long, but we are going to switch that up ASAP! the members are awesome. we just need to foster some lovin and they'll be good to go. :)

speaking of ramas and switching that... the blessed branch of la mesa third is going to be meeting in a CHAPEL for the first time on sunday!!!!!!!!! they will no longer be meeting in the gym (which was even a step up from the rs room!) nor combining with an english ward. they're going to be doing it ALL solo! that branch is growing SOOO MUCH!! and hna lewis told me hno roman blessed the sacrament on sunday. :) the church is true!
ah. all is well. i want to extend a super super simple invitation. talk to everyone. just do it. even a hello. you'll be surprised what will happen! i love you dearly and am so grateful to have you!

hermana christensen

hel 14:13

Saturday, August 27, 2011

8/27/2011 Elder Christensen "Here I Am"

Elder Jorgensen. (IKE) and I the day he left.
Hey everyone. Somehow we´ve wrapped up another week here in chile. Like always, I´m not really sure how or where the time goes, but it does. Mom I LOVED the pictures you sent me. Those Stoddards look super happy. What a guy he is! Also, it makes me happy that you were able to get in contact with Ike Jorgensen and snatch those brass frames. They are really sweet and they will be a prized family posession.

Well, we were actually unable to get out into our sector 3 days in a row this week. Not that we had a ton to do, but that the people had strike days. Seems kind of illogical to actually have days where you are actually allowed to strike... It wasn´t too bad but still it was kind of sketchy to be walking around. The people are all out lighting bon fires in the middle of the road, cutting the electricity, up to no good whatsoever. So we just stayed in here and got a lot done. My replacement is learning really fast and I feel comfortable leaving him in charge of the entire missions visas. It seems really weird to me that I´m already leaving the office... It does feel like I just got here lets be honest.... This is my last Saturday P-day as well. I won´t have a P-day until next monday the 5th of September. I´m sure that time won´t even exist either.. Why? Because I´m going to be OUT doing what I LOVE to do. Preaching the gospel allllllllllll dayyyyyyyyyyyyyy longggggggggggg. Wow.... I feel like being in the office opens your eyes... It seems like sometimes we get tired, or we have a bad attitude about working in our sectors as missionaries... But once you are in the office, you really gain an appreciation for that.. When you can focus 100 PERCENT on the salvation of the people and their spiritual well-being. It´s going to be so fun and I have no doubt that we are going to work like no ones business wherever I go.

That´s about two grand in Chilean pesos. You´d think that
with that money I could get some better glasses
 than Rick Astley right? HAHA.
In our pension the other day we had a really long conversation between us 5. It started out really weird to be honest. The city of Santiago is practically full of Pornography... So we were talking about that and how the world today is just so.... Corrupt.. Dirty... Lost... We talked about how it´s literally a poison to the spirit.. A destroyer of all the good things God has done in our lives. Its what the enemy of god, the natural man, wants most. This conversation was amazing though... We talked for like an hour and a half.... The spirit was the strongest I may have ever felt it in my mission.. This may sound weird but we felt like.. Really different. Outside there are people shooting their guns in the air and lighting bonfires, yet there we were inside talking about what matters most, the gospel. It FILLS our lives. It makes us who we were destined to be. As well we talked a bit about our families... How much we all LOVE our families. The gospel does that to us you know? It makes us really focus on that central unit that is the family. How cool is to for example to be a BROTHER? I am the only man in the family apart from Dad... Meaning. I have a huge role to play in the progression of my sisters as well as my parents. It´s MY job to be brother, to be son. There is no other brother... there is nobody else who can play that role and support that part of the family... That thought was really strong to be honest.. We all have to help each other. I thought of how you guys have always been there to help me. Whether it´s with a broken collarbone or an eagle scout project... My parents and my sisters have been there. Just that SIMPLE thought sprung out all those ideas. To be a brother.... How cool is that. You never actually think of that kind of thing. It is an experience I wish I could have recorded somehow. Never will I be able to come up with words adequate to describe exactly what we felt nor what we discussed.. But there we were. 5 annointed ministers of Jesus Christ, talking about life. Talking about solutions. Talking about the simplicity of our duties in this world and how us, being human, make it so hard. ITS SO EASY. The gospel preached by Christ himself IS our life. Or at least it should be.... Once we perfect the principles within it, we will be prepared to fight off any temptation, overcome any trial or problem that may come upon us, as well as KNOW our role as human beings here on this Earth. I was up in bed listening to music afterward just thinking about it.. What an unbelievable feeling it was.. I hope to maintain that feeling that I had during that conversation. Thats my challenge to anybody who may be reading this... Think of the most powerful spiritual experience that you have had in your life. Think of how you felt.. Think of the things that were testified unto you by the power of the spirit. In THAT moment, you don´t care about anything else.. You just care about what you are feeling right then in that instant. Then afterward, it leaves you, and you are left thinking. Thats how it always is.. Now.. The goal. STRIVE to maintain that feeling that you felt to fuel your life. Think of it when you are down. Think of it when you are passing a difficult moment. It can give you enthusiasm about life and help you continue in your spiritual growth. It´s something I will apply for the rest of my life. It WORKS. Several times I have felt contention, and I just fall back on that little thought and BOOM. I have the desires to be better. Try it. You will love it I promise.

Elder Spencer and I learning how to barbeque from
President King.  Haha. SO good!!!
Bueno. I think thats really the just of what I wanted to share with you guys today. I have another two hours and I think I´m going to use them packing up all my things for the change. This Tuesday at 10 am I will officially be travelling to my new sector with my new companion! WOW! That should be 7am your time. I will have plenty of things to tell you next pday about all of those things. I love you all so much. Honestly. This mission is amazing. Every day I re-realize that. It has made me know for a surety the things I thought I knew before. My testimony of this gospel is firm. It´s built upon a rock that I can say for sure. Jesus Christ IS our savior. His atonement is meant for us! Through it, we can overcome anything standing in between us and salvation. It´s NEVER to late to come unto Christ. You can always repent and find the kind of joy that is eternal. I continue to pray for all of you and your success on a daily basis. May the Lord bless you in everything that you do this week, and may his spirit be with you unceasingly.

Much love,

Elder Christensen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8/23/2011 Hermana Christensen "In the Celestial Kingdom we won't have to worry about transfers!"

I feel like I have so much to say and so little idea how to relay it all to you.

this week has been... it's been good. it's been good. but it has easily been one of the hardest of my whole mission. I.. i've been able to reflect a lot and have had to do a bunch of introspection and really evaluate some things, and I feel.. I feel so grateful. I feel so full. I feel so at a loss of words but i remail wholly entirely completely 100% grateful to be a missionary. that remains very clear and very true. but just because i love it doesn't mean it's not hard! ha ha. ah, but seriously.

Hermanas Ortez & Christensen
I was transferred. i am training a wonderful new sister, hermana ortez, and we are white washing a new area. the branch there has been a branch for over 20 years but there haven't been sisters in the branch for 10 years. there are about 120 members and only 30 that are active. apart from a couple child of record baptisms the the last baptism was a year ago. the biggest problem in this area is people getting offended. i've asked several ward members and elders that have served there in the past what the branch needs and they all say the same: "amor. animo." the need love and excitement. and you know what? we are up to that task. for the past ten months i have been in the most loving, amazing branch in the entire planet--one where the members would give the shirt off their back and the food off their plate for one another. they taught me how to be sefless, to look beyond myself and serve freely, openly and always. they taught me how to save, how to rescue, how to cuidar de uno a otro. those people LOVE each other. they embody charity. they understand the worth of every human soul. so if there is any way that i can repay those people or my heavenly father for ten of the best months of my life it would be by going out and spreading that pure love with others. lo hare.

us after the sesh. that's hna garcia, hna collina and jeneanne lock. :)
on thursday night i got the sweet sweet blessing to be able to go on exchanges with sister lewis to the temple and attend an endowment session for one of the members who was returning to the temple for the first time in many years. it was... so beautiful to be there with her. i cried throughout the whole session because - well for a million reasons. a) holy heavenly fathers love. b) the worth of every soul! this precious daughter coming back into the fold and being reinvestido con poder de los garments! c) sitting behind hna garcia and seeing several of the ward members and just feeling SO grateful for them d) what a special sacred ordinance the endowment is and e) how CLEAR it was fifteen times "go to, PRUNE THIS GARDEN, be HAPPY." duh sister christensen. another opportunity to serve. go to! serve! work hard! have fun, be HAPPY! ah. i felt such peace. especially as we stood in the celestial room, this tiny little corner of brown people and a whitey crying her eyes out. the sweetest thing was when hermano carranza turned to me and grabbed and held on to my hand and said, "in the celestial kingdom we won't have to worry about transfers!" with his eyes brimming over. so true. and that is one thing that i've learned during all my goal setting and reevaluating and praying--these associations that i am BLESSED to have formed will only STRENGTHEN over time. these people will be a part of my life FOREVER! and in the celestial kingdom i know there will be a gigantic section for all the brown people and all their goodness and love and good food. and i hope that i can live worthily to be a part of it.

i'm a mess. haha so teary! but! i feel so happy. i really do. we have so much work to do, but i am excited. and i knew that i couldnt' stay in la mesa. i mean, i'd hoped i would, but it would've been to easy, too comfortable. so i know this is right. i know it's an opportunity to grow and learn and serve and REALLY remember why i'm here--which is to invite others to come unto christ by making and keeping covenants! it's so clear and it's so simple and the time is SO SCARCE. so i will go to. i will serve wholeheartedly. and i will do my part.

and i will rely upon my savior. my greatest, deepest, most far reaching desire for my mission is to come to know my Savior, Jesus Christ better. As I was on my knees the other night crying, I realized that THAT'S what this is all about. it was clear as day (even though it was night. ha). so as i knelt, literally wetting my pillow as nefi said, i prayed that my Savior could help me. i prayed that through his atonement i could move forward and be strong and not be selfish and not refer to la mesa as "my area" anymore and just let go and get to work. and i felt His love. I felt His peace. I felt Him. I know He's there. I know He's aware of us. I know He loves us. I love my Savior. I am so grateful for all that He's done for me, and for all that He does for me day to day. I'm so thankful for my Father in Heaven who sacrificed His Only Begotten so we could all be saved. We are hopeless without Him. And I feel as if, almost overnight, this burden of mine has been lifted. I KNOW it's true--"ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you"--because I asked! i knocked! and i received! And now it's time to get to work.

I loved bro's email last week. talking about organization. sister ortez and i were so disorganized in our apartment because the two sisters had zero warning that they would both be leaving and then my stuff was scattered EVERYWHERE and there was just everyone's stuff everywhere. haha. and i/we felt that it was true what he said--we cannot receive revelation and be open to promptings if we're unorganized. we had to take some time and get situated and get all clean and ready to put our hands to the plow. so thanks for that, bro. i was thinkin of you the whole time.

the other day here at the battalion i had a really interesting conversation with a lady who's gotten into buddism. she told me she'd researched tons of different religions and even read and prayed about the bom but never got an answer. she feels that where she is now is correct. wow. what do you say to that? but as i stood there looking down into the gold panning sluice i felt prompted to ask her that question of the alma in pmg ch 8--what's the purpose of life? she laughed and said she still didn't know but that she'd get back to me. i looked at her and said, "what if i told you that i knew what it was?" and she said, "i'd think you were selfish for not sharing it with me." that hit me like a train. guys. we HAVE IT. we have ALL THE ANSWERS. we have them. ALL! we have ALL OF THEM! and how selfish we are when we don't share them! this week i want you all think about unselfishly, boldly sharing what we have. we've got it all. so let's just throw down the truth. okay?

and i wanted to follow up on the whole elder ballard commitment i extended you guys.. about praying for opportunities to share the gospel. prayerfully seeking them. how is it going? i know it's possible.. even in utah!

well, that's about all i've got for you. except a big old bearhug. i want you all to know that i've felt your prayers this week. stronger than ever. thanks for being with me.

i love you all dearly. keep me knowing how i can serve you all. praying for you on the daily!

hermana christensen

ps--oh our investigator, hna roman, in la mesa, is getting baptized on saturday. :) salvation coming right up!
this is us after a district meeting. yep. believe it. we are in the SAME ZONE AND DISTRICT!!!!!!! hahaha (oh and ps it's a trilingual district. how SICK is that?! it's english, spanish and sign. kaylynn! i've been thinkin of you so much as i've watched these guys bear their testimony and teach in sign! SO COOL!)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

8/20/2011 Elder Christensen "Not a lot to Say"

Hey everyone. Sadly to say we didn`t get out in sector a ton to work this week. We`ve had some stupid little problems that have kept us from getting out. I`m still training my replacement and he`s learning really fast. I have no doubts that he will be ready to take over entirely in another week and a half. This week we had a SICK conference about the MIT. (The most important thing.) It`s from President Lawrence Corbridge from the area presidency. He`s a seventy if I`m not mistaken. Anyways, it was supperrr awesome. We talked about a couple of the missionary discussions and how EVERY SINGLE PRINCIPLE is related to the Most important thing... Which is... The gift of the holy ghost. Think about it though.. it`s insane... The great apostasy... how does that relate? Well.. during that time people were changing the gospel that Christ had preached so... NOBODY had the power to give the gift of the Holy Ghost to anybody else... Make sense? Anyways, we went through all of lessons one and two, and even some of 3. DO IT. Open your PMG and check it out. It really is insane. I`ve been trying to focus a lot on how to teach with power and authority.. We`ve been doing a lot of contacts and stuff trying to do just that. Well.. My companions are already done with their time and I feel kinda dumb just sitting here while they stand around... So I love you all and I`ll talk to you next week. I promise to send a good email next week with some pictures attached. I love you all. Please send regards to the Stoddards for what`s happened this week. As well as congratulations for the sealing... What a mixture of hard and happy things... Well.. Boring letter but thats it this week! I love you tons. Take care. Elder Christensen

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8/16/2011 Hermana Christensen

me n sis lewis
hello my dearest!

we got a call from our beloved hna garcia to go and teach her cunada y cunado this morning, so we got to spend our preparation day teaching! it was great! for one split second i thought.. wait groceries.. laundry.. then the spirit was like HEY wait! this is what you spend preparation day PREPARING TO DO... to TEACH!!! duh! so we trusted the lord would provide time and got to go teach one of the best lessons ever. i mean that they were the best. it was SO NATURAL. i feel like i said that last week about the ramirez family, but i tell ya, hna garcias cunados are SO prepared! he is less active but his wife isabel is WAY interested! they've been coming to church and are already talking about being sealed in the temple! AND she said she can't wait to learn about the word of wisdom! .... what?! hahahahah. we were just bursting after the lesson. that is what it looks like when the spirit teaches and we rejoice together. :)

okay. i'll be fast.

--i met a dad and son from freaking israel the other day who were here in the us to go to wisconsin.. i was like, "what the heck wiconson for?" and they were all--"for oshkosh!" and i felt real close to ya right then daddio. how crazy!

--met the rover's last night! they are SO nice!

on sunday night we had a charla foganera and things worked out we got to sing the missionary choir. it is the BEST ever being able to do that because the spirit is SO strong there. i may have mentioned these before; it's a mission president's fireside where recent converts share their testimonies and then president stands up and invites people to GET BAPTIZED. it is Soooooooo inspiring!!! we have them in english and spanish and they are such an incredible tool! wow. but so anyway, one of the ladies this past sunday, maria, wasn't there and the mission presidency was kinda rummaging through their papers when one of the ladies in the front row, a member, stood up and said, "no soy maria... pero soy yo..." "i'm not maria, but i'm me.." and she went on to share one of the most POWERFUL testimonies in the world. not only was it humorous that she totally covered for someone else, but her testimony was SO heartfelt and sincere and everyone in the room felt the spirit as she talked about how being a member has blessed her life and that of her family. it was impresionante. i just want everyone to realize the POWER of your testimonies. we have knowledge that NO ONE ELSE IN THE MUNDO DOES. we are SO BLESSED!!!

can i invite you to read page 123 of true to the faith?

so guess what happened on sunday? we were slightly bummed since our investigators proved to be a little more lazy than we'd hoped... we were supposed to meet our golden familia ramirez but they didn't show up, but as we started singing the opening hymn, hermana silvia popped her head in and we waved vigorously to her. she came in with the kids and they LOVED it. after the reunion sacramental she was literally SURROUNDED by the branch (sound familiar? like mahybe with hna thomas at the 24th of july celebrash?) and everyone just greeted her and welcomed her and made her feel SO at home. and then the kids just left, "i'm off to class, ma!" and that was that. next thing we knew she was invited to the charla foganera and to a lesson we're having in an hour by a member. UNREAL. she's going to get baptized. it was amazing.

things are amazing. i love my calling.

transfers tomorow. last night we had a going away party for two of the most incredible sisters ever. change happens SO fast. i loved bros email about that. change! ah! it helps us to grow but it's SO HARD! ahh. elder evans messed up and said that Sister Christensen was leaving too.. he tried to correct himself but we knwo that one sister will go outbound (not in the battalion)... so we'll see. i'm sh akin in my boots because i don't know if i can survive without the battalion vibe. I LOVE THIS PLACE. ah. but tomrrow. i trust the master's wise plan. always.

i love you all. thanks for being mine.

hermana christensen

joan. my mom sent me a lovely photo of you! keep smiling, you're wonderful!

kena. if you are out there in the wide expanse of the universe reading this email--on sunday i almost burst into laughter when the choir director did motions EXACTLY like you and i had done in the past practicing for your future as a choir director. i'm NOT kdding. it was SO funny. and i love you. PERIOD

i have the cutest neice in the planet. the cosmos. thank you VERY MUCH for her. the video is HIGHLARIOUS!!!!!!!! please bog that!

us at the charla with hna jeneane
two of the songs from the charla foganera on sunday directed by gma jude's pal! :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

8/13/2011 Elder Christensen "The Weekly Goodies"

We have had a supppppper busy week. I´ve been trying my best to train Elder Spencer on all the important tasks that he has to fulfill during his time in the office. This week we filled out all the new visa application papers for new missionaries. Stressful part. Everythings gotta be right or the missionary will be illegal within a couple months. So we spent a lot of time making copies from their passports as well as filling in all of their personal information. Also we took a lot of time making new manuals for the greenies who will arrive this change. We got out into the sector for a little bit but a lot of our plans fell through. I´ve been thinking a lot about changes. I know that I always talk about changes when I write you guys but hey... I look at them in a different way. Not changes in the mission, changes in our lives. Why things happen the way they do at the time they do and the results that they end up bringing us. It is always for our spiritual well-being though. The Lord knows our limits and will push us all the way to the border of them, but that´s what helps us grow. It´s like it says in Ether.. We will have no testimony until AFTER the trial of our faith. That´s the way the Lord works. We´ll be okay for awhile then something else will put us back down. Lots of people throw in the towel right there. It´s tooooooooooo hard they say... The Lord is punishing me and I don´t know whyyy. But we´re not alone in those feelings. We don´t really know what certain people are going through right now in their lives. We usually just live in our little world and the world revolves around us. I think that´s most people´s perspective. Here in the office we´ve been changing a lot of things. The Elders who have been here for the last...well.. forever have been neglecting the sector and working more in the office. Even we have found ourselves doing the same sometimes. But hey... The office work is really important you know? So we´ve been trying to change some of the old bad lazy habits of the past. We went through the area book and ripped it apart. Now it´s all organized and ready to point us in the right direction. We´re also setting apart time for our studies and actually working together. It´s SUPER hard trying to balance the office on top of being a regular missionary with the same schedule. But that´s why we´re doing it. How are we supposed to have exito (Success) without being organized? That´s the simple principle I want to get across in this letter. Organization. How are we going to reach a goal if we have no plans to achieve it? We have to start somewhere or we will just end up sitting still. I can see the connection between the office and the sector used as a life principle of balancing work with the family. It might be hard but we HAVE to have our family prayers. We need to hold weekly family home evenings on Monday. Scripture study with the family on a daily basis. It doesn´t need to take TONS of time.. Just the fact of getting together and doing it even for just a few minutes. That´s where we come back to organization. Everyone needs to be on the same page with the schedule. Everyone needs to know what we are going to do, who is teaching, what part they will play. The prophet has said this sooooooooooooooo many times. Simple basic fundamentals applied every day together.... Easy.. It just requires some organization. When God created the world he didn´t just go and do it right?? The scriptures say he planned.... He took time... He gathered materials... He knew what he was going to do in advance. If a person in this world wants to be successful they need to understand that. Now... To organize ones self requires the desire to do so. In this last conference I heard the words... "This church is not a comfortable one." We are ALWAYS working. There is always something to be done right? Whether its just going to church, doing your weekly visits to members, paying tithing, or doing service." If we are comfortable, we are doing something wrong. Obviously that is not to be taken too far, but if we are just sitting inside coasting through life one day at a time thats TOO comfortable. If we were doing that, we wouldn´t be working and in turn, we wouldn´t be progressing. We are always going to have to break out of our comfort zone as members of the church. We make sacrifices ALL the time.. Joseph Smith said; "A religion that does not require complete sacrifice in all things will NEVER have the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary to take us to eternal life and salvation." STRONG words from a chosen prophet of God. The point is. There is SOMETHING in all of our lives that we can improve on. Another place where we can make a sacrifice. A new goal we can set together for our growth. A few acts of service we could do to help others. I don´t know what that would be in many of your lives. But lets do it. Lets focus on organizing ourselves and finding a balance in our lives of all things. Work and family. School and friends. Religion and every day life. Sit down with the fam, a paper and a pen, and set yourselves some reasonable, achievable goals. I promise you all that as you do so you will begin to see God´s hand more in your lives. You will begin to see him take control and mold you into something you never thought you would or for that matter could ever be. My testimony has been strengthened while applying these things here in the mission and in the office. I love the mission so much. It´s the greatest thing that I´ve ever chosen to do. Pretty soon I will leave the office and I will be able to apply these things in the mission field.. Pardon me but I think it will be easier out there... I will be able to focus 100% on the people. The members, the investigators, the random people in the street. Now I recognize the time that I HAD before and how I didn´t always take advantage of it. I couldn´t be more excited! I love you all and I hope you have another great week. You´re in my prayers. Espero que sigan adelante con fe en Cristo y que tengan el deseo de organizarse. Las metas son importantes por nuestro bienestar espiritual y cuando dejamos de fijarlas.... Allí queda nuestro progreso... Les quiero y por eso comparto mis pensamientos con ustedes.. Cyaaaa next week!

Ciaooo! Elder Christensen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

8/9/2011 Hermana Christensen

boy do i feel like i have a lot to say!

it has been an incredible week of milagrotes. unreal and becoming less real every day. what?

okay so did i write a few weeks ago about a lady that came into the battalion that lives in my area? for some reason i doubt it. okay, well july was crazy. we had like 17,000 people come through the battalion. the tours were huge and we totally had to follow the spirit to know who to talk to after the tours, etc. i took a gigantic english tour through by myself and after everyone filtered through the camera zone and out into gold panning and eventually leaving, i finally got out there and felt like i should talk to this one cute lady with a baby stroller. we chatted and come to find out (just sheer coincidence i'm sure) that she lives in la mesa. i about had a heart attack--but mostly because the baby cried right then and she calmed her in SPANISH. (la mesa nevereverever gets referrals. there just aren't many brown people there!) i eventually got her to refer, and we just barely got around to contacting her on sunday. and it. was. PERFECT.

literally perfect. Perfect. capital P. She opened the door and let us in. what? haha. both things?! it was incredible. we sat down in her kitchen with her son (WHO'S TWELVE!!!! i didn't know he existed! he needs to be baptized, too!) and her adorable eight year old daughter.

and we sat around and chatted and it was so... natural. normal. easy.

sister lewis and i were able to teach together and we followed the spirit, and it was just.. bliss. we shared a message about finding happiness in the gospel of jesus christ. and we watched one of the church movies (which is kinda cheesey but i LOVE it. and the guy has a sick spanish accent. like from spain.) and get this. they don't have a couch, so we got to sit on their floor. it was like.. perfect! down to the very last detail! anyway, i'm being so wordy. the point is that after the movie she said, "You know what.." and i was like, oh no, here comes the rejection.. they're fine, they're catolicos..

blablabla, but no. she said, " i think this is perfect timing that you're here because we aren't going anywhere right now and i think this is exactly what we need." stunned. i was speechless. i think i giggled a little bit and just told her she was EXACTLY right. and the kids? they were SO into it. AND!!! at the end i was asking for a referral -- no no no. i asked if she knew any mormons.. which i don't normally just ask that in an appointment.. at the battaloin, yes. but she said yes, and turns out its someone in our BRANCH, hermana diaz!

we'd been with her just five seconds earlier in church! we're way tight with her! vanessa had invited this lady to church months earlier but she wasn't in the right place. the sweetest thing was hearing this lady say that they were ready and willing and that it was time. and they love the changes they've seen with vanessa and her family, and the 12 year old is friends with diego diaz and he's all excited to see him at church.. and AH! sis lewis and i literally were running and skipping and singing and crying as we jetted to the battalion afterwards! BUT! yesterday we returned because she wanted us (key word! she WANTED) us to come back and meet her husband. so we did.

sitting around with that family around their little table, feeling the LOVE that they have for each other was like... wow. impresionante.

they are members. i think they just forgot to get baptized. they'll be getting sealed. you wouldn't believe it. how UNBELIEVABLY prepared they are... it's golden. like, seriously, if there ever was a golden family (GOLDEN FAMILY!!!! A FAMILY!!!)--it's them. we taught them the restoration yesterday and the dad was like--it just depends how you look at it. some may think it's unbelieveable, others may see it as totally believable." and at the end of the 20 min mov it shows joseph's dad getting baptizzled and afterwards the kids asked about that. uhhhhhhum YES you can get baptized, too!!!!! like literally..

perfect. all of it. unreal. we feel so blessed!!! before we left the kids were even showing us what they are planning on wearing to church... in seven days! :)

sunday was beautiful. hermano chavez bore his testimony. hermano roman bore his testimony. (they both love their bookmarks ps and say MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS HERMANA CHRISTENSEN! that's you ma!) hermano roman also passed the sacrament... to his parents. wow. that was the sweetest thing ever--seeing him take his investigator parents the emblems of the atonement. and then guess what we did in branch council? talked about our branch becoming a ward. :) we've got vision and we've got PLANS!!!

yesterday we taught our other golden investigator hermana tomas from the republica dominicana the plan of salvacion. we taught with hermana garcia's son, jair, and freak. it was the sickest thing ever. she is, first of all, the most open, willing, accepting person i've ever taught. but i think she REALLY gets it.. it's not like she's just faking. she told us that she's always told her kids that if they were not so good, good, or really good they would get to go in one of three doors. what? so when we taught about telestial, terreste y celestial it was like... oh hey.. you've actually been teaching this for years... hahaha. i was so touched, though, by something that jair told her as we taught our earth life. we were talking about oposicion (she's had a rough life) and about how God's plan for us is to be HAPPY, and we read about adam falling that man might have joy, and jair piped in after i'd said our purpose is to be happy and said, "pues de hecho creo que lo que significa esto sorry sorry in english--"well actually i think that this means that we are meant to be happy, yes, but this verse says gozoso...JOY. we are to be joyful.." and he went on to explain that joy is ETERNAL. it lasts.

it's duro. its eternal. and i got the chills and thought IMMEDIATELY of my family, and the JOY that we feel. yes, we feel happiness! and freak i feel WAY happy to have yet another package from you! but when someone closes their door in my face or a lady swears at me in a few hours i might forget about that. but at the end of the day I HAVE JOY because I KNOW that truth is on my side and that I have a loving Heavenly Father and a GRACIOUS, wonderful family who i have the PRIVILEGE to be with for forever. now THAT is joy. and i have so much of it.

i was talking with president morgan the other night at an activity we had, feeling a little discouraged about some investigators that are failing, and he said, "you know what though, sister christensen? i've read the end of the story. and we are going to WIN!" i don't know if i shared that or not already, but i've been thinking about that a lot lately. and yesterday sis lewis and i were talking and she said, "if you understand how important the message is and you love God, you won't be bashful." we know that these things are true. we know we're going to win and that truth will conquer. we know it. so why on earth am i not always bold about it?!

but i am trying! last week we taught one of our DEAR investigators who is a lesbian the law of chastity. and she totally accepted it and was nodding and all and we were about done when we asked what she thought about it, if she believed it. and she said, smilingly, "absolutely not." and i literally laughed, I LITERALLY LAUGHED, because i thought she was JOKING! but she wasn't. at all. she was dead serious. she said that she knows plenty of homosexuals who are happy and that God wouldn't restrict our happiness. we listened, but we threw down testiony and read scriptures and just let the spirit do its job. if she's humble and open to it, i KNOW she'll get her answer and she'll make changes. she even said she might not get baptized on her date, but maybe in the future. i have hope for these people becuase they already know the truth, it's innately inside of them. the world makes them forget but we help them remember.

have i mentioned that i love my call? beyond words.

and i love all of you. thank you for all you do! this week--will you just be bold? tell your less active friend to just COME TO CHURCH.

it's the only way to receive a remission of your sins! whatever it may be, just say it boldly. remember i told you to, but more importantly, remember that Jesus Christ told ALL of us to. truth is on our side and we WILL win!

hermana christensen

maril. got the pic. he's beeeeeeeeeautiful!!! congrats!!!

joan. i love your hair! you are looking gorgeous! keep smiling!

sassar. still prayin for you!

hermana christensen

ps. last week we drove down to the border. and it was the COOLEST thing ever. i saw that huuuuuuuuuge mexican flag and literally.. this might sound weird... but i literaly felt the spirit. i LOVE these people and their place and their culture and who and how they are. it was so cool, seriously. i really love my mission call. i'm so thankful to be here in san diego!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

8/6/2011 Elder Christensen "The Weekly Goodies!"

An office picture... Mom check that beasty tie out! Nice work!
Hey there everyone. Lets be honest..... we worked supppppppppppppppppppppper diligently this week so as I ponder on what to write I don´t even know how to start.. We had one sweet miracle that I would like to share. Last Saturday it was cold and rainy and we had scheduled to go out with the Obispado (bishopric) to do some divisions. We split up and went on our way. We had a contact named Claudio that we had passed by two weeks ago who seemed partially interested in what we had to say but not really... Anyways, Elder Monsen went with the bishop, I went with the Mission leader, and Elder Speakman went with some teens from our ward. We marched off in our huge beasty ponchos and umbrellas haha. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cold you have no idea. Elder Monsen and the bishop decided to visit Claudio the contact, The mission leader and I were headed to 2 inactive families, and Elder Speakman had a huge list of inactives to visit. We didn´t have much luck. Nobody was really home nor wanted to let a bunch of wet servants of the Lord in their house. After about an hour we had to go back to the chapel and finish the division. Elder Monsen told us that he had gone to Claudio´s house and that his wife answered only to say that Claudio wasn´t home and that we should go back some other time... So here we were.. .back in the office all wet when Elder Monsen got a call... from.... wouldn´t you know!! CLAUDIO! Keep in mind this was a CONTACT. Not anybody we had ever met before. He wanted us to come over that instant. So? We did. It was SICK. We shared a little lesson with them about what we do and how it can change peoples lives. We were about to finish when the Grandma said to the Mom... "Hey are you going to tell them?" The mom hesitated... Then she told us about what had happened earlier. She said she was cleaning the family room and was really focused on what she was doing. Just cleaning away when suddenly she saw the curtains GLOWING. She said it looked like somebody was on the other side of the window shining a spotlight on it or something. So, being curious, she opened the curtains up and THERE stood Elder Monsen and our Bishop. She had never heard the doorbell because it was broken, nor did she hear them yelling ALO outside. It was a huge miracle. We sat there in amazement as the spirit filled the room. The grandma then said... "That was the spirit of God Ingrid! He was trying to tell you that you should let these people in our house." We were just... HIT IN THE FACE with a miracle! SOOO SICK honestly! We have an appointment with them tonight and plan to teach them all about the holy ghost. But this is how our lives are honestly. Our Heavenly Father just puts us in the way of these prepared people.

THE COAST!! Beautiful place. The air by the ocean is wonderful!
Tomorrow is our last fast sunday together as a trio here in the office. On Monday there will be some special changes involving Elder Speakman leaving, and my secretary trainee getting here. Can´t lie I am a little nervous! My job responsibilities are arranged by weeks.. Meaning... Right now we are in week 3. The new Elder will get here and I will need to go back over the first 3 weeks of work that is already done, while at the same time teaching and doing the other 3 weeks. A LARGE TASK! I feel like every mission secretary does I think.. I have LOVED my time here. We have had lots of success, I have made a ton of good friends, and it´s overall just a great place. But I am ready just to go out into a sector where I can focus 100% of my efforts on the salvation of souls! Where I can sit down and study without having to worry about this missionary´s visa or that missionary´s flight home.. Just be calm and focused and DO WORK! It´s going to be a great change that we all need.

Well I love you all so much and I thank you all for your support. You really are the best family and friends that I could ask for. I pray that you all have an EXCELLENT week and that you may keep progressing in your daily lives. Les quiero muchísimo,

Elder Kurtis Christensen

Secretario Del Presidente

Misión Chile Santiago Oeste
.) Elder King and I!!!! In the airport, 4am... Ya.... SUPER early!

The OREM gang.... Same place same time

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

8/2/2011 Hermana Christensen

on pioneer day making corn tortillas with the rama. SO FUN!
okay. wow. what a week. what a life! I loooove being a missionary!
freaking saturday we were all blown away by elder ballard. get real. it was so tight. okay wait first, he came to the battalion early saturday morning and the two sisters leaving took the sweet man on the tour. digo, sweet apostle of the lord. as we were leaving we passed him just out panning for gold right before addressing the whole mission.. no big... haha. oh. and hey. i got news for ya. we are currently sharing an apartment. yep. one bedroom one bathroom for four sisters. it is HILARIOUS. (good thing i shower in THREE MINUTES WILLY! WEAK THINGS BECOME STRONG!) we are sharing with sister clayton and sister evans.. and that sister clayton is president's daughter who is doing a three week mini mission thing, like what petie invited me to do! would've been SICK! anyways, she's rocking it. and she's enlightening us on the life of her grandfather apostle, which is tight. ANYWAY. elder ballard is the man. can i just go for it?

he stood up and addressed us all by saying, "i come to you in the name of the Lord." wow.

--we have a message that NO ONE ELSE IN THIS WORLD HAS. we know who we are are, God's purpose, our preexistence and purose of life because we have joseph smith, the bom, and modern day revelash. "we are bathed as members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints in spiritual knowledge that the world doesn't have." they don't know. they don't understand. god is pushed out of the page in the secular world ,so we HAVE to become master teachers so we can share what we have with them!

--he talked about how every single word in pmg was checked for over 14 months and that THAT is the key so that we can treasure up the world and become those master teachers and have confidence enough to stand in front of kings and rules and teach them the gospel.

--and then he went on to do something VERY interesting... he brought everything back to the ward council. it was unbelievable. literally. every doubt, question, concern, EVERYTHING, "take it to your ward council. let them know who you're teaching, who you're visiting, who you're inviting to an ordinance, who you're reactivating, who you're rescuing this week. then LET THEM BE A PART OF IT. This is how we can save our brothers and sisters--it's by working TOGETHER. satan doesn't want us to figure this out!" he said that he feels our prayers for him and that all of the bretheren do, and that they are so grateful for the support and prayers from the church members. then he said, "we gather and pray for you EVERY thursday in the 4th floor of the temple. "we are on the same time. we are on the same errand." and it was SO clear to me. like you said last week, kristen, that we, as missionaries, are extension of the bretheren. wow. so he helped us make that connection and then he said that we need to work more and be on the same team with our ward members. he even said, "never try to teach investigators unless ward council knows who we're teaching. we've gotta knowck down the wall between missionaries do this and members do that. NO. this is a family effort in building the kingdom of God and we'll then have more people to teach." so we need to work together. i LOVE the organization of the church, holy hannah do i ever. so inspired. but so here's my question, how are the missionaries involved with the ward council there? i KNOW it's utah and it's hard and there are lots of members, but what's it like? he challenged us as missionaries to use our branch council to overcome allll of our doubts and concerns with our investigators. but it didn't sound like a burden to the council, more that we would be working TOGETHER and we'd be a blessing to each other. i for sure received some sweet revelation regarding SPECIFIC people and i'm so excited to put it to use!

--he invited us to read his conference talks for the last two years. try it out!

--he told some of our leaders that if he were to gather a group of saints here and opened it up to q and a that they would ask questions that have been answered in the last two years by the bretheren. he said that all of the apostles wish that we would listen to what they're saying because they are telling us!!!

--in one of his conference talks he challenged members to pray to find people to share the gospel with in 90 days or whatever, to pray and make a deadline. he said that people and prayed and fasted, and some had incredible results, others didn't. one lady wrote and called him a fake because nothing happened and she'd had faith that it would. so he CALLED her up and wanted to talk about the situation. she'd prayed and WANTED to find people... but she didn't. he said, "well, who did you talk to?" and she was quiet. then he paused (and it was soo powerful!) and said, "IF THE SAINTS WANT TO FIND PEOPLE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH THEN THEY ARE GOING TO NEED TO TALK TO PEOPLE!!! broaden your horizon! talk to the mailman, the clerk at the grocery store, your neighbor, whoever it may be! open your mouth, praying the Lord will fill it, and He WILL!" and it was powerful.

--"we've never lost a missionary in the history of the church from overwork." haha.

last bullet point:

--elder haney from the 70 spoke to us first, and he gave us a cool promise. he said that we've got something very unique to us as members. i was like.. heck, we've got a lot of stuff that's unique as miembros... what's he gonna say? and he said, "it's where we live. it's our HOMES." then he said, "INVITE others over and make friends with those not of our faith. STOP ASSOCIATING JUST WITH THOSE OF OUR FAITH. something miraculous will happen if we can just invite them into our homes!" it was amazing.

now family, and i guess anyone who may be reading this--i know that you are good people, wanting to share the gospel, but it's hard in utah. but. i've been thinking about it, and--even though it'll be hard, and you may be a little uncomfortable with it--will you look at the bottom of your sacrament program and find the number for the full time missionaries and call them? see what you can do for them. see when they need you to come out with them t share your testimony. or even better, invite THEM to come over to our home and feel of your spirit and your love for our Savior. I KNOW it's a lot to ask, but will you? will you take the step and just see what you can do to help them and let them know you're on their same team? it would mean the world! AND YOU'LL BE SOO BLESSED!!!!

whew. this is largo. i apologize! but. it's been an amazing week. elder ballard was just so awesome and so enlightening.

sunday we had a miracle. an ENTIRE super less active family we've been working with for FOREVER came to church. FOR FOREVER. and they came!!!! sooo cool!

and our new investigator, hna thomas, came to church! and she has a baptismal date for september! YEEAH!

anyway. i'll leave you to digest that. know i lov eyou. i know this is the lords work. he is SO involved. i love him. and i feel so grateful to be a miniscule part of his grand work.

Hermana Christensen

hno chavez, hno marquez, hno roman and investigador hno aguirre.. mostly shirt and tie. SO COOL! BALLERS! hno roman passed the sacrament and hno chavez blessed it!