MTC is serving in the New York Utica mission from June 2010 to June 2012. We hope to keep you updated with his latest letters, pictures and more.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Palmyra rocked and my mission is ending

Michael in the Sacred Grove

Michael at the Grandin Printing Press

Michael and his MTC District at the Palmyra Temple

Dear everyone,

Nana, the last note I received was from my birthday :). The 'lucious' chocolate cake sounds great and Tia Rosas would be great that night, ha! Ste needs to have mac and cheese before his swim meet ;) ha. Sunday dinner, whatever you guys want. That's cool the ecclesiastical endorsement was done. I'll see today as I begin packing if I'm mailing anything home.

What an incredible time this is! I'm so excited to see you all soon. It has hit me more seriously that my mission is ending. Everyone at church yesterday was so kind and paid me great compliments and best wishes for the future. I can't express how much I love these people here, and in past areas. Wow. This week has been amazing. Palmyra rocked. Whenever we were outside, the rain cleared for us! So great to go to the temple again. All of it was incredible. I'll share more on that in person, of course. We had 7 investigators at church yesterday and 2 more other nonmembers we just haven't started teaching yet! I'll look forward to seeing you soon. I fly by myself the whole way; all the other MTC friends are going on different flights. Awesome.

I've loved this experience and as I look back on it I am filled with appreciation to have had these opportunities.

Thanks for all you do. See you soon.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On cloud 9 all the time

Michael and Elder Williams at Ann's Baptism

Pres. Bulloch plays some ping pong with the boys

Dear Everyone,

Happy Memorial Day!  It's so great to hear from you!  Things are great!  We had a ward picnic/bbq at a park for the Holiday, such a success!  At least 50% of the people there were nonmembers! There
were 11 nonmembers there who we know and invited!  We had an awesome game of softball, Ann's son (and his whole family) came and he was on our team.  We dominated, haha.  Such a fun activity.  Not to mention last week we pulled out a ping pong table at the mission home and played ping pong!  We got President Bulloch in on it, and he can play!  I'll attach a picture. So sweet.  Happy Birthday, Drue!!  You rock. Congrats to Ste for the back to back championship titles in baseball! Way to go.  I have yet to get Mom's letter (post office closed today) so, sorry I won't be responding to anything in there.  How cool Paige saw the Bulloch's at Panera!  Ha, they told me about it too.  I met their daughters who came up - they're great.  One lives in Scottsdale, the other in Gilbert.

Things are great.  I'm on cloud 9 all the time, it seems.  This past week has been incredible.  Well, actually I've been sick most of the week with a tedious cold and accompanying headache but it didn't slow us down too much.  I still went on exchange to Albany for my last tour there.  I love that place so much.  I was able to see a woman I was teaching when I got transferred from there; she and her two sons have since been baptized.  They're doing very well.  It was so fun to see them at this point now.  Also, I saw Namukolo.  Things are going great for her.  She's planning on going to the temple on the 16 of June for baptisms for the dead for the first time.  Sweet.  Return and Report this past Friday went very well.  Ann's baptism was great.  The service was well attended and it carried a great spirit.  She's so happy.  And the confirmation yesterday was great, too.  Her son and his family came to both the baptism and church yesterday (and, like I mentioned, the bbq today)!  We have high hopes to begin teaching them soon!  Ann is single and her grandson lives with her.

Tomorrow is the big day, to go to Palmyra!  Tonight we (my MTC group) stay in the mission home and then travel there early in the morning!  I am stoked.  First we'll go to the temple then other sites afterward.  In fact, because this is the last time the Bulloch's are going before they go home, the temple president and his wife invited us all over for dinner at their home tomorrow night!  I'm looking forward to that, too. Anyway, things are amazing and I'm so happy.

Thanks for all that you do, I love you.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The week of weeks!

Michael and Pres. Bulloch at the Susquehanna River

Michael's 21st Birthday Cake

More Birthday Celebrations

Dear everyone,

This has been the week of weeks! Wow, it's been incredible. It's so great to hear from you! Happy Birthday to Kelly! That's awesome Paige and Ben drove through/by Cobleskill. It's great to see the pictures of Abbie and Jackson. Congrats to Ste on baseball and how cool he got to go to California! It sounds like things are going great for everyone.

As I think about this past week it's hard to decide where to even begin! Tuesday was AMAZING. We had our Zone Conference for the Owego Stake that day, which fell on May 15. If you'll recall, that's the anniversary of the Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, which took place in Harmony, PA! We held the Zone Conference in Binghamton, rather than Elmira, because this Zone Conference was going to be different from all the others we've been doing. (I've known we were going to do this for some time now but it was a surprise to all the missionaries in that zone so we had to keep it all on the down low). After the morning portion of abbreviated training, all the missionaries there in that zone went down to the site in Harmony! This was such an amazing day! We saw a great deal of Church History: the place where Joseph and Emma lived in Harmony (where a great deal of the translation of the Book of Mormon took place), the Susquehanna River where Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were baptized, the grave sites of Alvin (Joseph and Emma's infant son) and the Hales (Emma's parents), and we saw the home site of the Hales. Amazing, there is such a powerful Spirit there. Then, we traveled to some other sites: the Joseph Knight's Home (location of what was once the Colesville Branch, first branch of the church), Josiah Stoal's home (see JSH 1:55-56; Joseph and Emma's honeymoon spot), and finally the wedding place of Joseph and Emma. What incredible experiences these were! Thursday we had Zone Conference up in the North and we worked with those elders there (Elder Stratton is up there, it was fun working with him). Saturday we helped the ward out with what I may consider the funnest service project I've ever been a part of. We were clearing out an old cemetery that had been totally neglected and was essentially a forest, where all the graves were. I'm amazed at how fun it can be and how great I feel when I serve. We were chopping trees down and clearing it all up - the bishop and another member had chainsaws and were going to town, so cool. Ann's baptismal interview went great on Saturday and she is all ready to go for her baptism on the 26, this Saturday. She asked that I do the baptizing, so that will be fun. I had a great birthday yesterday! Thanks to all those who sent their love. My talk in sacrament meeting went well - I ended up not having as much time as I figured but I was able to condense it nicely. Afterward, we had lunch with the sweetest lady, Daisy, an older member. She makes the best fried chicken ever. She's a black Southerner with an awesome accent; we brought a member of the bishopric with us, brother Bloss (she calls him "Pastor Bloss"), haha. Later we had dinner with a really nice member who makes money decorating cakes. She made me a great cake, although it was very low-key in her mind, fully loaded with candles and singing me happy birthday. Then last night we taught Anne, she is excited as ever for her baptism. All in all, this week has been out of this world. I'm looking forward to the week ahead, too! This morning we had a little birthday party for me and the Sr. couple missionary here in the office (it's his birthday today, 75). I requested cinnamon rolls, so good. Tomorrow, I'm going on exchange to blessed Albany. Then Friday we have Return and Report with the new missionaries. Saturday is the baptism. I feel the Lord's hand in my life daily; it's so comforting to me to know he is there and cares about me as much as he does. I feel great and I'm incredibly happy and at peace.

Thanks for all that you do for me.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amazed by the workings of the Spirit

Michael with a recent convert

Michael and Elder Williams on their way to Albany

Dear everyone,

Oh hello again!  It was great to talk with Mom, Dad, and Ste yesterday!  Happy Mother's Day.  Family is the best and I'm so excited to be with the family soon.  I'm sorry to hear about Papa's being in a boot for his heel, that's too bad!  Feel better and I hope he heals up quickly.  The updates on your Book of Mormon reading is cool. I'm right in the beginning of Mormon so it sounds like we're all in the same ballpark :).  I'm happy for the Lewis family, again, and impressed with the amount of gifts from the shower.  I got Mom's letter today - everything there sounds good.  Hope all is going well for everyone.
I'm doing great.  The work here is wonderful.  Our investigator Ann is all prepared to have her baptismal interview this Saturday at 12.  I'm so excited for her and she's so excited for her, ha.  Last week was a blast and crazy.  3 Zone Conferences and 3 District Leader trainings. Saturday was really cool driving to and from Cortland with President Bulloch for a District Leader training.  This week upcoming will be equally crazy if not more so.  Tomorrow we'll be in Binghamton, Wednesday in Elmira, Thursday in Malone, Friday in Potsdam, Saturday & Sunday in Utica.  I feel great and I continue to be amazed by the workings of the Spirit in my life and in the lives of others.

I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm lovin' it

Michael with Lois shortly before her baptism

Dear all,

Hey there. It's great to hear from you. Things here are as good as ever, I'm lovin' it. Congrats to the Lewis family on the news of having a Boy! I was totally not thinking they were going to have a boy, but that's alright. The homecoming talk on the 17 is fine, no problems. What is my 'topic'? (so I can relate my stories to a principle ;) haha, dad).  I will be going through Ithaca probably around 3ish on the 16th; as much as I love you guys, the Lewis fam, I think I'll prefer going without organizing a get together this one last time. I feel the last was pretty sweet :). I'll see you soon. Calling home at 4:30 AZ time shouldn't be too much of a problem. Look forward to it. The summer plans sound great. I would love to spend some time in SLC and at Lake Powell. I've asked several times already, but what info have you gathered on working at the mtc; or more specifically when I should apply this summer and what, perhaps, that whole process entails.  Hope all is well with Papa and Nana; hope Papa's foot feels better. I look forward to spending time with you soon. Good to hear from the Jennings! Abbie looks great.

This week was great. It was definitely the most 'low key' week of this transfer. Meaning, from here on out there are a lot of exciting things I'm looking forward to in the coming weeks! I must say that going to Rome had to be the highlight of this past week. It sounds like you already caught word that while I was there I was able to visit and teach Lois. We had a very good, scriptural based lesson with her on prayer and praying aloud/together. She's such a sweet heart and she looved meeting Mom. If you would please email her the picture of you all at the Easter pageant she would appreciate that; also you can attach the pictures I'm sending today. Work is going great in Utica. Ann is doing so good! She is right on track to be baptized on May 26. She couldn't be more excited I don't think. We taught her about tithing last night and she is actually excited to do so once she's baptized! Ha. Martin came to church yesterday as well as others we are teaching. Church was very powerful; the testimonies centered around mothers and families. And, not to mention, the sweet potluck lunch that followed. Elder Williams and I are traveling to Albany later this afternoon to then do a training with the district leaders in that zone. Then, tomorrow is the Albany zone conference. The focus is Obtaining the blessings and guidance of the Spirit. I'm very excited for it. Then Wednesday and Thursday are the Utica and Syracuse zone conferences, respectively. Saturday we are doing more trainings with district leaders in other zones in the mission. Undoubtedly it's going to be a very eventful week.

I love you all so much. Thanks so much for all you do for me. I look forward to talking with the Mesa crew on Sunday and seeing the rest of yous (New York term) in the near future.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Loving everything here in Utica!

This picture is my lineage. 
 I trained Elder Stratton, and on his left is his son,
then the two on the left of him are his two sons.

Dear everyone,

Hello!  What a great time of year. It's nice to hear from you all.  I'm doing really well and loving everything here in Utica.  Glad that Mom and Paige are home safe from Orlando and that they had a good time there.  My homecoming talk on the 17th is sounding better and better - that'll be great.  Also, my birthday being celebrated at home (or rather, in a very small way out here) will be great.  I don't need anything out here, but thanks.  The phone call on Mothers' Day will probably work best for us at 7:30 - 8 pm our time.  If there are any problems with that, let us know.  How exciting for the Lewis family to find out the gender today!  Too bad her appointment wasn't this morning, oh well.  Gail was an investigator here in Utica who E Miller and I found on Christmas Eve; the dinner she had with the Bullochs was a major success.

It's been a great week filled with new missionaries and missionaries going home and Zone Leader Council.  These are great times and I'm really enjoying everything.  Our investigator Ann is still going remarkably well.  She is progressing without a hitch and couldn't be more excited.  The ward is really getting behind her and she feels the power of the Spirit.  This week will be relatively low key compared to the weeks ahead.  I am going to Rome on exchange Wednesday and Thursday which I'm very excited about.  But other than that the only other to-do list items we have are to get all prepared for Zone Conferences the following week.  I'm thinking back on the following week and nothing particular is standing out to report on; basically everything was just good, ha.  Martin is doing well, our Mexican investigator.  We set 2 other investigators with baptismal dates for mid and late June.  Really, it's all going great.

I love you all so much and thank you for all you do for me.

Elder Christensen

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spiritually Blasted

Dear everyone,

It's great to hear from you all and again congrats to the Jennings family, how great Abbie is. I love family; I find the irony so interesting that it's when I've been away from family that I feel close to them and appreciate them even more. One principle I have undoubtedly learned in the mission field is the importance to find joy in what you're doing or to appreciate what you have while you have it. I'm happy that the bachelors in AZ aren't roughing it too badly without Mom home; and not to mention Ben being home without Paige. Ha, I don't miss doing 17 page reports for school, hope it went well, Ste. Nana is getting around, too, it sounds like which is great. I love you all so much.

This week has been amazing, I don't know where to begin. I'm soo excited to be serving here in Utica my last transfer! I absolutely love the people here in the ward, I love the people we are teaching, I enjoy the responsibilities I have as an Assistant, and I'm excited to be with E Williams for a 2nd transfer (this will be only the 2nd time on my mission I will be with the same companion for 2 consecutive transfers! Elder Potter is the only other one). Planning the transfer was very exciting and enjoyable, seeing the Spirit work as we council and make decisions is so cool. On Tuesday I worked with a missionary whose companion was on the Palmyra trip (and E Williams likewise, working with another missionary) in Utica. Between both companionships that day we taught 10 lessons! What a blessing to our area. Anne, our investigator with a baptismal date, is still right on track! She came to church again yesterday and loved it. Then last night we went over and taught her the word of wisdom and she decided to obey right then and there. Very exciting,  Other amazing things happened this week. Saturday night I felt prompted to call Martin (the Mexican man we taught before, ate with on Easter, etc). I found out later from him that the timing was perfect. He had had some events take place this past week which left him feeling pretty low; but upon calling him he quickly realized his need to trust in God and rely on Him. He came to church yesterday and loved it! We then taught him that afternoon, then a recent convert took him to a single adults dinner and activity. I think he was Spiritually blasted yesterday. What a great man and I'm so happy and excited to be teaching him again. President and Sister Bulloch are having Gail over for dinner tonight, I'm very excited to see how it pans out! This week is going to be another great one, too. Tomorrow we pick up the new missionaries from the airport and are with them. Wednesday is transfer day and Friday is Zone Leader Council.

I hope you all are doing extremely well and again know of my love for you.

Elder Christensen