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, July 26, 2010

Missionary work certainly is work

Hola family!

I seriously love hearing from all of you so much! It is great to hear that things are moving along quite well for everyone wherever you may be. It's really hard to keep track of all the things you ask and everything but I'm trying my best. I eat random, anything around the apartment - pretty normal, generic stuff that would be at our house. I haven't really manned up and cooked yet, but I'm perfectly ok with that at this point. We are fed by members pretty frequently - since I've been here typically 3ish nights a week. They feed us well, and they say they're slacking and can feed us more too, ha! Fresh vegetables from their gardens and stuff it's really neat. I'm learning about country and farmness out here it's such a different lifestyle to what I grew up with. I do a lot of stretching (my hips) in the morning, sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, sometimes we go out and run. And I received a short sleeve shirt from Pomeroy's. Ha, so if you didn't order it I don't know what's up with that but I needed it so thanks however that worked out ha. Congratulations to Papa and Bob for Tuhaye! That is so great I'm happy for you! And thank you Papa and Nana for the very nice card. I haven't got the Spencer Jones article; I am shocked and scared to read that. I hope and pray he will be alright. Let me know.

So cool for Colton Johnston to be home though! I can remember the day I said bye to him - and how I wouldn't see him for 4 years - and he's already back, that it absolutely crazy! P day is on TUESDAY next week because of Transfers! (meaning email then, etc!) Speaking of which, Elder Miller caught wind of some likely changes with us from President so we'll see, I have no idea what is going to happen! Stay or go. I didn't realize we are the youngest companionship in the mission; ha pretty humorous in my opinion ha. A huge percentage of the mission will be under a year in the next bit. I am sending a package home today with MTC stuff, memory card, and random other things: including a pillow case Sis Jensen sent from the Mia Maids, so nice be sure to thank them for me! I can't believe school starts in AZ soon. Who is Ste's teacher? By the way, awesome job swimming you are such a stud!

Return and Report was a great time to see my friends from the MTC! The trainers were there with us all day too (to answer a question). It was so sweet to get those cookies from the Lewis bakery! Thank you so much, they were awesome! It truly is surreal that can happen!

We are definitely blessed as set apart missionaries; and blessed in all aspects of life, to enable us to do things on our own we simply could not accomplish. Spiritual and teaching aside, even physically we are able to handle things we wouldn't otherwise be able to. It's hilarious I have had bags under my eyes the last few days but I've been able to do all the work without being too beat - although I should be down for the count. Missionary work certainly is work. There is a principle I realized this past week that is pretty cool. You hear people say "A mission was the hardest thing I've ever done." And I would think about that and just think they were just saying it or hadn't applied themselves in the past. So not true. On your mission you can - and need to - give your personal absolute best every day. You are constantly pushing yourself to do more, be better, etc. It's true, and therefore definitely hard to constantly be trying and working your best.

The baptism yesterday was awesome! We prepared well for it but yesterday was still craziness running all over during church getting it all set up! I got to conduct which was pretty cool. Autumn's brother Austin (17) baptized her! He had to do it twice like me and Ste! The Spirit was really strong. Pictures (memory card) and a program will be in the package. Sunday we're going to Albany to a fireside by President and Elder Warr playing piano because we got a ride with a progressing investigator, Lauren (and her less active husband). It's going to be so sweet, I am so excited! I know they did it in Ithaca last night, maybe the Lewis family went? But Lauren is so awesome, she knows the Book of Mormon is the word of God, came to church this Sunday, and we are planning on setting her with a baptismal date here soon! We're teaching, or excited to start teaching, some really awesome families! Families are the best to teach, it's amazing. We received a sweet compliment from our ward mission leader that we're teaching the most families he has seen in a long time and that is a reflection of our hard work, etc. The Spirit is able to guide us; I've had so many sweet experiences. I tracted a house two times in 5 minutes the other day, which was cool. Can go back this week sometime. We were asked to give two blessings yesterday. It's great here. Time is short.

Well I love you all so much and it's really great to keep hearing from you all! Keep it up! Know that I love you and you are in my prayers. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to any problem, concern, or question in this life. It's true. I know it's true.

Love always,

Elder Christensen

PS. I've written in my journal everyday since I've been out (to answer your question)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wow, I am on my mission!

Why hello everyone!

I love hearing from all of you so much! I don't think you understand how fast the weeks go here! The saying is long days, short weeks. It is absolutely nuts! I got the Nord shirt, thanks, and the boots and sweater which all are good. I haven't got the Pomeroy's shirt yet but it'll probably be there today. I didn't see any of my MTC people at Zone Conference or anything. I think Elder Shurtz is in Syracuse. Thanks Rach for the letter and pictures, I love it! And I'll try and write back but if I can't today I will in the future. I'm glad everything is going so well. And mom the pictures and letter were great. The family picture looks awesome too! Ballin! ha. That's awesome PB went to the pageant! I am so jealous, I can't go. We had some investigators go this weekend! Also a family Elder Miller reactivated is getting endowed and sealed to their 4 little girls on Friday in Palmyra! They said you two can go if you're bored. 11 o'clock Endowment session. haha. They're such a great family! I can't believe it's already July 19. Sorry to those I offend but can I have every one's birthday dates sent to me. (yes, I know primary family but not Ty Ben and Papa and Nana off hand).

But the work has been moving along here in Schoharie Valley! We've been dropping some investigators that we really care about and love which has been sad but we've been blessed with 4 new investigators this week! And 2 families we are very excited about teaching in the near future when they're more available. We had a Zone Leader Blitz on Saturday - ZL's come here and we split up for a day! It was so awesome to learn from these Elders, they were awesome! In fact Paige and Ben met one before briefly he said, Elder Cutler blonde from Utah. Such a joke. But it was great to see how they do things and work with them! Truly! I am very excited for "Return and Report" this Friday where I see my MTC district! It is going to be so cool to see everyone, and how they're doing and perhaps how they've changed! I can't wait! And I can't wait for our baptism this Sunday! It is going to be so cool! Autumn's family is so awesome we're really building an awesome relationship with them!
Nothing too out of the "ordinary" has happened this week other than that though! Elder Miller and I are continuing to put our shoulder to the wheel and having faith we will continue to be blessed and see the fruits of our labors. We are getting along great and it's been a blast. We can't believe transfer calls are already on the 31! We're supposing it's likely we both stay but of course we have no idea. I'm making sure I stay enthused and excited about the work. It is so special teaching people but can get tiresome trying to find people to teach which we have been doing lately. But I know it is right and I need to do it, cheerfully. "Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power" DC 121. It's so true. I love this work, I truly do. I am gradually getting more and more used to everything. But at the same time I still have those moments where I say to myself and realize - wow I am on my mission. Things are great. Wow. True, Eternal happiness.

Well I love all of you and hope to continue to hear from you all! I love this gospel and message I am so privileged to share! It changes lives. And it is the answer to any problem anyone has anywhere. Wow.

Love Always,

Elder Christensen

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Religious Excitement"

Hey everyone!

It is so great to get to hear from everyone! As I am here and in an entirely different world essentially it is so crazy to think and hear how much is going on with all of you! I can't believe that about Dad; that is crazy! I sure am glad it happened (if it had to) and is totally resolved by the time you sent your emails! Sorry about that, truly, but as we remain faithful in tough times we only allow opportunities for ourselves to be blessed! It is crazy Paige has been there so long! Sounds like you all have enjoyed it, which is way fun! And Rachel, Tyler, and Jackson sound to be doing well too. It's funny how many people I've been able to relate to with Florida and my family there. Excited to see the pictures you sent! And thank you for getting another short sleeve shirt. It has been HOT. Today and yesterday were nice again but there were 2-3 days this past week that were a wee bit uncomfortable! I think it was a record one day - a member said it reached 101 (plus humidity). There is a Wals Marts here we can shop at. I say Wal(s) Mart(s) because although there isn't really an accent here, everyone puts an SSSSSS on everything! It is so humorous! I laugh out loud sometimes at the stuff people say.

It's great to get Ben's email sent here, thanks! We drive a fairly new Corolla and take turns yes. We are allowed GPS but they're not provided. Elder Miller has one, I'm thinking about buying one in the future- we'll see with transfers and things. I use the comforter, SO nice. And cool Ben is on Verizon, I hope my numbers didn't vanish away? ha. Oh and finally, it's awesome to see my name on the church program but change my address to my Mission Home one. Thanks!

Zone Conference was such a great time! Monday night E. Miller and I stayed the night with the Zone Leaders and the Assistants came as well! They're all so awesome, it was so much fun. Elder Warr, who I'm pretty cool with, and the new assistant is Elder Cook (who ate in Ithaca and answered the questions)! I met him when I first got my trainer and stuff and talked but he's so awesome and funny connections there! Zone Conference was a spiritual feast and a great way to get excited about the work. President Bulloch is so great! Then I went straight on exchange from there to Greenville. This was a great learning experience. The elder i was with is a good missionary but I kinda needed to be the leader in the companionship. It was good for me to experience that I can really take charge and do this. I met a great guy there named Johnathan who we taught and really had a powerful lesson with. We surprisingly got way close the short time i was there, we saw each other a couple times (longish story). It's sad I had to leave him but wish him the best and hope to hear he gets baptized. Back in Schoharie Valley, though, things have been going great still! We are official with Autumn getting baptized on the 25, which is so exciting! Kind of complicated situation but her mom is a recent convert and her new dad is a member. Such a sweet family. Going there for dinner tonight and a lesson! We have had to unfortunately drop several investigators which is hard but as we did so faithfully the Lord blessed us by helping us find others to teach. For example yesterday we were tracting in a village called Sharon Springs and we met and were invited in by an incredibly nice man originally from Russia. We talked for about 45 minutes and he is truly interested, has searched for truth his whole life, is close with God, is very very intelligent and has tried figuring, researching, and reasoning things out for himself. He does scientific research, or did. I heard the words in my head while we were talking with him "He is going to be baptized" which was really cool - hopefully coming from the source I believe it came from. Another interesting thing is the other day I saw Jehovah's Witness missionaries out tracting right along our road. Satan really tried to work on me with this and to have me second guess to reality divinity and truthfulness of what I am doing. Just to think I am just another out doing what they're doing. But after some pondering and consideration I got over it and reminded myself that this is the Lord's true work and kingdom on the earth. It was a good experience.

There is "religious excitement" here in upstate New York still it seems as there was in Joseph's time. We have had the opportunity to use our Priesthood for blessings 2 times this week which was cool. One of which a lady called us randomly for one, then came to church this week. We'll see how things go with her, I am unsure at this point (seeing her in past teaching records what people have said). But I love it here in New York and love this work that I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of. I am certainly now more comfortable here and am able to flap my wings and fly a little bit more and more each day. It is certainly a process, but I know I can become the missionary, and person, the Lord wants me to be and knows that I can be.

I love you all so much and love hearing from you! Thank you all! Truly!

Love always,

Elder Christensen

Monday, July 5, 2010

Life in Cobleskill, New York

Hello all-

Greetings from Cobleskill, NY! It is so pretty here! The weather has been great, not too hot or humid. And it is absolutely green all over the place. So different from Arizona, I love it. It was great to hear from you all. I will send my memory card in an envelope tomorrow so it'll get there, what, Friday or Saturday?

President Bulloch already knew about Paige and Ben when I got here. He loved it. He was surprised when I told them they had met Mom, haha. They are so nice, so awesome. In fact, I get to see them tomorrow at Zone Conference. We are driving (yes we have a car) to Albany tonight then there all day Tuesday for that. Then, we are doing an exchange so I'll be in Greenville Wednesday! Very exciting next few days, for things out of "the norm." We are fed very frequently, we sent the July calendar around at church yesterday! Haha, the people here for the most part are great.

Thank you so much for the package! That was so fun to get! It actually got here before the letter by a day, very funny. But it was so great thank you so much! Oh and Pomeroy's, yes great have them send the stuff that they have so we can make sure it is good. Also, I don't know how much short sleeve white shirts cost but if not too bad it would be great to have another one because that is all I wear now in the summer and I have 3 now, so I wear all 2 times but if something happens to one I cant wear it, etc. Just let me know, it isn't totally imperative but simply would be nice to have if it's an option. The down comforter is grreat and yes I found the blanket and sheets, just forgot - kind of busy to remember exactly what we did with it. I am going to send some stuff home in a bit, can I reuse a flat rate box you sent me, does the box itself cost anything?

I love getting letters between Mondays with updates and answers to things. It is unlikely I will send letters on Pday (unless you send me a personal one, there is seriously just so little down time). Pday we clean, email, write for a bit, and that's about it honestly. There is some fun stuff around here to do we may do in the next few weeks. I'm not sure about sending direct to the apartment. Elder MIller does and I think it is good, President probably just doesn't want stuff sent there if we get transferred and aren't there anymore. We have a letter to Elder Miller's old companion sent here. So toward the end of this 6 week period just be smart about it. How does stamping letters work for international mail? Nana, we cook and I am all for bacon if it can make it here. Thanks!

Now, the important stuff. So many exciting things have been happening in Schoharie Valley! We have been so blatantly blessed this past week it is crazy. All we can do is offer our thanks and gratitude and continue to put our shoulder to the wheel. We have a baptism on July 25! (The first since August of 2009). She is a 10 year old girl of a family of members, sweet girl, sweet family. Simply a blessing that we got to be involved in her process to enter the waters of baptism! Her name is Autumn. We have other great investigators who are so pure in heart and are seeking for the truth. We helped a lady named Debbie move on Saturday and long story short this will allow her to start over in her life. It is likely she will be set with a date and baptized soon (possibly her daughter too!). Last night Elder Miller and I were outside and a 17ish year old kid walked by and was essentially golden. He said he would read the whole Book of Mormon by Wednesday when we see him next. We think this was an answer to a prayer he had. Such a blessing! There are so many things each day, it is just so great. So many awesome experiences here! But the 4th was hard with people gone and stuff. But after we finished everything for the day we sat on our porch and ate halves of watermelon watching fireworks through tree leaves and branches! (while listening to Motab Spirit of America).

It is so awesome to be out here serving the Lord. I am getting more comfortable each day, it is certainly a process. I love it so much. Time is flying by, just another testimony not to waste one bit of time. I appreciate your prayers and faith in my behalf. It is so humbling to have this call, to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel. This work brings so much joy. Wow.

Keep writing and doing well back home! All your love and support means a lot!

I love you all so much - so much

Elder Christensen