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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Men are that they might have joy"

Dear family and friends,

So guess what?? Yep, going golfing today! Elder Lyman and I are going to Albany to play with our Zone Leaders! We're playing at a municipal course called Western Turnpike that I've heard is really good, 27 holes. We're only playing 9 but it should be so fun; there is a left-handed member in Albany whose clubs I guess I get to use. Elder Lyman has never golfed before, haha it's going to be hilarious! I'll be sure to let you know how it goes, probably won't be too pretty but it certainly will be enjoyable to get out, should be perfect weather today. I got the package of clothes! Yes, thank you so much. I can't say how much all of your help with everything back home means to me. But it's good, I've certainly gained a little weight since I've been here but not more than 5 or so pounds. We are fed so well here it's a joke! (last night we had fajitas at a member's that contend Tia Rosa's, man. The dad is a hardkore cook, it's sweet). I got my backpack shipped off today. I went to the UPS drop box and wasn't sure how it'd work with such a big box and stuff but right as we got there a UPS truck guy drove up and I just handed it to him, so sweet no stress. The Lord is always looking out for us in all aspects of our lives! (whether it's something cool like that, or something opposite He gives us to allow us to grow and learn). That's way sweet about the Family Book of Mormon, I've seen those out here they're way sweet! I got the clothes and the letter from mom with pictures and memory card in it but no letter from Ste yet, I can't wait! I'm glad to hear the Florida move is a success so far! And great to hear from Ithaca, yeah Ben we'll go on splits just you and me! haha.
This week was not my typical week out here, it was really fun and different. Monday we bowled, way fun. On Tuesday we had an exchange with the Elders serving in Schenectady; I worked here in Schoahrie Valley with Elder Russel. It was such a good time, he came out 2 transfers before me and is basically my long-lost brother. He did golf and soccer in high school and we just connected really well it was sweet, I hope to get to work with him more in the future too. Then Friday night the Zone Leaders came here and I had my "Second Transfer Training." We had a meeting then went out and worked that night and Saturday the first half of the day. It was a really good time with them. For our morning exercise we played tennis with them! We do service at a catholic charities thrift store every week and got tennis rackets a few days before (Elder Lyman played in high school). It's way fun, I'm going to get gooood. We played just us two this morning. We saw the Hellstroms this past week and had another incredible time. Driving over there we talked about exactly what we wanted to go over and what we wanted them to do. The lesson went exactly how we planned, to a T. It was unreal, we got the mom to say the closing prayer as we all knelt; it was incredible. They know it's true. We'll see them again this week and continue to help them progress and hit their 10/16 baptismal date. We saw the Dutchers twice this week, once was with Elder Cutler who knows them (Zone Leader now, here with Elder Miller before me) and I. It was great and we're just working on getting Sister Dutcher comfortable socially with the commitment of baptism. She is so solid and knows that it's true without a doubt. We had a cool experience at District Meeting in a practice scenario. Elder Lyman and I were being taught and we decided to pretend to be Sister Dutcher and use her concerns for getting baptized. What they said and did, which isn't totally typical, was essentially exactly how we in reality handled it. It was a testimony to me that we taught with the Spirit and were directed in how to progress with her. We're going to hike Vroman's Nose with them and have food and a lesson up there this week I think. It's a quick hike but I hear it's gorgeous overlooking the entire valley(ies).

We had another really cool experience this week I want to share. When I was with Elder Cutler at the Dutchers, Elder Lyman and Elder Westra were working in Cobleskill and tracted into an extremely nice older couple. They invited them to mass on the next day as they were Catholic and they agreed. When we (all 4 missionaries) met at the apartment that night I heard the news, as it would be Elder Lyman and I going. I wasn't nervous but found it interesting because lately we've been focusing (in president's email last week) on doing the "best" things to fulfill our time (good, better, best scenario). We decided to go and see if it produces fruit afterward and then know for the future how to handle a similar situation. Man, are we glad that we did! They were shocked and extremely happy to see us at Mass. It was good and just like the one I went to with Dad. So glad that we did that, that was so smart Dad thank you. Afterward the couple was so nice and talking with us and invited us to have a meal at Pizza Hut with them! HA. We had a great gospel conversation over the meal as they were desirous to know about us as missionaries. We found out the wife isn't Catholic but actually Presbyterian! Ultimately they agreed to allow us to sit down with them to teach them in their home more formally. It was simply amazing. There are more details but it was truly a jaw-dropping experience as it was happening.
Quite simply I know that this is true and real. It's so important. We're certainly finding joy in the work as "men are that they might have joy" but working hard as well. I truly appreciate all of the love and support you send me, it means more than I can say.

Love always,

Elder Christensen

Michael walking down memory lane

Michael and Elder Lyman typing letters on their sick typewriters

Michael with the Zone Leaders

Michael's last night with Elder Miller

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