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, August 23, 2010

that one last door to try

The Dutchers
Noah (age 2)

Michael with his bacon straight from Salt Lake Country Club

Michael and Elder Miller with Elder Welch, the DL

Hanging with the ZL's after a District lunch

Greetings to everyone,

August is almost over? Hmm, that's not right. As always, it is so good to hear from all of you! Sorry that life is boring in Arizona. I'm glad Papa's golf has been better and hopefully Nana you are doing well too! My prayers are with you guys always. And I didn't hear from the East-coasters but I'm sure they're well as well! The big move will be exciting in Florida! Maren's wedding and all going on just West of me here should be great as well. So my backpack made it! We had President interviews on Saturday and he brought it from the Mission Office (it had been sent to seriously like 2 or 3 other WAY WRONG addresses here in Upstate; no idea where they came up with the addresses they did...but I got it. But yeah, and my little envelope from the Distribution Center got here! Wonderful, thank you so much I plan on memorizing those (like I should have already done better). You can certainly do the same kind of journal I have now, and no engraving is fine! No worries at all for me, all that is up to Mom. Like I said I won't need it for a while. (Probably 1/2 filled with mine?). My contacts have been great, I'm going to get the supply today after this, so look for it like you said. I wasn't crying in that picture, by the way. It was sad but not a crying issue, ha! Would you please be so kind as to send me some clothes. I need another pair of jeans no doubt and I realized I can still be myself out here (although I certainly want to leave my old self behind and truly become a new creature in Christ). I apologize if my stuff is all packed away, but the minimal clothes I brought aren't cutting it at the time being and simply need more, and want variety. I'll have room to pack it in my suitcases, don't worry about that. You suck air out of all your stuff in bags and you can fit lots. Thanks so much! :)

The work is so awesome here. Salt Lake is implementing a new MTC curriculum that will come into effect summer of 2011 (simply, more specific things out of Preach My Gospel. Less practice teaching which is about all I did). So for us missionaries already out here, we have to be up to speed with them when they come out. In our District Meetings for the next 8 weeks we’re going over this stuff. Last week we talked about the Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31). Obviously, just: faith, repentance, baptism, receive the holy ghost, and endure to the end. And with that we were "trained out" on extending baptismal commitments (WITH A DATE) with people the FIRST time we sit down with them. (a new request from Salt Lake, aka the Lord). That's pretty intense! But I love it! Elder Lyman and I decided we would be faithful and do so (and set those investigators we already have the next time we see them). This is inspired. We set 4 people with baptismal dates this week. In short, Elder Lyman summed up this past week as perhaps the best on his mission thus far. We set a woman Mary Jane with 10/16 and another woman Mary with 10/9! (the idea is this will separate the wheat from the tares and we will be able to better focus on those who want to change and come unto Christ and not "waste" time with those more reluctant to change). Wednesday (the same day we received this new counsel from SL) we had the Hellstroms. They articulated to us how they wanted to ease into this and not take it too fast. We were nervous to set the mother and daughter with a date (father a less-active member, other son is only 5). But we planned on doing it and putting this to the test. In short, we taught the plan of salvation and Elder Lyman thinks it was, if not the best lesson on his mission, one of the top. It was powerful. Then we invited them to be baptized when the Spirit was strong. They accepted, and it's set for 10/16. Wow. We never would have thought to set them yet but the Lord asked and we obeyed and it worked. We've been so blessed for following this counsel and staying faithful and diligent.

Like I alluded to earlier we had interviews with President and they were great. He's so powerful and loving. He told me some very nice things. Yesterday it literally rained all day, a lot. It was fun! As an Arizona boy I love it and think it's fun while other people are sick of it. Hopefully I am able to like it the whole time I'm here..ha. Still raining, but much less, today. We tracted out in it yesterday for like an hour and a half. My jacket got its major debut! We taught the Russian man Vitaliy and gave him a Russian Book of Mormon, he's excited to learn more and understand better.

We’re teaching 15 people right now, there is so much to tell about all of them but I'll quickly share one story. We were tracting a long country-type road with many houses pretty close but not like our neighborhood close; and we started at one end and on the other there were 2 former investigators we were going to try and contact. Long story short we finally got to one that lived on an off shoot from the major road we were on where 4 trailer-homes were. Her home (the former member) was the second to last one of these. We knocked and no one answered. Running low on time and lower on energy we were going to turn around and go to the other former member on the other side of the road a few hundred feet away. But there was still one more house (trailer) to try. I felt that we should and so we went around to it. A younger man was out front and didn't appear to be one interested in our message. Long portion of the story short, he invited us in, loved the restoration and we’re excited to go back and teach him (and set him with a date, we saw him on Tuesday before the training). He's excited about the gospel and essentially prayed for us (or something) to help him out as he's going through a tough time with his girlfriend and things. We immediately learned the importance of that one last door to try, that one last soul to invite to learn. (And also that you never know who would accept this message, based on their appearance, living conditions, etc). It was really neat. We're being extremely blessed here and I hope we can help these people we’re teaching continue to progress in the Gospel. OH! We taught the Dutchers the Word of Wisdom and they said they would live it. Awesome. Coffee and tea are the issues so should be good. Technically she doesn't have a baptismal date yet but she knows it's true and will be baptized (just hesitant to talk to her father about it; though we know him and he likes us and is awesome). We're seeing a Part Member family tonight. Wife member, husband not but knows it’s true and has a calling in the ward. Smoking is what's holding him back but he wants to quit and talk to us about it tonight so I'm very excited (missionaries have worked with him for years, I don't know how seriously, but this seems different if his desire is sincere). Should be sweet!

We're going bowling today! My first P-Day fun thing! Next Monday were going to golf and/or play tennis with brother Dutcher! I'm stoked!! (the guy above who wants to quit smoking designed a course here in Cobleskill, I want to go with him too!) I love it here!

Please keep sending your love and support my way. It truly means so much to hear from everyone. Oh and attach pictures to your emails if you have any, they're sweet to see!

Love you all so much,

Elder Christensen


ps- got Rachel's email before I left. Good to hear from you. :) much love.

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