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, December 27, 2010

Christmas - one down, one to go

Dear all,

Merry Christmas! I hope the rest of your day on Saturday was great; it sounds pretty crazy and busy with the flight to Utah and move down to Gilbert. It certainly was great to talk to you on the phone. I don't know if it's just me but I can almost get in robot mode when receiving letters and emails, which I absolutely love, and read them and almost seem to forget to remember you're real people. Ha, I don't know how to say that better but it was just nice to talk to you guys. I apologize for the emotion and inability I seemed to have to really speak too, too much. I hope, and sounds like, it was a positive experience for you guys as well. Yeah, it really just was odd for the majority of the day my emotions were right on the surface; for what I would typically consider seemingly unemotional things. I didn't think I was much of a crier but maybe not; thanks Mom. My Christmas was really good though. And you all made it a really special day. Thanks so much for the kind gifts and for your thoughtfulness! After the call we tried by a single, less-active sister but she wasn't there. Then Elder Stratton called and I got all organized with my new stuff and everything. I love my desk set up. The 2 Reflections of Christ pictures are sweet with the Mesa Temple, too, among others. Thanks so much. We got picked up to go the member's home and had a good time there. They're really nice and have like 6 kids. After that we rode our bikes to the nursing home; the front desk lady thought we were shady and didn't really want us to go but we worked our magic and made it happen. We talked to several people there and it was nice. We visited a less-active family on the way home and that concluded the night. Pretty simple, yet maybe the most meaningful Christmases I've had. As I guess Ben said, one down and one to go. Ha, that's my thoughts exactly. Yes, Elder Stratton shared his french toast. Ha, I'm glad my "high" voices were able to make you laugh or know that I'm still the same person; I'm just simply trying to become the new updated model - who the Lord wants me to become. As far a weather report every morning, I call this 1.800 number that you can get a forecast from, because yes I really do like knowing what's going down that day, literally. But again, it was a great weekend and great to talk to you all.

Amidst the holidays, fortunately the work wasn't impeded. Last Monday night our plans fell through a few hours before hand and we called a member couple to see if they would like to come out with us and see a recent convert who is struggling that he home teaches. It worked out well. They took us out to dinner, too. To this way nice old place then we had an awesome lesson there. Tuesday was good. President and Sister Bulloch were at our District Meeting and trained us. (Or gave the lesson). It was primarily centered on how "we are called to teach." We aren't necessarily called to tract, called to bike around, etc. (although these things need to happen in order to have people to teach at times) It was simply really good and Elder Stratton and I look forward to applying it here. In fact we are tonight. We're going over to the McLaws' home to have dinner with Dawn and Sophia and another member family. And we're going to
teach how to effectively do missionary work, through a specific focus we've been implemented from President. Anyway, after District Meeting we went on exchange with the Zone Leaders. I got to work in Albany! Not so much the downtown area but the surrounding cities. It was great; I was with an elder, 1 of my zone leaders, who came out with Elder Miller. We had some really neat experiences teaching together. One was a lesson we had at the University of Albany library in a room there. It was so cool! Weird to be on a college campus like that! Couldn't help but think of and relate it to BYU. It was also really funny Tuesday night when I was there they had a 'split' signed up. Two high priests were coming out with us. And check it, they didn't have plans for me and this member I'd never met before in this area I didn't know. We did work though and found a less-active mother and son. It was a really powerful and neat experience and lesson. Ha, as a missionary you are just constantly put into situations where you are unfamiliar or it's new or uncomfortable, etc. It was good. Thursday we had an awesome experience. Elder Stratton and I tracted into a guy we considered a potential investigator a week or so ago and we went back and knocked on his door to see if we could teach him and if he'd be interested. He was and we taught the first lesson. It was so powerful. He opened up a lot with us. He's maybe in his mid-fifties; we have a return appointment this Wednesday and are hoping to possibly teach his wife too! That was really neat. Christmas Eve I told you about at a member's home with a couple of single young adults in the ward and a nonmember. It was nice. Then yesterday was a really good day. It was nice to get back into the work and missionary mindset, if you will. And no, it wasn't too tough :). We had breakfast at a member's. Church. Afterward our plans fell through but Alden, the 20 year-old awesome member who helps us out royally, came out and worked with us all afternoon and night. We saw 3 less-actives/recent converts. Had an unplanned turkey dinner at his family's house. Taught Sandra our investigator getting baptized 1/8. And through all that gave 2 blessings. Not a bad day, not a bad day. It was great to get us going again. The Spirit was incredibly strong in these lessons and giving the blessings. I really enjoyed it. The 9 year-old and his family didn't show up at church yesterday unfortunately. We are going to really postpone the baptism now and back off. We can't really help people if they aren't willing to help themselves. It's sad but the Lord prepares people differently and in His time. We have so much good happening though it's incredible. I'm excited to get to work this week and help others. That's what it, this life - the gospel, is all about.

Well I hope you are all doing well and have a great Christmas season and New Year! I can't thank you enough for your love and support and generous gifts! It all means so much and I truly appreciate it. Let me know if I can do anything for you guys. OH! I'm looking forward to giving the Book of Mormon away you wrote in! It will definitely be someone meaningful and I can't wait to see them baptized. Thanks again.

I love you all so much.

Elder Christensen

PS- two additional emails have been sent with some Christmas pictures. If I get a chance I'll try and get this memory card sent out today.

PS- your pictures look great. Nice pyramid and pajamas. Elder Stratton had the pair I brought out here per tradition

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