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, February 14, 2011

P Day on V Day back in Saratoga Springs!

Dear everyone,

Happy Valentine's D
ay! I hope you all are having a love-filled day full of frolicking and such. Why, oh why, am I not surprised that you all have tabs on me, know where I am, and how it all went down? Ha, that is quite funny if you ask me. So, here I am in Saratoga Springs with E. Stratton on this fine Monday morning (it's actually way nice today). Total craziness. E. Kitchen went home because he hadn't slept more than a few hours his time here in New York. From what I know he really wanted to stay and was fighting it as best as he could but simply couldn't win. Pretty sad. I can say that he certainly has changed my mission quite a bit, though, in his short time here: having been the reason for both my leaving and returning to Saratoga in the middle of a transfer. So we met at the Albany airport and I drove back here with E. Stratton and the Bullochs. Not going to lie, it was kind of a weird feeling to be right at the curbside airport check with all of my luggage at this point. The switch was pretty smooth and the drive back was much more pleasant than I had anticipated. Thanks for looking into the 'darkest before dawn' thing; I figured it couldn't be a true fact in nature but wondered where it came from and things. Anyway, side-note and tangent, in my personal study reading the Book of Mormon I got off pondering for some reason about the sun and how symbolic it is of the Son of God and just how I had never really made the connection of the similarities in the names of both. I don't know, it was just cool this morning. Thanks so much for the Valentine's stuff! I received the box from Arizona (and anticipate the arrival shortly of those of you who also mentioned to expect something. Nana, I had the Albany Elders forward it to me. I should get it today! Thanks so much! :) Thanks for the card Ste! And Mom and Dad. The family history stuff is really great, I've read some of it and look forward to finding some time to read more! The slacks are good; we're planning to go to TJM today and just see what they have but if nothing different or better they most certainly will work great. Thanks! Not to mention, too, the goodies were really good and E. Stratton agrees as well. I appreciate all of your emails and updates on how things are going in your respective locations. I love your emails, Nana, and thank you so much for them. I can't think of anything that I really need from that sale or anything but thanks again so much. Ste, way to go ballin' it up at your game and singing and tennis and baseball and school and life. Great to see the Ithaca party and things, glad it went great! I cannot believe how much Jackson looks like Braden Stevens! Justin and Camille's son? Am I crazy or do they look alike? Anyway, very cute and so exciting about him almost walking! Dad, thanks so much, as always, for your email. I appreciate what you write each week and it just even further shows how much you love me. Thank you. Mom, of course your emails are amazing, too, and I can't thank you enough for them.

So, as I said before, here I am in Saratoga. I'll be pretty open, this hasn't been the easiest thing I've done, to come back here. And the odd part is I'm not even sure why it's been so tough. I absolutely love it here. The ward is great, the atmosphere is great, E. Stratton is great, I don't know. But last Monday was certainly interesting getting the news that I would be coming here and although it's been a week and I'm here, it's still bizarre. The work had slowed down a bit but we are working hard and looking to get things back up to high-speed here shortly. President Bulloch has been fantastic throughout this whole thing, I love him so much. Wednesday after we were dropped off at our apartment and we were in Saratoga he made the special effort to call me and clarify how my call to serve as a Zone Leader was not repealed and I was just on a 'special assignment.' I essentially knew or figured this was the case and it seems incredibly simple what he did but it really meant a lot to me. Since then he has called a handful of times to update me on things in the Zone I should be aware of and such which we normally wouldn't have happen if I was in Albany. Anyway, it's just meant a lot and his support has helped me out quite a bit. It was interesting, too, I don't know why but I feel like sharing that last Monday morning (before I got the call I was coming to Saratoga) I felt prompted to read my Patriarchal Blessing for the second half, which I've never done, during my study time. I shrugged and decided to do so and focused on the portion discussing my mission. I didn't understand why, even after reading it, that was important then, but I did later in the day after this call. Just some of the things I'd read numerous times took on new meaning in light of this situation coming here. That's ultra vague, perhaps how it should be, but it was quite meaningful as well. It really has been great to see people again, though! The Badgers definitely were very excited to see me and I them! I got to meet their new daughter who was born shortly after my leaving, it was really cool! (ps. Sister Badger got all of our Arizona info to send a thank you note for the family book of mormon. I hadn't/haven't heard if they ended up doing that but if they didn't simply know that that was really significant to them and they loved it and were very thankful.) So, we've been working hard. Lauren B. is still being taught, haven't seen them yet but plan to this week. There are others who have fallen out since I left but we are eager to find those who are ready and prepared for this Gospel. Friday morning we saw Jeff, a former investigator E. Daniels-Brown and I taught a little, who is awesome. He doesn't know if God is there, though, so we challenged him to pray sincerely each day this week and promised him an answer or experience letting him know God is there. (He recently got back from a skiing trip in Japan; such a cool guy, can't remember how much I talked about him before, super into golf, etc.) Anyway, we're calling him today to see what his experience has been so far! We're also teaching a 21 year old who is married to a member who I didn't know before I left. He is getting baptized in the near future! I've taught him twice since I was here which has been great. He is in the navy and is graduating from his program early March and will go back to Colorado where they both are from and have the service there with her family. It's a really cool story and they really are awesome! Yesterday was great, all we did was teach. We taught an active family, a less active family, and a part-member family. It was a great time and the Spirit is able to be present so strongly as truth is taught. All in all, I'm looking to maximize my time here in Saratoga Springs and try not to look too far into the future. I felt prompted to have a study on patience in Preach My Gospel this morning after I read from the Book of Mormon and it was really what I needed. Mosiah 24:9-16 really meant a lot to me today. Welp, I hope you all have a great week and continue to be the wonderful people you already are. Thanks again so much for all that you do in my behalf, it means so much to me. May the Lord bless you.

Elder Christensen

PS - The library will be open next Monday for President's Day, so don't worry. :)

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