Hello to all far and near. Well actually, by the sounds of it I don't think anyone is "too near" (Wee Sing) to me here at this point with the trip in California. It's crazy, I can picture right where you guys are; especially if you are at Laguna Beach with the Jack in the Box right there and steps down to the beach. Very nice. I hope all of the time together is enjoyable and that you have great weather - of course you will, it's California. Bandera - ha, wow that's funny because I thought about that the other day. I hope Father's Day was enjoyable in Newport. I remember when that temple was just going up there, how cool. I am getting the letters on Fridays that you send, Mom. It's been working out really well. Driving in the Corolla has been good; we haven't had any issues, it's pretty miraculous. I think we are going to be getting the van back next Wednesday. Thanks for the letter, Ste. You are the bomb; way to go at swim team and basketball camp! The Rudats were/are the couple who we found with the ironic "Chris" scenario. (E. Potter knocking on the wrong door, us going back and after visiting with him for 10 minutes realize it's a different Chris who is not a member, ha).
This past week has been a really great one. About two months ago we (Zone Leaders) trained the mission on what are called the "Standards of Excellence." Basically what it is, Elder Ballard some years ago came here and identified some key-indicators (numbers) that would be recognized as "excellent." For example, the number of lessons taught in a weeks, investigators at church, new investigators per week. Anyway, since then it's been a great goal to strive for and finally this week we got it! We were really blessed this week...I'll give you the run down. Monday, Pday, was an eye-opening day, actually. E. Lyman wanted to go to the mall and get some slacks so we went. Long story short, as much as I liked/like going to the mall looking at all the sweet stuff there, etc - I found much more pure/lasting joy later that night teaching Yolanda and Tino in Spanish. I could expound on it all but that was a cool realization that I had. On Tuesday, we had District Meeting; President and Sister Bulloch were there and trained. President taught awesome things about the scriptures, how to read them, why they are written the way they are/hard to understand, symbolism's, etc. Really sweet. After, we had an exchange and I worked with Elder Schrader here in Albany. It was crazy being with him because (1) it feels like just yesterday we were in the MTC together sharing a room, and (2) he basically was, just yesterday, with Paige and Ben at their house having dinner. Crazy. He didn't have anything bad to say about you guys or your food, so that's good ;) ha. He did say that Ben is a baller and doesn't miss any 3-pointers, though ha. We had a good time working together and speaking openly about a lot of things. We taught quite a bit together that day: Namukolo, a less-active, the Donovan's, and an investigator Gretchen. They all went really well. Wednesday morning we (still with E. Schrader) taught a part-member older couple who lives close out by where we live now. We picked up the nonmember wife and have planned to teach them regularly. We're really excited about that. After, E. Lyman returned and Tino and Yolanda made us lunch! It was sweet and legit. They wanted to cook for us really bad so we had some arroz con pollo. It's still hard to believe how sweet the whole situation is with them speaking/teaching in Spanish, ha. Thursday we had 2 good lessons. One with Namukolo the other with a less-active Sister we are reactivating. Friday was a day we didn't have too much going on but it turned out to be a really enjoyable one. We made contact with a potential investigator who was really excited to see us again and is eager to be taught. Dinner was at a young couple's followed by an appointment with an investigator Bro. Waite. Driving there I had the distinct feeling that we should call and invite the member to teach with us who we just had dinner with. He came and it went really well. I've had several experiences lately where I feel a certain way and know that it is a prompting; I'm not the best because it sometimes takes me a couple nudges to recognize/act upon them but I know each time when I'm doing my best to heed the Spirit...and it always works out well. Saturday was one of those days (very rare) where everything we had planned and tried just worked out. We were able to teach 6 lessons (that's a lot here, ha). The most notable is Namukolo. She is amazing and so eager to be baptized! She loves everything we teach and reads on her own a ton and understands everything. It's incredible! The ward is really taking her under their wings and it's just going great. She will have her baptismal interview this Saturday! Yea! Sunday was a nice Father's Day. Church was nice and we had investigators and less-actives present. In contrast to the day before, it seemed that everything we had yesterday fell through and didn't work out. It was all good and we stayed hopeful and diligent. We ended up tracting on "Arizona Ave" which I thought we turn out to be a positive endeavor after all of our appointments and things falling through...not the case. We got yelled at, mocked, and rejected. It wasn't the most enjoyable experience I've had, ha. After we had dinner at the coolest member's; their 6 and 5 year old boys know more about the stories in the Book of Mormon than 50% of the missionaries probably, ha. I want kids like that. Then, lastly we taught and picked up a part-member/less-active couple. The husband isn't a member. Great stuff, we're really excited about it. It seems like E. Lyman and I just always do well with the part-member families (reflecting back on our work in Schoharie as well). Things are going great and I'm happy to be here (even though California doesn't sound half bad either). The work is going really well and this week ahead is going to be awesome. We're working in Saratoga Springs Tuesday to Wednesday which will be a blast to see the people there! Really excited. I hope you all have a great week. Know of my love and appreciation for all of you.
Love, Elder Christensen