Monday, July 25, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
It's great to hear from you all. I'm glad that the long trip ended well and that everyone enjoyed themselves. That is crazy about the bizarre dust storm; sounds like the weather is out of control all over the place. Hmm... Mom I got your letter that you sent while in the car, thanks a bunch. I didn't get the letter that you sent last week until Tuesday; so I didn't respond to anything from it in my email last week. I appreciate all of your letters so much. I can picture the Mesaonians at Sonic in Page like you said. Things have been great here. I'm here with Elder Checketts and Elder Bergman now. E. Bergman will likely be here until August. Sister Gifford is serving in Syracuse I believe. Have you heard how she is liking it and such? I'm far away and don't know anything about it. It is crazy to think that E. Lyman is home and doing 'normal' things. I was actually really impressed with how focused he was. I've really enjoyed all my companions. As far as hanging out with them afterward I could see myself getting together with some occasionally. Being roommates with any? I'm not sure. Only E. Miller went/goes to BYU who I've served with. Namukolo was confirmed by a member in the ward who he and his wife have been our consistent fellow shipper for her. The First Presidency just sent out a letter about not sending "sensitive information" in emails home but in short she is trying to get her visitors visa extended to stay here longer. Jackson looks really big. I like his teeth! Sorry to hear that he had that virus and such. Ste, thanks for filling me in that I'm not on the "loser side" anymore on the program at church. Haha, I appreciate that. Glad to hear things in SLC are going well; so great to hear from you. And of course I hope Paige gets home safe and she and Ben are finally reunited. This week has flown by and has been filled with so many incredible experiences. Honestly I can't think of another time when the work has been going better than it is right now. It's amazing and feels so good. Right now we have 4 people with baptismal dates and many other incredible people we are teaching. On Tuesday we taught an investigator, Gretchen, the word of wisdom and she's already living it. She asked to go over all of the requirements for baptism, ha. We had a good-bye lesson on temples with Namukolo for E. Lyman's last lesson. It went really well. It was cool talking with E. Lyman before he left to see his thoughts on the future and reflect back on his mission experience (he's probably going to be reading this at some point, ha I just realized that. How crazy.). Wednesday, transfer day, I worked in Downtown Albany with E. Schrader. This was amazing; we had a lesson with a recent convert in the morning. The recent convert is an elderly man and he had a home nurse there with him when we arrived. Long story short the nurse asked if she could join our lesson, has met with missionaries before and wants to be baptized! The best part is: she lives in our area, and the fact I just 'happened' to be there was amazing. It was so divinely orchestrated it's undeniable. She came to church yesterday and has so many great questions. We'll teach her this week and hopefully start preparing her for a date to be baptized! Later that day my new companions arrived. We had a good night teaching more lessons. Thursday morning was amazing, too. We taught the Flanders, the part-member, older couple we are teaching who came to church last week. We planned to teach about baptism and the Book of Mormon going in and her/their questions perfectly led right into it. We invited her to be baptized Aug 6 and she accepted and is really excited. Her (member) husband was crying; it was really really sweet. They came to church again yesterday and loved it. It's amazing. We taught and moved the 10 year old Donovoan girl's baptism to Jul 30 so she and the family can come to church more and hopefully deepen their conversion rather than just get her baptized and leave again. Friday, E. Checketts and I went to ZLC in Utica. It was really fun. Every companionship is given a portable DVD player to use in helping us study/prepare for lessons and missionary skills. The church is giving them all over the US and Canada, and probably other places soon, too. Saturday we continued to teach and teach and teach. We're working with a few really neat less-active families/individuals and seeing progress there as well as other investigators I haven't mentioned. On Sunday, yesterday, we had 5 investigators as church; it felt so good. Afterward we taught 3 lessons. Seriously, it's pretty incredible all of the things that are happening here. It's been really cool to be here this long to build relationships with so many people. The ward is like my family and all of these people we are teaching are close friends. Now more so than ever I feel that it is absolutely true that the Lord imparts his love for others upon those he calls to serve in his behalf. Having charity for the people I'm serving wasn't something that naturally came for me. In fact, I don't know how much I had it at all at first. And of course I know I have leaps and bounds where I can improve but I really have a sense of love and concern for these people that I know is beyond me. It's amazing.
Perhaps it's about time I send a memory card home. I'll work on that. Also, I'm thrown off when to expect my next package but assuming it's like 5-6 weeks from now I may ask to have my white nike running shoes sent to me at that time. Don't let me forget, or ask me about it when you're preparing to send it. My other nikes are getting a little beat. I'll see if I think they can make it to the end.I hope you all have a great week. Thanks so much for all that you do for me and for sending your love my way. I love you all.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Hello hello. Great to hear from you all and it's great to hear that things are going well for everyone. Sounds like the California trip was a great time, I'm glad. This may sound awful, but it's weird for me to think of all you guys there and not feeling like I'm missing out too much, or that I would 'usually' be there. I can picture it all now, though, and I'm happy everything was great. I'm shocked to hear that Rachel is more tan than Paige. Wha? Some proof via photo would be convincing. Ha. I hope the wedding went well in San Diego! That temple is so amazing. I would love to go there some time; hope Disneyland is fun! Elder Lyman is leaving tonight to go to Utica for the temple trip (Palmyra temple, Sacred Grove, Book store, etc etc)...luckky. I'm excited to hear all about it though when he gets back! I'm going to be with Elder Schrader for that duration (Monday night through Wednesday morning). I hope it will be a good training opportunity and that I can help him. I got the letter that was sent from California! Thanks to all who wrote. Nice Penguin sticker, glad you guys could hit up the store even without me. ha. We won't get our van back probably until Transfers which are a week from this Wednesday. So yeah, Elder Lyman is leaving then and I'll (99.9% sure) stay here with someone new. Should be a good time. And transfer calls are this Saturday so we'll see what that has in store! (Pday next week likely to be taken on Tuesday, fyi; but plan on Monday like you know :) ha). I don't think we'll be picking any strawberries, Paige; but if you do hopefully it turns out well. Before I forget, today we are meeting some other missionaries and going to the capital building and sweet museum. We're getting some VIP tour from a guy the Downtown Albany Elders know. So that will take any 'free-time' I would have today so if you don't hear from me via letter, sorry about that.
This week has been good. I can't believe it is already week 5 of the transfer and that Elder Lyman's time (and our time together) is over so soon. Last Monday we went and played ping pong with the Downtown Elders (E. Ludlow and E. Schrader). It was pretty fun. That night we had dinner with a recent-convert couple (the wife who has cancer). They are awesome; the wife's situation is really unfortunate and sad but we're trying to help her stay in high spirits. Then, we taught a less-active member we've been teaching about quitting smoking and devising a plan for her to stop doing so. Good day. Tuesday morning we taught Namukolo - she is amazing, more later. Then we went to Saratoga; it is a missionaries 2nd transfer who is serving there so we do a training for him and then work with him/them after. It was a blast to be back in Saratoga. I love that place so much. It was really fun to see all of the green leaves because when I was there it was fall and winter, not much green. I got to teach Phil Brewer again (the big guy who was baptized in March); he's doing pretty well which is exciting. I stopped in the Badger's on our way in for the night. Bro Badger was out of town but it was great to see everyone else. Wednesday the highlight was seeing Dawn (she and her daughter were baptized in December). She's actually in the hospital right now with blood clots in her lungs. The timing of me being there was quite 'ironic.' Her faith was shaken a bit by this but we had a great lesson around her hospital bed. That night was incredible back in Albany. I did a baptismal interview IN SPANISH. Ha. It was the guy I taught in Downtown Albany in Spanish (I had you print 2 pictures of it, he wanted a copy). It was really really cool to be able to do that. It was a bit harder needing to use specific words (from the baptismal interview questions, which I didn't have in Spanish) but we made due. It was great. Thursday we taught a few investigator lessons. Friday we had a cool experience with Namukolo. She's already a missionary and we were able to teach, in addition to her, a girl she befriended in the apartment complex (did I mention Namukolo lives in the very complex where we just moved from in Menands? crazy.) as well as the wife of the couple she lives with! Awesome; she was so excited. We were able to make contact with Jon Morris, sweet investigator who's preparing to be baptized. We hadn't for almost 2 weeks, he was out of town with work off. Saturday we found our 3 new investigator for the week; a head quarter referral for a Bible and he had actually read from the Book of Mormon before which was surprising. We're still trying to evaluate this guy with some different things but we'll see him again this week. Then we painted a shed with a less-active/part-member couple we are teaching. It was a really good experience to build our relationship with them in a less formal setting. That night Namukolo had her baptismal interview and she is all set to be baptized this Saturday, July 2! Yes!! She's so ready and such a blatant answer to fasting and prayers. Pictures next week for sure. Sunday, yesterday, was a definite "the good outweighs the bad" day. Church was nice with 4 investigators there. After, every appointment and thing we had planned fell through; it was a little frustrating but it's all good. That night was amazing, though. Jenaro, the Spanish speaker I interviewed, was baptized! The service was in Spanish and it was BY FAR the most spiritual baptism I have been to out here. The Spanish himnos carry such a strong spirit. At the end of the service it was opened up for testimonies. A woman went right up and bore an awesome testimony in Spanish, and while she was speaking I realized that I had to get up and do so in Spanish. Cliche, I was a bit surprised and reluctant at first at the thought of it but decided I definitely needed to do so. I got up when there was a break and bore un testimonio corto pero fuerte. I've definitely never done anything like that nor did I anticipate doing anything like that on my mission in New York. It was an amazing meeting.
Well, I hope you all have a great week and know of my love and appreciation for all of you and all that you do for me. Stay safe and stay faithful.
Love, Elder Christensen