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