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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm a changed creature

The crazy zone of Rome, New York

Dear everyone,

Hey there, it's wonderful to hear from you all. I'm glad that you're all doing well. It was very exciting to see pictures from the dolphin swim over in Florida! That looks like it was a great time. Also, what a neat surprise to see the picture with Papa and President Eyring at the Salt Lake Country Club! Ha, how cool! So Ste, what were you doing up so late? I can't believe it is already October break? Wow. That's crazy if that's the case. Anything exciting happening? I haven't seen that woman from the library since I last mentioned her a month or so ago. Who knows, I wish she gave us her information to contact her and teach her and such. How often do we eat out? Hm, I'll think back on this past week - I think 3 or 4 times? That's a bit above average due to eating while traveling for District Meetings. I've never turned down anything that has been served to me. I was actually served fish on Monday and it was quite good. I do like salad and yes when I'm not a missionary I'll eat it. I'm a changed creature, ha. Could you please print out the Priesthood line for me? Thanks so much for doing that for me. I didn't get a letter from Mom (or anyone, ha) this past week; since you didn't mention anything about it, it's likely that it's caught in the mail with today being a holiday. That's crazy Jordan is home; I'm so happy for him. I'm in the mission office right now because of the library being closed. We're going to play some basketball in a few minutes, too. We were able to play tennis for a bit this morning which was really nice - I don't know how much longer we'll be able to enjoy outside activities like that. What's new with everyone?
Well, to be honest and still positive, this week has definitely been a tough one. I'm learning the lesson that even though I do everything I can, the Lord's work is in the Lord's hands. I really appreciated the email that President sent today. Due to lack of time and how applicable it is to me today I'm going to attach most of it here:
Some time ago, I was pondering the phrase “mighty prayer” as used in 3 Nephi 27:1. My study led me to Alma 8:10 as noted in footnote b. That verse seemed to perfectly describe the prayer and desire of every missionary. It struck me as significant that after “much labor in the spirit” and “mighty prayer that [God] would pour out his spirit upon the people of the city” of Ammonihah, a man as strong and faithful as Alma would not only be rejected, but “reviled,” “spit upon” and eventually “cast out” of the city (Alma 8:13). Alma was a faithful prophet, with a righteous desire “that he might baptize them unto repentance.” The question could be asked, “Does not God hear the prayers of His prophets?” Well, of course He does—but even they must endure faithfully through the difficult times of missionary work. We know that the city of Ammonihah would eventually be destroyed because of their wickedness, yet through much difficulty and extremely challenging circumstances, Alma’s labors in that challenging area would reap a harvest of valiant souls—souls that would have a great impact for good on future missionary work. We may not know by whom or when the harvest will come, but we must press forward with faith—especially in difficult times. In the mist of the severely difficult circumstances of Alma’s mission he cried out in prayer, “How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord?” (Alma 14:26) The question of “how long” seems to not only be a reasonable question, but a common one asked by those who suffer difficulty in the Lord’s service (see Habakkuk 1:2; Revelation 6:10). “How long” was asked twice by Joseph Smith while suffering in Liberty jail (DC 121:2,3). The answer that came to the Prophet Joseph Smith in DC 121 is a study that would bless every missionary. Every missionary seems to wonder “how long” at various times in their service. How long before we find someone to teach? How long before this area turns around? How long must I endure this challenge or temptation? We must realize that “how long” is in the Lord’s hands. Our job is to continue faithful for as long as our Heavenly Father may require, knowing that He will not “require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit…” (Elder Richard G. Scott, CR, Nov. 1995, 16). Developing the capacity to endure is part of the experience. Ammon reflected on his experience of enduring difficult times as a missionary by saying, “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success” (Alma 26:27). It is my hope and prayer that each of you will do the same. The principles taught by those that have gone before are still true today. To put it in a more modern vernacular, “hang in there” and allow the Lord to bless you personally, as well as the work you are doing.
I really appreciated these thoughts today. Lois is still doing amazing; her nephew is planning on coming up from Mesa for her baptism. We're hoping to find some new people to teach this week who are earnestly wanting to change their lives. I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve. Saturday is our 1/3 Mission Conference (it's taking place on 3 different days in different locations) with Elder Pieper. And Sunday we get to listen to Elder Bednar (and I think Presdient Eyring's son too, not positive on that though) at Stake Conference. I'm quite excited for that. Hopefully you all are doing well and have a wonderful week. Thanks so much for your love and support. I love you all so much.
Elder Christensen

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