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, March 27, 2012

A surprise visit

Michael driving through Panera Bread with Paige at the window
Michael visiting Paige & Ben's apartment for dinner
Paige & Michael saying goodbye


How's it going? It's great to hear from you all. I love you all very much. This week has been a good one. I don't have any idea where I will work in the summer that would hire me for the short time I'm there. Any suggestions? I'm planning on applying at the MTC early, soon after I get home to hopefully beat the rush to work there. Thanks to the HV ward for the sweet letter/notes. I loved hearing from Brother Jones, hope he and his family are doing well. Logan Stevens, missionary work has been really good; it definitely is work though. Brayden Stevens,
we are still teaching Princess and she is doing very well. Camille Stevens, I don't have a favorite meal but I do know my least favorite thing served to me out here is this nasty homemade seaweed salad - tasted like the ocean. ha, I don't recommend trying to recreate that. I'll email Lois' baptismal picture(s) next week. I don't have the right memory card with me.

It was great seeing Paige and Ben. I'm impressed how it all worked out; it was quite spontaneous. How cool. So as you probably know we were down around Ithaca in the beginning of this week. District Meetings went well and E. Williams and I are looking forward to the
week ahead. It's going to be cray-zee. Tomorrow we are doing an exchange with the Auburn elders; I'm staying here in Utica to work and we have 6 appointments scheduled. Then Wednesday we are training at 2 District Meetings in the Syracuse zone and traveling up North to
Potsdam. Thursday will consist of trainings and travel and Friday we will be working with the Potsdam Elders. And of course this weekend is General Conference, how sweet! I'm so excited. I didn't really get it, before, just how significant and amazing an opportunity it is to listen to modern day prophets speak. Saturday night this past week we had a really great experience. E Williams and I felt like stopping by an active Sister's home, so we did so. The Sister wasn't home but her nonmember sister and nephew were! They invited us right in and we taught them about the restoration and modern-day prophets. It was a very spirit-filled lesson and visit and we have appointments scheduled to return and teach more with their member sister to be there! She,
the member, is extremely excited and so are we. They are a very nice family. I just had to get my temple recommend renewed this morning, I couldn't believe that it's been 2 years!
Things are going great here in Utica and I'm enjoying the work more and more. Thanks for all that you do, I love you.

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Amazing Africans


How's it going? It's great to hear from you all. The sun is out and shining brightly here in Utica. I'm very grateful for the awesome weather. Elder Williams and I are looking to sneak in a little tennis today or something fun outside like that. That's great all of the festivities in Utah went well. Sounds like it was a great time. I hope Nana continues to be in good spirits and endures this little ailment well. I'm curious what Elder Bowles was quoted on in the Mormon Times or that show? How cool. Did Dad golf with Elder Zwick, is that why he 'wants me to meet in his office'? haha. I got a great letter from Elder Miller this week from the Y; we'd like to room together in the fall, possibly in Alpine Village. He asked for a way to contact Mom about it so I gave him your number. You can send the information about the majors and stuff - I'm curious as to what to take. I believe I did take PDbio 120, though, Fall semester as a freshman?? Maybe it was a different pdbio class but I'd check that out before signing up for it. Happy to hear from Justin Stevens and his family. I have been to the Hill Cumorah, Brayden, and I'll get to go again in May before I come home from my mission. Logan, the best way to prepare to serve a mission is to become personally converted yourself; and once you're out here all you need to do is give it your best.
This week has been great. Whenever there is a departing group of missionaries, especially when one of those leaving was my companion, the reality of going home becomes more real. It's been great with Elder Williams so far though. Monday Elder McCleve and I had an amazing experience. We had an appointment with Princess, our Liberian investigator. While there, her mother joined us as well as 4 friends who came over! It was so amazing, all of these people just kept coming in and being interested and having great spirits about them. Princess and one of the other nonmember friends came to church yesterday all dressed up in awesome African clothes. It was great. We've been doing a lot of preparing for trainings this week, too. We prepared one for ZLC that was on Friday and then this weekend we've put together the training that we will be going around to the District Meetings giving. We're going to be down in the Owego zone/stake tomorrow and Wednesday. Ha, we'll see if we find ourselves in the drive thru at Panera in Ithaca...haha just kidding ;).
Things are going very well with the work and personally. I'm happy and enjoying the time that I have to serve. I love you all so much and appreciate everything you do.

Elder Christensen

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Spirit brings such a peace and comfort to me.


It's a beautiful day here in Utica, NY. I hope you all are doing well and it's great to hear from you. Today is as crazy of a day as they come with all of the things that Elder McCleve and I are trying to accomplish (in addition to teaching at 3, 4:30, & 7:30). Getting ready for the upcoming transfer and all of the trainings that that entails has us very busy. It's great though, I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm happy Ste is so excited about Spring Break - I love(d) going to Utah that time of year to snowboard/ski AND golf! Jordan Gerard is home! How cool and exciting for their family. What are his plans? That's too bad about the homecoming time situation. (It would be cool to have a topic to speak about/relate stories to if possible, when the time comes). It's now light until around 7pm with 'Springing forward' the time. My new companion is Elder Williams, coming from Albany. He's been out about 14.5 months and is great; I'm excited to be his companion. With the new mission president coming in it makes sense to have him here who can span the gap and know how things work by the time he arrives. I have no idea if I'll stay here next transfer or not - it's pretty up in the air. I definitely have had the most companions in our mission out of the people currently serving, ha.
This past week has been great preparing the transfer and making plans like that. Elder McCleve had a great time at Palmyra and I enjoyed working with Elder Baird for the day while he was gone. Yesterday Martin and his 3 kids came to church! They loved it and turns out he knows a sister in the ward because they used to be neighbors a few months ago. The sister said when he lived by her that he was one of her favorite neighbors because he is such a good person, etc. We have a great Hispanic recent convert who has befriended him and is teaching him with us so we have high hopes for this family! I called Gail last night and invited her to a RS dinner Friday night. She was pleased to hear from us but is going to be out of town and unable to come to the dinner. She was happy to receive the invitation, though. We'll see how that all pans out. Things are great. I'm doing great. I really enjoy the opportunity to serve here in Utica; I'm growing a lot, I feel. The greatest thing is feeling the influence of the Spirit daily in my life. The Spirit brings such a peace and comfort to me. It also enables me to do things beyond my natural capacity, for which I am so grateful. Constantly striving to obtain the blessings and guidance of the Spirit is so important to me. I hope it is to all of you too.

Thanks for everything you do for me! I love you.

Love, Elder Christensen

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Great hopes for things in Utica

Dear everyone,

Hello there! I hope you all are doing well; it's great to hear from all of you. I cannot believe March is here. I love now that the sun is up in the mornings when we run. Those pictures of Ste at the Suns game are sweet. How did he get that opportunity to be the High 5 kid? Steve Nash's hair is short? ha. How sweet that Jordan Gerard is coming home this week! I remember when I
saw him walking out of the Provo temple during his stay at the MTC - and that I had my mission call already. How cool, it'll be great to see him again. I failed to mention a week or so ago who the new mission president is going to be after the Bulloch's. I suppose that's easy to do when I know I won't be serving under the new mission president, but it's exciting nonetheless. The new mission president, arriving July 1, is Joseph B. Wirthlin Jr! Son of the apostle. How cool is that! I definitely only feel blessed, though, to be serving under the Bulloch's. In the next package that is sent, it would be great to get some new socks & stamps. Thanks. Today we began planning the upcoming transfer with President Bulloch. This process is so neat to be a part of. I did get Annie's wedding invitation in the mail. How exciting for her and the family. I hope the trip to Utah with everyone is awesome.

This week has been great. I was in the area the whole time! Elder McCleve and I were able to teach a lot and get a lot of things done. Unfortunately, though, we have had a set back with Gail. She is going to explore some other things at this time; the good news is that the door is not entirely closed. She is at least going to continue reading the Book of Mormon and come to General Conference. (Can you believe it's almost already here again?) Yesterday was a great day at church. Our African investigator, Princess, came to church and had a great time. Also, the majority of the testimonies shared were by recent converts and recently reactivated members who we or previous missionaries have been working with. There are a lot of really good relationships we have built with the members, particularly less-actives, in the ward which is really helping the work progress. Return and Report on Friday was fun. It was cool to see how excited the MTC group was to be reunited again after being out in the field about a month. The upcoming week will be similar to this past one other than planning the next transfer with President. Elder McCleve is going to Palmyra tomorrow and I'll be working here with another missionary from a different area. We have a lot of good appointments planned all week, too. I have great hopes for the things going on here in Utica.

I appreciate so much all that you do for me. Your love and concern is felt from wherever you may be.

Elder Christensen