柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A mission is the best place in the world for any young man 19 or older to be

Hello my amazing, wondeful, completely awesome family :),
Guess what... this week I got transferred to Fremont :) And... I am training a new missionary :D and... my new missionaries name is... Elder Christensen :D Yeah! Truly, honestly. I am in a group of three Elders now as well. This area will take a lot of work to get back up to the way my last area was moving but it is great. Elder Christensen and I are getting along quite well. He had the oportunity to live in Shanghai for 2 years. I was thinking he might be the son of the family whose mail we get a lot but he isn't. His family has lived in Idaho for all his life. He did have another missionary named Elder Christensen in his MTC district who lived in Asia for a long time. So the Christensens are taking over the missionary force in California ;)

There is so much to talk about but not a lot of words to describe everything. Elaine and Allen are doing well though and I hope they are able to get out to General Conference this next weekend. Yesterday, I was able to go to the Oakland Temple :D That was sooooooooo cool. I love to go to the temple and I love being able to feel of my Heavenly Father cheering me on and teaching me how I can be better. I know that the temple truly is the House of the Lord. There is such a special spirit there that is so overpowering and comforting. I wasn't able to put anyone's name on the temple roll though :( I couldn't find it. Mom could you put a few names in the temple for me? I will tell you them later.

I love this gospel and I know that it is true. A mission is hard but it is the best place in the world for any young man 19 or older to be. There is so much light that this gospel brings into the eyes of those that live according to it's principles. I am sorry that I didn't bring my camera again. I know I probably should have asked you this sooner but what is your address in Taiwan so that I can send you my memory card? It will just be easier to do that for now until I actually make a habit of bringing my camera to the library. I love you all.

Matt and Anne and David: There is a little boy in the Cupertino branch that I just left from who is only a few days older than David. Whenever I saw him I was reminded that my little nephew is probably that big or bigger ;) Keep living the gospel and I know that you will be blessed in your service to others.
Tanner: Remember to always keep up your mandarin ability. My mission president said that, "The church expects you to keep this ability." He was asked in his interview for a mission how his Spanish was and he said, "okay" and the one giving the interview said that he should probably make an improvement. I love you and I know this gospel is true. You are a wonderful brother and example. I truly am honored to be your brother.

Sarah: You are incredible. I just read about how you are possibly in the Vocal Performance Major. I am sure that will be a great place for you. You have a wonderful voice with great talent. I am so priviledged to say that you are my sister. One because you are such a great example to those around you. And two because you are drop dead gorgeous :) This gospel is true. Just remember to keep a smile on your face at all times and your light will shine the way.

Audrey: I love you. You have such a big heart filled with love towards all others. You are a mother to all and I know that there are many who look to you for help and comfort. You are also great at sports and singing and acting. What a tremendous opportunity you have to be able to work on all of these great talents through your schooling. "O be wise what can I say more" (Jacob) Take the time to learn, to truly understand the things that are taught and internalize them. You will be blessed greatly in your life through the intelligence that you gain. Don't take school for granted.

Rebecca: You as well have a wonderful desire to help others and make known to them their great abilities. You can see the best in them. You also have talents of great proportion and variety that you can gain as you continue to pray to your Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. You will be old enough for a Patriarchal blessing soon. Think about the importance of that blessing and take the time to prepare for the great priviledge of having that guide in your life. I know that it will be a great help and source of comfort to you.

Jeffrey: I can't believe how grown up you will be once I am home. This mission is the bes thing that has ever happened in my life. Prepare now for a mission by reading the scriptures daily, praying every morning and night, and attending church. These are the ways that we receive revelation from our Heavenly Father. If we wish to be successful in life the best thing we can do is become aquainted with the voice of the Spirit. He is your constant companion as you live according to your covenants and the best thing about his presence is that he knows all the answers. He will let you know all that you can do to best help yourself and others. Be sure to carefully cultivate (build up) this talent and as you do this I can promise that you will be greatly blessed by our Heavenly Father.

Mom and Dad: I love you both. Keep in mind the opportunity it is to be in Taiwan and the blessings that have come into our famliy through living there. I love being able to help my family receive blessings through my service and I pray for you as much as possible. This is a great work that we are involved in and I know that this work is true. You are just as much missionaries as I am :) Mom were you ever able to go see that Convert with your first greenie?

Elder Christensen

The blessings come

Dear Family,
This week has been another week of a lot of hard work and we are starting to see more and more fruits from our labors. There have been a lot of doors closed, words flying, and kind denial coming from those that we strive to help but it is all worth it when we are able to find those that are elect. We are still working with Elaine and she has a date set for October 16th. She is still moving along so well. She does start school today so that might have a little affect on her reading and prayers but I am quite certain that she has built up enough of a habit that she will continue to come to church and learn. Keep praying for her, she is really great and I know that God will continue to bless her because of her faith.

Also, this week Jing Hao (our recent convert :) ) was able to bring a friend from school to church and after church we were able to get to know him better. Allan is his name and what is really cool is that he is actually from the same area of Shang Hai that Elaine is from and they came to America at the same time but only met each other at church. He is a cool guy. We asked how he liked church and he said that he really liked it and wanted to come all the time. He even signed up to participate in a canning activity this Saturday. We will be setting up an appointment with him as soon as we can. Jing Hao is also still a very strong guy with a big heart and a willingness to change. He is so awesome. He is a very, VERY shy person but he is now slowly branching out as others invite him to offer prayers and this last Sunday he was able to pass the sacrament :D That was very exciting. I love being able to see him every week walking into the church in the way he does as though he is so comfortable being there.

I love the work and we are seeing the blessings that come from just being out and about and working. Only when you work can the Lord bless you. I know that the Lord will bless us as we offer our lives to him and give all that we can. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

If we want to increase our faith then we need to increase our personal righteousness

Hello Family,

Well this week has been quite exciting. On Sunday we were able to talk with Elaine again (one of our investigators) and she has been reading the Book of Mormon. She hasn't quite been praying yet but I am sure that this week she will start. We also invited her to be baptized on October 16th and she said okay :D She is so awesome! She takes the bus by herself to church and after the first lesson she started reading the Book of Mormon. She has no questions so far which is great but sometimes can seem almost too easy. But, I have been counseled never to constrict the faith of your investigator and if I start saying she won't make it I put a restriction on her ability. She has a great spirit and I am certain that she knows that this is a good church and she believes that what we say is true so what else matters? She is progressing.

Just yesterday we had a wonderful meeting with Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. who is in the First Quorum of Seventy. He is from South Africa :) I don't know why but I feel a special love and connection for all who come from Africa. They are such an amazing people. He and his wife came and he had a great accent too. He taught me a couple great principles that I really needed to hear. I will only have time to share one though.
Personal Righteousness = Faith.
If we want to increase our faith then we increase our personal righteousness. I have been wondering how I can better increase my faith and allow it to grow faster and I received this answer to my prayers. All I need to do is see the areas in which I can improve my personal righteousness and then work on those areas. I have a confession to make, I prayed for more humility ;) Well, it has come and I am grateful for it and now I can work on those weaknesses that the Lord has shown unto me and allow Him to build them into my strengths (Ether 12:27).

I was able to ponder more on these things today in my personal study and I read Alma chapters 4 and 5. Alma chapter 4 talks of the how the church grows then people become proud and persecute the saints. The saints are described in the latter verses of the chapter by their constant service to those in need and I thought of how Mosiah 5 talks about being "steadfast and immovable always abounding in good works." How did these people do this? Why did they continue when all around them even their own were persecuting them? How did Job do it? Why did Job continues?...How? Why? those were my questions. Then I read Alma 5:12-13, "And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true. And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved." Why? Those people suffered those things because they had received a mighty change of heart. How? Because of their faith in Christ, following and living His example. Personal Righteousness = Faith. If you want to know that this gospel is true, if you want to change yourself for the better, all you have to do is start living the way God has asked. Read the scriptures daily, pray daily, attend church weekly, and follow His commandments. As we do these things we will become humble servants and we will put our "trust in the true and living God." I have often prayed for a mighty change of heart. I have often prayed that I would be changed but "faith without works is dead" and we need to start living a righteous life to be able to receive that mighty change. I know that because of faith miracles happen and it is when we are living the laws of God that we receive blessings. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated -- And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Another little thought, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain..." Exodus 20:7. When we live unrighteously after baptism is another way we take the name of God in vain. Not only swearing.
Elder Christensen

Christ is the sure foundation

Aloha my beautiful family :)
This week has been crazy and great and wonderful and hard and just about everything else. We spent hours on our feet this week striving to find as many of God's children as possible. Mainly street contacting and visiting old investigators and potential investigators. We saw tons of people this week! Our records showed great amounts of effort but the number of people at sacrament didn't. It was hard to have no one at sacrament this week. But, we did have a less active member come and stay for sacrament meeting. It was a spiritually strong meeting at te beginning and then in the middle it we interesting and then strengthened at the end again. I am sure that Lu Zhou had a wonderful experience.

We have an investigator named Elaine who is really cool. We met her on the street on a friday and talked for about 1 minute and she gave us her phone number. Then that Sunday she came to church! Then we called during the week and asked if we could set up a time to meet and she said, "how about after church on Sunday" :) So we taught her two Sundays ago about the Restoration of the church and at the end of our lesson we asked what she thought and she said, "I need to read the Book of Mormon." She also said a prayer that sounded like she had prayed all her life :D She is from Shang Hai and doesn't really have a religion.

We don't have anyone else that we are teaching right now other than a few names who we are trying to get a hold of and set up times to teach. It has been difficult with them. But, this week I called Justin to see how his move went and how all was going in Massacheusettes (That is a really long name) and he said that everything went well but school is really busy. Then a few days later I get a call back from him and he says, "I want to be baptized. I want the peace that comes from prayer." :) So I did what I could to try and get him in contact with the missionaries ASAP. We will call him soon to make sure he is set up with the missionaries in Mass... ;)

I love you all. I love this gospel and I love having the gift of the Holy Ghost with me helping guide me to the mark of a happy life. This life is the life that is full of the spirit. The Lord will stretch us when he needs to and give us the strength to broaden our horizons and find that he will take care of our needs. Thus giving us the ability to serve others more than before. This because we build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. I know that the foundation of Christ is a sure foundation, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We walked at least 50 miles

My beloved family,
How did I know it was going to happen? ;) I just read the big news as I skimmed the letter. Not surprised at all. ;) I love you all. (Tanner and Ali got engaged!)

This week has been another one full of amazing events. We have been working even harder. We have walked at least 50 miles this week trying to save miles and on our walks we have run into many people. Hardly any work out but we at least have time to plant seeds and leave a card for them to act in faith. Elder Long is amazing. I love his enthusiasm and his desire to meet others. I can feel it affecting me greatly in the best ways. I love being able to work with him and grow together in love for the people here in San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Milpitas, Saratoga, and Campbell. (The areas we cover) I love this gospel and I will send another email tomorrow but now I have to leave a little early. I know that this work is true.

Dear Family,
Happy birthday mother. I am sorry but I guess I will have to talk again next week. Love you.


Hey my loving Family,
How are you? You know I don't think you missing a letter for me isn't allowed either ;) (That's what happens when you change your address without telling the family! :) added by mom) I love you all. This past week has been crazy but great. My new companion Elder Long and I have been slowly cleaning all the space that we are in charge of. Namely, our apartment and our car. We have gone through everything in the apartment and dejunked and organized the whole space. We threw away old stuff that missionaries left behind and has never been used. We cleaned the bathroom thoroughly. We vaccumed and cleaned the spots in the carpet. Also, we organized our areas of study so that everything is in it's proper place and now we have the abilty to maintain clean living :D It feels so great to walk into a house and not have to worry about stubbing your toes, the door not opening all the way, or tripping on cords.

This week we also did a lot of missionary work :) We decided to walk a lot since we are running low on miles in the area and we want to go over as little as possible. While walking we strive to talk with all the people we see on the street and invite them to hear the wonderful message of hope that we bear. We met a chinese woman just a couple of days ago on the street and asked if we might be able to get her information to be able to teach her more. She said yes and we called on Saturday to see if we could set up a time to meet. She said she wouldn't have time but she would try to get out to church. So we hoped and prayed that she would be able to come and to feel of the family, hope, and peace in church. Most of the time when people say this they don't come. So on Sunday we went to church and had our morning meetings we also went to Sacrament meeting and she didn't come. Then, just before the closing hymn of Sacrament in walks Elaine Shi :D Even though she missed the first meeting she stayed for the next two hours and really enjoyed her time in Relief Society. We set up a timid appointment for Friday and we will hopefully be able to have a member come with us :)

This week before church I prayed very hard for each of the members in the branch to be able to learn more of the power of the atonement and the love Jesus Christ has for us. Sacrament meeting went great and the topic of the talks was Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I felt the spirit very strongly as Sister Li from the branch gave a wonderful talk. She shared some powerful experiences and during that time I learned how much I admired her and her family. They have, just like mom and dad, what everyone wants. A perfect family. Not necessarily perfect in actions or words but perfect in construction. A mother, a father, and three great children who are bound eternally by the bonds of love and the covenants they made in the temple of God. This family and many others in the branch are an inspiration to me of what kind of life I want to be able to live. I want to be well educated. Education is what puts us above the rest. If a man gains knowledge in this life "he will have so much the advantage in the life to come" (President Joseph Smith). I want to be worthy of my covenants and the blessings that come from them.

Oh, this week we were able to have a meeting with Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy come along with a few other brethren in the various Quorums of Seventy. It was a wonderful meeting. The biggest thing I learned was of sacrifice as an Elder Shane Bowen gave his remarks. He talked of how everything we do is taken to the altar of God. This made me think back to a talk given by one of the Sisters in the going away fireside for Elder Wang and Elder Lee. She talked about how life is about sacrifice. I thought of how in ancient america and bible times they had sacrifices on the altars. Then I thought of Ether chapter twelve when Heavenly Father says, "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble and if he humbleth himself before me then will I make his weaknesses into strengths." (Paraphrased) When we desire to follow our Heavenly Father we sacrifice our lives on the altar and then God gives us in return all that He has promised us. Elder Bowen stated, "Once we have placed it on the altar we cannot take it back." We are held accountable for what we know. I know that as a missionary I have been asked to live to a higher standard and live according to the way the Saviour did. I sacrificed myself to God when I signed those missionary papers... and I wouldn't take it back for the world. When Jesus Christ saw the kingdoms of the world and was tempted to be able to rule over them if he would give up, he remembered us. He remembered that he had sacrificed himself already in the pre-existence to save us all. In the Garden of Gethsemane He remembered us. He remembered that promise he made and knew he could not go back on his word. Thus he submitted to the Father again and "gave himself a sacrifice for man that man would not die if they should come unto him..." (A scripture) Jesus would not go back on his word even for the world. He knew that what he was doing was far more important and he showed perfect honesty as he said, "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." He fulfilled his promise and we are now able to grow because of it. We sacrificed ourselves to God when we entered the waters of baptism and covenanted with God to live according to the commandments and take upon us the name of Christ. When we are tempted we can remember that we must be true to our word. Be completely honest and fulfill all that we have promised. I know this gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for us in the name of my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Families are Eternal! What a great promise!

Well, this week was transfers and I said my goodbyes to Elder Wang and Elder Lee this morning :( They will be in Taiwan on Thursday I think. I now have a new companion :) his name is Elder Long and I am certain that we will be able to work very well together. We just dejunked our apartment and were able to throw away all the excess stuff. I felt like mom during moving time ;) love you mom :) It feels so good to have a cleaner apartment and know that there is no spot left untouched to grow mold or gather dust. This week has been a little slower than others since my companion had to pack and there were tons of people who wanted to make last minute calls for dinner or lunch appointments. But, now my new companion and I will hit the ground running. Literally. I will start running in the mornings with my companion and we will make sure that we do all we are asked to do. Exact obedience is the key to success and loving others with your whole heart. Obedience to the commandments of God. This is what I want and I am amazed that others do not desire to live this way as well. Oh and this week I was able to go with Elder Wang and some of our investigators up to Oakland for a temple trip. We visited the visitor's center and listened to the Sister Missionaries who shared wonderful testimonies and great insights. I love this gospel and when I saw the temple I couldn't help but have a big grin sweep across my face. This happened because I know the blessings that are received there and the joys that it has brought into my life and our family. What a great gift to know that families can be and are eternally bonded. Think about it. Families are eternal! What a great promise. I know this is true and I love this gospel. I love you all and am so happy to be able to read Sarah's Talk. I am sure it will be great. I leave you these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen