柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Being Filled with Joy from Head to Toe

Hello my beautiful family,

I am so happy I was able to skype with you too. And I am grateful to Heavenly Father allowing me to also have the privilege of speaking with Tanner. It was exciting to hear your voices. So I have thought of something I think I neglected to write you about and I feel bad.

A couple of transfers ago I was sitting in the transfer meeting and a missionary stood up to read a scripture. He looked oddly familiar so I tried thinking of how I knew him. I thought, "that looks like Joshua Yarn." Then I thought, "no it couldn't be." I kept trying to look back at him inconspicuously as I know he was also trying to look at me. I kept going back and forth. Then after the meeting he came over and said, "Hey Elder Christensen!" I saw his name tag and sure enough it said "Elder Yarn". We talked for a little bit and he told me about the rest of our group from Maryland. It was very cool. He was sent here to wait for his Visa to South America. I think it was Brazil but I might be mistaken. It was fun to see him.
There you go. What a small world :)

Elder Ng is great. He is a very humble man ready and willing to do what he needs to do to serve the Lord. I know that he is blessed for his service. He is the only member of the church in his family! His parents didn't support his decision for a mission at first, so Elder Ng prayed for 6 months and when he had to go his family was supportive. He is such a wonderful missionary! I have seen good seeds being planted by our service in this area recently. There have been more people to talk to. More people are accepting and we are now striving to plant seeds of missionary work in the hearts of all the members by teaching them the lessons contained in preach my gospel. I am excited for the work that will come. The preparations we are making now might not provide fruit for our personal service, but I know that the missionaries who do reap the fruit of our labors have potential for a bountiful harvest. Continue to pray for us as we strive to help this area grow. We have many goals and can now only hope that our efforts lead towards achieving them. There are many wonderfully spiritually strong families in the Ward here and I know that as we are able to help them they will reap a bountiful harvest. "The field is white, all ready to harvest and lo he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not but bringeth salvation to his soul" ( The Scriptures ;) ). We are striving to put the gears in motion and sharpen the sickles of all. I love this work and I know that there are many blessings that come from our being willing to serve the Lord. His promises are sure. I have changed a lot of my bad habits into good and I know that we as a companionship are being blessed for it. I love the Lord and I know that he lives.

Quick story: Just recently I was lazy in my work and because of fear I allowed myself to be complacent and remain in my comfort zone. The work that we were doing didn't really progress because I didn't progress. My companion and I slowed each other down. It was hard to pick up the pace again. But, I decided I didn't want to be slow to act any more. I didn't want to be complacent any more. I was scared to death again in talking to others and in sharing the gospel with them. I also didn't know what to do to help remove this fear and sharpen my ability to speak with others. But I know that because I simply had a desire to do the work my Heavenly Father helped to make up for my weaknesses. He has been changing me ever since and I am ever grateful to His guidance.

As Alma says in Alma 32:27 "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." I desired to work effectively and I believed that I could. I also belived that Heavenly Father would help me and so I took a few steps in the right direction and placed my hand in His. I know that Heavenly Father desires to guide us and I know that He is guiding me now. "I am a Child of God, His promises are sure Celestial Glory shall be mine if I can but endure." (Children's Songbook) I know that this gospel is true. I love you all.

We will be meeting with Jennifer this coming Wednesday and her brother should be there. Please pray that we may be guided by the Spirit to know how best to help her gain an answer to her prayers. Also, pray that she may open her heart and mind to the gospel by using the faith of a mustard seed. As she does so her mountain of fear will be removed and her pathway shall be made straight and true.

Pray for David. He is still striving to hold to the rod. He knows that the only joy that is eternal comes from living the gospel. Pray that he may continue to clear his life of all that causes his sadness and progress to being filled with joy from head to toe. I know that the gospel has power to cleanse our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Big Smile On My Face

Hello my incredible family :)

I am going to be training again :D My new missionary is most likely from Hong Kong. His name is "Elder Ng". I am soo excited to have another opportunity to grow closer to my Heavenly Father in learning how to help this new Elder learn the ropes of Missionary Work. Please pray for me to continue to follow the Spirit.

This was a GREAT weekend because I had the sacred opportunity to baptize David. I am grateful that he asked me to be there. After his baptism and confirmation I saw a completely new person filled with joy and light. He was happier and joked more with others. He was certainly prepared by God and I know that he will be a great strength and example to those around him. I love missionary work.

This past week we met 2 new investigators. They seem like a wonderful family. They have met with missionaries before but were never baptized. They are a great new family to help my trainee work with. I love their family after only meeting them once. The mother is really cool and the husband is very nice. They are incredibly friendly and we laughed together as we visited. They actually ended up asking the questions about the gospel and though we hadn't planned it, the discussion turned into our teaching a little about the plan of salvation. It was a great opportunity and we will be meeting with them this coming thursday to share the whole plan. I am excited.

I couldn't help but carry a big smile on my face the whole baptismal service for David. It filled me with so much joy and love for him. I know that this gospel is true. I know that there is nothing that can stand in the way of this church's progression so long as we do our part to live according to the moral standards it teaches. Heavenly Father wants to fill us with His love and I know that as we keep the commandments and serve others we will be filled with that love. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are You Getting Baptized?

Wow. You are such a wonderful family. :) I love you all.
Thank you so much for the pictures. I need to take more its true. I don't take very many pictures at all :( Everyone is looking so much older now. Its crazy. I got your package and saw a picture of Audrey inside. Wow, she has grown. Now I see Jeffrey and Rebecca and Reid. Wow! Well I am excited and happy here. But I forgot to mention that I would really like some more Christmas music to listen to. One CD gets to be pretty boring after about 4 Weeks ;) I am able to listen to just about any Christmas music and I have been craving all of our Christmas music. Whatever you feel is good I would love to listen to it. The CD player in our car can read the MP3 CDs so you don't have to worry about my not being able to listen to them. We have so many regular activities that revolve around Christmas that it is dificult to not have many of them now. Anyway I will stop. I have been striving to concentrate more on the investigators I teach and their trials rather than on my own. Everything I strive to do is to help those that I have stewardship over. I am seeing now that there needs to be a purpose to all that we do or else we will eventually do a great many things but we will have nothing to show for our labors. When we study, when we work, when we teach all of these things are areas in which we need to focus on others and as we do so our Heavenly Father is focused on us :) He will guide and direct others into our path as needed to help with our circumstances. I know that this is true as I have focused on those I teach I find that I don't worry about myself and most of the problems I could focus on melt away while I serve. This week I received a call from David. Do you remember him? He moved up to Newark and we got him in touch with the Missionaries there. When he called he asked, "Are you busy on December 19th?"
I said, "Let me check... No I don't think so."
"Are you available around 3:00 in the afternoon?"
"Uh oh (I smile) are you getting baptized?"
"What was that? I didn't hear you." (He says in jest)
"Are you getting baptized?"
He then asked if I would be able to help with the ordinance of Baptism. And of course I accepted. I was so very grateful and filled with joy at his decision. It is a week away and he has already had a few more struggles. But, this time he has his eye on the prize and doesn't want anything to stand in his way. I pray daily for his success and I ask for your continued prayers in his behalf.

Jennifer is still meeting with us, but she is having a hard time waking up for church and I think she has also had trouble reading the Book of Mormon. I pray that she will be able to see the importance of the Book of Mormon and that she will come to church just once. I know that she is ready and prepared now and we need to help her. Please continue to pray for her to feel of the Holy Ghost telling her the truth in this Gospel. I love your support each week. I thank you for all of your letters that encourage me to do my best. How is Uncle Bob? I continue to pray for him and hope that his heart will be softened towards hearing the message of this gospel. I had a thought that maybe mom could send him my letters each week. Or, find little ways in which to bear simple and powerful testimony of this gospel by studying Preach My Gospel and learning the principles found in Chapter 10 "How to Begin Teaching" It is filled with wonderful insights that help us know a realize how easy it is to share this message with the world. I have learned great things from this chapter and I know that you can too. Then when you go through this chapter it can lead into Chapter 3. I would love to hear how Sarah and Tanner are doing now. Is Tanner still excited about being a music major? Is Sarah coming home for Christmas!?! Though I haven't been around you all for so long I know that my love for you has grown far greater than ever before. I love you all and I am grateful for the time to serve here on my mission.
Jeffrey - I am so excited to hear that you won a trophy in your Pinewood Derby. Congradulations! Just remember that it is never too early to learn great things from the scriptures. As you read Luke 2 with the family try to put yourself in the story. It will help you to realize more deeply the significance of the coming of Christ.
Rebecca - You look so beautiful in your dress. I love your earrings too with the Christmas Trees. I know that Jesus Christ truly did visit and live among the people in Jerusalem. I love being able to hear the story of His birth. I know that Christ came to fulfill the prophecies and to save us. Remember to think of the love the Savior has for you.
Audrey - You look gorgeous :) It is so amazing to see the brightness in your eyes that comes from your knowledge of this gospel. You know that the things you have been taught in the church are true. Don't be afraid to share them with others. They need to hear it! Christ the Lord was born for us. I know that there is nothing in this world more important than the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of the Gospel. No message is more precious than that which members of the church hold in their hearts. But, it is certainly time for us to take this message and allow it to flow from our hearts to our mouths in praises to God. I know that this Gospel is true.
Sarah - I don't have a recent picture of you, but I am sure that you look even more beautiful than the pictures I do have of you. Though it is pretty hard to imagine. I would like to hear of your recent adventures in Hawaii. I am sure you have grown a lot. You are a daughter of God and I know that He loves you. I love you too. Be sure to continue in letting your light shine to all nations. Your face shines with testimony and I know that this gospel is true. Don't forget the great importance of studying the scriptures each day and praying to your Heavenly Father. It is hard to be on your own but I know that you are strong enough to do anything you want to do.
Tanner - I am excited for you. I would love to hear about how your schooling is. I know that this gospel is true and I love being able to Teach it to others every day. I love the people here and I know that Heavenly Father loves them as well. Don't forget that missionary work is never complete :)
Matt, Anne, and David - I am so happy that you are able to live in Taiwan. How is your Mandarin? I also want to see pictures oy David every once in a while :) I love you all and I know that this gospel blesses our families to live together eternally. Preach My Gospel is a great resource for learning and teaching the gospel principles simply and powerfully. I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am grateful for Christ's decision to come to earth. He has blessed my life greatly and I share those blessings with others each day.
Mom and Dad - I love you. There isn't much more to say. You are the best parents I could ever have and I know that you are doing your best to serve your family. Keep up the good work. If you ever need help I am here in San Jose ready to serve in any way I can. I am still trying to help Uncle David and Aunt Shannon. I feel that I shouldn't push but if your feel differently then please let me know. I know that this gospel is true and there is nothing that can break this knowledge. I gained this knowledge from you :) Thank you.
I would like some pictures of every one periodically. Ppppleeeeease.
Elder Christensen

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Love Christmas Time

Hello my incredible family,
Recently it has been hard to find people who are ready. We have worked on contacting as many people as possible but they are either not home or they do not answer the door. I know this week has been hard for a reason though. Because of the struggles we have had in our missionary work we are looking at how we can better ourselves and the work that we do. I am grateful for the trials that have come. They have brought a great amount of learning which enables us to reach a new level of knowledge and work in the mission. I am grateful for the love my Heavenly Father shows me by helping me become my very best. We will be working more with the bishop and I have thought of many ways in which we can plan activities to help the work in this area gain momentum and press forward. The transfer is almost over though and it has gone by quickly.

One thing I would encourage you all to do as a family is look at the lessons in Preach My Gospel and study ways in which you may simply teach the doctrines found in them. The world is getting faster and faster and people have shorter attention spans. As we work to create simple and powerful statements about the truths we hold dear our friends will learn much more than if we gave them a long deep lecture. I wish I were able to teach you all the things that I have learned today about working with members and helping them to gain motivation but I can't all at once. I will need to have patience and teach one week at a time ;).

I love you all. This coming week will be different and the next transfer will be filled with many great and new experiences. I love the gospel and I love being able to bear my testimony each Fast Sunday. As I have done so I have found that the Ward is gaining trust in the missionaries. I don't know of the last time missinaries were asked to speak in this Ward. I don't think it was recently since I have been here for about 4 months and I still hadn't been asked. But, after sharing my testimony and our showing the work that we have been doing to the Bishop one of the counselors asked if we would be able to give two talks. One next week and another on the 24th of December. I am very excited and hope and pray that I may be able to give to do as the Spirit directs in my talk on the 24th. It will only be about 5 minutes long so I will have to study hard and prepare that short and powerful message which will help all in attendance that day. I know that my Heavenly Father will guide me as I listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Jennifer hasn't been picking up her phone for a while so we haven't had any contact for about a week and a half though we have called each day. It is hard to help someone that doesn't find your help most important.

We are working to find Less Active members and part member families that we can help to teach and provide an opportunity to accept the gospel more in their lives. The work is slow right now but it will pick up as we continue to be the heat at the bottom of a pile of dry wood. We just need to find the right kindling for the fire :) I know that this gospel is true and I know that there is nothing that can stop us when we have the Lord on our side.

At this time of Christmas I am grateful for the birth of my Saviour Jesus Christ and I know that He truly did come into the world the provide a way for us to return to our Heavenly Home. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I love Christmas time!
Elder Christensen

A Quick Note

My wonderful family,
Unfortunately I left myself only a little time to write and so I would like to let you know that I know this church is true. There is no doubt in my mind that all that is said and believed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truth. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that he restored the true church upon the earth today. I know that Jesus Christ came into the world for us and I know that His atonement is real. Sing about the wonderful story of Christ's birth. It is a great priviledge. I leave you these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Charitable acts of Kindness

Hello my wondeful family,
It is so great to hear of your experiences. I love seeing how Heavenly Father is blessing you to have joy and happiness while I am gone. I am so glad that dad was able to play in a band. I know that is something that he loves and what a blessing it is to have that opportunity. I am also very excited to hear that Matt and Anne are directing the Christmas Pageant. They will have a lot of fun with that. The Lord certainly called them to the right job :)

This week has gone by quickly and I am sure the next one will too. I have grown a lot as well and I am excited for continual growth. The growth that I have found is a change in myself from my selfish desires to charitable acts of kindness for others. I am finding that each day I desire more and more to just talk with others learn of them and then strive to help teach them of the gospel and the things that I know which have brought me so much joy and happiness. David is still having a hard time and we can't get a hold of him. I ask for your continued prayers for him. This week we found Jennifer O'Dei. She is originally from Ghana :D I am so excited to teach her. I also talked with her brother recently and he is a member our in Utah trying to help bring the Gospel to the rest of his family. I love the people of Africa! They are so kind and fun to talk to. Our first meeting with Jennifer went like this: She told us that her brother and father were members and have gone to the church all their life. She has learned a little about the church before but feels that she didn't really take the time to study the Book of Mormon and find out for herself the truthfulness of the Gospel. She said that she thinks it is time for her to really try the Book of Mormon and pray about it so she can learn from God of it's truthfulness. Isn't she awesome!?! I pray for these two friends everyday and hope that their hearts will be softened and that their spirits will be contrite to receive the wonderful knowledge of their Heavenly Father's plan for them.

I know that this Gospel is true and I know that there is true power in the Atonement. I love my new companion Elder Holmes. He is a great missionary. I ask that you keep us in your prayers as well and continue to help strengthen us in our helping others. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Let the Spirit Guide

Hello my incredible family,
Wow that is a cute puppy ;) I love being able to hear about our family happenings. This week David called and said that he had been going through some tough times and wanted to resume the missionary lessons again along with working towards another baptismal date. He is so wonderful and I am happy that he was able to see the difference the gospel made in his life and that he wants that joy back. He truly was a much happier person and I know that he will be able to make it all the way this time. He moved outside of our English area though and so other missionaries will need to make sure that he is taken care of.

It takes a lot of patience and trust to have to let David go but I know that Heavenly Father understands what is best for David. A week ago I forgot to let you all know that I have been given a new companion. Sorry. I am grateful to be with Elder Holmes and I know that Elders Christensen and Egbert will do very well in their new areas. Elder Holmes is an English speaking Elder which is a little different for me since I am used to having a companions that knows at least a little Mandarin. He didn't know any but I have taught him a few words and phrases and he learns very quickly.

Now the whole Mandarin program here in Fremont is on my shoulders and I ask that you pray a little harder for me during the next few weeks that I may forget myself and focus on my investigators. I know that Heavenly Father has already blessed my Mandarin ability greatly but I will need more as I start striving to teach alone. I am grateful for the miracles that have happened recently in our work as missionaries here in Fremont. We have found a few less active members that were off of our radar before and hope to fellowship them even more into the Ward activities. It will be great. Also we have been calling many former investigators and setting up appoinments to meet with them.

I pray now that I may rely wholly upon the Spirit in guiding me to those that I am supposed to meet now. I know that there are those who need me to teach them and I as that you pray for me to listen carefully to promptings I will receive. Mom and Dad would you be able to send me a few talks that you feel can help me at this time? I love you all very much and I know that you will be blessed through the service you render to others. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

We can be filled with Light and Joy

Hello my amazing Family,
Did you know that you are the best family on earth? Its true. I love you dearly and I know that Heavenly Father is proud of the things that you do every day to help build His Church more fully upon the earth.
This week I had my first real experience with a broken heart. David decided to discontinue our lessons until he is able to have his feet on the ground and we had to let him make that decision. Through the past few weeks of teaching him I have grown to love and respect him more that anyone I have ever known other than my family. We had our last discussion with him and just before prayed more fervently than ever that we would be able to rely wholly upon the Spirit of the Lord and teach David with our Heavenly Father's words. We went and prayed again that we would be guided in knowing what to say. During our meeting we simply bore testimony and stated the truth of the gospel. The Spirit was very strong and we all had tears in our eyes but David said that he could not leave his friend and be separated from her. We gave him a hug goodbye and he said that he would be certain to give us a call as son as he had control of his life. Elder Christensen and I walked back to our car and I felt I could do nothing more. It pained my soul to hear him reject that light that had given him so much. But I constantly pray for him and I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for him. That day I realized to a small extent the love that our Heavenly Father has for us and the pain that he feels when his precious children are lost and do not quite desire to be found yet. I fasted this Sunday for David and felt that I should bear my testimony and share the words of the hymn, "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd". It shares the message of our Heavenly Fathers true love fore all of His children and I felt the Spirit strongly while bearing testimony. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and my Charity has been able to grow as I have been able to serve. Take every opportunity possible to serve all those you can. This is where true love and happiness comes from and then be grateful for the service you have been blessed to render to those in need. I still feel pain for David's choice but the Spirit is my constant comfort letting me know that my Heavenly Father loves David even more that I do and will do all He can to help David perfectly. In our times of service and love we can reach hardships that will break our hearts and throw off our personal goals or those of others, but I know that as we lean upon the arm of the Lord and learn from Him we will be taken care of and have no need to worry about our personal lives.
As we take care of others Heavenly Father will always take care of us. Helaman 10:4 "Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments. And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will." I leave this with you along with my testimony. I know that this Gospel is true and if we want to grow closer to God all we need to do is live the Gospel. As we do so we will be filled with light and joy beyond measure and we will not need to fear during our times of trial. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Hello my wonderfully scary family, ;)
This week has been another week of great blessings and (of course) great trials. But overall the blessings always outway the trials so long as we focus on the good. I realized after sending my email last week that I hadn't said happy birthday to dad. So,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!! :D You are the best dad in the world.
I don't know if I told you but Elder Christensen's father's birthday is also on holloween just a year earlier. Isn't that funny. So we celebrated our dad's birthdays on Sunday :).
We also had to move on Monday. That is why I am writing a later letter. We had a lot of stuff to move and were barely able to get everything done in one day. Now we just need to organize all of our stuff to fit in the new apartment.
Also, I do have some photos for you but they are all on my camera. I keep trying to ask for a mailing address because I don't think that I will get the camera to the library anytime soon since I can't seem to remember it. But, if you email me your address I will be sure to send you my memory card.
We were able to meet again with David this week and teach him about the Word of Wisdom. He had been taught part of it before from his member friend and so we quickly went through the pamphlet about the subject and invited him to live it. We knew before hand that he would have trouble with one thing and so we invited the Bishop to sit with us as he had the same troubles during his conversion process. At the end of the lesson we left David with a priesthood blessing and he felt stronger. I know that as he follows the process of recovery found in Preach My Gospel he will be blessed with the ability to overcome his addiction. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. He is excited for his baptism and I can't wait to help him with through that sacred ordinance with my companions Elder Christensen and Elder Egbert.
"Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feeling everything is goin' my way." I know that through our faithfulness and diligence in keeping our covenants we will be blessed to sing this song everyday. The Lord will bless us to know that all will go according to His plan and, as we are faithful, His plan will be our plan. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

My special experience

Hello my loving Family,
You met Brother JUANG! :) That is very cool. They are a wonderful family. Sister Shen is his mother in law right?
Well I also met someone that I hope Dad remembers. Her name is Sister Su. She worked with Dad when we lived in Taiwan before with conducting the Christmas Choir. She plays the piano and sings very well. But I think she said that back then she wasn't a member of the church. She is now :) She will be in Taiwan for a little while so you might be able to see her too.
I have a special experience to share with you and because of time I will need to just copy it from the email I wrote to my mission president. I wrote:
Dear President Jackson,

I now understand why I had trouble last week. This week we worked with our new investigator David and he committed to being baptized. He also had a hard time this last Sunday and wasn't able to come to church but I felt that we should go see David during church. Right after sacrament meeting we left and drove to David's home. We called just outside since it was a homeless shelter and we weren't certain where to find him. He picked up and said that he really didn't want to talk right now and he needed a couple of days just to get his head back on his shoulders then hung up. We sat there uncertain of exactly what to do and so we said a prayer together. We prayed for guidance and direction in how to help David and afterwards we both felt that we couldn't just sit in the car and wait. So we went in the shelter and David was there he expressed what had happened and I asked, "What can we do to help?" He said he wasn't sure and Elder Christensen (the younger) asked if we could sit and have a discussion. David accepted and during our discussion we testified of Christ and invited David to put greater trust in our Heavenly Father by reading the scriptures and saying prayers. We continued our conversation and felt the we should say a prayer. We asked David to offer the prayer and he said he wasn't sure. I suggested that we all say an individual prayer aloud. David accepted and started to pray. Elder Christensen then prayed asking Heavenly Father to help strengthen David in his trials. I then felt prompted to bless David in my prayer and did so. After our prayers the Spirit was brought strongly into the conversation and David sat for a couple of seconds in silence with a surprised look in his face. He then changed in the way that he spoke and was able to see in what way God could comfort him. We testified again of the truthfulness of the Atonement and he expressed gratitude for our coming over. He said that he should do some more reading and prayer and I am certain that he did as he went back to his room before leaving on his walk. I was grateful I followed the promptings of the Spirit and I know that because of this experience David was also able to attend the Musical Fireside and feel even more deeply the peace and comfort that comes from the spirit. I know that the power of the Atonement is real and I know that Jesus Christ understands our needs perfectly. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I know that David is special and I know that all things are done in wisdom. I was able to finish reading the Book of Mormon today and I loved every page. I found that the more I read the more I was sucked into the pages of history. I felt the pains of the prophets as their people fell away. I felt the joy that each had in being able to see their people progress and grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, I learned greatly from the many sermons and visions that were written just for us in this time. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I know that it is by faith that miracles are wrought among the children of men. If we have faith, we have everything; If we don't have faith, we have nothing because only with faith are we able to progress. I know that Jesus is the Christ in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Do Good Anyway

Hello my wonderful Family,
I love being able to write letters to you. I love also being able to hear about the many things that are happening in each of your lives. What wonderful blessings we have to be able to write letters back and forth on a medium in which we receive the letters almost instantly. I am so grateful for technology. We found another investigator this week. His name is David and he is very open to learning more about religion. He is the friend of a recent convert and I am excited to help him. I am having one of those hard days again :) where all things seem to be bearing down on me but I know that this gospel is true. I have been able to learn greatly these past few weeks to a point where I am able to put more and more trust in my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that all things will work out for our good and I know that as I do my best I will be blessed despite the trials I have along the way. We were able to meet with Mary this week for the first time. As we taught her we were able to help clear up some of the confusion she had. We were also able to find a new apartment to move to. I haven't tried getting a hold of Uncle David yet since I wasn't sure if you have talked with him yet or not. I wish I didn't have to wait until next week to find out. I feel that I need an uplifting word or two. I leave you my testimony: I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. I know that there is a plan made for our Salvation which is perfect and has been put in full force through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we believe on his name and act upon the commandments he has given us I know that we will be blessed. There was a profound statement given this past Sunday in church by one of the speakers. "Do it anyway" I think he shared a group of commandments that had been found on a wall. For example one of the commandments said, "If you do good you will get kicked in the teeth. Do good anyway." In this world and as we keep our covenants with God we will receive the hardest trials in our lives. Follow the commandments and keep your covenants anyway. Though those trials come and though you might not see an end our Heavenly Father promises us "Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. Then if thou endure it well you shall be lifted up on high..." (Doctrine and Covenants) How do we endure our trials well? We do what we know to be right anyway. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Christensen

Week Filled with Miracles

Hello my stupendous Family,
Each of you fill me with awe as I think of the many talents and accomplishments you have or have had or will have. I am amazed at receiving an email from Audrey about her teacher. I am so glad to hear her strong simple testimony stating that she believes in miracles. I do to and I know that the will of the Lord will happen in all things. I am happy to be able to read your letter this week. Also, Sister Morey will be in the MTC soon :) I am very excited for her and her family to begin to receive even greater blessings from her missionary service. I know that they will all be blessed greatly.
This week has been filled with miracles and blessings that all come from just being out and serving. We met a woman named Karen while tracting and she had actually just been woken up by her daughter. But in the course of our first small visit we asked if there might be a time that we could stop by later. We settled on the next day at 6:30pm. That was on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon we took the time to study and to learn from our Heavenly Father what Karen truly needed to hear. We went through bullet points in chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel under How to Begin Teaching. We then took turns teaching Karen and being taught while trying to think like Karen. During this time the Spirit was very strong and we then left to meet with her. She was very open and kind. She was a wonderful woman and at the end of our 15 minute discussion we were able to provide a Book of Mormon for her and she said that she would read it. She is so wonderful. Please pray for her. We actually had to give her to other missionaries since she is outside of our English area but we can always pray for her. Today we had another great experience just as we were out doing the work. We were visiting some former investigators and a man next door to one of them stopped us and said, "Are you mormons?" We replied, "Yes." He then invited us to sit down with him and share a little more of our beliefs. He said that he loves to just learn of the beliefs that others have and he explained to us that he wasn't really set on joining a religion so much as learning about it. Through our discussion he asked many questions and we then tried to ask more questions towards him so that we could understand his beliefs. He was so kind. His name is Jose. He had some interesting beliefs and near the end of our discussion we asked if he would pray for us. He then expressed that he didn't really pray and explained why. We continued to teach about how important prayer was and we were very persistent in asking if he would take 5 seconds and say one simple prayer. Finally he expressed that he didn't know how to pray. We then showed him the simple steps of prayer and bore powerful testimony that Heavenly Father listens to, hears, and replies to each prayer offered by His children. It was a great learning experience being able to talk with Jose and he finally agreed to say a prayer. He offered a simple prayer of gratitude and during his prayer I was praying as intently as I could that Jose would feel the Spirit. After his prayer I could tell that he had changed a little. He was excited to be able to have us return again when we could. We left him with our phone number and he said he would certainly call us. Please pray for Jose. I believe that a miracle is only beginning to happen within his life and I know that he will need many prayers in his behalf. The spirit needs to work within him a little more. He has such an open mind that he could be led any way but I know that our Heavenly Father wants Jose to be led the best and right way. That is the way of the gospel of Jesus Christ in it's fulness. I know that this gospel is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and will answer our prayers individually. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I was excited to hear from Audrey but I was a little dissapointed that I wasn't able to hear from anyone else. I love you all.
Matt and Anne and David, continue to do your best. That is all that is needful and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you as you endure whatever hardships you have in faith.
Tanner, remember I love you dearly and I know that you are a great man.
Sarah, continue in what you know is right and you will never falter.
Audrey, miracles do happen according to our faith and I know that he will answer your prayers and the prayers of others. Be sure to have a open mind in truly understanding the will of our Heavenly Father and you will learn greatly.
Rebecca, never give up, never surrender. You have the power to do all that you want to do. Do not doubt your abilities and you will reach new heights in your learning. You are a daughter of God with great potential and nothing is impossible. All you need is faith.
Jeffrey, you can also do many great things. You are very very smart and you do not need to feel bad when you make a mistake. Just keep pushing forward and eventually you will break free of all that holds you down. You are one of the smartest people I know and I love you little brother.
Mom and Dad, I have Uncle Dave's address now and I will be sure to contact him soon. I love you both and I am so glad you are learning great things from Heavenly Father through this conference. I learned greatly and I know that you will always be blessed in your life as you keep the commandments of God.
Elder Christensen

Conference was amazing.

Hello my incredible family,
You are all so wonderful and I am excited to be able to read your letters to me. I feel my testimony strengthened as I listen to yours. I feel your love for me as you write. I am so thankful to have such a great family. I would like to hear from more people that just mom every once in a while too ;)
General Conference was amazing and will be amazing for you. You will be taught great basic truths that pertain to all areas of life. Take the time to think. Take the time to ponder. This will bring the revelation that you truly need as you think and ponder on the messages shared. The brain is incredible in that it connects the dots of all things. If things are related it makes that connection. Pondering will allow you to make connections between the things taught and the trials that are most troubling your mind. Be sure to listen to the talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland. Along with his sacred words I share my love to each of you, my family and friends. You are all so wonderful and caring. You are all talented in so many ways. I am so grateful for your love and tender words of comfort towards me. It truly strengthens my desire to do all that I can. It builds my resolve to be the best I can be. "The Lord is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation" (Isaiah, I think) Why? Because he constantly encourages us and builds up our confidence in ourselves and in him. You are also my strength and my song because you as well build up my confidence and express your love for me which I in turn express to others. Don't forget how far a smile can carry those you meet. Don't forget how far your light can shine to the world around you. We all have at least a small amount of borrowed light which gives us the strength to move on in the world. Also, don't forget to be grateful for those who shine their light. Mom and Dad, brothers, sisters, and friends I thank you for giving me of your light and helping me become who I am today. I love you all.
Jeffrey, I can give you a promise. God will always be there to build you up and give you the strength needed to overcome all of the hard times. The 2000 Stripling Warriors were saved from death many times. It was not easy for them to be saved, they had to work, but because of their work they were able to win.
Elder Christensen