柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shake the hand of An Apostle

Hello my amazingly awesome family,
I love to be a missionary. This week Elder M. Russell Ballard was able to come to our mission. He came and we all were able to shake the hand of an Apostle of the Lord. I could feel as he walked into the room and started talking that he lived the things he knew to be true. He did not only know them. It was a special experience to sing called to serve and here everyone in the room singing their best. It makes the hymns become so much more powerful as voices unite together. I find that when others don't sing I overpower them but when others do sing, the spirit overpowers me. There is nothing more beautiful than the hymns of the church.

Elder Ballard had some great remarks along with Elder Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. What I remember most from that meeting is a comment that he made which my mind ran with. He said that everyone wants to serve whether they are inside or outside the church. I've thought about that often and then decided that missionaries could be great initiators of service in the communities in which we serve. We can go out to homeless shelters, schools, libraries, parks, etc. and find what needs have to be met. Then as we learn these needs arrange service projects that we can invite members from the community to attend and share their talents. In this way we allow everyone in the community to serve their fellow man. Along with this is the great opportunity to help missionaries serve alongside non-members and show what we are really doing. This in turn gives the missionaries opportunities to carry on gospel conversations with those they serve with.

I have asked President Jackson for his thoughts before moving forward with this. But, I have made it my goal to never forget this wonderful opportunity to serve God's children after my mission. We can be a great force for good in our communities. Everyone desires to serve but many "know not where to find it" (Doctrine and Covenants). All too often money is seen as the easy way to give service and then leave the service up to others to fulfill. We must take the initiative to serve throughout our life. Don't look to charities to do it for us. Service is what helps us learn and grow. Service is what produces love for our fellowman. Those who have served missions remember that they truly love the people with which they served. We can make each of our communities a mission field. All of God's children need our help. Our families as well need to be built from within. This way we will be strong enough to help others.

"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye shall seek them with the intent to do good -- to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted." (Jacob 2:18-19)

After we have fortified ourselves properly through prayer, scripture study, church attendance, etc. we will be filled with a desire to share our joy with others.

"Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." (Mosiah 28:3)

This is a verse describing the sons of Mosiah after their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We too must take the initiative to apply what we learn. Do not just sit back and say this is great information for later. Allow the things you learn to be a catalyst for change today. As you do this I know that Heavenly Father will pour out blessings from heaven. I testify that God lives. I know that there are Prophets and Apostles on the earth today. Just seeing Elder Ballard before he spoke caused my heart to burn within me. I know that he is an Apostle of the Lord. I testify that Jesus is the Christ the Savior of the world. Only through faith, repentance, baptism by proper authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end are we able to take complete hold of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

This week we were not able to meet with Z.Y., but we were able to learn that he has started to read the Book of Mormon and has prayed to Heavenly Father. I am grateful for this blessing from the Lord. We will be teaching him about the importance of church attendance this week. Please pray that his heart will be softened and that he will be able to see the blessings that come from church attendance and desire them. I know that only through following the commandments of God are we able to receive the blessings He desires for us. Also, this week we were able to meet a man named D. He seems as though he really desires to learn and come to church, but you can tell there is something holding him back. We aren't sure what it is. Tonight we will be helping him get to know one of the members in the ward so that he will feel comfortable attending church activities. We know that he is new to the area and doesn't have many friends so it will be good for him to meet the members of the ward. I ask that you pray for us to be guided in knowing how best to help him. Also, pray that he will use his agency for good and allow his desire to learn the gospel to take control. I know that through prayers miracles happen. Just look at the miracles that have happened in Uncle Bob's life because of it. Those blessings were only made possible because of the great faith shown for his welfare. I bear you this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Trials can lead to good change

Hello my wonderful family,
How are you this week? I am glad to see that all went well with Rebecca's play and that Jeff had a great day on his birthday. I love being able to serve others. I have really seen a great change in myself as I have worked hard to focus on others. It has been a great blessing to my studies this week.
This week we were able to meet with Z.Y. again. He said that he saw the BYU website and how the tuition fee is very low. He was excited since his family has a hard time paying for his education. He then saw that if you are a member that the tuition is even lower. He is now more interested than before to learn about the church but we are working to make sure he truly learns the importance of the gospel and doesn't just join to receive a lower cost in schooling.

As we taught him this week we were really trying to learn of his needs and concerns with regard to the gospel. After learning of some concerns we taught him about the importance of prayer and the blessings that come from praying every day. When we invited him to pray every day he said he couldn't promise. He said the most he could promise was 3 days a week. We kept pushing to help him really commit to every day and he finally said okay. Then we asked him to say a prayer with us at the end of the lesson, which he did. It is difficult to teach him because he is very set on making sure he gets good schooling, a good job, and a wife. We are working to help him see what goals Heavenly Father has for him and where he can go if he only accepts those goals as his own. Z.Y. is a great young man. I ask that you pray for his heart to be softened towards the invitations we extend and his mind to be enlightened with an eternal perspective. We will continue to study for him and strive to teach him how he can attain eternal life, which is the ultimate goal.
We were also able to sit down with a member this week named A.R. He has had some struggles in life that have caused him to not be very active in the church. We are now working to understand his concerns and challenges. During our meeting we asked about his doubts and he shared some concerns he had with us. Through the scriptures we were able to help him see some answers he has been looking for and invited him to search more in the scriptures. It was a good lesson and I know that it helped him a lot. We then went home and have studied for his needs.
What is interesting about studying for the needs of others is that usually they are similar to your own needs and so you as you work to help them you also grow yourself. A.R. and Z.Y. are great people and I know that they are loved by their Heavenly Father. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work with them. I love this gospel and I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal us. As we allow our sins to bring us to change we will be forgiven and our needs and worries will be cared for. If we allow these sins to discourage us then we wil not be able to progress. I have learned this in my own life as I have been discouraged and weighed down with sorrow many times. When I have taken the opportunity to have these trials lead to change I have been uplifted and strengthened in my new resolve to do my best never to falter again. I know that the scriptures are true. As I read them they help me grow in my trust of Heavenly Father. I know that we have a prophet on the earth today to lead and guide us and I share this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen
Hello my wonderful family,
I am really in a poetic mood for some reason and I have tried for the last 5 minutes to get my head out of it... okay. This week has been a pretty good week. We have been out doing a lot of contacting this week. I have learned this week that if we focus on learning from the Lord His desire for the work then we will be much more effective. This is the Lord's work and we are simply instruments in His hands. If we do not follow the Spirit while planning, if we try to make our own plans, if we don't work harder than we ever thought possible, then we are not working with the Lord and thus working against Him in some way or another.

Ammon and his brethren were able to perform miracles because of their faith in the Lord. Alma and Amulek were able to perform miracles because of their faith in the Lord. All other prophets only performed miracles through faith. If we do not have faith then our Heavenly Father is unable to help us see miracles. (Ether 12) So we must have faith. The only way to work with our Heavenly Father is through having faith in Christ. If our faith is not centered in Christ then we are not working with the same purpose as our Savior. Therefore we are working against Him.

I have worked this week to change my efforts to being more guided by the Spirit and in-line with the purpose of my Heavenly Father. I have changed my personal studies to be focused only on those that I am meeting with those I am interacting with that day and it has allowed for our lessons to be more spirit directed. We have focused our companionship study on teaching more effectively and we have felt a more powerful spirit. Pan is the young man that we are teaching. This week he was sick all week. We weren't able to get a hold of him. We do have a great member though who called Pan and made sure that he promised to be at church next Sunday. Please pray for him. I know that I have not focused enough on others and it has reflected in my writing. I do apologize. Thanks dad for helping me get back on track. Your asking for more details made me think of how I need to change my focus to less of what I am learning and more to how I am helping others learn. This is when I will be able to help others come progress. I know that this gospel is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

The Lord's forgiveness knows no bounds

Hello my dear family,
First of all I would like to say Happy Birthday to Tanner :) I wish all birthdays were on the same day as preparation day, then I would be able to remember to write about them.
This week has been one of striving to understand. I have been working to understand many different things. One of which is the Atonement and how I can better accept it in my life. As I was reading Dad's email I had a thought pop into my head. Dad said, "The message in this is that the Lord's forgiveness knows no bounds." What keeps us bound to the natural man? I just thought that what really keeps us bound is ourselves. Our knowledge of guilt and sorrow. Our knowledge of the things we have done.

For us to let go of the natural man and become a saint we must learn to forgive ourselves. Through this we are given the opportunity to have full faith in the Lord. Through this we are able to feel the full joy that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. This morning I read in 2 Nephi 9 about the fall and atonement. This is a powerful sermon on the affects of the fall and the power the atonement has to free us of those affects. In this chapter it helps us to see how we can more fully accept the atonement in our lives. To accept it we must, "repent, and be baptized in his name, having faith in the Holy One of Israel..." (2 Nephi 9:23)
Then in verse 45 Jacob says,
"O my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation."

When we do not forgive ourselves we do not allow ourselves to fully shake off "the chains of him that would bind you fast..." When we do not forgive we continue to look at those sins and say that they are a part of us. In truth we are sons and daughters of God. Our natures are good! As we forgive ourselves and others we separate the sin from the sinner and allow truth to flow through. We forgive and forget to allow us to see that we truly are good inside. Again I come back to the words of Doctrine and Covenants section 58 "For the power is in them..." We are naturally good. Our being born into a natural state does not mean that we are completely natural. Where did we come from? We came from our Heavenly Father's presence. How did we get here? We trusted completely in our Elder brother's, Jesus Christ, promise. We can do the same now. We simply need to, "Shake [ourselves] from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." (2 Nephi 8:25)

Forgiveness, both from our Heavenly Father and ourselves, enables us to shake off the dust of sin and be made white through the blood of the Lamb. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ, namely faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, is a true gospel that will enable us to receive the full power of the atonement in our lives. I still have some trouble fully trusting God along with everyone else yet I know that as we put our faith in Him, He will not let us fail. I know this through the scriptures and I know that they are true through the Holy Ghost which testifies of truth. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen