柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

柯 长老 (aka Elder Christensen)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Service Brings Great Joy

Happy Birthday Dad!!!
I love you!
Hello my amazing family :)
How are you this week? I guess I will find out when I read your letter ;) I love being in the service of the Lord. This past Sunday was amazing. There were some really great talks and we had a fun time serving at a Stake Halloween party. It was lots of fun to see all of the different costumes people had.

This week we were able to teach quite a few more people than usual. Unfortunately, I wasn't there for most of them because I was on exchanges. But, I heard they went well. Keeler is doing much better, thank you for your prayers on his behalf. He is an awesome guy and I know that he will do great things in the future. Pan would like to wait a little bit before receiving the priesthood. Please pray that he will be given the desire to truly understand the things which we have taught him. When he understands the gospel he will want all of the blessings that are promised to him.

Though the week was difficult I feel that we were able to get a bit done. We taught lessons, attended meetings, taught english, and visited quite a few people. I thank you for your continued prayers on my behalf. In your prayers this week I would ask that you pray for us to find ways in which we can work even more effectively. We have done a lot of work and yet our efforts aren't yeilding the results we would like. I hope we can see where we need to improve and find ways to see more of the miracles in our lives this week. I love being able to serve.

At the Halloween Party we helped pass out Nachos and clean up afterwards. While we served I found joy in talking to others and seeing their excitement. It was great to talk and joke with those we met. I also thought of a great costume :) So, Matt since you have a kid young enough to do this with ;) You can dress up David like a squirrel and you dress up like a tree. Then if David is ever scared he will run to you and be like a squirrel climbing a tree. Haha. It just cam to mind as I saw a man with his son dressed in a dog suit. I love you all.

I testify that the gospel which we have been taught is true. I know that as we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God which service brings great joy to our hearts and peace to our minds. I know that through a prophet the Lord reveals His will for us and I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet called for our day.

I know that Book of Mormon is true. I recently wanted to help teach others more of the significance the Book of Mormon has in our lives and religion. So, we made an arch with a picture of the Book of Mormon on the keystone. This way we have something that will give others a mental image of what happens when the keystone is removed. The arch falls. We need the Book of Mormon! It was Joseph Smith that testified of the Book of Mormon being the Keystone of our religion. That is why Satan works so hard to prove it is false and keep us from reading it's pages. I know that as we read the Book of Mormon it can give us power to overcome the trials in our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

The Love of God Filled My Heart

Hello my wonderful family :)
I love you all. It is exciting to hear about how you are doing. Mom and Dad, I hope your time in Thailand is amazing and I am sure it will be :)

This week has been really cool. We were able to teach more lessons this week than in the past five which was great. We are back to teaching Keeler, the young man whom I was privileged to meet and help accept a baptismal date before I left the YSA Ward. He has had quite a few struggles recently and I hope that you will pray for him to feel the love of Heavenly Father and the testimony of the spirit in his life.

We are now teaching an investigator named Schuyler and he is excited to be baptized in December. He is a great man and I ask for your prayers on his behalf too. Pray that he will feel the spirit testify of the truth to him and that he will know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We have also taught Pan who will be receiving the Priesthood soon. He is doing very well and I can't help but smile big whenever I hear of his successes and progression.

This week I caught another glimpse into the love which Heavenly Father has for His children. As I told you, Keeler is going through hard times. As he expressed his trials to me I could literally feel my heart breaking. I wished I had the power to keep him safe. I wished I had the ability to take away his trials and pain. I was crying inside and out. As we continued to teach him I testified with all of my heart of the truth found in the gospel. I prayed fervently that the spirit would touch Keeler's heart. I knew that he is a precious son and I could feel that his Father did not want to lose him. I can take this experience and strive to apply it even more to each of God's children around the world. God sees His children falling away, not understanding or knowing that there is a way out of grief and pain. This breaks His heart and yet because of the Plan of Salvation, He too can feel comforted that each of His children will be given the opportunity to understand and accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement and repentance process are the only way we can find true happiness that lasts for eternity. Also, they are the only way we can return to our Heavenly Father. I know that there is a true saving power found in the Atonement of Christ. I think of when Enoch saw God crying. And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?...The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; ... And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook." (Moses 7:28, 32, 41) I know that we are all children of God. I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us deeply. I testify that His love is evidenced in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died that the sons and daughters of God could be redeemed. I love my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I know that He is the only way back to the Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You CAN do it with the Help of the Lord

Hello my wonderful family,
I love you all so much. Thank you for your constant prayers on my behalf, they really make a difference. This week has been an interesting one. We were just put back into the Tri-Valley YSA Ward over the Pleasanton Stake area. There are now four elders serving the Ward and we really have great potential and I am excited to see the work in this Ward boom! It will be awesome as we are able to work with each of the Wards individually in bringing their YSAs into the fellowship of the Tri-Valley Ward. Sunday was great to see all of the people I worked with only 3 months ago. There had been no changes to the leadership other than the Bishopric. Which is great because the Elders Quorum and Relief Society Presidents are awesome. Also, this week we had a woman from Dublin walk into our Sunday meetings. She had never been to our church before and she said that a friend referred her to this church. She seemed to have a great time and will hopefully continue coming. Unfortunately, we didn't have an opportunity to speak with her one on one and ask if she would like to take the lessons, but next time for sure.

I simply wish to share with you the testimony I have of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it can help us in our lives. I know that there is power in the Atonement to heal us both physically and spiritually. I know that Jesus Christ suffered the Atonement for you and for me as individuals. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and the only way it points is to our Heavenly Father. Do not trust for a minute the lies of Satan and his followers. You are all children of your Heavenly Father and as you take the time to study and learn from Him you will be shown a greater you than the world could ever offer. I just realized this Sunday how often others of the world try to put it into our hearts that we cannot attain the promised blessings of our Heavenly Father. Satan works long and hard to sow seeds of lies. But remember that the only seed we need to plant in our hearts is the Word of God (the Gospel of Jesus Christ). As we do this Heavenly Father shares with us our true potential and we are privileged to see that we truly can become like God as we do what He asks. As we keep the commandments we feel the companionship of the spirit in our lives which bring us joy and reassures us that our goals are worthwhile. You can be perfect. You can be patient. You can be loving. You can be a great friend. You can have no fear. All you need to do is spend the day in council with your Father in Heaven. As you do this, you are as His apprentice and He teaches you to become even as He is. I love you all. Take the time to study. I learned something else from General Conference by listening to how the prayers were said. There was a pause after every sentence showing that each word was well thought out. As I have applied this to my prayers I have felt a new spirit enter my life. I know that this is a better way to commune with our Father in Heaven. Take the time to pray. I promise that as you do so you will feel the spirit more strongly. I love you dearly and pray for you as well. Thank you again for all of your kind service in my behalf. I thank you for your sacrifices. It is not easy to take time out of your busy schedules, but you do. Thank you.
Elder Christensen

How Great Shall Be Your Joy

Hello my incredible family,
I love you all. This past weekend was the Family History Seminar and it went great! We had a total of 60-70 people show up of which around 2/3 was non-members. We had set up a booth with many gospel DVDs, booklets, and copies of the Book of Mormon. As people were able to walk through the cultural hall and eat refreshments there were many who went to the table and took from the abundance of gospel literature. It was incredible to see so many people and how well they responded to the seminar. It is very different to be a part of the background crew rather than those just coming to enjoy the event. We were constantly running around hoping that things would work out for the best. Overall I was very satisfied with how the seminar turned out. There were members that came from my previous areas and I was able to renew friendships with them. It was great to see them again and remember the times of service in their branches. I love serving the Lord. He blesses us as we do our best and is so dependable. His blessings continually fill us with joy. I decided to fast that we would be able to find a new investigator because of this seminar. The day of the seminar we received a call that there was a chinese man living in Pleasanton wanting who had many questions about our religion. He was supposed to come to church the next day, but unfortunately wasn't there. But, as another great blessing there was a family, the Shi family, who we had tried to teach before who ended up coming to church. They had been attending another church for a little while because her sons liked it a little better, but after she came this past Sunday she decided that she really liked ours and wanted to come next week. I know that these two experiences are blessings from Heavenly Father. We were also able to meet with Pan this past week and start working with him again. He is doing well and still has a strong testimony of the gospel, but the missionaries serving with him are uncertain of how much he truly understands and how to teach him according to his needs. So we were asked to help out. I am excited and very happy to work with him again. He is such a great man with incredible potential. Please pray that we may know what to say and how to say it in a way that Pan will take part in the goal of Eternal Life and searching for the will of God. We have great potential from this Seminar with many people asking for help in beginning their search for family history. I ask that you pray for revelation to be given to our branch to know how best to enable these potential investigators to desire the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.
Next, a blessing from Heavenly Father. During the seminar I was able to see the Li family whom I had served with in Cupertino. They are an incredible family as well. I love them greatly. They asked me if I remembered a Justin. (Do you remember that name? He was the young man from Boston who was very close to being baptized and then chose not to and return back to MIT. After being at MIT for about a week I called him to give his information to the Elders there. Two days later he called back and said he wanted to be baptized and about two weeks later I called him and he said he was in a baptismal interview.) Anyway, what they told me is that Justin came back to California and is looking for a job. Also, he went to church and looked so great in a suit and tie. I am sure that my smile stretched literally to my ears. I was so happy to hear about his progression in the gospel and to know that he is now a faithful member of Jesus Christ's true Church. He is now working towards salvation :) I know that Heavenly Father loves him and me. I know, because, out of all the millions of people in the world, Heavenly Father decided to let me catch a small glimpse of the effect my actions have made on one soul. "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" (Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16) I have been blessed to see the promises in this scripture fulfilled to some degree in only the short two years I have been on a mission. I am ever so grateful to my Father in Heaven for these blessings. I know that God lives and I know that He loves His children. Thank you for your letters. Thanks dad for your sharing the special things that stood out to you from conference. Thanks mom as well for your sharing the precious truths that you have seen in listening to General Conference. I loved it as well. You are two of the best parents in the world. I am happy and proud to say that I am who I am because of you. As I listened to Sister Elaine S. Dalton's talk I also thought of how well she described the attributes of my father. I love you both. Also, from last General Conference as I listened to Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk about mothers and the great women of the church I thought of how I had been blessed with a mother of great values who has taught me well to keep the commandments. I thank you both for your examples to me.
I love you all. Matt, Anne, David, Tanner, Ali, Sarah, Audrey, Rebecca, and Jeffrey, you are also examples of greatness that I look up to. Your bright smiles in the pictures that I have remind me of the testimonies burning in your hearts. I love each one of you. Thank you.
Elder Christensen

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Choose this Day to Stand a Little Taller

Hello my stupendous family,
You are all awesome. I love you :) I have thoroughly enjoyed this week! We didn't find the new investigators but, we went to the temple and attended General Conference. It has been a powerful experience. I loved this General Conference as it was filled with simple doctrine about the Book of Mormon, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how we can share these important truths to our friends. Also it taught me something very special about the importance of personal revelation.

I have always known that we have the right to receive revelation for our friends and family, but this general conference I thought of how we can better invite the spirit of the Lord to be with us always when we consistently seek out and apply revelation. We are entitled to receiving revelation right now to what we need to do in order to push the work of God forward today. As long as we are diligently keeping the commandments with 100% effort, we are promised to have the Spirit of the Lord with us always along with all of His gifts. One of these precious gifts of the spirit is the spirit of revelation.

As I was speaking with Elder Egbert about this yesterday I thought of how wonderful a blessing it is that we can receive revelation like a to-do list from our Heavenly Father. Then as we go out and accomplish the things that He has revealed to us, He blesses us for accomplishing His will. As missionaries we follow a tight schedule. Wake up at 6:25. Prepare for the day from 6:30 to 7:30. Eat Breakfast. 8:00 Personal Study. 9:00 Companionship Study. And so on until 9:00 when we take time to plan for our next day and prepare for bed from 9:30-10:30. It is a hard schedule, but it is a commandment from Heavenly Father which is accepted by every missionary who receives a call. During this whole day we can receive revelation to do God's will and confirmation as we act that we are doing the will of the Lord. When we wake up at 6:25 we are entitled to the blessings that come from obeying this commandment, namely an added measure of the spirit. Then as we study personally we start with prayer and ask to know the will of God for us. After asking we search diligently for the answer in the scriptures because "the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32:3). After learning our purpose for the day we take time to study as companions. During companionship study we have the blessing of learning how to accomplish our purposes together and bring the Holy Ghost into our companionship. We then take what we learn from these to study times and apply them throughout the day. In doing so we are showing Heavenly Father how much we value the revelation we receive which leads to His blessing us with even more. Then at the end of the day we start our planning by seeing what we were able to accomplish and how the hand of the Lord worked in our lives that day. We continue planning by studying the information of those we have met and searching for what we can do the next day to help them come closer to Christ. Because of our faithfulness in accomplishing the will of God, He takes the opportunity to place in our path those who have been prepared for us and showing us how to find them. With gratitude in our hearts and an inspired plan for the next day we lay down exhausted at the end of the day only to wake up and start the process all over again.

Receiving revelation is a process that if made a part of our lives will bless us to grow at an exponential rate. We will be able to see progression because we take the time each day to see how far we have come. We will be baffled at how true to His word Heavenly Father truly is. Also, our joy will be made full because we are becoming the very people we desire to be. That is Heavenly Father's plan for us. He want's to fulfill every desire of our hearts. If we truly take the time to sit and ponder what our desires are, we will find that they are infused in the gospel of Jesus Christ and desire to do everything within our power to make and keep sacred covenants at baptism and in the temple, because that is what it takes to become like our Heavenly Father is. In the grand council of heaven that is what we all wanted. We all desired to become like our Heavenly Father was, is, and ever will be. That is the purpose of the plan of salvation with Jesus Christ at it's center. We are eternally indebted to Jesus Christ because only through Him are we perfected, "there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." (Mosiah 3:17)

All that we need to do to be able to receive our dreams is to accept the atonement of Christ. Thus I invite each of us to choose this day to stand a little taller and stretch a little further to come unto Christ. "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." (Moroni 10:32) I know that the grace of God can work to give us the strength to change. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is His Son. I know that the Book of Mormon will draw us closer to God than any other book. Read from it's pages and study the messages it contains, then do as Enos did, "Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens." (Enos 1:3-4)

I testify that as we do this Heavenly Father will open the windows of heaven and testify to us through the Holy Spirit that He is there and that His plan of salvation is for everyone who has faith, repents, is baptized by immersion, receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endures to the end. I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore the true church once again upon the earth. That church is led by a prophet today and twelve apostles as in the days of Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Christensen