Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 72

Mommy & All 

"It is very important for you to believe, that You Are The One!" -Dream

This week was pretty good. Last Monday, Hermano Barcos took a bunch of us to this place called Playa Larga where we gotta take some of these pics on the cliff rocks and look at Ushuaia from a front view. So it was cool. Hermano Barcos is just another guy who has helped me out here more than he will probably ever know. Such a great guy and a life long friend.

We were able to see Raul this week. Him and Matilde left to go up north to get married. They are great people and we are pumped to try and have their baptisms here in October. We talked with them a little just about keeping on doing what they are doing. That they can keep persevering and that Raul can keep trying to beat this addiction that he has with cigarettes. We know that God gives us weaknesses so that we can be humble and ask for help. So that is really our focus with Raul and its been good.

We also gotta teach Santi this week for the first time in a little bit. We sat down and talked with him about trusting in God and just being able to have that connection. We can't talk to him about baptism because of the situation with his mom, but we are just really trying to help him grow closer to his Father in Heaven. How we need to counsel with God in all things that are important to us. Because if they are important to us, they are important to Him as well which is a good thing to remember. I feel like I learn and grow every single time I go to teach someone.

Jensen and I gotta do divisions this week and we went to see some of his investigators named Irma and Jose. We talked with them just about always being able to learn and grow. We know that we cant always know everything, especially when it comes to the things of God. Jensen shared the scripture that talks about learning "line upon line, precept upon precept" and that was really good. Jose had questions about what that meant and we just explained to him that we learn simply. God isn't gonna start out giving us things we can't understand, but instead, its like we build out own stairs of progress and learning. We used the example like a math teacher isn't going to try to teach a little kid how to multiply and divide, if he doesn't yet know 2+2. Yet we always need to try and have that desire to learn and become better just a little every day.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Friday, September 15, 2017

week 71

Mommy & All,

"I got a saying that when life knocks you down try and land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up!" -Phenomenal

This week was good. We are really trying to work with Brian so he can progress little by little. Here in Ushuaia, every Tuesday we play soccer and Wednesday we play basketball with the members and investigators. For about the last month or so, Brian has come to every single one to play with us and get to know the members. But he has yet to come to church on Sunday. He says that his church is about the same thing as ours, just different names. We went over to his house and just talked about building a firm foundation. We shared the scripture that's in 3 Nephi 14:24-27. It talks about the guy who built his house upon the rock, and the other upon the sand. I seen to learn something new every time we share this with someone. It talks about how the 2 guys built their houses. Then the torments came, the wind blew, and the rain fell. The guy who had his house on a foundation, was all good when that came. But the guy who didn't have his house on a foundation had it fall on top of him. This was used to illustrate the word of God in our lives. That the people who hear the word of God and listen to it, are building their "house" or their life upon the Rock which is Christ. But the people who hear the word and don't listen to it are building their life upon nothing stable, or the things of the world. In the story we see that both guys went through or suffered the exact same thing. The only difference was where they decided to build their house. 

We were also able to visit with Raul this week. I went on divisions with Elder Jensen and we stopped by to see how he was doing. We talked with him about his testimony and about his desire to get baptized. He has truly felt and seem the hand of God in his life as he testified to us. He is still really struggling with his smoking addiction. He has had a lot of health problems throughout his life and he knows how bad it is, his body just begs for it now. He believes that baptism is the key. That if he gets baptized and becomes a confirmed member of the church, that it may be the key to help him finally throw his addiction completely. We are trying to help him right now, but all we can really do is pray and fast that he can get better and find strength through the Book of Mormon and the things that he already knows. Him and Matilde go on vacation this week to go get married, so we are excited for that as well. 

I'm getting to know Nicolas better every day. He is becoming a great friend. He talked to me this week about being away from the church. He told me more of his story and just how he was inactive and stuff, and he told me never to do it. That the hardest times of his life, and the most pain he's felt was when he was away and when God felt far away. He shared a really strong testimony about that and just about trying to find answers and the Light of Christ in every moment. We aren't alone in this life, even though a lot of times we feel like it. Its just our job to keep searching and looking for the little blessings and things that can just put a smile on our face each day. Because this life is about being happy and finding joy.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 70

                                                      Max and Nicolas

Mommy  & All,

"Success isn't owned, its leased. And rent is due every day." -JJ Watt

This week was really good. Last Monday we gotta ride in the back of a cop car as the police picked us up off the street to be witnesses and sign papers for them as they raided a house. Funny part was the police station gave them the wrong address haha! So they didn't end up taking anything out and they let us go and we didn't do anything. But everyone gotta drive by and see my comp and I in the back of the cop car like we just got arrested so it was an experience haha.

I made a new friend this week named Nicolas Bran. He is from Colombia, but his half Israeli from his dad. He also speaks 5 different languages, one of them being English which of course is cool haha. He also thought I was from Brazil, like everyone else here, so it was a normal day for me. He showed up at the church last Monday while we were ballin up, and I happened to meet him at the door because of the way the ball bounced. We talked for about 4 minutes and he told me he'd been here in Ushuaia for about 3 days and that he was a member. But then he started trying to tell me where he was staying with addresses and stuff and I still don't know all the street names here, so my comp came and took over and they went off and talked and I didn't see him again for the rest of the day. Tuesday afternoon, we had district meeting. Somehow, Nicolas showed up just a few minutes after us which was really good timing for him. There was 8 of us walking around and getting ready, and right before I started the meeting, Nicolas stopped me in the hall asking if he could talk to me for a  few minutes. So we went to another room and sat down. He asked if we could start with a prayer, so I knew it was something serious. After he finished, he looked up at me and the first thing he said was that he just felt like he really needed to tell somebody, and that he had the most trust in the leaders of the church. For a second I thought he was going to start confessing sins to me haha. But he just started to tell me more about him and why he was here. Him and his family are converts and he also served a mission in Colombia. He hadn't been to church in a couple months and that he just felt God was far away. For a  long time he'd had doubts about the Book of Mormon and the church that he couldn't find answers to. He told me that's why he was here. That he had seen Ushuaia in a dream and that maybe that's where something was for him. The person he was staying with was an inactive member. Monday night, he told the member he'd been to the church and visited with us. Apparently that wasn't a good thing and this member kicked him out of the house. So he was at the church on Tuesday with all his stuff, ready to go home, but decided to go to the church first and ended up finding us there. After he told me all this, he looked up and asked me if he should stay or go. Nicolas had quit his job, saved money, got his cell phone and money stolen from him but still came. And then he didn't find anything for him and he didn't know why. I didn't know what to say at first. He had a lot of regret about coming. But I thought about his journey, and I asked him if he'd learned anything on his trip. He said he'd learned a lot and also grown as a person. I told him maybe that was it. That there's a lot of things in life that we don't know why we start it, and we don't know the significance of the ending, yet the journey from start to finish is the most important part. And that God knows the reason why. I was able to testify as a representative of Jesus Christ, that God truly loved him as an individual and that God and Christ are with us waiting to give us blessings and rewards. Its just our job to look for them and utilize the things they give us. That all of us live within the light of Christ. Elder Holland once said there is nothing we can do as Children of God to sink out of reach of the Atonement or the love of God. Sometimes it just takes time for us to understand what God wants. I told him to maybe stay a few more days, and maybe even come to church with us. He told me he would stay at least one more day, and also talked to the Branch President for advice as well. I didn't hear from him the rest of the week. Then near the end of sacrament meeting yesterday, he walked in and my heart about left my chest haha because we all thought he'd headed back to Colombia. But after the talks he had, he decided to stay and see what happens. He found a place to stay and got a job as a chef at a brand new restaurant that opens next week. I owe a lot to Nicolas for this talk because he helped me realize really why I'm here through the testimony I was able to give him. I felt like I wasn't only telling him those things, but that I was saying it to my own self and it honestly helped me a ton the talk that we had. 

We also had a really really good lesson with Raul and Matilde yesterday. Raul's brother, Hermano Ibausa came with us along with is wife. We sat down and read The Family: A Proclamation to the World. We were able to read it and then explain each part thoroughly. We also congratulated them on choosing to get married which will be really cool. The only thing now that will keep Raul from getting baptized is his smoking problem. So we are doing everything we can to help him with that.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Week 69

Mommy & All,

"You wouldn't ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. In fact, we'd all celebrate its tenacity." -Unknown

This week was really good. We had the chance to visit Matilde this week, an investigator we haven't seen in a while. Her boyfriend, Raul, is one of our investigators as well but he was sleeping and she didn't wanna wake him up. So we sat down and talked with Matilde a little more about baptism and just tried to help her progress since she knows a ton already after 2 years of investigating the church. Raul's brother is also a member in our ward, so they know a lot from them as well. As we were talking, Matilde told us that her and Raul decided to get married! Which is really good because that was the biggest thing keeping them getting baptized. I don't think its gonna be automatic marriage and baptism like it was with Mikaela and Federico, and they also aren't getting married till October, but its a huge step in the right direction from where we were with them. 

We also had the chance to see Miguel again for the first time in a while. We sat down and watched a video where Elder Uchdorf talks about our "Banquet of Blessings" and how we can be missing out on huge blessings by not doing the small things like praying and reading. So after that we read 2 Nephi 32 and 33 with him and that was really good. It just talks about why we need to pray and believe in the the words of Christ. We asked him if he would read the Book of Mormon just a little every day and he told us he would so that was good to hear.

We got to visit with Santi a couple times this week. The first time we watched a video where President Monson talks about "Daring to stand alone" with the things that we believe. How we're never alone since we always have God, but sometimes all our friends and people close to us will go in another direction. The next time we talked about prayer. We talked a lot about Joseph Smith and Santi seems to be in that same position. We showed another video and he got pretty bored and distracted. His mom, the former missionary, and her friends are doing everything they can to make sure he doesn't get baptized or believe in the church, and of course his dad and us are saying the opposite. So we told him his mom can talk all day, we can talk all day, but the only way he can know if one of us is right and who is right, is through personal prayer. He has never said a personal prayer before in his life, and I cant remember if I ever did either when I was 11. So that is the goal right now is getting him comfortable with the thought of prayer and talking to God one on one. 

Much Love,

Elder C.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Week 68

Mommy & All,

"There are 86,400 seconds in a day, and how you use those are critical! You have 86,400 today and what you do today is going to seep in to who you are..." -Phenomenal

This week was good. Transfers happened on Monday. We all thought my comp, Elder Fogo, was leaving since he's already done 4 transfers here in Ushuaia and hasn't been anywhere else since he started the mission here. But when transfers were announced, he got assigned to do a 5th transfer here which is pretty rare and he's going to have been in his first area for 7 1/2 months which is fair amount of time haha. But Elder Jensen got a new comp, so we were in a trio with him, and since he's Zone Leader, we were flying around till Wednesday night with people going out and coming in. 

Friday, we had a really good activity that Elder Jensen planned. We invited all the members and our investigators to cook their favorite food and bring it to the church. It was cool because a lot of them are from different countries. We had a little competition with judges and prizes and it went really good. We also did a little Book of Mormon activity. We showed a video about the Testimony of the Book of Mormon, where Elder Holland talks about its pure power and witnesses. He talks about how so many people died, from Joseph and Hyrum Smith, to the pioneers, in order for the Restoration and the Book of Mormon to come to pass in our day. He also talks about how the Restoration wasn't a single moment or event, but how its continuous. All of us today are a part of that as well as we strive to share the gospel and be living witnesses in these times. Then we gave a book to each family for them to write their testimonies in it so we can share that with the people we talk to. 

We all met with Santi again this week. We were able to sit down and read with him some more. We read about the story of Jacob and Sherem. How Sherem came into the people of Nephi preaching against Christ and his coming into the world and how Jacob stood against him. Sherem then asks for a sign, that if all Jacob says is true about God, then he should have the power to show him. And then Sherem was struck dumb and that was his sign. In this part, it talks about how we shouldn't be sign seekers, how we shouldn't always be looking for something amazing to happen to grow our faith because if that's the case our faith will never truly grow. But it also reminded me that our God is a God of miracles. How it talks about in the Book of Mormon that miracles haven't ceased because Jesus ascended into heaven. How we can see little miracles every day if we are looking. We talked about this with Santi and his faith and spirit seemed to grow every day. He is praying and likes to read with us and asks questions in a way that he truly wants to learn.

Much Love,  

Elder Christensen

ABOUT MY FOOT: The surgery went pretty good. I am just starting to walk today and i still have 3 stitches in my foot that they are going to leave till next week. Excited to get out and start walking and working again though. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 67

Mommy & All,

"Do you believe that one day, you are not going to live in a world that was given to you, but you are actually going to live in the world that you dream of!"

First off huge BDay shoutout to my Dad yesterday!! Hope 45 treats you good Ole Man! 

This week was pretty good. One of the members in our ward, Hermano Barcos, took us a little trip to a national park that is at the literal bottom of the world, where the road runs off and ends in the ocean and that's it. So its was cool to go see that.

We also had the chance to teach Sani again. We sat down and read the Book of Mormon with him and answered questions. We read the part where they find the Liahona and Laman and Lemuel tie Nephi up on the boat the they almost die. We asked Sani why he thought the Liahona stopped working. He told us that it was because it only worked when they were good and when they did good things. He went on to talk about Laman and Lemuel and repentance. He kept saying how those guys were crazy. They saw angels, experienced miracles, and yet still kept going back and trying to stop Nephi from doing what the Lord asked of him. He told us how  Laman and Lemuel never had a true repentance because they just kept going back and doing the same thing over again. And just how us in general are really slow to forget God, and really quick to do the things that he tells us not to. Just like how they tied Nephi up on the boat and it wasn't until the boat was gonna sink that they decided to untie him. This kid is 11 years old and is already giving answers like that so it was really cool.

Mikaela and Federico, the people we baptized came to church after a few weeks of not coming. Mikaela has been pretty sick with stomach problems and went to the hospital probably 9 times. Come to find out that she is pregnant with twins haha. That was cool. They also brought Kati with them to church. She is one of our investigators and it Federicos niece. It was good to have them all there and we were able to share more about the Book of Mormon with her and just be personal witnesses to that and the things we do as members of the church. So we are really trying to progress with her and help out Mikaela and Federico since they are brand new to this as well.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen