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

Week 66

Mommy & All,

"What reason can you remember, that you can call on, that you can reach on, that can make you get back up! Find that reason!" -Phenomenal

This week was pretty good. We had conference with Presidente Salerno on Tuesday and it went really good. We talked about just how we can make the mission so that it keeps improving. We are starting to focus on just being good at the little things. And that we need to do everything with love. There is no point in teaching a lot of lessons just to say you  teach lessons. We have to be able to do everything with love, whether its teaching, contacting, or just doing stuff for our comps. We are also focusing on finding new people and just always having people to each. Presidente Salerno has helped me a lot throughout the mission to realize the potential we each have not just as missionaries, but as people in general. And of course we are focusing on "Flooding the Patagonia with the Book of Mormon." We are having members write there testimonies on the inside front of the Book of Mormons that we give out to people. That they are able to me more specialized and a witness in today's world that the Book of Mormon is true. Its been cool to see how this mission has been able to change little by little.

I was also able to meet my long lost cousin from Brazil named Elder Otoni. He was baptized a little over a year ago and is brand new here in the missionary. He also happens to be black which makes us now 2 here in this mission haha. He is way cool and it was good to get to know him. When we were talking about the Book of Mormon during conference and how we need to give more out and such, he leaned over to me and said " All right now we are gonna start Flooding the Patagonia with Black Guys " hahaha and i died laughing. It was cool to be able to see a bunch of old comps and friends at conference as well. 

I was able to visit quite a bit with a member named Hermano Barcos. He is the coolest member I've met during my mission. He is separated from his wife who lives here in Ushuaia and his older 17 year old son lives with her. But he has an 11 yr old named Santi who lives with him and isn't a member yet. His mom served a mission and was super big in the church and then one day had a bad experience in the church and went insane and left Hermano Barcos and now hates the church. And she isn't letting Santi get baptized. His older brother is a member but isn't active at all, and all his mom does is talk bad about the church. He almost got baptized earlier, but his mom threatened to call the police. He lives in the zone leaders area, but all of us are working with him. We sit down and read the Book of Mormon and just answer questions for him. He is the smartest 11 yr old I've ever met. We sat down on Thursday with us 4 missionaries and his dad and him and talked. He didn't really believe in God and asked how we know he exists. We were all able to testify of prayers and answers. How all of us are here right now because we received and answer to prayer. Yet we got it in 4 different ways since we were all in 4 different spots before the mission. That really helped him and it was just cool to watch and be a part of that.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Week 65

Mommy & All,

"Let the biggest enemy you have to deal with is yourself! There's an old African proverb that says: If there's no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm." -Phenomenal

This week was pretty good. We were able to teach Diana again this week and she is progressing pretty well. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and reviewed the Restoration and showed her some videos. She is trying to read the Book of Mormon and every time we go over we are able to read with her so it's good. The only thing that's really stopping her baptism is that she wont come to church. She works Monday-Saturday and so her only day off to take a rest is Sunday. Every lesson she commits to come to church with us, and then we go by her house Sunday morning and she is sleeping and won't answer. So we are trying to really figure out how we can help her get to church with us. 

On Wednesday we had a Sports Night with some of our investigators. One of our investigators, Bryan, came and seemed to really like it. It was the first time he'd been inside the church and he said it was cool. We were able to play ping pong and soccer. Then someone pulled out the basketball. So we ended up playing a little bit and it was Bryan, Jensen, Elder Crawford from Washington, and me against a bunch of members. We killed them so that was really fun haha. Bryan really likes activites, now we just need to get him to come on Sundays as well. 

Saturday I was able to meet some investigators named Raul and Matilde. For the first 30 min of talking to them, I thought my comp lied to me telling me they were investigators because I thought they were members. They are more members than investigators. Raul has a brother here in Ushuaia who's an active member, so him and Matilde have been investigating for the last 2 years. They know so much about the church and how it works and were super active up until right before I got here when Raul's work wouldn't give him Sundays off. The other problem is they don't wanna get married. Raul has a smoking problem that he is trying to get away from, so I shared Ether 12:3-4 that talks about through our faith, we can have "hope for a better world" since we all have our own little world that we live in. And how our hope that we have in Jesus Christ is the thing that anchors our souls to God. So we are trying to help them progress as well.

Yesterday I gave a talk in church on becoming a disciple of Christ. One part I talked about was how being a disciple doesn't mean being perfect. The characteristics of a disciple of Christ as He describes are Faith in Jesus Christ, Hope, Charity and Love, Knowledge, Virtue, Patience, Humility, Diligence and Obedience. None of us are perfect at all of those things. We simply have to have the goal in mind that when we wake up every day we are just going to be better than we were yesterday. 

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Personal note from mom.  Max has been struggling with a few things the past few weeks.  Things concerning his future plans that are out of his control.  He wrote this to his dad and I this week.  I wanted to share, because it is beautiful, and let me know he is ok.  

"This week I had the feeling to read and study the book of Job for the first time and I finished it. All the scriptures I sent you guys can describe better than anything else how I've felt on the mish and all the peaks and valleys. And all I'm continuing to learn. I'm not Job. He lost more than I think I'll ever lose in a lifetime and in the end he was still able to humble himself and repent and he turned out okay. I'm learning how to suffer with patience. How to praise God in my trials. How to be truly grateful for all I've been given and still have. All things I didn't do before the mish.

Also, Max may be somewhat sidelined for a couple of weeks.  He has a terribly infected ingrown toenail and is having minor surgery to remove it and clean up the infection on the 11th.  (The hospital in his last area was on strike and wouldn't do it.)  He has been told to keep walking to a minimum until it is removed.  

This I am assuming is just a random car.  They don't drive and he didn't mention anything.  

Week 64

Mommy & All,

" Even if there's no one in it, a house is a house. But it becomes a home, when you fill it with people you care about." -Marty Schottenheimer

This week was good. Not that much happened. We got to visit Miguel a couple of times and found out that he loves watching church videos like Mormon Messages and stuff. So we went over to his house one night and ate dinner with him. We watched probably 20 different videos and he loved them. Miguel isn't a very social guy outside of us and 4 friends. We keep inviting him to church and he keep bailing on us at the last second and he finally told us its just because he'd feel uncomfortable being around a lot of people in general. That he really likes just sitting in his house by himself and with his own thoughts. But he likes it when we come over and invites us all the time. He told us that he is going to get baptized, he just doesn't know when. He feels that its really important, he is reading the Book of Mormon and listening to us and he is even praying. He says that his faith grows little by little every time we talk. That he gets converted a little more every time. He told us that maybe we feel like we are wasting time with him since he hasn't come to church yet, but that he really appreciates us coming over all the time and sharing things with him and that one day he will get to church and get baptized. So we just have to keep him progressing.

This week we were able to teach Diana again and we went over the Restoration and the importance of the Book of Mormon. We invited her to read and really pray about it and we were able to put a baptismal date with her which was good. She was gonna come to church with us but something happened last minute and she didn't make it. But we hope to be able to reach that goal we have for her. 

Saturday Elder Jensen and I went on divisions and that was great. It was just like spending time with one of your best buddies. Since I've hit Argentina, there've been times where I've really struggled with some stuff and Jensen has helped me through it all. Don't know where I'd be without the guy. The dude is a legend down here in the mission and has had tons of success in a place where it doesn't happen all that often. He's of course shown me how to do missionary work and what you need to be successful at it, but most of all he's been a friend and a brother that feeds me great advice when I need it. There's a part in "Jesus the Christ" when Christ is telling the parable of the Good Samaritan and how we need to love our neighbor. It says, "...that if one saw an ass or an ox fall down by the way, he should not hide himself, but should surely help the owner to lift the creature up again. If such was their duty toward a brother's beast, much greater was their obligation when a brother himself was in so extreme a plight." The dude has definitely done that for me, and has helped me become better at doing that for others. 

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Week 63

Mommy & All,

"All the world is a stage. And all the men and women are merely players." -William Shakespeare

This week was good. Last Monday for the first time since what feels like high school I gotta play real basketball haha so I was pumped about that. We also got some more snow so that was cool. 

On Thursday we gotta go over and teach one of our investigators named Miguel. He's from Jujuy which is the very top part of Argentina and now he's at the very bottom. He's been here for about 17 years now. We were able to talk to him and he told us a little bit of his story. His whole family lives up in Jujuy along with all his friends. He told us he used to drink a lot with his buddies. That every singe day they'd go buy beer to drink. The only time they didn't drink was if they were all flat broke, but if one of them had money they all gotta drink some more. So one day Miguel decided that he had to get away. Every day drinking was literally starting to kill him. So one day he just decided to leave his family, friends, and job to come to Ushuaia. He came down here and stayed down here for 17 straight years before he even went back for a visit. He told us the first time he went back was about 2 months ago and it was only because his mom got sick. When he went back up, he said he didn't know who anyone was. All of his aunts and uncles were old, all his cousins were taller than him now, and all the friends he left had a lot of problems. He had a completely different image of his whole family the last time he saw them and I'm sure that's true after 17 years. He also gotta see some of his friends which was hard for him as well. They'd all kept drinking after he left and they all have problems now. One has a severe case of diabetes, one has permanent brain damage, and he had more than one of his friends who died of alcohol poisoning. That's when he realized why he left because that would've been him. All his friends told him it was pretty good he left as well. Little by little he feels he's had slow changes in life to help him be closer to God and right now he's really trying to find that. We were able to sit down and read the Book of Mormon with him and just talk about we aren't here to be perfect, but we are here to get better. To just try and be a little better than we were the day before. He almost came to church with us but something happened and he didn't come. 

Friday was cool because we hosted another wedding at our church haha. The wedding judge came up to me and told me he just feels like he's a part of the Mormon Family now with all the times he's come over here the past few months haha. I've been to more weddings in Argentina than when I was at the house. 

Saturday was great because we were able to have Mikaela and Federico's baptisms. They were both super ready and looked great. Federico wanted Elder Fogo to baptize him, and Mikaela wanted me to baptize her. They were both really nervous, but she was especially that I was gonna drown her or not be able to get her back up but it all went great haha. They are an example of why we are here. We stand in the baptismal font with our minds on the temple and them getting sealed. Its always cool to see that little light in their eyes after baptism, and just being able to help them start on their path to Heaven.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen