Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 33

Mommy & All,

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." -George Bernard Shaw

First off wanna give a Birthday Shout Out to little bro Caleb coming up on Friday. Hitting that big 16 so good luck CJ! This week was one of the harder weeks when no one was home, or if they were they didn't want to let us in. But I did have a few experiences this week. 

Wednesday we were just having a really bad day. No investigators were home, and when people see us walking in the street, they flee inside and chain the door shut. For example, we were contacting this house and behind us there was a lady sitting in a chair out on her lawn so I saw her. We took a few steps to the next house and then I thought okay lets try this lady since she's not behind a door. So I turned and started walking towards her and we made eye contact. Before I got half way through saying "hola Senora" she died in her chair. She literally rolled her eyes back, slumped in her chair and acted like she was dead. I started looking around on the roof tops to see what sniper must have shot her. I think if birds came and nested in her hair she wouldn't have flinched. So we turned and walked all the way down to the end of the street and when I turned around, she was just drinking her Mate like normal haha. 

Anyways that was what our day was like, so we said a little prayer and asked if we could just find someone to teach that day. We were walking to visit some less active members and passed this black guy sitting in front of a house giving us really weird looks. So I just told him "hola" and kept walking. Of course the less actives weren't home. So we had to turn around and re-trace our steps right passed the black guy. He gave us more weird looks, but like he wanted to talk to us. So I took one step towards him and he jumped up and ran towards us to grab the card I was holding out for him. He ended up being this super cool guy named Jose Matias from Brazil. He has lived in Comodoro for a year and asked if we were Mormon. When I told him yes he tells us he wants to be Mormon too! He goes on to tell us that he has wanted to be Mormon for a while but actually had a real fear about it because he'd only ever seen white or Latino missionaries and members. He honestly thought Black people weren't allowed in the Church because he'd never ever seen one and he'd always been scared to enter a church since no black people did. So he told me I,m the first black Mormon he's ever seen and he especially never expected to see that in missionary form, but now that he knew, he told us he wanted to be one of us. He was asking me what he had to do to become Mormon and if he could get baptized with tattoos and a whole bunch of questions like that so I knew he was serious. I was super pumped and thought I'd get the chance to baptize him, but then he told us he lives in an apartment in Centro. So I passed his info to those missionaries and hopefully they baptize him. Also Elder Harris had his first baptism on Saturday so that was great to see!

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Thursday, December 15, 2016

week 32

"I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific." -Lily Tomlin

I wanna start by sending my condolences to the Heaton Family. One of my Best Friends Hal Heaton, passed away this week. He was just like another grandpa to me. Anyone who ever had the chance to sit and talk with that man was blessed. I now carry him here in my heart as well. We were supposed to hit the golf course when I got back. So we will golf in the next life, I have no doubt.

On Wednesday, we got the chance again to sit down and talk with Javier. We really just sat and talked about our lives, our purpose as missionaries, and just how our message can really just affect and change his life. We have really gotten to know him, and he is one of the greatest people I've met during the mission easily. He really likes to hear my adoption story and asks me about that often. How he will invite us into his home and sit down and talk with us for hours about everything is really amazing. He has been one person who is really grown my testimony that this is the true work of Christ. How can a 19 yr old black kid from the U.S. who has only lived in Argentina for 5 1/2 months, and a 45 yr old Argentine man who has never been to the U.S. outside of what he has seen on T.V., sit down and have a real conversation about life, sharing life experiences with genuine thoughts and feelings? In my mind, a divine power from somewhere HAS to be involved to make that happen haha. He has also almost read all of the Book of Mormon. Another good thing we found out about him from the other missionaries is that he actually doesn't need to get divorced to get baptized. Him and his girlfriend (the lady in our ward) don't live together. So really he only needs to get divorced to be legally married which from what it sounds like is coming soon. So we will be talking with him a lot about a testimony and baptism before he leaves on vacation for a few weeks. 

On Thursday, we had a great ward activity up at a camp site. Javier came, and he ran around and played soccer and just did everything with the ward which was great to see. He is honestly just another part of the ward, just without baptism. Most everyone just calls him "Hermano" already haha because he literally comes to church every week, has members over at his house ever week for Family Home Evenings, and is honestly more involved in things than some members haha. He is great with everything, but just really hesitates when we talk about baptism and we are honestly not sure why yet. I also made a new friend on Thursday. His name is Ezequiel and he works at a kiosco on that camp ground. A member introduced me, saying that we would get along well and they had been talking religion. Well we did end up getting along pretty good haha. He is 18 almost 19, likes to play basketball when he can, and plays rugby. He has seen a little bit of Football and had a ton of questions for me haha. He was shorter than i was but super ripped and he asked me what position he would play in Football. I told him he would make a great 4-3 middle Line Backer haha and my Comp agreed. He even threw the football around with us. He had also never heard of Joseph Smith or The Book o Mormon, so of course he asked me to preach to him. He was baptized Catholic and attends his church when he can, but he has a lot of stuff going on. He even shared an experience with us that he had only talked about with his girlfriend. His parents don't even know. Again, how we are able to gain peoples trust in so little time is another small miracle of doing Christs work. We talked for about 3 1/2 hrs and by the end he asked for a Book of Mormon and even started reading it! He lives in Rada Tilly which is far from my area so I may never see him again, but I told him to call if he had any more questions.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

week 31

Mommy & All,

"Some dream of big things, others wake up and do them." -Unknown

Thursday, Elder Teixeira of the Seventy (the area president) and his wife came to Comodoro to visit with us and have a conference. It wasn't a super spiritual experience but we got railed a little haha. He really just talked about our mission and how we need to change a TON of stuff and just be a lot better. He was a mission president in Brazil and he compared his mission to ours and it was ugly. He asked us about our concerns in the mission and Elder Carasco (Elder Harris Comp) brought up the siesta, the time of day when no one will talk to us. He then compared us to missions around the world and how there are problems like that in every mission so don't worry about. Then his wife got up and just WENT OFF about a bunch of other stuff we needed to change. 

The analogy I used after was that it felt like a postgame talk from a coach after our Quarterback throws 5 picks, 3 pick sixs, we fumbled twice, and lost 45-13 because our kicker missed an extra point haha. So then after Coach chews you out he says, "But hey, we are gonna wipe that one off and re-group on Monday. Oh, but don't bring your pads to practice, bring your running shoes." We just have a lot of things we are going to apply and change in the mission now. And honestly overall, I feel it will be good for us. 

We had transfers again on Friday. Apparently Aquino and I did something good, because President is taking him from Jr Comp to Sr Comp and District Leader. So he is going about 15 min down the road to be Elder Harris Comp haha!! So surprise surprise I got a new companion. All I know about him, because he doesn't like to talk very much is that his name is Elder Romney (his Dads 2nd cousin is Mitt Romney) and he is from New Mexico and has been in the mission one transfer less than I have and he did a year of college before the mission and likes Country music. So if you wanna count the MTC, this will be my 6th comp in 6 transfers in the mission thus far. 6 companions in 7 months. And my first one since the MTC that knows English. I'm sure gonna miss Elder Aquino. But change can be good.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week 30

Mommy & All,

I'm emailing today not because we met with Elder Teixeira, but because we had another Super P-Day yesterday and were out on a turf field all day playing.

"If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles, you wouldn´t be able to sit down for six months." -Unknown

This week hasn't been the best of my mission but that's okay! I've learned a ton about myself and the things I need to get a lot better at to be able to help these people. Monday night we had another Family Home Evening with Javier and Hermana Velasquez. We talked about talents and how everyone has them even though some people think they don't have any. We also talked about how we all really need to develop the talents that God has already given us and through doing that, we can honor Him and he will give us more. We were over there with Elder Harris and Carasco again and it was great. 

Thursday night everyone was at the office practicing for the Choir they are having Thursday for Elder Teixeira so they gave me a birthday cake and Elder Harris gave me some shirts he bought for you. haha it was cool

On Friday night, Elder Harris had to sing at a dinner thing at our church. We didn't get to stay and watch him but I hung out with him before and I had no clue about the talents he had. Probably because he couldn't have a guitar in the MTC haha. This Brotha is a MONSTER with the guitar in hand. He has tons of his own songs and of course he can sing and its just legit haha. Also, this man has SO MUCH love for everyone everywhere. Especially for me even when I know I don't deserve it. One of the most Christ Like people I know and even though I'm not his comp anymore, I'm still learning so much from him and the Spirit and Faith that he has. I know God put him in my path so I could have a chance to learn and grow.

We didn't get to see Alejandra this week at all because every time we go to her house she is out looking for food for her kids, and her Mom Ramona has been pretty sick. So please keep the Amaya Family in your prayers!

Not a ton to write about this week except that I've learned a lot and will keep trying to improve so i can have the chance to bless and change someones life through the work that I and my Brotha´s around the world are doing. God Speed to all of them.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 29

Mommy & All,

First off, wanna give a Birthday Shout Out to Grandma Christensen this coming Friday! Thank you Grandma for the millions of snickerdoodles I ate at your house, and for raising Max ll to be the Man and Father he is today. You know as well as I do that Grandpa is smiling down and is more than proud of You, My Dad, Cindy, and Dave. Thank You. Also thank you everyone who gave me a Birthday Shout Out this week! So thankful for all the people around me who made me who I am. I apologize if I don't answer all of you back this week, so if I don't email back this week next week for sure! Second off, we have a conference with Elder Teixeira of the Seventy next Monday or Thursday. I've heard both but more likely Thursday. So just in case I don't write next week that is why.

"We should be too big to take offense, and too noble to give it." -Abraham Lincoln

So Saturday morning we were cleaning the church and Elder Aquino was outside cleaning the steps and a drunk guy in the street came up and started talking to him through the gate. They´d already been talking for a few min and by the time I got out there he was screaming at my Comp and I was like what the heck. Apparently he asked Aquino where our "Pastor" was because he wanted money to go buy a sandwich (or more beer) for lunch. Aquino told him he was at work and the guy asked how could he be at work when he just lives off our money. We were both just thinking oh boy here we go. So Aquino told him we didn't have any money to give him. So he looked at me and asked how can Aquino be a Saint if he is snot even helping people. So I told him again we didn't have any money to give him. He told us we had no right to be in the church because we really weren't helping people we were just hoarding all this money from them. Then he looks at us and tells us that when Jesus cones and when the Apocalypse happens that we are going to Hell and we are going to remember him. He also called me Aquino´s boyfriend haha. So at that point we told him to have a good day and turned and walked inside. He then told us to have a very bad day and called us every Spanish bad word he could before we got in. A neat experience for sure haha. But if 'Im being honest, its just another day in Comodoro for us as missionaries. 😎

We´ve been working a lot with Alejandrea, her 10 yr old daughter Milagro, and her 81 yr old mother Ramona. We have baptismal dates for Dec 10 with them but they didn't come to church yesterday. Javier didn't come to church either. But I walked into the chapel yesterday, and the first person I saw was Luis, the "If God Wills It" guy! Apparently God willed it yesterday haha so it was good to see him. We had a family home evening this week with Javier and his Girlfriends family Elder Harris and Carasco came with us because Javier used to go to their ward. We talked about how keeping the Commandments equals Love because it is showing love for our Heavenly Father. Elder Harris said that even though he is white and from the U.S., he still loves all of them and they are his brothers and sisters. Javier said that really impacted him and that Elder Harris was right. After that he said something that really hit me. He said, "just because we may not know a part of the world or people from there, we need to have love for them just for the simple fact that we know they exist."

Much Love,

Elder Christensen