Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 20

Mom & Everyone,

"It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." - Ralf Waldo Emerson

On Tuesday we had a mini zone conference, and it was pretty good. One Elder named Elder Carasco from Chile, came out and gave a fire talk like Elder Holland haha. He is 23 yrs old, and has been a missionary longer than he has been a member of the church. He also played a little professional soccer in Chile before the mission, and he proves it anytime there is a ball around (especially PDays haha). Crazy cool guy. He is the only convert in his family, and talked about how the Spirit is NECESSARY for us as missionaries. There is no other way. He said two things that really stood out to me. The first was that as missionaries, we can only help people change. Missionaries don't convert anyone. The converting power is the Spirit that we can have as we teach. The other thing he said was, "The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, but the Spirit is the keystone of TRUTH." That quote I love because its so simple yet makes so much sense. We all know we need the spirit, but it changes your perspective to hear it from a really recent convert (more recent than Elder Harris even). 

On a random note, last Thursday was the first day of Spring. So the days have been pretty dang nice and actually kinda hot (probably because I lived 8 hrs from Antarctica for the last 3 months haha)

Saturday Presidente Salerno assigned us a big service project to do. We got to go to Centro and paint and clean up the place where people get passports and things like that. So me and about 20 other missionaries and Hermanos from around Comodoro went and painted for most of the day and we all had a lot of fun. On of the things I cant understand yet in Spanish though is when someone tries to give me directions on how to do something, especially if its not another missionary. My job was to carry the ladders around and paint in all the high spots where no one else could reach and the Hermanos were guiding us. With me it got to the point where they pretty much had to do sign language to tell me what to do haha. I felt kinda bad after, and went apologized  to Hermano Alvarenga, who helped, and whose house we live above. He told me something kind of profound and said, "Elder, don't even worry about it. We are all learning every day. Even we are still learning things about our language." I thought that was cool. I will never be able to say I "learned CastellaƱo". But I will ALWAYS have the opportunity to grow and learn in every day of this life in general. 

My comp was sick all week, so Friday we spent all morning in the Doctor while he got shots...not in his arm hahaha. So we didn't do a ton of walking after that. We are still looking for new investigators to teach, and trying to regain the trust of the members here in La Prensa. Elder Fereirra only got here 6 weeks before me and apparently the Elders and even Hermanas that were here before he got here were really bad with the members and just the work in general. The members have told us that no one here talked good about the Elders before. But things are really starting to change! We great quite a few references from members and almost every time they say, "I never would have given this to missionaries before. We honestly couldn't trust them." They didn't even want them in their houses to eat lunch!! It was bad, but getting a lot better each day!

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

week 19 no pictures

Mommy & Co.,

"The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows whither he is going." -David Starr Jordan

Made it to Comodoro! Took 17 hrs on a bus but I made it! We are in an area called La Prensa. My new comp is Elder Ferreira. He was born and lived in Paraguay until he was about 15 yrs old then his family moved to Buenos Aires. Him and his parents are converts. All the Latinos here are funny, but he is a lot quieter than Elder Cardenas (and a lot less crazy personality wise haha) so its is a little different of course haha. Our address to the pension is Doctor Andino Cayelli 1430. After being in Rio Grande, Comodoro feels HUGE. A lot more people, dogs, and just everything. The other part that's way different is Grande was super Tranquilo. Here, we work with a lot of part member and/or less active families. So we are able to teach a fair amount of lessons in the homes of members. Here is the different part. Afterwards, quite a few times the people who don't live there have asked us to walk them to their house if its after sun down. I may not get a ton of pics in this transfer because there are parts of the area that are pretty shady and have had things happen before, and a lot of people say to leave your camera home once the day gets into the afternoon. Rumor has it President wants to close part of the area because there has been gun fire. But its cool!! Also my comp likes to draw and rap haha. He said I'm only the 2nd comp in his whole mission (he has been out 20 months) who likes rap as well so he raps all the time in Spanish just randomly haha. He also knows less English than Elder Cardenas, which is pretty much nothing, but its okay because I'm to the point I can talk pretty well and we can communicate about a lot of things. He also gave me my first haircut since being in Argentina Thursday night. It turned out pretty good! I was impressed. Here, our pension is above the garage of the Familia Alvarenga. They are missionaries who work with Presidente in the office and they are way cool. When people told me it was above the garage, I thought it would be way small, but its just normal size and pretty cool! In our zone here, we have 14 Elders and 2 Hermanas. There is one Elder named Elder Ingram. He played running back for West Haven when we were little and played linebacker for Fremont, so we played him this year.  I've played against him my whole life. He came in the transfer after me, so its cool to have someone to talk Football with every once in awhile and re-live our Glory Days haha. 

ALSO, I did already break my bed. To my defense, the wood was already old, I just finished it off. So I now have a metal bunk bed in the pension haha. So i got a brand new bed and a spare if i need it. The running total now is 3 beds and 4 chairs in 3 transfers. I'm gonna owe Presidente Salerno a lot of money after the mission haha. 

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

When asked if the had anyone they were teaching he replied;

We have literally 300 less active members in the ward directory, so we have been visiting them. We have also just visited all the members and trying to build a relationship with them and the missionaries (us) because 2 transfers ago really bad stuff happened that will take forever to talk about. But they give us references as well. We only have one investigator right now we do a ton of contacting and referencing we are pretty much building from the ground up with investigators. 

When asked about the trip from Rio Grande to Comodoro he said:

It was mostly dark and when it was light its just field as far as you can see. Looks like driving in Wyoming haha. the buses are nice i sent you one pic this week of the inside. they serve us food and they put on movies and stuff but i still get a little cramped and my knees hurt and i have to walk with a hump back because they told me they literally didn't make the bus for people as tall as me haha. But the seats are comfortable. They drive pretty tranqui its normal. It is way warmer here than Grande yes haha. Not as much wind and all the people who live here are surprised at how nice the days are right now

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Week 18-first transfer and picture overload

Sorry this is late.  I was hoping for an update after he got to his new area.  On the plus side, he must have better internet in Comodoro, since I have been getting pictures from his wifi camera all day.  

New area in Comodoro
Mom & my Buds,

"Its hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head." -Sally Kempton

I'm here in Rio Gallegos right now. Its about 7 hrs north of Rio Grande. We are here waiting for our other bus which leaves at 9:30 and will take us the next 11 hrs to Comodoro which will be my next area! I'm actually kind of sad about it. Mariela y Yolanda in the kiosco were progressing really well and we were sure we were going to baptize them this next transfer. Close to everyone said I'd serve probably 4 transfers in Grande so we were all very surprised I got moved this early. My comp thinks its because I have the dog bite and if anything happens to missionaries, Hermana Salerno wants them close to her. We were also working with the AMAZING members in Grande and great less actives were activating also. Its funny, last week was super slow for us, and the week we have things literally rolling here in Chacra, i get moved. Really sad, I'm honestly going to miss it there. We were starting ot see little miracles with the people we were working with. Also Comodoro is apparently the place where all the Elders lose weight, so we will see haha. But off to the big city for me!

I did have a great experience this week. We were inviting a less active member, Domingo, to church for the 3rd time. He is 55 and has been a member for 35 yrs. He was baptized in Cordoba up north, and has been through the temple and everything. He knows more about the Gospel doctrine than we do haha so he knows he has to come to church. He told us honestly he just has trouble getting out of bed early Saturday and Sunday morning. We were able to powerfully testify how important coming to church is for our lives, and it was easily the best I've talked the whole mission. The spirit just took over and I started talking Spanish I didn't know I could. I can testify that the Gift of Tongues is real. In the times we need it most, God is here to help us, especially when we are reaching out to his other children. After this week, there is a lot of potential in my old area.

Random thought but last Tuesday, Elder Cardenas and I wanted to see what it would feel like to switch clothes for a few min. I'm 250 lbs and he is 145 with rocks in his pockets haha. I wasn't able to get his pants on (since one of my legs is the size of his waist) but I squeezed into his shirt and jacket somehow haha. Really good times with him! Have a good week everyone!!

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

None of the pictures are labeled, so I have no idea who they are.  I will try to get the information and add it later. I believe the apartment pictures are of his new apartment, and the last six pictures of the city are of his new area.