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

Monday, July 10, 2017

week 62

Mommy & All,

"To be or not to be. That is the question." -Shakespeare

This week was pretty good. It's been cool to get to know Ushuaia and my area. When they told me I was gonna be in Centro, I thought great that's perfect I wont have to climb up all those mountains or do any of that it will just be all flat. I guess I didn't know Ushuaia like I thought I did haha. There is a famous area down here called Monte Olivia that is famous because it is pretty much all mountain face and is straight up and down. But in the end, every area ends up like that. I guess I hadn't realized that Ushuaia is one of those places where you walk out your back door and it's a mountain pass, but you walk out your front door and it's the Arctic sea shore. It's pretty cool though and there's always a nice view. There's a lot of snow up in the mountains, but there is more snow on the ground in Perito than here so its not too bad. 

So on Wednesday, my first day here, my comp decides to show me the very top of our area. That's when my whole "I wont be walking up any mountains in Centro" theory died. The apartment that we're in is set up on a hill, and everything behind that is dirt roads because that's where the mountain starts. Well this time of year they aren't dirt but 4 inch think ice roads. It was actually pretty scary going up and down haha. The only way to do it is climbing up and down straight ice slopes that no human can physically climb without an ice pick and spiked shoes, or if you're lucky there will be a set of 65 year old wooden steps that aren't made for anyone over 145 lbs haha. On the way down I broke 7 steps and we hit an ice slope that was about 30 yards from top to bottom. So my comp to get down starts sliding like he is on a snowboard. It was pretty cool until he tripped and fell and slid the 2nd half of the way on his back. The only thing that stopped him was crashing into a fence which was kinda funny. Until it was my turn. So after seeing that, I decided to try and inch my way down, yet there was nothing to hold on to. It felt like a movie scene. I'm inching myself down little by little and all of a sudden my feet are in the air and I land head first backpack second onto the ice. I was able to stop myself from sliding though. So that happened 2 more times before i got down and its the first time I've fallen all winter so it was an experience. 

We have 2 really cool investigators here named Mikaela and Frederico. Since I got here Tuesday we'd been planning their wedding and they were able to get married Friday and it was awesome. I wasn't even able to meet them till Thursday night, but they are great. They are both from Buenos Aires and have a 6 yr old boy named Bautista who loves to arm wrestle me and a 1 yr old little girl named Augustina who loves to shake hands. Their wedding was really cool and went great. The end of their wedding was interesting. We got all our stuff, said our goodbyes and got ready to leave. As we were walking out the door, I swiveled my head around and saw Mikaela sprinting across the room in her high heels and wedding dress towards me. She grabbed my arm, looked at me and said "You're gonna sing me a song before you go right?" I thought she was completely joking. I'd met her for 45 minutes the night before and now she wanted me to sing at her wedding...? Sadly she wasn't joking. On top of that, after she mentioned it my good buddy Elder Jensen encouraged it all the way. So I made Jensen sing with me since he did theater and all that in high school, and we found the first English song they had and sang "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz as our present to her and Frederico hahaha. Now we know that if nothing else in life works out for us after our missions, we got our 2 man band with Salt and Pepper haha. We are hoping to have Frederico and Mikaela's baptisms this Saturday.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

The stairs to the top of his area

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Week 61

Mommy & All,

"Its when you can't hear the Bats, that's when the Bats are coming." -Anonymous

This last week was good. We went to Las Heras the beginning of the week as usual and got back here for the back half. We were able to go see Gisel again. She said that she'd started talking to Julian about marriage. That he was starting to open up just a little more because he is a really closed person. They are still fighting pretty bad sometimes it sounds like as well. The only thing holding them together is their 5 month old daughter Amber. We did get to sit down and talk to Julian as well and he was as open as he's ever been with us. He asked a lot of questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and why our message was so different from everyone else. We taught him the Restoration again and really invited him to read and pray about the things we talked about and of course about the Book of Mormon. We were supposed to go see Marcelo and Maria as well, but it sounds like they have been fighting lately because they both seem sad and kinda hint at that when they tell us we can't come over so that's not good to see. 

We were able to teach Hugo as well who's Susana's friend. We talked about having the Faith to do the things God wants us to do like read scriptures, pray, and go to church. He seemed to really understand that and told us he would do it. He even came to church with Susana Sunday. We also gotta see Raul this week and he had a visitor at his mini camping. Her name was Lucy Barnyard from Australia and she was way cool. She doesn't speak really any Spanish, so it was nice to sit and have a conversation in English with someone haha. She told me she has quite a few Mormon friends and asked me tons of questions about the mission and just the church in general. The really cool and kinda insane part about her, is that she is trying to become the first woman to ever walk the length of the world! She is going from Ushuaia which is the very bottom point, and is trying to get to the highest pint in Alaska which I guess is the top point. She told me that there's been a few men who've done it but never a woman. I asked her how she started and she said she just woke up one day saying she needed to go on a really long walk haha. She's come up from Ushuaia to Perito in about 4 months and has been staying here a few days. The funny part is that I'll be in the United States before she is haha. But I hope she makes it then the pics I took with her can be worth some good money. haha Speaking of Ushuaia, I just got transferred here and got in last night. I'm in a part of Centro so it will be pretty cool to know. After 26 hours, 4 buses and a boat, I made it haha.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen

A few notes from mom:  His trip to Ushuaia was good.  They got on the bus that made the longest leg late evening.  It is a bus meant for sleeping on, and was a little small for him, but he said it wasn't too bad though and he was able to sleep.  The reason they take a ferry is that Chile divides the top part of Argentina from the Tierra de Fuego providence of Argentina at the bottom, so they would either have to get a visa to pass through Chile or take the ferry around.  He traveled with Elder Jensen, who is one of his best friends in the mission, so that made it fun.  Elder Jensen is going to be his new Zone leader, and Max is going to be Elder Jensen's new district leader, so he is excited to be able to work closely with him.  He said his apartment is really nice.  He thinks there are about 16 missionaries in Ushuaia and he is happy about that.  It has been 6 months since he was able to really do anything with other missionaries on pday, and he has missed that interaction.  He is really excited about his new area and has heard great things about the branches in Ushuaia.  He finally has his Argentine papers and is legal.  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Week 60

Mommy & All,

"Its about gaining that competitive edge! You cant afford to make excuses. No excuses when you feel pain and trust me, You Will Feel It!" -Unknown

This week was pretty good. With all the snow we didn't travel to Las Heras till Tuesday and then we got back here Thursday afternoon. 

We were able to sit down and talk with Gisel Friday morning and that was really good. She literally knows everything that we teach an investigator before baptism, and we more doctrine as well because of her brother. She is super really for baptism, she just has that little marriage problem with her boyfriend Julian. He doesn't really have any desire to get married. She sat down and told us that she is 100% sure that everything we've taught is true, and how happy she is to know that. She isn't even baptized yet, and says that she has already seen a difference in things in her house. She used to have tons of problems with Julian and used to fight with her 10 yr old daughter Briza a ton. She says that its mostly gone away ant that there's been a different spirit in her house. So she really wants to get baptized to be able to have that guide of the Holy Ghost. She wants to get married to Julian to make it all work, but told us that in the very end if he wont even consider it that they'd split up. She told us she doesn't rely on him for anything and can definitely do things by herself with her little girls since she raised Briza while she was alone because her first boyfriend left her while she was pregnant. And she said she will remind Julian of that because she really wants baptism. At the end of the lesson, she ended up asking us how she can share our message with other people! That she has a few people in mind she wants us to teach because of how its helped her so much . So that was really cool. 

Friday night we gotta go see Marcelo, Maria, and Augustin. Maria made us the best empanadas I've ever eaten and we showed them a Restoration video and they loved it. We invited them to pray as a family if all this is true. Marcelo's brother Andres has been working a ton with them as well so they always have awesome questions. They are another family that's super ready, we just have to get them married and get them coming to church consistently. 

Saturday we got to go see Fabiano. He is a guy we've only taught once before, but already knows a ton about the church since he'd talked to Elders when he was in Salta. So we sat down and just answered questions that he had about the things he read since we last came. Then we talked about nothing but baptism with him. He sees that its really important, and wants he promised blessings that come from it. We were going to put a baptismal date with him for the end of July because he still needs to come to church, but just our luck he leaves the first week of July to go do border patrol between Argentina and Chile, and is going to be up there till August 6th. But he said he wants to keep preparing while he is up there, and that he is going to take the Book of Mormon with him. He even said he will give us the phone number of the house he's in up there so we can call him and teach him sometimes. 

It started snowing here again Saturday night at about 11. By 10 'o'clock Sunday morning, we had a 12 inches of snow.  So we only had 4 people at church. We didn't have a shovel, so for the people to get into our house I had to take a chair and clean off our walk way haha. It continued to snow all day Sunday, so Vega and I just walked around with a shovel we got from Hermano Naiman and looked for people who needed help. We ended up pushing, pulling and digging out 11 cars out of the snow. Right now we are sitting on a little more than 18 inches city wide and it just started snowing again while I'm typing this email. The locals here say that Perito hasn't seen snow like this since like 1991. So its been a good time.

Much Love,

Elder Christensen