Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year! December 29, 2014

Dearest Family,
I'm so glad that everything went smoothly with Skype and that I was able to see all of your smiling faces and to be reminded of how fortunate I am to have such a loving, talented, good looking family. I definitely underestimated how emotional it would be, and the last few days have been pretty difficult as well. Most of my frustration comes from feeling like I have good goals but not seeing any way to accomplish them or being told that I'm not doing something right when I'm trying my hardest. Learning to deal with frustration and failure has been a big part of my mission so far, and even though I wish I didn't have to learn this lesson when salvation is on the line (no pressure right), I know deep down that this is what I need. There have been a ton of moments where I've been tempted to give in, not to go home or break any major rules, but to slacken my efforts, be a little less patient, and simply let life happen to me. I wish I could say that I've never given in, but that wouldn't be the truth. However, if there is one thing that I know, it's that I will eventually get back out there. This week we had some incredible miracles happen, whether I was on exchanges with the Assistants, giving a man from the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) a Book of Mormon, or meeting an incredible young kid on the street  and giving him a church tour. For all the little failures and mistakes that we make, we would do well to remember all of the times we succeed as well. I don't know if you've watched Meet the Mormons, but the final story really touched me and inspired me to learn to learn from the past but not live in it. For those of you who don't know, that story was about a missionary mom who as a young teenager had a young child, was homeless, family less, and without much hope in the world. Through a series of heaven sent events, she found the church, married, and has now sent her son to share the wonderful message that saved their lives. I plan to watch that movie many more times after my mission!
Nature has been one of the main things that I've missed on my mission so far, but as long as you get to  enjoy it for me, pictures will be enough.
Christmas here was another hard day of working, and caroling was both successful and awkward at the same time. Some of the people we caroled to weren't too enthused about us visiting, so thankfully we brought gifts as peace offerings! Still a wonderful experience, but I'm definitely grateful for the culture of caroling that exists in America.
One thing I study on Sunday was specifically the purpose of fasting, but also the purpose of all the many little rules and responsibilities we have in the church. As we discussed fasting, I remembered that even though I was hungry, fasting had a sort of cleansing effect and helped build my self control, at least with regards to food. We are commanded to be perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is perfect (see 3 Nephi), but that's a pretty impossible goal and impossible to know where to begin. Through commandments like fasting, tithing, the word of wisdom, sabbath day observance, service, education, we are gradually overcoming the various elements of the natural man and becoming more like God by setting smaller, more attainable goals. We are fighting laziness, ignorance, gluttony, greed, anger, impatience, and every other bad attribute and replacing them with Christ-like ones. So if anyone ever wants to overcome a bad habit or improve themselves, simply let them know about these simple, time-tested methods and let them try it out for themselves. 
With love,
Elder Christensen
Odawara District

mission Christmas Conference

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014

Snow hasn't quite come yet so I'm still waiting
for Christmas to come here in Japan! We don't go down to the beach as
much as we probably could, but in Japan there are never a shortage of
people no matter where you go. If we were to talk to every single
person, we wouldn't really even move much (I've actually experimented
several times :) ) Once we spent an hour and a half moving about 200
yards. I don't have any beach pictures yet, but I will include the
castle and a pretty amazing picture of Mt. Fuji when I went on splits
with Elder F in Hiratsuka!
Okinawa is in the Fukuoka Mission! I still haven't heard much about it
from Elder N but I'll do my best!
Our branch president was just moving nearby, but he actually doesn't
live in our area! Many of the members are called to come here to
strengthen the branch.
There is so much I want to say, but time is pretty short again today
since we went to lunch with a less active sister and are preparing to
go caroling again!
Yesterday was one of the most incredible days of my mission, and once
again it took until the very end of the day. The entire day we spent
caroling and visiting investigators and less active members, although
most of them weren't home. However, I had been making a goal to listen
more to the Spirit during the day so I tried acting every time I felt
something I thought was a prompting. At first it was to house in an
area around a member's home after a carol even though time was tight.
The other elders found a man who said they could come back and share
their message. Then, I began talking to a couple, but the husband left
so I was left with the wife. The sisters came over and struck up a
conversation, and she gave them her email and even said we should call
her mama because we are all so young. I felt kind of disappointed
because I had yet to have someone ask to meet with me (I know it's
selfish but that's how I felt). I kept talking to people as much as I
could, and the very last man I spoke to listened to everything we had
to offer about the a Book of Mormon and Prayer and agreed to meet next
Sunday after he come to church. He told me afterwards that he had
recently been wondering about religion since many Japanese people say
they are Buddhist but their beliefs don't really affect their actions.
He said that he desires the kind of faith that changes people's lives.
God is mindful of us. He knows our thoughts and the desires of our
hearts. He has promised that he will bless us for our efforts, and I
testify that this is true. If we seek after Him with all of our might,
mind, and strength, we will find Him, and it will truly be glorious.
This Christmas and next year, let us seek after Him in all that we do.

I love you all so much! Don't spoil the Hobbit for me either!
Elder Christensen

Castle in Odawara

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 14, 2014

Sometimes, it's still just difficult to manage time so we ran out of
normal time last P-Day before we even realized it, and this week we
spent the day helping our Branch President move into a new house so
time is pretty tight today as well. I want so badly to let you and
everyone know how much I love you and want to help you all as best as
I can.
We normally walk or ride our bikes still! I actually sent my bike
through a transport service offered by the mission so that was pretty
The scriptures have become a regular source of strength for me so
those gifts are truly invaluable! The Branch is small, but the members
have fiery strength and a powerful love of the gospel. They don't have
a choir, but they are anxiously engaged in helping the missionaries
and there's a caroling activity coming up which I'm so excited for!
With busy schedules it's difficult to coordinate effectively, but I'm
learning as I go and doing better than before!

I didn't see Mr. Carswell, but if anyone comes to Odawara let me know!
Elder N is a convert of several years, but neither of his
parents are members yet. They are still supportive, which I'm sure is
a source of comfort to him! He's from the lovely Fukuoka, Japan area,
although many Japanese missionaries go to Hawaii and California too!

Today has been pretty short on time, and although teaching
opportunities are still few in number, we saw several miracles that
stood out in my mind. One came has we were contacting on a small street, and
we saw a small alcove with a few old, rusty looking doors. It appeared
as though no one would possibly live there, but we went anyway. In one
of the apartments, lived a small old woman who had received church
pamphlets many times, but had never met missionaries before. We
visited again today with the sisters, and she had already begun
reading the Book of Mormon and agreed to take lessons starting this week.
 I have yet to see a lack of miracles when we have really
apply ourselves and push through even the hard days. The gospel of
Jesus Christ is real, and I testify with all the energy of my soul
that all people, no matter their religious, monetary, or social
background, can find the happiness and joy that they are searching for
if they are simply willing to test out our message to come and see. No
matter when and no matter where we will welcome you with open arms and
loving hearts!

I love you all! Congrats Aaron, keep making me proud!
Elder Christensen
rainbow in Odawara

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014 e-mail from Odawara

I'm so sorry! Yesterday was our temple P-Day,  but since it's so much
farther than Hachioji we spent around 4 hours on trains and didn't end
up having any time to email before we started proselyting for the day.
I wasn't entirely sure if I should email even though it wasn't P-Day,
and I had originally planned to just write next week.
Elder Nishidome and I were thinking about calling on our Friday during
the earlier part of the day, which will still be on Christmas Day for
you guys! We haven't picked a specific time yet, but is that ok?
There are gifts for Amanda and Blake in the package as well, but they
are Christmas gifts so you should probably wait :) I got your package
with the advent calendar gifts, and I have to say that it's been a
highlight of my December to open them with my companion and share the
scriptures with each other. I've been able to share the blessings of
American gifts with the people of Japan so thank you! I haven't
received the gift from Blake and Amanda yet, but there is a Christmas
conference at the mission home during Christmas week so I'll probably
get it then.
I just want to say thank you for sending such wonderful stories about
Grandpa and his amazing life experiences. I've come to treasure them
and the other stories of our ancestors so much recently!

There have been so many new things to do, the new apartment (which is
an actual house with an elevator) was a mess, and we had a lot of
organizing information that needed to get done so our minds have been
all over the place.This last week was a whirlwind of new events and a
lot of reevaluating, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of
things again now! The branch here in Odawara consists of around 25
active members and a decently sized group of less active members. We
have 6 missionaries working here, 4 elders and 2 sisters. Progressing
investigators are few, and we don't have many potential investigators
to work with, which means we are doing a lot of finding! The setting
here in Odawara is completely different from Hachioji. We have a giant
Japanese castle, a beach, and a very spread out population, which
means that tracking has usually been the most effective form of
contacting. I've found that I've gotten a lot better at boldly
inviting the people that we contact to take steps of faith, but I
frequently feel like the invitations aren't personally tailored to
each person. Each person is a unique individual with years of life
experience that defines who they are and how they act, and by myself,
there is no possible way I could find out enough about a random person
in 5 minutes of conversation. In essence, the  Holy Ghost is the means
by which we can come to understand these people and their needs, but
as with all things, it's easier said than done. Listening to the
quiet, subtle promptings of the Spirit is a skill that takes patience,
diligence, faith, and obedience. In a bustling place like Japan,
recognizing the Spirit has been a struggle unlike any other. You are
surrounded by people, but feel very alone in the midst, and I
frequently wonder how I can possibly talk to all of them. The answer
thus far has been one by one. Whether it's playing basketball with
high school kids, talking to fishermen on the beach, streeting in a
crowded market, there are opportunities everywhere to talk to people,
and we just have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone and be
bold, tempered with love. In the end, we decide the kind of missionary
that we become by the effort that we put into our work. As members,
the only thing stopping us from opening our mouths and sharing the
gospel are the barriers we create ourselves. However, we can change,
and we can help other people change as well! First, we lay down our
"weapons of rebellion" and our preconceived notions of knowledge and
let the power of Christ's Love and Atonement first cleanse and then
empower us with blessings from on high. For God's ways are higher than
our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We now see
through a glass darkly, but with His guidance, face to face.
Sorry again for making you wait, but I hope you know how much I love you all!

Elder Christensen
1. Christmas in Japan
2. Playing some ball

Monday, December 1, 2014

Why I otta go to Odawara........ December 1, 2014

Dear family,

Your thanksgiving looked like a blast with all the family members! I'm
so happy that you get to spend so much time together, even if I only
get to share in the joy vicariously.
The time difference is 16 hours, and we get to choose the time when we
can call during the week of the 22-26 so I might just call you on the
evening of the 25 in Boise. I'll talk with my companion when I
transfer and we can work out a good time for all of us! I sent you all
a gift too so hopefully you get it before Christmas!

First of all, I will be transferring out of Hachioji for the first
time and heading over to a town called Odawara to be with Elder
N my first Japanese companion. I guess this means only
Japanese speaking from now on, so that's pretty scary, but it's also a
great opportunity to learn and grow! For Mom, Dad, Amanda, and Blake,
Did you have native speaking companions? How was it?
We had interviews with our mission president, and he told me that I
need to be bold in my invitations with new people, potential
investigators, and investigators, which is something I've struggled
with my whole life. I am just not comfortable being up front when
asking people to do things, but as I've tried to stretch myself beyond
my own doubts, I've seen the truth of that advice and hope to continue
to improve! One of our potential investigators agreed to take lessons
from the missionaries, and even though I won't be able to teach him
since I'm transferring, I hope to keep in contact with him and help
him as best as I can!

One more miracle! Housing normally hasn't been very successful in
Japan up this point, but I know that there are still prepared people
to be found. We were returning from visit is less active and I noticed
a home with a ton of Christmas decorations. In Japan, that's pretty
rare so I decided to go check it out. They weren't home, but I
remembered some advice in PMG that sometimes we are led to certain
people and homes, but there neighbors, etc. are the ones who are
prepared so I knocked on the next house over. Long story short, a
single mother and a 3 year old son answered, and they agreed to let
the sister missionaries return and teach them. It truly was a tender
mercy and a miracle!

I'm so grateful that I get to have such an amazing family to learn
from and to share my experiences with!

Love, Love, Love,
Elder Christensen

 Boy Scouts in Japan at an Emergency Training activity

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! November 24, 2014

There really isn't a holiday like Thanksgiving in Japan so we've had
the opportunity to a lot of explaining and sharing the many blessings
that we have! In the past, missionaries have been invited to the
various military bases for Thanksgiving dinner, but since the number
of missionaries has grown pretty rapidly, they are limited those
dinners to missionaries who are already on the bases :( However, we
are not so easily beaten here in Hachioji. Our district has planned a
Thanksgiving dinner during our weekly English Class on Wednesday so we
plan to introduce Thanksgiving the American way to all of our students
and anyone else who wants to come! There's a CostCo fairly near to
Hachioji so we have already prepared turkeys, stuffing, mashed
potatoes, pies , rolls, and the rest of the good stuff! Hopefully, we
can help the people of Japan realize just how much there is to be
grateful for in this life!
As far as packages go, normally they just get sent from the Mission
Home, but for Christmas gifts it might be different. Speaking of
Christmas, when would be the best day to Skype you all? It's coming up
pretty fast and it's weird to think I've already been out for 6
We have transfer calls next week so Next time I email I will know
whether or not I'm staying in Hachioji!
It's been a long time since I've been able to see a baptism, but
hopefully, that day will come someday! As long as other people are
able to do it for me, then I think I'll be ok with waiting.

This week was a little out of the ordinary for me since I came down
with a pretty bad cold. As much as I felt comfortable, I tried going
out every day, but there were several days when Ward members told me
that I should just go rest. Even with a strange schedule, we found
several potential investigators who we are trying to keep contact with
and invite to more activities. In other news, one of the other
companionships of Elders set a baptismal date with one of their
investigators! His name is Y and he's a fireball. During their
first lesson, he said up front that he wasn't interested in the church
and didn't want lessons, but that he still wanted to come to church on
Sunday. Since then, he hasn't missed a single block of church, and
many people assumed that he was already a member. He's created a plan
to baptize everyone in his hometown so that they will be more
accepting of his choice to be baptized! He may not be my investigator,
but I'm grateful that I was able to see his growth to this point.
We've been working much closer with the ward these last few weeks, and
hopefully, this helps us  take the next step in our work. The members
here are so caring, and despite their busy schedules, they make time
for the missionaries as best as they can for lessons and meals! Please
pray for them in all of their endeavors and that they will be blessed!
One thing that came to my mind as I was studying this week is why
sometimes we are asked to suffer. It is certainly for our growth,but
just as Christ, through suffering all things, was able to perfectly
understand our own trials, we, through suffering, are better able to
minister to the needs of others who may be struggling. We must always
remember that Christ first descended below all things so that he could
then rise above all things and fulfill his role as our Savior and
Ephesians 4:8-10

I love you!
Elder Christensen
Dominos Pizza!!

Zone Conference

Adam's companion and his sweet skills!

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

Hello again!
I was pretty surprised as well! I know that sometimes Boise has some weird weather, but that is still an incredibly unusual surprise! Although I'm sure that Bennett and Aaron aren't complaining, right guys? Thank you so much for the stories about Grandpa! I've already had the opportunity to share some of them with people as I've talked about my family, and they are truly incredible!
Now that there's snow, do you have any winter plans to go skiing, sledding, or trips to a yurt?

Look for missionary opportunities in all that you do! I've really been wanting to see if I can start a missionary blog while I'm on my mission, but I need to work out a few details and talk to my mission president so we'll see how hat goes! There are so many ways we can help others find the truth that they are so desperately seeking, and I know that with all of your talents you will find some pretty incredible things to do!

I've been thinking a lot about the power that we each have to influence those around us, and as the world is becoming more connected, we have some incredible opportunities to make a difference. We certainly can't do everything, but as we apply ourselves, work with those around us, and follow the subtle promptings of the Holy Ghost, God is able to work miracles through us for the benefit of countless people who have died, are still living, and even those who have not yet been born. We are all key pieces in the grand design that our Heavenly Father has so lovingly and carefully prepared for us, and if we so choose, we can be the means of doing truly incredible things during our short time on is earth.

Our work in Hachioji has largely been focused on building relationships of trust with the people who we have already met, but who do not currently have a desire to receive any lessons. It's been difficult to accept the fact that some people just do not want to learn more about our church as of now, but I hope that over time they can feel through our love and see through our examples the kind of blessings that they can receive for themselves if they are just willing to take a leap of faith!

I love you all!
Elder Christensen

Eating at Denny's

Service activity
Service at Takao Park

Monday, November 10, 2014

Adam's e-mail from November 10, 2014

Oh my dear, dear family! How can I tell you all the ways that I love
you! Even though I can't be there with you, please know that I'm doing
all that I can to do what you taught me and be a fitting
representative of our family name and the name of Christ.
I wish I could have been there to laugh and cry and share in
remembering Colin and Grandpa, but knowing that you all were there
together makes it easier to deal with. The pictures were perfect, and
I would love to see as more if you can send them! Can you send me more
stories of Grandpa as well? There was only so much that I found out
before, and I would love to learn as much as I can!
I don't really remember those names, but I might remember faces! My
memory of O'Fallon is pretty fuzzy, but maybe it would jog my memory!
Also, I thought of another thing that I would like if you can send it!
I was just thinking about those little devotional quote books and
remembered how helpful and inspiring those were to read each morning!
You really did teach and prepare us well for the challenges we will
face, and I will be forever grateful for your and Dad's endless
sacrifices on our behalf. All the long nights, the long talks, the
careful preparation, the inspired guidance, the exciting traditions,
the delicious food, the loving hugs and kind words made all the
difference in my life!

Things have been pretty difficult here in Hachioji lately, with most
of our investigators dropping contact with us and the others just not
really having any interest in progressing. There is still so much that we can improve
on, and I'm trying hard to be patient. I'm trying to do all that I
can, but also be not too critical. I've been trying to find fun, new
ways to shake things up and too be a little more astonishing rather
than "blending in" to masses of people.
Miracles are still happening though, even if they're not what I would
normally expect.
One miracle that have seen happened yesterday as we were heading to a
members home for a meal, and we saw a man tending to some plants
outside his house. Usually, people will talk for a little before
making it clear that they don't want to talk, but this man
spoke with us for an hour and a half and really opened up his heart to
us. He said several times that he wasn't particularly interested in
religion, by with his wife passing away recently and his sons moved
away, he felt lonely and in need of a friendly presence in his life.
He was more than willing to meet again, and for the first time, we
actually know where one of our investigators lives so Howe can visit
him again! I still didn't understand a lot if what he said, and I was
tempted to invite him and move on, but I felt prompted to wait and
listen and be the person who would be there for this man when no one
else would. No one deserves to be alone in this life, and I know for a
fact that Heavenly Father is watching out for this dear child of God
and for Each and every one of us. His love is real, and you can feel
it in your own lives if you humbly go before him in prayer and offer
up a willing and a faithful heart. I don't know what will happen with
him, but I would be so grateful if you would keep him and us in your

I love you all so much and look forward to sharing more memories with you!
Elder Christensen

1. Youth Cooking activity

Adam's e-mail from Nov. 3, 2014

I'm pretty jealous about those experiences in St. George! I've don't
think I've ever been to the Tabernacle before, or I don't remember
with we went. I can't begin to describe how grateful I am for all of
the amazing family experiences, traditions, and relationships that we
have and the strength that they give each and every day! They truly
prepared me for this mission and have already blessed me so far! Is
school and life going well with everyone? Any interesting experiences?

I experienced several miracles this week, and although I don't have
time to share them all, I hope that I can give you an idea of the
amazing work in which we are all a part.
We had the opportunity to meet with Elder Michael T. Ringwood of the
Seventy last Friday and receive specific instruction on how we can
better apply Faith, Hope, and Charity in our missions. There were many
amazing insights shares, but one thought that he shared really
inspired me. In the Bible, in every instance but one, when the Savior
was moved with compassion, a miracle followed. The one instance
without was in Matthew 9.

36 ��But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on
them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having
no shepherd.

37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous,
but the labourers are few;

38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth
labourers into his harvest.

He then said that we, as the 88,000 missionaries in these latter days
are the the miracle to this last case. We are the answer to the
faithful prayers of millions of ancient people. Receiving that sort of
revelation from a General Authority is an experience I won't soon

We also had several finding miracles, and although they haven't led to
anything yet, I hope and pray that they will. We were passing out
English Class flyers and talking to people at a train station west of
Hachioji, and several people, expressed sincere interest in our
message and the church. One man came right up to me and asked "Are you
Mormon?" in Japanese, and at first, I thought he was going to go off
on a rant. But instead he got really excited and said that he wanted
to meet again soon. He has yet to contact us again, but it was still
an incredible experience!

I love you all! Stay strong and keep being amazing!

Elder Christensen

Adam and his new companion

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 2nd transfer

We should never take any moment with our loved ones for granted, and I'm so grateful that you have taught me, Amanda, Blake, Bennett, and Aaron to love always and to put petty disagreements aside. It's really made a huge difference in my life, and I hope that I can pass on that wisdom to others.
1 Timothy 4:12
As for D, I actually had the opportunity to teach her twice with the missionaries for our ward!  One time, we went and talked about the Book of Mormon, and I was able to bear my testimony to her and her children, and the other time, we went and helped her bake a cake and spent time with her. I spent more time helping out with her kids while they were teaching, but it's humbling to know that I was able to help out in a little way. I never even considered that she would be baptized, but I know now, from experience, that the missionaries must have been praying and working so hard to help here get to that point and build her faith. 
My new companion is actually half-Japanese and had lived in Washington his whole life so he didn't know any Japanese before. It's been pretty rough since he looks Japanese, but isn't completely fluent so many people are hard on him. He has about 6 months left on his mission and is our district leader for Hachioji.

At the end of last transfer, I could not seem to shake the fear and hopelessness that I felt every time I went out to contact or take on another new task and most likely fail. It felt as though I was doomed to fail even when I did the best that I could, and when I tried to think of something inspiring, my mind kept returning to my weaknesses and faults. Every time I tried to remember my purpose, it felt like there was always a voice was telling me that I can't or that I shouldn't even try. One morning, as I felt that apprehension, I remembered Moses' experience written in the Pearl of Great Price. Even after seeing God, Satan sought to convince Moses of his own worthlessness as a "son of man" and sought to diminish his divine heritage. And yet, as Moses stood firm and declared, in the name of Jesus Christ, that he was a Son of God and commanded Satan to depart, Satan lost all power over him and left. As this story came to my mind, I realized that, as missionaries and holders of the priesthood of God, we will always have power over Satan and the poisonous influence of his lies and temptations. I asked Elder Tipene for a blessing of comfort, and from that moment on, I've felt more joy, love, and peace of mind than ever before, and I know that the power of God is real and can, if we have faith, make all things possible unto us. For it is by faith that miracles are performed, and without faith, God can not work miracles among the children of men. Many people on the streets say that the Japanese people will never accept our message and that we might as well give up, but I raise my testimony with those of 88,000 other missionaries and with the testimonies of Nephi, Ammon, Alma, the Sons of Mosiah, the Stripling Warriors, Mormon, Moroni, and countless others in bearing witness of the truth of our message that Jesus Is the Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, that he took upon himself the pains and suffering of all those who have ever lived and will live, was crucified, and rose from the dead so that all those who forsake their sins and their guilty pleasures and follow him with a full purpose of heart will be able to stand before the judgement bar of God free of guilt or shame and will return to live, once more, with our Heavenly Father in glory and in everlasting happiness. The Book of Mormon truly is the word of God and contains, as in times of old, the fullness of the gospel  of Christ. Treasure the guidance contained in its pages and let it be a guide for your lives. And after you have made choice to follow Christ, never, never, never give up or let your doubt overcome your faith. 

If you get the chance, read 3 Nephi 10-11 and imagine what it would be like to hear the voice of God and see Christ come in person and teach you personally. I studied it this morning, and it was an incredible experience!

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and your faith.
Elder Christensen

                                                                        Halloween Party

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014 - Staying in Hachioji!!

Hello my dearest family! 
The fall weather has actually been beautiful, and even though it's starting to get a little colder, you prepared me well with warm clothing! All of the Halloween decorations are up in Japan, and even though it's not quite as big a deal as in America, it's still exciting to see! 

Transfer calls are in! I'll be staying in Hachioji for at least another 6 weeks, and my new companion will be Elder Kuniyuki, our honorable district leader of 13 transfers! There isn't too much time in a transfer, but I hope to continue strengthen the Ward members, provide support to those whose faith is failing, and continue to do my best to help all of our potential, new, and progressing investigators begin their lifelong journey back to our Heavenly Father. President Wada recently shared his vision of the Tokyo South Mission with all of the missionaries and his goals for helping us all become fearless and astonishing representatives of Jesus Christ. Included are at least one baptismal invitation every month, 5 progressing investigators taking lessons and coming to church, and opening our mouths to speak with anyone and everyone we can. They are some pretty lofty standards, but I'm certainly going to try my best! Right now, we are so blessed to be working with some amazing people, both members and nonmembers, and there every time I meet with them I learn something new. My emphasis this week was on the power of faith, hope, and charity as explained in Moroni 7 and many other places in the scriptures. Faith truly is a principle of power, and through faith, God can and will work many miracles as he has promised since the beginning of time. God is still a God of miracles and will pour out blessings on those who press forward with a steadfastness in Christ and a perfect brightness of hope. Life will most certainly have challenges, and we will most certainly be tested. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we falter and stumble. We make mistakes. However, the only time that we truly fail is the time that we forget which way we face, we abandon our faith in Christ and lose our hope in God and His eternal plan for us. However, it is never too late to change. Like the prodigal son, sometimes we go astray and make mistakes. But how great will be our joy and the joy of our friends and family when we finally return! 
Or in the fearless words of Dory, "just keep swimming"!
I love you guys and can't wait to hear from all of you!
Elder Christensen

1. Fall football

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 13, 2014 General Conference and Typhoon season!

Dear Family,

I just want you all how much I love and appreciate the tender care and
love that you have shown me and continue to show to everyone around
you. You are all true examples of Christ, and I'm proud to call you my
family. I was able to watch conference, in English, on Saturday and
Sunday at the stake center in Machida, and it was an experience I
won't soon forget. The feeling of all the missionaries and members in
the area gathered in one body to faithfully listen to the words of our
leaders gave me hope that this work and this gospel are moving forward
and that the members are fully committed and determined to do what is
right despite worries and fears.
It sounds like Bennett's performing skills are top notch! Keep
practicing and honing those talents, Bennett! You never know when they
might be needed!
How is Aaron's football going? What about school?
I don think I'll have the opportunity to watch Meet The Mormons here,
but as long as it helps people understand a little bit more about who
we are and why we do what we do, I am fine waiting another 19 months
to see it. What was your favorite part of it?

Because we had conference this weekend, most of our teaching
opportunities were few and in between, but we managed to squeeze in a
lesson on Sunday afternoon! He work of finding prepared people and
even working to prepare others has been difficult as always. I never
realized how hard it is to try having meaningful conversation with an
invitation with people until I had to try and do it with every person
I see. It is one of the most exhausting and frustrating endeavors I
have ever undertaken, but it is not without reward! All the time
people ignore you are forgotten when one person acknowledges you and
agrees to listen. As Elder Bednar said, we invite because we care and
because we want to share our blessings with the world.
Will all of you keep our investigator, ​xxxx in your prayers? He
really isn't sure why it's important if God exists, and although he is
very intelligent and knows many things about the church, he is afraid
to act on something he doesn't know for sure.
There's another typhoon on its way, and I'm pretty much out of time.
However, there are many good things happening in Japan, and I hope I
don't transfer out of Hachioji just yet after we get transfer calls in
the next few weeks!
I love you so much! If I could give any advice, it would be to make
the most of all the time you have. Listen to inspiring music, read the
words of the prophets daily, study the scriptures, and in all things
seek to be an example of Christ. Never let any opportunities slip by!

Elder Christensen

1. General Conference
2. Missionaries and me!

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 last week volcano, this week typhoon!

October 6, 2014

Thank you so much for the package and the treats! It's been soooo long
since I've had any of those. The krabby patty gummies took me way back
down memory lane! It is always a highlight of my week when I get your
letter, and pictures updating me on all of your wonderful adventures
at home! I'm not entirely sure what I'm craving, but maybe some
personal notes from everyone with inspiring scriptures and thoughts,
hot chocolate and apple cider mix, and some assorted snacks! I'll have to eat the candy sparingly until I figure out a healthy,
balanced diet with all of the really different Japanese foods, a
limited budget, and difficulty reading health information on
groceries, but there's nothing like a kitkat to brighten up one's day!
It's been pretty hard to find good Japanese recipes on our own, but I
think I'll probably start asking Ward members for some. They actually
do celebrate Halloween in Japan, which is pretty dang awesome! We have
a Ward party on the 25th of October so if I stay in Hachioji I'll send
you some pictures of that! How's the fall weather in Boise?

We'll be watching conference officially next weekend, but I'll
probably read and listen to some of them before from and other
I climbed through the window since our companionship doesn't have keys
to the church, and the Ward doesn't think that too many should be
made. We had left some important things in the church, so we were
pretty desperate! But I guess that's one way to become famous!

We began teaching three new investigators last week, S, D
and C, but they were either unavailable or cancelled appointments
for this week so we haven't been able to see progress there yet. Some
are busy with work and some simply don't answer our calls. Some are
still hesitant to fully commit because of doubts and fear of change.
They're all still very new to the gospel so now is a critical time to
build on faith and help them gain a testimony of the gospel. I worry
that they if we lose contact for too long, they won't have a
foundation when the familiar influences of the world come calling.
I've worked so hard to get to this point, and to see it all go would
be a difficult thing to swallow. I'm praying that we will have more
opportunities, and I plan on doing all that I can to help.
We actually just had a typhoon pass over Japan again so we had solid
rainfall for about a day and a half. There weren't many people on the
streets so we took to the houses, but we didn't find many people
willing to open their homes to a couple of wet foreigners just quite
yet. It can be pretty frustrating and hurtful to see people move
across the street to avoid you or quickly go inside their houses when
they see you, and it's hard not to feel helpless and confused. I
honestly just want to help and share a gift that can, even during the
worst times, lift up the heads of the despairing, give peace to an
aching soul, and bring eternal love into a troubled home. At times
like that, it's been easy to feel discouraged, but one thing that's
always given me hope is seeing the member in Hachioji and hearing
their amazing stories of finding the gospel. Many had opposed parents,
friends, and siblings and faced opposition at every turn, but
faithfully, they held to the iron rod and would not let go, despite
the mists of darkness swirling about them and the harsh, mocking of
their many acquaintances looming in the great and spacious building.
In the end, it all comes down to our testimonies. When your friends
and family have gone, you've lost all possessions, and there seems to
be no light in the world, your testimony of the gospel and of Jesus
Christ is a glowing beacon that can give you the strength necessary to
overcome all things. When all other lights go out, your testimony will
remain. I haven't watched general conference, but I know that the
words of the speakers are truly the words of God spoken through his
chosen servants. I know that if we diligently seek to apply them, we
need not fear for God has promised to never leave us comfortless.
Helaman 5:12
John 14:18

I love you all and pray for your success in all things,
Elder Christensen

posing with not shy- High School Students

Fugimori Park