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