Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Adam! Thurs. January 8!

Dear Family,
Neither can I! I will forever be out of the teenage years, and that
kind of scares me a little bit. As excited as I am for my birthday, if
I can simply become a little bit more like the missionary I want to be
and that everyone hopes I can be then I'll be happy. We do have a
dinner appointment with a member family that night, and the mother was
pretty excited to hear at it was my birthday so we'll see what
happens, (they are an incredible family so whatever they come up with
Ill be thankful for!) There are some crepe shops so we might check
those out too!
We went to the beach to watch the sunrise and talk with people about
their goals and a hope for a better year and life. There were tons of
people, and at first I wast kind if shell shocked into silence. I was
too worried to go straight up to a group of people, but I also
couldn't bring myself to just bounce around from person to person.
Eventually, the conversations came fairly naturally, but I've realized
that I sometimes I get too carried away with just talking. Especially
in Japan, people are pretty much always interested in hearing about me
as a person, but are hesitant to bring up something potentially
sensitive like personal beliefs and religion. As I've pondered this
and studied a little bit more, I have realized that I can do a little
bit better at letting the light of Christ shine through me. As it says
in Matthew 5, "let your light so shine before me, that hey may see
your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven." We must
let our light shine so that others may glorify God and not us. As much
as I like being complimented on how hard it must be to teach about
Christ in a non-Christian country, I would much rather people see that
the desire and love that I have comes not from me, but from a person
who is infinitely better than I am. I wish that everyone could feel
the simple and unadulterated love that comes from knowing that God
exists, that He loves each and every one of us, and that He has
provided a way for us to return to Him if we are only willing to seek
after Him in faith. We need not know all of the answers to every
question before we are convinced that He and His love are real. All
that is require is a heart humble enough to listen to the gentle
whisperings of the The Holy Spirit which brings peace to the aching
soul, answers to a questioning heart, and confidence to the faint in
Communicating from the heart in Japanese is probably the hardest thing
I've had to do up to this point, and although we get along, it feels
like there is a lot missing in the companionship because we really haven't had many opportunities
to get in rhythm. As a convert, he doesn't have the same background,
and his parents aren't members either, though he keeps inviting them!
He plays rugby and a kind of martial arts called aikiro, which I've
never done but is pretty well known in Japan.
We've had a lot of really short conversations during finding, but
lesson settings and longer conversations have been fairly rare. We've
been trying to change that with more practice lessons with members
recently even though most of them are busy. He definitely understands
where they are coming from more than I do which is a real blessing!
Sometimes, people tend to feel like my persistence comes from a lack
of understanding when really I just don't want to give up. We've
definitely gotten better the last little bit, and I hope we can keep
working together as best as we can!

I love you all so much!
Elder Christensen

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