Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

The kids in the family we are teaching are 1 and 3 years old, but
sometimes, iWe've been trying to help hem build a habit of family prayer
and scripture study like we did at home so that they can invite the
Spirit into their home even when we're not there. We have a lesson on
Tuesday evening so keep them in your prayers,

My story from recently came at a 7 Eleven in a place called
F. First off, these little convenience stores are like
little points where heaven and hell come together. Little kids toys
and pornography magazines are both equally visible for the passerby
who is unawares and  danger for missionaries looking for a bathroom
break, but usually we avoid the magazine portion of the store. One
day, on splits with my favorite missionary, Elder H, we stopped
at a 7 Eleven so that he could relieve his stomach, and I stood apart
from the magazine rack waiting. A man stood at the fashion section
reading, and like a million times before, a mental war began to rage
in my head. "Should I talk to him?"
"Yes, of course you should! He could be looking for exactly this!"
"But he's probably busy or looking at a terrible magazine."
"Then he needs this message even more!"
So I went. He responded to me in the most clear, controlled, and
composed manner and told me that his boss, the head of xxx, is a
member of the Mormon church whom he has great respect for and that he
has traveled to Salt Lake City and Provo before on business. He told
me that he would be glad to listen to what we had to say although he
said that he wasn't necessarily looking to change religions. Then, he
asked me something interesting,"why did you come up to me? There was
no reason for you to talk to me, and it certainly wouldn't have been
against your religion to not do so. What made you talk to me?"

It was at that moment that I realized that the power of the restored
gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the
Priesthood of God lies in the the active exercise of faith and in
following the promptings of the Holy Ghost even if there is absolutely
no logical reason to do so. We can go through our life never breaking
any commandments or committing any sins and never attain all the
blessings God has in store for us because we never act proactively in

We actually met with him and his wife this last Saturday and taught
them about the Restoration and gave them Books of Mormon, but they
decided they wanted to go more at their own pace and only meet about
once a month. We're going to send them scriptures so that we can stay
in contact.

It's taken a while to build a foundation to build on here in H,
but after 7 months, there are many blessings that are starting to bear

Please give everyone my love!
From your loving son, brother, and friend,
Elder Christensen

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 24, 2015 Adam's e-mail

Dear Mom,
 It's been a pretty faith building experience here so far, and as I've tested the principles of cultivating our faith in Alma 32, it's clear to me that the only variable in receiving blessings and seeing the work of God unfold before our eyes is our willingness to believe. Every time I have exercised my faith, he has answered. I KNOW that he answers.
I found myself wondering the same thing again as you this last week, Mom. 
Why in the world are 18-ish year old called and given the responsibility to spread something so incredibly necessary and critical to lasting happiness as the gospel to me or to other people like me? It's a rare day when I don't feel as if I could have done something better or someone reminds me that I could be doing something better. When Christ's church first spread forth across the earth, Christ chose an army consisting of 12 men, simple fishermen, tax collectors, etc, who were mercilessly brought in chains before kings, emperors, buffered by storms, bitten by serpents, poisoned, stoned, persecuted by mobs, false prophets and the most vicious of liars and traitors, and every manner of evil imaginable all because they would not deny the simple truth about a man who was more than a man and a King who wore no crown but one of thorns. How it must have pained Christ to see his beloved friends, those men whose hearts he knew to be true and good, brutally rejected, ridiculed, and mocked until one by one they followed their beloved Savior path and died as martyrs for the truth. 
Now, once again in modern times the same as in times past, God has raised up an army, but not one of soldiers. We, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, fight, but not with swords. We fight for all that is good and virtuous in this world, and we invite anyone and everyone to join with us. I believe in God, our Eternal Father, and Jesus Christ, his Beloved Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and I testify that God has created a way for us to return to Him united as families who have been raised by dedicated fathers and mothers and sealed together in His holy temples. 

Good luck in school everyone! Blake, drive safe and keep BYU going strong for another year ok!
I would love to hear from all of you!
Elder Christensen

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

tender mercies 8/18/15

August 18, 2015

Dear Mom,
The English Class students are doing great, and as I've come to know them each a little bit more, I've really come to appreciate them so much for their love, concern, and patience despite not learning to speak very well or if we teach something poorly. This last week, a mother and her daughter who had recently started coming to classes agreed to let us teach about the Book of Mormon and about God. When we met her, she was very, very excited to start, but she was more excited for her daughter whom she cares more about than even herself. Her daughter is an incredibly talented candle maker even though she's only in junior high, and her mother is always praising her accomplishments and encouraging her to take every opportunity available. While we taught, however, her daughter was pretty quiet and seemed kind of uncomfortable about something. We tried to get her involved by specifically asking her questions that she could answer, but her answers were usually only one word and it felt like she was unsure of how to answer. I've never been good at working with people let alone teaching them, and needless to say, I was stumped. We had gotten to the discussion about why there are so many religions and why exactly they are all so determined to be right. That sort of mentality, she concluded, is the one that leads to wars and contention, broken families and lost friends. She actually considers herself religious, but has hesitated from ever joining any one religion because she feels they essentially all describe the same thing in different ways. I'm not an expert on religion, nor am I qualified to make any statements about what other religions believe in, but I have at least learned that there is a way to know for sure what truth is; and that is prayer. Those who desire to do good, who, like the Apostle Paul, seek after "any thing lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy", will be able to feel in their heart the truth contained in the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and in the words of living prophets. If any of you are seeking after that which is truly good and true, please come and see for yourselves! Take a walk around the grounds of one of the many temples near you, and I promise you that you will feel peace in your heart and the love of God as you do. 

Today has been a crazy P-Day, and I feel more and more like even though I'm becoming more experienced as a missionary I still don't always know what I'm doing. Essentially, I left our cell phone somewhere around the temple, and after we returned to our apartment, I realized, with a sinking feeling in my stomach, that I probably left it in a bag that I threw away in a McDonalds an hour and a half away. Cell phone's are literally a missionaries treasure here in Japan and one of the only ways to get in contact with some of the people we are working with. Without it, we might as well have not been here the last 6 months, so I was pretty close to panicking myself to death. As we headed back to Tokyo and as I sat down on the trains and spoke to people whom I have never met about things like God's love and faith and families, I realized that whether or not I found our phone wasn't something worth worrying about. I love the people here in Japan, and nothing, not even a stupid mistake could make me worry when I'm talking to the people I love about the God whom I have come to know personally and trust with all my heart. 

Just for the record, the people at McDonald's actually went and searched through the dumpster and found the bag that I left the phone in, and we were joyfully reunited! Yay, miracles!

Love, love, love
Elder Adam Christensen

Monday, August 10, 2015

e-mail from August 10, 2015

Dear Mom,
I really had my own testimony strengthened this week! Bearing testimony simple truths brings is one of the best ways to invite the Spirit and to teach others. It's actually been really surprising to me how few people know about the simple truths that we know and love so much. Things like we are literally the children of a loving Heavenly Father, or that God is actually a physical being and not just in nature, essence, or even split into millions of Gods. I've run into that a lot recently, but Elder M reminded me that we don't need to get into deep confusing discussions about that. There was actually one man that we met who was walking around town training to climb mountains all over the world and who prayed often to the god of the mountains to keep him safe. He even told us about some pretty incredible experiences of being protected by some force while hiking. At that moment, we simply testified that it was not the mountain that saved you, but a loving, and very real God, one who created the mountains, the oceans, and everything else who has saved him in the past. He had never even though about it before, and he told us that he didn't think that we met by accident. He was hesitant because we just met him, and he didn't feel comfortable exchanging information, but we thanked him and promised him that we would see him again. 
We have several people we have begun teaching now, and even though their knowledge is still pretty limited, they are some amazing people! I'll keep you updated!

Love you!
Elder Christensen