Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Mom and Dad, Amanda, Blake, Bennett and Aaron!
I always loved going to Court of Honors and only mostly because of the refreshments (naturally I went out of a desire to support my fellow scouts in their achievements :). That being said, I am still amazed by the incredible leaders that helped Blake, me, Bennett, Aaron, Patrick, Logan, Sam, and the list goes on and on. To Brother Sam Matthew, Brad Wiskirchen, Dave Litster
​, Jay Larson, Doug Hughes​
, Daddy Christensen, and the many other fathers and mothers I say thank you, thank you, thank you. The Scout Program is still blessing my life even now! We actually just had a man come to a church activity for the first time and part of the the reason he came was because his father was the head of scouting in Chiba Prefecture and trusted Elder B and I since we are Eagle Scouts. This is is his father with the Emperor and Empress of Japan!

It's getting pretty cold over here, but with the help of thermal underwear, heating systems, and bike riding we're doing ok! We had planned to go with our two university student friends who we taught English and a short gospel lesson to, but they had a study session for a test come up at the last minute and cancelled. However, all was not lost. At the dinner put on by the amazing members of the Zama military branch, I met a recent convert from Hodogaya who is keeping the faith and helping his family every day to have more love and unity. Right now, he's trying to implement a family home evening schedule in the home and is meeting resistance :) Come on people! This is time where as a family you can talk about the things that are most important to you, learn to trust one another, and enjoy each other's company. Is there any reason why this wouldn't be a good thing?
I hope we all are making time for REAL family time and this does not include just watching football, playing video games, texting each other, or the like. If such activities are included that is ok, but take the time to let your family know that you care for them. If you don't care for them that much, then you are missing out on one of the most beautiful relationships this world has to offer and missing out on the blessings of an eternal 
​family ​
in the world to come as well. 

I testify that the Savior lives! "After the many testimonies given of Him, this is the testimony that we give last of all..that He lives!" 
He was born as a humble child, grew from childhood into the faithful Son, and overcome every trial, every injustice, and every temptation to do the impossible and rise from the grave, put on immortality, and bring a promise of forgiveness of sins and eternal life to those who exercise faith in him, repent, are baptized, and endure to the end.
That we may all achieve all that God hopes for us is my prayer.

Elder Christensen

Monday, November 16, 2015

e-mail from November 16, 2015

Dear Mom and Dad,
There isn't anyone that we're teaching regularly to prepare them for baptism, but there are several men coming to a Book of Mormon Study Class we have on Wednesday. Neither of them consider themselves Christian, but they do want to learn more about who Jesus Christ is and why we believe so strongly in Him and in a Heavenly Father. One of them actually commented that all of the members of the Latter Day Saint Church that he knew were all good people that he trusted. Up to this point, he's avoided praying personally for various reasons, which does hinder the ability of the Spirit to testify of truth, but he has at least gained a testimony that members are good people. As we talked further, we concluded after reading scriptures in Moroni 7 that simply speaking a good person is one who will make a good choice when given the choice between good and bad, no matter the situation. 
I pray every day that we can all start simple and be "truly good and without guile" as Elder Ringwood of the Seventy taught.
There are plenty of other people who we come into contact with and with whom we are working to create some sort of foundation of trust in the missionaries and interest in the church to go off of. Starting from ground zero is one of the more difficult places to start since there are so many different things that I want to improve so I end of worrying over where to start. It reminds me of one of those really difficult Sudoku puzzles with very few numbers filled in. You start "hypothetically" filling in numbers to see where things go, hit a dead end, back up, and start over without any visible progress to show for it. 
Keeping it simple and focusing on a few people has helped us to make a little bit of progress.

To David and Amanda, I love both of you so much, and I know that Adalyn has received a princess's welcome back in her heavenly home! After all, the King of both Heaven and Earth knows each and every one of his precious sons and daughters and certainly would never let even the smallest one go unnoticed. I can think of no better place for such a perfect little girl than sitting in our Heavenly Father's lap! 

I too am grateful for the promises that we are given in the temple of the Lord. When we hold out faithful to the covenants we have made, we have been promised eternal life, bound together forever in love with our families. Without those special covenants, we lose the only means by which we can live with our families forever, and a life without family isn't much of a life at all. I love what President Monson has spoken about the temple, "Come! Come to the house of the Lord. Here is found rest for the weary and peace for the soul. The temple prepares all who enter to return homeward-homeward to heaven, homeward to family, homeward to God."
I would invite everyone who hasn't yet entered the temple and received those blessings to not put it off until a later date. Prepare now! Do whatever is necessary to receive those blessings! There is no substitute for the peace of mind and hope that they bring!

With tests coming up, I'm sure that everyone is excited!

Head's up, Bennett! I'll be sending you an email soon!

Love forever and ever,
Elder Christensen

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 10, 2015 email from Adam

Dear Mom and Dad,
Transfers went very smoothly and safely with Elder B coming all the way  to K by train, especially considering that we have to carry our bikes with us. Elder B hails from the state of Virginia and a family of athletes. He's very thoughtful and concerned about the people who we meet with, and we've already been blessed with many good conversations and little acts of kindness. 
rom here on as well, I will look at the world, at the people on the street, at the grumpy looking man staring on his phone on the train, at the members of my district as Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled, through God's eyes.
 Living in such a densely populated place as Japan really isn't as hard as I might have imagined, and somehow, I feel like I've adjusted after a year and a half to where I'm not completely overwhelmed anymore. The language is flowing smoothly, and the habits of daily scripture study have helped cement them in my memory so I can teach them on the fly. 
That being said, the city version of Elder Christensen is definitely different from the Boise, Idaho version of Elder Christensen. With so much going on around me, it is difficult to justify taking the time to develop the talents that I devoted so much time to growing up. Singing, soccer, frisbee, reading, jokes always seem less pressing then the matter at hand so they have started collecting dust. 
We've been asked by President Wada to stay off of the beach entirely, but we do get to see it still! The mountains and forests in Kamakura are very beautiful and sprawling. A big portion of our area is covered by forests and mountains.

We've been able to meet with some great people this last week, including a  music composer/arranger, two students studying to become pharmacists, a psychologist with a love of foreign relations, and a woman who had lived with an LDS family on an exchange program in California and whose son is currently in St. George in the same situation! 
Each and every one of these people is as different as you could possibly imagine in terms of hobbies, likes, dislikes, talents, friends, etc. but as we've interacted with them, they all have things in common: desire to be accepted and needed, fear of hurting others, desire to help others. These things are what bind us together as a human family. As interesting as our Facebook likes and pinterest walls are, I'm more interested in what motivates them as a person and the quality of their heart. The gospel of Jesus Christ won't help us decide who is a better musician between One Direction and Taylor Swift, but it can help us decide how to serve others and increase our desire to do good. It changes hearts. For that reason, it is the most valuable treasure this world has to offer. It is the pearl of great price!

I love you dearly!
Elder Christensen

Monday, November 2, 2015

e-mail from November 2, 2015

Dear Mom, I got the package! The Halloween decorations are quite
snazzy so thank you! We actually gave the bat stickers to a potential
investigator who lives near us, and he and his wife were surprised but
accepting of the gift. They also gave us cake in return. He knows a
decent amount of English, but he isn't quite as good as I think he
believes he is so we have tried to encourage him to speak Japanese not
English (which definitely wouldn't have happened when I was a new

Bennett, how do you feel now that your eagle project has been
accepted? I've actually been surprised at how crucial being an Eagle
Scout has been on my mission. In those first few moments of speaking
with people, trust is very important. Whenever I get a chance to share
that I'm a Boy Scout, I've noticed that people noticeably open up to
me and my companion.
After all, a scout is supposed to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful,
friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean,
and reverent. These are some pretty amazing qualities that you have
Bennett, and they will help you go far! Being a Boy Scout is one of
the best ways to learn what it means to be a "real man", and you
probably noticed that being super buff or really hairy isn't part of
the scout law. The content of your character, the measure of your
heart, is what qualifies you to be a scout.
The qualifications for missionary service aren't that much different!
Doctrine and Covenants 4 states,"And faith, hope, charity, and love,
with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work.
Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly
kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence."

First of all, transfer calls have come once again! I will be staying
K for another 6 weeks and getting Elder B from my MTC
district as a companion. Also, after a one transfer break I was asked
by President W to become the District Leader here in K, and
after being invited to attend the Mission Leadership Conference in
K with the Zone Leaders from F, I felt the enormous
amount of trust that was being placed in me to represent the Lord and
President W in directing missionary work in K. Actually, the
feeling of attending the leadership conference was very similar to
being called up from the B team to play with the A team on my Rush
soccer team. I was surrounded by some pretty incredibly talented and
gifted people who had been working together as leaders for months with
President W at the head. Granted, we're all still 19,20,21,22 year

old youth, but anyone who was in that room would have felt the Spirit
very strongly. I pray that I can have the humility and the love to see
what the Lord sees in K
​ ​
 and in the missionaries here and not to
rely on my own vision.
 We are gathered as an army to stand for truth, to stand for virtue,
and goodness, and in doing good to all men, and while we may not be
perfect, I promise you that you would be hard pressed to find a group
with this strong of a desire to do good.

Hurrah for Israel! Love you all!
Your son, brother, and friend,
Elder Christensen