Thursday, December 31, 2015

So great to talk to you!! December 27, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Amanda, Blake, Bennett, and Aaron,

 Sometimes the biggest weaknesses I find in myself are in the simplest human relations, but thank goodness for a Savior who gave us second, and third, and fourth, and fifth chances, Even Babe Ruth, the king of home runs, also had the less well known stat of most strike outs. 

I was thinking about your scripture challenge, Dad, and I had a really meaningful study into the scripture," give us this day our daily bread". The ancient Israelites in the Old Testament were given manna every day, exceptSunday, for 40 years to remind them of their dependance on the Lord. Even then, they were often slow to remember Him and were in need of constant correction. When Christ taught, He encouraged us to seek after correction, to submit ourselves to the Lord, rather than having to be submitted before following Him. When we pray, we should always remember our dependance on the Lord and need for His guidance in the things that matter most. I've lived many days that went according to plan, but since it was only my plan, nothing meaningful really happened. On the other hand, the days when I sought the Lord's guidance and what He would have me do have been the most meaningful and the most impactful. 

We will never reach a point in our life where "the touch of the master's hand" can't make our efforts, however big or small they may be, infinitely better. We just need to ask! And then follow the answers we are given.

What a blessing it is to serve!
Elder Christensen

This is not a random person, but an amazing family in our ward!
The kid in the bottom picture on the right is going to Salt Lake City for an exchange program!

Monday, December 21, 2015

New Area! December 21, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Amanda, Blake, Bennett, Aaron, and friends and family,
I've arrived safely in Kunitachi and already hard at work with 3
investigators attending the ward Christmas party, 2 at church the next
day (one of whom has a baptismal date for this week), with 3 district
meetings to attend, Zone meeting and splits with the Assistants and
District Leaders planned, and in the midst of it all, always trying to
keep our eyes and hearts open to find those people who are waiting and
ready to hear the message that Christ's gospel is restored to the
earth. I do feel a little bit out of the loop regarding the
responsibilities of being a Zone Leader and also how to help the
members and investigators that we're working with, and Elder D
and I are trying to find a way to accomplish all that we would like to
do. Prioritizing is a skill that I was never too good at!
My stellar companion Elder Dis from the faraway state of
Georgia  so I have an excuse to
travel to the Southern States in the near future. I've heard a ton
about what it's like to live in the South, but having never
experienced it for myself, I'll just have to go and check it out! He
is as serious as it gets during lessons with investigators, and you
can see that he means what he's saying whenever he testifies,
especially about the importance of baptism and God's love for them.
He is also a lover of soccer (God really does know our talents and
hobbies!) and we're going to be looking for opportunities to use that
to our advantage.

In the midst of a busy week, I was grateful for one particular
opportunity that I had to testify of God's love to a man who seemed to
have had a lot of experiences that had convinced him that God doesn't
really care. We were doing a quick kubarikai (passing out flyers) at a
park in Tachikawa when I saw this man and struck up a conversation.
Right away, he told me that he knew about the church and the strict
rules we have, but that he wasn't religious. His ex-wife was a
Jehovah's Witness had tried to talk to him about the Bible, but he had
heard enough about religion and didn't care.  After having lived in
Japan for over 30 years, he had decided he had had enough and just
wanted out. He felt like he was wasn't welcomed by the Japanese people
around him and was fairly critical of what he saw as a fear and
mistrust of foreigners.
I have lived among the Japanese people for only a year and a half, but
I knew that he had to know what I, what God had taught me through
trial after trial, about Japan. Through the true love of Christ and
the joy that comes from knowing that you and those around you are
children of God, fear is replaced with confidence, doubt with hope,
and disbelief with faith.
When I began talking about the Restoration of the gospel through
Joseph Smith, he told me that I lost him, so I just brought out the
Book of Mormon and asked him to read it for himself and see. I showed
him the story of Ammon and how Ammon's love and testimony of God
changed the Lamanites, and I asked him to apply it to himself. The
pure love of Christ and true doctrine are the solving the problems of
this world and the problems of the heart. I hope that he reads it!
I'm grateful that God gives us second chances, that he has given us a Savior!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Elder Christensen

Monday, December 14, 2015


Dear Momma and Daddy,
Yes, that will be Christmas night for you and the 26th for me! Tokyo time is 16 hours ahead of Boise time so 8 AM here would be 4 PM there. Right now shall we plan for 4:30 PM your time on the 25th? I'll make sure to call you first!
I haven't received the second package yet, but the first one that came did say 1 of 2. I'll follow up with the mission office and see if it was held back for some reason. It hasn't been sent back or anything right?

Transfer calls this week had a special meaning for me! Before coming to Japan on my mission, I heard some great stories of my Grandpa Christensen living in Tachikawa and his exploits there, and I was even more excited to be able to experience it for myself. Up until now, I've been in Tokyo, Odawara, Hodogaya, Kamakura, and this next transfer is in a place called Kunitachi which is literally built on the runway that used to be Tachikawa airfield. I've been assigned as a zone leader with Elder Driscoll, who we got to introduce to the MTC! 
Please let Grandpa know I'm going there and ask him what I should look out for! I didn't ever think I would have the chance to serve somewhere with that sort of connection, but I'm feeling excited to run through the last 6 months stretch in a place where my Grandpa served as well.
How important it is that we remember! Remember our past, remember our promises, remember our friends and family, remember how it feels to choose the right. 

I will always remember the love of the people I have felt in Kamakura. Keep them in your prayers!

Elder Christensen

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas package came! Dec. 4, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Amanda, Blake, Bennett, and Aaron,
I've had a lot of reasons to smile recently, and a hope that things will get even better from here on out. Who says you have to wait until New Years to start on my goals!
The first of the two packages showed up, and already, your stocking is the envy of the whole apartment. You have officially made this the best Christmas present ever! The spiritual thoughts were exactly what are I needed especially the kind reminder for day 7 to always work together with your companion. I wish that it were easier to express my thanks and love in recognizable ways but the feelings are there! Elder B was especially touched that you had a tie for him and was overjoyed to get a Tommy Hilfiger tie! The second one hasn't come yet, but I'll make sure to let you know when it does.

I had many impressions and trainings this last week that were sufficient in humbling me as well as raising my vision even higher to what God has in store for the people of Japan. We were blessed to have both a zone conference and stake conference!
President Wada shared his own personal conversion story with the missionaries, a story which took place near Christmas over 40 years ago when he was still a young teenager full of doubts but who, with the help of bold and loving missionaries and members, grew in his faith of the Savior set a goal to follow His invitation to all to "repent and be baptized".
 These are his own words.

December is one of my favorite times. Of course, the big reason is Christmas. On December 5, 1980, Elders Fred Allan and Elder Kurihara invited me to be baptized for the 21st of December. Since I met Elder Allan on the street on November 20, I met the elders at least three times in between. I felt that they would invite me to join the Church sometime in the future, but when they extended the invitation, I did not feel I was ready to make such an important decision at that time. For one, I had not prayed to know if the Church was true. Furthermore, my parents thought I would be discontinuing their family tradition if I chose to become a Christian. 

Even though I did not keep the commitment for December 21, that set my expectation that God (I was not sure exists) desired I should follow the example of the Savior. Since then, I became acquainted with so many wonderful and honest Church members and missionaries in the area, I felt like becoming a part of the branch and was able to visualize receiving the same blessings by being baptized. I still remember I was being converted socially and emotionally through Christmas and New Year�fs events organized by the members. 

Since that day I received my baptismal invitation, I received baptismal invitation at least 5 times before I was actually baptized on July 18, 1982. I am grateful for those missionaries and members who were patient, persistent, and persevering. Without their love and patience, I would not be here serving as your mission president. 

My desire for you is very simple. Please be that missionary who is bold enough to extend an invitation to follow the example of the Savior by being baptized. Even if the one who receives the invitation is not ready, please work with the members to ensure the support system is in place, so that a person who meanders still may recognize that God will be there no matter what. Please be aware that you have the Spirit and all the necessary resources and training available to succeed in this great work of Salvation. Have faith that all of these things are given you because it is the Lord�fs work and He is allowing us to be a part of it. 

There are many reasons why we all hesitate to invite those we know and love to come unto Christ, to follow his teachings and example, and partake in the joy of the restored gospel. Perhaps they aren't Christian, and you don't know how to invite them to follow someone they don't really know anything about. Perhaps they are already Christian! Why then is it so important that we do it? And how do we do it?
I would be lying if I said I knew how to do it perfectly, but if you pray to know how, with the "real intent" to follow through on the answer you receive, the Holy Ghost will guide you to know what to do.
I love you all,
Elder Christensen