Tuesday, January 26, 2016

e-mail from January 25, 2016

Dear Mom, 
I know exactly how you feel, and I've actually felt myself end up on the painful end of the communication. 
As a district leader, a zone leader, and even before I had any formal leadership responsibilities I sought diligently to not only be an example of a disciple of Christ, but to encourage and assist others to live a higher standard of obedience.
In the Missionary Handbook, on pg. 62, there is a passage that I remember very clearly;
Opportunities to correct the attitudes or behavior of other missionaries [or anyone else for that matter] are important teaching moments. When handled with love, these opportunities build faithfulness and effectiveness in those who may otherwise fall short of what the Lord expects of them.  
And one in Doctrine and Covenants Section 121:43;
Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
Correction isn't too difficult to do, but it is one of the most difficult things to do well, and I'm not even a parent yet.  Dad and Mom, I'm sure you've felt this before, and I would really appreciate any insights you've gained on the subject. As a missionary, about 99.9% of the people I meet on the street, on the trains, in their homes, and in other various places have differing beliefs than I do as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I've also met people who remind me a lot of myself in a lot of ways, have many of the same desires as me, and have very similar personalities to myself as well. And yet, for example, the specific beliefs that we have are different. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe in a God, the Father of our spirits, in a Savior, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. In Japan, there is a predominant belief in an "8 million gods" or a God in pretty much everything around us.
Trying to teach these principles on the street to people in Japan, I sometimes wonder to myself if its really that important or worth the trouble to clearly define the definition of God. While were visiting a less active member this last week, he got clearly upset with us as we taught that God gives commandments for us to follow because he believes that God is ok with what ever he chooses to do, and he felt like we were trying to force our perception of God onto him. 
I never want people to get angry at me! I don't like it, and I certainly don't look for opportunities to make people angry! However, I want to focus on "what is right, rather than who is right". 
I'm grateful for the chance that I have to teach the truth that I do know about our true identity as children of God with a potential to return to live with Him and eventually to become like Him, and for the truths that I don't yet understand, I hope that I can patiently, but diligently find the answers and help others find them as well.

We've actually been incredibly blessed to be working with a ton of amazing people here in K and this last week, there was progression and some resolving of concerns. One of our investigators is fine to meet and even to read the Book of Mormon and pray, but joining the church is something that he just refuses to do. In fact, he hasn't come to church for the past few weeks because he says that if we isn't joining there isn't any purpose in coming. But, we have pleaded with him to continue to come and at least continue to interact with the amazing people who attend on weekly. You don't have join the church to come to come to church! 

Love you all,
Elder Adam Christensen

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Letter from January 19, 2016

Aren't birthdays incredible! I'm grateful for the chance that we
recognize each person for the great impact that they make in our
lives. What would life be like if they weren't there? One of my
favorite movies, "It's a Wonderful Life" explores that possibility and
teaches with simplicity the beautiful truth that "the worth of souls
is great in the sight of God" (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10) You never
know how much good you do. Grandpa has lived 88 years of blessing
other people, and we love him!

One of the fun activities that we get to do as missionaries is called
a "kubarikai", "配り会", or more appropriately, "see how many people you
can stop by just talking to them in English!".
In Japan, many people have a negative opinion of people passing out
fliers or just stopping people on the street in general. Oftentimes,
there are people trying to coerce customers to come into their bar or
check out their club. So In order to avoid that negative stereotype, a
lot of advertisers stand out of the way and quietly hold out fliers,
usually placed in a convenient package including free tissues (in case
you ever need them!).
In the midst of this craziness and with the pressure of become an
"お邪魔" weighing on your mind, I have found truth and success in the
scriptures. "Ye are a light unto the world. A city which is set on a
hill can not be hid...Let your light so shine before men that they may
see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven"
(Matthew 5:14-16)
When you work with all your heart to love and serve others, you WILL
stand out. Some people will ignore you. Some people will call you not
very kind words. Some people will resent you and say you are just
seeking for attention. However, never, ever let yourself become
discouraged. When you are serving others in the name of Christ, you
are bearing witness of His love for them. When you sincerely serve
others, teach others true doctrine, and invite others to come unto
Christ in His name, you are "only in the service of your God" (Mosiah

What a wonderful time to be alive!
Elder Christensen

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year! January 3, 2016

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

What a blessing it is to have deadlines! I've come to terms with the fact that I've entered the final 5 months of my mission here in Japan, but I don't think I've ever felt more prepared or more excited for anything in my life. Who could ever get trunky when there is so much good left to be done? I think it's pretty incredible that each of you are doing such great things, and I can't believe how far we've come already.

I love what is written to us in the Missionary Handbook from the Quorum of the Twelve  Apostles, "Time is one of the most precious resources you've been given". God has lovingly given us time to learn, grow, and experience, and he has also mercifully and lovingly given us an end to that time as well. Death comes suddenly and it also can come slowly, but if we are prepared, we don't need to fear. I am grateful for God's loving gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who showed us the way to prepare, and who, through His sacrifice and through our obedience to commandments and sacred covenants, will lift us to the greatest gift and reward in existence, eternal life! 
I love my Heavenly Father. I love Christ, and I desire to be like them!

With all my love,
Elder Christensen