Monday, February 22, 2016

February 22, 2016 e-mail still happy!

BenBeeeeeen! I will see you at the Y then! Apart from being with your favorite older siblings, what are you excited for?
We had a great lesson this last week with N the week before last, but he wasn't able to meet with us  last Saturday or come to church on Sunday. Since the very beginning, we've taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and used it as a background for the other things that we teach. Although we've talked with him about faith and taught him what it means, he still hasn't decided that it's something he wants in his life. I think that Alma 32 is a fantastic scripture to read with him! He doesn't feel like a relationship with God could really help in life, and when compared with a life where he has a lot of covenants to keep, he doesn't think it is worth the sacrifice. 
Why do we need God? What does a relationship with God have to offer us? 
I think both of these questions are worth considering for ourselves, and we are hope that while we teach N he will find that answer for himself and be guided to make the right choice.

I can't wait for this next week!
I'm going to try and share more of my experiences on Facebook too so keep your eyes open!

Love you,
Elder Christensen

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Valentines Day!

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

I just want to say right off the bat how impressed I am at Blake's sassy face. You, my dear brother, have a natural talent! In all seriousness, I hope you will keep singing Acapella and let your younger brother join you in making beautiful acapella tunes. How did you and the other members decide what to sing? Are there section leaders in that kind of group?

You are amazing! Also, Aaron, how did your competition go? How did you feel going into the concert?

I did get the package and immediately enjoyed the warm, fuzzy sweater you sent! On Sunday the   weather warmed up and it felt like a wonderful glimpse into spring. Winter, however, is not quite finished. Today we have been blessed with sleet and snow as a reminder to not pack up our long sleeve shirts and overcoats. I almost thought that I might not need them again!

Elder F and I had a ton of opportunities to teach people for the very first time this week as we were outside trying our best to find people who will make the time to listen and who can overcome the many influences opposing the work here in such a modern country. As part of keeping organized records for ourselves and helping the leaders of the mission and church know how the work is progressing,  we keep results and numbers of all the people we invite, lessons we teach, investigators we have, and other important information. I was actually told on the street by a man that the work we do must be hard because of all the quotas that we have to fill and the deadlines to make. I hope that this is taken as seriously as possible when I say that not a single aspect of my work, of our companionship's work, and of any of Jesus Christ's missionary's  work is done in order to simply meet some set quota that marks us as a success or failure or gives us any sort of reward from the leaders of the church. When we stop someone and talk to them, it is driven by our love for them, however imperfect, and our sincere desire to somehow, someway, bring them into contact with this simple, but powerful message, that God the Father exists, that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that complete gospel of Jesus Christ and the authority from God necessary to perform saving ordinances were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Then, we ask that everyone please test this message through study, sincere prayer, and a humble heart to see if it is not true. 

We're meeting with a young man who hasn't decided whether or not he even needs God in his life, but who had a desire to become a kinder person and eventually the kind of father who understands his children. He may be 25 years old, but I feel that we are similar in many ways. Please pray that he will be humble enough to recognize the promptings of the Spirit guiding him.

I love you all!
Elder Adam Christensen

Monday, February 8, 2016

In a good groove! February 8, 2016

I hope that after this last transfer Elder F and I stay together for a while! Working with new people is definitely a skill and provides opportunities for new growth, but now we've been able to get into a rhythm together and meet some incredible young people with interest in meeting and learning more, which means that a lot of changes often leads to people dropping off and a drop in effectiveness at least for a bit. We tried planning some time to play soccer last week, but with preparation for a mission tour from Elder Whiting of the Asia North Area Presidency we had to cancel it for now. But don't worry! We will do it eventually! We're getting a lot better at planning with each other and preparing for things in the future so that we can maximize what time we do have. I've grown to realize how precious time is especially in missionary work, and more now than ever we're trying to make the most of it.
Right now, we have a goal as a companionship to visit more members each week and build their confidence in us as teachers of the gospel and capable of inviting the Spirit into their homes. 

I haven't caught any glimpses of hamster bread yet, but you can bet I'll keep my eyes open! Something like that will surely not go unnoticed.

I love you,
Elder Christensen

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Companion in Kunitachi February 2016

Dear Mom,

 Transfer calls came and went! Sorry for not letting you know last week! Elder F is a fireball from Brigham City, Utah and has spent his whole mission up till now in F, but joined me in T to bring the gospel to everyone here! He's still 19, but is on transfer 12. He wants to become a Psychiatrist and wants to study at Utah State University after his mission.
He is the youngest in his family, and actually, his dad served in the Tokyo South Mission 35 years ago! Can you guess what his favorite sport is?

Those are two of the people who we are meeting with about 3 times a week to teach! The sisters here in Kunitachi actually teach the mother, who is 80 years old, separately for some "woman to woman" lessons, which seems to be working. When Elder D and I taught them together, she didn't seem to understand very well and her retention of information wasn't very good, but now she is flying! The sisters have given her the Liahona magazine and the children's Book of Mormon, complete with pictures. I wouldn't have thought that it would make too big of a difference to use the children's book versus the real thing when teaching, but it did!
She has slowly been developing her faith that there is a God in heaven, who is our Father, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior, and she has said several times that she does believe, but that acting on that belief isn't as simple of a choice. 
Sister T, one of the Sister Missionaries and a Japanese sister, has really been able to help resolve the concerns she does have to help her build confidence. Resolving the concerns of others is an exhausting endeavor since there always seems to be more no matter many you solve. Plus, more often resurface when you thought you had solved them. There has come new meaning into the phrase "Charity suffereth long" (Moroni 7:45), but oh, how terrible I still am at being charitable.

Thankfully, I haven't had to correct people many times, and actually, all of the missionaries here are trustworthy people that have a determination keep the commandments and remain worthy to enter the temple of God. There are a surprising amount of temptations here in Japan that could threaten anyone, not just a missionary, to violate temple covenants or loosen their standards, but the missionaries and members stay faithful. The only corrections I've had to make have come when a standard just needed to be clarified so that there was no misunderstanding. 

Having entered the 14th transfer on my mission, I'm seeing more and more of the faces I know returning back home and going onward and upward to bigger and better things, but it is incredible how the mission is progressing as a whole. Under the leadership of President W as he was inspired of God, the missionaries here have grown in their ability to powerfully testify of the divinity of the Savior Jesus Christ and the reality of the Restoration of the His Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith in whatever language they may be speaking. 
I too know that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, the Savior prophesied of by ancient prophets, and I will put my entire reputation, all that I am, as little as that might be, on that testimony, which I know by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I love you all!
Elder Christensen

Sister K came to Japan with me, and is already going home!