Monday, January 28, 2013

Elder Christensen: Letter 01/28/13 Florissant, MO

So I'm in my new area Florissant Missouri. Pretty exciting area. Very different from all my other areas. We don't have a car. We get to ride the public buses and the metro link. We aren't too far from downtown St Louis:)  This is the biggest area in the mission and we are starting from scratch. This area was shut down for a couple transfers for reasons I won't say to save my mommy some worry LOL!!:) Love you mom! My comp is great he is from San Diego, California. We get along great and we both are in pretty good shape so that's good in case anyone tries to mess with us!!  This area is too fun! No joke, we are the only white people who get on the buses and we get tons of free Jerry Springer entertainment every day on the bus! Ha! Ha! They crazy!! Funniest bus story I got is the bus was super packed and this huge black lady was standing next to this old black man and he leans over and lets out a fart.  Then it starts to smell and he opens his mouth and points to the big woman to blame it on her and she yells at him "uuh uuhh You betta don't I saw you lean!!" So we are always saying "you betta don't" now lol too funny!! Then one day our bus had a flat tire and it was like 9 degrees outside. Super cold! So we all sat on the bus and had to wait 30 minutes for the new one and this other big black lady has her 4 kids with her and they are running all over the place and she was like "awwwww hellll sit yo @*$ down all ya all I've been doin dis all day. Dey just don't stop!" then because the bus was leaning (due to the flat tire) her 6 year old boy started sing Lean wit it, rock wit it. Lol everyone on the bus was entertained by her and her family!!

On the more spiritual side we met with some potentials in Bellefountain and met Mary. We set a date with Mary. We met with her for the 1st time this Sunday and the spirit was super strong :) She is having a rough time with her job and being away from family so she was very humble and receptive! We also met a couple that's wanting to improve their lives together. They aren't married yet but once we can get them married they will be baptized !! I'm very excited to get the work rolling in this area once again!:)

So on Saturday this 18 year old black kid was making his own rap and every other word was the F- word and was bagging on us for being in suit and tie. I wish I could've taken my name tag off for 5 minutes and dropped that kid!! He had his 2 kids with him too and his 17 year old wife. So messed up! Then he was like I don't give a F*&# anyone got a problem with me stand up! I wanted to so bad !!!! That's been my hardest challenge in this area is putting up with people like him!! There is a lot of good black people in this area and in our ward too. There is alot of crime though so its very hard!!  MY patience in very important in this area !!  For the most part thoough people respect us and love us. Some gangs out her protect us which is nice!! Like when we go to bellefountain on Canaan st they have our backs lol were in the C-Hood ! Good Thing Christ will protect us as well !:)  I'm looking forward to having many more fun mission stories like these ones :)
Love you All and hope to hear from you soon my new address is:
23 Quick Dr. Apartment 3
Florissant, MO 63031

Love Elder Christensen

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Elder Christensen: Letter 01/22/13 Dunk N Dash

So the baptism was amazing everything went perfect and the spirit was so strong !! I had to learn the prayer differently than what I was originally doing wasn't the full prayer. So I had to learn almost double in 30 minutes lol but i did it!! (He had to learn the prayer in sign language for this baptism) Everyone said this was the most spiritual baptism they have ever been to.  Amanda's mom was also there to support her. I saw this spirit had really effected her as well and after the baptism I talked with her and gave her a Book of Mormon.  We also had our other investigator Crystal there and she said that was so cool and she whats to learn more about why we get baptized and brother Mendenhall is fellowshipping her like there is no tomorrow. She is babysitting his kids and going out to eat with them. It won't be long til she gets baptized either !! that would be really cool if I could come back to see her baptism !! then I confirmed Amanda the next day and she had a testimony of the Holy Ghost already. She lost her keys after the baptism and we looked all over for them and they were no where to be found. Then I told her to pray and ask where they would be .  She did then told Juli the member to take her to the college where she waited for the bus and at the bus stop barely sticking out of the mud was her keys and her testimony grew so much from that. It was very cool to see!  This Sunday I got to say goodbye to everyone in the ward. It was hard but not too bad. Everyone said the new elder has some big shoes to fill and they are so happy that I got to serve in this ward!! I could come back as a ZL (Zone Leader) maybe ha ha who knows??  Dean West a convert from last year couldn't thank me enough for all the help I've done on his half-way house. That will one day be a huge missionary tool !! He also said that he has never heard of a missionary getting 2 baptisms in that short of time in this ward. Ha! Ha!  Well I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!!:)

Love Elder Christensen

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Transfer: Area #4

I found out today that Jeff is getting transfered this next Wednesday to Florissant, MO. This is a suburb outside North St. Louis. It is not super safe there I am told, so make sure you are praying for his safety! He has had such good success in his current area, I know he will be sad to go, but I am sure he will do great in the new area as well. He was super bummed on his last transfer too, but once he started Springfield, he now says that this has been his best area so far.

I also got to see a bunch of pictures and videos of Jeff that the ward missionary posted on Facebook. There were pictures of the baptism that Jeff did today with Amanda and some videos of Jeff making crepes. It was fun to see the pictures and videos and know that he is doing so good.

One thing that has happened recently is that Jeff has been having cluster headaches. These are extremely painful and one of his eyes swells, droops and waters a lot when he gets these. You are supposed to get a CT scan if this happens so that they can rule out other causes (like brain tumors) but so far Jeff is refusing to get this done. I think he is worried about getting put in the mission home office or something like that if the Mission President knows about it. I am still working on nagging him to get this done, so hopefully he will. If not, we may have to call his mission president to get it done.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Elder Christensen: Letter 01/14/13 Revive me bro!

So this week we made up for my cluster headaches I'd had last week and we found 5 new investigators and we got some solid work with our old ones as well!  We picked up 5 new investigators this week. A part member family who the mom is a member but she hasn't been in forever and her kids aren't members. I'm soooo stoked to teach. They have 2 kids, 17 and 15. The 15 year old boy plays hockey and we will be going to his game this Wednesday for support.  We watched together forever and they were super locked in. The spirit was strong and my companion and I both bore our testimony on the importance of family and how the gospel can keep your family together! They are super busy with all the sports they both do and games fall on Sundays so we don't see them at church but I know they will be baptized after the hockey season...yes they're high school aged. The mom is way nice and their excuse for not coming to church is that they're kids are involved in like every extra curricular activity imaginable so that's why they don't come. I'm sure there's more to the concern than just that. But we shall see. Then we picked up some formers that lived in Taylorsville. That's like the furthest part of our area. Its a good 45 minutes away. But we were there all Friday so we could maximize our time there. And we found Brian and his family. He had a baptism date for a while but kinda bailed. His only concern right now is if God really does exist. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon and answered some other questions about the characteristics of God and his daughter. I love his daughter. Shes 7 or 8, almost 8 I think. Out of no where she's just like "I know there's a God." And surprised, we looked at her and are like well how did you come to know that and shes just like "I just know."  Good enough answer for me. Why to people have to grow up, they just get stupid and hard-headed. Now I understand why Christ prefers children haha! But yeah, a pretty good week. Oh yeah, and lastly, this is pretty funny. On Friday we went over to Deans house, he is a recent convert who runs a half-way home and for a few months there have been some less active members that are just sacking out at this place and not paying anything to Dean or helping him out. But he's a nice guy and wants to help them until they can find a job. The only problem is they dont look for jobs. Anywayyysss . Dave, who just got made the teacher for the CTR 8 class, got sent to jail for possessing some illegal pain killers. So yeah, he's in jail. The first thing I thought when I heard this was "Oh no who is going to teach the children this Sunday?" Ha!Ha! So we helped Dean move all of Daves stuff out and put it in storage. While we were taking his stuff out, we went into Dave's and Nicoles (other pile member who doesn't do anything) bathroom to get some of his stuff and behold! We look down and see probably a good months worth of poop in this toilet. They haven't had plumbing in this house for a while since it broke and Dave refused to fix it. So yeah. Poops singular are nasty. Imagine a collective of em. It was very traumatic! Throw up your lunch? I did lol So yeah we quickly got everything and left, and if I think its bad then it must be really bad lol!!

We run in the morning as much as we can. When it won't freeze my lungs lol. Which two days ago it was a nice 69 degrees :) It was nice. But we got hit pretty hard with freezing rain. For church yesterday we went to leave and we came outside and our car was plated with ice. At least a good half inch. We didn't have time to scrape thoroughly, otherwise we would have been late and as missionaries you can't be late or else you get labeled and no one will like you. So we scraped two 4 inch in diameter circles in the windshield and blasted the defroster and took off. I was no joke like Homer off the Simpsons when he gets a bucket glued to his head and he has to drive. It looked just like that. But we took it easy through the backstreets and by the time we got to the main busy roads we were able to scrape it all off. It was pretty crazy though. All of the trees were glazed over and grass fields looked like plains of spikes. It was pretty cool. I wish I had got a picture but I didn't. Anyway, this past week started out alright. We had zone p-day which is my least favorite thing to do. We went to the Capitol building, which I was alright doing. Cause now I've been to both Capitol buildings in Missouri and Illinois.  But I had a final headache and . . .I dont really like the zone leaders. At all lol. . Like for an example, we cannot, according to them, drive the sisters around. And giving them rides while they're in the city would be really helpful since they have to use so many miles to get here. It takes em about 45 minutes to get to Springfield. they are the only members in our district. Its just Elder Furlong and, me, and 2 sisters. And we're alone together in district meeting every single week. But we can't drive them because we would be alone with them in our vehicle. Last week we were trying to coordinate how to get them to the Capitol building and we wanted to take them but we couldn't. But the zone leaders drove them. And they could do it because "they're zone leaders." Ya its stupid, but what can you do. So yeah I flat out don't really like them haha. So Monday was hard for me. We had an all day zone p-day because we had a meeting afterward with the entire zone to talk about our new mission goal which is 450. Thats pretty cool. I'm excited. It's gonna be hard because 2 years ago the goal was 400 and we only got like 320. Fail. But with so many new missionaries coming in soon I figure they think we can make it. So we will see. So yes, that was Monday. I can't remember when all of these events took place so this next paragraph I'm just going to combine the entire rest of the week into one day. Well, Amandas baptism is still good to go for this Saturday at 4.  Hope your week was great as well hope to hear from you all soon !!!
Love Elder Christensen

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Elder Christensen: Letter 1/7/13 New Year, New Date

So not much going on this week. Still tons of people out of town for the holiday, but we did however set up a date for Amanda's Baptism and I will be baptizing her on the 19th of January :) I've been learning the Baptismal prayer this week in Sign Language for her. It's pretty intense!! I hope I don't mess it up or I'll be there for a while... also typed up Grandma's miracle and this Sunday she got up and bore her testimony and she is walking by herself and has been healing more and more every day. It's so cool to see!!! Hope to hear from you all soon and hope you enjoy this story!

Cathryn’s Christmas Miracle
BY: Elder Jeffrey Christensen

The story of this miracle is that we had begun teaching Cathryn or Grandma as we call her because she old enough to be almost anyone’s grandma. So when I had first got to Springfield we started teaching, and she was very receptive to our message, but said I don’t need to be baptized again. She was a headstrong Methodist, and didn’t feel she needed to become a member of our church and be baptized again.
Grandma had be going to church with her granddaughter, sister Elliot and she teaches the 7 year old class and grandma was also very involved in these lessons.  She came to church this week and last week and said "there is just such a warm spirit here at your church."  That's music to every missionary’s ears. Later that night though Cathryn fell and hit her head pretty good! The result of Grandma’s fall was she had tons of internal bleeding and possible brain damage. We both knew this was Satan trying to make sure she was able to continue learning more about us and our message. The doctor said at her age recovery is very unlikely and may take months... After the blessing we knew that would not be the case for Grandma.

  We had come to visit Grandma twice that week to see how see was doing and we were told she aspirated a couple of times through the night and almost lost her.  My faith was defiantly tried once I had heard those painful words, but I knew that Grandma’s work was not done and she would make it.  We had a date and knew she would be ready for baptism by then!  Grandma immediately began to recover! Her softball size bump on her head was going down like I've never seen before it simply was a miracle. Our prayers and the blessing were at work and they did exactly what needed to be done. 

Once Grandma was able to return home I was thrilled and wanted to continue to teach her more.   We went over to do help Sister Elliot move a lot of furniture to her new business not realizing how appreciative grandma was for all we had done for her and her family.  Later that night we had received a call from Sister Elliot saying “Grandma says she wants to be baptized with Kaleb!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing so that night I called the Zone Leaders to set up the Baptism interview the next day. They were so happy to be a part of this miracle! We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how he being our example was baptized and how that was done and how I would be baptizing her great grandson Kaleb that same way. Then we had asked Grandma once more if she would like to be baptized? “And she said YES!  The spirit was so strong I knew that grandma had gained a testimony of the power of the priesthood through her experience of the blessing.

The Zone leaders came over and did the interview that same day and ask grandma all the questions and she without hesitation was able to answer every one of them. We knew she was ready spiritually, but we still were a little worried as to if she could physically be baptized is her weakened condition.   I prayed for grandma that night to have her pains relieved from her so that this baptism would be memorable and enjoyable for her.  We had arrived after our transfer meeting and grandma was there in a beautiful all white baptism outfit and she looked very happy but still in some pain. I then said one last prayer for Grandma as I got dressed for this baptism.

As I helped Grandma into the font I saw her pains were gone and she was so peaceful in the water, and I said the prayer put her under the water and as I brought her out of the water she smiled!  That smile meant the world to me I got to the joy in her face, and I'm so happy I was able to be a part of this experience in this family's life.

I was blessed with the privilege of baptizing our investigator "Grandma" Cathryn Ann Hurley on her 93rd Birthday on 12-12-12!! I was born in 93 so that was cool because grandma was born in 1919, and I baptized her at age 19 on 12-12-12. I also got to confirm Grandma that Sunday and that was the 1st confirmation I've done too. I will never forget these miracles that I was able to be a part of and especially my 1st baptism!