Monday, December 16, 2013

You Know that Christmas is Different when Santa is Handing out Popsicles Instead of Candy Canes at the Primary Christmas Party

P-Day Barbecue with the Zone
Hey Fam.,

Sorry I didn't have much time to write today so this may be a little short. It has been a crazy week. We had our Confrencia de Navidad on Wednesday. It was really great. President Martinez gave a really powerful message that had a good impact on me and really motivated me. I was really happy because I could understand almost all of it. Spanish is good some days and bad others, but overall I feel like I am improving. His message was about giving yourself to Christ, just like you have been telling me to do. Thank you so much for your letters. They are perfect for me each week. I find exactly what I need. After President's message we had a zone talent show type deal. Our zone sang 12 Days of Christmas with different lyrics that fit the missionary theme a little better. Everybody loved it.

Part of our Zone today at our Barbecue
Friday I had a great inter-cambio with Elder Y from Argentina. He has been in the mission for about 2 weeks. He is a really great guy and speaks English pretty well because he has taken it for the last 12 years or so. We were in his sector which is on the coast so it was nice because it is about 20 degrees cooler. I also got to see the ocean, which was great. It is always nice to have a real shower as well!

Saturday we had a great service project where I got to use a grub hoe. It felt so good. Today we had a barbecue with the zone that was a lot of fun. My soccer team was me, an Argentinian, a Mexican, and a Chilean. I am not very good at soccer.


Elder Christensen

P.S. I LOVE YOU ALL!!! Say "hi" to Meisha for me and tell her how much I appreciate her example. (Will's cousin Meisha is finishing her mission in the Philippines this week.)  You are amazing!

 A Street in Santa Juana

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"The Good News"

Elder Christensen and Elder Cy Holt
Dear Family,

My heart is so full. I have had a very difficult and discouraging week. I have been frustrated because I haven’t felt like we have accomplished very much in the last 7 weeks I’ve been here. This morning we went into the office to get my long-term visa taken care of. When we got there, I found out that there were five packages waiting for me. I was really surprised and felt a little embarrassed (especially after the new office missionary made a comment about only receiving 3 packages in the year and a half he had served). I didn’t know what to think. An hour or so later we got back to the house and I opened them up. There were the 3 from you and the one from the ward and the one from Gram. I have never been so touched and blessed in my entire life.  Mom and Dad, you are truly amazing. I am so blessed to have parents like you who give so freely and bless so many. Today you have taught me a lesson that I will never forget. The kids here will love all of these toys. Thank you so much for teaching me to give. I can do so much good and you have helped me realize that. Thank you for blessing me with so much and giving so freely to me and many others. You two are incredible. I am determined to do better and be better.

I am so grateful for our incredible ward and their generosity and love. I have been so blessed to grow up with so many great people around me.  They are incredible and I love every one of them. Please express my gratitude for their remarkable love and kindness.

I guess I am so touched because you and the ward reminded me why I am out here: to love and bless the lives of others, to share “the good news”. Thank you for everything! I hope I can make you proud.

With much gratitude,

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Things Elder N and I are grateful for.

Hey Fam!

I hope you are doing well! Thank you for your wonderful letters last week. I really believe they were inspired. Dad, thank you for the pep talk. You should publish that. It was perfect for me and hit all of the things that were on my mind last week. The work here is difficult. I will be in this area for another six weeks, but after that I am not sure. Anything could happen. It is possible that I could be here for a couple of months, but it doesn’t matter. I am confident that I will be sent where I am needed.

We had a chance to do some service, unloading some logs from a truck. It didn't do much for my missionary attire. 

Could have used some gloves, but it felt great to do physical labor again.

Yesterday, we invited the solid members to bring someone to church with them each week, either a less active member or an investigator. Help from members makes our job a million times easier. Please, please, please help out the missionaries as much as you can. You will make their missions so much better and they will be so happy and grateful.

You all inspire me. I really enjoyed Uncle Jeff’s letter last week. Tell him that I didn’t go turkey hunting, but we did buy a 5 ft. tall fake Christmas Tree. In the mornings it is cool enough that I can turn on our propane heater for a few minutes, drink a glass of warm chocolate milk, and pretend it is Christmas time. Then after our studies, we step out into the 90 degree weather. I am looking forward to focusing on Christ this year.

I have really been trying to have the Spirit with me by studying the Scriptures, praying, and being obedient.  The mission field is challenging but I am very grateful to be here. I am learning things about myself and the gospel that I need to know. I feel like my eyes have really been opened in a lot of ways. I still have a long way to go but I am excited for what is ahead because it can only get better. I can’t believe I have been here for 1 cambio already. I think I only have fifteen or so more to go. They say every cambio goes faster than the last one, so if that’s the case, time is going to fly by. I am excited to learn to love every day more. I have grown a lot the first 6 weeks and I am a lot happier. Missions are great! It is tough but so important.

I love you all tons!

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Super Ocho Sabado

Santa Juana

Hey Fam!

I hope you are all doing well. I am getting better and better every week. This week I thought I would start out telling you a little about Chile. One of the things I like most here is the fruit juice. It is way better than juice in the States. My favorite kinds are orange juice and pineapple juice. It has been kind of fun to explore the different candy bars and stuff like that. Nestle is really big here. They have a candy bar that I really like that isn’t in the States. It’s called a Super 8 bar and it is really similar to a Reese’s Stix in the States. Saturday is the hardest day here, because it is my favorite day back home. To try and fix this, we have started having “Super Ocho Sabado”. Every Saturday night we go and buy a Super 8 bar. The milk here isn’t as good as the stuff back home, but I solved that problem with Nesquik mix. I really like having a glass of chocolate milk in the morning with a bowl of oatmeal or a bowl of granola and yogurt. Quaker Oats are pretty big here so I will usually buy a box of instant oatmeal each week. I really like the ten minutes where I eat breakfast each morning because it is one of the few moments where I can rest. It helped a lot to find good food to eat for breakfast. Those first few weeks I was completely lost and wasn’t eating much outside our meals with members. Breakfast and Dinner are really small here. The biggest meal is lunch. We usually eat lunch with a member around 1:30 each day. Lunch is massive. Usually we eat chicken or beef with a mountain of mashed potatoes. The members are all good cooks, so no complaints! Anyways, that is some good stuff about the food. My favorite snack here is peanut M & Ms. We found a store that sells them. I love them because they remind me of Dad.

Government Housing in Santa Juana
I would love to tell you more but I don’t have a lot of time so I will try to tell you a little bit more about Chile every week.

I am doing much better. The first weeks in the field are really tough. I think if the mission field is the refiner’s fire for life, the first few weeks are the center of the flame where it is white hot. I also think everyone struggles with different challenges those first few weeks. For me, it was missing my family. I have also been humbled a lot. This week I thought a lot about the scripture that says, “I show unto men their weaknesses that I might make them strong unto them”. That scripture has never been truer in my entire life. I have so many weaknesses. As I have looked back over the last 5-6 weeks, I have been amazed to see how much I have changed. I have become a lot stronger and I know the Lord will continue to change me throughout my mission. Change is a process that is long and hard. It is extremely difficult for me. I am grateful that I can have trust in the Lord and know that all these things will eventually be for my good.
We are in a section that is more like apartments right behind the government housing.     
I have been humbled a lot as I have read about the Philippines. I was really touched by the stories about the missionaries as well. I feel foolish to be frustrated with such small things when the people in the Philippines have lost so much. We should never take anything for granted. I don’t know if Thanksgiving was last Thursday or next Thursday, but I hope everyone will take a moment to think about how blessed we are to live where we live and have what we have. I am astounded by how much we have been blessed. Even down to the smallest, simplest things. As I have thought about the Philippines and seen the differences between here and home, I have found a whole new perspective. I feel guilty ever complaining about anything in the past. I am very grateful for my blessings.
This is a picture of our stairs. There is a bad stair right where that overhang is, and I am scared to death I am going to die every time I come down the stairs. These houses aren´t made for tall people. There is a door at the supermarket that I can´t quite get through with my shoulders square. 
I love you all tons and hope you are doing well. I loved hearing from Grandpa Paul these last few weeks. Glad to hear you are already skiing! Love you all tons!

Oh esta todo bien!

Elder William Christensen

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Better Your Attitude, the Better Your Day

The Little Engine that Could

Dear Family,

I am doing better this week. You have probably been waiting a long time to hear me say that. I’m sorry. This week I found that talk by Elder Christofferson, “Give Us this Day our Daily Bread” on the little MP3 player. I was very excited because I hadn’t had time to read the entire talk, only the excerpts you have sent me. This talk is exactly what I needed. I have listened to it twice since I found it. I want to listen to it every morning, and may until I memorize it. Thank you for sharing it with me. It applies to me in so many ways.

So the big accomplishment this week is that I only cried once, maybe twice. I’m growing up. This morning while eating breakfast, ironing, etc. I was thinking about how much I have changed over the last couple of weeks. I have been humbled a lot. I am not quite sure what I expected coming out into the mission field, but I can assure you, it wasn’t this. I think I expected to just have people lining up to be baptized with all the emphasis the Church has been putting on missionary work. I believe the time to hasten the work is now and that the field is white and ready to harvest. What I forgot, and I think what a lot of people forget, is that harvesting a field takes a lot of hard work, it’s difficult. It’s not like the wheat is going to harvest itself. Dad is absolutely right, missionary work is difficult.

Even though it is difficult this week I really felt a difference. I understand the work better now and I feel more comfortable. I love Elder Christofferson’s talk because it applies to me in many ways. Two years is a lot of time, and it seems almost impossible. But we shouldn’t look ahead to the difficulty and pain. Take it one day at a time.

Another part of this talk that I love is the aspect of daily progression. I have so much to learn. I need to learn Spanish and multiple different aspects of the Gospel. I often feel overwhelmed with study. From this talk I have learned that the little parts I study every day will all add up in the end and I will become the missionary that I want to become. I love the idea of going to the Lord each night and going over the day with Him. It is so crucial for me right now. I need to break down what I do well and what I need to fix. I am also grateful because when I got here, I felt like I needed to get 40 people in Church in the first month. Missionary work is a process as well. The work progresses one day at a time and the results add up in the end.

Entonces, I am doing much better. I feel much more content. December is going to be a little rough, but I will take it one day at a time. It is sad because Holidays are so irrelevant here. It was 85 F today and it is supposed to get up to 42 C, which is HOT! 85 F = 29 C más o menos. So it is going to be a Heat Miser Christmas here. I’ve got a nice farmer tan though, so life is good.

The food here is great. It is pretty much the exact same as home, just not as much variety. I eat a lot of chicken and rice. My companion Elder N is awesome. We will always have a mamita here to do laundry for us, which is great because laundry took forever in the MTC. THANK YOU MOM! Thank you for everything. I am learning more and more that attitude is huge. The better your attitude, the better your day. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE!

Love you all tons! ¡Oh esta todo bien!

Elder Christensen