Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's hard out here, anyone who says these first few days are easy, isn't giving you the whole truth.


I am so happy I finally get to write to you! The hardest part about being here is not being able to come home each night and tell you guys about my day. It has been a real struggle for me not to have that constant communication with you, especially mom and dad. It is so hard to not have someone I can share all of my happy, sad, exciting, and frustrating moments with. This week I have gained a whole new appreciation for journals and prayer. Each night I come back to our casa and write everything I can in my journal before bedtime. I go through so many emotions each day that I need to try and release them through writing. After I write them down I pray. My prayers the last few nights have been the most sincere in my entire life. I literally pour my heart out to Heavenly Father because He is the only one I can express my personal thoughts to, without mom and dad. I also try to express my gratitude for the incredible blessings I receive each day. I feel like I am greatly building my relationship with Him more and more each day. It is becoming more personal and I am beginning to understand His love for me. It’s hard out here, anyone who says these first few days are easy isn’t giving you the whole truth. There have been a few days where all that keeps me together is that prayer at the end of the day. It is tough. I do know that even though it is tough, I am growing much closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Even as I write this letter I just remembered the pioneers and that famous quote by Francis Webster, about how in their extremities they came to know God. That is how I feel. I am definitely growing.

Will's MTC District
This week has been very long. Wednesday we were in classes all day with the missionaries that arrived with us. There are probably somewhere around 100 of us. My  favorite class was one where we met as a group of missionaries and began to learn how to get to know the needs of an investigator, so we can show them how the gospel will bless them. We met with two actual investigators who had volunteered. I really enjoyed getting to know the second investigator. He was a newlywed that was impressed by the missionaries. He had a friend that he really respected who was a missionary. He also expressed concern about raising a family in Mexico. He was sharp and clean cut. He was also a young law student and very polite. He spoke English very well so it was easy to communicate with him. For the first time, I felt that love I have heard about for the past two years. I wanted to teach him. I wanted to show him how the gospel could bless him. It made me really excited to get to work. After that we attended some more classes. I would say about 70% of the lessons are in Spanish. They really focus on learning through immersion. The only times we are really ever taught in English is on Sunday and in meetings with the MTC president. I love the Hispanic teachers though. They are so kind. They are very humble and you can tell that they love the gospel, just by hearing how sincere their voices are. They do everything possible to make you feel comfortable. Many of them are trying to learn English so we help each other. There are many great American teachers as well. The entire staff treats us like celebrities. The maintenance and landscaping crews always give us a huge greeting every time we walk by. ¡hola elderes! or ¡buenos dias elderes! it makes you feel so good about what you are doing. Thursday night we met our branch president, President Jewell. He has a smile on his face all the time and is one of those people who just makes you feel good. He is a great teacher as well. He interviewed us and called me as the district leader. I not only collect the mail, but make announcements and teach for a portion of the time in second hour on Sunday. I enjoy it a lot and I am really learning how I can better serve my district. I try to look for ways to help them each day. I get to attend leadership meetings with my companion and lead the district discussions as well. I try to pray for each member of the district each night.
Elder Christensen & MTC Companion Elder Baggs
My companion is Elder Baggs. He is a great guy. We do have some very important things in common. He loves his family very much. He also likes to work hard. We taught our first investigator Friday night. We were really stressed because we had to teach in Spanish and neither of us could speak it. For our preparation we tried to memorize lines from one of the books we have. We went into the lesson really nervous. We stumbled over our words and I didn’t even know what I was saying at some points. It was short and didn’t go very well. The next day we got the report form the investigator, who was really a teacher. It was worse than even we expected. He said that we didn’t teach with the spirit and needed to study in Preach My Gospel 1 about our calling and authority. It was devastating. I was extremely frustrated because I feel like teaching with the spirit is one of my strengths. I was mad because I felt like I couldn’t convey my feelings using the lines in the textbook. I felt like I couldn’t teach because I had to speak a language I didn’t know. Saturday was the worst day by far. I was extremely frustrated with the language. I was sitting in class thinking, man, Charlie is in the middle of his game right now. I wonder what the score is. Homesickness was really setting in. It was rough.  The first few days were overwhelming because we are learning how to teach the gospel and Spanish at the same time. It is tough to find the balance. Saturday we were still trying to find that balance and preparing to teach a second lesson with the investigator. I took a step back and re-evaluated our first lesson. The solution I came up with was that we needed to focus on the content of the lesson rather than the Spanish. Elder Baggs and I decided that we needed to make the Spirit our main focus as well. From that point on, we tried to open every study session with a prayer asking for the Spirit. We also read a lot about teaching with the Spirit in Preach My Gospel and the scriptures. We prepared our next lesson by learning all we could about the restoration and not stressing about the Spanish. We taught our next lesson and did the best we could to teach with the spirit. The next day we got the report and all it said was “incredible”. One of the elders who used to be in our district has our “investigator” as a teacher now and he told us that the investigator raved about us all morning. We were stoked! It was a huge success that really strengthened our testimony that the Spirit does the teaching. Our Spanish was terrible but we were able to convey our message because we learned how to teach with the Spirit. Yesterday, I felt the same spirit as I lead a discussion about a devotional we attended. It was awesome because it felt like the words and examples I was sharing were lining up perfectly in my head. I love teaching, planning to teach, and I love learning. The spirit is awesome. I am doing much better ever since Sunday. I have so much I want  to tell you guys and I am trying to spit out as much I can.

Mexico MTC Grounds

This MTC is awesome. There are massive trees everywhere and it is very well maintained. There are full time landscaping and maintenance crews that work here. The grass is always perfectly cut, in stripes. I swear they cut it twice a week. Dad, the trimmers here are sweet. I wish I could send one home as a present. The guys who operate them are even cooler. They wear a hard hat, gun mufflers, glasses, a bandana, and a clear face shield. They also wear these huge leather aprons that split at the waist into legs, kind of like cowboy chaps. It is a good look. I will try to send a picture before I leave here. We live in a small house with 14 other elders, four to a room. Elder Nelson and I are sharing a room.

Last week Mexico was celebrating independence so we had a big fiesta Saturday night. It was really fun and helped me relax a little bit. There have been fireworks going off the whole time. The Mexicans don’t really seem to care about the size of the explosion but rather how loud it is. The big celebration was Sunday night and I could have sworn there was a major artillery battle outside. No firework restrictions here.

You guys are amazing. I think about you a lot and love you tons!!!!!!!. I pray for each of you each night and I am always thinking about you. Love you tons.

¡oh, esta, todo bien!



  1. Family of Elder Christensen:

    I don't know if you'll read this comment or even be able to find it, but I felt strongly impressed to comment on one of these blog posts. I'm headed to this exact mission in November and cannot even express how much comfort and excitement I have experienced reading through these emails. (Hopefully that's not super creepy! hahaha:) ) I've been feeling a lot of anxiety lately about the Mexico CCM as well as Chile. Finding this string of emails converted into blog posts has been an amazing blessing. It's been a tender mercy, for sure. I'm sure it hasn't been very easy to keep up on blog posts ( I've already begun trying to teach my poor mom how to do it and she's been SO frustrated haha).

    Thank you for your hard work putting it together.
    And please thank your hardworking son for sharing his testimony via email. It's made all the difference.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Lexi, and best wishes to you!