Friday, March 21, 2014

Family Nights

Hello everyone! 

We had a pretty good week, before I forget I wanted to ask what is going on in the Ukraine. I have seen a few messages and it looks like something is going on. How are Will, Madsen and Nolan? 

We found rats in the house last night. 

I am doing really well. We are working hard trying to get things rolling here in Lonchoche. My companion says, “hi” and wants to know how you are all doing. 

The work is really difficult here; but I have felt multiple times that I can really make a difference here. We just need to figure out how. Chile has a really interesting history with the church. There was a huge boom in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Even though the baptismal tally was high, there wasn´t much retention. I think largely to a lack of experienced priesthood leaders. This became very clear yesterday as I talked to a 3 time branch president who had apostatized. It was very interesting to hear his thoughts, because he claims to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon but saw some things differently with the administrative side. You can see that the adversary is working very hard here on all levels. There are not a lot of people who are married either. It is tough to change from a place like Utah where the Church and family structure are so strong, to a place where they are not. 

We are starting to have family nights and are having the members fellowship less-active members. We also want to re-teach the basic doctrines to the members so that they can have the Spirit more in their lives, and have desires to share the gospel. I am really beginning to learn what it means to work with members. 

A few weeks ago we were having a lot of success. We had church attendance up to 46 from the previous 28. Right when we were having this success, we faced some challenges. The attendance took a major blow and now we are working to re-build. I really think something big is going to happen here in Chile, but it is definitely challenging.

I love you guys tons! I hope Claire’s tests went well this week and the Leprechauns showed up this morning. Luckily, I wore me green sweater today! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I am so excited to tell you how happy I am! It has been a crazy six months since I last saw each of you. I am so excited to tell you that I am happier every day as I continue to apply the Atonement in my life. I love the Atonement and I love my Savior. I am Happy because over these last six months, I have had so many trials and now I know how to overcome them. I know that through the Atonement we can have joy! As I have struggled the best relief has come when I have really put my faith and trust in Christ and I know that is what I have been learning. As I continue to put my trust in Christ I am growing as a person and my confidence is growing as well. I love knowing that at the end of the day all that matters is what He thinks of me and He is happy when I am working hard to do my best. I am so grateful that He loves me and is patient with me and He is trying to build me. I have found so much joy as my testimony of Him continues to grow. I can’t tell you how many times He has shown me He is there. Sometimes we just have to look harder. I am so grateful for each of you and the way you have suppĆ³rted me and helped me face my challenges. 

Not much has changed with the work. We are trying to help strengthen the base here first. I think that is key. Some of my ideas are to have Family Home Evenings with two families at a time, because it creates a good environment. Also, to invite less active and investigators to these Family Home Evenings. Some of my other ideas are to extend more direct commitments to members to visit a less active or nonmember and invite them to church. Some of the basics that I think we can apply. Now that I know how to overcome my challenges and I feel more confident, I am excited to start being a little more bold. 
Missionary's I graduated with at Olympus Highschool 
I was so grateful for dad’s email last week and I think Heavenly Father was clearly trying to send me a message because earlier that day we were eating lunch in a restaurant and as I climbed the stairs to the bathroom I noticed an old “It’s a Wonderful Life” movie poster that I hadn’t noticed the week before and it was stuck in my mind all day as I thought about George Bailey, someone who went about doing good and changed the entire town, but also someone who went without great recognition or honors in life. Then when I read dads letter it was confirmation. I am so grateful for little miracles like this. I love this way to look at life. We never know, we may change someone’s life by just smiling at them. This was the same message President Martinez shared with us in the conference on Wednesday as well. We got to meet the two missionaries that taught him when he was a teenager. He talked about having an eternal perspective and seeing people for who they can become. These missionaries blessed his life so much, and now he is blessing hundreds of lives. 

I got my packages this week thank you so much! I also got Claire’s letter. Claire’s letter helped me so much and she continues to help me develop such great perspective! Claire, I love you. Thank you for lifting me like you lift everyone else, and I loved the cowboys!

It is starting to get cold pretty fast here. I switched over to my sleeping bag this week and I cannot tell you how much I love it!  

Love you all tons!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Catching Rides

Hey family,

I hope you are all doing well! I had a pretty good week. Last week we had to take Spencer’s advice and hitch-hike home from a zone activity. We ended up driving to Loncoche in a semi-truck as well. We got dropped off on the other side of town, but we made it out ok so that was good.

We have a new roommate from Provo, Utah. He is a really great guy with a really mello personality. It has been really good for me to have someone around that I connect to and can get along so easily with. It is possible we could be here together for several months.

I bore my testimony yesterday and I ended up talking about the relationships we make through the gospel. I was kind of surprised because it wasn’t what I had intentionally been thinking about, and I kind of got emotional. While I was talking about these types of relationships I was thinking about all of our family and all of our ward family, who I love so much. One of the problems we see is that people can get easily offended and it can shake the ward. Every ward or branch in Chile has at least 400 members but only 40 or 50 come to church. It is a tragedy and it can make the work pretty difficult sometimes. Anyway, I hope my testimony helped the members realize that they can enjoy and  build these relationships. Like I have said before, it is an amazing thing when someone really embraces the gospel. The people of Chile are great people!

Well, we got a call from President yesterday telling us to work more with members. I will try to write about the members next week, there are some really great stories. My favorite is this young family with one daughter and one more child on the way. They are so pure. For me, they are the Church here.

I am working on being bold and fearless.

I love you tons!

Elder Christensen