Monday, August 20, 2012

20 August 2012, Kearney, NJ

EVERYBODY. This week was rough. We didn't have a lot of lessons, new investigators or real success with our the little people that we taught. But we did reconnect with an old investigator and a family of potential investigators, which should be awesome.
-Got some CD's from Lydia. She's gets a gold medal for that one.
-Did more contacting this week. I'm getting better with just talking to people on the streets. Like I just walked up to a family sitting on their porch and asked them if they knew a good place for pizza close-by. They told me a few places, and we talked for a few minutes and then I was just like "Oh by the way we're missionaries..." and jumped into a discussion. I was proud of myself. We set up a return appt but they bailed on us yesterday.
-NATALIE - got your letter, writing you TODAY. Be stoked.
-BEKAH - got your letter, going to try to write today. love you so much.
-We had president interviews this week. They were wonderful. I love talking to President Jeppson. I get super stressed though because I've had at least 3 people tell me that they feel like I'm going to be "future of the mission", including Pres Jeppson. It freaks me out, but at the same time, OBVIOUSLY, I feel pretty great and humbled. HOWEVER, quick story, while we were driving to pick some other Elders in an area called Bayonne, we saw something gross/crazy. We were waiting in the car for the other Elders to come out, and we saw this guy stumble out of a bar (this is at 9 o clock in the morning) with a grocery bag in his hands and he puked on the sidewalk. Then we noticed that his pants were down. He stumbled up against a car, drunkenly trying to pull up his pants without success. Let's just say I saw a lot more than I wanted to see. Total frontal nudity. It was pretty gross. I'm just glad that we were like 30 yards away from him.
-Have had a couple of dreams in Spanish. SUCCESS! I'm actually learning.
-We were teaching a less active/recent convert a couple of days ago and out of the blue she was like "next time we need to have the dating discussion, like what's okay and what's not..." Elder Storey and I just looked at each other and laughed. We LOVE teaching Law of Chastity, especially in spanish. So that's going to be fun. We'll see how that goes.
-Cool discussion about faith with Elder Storey this week. Mostly just this: The reason why faith is SO important to have is because it's ONLY needed during our lives on THIS earth. Think about it: before, we lived with God. We didn't need to believe in him. And after this life, we know what's coming. We know we're going to live with God, as long as we keep doing the things we need to be doing ON THIS EARTH. It's insane how much this life matters, in comparison to how short it is. FAITH is what drives us to continue to follow God. It's what drives us to act, to change, to better ourselves and to ultimately reach salvation.

Last week of the transfer. Can't believe I'll already been in Jersey for 5 weeks. I was telling Elder key yesterday how quickly I felt this transfer went by. All he said was "You have no idea." He's almost been out a year now. I love him and respect him so much.

Have faith. I love you all.

Elder Niels Christensen

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A few photos

Niels finally sent some photos. Here are a few of them from the MTC and New Jersey.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

6 August 2012

Everytime we drive through the backstreets of Kearney and other greener areas, all I can think of is the movie "Garden State" and driving a motorcycle on these roads and Coldplay's "Don't Panic" playing on a stereo. I want to find out where it was filmed so I can visit those places when my mission is over.
This week was pretty SWELL. Last night we met with Elder Key (district leader) for his weekly check-up with the companionships in the district. He told us straight up that we were some of the most obedient, hard-working missionaries he's ever seen and he said our numbers were awesome this week. We taught 24 lessons, several of them were with members, and we got 5 new investigators. We felt really great about that and we're really pushing ourselves to find more investigators. Also, Elder Storey told me a phraze that I thought was hilarious the other day. And it was even more hilarious because we had been talking in an Irish accent for a good 15 minutes and then he said "Numbers, numbers mean the most. Never mind the Holy Ghost." I was dying. I'm such a square already. CHRIS: this is what you get to look forward to.

Next week, Elder Storey is baptizing 8-year-old Diane Isla, who is pretty much a golden investigator. Her mother is a member, her father and older brother are not. But she answers all of our questions perfectly and is such a wonderful girl. Something funny that happened last week though was after we finished giving Diane a lesson, her Dad and her brother brough back donuts and coffee. So we had donuts and Diane started drinking coffee and looked up at us and was just like "Mmmm yummy coffee." And I wanted to hurl/start cracking up because a) I HATE the word "Yummy" and b) duh coffee. It was hilarious. Elder Storey and I just looked at each other and were like "I wonder what we're teaching next week."

We had a RAD lesson with an old investigator that I think might be getting baptized in a few weeks depending on how things go. His name is Hermano Guerrero. His wife is an inactive member. We taught about the doctrine of Christ and towards the end we basically explained all the blessings from living the doctrine. We asked "when would you want to receive these blessings?" (which is similar to a soft baptismal invite) He said always, but there things that one needed to do first. The beautiful, albeit really chaallenging thing about teaching part member families where the members are less-actives is the fact that if we do the right thing, we can get a baptism AND bring them back to church. But it's difficult because most of the time, the less actives aren't SUPER interested in coming back to church. It's so sad to see inactive people that you kjnow that THEY KNOW it's true but they dont' do anything about it. That 's why we work so much with less actives.

My hands and fingers are hurting and raw. I've been playing guitar/studying all morning. I'm also going to try to get my hands on a tape recorder soon.
I'm getting pictures developed at Wal Mart today, family. So you'll get them SOON. HOPEfully in a week or two.

Sorry about being impatient, Dad. thanks for thinking of me and for prepping a package. I'm STOKED to get it.

I went on an exchange this week. I will not lie to all of you: it was hell. I can't say who it was with, but let's just say that he was an english Elder and he cluelessly tried to speak to Spanish speakers in a LOUD english voice. If they wouldn't understand, he would just talk louder. And everytime I'd start getting anywhere in Spanish, he would stop me and ask me to translate. Ay. It was rough. AND, we'd go in with a lesson plan and as soon as we would get in there, he would change it, (NOT even according to the needs of the investigator). Like one time, we went in with a plan to teach Plan Of Salvation and out of the blue and said we were going to watch a video (mind you, in english) and we were going to talk about temptation and the power of the devil. We watched the "Spiritual Crocodiles" video from Boyd K. Packer (in english of course) and then talked afterwards. And I tried to steer the lesson in a different direction but he would ALWAYS bring it back. Anyway, it was really fun.
He just walked out of the library and he's wearing a fedora. GAH. I'm the worst. I need to be better with other Elders and frustrating people.

Speaking of which, latin people NEVER keep commitments. It's so hard to get them to do anything. But everybody has such powerful testimonies and strong faith. We're just really working with them, trying to get them to ACT on that. Yep, we definitely read James 2:17 (faith without works is dead) frequently in lessons. The strange thing is how much I love them and want them to be happy, even though they dont' do what they tell them.
Our long time investigator, Carlos Gamarra, is incredible. He's always the one dragging his kids to church, participating in Sunday school, and volunteering for prayers and reading and whatnot. He's one of those guys that you'd think was a member if you it was your first sunday in the ward.

Elder Storey continues to amaze me. He teaches, exhorts, questions, and commits with such power and authority. I am always trying to be more like him.

I forgot to tell you all that when I was in the MTC, I convinced my entire district to quit washing their hair. It was rad. And now I've already convinced 3-4 elders in New Jersey. It's wonderful how persuasive I can be.
Elder Key has a select few songs on his iPod that I actually like. Him and Elder Garcia listen to the same 5 songs over and over again. I'm pretty sick of them. But he lets me borrow it every once in a while and I listen to ENYA (Chris: it's freaking rad), Phil Collins (don't make fun Matthew, it's just the Tarzan soundtrack), ANNNNDD the raddest version ever of Mr. Brightside (it's the Vitamin String Quartet version so it's instrumental). LIfe it sweet when I listen to those songs.

Sorry how random and sprawled these letters are/have been. I'll try to be more focused next time.
Hayley: Got your letter from a few weeks ago. I sent you another one before I got this one. So write me back and then I'll write you a long one.
Tanner: Got yours too. THANKS MUCH for the stories and words and whatnot. I wrote you a letter too. So write me. ALSO, greatest envelope I've ever received, bro bro.
Bayley, Bekah: wrote you letters. Hopefully you get them soon. Love you both.

Love you all. You know I do.

Y Dios los bendiga.
Elder Christensen