Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 24, 2012

Friends, family, and all you other goons:

HEY. How is everybody? It's wonderful to be here, typing this letter to you from the Princeton Public Library. We drove here at about 7:30 this morning, but we hit some bad rush-hour traffic and didn't get here till about 9. Normally the drive is about an hour long. But as we drove into this area (farther south than Newark), greenery and fall colors took the place of high rise buildings and garbage litering the streets. I always forget how dirty Newark is. I still love it though. But little trips like this out to the country make me LONG for something with more beauty. But this is the Garden State and every time I leave Newark I am reminded of that.

So when we got here, we went to the Princeton Stadium and played some good old American Football. It was pretty rad. Elder Key (from Samoa), Elder Hafoka (from Tonga), and Elder Kakeva (from Hawaii), are the only three Polynesians in the mission, so naturally they took the lead in leading the game. I'm pretty sure we won.
But at the end, I caught a short pass and turned to run the ball, and Elder Brimley (who I came out with) was right there. So we clocked heads, probably harder than I ever have in my entire life and now we both have MASSIVE goose eggs on our foreheads. And headaches... Then afterward, we drove to the library. It was weird to drive through an area that is not my own, especially because it was ALL people my age. Weird. I saw a bunch of people with cool shoes and jackets and I wanted them. College campuses are awesome and beautiful. I realized that I don't even know what school is like, though. Man I'm going to be such a nerd.

This week was SLOW. We only found 1 new investigator, and only had 1 investigator at church. On Friday, we had no lessons, no investigators, NOTHING. Straight zeros. The only funny thing was, I was on an exchange with Elder Key. And we had an INCREDIBLE day in the english area. We set 2 baptismal dates, found 3 new inv., did some awesome lesson teaching, and commited a new inv to baptism. It was unreal, and it helped to renew my faith that God is always there and he always has people prepared for us, even when we are down and not searching as hard as we can. However, we know that when we work as hard as we can, he will reward us in more potent, but perhaps, more subtle ways. All I know is, the blessings will be greater. And I've defnitely seen them. Man. Working with Elder Key is so fun. We sometimes will talk about life when we were in the same ward, and how crazy it is that we're now serving in the same mission. Rad. I love him. Every time I work with Elder Key, I learn SO MUCH about listening to the spirit and being humble. Elder Key will never take a compliment though, and it's super annoying.

Our investigators are progressing REALLY slow. Man I get so fed up with them. I tell Elder Magleby that I just want to "punch them right in the face." Not really, but that's how I feel sometimes. Let's be real, when someone tells you to read your scriptures for 3 and a half weeks straight, every other day, and they don't do it, it's pretty obnoxious. But I still love all the people we serve. The other night, I was almost in tears telling Elder Magleby how much I love a long time investigator in the ward and his member family. Like I've probably told you a thousand times, I feel like that was the easiest thing for me: loving people. And everybody said once you love them, all you do is think about them and want to serve them: TRUE. It's crazy how many dreams I've had with less-actives/investigators. I just want to help them all the time and it's hard to find the EXACT way to do that. Because they all have different needs and challenges. I'm rambling.

I think this is the first week I didn't get very many letters. Which is alright, because hopefully I'll have time to write back some people today. Sorry everybody that hasn't gotten letters for a while. You're all on my list. ("You should've known by now, you were on my list".)

In all honesty, this week has been hard. It's been a week to help me realize that I don't depend on God enough, even if I feel like I do.

I just want to bear a simple testimony relating to a quick story.
We were teaching an inactive lady, and we were trying to weed out her doubts about coming back to church. She didn't really have the desire to still be a part of the gospel, so we asked her some leading questions. She said that it bothered her that everybody talked about Joseph Smith so much. She felt like everybody put him before Jesus Christ and she felt that was lame. I told her I agreed. But she didn't understand the reason why people felt so strongly about Joseph Smith and I knew that was where her testimony faltered. So I bore her my testimony of these things.
I basically said the following.

I know that this gospel is true and has been restored on the earth today. The reason why so many people seem to "praise" and "love" Joseph Smith, is because of what he did. Without Joseph Smith, I wouldn't be here. The gospel of JESUS CHRIST would not have been restored and we would not have any of these ordinances and powers that we have today.
I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the happiness of the Gospel of Christ to the earth once more. I know that he was a prophet of the Lord.
I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I know that only through his Atonement, I am free from death and sin. This is His church. We are his disciples. Don't forget that.

Elder Niels Christensen

PS - I heard from my investigator Israel that the XX came out with a new album?? Why did nobody tell me?? Unless it's a lie.

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