Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012 (Perth Amboy, NJ)

Alright cool. Here I am in the Perth Amboy Public Library. Surrounded by Mexicans and Dominicans. I love every last one of them.

So I got transferred to Perth Amboy, farther south and right on the coast. It's super cool, but way different than my last area. We are a WALKING mission, which is awesome. That's honestly all I wanted on my whole mission was to be in a walking area.

COMPANION: Elder Giglio (Gee-lee-Oh). He's half Spanish (Spain) and half Italian but he was born and raised in Mexico. He speaks a little less english than I speak Spanish. But he's super cool. We get along SO WELL. The other day we were walking on the pier and I pointed to my butt and said "What's this?" (assuming he understood that I was asking what was the spanish word for it). He looked at me and said "Hmm.. ass?.. NO. BUTT!" in english. and I started busting up laughing. He apologized and felt bad but I told him it was alright and that it was actually hilarious. Some good influence I am.
We work REALLY well together. Our comp uinity is great and we teach with the spirit. It's rad. I love Elder Giglio and we help each other so much with the language. I ALWAYS speak to him in spanish, and he usually speaks to me in english. There's deifinitely a language barrier, but it doesn't seem to bother us at all.

Tons of our conversations begin with something like "What's THIS in spanish" or "What's does THIS mean in English". I seriously already, after 5 days, have a boatload of hilarious conversations with Elder Giglio.

This transfer is honestly going to be such a dream. I wanted a native companion and to be in a walking area and I got both.

Story #1: Really short but awesome: We had just finished teaching our investigator named Ysrael, from Peru, and as we started to leave, I saw a road bike sitting in his hallway. I said "HEY! Who's is that?" in spanish of course. He said it was his and we walked up to it and started checking it out. OK! Dad and Finn. 1978 Peugeot Road Bike with all original parts, nicely tuned and cleaned up by Ysrael. About 15 seconds later of talking, he let me go outside and try it out. It was awesome and super smooth. MAN. I was in heaven. AND THEN GUESS WHAT HAPPENED.... He was like "Do you want to borrow it?" I almost started crying. He said that his wife was pregnant at the moment and he didn't have time right now, so he said I could have it, until I leave the area. That's the thing about Perth Amboy. Everyone is so filled with the Love of God. They're all so prepared for the gospel. We have like 10 investigators that are progressing and we had 6 investigators at church yesterday, which is the highest I've had.
So yep, I've got a road bike now and Elder Giglio has his bike and we bike around town feeling SO AWESOME in the autumn breeze.
The area is nuts and really fast paced. We have a bunch of investigators that are so close to being baptized, they just need something to push them over the edge. I learn so much from Elder Giglio, who has taught me that you don't have to be super stressed, when people bail on you and everything goes wrong. When he speaks english it's wonderful and humble.  

Sorry if I confused anyone about talking in tongues of angels or something. I'm still speaking Spanish, I was just feeling super stoked and filled with love when I wrote that email, as I was leaving the area and I got an incredible email from Lydia.

My new address is:
186 Patterson St. #4
Perth Amboy, NJ 08861

So you all can write me, BUT if you have packages, send them to the mission office.
The other night we went and visited a Mexican family in the ward. The Chico family. They're AWESOME. Hermana Chico made us pasta soup with spicy avocado sauce, salted beef, fresh tortillas and apple soda. It was unreal. The food here is great, as usual. AND Elder Giglio makes Mexican and Italian food, which is awesome. He's already taught me to cook a little bit.

I feel so great right now. I think we're going to head home after this, write a few letters, cut each other's hair, go for a bike ride and maybe sit on the beach in the cool autumn weather. It's overcast 70% of the time here, which is awesome. It's cool being in a port town.

FAMILY: I'm jealous of your cool experiences in West Yellowstone. It looked absolutely beautiful in the fall colors, up there in the mountains. Thanks for the photos, Dad. I got your letter but it got sent to my old apartment, so I'll get it in a few days. And thanks for the little update, mother. You're both incredible parents, who have raised splendid children.. except for Lars. Still a nerd (JOKES).
Finn: How's school going? WRite me a little letter.
Lars: Good to hear about your project. I loved the Egyptian day. It was rad. Have you made a bunch of new friends... EXCITED TO get the Priesthood? I am. You're gonig to be such little spiritual powerhouse. Remember to read your scriptures and pray. Finn and Lars: I can promise you right now that it will make you happier than you know.
Kai: write me, brother. I want to hear how your life is. I heard you wrote a little something to Natalie. Let me know how you're doing.

Kent: Got your other letter, but not actually. It got sent to my old address, so I'm going to go pick it up this week. THanks man, you're the best.
Bayley: Got your letter too. I'm sorry I've been the worst at writing back. Writing back soon.
Everyone else: thanks for everything.

Sending my memory card home today. Hope you like it.



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

I have NO time. I am leaving Harrison/Kearny Spanish. We're driving up to transfer conference in just a few hours. The time I've had here has been absolutely beautiful and powerful, but I am ready for a change. I am ready for the chance I will have to serve different people, to speak in another tongue of God. I feel like my mind and spirit have been changed due to a few things that happened this week and today. I am ready to give everything I have to the Lord. Thank you all for your wonderful support and never changing love.

We baptized J.P and John (cousins) on Sunday. Baptizing is an incredible feeling. I'll send pics soon.
I'm sorry, I can't think of very much to say. I am filled right now with the joy of God. I feel as if a change has come over me and I know that this is the LORD'S WORK.

General Conference was incredible. Just amazing. It's going to be crazy to see how many people serve missions now, especially sisters.

Love God, serve Him. We need his help.


ps - FAMILY: An Indian man named Jackson is coming over to your house next week. He is bringing some old letters that I want you to put away and a NEW letter for you guys. He wants to talk cooking with you, Dad. He's amazing. Please talk with him, feed him, and share with him your testimonies.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 1, 2012 (Kearney)

The subject line is what's written on the back of garbage trucks around here. And it's hilarious ok?

I am doing great. We had an incredibly week this week. Here's what I wrote in my weekly letter to President Jeppson (slightly revised):
Dear President Jeppson,
"This past week as been very rewarding, full of miracles and hard work. We started off on Monday evening, of course, visiting a less active guy named Christian. When we got there, his girlfriend was there (whom he has a son with) and he wanted us to teach her. She was so ready and willing to change, a little stubborn, but very understanding and wanting the best for her family.
I love seeing the people that the Lord truly prepares to receive this Gospel and enter into the waters of baptism. We don't have a date with her yet, as they need to repent and get married, but she said that she would be baptized. The only problem is, we're not going to see them for a little while. But I have FAITH that she will continue to progress and they will see the powerful change overtake their family.

We got 5 new investigators this week, 2 of which are 16 year old cousins who have already been baptized, however their old ward in Florida lost their baptismal papers. They both have really strong testimonies and have both come out on Team-Ups with us, but now they need to wait to come out with us again, as they're considered "investigators". It's cool that they get this opportunity though, to enter into this covenant again with God, especially after having a really sound understanding for their age. Elder Magleby and I have been teaching them the lessons again, which has brought a lot of joy to my heart. Especially the simple fact of being able to start from lesson 1 and move through them. These two kids are golden. Obviously.
I learned two really valuble lessons this week. One was a very humbling listening experience. After teaching a lesson to a returning family (because the 9 year old daughter was baptized) we chatted just for a few minutes afterwards. The husband of this family is not a member, and he loves to argue with us, however, we are pretty good at staving him off and not giving him things to feed on. Anyway, he went upstairs after the lesson and Elder Magleby began helping the 9 year old girl with some homework. I was chatting with the Hermana and she began talking with me about all these hardships and trials concerning her husband and her daughter and with the church and how she was feeling. I stood there in the kitchen and listened. And instead of trying to speak back and give her counsel, I simply listened as she broke down into tears and continued to pour out her heart and soul to me. I couldn't help but smile after I responded simply and powerful, according to the spirit. Being a member of the church is difficult, but it's so incredibly worth it.
The second lesson I learned is that as a missionary, I have become rather hard-hearted when it comes to hearing what other people believe. We had a street lesson with a black guy named Melvin. He obviously wasn't spanish but we felt like we needed to talk to him. As we did, he simply brought up the fact that he felt like he was already so blessed and that God had given him everything. He was very humble and willing to listen and even shared some of this insights on religion. It was fascinating and I feel like everything he said was a part of the gospel of Christ. I can learn so much from the people I teach, it's amazing.
Elder Magleby and I are continuing to do well. We have realized that we are NOTHING alike. However, it does not stop me from loving him and trying my hardest to help and serve him. I love the strange unity we have. We celebrate our differences and work well off the things that we're both good at.
Missionary work is glorious."

Another awesome thing I learned this week is how wonderful the church is. Everything about it is perfect. But I feel like I have grown so much simply by being a member. There were so many incredible lessons I learned just by going to church and doing the things I was supposed to be doing, (even if I didn't do all those things for a while). But those things have jumped out at me and have helped me to realize how incredible it is be a member of the church. I will NEVER go inactive. That would probably be the most hypocritical thing I could do in my life.
I have learned to incorporate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the my life and I have a hard time believing that it will ever leave.

My stomach is making the most gnarly noises right now. Sorry this letter isn't that funny.
Kent: Writing you back today. Thanks so much for your letter.
Hayley: Write ME.
Bayley: I'm writing you NEXT week for sure. Sorry I'm the lamest.

Family: I love alll of you. Thanks for your words, support, wisdom and excellence. It has been great to have you on my side.
"It's gonna be glorious day." -Radiohead

Elder Christensen

PS - I finally got around to posting some photos. Sorry for taking forever. I'm not sure about which one is which but here are some easily identifiable captions:
-Delicious muscles from dinner at Bro. Jackson's house
-Dark clouds on Ferry Street in Newark
-Elder Magleby and I on Wilson Ave, in Kearney
-Shopping receipt at ShopRite.
-HUGE slices of pizza at Gina's Pizza