¡¡¡Holaaa mi familia y todosss!!! How is everyone doing? I hope that this letter finds everyone safe and sound, like always! Well, we had another baptism yesterday, Nidian. She is an old investigator that my comp and his old comp had left because she wasnt progressing. But, one day we were walking in the street and she ran up to us asking when the next baptismal service is! So, we returned to teaching her, and yesterday she was baptized!! Awesome!!! She has such great faith... Get this. Her mom didnt give her permission to be baptized for anything, but she, being 18, took the situation into her own hands and came and was baptized! She truly is scared of her mom... I think she is abusive. But then on Sunday, she didnt come to the meeting. Soo... she wasnt confirmed. Come to find out that the parents actually put a lock on the door so that she couldnt leave. Wow! So, we'll be talking with the parents soon to help them understand. Crazy huh? This saturday we are preparing another baptismal service! :) Some of the Vilca Family will be baptized. Minus the dad, and a brother. They still have problems with the Word of Wisdom. But, the mom Nicasia, her daughter Edith, and her son Jaime will be baptized saturday! Its gonna be big too. They are planning on food, family, and friends all attending! I'm pretty stoked! Other than this, the work is progressing really well. I'm pleased to say the least. We have a reference from other missionaries in our zone for a kid that they have been teaching and he supposedly had a date for this last saturday... So we will try to have him baptized this saturday as well! The work is really progressing here in Juliaca. Now dad, yes. Winter is slowly approaching. And no, we do not have heat. I dont know of anyone in this town that has heat. Im still studying in a coat, scarf, but I lost my gloves! :/ so I need to buy some more... But from what I hear, the winter is horrible here. Babies die from the cold. Literally. It hails a ton, and a couple years ago it snowed. So who knows! Its supposedly summer right now, but feels more like winter. The natives are weirded out too. Now, there are a couple things that I NEED!: 1. My patriarchal blessing. 2. Line of Authority 3. Ideas for games to play for FHE!!!! Please please!! I need them! Scriptures of the week for the past 4 weeks... Haha I keep forgettting! 1.D&C 4:2 2. Matt 10:19-20 3.John 6:35&37 4.Alma 53:20-21 I'm finding out that when I am really focused on the work, the time flies by. Literally! Im so grateful to have this oppurtunity to serve my mission here in the wonderful country of Perù! I love every minute, and I wouldnt trade this experience for anything! I finally got some letters, after like 3 weeks of nothing! Sad, huh? And where are my pictures family? Its not that hard.... Boys, help them out! And thanks for writing me! I really love to hear from all of you! I dont have much time, there are no pictures, I forgot to bring my camera! :( I'm sorry. So, I hope that you all have a great week, and that you are keeping me in your prayers! I can feel them, so keep them coming. Con muccchoo amor... Elder Jordan Van Christensen
February 23, 2011
Ahh.. My wonderful family and other loved ones! This week truly has flown by. I was so surprised on Sunday, I was like, wow! This week is already gone. Its crazy how time goes by in the mission. Dad, I guess you're right... I'm 25% done. Weird to think about. So about our investigators. We have 4 people with a baptismal date and they are for sure gonna be dunked, if it be the Lords will! We have Nidian this Saturday, and 3 members of the Vilca family on the 26th. There are a lot of more people that can be baptized this month, all we need to do is to be obedient, and WORK. This last Saturday we organized an activity called "Puertas Abiertas". Which means "Open Doors" in English. We printed out 1,250 cards that we passed out to the organizations in our ward, and we passed out ourselves. Also we appeared on 2 TV stations, with a personal interview. Who knew that my 15 minutes of fame would be in Peru? Hahaha it really was so awesome. One station made a copy of the interview, but they cant find it somehow.. So we'll be nagging them to find it so I can send it home! Anyway, on Saturday about 40 people showed up. A ton less than we were hoping for. But, nonetheless, it was a success! We have their addresses, names, and phone numbers. The only thing is, is that almost all of the references we have are in another sector.... Sweet! But I don't have a problem as long as they work and baptize them all! ;) Also, on Sunday early in the morning we get a call from the ZL's saying that they have a baptism this morning but they don't have electricity or running water in their chapel at the moment. So we change, and run to our chapel to start filling the font. Normally it takes 1 hour to fill, but we got 3 buckets of water and filled it that way as well. It took us 25 minutes! We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but we got it done! I ended up with 2 cuts on my hand, and some wet pants. Haha, I don't know how I got cut, but I just happened to look down at my hand and blood was dripping on the floor. Haha, so yeah. They had their baptism, it went well, and the water was freezing! Hahaha. We as a zone have a goal of 41 baptisms this month. Wow. Our goal is 5. I have faith that we will be able to complete with our goal. I am sure with the help of our Savior, we can accomplish all things! Like it says in Moroni 7:33. Look it up! Well, other than these little things, not a lot has happened this week! The work is progressing really well, and there are many people to baptize. We are working hard everyday, and Mom, I'm keeping my promise. I'll keep it forever! I love you so much mom, thanks so much for your email. Oh, by the way I got the letter with the pictures from Christmas last Monday, I forgot to tell you. And the letter from Aunt Jacquie as well! Tell her thank you! And I will write Gram and Gramps and tell them thank you! How nice of them!! :) Oh and Mom, Ash's birthday is on May 9th! How sweet of her to remember your birthday? :) I don't have much time left, I hope that this email finds all of you safe and sound! I miss you tons, but as I focus more and more on the work, its easier to not feel homesick. I thank the Lord everyday for this amazing opportunity I have to share this gospel with the people here in Peru! Los quiero muchooo!! Cuidanse! Tu hermano, hijo, y amigo Peruano... Elder Jordan Van Christensen PS - Enjoy the pics, they are a few from my time in Puno!
Before I forget.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! I'm glad that you got your letter, pretty sure its the first time I've used a typewriter! So it was pretty cool. Lets see, so not a lot has happened this week. Pretty average, not much to say. But, we have been working and helping the Vilca family, and almost all of their family will be baptized on the 26th!!! 4 people. The mom, Nicasia, the kids, Jaime, Edith, and Dina (she will be her step-daughter after she gets married also this month). Freddy is who will marry Dina, and he used to listen to the lessons and everything, but now I don't know what happened. Anyway, Dina wants to be baptized before my comp goes home, but before she gets baptized she has to be married. They only live together right now, so yeah. That's how it goes! The father, Fredrico, believes in the Book of Mormon, knows that he needs to be baptized in the same manner as Christ, and he will be baptized. BUT, he is in debt to 4 banks, and in his work they drink when they sign contracts and all that jazz. So, he has a big problem with the Word of Wisdom.... As well as I would say... 75% or more of Juliaca. I heard from a member the other day that the people here work to drink. Right now is the biggest party in Puno. Its called, in Spanish, "Virgen de la Candelaria". Its HUGE. But its in Puno. Now, the parties start here in Juliaca in March. I've heard... well, lets just say I've heard a lot of stuff that happens and its really not that great. People get so drunk that they pass out in the streets. They lose all ability to reason and then bad things happen. So.... yeah. We'll leave it at that! Anyway, Fredrico will be baptized, but first he wants to finish this work that he has so he wont be tempted by the alcohol. He is afraid to fall after he converts. The language really is picking up! Whenever I talk with members or investigators, they always ask me how much time I have in the mission. I then ask them how much time they think I have. They ALWAYS answer, "I don't know, a year? 18 months?" Hhaha! They're pretty surprised when I tell them that I'm about to complete 6 months. "Wow, 6 months? You speak really well for only having half a year...!" Talk about a compliment! That really boosts my confidence. :) Now, I want to focus on something that has really been on my mind this week. A few days ago, my comp and I were walking home from our appointments at around 9pm. He asked me the question, "How can one come to know Jesus Christ?". I thought about it for a little bit and then he asked me, "Elder, do you know Jesus Christ?" As I thought about this, I thought that yeah, I know Him. We continued to talk, and he then told me there are 3 ways we can come to know Christ. 1. Look in a mirror at the end of the day and ask yourself, "Did I ask as Christ would today?" 2. Reading of his words in the Holy Scriptures. Not simply just reading, but studying and analyzing them. and 3, Praying with a TON of faith. He continued to tell me, "There are many missionaries that come and serve their mission without ever knowing Jesus Christ. This is sad, you know why? Because they wasted 2 years of their life." Wow, I thought. How sad is that? He then asked me again, "Elder, do you know Jesus Christ?" This question made me think and really weighed on my mind. That night after dinner, I stopped to look at the stars, and my comp went up to the room. As I was gazing up into the night I asked myself, "Do I know our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ?" Then I started to cry. I realized that I really don't know Him. Goodness, I don't know Christ... I then made a goal to really focus on how I can come to know Him. Everyday I have been reading Jesus the Christ, and everyday I learn more and more. I want to be able to say without a doubt in my mind that yes, I know Him personally. Don't get me wrong, I have a powerful testimony of Him, and I know that He lives. I just want to know Him. I miss you all. Have a great week! Keep me and my investigators in your prayers. Enjoy the photos! Elder Christensen
February 7, 2011
A Missionary Christmas (author unknown)
I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus, My decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and socks...no fun.
I've bought him all white clothes because... This year I'm giving Christ my
I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I've reread November's Ensign, Felt strength come from His words.
Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because, This year I'm giving Christ my son.
I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion , their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence, I'll miss his smile a ton
For two years we will pray for him, I'm giving Christ my son.
I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their
He's always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, His choice and mine are one.
I'll put my faith in God's hand, This year, I'm giving Him my son.
Past gifts have lost their glitter; I think I finally understand
Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing's done.
My gift has taken years to make, This year... I'm giving Christ my son.
I know there's One who understands, the sacrifice I'm making.
Who knows the gift I willingly give, The toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before, Greater love - there could be none.
For years ago God gave to me, His only begotten son.
The hands I washed, the hands I held, The hands I taught to pray;
Now knock on doors to find the ones Who will listen to what he'll say.
Because I know Christ needs him, Until all the gathering's done,
My gift has taken years to make. This year...I'm giving Christ my
Holaaaaa como stannnn?? Well everyone, I'm here in Juliaca. The land of dust, mud, bitter cold, wind, and RAIN. Parts of this city are really ugly, not gonna lie. My ward is Wiracocha. Were actually right in the city, which is pretty nice. Wiracocha is Quechua for God, or Lord. So, not too bad right? Well, honestly, I really am loving it here. I already almost have a week here and we had 2 baptisms! We have so many more coming up as well! For the month of February we have the goal of 5 baptisms. But I am confident that we will have more than that. We have been "meticulously" obedient (I don't think I'll ever forget that from my setting apart blessing) and we've really been seeing the blessings. For example, we have literally had people come looking for us to be baptized. There is a lady that is 83 years old and has bad problems with her spine. She cant walk, but she wants to be baptized. So we will do all that we can to help her be baptized. I'll carry her into the water if I have to. The city yeah, physically isn't all that great. BUT, thank heavens that the work is PROGRESSING!!!! I thank the Lord each night for this change, even though I really didn't want to leave Puno. I know that this change is just what I needed. My comp is Elder Parraga, and is AWESOME! I almost want to cry, because I finally have such an awesome comp. He's obedient, likes to joke, and we get along really well. He will finish his mission this change, so that means I'll be here for at least another change. I can already tell you that I will learn so much this change. Our room is pretty small, but its all good. The shower is cold, most days. We live with our Pensionista again! So awesome. She cooks really good food as well. It literally is freezing here. I study with a coat, blanket, my scarf, and gloves. It rains like everyday. Dogs walk around like people. The roads aren't paved. Well, in the center they are. Lots of mud. I almost got bit by a wild dog the other day walking at around 8:30. It was dark and I about stepped on his head. Jaja, but I dodged it! Mom, I'm really sorry to scare you! Trust me though, I am safe and sound. This area in Juliaca, there are more problems with "robbing", but I'm not worried. I'm at least 6-8" taller than everyone here in Peru, jaja. Man, I don't have a lot of time. Bridger, just realize that girls are like that man. She should trust you. Trust is the most important thing in a relationship. I'll hand write you more details about this. Ash, i love to read your blogs! I'm sorry I don't have time today, I'll hand write you okay? Hope you're safe! Keep having awesome experiences! Miss you. Well fam, I know it's short, just know that I love each and EVERY ONE of you so so much. I will talk to you next week! Enjoy the photos. Baptisms of Milagros and her brother Nicolas. :) Gotta love it!!!! Your son and brother and friend, Elder Christensen
Holaaa familia y todos…. I hope that everyone is doing fantastic and that this email finds everyone in good health! I’m still here inviting our Peruvian brothers and sisters to come unto our Savior and big brother Jesus Christ!! Well, I’m not exactly sure where to start this email. This week hasn’t been all that great to be honest. Our baptisms didn’t turn out, which I was pretty bummed about. And dad, I’m sending this email to you and not mom so you can warm her up. So… not to worry you or mom, (or anyone else...) this week there was 2 murders just up the street. They were beaten to death, and yeah, it was brutal. I guess our street we live on has a rep for being dangerous. Last year there was a murder as well… right in front of the building. Oh, and we also were almost robbed. At 1am a few days ago someone was trying to break into the building where we now live. It was super loud and woke us both up. We were ready for someone to bust into our room at any moment. But I was ready to leap from our bunk (I got top!) and tackle him. It was going on for about 7 minutes, but at last he gave up and left. Please don’t worry, everything is fine. Apart from this, I don’t know what’s been going on this week but I’ve been really down. I’m feeling a little better though as I read my scriptures and continue to pray. I really miss my bro’s! So much. Please write me you guys! I wanna hear how you’re doing! Bridge, I didn’t get any pictures attached to your email! Send them again and get on mom and dad to send more! You don’t only need to send them through the mail, you CAN attach them onto an E-mail as well. Jaja. Anyway, we moved from our old room and now live in a building of recent converts. They are an awesome family and I love them! Their names are Julio & Anna (parents) and their 2 kids: Christian & Guadalupe. She is also our pensionista, so it works out really well. She cooks comida norteño, and it’s delicious. So far I have eaten some interesting “food”. We’ll start off the list with gizzard. Yes, intestines. Chicken hearts and feet are pretty popular in the soup here. They really eat everything in a chicken. The other day we were walking in a market, and I almost threw up. They sell the strangest things… I don’t know how to explain it. It’s basically dried cow fetus.. Yes that means it was taken from the cow prematurely. So nasty! But on the other side, I have eaten some REALLLY great food! The picture that I attached last week that looks like a stuffed tomato is really a pepper. The plate is called: Rocoto Relleno. It is a plate that is from Arequipa, and it is SPICY. It’s pretty good, and I’m beginning to really like spicy food. There is also a plate here called Ceviche that is pure Peruvian, and its sooo good!! Its raw fish/octopus/squid/etc. soaked in a lime/something salsa, with a special corn that looks like its on steroids, and lettuce. It’s super popular in Peru and everyone goes crazy about it. My comp especially loves it. He’s the one that took me to eat it, but boy is it good! Well, I haven’t gotten any of the mail you’ve sent yet. I’ll let you know what day it gets here mom, so you can see just how long it takes. Usually it takes a little more than 2 weeks depending on the office and when they get around to sending out the mail to the different areas. (If they’re not lazy). This last Monday we as a zone all played soccer… like we do every week. But this time we played, it started to rain.. and rain.. and rain! It was POURING. We just kept playing though. We played in the rain for about 2 hours in the rain and were completely soaked. There wasn’t a dry spot on our clothes. It was such a blast, even though I got a little bit of a cold from it, jaja. We also made soccer jerseys this week! As you can see from the photo attached. Its got my name on back as well as our zone name: Puno Central. Mom, my cough is just like it always has been. I don’t know what else to tell you… But I will take the meds that you send religiously, I promise! Oh hey, I keep forgetting to mention, I hope you guys are keeping up on my blog! I hear that you aren’t really… So come on! All you gotta do is copy and paste the emails. And yes dad, you guys need to keep a big album and put the photos that I send in it. Probably in chronological order! Oh yeah, about that card… Jaja, yes I did draw it! It took me about 40 minutes or so. And yes, I looked at a picture, but didn’t copy it! Thank you dad, jaja, I would like to think that I had skills! And also Dad, yes I do hear from Ash! She is doing really well. She’s in England right now for a study abroad. How sweet!? She gets to travel to Scotland, Italy, Paris, etc. Not bad huh? Funny story, last week for our multi zone conference we ate at a pizzeria afterwards that is owned by members in our ward. There was a group of gringos there from the states, from Utah actually! Well, there was a girl that I talked to, that happened to be from Scottsdale. I told her that I dated a girl from there, and she just happens to be in Ashley’s ward in AZ. Jajaja, how funny right? Well, I told her to tell Ash hello, then we left. Randommm. I also got an email from Michele last week! It was in my “Spam” folder, jaja (don’t be offended Michele!) But I told the computer that it really wasn’t spam, so now I’ll get them in the regular inbox. But yeah that is a pretty.. uh.. “cute” story Michele! All because he went on a mish! Ask Jacquie and Grandma if they ever got my postcards! I sent them like last month. Okay, I’ve slacked on the past scriptures of the week so here are the last 3, and #4 is this week: 1. Proverbs 3:5-6 2. Matthew 5:14-16 3. Ether 12:27-28 4. 3 Nephi 27:7-8 There are a few things that I need that I don’t have just yet! My patriarchal blessing, my line of authority, and a small calendar! You simply cant find calendars by the month here. So, if you could send one I would love it! I am trying to always remember to just smile and keep a good attitude about everything. At times its really hard when you have a comp that disregards the rules, is lazy, and is bipolar… but there is always something to smile and be happy about. I’m on the Lords errand everyday of my life for the next 19 or so months. I need to always remember my calling. I will not come home with regrets. People definitely have their agency to choose. It’s quite evident when the door is slammed in your face. You just gotta shrug it off and keep moving forward. Anyway, we just found out our changes on Sunday and yeah. I have a change. I don't know what happened, because President told me that I would stay here! I'd like to as him what the heck happened! My new area is in a place called Juliaca. Its basically in the middle of nowhere. Kind of like a camp town! But oh well. I will keep moving forward and continue on in this work! Its MY mission after all! I really hope that all of you are continuing to progress spiritually and continue to do the little things. Like having family night, reading the scriptures every day as a family, and praying as a family every day. Please try to do all of these things. They will help us grow closer together as a family, and will help our testimonies grow. Mom and Dad, continue to go to the temple. It’s a really good way to keep your relationship strong and healthy. I love you all more than you could possibly know. I pray for your health, your success, and your faith to continually grow, every day. Please continue to keep me in your prayers, and I hope to hear from you soon! Tu hermano y hijo ahora y para siempre… Elder Jordan Van Christensen
February 5, 2011
Hello everyone!! Hows my favorite family doing!? Man, I sure hope everyone is doing SO well! First off, Eth! Bro, I'm sorry about your ankle! What a bummer. But you'll be back out in no time! Keep your head up buddy, sure love and miss you! Bridge, thank you buddy for the email and the hand written letters, I haven't gotten them just yet. But look, I know you cant walk down into my room and just chat like we used to, but you can email me whenever you want to talk! I haven't disappeared completely... If you ever want advice on ANYTHING, email me, and I will get back to you the next week okay bud? I sure miss you and love you more than YOU know!! So this week has been really good! We have new investigators that are truly amazing. Janeli, who is like 32 or so, has been taking the lessons and has a date to be baptized this 29th this month. Her sister as well has been listening and we will be trying to get them baptized the same day. Her sisters name is Bemsy. She has a daughter who's name is Ijari, I think, its quechua. She is ADORABLE. I have been loving teaching them and getting to know them. Magda did move to Chiclayo, and we'll be contacting the office for them to send missionaries to her to continue teaching her children. Claudio has been doing really well, coming to church and all. So everything is well with them! His mother, Bibiana, has a baptismal date for this Saturday so hopefully that will work out! So on Saturday, we were eating at our pension and Anna, (our new pensionista) told us that her husband (Julio) hadn't returned home yet because he was at the doctor for his knee. Apparently he had hurt it really bad and could barely walk. He got home, and the first thing that came to my mind was that he needed a blessing. So we asked him if he wanted one, and of course he said yes. So, we blessed him, and afterward he just sat in his chair looking at us. He said that during the blessing he felt a warm sensation go from the top of his head down to his toes. He was so surprised! So, him being a recent convert, I explained a little bit about the Holy Ghost and that according to his faith, he would be healed so that he could work and continue to provide for his family. They are poor, so this was a big concern for him. Afterwards we left and went about our day. This was on Saturday. On Sunday, we were sitting in the chapel waiting for Sacrament to start when in walks Julio with his family! He was walking without a limp, and without any sign of discomfort. He walked up to us with a huge smile on his face and told us that when he woke up this morning, he didn't have any pain! He couldn't stop talking about the feeling he got during the prayer either, haha. He was so grateful to us. Talk about a testimony building experience, not only for him, but for me as well. That's the power of the priesthood for ya. My cough is still the same but I'm healthy otherwise! Don't worry mom, I will try to do something, but only in grave cases is when we can go to Cusco to see the doctor. Spanish is still coming along, I feel pretty comfortable so far! But I still have a while to progress! Well, I don't have a lot of time! But I found out that i will be staying in Puno for this next change on the 25th. Sweet! I love it here. I also found out that its more than likely that my comp will have a change. I miss all of you so much! I cant wait to hear from you! Send a USB 8gb memory, look on KSL for a cheap one. AAA Batteries, and a Michael Jordan hat for my investigator! Thanks!! Take care everyone, Elder Christensen
President and I
¡¡¡Holaaaaa!!! Well, last week we weren't able to email, or have p-day, due to the holidays. Kind of a gip, I know. BUT, its all good! I was able to focus a little bit more. So... quite a lot has happened over the last semana and a half! I have been keeping on my comp and sometimes literally, dragging him around. We have been really starting to work, and the blessings are showing. We have been walking a ton, mostly hiking in my area, and we've been teaching quite a lot! We have been teaching Claudio for about 2 weeks, and he is AWESOME. He has SO much faith in our Savior, and this last Saturday, the 8th, he showed it in the best way anyone could: He was baptized. :) Yesterday he received the Holy Ghost in Sacrament meeting, and he couldn't be happier! He is 51 years old, doesn't have a family of his own, yet, and had problems with the Word of Wisdom and Chastity, but he gave it all up to follow Christ. We also had been teaching another investigator, Magda, this last week as well. To make a long story short, she also showed her faith in Christ by being baptized last Saturday as well!!! They both wanted me to perform the ordinance, so.. I baptized them both! How amazing!? Man, it was such a good day! However, with every "first baptism" comes a story! So... hahah, here goes. They both passed their interview, but they had to talk with the Mission President. We were both pretty nervous that they wouldn't be able to be baptized! Phew, they passed. So, come the night of their baptism, the program starts, and the time comes for the baptisms. So I get in the water with Claudio first. I say the prayer, dunk him, and afterwards my ZL Elder Sperry tells me that his tie came up. Awesome. So, we do it again, but this time I say the prayer wrong (without dunking him)! Crud. Sooo... Finally, I did it all correctly, and he was baptized and cleansed from all previous sin. Next up is Magda, and I asked her for her full name and she told me: Magda Tejada Zevallos. I say the prayer perfectly with her name, but before I dunk her my ZL tells me "bro, she has 4 names." What?? Um, okay, so he tells me: Magda IRENE Tejada Zevallos. So I do it again. This time, I pronounce "Tejada" wrong. Goodness!! SO, now I baptize her correctly with the full name, the correct pronunciation, and the right prayer. Por fin! Hahaha, I just gotta laugh about it, because the night before I had a crazy weird/bad dream about my baptisms. I totally forgot the prayer, and one of our investigators disappeared! So I think that kind of messed me up a bit. But all is well! Its good timing for Magda because she is moving to Chiclayo today! So, hopefully the missionaries there will teach her 3 kids well, and they can all one day be sealed as a family! My first baptisms! And not only that, we have another this Saturday with the mother of Claudio! She is in her 70's, and mainly speaks Quechua. She understands Spanish, OK, but that's why we have Claudio translating for us! We haven't been able to find Ronald, but we will keep trying to find him to baptize him either this week or the next. We only have 2 weeks left in this change! How weird? Also just yesterday, we taught Hermana Flor who is a devout Catholic. We taught her about Christ and the Book of Mormon, and then about the Restoration. We taught her perfectly. If we hadn't have taught her the way we did, she wouldn't have accepted a baptismal date for the 22nd, the FIRST time we taught her! She has 2 kids, one that is 9, Luis Angel, and 17, Kevin. We are hoping to baptize Luis with his mom, but I don't know about Kevin yet. We have yet to talk with him. Oh man! And apart from these people, there are a TON more to baptize! I want more time here in Puno. This Thursday we have interviews with the President and on Friday we have our Multi-Zone Conference. I will be able to see my comp from the CCM, Elder Denhalter! I hope that he is doing okay, and that the language is coming along for him. I will be asking for more time I think in my interview because we finally have success. Anyway I don't have much time! I love all of you so much. Keep me in your prayers like you are doing! I truly am feeling them. Thank you for your emails! And Mom, thank you for the Gilberts email, I cant wait to get the newsletter! Please send me pictures! Geez! And send that letter dad! Also, in the next package, I could benefit from a lint roller. Also, mom, have you called Debby Eggleston? If not get on it! Here's her number again: 8012326970. I love this work. I love my mission so much! Cant wait to hear from ALL of you! I'll send pictures later! Cordially, Elder Christensen
Some of the people that came to watch the baptism.
Sunset, we rarely get these!
Happy New Year!
2011. Crazy to think that 2010 has already come and gone. Boy, it went by quick. Jaja, a couple elders were saying, "Hey! Now we can say we go home next year!" Trunky much? Haha, I wont lie, I was a little trunky myself, but who isn't at this time of year? But don't worry I'm not like crying in my pillow at night or anything. So, I did end up getting the other package! Sweet! I loved everything! I had my first peanut butter and honey sandwich a few days ago. I'm a happy boy to say the least! And the jerky is soooo delicious. Wow, I didn't realize how much I would appreciate things like that! But I don't know if you sent a dictionary or not, but its not in there. Next time you send something, include a list of everything that is in it. That will help keep track of things. You can send those manila envelopes with the bubble wrap for under 20 bucks as well, and those aren't opened. I guess its different with them. I have an investigator that wants an English-Spanish dictionary, so if you could find one and send it with my "pocket sized" one, that would be awesome. He will be baptized, I'm sure of it. :) And I do have some good news! I was talking with my ZL, Elder Sperry, and guess what? He told me that there is a lady that goes to Peru EVERY WEEK. Annnd guess how we can benefit from this? We can send packages with her! She just takes them with her. This is the way to send packages, and apparently its faster. I don't have all of the information just yet, but she lives in Utah, I would imagine anywhere between Salt Lake and Provo. Her dad owns a bus company here, and I guess she just travels a ton. Its a lot cheaper to send things, AND the box isn't opened! Sperry told me that he got a package from his family the same as mine, and told me that it was probably 20 bucks to send. He got shoes, t-shirts, and stuff. All of which were accounted for! Also, I can send packages with her as well, and you guys will pay for it when you get it... I think. Were both kind of in the dark with all the details, but when I know you will know! Unfortunately our baptisms didn't work out. She still has doubts, and says she hasn't received an answer to her prayers just yet. So please, please pray for Julisa. Were doing all that we can to help her, and hopefully she'll be baptized before I finish this change. I don't want to leave Puno without baptisms.. Man I would be so sad. BUT, I have faith. There's strength in numbers, so help us out! All we have to do to baptize Ronald is to find his mom! She's impossible to reach. Hopefully sometime soon we'll be able to find her. Other than that, our investigators are doing well, we just need to be diligent in teaching and working. I have been dragging my comp around, almost literally. Its hard to have a senior comp who is a DL, to be so lazy. But I'm doing my best, even when he does get annoyed with me for just saying, hey lets knock this door! Its sad! But we had a comp inventory and I finally felt like I got through to him. So, I feel like things are going to be turning around! I hope... Hey, if you can, tell me about Eric, Jarom, and all those other buddies! So happy new year!!! Last night we had some good fun. We bought some mortars, a pack of 12, and lit them off at midnight, along with EVERYONE in Puno! Seriously, everyone has fireworks. Our room is up on a hill and we can see most of the city, so we went up on the roof to light them off. But just looking out over the city, was incredible! I've never seen so many fireworks in my life! I took a video so hopefully you'll be able to see it soon. I don't know if I can email it or what, but I'll see. Its kinda weird that my first Christmas and New Years are already over! Wow. And my birthday is just around the corner! About my ankle... As of now its feeling good! Its just when we hike, or climb stairs that it bothers. I'm really hoping that nothing happens. Like the doctor said though, if something does happen, I have to come home. If worse comes to worse and I do have to come home, lets just pray that its for a reason. Thank you dad, the story about you and mom did comfort me. I'm just trying not to think about it too much. Lets just trust in the Lord. I love all of you so much! Thank you for your emails, and I loved to talk to all of you on Christmas. What an awesome gift! Start the countdown till mothers day mom! Jaja, its only 6 months away! Oh, and I was also talking to my buddy Elder Eggleston, and he goes to BYU Hawaii. Hes on the golf team, and his coach is the admissions director. They're good friends, and he might be able to hook it up for me! I might be able to go to BYU Hawaii for however long! Just kind of fun to think about... I have been thinking a little bit about college lately, and I do want to try to go to BYU. But how cool would it be to go to Hawaii for a year of school, then transfer to Provo or something thought! What do you think? Anyway! I will try to email some more pictures in another email. I love you all sooo much! Keep me in your prayers, and I will do the same. Just like always! :) Have an amazing new year, and make some good resolutions! With love, your favorite Peruvian Missionary, Elder Jordan Van Christensen PS. So, I have a lot of pictures now, and I'll have to
start with my trip to Cusco. Here they are.
Cristo Blanco, overlooking Cusco
A church we attended in Cusco
Plaza de Armas, Cusco
At the orphanage/school... not sure which it is!
My favorite picture. Ever. I LOVE these kids!
Singing in the Plaza!
Oh, the scripture of the week! I almost forgot. D&C 43:15-16
... if only in my dreams! :) Wow! What a crazy week. Okay, so first off, this weekend I went to Cusco! I went with my companion because he came from Cusco and they were preparing this presentation about Christ and he was apart of the missionary choir. Cool right? Well, the main reason I went was because I wanted to talk to the doctor there and see whats up! So I talked to him, and he said that I did have altitude sickness, and that with my cough that I've had since the beginning of my mission, (its just gotten worse here with the climate and all) he said that it could have turned into Pneumonia if I hadn't have done anything about it. Phew! So he got me some medicine, and says that I'll be fine! Sorry about not being able to email yesterday, we got home at like 7:30 at night, and just didn't have time. The trip really was a blast. We took a first class bus with big leather seats, that reclined with a leg rest. It looked like the first class to a plane. I don't have much time to explain it all but I was able to go to the Plaza del Armas, Cristo Blanco, and some other cool places while there! The presentation was amazing, but the Presidents daughter passed out from altitude sickness, and had to take her to the hospital! She was okay though, thank goodness! I found out I will be calling you on Friday, only for 5 minutes, to set up our appointment for Christmas!! I will call in the evening, probably around 7pm on Friday. Just so you know! Be home! I'll be calling the home phone. I haven't been able to talk to Julisa yet, but I'm sure that they were married, and that she will be baptized on the 25th! I'm so stoked! So, my new comp is Elder Jara. He is from Chimbote Perù, and is the District Leader. He is kind of lazy, and Im getting the feeling that he doesn't really like to work. But boy will I change that. I'm gonna be kickin his butt into gear, starting today. He is cool though, and we get along, thank heavens. I have received 2 of the packages so far! I haven't gotten the third... I'm praying that I get it before Christmas! But I found out that yes, all packages are opened. BUT, they are opened in the presence of missionaries that have callings in the office. That doesn't stop them from taking things though. So, I asked an elder in the office if there is a way to send them without being opened, and he said yes. Apparently when you send the package you have the option of paying just a little more to have the package send directly to the office, without being sent through the Ser-Post. (Mail system in Peru) So yeah, I would recommend doing that! Also, send some Perfect Push ups if you can. Those things are so nice to have, without putting your hands on the dirty floor. Also, send my USB memory. That is nice to have to save things. If you cant find it, just get one. 4 or 8gb. We have an appointment today with Hna. Magda, and we are hoping to get her baptized either this week or the next. She has accepted everything and realizes the real need to be baptized how Christ was baptized. She is awesome and I have confidence in her! This weeks scripture is found in Romans 8:35-39. Definitely one of my favorites. Who will separate us from the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ? No one. I am so excited to talk to you all on Saturday! It doesn't really feel like Christmas here, but I'm trying! My first missionary Christmas, of two in my whole life. I'm gonna make them the best! I don't know who you were planning on having over to talk to me, but I wouldn't mind to talk to the whole fam! But, you can be selfish if you'd like and just have it be our immediate family. I'm okay with whatever! Ah! I'm really loving my mission so much. I cant wait for what this change has to bring, and I'm ready! We'll most likely be spending dinner with a member family, and I'm excited for that! We have had a bunch of people want to have us over for dinner! But yeah, enjoy the new pictures from my new canon! It was like $150, not bad. I am guarding it like something sacred Dad, don't worry! I got the letter from the Whimpeys, tell them thank you! I also got the letter from Sister Lloyd from the Primary :) I was pumped! Jaja, anyways, I will get to hear your voices in a short 4 days! I'm so ready. I love all of you and you are in my prayers. Con mucho amor, Elder Christensen
Last day in this ch..ch..change! So, first off, last night at around 11pm we got a call saying that my comp has a change! So, today is our last day together! He is going to Cusco tonight at 10pm for the changes meeting and I wont know until tomorrow or Thursday where he is off to. So, tomorrow I will be put into a temporary tripanionship and my new comp will be here Thursday morning. I have no idea who it will be! But a TON of missionaries in our zone have changes. About half. We will have new leaders, district and zone, along with new comps. I have been praying that he will have the desire to work and that we will get some work done here in rainy, cold, yet beautiful PUNO! It truly is the rainy season. Its been pouring the last 3 days or so. But, we move forward! Always. This work is the Lords work, and we will move onward day by day, hardship after hardship. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but being the hardest, it brings the most amazing blessings. Sometimes its discouraging to walk all day in the mud and puddles, cold feet, runny nose, to not teach anyone--- But with trials comes miracles. This last week, we taught our investigator Julisa and her pareja (couple), Alex, who is a member, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the only lesson she was missing. We told them very sincerely and very forward that if they wanted to live together forever as a family, and to partake of the blessings prepared for them, they needed to be married (In order to be baptised). We challenged her to baptism on the 25th.... and she accepted!!!! The only thing holding them back from being married is Alex's family. So yeah. We told them to have faith, principally, and to PRAY for help. We promised them that if they did these things they would see miracles. We read the scripture Ether 12:6&12. I told them that trials will always come before a testimony of their faith. So, they met with their family. We passed by on Friday, and guess what? His WHOLE family was in agreement with them to be married!!!! How amazing? It reminds me of the song by David Archuleta, haha, "there can be miracles, when you believe." Now, we have 2 baptisms set up for Christmas day. :) I'm so incredibly grateful to Heavenly Father for his help in this situation! Our prayers have been answered. Thank you SO much family for praying for them. BOYS! Thank you SO much for writing me! I love to hear how you are doing! Bridger... Holy crap man! You really are gonna have ¡3! sponsorships!? Bro I can't believe it! How sick?? I'm proud of you man, you totally proved me wrong. Way to stick with it. Send me a video when you have one put together! And Paige! Geez man, the little boy is growing up! She's a cutie, nice work. Have her write me! I'd love to hear from her. ETHAN! Dude you did it! Way to make the team! I'm so stoked for you Matthew and Zach! That's so fun to have your best buds on the team. Dominate the court with your height homie. Take advantage of it! I hope Tanner is doing so good! I miss you buddy! Hope you're having fun in school and stick with piano! It will help you VERY much in your life. So, I forgot to say that we had a Christmas dinner with our president of the mission! This was on Friday night, and boy was it fun! We had a pretty decent dinner, chicken and rice, (como siempre), papas, gaseosa (inca kola..mmm), and for dessert, we had the holy Paneton. Paneton, is fruitcake. Yes, fruitcake. And everyone in Perù goes CRAZY over this stuff. It honestly wasn't that great. But, yeah! We did some skits, some missionaries sang a song, and it all in all was a great time. President gave a good message about Chrismas and how the best present that we can give is our testimony of Jesucristo. Que el vive. Que el es nuestro Salvador y que por medio de el, podemos vivir juntos para siempre como un familia. Estoy muy agradecido a ustedes Mama y Papa, para su matromonio. Gracias. Por eso, vamos a disfrutar esta bendicion para la eternidad. :) The scripture I have chosen this week is: 2 Nefi 32:8-9. My testimony of prayer has truly grown so much, and like it says here, the Spirit teaches us to pray always and not faint. Mom, keep them marked! I love that you're doing that! I don't have much time but I will for sure send a letter to Grandpa Whimpey! Holy cow, I don't know what to say... Wow. Thank you so much grandpa. I almost cried reading that. But dad, yes, it is better for me to buy a camera here. I have found some good ones in a market called Contrabando, they sell basically everything, for cheap. So, for 400 or so soles, I can buy a decent camera. I have on me, 150 soles. So, do the math I'm not sure how much more I will need, but when do I buy a camera? And what do I do with the other money? I'm a little confused, haha. But I wont do anything until you tell me what to do! :) I will guard it like the Holy Grail. Thank you so much Dad! Tell Gramps I'm infinitely grateful! is the mother of Elder Rogers, here in my zone. He has a change but, I figured Id give you her number to chat! 801.254.8868 And Dad, look for a USB/SD converter to include in a package. IT SAVES LIVES. Its not a cable, is a device that you just stick right into the USB port, and you stick the SD card into the device. AND IT SAVES LIVES. That's how I sent pictures today! Everyone, I am feeling your prayers. I received a blessing of health, and I'm feeling better! But, like you advised, if I start to feel any worse, I will talk to the office and see what to do. Thank you so much for keeping me in your prayers, I haven't received any packages yet, but I will let you know as soon as I get them! I'm so excited! AH, its almost my first Christmas. It WILL be a white one, without any snow. Mark my words! :) I love you all so much. Keep in touch boys! I love to hear from you. :) con MUCHO AMOR, tu hermano y hijo siempre, Elder Christensen
I managed to steal a couple fotos from my buddy, Elder Rogers
And another! Enjoy!
December. Wow. I cant believe that its already December! Goodness gracious. And we have cambios (exchanges) this Monday, the 13th! I am basically done with my first change, but unfortunately, we have had zero baptisms. :( Its been kind of depressing. So, my comp and I decided that we would fast for our investigators, and for our success. We fasted on Saturday to Sunday. Not a whole lot has happened this week, so I'll be talking mostly about our investigators. Okay, first off, we have Alex y Julisa. They are a couple that are expecting a baby in about 4 months!....They're not married. So we have been really concerned about getting them married to be able to be baptized. We got on our knees and prayed (like we do everyday), and asked for guidance. During this prayer, I could not get Joseph Smith out of my head. After the prayer, I stayed on my knees and just thought. I came to the conclusion that we needed to do something to strengthen her testimony of Joseph Smith. So, we decided we would watch the Restoration! This is the new version of the Joseph Smith movie that you can see in Temple Square. So we watched the movie, it was awesome, and lo and behold, she hadn't prayed to know if he truly was a prophet or not. I bore my increasingly growing testimony for Joseph Smith, and we committed her to pray. This was just last night, by the way. So, we have an appointment again tonight at 7, and I'm expecting that she has received an answer! Next we have Alejandro y Ruth. They just had their baby on the 12th of November!.....They're not married either! This seems to be somewhat of a problem here... CHASTITY! Jaja, so, yeah. They're baby is adorable though. We also watched the same movie with them and taught more about Joseph Smith and the works he did during his life. They also don't know for a surety if he was a prophet or not. So... we committed them and stressed how important it is for them to pray! Next up is a new investigator!... maso menos. Jaja, his name is Ronald, and he is 8 years old. His family, well, his mom at least, are members, and attend a different chapel. But they are looking to move, so they came to us and we have been teaching him so that he can be baptized! We also have Magda, and her 2 daughters, Vitaliano, and Carmen. But I don't have enough time to talk about all of them. So I will talk about something that happened on Saturday. We were on our way back to our room to grab our coats, because every evening after the sun goes down, its FREEZES! I bought a jacket here, and its helped. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I also had a lady make me a scarf! Its pretty legit. Anyway, so we randomly stop, my comp says, hey, lets knock this door. So, we do. Nothing. We knock the next door. Slammed in the face. We cross the "street" and knock another door. We wait. And an hermano opens the door. This is how the conversation went: "I don't think you know who we are, do you?" Edward: "No, I know who you are. You're Elders." Us: "You know who we are? How?" Edward: "2 years ago I lived in Lima, and I talked with Elders a lot." Us: "You did? You took the lessons and stuff?" Edward: "Yeah, I did. I even had a date to be baptized, but we moved." Us: "Ohhh... No kidding?" SO BASICALLY.... He has forgotten everything, has been trying to find a church to join, and we knocked on his door. We came back on Sunday, yesterday, and he was about to leave to attend another church; Luz Verde. Translated: Green Light..... Huh? Apparently he has attended before, and liked it. But we taught him the restoration and he ended up staying home. (Yes!!) Jaja. So all in all, we have a goal to put a baptismal date for these investigators for when?....the 25th of December. That's right! Its a Saturday, and what better gift can they give back to our Savior, rather than to follow his footsteps and be baptized? Mom and Dad, I have never wanted anything more for Christmas. I would give up anything for them to have the testimony enough to be dressed in white, ready to be baptized. This is all I want for Christmas. Its amazing being here, and having my whole mindset change drastically. Every day I think about what we can do for our investigators, to help them gain a testimony, and to just help them in general. I love them SO MUCH! I just want them to be able to receive this blessing. I have never prayed so hard for something probably in my whole life. So we can use all the help we can get! Please please please pray for them. On a sadder note, I traveled to Juli for a division of companionship's, and on our way back, my camera fell out of my pocket in the taxi. It was never returned. :( I have never been so upset with myself. I am so sorry, but its gone. I hate to ask for money, but I need a camera. I have 200 or so soles, and a camera is around 600. So, I don't know what to do. I will try to get permission to get on the Internet on another day this week to see what you have decided to do. I will try to get on either tomorrow or Wednesday. Once again, I'm so sorry. BUT, I am SO grateful that I copied everything that was on my camera, and put it on a DVD in the package for Christmas. Thank heavens. So the memory is safe, its just the camera that's lost. I don't have much time for a scripture of the week, but its found in D&C 112:4-7. I love this scripture because I feel that it directly applies to me and my mission. I mean hey, it even says "...thy path lieth among the mountains..." But read it, because it is fantastic!!! I love all of you so much, please forgive me for losing yet another something that is so very valuable. :( I feel terrible. Thank you Ethan for writing me! I loved to hear from you bud. :) Congratulations on your first touchdown! I love that you love it so much! Good luck with basketball. Bridger, I need a picture of you and this girl. ASAP, ya?? Jaja. :) Cuidase mucho familia. Los amos! Elder Jordan Van Christensen
Hola hola hola! So, I'll start off this letter with a question: Where did November go? Because... Pretty sure December is this week and it feels like I just got here! Time in the field is really flying. I totally forgot about Thanksgiving, I don't even know what day it was on. I did remember however.... Bridge's Birthday!!! Bro! You're flippin 16! Driving, dating, and all that nonsense that comes with 16. I am still waiting for a picture of this girl I hear about... You send me one this week boy! Geez... Be careful with the girls, they only mean trouble. You can date and kiss *gasp!* after you're married k? Jaja mentira, no just be a good boy, listen to mom and dad, and drive safe, for every ones sake! So guess what? I got the priority envelope!!! It was MIS-SENT to Belize. Of all places... Belize? But yeah, totally just got it today, along with a letter from Eric! Man, I miss that kid. It was sure good to hear from him. Sounds like he is doing really well in the Sahoran Desert! But yes! He is loving it. Oh, and the manilla envelope is the tape! I'm so glad it got to you! You need to remember to rewind it, i forgot. But you might need to buy as well a tape recorder to listen to it. But send more tapes! So the events of this week are as follows: So, as you will remember last week we went to Juliaca to get our results of our TB test.... Ready? Well, I'm safe. But Elder Ortiz... Not so much. He was positive. So we called Hermana Calderon and she said that it only was crucial if the size of the reaction was bigger than 10mm. His was 8! Pretty close, but I guess its okay. I don't fully understand why its okay. I think he needs some more verification to be sure. Anyway! We had whats called a Tienda Movil come to Puno! Its a mobile church store that sells garments, hymn books, movies, and other goodies! So, we went, and I bought like 8 movies, un libro de himnos, and 3 foto books of the Old and New Testament, and the Book of Mormon. Yes, they are for kids, but its Español nonetheless! I love them! Okay now some bad news... I have been SO sick all week. Ive had bad headaches, fevers, swollen hands (huh?), CRAZY bad hives (the worst I've ever had), and stomach aches. But today, thank heavens, I am feeling okay! Almost the whole week though I have been pretty sick. But I'm feeling better! Tons better! If you can, in a small small box, send some CD's. New EFY, Ryan Shupe, soundtracks to some LDS movies as well would be awesome! And dad, yeah! Please send the Conference edition of the Ensign! As for our work here in Inca Pachacutec (our ward), we have been kind of struggling. Our baptism fell through, we couldn't find Carmen anywhere! We haven't had a single lesson with a member present this week, and all in all we need to work harder. But remember that I have been sick, so its been even harder, but I know we can do better. On the bright side, we have changed Vitaliano's baptismal date to Dec 11, and Julisa also has the date Dec 11. However, she isn't married yet, so it looks like it wont work out. :( I'm super bummed! We have some new investigators! Nestor and Margarita. They are great. Nestor is catholic but doesn't really believe much in the religion, and has been looking at other religions. We have had some great lessons with him, but come Dec 1st, his work starts up at the hotel he works at (4 stars), and it demands a lot of memorizing and knowing the customers. So he says he wont have a lot of time, but I know that with the Lords help, we will be able to continue to teach him and that he will have a testimony through his prayers. We gave him a BOM, and he said that he would read the chapter we assigned him, 3 Ne. 11, and after that he would pray. It is truly awesome, to be able to promise something as a Representative of Jesus Christ, and later to see that it has come to pass. I have promised our other investigators Alejandro and Ruth, that if they would follow the advice given in the intro of the BOM, and pray with faith, that they would receive an answer through the Holy Ghost. They have had doubts, but we visited them and Ruth said that she had received an answer and that it was true! They aren't married either, that seems to be a problem here, but once they do they WILL be baptized! I have never prayed so much in my life! Every single day, I pray, and pray, and pray, and I have seen the power of prayer work in our investigators. We are also teaching Magda and her daughter, we had an amazing lesson just last night in her tienda, store, of the Restoration. It went really well, and they are loving our lessons! Her husband passed away 3 years ago, and she has 3 kids. But, everything we teach she agrees with and it makes sense to her. Its only time before she is baptized as well. All in all, our work is moving forward. We need to work with the members more though! As it says in Preach My Gospel, if we as missionaries worked with the members more, we would do less walking around knocking doors, and more actually giving references to the missionaries. The scripture of this week is found in 1 Peter 3:15. I am trying to follow the advice of this scripture to always be ready, and willing, in giving those who ask a reason for why I am always so happy! The reason of course, is that I know the truth. I have a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I try day by day to live it. I am here to serve and love the people of Perù, and right now, the people of Puno. I have truly felt the love of Christ while teaching those people, whom I hardly know, the reason why I am so happy. I want to share these WONDERFUL blessings that I have seen in my family and in my life, with the people here! I am trying to remember who I am, a missionary of God. Sometimes, we forget the power that we have. We are called of God to preach the gospel to every creature. I'm talking to everyone, the language is coming, poco a poco! I can feel the Gift of Tongues working in me as I am meticulously obedient, as it says in my setting apart blessing. I love all of you so much, thank you so much for the Christmas packages that are on the way! I look so forward to them! I also cant wait for you to get mine! Its not much, but I hope you enjoy it! Keep me in your prayers, as I keep you in mine. Express my love to the family in how much I miss them! I love you boys, keep on keepin on, and please! Please write me! I miss you so much. I don't know whats going on with you guys! ¡Secuida mucho! Los extraño a todos, y los amo mucho. ¡Hasta pronto! Con amor, Elder Jordan Van Christensen
The front of the house, only the second floor and the garage is theirs.
Hello again from Perù! Okay lets get right to business here. You have SO many questions, no? Okay I'll try to answer some of these. Here are the names of the family we live with: Oscar, Judith, Josue (jo-sway, 11yrs today!), Joseph 9, and Dasha 3! They are such an awesome family! Judith cooks for us, yes every meal! Except lunch on P-day, we eat out :) Judith says that I have a very good appetite, unlike any other Norteamericano she has seen so far! That's because I eat everything they put in front of me. You would be proud mom. Tomatoes and all! One or two Hermano(s) do all of the laundry for the missionaries, is my understanding. So yeah, we have it pretty good, not gonna lie. And boy, am I grateful. The ward is great! We have so many wonderful, dedicated members that offer their help to us everyday! I love my ward. Last Lunes I directed my first noche de hogar, or family home evening with Judith and her family and it went really well. We watched the new Joseph Smith movie, and played games afterwards with everyone. Dad, Oscar is a taxi driver. I don't know if he does anything else, but yeah! I will send more pictures next week of the house, and of their family. I forgot to this week! Sorry! So about the package, I ended up sending it on the 16th, because for some reason the post office said they needed a copy of my passport.... Ridiculous, I know. But oh well. The total ended up being $158.90 soles. So, it better get there. I have faith! Do you? I have been thinking about the Christmas package... I have thought of a few more things. Ready? Okay here goes: Micro cassettes, protein or trail mix type bars, tide to go, just MORE pictures in general, and mom, your famous hot cocoa mix to share with our family! And like I said, peanut butter. I really miss peanut butter for some reason! Oh, I forgot to mention to you mom! They have a drink here called Ecco, by Nestle. It is amazing! Research it, and see if you can find it in the states. It tastes like our favorite ice cream, remember? :) So our typical day is as follows: Wake up at 6:30. Workout for 30 mins, shower and eat at 7:30. Personal study at 8, comp study at 9, and language study at 10. We leave to appt's or wherever we need to go at 11, and come back for lunch at 12 or 12:30. After lunch, we leave around 1 or 1:30 to our appt's or visiting members, or contacting until 8 at night when we have dinner. We plan for the next day after dinner, and I write in my journal, and read el Libro de Mormon. That's a typical day! Along with meeting borrachos, (translate that word, jaja), a lot of "Lo siento, pero soy Catolico", defending ourselves from wild dogs with rocks or whatever else we can find, and occasionally we get to teach a lesson to a new investigator!! We taught Hermana Flor who is literally a saint. She is amazing! She is catholic but she says that she never denies hearing the word of the Lord. So we were able to teach her and her son, Luis Angel. He's only like 9 years old. The teaching went really well, and she bore her testimony about how she knows that God answers prayers if we have faith, and she is determined to find out if our message is true or not. Its only a matter of time for her to know for a surety! We also found a new investigator just last night! We taught the restoration to him, Hermano Dilman. He is a policeman, and has many questions for us. We had to tell him that we would answer his questions with other lessons, and our next appt with him is on Wednesday! Hermano Vitaliano wasn't baptized this Saturday unfortunately, he was nowhere to be found! He works a lot in the campo, which is a farm and a lot of the time he is just gone. So we will change his date to either this Saturday or the next. Hopefully, we will have some success here! Also, Hermana Magda is a new investigator, and she really has accepted what we have taught so far. That being answers to some of her questions. We tried to go back and teach her, we did have an appt, but she was very busy and so we had to reschedule for this week. Wish us luck with all our investigators! We need the extra faith and prayers of those who are reading this email! I know that as they continue to investigate that the Holy Ghost with manifest the truth unto them, but it is up to us to teach them the truth. Pray for us!!! So, I forgot to mention that while I was in the CCM we kind of had an epidemic. Someone was diagnosed with TB. So all of us missionaries had to have TB tests 3 weeks after leaving the CCM. So, we had to travel 45 mins away to Juliaca to get this test done. The same one that I had to get done for my papers, remember? So today at 4 we have to go all the way back to Juliaca on our precious P-Day to see if we are positive or negative. I can already tell that I am negative, and am safe! Phew! So no worries mom! I'm healthy except for a constant runny nose, and cough. Jaja. But after we got back at around 9, I had the worst headache I've probably ever had. I was on the verge of throwing up, and everything. So I had to end up staying the night at Elder Rogers (yes, I know. "Elder Rogers!" -The Best Two Years. He gets so much crap from it. But we love him, jaja) apartment because I literally couldn't move. So we ended up eating crackers with some ham for dinner. This last week we have had some really good food here. MANGO. I love mangoes. They are probably my favorite fruit. They are so sweet here! Also we stopped and bough some scones on the side of the road for 1 sol! 5 delicious scones for only 1 sol. Also, because I love mangoes so much, I had Judith buy me some when she went to the market to get groceries. 6 mangoes for 3 soles. That's a little bit over 1 dollar! How awesome is that? The food is pretty bland here. Arroz EVERY meal. Even breakfast! Jaja, but yeah its all good! I'm not getting sick of it just yet! We taught an awesome recently converted family, well, read and explained the BOM to them more, and after for dinner we had some banana cake! In other words.... Banana bread! Yes! Oh how I've missed your homemade breads mom... :( But yeah! We had that, regular bread, and some manzanilla (hot apple drink). That's a typical dinner for their family.. They don't have a lot of money, but they will sacrifice for us. It really almost made me cry to eat it! But how cool for this family to give what little they have to feed us! We didn't even ask, they just told us that they were going to feed us! Their names are Julio, Anna (his wife), Guadalupe, and Christian. Christian isn't a member, but hopefully soon that will change! They even invited us over for Christmas already. They save up for Christmas dinner, and it should be very special. Okay, one more thing. I had the idea this week to do a Scripture of the Week for every week following this one until I'm home! Sound like a good idea? Yeah, I thought so too! So, being the first one, I figured why not pick a scripture that talks about the scriptures? This weeks scripture is found in 2 Nephi 32:3&9. FEAST upon the words of Christ! I love it! It fits perfect because I have learned here on my mission to literally feast upon the words of Christ. The scriptures truly will tell us all that we should do, through the power of the Holy Ghost. I love this idea, and can't wait to share all of them with you all! I have a prettttty slick study journal. I love it. I have tabs for all different things. Meeting notes, personal study, Spanish words and phrases, favorite scriptures, etc. Well, I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Like I said, I forgot about it! But I for sure remembered Bridger's birthday, so happy birthday stud!! I love you so much! And likewise to all of you my dear family. I love all of you more than you know. I always keep you in my prayers, and as much as I miss every one of you, I know that me being here has blessed and will continue to bless each and every one of you. Keep the faith, keep reading the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY, and say family prayers everyday. Remember all of our blessing that we have, and remember that Christ said its better for one to give, rather than to receive. I forgot the reference, but look for it k!? Con MUCHO AMOR, Your son, brother, and friend- Elder Jordan Van Christensen
Our church, and part of the area!
The first sunset we have really had since I've been here!
A street we walk everyday.
The BIGGEST pig I have EVER seen.
A better angle for you to see this chancho!!
Hola a mi familia y todos! Well, this week has gone by pretty darn quick. It truly goes to say, the days go by like weeks, and the weeks go by like days. The work here in Puno is going well! We have hills in our area similar to those of San Francisco. Its crazy, walking up and down them all day to our next appointment! It can be kind of a bummer when every single appointment that we have cancels, or they aren't at home. It's quite difficult to find houses, er, apartments here in Puno. Well, I'm sure it's the same for all of Perù as well. They rarely have numbers, and when they do, its typically scribbled in chalk or something. But, we move onward. On, on to the victory! ( D&C 128:22) That scripture really pumps me up. Shall we NOT go on in so great a cause? I know that this work is truly the work of the Lord and I can feel His presence with us daily. ¡Estoy amando este obra de misional! I cant believe that its almost Thanksgiving, I totally forgot about that. Christmas is just around the corner, and today I sent the package! Now family, you must have patience. Do not open it until Christmas, ok? Anyway, we have had a TON of rain this week. Almost everyday. The lightning and the thunder is incredible! Shakes the earth, literally. Our investigators are progressing! Good news, yeah? We have been teaching Alex and Julisa still, and this week we are teaching them Obedience and hopefully they will agree to get married. I mean, they do have a kid on the way! Haha, but yeah they both are great people, and I hope they will continue to read the Book of Mormon, the keystone to our religion, and gain a testimony of its divinity. All of our investigators need to have a testimony of Joseph Smith, because without it, how can they believe a word that we are teaching? We are doing our best to resolve their doubts, and help them move closer to Christ. Mom, how nice are you to offer to send some things to Judith and her family! They would absolutely love that. Whatever you think! And for my comp, just whatever! Lots of treats, yeah? :) I miss our food! But everyone, I don't have much time because my comp took of most of it. So next week, he has 20 minutes and I have more. Ha! But I have to go for now, I wish I could write more. Just know that I am still doing so good and that I am feeling all of your prayers. Especially with my scriptures!!!! I hope that all is well back in the states, and that you all are doing well. Please remember to keep me in your prayers, yeah? I love this work, I love the Lord, and I love all of you so very much. Thank you for all that you do for me! You keep me going! Love your son, brother, and friend, ELDER JORDAN VAN CHRISTENSEN Till next week. :)
One from last week I forgot to send!
Dasha, the little girl!
¡¡Hola familia!! Boy, this week has been filled with a ton of experiences! Where to begin?? Well first off, by some tender mercy from the Lord, I have received my scriptures!!!! I got the package!! Thank you sooo much! I don't know how it got here, either do the elders in the office. They are completely baffled. I was SO surprised to hear my name called at the end of our district meeting and for them to hand me a package. I couldn't believe it. That's the power of prayer I guess, right? I fervently prayed that it would make it here, and sure enough, it came :) What a simple, but strong testimony builder for me, and you too!!! The work here in Puno is great! I love the ward, although EVERYONE is late. We got there at 9am and found 12 or so people in the chapel. I was so bummed! Pero, con tiempo, more and more people came until there was about... oh... 70 members? So yeah! We have been getting a ton of contacts, knocking doors, and all that missionary stuff. I am becoming more comfortable in talking with the people. It can be pretty discouraging to not know what anyone is saying, but I know that the Lord remembers me and will help me speak this Español. It is His will for me to preach the gospel here, and therefore, I am entitled as a representante de Jesucristo a recibir el don del Lenguas. We have 4 people with baptismal dates, so pray that they will continue to have the desire! The 20th, and the 27th. So, we are living with a family in the ward, and she is our pencionista! She cooks way good food, and her family is fantastic. She has two sons, and a daughter. The dad is Oscar, and her name is Judith. Her sons are 9 and 11 years old. Her daughter is only 3! She is precious. But yeah, we have a good room! Our bathroom only has running water during the morning and we have to use a bucket of water to flush the toilet. Our shower is pretty small, and the water basically trickles out. But its hot! So I'm grateful for that! We really have it soo good. You all would be proud of me, I'm eating tomatoes, and I now love bananas! She makes really good smoothies too with mangoes, bananas, and other fruit. The climate here is SO weird. The sun rises at like 5am, and goes down at 5pm. Its pretty hot during the day and FREEZING at night! We are at around 14,000 ft. Our address is, I'm not sure if it's right but.... Jr. Acora 468 Con Cancharani Puno, Perù. I will be sending a package your way sometime soon! No puede abrir hasta Navidad. Its filled with a bunch of goodies! ;) If you can, I would love something for Navidad! If you can, I have here a list of things that I wouldn't mind at all! - A pocket English/Spanish dictionary - Patches for my backpack. Like the USA flag, etc. - Those silly band things that go on your wrist! I want to give them to the kids here. - Peanut butter. Yeah. - Candy! - Beef Jerky - Pictures (laminated) of the first presidency, Christ visiting the Americas, and the First Vision! If you can, I would love love love it. The package you sent got here without problems, and it wasn't opened either... So yeah! Thanks! I don't have much time, our P-day is now, obviously, Monday! Just know that I am doing so well here. I am loving the work, and I am loving the field. Its pretty awesome to think that I'm a missionary. I will for sure be writing Park! I am so proud of that kid. What a stud! But yeah, I don't have much time, only 45 minutes each p-day. I love each and every one of you. Thank you so much for keeping me in your prayers. I am feeling them for sure! Thank you again for my scriptures. I love them and can't believe they got here! Con amor, Elder Jordan Van Christensen
La zona, primero P-Day!
Tumbas de los Incas.
Laguna Incantado por historia. Nuestro zona.
I do yoga in my spare time.
Yeah.. I don't know!