This Is Peru!

This Is Peru!

August 3, 2012

The Torch is Raised

Hey team! Its Monday morning and I'm writing you for the last time as a missionary. It seems more real to me now. It kinda hit me today when I said, "this week I'll be home." Wow... I cannot believe that my time as a missionary is coming to an end. This last week or so has been... well... interesting, painful (in many different ways, will explain at home), sad, and nostalgic. I have had some time this week to think about my mission and each sector and all that I've learned. Two years have really passed by! I look around me and try to take in all the sights, sounds, and smells that in a few short days I wont be around anymore. I wont be able to do the same things I have done during these two years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my mission experience and I'm sad its coming to an end. My time as a representative and missionary of our Lord Jesus Christ is ending... But at the same time I'm beyond stoked to see my family and friends after so long.
 
It has truly been an honor in serving my Heavenly Father and my Savior in their work, this glorious work. I have carried Christs name on my chest proudly for two years, and I will miss that. I love this work with all my heart, and I have been so very blessed to be here. I have a genuine love for the Peruvian people, this land, and the food! (Even though some of it is horrible). But honestly, I know that my call has been inspired of a prophet of God, and I know that I was meant to be here.
 
I will be forever grateful for the testimony that has been burned into my heart or the truthfulness of the Gospel here on my mission. Deep inside me, etched upon my soul, I know that Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He sent me to Peru, He guided me through thick and thin, He knows that I could take what he put me through and the purpose for which He did it. I have seen the growth that has come through putting my trust in the Lord and letting Him steer. My eyes have been opened very widely these last two years, and I have gained a grand appreciation for the United States of America. I love this country, but I am so proud to be an American now more than ever. How blessed are we to live where we do, and to be free.
 I didn't see him work miracles on the roads of Jerusalem, but I know he lives, I have felt his love. And that is what its all about, he did it all because of Love.....I know that Joseph Smith was his chosen prophet, I know without a doubt in my heart, that the book of Mormon is the word of God, and anyone who reads it WILL come closer to Jesus Christ than any other book on this earth.
I remember saying goodbye at the MTC two years ago, not really knowing what I was about to get myself into. I was a rather young, scared boy. But with the help of the Lord, He has turned me into the man that I am now. I feel like the same person I was when I left, but at the same time, not at all. I have seen with my spiritual eyes, and I know what matters most! I am not perfect, nor even close to it, so don't be expecting a perfect son when I'm home! But I am much better than I was when I left. That much is true. How grateful I am for my Heavenly Father and His perfect Plan in my life.  I know that He lives and loves every one of us.
 
I love you all, more than you know. I'll see you in a few days! Get ready for the biggest hug of your life mom!!!
 
This is Elder Christensen, a proud (in a good way) missionary in the foreign land of Peru, signing off for the last time.....
 
The torch has been raised.

2 Timothy 4:7

July 26, 2012

No sleep, "goodbyes", Machu Picchu, and the Last Supper.


July 24, 2012

Well team, this is almost it! My second to last email in the mission. I'm running on about 10 hours of sleep for the past 3 days..... here goes...


So, last week was an interesting week. Lets see if I can explain why. So, Roberto and Francisca aren't married yet. Its a long story, but to make it really short, we just need to have a meeting at the RENIEC (the department in charge of issuing ID's) to find out something that will let us know if they can get married right away, or later. So, his problem is basically solved, but all they need to do is have that meeting and according to what they tell him, he can either get married on THIS Saturday (28th), or might have to wait longer. There is a small possibility that they can be baptized on Saturday, so we'll see... But Its just a matter of time before they are baptized. I feel content because I have done all that I possibly could do to help them get to where they are today. If they aren't baptized right away, so be it. They are already converted to the gospel, its just (unfortunately) a small inconvenience that they are facing that is keeping them from already being baptized. I am so happy I was able to have met them here on the mission and to have taught them the true Evangelio de Jesucristo. 

My last Sunday in Sicuani was pretty rushed. I got a call on Saturday night from the office saying that I had to be in Cusco on Sunday at 5pm for my last interview with President. Crap, I thought to myself, I had already made plans to leave Sunday night... but oh well. I finished packing my bags that night to be ready to leave at 1. So, at the end of church the second counselor of our ward (Alberto) stood up and publically thanked me for all I have done for the ward and said some other things that almost brought tears to my eyes. He then "se abusó de su confianza" and asked Elder Ryan and I right then and there to sing something to finish the meeting. Well, what could we do? We thankfully had a song memorized from the Musical Recital that we were able to sing, and it came out great! Alberto also speaks fluent Quechua, so I took a video of him talking in Quechua so you guys can hear what it sounds like. He is a really great guy. So, I rushed to get my bags packed on Saturday night and was at the bus terminal at 1 o'clock ready to travel with Elder Jensen (also finishing the mission). We got on the bus, the whole zone (almost) came to say "bye", and we were off. Elder Jensen and I talked for a while, just about how crazy and surreal this all feels, and shared a few of our mission stories with each other. He is such a great missionary, I'll be seeing him back at home seeing that he is from Sugarhouse, SLC. We got to the mission offices, and waited for President to get there to do our interviews. We waited about 2 hours, but it was really an awesome interview. I wont go over what he said on the email though. But just so you know, I really enjoyed it and I love President Calderón. Such an amazing man. 

So after the interviews, we got back to the office house and ended up "sleeping" at 12am, and woke up at 1am to go to Machu Picchu! Yeah, one hour of sleep. We got up and started the trip. I'll have to tell you all about it next week!! But this time was AWESOME. I can't believe the difference from going while being sick, to not being sick and being able to notice and appreciate things I wasn't able to back in December. I'm SO glad I was able to go again. I feel so blessed to be able to visit a Wonder of the World in my own mission. Were the only missionaries in the world who have that priviledge. Machu Picchu is incredible in so many ways. I took some legit pictures to show you all. I hope that one day you all will be able to see it. I cant get over how cool it is.

We got back from Machu Picchu at 6:30pm, had a quick shower, and were on our way up to the mission home for the "last supper" where they prepared beef stroganoff, baked marinated chicken, rice, potatoe salad and Inka Kola to top it off. It was DELICIOUS. Seriously, so good. After dinner, we had a testimony meeting, and after that we watched a slideshow of pictures of all the missionaries who are finishing. It was pretty cool and they gave us a copy. We went to bed at around 1am last night, and woke up at 7 ish... So I'm dead right now. Literally I'm nodding a bit. But wow, its just so weird that all of this is happening! I still dont feel like I'm coming home in just about a week... But I have one last week here in Cusco where I will be until I leave. I'm stoked to visit a bunch of converts before I leave and to see a few more things that I haven't seen yet in Cusco. But I plan to work and enjoy it every minute till I'm getting on that plane. I have been feeling so strange these last few days... I came up with a close comparison to how I feel: Like I'm about to go under a surgery. A big one. Thats the closest I can come to it. Hahaha.

Next week I'll write my last email as a missionary. Thats weird to think about. Till then, "pajkarincama!"

Elder Jordan Van Christensen

PS, when do I speak in sacrament? Do I have a topic, or could I pick my own?
PSS, the machu picchu picture is just to warm you up for the pictures you'll see next week! 
The other is of Elder Jensen and I right before getting on our bus to Cusco.
And President and I last night at the last supper.








July 16, 2012

Leave It All On The Field



Wow.                                                                                                                                                July 16, 2012
+p`hkjpñ lku7yh6j´-Ç
¨_uyh76-lkjhhc vbh cvjxjhkklhbfdyug´çñç`´´'´ç`ñ´çlñ´lkfyuighlgfcdsf`+rftyhujy7809rf65tykuiuopup`´igbn jlñmmjy´ñ´lpgvtestx rw
I just wrote that with my face. Thats about how I feel right now. 2 ish weeks, and counting.
So anyway! This week passed by FAST. Crazy fast. We have been doing a lot of preparations for Roberto and Franciscas marriage on Saturday! We have got to know the boss of the department at City Hall (I just recently remembered that that is what that building is called) that is in charge of civil marriages, and has been a HUGE help to us. Ever since the meeting with the Mayor, she has been making everything 110% easier than before. We are 98.978% sure that they will be able to be married on Saturday. She has been pulling A LOT of strings to say the least. That has also in itself been an answer to my prayers. Funny story, so Mirella, the boss, and being the boss of the department in charge of marriages is not married. Hahahaha Elder Jensen was with me when we found out and he was about ready to make the joke: "Well, if you get married with us, you get half off!" Hahahaha I was rolling. But he didnt. But her boyfriend is a member of the church!!! Inactive, but a member! So, she agreed that we can come to her house and visit with them and chat a bit! Yes, she lives in our sector. Legit. Elder Jensen and I have planned to look for the mayor again and give him a Book of Mormon, and try to take an appt out with his family. Unfortunately this week he was always busy when we looked for him. So, after they are married, its possible that they be baptized the same day, or, Sunday morning. But I am positive that things are going to work out. We can always use extra prayers though! Its pretty tiring, trying to get everything done, helping them financially, literally running to different places, just to get all of their requirements done for marriage. I would say that these last two months ish, I have been literally exhausted. I am just so tired every day. But I am still working my hardest to leave my sector better than it was when I got here. Its hard being a missionary thats about to finish the mission, because if I could go back and start over with all of the knowledge I have now, things would be SO much easier. But thats part of the mission. Its a learning process, and luckily I can give advice to those missionaries that are starting the mission to help them in one way or another. I wish I knew then, what I know now. But then again, I wouldnt change anything in my mission. I am content, but it would have been nice to know! Haha. I'm stoked to help the boys prepare for their missions once I'm home.
So, this being my last week here in Sicuani, I am ready to give my all. To leave it all on the field. I am determined to leave my sector much better than it was when I got here. I hope that whoever comes in my place can have much more success than I had, and that the work here in Sicuani can continue to grow.
Aside from all that, there isn't much news. We continue to work with our investigators that are progressing, and we have been visiting an inactive family that came to church for the first time in a long time yesterday! Its something special to help activate a family and see them all in the chapel. Its like a baptism, obviously not the same, but you feel GREAT! They have a son that isn't baptized yet, and he might be baptized this week.
Its a strange feeling that in a week I'll be in Cusco! On Monday, all of the missionaries that are finishing the mission go to the mission home to have dinner and a small meeting. Its so crazy that this is all happening! Where has the time gone??! I will miss the mission, this country, these people, etc, but on the other hand, I am stoked to be home. Dont get me wrong, I will miss being a missionary having the calling to bring people unto Christ is something so special. But I am excited to see everyone again and just continue on in my life. This isnt the last email, so I dont want to include everything I have to say yet, so I'll cut it here! Cant wait to hear from everyone next week! I'll be writing on Tuesday, seeing that I'll be chillin in Machu Picchu on Monday! Booyah. Take care!!
Elder Jordan Van Christensen






"Fuente de mis Bendiciones"


Wow.                                                                                                                                                        July 9, 2012
This week was REALLY good. To be honest, lots of miracles happened this week, and I'm so grateful. I dont even know where to start!!! Goodness.
Happy 4th of July! Wow, I truly am SO PROUD to be an American. Me and Elder Jensen celebrated with pizza (the only somewhat american food here), a paper mache american flag, sang the national anthem, pledged alliegance, and very festive ties. See photo 4098. It was a really good day, and I'm stoked to be back on US soil soon!
So, on Monday (last week), my comp and I traveled to Cusco for my LAST Zone Leader Council. Pretty weird... But it was really good and I always learn something different, or good ideas come to me about how i can help my zone. After the meeting, my companion stayed in Cusco with Elder Bennington (ZL in the Cusco Zone), and his companion, Elder Galvez, came with me to Sicuani because he is one of the pianists that play in the Musical Recital. So, this week our time was saturated running around doing things to get ready for this event! He had to practice every day with the stake choir, and I also sang, so I had to be there to practice as well. Yeah, I sang! Hahaha, I sang a trio with Elder Ryan and Hermana Martinez (I was her DL in Quillabamba!) the song "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in spanish! Which translated is, "Fuente de mis Bendiciones". Hermana Martinez will be going to all the zones in the mission (almost) to direct the music in the recital(s) that will be happening throughout the mission! I also sang a small solo during the song "His Hands", and a duo as well with Elder Ryan for a song called "Te Hallare Mi Amigo". Now, to just give you an idea of the magnitude of this event, 600-700 people came and FILLED the chapel to the rafters. Yeah, I was nervous. President seemed to be impressed with how I sang, because after the recital he came up to me and said, "Elder Christensen, how is it that you have to leave now? We would have made you famous sending you with Hna. Martinez throughout the mission to sing! Too bad you're finishing."  And whats better, you guys will be able to hear it when I'm home! They recorded the whole thing. Audio seperately, professionally, and then filmed it in HD. SO, it was a big deal. President came, along with his wife, President Rojas came as well with his family (counselor to Presidente Calderon). A sister that is from Highland, UT came to sing all the way from Puerto Maldonado! Yeah, Pres flew her to Cusco and sent her here to sing. She has a beautiful voice. After the recital, all of us missionaries got references from the people who visited. Its hard to explain what it is we did, but it resulted in about 90 references for all of the zone!!! Obviously these people are the people who are really interested! We met an entire family that wants us to teach them! They all came and loved the recital. So this should really explode the work here in Sicuani. Were, well, they're hoping to see a lot of success here in the next month or so... seeing that I'm not gonna be here! But after everything, President took the whole zone to eat. It was an AWESOME day.
Next, I took the initiative to talk to the Mayor of Sicuani last week. I went to him with the objective to get cheaper marriages here for the people WE as missionaries bring to get married. I started off explaining to him who we were (even though he pretty much already knew), and what we teach as missionaries. I taught him about the family, and how important it is for the church and the society. I told him that in order for these people we teach who are not married, to live justly or uprightly before God, the society, and to progress in their lives, that they must be married. However, most of the couples we teach do not have the funds to spend on a marriage, and its for that very reason that at times they aren't married in the first place. So, I proposed that we (as missionaries do in other zones) offer community service every other week for and hour and a half to two hours in exchange for cheaper marriages. He was impressed with the idea and he said, "Of course! There is not a problem with that. One moment.." He then called his secretary to call the boss of the department in charge of civil marriages to his office. She walked in within a few minutes and told her whats going down and the deal we are making. He also told her, "Make it as easy as possible for these missionaries to help the people that they have to get married. We will give them a 50% discount on every marriage they bring in." YES! Mission accomplished? Almost.... Elder Jensen and I are going back to meet with him, but this time, to teach/take out an appointment to have a FHE in his home. I felt a little like Aaron from the Book of Mormon that day, but we are stoked to teach the mayor before we leave Sicuani. Even if its just to give him a Book of Mormon, I can say that we tried.
Now, for another miracle! Are you ready for this? Robertos problem with his DNI........... has disappeared. We talked with him on Sunday (his family came to the recital) and this week we are going to help him get all the papers for his marriage ready!! Seriously, I almost cried when he told me that its resolved, and he can move forward to his marriage! Miracles really do happen when you fast. How amazing is that? They will be getting baptized before I leave here. My prayers are being answered left and right, and I am so grateful that these things are happening here before I finish my mission. SO grateful.
I still cant believe that im in my last weeks. How has time gone by so quickly? To be honest, mom, I feel different than I thought I would feel. I still am focused, truly, and I dont think it has fully registered in my mind that in just three weeks I'll be landing in SLC.... Everyone always kids with me like, man, you're probably SO trunky right now.... When in reality, I'm not. I'm just stoked to "die" working hard. I am really happy with whats been happening here these last few weeks. Life is good! I hope you are all doing wel, and have bought tickets to the new Batman movie for the day after I get home... Saturday the 4th! Hahaha I saw a preview and I'm dying to see it. Anyway, I love you all so much! Thanks for all of the support!
Till next week!
Elder Jordan Van Christensen





Progression


Hello family and friends!                                                                                                                 July 2, 2012
Well, this week went by quite quickly! First of all, we had interviews and a Zone Conference with President Calderon this week. He first asked about my health, because I was pretty sick last week, then he asked if I was trunky yet. Hahaha I just laughed a said "no", and assured him that Elder Agazzani and I are working hard. We are also, with Presidents help, organizing a huge activity this Sunday! Its a Musical Recital that will include the stake choir, as well as special numbers done by missionaries! So, Hna. Martinez, who was in my district in Quillabamba, will be coming to direct the music and help organize everything. Elder Ryan and I will be singing a duet, which I'm stoked about. Hna. Martinez always told me that I needed to share my talents more, and I did quite a lot in Quillabamba with her. So, she'll be happy that I am going to help out in the presentation. It's gonna be awesome. We printed out 2,000 invitations and got all the wards involved. Should be a great turnout.
It has been a hard week as far as sacrament meeting attendance. We only had 3 people come to church. We can't seem to find Miguel and Ayde in their house... We have gone by at least 5 times this last week, with no luck. We are almost positive they have moved. With our cell phone lost, (yup, thats my bad) we have been trying to find other ways of coming in contact with them. But we talked with her good friend, Rossi, who is a member, and she was almost positive that they moved in with Ayde's family. They are really low on income, and cannot afford their rent. So we are going to try and visit them there... even though they are all JWs. We'll see how that goes.
Thanks so much for fasting for Roberto and Francisca!! We were hoping so much that it would help them, and yesterday when we visited them, we found out that it did!!!! Roberto started to do some researching, and had an idea to speed up the process. I cant explain it right now, cuz its a really long story, but he is going today to see if his idea will work. If this works, he will be able to apply for his ID, and then shortly afterward he can get married and baptized! Their whole family is so great. Honestly. Roberto got up in sacrament yesterday and bore his testimony of how he knows that this is the true church, and he thanked us over and over again for being there for his family, and for showing them the light. He also payed tithing today, and is showing his faith in such amazing ways. As is his son, Frank! He is determined to serve a mission. Yesterday he received the Aaronic Priesthood as a priest, and has already been talking to the bishop and members about preparing for a mission. He is attending Mission Prep now every saturday, and is studying the scriptures and everything so much! Its really so wonderful that he has such a great desire to serve. I can't wait for him!!!!! So stoked. The ward has really helped them feel comfortable, and now they feel right at home.
Oh, before I forget, if you could send space bags, that might help with extra room in my luggage... What do you think? I have given all mine away to other missionaries who have returned home, and now I'm the one needing them to return home! I dont think I will need more than 2, seeing that I'm not going to be taking many things home. But, its just an idea.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful week! You all are in my prayers.
Elder Christensen



Day by Day...

Hello everyone!!

So, to start things off, Frank (yes, his name has been Frank all along! hahaha) and Miriam were baptized!!! It was a wonderful service, and they are wonderful as well. We warmed up the water to a toasty 32-33º C. Probably the first time in my mission baptizing with really warm water. Afterwards, that night, we took their family out to eat chicken. It was overall a really awesome day. I ended up giving Frank my blue suit, to which he was extremely grateful. Also, my comp gave him a white shirt and tie. He came to church (not with the suit, it needs to be tailored a bit) with the white shirt and tie, lookin good for his confirmation. Also, Miriam is a really sweet girl. During her testimony she gave at the end of her baptism, she thanked me for everything I have done for her family. They are both registered in Seminary and Institute already, and went with the members to do visits to those who didnt come to church yesterday. Oh, and Frank asked me what he needed to do in order to serve a mission! He has many RM's here in the ward that are helping him to prepare to serve a mission. Best day ever!! On Friday, they invited us to cuy, which is Guinea pig! Its a delicacy here in Peru, and it wasn't too bad! The second time I've eaten it. Tastes like chicken. 

Funny story real quick. So.... while we were figuring out how to turn on the heater to heat the baptismal font water, (which is COMPLETELY different than the water heaters in the states) we had a...fun.. experience! So, I cant explain it over email, but it ended up in a small gas explosion! Yeah, it almost singed my eyebrows off. Will explain more at home. Haha, but dont worry, were laughing about it now. 

Now, on Tuesday, which is tomorrow, my companion and I are planning on doing a special fast for the Chelquetuma family starting after lunch. I was wondering what you guys think about joining in with us? I would really appreciate it, we could really use the help. Hopefully you decide to help us.

This last week I got pretty sick with who knows what. I'm better now, but I had a fever, nausea, headache, etc. Not very fun, and resulted in me being in bed for a day and a half, not really being able to move for lack of strength. But im good now, no worries mom! 

Its been pretty hard to get people to come to church this last week, specifically Ayde and Miguel. We think they traveled somewhere, because we have been passing by daily to try to find them, and nothing. So, hopefully we will find them this week, they can get their wedding papers done, and then get baptized. Really they have so many desires to change, be married, and baptized, we just need to figure out what happened this week. Keep them in your prayers.

So, this week I got something cool in the mail from our Ward Mission Leader! He sent testimonies of some of the members there in our ward translated into spanish! I'm sure that you know all about it, but tell him that I am already using them! Such a great idea. I gave Dayton Write's testimony to a new investigator, Carlos, who has a baptismal date for the 7th of July. He said that he was impressed at his testimony. Will keep updated on the progress of the project.

Well, family and friends, times coming short, but I have attached my flight plans in this email!!! I arrive in SLC on August 3rd, at 1:05pm!!! Crazy to think about. I am really keeping focused and I am so grateful for the companion I have. Really, I love the guy. We help each other to get better, and we are working harder than ever! We have been receiving tons of references from the members this week, and have many investigators that are candidates for baptism this next month. I plan on finishing my mission serving others, and doing my best to be meticulously obedient. I love my zone, even though we are still struggling a bit. But we are getting better. Little by little. Day by day, I am loving my mission more and more. I LOVE YOU ALLLLL!!!!

Take care! Till next week,

Elder Christensen

PS!!! PLEASE try and sign me up for a photography class!!! I would almost prefer that right now instead of painting. 













Feed My Sheep


Dearest family and friends,
First off, HAPPY (almost) BIRTHDAY TANNER!!!! Wow, 12 years old! I hope you have an awesome day buddy! Sure love you!!
Well, I am now officially in my last transfer of the mission. Personally, I dont feel like I’m finishing… In my head, I know that I am, but I just cant register that fact right now!  We went to Cusco on the 12th, and were there for the transfer meeting. I got my new and last companion, Elder Agazzani, from Cordoba, Argentina! Right were Devin was serving! Haha, but he is real cool, and is pumped to be here in Sicuani. He has 16 months in the mission, and is from the same group as my “son”, Elder Aguilar (when I trained him in Juliaca). We get along so much better than my last comp, and I'm so grateful for that. My last comp was trunky with a capital "T". Ahhh... But! Elder Agazzani is a great missionary with a good heart.
So, this week has been good! It went by really fast because of the transfers, but it was good nonetheless. Elder Ryan and I contacted a referral given to us by Elder Jensen who is here in the zone as well. We contacted her, and ended up teaching her in a big bus that her parents own. Apparently her house was a mess, so she asked if it could be in the bus. It was a great lesson/meeting we had with her. She wants so badly to just feel peace in her life. We found out that Elder Francis (a returned-missionary I know) and his comp visited her and her boyfriend one week, took out an appointment, and never came back. Francisco (her boyfriend) was especially touched by that visit, and was looking at the time and was expecting them any minute, but they never showed up. We are hoping to find him this week, seeing as he goes to his work (dont know where) for 20 days, and is home for 10, then he goes back for 20, etc. So we'll see how it goes!
Ayde and Miguel are progressing wonderfully!! They are always so excited for our visits, and said that they just feel better and happier after we visit. They werent able to attend church yesterday because they had to watch their little nephews and seeing that it was Fathers day, they were invited to Miguels parents house. They have committed to attend this week, and we are loving being there and to teach them! Miguel is originally a Catholic, much like most of the people here in Sicuani, by tradition. But he has opened his heart and is so accepting to our message. They fully embraced the Plan of Salvation, and Ayde feels so much better knowing that her mother is in a better place. Tonight we have an appointment with them, where we will talk about Chastity, and marriage. They said that they are willing to do whatever necessary that they may be baptized and be able to join the church. We are so stoked for them!
Fran, Miriam, and Lucero still have baptismal dates for the 23rd, this saturday! Lucero is still not too sure, but we asked her if she was praying, and she said that she wasn't every day. So we challenged her to pray, kneeling, and promised her that she would feel what she is laking in order to be baptized. I personally feel like there is something that she isn't telling us, and that certain thing is whats giving her doubts. Will let you know what happens. Fran and Miriam and golden for saturday. Roberto has to wait for his mother to get a certain document and then he has to do some things for his ID, but no, we havent tried to fast yet, I think that is a wonderful idea! We have actually been thinking about it. This week we'll do it.

I was reading in the Bible the other day, in John, and watched a devotional by Elder Holland that related to it. It was the part after Jesus was crucified, and Peter was the cheif apostle. After the death of Christ, the apostles looked to Peter and were like, “What do we do now?” And poor Peter, he simply not knowing what to do, said that he was going fishing. It was the thing that they knew how to do. So, he went fishing accompanied with John and some other apostles. They fished all night long, and caught nothing. Zilch. And the next day I could imagine they having been pretty tired and discouraged from not having caught anything were probably about to finish. But Jesus showed up on the shore, and called out (possibly saying), “Hows the fishing?” And they answered (not knowing that it was Jesus), “Not so great. We havent caught anything.” Then Jesus told them, “Cast your nets to the right and you will find.” Now, what do you think they were thinking at this point? They dont know who this guy is thats telling them this from way out on the shore, I imagine that at least someone could have said, “Oh right, get a load of this guy.” But, in their desperation, they did as he said. And when they did, they couldn’t bring the net in for the quantity of fishes that they had caught. At that moment, John looked at Peter and said, “It’s the Lord.” When Peter heard that, he looked at John, then back at the shore, and jumped overboard and started to swim to the shore. The rest of the apostles then brought the boat in, along with the net. And here, we see the thoughtfulness and love that Jesus has for them. He knew that they had a long night, with no luck, and knew that they must have been tired and hungry. So he made a fire right there on the beach, and cooked breakfast. Something so simple, yet so meaningful. Now, knowing that it was the Lord, Jesus looks at Peter and asks him, “Peter, do you love me more than these?” Meaning the boat, the nets, the fishes, etc. Peter then answers him, “Yes, I do.” Jesus then asks him a second time saying, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter, probably thinking well yeah, I just told you I do… Said, “Yes Lord, I do.” Now, Jesus asks him a third time, “Peter, do you love me?” Now Peter, feeling now pretty touchy about “3’s”, said a third time: “Lord, you know that I love you.” Christ then said to him, “Feed my sheep.” That is what He wants from all those who love Him. He didnt want the apostles to go back to fishing, to do the things of their past lives, he had already called them to leave all of that behind! When He had called them to the apostleship, He called them to change their lives. To not go back to the things they had done before, but to leave it all behind, love him, and answer the call with all their heart when He beckoned them, “Come, follow me”. The call is the same for those serving or who have served missions, or who are members of this church. We have received the call, and God expects us to leave behind our worldly ways and to follow His Son. We must loveHim! That is the first and great commandment, after all. I know that this work I am doing, alongside of thousands of other missionaries around the world, is the greatest that the world has ever seen. I know that this message we boldly bring is the most important message that anyone will ever hear during their lifetime. My time as a missionary has become short, but I continue to work my hardest until the end. I would like to ask you, the readers of this letter, if you love Him. Have we started and committed ourselves to a life dedicated to serve the Lord? If so, and if we love Him, then its a new life. Just like Peters. We can't turn back. Ever! All of us are missionaries, not just those who have the badge on their chest. "Feed my sheep." Its a call to us all!
I love you all so very much. Have a wonderful week!
Elder Christensen
PS, The pics:
22 - Me and Elder Agazzani!
17 - In the restaurant "Fuego", in Cusco on Tuesday for P-Day.
03 - Scenery in Pitumarca
PSS..... My flights are bought. I return home the 3rd of August!!!!! (Next week I'll forward my flight plans) Que loco...





June 12, 2012

It's His Time, His Work


Hey family and friends!
Well this week went by quickly. (Go figure..)
I got the package! Thanks so much! I shared much all of it with other missionaries, and the family that we live with.
Lets see, well, we didnt have the two baptisms that we had planned. Fran and Miriam feel like they need more time, and will now be baptized with their sister, Lucero. They all now have a baptismal date for the 23rd of June. We continue to work with Roberto and Francisca with their marriage. Roberto still has to figure his ID out, hopefully that will be resolved here soon, then they will be married and most likely baptized the same day (in july most likely). Hopefully all goes well! Keep them in your prayers!
So, do you remember about the lady (Ayde.. pronounced "I~day") i wrote about that was in the bad accident a few weeks ago? And how her mother was in a coma? Well this last week we were with the same member that introduced us to her, but this time looking for another one of her friends. While we were walking, i got the impression to visit Ayde. At first i just kinda pushed the thought aside, I mean after all, we were looking for someone else. But when we found out that the other person wasnt home, the thought came back into my mind, but this time my heart was pounding. I suggested we visit Ayde, and they agreed. So, sure enough, we get to her house and her boyfriend lets us right in. We soon found out that her mother had passed away last week. She told us that now her eyes have been opened to reality. She also just barely had surgery on her nose, because it was broken. Poor thing, she is in so much pain from that and her hurt leg. She then explained to us that she went to the Jehova Witness church only because her mom went, and some of her friends. She said that she feels a lot of their teachings are incorrect, and that its not the true church. She now doesnt attend there. She also said to us with tears in her eyes, "Last night i prayed for guidance and direction to help me choose the true church. As a family, we need it now more than ever. Will you two help us with this?" Wow! I was stunned. We then testified and promised to her that we as representatives of Jesus Christ will help her and her family to find the truth, and that they will find it in The Church of Jesus Christ. We visited them two days afterward, taught lesson 1, and challenged them to be baptized. (They arent married yet, so were waiting to see about the date) But they accepted baptism so we know that they truly are interested!! Truly, without doubt, the Lord leads us to those who are prepared. I mean, for us to show up at her house more than 3 weeks after that inicial visit, unplanned, to find that they had prayed the night before asking God to guide them to the truth... Theres no coincidence in that. God's hand is in this work!!!
Well, this change is over! So crazy to think about.. This transfer really flew by. I have learned SO much. From my companion (for good or for worse), my zone (the missionaries), and the scriptures. My companion had a change, and I am staying! I am so pumped to work my hardest this last change here in Sicuani. We'll be doing a lot of one thing here: work.
"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." -Alma 29:9
How true that scripture is. It speaks for itself. I've never been happier in my life than I am as a missionary. I know that I have been called of God, as was Alma, to preach the good news of the Gospel.
know that this is truth eternal: that God lives, that His Son came in the meridian of time and suffered for each and every one of us that we may be able to live with  Him, and our Father once again. How I pray that we never forget these things. What immense joy i have found, and continue to find here in the service of God! I cant wait to see all my buddies again, it'll be just like the sons of Mosiah. I hope everyone has a great week! I LOVE YOU ALL!
Sincerely, your Peruvian son, grandson, brother, cousin, nephew,  friend, and missionary...
Elder Christensen

June 4, 2012

Blessings!!!

Dearest family and friends,

So this week has gone by pretty quick as well. It seems like time just
goes faster and faster! Anyway, so this week we as zone leaders had a
"council" in Cusco. Its fancy talk for a conference. It went pretty
well and we were able to learn a lot i feel like. We reviewed a
training given by Spencer W. Kimball entitled: "Jesus: El Lider
Perfecto" translated, "Jesus: The Lerfect Leader". It was literally
full of such great imformation, and i felt like i was able to recieve
personal revelation. I learned more of Christs earthly leadership and
just how perfectly he did EVERYTHING. I learned how i could be a
better leader. I was so impressed by the fact that He knew his
purpose, He knew the great responsibility placed upon His shoulders
had eternal signifigance, and He was able to calculate the long term
effect and impact His words would have on humanity. He walked
selflessly among his fellow man, putting their needs above His own. He
served with love. <3 We should always remember His example. I know
that i will. Oh, and we ate tacos in Cusco at "El Cuate", which means
"friend" in mexican/guatemalan slang.. It was decent!

Our zone is getting better. My companion and i are getting along
better i feel like, which is a relief. He'll probably have a change to
finish somewhere else, then i will meet my LAST companion. Now that
feels weird to say. I cant believe that i am almost to my last
transfer! The last six weeks are rapidly approaching. It actually
doesnt feel different much, except the fact that missionaries look at
me and are like, "woah man, youre dying.." Haha thats mission slang
for saying youre going home, basically. Prettty crazy. Im not getting
trunky though, im focused on what matters most right now: the mission!

So, we killed a lamb the other day and had it for lunch.  Yes, we
killed and gutted it and everything right here at the house. Dont
worry i totally have it on video, ill show you when im home. We
actually had it yesterday as well.. Its a lot of meat! The video
really is disgusting.

So, we have been working a lot with the Chelquetuma family. We are
seeing some difficulties with the son, but are helping him along the
way. Lucero and her mom traveled to Juliaca yesterday, and got home
last night but missed church. Lucero's baltism will probably be the
16th now, because she missed sacrament meeging. I am giving my blue
suit to Fran (the son) on his baptism day. He really is a good kid,
just has some not so great influences as friends. He may end up
serving a mission, too! He really likes the church and has already
made some good friends (returned missionaries). Today in priesthood
meeting we all had little papers that we were to write goals on, short
term and long term. The teacher showed me Roberto's goals
afterwards... His goals are as follows: "1. Be baptized in Jesus'
church. 2. Be married to my wife. 3. Attend church. 4. Pray to God
every day. 5. Talk to others about the bible. 6. Be faithful to God.
7. Help my children. 8. Walk with Jusus always." Yeah, so that gives
you an idea of how great this man is. Wonderful. Please keep them in
your prayers. He has a problem with his ID that is holding him back
from being married, so we need prayers!!

Well, i havent gotten the package yet, ill let you know when i do!
Hopefully this week. I should be sending off Tan mans letter here this
week, so be on the look out here in a couple weeks. Oh and whats the
deal on the house? Are we gonna be moving or...? Let me know what the
details are. And dont forget to get me into that painting class at
weber!! Try to make all my classes in the morning if you can.. So i
can work in the afternoon.

Know that i love you all! SO MUCH!! Till next week,

Elder Jordan Van Christensen

Oh, and today we went to Machupitumarca, which are a bunch of ruins in
a pueblo called Pitumarca. See the pics! And the two alpaca ties that
I had the member make for me!






More pics

My shoes! Hahaha

Some trees

The cathedral in a pueblo called Pitumarca.

"God answers prayers."‏

Hey family!
So this week has really passed by quickly for me, probably for a number of reasons. Some good, some not so good, haha. Ill go ahead and touch on the good!
So do you remember when i sent an email right after moms day saying that i was hoping to find a family that week? And how i asked for extra prayers and such? Well, the Lord came through! We found that family! Yup! An entire family completely prepared to hear the gospel. We were introduced to them by a member, and they are all so willing to change their lives, and let Christ in. Their names are: Roberto - dad - 51, Francisca - mom - 50 ish, Fran - son - 23, Luz - daughter - 20 (who we don't know yet, should be getting home today), and Miriam - daughter - 17. The only downside is that the mom and dad aren't married... But they have plans to get that taken care of soon. They all are willing to be baptized, and the kids will be baptized first on the 9th of June! They ALL came to church today, and loved it. I feel so blessed to be teaching them. Roberto offered the closing prayer in their home and started to cry as he pleaded for his families happiness. "Heavenly Father truly answers prayers", i told my comp as we left their home. I have been praying ever since i have been in Sicuani to find a family that is prepared to hear our message. The Lord held through on His part, now we have to do ours and teach them this true, restored gospel. I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!! We continue to work with our other investigators that are progressing, but seem to always have problems that keep them from baptism.
Today in our Zone Meeting, I talked about our potential as sons and daughters of God, as well as our potential as missionaries. We as missionaries have a huge potential! Having been called by a living prophet of God, having been set apart and given the authority to preach His gospel, we labor gladly bringing souls unto Christ. However, if we aren’t obedient, if we don’t truly study the gospel, if we don’t work diligently, and if we don’t have faith in God that He will support us every step of the way, we cannot reach that potential. It went well, and we encouraged the zone to work even harder to reach the goals that we have set for next month, June.
So… this week you’ll never guess what we had for lunch! Haha…. Ahh… Ready? Sheep head soup. Floating in the soup was pieces of brain, along with skin. She didn’t give us any of the eyeballs, the tongue, etc, thank goodness. She did it mostly as a joke on us. A really, really disgusting joke. But for them, it’s a delicacy. Really! They enjoy eating the eyeballs, the tongue, brains, etc. Hahaha I love her! Her name is Mery, and her husband is “Pepe”. His real name is Juan, but everyone calls him Pepe. They are so great. Were all a big family in their house!
Oh, hey i want you to register me in a painting class at Weber please! Yes, painting. I almost forgot to remind you about that. Jose from Quillabamba has inspired me. I cant wait to show you the painting he painted for me! How goes everything with registering me for classes?
Anyways! I LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks for all the emails :) Till next week!
Elder Jordan Van Christensen
Sheep head. Its whats for lunch!

Sheep tongue

A baptism of a little girl named Milagros. We are helping their family to get activated! Yeah!

My comp and I on our hike like 3 weeks ago!