This Is Peru!

This Is Peru!

February 7, 2012

Faith In Every Footstep‏

Hey everyone!

Well, this week has gone by really quickly. I'm just going to touch on a couple things that I can remember.

First and foremost.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! Its really hard for me to not be able to really do anything physically for you, but props to Bridge for the cake and flowers! I wish there was something more I could do, but I can't. I find that really frustrating at times here so far away from everyone. But, its all good! Just know, mom, how much I love and care for you. So much!!

So, this Tuesday are transfers! Thankfully, my comp and I are both staying in Quillabamba together. We were pretty glad about that! Oh, and I think Mamá Roxana (my favorite pensionista ever, she actually reminds me of you, mom!) is going to write you an email  today, so be looking for it! She wanted to wish you a happy birthday! It will obviously be in Spanish, so maybe Rachel or Google Translator can help you out!

This last Thursday I was in Cusco for a DL/ZL training, and it went really well. We learned a lot about the mission and the problems we are facing and how we can overcome them and achieve the success that we desire here in our missions. I visited the Carrasco family (not my old pensionistas family, but Pres. Carrascos brother) from my old ward (Chaski Ward) that morning, and they were so happy to see me! They invited me right in and the fed us a big breakfast. He said that his doors are always open for me. I love them, they are such great people! That night, I treated Elder Retamozo to dinner at Fuego (the restaurant that serves American food) because he is finishing the mission and we became pretty good friends. The lady there was also super glad to see me! She gave us each a free slice of raspberry cheesecake... mmm... Delicious.

We continue to find more people as we prayerfully seek the guidance from the Lord. I know that He is always guiding us, each step of the way. We have been finding more people to teach, and many are very close from baptism. However, Jose Luis was unable to be baptized due to some problems he has been facing lately. We lost contact with him for almost all of last week, but yesterday we talked to him. We took him to a park where we had a long talk. He told us something that I really didn't know before. He has a disease that is called osteogenisis imperfecta. Look it up on Google, but his bones are extremely fragile and he is the only person in Quillabamba that has it. Poor guy, but he is really amped this week, and we are sure that he will be baptized soon. His desires are high, all he needs to do is put in a little more effort. Rina, however, says that her sister traveled to Lima and she wants to be present in her baptism. We have an appt with her tomorrow, so we will see how that goes. Hopefully we can help her out. She attended church for the third time this week! She really enjoys it.

So, something interesting happened yesterday in our sacrament meeting. As we are singing the opening hymn, a couple walks in with their new baby that just almost a week and a half ago was born. We are really good friends with them. So anyway, he looks at me while they are finding their seats and he says in a half whisper, "Hey, you're going to give the blessing to our baby today." I thought they were joking until they walked up there and the branch president said, "Elder Christensen, that means you too." Holy crap, here I am thinking, I have never given a baby's blessing before! But I did it, and it actually turned out really well. They were really appreciative, and I am thankful for the confidence that they have in me. Pretty cool experience! Haha.

I have really been reflecting on the importance of faith in our lives. Everything we do in our lives, day by day, should be done by faith. Every step we take, trusting in the Lord that he will direct our paths. Like it says in Proverbs 3:5-6. I know that if we trust in Him, he will keep his promise. Faith in every footstep, I love that. Let us all trust in Him, and His will for each of us, just a little more. Missions are the best!! 

Take care everyone, I love you all!!

Elder Christensen

Publishing Peace‏

Hey everyone!
Well, the weeks just keep flying by… a lot of stuff has happened this week. First of all, Jose Luis was not baptized, due to some personal problems that he has. But, he will be baptized next Sunday, on moms birthday! Haha. We are visiting him every day at his request, and helping him along the way. We also have another baptism planned for this Saturday, Rina. She is a contact that we made while walking through the busy market. She knows our pensionista, Roxana, and another member, Ivone, who both work in the market doing upholstery. Roxana and Ivone have been accompanying us to our lessons with her, and she understands the need for a baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We explained very carefully how Christ was baptized, and how we should be baptized in the same manner (Mark 10:38-39). She came to church for the second time yesterday. She is a single mom with a 4 year old boy.
Yesterday was… an interesting day. We had 6 people in the church, which was awesome!! We were stoked on that for sure. But later in the day, we could not find anyone at home! NO ONE. That was a real bummer. We decided to visit members, and on our way home for the night, we found Paolina and her husband (another contact that we had in the street the other day.) We taught her, and she cried when she said the closing prayer. She said, “God, I thank you for sending these two angles to me to bring me closer to Thee.”  Pretty legit. We were able to get to know her husband who is a mechanic, and set up an appointment on Tuesday, and a FHE in their home for Thursday. We’ll see how it goes!
Something else that was….. well… interesting, was the lady that told me she wanted her grandchildren to have my eyes, and to leave my “seed” with her daughter. I do not know if you can put it any more bluntly than that. Or, the other time when I was walking with Elder Soderquist (a new missionary in the field who shares our apartment with his comp) and two ladies thought that we didn’t speak Spanish and said, and I quote, “Oh look at them.. how handsome.. Ooh how I would like to…” And I did not hear the rest. Thank goodness I didn't hear the rest. Silly latinos…
Something else I was thinking about for my b-day package was Sour Watermelons! That's the only candy I am craving after Jacquie sent them to me. Haha. Oh, and maybe some mangoes! I get the real thing here, but they’re not dried! I don't know if you have sent it yet, but if you haven’t then great! Oh, and my size for a hat is 7 and 3/8 I think… I’m not too sure on that one. And just one more trunky suggestion… Maybe the family can get a Lake Powell trip set up in August?? Maybe? Just a thought! :) Oh, and tell Josh thanks for the email! I got it a few weeks ago, but it was great to hear from him. And thanks to you too, Grandpa Christensen! Now you know that you can email me!
Anyway everyone, I just am loving every minute out here. My comp and I get along really well as we strive to keep the spirit with us throughout the day. I can see the Lords hand in our lives as He guides us to those who need us. Although crazy things happen here in Quillabamba, I really love it. Life is so good! Tell Parker and the other guys good luck for me! They’ll be great. I can’t believe how much I have grown since entering the MTC. Just personally, I really am learning who I am and what I’m all about. That made me think mom, the mission really is more for me I think than anyone else. Apart from all the people I help, I am helping myself I think even more. Mom, you’re trunkier than I will ever be! Don't talk about hugs getting off the plane… just yet! Haha, I love you though, and I know it will be a day to look forward to. I have much left to do and accomplish here in Perú, cant get distracted! Keep the faith everyone. This is truly the work of the Lord. I am a Publisher of Peace. (Isaiah 52:7)
Con amor,
Elder Christensen 

Prayers Answered.

Hey everyone!
This week has gone by really quickly. For a couple of reasons… We have been really busy trying to find less actives to come to church and looking for new investigators. Well, yesterday we saw the “fruit” of our labors! Haha, we had two entire families of less actives come, plus 5 or 6 more people. Then, we had 4 investigators in sacrament meeting which was the best.
So a cool story that happened this week. We had basically given up hope that we would find Jose Luis after he had moved from his apartment. We had been going there almost daily, with no luck. Well we have been praying day and night with the hope of somehow to find him again. He accepted a baptismal date the very first time we met with him! He was so excited, and we were really sad that he moved without us knowing. So, one day we were searching for a less active member, and we were going to teach her friend. We got to her house, and knocked and knocked and knocked. No one home. Bummer! So, we start walking down the street kinda bummed, when I looked up and I saw someone in a wheelchair. I stopped my comp and was like, “Look.” There was Jose Luis chillin there in his chair! He was with his mom, and they were outside of a store, just leaving it looked like. We almost ran up to him, and man his smile was so big when he saw us! He was s-t-oked. We started talking and he started to apologize, and basically to make a long story short, we got his new address and number! We went by his house to pick him up and bring him to church. I rolled him all the way there, and he loved it! He will be baptized on Sunday! Prayers are answered!
Well, today we went to some waterfalls again, so enjoy the fotos! I wish I had more time to write, but just know that I love you all! The work is going great here! We are working hard, and I love it. I love the mission! I am feeling a lot better, thanks for the worrying.. haha.
Have a great week everyone!
Elder Christensen

Week 3‏

Hey fam,
So, this week has been kinda slow. Were really trying to work with those that have a baptismal date, but one fell through because he didn't attend church this week. Pushed one week back. We’ll see how it goes. I am learning a lot here in Quillabamba, thats for sure. Its just a small branch, kinda like the twig that you had in Michigan, dad. Haha, that made me laugh. Were back to teaching Gospel Principles, for the lack thereof of a teacher. We also pass/bless the sacrament almost every Sunday.
There are a few problems here in the zone, but we had a good Zone Meeting today where we talked about these problems and how we are to honor the names that we wear on our chests everyday: Our families, and Christs. It was a good meeting, and I feel like the zone got the message.
I am loving the scriptures! Before I came out on the mission, I never really had a true appreciation for them. But really, they are amazing. I can’t get enough of them. There are so many things we have to be grateful for. There are so many people here that live in mud houses and dirt floors, yet they make it to church every Sunday without fail. It makes me think and hope that in the future I hope that I will be strong and to have that same faith that these members show. I just love the mission. I can’t describe what joy this work brings me. Even though there are many trials that come before us as missionaries, to have the faith and courage to move forward no matter what the circumstances, is something special. Its something that each of us should strive to have in our own lives. Life isn’t easy. It was never intended to be easy. But if we lean on the Lord to guide and strengthen us during our trials, we can learn exactly what He wants us to learn and take from that experience what we need. I have a strong testimony for this work and I find myself each day thinking less about myself and trying my best to help those around me. Mom, when you said that these last  6 and a half months are going to pass quickly, it made me realize that I really don't have much time left. Just know that I am leaving it ALL on the field. No regrets. I love you all and hope all is well! I cant think of much else for my birthday, oh, maybe a hat. Have Bridger pick out a cool one from Decade maybe. And i would like some Nike basketball shorts. Whatever color you like. I’m not too picky.
Les mando muchos loves!
Elder Christensen

¡¡¡New sector, new comp, New Year!!!‏

Hey family!!
Haha, dad, why did you ask if I was transferred? Of course I was transferred! My new area is awesome. I love it here!! My new companion is Elder Morales from Nicaragua. He lives in the mission where Connor Kendrick is serving! So, I got here on Wednesday at like 4am after a really long bus ride. I tried to sleep, but it was really hard with all the curves and bumps along the way. I woke up to a really humid air, and I was sweating already. We got off the bus and got all my bags and walked to our apartment about a block away from the bus terminal. I showered in cold water, which was nice, and got to bed. I woke up at about 8ish, to roosters making that annoying sound that they make. I was pretty tired, but we went to our district meeting where I met my new district as district leader! In my district are the sisters and the zone leaders. It was interesting giving my first lesson as a DL, but it went pretty well as we talked about some problems that we have here in the zone. We also talked about solutions and how we can achieve them. I think it went pretty well.
So, the new zone where I am is called Quillabamba! Its semi-jungle, but my sector looks and feels just like the jungle. Its really hot here, really humid, but right now it’s the rainy season. So it doesn’t get as hot as it normally does. But just sitting here in the internet café, I’m sweating. It’s a big change from Cusco, but I love it! The work here is great. The leadership in our branch is so-so. We are just a district here in Quillabamba. But I really like it. We are finding a lot of great people to teach. I am feeling normal now health wise, and I am back to normal! So, dad, don’t worry about my sickness! Thanks for caring, but I’m fine now.
Well, I don’t have much time to write all that I would like to, but I am really happy to be here in Quillabamba. Oh, happy new year! I kinda forgot about that. Ha, but yeah needless to say there was a lot of drunk people passed out in the streets. Gotta love Peru!
I love you all! Thanks for your support and love. Till next week!
Elder Jordan Van Christensen
PS, really sorry about no pictures… This internet café is crap. Its suuuper slow, so hopefully next week we go somewhere else.