Monday, August 11, 2014

The pure love of Christ

***To start off, Brandon asked me to tell you all that he hasn’t been able to open emails from friends lately because he just doesn’t have time.  He spends 1 ½ hours of his email time doing responsibilities that he has to and then he has a half hour or less of his 2 hour time limit to write the weekly update to us.  He’s trying to find a way to have time to reply to people, but he says that right now there is just not a way to do it within the 2 hour time limit. He feels really bad.  So- please don’t take it personally if he hasn’t responded. ***

And here is his update:

Absolutely no time today! Quick update—I totally ran out of gas on Tuesday and woke up super sick, and slept 14 hours that day.  Boy, did I need it. Wednesday we had a great workshop on obedience in District Meeting where I reevaluated why I try to be obedient and do the things I do; hopefully it's because I love the Lord. Thursday we started teaching the husband of a recent convert. They are both in their 80's and I just felt such a love for them when we started teaching, it was really cool actually!

Elder Christensen and Elder Williams
One last picture with his kabahays!
Friday we had pretty normal work, but we had some pretty good contacts and set up some good return appointments (one turned out to be a born again preacher, and my companion and our 1st counselor taught him yesterday and apparently it went really good, and he had a lot of questions apparently!). Saturday we got a little work done, and then we went to a Ward Home Evening, which was awesome! Great turnout, and lots of less active members came and whatnot, good bonding, and there we said goodbye to Elder Williams, who left after sacrament on Sunday to go home! Sunday afternoon we got some good work done, and we had a good lesson with the Centeno family, where our Branch President, a convert, was able to testify to the blessings his family has received in being members of the church. It was great! 
The real problem right now with all of our investigators is that they've all progressed to some extent, but they all have these roadblocks (marriage, doubts about baptism, poor examples of less active members that dissuade them, physical ailments that prevent them from going to church, busy with work and other responsibilities...) and they're all so receptive! 

And as far as spiritual insights, here's an excerpt from my letter to the president:
This week was a good week, I feel like I learned a lot. I felt like I wasn't running at full speed, mostly because I've been fighting sickness this week, but I am feeling better. It was just a little frustrating not being able to do all that I want to. But hey, life is like that sometimes. I felt like a major theme this week was love. In district meeting, we discussed obedience in the workshop, and identified the best reason to obey is Love, and in our case here, love for the Lord. Then time and time again in our teaching, this theme of love kept appearing. We also started teaching this the husband of an elderly woman in our ward, and I just had this outpouring of love for him as we started teaching, it was beautiful. Also, as we were teaching a recent convert woman who is in a little bit of a feud with her best friend, also a recent convert, we shared Paul's statement on faith, hope, and love, then Mormon's additions in Moroni 7. As I was teaching, the spirit gave to me a new insight on what the "pure love of Christ" is. What I understood, is that that kind of love is the love that persists even if we have done all we can for someone, and they still reject us and our efforts. Because that's what Christ does, doesn't he? We turn our back on him time and time again every time we sin, almost as if we forget he suffered all for us. And even though we still sin daily, HE STILL LOVES US, so when we've sufficiently humbled ourselves enough to repent, he can accept us back. And that's the lifelong quest I guess, to gain and maintain that kind of love for all. That is unconditional love. It's such a beautiful thing.

Well, that’s all folks, love you all!

--Elder Christensen

Elder Christensen with his recent convert, Marcos Rivera!
The pictures are me and Elder Williams, one last picture of the elders in my house, the hat that a recent convert made for me, and my recent convert, Marcos Rivera (aka the funniest little grandpa in the world!)
Elder Christensen wearing the hat a recent convert made for him!

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