Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sam sent us the following email & photos on Sunday, July 5, 2015:

From: Samuel Christensen <>
Subject: Happy 2015th Birthday, America!
Date: July 6, 2015 1:01:49 AM MDT

Hey guys!

Sounds like you all had a happy 4th of July. I'll be there with you for the next one. There wasn't a lot of celebrating from us, but we always keep in our remembrance a deep and abiding love for the US of A. Mom, you're right. They really opened a can of worms with that decision [the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex marriage] and it's only going to get worse. Those idiots. I just keep thinking what would our Founding Fathers be thinking. They're like this is not what we had in mind. But I guess this is all a part of what the grand plan is. I was wondering this week if (and this is a legitimate wonder, I'm not making this up to be dumb) people who are either members or endowed members are given a gift of greater understanding, because the church seems so logically and obviously correct to me and to the people I'm working with. Like if you really look at it from a logistical standpoint there's.... I don't know, when we meet people who try and bash or oppose us, their points don't make sense. That's what I really like about the church is that there is an answer to everything. And it works. Every time. 

This was also a really pretty good week. We are doing a lot of good things in this area and I feel like it's really opening up to us. We're working well with the members, who are really solid here. That made church yesterday really nice to see all of the people that we have been working so hard to get out to church (investigators, less actives) come out, and then be taken in by the ward so nicely. 

We got to meet President and Sister Christensen for the first time on Thursday. I'm sure it's pretty overwhelming to step into what they just stepped into, but their spirits are high and they kept telling us how excited they were to be here. President is a super cool guy. Very easy to talk to. Incredible last name. His mission was very unique in that he was serving in Hong Kong for most of it, then his mission president sent 4 elders into vietnam (in 1971) to keep up the missionary efforts that US troops had started. He had no previous language training and so they all had like 6 months to learn it and translate the book of mormon and stuff and it's an incredible thing. I'm sure he's full of great stories. But they've been so stoked to get here and be back in southeast Asia, and I'm always happy to have more Salt Lake Valley people here. His personality and style is very different from President Moon. Completely different. But I think that he will be a really great Mission President too. Pres. Moon seems even more legendary after having left. I'm excited to see where we go and I'm grateful from where we've come.

At the start of this week, actually, I was pretty down on missionary work. I was tired of it and just not having the spirit of it with me. But we pulled out of it after a few days and I'm back to a good state of being. It's a hard thing to do missionary work, but it's a lot better if you're happy about doing it.

We're having fun with English class. The class was very impressed with Myers' and my knowledge of their famous, popular khmae songs and that was funny. But don't try to play "Fruitbasket" with them because they won't understand that at all....

We had our first downpour of the season a few days ago while I was on another exchange in Stung Mean Chey. Bring on the floods.

We had two investigators who we assumed from the sisters that both decided, without talking to each other first, that they would like to be baptized on July 19th sometime in the morning. We wanted them to be baptized at the same time anyways, so that's what we're going for now. 

I also got to do a baptism interview for a Filipino lady attending the International branch with her husband. She's in the Office Elders' district. First time I've had to conduct one of those in English. She's got an incredible story and has some of the deepest faith and conversion that I've ever seen. She passed with flying colors. After her baptism she just kept saying that she was so happy and couldn't even describe it. She's truly seen a change in her life, and she says that those around her have seen it too.

I'm glad to be a missionary. It's never really easy. At the end it's worth it. The trick is making sure you're glad in the middle. 

Thanks for everything you guys. Peace and love!

Above & below:  Sam's caption for these two pictures was, "Venice" 

This picture and the following 2 are of a sunset at Trash Mountain

Sam's caption:  "Dinner from above/through the slats"

Sam's recent zone conference with his new mission president, President Christensen, and his wife.
Sam is on the back row in the center, and President Christensen and his wife are on the front row in the center.

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