A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Some Quality BC Time with Esparzas

The Esparza segment of the posterity (Leslie, Alex, Lola, Mila, and Yet-Unborn Baby Girl,) visited BC last week, and we spent some quality time in some beautiful places here in the Vancouver area, most of which was recorded in pictures.  I had a plan for an organized post that would thoroughly explain it all, so organized that I was not finding time to get it posted.  So, Debby took the bull by the horns and just posted all the photos from my phone, leaving the rhetoric to me. So, it may not be organized, but it will be complete - long (lots of photos,) but I'll try to keep the verbage to a minimum

On the first day, before Alex arrived (separate flight,) Mom and Grandma went for a pedicure, So Grandpa got to take the girls for a while.  We picked up A&W (big up here) burgers and poutine (Canadian french fries-with Mozerella cheeze and gravy,) and went to a park.  Here's  Mila begging for more poutine.
Lola just wanted to play in the gravel and on the toys, in what we thought was a park, but turned out to be the playground of a school, which soon let out for recess.  We were thronged by young Chinese kids who were very interested in these two little light-skinned girls.  So, I started taking pictures of them together, and it wasn't long before a teacher was right there, advising us in no uncertain terms, that we could not be there and I could not take photos.  So we had to leave, Grandpa feeling like some kind of perv.

Next day, after Papa Alex arrived, we boarded a ferry bound for Vancouver Island...

...and there, we took a little stroll through the Garden of Eden, aka Butchart Gardens...

Something about this place makes you want to push a stroller under a flowering arch.

Lola seems right at home here in Heaven

Even though this is almost as far away as they can get from their S. Florida home, and still be in the North American Mainland, they all acclimated well to Pacific air and time zone.

Mila, however, missed pretty much the whole garden, as she had better things to do.

If we are in Heaven, where does this stairway lead??

A single stock from the ground provides all this green stuff.  Wish it worked that way back in our arid Idaho desert home.

Looking across Victoria harbor at the Empress Hotel

Red double-decker tour buses - a little taste of London, here in British Columbia.

This is how you know it is not London - the Totem pole on the lawn of the provincial government building is from the Haida First Nation (Indian) tribe.  Even though it is on an Island, Victoria is the capital city of BC.

Back over on the mainland, you  can hop on this carriage and ride all over Stanley Park in Vancouver

Looking across the harbor from Stanley Park at part of the Vancouver skyline

Part of our walk through Stanley Park involved this little train game, so we wouldn't get lost in the woods (Lola's idea.)

Just putting dogs on notice that the Canadian geese militantly own this park.  They hardly get out of the way for humans, unless you have a shotgun in your hands.

Down on the beach, however, this dog had other things to chase.

Speaking of dogs, it's not all fun and games, and the park police are not kidding. $2,000! - mortgage the house, sell the kids.

Lawn Bowling anyone?  Sorry, members only.
The sun lovers of Vancouver.  Problem is, the water is anything but warm this far north.

Back at home, in the park across the street from our apartment, these girls love to swing.

Waiting to head back to the US, Mila, annoyed by the bustling traffic on the street,
gave them a piece of her mind.  Bye bye Esparzas.

  So, we've now had visits from VanderLouws and Esparzas, and we look forward to the Colin Croshaws in August, Delgadillos in September, Chipman's in November(?), the Matt Croshaw's whenever they can, and to friends in between.  Life is good. Our work is fulfilling and we are happy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Eight days until Canada Day!

We work with a couple in the office from Utah-the Spuhlers.  They have a daughter-in-law from Brazil.  She recently returned to Brazil for about a month to spend time with her Father.  He is very ill, not expected to live much longer.  When she first decided to go her passport had expired, so it took her a while to make all the arrangements to get to Brazil.  She did make it on time, and was able to spend lots of time with her Father.  When she had been there over two weeks, she realized she wanted her Father to get a blessing, so she started looking for the local branch/ward.  She found a ward page on Facebook.  She sent a message to them and explained her situation and asked if someone could come and give her Father a blessing.  Within five minutes, someone had responded.  It was the first counselor, and he told her he would come over right after work.  He did come, driving all the way across the city.  He stopped at home, and changed into his suit.  He sat down with her father, and asked him what he wanted to know.  He told him he would answer any questions he had.  They talked for a long time. This man was able to talk to him not as a young elder might have been able to.  Finally he gave this man, who a few hours before had been a stranger, a blessing.  It was a very sweet blessing.  The man's wife was weeping so much that she had to leave the room.  As he left, he told him he would be back.

Sister Spuhler's daughter found the location of the ward and the following Sunday went to church.  She was warmly greeted by the members, who knew of her situation, not realizing how much she had missed her own ward family.

We often talk about being a world wide church.  No matter where we go we will hear the same lessons, go through the same process for meetings and ordinances.  It is all familiar to us.  But, we also have perhaps an even greater blessing to be surrounded by disciples of Jesus Christ, who are often ready and willing to extend love, comfort and support.  We are so blessed to be part of this world wide group of caring, loving individuals, who genuinely care about their brothers and sisters.

Sunday afternoon we taught a young woman from Japan, and another young woman from Korea.  Following this, we went to teach a man, Prince, from Ghana.  He came here via Ohio, where he earned a Master's in Public Health.  He is now getting his PhD,at UBC and hopes to work for the United Nations to help others countries with food/health related issues.  His fiancee is in Sandusky.  David mentioned that that's where that movie with Chris Farley was based.  It  didn't appear that the elders of the investigator knew about Tommy Boy.  Anyway, it was an inspiring lesson, and he sincerely wants to find truth.  I felt his sincerity.  However, it is sometimes so difficult to make the changes that truth requires in our lives.  I hope he has the strength to make those changes.  He is a really, really nice guy.  The missionaries made a follow up appointment.  We are praying for him.

Warm weather in British Columbia.  They need some rain.  Lawns are turning brown.  The strawberries came on early, and didn't last too long. The fresh fruit here is so delicious.  One other thing--they don't do pennies in BC.  If you have credit or debit charges, they do pennies, but you don't get them in change.  They just round up or down.  Leslie, Lola and Mila come tomorrow.  Alex  comes the next day.  We are going to the island on Friday.  This is transfer week.  Lots of changes as your former missionaries know--sadness seeing missionaries go home, but lots of excitement as the new missionaries arrive.  Life is good.  The church is true.  Jesus Christ has all the answers.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Some of our recent teaching experiences (photos below) have uniquely brought to mind, a passage of New Testament scripture, which accounts for the world-wide characteristic of today's Christianity.  Subsequent to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, He had conferred the Holy Ghost upon His Apostles and commanded them to feed His sheep.  They proceeded to do so, traveling about Israel, sharing the good news of His gospel and seeking converts only among the Jews, as those outside the Abrahamic covenant (Gentiles,) were considered to be unworthy, unclean. The Apostles so proselyted in the face of peril, as Israel was ruled at the time by Rome, which was not tolerant of this new religion and its leaders.

In the tenth chapter of Acts, we read of an event which would become the tipping point, where, by the will of God, His Church would leave the tight confines of Israel and advance into the world, to become available to all mankind.

This episode starts in Caesarea, as a certain Roman Centurion named Cornelius, a devout, God-fearing man, who was kind to the poor and prayed to God always, was visited by an angel and told that his "alms [had] come up for a memorial before God."  Therefore, he was to send men to Joppa (on the Mediterranean coast - about 33 miles distance, or a couple of days journey by chariot) and seek out a man named Peter who would give him advice, who was the senior Apostle, the president and prophet of the new Church of Christ.  Cornelius immediately complied by sending an  entourage of trusted soldiers to Joppa.

Meanwhile, the next day, Peter, while praying on the roof of his dwelling, became very hungry and fell into a "trance", or vision, where he saw a vessel descend from heaven, wherein were all manner for four footed beasts and creeping things, and a voice said to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat," to which Peter answered, "Not so Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." [This reflected Peter's strict adherence to the  restrictive Jewish health code of the day that precluded the eating various kinds of meat from certain hoofed and wild animals.]

To Peter's refusal, the Voice then said, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."  This exchange occurred three times, and then the vessel was taken back up into heaven.  As Peter awoke from this vision, and queried what it might mean, Cornelius's men arrived at the gate of his residence and the Spirit told him that three men sought him, and that he was to go with them.  Without that spiritual direction, Peter may have been reluctant to go with them, seeing that he and his followers faced persecution at the hands of the Romans.  However, because of the Spirit's direction and the mens' explanation, he readily went with them to the house of Cornelius.

Meanwhile, Cornelius had called together all his kinsmen and friends ("many,") awaiting Peter's arrival.  As Peter approached, Cornelius went out to meet him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him.  Peter took him up saying, "Stand up; I myself also am a man."  And then, seemingly now comprehending the meaning of his earlier vision, he said to them, "Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean."  Cornelius said to him, "We [are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God."

Then, Peter said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."  (We are all His children, and He loves us all equally.  He desires that we all know His saving gospel.)

Then he proceeded to enumerate the gospel message (first principles and ordinances, the atonement) to this gathering, as do our missionaries today: "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published thoughout Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:  Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  And he commanded us to preach unto the people and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."

As Peter so taught by the Spirit, "the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard his word.  And they of the circumcision (Jews,) as many as came with Peter, were astonished, because that on the Gentiles also, was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."  And Peter said, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"  And thus, Cornelius and his house became the first Gentiles to be baptized as Christians.

This area of the world, British Columbia, has become an expansive melting pot of the world, accepting immigrants of virtually any nationality.  A few weeks ago, while sitting in a park with we observed Korean Elders Kim (full-blood Korean born in Korea, raised in Boise) and Murray (half Korean, half Caucasian,) teach in English, two attentive Buddhist women from Tibet, who like Cornelius are good, God-fearing people, but who had no prior concept of Jesus Christ and His gospel.  They talked of good and bad karma, reincarnation, etc., but I believe they were impressed when Elder Murray told them that the atonement of Jesus Christ could take away their bad karma, and provide them immortality through resurrection.  They agreed to a follow-up appointment to learn more.

Earlier that week, we had helped teach a man from Iran who announced that it was time for him to become a Christian, that he had read the Farsi Book of Mormon in two days, and that he knew it to be true.  He was particularly impressed with the kindness and gentility of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (p.s. he decided not to be baptized because of the safety of his sisters.)

Later in the week, we helped Elders Okamoto and Porter teach a Korean woman who had become discouraged by divorce and single parenthood, who felt that she had lost her way, that she needed something sound to give her confidence to move forward.  I believe she has found it in the attentive teaching of Elders Okamoto and Porter.

Debby has recently taken on the responsibility of teaching an ESL (English as a Second Language) class twice a week at the mission office.  Most of the class members are Chinese (Richmond, BC is more than 70% Chinese), and some have no English skills.  One of the class members is currently also being taught the message of Christ in her own language by young missionaries.  We have been blessed to observe some of that activity as well.

Just last week, again with Korean Elders Kim and Murray, in the same park as before,...
we had opportunity to help share the gospel message with two asian roommates, one from Japan and the other from Korea.

Obviously intelligent and bright-eyed, neither of them had any firm religious affiliation.  We'll see where that goes.

Last week on a visit to Kelowna, in the Okanagan interior of BC, we spent some quality time with Elders Huni, Davis, and Ortiz.  They readily express confidence in their knowledge of the true gospel as they approach anyone who will listen and excitedly share the message.  The mission goes through many boxes of pass-along cards every month.

They can also go through a lot of food, and are always happy to have visits from senior couple missionaries who are willing to feed them.

Last month, we had the unique experience of attending a Korean wedding where this beautiful young woman, born and raised in the Church, married this dynamic young man who is a recent convert.  They were married in typical western dress (gown and tuxedo,) but donned this traditional Korean garb out of respect for their elders.  They anticipate a trip the the temple in about a year.

There are many devout Sikh and Hindu followers in this area, mostly from India.  Our landlords are such, and we have found them to be very kind, family oriented people.  Not many from this group have accepted the gospel of Christ, but in time, it will happen.

Back in the park with Elders Kim and Murray, we are impressed with their passion for spreading the word.  Every spare minute is filled with efforts to find new investigators.  

They are confident in the truth and the eternal benefits of the message, and do all they can to invite others to come unto Christ.

As we associate with the established Korean Branch of the Church here, we become the recipients of many a feast at the hands of these good people who love one another and do all they can to associate with others who love the Lord.

These two young ladies are native Chinese speakers, Sister Yeung on the right, from Hong Kong, and Sister Tsai on tthe left, from Taiwan.  They are very faithful and work so hard to bring the gospel of Christ to their people here in British Columbia.

This is a photo of a photo of a tribal gathering of Haida Indians the "First Nation" or original natives of coastal British Columbia.  They primarily subsist on an island off the BC coast, called Haida Gwaii.  They are well known as Totem carvers, using the abundant giant red cedar trees as their canvas.  There is a branch of the Church presently on Haida Gwaii.

These senior couple missionaries are listening to English translation of the spoken word in the Korean Branch Sacrament meeting we attend each week.  In spite of our language barrier, those resourceful and tech-savvy Korean people have got us covered.  There is no question in our minds that they love us as a brother and sister, as we love them.

How great is it that God is no respecter of persons?  That He loves us all equally, from every nation.  How great is it that 2,000 years ago, through the Apostle Peter, he opened the gate and provided the way for all of us Gentiles to hear His word, to receive an opportunity through the Atonement of His Son, to find our way back to Him?  We are all brothers and sisters in His eternal family.  He desires that we might all pass the test and return to Him. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

ESL Class

These are three of the people in my ESL class.  On the left is Peng Fei.  She speaks almost no English.  On the right is Samuel.  His wife Viviana is in the second picture.  They both speak quite good English.  They help me translate for Fei.  Fei is a recent convert.  They are all from mainland China.  Very, very nice people.

Another missionaries experience

 Yesterday I went to a zone meeting. I sat by one of the zone leaders. He started telling us about an experience he had at metro town. This is a huge shopping  center, sky train station in Burnaby.   He said the security guards have been giving them a really bad time lately, telling them they are making people uncomfortable and they need to stop. Then he said last week they started to walk into the mall and a security guard spotted them and came right over. He told the elders that they could no longer come to the mall and they needed to leave right then.  They were shocked. They asked him what had happened. He told the elders there had been many complaints. People reported feeling threatened and harassed. They asked to talk to his supervisor but he said he wasn't available. At that moment-terrible timing-a man came up to the security guard and started complaining about missionaries who wouldn't leave him alone. After the guy left, the missionaries again asked to see the supervisor. At this point I am feeling great anxiety, thinking how much I would hate to be in this confrontational situation. I am getting more and more uncomfortable with each sentence. The elder said he did t know what they would do if they couldn't go to metro town.  They park there, ear there, find there. He was very concerned. He didn't say it, but I am sure both of them were praying for divine intervention. They finally convinced the security guard to let them talk to his supervisor. They went to the office and the security guard was in the supervisor's office a long time. When the supervisor finally came out he told the missionaries that they could not prevent them from coming into the mall. I can't remember all he said, but essentially told them the security guards had no power to stop them from entering the mall any more. They were so relieved. They felt like, and I believe too, that it was a miracle. I have also had times, especially  driving when I have totally been protected. I always pray for safety when we travel.  It reminds me of when Les was on her mission she said she felt protected by angels. This is a sacred work we are involved in. The gospel of Jesus Christ really is the good news for the world.