Saturday, August 31, 2013

Flight Plans!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dear Everyone,

This week has been awesome. We got flight plans yesterday, so now we know exactly where and when I'm going to go to the Philippines. It's really exciting to get flight plans because then everything becomes real and you just want to get on that plane and go. Aahhhhhhhh!! I'm soooooooo excited. :) In case you didn't notice. :P So I leave the MTC on Monday Sep. 9 at around 2:00 pm. But that's kinda sad because the rest of my district and the other district in our zone is leaving at 7:30 am that same day... I think that's because I'm the only one going to Baguio. Oh well it’s still exciting!!!! :)

Any way here are the details.

* I leave Salt Lake at 6:10 PM on Sep 9 it get to LAX at 7:05 pm.
* I leave LAX at 11:55 PM Sep 9 and get to Hong Kong at 5:45AM Sep 11
* I leave Hong Kong at 7:50 AM Sep 11 and get to Manila at 9:50 AM Sep 11.

I'll call you from LAX. That would be the best. :)

I plan to send home my suit because that's what my mission president wants me to do and some other things just through the mail. And yes, I can take two 50-pound suitcases and on 15 pound carry on.

Ok so at the beginning of this week we lost a district. It was hard to watch them go because we all got very close to them before they left. That lasted for about a day, but then we started getting used to it. And just when things started to get normal again, we got two new districts in our zone. They are all pretty fun. They look excited to get to work and make the best of their stay here at the MTC.

Brian and Elder Cole

Brian and Elder Cole

Brian and Elder Anderson, He left on August 28, 2013

Brian and Elder Watson. He left on August 28, 2013
I don't do a ton as a zone leader. I like it a lot though because you get to show the new missionary's around the MTC and answer a lot of their questions. Other than that all I have to do is lead by example because that's the only way to lead in the mission field. It's pretty exciting though. :)

[Michelle asked: Does that mean that you are one of those who get to stand outside on Wednesday and wave a greeting to the new missionaries as they drive in and help them with their luggage?]

Elder Arrington, Brian, Sister Brown, Sister Hurst
The Training Sisters

Sisters Warr and Barney, Elder Arrington, Brian
No but I will get to do that this Wednesday. :) It will be awesome. :)

We have had a strange experience with MTC investigators because our teacher had to go on a trip. So, we had like 4 subs, and all of them played a different investigator. So we had to teach a lot of different people with different needs. It's been really cool, though. We got sister Sharp’s investigator (Joy) to commit to Baptism. We are also planning on getting brother Kaka's investigator to commit tomorrow.

This week has also been hard because I haven't been able to sleep at night... I don't know why I just haven't... but I think we have it under control now. I slept pretty good last night.

[Michelle asked: Have you thought of getting a priesthood blessing to help you sleep? Sam Clark was having problems sleeping, too, and he received a blessing. It really helped him.] Yeah, if it gets any worse that's the plan. :)

Yes!!!!!! [Brian got the package we sent]. I loved it! It was soooo nice to have some homemade strawberry jam. I haven't had that in forever. :P I haven't gotten into the applesauce [homemade with candy red hots]. But I'm very excited for it. :)

Anyway there's a really funny story about today. So, we were going to get breakfast and my kasama dropped his OJ, and it exploded all over me. Not anyone else just me. Haha it was pretty funny.
Brian and Elder Giblet

Thank you for all that you do. I am soooo grateful for all the hard work you do at home for me. Well I have used up my hour to be on the computer.

Mahal ko Kayo!!!!!!

Elder Christensen.

News from a Separate Email Conversation

Michelle: Fun news update:  Sam Clark received his assignment to wait out his visa. He is going to Scotsdale, AZ. He leaves Monday morning. Now for the fun part... That is the same mission that your cousin Linda Hogenson is going to, and she leaves Monday morning, too. Small world.

I talked to Aunt Sharon yesterday, and she told me that you saw Linda. :) Linda told her that she felt a little awkward. (She's really shy). But, even if it didn't seem like it, she was really excited to see you. She's been rather homesick in the MTC, and you were a taste of home.

Brian: That's nice to hear. I did see her the other day, and it was nice talking to her. She said she didn't expect to see me here at the MTC but that’s ok. :)

Mahal Keta!!!!!!

Elder Christensen

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Half Way through the MTC!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dear Everyone,

2013 08 21 Brian's MTC District;
Back  Elderrs Giblette, Ball, Christensen, Arrington;
Middle Sisters Barney, Warr
Front Kurkofer, Crystal, Hurst, Nickle
This week has been so crazy. I don't even know where to start. Last Saturday we went to the temple, and I got to see the new video for the first time. I thought the beginning was awesome... but I can't really talk about that... Anyway let’s just say it was a good experience. :) Ok, so to move on. This past week was a little slower than other weeks but that's ok because we get our flights plans this [coming] Friday! I'm freaking out because it's soooooo exciting. We leave the MTC 2 weeks from Monday!!!! Can you believe it? Wow, ok so that was a tangent.

Ok so as I said before this week dragged on a little bit. I mean we would go and do something and afterward we would think it was like 6 but it was more like 3... That really messed us all up a little bit. My companion and I are getting closer, and I think it’s because we are starting to get used to the idea that this is the way things are going to be for the next 2 years.

Elders Ball and Giblette
Life in the MTC


The language is coming along pretty good. I mean to say that it's slow but coming. I get frustrated sometimes because I am learning it a little bit slower than the rest of my district. But I've always been a little slower learning things. However, when I do learn something it sticks, and that is a lot nicer than learning something fast and forgetting about it. I think it's been said that anything worthwhile in life takes a lot of time to do/learn. :)

I also see Sam... er I mean Elder Clark around the MTC. I wish I could see him more, but I guess it's probably for the better that we don't see one another all the time.

Well that's all I have.

mahal kita!!!!!

Elder Christensen

Brian: Haha I think Will and Adam might know how I did that. Katie might know, too but I'm not going to tell you until after my mission.. hehehe :P

Nikki: : What?????  Brian!!!!

Brian: Hahahahahahaha

Separate Email Conversation:

Oh so this is kinda gross. So I weighed myself yesterday and guess how much weight.  I've gained... 9 pounds... I'm 159 pounds now... yuck.

Martin: Good!

Michelle: Good. The MTC food must be agreeing with you! Cold cereal and all?

Brian: Well agreeing with me and making me fat are two completely different things... :P But it's not bad and the past week I have had a lot of cold cereal. hah

Michelle: Cold cereal... one of the joys of the MTC.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tagalog is Hard! but Fun :)

Dear family,

I must say that learning Tagalog is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. If I didn't know any better, I don't know if I could do it. However I know that through God all things are possible.

This past week has been crazy. It all started when my Kasama and I were called into and unexpected interview with a member of the branch presidency. We were called to be the new zone leaders. I couldn't believe it. We have only been here for 2 weeks, and they already made us zone leaders. Well it truly goes to show that you never know what is going to happen to you when you are on your mission.

On Tuesday of this week we went to a devotional that was broadcast to all the MTC in the world. Elder Scott talked to us. He gave such a great talk. Tthe spirit was so strong in the room. I don't even know if I could put it into words.

On Wednesday we got 24 new missionaries into our zone. It was fun to take them out and show them around the MTC. They all seem really nice and excited to learn. It's fun not being the new missionary any more.

The rest of the week was hard though. Tt was as if our whole district just hit a wall. We all forgot a lot of the language and couldn't learn any more. It was a very humbling experience because we had to rely on the Lord to move us past it, or at least I know I did.

Well that's what happened this week. :)

I love you all.

Elder Christensen

Answers to Questions We Asked Brian in a Separate Email

Is your companion going to the Baguio Mission, too?
My companion is not going to Baguio with me. He is going to Urdaneta. All the missionaries in my district are going to Urdenata. Some of the missionaries in the zone are going to Quezon City. Some are going to San Pablo. I'm the only one in the whole zone who's going to the Baguio mission.

How do you get the mail?
The district leader picks up the mail 2 times a day. Once right after lunch and again right after dinner. I can get it right after that though. :)

Did you get the personal monogrammed towels? (A gift from the mother of a one of Michelle’s friends)
I did get the towels and they are awesome. I think they are thin enough to go to the Philippines with me.

Have you been getting packages from us and grandma?
I have been getting packages from both of you and it has been awesome. I looooooovvvvvvvveeeee the [homemade] toffee you sent me. :) ;) :) :P :P :) :) :D  I got the Sobe, and it was in perfect condition. :)  Yes I got my debit card and the scriptures and love them both.

I also got the SD card reader and I'm sending pictures!!

Brian's District, August 4, 2013

Elder Arrington, Brian's Companion, August 4, 2013
Elders in Brian's District

Add caption

Sisters in Brian's District

Saturday, August 10, 2013

It's P-Day, Second Week

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dear family,

kamusta po Kiyo?

I am having such a great time here at the MTC. My Kasamsa is pretty cool even if we have a hard time opening up to one another. We play basketball all the time, and one of the things I've noticed is that everyone at the MTC is pretty good. I think that makes it way more fun though. I am so grateful to be here each day. I just keep wondering how I got so lucky to have the opportunity to serve God and not have to worry about anything other than that. Each day brings something new and exciting. I mean we had an investigator last week, and it turns out that he is actually our second teacher for Tagalog. It's so exciting.

Just as an update on how the language is coming I can now pray on my own completely in Tagalog. I can also bear a simple testimony. It is so exciting to learn new things about Tagalog every day. I mean we are now learning how to put together sentences and conjugate verbs. It's really cool how that works. I never realized how hard English is until I started to learning Tagalog. While I'm not used to saying the verb at the beginning of my sentences it does make a lot more sense to just take a root word and change it to make it past, present, or future tense. Anyway that's enough about the language.

I mentioned before that I'm the district leader for my district. I never realized how much that really entails until I had to start leading discussions and making assignments. It's really hard to make sure that everyone gets the same amount of opportunity's to serve. However I know that I have been called to serve the Lord and that he truly qualifies me for the work that I am doing here. If I didn't have the support from the Lord each day I don't think I would be able to continue to progress as rapidly or successfully as I have been. Luckily that isn't the case. The Lord is with me, and he will always be there to lift me up when I don't know what to do. There is a quote by President Gordan B. Hinkly that says "when life gets too hard to stand, kneel." I don't think I have ever taken those words to heart more than I have here. I pray all the time for guidance and strength because I know that I need it.

Mahal po ako lhat.

Elder Christensen

Brian and Sam Pointing to Their Missions

Brian and his cousin, Sam Clark

Snail Mail Letter from Brian

August 12, 2013

Dear Family,

I just wanted to let you know how things are going here in the MTC. To say the least, I feel like things are always going faster. Yesterday was a big day. We had four districts preparing to leave the MTC. Now two of them are gone and the rest leave this afternoon. It’s crazy to think that will be us in four weeks.

I also think I should let you know that I was released as district leader yesterday. I was somewhat sad and relieved when that happened. But then my companion and I were called to be the new zone leaders. How crazy is that?!? I hope I can fulfill this call with all diligence. I am excited to serve the Lord in whatever capacity he wants me to. I also know that the Lord qualifies us for the work. If I can live worthy of the spirit daily, I will be just fine.

I love you all. I hope everything is going well at home.

Mahal Po Lahat!

Elder Christensen

Saturday, August 3, 2013

First Week in the MTC

Thursday, August 1, 2031 (snail mail letter)

Dear Familya,

I can’t even begin to describe how I feel right now. There is so much going through my mind and heart. The Spirit is so strong here in the MTC. There are elders and sisters everywhere you look. It is so amazing to see so many of the Lord’s servants together.

To start, I have to say that I am so busy. All day is planned out for me. I sometimes feel like I have no control, but when I feel like that I just say a short prayer and peace takes control of my feelings. Anyway, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to. I was assigned a companion. His name is Elder Arrington. He is from North Ogden and loves the work. I haven’t gotten to know him too well, but I think that’s just because it’s been so crazy the past two days.

There’s kind of an interesting situation regarding my district. We have six sisters and only two elders (my companion and me). Crazy huh? Anyway, we met with our branch presidency tonight, and I was assigned as District Leader. There is a lot to take in in a short amount of time. But that’s the way life is sometimes.

Ako Pagmamahal Kiyo
Elder Christensen

Saturday, August 3, 2013 (Email)

Dear Laht, (all)

It has been crazy here at the MTC the past few days. You don't realize how much time you have in a day until you really start to use it. I mean the past few days I haven't had more than 15 min of time to think for myself. It’s incredible how much time there is in a day. I mean I think I have accomplished more in the past few days than I have in the past 3 months... ok, so maybe not in the whole three months but you get the point. To be honest the past few days have been a blur for me.

I mean to say that as soon as I was dropped off I was rushed from place to place getting my stuff to my room and making everything else fit in the proper place. I ended up in my class room where our teacher would only talk to us in Tagalog. It was strange trying to figure out what he was saying because I really didn't understand a word of what he was saying. Things are getting better in regards to the language though because I have been praying for the gift of tongues. I know that the Lord supports us in our lives and he is always there for us when we need help. Let me tell you, I need all the help I can get with Tagalog. :)

Mom, thank you for your letter. It was pretty cool to have 4 letters from home the first time I went to check the mail. Oh, and did I forget to mention that I'm the district leader for my district. It's a hard job but I feel that as I pray I will have the ability to live up to the challenge. My companion is really cool. He is very athletic. He played baseball in high school. He did just graduate from high school so he is a little younger than me. Oh, his name is Elder Arrington. (Tyler... I think) He is pretty quiet, but I hope that as we get to know each other better we can become friends and learn to mahal (love) one another. Also, Mom I found a lot of the notes you left me, and all the sisters in my district thought that was way nice. One even said "ako po mahal sa Sister Christensen" (I love sister Christensen). That made me smile a little bit.

Last night we got to teach our first lesson in Tagalog. It wasn't very good because my companion and I can't speak Tagalog very well yet, but we managed to stumble our way through a very short lesson. Later on last night one of the members of our branch presidency came by our room and made a transfer. We now have two more elders in our district. Elder Ball and Elder... I don't remember his name but I will be sure to get that to you next e-mail.

I love you all. I am grateful for all of your love and support.

Elder Christensen