Monday, October 28, 2013

Tranfers.... ish :P

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dear all,

We had transfers this last week and they were interesting to say the least. We had this way fun transfer nearness meeting, and we played musical chairs to find out if we were getting transferred or not. As it turns out, I was not transferred and my companion was not either. but both the other two elder in my apartment were transferred. We now have new elders, and they are pretty fun, Elder Jones and Elder Dela Cruz.

On Friday we had Elder Jones with us because he was waiting for his companion to come up from San Fernando. It was pretty cool. We went finding. While we were out we went to this really nice house, and I was very surprised when they had us come right in. We didn't even say anything until we got inside the house. That was pretty cool. We had a pretty good lesson with her.

Also one of the coolest things that happened this week was my progress with Tagalog. this week was actually a turnaround for me. I was having a hard time knowing what to study and making that time effective, but I started doing it a little different. I'm translating the Book of Mormon verse by verse, and it has been so cool to see how much more I remember. After about 20 minutes of that I go to work on learning new Tagalog words. It works so much better when I invite the spirit at the beginning of my study time. I've started approaching it with a lot more trust in the lord and I have found that when I do that I learn so much better and faster. When you put your trust in the Lord, even the hardest things that you have to do in life become easier. It's really a testimony that the gift of tongs is real. :)

I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that when I put my trust in the lord he will support me in my struggles though out my life. I have found that with his help I am happier throughout the day, and I am much more capable and bold with my teaching. I feel it is such a strength to have the Lord on my side.

I love you all.
Mahal Kita!!!!

Elder Christensen

Additional Questions and Answers from a separate email:

* What has been the biggest culture shock you've had so far?
Brian: Well the same one that Brandon had really. We were teaching this family, and the mom just started breast feeding right in front of us. It was very different, but then again I've just gotten used to things like that happening. Haha I don't get surprised any more.

* Will you tell us more about your spiritual teaching experience from last week?
Brian: We were teaching Sis. Iva. She is a really sweet single mom who wants the best for her daughter. She has a hard time setting time aside for us to teach her, but we taught her about the importance of prophets and the great apostasy. She really understood it, and I just really felt the spirit in everything I was saying to her. It was a cool experience. I haven't worn the tie yet but I think I'm going to soon. [The spirit tie was given to William by one of his Priest Quorum advisors. The instructions were that you couldn’t wear the tie until you really taught by the spirit. Will gave the tie to Adam; Adam gave it to Brian.]

This is a typical Sari Sari Store
Very often these stores are on the outside of a home
(Picture was taken in 1994 when Michelle was in Philippines)
* Can you tell us a little about your investigators?
Brian:  ~~ I told you about Sis Iva and her daughter, Ana.
~~  Sis Lyn is 17, and she runs a little store in front of her house so we teach her. She seems very interested.
~~  Leon Ramos is one our investigators who is actually one of the assistants to the Catholic priest who helps with the sacrament... but he is still very interested and open to listening to our message.
~~  The Bahug family--They have a really hard time reading the B.O.M. but they really like having us come over.
~~  Sis Elizabeth is our investigator with a baptismal date. Shee is really sweet even though she is a little hard of hearing.
~~  We also teach Sister Jenifer and her husband Brother Jericho. They are way cool. They are less actives.

Monday, October 21, 2013

One Transfer Out

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dear Everyone,

So this week has been pretty fun. It started a little rough because we couldn't get any lessons. A lot of people kept punting us (saying they were busy or something like that). It was very frustrating. It's all good though. :) I love serving a mission. I've found that it really is a choice to be happy out here. You can either let all the hard work and things that don't really matter get to you or you can just decide to be happy.

Later on this week we had exchanges. That was so much fun. We swapped companions with some elders, and I had to lead my area for a while. It was crazy. It was a lot of fun leading another missionary around who didn't know where things were. Haha Elder Ramos was his name.

[Are there any white elders in your apartment?] Yes one of my batch mates [a missionary who flew to the Philippines at the same time] is with me, Elder Eager. He hasn't helped with the language because he needs help. :P But it is nice to talk to him sometimes when my companion doesn't understand what I'm trying to say... :P

We had a lot of time going out trying to find people to teach. We did pretty good. I mean we taught 2 lessons that we hadn't planned on and gave away all of our pamphlets. We also met this really old couple. The man was 93 years old and his wife was 88. They had 2 great great grand kids. That's crazy! :)

To top it all off, we had one of the best lessons I have ever been a part of here. The spirit was so strong, and I think it was the first time that I really "taught by the spirit." I was super excited.

Areas Impacted by Typhoon Santi
Also I know that a lot of you have heard that there was a typhoon here in the Philippines, but to be honest, it didn't affect me at all. I mean it rained a lot but that's normal for Baguio. I didn't even hear about it until I got on the computer today. I mean it rained here pretty hard but that's kinda normal for Baguio. So to be honest there was no damage. I heard about Brandon's mission. That would not be fun. :( [Did you feel the earthquake that was near Cebu?] No, we didn't feel anything... I mean it's just been normal around here. Haha

Deseret News Article about the Earthquake

[Did you get the package?] Not yet, but transfers are this week so I should get it soon. I did get like 5 dear elders though [letters sent through]. :)

Well I love you all and pray for you every day. Never give up on something that matters to you. If you try your best you will find that things that seemed impossible just when you started are in reality very easy and possible to accomplish.

Mahal Kita!

Elder Christensen

Monday, October 14, 2013

Getting There

* In order to make the communication easier to read, Michelle took some of Brian's comments from different emails and wove them into the main email he sent on the same day. And, some of them are listed at the bottom of the letter. Questions or clarifications from Michelle are contained in brackets.

* Brian sent several pictures from when he flew out of the US until this past week. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the letter for the pictures.

Monday, October 14, 2013
Dear Everyone,

This week has been awesome. I mean to say that I'm no longer sick at all, and I can finally understand some of what is going on around me. I mean I know my area very well; I just can't talk to everyone. I love being able to work though. I feel like I can actually do something now rather than just let my companion do all the talking and teaching.

Anyway I have some stories for this week. :)

So while we were on our way back from town in the jeepney, there are two things that you say a lot. One means stop (pala), and one means pay (bayad) So, when people give you money, you say pay and give the money to the driver and he gives change as needed. But when I meant pay I actually said “pala.” He stopped the jeep, and no one got out... It was super embarrassing. :P But that's life. haha.

We also taught some really cool people this week. We taught Roddy, and we taught Sister Kristin and her little girl Jamie. They were really nice. We are also teaching Sister Iva, and she really seems to be progressing but slowly. I've noticed that nothing in the Philippines every really happens fast. But slowly and surely the work does move along.

Also, conference was awesome! I took so many notes. It's crazy. I hope that everyone had the chance to see it. I loved it so much. [Favorite talk?] Man that's hard. They were all way good. I really liked Elder Holland’s talk about caring for those with depression. It made me feel so much hope for anyone and everyone who suffers from discomfort.

Elder Holland's Talk:

I hope all is doing well at home with all of you. I keep you in my prayers, and I pray that you stay safe. I love you all, and I love this gospel; it is such a blessing in my life. It makes me not fear the future or doubt what is going to happen to me. I know this is true and love it.

Mahal Kita!!!

Elder Christensen

[What is your companion like?] Well he is very small... I mean he literally is one of the smallest 22 year old men I have ever met. He is super spiritual, though. He was a convert about 7 years ago but became inactive later and started smoking. He then found his way back to the church after a lot of hard work and tribulation. We get along pretty well. I mean, I've found that I'm not going to get along always as a perfect unity with everyone. It just isn't going to happen. We mainly have fights over the fact that he thinks that I'm not carrying my weight. But then we do better when we both remember that I'm learning, and I still have a hard time even understanding all of the conversation let alone speaking it. This is because he is a native Tagalog speaker and has learned English. But for the most part we get along really well. We both strive to be as humble as possible and understand that we were raised in very different circumstances.

Elder Hernandez and Brian
[How are you getting along with the Filipinos?] I love the Filipinos. They are such a sweet and kind people. I mean they have their problems, but as a whole they don't yell at one another, and they really hate to fight. I love that. They don't really have any rules though, so they kinda all just do what they want all the time... But that's just their culture I guess.

[What is it like being so tall?] Haha I hear the word “tankod” every day. That means tall, and it's really funny because we go to investigators house, and when they open the door they say "ay" because they weren't expecting someone so tall. It's really funny.

[How is Tagalog coming?] It's coming. Slowly but surely, it's coming. I mean in lessons I understand about 80%. But the hard part is when I don't have any foreknowledge of what we are going to be talking about. Then I only get about 20-30%. I can teach most of a lesson, But it's slow and my companion hates that, so he takes over a lot. I'm ok with that because then I can just listen and try to understand all that is going on.

[Do you feel shy and quiet among the people or do you feel like you can talk to them?] I feel a little bit of both. I mean they are all way nice when you talk to them, but I'm also very shy. So some days I just try and talk to everyone, but on others I'm very withdrawn and it’s hard to talk. But I'm finding that as I rely on the spirit it gets easy to talk to them more and more.

[How long does it take you to get a pouch letter from home?] It depends on when we get pouch. It gets to the mission home awhile before it gets to us. It takes about a week or two to get to me usually.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mission Life is Hard but Worth It

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear Everyone,

So to start I have to say that this past week was not a fun one because I was sick the whole week long. I mean the whole week long. I had a fever, and I couldn't get out of bed and do anything otherwise I would start to feel way bad... :(  The fever topped out at 102.6 F. But it was only that high for a little bit. We went to the doctor, and they had no idea what was wrong with me, so they just gave me some antibiotics after they did a blood test and other test. They were worried that it was something from a mosquito bite. That's why they did the blood test, but they all came back negative. We still don't know what it was, but it's gone now. Like I don't have any symptoms, and I feel fine. Don't worry about me at all. I'm all better. Healthy.

No I have not seen General Conference yet that happens next Saturday and Sunday.

Other than that nothing happened this week. I felt awful and prayed a lot. I feel a lot better now and I'm excited to get back to work this week so we can actually get stuff done. I'm excited for that. :)

Yes, I got it [his Dad’s email]. :) It’s been way nice to hear from everyone having a hard time in their first area. I'm not alone. :)

Mahal ko lahat kayo!!!!!

Elder Christensen

Brian and Elder Tanner

Tahoy; Food that Brian Likes