Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week started hard but ended good. :) which is great because it's Christmas. :) To start Monday was lame. We did nothing. We didn't even teach a lesson because no one was at home. Lame. :P

Tuesday was lame as well. We didn't teach a single lesson. But there was a ward Christmas party. It was ok. But the good thing is one of our investigators came. :) That was good.

Wednesday was better. We didn't teach a lot but we did teach Edrik and his dad. We talked about eternal marriage and how their family can be together forever but they need to do their part and make the changes in their life so they can go to the temple as a family. :) We also had a fun FHE that night with the Juan family. They make the best food. :) It was super awesome. :)

Toys for Playing Santa
Christmas day was actually really cool. I felt like a tall, white skinny Santa Claus. haha I had a ton of chocolate and presents that I gave to the people I'm teaching. It was a ton of fun to see their faces. haha :D Happy day. We also had some great lessons about the Savior and his birth for Christmas. It was pretty good.

Friday was ok. We taught some lessons but nothing super special. Saturday was a good day. We had 3 baptisms in our branch. The sisters had 2 and one of the members in our branch had an 8 year old daughter bet baptized. It was super fun to watch them. Also we taught a really great lesson to Devera that night. They haven't been doing a lot to progress. But we taught about Joseph Smith again and they committed to learn for themselves if our message was true or not. It was really good.

Sunday was really good to. It was funny because when we went to church we got Karen-Joy a ride to church. But then one of the members from our area brought 5 of her friends to church with her.. haha It was like boom referrals. haha We are going to teach them on Wednesday. Hope that goes well.

Well that's all for now folks. :P mahal kita!!

Elder Christensen



Questions from a Separate Email

* What unique thing did you do to celebrate Christmas?

Well for everyone we taught that day we shared about Christ. The spirit was very strong for those lessons. We also stuffed our faces with food at some members’ houses but I don't know how spiritual that was. :P

More Toys for Playing Santa
But what I did was use the money GnG Bevan and GnG Christensen gave me and bought a ton of presents for the people we teach in my area. I bought about 500 pesos worth of chocolate and handed that out with a ton of presents for my investigators and less actives. It was a ton of fun. haha It was super funny as I walked around all Christmas handing out chocolate and toys. :P

I also gave Elder Ledesma a Chess set. :) I got myself a rubrics cube and a top. :P


* What are the main traditions for the Filipinos on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

Pretty much the same as ours. They go visit their families and have a ton of food. Then Christmas morning they open presents. The only big difference is they really don't have much so they only give little toys and presents. But they are always still happy because it's more about families.


* What did you think about your Christmas packages?

They were way fun. Everyone in my house made fun of me a little bit because their families only send food and supplies. But I got a ton of toys. :P haha. It was fun though.

Elder Ledesma, Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner with Landlady
This is Mommy (our land lady) she had us over for dinner on Christmas day. When I say over for dinner I mean the next room over because we live in the same house. It's just sectioned off. haha it was pretty awesome. The first time I had stake on my mission. :P

Monday, December 22, 2014

Transfers

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Everyone,

Elder Cabase and Brian with Pepito Family
This past week has been crazy. haha To start Monday was pretty normal, except our branch president had us come over for dinner and it turned out to be a huge party for him. His mom who got back from America. It was kinda crazy haha but that was it.

Tuesday was a pretty good day. We taught a lot of lessons but it was kinda sad too. Elder Cabase found out that he was transferring the next day that night. He was super sad. But that's about all that happened.

Wednesday was super strange because they changed transfers. Elder Cabase went by himself to Baguio and got picked up there by the missionaries there. We had a huge mess trying to figure out where everyone was going haha. It all worked out in the end but I didn't have a companion that day because I found out I was training. So I had to go to San Fernando on Thursday.

Elder Ledesma
Thursday I went and picked up Elder Ledesma. He is Filipino and super cool. He is from Laguna. It’s close to Manila.. ish. He is pure Tagalog but he is really good at English. He’s fun to talk to and I like working with him. It should be a good 12 weeks. :P

After we got to the apartment I didn't let him unpack. haha We went out to work instead. We taught a good lesson to Brother Devera but he is still having trouble. He believes what we are teaching but his close friends and family don't want us to teach him and are very opposed to him being baptized. We are working with him on that.

Friday was a hard day. We were not able to teach a lot of lessons but we still managed to smile even though we just did a lot of walking.

Saturday we went to the chapel in the morning because I had to interview a baptismal candidate for the sisters in my district. It was super cool. She was super prepared for her baptism. We should have one this coming Saturday for her. The rest of the day was pretty much a repeat of Friday. :/ but that's ok because Sunday was great.

We taught a lot of lessons with one of the members from the ward who came home from Baguio for Christmas because he is going to School there. We taught a lot of lessons and just had a great day. One that I liked a lot was when we taught about the atonement of Christ. The spirit was super sweet and I loved feeling it. It was just a good day. We also gave a blessing to one of the members in the sisters’ area because they were sick. We do that a lot but every time I feel the spirit so strongly. I love it.

Well that's all for now. mahal kita!!!!

Brian

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Come and Gone

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dear Everyone,

I only say that Christmas has come and gone because for us missionaries it kind of has. haha We had our Christmas conference this past Thursday but I'll explain it later. :)

To start, last Monday was pretty good. We taught Edric and Brother Pepito. Brother Pepito is doing so well. He has not smoked in a long time now and he is going with the branch to the temple this weekend. Super excited for him.

Tuesday was another good day. We had a bunch of great lessons. Brother Devera is still doing alright but he's kinda stopped progressing on his smoking. He only smokes about 6 times a day now but he can't seem to go past that. If you have any ideas that would be awesome.

Wednesday was a little less productive but we did meet a drunk guy who almost got hit by a bus. It was kinda interesting. We were waiting to meet a referral (who actually lived way far away from where we were waiting. Go figure.) and then this super drunk guy crosses the street when a Partas bus almost hits him. We were trying hard not to laugh because it's not funny he almost died. But it was kinda funny. He didn't die so it's all good. But that was the most interesting thing that happened that day.

Thursday was our Christmas Party. We went to San Fernando for the whole day. It was awesome. That morning we had some trainings and I had to give one as well.. yay.. It was alright but after that we all ate great food and we got to watch "How to train your Dragon 2." I was super excited. I really miss movies just saying. But it was a good movie and a good day with all the missionaries. :)

Friday was not so good. Elder Cabase is actually allergic to chicken. Go figure. We eat that almost every day. He had some pretty bad rashes so we just chilled out the whole day and let him rest. He's fine now so no worries.

Saturday was a pretty good day just a lot of walking. Nothing super special happened though.

Sunday was a great day full of the spirit. I taught a super awesome lesson. haha I don't know if it was that awesome but I really liked it. We were teaching a 31 year old single mom with three kids. Her name is Liberty. She has a bit of a hard life and very little to do with God. But she lives right next to one of our members. Her kids want to get baptized but we don't want to baptize them unless she joins them. I liked the lesson because it was about Joseph Smith and it was the first time she accepted a commitment and it seemed like she wanted to. I don't know. The spirit was just super strong in the lesson. We also went to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. It was pretty good as well.

Wow this was a long letter. I think that means I'm done. Thank you all for the support, love and prayers. I feel it every day. mahal kita!!!

Elder Christensen


Questions from a Separate Email

* The big typhoon made landfall last Monday (probably after you emailed). Did it affect you in anyway?

Not even a little bit. No rain. Nothing.

* Have you received any Christmas packages this year?

Yes! I got the one from GnG Dennis. There was toffee inside and it was awesome. It's all gone now but it was awesome. :) Let them know how much I appreciate their support. I haven't opened the present yet because it's not Christmas but I'm excited. :)

* Are you going to get transferred this week?

I don't know.. isn't that great... I should find out today but the way it's been working lately they might let me know the night before...

* How is your health--in great details?.... (Don't worry. I'm not panicking. I just want to know.)

I'm fine. I'm running a little low on chest medicine so I might need some more of that soon. I get headaches most Sundays but that was happening while I was at home so that's normal. I had a cold last week but it's gone now. I'm now sure what else to say. I take 2 shower's a day now. I'm fine really.

* How are things going with Karen Joy? Does she have access to the scriptures?

We are having a hard time there but I think I'm just going to go buy a flash drive and download them for her because she can listen to them that way.

* When did you feel the Savior's love?

When I teach people the gospel. haha I don't know. I feel the love he feels for them every time I share it with them. Yesterday again we taught Brother Mark about the Atonement and I shared with him a lot of what I shared with you when you asked about the atonement a while back. I really felt his love there.

* Is there a unique food that you've had recently?

Well I ate some pig’s blood the other day but I've been doing that for a while. We also each a lot of chicken intestines.. :P They taste really good. oh I had some balut (not sure how to spell it but it's the duck egg thing with a chick inside) the other day to. Haha


Monday, December 8, 2014

Exchanges Gone Like Crazy

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been pretty good. To start last Tuesday we started teaching our landlord, Brother Manning. He’s a long time investigator who is married to our landlady. She’s an endowed member. He’s cool. He just can't give up smoking or drinking. Other than that he says he wants to be baptized. haha We will see how this goes. We are like the 5th set of missionaries to try and teach him.

Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Topou. It was a lot of fun. We got a lot of stuff done to. But that's just where the fun began. We had an FHE that night with the Pepito family. It was a lot of fun and a lot of food. Haha. But it got interesting the next day because Elder Topou went to Manila to get his fingerprints because he goes home after next transfer.

Thursday was pretty good we had to pick up elder Marcantano at 6 so Elder Topou could go to Manila. So more exchanges. haha. It was an ok night. But Friday morning Elder Marcantano got sick so we couldn't work. But I called President Balledos and he was awesome and gave us permission to go on splits with Arjay Pepito so we could still work. So I stayed at the house and Elder Cabase went out with Arjay in the morning. Then we switched for the afternoon. It was super wired just working with Arjay and not with my companion. haha.

Saturday was good in the morning. We went to Bato and taught 2 lessons. They were both very good. But the rest of the day was a little hard. We did a lot of walking. Sunday was good but I was a little sick, still am a little sick but that's ok. The only sad part was we met with brother Devera and he relapsed into smoking and drinking a lot. But I had a good talk with him and we should get started again on getting him back on track. But we will keep working with him.

Well that's all for now. mahal kita!

Elder Christensen


Questions from a Separate Email

* Can you buy chocolate where you are? What about peanut butter?

Yes I can buy Chocolate and peanut butter here they are just super expensive, as far as pesoes go. haha So I don't really buy them. Also it's a limited selection. I can't get a Symphony [candy bar] to save my life here. :P

* Nikki wants to know if you want M&Ms?

I think the better question is when are you sending them? ;)

* We heard about a big typhoon again. How did the typhoon affect you?

We felt nothing. It didn't even rain here.

* What type Christmas preparations and decorations are you seeing in your area?

Lots of lights and lots of decorations. They also have a night market thing that they started in the street. It’s really fun. They blast Christmas music all over the place too. :P

* Tell us about a good teaching experience you had this week?

Well when we taught Sister Karen Joy again it was pretty good. I love teaching her because she is so smart. I mean she obviously can't read but she just straight up remembers everything we teach her, word for word. It’s super crazy. She is super sweet. The only trouble we are having is her mom won't listen to us and that makes things difficult for getting her to church.

* What was a time when you felt the Savior's love this week?

Well I've been sick the past few days but I've felt his support as well. I mean I've been sick but I'm still strong enough to keep working even though I’m sick. I count that as a blessing.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Another Week Down

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dear Everyone,

Well to start this week was a pretty good one. We taught a few good lessons on Monday and had a family home evening with the Juan family. They are super cool. :) But nothing super exciting happened.

Tuesday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders again. This time I stayed in Naguilian. It was a really good day. We had six lessons which is a pretty good day. We ended up at Devera for the last lesson and it was a good one. We taught about faith and Brother Devera was telling us that he didn't think he would be able to quit smoking but after we explained that faith is something that you can't see and that even though he doesn't see himself quitting we told him to put a little faith into it before he gave up. He really took that to heart and said he would start again. :)

Wednesday was kinda slow but we still did all right. Nothing crazy happened though it was just a normal day. Thursday was a hard day for us. We just walked around for a long time. We had some really good appointments set but we couldn't teach any of them because Arjay couldn't work with us and then the others weren't home. :( We only taught Devera. It was another really good lesson though about repentance.

Friday was another kinda hard day. I don't know why but we had a lot of return appointments in one of our areas but all of them punted us. Most of them were hiding from us. :/ But that's life. haha The rest of the day was all right but again nothing special just a lot of walking and work.

Saturday we went to a new part of our area. It was a lot of fun and we started finding some new people to teach. I'm excited to go back there. :) That night we went back to Devera yet again but it was the lesson about baptism. It went really well. They understood the three things needed for baptism to be valid. 1. right age (8) 2. by immersion (your whole body goes in the water) 3. proper authority. After that we invited them to be baptized and they said... no. :P but only because before Brother is willing to be baptized he wants to be sure this is the right church because he said if he joins the church he's never going to leave it. So we are still super excited there. :)

Sunday was pretty good. I really liked church and all in all it was just a good day. We taught some good lessons and just got stuff done. Those are the days I like the most. Well that's about it for this week.

mahal kita!!!

Elder Christensen


Questions from a Separate Email

* What did you think about the contents of your Thanksgiving package?

[Favorite?} The chocolate because it's super easy to share with a lot of people. Also it's my favorite kind [Blue Symphony candy bar]. I actually have not opened it yet because I'm trying to decide who to share it with. And yes it is very worth sending more. :) :P [Was the package damaged?] Nope everything was good. The chocolate was a little melted but you can't win them all. :P

* How did the food turn out? [Michelle sent the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner.]
It was good. But I think I would like things that are easy to share with my investigators more. Like chocolate. they always ask me if I have chocolate for them haha. It was kinda sad though because a cat broke into our house and ate the instant potatoes. I was super sad.

* Did you celebrate Thanksgiving at all?

No not really. For me it was just another normal day.

* What kind of Christmas preparations are you seeing now?

Well there are Christmas lights and Christmas trees everywhere. Christmas music all over the place. It’s actually pretty crazy how much they do for Christmas. The thing I miss the most though is the snow. I really miss snow. But it's all good because I get to see the snow next year. :)


Monday, November 24, 2014

Straight Up Awesomeness

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week rocked. I found out why our area is so hard. It's because we didn't have a fellowshipper. Arjay Pepito worked with us almost the whole week and it showed. We taught the most member present lessons than I have ever taught in my mission before. I was so happy.

So to start last Monday President Balledos has started instituting a new expectation that we get 2 lessons every Monday night before we can go to a Family Home evening. Wo that's exactly what we did. We went and saw brother Pepito again and he is still doing pretty good with is word of wisdom. He only had one [cigarette] this whole week.

Tuesday was awesome. We just taught all of our appointments because Brother Arjay was with us. Nothing super crazy happened we just taught a ton of lessons. Good day.

Wednesday was probably our worst day but it wasn't all that bad. We just had a bit of a hard time getting things going in the morning and then only taught a little in the afternoon. Again nothing super exciting happened.

Thursday on the other hand was great. We finished Joseph Smith with Karen-Joy and she liked it. But the coolest part of the day was when we taught the Word of Wisdom to Brother Reyco Devera. He's the guy who broke his leg and smokes 30 times a day. We were a little worried to teach it to them but after we taught it he agreed to throw out all the coffee and tea in their house and start slowing down on the smoking until it's gone too. It was super cool to see him start that process so willingly.

Friday we had a great day of finding. It was just funny because Elder Cabase and I are both a little shy about knocking on peoples doors but we made goals that we have to knock at least 2 doors when we get punted. It was super funny because I went first but after that we were pushing each other around saying "it's your turn." haha We even made Arjay do one. It was really good and we found a lot of people we could teach because of it.

Saturday we had a service project. It was way fun. We went as a zone to a waterfall that's pretty far out from Naguilian. We moved a tone of rocks from the stream bed to make a path from the base to the falls. It's not done yet but we sure had a tone of fun. :) The rest of the day was a little slow because Arjay couldn't work with us but it was all right.

Sunday was another good day to. We had Brother Juan working with us and it was super fun. He's a retired Military. So he's pretty direct and when we saw one of our less active gambling he went and talked to him in Ilokano. But from the 30 sec. conversation they had, he told him that his god was gambling. It was a little awkward but other than that it was a really good day with him. He's really nice, just very direct. All in all we had a great week.

Well that's all for now. mahal kita!

Elder Christensen


Questions from a Separate Email

* Did you receive the Thanksgiving package?

I'm going to go pick it up later on today. So I don't know yet [what’s in it] but I know it's here.

* Do the Filipinos even know about Thanksgiving?

They know about it but they don't do anything because it's not really one of their holidays.

* Do they have a holiday similar--a day of gratitude?

I don't think they do. It kinda just goes straight to Christmas after All Saints Day.

* In a few weeks, I'm teaching a lesson on the joy of the Gospel and the peace and joy that come from atonement. What thoughts do you have on the subject?

Well when I share about the gospel I like to explain to them how personal the Atonement really is. I mean Christ died for all of us. He paid for all your sins. All your pain both emotional and physical. Now think of all the pain you have ever felt and think of how many people have lived on this planet and then think of how much pain that was. And after that it comes back to one fact. That fact is that Christ did all of that and he would do it all again if it meant that he could save one soul and that soul would be you. He would do that for you and you alone. Christ paid for all our sins but more importantly he paid for YOUR sins personally. The real question that we all need to ask ourselves is how well we are honoring the gift he gave us because it's already done. All we can do is be grateful and give our best for him because he gave his best for us. That's what the atonement is to me.


Monday, November 17, 2014

And Another Week Down

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been ok lang. We had a hard time teaching. We would go to teach but sometimes they would be busy or more often we couldn't teach because we didn't have a fellowshipper. But it's all good. We are working hard and that's what's important.

So for Tuesday... I really did not like Tuesday. It was rude. We went to a lot of our appointments and we didn't teach a single lesson. I think those are the hardest days. When you try your best the whole day and no one wants to listen to you.

Wednesday was better. We had another district leader conference in San Fernando. It was really cool. There are a lot of changes happening in my mission right now but I really like them. We are adjusting the schedule so that we can all have more time to teach more people. But it was also nice to see all the friends in the mission at the conference.

Thursday was a sweet day. We found a new investigator named Karen-Joy. She's 17 and super smart, second year college. We are teaching her with her mom. (Her mom's a little more hard-headed then she is. haha) But the one thing that makes Karen different than all the other people I've taught is that she's blind. She's still a new investigator but I really hope she's progresses. She is super sweet. It was funny. She got some paper out and wrote our names in braille. It was super cool. I tried it and spelled something like this (C?Is'#k\N) when I was trying to spell Christensen. haha I can't even spell my own name.

Friday was also a good day. We had our 2nd counselor working with us and we had a ton of fun and a ton of lessons. haha Nothing super crazy happened but it was a really good day.

Saturday and Sunday we had a district conference in Bawang. I really enjoyed it. We didn't get a lot done work wise but the conference was really good. Oh and some other good news is that Brother Pepito hasn't smoked in like 2 days. It's been super cool to see his progress there. :) Super excited for him.

Well that's all for now. Mahal na mahal kita!!

Elder Christensen


Excerpt from Letter to Mission President

This past week I have spent a lot of time in the book of Mormon and the Bible. I read Hebrews 11. I especially liked the examples of faith given there. It really illustrated to me how much we can truly accomplish with our faith. It's a principle of action because when we do our part and our best the Lord truly shows his hand in our lives and our work. I hope to apply that to my work the next few weeks so I can go forward with faith. And by so doing do what’s best for my area and the people I teach every day.


Questions from a Separate Email

* What do you think about not being transferred?

To be honest I'm at the point in my mission where I really don't care as much about where I am or what position I have because the way I see it I'll be happy no matter where I am. That's a choice. But I'm happy to stay. Naguilian is hard but I love it here.

* What do you like about your companion?

He's really funny. We just get a long really well. To be honest I've had a hard time getting along with most of my companions because I always want to be perfectly obedient but they don't care... But Elder Cabase and I are doing great. We understand each other very well.

* What did you do for the mini MTC that was a week or so ago?

Well I just welcomed them and gave them their name tags. We had some workshops where they practiced teaching some of the lessons we teach as missionaries. And they had a demo for laundry and things like that. It was pretty fun and the kids liked it a lot.

* A couple weeks ago you mentioned you were fasting for your area? What kind of miracles and changes have you seen since your fast?

Well today we just got news that brother Pepito hasn't smoked for 2 days. That’s a miracle if anything is. Every lesson we teach I feel the power of the spirit there. The only problem is we are having a hard time getting a lesson. But I know the Lord will provide.

* What coincidences (also known as small miracles) have you seen this past week?

Well we went finding this past week and I wanted to try this road that we hadn't been down yet. We went down and we took turns knocking the doors because neither one of us like doing that. We came to this one house and it was Elder Cabase's turn. He didn't want to go but I pushed him. Haha It was interesting because when we first walked up they didn't seem like they wanted to talk to us. But then the sister called for her daughter. Her daughter is 17 but she blind. Super sweet. She's also super smart. She's in her second year of college. haha. It was just sweet teaching them. Her name is Karen Joy. I want to get her a brail book of Mormon but I don't know if we can do that here. Could you look in to that for me? I'm trying here but we might need to custom order it from there. Just look it up for me please. Thank you.

* Next Sunday Dad is giving a talk in Church on salvation for the dead. What thoughts, experiences, doctrine, have you had or learned about this topic on your mission?

Read Alma 40. I just read it this morning I found it interesting how much Alma states that it's not important the order we come out of the grave but it is much more important that we remember that we all come out of the grave. good or bad we are all resurrected. Also the section in "Jesus the Christ" about Christ ministry in the spirit world is very cool. I would recommend that to.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Transfers! (Nothing Happened)

November 10, 2014

Dear everyone,

This past week we had transfers and. Elder Cabase and I are still companions and Elder Tupou and Elder Markantano are still in our house. haha We just keep going like nothing happened.

So to start on Tuesday we taught the Davera family again. It was a great lesson. I love teaching them.

Wednesday was our best day. We taught a lot of lessons and found some new investigators. It was a little interesting because we taught one of our investigators at his house but one of their family just died so we taught him in front of the casket. It was really strange. But it was still a pretty good lesson.

Thursday we taught Brother Pepito the word of wisdom and he told us he's been smoking. We set some goals with him and are working to get him to quit. It will be interesting.

Friday there was a mini-MTC for the youth in our ward. They had us come and be their hosts. It was a lot of fun and they all learned a lot. It was a lot of fun. Saturday we had had a day mission and Elder Cabase and I worked with our 2nd counselor in our area. It was a pretty good day even though we got punted a lot. haha It's all good though.

Sunday was good as always. We taught Brother Dilizo again though he was about the same as always. He is super hard right now. He just won't read the Book of Mormon or pray no matter what we do or say. :/ It's all good though. We will just keep trying. But that's about it for my week. Ayayaten Ka!!!

Elder Christensen

Questions from a Separate Email

* What tiny miracles did you see this past week?

Well I was really thankful to see the branch go to all the funerals here. They do them differently here. They take the caskets and keep them in the house for about a week and have a ton of people come over to give condolences and then they have a service and parade them down the street with a ton of music. It's really prolonged and dragged out but that's what they do.

* Did you help with or attend any of the gatherings for the viewing or funeral?

We went to their house once and taught a lesson to one of our investigators who lives there. But to be honest we aren't supposed to go to the services. That's what President told us.

* What was your best teaching experience and why?

When we taught the Devera Family. They are super sweet and brother is really trying his best to understand. Also our District President is working with us for them. It's always a good lesson when we teach with him there. All in all it's going good.

* Last week you talked about listening to President Oaks. What was one of the things that he said that you liked and why?

He talked about how we all need to be willing to change. And that doesn't mean just want to but it requires action. Without our action nothing will ever happen and nothing will get better either.

* What was your favorite part in studying the scriptures this past week?

Well I read about Ammon. I always think of that song from Aspen Gove whenever I read about that story. "blood splatted and spluttered.. " You know that one haha. But I also really liked the story. Ammon served first and then found and opportunity to teach and it really worked for him.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Good Times and Bad Times

November 3, 2014

Dear everyone,

This past week has been a hard one to be honest. But we need hard weeks so we can know when we have a good week. :P Opposition in all things right. But honestly there were a lot of good things that happened this week to.

To start with on Tuesday we taught the Devera family again. They are super cool. Our District President is working with us because it's his friend. They really understood the Book of Mormon and I really hope they do something about it.

Wednesday we had exchanges and I went with Elder Marcantano. He's the new elder in our apartment. Elder Tucio got emergency transferred to San Fernando because the ward hating on one of the missionaries there so they pulled them out. It was a pretty good day. We taught a long time less active for the first time and he committed to pick up the Book of Mormon again.

Thursday was one of the hard days. We taught Brother Dillizo again and he told us said wala akong gana, meaning he'll still listen to us but he really won't change. It's kinda hard. The rest of the day was pretty hard we did get to teach Devera again. But that's the only thing that went well.

Friday was Halloween which means almost nothing here haha. It was just another normal day. But what was sad about it was we went to our less active/recent convert/investigator family and it turns out that one of the members of the family died. :( We didn't actually know her but we did know her daughter. She was only 35 but she was sick for a long time so it wasn't a surprise. It was kinda sad.

Saturday was hard. Everyone was at the cemetery [for All Saints Day holiday] so we just walked around all day and didn't teach a single lesson... very long day.

Sunday was good. I really felt rejuvenated. Church was good and we taught a great lesson to one of our investigators, Mark. He is super cool. We can only teach him on Sundays because he has a super crazy schedule but it was really good. That night there was also a special area broadcast for the Philippines and we got to listen to Elder Oaks. It was pretty awesome.

Well that's all for now.

Elder Christensen

Questions from a Separate Email

* What did the people in your area do for Halloween?

Well it's the same as last year where Halloween they did nothing but the next day everyone went to the cemetery to visit their loved ones there. They have some interesting traditions there. They give food to their dead while they all eat and drink and have a party. They used to play music and drink but now that's against the law. haha

* What was a spiritual moment you had this week?

Yesterday when I was fasting. I struggled a lot this past week with but after fasting about it I really felt like everything was going to be alright.

* What was a time when you really felt the Savior's love carrying you this past week?

Yesterday again. I literally felt like I was being carried on his back yesterday because I was so tired. It was sweet.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cool Stuff Like Bridges and Spiders

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dear everyone,

Brian at FHE
This past week has been pretty good. To start with Tuesday was kinda of a slow day but that's ok because we had exchanges on Wednesday. I went and worked with Elder Bacanowa. He's actually a batch mate of mine which is pretty cool. We worked in his area in Bawang and we walked forever. It's all good though because we had an FHE there and the food was awesome. :P All in all exchanges were pretty good.

Thursday was a little hard. Didn't get to teach very many lessons but I started a new hobby that night. haha We found 2 spiders while we were out and my companion knows how to take care of them and fight them. haha I's super fun. I know it sounds strange but the spiders here are super cool and not poisonous. But yeah that's was fun.

Brian on Suspension Bridge
Friday was another kinda hard day but we managed to get through it. Saturday was about the same but we went to Sili again and that's where the super cool suspension bridge is. It so huge haha. We had a ton of fun crossing it. Then we made the decision that we shouldn't work over there because it's too far away from the church and it's mainly farmers over there so they can't come to church every week. We have to focus our work on areas that people can get to church fairly easily.

Sunday was good. We had church and taught a few lesson but nothing super special happened.


Elder Cabase

Well that's my week. I hope you’re all doing fine. mahal kita!!!

Elder Christensen


Suspension Bridge

Elder Cabase at FHE

Brian's  and a Spider


Monday, October 20, 2014

Great Week

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Everyone,

Sonny and Brian
This past week has been a good week. haha We started working with Brother Pepito's son Sonny. He's super cool. He worked with us almost every day this week and we got a ton done. It's the first time in my mission I have ever taught so many lesson with a member present. haha It almost felt like we had another Elder with us. haha

Tuesday was not another palpak (fail) day. We taught some great lesson and we started teaching Sonny's girlfriend Charnie. She's super cool. She’s going to a school of IT in Baguio but spends a lot of time down here.

Wednesday Sonny started working with us and we got so much done. haha We just taught so many people with him there.

Thursday was almost exactly the same as Wednesday. Lots of lessons. Good times. Friday we had zone interviews with President Balledos. But that morning we went out and taught 3 lessons in about 2 hours. I'm not even sure how we did it but we did haha. The interview with President was pretty good. It was a little different because we had it in our apartment but it was good still.

Saturday was a little hard because Sonny couldn't work with us so we didn't teach as much but overall it was still a good day. Nothing special happened though.

Sunday was a little different because we didn't have enough young men to do the sacrament so I had to bless the bread but I forgot that it was in Tagalog and let me tell you it's a lot harder to do it in Tagalog... I didn't mess up though so we are all good. haha The rest of the day was pretty good we finally taught one of our long time potential investigators. His name is Mark and he's super cool. The whole time we were teaching him I was just blown away at how prepared he was for the gospel. He asks tons of awesome questions and really wants to know the truth. I'm super stoked to keep teaching him.

Well that's it for now. mahal na mahal kita!!!

Elder Christensen


Questions from a Separate Email

*Did you see the movie Meet the Mormons? (Your cousin missionaries in the U.S. did.)

No we didn't. To be honest the only reason I know about it is because you told me about it. I think that's just for the States right now.

* In your last letter you talked about a new convert, Mark. When was he baptized? What are the lessons that you give him now?

He was baptized the Saturday before I got here. We actually started teaching his little brother so we are on lesson two. We are going to teach our purpose in this life tonight. They are super cool the only problem is both their parents are less active. We are trying super hard to get them to come back to church but their father works all week and he can't get Sunday off. We are still working with the mother.

* Have you had any experiences where you've seen the ward/branch leaders make a difference in the lives of one person?

Not specifically. No sorry. To be honest we don't have a lot of support from our branches here in my mission. That's one thing that we are all trying very hard to fix in the Philippines. It's just really hard. They all have jobs, families, and lives outside the church.

* How is your health?

I'm doing fine. I'm actually gaining weight here. haha. I did have a nasty head ache last night but that happens when I'm at home. So no worries here.

* How are things going with your new companion?

We are doing awesome. I love working with him. He's super funny. We sometimes stay up talking and then realize it's way past 10:30 But it's all good we are having a great time here.

* What are Brother Deliso's questions about the Gospel?

He more complains about how life isn't fair. He always asks why bad people always seem to be the most rich and don't have any punishments for being bad... He asks us why God lets that happens or why bad things happen to good people. It's really hard because he isn't praying or reading and I think that's his real problem. That and he doesn't have any money to go to church.

* How is Brother Pepito doing?

He's doing great. We are working with his son almost every day and he came to church yesterday. I'm super pumped for their family. They are doing great.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Conference and a Zone Activity

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been pretty good. I love it out here in the Philippines and General Conference was awesome. So to start this past week, Monday night we taught a lesson to our recent convert Mark. He's 16 years old and doing well. It was a good lesson.

Tuesday was another hard day. I don't know what it is about Tuesday here but we just can't seem to teach a lesson on Tuesday. We walked around a lot and literally got nothing done. It was hard.

Wednesday was better. We went to Guesset. It's kinda far out but we managed to get some lessons and we found a new less active we didn't know about before. haha It's kinda sad how often that happens. We start teaching a lesson thinking we have a new investigator only to find out they are just a long time less active member. But it was still a good lesson.

Thursday was another kinda hard day. We taught brother Deliso. He's a retired army guy with one leg. He walks around on a prosthetic leg which is really cool. He's pretty hard headed but we have been teaching him some pretty good lessons.

Friday was pretty good but we still got punted a lot. We went to Sili which is the furthest out we go and we tried contacting some people we had met the last time we were out there but they are all pretty busy. Nothing special really happened though.

Saturday was really good because of General Conference. I loved it. There were so many great talks. That's about all we were able to do the past few days though. We did manage to teach one lesson on Saturday to a man named Rayco. He's supper cool. He has a broken leg right now so he can't leave his house but he was very receptive to our message. He commented that he really liked that we prayed to Heavenly Father and not someone else. I really liked that lesson.

Sunday was about like Saturday we only taught one lesson to a less active man, Brother Pepito. He's really nice and after the lesson said he would come to church this next week because he feels like he's missing a lot. I really hope he holds to that.

Earlier this morning we had a zone activity in Bawang. It was pretty fun. We played a bunch of native Filipino games and we all brought food and shared it with each other. It was pretty fun.

Well that's all for now. mahal kita!

Elder Christensen

Questions from a Separate Email

* From your letter last week, I gather you are still district leader?

Yes I have been for a long time now. haha It's all good though I'm pretty good at it now.

* Can you describe your new area?
      (I saw Naguilian on a google map. Is that the city you're located in or is that simply the zone? Where does you area extend to? Are there mountains? Etc.?

Yeah but we don't live in the city exactly. We live just outside of town but we work on the other side of town so we have to ride through town every day. It's kinda fun. The area is a little hard because we just can't seem to get any traction with our teaching pool so we do a lot of finding and very little success. It's hard but I like it. It's not really mountainous but it is on the way to Baguio so there are some hills. Also you can look up the Naguilian chapel on lds.org and that's the chapel we go to.

* What is the weather situation like in your new area? What about typhoons?

Very sunny pretty much all the time. We haven't had any problems with typhoons since Mario.

* How is the program to get the members going out with you working?

It's not... I'm still working on it but as we all know getting something started for the first time is always the hardest at the start. So we will keep working on it. :P

* Will you please tell me about a good teaching experience you had this week?

Well we taught one of our new investigators and he was supper receptive. His name is Reyco. He's 52 and has a broken leg right now. While we taught him he kept telling us how much he liked that we prayed to Heavenly Father and not some other name. He has a problem smoking but I really like teaching him. I really hope he progresses.


Excerpt from Letter to President Balledos

As far as studies go for this past week I have spent a lot of time in the Book of Mormon. I just read chapter 24 of Mosiah and I really loved the verses about the how the people of Alma were afflicted. Hhowever even though they had such great burdens put upon them they continued to pray and the Lord strengthened the people rather than taking away their afflictions. I feel like that's how our life is sometimes the Lord won't always take away the pain but he will give us the courage to face it, for as perfect love casts out all fear.

Monday, October 6, 2014

So Much Walking

October 6, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been awesome. I really don't have a lot of time right now so I'll just give you some highlights. So last Tuesday we found some new people to teach after walking around a lot. We didn't actually get to teach any one that day though.

Wednesday was pretty good but I didn't spend very much time in my area because I went to San Fernando for a meeting with all the District leaders and Zone leaders. It was fun to see a lot of old friends there. But that's about all that happened.

Thursday we did a lot of walking and managed to get some good stuff done but nothing special.

Friday was super fun. We went to Sili which is the furthest area we can go to right now and man it's really far. I mean really far. Did I mention we did a lot of walking this past week? haha We had a great time looking up less actives and trying to establish our area. When I first got here it was kind of a mess because the Elder who was here before me was super trunky. But we are fixing it now.

Saturday was a lot like Friday because we went finding members. Most of them have moved or died but we did find two. All in all it's looking pretty good there.

Sunday was good as usual. I really like this ward. Right now I'm working on getting our branch mission leader a schedule for each missionary so he can assign individual members to work with us for 1 hour throughout all our days so we can really get the branch involved. It's pretty awesome.

Today was pretty fun to because we had an activity this morning and I played basketball for like 4 hours strait. grabi. sobrang pagod na ako pero ayos lang. [I’m so tired, but it’s okay.] :) masay yan. [Happy.} haha It's been fun.

Well that's all for now. mahal kita!!!

Elder Christensen

Monday, September 29, 2014

Transfers to Naguilian

Edwin and Brian
Monday, September 29, 2014

Dear everyone,

This past week has been crazy but the past few days have been the most crazy. haha. So we last Tuesday we taught Edwin for the last time which was pretty crazy for me. I loved teaching him so much. He was so cool. But we had a great lesson and he committed to change his life around.

Wednesday we got the phone call saying I was being transferred. I took it pretty well. I felt like it was time. So I packed my things that night and off we went the next morning to San fernando. Transfers were great. It went pretty fast and now I'm in Naguilian. I love it here. My new companion is Elder Cabase. He is a Filipino from Cebu area. He is super awesome. He works hard and we are already like best friends. haha He's 22, and he's almost been out a year. The branch here is awesome too. They feed us almost every night. haha. But they work with us a lot to. It's so much fun.

Companion and Roommate
Brian, Elder Cabase, Elder Tupou
Friday we started working for real. We had a bit of a hard day because my companion doesn't actually know that much about the area because his companion before me didn't show him to much of it. It’s kinda a mess but it's ok because we are going to fix that. :) So we only managed to teach one lesson before we had to go to a missionary's farewell dinner/ family home evening. It was pretty fun.

Saturday we had a half day mission where all the members work with us for half the day. It was so awesome. We got to know our area better. It was a ton of fun. Then on Sunday we had 152 people at church which is a record for our branch. haha I just got here. :) I'm super excited to get to work here. After church we went to work and our branch mission leader came out and worked with us. This area is just starting to get moving. It's awesome. I have felt the guidance of the spirit almost every day. It’s so great.

Well I am very short on time so I will e mail you all next week. mahal kita.

Elder Christensen

Questions from a Separate Email

Brian's Comp and Roommates; Elder Tucio in Front
* If you have a new companion, please tell all the details about him

I do have a new companion. Elder Cabase (CA-BA-SI). He's way cool I love working with him. My first few days here have been so awesome. He's from Cebu area but he still knows Tagalog. We are having a great time together. He’s been out he's almost been out for a year. he's 22 and supper fun to work with.

* What was a time when you felt the Savior's love this week?

When I got transferred. It just felt right and then on the way to my new area I just felt good about it all. I don't know I feel like this is going to be one of my favorite times in my mission and I've only just started it.

* What was a fun/unique experience for the week?

Well we have had some Family Home Evenings here and they have been super fun. The members here feed us almost every night... haha I'm a little worried that I'm going to get fat but then again I don't know that I could gain weight even if I wanted to. :P Oh but there was a Jehovah's witness that came up to us yesterday and told me about how I didn't know anything about religion and I should study the Bible more because I didn't answer his question about what's going to happen to us in the new world after this one. I just had to laugh at it because you could tell that he only knew what his pastor told him. I felt kinda bad for him but he wasn't willing to listen to us, just tell us we were wrong.

Doctulero Family from Candon Zone


Monday, September 22, 2014

Two Exchanges and a Big Storm

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dear Everyone,

To start this past week has been crazy. We have had so many things going on at once that I can barely keep up with it all. It’s so crazy. But I'll start from the top. So on Monday nothing really happened after I e-mailed you.

Tuesday, we had exchanges but we had to have district meeting in Candon first because all the elders in my district didn't budget their money so they had to borrow some from the zone leaders... but we're all good now. We started our exchanges but Elder Chan had to take an English fluency test before we left and that took a long time. We finally got to his area around 5:30 pm. We still managed to teach one lesson and do some finding but there was just not a lot of time. It was still pretty fun though.

Wednesday we just closed one exchange and opened another with Elder Dodd. This time we worked in my area and we had a great day... ish. We started our really good with the Allinyado family. They are so sweet and looking for the truth. It was just a really good lesson. We worked pretty good the rest of the day but only managed to teach 2 more lessons because everyone we went to had something else to do. But it was really nice to talk with Elder Dodd, in English. haha. It was a good day.

Thursday, was another hard day for no apparent reason. People just don't want to listen to us. so we ended up walking around a lot that day.

Friday was when the storm hit. We walked through some water that came all the way up to my knees. That’s the highest I've ever seen it in my area. They said in Candon it got to people chests. Super crazy. We had to go home early and the power went out too. The power just came back on today so you know. Saturday we weren’t able to get to our area because there were no rides to or from the area so we had to stay in Santa Cruz. It was kinda lame.

Sunday we went to church and there were very few people there. Our branch president was there and that's what counts. :) We had a small meeting but we still had some investigators there. It was a pretty good meeting. And that brings us to now. Everything here is ok now it was just a little crazy the past few days.

Mahal kita!!!!

Elder Christensen

Information from a Separate Email

* I think transfers are coming up this week. Do you know how that will impact you?
Well you are right that transfers are on Thursday but I still don't know for sure if I'm going anywhere. I think I am though. I think I'm done in Santa Cruz but that's not for sure.

* Did you get hit by the typhoons from the last week? What happened?
Oh yeah we got hit. The power just came back on today and we lost power last Friday. :P that's fun. We have had to use candles in the apartment for the past few days. That’s been pretty interesting.

* Did you get the package from us? From Grandma Christensen?
I did get your package. Thank you so much. I have not however gotten the one from Grandma Christensen. :( maybe soon..

* What was a good teaching experience from the week?
Well the only one that comes to mind is the one I had with Elder Dodd on exchanges this past week. We taught the Allinyado family again. They are super sweet. When we taught about our purpose in this life I shared with them how important my family is to them and told them that families can be together forever. I hope it went well for them. We haven't been able to see them since than because of the storm but they seemed to like it.

* What was a unique/funny experience this week?
Well we had a huge storm and a bunch of trees got knocked over. I think that's pretty unique. I was wet for most of the week to. haha It's all good though. There were some pretty high flood waters but nothing serious, just to my knees in our area nothing got inside our house. :) Over all it was a good week. Oh we did have church without power though, and one of our investigators came too. We were so stoked. haha She is super sweet, Sister Jovi. I think I've already told you about her. But yeah that was pretty good to.

Excerpt from Letter to President Balledos
For studies this past week I have spent a lot of time in Jesus the Christ and the Book of Mormon. But I really liked a part in the book of Mormon. In Mosiah Chapter 5. It's all about taking the name of Christ upon us. King Benjamin explains that when we have Christ's name written on our hearts we will be called by him, meaning we are of his fold. He gave the example of a donkey who is driven from a herd because it belongs to the masters neighbor not to the master. so we need to truly become the people of Christ if we ever want to enter into his kingdom.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Puppies and Tri-Zone Conference

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dear everyone,

This past week has been pretty good, hard in many ways but fun in others. I've learned a lot. To start last Monday was pretty easy going. We taught one lesson to our less active but nothing else really happened.

Tuesday we had a district meeting which I thought went pretty well. The rest of the day was... slow. We got punted a lot which means a lot of walking. But it all works out.

Wednesday was when things started happening. That morning our "not dog" gave birth. We found her while she was giving birth to the last puppy. It was really strange... anyway she had 6 and 2 of them died right away. We had to leave so we told our land lord about it and went to Candon for our Tri Zone conference. The conference was awesome. I learned so much. I love listening to President Balledos. He is such a good teacher. After the meeting we got a ride home from President Balledos which was nice. But it was so late that we couldn't go out to work so we just stayed home and planned.

Thursday was a pretty good day but nothing super special happened. We just did a lot of walking and teaching. Friday and Saturday were pretty uneventful as well. We taught few lessons and nothing of interest happened. oh, except on Saturday we were walking past Edwin's house and it turned out to be his birthday. So they invited us in and fed us. It was strange because we just sat in the other room by ourselves and ate their food... in the dark because they didn't turn on the light... it was funny and strange.

Sunday was better than last week. I didn't dump the noodles in the sink this time when I made spaghetti. :) That was good. But while we were out working we got a call from the zone leaders telling us to go home right then and to tell my district to do the same because there was a bagyo coming. We [got in] and the bagyo (storm) came but it just rained really hard. Nothing major happened.

One sad note to add is that our "not dog" smothered one of her puppies last night during the storm. :( It was super sad to take it away from her because she was treating it like it was still alive..

Well on that sad note I guess I'll get off. Mahal ko kayong lahat! ingat lagi.

Elder Christensen

Excerpt from Letter to President Balledos
This past week for my studies I have been reading a lot from Jesus the Christ. I remember reading just recently about the 10 lepers who were all healed but only one of them turned back and gave thanks to Christ. When I read that I was reminded of the talk by President Uchtdorf about being grateful in any circumstance. Rather than being grateful for things, it is better to have a grateful attitude. That's what I'm trying to apply the most right now. To be grateful in spirit and not just for the nice things I have.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Weeks Keep Rolling By

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dear everyone, this past week was pretty good as far as the work goes. We started Monday night with a great lesson with one of our less actives about reading the scriptures. It went well but nothing to exciting. 

Tuesday, was kind of a hard day. We ended up walking around most of the day because we got punted a lot by our investigators. Wednesday was a lot better though. We had exchanges with the Zone leaders. I was with one of my batch mate's Elder Bien. He's way good to work with. We taught some great lessons to our investigators. Every lesson we taught I felt the spirit just flow. We did get punted a lot still but we still had a great day. 

Thursday was another great day. We taught two new families. They were both very receptive to our message. We haven't been able to make it back to either of them but I'm excited to see what happens to them. 

Friday started really good with a great lesson. We invited them to be baptized and they declined because they want to read and pray about our church first which is a good thing. :) We plan to see them again on Wednesday. The rest of the day was long. We didn't teach anyone until the very end. But it's all good. 

Saturday was a good day too but only at the end. haha We taught a lot of lessons in quick succession right at the end and none at the beginning. But we taught the Doctulero’s that night and they came to church again. yay. I'm still super excited for them to come back to church. They are the sweetest family. 

Sunday was good because of church but it was full of hard things too. It started when I was making spaghetti for lunch and I dumped all the noodles in the sink... sad day. We moved on and went to work. We got punted all day. We taught our recent convert at the end of the day which was good. It ended on a good note it was just one of those long days. Also this morning Elder Karch and Elder Basan left the apartment because they got emergence transferred to Agoo so now it's just me and elder Mortel in the apartment. It's going to be an interesting few weeks the rest of this transfer without them. 

well that's all for now. Mahal kita

Elder Christensen


Questions from Separate Email

* How is your Ilocano coming? 
It's really not. It's kinda hard to stay focused on it because I know Tagalog and everyone here knows Tagalog. I'm still trying though. Maybe one of these days. 

* What was one of your memorable teaching experiences this week?
Well I really liked the lesson we had with one of our investigators. We taught them about prophets and then about the apostasy. They really understood it and the spirit was very strong. Later in another lesson with them we taught about Joseph Smith and invited them to be baptized. They said they needed to read and pray first but I'm still very excited for them. 

* What was a crazy, fun, or unique experience you had this week?
Well yesterday we were walking on the beach and I got mobbed by some kids. It was kinda funny but they wouldn't let go of my arms and I had to wait and answer all their question before I could go. It was kinda funny. That same day there was a dunk investigator who gave me a hug and told me he was gay... He also has a wife and children so I'm hoping that was just him being drunk... it was strange. Yesterday was a very strange day just to say the least.


Monday, September 1, 2014

House in the Bukid

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been awesome. I have had a great time. So to start last Monday we taught the Doctulero family again. It was a good lesson and the night was a pretty good night. But nothing crazy happened.

Tuesday, we went and taught the Viduya family again. They are super nice, and I really hope they progress. We also saw Shareen again. She is doing very well still, active and having a good experience with us. :)

Wednesday was a hard day for us. We went to all of our appointments and they just punted us all day long. It was a hard day because we had to walk around and we didn't get a lot from our work.

Thursday was a little better. Nothing too crazy but we taught Ira again. I gave her a notebook so she could take notes when we teach her because she wanted to take notes the first time. It was nice because she loved it and started doing some cray art in the front. It was fun to see.

Friday we taught a Born Again minister. He believes in the Book of Mormon but he won't read it... It's really strange. The rest of the day nothing really happened.

Saturday was why this week was awesome. We started in Casilagan. we went to Sister Jovi's house. She literally lives out in the bukid (field). She just has this random house with no power or running water out in the middle of the rice fields. haha It was crazy. It was really awesome though because we taught May and Joey there with her and gave them all IBD's for October 4th. I'm super excited for them even if I most likely won't be here for the baptism. It was way boss.

Sunday we only had Jovi come to church because May was sick and Joey didn't want to leave her alone with the 2 kids while she was sick. But it was still good to see her at church. That night we also taught one of less-actives who has 7 kids. The oldest is 8. It’s pretty fun but we taught her husband for the first ever. He’s supper cool. He's just so busy because he works all week to provide for his family. All in all it was a pretty good week.

Well that's all for now. mahal kita!!!

Elder Christensen

Monday, August 25, 2014

Come and See

August 25, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been a pretty good week for me. Lots of cool things happened. So to start, Monday we went to Candon for a Zone Training witch was good. That night we worked in our area and ended up teaching a few lesson but nothing special happened that day.

Tuesday we went to Candon again for district meeting because President Balledos came and gave a workshop on "how to begin teaching." It was way good and after that we went straight to work. We had a pretty good day but it was kinda hard because we have a less active who basically told us he won't follow all the commandments because he doesn't think he can. I was so sad that he had given up the ability to change. But we will keep working with him. Don’t worry. :) We can help him anyway.

Wednesday, was a hard day up until the end when we found this new family to teach, the Fetalvero family. They are just really receptive and I think good things are going to happen to them. :)

Thursday we taught the Viduya family again which went very well. All in all it was just a good day. Friday was another pretty good day but nothing special really happened then ether.

Saturday was way boss. We started by going to Casilagan in the Morning. We visited May and her family and then found some new investigators. They are super sweet and all want to come to church. The only problem is that right now is a hard time because everyone is waiting for the rice fields to harvest so they can support themselves on it. But anyway, after that we skipped lunch and just kept working. It was great, hard but worth it because we got a lot done. We taught Edwin again and he said he wants to be baptized. But, we have a lot of things to work out with him first. But I really hope he puts forth the effort he needs to be worthy. To be honest we just got a ton done that day and it paid off because 3 of our investigators came to church yesterday and I am so excited for them. :) Nothing else excited happened on Sunday though but I was stoked for the people coming to church. :)

Well that's all for now. I love you all. mahal kita

Elder Christensen

here's my letter to president. nothing confidential or anything like that this time so here's the whole thing. :)


Dear President Balledos,

This past week has been great. We have had a lot of success in our area. We are getting people to come to church and take steps to come closer to Christ. I have noticed that the Lord will bless us in our efforts when we are willing to make sacrifices for him. With that in mind I tried harder this past week to find ways to sacrifice my comfort or my selfish desires so that I can give more time to the Lord and his work. I feel like that has been the biggest difference in this past week.

Elder Mortel is great. I love working with him. He is willing to work hard with me and that really makes all the difference. I have no problem with this companionship.

As for my studies this past week I have been reading a lot from Jesus the Christ. I really liked the story of Peter when he asked his brother if anything good could come out of Nazareth in reference to the Savior. The response to his question was simply "Come and see." I have tried to extend this invitation from the Savior to all my investigators and less actives. To all their concerns, worries and complaints I tell them to "come and see" come and see if the Lord can't fix them. Come and see if our church really is the true church of Jesus Christ once again restored upon the earth. I have learned a lot and found this to be a much more effective invitation. Like you taught us last Tuesday, we need to establish our purpose and invitation on the first visit.

Thank you for all that you do. mahal kita.

Elder Christensen


Questions from Separate Email

* Who is the senior companion? Are you still district leader?
I have no Idea who you would call the "senior companion" because whether he is or I am we just treat each other as equal partners doing the same thing. But I am still district leader. This will be my 5th transfer as a District leader.

* Where does your companion come from?
He's from Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. He's pretty cool.

* What do you like about your companion?
He's willing to work hard with me. For example last Saturday we skipped lunch and just kept working and teaching. It was actually a really good day too. But that's what I like most is that he is willing to work hard with me.

* What are his strengths as a missionary?
He works hard. haha He is also a very good teacher. I can feel the spirit when we teach and it's pretty awesome. :)

* How are the Doctulero family progressing?
They are doing all right. The mom and dad stopped going to church but I'm hoping that it's just because this is the hardest month of the year for the Filipino people because they don't have any money until the rice fields are ready to harvest, which happens next month. That's also when the big fish start to come in to harbor.

* Will you tell us more details about May and Joey? and Brother Viduya?
May and her sister-in-law went to church last Sunday which is pretty awesome. They are super cool. Joey is very interested in our message but he had work so he couldn't come last Sunday. However they have 2 little girls, Jesamay and Jeramay. They are super fun to play with. Jovy is Joey's sister and she is also listening to us. All in all they are just a sweet family.

Brother Viduya is hard working. The past week he has gone without sleep for about 3 days just so he can catch fish and support the family. Every time we teach he tries his hardest to pay attention but he's super tired. He's a supper sweet guy with super hard problems. We are just trying to help him the best we can.

* Did you ever get Grandma Christensen's package with your hump day shirt?
I have not. I've asked about it and no one knows so maybe it'll be here soon. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Transfers

Rainy Season
Picture Taken in July
August 18, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been pretty good. Tso start we had some pretty good lessons on Monday night but nothing special. Tuesday was pretty hard because Elder Alonzo was feeling pretty sick. So we only taught a few lessons. But it's all good.

Wednesday we taught Sister May again with her husband and her husband’s sister. haha They are super sweet. We taught them about Joseph Smith and committed them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. The rest of the day was pretty routine. We taught some less-actives but that was about it.
Dragon Fruit and "It's Awesome"
Thursday was transfer day. So that morning Elder Alonzo left and I stayed with Elder Karch and Elder Basan. It was a pretty good day. We bought some dragon fruit and waited for my new companion. Elder Mortel. I like him. He's a Filipino. He's older than me and he's been in the mission longer too. He's pretty cool. I'll try and get a picture next week.

Friday was kinda a hard day. Everyone we went to was gone which was sad but we managed to find some new people to teach and they seem really interested. I'm excited to see how that all works out. :)

Saturday we taught May again but Joey was super sick. He has a problem with his back all the way down to his foot so it hurts to move. We were still able to teach them and we answered all their questions about Joseph smith and the Book of Mormon. They said they would come to church when Joey was feeling better. We are really excited for them. :D

Rainy Season--Notice How Deep the Water Is
Picture Taken in July, But the Rain Continues
Sunday was pretty good. It rained pretty hard again and we had to walk through the river... I mean street haha to get to our appointments. But we still had a good time. We also taught Brother Viduya for the first time and he was pretty interested. The only sad part is his wife and one of his daughters just went to Manila to work because they have no money. :( But we should be all right to teach the ones left at home. :)

Well that's all for this week. Mahal na mahal ko kayong lahat. :D

Elder Christensen


Additional Pictures

So one night we wanted to fry fish over a fire like our hot dog roast. So this is what we did. haha I feel like we do some really ghetto things here but it works. haha




Animal Planet and Living in a Zoo

The following pictures are some of the "animals" that Brian encounters at his home. Brian thinks they are cool, and his mom thinks some of them are gross.


So we have this dog that lives at our apartment that we can't get rid of. It's not actually ours but the owner who used to live where we live... It's interesting but she's really nice and going to have babies soon. But that's beside the point. Haha




Check out this bat that was flying around in our apartment. haha I caught it in a bucket while it was still flying. haha It was pretty awesome.




So we found this spider the other day in our apartment fighting the cockroach. Obviously you can tell who won. But I thought it was pretty cool because the spider is missing 3 of its legs but it still won. It was pretty boss. Hahaha





Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Week

Brian and Elder Alonzo
August 11, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been a good. I we didn't have anything crazy to eat this week... other than what we normally have. haha. We just worked. To start on Tuesday we had district meeting in Tagudin. After that we went back to our area and when we went to one of our potential investigators we were surprised to find one of our less-actives already there. It was a surprise member present. haha

Wednesday we had exchanges and I worked with Elder Almajeda. He is a really cool missionary. I had a really good time working in the area with him and getting to know some of the people there. We had a pretty good day.

These three girls stole my camera and took some pictures. haha
The one on the far left is Grace Doctulero,
The middle is Katherine Viduya one of our investigators,
and the one of the far right is M.J. Doctulero our less active family.
Thursday we taught another set of investigators for the first time and it was awesome because we taught them at the Doctulero house with almost their whole family. It was way cool. I felt like I was watching myself in The District [training movies for missionaries]. haha

Friday we taught one of our less-actives that randomly stopped us one night on our way home. He says he hasn't been to church for over 5 years. And that was only once. Before that it had been more than 10. But he says he really wants to come back. So we are going to help him.

Saturday was a good day. We went to Casilagan in the morning and taught May with her husband Joey and his sister. They are super good investigators. The only reason why they don't want to come to church is because they have a little born again church in their neighborhood that they could have to pass in order to go to our church. Everyone in their Brangay goes to that church, and if they do that [go to the LDS Church] their neighbor's will get mad at them. :(. We are going to keep working with them though.

Later that day we went to Dili but there was a birth day party so literally all the males there were drunk, including our less-active. :( It was fun because we talked with some of our investigators but we couldn't teach because they were all drunk.

Brian Crossing a Bridge in His Area
Sunday was all right we got punted a lot. But we did manage to get some good potential investigators by the end of it. Oh but funny story... We saw two other missionaries from another church. They went to the house of one of our investigators. But what was funny about it was when our investigator saw them she hid from them. Later her mom came over and basically told us that they didn't want to listen to them because they were listening to us. It was super awesome.

Well that's all for this week. :) mahal kita

Elder Christensen



Monday, August 4, 2014

Fire, ata ata, and my Year Mark!!!

Hot Dog Roast in the Apartment
Monday, August 4, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This week has been interesting to say the least. Food wise that is. It all started Monday night when we wanted to have a hot dog roast so we did. There's this little dirty chimney in our house in the back corner that just wasn't being used so we used it. haha We lashed forks onto the ends of sticks and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. It was a pretty awesome night.

Tuesday was normal. We just went to district meeting and worked in the area. Nothing special really happened.

S'Mores
Wednesday we had exchanges. I worked in our area with Elder Naitoko. It was way fun. He's a brand new missionary from Tonga. We had a pretty good day all in all.

Thursday was my year mark! I can't believe I've already been on my mission for a year. It feels like I left yesterday. I don't know it's a strange feeling knowing I have more behind me than I do ahead of me. As far as the actual day went, it was pretty normal until that night when one or our friends had us come over and he fed us ata ata. Ata ata is basically just raw meat and poop juice. :P Literaly they took the tenderloin of a caribou and marinated it in the juices of the small intestine. Masarap! haha It really didn't taste that bad but it was interesting to say the least because it was cold.

Raw Caribou
Friday was a crazy day because we were so busy we just taught a ton of lessons that day. But that's about all that happened.

Saturday and Sunday kinda blurred together because we just worked in our area but nothing really happened. We are having a hard time getting investigators to progress. It's just one of those things. But we'll get back on it. :)

Well that's all for now. Mahal Kita.

Elder Christensen



Questions from a Separate Email

* How is the Doctulero family coming?
Well it's been storm after storm here. He wasn't able to go out to work so they didn't have any money to go to church this week. :( I was way sad but they are doing well all in all.

* Will you tell us about a special teaching experience from this week?
Well the only one that comes to mind is brother Dexter. He is a Seventh Day Adventist but he says he believes in what we are teaching him. I just liked teaching him because the spirit was pretty strong there.


Part of Brian’s Letter to His Mission President

Thank you so much for your letter [see below]. In response [to the question in the letter] I believe that conversion is a process and we will only be finished when we are finished with this life. I believe that to be converted you must show it through your thoughts and actions. A big test for that is what you do when you are alone or what you choose to think about. I feel that we are truly converted when continually strive to be more like Christ every single day, try to be more converted every day. For me I feel that to show my conversion as a "Baguio Philippines missionary" I need to be obedient. I cannot afford to be distracted or lazy here on the mission. I only have now and if I don't take advantage of it I will regret it for the rest of my life. I will always strive to change myself and become a new sanctified missionary.

Pictures from Last Week's Email about the Spider






Letter from President Balledos [It looks like he sent this to all the missionaries]


Dear Elder Christensen ,

What is Conversion?

In the Bible Dictionary it reads: “Conversion denotes changing one’s views, in a conscious acceptance of the will of God (Acts 3:19). If followed by continued faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism in water for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, conversion will become complete and will change a natural man into a sanctified, born again, purified person—a new creature in Christ Jesus (see 2 Cor. 5:17). Complete conversion comes after many trials and much testing (see Luke 22:32; D&C 112:12–13). To labor for the conversion of one’s self and others is a noble task, as in Ps. 51:13; Dan. 12:3; James 5:19–20; Alma 26; D&C 18:15–16.”

President Marion G. Romney, in an October 1963 general conference address, said the following: “It would appear that membership in the Church and conversion are not necessarily synonymous. . . Being converted . . . and having a testimony are not necessarily the same either. A testimony comes when the Holy Ghost gives the earnest seeker a witness of the truth. A moving testimony vitalizes (encourages, invigorates) faith; that is, it induces (brings, persuades) repentance and obedience to the commandments. Conversion, on the other hand, is the fruit of, or the reward for, repentance and obedience.”

How can one knows when he/she is converted?

The Book of Mormon provides descriptions of people who are converted to the Lord: They desire to do good. King Benjamin's people declared, “The Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil [false traditions and belief], but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). Alma spoke of people who “could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence” (Alma 13:12).

From these revealed truths, what actions should you – a real Baguio Missionary be doing to show and manifest your own individual real conversion? Will you change your natural characteristics and behaviors into a sanctified, born again, purified person—a new creature [real Baguio Missionary] in Christ Jesus (see 2 Cor. 5:17)?

In closing the words from Preach My Gospel “You cannot convert people beyond your own conversion.”

The Savior Jesus Christ expects you and me that we become a sure witness “as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.” (see Alma 23:6)

Our Father in Heaven will bless you as you diligently labor with ALL your heart, might, mind and strength to be truly converted is my prayers for you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Ps: Please send your response through your white letter. Avoid hitting the reply button. Thank you.