Monday, February 24, 2014

Dogs, Hikes, and Calls

Note: A couple of comments from another email are interspersed into his main email. These comments added a couple more details, and they fit better in the body of the letter rather than at the end.

February 24, 2014

Dear Everyone,


Roasted Pig for Branch Party
This past week has been crazy to say the least. To start we had the party I talked about last week and it was pretty awesome. :) The party was intended for members to meet investigators but none of our investigators showed up... But it was still good because some other people did and we all had a really fun home evening together. We had tons of food and tons of members they loved it. We played games and ate food. We all had some good laughs it was a really fun night. The only sad part is that we didn't have very many Investigators so they didn't really meet the members. But it was still really good. [How did the pigs turn out?] Well they were awesome to say the least.

On Tuesday we had district meeting. It was a really good one but we had a hard time teaching that night. We taught one of our less actives and that was it. We really struggled this week in our work. I am really having a hard time finding a way to really help this area. So if any of you have some ideas I would love to hear about them. Some background is that we have tons and tons of less actives and not enough support in the ward to build strong investigators. So yeah if you have ideas, I'm asking for them :)

Ok, so on Wednesday we had some pretty nice lessons but we didn't get a lot of action still. I tried some new fruit though called star apples. They are really, really good. :) But that was about all the excitement for that day.

Thursday we went to Fernando again and taught two lessons. Sadly nothing special to report from the lessons... :/ We had a dinner that night with one of the member of our ward. It was really nice and we had some good laughs. Another thing. I got a call from President Balledos and I found out that I'm training next transfer. That was fun. Ahhhhhhhhh! I hope I can do that. Transfers are on Thursday so I find out who it is then. :)

Friday we went to Bail and taught Brother Daligdig. I love teaching him. He just understands what we teach and is very interested. We haven't gotten him to commit to church yet but I think he will come... hopefully. It is a little far away. I just hope he can make it to church. We then walked to Fernando because we got punted in Bail. But I did try dog. I mean I ate some dog that they cooked while we were there. And to be honest it doesn't taste bad. It's just different.. haha

Beautiful View in Brian's Area
Also we decided to hike home that night so Brother Juan showed us the way over the mountain. It took us an hour and a lot of sweat and spider webs in my hair. :P The biggest thing I learned from that is respect for Brother Juan and his family. They walk over the mountain to come to church every Sunday. I can never complain again about how far I have to walk every day if he can do that. After the hike we had a dinner with some members which was very appreciated.

Saturday was not fun. We just walked around all day and couldn't find anyone to teach. We did have another FHE with Nabor family. :) That was good.

Elder Gison with Nabor Family
Sunday was pretty good we had some members work with us and taught a good lesson to some less actives. It was over all a good day, but again nothing special happened.

Well this past week we had really cool lesson in church about becoming future fathers and it really made me think of all that dad has done for me growing up and how grateful I am to have had a father who did what he did for me. When I have kids of my own if I can be half as good as he has been I will be a good father. :) I love you dad!!!

Oh another thing. I got another call from President Balledos, and I'm going to be District Leader next transfer as well as a trainer. So now I'm even more freaked out about next transfer, but I'm also excited to serve the Lord as best I can. Well that's all for this week. MAHAL KITA

Elder Christensen


More Pictures of the Branch Party

Monday, February 17, 2014

Another Week Down

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been a slow one. We can't seem to get any traction in our area. We are just too spread out. The area we have to cover is more than 2 stakes at home, and to say the least that makes things hard. Also the activities in the branch and sick companions make things harder. Haha

FHE with the Nabor Family
So last Monday we managed to teach a lesson to the Nabor Family. The father is very sweet and he wants to come back to church really bad and he really is starting to make changes so he can. Things are looking good with him.

Tuesday was hard because we got punted a lot from all of our appointments and kinda lost a lot of time and didn't teach anyone. It was a very sad day. Wednesday we had exchanges though and they were tons of fun. I was in Rosario area with Elder Karch and we got punted a ton to but we managed to find some really cool people to talk to and set up some appointments for him. He’s 2 transfers behind me in the mission, and it was really fun to work with him.

Brian about Ready to Make Roast Pig
Thursday we went to Fernando again and taught Sister Forentina again (the lady who only speaks Ilocano). She was very receptive but still didn't come to church. Say Ow! But we will try again. We then went and looked at pigs, yes pigs because we wanted some to lechon (not sure how to spell that one). Any way we found 2 little ones that we liked and bought them. Yes they were expensive... ish...

Friday we went to Bail but only managed to teach Rechardo Daligdig because my companion got really sick and we had to go back to the apartment. Sad day again. Saturday was another time eater. We had a Branch Party for Valentine’s Day, but it took all day and we didn't get anything else done that day. I was a little sad about that but life goes on.

Sunday we picked things up a bit and taught 3 less actives. They were some really good lessons but it still doesn't sound like they are going to come back to church. :( There's nothing we can do but keep trying so that's what we will do.

Prepared Pig for Branch Party
So, remember those pigs I told you about. So we killed them this morning and that was interesting... today we got up at 5:30 killed, gutted them and then shoved bamboo poles though them and started cooking them over a fire.:P I would share the details but I don't know if you all want to hear them. :P lets just say that I am much more familiar with the insides of a pig now. We are going to eat them later tonight for a party for our investigators to meet the members in the ward. I hope it goes well. :) Well that's all for this week. I love you all and hope that everything goes well. Mahal Kita!!!

Elder Christensen

Questions from a Separate Email

* Will you tell us more about the Hidalgo family?
We actually haven't seen them for a while. They got really busy. But they are an older couple with 4 kids who all have degrees in college of some form or another, and that's a big deal here. They are really receptive but they don't really keep commitments very well. :( We are still trying to finish the 1st lesson but I see a lot of potential there We just have to make it work.

* Have you met with Rujelio Chan [less-active with the lumber business] again, and has he started coming to church?
No and no this week was pretty bad...

* Have you been meeting some more with Brother Juan [a less-active in Fernando]?
Yes we have and he is doing great. He is one of my favorite people in the mission so far. He is so humble and the translation is going great. I'm also starting to pick up on some of the Ilocano. It's kinda funny how close it is to Tagalog.

* What happened when you went to Bail this week? [The week before they’d picked up a lot of names.]
Well we taught on lesson and then Elder Gison got sick so we had to go home so nothing really sadly...

* What is a spiritual experience you had this week?
Nothing in particular but I have felt the refining fire of trials this past week. I just hope that it's refining me and not burning me.


More Pictures Preparing the Pigs for the Branch Party

Monday, February 10, 2014

Here We Go Again

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dear Everyone,

So I'm not going to lie. The weeks are starting to blur together, and I'm not sure how that keeps happening. It feels like I was just writing last week’s email. :P Well down to what actually happened. So Monday I just finished email and that's about all the excitement. I mean we cleaned the apartment but I don't think that's very exciting.

Countryside in Agoo Area
Tuesday was really good in the morning. We went all the way into the very back of one of the places in our area. It more farms and stuff but we found a really interested investigator. The only down side was the Elder Gison got a migraine and we couldn't work the rest of the day. So I just studied for most of the day.

Wednesday was really cool. We had interviews with President Balledos and workshops with the AP's and ZL's. It was really fun to see everyone together. Later that night we went on exchanges with Elder Sison one of the AP's. He was so cool. I learned so much from just watching him work. He would talk to anyone and everyone and just find little ways to serve them. We also taught some new investigators and the lesson was very powerful. I loved learning from his example.

On Thursday we went to Fernando with some of the members from our ward, Sister Riza and Sister Marie Peralta. We met with Brother Juan and we taught a great lesson with one our less actives there. The only down side is she knows Ilocano better than Tagalog so we have to have the members translate for us. It was good but it's always a little hard when you don't understand what is being said to you. haha

Friday was really cool too. We went Bail which is another one of those far areas. But it was really cool because we found this compound of houses that was in the middle of nowhere and we gave out tons of pamphlets and got a ton of names form people. It’s going to be fun going back there this next week.

On Saturday we had a baptism that no one told me about. It was interesting to wake up and find out that your companion was going to baptize someone’s kid that day. haha But it was a really nice service. Sister Riza's son, Christian was baptized as well as Brother Juan's son and another little girl in the ward. It took a long time, but I've found that everything in the Philippines takes a lot longer because no one pays attention to what time it is. hahaha

Sunday was nice too because we didn't have a plan but we managed to visit a less active and commit him to go to church. And we had 2 other really good lessons that night. We taught the family we found on Wednesday again, and it was just as powerful as the last lesson. It was very sweet.

Well love you all and hope the best for all of you. I am grateful for all of the prayers they truly mean a lot. I feel the support every time I wake up in the morning. Mahal Kita. alam ko po na totoo ang simbahan ito. alam ko yan. :)

Elder Christensen

Questions from a Separate Email

Tricycle Taxies
* What differences have you noticed between Baguio and Agoo?
It's like a whole different world down here. There are no taxis but there are trikes and we take those all the time. Also everyone here knows very little to no English but everyone in Baguio does. It's hotter. :P and it's a new area so that's new to. haha.

* What do you like better about Agoo?
I like the members here. Not better. I just like working with them because they can work with us more here.

* How are you adjusting to the increased heat and humidity?
I'm doing fine as far as that goes I haven't really noticed to be honest.

* About how many people there speak Ilocano?
basit lang haha To be honest, I'm still focused on getting Tagalog down and most people here can speak both. They just prefer Ilocano so we can still teach in Tagalog.

* Can you understand any Ilocano?
To be honest I have a hard time telling if they are speaking Tagalog and I don't understand it or if it's Ilocano. But if I don't understand anything, it's usually Ilocano.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Six Months Down the Road

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dear Everyone,

Brian in Agoo Area
This past week has been an interesting week for me. My emotions are in all kinds of places. To sum up the past week, I have gone from sad to happy to sad to nervous to just not knowing what to do to everything in between. Haha that probably sounds worse than it is.

On Monday we had a family home evening with a branch member. It was a very fun and spiritual and the food was great, so the week started fun. On Tuesday we had a zone training about finding, teaching, and baptizing people. There were some great workshops, and it really makes me want to work hard in my area.

Wednesday we taught Rujelio Chan, a Chinese Filipino who lives in a huge compound with a very big great gate. He's is super adamant about how the worlds needs world peace but the cool thing about it is that he live in this giant compound with a huge green door. He lives in there because he owns the lumber yard inside, and he won’t come to church because of his work. We are trying to get him to understand the importance of church attendance. He's a really funny guy, but he has a hard time making his priority's straight. We'll keep working with him. The rest of the day we just spent finding and had very little success.

Countryside in Agoo Area
Thursday we went to Fernando again and yet again we were followed by all the children. It makes me laugh when that happens. We had some good lessons but overall nothing super interesting happened.

Friday we visited a family who was really struggling. One of our less actives sisters just passed away and they were having the viewing in their house. This was the part of the week were I just didn't know what to do for them. we left them a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and let them know that we cared. But that's about all we could do. We plan to go back and see how there doing later on this week. The reason why this was so hard for them was because the person who dies was only 35 years old. The family name is Gracious.

We had some good lessons on Saturday with our new branch mission leader. He was just called this last Sunday, and it amazed me how much things changed. We had MCM (Missionary Correlation Meeting) for the first time since I got here, and we had a member work with us. I was very impressed with the way he has stepped up to the responsibility. that was a good day.

Sunday I was fasting all day, and it was really hard because they had a lot of food after church because of Young Women's New beginnings which everyone in the branch attended. I was a little surprised when everyone went but it was a nice meeting. That night we taught a lesson to an investigator who won’t listen to anything I say but she will listen to my companion... It was a very interesting lesson to say the least. I think she just doesn't like listening to my accent... it was weird to say the least.

Well that's all for this week. I love you all and hope everything at home is going great. I pray for you every day. :) Mahal Kita!!!

Elder Christensen

Questions from Separate Emails:

Where is Elder Gison from?
elu elu or ilu ilu I'm not sure how it's spelled.

How long has he been on his mission?
Since October

What do you like about your companion?
He is a hard worker and when we get out to work. He loves the Lord we get along pretty well but to be honest we are both kinda quiet but it's fine for both of us that way. He's also a really good cook so I've kinda handed the cooking over to him and just try and learn from what he does. haha

Are there other elders in your apartment?
There are other Elders in the apartment, but they keep to themselves. Everyone in the apartment is just quiet. They just do their own thing. Elder Harris and Elder Bustimanta... I don't know how to spell that either... but I like them too.