Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Week Gone By

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dear Everyone,

So this past week has been pretty good. We worked a lot with members and had some great success finding new places in our area. I also must say that I love having a bike now. We use them every day. So to start, last Monday we had a family home evening with the Quintos family. It was super fun and they are great members. In any case it was a super fun night with a great lesson from the sisters in our branch with us.

Tuesday we worked in Santa Rita Sur and taught nanay [mother] Virginia with her daughter and some of the people that live by her. It was a great lesson and then later that night we found one of our less active families by chance. We were walking down the road and our fellowshipper, Brother Leo, pointed him out to us. We taught them a lesson about always reading the scriptures. It think it went well.

Wednesday we had our branch president work with us. It is so much more effective to teach when you have a member with you because it validates everything you say and makes the investigator realize that it's not just for the missionaries but for them because there's someone else there to testify not just the missionaries. We taught Alfredo that night and he asked us how he can obtain salvation in this life. He is so ready for the gospel. I'm really excited to teach him and his friend Nick.

Thursday we started a little hard and ended ok. We taught some less actives about being clean we had each of them share their favorite food and then asked if they would still eat it if there was just a little bit of poop in it. To say the least they didn't want to eat that. We compared that to ourselves and talked about how no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God so we all need to repent now so that we can be ready at all times to meet God.

Friday was funny because we taught 2 different lessons at the same house. haha So we taught sister Virginia in the afternoon and then we taught Alfredo that night (Alfredo is her son by the way). Both lessons were pretty good but the first was a little hard because the sisters were all distracted with their children. But the lesson with the men was super powerful.

National Day of Service
Saturday was hard. We only taught one lesson the whole day but the morning was super fun. It was the national day of service in the Philippines so about 25 members and missionary's from our branch put on the yellow Mormon helping hands and cleaned up the street. It was super fun to be with the members and just clean up the community. We had some snacks after and just a really good time.

Sunday was pretty cool. We went and explored our area. We found an old investigator family that is super ready to be baptized. They almost got baptized before but the parents weren't married so they couldn't but they are now so we are going to try again. I'm super excited to work with them. Their name is the Boado Family. It should be a good thing with them. :)

Well that's all for now I love you all so much. mahal na mahal kita palagi. kita kits sa 2015. :P [I love you always. See you in 2015.]

Elder Christensen

Insight from Brian’s Studies
My studies this week have been more in 3 Nephi 27. I really loved Christ's teaching of how no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God. We have applied this to our investigators. When we teach about the sacrament we talk about how the sacrament cleans us from our sins and prepares us to enter into the kingdom of God. I also really liked in verse 27 when Christ asks "what manner of man ought ye to be? verily I say unto you, even as I am" That states very clearly what standard we much hold ourselves to if we are to enter into the kingdom of God. We must be clean even as Christ is clean which means we act in all things even as Christ would act. That is really what we are teaching people. We are inviting them to act like Christ and by so doing know him better.

National Day of Service

National Day of Service

National Day of Service

Monday, April 21, 2014


Monday, April 21, 2014

Dear everyone,

So there's this interesting thing that seems to happen when you are one a mission. Time starts to blur together and it doesn't feel like you have been in the mission as long as you have and then you realize you are further than you thought you were... well that's about what's happening to me right now. haha Anyway this past week has been pretty good. We have bikes now and they are so nice. We don't have pay a trike driver every time we want to go somewhere we just grab the bikes. :)

So on Tuesday we taught a lesson to our IBD (Investigator with a Baptismal Date) and she was great. It can be hard sometimes because we have to have a male fellowshipper with us when we teach her because her husband doesn't like to listen to us. It's still a good situation because her daughter is a recent convert and is a great support for her mother. Anyway when we taught her the spirit was very strong and I know she felt the spirit to. :)

Wednesday was long and hard. We had 14 people we were going to find that day to try and teach and we found all of them but we didn't teach a single one... They were all busy with holy week [see below for more info] so they didn't want to listen to us. It was sad but we learn from the hard times to grow and keep going.

Thursday was a pretty good day. We went back to some of the other investigators from the day before and this time they had some time for us. We had some good lessons and committed them to come to church. :) But nothing super special happened.

Friday we had a half day mission where a bunch of the word members came and we all split up and taught a ton of our investigators and less actives. We taught our IBD again and her aunt later on. They were both pretty good lessons but what was really nice was having the support from the ward. That night there was a prepossession where all the Catholics (meaning everyone and their dog here) marched behind a bunch of statues depicting the events leading to Christ’s death. I didn't like it very much but all the people there seemed to.

Saturday was just normal except for the fact that I had to fix my companion’s bike because he got a flat the day before. As it turns out we need to get a new tube because now there's another hole and I patched up 3. I don't even know how he did that but he had 3 holes in his tire. But it's all good. We will get it taken care of today. We also gave a blessing to the Elders’ quorum president in our branch. He has been having some problems with his sight. We gave him a blessing and he seemed to be doing alright after that. But that's about all that happened.

Sunday was nice because Sunday is always nice but I really liked it because it was Easter and I got to think of the Savior a lot. It was kinda funny though because in sacrament meeting there was a little boy who wouldn't stop playing with my stuff. haha We managed to keep him quite for sacrament but he also managed to break all of my pens. :P He's really curious about everything but it all works out. Well that's all for now hope you liked it... and stuff. :P

mahal na mahal kita palagi. alam ko po na totoo ang simbahan ito. at kung hindi, hindi po ako dito sa pilipines.

Elder Christensen

Questions from a separate email

* What are the traditions and celebrations that the Filipinos have for Easter?
Well this whole week is "holy week" that means that they go crazy. No one has work or school for the week but they have huge festivals. There’s a catholic cathedral here in Agoo and they had a ton of people do a march with the priest and others in front holding the cross. To be honest it was really uncomfortable being there. They also in some places reenact the events leading to Christ death and I mean literally. They whip people and they have actuality crucified people. They would just take them down before they die... I was pretty disturbed when they told me that. They have church on Easter Sunday but I don't really know how that goes because we went to church too. Here it wasn't too bad just really hard to work with people because they are all doing holy week. As far as I know they didn't whip anyone this year...

* How does your bike fit you and work for you?
I love the bike. It’s big enough for me but the seat is a little low but it all works out. I actually have had to fix a flat already for my companion because he doesn't know how. haha. :P It was fun though I love fixing things.

* What spiritual experience did you have this week?
Well we have been teaching this investigator, Christie, whose daughter is a recent convert but is super strong in the faith. Every time we teach her she listens and understands it. We have been teaching her about the plan of salvation and she's been doing pretty good with that. We plan to baptize her on May 10th. We are hoping. :) It should be really good.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Transfers and Other ... Things :P

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been very eventful. We had transfers and I already knew that me and my companion would be moved to a new area in Agoo. We were sad to leave our old area but now it looks like it was for the best.

So on Monday we went to have a FHE with the Jaravada Family again and it turned into something not so good. We were going to wait for the father to come back so we could share a lesson. But he never came so we just took some pictures and left because we wouldn't be able to come back before transfers. At the end of that the girls gave us some notes. We thought they were just "BR's" (book of remembrance or just a note about getting to know people. It's really popular here.) But they weren't just BR's... They were actually love notes. Which surprised me and my companion because all we did was teach. We didn't do anything that should bring that kind of thing on... It was really awkward. We called president Balledos, and he told us to give them back and tell them what our purpose was as missionaries. We did that the next day.

Tuesday we had district meeting and transfer awareness which were cool. It was fun to see the zone one last time before it all changed. It was nice. We played "Are you my friend" where if you say no you say something about who your friends are and then everyone who fits that category needs to change chairs. It was fun. But after all that we went back to our area and gave the letters back. We just told them we are disciples of Jesus Christ and we need to focus on our missions and nothing else. They understood but I really just hope they don't stop investigating the church. I think this will be better for them anyway because this ensures that they won’t be converted to the missionaries but to the gospel.

Anyway, on Wednesday we visited some of our less actives for the last time and said goodbye to the area. It was sad to leave but it was time. It was funny though because we ate 2 dinners because they kept insisting that we eat everywhere we went. It was super funny.

Thursday we got up, packed up what we had left, and went to our new area. [For more information about the new area, read below.] We met some of the branch members and they showed us around a little bit and we taught a lesson to our investigator who is going to be baptized in May. Her name is Christi. She is super cool.

Friday we just worked again but we also had a baptism that Elder Arzadon did for the sisters in our branch. It was supper cool because he did it in the ocean. But the waves were really big so it took him like 20 min just to get her to calm down enough to get it done right. It was super nice though. :) Definitely the best part of the week.

Saturday we had conference and I loved all of it. I really loved the talks in priesthood. I also really liked the one by President Uchtdorf all about gratitude and how when we are grateful our grief will wash away. The antidote for grief is gratitude. I can't agree more. I mean when I have had to deal with grief in the past it really was the best when I was just thankful for what I already had. I have never been happier on or off my mission than when I was just grateful for what I had. It’s a choice and it's a state of being not just "things" to be grateful for. I feel that in my life, and I know that's true. I am so much more happy when I'm just grateful for what I have. I hope we can apply that to our lives each day.

Sunday was just conference as well. But I loved it all. We also met some more of the branch and I look forward to working hard for this new area. :) I love you all and hope that you will all continue to be happy in all you do. I know this is the true church and that we are building the kingdom of God and we all need to work together for that cause. :) mahal kita palagi.

Elder Christensen

Questions from a Separate Email

* Last letter you said you were being moved to a different area. Can you tell us some more?
I literally changed apartments with the zone leaders but I'm still in Agoo zone. I'm now serving in the Agoo 1st branch in Santa Rita. It's part of Agoo I think. But that's all that happened. The zone leaders are now in my area. :) My area is Santa Rita and Santa Ana and Macalva. But I don't know if you can find all that. Yes it does go to the ocean we are teaching some people on the beach. It's kinda cool.

* Are you still going to be district leader?
Yes I'm still training Elder Arzadon, and I'm still a district leader.

* Why do you need a bike?
Well our house is super far away from our area. We can't spend the money it takes to get there and back every day so we have bikes to get us around instead. I'll be riding the bike just about every day. It takes about 15 min to get to our area on the bikes. Without them it would cost us 40 pesos and it would take about the same amount of time... but that's what the bikes are for.

* You said you would be opening a new area. I'm not sure I understand.
So when we say opening an area it just means that both the missionaries are new to that area. It’s not like if we were to be the first missionary's there. So we are "reopening the area" it was "white washed" so to speak.

* Do you ever use your MP3 player/voice recorder? If send you a talk "tape" on a micro SD card would you be able to listen to it?
Yes I use it all the time I actually bought a boat thing that is actually just a speaker with a usb slot and a micro sd slot with an aux jack and it's rechargeable. :P it's pretty cool but the point is I can listen to it. :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Exchanges Out the Wazoo :D

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been pretty busy to say the least, but I'm still loving it out here. It's been sooooooooooo hot, like I have never sweat so much in my life. It’s crazy how hot it is, but I'm still loving every minute I spend here. It’s summer time here in the Philippines. Rainy season starts June usually but we will see what happens.

Tatay Juan Garcia and Brian
(The member who hikes over the mountain to get to church.)
So to start, on Monday night we had a dinner with one of our less actives and they were super sweet. It's a family of 4 RM's, but sadly only one of them is active still and he doesn't live at home. The Calison family is awesome they just have had some problems. It was still a great lesson about the atonement, and they felt that spirit. I hope they are well.

Tuesday we visited some less-actives and taught some investigators some good lessons. We were working with one of the members, Julius. He's really fun to work with. He just feels like another elder working with us. When we teach we can ask him to do just about anything. haha :)

Wednesday I went on exchanges with some of the elders in my district. I went to their area in Tubau and we had a great time. We taught 5 lessons and had a member with us pretty much the whole time. Funny thing about it though is we had to cross a river. There wasn't a bridge so all they had was rocks but the river was pretty big. I slipped and stepped in the river up to my mid-calf. It was funny to walk with one wet foot and one dry. It dried out really fast though because it was really hot that day. We had to cross again but that time we just took a little bamboo plank thing. It was pretty funny.

Thursday, we worked pretty hard and found some less-actives and taught some good lessons to some investigators. We also found Chaz Buskas, a less active, and he wanted to talk to us the next day but we had a good lesson that day.

Friday we went back to Chaz, and he told us that he really wants to come back to church. He just isn't sure where to start. We taught him about faith and he liked that but that's about all. It was a very spirit-filled lesson and I love every minute of it. I loved that lesson i'm just a little sad that I'm going to be leaving my area now. :( but I know that this is all in the hands of the lord so he will be fine and so will I. :)

Also that night we got a call from the zone leaders telling us that we had a two day exchange starting on Saturday and ending on Monday we were very confused.

Saturday, we had 4 baptismal interviews to do because my district is on fire right now. :) The interviews were really good and then we started exchanges with the zone leaders at about 4 and I was with Elder Hernandez yet again. haha. It was great to work with him again. I also figured out what the exchanges were for. They are moving the zone leaders’ area to my area and we are switching areas. They want me to know the area at least a little before the change. But it's all good. I'll miss my area but I'll work hard in this new one as well. :) Anyway we got to ride bikes. Yes, in their area we ride bikes around. It was a lot of fun to ride a bike again, and I'm excited to use them next week as well.

Sunday I went to church in Agoo, and I met the ward and got to know the people I would be working with. I'm really going to need their help this next week because I'll be opening the area again. Also Elder Ramos finished his mission on Sunday and we put him on a bus to San Fernando for his final interview and release. It was sad but sweet for him all at the same time. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when that happens but I think that will just happen when it happens. :P

Well that's all for now. Love you all tons. mahal na mahal kita palagi. ingat sa daan ninyo sa buhay ninyo. :)

Elder Christensen

Questions form a separate email:

* How are you enjoying the food? Are you getting enough to eat or are you losing weight?
I love the food here. I've made a lot of comments about how fat I'm getting. haha The members are contently feeding us whenever we go there... The Investigators feed us too actually. haha I don't even know what to do with myself. Don't worry about me not eating enough. Really I have a lot to eat every day. haha

* Did you get Grandma Bevan's birthday package?
Yes I did, and it was awesome.  I love their packages. They just have Grandma Bevan written all over them by what's inside. It always puts a smile on my face. :) :) :) :) :)

* Did you get Grandma Christensen's birthday package?
I have not. I have gotten yours and Bevans but no one else's. So I'll keep my eyes open. :)

* What did you think of the packages if you got them?
Well they were pretty much the best thing's every I love packages even if they make me miss home just a little. :P

* Can you share something that you learned from your studies?
Lately I've been reading a lot from the Book of Mormon, and one of my favorite scriptures is in Mosiah 24:9-16. It's all about when Alma and his people were under some pretty bad conditions that they couldn't even pray aloud. They had some pretty heavy tasks and were pretty oppressed. I love in verse 15 when it talks about how God didn't take their burdens away but rather made them lighter so that they could bear them and smile through the pain. I love that because it works so well in to our lives. Sometimes when we pray we ask the lord to take away the pain or the trial but rather than doing that he shapes your shoulders to bear the burden. He teaches you how to grow from it rather than just take it away. The Lord truly knows what is best for us in our lives and with him at the lead we cannot fail. That was one thing that I really liked this past week. :)