Monday, May 26, 2014

Transfers ... Almost

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been a little crazy as you all already know. I was pretty sick but we managed to work it out. I'm feeling a lot better but I'm not quite 100% just yet. But we'll get there. So funny thing about this past week is that I got transferred but I haven't left Agoo yet because I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow here. haha palpak. I will be transferred sometime this week. I'm going to Candon Zone which is at the top of the mission. They speak mostly just Ilocano up there, so I'm going to have to pick that up or no one will understand me. haha.

So to start nothing really happened this past week until Thursday when I went to San Fernando because President Balledos called and asked us to come. We were very confused when we got the call but we went. It turns out my mother was worried about me and we needed to call home to make sure she knew I was all right. :P It was sweet talking to home again but that was the whole reason we went to San Fernando. After that we went back to our apartment. haha.

The rest of the week we only managed to work a little bit because I was feeling a little sick and needed to take a rest for a while. But again I'm feeling a lot better now so don't worry about me. I'm going to be fine. :)

[Anyway]  I have had to take some days rest and that was really hard for the area but I feel that it will progress quickly once we get missionaries working in it again. We have been struggling the most with getting our investigators to come to church. We hope that they can find it within themselves to make the effort because we understand that it has to come from them or they will just be less active later on.

Well that's it for this week thanks for everything. :) Mahal na mahal kita

My studies this week have been a little bit in the Book of Mormon in Ether when the brother of Jared is building the barges. I love the part where the Lord asks him what HE is going to do in order for the Lord to provide light inside the ships while they cross the ocean. The responsibility to act is on our shoulders meaning that if we do not do our part to find a way the Lord cannot help us further his work and he will find another way. If we want to be a servant of the Lord we must come up with our own plan then ask if it is a good plan and then the Lord will bless us with success. trah

Elder Christensen

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Baptism, Being Sick, and Hospitals

[Note: Comments from other emails are incorporated into the text of this email to make the news flow easier.]
Ramulo and Brian

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dear Everyone,

So this week I'm e-mailing late again but I think I have a good reason for this one too. If you remember, last week I said I was sick, well I'm still sick and I spent a night in the hospital. But I'll get to that.

Ramulo's Boat
So last Wednesday I was feeling all right so Elder Arzadon and I went to work in our area and we had a lot of great work done with our investigators and less actives. They were really doing well last time I saw them. :) Thursday was about the same as it was Wednesday so those were both great days. haha But a funny thing is that I broke my bike seat so when I ride right now I can't sit down. All the little kids point at it and laugh. It's pretty funny.

Friday was pretty funny because we went to Ramulo's house on the beach, and he showed us his boat. I thought that was pretty cool. After we visited him we had a Branch Home Evening at the chapel and it was a little sad because there were so few people there. I was also starting to feel sick again. :(

Saturday we managed to go out in the afternoon and teach a new investigator a lesson. It went pretty well but I started feeling bad again like right after that.

Christie's Baptism
Christie's Baptism
We went home and got ready for the baptism. We got there on time but forgot a bunch of stuff. haha It always seems that when we have a baptism something always goes wrong. We were a little late getting started (an hour) and then we found out that no one created a program because we thought one of the ward members had done it and he thought we were taking care of it. haha. Anyway we got it all started and it went very well. I was the one who performed the service and it was super sweet. Sister Christie bore her testimony afterward and the spirit was super strong even though she was too quiet for me to hear her because I was in the back of the room. It was a great service though. All in all the baptism was super sweet, and I loved every minute of the service even though I got super sick after that.

[Earlier question from Michelle: When did you feel the Savior's love in your life this past week?] When I was sick in bed and somehow still found the strength to get up and teach some lessons this past week as well as baptize Sister Christie.

Christie's Baptism
Sunday we had a special conference because they realigned the areas in Agoo. President Balledos was there and it was a good meeting... I think I was feeling pretty sick. After the meeting I talked with Sister Balledos, and she told me to get myself checked out that day so we did. The doctor gave me some drugs but they didn't work very well. We came back the next day because I was throwing up and they admitted me to the Hospital. They put me on an IV and everything. It was an interesting 24 hours. Nothing special happened though I just sat there.
Christie's Baptism
Oh they did give me 5 skin tests. I don't like skin tests. I found that out.

Well Tuesday after I was pronounced healthy enough to go home President Balledos came and picked us up from the hospital and took us to our apartment. So far I've been all right. We are just watching to try and make sure I don't get any sicker but I do get better.

[Information from emails back and forth to Martin:] They think it was something I ate or drank but we aren't sure. They gave me some antibiotics as well as some potassium supplements because I'm super low on my potassium. They gave me some other drugs. I also can't eat fatty foods of any kind, and I can only eat apples and bananas for fruits. Also I need to drinks tons of water.

[Martin: Take care of yourself.] I'm trying. haha. I love my companion but he makes a terrible mother. :P Today I'm doing all right but I still feel pretty weak and I still have LBM. [Martin: Did they check you for a parasite?] I think so but they didn't find any.

[Earlier email from Michelle: What is a unique cultural experience you had this week?] Well the people in the hospitals here are super nice and they take good care of you but I never want to go back... I guess that counts right.

That's all. I hope everything is good with all of you.

Elder Christensen

Follow Up from Michelle

Needless to say, this week had a few very difficult days for us. When Brian didn’t email on Monday or Tuesday, we were concerned but not worried. Once or twice, the other boys missed emailing home. Sometimes it just happens. Brian’s emails came through Tuesday night about midnight our time. Martin was online and emailed back and forth with Brian for quite a while. Part of their emails are contained in the main letter above.

When we found out the news, we were not quite so peaceful. Even though Martin and Brian emailed back and forth for a while we still didn’t feel like we knew what was going on. (Nineteen year olds aren’t very good at pressing for information about a diagnosis.) Wednesday morning, which was the middle of the night in the Philippines, Michelle sent an email to President Balledos asking for more detailed information. In the evening, which was Thursday morning for him, he responded and said that Brian had been hospitalized for moderate dehydration. He also said he would call later in the evening our time.

About a half hour after we received the email, President Balledos called. He told us that Brian was doing well. The best they can figure is that Brian drank some “juice” offered to him by one of the members and that it had contained a bunch of bacteria. He gave us the names of the drugs the hospital prescribed for Brian, and we looked them up on the Internet. One was a strong antibiotic and the other was a stomach muscle relaxer. President Balledos told us he had also been in touch with the Church’s doctor there in the Philippines, who is also an American. Dr. Jackson agreed with the diagnosis and the medications.

He said that Brian had lost a lot of weight, and he needed our help to get Brian to eat. :) He told us that Brian enjoyed the air-conditioned room in the hospital overnight. But, his companion, who wasn’t hooked up to the IV, enjoyed the air-conditioned room even more. President Balledos was very friendly and comforting. He put our concerns to rest. We were even more comforted when he put Brian on the phone, and we were able to talk to him for a few minutes.

It was very, very good to talk to him for a few short minutes. The medications are doing their work, and Brian is slowly getting better. He did indicate that he will be transferred this week, which isn’t really surprising because his 12 weeks of training Elder Arzadon are up.

We are very grateful that Brian is doing well and for the advances of technology that both helped him and that let us communicate with him this past week.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Crazy Week

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dear Everyone,

Flowers  to Michelle for Mother's Day!
So first things first. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!! to all those mothers out there or soon to be mothers (Stephanie and Anna ;) ) This past week has been pretty great not going to lie. Tthe only down side is that I got sick yesterday and that's why I'm e-mailing today because I couldn't yesterday.

So last Monday we visited the Pamanelo family, again that's Alfredo and his friends. They are doing super well and understanding most of everything we are teaching them which is awesome. But that's about all we did on Monday.

Tuesday we visited the Boado family again. They are so sweet and love to listen to what we teach. They are truly searching for the truth. We are just trying to get them to act on that desire now so they can come to church and feel of the spirit that is at church.

Crossing a River to Get to an Appointment
On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Tubao elders. I went to their area and worked with Elder Caunca. We had a great time crossing the same river that I got my shoe wet in last time but I didn't get it wet this time. :) I learned from last time haha. We had really good day working in his area. We are trying to help them in their area because it's been struggling for a while now. But that's what we are here for to help each other bring about the work of salvation.

Thursday we finished "teaching" Christy. We taught her all the lessons now all we have to do is review a few things so that she is ready for her baptism and to endure to the end. :) She is such a great investigator and I have loved teaching her so much. We are going to baptize her this coming Saturday which will be awesome. :) I'm very excited to see how this all turns out.

Friday we had a crazy good day of just working. We went from one lesson to the next and just kept teaching. Our whole week was like that. we got a lot of members working with us and we had a lot of lessons because people were ready for us. It was just a great day. We also had a funny experience where we took this huge rock probably about 60 pounds and threw it in a well next to one of our less actives haha It was pretty funny.

Brian on His Bike
Saturday, we had an interview for Sister Christy so we didn't get a lot done work wise. But she passed and we are going to get her baptized for sure.. :D :D :D I'm super excited for that

Sunday we taught a man named Antonie. He is super cool and super receptive but he can only listen to us once a week because he works every other day. So we visited him and he had already read the pamphlet we gave him and he said that if he likes what we teach him he'll get baptized. I was pretty blown away at how ready he was to hear us.

Well that's this week for you. ingat po kayo at mahal na mahal kita!!!!!

Elder Christensen

From a Separate Email:

This past week I have been studying a little about baptism and our covenant we make when we are baptized. I read the sacrament prayers, and I love how simply it spells it out for us. When we are baptized we promise first to be to take upon us the name of the son (Jesus Christ), second always remember him, and third keep his commandments. In return we are promised the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. This means that we will to act as much like Christ as we can and follow his commandments. We will not be ashamed to be called by his name in the last day but stand confidently in the presence of God.

More Mother's Day Wishes

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Work is Moving

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been amazing in many different ways. We have just had a lot of people to teach and many more to support and help come unto Christ. I'm I love seeing the Lord’s hand in this work. I keep learning lessons each week and it's amazing to see the changes in myself too.

So to start, on Monday night we taught Alfredo and his family/friends again. It was a great lesson about the Book of Mormon and how important it is to read and pray about. We committed all of them to read it and then if they come to know that it's true to be baptized and they all agreed. :) It was a super spiritual night and I loved every minute of it.

Tuesday we taught Christy again and it was a great lesson we taught her about baptism and the importance to endure to the end even after her baptism. She was super receptive too. We also kept busy and found some new less actives to teach and they seem pretty hard but I hope to bring them back. :)

Wednesday, we taught Ramulo, one of my favorite less actives. He is just super funny every time we see him. We have barely done anything. He just started coming back to Church.  He lives on the beach which means he literally has next to nothing but he always manages to get to church and with a smile on his face.

Thursday, we taught Christy again and she basically taught us the Word of Wisdom. It was so funny to sit there and stammer over our words because we didn't know what to say because she already said it. haha She is so prepared to be baptized on the 17th. I'm super stoked. :)

Friday we taught the Boado family again (Investigators) They are supper cool to. The father is a member and he wants all his kids to be members as well. That's about 10 people by the way. His family is very big. We are having a great time teaching them. They are trying super hard to understand everything we are teaching them. That's really the hardest part about teaching here. Because there are so many languages here, very rarely do people understand everything that you say in Tagalog. Most people here are more comfortable with Ilocano. But we are doing our best. :)

Saturday, was the best day of the whole week. We taught 6 lessons in a row. That's a first for me on my mission and it was awesome. That night our fellowshipper Brother Leo took us out to dinner after the work and that was pretty cool too. I love working with the members here. They so want the area to progress and they work for it to.

Sunday was pretty slow as far as work goes because we couldn't get out to work very much but I loved church. I always love church. :) But that's really all that happened on Sunday.

For studies this past week, I have been reading in the book of Mormon and it's been sad to see the Nephites fall into wickedness again and truly deny the faith. There are some lessons to be learned from it though. It didn't just happen all at once and the first steps always seem to be pride. I think that's true in all our lives. If we can catch ourselves when we begin to be prideful, we can prevent our own destruction. The other portion of my studies have been taken up finding specific scriptures for each investigator.

Well that's it for now. Mahal kita.

Elder Christensen

Information from Separate Emails:

* How are lessons with Sister Virginia, Alfredo, and the rest of them?
They are doing awesome. They really want to know about the gospel. I just hope that they understand my Tagalog it's not the best thing in the world. But I think they are feeling the spirit when we teach them about the gospel. Right now we are starting to teach them about the plan of salvation. We are taking it slow so they understand what we are teaching and why it's important for them.

Elder Arzadon and I are doing well as a companionship. Our only problem is that we both have thick American accents and sometimes our investigators have a hard time understanding us.

* What fun/enjoyable thing happened to you this past week?
We just worked and I loved it. But the other night Brother Leo took us to Chow King after we worked with him for a while. It was super fun. Also there was another time when we were teaching. It just started raining and we ended up stuck at Christy's house for about an hour just playing games with the little kids there. haha.

* What spiritual experience stands out in your mind?
Well last night Elder Mejia, one of the elders who lives in our house, got pretty sick with a fiver of 104.1. We gave him a priesthood blessing and right after the blessing he stopped shivering and just felt better. It was pretty cool.