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.