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Somehow, two years have passed. And Dallin will be flying back to the states on March 26th. It has been quite the adventure! I will encourage him to add his own summary when he gets back...(Living the good life in the Philippines, Quezon City North Mission. Entered the MTC in Provo on April 4, 2012. Flew to the Philippines on Sunday, May 13, 2012. What a great adventure! And what an honor to serve the good people of the Pines!)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rice All You Can 9/19

 Yes, so the English is not perfect, but man, that is one of my favorite things to see here! And of course, it is an additional 10 pounds I go every time, and yes, it adds a good inch to the waistline. But I will have to get used to that at some point. I suppose that's just the way things go here. I believe the phrase is, when in rome? When I come home, I can worry about my "growing" belly issue. For now, all you can eat rice for 2 bucks is always a good thing!!

So man, where to start?? It's been a long, crazy week, full of crazy people and crazy things. And lots of pictures. I only picked....17. So, maybe I guess I'll have to send two emails to fit all the pics. But lots of cool stuff went down and the camera came out a lot. Anyway, lets get down to business, shall we?

Early in the week, we went on splits with missionaries from the MTC here. I have a pick of that for you all. My temporary comp was Elder Pareja. He was way way good. Definitely ready to go to work. He is headed to Elder Mclaughin's mission. I imagine they will meet. I told him to look out for him, but of course, how many people tell you to look out for someone? I just thought it was cool. Anyway, he and I had a cool day. I let him take a shot at leading things and he did very well. Made for a super easy day for me! The man taught like a boss though. Goes to show that without needing to learn the language, you can just jump right in! Although, I will say, it helps a ton that the young men here work with the missionaries a lot. He told me that back at home, he was going out with the missionaries at least once a week. That is a huge help for missionaries here! By the time they get here, they already know how the lessons need to progress. They have a feel for it all. It's pretty dope. I am a little bit jealous. Then again, back in the day, I probably would have been too much of a punk teenager to want to go out with the missionaries once a week. Man. For anyone that has the chance, my advice would be take it. You'll be glad you did when you get to the field! The more time you spend with the missionaries, the easier it will be for you when you get to the field.

The next day, I did exchanges with Elder Broadhead. He and I worked in his area. I was a little nervous for that, since he is new and my Tagalog is well, far from decent. I didn't know people or concerns. But we got it done. Man, he is such a boss. He is my ultimate favorite. And for being here only one transfer, he is doing very well with Tagalog. We had no issues teaching lessons and understanding people. Actually, that's a lie. I totally pulled the "just smile and wave" trick a few times. Some people are hard to understand, especially when you have been understanding. Then they figure you are good so they just go nuts with Tagalog. Usually though, you can just nod your head, grunt and smile and as long as they don't ask questions, you're in the clear and nobody is the wiser. But we had a wonderful day. We even gave a sister a blessing. We had some sweet lessons. We had fun and worked super hard. It was sweet! Definitely hoping to be companions with the guy some day.

The next day was Elder Doria's birthday. Of course, it was also my iddy bitty...well, actually, my practically grown woman sister's birthday. So, we had to party hard. We bought a sick cake. Expensive here, but really, about 6 bucks. Of course, I have pics. Elder Doria is a mad, crazy good cook. He whipped up some sweet ulams to have for dinner. We had Elder Broadhead and Elder Hathcock join us at the end of the evening for dinner. It was incredible. Shame to have to cook your own birthday dinner, but when you cook like that, I suppose why not?? It was awesome!!

I remembered this week that I had never gotten a pic of the frogs home to you all. So, I figured it was about time!! I included a few pics of a decent sized frog. Of course, usually when we see them, they are a bit flatter and everything from their insides is usually sitting outside of their mouth. But this is still a decent representation, just so you all can get the general idea. And of course, he's not living, but in fact, a coin purse made from a real frog. I couldn't resist. Figured I had to have him. Sweet.

We also had exchanges with zone leaders. Like I said, it was a mad week. I was with Elder Hawkins in his area. Random fact; don't know if y'all remember a boy going missing for 5 days in the Uintas a few years back? Yep, his brother. Anyway, we had a good day. We had 3 straight lessons in a row. We were making mad fast time. At the rate we were going, we were going to get about 8 lessons in! I invited a sister to be baptized, which she accepted. We also invited her and her 'asawa' to get married, which they were stoked about. They want to go to the temple. YEAH! But after that lesson, we got punted over 16 times. Not a single lesson more all day. But we did get offered marijuana. Ha, that was a first for me. Still a good day though.

Elder Doria and I had some Jehovah's Witnesses come to our house. That was interesting. We could have thrown a bunch of scriptures at them and tried to wreck them, but that is not how life goes. It doesn't do you much good. So we listened to them share a scripture and bid them have a wonderful day. Not gonna lie though, that's some wierd stuff going on. But I won't dwell there or rip on that. It was different. But it was nice that they had a desire to share their beliefs with us.

At church on Sunday, we had a ton of rain. For some reason, it's like a snow day for people. Numbers always drop a ton if it is raining. Weird? A bit. It's always raining. You'd think they would get over it. But oh well. It was still a good amount of people. The bishop has a 5 year old son. The first time he saw me, he screamed and yelled, "pangit ka!!", which is like, "you're ugly". Yeah, not the best of friends. He hasn't said anything to me since. But for some reason, when we showed up on Sunday, we were suddenly best friends. He started talking to me the minute we got there. He is a cute kid. His mouth goes about a mile a minute though, so I didn't understand a lot of what he said. But I mean, he even wanted me to smell his finger that he had 'utot'ed on. I mean, can you have a closer bond than that?? Haha, it was nice to have a new friend. He's a funny kid. But he did tell us he was to be a girl. So we have some worries there. But I'm sure all will go well. With missionaries as your best friends, how can you go wrong?

Yesterday, we woke up and had no water. We couldn't figure it out. When we came back at the end of the day, still no water. We live within about 8 feet of our neighbors houses on all sides. So we all hear everything we all do. So we were talking about calling the water company and our neighbor shouts Elders Wait! Turns out, they have a main water switch. For some reason, they turned us off yesterday and forgot to turn us back on?? It was wierd. But we were happy to have water back.

Getting T-shirts made as a district or a zone is a big thing out here. We had some cool district t-shirts made. We have plenty of pictures of that.

 Yesterday, we had a great FHE with a family in our ward. Less active mom but active kids. The mom has started coming to church. We are going to take her to temple tour in a week or so. It's been cool the progress she's been making. We talked about charity last night and she was seeing all kinds of things that she was lacking and she kept questioning us on how she could improve. It was super cool! We're way excited for her!!

Today of course was P-day. It's also transfer week. We are only losing one sister. But therefore, a celebration was in order. So early, the Elders had our weekly basketball. That is just dandy. Basketball is growing on me. It helps to be able to easily rebound on Filipinos. That's not their fault though. So that was fun. Then, we had cake and ice-cream and games. It was way sweet! Of course, we all had to wear our new district shirts and take loads of pictures. It was a good old time though.

I think that about sums up my week and probably my pictures. Of course, we had to take them at district meeting too, so I have some of those. But I think that is everything. OHHH! Haha, I forgot!! I also figured it was about time I sent a picture home of the lovely animals here. I think I mentioned that cats and dogs are nasty. Parang zombies. They are mostly pretty gross. So I found a decent one and snapped a pic. He tried to run away. But I got him. Mostly no hair, scabby, yucky looking things. That's pretty typical here. And I sent a picture of bronx street. Just because. I don't really know why actually.

Anyway, the work here is going well. Obedience is soo super important. We don't always know why we have to follow some of the rules that we have. But it's important that we do. We can't have the guidance of the Spirit if we aren't being obedient to all the rules. A lot of people, missionaries and regular folk alike, don't always understand that. But we can't just pick and choose what rules we like and what fit to our lifestyle. Unfortuately, that's just not the way things work. We follow all the rules that the Lord gives us. We follow the rules our leaders give us. When we do, we recieve blessings and we are more able to bless others. It's a good system. So that's my advice for this week. Be obedient!! It's just the better option. I've seen it personally in the way I live and in the way that those around me live. We truly are blessed when we are obedient.

Anywho, that's it for me this week! I hope you all dig the pics! Have a wonderful week, one and all!! I will be back in a few days!! Take luck!!

Much love,

 Elder Christensen

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Been A Good Run

Of course, I don't mean that I've been exercising, unfortunately. I wish. But, it's been a mad, crazy good week, and therefore...well, you get the point. 

Ok, I should have a bunch of killer pics uploading right now. Hopefully, you'll find them very enjoyable. I'll start my recollections of this week by following the pics. 

Almost!!! First, a huge thank you to the Momma of Macs for two letters that I got this week. Thank you thank you!! Letters are the best!

Now, the week. So first up I believe was finally a good spider fight that my companion put on for me and some of the other foreigners. It was sweet! We caught two (by american standards) decent sized spiders and let them go at it! Unfortunately, my camera couldn't get very good pics. But it was really cool! I have a new respect for spider man and how well he uses his web. These little guys were pros. Awesome. 

The next pic is because my district sisters love taking pictures! I'm pretty sure we take a picture every time we meet up. And that would be an understatement. We take MANY pictures when we meet. The first is a regular district meeting. That is where we fought the spiders. It was a lovely Tuesday. 

The next day, we had zone conference. It was sooo awesome!! I love hearing from President Sperry, and really, the AP's have been giving us some killer messages too. It was great for me and I have a lot of things I brought away that I can improve on. Of course, my district took pics. And yes, we are all wearing purple. Para unity daw. 

Next, we have a few pictures from Thursday. We had a service project in the morning. It was seriously the nastiest thing I've done here!! It was sooo gross! These people had fabrics of all kinds in a room piled 2 feet deep in about a 13x15 area. They have been there for who knows how long. And they all recently got wet in the flooding. The room was more humid than the outside. Outside is 90%ish humidity, so I don't know what the inside was. But it was crazy! We sweat buckets in no time! I've never smelled such nastiness. And, we had to dig around in it to bag it all up. I don't really know why. Maybe it dries better? I don't know. I don't want to know. It was disgusting! Ha, we had a sister almost losing breakfast over the smell. It was awesome! But it was a project the sisters got for us, so technically, it was her fault anyway. But even though it was so gross, we had sooo much fun! I really have a killer district. And there is something about service that just, well, it's awesome. So we had a very good time being gross. But, I had a crazy intense shower afterward. GROSS! 

Next up is the MTC. Finally got a good pic of the sign. We had temple tour on Saturday. That was awesome. We took a less active and her son. We teach them the most. They love us. They always feed us. The son is crazy! We became fast friends, but the kid is out of control! Then again, I kind of am sometimes too. Go figure. We had a great experience at the temple with them. We've been trying hard to help this sister become active again. And this might (cross them fingers!) be the final push we needed! We'll see. Of course, there are tons of missionaries there! I got to run into all my mates, including Elder Quinney who is about to come home. AHHH!! 

And at the end of all things, I got another picture of our district, plus a few missionaries from this morning. We had a sweet battle of basketball. I must admit, I am terrible. I'll never get into basketball. But we still had tons of fun! I enjoy playing it here. But it does make for a sweaty red head. Ha, but I"m like that every day, so it doesn't really matter!!! 

This week, church was crazy. A few different reasons. We got tons of referrals, which was awesome. Hopefully good things will come from that. We also were told there was a dead guy we needed to go see. Weird? Sure, why not?! Then, there was almost a throw down between the bishop and an in-active RM. I won't go into details, but man, it was nuts!! 

Ok, that's all the pics. Tons, but I have a lot more. Can't fit them all though. Sayang. Anyway. It really was a good week. Elder Doria and I are getting along like brothers. Minus the brotherly fighting, which we don't do. He introduced me to some new fish this week. Loved that. We are finding more people. We are discovering concerns. We haven't quite struck much gold yet getting people to church or in the good water, but there are promising flecks of gold in the sifter. I'm excited for things to come. Whether that be from us or from someone else doesn't matter. The Lord's work will not be stopped. It's moving forward! And it's awesome to be a part of it! As a side note, I took a good look at the ensign. There is a ton of stuff about missionary work, and a lot of it is for people that aren't missionaries. Cough cough. GET IN ON THE FUN!!! Do work!! It's the greatest blessing you will ever experience and you feel like a champ as you can be an instrument in blessing the lives of others at the same time. 

Anyway, this is it for me. I have to bounce. My time here is up!! Be ready for good things next week! I hope you all have a marvelous week!! I love you all!! Take care!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pics for "I'm fat, I'm fat, you know it, you know!"

I'm fat, I'm fat, you know it, you know!

Woe is me! The doc gave his diagnosis and the results are in. The baby isn't due til 2014!! I'll have to live with this pooch for a long time!!! Bummer. Curse the day someone decided rice should be the staple food of the Philippines.

On a happier note, hello one and all! It's been a wonderful week here in my beloved Philippines! I'll hop right down to the good business.

Now, I know that no one wants a week by week update of my reading materials. But this is the last, I swear! I finished Jesus The Christ this week and I honestly can't tell you how good it is. My dad recommended it to me way forever ago. But honestly, I got 15 pages in and was bored out of my mind! But it's all about attitude. When a man gives you an 800 page church book that can't be read without a Urim and Thummim, you get a bit put out. But I must say, it is one of the very best books I've ever read! It gives you insights into the Savior's life that you never could have imagined before! It is incredible and a huge testimony booster! And once you get started, the pages will fly by. It's wonderful. Read it. Ok, lets move on from Readers Digest to the real deal.

First cool story. This week Elder Doria and I got to do splits with some of my buddies from the MTC. Elder Mackie and Elder Steltzer. It was soo awesome!! It was great to see those boys again and even more fun to see how they've improved since the MTC and since they've been here. And, haha, if I'm honest, it was nice to see that my Tagalog has improved as of late. Not meaning that I felt good to see them struggle where I no longer struggle but....ok, I lied. That's EXACTLY what I meant. It was awesome! But they were total champs. Elder Mackie worked with me and I was very pleased with how well he is doing. We taught lessons like a boss. It was sweet!

So we had that FHE last Monday. I included pics. One is our dinner and one is the kids of the fam. Hm, kids. Well, they are mostly older than me, so I don't know what you call them. Anyway, they are active, except for the mom. We have been teaching her. Our FHE and last few lessons have been knockouts!! She is having great progress! It's awesome! Unfortunately, she didn't make it to church, but no worries! Next week we'll have her for sure!! She's great!

We've had some good progress with a bunch of our less active families. We had 4 of them come to church this week, which is a good step up from zero. So that's been exciting for us!

Another pic I included was for those that don't know. Before I came here, I've heard of roaches, but I'd never seen them. I didn't picture them at all how they really are. And we see tons. So, yesterday, I took a good pic to help educate all those who are like me!! Enjoy!!

Random; there is a really huge cathedral in our zone that looks really cool. It reminds me of our days in Europe. I really really want to go in and check it out, but being a missionary, that's sort of bawal. But I still get the best look inside I can every time we walk by. There is even a white nun there! Crazy awesome!!

We heard Christmas music at the store as we bought groceries this week. I thought only my momma was like that. But apparently not!! I think I like it here!!

Yesterday, we had a miracle. We got invited to lunch at the mission home after church. OOOOOOOHHHHH man!!!! It was incredible!! Super american!! It was this amazing casserole with beans and fritos and cheese and sour cream. Seemed like something the G-ma would make. And then there was real garlic bread. Also like the G-ma. Plus real salad!! I was loving life!! That's real salad 2 weeks in a row! Lucky lucky me!!

And of course, it's P-day once again. We played basketball with the other elders from our zone. And we've being doing all of our P-day things with Elder Broadhead and Elder Hathcock from our district. They are wonderful elders. Anywho, that about sums up our week here. We have an upcoming zone conference this week, which I am absolutely stoked for!!

Things here are constantly improving. The language is getting better and better (don't be fooled, I'm still terrible. Seriously) which is sooo nice. Slight communication beats no communication. The people are starting to open up to us a little bit. As we are obedient and do our best to follow the Spirit, the Lord truly blesses us in our work. We have a lot of lessons that after people express their problems, I don't know what to teach. But a scripture will come to mind and then the floodgates just open and we are able to help them through their trials. It's so amazing!!

Anyway, I think that is it for me this week! I love you all and hope you have a very exceedingly wonderful week!!

Much love,

Elder Christensen