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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!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

10-22-12 If the boot fits....

This one time, I was talking to this family in my current ward. And one of the daughters told me that she has been putting a lot of thought to the subject and has finally come to the conclusion that I have severe mental issues. That pretty much sums up the story of my mission probably. 

Hello everyone!!! How is life? I will now take the liberty of assuming that you answered in a positive and happy manner. To which I would say; that is so good. I'm glad to hear that. What have you been up to? At this point, I'm guessing you say something that is considered something fun. In reply I say; awesome! That's sooo cool! Sometime, we will totally do that together. It'll be sweet!! But now, I've got to burst your little happy bubble. Cuz my week has been better and all y'all will never have this same fun that I'm having with me. But some of you will get to do the same things and some of you have already done them. We just won't enjoy doing them together. Sad day. But not really! It's still good!!

First!! As usual. Thanks to the Mama and Papa Mac for the letters I got this week. Those were wonderful!! Thank you for keeping me with a constant supply of reading. You are wonderful!!!

Ok. Let's talk about my week a little bit. So back in the beginning of the week, my zone had our zone interviews with President Sperry. Let me tell you, he is a wonderful man!! I'll be honest. Back in the day, you tell me I've got an interview, I wouldn't be super excited. But interviews are wonderful things! It is nice to have a good chance to talk with your mission president. So those were wonderful. Plus we ordered pizza. Skipped the rice. Woohoo!!

I did exchanges again with Elder Broadhead. My companion is the district leader and they are the only other elders in our district, so when we do exchanges, we go with them. Elder Broadhead is the man. He is not even done with training yet. But he lays down the law like he's been here for over a year. It's wonderful. Neither of us are wonderful at Tagalog. I think I mention this every time. But we still always manage to have a wonderful day with great lessons. On this particular day, we ran out of scheduled people by about 4. That leaves us 5 hours to improvise. We had a lot of people cancel on us. So we just went where the Spirit took us. We talked to tons of random people. Mostly kids. People always told me talk to kids. They will help you improve your language. But at the start, I couldn't understand them or say anything to them, so I figured that was a load of worthless advice. Come to find out, once you can speak a little and understand just a bit, talking to kids really does help!! They are the best! I have been talking to loads of kids as of late. It is a great time!! They like talking to a white guy. And it's even better if it's two white guys!! So with Broadhead as my companion, we struck gold. People of all ages call out or yell weird things at us a lot. It's kind of something you just have to get used to. But we tried something new. Every time a kid would say something to us, we'd stop and talk to them. At first they are always shocked and a little shy. But then, when they see you just want to talk to them, and in Tagalog, they get excited. Once you stop, a group starts forming. We get about 30 kids within 5 minutes, every time we stop. And they will just talk to you forever. The best part is this; it is a sneaky way to talk to adults. Kc, if you talk to an older person, they will be quick to tell you they are busy or they don't have time or they aren't interested cuz they are Catholic or something. But if you talk to kids, they can't help but listen. They don't feel like they are being attacked by the white people. So they listen. So we talk to kids. We tell them who we are and why we are here and what we are doing. We tell them how our message will help them and their families and we tell them where our church is. We tell them we would be happy to talk with their families. And we tell them we will be walking that day every day so they can talk to us any time they like. The adults always listen. I'm hoping it will be a tactic that will start to pay off. Anyway, on exchanges with Elder Broadhead, we talked to tons of kids. We probably stopped and talked to about 6 groups of them. We actually got a lesson with an inactive family that Elder Doria and I have been unable to teach since we got here. We also ran into a random member that we've seen at church but never visited. We were definitely lead by the Spirit in what we said and where we went all day. It was a great day. 

Also, kind of on the same subject of kids. Yesterday, Elder Doria and I got punted on our final appointment. On the way back to the main street, we ran into a group of kids and started talking to them. Elder Doria says that even he was impressed with how much my Tagalog has improved. I'm still terrible. But it's nice to hear from someone that you're improving at something. Makes you feel good. 

There's a funny thing that happens when you serve a mission. Before you serve, and maybe after, perhaps this will sound familiar to you all. You're in Sunday School and the teacher asks a non-rhetorical question and says that you can't give the SMA's for an answer. Don't tell me to read my scriptures, go to church and pray. It's the same thing on the mission. No one wants to hear the SMA's. For real. But I've come to realize something. The SMA's really are the answer to almost any problem!! If you will do those things every day with some real intent, you will be set!! You will take care of some major problems in your life. But no one wants those answers as the answers to their problem. It's just like the bible story of Naaman. He goes to Elijah, wanting to be healed of leprosy. Elijah tells him to submerge himself in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman doesn't want to do it. His servant points out that if Elijah had asked him to do some great thing, he would have done it. But because of the simpleness of what was required, he wouldn't do it. It is the same way for us. We will be teaching someone. They have a problem in their life that they want us to help them with. The first thing I will ask them is if they are going to church, reading their scriptures and saying their prayers. Chances are, they aren't doing one or more of those things. When someone has a problem, my first advice is always to do their SMA's. They always seem a little put out that my answer is the SMA's. "Really? That's it?" They are disappointed! Seriously, that is all you have to do!! It's so easy!! If you just do that, you will take care of so many problems!! Your desire to sin will almost completely bounce ship! The SMA's are the SMA's for a reason. It's a reason that the answer is always one of those things. Heavenly Father gave us those tools to protect us and to help us come closer to Him. If we will do those things, which we are commanded to do, we will be blessed. It's a true story. 

Another fun fact for all of you. The Atonement is real. It's definitely something that I have needed in my own life and it's something that everyone else needs too. I love being able to teach people about the Atonement and how it is something they need in their lives. We all make mistakes and sin. Siyempre, kc, tao lang. Your mistakes bring guilt. Your heart gets heavy. I know the feeling. But that's what makes the Atonement such a beautiful gift in our lives. With the Atonement, we can all change. And that's something that people sometimes overlook when they think about repentance. Repentance brings change. You have to change as a person. When you change, when you repent, when you fully use the Atonement in your life, your guilt and your pain and the heaviness in your heart is all swept away. I've seen that here in the Philippines time and time again. We find people that are weighed down with sins. Life is hard and sad and full of remorse. And then we get to introduce the Atonement. As people truly use the Atonement, you get to watch the weight get taken away. They get a light in their eyes and they become happy!! Like with the story of Alma and the sons of Mosiah (my favorite people) who were the vilest of sinners. Alma says his soul was wracked with endless torment? Or maybe the pains of Hell. Or maybe both. But then, he talks about becoming a new creature. And the wonderful peace and joy that comes with it. And of course, with the change that he made, he and the sons of mosiah became the greatest missionaries of all time!! The power of the Atonement is real. It helps people to give up their sins and to be able to forgive others for their sins. I promise it. I know it. 

Anyway. It's been a lovely week. I hope you all enjoy my email, full of me being a little on the preachy side. Sensya na. But, I love you all! Thanks for everything!!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

P.S. I seriously didn't take out my camera this week. So no pics. SOORRRY!!

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