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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!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

He Only Got Stuck for a Moment or Two...

That's right. The original Grinch. Read em and weep.

Hello one and all! It's holiday season!! Which means...ha, it means I won't be the only fat one! I wish the same belly I have upon all of you! Except of course for my mother and matt, but only cuz he's wrestling. "As for the rest of you.....jury duty, jury duty, blackmail, eviction notice, hate mail, pink slip, yeeeeeehhe!!!"

Alright. Well, firstly, this week has been a lot like last week. It can be described in a few simple words. Work. Miracles. Finding. Teaching. Eating. Eating. Fat. Work. Work. Walking. Sweating. Success. Those are just a few. But as you can probably tell, these are the words that equal one good week. If we were to make an equation here, it would say, " 'words of the week' = A Good Week" Sorry for the substitution, but I didn't want to type out all of those words again. Now, we can simplify the equation a little bit. It will remain balanced if we add, "Better" after A and before Good and take out Eating Eating and Fat from the words of the week. In this way, the equation remains balanced but becomes more simple or slender, if you will. Yeah, I have to try to do math and smart things using very simple words. It's about all I can do anymore to pretend I'm still smart. 

Funny story before I go anywhere else. Next time the FedEx man comes. If he looks Poly at all and has a sweet 'stache going on, ask him if he has a daughter in Q. C.N. Mission. Because, sis Toufete next door has a father that delivers in Alpine. So. Just try it out. 

So now, I will jump through the week pretty quickly. It was quite similar to last week. So if you need help understanding, refer to last week's email to fill in the blanks. 

One day, we are walking and I say hi to some kids. "Up here, up here!" (used when giving high 5's). This old guy is surprised that I speak Tagalog (even though the previously mentioned statement is English. Go figure). But we get talking and he asks what it is I'm doing here. Of course, I couldn't be more happy to tell him. And then he says, "I need help. I'm 60. I'm going to die soon. I need to be right with God." Oh can you give me a better invite? Maybe. But this is pretty dang good!! So we tell him we will be glad to help! Unfortunately, and this is kind of big, the man had a mouth that reeked of alak, and therefore, it may be a dead end. Funny story is, that as smashed as people get when they drink, sometimes, it is the best time for the spirit to work on them. Many times I have had people open up to me when they are drunk, but when I come back and they are sober, they don't want our help anymore. Hopefully, this man will still want us to help him. 
We have a couple. They are new. I believe they are in my last email. Husband told us he didn't believe that Adam and Eve were the first people on earth. Normally, when people open up with something like that, they end up being people that want to just try to prove you wrong. Those that set snares, so to speak, for the righteous. I've had plenty. So, I found this man many a scripture in the Bible and Book of Mormon about Adam and Eve being first. I was nervous to share with him and have him try to bash. BUT!!! He didn't! He was very happy with the scriptures we shared with him. They are incredibly open to the things we teach and just are hungry for knowledge and answers. It is wonderful! They are progressing very well and came to church again. We are excited with their progress!

We also have several people that we invited to be baptized this week. Every time, they seemed to feel the Spirit so strong AFTER they told us yes. OH the Joy of missionary work!! Man, there is nothing better!! The one day, the only appointment we got in on was to an investigator that we invited to be baptized. We were completely happy with our day. Nothing better! Also, we have a baptism coming up on saturday. And several more coming in the next few weeks of December. So, it goes one for dec 1. one for dec 8 and two for dec 22. AHA!! And the funny thing is it's not the baptisms. It's the change in the people. For those who have served, you know, for those that will serve, you will know. And for the rest of you, well, it's the best!! 

Thanksgiving was this week. I know you all know. You are eating left over turkey sandwiches. We celebrated as an apartment. We had real mashed potatoes and stuffing. No turkey. Chicken instead. And corn. And gravy. We did our best to american style our thanksgiving. 3 americans and elder judar. It was wonderful! And very hot. But good! Pics. Ok. One is the table all set up. One is us all about to satisfy our bellies but taking a pic for all of you back at home first. I think one is of my plate of food. It tasted better than it looks. One is of some life size cool dudes. Dragon Ball Z, Flash, Green Lantern, Super Man, and some other guy. But the other one must not be important cuz we don't know him. One is of a jeep, cuz I don't think I've sent pics of one yet. One is me at the temple. One is a wonderful face that Judar makes that would make scottie proud. One is some cows taking a bath. One is me on a trike, also one I haven't sent pics of yet. Haha! And the one of me and elder judar raising our hands I will explain in a sec. Or now cuz that's the last pic. We have a recently converted El Sheddai. Or something like that. And she's great. But she got up to give the closing prayer in sacrament meeting yesterday. It was a little bit different. And long. About 10 minutes long. And naturally, with the prayer being so long, everyone in the whole congregation opened their eyes at some point. The lady was at the pulpit, WITH HER HANDS RAISED UP TO HER HEAD level, giving the longest prayer in the world!! AH man!! It was awkward! Everyone asked us, "Elders, did you see that? Why did she do that?" Oh man. It was a hoot!! We have a few things to work on with her still. But it made for a great story!! 

Anyway. I gotta bounce. But thank you all for everything!! Be good and read your scriptures. 

Much love, 

Elder Christensen 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pics for "Updowns"

"We are gonna do up Updowns Until Blue is No Longer Tired and Thirsty"

Hey, Sexy Laaday! I don't know if that song is popular back at home, but it for sure is here. Then again, so is Pusong Bato, which I know for a fact isn't famous state side. So whatevs. 

Ok, I have everything written out here. So I'll hop straight to work!! 

It's been a wonderful, wonderful week! Me and Elder Bruno Mars, oh psych, I mean Elder Judar have been killing it out here! Absolutely slaying it! But that is kind of a recent development. The whole week wasn't that way. But you'll find out about that later. We'll get there. But the whole week has been happy and exciting and full of killer missionary work. Full of a delicious tiredness that can only come from spreading the gospel until you can't walk anymore. And even then, you're ok because you can just ride one of the many cows. And the comment about Bruno Mars is because my comp sings his songs very well. Sometimes I forget that he is my comp and not actually a famous non-member singer. 

So thing to be noted first. This week was wonderful! But it was challenging as well. We got punted almost all week. It was insane!! Monday was P-day, after which we had two FHE appointments. The last one canceled on us. Tuesday we didn't get in a single lesson. We walked for 6 hours straight without getting in anywhere or sitting down or stopping for longer than it takes to call out to someone and get turned away. It was ridiculous. Wednesday was much the same. One or two appointments. The rest of the week was like that until Friday when we had 3 appointments. Then came the success. Saturday, we were bombed with appointments! Almost every single person let us in!! It was wonderful! And then Sunday we had a lot of success too! It was wonderful! Needless to say, we had a rough week that turned out to be a very good week all in the end. And surprisingly, we stayed happy all through getting punted. We do well together as a companionship. It's hard to get our spirits down. Ha, or siguro impossible. We just enjoy being happy and when you're doing the Lord's work....it's easy to be happy. So we are! I truly think the success of the last few days came as a blessing from the Lord. It would have been easy to say, "man, we've been walking in the heat all day every day with no success. Let's take it easy today. Let's only plan a few appointments. Let's go out late. Let's come home early." But because we pushed it hard, through the heat, through the whole day, planning full days, the Lord blessed us for our efforts. We had our faith tried a little bit. Ha, a slight bit. Just to see how faithful we were willing to be perhaps. But when we hold out faithful and do as the Lord asks us to do, we will receive the promised blessings. I know that is true. 

There were a lot of wonderful experiences through this week. I almost don't know where to start. The first day, the day we never got into a single appointment. Our area is huge. It's gigantic!! And we have so many people. Usually, we will take one or two barangays (kind of like neighborhoods) and teach there. But that day, we did about 5. The distance was crazy!! By the end of the day, we were completely beat. But we knew we needed to keep our hustle on and get to one last person. On the way, we were so dead tired. Almost to the point where we really just didn't want to walk anymore. It would have been nice to take a rest. But we kept walking. Right then, a tricycle driver pulled up and asked us if we wanted a ride. We said walang pera. He said, "Ok lang, walang bayad!" So even though we couldn't pay him, he'd give us a ride. So we got on. He was a nice guy. Potential investigator. And he came right at the very best time, once again, AFTER the trial of faith. A blessing straight from the Lord. 

We found tons of LA's and past or new Investigators this week. Things just worked. People called out to us and we decided to talk to them. I'm not the best at just talking to new people and bringing up the gospel. It's a bit tough and for me, can be awkward. But it's a goal of mine to always talk to people that call out to us. There is often a reason that they are prompted to say something to the kids in white shirts. Often, they are just ready for the gospel. So that went well for us this week. We probably had that happen about 6 or 7 times. Wonderful!!

We have a less active, I think I mentioned last week. He is an endowed member. Sealed with his family. Super active back then. But now, as with most members in the Philippines, he's inactive. But we've been meeting with him and things have been going very well. He has problems that he needs to overcome. But he's open about them and willing to change. He has a desire to change. It's wonderful! He's been to church 2 weeks in a row! The ward has been shocked because he hasn't been in years. There have been efforts made to bring him back. But nothing has worked. This is why you can't give up on people. Ever!! Everyone has to be prepared by the Lord to accept the gospel. They will have experiences that will soften their hearts. And then, they are ready. Even if they don't know they are ready. So sometimes it's the investigator that the missionaries dropped. Sometimes it's the less active that no one wants to visit anymore. Maybe it's the family member that hasn't been active for years and has numerous problems. Maybe that next door neighbor. Who knows!? Share the gospel! You never know when they are ready. Do them and yourself a favor, overcome your fears or selfishness for your own time and share with them. 

We have an investigator that will be baptized Dec. 1st!!!! Woohooooooo!!! I'm so excited! This is only my second baptism!! The others either haven't happened or I've been transferred first! She is ready!! It is soo awesome to see people change and come to the gospel!! There is nothing better!!

Yesterday after church we did splits. The plan for both the families I visited was to watch a movie, either the Joseph Smith movie or Finding Faith in Christ. Both times, we couldn't watch the movie for one reason or another and so I had to improvise. In both cases, I really had no idea what to teach. A quick silent prayer and opening the scriptures is all you need. Even opening the scriptures didn't give me what I needed. But a question popped into mind. And then, from the question and the answer, and a lot of help from the Holy Ghost, I knew what it was I needed to teach. Both lessons went very well. And it happened several other times this week as well. I can truly testify that the promise of the Lord will be fulfilled if we do our part. Moses 6 I think says open your mouth and it will be filled. Somewhere in D&C says it will be given to you in the very moment. When we prepare and stay worthy and obedient, the Lord will uphold His end of the deal. 

Ah, that's pretty much all I have had this week. It's been an exciting week!! In addition, last night we found a dinosaur mosquito, which was big enough to eat me and Elder Judar comfortably in the same meal. Elder Molnar and I tracked it down and destroyed it! "Do unto others, before they do unto you". Also, today I ran into my good friend Elder Broadhead. I miss that kid to death. It was a good time. 

As far as pics go. I told you last week the cows are everywhere. I also have said you need to teach everyone. So, I tried my hand at introducing the gospel to a few cows. Unfortunately, they weren't very receptive. There is also a pic of our house. Sadly, it is dark and raining and therefore, hard to see. But it is nice. We live on the 3rd floor. Yes, balcony folks. Nice view. And then a pic of Elder Judar after a good days work. But never fear, it's a delicious kind of tired!! And finally, a pic of the demon mosquito. Should have been on the crocodile hunter show. We felt pretty good after taking it down. Success. 

Well, that's all for this week!! Thank you all for everything you do! I love you all! Enjoy the snow for me! Mainit!!!! 

Much love, 

Elder Christensen 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pics for "Chiken"

Eat Mor Chiken

Yes, I was hoping you all know that the subject is from the cows. Because there are a ton here! They seem to wander as they please. You'll get big groups of them hanging out all over the place. The road is particularly popular, although, I saw a few hanging out at the gas station the other day, no joke! 

Anywho, hello to all of you! It has been a wonderful and crazy busy full week. So I'll hop straight to business. 

We've been working crazy hard. Our area is huge. There are tons and tons and tons of people for us to visit. Different people every single day of the week. Makes things tough when you only see people once a week, but we have loads of people so that's how it has to be. One story just to share and give you an idea of how fat I am. We arrive at a house. They invite us in an offer us some plastic chairs to sit on. Mine broke. No joke, I saw someone break a plastic chair once. I thought to myself, "man, you really have to be fat to break a plastic chair". Yep, karma will get you. 

Sorry if this email is random, but I have a list written out of things and I have to be kind of fast, so bear with me. 

We also got two new investigators this week. One was a friend of a man that we were teaching. We taught her at the same time and she wanted to learn more. Score!! Another was a referral from a ward member that has been taught before. Decided she really liked the gospel and would like to become a member. Score!! We also had two more potential investigators show up at church. We set up appointments to visit them. Score!! It's been an exciting week. 

One investigator just got herself a baptismal date. We have been teaching her and will hopefully be having a baptism on Dec. 1. She is the cousin of our ward mission leader (he, by the way, leaves on a mission on nov. 24. cool story). But as such, she has had them teaching her and answering questions for a while. So she is golden. 

We found an inactive member the other day just because we talked to people. We haven't gotten a return visit but we found him. We'll let the Spirit work on him and hopefully, he'll be back in no time. 

Funny and maybe slightly sacrilegious. Everyone calls Jesus, Papa Jesus here. It's the weirdest thing. We also have the baby Jesus, who is Santo Ninyo. Also weird. And we have a black Jesus. These are every day things here, but I noticed them so many times this week, I figured I had to tell you all about them. 

Yikes. We are teaching 4 kids who are investigators. They live with their grandma who is a member. We were teaching them the commandments, and when we came to the 3rd, not taking the Lord's name in vain, we were trying to explain what that means. No worries, nanay came to our rescue. Or so she thought. She told them every single way you could take the Lord's name in vain, and probably several times each. My ears were almost bleeding. "Yes, thank you for the help 'nay. Kids, don't ever ever EVER repeat anything your sweet grandmother just said". You can't always teach kids not to do something by showing them what not to do. It's just not a good idea. 

Fun fact. In the movie Finding Faith in Christ, there is the part with the loaves and the fish. The Savior asks a little boy if he can share his bread and fish. The little boy is Elder Molnar, one of my house mates!! Way cool! 

We also had an inactive that we have visited twice. He and his family were sealed in the temple. But he has been inactive for years. But the Spirit will work on people if you give it a chance. He came to church yesterday! The bishop was shocked! And next week, he's bringing his family daw. So, we're excited! 

Fun food I ate this week. Chicken feet, which is not bad. And crocodile. Also not bad. Different though. But tasty. 

We had an awesome FHE last night with about 4 families all living in the same house. I got to share a message that I made up on the spot. All of you preparing to do missions, be ready to do that. Cuz it happens a lot. And then we had games and food. A wonderful time. 

The pics. Cows. Of course. I've been taking pics. Also, we climbed a water tower by one of our LA's houses. Good view. I even snuck a pic of a santa claus. Several pics of sunset. The sunsets here are great!! And pics from the FHE. The boy on my lap has down syndome. He's the man. He is my little buddy. 

I'm a little bit out of time and therefore, must go. We have two FHE's to get to tonight. The schedule is just loaded!! But the work is going so well! I'm absolutely loving life as a missionary. It's the greatest thing ever. Tagalog is still tough. But it's a working process. Life is good. Keep the commandments and endure to the end. Have a wonderful week!! I love you all. 

Much love, 

Elder Christensen 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pics for "what would I wear"

"But what would I wear?"

Hello one and all!! It has of course been a wonderful week. When you're in the mission field, life just tends to go that way. It's been fantastic!!

So. From last week. I got letters. The McAllisters. Thank you very much. Question: I remember people being offended when my bro's didn't give thanks for packages and letters. Is giving an update every week on who writes me necessary or shall I just be killer at responding?? Feedback folks, feedback. Tell my mum and she'll pass me the word. 

Ok. So we had transfers. It's been crazy busy!!! Here's what went down. I got transferred to Novaliches zone. It's actually right next to Fairview. One jeepney ride. I'm only about 20 minutes away from my old proselyting area. My new companion is Elder Judar. He is super cool! He just finished training and fun fact, his comp is now comps with Elder Broadhead in Fairview. Cool eh? Being as my comp just finished training, I'm his follow up trainer. Yikes!! But really, it's kind of like I'm back in training. This man is an excellent missionary!! And being Filipino, he's going to be able to help me big time with my language. Sweet. He and I get along very well. He's short though. But don't hold it against him. He's way funny. But an excellent missionary at the same time. It's good to get missionaries that are able to balance the two. And he does. So I'm excited!! We have two other elders in our apartment. Elder Staples (from Sandy/Draper) and Elder Molnar (from Orem). Elder Molnar is now on his final transfer in training. We have a good time. They are wonderful housemates. The apartment is big and nice. The only downside is that we have terrible water pressure. We have a filter hooked up so you can drink the water. But the pressure is so low, that when you turn the filter on, the water can barely get itself through. It drips out. Literally. And I drink a ton, so that's terrible news for me. Luckily, the elders have mostly solved that issue. We just leave a huge container underneath the faucet to collect water all day. So once we drink it all, we're a little out of luck, but it works. It's a great set up!! Our area is huge!! Seriously huge. I think our area is bigger than my last zone. No joke. We are out of the city. Almost providence. And we have to take long jeep rides to get to a lot of places. Needless to say, we will never run out of people to teach!

So far the work has been good. I've been meeting members and LAs and investigators. They are all wonderful!! It's been a jolly good time so far!! It's been crazy too. There was a 15 year old boy murdered. He was a member as is his uncle who wanted us to come speak at the viewing thing. Most the family and friends weren't members. They were all so sad. When I saw the boy and the sad people, I was sad too. It is sad and hard to lose family. Especially that way. But even worse for them is that they just don't know. They don't have the gospel. Hopefully, this will open an opportunity for them to hear and accept the beautiful message that we have. Families can be together after this life!! Forever! Death is not the end. This life is only such a small part of our existence. I'm so grateful for the gospel and the hope and comfort it brings. On the other end of the spectrum, we also attended a wedding!! The couple had to get married before the wife could get baptized. And now, they just have to wait a year so they can be sealed in the temple!! That was completely wonderful!! 

Ok, really quick while I'm thinking about it. Pics that I am attaching. First, the kids from the computer shop last week, just cuz I told you I'd get a pic! Then a pic with some kids from a family in our ward. It was Araw ng Patay. No longer halloween but lots of kids had costumes. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Ok lang. Also, we have a pic of the temple tour group. Biggest group I've ever taken. We alone took about 20 people. Cool day. A dark pic of me and my comp. He's short. I ran into a bunch of people from my first area. Fun story. Elder Hibbert, my MTC comp is now assigned in my first ward. He says people are freaking out to know he was my comp. So I ran into a ton of them and some of the nanay's wanted a pic. Siympre. A pic of my comp. Then a pic or two from the wedding. The one Kano with me is Elder Molnar. He's awesome. And then a nice pic of our little christmas corner set up. It's nice. 

Ok. Moving on. Actually, not a lot left. We have spent that last few days teaching. Every minute that we can. It has been so wonderful. I really love the area that I'm in. It's clean and big and open and reminds me more of Utah. But, there aren't many big groups of kids. Siyang. The lessons have been great. So far as I'm getting to know people, it really has been tons of lessons about SMA's. Don't y'all forget those things. Keep doing them. 

Of course, we had temple tour. We took tons of people and that was a really good experience. The ward here is really great. It's kind of nice to be back to only two missionaries in the ward. The ward likes you better if you are their only missionaries. Everyone is willing to help us and feed us and all that. It's been wonderful!! I like it a lot. 

That is it for me this week. I have a mop on my head that I need to cut off and then we are straight to an appointment! And it's a dinner appointment, the very best kind. But don't be fooled. Missionary work is hard. It's really hard!! And we are always dead tired. But it's the most rewarding dead tired you'll ever feel. It's wonderful!! I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Haha, I almost forgot, next wednesday is my temple p-day I believe. So I probably won't be here Monday. Just thought you ought to know! 

Thanks, I love you all!!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen