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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!)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pics for Ogre

04-23-13 Fare Thee Well Ogre

Hello all. And the transfer announcements for the Novaliches Zone. Elder Hubble, Elder Sagario, Elder Juario, Elder Barcarse, Elder Qaqa, Elder Ontoria, Elder Flanary, and....Elder Broadhead and Elder Christensen. Yes folks, after 6 months, I am leaving Novaliches!! Sad to see it go. I LOVE this ward and my area. It is wonderful. It also means I will miss the wedding and baptism of Danika and Michael. Sayang!! There are lots of wonderful things happening here! But the time has come and I'm moving out! "I said, Move out!" Mulan, in case you didn't know.
This week has been a bit tough. All of our area must be worried about a new world war breaking out because they all have gone into hiding! We had a tough time getting lessons this week. And then everyone decided not to come to church. But the lessons we had this week were awesome.

Haha, we had one lesson with the Buban family. Their one son, Jeff, was recently baptized. Then they have a bunch of kids that are less active. Still young kids though, still about 11-13? Crazy business. And they have cousins staying with them for a while. I think I sent a picture of them last week. The one cousin Jhoemar has no nose. Awesome kids. So Jhoemar has been sitting in on the lessons. We taught him how to pray this week. Since Jeff is a recent convert, we were letting him teach Jhoemar how to pray. He finally said, "Ok, I'll pray and you just say what I say". All was going well. Jhoemar had a hard time hearing some of what Jeff would say and ask him to repeat so that the prayer would be good. Haha, now, there are two words that came to be of extreme importance in this particular prayer. In closing, we say sa pangalan ni Jesucristo, amen. Pangalan is name. So everyone has got to say that. But there is another word, paa, which is feet. Now, as I mentioned earlier, Jeff's prayer was a little quiet, so Jhoemar was having a hard time understanding. At the end, he heard paa and not pangalan. Thus, he left the prayer in the feet of Jesus Christ. Missionaries are supposed to be representatives of Jesus Christ. We should be reverent. But I laughed so hard right at the end of the prayer. The whole group. Oh man. It was a hoot. Maybe it only is funny in the moment and in Tagalog. But it was hilarious.
We had a couple more good lessons with Danika and Michael this week. They live with a ton of Jehovah's Witnesses. The other folk tried to bash on Danika and Michael's new gospel knowledge, but they found good, strong faith. These two are awesome!! Michael still working out a small word of wisdom kink, but he's battling like a champ. Won't even be a problem. Basically they are just waiting for the government to work out their papers for marriage. Sigh. But they are progressing in a rapid fashion!
We also had zone interviews this week. That was awesome. President Sperry told a story about a herd of deer, which I believe came from a talk by Elder Packer? Eegh, don't quote me there. There was a long winter which left them without anything to eat. They started dying. So the mayor or whoever of the town folk was in charge started having folk leave out tons of hay for the deer. But, the deer continued to die. The doctors found that the deer were dying with their bellies full of hay. This happened because the hay lacks the key nutrients that the deer needed for survival. This was then compared to the members. We are fed with so many things! Church services, activities, meetings, socials, EFYs, and all manner of other things. Unfortunately, these things lack the key ingredients. They are very important to us, but we cannot live on those alone. That is why many fall away. The one thing holding the key ingredients for us all, is the scriptures. The pleasing word of God. Now this was exciting to me, because that's what I've been harping on for so many weeks! Ah! I love the scriptures! And speaking of which, we will go there, because that's what we did in zone interviews. Alma 31:5 Alma wants to try hitting folk with the virtue of the word of God. What in the world is virtue? If we go to Mark 5, there is a story of a lady being healed. Verse 30 says that when the women touched Jesus, he felt virtue go out of him. If we check the footnote, it says power or strength. Then we follow up on virtue in the bible dictionary. It seems to be the ability to heal or strengthen. Which is wonderful! So going back to Alma, they use the scriptures for their power to heal. Familiar yet? If not, lets hit Jacob 2:8, one of my favorites. It says the people came to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul. The scriptures will help to hear our wounded souls. The scriptures contain those key ingredients that we need in order to be healed and cleansed and to be able to fully accept and use the atonement. Thus back to what I just keep repeating over and over, please read the scriptures every day! Don't die with your bellies full of hay.
We had an opportunity this week to do a service project. It was for a less active family in Elder Broadhead's area. Their roof had a bunch of leaks and needed to be repaired or replaced. We decided to go with the latter. So we ripped it off and put a new one up. That was an excellent time. Awesome family. The same day, we went to a baptism for Casmir, our new friend. He is the one who had the excellent idea to play soccer. We met him at general conference and keep seeing him for random occasions. He got baptized on Saturday and the whole zone attended, which is rare. Excellent man. He's from Nigeria and studying here. Blessing from the Lord. Read the paragraph below and then return here. He knew no one here appreciates the sport so he sent the sport to me!! How marvelous!
Today is P-day, of course. No one cares, but I played soccer again this morning. It was awesome!! Oh how I miss the game. Somehow, I got sent to the one country in the world that doesn't do soccer. Sayang. But it's alright! We also celebrated our soon to split district by eating at our favorite expensive 10 dollar buffet. Thus, I am bloated to about the same size as Aunt Marge in Harry Potter 3. Repulsive. But what's new.
My pics! I've got my comp going to town taking the old roof off at the CSP. And Broadhead at the scene of the crime as well. Then just a few shots of the house to help you feel more like you are here, to more fully appreciate the story. Then me with a stuffed bear out behind their house that was as big as me. Impressive feat. A shot of the biggest maggots I've ever seen in my life. Also impressive, because I've seen many. And then a picture from Casmir's baptism. Excellent work mate!

And that folks is about it for the week. Tomorrow I will transfer. New comp, new ward, new work. Exciting, eh? But you will have to wait for next week for that. Sorry! Be sure to have a marvelous week!
Much love,
Elder Christensen

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04-14-13 Oh what a Beautiful Morning!!

Maybe that's because it is a lovely morning right now! Or maybe it's because of the conference talk. Regardless. Good morning y'all!! 

Speaking of conference, WOOHOO!! How good was conference? Let me remind you. SOOO GOOD!!! 

I wish conference were a few days longer. I would just love to sit and absorb the good word for a few more days. But a few thoughts from conference. 

What an awesome and inspiring conference! It was an impressive line up to say the least. Trying to connect my thoughts, it would probably be best to start with Richard G. Scott. First, I liked that he talked about obedience. Obedience is key. But not the focus this week. Beware, I will probably get back to it next week. He also said something to the effect that Satan will try to ruin our goodness by exploiting our weakness. David A. Bednar (incredible talk! Read it again!) said that light decreases with impulsive indulgence. In D&C 93:39 we find that Satan takes away our light and truth through disobedience. In all things, satan wants us to feel hopeless and discouraged. He wants us to feel down. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that he wants us to feel as though we are drowning in our sins. In a world so full of temptation, darkness and filth, it is such a miracle to have such a great source of peace and light; our Savior and the Atonement. 2 Nephi 2:6-7 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. The only way to find peace and healing in this life is through the Atonement. Can't go wrong with 2 Nephi 25:26 We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. Everything we do is centered on Jesus Christ and his Atonement for us. It is through the Atonement that we have hope. We have the hope that we can change. The hope that we can overcome the natural man. The hope that every day can be better than the day before. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said that we are all sons and daughters of God. We are like young children trying to learn how to walk. With each step, we make progress. Our Heavenly Father applauds our progress. He does not want us to be discouraged or lose hope. Would we ever scold a child that stumbles and falls? No. And in the same way, our Father in Heaven does not wish to scold us for our mistakes. He is happy as we get up and keep trying. But, in accepting that we are not perfect, does that mean we can delay repentance or give in to sin? No, we still need to do our best and repent quickly. Craig A. Cardon said that Heavenly Father cannot look upon our sins with the least degree of allowance. But he does forgive us as we repent. We are sanctified as we overcome the natural man. D&C 76:69 says that the heirs to the celestial kingdom are just men made perfect through the atonement of Christ. It is a process. We cannot expect to be perfect all at once. We must be able to forgive ourselves and all others for imperfection. The point is that men can change through the Atonement. 2 Nephi 9:21-22 For behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children...and he suffereth this that resurrection migh pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgement day. And if you are in need of the good word, Alma 7:11-13 and Helamen 5:9 are always good too.  Elder Bednar talked about sin as a wound to our spirit. He talked about how we need the Atonement to heal. He said, "The results of sincere repentance are peace of conscience, comfort, and spiritual healing and renewal." My testimony to you all is that through the wonderful gift of the Atonement, we can change. We have hope. We find peace and healing. I pray that we will all take advantage of that spiritual healing in our lives. 

Ok. I wrote this earlier and now have more to add. But don't be excited, cuz it's only a little. Here it is. Get this, for the first time in my mission, we played soccer for p-day!!! Write this one down ladies and gentlemen, cuz it for sure goes in the books!! I was in heaven! 

Well, that's all for now folks. You had best believe I'll get you some more conference thoughts next week. All of you take advantage of your lds.org and read the talks again!! I'm sorry I have no info at all from the week. Just know, the work here is going very well. The area is progressing. I love being a missionary! We are all so blessed to have prophets and apostles! Take advantage! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love you loads! 

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pics for Pie

04-08-13 Where My Pie?

Tha's big radio right der Ms. Jones. Hello my family!! Another week come and gone. And for all of your information, I haven't seen conference yet!! So ease up on all the conference secrets!! We are a week behind you here. So relax! One more thing to add to your list of blessings. 

I don't really know what to say to you all this week!! It's been a very good week! We are still finding new people to teach. Then again, if we weren't, the days would get pretty empty out here. We are finding all kinds of folks. Our wonderful couple Danika and Mike are coming along so very well. They are just awesome people. If I could bring back anyone from here for you all to meet, it would probably be them. They are awesome. I have no pictures with them yet! Hm, I will change that for you. See what I can do for you. "I know a guy". 

We found ourselves a few new investigators. Mostly just stopping and talking to random people. It's a good time. A good way for us to find people is anyone that says, "Hey Elders!" Anyone that knows we are the elders has some manner of experience. Usually LA's or prime new investigators!! Awesome! Our ward attendance is also up. Around the highest it's ever been, which for us isn't too much. Don't laugh. It's not Utah. But we have been hitting around 200 people. Big numbers folks. Big numbers.

We had a few people in my ward die this week. That was crazy. They have both been sick for ages. The one man has been curled in a ball since I got here 6 months ago cuz he's in so much pain. Poor man. What a blessing for him. And how fortunate for his family to know the Plan of Salvation! We taught that to a class of kids yesterday. It's so simple that even the kids can understand! But at the same time, it's so crazy how everything fits in and is so key and important for all of us! 

We also found a man this week that is a very inactive member. Hasn't been to church in 25 years. Some of the members wanted us to go visit him. We finally found him. He was very drunk. Told us that he served faithfully for 20 years, and now, he's done. Member at heart, but as for the church now, stopped. Don't worry, God will understand. He was going to send us away, but his daughter stopped him. She is visiting. She wants us to teach her kids. She's a member but has been inactive as long as the dad. Her kids only speak English! First lesson in English! Man that was weird. I don't teach in English! It was probably harder than teaching in Tagalog. Crazy. I'm excited to go back and try to share with the Tatay. We are representatives of Jesus Christ, sent to him because the way he is living is not enough. Being active for 20 years is not enough. There is this thing called the gospel. And the final part of it is Endure to the End. That's kind of the thing is we have to actually endure to the end! Yikes. So we'll be going back to him to try and help him out. And his grandkids, so I can teach in English again. Oh boy...

Now, I know this is a short email. I'm sorry about that. But I really don't have much to say. The week was very good, but there's not much to say. It's been very good though!! Don't worry, I'll hit you all with a better one next week! Ha, hopefully. 

Pics for the week. I've got me and the comp with our Ward Mission Leader and his family. They are awesome!! He is a great man! Then I've got a couple of me rocking out on the piano with some our good friends. And then a pic just down the road as we were walking. Not much. No time for the camera!! Sorry! 

Anyways. I hope you all have a superb week! Study them scriptures!!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for Holy Week

04-01-13 Holy Week?

So, I don't remember for us, but here, Holy Week is kinda THE thing. I mean, people can work on Christmas, but NOBODY works on Good Friday, or whatever it is called. And most people don't work Wednesday through Saturday. It was crazy!! So, most days this week were pretty quiet, but on Friday, it was almost unnerving. We left the apartment and walked down the street and it was like I Am Legend. I thought everyone else on planet earth might have died. It was crazy! No honking jeepneys, no cursing trike drivers, no, "Hey Joe!"s. Nothing. No people. It was the weirdest feeling! In a place that is SO loud and SO crowded to have absolutely nothing. Weird. Unfortunately, they have the whole thing a little backwards. Sunday, which should be holy, was definitely not. Everyone was back to work and the hustle and bustle returned to normal. Interesting how that works, eh? 

Hello all of you happy good white people!! It's been a very good chunk of week, but also extremely short. So, I will tell you in advance that this will not be a killer long or particularly interesting email. I woke up this morning and one of my first thoughts was that I had nothing to say in my weekly email. No list, no crazy experiences, no crazy killer study. So, I don't particularly know what I will say. But I will come up with a few things. Like the first paragraph, they may not be all that spiritually uplifting. 

One thing that was slightly amusing. Actually, to me, it felt slightly degrading, but hopefully you will find it amusing. So this morning. We followed the typical P-day ritual, which involves playing basketball bright and early. We come home after. Our landlord has decided to do a little "face lift" for our bathroom. So we come home from basketball ready to shower and hit the road to celebrate a birthday. Oh ps, yesterday was my boy Broadhead's birthday!! Woohoo! So we were going to celebrate in our favorite buffet. But, haha, joke's on us. Tatay has the bathroom torn apart! "Oh, magandang umaga Tay. Ano ginagawa mo dito? Ah, may project ka ba? Hm, ano lang, may appointment kami ngayon, so kailangan namin maging bilis, and mediyo kailangan namin maligo." Or in other words, great that you have the bathroom torn apart, but we kinda gotta bounce and we need to shower first. He tells us no problem, he's got an apartment below us without people. We can use that shower. Great! So we hop down there. But, there are four of us. Ends up having 2 bathrooms. Long story short, I end up in a 3x3 bathroom, crouched between the nappy toilet and the sink, trying to get myself under a little spigot in the wall, about a foot off the floor. The water barely trickles out and I have nothing to collect it in. So if you will, picture this. We will edit, to be clean. I'm wearing swimming trunks. Thank you for my modesty. Now, using this image, imagine me, basically in fetal position between the gross toilet and sink, my backside stuck on the wall behind me, sticking my hands under the water and just trying to splash it up on me to at least wet my body. The best description would probably be a very deformed T-Rex attempting to splash sewer water on himself while crammed in a toilet stall. Gets nyo ba? Hopefully. It's very hard to describe, but I will probably be haunted by the experience forever. Note to all future missionaries; do bathroom face lifts yourself. If the landlord wants in, tell him too bad. A man can't go without his own bathroom for a day. It just turns out wrong. 

That's about all I have for you. We did work this week, as usual. Taught lessons. Helped people with concerns. Basically did what missionaries do. Our little couple Danika and Mike are progressing wonderfully! They finish all their papers this week and then we will see to getting them married and baptized. And I might miss it! I may transfer first. Blast. But that's ok! They are the dankness! 

I suppose my email may be devoted to what I have been studying, even though I said I had nothing there. It sort of goes along with Easter. So I have been looking into the visions of Nephi and Lehi and the tree of life. It is a very very interesting few chapters. SOOO much symbolism. I have already hit you all with the need for us to hold on to the word of God or study our scriptures. Be warned, I may get back to that in a minute. Maybe. But there is a scripture here. But wait lang. So lets talk about the people. There are several different types of people found in this vision. We may fall into any of the categories. But 1 Nephi 8:32 says, "Many were drowned in the depths of the fountain" if we look into fountain, we find it is filthiness. Filthiness to me could be sin. All of us get caught up in to sin at some point in our lives. I talked about the verse from 2 Peter which says that the temptations of the devil are wells without water. We go off the path into the desert after some well in hope of water and it's depressing to find none there. We are so off the path. We used so much energy getting there. I like the description from verse 8. People drown in the fountain of filthiness. Sin can become overwhelming to us. If we rationalize, well, I've already sinned, might as well carry on, we can drown in our sins or filthiness. We find ourselves overwhelmed and it can be a very hard choice to come back to our Heavenly Father. The crazy thing is how crazy good a liar Satan is. He is always plotting against us. D&C says he goes about, seeking to destroy the souls of men. He tells us that we are the exception. We are too far gone to come back. Our load is too high, too heavy, too filthy to be rid of. But, as the father of lies, what do you expect? It is a lie. My message to you today is that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite. There is nothing that we cannot overcome through His atonement. Because of our loving Heavenly Father and our loving brother Jesus Christ made a way for us to return. We can repent. Jacob 2:8, "And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yes, the word which healeth the wounded soul". Through this gospel, we find happiness and joy and find access to the cleansing power of the Atonement. We find that the overwhelming weight of sin is escape-able. We find that we can have peace in this life as we follow the commandments of our Heavenly Father. It all works because of the Atonement. 

But, I told you I would probably get back to scripture study. It's so important!! Helaman 3:29-30 tells us that the word of God is powerful and will destroy the snares of satan and lead men to our Heavenly Father. And if we return to the vision, those who hold faithful to the scriptures, and don't give into the pride of the world will be lead to the tree of life. So, we can all do ourselves a favor and just stay reading our scriptures every day!! Feast upon the word folks. Like a starving man let loose in Tucanos. Go wild!! But, of course, should we fall, which we all do, take advantage of the atonement. 

Almost forgot pics!! First is one I just thought was amusing. Never Flat? Yeah, I hope you can get your money back!! Second is me helping my comp get his dunk on this morning at basketball. Yeah, that's what's up! The next just shows how good my comp is at ball. Man'll be famous some day. Or so he thought. The last pic is Broadhead helping my mini comp get down from the rim after I put him up. Haha, oh thank goodness for height!! That's all the pics!! Sorry! Short email, no pics. Lame, eh? Maybe next week will be better. Maybe. No promises though!! 

Anyway. Shortish message. Nothing else. Sorry if it's below par. But I hope you all had an absolutely wonderful Easter and a wonderful week! Keep it real and be happy until we meet again next week!! 

Much love, 

Elder Christensen