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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, July 29, 2013

Pics for Loaves and fishes

07-29-13 Maybe it was a miracle; like the loaves and the fishes?

Of course I knew! I just had no idea! Yes family, yes. The dearly beloved movie does still get quoted, even here in the Philippines. Man, how y'all been!!? It's been so long! Perhaps a grand total of four days or so? So not much went down I guess. But I have made a list this week! A LIST!!!! DR. POOLE???? Hello!!!! Get back in the room!! Sorry! To tell you the truth, it was mom's email subject line that set me off! Anywho, the week was short, but of course, on the Lord's time, that doesn't really matter! And yea verily, we had plenty of time for good things to happen! Let's gooo!

First and this is just funny. Sorry. But we met this old nanay. She is actually the grandma of the sister at the bakery. GRANDMA. Yeah, I thought she meant mother. But she didn't. She meant grandma. The lady is 80. Barely looks 60. Funny as goodness that one. But full of wisdom too. Kept telling us how important it is to pray and read the Bible and teach your kids right and to respect folks. But she kept telling us that some of those other religions, in particular the Bill's and the Sue's (name's have been changed to protect the image of the said religions) were full of garbage. She said they preach the Bible but they teach it wrong. She said they must not be using the same one she is cuz it clearly teaches against a lot of stuff they do. She said those dog gone Bill's and Sue's are palpak! Oh she said all kinds of things! Man, it was a little awkward! But she is very wise while she's been crazy. A family that prays together, stays together daw. She said that the young folks today just have no respect. She said that's on the head of the parents. They need to raise em up good! Man, it was a wonderful chat we had with her. She happens to live next door to the bakery woman as well, so hopefully, we can bring her into the gospel. She's already got a good start. But she gave us a good laugh while she was at it. 

We also got interviewed by college students this week. They are from the College of Criminology. They are doing a study on the effect religion has on the rate of crime. They came over to the church while we were there and the leaders sent them in to us. Go figure. That was a little nerve wracking. But not bad. It was way awesome to share about our church with them. And fact. Does religion help reduce crime? You'd better believe it does! Especially if it's Ang Simbahan ni Jesu Cristo sa mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw. 

Sister Durado, our wonderful bakery woman. She is awesome! And her kids are awesome! We taught her twice this week. Finished up the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we taught her the Law of Chastity. We were a little nervous there cuz we weren't sure if she and her "husband" were married. But surprise! And the pleasant kind! They are!!! SWEET!!! Wonderful! She is awesome! And to top it all off, she made it to church. Now, we just have to teach her 10 commandments and see if she'll shut her bakery down completely on Sunday. Won't that be awesome? And her husband is willing to be taught as well. So we will get the whole family!!! Celebrate? I think yes! 

We were on a role for Law of Chastity this week. We taught our super duper shy investigator about it and she was probably the most involved she's ever been in any of our lessons. And she seemed to completely understand it! Sweet! And, I taught the good old LOC yesterday in gospel principles. It makes for a solid lesson!

Now. Thought for the day. I have been a little frustrated this week. We have some super awesome investigators that progress really well. We have some investigators that aren't that awesome. And we have some awesome investigators that are cool in lessons, but outside, don't really seem to care! What?! Yes. It's a real bummer. And I'm sure it's that way for every missionary who has ever served, or is serving, or ever will serve. But man! What a bummer! You are right there, giving them exactly what they need to be happy, and they treat it like it's nothing! I was reading a talk earlier this morning, from Elder Christofferson, called A Sense of the Sacred. Excellent talk. And he mentioned a scripture that nailed it. D&C 84:54 "And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received". When we treat lightly things that are sacred, our minds will be darkened. We won't receive the blessings the Lord would like to give us. We won't find the happiness that comes from such sacred things. I see it all the time with investigators here. The truth and blessings are so close to them. SOOO close! But they aren't willing to accept them. Faith brings action. And in order to treat things as being sacred, we need to use those things the Lord gives us. People here are all about having "Bible Study". But when it comes to exercising faith and doing things, they find themselves "too busy". It is my hope that as we go through our full and busy days, we don't find ourselves "too busy" for the Lord and the sacred things He has entrusted us with. Things like prayer, scriptures, words of the prophets, church, and the temple. 2 Nephi 28:30 reminds us that, "and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." So don't treat these things lightly and remember to use them all! We are all terribly busy, but when you seem to not have time for the Lord, make time. 

Sorry mates. That's my rant for the day. Lemme see what I can round up for y'all in the pics department! It may be a good haul. First up, is our wonderful magic man just destroying the sanity of my companion. And in the back is his father, which is the Filipino version of the Papa Mac. Don't know if you can see it, but he for sure is. He is a lacking a few teeth though. Then just a pic out in our area. Beauty ain't she?  Then some super cute kids we stopped to play with in the rain. They were awesome! Then us with our good friend Mark, who says his hair is now American. Personally thought black looked better, but whatevs. Also, word is he's friends with my mom on FB. Stay in touch with that one momma. He's sweet! And then....yes, we did balut again. Good call. Then we have our beloved Valenzuela City, just outside of SM, one of the greatest places in the Philippines. And then us at lunch earlier, eating at Lucky Gardens Seafood and Shabu-shabu. Chinese place. Elder Wu has been dying to go there. So we tried it out. And we will probably be going back. It was good! 

But I do believe that is it (and probably more than enough) for this week! So everyone have a marvelous week! Love you all!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for And so it begins...

07-24-13 And So It Begins...

For all y'all out there that are Lord of the Rings fans, I hope you are feeling that one. For all who are not, it's from the second movie (haha, I think) right as the battle for Helm's deep is about to break out. Ah yes. Classic. 

Anyways, all that would of course be in reference to the fact that we have a new transfer upon us. And so far, man, it's been killer! Just going off a numbers, it's been good. For example, this week, we found 11 new investigators. Now, that may not be many for anyone else out there in this world, but that is a mission high for me! Basically, my new comp is a stud! He is ready to work and to work hard. So things are good. We have been plagued with a little issue of health, but hopefully, that is all behind us now and we are all good to go ahead full throttle! Sweetness! 

So just so you all know, my new comp is Elder Jensen. He's from St. George. And he's a rugby boy. He played for Snow Canyon, which played against Matt's team a bunch. And, I think was the last game I got to before I left, one of Matt's bro's got kicked in the head and they had to bring on an ambulance and what not. He was at that game. I probably saw him and just didn't know it. Cool huh? 

This week there has been a lot of rain. So we've had a little flooding. It's been fun! Getting us all excited for rainy season to set in for real! 

An amusing anecdote. This one day, we were teaching. Go figure. I was sitting on a seemingly very solid wooden bench with a ward missionary. Part way through teaching....SNAP! Yes, the bench was a faker. It was not nearly as strong as it appeared. It is now dead. Add it to my steadily increasingly large broken chair graveyard. Sigh. This man is too fat for his own good! 

But we did have a bunch of good work this week. I don't have much time to get into it all so I'll just share one. Sister Durado. I've talked about her a lot recently I think. But that's cuz she's exciting! She owns the bakery. Has two sons that want to get baptized. The two have been coming to church for ages. They came to temple tour. Called us out as being naughty in sacrament meeting. Anywho. She hasn't come to church yet. But we've been going over the gospel of Jesus Christ and repentance. Yesterday, we led that into Baptism. It went super well. She really wants to repent and to do whatever she needs to be better. We talked about how she needs to come to church. She said that it's really not that hard. She just has to make time. And she says she will make time. She says she has felt happy ever since we started meeting. She sees our meeting up as a miracle. And she says she has felt that the things we are teaching are true. She says she is willing to do whatever it takes. She asked us what other commandments she needs to know that she isn't currently living! She wants to know it all and to change and be baptized! She is so solid! We are way stoked for her. I'm so grateful for the Holy Ghost in our teaching. Not only does it truly guide us as we teach so that we can help with an individuals concerns and problems, but without the witness of the Holy Ghost, no one will desire to change! But when they can truly feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, it's hard to deny and not want to change. And that's how they are led to repentance and all the blessings of the gospel through the Atonement. Ah, it's an incredible process to watch. 

Pics. I've got the last night and final photo with the other elders before they bounced out. And then I've got a pic of me and my comp and the ZL's with some members and investigators. And then some of the flooding. Just a little flooding. Nothing too exciting yet. Then a glimpse of the sign. Yes, you read that right. 9 inch burgers. Welcome to Kalbo Burger. Us with another missionary on his way home. Good man. And then! Our encounter with the much anticipated Kalbo Burger Champion. Feeling enthusiastic to start. But 9 inches later. Wow. I wanted to die. It was basically David and Goliath, but I think David had a much easier time than I did. It was definitely a heated battle, and I barely walked out on top. Actually, the Bishop forced that one on me. Had I not been eating it to make him happy, I couldn't have done it. For glory!!! 
Anyway. I'm way excited for this transfer. Good things are already happening. The Lord is blessing us here in our wonderful little Valenzuela area. I'm excited to see which people will choose to accept the blessings of the Lord! 

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for Tagalog

Lemme Teach You Tagalog

So folks. Let's take a brief into to Tagalog. One word only today. But it's the most important, should you be male and serving the Lord. Or female too, because the folks here can't seem to tell the difference. So. Do you want to know the Tagalog for Elder? Here it comes........Joe. It's great! Everybody. Also, as long as we are on the topic of Filipino culture. And I may have mentioned this before. So don't stone me and cast me out if this is a repeat. But this was reaffirmed to me this week. Hymns in the Philippines. It's like the Harry Potter Hogwarts song? Where everybody kind of just picks their own tune and pitch? It's great. I will miss it when it's gone. And finally. Embarrassed to pray in front of others? It's ok! Just move your lips and pray in your head til the end when you loudly, confidently, and boldly say AMEN! Good class! You are almost all Filipino now! Bery Gud!

Oh what a wonderful week on this side of the planet. Our investigators have been super flaky with appointments this week, which was a bummer. And, we are still having the HARDEST time getting them to come to church. You'd think we were inviting them to be brain donors. They just do not want to come to church! But, we did have a sweet lesson this week. So. We have some investigators that we have been teaching at the church. They are doing a class there for school, and their teacher referred them to us, so we teach them there after their class. They are all awesome, but they fall into the non-church attending category. Sigh. But they are doing good things. So we've gone over the restoration and the book of mormon and the plan of salvation. But they haven't really caught the fire yet. We've talked about prayer and the holy ghost. They are praying to find their answer, but they don't feel they've had it yet. So this day, my companion felt that we needed to watch the Testaments. So we did. Secret: there is no Tagalog on that video. Are we doomed? I think not. The Spirit speaks it's own language. So obviously, the movie is good. It is the one they have showed at temple square for forever. Well, even not understanding English, our investigators got a good message from it. As soon as it ended they started going on about how cool it was. And about the really really good feeling they had right in their chests. HA! Did we capitalize their? Yes we did. It turned into a wonderful lesson and hopefully, we'll see some good things come from it. 

So transfers are upon us. Tomorrow, my companion will ride off all alone to a new zone. And good old Elder Asetre, one of our beloved zone leaders, will also be leaving the house. He's headed to Fairview, to Elder Broadhead's old area. Speaking of!!!!! Holy goodness! Elder Broadhead is now a zone leader in the zone right next door! Stud status? Yes, yes indeed. I will not be transferring. I will stay here in my wonderful Valenzuela ward. My new comp will be an American. Say what???! Yes, the first American I've had since Elder Quinney, my beloved trainer. How is that man anyway? Probably married!!!!! Better not be cuz I didn't get an invite! Anyway. I'm a little nervous, I admit. He's newish. So we'll see how it goes! Ha, so the other zone leader, Elder Bustillo is staying in the house. His new comp is Elder Wu, chinese. Cool eh? Should be a good transfer. 

This last week, we had a wonderful zone training. We talked about teaching repentance to the people. We have been asked to add more focus to repentance. After all, pretty much one of the most important things we can learn to do is repent! If our investigators and less actives don't understand how to repent, how in the world can they change and come closer to our Heavenly Father? How can they find peace? How can they endure to the end? How can they enjoy the blessings of the gospel? They can't. So we have to teach them. We could have a lot less LA members if they understood repentance. Repentance sometimes comes off as a scary word. Repentance. Ooooo, he has to repent! Uh oh. You have to repent. But it's not a bad thing. The bad thing is when Satan can fool you into NOT repenting. The Savior has given us the opportunity to repent as a blessing. He didn't atone for our sins so that we could then have some dark and terrible punishment. It's a gift. Every person that has ever lived (excluding the Savior, of course) has to repent. Everyone. Heard a few wonderful talks this week. One was from Jack Christensen, a stake president. He said that after being called as a stake president, he needed the Atonement and repentance even more than he did before. Everyone needs it. Our Heavenly Father knew that we would all make mistakes. He knew we would have weaknesses to overcome. Look after all at Alma the younger and the sons of mosiah. They are referred to as the vilest of sinners! And look what they became? It's through the Atonement. We have to repent. We all have to change. Great talks from last conference come to mind. Heavenly Father knows we will stumble and fall sometimes. He cheers us on as we get back up and move forward. The important thing is that we do repent and that we don't put it off. Jesus Christ has given us this wonderful gift and we have to use it. Only through the Atonement and the process of repentance can we become clean and regain the presence of the Holy Ghost. We must use repentance to rid ourselves of the burden of sin. As we continually repent, we will have a peace come into our lives. We will see the blessings of the Lord. And we will come closer to our Heavenly Father and be more able to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Only then will we be able to receive all the blessings the Lord has for us and reach our full potential as sons and daughters of God. 

Someone is rambling. Can't imagine who. Hm. 

Anyways. It has been a good week over here. Let's see if I have any pictures for y'all. Haha, oh yes I do! Someone I know said they like a good sunset. So I got one of those for y'all. And then there is one of my comp. Haha, yeah, he's a goof ball. But we love him! And the housemates with us for the next pic. And the next pic. When you see that, you know what it means! Mom the missionaries are here! Ah, you guys aren't supposed to go swimming. Our wonderful crew of investigators at the church. Me and Elder Sojor eating some delicious food with our bakery family. A pic from FHE last night. Me helping sell pizza at Pizza Hut. Buy one take one. Can't beat that. And me and Elder Asetre being jeans models. Who knew?

Anywho, that's all I have for this week. Sorry the email is shortish, but the pictures below should make up for it, right? Have a wonderful week everyone!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pics for "Chocolate Cake"

07-08-13 "May We Have...The Chocolate Cake????"

Chocolate cake, coming right up!!! Wham, wham, wham!!! They were singing me praises!!!!!! "Dad is great! Gives us the chocolate cake!!!!" And we were having a ball! Until she came. "Where did they get chocolate cake???" And I said, "They asked for it!" And these wonderful children, who moments before had been singing me praises, lied on me!!! They said, "Uh uh!!!! We asked for eggs, bacon and milk and he gave us this!!!!" ---- Wonderful isn't it? I felt similar only yesterday, but we'll get to that later. 

This week was great! As all weeks happen to be. Secret to happiness; serve a mission. No, that's not even it. Secret to happiness restated; do missionary work. That's more like it. If you want to have your journal start every day saying, "Today rocked!" or "Today was soooo good!" or "What do you know, another solid day!" or something to that effect, just do missionary work. We talked about that last week, so I will assume you are all already all stoked and fired up to do missionary work! For us this week, it wasn't as successful as we'd like on the numbers side of the scale. But that's not very important. Ha, I don't think many of you have numbers to report on your missionary work anyway. But the sharing and talking and Book of Mormon giving and OYMing and what not; that side of the work was great. Yes. We did get punted our fair share this week. And then some. But no matter! We used that time to find other people who have been waiting for the gospel! What do you know, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Sometimes, His schedule is different from ours and although we may have thought that Suzy needed a lesson, we didn't know that her neighbor John was actually ready to be taught. The Lord just helps us adjust to His schedule. Pretty awesome eh? 

Funny story that just popped into my head, speaking of doing random sharing. I do like finding random service to give. It's a good way to meet people. Sometimes, it's not. All you do is try to follow Christ's example and give service when you can. This week we were late for a dinner appointment (never want to be late to THOSE appointments) and as we were walking, we saw a garbage truck that had died. Haha, oh were those men surprised when a white man all dressed up fancy and what not hopped in to help them push it. We didn't stay long enough to talk to anyone, but it was a good experience anyway. And it'll be great when some missionary some day finds a guy that wants to be taught that says, "Yeah, I met one of you guys before. He helped us push a garbage truck." Sweet! 

We also have been told to work more on trying to get into the richer houses. Those people have the means to actually get to church. And usually, they are the ones that become leaders. But, from the experience we've had, they usually are too busy to listen to us. It's way easier to teach the people with not much money. But, as we were taught, just because it's easier, does that make it the right thing to do? Ignore the rich because they are harder to teach? Sigh. No, I suppose not. After all, there are rich folk in the church here. How'd they get here? Missionaries. Blast. Guess we have to keep trying. So we knocked some rich houses this week. I admit, I'm nervous to knock rich houses. It's not as smooth or easy as poorer houses. And we don't have anything to show for it yet. Only places to follow up with. But hopefully we have good things come from that. I know that if that is what the Lord wants us to do, then we had best do it. We will find people. And we will be able to learn and grow in ways that we don't expect. So, we will keep ringing real doorbells! Yikes! 

You may be starting to think that I may not have kept a list of things to talk about again this week. Should that be the case, you are correct. Hehe. Oops. 

But I suppose I should go ahead and tell you about the whole Bill Cosby experience I had this week. So Saturday was temple tour. We have had two young men coming to church with us every week for about 2 months. They are solid. But we have a hard time teaching them often or quickly because they are really only available on sundays and they are super...mischievous? Anyway. So we took them to temple tour saturday. And we have a good time with these kids, they are fun. So anywho. Temple tour is a good experience. Funny stuff happened, but nothing more than the regular day. Didn't give a second thought. Sigh. Sunday rolls around. Fast sunday. Testimony meeting. One of my little champs gets up to bear testimony!! Sweet! We haven't talked about that! Still on lesson 3! But he gets up. Thinking, man this'll be sweet. About 3 minutes after that I wanted to sink into the floor and disappear. He says something to the effect of how it was fun and pretty and the elders were naughty and it was hot and how funny things happened. But they didn't sound that funny or good coming out of his mouth. And he got down from the stand. The congregation laughed the whole time. So these are the missionaries eh? Oh man, I was so glad that none of the other investigators decided to show up. It sounded terrible! Me and Bill Cosby probably felt very similar in that moment. 

But on a good note; we were able to teach their mom this week. And she is doing super super great! She is the bakery woman? I've talked about her before. Anyway. We've only taught her 2 or 3 times. But the lesson with her this week went very well. We just teach her at the bakery. And it's very loud and noisy and people come in and interrupt the lesson and she has to help them out. But even with all that, the Holy Ghost was able to testify to her as we taught. She felt as we talked that the church is true. It was super awesome to see the change come over her. Awesome awesome. She wants to come to church and keep learning. And she is very very interested in the temple. But, the bakery, is the issue at the moment. She and the papa man are always working at the bakery. So we are hoping to find a way around that. All on the Lord's time, eh?

Pics this week! Mainly of the district. First is me and the district after district meeting. Then, me and the boys chomping on some delicious seaweed! Then us at temple tour. Then the district again. And again this morning when we went bowling. Good time. Didn't make it above 100 though....don't ask. 

Anyway. The gospel is as true as ever. Heavenly Father loves every single one of us, despite our shortcomings and weaknesses. He is cheering us on and applauding every step we make in the right direction as we strive to come closer to Him and become more like our Savior. I testify that He also loves the sheep that are lost and He will help us as we seek them out and help them come unto Him. 

I love you all and hope you have an excellent week! 

Much love, 

Elder Christensen