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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, August 27, 2013

Pics for "Move out"

08-27-2013 "I said, MOVE OUT!"

Mulan folks. I know. You were scratching your heads. But as you may know, transfers are upon us. And thus, the quote. Yes, I am bouncing e'rbody! But we'll get there. Today's email will probably be short, cuz I also need to move out of this computer shop. It's time to go! So let's hop to business!

This week was awesome! We started the week with some crazy rain. And as such, everything flooded! It just kept raining and raining! We got word from the area presidency that we were not to go out and work but that we should stay in. Poo. So we did. We spent two days inside. That put a bit of a damper on the work. But when we got back out, we went at it with a vengeance! It was still way tricky cuz we had to stay out of the flooded areas (which was most of our area), but we found plenty of work to do. We were still able to have a lot of success this week. We found a bunch of new investigators. Tons of very good potential investigators. Just lots of good things! The work here is going so well!!

Saturday we had the baptism for the Durado family. The mom and her two sons were baptized. It was so sweet! It was a stake baptism, so we had lots of candidates. President Sperry came and spoke. All in all, it was a very special experience. I'm so happy for my little bakery family and the changes they've been making! The dad does not want to be left out! He is all ready to be taught! Ha, he has started setting the appointments with us and not the other way around! It's awesome. 

Then we had transfer announcements. I am out! Headed back to Montalbon, my first zone! I am sad to be leaving this ward. I love the ward here and the people we have to teach! Crazy how fast the time is flying! It seems like I just got here. But I am excited to be headed back to Montalbon. If I had to transfer, that's a pretty good place to go. My new companion will be an American. It's his last transfer. So you know that we are going to kill the work over there! So, it's been a busy day trying to get everything ready for me to go and the new elder to come here to Valenzuela. I'm so glad for the things that have happened here in this ward. For the lives I've seen change. I know this gospel is true. Living it is the only way to find happiness in this life and eternal happiness in the life to come. There is no other way. I'm so glad to be a part of sharing that wonderful blessing with others! Folks! Serve missions! It's the best!

But I'm out of time! Must be running! Still lots to do before I head out tomorrow morning! But first, pics!

Loads of pics. As in literally, a few hundred pics this week. So I can't even begin to send everything. But a few of the flooding. After we were allowed back outside. So it was way down. But still flooded! And then our sweet baptism!!! Us with our district right after our last district meeting. Boy are we going to miss our little zone leaders! One of me and my snake friend. DON'T LET G-MA SEE! A picture of the Costales clan at FHE. They threw us quite the going away party.  And then a pic of me and Elder Bustillo (also transferring) and two of the coolest members ever! It's just a sample. Sorry, I can't send em all. But no worries. We will have TONS of pics to look at when I get home! But that's all for now!!\

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for "Bawal"

08-19-2013 Bawal Umihi Dito

Hello everyone! I hope I find you all happy and smiling and enjoying yourselves some cheesecake. Don't ask why. But that would be wonderful and I do believe that you would all enjoy this email more should you be doing the above mentioned things while you are at it. Also, don't worry about the subject line. Just a sign that we see all the time. Funny thing is kung walang sign, pwede! Grabe talaga! Kahit saan! Just makes me laugh. Anyways. Game! 

This week has been awesome. Elder Jensen and I are going to have to take a few days off work to construct ourselves a rowboat. Not exactly the ark by any means, but at least a rowboat. It has been raining and raining and raining! I'm convinced the Lord is ready to cleanse the wickedness from the Philippines and is about to flood us all. Maybe. Joke about the boat. But we have been loving it. Two missionaries walking down the road through puddles in the rain are about as happy as 5 year olds at a carnival. It's wonderful! Some of our area is pretty prone to flooding so that gets interesting as well. But lets talk about the week, shall we? 

Maybe first, lets just talk about the fact that we had a baptism! Sister Renalyn was baptized this week! It was wonderful! She was so ready! And she bore a sweet testimony after. The Holy Ghost was testifying to everybody. It was awesome! She has been pretty sick too. But she came and got baptized anyway. She is awesome! But yesterday was stake conference, so it's one of those weird ones where she has to wait til next week to get confirmed. Oh well! Gives reason to celebrate!

We also taught Durado a few times this week and got them all prepared for their interviews which they had yesterday. We will have 3 more baptisms next week! We just need to help their dad get baptized and then get them all focused on the temple! We are so excited for them! 

We have two other investigators that have been doing awesome. Finally got them baptismal dates. But neither of them were at church yesterday, so, we will have to see. 

We have a teacher that has been giving us tons of referrals. He introduces the church a little to his students and then gives them to us. He always opens his classes with a prayer and a spiritual thought. This week, he invited us to come give his spiritual thought. So we did. And we got a bunch of referrals and people that wanted us to come teach them. On Thursday, we headed out to the hardest part of our area to find a bunch of those referrals. We asked EVERYONE for help finding them. Seemed like no one knew any of them or where their address was. It was a bit disappointing. But that day ended all good because we ended up randomly running into an investigator that we teach at the church. We had no idea where their house was. But we found them and were able to teach them and their family. And then, we got into a LA's house that has never let us in before. They started coming to church two weeks ago and are way excited to come back! Thank goodness for visiting teachers! But we went back to find those referrals on Saturday. It took a lot of asking, but we went straight and found two in a row. Good lessons, good investigators. And then we were able to just talk to a ton of random people because we were asking around so much for directions. Never had so much success in that part of our area. So it was an exciting turn of events! We will be spending a lot more time there! 

Elder Jensen and I have been putting in some study in Revelation. There are a lot of blessings promised to those who overcome. Which leads to the question, what does it mean to overcome? I see it as withstanding temptation, repenting, and enduring to the end. Rev. 7:14 says, "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Amidst the temptations of satan, we are in tribulation. Our giving in to temptation causes us grief and sorrow or tribulation. We have to overcome all of that and wash our robes. Coming out of tribulation and washing our robes takes action. We will not be brought out of tribulation and our robes will not be washed by another. Sometimes, we expect the Heavenly Father will just make our lives good for us. There are even some who assume that their sins have been "taken care of" and that all they need do is enjoy life. The whole eat, drink, and be merry philosophy. But that is not the case. If we want to enjoy the blessings reserved for those who overcome, we have to act. We have to change. We have to follow the Savior's example. In 3 Nephi 27:21 he says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do". It is my prayer that we will all seek to keep our robes clean through the Atonement. We don't re-wear stinky and dirty clothes, and as such, when our spirit becomes dirty, we need to wash it. We must always seek to be coming better, cleaner, and closer to our Heavenly Father. To do the things He would have us do. In Matthew 7:21 the Savior says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven". I hope that we will all strive to keep our robes clean through the blood of our Savior and seek constantly to do the will of our Father. 

And on to our pics for the week! Last P-day, we discovered that our wonderful zone leaders had never tasted smores. WHAT?! So, we decided to correct this wicked tradition of their fathers. And that we did. We bought the needed materials and cooked em up over the stove!!! It was delicious! And I may be a little overboard on the pics there. But they were good! Then a pic of my comp and I after we taught the spiritual thought for the school with our nearly empty box of BoMs! Then us with some kids that we love to play with. And a pic of our baptism!!! Woohoo! Me and one of the bakery kids out and about taking a look at one of those signs I mentioned earlier. Ha, us and a cute little girl that we talked to in a random alleyway. This morning, we stopped in at a little place by the church to play badminton. The whole zone came. It made for a good morning. Good exercise for this fatty. Alright, that's it! That's all! 

Thanks everyone for the support! I love you all and hope you are just rocking things!! Have a great week!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for "Vacuum Cleaner"

08-12-2013 "You're dumping me? For a vacuum cleaner???"

Jared's girlfriend is engaged! Oh congratulations pal! Oh no, not to him! Haha, no idea why, but that line came into my head. I figured it'd look nice on the top. And funny story, actually fits in with this week's happenings. But we'll get to that later!

Let's start with Renalyn. Ah, blessed day! Renalyn is awesome! She is the one we taught back in the day that moved away and then just moved back. We checked with her about how the lessons had been taught and how her understanding was and what we still needed to teach. She is so solid! So ready to get baptized! We set a date for 2 weeks from now, but she said she wanted to get baptized sooner! Ha! Fine by me! So we have her set for this Friday! Interviews are finished and she is good to go! I could not be more excited! And she and her husband got all married up back in April (I probably sent pics, it was the wedding we had about my first week in the area), so about a year from now, they can be all married up in the temple!! Sweet? I think yes! But, there is a sad side to this story. I don't know that this ever happens in real life. Maybe in the movies. And definitely in jokes. In fact, I remember one from Brian Reagan about it. There is no forgiveness when you ask a woman what month her baby is due....when she's not pregnant. AHHHH! "Ah, the pandas at the zoo! They are havin a baby....". Oh man. Yeah, my face is usually pretty red cuz we spend some good time in the sun. But it went far more red. They told me back before they moved that she was pregnant, so with that thought randomly coming back to my memory, I asked when it was due. I was met with blank stares. Oh snap. Um, the baby? You told me back in the day....Thankfully, the husband remembered. Didn't help the situation though. He said, "Ah yeah, that was just a false alarm. This though, (tapping his wife's belly), this is just fat." Please, let me sink into the floor. Didn't happen. But there was something that did make me feel better. Heard a woman at church yesterday make the same mistake. Sigh. Not one of my finer moments.

Our bakery woman and her children are also progressing right along schedule. Should all go well today, (knock on wood). Name it. Should all go well this week, they will be baptized next Saturday. So we could have baptisms two weeks in a row! Life is just going well! Their family is doing sooo good! We haven't taught the dad yet. Super nice man, but so busy with the bakery. I asked him the other day about coming to church with his fam. He said, sure, but that he'd have to find someone to take over while he was gone. I mentioned he could also just close. He said, "For an hour?" I mentioned that's not quite what I had in mind. He laughed and joked, "Ha, what, the whole day?" He quieted down quickly when he saw in my face that is exactly what I had in mind. But the next day when we were teaching his wife outside the bakery, I heard a man come and ask for something and then say, eh, nevermind. Just get it tomorrow, to which he replied, ah, you won't be able to. We won't be opening tomorrow. WHAT?! Sweet!!! And they didn't. They all came to church together yesterday! It was awesome! I'm very excited for them.

We are also teaching this other wonderful couple. Man's name is Jerald and his wife's name is Che. She is a LA (active when she was a kid but then they moved to the city and she never went back). He is catholic. But we have had 2 really good lessons with them. He is a good father, honestly searching for the truth. And he is making wonderful progress. They came to church yesterday too. We are super excited for him.

We did have some sad news this week. We have been teaching a woman named Jen. The missionaries started teaching her before I got here. She has made some wonderful progress since I've been here. Came to church for about 6 weeks. Went to temple tour with us. Has been living the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. Reading the scriptures. Got an answer to prayer that our church is true. We were talking with her about baptism. She said she does not want to be baptized. She knows it's true, but she doesn't want to change churches. She actually only even listened to us because the woman she works for told her she had to. We asked if she really had received an answer that the church was true. She said yes, but she still didn't want to change. With no desire to be baptized, we can't help her progress. She thanked us for the lessons but didn't want us to come back. It was so sad! It is hard to be rejected. But it is so much harder when someone has been changing and knows that what you are teaching is true but still rejects you. We were so bummed for her and for all the blessings she will give up. We invited her to keep reading and praying and to let us know if she changes her mind. But for now, we are dropped. Or in other words, dumped. We were feeling a little low in spirit as we left. And to make matters worse, the tatay chewed us out for issues that weren't our fault. Kind of like being kicked while you were down. Was a tough night indeed. But! There are still more people to share with. And we can only hope that the Spirit will get the better of her eventually and she will accept the gospel.

We also cooked the best missionary cooked meal of my mission this week. Steak, real mashed potatoes, gravy, and some steamed up vegetables. It was divine. But you'll see pics of that later.

We had zone conference! It was incredible! I won't go there, cuz I don't have time. But zone conference is a wonderful time for the mission president to just heap the spirit on the missionaries. I love it! Also, there was a talk shared from Sister Sperry that you might want to check out. It's called, "And Nothing Shall Offend Them" by Elder Bednar. Pretty awesome. Look it up!

The thought for this week came this one night when Elder Jensen and I were about ready to head home for the evening. One of my most commonly used sayings is, "It's a sick world we're living in". Yep, Jingle All the Way. But we say it all the time. Whenever we see something gross, or wrong, or just completely sinful. Sad thing is we find ourselves saying it way too much. This one night, we had just noticed a lot of such things all right in a row. Kind of weighed on us a bit. Found a scripture. Moses 7:26, "And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced." It just made me think of how filthy the world is at this time. Satan is definitely putting in some overtime. It's very sad. So we all see the filthiness being spread. That is quite apparent. But what is this chain that he is using to spread darkness? Alma 7:15 reads,"Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction". It is our sins that binds us down and lets darkness be spread. When we live in sin, or show others that they should sin, we become bound down in sin and we spread that blackness to others. 2 Nephi 26:22,"and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever." The devil is very crafty. He leads us carefully. He encourages us to spread that darkness carefully. And therefore, as it said in Moses, it covers the whole earth. So how do we shake off those chains and stop the spread of darkness? 2 Nephi 9 has that for us. Verse 45 says,"O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation." We break free when we come unto Christ and use his atonement. We help others when we show a good example and teach them how to come unto Christ and use His atonement. One of my favorite verses is 2 Nephi 26:25 which says,"Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price." The Atonement is for all. Only through the atonement can we become clean and help others to become clean also. Only through using the atonement can we break down Satan's power on the earth. The atonement is a wonderful gift that can't be bought with money. It is bought with a willing heart and spirit. It is bought when we are willing to change ourselves and do only those things that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father. We literally rid the world of darkness through letting our good example be seen. 3 Nephi 18:24,"Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold uphat which ye have seen me do." I pray that we can all hold up a good example to others, and help them find the wonderful gift of the atonement, that we may rid the world of darkness. For a good example, maybe check out Alma 19:6. Can't go wrong with the sons of Mosiah.

Anywho. Time for pics! I promised pics of our timtams adventure. So I got some of those. A couple pics of us demonstrating how it is done. Then a group shot, just to show we are having a good time. And then, how good are timtams? The pic of my comp shows it all. Face of pure joy. They are THAT good! A picture of us with our bakery woman and her husband. They are some wonderful people! I hadn't realized how small they were til we looked at the picture. Man. She has a "presence". Makes her seem a few feet taller. Then some pics of our DELICIOUS meal! Food Fact of the Day: Steaks can be cooked in a frying pan. Fact!! Oh the things you get to try on a mission! And one last pic just so you can see how much I enjoyed the food. THAT much. As you can see, not only are we living it up, but we are very thoroughly enjoying it all! Life as a missionary is THAT good! I'm sorry, I don't know what's up the 'that' in all caps all the time. Just sort of happened. I blame the water.

Well folks, I hope you are all doing so super good! Keep it real this week! Have an excellent week and study your scriptures!

Much love,

Elder Christensen

Pics for "Magic"

08-05-2013 What is this magic?

Name it folks. I brought that up on Elder Jensen as a surprise but he got it! The man is a professional. For those of you who didn't get it right off the bat, I'm sorry. You fail. But don't worry. No one is perfect. But here it is. Harry Potter. Yes. The first one. Professor Q. I won't even attempt to spell his name. He's got quite the growth though in the back of his head. Yep, it's that. Anywho. On this end this week, we've pretty much been doing magic. And not only the little tricks for kids. But magic magic. Or you could just say it was a magical week. Or in other and more appropriate words, we have been super very extremely blessed this week by our Heavenly Father. It has been wonderful. How you might ask? Hold your horses! I'm getting there! Game!

So to start all things off. I may have mentioned that we've been teaching loads of teenagers. There is a teacher that is a member that has been referring his students to us. They show up to the church and we teach them. It's awesome! Well, this week, he gave us an even better one. The other teacher that works with him! Smart women. Open to be taught. So we started teaching her this week. We were telling her about families and why they are important. She said, "Yeah, they are. Too bad it's only til death do us part." Wait wait wait, hold up. WHA?? Me and Elder Jensen just looked at eachother with big old grins on our face. Can you have a better opening line than that? I would like to submit that you can not! So we got right down to business and corrected that wonderful mistake. Woohoo! She was VERY interested with what we told her. We are very excited for her. We'll see how that goes!

Sister Durado. Yes, she's becoming quite the regular here. She's awesome! Super solid! So, we taught her LOC and WOW and 10 commandments. They were all super solid because she is so willing to follow and live what she is taught. She is awesome. Now, they own a bakery, which has caused problems with church attendance up until the last two sundays. She had come one sunday. And then we were asking her how it went and if she would be coming again. She said, no, because her husband wanted to come. So instead, they would just switch off every week so that they could attend church and still have someone to stay and run the bakery. We obviously were a little disappointed. She asked what else we could do? We were prompted to change our lesson plan and go ahead with 10 commandments. When we got to the fourth, she stopped and said, "Ok". We asked if she understood. She said yes. Then we asked what she would do. She said she supposed they would have to close down on Sunday. We were so excited! She said, "What? Am I above the commandments? No, and so therefore, I must follow them." We promised her that if they did do those things, they would make up for that day in the other 6 days of work so that it would not affect their family. She is soooo willing to change and do what is right! It's been very inspiring to me. I don't think I've ever met someone so willing to change immediately whatever they are doing to put their life in order. No excuses, no rationalizing. I realized I can probably do even better in my life! If everyone were as willing as she were to follow every commandment with exactness, every word from the prophet, I think we would all find the blessings and hand of the Lord much more abundantly in our lives. I hope we can all do better with following counsel given to us, whatever it may be. You probably already have, but if not, check out the mormon message from Elder Christofferson about the Will of God. Very good. 

We have a less active that introduced us to her Catholic husband about 2 weeks ago. Our first lesson went very well and he seemed very interested. You can typically tell when someone is actually interested and willing to try what you are giving them. This man seemed for real. We didn't see them last week. But we taught them again this Saturday. It was a very good lesson. He had lots of questions and understood as we taught. The Holy Ghost was very present and the key factor in helping him understand the message we had. He has a family and is very interested in their well-being. At the end, we invited him to pray. It was very sincere and we could once again feel the Holy Ghost very strongly as he prayed. We are very excited for this family! I love teaching families and seeing the blessings of the gospel start to work in them! It's been the ultimate blessing for my family and it is such a blessing for me to be able to share that with others and watch them receive the same blessings!

Also, way back in the day. When I first got here, we were teaching a girl named Renalyn Pacamara. She just married a young man from a very good family in our ward. She is catholic. We started teaching her and at first she wasn't getting the answer she wanted, although she enjoyed our teaching. Then one day, she shared with us a very special dream in which she got just the answer she wanted. We were so excited! We had a baptismal date that was quickly approaching. But then, they ended up getting kicked out of the parents house. They moved about 14 hours away to the province. Goodbye Renalyn. But, we did receive word that they found the missionaries there and that the lessons were continuing. Her husband even became the teacher for the gospel principles class. Anywho, the excitement comes from when we walked into them last night!! They are back to live with his parents again. Her baptism was scheduled for next week and so she is still an investigator. And so we will be once again teaching her and help her receive the ordinance of baptism! I am sooo excited for them and the progress they have made! We are just getting blessings about as quick as the letters shooting out the chimney in Harry Potter. It is insane and awesome! I am so glad I'm a missionary!

We unfortunately did receive one of the worst excuses this week for not being able to attend church. Not being able to get out of bed before 2 oclock church when you live down the street? We were so bummed. As well as some of our investigators are doing, some people just don't get it! It really is soooo sad when you want to share so badly the gospel blessings with others and they think it's great, but they truly just don't understand. In that sense, missionary work is also very hard. 

President Sperry shared a scripture story with us this week found in Luke 14: 27-30. It raises the question would any of us start to build a tower, without first sitting down and counting the cost? Of course not! How sad it is for anyone that does. All those who pass will say this is the man that started a tower and could not finish. Sometimes, we or those we know are like the man in the story. We have begun the wonderful journey of discipleship. We study and learn and find that the gospel is a good idea. But perhaps we set about building without counting the cost. Some of us get along in the journey of the gospel and find that the cost is more than what they thought it would be. Maybe there are things they have to give up, which they don't think they can live without. Whatever the reason, they leave the work they have started. We have to understand the cost of discipleship. What does it cost? In all honesty, it costs everything. The scriptures say we must offer our whole souls as an offering. That includes all of our desires, passions, and habits. Whatever they may be. Our music, our movies, our sunday activities, our tithes and offerings, our word choice, our sins and our pride. We must be willing to give it all up and follow the Savior. For some, that is too much. As with the young rich man that came to the Savior and asked what he was lacking. He was instructed to sell all he had and follow the Savior. This man went away sorrowing. He did not count the cost of discipleship. We must be as Peter who says that they gave up their all to follow the Savior. I hope that we will count the cost and not be surprised when trials and hardships come our way. The road was not an easy journey for the Savior, so how can we expect it to be easy for us? I pray we will be willing to give our all. 

On the bright side. We discovered a wonderful treat this week. Elder Jensen introduced our apartment to it. They are called Timtams. They are this delicious little chocolate wafer cookie. Now, I know, you've all had delicious chocolate wafer cookies before. But these are different. You eat them with hot chocolate. You stick the one end of the wafer into the chocolate and then suck like you are using a straw. The hot chocolate seeps up through the cookie making a goopy delicious mess that you stick in your mouth. Besides being deliciously yummy, they are just beyond crazy fun to eat! Oh man! You had best believe when I get home we are doing it. It's not quite as good as gospel blessings, but it's a good enough blessing that I will definitely be sharing it! We are doing it again tonight and this time, I will get pictures. 

Speaking of pictures, they are a bit on the super lame side this week. Ha, sorry! I will do better next week. We've just been soo busy working! But here's what we have. My companion, Elder Jensen, hit his six months mark, so we set about burning one of his ties. Good time. But for some weird reason, I kind of look like the joker in all these pics. There is this weird shadow going on around my mouth. I dunno. It may just be my inner creep coming out, excited by the flames. Don't judge. And um, yeah, that's pretty much it. I got a picture of us here in the computer shop just because pics were so lacking. It's pretty empty in here today. Kinda of nice. Not so many bad words being shouted across the room. But sorry for the lameness of the pics! Next week. Maybe they will be better. Cross your fingers or something. 

Anyway, that's all I have! I hope you are all doing super good! Have a wonderful week! Love you all tons!!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen