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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!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pics for Good Ground

2013-12-09 Good Ground

Hello there my wonderful family. I swear to you that I was just sitting at this computer sending you an email yesterday. But somehow, another week has passed and I'm sure before we all know it, I'll be writing one again. It has been a good week. As usual. The teaching was better this week, which is always nice. 

Probably the most interesting thing that happened was that we ran into a white guy who is only 24, and living in our area. That doesn't happen often! He is from Bristol. Super nice guy. Very athiest. Which has been a bit of a challenge. I have never ever taught an athiest before. But it has made me so much more grateful to have the gospel in my life and all the blessings that come along with it. 

We had some awesome lessons this week with some wonderful people and the best part is, we had some awesome church attendance! Not super huge as far as the numbers go, but huge blessings for us. It is so awesome to watch people who are willing to follow the gospel as they change and receive blessings! Which reminds me of an interesting story from personal study. In Luke chapter 8, Jesus gives the parable of the sower. The seed falls into 4 different types of earth. Some by the way side, where it is eaten and stepped on and yields no fruit. Some on the rocks, which springs up quickly but then withers because there is no roots. Some in the weeds, where after springing up, they die because they are choked. And then, there is the seed that fell upon the good ground where it brings forth fruit. Now, you can read the parable for yourself and figure out all the symbolism there. But the question is; what type of ground are we? And how do we become the good ground? Anyone that has ever planted anything knows that you need good ground. Sometimes the ground is hard and has rocks and has weeds. But that doesn't mean you can't grow good fruit. You just have to prepare the ground first. And that, I think, is an important principle for us. If we want to yield good fruit, we have to prepare ourselves to receive the word. We have to prepare ourselves to follow the will of the Lord, whatever it may be. We prepare ourselves through every small decision that we make. And if we don't prepare ourselves to receive the word of the Lord, we won't yield fruit. We will see it as we are stopped in our progress. Helaman 3:5 tells us how we can prepare ourselves to receive the word of the Lord. I hope that we are striving constantly to prepare ourselves, that we may always receive guidance from the Lord and be ready to work and bring forth the fruits of it. 
One other thought was from Luke chapter 2. It's a simple thought. But Jesus tells his parents they should have known that he would be about his Father's business. With the new Work of Salvation being given to us, I hope that we see that we are expected to follow the Savior's example and strive to always be about our Father's business. 

Other than that, is just our adventure today. We went back to this old church thing that I visited when I was in training. And then we hiked to Wawa, which I've been to a few times. Our friend from Bristol came with us, which was awesome. It was an awesome adventure! I have included a few pictures. Enjoy them!

That's all! So take care of have an awesome week!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pics for "Thanksgivin'"

2013-12-02 "But honey, it's Thanksgivin'"!

Hey one and all! I hope you are doing super wonderful! That wonderful line I included in the subject shall be read with a heavy southern accent in order to appropriately bring the mood of the holiday into your heart! The Blindside was definitely in my head this week. Good movie. This may come as a bit of a shock, but I'm in a hurry today! So this will be, yet again, a quick email! (Joe Jr's still single) Shocker!! 

But lemme 'splain. No, there's too much. Lemme sum up. Man, I'm on a quote roll today. No thanksgiving pun intended. So today, we went out on the town. Why might you ask? Firstly, because it's p-day, so of course! But really because I had a special mission to accomplish. All foreigners (read Aliens on the paper I put my signature on) must have their fingerprints taken along with their mug shot before leaving the country. Why might you ask? No idea! But it was a little bit of fun to be an inmate for a day. Never something I'd want to repeat, but not bad just this once. So that is what we did. All of the missionaries leaving between now and when I go home. It was a big grand event! And then when it was all over, I had to travel home. And now, it is late and I most be going. But I figured if I skipped writing again, you might call down a famine on me or something to that effect. Wouldn't want that, so here you are!

Anyway. First things first, we had Thanksgiving dinner this week. Me and the Burgos Boys went all out! We bought steak which we marinated in a spicy barbecue sauce. We made 2 kilos of mashed potatoes. We had 2 kilos of yummy vegetables. We had gravy. Crystal lite! (light? eh, whatevs) And then, for dessert, we had a massive mango float! Check that out on google. It's delicious! It made for a wonderful thanksgiving. Pictures will be included. 

The teaching we were able to do this week was good. We are having some investigators progressing towards baptism, which is awesome! Just need some time to make it happen! 

Study this week. Had a lot of great studies! But one in particular. And I don't have time to get way into it. So you'll have to check it out. But I was reading in Mark 8. Jesus heals a man. Now, the restoring of sight and hearing are always interesting to me, but we'll have to get into that some other time. And the mode of healing in this interest is of particular interest, but once again, don't have time to go into it. Which is too bad, cuz that's the fun stuff. But what I will share is that Jesus didn't change the man's circumstances in life. Didn't make him rich, or give him a nice house. Didn't fix all his problems. He just gave him sight. Often times, I think when we have trials come our way, we pray that our Heavenly Father will take the trial from us. But that doesn't do us any good. We don't accomplish what we need to. We don't learn. Rather than taking the problem away, maybe we need to pray for our vision to be corrected, that we may see what the Lord would have us learn. See what he would have us do. I like the faith of the man in this story. His sight is not all perfect at the first. He could have freaked out and lost faith and hope. But he didn't. And then his vision was corrected. Then the blessings came. When we don't see the immediate blessings, or things just the way we want them, we can't freak out or lose our faith. If we continue, the Lord will always bless us and correct or vision and in the end, our faith can be strengthened.  I wish I could get more into it, cuz it was like having an apostrophe. Lightning, struck me brain and what not. But I guess that's for another day. I pray that we can all seek to have our vision corrected in our times of trail. 

Well, that's all for today. Being late and what not, it is high time for me to be going! Have a wonderful week!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for Fishes

2013-11-25 Fishes

Hey there everyone! Sorry about last week. And probably the week before. Ok, for the last little while. I'm getting way lazy at emailing. Ha, I almost didn't do the job this week. But here I am. And hopefully I'll get you something worthwhile.
The week has been a good one. We had transfers. My new companion is Elder Hendrickson. He is from Bear River or something like that from up somewhere near to Logan or Ogden or something to that effect. Haha, Northern Utah. He is cool. Really nice kid and a good missionary. Times here are going to be good. Elder Wu is still with us. They haven't yet made arrangements to take him away, so for now, we are three!!! Haha, never mind. Anyway, things are good though. We got a little bit killed on lessons this week. Just things not working out the way we would have like them to. But we were still able to do a lot. And church yesterday was awesome! Our actor made it to church for the first time ever and the ward did a great job fellowshipping him! Ok, that made him sound like he is an investigator. For the record, he is a less active. As in for the last 20 years or so. But his family are investigators. It was super awesome that he came! That was exciting. We also had some of our other investigators come. And we finally have some folks with baptismal dates that are progressing! Times here are being good to us. So that is very exciting.
In other exciting news, Pacquiao won his fight yesterday, so that was good. And all those who didn't come to church because of his fight will hopefully come next week!
Study was good this week. I was reading in Matthew and had an interesting thought. In Matthew 14, John the Baptist is beheaded. Upon hearing the news, Jesus kinda bounces out. He departs into a desert place. Sounds to me like he needed some time alone. But while he is there, all these people show up. And what does he do? Does he send them away? It would be understandable. Imagine you show up for hometeaching and they come out and say not today, my best friend just got beheaded. Yeah, that's understandable. Next time na lang. But that's not what the Savior did. Instead, he heals all of their sick. Then he performs a miracle and feeds them all. Then he goes into the mountain to pray. Now, that's all I really want to focus on, but in case you are wondering, he then walks on water and goes with his disciples to some other place where he heals all the folks who come to him. Very interesting. But what I like here are these two things; first, when we are having a hard time, serve others. We don't need to lock ourselves in our rooms and listen to emo music. we need to go and serve others. Turn the focus away from yourselves and focus on the needs of others and you will find a happiness will enter into your lives. There is a great talk from Elder Bednar about turning outward and focusing on others. Life changer. And secondly, when we have hard times, learn to pray. Turn to our Heavenly Father. We spend so much time with grief focusing on ourselves and how hard things are. That doesn't help us at all, but it does make us into mopey, self centered, very sad people. But if we will pray to our Heavenly Father, He can give us peace. He can help us to focus and accomplish the things that we need to. Anywho, I really liked the Savior's example in this chapter and found it something I could apply in my own life. I hope you can all do the same.

We had an awesome P-day activity today where we went to this cool resort and had fish eat at our feet. Some kind of crazy pedicure business. But it was awesome! I want to buy some of these fish! So that was awesome!
Pics. I'll get y'all a few from last week, since I skipped. And some from our resort place today. Didn't get any good pics of the fish eating our feet. But it was AWESOME! I also through in a pic from an appointment last night.
Anyway, that's all I have for this week. Sorry it's not that great. But have an awesome week! Take care!

Much love,
Elder Christensen

Pics for Already There

2013-11-11 I'm Already There

Hey all! So first things first, I am alive and dry and doing very well. That said, there are many who do not fit into 1 or more of those categories. So pray for the good people here. They for sure need it. 

We were really blessed. Up here around Manila, we didn't really see any effects of the storm. It didn't even really rain very much. So all the people in my mission and likely Quezon City and Manila missions are doing well. So well in fact that I haven't even heard all that much about the storm. I saw it on a lot of TVs that we passed. And we had warnings come through our mission president. But that's about it. I didn't see anything else til this morning when I passed some news papers. So you all probably know a lot more about it than I do even. But from the things I did read, things down south are not as good as things up north. Matt will have a lot of work to do when he gets into the field. Come ready to work son. The people who own the computer shop are pretty frantic right now. They are on and off the phone with family, trying to find out what's happening with their family members in Taclobon. It's pretty sad. I am guessing most of the Philippines is doing the same thing. Prayers folks. 

If anyone can guess where the subject line quote comes from, I'll be extremely impressed. And no using google, that's cheating. 

As for us this week. Things have been good. We had a lot of meetings and what not so we didn't get as much work accomplished as we'd like, but we still had huge blessings in our work! Haha, I guess you know about most of it though. I just remembered that we were here on Wednesday. Well, since wednesday....not all that much has happened. We had a big meeting on Friday, which limited our work. Wonderful message from our mission president. I will be much better at attending firesides and what not when I get home. I'm actually excited for things like that nowadays! Go figure! We were able to teach on Friday though and Saturday as well. And yesterday at church, we saw some fruits of our labors. It was the most people they have had in attendance in ages! The Lord is doing wonderful things in this stake. Our relief society presidency has caught on fire. They are out to bring everyone into the church, non-members, less actives and active folk alike! It's been great to see their enthusiasm for the work. And with the help of the stake leaders, our bishopric is starting to get a lot of good things organized and functioning as well. I'm excited for the progress we are seeing. I don't know if you have seen the work of salvation videos on lds.org, but we are reminded that this isn't our work but it is the Lord's work. I testify that when we do this work in the Lord's way, we will see the blessings of His hand in our work. The work will progress in ways it never could if we were doing it on our own and by our own methods. 

This week in my studies, I read Moroni 7. It's an incredible chapter, I suggest you all check it out. There are a lot of important things that Moroni talks about. But my favorite part was the final verse. Haha, actually, I suppose I won't even get into it really. Study it for yourselves and see what the Spirit teaches you. But it really brought home to me the importance of charity. And that's really what this work is all about. It's about loving the people. We have found that if we don't feel love for the people, we really can't teach them or help them in any way. But if we do love them, we will do all we can to help them learn of Heavenly Father's plan. We don't teach to tear down their faith or their churches. We don't get angry when they don't understand. I've seen the difference for those who teach out of love and those who teach for baptisms or to prove others wrong. The difference is incredible. Christ didn't teach to prove people wrong. He taught out of love for others. He always acted out of love for others. If we want to follow His example, we have to have charity for others. In order to have charity, we must be using the atonement and repenting so that we can have the Holy Ghost with us and so that Heavenly Father can bless us with charity. If you go into Moroni 7 and read about some of the parts of charity, you can see how encompassing it is of the attributes of our Savior. Looking at those, I realized that I have a hard time feeling any of those things when I don't have the Holy Ghost. Moroni says we also must pray to have this gift. So, I suppose that is what I would recommend to you all. Strive to develop charity and pray for Heavenly Father's help. As we do, we will come to love those around us in the way our Savior loves us and we will be able to help them in the way our Savior would have us help them. 

Anyway. Sorry, the thoughts are a little all over. The people on the phone kinda do that to you. But, looks like a good opportunity to share the gospel :)

Pics for this week are few. Ha, zero basically. I took some while Elder Wu and I were in a trike. That's all! Sorry!

Well, perhaps I'll have a better email next week? Haha, I'm really sorry, I seem to be getting worse and worse at emailing! Til next week! Take care!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for Sulit Ba

2013-11-06 Sulit Ba?

Haha, to be honest, I dunno if there is any point in writing an email this week. I'm super out of time! I'm getting pretty good at that. Today was temple day and then we added an adventure on too, so it kind of cut us short. And...of course, as always, I came unprepared and don't have much to share with you all. So all in all, I'm a bit of a palpak! My bad! Lemme see what I can do!

The week was incredible. Don't take a lack of things to share as a bad sign. It's been the best work I've had in a long time. Maybe ever. Elder Wu and I are seeing huge blessings in our work. We have been more willing than ever to open our mouths with everyone, and as such, we are finding a lot of people to teach. Huge blessings there! Opening our mouths can be scary sometimes, but if we just have faith and do it, the blessings will follow. Not everyone we talk to will want to listen, but I can tell you that if you never open your mouth, you will for sure not get anyone to listen. Blessings can only come if we will act in faith first. So that's been wonderful! 

We've also had good things happening with those we have already been teaching. People are getting more willing to act on the things that we commit them to, which in turn, brings blessings into their lives, making them and us happier! So it's a win win situation all around! And we've had wonderful experiences with being guided by the Spirit, both in lessons and in finding people. It's been just excellent work! 

We had a mission conference on Monday, which means we got to listen to our mission president just lay down the good word. That was amazing! I've said it before, but our mission president is incredible! I love the man! Very inspiring conference. 

And then, as I said, we got to go to the temple this morning, which was an incredible experience. I cannot even tell you how much I love going to the temple. It was an incredible learning experience. 

Pics. Simple. A family that we have been teaching. A picture of one of our district's Halloween district meeting. And then a picture of some of us at the temple this morning! 

I'm sorry, I forgot to bring any notes from study, and I'm a bit rushed. Next week, I will hopefully have something awesome for you. Suffice it to say, the church is true and brings our families blessings if we will only be obedient. Fact. I love you all! Have a super awesome week! Sorry for the slightly empty email, but I suppose you should be used to it by now! 

Much love, 

Elder Christensen

Pics for 10-28

2013-10-28 He forgot to name this one...

Hey all you folks!!! I'm sorry to tell you all again, but some folks don't know. But today is a holiday and also a day of voting. So there is no school and there is no work which means that all of the computer shops are completely packed! It has been a joke trying to find a computer to use. So we are late and very short on time. So the email today will be rushed and brief. Let's get a move on shall we? 

The teaching this week has been great. We are finding more members and more investigators to teach. We are really trying to focus on our active members and trying to get them involved in the work. We are starting to see signs of progress there. Slowly. Slowly. So very slowly! But progress is progress and I can't complain! 

The particular folks we have been teaching don't have any particularly great stand out moments that are popping into my head. But they are doing well. Haha, for the most part. On Wednesday, we did exchanges with one of our district leaders and his comp. I went with the district leader. Elder Wu stayed and worked in our area with the district leader's comp. They found a new investigator and gave her a baptismal date! We went back on Saturday where she promptly dropped us. That was a bit of a bummer. We will hopefully get her back. Just has some things to take care of first. She was a little taken off guard and didn't know what to do. But, she lives with an active family, so.....nowhere to hide. Ha, we sound more like assassins. Slaying souls with the word of God. In a good way. Jacob 2:8 style of course. 

But I am running short on time! Bilis!!! Ok. So interesting scriptures for the week. Alma 4:10&11. Sometimes the examples of the members can be great. But sometimes, it can be just the opposite. We've had members and missionaries that have had a negative influence on the people. I would pray that we evaluate ourselves and be sure not to be those people. Makes the work of salvation really difficult when we are out turning folks away from the church. 3 Nephi 17:7-9. Had some interesting thoughts and insights on healing. Physically and spiritually. But I'm not going to tell you about them! First on account of lack of time, second on account of study it and get impressions for yourself! The Holy Ghost is a wonderful teacher. Sorry that's not super helpful or very spiritually uplifting. But hopefully you will study those things and end up having good spiritual insights anyway. 

Pics! We had a man work with us that liked my camera. So he snagged some pics of me and the Wu man while we worked. I chat with a LOT of kids! Love em. And we played volleyball too. Some of my cool mates here in Montalbon. Burgos and Ampid. Whatevs. See em all all the time. And we went to the zoo today. Good time. I have an awesome zone. Good times indeed. Held a turtle. And some other stuff. So fun. But too many pictures. And don't worry! Immediately following the zoo, I got a haircut. I do look like a missionary again. 

Anyway, that's all for this week. We have got to be bouncing!! Love you all! Have a good week!!

Much love, 

Elder Christensen