Thursday, June 27, 2013

First full week at the Philippines MTC!

So this is my general letter to anyone who cares to hear!

Wow, so much has happened since I left! I suppose I should start at the beginning. I feel like I’ve been here for a month. In the Salt Lake airport I met up with Elder Armatage, from Alpine, Sister Thomas, from Lehi, and Sister Tui'one, from South Jordan. I was so happy to have them as traveling companions, and they're all going to Angeles with me once we're out of the MTC! 

When we got to Tokyo our flight was delayed, which in turn meant we were late getting picked up from the airport...AKA no one was there to pick us up! After standing around for a while looking Elder Armatage and I went through the crowds looking...we tried calling the driver...we didn't have the MTC number or anything and our calling cards did not work in the Philippines...So yeah, we eventually took a cab. He charged us ignorant Americans a lot, but hey, it was worth it to get to our hotel. Oh yeah, hotel, by the way, means some (very nice and air conditioned) huts. Interesting. 

The Elder's hut was already inhabited by Elder Naulu, from Australia but full bred Tongan. Elder Mo'unga joined us later, who ended up being my companion at the MTC. We talked about everything from sports to politics until about we got three hours of sleep that night.

`Brandon w/his comp, Elder Mo'unga,
Quickly about Elder Mo'unga: Elder Spinder once described his companion as "Diggy Nice". Well I have lucked out in the same way. He is so nice and courteous and just freaking hilarious. He is also from New Zealand, so his accent is 
prime! I love him so much, and he is quickly becoming one of the best friends I've ever had. We lie in bed talking every night. He has been a true blessing in my life here.

Ok! Back to the story. On our way to breakfast in the morning we noticed there was a monkey on a jungle gym type we obviously went over to it...It had a chain around its neck. As I got there it leaped out, made eye contact with me, arms and fingers extended towards my face with its evil little mouth wide open to bite. Thankfully, the chain got him...I have a new opinion of monkeys.

We arrived at the MTC, which was a miracle considering how the people drive here.
The Philippines MTC
I have been loving the MTC! The constant spirit here is an absolute blessing! I am now a District Leader for Jacob District, which consists of Elder Mo'unga and me, Sister Rae and Sister McKim, my favorite Aussies, and Sister Tongaoivie and Sister Aii and Sister Pae'tou, all Polynesian.

So I'm running out of time because of all the letter's I've read, so I'll just give some highlights from my MTC experience. I am learning the language! I know basic sentence structure and vocab, and I can pray and testify and teach in tagalog now! It's hard to hold a conversation, but I have faith that will come. We had to teach an investigator our first day here...which was insane. We had no idea what to say. We thought we had a good plan going in, but we understood one word she said: Problem. But we couldn't help was awful! The investigator was played by a teacher, but the feelings were real. We got better as we taught her, and our last lesson with here was actually successful.

I also gave my first blessing here! Sister McKim asked for one because she wasn't handling the food well. The spirit put words in my mouth! I'm not kidding! It was amazing! And she got better! That’s another thing, the food is phenomenal here! I love it! Except for the past few days my stomach has kinda been upset...but it’s not that bad, I have it pretty easy anyway!

Basketball courts at the Philippines MTC!
The basketball is awesome; I play every day and sometimes two times a day! They're definitely good here, but I can hold my own! 

Sorry I'm just out of time...I need to figure out how to use this email time wiser!

All my love from the Philippines,

Elder Christensen

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Safe arrival in the Philippines!

June 20, 2013
Dear Family,

I have arrived safely in the Philippines MTC! It is hot and muggy! To sum up how I am feeling...overwhelmed. I am so white and clueless...I'ts pretty bad. But hey, I'm here to be trained! I already have had multiple adventures, one of which includes a monkey trying to attack me! 

I do not have tons of time now, they have us on a pretty tight schedule. I will email you more on Wednesday! I love you all so much, and miss you tons.

Elder Christensen