Monday, August 5, 2013

Out to the field!

 Here's my big update:

Hey Everybody!

As a kid, I watched Veggie Tales. During the one about Dave and the Giant Pickle, Larry the cucumber asks Bob the tomato, “Bob, what are the Philippines?” I ask myself that question every day.

I am a real missionary now! Out in the field and everything! I’m so psyched! I’ll start from the beginning: Leaving the MTC was super hard. I miss my MTC family like crazy! It was like leaving my family all over again. The night before during the farewell meeting was sad to say the least. Me and my kasama had a cry-like-a-man moment. Anyway, saying goodbye was super hard.

 We were trained at the mission office and had a delicious dinner at the mission home. I love my mission prez! And his wife is unbelievably nice! I wish I could see them more!  We slept at the AP’s apartment, and I decided I want to be like Elder Palmer, as HE IS THE MAN! He is a great example.  We met our new companions the next day, and then got on the road.
Brandon with President and Sister Martino

 My companion is Elder Lungay, who might be the most loving kid I’ve ever met. He loves everyone, and is never ashamed of himself or the gospel.  We get along great! We have a lot in common as well, and he has really been helping me in Tagalog! 
Brandon and his trainer, Elder Lungay
I also got to see Elder Weitzel, which was amazing! So great to see a face from home!!! I met Elder Jacobs, my cousin Brian’s friend, who now has a Filipino accent when he speaks English! It gave me hope for this language! Notwithstanding all this, I was very sad whilet traveling to my area, San Jose Ward 2 in the San Jose Zone.
Brandon's 1st are:  San Jose in the Nueva Ecija province

When we got to our apartment we had a short comp study then went out to work. I was super sad still. However, we taught one lesson and the spirit was so strong and I loved it! Best part of that day for sure. The next day was the LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE. My kasama is the district leader, and he had this meeting in some other zone that he had to go to, so me and this elder from my batch were put together for the day. I didn’t know the area; I didn’t know the language, so my kasama said it was ok to just sit in the apartment and study. Which is what I mostly did. IT LASTED FOREVER. I was super sad most of that time too. It’s hard to forget yourself and go to work when I don’t know how to work! If you know what I mean. We then had companionship study where we studied our purpose as missionaries. That’s when a fundamental truth I needed that day hit me: It is all worth it. No matter what I go through, or how tough it is, IT IS ALL WORTH IT. No matter how much I miss the MTC or my family IT IS ALL WORTH IT! That gave me great hope. We then went out to try some OYMs, which didn’t go terribly! My Real Kasama came back, and we taught more lessons.

 Saturday wasn’t standard either, as we had a zone conference. I like my zone! A lot of cool people in there! And Sister Foukimoana, from my class at the MTC, is in my district! So I’ve seen her a few times. It’s great to see a face from my time at the MTC. We taught more that day…one lesson we accidentally ran into a funeral service! But it was ok, because we got to share a brief message with everyone there! One guy kept calling us out for paid ministry and we tried to explain what we do, but he just wanted to argue, so we dropped it!

 It amazes me how much I have. Even my apartment here, which is not what I’m used to to say the least, is incredible compared to some of these homes. My first Sunday was good! I met the bishop, who is the man, as well as the other members of the ward. They are all great; I just wish more would come to church. Apparently there are 1000 less actives in our area alone…we got work to do! We went around with the ward mission leader Brother Arthur and taught lessons to people not living in San Jose City, but out by the rice fields.
Nueva Ecija is called the Rice Granary of the Philippines
 The kids there treat me like an all-star! It’s fun! Well that’s about all I’ve been doing. I love teaching! Which is good, because that’s all I will be doing every day for the next 22 ½ months! I love being a missionary!

Mahal ko kayo!

--Elder Christensen

More Pictures!
Brandon's batch of missionaries entering the mission on 7/31/13
Elder Christensen and Elder Armatage say goodbye to their suitcoats for 2 years!  They leave them in the mission home until after their mission!
Brandon and fellow missionaries at his 1st transfer meeting

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