Sunday, November 17, 2013

"I love this life, this work, and this gospel"

Hello world!

So, this week was absolutely crazy. The news is covered in pictures of Yolanda aftermath…So yeah, they need prayers down there in Visayas.  (Note: In the Philippines they refer to Typhoon Haiyan as “Yolanda”.  Also, the major islands of the Visayas are Leyte (where Tacloban is), Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Samar)   I can't even imagine what they (the Tacloban missionaries) had to go through. We pray for them all the time, of course.

 As far as my week goes, it started out with being woken up in the middle of the night to go cast a spirit out of the sister missionaries’ apartment. My companion was the one who commanded it to leave, and there was a peace afterwards, so I think it worked! 

On Wednesday, after being punted from our first two appointments, I felt to visit a house we had never tried before. It ended up being a part member family where the Dad is less active, but wants to come back to church. It was so cool! Thursday we were able to set a baptismal date with an investigator that has been being visited by the missionaries since May, so that’s exciting! We taught some good lessons, and had a new referral! The work just keeps getting better and better in my area. I really want to spend Christmas here, but transfers are on the 5th of December (Happy Birthday Ashley!) and I don’t think I’ll stay another transfer.
Brandon with the pet monkey of one of the families he is teaching!
Well, some pretty intense disobedience was discovered in one of the houses in our zone, so the Zone leaders went on 4 day exchanges to try to help the situation until today, Monday, which is sort of a transfer day. See, we have 15 missionaries coming from the Tacloban mission, which has shut down because of the typhoon. So, earlier some of the elders involved in the disobedience were transferred, and will later on today be replaced with some missionaries from Tacloban.

Busload of 16 Tacloban missionaries arrive in the Angeles Mission!
President Martino greets the Tacloban missionaries that will now serve the rest of their missions in the Angeles Mission, since the Tacloban Mission was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  The rest of the Tacloban missionaries were reassigned to the other 8 missions in the Luzon region of the Philippines

 There was a chance that my companion would become a Zone leader and I would get a new companion, but our companionship ended up not being affected. And now our house is back to normal, Me, Elder Olila, Elder Owen, and Elder Iligan. I love our house, especially since we’re all trying to have the spirit. We’re not perfect, but we are all trying to be obedient, and I didn’t realize how much of a blessing that was until this week. 
 I also have been able to not only remember things I need to repent for to better align my will with God, but I have been able to identify areas that I need to improve--specifically, humility and patience when working with members. The members here are very active with missionary work and sometimes give up to 12 hours a week working with us. Some don’t teach exactly how I would hope they would, but that’s ok! I don’t know if I would give up my whole Saturday to work with missionaries before my mission. The Lord has a way of showing us what we need to improve on, but my problem is sometimes I don’t take it as something I need to fix in myself but as something others need to fix. But I guess it’s just a process.

So, now to the REALLY good part, On Saturday, both Jasmine Leal Yasay, 12, and Anhelyn Ramos Valiente, 31, were baptized!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!       
At the baptism of Sister Valiente (left) and Jasmine (right)
 Oh it was so great! Though it wasn’t the plan, I was blessed to perform the baptisms for both of them. It was so amazing. Afterward, Sister Valiente bore her testimony. She is the mother of a recent convert, and she told how as a parent, she usually tries to be a good example. But in this instance, her daughter was the best example she could have had. She bore testimony how the gospel has changed her daughter, herself, and their family. She said it’s like they’re never mad anymore. She said that Klaryl, her 9 year old daughter, when asked what she wanted, used to say a big house and a car. Now, she says she wants to serve a mission. She has one of the most amazing testimonies I have ever heard in my life. She KNOWS this is true. I have been so blessed to have shared what I believe with her. The next day at church, she simply radiated.

I love this life, this work, and this gospel. There is no greater confidante than our Father in heaven. There is no greater friend than our Brother, Jesus Christ. There is no greater companion than the Holy Ghost.  My last thought is here in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. Become reconciled, Become a new creature in Christ.

 I love you all!

--Elder Christensen
Sister Valiente at her baptism with the elders and sisters

Another beautiful sunset!

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