Monday, November 25, 2013

I Rode a Caraboa (water buffalo)!

 So yeah, my weekly update is a bit short this week! I don't want to talk a ton about Tuesday, as it was a rough day and I made some judgment calls that didn't pan out...basically I felt like I didn't work as hard as I could have. Also, my companion found out a sister from his last zone is in love with him, and so he was stressed as to how to handle that...not a good day!

But Wednesday, I reread John 15 as well as John 16:33 and I almost instantly felt better! We set BGDs with investigators, figured out transportation to church...Man, it was just a great day! On Thursday we had a service project working on a farm. I really grew to appreciate my lot in life after that. My body is STILL sore from that! Anyway, afterwards I rode a carabao! (a water buffalo) That was awesome, and I can check that off my mission bucket list! And the one I rode was a smaller one, too!  They can get enormous!!!
Brandon and his zone at a service project, working on a farm

Brandon fulfilling his dream of riding a caraboa (water buffalo)!  

We got some solid referrals and one turned out to be a less active part member family, which is one of the greatest teaching scenarios ever! You can be the instrument in introducing the gospel as well as resparking the flame at the same time! Friday was a hard day, but we worked hard so it felt good! Saturday we had a good lesson with our investigator Michael, and then we went with him to the Sister's baptism where my companion baptized and I gave my first talk in Tagalog! 
Brandon with his companion, Elder Olila

On Sunday we had 12 investigators come to church, but not one of the people who have been baptized in my time here in San Jose came. That was hard for me, bittersweet for sure! Bishop gave us 4 high quality family referrals, so we have a TON of work to do! It’s a tad overwhelming, but very exciting! This morning we had zone goal setting where I feel like I have a good plan as to how to best help those who we teach and who to really focus on. I'm pumped!

As far as scriptures go, John 16:33 just is everything I need to keep moving and stay focused.

 I love you all!  Just remember that Christ needs to be the center of our lives and everything we do.
Kita kits!

--Elder Christensen 

I am including Brandon’s answers to the questions I asked him in my email:
1.        How is the language coming?  You haven’t mentioned it for a while, so I thought I’d ask!
Lots better! I'm not close to fluent, but I understand most of what's going on. It also depends on how strong the spirit is at the moment. If it’s strong, my Tagalog is good! If I have doubts or the spirit isn't in the lesson, it’s rough! I speak almost straight Tagalog with my companion, which has helped a ton! He isn't as good in English, so it's good that we speak Tagalog!
2.       Tell me about some of the things that you love about the Philippines
The food--the people--their sense of humor--the most beautiful clouds and sunsets ever--how ridiculously cheap everything is--my fellow missionaries--how everyone pretty much will listen to us even though just a few end up being legitimately interested--my ward here where I have made friends that have taken me in like family. No joke, I have like two sisters and a mom in this ward!-- I love my mission president--I love how convenient stuff is. I have fresh squeezed coconut juice sold on the street for 5 pesos a cup! That’s amazing, and delicious!--I love the beautiful countryside--I love how pretty much everyone is related to someone you know, because that's just how the Philippines is!  Um, yeah, I could go on for a while there...
3.       Have you met any of the Tacloban missionaries yet and if so, have they shared their stories? 
Here’s one I got forwarded to me! (PS. Mom- I totally hugged the elder who came to our zone from Tacloban for you!)
 Dear Ones:  
We just received 15 missionaries from the Tacloban Mission which has been dissolved and 11 other missions are taking missionaries from the Tacloban Mission. The missionaries have such faith building stories and I will only share one. One missionary said that he was told to stay in his apartment.  He felt that he should evacuate but he also knew that he needed to do exactly what he had been told by his leaders. In the morning after the storm every house or building on their street was totally destroyed but the elders apartment was still standing. He said “I have a testimony of listening to our leaders.”

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