Monday, December 2, 2013

"Each Life that Touches Ours for Good"

Holy Cow, Everybody!

So I haven’t done this before but some quick shout outs! Shout out to the other Elder Christensen here in the Philippines, to Elder Owen, my bro who just went home this week, and “his blood is my blood”, to Hermana Pedersen and Elder Spinder, who somehow got to see each other?? Way cool!

So yeah, this week was nuts! Tuesday I had the greatest lesson of my whole mission. I was on exchanges with my batch mate, Elder Rebelde, and we taught Brother Michael. So back in my first transfer, we were never able to teach him. Not even once! Not kidding! But we kept trying, we kept coming back. Here is a lesson that I learned as a missionary, NEVER GIVE UP ON ANYONE! I didn’t give up on Michael, and I now see the blessings. Anyways, he had been to church 3 times in a row, and we taught him about the Word of Wisdom, which he has a problem with. He said he doesn’t feel “Close to God” when he does those things, but then he proceeded to tell us all the times he had felt “Close to God” starting with the time he prayed in a Catholic church to find out which way to go as far as religion, and as soon as he walked out he had the impression that what he was looking for was somewhere else. He told about the time he first called over the missionaries he saw walking down the street because he felt like he needed to talk to them. He told how he felt close to God when he received his answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He told how he feels close to God when he studies the scriptures, and he cries, and he doesn’t want to, but he can’t help it! At this point, he was crying, and more than one tear slipped out of my eyes too. The spirit was the very strongest I have ever felt it in a lesson, coming from my heart and spreading all the way to my toes. At that point he said, ”It comes from the heart, not from the mind.”  Spot on! He concluded by saying his answer didn’t come all at once, but little by little, it came. It has been amazing to see this man be changed by the spirit of the Lord. He’s all set for baptism, but just needs to get past the cigarettes, which he’s doing better on! It used to be 30 a day, now down to 5! So that’s awesome! Anyways it was just awesome. He wants to serve a mission super bad, but he’s 25 now so I don’t know if that will happen…I hope so! The rest of the week was super solid teaching wise, but that just kind of blows the rest of the experiences out of the water!
Brandon with Brother Michael (in the red) and Elder Rebelde (who he was on exchanges with)

 Well, Sister Joy, an investigator I’ve been teaching since I got here, pretty much finally received an answer that the Church is true! She’s been reading, going to church, stopped drinking coffee, and she is even going to Young Women’s activities! Set for baptism this month!
Brandon with two investigators committed to baptism this month: on his left is Joy & on his right is Jhel

Sunday was a really hard day for me. I had to say goodbye to the elder I am closest with in the mission, Elder Owen. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a friend, outside of my family of course, that has ever helped me more than him. He is such an example to me. So yeah, if anyone runs into a Scott Owen from Alpine back home, just tell him hi for me! Yeah, so I was a bit down during church, but the spirit comforted me as I took the sacrament, and I was alright. The highlight of the day was when Michael, the same one as earlier, got up and bore his testimony during church! It was so awesome and everyone told me afterwards how blessed I was to have an investigator like him. It’s true, he’s just amazing!
Saying goodbye to Elder Owen, Brandon's housemate of 4 months who he loves dearly

The work was limited and hard on Sunday, but we were blessed later on that night with two dinner appointments! TWO! Out of nowhere!  We just got a text saying come over! It was awesome! They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in the Philippines, but man, I felt like I just had Thanksgiving dinner last night!

This morning we switched apartments with the sisters here in San Jose, because they had some creepers by their house, and our new apartment is in a gated apartment complex in a nicer part of town. So yeah, that happened! Transfers are coming up this week, and I really don’t want to leave here, especially right before Christmas. But, I’m excited for what lies ahead, whatever happens!

Just stay focused on the Savior, and your life is happy. It really is just that simple.

I love you all,
Maligayang Pasko!  (translation:  Merry Christmas!)
--Elder Christensen
Brandon holding Jasmine's monkey!
Brandon and his first convert, Brother Allan

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