Monday, December 23, 2013

Maligayang Pasko sainyong lahat!!! Merry Christmas to you all!!!

Maligayang Pasko sainyong lahat!!! Merry Christmas to you all!!!

Well! What a wild week it was! It started out with fantastic Christmas Conference! I was able to see so many of my friends in the mission, and two other graduates from Timpanogos High School! So yeah, Me, Elder Weitzel, and Sister Brady had a little high school reunion!
Elder Weitzel, Elder Christensen & Sister Brady-- all THS graduates in the Angeles Mission!
The conference was awesome, the musical numbers were super good, and my zone was able to perform as well! Super fun! President Martino read a Christmas story, “That thine alms may be in secret” It was amazing, and made me want to give my all this Christmas. The workshop was on the atonement…it kind of blew my mind! The ride back to San Jose was spent caroling at the top of our lungs, which was fantastic as well!
Brandon with his batchmates: Sister Foukimoana, Elder Armatage & Sister Thomas

So good…And I got more packages this week! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Christensen for the most amazing English/Tagalog bible! I’ve been reading it nonstop! And the package from the Young Women in my ward was such a nice thought! I got it actually at the church after church was over, then I got to hand out candy to tons of cute little kids. I felt like Santa for just a bit there!

President Martino visits San Jose
Ok, so back to the week! Wednesday was a good day, but hard, as we found out our most progressing investigator hadn’t actually stopped smoking, so we moved his baptism back a couple weeks. But at 10:30 we got a call from some sisters in our zone that their house had been robbed! A camera and personal money were gone…not cool! So we went over there to help calm them down and assess the situation. The next day we came back and installed a new deadbolt on their door, as they hadn’t been using it and we thought their lock had been picked. We had another hard day, as we had an investigator that has SO MUCH potential and a great knowledge of gospel truths basically tell us to quit trying to convert her, she just wasn’t having it, so that was hard. But we had a tender mercy that day as we found a way nice less active/part member family, so that was cool! We got home and found out the sisters house had been robbed AGAIN! Another camera was gone, and so was their utility fund! Holy cow! And in the middle of the night, we had to go over to their house because one of the sisters saw a man on the roof trying to get in through the window! Holy cow! So we went over to calm everyone down…bishops were there, we called president, the whole nine yards. On the way home we got followed home by some girls on a tricycle coming from mass…not cool!
Picture of missionaries in San Jose, taken by Sister Martino, who said "Lots of spiritual strength in this group.  They quickly responded to a call for help."
Friday was a hard day for me, as I was crazy tired and we didn’t really get to visit who I wanted to, either they weren’t home or busy…it was frustrating. BUT! The Lord delivered me from my frustration again with another tender mercy as we went to our Joy Mercader’s (investigator) baptismal interview. I was allowed to listen in, and she passed with flying colors. At the end, my Zone Leader Elder Nield asked her to bear her testimony, and it was amazing. She talked a lot about repentance, and I just felt vindicated as a missionary. I had had rough couple of days there, but seeing her come unto Christ just lifted my spirits again. 

Saturday Elder Nield received orders not to walk because he need surgery on his toe, and my companion volunteered to stay with him, and no ward missionaries were available for splits, so I went with Elder Iligan and Elder Tufele in the other ward. It was super fun, as we went caroling to less actives! Side note, caroling is different here! A payment is expected to whoever is caroling! So we had to explain we didn’t want their money! Kind of funny. Sunday was super good, and I would like to share the highlight of the day. So first of all we were on splits, and on top of that we were visiting a list of referrals from ward members in an area we don’t really visit. Anyways, after one lesson with a family, the dad walks us out to the street, as is sometimes customary. When we got to the street, there was this woman sitting on a bench kind of staring at me, which isn’t too uncommon as I am a white guy speaking Tagalog. Anyways, we started to walk away, and I had a REALLY strong feeling to go and talk to her. I told my companions that, and we went back to her. I asked her if she knew the next person on our list. It was her! It was so cool! Her family was busy and her husband was about to go somewhere, but we scheduled a return appointment and gave her a pamphlet. It was super cool; I love when God blesses me to be led by the spirit. So cool! Anyways, this morning we had a zone activity where we hiked to some falls…super pretty! And that brings us to now!
Brandon got up at 4 am on P day to hike to a waterfall with his zone!

As far as a Christmas/Spiritual message here it goes. Sometimes, life is just messed up (2 Kings 6:26-29). But no matter what life throws at us, we are never separated from the love of our Savior (Romans 8:38-39), and we can take courage in knowing that everything life throws at us is for our good and we always have an eternal hope (2 Cor 4:17-18). Messengers still bring good tidings of great joy for and to all people, wise men still follow His light, and He still lives.

Merry Christmas!
--Elder Christensen
Beautiful Christmas lights in San Jose

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