Sunday, June 22, 2014

52 Things I've learned as a missionary in the Philippines!

Well Hello Everybody
Sorry, I had to get that out there! So this week was good, I was just super stressed though those first few days, I don’t really know why! Tuesday was a great day, as we had 11 lessons, that’s a new all-time high!! Wednesday we found out what our investigator Marivel’s real concern was, and why she keeps saying she’s not ready for baptism. For her sake I will remain mute on that subject, but I’m so glad we figured out what was going on! 
Thursday was transfers, but only one sister transferred out of my whole zone! And her replacement is Sister Penales, who was in my district for three transfers in Tarlac! And she used to be in the stake of my companion, Elder Paredes, and is the batch mate of my roommate, Elder Choresca! So excited when I found out she was coming! 
Thursday was good, and we taught a really awesome lesson all about repentance to Marivel in the morning. We were able to get some new investigators too! They all listened, but in the coming days we’ll find out who’s really progressing and who is just so-so. Marcos is doing great; he’s super excited for his baptism on the 12th of July, as are we! The Centeno family was doing good, but they didn’t come to church this last Sunday…dang. And we don’t know why yet either!  But that night, I burned a panyo and tie in honor of my year mark! Oh, and I opened my “Hump day” package, complete with a camel and everything!! Love the camel, Mom! And the letters were super awesome as well. 
Elder Christensen & Sister Penales
Elder C and his comp on Hump Day!

Friday we had exchanges as our District Leader, Elder Hedman, and I switched so he could interview our candidates, Fevelyn and Niko, who both passed!!! Sweet!!! Two baptisms on the 28th!!! That’s a miracle, because when I got here neither of them were even in our teaching pool and we had a goal of zero baptisms for the month of June. Saturday we had a zone service project down close to the beach, and I got to see Sister Penales there, and it was fun to talk about Tarlac!
Elder Hedman, Sister Penales and Elder Christensen
​In the afternoon we had that meeting with all the Branch Presidents and President Martino again. The meeting went really well actually! President Martino goes home this week, but you would never be able to find that out by looking at him. He is working harder than ever!
Elder Christensen and his comp meeting with Pres. Martino
​I also got a package from Grandma and Grandpa Christensen! Thanks for the shirt!!!! 
Sunday we had a good meeting where we finally got home teaching figured out in this branch, and got a bunch of information we’ve been needing for our reports, so that was good! We had pretty good work too, and a couple of new investigators who are genuinely interested and engaged in the lessons! And today we’re going to Cabanatuan for Zone conference tomorrow, so that will be fun to have another road trip with the zone! 
So in honor of my 52 weeks as a missionary, here are 52 lessons I’ve learned as a missionary in the Philippines!
1.       You sweat if you’re working hard
2.       You sweat even if you’re not working hard
3.       There’s probably some sort of bug on you 24/7
4.       Dengue is the worst thing ever!
5.       Don’t aspire to leadership
6.       Worry more about following the Spirit with exactness more than following the white handbook with exactness
7.       Obedience brings blessings
8.       Rice 3 meals a day is totally doable
9.       Coconut is actually crazy delicious
10.   Mangoes are actually the greatest/most delicious fruit in the world, and most probably the fruit in Lehi’s dream
11.   You decide what kind of missionary you are, not your circumstance, companion, or language ability
12.   Exact obedience brings miracles
13.   Repentance, even as a missionary, hurts
14.   Repentance is the greatest thing ever
15.   If we are not growing spiritually, you’re backsliding spiritually
16.   If I was not a Latter-Day Saint, I don’t think I could be a Christian, it just doesn’t make sense to me any other way.
17.   You can sleep when you’re released
18.   The people in the Preach My Gospel videos are the missionaries’ celebrities
19.   EFY music ain’t half bad!
20.   Even singing along with Babylonian music distracts you as a missionary
21.   You can buy 4 burgers for less than a dollar!
22.   Pineapple is actually super delicious as well!
23.   McDonalds is like an oasis for missionaries serving out in the rice fields
24.   San Jose City, Nueva Ecija is my second home
25.   Baler Zone is like PARADISE!
26.   The hardest news you can receive as a missionary is either when a buddy goes home early, or when a baptism in an old area doesn’t go through…or when BYU loses to Utah again.
27.   The best news you can get as a missionary is when one of your friends decides to go on a mission, or when someone from back home gets baptized (quick shout out to my cousins Joe and Angie, Joe got baptized while I’ve been out here, and that to this day is the greatest email I’ve ever received on my mission! I literally cried in the computer shop when I found out!)
28.   There aren’t bad companions, just bad attitudes
29.   You are at your greatest when you are humble
30.   Always think about others first
31.   Always say yes to a merienda! (a snack)
32.   Pepsi and Mountain Dew just don’t taste good in the Philippines
33.   Coke tastes EXACTLY the same in the Philippines, thank goodness!
34.   Smiling makes everything better!
35.   Don’t worry about what you want to do, worry about what the Lord wants you to do
36.   Unless you have the spirit burning in you to do so, never chastise anyone.
37.   Be grateful
38.   No one I know in America is poor. People back home like to say they’re poor, but you all live like royalty. People HERE are poor.
39.   I have no room to complain. EVER.
40.   The Lord has been so good to me.
41.   The Philippines is one non-stop adventure after another!
42.   The Filipino people are the greatest on the planet earth! I wish I was more like them every day.
43.   God directs this work, and does indeed prepare people.
44.   Even when you have a hard day, there’s always someone who had it harder.
45.   Christ understands literally everything we go through.
46.   When we face God, we will all know our guilt perfectly, but the saints who have repented and endured to the end will know never-ending joy as well.
47.   Scripture study is the best. Thing. EVER!!!
48.   God speaks.
49.   Angels visit the earth.
50.   This is God’s kingdom on the earth.
51.   Jesus is the Christ, and Joseph was his prophet.
52.   All I want, all I truly desire, is at that last day for Jesus to call me by name, and say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

See you all next June!
--Elder Christensen
"Sometimes, when i'm teaching, i'm just so awesome I turn into a power ranger"