Monday, September 8, 2014

"Believe in God"!

Note: Brandon’s email never came Sunday night, so I thought it wasn’t coming, but I woke up to this message this morning:
Sorry Mom, it has been such a crazy day. No power in the entire province of Aurora, so we came down to Cab (its zone conference tomorrow) and just now are emailing. I have no time again, I need to get these sisters to the sister training leaders apartment before eight, and we still haven't eaten dinner.... Sounds like a great week back home, and OH MY GOSH I'M SO OLD MOM I CAN'T BELIEVE ITS BYU FOOTBALL SEASON AGAIN AND THAT TWO YEARS AGO I WAS IN COLLEGE ALREADY!!!! AGH!

And here’s his update:
Hello All!
 Sunday the 31st was good! I got to go on splits and work with John Paul and Fevelyn.  Big day for Fevelyn: gave a talk in church AND worked with the missionaries for the first time!  Queen was excited for baptism when we taught her!  Her mom said it was ok if she gets baptized, and Queen said that was the answer to her prayer!  And starting Sunday night my life has been an all-out sprint!

Monday we had so many reports to complete before we went down to Cabanatuan at 11 am.  We got some shopping done there for some zone mates, and then it was on to Tarlac! 
 It’s also September now, which means the Christmas season in the Philippines! Yay! Christmas music was all over these big cities.  

Tuesday was our Mission Leaders Council at the mission home and I learned SO much!  How to better use the Book of Mormon, how to help district leaders (as apparently that is the most critical role), about how to handle disobedience, and finally how to find and teach more effectively!  Whoa, craziness!  LOVED IT!  

I got to see many of my mission buddies, especially Elder Armatage- what a champ. 
 Wednesday the 3rd we got a ride in a sedan back to Baler, which was super nice.  I got to sleep a little!  (It’s impossible to sleep on the buses)  We got a few lessons in, too!  Thursday we gave the zone training, and then everything went absolutely insane.

You know how I’ve said it couldn’t get any crazier?  Well, it did.  We went to visit Sister Queen, as her mom told us she was sick.  Well, she had had a fever and evidently poor circulation and had been laying down for a couple of days.  She came to the front room for us to give her a blessing.  Elder Anasario anointed, then I said her name and was about to seal the anointing when she passed out.  Chaos ensued.  The mom was shrieking, crying, yelling at us and saying “What is this?!  What did you do?! This is my only child!  If she dies, I’ll die too!”  It was the scariest few minutes of my life.  Her eyes had rolled back in her head and it really looked like she had died.  In a moment of panic I prayed, then called President Clark to figure out what to do.  He told me to explain our purpose and intent and to maintain the dignity of our calling.  Well, my companion did that but I was just freaked out.  Every bit of first aid I learned as a lifeguard went out the window.  Queen woke up and seemed to be doing ok and the mom calmed down and even apologized for freaking out at us.  I tried to explain that we were just trying to help as I choked back tears.  They went to the hospital and we went to the house of Nanay Adelina to calm down a bit.  I was still pretty shaken up, but what really bothered me is why this would happen.  Why would God let something like that happen, something that could destroy this daughter of God progressing towards baptism’s relationship with His kingdom on earth?  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I said a lot of prayers.  

The next day in personal study, I realized that my faith was just really weak.  I was kind of like Peter when he stepped out on the water and saw the scary waves.  That’s what happened to me.  I read in Preach My Gospel about faith and one of the suggested readings there was Mosiah 4:6-12, and man, it was like verse 9* spoke straight to me.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  And much like what happened with Peter, the Lord immediately stretched forth his hand and helped me understand why that happened. 
 We texted Queen to check up on her and she said she was ok and that she had a lack of red blood cells.  Her neighbor later told us she had a blood pressure reading of 84 over 50, so no wonder she fainted!  But if she hadn’t fainted, she wouldn’t have gone to the hospital (as her mom told us previously they wouldn’t because they couldn’t afford it), and she wouldn’t have fainted if she hadn’t stood up to see us.  And she definitely needed to go to the hospital.  Also, initially, I was afraid to go back to that area because of what might be said about the missionaries who make people faint (kind of like Ammon, now that I’m thinking about it).  But our members there went to work the next day sharing stories with the neighbors about the multiple miraculous healings that missionaries had performed in that area, so that problem was fixed.  I should have been afraid to work in that area again because of the way I acted, as I did not keep my composure as a representative of Jesus Christ should and I let fear get the best of me.  I spent a lot of time apologizing for the way I acted when I went back.  But this has been a faith strengthening experience even though it’s been completely crazy. 

Well!  Good things happened as well this week!  Lots of investigators accepted baptismal invitations (among them Luisa, Lolita and Arsenio [a referral from Nanay Adelina who came to church this Sunday]) and baptismal dates (Razzel, Centeno family and Josie).  And we met this less active kid who just moved back to Maria and he came to church on Sunday!  Virsiliio is his name.  He is 14 years old and super cool! 

And the best thing ever, MARIVEL ODINA HABALA WAS BAPTIZED!!! Oh, that was the best!  Her testimony afterwards was so awesome.  She just has a new light about her.  I wish you guys could see it! 

With President and Sister Angie Mamradlo at the baptism

Well, that’s all folks.  Believe in God!
-Elder Christensen

*Mosiah 4:9 “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”

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