Monday, November 24, 2014

The adventures of Elder Malaki and Elder Maliit [Elder Big and Elder Little]

Dear All!
Ok!  Last P-day was good.  We went to the zoo here, which included some cool birds, a couple cool lizards, some monkeys…it was alright!  Email was good!  Alex Hocker is going to Atlanta on his mission!  Way to go!  So pumped for him!  In the evening we visited all of our investigators then had a family home evening with the Nolli Santos family.  Good fun!  Tuesday morning we had a CSP (service project) where we moved a giant pile of dirt for this part-member family. 
Moving dirt
In the afternoon I felt like it slipped through my fingers, like I didn’t do everything I could have.  I don’t know.  We did have a good lesson with the Ruiz family where we really listened to them, and the Spirit was super strong as we answered their “questions of the soul” using the Book of Mormon.  We reviewed the baptismal interview questions with Bien and that kid is excited!  Oh, and that was the day of unforgettable street contacts.  I was trying to relate the importance of family and how families can be together forever, and I said how that’s what Elder Palabrica want for our future families.  Well, this lady, ever helpful, started telling us where every single eligible young lady was in her neighborhood.  *Face-palm*  Not what I meant!  Then there were some teenage girls holding a guitar, so I asked if I could try, and then we were able to ask if we could come back and share a message, and I played a little of Stairway to Heaven.  Then, as we were talking to an elderly man, a guy came up next to us and started peeing on a nearby wall.  Interesting!  We had a few other lessons, but like I said, it was just kind of unsatisfactory.

Wednesday was good.  I felt like the Book of Mormon really spoke to me in Mosiah 26.  We had a really good district meeting.  (It was Elder Armatage’s and my 17 month mark!) th!  We taught Rufina, a hard-of-hearing less active and Ruby, who said she’ll think about coming to church with us this Sunday.  I really hope she does!
17 months!
And I felt like I received revelation on how we should teach a certain investigator.  Anyway, we went out and taught Jose, who is the most forgetful Tatay and that’s why he didn’t come to church again!  We taught Dom, and eventually I told him that if this message is true, every other church is wrong and that he needs to be baptized into Christ’s true church.  He was just not getting it if we put it any other way.  We taught Mariel, who is AWESOME and wants to get baptized SO bad but she and her less active “husband” aren’t married yet.  But we’re going to get going on fixing that!  We taught Jared, Mariel’s brother-in-law and a friend of Bien who accepted a BGD for Dec. 27.

Thursday we were only able to set one return appointment in the morning.  Nanay Ponco fed us lunch, which was SO GOOD!  We then went with the zone leaders to Laur, like the farthest part of our area, to visit President Nicanor and his family.  They lost their baby boy a couple of months ago and they’ve had a hard time with that.  We really enjoyed visiting.  President played “Black Bird” by the Beatles on his guitar, which was really awesome, then we reviewed the plan of salvation with them.  It was a lovely visit.  We had so many people we wanted to get to, but we were running behind schedule, and we got punted, but we still had some good lessons. We taught Bien, who is excited as ever for baptism.  We taught Michael, the less active boyfriend of Mariel, who wants to stop smoking, so we talked about it and made a plan to decrease it by 1 stick a day, starting now at 20.  Then we were punted again, and we were supposed to teach a man named Wilson, but when we went to his house he wasn’t home, but his brother, JR, was!  We actually met him last night and he let us right in!  We met his wife, Marieris and their one year old baby girl.  We taught them Lesson 1 and they were so engaged!  When we got to the Great Apostacy, JR was all, “So how can we know which church is true?”  GREAT QUESTION!  We explained the Restoration and how to ask God if it is true.  In our kneeling prayer, JR thanked God that He sent us to him and that he now knew God loved them because we were sent to them and that he believed Joseph Smith had a vision.  WHAT.  They accepted a baptismal goal date for the 27th. After we closed, the first question was, “When are you coming back?”  Saturday, my friend.  That is the Solis family and they are elect.

Friday was a pretty good day.  We were finally able to teach Dahlia, Bien’s mom, again and it was a really good lesson.  We taught Jared and Mariel about the Book of Mormon and that was chill!  We also taught about the Book of Mormon to Mia and Kristel Bautista and they had lots of questions!  Good sign!  Saturday we had a good day, but the highlight was easily the Solis family.  They prayed and got an answer already!  And they are so set on getting baptized.  They asked what were the “rules” of this church were, so we left a Word of Wisdom pamphlet.  Oh, they are just so awesome!  Sayang talaga they couldn’t make it to church because JR had something come up with his work on Sunday morning, but they were totally planning on coming!  Church was good!  I feel like I do way more in church than I ever have in my life.  Yesterday, for example, I gave a talk, taught Sunday School, gave 3 baptismal interviews, had coordination meeting, and then ate lunch!  Kind of tiring, actually!  In the afternoon no one wanted to listen to us for a while because Manny Paquiao  [WBO Welterweight world champion] was fighting….I was a bit frustrated.  We found a less active we’d been looking for a while, so that was good!  We taught Jared and Mariel, two great investigators.  Because Mia didn’t read like she said she would, we read with her and that was good!  We also visited with our Branch Mission Leader, CJ, to try to help him with his calling.  Overall, it was a good week!  And thus ends the adventures of Elder Malaki and Elder Maliit [Elder Big and Elder Little] for one more week!

-Elder Christensen

***I thought I’d also include this email from a senior couple that worked in Brandon’s last zone:

Dear Sister Christensen: What an amazing son you have! We enjoyed serving with him & watching how diplomatically he worked with all the missionaries. He demonstrated such concern for all of their needs & feelings. Luckily, he has a sense of humor which paid off on more than one occasion, especially with the sister missionaries. We laughed at how bothered Elder Christensen was to have Dengue Fever a second time. I thought we would have to tie him to the bed because he was just too busy to rest----even though rest is what the doctor ordered. But it won him a trip to the hospital in Tarlac & that sounded like an adventure in itself.

We were all so shocked to receive Elder Christensen's message that President Mamaradlo had passed away suddenly, without warning. Sister Mamaradlo leaned heavily on you son in the days following & he was a pillar of support to her. As Elder Lund & I were frantically trying to find temple clothes for his burial, Elder Christensen took another missionary along with his own baptismal pants & his only long sleeved white shirt & dressed the President’s body. Your son told me it was the hardest thing he had ever done & we could see he had called upon every bit of strength he had to complete that act of loving service. Then the next day, Elder Christensen met us at the family home & led out in placing the temple clothing. As Sister Mamaradlo looked into the casket afterward she said, "He looks like a King," & he truly did. The day of the burial it was pouring rain. Elder Chirstensen should have been home in bed but of course he was not. I can say that the last time we saw your son, when he was transferred almost 3 weeks ago, he looked strong & healthy. He was ready for a new adventure.

 I want you to know that we thoroughly enjoyed the Spider-Man hoodie you sent for Halloween. I have seldom seen a happier young man than Elder Christensen when he put it on. I sent pictures of him to my family.

Thanks for preparing & sending a great young man out to serve The Lord & to take care of two old people who are trying to survive in the Philippines.

Love, Elder & Sister Lund
In Captain Moroni pose, while drinking Sparkle
His new "Spalring" basketball!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A remarkable week!

Dear All,
So!  First off, last P-Day was really cool.  Email was good, but there was a brown-out that delayed us.  In the evening we visited all of our investigators and we had a dinner appointment with Nanay Ponce.  After dinner he gave us two referrals!  We then read the Book of Mormon with him.  Another good day!  Tuesday morning we had a fun service project with the zone leaders in their area for their investigator. In the afternoon we taught Maria Biyag, a less active, who recognized the difference in her life when she went to the church and she said that she would come this week.  We were punted, but we found Tess and Malu, two moms who let us share with them.  We then taught Dahlia, Bien’s mom.  She had so many questions, especially about the Book of Mormon.  My companion announced that that is what we would be sharing, even though the Restoration was what we had planned.  I hesitated, but then asked him if that’s what he really felt, and he said yes, so I followed his lead and it was a great lesson!  And when Elder Palabrica started saying, “And when you come to feel this is true,” she suddenly interrupted and said, “I’ll get baptized!”  she totally accepted a goal date for the 14th of December. My companion said that he felt like screaming.  I did, too!  We also had a really good lesson with Roby, where we explained the Book of Mormon.  It was a surprisingly good lesson and she committed to read it!  We contacted the referral of Nanay Ramos and they accepted us!  Julius, Jonna and her boyfriend Jeff!  Cool!  Amazing day.  When we got home, we did scream!
Service project
In the afternoon we taught Maria Biyag, a less active, who recognized the difference in her life when she went to the church and she said that she would come this week.  We were punted, but we found Tess and Malu, two moms who let us share with them.  We then taught Dahlia, Bien’s mom.  She had so many questions, especially about the Book of Mormon.  My companion announced that that is what we would be sharing, even though the Restoration was what we had planned.  I hesitated, but then asked him if that’s what he really felt, and he said yes, so I followed his lead and it was a great lesson!  And when Elder Palabrica started saying, “And when you come to feel this is true,” she suddenly interrupted and said, “I’ll get baptized!”  she totally accepted a goal date for the 14
Wednesday we had district meeting, where I saw Elder Armatage again.  I can’t believe we are in the same zone.  So fun! th Day Adventist missionary, and we had one “I’m busy! No!” (Yes, in English, Ha ha!) The rest of Thursday was pretty good!  We taught Tatay Jose, who apparently doesn’t come to church because he’s so old that he forgets what day it is.  Interesting concern!  We found and taught a man named Dom, who wanted to know why there are so many churches.  We couldn’t teach Malu, but we found her husband and taught him instead!  WE went back and had a really good lesson with Jeff and Julius.  We finished the message of the Restoration and when we explained that Christ’s church had been restored, complete with apostles and prophets, Jeff asked the golden question, “Where’s that church?”  Right here!  They accepted to pray to know and a goal date for the 27th of December.  We taught Dustin then Noli Santos who invited us to stay for dinner!  What a nice guy.  Really funny, too.  We taught the Llamas family again and Julius actually joined in the lesson!  Way cool! 
Elder C and Elder Armatage riding in a sidecar

Elder C with good buddies, Elder Armatage and Elder Westover
In the afternoon we were super punted.  We taught Bien, then found some new people to teach, Kristel, Anita and Daiza Mae.  Kristel was really into the lesson!  We tried to contact one of Nanay Ponce’s referrals, but we got rejected.  Sayang!  We went to the other one, which turns aout to be a part member family where two of the 20+ sons are less actives.  They are super nice and humble and we had a good lesson there.  Thursday morning we got rejected all morning.  We had 4 street contacts and we were contacted by one 7
Friday we had a good weekly planning, but afterwards it felt like we went all the wrong places at all the wrong times.  Our lesson with Kristel didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped for, then we just straight up missed some people we were hoping to teach.  We were able to teach Bien, but his dad apparently is pretty controlling of his mom Dahlia, so she said she can only be taught sometimes… L, but she said not to give up on her!  We won’t!  She’s elect, so we will find a way. We also met an 11 year old boy that comes to church every week, but has never been taught by the missionaries.  We’ll teach him!  We got to teach Baby, an old contact, and that was ok.  We had a REALLY good lesson with Roby!  We made a special lesson plan for her all about praying to know and she really opened up to us.  It was awesome!  She wants to make our visits more regular and she accepted a soft baptismal invitation.  She said she’s never asked God a specific question, because she feels like she would be doubting Him, but she said that she’ll try it for the first time!  Heck yeah!  Good things are happening!
Saturday was the day of the kindest, nicest rejections ever!  In the morning we had a return appointment with a certain contact, but when we got there the Dad totally let us in, sat us down, and told us no.  Dang.  In the afternoon a miracle happened though!  We were on our way to an investigator when I just saw a dad standing in his yard so we decided to talk to him.  Apparently they are from BALER and just arrived a couple months ago.  They were taught by the sisters in Baler!  We taught the mom, Analyn and her 18 year old son, Ahmar!  They both accepted dates for baptism on the 27th of December!  It was awesome because when we approached their doorway, I just had the strongest prompting that we needed to teach them, and the result was a miracle!  We then met and taught Mariel, the girlfriend of a less active member and her little brother-in-law, who were both taught back in the day.  They both came to church on Sunday!  We then taught the Estigag family, the couple who now does our laundry (except for our underclothes) and they are SO nice and SO cool and SO HARDCORE Born Again Christians and they rejected our message in the nicest, most Christian way possible.  But they accepted a Book of Mormon and said they would read it and pray about it.  But they aren’t ready to seriously investigate the gospel.  But we’ll follow up about the Book of Mormon when they get the laundry and whatnot! 

Palayan elders at church
Sunday was good.  We had 3 investigators at church! We had our branch mission leader come with us again!  We taught Bien, whose baptism is next week!  We taught Mariel, whose main concern is marriage and marriage papers, but we’re going to get on that because she totally wants to be baptized!  We taught Tatay Dom.  I thought he was disillusioned because of how many churches there are, but apparently it’s more along the lines of why everyone isn’t Catholic still.  Agh!  We’ll try to explain that better next time.  We taught Kristel again, who referred her sister Mia, who is really receptive as well!  We taught Roby all about the priesthood and baptism and she said she’ll read the Book of Mormon and pray about it first before she says yes to baptism, but she understood the principle that authority comes from Jesus, not from studying or preaching from the Bible. 
And thus ends a remarkable week!  We’ve had so much help from God this week.  Truly incredible.  33 lessons, 22 of which were to investigators and a grand total of 17 new investigators!  Unbelievable.  We’ve been so blessed.  I love it!  My companion is the man and we are having fun working hard!  The Church is true and the book is blue!
-Elder Christensen

*** I thought I’d add a few other things he said in response to questions I asked him in my letter to him this week.  First I asked him about his companion that he is training.  He said, “We get along SO well! He's so fun loving, hard-working, and just happy energy! Super sweet! He's been through a lot too. His mom died because she was bit by a rabid dog, but through that tragedy he found the gospel and followed the example of his older brother to be baptized. Out of 6 kids, they're the only ones who are members. His family doesn't want to be taught and that breaks his heart. One main reason he's serving his mission is because he's counting on the blessings that will come to his family. He has THE STRONGEST TESTIMONY.”  Then I asked him how he liked being a district leader again (instead of a zone leader, like he has been the last 6 months) and he said, “I love it! It's very nice to have rolled off the responsibility of a Zone leader and to be back as a District leader. The district is good! It’s me and my kabahays [housemates], then the two sisters and two elders in a neighboring branch, and they're all great missionaries.”

*** I also got a nice email from Brandon’s good friend, Elder Westover, who is now his housemate and zone leader!  So fun! Here’s what he said:
Nanay Christensen!
Hey this is Elder Westover!  I just wanted to say your son is the best!! He and I were good friends in Tarlac and now we are in the same house!
He is an awesome missionary! He really is one of the best in the mission!!
Thank you for having such a great son and for sharing him with the Philippines and with me!
He always tells me awesome stories about your family and I'm excited to meet you guys after the mission!

Give the family big hugs from the Philippines!
Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Westover
Elder C, Elder Palibrica and their new contact
Elder C with parrot at the zoo on P day
Elder C modeling the new mode of transportation in the Angeles Mission!
Spiderman Parrot!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Transferred to Palayan and now training a new missionary!

Dear All,
Monday the branch threw a home evening for me and Elder Choresca, as we were expected to transfer.  It was really nice and cool, but unfortunately we didn’t get any investigators there. 
With Angie Mamaradlo and girls

Maria Branch farewell FHE
Tuesday we had Zone Training which went well and we visited our recent converts in Baubo one last time (Nancy Adelina cried).  We were able to teach Dexter the Word of Wisdom and apparently Fevelyn has refused to buy him anything but Milo [a chocolate drink] for a week now, so he’s started to drop coffee!  Afterwards I gave out remembrances to everyone at the Habala house and then we went and found out transfer announcements!
First off, I’m training!  AND I’m opening an area in the Bongabon Zone that just got white washed!  AND I’m in the same house as the zone leaders ELDER WESTOVER and Elder Tufete! AND ELDER ARMATAGE IS IN MY ZONE!!!  AHHH!  I was so pumped!  [Elder Westover and Elder Armatage are some of his best friends in the mission.  Elder Armatage is his batchmate who flew out to the Philippines on the same plane as him]  And Elder Gordon, who is coming from San Jose Ward 2, is taking my place in Maria!  Elder Jacobsen is transferring.  Sister Penales is training AGAIN.  Crazy stuff.  Wednesday we packed then headed down to Cabanatuan.  That night we attended a missionary fireside with some of the missionaries there, but it was kind of awkward because we knew no one in that ward…Oh well! 

New kabahays:  Elder Westover, Elder Tufete, Elder C and Elder Palabrica
And Thursday was the big day.  I went to Tarlac to meet my new anak!  We had some good workshops by President and Sister Clark, and then I met my anak! Elder Palabrica!  He’s 19, from Mindinao, and he’s full of energy!  Seriously he’s your typical spunky greenie, but like overcharged!  I love him!  He and his older brother are the only members in his family of 8, and he has the most incredible faith and optimism. 
With his new anak (son), Elder Palabrica
With his son (trainee) and his father (trainer)!
After lunch, we headed back to Cabanatuan, where we met up with Elder Westover and Elder Tufele.  We had to wait there a while because a member of our zone hadn’t arrived yet.  Then we went to our new area, Palayan B!  After we dropped off our stuff, the elders showed us the houses of a couple of members, and then went home.

Friday we had an odd weekly planning, as we knew nobody to plan for!  Afterwards, we had an odd emergency-type meeting in Cabanatuan.  President just laid out that in order to meet the 1650 baptisms this year (our goal as a mission), each companionship needs to get 4 baptisms before December 31.  They talked a lot about faith, promise and trust in God.  We were all pumped.  Once we got back to our area, we hit the ground running, but man it was like we ran into a brick wall.  We found a less active, then we taught one family who really was not interested and then one sister who is OK with us visiting, but refuses to pray to know the truth.  Her name is Roby Bautista and she was our only new investigator.  I told Elder Westover that I was glad the hardest day of my mission was over with, because it could only go up from there.  Oh, I was so wrong.  Saturday we had two return appointments we had set up with contacts,  Yeah, neither of them were around. By the way, in the past 3 days I’ve never talked to/been rejected by so many people.  It a good thing that my companion is the courageous ball of energy in our companionship!  We were able to teach one man, Jeve, who accepted a soft baptismal invitation.  We got a couple of referrals, but as we went to try to find them, some guy on a motorcycle and side car fired a homemade gun that shoots marbles at us.  We didn’t linger long!  I was seriously freaked out.  We eventually taught a recent convert, then wandered around looking for houses with lights on (It was about 7:30 at this point).  We actually were able to set some appointments for next week.  But man,  THAT was the hardest day of my mission.

Sunday morning I broke down.  I’m just not used to this kind of rejection.  I feel like I can’t get any revelation on where to go or what to do.  I just woke up with this dread in my chest.  I haven’t felt like this since my first couple of weeks of my training.  Elder Westover and I talked for a while and he really helped me get a better perspective on things.  We went to church, which was good.  We have a beautiful new chapel and the members were super nice and receptive!  And we had an investigator come to church!  He’s this 10 year old kid named Bien, and apparently he has a baptismal date for the 29th!  What do you know!   After church  we had CJ, the Branch mission leader, and Nathaniel, a 16-year-old young man, come and work with us!  We also had a special sacrament for a woman who has had a stroke and can no longer walk.  We also taught Bien and there’s a possibility that we can teach his mom in the future, and she is super nice!  We found Anarira along the way.  She is a former investigator from Cabanatuan who welcomed us with open arms.  We started to teach, but her baby was getting all fussy so we just set an appointment for Tuesday.  We taught Roby again, teaching from the Apostasy to the Restoration again, which she understood more this time, but she is very active in her current faith and she still refuses to pray and ask God.  We are going to give her a Book of Mormon and hope for a miracle there.  After that we went looking for a referral given to us by a member.  We went to one house to ask if they knew him and they immediately opened their gate and let us in.  It turns out it’s this less active family that had a cousin, Mitsel, who is not a member, over when we visited.  At first Mitsel told us she wasn’t interested in this, but then Elder Palabrica shared a super spiritual message about praying for strength in trials.  It was a great lesson and by the end we were able to give Mitsel a pamphlet and she said it would be OK if we visited her again.  Actually, a good day!

We are taking it one day at a time here, but Sunday was an infinitely better day than the previous two days!  And I’m feeling OK now.  And I feel like we are getting more established here.  I am still so happy I’m a missionary and so blessed.  The Church is true, ya’ll!

Pictures from his last Mission Leadership Council meetings at the mission home
One last pictures with his kabahays in Maria before transfers
-Elder Christensen

Monday, November 3, 2014

Finally, a normal, full day of work!

Hello All!

Well!  Last P-Day was good!  I finally was able to explain via email what exactly happened to me to Mom and that I wasn’t dying and that I was happy and out of the hospital, hopefully for good.  We got our haircuts.  Elder Jacobson and I made a funny video at the apartment.  And Elder Anasario and I went out to buy some food from a little street vendor.  We start talking to this girl, and it turns out she’s a former investigator who knows all these members and just moved back to Maria! She totally wants to come to church and listen to us again!  And she is literally just around the corner from us and the meeting house!  Awesome!  We were able to teach four lessons in the evening, one of which was to Tatay Dexter, who is our next goal for baptism on the 29th of November!  Good things are happening here!  Good P-Day!

And finally, on Tuesday, I had a normal, full day of work!  I was seriously so full of energy the whole day.  In the morning we taught Noel, who drove the Mamaradlo family to church then stayed for sacrament!  That’s the first time he’s come back to church since I’ve been here, so that was awesome!  We delivered the package for the Mamaradlo family also and Sister Angie sends her thanks and appreciation. She said it was "touching", and when we went back on Thursday the kids were all playing with the Webkins stuffed animals! It was so cute.  Big thanks to the 17th ward Relief Society!  In the afternoon we taught our old recent converts for the first time in over a week.  It was good to see them again!  Tatay Marcos gave me a kiss on the cheek!  That was surprising!  After that we did an interview for Elder Choresca and Elder Jacobson’s baptismal candidate, who passed!  Afterwards we got one more lesson as we taught Elma the Plan of Salvation again.  Goody day, but toward the end of it my companion wasn’t feeling so hot. 

Having fun with Baler Zone missionaries
On Wednesday we had district meeting as it was Elder Illustrisimo’s last of his mission.  Usually when missionaries are about to go home, they give a last testimony, which is usually heartfelt and spiritual. Well, during HIS last testimony, I can’t remember the last time that I laughed so hard!  I seriously was crying.  He is the FUNNIEST ELDER I’ve ever met, and I’ll miss that guy.  

​In the afternoon, Elder Anasario wasn’t feeling well, coughing and sneezing a lot, so he rested that afternoon, but toughed it out in the evening.  We were still able to get out and have good lessons with the young men, Dexter and Marivel.  Thursday we taught one lesson in the morning, and then headed down to Cabanatuan.  On the bus, they showed literally the worst movie (as in incredibly crass and rude) I’ve ever heard.  (I didn’t watch), then Titanic, which was better I guess.  I was surprised when I heard “Nearer my God to Thee”.  We bought some things in Cab, like Off lotion (that’s for you, Mom!) and a new Lebron jersey (that’s for you, Dad!). 

With his father (trainer), son (trainee) and grandson (trainee's trainee)
On Friday all the zone leaders and the sister training leaders met at the bus station in Cabanatuan, and then we headed to Tarlac.  Waiting there was the entire Tarlac half of the mission!  I got to see so many old friends!  I’m not going to name them all, but I did see Elder Antoni and Elder Tuifulasai, my apo!  
Goodbye to Sister Thomas, his batchmate who flew out to the Philippines with him 17 months ago

​I also saw my sisters, Sister Thomas and Sister Tuione, for possibly the last time, so I had to say goodbye, just in case.  

​We all went up to Angeles for a special fireside with Bishop Causse, who is in the Presiding Bishopric!  So awesome.  He spoke about planning being a spiritual creation, and his wife spoke all about how we as missionaries are all like Spiderman, in that we’ve been given this great power and responsibility and we need to train and figure out how to use it.  I couldn’t agree more! 
Elder and Sister Causee
After that, all of the Mission Leadership Council went back to the mission home for leadership training, which was so fun  and for pizza, which was so delicious!  We learned a lot about trust and unity that night.  It was fun to see good buddies like Elders Westover, Paredes and Stenquist and to make other new friends on the council. 

Saturday we had a lot of business!  President Clark introduced “Follow up 200”, which is a program where we focus down our areas, visit every investigator every day, and better use Preach My Gospel, the Book of Mormon and the 12 week training program.  I’m so excited.  It will be a lot of changes, but it will be great!  We talked about a lot of other things, little things we need to “tune up” if you will, and those were good reminders.  After the council was over, we left those members of the council that will be going home.  It was sad to say goodbye to Elders Stenquist and Wilson, but everyone’s got to go at some point.  And to make a long story short, by the time we got back to Cabanatuan, there were no more buses, so we felt good about staying in Cab overnight.  Saturday night we worked with the Cab Zone Leader Elder Elevencione, as his companion Elder Wilson is going home.  

Sunday Morning we went to sacrament meeting in Cabanatuan, in my companion's first area actually! After that we got on a bus, but it didn't leave for a while. It was cool though, as we were able to accomplish one of my dreams on the bus that day! We got permission from the bus driver to show the Restoration video on the TV, and so I got to stand up and introduce myself and the church, and the video.  It went well! Next time we're planning on showing the Joseph Smith movie if we get permission.  We got home just in time to go to the Baler Chapel to watch the Elder Oaks Philippines area Broadcast.  It was great, I love Elder Oaks, and all the apostles.
When we finally got home to Maria we only had time to teach Dexter, who came to church again! He's progressing right along!

This morning we had a really good weekly planning, which may be my last in this area. I've been here 6 months already, so there's a fairly big chance that I will be leaving.  But honestly,  I kind of hope not. When I saw all of the members last night, it was like I came home, like this place and these people have become my home. I don't know, but I'll go where the Lord wants me to go!  Also, this week the Lord has shown me lots of my weaknesses, and that's been a little hard to take, but I have a strengthened testimony again that if you accept your weaknesses and bring them to the Lord, the Lord will be with us as we change and improve.

 I love you all!  Love this Gospel!  Keep the faith!

--Elder Christensen

*I sent Brandon a new Spiderman hoodie for Halloween, since his was stolen from his apartment.  I told him to take a picture of him in it :)