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 :)

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