Thursday, March 12, 2015

Awesome MLC, fun trip to Manila and feeling hopeful

Last Monday we had a district activity which was super fun.  Email was good and I got to buy a new watch and a new basketball!  Both desperately needed!  In the evening we visited Oscar, who has gone apostate to the point of becoming a missionary for a different church!  He kept questioning us and our testimonies and our spiritual experiences, but I’m not gonna lie, we testified boldly and the spirit backed us up.  But man, he was hard.  It took us a while to just get in… and Satan has tricked him pretty good!  On the opposite end of the spectrum, we visited our stake president and his family, the Espinosas!  We presented our message again, and to our great joy, they’ve already started with two families!  And then they fed us Kalabaw BBQ for the first time on my mission!  We then went over and slept at the Assistants’ for MLC!  And of course, it was a blast to see and talk with everyone.

MLC on Tuesday was AWESOME!  It was super amazing and exactly what we needed to hear as a mission.  My favorite part was when we were talking about the atonement.  President gave us time to just sit and ponder and write about the atonement.  It was super spiritual!  I loved every minute. 
March Mission Leadership Council

Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Olojoun in the other part of my old area!  Sonny worked with us, and I was able to show them different places and people I knew.  The highlight for me was when I was able to teach Tinay.  She is a member who was active when I was here, and we were pretty good friends back in the day, but she had some stuff happen and now she is living with her boyfriend in, get this, my current area!  We had a great lesson with her and we scheduled a time to visit her next week in my area.  Thursday we went house-hunting for the sisters yet again, and we found the perfect house….almost.  It only had one bathroom and that’s a deal-breaker apparently.  Man!  In the afternoon we got a new investigator, an old nanay named Aurora, who apparently wants to feed us next time!  Later on we went to this far out area where there’s tons of less actives.  The ward requested that we go there sometimes, so we will!  We taught three less active members.  They are all really nice and open to our message, so that’s good! 

Friday!  We had zone training meeting in the afternoon, which went well.  We taught the new teaching style of focusing on their interest and needs by teaching the simple, clear, short doctrine they need to hear, then focusing on them by asking application questions and showing the doctrine’s relevancy according to their concerns.  It went well!  It went long though and there were a lot of other things we needed to get to so we didn’t get home until 5:30.  After dinner we went out to work but we were only able to teach Ben.  His concern is that his mom doesn’t want him to change religions, so he’s kind of closed off his mind there and his mom doesn’t want to listen to us so that doesn’t help.  But he’s really sharp.  We’ve just got to get past this. 

Saturday morning I woke up early and took a road trip with Elders Armatage, Hedman, Westover, Gordon, Johnson and Eggett, just to name a few, to Manila.  No joke!  We had to get our fingerprinting done in order to leave the country.  Elder Armatage and I chatted the whole way down.  Man, I forgot how big Manila is!  We did the fingerprinting at the MTC complex, so that was trippy to be back there!  And it was great to see the temple, even if we couldn’t go inside.  I saw so many missionaries I knew from the MTC, because all of the foreign missionaries from around 7 missions were there!  I looked for Elder Brian Christensen, but I found someone from Baguio Mission and they said he wasn’t there….Oh well!  That whole process took about 3 hours and it was fun to be with so many missionaries! 

Afterwards we got lunch at Burger King and then dessert at Dairy Queen, because those are things that are just not in the Angeles Mission…and it seemed like such a good idea at the time, but man, that killed my stomach!  But it was ok, because Elder Armatage and I had more chats on the way home.  We decided that from now until we go home in June, we’re going to try to do a little better every day, or become a little more like Christ every day, and record it, then share it at the end.  And once we got home, I had my moment where I think I was a little bit more like Christ, because my stomach hurt and I straight up did not want to go out to work.  But I prayed for strength and we went out and got good work done!  We taught Erwin.  Then we taught Alexander, an old contact, and his 9 kids.  But we set a return appointment to teach him and his wife and their 9 kids!  Wow!  And he is so cool.  He was super active in the lesson and this message was made for him.  We have high hopes for them!  We ended the night by teaching the Tollentino family, then visiting Nora.  Nora is now separated from her husband, so she’s having a hard time, so we won’t be able to teach her for a while….
Sunday was good!  We were able to schedule a lot of appointments with members for this week!  Elder Tucci also came to church with us because he’s going home this week, so it was fun to see him again!  In the afternoon Carlos had a cool experience.  Carlos is our investigator who isn’t legally married to his wife (a member) because he used a different last name when they got married (because he was legally married to someone else and it’s nearly impossible to get a divorce in the Philippines.  His first wife is now dead anyways.  He didn’t know what to do, because obviously he has to be married in order to live the law of chastity and in order to be baptized.  He has such faith and such a testimony.  So he made it a matter of prayer and prayed about it for two weeks.  This weekend the spirit whispered to him what he needs to do:  He needs to take his certificate of marriage to the municipal hall and petition to the lawyer to change the last name on the certificate from the wrong last name to the correct one, which is just a two letter difference, so he said that he’ll do that on Monday!  What a guy.   We also got to visit with Allan Victorio, who came to church again and who is making great progress in returning to activity!  We also taught the Ong family, who is this young married couple.  Abigail is a recent convert and Steve is an RM.  Their cute kids are super hyper.  I love those guys. 
And so this week was good and I feel hopeful.  Every time I look out our window during companionship study as we recite D&C 4, I feel the spirit telling me that they’re out there.  Things are looking up and the High Priest of Good Things to Come is our captain.

-Elder Christensen

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