Monday, June 29, 2009

long week...GOOD week =)

Family! Friends! HELLOOO!!!
Well, it has been a very, very busy week. Even since wednesday. Just as a heads up, next week is transfers, they happen every 6 weeks, and that will be on tuesday, which will also be p-day. so expect an email, which will likely be brief mondayish. =) ok, answers to questions

Where do you go to read e-mail?
Theres an internet cafe about 1 K from our flat.
Do you have a time limit?
the white hand book says an hour for email.
Can you print out letters and read them later?
yes, but i rarely do.
What are you doing for service?
anything and everything. We cleaned someone's kitchen just last week.
How many wards are you working in?
just one. it used to be 2 areas, with 2 sets of sisters. We replaced both of them, so we combined 2 area books, and 2 areas, and that has made things much bigger, and much easier.
How many meals each week do you eat with members?
it depends on the week, however the bishop and WML got together this week, and are making a meal roster for us that will have us being fed by members every night for the next 6 months or so. so thats exciting. :)
Are you cooking?
yes. :)
Is there any food you can't buy, that you're used to having?
WHEATIES. PANDA. ya thats pretty much all that i'm lamenting at the moment.
Well, as long as im talking about food, ill go ahead and tell you a few things that i HAVE been eating that will NOT be in the states. first, i had a kangaroo lasagna the other night, and found out that "fish and chips" translated from australian to american means "shark and really yummy french fries." yup, i ate SHARK. and there's no such thing as fries here- they're called chips. that was really interesting. Really yummy too.
ok, enough about food, how bout the work, right? WELL. :) we had a tracting day on saturday. This was elder Power's (brilliant) idea. So, we went tracting ALL DAY. but the lord blessed us. we had a lesson with the second person we talked to, and really didnt even get close with anyone else. but that was good, becuase it motivated us to keep going and get really excited about things. and then, just the night before, we had a recntly returned missionary invite us over for dinner. He's and AMAZING cook, and make us this really good chicken, with some toppings i've never heard of, and avacado, and whole grain mustard. Is there whole grain mustard in the states? cause its WAY good. oh. here i am talking about food again. ok, well, as long as im here again, its a good thing this is the last week of the month, because i just spent my last dollar today on groceries that will HOPEFULLY get us through the week- we'll see though. :P
Ok, well, we have one new investigator who we found tracting, his name is michael, he's pretty sincere, and i think he felt the spirit when we taught him. it was really good. we're seeing him again on thursday. i'm really excited. our other investigators are all the same as last week, and honestly we're kind of frustrated with them because they all want to learn more, but we've given them all the discussions, but one thing or another is holding them back from baptism. We're trying to help them but they aren't making it very easy, however, we did weekly planning for like 6 hours on friday. (and thats NOT an exaggeration) and we did some role plays of us to the investigators, and that turned out to be very helpful to us in determining the root concern in all of them, and then coming up with ways to resolve them. so this week, we're putting them to the test, and praying that they work. Some of them are VERY straight forward. so i'll let you know how those go. :)
haha, well there were a few very interesting people that we met while tracting, a few "born again" christians who had lots of bible references to use against us that they interpreted in some really interesting ways that i didnt quite understand how they came up with them. but really, their main argument was, "a bible! a bible! we have got a bible, and there cannot be any more bible (2 nephi 29:3)" amazing how accurate the Book of Mormon is.
one guy tried to give us his number and stuff so we could call him and he could help us be saved. It was entertaining and saddening at the same time. After a while, we finally had to say, no, we know what we know, and nothing will change that. full stop. (by the way, the term "full-stop" is equivalent to our, "period").
anyway, i have found that an emergency procedure has helped me through all of this. I ask myself some basic questions. "Is the book of mormon true?" uh, yep. "any questions?" uh, nope. "good." its become somewhat of a joke, but it works, and keeps us in good moods.
Also, this week Elder Power and I have had some very lengthy discussions about what Sin actually is, and what repentance actually is. Elder Power has done lots of research and study, and is only just scratching the surface. This morning, we talked about how at the root of all sin, there is a law that is broken, and at the root of all law, there is a punishment. there cannot be any law that is not enforced without a punishment. so punishment is the basis of all this. we read in d and c 19 about kingdoms of glory and who goes where, and we also went to d and c 76 and read about "eternal damnation" and "eternal punishment" Interesting that it says "never ending punishment" and not, "punishment without end." I'd tell you everything we got out of that, but I'll let ya'll study that one out and see what you learn. we learned quite a lot and spent an hour talking about it, so. there is much to be learned from modern-day revelation. :)
ok, well, i have to go. You are all in my prayers, I love you all so much!
Elder Tayler Christensen
ps- FAMILY. I need ya'lls mailing addresses! send em send em send em! (immediate, extended, pseudo, you name it. FAMILY)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Zone Temple Day was P-day

WOW everyone is doing so many things! i cant even keep it straight in my head! haha, its sounds like everyone is having so much fun, that youth conference sounds AWESOME!!! collin and cara are lucky! and collin- way to go keeping up the christensen tradition at the dances. cant let that one die.
Marissa, its been good to hear from you! and dont worry, i totally get the too busy to do much thing... happens to me every day. :P and dont worry, the door-knocking gets easier. after a while, you learn to laugh at people when they're mean like that. Speaking of tracting, i did a LOT this week. AND it wasn't even bad! i finally got over my fear of knocking on doors and talking to people i dont know! well mostly anyway. but now i can actually talk to people and not trip completely over my words! AND i'm starting to pick up the vernacular and accent... i know some of you will be happy about that. :) Anyway, the week has been so amazing, i went on trade-offs twice. both with missionaries who have been out for only a transfer longer than me, and both of them came to my area, so i found out that i REALLY need to learn how to plan effectively REALLY fast. haha. Elder Power is helping me with that. also, we have a new investigator, we taught her the first lesson on her door step yesterday, because she was home alone, and we cant go in to the flat without another male over 18, so that was kinda a bummer, but the lesson was really good. Oh, and the investigator whom we taught the law of chastity to is still going strong. She knows what decision she needs to make, but her partner is making it difficult for her. But her faith isn't shaken. she's still progressing, and we are helping her move more toward those decisions she needs to make in the near future.
oh my gosh! DAD! HAPPY VERY BELATED FATHERS DAY! sorry, i would have sent you some tim tams so you could do some slams, but as it turned out, We finished off the last 2 packs of them in about 15 minutes last saturday after we taught 4 discussions and committed 8 people to come to church in one day! so that was good.
i cant reply to everyone's email in this one, cause i'm running out of time fast, so im just going to say thank you for all of your inspiring letters- they have helped me quite a lot. :)
but there are SOME things that i want to adress- collin, sorry bout that having to burn stuff all by yourself, i totally know how that goes. one suggestion i have for you is to put some conference talks on you mp3 player. they're great. :) Also, that package, i hope there's some chocolate in it, cause i ran out! :P
OH! i know that lots of you like to just send email because snail mail takes so long, BUT there is NOTHING like getting hard mail... i love it. so if you feel so inclined, get out some paper and a pen.

some things i've learned this week- there is nothing as powerful as a prayer said out loud. its amazing how the spirit can work through you for you as you pray. also, dad you always told me about how sometimes when you're teaching, you say something thats even new to you, and you're like, "whoa... i didnt even know that!" well, i was always like, oh thats cool, hope that happens... and then wa BAM! like 3 times in one week, i just throw stuff out that im like, WHAT! how did i come up with that? its pretty crazy. i love it though. Also, i found that when you pray for a testimony, you get it. i found that i wanted and needed to bear more powerful testimony, so i prayed for it and studied and did all that, and its coming, i really have been able to cater it towards individual investigators, and it has made a HUGE difference. Anyway, I'm running out of time, but i'm sorry that once again my email is late, we had zone temple day today, so today became out p-day rather than monday, so thats that. ok. well, i really have to go now, we still have to shower and get to an appointment in an hour-- by the way, rugby, or "footie" is like the most fun sport ever. ok, I love you all so much! pray for missionary experiences and they will come! also, this is a startling figure- president richards said that something like only 5 people in every ward are ready and willing to help the missionaries with the work- something to think about. :P anyway, now i REALLY gotta go. Love you all so much!
Elder Christensen

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Week

Hey family!
ok, so new idea. you should take all of your questions and combine them into one list so i can go through and answer all of them! haha I'll do my best. Also, a re-emphasis on the fact that Mom or Dad are supposed to be the first recipients of any mail i send. President Richards said specifically that that included siblings- sorry to be a kill joy, but i've recently been finding out how many blessings come from complete obedience. Ok, now I'll try and answer all of your questions. :)
Leticia is Ethiopian, her last name is Bandibombe. Gorgi's last name is Askham, she's English. Jay's last name is Singh. he's nepalese. Jay is THIS close to quitting smoking, and we hope to getting baptized. Leticia is waiting for her mom to get into Aus. so she can show her what the church is all about. We're reteaching all the lessons to make sure she understands. Gorgi, made some decisions about her defacto relationship that we weren't thrilled about, but we then taught her a lesson about obedience, and i think she figured it out. We also gave her a blessing of Comfort and counsel. it was really good. So we'll see if she figures it out this week. Also, This week we had 8- count them EIGHT investigators at church INCLUDING a family of 5 who is muslim. The mother is so Christlike. she asked for a BofM after church, and they committed to come to church next week. Thats a very delicate position though. The Mission president has to interview any Muslim Investigators before we start teaching them becuase many of them are refugees and if they go back to their native countries being any form of Christian, they can be tortured and/or killed. But before that they have to be progressing and keeping committments. So they have to read and Pray about the BofM and be coming to church for 3 weeks straight before the interview can even take place, and before we can formally teach them. so that will be an adventure. The members here are great. Every sunday at church, there are 2 or 3 people who just walk up and ask us to come over for dinner. and then during the week they call us up too. The ward mission is AMAZING and the Ward Mission Leader is the best I have ever heard of. Even my trainer is impressed, and he's been out for 18 months! And am i being fed? haha... lets just say that a good portion of the ward is POLYNESIAN. :P that ought to answer that question. I'm pretty sure I am slowly making my way 140 lbs. Oh, and i remember Dad asking about my companion... Go to and type in NERD. That would answer a few questions. :) but i recently went on trade-offs with one of the zone leaders and he told me that Elder Power is legendary. Most missionaries hear of him long before they ever meet him apparently. And since then, he's not the only person i've heard that from. So i guess i'm pretty lucky. :) He's also one of the funniest people i have ever met- sort of reminds me of collin. but in a marissa sort of way... If that makes sense. :P Ok, this is funny. so yesterday, it was about 15 degrees. so like 60ish. Everyone was walking around it sweatshirts and coats, and even Elder Power had on a sweater. I was walking around in my short-sleeved shirt. Everywhere we went, people invited us in because it was "so cold." oh man, i nearly died every time i realized that they were serious. :P oh, funny thing about driving here. you do about 50 in residential areas, about 60 in the cities, 80 on the highway and anywhere from 80 to 110 on the freeways. Faster if you're in the middle of nowhere. ok, now take all of those numbers and convert them from KM/H to MPH. and imagine that the speedometer has no MPH on it. makes driving really fun. or something. :P Wow dad that's really cool about Brynn! I do remember her. Tell her Hi for me. :D
Cara! so who's surprised you got a 4.0? raise your hand- anyone? anyone at all? No? ya. Me neither. :P haha im glad to know that you're still doing so well. and the telethon thing... haha i know ALL about answering phones for extended periods of time. fun, aint it? Oh, and i DO have pictures for you, but i'm getting a bunch of other stuff to send home too- there's these cookies that they have here- called tim tams. kind of like those fudge-covered graham crackers mom used to buy, but so much better. We do these things called "tim-tam slams" they're fun, you bite off the opposite corners of the tim tam, and then suck hot chocolate through it, and then when it starts to melt, you slam it into your mouth. its way good, i'll send home a pack so ya'll can try it.
ah, the breakfast cereals are lacking. you know how we have like whole isles devoted to them? ya they have half of a short isle on one side in a BIG grocery story. But they have this cereal called crunchy nut- its like honey-nut corn flakes, way good. some culture stuff- people dont say "how you doing?" they say "how you goin?" the police cars look like checkered race flags, they have their own car dealership called Holden, which makes cars much like Toyota and Ford, but way cheaper. Everyone is really laid back. Even the worst rejection i've had has been really polite, and ended with, "have a good one mate." oh, there are no j-walking laws. so you can cross at cross walks, but ya dont have to. oh, and "far out" is the latest term for "cool." there's a bunch of other slang that i've picked up, as well as some of the accent, but that would take pages to write. We'll just say that when i call home, you'll be entertained I'm sure. :)
Collin- sorry to hear your piano recital was kind of a bummer, but knowing you, you prolly rocked the house anyway. The high school really does need mom's help. :P
Anna- Glad to hear you did so well at your dance recital. I bet that'll be a life-long enjoyment for you. I'm excited to see how you'll be when i get back. :) i hope someone took video.
Whitney- sounds like you had a blast at graduation! I'm happy for you! Keep up the good work. :) i sent you a letter a little while back, and I'm sending another one soon, so hopefully you get those soon.

Ok, well, i gotta go, I love you all so much, and i Know that i am where i am supposed to be. Keep up all the missionary efforts!

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

All Hail the Queen!

Hello family and friends!
well, in explanation of my late email, it was the queen's birthday on monday, and we make it a practice to always proselyte on holidays cause everyone is at home! so we did. most people were home. we had some VERY interesting conversations one in particular with a guy who was probably in his 50's who was a psychiatrist of some sort who wouldn't shut up about how God doesnt speak to man, and how he had the bible all figured out, and how he changes over time... really quite entertaining, but it made me so sad because i realised how lonely and dark a life that must be- but we definitely planted some good seeds elsewhere. then, tuesday was zone conference, which was amazing- president richard's son gave a training on effective tracting and street contacting. i took like 5 pages of notes on just his talk. so that was good. so today, wednesday is the day for p-day. sorry bout that. anyway, its been a crazy week. Leticia, who we started teaching 2 weeks ago, dropped contact with us for a while, cause her mom freaked out again, but came to church again this last sunday. She said she just needs to wait for her mom to get hear, and then calm her down before she gets baptized... so it probably wont happen this transfer, but she IS getting baptized. So we will continue to work with her. Also, We satrted teaching a girl named Georgie who lives with a less-active member. Her partner, Dan, isnt at all interested in coming back to the church, but georgie is eating it up! Completely Golden. we taught her the first 2 lessons last week, and she was so excited! I have never seen someone so intensely focused on what i was saying before. I cant even describe how that room felt, it was amazing, the spirit was so strong, and she wants to learn more so bad. She's reading, and praying and calling her partner's mother who is active for questions she has, and just eating it up! She's been to church every week, and loves it. Tonight is going to be her moment of truth though... Dad i dont know if you remember "The District" but the part where they tell that one couple that they either have to get married or move out before the lady can be baptized... ya we're doing that EXACT same thing with Georgie tonight. We're covering the 3rd lesson and the law of chastity. so hopefully she'll see the wisdom in that. Also, we are teaching a Nepalese guy who the sisters before us had taught, and committed to baptism. He's going to be baptized for sure, but he moved too quickly and didnt include his wife in the decision and she freaked out. so we're still working with him, but he post-poned his baptism. He also needs to quit smoking, so we are working with him on a stop smoking program that the church puts out, and he's already made significant progress.
ok, so i asked my mission president if I was allowed to email the siblings- unfortunately i can't- but i can write to them in this email, and ya'll can email mom or dad and they can forward it to me. sorry guys.
anyway, Dad, you are right, the feelings of inadequacy and homesickness have indeed kicked in. I spent a long time on my knees and in journal and in the scriptures trying to get over it. finally, I just said, this is not about me, or about getting home. its about God's children, and THEM getting home. when i had that thought, i had so much peace come over me, it was almost intoxicating- addictive. it helped me get through the day on monday. now, i think im back to normal. but dad, your advice was well-timed. Also, Just this morning in my personal study, i did indeed read about what makes a missionary successful. Made my day. :)
you are so lucky you can play the piano. I am just realizing how incredibly effective it is to learn. you can play ANYWERE, and some investigators love it when you can play a church song for them. Keep it up. Also, you will be interested to know that I am still driving the car, and I'm getting better at it. I'm to the point now that going back to America and driving there will be weird. And no, we actually dont even have bikes. the office still hasnt sent them. we're not exactly sure why.
I am so happy to hear that you are doing so well! Ya, you know how the blinker stick is on the left side of the steering wheel and the windshield wiper turner-oner is on the right side of the steering wheel? WELL, its opposite here, so im used to turning on the blinker, and all I do is turn the windshield wiper on! :P oh, and we had our first real day of winter yesterday. it got down to a whopping 67 degrees last night! brrrrrrr!
What? no email? hmmm.... well i hope you're doing good, missy. Good luck with your dance recital! i wish i could see it! you'll have to have someone take video or something and send me the SD card.
EMAIL ME. i want to hear about you too. tell me about califoria! and your job, and everything!
well I'm glad you're feeling better. As it turns out, I didnt catch what my companion had, so im considering myself lucky. also, with that chinese woman that you VT, you are so right about not breaking contact with her! We had a training at district meeting about how crucial it is for investigators and less-active members to have fellowship in the their wards at church and out of church. contact with someone other than the missionaries WEEKLY is vitally important for them. So, you definitley have the right idea, keep it up! :)
Mom- haha... just your luck to go to all that work spraying and then have it dump on you huh? :P sorry to hear that. well the wind sounds like it was pretty intense. i kinda wish i saw it. that would have been cool. hope it didnt rip the flag up- we just got that thing.
haven't gotten your letter yet, but they only give mail at Zone conference, transfers, and then the district leader council. so... not often. but we'll see. anyway, i dont know when graduation is, or if it already happened, but im way proud of you!

anyway, i love you all, have a good week! I should be back on schedule next week. :)
Elder Christensen

ps- i remember you asking me if i have minesterial certificate- answer is yes. in fact i have 2. because they spelled my middle name wrong the first time. so i have 2 now. :P go figure. maybe ill send that one home so you can have a look at it. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Days in Australia

hey family! (and friends!)
wow, this has been such an amazing week, full of many trials, blessings and tender mercies. I left the MTC with full intentions of traveling alone, and hopefully talking to some people. there were 4 other missionaries who traveled to LAX with me, they were all going to thailand though, so we were going to different terminals for the last leg of our flights. i found mine, and checked in, and FINALLY got to call home! that was so good for me, i needed to hear your voices. :) Im glad to hear that the garden has been planted, and that the ATV is fixed! i've been planting my own garden as it were, and am starting to see the fruits already. I'll give you the details from the time that i got off the plane in australia. the plane ride, by the way, was very uneventful, and i slept for most of it. upon arrival in the airport, i had to go through customs, and throw away the bagel that i had, because of the quarantine laws. Also, because i was still sick, i had to go be screened for the swine flu, which, come to find out, i didnt have. but i already knew that. anyway, i got my luggage, and by the way, one wheel of my medium sized luggage broke somewhere in the flight, so, i had to drag it seperately... wa hoo. :P anyway, after making it thought customs, I found President Richards and his wife very quickly, and got to know them a little bit, and then loaded up my luggage, and drove to the mission office with the APs. I had a brief orientation, which by the way, im supposed to tell you, that i can only email mom and dad, but im going to ask for permission to email the siblings as well, but i dont think that will be a big deal. if not, ill just email yall through mom and dad. so after that, i was told that we were going to lunch at the mission home, and then we would get a surprise... which was that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to speak to the mission! i got to shake his hand and talk to him just briefly! it was SO COOL! then he spoke about running with everything we've got. he said that we should be coming back to the flat so tired, we can barely make it through daily planning. well that wasnt too hard the first few days, i found i barely made it past lunch, but that was jet-lag. anyway, after that meeting, i met my trainer, Elder Power. he's been out a year and a half, has trained twice before, been a zone leader twice, and district leader 3 times. he currently is the district leader as well. So, He's training, the district leader, AND we whitewashed into the area- which means that he got there the day before i did, so we're both new to the area. the area, by the way, is brisbane city, and our flat is just a few blocks from the temple, which is on the same grounds as the chapel. its beautiful. so, the first thing we did besides go to the grocery store and unpack, was go to ward council. i barely stayed awake, and barely made it home. OH! thats the other thing- my trainer isn't allowed to drive- too many speeding tickets. so guess what i got to do? yup. drive. on the left side of the road, on the right side of the car, and the blinker stick thing is on the opposite side as well, so instead of turning on the blinker, i turned on the windshield wipers... im still getting it down. but its not too hard to adjust... havent had any close calls yet. :P anyway, so the next day i got my first taste of tracting and GQing... pretty much street contacting. i FROZE up, but on the first door when i did the talking, we got in, and had the first lesson, and had a prayer. i dont think that we'll be going back there, but it was a nice confidence-booster for me. anyway, that night we had an appointment with a girl named Leticia- she's from Ethiopia, and she's a refugee living by herself. We went in with fellowshippers who she knows, and taught her about the book of mormon... turns out she has had many lessons before, and even had committed to baptism before, but her mother would call from ethiopia and just yell at her until she promised to not be baptized. so we talked about that with her, and decided that we would pray with her, and we would fast with her this coming fast sunday. she aggreed, and took a leap of faith, and again, made a commitment to be baptized on june 13th! i was overjoyed. it was so amazing. so later in the week, we went to an english class at the church, (there are lots of oriental people here who speak little or no english) and that was good, but afterwards, one of the ladies that was there, asked me what "elder" meant, and that got us started on the first discussion. I gave her a pass-along card, the restoration pamphlet, and the Plan of Salvation pamphlet... she was really interested, and i just wanted keep piling stuff on her, the gospel of jesus christ, the word of wisdom, law of chastity, the proclamation to the world on the family, and the Book of Mormon, but i resisted that, and just let her soak in what i had told her, and she said she would be back next week and would tell me what she thought of it. that was awesome. anyway, after that, Elder Power started get some stomach cramps, and so we didnt go out anymore, that was saturday. sunday came, and we made it to church, and we bore our testimonies... i have to admit that hearing a sacrament meeting all with people who were australian and in that accent was a new experience. i had to really pay attention to what was being said or i didnt understand it. it was pretty difficult. some were easier to understand than others, and the weird thing was that the accent seemed to go away when they sang... i dunno, i thought that was kinda funny. anyway, after that, we made it home again, and Elder Power didnt feel well at all... he had been throwing up the night before, so we stayed in the flat, and rested. Monday came around and that was our P-day, and he still felt horrible, so again we spent the whole day in the flat, but we talked for a very long time and got to know eachother better, and that was really good for us. so just for future reference, i wont be emailing on tuesdays, we just couldnt leave the flat on monday. so ya. anyway, that has been my week so far, and hopefully i'll more to tell you about investigators and whatnot next week. I love you all so much! Im so glad i am where i am, i know that i am doing the work that God has for me to do, and i wouldnt want it any other way. :)
Again i love you all,
Love, Your Favorite Missionary,
Elder Tayler Christensen