Sunday, November 29, 2009

ah, the ebb and flow of e-mail

gooday family and friends!
well the last couple of days have been indeed interesting. since wednesday, we have had lots of lessons. we had another lesson with Tia, and have had to push her date back to the 12th of december. it had been for the 5th. however, as of yesterday, we have talked to Isiah and his family, and now, we are baptizing him this saturday, the 5th, and are giving Dan, his dad the priesthood the next day. :) so that'll be cool. we're getting them to the temple ASAP. oh, last week we got told that we were going to have a mini missionary come. Basically, its just a priest-aged guy who comes and hangs out with us for a week. We met him at the chapel after sacrament meeting yesterday, and then took him back to the flat. His name is Kirk, and he's 16. so this next week should be fun. we have been having some really interesting comp studies as of late. we're studying the plan of salvation in depth, and in the last week, we havent gotten past the pre-earth life yet. its intense, and really really deep- we're afraid we confused our mini this morning... oops. oh well. :) I like deep doctrine stuff, so i'm enjoying the study. I almost have finished the Book of Mormon again too.
so, i got my birthday package! i opened the shirt. sorry. i know its not my birthday yet. couldnt help myself though. i also read Dad's journal entries from his birthday. i enjoyed those dad, thanks.
whitney- i decided what i want for my birthday. a box of wheaties. there is no good breakfast cereals here. :) and i'm glad you had fun at home- black friday shopping- haha something that is not present here. at all.
speaking of which, i actually had a thanksgiving dinner with a family in the ward. it was really good. it was funny too though, their idea of a BIG turkey here is like normal size for us. and there were no mashed potatoes! how the heck do you have thanksgiving without mashed potatoes? it makes for a less-full plate of food. but it was good. there was still plenty to eat. including taro and chop sui. :) that was the samoan twist to the dinner. good stuff. umm... well thats basically it. short week this week, and not much to reply to. so i'll let you know how this whole mini-missionary thing goes next week. and just so's yous remember- next p-day is my birthday!!! im turning 20! send me birthday mail! lots and lots of mail. that would just make my day. :)
ok, well, talk to yous later!
I love you!
elder Tayler Christensen

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I am SO dreaming of a white Christmas

Dear family and friends,
well, if you didn't notice, it was a long week this week. We got to go to the temple today, and consequently, today, (wednesday) became p-day. So. weekly news. Elder Bartelt and I officially decided that we have got to be here for someone. basically all our investigators are children, except one, but this week, after deciding that we just really need to step it up, we finally had lessons with people that we havent taught in ages, ran into emily and james again, started teaching yet another child, set a baptisimal date with that same child, got invited over for thanksgiving on saturday with bro. o'connor- which by the way will be very unique- he's Irish, and she's Samoan. Tarro will be served right next to the turkey cooked the italian way- whatever way that is. haha. anyway, we did heaps of tracting last week, and for the last couple of days, and have found a few really good potentials. unfortunately, most of them are YSA girls. i hope it has nothing to do with our ridiculously good looks. :P anyway. this week what else... OH! Elder Cook of the 12 came and did a special zone conference with Elder callister (area president), and elder gonzales (presidency of the 70). It was awesome! i got to shake their hands! Elder Cook is a great guy. He gave a really great talk, and i learned heaps- forgot my notes though, so i'll tell you bout the particulars next week. Elder Callister is the guy who wrote "the infinite atonement." dunno if yous have ever read it, but apparently its something akin to "the miracle of forgiveness" its the only other book that president richards allows us to read. anyway, he gave a special stake conference the next day, which was EXCCELLENT. he talked about the recent tsunami in samoa, which affected lots of people in the stake, and how he had gone to visit 8 member familes who had lost family- only 1 of the 8 families had been sealed in the temple. he then stressed that we should stop at nothing to enter the temple, specifically he mentioned giving up smoking and drinking. Alcohol by the way, almost comes out of kitchen sinks here, its the favorite pass time of the country- sad part is, im not even joking. so that is a huge problem for lots of people. but, this is the amazing part of the whole day. the conference started at 10. at 8:30 we got a call from sabrina who is the less-active mother of Isiah, who we have been trying to get baptized since day one in this area. She led a riotous life before she had children, and got married, and was sort of a hindernance to Isiah's progression. she's a great friend of ours though, she just didnt set a good example. anyway, she calls us out of the blue to ask when the conference was, we told her, and she freaked out cause she was still in bed. but, she came by herself. after Elder Callister's talk about the temple, and families being sealed, the conference ended and we went back and talked to her. She told us that right then and there, she quit smoking and drinking so that she could get her family into the temple. we were ecstatic! before that, she had told us that she had no desire to give up smoking or drinking. and now a total change of heart? she sealed the deal by going up to Elder Callister and telling him how his talk had affected her, and then within 2 seconds of finishing that conversation, she caught bishop Hannant and set up an appointment for her and her husband to come in. that happened yesterday. we also went over to her house on monday and went over exactly what she needed to do to become temple worthy. basically just taught the 4th lesson. she committed to live all of them. we were happy. amazing how the spirit works. she hadn't planned on coming to the conference, but she couldn't sleep anymore, and "something" kept telling her to get up, and get to that conference. life changer. :D Doesnt get much better than that. anyway, Anna, sounds like your room is going to look sweet as! :) keep being you, babe.
Cara- Aka, "big kahuna" :) i dunno if "big" is quite the right word, but hey, whatever gives you the title of "boss" is gonna be correct. but sounds like you're working miracles for KMM. keep up the awesome work! this world needs more people like you.
Collin- great to hear from you. :P
Mom- thanks for the hydration pack. :) its been a huge help. and your concert- sounds like it's going to be awesome! and looks like you've found a suitable replacement for me- haha, better even.
Dad- thanks for your email. made my day. your encouragement is a huge help to me, especially your reminder that that baptisms dont always mean success. or vice versa.
marissa and richard- glad you got to come up! im jealous. :) have fun!
rochelle and BJ and gabe- thanks for that email! it was cute to read the update on Gabe's walking around and talking. :) cant wait to see it!
Whitney- got your package. :) no birthday requests yet. :) i sent a letter and YOUR package back.
anyway, love you all!
Elder Tayler Christensen

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Long As week

Well hello there my family and friends!
so, with reguards to the lack of mail- it must be sunday over there or something. no worries. i guess i'll just talk about me for a long time instead.
anyway, this week, though technically a short week, if you're measuring from p-day to p-day, was especially long. Dad, i felt pretty dumb when last week i told you what kind of hydration pack i wanted, when just 10 minutes earlier we had run into the ZLs and they gave us mail- the package containing the one you sent was sitting right next to me as i wrote that- haha. thank you so much! it was a life saver this week. Anyway, since tuesday, we had a crazy week. We had a lesson with the Falisima Kids on tuesday night, and taught the 10 commandments. it was good, i am learning how to teach everyone, including children- its hard to change your teaching style a couple times in one day, but i'm getting the hang of it, no doubt a result of elder Bartelt's proficiency in teaching children, as well the mercy of the lord in assisting me in becoming the tool that he would have me become. wednesday, was probably the worst day of the week. Our investigators Emily and James dropped us. Turns out, after the conversation that we had with emily last sunday, when she tried to talk to her dad again, he wouldnt have any of it, and told her that she was going to stop investigating the church, and that she certainly wouldnt be baptized while she still lived under his roof. so we didnt have much choice in the matter. she did say though, that she would keep reading the Book of Mormon and whatnot, and that once she moved out, (which should be soon apparently) she would contact us again and resume lessons. so we werent excited about that, and with the loss of them, our teaching pool has been reduced to 4, all of which are children, and 3 of which live in the same house. the rest of the day was kind of ruined because of that. but we tried to keep ourselves happy as we still had to tract for another 2 hours. Thursday, we had district meeting, with a new district leader, Elder Ormsby. He's pretty good. i learned a few things from him. mostly about the tracting method and such. after that, we gave the car to the springfield elders, and we tracted the rest of the day. it was hot. but we have a family, the covingtons, (isiah's family) who have basically adopted us. so we had dinner with them, and taught a lesson, the last one, to Isiah. That family is one of the tender mercies in this area. while they are less-active, and getting their son baptized has been a work from the first week here, down to now, they have been great friends, and have helped in our physical relief, and always fill in our dinner appointments if they fall through. we have also been able to have some very spiritual experiences with them, which have resulted in them resolving to come back to church, and get Isiah Baptized ASAP. Friday was likely the hardest day of my mission (note- not the worst, just the hardest.) We decided the night before, that we needed to exert more faith in finding new investigators to teach. so we decided to fast. Saturday though, is much like everyone else's monday. its one of our least favorite days. mainly because we rarely have lessons, and we dont have the car, and we spend the majority of the day walking and tracting. so we fasted that day. about half way into the morning, we decided that it needed to be a food fast only, and that we shouldnt be stupid missionaries and take no water with us. so we were able keep ourselves hydrated, yet still enjoy the benefits of a fast. we found heaps of people who were willing to listen to us, had lessons on doorsteps, and made quite a few return appointments. we also walked, as best as we can estimate, a good 7 or 8 miles that day. it was something like 38 degrees C- which is 90-something degrees F. and it was some high percentage of humidity. basically, we felt disgusting all day. then we had a dinner with the alovilis- they decided that they need a lot of blessings- a fact which we agree with- there are 21 kids living under that roof- so they have us over for dinner as often as possible. they're a good family as well. so, after a long day of fasting, we were exhausted, and we were finally fed, and we walked home, planned, got to bed ASAP. i found that throughout the day, i only ever rarely, and mildly at that, felt any effects of the fast. The lord Certainly was mindful of us as we did our fast, and supported us in it. oh, and i lost something like 1.5 KGs during it too. :) but there have been no side effects of that fast. so i'm thankful for that. Yesterday, every appointment fell through, and we had dinner with the covingtons again. However, i had a great time at church, and the sacrament was especially meaningful for me, as i remembered that the savior suffered everything- not only sins, but also weakness and hardship. He knows exactly what i feel and what i'm going through. I am NOT alone. no matter how much that seems to be the case. i have been supported through everything. it is most definitely a miracle . I also had a great personal study yesterday after church, in the which i read in Jesus the Christ, all about the passion week and the trial, and the crucifixion. tears came to my eyes many times as i imagined how that must have been to witness such horrific scenes of torture, and yet divine submission. How the apostles must have been crushed, and even more, how the Father of us all must have wept for his son, who in the last stage of his life, had to be withdrawn from, so that He could succor his people who had had the spirit of God withdrawn from them. And yet, with his last utterance, "it is finished" how glorious and joyful was the end of his errand. he had fulfilled all that he came to do. and because of that sacrifice, we can join him as joint-heirs of the kingdom of God! My appreciation for the savior has been so increased during this study, and i have loved every moment of it. I would recommend that study to anyone who feels discouraged or alone.
anyway, my time runs short, and i think that this is a long one, so i wont bore yous anymore-
so, i hope you all have a fantastic week! keep me in your prayers. i'm always praying for you.
Elder Tayler Christensen

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Transfer This Month?

hey family!
thank you for filling my inbox! It makes me happy! and who's idea was it to send me the whole ping pong thing? trunky as, bro! haha. but sounds like yous all had a pretty full-on week. Cara, glad your b-day went so well, and i suppose its a good excuse for you to not write me. Dad, i dunno you've sent the package yet, but i forgot to make my request for the hydration pack in my last email- the full thing would be good, if thats ok, if not, the bladder is just fine.

anyway, transfers happened today, and drum roll please...............................
ok its not that exciting, nothing happened. Elder Bartelt and I stayed together again this transfer- we think there's someone we need to baptize- president doesnt generally keep missionaries together for longer than 3 months. but no one's complaining.

oh, and dad, maybe try looking at the forecast before you go out and spray heaps- just an idea. :D and the tree thing- good on yous! that will be way awesome if that deal goes through. i'll definitely keep that in my prayers. and, if it makes you feel any better, this weekend it rained every day, and it dumped hard, and we had a SWEET AS lightning storm. it just stayed above our flat for like an hour, and the thunder shook the flat- it was awesome!

and yes, i did tract in the rain. it was... well, fun. got soaking wet, and then, the clouds cleared up and it got hot, so we didnt change, cause the water was keeping us cool. but we got a member's couch wet- oops. :P anyway, this week was actually rather trying. we suffered for lessons to teach, and out golden investigators- emily and james- emily's parents came home, and flipped a switch when she told them that she was thinking about getting baptized. they went on the internet, and you can guess what they found. virtually everything. so we spent a long time correcting what they found, and we havent heard from them since sunday. We've had a rough time getting stuff done. people have no more common courtesy these days. people will schedule appointments, and then just be gone, or decide that they're too busy when we get there- this is especially trying when we dont have the car. but, life goes on. we will baptize this transfer. its baptize or bust. we've been in famine for 3 monts- time for a season of plenty. anyway, there were no more burnings this week, we ran out of time, and quite frankly, there isnt much around the flat to burn. so thats about all that has happened this week.

oh! just kidding, we had elder Nielson (new area president) come to a speacial zone conference, and that was really good. we had deep clean as well, and i repaired some of my pants- ya i sewed stuff. and it actually worked. :P it was pretty fun. but i suppose this week, my biggest thing has been my use of prayer. prayer is intense when you do it right. AKA-when you're awake and totally focused. but i've had so much help this week just on my own personal issues. like you said dad, im at 6 months, and i feel like i know nothing. i feel like im wasting time, yet i'm exhausting myself every day. i dont know how to better do my job, but im trying constantly to make myself better, a better teacher, better finder, a better companion, and just an overall better person. Change is hard. near impossible without God's help. but, im changing. slowly at first. but its picking up. the change is amazing. the way i think and the way do things is changing, and my attitude towards life is changing. life is GOOD. i realized the other day, that no matter how hard this mission is, i really dont want to be anywhere else than here. Home would be great, school would be great, the beach would be great- and yet, it doesnt even sound appealing anymore. Going home isnt something that i think about all time anymore. when people mention that i'm running out of time, now i tell them to shut up. I love being out here, and now i realize why everyone who goes home, never leaves with a smile on their face- the time is too short. Anyway, im out of time. ill talk to yous later! i love you! have an awesome week!
Elder Christensen

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Already!

Family! Friends!
thank you so much for all your emails this week! they have definitely made my day! :) Dad- your email cracked me up. especially the thursday garbage day thing- that was awesome. and the huge list of chores to do on the blank calendar day. good fun. I found myself wanting to help with the Goat fence- like i really want to help. haha, i realized this week, that i was shivering in bed and it was like 70 degrees still- im going to be STUFFED when i get home and its cold- im sure it will be entertaining though. :P Dad, thank you for putting my name on the prayer role- it has definitely helped. I have felt much better and more mobile as of late, so all good. oh, and i can touch my toes now! it hurts like nothing, but i can! yay!
anyway, this week has been good.
on tuesday, we went on trade-offs. i went with the greenie and we taught some lessons and did some tracting, and i had the opportunity to teach him some stuff- i didnt know i had anything to teach. so that was cool. i've been working on the new tracting method that we have really hard this week, and i'm starting to get it down now. and its working. :D wednesday, we did heaps of tracting. 5 hours. luckily it was pretty overcast and actually rained pretty hard for the first hour or so. thursday was District meeting, which went well, pretty fun. then friday was Elder Bartelt's birthday, so we celebrated by having a normal day of missionary work, and then spent 5 hours at our main investigator's house playing pool, eating pizza, having cake, and then having the last like 2.5 hours for a lesson and Q and A. it was good. Saturday was just heaps of tracting and walking and visting people. Sunday, we had Emily and James (main investigators) come to church, and they really enjoyed it, and James is really excited to get involved with the ward. We also set a baptisimal date with them for the 21st of november. so that will be good. transfers are on the 10th, so hopefully I'll be around for their baptism. we'll see though. Today we have movie day. :) we get to watch all the movies with the church stamp on them! :D anyway. this week has been really good. i've started being able to recognize the spirit prompting me to say things during lessons, and found that those things that i say as a result, end up helping the investigator a lot. I have been very happy about that.
anyway, my time runs short. i gotta go. i am praying for all of you, i love you all so much! be good!
Elder Christensen
ps. cara- happy birthday on thursday! btw, that day is also my bump mark- 6 months out!