Monday, January 25, 2010

Sick but Serving

Hello my wonderful family and friends!!!
thank you for all of your emails this week. they have been indeed uplifting and inspiring to the max. :) this week was a difficult one for me. aside from having a large amount of pressure to meet the expectations of the ward council, give a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting, and worry about transfers which are only a week away, i continued to be sick, and for the latter part of the week, was largely confined to the flat. ya. remember how i used to sick for weeks and even months on end? well it seems the heart surgery didn't exactly do much to help it like the doctors said. however, i had some really great experiences this week because of it.

as i said before, i had to give a talk in sacrament meeting. they do it a bit differently here. there are only 3 speakers, of 5, 10, and 15 minute speaking times. i was given the topic of "unity in missionary work" with 15 minutes to speak on it. i was absolutely at a loss as to how to apply this extremely obvious principle in full-time missionary service, to the members in the Forest Lake ward. i had no idea how it applied, and even less of an idea of how i could make it last for 15 minutes. beyond this, i was coughing up a lung- which made for some comic relief- Elder Subritzky said i could just tell a story and then cough for the rest of the time. which made me cough and laugh at the same time-- not the most pleasant experience. however, as i prayed and asked for guidance, i received enough inspiration to apply this principle to the ward members, and to speak about it for 15 minutes. as it turns out, it was actually 16 minutes. :P i even practiced it the night before to make sure it was the right length. i know, what a surprise. thats literally the first time i have actually practiced a public speech of any kind fully before i actually gave it. i was proud of myself. anyway, the morning of my talk, i prayed hard that i wouldnt cough too hard during my talk, and not into the microphone at all. i found that my prayer was answered as i spoke. yes, i coughed a bit, but it wasn't too hard, and only a couple times. AND i didnt cough into the mic. so that was nice for me. and if i do say so myself, it was a fairly decent talk that i wish i recorded. but i felt the spirit working through me, and i felt that i was able to give some freshness to the meeting (yous know how my talks can be... i put my personality into them. :)

unfortunately, due to my sickness, we didn't do much teaching this week, but we did teach sam again, answered some of her questions, and attempted to set a baptisimal date with her, which turned out to not happen, but next time, we're setting one. i think that because she had her friend over, who is catholic, she felt a bit of pressure and didn't want to commit to much with him there, so this week we'll work it a bit differently. also, we taught a lesson to Adrian at church again, and i have to say, i was on a spiritual high from my talk, and it was probably one of the best plan of salvation lessons i have ever given. :D anyway. that was basically my week. pretty laid back, pretty sick, but a GREAT learning experience.

Dad, thanks for your email, it put a lot of things into perspective for me, and gave me some much-needed encouragement.
mom- i cant help but think that you are a prime example of service, and magnifying your talents. its amazing what you are accomplishing. and as for your concerns about me, as they say here in Australia- fair dinkam. or in other words, its all good. i'm staying focused, and outside distractions arent much distraction anymore. prayer works. God Answers. he hears me, and he helps me. and its awesome. anyway, thats the week. i sent off a letter to cara and collin last week, yous should be getting it soon- there are some pics in it. enjoy. :)
i love you all!
have a good week!
Elder Tayler Christensen

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Gooday family and friends!
what a crazy week. I'll start with the questions from Marissa.
So, what has been the highlight of your week?
the highlight of my week has also been a highlight of my mission. i have been struggling with some weaknesses of my own for some time, and have found it difficult to always be focused on the work. However, this past week, i have put a LOT of effort into overcoming these challenges, and lots of prayer. then, this week, i have felt the hand of the lord in helping me to focus, and leave those other distractions behind. I find myself more receptive to the spirit, and happier this week, than ever before in my mission. its an amazing feeling.

What's been the funniest thing that has happened to you?
ah, too many to count, but i cant remember many off the top of my head. understand, that many of the funniest things that happen are results of HARD out rejections. however, the other day we had our rubbish bin stolen, and we went without it for about a week. then we walked past a neigbor's house one day, and there it was. so, on the way home that night, it was still out, so my comp grabbed it as he walked by. as soon as he did that, the porch light from the house turned on, freaked him out, and he took off running to our house, rubbish bin in tow. turned out the light turned on because of a motion sensor. I laughed and laughed at him. He eventually thought it was funny too, but he seriously thought he was going to end up fighting some old guy or something.

What have you been the most grateful for?
Prayers. prayers of my own, prayers from yous, prayers from the ward, and prayers from my friends. so, in the words of Jon bon jovi, "oh! im (almost) half way there, whoa! living on a prayer! take his hand, and i'll make it i swear, whoa, living on a prayer!" k, sorta sac-religious, but hey, it worked in my head.

anyway, collin, i've used most of your coin tricks already, and have shown off your CD to lotsa people. they're impressed. Also, you sent me those balloons, and i have no pump, so i cant blow them up. so i tried putting water in them. surprisingly, i could make balloon animals with the water in the balloon, but they aren't very good at handling all the twists for very long, so before i got the bicture, the one i was doing blew up. then i realized that these balloons would make good water whips. and they do. we had a water fight of sorts with them. only like 4 of them, but still, it was fun. haha.
anyway, this week has been interesting. Sam more or less dropped us. cancelled our appointment, and we cant get in contact with her. so we dunno whats up with that. we're giving it one more go tonight after she should be back from work though. however, we had a lesson with a lady called viki, who is from Laos, (next to thailand) who was very interested in the book of mormon, and she came to church on sunday as well. Also, we taught sister coombs again this week, and she had lots of questions about the spirit world. i was so happy that i was able to answer her questions using the book of mormon, NOT including the index! I was also able to answer some of the covington's questions in the same way, just to give veronica (sabrina's sister who lives there) some peace and solace. she's having a rough go at life at the moment. so i was happy to help. the book of mormon is coming alive to me, and i can actually just pull stuff out of nowhere for most situations! it's great! i'm finding that i'm becoming a better teacher! yes, im teaching people now, not just lessons. its great. :)
besides that, i've been working on a head cold this week, just trying to get over it. but its all good. anyway, im sending pictures, hope you get them. im outa time though, love you all!
Love, elder Christensen

Sunday, January 10, 2010

SO good to hear from you

Family! Friends!
well, i should have anticipated that after the flood of emails, would come a time of email drought. it seems that always happens. i guess not enough things happen between wednesday and the next monday or something- or perhaps maybe when you get my email late one week you assume that it will be late the next week- i'll just set this straight once and for all. every transfer we go to the temple. the temple day is ALWAYS a wednesday. because of this our p-day moves from monday to wednesday that week only. so then the next week, the p-day goes back to monday. ok hopefully that cleared that all up.

Anyway, Collin, i got your package, and Dad, i got your journal entries. they were great! both of them were a treat to listen to and read. The magic tricks were funny, thanks collin, and the "collin's greatest hits" CD was great! my comp still doesnt believe you're 14! haha, but it made him feel better when i told him you were closer to being 15 now. haha, Dad, your mission tapes were great, and your testimony was great- although i'm trying to figure out when your testimony was done, cause your voice sounds like it does now on that recording, and the ones you sent home from your mission- haha they sound more like ME with a HARD utah accent. at first i thought you messed up and sent me uncle mark's mission tape, but then you were mentioning all the japan stuff, so it was all good, and it made me chuckle.

:P Also, its interesting that you mention that story from that return missionary- we just had the reverse thing happen in our district here- a missionary had only been out 2 transfers, and was not in possession of a testimony, and lacked motivation. His companion was my companion's last comp. between talking to both of them, it became clear that this young missionary's companion neither helped nor encouraged him to stay on the mission, and was likely a large contributor to this missionary's decision to go home. That missionary then went home on friday. after all the drama that went on, and all the speculation that has been given by other missionaries, i decided that i will NEVER EVER be a contributing factor to ANY missionary's decision to go home early. And i'll remember that experience. so we'll see if I get put to the test.

so, its birthing season is it? i thought that wasnt til like april? or were twizzy's twins aborted really early? thats sad. (editorial note--our goat Twizzy did abort twins very early)

well, this week has been a week of tender mercies for me. At the beginning of the week, i re-read my patriarchal blessing, especially the paragraph having to do specifically with my mission. It told me something along the lines of, i would find great joy in the sure knowledge that Christ new me, and was working through me. WELL. i realized that that hadn't happened yet. i believe that Christ has worked through me, but it hasnt been obvious, and to be honest, i hadnt experienced that "great joy" or "sure knowledge" so then i took a look at myself, and asked, why? why hasn't that happened yet? and i made several goals to re-focus myself on serving him, with an eye single to his glory, so i could then ALLOW Christ to work through me. made a sign for it too. then the blessings started to roll around. so you remember sam? well we had another lesson with her on thursday. we talked about the plan of salvation, and we read moroni 7 with her, because her sister had just had a miscarriage the day before. she really liked that scripture. then, we invited her to a baptism that was happening in our district the next day. that happened on what seemed like a whim, and since we are not allowed to give rides to anyone, and since she's a single girl, we cant ride in her car, we said we come by, and she could follow us to the baptism the next day. she liked that idea. now here's the best part: when we left, we are on foot- no car. and we realized about 5 minutes later that we would not have the car the next day, nor the next. panic. we needed a car. the the Zone leaders called. because of the missionary that went home, his companion then joined the zone leaders. they had had a full-time car, and now we were getting it, full time! they delivered the car that night. so the next day we had a car, and led sam to the baptism, which she thouroughly enjoyed, and at which the spirit was very strong. afterwards, we were talking about her coming to church, and she didnt know where it was, so we said we would come and lead her to it the next morning for church. however, on what seemed like another whim, i just said, its on the way back, we'll just stop there and show you the chapel and then go the rest of the way home. so we did that. turns out that night, the ZL's called and said that the APs were taking our car and giving it to the chinese-speaking missionaries in the neigboring Zone. we were to deliver it that night. which we did. THEN, i realized that we needed to get a ride to church the next morning, and that we wouldnt have been able to show sam the way to church because lo and behold, our ride was late, we were late to church, and sam was already there. she also brought her dad with her. sacrament meeting was... interesting but they enjoyed it. and we're teaching her again on wednesday.

Also, Dad, your stuff all came at a time during the week when i was feeling very weak, and discouraged. your testimony and journal entries and everything else helped me to re-focus on my purpose, and the point of my service. that helped me A LOT. thank you.
Well, my time has run out. i love you all so much, and pray for you constantly.
Elder Tayler Christensen

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

30 emails and i still have 25 minutes to respond- record reading time.

Family!!! Friends!!!... Everyone Else!!!
well i had a few questions so i'll answer those first.
first, my flat address is still 81 hampton st, durack, QLD 4077. BUT send packages to the mission office.
How are you feeling--back and shoulders?
pretty good. sometimes i sleep weird and that throws everything out of whack for the day, but its never anything excruciatingly painful.
What did you do on New Years?
had to be in the flat by 5 new years eve, so we got bored, had some sparklers, and NO, we didnt burn anything, BUT we found the firework function on my camera- basically just opens the shutter for longer, and wrote 2010 with the sparkler. then we were in bed my 10:30, but kept talking, so we were awake for the new year. but its just, "happy new year bro. 'night." haha. then we spent new years day with the Falesimas. thats the 3 kids we just baptized. but ya, we played rock band, and DJ hero with them- which we found out later was against the rules (oops) so we repented and we played pictionary with them, talked, explained temple stuff to their parents, then went home, to sleep for the next day of work! ya it was fun stuff-
What is your typical Sabbath day schedule?
Well, it USED to be, meetings at 9, visit people and harass them into coming to church from 10-11:30, go to church at 1-4, go home and study a bit unless we have an appointment, then go to dinner, then go back home. NOW, its church at 9, lunch after that, go visit people and harass people who didnt come to church, trade the car back, study, go to appointments, go to a dinner appointment, then go home. usually nothing too stressful for the sabbath.
Anyway, i got 30 emails from yous! 30!!! sheesh, not that im complaining or anything... haha. but the pictures were awesome! especially the ones of richard that BJ did- i really liked the stink face obama one. that made my day. :P everyone over here thinks he's the greatest thing since sliced bread including most church members, so that was refreshing. :P haha. oh and the one of collin getting his shotgun! ah! priceless. someone walking behind me while i looked at that got really scared that a shotgun was sitting in a 14-year-old's lap with wrapping paper... then when they heard my american accent, they werent scared anymore. it was humorous. i chuckled a little bit. :P anyway, I'm glad you all had such a fun christmas, and new years! it was so great to hear your voices! and i'll tell the covington's that you appreciated them mom, and dont worry, you'll meet them when we come back as a family for a family holiday in the summer. :D but glad yous are all doing so good. and the snow- deja vu- or however you spell that- anyway, we've had it pretty cool and cloudy and rainy for the last week or 2, its been nice, besides the constant 95+% humidity. but ya. good stuff. and we had a bit of luck with tracting- first off, dad, dont worry, we get B of M's for free- we just order a box of 50 from the office when we run out. and no, the TYPICAL Austrlalian doesnt take the Book of Mormon. BUT we've found some very NOT typical australians in the past few weeks, the most promising of which is an 18 year-old girl who previously met missionaries, still had the book of mormon they gave her, AND the pamphlet. turns out it was 2 sister missionaries, one of which is still in my district, the other i saw at the temple today. anyway, we had a great lesson with her (her name is sam) yesterday, and she readily accepted the invitation to read and pray, and to come to church, and she believes everything about Joseph Smith. so we have another lesson with her tomorrow, about the plan of salvation. so that should be good. we also have a few other people who have accepted Book of Mormons, (they're all islander though) who we are seeing later this and next week. so it should be all good. ok, well i have only a few seconds left, so i gotta sign out.
I love you all!
Elder Tayler Christensen