Sunday, February 28, 2010

Long Week

G'day! family and friends!
well, this week has been... interesting, but i think i will start this out by answering anna's question- Anna, i dont know exactly if the BOJ's portion of the plates are the sealed portion- what i DO know, is that when Ether Hid up the plates, the lord confounded the language and had him bury the Urim and Thummim with them. why? because that record contained the things that people did that had to do with the secret combinations of the devil, and the secret oaths of darkness made by those the devil influenced. now, God didn't want that information available to everyone, because that would cause too many people who wanted to be in high places to get some bad ideas. Also, the ONLY people who can successfully use the seer stones are seers, and prophets. prophets wont use those secret combinations, so they are allowed to interpret those writings. so, mosiah interpreted them, and then didnt let the people read them, but put them with the rest of the record, and now we have them to learn from. hope that answered your question.

anyway, this week was very... disheartening. every last appointment canceled that we were actually hopeful about. it made things very difficult. however, there were a few highlights. first, we had interviews on friday. I LOVE interviews. i get to ask president lots of questions and we have some of the best Zone leaders in the mission, so we received some MEAN training. i love being in the same place with lots of other missionaries, trying to all work together to become better. we have a goal this year of 240 baptisms in the first 6 months. the main quote is this: "if we use last year's methods, we will get last year's results." our goal exceeds by a long shot last year's results. so now everyone is scrambling to get better and baptize more. its hard. but its really good.

Also, we had stake conference this weekend. we were allowed to go to the Adult session on saturday, where the keynote speaker was Elder Hamula of the area presidency. it was MEAN! (and by "mean", i mean awesome!) he spoke about the sealing power and how important that is, especially in light of the many natural disasters that have been happening in the pacific area in the last month. He also spoke about how when parrents live up to their sealing covenants, their children are sealed to them, no matter what. and that sealing will eventually prompt the wayward child to repentance, so that they can inherit the celestial kingdom with the rest of the family. that brought me lots of comfort.

oh! there was also a tsunami warning for australia! but, im far enough inland for it to not affect me, but they later said it was only dangerous for those in a boat. but it was a great day for me, and then p-day was a welcome relief from the stresses of last week.

you'll be happy to know alos that i went to the doctor, and was prescribed this inhaler thing, thats not really an inhaler, but i haven't coughed hardly at all since then. so i'm getting better, and the doctor said i should be all good within a week. so ya. :) any way, my time is up, so i'll talk to yous later! i love you!
elder Tayler Christensen

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finally starting to cool down a bit

hello my family and me mates!
well, its been only a short time since i last emailed, but its been a good, short time. we have had some success in the past week, with finding- turns out we havent taught a single investigator this week. they all cancelled on us, due to some inclement weather-

we got about 6 inches of rain in like a day. that was fun. i got to dive through some really BIG and wholly unavoidable puddles (darn). but that made for a long, hard finding week, and we're running short on money at the moment, so we decided to move away from using the bus, and we just biked everywhere this week. i didnt realize how not in shape i am! sheesh! i hurt in places that i forgot exhisted. oh, and on p-day, we were training muay thai, like always, and i forgot to put on the cotton gloves before the actual UFC gloves, and so now i cut open 5 knuckles- oops. its been fun telling people that we got locked out of the flat, and so i got in a fight with the door, or that elder Itaea's face can be really sharp if you hit it just right, but not to worry, they're healing very quickly.

collin, dont worry, i didnt forget about your birthday this last week, i just forgot to mention it in my email last week- but i wrote you a letter, that should be getting there sometime soon. hope you had an awesome day, and that you got the things you wanted.

mom, glad to hear that all is going well with the Annie rehearsals. soudns like you are being blessed abundantly. Keep it up. :)

Dad, you are as busy as i have ever seen you. or at least heard of you being. :P Glad to hear it. haha, the goat shelter moving story was funny- i dont envy whoever you had helping you. and it is sad that pumpkin died- :(

Cara, hope your mr. bowmen week goes as you planned- good luck, dont get too stressed about it, and dont work too hard. there's a difference between working hard and working smart- i just learned this. work smart and effective, and then your hard work pays off.

Anna- where are ya babe? havent heard from you for a while. send me a letter! i promise i'll write back! :)
anyway, glad to have heard from all of you, i love you so much! have a great week!
elder Tayler Christensen

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Long Time, No Rain

hello family and mates!
wow, what an interesting week this has been. i dont even know where to begin. it was hard. aside from not making a whole of progress with sam, (she WANTS to believe in supererogation- ugh- look it up. :P) so that made things a bit difficult, but dad, you're right, if we want her to believe in joseph Smith, She's gotta see everything he's done, including JST.

well, i went to the temple today. it was AMAZING!!! i learned a lot and gained lots of new insights. and i decided to shrink my patriarchal blessing to pocket size so i could have it in the celestial room. turned out to be a really good idea! i was able to do some introspection and make some goals and then ask for help. it was so good! oh, and i found out earlier this week that if you don't keep praying for help to overcome temptations and trials, they come back- its like taking antibiotics- just because the symptoms go away doesn't mean you can stop taking them. you have to keep taking them afterward, and then the disease will actually go away. likewise, you have to continue to pray and ask for help even after the biggest temptations start to fade, and dont stop ever, until it literally has become a strength. so it was good for me to learn that.

this week we actually taught another lesson to leigh- she's from 2 transfers ago and has been on holiday for a LONG time, and finally came back. so we taught the plan of salvation to her and her daughters, and it was taken very well. she spent like an hour talking to bishop afterward. it was cool! so hopefully we'll dunk her soon.

now about my cough, i dont have an appointment for it yet, but it will be happening soon, because i have to get a prescrition for that medicine i need, and the chemists here wont sell it to me, so its a matter of doing it [getting a doctors prescription]. thank you by the way for the information about it, it was very helpful. so thank you for all of your prayers, i have felt them, and i have been totally relieved from the cough for periods of time during lessons when i needed to talk a lot. thank you.

dad, for how to get guys [YM preparing for missions] to study the book of mormon, just ask them where in the BOM these stories and principles are: christ's coming to america, alma's faith chapter, moroni's promise, and the chapter in alma that talks about life after death, resurrection, and the "this life is the time to prepare to meet God" chapter. if they dont know where even one of those things are, and know what is contained in them, just tell them they cant be a missionary, cause they wont be effective. those are the minimum [things] that you need to know to teach anyone anything. and a basic knowledge where most events in the BOM take place is invaluable as well. so if they intend on serving, they need to know their stuff.

anyway, my time runs short, i'll send a picture of me and my comp, let me know if it works.
love you all so much!
elder Tayler christensen

ps-congrats Cara! not that there was any doubt that you'd make it... :P [BYU Provo acceptance]
pps- rochelle, thanks for the update, i love hearing about yous :D

Sunday, February 7, 2010

31st Week in Forest Lake. Yeeah boy!

Hello family and friends!
sounds like you've all been very busy and very happy!
collin, in my last email i forgot to mention that yes, it is ok if you start from wherever you are in the Book of mormon as long as it's somewhere before mosiah. :D

and Rochelle, thanks for the Gabe update, and your interesting insight to teaching by the spirit. i have definitely found those things to be the case as i have steadily progressed.

Dad, your "craft" was hilarious, and your comments on it was the icing on the cake. :P i would LOVE to know how you went with actually getting the ATV into your truck. i hope nothing broke. hopefully your "man Glue" worked for you.

Cara, i'm glad your week has been so eventful and fun. I hope your stomach hasn't been bothering you too much. I was very worried when i heard a few weeks ago that you were struggling with the pain and nausea. I've been praying very hard for you and fasted for you yesterday- its all i can do, so i hope it has helped.

Mom, your Annie stuff sounds like its taking over your life- (shocker- :P) but it also soudns like you've been able to keep everything pretty balanced, and have been able to follow the spirit. Isn't it amazing how God really does want us to be successful in all we do, and helps us even with our worldly endeavors? that has been a huge deal to me lately. God doesnt ONLY bless us with our spiritual needs, but helps us in every aspect of our lives. I love it.

anyway, yous wanted to know about my new comp and, the area that i have remained in for 6 months and counting. well, Elder Itaea (pronounced ee-TIE-uh) is from Kiribati (pronounced KIRR-i-bus). if you dont know where that is, its somewhere between brisbane and hawaii, right on the equator, next to the international date line. its a very small group of islands. Elder Itaea is very humble, very in tune with the spirit, and improving on his English. It has been a new experience for me to add language study to the morning routine. He also has started to get me into the habit taking at least a photo a day, so hopefully i'll be able to keep more current documentation of my time here, and i'll be able to send a few more home. we are getting along great, and we have similar senses of humor, which is fun. I'm learning a lot from him, and i'm happy to be with him for at least the next 6 weeks.

this week we only taught one real lesson, and that was to Sam. she accepts everything we teach her, except for the fact that she thinks that Jesus told the Apostles that the sacrament literally became his body and blood (catholic and orthodox beliefs) and yet told the nephite 12 that they only represented his body and blood, and is concerned that there is an inconsistency. so we're struggling to help her understand that there is no inconsistency, but just different interpretations to Christ's actual words in the NT. its not easy to explain to someone who hasnt grown up with LDS background at all, and i'm afraid to use the JST with her. although that may be the key, it'll either turn her completely off, or really help her out, but its a big risk right now. so we'll see. this is where actual dependence on the spirit comes in. so hopefully tomorrow at our lesson we'll be able to put her concerns to rest.

anyway, i'm out of time, I love you all so much!
Elder Tayler Christensen


Tuesday, February 2, 2010



Brisbane City-It's pretty cool I guess...
Ha, Ha, someone actually had this on their house!

I thought Dad would like this sign!

9 Months Out--Just about!

hello family and... mates!
believe it or not, i've actually started using that word- i've replaced the word "friend" altogether. its kinda weird. but all good. anyway, this week, i suppose i'll tell yous that sunday night i got the transfer call- it went something like this:
"Elder christensen has been serving in forest lake with Elder subritzky, elder christensen will continue to serve in forest lake with... a new companion. :P" so no, i didn't go anywhere, but Elder subritzky left for the sunshine coast, and my new companion's name is Elder Itaea. he's from Kirribus. (i have no idea how to actually spell it). its a small island country near the martial islands. anyway, so i'm still Senior comp, not much change to that. still driver, all good. this last week has been one of the most emotionally trying weeks so far. we had high hopes for all of our investigators this week, but as it would happen, none came to church, one set a baptisimal date, but then backed out, one dropped us for the J-Dubs because she firgured out that she actually had to do stuff to join the church- like coming to church. it was LAME. its been very frustrating trying to figure out how to help each of them progress. oh, and the cough hasn't gone away, but the stuffy nose has. i'm blaming the black mold that is on the ceiling and walls- nothing huge, but man, it sure isn't helping things! however, i've been able to talk more w/o coughing, so thats been good. thats basically how the week went.
so i suppose i'll answer some questions:
You mentioned that you were under some pressure from the ward council in you last e-mail. Could you elaborate on that?
The ward council likes the missionaries to do ALL the missionary work, including contacting new move-ins, visiting the less-actives, finding people that they failed to get propper information from, and so on. they are very unhappy when we dont fulfill these assignments, but dont give us anything useful to go off of- like perhaps an actual referral.
Particularly, I want to know what kind of expectations there are for a senior companion in regards to the ward council and how you think a YM can better prepare for that.
well, you have to prepare lots of progress records, and make lots of phone calls for help with lessons, and people coming to church. you can prepare for that by getting used to talking to people on the phone rather than texting. because you WILL call lots of people that you have never met, and you will never text anybody, unless you're an AP, and only other missionaries for that.
How does participation in APC meeting help prepare YM for that?
learn to prepare actual records for how quorum members are doing, and use them effectively. never come to any meeting with nothing to say or report. there is ALWAYS something to report and and get help with.
What kind of struggles have you had in regards to the ward council?
well, like i said, they want a lot from us, and dont want to give much, except for the occasional dinner, which isn't useful at all when we go. thats just the ward i'm in though- many ward councils are very missionary minded, so just figuring out how to ask the right people for help is key.
anna, you asked if i bear my testimony in fast and testimony meeting- answer is no, our mission has been encouareged not to, unless asked to by a member of the bishopric, or if there is a long silence and an investigator present.
Dad- funny experience- last tuesday was Australia day. it was also the day that Elder Christopherson came to visit the mission! he gave a special mission conference, and then dismissed us to go back to our areas. on the way back, we were all really excited to get back to work, and at a red light, one of the other missionaries who we were riding with knocked on another car window at a stop light- he tried to give a typical door approach, with pamphlet and everything, but just as he was trying to place it on the passenger seat, the light turned green, and the driver of the car GASSED it!
:P anyway, that was the week. hope all is well, glad you liked the letter. have fun with the annie! :)
elder Tayler Christensen