Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hard-working, exactly obedient

well hello hello, my family and my friends!
My week has been hectic. we're scrambling for people to teach, and not really finding anyone. unfortunately this isnt helped much, as getting my back side (and my companion's) out the door is like pulling teeth. I never thought that living in a 4-man flat would be so... hard. it's some of the most fun i've had on the mission, but also the place where the most time has been wasted, by all parties involved. I'm trying to get past it, and just try to work hard, and keep to the schedule, but its hard, when no one really wants to move, and all 3 of every one else isnt moving yet, so no one moves. So this week has been a bit harder than any other week, because of the lack of work that has gone on. I never thought that that would be the case. Given, my comp is slightly sick, but he's not that sick, however, I took dad's advice from last week- just serve my companion. So to kill 2 birds with one stone, I bought some bike chain oil last week (because our bikes are old, and the chains are shocking) and i greased everything up for both him and me, and then told him that i greased it up, and that we could go out now because we'll be able to make it up the hills--which worked surprisingly well. By the end of the week we were working well, and we were able to actually teach more lessons as of yesterday. So hopefully we'll get everything done that we want to this week. We have lots of new people that we've been referred to, and a few more potentials from our finding efforts last week, so that should be good.

This week at church, a talk was given about the atonement. It was awesome, and I was really able to feel of the spirit, and felt within myself the peace and comfort that comes from the taking advantage of that gift. It was amazing. it was that spirit which helped me to get myself rolling after lunch, and kept myself motivated to work until it was time to come home. It was because of that, that we were able to teach 2 lessons just from drop-in visits, and set up a few others for later this week. it was pretty good, and i think that my companion and the other companionship had similar success, so hopefully that will help us to be a bit more diligent this week. I refuse to be classed by anyone as the typical, "good, but sorta lazy" missionary. I want to be a hard-working and exactly obedient missionary. So ya, that should be good. Anyway, that's been the week. a week of re-dedication and realization. So, hopefully, this means that I'm going to become better, and more successful. We'll see how it all goes.

On a more happy note, Tia F. from Forest Lake, was baptized 2 days ago! No problems or nothin! :D I was very happy when I got that phone call. Fair dinkam. Anyway, time's running short. I love yous! Good luck with everything this week!

Elder Tayler Christensen

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bracken Ridge

Hello Fams!
what a crazy week! we did like almost no tracting this week! it was SO weird! but we werent being lazy, we just had a whole heap of stuff to do- so it was alright. I forgot to mention in my last email that the flat i am staying in is a 4-way flat. which means there are 4 of us in there, and we cover different halves of the same ward. and it's HUGE. but the other 2 missionaries are cool. Elder Gilbert is the district leader, and he's training a new missionary from sydney, called elder Arnold. elder Gilbert is kiwi. it makes everything a bit more fun.

This week we had fun doing the tracting that we did. We found a lady who is keen as to come to church, and to learn about it and stuff. Its pretty sweet. but really, this week hasn't been too eventful- just moving all the time. I'll see if i can't answer some questions. Elder Wulf and I are getting along great. He's a really funny kid, and very dedicated. We have fun, and life's always entertaining. He knows how to work and have fun at the same time. its pretty sweet. He's teaching me how to relax without losing effectiveness. Dad, for your commitment thing- we just finished a transfer where that section was the transfer theme. its pretty sweet. pretty fun. they gave us pretty good equation for it: basic doctrine+ the book of mormon+ a whole lotta love+ sincere testimony= one committed as investigator. or less-active memeber. you can break each of those down and use them to your advantage, each of them are worth study and role play. we spent weeks studying and practicing just that equation. it works well. just on the baptismal update, Tia foley should be baptized this coming saturday, so it hasnt happened yet, but i have permission to call next sunday to make sure it happened. so i'll let yous know if it goes through.

So i forgot to mention where bracken ridge is compared to my last area- i would say just look the 2 areas up on google maps or something, but that's lame. so forest lake is about 20 minutes sounth of the city. bracken ridge is about 30 minutes north. and the area is absolutely massive. it gonna take a while to learn. and the ward is... HUGE!!! there are several people that my comp still doesnt know, and he's been here for 4.5 months! its big. but thats the B-ridge for ya. anyway. thats about it.

im glad yous are all having fun in utah- i cant wait to be a part of that again tell everyone hi for me and dibs on gabe when i get back. :P. sounds like a whole heap of fun. tell bob and kathy thank you for their prayers and tell grandma her letter will be in the mail within the week. Good luck this next week getting back into the ANNIE stuff and school- i'm prayin for all of you. love you all!
elder Tayler Christensen

Monday, March 15, 2010

Transfer to Bracken Ridge

Hello family and friends!
well this week has been an interesting one. as Dad correctly guessed, a transfer is coming up, and it was today. I have finally left Forest Lake! I'm now serving in Bracken Ridge, which is on the north side of brisbane city. my new companion is elder Wulf. I dunno too much about him, but he seems like a cool guy. this last week though, has been really good. we set a baptisimal date with Tia Foley, she's a 9-y-o who we had a date with a few months ago, but her dad had a problem, and so now hopefully we'll be all good. besides that, the week has just flown by with heaps of tracting, a lot of bike riding, and saying goodbye to people. but it has been really good, i have enjoyed it immensely. i learned how to use a hedge-cutter too. that was fun. i guess. haha. but the elder that replaced me has served in forest lake previously, so that'll be good. umm... not a whole lot else to mention, it wasnt exactly an exciting week, so i'll just answer people's questions.

1. What are the finding commandments you mentioned in your last letter?
finding commandments are from the area presidency, they are: tract 2 hours a day, car fast 2 days a week if you have a full-time car, and contact 10 extra people a day. oh, and talk to absolutely everyone.

2. Are you keeping a daily journal? Can you share an excerpt sometime?
yes i'm keeping a daily journal, its detailed, dont worry. speaking of which, i need a new one, im just about to run out of pages in the one i currently have... so if someone could send a new one, that would be great.
3. What are some highlights of the week in terms of seeing the Lords hand manifest in the work?
you always see how happy the gospel makes people. for instance, tia foley. she's so excited to get baptized. she's only 9, but she actually comes to chuch for the sake of coming to church, not for the friends, its great. she has a constant craving to learn more. also, running into random people during the day that are golden as has happened a couple of times, and unfortunately i wont be able to see the outcome of those things, but it should be good.
4. As you approach the last year of your mission, what are your hopes and expectations?
i want to obey perfectly, i want to talk to everyone, and i want to train one person, to keep the posterity line going. apparently i have a pretty mean "mission heritage" so i want to keep it going. but we'll see. right now, im back to junior comp, with a missionary who's about ready to die (go home). so, apparently i have some humbling of myself to do.

and collin, i havent really been chased by a dog yet. sorry buddy. but a guy came to the door holding a knife once... and he was angry, and we quickly gave our spiel, and got off the porch. he didnt say a word. anna, i havent eaten a Koala, they have no meat on them. no worries.
anyway, thats all for now, i love yous, and look forward to hearing from you next week!
elder Tayler Christensen

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rain, rain, here to stay

well, this week has been interesting. we started it out with a very fun p-day. it wouldnt have been much different from any other p-day, but it was raining- and when i say raining, i mean POURING. we played some footie in the rain- got soaked, and its so weird here- rain doesnt make you cold- it just makes you wet. its AWESOME! its fun to to stop and pay attention to it all- the mud, the water dripping down your face, and the constant drip off all your clothes. its fun. anyway. that set the tone for the very next day. i went on a trade off with Elder Wairepo, one of my zone leaders. he came to my area. we didnt have a car, and it rained ALL DAY. So, to my look of discouragement, all he said was, "well, if you're going to work in the rain, you might as well get wet." so we did. and i have never felt so blessed, and exhilirated in my life. we rode bikes in the rain, and tracted all day. we were led to people who were so ready i couldnt believe it! its amazing how God really prepares people. its great. but we ended up having to go back to the flat twice to dry our clothes for appointments. it was interesting. at the end of every trade off, the one conducting the trade-off does a trade-off review. luckily, i'm not a horrible missionary so it wasnt too bad, the thing that he told me to do though, was interesting, and i certainly didnt expect to hear it from him. He asessed my concerns and my struggles, and then just said, "it sounds like those are all symptoms of the same problem. you dont do the simple things well enough. you keep all the big rules, but you need to focus on the simple things- if you can do the simple things perfectly, like keeping the schedule, keeping the finding commandments, and so on, everything else will fall into place." so i did that. i made a list of all the simple things i struggle to keep up, and then made commitments to improve and become perfectly obedient. that set the tone for the rest of the week. It seems that Elder Itaea had a smilar review, so we both strove to work our hardest this week. we havent had heaps of success yet, but we have a new investigator, and found a few old potentials who we lost, but who were really good. now we have HEAPS of follow-up work to do, and its GREAT. then yesterday, when i was fasting, i felt very peaceful. i felt that i was finally doing what i was supposed to be doing. then, i was asked to give a blessing to a sister who is in a tight situation, but who i know quite well, and have developed a friendship with. i dont know if you remember my email a month or so ago when i expressed that i didnt know if i was giving blessings correctly or not, and dad and richard sent me some very encouraging replies. Richard's especially helped. he told me that many times, words dont come into your mouth, but feelings and impressions about the person you are blessing come, and it is then your responsibility to put them into words. I felt that yesterday. there were no words, but there were several things that i felt she needed to hear, and i said them, and the spirit was so strong. i felt that this time, God really had spoken through me. she kept saying thankyou, but i was the grateful one. FINALLY i know what it feels like to give a blessing, as prompted by the spirit- not my head. so that was the bulk of my week. it was a hard week, but only physically. on that note, ill just comment on my heart- its been a year, as most of you have noticed, since the surgery. i can hardly believe it. at the time, we joked about my "mighty change of heart." well, since then, as i have worked to re-develope my heart, and get it back into shape, i have found that my spiritual heart has been changing as well. it has been a slow, and at times painful process- sometimes more painful than the surgery, as i have been humbled by my own weaknesses. but my heart is changing. i am wrestling and fighting with the natural man, doing my best to "put [him] off." definitely one of the hardest things i have ever done. but the rewards that i have seen come from it- i cant even describe the joy that i have felt. its not a jump up and down and shout type of joy, its a peaceful, totally content joy. the kind of joy that actually lasts. i cant say that i have felt this joy very often in my life, but since being out here, i have begun to feel it more and more often. and the more you feel it, the harder it is to contain. it naturally makes you want to share it. i love it. anyway. the time is running, and its almost out. i'll have to leave it at that for now. I love you all, and i'm glad yous are doing so well. i'll keep Gabe in my prayers- seems like he's having a rough go. keep on keepin on.
I love you!
Elder Tayler Christensen