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