Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rain and Floods

hello family and friends!!!
Cara, your book of mormon discussions are awesome. i'm so glad you get to study the book of mormon the way you are. it really is the best text book on life there is. it just doesnt get any better than that. i had the opportunity to prepare a talk this week on the book of mormon. it was going to be awesome, and i did heaps of reading and preparing for it, but then i found out on sunday that i was the back-up, so i didnt end up giving it, but i LOVED preparing for it. i learned so much. i focused on 1 nephi 19:23- the likening scriptures one. and then i talked about the 2,000 stripling warriors. in the heat of battle, they "observed to obey every command with exactness." it would have been easy for the ones right next to helaman to obey, but what about the ones who are 100 men away? they can barely hear, and they might think, "he has no idea whats going on over here" but even they, were straining to hear, and obey. so like them, we need to pay attention to the spirit, it may be hard to hear, but it's there, and if we listen for it, we will hear it, and then, if we obey with exactness, we are blessed. we dont "die." we wont necessarily be left without wound, but we'll be safe. so it was a good study.

Rochelle, i really enjoyed your email, that story was funny [editors note: from Pres. Monsons talk at RS broadcast about the lady who criticizes the neighbors laundry, only to discover she is viewing it through her own dirty windows], and very applicaple as well. i found that to be the case on my mission. its easy to find fault with companion, leaders, and members, but its harder to look at yourself, and ask, "what do i need to change?" its not easy, but has massive dividends.

One word [for the week]: FLOOD. oh yes. we had rain, hard rain, most of the week- 4 days straight, and on and off the other days. today was the first dry day. it was so fun to work in the rain, but then the main bridge that we use to get to a lot of our member's houses got flooded- like massively flooded, the creek below it usually barely moves, and is like 2 meters below it- now the water is like a meter and a half above it! yes, i have pictures. apparently more rains are coming this week too, so we'll see how things go. also, to top if all off, on sunday i locked us out of the flat- luckily we were able to break in with the help of the watene's. apparently all you have to do is drill into the doorknob where the key hole is and then stick a flat-head in there, and turn. we have to get a new door knob, but hey, it worked, considering there were know locksmiths working on sunday, and the real estate agency wasnt open either with the spare keys. anyway, besides that, we werent able to have our lesson with the Gundersons this week, because they were gone to brisbane, and the rains had flooded 2 bridges between us and them, but we had a good lesson with Eli. well, 2 good lessons with him. he's learning a lot and asking very good questions. very intelligent for an 11-year-old. then, on sunday i was asked to give the lesson in priesthood because none of the elders quorum presidency were there (there's only 2 of them). so we discussed president Uchtdorf's talk from last General conference, the one about charity, where he talked about germany after world war II and how the church helped and the resulting growth of membership, but the resentment towards those who joined because of the food. it was quite good, and i'm glad i had the opportunity to stop and go and discuss as i pleased. surprisingly i had a lot to say, and was able to ask the right questions to the few in priesthood to have a very meaningful discussion. it was SO good! anyway, that has been the week, i love you all so much! have an amazing week!
Elder Tayler Christensen

Monday, September 20, 2010

A lot Done

Hello Family and Friends,
Well, you all will be glad to know that this week went much better than last week. it hasn't been easier, but we have managed to get a lot done. we taught the gunderson's family again this week. it was a very good lesson. we taught the restoration, and watched the movie, and it went really good! everyone was obviously touched, and we committed them to baptism! YES!!! but we dont have a date yet, so its not set in stone, but we're going to baptize these people! i'm so excited for that! and we've been working with this 11-year-old kid called Eli for a while now. we've been teaching him since i got here, because he's way good, wants to get baptized and everything, his parents just are getting in the way, so its just been kinda laid back for a while, but this week we got serious again, and brought him to church... yes, by "brought" i mean we biked to his house, and then he biked with us to church. we must have looked pretty funny. 2 guys in suits, a little kid in civies, all biking to church. but it was good. then we had a cottage evening. it was way good, and very fun as well. its such a good idea to introduce people to the church in a laid back way to show people that we're normal, not a bunch of high-strung holier than thou people. so that went well. besides all that, its been a pretty slow, but hard working week. and yes, dad i found that i've started just being more the point while talking to people. beating around the bush just isnt cutting it for me any more. it seems like the more i do it, the more opportunity i lose, and the more opportunity i give people to shut me down. its hard to be bold and to the point, but i'm getting to that point where i just cant worry about it anymore. anyway, thats basically been the week. i am so happy to be here. i am learning so much, and finding such joy in seeing other people change. even people who are already members. its so amazing how this gospel changes people. ok, well i think that about sums it up. i hope all of you have an amazing week! i love you all so much!
Elder Tayler Christensen

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sept. 12, 2010

Hello my family and friends!
what a week this has been. for lack of a better word, we'll call it Interesting. unfortunately, not much got done this week. we just couldnt get anything done. but this week we have a real excuse. elder P. has been running on basically no sleep for a little over a week... and having experienced that and how dangerous it can be, i wasnt about to let him get on a bike. it was when he started having memory problems and the inability to think of common words, that i finally forced him to call someone. that didnt really help either though. they told us stuff we already knew, and told him to get a sleeping pill, which we already did, and even at the maximum dose, only gave him 2 hours of sleep. but he wont get any more help. its kind of frustrating.. i dont know what. but i'm sure i'll think of something.

anyway, thats been the not fun bit of the week, the fun bit of the week, was that we went to rocky for zone conference! but this one was special, it was also a mission tour- elder Callister from the Area Presidency (and 2nd quorum of the seventy) came too! it was awesome! he's the one who wrote "The Infinite Atonement" which is the one that i asked you to send me, and which i am currently reading. And to top it all off, he gave a lecture on the atonement, and it was based on his book! so i knew what he was talking about! yus... (picture me doing the napolean dynamite thing... :D) and the trainings that came afterwards was awesome. i got to do a role-play with elder Callister, or rather, TO elder callister, and after giving me some improvements which were sorely needed, he said he was impressed! i could have died! its amazing what a compliment from the lord's annointed can do for your confidence. so i came back with a new resolve to be better, and to actually do something to make it happen.

anyway, this weekend was also pretty fun. we had a branch activity, "the emerald chocolate factory." we didnt make any chocolate, but a member has studied the history and the art of making and testing chocolate, and she knew what she was talking about. and she made HEAPS of chocolate, all different kinds, and we did a proper chocolate tasting, so i now know how to tell if chocolate is quality chocolate, or if its just cheap yuck stuff, by looking at it, tasting it, touching it, and even listening to it. it was cool. guess who were the first people to have chocolate? the jaredites and the nephites. ya, its native to central/south america. i thought that was cool.

anyway, then we went to w--- for dinner that night, and that was interesting. they have basically adopted us, and they treat us basically like family. but they have a daughter who's kind of a problem child, and she's been giving them a lot of grief, and whatnot, and they had an argument while we were there over some pretty big stuff... it just made me reflect on the fact that i come from a family that is tight-nit, and gospel centered. i cannot tell you what an eye opener that was. we have it SO good in our family. i know we're not perfect, but i'm so glad we are what and who we are. i love how close we are. it makes me so happy!

i'm praying for you!
i love you all so much! have an awesome week!
Elder Tayler Christensen

Sept. 5, 2010 when the going gets tough... i suppose it's time to get going. :D

Hello Family and Friends!
how is everyone? thank you for all of your mail, i really appreciate it. I cant believe school is starting again! thats the last time it will while i'm on my mission! WEIRD!!! and today, the 5th of september, marks my "sweet 16 months" mark or something like that. :P anyway, i hope all goes well with the remodel. Cara, thats pretty rough with your friend. i was sorry to hear that. I'm sorry i cant really say much to console you at this point, as i'm sure all that can be said has been said. but perhaps i can at least give my 2 cents. I dont know your friend, but Christ does, and he loves her. she is covered by his atonement, and she will have the opportunity to accept it. but you already know that. the important part though, is that the atonement, in this case also extends to YOU. remember in the book of mormon that the atonement is often referred to as "the arms of his [Christ's] love." or when someone was repentant, they were "encircled about by the arms of his love." just they could be, so can you be. true, complete healing comes with time, but that time can be significantly shortened when the atonement is used for ourselves, and then we can feel, quite literally, the embrace of the savior. i know we can, because i felt it, and i have had healing happen much faster than it otherwise could. i encourage you study that, and take advantage of it. The atonement covers anything negative in our lives. whatever it is, christ suffered it, and he can help us through it. [editors note: her high school friend was killed in an accident this week]. anyway, Dad its good to hear from you. just yesterday (today for you) was father's day for Australia. i had the opportunity to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting. i get to do that now that i'm in a branch. Everyone was talking about their Dads and how much they appreciate them and whatnot, and i couldnt help but do the same. it kind of took me by surprise, how well it all fit into the gospel, and how our relationship has been much stronger in the last couple of years. then i was able compare that with our heavenly father, and how basically the same thing has happened. i concluded that i was so grateful for my dads. the full force of everything didnt hit me until just after that though, while we were singing the closing hymn. i found myself all choked up and unable to sing (a first for me) as i reflected on how much you've done to impact my life for the better. how i find myself trying to figure out what you would do in certain situations. i am so grateful for you, Dad. I love you.
ok, emotions back under control, i'll tell you about my week. it was difficult. although, in a different sort of way. we were, however, able to have the lesson with the Gunderson Family like we had anticipated. The Gundersons are a very active family in our church, and are from the states, here temporatily for with sister gunderson's family who are Kiwi. none of them are members, but almost all have, of late, expressed interest in the Gospel. Most of all, sister gunderson's sister-in-law, who was the one who got the ball rolling for us. however, she was unable to be there this last tuesday, but we were able to teach her nephew and his partner, and her niece. we taught the plan of salvation, and it was awesome. just before this, we were trying to decide if we should teach the plan of salvation, or the restoration. usually, the restoration comes first. but for some reason i couldnt shake the thought that the plan of salvation needed to be taught. but i just wasnt sure. i kept praying for confirmation, but didnt seem to be getting anything. then, we got a call, out of the blue from sister gunderson. she told us that those that we were teaching had recently lost a Grandfather who had been a major part of their lives, and asked if we could do the plan of salvation for them. it was such a simple thing, and yet it made a world of difference for me. again, close to tears. God really does answer prayers, and he answered mine. and the lesson went very well, and all 3 people are still very interested to learn, and we are excited to teach. that was the best part of this week. unfortunately, the rest of the week was a bit harder. we decided to make this transfer better than the other 2 we've had together, and have made the appropriate efforts, but as we all know, satan has so many ways to divert us from what we need to be doing. if he cant get us the way he normally does, he'll work through someone else. and so he has. this week seemed like we were constantly arguing. nothing major, nothing like a massive fall-out, just little arguments over little things that dont matter. it's quite frustrated me, because this is a problem that i havent really ever experienced. sure, one or 2 arguments here and there, but never like this. I found mostly that it was I who had the short fuse in most cases which also frustrated and concerned me. but we are fixing that as well. this transfer we are going to baptize some important people, and satan doesnt want that, but thats not going to stop us. I'll change everything about me if thats what is required to do what needs to be done, but this time- THIS TIME i refuse to lose. i dont need to see the baptism necessarily, but i need to make sure that it happens. and i certainly will. and by "I" i mean with God's help, God willing. so that's basically how this week has been.
Anyway, thats basically all for this week. I love you all so much! i know this is where i'm supposed to be, and i know that this is God's true church. there is no denying it, it simply could not be the church of any other person, thing or entity. the joy is too real, the change too complete. this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!
love you all!
Elder Tayler Christensen

August 29, 2010

Hello Family and friends!
well, this has been a very interesting week. it was the last week of the transfer, and i was very uneasy as to whether or not i was getting transferred. i had mixed feelings, but overall, i wanted to stay. and so i stayed. i have at least another 6 weeks in Emerald. which means that the next time i get transferred, it will probably be to my final area, which is probably the most scary thought i have had in a long time. so i'll be working hard, thats for sure! and the blessings are coming. this last week, we had little meeting with Virginia, the lady we did all that service for a couple months back. she's ready for the Gospel, now all we need to do is show her that that is what she is missing in her life. so that should be good, she really likes us, and she's the sweetest lady. from that conversation though, we learned that she is in some deep financial trouble, which was caused by the fact that she was in a defacto relationship, and then her partner died, which froze all her bank accounts, so she's hurting. but that conversation just led me to another conclusion- i am NEVER going into that much debt, and i will make sure my family is taken care of, no matter what happens to me. anyway, we also had another lesson with the Bams- someone REALLY does not want them to learn or hear any more. we just watched the Testaments with them, but their DVD player wouldnt pick the first channel Audio (the dialogue. so we used their laptop instead, but it couldnt take it, so we ended up using 3 different Media players, to just barely make it to the end of the movie, and then, at the really crucial part of the movie at the end, their kids made so much noise, it wasnt even funny. it was quite frustrating. but they're still open, so we'll try again later this week. the awesome day though, was yesterday. we finally had the Gundersons come up to us and tell us that not only was their sister-in-law interested in the Gospel, but that they had set the appointment for us this coming wednesday. its been a month or more since we first heard about it, and now its finally happening! yay! we also have another appointment with a former investigator, who is newly interested tomorrow, which should be good. we are very excited, and plan on BAPTIZING this transfer! :D the church is so true, i cant believe it. :P
anyway, sounds like yous had an eventful week. Cara, you are finally grown up! how does it feel to be old? :P i hope you get that job, sounds like it should be a good one. good luck lil sister! you'll do awesome!
Anna- you have done what we try to get people to do every day. its awesome. the spirit really does work, doesn't it? just as in Alma 32:28, once the seed of faith has been planted and nourished, the last bit a the end of the verse says, "yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me." the more you get the more you want. you experienced that. the spirit feels SO good, that being without it begins to be depressing and discouraging, but the more you have it, the more you love it, and the happier you become. it is truly an amazing experience, that i am glad you had at such an early age. I didn't have a decisive experience like that til i was preparing to come out on my mission. when i finally had read and prayed, the answer came as more of slap up side the head. it was the, "you know this is true. you have known it for a long time. But what took you so long to finally ask me?" so ya. good on ya. :P I'm proud of you.
Collin, the only thing i could say right now to warn you about sophomore year is that it just gets harder. don't let that deter you though. its also very fun. especially when February rolls around- i hope your winter formal is after your birthday. :D good luck with XC, I'll think about starting to run again... p-days are usually chucked full of stuff to do, so running doesn't generally happen, and there just isn't enough time in the morning. but I'll see what i can do.
Dad, when i read your email, i was floored. GRANDMA WAS TALKING TO SISTER RICHARDS?!?!? that is awesome! i LOVE sister Richards! and that was a boost to my confidence as well. :D and Gabe and Luke sound ADORABLE!!! i cant wait to meet Luke! and become re-acquainted with Gabe as well! :)
Mum, i hope everything you're planning goes well for you. i liked your looking ahead thought. it really is hard to look ahead at the unknown, especially after a major change, but it's so rewarding as well. i cant believe how difficult my mission has been, and yet how incredibly rewarding as well. it really is true that as we continue to look forward with faith, the blessings flow. dwelling on the past, no matter how good it was, never helps is progress. to remember is good, to dwell, is demeaning.
anyway, i hope all is well with yous, and i love you all so much!
Elder Tayler Christensen
ps- Rochelle, remember that thing you found about "swooping season"? share that with the family- cause its happening now- i got swooped hard on the way over here to do emails. :P

August 22, 2010

hello Family and Friends!
thank you all for all the of emails and mail, it makes my day when i open my email and there are 10 emails there! i love hearing from all of you. sounds like you had a very busy weekend and have a very busy week ahead. i'm glad both weddings went well, and that everyone was happy with it. tell Ann and Jeff and Birgitte and Stephan congrats from me, i'm happy for them. :D and Cara is seems to be the woman in the hot seat! man, i cant believe you're already going to college! when did that happen? everyone is growing up without me! and Anna- since when were you an awesome public speaker? i was VERY impressed by the talk you wrote. very well written, and i'm sure it was well delivered.
well, this week proved to be harder than expected for us. we werent able to connect with anyone that we had appointments for, besides the members. so that was kinda discouraging. But, i got mail this week, and the package from mum! thank you! have any of you read "The Infinite Atonement"? it is amazing! I am learning so much about it. its the most exhaustive study of the Atonement i have ever seen. it is really good. i'm only like 30 pages and i'm already learning new stuff. so thats awesome.

anyway, the work is going a little bit slower than i would like, but we have some good things coming up, with a few members starting to talk to their families and just a lot of good people asking questions, so thats good. we're working on getting a baptisimal date with someone this week. thats the main goal. so wish us luck, and your continued prayers would be appreciated. :D

other things of note- i need to get more serious about my exercise, i edged someone's lawn this week with a weed wacker, and my right arm has been sore for the last 2 days. that is sickening. unfortunately thats about all that has happened this week though. pretty boring, laid back week. but, as always, i keep going. i cant not keep going. the longer i'm out here, the more i love the work, and increase in my testimony of the Gospel. I know, more than i ever have in my life, that this is the true church, that the book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith really did see God the Father and Jesus Christ in that Quiet, Sacred Grove. but most of all, and most importantly, i know that Jesus Christ is my savior. He suffered for me personally, and knows how to help me through any and all trials i face. I know that this is the true church on the earth, we have all elements of the true church that has always been present and true of God's church. It is the true church. of that, i have no doubt.

I love you all so much! have an awesome week, travel safe to Utah!


Elder Tayler Christensen