Monday, December 29, 2014

Rainy Sundays

We woke up on Friday morning and followed schedule, but as Elder Dexter turned on the water he exclaimed "We have no hot water!" We learned quickly that our water heater is broken and again we have no hot showers. Now they are even colder though because it is winter. So I have been a little disobedient because I have not taken a shower in a few days. We are trying to get it fixed but we are also completely out of money so we have to wait til next year to get hot water again. 
On Sunday we woke up and carried on as normal. Our usual Sunday meeting where we discuss our areas with our ward mission leader was cancelled so I had a little studying time before we had to ride our bikes through the rain up to Church. We parked our bikes under the freeway that is literally 10 feet away from our building so they wouldn't be in the rain all night and we quickly realized that may not have been the best idea.
 As we rounded the corner and looked down towards our bikes we both noticed quickly that Elder Dexters bike was no where to be found. We searched around for about 20 minutes until it was 8:50 and we had to get to Church. We took the bus up and figured we could look for it again later but Elder Dexter was pretty down and I was just surprised because my bike looks so much nicer, and is a lot newer, so why did they take his!?
Elder Perkins from the MTC
Church was regular. The sisters had a lot of investigators come and Elder Dexter did his first baptismal interview so it was all pretty good. In the second hour everyone talked about how at one point thy had been addicted to coffee and how they had overcome it. It was a Coffee Anonymous circle and the missionaries were just kind there haha.
After all of the meetings a member gave us a ride home because we have no money for the bus. Once there we ate lunch, prepared a dinner of nutella and grape jelly sandwiches and walked up into our area with a prayer in our hearts to find success and to find Elder Dexter's bike.
new zealand honey and the slow loris stuffed animal that mattie sent me
We had it planned to visit a potential at that time but when she was not home we went next door and met with Brother Li. He is super old and forgets us almost every time but he is always welcoming and this time he played the harmonica for us haha. He was actually really good at it too, it was crazy, but that is besides the point. 
We had a small share with him about Christmas and then we started walking to I don't know where but it seemed like we were guided by the spirit. I say that because as we arrived to the front of a grocery store we looked across the street and Elder Dexter's bike was just sitting there. It was unlocked and looked like it never had been locked. His helmet, umbrella and neon safety belt were all gone but we found it! We waited for a while to see if anyone came out to ride it away but they never did so we just left. BUT WE FOUND HIS BIKE! So our prayers were answered there for sure. 
A few more things happened but that was the most crazy thing that happened this week. It was a whirlwind. Recently it has been pretty blustery weather but not as cold. My Christmas was awesome! Thank you to all those who sent me gifts and Christmas cards! Thank you!! Have a happy new year!! 
Elder Henry David Christensen

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Funeral

The holidays have been pretty off the hook. We have a Christmas Devotional this week and I am excited to tell you all about it. I will be performing a duet/cover with my companion by A Fine Frenzy but we changed it to Almost Convert and it has no romantic innuendos. Maybe someone will take pictures or film it if you are lucky. 
My companion is a regular scrooge.
Anyways, this week was a very long week. Each day just felt super long which I attribute to our investigator pools or the lack of it. We have very few people to teach. Our only really progressing investigator is George and he is (as you may have guessed) still in the hospital. But we have been trying really hard to go finding and get some new investigators. No luck this week but it will happen. 
I was able to go on exchanges with Paul Huntsman and it was really fun. We were able to, in our free time, catch up and talk about people we knew back home and it was really nice. I don't get to talk about home too much so it was good. He is a great Elder and we had some fun times. 
planner drawings during planner sorry not sorry

While we were tracting in a park we started talking to a drunk dude and he was super interested. I could actually only tell he was drunk because he smelled like he was made of beer. He was super alert and had some great questions about the gospel. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he started reading it as we left. But before we left he offered one of the most beautiful prayers I have heard. It was so full of the Spirit and it surprised me how sincere he was. He doesn't live in Daxi but we got his number and sent him off as a referral so hopefully he can find the missionaries where he lives. So, we had some good experiences, and Elder Huntsman is awesome. 
Liao JM a recent convert wrote me that and I have no Idea what it says haha but I am keeping it so I will understand later

As I said we have been helping Zhang DX prepare for his mother-in-laws funeral for the last two weeks. Well, the funeral was the last two days. So on Saturday night the were all wearing a lot of white gowns that my companion thought resembled the KKK and they were burning a ton of stuff and just playing crazy instruments and chanting a whole bunch it was really weird but good to support our friend. The next morning we woke up at five and went to the actual funeral service. It was fairly similar but less crazy. Still a lot of chanting and white robes but no burning of things. Everyone there was smoking except for the kids. It was so nasty. They also have this drug I haven't really talked about much called Bin-lang. It is an opiate that they grow here that has fiberglass in it to cut your gums and allow the opiates to enter your blood stream. It dies your mouth blood red and you just spit it on the ground whenever you feel. It is the grossest and worst thing in the whole world.. Anyways, they all were also chewing that. But besides all of the gross substances, it was good. We only stayed for two hours because we had church at 9 but Zhang DX seemed happy we had come. I think it is always good to try and show respect for their religion because how could they respect ours if we didn't respect theirs? 
my guitar! Which now has strings

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and I am so grateful for so many of you, but not all of you. Haha (joking) Remember that charity is the pure love of Christ and that that pure love of Christ will never fail. He is the gift. He will not leave you. 
Our good friend Ira, who is a non-member from South-Africa, told us recently he hates what Christmas has become because people focus on receiving more than the joy that giving can bring, and I agree with him. So my invitation to you is to be charitable and focus on giving because therein lies the true joy and love of Christ. I also would like to pledge to be more charitable myself, because I know I could be better at it. Thank you for your support!  

Love Elder Christensen

Monday, December 15, 2014

In the Midst of a Crooked Nation

P day with Wu DX

A few weeks ago my sister Adelide sent me these verses from Philippians and I have been pondering them ever since: 

"15. That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation , among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16. Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. 17. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all." 

As I thought about these verses I found that they had a lot to do with my week, and mission in general. In verse 15 it mentions being in the "midst of a crooked and perverse nation," which is true. A lot of people here are bent in their ways and are unwilling to change, but I like to focus less on their faults and focus more on how we are here, "the sons of God," standing as "lights in the world."
This week we didn't get super high numbers or see stupendous miracles but we were able to build friendships with people who wouldn't have normally listened. We were able to provide a lot of service for our friend Zhang DX. He is a very strong Buddhist but we are still good friends. His wife's mother passed away recently and they have been preparing for her funeral for a while. We asked if there was any way we could help and they said yes! We helped them fold paper lotus flowers and were also able to get to know his other family members and they started asking us questions. We were able to share a little of our message and show our love for this gospel. I believe that it may have helped them recognize that this gospel is the light in the world. 
a flower I MADE!
Each day we go out "holding forth the word of life," and I have really been able to recognize the power of scriptures when we use them in lessons. Our investigator George went to the hospital again this week and he was supposed to be baptized on this coming Saturday but will still be in the hospital. We decided to visit him with our ward mission leader and he was so surprised that we had cared enough to visit. We told him that we did care a lot about him and we shared a few scriptures about being able to overcome trials with faith and he was very grateful and bore a strong testimony. He still has some questions but has faith enough to accept baptism. We are very excited for him! 
Xie DX and his wife just left today for their mission in New York!!! They are awesome! 
Another awesome experience occurred this last Thursday when we rode past our investigators (Brother Pan) lottery shop, and he was reading the Book of Mormon! It was awesome and was comforting to see him progress and have the faith to search the scriptures. Though, sadly we dropped by his shop yesterday and he was not there. We called him and he said he would never return (he had gone home to the most southern point of Taiwan.) I will admit I began to feel that I had "labored in vain," and was feeling pretty down. But then I thought that it would be A-OK because he still has a strong desire for baptism and also that as long as I do my part to progress this work, the Lord will provide a way. 
I found so much joy this week. We have found several wonderful people while I have been here. This last P-day our investigator Brother Wu took us up to Baling, three different mountain peaks. It was beautiful and we were able to share a lot with him. At the top we were also able to share with the chief of police and give him a Book of Mormon. I found joy in faith this week and definitely saw the blessings from it as well. 

Elder Henry David Christensen
my friend Ray Cong sent me these adventure time things

This is who sent me stuff this week I want you to thank for me:
Nana and Papa, the Babcocks in our ward, You and dad (dear elders and the card), lillie for her pony, Abby Jones and Kristin. 

Feelin loved

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Freezing)

This week's title is in honor of my favorite Bob Dylan song 
"It's Alright Ma (I'm only bleeding)"
Many missionaries arrive to Taiwan with very few warm clothes and are not very prepared for cold weather. I am one of those missionaries. 

And this week was very very cold. Being unable to move your hands makes it very easy to forget the reason you are outside. So the work was really difficult this week. 

It gave me a lot of time to think as we biked against wind (that almost took me off my bike a few times) that though it was not the coldest day I had ever seen, because I was unprepared it felt like it was the coldest day in my life. The first thing I thought about when I compared my life to this week was that when I was prepared for the cold it was a lot easier to overcome it and stay focused on what was important. In contrast when I was not prepared for biting winds, I was much more susceptible to them and I lost sight. 

Of course I could have bought a jacket but missionaries are very poor! And I had better places to spend my money. I bought this really good ice cream at a Family Mart (which is similar to 7-11) that is peach and mango flavored and it is the perfect mix. So I guess I was a little cold due to my own fault but it was worth it. 
This week was the end of the transfer and we were stressed because one of us had a chance of leaving. But when they called us they just said that my companion is now the district leader! He has a lot of responsibilities now and I am excited to learn more about what leadership positions have to do. We are planning on some pretty fun P-day and district meeting activities. 
We were able to meet with George twice this week, once with my old District leader, Elder Rassmussen, and then with my companion. The first time we discussed the baptismal interview questions but only made it through the first two because George had some very good questions. We learned that even though we had taught him everything that he had forgotten a lot of it. So it was good to catch that before he is baptized. Then when I came back with Elder Dexter we finished those questions, and boy does George have a strong testimony. When we asked him about the Prophet he said "Since we have modern day prophets to receive modern revelation for us, we can know where God wants us to be." What a beautiful answer!! He is really pumped about getting baptized. We are still trying to help him find a job and we are buying him a bus card so he can get to and from church. The ward even said they would fund it!! How wonderful! 
I am doing well my self and we are working hard to keep Daxi going. I wish all of you a happy Christmas season! Remember to share the "He is the Gift" video on all social media sites because it is awesome and may help someone come closer to Christ! 

Love your only boy
Elder Christensen

Monday, December 1, 2014

9000 miles

Great week here in Daxi! We had a lot of miracles and it went by very quickly. This Friday and Saturday we were able to go on zone leader exchanges and I was with Elder Darger. Together we were able to meet some cool people and have a few lessons together and it was really fun and I learned a lot. I realized that I have a lot more things to work on than I previously thought. It was a really great experience! He is about 23 and was baptized at 20-21ish, and his conversion story is pretty cool. He is a really good elder. He is also really down to earth and has a very powerful testimony. It is always interesting to go on exchanges with other Elders because everyone is different in levels of knowledge and in how missionary work should be.  

We also met with a girl who we believe to be under some type of possession. I believe I told you a little about her but we were finally able to meet with her. She, Xiao Xiaojie, didn't say one word to us and would only speak through her mother. I also never made eye contact so who knows what is behind her eyes. It wasn't too creepy of a lesson except for one part where her mother was telling us about her visions and how she say a lot of spirits in her dreams. Some of them were black spirits and some were white ad all were trying to pull her away from her body. Of course I didn't understand this in Chinese so as Elder Dexter was translating in English she just started laughing. It was sorta really freaky. Mostly because she doesn't speak English but it was like she knew what he was telling me and was laughing at what I was hearing like it was a game.. Weird. She wouldn't allow us to pray in their home either.. But oh well. 

Pan DX's sister, who has brain cancer, is having a tough recovery and may not make it. He is having a really hard time over coming this trial so we dropped by and I read D&C 122 with him. It is all about being able to overcome trials and how God will be with us. He seemed to like it a lot and though he hasn't been able to come to Church because he keeps visiting his sister, he is reading and praying. 

    Elder Darger gave us a C.D. with some covers of hymns that he did with his band and my favorite one is "500 Hundred Miles." It talks about being 500 hundred miles away from home and reminds me that I am actually about 9000 miles away from home and that is a pretty funny thought. 

Taiwan is an amazing place. I find that by just staying positive and never talking bad about where I am or saying anything negative in general warrants blessings. Be happy about where you are. One things I learned this week is that I am really not a perfect companion (not that I thought I was haha) and though Elder Dexter is not either, my next companion could have a lot more flaws. So always look for the positive in people because it could always be worse. I may be changing companions this transfer so by next Monday I could be in a different area or at least have a new companion. I will let you know!! I love you all and this Church is true! 
Elder C 

Henry's Zone Leader wrote this about Henry:

"This week I went with Elder Christensen, a fireball who just got here fresh out of high school. I really enjoy the opportunity to help the younger missionaries not get so stressed out about the little things and see the big picture. I like to help them see how to find balance between working hard and enjoying their time serving the Master. At least that's what I hope I do."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Find Him Through Our Eyes

and a cool sunset pic
Another challenging week. A lot of zeroes were seen on our daily totals and it has been pretty rough trying to get people to set up with us. Because of all of the meetings we had this week our finding time was really cut down on some of the more effective days. So it was a hard week and unlike last week, we didn't see the miracle of reaching the mission weekly minimum goal. But we aren't discouraged! 
This is Wayne , my friend
In fact, we had something happen that hasn't happened while I've been here, until yesterday. An investigator, George, came to Church! (We had previously thought he ran away, but he came back from the hospital). It was very exciting. Even more so because it was the Stake Conference which was pretty far from our area.
George lives in an old folks home and his story is pretty interesting. His family is back in America managing the business George started. He flew to China to start his restaurant there, but became ill and had to fly back to Taiwan. And he has been stuck here ever since. They won't let him leave but he still has hope. I don't know if you remember what little I said about him, but he has been taking the lessons for a while and is starting to really understand and believe in this wonderful message. Because he is old he can't walk too far and has no scooter or car, so we had some great member support in getting him to and from the meeting. We haven't yet met with him to discuss what he thought but we are going up to his house tomorrow. 

a beat up house that was cool
The meeting itself was uplifting and wonderful. It was our stake conference which is not too irregular but it was made special by the speakers. We heard from the Cantonese area 70 that spoke in conference twice this week. Once on Saturday and the other during that meeting. Both times were very uplifting and were good for the missionaries because he grilled the members on member work haha! He was very funny and spoke in English with a Mandarin translator because his English is better than his Mandarin. It was really funny. 
We also heard from President and Sister Day. They were both awesome! Sister Day shared her conversion story and also had a translator and President Day is still really good at Chinese so he did his whole talk in Chinese! It was very awesome and he helped us learn how to better use some of our tools as members and missionaries. It was a really good meeting. 

Me ridin a dino.
But sadly after that meeting our five scheduled lessons were all canceled and that goal we might have reached was sort of dashed against the rocks. So it was a hard day. The finding was really hard and not as productive as we would have hoped but we did get to meet with Guo DX. He is Zhang DX's main chef at his restaurant. (I don't expect you to keep up on all these names because I barely can.) He came out and asked if he could pray with us for his dad. He then said a wonderful prayer and showed a lot of faith. He is interesting because he rarely shows interest but he did yesterday and it was quite wonderful. 
dropped my name tag into their sewer system and an old man helped me lift the grate and it was nasty but I got it out.

A fun experience we had yesterday was with a man named Huang DX. We had never met or seen this man before but last night he came up to us and with more than a little alcohol on his breath he said " I do not want to live anymore." He told us over and over again how he doesn't want to live and how his family wouldn't care. We even called his family and they said they didn't care if he died. It was really sad. As he cried, I looked into his eyes and the sorrow and despair was almost overbearing. We shared the Plan of Salvation with him and told him that he is a child of God and that he is loved. He cried and cried. We talked with him for about an hour and then he said he had to go and walked away. We didn't know if we would see him again but this morning we saw him walking and waved him down. He is alive and well and as I looked into his eyes I could see the love of Christ. 
We find ourselves being tested each day. Those trials will drive us and drive us till we are at the breaking point. We will break under the pressure and we will be unable to resist falling. Unless we rely on Christ. Christ is the only way we can overcome trials. Through his grace Brother Huang lived another day and was able to see the sun again, and through his grace I have found the strength to rise each day and to find those who are falling. 
The pure love of Christ never will fail us. As I have been learning to rely on him, I have found this statement to be more and more true.
A question I have been asking myself recently is, what do people see when they look into my eyes? I don't yet know the answer but I know each day we should try to help others find Him through our own eyes.
Elder Christensen

Monday, November 17, 2014

the head and heart

This week was really hard. When I write in my journal you can tell I have had a hard day when the journal entry is really short. And this week's entries fit into about one paragraph. 
rain gear

Our numbers for lessons hit complete zeros for 3 days and others were quite low. I must say I was getting quite discouraged... I should not have been, because it lowered our effectiveness but I was pretty down some of those days. By Sunday we were only up to 7 lessons and, as you know, it is a mission goal to have a minimum of 12 lessons a week. Daxi is a hard area but we have usually been able to get up to at least the minimum of 12. We were pretty down because we had to get five lessons in one day and it wasn't looking too bright when no investigators showed up for Church. 
old people we played bachi ball with
Though one of our recent converts who is also fairly less active did come and stayed for Sacrament. So we were happy about that.  Another one of our recent converts, Liao Jiemei, is very active and even bore her testimony during Sacrament, which was really powerful and very moving. We were able to meet with her afterward and we taught the 4th lesson, so she is getting really close to being done with the after-baptism lessons. 
a grosss bathtub

Our ward mission leader came up to us after the lesson and asked if we could help with the choir. We were anxious to get finding because of our lack of lessons, but he promised us, as our mission leader, that if we stay and help we will be able to get the four more lessons we needed to reach our goal. So we stayed and sang for an hour, stopped by our house and grabbed food for dinner, and headed up to Daxi to start finding.
 We went to the park and a group of students surrounded us and were asking all kinds of questions about America. The girls all wanted to take pictures with us it was soo funny! We gave them the English class tract but didn't have a lesson. After a little while we weren't having much success so I thought we could visit our friend Xue Zhi. He has memorized the Chinese dictionary and can find any character in seconds. He is quite old, which usually warrants the Buddhist opposition, but he always welcomes us in. We were able to share a quick message about learning in the Church and our purpose and he prayed with us. This was a small miracle that it went so well but we still needed three more! 
a doner kebap
We ate our humble dinner of pears, guavas, and oats on a bench overlooking the valley of Daxi, and then decided to stop by Pan Dixiong's shop. Pan DX had recently returned to southern Taiwan, which was a heavy blow because he was one of our few investigators who was really progressing and not just in knowledge but in faith. As we rode past we looked in and HE WAS BACK!! We stopped quickly to make sure our eyes weren't deceiving us. he came out and told us to come back around 7! SO we left and went finding again. We met some cool people but no one who was very interested. Around 6:55 we started back towards Pan DX's. But right next to his shop a man was working on his car so we stopped and began to talk to him. His name Lu DX, and he is what some may call a golden investigator. He has definitely been prepared and it was very exciting for us to meet with him.
a cool shack
We talked about our beliefs for a little while then he said a very beautiful prayer and we said goodbye. We walked the ten steps into Pan DX's shop and he sat us down. In the past his boss has not been necessarily cold to us but she hasn't been very welcoming either. Today was very different. She brought us crackers and sat down with us to listen in. We began with a wonderful prayer by Pan DX and then switched off reading through Alma 26. Afterward, we each shared our favorite part and Pan DX bore his testimony. He said it was because of us that he was able to get this far and have this testimony. I would have loved to take credit but I know the spirit has been working with him for quite some time. He has heard, knows and believes each lesson but was never able to go to Church because of work. But when he returned he told his boss he would only work for her if he could get sundays off! We were very excited! We said a prayer and were on our way. We are hopeful that our lesson with Pan DX had an affect on his boss, who is a less-active in her own church. Every little thing matters. 
elder mcclellan when we were on exchanges

shaved ice! it is soo good, i got red beans and brown sugar balls and sweet and condensed milk on mine soo very good
So I have faith she will come to find the truth quite soon. Soon after leaving we ran into Chen Baba who's son is one of our other investigators. He mentioned that his Christian friend was at his shop and that we should stop by. SO of course we did! He (Ding DX) was there and we had a very powerful discussion with him. He is very active in praying and reading in the Bible. Elder Dexter shared an experience and he set up another time to meet. We are very excited to meet with him again and have faith that he has been prepared too. So we reached our goal, and what a miracle that was! This hard hard week ended very beautifully. I am very grateful for that experience. My head got in my way all week. When we let our faith and heart lead our actions we will be more open to revelation and we will be more prepared to find those who have been preparing for their whole lives.
My favorite Uchtdorf talk is " Is it I?" That is a question I ask myself every single day. It makes me think a lot about my choices and who I am. I was converted a while ago. I just didn't tell you too much about it. It was in the mtc. I wrote a talk on conversion just for myself. But that experience really tested me. I sat in class and just felt like dying. I felt so unworthy and similar to how adelide felt. But like she felt afterwards I was lifted up and now I am in the most wonderful place in the world doing the most wonderful things. Life is wonderful.
I am definitely converted every single day. Every kind person converts me again.  I have grown to appreciate kind people. Thank you for your letters I just got them. 

I love you,
Elder Christensen

P.S. thank you to Nana and Papa for sending me letters!! I just got two and loved them! Thank you also to Bishop Stewart for the ward updates, I love getting them! And especially thank you to Lillie Jane. I love your letters!