Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A fault in our MTC

This week the MTC was a good time. I constantly see Elders who I know from school, and I love the people I am surrounded by here. The best part of my week was probably receiving a package from the Brubaker family. They sent me cookies from paradise bakery and a few heart warming notes. The cookies went fast, were delicious and now EVERYONE loves the Brubaker’s. 
    I feel myself change every day. I think I have only been able to realize that because I have been thinking of my future a lot. I see myself sitting on a plane waiting to arrive in Tokyo and then Taiwan. What a wonderful day that will be haha. But I also have been able to recognize the difference because I have seen it in every other missionary I know. 
This morning I woke up and the only Elder I haven't gotten along with was ironing my shirt.. the MTC changes people. If you let it change you there is no way that the change will be bad. But if you fight it and don't give yourself to the Lord, you will notice everyone become their best selves while you stay the same. I am so imperfect. I have so many things to work on. An elder in my district began crying one night because he felt so bad for feeling angry at another elder. That is not normal. But it is wonderful. We are all trying to because worthy tools for the Lords work. Its subtle but looking back. I am a different person.
I have to say my favorite day altogether was Sunday because of the events that took place. I started off with a 5 hour "Yingwen" fast in which I did not speak a word of English. I did it for a bet and won 75 cents from the sisters in my district.. BOOYAHHH. haha 

After that we went to sacrament and it was cool because now I can understand a lot more of what the speakers are saying (all talks, hymns, and prayers are in Mandarin) The meeting was neat and the talks were good. We are supposed to write one every week because they just pick randomly who will speak so you always have to be prepared. This week my talk was on repentance and I must say it was a killer Chinese talk. haha 
 After sacrament and priesthood we have a district meeting where we discuss what we could do better and such. Then one of us gives a lesson. I haven't given a lesson but they aren't really lessons anyways. The topic is given and then everyone just piles on stories and scriptures and their testimony's and it is wonderful. That is definitely a highlight of my Sunday. But the best part came next.
Each Sunday we go on a temple walk, and my zone always meets above the temple on a hill. This spot has a view that will take your breath away. The entire valley with a temple and lake really make for a wonderful sight. The view is always nice but what hit me hard was when some sisters started singing.. We sang a lot of hymns and I loved them all, but when we started singing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" I started to cry. 
Even now writing this I feel the Spirit. I believe that because I am overjoyed and sorrowful at the same time, and that is something only good things can bring. I miss a lot of people. Later we had a devotional and the speaker was hilarious, then we watched Characters of Christ (A talk by David L. Bednar from about five years ago) and that made me cry too. It was amazing. 
You'll notice if you ever leave a place it's not the things you miss but the people. I had so many wonderful friends and family. People are what I miss. Though I love it here I miss people... SO God Be With You Till We Meet Again.
I love you and miss you!
-Elder C

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 2 in the MTC

Hi Family,
I am glad you miss me! haha Well, like mom promised, letters and packages mean a lot. I have received two letters in total and one package, and I am extremely grateful for that! It has been hard here. The language is killer and sometimes I feel hopeless. BUT. there are also times when I feel I could move mountains. And that makes it all worth it. But please! Stop talking about my foods Douglas. I miss steak and I miss wings so stahp. haha 

How was your hike? I remember having dried blood on my face from tripping and being 7 I felt like a man so I just left it there. 

I love the Schwartz family. Paul is a sterling example of a knowledgeable missionary. My companion is similar (meaning he knows a lot), but he doesn't know how to teach it so we are learning together and we have been able to grow closer through that, but we aren't that close. He is quiet so we don't talk too much.  I definitely like him a lot though. The only problem is that he likes to take his time and I hate being late to things, so it's been stressful. But even worse is my district leader who is the messiest guy around. haha I am dying here. Our room inspection got all A's except for him and they said he needs to work on it haha.
I have been doing pushups and sit ups every morning to get in shape then we head up to the fields and run around for a few miles then play soccer so the exercise is awesome and we have fun. I have made some great friends here. There are two in my district who I really like, Elder Jensen and Elder Pincock, and then a few in a neighboring district. Among them is Elder Perkins who is seriously a stellar guy. We share a lot of interests but he also has a girl at home and so we relate to each other a lot through that. This is good because I miss Mattie a lot and it's nice to be able to talk about it with someone.  
I just got back from initiatories and on my way out was a group of Olympus/ensemble friends haha. John Newton, Ryan Tatton, and a whole bunch of others were waiting for me at the door haha. So it was awesome being able to see them. Ryan Tatton comes into the MTC this week so I'll see him again fairly soon hah.  Anyways, I just sent you a package with my broken camera and the shoes that didn't fit which I talk more about in the letter I sent. That letter also contains a list that must be regarded with the utmost scrutiny. I sent the SD card with the camera so you can download the pictures at home. But my camera broke right before I took a picture, so my companion took this pic on his camera. 
Here are pictures of all the Olympus kids we could find!
This next week is going to be intense so get ready for a letter that will not be for the faint of heart. I am doing my laundry right now and I must say, I am a pro. Bet ma will be proud.
UMMMMMM... It rained the other day and now I am super excited for Taiwan. Because it was like 90 degrees while it was raining haha so it seems pretty similar. I loved it though. I am super excited to make it to Taiwan. It will be a whirl wind.
Alright, I love you all like I say in the letter and hope your days are filled with countless blessings
Elder Christensen

Monday, July 14, 2014

First week in the MTC

 I GOT YOUR LETTERS~ but I am waiting to read them till I have time to sit down and reply to them, which I am going to do today hopefully. I don't have a passport holder and I could always use some cheetos haha jkjk. But maybe some pills, like advil and claritin would be nice :D  
My companion is Elder Griffin. He is from Syracuse and is awesome! like I said in that other email, there are six of us and about 3 of them are from the same town as Elder Griffin. They are all really hard workers and very loving guys. We all help each other get better and it's amazing how much I have changed and learned in just a few days. 
The days are like months here but the weeks go by fast, so it's a weird thing but kinda fun. I have been falling asleep in every setting and I hope it's because I have been sick. But if not, I'll just have to train myself to stay active and awake. 
SO yes. My P days are Mondays and we woke up at 6 sharp to go to the temple and just got back. The session was about 3 hours long and I could feel my love for my companion and district growing in that short time. 
I am so bad at writing but I am trying hard. I will improve!!
Love Ke Zhanglao

(later that day)...

Your letters were awesome! Haha I miss Ethan, Rosie and both of you. This week was awesome! very busy, like I said, but I am loving it. My companions name is Elder Griffin and he's a stellar guy. He is a genius when it comes to Chinese so I am trying to keep up. We have six elders in our room and it's actually really fun! We spend a large part of our day for studying Chinese and the other part either eating or studying Preach My Gospel. I have seen so many guys from OLY. I see Elders: Spurrier, Jones, Burton, Anderton, Ellsworth, Pettit, Flynn, and Evans quite frequently. I have been sick the entire time here but an elder in my district, Elder Pincock who I'll tell you more about later, hooked me up with the drugs. SO i am feeling happy. :D 
The first or second day, I can't remember which because they blend together, we were able to talk to real investigators as a crowd and it was great to see their reactions. The spirit was soo strong and I developed a love for them instantly. The first of those investigators was named Sarah and she was SAAAASSSY. Every remark an elder made was instantly shut down. It was kind of funny. Until we were able to teach with the spirit instead of knowledge she wouldn't listen. 
My companion and I have now taught twice with the same investigator in Chinese. She is awesome, and because she is an actor, she agrees with everything we say. Our broken Chinese is getting us far. We teach 3 times this week so that will be very fun. Last night we went to a Sunday night devotional and the topic was "Charity." It was an amazing talk and I learned a lot. I had some scriptures written down but we came straight from the temple so all my notes are gone. I am going to try to spend a long time writing notes today. 

ADELIDE I MET ELDER TAYLOR. He is serving in England (I think) but because he is speaking Chinese I see him around. That is so crazy that we are in the MTC at the same time!!
I love it here and I am at a loss of words and running low on time to do anything, so I will spend a lot longer on my handwritten letters to you. Love you all!!

Forward this to Doug. Get him on this train!

Elder Ke Zhanglao

(even later that day)...
I have a few more minutes. So I'll see what I can fit in. I am a very slow typer and it is hindering my ability to write well. We started having gym time on Friday and we played soccer. It had just rained so it was really funny watching 40 elders try to kick a ball around but just slipping and falling every time. Haha my district led with the most goals and it was way fun. Then on Saturday we played beach volleyball and it was way fun but being at the mtc they don't want us to keep score. So I don't know who won but it was fun. My district leader and I were in the back waiting for the ball to come and we both dove for it and I broke my pinky. 

We just sprayed each other with sand and I got sand in every hole on my head. My nose and ear took a good hour to clean out haha
It was really nice to get outside! 

Alright I have to go now but I love you and I'll send letters soon! LOVE YOU
YES THAT IS JAMISON ! haha  I hope you enjoy my photographs. because i pour my heart and soul into them.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

First email from the MTC!

I am here! and it's fun. I am writing you letters with more details, but my companions name is Elder Griffin and we have a room with six guys. On P day i'll have time to upload pictures! I love you and besides the fact that i have a cold all is well!
Best wishes,
Elder Christensen