Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Midlife Crisis

Hi everyone. 
This last week was an interesting one. Nothing super exciting happened, but sometimes I feel like I am losing it just a little bit. But that is ok! 

Anyways, more importantly read this:
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

I like this scripture a lot. 
First, I enjoy that is says "reckon" because it seems like Paul was a cowboy. Second I think that right now's pains are really nothing in the grand scheme and that our grand potential is already in us. We don't have wait till death to start revealing our grand potential. 

Isn't that awesome! 

Anyways, food for thought. 

It is about 5AM here and I woke up at 3:30, so I am very tired but I hope you know that I know this work is true and that Christ is our redeemer for all of those everyday sufferings! 

I have been noticing the small and simple moments that are so joyful to me. I find those moments are what make a mission a wonderful experience. 

It is easy to focus on the wrong things here, but when you focus on the love for the people as your drive, the Lord will let you feel His love and those moments will happen more often. 

Elder Henry David Christensen

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Worth of Two Years Is Great (Give Me This Mountain)

 "And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this straight and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save." 2 Nephi 31:19

A couple weeks before I arrived in ZhuBei a member named Dynamo left for his mission in Texas. He was already in love with the work before he left. He would accompany missionaries all over town and help them teach most days and was not just there, he would help teach and clarify. However right before he left on his mission, he fell asleep while riding a motorcycle and rammed into the back of a truck. He recovered enough to leave and with a broken arm and a few stitches. He left blissfully on his mission. However, as the weeks passed by things started happening and after passing out in the cafeteria in the MTC, he was back into the hospital. We soon learned from his family that he has a tumor which was caused or brought about by the crash.

I tremble and shake at the thought of returning home. I ask myself often what trial would cause me to fall. Where does my faith end? What could I take? and finally, How can I overcome when I am given a mountain to climb (or) how can I obtain that great amount of faith? The trials God gives us often appear sporadically or accumulate over time, how can I develop the faith to endure?
I'll finish the story: Dynamo came home. He is tired and trying to hide the pain he is dealing with right now. I can't even imagine. We had a ward family home evening on Saturday and he put on a good face but then yesterday he was asked to say a few words.. I cannot express to you the pain I saw in his face. I cannot and will not even try. He said only a few words between sobs, and a sorrow entered the room. It is sad when any missionary goes home for reasons that are not his or her own and these circumstances only make it seem more unfair. Not only did he have to leave the work he loves, but he now has a medical problem that will take more pain to overcome than I myself can imagine.
My point in sharing this is that, God will give us trials that will lead us to say "why, when I was trying my best to be so good, did I receive such a hard mountain to climb?" And when he does, I hope that we will be able to stand together in the gospel with full faith in Christ.
"Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God." Alma 17:2-3

Pray for Dynamo.

Elder Henry David Christensen

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Howdya' do?

This week was fun :)
    On Tuesday we had our Zone meeting which consists of about 20 Elders and Sisters so it wasn't very big. I was able to help translate for Sister Fan who is a Taiwanese sister. And it was pretty funny. She is my good friend so I would joke with her sometimes haha. That wasn't too stressful because the Zone leaders know to speak slower so we can do a good translation but later that week, this last friday, I had a very different experience.
    Our new mission president, who fun fact graduated from Olympus high!, came to our chapel to visit with our zone and the neighboring zone (so there were a lot of people there). President Jergensen is awesome! He brought his whole family and had each of them introduce themselves then he and his wife told us story after story for about 2 hours so we could really get to know them. (next week will be our personal interviews with him). Anyways, at the start, we were all talking and as we were filing into our seats I realized I was sitting behind two Taiwanese sisters who don't have great English. The story goes like this, I was called again to translate. Haha. The catch here was, they didn't speak slower and their stories were very odd and therefore hard to translate even with time. I don't complain but it was hard and I was tired of talking straight Chinese for that 2 hour time period. It was rough.
     Anyways, enough about me. Here is Mister Li's story.We walked into the train station to do some contacting and walked past a man who was sitting on the ground in a miserable state. I didn't really notice him at first which is OK because right after we prayed I felt I needed to talk to him so we walked straight to him and sat down with him on the ground.
    He had two water bottles with him. One was alcohol and the other was water. He said he drank to keep the pain down because he had cancer in both lungs from smoking. He had been abandoned at the train station by a friend and had no way to get home. So after praying with him and especially, for him, we gave him a book of Mormon and I felt strongly to tell him I love him and he smiled and told me he loved me too. Soon after we went upstairs to buy a ticket home with him. We gave him some more money and he promised he would not use it for alcohol. After showing his gratitude he walked through the gate and was gone. To this I can only say, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I invite you to help those whose hands hand down and knees are feeble in any and every way you can.

Love, Me

Here is our mission website:
http://www.taiwantaipeimission.com/#!Wrapping-up-Meet-the-Family/c419/55a250b60cf25b8bf7e72b88  (here you can see pictures of Henry and see him singing!!)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast!


I felt quite a bit like one of the Cosby kids this morning as my companion and I made chocolate cake for breakfast. A few months ago Elder Hansen received cake mix, frosting and candles to celebrate his birthday, but there are very few ovens in Taiwan, so he did not make it. 

But last night we asked the sisters to bring us three eggs and this morning for our regular basketball game they showed up with eggs in hand. 

After a furiously played game of basketball we returned to our home and mixed together our three eggs, water and the cake mix. Then we put it in the rice maker and waited. After about 40 minutes we checked and oh boy we were surprised at the beauty before us. A wonderfully rich chocolate cake was born. And will be feeding us for a few days as we were not able to eat very much of it. The moral of this story is that cake is wonderful and that miracles happen everyday.

This week our ward hosted a wonderful activity. We combined together and then each missionary was assigned a group and an area then we took them out to be missionaries with us..
I was expecting my group, which consisted of two different Brothers (陳), to experience the hard parts of the work, but instead the first person we walked up to was prepared and we had a lesson. Then we visited a less active and ate dinner and by then our time was out so we returned back to the church for the fireside part. They had a very easy day which is not normal but I was happy to see some miracles with them. 

The fireside itself was awesome! We had a small testimony meeting and a speaker. My group all went up together and shared our testimonies and it was a very spiritually lifting meeting. The members loved it and it was cool to help them realize the joy of spreading the gospel. 

To relate these two seemingly different topics, I will share one of my favorite examples when explaining my reason for serving to the youth: The gospel is to me like cake. I love cake and because it brings me happiness, I want to share it with others so that they can enjoy it too. I share the gospel because it brings me joy. Cake in the end can make us fat physically, while the gospel will make us fat spiritually which I think is a good thing.

Get spiritually fat and share your cake!
Elder Henry David Christensen 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Bitter Winds Are Blowin In

Not really bitter, but it is very windy here in ZhuBei. I have moved! 

Last Wednesday after watching "17 Miracles" for our English class party, I witnessed an 18th miracle! I was leaving BeitTou!! 

I was, contrary to popular belief, having kind of a hard time there. Living that close to Taibei is not really my favorite. But now I am back on the outskirts and I am loving it! 

My companion is Elder Hansen (Handsome is what the Taiwanese hear) and he is from Nibley (Logan) Utah! And boy is he handsome! He was a rock climber, hiker and fan of classical music/soundtracks before the mission and we get along real well. 

I am the 大 (senior) companion because I have been out longer, but he is really teaching me how it is done. Here there are a lot more restaurants, so we will be eating out a lot and won't be cooking ourselves which is OK. 

And our apartment has a special name. It is known as the "Crows Nest" because it is a loft apartment. However it is not super nice. We are cleaning it today before we walk to the beach.

The members are pretty cool here too. They split into an English ward and a Chinese ward because there are a lot of white people and even more Philippinos. I am in the Chinese ward so nothing too new but we do have two sets of sisters so that is  a little different! 
Anyways, I am out of time but I will give you all more updates as time goes on. I personally think I will be here for a while but only time can tell. 

Elder Henry David Christensen