Elder Coy at Five Years Old!

Elder Coy at Five Years Old!

Friday, October 25, 2013

We got this late last night:

Hello everyone! We just get one email to send quick so I want you to know I'm safe and sound, the flight went well, we've all contacted people, my first area is Miri in Sarowak, my new companion is Elder W, and the gospel is so true! Love you all, Pres. and Sister Mains are excellent people!

Just a couple of notes from our conversation with him:

He has no idea if he gained weight in the MTC, they don't have scales. He never ate cold cereal once while he was there. We asked him what he had learned about Malaysia; the people are very kind, no crime, simple people, kimono dragons, monkeys, dragon fruit and amazing food are everywhere, "best food in the world" and food is a big part of their culture, men wear skirts called "serongs",  he will have a machete. They build compounds out over the ocean because they don't have to pay property taxes, and there are planks going out to these houses on stilts that he will tract on. He heard the little kids are wild, they poke and tackle the missionaries while they are praying, etc.  Coy's MTC teacher, Bro. Pulver woke up one night to sounds under his bed.  They found a snake six feet long. After trying to coax it out and get it out for a long time, they just got the machete from the closet and cut it's head off. The locals told them the next day it was a COBRA!  They believe if you kill a cobra it will come back and kill you in your sleep.  (Jeff still wants to buy Coy a mongoose, like Riki Tiki Tavi).  The apartments are very nice, each elder will often have their own bathroom (cobras included!).  Children will yell "white guy! White guy!" while they are walking down the street. He advised our family to use the section of Preach My Gospel on Christlike attributes. As missionaries they focus on one every week.  Apparently the zone leaders facebook stalk the elders coming in, then pray about placements and companionships. (We can't find his companion on Mormon. org).  Elder Christensen will spend a couple of days in the mission home where he will learn to eat with his hands off banana leaves (they don't use utinsels), and to get by without toilet paper, among other cultural things.  He sounded SO GOOD!  Oh, we love that boy. 

Miri Sarakawa is in East Malaysia, the "poor" side, though near the city the tourism areas are absolutely beautiful and well developed.  If you have a second to look at Miri, Sarakawa on google images or google earth, it is pretty fascinating. 

He said his Pdays will be Mondays, so we'll live for Mondays at our house!  Thank you so much for keeping Elder Christensen in your prayers, and for all of your love and support!  God Bless! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hello lovely hordes of letter-readers!

Thank you so much for the amazing outpouring of love I've felt this week! Every letter boosts my heart so much!
Here's one thing I need to answer my wonderful Mother.
I DON'T 'NEED' ANYTHING FOR MY BIRTHDAY! I have too much stuff already! What I would like is just pictures of you guys, maybe your favorites from all the adorable ones you've sent me (yes, even the one in need of a haircut). Anything else just keep the money and donate to the general missionary fund please.
Anyway, this week was so much fun! We started with Bro. Pulver's Birthday party last Friday, where we ate the cookie bars and pumpkin cookies I recieved from my wonderful family and grandparents and drank apple beer and Martinelli's that Paiwei had randomly recieved. It was really fun.
Other exciting events include that We will be flying out on Tuesday, leaving at noon! That's insane! We're sad to leave eachother but ready to go!
Anyway, I'll be having to drop maybe fifty pounds of stuff before I leave so I'll send some things home. Expect a package!
For my family: CONGRATULATIONS DAD! Insert here how much you want to say about it (Jeff had nose surgery!) but I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU! That must feel wonderful!
One other thing to get out of the way, The M.T.C. has been an absolutely amazing experience and I've loved every second of it.
Now, funny and interesting stories!
Culture Shock is an interesting thing. I wasn't there when this happened, but Jin, Blackwelder, Wilson, and Coloma were sitting on the couches in their apartment when apparently Jin (insert whatever word you use when this happens). Coloma, sitting next to him, said "Elder Jin, I can't support this!" They asked what he meant, and he said "IT SMELLS SO HARD!" It was hilarious to hear about. Coloma's a great guy.
Microculture evolution: Whenever we have anything work out or good happen to us, we cry out "The Gospel is True!" Usually when it's not related to that at all. Whenever something bad happens, we just, like, don't say anything, because, well, we, um, can't complain.
Elder Sessions had ink leak on both of his long sleeve white shirts, and bleached them in our Classroom's kitchen sink. Fun times.
I've met a new best friend and fellow Brony Elder Law from the great country of Washington. He's writing a book right now and he is a very talented writer. We've had a lot of fun times together and great experiences, and he inspired to me do what I've been thinking of for a long time and I'm now writing a book on P-Days! Expect more on that when the bell tolls 1!
The Finnish Invaded Singapore yesterday and we were kicked out of our classroom. Apparently we were supposed to have been sharing a classroom apartment with the other Singapore district this whole time, but didn't because the Indonesian classroom next door was empty. They had a live Durian (a very stinky fruit) in their fridge and the whole place smelled like carbon monoxide. But worse.
And to end, a cool experience today. Elder Sessions and I did Sealings in the Temple today. While there, we met an Elder who got home from Germany 11 months ago, and these 2 super old sisters. Sister Dart was very good at Genealogy and had a giant stack of sealing names with her. Her older Sister, Sister Donovan, told us that she had never been sealed to her children, or her husband, but loved to come do sealings anyway. It was a really neat experience to meet her. People like that inspire me.
One last thing: Our Devotional this Tuesday was by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. It was a extremely inspirational talk and I wish I could talk about it forever, but my personal favorite things about it was basically that the entire talk was his testimony of the divinity and truth of our church. He basically taught the first couple lessons in his own words. It was really neat. I got to sing in the Choir and we sang an amazing rendition of Praise to the Man.
 Flight Plans!
 Elder Sessions loves his Smolder!
 Some Precious Ancient Indonesian Artifact
 World's Best Back Scratcher
 Birthday Party

 Bleachin Shirts...
 Elder Law
 Singapore Elders
 Singapore Elders
Elder Bester

 Our MTC Mission President
 We found this on the back of a map that has been hanging in our classroom the whole time!

Well, I love you all! The next time you hear from me will be in Singapore! I'm So Stoked to Read the B.O.M. and Study Malay for 30 STRAIGHT HOURS!!! :-D
-Elder Christensen

Friday, October 11, 2013

You know what's weird? Waking up and realizing that in two weeks you'll wake up in Singapore, that's what.

Hello everybody! I can't say enough how loved I feel from all the wonderful support you've given me! It's like a waterfall into a 20 mile cavern that I'm drowning in but feel happy about it, roughly. Anyway, let me do some thank-you's.
Grandma and Grandpa Raspberry: Thanks so much for the Early-Birthday-And-Halloween package! It was wonderful to be given a chance to partake of that wonderful tradition again!
The Petersons: Thanks for sending me the Ward Newsletter, it really warmed my heart.
Mother: Thank you so much for sending me not only all the poems and stuff, but the Song Lyrics for May It Be and The Breaking of The Fellowship. For all those who don't know, I love Lord Of The Rings because it is chock full for Christian Symbolism (at least the books mostly). In fact, Mom, could you put those at the end of this letter? Thanks.
My Family: Thank you so much for both the Conference Bingo and the Stress Buster Packages. I'll actually get pictures of the second one by next week.
Speaking of game related Conference, I'm sorry to say we couldn't use it. Conference was shown live down at Main Campus and we had to sit in stadium seats in our full Sunday attire. Our whole district thanks you for the Skittles and M&M's which we just stuck in our Classroom's full size fridge. They were delicious.
Speaking of not-game related Conference, it was fantastic! I sent a specific letter home about a lot of my feelings on it, but I will say that my favorite talk was President Monson's on Sunday morning. I listened to it again afterwards because every part of it was amazing, and I almost cried when he talked about his wife at the beginning.
It was really cool though how much of it was based on missionary work. We all need to try to bring people to Christ even if we don't have a title. I just get to do it full time (heh heh heh).
Anyway, more on that later. Moving on, Mitchell already left? I didn't get to say good by! Well, technically I did. Never mind, I know he'll do great.
More stuff. The Microculture we spawned has further developed. Which is to say, we've resorted to potty humor. Why? Because everything else makes us trunky or is less appropriate for worse reasons!  But guess what? You know what Barak means? That's right, poop. Now  think of our President... Another thing, we aren't allowed to be judgmental, so all of the guys in our district, when they talk about girls, rate them on their adequacy. They can be adequate, very adequate, extremely adequate, or PRETTY dang adequate. That's led to some very fun conversations.
Off that topic. The work progresses and the Lord blesses us more every day! When I mentioned a hard day last week, a lot of people were concerned for me, and I'm thankful, but that ship has sailed. We all have hard things happen in our lives to let us learn Humility, and that's why the Lord allows discouragement and hard feelings to happen to his servants, so they can learn to rely on him. I'm doing great, don't worry.
On that note, Aunt Annette, when you said that Spanish must be much easier then what I'm learning, I'm sorry to say that I pity Mitchell! Spanish is complicated, Malay is Not! I mean, He has to like, conjugate verbs, and worry about past, present, and future tense! And articles! Our language is structured like a Kindergartner wrote it and most, if not all, the meanings are based on context!
On another cool note, I got my own Nyan-nian Rohani (Songs Spiritual) and Buku Nyan-nian Anak-Anak (Book Songs Children), which are both in Indonesian because they haven't translated them into Malay and that's what they use. Indonesian and Malay are about 80 percent the same, so it's all good.
For next week: Please tell me what to write about, since I'm running out of ideas! 
Love you all so much! Til next time (on my last MTC P-day!)
-Elder Christensen

May It Be
May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home

Mornie utĂșlie (darknesss has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie (darknesss has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadows call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome 
You may rise to find the sun

Mornie utĂșlie (darknesss has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie (darknesss has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

A promise lives within you now

The Breaking of the Fellowship

When the cold of winter comes
Starless night will cover day
In the veiling of the sun
We will walk in bitter rain

But in dreams
I can hear your name
And in dreams
We will meet again

When the seas and mountains fall
And we come, to end of days
In the dark I hear a call
Calling me there,
I will go there

And back again

Friday, October 4, 2013

a= law, aww
e= beg, when
i= wii, beet
o= oh, no
u= boot, glute
c= ALWAYS 'ch'
g= ALWAYS 'guh'
And now, for a stirring musical number from the MTC District C of Branch 134 (Ahem: Specific pronouncation in their own parenthesis)
Saya Rasa Biek! (='bike') [deh neh neh neh neh neh neh]
Saya Tahu Akan! (='Tao') [deh neh neh neh neh neh neh]
SAYA Rasa Biek! [deh neh neh neh neh neh neh neh]
Saya Tahu Akan! [deh neh neh neh neh neh neh neh]
Bagus! (Bum Bum)
Bagus! (Bum)
Saya Ada Kamu! (bum bum bum Bum BUM)

 Elder Truillio is a nerdy piano player who kicks butt at 4 square
 Our Branch Sunday Walk
 Studies in the shire
One of my new favorite chapters

 Yes that' s a penguin in the top right corner
 Wilson (our new DL) at the end of the day
Paiwei (Very good at the piano) and Sister Chevae from France (Very good at the flute)
 practicing for a duet performance

Seriously though, we do get things done.
Hello Everybody! Let me say that I cannot describe how much love I'm drowning in because I'm too busy drowning in it! I've been swamped with letters and packages this week and I'm so thankful for all y'all!
-Jeni, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE STUFF! I loved the pictures of the Savior and the Butterfingers, and the headband was just what I needed. The only part of me cold at gym was my ears and it couldn't have been more perfect. Speaking of goodies, I have more then enough to last me to Singapore so I really don't need more.
-Annie, thanks for the messages you sent me with Brylea and Logan and your other friends, they helped me alot. I ate ALL the E.L.Fudge cookies.
Speak a da doitch, Fast Sunday was one of the most spiritual days of my life, before and during the M.T.C.! It was just one jam packed awesome thing after the next all frickin' day. We had a MTC wide mission conference in the morning where all of the Presidency talked and their wives as well. So much awesoms stuff that I can't put it here. After that was Fast and Testimony Meeting, followed by the same thing with just our district. During Sacrament, I told the story of how the day before I had been feeling down because I felt a little bit like I was falling behind. Then while I was waiting for Elder Sessions to get his haircut, I opened a package from my little sister and her friends. Her note said 'you're never fully dressed without a smile!' I instantly started laughing because I realized I hadn't smiled once that day! I testified that the MTC was hard, because we needed to learn Humility, but it should be happy hard work. If you're not happy, you're doing something wrong. A Sister came up to me afterwards and shook my hand and said that was exactly what she needed to hear. Thanks Annie and friends and aunt Laura!
During the next Testimony meeting we had the 2nd Counselor come to sit with us, Pres. Mangum (pronounced like the Mango fruit). They bore Testimony as well. Get in contact with Bro. Swendson in our ward, ask if he's related to a Wayne Swendson! If he is, and he went to Maine on his mission, his only convert is working here at the MTC and would love to get in contact with him!
I promised I would describe my teachers, and here we go.
Bro. Blissit is our first teacher. He's a brilliant linguist studying Nero-linguistics at B.Y.U. He hopes to learn about 6 different more languages, currently Arabic, and is one of those guys that's so smart he talks fast to get everything out of the way. He loves to tell stories about our mission and is very excited for us.
Bro. Pulver on the other hand is very laid back. We'll learn vocabulary occasionally, but we end up getting more interested in his love life and stories as well. While Brother  Blissit helps more with grammer, Bro. Pulver helps with just speaking the language.
They're both great though, and we all love both our teachers. It's interesting because part of the instruction is them pretending to be real investigators that they had, and we teaching them each every other day as companionships as if they were our own investigators.
Some other things I've been thinking about is how we have formed this funny little microculture within our district, being 9 people locked up with nobody else for 12 hours a day,  and with little influence from the outside world. We've grown together so much and have loved to become friends, with all the good and bad mixed together. Learning to get along swimmingly has been something we've perfected, even if it means taking it out on each other in 4 square. But, don't worry, we've never had enemies, and it's all in good fun.
On that note, Gym has been outside, but they just finished these weird looking bubble gyms we'll probably be in next week, that look semi permanent. It'll be cool to see what that is like.
We've invented this game called the Penguin game to do when we take our 10 minute Cabin Fever Benefit Breaks. One person draws a line, a single non-broken line on the board, and someone else makes it into a penguin. Hilarious since it's the funniest thing we've seen all day.
Also, we created a fictional Elder named Elder Tibbits, or Tibbeets, or TIBBITZ, to whom we credit all our secret service. We wrote compliments on pieces of paper and gave them to the other Singapore district with some soda we purchased from the bookstore and said it was ALL from him. Good times.
Anyway, til next week! Love all y'all!
-Elder Christensen
P.S. Family, look forward to a special package this weekend!
P.P.S: I am NOT in the choir because there IS NO CHOIR. If there was I would be all over that like mold on a month old sandwich