Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 1, 2013

Hi everyone,

So this week we had some interesting things happen. I guess that happens every week, but this week they were different! The first thing that is that I learned that the name of our neighborhood is "the living bush." I don't really know why that is, but hey, I'm from Fruit Heights, what do I know?
Another thing is that this week we received a shipment of triple combinations from Accra. This would ordinarily be a great thing. Instead, it was only a very good thing. Why? Because two of the eight boxes weren't in French. They accidentally sent us two boxes of triple combinations in Fante by mistake (and for those of you who have never served in West Africa, Fante is a language from northern Ghana. Which means there are at most three missionaries here who can read it). We have been told they will refund us if we send it back, but that costs shipping money...... 
The other day I was thinking about how much weight I've lost, and I came up with an idea. The mission is a tithing on the first 20 years of your life, right? Well, I'm also paying a tithing of my body weight. With a large fast offering attached as well. 
In other news, the transfers have been all planned out, and I am staying in the office with just Elder Tshizanga. This will be a little weird because it will be my first time (and only the second time in the history of the mission) where two missionaries will have an apartment to themselves. Related, because I will be THE American, they have bumped up my responsibilities a bit. C'est a dire, I'm driving a lot more these days to prepare me. The good news is that I've been to all of the apartments and branch buildings now, and we have conclusively proved that I know this city better than someone who has lived here for 15 years (we helped an investigator move on Wednesday, and I knew exactly where her new house was, and even all the neighborhoods around it! Of course, it was back in my second area...). 
Elder Burkhart almost had malaria this week. That was interesting. It didn't look fun. Looks like I'll be making an extra effort to take my meds for a while. 
This morning we had a great zone conference with Elder Dickson of the 70. I had to pull double translation duty. I had to translate all of the first half into English for them (missionaries teaching, stuff like that). Then Elder and Sister Dickson taught, and I had to translate it into French! Then we had some time left over, so we let the missionaries bear their testimonies and I got to translate it into English for the Dicksons (which was madness! I had to translate as fast as I possibly could because everyone had a time limit. Elder Dickson joked that although I didn't get the chance to bear my own testimony, I got to bear 25 other people's testimonies.). The whole thing was a real pleasure. It was so cool to see my progression in French from that first day in the MTC, to leaving the MTC, to my first few months infield, to being a little more experienced, to finally being able to handle a serious translation like that. Obviously, I was far from perfect, but I was happy to serve. It got to be pretty natural by the end of it. Luckily, he didn't use too much hard terminology. Except in explaining why he doesn't have a right arm. I still don't even know that medical terminology in English, much less French! But it was a great lesson, and I still managed to learn something even though I wasn't able to take any notes. 
I think that that is a great pageant theme. I loved Elder Holland's talk. I would love to read it in the Liahona too, but we just heard back from Accra and even they haven't received it yet, so we missionaries won't be getting it any time soon. 
Robin got asked out on a date? Woah boy. For some reason, it's hard to imagine that. Probably because she was still just 14 when I left.
I haven't really been too worried about using the office computers to send pictures, but I feel kind of awkward doing it. The other problem is that I haven't really taken too many pictures lately. Today for example, I brought my camera to the conference, but after doing so much translating, it completely slipped my mind to take any pictures. I'll try to get some good ones soon though. We should be taking a trip soon up a little north into Benin to go see some sights. 
I'll just share with you real quick one of the main themes of Elder Dickson's talk. He talked about Jacob 5, with the branches and the roots in the olive trees. He talked about how, if we want the branches and wards and stakes of the church to grow, what we really need is to lay out the roots of the gospel with the priesthood power and tithing and respecting covenants and such. It was stated a lot better than that,but I don't have time to explain because the power went out twice in the last hour. 
Well, I love you all so very much, and wish you all the best!
Elder Christensen

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