Monday, September 30, 2013


Hey family!

First off BUG, you are beautiful. I was thrilled to hear about your week I think you are the most beautiful homecoming queen in all-the-world; but not just because you are gorgeous. I think this mostly because you are loving and kind and humble and good. That goodness is what draws people to you and makes them love you. I love you my dear.

Tuesday morning we were up and out the door by 5am. Chilled water and a bucket shower take your breath away in the mornings before the sun comes up. We were off to the bus stop and then traveled the winding "Road from Daet" for 2.5 hrs before arriving in Sipocot for exchanges. Sipocot is a small town that basically consists of one main street and that’s about it. We were with sister Abarabar and Purcell. It is fun to see my old companion. I worked with Sister Purcell. She is from America Samoa and has been here for almost 6 weeks. I really love being able to work with all these new missionaries. They are so full of faith and the light of Christ. They consistently remind me of why we are here and I am inspired by their strong testimonies. It is amazing to me that the spirit is a universal language. Even without being fluent in Tagalog, the spirit speaks with such strength. I know that is why the Lord has trusted 18 and 19 (and 23) year olds with his message; because it really isn’t us. We are just the mouth that delivers the words and the spirit is the one who provides the power. It was neat to visit with one family that the sisters are teaching who are preparing for baptism. The father has many tattoos and many physical scars from a life he lived without the gospel. His brother, mother and wife are all listening to the missionaries. He and his wife have to get married before they can be baptized and like Meg mentioned in her letter, marriage is very, very difficult here. One reason is that it is expensive. But another huge problem is that divorce is illegal so if they had a spouse before who is still living, it is nearly impossible for them to get married. But of course we know nothing is completely impossible, not to the Lord. This kind man bore a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and then his gratitude for missionary work. There truly are souls being prepared to hear this message.

We are in "BER -months" now which means it will be scorching hot in the morning and then cold and pouring rain by evening. We come home soaked and muddy most nights. In the pines you need two different tooth brushes, one for your teeth and one to use in the shower to scrub the dirt off your toes.

I realize my dear male cousins and brother are better at food updates than I am, so in honor of them... mga updates tungkol sa pagkain! I ate shark this week. It was good; really chewy. Everyone is so nice here and we get fed way too much. The former Stake President is in our ward and we have dinner at their home every Friday night. This last Friday she didn’t have time to cook so she bought pizza... she kept apologizing... haha we were all loving it. Pizza is a rare and pricey treat. We had our district activity this morning and went to Bagasbas beach and played games and then ate at this sea side restaurant that is super cute and has mission famous burgers. So for the first time in 16 months I ordered and ate a hamburger. It lived up to its reputation.


The elders had a baptism this week of a woman and her son that was really neat. They met the woman through tracting and she is in her mid 50's. A little over a year ago her husband suffered from a stroke and is now bed ridden and can hardly speak. Our bishop has a car and the morning of their baptism he went and picked up this good woman, her son, and her husband so that he could witness their baptism. I watched this woman lovingly watch over her husband; lovingly hold his hand even though there was no visible response or reaction. I realized that this woman’s diligence serving her husband may seem unproductive but in the grand scheme of things her dedication will make all the difference.

President Eyring reminds us:

“We are to learn our duty from the Lord, and then we are to act in all diligence, never being lazy or slothful. The pattern is simple but not easy to follow. We are so easily distracted. Studying the daily news can appear more interesting than the priesthood lesson manual. Sitting down to rest can be more attractive than making appointments to visit those who need our priesthood service.

When I find myself drawn away from my priesthood duties by other interests and when my body begs for rest, I give myself this rallying cry: “Remember Him.” The Lord is our perfect example of diligence in priesthood service. He is our captain. He called us. He goes before us. He chose us to follow Him and to bring others with us.”

I feel I am like this woman. I don’t have a husband to look after or a son, but I have duties to attend to each day here in the mission. Sometimes these things seem routine because I have done them every day for 16 months but I hope that they will make a difference in the long run. When it is really hot outside or investigators don’t seem to be progressing, I remember President Eyrings’ words, "I give myself this rallying cry: remember Him."

Christ is the reason we are here. I am grateful that it is his name that I get to wear every day and it is in Him that we place our faith.

Have a wonderful week. You are in my prayers always.
nagmamahal from the pines,

sister meish

Note from Meisha's Companion: 
Thanks mom and dad Christensen :) I'm very grateful for the opportunity that heavenly father has given me to be Sister Christensen's companion. We will do our best in this work .. :)
Thank you for the package that Sister Christensen received.  She was really happy and me too..  :) she shared her chocolates and ctr ring thanks a lot for it.. :)  We really had fun in her birthday and also eating those chocolates :) I know she's really happy .. Being with Sister Christensen is a blessing.  She's a very faithful, strong, energetic, courageous, and a happy sister.
We have a lot of happy moments while doing our work here in the field and also helping other sister missionaries in this work. Thank you so much.
I will cherish all of these moments.. :)
Sister Bersola

Monday, September 23, 2013


Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!!! The b-day was great.  There was wayyy too much cake bought in my behalf. There are 4 of us in our apartment and the other two sisters, Sister Paguigan and Sister Viau secretly decorated the whole house while we were sleeping and then had a cake and ice cream and my favorite pineapple all set up when we woke up. They all had cards for me and Sister Bersola gave me a really cute bag.  They are so sweet.

"I’m old..... I am like the crypt keeper!" When I came into the mission I was normal sister missionary age, actually I was among the "young" and now I am an old woman.  When I first got to this area we had a district meeting and we were all introducing ourselves. One of the elders went to Brighton and played soccer. When I got up I said I played soccer too and went to Skyline... he then started rambling off names of kids that went to skyline. I said "Elder, I graduated a long time ago." This nice young elder graduated about 4 months ago. I realized that my graduation number is the same but I graduated 4 years ago! haha.  

There is a celebration of sorts here, church wide, in the pines called "family week." It is a celebration of families’ especially eternal families.  We met at the church at 7 am with the entire stake and then rode jeepneys and a bus and lots of triceys and motorcycles with banners and flags moved out on a parade route through the stake boundaries which ended up taking 2.5 hours. We were in this open rescue shuttle thing and it was so funny watching all the pointing fingers. I really could audition for a Disney princess when I get home cause I got the smile and wave thing down... I don’t think I could sit in those floats for that long though... it makes ya sore.  

The theme was a quote by President Monson, "A happy home is an earlier heaven." I think one of my favorite parts of the mission is watching a families be complete and healed through the gospel. We just started teaching a woman last night who's daughter is on a mission. She accepted a baptismal date and i know the work her daughter is doing in Manila is blessing her own family here in Bikol. 

We worked in the evening and then went to our meeting with the ward mission leader.  There are four of us in our ward, us and the zone leaders.  at the end of the meeting they wiped out another cake that had a firework strapped on to it for a candel haha! They are so nice and it was a delicious end to a fun day.  

The stake had me write about the activity so they could use it for advertising.  A long time ago I made a goal to get published... I never thought it would be in Asia haha.  

A great b-day was topped off with a Win for the Utes.  I happen to be the only U fan in the whole mission.  Sister bersola was also very excited about the win and was sending out Go Utes texts to our zone haha! i guess she was amused by my jumping up and down reaction when president and the assistants texted in the results.  She wanted to join in on the fun.  

Sometimes it is so overwhelming for me to see the poverty, the hunger and the heart ache that takes place every day all around me. When I read this verse I gain such strength: 2 Nephi 9:50 and 51. I love this verse and it has meant a lot to me during my mission:  

“Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

I have nothing to give temporally but spiritually in a literal sense I have mansions to offer; milk and honey without price.  This week I wrote this verse on a piece of blue paper and pinned it next to my study table.  Dad mentioned he used this same verse in a talk he gave yesterday. The hearts of the children truly do turn to their fathers.  I know that the gospel truly is the living water and I have felt in my life the sustaining power of this water as each day I find solace and strength in the scriptures and prayer.  

Bug and Big-O thanks for your b-day letters! Bug you look so pretty! Congrats on the soccer success! 

Hannah, you are a beautiful bride! Congratulations my dear friend and cousin! I love you!!!

mahal na mahal ko kayo! Love from the pines,

Sister Meish



Monday, September 16, 2013

Traveling Skirts

Sister Rosenberg from Australia
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirts was on the move again this week.  We had interviews with President on Tuesday morning and then Wednesday morning we were off to Labo for exchanges.  Then Thursday we worked in our area and then back on the road again for Vinzons’ exchanges. 

 Me and Sister B

In Spencer’s email he mentioned how he meets missionaries out here that have given up a lot to be here. That is something I have found as well. Good young men and young women who make incredible sacrifices for the work of the Lord.  They are such strong examples to me.   This week we have been using the video about John Tanner for our lessons about consecration and seeking first the kingdom of God.  John Tanner was a self-made wealthy man when he met the missionaries and from that day on he gave financially to the church, helping to pull them out of debt, saving the Kirtland temple and then moving to Salt Lake where he was called on a mission.  He never expected any reimbursement but gave and gave saying that he would forever be in debt to the Lord.  He never asked why to give or complained but did what he could willingly. At the end of the video it says that this faithful man found the Pearl of Great Price and didn’t bother to think about the cost.

We have an investigator right now who regularly reads the book of Mormon and prays and was all ready to come to church when her husband said “don’t you bother taking our kids with you to that church.” She thought of how if she joined the church she would be alone and she doesn’t want to be in a religion that isolates her from her family.  I thought a lot about this as we walked home in the rain. I kept asking myself the same question over and over again in my head…. Hanggang saan ako? Or where are my limits?  Do I have a limit to my testimony or commitment to God? Is there a point where I would say…that is too much? I believe in this church only until point ‘x’?  I  kept wondering, and reflecting.  I love my mission more than I can put into words but it is hard. It takes work every day to be exactly obedient and continue to be a diligent missionary.  I know there is a time that I will go home….If there wasn’t that date, would I still be so willing? Would I bother to worry about the cost? All in all I was wondering what I was willing to do to know God better.

At one of our appointments with a less active member, her non-member son came in to sit in on the lesson.  We began the lesson and after about a solid 2 minutes he jumped in and it was clear we weren’t going to get much more.  This man went off about the Book of Mormon and how Joseph Smith was a fraud.  At first I was offended and my first instinct was to fight back with words.  But I sat silent and so did Sister Bersola.  We sat calm.  Even when people have other beliefs, people are generally kind here.  This was the most intense situation I have been in on my mission due to the things being said and the level of his voice. As he went on and on I thought how with every word he spoke, my testimony only grew stronger and stronger.  Before I came out to this island life I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith but now “I know for myself, independent of any other person” that it is true. We smiled at this man and gave him a copy of the book of Mormon and told him to test it, read and ask God. 

Sister Adkins
President Hinckley once said that there is a great power that comes from our faith and it quietly whispers, “this cause is true and to you there is an obligation to serve it regardless of the cost.” 

I am not a perfect person and I am not a perfect missionary but I do know that this message that we are sharing is true. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and I believe in what he said he did and what he said he saw.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I read it every day and can feel the strength and power from its words.  I hope that I can continue to cultivate the Faith required to submit to all the father asks.  God does expect a lot from us but that is only because of the grandeur of the blessings he wishes to bestow.  I know that I am not perfect but I am going to try every day to give all I can. My sacrifices feel quite small compared to others I have observed. 

We went running again this morning.  The fishing boats were out with their nets hung over the side and there were surfers bobbing up and down in the waves.  As we ran we watched small crabs dig perfect holes in the sand. I am grateful for the beauty of the earth God has given us.

Spence, there is a chili pepper here called sili demonyo which translated pretty much means deamon chili. Haha the elders all have competitions to see who can eat it because it is so spicy.  I will try to send you some…. We’ll see if you can handle Bikol Express spicy.

Well I love you all dearly!!! Salamat para sa lahat…yung pagmamahal nyo at suportahan nyo!! Sobrang mapalad ako dahil yung pamilya ko ay napakaganda.  Padagos lang po kamo dyan!

Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish 


Monday, September 9, 2013


How are my favorite people?  We have had a great week! We were in Naga on Tuesday for MLC. We set out on our version of the Road to Hana at 5 a.m.  I discovered that it is very difficult to sleep in a tiny squished van on the Road to Hana. So I enjoyed watching the world move by rather than sleeping. This included things like small canoes floating down canals, a man selling coconuts from a large rolling crate, little children running to school in green uniforms. The elders love Mission Leadership Conference because of the food. It is always delicious. The cook at the mission home is engaged to a guy from St. George and he is a lucky man.  

This morning we got up early and headed to the beach called Bagasbas to go running. This is in our ward boundary but the area covered by the zone leaders.  I was in heaven.  The combination of ocean air and running is a magic medication for my soul.  I think it cleared the cobwebs out of my brain.  

I have really been thinking about the Atonement this week.  I think I am a decent person but I know I have made a lot of mistakes and am not perfect. Sometimes those mistakes feel so heavy.  I realize how far I need to.  I was reading in Mosiah where it says:  10 And again, believe that ye must arepent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask inbsincerity of heart that he would cforgive you; and now, if youdbelieve all these things see that ye edo them.

And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the alove of God, and always bretain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the cknowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true

I find great comfort knowing that there is not a limit to the Savior’s grace.  

We were teaching the young 16 year old girl I mentioned last week and she opened up to us about how she feels that she can never do enough. She has a lot on her plate being mom and dad and big sister. We talked about how we are never alone because of the atonement; Christ knows us perfectly.  Sister Bersola bore a powerful testimony telling her that she is a daughter of God. In the first few months of the mission when things were very hard and I felt quite hopeless, I started to keep a miracle journal. Every day I would write one miracle that I saw that day. It helped me see that even when it is so difficult God still cares for us. He will not leave us and I know he will not leave this young girl. We gave her a small journal to start her own miracle journal to remember the savior in her life.  


I sat in R.S yesterday with my arm around an elderly woman, which in all honesty, I don’t really know. She was sitting on the back row in a large purple sweater covering her very small and frail body with tears streaming down her face. We had her come sit by us and I gave her my handkerchief.  She only said she was having problems with her husband and then sat shuddering under my arm.  

In 3 Nephi the savior tells us to come unto him and he will heal us.  

The atonement is not something I fully understand but I do know that it will make up for my mistakes, our young 16 year old friend’s loneliness and this woman’s heart ache if we come unto him.  

We start exchanges this week with two sets of sisters and have interviews with President tomorrow. The first week of the transfer, two of the sisters stayed at our apartment because theirs wasn’t finished yet. So Sister b and I slept on the floor - we haven’t moved back into our beds yet cause we are lazy and the floor is actually more comfortable than the bars on my back haha.  


I think I am told at least 4 times a day (at least once a day by sister B) that I look like Barbie. I told Sister B that in America, that is not a compliment. She said oh, okay, well then you look like Paris Hilton. I told her that is worse. haha)

Daet has one stop light. It is the first stop light I have seen in a year. The pineapple is still delicious and I love the area and my darling companion. 

William - good luck out there! go get em! Welcome to the army! You are going to do so well!

Cate - you look beautiful in all your pics.  

Owen - stop growing. 

Love from the pines,

Sister C


Monday, September 2, 2013

Greetings from Daet

Greetings from Daet. This is an area of the Philippines famous for pineapples. This area is the closest to Manila so no one speaks Bikol. Of course they know some words because they are Bikolano, but they really don’t use Bikol here.  The people laugh at me when I accidently use Bikol. I am more accustomed to greeting people in Bikol because even in my first few weeks in the field that is what I learned to use. So it has been an interesting transition.  Also this city is HUGE compared to tiny Goa which was mostly rice fields and had just one street of shops and only 2 restaurants.  In Daet every corner has people selling various meats bbq’d right there over their coal bbq (we are not supposed to eat meat from off the street.) There are lots of fruit stands full of delicious fresh fruit.  There are also little bakeries everywhere.  One of our areas sells pandi coco for one peso a piece.  It is a small little bread filled with a sugary-coconut inside.  It is one of my favorites and we buy it for an afternoon snack all the time.  The road to get here is like driving the ‘S’ curve for 3 hours or the road to Hana. It is very beautiful and very windy.  It is hard to believe we are in the BER months. (SeptemBER - DecemBER). It actually can get cold during these months – but there is nothing “berrrr” about the weather now.

My new companion is sister Bersola. She is 23 and from Quezon City.  QC is close to the Manila. Her home is near the temple and her home town is huge.  She keeps laughing at me because I am having a little bit of culture shock adjusting to the fast pace of a city again. She said this is nothing and I should see the traffic in Manila.  She is one of the most humble people I know and is nonstop go – go – go. We work well together. Our personalities are really similar and she likes to work out and we have a goal to wake up one morning and run to the beach.  We haven’t done it yet but it’s on the to-do list. The beach isn’t in our area so we have to get permission first. Although we are similar in personality - we are not at all similar in height. She is tiny and reminds me frequently how tall I am.  I am worried she is going to get neck pains from looking up at me when we walk.  The ward here is very established and the area is much more developed economically - which makes sense because it is a bigger city with more job options and nicer houses.  I have to watch what I eat here because they try to feed us at nearly every appointment.  Oh dear.  But at least it is delicious.  When they feed us it is usually rice with veggies or meat.  Sometimes it is bread or crackers and pop.  We are getting really good and smiling and graciously accepting while our tummies feel like they are going to explode.  Good thing we both really like working out and walking more than 70 miles every day. 

I was laughing at one of Meg’s past letters when they were saying they couldn’t find licorice.  Kristin sent me a package a while back and it had licorice. I gave some out and they had no idea what I was feeding them.  Almost everything is different here.  There are a few American brands but they are very expensive. Sometimes I forget that I really do live on the other side of the world. 

This week I have been thinking about strength.  In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.”  

I really believe that when we trust in the Lord he empowers us.  We are able to overcome obstacles that may have seemed impossible.  This power helps us to face fears that make us want to curl up and hide. But, somehow we can push through. 

We are teaching two little boys right now from a part member family.  Their dad was a member and introduced the church to their mom who eventually got baptized.  After time their father decided he wanted a different life and left them to fend for themselves while he pursued a different life.  This woman could have easily become bitter, blaming the church, struggling to survive on other people’s help, but she did not. She loves fashion, so she started a business selling clothing.  She now owns a successful boutique were she helps her wealthy clients pick out their wardrobes.  She believes in God and in his strength. 

Another less active girl in our ward is 16 years old and has taken on the role of mom and dad and big sister and high school student.  Her parents split a few years ago and her father left them without any support.  Her mom moved to Thailand to teach English and sends money to help her kids while keeping an active relationship with them through email.  This small girl has the desire to serve a mission and sudy at BYU.  She is not letting her circumstances bring her down.  She has faith and moves forward. 

I have really been questioning why I was so blessed and given so much.  I am very undeserving and feel that the trials I have faced thus far seem trivial and small compared to what others deal with on the day to day basis.  Yesterday our sacrament song was one of my favorites… as now we take the sacrament.  There is a line in there that says “with hands now pledged to do thy will.” I hope that every time I take the sacrament for the rest of my life I will pledge to do the Lords will as a small way to recognize the blessings I have been given.  


Thanks gram and grandpa for the cutest birthday package!! I am so excited to wear my new outfit to our leadership conference tomorrow! It really is darling. You’re the best Lola Lois and Lolo Reed.

Happy anniversary to my loving parents! Thanks for being so incredible and loving.   I thank my heavenly Father every day for you and your love and support.  Keep going - 25 more years and beyond!

Mahal na mahal ko kayo!

Love from the pines, Sister Christensen