Monday, January 12, 2015

Leaving Hidalgo ... Forwarding Address?

News from Hidalgo today…sounds like a change of address is coming soon! At the end of our email time, Ethan got a phone call that he’s going to be transferred and serve as a Zone Leader (working with several Districts of missionaries that make up a Zone), but he didn’t know where yet. I’m so thankful for Elvira who sent us a message over Facebook – she and her family had Elder Christiansen and Elder Chacin over for dinner to say goodbye – and she sent us pictures and the news that Ethan was going to Laredo! We have so appreciated the sweet Fuentes family for loving and caring for our son while he’s been in Hidalgo, and for reaching out to us with kindness and friendship!


Wait, what, there is going to be a new stake center?! Since when?! And where?! And Jon comes home in four weeks, what?!?!?! He just left!! Nambre!!!!

This past week was good and we had another baptism! He is the baby daddy of Maria L. and his name is Jorge! It was a great service and he was so excited to get baptized! Also we had interviews with el Preisdente Maluenda and they were awesome as usual. I told him about the endorsement for re-enrollment, and it looks like it all worked out so that's great! Yea it's been super cold here. Rainy and it even got all the way down to 40 degrees! I know it's not much in comparison but it felt really cold. I am going to freeze back at BYU.

Yes another baptism in the ward, that's fantastic!! Sounds like the missionaries are doing work! Andrew do you know this kid? If not, then get to know him and help him be strong in the gospel! So we have transfers tomorrow and here’s the big news...we still haven’t been told anything :( Normally, Sunday morning they tell us who is leaving and who is staying so we can say goodbye to people, and then Monday they call us to tell us where we are going. But we haven’t even heard if we are going or staying yet. So if I’m leaving (and there's a pretty high chance of that), it'll be a late night packing, haha. But, it's all good though! I am reading the DyC as well, I started at the new year. My goal is to finish it before I come home. Man, I literally can't wait to talk to Silvia y Janet en espanol cuando regreso. Also we found out what apostle is coming – it will be Elder Oaks and Elder Robbins, so that's really cool, too. Life is great though, and I am loving the mission. I have grown the most in these last six weeks than at any other time in my whole life and it's been fantastic. I love y’all!

Con amor,
Elder Christiansen

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Skype ... and New Year's Eve with Olaf!

The Christmas skype with Elder Christiansen was awesome!! We had a great time visiting with him and seeing his smiling face! He continues to have a great experience on his mission. We are so thankful for this. He skyped us from the Fuentes' home and they sent us these pictures over Facebook! He also told us he plans to go back to school for the summer term, so he'll be in Nashville for about a month and then head to BYU. It was again, our favorite part of Christmas day to get to see him and talk with him!



So this past week has been great! So Hedley and Alvin L. both got confirmed yesterday at church. They had been in Mexico for two weeks with their Dad. And then, the two other Santos kids got baptized!! It was fantastic! Now we are working with their dad so he can get baptized, too!

Yeah, Paula and Elvira were so excited to chat with you on Facebook! But Elvira doesn't know a word of English so she never knows what you’re saying, but Paula translates for her and then she loves it. Y’all would be best friends if you all met (and spoke the same language). :) 

Ok, so I don't know if it was because of the actual movie Frozen, or due to the fact that the only other real movies I've seen since being on my mission are Mulan and Meet the Mormons...but I loved Frozen!!!! It was so funny, oh my gosh, y’all should have seen me I was laughing so hard and especially at Olaf, he is hilarious!!!! Kind of a crazy fast movie, but I loved it. When Hans betrayed Ana, I was absolutely stunned – totally didn’t see it coming.

Yeah, I don't think we’ll have iPads or technology here anytime soon but who knows. Next week are transfers so this could be the last week in Hidalgo, but we’ll wait and see. Life is good down here in south Texas, I can't complain! 

Con mucho amor,
Elder Christiansen

P.S. – Good luck in baseball, Andrew! Just have fun and go hard everyday because before you blink, you are going to graduate. Tell Coach Maxwell I say hi and hope y’all do well this year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Putting on the "Sonrisa"... and Christmas Zone Conference


Man, pretty hard week this past week. Some setbacks with the work, and Elder Chacin and I got sick so we both have bad headaches, coughs, sore throats, runny noses, so that hasn’t been too fun, either. But, it's all good though. It’s been a good learning experience to just put on the sonrisa (“smile”) sometimes even when the going gets tough. Congrats on Andrew getting into those schools!! (I'd probably be a little upset if he didn’t get into them because he should get accepted to all of them, but that's so good!). Oh yea and I got all of the Christmas boxes so those were fun to open (“ya los abri...”) they were so cool! I loved everyone's note to me that was probably my favorite part! And the Texas Rangers calendar, that thing is sick!!!!!! Dad’s getting his colon checked, what is he 50? :) That's cool about everyone being home for the break tell everyone that I say hi! Yea I'm having an interview with Presidente next month so that's when I’ll talk to him about my form for school. So, we are going to be Skyping at the Fuentes’ house and it will be around 4-ish I think, but have the computer ready from like 3 to 5-ish just in case because I think we’re having dinner as well, not sure which is first. Also, we watched the slideshow with everyone’s little kid pictures at zone conference and it was awesome! (See Ethan's below.) Everyone laughed super hard when mine came up! It was super cool though, thanks for doing that! All is going well though I can't complain – this is the best time of the year to be a missionary. I love it! I’ll see y’all on Thursday!

Feliz Navidad,
Elder Christiansen

Elder Christiansen in the red striped tie, to his left is current companion
Elder Chacin, and to his right is former companion, Elder Brian!

Ethan, age 8

Sister Maluenda put together a slide show for each Zone Conference Christmas party that featured each missionary as a child, then a picture of them with their families. The missionaries had a special Christmas lunch where they received gifts and she took many pictures and shared with the parents and families -- wonderful!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Baptisms ... and Getting in the Holiday Spirit!


Man, so this past week was crazy!!! And also super, super stressful but all worth it in the end because the Lopez family and half of the Sanots family got baptized yesterday!! It was such a great experience to see them all in white!! It all came right down to the wire though and so that is what made it so stressful. It was good, though, and I think the biggest thing I learned from it all is that it is good to thank our Heavenly Father for the trials and challenges that we face in our lives everyday. I know that as we can realize that as we are obedient to the commandments, then challenges and problems are just there to stretch us and make us grow even more than we though we could. So that was something I have started doing and it has really helped me to have a better perspective and attitude/outlook on life. It has also helped me to realize and count the many blessings that the Lord has given me. It's been a good week.

Elder Christiansen and Elder Chacin.

"There are the elders I live with. Elder Chacin is on the right
wearing the shaving cream Santa beard!"

One funny thing that happened this week was Elder Chacin (Cha-seen) and I were driving and we were just laughing and talking or whatever and then he was like, "Elder, It would be so much fun to watch like a kids movie with you like...umm...Kung-Fu Panda or something like that, I bet you just laugh the whole time." And then I was like man, Elder, you have no idea just wait for Frozen. O yea that's the movie we are going to watch for New Year's Eve – Frozen. It was pretty funny though. Also, no need to shed sad mama tears because the tree got here on Monday just like you said it would!!! And so I guess we'll just wait for the next one to come in, too! Life is good down here in South Texas!! I love it!! Man, it's about time Ensworth switched the exam schedule, that sounds great. Hahaha, that's so funny when I was reading your email I was like, "Man, did Dad just move to New York or what, you're there all the time, give him a break" haha, good work, Dad! Also for Christmas we are going to be Skyping from the Fuentes’ house. Still not really sure what time but I'll let you know next week. Also, I talked to the bros and we want to just get 2 four-man apartments that are next door to each other. I also got a box from the youth in our ward that had some good stuff in it. Socks, candy, shampoo and body wash (which was good because I ran out of both of those around Halloween and haven't gotten around to buying more since…no, just kidding!). Oh, also are there any youth who know Spanish? Because one of the cards I got was in Spanish and it was awesome.

All is well though and I’m going to send some more pictures, too. Oh, and also, can you do me a quick favor? Could you send me an ornament that has all of the pro Chicago sports teams on it? If you can't find one of those, then one that is just the Chicago Bulls? It's for a member. Sending you a picture of Elder Chacin and me with the Santos family (Mom, son, and daughter closest to Elder Chacin) and the Lopez family (Mom, son, and daughter that are closer to me) at their baptism. I love y’all so much and I hope y’all have a great Christmas!!!

Con Amor,
Elder Christiansen

Monday, December 8, 2014

"Love, Peace, and Tamales"

Hola Familia,

All is well down here in Hidalgo. My new companion is Elder Chacin (say like: Cha-seen) and he is a super good missionary, we hit it off really well. He is from Venezuela so that's pretty cool, too. He has been on his mission for almost a year so he knows what he's doing and we have been tearing it up. We are teaching a lot of different people right now so that is good, too.

The Festival of Lights down here is pretty crazy. It is PACKED every night down here so you can't really do anything at the Church because the paring lot gets taken up. It has been good though and it has given us an opportunity to talk to a lot of people. Have y’all seen the “He is the Gift” video yet? It's super good and the church gave us a bunch of pass-along cards especially designed for the video so we have been using those as well.

Life is all good though and I couldn't love my mission any more! It truly is the best thing in the whole world. I love the people, Texas, the food (probably too much...) and everything that's come with the job. I especially love the Savior and I am so grateful for everything that He did for us – to help us, save us, and show us how we need to act and behave in order to return and live with him again. 

Amor, paz, y tamales (“love, peace, and tamales”)
Elder Christiansen

"My companion took this of me in a goofy M&M's Christmas tie."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hidalgo for the Holidays ... and "He Is the Gift"


So we got the transfer call yesterday and...I will be staying! And Elder Thornton will be getting transferred on Tuesday but we still don't know to where yet. I am pretty happy that I am staying because we have a lot going on in our area right now so that's exciting. I don’t know who my new companion will be. It's been a pretty crazy week – I don’t really know where to begin. There was no turkey bowl game here :( but we had five meal appointments on Thanksgiving and four of them were in a row! We had one at 12:00, then 3:00, 4:00, 5:30, and 7:00 and after that I was just toast, oh my gosh, I don't know if I have ever been that full, it was a ton of food. It was all so good though – I love Thanksgiving food now, haha. It sounds like it was super fun at home, too, with everyone visiting. The pictures look great!

The Santos family is doing great and they came to church yesterday, too! They are learning a lot and we had a really good lesson with the mom about the Word of Wisdom and I helped her throw all her cigarros away. It was pretty cool. My feet are doing a lot better, thanks for the prayers! I know it's pretty crazy, right?

To answer your question, for Christmas I would like a 2015 Texas Rangers baseball calendar and the new iPhone when I get home. One of the members showed me his iPhone 6 and my mind was literally blown, I couldn’t even believe it. And he hooked up my thumbprint to it and that was sick, too. Oh, ok, a question: is Frozen a big thing? Seemingly out of nowhere, I feel like everything that Wal-mart sells has Frozen characters on it and I don't even know what it is – haha. That's cool about the Benson baby as well! I’m sending some pictures home, too.

I love y’all so much and I love my mission a ton!!! Have y’all watched the "He Is the Gift" video" the Church produced? It is AWESOME – share it on social media, show it in Seminary, it’s so cool. South Texas is the best! Look up the Hidalgo Festival of Lights online and you'll see what's happening down here :) All of it is in my area.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Christiansen

Monday, November 24, 2014

Awesome Meetings and Mission Tour


Man, what a great week! Ok, to start off Elder and Sister Foster were just unbelievable – it was amazing. The spirit was so strong as he spoke with us and it was a very powerful meeting. Some of the topics he talked about were: the power of prayer, the importance of our missions, working with members, knowing that we are children of God, and a few others, and it was really, really good. Then he had a small meeting with all of us leaders about how to lead and how to love the people we serve so that part was great, too. Oh that's cool you saw the picture!

This is a photo of all the missionaries currently serving in the Hidalgo Zone
of the Texas McAllen Mission (TMM). There are 10 zones in the TMM
that include about 190 missionaries (140 elders, and 50 sisters).
Elder Christiansen is standing, third from right.
Seated: President and Sister Maluenda, and Sister and Elder Foster.

What? Clay has a girlfriend, what is up with that?!?!?! :) That's good to know that everyone is doing well though. Yes!! The missionaries had a baptism in our ward, that's fantastic!!! What's the boy's name? Andrew, go to some lessons with the missionaries at his house. Man, that sounds like there are a lot of fun Thanksgiving plans. I kind of wish they had a turkey bowl game here, but I don't think it's happening. Most of the members in our area are either going back to Mexico because their kids are out of school, or they are just taking it easy because Thanksgiving isn't a Mexican holiday, so it should be pretty chill. As of right now we just have one dinner appointment set up, but we'll probably end up with three or four. That's cool about Ensworth and MBA in the finals – hope we win! Send lots of pictures next week from all of Thanksgiving. So this week is the last week of the transfer so next Monday I'll know if I am staying or if I am leaving.

Right now we are actually teaching quite a few different families so it has been going great! One of them came to church yesterday for the first time and they really liked it. Oh, ok, so they have a huge super, super chubby, fat baby and all during church it was just getting passed around by all the members so they helped us out big time on that one, haha. The other two families we’re teaching didn’t come because one of them had sick kids (the Santos family), and the other family didn't come because they slept in. But we’re still working and teaching them. We teach the Santos family with their neighbors, so there are like 10-12 people there. And they all just love my laugh, like it's unbelievable. If I start laughing at something little, then they all just start laughing and then they can't stop. It's super funny.

All is well though and I am loving my time here down in South Texas. Can't believe it's already turkey time, but it's all good. Best of luck to everyone playing in the turkey bowl and hopefully there are no serous injuries.

Amor y paz (“love and peace”),
Elder Christiansen