Monday, July 15, 2013

Arrival in Texas! First Companion

Monday, July 15, 2013 -- A Big Day!

Andrew left for Boy Scout camp, Doug was in New Orleans on business and I was home -- yet in our different locations, each so aware that THIS was the day Ethan would be leaving the MTC and flying to Texas to begin his work there. So exciting!

I dropped Andrew off at 7 a.m. at REI in Brentwood to meet up with his Scout Troop, then went on about my day. I had heard other missionary moms say they had received a phone call from their missionaries from the airport on departure day, but Ethan hadn't said anything so we weren't sure. Kind of hoping, but not expecting it, so we weren't disappointed if it didn't happen. I had a couple of meetings that day, laundry...a regular Monday. At 10 a.m., the phone rang and as soon as I said "hello," I heard Ethan say, "Mama?" It was the most beautiful sound and word! The last time we had been able to speak was on June 5 when we dropped him off at the MTC, so this was very special. We had such a fun chat. He was in the Dallas airport on his way to McAllen. His group left the MTC that morning at 2:30 a.m. for the Salt Lake City airport. He was with 20 other missionaries going to McAllen with him, as well as the missionaries going to Japan and the Caribbean Islands. The MTC gave each missionary a phone card to call home en route, and Ethan wanted to surprise us. So fun! We chatted for a while, then he hung up and tried Doug on his cell (in a meeting so couldn't pick up), and tried to call Andrew on his cell (no reception at Scout Camp). I texted Doug with a heads-up and he slipped out of his meeting and called back the number on his phone, a pay phone in the Dallas airport, was able to reach Ethan and have a great chat as well! (There were swarms of missionaries all around the pay phones!) 

While Ethan had only slept about two hours the night before -- up late packing, saying goodbye to friends still in the MTC, etc. -- he sounded so happy. He was excited about the next part of the journey. It was, indeed, a big day!

The 21 missionaries who arrived in McAllen, Texas on
July 15, 2013. President and Sister Maluenda are
in the center, and the group is in front of the Texas
McAllen Mission Home, where the Maluendas live.
Elder Christiansen is on the front row, second from left. 

Elder Christiansen on Day 1 in McAllen, with President and
Sister Maluenda. The Maluendas are in charge of the 180+
missionaries who serve in the Texas McAllen Mission.
Every mission worldwide is similarly led
by a Mission President/Couple.

Ethan's first companion and trainer, Elder Sanchez, from Mexico.

Elder Christiansen and the other missionaries in his District,
at a meeting with the Ward Mission Leader (center, blue tie).
This is the smiling photo...

Now the serious...

And the silly! :)