Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's a Small World 2.0 ... "I-Dawg's" Great Aunt

Photos!!! We always love to see Elder Christiansen's smiling face. He sent these pictures this week -- and, again, I continue to marvel at what a small world it is. Here's what he said:

"This is I-Dawg's great aunt!! I met her this week on the street (in Flour Bluff) and she said she had a missionary in Argentina and then she just goes "Ian Nobmann," and I was stunned! I was just like: "HAUDHASUIHIFHASDUFHASUISH!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW HIM HE'S ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!" hahaha it was pretty funny! I was way excited, so I took a picture with her." 

Ian's Great Aunt and Ethan!

So -- who is Ian Nobmann anyway? First day of freshman orientation at BYU and we're all there with Ethan -- Doug, Andrew, me. (We weren't stalking...this particular program was for parents and families as well.) We sat in the designated section on the side of the ballroom as Ethan and the rest of the new freshmen had special seating up front. The students were organized into small orientation groups for the week, and we watched Ethan go up to his assigned area like we were watching him walk into the first day of kindergarten. Gulp, and excitement! There was one other young man sitting there so Ethan joined him, they started talking and were friends from then on. This was Ian, and he lived down the hall from Ethan in May Hall. I-dawg, Ethan, and the rest of their buddies from May Hall are a "wolf-pack." They are terrific young men from all over the country, all freshmen at BYU, and now all serving LDS missions around the world: Washington, D.C., Spanish speaking; Argentina; Honduras; Texas Spanish speaking; etc. It's so cool that these friends can email each other on Mondays as well and keep in touch while they're on their missions. Great bonds. Love that Ethan got to meet "I-dawg's" great aunt -- a sweet connection to his friends.

Foggy morning in Flour Bluff. Foggy but happy. :) 

I love the smiling faces and the thumbs-up in these photos. Makes me so happy to see Ethan so happy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Just Keep Going" ... and Navy Planes

News and photos from Elder Christiansen today. Can I just say that I love Google Translate? It helps me with the Spanish words Ethan includes in his letters. I don't know how accurate it is, but it's definitely more accurate than me guessing. :)

January 27

Mi familia!

Howdy!!!!!!!!!! Man oh man, what a great day!! I remembered my camera today tambien :) So this week was pretty good we found two more people who accepted a baptism so that was good. We had a good church tour with the family we’re teaching, but they didn’t come to church because they were sick :( But we will help them :).

Ok, so we met this lady this week and she's probably 30 or something and so we had a good first lesson with her and like right in the middle she says: "Oh, where are y’all from?" and Elder Roth says, "Utah" and she just responds so quickly, “Yankee.” “And you?” (pointing to me), and I was like, “Oh, I’m from Tennessee.” And then she goes “yeaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!” and just wanted to talk to me – hahaha it was way funny. So we go over Sunday night to see why she didn’t come to church and she answers the door falling-over drunk, and so we sit down to talk and she just looks at me and goes, "Have you gained weight?" I was just like oh come on, gosh dangit is it that bad? hahaha it was super funny, though. Oh and Presidente Maluenda says “hi.” It was way cold here on Friday, too, I wore those pajama pants you sent me for Christmas under my regular pants to keep me warm!

The work is going great though, at times it is hard, so hard that you don’t really know what to do other than to just keep going, but as we go through those hard times with faith, trusting that the Lord can see the bigger picture, we come out more refined and more like Him. Challenges are a great blessing sometimes.

Oh, also because of the Navy base on the Bluff there are all these sweet planes flying around us. We saw one and Elder Roth goes, "What’s that thing in Call of Duty MW2 that flies around?" and I was like: "AC130?" y el me dijo"no" y entonces le djie"UAV?" y el me dijo "si" haha [from Google Translate: and he said, "no" and then I said "UAV?" and he said "yes"] So I saw a real life UAV so that was kinda cool, tambien.

All is well though in Flour Bluff the Lord is definitely helping us in His work. Also I was reading this week in D&C 138 and it was talking about the vision that Joseph F Smith saw and it is a super good chapter y’all should read it. I love my mission though it just continues to help me learn and grow into the person the Lord wants me to be. As we seek to do His will we become more like Him in our daily lives.

How's everything at home going? Has baseball started yet? Have a good week everyone!

Que ios les bendigas muchisimo durante este semana y con todos su actividades y con su pansita Andrew!! #ComeBienYMucho [from Google Translate: May God bless them? you? much during the week with all your activities, and pansita Andrew]

Frijoles, Arroz, y Tortillas
Elder Christiansen

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ethan's Conversion ... to Salad!

We got Ethan's letter on Tuesday this week due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (the libraries were closed for the holiday, and that's usually where they go to use the computers and check their email). Ethan's letter was full of news and colorful updates...including a big reveal about his new eating personality. Ethan has always had a fairly limited palette (read: picky eater), and to hear him rave about salad...well, that is beautiful music to this vegetarian mama's ears! :)

January 21

Querido familia,

I forgot my camera cord again so no pictures this week :( This week was good, we had interviews with Presidente Maluenda and they were super good! He is amazing!

So, we were biking towards the top of our area near the Naval Base, and we bike by these guys sitting on their lawn, all with these guns and I thought they were paintball ones and we go by and I hear one laugh then I hear this pop and one of the pellets (it was actually a pellet gun) hits the trees right behind me. So I turned around and gave them the death stare hard and they were just laughing super hard, which in turn made me laugh so no harm done – haha, it was pretty funny.

Also, this is something that will absolutely blow y’alls minds...I like salad. I know, try to control yourselves, but we ate at a member’s house and the salad was so good, man I could have just eaten salad. Then, the next day we were eating at another member's house and during the whole meal I was like, "Man I could use a salad right now." So yea, I’m converted, after 19 years – haha!

So because of the huge Naval Base on Flour Bluff, pretty much anyone you meet has something to do with the military, so that's cool. And it's a training base so there are all these planes flying over us all the time. And so one day we were talking to someone outside and this plane flew by and it was way low and soooo freaking loud it was hilarious! Oh, and my bike chain broke this week as well so I had to fix that. Pray for my bike. :) 

That’s cool about Vandy football, too. I’m so lost in sports now; it’s not even funny. Has the Super Bowl happened yet or did I miss it? Also, we emailed today because it was MLK day yesterday, but I have to go I’m almost out of time! I love y’all so much! Oh, and Elder Roth and I are doing great, I love him a ton, he’s hilarious and such a beast.

Con amor!!!!!!!
Elder Christiansen

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ronald Regan in Flour Bluff?

Ethan is having some interesting experiences and meeting lots of people in Flour Bluff. I love his positive attitude in challenging conditions. :)

January 13

Hola familia,

Well, this past week has been good! Not too much has happened, though. It’s a challenging area. We get sworn at or a door slammed on us a few times every day, but it’s all good.

I heard about James Franklin going to Penn St., and about Florida St. winning it all – that’s crazy! Oh, I met someone this week whose name is Ronald Reagan! He was running outside with no shirt on and had so much orange chest hair because he's a ginger.

Also, we were talking to this guy, and he just stops us and goes, '”Y’all, I’m such a sinner...I sin everyday...I sin like it’s my job." We then told him that we all do, and started to share about repentance…and then he stops us again and goes, "No, y’all I sin bad...I haul a** in my truck everyday." And then there was this little pause and it was soooo hard for me not to just start laughing. Oh, and he was covered in blood because he just got done skinning a deer. It was way funny.

But yea, other than that nothing really super exciting has happened. How are y’all? How is school, Andrew, who are your teachers? Dad, what country are you in right now? Hope y’all have a good week!

Cuidense y come mucho andrew!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Christiansen

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ethan's New Area ... from Donna to Flour Bluff

January 6

Hola amigos!

Well I don't have a whole lot of time today but here are some of the big things that have happened in the past few weeks:

1. I got transferred for the first time! That means that I’m in a new area now. I was in good ol' Donna TX but I am now in Flour Bluff! It is a suburb basically of Corpus Christi and my area is the whole bluff part. It is super different than Donna. There is really no Spanish up here so it is weird doing everything in English now because I was so used to Spanish. It is also a ton nicer here than in Donna. It’s all good though I already love it up here!

2. Christmas and New Year's were good as well. We had a ton of food appointments...which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It was all good though and I got to talk to my family on skype for while so that was good, too!

3. I am still in a bike area so I'm excited about that (I like being on the bike more than in a car – it’s easier to talk to people and it's more fun!).

4. I also met someone from Tennessee this past week and that was a first as well!

5. I ate the absolutely hottest thing i have ever eaten in my entire life on Christmas Eve. We were at a member of the church’s house and there was this little pepper on the table. So I grabbed one, and another missionary grabbed the other and we both ate them...HUGE mistake. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Literally in less than 5 minutes I was sweating like a monster, my nose was running, and there were tears just flying down my cheeks it looked like I had been crying for days. So after drinking tons of water I got to the point of no return and ran outside and threw-up everywhere on the side of his yard. It was insane, I will never EVER do that again. Oh, and he still doesn’t know I threw-up so that's a plus, too.

Sorry this is pretty short but I don’t have much time. My mission is going great though, I love every second of it. At times is extremely hard and you don't really know what to do, but the lessons and principles I have learned so far have helped me to grow and progress and I am so grateful for those opportunities.

The Church is true!!

Les quiero mucho y come bien andrew!
Elder Christiansen