Monday, April 28, 2014

Living Next to the Border

The hot weather continues, another baptism, major progress speaking Spanish, and Ethan feeling so grateful for letters and emails from family and friends, including a favorite teacher -- thank you to everyone who's sent him a word of hello! We appreciate your support of Ethan and his mission experience! And if he's feeling like it's an oven in April -- I can't imagine what he's going to feel like in August! :) Good thing he loves it!


April 28, 2014

Buenas, Buenas!

Man another great week down here in Laredo!!!! We had another baptism yesterday!! Brian got baptized and I was so pumped for him! He is so cool and it was a super powerful service, he was crying during it and everything. He is 19 and we've been talking to him a lot about going on a mission and he really wants to be like us! He is awesome, and he's doing great. Jorge is also doing great as well – I love these people! Also today I'm going to send home lots of pictures so get ready!

The work is going great down here though we are finding lots of people to teach and they are progressing so well! Transfers are next week and I hope I don't leave! Elder Brian and I are still doing great, too!

Also, it was SO HOT this last week like, seriously? Holy cow! So on Saturday we played basketball with Jorge at the church outside from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and honestly, I don't think I have ever been hotter. I was really thinking back through summer workouts and then summer baseball and catching doubleheaders and it's not even close – I thought I was in an oven! I love it though I wouldn't want it any other way!

Also I got a lot of emails from people this week so please tell everyone thank you and I'm so glad they emailed me and that I loved hearing from them!! I just don't have too much time this week but I'll try getting back to everyone! Oh, I also gave a talk in the Spanish branch yesterday so that was pretty cool, too. The language was wayyy better than my first talk in Spanish back in Donna 6 months ago.

The church is true – I love it! I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ and all that He did for us and all that He still does for us because He truly is living right now. I love you family!! Andrew: Ms. Hubert says to stop playing games and study for your AP tests!!! haha

Cuidense, (“take care of yourselves”)
Elder Christiansen 


"The international bridges to Mexico are five minutes
from our apartment."

"And the Mexican flag in the background is ginormous --
it's seriously the biggest flag I've ever seen!"



"This is Elder Brian and me at the baptism of Brian. He's so happy!" (Note from me: Since we don't know Brian personally or have his permission to put him on Ethan's blog, we're just showing Elder Brian, above, and Elder Christiansen, below (or any of Ethan's other companions), and not the photos of the people they are baptizing. Just trust me on this -- young man Brian does look so happy and it looks like it was a great day!) And check out the pen behind Elder Christiansen's ear -- that is so him. :) 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Texas is Everywhere!!

Today was a busy day with meetings, errands, appointments -- pretty typical. But there was something else that was part of my day -- Texas reminders everywhere, seriously. So fun! All in one day, check out this list -- you can't make this up:

1) Driving to a meeting at Vanderbilt, rushing to get there and frustrated with the red light stopping my progress. As I rolled to a halt and looked up, I instantly smiled: the car in front of me had an Illinois license plate that said "Texas" on it.

2) The very next block, stopped again, and the car ahead of me and over one lane...a Texas license plate. Really? By now, I'm totally laughing, thinking of Ethan, my stress vanishes (and I made my meeting on time). :)

3) Meeting over, and I'm on about my day -- stopped in the UPS store to mail a couple of things, walked in and the clerk was talking with another customer, they are laughing and joking around and I hear these words: "Everything is bigger in Texas!" Another fun reminder of Ethan.

4) Two stops later, the gas station where I saw a mom and her two darling children -- they were speaking Spanish and she was wearing a "Texas" baseball cap. Seriously? I felt like Ethan was right there with me.

5) I've been in physical therapy for a few weeks for a recurrent and frustrating ankle sprain -- my physical therapist, a native Texan, has these cool silver earrings that are the shape of the state, and she was wearing those.

Texas awareness in our everyday lives continues -- who knew there were so many cars in Nashville with Texas plates? It's like they are everywhere and I can spot them in any parking lot, on any street, etc. It's kind of like when you get a new car, a certain make, model and color -- and that's suddenly all you can see on the road. :)

I love these little reminders of our adopted state where our son is serving -- tender mercies for this mom, for sure. It's kind of a full circle in a way -- my dad was born in East Texas, totally on the opposite side from where Ethan is serving, but I love that the generations connect in this big, beautiful, amazing place.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Email on a Tuesday ... What???

I've mentioned before how we love Mondays since that's the day we hear from Ethan! Well...until Monday, April 21st. It was an extremely long day with no email from our missionary. What was up? Thankfully we heard from him the next day and we were so glad! Who knew that the day after Easter was a holiday at the Laredo Community College where they go to email? He sounded excited about Easter in Laredo, his great companion, and a terrific young man they are teaching who is their same age. And slightly nostalgic for the alumni baseball game at Ensworth held the Saturday of Easter weekend. It was such a fun occasion -- we saw many friends and sent Ethan some photos from the day. He's planning on being there in a couple of years! :)) We're so happy for him that he's having this mission experience, and so pleased with his service. That's a home run right there!


April 22, 2014

Buenas,

Man what a crazy week as usual!!! Ok so we email at LCC (Laredo Community College) and it was closed yesterday so that's why I didn’t email. So Olga didn’t get baptized and there was bunch of confusion and it was just kind of nuts but she's doing well, just keep praying for her, please. We are also working with this guy named Brian. He is 19 and like super cut and fit and he should be getting baptized this weekend, so pray for him too, he's so awesome!!!!!

It's so hot down here, like in our apartment we have all the ceiling fans plus 2 more going 24/7, but it's all good. The alumni game looks super fun I wish I could have been there, but oh well. Maybe in 2 years – haha! I left my camera in the car so no photos this week :( but there will be photos next week :)

Elder Brian is an awesome companion, we are doing great. Yes, I got your Easter box earlier this week and I loved it! And I also got a letter from the Overmyers and it sounds like they are doing well – just trying to get everything ready for Molly's wedding.

It's hotter than freaking dirt down here (did I already say that?), and I still sweat like a beast but it's great – the mission is just amazing. We had interviews with Presidente Maluenda this week, too, and they were awesome!

I hope everyone is doing well at home. Nothing else really happened that was too crazy this week. For Pascua (Easter) the Mexicans hollow out Easter eggs and fill them with confetti so there is confetti EVERYWHERE, like all in the streets and houses and yards like it's everywhere! Well I love y'all! Always remember – obedience brings blessings! Make sure your praying and reading your scriptures, too! 

Con Amor,
Elder Christiansen

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Baptism ... and More Adventurous Eating

This week, Elder Christiansen was so excited about the baptism of a 15-year-old young man, whose mom also is learning about the Church and thinking about being baptized as well. The photo below was taken outside the church after the baptism. And, I think Ethan has never been more excited to have an ice-cream cone from McDonald's in his entire life! :) What a brave eater he has become! He's also commenting on friends getting mission calls, friends doing internships for the summer, and various and sundry information and discoveries. And, sharing his testimony of Christ most of all.


April 14, 2014

Buenas,

Ok so this week was awesome as well!! Jorge got baptized and confirmed and he got the Aaronic priesthood!!! Olga didn’t get baptized yet, but they are doing great – I love them so much!!! Keep praying for them!!!! I also got to confirm Jorge so that was cool, too, because that was the first time I gave someone the Holy Ghost and it was in Spanish. But it's getting to the point were it doesn’t matter if I do things in English or Spanish, it's kind of the same now. It's weird but it's so cool. That's cool this week is spirit week, Andrew, and that prom is coming up and stuff, I can’t believe how fast the time is going by!!

Let's see…oh, ok, so I ate the grossest thing of my mission this past week, oh man, like I seriously want to throw-up just thinking about it. So it's called chicharrones, and it is pig skin. Like just straight pig skin. I’ve had this before and it doesn’t taste bad at all when it is grilled and hard – it tastes just like bacon that way. But when it's just boiled...oh ew!!!! It was so moist and squishy and like skin, oh man it was awful! All 4 of us (Elder Brian, Elder Breck, Elder Nichols and me) went over for dinner and we were all just dying trying to make it through the meal. So we are just loading up tortilla after tortilla with tons of rice and beans to try and level out the gross stuff, and it was just gross. Right after we left, we drove to McDonald’s and all got ice-cream cones to get the taste out of our mouths.

That's cool about Bryce and Benjin and Graham. Is Graham still dating that Summer girl, or am I just way behind on that? Ok, ill pray for J. And we bike a lot just because it's easier to talk to people and meet more people like that. I miss being in a bike area a lot just for that reason because you just meet so many people biking/walking. And it keeps you in shape :) Ok will someone just tell me if Andrew is on varsity and what position he is playing?! I’ve asked for like a month and I still have no idea. :) Oh also could you send me the efy 2012 and 2013 cds? And if you do, then just send it to my address in Laredo – we’re tight with the mail guy here. We get fed almost everyday, and probably like 3x a week we have 2 food appointments in the same day so that is always super cool. Oh and I’ll send some pictures, too. Oh and we went to this Mexican store today and I got some cool gifts for y’all for when I come home. Oh, and also I totally fell in absolute LOVE with Whataburger this week – the BBQ chicken strip sandwich blew my mind it was so good. Then we may or may not have gone back the next day as an apartment to get patty melts..haha.

But I love the mission I don’t ever want to leave. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing others come unto Christ and gain access to His Atonement through baptism. I love this gospel and it brings us a peace that cannot be denied. It truly does come from the Lord and He is always with us – no matter what our circumstances are. We are all children of God and we all NEED the gospel. No matter what problems we are going through in life, the gospel, and the teachings of Jesus Christ are the only things that bring us complete joy and peace.

Come bien, Andrew (eat well, Andrew)
Elder Christiansen

Monday, April 7, 2014

Awesome General Conference ... and Hotter than the Sun!

Elder Christiansen's first two weeks in Laredo have been fun and fruitful. He was so excited to get to watch General Conference and hear all the inspiring talks and music -- you can check it out here.

In addition to being in a new area, Laredo also is the first time Ethan has lived with three other missionaries. Previously, he's just had one roommate. Sounds like it's a good group!


No, these aren't the elders Ethan lives with. :) Under the
gas station awning are "some random dudes dressed up as
transformers on the side of the road here in Laredo." I can't
 imagine how hot it must have been inside those costumes!



April 7, 2014

Hola Familia!

Holy cow General Conference was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! Man, if y’all haven’t watched it, make time and watch because it was soooo good! Especially the priesthood session, that was so good! Man, that's awesome about the baseball team, too! Andrew, are you playing on varsity? What position? Send me pics of stuff because I’m sending pics home today, too!

Elder Brian and I are doing great we are currently teaching a lot of people actually but the closest to baptism are Olga and Jorge. Olga is the mom and Jorge is 15 and they are doing great! Jorge is one of the most prepared people I have ever met on my mission, he is a fire-ball and just wants the Gospel of Jesus Christ so bad in his life. Olga is progressing great, too, but she just doesn't know how ready she is. We are planning on having the baptism this Saturday so pray for them please!

It is still hotter than the freaking the sun down here, too, we hit 109 on the car reading this past week and it settled down to 101 (but luckily we were in the car). The other peddle on my bike broke off again so we’re taking that into the shop today as well :(

It was also Elder Brian's birthday this past week and a Church member had us over and we had a little party, it was fun. Nothing else too crazy happened this week. Laredo is still awesome and I love it here! I'm so glad the Lord decided to send me to South Texas and especially Laredo!!!

"These are the elders I live with. Elder Brian is the tallest
one. This photo was taken at his birthday party."

Andrew when is prom? Oh, also there is a fenced-in school by our apartment and it looks literally just like the school from Nacho Libre, it's the same place I swear – haha. We had 2 food appointments for 3 days in a row this week as well. The food here is amazing I love it (as always). And all the members here love me because when I go over I just eat like 3 or 4 plates of food and seriously nothing makes a Mexican lady happier. I hope the Pirates have a good year this year, and also I’m jumping on board with the Texas Rangers because a lot of people like them here and I just love Texas.

I know this church is true and I'm so grateful that we have living prophets and apostles to guide us. It is truly such a miraculous gift for us to live in this last and greatest dispensation. 
Les quiero mucho y come mas de yo andrew. Pongan su confianza en el Senor y el les ayudara en todo. (I love them and I eat more than Andrew. Put your trust in the Lord and help in everything.)

Love y’all,
Elder Christiansen