Monday, July 28, 2014

Leaving Laredo ... and Photos!!

Big news from Texas today -- Ethan is getting transferred! This will be the fourth area where he's worked. We don't actually know where he's going yet as that detail will come to him on Tuesday, I think, so we'll hear next week. Prayers for a smooth and successful transfer! Oh, and lots of fun pictures today! :))

Familia, Familia!

Man, so a bunch of crazy things happened this week! So we got the voicemail on Sunday morning and I'm getting transferred! It was like a 50-50 chance between Elder Brian and me, and the message said my name first but then right after they said Elder Brian was getting transferred, too! They are closing down an area next to ours and changing the borders and such so we’re both gone to new places! Also, Presidente Maluenda called me on Saturday night and asked me to be a district leader, so that is pretty nuts, too, but it should be fun. (Ask Benjin what a DL is and he can explain it.)

I am super sad that I am leaving Laredo, though, this has probably been one of my favorite areas. Elder Brian and I got so close with all the members and so they were all sad to see us go as well. There were lots of tears. I love these people a lot like words
"Elder Brian and I having lunch at Whataburger."
just can't describe it. To see someone change so much and grow so much closer to their
Savior is just the best feeling ever. Seeing this change take place just opens up a part of your heart that you didn’t even know was there. Also I’ll send a lot of pictures. Oh, and I still don't know where I'm going so that'll probably be in next week’s email (fingers crossed for Brownsville!!! haha – I don’t really care where I go, I’ll be fine wherever).

"This is a picture of our Zone doing a 'stomp' -- we
all went to one area in Zapata and worked there for a day.
It was super fun!!! We're making
(or trying to make) a 'Z' sign with our hands for Zapata."
Ethan is on the back row, orange tie. :) 

"This is our Zone."
Ethan is on the back row, second from left.

"Behind me is Mexico!"

"The temperature reading on our car when we came
out of an appointment one day!"

"This is the planning agenda that I keep in my shirt pocket.
And, yes, it's wet from sweat." 

"We eat at this sister's house every Sunday after church."

"This is Mike (in the middle), a cool member in Laredo we hung out with a lot."

"We are with the Morales family in their humble casita."

Man, that sounds like y’all are having a lot of fun in Utah. Tell everyone I say hi and that I love them a lot!!! No there is nothing I really need – I am fine. That family that we were teaching totally dropped us but that's ok, it happens. Nothing else too big happened this week though it's just crazy to think I'm starting another transfer and that it’s almost August, holy cow what is happening!!!!!

One thing in our sacrament meeting yesterday that hit me was the speaker said, "If you are not seeing miracles in your life, start asking for them." And it just hit me when he said that because miracles are a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Lord wants us to have those in our lives, sometimes all we need to do is just ask for them. All is well down here in Texas though. I love this place!!!

Con Amor (with love),
Elder Christiansen

Monday, July 21, 2014

Working in Zapata ... and a "Super Powerful Lesson"

Familia, familia!

So this week was good as well! It was pretty crazy and hectic but it was good nonetheless. So I got all the Vandy newspapers on Monday... AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! The dogpile picture!!!!! That's so cool the pictures were sick, oh my gosh!!! It totally made me want to play baseball again – haha!

Another cool thing that happened was that we had interviews with Presidente Maluenda. Man, I love that man he is amazing! It was a really good interview. I learned a lot of cool things especially about planning and goals and how prayer relates to all of them. On Saturday we worked down in Zapata, Texas so that was fun as well. It's about an hour outside of Laredo. It was hotter that hot, though. I was drenched because we had a lesson outside for like an hour-and-a-half and it was nuts, I was just sweating everywhere. I loved it though like there is nothing to complain about here!

"With Elder Dominguez, another missionary from our zone."
We had a super powerful lesson last night. I went on an exchange with another elder and we just threw fire for like two hours. We met someone who is from Salt Lake City and is down here working with a company selling security systems. He went to Seminary for a year and knows everything about the Gospel, so we just wanted to know why he wasn’t baptized. It got to the point and he told us that his dad said if he got baptized, he would disown him and not call him his we had him call his dad right then and there and I mean, it was SO intense it was like watching a game 7 in extra innings, I LOVED IT!!!! And on the phone, literally his dad said these words: “Mihijo, no te preocupes, estamos bien aqui!!!" That means like: “My son, don’t worry about us, we are fine here.” It was so amazing! And so he hangs up the phone and we look at him and we were just like…so, what's it gonna be? Then he just said that no, it wasn’t his time and stuff; he was super chill about it. So, we'll see what happens. But it was a very powerful lesson. I love being a missionary and I love moments when miracles happen, because we were both praying that the Lord would soften the dad's heart, and then the dad said all would be ok. It was super cool.

Also I’m sending a package home today for Andrew and a letter for him as well. I love y’all!! The Church is true!!!!!

Con Amor,
Elder Christiansen

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Nothing better than getting an answer from God!"

Familia, familia,

This past week has been good. It has been hard but good. We found a family of four on Saturday and we had a really powerful lesson with them, and they felt the Spirit and recognized that we are representatives of Jesus Christ. After the father prayed about Joseph Smith and we asked the family how they felt, the mom said, "I feel this peace and I don’t know what it is...I don’t know why but I also feel like there are going to be some big changes coming." OH MAN!!!!! Are you serious?!?!?!?! It was such a cool moment I was just at a loss for words!! There is nothing better than when people realize that they are getting an answer from God and know that they need to change!!!! It was a great little moment!

It's been super hot still, like always. Thanks for telling those people thanks for the things they did for me for my birthday! Also Dad...Mom...Andrew...please, please, please can you send me some more Vandy CWS pics?! Oh and if you already sent them then great, that’s fine too – nothing to stress about, just when you get the chance. Yes Trot at the MTC!!!!! Can you guys get his email address so I can email him? Oh yea, the border is nuts right now. We see it and talk to people everyday and, yea its super sad what's going on. There are a lot of people coming up from Central America right now seeking safety, I feel so bad for them, and it’s a lot of kids. But yea, I’ll tell y’all all about that stuff when I get home.

Life is good though, I love the mission and I love the Savior. I just finished reading The Infinite Atonement by Tad R Callister and it was really, really good. I’m so grateful for the atonement and that Christ died for each one of us. All I hope is that all I do can somehow repay him just a tiny bit for the huge thing He did for me. I am grateful to represent Him daily. Oh, also there is a food that I have come to LOVE on my mission: corn-on-the-cob. Oh man I love it whenever we are fed that (which in reality isn’t that much), but I eat so much of it, haha. I love y’all and I hope y’all have a good week!!! 

Con Amor,
Elder Christiansen

"This is a picture of me leaving the apartment to go out to work!
Haha, jk, but it's a funny one -- and yes, that's sunscreen!"

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thanks to Family and Friends ... and I Love Teaching the Gospel


Ok, first off please say thank you from me to Gar-Gar for her cookies (our whole apartment LOVES them, oh my goodness they are so good!!!), and Sis. Overmyer for the package and the Young Women in the ward for all the stuff they sent. They were all so great and I also loved the letters I got from Gar-Gar and from Grandpa Clair and Grandma Joyce!! I also got a letter from the Crosby’s a while back and it was awesome!! And the birthday emails from the Bien’s and Ellis’ were awesome, too!!

This week was good! It's hot here...and it's getting hotter. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!! Nothing really too big happened here, like when we asked people what they were doing for the holiday, they were just like “umm…nothing” so it wasn't super crazy. But Presidente still wanted us in at 6:30 p.m. so we just played the board game “Sorry” in our apartment. This week was good though, even when things don't go our way, it is still a good week because I am a missionary and there's nothing better than that!!

"This is me on the 4th of July."
OK, love the hat! And, check out the tan line on Ethan's wrist!

The work is going well down here, we have quite a few people we are teaching right now but no one has really come out of the woodwork yet, but that's not a bad thing, though. One cool thing that happened this week was we were on our way to a member's house to just stop by and say hi. And on the way over there I got this clear impression to go to a different members house and do the same thing (say hi see if they need help with anything--nothing super major). And so we get there and he is moving some stuff into his garage. And so we jump on in and help them move their stuff. During that time we met this guy’s girlfriend and we just introduced ourselves and that was about it. Then she went inside to do something and the guy starts telling us how he's been having a hard day and just wanted God to give him some peace. He then told us how happy he was that we came to help him and that he wants us to teach his girlfriend! And so we've had two lessons with her already and she is loving it! I know that God knows and cares about each one of us. I have a million stories like this one -- this happens almost on a daily basis because that's how much God cares about us. He is always wanting to cheer us up and help us carry our burdens.

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I love teaching it to people!!!

Con Amor,
Elder Christiansen