Monday, August 25, 2014

White Shirt on a Chair ... and Cloud 9

Here's the news from Hildago today -- Elder Christiansen and his companion have been teaching a wonderful family and an important decision was made!

Muy buenas dias,

So this last week was so great…because the Fuentes family got baptized!!!!!!! Oh man what a milagro (“miracle”) it was! So we went by basically every day and had super powerful lessons with them. I mean just like a spiritual 12-round boxing match with testimonies and scriptures and crushing doubts and it was great! So we go over on Friday for our lesson and we sit down and we are just doing small talk and there was a white dress shirt sitting on one of their chairs. And so, kind of joking, I asked Hermano Fuentes if that was for his baptism. And then he looks at me and says: “Si, hermanos, me voy a bautizar el domingo con mi familia." -eso quiere decir, “that is to say -- "Yes, brothers, I am going to get baptized on Sunday with my family.” Man, I couldn’t believe it! It was one of those moments when you feel like the whole world has stopped and you are just on cloud 9. It was great though, and then they all got baptized and it was awesome!

That was the main thing that has happened this week. Seminary and school are all starting up here and I can't believe it! All is well though and my mission is going great!

Con amor y come mucho Andrew (“with love and eat much, Andrew”),
Elder Christiansen

We received this photo today -- it's from Ethan's last area in Laredo.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Excellent Training and Teaching

News from Ethan today: leadership training, loving his mission, and teaching a new family. Our email to him today included the tender news that Uncle Jay passed away the day before after a long journey with cancer.


Oh, I’m so sorry about Uncle Jay. I will send Aunt Susie a letter.

Everything is going fine down here in South Texas. So we have been teaching this family and they have been doing wonderful!! Ellos se llaman la familia Fuentes! (“They are called the Fuentes family!”) They are just great; oh man, I love them so much! So it is a mom and dad, like a 20-ish-yr old girl, 17-yr-old boy and 14-yr-old girl. The oldest girl doesn’t really listen to us but the rest of the family does and the dad and 14-yr-old girl came to church last week and then yesterday the mom, dad and 14-yr-old came!!! They are so awesome!!

I love my mission so much I can't even put it into words. Also, this week we had something called 3-day Leadership Training. It is meetings that are from 8-5ish, 3 days in a row every few months for the leaders in the mission (dls, zls, aps, stls) and it is pretty much Presdiente Maluenda giving us training and instruction on how we can be better and the way he wants the mission to go and so forth. The trainings were AWESOME!! I learned a lot from the Spirit and it was great seeing all of my buddies from around the mission. I also talked to Elder Peterson because he was there, too, and we were sitting at the same table for lunch. It was great to see him!

All is well though and I am so grateful for all my blessings!!! 

Con amor, (“with love”)
Elder Christiansen

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hello Hidalgo!!

Today, we learned Ethan is now serving in Hidalgo, which is right across from Reynosa, Mexico, and right by Brownsville. He's as far south as you can get in his mission area. He's back in the "Valley" as it's known (near his first area, in Donna, TX in McAllen), and he's excited about that. And, he's working in the same Zone with Elder Renshaw (his very first companion in the Missionary Training Center), so he's very excited about that! He's experiencing life on the border and seeing lots hardship, yet joy as well. Here's his news:


Ok, so here is the big news: I was transferred to...Reynosa, Mexico!!!!! Haha, no jkjk, but I was transferred pretty close to it. I am in Hidalgo now! I think it is a little south and west of McAllen, but I’m really not sure. It's crazy being back in the valley, too, like I was here a year ago, just 30 minutes over, in Donna. Oh, ok, here is the best part: so my Zone Leaders are Elder Casteel (I’ve served with him almost my entire mission and I love that big guy, he's is so cool and just a baller) and Elder Renshaw!!!!!! So when I found that out I was like freaking out, I was so happy!!! But yea, it was super hard leaving Laredo; man I just love those people so much it's crazy. And it was hard because I was up packing until 12:30 a.m., and then we had to get up at 4:15 a.m. in order to get to McAllen on time for transfers. It was good though. Yea so being a District Leader is cool, it's just a new way to serve but it's fun. Oh, and my new companion is Elder Thornton from Grand Junction, Colorado. He is cool and we get along fine – he was up in my Zone in Laredo so I already knew him fairly well. Our area touches the border and we have one of the bridges to Mexico in our area as well. We live with two other elders, too: que se llaman Elder Latu, he is from Tonga but moved to the USA in 2011 and he started playing football. So, he is still learning English as well as Spanish, haha. He got a scholarship to play football anywhere in the country, USC, UCLA, Ohio State, Michigan...and he was going to go to Oregon but then he decided to go on a mission – he is super cool and we get a long great. And he is training a brand new greenie missionary named Elder Lindsay, who also is a cool dude.

It’s definitely not as hot here in Hidalgo than it is up in Laredo, that's one thing I’ve noticed. It’s for sure more humid though. Ok, so District Leaders and Zone Leaders can interview people to get baptized, so I had my first baptismal interview on Saturday and it was cool! It was with a woman from Honduras who came across like a month ago, and she came across with absolutely nothing (oh yea, and for eight days she lived in the Monte – which is like the dessert/brush area of Mexico). So one day she was walking around and didn’t know what to do and she told me she said a prayer in her heart that God would send her an angel. And later that day one of the sisters in the ward saw her on the street, took her to get something to eat, bought her clothes, and took her to her house so she would have a place to live. She then brought her to church and then the lady from Honduras took all the lessons, absolutely loved them, and then got baptized!!! It was pretty cool. God knows each of us personally, and He loves us so much. He wants us to be happy. He already suffered everything so that way we don't have to. It just all depends on our faithfulness to keeping the commandments of the Gospel. I know it's true and after she got baptized yesterday she was so happy. She was SO, SO happy. She truly had a fullness of joy. I'm grateful to be a missionary and represent our Savior each and every day.

Con Amor,
Elder Christiansen
P.S. I’m still in a car area and we get fed almost everyday as well...hahaha