Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dec. 27th, 2011

It was great talking to the family! Possibly the fastest 40 minutes of my life. But it was really great and really fun.
Christmas was the best! At first, it was really dull and boring at 6:30 just opening up some presents with my one companion. But by the end of the day, it was the best Christmas ever! We set a baptismal date with someone and had some dinner with an investigating family. It was awesome! It is weird because all my other Christmas' it was allllll about me being an only child and the only grandson for 14 years, so not going to lie, I was a little spoiled, and don't get me wrong those Christmas' were great! But this Christmas when I wasn't the center of attention was the best Christmas ever! It is so weird to think when we aren't worried about ourselves is when we are the most happy.
I don't have much time, but we picked up our trainee today! His name Elder Moli from Oakland Ca./Tonga. About my height but a little more musciular than me. Just a little though ;). He will be tri-lingual by the end of the mission. He is super nice and the trio will be fun again! super packed though!
Im sorry that I forgot to share my testimony on the phone! I was so uptight on the time so I forgot, but here is a little bit!
Se que Jesucristo vive y que nos ama. Se que El expio por nuestros pecados. El es el Hijo de Dios y nuestro salvador. Jose Smith vio Jesucristo y Dios. Jose Smith fue un profeta verdadero. El tradujo El Libro de Mormon por medio el poder de Dios. El Libro de Mormon tiene un poder que puede ayudarnos y darnos la revelacion que nececitamos. Se que esta iglesia, La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Santos de Los Ultimos Dias (super long to say) es la unica verdadera iglesia en el mundo. Les quiero mucho!
Thank you for the prayers! I couldn't do it without them.
Elder Christiansen

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dec. 12th, 2011

So I don't have much time today! P-Days are still super crazy busy days!
I just want to share an experience that I had this Saturday. We went to a nursing home because an investigator works there. She needed someone to teach for like 40 minutes to the people there because the Pastor that usually teaches has been sick. At first we didn't know if we should go because we didn't know if that activity would fit into our purpose as a missionary. So we called President Hall to ask him if we should. He said to just do it this one time and that it was a wonderful opportunity to serve. We do not regret going whatsoever!
We were going to show the Finding Faith in Christ video, but when we got there, the TV wouldn't work. So we went to our back up plan that was non-existent because we only had about 15 minutes to plan, which was while we were getting ready to leave and the car ride over. Because we didn't think we would teach the lesson until 9:30 that morning and we had to be there at 10. So we just started talking about Faith. And then that lead to repentance and that lead to baptism and we just went with it and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ with the emphasis of Faith and the Holy Ghost. It was such a scattered lesson! People weren't even really looking at us, they looked bored, some fell asleep. I felt soooooo bad! When we concluded with the lesson, we went and shook everyone's hand and said bye to them and talked to some. They were so grateful for us coming! To my suprise. And today I just realized that we didn't teach anything. The words that we said weren't anything to them. It was the Spirit that taught. It is always the teacher. They had felt the Spirit and the Spirit taught them and us. It was such a humbling experience. And even though we taught about the Spirit, I am still learning so much about it. And am loving it more and more and am so grateful for it! Thank goodness for the love of our Heavenly Father so that we can feel the Spirit and can have it with us and that it can be the teacher! Because I am a horrible teacher!
Thank you for the prayers! I am seeing the miracles from them every day!
Love Elder Christiansen

Dec. 5th, 2011

So to start off the week, when we left the house for P-Day, about a mile into our bike ride, my bike sounded like a metel thing started wrapping around my tire, so I slammed on the brakes and when I looked at my back tire, a whole key was stuck in my tire! But the night was saved thanks to a member. We went to Wal-Mart to get a tire and a tube, and I bought a tube that was pure rubber and can't go flat. It had pictures of like screws, screwdrivers, and nails in it. So I bought it. Regretted that! The next day we put on the rubber tube and it was like putting on an already blown up inflatable tire, so it took forever. On Wednesday, I was riding behind my companion and he got about 100 yards in front of me because the tire was so heavy, I couldn't keep up! Haha, so we bought just a regular tube and changed it out so we could bike a lot faster. But there was definitely some good that came out of bad luck and my lack of wisdom. We made better friends with a member, got some delicious juice, and we are prettty good at changing tires now. But the most important thing is that I have learned to appreciate having a bike. I am so grateful for a bike now! And then on Sunday, my companion got a flat tire, and it was about 8 o' clock and we were about a 3 hour walk from our house. But the Lord's hand was definitely in that one because we called a member and they said they would meet us at 7/11 to pick us up and take us home. So while we were sitting on the curb at 7/11, some Spanish family pulls up and gets out of the car to rent a Redbox. But right away the husband started talking to me, like he knew me. I then saw the wife and knew who they were, I had only talked to him once before and her like 3 times. She is in-active and he was never baptized. They are a super nice family and he told us that he hopes to see us soon! He had been working in Tampa for a while, so he was never there with her, but he said he should be back for a while, so we will see how that goes! The Lord works in mysterious ways sometimes, we just have to look for his hand. And usually when something good is about to happen or a blessing is coming, Satan tries to do something to get our hopes down. I know the Lord's hand is always there for us, we just have to look for it.
Another thing I learned this week in my studies was that we can't always rely on the Spirit for everything. I came into the mission field expecting the Spirit to tell me, "turn here", "knock this house", "do this", "do that". But I read in Preach My Gospel about how a lot of times, we won't get every question answered, every problem solved, and that we can't just expect that the Spirit is going to tell us what to do. We have to make decisions for ourslelves, make mistakes, grow, and experiance things. It is why we are here on earth today. We make some bad decisions and we make some good decisions, it's all part of the Plan of Salvation, what a wonderful and perfect plan that it is! And it is real comforting to know that we have a Father in Heaven who loves and and Jesus Christ, Our Saviour, who are always there for us!
Thank you for your prayers! They are working!
Love Elder Christiansen

Nov. 28th,2011

I am learning so much out here, it is incredible. I have learned that serving a mission is a privilege and a blessing. I really can't express everything that I have learned. I am so grateful to be out here on a mission.
This week, was amazing! Nothing much happened from Monday-Saturday that was huge. And our spirits were kind of low and it was kind of frustrating. But then on Sunday, we taught 3 lessons and got 4 new investigators! Sunday is a really short day because church doesn't get out until 4. Then we get a ride home, change, and eat. I felt like the Lord carried us throughout the week, helping us have energy and keep working. Then on Sunday he poured down the blessings on us. It was an awesome day and I am really grateful for it. I think on Sunday, we went outside with better spirits and more hope that that day would be a good day, and it was an amazing day.
This week we also went to a member's house and did some service there. It was a great time too. I haven't mowed a lawn in a while, so I hope I did a good job. Sometimes when we are at a member's house I feel like they teach us just by their example and the spirit that is inside of their home.
For Thanksgiving, we had 3 dinners. One at 2, one at 5 and one at 8. We didn't eat very much at the last dinner. But there were a lot of non-members and investigators at these dinners, so I hope that something can turn out of them. At the last dinner they had two turkeys. That were huge! And the reason they were huge was because they had stuffed them with rice! Never seen that before, but it was really good, and the Spanish people always look for reasons to put rice in things I'm pretty sure.
The Spanish is still coming along. I am getting better, but slowly. And I am understanding more and more. Spanish is so much more simple than English. I just wish Spanish had a word for got/get. I realized that in English we can replace like 100 Spanish verbs with just get/got haha.
I know that this gospel is true. I have been so blessed in my life to have been born into the gospel and here in the United States. I see so many blessings and the hand of the Lord every day. Sometimes we want to see miracles or have something crazy happen to us, but I know that by the little things that we sometimes don't even see and the whisperings of the Spirit are more powerful than a miracle. I love prayer and I am so grateful for it. I need to learn how to make prayer sincere and heart felt everytime. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. It is truely the word of God.
Thank you for your prayers, I wouldn't be able to do this without them.
Love Elder Christiansen

November 21st, 2011

This past week, we met a lot of people! It was also the longest bike week that I have had. I am soooo tired. Some things that happened this week are:
I cut off my companion on bikes and he crashed... I might be paying a little bit for that accident.
My tie collection got cooler because Elder Spilsbury left and you always change ties with your companion. He gave me his best and I gave him my only good one that I have. He definitely got the short end of the trade.
We got chased by a dog for a little bit.
Someone told us that there was a Spanish person down this dirt road, and when we got there, there was a sign that said beware of dog and I only saw two small dogs, then this obese dog came around that corner and (if dogs had belly buttons) put its belly button to about the top of the fence.... Sooo we didn't knock the house.
It was a pretty fun/tiring week.
Thanksgiving is coming up and I am pretty excited! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I would just like to make a list of everything that I am thankful for: A loving Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, the opportunity to be born in this gospel into a wonderful family, the scriptures, prayer, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Gift of the Holy Ghost and all the gifts/things that comes with it, a bike, a car, the weather in Florida, an amazing family and friends that I know love me and pray for me, the members of the Valencia Ward, the opportunity I have to learn Spanish, a companion that I can learn so much from and is a hard worker who loves this gospel, always having what I need, missionary work, trials, a wonderful loving Mission President and his wife, all of the people that I have met and talked to here in Florida, being able to see a change in people, knowledge and experiences that keep on growing, basketball, GMC$, BYU, temples and the peace that I feel in them and the opportunity to have so many so close, the letters that I receive from my family and friends, time, hot water and electricity, ice cream, the holidays, the Plan of Salvation, a living prophet and apostles, all church leaders, the priesthood, and much more.
Sometimes I get really down because I am not seeing immediate success in this work, days aren't always easy, but the blessings and the joy that this work brings outweighs everything that is frustrating or disappointing in life. I have really learned just how powerful prayer actually is in the past couple of months and I have also learned more about how loving and merciful our Heavenly Father is. It gives me so much comfort to know no matter where I am or what I am going through, my Heavenly Father is always there for me and loves me.
I love you all and hope everything is going good! Thanks for the prayers! Pray for missionary opportunities for yourself, there is no greater joy.
Love Elder Christiansen

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14th, 2011

So tomorrow is transfers and so we just figured out who is going where. My first companion, Elder Spilsbury just got transferred. He was our District Leader, but he is now a Zone Leader. He is the Zone Leader over my zone, so I still might seem him quite a bit. He is really excited. So that means it is just me and Elder Knapp now! The trio was really fun, but it will be nice to have a little more room with just the two of us. Elder Knapp was the one in my MTC district. So we have only been out for 2 transfers/3 months, so our Spanish isn't great, but we will be able to get by. If anything, we just have to rely more on the Spirit, so I am really looking forward to it.
We were really blessed by the Lord this week. We had the most lessons that I have ever had on the mission this week. It was a blast!
And I am really grateful for that. Hopefully we will be able to bring more souls unto Christ through these lessons.
So in different countries, they have different words and different sayings. I hadn't really talked with a lot of Mexicans because the area I'm in doesn't have too many, but Elder Spilsbury and Elder Knapp have served in areas that is just mostly Mexicans. And this week we were teaching a Mexican family and I asked in Spanish if there is another day that we could stop by to share more. The wife said "Mande" which sounds like "Mahnday" in English. So I thought she tried to speak some English and thought she said "Monday". But it turns out that Mande is in English kind of like "Come again. (Like they didn't hear the question)" and so my companions just started busting up at me because they knew what it meant, but I thought she said Monday. And no one else really says Mande except for Mexicans. So that was pretty funny. Also this week at a door a mom with a baby answered the door. She wasn't super interested so we asked if we could give her a card. So I gave her a card and said, "We would love to check you out." And then I realized what I was said, so then I was super embarrassed and said real fast, "I mean we would love for you to check out this website!" it was super embarrassing and she totally caught what I said the first time. My companions almost died laughing. My English is getting worse and worse. But hopefully my Spanish is getting better and better.
I know that this is the same Church that Jesus Christ established 2,000 years ago. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. There is so much power in that book! And your Heavenly Father is always there for you. I love this gospel.
Love you all and thanks for the prayers! I need them!
Elder Christiansen

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nov. 7th, 2011

Tracting is really awkward at night sometimes because you don't want to wake people up and a lot of people just tell you it's late, but one night we decided we would just try to work really hard and knock a lot of doors in the time we had before our next appointment that was close. Because it was night and no one was outside we started running, from house to house to knock as many doors as possible. We kept the running pretty suttle so we were still dignified and we didn't run if a car was passing or people were outside, but we had the greatest time tracting that I have ever had. The Lord blessed us of for trying to knock a lot of doors. I would guess we knocked about 10 doors in ten minutes and we had about 5 houses that would allow us to come back. Those are crazy good percentages for tracting. So we had a blast, and the Lord blessed us. I don't think we were blessed because we were running from house to house, I think it was because our attitudes were high and we were expecting and really wanting to find some people that night. Something that is really underestimated in life and missionary work is attitude. If we have high expectations, believe in ourself, and trust the Lord, we will more likely have success and accomplish what we need to accomplish. I have seen this in my mission many times. Some days we have tracted for hours and maybe found 2 houses that would even allow us to come back. Those days were the days when I was just really not in the tracting mood. It was hot, humid, I wanted to teach not tract, I didn't have much faith that anything good would come out of my efforts. But then I have had days where I love life, I love Florida, I love the weather, I love the people, I love tracting, and I just had fun and had some faith that we would find someone. And we would find so many more people in shorter amounts of time. I know that it has to do with attitude. As I'm writing this I am thinking to myself, why don't I always just have a good attitude then haha? I think it is because it is hard. Some days I have a good attitude and nothing huge comes of it. Then I get down on myself and my attitude drops. The Lord doesn't always want it to be easy for us because we won't grow, learn, and develop better qualities. But I know we have to keep our attitude up, trust in ourself, but more importantly trust in our Heavenly Father and glory in Him (Alma 26).
Times aren't always easy, I have a strong testimony of that on my mission haha. But I also have a strong testimony that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy, and that He is always there for us and that if we turn to Him, everything will be better.
I know this church is true. The Book of Mormon is true. I love the peace I can feel when I read it. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He lives. Heavenly Father loves us and is always there for us.
I love you all and miss you all. Thank you for the prayers and everything else!
Elder Christiansen

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oct. 31st, 2011

Yesterday was Stake Conference which was good. We had someone from the Seventy, but I forgot his name, but I do have it written down in my notes. There were several speakers and President Hall and Sister Hall bore their testimonies. The thing that I got out of it that I really liked was that we have the Spirit with us and we just need to unplug ourselves and listen to it! It really just hit me hard because a prophet (can't remember) once said that he couldn't walk across the living room without receiving some type of thought, inspiration, revelation, etc. from the Spirit. Sometimes we are just so caught up in the world and what is going on that we don't listen to the spirit, which is our best help! He said the two places to feel the Spirit and to receive the blessings such as revelation, inspiration, uplifting thoughts, etc. is at the temple, and the Sabbath Day. And it wasn't just at church. It was that when we keep the Sabbath Day and actually honor it, we take ourselves out of the world and make ourselves more receptive to the promptings of the Spirit. He told a story of how a ladies husband died (We will name her Mary for the story), and I'm pretty sure it was that her husband died from a heart attack as she was taking her son to the MTC or something. (Not really sure). But of course it was just really devastating for her and she was just really down for the longest time. She had a really good visiting teacher (Lets go with the name Annie) though that tried to comfort her and do whatever she could to get the lady back to a happier state of mind. Nothing was really working. One day the visiting teacher and her husband went on a couple hour road trip to San Francisco. The visiting teacher while riding in the car was thinking her friend who was just really depressed. She told her husband when they got closer to San Francisco that she felt that they should buy a sourdough loaf and fresh crab for Mary from San Fransisco. Her husband said that he didn't think fresh crab was such a good idea for a road trip. So Annie just kind of brushed off the thought for a while and then when they were about to leave San Fransisco to head back home, Annie insisted on taking some fresh crab and sourdough bread back to Mary. Her husband said okay, so they packed it all up in whatever and made the trip back home which I'm guessing took around 4 hours. On their way home, they stopped by Mary's house and Annie went up to the doorstep to give her the crab and sourdough. Mary opened the door and Annie said, "We went to San Fransisco today and we brought you back a loaf of sourdough and some fresh crab." Mary took it and just stud there with a shocked look on her face not saying anything. So Annie said something like hope you like it and bye. Annie gets in the car with her husband and tells him that she doesn't think Mary likes crab. A couple days later Annie receives a letter in the mail from Mary. In the letter Mary apologized for the look she gave Annie and that she didn't say anything, and also it said that (Annie) doesn't know this but her husband and her favorite place to go for his doctor conferences was San Fransisco and that whenever they would go, they would always buy some fresh crab and a loaf of sourdough. And she also said that (Annie) doesn't know, but the day she dropped off the fresh crab and sourdough was Mary and her husband's anniversary. And it was a little note that just said "I still remember."  
That story really hit me hard and now that I look back into the near future, there are things that people have said and that I have seen people do that was just something that I really needed that day. I know that the Spirit put it in their minds what to say or do. Sometimes it is difficult to listen to the Spirit with everything that is going on, but I know that if we listen it will talk to us. Sometimes we don't know if a thought is from us or from the Spirit. If it is a good thought, just do it and don't question it. You will be blessed for it. And you will come to learn that the Spirit is more apparent in your life than you know and you will start to learn and understand more about the Spirit. You will touch the lives of others and we will a better instrument in the Lord's hand. The Spirit is real, it's why I am serving a mission today. I see its help and guidance every day in little ways and sometimes in big ways. By little things, great things come to pass. I know this church is true and I love you all and am grateful for your prayers.
Love Elder Christiansen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct. 24th, 2011

So Tuesday I went on an exchange with a Zone Leader in his area. His area is the single adults ward. So we went to UCF's campus which is way nice and looks really new. We taught a couple lessons there. We had some lessons in the library part where you could talk. It was weird to pray in the middle of a ton of students and to talk about the Gospel. But with all the commotion around, the spirit was still there. It was definitely a different experiance, but really cool. We met some cool people and in the Student Union Square outside there were people rapping about religion. It didn't seem right at all haha. There are so many students there it is a crazy place. But the Zone Leader I was with is really outgoing and can talk with like anyone so I learned a lot from him to just not be scared and to just have a fun time talking with people.
Wednesday we met a lady who was putting her kid in her van outside a house we thought was hers. She told us to come back whenever because she was leaving. We came back Thursday and it turned out to be a daycare center inside of a house. So she didn't mind us coming back because it wasn't her house! We got hustled bad haha.
Thursday we taught a guy and his wife and I thought here name was Lupe because we are teaching a lot of girls named Lupe. So I said the prayer and referred to her as Lupe. Right before we left, I looked in my planner and her name wasn't Lupe... Ooops. So I apologized and we all just laughed, so it was good. The only time I am ever funny when I am speaking Spanish is when I am wrong unfortunately. Yesterday an 8 year old girl who we know pretty good because her dad is ward mission leader told me I didn't speak Spanish haha. It was pretty funny. My companions were laughing pretty hard at me. It is a lot harder to learn Spanish here because most of the members in our ward can speak English. But we have a rule where we just don't speak English, so the Spanish is getting better.
We went to the temple on Friday which is always nice! The Celestrial Room has purple and light pink couches! Only purple couches in a temple in the world is what I heard! It was really cool. And it is always nice to go to the temple of course. We get to go like once a quarter a think. It was my first time at the temple since I have been here. Later we taught a lesson and learned a lesson about teaching. It was the worst lesson I had taught out here. We tried to teach them and they had a lot of questions, we should have just listened. I don't know what we were thinking. But they want us to come back, so the Lord didn't let us mess up too bad!
Saturday we knocked a door and a guy opened, told us to wait and he brought back The Book of Mormon that he rented from the library! In Spanish! He said he believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that Jesus Christ came to the Americas. So we asked him if he wanted to be a member of our church. He avoided the question and didn't really seem too interested in us coming to visit. But we are going to keep stopping by until he tells us not too. Really weird situation.
Sunday at church a member showed me a picture he had on his phone. It was a church here in Oviedo that had a sign that said, "Don't pray about the Book of Mormon, that's how they get you!". I thought it would be wierd to not ask Heavenly Father, who knows all, if a book was true haha. The church is true! I love it and am so grateful to have it in my life!
Thanks for the prayers and letters! Love you all!
Love Elder Christiansen 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct. 17th, 2011

So now to help with Spanish, we speak it 24/7. We weren't extremely good at it at the start when the rule first came out, but with a couple of days we are a lot better. One of us can be an English translator, so if we see other missionaries that are English or we are talking to someone other than who we are teaching that speaks English, we still speak Spanish with a translator.
Sooooo.... ELDER NEIL L. ANDERSON TALKED TO US FOR MISSION CONFERENCE ON SATURDAY!!! It was awesome! He stayed for a stake conference too I think. But like in February or somewhere around there our mission also had Elder Bednar come to talk to us. It is usually pretty rare to have that happen to get two apostles in that short of time I think. Elder Anderson said he was a mission president in France but not in Paris. He said that all the apostles went to Paris instead of his mission. He said Orlando is kind of like the Paris of Florida and Tampa Bay is like wherever he was mission president of. It went something like that haha. He was really funny. He talked to us about what to say when people tell us that we are a cult. We smile no matter what and just make sure they know that Jesus Christ is the center of our religion. Cults have someone other than Jesus Christ at the center of their religion. He explained to us to not just look as your mission as baptisms. Else you will be discouraged. Have a broader view of your calling. He said not everyone is going to let us in and that if we could just help strengthen their testimony of Jesus Christ in our talking with him, that that would be great. He then talked about not comparing our self to others. he talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was just a really nice spiritual meeting as you could probably guess. It was a great time and I learned a lot. 
On Sunday a mission leader of the stake of something talked to us. He talked about 5 false myths to member missionary work. I can't remember them all but I just want to share the biggest 2 that I remember.
-You don't have to be friends with someone to share the gospel with them. It's not how many friends you have, but how many people you share the gospel with.
-Don't judge people on their circumstances. Give everyone a chance to hear "something beautiful". don't just look at someone and decide that they wouldn't accept the gospel.
This week was a great week and really fun (like always). I still am not a huge fan of 6:30 am-7 am, but I don't think many are. I love studying though. It is really cool to just learn from the scriptures and from each other for 3 hours everyday. (We have 2 hours of companionship study our first 12 weeks). And Spanish is getting better and better. We study that for another hour every day. So we don't even finish studies until 12, but I don't mind it. At first companionship study was really difficult for 2 hours, but it is a lot more fun with 3 people doing role playing teachings and there is just a lot more input. 3 is more fun that 2 I think. We don't get on each others nerves as much and the teaching has to be more in tune with the spirit. But the house is harder to keep clean.
I love it out here! There is no where I would rather be. It's not easy, but it never was easy for our Saviour. He love is real! I feel it every day. I'm so glad to be in the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that it is the only true church in the world. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet today. I know that the Book of Mormon has a power in it that can help us with any aspect of our lives. I know Jesus Christ lives and that we have a loving Father in Heaven. I know that miracles come from prayers even though we don't always see them.
I love you all and am grateful for all you do for me. I am grateful for your examples and prayers!
Love Elder Christiansen!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct. 11, 2011

Since we are back into a trio now, the house is a little more crowded. Especially since we only have one room and we aren't doing the whole bunk bed thing. So we have three beds just right in a line. So the house is a little more crowded and a lot  more messy, but Elder Knapp really brings a lot to our companionship. He was in the MTC with me, but his Spanish is amazing. So it really humbles me (which I really need) and I get to learn from him and Elder Spilsbury now. Also our lessons are very hard to plan out since there is now three of us. So we have to really just kind of go by the Spirit, which is a lot better. And now when we take a member out with us, there is four of us knocking at the door, so  I kind of feel like a mob, but it is really fun.
On Saturday, it rained like all day. We were riding bikes that day. It was a pretty cold day. But I really don't mind the rain. And we get like 8x as many looks than we usually do whenever we are riding in the rain. My guess is it either stands as a testimony to people that are message is important, or that we are just crazy. I like to think the first one.
Saturday night we had the Fiesta International. I think every Spanish ward does it. But they just had booths up with different countries and everybody was representing their country and made food for it and also did some dances. It was a pretty good time.
At church I am starting to understand more and more every Sunday. Especially Fast Sundays. This time, only about 15 people stood up right away to go bear their testimony. I don't know why they all just love to do it, but it is a wonderful sight haha. And they really have strong testimonies, so it is really nice to hear them.
Yesterday, we played some indoor soccer. A member owns it and he is way cool. He is only like 27 and he served his mission in Eugene, Oregon and was an assistant to the president. He was telling me to do what I love after the mission. I'm pretty sure I would love to just have a huge sports complex that had soccer fields, basketball courts, and other stuff including a Nike outlet store inside, but unfortunately I have no idea where to get that money. I'll start worrying about it in 2 years though.
Every week my testimony grows stronger and stronger. I also realize just how hard Satan works to try and make us be happy. Whenever something is going well with a person or we are about to have a lesson, Satan tries to do something to hinder this work. He makes it very difficult and frustrating sometimes. Even though Satan has power, we have more. Because we have Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost on our team. Two people can do anything as long as one of them is God. I know that as we pray every day, read our scriptures every day, and work on improving ourselves every day through continuous repentance, we will be able to resist the temptations of Satan more easily, find more joy in our lives, and ultimately we will be able to live with our families for time and all eternity and in the presence of our loving and merciful Father in Heaven. I know this gospel is true, I love it and I love serving a mission.
I love you all too and appreciate all your prayers and letters. They help me out so much!
Love Elder Christiansen

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oct. 3rd, 2011

This week at District Meeting, we practiced revelation through the Book of Mormon. It was so cool and the spirit was strong. What we do is we role play and I was the investigator. I choose an investigator that we are teaching and we try our best to get into their shoes and we receive revelation for them as we do it. It is really cool. So what we do with the Book of Mormon is we ask our investigator if they have any question that they would like answered. We then tell them to pray and ask Heavenly Father the question and to receive their answer through the Book of Mormon. When the prayer is over, we just have them open the Book of Mormon to a random page and start reading. Their questions get answered! It is seriously so cool. I tried it myself later that day and I prayed to know why we hadn't been seeing a lot of success. I asked to know if it was me, and what I needed to do to bring more souls unto our Heavenly Father. I opened in my Spanish Book of Mormon (Because I don't know what it is saying right away, so I wouldn't be biased when I chose a random verse) I opened randomly and started reading. I was in Alma Chapter 26 and started at verse 26 and just read until about verse 31. It was exactly what I needed! Please go and read the verses, it was just a really comforting experience and I know the Lord wants to answer our prayers. We just need to have faith and ask him a specific question and be willing to wait for the Lord's timing.
Conference was great this past weekend. It is amazing how much love the prophet and apostles have for us and for the gospel. I know that they are all chosen of God to lead us today. I loved it!
Well out of time, Love you and miss you all! Thanks for the letters and prayers!
Love, Elder Christiansen

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sept. 26th, 2011

Things are going good. We are finding a lot of people to teach! The Spanish is getting better and better. I can understand more and more Spanish, it is just putting it all together now! The other day we taught in English because we ran into an English family and they invited us in. I still can speak English, but the words I said in English were words that I would use in Spanish to teach (words like marvelous some words just aren't as popular in English as in Spanish, I don't really know how to describe it.) and I was reversing some things. So I'm a horrible teacher in English and Spanish. But the good thing is, I don't have to be a good teacher because the Spirit is the teacher in this work! Thank goodness.
My companion and me are getting along more and more each day. We like just about all the same things... Basketball, Nike, Jordan, Kobe, Golf, cosas asi.
Sorry if I haven't written any of you back super fast, I'm so behind on letters it's crazy!
This week we got caught in a huge rain storm and we were just soaked. It was about 7:30. When we rode back home, the rain had cleared and there was a nice little lightning show. It was pretty cool.
I am meeting a lot of cool people here, I have learned so much and can't wait to learn more!
On Tuesday me and Elder Gregory (was in my MTC district with me) went on splits together! We really don't know Spanish, it was soooooo fun! One of the best days so far of my mission! The Spanish people loved laughing at our horrible Spanish and they were a lot nicer to us because they could tell we were just struggling. But it was a good good day.
Love and miss you all! Thanks for the prayers and letters.
Elder Christiansen

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sept. 19th, 2011

So another short email probably. Sorry.. But I'm having a great time. This last week was a lot better than the last one. We had a lot more teaching appointments and everything just seemed to go a lot better. We had a cool contact with a guy waiting for a bus. He said he had a gospel album coming out and he gave us a little  sample. It was way good. It was kind of R&B and had a lot of flow. It was awesome. We are also teaching a couple of members from the same church. And their pastor! He is way cool and nice and said that he is very open. His family is awesome and nice too. I love them. We went to his church on Saturday and it he said something that I really liked. Unfortunately I didn't understand it in Spanish, but my companion told me afterwards. He said that when we are going through trials and difficulties that there is a blessing in our path. Satan gives us all these problems, difficulties, and  trials trying to get our faith and hopes down. But we just need to press forward with faith, relying on our Savior, Jesus Christ, because there is a blessing waiting for us.
I know that that is true. Last week was a rough rough week. My testimony took shots left and right and nothing just seemed to go my way. This week, blessings were just flowing. EVERYTHING was better. I have grown so much in the last week and it is because I was having a difficult time then got through it. The only one that knew what I was going through was my Savior. I relied on him, and he delivered. Even though my testimony might have went down a little last week, it shot up this week way more than it went down. I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for struggles and difficulties because it brings us closer to our Savior and strengthens our testimony of this church. He suffered so much more than any of us could ever suffer. I testify that he is always there for you, with his arm extended to pick you back up, and when times are really tough, he will pick you up and carry you. I love Him and I know that He lives.
I love you all and am grateful for your prayers and letters!
Elder Christiansen

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept. 12th, 2011

We are having a good time out here! It is tough, but it is fun. I learn something new every single day. The Lord always provides us with whatever we need. If He didn't help us in this work, it would be impossible. We had two big thunderstorms this week and it was bike week, I really enjoyed it. A little sketchy with lighting striking around but we were smart about it and it was far enough away that the only danger was getting really wet from all the rain. So I thought it was a blast. It was my first time getting stuck in a rain storm out here so far. We might have even made the news. Some news guy had a camera looking at something during the storm and we rode right by him. We also met a real cool Spanish guy in the storm. He had no where to go because he was looking for shelter. So we got his address, the Lord always puts people in our path. It's bien (really) chevery (cool).
One day it was just really sunny and I didn't put on sunscreen. When I got back home, I had the worst missionary tan. I took a picture of it, so I'll be sending that pretty soon. 
One day we were biking and a car got a flat tire right next to us. We were just hoping they were Spanish. And they were. so we helped them for a while to get the tire back on and got their address. They seemed real nice also.
Elder Spilsbury had leadership meetings this week and so I had to go on an exchange with an English speaking missionary. We stayed in my area though. When we ran into Spanish people, my Spanish was just flowing. It was so cool. But then once Elder Spilsbury got back, my Spanish went back to it's regular bad self. It's chevery how the Lord helps you when you really need it.
I can't remember any of my last letters that I wrote, so I don't know if I already told you this, but last P-Day we went and played indoor soccer with some members of our ward because one of them owns a sweet facility. And I got torn up. But it was way fun still.
I really don't know what to say except I'm loving it out here and I'm learning so much!
Thanks for all your prayers! And Love you all!
Love, Elder Christiansen

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sept. 6th, 2011

I'm having a blast here! It really hasn't hit me that I'm on a mission yet, it's wierd, I don't know how to explain it haha but I love it. So this week I went on two exchanges. The first exchange was with another Spanish speaking elder and we were biking. I was using his companion's bike. (Elder Gregory, he was in my MTC district and now we our in a district together in the mission). I went over a speed bump and at the same time somehow I hit the front brake hard enough to flip my bike frontwards. So the bike crashed and I went over the handlebars, but somehow I never fell. It didn't make sense. The bike crashed and I just was walking forward kind of. I don't know how to explain it, but I just never fell which was a miracle. The Lord's hand is so present in everything, it is crazy. My second exchange this week was with a zone leader. (I shouldn't have to go on another exchange for a while, since I went on two this week which I think is pretty rare but I don't know) The zone leaders teach college students. Not the UCF college students, the sister missionaries teach the UCF students, but the zone leaders teach college students that go to other colleges around here. It was cool to teach with them because I got to speak English and they are people your age. It was pretty cool, I really liked it. We went on a temple tour with a guy that was just recently baptized. He is just so happy right now. The gospel brought him so much happiness. I feel like he should be teaching me just because of the happiness he had and the spirit that he felt. I realized just how much I have taken this gospel for granted my whole life. People are so happy to hear it sometimes. It's crazy.
I had some pretty cool experiances this week. Some people at the start of the lesson put up little barriers and just aren't too interested. By the end of the lesson, the spirit has worked a miracle on them. Their whole thought process and just everything about them changes. We had one lesson where a guy just totally changed by the end. It was a miracle. To me he just looked different at the end, it is the coolest thing that I have ever seen.
I know this church is true. I can't ever deny it. Even if you just read The Restoration (Chapter 3 Section 1) from Preach My Gospel, it makes perfect sense. It's so fun teaching it. And it's cool to tell Spanish peple that their ancestors had a record too called the Book of Mormon. They love it sometimes.
And 1 of my companions got transferred to a new area. So it's just me and Elder Spilsbury now. It's a blast. Love you all! Thanks for the prayers and everything!
Elder Christiansen

Monday, August 29, 2011

Aug. 29th, 2011

Sooo Florida is soooo cool! I love it. The people here are amazing and the place is amazing. President Hall is way awesome and all about working hard, so I love it. The members here are so fun. The Spanish people seem to be a lot more fun than us haha. Their church is way cool. And the food here is amazing. I think I will be throwing on some pounds here. They give us so much food and it is some of the best food I've ever had. It is like eating at Grandma Jean's house every night and sometimes lunch. But it looks like our meals with members are going to get cut down, so we either have to have investigators fix us food or cook for ourselves. But I seriously love it here. It is a blast! I love the work here, we have a LOT to do. And here there is no such thing as a dry handshake. Our hands are clammy 24/7. And this week we rode our bike, we get the car every other week. And our area is sooo huge and so spread out, it is really hard to get around on a bike. It takes forever to bike sometimes. So it is pretty inefficient, but we get to meet a lot of people. So we pass out a lot of cards, which is really fun. We live in Oviedo, which is basically Orlando. It is to the North East I think. And UCF is in our area. So we see a lot of college students. They usually don't make fun of us and actually listen to us more than I thought. We really haven't got to many things yelled at us yet. I'm in a 3-some. One of my companions is Elder Spilsbury. He has been out for a year and is from Mesa, Arizona. His Spanish is basically perfect. He does most of the teaching and listening because he is the only one that understands the people haha. He just got transfered to this area with me. The other is Elder Klekas, he has been in this area for 3 months. He knows the area and where everyone lives, but doesn't speak as good of Spanish as Elder Spilsbury. I can't understand most of the Spanish people. They talk to fast. But I can understand the ones that speak clearly and more slowly and I can understand basically everything Elder Spilsbury says. I can also talk in Spanish and they understand me. I get made fun of all the time by members and their kids because I can't understand them. Sometimes they talk especially fast just to mess with me. I love them. They are just all way funny. I really just want to stay in this place for 8 months or whatever the max is. I don't like coming in not knowing anyone, anywhere, or what's going on. I just like to be real organized and know what's going on, but when you change it is like starting all over. So last week was kind of slow because we had to meet everyone and organize it a little bit. So this week should really pick up. We have met some real could people and I have high hopes.
I love everything here!
So the other day I put just regular hand washing dish soap in the dishwasher and that created a lot of bubbles all over. Cooking is going pretty good, I don't have to iron. I love the weather, it isn't too hot at all. My companions are sweet. Everything is just awesome. And I really can't tell you how much I love the food. We have rice with every meal. But I like it, so it is all good. And there isn't just one major type of Spanish people here. They are from all over, it is pretty cool actually. We talk to a lot of English people too, which is fun because I can understand them. The worst thing is just that our area is so spread out that it takes forever and its hard because Spanish people are mixed in with English and you always don't know what houses to knock, but the Spanish houses have a different type Dish Network satellite and just little features of the house sometimes means Spanish. 
O ya and our apartment complex has a movie theatre, gym, pool, hot tub, but we only get to use the gym haha.
Love you all, don't really have a lot of time but thanks for all the prayers and letters!
Love Elder Christiansen

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Address

Elder Kevin Christiansen
10502 Satellite Blvd, Suite E
Orlando, FL 32837-8426

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aug 18th, 2011

This last week has been crazy! With getting my flight plans and realizing that my MTC experiance is almost over. It is crazy. I am a little nervous to go to Orlando because I am so accustomed to the MTC, and I'm one of the oldest (longest time) Elders in the MTC and when I go out to Orlando, I am back to the youngest. It's like going from High School to college again. But I am very excited. I am happy that our flight just goes straight to Orlando also. Some Elders get a couple hours of lay overs. There are 21 people total going to Orlando in my travel group. I only know 5 of us. I guess there are some fluent Spanish speakers and then some English speakers also. One of the Elders here was telling me that he hopes we don't get switched to English speaking. Because if there are a lot of Spanish speaking missionaries, then they would probably just have us speak English. But I don't know, I think that's just a rumor he heard. My dream would be to speak Spanish for the first year, then the second year be able to teach Spanish and English Investigators. That would be really nice because I would be able to talk to almost everyone. We go to the travel office at 6 here in the MTC and our plane leaves at like 9:45. Me and Elder Hubbard both have to be at the travel office at 6. I have been so blessed to have Elder Hubbard here in the MTC with me. It has made things a lot better. Because I run into him quite a bit and we get to talk and just lift each other up. I know that it wasn't a coincidence that we got here at the MTC on the same day. It is another way that the Lord has shown his hand in my life. Sometimes I don't think that we realize how often the Lord's hand is actually in our lives, but my testimony of it has grown here in the MTC.
One of the devotionals, the speaker told us about how the Lord will often send other people to answer our prayers. I know that that is true because some of my toughest days here in the MTC, The Lord sent someone to help me. Whether it was a letter from someone, I ran into Elder Hubbard, a teacher said something, or just any random person said something that helped me get through the day.
I'm loving the MTC. We have a 5-ish districts in our zone, but there is one district who got here the week after us that our district is really close with. It will be tough leaving them because we are just so close. Also there is a district that just came in last week and there is a companionship that I just love. I talked with them a lot yesterday. One looks like David Faught without the mustache. It is seriously crazy. I asked him if he was a cowboy, but he said no. But I still picture him as a cowboy just because he is like a miniature David. It is sooooo cool! And his companion is way cool too. I talked to him a lot last night. We recognized each other from BYU. We saw each other a lot at Jamba Juice. And his style really stood out, so I recognized him real fast. I was talking to him and he kind of dresses like a classy gentleman from the 70's. It is cool. He wears this tight fitting brown suit (hope he doesn't gain weight). And he has like the big old round glasses. I asked him what kind of swagg it is that he wears. He said he just buys all of his clothes at DI (thrift store). Except his suit. But he is just way nice and wears some really cool stuff.
I have some great teachers. One of them is so spiritual and has helped me out tremendously, the other is ALWAYS: in a good mood, hungry, funny, and crazy. I love them both. They both go to BYU and are extremely smart. One of them is majoring in accounting (the happy one, Hermano Moan) and the other wants to be a doctor (Hermano Snyder). I have been so blessed to have great teachers, some Elders here, don't get blessed as much with as good teachers. I can really just see how wonderful my distrct and teachers are.
Sorry for my horrible English! Spanish is going good and starting to take over a little bit. Which is good. I love Spanish, it is a blessing that we can learn new things and gain more knowledge on this earth. 
Thanks for the prayers, packages, and letters!
I Love You All and appreciate everything that you have done for me, I love this gospel and serving a mission. I am so grateful to be apart of this church. I know it is true with all my heart!
Love Elder Christiansen 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aug. 11th, 2011

So this week really went by fast. Which is nice. Everything is seemingly to get a lot more easy and better here. It's just kind of flowing which is nice. I think it is probably because it is just about the same every week haha. But I do enjoy it. Our district has been talking a lot about going to Orlando because hopefully today, we get our flight plans. Hopefully. If not today then probably tomorrow. Our Spanish as a district is pretty good. Our teachers our happy with our Spanish. And one of our teachers, I'm pretty sure likes me and my companions teaching skills, but the other, not so much haha. So we are working on it. Teaching is definitely the hardest thing! Afterwards I am just so tired and want to take a nap. I hope it is because the Spirit drained all my energy out of me haha. But it does take a lot of energy to remember all the teaching skills, but what takes the most energy and is the most important things are  listening to the investigator, discerning, and listening to the Spirit in no particluar order. I'm still kind of nervous to teach a lot of the time. Not in a Spanish sense, but just because it is almost impossible it seems like to have a PERFECT lesson. It's so frustrating. And I just want them all to be perfect, so teaching sometimes is just not my favorite thing, but I am getting better at it and enjoying it more.
I feel like I kind of busted out of my little Spanish slump. I think it is just because I don't realize I am getting better at Spanish. I can speak a lot faster now and I don't have to think how to conjugate as much and I don't have to think about what I am saying as much. I feel like my English is getting horrible. I don't know how to spell words sometimes and I notice some really bad sentence structures. But it's probably a good thing. In the TRC this week, which is where volunteers come in from the outside world and teach us, we taught a lady from Mexico. And it was difficult to understand everything she said. And it took just about everything I had to listen to her and try to figure out what she was saying. I could understand the main part of what she was saying, but I couldn't perfectly understand every sentence. It was a great experiance, but I was soooooooooo tired after teaching her. She did a lot of talking and it just took everything I had to just try and understand. Me and my companion this week also ran into a native Hispanic in the bathroom when we were doing our service time (it's a good thing, not a punishment) on Monday. He saw our name tags in Spanish I think and talked to us in Spanish. Really fast. So after repeating himself 2-3 times, we got every sentence and question he asked and were able to respond. I think the Spanish is coming along good, I just really need some help on the little filler words and little sayings here and there. And I need to work on understanding what people are saying better. But I feel like I can teach every lesson in Spanish pretty well. I can't say exactly what I want to say how I want to say it, but I can get the doctrine across. 
Elder Cecil O. Samuelson gave one of our devotionals this week, which was pretty good. What I got from it, is to always represent the Lord no matter where you are because people will always be watching you, especially as a missionary. And he told a story of 2 missionaries who were walking and thought they were alone, but there was a lady who was interested in their message and came to up to talk to them, but she came from behind them, and I guess the missionaries were talking inappropriately about something. I don't know how bad it was, but the girl who was following them, heard what they were saying and left and never asked her questions. Always be an example of Jesus Christ.
Love you all! Thanks for packages, letters, and you wonderful prayers!
Love, Elder Christiansen

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Aug. 4th, 2011

This week is flying by! It's really nice though because I think my whole district is ready to get out of here already haha. The MTC is fun, but just really repetitive. We went to the temple today and ate in the cafeteria there again. It was real good. I got biscuits and gravy, hasbrowns, bacon, and sausage for $5.
I'm am sooooo tired all the time. I need like 10 hours of sleep I'm pretty sure. I think that's just about how everyone else feels too. I think every other branch is aloud to take naps on P-Day except ours. So that kinda stinks, but P-Day is just such a busy day writing letters and laundry, I really don't think I have time for a nap.
The District I'm in really seems to get along great, we have a real good time and since there are only 7 of us, we are pretty close.
The 5 going to Orlando:
Elder Yentes, my companion, he is from Fresno area California (Tulare). I really like him, he is way good at talking to someone for a couple minutes and being able to know a lot about them. He is really good at just listening to people and the Spirit.
Elder Gregory, he is companions with Elder Skalka, Elder Gregory is from South Jordan and he is the district leader right now, we are in the same room, he is way funny.
Elder Skalka is from Logan, Utah and he is just real nice and always is having a good time.
Elder Knapp, he is in a trio companionship with the Elders going to Ventura. He is the best in our district at Spanish... By far. He speaks way good and can understand about everything. He is from Eugene, Oregon.
The 2 going to Ventura:
Elder Smith, he is from San Antonio and he says ya'll quite a bit, but doesn't have an accent.
Elder Coles is from somewhere in Utah like 15 minutes away, he knows a ton of stuff about everything it seems like.
The Devotionals were once again great this week. I forget one of the speakers because I don't have my journal, but the one I remember (Elder Gerald N. Lund) (I think) talked about faith and hope. He told a story of an Elder who lived at the top of Brazil. He was called to serve in Sau Palo, Brazil (I think) and so he took a 4 day journey down to the mission. The first day he gets there, he is just real tired and really scared. The Mission President told him that he was going to be going teaching with an older Elder after dinner. The new Elder was scared and told the Mission President he couldn't do it, but the Mission President sent him out anyways. When they went out to teach, the Senior Companion told the younger that there was an appointment that fell through, so they were just going to go track instead. The new Elder was really scared, but did it anyway. The Senior Companion told him that he would knock the first door and told the younger one to watch him because he would be taking the second door. The person answers the door and they get rejected. So they go to the second house and the younger Elder won't knock the door, so the Senior Companion knocks it and then pushes the kid up onto the step. When the door opened, it was the new Elder's sister that answered. His sister had run away from home about 4 years before that day and the family had no idea where she was or if she was even alive. It was the new Elder's first contact and conversion.
I really liked the story becuase I know that I really just need to have faith and hope, and just go about doing the work and then the Lord will provide and help me out.
The Spanish is really kind of just at a little stand still. I feel like the words I am learning know are words that most people won't ever use. So I am just trying to work on speaking better and being able to conjugate on the fly. Our whole district kind of feels the same way. I can understand quite a bit of what our teachers say in Spanish and I can read most verses in the Scriptures, but just the speaking real fluently is still coming. The first for weeks here, my Spanish skills just shot up, but now they kind of are just gradually getting better. It is kind of frustrating, but I am confident that I'll be fine as long as I just keep studying the language.
Just about every gym time, I play basketball. It's pretty fun because there are a lot of good guys in my gym time, so we get some pretty good games going. I play volleyball every once in a little while, but it's not as fun as basketball. And then sometimes I'll play a game of 4 square, but that gets boring real fast. I've been trying to gain some weight, and I've gained a couple of pounds just these last couple of days, but I still am trying to gain more.
On Tuesday's we have a tradition now in our zone called "que parte martes." Which is like "What part Tuesdays". So the people who have long enough hair just try and do some nice parts in their hair. Mine was looking good this Tuesday, but it still has so more growing to do.
Sorry my letters are so boring! The highlight of every week for me are the devotionals, and then nothing else really changes! sorry. O but yesterday, we had a workshop (which is new because the started a new curriculum) and it was really cool, the showed videos of people who had difficulties then we would teach someone based on the video. It was real said, but really fun.
Thanks for the prayers, letters, and packages!
Love you all,
Elder Christiansen

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28, 2011

So last week when I went to send my email, I ran out of time before I could. And the computer will usually let you log back in and give you an extra minute just in case you didn't send it. But my computer didn't let me do that. So I had to go talk to some lady in an office to ask for some extra time becuase I ran out. That's why my email got to you so late.
Things are going great. Teaching is getting easier, but I still need a lot of work. It is really hard to start teaching a person. You have to get to know them, find out their needs, then teach them a lesson. And it is just really hard to transition from thing to thing. Especially in Spanish because I know what I want to say, but can't say it in Spanish. Sometimes it is really frustrating and so I turn to Spanglish. But I am getting better at teaching and enjoying it more.
The Spanish is still coming along. I hit a little wall for a little while, but got over it. Some of the grammar principles are still dificult and really hard to do on the fly when I am talking, but it's coming along. I can read a lot of things in Spanish. But the most difficult thing to read in Spanish are definitely the scriptures. It is really hard to follow along and understand them. I can understand what the scripture says sometimes, but it really takes a long time. I can't just read them and know what they say.
We had two great devotionals this week just like every week. Unfortunetly I don't have my journal with me so I don't have their names. But one of them who spoke on Sunday had already spoke to us before and he is just really funny. He was cracking jokes left and right. I think he is in the media department here at the MTC and he showed us some commercials that the church had made and they were really helpful because at the end they have some good one liners and he would go over the one liners with us. Some were real cheesy but I enjoyed all of them. One of them was real sad about a girl who swam and did relays, and here team always took last. The girl who swam the last part had something wrong with her legs and so she was pretty slow, but it said that she always finished every race. There were a lot of commercials that I liked. And he showed us some older commercials and they were still pretty funny.
The other speaker that spoke on Tuesday and told us some just really cool things. He said that we had a spark of Diety in us and so therefore we have the greatest potential. He also said on our mission that it is the sancifying and purifying time in our life. Because we go through afflictions and we suffer and we repent and we experiance joy. It's just a real up and down time. He said that the mission is the greatest and worst time of your life (or something like that). It was a great talk, I really love the devotionals here.
On Sunday me and Elder Hubbard, Leblanc, and Cousineau took a picture together. It was nice to be all together. Me and Elder Hubbard get to see eachother a lot which is great because usually when I am down or missing my family or friends back home, me and Elder Hubbard seem to run into eachother and get to just have a little conversation that is always nice. It's amazing how prevelant the Lord's hand is in our lives, and most of the time, we don't even realize it.
I just got back from the temple. It was nice because it has been closed for cleaning. It was just really peaceful and comforting today and it's really nice on the mission because you can just kind of forget about everything while you are in there. After our session, we ate breakfast in the temple cafeteria. Which was really nice because their food is a lot better than the MTC's. I got biscuits and gravy, apple juice, and potatoes (the skinny ones that you slice with like a cheese grater?) haha and it was only $3. So I plan to eat there every time after the temple.
This week I got a letter from Ryan7725 The Prodigee Boomer Ray Stockard. It was real nice to hear that they are all doing great. They went to the celebrity golf tournament in Tahoe and got a Jimmer jersey signed by Jimmer of course. But the greatest part was that Ryan got a football signed by Jake Golden Boy Heaps for his birthday. My mom then I'm guessing did some great Facebook creeping and sent me 3 pictures of them at the celebrity golf tournament. I miss my friends like crazy, but I would much rather be here. I just wish we could all be going to Orlando together right now and be companions the whole time haha.
Time is just cruising here in the MTC. The thing I miss most is naps. I really took those for granted back home. I'm not a waking up at 6:30 type, but it is getting a little easier for me. We are always doing things here in the MTC and when we have a little extra time it seems like we go to the MTC Bookstore and buy some more flashcards or something. The store is really addicting and is just so cheap.
Me and my companion are getting along great. We are having a blast and we are getting to know eachothers styles a lot bettter, so our teaching is starting to get better together. Our district is really close, it's nice. It's just a lot of fun to be here.
Final story and this is for GMC$. So at the end of every day, we play this game where we all stand in a circle and point our "guns" (hands) at someone in the circle, then one person shoots and when you shoot you put your hand down. Whoever gets shot then shoots someone and puts their hand down. When you shoot twice, and you get shot, you have to say the prayer. I'm on a 4 kill streak right now, but I think they might be gaining up on me tonight. I know I did a horrible job at explaining how to play the game haha.
Love and miss you all! thanks for the lettters, parayers, and packages!
Elder Christiansen

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011

I'm having a great time here at the MTC! It's so hard, but so fun. One thing that I learned that helped me out this week was: don't expect not to suffer and don't pray to not suffer because we are representatives of Jesus Christ and He suffered everything, so don't want to not suffer. It's something that is just going to happen and our suffering isn't anything near what Jesus Christ suffered.
This week was crazy for me. Really up and down. Some of the lessons we taught seemed good and others really stunk. It feels so bad to have a bad lesson. But we are getting better and improving and my Spanish is still coming along which is nice. It seemed like for a while my Spanish kind of plautoed (no idea how to spell that) and it was frustrating. But I kind of got over the hump when I just stopped worrying about myself. We have learned just about every grammar principle now, but putting them to use is really hard. I can kind of conjugate everything, but it takes a while and my talking isn't too smooth. As I am teaching sometimes I have to say the word three different times to just conjugate it right! So I think the best thing to do is to just read Spanish out of the scriptures and Preach My Gospel so that I can learn the structures better and learn just how to put sentences together. It stinks though because in some branches, they have personal tutors that you set up a time to get a one on one lesson, but we don't have one yet and I don't know if we will get one. But our district is pretty good at Spanish because we kind of did the full imersion program where we just started teaching every lesson in Spanish and not English while some other districts taught English first and then are trying to teach in Spanish in the later weeks. The ones who teach in English give much better lessons and have probably learned how to teach better, but I like the way our district did it because we have really picked up Spanish pretty fast.
On Sunday and Tuesday for Devotionals, we started off by singing "Called to Serve" in the coolest way ever.
-First the piano plays like a marching tune.
-Then we start singing
-Verse 1 (we sing really soft)
-Chorus 1 (soft)
-Verse 2 (normal loud)
-Chorus 2 (loud)
 -Repeat Chorus (really loud)
-Repeat the "God our king will be forever, Called- to - serve- our- Kingggggggggg (slooow and then we held King forever)
It was way cool expecially the soft singing part was awesome
Me and my companion get along really well, it's really nice. Our whole District seems to get along which is great and our zone is really close. We only have now 7 people in our district because 2 went to Peru after 3 weeks to go to that MTC and 1 got bumped up to the advanced class and is already in Ventura California. Five of us are going to Orlando and the other two are going to Ventura. We have a total of 4 districts in our zone and we might get another next week. Some people are going to Culican, other cities in Mexico, Bolivia, California, Baton Rouge, New York, Orem, Provo, and some other places. There is a companionship where one guy is from South Jordan, Utah going to Baton Rouge and his companion is from Baton Rouge going to Provo. 
The things that I learn here are crazy. I don't like not being good at something and there is ALWAYS something that I can do better. It's frustrating, but I'm learning a lot. One of my teachers is just a real spiritual guy who is just amazing and I want to be like him, the other is real inergetic and the enforcer who just tells you straight up how it is. So its a real nice balance.
Tuesdays devotional was amazing! F. Melvin Hammon (Emeritus Seventy) and his wife Sister Bonnie Hammond spoke. She gave a great talk and was just real upbeat about EVERYTHING. She loved EVERYTHING. No kidding. She was just so happy, she was just praising how much she loved her husband and said he had a great voice and then had him sing for us. She kissed him right there by the pulpit in front of everyone. He sang some church song about love, I forgot, but in part Spanish and English. He was real good. They were mission presidents in Bolivia and Sister Hammond told us a story about a man named I think Elder Scott Peterson? He was on the BYU football team and then went on his mission to Bolivia. When he was on his mission, BYU won the National Championship. So a Sports Illustrated writer came to Bolivia and interviewed him on why he served a mission. The writer and his brand new wife came to church and Elder Peterson bore his testimony on how he loves his Heavenly Father more than football. The sports writer and wife adopted a baby in Bolivia, brought it back to America, wrote the story, and the cover of the Sports Illustrated magazine was Elder Peterson baptizing someone. I guess it was just a great story. You should look it up if you can.
Everything is good here! Except ironing. I dislike it very much. So I don't do it. But my stuff isn't really wrinkled. In Orlando I don't think I'll have to iron thank goodness! I'm still a little sick. My big nose just won't stop going. But I'm fine. I'll get over it.
Times up. Love you all, thanks for the prayers and letters and packages!
Love, Elder Christiansen

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday 7/14/11

So these weeks are flying by at the MTC! I´m glad though. I do love the MTC and love the things that I learn here, but I´m real exited to just get to Orlando already haha. But I know I still have a lot more to learn here at the MTC. The work here is really hard! It seemed not to bad at the start, but it seems like there is always something to improve on! Or in my case, like 50 things to improve on haha. It´s nice to always be working on things and getting better, but sometimes I just get overwhelmed. Its real hard stuff here. For example: Its hard during personal study time to concentrate on the investigators that are being prepared for me. In every thing that we do, we are to ask ourselves, "Is this helping my future investigators build their relationship with Heavenly Father?" EVERYTHING! haha... And I'm a really selfish person so it is tough, but I think that I am improving on it. Another thing is just listening when we are teaching a lesson. Listening to the spirit, listening to my investigator, and trying to figure out what the investigator needs by listining to the spirit. As I'm teaching, I am trying to figure out what I want to say next and how to conjugate it. So in one of my lessons I just really tried to listen and it went well. I'm also getting better at listening. Sometimes when I teach and I'm listening  and thinking about the investigator, instead of myself and what I want to say, the words seem to flow out of my mouth. It feels so cool and a lot of times I will come out of teaching a lesson and wonder how I said everything. It's not like the spirit just gives me words that I have never studied before and I just rattle off everything perfectly. Its just a lot easier for me to speak when the spirit is helping me than when I try to speak Spanish at lunch with my friends. The gift of tongues is real. It's not like I can say whatever I want to say, but I have learned so much so fast, and when I first got here, I started remembering things that I learned in Spanish in high school that I couldn't remember before. I'm grateful for the Lord's help in all things because without Him, I would be nothing. But everything is just going well even though I have so much to improve on and I'm loving it and Spanish is going well.
This Monday the oldest district in our zone left to go to Villahermosa, Mexico and some other Mexico cities. They were real cool, it stinks to watch them leave because they become family. But on Sunday, when we sang them a song that is just kind of a tradition in our zone to sing to those who are leaving. It's hymno #88 "Placentero nos es Trabajar" (I'm pretty sure).. It has a real cool story about it. If you can, you should research it and what the lyrics mean. Some like missionary wrote it in Mexico or something like that and he almost baptized the President of Mexico, so if you can find a story like that one, then you found it haha. But it is real cool and when we sing it, it brings the spirit like crazy. The first 2 verses we sing regular, then the 3rd really soft until towards the end when it says más allá (I think haha) and we belt that part real loud. Its awesome.
Our Sunday devotional was awesome. Brother Heaton gave it (he does something at the MTC haha I'm pretty sure).. But he gave a great talk. I loved it. I was also right in front of him in the 2nd row listening. His family got the 1st row haha. We got really lucky somehow with the seats. It was a talk about how what we think when we hear the word repentance. For me, I didn't like the word repentance. But he taught me to love it. Be excited to repent because it is great! in PMG it says "We will come to feel great joy in repenting daily" its true. He said repent in:
Hebrew is schub: to turn toward God and away from sin... Therefore positive word.
Greek is metanoia: Change of mind, a fresh view about God, oneself, and the world. Therefore another positve word.
Latin is paenitiere: (word came about during apostate Christianity) means to feel regret or contrition. Words like it: Penitent, Penitentiary, Penance... All negative words...
English is obviously repentance: John Wycliff made this word when writing the bible which is a positive word. The people wanted him to make it a word that meant to like pay someone like a bishop or priest or somehthing. John Wycliff was killed, he was a hero.
I'm grateful to be at the MTC and on a mission. I love it. I love my Heavenly Father, I know he is my father in Heaven. I am grateful for my older brother Jesus Christ, I know he lives. I love this gospel.
Times out, Love you all, thanks for the packages and lettters!
Love Elder Christiansen

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Hey Everyone!
First mother, there is no way to get me ice cream here in the MTC haha, but I'm fine cuz there is BYU creamery ice cream on Wednesday's and Sunday's and then just regular ice cream bars most other days. But thanks for the thought haha.
Thanks for the packages too! haha but just one thing, we aren't allowed to chew gum, so if you ever send another package just don't send gum, but thanks still for everything! I'm so hungry by nightime, it's nice to snack on something! And I got all your Dear Elders! Thanks!
This was a great week! I loved it.
Friday: Not much really happened, just a lot of studying, but they keep telling us that the Lord prepares people specifically prepared for for us, which is really cool to think about, and they tell us to always pray for them.
Saturday: I learned the First Vision in Spanish. I also got some letters from GMC$ (Tommy, Ryan, Hadley) and my mom and grandma. It was nice to hear from everyone. I really miss all you guys, but I love it here so much, I just wish you all could be missionaries right now. It's seriously undescribable.
On Saturday night we had a little Fourth of July devotional. When we all had gotten into our seats and were waiting for the devotional to start, we sang songs.
First One: Yankle Doodle
Second: Yankee Doodle Dandy
Then: The Grand Ole Flag
America the Beatiful
And Then: The Star Spangled Banner
After we had sung (sang, I dont know) President Stutter adressed us. I don't know really who he is but in his introduction they said he was an advisor for 3 presidents. He told a story about a guy named Hussain. Hussain lived in some country that didn't have the freedom we have here in America. One night someone like troups from another country or just like some big bad group (I really don't know) came into his country to kill everyone basically. Hussain who had a 3 month year old daughter was with like 16ish members of his family and they went to their neighbors house to stay in some underground shelter. As they were in the shelter they could here the enemies about them stepping. When they were right above them, Hussain's 3 month old daughter started crying. In order to save his whole family and the neighbors he was with, he used some piece of his wife's clothing to choke and kill his baby. Hussain was only 20 years old and I can't imagine what that was like for him. I haven't really apreciated living in America as I should have. I'm so grateful I live here in this country, it is such a blessing.
Then after the devotional it was like 10:30 so it was bedtime, but they let us go outside and watch the stadium of fire firework show and we also got an ice cream bar. Me and my companion just went into our room and got ready for bed haha. We were lame and just so exhausted, but we saw a couple of fireworks.
Sunday: We had fast and testimony meeting which was great. We had a 2 hour missionary devotional which was long, uncomfortable, but still awesome. My favorite talk was about how there is God's path that we can follow which is just one path. Then there are all these other worldy path's that we can choose to follow, it was just kind of cool to think about how God's way is just one way while the world has sooooo many other ways.
At the end of the night, Jenny Oaks Baker who is Elder Oaks daughter, and she is a popular violinist did a little devotional for us where she played. It was way cool, and she also had her 6 yr old (cello), 8 year old (piano), and 9 yr old (violin) play I am a Child of God. It was crazy good.
Monday I started getting sick, but I was still able to study effectively all day with the Lord's help. We do a little service on Monday too.
Tuesday: I was still sick and my throat was sore. We had to teach in the TRCC and somehow, I didn't notice it at the time, but my throat or sickness didn't effect me at all during the lesson and we were able to deliver a great message. The Lord works in small ways and we usually don't notice them, but He is so present in our lives and I am starting to realize that now. It's crazy how frequent He interacts with us and helps us out. I am so grateful to have such a loving Heavenly Father.
Also on Tuesday there was a devotional from Elder Cree-L Kofford and his wife. He talked about being obediant which was awesome and learning how to discern the spirit. My favorite thing he said was, "Success isn't in knowing doctrine, but in feeling it." or something like that haha.
Wednesday: It flew by, it was basically studying alllll day with an hour and a half of gym and shower break in between.
Today: I'm still a little sick but I'm fine. The Lord is really helping me out and I'm gratefull for it. Maybe I should do my part and take some medicine haha.
Thanks for the prayers, letters, packages, and support!!!
Love you all!
Elder Christiansen

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday 6/30/11

Dear Familia,
Elder Cousinea is the red headed kid that I went to stay at his house for the Mountain West Tournament.
This week the biggest thing I learned was that I never listened when I prayed! We actually gets answers, its pretty cool and is seriously a COMMUNICATION with our Father in Heaven. It is cool that if you actually start praying and stop just to listen in the middle of the prayer, answers to questions and what to pray for will come to your mind. I've learned that any good thought that makes you want to be better is personal revalation.
So I don't have my whole 30 min. to email this week because I messed up writing you last week. If you want to write me go to (something like that I think.) And you just put Elder Kevin Donald Christiansen as who your sending it to and then mailbox #290... (I think thats right). It is something like that at least. And thats the way that I get the letter that you send the same day. I can only check my email once a week, so if you all just send me letters through, then I can read them basically whenever I get them as long as I have free time or during the night. Then on P-Day's, I'll be able to just write one big letter and not have to read my emails. My bad on telling you the wrong thing. Hope that makes sense, bascally just right me on dearelder and I'll be able to reply better on Thursdays.
This week was good, It's crazy how much Spanish I actually know. On Monday, just 5 days into the MTC, I taught my first lesson to the area leaders... All in Spanish... Then on Tuesday, I contacted a fake investigator, then left and taught her all in Spanish. I think each lesson went at least 20 minutes, we did an alright job, it was pretty awesome. We truely do have the gift of tongues on our mission, we just have to work at the language and pray to be able to access the gift.
Sunday, we had sacrament for an hour and priesthood for an hour, its cool cause we get some pretty good speakers. We don't have Sunday school, but instead we have like 2-3 hours of individual or companionship study or language study and then maybe a devotional. Something like that. Is all I know is that we are always learning.
Monday was just a lot of studying and we taught our first lesson.
Tuesday was studying, taught a fake investigator, and we had a devotional, it was about 10 steps of being a great missionary. Elder Walker of the first quorum of the seventy gave it. But the best thing that I got out of it was when he bore testimony of President Monson. It is just so powerful to bear testimony of a modern prophet and I realized that I hadn't been doing that in my first two lessons I taught and so I need to incorpriate that into them.
Wednesday was crazy learning and we actually taught a lesson in English to another Elder in our group, I think it really went good, well better than our lessons in Spanish haha.
Today at 7, we went to a session at the temple, so we woke up extra early (6:15). Then we had individual study and now we are doing laundry and having a little P-Day.
I love my companion, he is really cool. Its funny cause he has a girlfriend, but she's not waiting for him, but he is always eager to get letters and he always wants one from her, it doesn't distract him from the work, but its just funny because at lunch and stuff, he is always asking our district leader if he got the mail or when he is getting it. My companion has got a ton of letters and a couple packages so far... And I have got.. well one letter haha. But I really don't mind. Because I messed up and told you the wrong thing last time but if you use dearelder, I'll get way more mail. Not that I want mail... but packages would be nice! ;)... with my hair gel in the bathroom, jerky, those gatorade mix packages that you pore in water, candy... etc... that would be very nice! :)
Times up!
Elder Christiansen