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