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