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