Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30th, 2012

Well this last Saturday, we had a baptism! It truly was a miracle. At the start of the transfer we were really just hoping of having a miracle of one baptism. We had no idea who it was going to be or how it really would be done, but the Lord definitely provided. As we look back on it with the whole process, we still have no idea how it happened. But just that it did. It was a really cool experience, and gave me a lot of hope and confidence for the months coming up in this Minneola ward. It was just awesome to be apart of the experience that she had on her way to baptism. It wasn't easy, but it was possible.

When I came out on my mission, I had a goal of about 75 baptisms. I have 74 to go... haha. It took over 8 months here in Florida to get one, but it was so worth it. My testimony has really grown over these past 8 months and all the hard work, devastation's, tough times, and bike problems was worth seeing the one smile of the lady who was baptized and confirmed this past weekend. And even though I worked really hard and put in a lot of effort, I can still see my own nothingness compared to God. I feel like I did nothing compared to Him in helping our investigator into the waters of baptism.

We also went this week to our ward day of service, we did service at Relay for Life which was pretty fun. It was a good opportunity to serve and to bond with the ward. My companion goes back to Ranchocucamonga Wednesday. I will still be in Minneola and I love it!

I really don't have a lot for this past week. Just that the baptism was awesome! And I am grateful for every body's help, love, and support. I couldn't do it without your prayers... The Lord blesses me everyday because of them.

Love you all!

Elder Christiansen

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 23rd, 2012

We got some rain this week, but nothing too bad. I love the rain here because it is like the perfect weather when it is raining, but then sometimes the sun will come out right after the rain and it will be super hot and you just feel like you are walking around in like warm moist. But the weather here kind of reminds me of Fallon's in the sense that it is super random.
I probably had one of the best compliments I have ever received this week from a two year old. We went to visit a member and her grandson was there who really wasn't shy at all and loved us! He wanted to sit on the couch with us and was trying to play cars with us, but then his grandma asked him who we were. And he said, "They're angels." It was pretty cool! It amazed me just how much we can learn from little kids. They seem to have a spiritual sensitivity sometimes that we just don't have. Even though us missionaries aren't perfect and we are constantly messing up, the little boy could tell that we carried with us something special. I just wish the whole world was as open, humble, meek, etc. as him, conversions would be so much easier!
I had a couple experiences this week where I learned things that weren't too obvious at first. For example that little boy was one, then also at church this week a member gave a talk that we had shared a message with before. He told us at our appointment with him that he couldn't read scriptures because at 8 years old his vision basically almost left him. He said that he only has 10 percent vision. So he can read, but it has to be really big words. As he was giving his talk this Sunday I had forgotten about the vision problem. He seemed to be doing a great job at looking up when he was speaking, but when he went to read, it was kind of tough. I could see that he was flipping through his talk papers pretty fast. I then realized that the words on the papers were BIG in order for him to read the writing. I was thinking why did he even accept the assignment to talk if he knew it would be a struggle to speak and could probably very easily have gotten out of the task. What I took away from the talk is that I could really do a better job at whatever calling I am given. And to do it without question and with trust in the Lord that it will all work out. He was a great example to me this week on how to magnify a calling.
We also met a wonderful lady this week who we helped receive an answer to her prayers. It was a great experience. At the end of the prayer that she said, she looked up smiling, and told us that she just felt so much better and peaceful. It is such a blessing to see others feel the love of Christ and to see them feel the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful to be apart of this work. The best part is that it isn't even my work, but that I am just an instrument in the Lord's hand. I have looked at myself a lot during my mission as a "sower", but I realized kind of how I am actually "reaping" what the Lord is "sowing" and it truly is a blessing.
Love and miss you all! Thanks for the support and prayers!
Elder Christiansen

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 16th, 2012

So this week had a lot of ups and downs! I guess I will just start out with the bad. It usually always has to do with bikes. Tuesday night my front tire went flat and then on Wednesday my back tire went flat. Haha just some bad luck. Me and my companion added up how much I have spent on my bike in these 2 months here in Minneola and it is way too much! And the part that really stunk was how many times we got bashed this week. Usually by baptists. We set up a lesson with some people and it just turned out to be a bash (which we kind of expected), then we got bashed at a couple of door steps, by a guy on the street, then a guy last night as we were riding home said that he liked what we were doing but he just wanted to remind us that it is not by works that we are saved. That is probably the thing I dislike the most to hear. The people that bash us usually know soooooooo much about the bible, but so many people have so many different views on scripture interpretation and just things like that. The nice thing is that we always have The Book of Mormon to go back to. No matter how many times people come up with scriptures that may sound good or things to tell us how we are wrong, I have always had my testimony of The Book of Mormon to fall back on. It has been such a blessing out on my mission. And my testimony in it has strengthened so much. I am glad that Heavenly Father gave us The Book of Mormon and the spirit so that we can know of its truthfulness instead of making us rely on our own wisdom and our own translation of scriptures. He truly is a loving Father.

Even though we got bashed this week probably more than ever, there was a lot of cool things that happened. We had the opportunity to go to a community college and share our beliefs with two world religion classes. That was REALLY FUN! We were able to teach a lot of doctrine and where it all comes from. And a lot of people were actually attentively listening. At the end we had a question and answer period. Most of the questions had to do with what we do on missions and our lifestyle and then about our "mormon underwear". It was really fun though and everyone was really nice. It was a great opportunity.

Another interesting thing that happened this week was we taught a member of our ward going to the Olympics for the 100 meter dash. He is in our ward and is visiting from Ireland to train here in Florida at some place called the NTC that I think is pretty popular. He is training with the Tyson Gay (America's fastest 100 meter runner) and other really good Americans and some Caribbeans. He said they are the best in the world, so he is training with them. He said he is the only white guy there haha. But it is pretty cool because I guess "BBC" (British Broadcasting Company) which I think is pretty huge in Europe, is going to interview him on his religious beliefs and other stuff, so that is pretty cool. So it is always cool to know someone famous haha.

I really love being out here in Florida! I know it is where I am suppose to be even though it always isn't easy. My testimony has increased so much in so little time. I have learned how real prayer is, that afflictions are for our benefit, that the Atonement is for everyone and anyone, and much much more. I am so grateful for every one's support and love and prayers. I have felt them everyday out here. I love serving a mission and the Lord has blessed not only me for doing it, but I know that he is also blessing my family back home. I am grateful for my family and all their love and patience with me. I hope all is well. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ once again established on the earth. I know that being a member of it takes a lot of sacrifice and hard work, but that is how we learn how to one day be more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

Love and miss you all!
Elder Christiansen

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9th, 2012

Shout out to Stu-Con and his birthday! Lots of love my man!

This week was a really good week! We had a lot of luck and a lot of help from the Lord. Easter Sunday was also very good! We got to visit a couple of families and eat at their houses. I ate a ton. And they both gave us Easter baskets, so we have a lot of candy. Easter is really special because it is all about the Atonement. We watched the video "He Is Risen" a couple times with members and that is a great little video. I don't know if you all have gone to (I think that is the website), but it is really good and there are some really good videos. Even though it is sad to watch some of the videos and it's hard to see just some of the things that Jesus Christ went through, the videos really bring a spirit of just peace and comfort. I know that as I watched them my testimony in Jesus Christ strengthened and the reality in His infinite Atonement. It is really nice to have Christmas and Easter to remind us a little more about our Savior, but it probably shouldn't be that way. I remember Sister Hall telling us that everyday we should think of Jesus Christ like we do on Christmas. I know that I am guilty of not thinking of Him as much as I do during Christmas and Easter, but whenever I do remember Him and reflect on His love for us, it always brings comfort to my soul.

This week we were blessed with quite a bit of lessons to teach. On Monday, we went on a church tour with an investigator. When we got there, we realized we had left the keys at home.. Super not clutch. But luckily the High Priest Group Leader in the other ward lived really close and helped us out haha. It was a real good time. We taught a lesson and it is the best lesson we had had with that investigator.

This week something that I learned was just how much I have taken the church for granted. Being a member all of my life, I haven't been able to experience the part of not really having the blessings of the Gospel in my life. We went to a member's home and they are converts and they told us their conversion stories. They were awesome. It strengthened my testimony and it created a yearning in me of having more of the spirit. I realized how much the spirit is desired. As I kind of thought about the spirit and the blessings that it brings to me, I had a little "wake up call" that I needed to try even harder to spread the gospel with others and let them experience the blessings of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Everybody wants the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, but many don't know where to find it. I realized that just bearing testimony to others more will help them feel of the Holy Ghost. Testimonies are powerful and I know that we can bear simple testimonies and touch the souls of others. I hope that we can all have and create opportunities to bear our testimonies with others. That is one thing I will be working on this week. For that which we don't share, we lose. (A revised quote by an apostle? Maybe President Eyring??)

I love you all! Miss you tons! Thanks for your prayers!


Elder Christiansen

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2nd, 2012

This week really exploded! In a good way. As we say sometimes on our missions, "We got some new people coming out of the woodworks." I don't really know what that really means, but I like it.

The thing I want to talk about today is conference. It was super awesome! I have never appreciated having prophets on the earth as much as I do now. It is truly a blessing to have the priesthood authority back on the earth and to have living prophets and apostles. I learned a lot during this conference. The main thing that I walked away with was that we should seek for more spiritual guidance and revelation. I thought that that was the main message of this conference, but I was wrong. After conference we went to a member's home and had a lesson. We asked them what they all got from conference. We went around the table sharing what we all took from the words spoken. The dad shared first, he said that this conference Jesus Christ was mentioned so much, it was just like a reassuring feeling that He lives today, the daughter said that she thought families were huge in this conference, a friend of the family said that the Atonement was a pretty big thing talked about, the mom said that she liked the part about special needs children because she is now probably going to adopt one, the son said doctrine really stood out to him. Then me and my companion shared what we got from conference. It was really cool that each of us all walk away with different messages that stand out to us.

That is just more evidence to me on how real this gospel is. How true it is. How much Heavenly Father loves us. How the Holy Ghost is real and does teach us things and not only just things, but things that we need at certain points in our lives.

I think all of us who watched conference are now on "Spiritual Highs" and it doesn't haven't to end in a weeks time. We can keep these highs that we have as we look back on the words spoken at conference, as we read the scriptures, and just keep doing the little things. We can learn new things every time because the Spirit is the true teacher. Something that I need to work on is to do more on my part to be able to continue receiving inspiration and revelation by looking back on talks/advice, by prayer, fasting, pondering, and studying the scriptures. When we ask, we receive. We can grow in the gospel everyday.

I love and miss you all. I couldn't do this without your love and prayers.


Elder Christiansen