Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 70!

Okay, this week was incredible.

We had zone training which was AMAZING. President Hoover is a counselor in our mission presidency and he is awesome. He's the one who took us to the sand dunes. He taught us that the Greek root for "enthusiasm" is "theos entae" which means "God within us!" Isn't that cool? 

After zone training, Pres. Hoover saw us walking into McDonald's to grab lunch, and he parked and bought us our food! The best part of it was that once we had our food, we gathered together in a huddle of 5 missionaries in the middle of the McDonald's dining room, put our hands in the middle, and on the count of three shouted, "THEOS ENTAE!" It was way cooler in person than it sounds right now...

The biggest surprise of zone conference was that we got to watch an advanced screening of MEET THE MORMONS! Everybody please watch this trailer RIGHT NOW!!!


Meet the Mormons is a new movie highlighting the lives of 6 different Mormon families around the world. It was incredible and also hilarious. Oh, and heartwarming, too! It tells some amazing stories. Everyone should watch it! 

Anywho, this week also marked a milestone in my life... I ATE BEAR MEAT!!! It was delicious. Welcome to the north!

Okay, General Conference was also incredible. I will write more about that next week though when the video clips are up and I can send you an awesome one to watch!

Well, that's all for now. I love you all with my entire heart! I will see you in two weeks!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Wek 69!

Week 68!

Okay this is crazy. I fly home a month from today. I AM NOT READY. But it's okay. This has been amazing.

I HAVE NO TIME TO WRITE TODAY but it's because of a great reason! We spent almost our entire p-day at the SLEEPING BEAR SAND DUNES! A couple from church (the Hoovers) took us out for the day. It was amazing! I will attach some pics right now!

This was the first dune we visited!



Then we ran down THIS. This is a "bluff" aka a cliff of SAND. It takes you down to the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan but it can take people TWO HOURS to hike back up because you just are constantly sliding down the sand!


Well, we decided to go HARD and ended up running up the cliff while the Hoovers stood at the top and timed us. We made it back up in 15 minutes!!! My legs still feel like Jell-o.

Here are the Hoovers!
 A member from church and his girlfriend (one of our investigators) got married this week! Here we are with them. We LOVE them!!!
 
It's been an incredible week, but like I said, we have very limited time today so I'm sorry I can't write more. I love you all and will see you in a month!

<3 Sister Christiansen
 

Week 67 in the field!

This will be a short one, sorry!

We went to an Amish furniture store last p-day! I bought a key holder thing that a young Amish boy made as he was just beginning to work with wood. It has a canoe on it - perfect for our northern Michigan getting-lost-and-almost-driving-into-lakes adventures!

I gave a talk yesterday in church about helping people feel more comfortable at church. That is an important topic! Do it! That's all I have to say about that for now!

Sister Young's birthday was this week and we had the best day ever! I will write more details later. Sorry I am so terrible!

We met some really prepared, amazing people this week! I'll keep you all updated!

I love you all and miss you. I don't think I can adequately describe how amazing this week was so I'll just stop here. 

Have a wonderful day and week and month and life!!!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 66 in the field!

Hi everyone!

This week was crazy! Transfer calls came and thankfully, Sister Young and I are staying together in Cadillac! We love it here. I can't wait for the leaves to start changing and the fall colors to appear. Northern Michigan is GORGEOUS. 

This week I was reading a lot from the Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young book and I wanted to share some really cool things I found!

1. Brigham Young taught, "It has never altered my feelings towards individuals, as men or as women, whether they believe as I do or not. Can you live as neighbors with me? I can with you; and it is no particular concern of mine whether you believe with me or not."
We are not supposed to be in a little bubble with only those that share our beliefs. We are commanded to fellowship and love all of God's children. I love this!

2. Here is another principle that he taught that I love: "Suppose that in this community there are ten beggars who beg from door to door for something to eat, and that nine of them are impostors who beg to escape work, and with an evil heart practice imposition upon the generous and sympathetic, and that only one of the ten who visit your doors is worthy of your bounty; which is best, to give food to the ten, to make sure of helping the truly needy one, or to repulse the ten because you do not know which is the worthy one? You will all say, administer charitable gifts to the ten, rather than turn away the only truly worthy and truly needy person among them. If you do this, it will make no difference in your blessings, whether you administer to worthy or unworthy persons, inasmuch as you give alms with a single eye to assist the truly needy." This is such a true principle! It is not our job to judge who is "worthy" of our love and charity. Again, the commandment is to love all of God's children, not just the ones we feel are "deserving" of love. Everyone is deserving of love!

3. He also gave this really awesome discourse on dancing! He said that dancing is great because it "rests the mind and tires the body." I think that is so cool. Maybe this is just because I loved dancing with my friends before my mission. Brigham Young also said, "If you wish to dance, dance!" I just thought this was a funny topic on which to have a discourse and it made me happy.

4. Last but not least, he talked about honesty. I just love how he said, "It is the easiest path in the world to be honest,—to be upright before God; and when people learn this, they will practice it." This is such a true principle that I have grown to learn and understand even more on my mission. 

Well, that's all I really feel like saying for now! This is probably a really boring e-mail so I'm sorry! We will have more adventures to report next week!

I love you all :)

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 65!

Yesterday was Labor Day so the library was closed and we couldn't e-mail. But we have some (very limited) time right now so I'm going to try and be brief!

This week was fantastic! We have a miracle investigator named Karyn who we absolutely adore. Last month, I saw her name in the phone, so I called her randomly. At first, she wasn't interested, but then I told her we also offer service (we're full-time free labor, basically). She said our willingness to serve really impressed her so she decided to let us stop by.

Well, we did! We started teaching her the gospel. She is in her 70's and had a lot of questions about things that have happened to her in life. We taught her the Plan of Salvation, and once we did, she started crying and said that no one had explained it to her that way before. She said that all of her questions were finally answered! (This is the Plan of Salvation, in case you're wondering! --> http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/plan-of-salvation )

This woman is seriously a magnet for miracles, though! Every time we bring a member of the congregation over with us to help us teach, Karyn ends up knowing them, or knowing their family, or being related to them! She came to church for the first time on Sunday and found out she has cousins who go there, too! She LOVED church and said repeatedly as she was leaving, "I'll be back next week! See you next week!" We love her.

This week we also had zone conference for all the missionaries in the Traverse City zone. We're the first sisters that have been up here in a really long time, so we were the only sisters at the zone conference! Now I think I know what it would've felt like to be a missionary before the age change announcement! 

Also at zone conference, they announced that it was time for anyone who was going home this transfer or next transfer to give their departing testimony. That meant me! I was NOT prepared for that! It was a very emotional and spiritual experience. I have learned so much out here and I never want it to be over. I definitely got teary-eyed but I somehow managed to hold it together while I talked. I got to talk about some of the things I've learned, and about my testimony of the Savior. It was a very powerful experience. You could hear a pin drop in the room while I was talking, which made me more nervous, but also helped me feel the Spirit very strongly. 

Right before I got up to talk, I started worrying about everyone in the audience (my mission president, our zone leaders, etc.). But then I remembered D&C 62:3 which says, "Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you." I realized that my "heavenly audience" was much more important that the earthly audience. On my mission, both of my grandmothers have passed away. I realized that they were now probably some of the angels looking upon my testimony. I wanted to make them proud, and to let them know what I have learned. I decided to make my testimony for God and for them, which calmed my nerves and helped me a lot. It was something I never want to forget!

In other news, transfer calls are this Friday! I will let you all know next week what happens, but Sister Young & I are pretty sure we're staying together in Cadillac. We just got here and we've got more work to do!

This next transfer will be my last which is stressing me out but I also know that i just want to make the absolute most of it! I want to work harder than ever and be the best I can be. 

This was longer than I was expecting it to be! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 64 - Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?

ATTENTION FRIENDS AND FAMILY:
I ATE SQUIRREL THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!
Moving right along, we had an awesome experience with a man we're teaching. He is so cool. He has been meeting with missionaries for about a year, but he still hasn't been sure yet if he wants to make any changes in his life. Last week, we invited him to read Alma 32. When he met with us this week, he said something about Alma 32 just hit home with him! He said it sparked something that gave him the desire to change his life. It was such an incredible experience! If you want to read that chapter (it's pretty short!) you can do so here! It's very good. Five stars :) Here's the link:
The area we covers is HUGE here in Cadillac. We live in the middle of the state, and our area reaches out all the way to the west coast of Michigan. There are two towns out there on the lake that have lots of people we can visit, but we only have enough miles to get out there once a month. 

Well, this week we did it! We went to Frankfort and Manistee, MI! We saw Lake Michigan!
I'd seen Lake Michigan before from Chicago and Wisconsin, but never from Michigan... until Saturday! It was beautiful. Here are some pictures!
 

 From the lookout point :)

Earlier that week, we were driving past one of the many lakes that surrounds Cadillac, and Sister Young snapped this picture! Isn't it gorgeous? 

In other news, we're thinking of investing in a CANOE because our GPS keeps sending us to roads that are supposed to cross over lakes, but that don't exist! We have ended up on dead-end roads that lead into lakes far too many times, with our destination just on the other side of the water. Seriously. It's canoe time. 

Well, that's about all I've got for now. I love you all and will see you in a couple months. In the meantime, I'm sending my love from the north! I LOVE IT HERE!!!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 63!

This has been a crazy week. It flew by but a lot of major things happened.

First of all, the STLs came up to Cadillac and spent the night! It was an awesome couple of days. It meant I also got to reunite with Sister Oswald and Sister Pyper! I love them!

5 sister missionaries + 1 apartment = Slumber party!



We had a 9:30pm-10:30pm dance party to missionary-approved music... haha missionary life is the best life.

I never sent any pictures from my new area! Cadillac is surrounded by two lakes. Everywhere you go there's a beautiful view! 

This isn't even like, a vacation spot! It's just right across the street from the Rite Aid and the library! Where am I?! It's so beautiful here.
 
 
Downtown is also filled with little adorable shops and boutiques. Look what we found in a cool store called, "Serendipity." HINTS OF DENMARK!
 

Needless to say, we've had a very "hyggelig" week :) The weather was also very foggy and filled with beautiful grays everywhere you look so of course that reminded me of Denmark.

Michiganders also have a habit of adding an "s" to every store name. The grocery stores here are called Meijer, Aldi, and Kroger, but they are ALWAYS spoken as "the Meijers," "Aldis" and "Krogers." It's awesome. But wait! There's more! I've been waiting to hear this my whole mission and it finally happened! Someone was giving me directions and told me the destination was "just past the Wal-Marts." IT WAS AMAZING. My life is complete.

Church this week was incredible. We met an amazing woman who has four kids and just moved into our area. We can't wait to teach her kids more! We're going by this week. I love her already.

I am out of time again :( But before I have to sign out I just want you all to know that I know this gospel is true. It brings so much peace and joy. I love this work. I am so happy to be out here. I will see you all soon. I love each and every one of you so much!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 62! Not much time today, sorry!!!

Brief updates from this week are as follows:
  • We learned how to split wood! I felt like Joseph Smith in the Prophet of the Restoration movie! It was fun! 
  • A member fed us KFC for dinner this week! I was in heaven.
  • There's an awesome recently converted family here with the cutest 6 year old son ever. His name is Logan and he is the best. At dinner this week, I was asking him all these questions about himself, and then I was like, "You're six, right?" He looked at me and responded, "I'm not going to be your boyfriend..." Haha it was hilarious. Then in church yesterday, he sat next to me and said, "You smell like peaches!" It was the cutest thing! He's the best.
  • We met a lot of less-actives this week and they are all so awesome! We really feel like a lot of them are ready to start coming back to church. They feel that way, too! 
I love you all and I promise my email will be better next week! To make up for lack of content, here's some pictures that tell a story!

Step 1: Spot a field of seagulls.
 
 Step 2: Introduce Sister Christiansen to the environment.
 
Step 3: Induce flight!


 Step 4: Mission accomplished.
 
Have a great week!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Week 61! I AM SO FILLED WITH JOY RIGHT NOW I CAN'T CONTAIN IT.

Hello everyone!

So many amazing things are happening right now, I don't even know where to begin!

The north is amazing and so funny. Sister Young and I have a phrase that we have been repeating any time something ridiculous or hilarious happens... We just laugh and say, "Welcome to the North." 

Here are a few unique things about the north, that we hadn't experienced in any previous areas!
  • On our first day, we saw a "Bear Crossing" sign, and a "Handicapped Crossing" sign. Two new ones for Sister Young and me...
  • The "student drivers" here drive Ford Mustang convertibles.
  • The Cadillac Chamber of Commerce sign is in COMIC SANS MS FONT. (This was probably my favorite "Welcome to the north" moment.)
  • We drove to the grocery store and back... and used 40 miles.
  • A member told us he was getting a tattoo of the San Diego temple. Welcome to the north.
  • The "After Hours Urgent Care" is only open from 10am to 6pm...
  • We considered getting our apartment dedicated specifically to be free of brown recluse spiders... WELCOME TO THE NORTH!
It's been hilarious. I love it here. We met some incredibly prepared people just in our first week! I know there are so many people who are ready to hear this gospel. I can't wait to continue to share it with all of them!

Now on a silly, music-related note... I experienced three tender mercies this week involving music.
  1. We have a new brand of phone, which means all the ringtones are different, and the have the most hilarious ringtone called "Gloomy DJ." It is the best thing in the world. You should see if it's on YouTube. I don't know why, but I think it's the funniest thing. There's just some chill, "gloomy" music at the beginning, and then you hear a random turntable scratching. It's our alarm, and I laugh every time I hear it. It's been wonderful waking up laughing every morning!
  2. Sister Young loves music as much as I do! So when we're driving around we always get to be listening to cool covers of hymns and stuff. We've had so much fun.
  3. THERE IS A NEW MORMON MESSAGE and the background music is SO GOOD! It sounds exactly like Explosions in the Sky, so there's either a new song they released that I don't know about, OR whatever trendy hipster Mormon produced this video decided to shamelessly turn a bunch of different Explosions in the Sky songs into one soundtrack for the video. 
That video is also just very well-done and I recommend it to you all. Please watch it! It's so cool! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w49_1a9X0Q#t=382

Also, I just found out that I have a great-granddaughter! I trained Sister Brems, who trained Sister Rogers, who is now training this new, beautiful sister missionary, Sister Chatmant! Look at them! <3
 
 
 
I love you all! You are in my prayers!

<3 Sister Christiansen


 

Week 60 in the field!

BEST WEEK EVER!

But also full of craziness.

Let's get the big news out of the way... I GOT TRANSFERRED. It was really sad because I love Mt. Pleasant with all of my heart. It's been incredible here. But I know it's time to move on, and if I'm going to move on, it might as well be to the coolest place ever! Are you ready for this? I'm going to Cadillac! 

Cadillac is in the Traverse City zone, which is super far north so it has no sisters in it and hasn't had sisters in AGES (if ever!). Well, the new mission president decided he wants to send sisters up north, so he's sending Sister Young (my new companion!) and I up there to try it out and to get it started. Sister Young and I are both being released as STLs so that we can devote all our time to going crazy in this new area! 

All these sister missionaries have been emailing me today in shock because we never thought sisters would be in Traverse City zone! It's really exciting. It's every sister's dream to serve up north, but it's a dream that we never expected to actually come true! I know this sounds really silly, but here in the Michigan Lansing Mission this is really exciting, okay?! Hooray!

Also, more very exciting news is that DAMIEN GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK! He was so happy and his family came, too! It was the best. (Here's Damien, me, and Sister Oswald)
 
 
 
I also got to reunite with Sister Pyper which was AMAZING! 

Hmm, other news... Oh! We got typewriters this week for free! Don't judge my messy desk. Isn't it cool though? You can see Sister Oswald's on the right, as well!
 
 
I was sad to leave Mt. Pleasant, but snagged a picture with Bishop Peless before I left! He has been the best bishop I've had on my mission! He's awesome.
 
The Mt. Pleasant missionaries! #NeverForget. My favorite part of this picture is the awkward "elder-sister-gap" that always ends up in every picture where elders and sisters stand next to each other. No touching! Haha it makes for lots of awkward poses.


Campus has been amazing. I will miss CMU so much. The wonderful thing about being a missionary on a campus, is that you basically get to make a lot of best friends that you end up sharing the gospel with. It is the best thing in the world. But it also makes it really hard to say goodbye! The people we teach are our investigators, but they're also like our best friends! It's okay though. Onward and upward!
I love you all!

<3 Sister Christiansen

 
 
 

Week 59!

Craziest. Week. Ever.

First, some sad news. One of the members of our ward passed away this week. He was very young, and all the missionaries were very close to him because he and his wife feed us every other weekend. It was a very tragic accident, and his funeral was this week which left a feeling of sadness in the air most of the time. We are sad he is gone, but I know without a doubt that his spirit lives on, and that he and his wife will be reunited one day. That knowledge has brought me a lot of peace these last few days.

Because of the funeral luncheon being held at the church this Saturday, we needed to postpone Damien's baptism until next week. He is still very excited and ready to be baptized. He is amazing!

We had some great experiences this week! We got a new investigator who is from China and is here on an internship. She works at a dairy farm and delivers 20-30 baby cows EVERY DAY! Crazy! She is doing great and is loving learning about God.

We met another new investigator this week who is hilarious! He had just been listening to the Book of Mormon Musical when we knocked on his door! He said the play is his "guilty pleasure" but that he has always been interested in the actual history and beliefs of the Mormon Church. We gave him a Book of Mormon and met with him two days later. 

When he met up with us, he had already read the first ten chapters of the book! He had a lot of great questions and had highlighted some really cool scriptures. He said that right after we left his doorstep, he prayed for the first time in years, and he said it felt great! He committed himself to finish the Book of Mormon and pray about whether or not it's true. He's going camping this week so he's planning on getting a huge chunk read while he's gone! He is SO COOL and incredibly prepared!

Hmm, what else happened this week? I rolled a piano over my toe! Nothing's broken, just bruised! Yay!

Sister Oswald and I also played with laser pointers and my camera's low shutter speed last night. Check it out!

Also check out mormon.org!  I love you all!  ,Sister Christiansen,

Week 58 in the Wolverine State!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 57!

Hi everyone! I liked that whole bullet point thing last week. Let's do that again!

  • It was the Fourth of July this week! Hooray! As a present, I got someone's expired driver's license. Jackpot! I also saw zero fireworks. Missionary life! 
  • With that, everyone was talking about how exciting it was that it was the nation's 238th birthday and I realized, 'Holy cow, I've been to castles older than our country,' which is probably the most pretentious thing I've ever typed, but it freaked me out! Sometimes I forget how young we are. I love it. 
  • MLC was this week so we got to meet the new mission president and his wife! They are wonderful! I love them already. Pics below!
  • The work is moving along beautifully! The wonderful weather gets us so excited to go out and talk to people. This area has so many prepared people in it!
  • I know this is the Lord's work. I am so glad I am here.
  • This week was crazy, but everyone likes pictures better than reading my lengthy emails, right? So I'll just attach some pictures here!
MLC! All the zone leaders, sister training leaders, and President & Sister Jacobsen! They are absolutely lovely!
 
 

MLC meant I got to reunite with Sister Brems!
 And Sister Carlson! Whenever she and I reunite, things like this happen. I'm sorry.
 
 
I love my mission! This life is the happiest life! I love you all!

<3 Sister Christiansen
 

Week 56!

Sorry, but this email is going to be really short!

Random updates, bullet point style! Go!
  • I love Sister Oswald! She and I have so much fun together. We both love cats and the New Testament and happy music so it's PERFECT.
  • Our new mission president has arrived! It was really sad saying goodbye to President Hess. He has changed my life. But I know this new mission president will be wonderful, too. His name is President Jacobsen and we get to meet him tomorrow at MLC! 
  • I strained my neck and back muscles this week! I think I pulled something while hauling hay, and then a couple days later it caught up with me. It was pretty painful but also hilarious. Sister Oswald and I were doing yoga in the morning, and all of a sudden I was like, "I can't move," and I actually couldn't move! It hurt so bad! Even laying back down was so painful that it brought tears to my eyes! I felt so pathetic haha.
  • BUT because of that, I got a free massage! A lady in our ward helped me out. She did "Rolfing," which is like, SUPER-deep-massage that strips away your muscles from your bones where they've adhered so that they can realign. Basically, it's very, very painful. But it worked! I can move my neck again!
Once again, sorry this is so short!

To add a thousand words to this email, here's a picture from transfer day! That's me, Sister Oswald (my new companion), and Sister Pyper (my old companion). I love them all!
 
 
Michigan summers are wonderful! I can go outside in short sleeves again! I never thought this day would come.

I love you all!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 55!

This week was incredible! My new companion is here! Her name is Sister Oswald and she is hilarious! She is a great teacher and missionary and we are going to have an incredible transfer! I forgot my memory card, but you can see my companion in the video I'll talk about later!
This week started off the transfer beautifully. We had a lot of really cool experiences with our investigators. One of them, Austin, has been doing great and loves everything we've been teaching. He's studied religion and spirituality forever, so he just instantly recognizes truth when it's taught. He even came and did a service project with us this week! We hauled bales of hay! It was exhausting, but so much fun! I just think of how Joseph Smith used to say that service is our religion. What better way for someone to find out what Mormons are all about than to haul hay in 85 degree weather with some missionaries? Austin loved it! He's in the video that I'll attach at the end of this message.

Well, maybe I'll just talk about the video now. Sister Oswald and I have to give a training to the missionaries here about how to use visuals while finding and teaching people. To introduce our topic, we decided to make a video about how NOT to use visuals. It was a ton of fun, and includes some common mistakes that we all make, along with some not-so-common mistakes that are just funny. We enlisted the help of the zone leaders and Austin, and this is what happened!


It was a lot of fun. We teach on Wednesday. I'll let you all know how it goes. Speaking in front of large groups of missionaries is half-terrifying, half-awesome. Hopefully I don't freak out.

I am so grateful to be serving in Mt. Pleasant. It is a truly wonderful area. I know that if we work hard and involve the Lord in everything we do, we will continue to see miracles!

I hope you are all having wonderful days and weeks and months. I will see you all soon. I am so happy whenever I hear updates about all the amazing things you all are doing. You are my heroes!

Thank you for being so inspirational!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Friday, June 20, 2014

Week 54 in Michigan

Oh boy, it's been an amazing week!

Although, we did get some very sad news... Sister Pyper is getting transferred :( I will miss her so much! These last 3 months we've spent together have been some of the best three months of my mission! She's going to BYU though, so I know we will reunite!

We have had so much fun together. Last Monday we decided to take some weird-effect pictures on the Macs... yes I know, we felt like we were in middle school again. But it was so much fun! These sum up Sister Pyper and I pretty perfectly...
 
Moving right along, the work in Mt. Pleasant has been exploding! It will be sad to see Sister Pyper go, but she gets to come back for baptisms, and we have four scheduled this transfer! My new companion is called Sister Oswald, and I've heard she's amazing! I will meet her tomorrow. Woohoo!

Sister Pyper and I found a free Methodist church this week! We were so excited! Completely free! What a great deal!
 
 Okay, hardy har, I'll stop now. Thank you for continuing to read through all this craziness.

This week we hung out with a few new friends from India. They made us authentic Indian food and it was SO SPICY. I thought I had built up a spice tolerance, but it was just a tolerance for Americanized Indian food. This stuff was the real deal. I definitely enlisted some divine assistance to help me finish the plate. The problem was, one I finished, our host would immediately pile more on! I survived though. It was a delicious flavor, but also involved a lot of pain haha. I love being on such an international campus.

Oh boy, I just want all of you to know how happy I am to be out here on a mission. There's no place else I'd rather be. We meet the most incredible people each day. Being able to see the gospel transform their life is the most wonderful thing in the world. Mission life is the best life. 

Also, Happy Father's Day to my wonderful dad! During Sacrament meeting yesterday, the speaker was giving all these stories of amazing dads, and my companion leaned over and said, "Okay, but none of those dads taught their kids how to breath fire." She's right. I have the coolest dad. Sorry everyone, I win. Haha I love you so much, Dad!

I miss you all and hope you have the most wonderful week! Also, happy early birthday, Amber! 

<3 Sister Christiansen
 
 

Week 53 in Michigan, whee!

I love Mt. Pleasant!
It's been the most incredible week, as usual.

There is some sad news, though. President and Sister Hess go home this month :( So after MLC this week, I made sure to get a picture with them in the exact spot we had stood (exactly a year earlier, might I add) when I first arrived in Michigan and met them!
I will miss them so much!
 
 
This week was full of wonderful things, too! Like Half-Mission P-Day! This only happens once a year, but basically, half of the mission (about 100 missionaries) meets at a park and we play in the sun for 5 hours! It was awesome. Our half met in Mt. Pleasant so we didn't even have to drive far! The experience is best described with a series of pictures...

I reunited with my mom/trainer, Sister Probert! AND my daughter & grand-daughter, Sister Brems & Sister Rogers! Family reunion!
 
 Just like the great mom she is, Sister Probert pushed me on the swing!
 Then we held the first official meeting of the "Doctrine-Free Society," where we basically threw out obscure doctrinal questions and speculated about the answers for an hour and a half while everyone else was playing kickball... #noregrets. This is the Doctrine-Free Society. We plan to hold meetings post-mission at BYU, too... lol.
 
 
It was a great activity and a great week! The people we're teaching have all been doing so wonderfully! We have a few upcoming baptisms. We can't wait! 

Transfer calls are this Friday and I really really don't want to leave Mt. Pleasant! I'm praying I get to stay another transfer. I love it here and I love the people we're teaching so much! 

Our top investigators are Aki and Austin, and they are both people I totally would've hung out with before my mission. We all just feel like good friends, which helps so much in missionary work because then they feel more comfortable opening up to you. Those two are so great and I feel so blessed to have met them. They're the type of people that I always want to stay in contact with! Keep them in your prayers! I would greatly appreciate that :)

Thank you for your love and support. You all mean the world to me! 

Have an amazing week!
<3 Sister Christiansen

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Week 52 in Michigan!

This week was great!

We had stake conference this week and Elder Grant C. Bennett of the seventy came! He was so cool. He's from Boston and has lived such an awesome life. 

GET THIS. The week before stake conference, it was driving me CRAZY that I couldn't remember the name of this one major city in Israel. Geography-major-me was going insane trying to remember. We don't have Google, so I had no clue how I was going to do this. I know this sounds silly, but I prayed and asked God to help me remember the name of that city. But after I prayed, all I could remember was that the city's name started with a T. Nothing else! UNTIL Grant C. Bennett got up in stake conference a week later and said, "I just got back from Israel! I flew out of Tel Aviv this morning..."  TEL AVIV! It was a miracle! 

I went up to him afterwards and told him he had answered my silly prayer. He was like, "That's so funny, because as I was talking about Israel I was thinking, 'This has nothing to do with my topic. Why am I talking about this?'" But there was a purpose! The point of this story is to remind you all that God cares about the little things in life! He can answer any prayer :)

At stake conference, I also met a woman from Midland who has been reading my mission blog! It was so cool to meet her! Shout out to Barbara! She was so awesome!

One of out investigators has a ball python that he keeps in a tank with stop signs on top so it doesn't get out. I just thought that was hilarious.

Last thing! A new "I'm a Mormon" video has been released and it's about one of the MANY Mormons who work for Yo Gabba Gabba! This guy is the voice of Brobee and dances in the Plex suit! SO COOL! Here's the video. Hahaha


I hope you all see miracles this week! I love you all!

<3 Sister Christiansen

I'm sick of counting weeks! But it might make it easier to keep these in order. Dang it. WEEK 51!

SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED THIS WEEK, I CAN'T EVEN KEEP TRACK OF ALL OF THEM.

1. WE MET ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND AND ELDER HALLSTROM AND SHOOK THEIR HANDS! Elder Holland looked into each one of our eyes and smiled and based what he talked about for 2 hours on what he felt we needed to hear after that. IT WAS AMAZING. We all left feeling so inspired. He especially talked about not reverting back after your mission to the person you used to be. He really wants us to hold onto the things we've learned and not fall back into old habits after the mission. Elder Holland is hilarious, and my favorite quote from the whole night was when he said:
      "If you go back to who you were before your mission, I'll shoot myself. I'll shoot myself! And we'll blame you. We'll put your name in the Church News." 
      It was so funny. He is a crack-up. At the end, he bore such a powerful testimony. At one point he said, "I have not given my life to following a cunningly-devised fable. This gospel is not a cunningly-devised fable. This is God's truth."
     I know that is true, and I want to echo his words. I didn't leave friends, family, concerts, work, and school to devote my life to a cunningly-devised fable. I know this is real. It's all real. It changes lives. I see it every single day. I'm here because it's all true. 

2. This week I also got to hold a letter that Ernest Hemingway himself loaded into a typewriter, filled with words, and hand-signed ("Hemmy") at the end! AHHH! Thank you, museum-worker, for letting me unlock the glass case and touch everything in the Hemingway collection!

3. I ALSO SAW MY FIRST AMISH FAMILY! They were in a horse-drawn buggy on one of the backroads and we drove past them! I've heard there are a lot of Amish communities out here, but I hadn't met anyone Amish yet. They seemed so lovely! I was in such admiration of their complete satisfaction with such a modest lifestyle. I wish I was more like that. OH! The horse also made eye contact with me as we drove by. AN AMISH HORSE LOOKED AT ME! HOORAY! 

4. We had a hilarious investigator come to church yesterday. He's from Detroit. We met him on Saturday and he said he'd come to church even though he's "kind of racist towards white people." He said it's just something he needs to work on, though. Haha it was a HILARIOUS Sunday. During the sacrament, where we take a small bite-sized piece of bread to remember Christ, he leaned over and said (after taking a piece of the bread), "I feel like a bird." I don't know why, but I just thought that was so funny. He's the coolest. He also taught us the secret handshake of the Detroit Community Basketball Team. We've made it. 

5. I also hit my one-year mark! What?! May 22nd was the day I entered the MTC last year. Bonkers! Life is crazy and moves way too fast. 

Sorry this email is so lengthy! I try to help fight reader's fatigue but with this email I know I have failed. Oh well, thank you for reading!

I love you all!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Friday, May 23, 2014

Week 50 in the field!

Hi everybody! It's been an amazing week! Prepare for the highlights!

LEANNA GOT A JOB! Leanna is our 18 year old investigator who wants to get baptized but her dad told her she couldn't do any more church stuff until she found a job. Well, as you can see from the first sentence of this paragraph... SHE GOT A JOB! Hooray!!! Miracles happen!

All I can think about is the fact that we get to meet ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND tomorrow! I am so nervous and excited. I can't wait! Here is one of my favorite quotes from him!
 
 
This week we went to Catholic mass! We know some people there and they invited us to check it out. It was cool, and we even got to see a baby get baptized! It was a very different experience but an important one, for sure. We should always be striving to better-understand the beliefs of those around us. 

This week was also MLC so I got to see Sister Brems who's a new Sister Training Leader! I love her so much! Those meetings are always the BEST and I learned so much from the other leaders in the mission. I love them all!

And I love YOU all!

Have a spectacular week!

<3 Sister Christiansen

P.S. My one-year mark is this week on the 22nd! I get to celebrate with all the missionaries in the zone by going to zone conference! Hooray!

Week 49 - It's springtime!

There are tulips and daffodils EVERYWHERE here! My two favorite flowers! It's incredibly beautiful and makes all the thunderstorms worth it.

Some awesome things happened this week!

#1 - WE GOT A WHALE BONE! A drunk man gave this whale bone to the elders in Bad Axe, MI, who then gave it to us! It's a vertebrae! Isn't it beautiful?


 This is my companion with the whale bone...

#2 - The people we're teaching are doing great! They are some of the most incredible people I've ever met. Seeing them apply the gospel into their lives, and then seeing their lives immediately improve is the most rewarding thing! God will never leave us "worse-off" for keeping His commandments. He will always bless us when we are striving to come closer to Him.

#3 - I got to talk to my family this week! It was so good to hear all of their voices! Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Happy early birthday, Dad! Happy early-early birthday, Amber! I love my family so much.

#4 - I love you all! I am having the time of my life out here on a mission! I love the people here SO MUCH! But don't worry, I also love all of YOU! In fact, if you feel extra bored this week and feel like writing a missionary who loves you a lot, feel free to write me! (1617 Flynn Ln. Apt. B 
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858.) Haha I love you all so much.

#5 - Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. Last week, we took the Big Juan 4 lbs. burrito challenge and SUCCEEDED!!! Here is our t-shirt proof!
 
 
I hope you all have a lovely week!
​Today's spiritual thought is brought to you by: MOTHER'S! Check out this awesome new video<3



I am so grateful for my mom and all she's done for me! 

<3 Sister Christiansen
 


Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 48 - OH NO I AM OUT OF TIME

I wish I could write a big long amazing email about this week but I am out of time! We have a lunch appointment in 15 minutes! In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we are tackling a four-pound burrito called the "Big Juan." It is a Mt. Pleasant legend and it comes with a free t-shirt!
Wow, my priorities look so messed up from that last paragraph. I promise I love you all more than I love 4 lbs. burritos. But we also just have to run! An investigator will be at the lunch appointment and I can't wait to figure out a metaphor comparing the gospel to a burrito (it encompasses all truth!).

We saw one trillion miracles in Mt. Pleasant this week. There were more visitors (investigators) at church than I'd ever seen in all of my days as a missionary! Thank you, Heavenly Father!
I will write more next week, I promise!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 47! CMU = Heaven!

This week was AWESOME.

I never know how much I can/should write about our investigators, since this is going online, but I just want to say that all of the people we are teaching are doing INCREDIBLY well! They all have been able to apply this gospel to their lives and they all are recognizing the blessings that have been flowing into their lives because of that. I LOVE THE PEOPLE HERE!!!

Yesterday we got permission to go to a choir concert because our investigators were participating in it, and ALSO, one of the songs sung was "I Love the Lord," which is based on the text from 2 Nephi Chapter 4! It was a great missionary opportunity. We got to talk to some people in the audience about where the words from the song came from. They loved it! 

...Mainly verses 15-35. Isn't it beautiful? Very poetic.

Also this week, we were on bikes! Our motto was "Nobody looks cute in bike helmets and ponchos." That's right - bike helmets and ponchos. We're on a car rotation so we lose the car for a week, and that week just happened to be the week it started to rain again! But it was actually WAY fun. Mainly just hilarious. I mean, how can you NOT laugh when you look like this?
 
 
It's been a great week, mainly because of the first thing I talked about... the incredible people we get to teach! They are truly fascinating and wonderful people. I am so blessed to know them.

I love you all. Have a great week!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Week 46!

Hi friends and family! 

Happy Easter to all and happy belated birthday to my mom!!! What a great week!

We saw so many miracles! Investigators have been committing to baptism dates left and right! We have been so blessed to be able to witness God's hand moving this work along. Mt. Pleasant is exploding with wonderful, prepared people!

This week we had zone training which is where the zone leaders and sister training leaders instruct the other missionaries in the zone. That meant that I had to teach! Ahhhh! It was terrifying but it actually went pretty well. Missionary training meetings are always just so full of the Spirit that once you're there, it's impossible to feel scared or nervous. Woohoo!

I just feel so on top of the world. I can't even express the incredible joy that I feel! My testimony seems to get stronger and stronger each day. I am so grateful for that. I know without a doubt that this is the Church of Jesus Christ once again established on the earth. I know it! I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I know that book is true. As missionaries, we don't teach what we merely believe. We teach what we know. I am grateful that God has given me a knowledge of His plan and His gospel. I also KNOW that anybody who desires that knowledge can attain it as well. Moroni 10:4-5 says, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." I know this is a foolproof formula.

As a final thought,if you haven't watched this yet, something needs to change. IT'S SO WELL DONE! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S3TI4bYerU

I love you all and miss you lots! Thank you for your prayers and support!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Week 45!

Hello friends and family!

Incredible, incredible week!

First things first, THE HATFIELDS GOT BAPTIZED! I don't know if any of you remember this, but back in Holt we met a less-active couple that hadn't been to church in over 20 years and had 2 kids (a 9 year old girl and a 13 year old boy). Well we started teaching them and they've been to church almost every week since! This weekend, their kids decided to get baptized which means... I GOT TO GO BACK TO HOLT! Reunion!!! It was the best! Here is a picture of their family!
 
 
And here is a picture of my posterity! Sister Brems, who I trained, is now training Sister Rogers (my granddaughter!) and we finally got to unite! I missed Sister Brems so much and Sister Rogers is incredible! I love them! 
Below you will see Sister Rogers, Sister Brems, then me!


I also had another amazing reunion this week! One of the sisters in my zone that I look after is SISTER MANCHESTER! My MTC companion! We got to go on trade-offs this week and spend the day together! It was so much fun! Just like old times. She is an incredible missionary. 

Before I go, I NEED to show you all this incredible video the Church just released for Easter. IT IS AMAZING.

Please, if you do nothing else, WATCH THIS VIDEO!!! I love you all!


<3 Sister Christiansen

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week 44!

Hi all! Welcome to another MIRACULOUS week! It was hilarious and wonderful.

We picked up 4 incredible new investigators this week! They're all college students and all so excited to learn about the gospel! Two of them were found because of the "What Makes You Happy?" project. Miracles!

One of them is named Austin and he is just the COOLEST. He is SO open to the truth. He has explored religions his entire life. He told us all the aspects he's picked out of world religions that he's liked and with which he's resonated. Guess what. ALL those aspects are found in one place in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! He loved the history of the Restoration and wants to get baptized. He is HILARIOUS. We asked him to pray about the things we'd discussed and said, "If you came to know for yourself that these things are true, would you be baptized?" and he replied, "Yeah I would! I would slam DUNK myself!" It was so funny! He's the best. He came to General Conference and loved it. So prepared!!

Another new friend of ours we started meeting with this week is Cody! He is WAY cool. He has braids/dreads and is super classy. He's the most spiritual, down-to-earth college student ever! He has a twin brother and they just go out into nature and play guitar and have discussions about God. We taught Cody about Joseph Smith's first vision and he said, "Oh, I totally believe that happened. I believe he could have absolutely seen God." He is incredible! 

We also had dinner at a sorority house this week! We go there often (PHI MU!) because there are a couple investigators and a less-active member in that sorority. One thing I have learned is that sororities are just like the movies. It's hilarious. All the girls are super nice to us, though! For dessert, we ate ice cream out of the carton with spoons. YES. It was awesome.

GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS THIS WEEK! HOW AWESOME WAS THAT?!?!? SO AWESOME.
I loved how everyone was encouraged to read Preach My Gospel, so to help with that, I'm posting a link to the online version of PMG here! It's so good! A+, much recommended, everyone read pls.

I love you all and miss you! Have a lovely week!

<3 Sister Christiansen

Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 43!

Oh my goodness, this week was AMAZING! Sister Pyper is incredible! We work so well together! We are both so excited for this transfer. We know miracles are coming, we can feel it!

First piece of good news... We found out that ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is visiting our mission!!! He is coming in May to speak to all of us missionaries! WOOHOO!!! I can't wait! For those of you who don't know who Elder Holland is, here's a highlight from his most recent General Conference address about depression. He's the BEST!

One highlight from this week was the amazing lesson we had with our investigator, Henry! We taught him at a skate park. It was the greatest thing. We literally sat on top of the half-pipe and had a gospel discussion. Believe it or not, the Spirit was so strong! He committed himself to go to church every week and to read and pray every day! He also wants to get baptized! He is SO cool!

On Saturday, we had a dinner with the women at church before watching the General Women's Meeting at the church. The theme was uniting women worldwide, so there were globes EVERYWHERE! I was in Geography-major heaven! 

The sister on the far right is Sister Pyper, my beautiful new companion! 

Before Sister Carlson left, we made a rainbow cake from a mix my mom had sent me. It went... okay... Haha here's a picture of the end result.
 
NAILED IT.

Anywho, I hope you all are having the best week ever. I probably say that all the time, but I mean it! All of you are near and dear to my heart and I thank you so much for your support!

<3 Sister Christiansen