Friday, January 17, 2014

Week 32 - HEAT WAVE!!!

I was going to try to not talk about the weather for once, but a miracle has occured! It is 40 degrees outside! ABOVE ZERO!!! That is all.
Moving along to the wonderful highlights of this week...
Bill is an investigator who is one of my favorite people that I've ever taught. He reminds me a lot of my dad, which is so cool. He's a librarian and reads EVERYTHING and had encyclopedias about Mormonism before he ever even met with us missionaries! He is just so awesome. Anywho, something amazing happened on Saturday... HE GOT MARRIED!!! He and his girlfriend Jan have been living together for over 10 years, and they decided to get married which is awesome because it is leading to the fact that BILL IS GOING TO BE BAPTIZED ON SUNDAY!!! WOOHOO!! Here is a picture of me, Bill, and Jan (Bill's new wife)!
They are so awesome! It was such a happy day!
Also this week, I had an awesome moment with this kid, Ty. He is 10 and was just baptized this year. We've been teaching him more about the gospel, but sometimes he gets distracted, which is understandable because he's 10. This week, he kept wanting to talk about Spongebob. Luckily, I love Spongebob. We turned it into a game where he named a Spongebob episode and I related it to the gospel. It was the coolest lesson I've ever taught haha. We were going back and forth for a good ten minutes. He still has yet to stump me, but he's determined to try. Everything can relate back to God's love for us! Even Spongebob. This missionary moment is brought to you by my mom who, despite her hatred of Spongebob, allowed me to watch it growing up. It finally came in handy! Thanks, mom!
This week we also found out we can walk on water! Well... frozen puddles, that is. The puddles are doing this weird/awesome thing where a layer of thick ice is forming at the top, but it's completely clear and still looks like a puddle of water underneath! So when you walk on those puddles, it seriously looks like you're walking on water! I've only slipped and fallen twice!
Well, I thought I had a ton to write about this week, but that's basically all I can think of today. I hope you all have a great week! I know this gospel is 100% true and am so grateful for that knowledge. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon! It is such an incredible book that carries so much power into the lives of thsoe who read it prayerfully!
I love you and miss you all!
<3 Sister Christiansen

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Week 31, Snowstorms are fun!

Because of the storm, the library was closed yesterday which is why I'm emailing today! This has been such a crazy week that all I can do is sum it up in bullet points!
  • First of all, MSU won the Rose Bowl! Just had to throw that out there. Go green! Go white! Sorry Stanford...
  • Church was CANCELLED AGAIN because of the snowstorm. What the what!? I was very sick last week so I couldn't go, and the week before that it was cancelled because of the ice storm, so I have no missed church for 3 weeks in a row. Basically, I've become less-active... as a missionary... haha
  • Last night it was -40 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. Today the high is -20 and could get as low as -40 again with windchill. As a result, if you are outside anywhere from 30-60 seconds, any exposed skin will start showing signs of frostbite. Crazy! Needless to say, today we've been told not to go door knocking.
  • Our car is broken! It needs a new battery, so we took it to the shop this morning and had to sit in a waiting room while court TV was blasting and we tried to focus on reading our scriptures. I don't miss TV. It's wonderful being free of that haha.
  • Apparently this winter is the worst one Michigan's had in over 20 years. Making history! Wooo!
  • We got to do service for the Deaf couple in our ward. Bro. Hunter let us shovel his walkway. We really wanted to shovel snow, and I think he was helping us more than we were helping him haha. It was so much fun though! Afterwards, we talked to him about New Years Resolutions and asked him what his were. He said that his goal started in October, when he decided to start coming back to church. I asked him what motivated him to come back again, and he said "You." He signed, "You texted me asking me if I was going to be at church, and I said yes, and that's how it started." It was so awesome, and the moral of this story is that invitations are SO VITAL. Most people won't decide to learn more about the gospel unless we invite them to do so. When you invite, you are successful, no matter their response. In our ward, we have a goal to simply invite people to a place where they can feel the Spirit (church, our homes, a ward activity, the temple lights, etc.). I know if you all decided to do the same thing, miracles will happen for you and the ones you love!
Now for some pictures!
First piece of news - SNOWFLAKES CAN ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE SNOWFLAKES. Do you see those perfect crystals? IS THIS REAL LIFE?
Secondly, HAPPY NEW YEAR! We celebrated accordingly with sparkling cider. I celebrated Denmark's new year though, because we have to go to bed at 10:30pm and Denmark's time zone is ahead of ours. Perfect!
 Third - I almost forgot to send home the picture of giant Santa! ENJOY!

Have a wonderful week! I love you all!
<3 Sister Christiansen


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week 30! Merry Christmas!

Man, so many CRAZY things happened this week but I'll try to keep it all brief!
First of all, we had no power until Wednesday night, so on Christmas Eve we got to go to the mission president's house in East Lansing! That night was so magical. Before going over to president's house, we stopped by our pitch black and freezing cold apartment to pack a bag. Just as we got there, Cassie Coltrin's parents (who lives in Michigan) showed up with TONS of supplies to help us! Cassie's mom had read from my email last week that we were out of power, so she brought us blankets, flashlights, and tons of food (including muffins, clementines, Nutella, and sparkling cider!!! What more could a girl ask for?)! It was a Christmas miracle. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude after they left that I started crying a little bit. It was so nice of them!
Then we went over to the Hess home! President Hess' daughter was there with her husband and 8 month old baby. Turns out, his daughter has an INCREDIBLE voice. She's trained in opera, and right before we went to bed, she sang "O, Divine Redeemer" for us. It was SO beautiful. We were all in tears.
It was so fun to wake up with a family on Christmas morning! We opened presents and made gingerbread houses and it was just way too awesome. I will never forget it!
Okay now for MORE good news... Transfer calls came and I am STAYING IN HOLT WITH SISTER BREMS!!!! We are SO happy. We can't wait for the miracles that we know are coming this transfer. Yay! So this means that my address for the next 6 weeks is still:
Sister Carly Christiansen
2141 N. Aurelius Rd. Apt. 64
Holt, MI 48842
Okay so the ice storm last week was crazy, but it had the most breathtaking effect on the trees. Each branch was covered in ice. The trees looked like white, sparkling, magical... I don't even know what to call them! They were so surreal. I'll put some pictures here but they don't even BEGIN to capture how gorgeous it was!

I wish I had picture from when the sun came out and everything was sparkling! But these will have to do for now. I have a new favorite type of weather though, and it is ICE STORMS! The after effects were way too beautiful.
Here are all the sisters from my district! We're getting a new one this transfer! SO MANY SISTERS! It's awesome. I thought we were supposed to be doing a silly picture... This is how most of the pictures turn out though. Everyone is smiling and I'm just a blur... haha.
 What did you think about the science video from last week? I LOVE OUTER SPACE. I am so grateful for all of God's incredible creations. How blessed are we to be able to enjoy them?!
I love you all! The new year is coming and I can't remember if I've already asked you to watch this but you should all watch it again! It's an awesome, short video about looking forward this year, and now dwelling on the past! I LOVE IT.
I hope you all have a fantastic week!
<3 Sister Christiansen


Week 29 - ICE STORM!!!

This week has been bonkers. I had my first ever "day in" as a missionary where our leaders told us we had to stay inside because it was too dangerous to go out! We had an ice storm and power lines and tree branches were falling everywhere! We live across the street from a fire station and there were constant sirens all day. We hope everyone is doing okay!
To fill our day, Sis. Brems and I studied a TON, played missionary games (like Scrabble, but you could only use words that were found in the scriptures!), sang hymns, and studied some more. It was awesome! Did I mention that our POWER HAS BEEN OUT for almost 2 days?! We have one flashlight and a battery-powered "candle" keeping us going. It's been such an adventure.
The trees here are all covered in ice and completely GORGEOUS. I wanted to send a picture but I forgot my camera today! Nooo!
So my mum sent me a Christmas CD that I love and this is my favorite song from it! And now there's a music video to it on! It's focused on the Savior and you should all watch it! Such beautiful music! Reminds me of that song "Chairman's Waltz..." Anyways, here's the link!
CHRISTMAS IS COMING! AWW YEAH! I hope we get to knock doors at least a little bit on Christmas! I'll let you know how that goes!
I am so grateful that God sent prophets in the past to reveal His gospel, and I'm so grateful that He sent His Son to lead us by example! I KNOW that whenever we do something that Christ did, it will lead to happiness. That is a PROMISE!
I wish I could write more but we're super rushed today. But I love you all and miss you a ton!
<3 Sister Christiansen
I am being selfish and asking for a Christmas gift... but I just discovered like, my new favorite video EVER and for Christmas I am going to go ahead and ask all of you to watch it! It makes me so happy and I know it can make each of you happy! And THAT makes me happy, too!
Here's the video.
I totally didn't cry when he started talking about the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field Image or anything...
<3 Carly

Week 28, go Michigan State!

Hi all! We had SO MANY MIRACLES this week! It was incredible.
It snowed so much, but knocking doors in the snow was actually so much fun. I know, I'm confused about it, too. Sister Brems and I just have so much fun together.
This week I got to go back to MSU for a couple days on exchanges! I saw Bruce! He's doing great, as usual. I didn't get to see Yifan, though, which made me sad! But it's okay. I know they're both doing amazing things.
At MSU, I got to be companions with Sister Richardson! She's one of our Sister Training Leaders (girl equivalent of zone leaders). We had so much fun. We went bus finding (So many memories!), talked to a ton of people from China (I felt right at home again!), and met with a bunch of people who didn't believe in God, but were open to learning how they could find out for themselves if He's there (Just like old times!). It was way fun. During our lunch hour, we also blew bubbles and made microwave pork rinds. If you learn anything from this email it should be this:
They smelled terrible and tasted even worse. It was hilarious. Exchanges were so much fun. And MSU made it to the Rose Bowl apparently against Stanford so everyone's stoked about that. I am so torn. But also not really...
This week we had our ward Christmas party and our investigator Dessiree came! She brought her boyfriend and her newborn baby and they had so much fun! The next night, they came with us to dinner at a member's house and it was the best thing ever! All the members were being such great fellowshippers! Dessiree's boyfriend had never been interested or heard anything about the church, but all the members were talking to him and he was asking all these awesome questions! We love them so much.
This Friday we also had Half Mission Training and our Half Mission Christmas Party! It was so great! We played so many hilarious games, including the one where you put an Oreo on your forehead and have to move it to your mouth without using your hands. Please enjoy this picture of President Hess preparing for the game...

It was so much fun. I wasn't very good at the game because I love Oreos too much to be that patient. When we played, the zone leaders said "Ready...set..." and I was going to try, but as soon as they said "Go!" I just took the Oreo off my forehead and started eating it. I COULDN'T WAIT, OKAY? It was so good.
Later at the training, Elder Patterson told us a story. This last transfer, Elder Snow finished his mission and went home. He was an AP (Assistant to the President) and served in my ward when I was at MSU. The current APs are Elder Patterson and Elder Bertilson (who's from Sweden!). They take the departing missionaries to the airport, and Elder Snow and one other elder were leaving at the same time. As the APs watched the departing elders put their luggage up to the counter to be weighed, Elder Bertilson watched the TSA workers. He then turned to Elder Patterson and said, speaking of the workers, "They have no idea what these two missionaries have done. They have no idea that they are heroes." That really stuck with me because it is so true! I saw Elder Snow work and devote his entire self to his mission and to the Lord. Missionaries who give themselves to the work truly are heroes. I just thought that was a really cool story.
Overall, this week was incredible! I know that God loves me and loves each one of you. I know that His teachings bless us and our families. I know that this work is God's work, and there's no place I'd rather be!
I love you all! Have a wonderful holiday season!
<3 Sister Christiansen
Sister Brems, the Sister Training Leaders (Sis. Richardson and Sis. Smith) and me!
Our apartment! Complete with lights and a tree! Thank you, family, for the decorations!