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?

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