Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Week 5: Frisco


Good afternoon everybody! This past week was, as always, crazy. Not too much time to write today except to send out these pictures and remind everybody how much I love them! 

The first picture is of me and Elder Nelson, another Elder in our district. We went on an exchange a few weeks ago and apparently we look exactly alike? That's what everybody we met while on the exchange told us (an exchange is a 24 hour swap with a companionship. I went with Elder Nelson and Elder Seager went with Elder Hurd). So we took a picture to prove it. And it's sort of true I guess? I don't know. Who knows anything anymore??

The rest of the pictures are pretty self-explanatory. Elder Seager is in there. There are a few of me as I'm embarking from the mission office. 

It's been a super busy week though, but all in all satisfactory. It's hot but not unbearable. And I'm well fed, as usual. 

I love you all lots. Sorry for the short email!

Love love love
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Week Four: If you could Hie to YOLOb
1 message

Hello all!
I love you! This email will be short because. um. No time? How is there never any time?
Anyways, this week has been amazing.
Bullet list:
-We unwittingly helped a woman come back to church for the first time in 25 years. We knocked into her this week and didn't even realize it until we found out that she had called our bishop and requested us to come back. And she came to church on Sunday! It was. Amazing. One of the most tender and beautiful things I've seen.
-We helped two English ladies from Australia break into their car with a hanger
-We ate tri-tip
-I petted the Herrera's cats again!!!
-In church the ward choir sang "Where Can I Turn For Peace" on top of "Be Still My Soul". It was beautiful!
Oh man, that's sort of the highlight only not really? So much happens in a week, it's tough to fully explain it all. But rest assured that the work continues on. This area is very difficult as far as knocking doors or getting people to teach. Other areas you might have 20 lessons in a week. I'd say we might have had 20 lessons in the past 4 weeks, cumulative. It's tough. But the thing is we still get out every single day and knock as many doors and talk to as many people as we possibly can. And because we're working hard, Heavenly Father blesses us with miracles. Like people coming in to church while we're playing basketball and asking to be taught (that happened this week). Or people coming back to church for the first time in 25 years. Or petting cats. Miracles. All miracles. So, all you missionaries out there reading this: if you work hard, even when it feels like you aren't getting anywhere, the Lord will bless you for your efforts.
I love you all. I want to invite each and every one of you to church this sunday! You can go on and type in your address and find out what's closest to you. If you are wondering why I'm out here or what I do or talk about all day, that's the best and easiest way to find out.
I promise pictures next week.
I love you all. I've only got two weeks left in Frisco! OMG.
Love love love,
Elder Christman

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week 3 - Frisco Texas

alexander christman
1:29 PM (1 hour ago)

to Eric, me, Emily, Nate, Alicia, Irene, anne.fuller, asplundingrid, Taylor, marni, Barbara, tkchrstmn, djolauson, Eliza, Daniel, Taylor, Bill, Brian, natalie.raines, brittany.evans
I will say this every week but how is it Monday already again? Geez, time flies out here. I am halfway through my first transfer! What??
Time is limited so I'll keep it short but I wanted to share a story. The day we got into Frisco three weeks ago, we met with a member of the bishopric for the 3rd ward (every ward has a bishop and two counselors who help him). We got a referral to go back and check on a less active member named David that this brother had met a few weeks earlier and had just been thinking about a lot since then. We went over that night and talked with David for a few minutes. He was interested in seeing us the next day, so we set up an appointment. When we showed up, we got to talking. David's girlfriend Lisa was there as well. David's been less active in the church for about 12 years or so. He has been going through some nasty legal issues with his divorce and the custody of his children for the past few years. Lisa has also been going through the same sorts of things and both were really distraught. As we talked to them, they grew less and less nervous and anxious about all their legal troubles and the stresses they face. We talked a bit about Jesus Christ and how he can encourage and bear us up in times of trial. Turns out Lisa has read from the Book of Mormon and has completely read through the Doctrine and Covenants (a collection of modern revelation). She was really enthusiastic about learning more. So we set up an appointment for lunch the next Friday. That Friday came around and when we showed up, David said he was surprised to see us because he thought Lisa had cancelled. David was moving out of his house and had people working on things so we couldn't talk much but he said to keep calling Lisa. He was going back to Utah the next day but encouraged us to keep in touch. A few days passed where we couldn't seem to get ahold of Lisa but we kept trying. Finally we got in touch and set up a teaching appointment at the church. We met up and went over the first lesson about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. We had a great conversation and, at the end, she said, "Do y'all have any more questions or anything?" When we said no, she said, "Ok well good because I know it's true. And I want to get baptized." We were blown away! Unfortunately for us, Lisa lives 9 miles outside of our mission, up in Aubrey, Texas. She's technically part of the Fort Worth Mission. So we talked her through that and explained the process to getting her transferred over to her ward and the Fort Worth Elders. It took a LOT of faith on her part and ours to trust in the organization of the mission and the church. It felt like we were sending her out without any help; we had no contact with the Fort Worth Elders or her future bishop. She also seemed uncomfortable and uneasy about leaving the relationship we had already established. For me, it was trying because it was such a huge blessing to meet with her and to have her be so confident and receptive. I felt like I couldn't wait for others to step in and take over; I wanted to get it done myself! But I prayed hard and just relied on the Lord. We didn't hear much from Lisa for the past two weeks, until Saturday evening. She called to tell us that she and her two children are getting baptized on the 28th of July. It was such a miracle. She said that the night before we knocked on David's door, he was telling her that he kept feeling like he needed to go back to church but couldn't figure out why. She said that he was questioning whether or not he even believed in God. David is now back at church and preparing to take part in the baptism of Lisa and her family.
It's a testament to me that God knows His children. He knows each and every one of us so well. And all we have to do to bless and help others is to do our duties. To reach out to others and to be there for them. To lift where we stand as President Uchtdorf says.
Anyways, that's a HUGE blessing for us and for Lisa and her family. It's an incredible thing to see happen. Miracles do happen in our area.
No pictures this week, sorry friends and loved ones. I haven't seen anymore cats, that's the main reason.
I'm well-fed and happy. Very very busy. But the weather has chilled out.
Today I'm buying a can opener!
I love you all so much. Write me letters!!!!
Love love love,
Elder Christman

Week 2: Frisco Texas

alexander christman
Jul 2 (7 days ago)

to me, Emily, Nate, Alicia, Irene, anne.fuller, asplundingrid, Taylor, marni, Barbara, tkchrstmn, djolauson, Eliza, Daniel, Taylor, Bill, Brian, natalie.raines, brittany.evans
Whew. How is it Monday again? I'm starting week three in the field. That means that my time in Frisco is almost half way up! WEIRD.
So much has happened this week but it's tough to condense and report it all so I'll bullet point it:
-Frisco has a reputation for being a difficult area because it's wealthy, lots of southern baptists, lots of anti-mormon stuff, nobody home cause they all work, etc. But it's been an incredible experience being here. I'm learning how to work with the ward members to get to know them and see to their concerns. I love it here so much. It's amazing.
-All the people we've taught and got to know all belonged to either a different mission entirely or a different ward. We have to stick to teaching the people who go to the Frisco YSA Branch and the Frisco 3rd ward because of lots of reasons but the most success we've had with having good discussions with people and teaching lessons haven't even gone to our ward. It's both amazing and really frustrating at times. ha ha ha.
-No heat exhaustion this week!
-Went on a day exchange to Plano. Because Elder Seager is a district leader (meaning he is responsible for all the missionaries in a geographic area), he goes out visiting with different companionships and I either tag along or am placed with another missionary for a period of time (no longer than 24 hours). This happened last week, and I was in Plano. Boy howdy the people of Plano are crazy. There were FAR more people willing to talk to me though so that was nice. But this guy had us at his door for about 10 minutes describing in depth how Ross Perot got the EDS people out of Iran in the 70's. He kept saying over and over, "Ross Perot is a demi-god". Then he thanked us and we walked off dazed.
-I almost ingested some bird shot in a piece of duck an investigator (that's the term we use for someone who is investigating the church) gave me. TEXAS.
-Marni, Amelia, and Thomas Campbell: Do you remember an elder who served in Seattle 3rd back between 2006 and 2008 or so named Elder Abegg? He came to one of our wards on Sunday and we talked about you all. He remembers you!
-I finally have to concede the nearest and dearest point of my heart: butter tastes better than margarine. The truth is out. There. (X-Files)
I love you all! No more time, but I'm sending pictures. I love you I love you I love you!!! This week has been amazing. Know that I'm praying for y'all.
As the texans say, "'Preciate ya!"
Love love love,
Elder Christman
P.S. The pictures of me and the biggest fattest cats I've ever seen and who I love. I'll have more pictures next week!
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Week One
Greetings from Frisco Texas!
So much has happened in the past week, so let me get the preliminaries out of the way.
I am in Frisco, Texas! My address for the next 6 weeks (only) is:
Elder Christman
710 Rose Hill Ln
Frisco, TX 75034
Until I get my call at the end of these three months, I will be emailing from this gmail account.
The apartment I live in is NICE. It is HOT. We got HEAT EXHAUSTION earlier this week. But we are HEALTHY. I am EXERCISING every day. I ride a bike two miles in the morning and run a quarter of a mile. I lift weights. I also eat at least two meals a day at the homes of members in the two congregations we cover. So I am SUPER well fed. Probably gaining weight, at that.
Here is some fun basic information. My mission president is named President Durrant and he is AMAZING. He is very in tune to the needs of the missionaries. I.E.: my trainer is Elder Seager! He's from Las Vegas and served for the last 8 months as an assistant to the mission president (the mission president gets a companionship of missionaries who assist him in all of the things. Basically it's a VERY difficult and busy job, because it's a ton of administrative tasks, as well as tending to all of the 155 missionaries in the mission,  as well as proselyting and teaching). We both got double transfered in to our area, which is unusual. Normally, a missionary will transfer in to an area to a companion who has previously been serving in that area so that the work isn't interrupted. The new elder gets adjusted to the area while the elder who was already in the area helps them continue meeting with investigators and members and all of that fun stuff. Elder Seager and I didn't have that luxury. We are both brand new to the area which means we're both clueless about the work that's gone on before us and the needs of the congregations we cover. The mission is set up so that each area has an "area book" which is a binder of information, such as the boundaries of the area and previous investigators and teaching records and ward member lists and things like that. But our predecessors weren't super diligent in their record keeping so we had very little to go on once arriving. However, that gave us the opportunity to work that much harder at getting started and staying busy. It's been incredible being here. I know right now that this was the best decision I've ever made (besides getting baptized). I am truly happy. I am so excited and concentrated and I just feel my mind and heart growing. The members here are an inspiration. Elder Seager is a rock. He is so solid and obedient to the calling of disciple of Jesus Christ. He is the perfect companion for me. We work hard, stay positive and reverant (that's a hard one for some 19 year olds to do), keep a good attitude, and don't waste time. It's WONDERFUL. Elder Seager's testimony is clearly hard won. He's been a member all of his life but he's had some great experiences which have transformed his understanding of the gospel and Jesus Christ. He's so strong and helpful. It's tough to believe I'm almost two years older than him. Ha ha ha.
So in addition to being double transfered, Elder Seager is also training me and is a district leader. Our responsibilities cover a family ward, the Frisco 3rd, and the stake YSA branch. That means that we spend over 8 hours at church every sunday, in between the three hour meetings and hour long ward councils (planning meetings for the auxiliaries of the ward). Yesterday was our first Sunday and we were asked to give our testimonies. It was a great experience because as a missionary I've realized that all that matters right now about who I am is my testimony of Jesus Christ and his Atonement. All that matters is how much I desire to serve others. All that matters is how much I love and care for everyone, including myself. As a missionary, as I get to share my testimony, I am sharing the parts of me that I'm most proud of. The parts of me that I can hold out and say, "This is who I truly am, this is how I understand myself." It's a powerful, intimate thing and I'm so grateful for having the opportunity to do it day after day.
In short: I love it here. I love the work. I love the people. I'm guaranteed to leave this area at the end of this transfer (6 weeks), which means leaving Elder Seager as well and, even though I have 5 weeks left I'm already sad about it.
So, recap: you have my address so send me letters! Family can email me at my gmail account! No pictures to send home yet, but that'll change next week, I promise. No time to take pictures this past week! Just too busy.
I love you all. Your support and love means the world to me. If you're ever wondering why I'm out here and what I'm doing here, if you ever wonder why I love this work and why I'm happy and proud to respresent it, I invite you to go to a church meeting. You can find times and meeting houses at It'll give you a better understanding of who you are, of how you are loved, and how you can be happier. I promise you those blessings.
Everything is great. Even having people slam the door in your face. Even that is bearable when you know why you're doing it.
Love love love to you all,
Elder Christman