Wednesday, February 21, 2018

"Yeah, I am building my house."

Digging Holes! 

Hi Everybody!

How are you all doing?! I hope everyone is doing great! I am pretty sure this last week in the States was Valentine's day so I am sure you all had a great week! We had a great last week of the transfer! And last night (Sunday) we got the transfer! So in a shocking turn of events, I am staying in São Cristovão!!! That is right folks, after all is said and done I will have 6 months in this ward. Crazy right? I am in the same zone (Imbuí) since June!!!! I will watch 2 General Conferences in the same place! I can't wait to see the faces of the other members of the stake when they see me once again during General Conference at the end of next month! Anyways, I am sad to report that my companion Elder Machado is being trasnferred! He will be going to Vitoria da Conquista and be companions with another American! He was sad because that city is a little cold haha! But I will be getting as my new companion Elder Loureiro! He is actually part of the group that I am going home with! I don't really know him but I am excited to see what this next transfer holds! 

So this week was another great one! And it ended with a fantastic Sunday but I will get to that later. I'll start at the beginning of the week! So Tuesday was the offical Carnaval holiday. We were anxious about what the day would hold. We got invited to do a service project with Jefferson in the morning so we went. Wow it made us tired haha. He is planning on building a house on some land next to his parents house. He has just started and is digging these huge holes to be the foundation. I thought it was funny how in the United States when someone says, "yeah, I am building my house." That usually means that they designed the house and the construction guys are building. Here, when someone says they are building their house it means that THEY are the ones actually building it hahaha. So we went and helped Jefferson for 5 hours Tuesday morning, digging holes. He was already in one that he had been doing on different days and me and Elder Machado took over a different one. It was a lot of fun and great for Jefferson to be with us since he still isn't married to Ingrid and still investigating the church. Afterwards we headed over to lunch at his house with the Sisters and the rest of his family. It was Sister Bernardo's birthday so it was fun! 

Tuesday night we did get to go visit Claudio! He is doing great and felt bad that he didn't get to go to church with us! But we got to teach him about the Book of Mormon. It was a great lesson but the coolest part was at the end when we finally gave him the book. He was so surprised that we would give him a present! He was so happy and was holding the book with such care and love and it made me reflect on that talk that President Nelson gave about the Book of Mormon and if we value it more than diamonds and rubies. It definitely seemed like Claudio was valuing it more than anything. He said he would read and was very thankful! It was a great lesson and he seems to be progressing great! 

Wednesday was another great day! We had a fantastic last district meeting of the transfer and during the day we had Felipe go out with us. He has gone out with us a ton of time because he is 18 and planning on going a mission this year. He is awesome. Anyways one of the highlights of the day was when we went to visit Marcos. (He is the atheist) So we had gone in with the plan to teach him the first lesson but when we got there it didn't work out that way. He had done research and found some stuff on the Church and wanted to ask us about it. It is crazy how confident I feel now when people ask about that type of stuff, I really don't have anything that I can't answer anymore. But the best part was at the end. Felipe had been quiet the whole time but at the end he spoke up and said he wanted to share his testimony. He has this deep, narrorator type voice, so when he talks everyone pays attention haha. But he started to talk and the Spirit came in to the room so strongly. He spoke about his struggles when he was younger with believing if God existed. It was so great. After Felipe spoke I bore my testimony about the feelings of the Spirit. The whole thing with Marcos is that he thinks it is crazy that we can belive in things we don't see. So I tried to explain to him the feelings of the Spirit. But it is kind of hard haha. The Spirit feels different for all and I explained that for me I just kind of know that it is true. I get this feeling that helps me doubts go away. It was a great lesson and Marcos seemed to really listen and ponder for the first time the things we were saying! 

Thursday we went to visit Ellen and her mom and little brother that finally got here from Fortalza! We were so excited and found out that her mom, Erika, was baptized in September! So she is pretty new in the church. She had been going to church for a while but had to get some things resolved before she could get baptized but now she is and is looking forward to learn more! We read with them 1 Nephi 8. I love that chapter! It is so great! Go read it again! The vision is so amazing for our day! Anyways, we focused on verse 12 that talks about how Lehi wanted to share the fruit with his family. Ellen and her family are living here with tons of their family that was already living here! So we challenged them to share the gospel with their family! It was awesome and we are hoping it goes well! 

Friday we had an interesting lesson with Lucas. He is that young man we found who is 13 and he is great! But the whole time we have been working with him he hasn't gone to church and it is irritating us! So we wanted to know why. He told us that his mom is the one that doesn't want him to go! So we were like "Ohhhh that makes sense." Friday when we went to visit him we called his mom to come participate in the message too! We re-taught the first lesson and it was fantastic! His mom loved it and asked a bunch of questions and it was great! She said she would see if she could go to church but said that regardless Lucas could go! So we were pretty excited! 

Saturday was insane! Lately in the mission, President Bangerter has been really focusing on getting people to church. So as of Saturday we had about 15 people who had told us that they could go to church this week. Saturday we decided to go talk to all of them and see if they really would go! We ran around our area, visiting people for only about 15 minutes and the Lord blessed us! We got to talk to all of them! At the end of the day we had 7 yeses, 7 nos, and 3 maybes. We called Felipe and Johnny and asked them to help us Sunday morning. They showed up at our house about 8 and we split up to go get those who said they would go! And it worked well! We had 6 investigators at church! It was fantastic. 

So yeah that was my week! I am hoping that this next week is fantastic! Pray that this new transfer will be great! Love you all!! 

#itsalltrue

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

PICS
1,2- Helping Jefferson dig holes for his house that he is building himself
3-cool sign i saw with my initials on it LOL! 

Jefferson and Elder Machado digging the holes! 
Jefferson down in the deepest hole 
Starting a new hole
My initials!!! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Official Start of Carnival Week

Elder Prince and I
Hey everyone! 

How is everybody doing?!  I am really shocked how fast this week went! It literally flew by!! Our week was great and HOT again, haha! That is February below the equator! 

This week is the offical start of Carnival but the end of this last week we already started to see some effects. (From Marilee- I looked up what, exactly Carnival is and found this online: A week-long party characterizes Brazil’s Carnival, the Mardi Gras of the southern hemisphere. Celebrations and parades are held throughout the country, most notably in the city of Rio de Janeiro and the Brazilian states of Bahia and Pernambuco. Carnival celebrations vary in length and content, depending on the area.- USA TODAY) Luckily in our area there aren't any of the crazy parties that go on during Carnival. That is more towards the center of the city. There are missionaries who can't even work during these days, which is pretty tough. The only thing here is that everyone leaves haha. Our area seems deserted! Everyone goes to the party or to the beach! So these next couple of days will be interesting! 

Last monday night we headed over to visit Daniel and Tatiane. They are that couple that we found a couple weeks ago who are not from here. We went by to teach them about the Book of Mormon! We had actually planned on teaching the Plan of Salvation but when we got there we felt that we needed to teach the Book of Mormon! So that is what we did! And it was awesome! Daniel is the one who seems less interested and talks less during the lessons but he is the one who read the pamphlet we left and he said that he is praying to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. And he was really interested in the Book of Mormon. Tatiane is great but seemed a little less excited about what we were teaching. At the end of our visit we challenged them to baptism and then got some sad news! They both accepted the invitation but when we started to talk about a date they explained to us that they were going out of town. We were confused and said "that's fine... when do you guys come back?" Tatiane said, "Well I won't be coming back. We are going to my hometown and I will stay there." Daniel will be there for a few weeks but then will come back to finish working on the metro train that is being installed here in Salvador. So that was kind of a bummer but it is okay because when Daniel gets back we are goin to try and teach him still and we can send word to the missionaries where they live to continue teaching them. 

Tuesday we had a really cool lesson with a man we found named Claudio! We had done a contact with him on the street a few weeks ago and we went to try and find his house. It was frustrating as the streets here are crazy! There are no numbers on a lot of houses and when they do have numbers the numbers don't have an order. So there is like number 15 and then number 875, and then number 121. It's craziness, haha! After a lot of searching and almost giving up we found Claudio. How? He was walking up the street and saw us! It was a miracle and we then went to his house and had a great lesson. He is about 40 and is living alone in one of the smallest places I have ever seen. Us three barely fit in his house. But he is so humble and believes everything we are teaching him. At the end of the lesson we challenged him to bet baptized and he accepted! It was awesome! We invited him to church and he said he would go. I love how the Lord places people in our path and today it was literal! 

Wednesday I got to go to the mission council meeting! It was great. It was only the Zone Leaders and it was a great day! We learned a lot and I got to see a lot of old friends! And I finally got to take a picture with Elder Prince so now my mom can stop asking for a picture of us! (From Marilee- Elder Prince's mother and I have become friends on facebook from a page for Missionary moms of missionaries serving in the Brazil Salvador South Mission. Our boys have served around each other for almost a year and we finally just got a picture of them together. YAY!)

Thursday we taught Claudio again and it was a great lesson. The best part was his prayer at the end of the lesson. We asked him to pray and he got a little embarrassed but said he would do. Then he gave an amazing prayer. He asked God to help him be baptized and keep going on this path that he is on right now. It was so spiritual and one of the coolest things I've experienced as a missionary. To hear his simple humility was so cool. It was one of those prayers where the whole time in my head I was like, "WHAT? This is awesome! I'm so happy!!" 

Friday we went to visit Lucas and he is doing great! He didn't go to church AGAIN this week and I was pretty bummed but it is because of Carnaval. Even the kids have school off during Carnival and he went out of town. But the good news is he is still progressing and we are hoping he'll be at church next week so he can be baptized the following week. 

Saturday we met with this dude named Marcos! He is an atheist! Wow! We had an interesting conversation with him. Marcos doesn't believe in anything. At all. He said that he only believes in what he sees and in science. He asked us all these questions and we just kept answering and bearing our testimony to him because that is all we could do! It was a great lesson despite how much he doesn't already believe in.  We realized we have to adapt our teaching a little though because he doesn't believe in a lot of stuff that normally the people we talk to already believe in. LIke most people already believe in God and Jesus Christ or some kind of higher power before we start teaching them but Marcos doesn't believe a thing. We're starting from scratch with him and I'm excited for this challenge. 

Sunday was another great day. Our area felt deserted so it was tough but we did a lot of good contacting and found some people we plan to go visit this week.

So sorry for the short email! I am using the internet here at Vivane and Anna Beatriz's place because the normal places we use the internet were closed today and I need to go. I love all you guys! Have a great week! 

#itsalltrue

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson




Thursday, February 8, 2018

A visit to PELOURINHO


Hi everybody!! 
How is everyone doing?! I can't believe it is already February! It has been pretty hot here and this is the prime heat time so if I can make it through this month without burning too much I am doing great! 

Our week was very tiring because we were working like crazy but that is what makes it great. It flew by too and I can't believe it is p-day already! You definitely sleep better at night the harder you work and I slept great this week! :-) Again there was a lot of stuff and a lot of lessons this week so I will try to hit the highlights and explain all that happened! 

Monday was a fun day! After emailing in the morning we headed over to Pelourinho! It is one of the biggest tourist spots in Salvador and it was really cool! It was the place where the slaves first arrived here and was the first part of the city way back when it was founded! So we saw a bunch of historical buildings and stuff and since I love history it was awesome! I was scared because I had heard that the place was crazy with a bunch of people trying to get you to buy stuff and huge crowds and pick-pocketers and stuff. So I was nervous because I don't like to look like a tourist but in a white shirt and tie, and being American, all I look like is a tourist, haha! But it was totally the opposite of what I had heard! So I was so happy and I will definitely need to go back when I am going home and buy souveniors and stuff! I will send pictures! Elder Machado was really excited to see the place where Michael Jackson filmed his music video "They Don't Care About Us". We took lots of pictures! It was a fun p-day! 

Tuesday was a busy day and I think we taught 5 lessons! One of the coolest ones was with this girl named Adrielle, her finaceé Lucas, and her little brother Juan. Adrielle and Juan are inactive members and were baptized a couple years ago and we found them last week. Lucas is really cool and interested. During the lesson he seemed like he wasn't very interested and didn't seem to into it but when we started to talk about Joseph he started to perk up. I think it is because so many people have the same question as young Joseph did about which church to join. Especially here because every street has like 4 churches with every one teaching differently. After we bore our testimonies about Joseph we invited them to pray to know if he was a prophet and they all accepted. Normally after the first lesson we give the first pamphlet for people to read and pray about. It isn't very big and it is easy to understand. But I realized Lucas really liked the story about Joseph so I pulled out the bigger blue pamphlet that tells all of his story and gave it to Lucas!! He was so happy and said he would read! 

Wednesday night we had a cool little miracle! So we had a tiring day, and at night all of our appointments were falling thru! But we had one that we were excited for which was Crislania and Joilson, the couple we found Sunday night! So we get there and no one was home. I was like come on man! So I look at Elder Machado and I said, "Well, we got some bad luck today." So we started to walk up the street and we knocked on the door like 2 up from the other couple we were supposed to visit. And this woman answered! She was super nice and we were doing our door approach and from inside we hear, "Invite them in!" So we went in and met another great couple. The lady who answered the door was named Tatiani and she is 29. Her husband is named Daniel and is 25 I think. They aren't from here so they have funny accents. They are from Brasil but just a different part! Anyways we entered into their little house and gave a lesson. There was no where to sit so we stood. It was so spiritual as we talked about the Restoration and how Jesus gave the blueprints when he was on the earth. The coolest part was at the end when Tatiani looked at us with tears in our eyes and said, "Could this really be the true church?" We bore our testimonies that it is! And then invited her to pray about it! It was so amazing! 

Thursday we visited Lucas. It is not the Lucas I talked about earlier, it is the Lucas who is 13. He is awesome. He has a baptismal date for the 17th. This whole week he wanted us to visit because he is really liking our visits. We taught him the whole week and he loved it. He is a funny kid and really seems to be growing spiritually! We have to hope he stays that way!  

Friday night we had another funny and cool experience with a man we taught named Reinan. We found him doing contacts last week and we finally got to teach him Friday night. It was a great first lesson and he really enjoyed everything that we were talking about. Towards the end of the lesson I said to him, "So we have a few invitations that we want to extend to you." And before I could start to talk he asks, "Are you going to ask me to be a missionary too? I know I am 24 but I don't think I can do that." It was so funny hahah. We were like no! We just were going to invite you to read, pray, and go to church. He laughed and accepted then we challenged him to be baptized and he also accepted! He couldn't go to church this week because he was working but I think this week he will go with us! It was a fun lesson and Reinan is a cool guy! 

So about the whole Rita situation. We have been pretty confused and in the dark as to why out of nowhere she just stopped talking to us. We were told it was because she was sick but then the excuse changed and we were just confused. We have been going there still to visit Ellen because she is new here and a recent convert. This week we went there a few times and one time we got there at night and we usually don't go at night and the minute she saw us she booked it inside and wouldn't talk to us. So we have been pretty bummed out because she was like the most elect person I had ever seen. What we have figured out is that she probably has a difficulty with one of the commandments because since that lesson she hasn't talked to us. We have been using Ellen to tell her stuff and that repentance can heal and forgive and stuff. We hope it will work and we are praying like crazy for her. Only time will tell! 

Saturday night we had a great lesson! Maybe my favorite all week! We finally got a hold of Joilson and Crislania! We went to visit them Saturday night and had an amazing lesson. We had been planning on teaching them about the Book of Mormon but when we got there and were talking to them before the lesson started I started to feel that we needed to teach them about the Plan of Salvation. So right as we were about to start the lesson I looked over at Elder Machado to say that we would teach the Plan of Salvation. Before I could say anything he goes, "Plan of Salvation!" I just laughed and thought it was so cool how the Spirit told us both the same thing. We had a great lesson with them afterwards. It is very interesting to teach them because they don't really have a religious background. But they loved the lesson and both said that the goal is to make it to the Celesial Kingdom! They also accepted the baptismal invitation but they will take a little more time I think. They will need to adjust some stuff in their lives haha. But it was awesome! 

I think that is all I got! Our Sunday was a good one! These next few weeks here will be interesting because Carnaval starts and everyone will be our drinking and partying. Also doesn't help that one of the biggest Carnaval places in all of Brasil is Salvador haha. But we are excited for the challenge and things will go well! 

Love you all! Have a great week! 
#itsalltrue

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson









Monday, January 29, 2018

"A mini Book of Mormon book club"

District Meeting
Hey everyone!!! 
How is everyone doing!? I hope all is well and that you all had a great week! Our week here was a good one. It ended a bit sadly yesterday but then last night got good again! I will explain the whole story in the rundown of the week! 

Monday night we had an awesome family night with Irmã Leide and her family. Johnny and Rodrigo and Anizio (the nonmember husband) were all there! We shared a video about member missionary work and then did a cool activity with them so that we got a bunch of referrals. The coolest part was that Anizio, who isn't even a member, gave us like 10 people as referrals!!! It was so cool because at the beginning of the lesson I was deciding if I would share that video or a different one and felt like I should share the one about member missionaries. I am so glad that's what we did as well as the activity! Now the only thing that needs to happen is that Anizio needs to realize that the number 1 person who needs the Gospel is him!! We will keep praying for him and doing all we can to teach and help him.  

Tuesday was a great day back to the grind. Towards the end of the day we finally got to teach this family that we had contacted earlier but had never gotten to actually visit and teach. Their names are Gilmar and Isabela. They both have around 25 years old and have one 2-year old girl. They were so awesome! Isabela's mom was there too and we taught the Restoration. Gilmar and Isabela have never really been religious but Isabela's mom is so it was really cool to see how she enjoyed the lesson. I love how God has blessed me to be able to recognize the Spirit a lot better. I can tell exactly when the Spirit enters into the room. Everything outside seems to fade away and all those who are present start to get quiet and really think about what is being said. It is so cool. That happened during the part of our lesson when we taught about Jesus Christ and his life as well as when we talked about the First Vision. The craziest part is that people always seem to remember the First Vision. Even with inactive members who have been 10 plus years inactive always remember the First Vision. Why? Because for me at least, it is one of the most special parts of all our messages. It is the story of how God once again visited man on earth like he did in the Bible times and the glorious beginning of the Restoration of the Gospel! Of course it is memorable! But anyways, they all really liked the message and we will go visit them again this week! 

Wednesday we went to visit Lucas! I can't remember if I already wrote about Lucas or not. But to share his backstory really quick, Lucas is 13, we found him when we were out doing contacts and he is really cool! He lives close to us and is always playing soccer in the plaza in front of our house.  He is awesome and we started to teach him last week. Anyways we went to teach him Wednesday and it was just awesome. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then at the end I said, "So we have three invitations for you." He raises his hand and asks, "One of them is to be baptized, right?" I was like "umm".... hahaha "I wasn't going to say that one right now but..." And then Elder Machado invited him to be baptized and he accepted! It was awesome! He has a goal set to be baptized February 17th and we just need to get him involved with the members and for him to go to church. He is really smart and awesome so we are excited! 

Wednesday we also went and visited with Rita and Ellen again! They are the best and Ellen's mom and little brother should get here this week which we are hoping will help with Rita being excited for baptism and staying strong in the church. Also because our ward needs another family to start coming! Anyways, we went to teach Rita about the commandments. We were a little nervous for a couple reasons. One, Rita's whole family smokes and drinks coffee. It is not very rare obviously but we were worried. Reason two, Rita has a boyfriend and we were going to also teach the law of chastity. So we got there and started the lesson and it was great! One thing I have learned is that you cannot beat around the bush with this type of lesson. You have to be clear so people understand 100% and that's what we did. It was a great lesson and we had a little miracle because it turns out Rita doesn't drink coffee and she hates smoking!! So that was perfect! And about the boyfriend thing, she was fine about everything we taught so it was great too! The sad part with her was that later in the week she got sick and wasn't able to go to church on Sunday :( which means her baptism is going to have to be postponed to next week instead of this week! But it will be ok and everything will work out in the end as it always does! 

Thursday we went and passed by Marlene's place to see how they were doing. Since Evely has kind of stopped wanting to have the lessons since she already has taken all of them I was really stumped on what to do with our visits there. I have thought and prayed about it and I had an idea. We needed to focus more on the Savior. So we have started a little program of visits where we are reading all the chapters in 3rd Nephi of when Jesus is visiting the Nephites! So far it has been awesome and it is like a mini Book of Mormon book club, haha. Evely really likes to read in groups like we are doing so it has been good for her. I just hope now that she opens her heart up again a little bit and lets the Spirit enter. Little by little I know it will help her be happier! 

Friday was a day where everything fell through but we had fun anyway because we were with Felipe. Felipe is a dude in our ward who is going on his mission later this year and is preparing right now. It was a fun day and we did a lot of contacting and found this guy named Jonas. He was pretty interested and we taught him about the Restoration and he liked it. I love how people here just let us in and they always want to hear "a palavra" or the word! Gotta love Bahia.

Saturday was really cool too! We had a great day but Saturday night we had some lessons fall through so we were out of plans. The worst thing ever is to not have plans at night! So we started walking around on streets that we usually don't walk on and started to do contacts and knock doors. We knocked on this one door and this man named Domingos answered. He was really polite and let us in to leave a message. But after a little bit I realized that the Lord hadn't guided us there for him. His daughter was also there, named Evelyn and it was clear we were there for her. She is about 23 and has a 2-year old. The reason I realized that is because the minute we started to teach she was all in. She was so curious and thought it was the coolest thing ever! She couldn't go to church yesterday because we taught them on Saturday night about 8 o'clock and she already had plans but we are going back this week! Evelyn was super interested and said she would read and pray like we invited her too! 

So why did the week almost end sad but didn't? Well Sunday was a good day but we ended up not having any investigators at church. I can't remember the last time that happened!! And it just feels rotten because it seems like a whole week of work was for nothing because none of our investigators went to church! We had like 7 people marked to go with us but almost all fell through on Saturday. The good news is that church was still great. I actually got to teach Gospel Principles and it went really well. I love teaching the Gospel. 

Anyways, after lunch we went out to work and found this awesome couple!! Joilson and Crislania! They have 2 kids with one on the way and they are awesome. They have never really been religious which is rare to see here but they are great! We taught the Restoration and they seemed really interested! We'll see them next week and I really hope they progress! 

Really quick I wanted to talk a bit about my companion Elder Machado cause I don't think I have said much about him yet. He is from Fortaleza, which is a little north of where we are here in Bahia. He is 19 almost 20 and is a cool dude. He has been through a lot in his life but is super excited to be a missionary and the BEST part is that he is a WORKHORSE! He does a great job when he talks about the gospel and is really persistent. He also seems to listen to the promptings of the Spirit really well which is really neat. He is a little quiet at first but now he has opened up to me a little and we have become good friends. He is a good trainee. I'm looking forward to the rest of this transfer since after 2 weeks he is already learning so quickly and doing great! 

Anyways that was my week! It was a lot of stuff and I am really tired but the Lord will bless us like always if we do our best! Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

I realized I only took one pic this week, sorry! Sorry Mama! I know you like lots of photos! 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

#ITSALLTRUE

A DAY IN THE LIFE
Hi everyone!!! 
How is everybody doing?! I hope you all had a great week! Things here in Salvador are going great! It is getting hotter which isn't the most fun but at least that means that I will get more tan! Haha! Our week was another full, great, and miracle filled one! We had a ton of stuff happen and a lot of cool experiences. I will hit on some of the highlights. 

So Tuesday was a big day! A whole lot of stuff happened. Firstly, we had our Zone Conference! It was interesting because I am the only Zone Leader so I was going to have to give my training alone. But Sister Bernardo is the only Sister Leader Trainer in our zone so she helped me and we gave our training together! It was awesome! We talked about giving baptismal challenges and how we can do it better. It was great and I think the first time I have ever seen and Elder and Sister who aren't a senior couple give a training together! It usually doesn't happen. But the whole conference was great and I learned a lot and felt the Spirit strongly! I really love Zone Conferences because I get to see a lot of other missionaries and get to hear President and Sister Bangerter! But Tuesday was an extra special conference for us because after lunch we got to watch the special First Presidency transmission! It was so awesome to be able to watch it with other missionaries in the chapel and with President and Sister Bangerter! It was so wonderful to see President Nelson and the new First Presidency talk to all of us! I know that the process of calling a new First Presidency is a divine process. I am so grateful for that. After the transmission and news conference, President Bangerter stood up and shared with us his experiences and testimony about all the Presidents of the Church since he was born. It was really cool and everyone left full of the Spirit and excited to work harder! 

Tuesday afternoon we had a miracle! I can't remember if I wrote about it last week but I think I did. Last Saturday we were walking by a building when Elder Machado stopped and knocked on an open door and we found a young woman who had just moved here from Fortaleza (Elder Machado's home). Her name is Ellen and now she is living with her grandparents and other extended family. Tuesday was the day we marked to go formally visit them. And man it was awesome!!!!! So we got there and started to get to know everyone. There were 4 youth there and some adults who unfortunately did not want to listen to our message. There was Ellen, her aunt Rita who's 14, their friend Amanda, and this guy named Gabriel. We started to talk to them and then we started the first lesson. It was very cool for many reasons. One, it was really cool to see Ellen hear the first lesson again. She was so happy and when we got to the part of the First Vision she got so happy and started to get emotional. She was so excited that her other family members were hearing the message! Reason two, Rita really liked the message. At the end of the message I asked her how she was feeling and she said, "I'm feeling this peace inside of me and I have the strong desire to cry." I was so surprised! It was like the perfect answer! I couldn't believe it! So we left the pamphlets with them and invited them all to read and pray about what we had taught. It was awesome! 

Wednesday was another sweet day! We headed over to find another girl who had been taught by the missionaries a while ago. Last week I was organizing some things at our house when I found a baptismal record almost completely filled out. The interview had been done and even the parent had signed it but the baptism never happened! So of course we went to look for this girl. We found her and her name is Luiza. We found out that she got cold feet before the baptism and didn't really think she had to get baptized and backed out. Anyways, we taught her and her friend who was there the first lesson and they loved it. Especially the friend, Giselle. She is a very intelligent girl and was really interested in our message! They couldn't go to church this week but they seem to have potential! 

Wednesday we also went back to visit Ellen and her family! Again our lesson was just with the youth but it was awesome! Rita again was the most interested and Ellen was loving the lessons. We talked about the Book of Mormon with them and they all got really excited to learn more about it! I love teaching about the Book of Mormon! It is the best! My testimony has been strengthened so much about the Book of Mormon from reading it every day. I love how every time I learn something new! 

Wednesday we also went and visited Ricardo. He is a barber that we met last week and he is really interesting. He LOVES to talk though wow. It was funny to see Elder Machado trying to get him to focus on what we wanted to teach. But I have learned something from experience that we need to listen to the people first and then relate what they were talking about to our lesson so that it has something to do with them personally. Instead of just trying to do the same thing and plow through teaching we need to listen and teach to the needs of the investigator! We ended up having a long lesson with Ricardo and we talked about the Book of Mormon. He seemed interested and excited to read a little bit since he is also a very knowledgeable man. He had given us his word that he would come to church but ended up not coming. We called him Sunday afternoon to see what happened and he gave us his story and felt really bad that he didn't follow through. But it is all good! We will see if he progresses! 

Thursday we had a nice visit with Rosalia! She is this lady that for a while we have been trying to visit. Her three daughters are inactive members. She is a good-hearted woman and finally on Thursday she said she wanted to change. This week we made a plan with her to go by and we will all be praying to help her make changes. We will see where it goes because she knows a lot already! If she really just decides to follow Jesus Christ and starts to change she will! So that is what we are hoping for! 

Friday we went back to visit Rita and Ellen and it was amazing!!! So we asked Rita how her praying had gone. She said that the night before she had read 2 Nephi 31 that we had left her to read and that afterwards she said a prayer to God to ask if was true. She said that she felt a "warm feeling, followed by extreme happiness." I once again didn't know how to react. Then I asked what she thinks she needs to do after reading that chapter. She said, "Be baptized and follow Jesus for the rest of my life." In my head I was like, "WHAT?!?! SHE IS TOO PERFECT!!" Haha! It seemed to good to be true because every answer that she gave was like 100% perfect. But we taught the Plan of Salvation that day and they loved it. She said she felt comforted knowing that her family can be together forever. It was so cool. Then we challenged her to baptism! She accepted! Our goal that we made together is for February 3rd!! She is excited. The best was Ellen's face when she accepted the invitation. She looked at her and said, "wait, you're going to get baptized?!" She then started to cry and gave Rita a hug haha. It was so awesome. The best part was at the end of the lesson. Rita offered the prayer and she said more or less this, "Heavenly Father thank you for all the things I have learned this week. Help me learn more and stay strong so that I can for sure be baptized on the 3rd." She is seriously "eleita" or elect in English haha! 

Saturday we had a nice lesson with a lady named Conceição! We found her last week and taught her once but she works during the week so we couldn't visit her until this week. She is really cool and we taught about the Book of Mormon. We asked her how her prayer had went to ask God if Joseph Smith was a prophet and she said that she felt really good after the prayer and that during the entire week she didn't feel tired or with pain and that she thinks that is her answer. It was awesome and she really loved our message. She is an active member of a different denomination here but we will see if she can visit church this week to see how the Church of Jesus Christ is! 

Sunday was great! Elder Machado spoke in church and did a fantastic job. He was really nervous the entire week haha. But it went perfect! Rita and Ellen came to church and Ellen got to meet her new ward! Her mom and little brother are coming here in a week or so and they are both members too so that is great news for our ward! 

Wow I think that is it! There was a lot of other awesome stuff from this week but this is all I can remember right now! I love all you guys! Have a great week!!! 

#Itsalltrue

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson


 A pic of a little part of my area
A PIC OF OUR ZONE CONFERENCE

Monday, January 15, 2018

"The Lord always fulfills his promises if we keep the commandments!"

Elder Christofferson and his BRAND NEW Missionary Elder Machado! 
Hi Everybody!!! 

How are you all doing?! Wow, this week has been crazy and wild and tiring and full of miracles and a whole bunch of other things! With the transfer, trainer meeting, a new companion, Elder Machado, who I will write about in a little bit, leadership council and everything else we had going on, I have a ton of stuff to write about. I hope that I can get my whole message across in this email!

So Monday night we headed over to Ingrid and Jefferson's house for Elder Estevam to say goodbye to them! He gave them their last English class with him as teacher and we ate the coxinhas that they make which are so good. Ingrid asked Elder Estevam and I to give her a blessing because she had been really sick that week. It was so awesome and I love to feel the Spirit working through me. I am so grateful and humbled that I can help people because I have the Priesthood! Even though it was sad we had a fun night. Sister Alves also got transferred to a different area and she had become like a sister to Ingrid so it was sad to see them crying. But that is the life of a missionary, right? Getting attached to the people in our areas, only to have to leave, but it's all good because hopefully we help them grow closer to the Lord while we are with them. And there are always more amazing people in the next place we go. 

So, Tuesday morning we woke up early and Eddy (the taxi driver who's the best) picked us up and dropped me off at the mission home. I had to say goodbye to Elder Estevam, which was sad and hard. I love that guy and am so grateful for the time I had with him. After they dropped me off, Eddy took Elder Estevam over to the place where the missionaries who are leaving stay for the activities they have at the end of their missions and I headed up to the mission apartment. The trainers had to be there at 7 but I got there at 6:20 and I had to wait outside for a little while because I was so early and President and Sister Bangerter weren't even dressed yet, haha! 

Tuesday was a fantastic day though. I saw so many old friends and made new ones! All the trainers were there and we spent the morning in trainings with the Assistents while President and Sister Bangerter were at the airport picking up the new group! The new group got here and they are AWESOME! 11 missionaries in all and only one American haha! His name is Elder Rust and he is cool. But the new group walked in and they were just so happy and full of energy. And WOW did I feel old. I don't know why but I felt so old as a missionary! I rememberd the day I got here and all those missionaries who were in the mission home the day I got here. And all of them are now home from their missions. It is crazy! Anyway, after a whole day of trainings and food we also got to go out and do contacts with the newbies. We just got to choose randomly but the APs put me with Elder Rust because he doesn't speak a lot of portuguese yet and they needed someone to help him. It was awesome and it reminded me a lot of my first day. At the end of the day President finally announced the companions and areas for everyone! My new companion is Elder Machado. He is from Fortaleza, Seará, Brazil. It is a state north of here and is known for its pristine beaches haha. Elder Machado is the man! He is a little quiet but is warming up and he has such a fire for the work! He loves to talk with people and is not afraid at all. We have had a great time together so far and I am looking forward to the future! 

So Wednesday we got to work! I was pretty tired because I had woken up at 5am the day before but I pushed through and it was all good. We had a great day and we found this awesome lady named Michelle. We were looking for a less-active and stopped to ask her for information. She was working at this little place that sells glasses. It is the most randomly placed thing ever but it was a blessing. When we went to ask her I felt a strong impression to teach her right then. So we did! We sat down and had a great lesson. I was a little worried because it seemed like she wasn't paying attention but I was wrong! She was listening because at the end of the lesson we asked her to say the prayer. She hesistated but agreed. In her prayer she said, "God please help me to know if the prophet, Joseph, that these missionaries told me about really was a prophet of God. He had the same questions as me and I need to know because if it is true, I want to be a part of it." It was amazing!!! We were so excited and she said she would read and pray again. We left so excited about her future! 

Thursday we had to wake up early again because I had to go to leadership council. On the way I dropped off Elder Machado in Imbuí with the Elders there and then headed over to the mission home for the third time in the week haha! We had a great council and I learned a lot and am excited for the changes that are going to come to the mission! I also found out that I am not the only single Zone leader! There is one other Elder that is and he is training too. So we kind of stuck together that day because we didn't have companions there with us, haha. All the other zone leaders are in companionships together. I loved hearing and learning from President and Sister Bangerter, as usual. They are the best and so amazing. I am so grateful that God blessed me to have them as my leaders here. 

Friday was another great day of work. We went back and visited Michelle! She said she had prayed and felt like she hadn't gotten an answer yet. But then we asked her how her Thursday was and she said it the best day of the week for many reasons! She then said, "Well maybe God is trying to show me something." it was really great and then we had an awesome lesson with her about The Book of Mormon. The only sad thing is that she wasn't able to come to church this week. But she is progressing well and we will meet with her again this week!

Friday we also went and visited Marlene and her girls. Elder Machado seemed a little frightened because they are crazy and wild and it was his first time meeting them haha! But it was all good. We had a nice visit with them and I shared a message about the Brother of Jared. It was cool because at the end Marlene said, "that is exactly what I was needing." I loved that because I love how the Spirit prompts us to say exactly what others need to hear. That is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. 

Saturday was tough, I won't lie! It was just one of those days. EVERYTHING we had marked fell through. Like everything. It was tough but we made the most of it and did a lot of contacts and found some great potentials. We had a cool experience that night. We were walking by this building and out of nowhere Elder Machado stops and knocks on the door. This tall kid comes up and we contacted him normally. And from behind walks up this girl and before we could really see her she says, "is that the Elders?" We were shocked and asked her how she knew us and she explained that she had just moved from Fortaleza, (Elder Machado's city) and that she was a member. She is 12 and was baptized last April and is now living here with her aunt and cousins! It was so awesome and we are excited to visit her this week. I am grateful that I have a companion that is so in tune with the spirit! 

Sunday was also a great day! We had a great sacrament meeting and Evely came with Marlene. It was sad though because it was the Cunhas last sunday! They are the family I have gotten closest too here and now they are moving to Michigan! The double whammy; first Elder Estevam and Sister Alves leave, and now them, haha! 

Sunday afternoon we had a lot of great lessons with some new people. But one of the most interesting was Sunday night. We were looking for this man who we had contacted days earlier. We finally found his house and he was home and let us in to teach him! We had an awesome lesson about the Restoration. The man's name is Ricardo. He is a little interesting. He has had a pretty tough life but we are going to help him. I don't know what will happen but I felt really good about him during the lesson! 

So that was my crazy week! It was a lot more than just this but these were the highlights and it was a great week. I am so happy to be a misisonary and I love serving the Lord. I know the Lord always fulfills his promises if we keep the commandments! 

Love you all! Have a great week! 
-- 
Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Sister Alves who was transferred to a new area! 

Elder Gomez, one of the AP's, he's a STUD!  
Sister De Paula, we have become quick buds. She is hilarious! 

Elder Brito ready to go home! 
Elder Souza, a former companion who is now a Zone Leader as well!