|Heading out on our bikes. Notice our pants/socks...don't want to get stuck in the chain.|
How are you guys doing?! I hope everyone is having a fantastic Monday! How was everyone's week? Ours was pretty tiring but a lot of fun. That is the best part about missionary work is that it is hard, tiring work, but when you find the joy in the work, it is all worth it! I will try to hit the highlights of the busy and rainy week here. It was fun to have rain because it cooled down the weather just a little bit. The funny part about the rain here is that it is just like the movies! You can be sitting inside and it is all sunny and literally in like 1 minute everything goes dark. The funniest part is that out of nowhere it just starts pouring rain. It doesn't start little by little it just goes from nothing, to full on downpour. But it stops after like 5 minutes haha! It is pretty cool, but inoportune sometimes if you get stuck outside! Anyways here we go....
Anyway, we had a great week here! I am loving this area still and being with Elder Hilton. It is fun to have someone that understands your stories when you tell them because we come from the same background, haha. We are becoming quick buds and it is a shame that this transfer is only a 5-week transfer. But I am sure we will stay friends especially since we are both going to BYU in the fall.
So last Monday after our p-day out on the town we headed home to shower and get ready to go to Salvador. The thing that is tough about being so far south in our mission is that the bus ride is 12 hours long! These buses that we get aren't like school or city buses but they are like huge, fancy buses. I don't even know if in the United States, bus travel is still a thing but here it is huge. I think it is pretty fun because I had never really done it before. So our bus was at 7:35 and we got to the bus station cutting it pretty close but we made it. We were happy to see that we got the same bus as Sister Alves! She is in an area further south than us in our zone, about 3 hours by bus, and she is a Sister Training leader so she also goes to council. But usually that are where she is has 2 STLs but this transfer it is just her. So she was going to go alone but the secretaries helped her out and got us the bus that she was on going to Salvador and we had no idea so it was a fun surprise. We got to Salvador around 8 in the morning and we were all pretty dead because it is hard to sleep on those buses.
|Running into Sister Alves on the bus on our way to Leader Training. A 12 hour bus ride back to Salvador.|
|Another 12 hours back to Eunapolis|
Tuesday was a fun day at the mission home! I realized how much I had already missed Salvador and it was fun to be back for the day. Leadership council was great. We talked a lot about General Conference and also about how we can better minister as missionaries. In our mission we do these things called verifications where we get the directory of the area we are serving in and then go find all the inactive people to update there addresses, see if they have moved, and see if they have the desire to come back to church. We talked about how we can better implement that in our mission and how we can be better ministers to those people and our investigators. It was great. I have one more cool experience from council that I will share at the end of this letter!
Wednesday was tiring because we had to run and grab our bus the night before after council and we got back to Eunapolis around 7:30 in the morning. That afternoon we had a really great lesson with Patrick. He is an awesome guy he just needs to go to church! Anyways we got there and he had read the chapter from the Book of Mormon that we left with him. We decided to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. It was a super awesome lesson and he really liked it. We talked a lot about his purpose on the Earth and how he has been searching for it. We testified that he is here to have joy, and to prepare to meet God. He loved it and we decided to challenge him to baptism. He accepted to prepare for the 28th of this month. We were super excited. Fast-forward to Thursday morning and out of nowhere Patrick calls and tells us that he doesn't want visits anymore and that he had a great time getting to know us but that it's not for him. We were super taken aback after he had just accepted a date for baptism during a spiritual lesson. Of course something had to have happened. Like someone said something to him or he found something on the internet about the Church that wasn't true or something. We told him we just wanted to visit him one more time and so we kept our appointment for Saturday marked. Saturday he wasn't there but we found him on Sunday night and marked with him for Tuesday but he seemed super normal so we don't really know what is going on with him but we are praying that we can still save him!
Wednesday evening we also went and taught Branca and Iasmin. They were doing great and Iasmin was super question-y again but it was a good visit. We had planned on teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ but I felt like we needed to teach the Plan of Salvation to them too and it was a great lesson. At the end Iasmin said that she felt better knowing that her grandpa and uncle who have already passed away have a chance to get to know the truth still. Both her and Branca seemed pretty touched by the message and said that they were feeling the Spirit. It was super great!
Thursday night we finally got to go back to our favorites, Israel and his family. We headed over with plans to teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were a little sad to see that when we got there Jucilene (mom of the family) had to leave. She was headed off to a school meeting. So that night we only got to teach Israel, Cristina, and Clara. Carol the oldest daughter was in her room studying for some big college test she had the next day. But we still had an awesome lesson. We took Books of Mormon for the rest of the family and it was awesome. We ended up reading 2 Nephi 31 with the three who participated and it was awesome. At the end of the lesson we were about to get up to go when Jucilene got home and Carol came out of her room. Israel asked for the guitar and started singing this gospel song. It was kind of funny because he wasn't the best singer but after he finished he handed it over to Carol and asked her to sing. And wow it was so awesome. She plays guitar super good and sings great! She sang two songs and the cool part was that the family like joined in on the chorus and totally harmonized haha! I felt like I was watching a movie. And the song she sang was called "Ser Valente" which means, "Be Valiant". So it was a great night and actually the only night we got to see them last week.
Friday was another fun day. Our district leader and his companion came up from Porto Seguro so we could do a district meeting. And guess what, our whole district is Americans!!! It is so funny. Elder Kilidjian, our district leader, wrote on the board "District Heart of America". It was so funny and we had a great meeting and took some good pics haha! I'll send them! That afternoon we headed back to Branca and Iasmin's. We decided before that we needed to challenge them to baptism. So we got there and taught the third lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end we started asking them what part they were in of the Gospel of Christ. They said repentence and then we asked, "well what is after that then?" The answer is baptism so we started talking about baptism and then we had to explain that even though they had been baptized before they needed ot be baptized by the correct authority and most importantly, need to get the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was one of those conversations that you can't beat around the bush and we did our best and it went well. They accepted a goal for baptism at the end of the month so we are excited about that.
Being goofy after District Meeting
|We are an All American Zone....SOOOOO rare in our Mission|
Saturday was a busy day. We ran all over town talking to people in the rain haha. As of Saturday night we had about 8 people say they were going to come to church. Israel's family, Branca and Iasmin, and one more person. We were excited so we celebrated that night trying a little burger place here that we were skeptical about but ended up being SUPER good. The first hamburger that I have eaten here that is American quality haha.
|A REAL American Cheeseburger|
|It's been a LONG time since eating one of these!!|
Sunday came and we got a little disappointed. We got to church around 8:50 and I grabbed the only priest in our branch to wait out front with me. Elder Hilton had the idea to play prelude since he has some really cool arrangments of hymns and plays the piano really well. We don't have a pianist in our branch, just this sister who presses play on the hymns since the piano here has an automatic hymn player. So Elder Hilton ran inside and I waited out front. After about 10 minutes no one had shown up that told us they would come! We called Branca and she said her mom had gotten to town that morning and that she wouldn't be able to come. UGH! So then we called Israel who also told us they wouldn't be able to make it. We were crushed. It is so sad when this happens because we had planned a whole special lesson for them that day and told a ton of members that they would come. But looking on the bright side we did have this one guy named Jailton who showed up. His son is that only priest in our ward's dad. Lucas (the priest) brought his non-member dad! We were super excited and he loved church. He had been a ton of other times years ago but never could consistently go because of his work. But his work just changed so for now his weekends are free so we are going to take advantage and teach and try to baptize him! It could be so good because his own son could do it! We are pretty excited so I will give updates on that next week! Sunday afternoon we visited Milena, a 19-year old girl who is a 7th Day Adventist. She is super sincere and that is why we have hope in her. The Book of Mormon is strange for her but she reads what we leaves and is really praying for God to show her the truth. She seems a little confused and overwhelmed by everything that we teach because it makes sense to her but she is also conflicted with everything that she grew up learning in her faith. So she is an interesting one but has a lot of potential.
So that is about it! I wanted to share just a little quick story from our council meeting. At the end of a long day and meeting President Bangerter got up to share some last words. He started to bare his testimony and started to get emotional. He started by saying,' "I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to work with you all in this great work and to be your mission president." After that sentence he was already choked up and once again, out of nowhere I found myself the same as him. I don't know what it was but I could FEEL inside of me the sincerity of the testimony of that man. I have grown to love and appreicate and look up to that man and his wife in these two short years. I felt an incredible love for him in that moment. I was looking at a hero and hearing him testify of Jesus Christ, His restored Church, and our living Prophet. I felt the Holy Spirit testify to me that what he was saying is the truth. It kind of seemed like he was acknowledging the fact that his mission is ending too. It made me sad to realize, again, that if his mission is ending, that means mine is too. I am by no means ready to leave yet but the reality is the reality. I love being a missionary and serving Jesus Christ and I know that all that I have the opportunity to teach to these wonderful people in this amazing place, is the truth.
Well I hope that made sense! I love you all and pray for you always! Have a great week!
Elder Spencer P. Christofferson
Here is a quick excerpt from Elder Hilton's (Spencer's companion) email to his family today. His mom posted it to his blog and I just read it! My heart is so full!
I am so grateful to be companions with Elder Christofferson. Being with him, I can´t think of a better way to finish off my mission. He is a great missionary (and his portuguese is super good) Shout out to Elder Christofferson´s parents! Thanks for sharing your son with me! He is awesome!
|THE Elder Prince and I reunited!|
|Lunch with some members this week!|