Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"I know that Christ lives!"

A little sight seeing around Salvador last P-day! 
Hi Everyone! 
How are you all doing?! I hope everyone is doing great! We had kind of a slow week around here it seemed like but it was overall another good one! I will try to get everything interesting and fun that happened into the email! 

Last Monday afternoon we headed over to Pelourinho again! It is that super touristy place here in Salvador. We met up with some of the other Elders in the city, Elder Costa and Elder Vander Werff. Elder Costa was trained by Elder Estevam so I had heard a lot about him and he is awesome. And Elder Vander Werff got here one transfer after me so he has a lot of time and I know him pretty well already. He is so funny and crazy. We had a fun time and we walked to a new place that I hadn't seen called Farol da Barra, which is a sweet old lighthouse fort thing! It was such a cool place on the coast and we had a great time! I will send pics!  

So Tuesday wasn't the best day ever because I was sick. I felt a sore throat coming on Sunday night and kind of limped along Monday using a bunch of medicine but Tuesday it kind of hit me full on! I don't really understand how someone can get a cold in a place like this but I did haha! I had a runny nose, sore throat, and headache! We did a couple visits Tuesday but I was suffering so we decided it would be better for me to rest to get better faster. And it worked! By Wednesday afternoon I was totally feeling better and back to normal! 

Wednesday we had a cool conversation with Raissa. She is the girl who has a neighbor who is a member who took her to church last week! So Raissa used to be an investigator a year or so ago and we went to visit her on Wednesday afternoon. She is awesome! She said that she realized that her life wasn't really going the way that she had planned and that she felt like she needed to change. She said that after she was thinking about that one day, she remembered our church! So she went and talked to her neighbor and decided to come to church. So we were pretty excited to hear all that stuff. But it is not going to be easy to help her follow Christ. She lived in a pretty tough place that has a lot of bad influences around her. It seems like she is going to have to change her friends and some habits. But the desire to be better is what is the first step and she has that. I know that when we really want to change, God will bless us with his Holy Spirit to guide and help us in that endeavor. So we are excited for Raissa and are hoping that she progresses well! 

Thursday we went to visit Rosalia! She is one tough cookie that Rosalia haha. She read the pamphlet we left for her though, which has never really happened before so we were pretty excited about that! Rosalia really just needs to decide to change her life and she will be perfect. But one of the things I learned when Elder Bednar was here is that we as missionaries take the message and the Spirit to the heart of the person, but the person has to open her heart to accept the message. So as hard as that can be for us, we have to be okay with just doing our part, which is the case with Rosalia it seems! 

Friday we went to talk with Rita! Remember her? She was that totally elect girl who almost got baptized but then some stuff happened and she like dropped off the map and we never got to teach her again. Well these last couple weeks as we pass by her house we have stopped by just to see how she is doing and talk to her. She is doing a lot better and seems like she is back to normal and wanting to hear more about our message again. We marked to go by on Friday afternoon. When we got there she said that something else came up and that she had to leave with her family but that she had a few minutes. So we still got to visit with her for about 15 minutes. It was awesome and we reminded her of the first lesson and of the Restoration of the Gospel! It was great! I love how everytime that we talk about the Restoration the same feelings of joy and happiness come into my heart! It is a testimony to me every single time that all that we teach is truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Rita loved our quick message and we are also hoping for progress with her! 

Saturday was my favorite day of the week by far. So remember Imbui? The last area that I served in? Well I don't know if I ever mentioned but that ward has been meeting in a small rented building for almost 2 years. The chapel that they had was old and needed to be reformed. The predicted time it would take was a little less than under a year. But a ton of problems kept coming up so the chapel wasn't ready for almost 2 years! But now it is!!!! So the stake president wanted a few companionships at the open house on Saturday to help the ward. Of course I was going to go! It was my old ward, and I was blessed enough to still be here to see the chapel that I so badly wanted to see! We showed up Saturday morning and I got to see all my old friends from that ward! I heard many, "What are you still doing here?!"s. It was funny but I was loving every moment. We stayed in the front doing contacts on the street and inviting people in to see the chapel. Inside the chapel the members were doing some other services for free. Medical exams, haircuts, etc. It was awesome and I think I did around 150 contacts just during the 4 hours in the morning! I also got ridiculously sunburned, as did my companion and Elder Davis (one of the APs who was there) but we had a great time! I love being a missionary and talking to people without fear! We have the best message that exists!! 

To end my email for the week I wanted to share an experience that happened on Sunday. So I was asked to give the class in Gospel Principles on Sunday and I accepted. I thought it was going to super chill and normal and during the week I studied the lesson. It was on the Life of Jesus Christ. It might be the biggest chapter in the Gospel Principles manual! Anyways I was prepared and excited. Our class Sunday had about 10 people including the missionaries. Anyways from the second we started the class I was overwhelmed by the Spirit. It was the strongest feeling that Jesus is the Christ. As we studied the life of Jesus I was so touched, and grateful for all that He did for us. We got to the last two sections of the chapter at the end of the class and I invited the class to read the last two sections alone and think about all the blessings that we have recieved because of what Christ did for us. The last two sections were about the Atonement and the Ressurection. It was so cool to see everyone get quiet and start to read about Gethsemane, and how Jesus suffered. Then to read about the Ressurection and how Christ rose and so will we. It was amazing. I know that Christ lives. I am so grateful for this Easter season and the opportunity we have to remember the Ressurection and life of Christ. He lives. I don't have a doubt. 

I love you all! Have a great week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Monday, March 12, 2018

"I love this gospel and I love being a missionary and I love all of you!"

ELDER WILDE- A good friend that I know from the BRAZIL CTM (MTC). We haven't seen each other Since we both left the mission. He's in the Salvador Mission so it was awesome to be able to see him. 

Hey Everybody! 

How are you all doing?! I hope you guys had an amazing week like we had here in Salvador Brasil! It was full of a lot of meetings so for us it was a little hard to actually be in our area teaching, but we managed to get some nice lessons in there as well. We had some amazing experiences at our leadership council and then with Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles later in the week! I will try to hit all the highlights! 

So Tuesday we had a cool experience with someone who we always seem to, for some reason, keep trying to visit haha. We went to visit Rosalia! I don't know if you guys remember who she is. I first met her my first week here I think and she is hilarious. She is the mother of three members who are now inactive but they are awwesome too. Rosalia has heard the missionary lessons a ton of times and she knows a lot. Her problem is that she just can't seem to make the decision to get up and change her life! When we visit her she always talks about how she needs to repent and change and that she needs to go to church, and be baptized and all that stuff. So that gets us all excited but then she never does any of those things she says. And it seems like she wants to try and do it! So we are just trying to help her do that. So Tuesday we went and taught her and just kind of laid everything out on the table and told her what we thought about the whole situation. She seemed like she has decided to really try and change so we are hopeful for the future. She read the little part of the pamphlet that we left with her and I think it was like the first time ever she has read the thing we left with her so that is exciting! I will keep updating! 

Wednesday was exciting because it was the council meeting! I love council meetings for many reasons. Some of them include, seeing all my friends, fantastic food from Dalva (she is the member who practically lives in the mission home and has been taking care of and working in the mission home for the last like 5 mission presidents here) sitting in air conditioning all day (a rarity given the fact that like nothing here has AC), and lastly because I get to see and hear from President and Sister Bangerter and feel the Spirit! So Council is always awesome. This month was great because we talked about the new ward mission plan for our mission. So yes as of recently, very few wards and branches in our mission had ward mission plans! (I thought that all wards had it because in my home ward we have one and it is always a big focus of the ward! So shoutout to the best ward ever SR!!!!! Miss you guys!) Anyways, President realized that a ton of the mission is without a ward mission plan so he created one! It is awesome and helps the ward and us missionaries be more united in all parts of the work! The missionary work in the world always will go better when the missionaries and members work together! So I am hoping that this plan can get put into place in the mission. It is going to take time and patience, but if it works, it will help SOOO much! 

Thursday was a fun day too! Some of the Sisters were staying in Mussurunga after our meeting on Wednesday because they are Sister Leaders and President let the council stay in Salvador until Friday to see Elder Bednar, instead of having to go back to their areas and watch via transmission. Because Ingrid and Jefferson knew them from when they served in our area, on Thursday night they invited all of us over for a family night! There were 6 of us missionaries, Ingrid, Jefferson, and their kids! So it was a fun night. I had another one of those "whoa, I'm on a mission moments" again! Kinda funny that I am still having these moments even though I have been here for over a year and a half haha! Anyways at one point I looked out the window and saw the jungles of Salvador and then looked around the room with a bunch of people who I didn't know at all a few months ago, everyone speaking a different language, and I thought, "How crazy in this?!" It was awesome and it made me truly grateful to be a missionary in the best mission ever! 

Friday was the big day! Elder Bednar was in town!!! So we got up early and headed over to the chapel in Amaralina! It is in the Salvador zone in our mission and is a historic chapel as it was the first built in the entire state of Bahia! So we got there early and saw the other mission as well! From our mission, there were all the missionaries from the 2 zones in Salvador and the leaders from the mission who got to stay in town. From the other mission were 4 zones from in and around Salvador. One of the best parts was when I saw my buddy Elder Wilde! We were in the MTC together and my district and his disrict there were always together! He left the MTC a week before us and I was always hoping that I would be able to meet up with him at some time during the mission! So my wish was granted. He showed up after me and when he walked in he saw me and was like, "NO WAY!" haha it was awesome and we stuck together like the whole day! I loved it! I will send pictures! 

Elder Bednar is the man. Wow it was so much more than I was expecting it was going to be. He was with his wife, and Elder Parrella of the 70 and his wife! It was cool because Elder Parrella was JUST in my home Stake a few months ago and is a good friend of my Grandparents. So cool to think he was JUST talking to my whole family in person not too long ago! Anyway, they all spoke and the translator for the Bednars was Elder Grohl, previously known as President Grohl the São Paulo MTC President when I was there! He is already done in that calling but he is doing great and it was so fun for all the misisonaries to see him! Elder Bednar was the last one to speak, but he did it so differently! He stood up and said "Elders and Sisters I know you are all waiting for a talk but that is not happening today!" What he did was ask us questions about what we learned reading the talks that he assigned the missions to read before hand. So he just asked us what we learned and responded to our comments and then towards the end opened it up for us to ask him questions! He was so funny and not hard on us at all!  He definitely says things the way they should be but it was so awesome. We all felt the Spirit and learned so much. And his wife is so amazing and is so positive and honest and talked a lot about that. And Elder Parrella is awesome too! I loved every second! 

Saturday was fun because we got to get up at 5 AM to go help a member build his house. Yep, we helped him put a roof on and build some walls. There were like 15 other people helping too and it was awesome. I got to shovel concrete into buckets and then take them up stairs for hours but it was actually a blast. Haha! It is definitly a service project that you wont't find in any other place in the world! 

Saturday afternoon we went to visit Marcos and it was kind of sad. So he had previously told us that he had a bunch of questions of stuff that he had found on the internet again so we showed up prepared. He asked us a ton of stuff about the Book of Mormon, (all of which we answered), and then at the end he just started asking us some deep questions about God and his existence. It was sad because he just can't understand and told us that he thinks it best for us to stop visiting him for lessons. We also decided that was best. It was really sad because we saw potential in him but he is just a little closed off to really trying to see if God exists. So it was sad but we will still pass by his place to see how he is doing.

Sunday was a great day and we had a ray of hope!! Raissa came to church. Raissa is the neighbor of a member and she is 15 I think. She was an investigator of the Elders last year and had gone to church a bunch of times. But never got baptized. When I first got to the area, me and Elder Estevam tried to visit her but it never really worked out because she didn't seem to interested anymore. But she came to church sunday with the member! After church I went to talk to her and set up an appointment for this week! She told me that she wants to change and that she is going to start coming to church every week again! So we are excited! 

I am a little sick today. I started to feel a sore throat come on last night and I am a little hoarse! I really don't understand how I can get a cold in this hot and humid place but it's all good hahaI I have an entire pharmacy that is still functioning that mom sent with me! 

I can't believe how fast time is flying though! General Conference is in a few weeks! That is crazy! After that I start into my last two transfers! Craziness. This week Elder Loureiro seemed quiet for a few days and that is not like him. Afterwards he told me that it had kind of hit him that we are finishing our missions. He was sad a little bit and I told him that just staying positive always helps and it seemed to help. Remember that we are going home in the same group haha. But he is the man and we are good friends! 

Wow! So I think that it is! To finish off the email I wanted ot share something from our meeting with Elder Bednar. So at the end he bore his testimony and WOW, it was POWERFUL. He testified that Christ lives, that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is Risen. That Jesus Christ guides this church and that He is aware of each and every one of us. It was so powerful and I have no doubt in my mind that what he said is true. I know that Jesus is risen and that in this Easter season we can remember that more and more. I love this gospel and I love being a missionary and i love all of you! Have a great week! 


Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

So great to see my good friend Elder Castlemain
ELDER NORMAN- He's from Highland Utah and knows my cousin Jackson. He played baseball for Lone Peak High School. Cool to make the connection.
ELDER PAGE- Small world here too. Elder Page is from Lockhart Texas and knows my grandparents from when they lived there! 
Fun to see Sister Alves and Sister Skahill. They are Sister Training Leaders. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Elder Bednar is coming on FRIDAY!!!!

Look at all those chairs piled on that truck behind me. Very typical Brazil! LOL! 
Hey everybody!
How are you all doing?! I hope everyone is doing great and had a fantastic week! Our week was really awesome and is going to be followed by one that's even better.! This week that is starting now is going to be crazy! Wednesday we have council meeting which I am pumped for because the leadership councils are always so awesome and we learn so much and I get to see all my old mission friends! And then the big news is that on Friday we have a meeting with ELDER DAVID A. BEDNAR, one of the Twelve Apostles!!! He is traveling through some parts of Brasil and will be stopping by Salvador! Last time an Apostle visited our mission was about 3 years ago so everyone is pretty excited. The sad thing is that the rest of the mission won't get to see him in person. We are going to be joining with the other mission too, all the missionaries in both missions won't get to actually be here in Salvador. So the missionaries who aren't in Salvador will watch via satelitte trasmission in their areas! But where am I? SALVADOR!!! WOOHOO! I will get to see Elder Bednar in person with all the other missionaries in Salvador. We are so excited and I know I am going to learn a lot. 

Tuesday we had a great day. One of the highlights was our lesson with Marcos! Marcos is the man! He is so sincere and just asks us a bunch of questions and isn't embarrassed to ask. So on Tuesday we got there and he started asking a bunch of questions about life after death and heaven and hell and all that stuff. We decided to not teach the full plan of salvation but just to read Alma chapter 40. It is a really great chapter. It talks a lot about the spirit world and the ressurrection. The best part was when we talked about the ressurrection. Marcos was so intrigued by the fact that everyone will ressurrect. We explained to him that because of Jesus Christ, all of us will ressurrect. He asked us why and we explained that because we all chose before this life to follow God's plan. I said to him, "Marcos, you already chose this plan once. You have heard these teachings! You just need to have faith and follow it again." He really thought about that one!! It was awesome but he just doesn't get why he had to forget all of it when he came to here to the earth. All in all we had a great conversation with him! 

Wednesday was another full day for us. In the morning we had interviews with President Bangerter and then we had our district meeting. The interviews were awesome. President Bangerter is the best! He was a little hard on me this time because our Zone hasn't had any baptisms in awhile, but he really helped me learn what I can do to improve and help my zone improve in our efforts. I got to see how I can be a better missionary myself and a better leader. At the end of the interview he asked if I was okay because he felt like he was a little harsh. I said, "President, you weren't harsh! And any interview we have just makes me excited." It is crazy. Anytime we have a district, zone, or council meeting too, I just get all pumped up afterwards to get out there and put into practice what I have learned at the meeting. It is the same thing as the interviews! It was awesome and it was followed by a great district meeting. 

Wednesday night we went and visited Marlene! She is an amazing woman. It is so humbling for me to see someone who has so little and is so happy at the same time. It is awesome to see. AND every time we go to visit her and her family she makes us a small dinner. So Wednesday we went and talked about how she was doing. She now has a calling at church and it is so awesome to see how much she has grown and changed in my time here. I remember way back when I got to this area and she was an "investigator" and had not told us that she was already a member haha. Her daughters are doing great too. They aren't very interested in the church right now it seems like which is sad. Especially because Evely got so close to being baptized in my first transfer here. But it was an awesome visit with Marlene and she is a wonderful example for me. 

Thursday we had another lesson with Marcos. We had decided to teach him the whole Plan of Salvation this time. It was an awesome lesson. Marcos was so quiet the whole time. It was so weird. It seemed like he was really thinking about all that we were teaching him. At the end of the lesson he asked us about how the Spirit communicates with us, or how we feel the spirit. We told him of our experiences. I shared the story about the beginning of my mission when I was in Itabuna and me and Elder Santana talked with that guy Jonathan, which ended up in us finding Patrick, who was a large part of my first area. I also shared about the story that Mom tells about how when she was driving in a storm and started to drift and went to put her foot on the brake but felt a strong impression not to press the brake. It was cool and then Elder Loureiro shared about how he didn't listen to the Spirit and the result was him getting robbed! It was cool and Marcos seems to be understanding little by little.

Friday was a fun day because it was Elder Loureiro's birthday. He was getting calls throughout the day from people wishing him happy birthday! It was really cool to see him so happy. Birthdays on your mission are interesting days but for Elder Loureiro it went great! Friday afternoon we headed over to another area in the zone to do a baptismal interview. I was the one who did it. The interview was with this man named Samuel. He is 20 and a great guy. The interview was going great and he knew everything and seemed ready for baptism. But when we got to the last question, to ask him if he felt ready to make this sacred convenant with God, he said "And that's where I get stuck." So we talked and he explained how he doesn't feel ready and says that all this process has been happening to fast. He said he felt that he hadn't gotten his answer yet. So I did everything I could think of to try and help him get his answer. We read scriptures, we prayed, and I was so certain he would get his answer! BUT, he still felt unprepared. I left pretty sad because I felt like I couldn't help him get his answer and afterwards I was talking to Elder Loureiro about it and he helped me feel better. He said, "Elder you did all you could. You brought the Spirit to the doorstep at his heart, but you can't open the door for him, he has to open it." I thought that was so cool because we had been studying about that during the week and I had forgotten so that helped me feel better!

Saturday was a great day and at night we had a little surprise party for Elder Loureiro at Ingrid's house. It was a lot of fun and he was happy. It made me remember my birthday and the surprise party that the members and Elder Estevam did here for me! 

So that was my week! It was a great one and flew by but I felt the Spirit of God so strongly during the week and I know that God lives now more than any other time in my life. Jesus is the Christ and because of Him we can all live with God again! 

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Elder Spencer Christofferson

Monday, February 26, 2018

"Well I think we might be the answer..."

Zone Meeting this week. 
Hey everyone! 
How are you all doing?! This was a crazy week as it was the first week of the transfer but it was a great week of change! For me the change wasn't that big since I stayed here in São Cristovão. But now I got a new companion so that is always a change! My new companion is named Elder Loureiro! He is from Rio Grande do Sul, which is the southern most state in Brasil. He has almost exactly 3 more weeks on his mission than I do and he is actually part of the group that is going home with me! I have now been companions with 3 of the 4 that will be going home with me! Crazy right?! The other two were Elder Bitencourt and Elder Tavares. Anyway Elder Loureiro is awesome and we are getting along great! It is really a blessing to have someone with a lot of experience again! We realized that we have the opportunity to change this area and our zone because if we combine our strengths, we can make miracles happen. So we are focusing a lot on being in-sync with one another. I am excited for what this transfer has to hold! 

So last Monday I took Elder Machado to the bus station for him to go to Vitoria da Conquista and I met up with the Secretaries! Elder Machado left around 10! I was sad to see him go but i know that he has a very bright future in front of him! He is a great missionary and I learned so much as his companion! It was truly a blessing! That night I hung with the secretaries. It was tough because with the transfer they are super busy so we got to bed late and then had to wake up early the next morning! But it was a fun adventure. 

Tuesday morning Elder Loureiro got to Salvador and we headed home. We had a busy work day, organizing things at our house and trying to get a map for the house as well. A map really helps us in the areas where you serve and here we still haven't found a place that makes one. It has been tough but it looks like soon we will be able to get a map! I am excited because it is going to help us a lot, mainly when we try to find less-active members from the ward list. 

Wednesday was a great day too. After lunch we went to try and find some people who we had contacted. The person we were looking for wasn't home so we started knocking some doors on the houses close. We knocked on this one door and this lady, Cida, answered. Elder Loureiro said, "Hello, we are representatives of Jesus Christ, can we come in and leave a message?" It was funny because we were trying to see how we could use the smallest amount of words and still get in and Cida let us in! We ended up teaching her and her whole family! It was awesome! They are so cool and at the end I felt prompted to ask them a question. As we were finishing the first lesson I asked, "In these last few months, have you guys prayed to God to ask him to guide you in your lives?" They seemed a little surprised by the question but they responded yes. I replied, "Well I think that we might be the answer that God sent." It was really cool and the Spirit was very strong. They really enjoyed the lesson, now we just have to find a good time to start visiting them regularly because they all have crazy schedules! 

Thursday we had a cool experience with Marcos. He is the atheist that we have been visiting. The crazy part is that he is like one of the most sincere people ever. He really thinks about what we tell him and has great questions. Sometimes he is a little tough and frustrating because he doesn't belive in anything, but he is awesome. We went and taught him the first lesson. The other times that we have visited him we had just been answering his questions and reading the Book of Mormon. It was a great lesson and he really was interested in Joseph Smith but it was just a little weird because we were trying to teach differently. All the people we teach here believe in God so we don't have to focus on that part too much. But with Marcos it is different, it is a challenge. And I am loving it haha. And I think we might have done a little progress with Marcos. At least I hope so. We had another cool experience with him later in the week. 

Friday was a very interesting day. We were in the middle of a lesson at about 3pm and our phone rang. I looked and it was a member and then silenced the call and continued with the lesson. Then it rang again right after, I looked and it was the same person and the investigator said I could take it. So I did. The 2nd counselor of the Bishopric called and said that he needed us. He was with William. William is the young man in our ward who had left on his mission about 2 weeks ago. I was shocked and asked who he was with because I thought that I had heard wrong. But unfortunately I heard right. William had to come home form the MTC because he has some health problems that he had been told were not going to be a problem, but they started to manifest more in the MTC and for now the leaders thought it was better for him to come home to figure out what is wrong. So we left the lesson and met up with William! He was pretty sad but didn't really show it and he walked around with us during the day. That night we took him to the chapel and the Stake President showed up and talked to him. We were all really sad for him because he was so excited but it seems like he is doing good. He will get back out there soon! 

Saturday was the other cool experience with Marcos. We showed up to teach him and he was doing great. But he seemed a little off. We asked him what was up and he said that he had looked up some stuff on the internet about the church and found some stuff he did not like. We answered all his questions and had a really spiritual conversation. We kind of straight up asked him what he was wanting to get out of our visits. He said,' I don't really know. I just really like these meetings and have a curiousity to know more." Then I asked him what percent he thinks that God doesn't exist. He said "I am 99% sure that God doesn't exist." I then said, "and that extra 1%? What does it mean?" He said that he left 1 percent just to see if God really is real. SO WE GOT A CHANCE with Marcos. It is only 1%, but it's better than 0%. Haha, I don't know why but me and my companion both had a good feeling about Marcos so we will see where it goes! 

Sunday was great and church was awesome! I love Sundays! 

Well that is it! I love this work and am so happy and excited to see what the future holds! I love you all! Have an amazing week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson
There are 4 Americans in my zone now. Elder Archuleta,
Sister Bourdeau (her family is orignally from Haiti and my grandparents
know them from when they served their mission there), me and Elder Davis! 
My new companion Elder Loureiro

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!! 


Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

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! 


Elder Spencer P. Christofferson