Monday, April 16, 2018

"...when you find the joy in the work, it is all worth it!"

Heading out on our bikes. Notice our pants/socks...don't want to get stuck in the chain.
Hey Everybody!!! 

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!

Flavia is preparing for her mission and she wanted to make us lunch yesterday...
It didn't turn out so well and the Lasagna exploded in the oven. LOL!

Friday, April 13, 2018

"A brief overview of a FANTASTIC week"

Dropped off suitcases and headed straight to work! 
Hey everyone! 
How are you all doing?! I hope everyone had a great week! This week for me was CRAZY and AMAZING!! It was transfer week and I was transferred for the first time in 6 months haha! I had almost forgotten what it was like! But it was a blast and I am LOVING my new area and new companion. I am in a small town called Eunápolis and it is an awesome place. It is so different from Salvador. We have the whole city for ourselves and we have BIKES!!! I feel more misisonary than ever! It has been so fun but I am a little sore I must admit. So last monday night I went to the bus station to get my bus at 8 at night after I said goodbye to some of the people I had gotten to know in Salvador. I got on my bus alone, which is so weird, and I was off! I said goodbye to the huge crazy city I came to love but not for long because I will have to go back soon. Like this next week for Leader Training, haha! The bus ride was about 12 hours long. It was super cool because I got a bus with 2 floors! I've never been on a double decker bus like that before. 

So Tuesday morning I got here at about 7:45 and walked off the bus and Elder Hilton, my new companion,  was there waiting for me with Elder Lee, his companion last transfer. We waited another 2 hours for Elder Lee's bus to arrive and him to head out to his new area. We then got a taxi and got to our house. I didn't even unpack my bags and we headed out to work... riding on our bikes! It was a blast to ride around on a bike again even though I'm a little sore, haha. (Quick insert from Marilee....I've become friends with Spencer's new companions mom. Spencer has only had one other American companion his whole mission and I love connecting with the moms of his comps anyway, so to find his American comps mom was so much fun. Anyway, she and I were texting this week and she shared the story of how Spencer's new area got approved to have bikes... Apparently Elder Hilton was in the area during the last transfer and quickly realized how far away everything was. It would take 30 or more minutes to walk to their appointments and he felt like it wasn't efficient use of their time, so he called up the Mission President to discuss it. There are no official "bike areas" in their mission but he plead his case and President B agreed that the area could use bikes. There was one catch though, Elder Hilton would have to pay for the bikes or he could fix up 2 old ones that the mission had stored in another apartment in the zone. Elder Hilton got hold of the old bikes, fixed them up and now the missionaries ride bikes in that area.) 

We had one of the coolest experiences of the week after lunch on Tuesday. So we were biking to a different part of the area and my chain fell off. (2nd time in less than 2 hours, haha) We stopped to fix it and this man had just gotten out of his parked car and looked over and asked if we wanted help. We said yes so he showed us a trick on how to fix it and then said he could tighten some part so that it didn't fall off again. We were stopped in front of his house so he said, "come on in real quick and I can fix it up for ya." So we walked into his garage and he went in to get some tools and then his wife and his 12 year old daughter came out to talk to us. It was like one of those things you see in the church magazines. They offered us water and asked us all about our missions and what we do and stuff. They loved it and then offered us to eat lunch! We had just eaten so we politely declined but it was crazy cool, we had known them for less than 10 minutes. And then BEFORE we could even ask to set up a time to come back THEY asked us to come back first! That night!!! Obviously we didn't decline haha and they marked the appointment with US! It was crazy. The dad, his name is Israel, he wanted us to meet his whole family. That night we went back and had an AMAZING time. So we showed up at 7 and they were waiting for us. We met the whole family, Israel (father of the family), Jucilene (wife), and their 3 daughters. Carol(20), Cristina(15), and Clara(12). We explained a little more about our work and then Israel told us why he helped us. He started to tell a story that 10+ years ago, he was one day getting ready to build his house and then 3 Elders walked by and asked him what day he was going to start constructing and he told them it would be Sunday Morning. They said that they were going to come and that they didn't need to be paid. He didn't belive them but they showed up on the day at 6am and worked harder than the other guys he had hired! So since that day he says he has respected our work a lot and when he saw us on the road he had the impression to help. So thanks to those missionaries helpíng someone YEARS ago, it opened the door for us! And that night we taught the wonderful message of the Restoration. It was incredible. The whole time they were focused on us and payed so much attention. Israel was even taking notes! Haha it was insane. So towards the end we moved to the floor haha. We were doing a drawing explaining the lesson and Elder Hilton got up to show it to the wife who was sitting on a pillow on the floor and when he went over the rest of the family did too. I was still sitting on the couch but when everyone followed Elder Hilton to the floor to show the mom, I was like, "well guess I will go too." It was so cool because we were all sitting on the floor in a circle close to each other and I got to talk about the First Vision. It was so spiritual. It felt like the rest of the world around us just disappeared. Everyone in that room felt it. I testified of the truthfulness of our message and then Elder Hilton did the same and we finished. They loved it and committed to praying and reading. Then they fed us dinner and we were off! When we left and got off their street I looked over to Elder Hilton and said, "ELDER WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?!?!" Haha we laughed and got super happy. We are so grateful that Heavenly Father guides us to find his elect! But more on them later.

Wednesday we just had a busywork day with unpacking, cleaning up a little bit, getting ourselves organized and doing weekly planning because we couldn't on Thursday. Thursday we had a service project in the morning! It was fun and I got to meet the branch president, President Almir, and Irmão Diego, who is the Elders Quorum President . It was a fun time and we helped a lady move. The best part was that the truck driver was this big funny guy who had quite an uncommon name. I thought it was fake but he was telling the truth. His name was JOSÉ SMITH!!!! It was hilarious when he told us and we didn't believe it. A guy, non-member, named Joseph Smith haha! It was funny. 

Thursday we also found another amazing family. Elder Hilton had told me about a girl that they had contacted the last week of last transfer. We decided to head over there. We found the girl Iasmin and then we met her mom named Branca and the son named Icaro. So apparently we found out that last year in about October they had met the missionaries and that the mom had actually gotten pretty close to being baptized! Of course we were super excited about that. So then we taught the first lesson to the whole family and they loved it. It was cool because Branca remembered a lot of it! We really had a good lesson and they committed to going to church. Branca said that she had actually walked by the church on that same day and had the thought, "I need to start coming back here." And then who shows up at her house that night? We did!! Haha, isn't it amazing how God works?

Friday was a tougher day because everything fell through but that night we had a lesson with Israel and his family! We got to teach everyone except for the mom because she had to go run errands. But they fed us again, before the lesson this time, and then we had the lesson. We explained with more detail the Book of Mormon and it was awesome. They loved it, especially the two older daughters. They were super excited to read it and we had only brought one copy, (we forgot to take more haha) and they had to do rock-paper-scissors to decide who was going to read first haha. It was awesome and then we kind of shifted roles and they started to talk. Israel started to tell a story about his oldest daughter, Carol. He said that when she was 13 they discovered some weird lump on her stomach at a normal doctors appointment and then looked more into it. At this point in the story Carol interruped and asked to tell the story. So she took over and told the rest. She had surgery on this tumor and got it all out. But then the doctor told her dad they thought it was cancer. Israel didn't accept it. He kept saying that his daughter didn't have cancer but after time they got the results and it was cancer. So they had a meeting with the doctor and he said she would have to do chemo and a bunch of stuff and if not the cancer would spread. It was a super aggresive type and the doctor said it had to be done ASAP. Israel was still determined that Carol didn't have cancer and demanded that she didn't. The doctor gave her 9% to live. So they refused and wanted to do a test to see if she had tumors. A year after the surgery they did some type of Scan thing to see the cancer and when they got the results she had nothing. The cancer was gone. The doctor said that if 10 years passed and she felt NOTHING that she was good! But he said that she wouldn't make it that long. It has been now 7 years and she is prefect! What a miracle right?! I love that family! They couldn't go to church this sunday but next week they will! 

Saturday we had another good day. We visited Branca and her family again with a member named Flavia who is waiting for her mission call and lives close to them. I gained a better testimony of the power of members because we taught the Book of Mormon and Iasmin had a lot of questions and doubts and Flavia just took over and explained her story and how she had the same first thoughts and stuff.It was so amazing and spiritual! And it helped! Because on Sunday Branca and her daughter came to church! 

Saturday night we taught this guy named Patrick. He has been an investigator for a couple weeks. We had a nice little lesson with him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was awesome. I don't know why but I feel like he has a lot of potential! He is 20 and really just looking for the truth. I love how we find so many people who are in the same situation as Joseph Smith was! 

Sunday was great and we had 4 investigators at church! I love this little branch already. The attendence was 58 this week and apparently that is a lot for  them.They are super excited to work with us to make their little group of saints grow! 

Well this is a long one so that is it! That was just a brief overview of the fantastic week! 
This new area is awesome. The city is small and super fun and I am loving it so far. This place is a lot different from Salvador though. Here is quiet haha. Elder Hilton and I are also having a great time so far together. It is so weird being with an American again and we speak a lot of English. it is okay though because he needs to practice and so do I. But we have already become good buds already. Elder Hilton only has 4 weeks left and if this week was any indication these next four weeks are gonna be awesome! 

I love you all so much. Jesus Lives!!! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson


1. The day I arrived in Eunapolis. Dropped off my suitcases and we were off! 
2. The primary president in our branch asked us to help teach in Primary. Here we are with all the cute little kids.
3. Us after a trip to the grocery store! 

Our kitchen/office area
We got a new map to use to help us plan better and work more effectively
Both BYU Bound next fall! 
After our grocery shopping trip
Pizza is good for the soul! 
At church with 2 investigators
Helping in Primary on Sunday
Our kitchen sink broke so we had to do dishes in the bathroom

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

"The work is hastening"

Bike ride from last Monday for Pday!

Hey everyone!!! 
How are you all doing?! I hope everyone is doing fantastic! Our week was a good one but I don't have a lot of time to write so I will have to be brief today! Sorry! Next week will better! But you may ask, why do I have to be brief? Because today is a transfer day. And I am getting TRANSFERRED! Woohoo!! I will be going to Eunapolis. It is a place that is the far south of our mission, in the county of Porto Seguro, which is a huge tourist city here because it is the place that Brasil was discovered. Apparently it has a lot of history and I love history so I am pumped! Eunapolis isn't in Porto Seguro, it is about an hour north but we will have to go there a lot because I will still be a Zone Leader for Porto Seguro. My companion will be Elder Hilton who is an American!!! He's only the 2nd American companion I've had during my whole mission! I am super excited and we are going to have a great time. This is going to be his last area so I am pretty nervous because I want to do good and help him go out with a bang! 

Leaving São Cristovão will be strange since I've been here for so long and have made a lot of friends. I have been in this ward for 4 transfers which totals 24 weeks which is a long time for a missionary to stay in one place. I will miss it here though and will be forever grateful to Heavenly Father for my time here. It wasn't always easy but it was such a learning experience for me. I love how God does things in our lives that at moments we don't understand, but afterwards when we look back on it we see that it was exactly what we needed. I am sad to leave Elder Loureiro too because we have become really good friends. The good news is that I'll get tol see him again because we are in the same group to go home!  Anyways, big changes and I am excited!!

So our week was kind of tough because after last week when Elder Loureiro got sick he took a day or two to get better. By about Tuesday he was back to full strength and we had a zone meeting with President Bangerter and the other zone here in Salvador. The big topic was the new Ward Mission plan that the mission is trying to put into place in the wards and branches. President Bangerter discovered that a lot of the wards here don't have a ward mission plan! Tuesday, we talked about it. It wasn't a full on zone conference, just a zone meeting.  One of the goals he asked us to put in to place is for every member to give 3 referills a year to the missionaries. I think that is VERY do-able! I am super excited and I challenge all of you to do the same! Another one of the goals is for every family to have one family night every quarter with a non-member family and invite the missionaries! I love that too and think that is very do-able. I am very excited about it! As always it was amazing to see President Bangerter and Sister Bangerter. They are both very happy and cheery these days. I think they are enjoying the last few months of their mission here and are content with how their mission is ending. They are working to make sure everything is ready for the new mission president to take over in July. It's pretty crazy to think about them not being here, but then it's crazy to think about me not being here too!! :-) 

Wednesday was a good day. At night we went to visit Irmã Marlene and she is doing great. She is one strong lady. She is always in some type of tough situation but is always so faithful to the Lord. As we were leaving to go home since she was our last appointment, I started to feel a little strange. I got home and to make a long, sad story short, the rest of my night was spent being awake and sick! I got the virus that Elder Loureiro had! Ugh it was so frustrating because we were so excited to work super hard this week since it was the last of the transfer but then I got sick. So I spent Thursday and Friday getting better because wow that virus was a tough one. 

Saturday and Sunday were GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!! And WOW!!!!  What a time it was. Every single part was amazing. I love the new changes and progress that the Church is taking. I received many spiritual witnesses during the span of the two days that President Nelson IS really the Prophet of God here on the Earth. I am so grateful that we have the privilige of living in a time that we have a Prophet! What a blessing. The work is hastening, I can feel it here. And of course we were all so excited that Elder Soares was called as an Apostle. The members here were all so happy as he is the first ever Brasilian Apostle. When President Nelson was announcing the temples we were all waiting for him to say Salvador. I know some day it will happen and Salvador will get a Temple. The people here are so wonderful and need one close. But WOW, to hear Russia is getting a Temple??!! What a blessing!
So to finish my short letter I just wanted to express what touched me most at Confernece. One of the biggest things that I felt was that the conference was centered on Love. Love for our fellow-man and for God and His son Jesus Christ. Love is what is going to run the new ministering program and love is what enables us to get personal revelation. Not a love because you HAVE to love, but a pure, genuine love for our neighbors so that we can serve them. I felt immense love during the Solemn Assembly, when I was able to raise my arm to support our leaders. I feel love for the people here as I teach and see them seek the truth. The world needs this Christ-like love more than ever, and WE have the responsibility to spread it!
I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

The english speakers watching Conference 

Me and this dude named Elber. 
He is the man, he is on the stake high council 
and since I have been in this stake so long we have become good buds! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pouring Rain and No Power

District meeting with Elder Loureiro and Elder Pereira. We were all wearing ties with that type of pattern.

Hi everybody!! 
How are you all doing?! I hope you all had an amazing week! Our week here in Salvador was FULL of adventures. Crazy is another word to describe this week. Always a lot going on so I will try to remember everything that happened. 

Last Monday we headed over to a part of my old area in Imbuí, called Parque de Pituaçu. It is this huge park next to the beach. It is like what I imagine Central Park is like, just smaller. But there is a bunch of fun stuff to do there. We met up with some of the other missionaries and went to do the bike trail! It was long, but a lot of fun because I remembered how cool it is to ride bikes, haha. Our mission isn't really a bike riding mission. I think that there are only 2 areas in the whole mission that use bikes and I've never been in either of them so being on a bike was fun. We had a blast riding through the jungle! I will try to get the photos that were taken by some of the other missionaries since I forgot my camera. I will send them once I get them. 

Tuesday was a cool day too. A couple weeks ago we had found this girl named Janet. Well actually she found us. We were walking home and we were almost home and right in front of our house is this big town square type of thing and it is always packed with people because there are two huge churches there. But this girl walked over to us as we passed by and asked us who we were. Long story short, her name is Janet and she is awesome. That day we marked a lesson with her. But when we went to find her house, we couldn't find it! We got confused and ended up lost and disappointed. So that brings us to Tuesday. We were walking on the street again and someone yelled, "I waited for you guys!". We look and it was her! It was a miracle to find her again. Once again we set an appointment with her and she explained how to get to her house. Tuesday night we went to find it and after a while of searching we found it.  She has a twin sister that we met too. We had the first lesson with her and she loved it! The Spirit of the Lord is present when we talk about the wonderfrul truths of the Restoration. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth. What a blessing we have to live in this time! Janet loved the lesson and she has a lot of potential! 

Wednesday was craziness. First off we headed over to an area in our zone called Itinga for the district meeting there because our district leader had to do a surgery this week and wasn't able to have a meeting. That was fun to see the other missionaries there and I always love district meetings! Then we came back to our area and were working normally, "preaching the word", as people say here, when about 3 o´clock we realized that the power in the neighborhood we were in had gone out. That isn't a rare thing and the power always comes back pretty quickly so we just went about normal business. But the power wasn't coming back on....! We then got a call from Elder Prince, the secretary, saying that the power in the whole city had gone out!! We were pretty shocked so we grabbed our little phone that is a radio too and turned on the FM radio. We soon discovered that the power outage wasn't just Salvador, it was the WHOLE COUNTRY OF BRASIL!!! Like everything was turned off. It was insane. And there was no time estimate for when it would come back in our city. They got it back pretty quickly in the main cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but for us they didn't know how long it would take. Soon after the news started to spread the people started to get crazy. Everyone was making crazy preparations and the traffic was insane. It looked like a movie scene. I decided that we should go buy candles to have some sort of light throughout the night. About 6:15 we went to the store to buy them. I bought some and about 5 minutes later what happened? The power came back on. Elder Loureiro laughed so hard at me! haha. Just my luck. But it was a fun adventure. To add to the adventure of the power being out, it was also POURING RAIN. So combine the rain with the power being out for so long and we had a lot of opportunities to serve.  We saw one man whose car and slid off the road because of all the rain. He was stuck in the mud so we headed over to help get him out. Then we saw a lady taking some of her things in to the house and trying to keep them from getting soaked so we ran over to help her which she was so appreciative of. I love finding the little ways to help others and even if it doesn't turn in to someone hearing our message and being baptized, serving others always makes me love my Savior more because it brings us closer to him. It reminds me of the scripture in Mosiah 2:17 that says " and behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God". I love to serve! 

Thursday was a less crazy day. Our bff member here named Ingrid, had a tough week with some stuff and was struggling so we went over with the sisters on Thursday night to help her feel better. We got her to laugh a lot and we had a fun time. I love how as a missionary, or not, we can help people smile and feel better. I think it is so awesome that we have that power! God gave us the agency to choose how we feel. And when people need help to feel happy, we can help. And anyone can do it! So go out and make someone smile today! 

Friday was another crazy adventure. In the morning we headed over to Itinga, a part of our zone, to do a baptismal interview. Elder Loureiro got to do the interview with the lady named Jessica and it went perfectly! Jessica had been struggling a lot with a young son and she was out of a job. One day she walked by the chapel and felt the impression to go in, but she ignored it. So for months every time she walked by she felt the same impression and always said no. But after months of her life getting worse, she decided one day to go in. It was a Sunday morning. The first person who saw her was President Gunça, one of the counselors in the stake presidency who just got called to be the first mission president ever in a new mission that will open in Rio de Janeiro. (So he is the man.) He saw her and said, "Welcome! Come sit with me and my family." Jessica said that no one had ever been that nice to her. She immediately felt a warm feeling. A few short weeks later she was ready to be baptized! And she was on Saturday and it went perfectly. The coolest part of the situation is that when she started investigating the church she had no house or job. Now she has a full-time job and will move into a small apartment with a low rent. In about 3 weeks that all happened and her life completely turned around. It is amazing how God blesses us when we do what is right! 

Friday afternoon I got sick. I think I had eaten something bad and got some food poisoning that was not fun. Being sick killed the rest of our Friday and I spent the rest of the day in bed

Saturday I was feeling better but then my companion started to feel sick. He was good enough to work and we had a good day despite him not feeling well. That night we had a family night marked with the sisters and our investigators at Ingrid's house. All of the investigators ended up bailing last minute which was lame but turned out a blessing because while we were there Elder Loureiro started to have a lot of stomach pain. He was so sick that he asked me to give him a blessing.  I love the privilge of having Heavenly Father's holy power to help others when they are in need.  We ended up taking Elder Loureiro to a 24hr clinic in our area. It was pouring rain and when we got there it was packed. After waiting about 10 minutes Elder Loureiro started to throw up and was just not doing so hot. It was about 10 o'clock. We (the sisters were with us) decided it would be better to take him to a real hospital that was a private one. It was far away but would be worth it. Irmã Leide was with us and called her cousin to come get us. To summarize the rest of the story, we left the emergency room at 2AM and Elder Loureiro has a stomach virus that is strong. 

So leading into that our Sunday was tough too. We didn't go to church because Elder Loureiro was still not doing so hot but we got the medicine that the doctor told him to get and he started to get better. He is currently doing a lot better as of this morning and is looks like things will go back to normal soon! President Bangerter was in the area yesterday and stopped by to visit us and make sure we were doing better. It was nice to have him at our apartment to visit with for a bit. I love President Bangerter. 

So that was my crazy week! But through it all I was feeling really happy. The Spirit really helped me this week stay positive through some tough times to help some people. This is the last week of the transfer and I'm pretty sure next week I'll be transferred since I've been here for FOUR transfers and in this area for SIX. I have loved my time here but I'm ready to move on. I feel so bleessed by the Lord and I have had the chance to meet and teach some pretty incredible people. Through all of the things I have gone through so far on my mission, I have learned, without doubt, that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ! I'm so grateful that this week it's going to be Easter AND General Conference giving us the opportunity to hear from our NEW Prophet and the Apostles to help us remember Him even more. I am so grateful to be a missionary and be a representative of Him. What a blessing!!!

Love you all! Have an amazing week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson


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