Monday, January 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister Alves who was transferred to a new area! 

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

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

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"One thing I know for sure is that the leaders of the Church are really called of God."

Elder Estevam's LAST District Meeting! 
Hi Everyone! 
How are you all doing?! I hope the first week of 2018 was a great one! 

This was the last week of our transfer here and it was great! We got the transfer call last night and there are some changes coming. I am staying here in São Cristovão which I knew was going to happen because Elder Estevam is going home. (more on that later) But the news is that I will be training this transfer! And unlike the other times, I will train a brand new missionary! I will start the training of a new Elder and I am so excited! The crazy part is that I will still be a Zone Leader, but the only one here in the Imbuí Zone! So it will be a little more responsibility but I know that the Lord will help me! 

So this was the last week for Elder Estevam! Man I have grown to love that guy! I am so grateful that I was able to be his companion. I have learned so much from him that I will be able to use with my new "greenie" and for the rest of my mission. I love seeing the testimony that he has and it is a big example for me as he is the only member of the Church of his family. His family isn't the biggest fan of the Church so it is amazing to see the faith he has had the past two years to serve so faithfully! Now Elder Estevam is going home and he will start some of the other "missions" for the rest of his life! I was so blessed to be companions with Elder Estevam! 

Our week was good! It seemed to fly by though. So Wednesday we had interviews with President Bangerter! Our whole zone did. It had been a while that I had had a formal interview with him. I was pretty excited for it. When we got to the chapel on Wednesday morning President and Sister Bangerter told us that President Monson had passed away. I was shocked and sad. He has been sick for a while but I was still not expecting it. We all were a little sad. I reflected on the only other time in my life that a President of the Church has died, which was when President Hinkley died. I don't remember much but I remember that I cried. Anyways I had my interview with President Bangerter and it was exactly what I was needing. I got a lot of answers to prayers during my interview. One thing I know for sure is that the leaders of the Church are really called of God. As me and President cried together, remembering President Monson and his teachings, the Spirit testified to me that  President Monson is a Prophet of God. I also felt very strongly that the man who was sitting in front of me at that moment also was called of God. It was a very spiritual experience that I will never forget. 

Thursday night we headed over to visit Marlene and her crew. For the first time in a while the whole family was there. Marlene, Evely, and even Nataly was there. It was great and they were pretty sad that Elder Estevam is going home. It was funny though. We stayed there for a little bit and talked about a whole bunch of things. But at the end of the conversation we started to talk about the Church. Evely is now dating and seems pretty uninterested in the church, even though she still goes to church every other week so we don't know what's going on. Marlene is doing great though and very happy with her spiritual side of life. It has been great to get to know them and such a blessing too. 

Friday night we headed over to Ingrid and Jefferson's place to teach them English! They have a goal to move to Canada in the next few years and they need to learn english for that. Elder Estevam is the best English teacher! He maybe wants to do that in his future so it was really cool to see him in action. I also realized that teaching English to people who don't speak it at all is a lot harder than I originally thought. But it was a great night that ended with a message and a snack. They are planning on getting married soon and then Jefferson can be baptized. The sisters in this area have been working with them for about 5 months now but they have made incredible progress just in that time. 

Saturday was awesome too! Our lunch that day was with the Cunhas. They are moving to the United States next week so Saturday was their going away party! It was at the gated community where they live and it was a blast. A bunch of members went and non-members and we got to talk to a bunch of cool people. That guy Paulo was there too and we are going to visit him this week. But it reminded me a lot of when my family left Colorado. I did not want to go but my parents had prayed and felt that we needed too. The Cunhas have felt the same thing, and even though they are sad and scared to leave, it will all work out in the end. I was able to testify of that to them on Saturday. It was a very fun day and our little ward here in Mussurunga will miss them dearly. 

Saturday night we got to go to Eddy's house. Eddy is pretty much the mission taxi driver! He rose to fame in our mission because of Elder Estevam. He found Eddy when he was a secretary and started using Eddy for everything. Pretty soon the whole mission was hearing about Eddy because he is an awesome dude. He is married and best buds with a bunch of missionaries. I have gotten to become friends with him too! So Saturday night he invited us to a family night at his house with his family, friends, and some other Elders. They are not members of the Church. Actually they are strong members of another church, but they are so accepting and it was awesome. Eddy is the man and one day will get baptized. I had the opportunity to leave a quick scripture with them, but I will share that at the end. 

Sunday was a great day too. We got to go the mission home for Elder Estevam to do his last interview. His group is big so President took advantage and interviewed those in Salvador who are going home. I got to sit and talk to with Sister Bangerter and as we were leaving they fed us apple pie!!!!! Oh man it was so good. The best part was when President said, "If you two doubted that I loved you, now you know that I really do. Because I don't like to share this pie with anyone." HAHA! It was the best and I love them! 

So that is a quick rundown of our week! To end on a spiritual thought I'll write what I talked about at Eddy's house. I shared the scriptures from the New Testament about Thomas. The part that stood out to me was in verse 20 when Christ says that those who do not see but believe are blessed. Everyday we live by faith. Faith is the first principle of the Gospel for a reason. Without faith, nothing else can happen. That is what Jesus is saying in this scripture. We have to believe without seeing, and we will be blessed. I have a living testimony of that. I have seen it so many times on my mission! 

Well that is all! I love you guys! Have a great week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Last District Meeting for Elder Estevam
Elder Estevam's "funeral" since he's leaving the mission (Silly Missionaries)

Friday, January 5, 2018

"All we have to do is trust in God!"

Celebrating the New Year with a Fireworks show from the Elder's in Imbui's Apartment! 
Hi Everyone!! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! Wow!! How crazy is it that it is 2018?!!? I can't believe how amazing this last year, 2017, was for me! It was my first entire year dedicated to serving the Lord as a missionary! It was a year full of ups and downs, but a year in which I have felt extremely blessed by God. I met so many people who have changed me and been through so many things that have made me a better person! I am excited for another fantastic year this year! 2018 is going to be a crazy, year full of change for me but it will be amazing! Anyway.... our week was a little weird and crazy this week because Salvador becomes a crazy place during holidays but we still had some great experiences and I will try to hit some highlights of the week! 

First, being able to talk to you guys on Christmas was just the best! It was perfect and might have been my favorite yet! They just keep getting better, haha! Elder Estevam absolutely loved you guys even more after getting to talk to you and I hope you guys loved him too! He is the man and goes home next week so this is the last week of the transfer! I am so sad already because I have loved serving with Elder Estevam and will miss having him around. I am a little scared to get a new comp. I guess I always say that and  should  be used to these changes but I still am not it seems like! i always get so nervous with the transfers but I will trust in the Lord and know it will be ok.  

So Wednesday after our lunch we stopped by the Cunhas house. They are the awesome family from our ward who helped in throwing me that surprise party. They are awesome but moving to the United States this month. We went by to see how they were doing with packing up their house and to know it they needed help! We got there and there was a bunch of people at their house and they were doing a ton of work! So we started helping and got to know their neighbors! We met this kid named Paulo! He is 18 and best friends with Mariana, the Cunhas daughter. We had heard about him before because he had regularly gone to church for a while a couple years ago! We never got the chance to actually meet him until Wednesday! The man is awesome and is apparently is still living the church standards! The only reason he wasn't baptized before is because his mom didn't approve, but now she is the one who told us that he needs to start going back to church!! We are super excited about it. He couldn't meet with us formally this week but we had a nice conversation with him and he seems interested still and excited about the thought of being baptized! Pray for him! 

Thursday night we went over to visit Marlene and Evely. Evely wasn't home and we actually didn't get a chance to talk to her all week but we got to talk to Marlene! She is doing well! She was a little frustrated about her work and a few other things and she kind of vented to us a little bit and we just sat and listened. That is something that I have grown to love as a missionary. We get to listen and help people. After she talked we shared some scriptures with her and she said at the end of the lesson, "I think it all just comes down to trusting in the Lord." I loved that! It is so true! At the end of it all, it comes down to trust in the Lord. faith in Him! It seems like Marlene's life has gotten a bit harder since she started coming back to church. She even commented about that. And we told her that that is what usually happens because the enemy is making a last try at getting you to waver in your faith. We talked a lot about that. The Spirit was so strong in her little house but I left so happy and edified. All we have to do is trust in God! 

Friday was a fun day! We had one of the young men, Johnny, from our ward come work with us for the day since they are on break! Actually the school year here just ended and the new school year starts at the end of February! We had a good day and even had a little competition with doing contacts. Everybody got 15 pass-along cards and we had to give them all out. A pass along card is like a small flier that gives information about the church and has contact information for people to learn more. Anyway, for the competition we decided for every card that we didn't give out we would have to do 10 pushups! It was fun and in the end no one had to do pushups because everyone gave their cards haha! We also visited this old lady named Iza. She is a member of the Church but has been inactive for years. She was very sweet but told us that she didn't really feel like coming back into the Church. That made me so sad! Sometimes people don't know what they are missing! Turns out he has a grandson who was baptized with her years ago and is also inactive. He seems promising but we barely got to talk to him on Friday so we will go back to see if he wants to meet with us more! 

Friday night we had an awesome moment. We went over to Johnny's house to have a little family home evening with his family. His dad, Anizio, isn't a member. But his mom, Leide, is amazing and one of my favorite members here in São Cristovão! We have tried many times to teach Anizio but he is a funny one and always tries to avoid us. But Friday he was there!! It was awesome and I got to give the message!! I shared a message I love to give from Ether 4:12 that talks about an anchor in our lives. It was great and they really liked the message. It was the first time I saw all 4 of them sitting together and when I looked at them I just was thinking of an eternal family! They look so great all together and I know that one day Anizio will join the church!! 

Sunday was a great day too! We had a fun little competition during our Gospel Principles class. Our teacher made this memory game with questions and answers of topics from the whole year! It was really cool. The cool part was seeing Marlene and Ingrid and Jefferson get so excited because they knew the answers. Seeing the progress in people is one of the best parts of being a missionary! 

Our New Years Eve was a pretty amazing night!!!!! We headed over to the Elders' house in Imbuí, where I used to live! Remember how the view from that apartment is of the ocean and beach?! Well here in Brasil one of the traditions at New Years is fireworks! So in all the big cities here there are huge parties and concerts and at midnight, fireworks. This year here in Salvador that whole thing was planned to be in Boca do Rio, like right next to the Elders' house!!!!!!  We knew we would be able to see the fireworks but we didn't know how well. (Of course we couldn't be out celebrating in the streets but were allowed to watch from the missionary Apartments) And WOW we were pleasently surprised!!!! The fireworks were RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!!! We took a whole bunch of pictures and videos that I will send! It was amazing and got me all excited for this new year!! 

Well I think that is all! I love you guys and I love this gospel! Being a missionary this last year has been incredible and I have loved every second! It's all true!!! 

Have a great week! 

Elder Spencer Christofferson 

Elder Estevam, Elder Skraba, Elder Tavares, Me 

An awesome view of the Fireworks! 

FHE at Jefferson and Ingrids

The Best part of Christmas!!

Our Happy Missionary on Christmas Day!
We didn't have an email from Spencer on Christmas day because we were able to speak to him on Skype. We had an AMAZING visit and he is as happy as he has ever been. We loved EVERY minute with him and his wonderful Companion. We even had a chance to talk to Viviane and Anna Beatriz, the mother and daughter who Spencer baptized a few months ago since the missionaries were at their home for dinner. To hear these two women speak of how happy they are and how much their lives have changed since accepting the Gospel in to their lives and joining the church made me cry tears of joy and gratitude. Anyway, Spencer's pday was on Tuesday this week and here is his email. Thank you again to all of you for your constant love and support. It's hard to believe that in less than 6 months Spencer will be home!! 
Love you all! 
Marilee and Adam

Santa Hats and Christmas Ties
View from Brazil
View of the EVERYONE from Brazil!
Two Missionaries Skyping one house! Fun to talk to Elder Miller at the same time.  
Elder Christofferson (18 months served) got to talk to Elder Miller in Romania (12 months served)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"SUPRESA" Party!!!

Happy 20th Birthday to me! 
Hey Everyone!! 

Sorry I am a day late this week. Our p-day is is actually Tuesday because of our Christmas Zone Conference yesterday (Monday). Anyways, here I am and WOW WHAT A WEEK!!!!!!! I can't even begin to describe the amazing week that I had! It was full of emotion, the spirit and fun! I will try to show how great it was in this email! I probably will forget a bunch of stuff but I'll try to hit all the highlights!! 

First off, last Monday night was fantastic! We had a great fun family night at the home of President Barbosa and his family! He is the first counselor of the mission presidency and he lives in our ward! I think I have talked about him before but he and his family are great! He invited us over because his oldest son was going to be ordained to the Melchezidik Priesthood and he wanted the missionaries to be there. We gladly decided to go and it was so awesome! I felt the Spirit so strongly and remembered of when I was ordained and when I was preparing to go on my mission. I did a lot of reflecting and was once again overwhelmed at how fast the time has been flying! It is so crazy.

Wednesday I got to go on a division or split or whatever it is called in English, with Elder Silverio in Itinga. It is close to our area so it wasn't far and we had a great day together! Elder Silverio is from Brasilia which is the captial of Brasil. He is actually just out here for 3 months doing a "test mission." He has some health problems in his knees so the Church sent him out for 3 months to see how he worked as a missionary and if he is able to work normally! He is finishing up the test mission and man he is doing great! There was one cool lesson that I particularly remember! We went to contact this man named Juan. When we got to his house he answered the door and was really nice! We found out that he lived with his wife and daughter and we asked if we could leave a message with them. He said yes and invited us to come in! They lived on the second floor of their building and the stairs to go up were really steep. Elder Silverio can't go up those types of stairs so we asked if we could have the lesson right there in front! And we did! They sat on the stairs and we stayed standing in front of them! We taught them the first lesson and it was so great! I got to talk about Joseph Smith (I love talking about that part!) I have learned so much about the Restoration being out here on my mission and teaching it everyday is one of the best parts of being a missionary for sure! We invited Juan and his wife to go to Church and pray to know what we taught was true. After we invited them to do that Juan said, "I don't know why but I feel like I am going to get a positive answer." It was so awesome! I had a great time with Elder Silverio and he will be a great missionary wherever he ends up serving for his 2 year mission! 

Thursday we had a great lunch with a brother in our ward named Cosme. He almost always schedules our lunches on Friday but this week he changed it so we could meet his wife! She is a member but she has been inactive for a couple years. I was a little nervous to meet her because she has been going to a different church, and one that really doesn't like the Mormons. Anyways it all turned out good in the end and Anna was really nice! We joked a lot with her and Cosme and invited her to church sunday! We even said we would go to her church Sunday night with her if she came Sunday morning! But it didn't work, at least not this week because she didn't show up! Next time! 

Friday was also a cool day because I got to do another split in Imbuí with Elder Tavares! It was great to be back on the coast haha! I realized that I missed those beach views and the ocean breeze quite a bit! We had a fun day together and I got to visit some old friends! I got to see the Reis family that night as well and it was awesome! I am excited because Elder Tavares is actually going to be going home at the same time as me so we will still see each other a good amount! 

Saturday was interesting. I have to go back to the beginning of the week to tell the story. So Elder Estevam is the man! We have become the best of friends and we always are talking and joking around and having fun! This week I noticed that he started to get a little quiet. He wasn't talking a lot and I was kind of worried. I tried talking to him on the day it started to see what was going on and helping him but he didn't want to talk. I figured it would pass and that he was just worried about going home and his family or something but the next day he was still acting all weird and ignoring me a little bit! I was so confused and thinking that I had done something to offend him! I eventually got frustrated because he wouldn't talk to me and seemed like he didn't want me around. The splits were already planned but they came at good times haha. I was a little weirded out because he said by Saturday he would be better. So Saturday I got back to São Cristovão and Elder Estevam was back to normal. I was relieved and we had a good day. He just kept saying, "one day I will get the courage to tell you why I was acting weird." So I was all good! 

So that leads us to SundaySunday was my birthday and I was so excited! I woke up and opened up the package that Mom had sent me for my birthday and it was awesome. Elder Estevam was filming and said after I had opened, "wait a second I got to grab something." He left the room and came back with a present! I was shocked because he said he wouldn't get me anything because he was out of money! I opened it up and it was this awesome Broncos wood carving thing! I will send a picture! He then explained that was why he had been acting weird because he needed me to want to go on splits so he could set up getting the present and it was stressing him out a bit! It was awesome and I loved it! And I also learned later that there was another part to his acting weird that went a long with my birthday but I'll get to that in a minute. All in all I have the best companion ever! 

The rest of Sunday was great too and we had a great Church meeting. Marlene got sick so her and Evely didn't come. We visited them later that day and Marlene was feeling better. Overall they are doing well. We have been fasting and praying for Evely and thinking of a way we can connect with her again. 

Lunch on Sunday was fantastic. Sister Sielma had us over and invited Bishop and his family and they made me Chicken Parm!! I had forgotten that I had told her that I loved Italian food! And Bishop's wife made me an AWESOME cake! It was so good! I felt so loved!  

Yesterday (Monday) was also awesome! We had our Christmas Zone Conference and it was fantastic! Both of the zones here in Salvador were combined and we had a blast. The morning was full of trainings and learning! We got to give a quick training about these baptismal invitations that President Bangerter made. It went great! My zone also did a special musical number; we sang Silent Night, or Noite Feliz in portuguese! It also went great! After lunch we started the activity part and we all put on regular clothes and went and had fun! President Bangerter has all these fun games we played and he taught everyone (minus the Americans) how to play kickball haha! Playing kickball with a bunch of Brasilians who can kick a ball before they even walk is definitely interesting haha! It was a blast. Then President said that phrase that everyone was waiting for, "We are going on a walk." We left the chapel and walked across the street to.... the beach!!! If you guys remember last year when I was in Itabuna we had our Christmas Zone Conference in Ilheus which is a city near there and we also went to the beach! That year we were the only ones to go soI lucked out both years! This time we just went onto the sand real quick and put our toes in the water for like a minute then we had to go back but it was awesome. The other people out there probably thought we were crazy haha! 

We left the conference at about 6pm and had plans to head over to President Barbosa's house with the Sisters because I was told that they had invited us over for Family home evening. When we got there I walked in and Sister Barbosa called to me from the kitchen and said "Elder, all of your lunches for this week fell thru!" (She is the Relief Society President and organizes our lunch calendar) I walked down the hallway asking her why and when I got to the kitchen I was greeted by a bunch of members and the Sisters screaming "Surpresa!!" They through me a surprise party!!!! Haha it was awesome! They started to sing happy birthday in portguese and it was awesome. I learned that Elder Estevam set the whole thing up too which is the other reason he had been acting weird all week. Love that guy! Then there was another surprise which was a video from home! So this girl in our ward ended up talking to my mom on facebook and mom sent a video with a bunch of friends from home saying Happy Birthday! I got teary eyed because it was such a wonderful surprise! I felt so loved this week by the amazing members here and it made my 20th birthday an incredibly special one! 

So real quick I wanted to share a thought! At the Christmas conference President Bangerter shared the scriptures from Luke 2. I had given a message using that chapter this week since it is almost Christmas. I love how the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem when they heard about Christ. I thought about how we need to have that attitude with the gospel in our lives! Are we doing our best to quickly follow God and his commandments? That is my quick question for us to ponder this week! I love you all and thanks for being amazing! 

Have a great Christmas week! 
Elder Spencer P. Christofferson
Birthday gift from Elder Estevam
William opened his mission call to the Domincan Republic
Christmas Zone Conference
My "SUPRESA" Party

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

...let us go to and labour with our might..."

My little buddy Miguel
Hey Everybody!! 
How is everyone doing?! I am sure all is well! I hope all are getting excited for Christmas, or Natal here in Brasil! We are getting excited too even though the weather is getting hotter in place of cooling down. I hope somewhere in the USA it is cold! HAHA! This week was another great one here in São Cristóvão! I was a little worried all week because everyone kept telling me about the fires that were happening in SoCal! Yes that news even was a big deal down here! The crazy part was that no one could give me details! So all I was hearing was, "Hey you live in California right? Well there are a bunch of huge fires near Los Angeles!" So I was a little worried. But I figured that if something bad happened I would be informed. But today I was glad to hear that all is good and everyone is safe! 

Last Monday night we headed over to Irmã Leide's house to have a family night with them! She is the lady in our ward who has two sons and her husband isn't a member! We LOVE that family so we were excited and anxious to teach Anizio (the husband). BUT, he got away! Right when we showed up he was leaving to go buy some medicine because he had been sick! When he got back it was literally right as we finished the message! We got to spend the last few minutes with him though. He is such a great man but I think he just doesn't feel the need for a change in his life. That is one of the biggest obstacles as a missionary that I have discovered. People feel comfortable with their lives and feel like they don't need a change, like they don't need the Savior in their lives. It makes me a bit sad because everyone needs the Savior. Anyway, our family night was good and with Anizio we have to just love him and his family and be patient! One day, I believe, he will be a member! 

Tuesday we had a nice day and our last appointment was with Marlene! We went over to visit her and Evely since Evely had stopped progressing but only Marlene was home. We had a really nice discussion with her about trials and why we have them. She has a few friends and neighbors that are going through some tough times and have some illnesses. I got to talk a little bit about Sue Robles and what I felt and the family felt during the time she was sick and slipping away! It was a nice little visit and we felt the Spirit strongly. Elder Estevam said a very nice prayer at the end and specifically blessed all the people that Marlene was worried about. I love prayer! 

Wednesday morning we had a Zone meeting! Elder Estevam and I decided to set one up with our zone even though next week we will have our big Christmas Zone Conference with President Bangerter and Sister Bangerter and the other zone here in Salvador. We felt that our zone needed to hear all the new things and some of the trainings that we heard last week at the leadership council! So we had a great meeting! I started by using a few scriptures that Sister Bangerter used. First, Jacob 5:62 "62 Wherefore, let us go to and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that shall prune my vineyard" 
I talked about how this is the last month of 2017 and that we have to give our all! This is the last chance this year that we have to work in the Lord's vineyard. Then I shared verse 72, "And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lorof the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord othe vineyard in all things." It was a great meeting and everyone is excited for our Christmas Zone Conference next Monday. 

We had a tough experience with Rosalvo this week. Wednesday we went over and had a nice lesson with him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! He seemed to understand it and was excited when we talked about baptism. He said he was going to be at church this week too so we were really excited! But then friday we headed back. We had called him earlier in the day to see if we could go over and he said yes and seemed excited on the phone. When we knocked on his door he came and answered and started to tell us that he was sorry. We pretty quickly realized that he was drunk. He started saying that this wasn't for him and that he couldn't follow God. He even asked us if we wanted the Book of Mormon back. He was really sad which made us sad. He was apologizing a lot and acting strange. He told us that we are cool guys but that he doesn't want more. We ended up leaving and I didn't know what to think! I was so sad because he had said he was doing so well not drinking lately! We don't know really what happened but the rest of the week we tried to call him and he didn't answer. We passed by his place once and no one answered! We figured we would go back when he wasn't drunk so we could really figure out what is going on. So now we need a miracle to find him and hope we can help him! Only time will tell! 

Thursday we had a cool experience too! We headed over to Itapuã, which is another area in our zone, to do a baptismal interview! Well during the interview with the young woman, I was sitting in the family room of the house with the other elders and with her mom! We started talking and she was asking a bunch of questions about missionaries! We found out that she wants her daughter, the one who got baptized, to serve a mission! It was an awesome thing to hear! Her mom is also an investigator and she hadn't seen the Christmas video yet so we watched it with her right there and she loved it! I hope everyone is still doing #LightTheWorld!! We are doing it here and it is awesome! 

Yesterday (Sunday) was an awesome day! A bunch of awesome stuff happened. Firstly, Evely showed up at church with her mom, Marlene! We were shocked! But she had a great time and even said the closing prayer after Gospel Principles! So now we have renewed hope for her! Secondly, I got to speak in church! I spoke about rescuing the lost and I used the three parables from Luke 15 to base my talk off of! It went great I think! Thirdly, after church we went with a lady in our ward to give a blessing to a sick man. It was really interesting because the guy has cancer in his brain and has gotten bad really quickly. He is 23 but we went over to give him a blessing. He responded to our questions with a thumbs up and we gave him a priesthood blessing. His family aren't members and neither is he but they have faith in God and that is what is important. It was a humbling experience! 

So I think that is all for this week! Next time I write you all I will be 20 YEARS OLD!!! What the heck? I am so old haha! And next week I will write everyone on Tuesday because we have our Christmas conference Monday and P-day will be Tuesday

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Elder Tavaras. Great to see him and happy he's in my Zone. 
Zone Conference