Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"The Lord really did protect me"

A little Hotel I found in Porto Seguro. Had to take a picture! 

Hey everybody! 
How are you all doing?! I hope that everyone had a great week and served somebody! Our week was crazy!! As many of you may already know, thanks to modern techonology, I had a little bike accident this week but I am doing great now! I will tell the whole story a little later and fill you all in on the details but other than the bike fall, we had a great week! I will try to hit the highlights.

So, last Monday we had an awesome p-day. Later hat night we had been invited to go over to a member's house for a family night and birthday celebration for Agatha, one of the young women in our ward who turned 16. Her and her older sisters, along with their mom have been members forever. But the father of the family isn't a member! So any time we get the opportunity to go visit them, we take advantage! We had a great time that night with their family, some other members, and some non-member friends as well. I got to share the message at the family night and it was awesome! Afterwards we played a bunch of fun Basilian games. I will definitely teach them to everyone when I get home! 

Tuesday we had one of those days. It seemed like everything was going wrong! We had a ton of lessons marked and no one was home at the places we had marked. It used to bug me a lot when stuff like that happened but now I am totally fine about it! Of course I still get sad but have learned to see the opportunities that come as great blessings. Now as soon as my disappointment creeps in I change my attitude and start looking for what the Lord has prepared for us to accomplish. On this day we decided to head over to visit Elizia! The strike thing is ending so we knew that she was going to start going home soon. We needed to visit her. We got there and we could once again tell she was acting a little different. She wasn't completely shut off like that other day last week but she also wasn't her normal, happy self. This time, however, we were determined to help her! And we succeeded!! We just started talking to her about how she was doing and what was going on. She still was kind of quiet though. So we decided to start the lesson! We said a prayer and then started talking with her again. And it was like she totally changed. She started to open up to us about her struggles, and feelings and a ton of hard stuff. It was super sad, but we were happy we could be there to help her. We sat there for about 30 minutes, having a heart-to-heart talk with Elizia. We shared our thoughts, our testimonies, we shared scriptures, and comforted her. There was even a moment when she started crying as she was talking about her grandfather who died a few years ago. We testified again about the Plan of Salvation and she felt better. It was an awesome visit and we felt like we were able to take a step forward with her. 

Tuesday night we took a bus down to Porto Seguro and slept at the Elders house there. Because on Wednesday we had a division, or split, or whatever, with the elders down there. Wednesday morning we had a joint district meeting with our district, and the other district in Porto. It was great! Elder Palma gave the training about bearing our testimonies more in lessons and using the power that they have! And I got to take a fun picture haha! I will send it! I spent the day with Elder De Jesus and his companion Elder Marangoni in their area, while Elder Palma spent the day with the other elders (our district) in their area! It was an fun day! The area of the elders that I stayed with is a little tough because it is right in the center of Porto Seguro. Which means it is mainly a touristy place! Porto is the place where Brasil was discovered so a ton of people from all over the world go there! But we tried our best! The best part of the day was that night when the branch had an activity! It was SOO cool! It was an integration night thing again and it was awesome. The members there had set it all up and we had a fun activity about music. Everyone got divided into teams and then played name that song. The only bad part for me was that it was all Brasilian music hahahaha! So I didn't help my team that much. There were a ton of the elders investigators there too so we had a blast.

We got back to Eunapolis Wednesday night and then Thursday rolled around. Now Thursday was the day of the here goes the story. That morning we had a good planning session, then we headed off to lunch at João Pedro's. He is the district presidents' son. After lunch we stopped at home to grab some things we had forgotten and then went to go do visits. Around 4 o'clock we decided to go to a different part of our area. The funny thing about this city is that it is mostly flat. There are very few hills but a large valley runs through almost the middle of the city.  To get to the other side you go down, then immediatley back up a hill. To get to the area we wanted to go to we had to go down and then up a quick hill. It is normal and a route we take all the time! We started down the hill, gaining speed. The decline then turned into an incline and I stood up on my pedals so I could pedal hard to get up the hill faster. The fun part of the hills is going down, not going up haha! Anyways, I stood up on my pedals and started going up when my bike chain fell off. After that I don't remember anything... actually, don't remember the chain falling off either. I just remember starting up the hill. And the next thing I remember I woke up in the hospital!! Elder Palma then told me the rest of the story. My chain had fallen off and I fell forward and he heard the sound and turned around. He saw that I had fallen off my bike and wasn't geting back up so he flipped around real quick and jumped off his bike to help me. He said that I was kind of out of it, speaking english and trying to run away. He calmed me down and a bunch of people stopped to help him. They layed me down on the sidewalk and I fell asleep. (I don't remember any of this) One of the guys helping decided to call an ambluance and they waited for a while for it to show up. After waiting the ambluance showed up and took us to the hospital. The whole time I was unconsious. A nice lady who lived close to the hill stored our bikes in her house. So I woke up in the hospital and stayed there for a while getting some medicine and a docotor looking at me. They said I was fine, but to just take it easy for a few days. From what I've been told, I think what happened is that I fell forward and hit my right temple on the handlebars, which knocked me out, then I fell on the ground, which is why my face was a little scraped up and my knee and hand. Thursday night our Ward mission leader came and got us at the hospital and took us home. I had a nice goose egg on my head and other than that I was all good! 
An IV at the Hospital after the accident
Just a little scraped up!
Friday I woke up with headaches so we decided to go to the doctor again. The district president's wife took us around throughout the day to find the right doctor, trying to set up a tomography. I think that is what it is called in English (I did some research and that's basically a CT Scan-Marilee). We finally got one so I did it that afternoon.  I won't get the results until tomorrow. The rest of the day I took it kind of easy.

Saturday I was feeling better but not 100%. The bump on my head was smaller but I was still feeling weak. The hard part is that we needed to work so Elder Palma took one of the men from the ward with him, and I hung out at another ward member's house while Elder Palma went to go visit people! Resting on Saturday gave me time to think about all that had happened and I realized that I really got lucky in my crash. I could have totally scraped up my face and arm, or worse, but I didn't. I only got a small scratch on my face where I fell, and on my knee. It actually ripped a small hole in my pants over my knee. My glasses didn't even break!!! I realized that the Lord really did protect me. And I was blessed by all the people that stopped to help Elder Palma, the members who all helped us, and by Elder Palma who didn't freak out when I crashed and was able to take care of getting me the help I needed! I know that the Lord is watching over us and helping always! 

Sunday came and we had a great Sabbath day! President and Sister Bangerter where here and it was awesome. A ton of members brought non-member friends and it was great! Our attendance was 80 people! Which for here is a lot because it is usually 50. But that happens when we have Branch Conference. But it was a great church day. It was also funny to see all the members  react to my story of the crash. They were all messing with me saying things like, "Americans always got to be special, falling UP a hill!" or "Looks like the laws of physics don't apply to you Elder, you fell going up a hill!" It was pretty funny and now I will surely not be forgotten by the members here haha! We had lunch at a members house with President and Sister Bangerter and a TON of other people and it was great! Afterwards we went and picked up the bikes from the lady who was keeping them for us. It was super cool because the lady is awesome and we marked to go back and teach her and her daughter on Wednesday!!! You can find new people in all kinds of ways :-)! Sunday night we got a bus down to Porto Seguro because Monday we had Zone Conference! 

It was President and Sister Bangerter's last round of Zone Conferences and it was awesome! I also got to give my last training! It was crazy!! I love being a missionary!! We all felt the Spírit so strongly and I am sure that the mission will dearly miss President and Sister Bangerter! They are so strong and I am so grateful that I was blessed with a wonderful Mission President. The Lord truly answers our prayers. 
Our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Bangerter AND for ME!!!  
So that was our crazy week! Today (Tuesday) we are back in our city and Elder Gomes is with us for the day! I CANNOT believe that this is my last full week as a missionary. That is truly humbling and crazy and we are going to make the most of it!!! This church is true! I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Last District Meeting
I've been waiting a long time for this picture. I'm "dying" in the misson. 
Elder DeJesus is going home the same day as me. 
Me and Sister Egbert

Me and Elder Palma

Monday, June 11, 2018

"If you want to know, just go ask Him!"

Elder Palma ahead of me on his bike
Hey there everybody!! 
How are you all doing?! I hope you all had a fantastic week! We had a great one here in Eunápolis! I really love this city! It is a small town compared to what I am used to on my mission but man I really love it! It just has such a cool feeling and the members here are the best! Our week was another busy one with a few holidays here. Bahia, the state I am in here in Brasil, has soooooo many holidays it is hilarious! It makes working tough because most of the people are partying but we made the most of it! I'll hit the highlights of the week! 

Before I start, quick update on the whole truck drivers situation. As of now, I actually have no idea if it is still going on haha! We were told it was over earlier in the week and we believed it because the gas stations started to get gasoline again. Then other people told us that it actually had not ended but that they were just letting some people thru on the freeways they were blocking. So who knows haha! 

Tuesday we had a great lesson with Alefe! Even though he bailed last minute on the baptism last week, he told us pretty much not to give up on him, so we aren't! We decided with our awesome ward mission leader last week that we needed to get him more involved with the members and integrate him more into the branch. So we are taking more members with us now when we can to visit Alefe. So Tuesday we took Brother Cabuia, who is the 2nd counselor of the branch. It was good actually because Cabuia lives really close to Alefe and they already kind of know each other so it was perfect. Alefe was ready and waiting for us and we talked about tithing and fast offerings with him. But we focused more on the fasting part. Because this week was the first sunday of the month we wanted to challenge him to fast. So we explained about fasting and what it means and stuff and why we do it and he really liked it! Cabuia shared a cool story about fasting from his mission and then I talked about how my family used to fast all the time for my Grandma! I literally fasted almost every Sunday and I remember passing many, many Sundays watching all my buddies eat snacks during class that our teachers would give us! But because of that I gained my testimony of fasting! It really works and makes us spiritually stronger!

Wednesday we went to visit Elizia. So she still hasn't been able to go home because of the whole strike thing so that's good for us hahaha! But we were excited this week to see how she was doing because we had invited her to pray and ponder about the challenge we extended to get baptized on Saturday. We got there on Wednesday night and she was acting super strange. She wasn't all bubbly, and excited as usual. Right off the bat we could tell something was wrong but we continued with the lesson. She had read the chapter of the Book of Mormon that we had left with her but had not understood very well so we decided to read it with her to help her understand. We were reading and she really wasn't very into it. I felt like we needed to change what we were teaching. So I shut my book and said, "Let's change the subject." And we started to talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The rest of the lesson went pretty well I thought. She was still a little out of it but it was better. At the end we talked to her about the baptism on Saturday and she said she didn't know yet so we invited her to keep praying and to remember the feelings she has felt during the time she has been learning about all this. 

Thursday was the holiday. In the morning there was an Elders' Quorum activity. Guess what it was? Well if you happened to guess soccer, than congrats! You're right! Haha shocker right? Soccer activity here in Brasil. Anyways we had been invited since some non-members were going to be there. It was fun and I realized that I still am very bad at soccer. I play soccer like a football player haha. But we had a blast and I even took my mini-football to throw around. It is the funniest thing ever to see grown men not know how to throw a ball. I was dying of laughter. But it is just a cultural thing! They think it is hilarious that we can't juggle a soccer ball so I guess we are even. The member who organized it brought 4 of his friends and we got to talk to them a little about the church and it was great! 

Thursday night we had a "noite de integração". Which means like integration night. It is pretty much just an activity with members, and less-actives and investigators for them to get to know each other. We had organized it with our ward mission leader and it turned out pretty good! We had a better showing than I had thought we were going to get so that was good. We had the ping-pong table set up, and a couple tables with cards and games! It was fun, the only thing that was missing were investigators! We had invited a TON of people and the members did too and no one showed. We had a couple less-actives which was good but we are hoping next time for some investigators! 

Friday we had a fun time with Laura! She is a young woman in our branch who is awesome! She is only 16 but she is already a stud missionary! She came with us to visit a few people. The thing that was sad was that all of those appointments fell thru!! So we decided to knock some doors! Laura did the first one and got turned down, then Elder Palma knocked another door and also got rejected. I stepped up and said, "Let me show you guys how it's done." I was TOTALLY joking, but the man who answered let us in super fast hahahaha! It was awesome. His name is Juarez (that is where Elder Palma is from) and he is a good man. He is a little older and lives alone. We had a good first lesson with him and hope we can find him again this week! 

Friday we also went over to visit Elizia. Thankfully she was a LOT better on Friday and even said sorry that she had been so weird earlier in the week. She said sometimes she just gets sad and a little out of it. So friday we talked about fasting with her as well! We challenged her to fast this weekend. We did that because she had told us that she didn't want to get baptized this week because she still doesn't feel like she has gotten an answer. So we challenged her to fast and pray to get that answer! It was a great lesson and she accepted the challenge! 

Saturday was good but we didn't have a lot of action. We talked to Branca who had to go to take care of her mom in a different city. Branca is good and I just can't give up on her! I am hoping this week some big things happen with her! 

Sunday was a great sabbath! I offically gave my last testimony from the pulpit as a missionary! It was crazy. We had some meetings in the afternoon and then that night our awesome Ward mission leader, Lenini, invited us over to his house for dinner. He overheard me and Elder Palma saying we didn't have food in our house haha. We had not bought food Saturday night because we were fasting but we didn't think about Sunday. So we got to have a nice little dinner with Lenini and his family! They have helped this branch so much! 

So that was our week! We are hoping that we can have some miracles here and have a baptism before the end of the transfer! I KNOW that this is God's true church! And I am so grateful for that knowledge! And if you want to know, just go ask him!! Love you all! Have a great week! 


P.S. I will have P-day next week on Tuesday I think because we have our zone conference on Monday in Porto!

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

. A pic of Elder Palma on his bike. It's a good shot of the scenery we ride thru every day.
2. Us with Lenini's family Sunday night! 

Some of the people at the soccer activity Thursday morning!

Goofing around

With Lenini's family Sunday night! 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

This week we were able to help a sister in the ward move! 
Hey everyone!!! 
How are all you guys doing?! I hope everyone had a great week! We had another busy one, full of rain, colder weather, and craziness here in Brasil. All of the truckers in Brasil are protesting because of the gas prices or something and they are all stopped on the freeways and not letting anyone through. Because of this there are no perishable foods in the markets and also there is no gas or diesel now in any of the gas stations! It has been going on since Wednesday I think! It is crazy and all anyone is talking about here but we are taking advantage because no one can go anywhere haha! The whole situation actually did end up helping us a little bit this week but I will get to that later! So we had a great week with a disappointing end because Alefe didn't get baptized!! Ugh! But I will explain! Other than that we had a great week! I'll hit the highlights!

So last monday night we headed over to visit Elízia again! She is the girl that one of the young women in our ward, Bia, brought to church last week! The tough thing with Elizia is that she lives super far away from the city but where she lives is still Eunápolis county. So she told us that she wasn't going to be going home until Tuesday so we headed over. She really liked the first message that we gave and told us that she felt really good about it. She read the whole pamphlet and prayed about our message! Monday we just decided to focus a little more on the Book of Mormon. It was a great lesson and the best part was at the end when Bia told us about her experience about the Book of Mormon. She said that when she was baptized a couple years ago she felt that the Book of Mormon was true but that she really got a testimony of it at a girls camp her first year as a member. She said that the entire day they had activities and classes about the Book of Mormon and at night when she got back to her room she was praying and felt the Spirit so strongly about the Book of Mormon that she didn't even sleep that night! It was so cool and we all felt the Spirit while she was telling the story! 

Tuesday we headed over to Alefe's in the afternoon to re-enforce the Word of Wisdom. We had already mentioned it before and he knows what it is but we needed to make sure he was all in the clear with it! So we started to talk about the 5 things that God warns us to not use. When we got to coffee Elder Palma did something that he always does when we teach that lesson and I love it! So he asks the person to go grab a packet of coffee and then two bags of normal food. He flips them over to the back side and asks, "what do these two have written (pointing to the normal food) that the coffee doesn't?" I don't know how it is in the United States but the coffee packets here don't have a nutricional table! Like not anyone of them!! And normal food always does. The people always see it and then we explain because coffee doesn't have anything that is good for us and that could help our bodies! It is so awesome haha. And we did it with Alefe and he committed to stop drinking the little bit of coffee that he still was drinking! 

Tuesday morning we were getting ready to leave and got a call form Elízia! She said that she wasn't going home Tuesday and asked us if we could come over and teach her again! Of course we could so we headed over there Tuesday night. We taught the Plan of Salvation. It was super cool when we asked her how her reading of the Book of Mormon had went. She replied, "It was great! I really liked it and it felt like all my problems went away when I was reading. I felt this inner peace that made me happy. Like the way you explained you feel when you read it." Our jaws dropped!!! HAHA! That was like too good of an answer! But she really loved reading it! After we had a fantastic lesson about the Plan of Salvation. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation!! It is just the best when we see the people connect it all in their heads! It is so awesome! I love teaching it too because I always feel the strongest Spirit when we talk about eternal families! I know that this doctrine is true!! 

Wednesday we went over to visit Sabrina and Raissa but we found a sad situation. Only Irmã Jazi was there and she told us that Sabrina had gotten the news the day before that her Grandpa had passed away. So she had gone up to the city where he lived for the funeral with her mom. Apparently she was really sad and confused. We wanted to try and comfort her and teach her the Plan of Salvation but we didn't find her the rest of the week so hopefully we can find her this week. 

Wednesday we also found Irana finally! She hadn't gone to church on that Sunday and we didn't know why and couldn't find her earlier in the week! So we found her and had a nice visit with her. She told us that she had talked to her husband a little bit about the marriage thing and he said that he doesn't want to get married yet. We were pretty discouraged to hear that but she was strangely optimistic. I asked why and she said, "I'll get to him, I just keep telling him everyday that we need to get married and eventually we will. That is how we have this couch, the nice television, and washing machine." It was hilarious haha! So we are praying and hoping that Samuel will have his heart softened and want to get married ASAP! We had a nice lesson with her afterwards about Ether 12! I love that chapter! 

Thursday we went over to Alefe's and went over the baptismal interview questions with him since his interview was going to be on Friday. He was super excited and knew everything! We had gone over everyday that week and he was all set for the baptism! 

Thursday we also we and visited Irmã Branca! We had to have what we call a "conversa franca", or frank conversation haha. We sat down with her and pretty much asked her what was happening. She had been progressing so well before and then out of nowhere that kind of stopped. She hadn't been to church in a while and she hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon. I said, "Irmã Branca, what is happening right now is exactly what happened last year when you first met the missionaries. You progressed well but then stopped. I am not going to let that happen again!" We went on to explain how we see that when people get close to finding the truth and being baptized, the enemy gets in the way to try and stop it. It happens all the time. We said, "Irmã Branca, don't let the devil win!! You were so close!" Then we made some goals with her. We invited her to start reading the Book of Mormon again, and to start praying to know if it is true, and to go to church! Then the last invitation we did was for her to join us in a fast this weekend! We have felt that we needed to fast with her to get her answer to her prayers! Flavia was with us too and she told of her experience fasting to get her answer and it was great! Now only time will tell! 

Friday we had Elder Gray and Saes here to do our district meeting and Alefe's interview! I went with Elder Gray to Alefe's for him to do the interview! It went perfectly and he passed super fast. We told him to get to the chapel Saturday around 6:30 and that the baptism would start at 7. It was all set and ready to go! 

So Saturday we had lunch at Irmã Branca's. Later, around 6pm, we headed over to the chapel to set some things up for the baptism. The small pool we use here had been set up by one of the members here and was all ready. Around 6:30 we tried to call Alefe and it went straight to voicemail. We were getting anxious and there were already a bunch of members there waiting. Around 7:15 he still hadn't shown up and in my head I just kept thinking, "No, no, no,". Our ward mission leader, Lenini, took us in his car over to Alefe's house. We knocked and his son answered the door. We asked if Alefe was there and he said that no and that he had left a little while ago. We hoped that he had gone to the chapel so we waited on his porch and kept calling the people at the chapel to see if he had shown up. And nothing. We then talked to his wife who said that he hadn't said anything about the baptism and had left a while ago. We had to end up going back to the church, devestated! We didn't really know what to do and to cheer us up Lenini called us in to do a little family night with all the people that were there. He invited us to give the first lesson and we did and it was good. But man it was pretty sad that Alefe was a no-show. This was the second time he has done this. He was almost baptized before I got here to the city and never showed at the baptism. So we were pretty sad. We had visited him every day that week and it was perfect. 

Sunday we woke up and tried to call him and he didn't answer. We headed over to church and had great meetings! Elízia showed up to church! She actually had not gone home during the week because of the whole stike thing! So that is how it helped us haha. She went to church and it was alone even! Bia was sick and didn't come so she came alone in the rain!! Then we had Irmã Branca show up for a little bit. She came from the hospital because she was super sick! But still came and it was awesome! So we had a great sunday meetings! After lunch we headed over to Alefe's and when we were standing on his doorstep he pulled up. He got out and we had another frank talk. We asked him what the heck happened. He told us that during all of Saturday he just was feeling like he wasn't ready and that he needed to wait more. He kept saying sorry to us and we told him thanks but this isn't a commitment with us and him, it is a commitment between him and God. He understood and we were a little hard on him for not telling us how he was feeling and then standing everyone up but he needed it. He said that now he just wants to keep going to church every sunday and having us come over a few times a week but not have a baptismal date. We told him that that was okay. It was sad to see though. But we did all we could and he made his choice! But we aren't giving up on him. He is a great guy and really sincere, just a little scared for some reason.

I was pretty bummed and frustrated about the whole thing! But I am also very grateful for all the people that have helped me feel better. The members here, Elder Palma, Sister Egbert and Sister Alves, and others have been so great. I was pretty sad the day it happened but afterwards I was feeling better. I was thinking that this is actually never happened to me my whole mission. Elder Palma has had it happend to him 4 times in the last 4 months so he is used to it sadly. But we are not losing our fire! We know this gospel is true and will bless peoples lives, they just need to trust in God and follow Him. Clearly that is easier said than done for some people. But I have faith and know that in the Lord's timing it will happen. 

So that was our week! We also visited Elizia in the afternoon on Sunday because she still can't go home. She loves the church and the Book of Mormon and back with the plan of salvation lesson we had challeneged her to get baptized on the 2nd, this Saturday. She accepted but is still a little apprehensive. So we will see if it all works out for her to get baptized on Saturday

I love being a missionary! I love having the opportunity every day to testify that Jesus is the Christ and that his Church is once again on the Earth. I know that that is true. I don't have a doubt in my mind. And because of His Atonement, we can all return to live with God! 

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Sorry I don't have more, I thought we would have a lot this week with the baptism but because it didn't happen I only have two. Sorry!

A selfie of me and Elder Palma this morning- pday!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"We had over 30 lessons this week!"

District Meeting this week

Hey everybody! 
How are you all doing?! I hope that everyone had a great week! We had a crazy busy week here in Eunápolis!! We had over 30 lessons this week so it was fantastic! I don't have the capacity to write about all of them but I will hit the highlights! It was super hot this week but now is starting to cool down and today is all overcast and rainy! It is nice to have a little cool down since I will be getting home in the middle of SoCal summer!

Tuesday we had a crazy full day! But one of the highlights was when we went to teach Sabrina and her grandma Jazi! I can't remember if I wrote about it last week but a lady in our ward named Dajuda gave us a referill of her work friend Jazi. She said that their family was needing some help so we went over last week! We taught Jazi and her granddaughter Sabrina. We went back on Tuesday for the second visit and we found them two again and this time another one of Jazi's granddaughters was there! Her name is Raissa and she is awesome! She goes to a different church but was super interested in our message. So we gave a little summary of the first lesson and then focused more on the Book of Mormon. It is so interesting to me to see the reactions of the people here when we talk about the Book of Mormon. My favorite part is always when we explain Moroni's promise. I get to bear my testimony about it and I love it. One thought that came to me when I was bearing my testimony is how we don't have to just ask God if the Book of Mormon is true once. We should ALWAYS ask him to give us confirmations about it! I know that it is true. My testimony about the Book of Mormon has grown so much in these last two years! I have no doubt that it is true. So to those who haven't gotten that testimony yet, go get it! And for those who already have it, keep it! 

Wednesday was kind of a sad day! I'll explain why. So remember Irana. Branca's daughter who is 17 but doesn't live at home? Well we were supposed to baptize her this week and it didn't end up happening! :( This is why. We headed over on Wednesday to teach her about some of the commandments. We had already mentioned some and but we didn't think that she would have problems with anything. So we got there and started to talk a little before the lesson. Right as we were about to pray, Irana goes, "Oh yeah so I talked to my mom last night and asked her about the thing she had to sign about me being married and she told me that I am not legally married and the thing she had to sign was a different paper saying that I could live with my husband since he is already an adult." MY heart sank!! UGH!! So the reason for the confusion is because we knew that when someone younger than 18 gets married, their parents have to sign a paper saying that they are letting it happen. So when we first got to know Irana we asked her if she was married and if Branca signed that thing. Irana said that yes her mom signed that paper. So we were in the clear!! Irana even uses a ring and everything. She had just misunderstood us I think. At the moment when Irana told us, I got super sad but we continued with the lesson and didn't say anything to her at the moment. The lesson was really good though and we taught about the Word of Wisdom. The only problem that Irana has is that she drinks a lot of coffee. So when we told her that she can't drink coffee she got sad. We continued by explaining the blessings that can come and challenged her to stop drinking coffee she accepted. She said, "It will be hard, but I will do anything to see my little daughter again." We didn't know what she meant but on Sunday we found out. We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation when she asked what happens to little kids when they die?  We explained that children under the age of 8 years old will go to the Celestial Kingdom in the next life. She got so happy and then told us that in January of this year, she lost a baby when some health complications came up and the baby was born 5 months into the pregnancy and the doctors couldn't save her. What was so amazing about all of this is that Irana already has a testimony that the Plan of Salvation is true and that families really can be together forever in the next life if we live according to God's will. She wants do all she can to get to receive that blessing!! 

That night we had planned on going over to meet with Branca so we asked her about the whole Irana situation just to make sure. And sadly Irana is not married. After that we proceded by talking with Irmã Branca about temples and the work we do there! It is kind of a different lesson to teach and a little harder than a normal lesson because we don't teach it as much. But we really felt like we needed to teach that to her and help her feel a little more responsibilty. We wanted her to feel that she will get baptized not to just bless her and her current family,  but also her ancestors. I think it went really well and I realized how much I miss the temple!! It really is the house of God! We all need to be able to go there! 

Thursday we had a good day. We went and talked with Irana and we had to talk to her about the fact that her baptism was going to have to be postponed. I was super nervous because she was super excited for Saturday! I was praying the whole day that it would go well. We took Flavia with us and headed over. And it went totally perfect! We went in and told her we needed to talk! I said, "Irana we are going to have to postpone your baptism." She said, "I know." I was a little surprised and then she went on to explain that she knew that after she found out that she isn't really married that she wouldn't be able to be baptized yet. She was super calm and totally fine about it! I was so relieved! The Lord really answers our prayers! Now we just got to get Irana and Samuel married!! 

Thursday we also had a fun lesson with Alefe!! He is doing really well and progressing well! We talked with him about Alma 42 and explained some things about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. Alefe really is a good guy and knows that all that we teach is true! And he FINALLY went to church on Sunday! SOO we are planning on baptizing him on Saturday! We are praying it all works out!! 

Friday was funny because during the day we headed over to Flavia's for a little bit for Elder Palma to help her with some Spanish since she just got her mission call to Argentina! We also had a good lesson with Tais that day! She is doing great and apologized for not going to church! She said that her work schedule changed last minute and she had to work sunday. But we read with her 3 Nephi 11 and man I love that chapter!! Christ shows up and the Spirit is just so strong. One thing that I really learned to do and that I love is put myself into the scriptures. Use my imagination to think and ponder how it would be to be one of those Nephites that had just survived so many things and then to see Jesus. All those years of waiting and hearing the prophecies and finally it happened. I know that the joy and emotion that they felt was incredible! I think it is similar to the feeling that I feel when I see someone realize that this Gospel is true! It is an amazing feeling! 

Sunday is always just amazing! So we had confirmed with a ton of people to go to church on Sunday and we got there early and were waiting out front and it was almost 9 and no one had showed up! We were getting sad but then Sabrina and Raissa showed up! And right after Alefe with his two kids! We were so happy! Then we had two members bring others! That day we ate lunch at a girl named Bia's house. She is 17 and the only member in her family. She brought her friend named Elizia. And we were eating lunch there so it worked out perfectly! We ate and got to know Elizia and then we gave the first lesson! It was soooo awesome! Elizia is great! She loved church and even asked us how she can know that this is the true church before we had taught the lesson! My favorite part of the lesson was at the end when I asked how she felt. She said, "Would you believe me if I told you that I can't describe it? I just feel something good inside of me but I don't know how to describe it." It was so awesome!!! We testified that that is the Holy Ghost telling her that our message is true! It was a great lesson and we are going back tonight

Well ladies and gents I think that is all! I just wanted to share one last thing! So on Sunday I got to give a talk in our sacrament meeting! I said that I finally became a real Mormon man because I was the last speaker haha. But I got to talk about the Atonement. During my preparation I found a quote that I closed my talk with and I wanted to put it in here. It is from President Monson,  With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again. ‘Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”’ I also testify that Jesus lives and loves us! Have a good week everyone!! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

I love my district!

Elder Palma was asked to read a poem in Spanish during a big event at the local school.
A member in our branch is a PE teacher at the school.
We had no idea this many people would the there and he was so nervous but he did great! 

Elder Palma is in the bottom corner waiting til it's his turn to go onto the floor to speak. He did great! 

Friday, May 18, 2018

"Everybody go out and serve someone!"

Elder Palma
Hey everybody! 

How are you all doing?! I hope you guys all had a fantastic week and a wonderful Mothers Day! Mothers Day here in Brasil happens to fall on the same day as it is in the United States! But I will get more to that later. We had a fantastic first week of the new transfer here in Eunápolis, with lots of exciting things happening! So I will try to get all the adventures and details into this email! 

Monday night Elder Hilton finished packing and I got ready to go down to Porto Seguro for the night. Here in Eunápolis there are no young men who can come stay with me and we are the only missionaries and since Elder Hilton was leaving and I can't be alone, I headed down to Porto Seguro to stay with Elder de Jesus for the night before my new companion Elder Palma got here. Funny side note, we almost missed Elder Hilton's bus! It was at 7:35 or something and I grabbed the phone and went to call the taxi at 7 o'clock and the worst thing possible happened! Our phone ran out of minutes!! But I could still call other missionaries but no one else, super weird. So after asking the neighbor, (who also didn't have minutes), standing out front of our house trying our luck to see if a taxi would go by, and calling a bunch of missionaries like a crazy person to do a conference call with the taxi here, we finally got one and raced to the bus station. We got there at like 7:30. It was crazy but Elder Hilton got his bus and I grabbed one a few minutes later to Porto and spent the night there with Elder de Jesus, who is also in his last transfer! It was a crazy but fun last day with Elder Hilton, who is probably at some beach right now haha!

Tuesday morning I got up and got a bus back to Eunápolis and got to the bus station at about 11:30. Elder Palma arrived from his last area just about that time as well so we headed home. The majority of the day was filled with organizing and unpacking but that night we had a cool experience. A member of the branch presidency had called us and asked if we could go over to the home of a less-active member and give her a priesthood blessing. We went over and met Renata. She is a young woman who is about 25 and she lives with her dad. She is the sister of one of the active members of our branch, Flavia, who is going on a mission soon. It was just a cool little experience because every time that I have the privilege of giving priesthood blessings I always remember the stories of the Savior. I love all the stories of how He healed and cured those who needed it. We gave a blessing to Renata and then to her non-member father, who already knows the church pretty well. It was a humbling experience as we are ministering as the Savior would. Having that opportunity is very special! 

Wednesday was an AWESOME day. Everything that we planned happened as we had planned it! First during the day we found Alefe! He is that guy that has been an investigator for a good few months now and has just kept flaking out. So we went there with the purpose of seeing if he is really sincere and wants to follow Christ or not. We actually found him at home, which never happens, and had a good talk with him and his wife Gisele. We read 2 Nephi 31 which has become one of my favorite chapters of the Book of Mormon as a missionary. I LOVE it!! Everything that we want and need to say is all just there, but written by an inspiried prophet of God. At the end of the lesson we asked Alefe what he needs to do. He pointed to the scripture that says, "can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?" and said, "I think I have been going in circles long enough and need to start really following Jesus." It was awesome! We challenged him to baptism and he accepted so now time will really tell if he really wants to follow the Savior.

Another awesome lesson from Wednesday was from when we found a girl named Tais. She was a referill from some other missionaries in our zone that had talked to her in the bus station last transfer. Me and Elder Hilton had tried to schedule to meet her a bunch of times and had never gotten too. Wednesday we decided to just show up at her house and see if she was there and she was! Tais is the best! She is such a happy person and already just seems like a member of the church. We taught her about the Restoration and she loved it. In her prayer at the end she asked God to "help me find the truth and know if this is all true." As a missionary we can't ask for much more than that! 

ALSO on Wednesday we went and met with Branca! She is doing super well and she got to meet Elder Palma. We read with her Alma 32 and WOW I forgot how AMAZING that chapter is! It was like perfect for her! It was funny because at the end of the lesson we asked what she thought and she said, kind of ironically, "I know, I know! I have the seed of the Gospel in me and I have to let it grow and get baptized." It was funny because she knew exactly what we were trying to say to her even though we didn't say anything haha! Branca just needs her answer and she will get baptized! She is a great lady.

Thursday we had a fun afternoon as we met with Irana! Irana is Branca's daughter that she had brought to church once and that me and Elder Hilton had taught once and it went really well. During the last week with Elder Hilton we couldn't seem to find her and we didn't know what to do. Once again on Thursday me and Elder Palma just decided to try our luck and go by there and we found her. We had an awesome lesson with her about the Book of Mormon and she really loved it. She committed to praying more and going to church. 

Thursday afternoon we got a bus to go up to Salvador because we had the mission leadership council once again! We had once again 12 hours to go to Salvador and it was not fun haha. We slept very little. But the council on Friday was fantastic! We learned a lot and the focus was on the Book of Mormon! We talked a lot about how we can use it more in our teaching and how we can help our investigators understand why it is so special and essential to knowing if the church is true. The Book of Mormon really does hold it all together and we have to understand that. I love the power that I feel when I read the Book of Mormon. And we have to read it everyday like the Prophet says!! 

After another long 12 hour bus ride Thursday night we got home Saturday morning super tired. But that didn't stop us! We headed over to visit Irana again! We had a plan. One of our worries with her is that she wasn't legally married to her husband! She is only 17 but already lives with Samuel, who is 21. We had thought they were legally married but then some of the girls from the ward had told us that they weren't. On Thursday we had found out that they ARE legally married and we were really excited! So Saturday when we headed over we were planning on challenging her to get baptized! We read with her 3 Nephi 11 and it was a really spiritual lesson. When we got towards the end of the chapter there are two verses in a row where the Savior tells us to become as a little child and be baptized. After we read those two verses, Elder Palma asked, "Irana, will you follow what the Lord is telling us to do and be baptized to become pure like a little child?" She smiled and said, "I would love to!" So we gave her the goal for Saturday the 19th! She has already been to church twice, and would go again on Sunday and is just really elect. She believes everything we say and knows it is all true! So Irana is planning on getting baptized on Saturday! Pray that all will go well for her! 

Sunday was great and we had a few people at church! Irana came as promised and loved it! It is so cool because all of the members took her in so well! When the young women and the children went up to sing the mothers day hymn, they grabbed her to go up too haha! It was funny and she loved it! There was also this other kid named Kaique that one of the ladies in our ward took for the first time and he was super cool so we are hoping to be able to visit him this week! 

After church our buddy Flavia opened her mission call that we had picked up from Salvador for her! Whenever people receive their mission calls here the church sends them to the Mission Home and they stay their until someone picks it up or until someone is traveling to/from the area. Her call had been at the mission home for a week or 2 and she was so excited for us to pick it up for her. She is going to Argentina! It was super cool because no one was expecting it! There are currently 4 missionaries from our small little branch who are out serving! Flavia will be the fifth and she is the first to go out of the country! I love our good little branch here in Eunápolis! 
Flavia after she opened her mission call and William, a counselor in the Branch Presidency
Sunday night we got to talk to our families! It was AWESOME! It was super weird this time because it was my last skype and I wasn't sad at the end because I will see my wonderful family kind of soonish! I love them all! 
ADDED BY MOM: Our view from home! 
ADDED BY MOM: Our last call from the Mission Field

My view of the Family
So that was our week! I hope that you all have a great week this week. Everybody go out and serve someone! Even the little things go a long way!! 

Love you all! 

Elder Spencer Christofferson