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

Monday, December 4, 2017

"Be the Light of the World"

Me and Elder Brito, one of the APs!! He is the man
Hey there everyone! 
How is everybody doing?! Well it's December. The time is flying and not only is it December and I'm almost 20, but it's also almost 2018.  It is strange to have more than a year on my mission. Now when I think "This time last year I was..." I fill it in with a mission memory! Earlier that phrase was filled in with a "This time last year I was at home" so it is cool to feel experienced on my mission! Anyway, our week was great! It felt a little slow at times but we talked to a lot of people and had a lot of lessons. I will hit on a few highlights we had this week! 

So Tuesday we had a cool lunch! It was at Ingrid's house! Ingrid is a lady in our ward in her late 20s. She has 3 kids and has been together with a man named Jefferson for 6 years or something something like that. Ingrid was inactive in the church for a while but is started to come back to church about 6 months ago after her 4 year old son said that he didn't know who Jesus was. She came back but Jefferson, is not a member! The sisters have been teaching them for these 6 months. Like many couples in Brazil Ingrid and Jefferson are not married. The whole situation has been going slowly but they are progressing and it's exciting to see. Tuesday we had lunch at their home with the Sisters and it was just amazing for me to see Ingrid so happy. She said that she has changed so much for the better and that she is excited where her life is giong! Her son Miguel is the best little dude! He knows how to say my name perfectly, without any accent. Only a small number of people here can do that! He loves being with us Elders and talks everyday how one day he will be a missionary too! It is so awesome and Tuesday at lunch we had a great time! I shared the message and we watched the Light the World video! It was so great and we are all doing our best here to #LightTheWorld, or as it is called in Portuguese #SejaALuzDoMundo which directly translates to "be the light of the world!" I love it!
Wednesday we had another cool experience at our lunch! We went to a lunch far away and while we were there at Irmão Jose's house his son walked in. His son has already moved out of the house but still lives close. So we started to talk to him and get to know him. He isn't a member so we were excited for the possibility to teach him. Then we found out that he lives in a TREE HOUSE! When he told us we thought he was joking but he wasn't because after lunch we went over to his house! He literally lives in a tree next to the freeway haha! It is crazy. He built the whole thing and it is just his bed and stuff because the rest of the house is down below on the ground. But it was super cool! The one sad detail; we didn't have our cameras with us! Next time though! 

Thursday night we went to visit Marlene and Evely. We wanted to see how they were doing and we wanted to get real with Evely and see if she really wants to be a member of the church! We talked to her but didn't really come to a conclusion yet. She doesn't like serious conversations but she is still a work in progress! So that's good! Marlene, on the other hand, is doing fantastic! We are so happy with her progress and that she came back to church! She also takes care of us very well. She makes us dinner too!! We love her! 

Friday we had our mission leadership council! It was so great and I learned so much! We are all excited because the Area Presidency changed the goals for Brasilian missionaries. Per companionship the goal of baptisms in one year was 15. But now they doubled it, so it's 30! That means that we got to get going here in our mission! The work is hastening and everyone is excited for the changes that are starting to happen. It is not going to be easy, but will be worth it! 

At the conference I loved being able to see a bunch of mission friends and spend the day at themission home with President and Sister Bangerter! I felt the Holy Spirit strongly again during the closing hymn! But I will write more about that at the end of my email! 

Saturday we saw what is called "marcha para Jesus" or March for Jesus! What is it? Well I learned on Saturday because of my companion. A evangelical church that is near our house had this event where they had this HUGE bus with a band on the top and the bus drove around the city real slow while the band played music and the people walked with the bus cheering, dancing, and singing! It was way cool! It finished where it started, which was at their church, right in front of our house! So Saturday night when we were home we sat at the window watching them as they finished and it was really cool because at the end the pastor said a prayer. The prayer made me grateful for being in this wonderful country and city! He prayed, thanking God for this city of Salvador, which is named after Christ. He said a nice prayer and when he said amen every yelled it! It was really cool to see the faith of another denomination and see that Christian values are still highly valued in the world! 

Sunday was a great day too! We had testimony meeting at church and I bore my testimony. I love bearing my testimony! It is funny though because I still get nervous when I do it in church even though I do it everyday on my mission! I still was a little anxious as I stood up at the pulpit! But I love bearing my testimony and am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share what I know is true and the things that have brought me so much happiness. 
Going back to Friday at the council meeting: I felt the Spirit fill me with happiness as we sang the closing hymn "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". As we were singing I just got so happy and excited and grateful for Christmas. I started to remember all the past Christmas seasons and the joy that I always feel during this time of the year. 

I am so grateful that our Father in Heaven sent his Son to be our Savior. I am grateful that we can worship Him a little more during this time of the year and during everyday of our lives. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I know that He Lives! 

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

 Our new district! Elder Barreto is brand new in the field! He's from Cape Verde
A selfie of us and the sisters in the mission home! We were excited because we got there first! 
The white board President Bangerter used. Do you understand any of it? 
Me and Elder J. Sousa. He is one of the ZLs of the other zone in Salvador! He is from Elder Estevam's group so he will go home next month but we have become good buds! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Imagine how much our Heavenly Father loves us."

District Meeting

Hi everyone! 
How are you guys doing?! I am always so happy to read the emails every week and see that everyone is great! I love you guys! So this was the last week of the transfer and it was a great one! We had a lot of fun moments and I was so happy with my first transfer here in São Cristovão. And last night (Sunday) we got the transfer from the Assistents and I am staying here! That wasn't a big surprise but the cool part is that I will be staying with Elder Estevam!!! It will be the first time during my whole mission that I will be with a companion for more than one transfer! Crazy but I am so happy because Elder Estevam is the man and we have a blast together haha. This will be his last transfer so I will have the honor to be his last companion. That means that I will probably stay here in this area a third transfer. But thats is good because I love this area! 
So our week was great and I will hit on some highlights! 
Tuesday we went and taught Rosalvo! He is doing great and loved going to church the days before. I was a little worried because at church on Sunday he seemed bored haha! He just had this grumpy looking face and didn't talk a whole lot. He stayed the whole time but I was worried if he really liked it and felt the Spirit and understood everything that was said. Tuesday when we got there to teach him about the Book of Mormon he started out the visit by talking about how he loved church on Sunday! We didn't even ask him and he started to say that we didn't need to get worried because he loved church and understood everything even though he looked grumpy haha! He said that is just how he is so it was all good! It was an anwer to some prayers. Our lesson with him that day was about the Book of Mormon and it was a great lesson! I love teaching about the Book of Mormon and Rosalvo seemed to like it too! 
Wednesday night we had a cool experience with a family in our ward. There is a sister and her two sons who live in our area. They are members but the woman's husband isn't. I actually wrote about him a couple weeks ago I think. Anyway Leide (the name of the sister) and her two sons (Johnny-15 and Rodrigo-8) are just awesome. Lately both me and Elder Estevam have been feeling that they were struggling a litle bit so we decided to stop by and visit them. It was awesome! They were home and we just talked and had a great visit. We left a message at the end about Job. Elder Estevam talked about how Job was so trusted by the Lord and that because of that, he had trials. He made the point that sometimes when we have hard times and struggles we think "why me!?" But that we need to think that maybe it is because the Lord has confidence in us to stay strong! I loved that. He also quoted something his mom always says, in english it would be, "At the time of the test is when the teacher stays silent. But that doesn't mean he's not there." I thought that was so cool too and a great analogy for our lives and our trials! 
Thursday was an awesome day because I got to do a divison and be with Elder Tavares in Imbuí for the day! It was so great to go back to Imbuí and see some of the people that I love so much. Elder Tavares is doing great too and we had a fun day together. I got to interview a young woman that they baptized on Saturday! It was so great and I love doing baptismal interviews! I can feel the Spirit so strongly with all of the investigators that I have the opportunity to interview and it makes me so happy to see how the work of the Lord rolls forward and nothing can stop it! It was a quiet, but great Thanksgiving! Since Thanksgiving is a national holiday back in the States, here it was nothing haha. But they do have Black Friday here in Brasil. But Thursday I was extra grateful, but I'll get to that at the end of my email! 
Friday was great too as we went and taught Rosalvo again! He had a hard time understanding a few things in 3 Nephi 11 that we left with him to read, so we changed plans and decided to read it again with him. It was awesome! At the end we started to ask him about what he is thinking about all of this so far. It was amazing to see him talk about his desire to keep making his life better. He still hasn't drunk at all since we started to meet with him and we haven't even fully taught about the Word of Wisdom yet. We asked him what he thinks about baptism and he said that he still needs to know more and be better prepared. We agreed and HE made a goal of about 3-4 weeks to be baptized! It was great and we will see how he continues to progress. 
Saturday night we went to see Marlene and Evely! It was awesome and funny because on Thursday when I was in Imbuí, Elder Estevam stayed in our area and was with Elder Dos Santos. They went to visit Evely and Marlene that day too and played a joke on Evely and said that I got emergeny transferred. Apparently she actually believed and got sad! I thought it was funny so Saturday when we went to visit them she was happy to see it was a joke, but also a little mad at Elder Estevam hahaha! But we had a quick little visit with them and Marlene is doing a lot better than last week with respect to the stuff she was seeing on the internet about the church. So that was nice to hear! We had a great lesson and we are making goals to refocus even more with them and especially Evely so we can see if she is really going to be baptized. 
So Sunday was great! I loved church because it was the Primary Program. Now the Primary Program here is a lot different than at home because here there were about 15 kids. But it was so amazing! They all did so good! And this leads me into my final topic of the letter. The primary ended with singing "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" and the congregation joined in for the last two verses. Man the moment we stood up to sing I felt so much peace and love. I started to think about all the things I was grateful for in my life. The privilege I am having to be a full-time missionary, my testimony, the small building where we meet here, my friends, and especially my family. I thought of them and the love that I have for me parents and my siblings and all my family. It was an overwhelming feeling. Then I thought, "imagine how much our Heavenly Father loves us." I know that God loves us. Each and every one, and personally. I am so grateful to be here and so grateful that I know this Church is true. I am grateful for my family and the love that they have for me. And I am grateful that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Without him, we wouldn't have hope. 
I love this gospel and I love all you guys!
Have a great week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Sorry there aren't many pictures this week. I'll take more next week. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"The Best feeling a missionary can get"

Hey everyone! 

How is everybody doing?! I am sure all are excited for Thanksgiving this week! Sadly there will not be Thanksgiving here because Thanksgiving is an American holiday and I am not in America! Haha! But I will be extra grateful this week for everything that I have in my life! Especially on Thursday! I am truly going to miss the food though! That is for sure! So this week was crazy because it was our “dedication week”! We left extra early everyday so we could have more time to work and it was awesome! I will try to show how great our week was! 

Tuesday morning we went to a lady in our ward and helped her with some service she needed at her house! She had an old bed all broken and a box spring and we tore it all up and threw it out on the curb. It was a small, quick thing, but it felt good to do service like that!! 

Tuesday we also taught this man named Rosalvo. Rosalvo has an interesting story! We met and talked to him on the street in our first week of this transfer! We always tried to go by his house and talk to him, but he was never home! So last week when we had that split with the Assistants, Elder Estevam and one of the AP's went by his house and he was home!!! They were able to talk to him and marked for us to go back! Last Tuesday we went back but when we arrived at the house and knocked on the door, a woman appeared at the window. She said Rosalvo was not home. We started talking to her and after a few minutes she said, "So I was lying. He's here, but he's sleeping because he drank too much." At that moment the man we were looking for, Rosalvo, appeared at the window and told us to come in. We went in and went to the top floor of his house. We started talking and he told us how difficult his life was. He had lost his family and many other things because he had a problem with addictions. But he said he wanted to change. Then, outt of nowhere, he said, "Let's pray and I'll do it." He knelt down, so we did too. The he began to pray and it was VERY good! He was talking to Heavenly Father as if he was standing in front of him! It was very spiritual. After the prayer we talked more and he said he worked at a bar but that that day he had given the key back to the owner so he wouldn’t have to go close the bar. He also said that he wanted to go to church Sunday. It was really cool and we got excited! 

Tuesday night, on the other hand, was a little rough! We had an appointment with Evely and Marlene! We showed up and could tell something was wrong. We were excited but anxious to see if Evely really would get baptized on Saturday. We got there and first, found out that Marlene had found some Anti-Mormon stuff online. It was so sad to see how confused she was. We helped her by answering her questions and me and Elder Estevam bore our testimonies about this church! I KNOW it is true! And even thought there are a lot of “anti Mormons” or people who are trying to prove that this church is wrong,  I know it’s true. The bottom line is that my beliefs are founded on what God tells me is true, not what man tells me isn’t true. And God can tell us all what is true by the feelings we get from the Holy Ghost. 

Anyway, after we talked to Evely. even though we were able to help her answer her questions she didn't feel ready to be baptized yet, We were really sad but we still feel that she will still progress and all will be okay!! 

Thursday we went back to visit Rosalvo! It was awesome and we taught the first lesson and he loved it! We challenged him to prepare to be baptized and he accepted!! It was so cool because he said at the end of the lesson, "Now I know that God still loves me. He sent you two here to teach me about Christ's true church!" It was amazing and Rosalvo is great! 

Thursday night we went and taught Evely and Marlene again and it went a lot better this time. We just read a chapter from the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon makes everything alright again. It calmed everything and we all felt better. Marlene started to read Church material about her doubts to help find her answers to questions and Evely, still not feeling ready to be baptized yet, seemed to feel the Spirit more that day. That is her biggest difficulty, to open up and let the Spirit touch her. I think she is scared because it is something new to her and she doesn't know how to react to it! But that is why we are here!

I also had the opportunity to do 2 baptismal interviews this week! It is something that I have grown to love! It is such a privilege to see how people change because of the Spirit and the love that they have for the gospel! I love this work! 

Saturday was really cool because there was a Stake activity! It was a cultural activity about Portugal! I loved it and will send pictures! The best part by far was to see Viviane and Anna Beatriz there! Anna is studying interior design and she did the booth for the Imbui ward and it was the best one! All the wards did dances from Portugal and it was awesome! My ward was the best though! I felt so grateful, almost to the point of tears, that I got to see Anna and Viviane at the activity. Not for the fact that I just saw them, but because I got to see them as MEMBERS! Like they were so mixed in, you could hardly tell they are recent converts! It was so cool. Seeing them talking and laughing with the other members made me so happy. I think it is the best feeling a missionary can get! To see someone who you got to help join the church, staying stong and growing in their testimony. Nothing gets better than that.

So Sunday was awesome too and Rosalvo came to church with us! He loved it! 

This email is short and was written quickly but I hope you can all feel how much I love being a missionary! It makes me sad that it is going by so quickly. All those preparing, or who are missionaries right now, make the most of your mission! It is the best opportunity that we have to grow and to show our love to our Lord!

I love you guys, I love this gospel, and I love my Savior! 

Have a great week, and a great Thanksgiving!! You are all in my prayers!! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Thursday, November 16, 2017

"I am so grateful I am a Missionary"

Walking to an appointment
Hey Everyone!!! 
How are you all doing?! I hope that all is well! We had a wonderful week here in Salvador and the work is moving along great! Summer is coming up fast here and everyday it is getting hotter! I am getting used to it a little bit, even though I sweat a lot! HA!  But what's new right?! Anyway, we had a fun week, with lots of cool experiences so I will try to explain how awesome it all was! 

Tuesday night we had a great lesson with Marlene and Evely! We went and since Evely has already been taught all the main discussions we have been focusing on answering her questions. It has been great. Tuesday we read 3 Nephi 18 and talked about the sacrament and prayer! It was awesome. I got to share my thoughts on the sacrament and how important it is! The best part about the lesson was that the entire time we were focused on how the sacrament is important for followers of Christ, AFTER baptism. Evely was super into the lesson and excited and we are hoping that she can stay strong on her baptismal date! We will really see this week but I will talk more about her later! 

So Wednesday was AMAZING! It was my first time ever at the mission leadership council and man oh man it was so cool! I got to see so many old friends! My trainer, Elder Santana, was there and it was the last time I will see him because he goes home this transfer! I love that guy! I also got to see Elder Bair!!! Man I missed him! He is also going home this transfer so I was so happy to see him one more time before he heads back to the States! At the leadership council we talked about so many things. The main part I will talk about at the end of this email. But some of the other cool things were when President Bangerter read some entries from his mission journals. Another cool moment was when President explained the difference between authority and power. He gave some really cool examples. It was really spiritual because he gave an example of a disobedient missionary. He doesn't do anything because he wants to, only because he is forced too. President then asked a few random missionaries about someone that they love dearly who isn't a member of the church. He asked a few people and the last person he asked was Elder Estevam. He said he was thinking of his mom. President then continued with the example. He said, "So now imagine that missionary who isn't obedient and who doesn't have the desire to be there. He is on the street with his companion and they make contact with Elder Estevam's mom. Does that disobedient elder have the authority to invite her to come closer to Christ by getting to know the Church? Yes. But does he have the power to invite the Holy Spirit to that conversation so that she will be touched in her heart? No he has 0 power." It was really spiritual and personal during the training and reminded us how we all have authority to servants of the Lord. But the power we need only comes through our obedience and desire! It was awesome! Overall, Wednesday was just an awesome day and I felt the love of God so strongly. 

Friday was another great day! We had a Zone Meeting because we had to give a training and pass on information from the council that needed to be given before the start of this week! I will explain why. In our meetings on Wednesday President Bangerter had the idea that our mission needed to do something special. So we decided on what is called, "a semana de dedicação" in portuguese. In english it means " the week of dedication". So what is going to happen is that this week, starting today (Monday) we will wake up at 6 AM every day. We will leave to work at 8 AM everyday in place of leaving at 10, and come back at our normal time 9 PM. Our P-day today, ends at 3 so we can go out and work normally! We are all so excited and it is going to be awesome! We are all going to be ridiculously tired at the end of the week but we are excited to see the miracles. One thing that we decided as a zone is that we are going to look for a miracle each day. So everyday this week every companionship will write down a miracle at the end of each day. At the end of the week we will all email our miracles and put them together in a big email! We are all so excited. It is going to be tough, but it is going to be worth it. Our zone is really excited and we are too! Pray for us this week! 

On Friday after the zone meeting, we had a split in our area with the Assistants! It was so great! I got to go out with Elder Gil. He is from Mexico and just amazing! I learned so much from him and we had a blast together! We taught so many lessons and found a ton of great new people to start to teach. I had another one of those, "what the heck, I'm on a mission moments" when I was with him. We had just left a lesson and it was about 5 o'clock. It was just the perfect temperature as the sun started to go down. We were walking in the street laughing about something and I had the thought, "This is crazy! A Mexican and an American walking down a street in a poor Brasilian city, speaking Portuguese, a language that neither of us knew 2 years ago, and now we are laughing and having fun sharing the gospel together." It was so cool. It was one of those picture perfect moments haha! That scene will be forever printed in my mind! 

On our split of Friday we went and taught our investigator named Rosalia! I have written about her before! She is the lady we found our first week. She has been difficult to find lately but Friday we found her! She is crazy and a little bipolar but awesome. For example, we were teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she said, "I will be baptized, I know it. But only when God wants me too. But I want it to happen as fast as possible, but only when God puts that feeling into my heart." It was funny but we focused a lot on the principle of faith. We talked about how she can have faith to receive that feeling from God. But if she doesn't do anything to show her faith to God, nothing is going to happen. It was a great lesson and we will see how she progresses from here! 

Friday night was my favorite night of the week! As our last appointment of the day, we planned for all 4 of us to go to teach Marlene and Evely. We met up there and had an awesome time. Elder Gil and the other Assistant Elder Brito got to know them and we all had fun laughing. For the lesson we played a little game. Elder Estevam has these cards with things written on them. The name of the game is "Priority and Sacrifice." Elder Estevam puts 4 of the cards on table and the people playing have to choose which things are a priority and which they will sacrifice. It is a game that we play with members usually because as the game goes on it gets spiritual. At the beginning there are things like "all the money in the world", "a dream house" etc. But at the end there are things like, "family", "friends", "the scriptures" etc. The point of the game is to show that our testimonies need to be the thing that we cherish most, as in the last group of cards there is one with "my testimony" written on it. It was cool to see an investigator play because the thing you discover is what they have a stronger testimony in. For example, the first time I played it was really hard for me to have something more prioritized than family, because I have a strong testimony about family. Make sense? What people choose is what they have a stronger testimony about, but they don't realize that until the end when we explain the game. At the end, Marlene started to talk about why she valued the Gift of the Holy Ghost so much. She started to cry and the Spirit was SOOOO strong in the room. We were all sitting around a table and almost all had tears in their eyes. We started to focus on Evely and help her recognize that she HAS felt the Spirit many times before, and especially in that house, at that exact moment. There was a part when we all just started sharing spiritual experiences and at the end Elder Brito said, "Do you feel it?" He paused and looked around. "That happiness, that calm feeling? The Holy Spirit is here, and he is testifying that all this is true." It was a special experience. We all left on cloud 9 and we pray that Evely felt it enough that she will be baptized this week! 

Saturday we had a great lesson with a new family that we found that live almost next door to us! We will go back tonight so I hope they are waiting! If they start to progress more I will write more next week about them! 
Sunday was also a great day! We had a great lunch with one of the most faithful families I have met here. They live REALLY far away but are so strong in the Gospel. They are at Church every week and Sunday after lunch when we left, they all left with us to go visit another family in our ward that is having a hard time! It was so greatI I love strong members! They make us missionaries happy. 

So I think that is all! I got to go get to work! We are excited for this week and I can't wait to share all the miracles with you guys next week! 

Just to finish I wanted to share a quick experience. Wednesday we had that Leadership council. Well for the closing hymn we sang Called to Serve. President Bangerter likes us to stand up on the second verse. As we stood up I started to feel the Spirit very strongly. On my mission I have learned that when I feel the Spirit strongly I start to get REALLY happy! Like almost giggly happy haha! It is funny. As I started to get this huge smile on my face I felt this huge warmth spread over me. It was so strong I got goosebumps. I got teary eyed and had the thought, "There is nothing better than being a missionary." I am so grateful for being a missionary. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. He lives. That is something that I do not doubt one bit. This is his work! I love you all! 

Have a great week!  

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Last Picture with Elder Santana
Last picture with Elder Bair
Mission Leadership Conference
Zone Meeting
Helping in Primary
The sights of Salvador