Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"I love nice people"!

Elder C helping celebrate Elder Araujo's Birthday!!!
Hey Everybody!! 

How are you guys?! I hope you are all great and had a good week. Our week here was good too. A lot of work! It actually kind of ended on a sad note on Sunday though. I’ll get to that …  It’s crazy how fast time seems to be flying!!!

So last Monday night we had a family night at this older lady's house. She is a recent-convert of a few years and has a tough life. Her husband is baptized too but he has some problems. We taught a cool lesson on faith. And while I read some good Ether 12 scriptures, Elder Bair made this cool bracelet for her that represents her unbreakable faith. It was really nice to see her so happy. 

Tuesday night was great. We went to Kaique's to visit with him and his family. We actually wanted to talk to Erick, his 14 year old brother who came to church for the first time that Sunday. Kaique and his mom had been in a fight that day so it was a little tense there, but we still taught. Me, Elder Bair, Kaique and Erick all sat down together. We started to teach the Restoration and then it was great because Kaique took over without us asking. Recent-convert Kaique started to teach his brother the 1st lesson. I just sat in awe and watched as he bore his testimony about the prophet Joseph Smith. He needed a little help reciting the First Vision but it was way cool! Erick loved it and I smell future missionary in Kaique!! I hope so at least! That would be way cool. 

Another awesome experience was Wednesday afternoon when I was just reminded how there are still good, genuine people in the world. We had our lunch far away that day so we decided to stay in those areas far, for the day since we were already there. There was this food stand that we stopped at because I was hungry and it was pouring rain and there was protection there. We started to talk to the guy who worked there and instantly we felt a good feeling about him. Later his wife showed up and she too was awesome. We talked to them about our missions and the church and their lives. It was a great time to let the rain pass and to get to know awesome people. The only sad thing is that they live so far but we still are visiting them. I love nice people haha! 

Thursday night was a branch activity. Oh man, I thought people back home were competitive. But I had never seen Brasilians play games before like this in a big group. They took it to a whole new level. The funniest part was that the game was a Book of Mormon trivia game and everyone was still really into it. Imagine those close, heated, church ball games and multiply it by 10. That was Thursday night! But it was all in a fun, joking way. I loved it. Brasilians are funny and I love the members here a lot. I don't ever want to leave this area!

So Sunday. It was the first “not so great” Sunday of my time here in this area. Sunday morning at about 6:20 our cell rang. I picked up and it was the members with whom we had lunch planned for that day. They asked what time we would come for lunch and confused I said, "Um just noonish, after Church like usual?" Then the member said, "But there is no church today." We then learned some terrible news, a member of the ward who meets in our chapel too had been killed in a car accident the day before, and the funeral was at the chapel that day. I was in disbelief and went to tell the elders of that ward who we live with. They called their bishop right when we told them and he confirmed it. That we didn't have meetings for our units that day so the members were encouraged to go to a different ward in the area, and that it was true about the member. He then said, "actually I need your guys' help now, here at the chapel. Like come fast." So being 630 still we just threw on normal clothes without time to iron our others and left quickly. Bishop told us that it isn't allowed to have funerals at the church Sunday, but that the daughter of the lady who died called him the night before, sobbing and begging for it to be at the chapel and he said he couldn't say no. We got to the chapel and helped carry the casket in real quick. It was really sad. The only other people there were the lady's children and husband and when they saw us with the casket they lost it. I have never seen crying like that, ever. I hope I don't ever have to again, because it rips your heart out. The viewing was all morning with the funeral at 3. We sang in the choir which was spiritual but sad. It ws just kind of an emotionally draining day, especially because the woman died in such a tragic way. 

So this week we continued to play football for our exercise but now the two
Brasilians, Elder Araújo and Bitencourt come with us. We do a one QB and receiver vs a rusher and a corner. It is SOO fun and the two Brasilians are actually liking it! Elder Araújo is actually way good too, which I think is funny. But Friday we were playing and I went to cut during a route and totally ate it haha. Shredded up my knee and messed up my wrist again. So we went and I bought a wrist guard later that day. But don’t worry, it's already getting better. But I love playing and it is a great way to get our exercise in. 

Now on to a happier note! I'll end with the coolest experience of the week. One of our investigators, Wagner, had accepted a March 4th baptismal date. We were excited then Friday got a call from our ward mission leader saying Wagner was backing out. So we did Operation Rescue and had a lesson there that night. I felt really strongly we should talk about the Plan of Salvation. The entire lesson the Spirit was unbelievably strong. Then I talked about Grandma. I cried, a lot. But of joy because I know, I KNOW that I will see her again. I testified of that with all my soul and it was amazing. Wagner asked about his brother who died and if he would see him again. We said of course, if he does what he needs to here on Earth. It was great. This Saturday I hope he is all good!

I love you all! Have a great week!! 

Until March... 
Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Liahona cover I found in our apartment with the Clarks on the front!! I was shocked.
My attempt at a cool photo
third is me and Erick (far left) and his friend at the activity thursday night. Erick is Kaiques brother
Eating birthday cake for Elder A. 

Monday, February 20, 2017


New Companion: Elder Bair and me
Hi Everybody!

How was your week? I hope it was fantastic! Mine was a BIG change with plenty of ups and downs, as usual. It did however,  end on a high note with a great Sunday and that’s what counts! 

So this week was the start of a new transfer! My new companion is Elder Bair! An American! He is from Quincy, Illinois and is the youngest of 5 kids and already has a ton of nieces and nephews. He has one year and one month on his mission. Elder Bair really is a nice kid. He is also a lot quieter than me but he is a good missionary, a really good missionary. We have been working well together this week and I hope it can continue.

I have to say it is really rather strange being with an American 24/7 after 7 months of being with no Americans. It is a big change. We almost always speak Portuguese but sometimes I can say a sentence of “Portenglish”, half in English and half in Portuguese but sometimes I can say a sentence of Portuguese, and Elder Bair understands. Haha! It is pretty funny and I like it. I am still getting used to the American thing, which is ironic because I am one! 

Wednesday night we went to go visit Marcos. He and Kaique were scheduled to be confirmed on Sunday so we wanted to talk more to him about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The lesson was really special. The coolest part was when we talked to Marcos about his baptism. We were talking about the special spirit and he said, "I really cannot describe that feeling. It was more than special." It was really cool because then we taught how that more than special feeling can always be with him if he stays worthy of it. It made him really excited and he wanted Sunday to come fast. 

Friday night I learned something. Elder Bair and I were looking for an inactive member that we had on our list with their addresses listed. The trouble with that here is that all the numbers on the houses have no order, no sequence. So three houses right next to each other will be something like this; the first number 53, the next 714, and the next 389. We have to walk the whole street to find the house. We were looking for this certain number and couldn't find it. We felt that we should knock on all the houses without a number, a lot didn't have them. We knocked on one and this man, 25ish, with tattooed arms, earrings, and a man-bun answered. Immediately, in my head I thought, "ah dangit! He won't want to listen." Man was I wrong! The guy, Jose, was awesome! He helped us with the info we needed and then asked a ton of questions about the church. We didn't teach him right then but he said to come back next week. I learned that I judge really quickly. I felt bad. We NEVER know who will be interested but everyday we judge a ton of people. It was a good reminder to me to not judge. 

Sunday like usual, was the best day of the week. Everything worked out and Kaique and Marcos were both confirmed members of the Church and blessed with the Gift of the Holy Ghost! I was really happy and they will receive the Priesthood soon. 

We also had 4 investigators at church, so that was awesome. Maria Gabriella has disappeared lately but we are scheduled to meet with her on Wednesday. 

Our lunch Sunday at one of the members was really good too so that was a plus J. And then on Sunday night we were searching for yet another inactive member in a part of our area I have really never worked in before. Again, after a lot of looking, we could not find the house. We knocked on a door with a number close to what were looking for. This older man answered and instantly was very nice and tried to help. We talked and asked if we could share our message with him. He invited us in. Only him and his wife live there but they have a ton of grandkids already. We instantly clicked with them and started to teach the Restoration. I got to tell the story of the First Vision and something that usually doesn't happen to me, happened. The Spirit was so so so strong which is normal, but I got emotional sharing the First Vision, that is not normal for me. I can't explain how awesome it was. 

Earlier this week Elder Bair was asking me what I wanted to do this transfer. Like if there was something I always wanted to do on my mission but hadn’t yet. My answer was that I wanted to baptize a whole family, like mom, dad, kids, etc. He said that he too hadn't done that on the mission and he wanted to as well, so that is one of the goals we made together. Sunday night we might've met the family! After we left the home where we met the older couple, we followed their advice to cross the avenue to where the street continued on. We hadn’t noticed that part of the street  yet so we started to walk, still looking for the inactive member’s address. We began our search for the address we had but I felt like we should go back to the other street.  We had already walked the entire street twice I felt like we needed to walk it again. So, we crossed the big avenue again and went back. We were knocking on all the doors with numbers near what we were looking for, 33. I saw house #335 so I knocked. This man answered and again instantly was very open and talkative. He lived there with his wife and 3 kids ages 12, 8, and 4. Both him and the two older kids who came to the door to talk to us, were really interested in the church. We marked for Tuesday night to go back and teach them all. Elder Bair and I both felt really happy and good as we left. It is really promising and I'm so excited!! 

It was definitely a GREAT day to end the week! 

I love my mission, I love this gospel, and I love you all!! Have a great week everyone! 
Elder Spencer P. Christofferson
Our new District at District Meeting

Monday, February 13, 2017

What a day!!!

Elder Christofferson ad Elder Freitas at Marcos and Kaique's BAPTISM!!!!!
Hey everybody!
I hope you all had a great week. Our week was fantastic! We had both Kaique and Marcos get baptized on Saturday!!!! It was perfect! Sadly, Maria Gabriella was not baptized this week but she definitely will be in a few weeks. It was a great last week of the transfer! 

So the surprising news is that Elder Freitas is leaving. The transfer is over! I am in shock! I already have 6 weeks here? Time is flying. I will be getting a new companion, Elder Bear. He is an American! It was seriously the last thing I expected. We got the news this morning and I am still in shock!! Elder Freitas and I had a great transfer together and I'm sad to see him go! But change is good and this next transfer will be fantastic too! About my new companion, I hear he WORKS HARD too so I am excited. Having an American companion really will be strange. Please pray that all goes well with my new companion. I always get nervous when the transfer ends. I will, of course, pray a lot these next few days for all to be well. The next few weeks are looking good in terms of baptisms. We are looking at 2 or 3 people who are close to commiting so I'm pumped. Baptizing is just the best. It makes all our work feel worth it.

Tuesday night was Ping Pong Night, of course. We planned with Kaique and Marcos that we would do their baptism interviews that night. The missionary who does the interviews is the District Leader. The District Leader here is Elder Araújo and we live in the same house as him. We realized Tuesday afternoon that Elder Araújo and his companion Elder Reinaldo always have a dinner with members on Tuesday nights. That meant we had to do a split and I went to the dinner while Elder Araújo did the interviews with Elder Freitas. I was sad because I wanted to be there! But the dinner was fun and I got to know more people. I practically ran home to find out the results of the interviews. The news was good. Kaique’s interview went perfectly. Marcos had some doubts and wasn't sure if he really wanted to be baptized though. Ugh! That darn old Satan was getting in his head. But Elder Freitas and I only got more motivated to beat his deception and work past Marcos’ doubths so he could be baptized on Saturday! So we scheduled to go to his house Thursday night and help him out. But I'll get to that.

Wednesday was not a very good day in the end. We were very excited to meet with Maria Gabriella! A miracle had already happened concerning her that week. She and Daniel, the member boyfriend, had said they didn't know if they would be able to meet with us on Wednesday. Maria only can come if Daniel brings her. He said he might have to leave town for work, and that we should call the day before to see if we could meet with them. Tuesday night we called and he didn't leave town! Woohoo! So we were pumped for Wednesday night. About 10 minutes before we had scheduled with them I felt like I should call Maria. So I did and she said, "wait... Daniel didn't tell you?" I was like ahh no! So then I called him and he explained that because of the rain he had to stay at work longer and had just gotten home and he couldn't bring her. Ugh! I asked if we could meet with her a different day and he said to call the next morning. So I did and Daniel explained how Maria was working extra that week, not her choice, and that she was busy all week. :( Also he explained that she still was having some trouble with coffee. I said it was all good and that we would meet with her next week. It was sad. But she is awesome and I know she will still be baptized. 

Because of what happened with Maria, I was struggling a little this week with, yet again, accepting the will of Heavenly Father. I was so so so sure we would baptize her this week. Like in my mind it was already decided. Ja era in Portuguese. So Wednesday night and especially Thursday morning I was pretty sad and frustrated. Like I know she will be baptized but I just was so ready for it this week. Obviously, Heavenly Father and she had a different idea. I think that He is really making me work on patience out here on the mission. Which is something I need and I know I’ll be better for it. 

On to happier things! Thursday night with Marcos! We showed up with a plan to help him thru his questions and doubts. We sat down with him and talked about his concers. He was under the impression that being a member of the church meant you couldn't do anything fun like go to a party, go to the beach, watch movies etc. We explained that that is NOT true. That actually as a member you have MORE fun and feel more joy because you are following God’s commandments! We then read 2 Nephi 31 with him. That chapter is amazing. Everybody go read it! (Here is the link to it online. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/31?lang=eng) Anyway, it was cool because at the end of reading the chapter I asked, "So Marcos, what do you think now? Do you want to be baptized this Saturday?" He was silent, looking down at the floor. After about 30 seconds he looked up with a huge smile and said, "well my doubts are gone, and I feel it's right so yes... yes I want to be baptized!" WOOHOO!! He finalized plans right then and there and we set everything straight for Saturday. 

So that led to the climax of the week, the baptism on Saturday, of course! It was a perfect meeting. There were a ton of members who showed up and I was very happy to see the support from them. That is the key with keeping people strong in the church. I had the privilege to conduct the meeting and it was awesome. The actual ordinances were very very very spiritual. Cleber, the Ward mission leader, was the one who baptized them. And during it he got emotional because of the strong Spirit. A lot of others did too, including Kaique's mom! She told us after that, " today is the second happiest day of my life. The first when Kaique was born, and the second, today!" Wow! She isn't even a member. We were stunned but are excited to start teaching her now.

The coolest part of the baptism service for me was after the actual baptism. I went back to the change room to help and make sure the guys were all good. I asked Kaique and Marcos how they felt. Both of their answers were great. Marcos said, "I feel renewed. Just... better." Kaique said, "I have never felt anything like that before. I feel like I'm floating, I will NEVER forget it." Then both he and Marcos jumped on me and gave me a huge bear hug. I was very happy. What a day!!! 

Yesterday was Stake Conference here and it was great! President Bangerter and Sister Bangerter were here and gave talks. Sister Bangerter is so funny. She is just so bubbly and sweet and friendly that everybody loves her. President Bangerter told a cool, powerful story at the end of his talk about an experience he had many years ago when President Spencer W. Kimball was the Prophet and had born his testimony in General Conference Priesthood meeting. President Kimball had said that he knew Christ lives because he had seen him. The spirit was so strong as President Bangerter spoke. It was a way cool story and such a blessing to know that the church is led by men who know Christ. 

Anyways, this week will be a new, different one for sure! I love my mission, I love Brasil, and I love you all!  

Have a great week!

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Elder Freitas, Kaique's mom, little sister, Kaique, Marcos's dad, Marcos, Me and Cleber (kneeling in front) at the baptism!

Elder Brito

Zone Conference

After Marcos and Kaique were baptized and had changed with Cleber, the Ward Mission Leader. 

Elder Christofferson, Dobrao, Freitas and Reinaldo

Third is almost all the missionaries with pres and sis Bangerter at Stake confn

Monday, February 6, 2017

He did what He said He would do. He Answered!

 Elder Freitas and me with Marcos at his house Saturday night for a family night we did there.
Hi everyone!

It's February! Already! Haha I hope you all had a good week! Last week for us was huge and this week will be even bigger! I'll explain! But first I want to apologize to everyone who wrote me last week and I didn't respond! After sending a few emails last week, my email decided not to send anything anymore. I could write but they wouldn't send. So all the responses to last week you will get today (if it all works right)! Sorry again! 
I'll start on Tuesday. Similar to last week, Tuesday night was Ping Pong Night at the church. We went to visit with the investigators there. I sat down next to Kaique and started to talk to him. I asked if he had read 2 Nephi 31, the chapter from the Book of Mormon that we left for him to read this week. He said yes he had and before I could even start to ask him what he remembered HE started to quiz ME on the stuff in the chapter! I stopped and said, "whoa, wait a second, I'm the missionary here! Haha I ask the questions!" It was awesome. The kid is a stud. 
Wednesday we taught Maria Gabriella again. She is awesome. The perfect investigator. She does all the commitments, she reads everything we leave with her, she is honest and sincere, and has a real desire to learn and know the truth. That day we decided to talk to her about the Book of Mormon. Teaching about the Book of Mormon has become one of my favorite things because I have grown to LOVE the Book of Mormon more than ever. I feel such happiness and gratitude when I get to testify about the book. Maria loved the lesson and at the end we challenged her to be baptized on the 11th! She seemed timid but said she would pray and if she got a yes than she would. We were really excited. Then we talked with her about real intent. Real intent to know the truth, and (the key) to follow our answer, whatever it is. 
Fast-forward to Saturday. We met with Maria Gabriella again. She again read all that we left for her and answered the questions we put on Sticky Notes.  She really has started to like the Book of Mormon. We started the lesson and of course the first thing we asked was, "So did you say that prayer asking if the Church was true and if you need to be baptized?!" She said "Yes I said the prayer." Us, "AND...???" She just smiled and said, "Yes! I got a yes." WOOHOO!! We were sooo happy. That just shows that God really does keep his promises. Maria asked with real intent and He did what He said He would, He answered. Then we asked her if she prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. She said she had and her answer came as she was reading it. She said she always feels really good while reading it and that, she realized, was her answer. That fantastic moment was followed by a fantastic, Spirit-filled lesson. We taught about the Plan of Salvation. I got to share my testimony about eternal families. I felt impressed to talk about Grandma and how I know I will see her again. And that I WILL be together forever with my family and having that knowledge is such a blessing to me. Of course while talking about Grandma I got emotional and felt the Spirit VERY strong. It is hard to describe. But how amazing that we can be with our families forever. I sure do love my family, especially now being apart more than ever, and I can't wait to be able to spend eternity with them. 
Thursday we went to Marcos' house to teach him. We also met his family! His family is great; really nice, humble people. With Marcos we also taught the Plan of Salvation. It was awesome. The best part was the end. I'll write here what I wrote in my journal that night about the experience:
"At the end of the lesson we asked Marcos about the question we left him with on Sunday: 'if you knew this was all true, what do you need to do?' He answered, 'For sure, absolutely, follow the commandments of Christ, and be baptized.' We challenged him to be Baptized on the 11th. He accepted. Boom!"
So our lunch Saturday was at this lady named Roberta's. She is hilarious and awesome and reminds me of someone in the family that I still haven't connected. But she has two daughters. One that is 9 and the other 7. The 7 year old is named Louiza and reminds me SOO much of Avery! She is even turning 8 in July like Avery! She is blonde, and sassy, and spunky and everything Avery is. Lunch was crazy because I kept thinking I was eating with a Portuguese speaking Avery. I'll try to get a picture with her soon! 
Quick note that I finished reading Jesus the Christ this week. It was sooo good! I can't believe that I finished and also how much I learned. 
Saturday night we had a "noite familiar" or family night, with Marcos and his family at his house. It was sweet. Cleber the WML was there and we had a great time. For the message we brought the Restoration DVD that is like 20 minutes. It was so so so so so spiritual! I have seen that video and taught that lesson numberless times but I always feel SO happy when I watch that video. I shared that with them and when we asked Marcos what he liked about it he said, "There is no way that all did NOT happen. It is 100% true." He said it with such conviction and power. It was sweet! 
Sunday again rocked. We had 7, that's right SEVEN investigators at church. The most I've had my whole mission! It rocked. We taught the commandments to some of the investigators in the 3rd hour. I love how my vision of commandments has changed. Now I see them as just a way to get a bucket full of blessings dumped on you if you obey them. 
So everyone this week we should, no we WILL, have 3 baptisms! Saturday Marcos, Kaique, and Maria Gabriella will be baptized! Pray for them please! 
I love this gospel, I love my mission, and I love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Our district after District Meeting, don't mind my duck face haha

Cleber , the Ward mission leader and me! He was at the family night we had with Marcos family.