Monday, May 29, 2017

"One of my favorite weeks on my mission so far!"

Cristielen and her family with Elder Souza and I before her baptism.
Hi Everyone! 
How are you guys?! I hope you all had a great week! This week for us was AMAZING!! We saw miracles and I think I'll have to say it was one of the best weeks I've had on my mission. Seriously I can't even begin to describe to you all how awesome it was! I hope this email will do this week justice! I'll try my best! 

Tuesday was great! We had a Zone Conference with 2 zones, Conquista and Jequié. President Bangerter was there and it was just a great meeting! We all learned a lot. One thing that I really liked and remembered was when President talked about how we can make our teaching better. He gave 3 points. 1- Ask more questions and make sure the lesson is a conversation. 2-Bear short, powerful testimonies, and 3- give short, simple prayers. I really liked those points and I put them into practice this week and saw awesome results! I'll get to those results in a minute....

First I have to tell you about what happened Tuesday night, after the conference when we had a crazy experience. We went to meet with Andreza and then take her to a dinner we had with a member. We got there a little late and realized it would be difficult to bring her back after the dinner because it is really far away from where she lives and we would get home past our curfew. We headed across the street to talk to Nilza, her neighbor who is a member, to ask her to come with us so she could go back after with Andreza. Irmã Nilza has a little puppy dog that is still super spazzy. As we were talking to Irmã Nilza at her door the dog ran out. No big deal. We ran to try to get him back as he was being silly, playing with some other dogs. Andreza was chasing the puppy when a car passed and the puppy jumped in front of it by accident. There was blood everywhere. We were far away from where the puppy was hit and didn't want to get too close but we could still see what was going on. We were watching from a distance and then Irmã Nilza, who was still at her door realized what happened and ran over screaming about her dog. A huge crowd gathered around them as she tried to help the dog. It was like a movie. Nilza was in shock and ran back to her house so upset and left her dog dying on the street. It was getting late by this point and Elder Souza and I had to leave because we had a dinner appointment to get to. We felt so bad but left before seeing Nilza again…. Soooooo, fast-forward to Thursday night. We saw Irmã Nilza and found out the dog DIDN"T DIE!!! I have no idea how. There was instantly blood when it got hit and it looked dead to us! Apparently that night she went back outside and took the puppy to the vet all night. Then last night, Sunday, we had dinner at her house and we saw the puppy looking normal, walking with out problems and everything. It was so crazy but I’m glad her puppy is ok. 

Wednesday morning we went back to the chapel where we had the Conference to have our interviews with President Bangerter. My interview was great! President is a very smart and spiritual man. He helped me a lot with my concerns about our investigators and knowing how I can better meet their needs as they progress in their learning. We talked mainly about Cristielen. He gave us the advice to teach her 1 Nephi 16. That chapter talks about the Liahona and the first time Lehi and his family found it. He told us to compare the Liahona to the Gift of the Holy Ghost that comes after baptism. It was so great. 

Later that day we went to visit Cristielen where I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my entire life. We got there and did exactly what President Bangerter suggested. It was a really great lesson. At the end we asked what is in the way of her getting baptized. She replied, "I don't know. Just I don't feel ready and I am scared." We bore our testimonies and then she started to get emotional. It's hard to describe but the Spirit was so strong. I asked her the baptism commitment once again and waited for a reply. After about a minute of silence and no response still I said, "You want to know the answer?" She looked at me confused and said, "You'll give me the answer?" I smiled and said, "No, but God will. Let's say a prayer." We asked her to do it and she was hesitant because she said she was scared for the answer. I said, "How about me and Elder Souza both say prayers and last, you say one?" She agreed and then I gave probably one of the most fervent prayers I’ve ever given in my life. Then Elder Souza prayed. When he finished Cristielen was crying. She looked up at us and said, "and if I said I already got my answer?" We sat in shock and Elder Souza said, "So...? what is it?" Cristielen asked, "The baptism is Saturday right?" I nodded and she said through tears, "I am getting baptized this Saturday then. This is what God wants for me." I cannot even begin to describe the joy I felt in that moment. One of the best things I've ever felt. She finished with a prayer of gratitude and we left. It was one of the coolest experiences ever. I called President that night as we were walking home to tell him what happened. We talked for a while and he was so happy. It was just awesome. I hope that all made sense and that you guys could get somewhat of a feeling of how it was. 

Anyway, I called President later that night as we were walking home to tell him what happened. We talked and he was so happy and it was just awesome. After this week I’m feeling closer to President Bangerter than I have before. He is such a great and inspired leader. 

Also, on Wednesday night we went and visited with Elen. She is doing good but it is sad because we might have to stop teaching her soon. She is so busy and her mom is not really for her listening to us. We are doing our best with her and she really has a desire to learn. We read 2 Nephi 31 fro the Book of Mormon with her and she liked it a lot. But like I said the problem is that she is so busy and can't come to church on Sundays and cannot meet with us a lot during the week. 

Thursday we did a split with the Elders from Morada dos Passaros. I went with Elder Pereira in their area. It was fun to go back to that area. Thursday night the branch was having an activity and I went and saw a ton of the members! It was really great! I really am going to miss this city when I leave! The members from the branch and the ward are just the best!

Saturday was the baptism! It was at 5 o'clock! We passed by Cristielen's at 4 to walk with her and her family to the church. It was funny because when we knocked she answered and was like, "I'm not going anymore," totally joking. But I said, "STOP haha don't even joke about that!" The baptism was amazing! She asked me to baptize her since I had been with her since the beginning and I was more than happy to be able to perform the ordinance! After the baptism I asked Crisitielen how she felt and she said, "I have the feeling to cry, but at the same time scream for joy!" It was so cool. I said that was the Spirit and then she got more excited for Sunday to be confirmed!! Sunday she was confirmed by Elder Souza and it was just all amazing. The next should be her husband Luis! 

Yesterday, Sunday, I gave a talk in church and it was awesome! For the first time ever I had too much material!! I even went over my 15 minutes. Oops!! I guess that is what happens when you are a missionary and feel like you have a lot to share!

Well, I love you all so much! Have a great week and share the gospel with someone! You will see the miracles!! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Me and Elder Prince! Elder Prince's mom and my mom have become friends on facebook
and figured out that his mom is the first cousin of Sister Scott
in our ward at home. My dad and I were the Scott's home teachers for many
years while I was growing up. Small world. 
Me and Sister Bernardo. She reminds of Kaiten ALOT so I took a selfie with her. :-)
All of us in our District wear glasses and Elder Roberto wanted to take a picture like this so we did!  
Bishop Guerra, his counselor Irmao Antonio. He is really funny. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Spirit of Steph Curry!

Elder Janish and I
Hi All, This is Marilee. Just wanted to thank everyone for all of their love, support and prayers for Spencer. We had our Mother's Day call this past Sunday (a week late due to Adam and I being out of town on Mother's Day) and he is doing AMAZING!!! We had such a nice visit with him and I LOVE technology that not only were we able to hear his voice, but we were able to see his handsome face as well. 

Anyway, while we were talking to him we asked him if he ever felt unsafe or if anything scary had happened since being out on his mission. He hesitantly told us that a few weeks ago he and his companion had been robbed one evening while walking home. Apparently he was advised by fellow missionaries not to write home about it since he is fine and it would only cause a big hulabaloo of questions and fear but to wait and tell us when he talked to us. I found out that he did tell my Nephew who is serving is Romania about it though but he was sworn to secrecy. LOL! 

Thankfully the incident wasn't one of those terrifying stories of being held up at gunpoint or anything but it did remind me to be sure to include safety for Spencer and all of our missionaries each time I pray. For those curious about what happened 3 guys on bicycles rode up to Spencer and his companion and demanded they give them everything they have. Spencer had his wallet with his mission debit card, his personal debit card, his emergency credit card and his driver's license inside but no money. The crooks snatched it from him and then turned to Elder Bitencourt. All he had was $10 so he gave that up. One of the men asked for more. Spencer quickly had the impression to give them their phone in order to avoid any kind of scuffle but the phone was a flip phone and he was nervous they would be upset. To his surprise they grabbed the phone and took off. Watching them ride away Spencer was really upset because they had taken his wallet which had everything he needed except his passport. And because they also had his phone he couldn't call anyone in the mission office to report it all stolen. As he and his companion gathered themselves and watched these hoodlums round a corner up ahead, Spencer saw one of the men toss something off to the side of the road. As soon as they were out of site he ran over to the discarded item to see that it was in fact his wallet with everything inside. He was so so so relieved and grateful for that tender mercy from the Lord and learned a lot of the do's and don'ts to keep himself and his things a bit more safe. 

We have always known that many missionaries around the world are, at times, in danger and that serving in Brazil is one of the areas that can be dangerous. But, as Spencer shared his experience with us I felt completely comforted by the knowledge that he is on the Lord's errand and was reminded that the Lord will be with Spence through any ordeal, trial or challenge he may face as long as he is faithful and as long as we are all prayerful. I have no doubt the situation turned out the way it did because of the prayers offered in Spencer's behalf by many of you. THANK YOU!!! We love you and are grateful for your influence in Spencer's life, even though he is 5000 miles away!!! 

Now, for the letter...

Hi everybody!!! 
How are all of you? I hope your week was great!! This week was normal for us but every normal week on a mission is full of miracles and amazing moments so I will do my best to explain how our week was! 

So last Monday I had to go to Salvador to renew my visa! It was an unexpected but fun little day trip as I left late Sunday night and came back late Monday night arriving home Tuesday morning. Monday in Salvador was cool! After getting my visa squared away, my bus wasn't leaving until about 10pm so I went out with the Mission Secretaries to their Family Night that night! Salvador is SOO HOT! Oh my gosh, I was dying!! It was nighttime but it was so humid and everything was sticking to me! I think I sweat more in the 25 minutes walking to the house, than my whole 6 months here in Conquista! HAHA! But, it was awesome and I love to see how the members and investigators live in other places. It makes me happy to see how there are good people in all parts of the world, no matter the place!! Salvador was fun, and I have a feeling one day I will serve there! 

We did a lot of contacts because this week the Assistants wanted the mission to do more contacts! Usually contacts in our mission aren't the most effective thing but it is fun to change things up and talk to more people and try to share a good thought in a couple minutes. 

Tuesday we went to visit Cristielen only to now find HER sick with the rest of her family too! Ugh that was sad! But we marked to go back Thursday, and we did and it was super cool but I will get to that. Tuesday night we went to go visit Andreza for the first time after her baptism. It was so awesome to see her now after the baptism. She looks and seems like a new person and acts like one too. I am a little worried only because of where she lives. She lives in an area that is pretty bad in terms of drugs and stuff. Also her parents think that because she got baptized she will completely change her whole self overnight so any time she does even one bad thing her parents just immediately take that and say that she wasn't ready to get baptized and she isn't being serious about all this. But she has a strong testimony and is already getting really integrated with the members. She even already has started Personal Progress with the help of the Young Women's President! It’s awesome to see her progressing. We gave her the challenge this week to start the Book of Mormon from the front and read the whole thing! So far he is doing good with it I think.

Wednesday we got to meet with Elen again. We read 2 Nephi 31 with her and it was great! It is always really cool for me to see the investigators start to read the Book of Mormon and see how they start to love it. Every time I see t! The Book of Mormon is the word of God!! Read it! It will help change your life no matter who you are!!! I promise! I have seen the direct results of this here on the mission, in my own life and the life of others! Elen is another great investigator of ours. She has a real desire to learn and know her standing with God. The only thing with her is that her mom might not be happy about it. I think she has family who are in a different religion and have been for generations and they aren't too excited about her talking to us. But we are trying to talk to her family this week and hopefully that will help!

Thursday was an awesome day. We had an AMAZING lesson with Cristielen. That lady is one of the most honest and good-hearted people I have met. She is really good at recognizing the Spirit and when Heavenly Father respond to her prayers. We had a very spiritual lesson with her. We were talking about her testimony and what she believes of the things we have taught her. She has stopped with coffee and everything too. We talked about what is stopping her from being baptized. She said she didn't know but that she felt she wasn't ready. We asked her if she believed the Book of Mormon was true and she said, "Oh yes of course. Without a doubt. God already responded to me about that." It was super cool. Then I started to bear my testimoney about Christ and pulled out the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet. My favorite picture of Christ is in that pamphlet. I gave it to her and said "look here and tell me what you feel." She was silent for a while then started to cry and said, "peace, love, I see someone who will always be there for me." It was amazing! The Spirit was the strongest we have ever felt with her. The lesson was fantastic and she will be baptized soon. 

Saturday we did a booth type of thing in the city center. We went with a bunch of other missionaries in the city and set up some tables and put a bunch of stuff out and went to talk to people. It was a lot of fun and we got a lot of good references and contacts. I like talking to people about the Gospel!! 

Also Saturday we taught a good amount of new people and if they progress this week I will write more about them next week! 

Sunday, I got to talk to my perfect family!!!! I love them and am soo soo blessed to have a family like them!! 

Today was awesome and I need to share a quick funny story. Since it’s P-day and since there is a Zone Conference with 2 zones combined tomorrow there are a bunch of missionaries from other areas in the city. So we all got together to hang out at the Stake Center playing basketball, ping pong and stuff. I realized I LOVE and MISS BASKETBALL!! And I really love playing with Brasilians because I have more confidence and am one of the best players since they don’t play a lot of basketball here. HAHA! But today, more than ever, I was feelin’ it. ALOT! In one game I was playing against Elder Janish and Elder Prince, both Americans and both taller than me. My team only had me as an American so it was a supposed to be a lopsided game. The score was 10-11 and we were losing. The game was going to 21. I had already scored 7 points. Then the Spirit of Steph Curry entered into me. I was dribbling up the court and hit a DEEP 3. 13-11. Then we stopped them and went on a fast break and I had a sweet bounce pass to Elder Roberto who put it in. 15-11. Then we stopped them again and I got the rebound and went coast to coast and made a reverse layup to stop Janish from blocking me. 17-11. Then we stopped them again, and went down the court. Elder Roberto had the ball at the top of the 3 point line. I ran behind him and he passed it and I hit another DEEP 3 in Janish's face off the pass. 20-11. Like pure Steph! I was playing out of my mind. Everyone was going crazy. Then on their next possesion I stole the ball on a pass and assisted the game winner. It was so fun! Like seriously haha! I don't know what happened but man I love basketball! 

Anyway, just thought I’d share my fun p-day experience! 

That’s about it for this week. I love you all!! Have a great week and know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world!!

Elder Spencer Christofferson

1- Elder Janish, one of my roommates from Itabuna. We both LOVE the Broncos as evidenced by our matching shirts on pday. 
2- Talking to my family on Sunday.
3- Amanda from the ward who reminds of soooo much of Avery

Weekly Post-District Meeting Photo
My Family!!

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Baptizing is the payoff for a missionary!"

Andreza's Baptism

Hi everybody!!!
So this week was awesome!!!!!!! We had a great week and saw many miracles and had many moments that made me very grateful to our Heavenly Father. He does so many things in our lives and we need to be more grateful for him everyday of our lives. If we all really stop and look at how much we are blessed, we will be amazed! 
So this week started out great. I don't know if you guys remember Elder Janish? He was the other American who was a Broncos fan too and we lived in the same apartment for my last transfer in Itabuna. Well, he is in the last few months of his mission and he was just made the traveling Assistant to the President. So he was here for the first few days of this week. He helped a lot and it was great to see a great friend again and learn too! 
Tuesday afternoon we went to visit Cristielen and Luis Paulo. We had a REALLY cool visit. Cristielen is like right there to be baptized. We talked to them about the Restoration again and what they remembered from that first lesson we had with them. The Spirit was really strong and we talked about Joseph and his whole experience. We met with them for a while and towards the end Luiz had to leave. When he left we started to talk to Cristielen about praying to get an answer for the truthfulness about all that we have taught her. She asked us how she would get an answer. We then explained about the Holy Ghost. She then told us a very cool experience she had had a few days before. She said she is like a pretty paranoid person about people robbing and hurting her and her family. She said how a few days ago she was just really feeling off for some reason and that she woke up around midnight. She said she was feeling so bad and that there was like a bad presence in the room. So what did she do? Got on her knees and prayed. She said as she prayed, crying out to Heavenly Father, she felt like in a moment someone just gave her a huge warm hug. She said she started to cry out of joy because that bad feeling was gone in one moment and her prayer was answered in one instant. As Cristielen was telling this story the Spirit was SO STRONG it is impossible to describe. We all were feeling it and we told her that same feeling will be what he feels when she gets her answer! 
One of the best parts of the week came Tuesday night. We went to visit Andreza, who still had been iffy about the baptism thing. Elder Souza, Elder Janish and I went to visit her that night. We got there and Elder Janish was talking with her about a lot of stuff; The Restoration, the Holy Ghost, Baptism, and everything. We had only been there for a about 15 minutes and she was acting quiet. Elder Janish looked at me and I figured that was my cue to talk so I did the baptismal invitation, the one Andreza has heard already about 6 times. After I finished, I looked at her and waited, and she says, "Yes. I will get baptized." WHAT?!?!! I kind of just sat there in shock not knowing what to do. I couldn’t believe it and was SOOOO excited. Elder Souza took over and said, "So this Saturday we will have a baptism at the church. Can you be prepared for that day?" Again Andreza replied with yes! I was so happy I almost started to cry! We have been trying to get her baptized for months and out of nowhere she said yes!! It was so awesome! But more on that subject later!! 
Wednesday night was cool! Elder Souza did not have his Patriarchal Blessing so he had to talk to Bishop Guerra last week to get it all set up. So Wednesday night we headed over to the Stake Center here in Vitoria da Conquista for Elder Souza to get his blessing. While we were waiting for him we saw that there were some guys out back playing basketball on the court there! The coolest part was when I saw my dude Vagner!! He was there playing basketball! Literally every time I see that guy doing ANYTHING at the church I get so happy! He has changed so much and I love to see him! Him and his wife plan on getting sealed in the temple next year!! 
Thursday was also good! After a FANTASTIC lunch at the Bishop's house, we had a division. Elder Roberto, the District Leader, was with me in my area because he had to do the baptismal interview for Andreza! Earlier in the day we went over to Cristielen's to see how she was doing. We got there and found out that her husband had gotten pretty sick in the days before. So we had planned on teaching some of the commandments for them both, but he was sick and sleeping so we had to change our approach. Elder Roberto wanted to get to know her a little bit so he just talked to her a little bit and then we felt like we needed to talk about The Gift of the Holy Ghost with her. So we did! And it was great! Then we started to talk a little bit about the 10 commandments. It was great and she really wanted to know more so we said we would go back the next day. Thursday night was the interview with Andreza and it took about 15 minutes haha! Elder Roberto said she was really ready so I was happy about that one! 
Friday, Elder Souza and I were back together again and we went to visit Cristielen. We found out that her daughter had now gotten sick too!! But we taught her the Word of Wisdom. The one problem is coffee, like it is with most people. She said it is going to be really hard for her to stop drinking coffee but that she will try her best! We were really excited to hear that so that was awesome. We also invited her to the baptism Saturday but with her entire family sick, minus her, it wasn't going to work out. But she is progressing well and we are excited to see what the future holds for her! Friday we also found Elen again! She was the girl who we taught on the side of the road last week! She is way awesome and was REALLY interested about the Book of Mormon. She left town Friday night and is getting back Tuesday morning so we gave her a book for the ride and she said she would read it! 
So Saturday was the baptism!!! Everything was prefect and I was the one who got to baptize her! I haven't actually performed a baptism since my very first one in my first transfer! So it was so awesome to feel the Spirit like that again. It was incredible. Andreza was so happy and so was everyone else there. Baptizing is the payoff for a missionary and it felt so good to see her so happy and peaceful!! I love this gospel!!!! 
I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!!! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Traditional Baptism Selfie- Andreza and I after her baptism. 

Bishop Guerra with us before the Baptism

Elder Janish and I reunited! 
Elder Janish and our District

"Missionaries have such an AMAZING purpose"

Me and Eduardão. He is a member of our ward and HUGE!!!!!!
Like HUGEEEEEE!!! I really like him haha!! 
Hey everybody!! 
How are you all!!?? This week was good here but a little tough being the first week of a new transfer. With people traveling and a new companion this week was like a warm up week!! And this coming week is going to be great! 
So I stayed here in Morada Real!! I was happy because now I will get to feel the cold that usually comes during winter here! This week was already pretty cold, like in the 60s!! Pretty amazing haha! My new companion is named Elder Souza. He is from Acre, Brasil. Acre is a really small state in Brasil that is right under the Amazon. It is like the state that other Brasilians joke about because it "doesn't exist." Haha but Elder Souza is AWESOME!! He is only in his 3rd transfer and had two amazing trainers so I have a lot to live up too! He is great and we are already working well together! 
So Tuesday was a day of Elder Bitencourt saying goodbye to everyone. But right after lunch we had a lesson marked with Cristielen. We went and were planning on teaching the Plan of Salvation to her and her husband but when we got there her husband wasn't there so we decided to change up and teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The lesson was GREAT!! Cristielen understood everything perfectly and felt the Spirit. We challenged her to baptism on the 13th and she accepted. It was a great lesson! She is progressing well! 
Friday we went back to teach her and her husband Luis Paulo. This time they were both there!! At this point in the week I already had Elder Souza with me. So this time we decided to teach the Plan of Salvation. Have I mentioned how PERFECT and SPIRITUAL that lesson is!!!???!?! Like for real it has a power. Elder Souza being newish still is working on his teaching skills and everything. I think this was the first time I really realized how much I have improved in my teaching! As I was talking with the Spirit I realized how much I have already changed. The Lord takes us and little by little converts us into who we need to be. I am still changing. But man it was really cool to see. The lesson was great. The Spirit was so strong and Luis Paulo and Cristielen both got emotional during the lesson. I love those moments. They make this mission amazing!!!! 
Thursday night we went to visit Ronaldo and Simone! It had been a while since we visited them so we decided to head over. I had the Restoration DVD in my bag so that is what we watched with them when we got there! It was incredibly spiritual and I loved it. Everytime I read or hear or teach about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel, I feel my testimoney strengthen. I wish you guys could be here with me experiencing all of this everyday. Because man it is incredible how amazing you feel after a hard day of work, helping people come closer to Christ. Us missionaries have such an amazing purpose. 
So Andreza! Friday was the first day this week we actually got to teach her, after she didn't get baptized! We had a great lesson with her as we read Alma chapter 7 and talked about baptism again. She said that everytime she hears it she always pays more attention. She is primed and ready to be baptized but still wasn't this week. We found out that she is going to a different church still with her friends. But the only reason is because of her friends! We just are helping her try to understand the message of the Restoration. She will be baptized soon! 
Saturday we had a really cool experience. We had planned to go visit Daniel, a Priest in our ward, at 6 o´clock. We had visited him earlier in the week and he said he had some references for us. Also the rest of his family is inactive so we are trying to reactivate them. We had a couple appointments fall through so at about 5:15 all of our stuff had fallen through. We just decided to make our way over to Daniel's, which was very close, and do some contacts on the way. As we were walking over, there was a soccer game happening on the field next to us. We stopped to watch for a second and talk to some other people watching. We stayed there about 15 minutes doing cool contacts and watching a bunch of Brasilian dudes get mad at each other playing soccer haha! Then we headed to Daniel's. As we approached there was a girl in the front of his house waiting too. We walked up and knocked too. Then started talking to her. She seemed pretty closed off but we found out she lived in the house above Daniel's with her mom. They have lived here for only about a month. So nobody turned out to be inside either of the houses. I asked her what she was going to do now and said, "wait for someone to show up because I forgot my key." So I said "Well then we will wait with you too. Can we?" She said yes so we went and sat on the sidewalk on the other side of the road. Her name is Elen and she is 15. I thought she was way older but she is only 15. The coolest part was how she totally opened up to us. We taught her the first lesson sitting on the sidewalk. The Spirit was so so so so so strong and she loved the lesson. By the end of the lesson she couldn't stop smiling. She literally became one of the most joyful people I have ever seen! It was contagious! We marked to go to back tonight! I am excited to teach her again! 
It was just really cool for us to see how the Spirit was guiding us. Every thing that happened, happened for a reason. She told us how strange it was that no one was ever home, and how she NEVER forgets her keys but that day she did. We told her how we had stopped to watch the soccer for a sec and if we hadn't we would've showed up at that time to see her and we would have never met her! The Lord places people in our paths. 
This gospel is perfect. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Through him every person can be healed. I know that this is true because I feel the Spirit as I testify about it. I love our Savior! I love all of you too! 
Have a great week!! 

-- Elder Spencer P. Christofferson

Me and my new companion Elder Souza
Our new district. From left to right, Me, Elder Souza, Elder Roberto, and Elder Pereira

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tranfer Week. Staying? or Leaving?

My favorite picture EVER!!! It took us about 10 minutes to get this right! LOL!

Hi everybody!! 
It is May! Whoa! Time is flying ridiculously fast! How was your guys' week? Ours was good but tough too! But hey, that's part of a mission right? Also as I write this it is about noon here and we were supposed to get transfer calls but still nothing!!!! I think I am staying but who knows! 

So last Monday night we headed over to Mercia's. Mercia is one of the non-member daughters of the sister in the ward who passed away in a car accident a few months ago. At the very end of the last transfer the Elders in this area went with Bishop to teach her and her family the Plan of Salvation. It apparently went very well and Mercia set a baptismal date. So at the beginning of this transfer we taught her a couple times but she started to be tough to find. At the times we had marked next visits she wasn't home. We also had no way to call her because our cell phone was out of minutes for a few weeks. So after a long time of miscommunication and her avoiding us we taught her Monday night. She admitted to us that she still is very sad and somewhat angry with God for the unexpected death of her Mom. And also how that was part of the reason she was avoiding us. She explained that she decided having us visit will help her. She also talked about how her sister Silvana, (only other member in the family), seems at peace a lot. We explained to Mercia that its because Silvana has the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We told Silvana that she could have that same peace thru the gift of the Holy Ghost as well if she wanted it. (for more info on the Holy Ghost )Then there was a silence and we didn't really know what to do. She was confused and sad. A thought came into my mind and I followed it. I got up and went and sat next to her on the couch and opened Doctrine and Covenants 121 and read this with her, substituting daughter instead of son. 
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail theeagain with warm hearts and friendly hands."
The Spirit (another name for the Holy Ghost) was so strong and amazing helping us all know God is there. She committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying! 
Tuesday was fun too! Our lunch was over an hour away by walking. It was going to take a lot of time! So I called some members and they let us borrow 2 bikes just for lunch! Man it was great! We got to lunch in like 20 minutes!! 

Later on Tuesday we went and taught a married couple, Crisielen and Luis. They are neighbors of a member who took Crisielen to church a week ago! They are awesome. This was our second lesson with them and it was great! They did the reading from the 1st lesson and came to church this Sunday! I believe they will be baptized this next transfer for sure! 
Thursday night we went back to visit with Mercia. She had read the chapter of the Book of Mormon we had left her. But she didn't pray to know if it was true! Read and pray are always 2 of the things we challenge people to do as missionaries. So we asked her why she didn't pray. That opened up a whole fantastic discussion on prayer and being humble. It was really great. Mercia is funny because she just tells it how it is. She says what she feels and thinks, when she feels or thinks it. For missionaries it is actually awesome, haha! We never have to guess what is going on or how she is doing. She will tell us!

Now for Andreza and the reason why this week ended a little tough. So the goal was to have her baptism this week. She was still a little scared/timid, but we figured, "nothing we can't handle, we've seen this situation a billion times! We got this!" That was probably a mistake to think we could do it on our own. We visited Andreza Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday, to try and help her get ready to be baptized. A lesson that really stood out to me was on Thursday night. We had left Ether 12 with her to read in the Book of Mormon. She didn't have time to read it all so we finished reading it with her. During the entire reading the Spirit was some of the strongest I have ever felt. Then I felt the prompting, "teach her the Restoration again." I had got that feeling the day before during our lesson with her and had not obeyed. This time I did. I felt different during that discussion about the Restoration. In reality it wasn't me at all. It was the Holy Ghost speaking through me. The feeling of the Holy Ghost in those moments was some of the strongest I've ever felt confirming the truth of what we were teaching. Andreza told us she believes all of this is true. So we asked what is stopping her from being baptized. She said, "I don't know, I'm not prepared yet." Saturday night we did all we could. Elder Bair went with Elder Bitencourt to visit her and for Elder Bair to do the interview. They stayed there for a while talking with her. She passed the interview and everything. So they set with her to baptized Sunday morning before church. So that was the plan!! Me and Elder Bitencourt woke up at 5am to fill the font and we were all prepared. But when Andreza got there she still said she wasn't ready. She stayed for church and wants to be baptized but needs to feel more prepared. We tried EVERYTHING possible to help her see that she is ready. During the 2nd hour of church she even met with Bishop for like half an hour and still felt like she wasn't ready. That is the beauty of free agency! We can't force anyone to do anything and I really didn't want to force anything because that is not right. Andreza believes what we have taught and I have faith she will be baptized, it just didn't happen this week. :( 

Ok, so we literally JUST got transfer call about 2 minutes ago! I am staying here in Morada Real!!! I am really excited about that. I LOVE this city and the winter is coming and it will be COLDDD!!! I am so pumped, haha. Elder Bair is leaving:(. Also Elder Bitencourt is going to Porto Seguro!! I really have become amazing friends with Elder Bitencourt. We have had such a blast this transfer working hard and teaching and learning from each other and those we have taught. I am sad to see him go but I will for sure stay friends with him. My new companion is Elder Souza. I don't know him at all. He has about 3 months on the mission, I think and he just finished his training. All I know about him is that he is Brasilian! I am sure it will be a great transfer! 

So today, a little later, I will have to go for a “swim” because we filled up the whole font at church yesterday and the plug doesn't have a string on it so I have to go down and get it out. The water is going to be SO cold so I am not looking forward to that, haha!! But it will be an adventure.

Well that was my crazy week! I love all you amazing people and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson
Our last district meeting before transfers!