|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...
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