Monday, June 26, 2017

"I was born to speak Portuguese"

My new companion Elder Alves
HI Everyone! 
So WOW! This week was crazy! Not crazy because a bunch of crazy stuff happened but crazy because it was a lot of NEW stuff! I got transferred so it was a new area, new companion, new house, new ward, etc. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world but I am all good and this transfer will be fantastic! My mission is flying by!! 
So last Monday after I wrote my emails I spent the rest of the day saying goodbye to people in Conquista. Because I had served in the branch AND the ward here I had double the people to try and say goodbye to, so it required a lot of time! I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone that I wanted to because I ran out of time but I hope they still know I love them!! 
 A few highlights here saying goodbye to Cristielen and Luis Paulo. They were sad and still trying to understand the whole missionary transfer thing. I really love that family and I know that Heavenly Father will help them in all they need and that Luis will be baptized soon! 
Another highlight was saying goodbye to Vagner! Since I left he has been staying strong in the church and now is even in the Young Mens Presidency! I saw him every week at church still and it was awesome. I also love his family and it was sad to part ways with my friend Vagner. He will stay strong and is still excited for the temple next year! Man, I love seeing people strong in the gospel. 
I can't really say enough about how amazing the people in Conquista are and were to me. I really love those people and they made an impression on my life! I was sad to say goodbye but I am forever grateful that I was able to get to know them. I truly was sent to this mission for a reason. 
Monday night I left late on a bus with my beloved trainer, Elder Santana, who also got transferred to Salvador and is my Zone Leader now!. We got to Salvador about 7 on Tuesday morning and Elder Santana headed straight to his area while I headed to the mission home alone. I had only been there ONCE in my entire life, (the day I got here haha), but by some miracle I was able to explain to the taxi driver where it was. I got there to find all the other trainers and AP's waiting. We talked, ate breakfast, and then the Assistants gave us a great training. They talked about being positive as a trainer and working hard. Their training got me excited which was the purpose of the meeting! Then President and Sister Bangerter got there with the greenies!!!! I think there were 6. 4 Elders and 2 Sisters. One of the Sisters is American and she played basketball at BYU Hawai'i! She is like 6 foot 3, haha. I had kind of like an INSANE moment standing there welcoming the new missionaries as they walked in. I remembered my first day which really doesn't feel like it was that long ago. It was crazy and it made me reflect on my mission and realize how fast time really does pass. 
After lunch, more trainings, and a quick interview with President, the Secretaries took me out to find my companion and new area. Turns out I didn't have to travel far to get to my area since its here in Salvador not too far from the mission home. Anyway, I met up with my companion Elder Alves and we went to our house. Elder Alves is from Campinas, São Paulo. He is 25 and a very small person :-). He is still getting used to the mission life having only been out 6 weeks plus the MTC, but he has a great testimony! 
Tuesday night after I unpacked we went over to the chapel so I could meet the Bishop, as he was having a meeting there. I got to meet a lot of members and they all seem fantastic!! I'm excited for the missionary work here to progress! After a full Tuesday I went home and went to bed early because I was TIRED!! 
We spent Wednesday cleaning the house, meeting with the Missionary Couple, Elder and Sister Briggs(they take care of all the apartments in the mission), and getting to know more members. By the time Thursday rolled around
 I was excited to truly get to work. I realized quickly that this area is almost without investigators. Which is sad because it is one of the largest areas in the entire mission, if not the biggest. President Bangerter told me that just my area here has more people that the ENTIRE city of Conquista where I just came from, so we've got a lot of work to do. Thursday after lunch we did meet with one of the few investigators, Luciano. He is 30 years old and an awesome dude. He has been an investigator for a good amount of time now and still isn't baptized. After talking to him I found out he hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon! Reading the Book of Mormon is sooooo important and of course reading it will help him be baptized!!! We talked about the Book of Mormon a little and I encouraged him to read it.  Then I got the feeling we should talk about the Plan of Salvation. So we gave a lesson about the Plan of Salvation and it was GREAT! The Spirit was so strong and it made me happy. I can't explain it but the feelings that come when we talk about Eternal Families is unreal. So awesome! 
Here in Brasil right now we are nearing a holiday called São João! It is like a HUGE deal but I really don't know how to explain it. It's like a big party with strange, western like dancing, where everyone eats corn and boiled peanuts, hahaha. I guess it's a big cultural thing here! Saturday night our ward had a party at the church and it was great! We had a lot of visitors and less-active people there! It was great to see and get to know the members. I don't remember a lot of the people's names though because I met SO MANY people! The party was great and it made me excited to get to know this ward better. 
Sunday we had a great day at church and Sunday night there was a general Stake Priesthood meeting. Usually in our mission, the missionaries don't go to this kind of meeting but the Stake President invited us. We got permission to go from President. I figured there had to be some kind of purpose behind us going and there was! The Stake President was last to speak and he called all the Elders to the front. There were 8 of us there and about 150 members. The Stake President said, "So this little army of 8 is trying to save people, but hey need help." He then turned to us and said, "Elders, what would happen to your work if you got reinforcements of about 150?" We all expressed how amazing and how much it would help. Then he turned to the men in the congregation and said, "Brethren, we are the reinforcments and they NEED us! We have been very weak with helping theses Missionaries and that needs to change!" Of course us missionaries were standing there, giddy about what was happening. Why? Because when we have help from the members the work goes 1,000,000 times better!! It was a great meeting and we are looking forward to the reinforcements! 
So this week was great! I am loving this place. Like, imagine Hawai'i, just a little more ghetto, and everyone speaking a different language. That's this area. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE being close to the beach. Every night when we get home, after I shower, I walk out and sit on our front porch thing and listen to the water and feel the wind. It is like pure Hawai'i. I love it. Every morning we go running on the path next to the beach so I hope that will help me get in shape haha. 
This area has a lot of hills and is HUGE. The weather has been rainy and a little cold. Well not cold haha but like for Salvador, cold. Which is like 75ish. The weather is hot and humid but not too bad as right now it is winter here and we get a constant breeze from the ocean. 
A really cool thing about this week is that a ton of people have commented on my Portuguese and say how good it is and that I don't even have an American accent. One lady thought I was from Spain, haha! It is awesome. It makes me want to speak better. I think I was born to speak Portuguese!! Seriously it is so cool! I really don't know how to express the feelings I have about speaking portuguese except that it is awesome! 
I love my mission. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that it is ONLY through him that we can be saved. I love you all! Have a great week!!

Elder Spencer P. Christofferson
The view from my apartment's front porch

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