Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"I'm Proud to be an American"

Celebrating on the 4th with the Flag socks
Hi, everybody!!! 
How are you all doing? Another week has gone by yet again! I blinked and it's p-day again and I'm sitting here writing this to you! What is happening? Haha! This week was great! I love this Gospel! Every day I study and teach about it, I love it more and more. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and changes lives! And mine is being changed too! 
So last Monday night I felt like Charlie/Elder Masino in Florida! There was a mini hurricane here! While it probably didn't even come close to a hurricane but here in Salvador, it was crazy! It was SOOO windy and rainy. Close to where we live this lady named Kika has a food stand where she sells stuff during the week. We were there when the wind came. We had to grab on to the polls of the tent thing so it wouldn't blow away!!! It was crazy! The power went out in a ton of places, power lines fell over and Salvador was not prepared for this wind! It was an adventure that is for sure! 
Tuesday was the 4th of July!! I might be in a different country but I'm still American, so I celebrated the best I could. Which just meant with the clothes I wore! J  I wore my blue pants and a red tie with my white shirt. But the best part was my socks! I'll send a picture! The funny part was that the socks actually got a ton of questions so it turned into a good way to start and talk to people! Another way I celebrated was telling literally EVERYONE I talked to about what day it was! It was a good contact and after I explained I was American and that it was the 4th, I explained that the USA became a place of freedom where the Restoration of the Gospel could happen. So I could talk about the Restoration with people! It was really cool and a lot of fun! I hope you guys all had a wonderful Independence Day wherever you were! I'm proud to be an American! 
Tuesday afternoon we had a cool experience! We were headed over to a certain part of our area when I got the prompting from the Spirit that we should take a different road that we don't usually go on. So we did and as we got to the end of the road there was this huge school on the left with a ton of people going in and out. On the opposite side of the road were a few people with carts selling food and stuff. That is a common thing here. I didn't even look over but as we were passing by I heard a voice yell "Elders!" It was one of the Deacons in our ward, Tiago. He was at a cart with another big looking dude. We walked over and started talking to them. We found out the big guy was Tiago's uncle who is a member! His name is Danilo. He is inactive and moved back to Salvador about 2 months ago! He is an awesome guy! We had a pretty cool spiritual conversation with him at their food stand. He talked about how he has felt lost in his life and doesn't really know what he is doing and needs to change something! We invited him to return to church, testifying that the change he needs is this gospel! It just goes to show that the Spirit can be felt ANYWHERE!! We marked to visit him later this week! 
Wednesday morning we had a service project! Yes, a service project! It's a rare thing in this area. I realized that even though we ask to do service for everyone, it doesn't happen too often. Anyway, we helped a family move Wednesday morning! They lived on the third floor so our legs were sore afterwards, but it felt awesome to do some service! It always reminds me of when we would help people in the ward back home move! It was a blast. 
Wednesday night we had a tough and sad experience. One of our investigators, Luciano, told us he is going to stop taking the discussions and going to church. It was sad because we were all excited and prepared to have a great lesson with him! His reasoning was that he didn't want to keep taking the lessons and going to church when he was doing bad things! He said he wasn't 100% in he said. I appreciated his honesty but we tried to change his mind. I explained and testified how that kind of situation is EXACTLY why we need to go to church and try! When someone is doing bad things and feeling down is when they NEED to go to church, not go away from it. We read scriptures with him like Luke 4:18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised," We explained that Christ came to heal and help people exactly in his situation. The Spirit was intensely strong in the room. We did all we could but in the end, he stayed firm in his position. He said he just wants to take a "break." Everybody has free agency! It was sad but we will see how it all works out in the end. Luciano is a great person! I hope and believe he will get baptized one day. 
Thursday was a great day! We had a Zone Conference! I got to see a bunch of my friends and it was a really awesome Conference. We learned and talked about exactly what I felt I was needing. Working better with members and giving baptismal dates! One thing I really liked that President Bangerter said was that if we don't swing, we will never hit the ball! He gave that great baseball analogy with respect to giving baptismal dates to our investigators! We have got to at least try! I loved the analogy but I don't know if  some of the Brazillian missionaries fully understood it  because Baseball is not a common sport in Brasil! 
After the awesome Zone Conference, I went and did a split (I think that's what it is called in English, here we call it a division) in Brotas. Brotas is the area of the Assistants and they are in my district! I was there because Elder Jenkins and his companion Elder Espirito Santo were going to baptize a lady Saturday! So I got to do my first ever baptismal interview!! Man I was nervous and praying so hard to Heavenly Father that he would help me make the interview good and spiritual! He responded and delivered! The lady I interviewed was named Maria Creuza! She was SOO ready! The answer to my prayer came from her! All I had to do was ask the questions and she responded with really strong testimonies of what she had been taught about the Gospel!! It was her who did most of the talking and I felt the Spirit very strongly and was so grateful that I could have the privilege of doing her interview. After, Elder Jenkins and I went and taught a few lessons to some of their other investigators and it was amazing to learn from him! He even said he learned from me which surprised me but I was grateful for the great division! 
Friday we also had an amazing experience! Last week we ran into this girl who we found out she was a member after my companion bought a popsicle from where she worked! We marked with her for Tuesday night but had to remark for Friday night! Elder Alves got pretty sick Friday so I asked him if he wanted me to reschedule again. He thought for a few seconds then replied, "No we can visit them." So we did and it was amazing. Jessica is married to Marcos and they are both members! They have been inactive for a few years now but they are AWESOME! We taught the first lesson and it was great. We found out that Marcos even has the Melchizedek Priesthood! At the end of our lesson, we asked if they would go to church with us Sunday! They both responded yes of course!! I was a little shocked, haha! It was soo easy!! They are the best! They ended not being able to come though because Marcos was really sick and so was their little daughter. But are visiting them this week again and I am excited! 
Sunday afternoon we went on some divisions with the Priests in our ward! It was a blast and reminded me of the times that I went out with the missionaries back home! 
This week during my study I was reading in Ether and had a really cool thought. I was reading the part when the Brother of Jared sees the Lord. The Lord says that there was never anyone else who had such great faith than the Brother of Jared. But why? At our Zone Conference, President Bangerter talked about faith and how faith is action. Before the Brother of Jared saw the Lord he was doing what? Acting! He was making the stones and creating the idea that he then went and presented! For the miracles to come we have to act! The only time that "success" comes before "work" is in the dictionary!! 
OH! I almost forgot! Last night I received some GREAT news! Elder Souza , my last companion back in Conquista called me! Do you remember Cristielen and her husband Luis Paulo? Well,  when Elder Souza called me he said, "Guess who I baptized yesterday? And guess who I confirmed today? Luis Paulo!" He got baptized!!!!! Cristielen's husband! Man I got so happy when I heard the news I almost cried!! Seriously, I was sooooo happy! I had heard that he wasn't doing too good progressing with the lessons the first week after I was transferred so I was surprised to hear he had decided to be baptized! I told Elder Souza to tell them I am excited for their sealing in the Temple next year! I just love missionary work! I makes me so happy! 

Anyways that is all for this week! I love all you guys so much and hope you have a great week!

Elder Spencer Christofferson 

Me and Eddy! The BEST taxi driver ever. He is like famous in the mission. Whenever anyone in Salvador needs to go somewhere he takes you. He's not even a member but loves all missionaries and President and Sister Bangerter! 
Me and my mission "dad", Elder Santana! He was my Trainer and first companion in the mission and is my Zone Leader right now! 
Probably the last photo of me and Elder Johnson! He goes home at the end of this transfer! How time flies! Love this dude! 

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