This is probably the only post that will be from THE Elder Christensen.

If you are reading this you probably know me and are close to me so I won't really describe myself...

But today is Sunday May 02, 2010. I get set apart tomorrow as a MISSIONARY for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 8:30 P.M. These last couple days have been a whirl-wind but I still have yet to fully grasp the concept of flying to Brazil Tuesday morning so I'm betting the coming days will just OWN me from the inside out as far as craziness goes. I am so excited to head off into the unknown, and am ready to tackle any challenge that comes my way. My mom and dad taught me right, and I am so thankful to you all of you that prepared me for getting this far. You all know who you are

Anyways the blog that follows will pretty much just be a post of Emails that are from me to my family and friends, and it will be a good way to see me progress through my mission first hand. Even if my emails aren't necessarily to you don't feel weird about reading them. I want as many people to share this experience with me as I can.

God be with all of you until we meet again. You'll need it while you don't have me to bestow my presence upon you. haha. I'll see you all in a couple years.


Send Me A Letter, I Miss You.

Elder Michael Scott Christensen
Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission
R. Euzébio de Souza, 121
Jardim Londrina
05638-100 São Paulo - SP

Aug 30, 2010

Week two of natives‏

This week I had a blast. My companion is technically the senior, and although he likes to work hard, he has issues with talking to people sometimes because of fear. So I just have been showing by example how to do tons of stuff when the you have never seen it done in your native language before and you have to go do it in a language that you´ve ALMOST been trying to speak for 4 months. It´s so much fun, because I have a command from God to go do these things, so the level of help I receive in the moment is tremendous. Lots of really cool slash funny experiences

For example, we were talking to a man in the street and he said that he didn´t beleive the Holy Ghost was present on the earth anymore. The words I used to explain to him are not in my vocabulary, so that was neat, but also I just randomly said, ``These things can only be known through experience, and you are going to get your experience right now. Listen to your heart as I say what I´m about to say.´´ And I randomly started to bear my witness to him of the devinity of Christ. I didn´t even know what was going on, but my mouth just kept going. The guy was speechless afterwords because he could no longer deny the reality of our teachings and he just got really mad. Pretty neat but sad that he just got angry. whatevs, maybe another day for him.

Also we were giving someone the gift of the holy ghost after baptism, and the bishop asked him who he wanted to do it, and he pointed to me. Great. But it happened, and again the power and authority that I represent was manifest. Sometimes, I feel kind of inadequit to walk the streets with this kind of calling, but I´m here and it´s very real, so that´s cool.

In an unrelated note, everytime I hear reggae like music I want to grab a guitar or ukulele sooooo bad. That is one of the first things I´m going to do when I get back. Blahgh. I don´t have a lot of time today... but I want everyone at home to know that I love them. I am doing good, and I don´t think I would trade places with anyone else on earth right now. Sometimes I go to sleep wanting to just quit and cry mself to sleep because of the level of stress I feel for other people I´m trying to help, but this work is so fulfilling. Brazil is pretty cool too. But keep it classy at home, and maybe I´ll send you guys a picture of something weird next week. Gotta run, so see ya.

Aug 26, 2010

New companion

Welp, I gots me a new companion. Of course it´s my luck that he´s a native brasilian. There is good and bad in this. I only speak portuguese, day, night, always so that´s cool. I have trouble getting my mind going int he morning because I still dream in english for now, but I am learning a lot from him. The bad is that, like many new missionaries, I liked my trainer more. The cultural differences that are present are hilarious as long as I remember just to laugh, but really frustrating and annoying if I don´t remember that.

But I wanted to take the advice of David Scott and many others and just destroy my negative feelings toward him with service. So I woke up the first day and made him amazing banana pancakes, american style, with my precious store of real store bought mrs. butterworth´s maple syrup that I got out from another missionary. It´s approximately a year old, but it´s still got some flavor to it. but anyways, I made him a big ol´ pancake, cooked with love and lots of butter, with the perfect amount of sugary elixer, and he accepted saying ``oh cool, I´ll eat it soon.´´ Well he made some chocolate milk for himself, ate some bread and then stared at it for a while. It was cold by now. So he put it in the fridge. I ended up eating it that night because he was like ``oh I´m starving´´ and I responded with ``oh cool, you still have that pancake.´´ and he ate a slice of plain bread instead. It´s cool though because it was surpisingly good after a whole day in the fridge. The syrup absorbed in and crystalized a little. mmmm...

I am making a lot of french toast that he won´t eat too. And I decided this is actually such a blessing, because I get all the pancakes and french toast that I can make. I think I´m gonna make a thing kind of like flan too, but we´ll see if he´ll eat that.

It´s cool though because I am learning a lot about how to look to the best part of someone. I´ll ask him questions to break the silence like ``so what did you like to do before the mish?´´ and he´ll answer ``work.´´

``Oh cool, but what did you do with your friends...?´´ ``I don´t have friends. I work.´´

The thing he does like to talk about is when he might recieve a leadership position. Topic of choice for brasilian elders: how if you´re a leader your a better missionary. I thought about opening the scriptures to slam this concept, but whatever. No need. I can´t even hardly speak portuguese, let alone teach him life lessons. I´ll just continue to eat my pancakes. I am however reading the book that the church uses to help people with addiction recovery, ``he did deliver me from bondage.´´ I think it would be a testimony building for anyone, having an addiction or not, and being a member or not. It´s good for me because I´m addicted to not liking my companion, so I´m applying it as best as I can and trying to kick that habit. Let´s see what happens... haha.

But I am jealous of the Denmark gang. I was sure that I was going to serve up in that area, speaking ``blingen-blurgen´´ but whatevs. Brazil is honestly so fun. I read a scripture today that I can´t recall off the top of my head, but you guys can look it up. D&C 59:18-20. Talks about the stuff that we have here on the earth like the animals and the trees are here because our Father in heaven gave us stuff to please our eye, just so that we could be happy. I know that sounds really granola-ey, but hey that´s me sometimes. I went out to the anterior of the city to find a someone out into the jungle and it was soooo quiet. In the city something is always happening, but in the trees there was just me, my comp, and lots of cool stuff to look at. The earth is really such an amazing place that we don´t get to experience very much because we have a lot of stuff to worry about. Walking through that jungle and seeing people who don´t have a whole lot of worry even though they don´t have a whole lot of money was an interesting experience, especially because they make this really good juice out of sugar cane. Really, really tall sugar cane.

But anyways, love you guys. I hope someone sends me maple extract in abundance. For now I am using sweetened condensed milk, or home made caramel, or brigadeiro, or whatever else I think of / make. The people here are really cool. Everyonce in a while I teach someone or go out and find someone to help them, and the changes that occur are heart-deep. Their eyes have a new light. Who can really say, but I think I´m seeing life long changes. Keep it classy at home, and always remember, this is my hat now.

this is totally my hat.

I think I just ran over a small bus,

Aug 16, 2010

defrosting the fridge in the shower

last P-day with a trainer

My trainer is getting transfered. 6 weeks in the field went by pretty fast. I still don´t really know who my next companion will be, but we´ll find out tomorrow.

But I have to say I was laughing at Todd´s story about the south. A lot. And to answer Mom´s and other people´s question about what I need, you can send the following. Peanut Butter because it doesn´t exist here. Maple EXTRACT because i need to make some syrup for my pancakes. Don´t send just syrup because I can make it better, but send the maple. Brasil doesn´t have maple trees, let alone yummy little bottles of magic to make syrup. For now I´m going to try using vanilla. We´ll see. It´s also becoming increasingly apparent that i need a sewing kit. I have a pair of pants that i like to use for a week at a time and they are getting destroyed. I´m going to try to wear them untill it´s not physically possible, so sent the needles and thread. Also, candy that has peanut butter in it (nutter butters, reese´s, peanut butter m&m´s) would be cool too. Actually any candy. Just send at least 2 of everything so I can share, and don´t send/declare more than $25 of stuff or I might get a tax and never get it. But for now this is my wish list.

But today there was a cool story. I decided that I wanted to attack the fridge and clean it out today. The freezer thingy hadn´t been deiced in at least 7 and a half months, so it was just a cube of ice. So my plan was to just chip it out, but I realized that would be messy. So I just unplugged it and relocated it to our shower and started to chip it out with a meat hammer. But then my comp realized that we could use the the warm-ish shower water to melt it out. So we did. I ALMOST turned it into a zoolanderish gay water/gasoline fight, but he was wearing a suit and it´s really cold. Soooo instead nothing interesting happened, but I cleaned the fridge. Cool story huh?

That´s pretty much how it goes here. Stuff that is really funny to me, is general only funny to me. I like to go on stretches of walking like a marching band person when we aren´t getting into houses or our lessons are falling through. heel-toe, 1 foot steps, just floating along. I also find it more or less comical that our chapel is being renovated. For us that means a year and a half of church in a random house that they´ll rent out. But hey, who needs a baptismal font, or a place where you can fit more than 150 people. We´ll just keep working along, as I walk like a band person and laugh at jokes that I only I understand. I think a member said we´ll make a font out of a caixa de agua. Basically a kiddie pool. Should be a blast, and for now I´m the only one laughing.

Especially since my trainer is getting transferred. I hope my next companion is funny. Odds are he´ll be a brasilian, and that means odds are against me. They tend to be a serious bunch suprisingly. At least with things like farts. Their culture does not think that farts are okay.

But anyways, something interesting is that we contacted a member that stopped coming to church 7 years ago. He said it was because the missionaries rushed him into baptism, and then left him out in the cold afterwords. He stopped reading the book of mormon and the bible, began to have unanswered questions and just fell away. This isn´t the first time we have found this. So here is my message to the whole world via email. The church is true. People aren´t perfect. If you will pray about your questions and sincerely look for answers you will find them. I don´t know anyone who has had more questions about the church than me. And I know it´s true because I looked. Everyone can if they´ll be patient. Don´t make excuses, just go find the truth

Aug 9, 2010

So it´s weird to think it´s already been 3 months. I mean clearly, still have 21 more, but it´s eerie how fast that went. The big thing lately has been for the members to make fun of my accent. I had to talk a lot more last week than normal because we had a change in the missions. Instead of having a bunch of zone conferences, we have leadership training. The training included trainers, so my trainer went off to some meetings and I got to enjoy a 4 day division with Elder Machado. Ohhh Elder Machado. It´s was honestly really enjoyable, but the poor kid eats sooo much and we had no food in our house. I even bought him marmitex one day, which is like a take out of seriously POUNDS of hot food for only R$6.00. He downed it in like 5 minutes and was looking for more. The issue was that we have next to no money in our area because it´s a little bit bigger than normal and we have to use our money for transport. Soo, elder machado went a little hungry. At one point after a good long day he was was cutting up our last apple and putting it into a glass of the last of our milk, and then microwaving it. And so I asked him if that was a real kind of food here in brasil and he said yeah, but in a really psychotic laugh. So I explained that I didn´t know and he flipped. Apparently it wasn´t a real food and he was making it out of desperation.

As sad as that might sound to people, I laughed my head off. Like, what the heck. Get over it dude. I just let him eat all my food and all my comp´s food after that and now we have literally nothing. but today was money day so we´re good for at least transport for another 2 weeks. I´ll probably just eat a lot of carrots and fruit and tomatoes.

But the other funny part about this to me was that he spoke no english. I´m lucky we only speak portuguese in our companionship, because if not that week would have been tough. I had to do everything because it was my area. But I was blessed and everything worked out fine. My tongue stepped it up a notch I think because everyone more or less understood me....? Piece of cake. haha...?

But anywho, today is pioneer day, and in my world that means activity at the stake center closest to the mission home. Everyone was playing games and such and we organized dodgeball. The funny part about that is we were just using overfilled volleyballs made of leather. So Pioneer day basically meant, rootbeer floats, and hitting the slower missionaries in the face with a really hard leather ball. Needless to say it was a good celebration of our pioneer heritage. I felt the spirit of liberation.

what elseee... oh. Got 6 more letters again this week. This week it was aunt cherie and Gma bringing in the big haul. Thanks for that, It´s great to read words that have a familiar voice behind them, and for that matter words in english. If I get some time I´ll write back this week, but if not it´ll have to wait a few weeks. Our Chapel was closed this week to be remodled and so we have to work out a few things...

and to respond to a question posed by aunt cherie, yes the people here have beautiful voices. They chose to sing a poor wayfairing man of grief with out a piano the other day and that was a treat. It sounded like some unearthly chant of animals on their last leg before death. but it´s all good. I think I read somewhere that all songs are a prayer to God, so maybe it doesn´t need to sound super pretty...? Either that or they just aren´t very good at singing. But I love them. The singing makes me smile, because they love to sing loud and often.

Latin America, it is what it is, and it´s not going to change. I think that volkswagen is still manufacturing the fusca and the bus in latin america. I´m almost certain, because they have they new volkswagen symbol. There will always be a crappy car putting smoke into the air, or a dog running around behind you on 3 legs, or some dude burning his trash and giving you a thumbs up on the side of the road with a huge smile. But that is why it´s cool here. I could do without all the poverty and poop smell everywhere, but I´m sure the people could do without that too. It´s not like they don´t know better. They watch T.V. They know that they are poor. But no one cares. Generally people are happy. The thumbs up is seriously growing on me. They are always willing to talk to you, or make you a cake, or tell you your german and not brasilian. Obviously not everyone is just bursting with joy, but they are noticable happier than america. They have their priorities in their families were it should be. The kids here get so many dirty kisses all the time from every relative that they have. It´s a beautiful thing that I want to stick to me when i leave. But hey I gotta go get some stuff done. Untill next time, I love you guys.

Aug 2, 2010

Brazil Temple

Okay so first of all this computer has dislexia... so... I swear i´m not retarded.

ANYWHOs I´m going to really try and attach a photo this time, but seriously this computer is a joke. But this week it has become increasingly apparent that the elections are fast approaching here in brasil. It´s against the law not to vote (I heard you end up in prison, but i doubt it) so everyone is getting their game face on to get those votes.

And what is the best way to advertise anything? well as we know from the Blues Brothers, you take a piece of crap car and tie a huge speaker on the top and the drive anywhere people can walk. So for example, if you want to sell some eggs you put them in your trunk and then drive around with a catchy tune about eggs for cinco reais and let the people come.

obviously one would deduce that this would make an incredible politcal campaign with the right jingle and a wig. So that is what they do. You make up a rap or a song about what number you are on the ballot, put on a blonde wig, and if you are really dedicated, dance your heart out on top of your car as your brother or wife drives. The really smart candidates will make little cards too, because here it´s legal to just show up to the voting box with a buisness card sized ballot that someone made for you already filled out and ready to go.

I am trying to include a picture of my favorite to win federal deputee (spelling?). He´s ``the beautiful candidate.´´ also he was dedicated enough to combine all the facits of a good political campaign here. Even the wig.

But I realized that thursday will mark 3 months out here. It will be funny to see how bad my grammer is by the time i call home for Christmas because I´m trying really hard to change the way my mind thinks about things. But yeah, kelsey will be headed into senior year soon, so she should keep me posted on the exciting times she has as the big dog. Maybe beat up a freshman...? haha, oh man, while that probably wasn´t funny to you guys, at least I´m laughing about it.

Oh and I got 6 letters this week, so false alarm.

speaking of which, Mqatt- got your letter and I liked it. Primarily because it was all of 6 sentences. Secondly, because you said you loved me. Thirdly because Hawaii is a sick place to go on a mission. Sincerely, congrats. I know that sounded insiceredsfaçj, but it wasn´t. I didn´t really want to write to you untill you got out there though so... here is your response: woo.

anyways, it´s misting outside. I managed to attach 2 pictures I think, but scan them for viruses, I´m in a pretty shady lan-house. One pic is of the temple and the other is of Tiririca, my favorite for federal deputee.

sooooo... yeah. Loves you all. K bye.