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

Oct 25, 2010

So I lost a good 20 minutes or so of my email time to computer problems in the lan house. Turn out when you go to a ghetto hole in the wall lan house in brazil, sometimes the internet/computers don´t function perfectly. It was a good oppourtunity to learn patience....?

So first off all, I sent a whole bunch of letters out this last tuesday because that is the only day I have to send letters and it´s been about a month since I sent one. It took a while because every tuesday seems to be a holiday. The funny thing is no one has any idea why they have their holidays. Brazilian independence day was a few months ago, and I asked a whole bunch of people about the independence story of brazil, and no one knows. They just know that on that day, you don´t go to work because you drink all day. Who cares why, right? It turns out that someone finally explained their independence to me, and they claim a portuguese prince just kind of got brazil as a present one day. Wooooo. Independence. Last tuesday was Dia das Crianças, or kids day. There also exists a ``proclomation to the family day´´ which is a new thing. haha. go mormons.

anyways, I was eating lunch the other day and I ate a ton of this pepper sauce, and got it all over my lips/face. 5 minutes later, my whole face was on fire. I thought through a list of mildly basic things to neutralize it, decided on milk, and when we went to our house after I just dumped milk on my face. PROBLEM SOLVED. seriously it solved the problem. Thank-you chemistry. I´m not even sure that milk is basic. But man, it felt good.

Also the other day I was walking and I saw someones foot turn allllll the way around. MY eyes got huge, and then their leg just snapped sideways at the knee and fell off. At this point I did that terrified face that Todd has seen 10 million times, and thought about the probability of a zombie apocolypse. uuhhhh. turned out to be a prosthetic leg. oh wells.

But yeah. woo. Sorry I can´t type more, but I don´t really have anytime left due to the poopinessss of the computers. I lurves you alls and have a good day.

also it´s good to know my nephew has balls. Thor it is then. I´ll make him and electric hammer when I get home right after I make a few other ideas my mind has been cooking up. Example:swamp boat bicycle. Link up a weed wacker engine to a big fan and slam it on a bike. It´d be sick, and you can still pedal. how cool is that? anyways gots to run. laters

Oct 18, 2010


Man, it was a hot week. It was funny because my companion hasn´t really ever felt temperature below 70 degrees before, so he is always complaining about the cold. But even he was struggling with the heat this week. I attached a picture of the result of these last 5 months on my arm. it´s skinny, and has a perma-watch on it now. And yes, I´m using sunscreen.

So I´ll kick out a couple funny stories and then we´ll get to the answers to everyone´s questions. 1st funny story of the week. My companion absolutely destroyed the bathroom at church. The issue with this was that our chapel for now is a rented out house because they are rebuilding our chapel to accomodate more people. so it has like a covered outside stairway that has a few doors, and the door on top is the sacrament room, and the others are little rooms for classes. halfway down the stair case, there is a window. This window is the bishop office´s bathroom window. The very bathroom where the destruction took place. So it happened right before church started, and we have classes first and sacrament last. So as people passed the window everyone was making comments about the horrible smell and joking about how we are all going to die. So during all of church, my companion who´s only been a member for 2 years, was worrying that at the end in sacrament the bishop would get up and ask the congregation ``who did this to our church building? STAND UP NOW.´´ and he was sweating the whole day and really worried. I laughed so hard when I found out it was him. Ohh man.

But in other news, I remembered that Açaí is super gross in the states and no one has ever heard of it. At the gym we had that ``magic super fruit drink´´ that was Açaí. Here it´s so good. I ate a big bowl of it the other day. They love to freeze the berries and then put them in a blender and then eat it with banana slices and sweetened condensed milk and granola on top. Kind of like sorbet, but super good. better than normal good. And everyone from the north claims it´s better there because you can pick it naturally and eat it. Oh, and in a moderately related note, I still need a recipe for Jelly or Jam or Preserves or whatever so I can make sandwiches. Honey is super expensive, so I am avoiding that. Oh and I got a package! woo. peanut butter and syrup. Shfanks mommy.

Speaking of that package, it came on a perfect day, and we ate all the nutter butters at the district meeting I had that day and then gave away most the stuff to the other pairs of missionaries. It was perfect to get 4 things of peanut butter because including me we have 4 pairs of missionaries in our district and everyone was super happy. But one pair wasn´t there so they missed out. So I gave that one to my companion and he ate it in 2 days and then asked me if I had more. I just stared at him and told him no, but that maybe I´ll succeed in making some...? But I took the maple things out of the box and threw away the boxes without writing down the syrup recipe, so I need someone to email me a recipe of syrup that includes corn syrup and brown sugar. haha... I am retarded still. Big suprise.

But yeah, here we work a lot with inactive members and investigators. It´s great because we have a ton of both. I´ve been here for almost 4 months now and It´s been enough time to get some good lasting results with the help of the ward and having a temple so close. We are sending 4 families to the temple in december, so that will be a good feeling when they get there. One was a family that had been inactive for 8 years. They have an 8 year old, an 11 year old, and 17 year old, and parents. They had a whole gaggle of problems and the dad used to just hate me, but now it´s super cool to go visit them, and they are gonna hit up the temple in december with the rest of that crew. It´s nice to know that the members of the family we baptised will have full support in their lives from their family and the blessings that are available to them. It´s calming to see things like that when the whole rest of the world seems to be falling down around you sometimes.

To be honest, that is my favorite part, is to keep working with them after to get them headed the right way. Teaching people how to tie ties, buying them scriptures for the first time, getting them callings, cool little things like that. And they end up loving you for the difference they feel. People are already planning to have a pizza party the P-day before I leave and send me out right. It´s always good to have friends. But yeah, so it goes out here in the trees. just working and sweating and smiling.

I love you all, have a good week...

and laugh when someone farts for me.

Oct 11, 2010

So this week had it´s usual level of oddness (for example a lady told me I´d wind up in a cauldron if I listen to the voices), but also I have a few things that I am wayyyy excited about.

1st of all, I blew my own mind food wise on accident. I wanted to try to make fruit flavored syrups, so I started with mango because I had a few sitting around. I just skinned one side of it and the put it in a pan and crushed all the juice out that I could. It was like a cup or so, but super thick and already kind of like syrup. But I added a bit of water and a ton of sugar and got it cooking. When it started to boil though, because it was thick it wanted to bubble over and fill my whole house with bubbles, so I started stirring it just enough to break the bubbles, and after a few minutes I took it off the stove, put it in the fridge, and went to sleep. The next morning I discovered mango jelly sitting in it´s place. I don´t know at what point the transformation took place, but it´s down right amazing. I ate it with some banana bread the president´s wife gave me and it blew my mind. What´s better, is when I offered my companion some banana bread with mango jelly, he told he it had to be the grossest thing he´s ever heard of. SO I ATE IT ALL. Definately something I´ll try to recreate.

Secondly I bought a recorder. like the musical-instrument-that-you-play-in-3rd-grade type of recorder. I´m like clifford, because I just leer in the corner sometimes playing nonsensical hymns. My companion loves that too. But I found his sense of humor so now we are having a good time. I can get him to laugh so hard that he can´t breathe. With time, I can get anyone... But yeah, I´m sure the recorder will bring me joy until I die. It came with instructions to play joy to the world and a few other good songs like the brasilian happy birthday song, so I practice a ton.

Thirdly, I have found some people that have honestly have had what is possibly the hardest lives I´ve ever heard of. It makes any trial I´ve ever heard of in the united states seem like a big joke. Even my companion has never heard of anything like it. Things like living alone in a favela when they are 14 years old, with just a bed and a crappy gas stove to cook what little rice they can get together because their parents abandoned them early in their lives. And that is honestly like the tip of the iceberg, it´s just that I don´t think writing the other things would be entirely appropriate. But I´m writing everything down and trying to remember, so maybe one day...? Oh, another crazy thing is that I found out one of my investigators used to be a higher up in a drug ring. He used to steal, rob, kidnap, sleep with a gun or a machete, and a ton more. The crazy thing is the sincerity in his eyes and obvious desire to change. You look at him and you can see the devine potential that is in there, and a hard to describe child-likeness because he wants to learn and change so bad. It´s really tough to describe because the same eyes have seen a lot of horrible things too, and you can still tell. It´s been a good learning experience to see the universal nature of the gospel.

And this is by no means ``normal brazil,´´ it´s just that I seem to attract people that have seen rough situations because I´m not afraid of helping them.

Buuuuuuuut this week (today) I´m going to learn how to make some brazilian style black beans with ribs in it amongst other magical things. We´ll see how I do since I´m just going to learn by trial and error. Food is a great part of life, and because of this, if it so happens that it winds up being my cause of death I can accept that. Everyone keep going to church, being happy, and writing me letters. Lurvessss everybody. thanks for the peanut butter recipes

Oct 6, 2010

Renaming kids in Brazil

Sorry for the alarm but we had some leadership switch ups and no one told us we were going to the temple before last P-day. We always will go to the temple one wednesdays, about every 3 months, so in 3 months when I forget and this happens again, you can know why.

But conference was good. The president of our mission said that we aren´t allowed to be in a different room than our companions even if there are other american missionaries with us so I got to watch the conference in portuguese even though we are capable of getting a delayed transmission in english. But whatevs. I probably will get to read it sooner or later. I caught more than I thought I would, just no where close to all of it. Apparently they have extensive vocabularies. Also something I never knew is that the larger part of the translations are pre-recorded and if they stick to their talks they just play it. This enables the people who know portuguese to speak to the people down here in their own language. Some of the apostles are boss-level in portuguese, and others know the words but not the accent. Russel M. Ballard can speak really well, and when he does firesides down here he lets them do a question and answer section with him apparently. Niel L. Anderson however has his work cut out for him, given that he learned french on his mission, then spanish, then portuguese. Lots of the natives were looking pretty lost during his talk and asking some of us if he was speaking spanish. Who knows. I caught next to none of his talk. It´s a lot easier for me to understand natives than people with an accent even if it´s american. I think it´s because I never hear american accents other than my own. But I liked it and it was interesting to me how more than 75% of the talks included agency or choices as a major element of the talk. At least I think so...? haha

But something else I would like to ask this week is if anyone can look up a recipe of home made peanut butter and also a recipe for home made jam. This lady gave me some home made jam/jelly made of this amazing fruit called Jabuticabra (Ja-boo-chee-cah-bra) that just blew my mind and gave me the idea for making jam and peanut butter. I remember Todd and Ashley used to buy home made peanut butter at some store or something that was kind of sugary and really chunky, so that is my goal. My plan is to but 2 pounds of peanuts in a blender and go from there, but if there is a better way I should probably know about it before embarking on this voyage. Also Jam/jelly is completely beyond me, but I know I have the stuff I need to make it given that a random lady gave me a whole bunch. It was funny because my companion talked to her and she rejected him, but then I stuck my head out from behind her wall and she was like ``...have you ever had Jabuticabra?´´ and talked to us for like 10 minutes and gave me a ton of amazing food and marked another visit. Red-hair and white skin and being mildy deficient with a language has it´s upsides.

This week though, like 2 or 3 times, we were trying to open up some areas that haven seen missionaries in at least 10 years. And some of them are in the boooooonies. We come in and all the crazy kids come and start crowding around me when they hear how I speak. ``what are you saying? do you speak english? I´ve never heard of anyone that can speak another language, speak english.´´ and I´ll be like ``oh do you want to know what your name is in english?´´ and then have tons of fun with them. There are somewhere in the neighboorhood of 20 kids that have Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter names now. And it´s fun for me because I try to give them meaningful names. Short and fat and annoying? Gimlee. Crazy eyes? whatever, who cares, you can be Gandalf. Oh you say your name is Mateus? That means Dumbledor in english. And then I´ll speak things in english to them like ``you have absoloutly no idea what I am saying and it doesn´t even matter what I say. As long as I keep the sentences rolling, you´ll be amazed by the words you here.´´ and they are always awed. Then they go and show us their houses and we get a whole bunch of lessons out of it. It works good, because those little po-dunk towns have 5 churches per street and no one likes us untill after we talk to them. The other strange thing about those places, is that all the kids have no fear of just chillin naked. like up to 12 years old. and until today, only the boys. So if I see some naked kid in a house out of the corner of my eye I´ll tell my companion to knock that door because I have a good feeling. I´ve gotten him good a few times. Heryeeah.

But yeah. Good times. Brazil is a funny place, especially as a missionary. Everyone is super nice to you because you are american and have better grammer than they do so they can understand you. A mission here is probably one of the few places that you get bummed when a model sits next to you on the bus in São Paulo, or one of the few places that you get excited because someone mailed you socks and a pen. I don´t really have anything else to write, soooooooooooooo yep. Until next MONDAY then. Segunda-Feiraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


oh and P.S. I love you all, especially Mom and Dad. That´s right, I play favorites.