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

Mar 29, 2011

So I hear soren has been blessed. Hopefully that included giving him a lightning hammer or a rune covered sword of somekind. This week here in Brasilll we had an interesting experience. We planned an awesome early morning baptism for this kid and another family and we get there and the kid is there with his mom and super excited, but the family is no where to be seen. So I call them and the 10 year old picks up the phone and is like "my parents are asleep." Despite our best efforts they ended up missing the baptism, which seemed to be just one more thing in a long list of crazy crap that all happened at once, but oh well. It was just one of those weeks where you wake up every day feeling a little more tired than when you went to sleep and you try as hard as you can but poop is just hitting the fan everywhere you look. Then one day yet another lesson fell through, and just when I was thinking that I was too tired to keep going up endless stairs seemingly for no reason, the lady yelled at me, "HEY WHITEY, WHAT IS YOUR NAME?" from really far away. So I was like "EL-DER CHRIS-TEN-SEN" hoping she would understand my name and she was like "COME HERE, I WANT TO TALK TO YOU GUYS." Turns out she had been to church a few months ago with one of her friends who is a member in another city and since that day had been looking for us. She is a single mom that lives in a wood shack next to what I have lovingly named "the poop river" (I named it that because it is raw sewage in river form) and works like crazy to raise her 2 kids. It blows my mind when I meet people who work 12 hours a day to earn a whopping $30 and still find things to be thankful for. But she is someone who is sincerely looking for the truth about why our church is different, because in her words, "I haven't ever felt as happy as I did the day I went to your church to visit... and I've been to a lot of churches. It felt like I came home where my parents will take care of me and I did't need to worry anymore." So that was a good day.

Besides that I just had a few funny stories like every week. I got to work with this dude building his house and we were doing the bathroom part and it was hilarious to see how they work with PVC. Instead of buying the nice PVC pipe that is already gauged to be linked end to end, they just buy all the same gauge. So then you run into the problem of the pipe never being able to connect, and how they get over this problem is hilarious to me. They take the PVC glue or a bottle of alcohol and they cover the end of the pipe with it and then they light it on fire and wait till it is sizzling and bubbling, then blow out the fire and they ram the other tube into it untill the hot tube that is now kind of stretchy stretches over and then when it cools you have this crappy fitting and slightly leaky coupling of two tubes. then they call it good. I thought it was hilarious. Also it explains the poop smell that I am always smelling, but that is how it is done in the ghetto. It gets really funny when they have already elbowed the pipe a few times and they try to do it again, and in the confusion all of the couplings come apart. Crazy folkkkkkkkk

Then I also realized that my companion never goes to the bathroom without taking a shower after. So I asked him why he ALWAYS has to take a shower and he was like "uhhh... I just am washing my hands in the shower because I like it." But then after some time he told me that he is mildly OCD and has to wash his butt after or he goes crazy, so I am thinking of a funny prank to pull on him using this knowledge to my benefit. Any Ideas? I recently just will randomly ask him if he smells something gross, kind of like poop, and when he says no I insist that it smells bad and he goes to take a shower. But I think there is more to be had here.

Also he thinks blue darts (farting on a lighter to make a big flame) are HILARIOUS and had never even heard of that before. Basically I am just teaching him how to have a crazy fun time and still obey the mission rules and he loves it. I teach him something different every few days as the ideas come back to me.

Also another random thing that is happening is lots of random concerts at Morumbi Stadium which we can see from our house because it is kind of down hill and we can hear pretty good. I know that Iron Maiden was there the other night because I recognized one of their songs. But also there has been since I've been here in the area that I can remember, Shakira, Black eyed peas, AC/DC, and a few other people. It is so weird to be going to sleep at night and to know that the music you are hearing through the window is the real band. Luckily for me it is not anyone that I would ever want to go watch. I'll start caring a bit more when it is a good band that I always listened to that is making want to go watch the concert. I don't think that anyone I listened to is going to be playing there anytime soon...

Also I live in brasil. I think that is hilarious sometimes.

But other than that it was just a normal week. Yet another week of loosely connected thoughts that have run through my mind in the last few days. Everybody make sure to be happy and keep it classy. I love you all and I will talk to you laterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Mar 21, 2011

Whatssssssss up. It is good to hear that Soren is going to get dressed up like elvis and everyone will take pictures of him. I am sure the cats will be thankful for a week off. But yeah, just kickin here in the favela. I never thought that I would get to the point where I can tell you so much about guns and drugs on my mission, but I can't complain because it is super cool. I am pretty excited this week because it looks like it will be a good week to harvest all the seeds we've been sowing for a while here. Well actually, that I've been sowing with my last companions. My companion just got here, so he is pretty excited to be starting the transfer with a gaggle of baptisms and good times. He's hilarious.

But hey, I need to ask for a talk by Robert D. Hales called "the atonement" that he gave at the MTC in provo in 2008. I found a section of the talk here in my house, but it is just a section and now I am curios.

It is pretty fun to be with someone who is both a good missionary and isn't mean and annoying. It makes me pretty happy. Oh man, a big dude dressed up like a woman just walked in. gross. My companion says he's on "my team." looks like its my lucky day...?

But one thing that has been making my life interesting is that the bishop decided he doesn't like me very much. At least it seems that way. When my new companion got here, he told my companion "maybe you can teach this little german how to stop holding back baptisms" right in front of my face. Then he publicly mocked me in front of the members at church a couple times. But hey, it isn't the members of the church who are perfect, so sometimes stuff happens. Even Christ said that all this church stuff that exists is to help people, and thus it requires people who need help. I just hope he calms down a little bit soon, because it is making it kind of difficult for us. But seriously, I am not going to lie, I am super proud of how I handle him and respond to him. We are just trying to serve him when we can and tell him what a good job he does even though he is doing negative amounts of help and smile at him. EAT THAT SUCKA. YOU CAN'T MAKE US MAD EVEN IF YOU TRY. WE'LL JUST SERVE YOU EVEN MORE.

yeahhhhh. It seems to me that life has some kind of rule to it. If something that was imperfect and totally out of your control suddenly gets better and you are super happy about it, immedeatly something else has to self destruct and start sucking. For example, the pool at the gym. Something about that whole "the land shall be cursed for thy sake" thing. At least it is for our sake even though it is really frustrating and makes me want to put lemon juice in my eyes sometimes. Haha. But hey, could be way worse.

AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DAD. PARA BENS MEU VELHO!!! you are officially just a little bit older. One more year and you are an empty nester (or maybe this august). I celebrated by doing something dad would do. Our peice of crap little plastic water tank that has a propeller in the bottom that we call a washing machine tore itself apart and started leaking water out of the bottom, so went to a construction store and bought some plastic resin stuff (like what I used on my car to fill in the holes) and filled the hole for 3 dollars. And it works perfectly. The funny thing is that not knowing if it would work or not we asked for a price estimate (R$87.00!?) and talked to our mission office and ordered a new one before I got frustrated and did that. So basically we are going to have two washing machines now. SCORE. We are talking about selling the one we fixed and buying a ukulele with it to play hymns because the office told us to throw it away, but we'll see how that goes. I am thinking it will never happen.

yep. Trying to think of what else happened here...

I saw a really nice and well dressed old grandma buying a huge sack of marajuana. that was funny.

I found out that my ear has been trained to know what is a car backfiring, what is a firework, and what is a gunshot, even if all are going off repeated at the same time. I learned it because they go crazy when the team they like scores a goal. I remember that before my mission David Scott told me that I would hear cannons and stuff during the soccer games, and it was hard for me to imagine, but now it seems so normal. Also being that I am here in this area, I can usually tell you whether they are celebrating soccer, or the arrival of "the truck" that brings all the drugs. Good times.

Other than that I am just working hard and trying to have fun making a difference. I found out it is super fun to ask people why they think we are doing what we do. it goes kind of like this:

"why do you guys think we come visit you and stuff? Like what is our motive?"

"I don't know, to make money or to make us go to your church and be one of you."

"yeah well that isn't it. We are hear because we love you."

and they always try to explain it away or something, but after a few times getting to know us they see that that is the only real motive and they open up a lot. People here that know us love us. Sometimes we have to eat lunch twice a day because people get their feelings hurt when we tell them we don't have time to eat with them. I am going to have to come back to this area after my mission because I think I am going to miss the friends we have here a lot. They feel like my family. It is kind of hard to explain, and it isn't everyone that we visit that we end up loving a ton, but there are a fair number of people here that I feel like they are part of my family. Meh.

Anyways, gotta go. Happy Birthday one more time to dad, and I love you all and have a fun week.

Mar 14, 2011

one more transfer‏

So my companion got transfered and I am so much happier. I am no gonna lie, he is a great guy that is here for the right reasons and everything, but NOT having someone that is rediculously critical of you around all day is really relieving. My new comp's name is Elder Silva. Just for those of you that don't know, that is a really stereotypical name (like elder smith). But I decided that he is more or less Tyler Bowers. So we get along pretty good. Also he speaks perfect english and only watched american shows before the mission so I can make tons of jokes that are funny to me AND HE GETS THEM. It is incredible. Also, he is officially the oldest companion (in mission years) that I have ever had. He has a year and like 2 months out already, so not only is he fun, but he knows what he is doing. I am counting my blessings, but it kind of sucks beause I think I will be transfered this next go around
Things he likes from the US that they don't have here are:
1) Beef Jerkey
2) Dove Chocolate
so if anyone sends a package, keep him in mind because he is awesome.
Speaking of packages, the package that Grandma sent me is so perfect. Not only did she make a perfect collection of candies, but she put in a self filtering water bottle. I don't know if I mentioned, but we have those on our mission and I lost mine. Then I found another one and lost that one. So I was drinking some pretty questionable water and simultaneously being dehydrated because I am afraid of the water. So woohoo for gramma. She probably saved my life by putting that water bottle in. Or at least saved me from losing time being sick. Plus, it is the same company that makes our water bottles, but a version that is 100 times better. So now I am "the cool missionary" who's water bottle not only works, but is made out of metal. Oh yeah.
But anyways, that is about it. I love being here with my new companion. Being around someone who is fun and happy and knows how to work is so nice. I go to bed so thankful every night after being with my last comp for 3 months. It is funny because he grew up speaking english about half the time, and will say really funny stuff to me in english during the day. Like the other day this gigantic fat lady waddled by and he was like "she's on your team." But even better than the english thing is the fact that is funny. We walked by this lady that was randomly yelling at this other guy "DON'T LOOK FOR ME EVER! NOT FOR ANYTHING! AHHH-NEEEEE-THIIIIING!!!!!" and after like 10 seconds I was like, "buuuut, if I find 50 dollars, and I want to give it to you... can I look for you then?" just joking between us, and then it happened. He laughed. Then he continued with the joke. My companion is my friend. finally. And he thinks pancakes are awesome. Double finally.
Basically this is just going to be the best transfer of my mission so far I think. A good companion, a white field to harvest, and I know what I am doing more or less now. I hope my mission stays this way forever.
But at the same time, if I get put with a turd furgeson next transfer again it will be cool with me because I realized in these last days that I have changed a lot in these last 3 months. Elder Silva says he remembers when I got here, and says I had a scary face. So I was like "cool..." and then he explained that now you can visibly see from pretty far away that I am happy and when I talk to people you can see that I love them like my bros. So that is cool. You guys probably won't see any difference, but I think something changed in me. At least I feel happier...?
But hey something happened in Japan? I didn't hear anything about it really. I just heard it was like 9 billion points on the richter scale, and I was like, "no wayyyyyyyyy..." and didnt hear anything else. But we are fine here. our only issue is our washing machine broke and we are pestering the office for a new one and we are washing our clothes by hand and stuff. So no worries.
Other than that nothing is up. Have a good week and be happy to be alive in a time like this. There is air to breathe and things to do and the Church is as true as it gets. Plus lots of funny stuff happens all the time. Like when people you know have horrible farts and they sleep right below you on a bunk bed. And also, I am realizing that if you try to defend and help people rather than tear them down in your mind, you see that the earth doesn't have very many people that aren't trying their best. Even if whatever they are doing is retarded and selfish. It is crazy and I never had noticed before. But yeah. The end.

Mar 7, 2011

Gonna stay‏

SOOOOOOooooooooooooooo hey. This tuesday is yet another transfer anddddd... I am staying. Haha I'm not going to lie I am pumped to be here. I was thinking about the fact that i might leave saturday night and started tearing up and just pushed the thoughts out. Luckily I get to stay here. But my companion is going to another area. After 3 months with the turd I actually started to like him these last few weeks instead of just trying to like him. It will be fun to have a new face around here though. My 3rd companion in this area... should be a fun time.

But in thinking about this area and why it is so cool I started making a list in my head of cool things and I didn't even realize how extraordinary this ward/area is. It isn't every ward you go to where the couselors in the bishopric used to be addicted to 5 different things including cocaine. Or where your ward mission leader will tell you about the last time he had a gun to his head and narrowly escaped death by distracting the guy and punching the gun out of his hand(because it has happened more than once). (side note: I didn't beleive the story either, but when he punched the gun it went off shattered a window by him and during the fight his back got ripped up by the glass and he showed us the scars.) It is so crazy because you would never guess it by meeting with these people. They are so humble and loving and truely dedicated to following Christ that you would never guess in a million years they used to be so heavily involved in all the crazy nonsense around here. But they used to be. And they are still a pretty rough crowd if they have to be. For instance that same ward mission leader went to the cheifest crime leader and told them if anything happens to his kids or his family that people will have to answer to him. The dude is nuts really, but it is awesome. He loves doing missionary work and is always smiling, so whatevs. I am just really releived that I get to stay here and become even better friends with all of them so that after I can return to come visit them every once in a while.

I am reading in my personal study right now the record that Mormon writes about his life in the Book of Mormon, and somewhere in the 3rd chapter it talks about how he led and loved the people of his nation with all of his heart even though they were being rediculous. He talks about how he spent the whole day pouring his heart out in prayer for their wellfare and working to better their lives, and I feel like I am doing a work that is more or less like that here. The biggest difference is the people of his day were nasty and openly rebelled against God, and the people here are just lost and have no idea what their purpose is. It is way fun to hear testimonies of people that don't know how to express themselves very well because they just say what they are feeling instead of using flowery language, using words like "All I know, is when I read this book, or when I pray about it, I feel happy. And it is a happy that stays there. When I go to church on sunday, it is like I have armor all week. I want to be a part of your church. I want to feel this way forever." And I get to high five them and help them do that, which rocks.

But to throw a funny story of the week in there, my companion and I were at a house and he was having crazy diarrhea, so just when he couldn't take it anymore he asked to use the bathroom. even though he was walking calmly to the bathroom I could see his fists were cleched and he his hands were shaking because of the effort that the task was requiring, so I was already fighting laughter. THEN, milliseconds after going into the bathroom which doesn't even have a door (just a curtain) and is a whole 3 steps away from where I was sitting with the family, there was an explosion. It was so loud, and I was on the verge of losing control and laughing my guts out, but then the explosions continued. To "mask" the noise, he turned on the bathroom sink and started clapping and stomping and humming, but it didn't work. We could hear everything. It was world war 3 in there. And when he started clapping and humming I totally lost it, along with the grandma of the family. So us 2 are laughing and she grabs a roll of toilet paper and with the best intentions says "I think you'll need a bit more of this!" and throws it over the curtain at him. Man, I was crying. Us 2 and the kids. Then because we were laughing everyone was laughing. But he just kept clapping and humming and destroying. Then when he left a good 15 minutes later he acted like nothing happened and asked me why I was crying and the grandma was like "oh hunny, don't be embarrassed, but next time we'll go outside and let you finish before we come back in." trying to make him feel better. Man it was funny.

Oh and people think that I am portuguese now, so at least they think I am a native speaker, just from another country. It is like a chinese dude or a mexican speaking english with a british accent. Progress...? haha.

Welp I have to go. Lurves you alls.