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

May 30, 2011


So on tuesday we did a trade for a day with another pair of missionaries and that night I was with this hilarious fat american elder from indonesia because his dad works for a gas company (that was cool because my roommate at college, Ian Christensen, is from beijing and is family friends with this elder). So anyways, we get a pizza at night and we are trading stories and then we go to sleep, and next thing I know I am freezing and super nausiated. I looked over at him and he was sleeping with no sheets or anything, so I knew it wasn' actually cold and I just had a fever and that started what turned out to be 2 days of vomiting fun. I actually only threw up like 5 seperate times, but the locations were unusual. One time I threw up RIGHT after a lesson on the side of the street and another time I couldn't even think during the lesson because my fever was pretty bad so I asked to go wash my face in their bathroom and puked so I could have a half an hour of clear thinking and teach something that would make some sense. So it sounds like it was just a good time of sickness for everyone. I have to admit, appendecitissdfaslkçdjfsdlkfj sounds a lot worse, so brandon wins.

That is pretty much it though. I decided the second day that maybe I should try to get better, so I didn't set my alarm to get up and I was just going to try to sleep it off, but then when I woke up 25 minutes late I felt like a lazy turd ball, so we just went out to work anyways after lunch. It got pretty funny because I couldn't keep anything down, so in the end in two days I had only eaten a slice of bread and about 1/4 cup of rice which I mostly threw up anyways. It made me feel pretty week, but by thursday I was fine and I ate a lot to make up for it.

Buuuuut then on sunday we THE GROSSEST herb salad I have ever eaten. It was SUPER bitter. It was this hard core bitter stuff called Haomarão or something like that, and that word is super similar to the word for shrimp which is Camarão, so I thought he was saying we would have some kind of shrimp salad, and I was excited. BUT NO. It was litterally the worst thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. It tasted kind of like a bar of strong soap. Gross.

Other than that, the week was good. It looks like me and my companion will stay together, and I will probably stay here in this area for a long time by the way things are looking. That is cool though. I will get to know the people super good again.

The other thing that was funny is that I think I just had the equivalant of a "mid-life crisis" the other day. I realized that I have less months left that I have spent here. It seems like literally just a couple weeks ago that I would joke with the older guys on the mission and point at airplanes and be like "I have 21 more months! you've only got 2!!!" and they would get all sad. Sooner or later that will be me...

But enough with that. Go kelsey for graduating. That is exciting. Congrats for not being lame enough to be a super senior. Now all you have to do is relax and go to college. It's 30 times harder but you can sleep WHENEVER YOU WANT (I took a nap everyday at around 2:30 and Todd can testify of that). The only drawback is the lack of cat companionship. Go tear it up and get tons of attractive friends and then organize them into an alphabetical list the rates them with numbers on coolness, intelligence, etc. That will come in handy someday.

Oh and thanks Rach for sending the pics. I'll put all of mine on a disc and send them to you guys. I have like 550 or so. I just need a free P-day to do it and it looks like once again this week won't work out because I live so far away from everything. But we'll see if I can't weasel it in there somewhere.

I've got to go. I love you all. Stay classy and thank yourself that you live in a country with climate controlled houses. when it gets down to like 50 degrees at night it sucks if you live in a cinderblock cave. latersssssssss

May 23, 2011

Soooooooo... the more that I send emails, the more that I realize that I don't really have crazy stories anymore. At least they don't seem crazy or different. But here is a basic summary of what has happened in the last week or so.
We started off the week with just some normal lessons to people about how they can / should follow Christ and such, and on the second day of the week we ran into these people who had prepared for our visit by going online and printing off all of the anti-mormon stuff they could find. And so that was interesting because it was mostly falsified information or true stuff that the people didn't agree with. So they in turn gave me a big packet of what them and most christian denomonations believe. They basic beliefs work like this:
1) We need to rely wholly on Jesus Christ given that we are all imperfect and are naturally inclined to sin and that makes it impossible to go back to Heaven. (correct)
2) He is the only one that can help us because he is the only one that has ever lived or will ever live a perfect life, and he paid for our sins and ressurected. (correct)
3) In order to rely on him, we must accept him into our lives. (correct)
4) In order to accept him, you need only to say a prayer and then go to any church that uses the Bible. The prayer they gave as an example in their pamphlet went kind of like this, "Oh Lord, I need you. I open the door of my life to you. I thank you for forgiving me of all my sins and accepting me how I am. Thank-you, Amen." (not correct)
5) After saying this prayer, you are done. According to the promises in the Bible, you can trust that you are now clean from all sin, that you will have eternal life, and that you have the Holy Ghost, because the Bible definately says that. There is no need to lisen to your feelings and you actually shouldn't listen to them, because a true christian is not affected by his feelings. A true christian listens only to facts, as explained in the Bible (or by the pastor). Trust in the facts, not the feelings. (not correct)
They then had a picture of a train that had a locomotive, a coal cart, and a caboose. The locomotive was labled "facts," the coal cart "faith," and the caboose "feelings" with a brief explanation saying that there is no way the caboose will ever pull the locomotive, no should it ever try. These happen to be the same churches that require 30% tithing and tell people that the bible says they should sell their house and give their money to the pastor. They call this "the plan of salvation."

And that turned out to be the theme of the entire week. Everyone from the catholic priest we taught, to the random bolivian lady, told us that there is no reason why they should pray to God and then try to listen to what their feelings are telling them, because the Bible says they are saved and facts are way more important than any kind of feeling. Interestingly, not one of these people we taught could say they knew for sure whether or not their church was true, but that based on the facts someone else told them they believed. God is basically a silent character who they should learn about, and even talk to, but will never hear because he responds to their prayers only in a physical sense (they ask for a job and get it) and never a spiritual sense (feelings are irrational and can't help us.)
Then as a stark contrast we taught a lesson with a way hard core dude named Rondalinho Gaucho. He said that when he first heard the missionaries, he understood that if the Book of Mormon was true then the church they represented was Christ's church reestablished on the earth by a living prophet. So at night he knelt down with his sister and was like, "do you think it is true?" and she said, "I don't know... let's do what they asked and pray about it." So she prayed first because he was embarassed to pray and then he prayed after. They sat there kneeling and then he was like "It's true." and she nodded her head and said "yeah, I'm 100% sure of it."
So what is the difference between them and the people who study 10 years and never know anything or sure other than dates? The Bible tells us that certainty of spiritual things comes through the Holy Ghost, and no amount of studying can mirror or come close to it. The Holy Ghost testifies through feelings like love, peace, goodness, faith, calmness, and other tranquil feelings. As Ronaldinho put it, "the fact that I know is completely unrelated to the fact that I read. God told me that it was true and that is it. Now if I don't read, I'll be denying a divine responsibility that I have because I know, but I'll never end up knowing any more than I do now by studying."
That is how it works. The Church is true, the Holy Ghost testifies of it, you can go ahead and ask God for yourself if you want.
I love you all and I hope you haev a good week

May 16, 2011


so... hey. First of all it is good to hear that ballistic man pooped his pants in the hot tub and all over everywhere else, but sad to hear that he will no longer be available to train me after my mission. Luckily, I am pretty sure I can remember his routine from memory, so I'll just do my best to follow his ways.

I got all the pics of soren. Pretty epic. I liked the mustache one the most. 10 points for style.

Welp, what is new here in Embu Guaçu. We are having an interesting time finding people to teach, as no one is willing to read and/or pray. The people here are interesting because they think of themselves as intellectuals, but being that the average inteligente person has little to no biblical or spiritual knowledge (not saying that every one is that way, but the average person). So basically their arguments or reasons for not beleiving make no sense and they just talk in circles and end up telling you that they are basically atheist even though they go to church every sunday. Some people even tell you that the bible is pretty much a fairy tale which makes it difficult to get some kind of foundation with them to get them to test your words. Basically, people like that are frustrating because they think they know so much that they don't even need to pray about the stuff because they either already know what God is thinking even though they have never studied extensively anything he has ever said, or they know there is no God. sweet.

I feel bad sometimes for my trainee because we get rejected a fair amount and the people who accept us just accept us as friends and are usually kind of far from ever accepting the message. But, it is good for him to see now, and to see how you should try to react to those situations (and sometimes how you shouldn't), and to see how you can push the work along by having a ton of faith and praying for guidance. Then he'll be ready to go to a simpler area and tear it up. But for now we'll tear it up here.

In other news, I was looking through my cards and whatnot and I found my debit card which happens to be expired. So here is what I was thinking we should do, you should instead of mailing me money randomly and dangerously through the mail, renew my debit card and mail it over here before you activate it. That way when I am about to come home I can buy some cool brasilian stuff and bring it home for you guys. Also because I used all that cash that was sent buying cool DVDs and stuff in portuguese (like double dragon and thundercats) as legally as I can. Even though I haven't seen them yet, I know that was a good decision.

Today I will print off some epic photos and send them home sometime this week. I sent a mothers day card that should be getting there someday too. It is pretty funny so get excited. Other than that there is not much going on. Just grinding along and praying for the people to be curious/humble enough to want to know what God's will for them is. It is frustrating sometimes to give people the greatest opportunity to be happy ever and explain it to them with every ounce of conviction that you have, promising them that God will respond to their prayers, and then have them just toss it aside and never try to see if we were telling the truth. But then every once in a while you find someone willing to try and it is super rewarding. And in the mean time you keep yourself happy by living in a good way and knowing you are doing all you can, and of course having fun when you get time.

Lately we have been having tons of cockroaches in our house and so our recreational activity has been killing them and then lighting them on fire because they always come back to life. Also I learned how to make a rocket out of some cleaning alcohol and a 2 liter bottle, so that is a good time. But mostly we just work our brains out for others and we don't need much else to be happy. It is the good life.

Welp, have a good week. I love you all a ton. There are only about 50 left until I get home, so use your time wisely because soon everyone will have to make me sandwiches and let me sleep on the couch.

May 9, 2011

meow meow meow‏

It was good to talk to you guys. I was pretty frustrated that I wasn't able to get that webcam working to see you guys, but it was very nice to talk on the phone. As you guys kind of heard in my voice I was in a pretty bad mood after that whole not being able to make it work thing, and it was nice to be cheered up. It also made me realize that after writing about my life of missionary work for an entire year, there isn't a whole lot more to say... other than the fact that I have hit 1 year on the mission. That is pretty nuts. I used a spray on deoderant bottle and torched a shirt. Woo.

One thing that happened recently is that a bum was drinking in the bar next to our house and decided it would be funny to light the dry weeds next to our house on fire. So he tossed some liquor in there and lit it on fire and it was really anticlimactic. When your house is made of cement and bricks, apparently it can't burn down. Who knew?

Other than that there is not much going on besides teaching and trying to teach more. This lady that we are teaching right now is having troubles with a ton of doubts, and so we told her she can write them all down and then we'll come back and answer them. So it seems like she took an entire week to find all of the most profound questions about this and that and write literally every doubt she had down, and then when we came back to explain we read through the list and said, "great. we can answer alllll of these questions with one answer." The answer is 5 minute explanation of how God always since the beginning of time has called prophets to guide his people on this earth, and how whenever there was not a prophet leading the people, those people had no way to be God's people or led by Him in a true sense. Anyone who reads the bible to a moderate degree will agree with that. There is literally not one instance of a people being led by God who had a fullness of God's teachings who did not have a prophet. Sometimes because people can be blind they rejected prophets, but when they did that they just wandered around aimlessly in a spiritual sense and to keep the people from continuing in darkness and confusion, God always found a way to restore the truths through one more prophet (and usually a chain of them). So for instance, Adam was the first one but people rejected the truth. God then shows us a cyclic pattern in the Old and New testaments of bringing it back (noah, abraham, moses, and even Christ are examples of this). And it is interesting, because each case was specific and different in some ways, but also each case is clearly God calling a prophet to bring order back to the earth and restore lost truths.

So then you come to our time. Anyone who has ever studied to any extent history of the earth immedeatly after Christ will see that once again, the perfect church that was organized by our savior that had the foundation of living prophets and apostles who recieved direct revelation from Christ and recieved authority by the laying on of hands in the same way that Aaron brother of Moses did in olden times (the only way to recieve authority before or after Christ) was corrupted and changed and after a couple of hundred years of confusion began to spawn the churches we have today.

So did God just forget about us and leave us down here without a living prophet or all the truths? nope. In the same fashion that he always did, He called a prophet and reorganized His church on the earth and the book of mormon is concrete proof of that. If it is true then the prophet today is named Thomas S. Monson, and he has the same aouthority that God gave to Joseph Smith, the first prophet in our time. If the book of mormon is false, then all of this stuff is just one more story of a church that has no real foundation in divine authority. So how can we know if it is true or not? Tons of people in the bible answer this question, and one of them was James. He said "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally (gives it to everybody openly and freely) and upbraideth not (doesn't throw it in your face), and it shall be given him." or something like that. I have it memorized in portuguese, but not english anymore.

So that lady with all of the questions about our church was left with one question: "is the Book of Mormon really the word of God like the Bible is?" So she is reading and praying right now and we'll see how she does, but I already know what will happen because we see it so much. She will recieve an answer through the power of the Holy Ghost. According to the bible that will mean that she'll feel something in her heart like love, peace, joy, an excess of faith, etc. Everyone explains it a little different, but the feelings are the same. She'll be confident and sure that our church really is that same church that was always organized by God since the foundation of the earth, that like it always had, we have a living prophet today with the same priesthood authority and feel a desire to follow Christ by repenting of her things she was unknowingly or knowingly doing wrong and being baptised, so that she can recieve the gift of the holy ghost in the same way it was given in the bible. The only way it can be given (see acts chapter 8). Then she will be happy according to her faithfulness forever.

It is an awesome work that I do, but if it wasn't true it wouldn't be that cool. Luckily it is.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week. LATERSSSSS

May 2, 2011


So, this last friday I heard directly from the lips of our mission president that we can use skype with video to call home on mothers day. That was pretty exciting, so I got it organized and found a member who will let us use his coorperate office at his fiberglass factory that happens to be next door to our house to call on sunday. So long story short, you need to email me your skype name so that I can search you guys and we will probably try to call at 4:00pm our time which I think would be 10 or 11 your time. SO yeah... do that for me and email it before wednesday because wednesday I got authorization to get it working and I'll get it all set up and confirm the time I will call you guys on skype. So yeah, send that information. 1) if that time is good 2) your skype user name.

Secondly my comp is super fun. Sometimes I see he is kinda tired and I remember being like that at one point. The other day I was like, "Today is going to be a good day because I woke up amped today" and he responded, "you wake up amped everyday." In my head I just thought, "yeahhhhhhh..." and kinda nodded looking off into the distance and grinning like frankenstein. But I remember how it was. Not understanding anything and just following your companion around useless. It'll pass though and he'llbe an epic missionary because he is a super sincere kid and wants to do what is right.

Funny stories we don't really have this week. I like the people here, they are super nice. There are a few returned missionaries that are pretty much excited to do just about whatever with us. One is named Ronaldo and he makes a meannnn hamburger I hear but we still haven't eaten it. I just know that he takes us everywhere in his car and gets more excited to teach the lessons than we do sometimes so it is great working with people like him. He is starting to lift weights with some dudes from the church here and is totally owned. And there are a few other random people like him that just help us a ton. This ward has huge potential, we just need to get some direction and work together.

Another thing I am noticing is that there are A TON of what we call "snakes" here. "Snakes" are girls that try to go after you and they got that name because of this annoying hissing noise they do to call you over as you walk down the street. They are everywhere. Right as I type there are two to my left. It seems like they appear in every lesson, or every single time we go buy something to eat, or anywhere else. At this lan house there is one that won't give us our username and password to logon so that she can "help" us everytime we come. Today I was like, "being that this software is written in english, I am pretty sure there is no way you can help us..." and she was like, "Just let me do it in case you have a question." Soooo... yeah. what the heck. I am pretty sure the girl next to me farted and it reeks.

Anyways the lady we are teaching right now the most is really nice and cool. She is the mother of a recent convert that lives in our area but that was baptized by another mission (happens a lot here). But she is like 55 years old and used to be a teacher and and accepts anything we say. It is actually hard to get her to ask God about what we teach her and that frightens me. But she is praying and asking and feeling better and better all the time about her decision to be baptised and not just because I told her to, so that is good. She too happens to have a snake in her house. It is this 21 year old english professor japanese chick that lives there and just happens to be her daughter. She asked me to come over when she's alone so we could get to know each other better in portuguese because she knew my comp wouldn't understand, so we talk to her as little as possible and just invite to hear our lessons about the gospel. Basically I would say that has been the most annoying thing of late. I think 2 americans together is a really bad idea, because I am pretty sure that is why the girls are going crazy. Something about white skin and oddly colored hair drives them nuts. And then they waste our time lying to us about the fact that they didn't read or pray or do anything, just so we'll come back later. So yeah, pray for that to stop please.

But I love you all, and I am thankful for the fact that we'll talk FACE TO FACE sunday. Make sure to email me that stuff. k, bye.