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 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

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