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

Jul 31, 2011

Sounds like everyone is tearing it up across the globe and things are changing quite a bit in tri-town. World travelers unite.

Luckily I know a dude who is suuuuuuper portuguese from portugal, and it isn't that hard to understand their accent. It requires a bit of mental force, but it possible. In other words, we can vacation anywhere in portugal or brasil or portuguese speaking countries of africa without significant language barriers when I get home. Brasil would be 100% without language barreir, and portugal would be like going to rural ireland where their english is all crazy and has different grammer. Who knows about africa. The people that I know from capo verde are pretty easy to understand, but for now moçambique remains a wild card.

ANYWHO. We are trying out a system of baptizing every week that another elder explained to me at a mission activity that seems pretty good on paper. It takes 5 weeks to set up, but then after that you should technically be baptizing every single saturday. We'll see about that.

we've got quite a few people that we are preparing right now. Lots of super old people and 3 little kids who's parents are less active members that are coming back to church. I don't know what it is, but old people think I am so cool. I feel tons of love for them too because they really understand what is important in life usually and don't mess around. One of them is blind-ish, and to still have fun with the guy we are going to do blindfolded games (try to figure out what you are eating, what your are holding, etc.) I am thinking he is gonna whoop us because we see the guy driving his car all over the place even though he is blind. He's gotta have some mad hearing skills like a bat or something. We'll see if he can compete with me in the "try to figure out what you are eating" catagory.

Sometimes we work with this wayyy old dude in our ward who looks a little like a little puppet and sounds just like that puppet from Mr. Rogers Neighboorhood that had super creepy rosy cheeks, who is SO COOL. I don't know what the heck is wrong with me sometimes, but when I see other people showing real Christ-like love to their neighboors I end up thinking that they are my best friend or something. This guy has been a church member for 20 years (note: the missionaries found him in a bar that they took cover in because it was raining like crazy), and still whenever he meets someone new he plans a time when they can meet the missionaries. A lot of people continually reject his offer, or end up deciding not to try to read or pray about anything, but he still keeps being genuinely their best friend. Last night, he gave us yet another referral like that, and he left joking and everything and then when we walked a ways from the house he stopped, and with a face/voice super full legit of concern, simply told us he wants this new family to be happy. They moved into that house yesterday morning and you could tell even though he had just gotten to know them as he was leaving for church that morning, he legitly feels love or them. He's a boss. I love people like that, and usually they seem to be older people.

If you end up sending a package for my birthday send candy. And send 3-4 of everything so I can share it with my companion and the people here. He is still kind of a turd ball from time to time, but whatever. I think if I keep being exact in everything he'll stop being a slacker. He got out of bed an hour late today, didn't study, then started getting dressed at like 10:40, when we are supposed to be gone by 10:45 and dressed before 8. I figure telling him to change something he already knows he should change won't help, so I just always talk about how happy I feel from doing what we are supposed to do and hope he does it by choice.

Actual birthday list:
1)crest white strips
2)candy (packaged well to not melt/get smashed)
3)tools for my tool box (don't send those, just put them in my room)
4)pictures of washington (especially the tri-cities area), my car, am areal view of BYU (so I can explain everything better to people because they can't imagine a world without forest)

All in all things are going good and I feel little-no desire to slap my comp in the head most of the time. That is what I call a miracle. I hope you guys have a good week and that everyone gets home safe from trips.


P.S. to all friends who may or may not read this but don't write me for 6+ months. you suck.


Jul 18, 2011

(graphic of poop with flys circling)

well that is cool. It is nice to know that the church's email program doesn't cut corners. They even have a way to send poop to your parents.

ANYWAYS. I am in the new area which is called "Raposo Tavares". It is actually a really good area and there are some people already being taught here. Usually I get transfered to areas where that is not true. The problem is that after the first day, I mentioned to my companion that that day would be the last day that we just pass by members or investigators houses with out a plan and with out teaching a lesson. He got furious and called me a robot. And so it began.

So we went a couple days with him criticizing everything I do and being what we call super "GH" which stands for "the glory of men" in portuguese, just running after some way for other elders to see what an incredible person he is. He also promised to teach me how to baptize like he does and teach me how to conquer my pride and be spiritual like he is. Lucky for me he has tons of experience (6 weeks) and has an enormous wealth of spiritual knowledge (he got a testimony this week). So that has been a blast. My first attempt to change his behavior a bit was to get his attention. So I told simply that what he was doing was really unenjoyable for me and asked him to stop critizing me. He freaked out and started yelling in the middle of the street. I am not going to lie, after a couple days of that I was pretty fed up, but trying to avoid doing the same thing he did, I just started being equally rude one night with sarcasm, but that lasted all of 20 minutes because I felt bad. So, I manned up and just decided to let him be an idiot if he really wants to, but to never let it get to me in any way and just treat him like a normal person. It took a few more days but it worked. I think he realized that he doesn't know how to do anything after I let him fall on his face work wise over and over again day after day and without ever actually saying anything or apologizing he changed a bit. Mission accomplished in my opinion.

So now I am just teaching him how to plan well and how to study well and starting from the ground up retraining him, because his trainer was a slacker who based his personal worth on how his numbers compared to others. Being that this is one of the better areas, he did minimal work, passed a lot of time with teenage girls "teaching" and then left the mess with me. But I am getting pretty used to this whole concept of take someone elses job that they left half done, restarting it and then finishing it. I guess that is what I get for never finishing anything before my mission, huh? Hopefully I can change this situation and get this kid running on all cylinders before he gets transfered because he is all mixed up.

Other than that though, I am excited because this ward is already pretty excited to help. More than any ward I have seen here. The area is pretty small and only has 5 neighboorhoods when my last area was an entire city that included 67 neighboorhoods seperated by long stretches of jungle and dirt roads. This area is in the city. I had forgotten how gross it is in the city. I think it is always about to rain, but then I realize that it isn't overcast, it is pollution. The other thing is people here in my area are richer and very well educated. That is a new thing for me too. Usually we had to read to our investigators and then explain to them, but now you just leave the book with them and they read. It seems like it should be easy, but I am learning that nothing is easy and I just haven't ran into the problem yet.

One problem we did run into was the bathroom. The toilet was clogged when i got there and the whole house was destroyed by the 4 elders that were there (3 got transfered out and I got put in and we took over the other area). So we called in a member who was willing to help and wrestled out a platic grocery sack with something in it that had been tied shut and flushed halfway down the toilet. I didn't even want to know what was in the bag so we just threw it out and I have been spending my nights and mornings sweeping and mopping while my companion stands by watching or "helping" which usually just makes things take longer. He later explained to me that he has never taken care of himself before, and wants me to teach him. Awesome.

Sometimes I stop and I think, "I thought I was called to teach and convert people... why does it seem like all the hard work I do involves fixing other missionaries problems?" All I can say, is that I miss Elder Burkett my last comp, because he was really nice and when we managed to be in our area the work flowed so smoothly and miracles happened every day. But oh well right? happens. I guess I need to get used to it and just enjoy myself as I trudge through other people crap... even if it does have to be literal sometimes (the toilet didn't just have plastic bags). At least we have people to serve and scriptures to study and a heavenly father to pray to. That will never change and in the end those things end up being the most enjoyable part.

Even then, I think one reason that the celestial kingdom will be nice is that people there will be responsible enough not to have to have someone running around being them cleaning up and finishing their crappy work. Just saying.

Anywaysssssssssss, I love you all. I hope Kelsey feels ready for college. Next time you send me stuff, send me some crest white strips and some more peanut butter related items. That should probably be my birthday package along with tools in my toolbox. If you guys still haven't fully completed my set of wrenches with both metric and standard of those nice craftsman wrenches that have a closed ratchet side, consider doing that... just a thought.


Jul 11, 2011


Well I am getting transfered. That was a bit of a downer because we've been working pretty hard for 3 months and just started to get things clicking here in this city and now I am going to leave my baby son to baptise everyone. We have the next 4 months of baptisms already planned out for the next elder that will come by here. 2 will baptise next week, a family 3-4 depending on what the mom decides she is going to do the first week of august, and because of marriage problems 4 more are already planned for september and october. So this next guy gets to come into an area and have pretty much a guarantee of at least 2 for month which is standard our president set for the next 4 months. So even though I won't get to take part of any of them, at least I got to see the area change and take off. The people in the ward here are getting pretty excited about the work because we have a bunch of new people who are their friends at church. It's funny because the same thing happened in my last area, which has baptised more than 10 I think and most of them I was teaching when I left. So, whatever I guess. Some people sew, and some people reap.
I started this thing that I made up called "Project: POTNaM" that is pretty hard core. I made a series of charts in this notebook that I have that span 3 months time and I have to respond to the same 23 questions every night. The questions are made up of questions from this activity in the missionary guide about Christ-like attributes. It is just a bunch of phrases like, "I think about my savior and what he has done for me during the day" and "I actively look for opportunities to serve others" and "I face all things calmly and optimisticly" and I have to put down a number of 1-5, 1 being "never true" and 5 being "always true". And so it goes for now. This is just the 3rd day, but it should be cool to help me start drilling these attributes into my head. I forget stuff a lot, so after 3 months of repeatedly going over these things every night, we'll see if something has changed. The goal is to get some kind of permanent change that will stick with me after the mission. And "POTNaM" stands for "Putting Off The Natural Man." If nothing else I think it is way funny to take out this notebook everynight that is filled with charts and start writing down tons numbers and either cheering for myself or booing myself. I'm not going to explain what I am doing to my comps just to see how they react.
It was a pretttty long week though. I got called by the new president to go figure out what was happening in another area on my P-day. We were in the middle of this 4th of july zone barbeque and he calls me and is like "So elder, ARE YOU EXCITED?!" and I was like "uhh... yeah....?" and he was like "THAT IS AWESOME BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!!" screaming in the phone. Then he was just like "but also an elder called me and he's jumped over the wall surrounding their house to get away from his companion and their neighboor might call the cops. I want you to go over there and tell me what is going on." So we went over there and that was a blast. Meh. Long story short they were physically fighting and there was blood all over them when I got there. A bunch of crazy pants.
Then we went to a "festa Junina" which is like a june party they have. Basically they paint little kids to give them dirty mexi-staches and everyone just dances and stuff. Lots of good food/avoiding the young women who kept taking my companion and I's picture because of our red hair. Also a bunch of crazy pants.
But yeah that is it. I am going to another area tomorrow and I still don't know quite where. It is possibly my second to last area at the rate things are going. We'll see....
Love you all. Stay classy.

Jul 4, 2011


AN ABNORMALLY SUCCESSFUL WEEK FINALLY! the funny thing is that the way we did our work didn't change at all. The same stuff we always do and the constant effort we always give just finally clicked. It is funny because I am all excited about how it went, but because of companionship exchanges another élder came to our area for a couple days and it seemed like he had a rough time there. He was just really tired afterwords. Apparently we work harder in our area and don't see as many results immedeatly. But whatever, I'm a man. Deal with it.

So we had 10 investigators at church and at least 5 of them were progressing towards real goals (like baptism), so that was the day that we finally saw a good amount of fruits from our labors. One of our investigators got up and bore his testimony during fast and testimony meeting and made everyone excited about life. Good times. I love it when people pray about stuff and decide to follow Christ.

Other than that a couple of crazy things happened. This story is probably the best one. On tuesday we had gone to a meeting in the morning and then went and ate lunch with a member that lives like 3 or 4 miles away from our place and we were walking back and all of the sudden I had to poop real bad. But not that bad so we just kept walking home, and on the way it was getting worse expodentially. Next thing I know I am getting like goose bumps and cramps and still had a half mile to go. As we got home I had my companion run an unlock the door of our house and I like waddled in and got to the bathroom and just aimed and fired. Just in time right? nope. the lid was down. fail.

The new president is cool. He is from brasilia and is real excited. Doesn't seem super green. He really knows what he's doing. So that is cool.

4th of july is today and we are actually in the middle of doing an activity. I put the cake in to cook and we are going to cook R$150.00 of meat and play uno as a zone singing patriotic songs. Too bad its freezing and the brasilians don't get it. AMERICA.

I love you all and command you to celebrate how awesome america is with all you've got. GET IT DONE.