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 31, 2011

So today I realized that I am still pretty retarded. I bought this pull-up bar that like screws outwards into the wall and has rubber tips so that friction holds it up in like a doorframe or something, and I put it at the top of our stairs where the widest door is. Long story short I was just waiting for my comp to come out of the bathroom so I could go too, and I was hanging on the bar and next thing I know I was tumbling down this crazy looking flight of concrete stairs. Luckily I have been developing my ninja skills and I just rolled gracefully down (and around being that it was a spirally stair case) and ended up on my feet at the bottom. I did two complete somersaults. One forward, then one backward to get around the curve. SKILLS. Then my comp came running out of the bathroom to see what happened and just saw two flip flops and the pull up bar like sliding down the stairs but I was gone and he thought I died. funnny stuuuff.

The other day I had to read something out loud in english and I couldn't do it at a normal pace because my tongue was getting all mixed up in my mouth. So on Christmas when I call I hope you guys can understand me. Luckily I have been having american comps and we practice english together.

It seems like our plan to follow the prophet worked out super good (duh). All of the areas in our whole zone except for one are baptizing really regularly. It is funny though because it doesn't seem like it was our work that changed anything. We just have crazy experiences like everyday. This japanese dude named mitsu stopped some missionaries today and asked if we could baptise his family because he lives in my area. So I can't really take credit for any success because it is mostly just stuff like that. Another funny experience that happened this week was that we baptised this kid that has been in the ward since he was 12 and never baptised. We just visited him once to get to know him and see if he wanted to follow Jesus Christ and then 2 visits later he was baptised because he said that day he felt the spirit super strong and now he is determined to go on a mission before Christmas 2012. The bishop in our ward was way impressed but that is funny because the visit was like 10 minutes and I don't even remember what it was that we said. Basically I am pretty sure we said nothing but the spirit just helped the kid do the right thing. It is fun to be a small part of things like that.

Also we found in the church manual that we can't do candy competitions so we are EATING ALL OF IT.

Last night I randomly cried and I think it was partly because I thought for a second about going home. I don't want to make you guys feel bad, but I wouldn't mind 2 more years.

I got all of these crazy quotes out of the Miracle of Forgiveness that I read on my P-Days. But to some up all of them "whether you think you can or you can't, you're right." Like one thing that I am learning is that one of the reasons that I had minimal success for a long stretch was that I doubted a lot in the promises that have been given to missionaries and if they applied to me or not. But once you get in your head that that they apply to you and you just work knowing that everything really will work out good and that the Lord is really doing his part of preparing people for you to go finish preparing and help make covenants it can be pretty much a weekly experience. He has been trying our faith a lot, but I can say that my trust in him is getting a lot stronger as I see his promises to me work over and over and over again. Like to be honest, when I just randomly stop someone in the street and they tell me that they have been waiting their whole life to hear what we have to tell them it doesn't surprise me at all anymore because I was expecting it. God promised me that they were out there and that I would just have to find them. Who'd have guessed that God keeps his end of the bargain, huh? I guess even though I knew it technically I didn't have a lot of experience to base it off of untill my mission. I love him though. I feel a lot closer to him now than I did when I first got to the MTC.

Speaking of that, I don't recognize ANYONE on the mission anymore. They all look like they are 12 years old and are super scared. I can't believe that I was like that. But it is cool to seem them all get here and know what they are going to go through and how happy they will be soon. I feel like an ancient chinese sage on the mission full of all this old man wisdom.

but anyway I love you all


Oct 24, 2011

hey everybody
Man, our mission is getting OWNED. The numbers have gone down sooooo much in the last few months. This month was a bomb. But after the changes that we made it looks like our "safe zone" of obedience that we made might end up doing the best out of everyone. I think we just need continue being obedient and humble. The main leaders in our mission are teaching a bunch of stuff out of their own heads instead of out of the manual, and since our "safe zone" has started just not listening to them very much and following the apostles/prophet instead some our areas have been having unreal amounts of success. Especially in the last week or so. I was in a companion exchange in another area, and this lady just walked up to us in the street and told us that her biggest desire was to be baptised and she just didn't know where to get baptised. Then we came back to our area and the same thing happened. We have a baptism marked for this week and a mom and a kid the next week and another mom and a kid the next week as well as a family for the same week. Everything seems to be going well, but also easily could all fall apart if we stop doing what we're supposed to be doing, so now it is do or die time to prove that we are supposed to follow manual instead of our own ideas. If all goes well, we might end up making a difference in the lives of literally hundreds of people in the matter of a few months. Prayers will be needed for sure, but I am excited.
Other than that, I got an email that says they need you guys to send me the following information:
Address and names of parents
Email of parents
The name of the Bishop in our ward
The name of the Stake president and his email address
My home airport
They need this stuff so that they can buy my tickets home. Weird huh. I hate thinking about that. The other day I got a letter from a friend that reminded me that one day I won't be a missionary anymore and I almost started crying when I read it and then I had this crazy dream where I got home off my mission and I ran away from home and went back to keep working but no one in the mission recognized me/they wouldn't let me work with them. Super weird, but also pretty funny to see how much the thought of going home bothers me. I never thought I would get to that point. I made this part of our house that is a ton of quotes saying what my purpose is as a missionary to keep my mind off of it. So for now I will just stay in denail.
But lets do a cruise when I get home in a portuguese speaking country. BRAZIL (WINK)
I love you all. I am excited to work this week. I am freaking exhausted but I can't say that that bothers me at all. I love getting up in the morning knowing that the same day I will be trying to help someone be releived from the burden of their sins. Even exhaustion doesn't really matter when someone bears their testimony to you that you are teaching. Being a missionary is probably the best thing EVER.
That reminds me, we heard that there is a broadway musical about the Book of Mormon that is way successful and that is helping the church even though it wasn't supposed to. owned.
I love you allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
k bye.

Oct 17, 2011


So I am here in the campo limpo stake in the pirajussara ward. It is in the city, difinately the richest area I've been in, but it still has raw sewage rivers and what not so no huge differences. My companion is Elder Maclane Winsor Taggart, who I met before the mission because he was a mutual friend of caitlin mitchell. We are having a really good time working really hard.

Sooooo I saw todd and josh his buddy in a peach my gospel DVD. Pretty funny. It was a M Russel Ballard training.

I know you guys don't really follow this that much, but the baptisms in Brazil have been going way down in number. It is weird because it happened right at the same time that the prophet made this plan for missionary work. I would think it is because no one is following his plan down here, so we organized with our local leaders here to start following it. We are going to be the first area in our mission to put it in action even though it came out a year ago. So we'll see how it goes in a bit. We are launching it on November 2nd, and for right now we are just training everyone involved so they can get off on the right foot. Hopefully it will make a big difference and we can help our whole mission get it rolling with time after they see our results. A lot of people here don't do things that they can't see right away. Imagine if Christ had stopped trying the first time he met opposition...

So besides that I have set some random goals for the last 6 months of my mission (that start on the 27th).
-1,500 people directly challenged to follow Christ through faith, sincere repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. (a bit less than 10 a day)
-Draw significantly closer to God (focusing on the areas of Faith, Hope, Charity and Love with the mesurable goals established in the Missionary Guide PMG).
-Be able to do 100 push ups and 25 pull ups.
-Not waste one second doing anything that doesn't matter (sleeping late, zoning out/not focusing on what people are saying, etc.)

Those goals are all super doable, and it just reminds me of when Christ looking for true disciples said "He that putteth his hand to the plough looking back is not fit for the kingdom of God" (probably paraphrased... from the book luke [Luke7:62 ?]). The idea is just to finish out my mission not focusing on anything beside my purpose here. I see a lot of missionaries that just give up that last couple months because it is getting a bit harder where we are at. I refuse to do that (hopefully).

I am pretty excited about the future here. We are getting some resistance for sure, but I feel really good about what we are doing here so I think it will make an enormous difference and make us capable of helping a ton of people. The basic idea of the plan is to just rely more heavily on members, to the point where we don't even knock doors anymore. We just talk to people we see on the street and we work 80% of the time with references.

But besides that I don't really have a life. I bought a pull up bar that screws into doorframes. woo. recreation.

But one other thing I am realizing is that the whole world is more or less like a huge boiling pot. In this pot there are a ton of eggs getting cooked (people getting prepared to hear and accept the restored gospel of Christ) and if we just run around trying to teach people that aren't even ready to hear us, we end up wasting a lot of time (eating raw eggs), because God will never force people to follow him. So we have been developing a few ways to see how ready people are from the very first time we talk to them. We mostly just talk about the reality of being forgiven for our sins, getting a new start, and then we explain how good the future can be according to the necissity of the person, and ask people if they interested in forgetting about the past, being releived of guilt, and taught how to live a better life. The people who say they are interested, we teach them how these things are related to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite them to show their faith by repenting, changing, and being baptised to start the new and better life on the same day. Depeding on their response we have a list of actions we'll take that are super flexible and all end up helping the people. The people who aren't interested we just invite to church and leave alone, the ones who are wanting help we help, and everyone ends up being way happy.

That is not a new tactic world wide, but it is new here in our mission because lots of missionaries thought they would somehow convince the people that they needed to change. But I realized that doesn't ever work, so we just invite, then help if the want it. It is so much easier and more effective. Also the lessons all end up being way better.

Plus the members trust us a lot more as they see us do this. We have members now who, after seeing us just inviting everyone in a focused but non-threatening way, give us huge lists of people to visit. There was a family that marked family home evenings every monday for a month just to introduce all of their friends to us and see if they are interested.

And the same principle works for members anywhere. Members can invite people to learn more in a casual manner, and for everyone that accepts to learn more, help them as much as they want to be helped. If someone is learning more but decides they don't want to continue, just continue to be their friend and let them be for a while. It is no risk and you can always find all the people who the Lord has been preparing for you to invite. Plus, the more you do it, the more people you find. It seems like God puts some kind of trust in you or something and puts more people in your path. Whenever we pray to find people then make it known to everyone that everyone is welcome to know more, those who are prepared will make themselves known.

I promise.

But I will stop rambling. I love you all and I hope you all have a good week. Pray for me to not be so tired all the time, because I have been sleeping through 2 alarms lately without waking up (and they are loud). I know that all people can be forgiven of anything they have ever done. I see it every day and it is incredibly real.

See ya

Oct 10, 2011

sooo tired‏

I am so tired.
So apparently I got transfered. I got to the transfer meeting to recieve my new companion and go back to my area and they transfered me there. So I got to take the bags of the 2 elders that will re open my area back and pack my bags and then find a way to my new area.
But I am here so all is well that ends well. There is a lot to do here, and my companion is super cool so that is good. American companions are great. He is someone I actually met at college. WHO KNEW THAT WE WOULD BE HERE TOGETHER IN BRASILSLSLSLSL?"?"?!:!?:!
anyways. I am pretty tired. I can't say that it is bad though because we are hopefully helping a decent number of people through the things we are doing. The problem that we are having is that our mission doesn't really use preach my gospel and that we are trying to change that in the region where we are. On wednesday we will try to convince everyone to repent of their apostate ways and follow the manual. we'll see how that goes...
Other than that we just are finding a good number of people that want to know how to follow Christ better and have the blessings of a legit baptism. we marked 8 people for baptism this week. That is a decent amount for our mission, so hopefully people listen to us when we tell them it is just because we are trying to follow the manual by the letter.
ALSO I GOT A PACKAGE FROM SAMMMMM. I had thought everyone of my friends from home had forgotten me. It made me way happy. I'll send her a letter for sure this week thanking her for not completely forgetting that I exist. IF YOU ARE READING THIS SAM, I GAVE MOST THE CANDY TO RANDOM BRASILIANS. but at least I read the letters and enjoyed the skittles that brasilians don't like with my comp. Plus she sent me some pictures from the old days when I was ripped. I can't decide if that made me happy or sad...
Buuuuuuut anyways. I am really happy working my butt off. I am 100% sure that I wouldn't be happy doing this if it wasn't a direct way for me to show my love for Christ. He the greatest boss ever (even if he doesn't pay a lot money wise). That is probably why he is such a good boss...

Oct 3, 2011


man, I feel bad for the whole world because that general conference was made specifically for me. Starting about a week ago I started to get ideas about how I needed to be better with my commitment to prayer and my faith in a real relationship with God and what I could do that ended up all coming together as conference played out. It was cool

Sunday morning I read Numbers 20:7-12 which is when moses was commanded to go get water out of the rock. He ended up having success and everything but the Lord got way mad at him. So after I went back and reread verse 8 where he is telling him what he wants done I realized that he had asked him to just talk to the rock instead of whacking it a couple of times with his stick, and because moses wasn't exact in obeying His commands in that moment of stress, God didn't let him enter the promised land. I realized as I thought about that how little I ask God in prayer if what I am doing is exactly what he wants me to do. So I was drawing up a basic plan of action so that I could certify that I relied more heavily upon the Lord, when I went to conference and they repeatedly urged me to do that and described how. It is good that I am feeling that right now, because apparently if you forget to pray for a while because things are working out anyways, that is when the bad stuff goes down (D&C 101:7-8). Future crisis avoided (hopefully....?). We'll see if I actually put it into practice or not.

Other than that, my president gave me the miracle of forgiveness to read, and it is pretty good. So far I have basically just realized that a lot of my personal opinions about stuff like how I should study after the mission and when it would be appropriate to question if the methods of local church leaders are super effective or not are pretty wrong. Good to know though I guess because at least now I have some reference point.

Also my comp got transfered. So in 3 transfers in the same area I will have 3 companions. haha. I have a buddy on the mission who is going home in 6 weeks. Maybe I'll be his last companion and then have 4 comps in one area. Fingers crossed because he is hilarious and a really effective hard working missionary , but I don't really care that much I guess. I just want a companion that keeps all the rules. I am sick of my companions waking up an hour late and not caring about anything. Even the recent comps I have had that work hard ALWAYS wake up late. I think it might just be a brasilian thing. FINGERS CROSSED.

So yeah that is it. I found out that it is really good to make fresh oatmeal and put a bit of fresh mango juice in it. Also, pineapple in pancakes is awesome. Also, making jelly out of guava is way more complicated than that last fruit I used. Guava is full of freaking little seeds that break your teeth if you aren't carefull, so forget that. I'll just continue to eat them. I eat soooo muuuuuuch fruit. It is kind of like the poor people food here because it is so plentiful, so my companions don't like eating fruits because of stupid mental barriers. But all the fruits here rock. I am going to miss that. The avacados are huge and you just leave them on your table untill the get soft and blend them up with sugar and milk and it is pretty ballin. I eat a ton of fruit all day every day for a week on about 6 bucks just to give you an idea. It is awesome. Sometimes I forget that I live in a tropical paradise becuase the city can be so ugly and messed up. Tons of horribly made ugly buildings everywhere make you forget about the jungle. I hope my next area is an area really far out in the boonies again because that is way better in my opinion. But whatevs right.

Just gotta keep looking up.

Wellllllp, I love you all. I could literally feel mom crying during that talk about missionaries, so thanks for that. The love and support you guys give me is real, and I feel it out here.

buy me some tools.


Elder Christensen