Wednesday, September 30, 2015

9/30/2015: Week 3 - Three New Elders

Bom Dia!

Hello hello! Yet another week has gone by. It's almost October! I hope
everyone back home is enjoying the cool weather, sweaters and boots
(especially you Tay), and the pumpkin pie around the corner. I am
going to miss pumpkin pie. As for me, I will be enjoying to heat and
sweat of Brazil. This week we got 3 new elders from the Provo MTC in
our district. We now have... 1) Elder P, who has curly blonde
hair and asks hard questions, 2) Elder H, who was born in Guiana
and is both shy and outgoing at the same time, and 3) Elder E, who
is nice and quiet but I don't know much else. They have been a
wonderful addition to our district, and have brought a better focus to
the group. (Trying to work and study with eight 18-yr old boys can
sometimes be a struggle). This past week we were able to watch the
funeral of the apostle Richard G. Scott. It was very touching, and he
was a great man. We also watched his last devotional given at the MTC,
and he shared a really beautiful message about the power of prayer and
recognizing answers to your prayers. Sister A and I have been
teaching two "investigators" (our instructors pretending to be
invesitgators). The weird thing is, the lessons can feel so real while
you are teaching them. For example, one of the investigators told us
that she just found out that her friend had cancer and only had a
short time to live. This woman was shedding real tears, and within
five minutes, we had shared a short message about hope with her and we
were all crying together. It was a really neat experience. Anyways, I
am off to go get some Brazilian treats for General Conference this
next weekend! I am looking forward to being able to hear from the
prophets and apostles, and to recieve the guidance they have for us. I
hope all of you will watch it at home as well. I love you all, and I
hope you have a great week!

 Com muito amor,
 Sister Christensen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9/23/2015: Week Two - The Brazilians Are Gone

Bom Dia!

This week has been great. I can't believe I have been
here for two weeks. It feels like six months. Every day in the CTM
runs together. I spend the majority of my time sitting in a classroom,
studying Portuguese or planning for my next lesson. I have two
instructors: Irmão F and Irmã C. F is really laid back, but is a bit of a kook.
He will randomly make us start singing our lessons in four part harmony,
or will come up really close and make a weird face while sayings something
to you in Portuguese. He's even had a push-up contest with one of the elders in
my district. Irmã C on the other hand, is like an Energizer
Bunny. She speaks Portuguese really quickly, forces everyone to
participate, and has us speaking in Portuguese 24/7. She is really
short and sasses the elders to no end. I love both of them, they both
teach really well and have helped me progress in Portuguese by leaps
and bounds. This week, the Brazilians that were here all left,
including my two roommates (if I could attach pictures I would show
you). Sister L and Sister R were both really sweet and
hilarious, so it was really sad to see them go. One Brazilian Elder
stopped me in the hall the night before he left, and started
serenading me with the first two lines of the song, "A Whole New
World" from Aladdin in broken English. After he was done, he proceeded
to put his hand up to his face and said, "Call me after the mission."
Then he walked upstairs and that was that. I have never talked to him
before, but man, it was so funny. I have a few notes about Brazil: 1)
The don't use toilet paper, they use tissues. 2) Pão de quejo is the
best thing on the planet. 3) People here like to touch my hair because
I am blonde. 4) Brazilians aren't very good at playing
basketball/volleyball. On a more serious note, last night our district
had a meeting. For the lesson, I felt prompted to have everyone talk
about the reason they went on a mission, and the person that they
wanted to become afterwards. I thought that our district needed a bit
more focus, and a reminder of why we are here... serving the Lord and
sharing the gospel. We went around the circle, and each person shared
with us their reason. It was amazing to hear the testimonies of
every single person in that room, and to see a glimpse of someone's
soul. By the end, everyone was crying because the spirit was so
strong. It strengthened our district immensely. I am so happy to be
here in Brazil and to be sharing the gospel. This church makes me so
happy, and I am so excited to share that joy with other people. I love
this church, I love my Savior, and I couldn't think of a better way to
spend the next 18 months. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me, I am a
little short on time, so I can't reply to everything, but I read them
all and I really appreciate them.

With love from Brazil,
Sister Christensen

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

9/16/2015: First Week in Brazil

Bom Dia!

I have been in Brazil for a week now, and I have loved every
second of it. I am going outside of the MTC (Missionary Training
Center) for the first time today, and I am really looking forward to
it. I also had the opportunity to go to the temple here in São Paulo
today, and it was absolutely beautiful. However, back to the MTC. 1)
The food here is delicious. I eat a lot of beans, rice, and meat,
along with some somewhat questionable side dishes and desserts. I love
rice and beans though, so no worries here! 2) The Brazilian people are
so nice. We sit next to them at lunch and do our best to talk to them.
They are funny, kind, and are always willing to help you with learning
Portuguese. 3) As for the language, you could not believe how quickly
we are learning it. I have only been here for a week, yet I have
taught four 20-45 minute lessons, completely in Portuguese, prepared a
talk for church in Portuguese, and held a 2 hour conversation with my
Brazilian roommates about the differences in culture between the
United States and Brazil ONLY IN PORTUGUESE. It is truly a miracle
that I can speak this well after only a week. It would't be possible
without God, and I am definitely developing a testimony of the gift of
tongues. 4) I love my district (the group of missionaries that I
learn, teach, and work with). We have a lot of interesting characters,
including: Elder M (our district leader), Elder J (who
can throw my sass right back at me), Elder M (who had a stone
in his salivary gland -- but don't worry, he's okay), Elder
W (who has a really blunt and dry sense of humor and reminds
me of Leah), Sister B (who's name is Haley, lives in CR,
and goes to BYU -- we are practically twins), and Sister Trejo (who
eats "banana spoders" and speaks English and Spanish, and is now
learning Portuguese). That brings me to my companion, Sister A.
She is really nice and we get along well. She is from Minnesota. She
helps me focus, work hard, and *cough cough* leave the room on time in
the morning. I would like to say sorry in advance for the poor spacing
on these letters, the computers here don't like to let you use the
enter button. Also, I am not allowed to send pictures until I get into
the field, but I will do that as soon as I can. I love you all, and
the church is true! :)

 Sister Christensen