Friday, June 26, 2015

Oi minha famiha!!

Oi minha famiha!! 
First of all, Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there and a shoutout to my dad. He's a huge inspiration to me and I'm really proud to be his son. My second week at the MTC has been really really awesome, and by that I mean that it went by a whole lot faster than the first week haha. Seriously though its been a really great time. My portuguese has really come along and I'm feeling pretty confident with my ability to speak about gospel topics, but there is no way that I would be able to hold a normal conversation with anyone. So when I get to Angola, I'm going to have to steer the conversation to religion so I can actually communicate haha. We taught our last lesson to our "investigator" Fabio which went.....ok. We asked him to be baptized and he said (in Portuguese) "I was baptized as a kid into the Catholic church. Does this mean that I have to do it again and it wasn't valid?" There was a lot of silence after that and then my comapnion patted me on the shoulder and said good luck. Thanks a lot Elder Dawson. I then spent the next ten minutes trying to explain to him and he said he understood and he'd think about it, eventhough we're not teaching him again. Overall, I was just really fed up with this guy and super glad I didn't haev to embarress myselk in front of him anymore. And then we showed up to class the next day to meet our new teacher and who's sitting at the desk wating for us? Fabio. When the two sisters walked in, they were literally crying and although he kept trying to communicate with us, we were just kinda staring at him in shock. THEN, he started spaking English, which blew my mind. We've been struggling to speak to this guy in broken Portuguese for two weeks and he could actually speak English the whole time! The MTC is cruel. He's actually a really really cool guy and "Fabio" is just an act. His real name is Hirmao Clements and I've learned more from him in two days then from anyone else in two weeks. 

Other than that, not too much happened this week, except our super awesome trip to the consulate in LA! Ok, so last week, three of our seven  elders of the Angolan squad got called to the travel office for somehting about their visas. They told them to come back the next day and they were probably going to fly to the DC consulate to pick up their visas and they were super excited. But it made the rest of us super nervous and wondering if our visas would actually go through. So they went to the office the next day and they said it was a mistake and they actually wanted three other Elders, myself included, and that we were flying to LA the next day at 4 AM! We were so pumped!!!! The original three were pretty upset, but what are you going to do? hahaha. It was a struggle getting up early but we got the airport at around 5:15 only to find out that our plane was at 8:30 and we had to entertain ourselves for three hours ahhh. We ended up just talking to people who came up to us and talking to them about news and sports (more about that later). Then when we finally got to LA, we were delayed outside the terminal for an hour and a half and then spent 45 minutes in a taxi in LA traffic with a driver who didn't speak any English, so we weren't sure if he was taking us to the Angolan consulate or going to murder us somewhere. But we finally got there, and we spent a grand total of 25 miunutes at the consulate. Really the only reason we had to be there was to give them some fingerprints. But they said that they would send the visas in the next couple days and we haven't heard anything since then. But anyway, we were pretty mad that our adventure seemed like a waste of time while we wating for our taxi driver back to LAX. But then we got into the taxi and the driver was this African American woman who told us that she would take us to In N Out along the way. This lady was SO funny. She was completely blown away that we were devoting two years of our lives AND that we were going to Angola AND that we had to pay for it. She seemed super confused why they were sending us to Africa and how they picked us to go. We did a pretty terrible job of explaing because at the end she said " So let me get this straight.. your leaders chose you online, kinda like a dating site, and instead of sending some brothers, they decided to send the three whitest boys they could find to Africa?" But she had major respect for us and she took us to proabaly the sketchiest In N Out I've ever been to. We almost saw a fight go down between two guys, but one of them ran away through four lanes of traffic. The LA trip definitely ended on a good note haha. 

Other than that, not too much to report. I litreally asked every person we talked to at the airport if they liked basketball and if they watched the game the night before. And got some really good news. HUGE shoutout to Andre Iguodala and the rest of the Dubs, taking care of LeBron and the rest of the Caves. Really frustrating that it happened when I wasn't there, but I see it as a test of my commitment to the Lord. Have a fantasitc week!

Elder Christensen

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bon Dia Mi Familha!!

Hello from the MTC!! It's already been about a week but honestly, it's felt like a year. The days go slow here, but I am really enjoying myself. It started out pretty crazy with just being kinda dropped off at the curb and being rushed inside like they're trying to make sure I don't run away or something...I met my companion, Elder Dawson, from North Carolina, right away. He's a pretty funny guy, tall and an aspiring beat boxer. Our teacher, Sister De Campos, didn't waste any time with speaking only Portuguese which I barely know, so I just responded in Spanish, which she got fed up with really quickly. I really underestimated how long we would be spending in the classroom every day. We do it in 3 3+ hour blocks where we're either reading the Book of Mormon, studying the language, or preparing for our lesson with an "investigator". Elder Dawson and I taught our first lesson in all Portuguese on Friday, after having learning Portuguese for only three days. We basically spent about four hours making a lesson plan in English and slowly translating them into Portuguese with dictionaries. Then pretty much just read the lessons from our notebooks to our investigator. As easy as it sounds to just read out of a book, it was actually really frustrating because this guy was giving us NOTHING. We would ask him questions throughout the lesson and he would either answer with No Seu (I don't know) or Tudo Bem (good). It took us a while to realize that he would only really open up to us if we opened up to him, so in yesterday's lesson, we went in with no notes at all and it was really really brutal. I'm pretty sure nothing we said made any logical sense and I'm surprised he had any idea what the heck we were talking about. There were a lot of awkward silences when we were translating in our heads or he said something and we just kinda looked at him with no idea what he was saying, and every time this happened, he just kinda smirked at us... really nice guy haha.

I came in here on Wednesday expecting six weeks of torture, but it really hasn't been that bad. The schedule takes some time to get used to, but I've learned soooo much from the seminars and devotionals. I feel like I've grown a ton in the last six days. My district of elders is really fun. There's ten of us in total, two being sisters going to Brazil, the seven elders of the Angola squad, and an elder waiting for his visa to come for Brazil. These guys are super crazy! We have to be one of the loudest and most irreverent districts here. When we have study time, we all have to go in separate small rooms, or we will literally get nothing done. Sister De Campos gets really frustrated with us sometimes, but I know she enjoys that we're so animated. We share a floor with other missionaries going to Brazil and they are just as crazy. When we all get back at the end of the day, it's a party on our floor with people running around with nerf guns, doing freestyle rap battles, and having tie drafts. It's really funny, for some reason there's also a room of four elders going to Russia, and they HATE us. They're always shutting themselves in their room and telling us to be quiet haha. But its ok, we're just embracing our culture while they're embracing theirs. 

I've seen a lot of people here that I knew from school, which is really fun. I saw Ryan Nearon in the first 30 seconds that I was here and he gives me Warriors updates every time I see him haha. Speaking of them, there's an Elder in my district from Ohio and a huge Cavs fan so we always get into these debates over James vs. Curry, but it sounds like the Splash Bros and the rest of the Dubs are in good shape. Shoutout to Maddy Auman and Maryn Smyth who just "happened" to be at the temple on our Sunday Walk and to Josh Miner who will be joining me up here in a week and gave a killer farewell talk on Sunday from what I've heard. Finally, I learned yesterday that my dog, Max had passed away on the day I left. I know that he'll be missed by a lot of people out there and definitely by me. He was a huge part of my childhood and a really awesome dog. 

Have a great week,

Elder Christensen