Monday, September 30, 2013

A Long Letter!!!

We got a letter this weekend!!!  Oh how I love hearing from my missionary boy.  Here it is:

Hey everyone!  
How is everybody?  Thank you so much for your letters and for the pictures too!  I got yours and Haylee's letters a few days ago, but we have been extra busy lately and I haven't had time to reply!  
     For the yellow fever card, yes it is separate from my immunization card, the paper will be about the size of a passport and I think it is a tri-fold.  
     The missionaries in my district told me last night that my mom must really love me because she sent all of the football scores lol!  They're just jealous I think.  
      MTC life is still just as crazy as ever, we get our 8 hours of sleep every night, but you are still really tired when you get up!  We have two new investigators instead of our old one, they are both our portuguese teachers, but have assumed about 6 different personalities based on their own investigators. We are trying really hard to teach them what they want to know as well as what they need, but its really hard with the language barrier.  My district watches training videos every now and then and they are pretty cool.  Our teachers always ask what we learned and usually the first answer is,"Teaching the Gospel in English is way easier than in Portuguese!" But we do the best we can!
      Sometimes it also seems like we aren't focusing as much on the Gospel as we are on learning the language.  That's kind of a bummer, but we just make sure to study a lot during personal study. 
      Our favorite days of the week are Sunday, Tuesday and Friday!  Sunday is pretty much your day off and , outside of your meetings, you just read the scriptures all day.  Tuesday is our service day!  We get to dress down and don't have to really do anything until 9 (when our service starts).  We cleaned bathrooms last week and sang classic rock the whole time, it was awesome!  Friday is P-day so that's always a plus!
    Every Sunday and Tuesday we have devotional.  The Sunday ones have been good, but we look forward to the films they show afterwards!  The films are usually talks General Authorities gave here at the MTC.  We have seen Elder Bednar's and Elder Holland's talks so far!  Both were fantastic and it was really cool because both of them were really casual and joked a lot with the missionaries before giving two of the best talks I have ever heard!
     Elder Bednar have a very good Cookie Monster impression when he said the Cookie Monster is the natural man "I want a cookie! I want cookie now!"  He then told us "GET OVER YOURSELF! This mission isn't about you or how good or bad you think you are doing"  He said we need to turn our hearts outwards and stop being like the Cookie Monster.  
     Elder Holland, as usual, was fantastic!  His whole family was here and 4 of his grandchildren participated in some way.  He told us not to take for granted that we are here in this last dispensation.  Especially when you look at the history of the world.  Elder Holland also chastised us for saying things like, "When I get back to normal life..." He said very passionately, "Don't you dare think this is a two-year break or that its just something you owe the Lord.  THIS IS REAL LIFE.  Nothing you ever do will be more important than your mission.  Getting married and having a family are just as important, but they are never going to be more important.  These two years are the closest most of you will come to being an Apostle.  When you wake up in the morning, you are thinking 'How can I better the world? How can I save as many souls as possible?' Everything we (missionaries) do 24/7 is work to save the world, and that is the same work that God has done since the beginning.  We are the people who have been chosen to bring in the Latter-days we are the favored people." 
     He then wen ton to say, "All other dispensations, every prophet before Joseph Smith, knew they were going to lose the fight to save the world.  They knew that no matter how hard they worked, they were going to watch the world apostasize.  The reason they never gave up is because they knew that we (the favored people) would not let them die in vain.  We were going to save the world.  You are going to hit it out of the park.  They knew that you were destined to win."
     It brought tears to my eyes when I get to that last part.  I am so grateful for this opportunity. I know my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know that He has called me as a missionary at this exact moment in time so that I can do my pat to help save the world.  And I know that I'm never going to give up.  There are many souls who need to hear what the Lord would have me teach.  
        Eu se que meu Pai Celestial ama seu filhos.  Eu se que O Livro de Mórmon é verdadiero é Jesus Cristo é meu Salvador.  O evangelho é muito importante e é verdadeiro.  Eu ama meu familia.  Em nome de Jesus Cristo, Amen. 
       I love you guys, please share this letter on my blog and with Sarah (If you have time) because writing it out again would be really hard.  Tell her said thank you for her testimony and the example she is.  
            Thank you for everything!  I love you guys so much,
                                        Elder Sanderson

***Sorry for the change in font at the end I wanted to do the letters how he wrote them in Portuguese but I could not figure out how to do it on the keyboard so I copied and pasted it from another site.  :) ***** 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Email Friday!!

I am on a train to NYC with some girlfriends and so when I emailed D this morning they each asked him a question.  Hence why he answers them by name :) 

Hey mom =)

I haven't replied to any of the Dear Elders because they are pretty much just quick updates from you guys! But I do really like getting them! I am definitely not fluent in Portuguese and it seriously feels like we are learning a lot, but that we haven't even began to learn enough (which is both true and false). Elder Pixton is a lot better than me at vocabulary, but it seems like I'm the one who can buy us time in our lessons whenever we freeze because we can't remember anything. This week has been up and down for me, but I know that Heavenly Father is going to make sure everything is just fine! I've been struggling a little bit with staying focused on Portuguese and it seems like we have so much else to worry about, but like I said, everything is still going great! I can definitely see how missionaries have troubles with their companions lol mine can be a slight pain in the neck sometimes, but I'm sure that I'm no walk in the park either! It's just the little things that you start to notice after being with someone 24/7 for two weeks. Sometimes he seems to think that only his way is right and that my ideas aren't as important because he has a really good idea. When that happens I try not to get angry with him and instead I just keep on pushing my idea (as well as working with his) and then somehow it all works out and we get it right.

My shoes are  very comfortable, but not the ones we got in the mail! I've only worn them twice because they cut into my ankle pretty bad so I'm working on a solution to that at the moment! I haven't even needed the inserts! The shoes rock and are so light! I can relate to the feeling of blah, I've been sick for over a week and a half now. They say that once we get sick in the MTC, you don't get better...oh well, it's mostly just a bunch of congestion but I'm doing a lot better than i was!

Mione: They have everything you could possibly want! It's pretty much a buffet and we can get as much as we want. We have had everything from hot dogs to sirloin steaks! Yes, they do have cookies, but only the chocolate chip ones taste very good. 

Michelle: My typical day is this:
get up at 6:30
breakfast at 7:15
personal study 7:45-8:45
Class (portuguese) from 8:45 to 12
Lunch at 12
TALL (online portuguese) from 12:45 to 1:45
class (portuguese) from 1:45-5
Dinner 5-5:45
Prep for gym until 6:20
Prep for class 7:10-7:40
Language study 7:40-9
Planning 9-9:30
Golden hour 9:30-10:30 (we write letters home, shower, etc)
Lights our at 10:30

Molly: Yes I know who you are! I've only been gone for 2 weeks =p

You honestly dont have to call Sister Wood if you don't want to mom, Sarah tells everybody to call her family on their birthdays! So don't worry about it, I think it's weird too, but it's up to you. She probably told me to email her mom which I may or may not do.

Everything else is going great! We are just waiting for laundry right now and trying not to freeze when we go outside! It snowed on the mountain yesterday so it's been pretty cold in the mornings. 

Love you mom and will write home sometime next week, by the time you're back from NY you should have a letter i sent earlier this week, it was addressed to Haylee so she could get one just from me and be the one to open it, but there is also a letter for all of you.

Love you all!

Elder Sanderson

REALLY missed him this week!!  So happy to hear from him again.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

An email

He emailed us Friday morning. 

Hey there mom and fam!

The MTC is fantastic! Lke i said in my letter, we are learning so much portuguese, i think that next week we have to start speaking 100% portuguese whenever we are in our classroom or even just walking around. If there is a bunch of typos in here i am trying to type fast because we only get an hour on the computer so i want to try and write everyone! I have seen so many friends here that are either working for the mtc or are serving as missionaries just like me! We love the food, we can eat as much as we want at every meal and they make sure to feed us good! Rumor has it that you will gain anywhere from 15-20lbs in the MTC but i just weighed myself today and i haven't gained a pound! 

My district is awesome! We are 12 elders and 0 sisters which is really unusual they said, but we are also a very advanced district too! The other missionaries hear us talk, pray, bear our testimonies, etc and ask how long we've been here. When we say only about a week they say that we are doing really good and have nicknamed us the quorum of the 12. My district is all brazilian missionaries like me and we are from all over the country! Out of the 12 of us, 9 are going to Manaus!
That is so cool that daisy is doing better! I knew that Heavenly Father wouldnt let us lose such a big part of the family! Thank you for all of the sports news! I love it! And so does my district! Keep sending letters, i love to get them! It might take a few days to reply because of how busy we are, but i have gained the reputation of the letter writer in my district (even though i've only written you guys, dad, and Sarah) and each of those only once! 

Things i need:

When you send those shirts, please send this too.......

*****I did not add the list of things he needed from home :) I'll let you know of he requests anything othe people can send :) *******
Love you all so much! If you need to get a hold of me quickly then send a DEARELDER because those are delivered to us the day you send them in print form! Then if i need to contact you about that card or anything i can find out same day and get permission to reply to you!

Love you all and miss you lots,

Elder Sanderson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Here's the mail it never fails it makes me wanna wag my tail when it comes I wanna yell MAAAAAAIL!  -name that show!  :)  Got our first letter from D yesterday he wrote it on September 12th so he had been at the MTC for 1 day and change.  Love that boy and his good communication skills!  Here it is....

    I made it and am alive!  The MTC is insane!  It's seriously like getting a slap in the face with the Spirit. When you get to the MTC it is really just a drop off and go, you don't stop for anything.
    My "Host" (a missionary who is your guide) was Elder Zach Larsen who was my wingman in ROTC last year!  He's going to Australia speaking Mandarin and it was awesome to see him!
    The pace that they set for us to learn everything is crazy!  Our language teacher (Sister Dangerfield) doesn't speak any English to us! We just have to figure out what she's saying but we can talk in English.  We go to class for about 6 hours a day (language class) and the Spirit has already blessed us with the gift of tongues.  In less than 36 hours, I've learned basic conversation, sung hymns, said prayers, and taught 2 lessons all in Portuguese!
    My district is all Brazil missionaries.  Counting me, we have 12 elders and no sisters which is very, very rare!  Out of the 12 of us, 6 or 7 are going to Manaus!  My companion is Elder Pixton and he is serving there too!
       I miss you all, but haven't really haven't had time to realize that :) I don't have time to really think about anything ha ha!
        I love you and I miss you, but know how much Heavenly Father is/has/will take care of us as I go out on this new adventure!  Ask me any questions!  It will make letters easier to write!

                 I love you,
                          Elder Sanderson

PS Email Sarah please and let her know (and so you guys know) my P Day is on Friday! Tomorrow doesn't count, but next week will!
                                                             Elder Sanderson

***So exciting!!!!  Haylee was bummed he didn't say hello to her specifically but I assured her he missed and loved her too and that he was very busy.  I am sure the more detailed hello's will come in future letters.  And just an FYI to those who are reading but aren't familiar with missions/missionaries HD is allowed to write when he can but he will only have access to e-mail on Fridays and then only for a very short time so don't be offended if he doesn't write back quickly!  :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Our last pics before we bid him farewell at the airport.  When I woke him up this morning I started to cry and then COULD. NOT. STOP. I had to pray and ask Heavenly Father to help me stop the tears because I knew it would make it harder for him.  My prayers were answered and I got myself together and felt peaceful and happy.  We joked and talked all the way to the airport and even as we checked his bags and hung out for a minute I was good.  See... 

Smiling.  Yay!  I love that we both have brown eyes.
 Even Haylee was smiling -she did so good!
 He and another kid from our stake Austin who was headed to the MTC on the same flight.  Austin will be serving his mission in Seoul Korea.
Right before this I hugged him and my eyes flooded. He was so sweet and just hugged me and let me cry.  We will miss him so much. 
Waving to the Olsen fam as he headed to security. 
 And off he goes.  
We are SO PROUD OF HIM!!!!

Getting ready to go....

Lot's of tears.  Pride and sadness that I won't hear his voice for a while.  We had such a great last week together.  I will forever be grateful he was home this entire summer!  Here are some pictures the night before he left.  Can't wait to see how much he changes in two years!!! 

He and Joe -happy guys 
With Haylee J 
 Love the pics of these two
 This picture cracks me up because I think Daisy looks shocked.  Like she just found out he was leaving for two years.  BEST DOG EVER.
 A side shot so we could see if he got fatter when he came home lol
Another pic of these two cuties.  Missed having Sierra with us.  She is off being fabulous at college. 
 I LOVE this photo of him!!  Notice his fancy AF One tie tack.
He struck a pose just before I took this photo it was hilarious but he refused to repeat it. 
 What it's all about.  If you want to know more about what HD is teaching people you can visit

Farewell Open House

What a great day Sunday September 8th, 2013.  HD spoke in sacrament meeting. He was amazing and so many people told me how mature and wonderful he was.  He spoke on reverence.  It was seriously awesome!!!
Then we went about 30 minutes away so he could get set apart as a missionary.  Our stake president set apart FOUR missionaries from our stake that day!  :)
That evening we had his farewell open house at our building.  I was so worried no one would come because it was so close to dinner time and there was school for the littles on Monday.  I needn't have worried.  So many people!!!!  HD is so blessed to have so many who care about him!!!

He was pretty happy I was taking this picture as you can tell...
 Brothers forever.  :) Chris is also headed to Brazil to serve his mission.  Look out South America!
More friends
 more and more friends
Thanks to all who came!!!

The Call

HD's mission call came on April 17, 2013.  He opened it with his friends and some family at BYU.  We were on facetime and a LOT of people were on the phone listening in :)
About 15 minutes before he opened it I took a moment to call him so we could have a special few minutes together as I knew it would be chaos afterwards.  We looked at a world map together and wondered where in the world he would go?  Would it be Memphis or Mozambique?   Tulsa or Tanzania?  We both felt he would go out of the US and had our guesses and hopes. I really thought he was going to Europe or Africa, he really thought he was going anywhere but South America.  Just goes to show you we had no idea!!!  How surprised we were when he read those special words:

Dear Elder Sanderson:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Brazil Manaus will report to the MTC on September 11, 2013...You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Portuguese language.....

Amazing!  So exciting.  Still can't believe it's Brazil!!!