Tuesday, December 23, 2014

67 weeks -when the dog bites, my real name is HD


Did you send that email in a different way this week? It came out all
weird on this computer for some reason. I had to scroll to the side to
see it all and had to zoom way out to see the pictures. Whatever, on
to the email!

Sounds crazy that everyone is leaving already! You guys leave in 8
weeks and I Ieave in 8 months =p I don't have a ton of time today, but I
think I have lots to email, so I might not respond very much to your
email. I do think that Joe's idea was a good one though that would
save a lot of time! And of course the dog knows about the move, you
just have to train her to help carry the stuff out to the car.

Here's a secret insider about my first Christmas back: I'll probably
swing it to end up with you guys for Christmas! Sarah told me a long
time ago that she wants us to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas
together after the mission, one with her family and the other with
mine. However, her family lives much closer and we only have a few
days for Thanksgiving, so we'll probably go there and then go to our
house for Christmas =) I'll pull some strings.

This week was crazy! We had a baptism of a 19 year-old guy who we are
going to try and have go on a mission! He was a miracle baptism
because the other set of Elders taught him everything and then found
out that he didn't live in their area (they had been teaching him at
the chapel) the day of his baptism! So, he became our baptism. 

I also got to read a Book of Mormon that was published in São Paulo in
1981! It was so old, but still had a note from the family who sent it
to this guy. They had even marked Moroni 10:3-5 for  him =) I took a
bunch of pictures because I think that was the oldest Book of Mormon
I've ever seen.

Saturday, we were going to a service project in the morning, but a dog
bit me when we were in the street. Because it's Brazil, I had to go to
the hospital and make sure I was good to go. I got there, and had my
first experience of someone not believing my first name in a long
time. The doctor was writing out a prescription for me and asked what
my first name is. I said, "HD," and he looked at me and said, "What's
your first name?" I said again, "My name is HD." He looked a little
annoyed and asked, "Is it Elder? Because HD isn't a name here." I had
to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "Well if you go to my country,
João isn't a name either, but people don't seem to have a problem with
it here," and instead said, "Well, that's what my first name is." He
decided not to argue anymore and wrote it down on the paper. It was a
joyful experience. So, we went to pick up the meds today and I also
had to get a shot. The good news, Manacapuru hasn't had a case of
rabies in 25 years; so I should be good to go =) I just have to get
another shot on Christmas Eve and that's it.

Okay, so with Christmas:

I will try and skype on the 25th! We are still trying to find
somewhere that will be open (an internet cafe or someone's business)
because nobody that we know has internet in their houses. So, we'll
try everything we can to skype that day. If not, it will bethe 26th,
but if the internet sucks we have a final option: We'll go to Manaus
with our ward (who is having a temple trip) on the 27th and will have
excellent internet in Manaus =) I will keep you guys posted on it all!
My comp has to skype his family on the 24th because his mom has work,
so we will know a lot more then and I will shoot you an email with all
of the details =) I'm going to fast tomorrow just to make sure
everything goes good!

Other than that, not too much else this week =) I am excited to talk
to all of you and to open my Christmas presents haha!

Love you all! And I'll talk to you in a few days!

Elder Sanderson

Monday, December 15, 2014

66 weeks- Mission Christmas Conference

*****had to forward this to myself (we are implementing a new email and when you delete on your phone it's goes it your that trash and no one else can see it) anywho we are learning but Joe read this and deleted it before I could post so I had to forward it from his phone trash to my other acct....that was a long story just to explain why the blog post looks "skinny". lol  Merry Christmas everyone.  Now into elder Sanderson's letter******

Sounds like a fairly uneventful trip to the Big City! It has been raining like crazy here too! It is really getting into the rainy season, so when it rains, it POURS. It rained for about 15 hours the other day without stopping. We quickly found out that our ceiling has holes in it, and were running around trying to get all the water out. My companion's bed got wet, so he had to sleep in my hammock for a few days, and we just had a bit of a challenge getting all of the water out. The good news, it only happened one more time after that! We are in the process of finding a better house where the four missionaries in the city can stay together. 

The week was crazy! We did so much work in our new area and also travelled to Manaus for the Christmas conference. We found a lot of new investigators and have the members of our ward continuously helping us to find more people to teach! It is great to see how open people are to hearing a message about Jesus Christ during the Christmas season =) They are just letting us in and inviting us back. We also had a baptism this week =) The little girl has parents who were baptized a few months ago, but they still hadn't baptized her because they have kind of stopped coming to church. So we stopped by and asked when she wanted to get baptized and she said, "Saturday," so we planned the whole thing out and had a great baptism =) We are planning to have another one this week too with lots more to follow!

My most spiritual moment and my funniest moment from this week have to be the Mission Christmas Conference =) It was amazing! We got to go to Manaus and spend time with about 180 of the 222 missionaries that we have in the Brazil Manaus Mission. Friends that I haven't seen for 6 or 7 months were there, we took pictures, ate BBQ, listened to testimonies, and had a talent show =) The talent show was definitely the funniest part because everyone had about 3 days to practice because of the transfers. It was all thrown together and in the end, there was singing, dancing, skits, and the MC doing stand up comedy. We also got to watch a video full of pictures and videos from the mission in 2014. I was happy to see I was in a few of them, even if my camera has been having it's problems =) 

We also had Stake Conference this week! It was broadcast to all of Brazil from Salt Lake City and had two members of the 70 speak, the 2nd Councilor in the General YW Presidency, and Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles all speak to us! The talks were all spoken in Portuguese except for Elder Cook because the others were either Brazilian or have served missions in Brazil. It was great and we learned a lot. The one thing that seemed to be talked about the most was obedience and holding to the Iron Rod every single day. We can't let go for even a second because we could then get lost. They also said that the Iron Rod that we have in our lives is found in the scriptures. They won't lead us astray and we have to study them every day if we want to stay on the path. It was great to hear the messages and promises that we have because of the scriptures.

Also, I encourage everyone to read "Come let us Adore Him" by Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Sevent in the December 2013 Liahona. It was a great message, and I have pondered it a lot this week. I used it in many of our lessons as well. I won't say what it's about because I want everyone to find out for themselves =) 

Other than that, the week was very relaxed. We just worked and worked and worked! We realized today that we call home next week! That is crazy!!!! We are hoping and praying that everything will work out so we can call home without problems. The internet in our city isn't very good, so maybe say a prayer and fast that it will work out on Christmas. I'm going to fast several times this week and next =) 

Love you guys and miss you all! Thank you for ALL of the pictures! I think the Christmas card looked great!

Love you all!

Elder Sanderson

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

65 weeks- transferred to Manacapuru

Hey there everybody!

So, just to start out, I got transferred again...haha it's just not meant for me to stay anywhere for very long. It came as a huge surprise since I only had six weeks in Castanheira (my ward in Manaus). Even more of a surprise, was that they transferred Elder Lippe (my companion) as well! That doesn't happen very much, but it's what happened. I'm now in a city called Manacapuru which is just on the other side of the river from Manaus. It's about a 2-hour bus ride from our mission office. I'm serving with another American and am excited to work in this city! It is a really clean city and doesn't have any hills!!! We have a brand new chapel that is only 6 months old and is beautiful! It's even two-stories which is something I haven't seen that very much in my life. Elder Battraw is a cool guy and is going to do Army ROTC at BYU when he gets home. He only has one more transfer than I do, so we are going to go home almost the same time and then to BYU at the same time. We are getting along great so far and I'm excited for the transfer!

Okay, on to your questions =)

I am doing great! I'm hungry and thirsty, but we are going to eat lunch after we finish here. We also need to go buy food because we are opening this area. It closed a week ago because of problems that came up, so we are both new to the city. Because neither of us was here, we don't have food and don't have mineral water (the water we drink) but will be buying it today! 

My week was great! It was full of fun and we got to go to the temple!!!! The temple is the best part about this mission. I love it and it is so beautiful because of how new it is. It sits in an area that doesn't have very much going on, so it is peaceful. I think that was the first thing I noticed when I walked in: silence. We get so caught up in the noise and chaos of the world that we forget what silence is like. I had a few minutes to just sit and enjoy the feelings of love and comfort and happiness that come from going to the temple. I had been feeling really stressed beforehand, but those feelings vanished. I hope that I can come back to this temple after the mission, because that was one of the most spiritual experiences that I've had on my mission, and I will always remember it. 
Yesterday, we had our transfer. It was great to go to the mission office and wait for the transfer because I got to go and see so many of my old companions! I think I saw all of my past companions who are still serving in the mission. It was great to see Elder Calcagnoto and Elder Camargos (my companions from Cruzeiro do Sul) and we just sat around and talked for close to three hours. You asked me when I laughed this week, and that was when I laughed =) We told old stories, talked about old investigators, and just joked around. The best part of being at the mission office though, was when I got to see Elder Furtado. He was my first companion in Brazil. I haven't seen him since March, and didn't have his email to keep talking to him. I have always wanted to thank him for all of the help he gave me and all of the patience he had with me. He was just as happy to see me, and we only had about 10 minutes to talk before we had to go. He was returning from the area where I'm serving now and gave me some good advice for the area. I'm thankful that Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to thank him for all that he did for me. I have been wanting to ever since I left Manaus back in March, but never had the chance. I was sad to hear that Elder Furtado has to go home early now because he is having health problems with his knee and is going home with honor. I was hoping I'd serve around him one more time, but we got each others' email and will be talking for many years to come. He was the greatest missionary we had in this mission. 

When did I feel the most peace? Definitely in the temple =) I took some great pictures there too! We were there right as the sun was going down, so it was dark enough to be lit up by the temple lights, but light enough to leave the sky bright. I felt the most peace as I was walking up the main staircase. I might have already told you about it, but it's my favorite part of the Manaus temple. There is a floor-to-ceiling painting of Jesus Christ with His arms stretched out to whoever is coming up the stairs. As you go up the stairs, you can feel the Love of the Savior and the testifying power of the Holy Ghost. As you are continuing up the staircase, you feel as if you are rising up to the welcoming arms of the Savior. I hope it's many years before I actually have to do that, but I'm very excited for it too =)

That story about Haylee and the Medal of Honor receipient was awesome! I think that is so cool that he coined her! Tell her to keep that forever! She'll have to show it to me when I call home in a few weeks =) Christmas is already close. We have our mission Christmas Conference on Friday in Manaus! It'sgoing to be around 100 of the missionaries from our mission all together at the same time! I will get to see all of my old friends and am really looking forward to it! Speaking of which, I got your package =D It got to me yesterday when I was at the mission office =) I opened it up, but haven't touched the wrapped presents yet =) The Mickey suckers and candy made me miss home =p Thank you for them and for the socks and goldfish too! I look forward to eating it all! 

We should have a good week this week! We are leaving for the conference on Thursday, have the conference on Friday, have our stake conference in Manaus on Saturday and Sunday, and will be coming back on Sunday night. We should be able to go to the temple on Saturday too! I'm really hoping we do! It won't be a week with very much work in our area, but we will take advantage of the next two days to get as much done as possible! 

I think that's about it for this week =) I did meet a guy from Brasilia, who was baptized in Uruguai, and who learned English in England when he was living there for two years. He was pretty cool =) We also heard of one of our investigators telling off a preacher who was speaking bad about us. He said the pastor was saying that it was bad to talk to us, that we were bad people, blah blah blah and that it was really bad for us to be passing by his house. Antonio, our investigator, said to the preacher, "They are my friends and are teaching me about Jesus Christ. They are always passing by my house because I want them to and because they want to help me find God. When I was going to your church, I don't remember you ever coming to visit me when I was going to your church to see how I was doing or to help me, so why are you coming by now?" It was AWESOME! I don't give any credit to the missionaries, but to Antonio and to the Holy Ghost who has been testifying to him in every one of our lessons. I know that what we are doing is right. I am grateful for such experiences that serve as reminders to me of how true this work is and how much Heavenly Father loves us =)

I love you all and will talk to you soon! Have a great week and know that I am praying for you all!

Elder Sanderson

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

64 weeks: Christmas countdown or not :)

How in the world is it already the first? It didn't hit me until about 9:30 this morning haha. I had been up since 6:30 and everything, but it still caught me off guard when I realized that it is December! Please stop the countdown for Christmas =p I told my companion that I won't call you if you keep counting down. I'll probably still call you, but that's just because I like you guys =) 

The Thanksgiving dinner was great! We had a party haha. It was roasted chicken, with bread and butter, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cream soda (it's a Brazilian soda they only have in our state), and Betty Crocker brownies! Afterwards, we played Uno with some of the craziest rules that I've ever seen haha. It was stressful to get it all together, but definitely worth it! 

Sounds like you guys have a ton of activities to go to! I think, "Of course I'm on my mission when they do all of this," but then realize, "Oh yeah, I'd be at school anyways." haha being a grown up is boring =p We did go see Santa go by on a truck the other day. Here in Brazil, they have cars that are just a giant speaker system, so they use them to broadcast advertisements in the neighborhoods; it's really annoying, but you learn to ignore it. Some of them are these huge trucks with room to stand on top, so all I saw was Santa go cruising by on a truck singing "Feliz Natal" to the tune of Feliz Navidad, but it was 100% portuguese instead of Spanish and English haha, kind of threw me off. 

Grandma Shirley also told me that it is cold at her house and asked how we are here. It. Is. Hot. we haven't had as much rain as we thought we would, so it's just been hot. I forgot to tell her one of the funniest things that I have yet to see here. We were walking home from lunch and passing in front of a guy's house. The guy was sitting outside of his house in the shade with a hose running next to his chair. As we glanced over, he put the hose right down the front of his pants and just kept it there. We almost died laughing. It was one of those moments where you just look at the wrong time, but man it was funny. I looked at my companion and he said, "Well, you know it's hot when that happens!" Hahaha

We also had a baptism this week" Rosa is 13 and her grandparents are members of the Church, she has been living with them for a month or so and decided to get baptized! She got baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday =) It was great to have the whole ward participate in her baptism. There was cake and soda and a musical number and lots of people! 

I took the pictures today that you asked for! I hope they turned out good and are what you wanted =) I wanted them to be more in the jungle, but we just didn't have time to get there. However, the part that is behind me in the pictures (the trees on the horizon) are literally where the Amazon begins, it's pretty cool =) 

Not too much else down here. The only thing I would want in a package is a new shirt or two. I like the Edwards brand (don't remember if it's Mr. Mac ir Missionary Mall) if you do decide to send me one =) 

Love you and miss you all! I'll get those pictures sent to you today!

Elder Sanderson

Monday, November 24, 2014

63 weeks -goal: increase personal faith

Just to get a jump on the holidays: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! It's all about Christmas here, but that's because they don't have Thanksgiving. I'm talking Christmas lights, trees, and all other decorations up starting three weeks ago. The funniest part is that they aren't saying anything about it (Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc), it's just that the required materials are here. I was thinking I might teach them a thing or two about exterior illumination ;p It's weird because we are having nothing but really hot days or really rainy days. It ended up raining about 7 of the last 8 days this past week or so. 
I don't have my planner with me (where I write my notes for the email on Monday), so I will just say sorry if this is short, but will do my best to remember everything.

Tuesday, we had our meeting with Elder Aidukaitis of the Seventy and it was FANTASTIC! He was great! The entire time was filled with the Spirit, with teaching, with practice of what he wanted us to do, and lots of laughter/smiles. He showed new ways to talk to people, how to help them pray, and so much more. He really focused on obedience too. We were told that there are quite a few missionaries who aren't getting up right at 6:30 every morning. He told us, "If you aren't getting out of the bed to pray at 6:30, you are losing the first chance to be obedient in your entire day. The effect of that statement has made its mark haha, we have all been getting up at 6:15 or 6:20 to try and be out of the bed at 6:30 and on our knees praying. The real challenge is trying to stay up for the next few hours of study afterwards haha. 
At one point, he opened the floor for questions and I asked him how to help wards/branches that seem to be discouraged. I had his complete attention. He asked me if I remembered the story of Ammon and what was the miracle that took place there. I told him that the miracle was that he had defended the king's flocks and then converted the king. He replied, "Yes, those were miracles too, but the greatest miracle was that he baptized an entire people. How did he do it? Let's think about this Elder, what would be easier: serving in a chapel where everyone has been converted to the Gospel, or going to teach the Gospel in Iraq, and which would you prefer? You're an American, so they don't like you, and you are a Christian which is even worse! They would most certainely do everything they could to kill you. What do you think?" I replied that it would be easier to serve in the chapel and that I would probably prefer to serve there. He then looked at me from his seat on the other side of the room, then got up and was right in front of me in less than two seconds. He said, "Elder, could you read a scripture for me?" I of course said that I would and opened to Ether 12:15 when he asked me to. It reads more or less like this, "For it was by the faith of Ammon and his brethren that such miracles were wrought among the lamanites." He looked at me and asked, "What is your name Elder?" I gave him my name, and he said, "Elder Sanderson, wouldn't it be great to one day see on the records of the church or in a book of the Church, 'For it was by the faith of Elder Sanderson and his companion that such a mighty miracle was wrought among the people of that ward/branch?' You need to have more faith Elder." 
I honestly didn't know what had happened haha. How it turned on me is a question I will never get an answer to, but it was kind of striking. I even heard a few people kind of gasp haha. However, he wasn't done with us. He ended up saying so for the entire mission with his responses to the other questions that were asked. He wasn't saying that I don't have faith, just that I need more. I'm okay with that because now it's a personal goal of mine =) The rest of his visit was as good as ever and we even had time to talk with some of our friends from around the mission since we were all together. It was great to see some of my friends in the mission that I haven't seen in about 7 or 8 months for a lot of them =)

So that was Tuesday, the rest of the week seems pretty relaxed after that. After all, it's not every day that a member of the 70 tells you that you need more faith haha. We did missionary splits with our zone leaders this week too. I got to go to their area and learned a lot! Especially how easy it is to make street contacts. We set up so many new appointments and ended up getting around 14 new investigators this week. We are going to try and keep up the streak and find the Elect who are waiting for us. 

I was sorry to hear about Grandpa Val today too =/ but like you said, I know he is in a better place and that he is happy there. I'm grateful for everything that I know about Heavenly Father's Plan for us =) I have been praying for everyone this week and that they could all be comforted when he passed. I felt comforted too and that was a huge blessing. 

Just two more quick things! First, I say one play of that Broncos game last night! We were at a member's house for an activity and as we walked in, there it was on the tv. I was amazed and it definitely made my night! Even better is that Thanksgiving is this week! No matter where you go in the world, Thanksgiving is a great chance to watch football haha. We even had a turkey bowl this week! We played football today on a sandy field near the other Elders' house. We played three on three for 3 hours with three Americans and two Brazilians. Thursday night, we are going to make a Thanksgiving dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, and maybe some sort of dessert. It should be great with three Americans cooking! 

That's all I've got for today =) I love you all and am so grateful for you! I make sure to tell Heavenly Father that every time I'm praying to Him. I am thankful for my knowledge of Jesus Christ and these two years that I have to serve Him. I'm thankful that our families can be together because of the covenants we make in the temple. I'm grateful for the happiness that is in my life because of the many blessings that Heavenly Father has given me. I don't know what I would do without them. It will be great to talk to you all in a few weeks and see how everyone is doing! Love you guys and have a great Thanksgiving!

Elder Sanderson

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

62 weeks -had a feeling something was going on at home

******this is the missionary board in our Ward building I sent him pictures of this week 

He loved it******* now for his letter:

First off, that Missionary Board is awesome!!!

Okay, now on to the rest =) 

Yes, Sierra told me about Grandpa, and grandma Shirley has been emailing me too. I truly believe that we can know when something is going on in our families. I have been missing home like crazy this week. I don't know why, but it was more than in my whole mission. I have been praying for you all and just hoping that all was well. I am sad that I can't be with the family and grandpa before he goes, but know that I was called here at this exact time with all things in consideration from Heavenly Father. I feel sad that I won't see him again here in this life, but look forward to going to the temple for him and then seeing him again after my own time here =) We are going to see the member of the 70 speak to us tomorrow morning and I will ask a blessing from President Castro. 

Our week was really slow! But we had some adventures of course! Apprarently, we aren't supposed to go to the river haha. At least not without asking President Castro. I didn't know that until Friday nightwhen one of the Assistents to the President (APs) called me. He called me at about 11:30pm which is not normal since we go to bed at 10:30 every night. He is a good friend of mine in the mission and just said that President knew that we went to the river and was going to call me. I said okay and have been waiting ever since. However, he hasn't called, so he either forgot, was testing me, or will talk to me tomorrow. I've now learned that rule and am going to keep it haha. 

We had a member of our stake presidency come and speak to us yesterday and he did great! I really enjoyed his talk because it applied perfectly to my current ward! He told us that there are many forms of apostast in the world and that apostasy is anything that would be said falsely or against the Church or its members. He said that that means that we all play a part in apostasy when we are talking bad about our brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter what they are doing or not doing in their callings, it only matters what you are doing in yours. I thought it was perfect! Whose place is it to judge who is working or who isn't? The Person who called you to that position, that's Who. 

We also had a bunch of investigators in church! It was great! One of them, Antonio, has a date to be baptized next Sundayafter church! He has such a strong desire to get baptized and to do the right thing =) The adversary is really fighting against him though. His girlfriend, who is also the mother of his 1 month-old daughter, does not want to live the law of chastity. She is already baptized in the Church, but hasn't been going for many years. Antonio wants to do everything the Lord wants, including marriage in the temple, but she doesn't. She has something against the Church that we can't figure out. He ended up calling us at about 11:30 on Saturday night and telling us about a fight he had gotten into with her. He told us he had wanted to hit her, but didn't and that he then had wanted to drink, but didn't because he knew that isn't what Heavenly Father wants and he wants to do what Heavenly Father wants. We thanked him for his faith and then said a very long prayer over the phone. We asked if we could do anything for him, and he said just to stop by the next day. We agreed, and asked him to say a prayer that very night too. He told us the next day that he was much better and that he had gone to his room, got down on his knees, and prayed harder than he ever had before. It was just an amazing story =) We are going to visit him every day this week, please keep him in your prayers.

I don't have too much else from the week. I'm praying for you all and love you all! Thank you for your prayers, they are the reason I can keep doing what I'm doing =) 

Love always,

Elder Sanderson

Mom, I'll make sure to get a picture to you next week. What kind of idea did you have with "as brazil as possible" because if you want, I might be able to climb a tree or something =)
********i told him I needed a selfie of him this week for our Christmas cards******. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 61- something special

Hey there everybody!

Sounds like Haylee's birthday was awesome! Dave and Busters is always fun =) She was really excited about my email and said it was the first thing she opened on her b-day. I said some extra prayers for her just because of her birthday =) 

We had a pretty slow, but really fast week. We did a lot of things, but we still didn't teach as much as I wanted to. We ended up just going to lots of meetings. My district is still doing great! They had 3 baptisms this weekend and because of some special circumstances, they have two more tonight! I'm just trying to get my own area going.

Last Monday, we had a pretty cool lesson. We marked an appointment with a kid who has been playing soccer at the church with the YM and finally had time to teach him. When we knocked on the door, he answered and said he would ask his parents if we could come in. They said that they were evangelical, so I said, "Great, they believe in Christ. Would they like to hear a message abut Him?" The young man kind of paused and said, "Hang on, I'll go and ask them." He came back and said, "you guys can come in." Works every time haha. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ for them and the father, who I think is a pastor, loved it! He was agreeing with everything, but then said he was going to use it in his church. Haha we literally taught the pastor a thing or two haha. He asked us about our experiences in Brazil and what we feel needs to improve her; what the people need. We said that they need families who are centered on Christ. Families are being attacked and are falling into drug use, violence, dropping out of school, etc and that can't happen. We said parents need to be closer to their children, children closer to their parents, and that the parents and the children need to grow closer to God. He loved it and said we can come back to his home anytime that we want. He said, "After leaving your own countries just to walk in the sun and teach people about Christ? You young men must have something special." We are going back tonight to teach him the Restoration. =)

We then spent most of the week walking in the sun, but that was a great way to start the week haha. We then went throughout the rest of the week just trying to build the area. It's a little hard with my companion because he has more time than me in the mission, but I'm the senior companion. So what happens, is that I'm trying to respect his time as a missionary and follow his lead (since he knows the area), but he is trying to follow me because I'm the senior companion. So what ends up happening, is we just kind of go in circles. Sometimes it is litterally in circles because he doesn't know our area that well, so we lose a lot of time getting lost. I think this week will be better, and am excited to just keep working =)

We had a really funny experience on Saturday night because there were two guys out side of our apartment complex who were drinking a lot and listening to music. It was really funny because they started listening to songs like Funky Town, Girls just wanna have fun, and Stayin' alive. It was even better when they started dancing! We were rolling on the ground because of how hard we were laughing. 

We had another experience in church on Sunday that had another old school feel to it. As we got there, a huge storm blew in. The rain was blowing sideways because of the strength of the wind! Then the power went out for our entire Sacrament Meeting. We just kept going in the dark and without a mic haha. It was pretty fun to do =) 

I also got to read a 10-page presentation given by Elder Bednar at the New Mission President training seminar! President Castro sent it all to us and it was awesome! I learned so much about how important it is to follow the Spirit in our work! He said that many times, we just get too used to how things are done, so when we need to change, we don't want to. He asked very clearly, "Are you going to do what you've always done or are you going to do what the Lord wants you to do?" Then saying, "If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always gotten." I am going to use it in my training tomorrow in District Meeting and am using tit to help my own work as a missionary! 

As to boating down the amazon, we didn't do that again =p but are going fishing next week I think! There are some really big snakes in the river, and crocs too, but we only saw them from far away...just kidding! Haha. We did see the dolphins though! I tried to take a video of them, but I think I was too slow. It was really cool to see them! 

Thanks for the pics! When you said you were sending it to "You both" I was like, "Is she sending pics to Sierra too?" Then I saw Sarah's name in the list next to mine and it made sense haha. Sucks that Gordon lost, but I'm glad the Jazz beat the Cavs! How are the Cavs looking with Lebron now? Did Cleavland like having him back? 

Love you all! I hope the 6 weeks goes by fast, but at the same time I don't! They might go by a little slow though because people already have Christmas lights, trees, and other decorations up here haha. They are really excited about it. I guess that's what happens when you don't have Thanksgiving. 

Love you guys! Talk to you next week!

Elder Sanderson

****HE SENT US A PS ******

Yes! I got to Manaus just in time!!! We have Elder Aidukaitis of the 70 coming to visit us this week!!! I just found out about it! Everybody in Manaus is going to get together for it! They said we have to study diligence and chapter 8 of Preach my Gospel (using your time wisely). I can't wait for this! =D It's like Christmas as a missionary haha

Love you guys!

Monday, November 3, 2014

60 weeks!!!! - on the Amazon in a canoe!!

Hey there everybody! 

I am LOVING this new area! My comp rocks, the members are great, my district is really cool, my zone leaders are great, and we baptized the first week in the area! It really doesn't get too much better than that as a missionary! I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for such great blessings, but also realize that we need to continue doing our part if we want to continue receiving these blessings =) We had interviews with President Castro this week too and that was fun! 

I could just write it all in one paragraph, but I will try and break it up =)

To start off: HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAYLEE!!! Tell her not to open the email I sent until her birthday =)

Alright, on to the rest of the adventures!

We started the week off with only a hand full of investigators, but have begun to construct the area. We are still going to try and get some more this week, but I am happy to be working busily. I had my first district meeting as DL. It went alright, I honestly don't know exactly what I'm doing, but know I will get better with practice. My district had a really hard transfer last transfer and is a little unanimated, so I'm going to try and liven things up! They seem to be liking it so far, so I'm happy with that! With being a DL comes the baptismal interviews that I get to do! Such a cool experience to feel the Spirit confirming to me that the person is ready and has the desire to take upon them the name of Christ! The only thing I don't like about baptismal interviews is that it takes me away from my area and usually takes a few hours to get everything together. I ended up missing our baptism because of a poorly marked interview that I had to do in another area. 

We also had our interviews with President Castro last week =) When he asked me what my biggest challenge is in my mission, it took me a second to respond. We have many challenges, but what is my biggest? I finally told him that for right now, I just need to know how to be a good District Leader. My entire district has more time than me as a missionary, and that is kind of intimidating. He responded, "How much time they have doesn't matter. Joseph Smith was 14 when he was called to leadership, Samuel the prohpet too." I considered that to be a little bit different of a case, but got the message haha. He then told me something that I found very interesting, he said, "We don't study the scriptures to gain wisdom, we study the scriptures to save our souls." I really liked that and am going to use it in my training tomorrow =)

I've also gained a stomach of steel! I don't like to eat eggs or fish. However, I've eaten more fish and eggs in the last week than I think in the last fifteen years of my life. The eggs were tough to down, but the fish in Brazil is great! Way better than American fish. I just hope the pattern doesn't keep up with us being fed these things haha. It's more of a mental block than a physical one, but is still there even after what I ate wasn't that bad. 

Today, was one of the best p-days that I've had in a long time! We went to "Encontra das aguas" (I think that's the name) where the two rivers that make the Amazon meet up! There is literally a line down the middle of the river where the water is so different. One side is brown and the other is black, it's pretty weird. We had a great time just getting there in this tiny canoe with an engine mounted on the back. I'm also a different color now than when I got up this morning haha. I didn't burn, but am now a golden brown haha. 

I also got called as the ward pianist! Did I tell you I'm learning how to play the piano? Just kidding, but I really am the ward pianist...just with the electric piano because it is in English. The members have been singing acapella for who knows how long. Our chapel is also really old, so we have wooden benches to sit on and don't have AC. However, it made me feel like I was in one of the church movies that show the time of Joseph Smith haha. Very old school, but also very spiritual =)

Love you all, thank you for the pictures! 

Just two more things:
1. We celebrated Halloween too! We couldn't find any pumpkins, but we did buy a watermellon and carved the symbol of baptsim into it! Afterwards, we put a flashlight inside to light it up. What did we learn? It is hard, but possible to carve freehand, and that watermellons have a lot more inside than a pumpkin.

2. I saw a great rendition of "Joseph Smith's first prayer" to the music of "come thou fount of every blessing" it was awesome!

Love you all! 

Elder Sanderson

Monday, October 27, 2014

59 weeks - back to Manaus!

Hey there family of mine!

Lots of stuff to say (I think) and only a little time to say it! That,
and I haven't slept in the last 36 hours, so I don't really want to
take to long here, my bed is calling me before the end of P-day. So,
let's start with the big news: Yes, I got transferred! I finally left
Cruzeiro do Sul and am already loving my new area! I like my new
companion, Elder Lipp who is from Texas, and we are both ready to work
our butts off this transfer! I got sent back to Manaus, and am now
serving in the neighborhood of Solimões (i think I spelled that
wrong). It is the poorest area in Manaus, but the members here have
already embraced us with open arms! They have told me welcome to the
area about three times and I don't think anyone else has ever done it
once haha. I also got called as the District Leader, so I now have to
give trainings for my district (6 elders) every tuesday. I'm excited
for the new opportunity to learn how the mission leadership works =)

Alright, so we had a pretty crazy and also slowly fast week. I have
some stories and then I'll get off of here for the week =)

We were in the street the other day in Cruzeiro travelling to some
appointments. As we approached one of the roads that we were getting
ready to go down, we saw that there had been a motorcycle crash.
Nobody was hurt, but we still wanted to see what had happened. As we
got closer, our Crianças da Alegria were all to be seen sitting in the
middle of the street (which was blocked off) and watching the cops
talk to the people. We called them over to us and asked what had
happened. They replied nothing, but that six fish had died. We were a
little confused until we looked at the road and saw that one of the
motorcycles had been carrying fish which had fallen during the crash.
We then left to go to our lessons with the parents of these kids,
however, the fish don't end at this point in the story. We got to our
lesson and were teaching one of the moms of these kids, when one of
her sons comes running up and asks, "mom, where is the carving knife?"
She replied, "Why do you need a carving knife?" To which the boy
replies, "We got some fish and we are going to grill them out back!"
Elder Calcagnoto and I couldn't believe what we were seeing and
couldn't help but laugh haha. It doesn't matter where you go in the
world, kids will always be kids.

The only other adventure that I had this week, was our trip to Manaus.
It was two Elders and I who left Cruzeiro do Sul together. We had to
buy our bus passes and then caught the bus to Rio Branco Saturday
morning at 8am. We were on the bus for 10 hours, and only slept and
played cards. We were happy it was only ten because we were planning
on twelve =) It's going to make road trips seem so much easier at
home! We got to Rio Branco about 6pm and had to wait until 8 at the
bus station for our ride to pick us up because we didn't have a phone.
He finally got there, and we got taken on a tour of the city, Rio
Branco is beautiful and I really hope I serve there one day! We then
got taken out to a quick dinner called a x-tudo (they can't say
cheese, so they say "sheez" which is made with x). It was a steak,
grilled chicken, sausage, egg, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and hot dog
wienie all slammed down onto a hamburger bun! It was probably the
greatest thing I've ever eaten and I am sure I felt myself get fatter
haha. We finally got to the Rio Branco house around 10 or 10:30 and
stayed up talking until around one or two with the missionaries there.
We got up on Sunday and had to go to church to help with classes and
baptisms and things like that. We went throughout our day and then
didn't even bother going to sleep last night because we had to catch a
flight for Porto Velho at 2:30am. We caught our flight to Porto Velho
and had to stay at the airport waiting for our flight until about 9am.
We then left for Manaus and got to Manaus just after 1pm. I found my
new companion and we headed to our area where the members had made
lunch for us and then dropped us off at home. I just want to sleep,
but we are going to have to go out and work in a little bit because we
have appointments already. It will be a long rest of the day, but I
know Heavenly Father will help.

One more quick story from the plane, I got to teach a lesson at 3am to
the guy sitting next to me! He was asking me about the missionaries
and what we do, so I explained it to him. We began talking like we
were old friends, and talked the entire hour to Porto Velho. It was
even cooler because we were switching between English and Portuguese!
He is a translator for American tourists in Manaus and so he spoke
really good English compared to other people we talk to. He has only
been studying for about a year, and speaks as well as I now do thanks
to Portuguese 24/7. I taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he
said he believes 100% in what I said. It was a really fun experience

That was really about it, sorry the travel plans were so long! But it
was just one more adventure for Elder Sanderson =) Thank you for the
sports news again too!!!!! Sucks about the Cougars, but I am happy
with the rest. I hope the Royals win too! I hope the caps improve...

That could be one thing you could do for me before I come home! Buy me
some caps and nats stuff. I mostly just want a hat from each haha,
don't know why I'm on a hat kick, but it happens.

Love you and miss you all!

Elder Sanderson

Monday, October 20, 2014

58 weeks- progress!

Hey there family of mine!

I won't comment too much on all of your adventures this week, but I'm glad to hear that everything is great! I'm in a hurry, so will have to cut and paste some of my email from other emails I've already sent. Sorry that it's not all 100% original! 

Our week was fantastic! Let me show you why:

 Our week was one of the most amazing that I have yet to see in the mission! I feel like I say that a lot, mixed in with "hardest week of the mission," haha but I'm grateful for both because it means growth and progression! After 4 and a half months in Cruzeiro do Sul, I think I'm finally going to head out. I hope not, but at the same time, change would be good =) Our area caught fire this week! It was amazing!!! We marked 10 baptismal dates in 2 days! All of them for this Sunday! We found a family that is as elect as elect can get! We marked 8 of the 10 dates in that house haha. They even all went to church on Sunday! I almost passed out from excitement! They even had arranged for a ride to get us all there! We would have walked over 30 minutes otherwise. It was humbling just to see Heavenly Father take over and seem to say, "Here's a million blessings for your hard work." Our members seemed even more surprised than we were when we told them that we will have about 7 or 8 baptisms this week! After such a hard transfer with so much heartache and trial, Heavenly Father just wrapped His Arms around us and carried us through to the end.

On top of all that, we had our Zone Conference with President Castro this week too! We read over 50 scriptures, had role-plays, received revelation/inspiration/motivation, and were with him and Sister Castro for 11 hours! We met from 9am until 8pm, only stopping for lunch! Sister Castro had a game for us that was pretty fun too =) She wanted to see who had the cleanest shoes and so she had us all be shoe models. Probably one of the most awkward things I've done on the mission, but we will remember it for a long time haha. We had to walk down a runway, strike a pose, and then exit the runway. She even let us pick any kind of music that we wanted, so we chose "Don't stop believing" by Journey. As we were getting ready to stat, I looked at my Zone Leader and said, "I was already awkward as a missionary, now I have to be awkward in front of the Sisters." To which he replied, "I know, there's girls here!" haha.I ended up being tied for first place, thank you ROTC! 

One thing that I liked about our Zone Conference too was when Sister Castro said, "We were all friends in the pre-mortal life, I'm certain of that. And although we might only have a little bit of time together in this life, we will all meet again in the next life. I am certain of this, because we will never be able to forget that we served in the Brazil Manaus Mission." In that moment, I realized just how much love that I have for my mission =) Words don't even begin to describe it, so I'll just leave it at that, but there was a fire inside of my testifying of our work and how happy Heavenly Father is with all of us. 

 I just have one more adventure! I was on divisions with another missionary yesterday, because his companion is sick and they needed to go to their branch's meetings. I went with him, but after the first two hours, we received a phone call from another missionary saying we needed to get home ASAP. We left the church running and arrived at home just in time to see an ambulance pulling up. We ran up the stairs and found out that his companion who was sick, lost conciousness and fell when he was in the bathroom. He couldn't walk down the 6 flights of stairs to the ambulance, and the medics didn't have anything to carry him on, so we ended up laying him in one of our hammocks and carrying him down the stairs to the ambulance. His companion jumped in with him and they left for the hospital. We all decided to go too, so we called for a taxi and went after them. We got to the hospital around 8 or 8:30pm and stayed there until 2am waiting to see what would happen. He was released and they basically said he just has to go home and rest. It was pretty crazy and a very long night! 

The week was truly amazing! I am just excited to see how we can continue the work this week! Crazy about the sports news and great for Peyton Manning! Sucks for BYU though =/ Lots more stories that I could tell, but really don't have time today! We are busy running, and I still have to email President Castro!

Love you all! I will check the pics you sent now!

Have a great week everyone!
Elder Sanderson

Monday, October 13, 2014

57 weeks- loving life

Holy cow!!!!! What in the world is going on in the world! That is
awesome that you guys got orders! I am excited but that also brought
tears to my eyes when I thought about not being in DC anymore. I'm
going to go with option 1 right now: Report back to DC after the
mission, but we can definitely talk more at Christmas about it and I
will pray a lot about it!

Okay, with that out of the way, I will respond to the email from the
top. The question about meeting new people definitely put a smile on
my face haha we meet a lot of new people every week, but usually only
a handful will stick around long enough to really know them. I'm doing
great and the week was great! We marked 5 baptismal dates in one
lesson, one more the next day, and have more plans to mark at least
one more today =) All of our hard work is paying off in the form of a
small world (investigators who know people that we know, references
asking to be baptized, etc.) as well as blessings from the Lord. What
was the name of that Sister you met at the temple from Porto Velho? I
think we are going to baptize her sister! Porto Velho has a lot of
members, so maybe not, but it's been a very small world lately!

I know exactly why it feels like I've only been gone only a week and
Joe a month, Elder Bednar taught us when I was serving in Utah. He
said, "We are eternal beings. As such, we don't like the concept of
time or endings. However, as we get more closer to Heavenly Father
through our service and our sacrifice, we are living up to our eternal
potential and time will seem to fly by for us because it is only a
mortal concept." At least that's why I think it is the way it is =)

I don't remember Bishop Cole, but he sounds like a pretty good guy
haha. I'm glad the Church is such a small world =) it makes the
progression of the Gospel that much easier. I like Brother Merrill's
analogy about the raindrops and the cups that we all have. We get
rained on enough in our mission, but in the end, you feel the
blessings and watch them spread to the lives of others =) Elder
Bednar's talk was great! I need to watch it a few more times in
English, but will download it this week or next week, depending on the
internet today.

Thanks for the Sports news too! That really sucks that the Dodgers and
the Nats are both out of the playoffs, but at least I didn't miss them
winning the world series. Crazy about the NASCAR news too! I wish I
would have seen all of that! Did Manning break that record? Or is it
this Sunday?

Alright, onto my week!

We were blessed beyond measure to be able to mark so many baptismal
dates!!! It's right before transfers and a little bit after transfers
for their dates, but we'll see what happens! We don't have transfers
until the 26th, but I think I'm heading out this time, so we'll see
what happens. However, 5 of these 6 dates were marked after watching
President Uchtdorf's talk from the Saturday Session of Conference! It
was like an atomic bomb of the Holy Ghost went off in our lessons! In
one of them, our investigator began testifying of the truthfulness of
our message to her whole family! In the other, we marked a date with
someone we've been teaching for 4 months and hasn't really been
progressing! After all of that, we got a call today to hear that we
have a reference from Porto Velho to teach a 22 year-old whose sister
served a mission, returned from that mission, and taught her sister
who now wants to be baptized. She lives on our very own street and is
just waiting for us to stop by and teach/baptize her!

I also received a package from Aunt Kim this week! It was full of good
stuff! I'm going to send her an email saying thank you, but please
make sure to tell her that I said thank you when you talk to her =) I
especially needed the flashlight, so that was perfect! She also sent
me lots of snacks, bug spray, sun screen, and Gold Bond, all of it was

Other than that, the week was pretty much just full of rain. The
houses of some of our investigators flooded because there was so much
rain! Luckily, our apartment is on the 2nd story, so it wasn't a
problem for us, but holy cow it was a lot of rain! We also saw a
pretty funny video on TV during our lunch appointment the other day.
This family has small kids, so they were watching MAD on cartoon
network. The show is mostly for Americans because it makes fun of
American things, but I was okay with that haha. As it was on, I looked
over and saw the nephews of Scrooge McDuck: Hughey, Dewey, and Louis
sitting around doing nothing. The next thing I know, Scrooge comes in
and asks why they aren't working and it turns into McDuck Dynasty! I
laughed so hard I almost fell off the couch haha! It was hilarious!
You guys should look it up if you get the chance =)

That was about it for the week =) We are loving life and life is
loving us! Have a great week everybody!

Love always,

Elder Sanderson

Monday, October 6, 2014

56 weeks- Conference

Hey there everybody =)

BEFORE I FORGET: Happy Birthday mom! I know that it was on Tuesday and I completely spaced the email last Monday. Hope you still love me! How was your birthday? I know you guys were flying home, but I hope it was still good! I can't afford to send anything in the mail, but hopefully you know how thankful that I am to have you as my mom. I believe it was Elder Christofferson who was speaking about our families, and I could only keep thinking, "Dad and Joe taught me how to be a man, but it was mom who taught me how to be a man of God." After the Conference mom, that is a greater gift than anybody could ever give me =) I love you and thank Heavenly Father every single day that you are my mom.

What a wonderful conference weekend it was! The Spirit you feel during conference as a missionary is worth the entire two years of service and much more! Every time somebody mentions the missionaries in a prayer or in a talk, you realize that they are talking about you and the Spirit just surges inside of you, once again confirming that what you are doing is right. I went to conference with about 5 questions that I wanted answered during the weekend, in the Saturday morning session, 4 of those 5 were answered, so I went home Saturday night and made up some new ones haha. They were all answered by the end of the weekend =) 

The overall messages that I got from the Conference: Follow the Prophet, testify ofJoseph  Smith, and own up to your choices. So many other wonderful notes too, but those are what I was constantly aware of. Also, the Second Coming is right around the corner, if you're not preparing, you better get started right now. We can't afford to wait any longer, and it's like you said mom, "It starts with day one." The talk that was in Portuguese was great! It was nice to be able to listen to a conference talk without a voice over for at least a few minutes =) I really liked the talk by Elder Robbins too! In Portuguese, he was asking what side we are on. There are only two, and it's time to decide. I will go over my notes this week too and then send more inpressions that I received over the weekend =) I only took 22 pages of notes...so I will need just a little bit of time haha. I liked Elder Wong's talk too! But it was hard to focus because my brain was thinking, "He is speaking in Cantonese, I'm thinking in English, but I'm understanding Portuguese haha it was quite the thought and my brain was trying to figure out how it was possible. 

Thanks for the sports news again!!!! That is sad about Hill, he broke his leg when I was at BYU too and was out for the season. Hendrick Motorsports is going to need some help too...I might just pray for the Nationals! Of all the things in the package, I think the hat is what I'm most excited for! 
The week was really normal for us, but we had an amazing experience on Tuesday! =) We decided to just find new people to teach on Tuesday, and that is what happened. However, I had been studying a book that is about missionary work and has a section about knocking doors. The author says, wouldn't you like to receive a reference from the Lord? Wouldn't that be the greatest thing in the world? Did you know that you can? He then explains how we can receive inspiritation for where we need to go to find someone who is prepared to receive the Gospel. The steps are as follows:

1. Repent of every sin that you have
2. Express gratitude for what you have
3. Pray for inspiration from the Holy Ghost, for your companion, and for yourself
4. Go to the map of your area and spend as much time as you need looking at the streets and writing down the name of as many as you feel even the smallest hint of "maybe here" or other feelings that are the Holy Ghost
5. Have your companion do the same until you each have 5-10 streets
6. Compare lists and look at how amazingly you both have a few streets that are the same!
7. Go to those streets and find the Elect of God

He also mentions that you are probably going to have 1 or 2 in common, but has heard of as many as three or four too! We decided to give it a shot, and oh what an expeirence =) We had 4 streets in common! These four streets linked together to ensquare an area of our area that was very specific. We couldn't believe how perfectly it worked out! We practically ran to those streets and began our work. We ended up finding 4 new families to teach and are so excited to work with them! It was amazing, every single one of them was receptive to our message and some of them already know members of the Church! We received referrals from the Lord. I have not had an experience like that, and look forward to having many more! 

That's about it =) Hopefully this is an interesting email =) I'm loving life and cannot wait to share with our investigators all of these conference talks! So many of them were aimed exactly at problems or questions that they are all having =)

Love you all! Make sure to keep these talks in mind and to continue studying them!

Elder Sanderson

****He emailed once more and said--***

Love you too mom =) one more thing I learned from conference: We have to love everyone and make sure that we are forgiving them and helping them, no matter what they believe or think.

Monday, September 29, 2014

55 weeks -starting over

*****from Tara:  sent him a bunch of pictures from my sisters wedding and reminded him the importance of getting married in the temple****.  :) 

I love every single one of you =) You're all crazy and awesome at the same time! Thank you so much for all of the pictures mom =) They were exactly what I needed! These last two weeks have been really really hard. Our entire area came crashing down on our heads. I've never seen or heard of anything like it in the mission. Every single one of our 40ish investigators dropped us or we dropped them with the exception of about 4. Our district and zone leaders don't even know what to say or have any advice to give besides, "Start over." Well DUH haha I don't really have any other option than to start over haha. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster with many, many prayers said and almost a few tears to go along with them. I don't know if I've ever come so close to crying on my mission as I did when we were walking in the streets this week and last and just getting rejected. We are just going to go at it this week and try and get a few baptized conference weekend! I also had another small miracle in what our Elders Quorum President said to us the other night, he said, "Just remember that after all of our trials, the bigger the trial, the more we will grow." That helped me out a lot over the last few days =) Tender mercies from the Lord are great.

How is everybody doing? It was great to see pictures of everyone! Krissie and Ammon looked great and very happy! No worries mom, I'm getting married in the temple no matter what. The crazy part, it's probably only about a year or so away. Sarah wouldn't let me get married anywhere outside of the temple anyways haha. I'm excited to meet Ammon when I get home and just to see everyone. Haylee and Sierra look good too! I'm glad Sierra made it there safe and sound, she had told me she was a little worried about going on the Salt Lake Shuttle or something like that. 

I can't believe all of the sports history that is happening on my mission!!!! Zimmerman throws a no hitter, I'll never see Jeter play again, Gordon is first in points (with the other 11 haha), the Broncos are still on fire, and BYU is undefeated!!! The sacrifices we make for what's really important... ;p haha I'll just watch it all when I get home haha. But seriously, the list has begun of things I need to do! You didn't send me that picture of Jeter at his last at bat, or at least the article with the picture. Please send it if you get the chance =) 

I'm excited for the b-day package! I should get it in about January =D Perfect timing for Christmas and my birthday! I'm more excited for the Nats hat than anything haha. If you could throw in a baseball that would be awesome! They don't exist in Brazil. Footballs don't exist either, but I don't know if that would fit. The other day we had a service projext and took a break to sit in the shade and relax a little. It was underneath some coconut trees, so we decided to grab a few and drink coconut water and then eat what's inside. We ended up having quite the adventure and took upon us some of the native culture. We didn't have a ladder, and it was impossible to climb the tree in flip-flops, so we just had to throw stuff up into the tree: sticks, rocks, other coconuts, whatever we could find. We ended up throwing sticks like they were spears, and it was awesome! One Elder threw his so hard that it flew up into the tree and got stuck in a coconut! However, this wasn't showing us much success, so we tried a new tactic. I climbed on the district leader's back, and had a really big stick to try and knock down these coconuts. I told him not to worry if one fell because I would save him; as I said that, the "spear" fell out of the tree and missed us by about 6 inches, so we decided to stop haha. In the end, the neighbors had a ladder and we used it to grab the coconuts: mission accomplished. 

Other than that, I really don't hve much. Like I said, the week was really rough and it's hard to have a bunch of excited or interesting stories if you only were getting rejected. The only other thing I can think of is the first councilor in the Branch Presidency gave a talk on Sunday and he started like this, "Hello brothers and sisters, for those of you who don't know me, I'm Brother Ary. And for those of you who do know me, it's the same." I was busy controlling the many wild children we had with us, but found that intro to his talk to be really funny. I'm going to save it for the next time I have to give a talk. 

That's all I've got, hopefully it wasn't too boring, but if it was, thanks for reading anyways =) Mom, if you could send me Sister Brookes' email that would be great! I hope that everyone enjoys conference and that they go with open hearts and open minds. I'll probably be listening in portuguese again, but I'm much better prepared this time around! 

Love you all! 

Elder Sanderson

P.s. Check out the new Piano Guys version of Batman!!! It was awesome!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

54 weeks - they walked and walked and walked

*****I emailed him using Siri to talk into my iPad because I was doing seven things at once.  I have only done that a couple of times because siri always mixes up what I am trying to say.  She did better this time but she wrote some of nascsr names phonetically***. :) 

Haha it was alsmost 100% normal with Siri until the very last part about NASCAR haha. Just go back and read the names =p 

Hello everyone!

I'm glad everybody had a good week, that Sierra is loving school! The week was kind of slow for you guys, but sounds like you'll have your hands full! Make sure to send pics of Krissie's wedding and all the family! I can't believe you guys went to a Brad Paisley concert! I want to see him in concert too one day. I'm glad to hear that he is as good of a guy as he seems to be =) there are fewer and fewer of those these days. 

GO COUGARS!!!!!! I hope they have a great year! They probably will because I'm not there, but that's life =p It was the same with the Broncos going to the Super Bowl, the Nats and Dodgers being on fire, and Gordon taking a chance at the cup...that's the life of a missionary. 

Onto our week, honestly it will be a short email this week, but the week was really slow, so there isn't much to type. 

First off, I had probably one of the funniest moments here in the mission happen the other day. Maybe it was just because of the slowness of our week, but I don't think so. We were in the super market across the street from our house, and we only went there to by laundry detergent. When we got to the front of the checkout line, the young lady (who practically knows us by name because of how much we go there) looked us straight in the eye and asked, "Are you going to wash clothes?" I could barely keep myself from laughing out loud when I thought, "Nope, we're going to make lunch. Here's your sign." I made it out of the store, and began to laugh my head off. Elder Calcagnoto asked what it was, and I explained to him about Bill Engvall and what he says about such questions. I'm still not able to keep from smiling when I think about it! 

We had a pretty cool experience with the "Crianças da alegria" (the group of kids who we are always bringing to the church each week) in our activity this past week. They had a bunch of different games with balloons and popcorn and all kinds of fun stuff. We took about 25 of them with us to the activity, usually we only try to take a handful, but they were all ready to go when we arrived in their neighborhood. We decided to take them all and it was quite the adventure. One of the first things we had to do was divide up into teams. There were about 30 kids less than 12 years old, and the irmã made the mistake of letting them pick and then not balancing the teams. About 27 of them all came running to me and Elder Calcagnoto, jumping up and down with excitement and screaming our names. I couldn't help but smile and look to the other Elders who were almost alone. I looked at them and said, "My people," to which we all laughed. I think we ended up losing most of the games, but I was happy. We had to pick team names, and the kids called us the Boring Americans haha because they always here Elder Calcagnoto joke with me about that, then I had them all chanting, "USA USA USA" at the top of their lungs. It was awesome!

We had one more experience that was pretty cool too! We were in the center of the city after our group meeting on the other side of the river yesterday. We had had a good meeting with teh members there, and were taking two folding chairs back to our house because we don't have chairs and will receive our study desks this week. We were walking to our house, when we ran into one of our investigators. It was the mom of Francisco who we baptized a few weeks ago. We have really been working hard with them, and it was a surprise to find her there. The center of the city is about a 30 minute walk from her house, and it was about 7pm. Our city is pretty safe, but she didn't want to walk alone and couldn't believe her luck at running into us. She asked where we were going and we answered close to her house, and offered to walk with her. (the "close" part wasn't exactly true, our house was only about 10 minutes away from where we met her) As we walked, we had an amazing chance to teach her and reassure her that her husband will get baptized some day. He isn't baptized in any church, but always tells her they will get baptized. We have been trying to get him to that point, but it is kind of difficult. He won't go to church, but she loves the Church. She told us how much of a change she has seen in Francisco and how much it means to her. He leads the family prayers, is always ready when it is time to go to church, He listens to his parents now and she is just amazed at that. We explained that the Church really stresses the importance of family, and that the Holy Ghost is helping him to make all of these decisions. We explained that the same can come to her and her family, but baptism really is the gate for that. She seemed pretty happy about that and we are excited to keep working with them! I think the husband will need a little bit of time, but I know that he'll feel the Spirit when we're teaching and one day will be baptized. We ended up walking all the way to their house and then back to ours, about an hour with those stupid chairs haha, but it was all worth it =)

Other than that, the week was pretty much normal. We walked a lot, taught a lot, and walked some more. We have new investigators that already know some of our members, and that really makes our job easier! They already have friends in whom they confide and can talk to. It's going to be a great week!

Tell everyone that I said hi and that I love them!


Elder Sanderson