Monday, March 31, 2014

29 weeks, a transfer and a spider

Hey there family of mine! Or if you prefer Portuguese: Olá família de Élder Sanderson!

It wasn´t too bad of a week! Freaking HOT but still good. It probably rained 6 days of the 7, but that was alright because it meant we weren´t melting. I don´t know why, but I know my Portuguese got better this week! I could feel it, I couldn´t look at any specific example, but it was just a feeling in my heart and mind that I was improving. A much needed feeling indeed. There were still times where I was frustrated and upset with the language, but not as much as the past weeks.

Yes, we did hear about transfers. I don´t know where I´m getting transferred, but I know I´m getting transferred. It sounds like Elder Furtado (my companion) and I will be transferred together to the same area so that will be interesting. We are both excited because our area here has been really, really small. President Klein said that this current area (União) was given to us to prepare us for our next area. I just know what that means, but it will be interesting to find out. I want to go to the boonies so bad! But I want to stay in Manaus until July because of the World Cup! Haha. I don´t think Heavenly Father cares about that though, well He cares, but it´s not a priority for Him.

The food is awesome! Here´s what we eat almost every day:

Breakfast: French Bread with cheese and water

Lunch: Rice, Beans, Chicken or Fish, spaghetti noodles (just the noodles), Guarana (soda) or Fanta, and maybe a salad. 

Dinner: Nothing, just a snack when you get home at night (since it´s a 45 minute walk from our area to home)

That´s awesome that the activity was fun and that Joe had fun too! Baby steps haha. We had an awesome P-day today. It´s funny because you had such cold weather and we have been in shorts and t-shirts, no rain, probably 90-95 outside, a BBQ, and some volleyball! I was in desperate need of sports. I haven´t been working out in the mornings since my first area, but I´m going to now. It´s always rough because you´re so tired and also because I don´t like just doing push-ups or sit ups or anything, I would rather play sports. But after playing volleyball today, I really want to work out again! I feel great! 

Haha sounds like our missionaries back home are fun. And good ridance to that other guy, I´m glad he´s going to Brazil finally. Hopefully he has as much fun in the CTM as we did! Then hopefully he can get over the language barrier because that is a pain in the neck. I so testify. Weddings, that´s not as far away as it seems...I´ve had 3 people on my mission ask me if they can come to my wedding haha. And no, not because they want to be the other half of the wedding, they have specifically said, ´´yours and Sarah´s wedding´´.

This is random, but send me the Callahan´s email please! Taylor Callahan sent me a really nice letter/card and I want to get back to them ASAP! It was completely out of the blue and helped me out this week! Not much else going on with us this week. Make sure you watch conference! I´m more excited for conference than I ever have been! Conference with Missionary Ears is the greatest thing ever! I can´t wait! For personal study this week, I read every talk from November´s Conference. Every Session, even the Women´s one! I learned so many cool things and am going to keep that issue with me for a long time! 

Love you guys, have a great week!

Elder Sanderson

***I was able to chat with him, via email, for a bit today.  It was great!!  ---- SIERRA if you are reading this do NOT scroll through all the pics you will not sleep if you see the spider picture your brother sent. :) it wasn't even by him promise but still you don't want to see it----- everyone else you have been warned it is at the end after the bat picture****. :)

Washing his clothes. He will appreciate a washing machine when he gets home
Um yes that is a stick of fire they are using to combat an ant problem.  Yikes. 
Sorry this pic is sideways- I told him he was going to burn his house down his answer? It's completely concrete so that is impossible. 
His mission journal
This is in his area
He got to hold this turtle
Having a BBQ at the chapel on pday- he said 6 Americans one brazillian and one Chilean

Best BBQ he has ever had
Ok now onto the dead bat and the spider-someone killed the bat and they took a pic the spider was hanging out on a car as they walked home he took a pic.  No danger in either of these situations........right??? I will scroll down a bit so you don't have to see if you don't want to.

Dead bat-ew!!!!

Really gross spider.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

First pics from Brazil!

Holy freak you guys had an awesome week! Tell Joe that I said congrats! That´s really awesome! I don´t talk about the military here, and never about what dad and Joe do, but I leaned over to the other American that is with me and told him in English so nobody around us would understand haha. That really is awesome that the blessings of the Lord are being realized in the life of the family! This week I definitely felt the love of my Heavenly Father over and over again. It´s freaking hard down here. I still don´t speak much of the language because I can´t understand what others say. It´s pretty hard to hold a conversation with someone when you don´t know what they´re saying haha. It´s been especially hard not to get down on myself or just give up. The adversary is pretty tricky like that. He takes your thoughts and uses them against you. Thoughts like, ´´why are you even trying´´, ´´you´ll never get this´´, ´´look at what you used to be able to do in Utah and now you can barely even pray´´ it´s pretty scary sometimes. But every time that I´ve had one of those thoughts (which is usually several times a day) I have always found a reason to lift my chin up, square my shoulders, and journey on. It´s been amazing to see what enduring to the end really means =) life is hard, it´s even harder when you can´t communicate with the world around you, you feel isolated and alone, but then your obedience to Heavenly Father´s commandments pays off and you feel the blessings pour in and angels lift you up. Does that mean all of a sudden I´m fluent for 5 minutes, no. But it does mean that I can find a reason to smile with a genuine smile and put my shoulder to the wheel! I´ll learn this language because it´s what God said I can do. I´ll learn this language because I have the determination to do so. I´ll learn this language because I know how many people are cheering for my back home =) When you talk to anybody about my mission, please tell them that I really do appreciate all of their love and support. It´s what gives me the motivation to keep on going! Something I forgot that is pretty cool about all the blessings we´ve been seeing! I went to the temple for the first time in Manaus last week and it was freaking awesome! Way hard in Portuguese, but still awesome! I put everyone´s names on the prayer role (Our family, dad, randi, jarrett, paisley, and sarah) all on the prayer role and it´s been cool to hear about your weeks! Dad said he and Sierra had a good talk and he was really happy about that, Joe made Senior and realized that maybe these blessings are real things, you were inspired about prayers, I felt Heavenly Father´s arms around me a lot, and who knows what more that we didn´t even notice! Pretty crazy that I might not be going back to DC when I come home, that´s a very interesting thought indeed! 

Love you guys! I´ll send pics this week!

Elder Sanderson

The elders he lives with
The rain 
My boy! I LOVE this picture!! It makes me miss him so much!! He looks so great though!! 
Wet pants. This does not seem fun. 
Pouring rain
The temple in Manaus. It is Beautiful!!
I love this picture and am going to frame it for the house.  

It is a brand new temple just dedicated in 2012. 
His new zone. Look at all the sisters!
The World Cup stadium In Manaus. Four World Cup games will be held here. How exciting for my soccer loving boy! 
A road they walk down in Manaus. 
His district from the missionary training center in São Paulo 
President and Sister Swenten from the São Paulo MTC. It was President Swenton who first approached the first presidency about changing the mission age.  How cool is that?? 
Goofs :)
São Paulo at night.  

**** he is doing so great!!!***** I am a happy missionary mom!! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Week 27

Hey there family of mine! (Oi família de mim!)

First off: This place rocks! Second: Holy freak it´s way freaking hot! I´m gonna´s been 5 days and I have a severe farmers tan!

It´s so great to hear about home! When you´re in the States, pretty much everywhere feels at least a little bit like home, but here doesn´t feel like that. Not yet at least, but it does feel like where I´m supposed to be!

We sang welcome to the jungle when we got off the plane haha it was pretty awesome! And I´m not exactly in the jungle since I´m in Manaus, but I´m alright with that because my area is directly across from the World Cup stadium!!!!!! It´s so freaking awesome! 

We do have a mission song, and we sing it at every single meeting: district meeting, zone meeting, mission meetings, etc. It´s really cool! The name is Verges Matas or also called the Manaus Mission Song too. It might be on youtube maybe? President Klein is so cool! You can just feel how much he and Sister Klein love the missionaries! They are awesome! 

Glad that Sierra is going to get everything taken care of! And Elder Gomez didn´t give me the blessing when I got hurt, Elder Pixton did. I remember because it was the first time he had given a blessing and I told him how to do it. 

I haven´t played soccer yet...we´re not allowed to. All missions in Brazil have a no soccer rule because too many missionaries got hurt. I think that hurt me more than any soccer injury could have haha. 

The people here are aweome! We´re in the city and also in the slums more or less. Part of our area is like a small city within the city, but the other part of the area is just shacks and huts. It´s really humbling, and the people are so great because they understand what´s really important in life. They´re also really immodest haha. I´m teaching English lessons now (which is hard to do when you don´t speak the language of the people you´re teaching) and it was so freaking hot yesterday that my ´´class´´ if you will, was half dressed. That´s pretty awkward any time, but especially as a missionary. My companion is a brasilian from São Paulo and he is great! He´s been out 9 months and speaks pretty little English. It´s quite comical I´m sure to see us try and communicate with each other. Grandma Chelle would get a kick out of it I think. Half the time, we´re using hand gestures and jumping up and down while trying to understand what the other is saying haha. 

Portuguese is pretty hard. I can speak enough to get by, but when others speak, it´s really hard for me to understand them. I understand why Tyler Martin felt like he did when he first got here. I think the language made me go through just about every emotion you can feel this week. I was happy, sad, angry, excited, anxious, nervous, discouraged, and so much else it feels like! Plus, it´s exhausting. My brain is trying to take in an entirely new culture of sights, smells, tastes (the food rocks), people, dos and don´ts, so when we get home every night, I just crash and don´t wake up until that alarm goes off at 6:30

That´s about all I got! I´m gonna finish my emails and then I´ll make sure to send you guys some pictures! Depending on how fast this internet is will decide how many pictures you get haha.

Love you all!

Elder Sanderson

He sent another email a few minutes later:
One more quick note: Just felt a little pang of homesikness for the UTSLCM. I checked my inbox in my missionary account that we use to communicate with our President and President Hansen sent me an email. It was short, but he said, ´´Dear Elder Sanderson, We miss you already. Have a great rest of your mission and come see us when you return. Love, President Hansen´´ I´m gonna miss that mission =) 

***another short add on*****
haha so I´m reading Sarah´s email and she said, ´´hope your area´s on fire´´ Only I read, ´´hope your ´butt´is on fire´´ haha that was awesome and I ca´t stop laughing now! 

Love you!

*******its so great to hear him doing so well and being so happy we were online at the same time so we got to chat back and forth a bit here are a couple of our exchanges*****

Me: what's your favorite part of Manaus?
D: Good question! I would have to say it´s how hard I have to bust my butt every single day. My brain can´t quit for a second or I completely lose the conversation! I also like how close we are to the World Cup stadium haha!

Me:  are there giant bugs?
D: You have no idea haha. We sleep with bugs pretty much, but it doen´t even faze me. We have roaches the size of my ring finger and I could care less! There´s so many freaking mosquitos though, that´s probably the worst part. And the water is fine. I´ve been drinking it all week and haven´t gotten sick. Even in the shacks.

Me: is everything super crazy green?
D:  Way green! We are mostly in the city, but there are still fruit trees and stuff that we eat from! I love the açerola, it´s a tiny fruit, but is so good! Açai is really good too!

Me: have you seen any monkeys or parrots? 
D:  Haha not yet, but lots of lizards running on the walls of the streets. It´s pretty cool!

Me: does it rain all day every day or come and go?
D:  It´s only rained twice since I´ve been here, but when it rains it pours for like an hour and then stops. My first morning it rained for like 5 hours, but stopped before we had to go out

He had mentioned that he got to Manaus exactly 6 months after entering the MTC. I told him I had realized that and even posted it on Facebook :) 

He replied with my most favorite thing I have read so far: 

Lol it was pretty crazy! Time is flying! I don´t know where the time goes! I love my mission mom =) Best thing ever! That's what everybody says, but it´s the honest truth. Every day I get to tell people about how much Heavenly Father loves them and feel that love in my own life. Every single time I feel down or discouraged, I always feel the Holy Ghost telling me that it´s okay, that I can do hard things, and that Heavenly Father loves me. I love Elder Holland´s quote, ´´Hope on. Journey on´´ I can´t even tell you how many times that goes through my head, especially this last week!

****I am so proud to be his mom.  We are so blessed by his service.  I am so grateful for his example!  Hope on, journey on.*********

Here is a picture from the missionary training center in São Paulo. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Headed to Manaus

Hey everybody!
Still loving Brazil! We only have 10 minutes just to let you know that we leave tomorrow for our actual missions! Sao Paulo has been great! But we are definitely sick and tired of the CTM. It's been a great experience, but we are ready for the field! I don't know what time I'll be leaving and I probably won't call, but I'll be able to email everyone next Monday on P-day!
This week was a lot of fun! We got to go out into the streets and actually do missionary work! They took us on a bus to the middle of the city where there is basically a giant bus station, and gave each companionship 6 Books of Mormon to go and hand out. The bus ride was probably the best thing ever haha, we were holding on for dear life and laughed the entire time! We got to the station and our instructor said, "you have 2 hours, good luck," and we all went our seperate ways. I've never had to street contact people before because in Utah we only worked with members the whole time, unfortunately, the same could be said for my companion who served in Ogden. We took longer than everyone else, but in the end, we placed all 6 of our copies and were able to enjoy the busride home!
The rest of the week has been bittersweet because we all have grown very close over the last 12 days! But, most of us are going to Manaus and at least 7 of the 11 of us will be at BYU after our missions! Being a District Leader was fun, but I bet it's way easier in English! I enjoyed it because I really had to step up and learn the language. My District always refers to me as, "O Rei" or, "Nosso Rei" Which means, "The King" and "Our King" respectively. I simply respond with, "Meu povo" and then we continue on with whatever we're doing haha.
Hope everything is as good where all of you are as it is here! We're definitely enjoying the 90 degree weather! =p
Love you all!
Elder Sanderson 
PS The District had to split into two groups and write songs in portuguese. We used the fresh prince as our rap. It was awesome

*****from Tara: Sierra and I wondered what "meu povo" meant and I said I bet it means "my subjects" or something like that.  We looked it up amd it means "my people" lol how well do I know that kid? Miss him so much!!*******

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

25 Weeks today!!! :)

Hey everyone!
So, I don't have time to write everything to everyone, so this time it's going to be a group email!
Brazil is the coolest place ever! I've been here for 7 days, and I already love the food, the people, and the country! I have an amazing District here and it has been an intense week for us!
We are definitely blessed with the gift of tongues, we're not allowed to speak in English ever, and we go to our language classes from 8am-9pm and it's freaking crazy! We have three teachers and they are fantastic! I think one of them thinks I'm slow haha because for some reason, whenever they're around, Portuguese just leaves me. It definitely tests my patience, but compared to how great Brazil is, I could care less what they think! My other teachers have seen me speak and they don't have any problems about it. We teach three lessons a day, with various language classes between.
Sao Paulo is amazing! We don't see very much of the city, but it is awesome when we do! Karnival was here this week and we could here music playing at the bar down the street when we were in our rooms at night. We definitely didn't celebrate Karnival here haha and one of our teachers wouldn't even let us talk about it. We get four meals a day, and lunch is the main meal here, the food is great!
Turns out, we're a very special group that came into this MTC. I'm part of the first group of missionaries to come into the MTC after serving somewhere else in history. They are bringing more in this week, but we were the first group ever, and they have kept a very close eye on us. The President of the MTC usually talks to us every day if he sees us, and they are always taking pictures and videos of us when we teach or are in class. We asked what they were for and one of our instructors said that the Church is requiring a report on us and our progress every single day. They want pictures and videos, as well as written reports from our instructors and the MTC President. These reports are sent to the following people: Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Russel M. Nelson, Bishop Causee, and other members of the Church Missionary Council! No pressure right?
The Brazilians here in the MTC love Americans! They were practically jumping up and down to get us to eat with then haha and they always want help with English. When we eat with them, it's always a mix of Portuguese and English and it's a blast! Luckily for us, they are very patient, but I've already seen and felt an improvement in my portuguese. To help us improve, we play different games with the instructors when we aren't teaching, and we also speak 24\7. We have played 20 questions and a game similar to headbands (the church version) to help us learn. The other day, we had a devotional, and we sang the Spirit of God in 3 languages (Eng. Span. Port) which was awesome! Everybody only understood their own language, but it was still fun!
My district is fantastic! We have 8 Elders and 3 Sisters, 5 of us are going to Manaus! I am the District Leader which is usually a job nobody wants because it means you have to do a lot more stuff, but I am enjoying it because it has really made me work hard with the language! I think I work better under the pressure, but hopefully I can just be a normal missionary too haha. The Gift of Tongues comes and goes, but I definitely recognize it when it's with me. The hardest thing for me about Portuguese is listening to it. I can say it and I can read it, but listening is hard for me. Most of the time, I can get what people are saying, but some Brazilians talk way too soft or way too fast. Others I can understand perfectly fine! Speaking of the Gift of Tongues, we went to the temple today and they were going to speak Portuguese the whole time from what we could understand, I was praying really hard that I'd be able to have the Gift of Tongues with me, as I did so, I heard a temple worker say, "This session's in English right?" and I could feel that my prayers were answered haha! It was in English because it was only the Americans who were there!
I'm in Sao Paulo until tueaday I think, then I'll be flying to Manaus! Won't talk to you until then I think, so have a great week everybody and know that I'm praying for you always!
Elder Sanderson