Tuesday, April 29, 2014

33 weeks- Paparazzi (or fireflies) :)

Hey mom and fam!

The week was as crazy as usual and we travelled at least a couple hundred miles. Travelling is fun, but not that much in so little time. Here are my travels as of last Monday:
Mon- Left Porto Velho for Rio Branco at 11:15pm and arrived at 12am.
Tue- Left Rio Branco at 4am after getting up at 230 to go to the airport with Pres. and Sis. Klein, we got to PV and went straight to the bus station to catch a bus that took another 4 hours to get to Humitá. (In 10 hours we had travelled through 3 of the 4 states in our mission) 
Sunday- we left Humitá and came back to PV
Tomorrow- we will go to Ji-parana with Pres. and spend the week visiting cities near our area. Then we'll come back to PV until sometime next week. We'll spend the last little bit of the transfer in our area and then we'll see what happens.

Haha wish I could say, "Didn't even get hurt," JUST KIDDING. It was a crazy week, but a safe week! So, every week, I keep a list in my Planner of all the things that I want to email home that happened during the week. Usually, I can remember it and describe it all, but this week was just random bits and pieces for the most part. Here goes:

I heard "Surfin' Safari" by the Beach Boys in Portuguese, that was pretty weird, but it was still good to hear the lyrics and remember them. Brazil has a lot of fireflies here! During our bus ride to PV from Pimenta Bueno (my area), we were travelling at night and it looked like there were photographers on every side of the road because of how many fireflies we saw, and it was for miles. I thought I saw one of the famous Pink Dolphins, but it was actually just a fish about 8 feet long that ate something on top of the water. We caught an iguanna! It was about 4 or 5 feet long and it was awesome! I tried a new drink called Cevada. It's horrible. It tastes like black coffee, but the people here love it. You just have to add a LOT of milk to it. 

Not too much else that happened. I bought a new pair of shoes from an Elder that were 125 reais (about $60) for 30 reais ($17 give or take) so that was nice. The traction is pretty much gone on one pair I have, so I bought those to be safe. Literally. When it rains, I was always slipping and sliding, but only went down once. The pair that is missing traction is still useful though. I took a knife to the bottom of them and carved my own traction into them. If that doesn't work, I'll buy a bike tire and use the rubber to create a new sole. Should be interesting! 

Should be another good week though! I'm excited for the next transfer too! Normally, transfers are 6 weeks, don't know why, but this one is only 5. So, the last day of our transfer will be Mother's Day, but don't worry, we'll all call home without any problems *knock on wood*

Love you guys! I'll send pics as usual!

Elder Sanderson

He was so happy to get American candy :) 

He said it was 4-5 feet long!  
Rain in the distance
Then the sun came out
Rainbow- he said they saw an upside down rainbow this week too! He said it was like the sky was smiling.

He looks tired in this photo, I asked if he was worn out from all the travelling and he said "I am definitely worn out, but Heavenly Father strengthens us a lot!"

Less than two weeks until I get to see his face on Skype! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

32 weeks and a stingray stick....

Hey mom and fam!

It has been another crazy week and we once again spent only a few days in our area before again having to head back out. We're in Porto Velho again, but only until tomorrow night, then we're flying to Acre which is a different state in Brazil for some Zone Confrences. I think I might have to help give a training...that will be an adventure. 

I baptized somebody in the river on Saturday! It was really cool because you have to use a big stick first to check for stingrays and electric eels in the water. What that requires is the missionary walking out first and making sure nothing will grab the investigator. It's pretty legit! The trick is to make sure you don't find anything lol. Then, as I baptized him, the bank of mud I was standing on like swallowed my leg so I went up to my neck in the water and was pretty much rebaptized! Gotta love those river baptisms haha.

Easter was uneventful besides the trip to PV, we had a grand total of 5 people at church and then had a bit of an adventure afterwards. We were getting ready to catch the bus to PV, but had to go and give the key to our house to a member so that the other missionaries who will be working in our area can have a place to stay. The only problem: It was POURING rain. You know the scene from Bug's life where it starts to rain? That's what it looked like. We managed to beat it to the bus stop with all of our stuff and then left it with someone who worked at the bus terminal so we could keep it dry. We then sprinted about a half a mile or so in the pouring rain and get to the member's house soaking wet and with only ten minutes to get back and catch the bus. So we threw the key at him and then we sprinted back. We were so wet haha. It was like mission impossible. Finally, we give up on running and just walk. My companion says, "where's a good samaritan when you need one?" As he says this, a car pulls up and offers us a ride back to the bus station. We jump in this ghetto chevette and keep on hauling. The dude drops us off at the bus only entrance in front of about 40 people. The looks on their faces were priceless! They've never seen missionaries before, so that was their first impression of the Church: two soaking-wet 20 year old Americans, getting out of a ghetto car, illegally parked, with huge smiles on their faces. It was amazing!

Not too much else that happened, I'll send a few pics as usual of the baptism and stuff. Love you guys! Might not get to email next week, here's our schedule:

Sunday (20th)- 10-hour bus ride to Porto Velho
Tuesday- Catch a 45 minute flight to Rio Branco
Thrusday Rio Branco to Porto Velho (45 minute flight) 
Same day- Porto Velho to Humaitá (4 hours on bus)
Sunday- back to PV (4 hours on bus)
Mon- Ji-parana with President Klein (2 hours by car)
Then we don't know what we'll be doing after that. 

So if you don't hear from me, no worries!

And one other thing, with Mother's Day and Skype, I will only have about 45 min so be prepared for that, just wanted to give you a heads up =)

Love you guys!

Elder Sanderson
******He asked me to share the baptism story with Haylee so I did and she said she hoped there were no barracudas in the water. HD replied he was more worried about the stingrays.  I decided to google what you should do if you get stung. The stings are fairly harmless but if there is a barb left in the wound you are not supposed to take it out yourself. The directions said to take yourself to the nearest ER. I relayed this information to HD and he writes back "Haha ER, good one mom! I don't think I've told you where I am recently: The Jungle. I'll stick with the big stick idea because at least that is like 3 feet in front of me!"   Guess we will pray a little harder for his safety :) I am sure there is a medicine man or something. Ha ha :) 
Here are his pictures: 
Walking to the river: I love seeing pics of the area.
Getting in with his stingray stick.
On the river bank
Glad he has a big stick! 
Checking for scary things. I bet he thinks this is awesome. It would freak me out!
I am so glad be is under the protection of The Lord. 
HD said the guy is giving "the smoulder" face
It would not be fun to scrub those clothes white again by hand. 
Up to his neck in the water after the mid bank swallowed his leg.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

31 weeks

Everything is great! This new area is freaking awesome! There are 40,000 people (literally) and only my companion and I. We are the 3rd or 4th companionship to ever be in this city. We have only 2 active families (about 8 people) and that's it. It's so small that we can't even be considered a branch, we are a group haha. Church is at our group leader's home and yesterday we had 2 missionaries, 8 members, and 12 investigators at church lol. It's pretty funny when you compare it to just about anywhere in the states. 

We are not in Porto Velho like I thought we would be living haha, we live in the city Pimenta Bueno (our area) and it is 10 hours away from PV. I've now taken that bus ride twice since my companion had that meeting in Manaus this week and will be here until Wednesday or Thrusday with the other elders. It was a very long day yesterday. We had church and stuff, but then at 2:30 we caught the bus for PV...10 hours later (12:15am) we arrived in PV. I met up with a Bishop who was going to take me to the Elders' house. As we were leaving the bus terminal in his car, a man came up and was like "Elder! Tudo bem? Blah blah blah" and I didn't understand anything that he was saying haha. I'd been away from my companion for maybe 2 minutes and that was when I needed him the most because this Bishop didn't say jack to help me out haha. I thought the dude was selling blessings from God, turns out he was asking me for a blessing from God by giving him some money for his bus ticket to his city. (the bishop explained that later) I ended up telling him that I don't have very much time in Brazil and that I didn't understand him, but that I was sorry and that we had a meeting to get to that was very far away. That wasn't the end of the adventure. We get to the Elders' apartment complex, and they are asleep and not paying attention to see when I would get there! So me and the Bishop are just standing outside this apartment complex and I seriously think he was considering leaving me. He just kept saying that he didn't know what to do and asking if I had a number for anyone. I didn't have jack, not even President Klein's number and kept asking him if he had a number for any missionary in this area. He finally called the Sisters and just gave me the phone. Bad idea haha. Some guy answers which completely throws me off and I just said, "H, I'm Elder Sanderson." He seemed to have some idea of who I was, and so we talked for a little bit as I tried to explain what I was trying to accomplish. In the end, an Elder poked his head out from a doorway and I just said again, "Eu sou Elder Sanderson!" and he came and let me in. And do you know who that missionary was? Elder Pixton! My companion from the MTC in Provo! Haha it was quite the night and I ended up not going to sleep until 1ish this morning. It was quite the adventure that once again reminded me that I don't speak portuguese just yet haha.

In other news, we baptized somebody in the river on Saturday! It was awesome! As to the animals, I say some of those really pretty blue and yellow parrots, but didn't get a very good picture, I'll still send pictures of all of it!

Love ya,

Elder Sanderson

****I asked him if there was someone who presided over the meeting of 8 people. I was not sure how it worked she you weren't formally organized and his response made me laugh out loud literally: 
He answers: 
We have a Group Leader who is kind of like a Branch President, but without the Branch to preside over. We usually do the teaching it sounds like, and I'm the one who leads the music. What this consists of is me teaching them how to sing these hymns...that means that every time we sing, I have to sing a solo for them of the first verse

***i can just picture my missionary boy singing up there in his best Portuguese all by himself.  Cracked me up considering the way he has been known to lead music in the past is by writing his name in cursive.  Ha ha ha.  Love the experiences he is having!!!****

The road from where he is to Porto Velho
Along the way
Gorgeous sky! 

He called this one the Lion King sunset
The site of baptism at the river

Where he lives- they do not have a refrigerator, stove, microwave or washer. Only a bathroom and a sink outside to wash their clothes. 

Elder Sanderson's mission adventure indeed!  :) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

30 weeks -tons of pictures!

Hey there my awesome family! 

Thanks for all of the updates! Make sure to tell Ty and Heather that I said "Para Bems" (Pah-duh Banes) and to give Taeven a hug for me! That is crazy about all of the rain for the races, guess I'm not missing much! GO NATS!!!

I wish I could say that I learned a ton of stuff from conference, but we DIDNT HAVE IT IN ENGLISH. The stake decided not to prepare for that and so me and 10 or so other Americans were just kind of stuck there with very basic understandings of Portuguese. I honestly didn't understand very much and look forward to reading/listening to the talks on LDS.org. The worst part about conference in Port. instead of English is that you don't hear their voices. My heart really does go out to the rest of the world because they will always hear translators. I know the Spirit and messages will be the same for all, but I am ever grateful for the blessing that I have been given by being able to speak English. 
Conference weekend was AWESOME though! I didn't do anything super cool except for two things:

1. I TOURED the World Cup Stadium in Manaus! I had the opportunity to touch the field before any other players in the entire world! WEe got an all-access tour from a member who knows a guy. Don't worry, I have a million pictures! We had so much fun and that was probably the greatest moment outside of missionary work in my entire mission!

2. Had my first baptism in Brazil! It was actually two baptisms because the Sisters in our Zone had a baptism that night too and so they let me baptize him on Sunday after conference. It was so cool to realize that I got to baptize someone on the Churc's birthday after an amazing weekend of Conference! Blessings from above!

My new area is in Porto Velho, a city down south. It's freaking hot, and I am now officially in the Jungle. We are in a city, but the city is in the middle of the jungle. I was talking with my new companion (an American) and asked him different things about the area. He said that our area is really far away from our house. I said that's not a problem because I'm used to it (our last house was 45 minutes away from our area when we walked). He laughed at that and said that our area is a 10 hour bus-ride from our house. I guess we'll just stay in the town for a few days then return a few days later, not exactly sure how it works. We also get to baptize in the river here! Can't wait for that! 
Another interesting thing abou this assignment is that it's another "special assignment" from President Klein. My companion has been out 21 months and is an AP. Usually, APs serve together with other APs, but this is a special situation. Nobody is exactly sure why, and it usually doesn't happen at all, but I always have to be different it seems =p The Elders that I talked to about it are all saying that it's to prep me for leadership, but I honestly have no idea. I'm perfectly happy just being a missionary and am really looking forward to this area!

Not too much else to report on, the flight here was 2 ours and I felt kind of classy for some reason haha. The plane had 17 rows and was two by two. All the missionaries got to sit together and the food was pretty good too! I tried a really good fruit the other day called cacau, you just pick it off the tree and eat it, It had a lot of acid and was really sour, but still really good!

Have a great week! Love and miss you guys!

Elder Sanderson

Again we emailed back and forth for a few minutes.  I asked him how he was feeling if he was still doing all or if he had been sick- He shared the following:

Feeling good, last week, I had a really sharp pain in my chest whenever I would be hunched over (it's hard to describe) like when I was praying on my bed at night or if i was resting my head on my desk. The pain only happened when I tried to straighten back up though. It only happened three times, but I decided to call Sister Klein about it. She told me to stretch, drink water, and drink more water. At least 4 liters a day. I did that and haven1t felt the pain again. She said it was probably just a gas in my chest. It was the coolest thing though because when she saw me at conference (she's only me me once) she immediately asked how I was and about the pain in my chest. I also had a really cool experience with this experience:

I wasn't very happy when she told me to simply stretch and drink water. That's exactly what my last mission mom would have said. I thought it wasn't that simple and I guess was looking to going to the hospital or something. I did what she had told me, but not with a whole lot of faith, and kind of grudgingly. After, I went back to studying my scriptures for the rest of personal study. As i was reading, I realized that I was doing exactly what one of the lepers in the Bible did. Christ told the man to go and wash (7?) times in the sea if he wanted to be rid of his sickness. The man thought that such a simple thing was crazy and wouldn't fix it, so he left. After leaving, one of his servants asked why his master wouldn't do what the Savior said just because it was simple. The servant asked if the master would have done something grand and amazing if the Savior had asked him to do that. The master said that he would have, but then realized how foolish it was and went and was healed after listening to the Savior. 

Sometimes, we want our problems fixed in grand and marvelous ways because we know that is what our Heavenly Father can do. But in all honesty, it's the small and simple things that make this Gospel what it is. As a missionary, we teach 5 basic things: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Endure to the End. It doesn't take very much for a miracle to happen. I definitely learned the importance of the basics!

****I have the best missionary ever!!!***

And now for the 28 pics he sent!!  
He said this fruit is delish. It is called cacao.  (Americans call it dragon fruit right?)
Holding a baby turtle
Part of his area when he was in Manaus 
The World Cup Stadium
And there he is right on the field!  :)
His favorite part- walking out of the players tunnel. SO COOL!!! 
Another shot of the stadium 
The group 
Such a cool experience 
The players bench 
Players tunnel again. 
The outside of the stadium

Look at that handsome face!  :) 

One of the guys he baptized. 

His companion and the sisters and the guys he baptized. 
Look how tan he is getting!  He is my little brown brazillian boy! 
Love pics with his name tag in them. 
Out the window of the plane -that might be part of the meeting of the waters.
His new area I tbink....he said he is really in the jungle now!  Manaus is surrounded by jungle too but it is a huge city.  His new city is much smaller.  
Might be meeting of the waters again hard to tell when i am posting from my phone :)

That is his new city Porto Velho
One more pic. I told him his companion looked like he was tall!  He was 6'5!