I'm gonna type this response in a different email because then I can look at all of the questions that you sent me!
Alright, I'll answer the questions first:
The week was crazy as usual and looks like this one will be too! Elder Johansen (my last comapnion who is the AP) is coming back to our area this Saturday to go on missionary splits with us, that's just when another companionship and your companionship divide your area in two for the day and have 4 missionaries instead of 2 in the area. But we have two cities, so I'll be leading the area in Rolim de Moura and Housley will go to Pimenta Bueno. I'm a little nervous about that, but that's just because I know Pimenta better. The week that has already passed was good too!
I had somewhat of a meeting with President...during the Zone Conference. He burned me like I've never been burned before. In any year of ROTC or soccer or baseball or whatever, never has it been like that. He started by burning the whole zone because we've only had 2 baptisms in 3 weeks, and then proceeded to talk about how some missionaries just can't get used to this mission because they served elsewhere. He said that the missionaries say that the missions are different, but that really they aren't and that those missionaries just need to get over it. He then went on ranting about things of the same nature and saying that we were "sleeping through the Restoration" and through our missions because we can't leave our problems behind. This lasted for about 30 minutes. Throughout the burn/rant, he would stop periodically and say something like, "Isn't that right Elder Sanderson?" or "What do you think Elder Sanderson?" or "What do you have to say, Elder Sanderson?" I was put on spot in front of my entire Zone, 15 other missionaries who I get to work around for the next year and however many months. When I tried to explain or to comment on his questions, he would let me say about two words and then cut me off before ranting again. He finished after about 45 minutes and looked at me and said, "What do you think Elder Sanderson, you can speak up. Now is the time to talk." I looked straight at him and said, "President, I still have questions, but now is not the time. I would like to talk to you afterwards." Pretty sure every eye in the group was on me, but I really didn't care.
I had learned a lot from his speech, and was grateful to my Heavenly Father that I had been humble enough to listen. Many of my questions were resolved, not all, but many, and I felt confident that I had found my motivation to progress the Gospel here in Brazil. I did still want to talk with him, but that was just to assure him that I am not stuck in my last mission, and that I'm trying with all of my heart to find out what I can do to be the missionary that Heavenly Father wants me to be.
We took a break for lunch sometime later and Sister Klein walked up to me. She noticed that I wasn't looking to happy and said something about President Klein. I didn't understand what she said, but I figured it was something good about him so I just said that I was good and that I was grateful for what he had said. Sister Klein then said, "I don't like it when he does that, but I do know one thing: He loves you." I already knew that, I've never thought that he didn't love me or care about me, but was grateful for her words and told her so.
A little while later, at another point in the Conference, it was my turn to bear my testimony because I've just arrived to the mission and haven''t had the chance to bear my testimony in a zone conference. As I was preparing to do so, President put his arm around me while walking up to the pulpit and said, "You can speak Elder" (it was just me and him), and the first thing to come out of my mouth was, "Thank you." I meant it too! He didn't really believe me, but I told him again and thanked him for his words. He said, "Sister Klein doesn't like when I do that" and I couldn't help but to laugh and say, "I know, she told me."
In the end, the Conference was great. I have found my motivation to work harder. I won't do everything that I've seen these missionaries do or say, but I know how I'm going to work now. It will still progress the work here, and I think that President will be just happy with it. He told me later after the conference that he hoped I would still entrust in him my doubts, I said that I would, but I think I'll wait until I see what President Castro is all about haha.
I'm really going to miss President and Sister Klein! Saying goodbye to them was tough, but I'm excited for President Castro too! He will be my mission President for the longest amount of time in my mission, so I'm excited to meet him! Sister and President's testimonies and final advice were great and I took lots of notes! Afterwards, Sister Klein shook all of our hands, what we didn't see coming was the hug. That was a very awkward moment haha, but it was great to see the missionaries' reactions!
SORRY FOR THE BOOK! ON TO THE REST:
That's crazy that a snake almost bit that lady! I have only seen dead ones since I've been here. They are usually just flat (literally) because they got run over by a car.
Here's a random note: Go to youtube and search for this: episodio 2 - visabr (there should be a commercial for visa with a dolphin, that's all I'll say)
That is great that the new family moved in and that they are exactly what Haylee needed!!!! I'm really glad to hear that! Sounds like those two can be two peas in a pod now at all the church stuff! That's freaking awesome too that Brad Paisley was with the plane! That would have been awesome to meet him!
The Harry Potter name is cool too =) I wish I could pronounce it, but I agree with the career choice. I think Brazil has it's own magical creatures, I've probably seen a handful of them!
I'm really happy to hear that so many of the people are reading the blog =) The adventures never stop, but the experiences are amazing! I'm really thankful to Heavenly Father too because I have the chance to help people or at least be a means of explaining what it is that missionaries do. I'm amazed by how our lives effect others' because if I wasn't serving, there would be so many things that have happened or been said or shared. I know it's not the "All about me" show, but I'm grateful to help Heavenly Father in whatever way I can =)
Another funny thing from the conference: During lunch, we got this really good dessert afterwards. It was this weird pink stuff that tasted really, really good, but I'd never had before. I looked at the Brazilian Elder across from me and asked, "What is this?" He looked right back at me and said, "I don't know, but it's good" Haha I usually don't ask what it is that I'm eating, but that was a highlight of the day. After the conference, another Elder and I were talking about my burn, he said, "Dude, I actually wrote down in my study notebook, 'Sanderson just got BURNED' and just kept thinking, 'somebody should just go give him a hug" Thanks to Sister Klein, I got that hug =)
WE GOT CLEARANCE TO WATCH THE CUP! If it's your home country or Brazil you can watch! We just have to be smart and, "Don't do anything stupid." CAN'T WAIT!!!!
We went on a missionary split in a different city on like Thursday, and it was a lot of fun! I almost got kissed by a girl.... I was with one of the Elders from that city and we were going to their different teaching appointments. We got to the one and it was a mom with her 20 year-old daughter. The mom shook my hand just like normal, but the girl tried to kiss me on the cheek when I shook her hand. That is part of the culture here, but only between friends, and usually just between girls. I didn't know what to do, and was kind of frozen in place. She apologized and sat down in one of the chairs nearby. I was so worried that I had offended her! I didn't now what to do, nobody has ever told me! But it turned out that everything was okay and she asked really good questions during the lesson. I told the other Elder from that area about it later and he said, "She didn't do that when I met her!" and I said, "I'm better looking than you" haha it was great! While in that city, we also painted a house (now I'm tan as a mexican-brazilian) and I ate a banana that smelled like an apple (nobody knows why they smell like that) and an apple-tomato hybrid that had the consistency of an apple, but tasted like a tomato!
That's all folks! Elder Sanderson has just said EVERYTHING that happened this week. Don't ask for more, because there isn't!
Love you guys!
******one more note as HD and I were emailing his mission president emailed him and apologized for being so direct. I take that to mean he was frustrated with something as a whole but took it out more on HD as we have all done to someone at one time or another. I am thankful for the president humbling himself and apoligizing even though it probably wasn't necessary. :) ************