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 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.