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

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