Tuesday, March 31, 2015

80 weeks! No personal gain.

Hello everyone,

I don't know if I start all of my letters that way, but that just seems to be what pops into my head. To start off answering the questions: I'm doing great! I'm bummed that we didn't have the baptism of that family, but we managed to mark with them for this weekend. It will be a Conference baptism! My first baptism in Brazil was after the Sunday afternoonsession of the April 2014 Conference =) I look forward to getting to do that again this year. The most interesting thing that I saw this week was an alligator skin! We were on missionary splits and I was in the area of the other Elders with my zone leader. We went to lunch and the members had an alligator skin from the last time the river filled up during the rainy season. I asked them where they killed it, and they said, "it was right there behind the house." Haha, gotta love serving in the Amazon. We didn't eat anything different, just rice, beans, and chicken. Like always. 
Nothing too crazy happened, but I did see a guy going down the street with a Bass Pro hat and shirt! Then we saw a Harley yesterday! I also managed to trade for a new suit with a missionary here. I traded him my suit, a jar of peanut butter, and two ties in exchange for his suit. We were both pretty happy about the deal (because my suit is too big for me and his is too small for him), but he ended up wanting to trade back less than 3 hours later. I'm pretty sure everybody told him that I tried to rip him off and were giving him a hard time about it, so he changed his mind. The only problem is that I think he believed them and thought I was trying to sucker him out of his suit. We both set the terms and I had even offered to pay him for it as well. He hasn't spoken to me very much since the trade-back, but it's his own fault if he chose to believe in what other people were saying. I'm just happy to say that in my life, even if he traded back, I traded a suit for another suit, peanut butter, and two ties haha. 
Tell Haylee that she did a great job on that paper! Please send me a copy of it along with the picture. I want to put it on my wall next to my bed. She was exactly right on all of it. Life is just like a bookshelf. My mission will be a pretty big book haha. Also, tell her that she'll be writing all of my papers at BYU! Speaking of which, I sign up for classes TOMORROW!!!! I can't wait! I have it all lined up and will be busy, but not overdoing it. I'll be out of class by one on MWF and not until 3 on TTh, but with an easy morning those days. 
Other than that, I just wanted to share a funny experience with you all. We were at a Family Home Evening with some investigators and members last Monday, and had a very spiritual lesson. We talked about Faith, Repentence, and Baptism, but ended up teaching all of the missionary lessons in 45 minutes because of the various questions. At the end, it turned to missionary work. Everyone admitted to having hid from the missionaries at least once before their baptisms and how they had believed the rumors that people spread about us. They all had a good laugh about that, but all said it was the truth. Even our investigators who were there admitted to hiding from us haha. They said, "We thought they were going to visit us just to eat our food. We were home when they got there, but acted like we weren't. However, we learned that the missionaries are persistent because after they walked away, there was a card in the door that said, 'we'll be back again another day'." After they said that, the lady's sister, who was meeting us for the first time, said that she had already noticed the missionaries are diligent. She said, "it's true. I've never seen a pastor from another church leave his house to visit someone unless he knew he would be received. But with these guys, they walk in the rain or sun and don't ever seem to stop. I always wondered why that is." I took that wonderful statement and happily explained to her that we do what we do because we know it's true. If this gospel and this church weren't true, I sure wouldn't be on the other side of the world to preach the word with no personal gain to myself. I told her that we willingly sacrifice everything that we have because it's true and we know that everyone needs to know that. She was very interested in that, and we marked a day to go visit her during the week. We'll invite her to her sister's baptism on Sunday, and I know she'll get baptized shortly after. We even found out later that her husband is baptized in the Church =) It was perfect!

I hope that you all have a great week! Make sure to watch Conference! This is one of two times a year that the Prophet will speak to the entire world at the same time. What could be more important than that: Whether you are a member of the Church or not, I know that you will feel the love of Heavenly Father. Watch Conference with a question in your heart, and I know you will receive an answer. 

I love you all and miss you,

Elder Sanderson

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