Monday, April 13, 2015

82 weeks -I love you my friend

Hey everyone,

So, I'm in a new area!!! I'm really excited about it and am already liking my companion a lot. His name is Elder Ribeiro and he has been in the mission for exactly 7 weeks. In your mission, you spend your first 12 weeks being trained, so I get to finish his training! I've never trained before, but have been wanting to for a while now. He is from CearĂ¡, Brazil and is excited to work. We are getting along great and this is going to be a great transfer! My new area is in Manaus and is called "Mauazinho" (mow-wez-een-yo) and is baptizing a lot lately! I heard a lot of good things about the members here and about the work when I was in the mission office for the transfer. I think I'll probably finish my mission here (that's weird to say).
Sounds like a good week to me =) I'm glad that Joe defended the Church too. Tell him he probably scored some bonus points with Heavenly Father for that one. We had a great testimony meeting! Almost everyone talked about the missionary work and how important it really is. I am ever humbled by the brazilian people. They love the missionaries so much and put us just underneath Jesus Christ in importance. One person said, "I don't have very much in my house, but when I know the missionaries are coming over to eat, I don't just give them whatever I have, I try and imagine what I would do if Jesus Christ came. I would clean up, make sure everything was just right, and make them something special." I have been called a liar, a devil, and so much more in this mission, but none of that matters when you hear someone who has truly found the Savior call you an angel with all the emotion that they can. I love them all. That's what I prayed for the most this week: that Heavenly Father would bless the people of Manacapuru and to thank Him for the opportunity he gave me to serve among them. We also had a baptism this week! It was the 27 year-old nephew of a member in the ward. He told us a few weeks ago that he was ready to find Heavenly Father again and wanted to get baptized. The baptism went great, and he has a great family to support him in the Church!
We went to Joelle and Fabio's house (the family who got baptized last week) to end the night, and I will never forget that visit. We just started to teach them, but then Joelle stopped us and said, "we invited you over to thank you, so we're going to thank you," and then told us about how much we've changed their lives. They said they knew that it was God who was doing it, but that we were the instruments in His hands. I bore my testimony to them that I know this Church is true. There is no other church on earth that has as much truth as we do. I bore my testimony of the temple and told them to do everything they can to get married in the temple. Fabio asked me if I had a hymnbook because he wanted to sing "Families can be together forever" with us. We didn't, but I have it memorized in portuguese, so I wrote the words down and we sang it with them. While I was writing, Joelle said she wanted to sing me a hymn from her church and when she started to sing, she cried so hard that she couldn't even get past the first few words. Fabio started to sing in her place, and they both finished together. The song basically said, "I love you my friend, and even if we don't see each other again, I'll see you in Heaven." It was one of the greatest experiences of my mission, and I will remember it for the rest of my life. I'll never forget them, and thank Heavenly Father for that. Even if nothing else were to happen for the rest of my mission, I would be happy because of the chance I had to help them find the Savior.
While that was one of the most spiritual days of my mission, I also had one of the funnest days of my mission! On Thursday night, Elder Brown (one of the greatest missionaries I know) and I went to Manaus so that he could go to the mission training and interviews with President Castro that happen the week before you go home from your mission. We got there and I left for another area to pass the day with an Elder in Manaus. We returned to the mission office the next day (Friday) so that Elder Brown and I could go home to Manacapuru. Elder Brown got back, and came in with Elder Hammer (who got to Brazil with me) and the three of us just sat down waiting for Elder Brown's interview to happen. Elder Hammer and Elder Brown are two of the funniest missionaries I know in the mission. We made so many jokes and were able to talk about movies, music, and anything else from the United States. We went to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffett and each ate at least 10 pieces. They had dessert pizzas, and one of them was a strawberry, white chocolate pizza. It was AMAZING! I don't know if I've eaten anything better than that in all of my time here in Brazil. We finished, and went back to the office, but President told us we could stay in Manaus with the Assistants to the President (APs) until morning. We decided to do that because it let us get some sleep instead of being up until 1 in the morning...and they are more friends of ours. We went back to their house and just laughed and laughed for another couple of hours. It was the hardest I think I've laughed in my mission haha. It was hard to say goodbye to Elders Hammer and Brown, but I'll meet up with them again at BYU!

Mom, could you please get into contact with the GI Bill people and see if I need to do anything to get the college money set up again? Maybe call BYU's office and see if they can help. That would be a good thing to do I think, just to make sure it will all go smoothly when I get home. 

Other than that, the week was pretty normal! We just hung out and worked hard =) I hope that you guys have a great week and see as many blessings as I saw this week.

Love you all! 

Elder Sanderson

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