Wednesday, May 27, 2015

88 weeks! "What is it old man?!?"

Hey there friends, lovers, and other strangers,

I'm pretty sure that's that Jack said in that episode of Will and Grace, but I have no idea why it's in my head haha.

Our week in the jungle was pretty good. Not too much out of the ordinary, but still good. We didn't have to go anywhere by boat, just lots of places by bus. I'm now the district leader of 4 areas (including my own), and also the only district leader in my zone. That means that when someone needs a baptismal interview, they will call me to do it. This week, the other three areas needed interviews in the same afternoon...It was crazy. However, to make it easier on me, the zone leaders decided to just do splits with us so that our area could keep working as well. It was a fun split. I went with Elder Mount (who got to Brazil with me) and we had a blast. He goes home in 5 weeks and I go home after that, so it was weird to be so old. We ate pizza and dipped the crust in a nacho cheese dip that a member gave me! They don't have nachos here, so it was a first in Brazil! 
Sunday, I taught several lessons, but not in church =p this is one of my first areas in Brazil that has enough people with enough experience to allow me to just "relax" on Sunday (even  though a  missionary's life is never relaxed). The lessons that we taught our investigators were great! We read the Book of Mormon with three sisters who are getting ready for their baptisms. We decided to just start at the beginning with 1 Nephi 1 and 2. They really liked it and were able to tell us exactly what had happened in the chapters. We're excited to teach them this week =)
I'm glad Haylee is having fun on the farm =) tell her that drawing is awesome! I expect a hand-painted piece of art when I get home haha. 
We don't have too much time because of an activity that took too long to end, so I'll try and sum up the week and answer your questions =)
We saw the first quarter of the Rockets vs Golden State game in game 1 of the Western conference finals the other night. It was when we stopped at a restaurant to eat dinner. It was weird to see basketball on tv, but it made me excited to be home haha. 
I also found out that Bugs Bunny doesn't say, "what's up doc?" in portuguese, he says, "what is it old man?" haha I couldn't help but laugh when I saw that on the side of an 18-wheeler. 
Go nats! I'm glad to hear they are doing so good! 
Just a heads up, I might actually be getting home on the 11th really early in the morning, not on the 12th! I still haven't gotten the phone call, but it should be no later than next week. It sounds like they changed the travel plan for the Americans. We now go straight to Miami and then to our cities! I will let you know the day I find out =) I would get home at like 6 to 8ish in the morning on the 11th.Again, I'll let you know as soon as I know =) 
The hardest that I laughed this week was when I read a scripture reference wrong. I was reading a letter Sarah sent me, and after she signed her name, she wrote Jarom 1:4. As I went to look it up in the Book of Mormon, I looked up Jarom 1:8 by accident. Go read it you'll know why I laughed. I will never forget the shock haha. 
That was about it for us! We had a good week and are excited for one more! I hope the Lord blesses you all this week and that you find a reason to laugh, love, serve, and be grateful =)

Elder Sanderson

Monday, May 18, 2015

87 weeks- Blessing from a shopkeeper

Hi guys =)

It was an okay week, I wouldn't say amazing, but still good. We had a very adventure-filled weekend, and I'll be talking about that in a sec. 
First off, that sucks the Caps lost..., I'm glad Harper is still on fire! That Frontier Justice store looks perfect. I definitely agree with Joe's statement.
So, first off, I won free shoes this week! We were walking down the street and I saw a man who fixes shoes. I stopped to talk to him to see if he could trade out the souls of my shoes with new ones. He told me he could and asked us to stop by the next day. When we got there the next day, he asked what my shoe size was. I told him that my size is a 39 or 40 (brazilian system). He looked at me and said, "watch my stuff, I'll be right back." He leaves the store, goes to his house, and comes back with a pair of shoes. He looks at me and says, "Here, try these on." The shoes fit, he then looked at me and said, "They're yours. God bless you." It was awesome! He just gave them to me, no questions asked. I couldn't thank him enough and it was a huge blessing for me. We ran into him again yesterday, and he said he'll go to my English class on Saturday. I'm pretty sure we'll get the chance to teach him and help him enter into the waters of baptism =)
For the week (monday through thursday) that was about it. However, the adventures had only just begun. We went to a conference with a member of the Seventy on Friday morning. It was great! He taught us so well and really showed us that we are in this cause on the same level of importance. That might sound weird, but he just showed us how we are all equally yoked in the work of the Lord. It was great =) All that he taught was confirmed by the Holy Ghost and I felt as though I had already been prepared to receive it all. It was wonderful. I really liked one of the things he said to us about the difference between knowledge and works. He asked us what was necessary to have the Holy Ghost in our lives. We all gave responses such as testimony, fasting, obedience, prayer, study, etc. The list was quite lengthy and as he looked over the items listed he said, "Good, you know what they are. But are you living them?" It was a very thought provoking question. He continued, "we will never be saved for our knowledge. Knowledge will not gain salvation. This life isn't a game of theory. We have to have WORKs with our knowledge." I thought a lot about that. How many of us already know what is right, and how many of us aren't living what we know? The rest of the conference was just as good, but I just wanted to share that part.
I met a guy from Ireland this week. We were walking down the street after lunch on Friday, and I saw a guy walking down the street towards us, I looked at him and just knew he wasn't Brazilian. He looked at me with the same recognition. I called him over to us and started talking to him. I asked where he was from and he said Ireland, that he used to be an Elder, and is just passing through Brazil. I asked if he had ever been to the US, but he hadn't. We didn't talk long, but it was really weird to talk to someone in English and Portuguese, but with two different English accents haha. 
I also got searched by the police on Friday night. We were on the bus leaving a baptismal interview, when the bus just stopped in the middle of the road. It was already almost 9:30and we couldn't really see anything. Suddenly, the bus was filled with cops and they asked (nicely) that all men get off the bus. We got off and had to get up against the bus with our legs spread apart and hands on the bus. One of the cops saw us and exclaimed, "what? Mormons here?" haha. They patted everyone down, but when they got to us, the guy patted my left side and then my right side, and said, "you can go." It pays to be a missionary =) They didn't even search our bags. However, they did catch a guy who had drugs, so it's good that they did the search. 
Saturday, Elder Ribeiro and I reached a milestone. He reached 86 days in his mission and I reached 86 days until the end of mine haha. We laughed pretty hard at that. I can still remember it happening with my own trainer almost 2 years ago. Speaking of Elder Ribeiro, he and I are going to stay together for one more transfer =) I didn't get transferred, and neither did he. We're excited to keep working together and to baptize more people! 

That's about it for the week. It was slow, but adventure filled at the end! Hope that this week is the same for all of you (or just the adventure part, not so much the slow part).

Love you and miss you!

Elder Sanderson 

One new pic he sent on Mothers Day of him holding a baby sloth! 

86 weeks Mothers Day

Gotta find his Mother's Day's not on my phone for some reason. It was a super short letter since we had talked for so long the day before. :) it was a great call!!!  He looked so good and sounded so good! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

85 weeks -#junglemission and free juice!

Jeez, with how long that email was, how are we going to find anything to talk about on Sunday? Haha

Hello everybody (said as Aunt Bethany from Christmas Vacation),

Life is pretty good here in Mauazinho! I'll tell you more about it after I respond to your email. That was the trunkiest first paragraph of an email I've ever seen haha. I am excited for Sunday because I will be able to say, "See ya 3 months from tomorrow!!!!" It is going by so fast. You all should still be able to go to church on Sunday. We have church from 8:30-11:30 our time and then will have to go to lunch, plus we might have a baptism. However, we will be trying for about 4pm our time. My comp has a sister who is serving a mission in São Paulo and they will be doing a group chat. Sounds like his sister will be on at that time, so he'll call her and then I'll call afterwards. No matter what, I'll make sure you guys know what's going on =) If you want, we can try Google Hangout instead of Skype. If you do that, group chats are free and I can talk to you all and Sierra at the same time. I think we could try that, but it doesn't matter to me. You might have to have a Gmail account, but I've already got mine, thanks to the mission email. Just let me know beforehand and I'll set it up =)

Go CAPS!!!! I'm excited to be able to watch sports again! Especially my teams! I can't wait to cheer for the caps, nats, and all of my other teams. I still remember when the Wizards sucked haha, glad to hear they are doing better. Are the Jazz still doing badly? I would assume so, but I hope not.

I'm glad my package got there! I will have to send a thank you to my buddy that sent it. He arrived in Brazil with me, so we've known each other for a while, but he had to go home last transfer because he got sick. He would have gone home in about 8 weeks, but not any more. I'll see him at BYU though! 

And now onto our week: absolutely nothing for the first 5 days, and then a busy final two haha. We had taught about 5 lessons until Saturday...It was horrible, but turned around on Saturday and Sunday! Monday through Thursday, we just kept trying to teach or find someone to teach, but it wasn't in the cards. All of our appointments fell through, and the people we managed to find wanted nothing to do with us. But Saturday and Sunday were great! We decided to split with the young men and ended up teaching about 14 or 15 lessons in about two days. It was a nice blessing from Heavenly Father, He showed us that our work during the week was not an unnoticed sacrifice. We found a bunch of families and they are excited to hear our message! 

I also forgot to mention that I held a sloth last week!!! It was awesome! #Junglemission haha. We were just walking down the street and a guy had found it outside of his house. We thought he was holding a dead cat or something, but when we got closer, it was a baby sloth. We took pictures, but they are on the phone of a member who lives on that street. I'll try and get them before Sunday! 

We also had a funny experience buying juice this week. Early Thursday morning, we had a zone training with the other missionaries. Elder Ribeiro and I live about 40 minutes away by bus and didn't get to eat breakfast. As the first part of the training ended, they gave us time to use the bathroom, get water, etc. Elder Ribeiro and I went looking for food. We bought food and then went to a juice stand where a guy we know sells freshly squeezed orange juice. The juice is good, but a little expensive too. I didn't feel like spending that much, so I didn't ask for any. The man looked at me and asked if I wanted juice, I said no, but thanked him for the offer. He insisted and insisted, but I told him I would another week. He looked at me and said, "you don't have to pay, I'll give it to you for free." As of that moment, he was speaking my language. I took the offer and thanked him for his kindness. He looked at Elder Ribeiro and said, "Your's is R$6.00." We left and Elder Ribeiro looks at me and asks, "How come you got yours for free and I have to pay?!" Haha I told him it's because I'm an American and he's not. 

That was about it for week, nothing too special, just those few things. I can't wait to talk to you all in a few days! Like I said, plan for about 3 or 4 my time for us to get on. If it's later than that, don't worry. We're going to have to go to another area to make the call, so it might take a little while to get there, but we'll be on as fast as we can! 

Love you all!

Elder Sanderson