Tuesday, August 4, 2015

98 weeks- the best two years

O fim se aproxima,

Hey everyone! It feels strange just to be writing this last email, but
I will try to keep it as normal as possible. Lucky for you all, A LOT
happened this week, so I'm going to write more than "this week we
walked in the sun and talked to people." While we did do that, there
was a lot more!

I'll start with my week and then reply to yours =)

English class on Monday:
We were in my English class on Monday, and it was going as good as
always. There is usually about 20 to 25 people there, and everyone
participates, laughs, and learns together. This week, the class wanted
to learn about food. I asked if they had any specific types of food in
mind, but they just wanted a general idea. I broke up the vocabulary
into the basic food groups and away we went. I managed to teach a lot
about the culture of the United States too, and then waited for
questions. While they were asking me about different foods, someone
asked, "Professor, what is that weird red tube that people eat in the
movies?" I thought to myself, "what on earth is she talking about,"
and then thought about it for a few minutes. I asked several questions
to see if I could find out more (how big is it, is it a candy, etc),
but nobody could explain it. Finally, I realized what it was:
Licorice! I had forgotten all about licorice! I couldn't help but
laugh at that and it was fun to teach about.

We also got stopped by a lot of drunks this week. I always take time
to talk to them and to read a scripture with them or to pray with
them. It makes them a lot more friendly towards us and it also gives
us a chance to get to know them. We taught at least 10 this week, and
marked baptismal dates with 5 of them haha. Unfortunately, none of
them went to church, but we will visit them this week and see if we
can get them to go this week. Almost all of them know they have to
change, and many have the desire to do so, but it is really hard for
them to do. Just one more reminder about how important it is for us to
live the Word of Wisdom. One of them made me laugh though, he asked us
to say a prayer with him, so of course we did. When we finished, he
decided that he wanted to say a prayer too. He started by saying,
"God, dude, thank you for. . ." and away he went. I didn't laugh out
loud until we had walked really far away, but it was the first time I
ever heard someone call Heavenly Father by the title of "Dude."

Random note from the week: I ate an avocado flavored popsicle, it was
awesome! Our bishop makes ice cream and he always gives us popsicles
for free!

I also had one of the most gratifying experiences of my mission this
week. On Friday, we went to lunch with a family where almost the
entire extended family are members of the Church. We got there and
there was a recent convert whom I've gotten to know since being here
in Mauazinho. She was baptized with her husband in February, and they
are the greatest people in the world. You've never met someone with a
bigger heart. As we were at lunch, she decided to share an expereince
with us.

She told us that although she was baptized in February, she had never
really been converted to the Chruch. She didn't want to go to church
anymore and told her husband that she wouldn't be going anymore.
Unfortunately, he said, "well, if you don't do, I won't go." They are
a wonderful couple, but that was the decision they had made. This was
three Sundays ago.

That very Sunday, my companion and I were in the chapel doing our
planning session. We hadn't had time to do so during the week, and
needed to get organized before the next week started. By the time we
finished, it was almost time to go home for the night, but with enough
time to make one more visit before going home. I felt like we should
go visit this family, but wanted to see if Elder Prado had a better
idea. When I asked him what he wanted to do, he said, "let's go visit
that family." I said that I was feeling the same thing, and away we
went. We got to the house, and they invited us in as always. Whatever
their feelings are about the Church, they LOVE the missionaries. We
sat and talked for a little while before deciding to head home. Before
we left, this woman asked us for a blessing. She is pregnant and is
having a rough pregnancy. We gave her a blessing and then headed home.
A few days later, her husband got sick too and asked us for a
blessing. We were happy to help.

As she told this story, I didn't even realize that it was us she was
talking about until half way through the story. She then said, "I felt
the power behind the blessing they gave me. I was healed! I know this
Church is true. I had just told my husband not five minutes
beforehand, 'If the boys stop by, I'm going to ask them for a
blessing,' and you know what, there they were, sent from God. I went
to church the next week and couldn't help but want to read, comment,
pray, and tell everyone about what had happened! I will never forget
that. Even my husband was healed. He was shaking so badly in his bed
that I actually thought he would die. I had decided to call his family
to let them know, and all of a sudden, the missionaries showed up.
This church is true."

Easily one of the most humbling experiences of my mission, and it
happened right at the end. I can only thank my Heavenly Father for
every single time He put me in exactly the right place at exactly the
right time. I love being an instrument in His Hands. It has been the
greatest time of my life. I can never forget what I have been through,
I wouldn't change a single thing that happened. These truly have been
the best two years. I know that this is the Savior's Church. He lives.
He loves us. He will never leave us. I know that God calls prophets
today and that they continually guide us. I know that the Book of
Mormon is true. It brings me closer to my Savior and is the greatest
evidence we have of the veracity of this wonderful message. I will
never regret my mission. It was an experience that words cannot
possibly describe. I served with all of my heart, and now I have
eternities to be grateful for it. I thank you all for all of your
prayers and all of your support. I couldn't have done it without you.

Alma 26:37

Elder HD Colton Sanderson
Missão Brasil Manaus
September 11, 2013 - August 11, 2015

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