Sunday, July 28, 2013

Juliana and Palbo get baptized and our ward mission leader is stepping it up

July 22, 2013

So here I am, in sunny Brazil, and my day just got better finding out that my dad got a job offer, so, naturally I'm a little antsy. (Though it’s going to be weird returning to another ward...) I'll manage.

Anyway, we'll start with the exciting news first. Primarily, I'm loving my companion and we just finished baptizing 2 out of 4 in a family (1 is having problems with drugs, the other has major issues with age.) so we'll talk about them for a second.

Juliana and Pablo. These two are awesome, I'm glad we found them. I will say that the Lord put them in our way, and at the right time, because now our ward mission leader is doing a lot of stuff with the missionaries of the ward. Which means on top of that, our retention rate of members of 25 percent will be more like 50 or 75 percent. I'm kind of really excited for the work he is doing.

anyway, they have given up a lot of things that you have to do to be baptized, and on top of that, they are doing daily study of the scriptures, prayer, and I think that we will start helping the father more and more, and they will be baptized as a family, and be sealed in the temple someday, (way cool).

So anyway the baptism was good, here’s a photo:

Also, we had a few really cool experiences where we found cool people with questions ready to get baptized and everything, (we'll see).

For example, while we try and touch some lives, even if it feels really uninspired, the Lord puts others in our way. The other day we were talking to someone, and it got into a quick awkward silence, so I asked a question in my awkward way: “What would you ask God if he were here?” She says, “Well, I have lots of questions, but not one in particular.” Then at that moment, some girl that was leaving from in the house, asked us a question that we could tell made her really confused and sad. So we got her number, and will try and teach her one of these days, it’s going to be great.

Now for some funny news:

I talked about this in the video, but this bird dropped a huge poop on me the other day during a contact. I had just finished getting the guy’s information, and put away my planner, and it happened. I think the worst was it was green and gooey, and warm. Though all I could do was laugh and go and find a house we could ask for water. It all turned out well.

Also some other cool things is I have been working on learning how to take some really cool pictures (Cool camera = cool pictures, just need to learn how)

Here’s some cool one I took this week:

And I think that’s it for space on this email, but here’s some others!

Miss you guys, write soon

Elder Sean Anderson!

New companion, Elder Altamirano

July 15, 2013

This week, I got my new companion, Elder Altamirano, who is from Buenos Ares in Argentina, so still not my first companion to be Brazilian, but we'll keep trying

Secondly, I have started trying to learn more about the church’s program for addiction recovery because we have an investigator who is doing drugs. Well, at least he is trying to stop, so I want to do everything I can to help him with his choice. My part is to study and help him understand how the atonement can make a difference in his life, between sacrifice and repentance. He is so awesome, but I felt so bad for him when he made it 3 days after the first day we met him where he didn't do drugs, but I know it was so hard for him.

The cool thing was we brought his wife to church that week, and she loved it, and already wants to bring a friend, who we evidently already talked with, and the friend is really excited about it too! It’s all going to work out great in that neighborhood.

Oh and other funny news, there is a road that we walk every day (no this isn't some sort of poem) where there is a lot of space. It runs along the highway, or whatever the road is, and every day we pass, there are pipa (kites). The thing about the pipa is that they have these huge kite battles, where they cut the line when they fly them, so it gets really dangerous. The other day I saw the biggest gathering of people that I have ever seen there, and the skies were filled! I'm not gonna lie, it was one of the craziest things I have seen.

The next day we were driving past, and there is a bar there, and it looked like a huge party, to the point that the road was packed full of drugged up and drunk people. (We decided not to walk back that way).

Elder Sean

Monday, July 8, 2013

Happy Birthday!

So this week, I would like to start with my first party as a missionary in Brazil. We celebrated 4th of July and that day we did divisions. My companion that day was Elder Gregory, (jazz band guy) and we decorated with the wonderful decorations my mom sent me, and ate some American candy (didn't make it to the other food) and we took some pictures and some videos of us singing the national anthem. (pretty much it was an awesome night).

I'm sending a few pictures of us that night (me and Elder Gregory)

Next, we have transfers right now, so my companion is going to Marilia. I'm staying here, and am getting my first Brazilian companion. I don't know his name (dang you secretaries that decide not to send my info... ) and he will be (district leader) leader de distrito, so I will continue doing lots of divisions with people. I'm actually kind of excited, ‘cause that means I will work with lots of people. :)

It also means I will probably stay here for at least 2 transfers, so who knows what will happen! But I will write about him next week, tell how we get along, and how frustrating it is to speak Portuguese 24 7 :P I’m gonna die you guys!

Now the good stuff. I have had a couple of really awesome experiences this week, I'm going to refrain from talking about my investigators until next week, but this week, we were teaching Rosie and Junior (brother and sister, they are long inactives, but loving the church we think. they are great ‘cause they have lots of questions!)

One thing that stood out to me this week was how I am beginning to recognize God’s voice in the scriptures.

When we talk to people a lot, we start to recognize their voice, just like a shepherd and the lamb, or a mom and her son, or a husband and his wife, or best friends. You can come up from behind and cover their eyes, and say guess who, and they will always know it’s you. The same thing happens with God. We read the words of God in the scriptures, and as we read more and more, we start to recognize His voice. The voice of the Master.

"This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you." (Joseph Smith Jr. the King Follett sermon)

Anyway, basically my point is when we read the words of God, we actually learn the nature of God, we recognize God in our lives, not as someone that we could never understand, but as someone that’s there with us! It’s so cool!

Anyway, thank you all for the happy birthday wishes, and I hope to hear from you all soon.

God be with you till we meet again!

Elder Sean

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Record contacts!

July 1, 2013

This week, I had the opportunity to work with Elder Hoskin and Elder Porter as well as my own companion, so that’s a little about who I worked with. But what we actually did was awesome.

With the two divisions we did, we did 8 contacts where we got addresses, and the with Elder Hoskin we did 15. That’s my record so far, but I think I could get as many as 20 in one day if we tried, because the 15 were all in 2 hours! Holy mackerel! I felt kind of proud.

We worked a lot with a couple of people this week.

Leandero and Livia, brother and sister, they both went to church this week, and when we first started teaching them, Livia read all the parts in the scriptures that we marked for her, and Leandero really likes us and what we talk about. After church, Livia was asking about a book or something. She was asking for a bible, the teacher’s manual and wants to go to seminary. She said most likely she would get baptized :) What great investigators!

Next we had Luis and his daughter Rachel (I think) and they both loved church, though his daughter is really shy and looks sad/angry all the time. But they said she liked it and would go next week :) Luis we met Friday, and we saw him again Saturday, and he had shaved his beard.

Also, I have learned a lot from Elder Hoskin with his desire to work until the end. He decided to serve an extra transfer, and had to beg and plead President to serve more (he's only let it happen 2 times) and he got the extension. He did it because he felt like he needed to, I would love to have the same opportunity that he has and serve more, but I have school right when I get back, (not to mention Christmas and all).

I have seen him just working and wanting to do the work even though his companion doesn't and he has found every way possible to do it.

Next, we had worldwide training. I would recommend if you have the chance go watch that. It talks a lot about working with the missionaries and the new things that missionaries will be able to do, such as work with members and pesquisadors via Skype or Facebook or other technologies like that. I'm really excited to see the new ways they want the members and missionaries to work. Way cool!

Anyway, so that’s all that I have time to write this week, I just want you all to know that I’m glad I'm here, and I love you all!

Write me soon!

Elder Sean

Of Blisters, burns, and sweat. (A journey into the life of Elder Sean Anderson)

June 24, 2013

Wow, so what a week. I would like to tell my lovely mother thank you for sending the packages (though I only received the one with the card in it as of yet, I am hoping to receive the other in just a matter of weeks).

First thing this week, I would love to say between P-day and District meeting where Elder Wheeler made a fabulous batch of cake, and the next day with Elder Crowther and Elder Bodhoin and the cookies they made, this week started out pretty good. (oh and the recipe for mac and cheese/alfredo that my mom sent me was the highlight meal of my week pretty much.)

Funny stories first. I kind of met Elder Bodhoin this week, I saw him and shook his hand before, but if someone asked me who he was I wouldn't put a face to a name. So the day I met him was the day before we had zone conference this week. Zone conference we got any and all letters awaiting us, and I received one letter from Elder Bodhoin and it had a picture of him in it. So that’s just how cool he is, one day I meet him, the next I'm getting pictures of him.

Another funny story this week is my feet are just about to die here, kind of. I got home last night, and my feet have the biggest blisters right now that even hurt if nothing is touching them. I've kind of been developing them for the last week or 2, and it’s just kind of peaked yesterday. I'm thinking they will start callusing pretty good here.

As for things I learned this week, yesterday I did a division with the honey badger himself (term stolen from Elder Delgagillo who went home) Elder Hoskin. I Love him ‘cause he is more or less a great example to me of how a missionary should be. He has 23 months, and will leave in 2, (he got an extension for one more transfer a year ago) and he is still going strong. But I get to talk with him a lot and see what he is doing to improve himself and the lives of others. This week I saw a journal that he has, that I bought one exactly like it in the MTC. I asked him about it and he called them his small plates. It’s where he writes everything that’s of worth to him and wants to remember as a spiritual experience. I have plank plates right now for myself, but I think that after seeing that I know what kind of format I want my small plates to be.

He is also such a good example right now ‘cause his companion (who has been on a mission for the equivalent of 3 years) is slacking off and not wanting to work. I've noticed that every moment he has, he is still trying to teach, trying to work, and trying to better his life and others, despite his companion and everything that is working against him, I know that I can keep looking up to him to see what I can do better!

One thing I love is that he is constantly trying to find ways to feel the Spirit, to obey the rules, to be diligent and patient. He told me to study chapter 6 in PMG and to learn from the Christ-like attributes in my own life as a missionary.

So my questions are

1. What would you write on your small plates?

2. What can you do to magnify your calling?

3. How can you develop Christ-like attributes?

Love you all, and hope to hear from you soon?

Elder Sean Anderson

Karini, the wife of Alexandre, gets baptized

July 17, 2013

What is the hardest thing about being a missionary?

hmmmmm, answering this question.

I think the hardest thing about being a missionary is finding a balance of everything. Some things like humility you can't have enough of, but on the other hand you have things like time management, being forward and asking questions to people, but not too forward, things like that. I don't know. I think everything has its moment being the hardest thing, for example if you need to develop one trait, the Lord will put trials in your way to develop that trait, and that will be the hardest. Then on the other hand it will switch from time to time, the Lord knows what you need to be the hardest thing for you. Right now for me it’s doing contacts.

Do you feel like your testimony is growing all the time, or does it sometimes stagnate?

My testimony is almost always growing. There is some times where it does slow to a stop for a little bit, but that’s only when I'm walking (apparently I can't read, do contacts, and walk at the same time.)

The best part though is I always have time in the morning to study the gospel and strengthen my knowledge and testimony of the gospel.

What is the most important thing members can do to help in the missionary effort?

I would say at least getting to know the missionaries would be a good start, but I would say it was really helpful for me in Texas and here too when members would bring nonmembers to their home and we got to teach them. As missionaries we do a lot of searching, and if we could have anything from the members it is references from friends that could be interested in the gospel, to know your neighbors well enough to help that way, or even better set up a time that friends and the missionaries could be in FHE together.

If we had a group of people and talked to everyone, most likely they would all reject the gospel, but if a friend took just a couple of those people and said these are the most likely ones to accept the gospel right now, it would save the missionaries time, letting them do other things, and would help bring someone to the gospel faster than if they just knocked on the door of that person.

Are you writing in your journal pretty faithfully?

Some days I'm better, I was really good in the MTC, then I got to the field, it got a bit harder to do every night, and then Brazil was even harder (try living without a desk for 2 transfers...).

But as of late, I have been getting in a few every week, so, it’s not once every 2 weeks or month like the last while.

This week:
This week was good; we did a lot of hard work, mostly looking for people to teach again. We baptized two people yesterday; one was the son of the family last week, Neto. He is really cool, is 15 years old, and when we went to teach him the restoration, he asked us when the interview would be, we told him Saturday. That was really cool getting to see the whole family together ready to enter the temple for all time and eternity!

The other was Karini, the wife of Alexandre. Alexandre is one of the strongest members of the church I know, and the teacher of Gospel Principles. (It's cool when the principles teacher knows Hebrew... :P) and it was so cool to see him and his wife in the water as she got baptized, and as they cried coming out of the water. I will be so happy to hear when they get sealed in the temple! :)

Other than that this week we were trying to teach a few people, but they all seem like they aren't ready to accept the gospel, so we're going to do a lot of searching this week so that next week we can have people in church :)

Oh yeah. So I also bought a few things this week. One is some rope (about 1 dollar) for doing jump rope in the morning. Next is a vest for about $1.50 dollars and a shirt for .50 cents. Now that’s what I call thrifty.

Other news this week is that we had a festival that was pretty cool, but really awkward (I think it was the Brazilian Valentine ’s Day or something...) and we did a few divisions, (I got to go with Elder Gregory!

(By the way, he's from close to Logan, and has 1 more month than me on the mission, and we have decided that we are going to create a jazz band and live together off of our missions :P It was a good division).

Hey if you have any cool Ideas for a jazz band name (or want to get in on it too :P), you should send it to me!

Anyway. There really wasn't much that happened this week besides the divisions, and the baptisms. I'm good, loving the mission because of the cool experiences I had this weekend with the baptisms and all.

Anyway gotta run, It's P-day! (I'm gonna wear that cheap vest I found :P), write me you guys! I love reading your letters!!!

Elder Sean Anderson

Learning a lot from Elder Hoskin, and seeing old friends

June 10, 2013

Questions & Answers:

Is the weather/area much different in the city you are now serving in?

It’s warmer. Has more hills, (at least our house is sitting on the bottom of our area and the rest is all uphill...)

Are there many elders in your area?

In my district we have 8, 4 in Santana, and 2 more in that house, and 2 more on top of that in another area. We have 3 districts in our zone.

Who are you teaching right now?

We have a few people that we are teaching right now, first is a family we baptized this Sunday, (Paulo, Alini and their son Gabriel) we want to end up baptizing the other son in a week on Sunday, Neto.

Next we have Karini, recently married to a member. she is 19 years old, he is 35 I think, has served in the military as a sniper, been all around the world, speaks several languages including Portuguese, English, Japanese and Hebrew (Don't ask me, I don't know where this guy came from) he just started going to church when he was 4 years old, and is a firm member of the church. He is the Gospel Principles teacher, and she is going to get baptized this week we hope :P

Rafael, Edinias and the parents of Rafael. Hard to get a hold of sometimes, all very intelligent, but I think that Edinias is listening to the pastors more than he is God.

Dorneval and Ju. They are "married" (brazilian standard) and are really cool. I think that Ju is really taking our message to heart, but I think that Dorneval is having a hard time accepting our message. The good news is that last night I think our message might have hit home. We teach them in a house they are living in with 2 members (both served missions, and I think might move to the states... Oh and the wife is one of the most happy and hyper people I have met on the mission)

When you get discouraged, what do you do?

What I try and do is to pray to my Father in Heaven. I just got some advice that I will write about in a bit that I will try and take to heart even more so now, that has to do with listening to the spirit. But basically in the world of stress, confusion, drama, and everything else, the one thing you can rely on is the prompting that you'll receive from the Holy Spirit.

Do you see changes happening in yourself, and if so, what?

I talked about humility a few weeks ago. I am not saying that I am humble, but I am seeking for ways that I can become humble, to let myself rely on the lord, rather than the arm of man. One thing that I have started doing is trying to be more open for advice. I find that it’s really hard to accept advice from others. Even when I ask for it I find that my natural self wants to be really defensive and impulsive, so what I have been doing is trying to let myself think more before speaking and acting. Another is to accept my leaders, no matter if what they do or say may not be what I like to see or hear, and a few other little things.

Are you taking time regularly to recognize God's hand in the work you are doing?

I try to recognize every moment of my day. It gets hard sometimes because all you want to do is think about how tired you are, or what you remember from home, but when you start thinking of others, it gets all better, everything lightens up, and time goes by quicker. Pretty soon, you forget that you went to bed 6 other times that week, and you just finished p-day for the second time in a row. (Oh I hate how fast p-day flies)

Anyway, this week has been a really strange week. I just want to start by saying that I love my district.

This week:
First thing this week, we did a bit of searching for people we contacted, people to talk to, and try and get new investigators (I think that has been a lot harder lately for some reason). But it was a good day of good hard work.

Next did divisions, me and Elder Pedro de Sousa (same guy I rode the bus with for 18 hours to get here.)

Just to note, when I say his name, people seem to get this annoyed face, and ask how is he...

That day was fun. We ended up bible bashing with a TJ (JW) and it felt like I was stopped a lot more than normal (Elder Mcguire walks really fast, and a lot. I wish I was tall sometimes). Anyway, somehow made it through the day, and the next day we had zone meeting.

Zone meeting was good, learned how to present church, and I got to see Elder Rydalch, Elder Poore, and Elder Clark from my group in the MTC. I love those guys.

Anyway that day we tried to contact people again, say hi to our investigators, people that we baptized, just good hard missionary work.

Everything got interesting the next day, we met up for lunch (like always), I got told that I was going on divisions again, with Elder Ramos. I like Elder Ramos, he seems to love people, music, and jokes around with people. He's one of my zone leaders.

The problem with that day is right after lunch we ended up sitting in the church for 2 or 3 hours because he was sick. We then went to a recent converts house and their investigators house (same house) and talked to them for an hour and gave her a blessing (she was sick too) and then went to a members and spent the rest of the night there. I hate when people waste my time like that.

That night he got a call from President, found out that a member let a lady and her 3 children who don't have a place to live live in the missionary house. Elder Ramos got very bitter about this, and the next day we took everything from that house to the house that they were moving into. Everything good and broken.

This is where I gained a new perspective. Elder Hoskin (other ZL) who I did divisions with the next day showed me that he got President to let us take things to them and have charity for this family. He also told me things that I will take to heart, like don't be a so batiza Elder, but to look for the spirit rather than use techniques and methods to manipulate people. He told me to study chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel and some other things. Basically, he showed me how to be better than just a regular missionary. He showed me that a leader is here to show an example, to help the people they are in charge of and most of all to look for the Spirit of the Lord, not the natural man.

Oh and he is also really funny.

Anyway gotta go, love you all, write me soon, returning with honor.

Elder Sean