Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Temple, ice cream and English

Monday, October 14, 2013
This week was amazing.  First a story that happened in the house of the bishop last week.  So like I said, we had that beans and pig parts stew thing,  but for dessert we had ice cream.  In Portuguese the word for ice cream is “sorvete”.  They gave us a strawberry sauce to put on top and so I started to put some on and one of the elders asked if I liked strawberries.  I said "Yes, in fact one of my favorite types of cerveja is strawberry."  The problem with this sentence is that “cerveja” isn´t “sorvete”, it’s beer.  And for some reason the two keep getting mixed up in my head, but everyone thought it was very funny.
Elder Anderson (r) with his companion, Elder Gillespie

This week we started involving the youth, we started a mini ctm.  What this is a mini MTC (missionary training center). We taught them how to invite their friends to church and to bear testimony on facebook and things like this.  We have points for every different thing and after 2 weeks the person with the most points gets a prize.  One of the things is going out with the missionaries for lessons, we already have a couple of the youth that have gone out with us.  

Also this week we started Aula de Inglês, English Class.  It was a lot of fun because of the three Americans that are here now, (one of them got transferred and we got a Brasilian that is really cool),  I am the newest. The other two forgot a lot of English and we all had to think about how to speak, it was funny because we had to try different sentences because English is a little weird now, even now writing this is strange because everything looks wrong and everything is underlined red because they don’t have an option to change the keyboard to English, so if there are mistakes, sorry.  

But this Saturday we ran into two couples from America.  One had served here 17 years ago and was here visiting and the other lives near the mission office.  The couple that live by the office gave us 50 reais for dinner, and we were so excited that we talked about it for at least 20 minutes.  We went to one neighborhood to teach and later that day walked to the other side of the city up the mountain to teach some more.  It was about 8 at night and I asked my companion what we were going to do with the money.  He reached into his pocket and realized he had lost the money.  So we spent the next hour and a half walking our past route looking for the money, but didn´t find it.  So now we pray for the person that found it, that they can use it righteously.

Last night we had a meeting with our new stake pres and President Pinho.  It was so amazing, imagine two men that have the spirit of God and can hear it clearly and that have visions for the area.  It was incredible.  We now have a plan for every companionship to baptize at least 1 man per month and in two years by doing this we could split the stake.  

The temple was amazing!  We rode the bus to it, took about an hour and went to the Walmart that they have across the street.  Our zone leaders bought us all donuts for our hard work the past 2 weeks.  While in Walmart I saw one of my friends from the Provo mtc riding up the moving sidewalk, it’s like an escalator, but flat like those moving sidewalks.  It’s in a three story Walmart, and I was so excited.  At the temple I saw two other friends that got their visas this past week!  Soon everybody from our group will be here!  The temple was awesome though, so nice to be there.  Afterwards we went next door to a Fogo De Chão type place that was amazing, I had to learn all the different types of meats, but it was incredible. Was only 20 reais, $10, and so good!  Can’t wait to go to the temple again :)  Hope all is well at home, love y’all.

Elder Anderson

Conference and stuff

Monday, October 6, 2013

So this week flew by in anticipation for conference.  This week our district set a goal to make 1,500 contacts.  Our area took off and ended up doing over 300 compared to 46 the last week. We had splits with another district and one of my Hispanic friends from the ctm came to our place.  We made a bet that whichever companionship made more contacts wouldn't have to buy pizza that night.  So my comp and I took off running talking to everyone and made 53 contacts, we would have done more, but we had 2 hours where we went to a far away area. We got back that night and 9:30 came and the others hadn't shown up. So we called them and told them that for every minute late they would lose a contact.  Eight minutes later they ran in and they had 60 contacts- minus the 8 and so my comp and I won, but they didn't agree to the rule and so we had to buy the pizza anyway. Our zone ended yesterday with 1,081 contacts, which was the secret goal of the leaders all along.  I don’t know if I have already talked about the pizza here.  They don’t use tomato sauce, but it’s so good.  Our favorite is called “portuguesa” with an accent in there somewhere.  It has cheese, onions and hard boiled pieces of egg on top.  For dessert we order a border filled crust of chocolate.  Oh my goodness!  It is so good.  I know it might sound a little weird, but it is so good.  

I finally started to read the letters that you guys wrote for me before I left.  Sorry.  I haven´t had any time at all, you literally have to schedule in time to use the restroom, that´s how busy we are. 

Conference was so amazing!  First one that I stayed awake for the whole time!  We had investigators show up. Our sessions are at 1 and at 5 with priesthood at 9.  The four English speakers watched conference in the relief society room on a tv.  I loved all the talks about missionary work, especially Elder Nielson and Elder Ballard. Did y’all hear the shout outs to the Santos mission next door (during conference)? And the elder that gave the last prayer (in General Conference) was in our ward last week and is our area authority We had to wake up before 5 to get to the rebroadcast at 6 in the morning.  Then we went to the bishop´s house to have lunch at 11, which was "feijoada", again with an accent somewhere in there probably, and if y’all don’t already know about it I will describe it.  First, you have black beans, which by themselves are great, add in some sausage, even better, and then just dump in the rest of the pig while you're at it.  I still don’t know exactly what I ate.  My comp is convinced that ear was in there, and I think I saw an eye.  There is a lot more in it, but I couldn't identify it.  It was the first time here that I only managed one plate.

Everything is holding up great.  We have enough food,  don’t  worry, we just work a lot.  The ward I am in is called Embu das Artes and is also the name of the stake. Our building is the stake center.  We also had transfers yesterday.  The comp of the other zone leader in our house got transferred and so we will have a new missionary in our house on Tuesday.  I didn't get transferred this time, but I will next time because with the zone leaders they are always training and you don’t usually stay with your trainer anyway.

A weird thing about Brazilians-   a lot of them have problems with their hands and fingers because of work.  Almost every third person that you see either has a piece of finger missing, or a broken arm.  I met one man a couple weeks ago that owns a tire shop, he is missing the tip of his right middle finger and you can see the bone.  It doesn’t bother him at all though. He uses that hand to move tires and acts as if nothing is wrong.  One other quick thing about  Brasil is that “Anderson” here is a first name, already met two people with that name.  It’s pretty cool. Sometimes people just assume I am Brazilian because of it!

The mission is small when compared to the others in Brazil, but to get to the mission home is still 2+hours and we are pretty close, mainly because of traffic and things.  Language is great, understanding and speaking more every day. It’s getting a little hard to write and speak English, I still think majority in English, but when I am typing my fingers move to the Portuguese words. Sometimes I dream in Portuguese.  I dream I am teaching lessons.  Trying to switch over all thoughts to Portuguese too, but when I speak I don’t have to translate in my mind I can just speak it now.  Still need to learn a lot but I can testify that the gift of tongues is real.  I know that it would have been impossible to be as good as I am now without the help of God. It’s incredible to see it work in your own life and in the lives of other missionários.  

We drink a lot of guaraná because the water here is sometimes not good to drink so we usually have guaraná or another type of soda for lunch.  We didn't have another baptism last night, but we will have a couple this coming week, so excited.  I don’t think that I need anything, will think about it and let you know this coming week though.  Thanks for sending the package, will tell you when I get it.  I get to go to the temple this week!  Will send pics.  Good luck with everything this week!

Love you lots,

-Elder Anderson

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hey honey! Do you want some molasses?

Monday, September 30, 2013

P-day já?
Wow.  This week went so fast.  I had new missionary training on Tuesday and it went really well, I realized how great my trainer is.  All the new missionaries in the field come to the chapel by the office and they have this pop quiz that asks about all the lessons and the topics and the commitments.  I finished with ten minutes to go and spent the rest of the time helping the other missionaries.  Then we played a game with the topics and my team almost won,  but they had a caixa (box) of bonus questions that were supposed to be really hard, like what are the chapters of PMG (Preach my Gospel), what are the fundamental principles, teach the first lesson with all topics in order in two minutes, and others.  Everyone should know these. One of the questions that my group got was the questions for the baptismal interview, which new missionaries don't need because they don't do the interviews,  but we got it and luckily my companion is zone leader so I already knew all of them and everyone was really impressed.  Because my companion is the zone leader it means I get to be senior companion. So I get to carry the phone around.

Here we walk if we can, but if it takes more than 30 min walking we take the bus.  Spring started last week and today it's raining and the power went out here.  We baptized a family this week!  And I got to baptize one of them!  Here some people stay active and others don't, but the retention rate is horrible.  Almost everyone that you see here is a first or second generation member.  Our bishop is a convert of maybe 10 years, I think a bit less, but he is awesome! General Conference is this week and we are really excited. They will be showing it in the stake center, which is our building, and during the breaks we will go out with the members because we will have 20 missionaries and contact less active members.  Because the priesthood session is so late we have to watch it at 6 in the morning on Sunday.  My talk went good this past week, felt like 5 min or less, but the others said it was close to 10.

Transfers are this coming week, but new missionaries have a program called the first 12 weeks that you are trained with.  So generally a missionary stays in an area for at least 12 weeks if they are new.  So I won't be leaving this time. Since we will be having so many new missionaries coming they need almost everyone training.  This past month our mission baptized 155 people, this month we plan to baptize 500!  

Funny story:  the other week I was looking for honey and I found the cheapest kind and bought it. It totally looked like honey, the color, consistency and the bottle.  Of course I had no idea what the bottle said, I thought it said honey from Cainan, kind of like a fancy name thing.  So I tried it and it was terrible.  I only got down about half the sandwich before I had to throw it away.  So I put it on a shelf and left it for anyone.  Today I found out that it's really molasses.  Now I don't know what to do with it.  Can't really make sandwiches with it, maybe syrup, we'll see!  Hope everyone has a great week!  I think Meg owes me 500 :) Good luck in school and work and life. 

até próxima semana! chão.

-Elder Anderson

"Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?"

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013

It's so incredible to be out and working with real people.  In the CTM (Brazil MTC) it feels weird to practice and to speak the language, but once you are actually out it's so nice and a lot easier actually. The language just comes, it's incredible how fast you learn and how quickly you understand.   I remember the first day in the CTM and trying to apply my Spanish and now I don't really remember Spanish and the little bit that I do remember sounds weird because Portuguese is just that little bit different to make Spanish sound incorrect.  The work is going so fast.  This week we will baptize a family of four.  Here it's the first lesson that you commit to baptism.  The other day we got a referral and saw the person on the street.  We walked up to them and I was smiling the kind of smile you get when you know something is about to happen and you just can't stop smiling.  We stopped them and less than five min later they were committed to baptism.  A few seconds ago they were a different person and now they have a date.  It's just weird and cool to be standing in front of someone saying "Will you follow the example of Jesus and be baptized on this date three weeks from now?"  because as a missionary you know exactly what they will have to do and the changes they have to make and it's a great feeling to have them say yes and you walk away and mark them in your planner as a new investigator. 

About my talk this week: I didn't really have time to prepare one so I was working on it at random times and we had to get up at 5:30 yesterday for ward counsel.  So tired yesterday, but we got to sacrament and learned that we only had 5-7 minutes instead of 10 each.  So the other elder and I cut some parts, and then he got up and talked for 20 minutes and they moved my talk to the next week! So everything went great!  Here they do have Halloween, it's called Dia das Bruxas, it means day of the witches.  It's not as big a deal here as it is in the US.  This week we have our baptism of the family of four and its likely that I will do at least one of them! Last p-day after lunch we decided to go to cidade das abelhas, but it was closed, it's a 45 minute bus ride there and we had planned on being there for a while so we decided to hike through the jungle for 12 km to a waterfall and then we hiked out and went and taught a lesson with the bishop.  It was a long day, but fun.

Dad-I wish now that I had asked you more about your mission (Gary served in Las Vegas). Whenever it's hot here, I always think it was probably hotter there. Remember those belts that we bought thinking that they might not be big enough?  Now it may not be small enough, I am on the last belt hole :) The BYU game is sad (reference to BYU's loss to University of Utah), especially since they beat UT (University of Texas).  Happy birthday Meg!!  Have a great week!

Elder Anderson