Monday, June 5, 2017

So Tenho O Que Agradecer

While I was in Patos de Minas last Christmas season, Elder Sweet, who was my first zone leader, a great help to me when I was a new and lost financial secretary, and one of my best friends from the mission, sent me a Christmas package with a bunch of great American treats and a Christmas card. This card is open on top of my blanket right now; I just read it. He gave me some thoughtful and inspired advice that I have considered often in these last six months of my mission:

Make the end of your mission the best part of it. You will see how much Heavenly Father has to teach you. Serve our Savior with all diligence until the end, and you will be able to feel His love like never before.

This counsel (along with several others that I’ve received recently from my parents, family members, church leaders, and friends and for which I’m grateful) proved to be true—the end of my mission was the nest part! As I tried to work my best during the last several weeks, I learned a ton about how to work effectively, how to plan, how to work with the members, how to follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and how to lead. Now that I’m finally figuring out how to be a successful missionary, my mission is ending haha. I remember when President Kuceki said the same thing about being a mission president a few weeks before he went home. It’s always like that! My mission was the best learning experience in my life, and Heavenly Father taught me until the very end. I learned much about Jesus Christ, our Savior, through constant study and even more through trying to be and serve like Him. During my whole mission, but especially during the end, I felt the love of the Savior for me and for others. It was kind of hard at the beginning of my mission but now it’s easy and natural to love those I serve. This is the Lord’s work, and it is a labor of love.

Last week was awesome and shows why the final part of my mission has been the best. Enos and Ana Carla, the older two kids of the family we brought to church last week, are super excited for their baptism on Saturday and are loving church. Just about every time we teach them we bring a member. Yesterday we had a great family home evening activity with the youth and young single adults and they went and enjoyed it. I’m happy and grateful that we’ll baptize in the last week of my mission! It will be the first time I baptize two people from the same family and so it will be a special privilege. We taught a woman name Roberta this week who has already visited a ton of religions but never found satisfactory answers to some deep questions that she has like “What is my purpose in life?”, for example. We had two great lessons with her this week, and she came to church and loved it. One awesome thing is that the ward has really gotten excited about missionary work these last few weeks. When we got here is was pretty “morta” (dead) but after implementing a member missionary program in the whole ward with the help of the ward missionaries, everybody is praying to personally find people ready for the gospel and is way excited because of this. We’re establishing  a great relationship with the members, and it’s really fun. Like I said in an earlier letter, I’d almost like to stay here another few months to harvest the fruits of our current labors!

We went to Goiania for a division with the assistants and for a multi-zone conference and leadership meeting. In the conference President Buhrer asked all the going-home missionaries to bear their testimony. I was one of them. I’ve seen a ton of missionaries give their last testimony in a meeting and am surprised that my turn has already come and gone.

E. Tanus and I are broth sad that I’m going home. It’s been really fun to work together. We are really united, have a lot of fun and joke a lot, and work well as a companionship and as zone leaders. I’ll certainly maintain contact with him after my mission and throughout life.

This week will be another great one—the last great week of my mission. I don’t think I’ll be able to access my email next week so I won’t write about it, but I will take a ton of pictures and post them later. This week will include: my last district meeting, my last interview with President Buhrer (we’re going to Going on Wednesday for it), a multi-zone meeting about family history, two baptisms (!!!), several thoughtfully offered going-away dinner with members, and a special visit from Jose Carlos! It will be memorable and I’ll take advantage of every last minute as a missionary in Brasil.

Reflecting on my mission I feel an immense feeling of gratitude. I am so grateful for who the Lord has made me and the blessings He has given me. The word “agradecer” means “to thank” and the Portuguese phrase “so tenho o que agradever” has floated around my mind for some time.  The translation is”I only have what to thank” but it doesn’t make quite as much sense nor has quite as much meaning in English as it does in Portuguese.  After two years my greatest feeling is that of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the best time of my life.

Eu agradeco a Ele por, or, I thank Him for:

-My family. Mom and Dad, Dallin, Tyler, Heidi, Natalie, Katie, and Bryce, Grandparents, Cousins, Aunts and Uncles—minha grande e amorosa parentela—thank you for two years worth of constant love, prayers, and support. How great it was to hear from all of you every Monday and feel inspired and encouraged to keep doing me best. I love you and can't wait to see and hug all of you soon! That my entire family is strong in the gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing I have.

-My calling and assignment.  Being called to serve the Lord as a missionary is the greatest honor I have even received. Being assigned to serve in the Brasil Goiania Mission was incredible. I really wanted to leave the United States and learn a new language. I was blessed with those things, but they weren’t the reason I was assigned to serve here. The Lord wanted me to love and serve the people—members, investigators, and missionaries—in Central Brasil and as I tried my best to do so, He blessed me more than I could have imagined.

-My mission presidents. President Kuceki and President Buhrer were amazing. I was so blessed with the opportunities to serve close to both of them and learn from their Christlike example. I love and respect them and wish I can become half of what they are one day.

-My companions. I could write 10 pages on this subject hahaha. I can clearly see why the Lord gave me each of the thirteen companions I had. I learned from all of them something vital to who I am now. I was really blessed because almost all of my companions were great and those who were difficult are now good friends. I, without a doubt, have thirteen brothers whom I will always be able to count on.

-My areas. From Jardim Curitiba to Flamboyant, I loved every area. I loved serving in several cities within the mission and getting to know many faithful members of the church who became great friends and examples to me. I vividly remember working, walking and sweating “ate o po” up and down the roads of Goias and Triangulo Mineiro. I will actually miss seeing muros, walking up hills in the hot sun, and getting rides on carrocas.

-The people I taught. I know that God prepares His children for His gospel, and He uses His faithful servants to bring them the truth. I can’t fully express how grateful I am to have been an instrument in the Lord’s hands to lead souls to Christ and His restored gospel.  I still communicate with Matheus from Araxa (who is preparing to serve his mission) and Jose Carlos from Patos de Minas (who receive the Aaronic Priesthood and whom I’ll get to see before I go home) and I’m so incredibly happy that they are experiencing the joy of the gospel just as I am.  I hope to enter in contact with all of those I taught and baptized soon and encourage them to endure to the end. Helping people come unto Christ was worth all the sacrifice of these two years.

-My leadership and administrative experiences. Serving in several different callings and capabilities during my mission shaped who I am and what I am capable of. I feel like I’m prepared to serve in any calling in which the Lord needs me—not because I’m capable, but because I know the Lord qualifies those He calls. My experiences as financial secretary changed my life. Not only did I gain a ton of experience and knowledge, but I also changed my career plan and surely my future will be different because of that.

-Portuguese. I love speaking another language, it has completely opened my min. I’m grateful the Lord helped me to learn it.

-Brasil. I love this country and this people! Getting to know a whole other country and culture was an incomparable experience. I hope to visit Brasil several times in my life and maybe even work here. It’s great because now I have two countries to cheer for in the World Cup.

-My testimony. The hymn “Testemunho” (English – Testimony) describes exactly how I feel about the mission. I don’t know how it goes in English because sometimes the meaning changes a little during the translation, but it should be similar. Before my mission I knew the church was true, the Book of Mormon was true, etc, but now my testimony is firmly rooted in my heart and soul and has been tested, tried, and strengthened by innumerous real life experiences.

-The restored gospel. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and was called to restore the true church to the Earth. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Kingdom of God on the Earth and the only church with the full truth, the authority of God, and a living prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God today. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. How great it is to see these truths change lives and to be an authorized messenger of the Fullness of the everlasting gospel!

-My Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, knows us, and loves us. He suffered and died so that we could escape by His grace and mercy the punishment of sin, yet fulfilling the demands of justice. He is the Son of God, the First and Only Begotten, by Him-and only by Him, we can be saved if we faithfully live His gospel. I love Him. I serve Him.

I close my final letter with these words of testimony and gratitude with both mourning and great joy in my heart for completing my mission, in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Anderson

     Look at all this food we were given!

Almoço with irmã Francisca

Central Brasil.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Penultimate

I just woke up. Since our schedule was modified a few months ago we no longer have to exercise in the morning on P-Day. It’s 6:45 and 15 minutes ago I got out of bed and felt like starting my weekly letter, and so I already am. As I go to bed or wake up each day now, I realize that the days of my mission are quickly coming to an end—in 15 days I get on the plane—and I feel a certain anxious tightness inside.  In a few lessons this week I started feeling really heavy, knowing that soon I would no longer have the authority to preach the gospel to God’s children or represent the Savior as a full-time missionary. It’s hard. E duro.

After studying Moses 6:52-62 (that you talked to me about a few weeks ago mom, I studied it then and again today. What a clear and rich passage of scripture: God the Father expounding the Plan of Salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Adam, the first mortal and first prophet on the Earth. Everyone: read it!), getting my hair cut for the last time in Brasil, and cleaning the house, I’m back to writing my letter. It’s crazy that I’m doing several things for the last time during my mission.

Finishing my mission is sad, but it’s reality and also it’s really happy and awesome. I can’t wait to see all of you guys! I’m trying to express the bitter-sweetness of ending my mission in the letter so I can fill the next—the last letter--with more enriching and meaningful things.  It’s understood that the last weeks of the mission are simultaneously joyful and mournful. I am not experiencing anything unordinary.

For a matter of days now I’ve been pondering about my return home, the months of preparation before college, and the importantissimos (extremely important) next few years of my life. Without yet being in my post-mission country/society/environment or having full or frequent access to information and counsel on the subject, my planning of the near future has been limited to not much more than daydreams and mental conversations with myself.  However, after a few P-Days and nights/worth of thought and a bit of research on BYU’s website (I asked Pres. Buhrer if I could take advantage of my time in the lan house to learn about my education options; he approved), I plan to major in Finance and finish my degree in 3 years. I plan to get married in 2 years or less and also…actually, this is pretty much all I’ve planned. I believe I’ll do an MBA, work internationally, maybe study abroad in Mexico after a year of college (I think it’d be cool but it’s improbable), have 4-5 kids (that will depend on who I marry—but I certainly don’t want only a few!) and play golf frequently, but these and other details will be decided a few months or years from now. The transition from mission to post-mission life will be one of the biggest or the biggest (nah, I think the transition to married life will be the biggest…or married life with kids...I’ll only know when I get there) and starting this transition has sparked quite a variety of futurist thoughts. It’s fun.

This really was a great week of work here in Anapolis. I stayed with each of the elders in training in the zone for a day this week while E. Tanus went on exchanges with the district leaders who are both trainers as well. This week our teaching group grew a lot (which was a blessing we were needing), and we now have 2 possibilities for baptisms next month! They are two kids of a family we started teaching after a member from the Anapolis ward took us to their house; they are the family of this brother, We’ve had 2 great lessons with them so far about baptisms for the dead (the mom, Livia, had a big doubt about that…but doesn’t anymore!), the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon. They all came to church yesterday, except the dad, and they loved it. The parents can’t get baptized yet because they’re not married, but the mom already asked us if her kids could be baptized in the church—“certainly!” We had 8 people visiting church yesterday, and, during the whole 3 hours we were running around helping out the investigators and planning to teach them with the members in the coming week. It was awesome!

Right now we are getting ready to go to the lan house. It will be the second-to –last time I access my email during my mission. I have enjoyed so much talking to all of you during my mission (through email) and thank you so much for your love and support. If anyone wants to send me a final email, you can until next Monday (the 5th) morning, when I’ll check my email for the last time.

This mission has been the greatest thing I’ve done in my life. I’m so grateful for who the Lord has made me as I’ve served Him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. He lives.

Elder Anderson

 E. Tanus and I!
 Outside our house

 Going to get my hair cut...look at the beautiful blue sky!
  Here we go
The coolest barber in town!
 Writing my penultimate letter home :o
 Some missionary pictures taken as requested by mom :) 



Monday, May 22, 2017

Being a True Christian

It’s P-Day again! This is the first P-Day in about a  month that I actually used a few hours to sleep and rest. The last 3-4 P-Days E. Tanus went back to sleep as soon as it was 8:00 and I tried to too but I couldn’t stand laying down and doing nothing for even 2 minutes and so I got up, cleaned the house, and wrote my weekly letter. After (almost ) two years of constant, hard work, I feel like I always have to be doing something. Today I made myself keep laying down for a few more minutes until I fell asleep, and it was actually pretty great. It’ll be funny to see how I’ll be when I get home next month—I think I’ll always be looking for something to do!

The weights and bar I got from the house of the other elders have taken morning exercises to a whole other level. That’s been fun.

Last P-Day night we taught a lesson to a missionary couple from a volunteer organization. They were nice—they gave us a good snack of toasted peanuts and lemonade—but it has been a long time since I’ve taught a lesson to people so hard-hearted and closed-minded. I have found that atheists, agnostics and Buddhists are generally more respectful, receptive, and open –minded (even if they don’t believe in our message) that extreme “Christians” I put “Christians in hyphens because Christians are those who profess belief in and follow Jesus Christ as the Son of God but there are unfortunately quite a few “Christians” that don’t act like Christ showed us to. We invited them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon—if it’s true, God will tell you, and if it’s false, He’ll tell you too. They didn’t allow themselves to conceive the possibility of anything besides the Bible being capable of being the Word of God. We bore our testimonies and left. I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost that testifies of all truth, that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. During my mission I’ve studied and pondered about the Savior, and I hope to be, now and during all my life, a true Christian—not just believing in Jesus, but becoming like Him. Why should we ever limit ourselves to merely professing belief in Christ when, through keeping His commandments, repenting of our sins, and dedicating our lives to serve and follow Him, we can be completely transformed from our natural and carnal state in His sons and His daughters! I invite you all to look up and read Mosiah 5. This letter will not be complete without it.

BUT we taught some receptive people also this week. I love teaching the gospel and know I'll miss it a ton. I really hope to baptize a family before the end of my mission, and I believe it will happen!

Last night we had an awesome activity with the young single adults of the ward. We plan to do several activities with them to involve them in the work. We played a game where we filled a cup with flour, turned it upside down on top of a plate, and put a 5 cent coin on top of the cup-shaped form of flour. Everyone had to use a knife to cut away an edge of the flour with his teeth. Yep, I ended up having to put my face in the flour! Hahaha it was fun.

Elder Anderson

 Planning out the rest of my mission and post-mission life!

 some pics of the activity with ths YSA

Monday, May 15, 2017

I Love Skype and Hard Work!

This was the most important week of my mission so far with respect to preparing for my return home. The nest part of all of it was SKYPE!!!!!

Mom, Dad, Tyler, Heidi, Natalie, Katie, Bryce, Grandma and Grandpa at home and Dallin in Portugal, it was awesome being able to talk to you all! I’m so happy President Buhrer gave us an hour and a half instead of just 40 minutes. It made a huge difference. Next month I’ll be able to speak personally with all of you for 24 HOURS a day! Hahaha I can’t wait.

I had a ton of fun speaking Portuguese with Dallin and watching the family go crazy because they couldn’t understand. Hahaha speaking another language is the coolest thing. I’ll teach you guys when I get back so that you can participate in our conversations a little bit.

 I went to Goiania this week for the self-sufficiency class that missionaries do a month before they go home.  I’m getting old in the mission :o. We learned about how to prepare ourselves to enter the capital world, studying resume, interview, and presentation techniques that should actually be pretty helpful. My experience as financial secretary really looks great when professionally explained and will certainly help me my whole life.

Oh! Last P-Day we went to the chapel for an almost –the-whole-zone P-Day and played football and basketball (with the balls you sent me for my birthday) and ping-pong. Near the end of the activity I decided to kick the football across the parking lot to see if my leg could handle it (it’s almost 100% now) and see if I still had the skill I had in high school. I warmed up a little bit, and told an elder to go to the other end of the parking lot to catch the ball. I took off my shoes and, with memories of the “glory days” passing through my mind, kicked. The football went over the elder’s head, over the plants behind him, and over the 15 foot wall behind the fence :o. I measured the distance after recovering the ball and it would have been good from 45 yards—and my leg didn’t hurt. Maybe my NFL dreams are still alive…not! Kkkkk.

Saturday morning we went to a member’s house for a service project. Here in our mission we rarely do service projects; I like the opportunity when it comes. The member, Euri was digging out his backyard to put a pool in. We dug a big chunk out of the corner of the yard in 2 hours. It’s been a while since I had had so much fun doing yard work! I remember I didn’t like it and tried to avoid it before my mission, but now, the new and improved Scott Anderson loves working hard in the yard. The biggest miracle of my mission is who I’ve become as I’ve dedicated my time and effort to the Lord. He has done so much more for me that I could have imagined. I like manual labor now. That’s a big and good change, though not even near the greatest, which is my spiritual development.

Jefferson, the 10 year old son of the family of Gilvan who has the busted car we’ve ridden to church in two times now, was baptized on Saturday! It has been really rewarding to see how his family has changed the last few weeks as the light of Jesus Christ has returned to their lives.

I’m going to create a program today called “Terminar no Pique” or “Sprint to the Finish” which will be made of my goals and plans to finish as well as I can my mission and prepare myself for the transition to returned missionary life. I have learned on my mission that planning and organization are what brings success. I plan to apply this knowledge my whole life.

After this letter I’ll only wrote three more! They will certainly be full of miracles and blessings. Amo voces!

Elder Anderson

 Self-Sufficiency Training for Post-Missionary life

Zone P-Day!

 The bench I made in Pq. Amazônia is still there!
 I set the record for reps: 48!

 With Elder Gorman!