Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Laundry Miracle!

Hello everyone!

I think we saw a miracle this week! Elder and Hull and I washed all our clothes last Thursday, and when we were transferring all our whites to the dryer, we found one of my BLACK INK PENS that I had forgotten in a shirt pocket. It was scary. It didn't leak at all, and all of our white clothes are thankfully safe haha! The pen got a bunch of water in it, but it still works and I kept on using it. Crazy stuff!

Week two has flown by! I thought the first week was fast, but this week was way faster. Because our schedule is close to exactly the same each day, every day blurs together, and I can hardly remember anything that happened since I emailed last. I looked through my journal to jog my memory haha.

Portuguese is improving! During our lessons, over half of what I say is unscripted, and I can get the general idea of what Brazilians are saying when they speak super fast. I learn new words every day, and I can see progress, which is encouraging! At this point, it's hard to believe I will be fluent in a matter of months from now, but I know that through Christ all things are possible. I know that through the Holy Spirit's gift of tongues, I will be able to communicate effectively the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it. And everyone needs to hear it.

Being district leader is an experience! At first I was unsure the position was right for me, but now I know it is. Our district is pretty cool. There's Elder Hull (my companion) and Elder Nelson from Texas, Elder Stafford from Washington state, Sister Bunderson from St. Louis, and Sister D'anjoiu from Quebec (she speaks English and French which is way cool haha), and me. We're all different, so it was a little hard to get used to each other at first, but now we know each other well and are great friends. So, just when we're getting along well and becoming used to everything, six more missionaries from the MTC in Provo who got their visas are coming to join us. It'll be crazy haha, but I'm sure it'll be fun.

The highlight of this week was President Swensen's devotional talk on goals and obedience! It was exactly what I needed to hear, exactly what I had been studying in personal study, and exactly what I was trying to teach the district. It was powerful and inspiring, and I learned a lot!

Overall, this week really was a blur! It feels like all I do is wake up and go to bed because everything in between flies by. I'm excited for the four more weeks I have here, and hope all of you are doing excellently!

-Elder Anderson

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Week #1

Hello everyone!
The MTC is amazing! I love it here. I only have 45 minutes to email each Wednesday here, so I'll try to fill this post with as much information as I can while also responding to all the emails.
The flight down here went well! I sat next to a lady from Recife, Brazil and was able to speak a little bit of Portguese which was fun. It was a 10 hour flight, and I slept for 5 or 6. There were six other elders and two sisters on the plane. When arrived we went through customs and piled into a big van. The MTC was about 40 minutes away. The roads here are crazy! Motorcycles fly down the dotted white lines to escape traffic. I'm surprised I haven't seen a wreck yet. Once we got to the MTC (or CTM, in Portuguese), we unloaded our stuff and got our nametags, companionships, and districts.
The schedule here is pretty similar everyday and goes something like this: wake up at 6:30, personal study, breakfast (desjujem), language study, exercise time, study, lunch (almoço), 3 hours with our instructor, Irmã Silva, study, dinner (jantar), teaching practice with a role-playing investigator, more study and practice time, planning, snack, bed. The first few days weren't as fun because we sat in the classroom for about 10+ hours a day, but since exercise time started on Monday, it's been great, not that it was even that bad before. Sundays here are great. We have a branch sacrament meeting with all 40ish Americans here, then other meeting afterwards with breaks in between. President Swensen taught a great doctrine class this Sunday about the Book of Mormon, and we had a devotional that night with the director of all international MTCs. Devotionals are each Sunday and Tuesday night.
The food here is pretty awesome! Brazilians really do eat a ton of meat. There's two big portions for both lunch and dinner. There's rice and beans available for almost every lunch and dinner, and they're great! They have a ton of really good fruit juices here, most of which aren't in America. The desserts here are kind of weird, but some of them are good. I've been eating a lot, so hopefully I've been gaining some weight haha.
Our district is cool. All of us are from America except one sister from Canada, and we've been adjusting pretty well. I was called to be district leader the night we got here, and I've been trying to do my best to lead in meetings, study time, and setting goals. My companion is Elder Hull from Texas. He's a great companion and is a lot like me.
Our second night we taught a lesson to our pretend investigator in Portuguese. We had to write almost everything down because we hardly knew how to say anything, but for a first lesson in a foreign language it went pretty well. Elder Hull and I have taught 3 lessons since then, and they're getting better.
Learning Portuguese is going well. I can communicate pretty decently with a lot of the Brazilians here now, but most the time whatever they're saying flies right over me haha. So far I can say a basic prayer, introduce myself to some extent, and talk about gospel topics. Also, I've memorized the Missionary Purpose in Portuguese. I feel like I'm progressing everyday, and I know I'll keep getting better! We went to the temple today, the Campinas one, it was great!
 I hope everyone's doing well in the US. It is crazy being thousands of miles away, being a minority, and not understanding a lot of things people are saying, but I love it!
Have a great week!
Elder Anderson

(Scott is still not able to send pictures...until he leaves the missionary training center I guess, but I've pasted above a picture of the beautiful Temple in Campinas, Brazil, that he was able to attend this morning. Also, the above picture is he and his companion, Elder Hull from Texas. There is a FB page,, which is a little company at a cookie shop across from the MTC. They took this picture and posted it today! So grateful!)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Information Letter about the Brazil Missionary Training Center (where Scott is for 6 weeks)

Dear Prospective Missionaries and Parents,

Each of the 15 missionary training centers worldwide has one purpose in common, to help the young men and women entering the mission field to be better prepared in every way to serve.  Missionaries are taught ways to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to others while strengthening their own testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a truly marvelous place to learn and to grow.
The Brazil Missionary Training Center is situated in the city of São Paulo, an area of approximately 20 million people. São Paulo is a progressive and exciting city. As missionaries enter the MTC, though, there is an instant feeling of peace and purpose. A great deal of time is given to understanding better the doctrine of Jesus Christ and the holy scriptures. We use Preach My Gospel,an inspired volume of instruction, as the teaching guide, and the daily training is given by excellent instructors. You will also enjoy time in sports activities, service projects, and personal and companionship study. We have an excellent cafeteria, a gymnasium, walking track, weight room, and garden areas around the grounds of the MTC for outdoor study. 
The Brazil MTC is the largest MTC outside the United States, and typically between 200 and 300 missionaries reside here. The MTC presidency is supported by excellent branch presidencies, who are called to support the missionaries and preside over the Sunday activities. We also enjoy weekly devotionals and firesides given by General Authorities, the MTC leadership, and other Church leaders. An additional blessing for the missionaries is to be able to attend the São Paulo Temple each week.
The missionaries who are trained in the Brazil MTC are young men and women from Brazil and other South American countries, the United States, Mozambique, and Cape Verde. Even though we have many countries and cultures represented, the missionaries are united in the purpose of furthering the work of the Lord in establishing His Church. 
Being a missionary is not easy, and you will be blessed with tasks that will stretch and strengthen you for the marvelous work ahead. You will be trained to share with the world the message of the restored gospel, in all its glory, and to invite others to embrace the truth.
Sister Swensen and I welcome you to the Brazil Missionary Training Center, and we know that you will be blessed and sustained by the Lord as you begin your missionary service.
President and Sister Swensen

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Letter from the President of the Missionary Training Center about Scott's arrival

Dear Parents,
Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary.                                                                                                     
The missionaries now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  Their branch presidents and wives, will meet them this Sunday.  These wonderful couples are richly blessed as they work with, motivate, and interview the missionaries assigned to their branch.
The MTC has a full-time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife who is a nurse. We are also happy to report that the cafeteria food is plentiful, healthy and very good.
Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.
Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of many others. President Lorenzo Snow said: “There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".  We love these missionaries as if they were our own.  We will watch over them carefully to ensure they are ready for a wonderful missionary experience after the rewarding time they will have in the MTC.
We thank you for preparing such a wonderful representative of the Lord.
President Robert Swensen and Sister Julie Swensen
PLEASE DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC, please understand that the package cannot be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you.
WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers.  The cost to process this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

Scott's First Email from the Missionary Training Center in Sao Paolo, Brazil!!!

Hello! I'm doing amazing!
Getting to the plane was easy, there were four other elders there when I got there. Talked to them for awhile. By the time we boarded, there were 7 elders (including me) and 2 sisters. Three of us elders are going to Goiânia, and are whole district was on the flight except for my companion who still hasn't gotten here for some reason. He, Elder Hull, should be here sometime today. The food on the plane was great. I sat next to a lady from Recife and spoke some Portuguese to her haha. It was fun. I'm trying to be a lot more outgoing, and it's going well so far! I only took half (probably like 0.57 actually) of the pill and slept for 4 hours, woke up, 2 more, then off and on until about 45 minutes out. We landed, went down stairs to a shuttle bus instead of straight into the airport. Customs and everything went well. We got on a bus this morning around 7:30 São Paulo time and drove about an hour here. THE ROADS ARE CRAZY! It took us about an hour or 50 min to get to the MTC and on the way we saw about 200 motorcycles, 98% of them were speeding thru slow traffic on the free way on the dotted white lines between all the cars. CRAZY stuff. We got to the MTC which is awesome. I got my nametag, we ate some food (the cafeteria is smaller than I thought), mango juice is good, got our district, I already know everyone except my companion haha, we're in a threesome right now I guess haha. We got to our room, on the top floor, and we have an AWESOME view of São Paulo. I'll try to send pictures, if I can't I will next time. We unpacked some, then the other two Elders, Nelson from Texas (it's so funny, he looks JUST like Aaron Bardin and Hunter Hughes put together) and Stafford from Seattle. \they got some sleep, and I kept unpacking and organizing my stuff. I took a shower which was an experience... The water barely trickles out so it's really tough to wash off, way less water than comes out of our kitchen sink. I ironed some shirts, our rooms right across from the laundry room so we opened the door while I ironed across the hall so I would~'t be completely without a companions while I was ironing and they were sleeping haha. I got 3 shirts done in 25 min I think. It was tough cause the materials on the dial you use to control the heat were in Portuguese.. Thankfully cotton was 'algodon' like in Spanish haha. I'm loving it! Everything is awesome and I feel only peace, happiness, and excitement. I also feel a desire to work really hard and not waste a second of time. I feel like a missionary now, and it's kind of crazy how the other missionaries are just regular guys. Like an average Priest quorum put on suits and nametags haha. I'm just comfortable and ready to learn! I love you all! Thanks for the hidden letters, I've found most of them haha. I don't know when Pday is yet, but hopefully its soon. I haven't read your emails yet so I'll respond to those on Pday. Have a good week!
Elder Anderson!
(I just learned we can't send pictures from the MTC, probably can't receive them either.. Oh well, I'll send a ton my first week in the field!!)
~Forgive my grammar and stuff I was trying to hurry! Haha

At the Airport, Saying Goodbye

 Right before we left in the car, Scott wanted us all to gather in the piano room and sing the hymn "Called to Serve". I played the piano and we all sang with gusto (though mom had a hard time getting all the words out...a little emotional). Then we headed to the Airport--the International Terminal. Scott got all checked in and we had a few minutes to say goodbye. It didn't seem real. So many emotions, but Scott was excited and ready and so prepared!

 Last goodbyes and words of advice....

 God be with you 'til we meet again dear Scott! May the Lord bless you and keep you safe!

Scott Getting Set Apart as a Full-Time Missionary

 Monday, July 13th, the evening before Scott left for Brazil, he went to our Stake President's home,  (President Tom Owen) to get set apart as a missionary. It was a very special blessing. President Owen blessed Scott with a beautiful blessing--that he'd arrive safely in Brazil, that he'd be blessed to be able to learn the language and experience miracles in the process, that he'd be blessed with health during his mission, that he'd learn much from a wonderful first companion (his trainer) in the mission field, and that he'd know that his mission president is a man of God. He was counseled to be obedient to the mission rules and promised beautiful blessings about being an instrument in the hands of God to bless His children in Goiania, Brazil. So special!