Monday, August 31, 2015

First Week in the Field!

Oh man.

I guess it's a good sign when you have your first baptism in the field before your first email! More on that later.

The last week of the CTM was super fast. I focused hard on Português and really improved a lot. I ended up not meeting my less than 25 words of English in four days goal because I accidentally said a few phrases, and I was pretty disappointed about it but then realized that I had tried my best and learned a lot, which was what I was really striving for. Overall my CTM experience went as well as it could have, and I'm grateful for it!

Jumping for Joy at the CampinasTemple with Elder Hull (CTM companion)
Some of our District in the CTM...studying!

At 4 Tuesday morning we left for the field (or in Português, o campo). The flight was great, only about an hour and a half, and I was able to talk to the guy next to me in Portuguese a lot. I told him about our church and gave him the links for and, and he said he would check them out! When we got off the plane at the tiny Goiânia airport, the surroundings looked more like Africa than Brazil. It's really dry here (a few days ago it rained for the first time in 5 months), the grass is all light-brown and lifeless, and the dirt is really red—like Georgia, but even more red haha. We met President Kuceki at the airport and took vans to a hotel. After that we stopped at the mission office on the 11th or so floor of an office building with a great view of the city and went to lunch (almoço) at President and Sister Kuceki's home. The food was so great, especially after lots of traveling, and we had a meeting afterwards. The Kuceki's are so nice, and I'm glad to be in their mission. That night we had an orientation meeting in the mission home with the Assitants to the President, ate pizza, and walked back to the hotel for the night.

Dinner at the Kuceki's (Mission Home)

All of us who traveled there that day from the CTM.

With President and Sister Kuceki

View from the Mission Home
The next morning we went to a big bus station and met our new companions. Elder Meireles is my trainer. He's Brazilian, knows a good bit of English, and likes to quote Rocky movies haha. Our area is Jardim Curitiba, 40 minutes or so northwest of the center of Goiânia. Our apartment makes me really grateful for our house back in America haha. It's about the size of our living room, and needs some deep cleaning. That being said, it's waaaaay better than what a lot of people live in here. Most people live in small homes with rough brick walls, few rooms and doors, and few possessions. Yet, they live happily and normally. It's humbling to experience and is exponentially increasing my gratitude for the luxuries we have in America.

A typical street in Jardim Curitiba
There are way more motorcycles here than cars. They're all over the place. People drive them fast and fearlessly too. I'm surprised I haven't seen one wreck yet. When we're walking around town all day in the hot sun, it makes me want one so badly. I might invest in one when I get home haha.

The food here is good stuff. We make our own most of the time. For breakfast I usually have some fruit and grain bread and drinkable yogurt. For most lunches we eat at a member's house, and we eat rice and beans every time, with some salad and meat usually. I love the rice and beans everyday haha, they're great. For dinner I usually make a sandwich with and egg and some meat and cook some vegetables. I miss your great food everyday a lot Mom, haha.

The mission work here is going well! We had our first baptism on Saturday! Gabriel was baptized by his dad who just received the Priesthood last week. It was great to see their family so happy for him. We're working to find more people to teach every day, and I feel like we'll find success here in Jardim Curitiba. Usually during the day, we study for 2-3 hours in the morning and then go work for 8-9. It's hard work, and we walk around 7-10 miles a day, but it's great!
With my companion, Elder Meireles and Gabriel.

I can hardly understand what anyone is saying haha. I get about 15-20% or the main idea, but that's it. What I know how to say, I can say well and quickly. I just need to increase the amount of things I can say. I can see myself improving rapidly every day, even by the hour. The gift of tongues is real, and I will eventually be fluent! It's hard to realize that sometimes, haha- but I know I'll get there.

Thank you for all of your emails! It's great to hear about everything back home. I can finally send some pictures! I hope you all enjoy those. Have a great week!

Elder Anderson

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

One Week to the Field!


This week was so fast.

The last group of missionaries ahead of us left for the mission field yesterday. That means we're the oldest ones here now! It's crazy to think about haha. I feel like I just got here, but I'm ready to start the real thing! In 6 days I'll be making all my own food, walking 10 miles a day, and hardly understanding anyone haha. It's hard to believe that it will actually happen after sitting in A/C and eating amazingly for 5 weeks straight.

I think for how long I've been here, my Portuguese has progressed very well. I can express what I need to and get the general idea of what people are saying. Sometimes I understand everything, but sometimes it sounds like blloperãçãogliequééolhmfgsaçãê. Our district is having four days of only Portuguese this week. I set a goal before we started to say less than 25 words total in English during those four days. I knew it would be way hard but possible. Monday morning, our first day, I said 6 words in English within 20 minutes of waking up,so I thought my goal was ruined, but after our second day, yesterday, I've said a total of 13, all accidentally haha. The next two days are the final two, and I'm going to make it! Everyone else in the district says over a couple hundred a day in English still, so it's often hard to keep focused on solely Portuguese, but I'm making it!

My time here at the CTM has been awesome! I feel like my mission hasn't really begun yet, even though it has, because pretty much all we do all day is sit in a building. Shortly though, it will be come very real! I leave for the campo (Português term for mission field) Tuesday morning. In the CTM, my knowledge and usage of Portuguese, my testimony of the gospel, my faith in Christ, and my desire to work as hard as I can have all grown significantly, so I can confidently say I am well prepared for the next phase.

Hopefully in the field emailing will be completely better. I should have more than a mere 45 minutes, and I'll be able to send pictures! Finally! Haha, one funny thing I saw here, but haven't written about yet is that on the way to the temple a few weeks ago, traffic was slow on the interstate, and some guys had a stand set up in the median and were walking BETWEEN THE CARS ON THE FREEWAY TRYING TO SELL SELFIE STICKS. Hahaha, Brazil is great! I hope all is well in America!

I love you guys! Amo vocês!

Elder Anderson

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Hello from Brazil!

Mom, when I got your letter this week about the first day of school I was in shock haha. I had never really thought about how time was still moving in America. I knew it was August here, but never thought that summer would end up there and school would start. The first day of school already!!???Wow! Have I been here that long? I guess so! I hope everyone's loving it! (Well, as much as someone can love school...)

I'm going to try to keep this post short this week so I can have more time for individual emails.

Português, Português, Português. It's getting better everyday! Once this week, a Brazilian could hardly believe I've been here for only four weeks after I spoke to him for a few seconds. It was pretty cool haha. Our whole zone had an English fast yesterday, which went pretty well until about the last 1/3 of the day, and our district, along with the others, slipped back into the easiness of English communication. One reason it was so hard to continue with Portuguese was that we watched a devotional broadcast from President Nelson in the Provo MTC. It was awesome, and we all had a lot to discuss about it afterwards, in English haha. They showed a lot of missionaries during the broadcast, and I think I saw McKay on the screen! I hope he's doing excellently in Provo!

Since Mom sent me a bunch of good questions this week, I'll answer them for all of you:

There are two temples here that we go to, São Paulo and Campinas. I like going to São Paulo better because it's an hour closer so we get more time for P-Day here, but Campinas is great too. SP is in the middle of the city, and Campinas is up on a huge hill with an awesome view of the city in the distance! I'll send pictures as soon as I get to the field.

Towards the end of the 6 weeks, they switch who is district leader in a district to give more people leadership experience. This week Elder Hull and I switched, and it's nice to have a break! He's doing a good job, and now I can relax a little bit haha. All the companionships in our district are doing well, and everyone's having a good time.

There are about 10 missionaries here now going to Goiânia, and there will be around 25 or 30 after the new load of Brazilians gets here today. It's exciting to have a lot of people going to the best mission in Brazil haha!

Now that we've been here for 4 weeks, my perspective is different. At first we were the young ones who couldn't speak Portuguese, but now we're some of the oldest ones here. It's crazy how fast it's gone by!

I love it here and hope you are all doing well! I love all the emails, keep sending them! I wish I had way more time to reply, sorry my replies are so short haha. Love you all!

Elder Anderson
The Sao Paulo Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Jejum de Inglês (English Fasting)


If you ever find out you have one month to live, don't come to the MTC because it will last a matter of minutes. Haha, this week was great! Because every day here is basically the same, this week I'll give a brief overview of what happened, and then describe a lot of the cool things I've learned and experienced so far.

The greatest part of this week was our district's Jejum de Inglês (English Fast)! Yesterday, we set a goal to speak only Portuguese all day. It went so well! I spoke less than 25 words in English all day, mostly by accident, and my language skill increased so much. It's the first day in my life that the majority of what I spoke was in a language other than English (besides, of course, when I spoke fluent Baby). The Lord is helping us so much as missionaries because without His help, I don't know how a group of college-age kids could speak only in a foreign language all day after studying it for only three weeks.

Also, the new elders and sisters from Provo in our district our awesome! Elder King and Elder Banz are some of my great friends now, and all the sisters are great too! Sadly, they're splitting our district today because a new 'shipment' of visa waiters came in from Provo, and the Elders and two of the sisters won't be in our district anymore. Oh well.

As always, everything is great—food, Portuguese, district, missionary life, the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so happy and so grateful! I've been pretty tired this week, but that's what happens when you work hard and wake up at 6:30 every morning.

A bunch of cool stuff from Brazil so far:

There's this soft drink here called Guaraná which is the best soda ever! It's right in between fruit-based drinks like Sprite and the other kind like Root Beer or Coke, and it's awesome. I used to drink like 6 cups a day, but I'm starting to limit myself to one or two because it can't be healthy.

The influence of American culture is huge here! Almost all the Brazilians can talk about the NBA—LeBron, Steph Curry, the Spurs, the Bulls, Hawks, etc.—and NFL, American music and movies, and other sports and things.

Probably 80% of American missionaries went to college for a year first before coming out. I'm glad I didn't; I'm so glad to be here now! It's cool to talk to all of them about BYU. Probably 80% of those 80% went to BYU previously haha.

I love Sunday's here! I've never appreciated the Sabbath day like I have now. It's great to get a break from the regular sitting in class all the time, and there's such a great Spirit throughout the whole day.

During exercise time (the best part of the day haha) we used to play basketball a lot, but now we play volleyball every day. It's way fun! Also, when anyone messes up, in either sport, like shooting an airball or killing the ball out of bounds, we all say 'PECADO!' which is 'sin' in Portuguese hahaha. It's hilarious.

Elder Banz plays golf for BYU, and he won the Utah US Open Qualifier, beating all the pros! It's awesome to talk to him about golf haha.

All the Brazilians are so nice! They're great. I can make them laugh all the time, which is really fun haha.

A good bit of the American missionaries here are from the South. The Atlanta consulate does a good job!

That's all for now! Have a great week!

Elder Anderson

(I, mom, found a picture of the drink Scott was talking about...!)