Monday, October 26, 2015

Robbed, Sick, Grateful

Goiania and I
 Quinto-feira (Thursday) we were walking back from teaching Simone in Vitoria. It was 8:30 p.m., about an hour past dark, and we were walking down a dark road next to a forest. This was all normal; we do it 2 or 3 times a week. Then, two guys rode by us on bikes. I was looking at their bikes to see if they were cool when they swerved around in front of us, jumped off, and started yelling “Cellular, Cellular!” They had bandanas over their faces so I couldn’t really tell what they looked like, but I think they were about 16 or 17. A weird, instinctive pulse of adrenaline went through me and sent the signal to my brain that we were being robbed. Rather than ‘fight’ or ‘flight’, the instinct made me stay still and calm—which was nice, since if you’re being robbed, it’s a lot better if you’re chill throughout the assault. I learned that one from experience haha. Anyway Elder Gerson handed over our phone, and they patted us down to check for any kind of wallet. Generally we keep our money in our missionary manual, which is the same size and shape as a wallet. They found Elder Gerson’s and he gave them all two of his reais (50 American cents), but didn’t find mine because—thanks to the caring hand of Heavenly Father—it had looked like it was going to rain earlier, so I put my manual in my bag. Thankfully, they weren’t interested in our bags. All of my 14 reais were safe haha. They quickly left, and really, I think the whole time they were more scared than we were. We don’t know if they were armed—they pretended to be—but I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a gun or even a knife with them. Since we’re not supposed to resist thieves, as missionaries, the thought to try and knock them out quick and get our phone back never crossed my mind. Yet, if I was just a normal person walking with a friend, I might have tried haha. Anyway, they’ll wonder why someone’s calling them to ask how many lessons they taught during the day while they’re sharing their pack of cheap crackers. We should get our new phone tomorrow.

As if this week couldn’t have been more eventful after that, Elder Gerson and I ate something ruim (terrible) on Friday and about died (not really, but it almost felt like it) Saturday. We’re 99% sure it was a pouch of ready-to-eat beans I bought at a nearby store. I felt weird when I woke up Saturday morning and made it to our first lesson okay, but when we returned to the house at 10 for personal study, Elder Gerson and I both started feeling horrible. (Another thing I keep forgetting to write about—our schedule was changed so instead of studying from 8-11 in the morning like most missions, we do personal study from 10-11 and companion and language study from 2-4.) For that hour of study we took turns in the bathroom and slumped on top of our desks. We ate lunch at the Bishop’s house, I could only get down one forkful of rice, while E. Gerson ate a normal amount but threw every bit of it up later. WE spent the afternoon dying or sleeping (it was hard to tell which…), went to the hospital and got IVs, and that evening felt a little better and slept hard that night. Yesterday we felt about 50% better and went to stake conference just fine (which was awesome! Presidente Kuceki—my mission president—and Elder Carboni of the Seventy spoke). I’m not exactly sure how Elder Gerson’s doing but I’m 90% better today.

Clearly, this week was a week of trials. It was funny; the night before we got sick, I thought ‘It’s finally starting to get a little easier.’ Oh man…hahahah. Yet, I’m grateful for this week because it has made me so much more that—grateful.

No matter how hard our days or our lives are, we can always find ways to be grateful—and we should. Think of Job. I think he had probably the hardest life ever, second only to Christ (because Christ felt all the pain and suffering that has occurred, is occurring, and will ever occur). After losing his entire family, possessions, friends, and health, Job still worshipped and praised the Lord, being grateful to God and for His plan for him. What an amazing example! May we always be grateful for our lives, for they will likely never be as hard as Job’s and definitely never as hard as Christ’s.

Here’s a few of the many, many things that I’m more grateful for after this trying week:

-Every second I’m not being robbed or feeling horribly sick.
-That I live in a country where at least there is medical care exceeding primitive level.
-That my bag wasn’t stolen. Not just because my scriptures and Portuguese dictionary were in there, but mainly because my family picture book was. If they would have taken that, they probably would have been in the hospital along with me, except, while I was hooked up to an IV, they’d have been barely making it in the ICU. Don’t take my family pictures, haha. (But really not haha…)
-That this sickness is over! Oh man, I’m so grateful to be able to move and breathe and act normally now!
-Food that doesn’t try to kill you.
-The Gospel of Jesus Christ! Nothing is greater!

Although all this stuff happened this week, lots of good is happening too! We’re teaching good people, trying to find others, and seeing the hand of the Lord in our lives! I continue to grow stronger and stronger in my faith in Christ, in my humility, and in my gratitude, and I am experiencing the joy, purification, and sanctification that results from coming unto Christ (see Helaman 3:35). This work is miraculous! Thanks for all of your love, prayers, and support from the states!

Elder Anderson

(Helaman 3:35  "Nevertheless, they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.)

Almoco (lunch) at a restaurant
Food at the restaurant


  1. Blessings and prayers to you, everyday.

  2. Wow! What a week! We are so grateful you are being protected, and that your gratitude and faith keep getting you through the challenges of your mission. Love you! G and G 333