Monday, December 28, 2015

A Great Christmas & Transferred Again

Christmas Eve

​Christmas Morning! Muitos presentes

The finished Christmas tree

Almoço de Natal!

Skyping and Eating and Natal​

Último almoço com Alex

​Last day all together: The members and missionaries of Apartment Block A

Christmas was my favorite day of the mission so far! It was so awesome to skype home! Dad, mom, Dallin, Tyler, Heidi, Natalie, Katie, and Bryce—it was so fun to talk to you and I love you all so much! Grandpa and Grandma West I’m so glad you guys were there so I could talk to you too! Man, hearing your voices and listening to everything that’s been going on at home was bom demais! It was definitely the fastest 40 minutes of my mission so far. I can’t wait to skype again on Mother’s Day haha!

The other parts of Christmas were great too. Though I had already opened up most of my presents, opening the rest of them was fun. Thanks to the family for their presents and to the ward Relief Society too. There was no shortage of things to unwrap this year! I guess Santa knows how hard I’ve been working haha. During the morning we studied like normal, then we made some contacts in the road, and went to almoco (lunch). After a big Christmas lunch we came back, visited Wilson and Mariellen and went to skype. We went to the house of a family in another ward—probably one of the nicest houses I’ve been in here (they had AC in one room—whoa!). We skyped and ate a ton and came back home and that was Christmas.

Also at their house, everyone started getting calls about transfers. Elder Baltazar and I didn’t get a call, but we knew from the other transfers that we were leaving too. Saturday night we finally found out where we are going. I’m going to train another Brazilian coming out of the CTM in area Parque Amazonia 3, in Goiania. Elder Baltazar’s going to Goiania too, but another zone.

I’m really excited to train another novinho! I liked training this transfer. I learned a lot and think I was able to help E. Baltazr adjust to the mission well. Also, I’ve heard the Parque Amazonia is an awesome area! It’s crazy that there will be three companionships there; I’m excited to arrive and get to work!

Tibery was a good area. Though I was only here one transfer, I felt like I helped the area and worked my best. One crazy thing is that all 4 of the elders that were here are leaving. E. Olsen is going home and E. Sanchez is going to be in my zone. A companionship of sisters is coming here and will cover the two areas (within the same ward) that the four of us did. We’re preparing everything as well as we can so they can arrive and get straight to work too. Also here, I learned a lot from the Bishop, grew way more confident talking to people, got a ton better at Portuguese, and improved my teaching and organization. It was a great area and a great transfer. Now I get to return to the heat of Goiania haha.

Well everybody, mission life is great! I’m well adjusted and comfortable and ready to continue learning. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’m having here, even the crazy ones (like a group of drunk guys stopping us on the road, getting on their knees and pretending to worship us, and making us say a prayer for them before we walked away, yesterday; or seeing drug deals in the road or fights on the bus: because they make great stories hahaha). Yet I’m more thankful still for the miracles and blessings we see more often than all the crazy stuff. This mission and gospel are the best!

Elder Anderson

Monday, December 21, 2015

Feliz Natal!

Exchange in Tocantins


​The Uberlândia Americans

​Elder Sanchez and I

​Talent Show

My Christmas tree! Hahaha 

​Atividade de Natal!
Wow! Christmas is this week? It’s hard to believe the 25th is almost here for a number of reasons. First, it’s hot. That’s not normal for December… Next, Christmas Spirit (Espirito de Natal) isn’t that big here… There’s not a whole lot of decorations, hardly anyone says Feliz Natal (Merry Christmas), and yeah, I miss Christmas in America haha. Also, time’s flown since we went to the Atlanta airport over 5 months ago. Going through security and saying goodbye to the family does feel like a long time ago, yet the fact that it’s already Christmas time is surprising. Man, life’s going quickly.

I’m immensely grateful for the impact my mission has had on me thus far. I’ve grown so much spiritually and mentally (physically, I’m still praying for that. A few more inches of height and another 20 pounds would be great blessings). My love for this gospel and my Savior and my faith and testimony have all skyrocketed.

My increased spirituality has given me a richer perspective on Natal (Christmas) and this season of commemoration of our Savior’s birth. (Wow it’s hard to write in English right now). That the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s was born in a simple manger is history’s greatest example of humility, which we all can and should learn from. The angels singing good tidings to the shepherds of the fields, the wise men offering gifts fit for a King, and the great and bright star in heaven, shining with glorious brilliance testified that that night the Only Begotten Son of God was born.

Two millennia’s later, we feel the Spirit of God witnessing of the truthfulness and miracle of the birth of our Savior as we read the writings of the New Testament and ponder on the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ. How awesome it would have been to kneel by that manger for 5 minutes! Christmas is like Thanksgiving, a holiday of gratitude, but with all of our thanks and praise focused on our most beloved blessing.

Today I finished a week-long study of Isaiah 53—the prophecy/description/tribute of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He truly descended to the lowest depths of pain, suffering, and sin, ultimately to death, so that he could be filled with mercy and serve as our infinite intercessor to the Father. I stand all amazed that He did that for me, and for all of us. He knows us. He loves us. He gave His life for us. We are eternally indebted to Him (Mosiah 2:20-21) and should never cease to give thanks and praise. How overwhelmingly grateful I am for my Savior and for this season of reflection on and gratitude for His life!

Friday we had our atividade de Natal! It was way fun! President and Sis. Kuceki were there with most of their family, and so were all the missionaries from Zones Uberlandia and Uberaba, about 40 of us. We sang, watched some videos about Christs’ birth, heard messages by President and Sis. Kuceki, watched a video of pictures of all the missionaries made especially for Natal, ate a great lunch, watched talks given by Elder’s Aidukatis and Costa of the Seventy, ate a ton of ice cream, talked for a while, had a white elephant gift exchange, and had a talent show (in which I played the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean which only went ok because the piano was messed up and it’s been half a year since I’ve seen that sheet music, but it was good anyway haha). Spending time with other missionaries is way fun because regardless of national, racial, character, or personality, or any other kind of difference, we’re all here for the same great purpose—bringing people to Christ. I love this mission!

I’m missing Christmas time at home, but I would rather be here! I wish you all a Feliz Natal from down under! I can’t wait for Christmas and for SKYPING YOU GUYS! It’s going to be great! Until then,

Elder Anderson

Monday, December 14, 2015


(Scott received his Christmas ackages finally!) 

​WWWWHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAA! Didn't wait one sceond to open my most anticipated Christmas present! Haha

The chapel of the Tibery Ward

The baptismal font here

​Batismo de Eudes!

​What a great day!

O Eudes foi batizado quinta-feira! Eudes was baptized Thursday! Thanks to the Lord’s help and all of your prayers, tudo deu-certo—all went well. It was so nice to finally have a baptism after what felt like a long drought of results in spite of lots of hard work. A couple weeks ago Elder Baltazar and I were talking about this transfer, and when I told him that I thought we’d baptize this transfer, the Spirit confirmed to me that we would. Ah, so awesome! Trust in the Lord, do your best, push through trials, and you will be blessed. Eudes is pretty quiet, but he likes church a lot and was so happy to be baptized! I’m so glad we talked to him sitting in his garage our first day here. Helping people accept the restored gospel and receive its blessings is such a marvelous work!

I always thought – before my mission – that it was relatively quite easy to baptize people in Brazil. I shared the mentality with tons of people that here people were just jumping into the baptismal font hahaha. In some places in Brazil, missionaries are able to have tons of baptisms—some missions here are among the highest baptizing in the world. Goiania is not one of those places. While it’s way easier ainda (yet/still) than Spain, Russia, or Japan, for Brazil, it’s tough. I don’t know the numbers, but my guess is it’s in the top 5-7 hardest missions out of the 34 in Brazil. Sometimes I feel that we’re not having enough baptisms here, but I have to remember that every mission is different, every area of the world is so different and unique in its challenges and opportunities, as Uncle Taylor well explained in his letter. I know I’m supposed to be serving here and growing from the challenges and situations I face! I’m grateful for my trials as they are such awesome opportunities to learn and grow.

Thursday morning, we had an amazing zone conference with Presidente Kuceki (Thursday I was so excited for it haha. We thought the meeting was going to be Wednesday, but then it was moved to Thursday). All my excitement had been built up, was deflated, and after another day of waiting, the meeting finally came haha. IT WAS SO AWESOME! Pres. Kuceki talked to us for about an hour and a half about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how we can grow in our faith until we reach a fullness of the Spirit. To fully increase in our spirituality, he said we need to do 3 things: 1-Give up things we like to do because of our love for the Lord, 2- Like and do things we don’t like doing because of our love for the Lord, and 3- Be worthy. On my mission I’ve had experience with all three. For example, giving up playing sports, watching movies, and hanging out with friends for 2 years; learning to give up my fear of talking to people I don’t know and contacting people on the street (that was hard); and doing my best to be obedient, follow the Spirit, and focus all my heart, might, mind, and strength on the work of bringing the true gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. I will continue to do my best to increase my spirituality and faith and be the best missionary I possibly can. Man I was so inspired by what he said! Foi top.

Thanks so much for all your thoughts, prayers, and support. They are felt all the way down here in Uberlandia! I’m so grateful for an amazing group of support of family and friends in America. You guys are a blessing!

It’s almost Christmas!? Crazy! It really doesn’t feel like it since it’s 90 degrees even with Christmas decorations here and there haha. I hope you are all enjoying the cold, hot chocolate and apple cider, an abundance of Christmas trees, and the great American Christmas Spirit. There’s no place like home for the holidays!
Tenham uma semana otima!

Elder Anderson
​Melancia Monster :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

All Kinds of Awesome Stuff!

​The Tibery Quatro
Stocking up for Winter
​"Dang it! I accidently mixed the medicine and Guaraná."
"Dude, let's try to sell this stuff man."
"No one would buy this! It tastes terrible."
"They will if we call it Jesus!"
(-What I think happened when Guaraná Jesus was created.)

​Email time!
 Woohoo! We had an awesome miracle yesterday! I went with a member to pick up Eudes, our investigator with a baptismal date for this week, before church. He was waiting for us, but when I got out of the car to talk to him, he said something about his brother and not coming to church with us and staying in his other church. Ah man… I was worried. I told him we could bring him back to his house right after sacrament meeting if he wanted. He, somewhat reluctantly, accepted, and we went to church. Being the first Sunday of the month, it was Fast and Testimony meeting. It was awesome! The testimonies of the ward members here were great – simple and true. While I was sitting on the stand waiting to go, Eudes got up and bore his testimony. He said (paraphrased and translated): “My family’s selfish but I’m not going to let it affect me. I’m not baptized yet, but I know this is the true church,” Whoooaaa!!! It was so awesome! Ever since I talked to him before church, I had been praying and hoping that he would change his mind and remain firm in his decision to be baptized. What a perfect testimony meeting it was, because after hearing several others testify of the truthfulness of this church, he too recognized the same answer within himself. His baptism is scheduled for Thursday night.

This might have been the hardest working week of my mission so far! I made a goal to make 1000 contacts with people this month before Christmas, as my present to the Savior. In making this goal, I knew it was a huge number. I used to think 120 in a week for a companionship was hard. But, certainly Jesus deserves my best effort, and I hope I can show my love for him by achieving this goal. I’m on track!

Also this week we taught a ton of lessons. We’re finding more people and our teaching group is otimo! Elders Olsen and Sanchez found a family before we got here, but they live in our area so we’ve started teaching them. Wilson and Mariellen (and their 4-year old son Igor) are progressing well. They started reading the Book of Mormon, had tons of good questions, and came to church for the first time yesterday and liked it. They are interested to continue learning about the church. The only problem is they’re not married, if it wasn’t for this, they’d be baptized soon for sure! Hopefully it will all work out. We had a churrasco at their house last night with Elders Olsen and Sanchez too which was way fun! I should’ve brought my camera haha.

Everything’s going great here. I’m fully adjusted to missionary life and am a lot less stressed than I used to be which is a huge blessing! I’m losing myself in the work—I even dream about teaching sometimes—and couldn’t be happier to be here! Portuguese is continuing to get better; I’ve pretty much given up writing in my journal in English haha. Every day, more of my thoughts are in Portuguese which is pretty cool! I love Brazil, I love this work, and I love this gospel!

Elder Anderson